Posted tagged ‘Independence Day’

Video and Cartoon of the Day

July 4, 2017

Via Israeli PM  

( I challenge you to find a more pro-American speech made by a world leader since Winston Churchill. {Or even a Democrat for a very long time.} – JW )

 

Via Washington Free Beacon

The Washington Free Beacon staff wishes its readers a happy Fourth of July! Artwork by Gary Locke

 

‘Israel, US are bastions of liberty defending our civilization’

July 4, 2017

‘Israel, US are bastions of liberty defending our civilization’, Israel Hayom, July 4, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the Independence Day event, Monday | Photo credit: Reuters

Netanyahu called the festivities “a celebration of freedom and independence. It’s a celebration of this most remarkable country, the United States of America. … Israel and America are two bastions of liberty defending our common civilization.”

Rivlin also spoke at the event and said that “for many of us in Israel, this is the holiday of democracy.”

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Rivlin attended Fourth of July celebrations at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in Herzliya on Monday. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and a number of lawmakers were also in attendance at the festivities.

Speaking at the event, Friedman said the spirit of the festivities was the spirit of “patriotic Americans committed to increasing the ties and enhancing the relationship between the United States and the State of Israel.”

“Our collective core, what fundamentally unites us, is that we are the two shining cities on a hill drawn together by a shared history, shared values, and I believe a shared destiny of continued greatness,” he said.

“On behalf of all of us here, we pray that God should bless the United States of America on its 241st birthday, that God should bless the State of Israel and that God should bless the unbreakable bond between the two countries.”

Netanyahu called the festivities “a celebration of freedom and independence. It’s a celebration of this most remarkable country, the United States of America. … Israel and America are two bastions of liberty defending our common civilization.”

Netanyahu also took the opportunity to voice his commitment “to making every Jew feel at home at Israel, including at the Kotel [the Western Wall]. … All we need is patience and perseverance. Patience, perseverance and courage is what the founders of America had in abundance.”

Rivlin also spoke at the event and said that “for many of us in Israel, this is the holiday of democracy.”

Happy Birthday, America

July 4, 2017

Independence and Identity: What Israel Knows, Europe Has Forgotten, and America May Yet Remember

July 4, 2016

Independence and Identity: What Israel Knows, Europe Has Forgotten, and America May Yet Remember, American ThinkerAbe Katsman, July 4, 2016

The Fourth of July is beautiful.  Independence Day marks arguably the most consequential positive political event in history and deserves every bit of the enthusiastic celebration with which it is observed.  Yet the day goes by insufficiently appreciated by so many – a symptom of the erosion of our American identity.

For some perspective, let’s start by looking at Memorial Day.  In Israel.

Israel.  Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Day of Remembrance) is ushered in by a wailing siren.  Everyone – even drivers on the freeways – stops in his tracks for a minute of mournful silence.  The somber mood of the day is everywhere: no hot dogs or barbecues; no sales at the malls.  No rock music on the radio; no Friends reruns or light entertainment on TV – just reflective songs, unvarnished war documentaries, heart-piercing interviews with families of fallen soldiers, and coverage of countless memorial ceremonies at the nation’s cemeteries.  It is a poignant day, dripping with tragedy, loss, sacrifice, and suffering – but also with heroism, pride, honor, and gratitude.

Does that sound like your Memorial Day?

Israel may be unique in the intensity with which it observes Yom Hazikaron.  But other nations, including America, would be wise to learn from Israel about how and why it honors its fallen as it does.

Yom Hazikaron honors the 23,000 Israeli lives lost – mostly young citizen-soldiers, as well as some 2,500 terror attack victims – in modern Israel’s never-ending struggle to exist.  It is a heavy day, and everyone feels its weight: as a small nation resurrected in the wake of the Holocaust, with a culture that places a premium on each individual life, Israel knows too well not only that its freedom isn’t free, but that it comes at a steep, painful price.

As night falls on Yom Hazikaron, there is a jarring transition to raucous celebration: Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, begins.  There are fireworks, official ceremonies and celebrations, street partying, and happy prayers of thanksgiving.  There are military flyovers, ubiquitous barbecues, and the International Bible Contest finals.  And there is an outpouring of national pride and a sense of accomplishment over how the country has survived and thrived for yet another year, feelings intensified by an appreciation for the fragility of its very existence.

Though quite the 48-hour emotional rollercoaster, the two days add depth and meaning to one another.  As painful as that price has been for Israel to gain and maintain independence, it is dwarfed by the price the Jewish people paid for their prior statelessness.

These two days are a distillation of Israelis’ remarkably strong sense of national identity, healthy cultural confidence, and appreciation for the state they have – imperfect as it may be.  These are sentiments widely shared, even – perhaps especially – by Israel’s sizeable population of immigrants from around the globe.

That is all well and good for Israel.  What is worrisome is that such a strong national identity, though once the norm, has become aberrational in the Western world.  The failure to nurture national identities among new generations and new immigrants threatens the survival of the culture and values Western nations once strongly stood for.

Europe.  The competing cultures of European nations once proudly rivaled each other, spawning revolutions in philosophy, law, science, art, exploration, industry, religion, and academia while raising the prosperity, education, and human rights levels of millions in the process.

But nationalism run amok was also a factor in Europe’s bloody wars.  Since the end of World War II, nationalism-phobia has driven Western European governments.  Though nationalism has only once mutated into Nazism, European elites threw out the baby with the bathwater: to ensure that expansionist racial fascism would not rise again, European leaders strove to minimize individual nationalisms and shrink the autonomy of individual states, cobbling together instead a new, transnational, pan-European identity.

They succeeded, perhaps too well, at diminishing the particular nationalisms of individual states.  Their artificial new Europeanist substitute, however, is a watery, post-Christian, least-common-denominator amalgam which fails any identity’s most basic test: hardly anyone is inspired to identify with it.  As Europeans lament the failure of waves of Middle Eastern and North African immigrants to assimilate, perhaps one question that should be asked is, assimilate into what, precisely?

European nations used to make history happen; “Europe” now passively endures history happening to it.  The U.K. Brexit vote notwithstanding, the exploding rates of violent crime (particularly rape), the metastasizing of terror cells, and the proliferation of no-go zones of debatable sovereignty  seem not to rouse paralyzed mainstream political leaders to act in defense of any cultural value other than so-called multiculturalism.

As cultural identities erode, so erode the senses of purpose, belonging, meaning, inspiration, and cultural confidence of citizens.   Identity-stripped societies are marked by risk aversion, listlessness, passivity, economic stagnation, lack of innovation, and – perhaps most ominous – sub-replacement-level birth rates.  (Israel, notably, has by far the highest fertility rate of any OECD country.)  The European nations, by and large, no longer seem to understand who they used to be or what they are becoming.  They have lost their way.  They are cultures in retreat.

America.  The Unites States has not yet traveled as far down the post-nationalist cul-de-sac as has Europe, but it is heading in the same direction.

We may feel Americanism in our bones, but that does not make it part of our DNA; it is not inherited automatically.  An understanding and appreciation of what America means requires transmission to each new generation.  Yet that transmission is getting ever weaker: it is no longer fashionable within the education establishment to teach students about American exceptionalism or why tens of millions fled their own countries, immigrated to America’s shores, and proudly adopted American identities and values or the degree to which America has been an unparalleled force for liberty and decency in the world.  (It doesn’t help matters that our post-nationalist president, not shy with opinions about everything else, rarely speaks of American greatness, past or present.)

Universities long ago abandoned any thought of instilling in all students some understanding and appreciation for Western and American civilization.  Instead, students are taught the arts of grievance-manufacturing and victimhood, of countering privilege and power structure, of squelching free speech and seeing a complex world exclusively through the race/class/gender prism, and of becoming expertly hypersensitive to nano-aggressions and cultural appropriations.  A wrecking ball of intellectually lazy cultural and moral relativism has displaced the Western/American canon.

Students come out of college arguably are even more ignorant of their Americanism than when they entered.  By signing the Declaration of Independence, men of wealth and stature effectively signed their own death warrants, all in the name of political principle.  Yet if university students are taught anything about those who committed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure the liberty these students take for granted, it is that the founders were privileged white male slaveholders, thus more deserving of contempt than deep study.

There is far more sense of entitlement and cynicism about America inculcated on campus than sense of appreciation and gratitude for what it means to be American, or for the ultimate sacrifice of 1.35 million American war dead.  And every year, America’s colleges churn out another 3 million graduates thus indoctrinated.

There are only a few remaining cultural institutions where Americanism is honored: the military, talk radio, and country music come to mind.  The prevailing mass cultural influences at best reflect mild embarrassment over American pride and patriotism.

Reclaiming Identity.  National identity does not mean lockstep unity or uniformity, cheerleading, or papering over a nation’s faults.  Israel, for example, soberly faces monumental challenges both internal and external, and Israeli society is fundamentally fragmented – too often along demographic lines – in how to approach them.  While American politicians sometimes call for “national conversations,” Israeli citizens live in one.  Yet Israel’s rollicking, caustic debates, frequently over core questions of just what Israeli identity means, are themselves part of that identity.

Every nation needs to find its own path to instill identity in its people and an understanding of why it is worth preserving.  In Israel’s case, as fractious as society may be, it has utilized several tools to forge its strong sense of common identity.  Through maintaining a strong Jewish historical memory and reconnecting to an ancient homeland; through breathing new life into its historic, though largely dormant, Hebrew language; through ingathering of exiles and rescue of persecuted Jews around the world; and through surviving crises together against often daunting odds, the Jewish people have re-created the nation of Israel.  Infighting aside, there is a widespread sense of shared fate and a still potent recollection of pre-state Jewish powerlessness.  Reinforced through common tradition, education, and ceremony – including Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut – that powerful identity has kept Israelis together through some dangerous, trying times.

Tragically, reclamation of national identity may well be a lost cause in several European states.  But it is not yet lost in America.  The feelings of gratitude and appreciation for being American, and of understanding what America has meant to ourselves and to the wider world, still run deep in much of the population, in spite of prevailing cultural antipathies toward such attitudes.  But those sensibilities are endangered by insufficient transmission of American identity from one generation to the next and are in dire need of reinforcement.

America has always been a model to Israel of so much worth emulating.  Perhaps in the realm of strengthening of national identity, Israel can return the favor.

There are no simple solutions.  But we might start with something simple: perhaps it’s time to establish an Independence Day custom of sounding sirens for a national minute of silence.  Everyone can share a collective moment to honor the price paid for our liberty.  Linking the sacrifice of others with our own Independence Day celebration of freedom is a good way to enhance the respect and appreciation for both.  It is a small step, but it is at least a step forward, toward strengthening our American identity.

 

Our Eternal War For Independence

July 4, 2016

Our Eternal War For Independence, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, July 4, 2016

usflag-wikimediacommons

We were not meant to be a society of sinecures for public servants. We did not come into being to be ruled by bureaucrats. Our birth of freedom was not meant to give way to the repression of a vast incomprehensible body of regulations administered by an elite political class in Washington D.C.

Americans are rebels. And if we are not rebels, then we are not Americans.

We are not a nation founded by men and women who followed the rules. It is not our capacity for obedience that makes us true Americans, but our capacity for disobedience. 

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How will you celebrate the Fourth of July?

With fireworks and parades, hamburgers and hot dogs, sweating bands playing Sousa marches and parades down Main Street? Will you remember the men who fell in the first war and all the following wars that were fought to preserve our political and personal independence from foreign and domestic tyrannies? Will you consider what you might have done in the days when revolution was in the air?

Those are all good things. They remind us to celebrate and what it is we are celebrating.

I sat on the warm grass beneath the shade of a spreading fig tree listening to a band run through a repertoire of everything from Yankee Doodle Dandy to Over There. An elderly disabled veteran with a flag listened intently to the orchestra and a small child clambered awkwardly up a tree as his father worriedly urged him to climb down. It could have been a scene from any century. The Fourth is timeless.

It is timeless because it is still going on. The War of Independence went on underneath that fig tree, it continues on in your town, your city and in your community on this day and on every day.

Independence Day is a commemoration, but it is not a mere commemoration. The struggle is not over.

America became America out of a hatred of powerful central government. The War of Independence was not a battle between two countries. America’s Founding Fathers started out as Englishmen who wanted to preserve their rights from a distant and out of touch government.

The War of Independence was a civil war between those who wanted a strong central government and those who wanted to govern themselves. The fundamental breach between these two worldviews led to the creation of an independent nation dedicated to the preservation of independence. This independence was not mere political independence. It was personal independence.

America as a separate nation did not yet exist. Even the Constitution that embodies its purpose was a decade, a war, a failed experiment in government and many bitter debates away.

Nations come and go. Political unions are created and dissolved. There are nations today named Egypt and Greece that have little in common with the historical entities that once bore those names. The Declaration to which those remarkable men pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor was not for a flag, which then still bore the Union Jack, or for the invention of yet another administrative body, but for the rights of peoples, nations and individuals to be free to exercise their personal and political rights.

The war for these things was fought, but it has not ended. It began then, but it continues today.

It is not a war against King George III. It is the ongoing struggle between the people and those who would govern them that is at the heart of our independence.

There are two visions of how men are meant to live today, just as there were in 1776. Revolutions and wars may occasionally clarify these visions, but they do not permanently resolve them. New governments are quick to adopt old tyrannies. Freedom is a popular rallying cry for rebels. But few rebels wish to be rebelled against. That is what made America unique. That is what still does.

We were not meant to be a society of sinecures for public servants. We did not come into being to be ruled by bureaucrats. Our birth of freedom was not meant to give way to the repression of a vast incomprehensible body of regulations administered by an elite political class in Washington D.C.

Americans are rebels. And if we are not rebels, then we are not Americans.

We are not a nation founded by men and women who followed the rules. It is not our capacity for obedience that makes us true Americans, but our capacity for disobedience.

The Declaration of Independence was a document of rebellion by a band of rebels. “Damned rebels” as the big government monarchists saw them. The men who signed it pledged their lives because they expected to be executed for treason. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were acts of rebellion against the entire order across what was then seen as the civilized world.

American greatness came about because we were willing to break the rules. It was only when we began following the rules, when as a nation we made the maintenance of the international order into our notion of the greatest good and when as individuals we accepted the endless expansion of government as a national ideal that we ceased to be great.

When we think of great Americans, from Thomas Jefferson to the Wright Brothers, from Andrew Jackson to Daniel Boone, from Theodore Roosevelt to today’s true patriots, we think of “damned rebels” who broke the rules, who did what should have been impossible and thumbed their noses at the establishments of the day. American greatness is embodied in individual initiative. That is why the Declaration of Independence places at the center of its striving, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It was for these individualistic ends of freedom that government had to be derived from the consent of the governed, that a war was fought that changed the world and it is these ends that we must celebrate.

Rebellion does not always mean muskets and cannon. Long before the War of Independence, we had become a nation of rebels who explored the wild realms of forests and streams, who forged cities out of savage lands, who argued philosophy and sought a higher purpose for their strivings, who refused to bow to their betters out of an accident of birth. And at our best, we are still rebels today.

When we dissent from the system, we rebel. When we refuse to conform, when we think differently, when we choose to live our own lives instead of living according to the dictates of our political rulers and pop culture arbiters, then we are celebrating the spirit of freedom that animates the Fourth.

When we defy the government, when we speak out against Obama and the rest of our privileged ruling class, when we demand the right to govern ourselves, when we fight to hold government accountable, when we question what we are told and the need to be told anything at all, then we are keeping that old spirit of rebellion alive. We are still fighting for our independence from government every day and every year that we choose to live as free people. That is the glorious burden of freedom.

Freedom is not handed to us. It is not secured for us by politicians. Like the Founding Fathers, we are made free by our fight for freedom. Preserving their legacy cannot be meaningfully recreated through any means other than the committed struggle for the same ideals.

This Fourth of July, celebrate by continuing to be a rebel, question and challenge the left’s worship of government. And don’t stop on the Fifth or in July. Or in any year or any decade or any century.

We here at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and at Front Page Magazine don’t.

Our family of writers, activists and commentators, and that includes you, inspired by David’s courageous spirit continue to question authority, challenge government and fight for the independence of the individual against the tyrannies of the radical left and Islamic theocracy, every day, week and month of the year.

And we welcome you to our revolution.

Cartoon of the Day

July 4, 2016

Via Hope n’ Change

Boom Times - 4th of July 1