Bagel Lover’s Lament

JTA reports:

H&H bagel store to close
June 22, 2011
NEW YORK (JTA) — H&H Bagels, the no-frills bagel shop that for decades was a beloved fixture of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is reportedly closing its doors.

The store, located at 80th and Broadway, is famous for its no-nonsense food service; customers who want a bagel with a schmear have to buy the cream cheese separately and put it on themselves.

The store reportedly will close in the next few days. Employees said H&H’s factory store on West 46th Street would remain open.

Founded in 1972, the story recently fell into fiscal troubles, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February. That came on the heels of guilty plea in May 2010 by its owner and co-founder Helmer Toro to grand larceny charges. Toro had failed to fork over some $330,000 in payroll taxes he had withheld from employees, according to The New York Times.

City Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side, said the loss of the store would be a crushing blow to the neighborhood.

“It’s an institution, almost like a museum,” Brewer told the Times. “Everybody dreams of their store being a destination, but this one really is a destination. You can literally get a hot bagel at 3 o’clock in the morning, and it literally comes out of the oven in front of you.”

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The New Israel Lobby

What would Theo and Golda think of J Street's approach to middle east peace, the future of Israel, and American Israel relations?

What would Theo and Golda think of J Street's approach to middle east peace, the future of Israel, and American Israel relations?

I subscribe to many email lists of organizations that I don’t agree with. I like to see what people are sending out to their folks, how they portray themselves to their supporters versus how they portray themselves to the world. I like to see what they really think about themselves, and by getting their stuff, you get a picture over time of their ideas and agenda. So here is a little exploration of a recent J Street email to supporters that states their aims and objectives, and most importantly, their sense of arrogance. From our Jewish brothers and sisters over at J Street:

Do Jewish Americans and other friends of Israel support President Obama’s active and balanced pursuit of Middle East peace? We have to prove that the answer to this question is yes — right now. Defenders of the unworkable status quo [who likes the status quo?] are whispering to the White House and Congress that supporting the President’s thoughtful and balanced [blame the victim is now fair and balanced?] approach to the Middle East could hurt them politically. We know that the majority of Jewish Americans – and of Americans generally – support the President’s balanced calls on Israel to freeze settlements, for the Palestinians to rein in violence and incitement, and for Arab states to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel. [Which they have all completely rejected in today’s papers.]

Each line can be dissected, and the entire letter is below the fold. Buzz words that caught my eye include “whispered” implying a Jewish cabal. “Hurt them politically” which is the SOP of Israel Lobby conspiracists. The letter ends with “All of our futures are at stake…” really? “Our” future is at stake? Or theirs? J Street is running hot and full of themselves after the Jewish summit with Obama, when their approach was the one favored by the Obama administration. I am reminded of the phrase from Pirkei Avot: Be careful in your relations with the government; for they draw no one close to themselves except for their own interests. They appear as friends when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by someone in their time of stress. When J Street’s approach fails to bring good polling numbers to the Obama camp, I am guessing that they will no longer have the ear of the inner circle. J Street believes that American pressure is the answer! This will somehow convince Hizbollah and Hamas to give up their stated aim of destroying Israel, bring a democratic government to run a Palestinian state, get all the Arab states of the region to join in one big love hug with Israel, get Yesha to forget the Torah, and even make the lion lie with the lamb. J Street has forgotten their Torah/Bible studies. Jews are a stiff necked people, and we don’t like people telling us what to do. Even God can’t tell us. And Israelis have an extra dose of stiff neckedness. American pressure has already hardened most Israelis and as we mentioned only 6% of Israelis back Obama’s policies. The current policies are likely to continue intransigence. As soon as the Obama folks have had enough of no results on the middle east, J Street’s star will no longer shine over the White House. There are millions of pro-Israel Christians whose support Obama needs much more. I mean no ill will towards our brothers and sisters at J Street, I am not calling them names. I just think that their approach will get us nowhere fast. Read more

Obama gives Israelis something they can agree on

Where J-Street is leading Obama.


Today’s NYTimes carries an Op-Ed from Haaretz Editor Aluf Benn, “Why Won’t Obama Talk to Israel?” His article is clear and concise and asks who is the fool behind the Obama administration policy on the middle-east why has Obama pursued a policy of distancing Israel and Israelis?

He points to three places where Obama got it wrong with Israel and that his policies are counterproductive at best, and downright dangerous at worst:
1-Israelis became spoiled by unfettered presidential attention.
2-Mr. Obama’s quest for diplomacy has appeared to Israelis as dangerous American naïveté.
3-Mr. Obama seems to have confused American Jews with Israelis.

Benn points to recent Jerusalem Post poll of Israelis which indicated that only 6 percent of those surveyed considered the Obama administration to be pro-Israel. In other words, the stats show that Israelis read our Presidents name as barack HUSSEIN obama. Pro-Arab, Pro-Palestinian, luke warm on Israel, and empowering Iran.

Benn’s Op-Ed, from a leading left-wing Israel newspaper, reveals that J Street has taken Obama down the Wrong Street. Obama, Rahm and Axelrod have failed to create a viable policy for the Middle East, and Hilary over in State is kept on a short leash in the dog house.

There is a great positive part of all of this.

Obama has gotten 94% of Israelis to agree on something.

Even with American Jews split on Obama’s direction, it is better for the survival of the Jewish people that Israelis are unified, than American Jews.