Friday, September 29, 2006

Ten-Minute Matisyahu Fabrengen

(Kippah tip: Failed Messiah)

What We Lacked: Yet Another 'Peace' Initiative

The International Crisis Group today launched a new global advocacy initiative designed to generate new political momentum for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Major funding support for the initiative — to cost around $400,000 in its first year — was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York.

“After the chaos of the last few months, there is a new sense of urgency about finding a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace”, said Crisis Group President Gareth Evans. “There is also broad international understanding of what is needed to ultimately resolve the conflict. But the spark has to be somehow lit, and a serious new process started”.

Crisis Group’s initiative will have five dimensions:

An international publicity campaign, in the first instance mobilising respected former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defence ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organisations around a statement of support for a comprehensive settlement, and a new process to achieve it — involving a possible international conference to kickstart negotiations, and the leadership role of the Quartet (U.S., EU, Russia, UN) being reinforced by greater participation from the Arab League and regional countries.

The statement now circulating, to be released in the first week of October, has already been signed by more than 80 such U.S. and global leaders, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Gro Harlem Bru ndtland, Joschka Fischer, Christopher Patten and Desmond Tutu.

A series of brainstorming sessions, bringing together officials and regional experts, to help inform the actions of the UN Secretary-General, his Middle East envoys, the other Quartet players and relevant regional countries. The first such meetings were held in New York on 1 and 13 September, and more will follow.

A high-level group of former U.S. Government officials will be convened to generate bipartisan support for the U.S. administration to engage fully in efforts to achieve a comprehensive resolution. The first round of consultations on this track took place in Washington DC on 18 September.

A Crisis Group task force of respected international figures will be established, after a detailed settlement strategy has emerged from these consultations, to visit key international capitals and build support.

Crisis Group will continue to produce a series of reports and briefings on the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as the domestic situations in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Syria, and the closely related situations in Iran and Iraq, to provide information, analysis and guidance to policy-makers.

Crisis Group’s initiative is designed to help fill the present policy vacuum, stem the slide toward greater instability, and provide a viable alternative to moderates in the region on both the Israeli and Arab sides.

“With prevailing moods in the region, and among the key international players, any move toward compromise will be extremely difficult”, said Crisis Group’s Middle East Program Director Robert Malley. “But the extreme fragility of the situation, and the renewed willingness of leading Arab countries to find a path to peace, offer a significant opportunity for new ideas to emerge and to be pushed forward”.

Contacts: Andrew Stroehlein (Brussels)
Kimberly Abbott (Washington)

You do remember Malley, right? The objective observer (cough, cough)?




And here.

Never Been To Umman?

Here is a set of 18 pictures from this year's event.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Guardian's Gaudy and Shoddy Journalism

Here's the latest Dershowitz piece:-

'The Guardian' at the crossroads
Alan Dershowitz

The Guardian, which used to be a liberal British newspaper, has become the full-fledged Pravda of the British hard Left, especially when it comes to its one-sided bashing of Israel. Like Pravda, it will not publish alternative points of view, even when the alternative point of view seeks to correct willful mis-statements of fact. It's gotten to the point where a reader simply cannot trust the credibility of the reporting.

Two recent incidents, in as many months, regarding total distortions of my own writing simply serve to illustrate a much larger problem. I have heard similar stories from others.

Most recently, The Guardian published an op-ed devoted to an article I had written. The writer turned virtually everything I had argued on its head. Before we get to the specifics, let's get to the Der Stuermer-like characterization of my appearance that became a centerpoint of the articles. The author of the article, Henry Porter, claimed that he saw me on television in 2001 "looking like Animal, the wildman drummer from The Muppet Show." What Porter did not know is that I have been clean-shaven with short hair for a decade, thus undermining Porter's claim that he actually saw me on TV. But I suppose I'll always be, to people like Porter, the stereotypical hairy, wild-eyed Jew.

Porter then writes that, although I say I am against torture, I really am all in favor of torture. Apparently, despite the hundreds of times that I've written and said publicly and clearly that I am against torture, Porter believes that he knows better - that he can read my mind or discern my views from my Animal-like face.

His third point was that "Dershowitz doesn't understand that [i]f governments are given powers, they will almost always find a way to abuse them." In fact, not only do I make this cautionary point, but it is a large part of my article. I write: It would also be relatively easy to combat terrorism if our government had earned more of our trust over the years. But most governments - even most liberal democracies - have tended to abuse extraordinary powers given to them during emergencies. And then I launch into a list of examples, with suggestions as to how to prevent them recurring.

Significantly, Porter manages to contradict himself in the span of less than half a page. First he takes me to task for setting up a straw argument against "liberal fundamentalists," when he insists that he "cannot think of one who believes that all rights are unqualified, that all freedoms are absolute." And then he concludes his rant by himself advocating the fundamentalist position that "[f]reedom is the thing which patrols and constrains government and that is why it is not amenable to compromise."

I WAS compelled to write a letter to the editor correcting the many inaccuracies and pointing out the inappropriate ad hominem attack on my appearance (or rather, the appearance that the author assumed I have). The Guardian refused to print my letter.

The first incident, which took place in June, occurred when the Guardian published a review of my most recent book, Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways. I should say from the start that it was not the negative tone or conclusion of the review that bothered me. I write, on average, a book every year, and I have been an outspoken Jew and criminal defense lawyer for decades. Therefore, having a thick skin is a prerequisite of everything I do. What amazed me about this article, though, was the fact that the reviewer simply lied about what was in my book. She made things up. She said the book was about something it wasn't about. She said I took positions when I explicitly wrote the opposite in my book.

Why would a book reviewer go to such great lengths to defame me and to falsify what I wrote? After all, I am a liberal Democrat and have spent my career as a law professor, author, and defense lawyer fighting for civil liberties and the rights of the accused. In fact, my book is precisely about how to take the lessons of liberal democracy marked by transparency and accountability and apply them in a world that increasingly relies on preventive and preemptive criminal justice procedures and international military interventions. One would think that these credentials and this topic would endear me to the Guardian.

But I am also, as I wrote above, an outspoken Jew and Zionist, and I wrote a section in my book about Israel. It was supportive of some, and critical of others of Israel's preemptive military actions. And it is just this sort of balanced assessment of Israel's behavior coupled with a refusal to demonize the Jewish state that sends Guardian writers into apoplectic fits. Liberalism and Zionism are not considered mutually exclusive in America. In fact, they are complementary. The prevailing view at the Guardian is to the contrary.

LETS LOOK at what the Guardian actually said. The reviewer of my book, a woman named Louise Christian who claims to be a lawyer but who demonstrates none of the requisite analytical skills of the profession, immediately seized upon my section on Israel and focused on it for the majority of her article.

She characterizes the book as "an attempt to justify the Iraq war and even the actions of the state of Israel" (which the author, a Harvard law professor, obsessively admires) [emphasis added].

First, notice the "even" before Israel, showing that the author assumes the actions of Israel to be particularly indefensible. Second, I do not try to justify Israel's actions. I analyze its actions, and I conclude that some of them were justified and beneficial, while others were wrongheaded and unnecessary.

Finally, had Christian read the book, she would know that I opposed the war in Iraq. She apparently assumed that because I support Israel's right to exist, I also supported America's war in Iraq. It's a telling assumption.

Not only does Christian mischaracterize the topics of my book and my positions. She goes right ahead and lies about what I say. For example, she writes, "In its concluding chapter the book goes so far as to suggest that theories of chromosomal abnormality should be pursued as predictive of violent crime to justify long-term detention."

In fact, I say just the opposite. Christian is referring to an appendix in which I reproduce an article I published in 1975. The whole thrust of the article is categorically against the use of the XYY chromosome to predict violence, since I demonstrate conclusively that the XYY karyotype is not predictive. Here is what I say: "Nor is it likely that the XYY karyotype, even in combination of other factors, could be used to predict violence. There is simply no hard evidence establishing that any combination of factors can accurately spot a large percentage of future violent criminals without also including an unsatisfactorily number and percentage of false positives."

How on Earth could Christian transform my strong opposition to using chromosomes as criminal predictors to support? She simply reversed my position. This cannot be a simple mistake. It is plainly a willful deception of her readers.

A MENDACIOUS review is one thing, but what's worse is that The Guardian refused to correct its mistake. When I wrote a letter to the editor refuting Christians's blatant lies, Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, responded that he could not publish my letter. The reason he gave was that my letter was too long. And so I responded that I would cut my letter to any length he asked. But The Guardian persisted in refusing to let me set the record straight.

It would be unthinkable for an American or Israeli newspaper to publish a full-blown attack on an individual without at least extending the right to reply in the letters page. The Guardian did precisely that to me, and twice in a single summer.

Perspective is one thing, but there's something very wrong with any paper that would publish and then stand behind factual inaccuracies in the service of a political agenda. That sort of cavalier attitude toward the truth is more fitting of a Stalinist newspaper than of Britain's liberal newspaper of note. It's discouraging to see such a prominent and previously honorable publication abandon its standards so readily.

I challenge The Guardian to defend or even explain its journalistic decision to stand by the demonstrable falsehoods and defamations of its writers.

Good Reading

The publication of a new issue of NATIV ONLINE – in English, is announced.

You are welcome to visit the ACPR website, and read the latest issue (No. 9) of NATIV ONLINE.

This issue contains articles by Moshe Sharon, David Bukay, Arieh Eldad, Raphael Israeli, Paul Eidelberg and more…

Go here.

Is This Fence Kosher?

Yikes! Another fence:-

"Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with plans to build a fence to block terrorists from crossing its 560-mile border with Iraq -- another sign of growing alarm that Sunni-Shiite strife could spill over and drag Iraq's neighbors into its civil conflict.

The barrier, which hasn't been started, is part of a $12 billion package of measures including electronic sensors, security bases and physical barriers..."

(Kippah tip: IJM)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The section above appears on page 7 (ז) of a new book on Kabbalah for beginners and initiates entitled Petach Sha'ar Shamayim/Binyan Ari'al composed by Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hillel of the Jerusalem Yeshiva Ahavat Shalom (it's located just behind and below Lichtenstein's Bookstore up above Kikar Shabbat).

The Yeshiva's publishing house is called Yad Samuel Franco (here's another book and another they published so you can see their imprint and that they really exist).

Anyway, getting back to the scanned Hebrew text. Among other things, it reads, in part,

"And behold, opposed to them [those within the last 150 years immigrated to Israel who desired a holy life of Torah] arose the gang of Zionists, and mixed up and fuzzied up all areas of activity, until they established for themselves a state of hell to fulfill thereby [the verse] 'and the House of Israel shall be as all the Nations'"

The Hebrew word used for hell is gehenna.

I think that's a shame to write such things. I wonder if the book's sponsor, one Eliyahu ben Esther and his wife, Varda bat Suzy, are aware that their money is being spent this way.

Why Don't You Comment?

Go over the Jameel at the Muqata at this post and read the verbal contretemps between me and someone who refers to himself as "Truth".

You can join in too.

Something Totally Different: Cavier Prices

BROWNE TRADING COMPANY Portland, Me., (207) 775-7560 or (800) 944-7848; Tsar Nicoulai, $76 for 28 grams; German, $64 for 20 grams; Italian, $71 for 28 grams; and Bulgarian, $102 for 20 grams.

CAVIAR RUSSE 538 Madison Avenue (54th Street), (212) 980-5908 or (800) 692-2842; French, German and Italian, $55 to $75 for 28 grams.

FAIRWAY Four locations around New York City, Sterling and Italian, $49 an ounce.

PARAMOUNT CAVIAR 38-15 24th Street, Long Island City, Queens; (718) 786-7747 or (800) 992-2842; French and Italian, $62.50 an ounce; Bulgarian, $80 an ounce.

PETROSSIAN 911 Seventh Avenue (58th Street); (212) 245-2217 or (800) 828-9241; Sterling, $63 to $133 for 30 grams; Bulgarian, $214 to $233 for 30 grams.

RUSS & DAUGHTERS 179 East Houston Street (Allen Street); (212) 475-4880 or (800) 787-7229; Sterling and Tsar Nicoulai, $109 for 50 grams; Uruguayan, $125 for 50 grams.

STERLING CAVIAR (800) 525-0333; Sterling, $63 to $80 for 30 grams.

ZABAR’S 2245 Broadway (80th Street); (212) 787-2000 or (800) 697-6301 (outside New York City); Sterling, $90 for 50 grams; Italian, $90 for 50 grams; German, $95 to $125 for 50 grams.

Source: NYT


Is caviar kosher?

No, caviar is not kosher.

Real caviar is the roe (eggs) of the sturgeon fish, which has no scales.

There is kosher "caviar" made from salmon roe. (and see here and here)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Political Humor

The advert below appeared in Haaretz on Monday.

You need to understand that the traditionl greeting during the week after Rosh Hashana in Hebrew is "G'mar Chatima Tovah" which means may you merit a laudable sealing in that the imagery at this time is that G-d seals man's fate and it would be best to be sealed in the book of life in a favorable fashion.

However, the Hebrew word, Chakira, which rhymes with Chatima, means investigation.

The advert signed by Hoss and Samuel is addressed to the President of Israel, its Prime Minister, the Government, the Knesset, the Police and the IDF and wishes them a good investigation.

Robust [follow up]

Follow up on this previous post of mine.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon yesterday to act on what she termed “a very robust” mandate approved by the United Nations that grants international troops authority to challenge anyone who attempts to block their mission, and to use force if necessary.

“The language says that anything and anyone who keeps them from fulfilling their responsibilities is to be challenged on that, and they even have the right to use force if they need to,” Ms. Rice said. “That mandate was written in a very robust fashion.”

She acknowledged, however, that “it’s always a matter of how it’s interpreted.”


Condi, less bust, as in
bust2  /bʌst/
–verb (used without object) 1. Informal. a. to burst.
b. to go bankrupt.
c. to collapse from the strain of making a supreme effort

and more ro - as in rough 'em up.

Dear Ilan Pappe

I know this is long but I just had to reprint it in its entirety.

To: Ilan Pappe (background in Hebrew) (in English see this, this and this)


The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem has informed me that you are committing slander against the holy state of Israel and its holy Jewish people and are engaged in other reactionary activities violating the terms of your Israeli citizenship.

A review by our investigations unit of the evidence submitted in your dossier clearly reveals that the views and opinions you are expressing in your writings, published by the enemies of Israel, are perverted and obscene. We have also taken note that you have prostituted yourself for many years as a stooge of the Arab terrorists, engaging in anti-Israel tirades for the sole purpose of demonizing the only Jewish state in the world so that it should be destroyed, Heaven forefend!

I want you to realize that your damaging behavior is unforgivable. Israel is a micro-state surrounded by 21 Arab countries dominated by a jihadist, imperialist culture. Along with the Palestinian Authority, these Arab regimes daily incite their oppressed populations to support their quest for the politicide of Israel. They have now been joined by the Persian Shi'ites of Iran and the Hezbollah Shi'ites of Lebanon in this goal.

Your active support of these Hitlerites is a result of your absorption of the nefarious neo-comm ideology which has hypnotized the bourgeois intellectual classes into supporting the Islamist fundamentalists in the Holy Land and their terrorist masters in Damascus and Tehran. This is utterly repulsive.

We have also found that you do not demonstrate any originality in your ludicrous assertions that the Arabs of the Land of Israel, who have conducted pogroms of extermination for three centuries against the indigenous Jews of the Holy Land, are victims rather than aggressors. You merely parrot the propaganda myths invented by the Arab League and recycled by the Palestinian Arab war criminals in Ramallah and Gaza.

Everyone knows that the homeland of the Arabs of Palestine is Arabia. In 638, they stole by force the Holy Land from the aboriginal Jews living there. In quick order, they installed the worst apartheid regime the world has ever known against Jews and Christians. Untold thousands of Jews were massacred in Safed, Tiberias, Hebron and Jerusalem over the centuries by these barbarians. Even Karl Marx reported on these events in the 1850s. The Turkish and Syrian archives are overflowing with details of these genocidal massacres committed by the fellaheen Arabs of Palestine.

Furthermore, the remaining Jewish survivors, especially in Nablus, Gaza and Tulkarem became the objects of a wholesale ethnic cleansing campaign until the Western Powers intervened on their behalf. Finally, in collusion with the British imperialists during World War I, the Arabs were allowed to steal 78 per cent of the Holy Land and rename it Jordan, leaving the Jews with 22 per cent. In their war of aggression in 1947-8, the Arabs sought 100 per cent of the Holy Land but were repulsed. However, their goal to this day remains 100 per cent.

In addition, the brutal Arabs of the Holy Land convinced their brethren in the nearly two dozen other Arab countries to massacre and ethnically cleanse their lands of Jewish inhabitants who lived there before the Arabs ever came on the scene -- nearly a million Jews were cruelly tortured and expelled from their homes. These refugees were never compensated and the right of return was denied to them. In light of the above, it is therefore concluded that the "facts" you adduce in your writings and presentations to justify the atrocities committed against the Jews of Israel are patently fictitious and malicious fabrications. You have also disgraced yourself in your distorted analysis of Israel's defensive war in Lebanon. You write that the Hezbollah Shi'ite imperialist aggressors are welcomed as a legitimate resistance movement by all Lebanese. Everyone knows that this stance is for consumption by the naive Western news media. Christian Lebanese are already preparing to bring Hezbollah terrorists to account for destroying their country. The Cedar Revolution ousted the Syrian occupiers who for 30 years imposed their jackboots on Free Lebanon and on Beirut, the Paris of the Levant, and it will do the same to the Hezbollah Shi'ites.

Who can forget their rampaging slaughter during the Lebanese civil war when they eviscerated Arab Christians and Druze, mutilated their bodies and

stuffed their testicles and breasts in their mouths? Thousands of Christian Arab corpses are buried in Tal al-Zatar in this foul condition.

The Palestine Arabs did the same to the defenceless Jewish Holocaust survivors in Israel during 1947-8, as Uri Avnery has so well documented.

Your denial of the genocidal intentions and covenants of the power-drunk Hamas fundamentalists and their PA henchmen is futile. The world can read the blood-soaked goals of these monsters in their published documents, which seek to slaughter every man, woman and child in Israel that has a Jewish name. There already is a Palestinian state in Jordan, where the majority of the population is Palestinian. The greedy, pathological Arabs in Gaza and Judea/Samaria are now pursuing a land grab for Israel itself.

Truly progressive forces the world over understand that the Palestinian Arabs are a key component of Islamic imperialism, which today is waging a global war to reconquer and recolonize the world it once occupied by the sword.

After Auschwitz and the numerous other concentration camps, no person on this earth is permitted to calumniate the holy Jewish people and their land with impunity. The holy Jewish people will never again be martyred by bestial fanatics wherever they may reside or whatever title they carry or whatever gender they proclaim.

Persons like you that willingly serve as running dogs for Arab terrorism cannot escape responsibility for such Hitlerite collaboration in today's world. Certainly, there is no denying the culpability of the Palestinian Arab masses in supporting the genocide of 200,000 African Blacks in Darfur, Sudan, controlled by like-minded Islamic Arab butchers.

On the basis of the above evidence, it is my solemn duty to inform you that our ecclesiastical court has issued an verdict inscribing you as a SLANDERER OF ZION and an ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.

This means that our disciples are hereby empowered to facilitate your removal from your place of employment, to arrange for your exit from the Holy Land, and to have the European and American authorities declare you persona non grata. Your family, friends and colleagues will be notified of this indictment and paid advertisements will appear in the American, European and Middle East print media to this effect. A boycott of your publications will be undertaken in cooperation with library networks and sanctions will be imposed on all the publishing houses which currently, and in the future, disseminate your writings. Failure to abide by our ruling will lead to a shareholder divestment campaign against these publishers.

This sentence is a Category One certification, indicating the utmost severity of your actions. It is accompanied by the Old Testament verse found in Genesis 12:3 in which the Lord says of the Jews:

"I will bless those who bless you I will curse those that curse you All the nations of the world Shall be blessed through you.

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Son of Mary, have mercy upon you."

You may wish to exercise your right to have this decree set aside. In such case, you are invited to submit an affidavit renouncing your calumnies against the holy Jewish state, circulating a statement of support for the victory of the holy Jewish people in the Holy Land against their enemies to all your affiliated organizations and publications, whether online or offline, and paying our court costs of $US 1675.

* His Eminence The Very Rev. Charles J.Edgbaston, D.D., Ph.D. Chair, Christians for Moses Inc. and Rector, Zion College of Canada Penticton,


* Author:

Christians and Jews Under Apartheid Policies in Arab Palestine The Arab Usurpation of the Holy Land Three Centuries of Arab Pogroms against Jews in Palestine Mufti: The Nazi Collaboration of the Palestine Arabs (forthcoming)

Of Course Israel Bests Islam

How do I know?

I found this item (here):-

Kismayo, one of the largest cities in Somalia, fell to Islamic forces without a shot on Monday — but then the trouble started.

After the city’s warlords fled and hundreds of Islamist fighters poured in, demonstrators took to the streets and hurled stones at the Islamists.

Islamist troops responded with machine guns, opening fire on the demonstrators and killing at least one teenage boy, witnesses said.

Now, would we shoot with machine guns?

Pre-Yom Kippur Smile

One minute and 50 seconds. Enjoy.

and if you want another, longer clip, even funnier, try this.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Amos Elon: Dumb and Dumber

Amos Elon, expatriate Israeli living the life of Riley in Tuscanny, had an article in the New York Review of Books that required a bit of fine-tuning.

Here's the letter:

By Eve Fleisher, Reply by Amos Elon
In response to What Does Olmert Want? (June 22, 2006)

To the Editors:

In reference to the article "What Does Olmert Want?" [NYR, June 22], the head of the Israel Beitenu party is not Victor Liebermann—his name is Avigdor Lieberman—and the Hezbollah is not a Palestinian organization; it is based in Lebanon.

Eve Fleisher

But Elon is too stuck-up and full of himself. He erred? Never.

So here's his reply:-

As far as I know, Lieberman is known under both names, Avigdor being Hebrew for Victor. Hezbollah may be based in Lebanon but its bombs kill Israelis in Israel.

Well, as far as I know, Lieberman was not and is not known as Victor but his nickname is Ivette (the "I" prounounced, as in Russian, as "ee").

And as for that Pal. bit., that's BS.

a) If a Brit kills Israelis, as in Mike's Place in Tel Aviv, is he Pal.?
b) Just because bombs kill Israelis, it does not have anything to do with "Palestinian" unless, of course, Israelis are Pals. according to Elon (which very well might be his esteemed opinion).

What a peacock (emphasis on last syllable).

P.S. I looked again at Elon's June 22 article and found this sentence there:-

Olmert plans to evacuate within two or three years some 70,000 settlers from the more remote or isolated settlements, leaving the rest— more than 400,000 settlers—where they are.

As far as I know, in order for there to be 400,000 revenants residing in "settlements", the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods would have to be included. Now, I have always argued that Jews and others who seek to identify with the Arab claim that "settlements" are illegal and must be evacuated, should understand that this includes Ramat Eshkol, the Mt. Scopus campus of Hebrew University, Giloh, etc., etc.

I understand, then, that Elon is a complete concessionist.

Is that why he resides in Italy?

Goldberg Reveals

Jeffrey Goldberg has done reporting for The New Yorker. His first book, "Prisoners", tells of his stint as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. In the recent issue of the magazine, he talks to Blake Eskin about reporting from the Middle East and the power of honest dialogue.

I have been interviewed by him and left out of the pieces he was doing. Either I was a poor subject or, hopefully, too good of one as his ideological position, I think, gets in the way of his reporting.

How did those four months at Ketziot [prison] change you?

On an intellectual level, it was fascinating, but I have to say that, on an ideological level, it was very troubling. I thought that the Israeli response to the first uprising was idiotic. Since I’d grown up in a left-wing Zionist-socialist movement that saw the inevitability and the morality of the creation of a Palestinian state, I thought that it was ridiculous to put these people in prison for demanding what I would have demanded for my own people. I thought that Israeli society had gone off track in some significant way, and Ketziot was the epitome of that problem.

Let me not cast it as an entirely negative experience. It was hopelessly exotic for me. I mean, I’m from the South Shore of Long Island, and then all of a sudden I’m in the Negev Desert, by the Egyptian border, as a prison guard in what’s probably the largest prison in the Middle East, guarding the future leaders of Palestine. It was pretty exciting. Also, it made me insatiably curious about Islam and Islamism and the essential divide in Palestinian society between the secular nationalists and the Islamists. In the fifteen years that followed, until now, it’s been my main preoccupation, this universe of issues—Islam and Judaism and Zionism and Israel’s role in the world and terrorism. I think I got jump-started there.

Did you keep a diary at Ketziot?

I secretly kept notes. You weren’t allowed to write things down. I’m a note-taker, anyway—I take notes on more banal events in my life, too. But this was important to record, I felt, because it was, in a way, ephemeral. Even then, I had an extremely strong feeling that the people I was guarding would one day be the leaders of Palestine. This was 1990, 1991—the Gulf War. There was no communication at all between Israelis and the Palestinians. Probably the only place in the world where we were talking, in any kind of way, was at this prison camp.

You’ve exposed yourself here—not only your service in the Israeli Army but your intellectual and ideological development—the thinking that led you to Israel as a young man. How do you think this is going to affect you as a reporter?

I don’t think truthfulness about who you are and what you’ve done and where you come from can hurt. I mean, it can hurt in some specific ways—there may be some people in the Muslim world who will read this and decide, I can’t talk to the guy. I doubt it, to tell you the truth, because my experience in a dozen different countries in the Middle East is that my Jewishness is an advantage, not a disadvantage, because even for the most hard-core Islamists there’s an attraction-repulsion dynamic that takes hold. They think about Jews all the time. So when one shows up on the doorstep it’s actually sort of fascinating to them.

I do believe—my most naïve side believes—that stories like the stories in this book will help people understand the Middle East and its seemingly impossible problems. I’m not Pollyannaish; I’m not one of these people who believe that you can just take a bunch of Israeli teen-agers and a bunch of Palestinian teen-agers to a retreat somewhere in Sweden or the Catskills and make peace. That, I’ve learned, requires a kind of brutal honesty with each other about the differences. Look, it took Rafiq and me fifteen years to get to the point where we could acknowledge to each other—and I really feel this—I hope for his continued safety and happiness. I think he hopes for my continued safety and happiness. As individuals. And he says—and he’s not a journalist, he’s a statistician; he’s a by-the-numbers guy in many ways—he says, “If this could be done between a million different people, then the situation would be a lot different.” That’s why I think that you can’t underestimate the power of honest dialogue. Honest dialogue means not conceding your position before you begin, or not avoiding a subject like Jerusalem, say, because it’s too hot.

It’s sort of the opposite of the diplomatic approach.

It’s the undiplomatic approach. There’s a word in Arabic, dughreh—straight. Just be straight. I can’t say that Rafiq and I have always been straight with each other. I’m sure he trims, I trim. That straightness also, by the way, goes to the question of journalism and the way the Middle East is covered. Don’t flinch from the raw reality of a place. And Gaza—I’ve been optimistic; now I’ll be pessimistic—is a place where a large number of fathers and mothers are willing to sacrifice their children, to turn them into suicide bombers, in order to achieve something that the Palestinians have failed completely to achieve in the past fifteen years. That’s bad. In the book, I deal with Ketziot as an unpleasant reality, as what Israel shouldn’t have been but became. So you have to just look things in the face. The problem with the Oslo process was it kept pushing off issues. Palestinians didn’t know where it was going; Israelis didn’t know where it was going. Then, when the issue was forced at Camp David, it fell apart because too much had been left unsaid until that moment.

Your last piece for The New Yorker took you back to Gaza. Written in the wake of the fighting in Lebanon, it was called “The Forgotten War.” Where do you think things are headed?

It’s been said that the antidote for Islamism is Islamism. I think the Palestinians are beginning to see some of the pitfalls of electing an Islamist government. Again, this goes back to my low threshold for optimism: I came out of Gaza in this last piece feeling better about the situation than I did going in, because, partly through some of the people I knew from the prison, I still found plenty of people there who are thinking about a two-state solution and, more to the point, do not want to see their sons become suicide bombers. I really felt that I could see a seed, or at least a hint, of a future that was not as bleak as the present, simply because many people there are less concerned with getting to Heaven immediately than with building some sort of life for themselves on the ground. It doesn’t mean that when this group of Palestinians sits down with whatever group of Israelis is in charge that the talks aren’t going to fall apart on any number of issues. But the story of Gaza now is not the story of the triumph of Islamism. It’s still the story of a people struggling to figure out who they are and how much they can compromise with their enemy.

Catholic Driving Through a Muslim Neighborhood

Post-Pope Benedict Period

Letter in National Post, Canada

I have a letter in Canada's National Post (but I cannot retrieve the link at present as I am not a registered user. Hopefully, someone will send it soon). Exactly what day, I am not sure but here's the text I sent:-


Gershom Gorenberg's article, "Chronicle of a quagmire" (Sept. 21), is less than comprehensive and therefore is prejudicially misleading on the issue of Jewish residency in areas, which since 1967, have been administered by Israel.

The true starting point must be the international legality awarded to the right of Jews to live in their patrimony by the Supreme Council of the League of Nations in 1922 following the decision of the San Remo Conference of April 24, 1920 . The Mandate charged Great Britain, as part of the recognition given to the "historical connexion of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country", to facilitate Jewish immigration...(and)... encourage...close settlement by Jews on the land (Article 6). Moreover, no Palestine territory "shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power" (Article 5). I have full rights to reside in my home in Shiloh.

After undergoing partition, which the Arabs rejected and after becoming victorious in several wars of agression designed to eradicate the country and its population, there is nothing wrong or evil in the building of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Jewish willingness, mistaken in my opinion, to concede land for peace, is ineffective and only increases Arab terror. Gorenberg's complaint is a result of his skewed ideological and political position, not a tennable legal proposition.

Here's the actual published text:

Mr. Gorenberg's column is prejudicially misleading on the issue of Jewish residency in areas which since 1967 have been administered by Israel.

The true starting point must be the international legality awarded to the right of Jews to live in their patrimony by the Supreme Council of the League of Nations in 1922, following the decision of the San Remo Conference of April 24, 1920. The Mandate charged Great Britain, as part of the recognition given to the "historical connexion of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country," to facilitate Jewish immigration and encourage "close settlement by Jews on the land" (Article 6). Moreover, no Palestine territory "shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power"(Article 5). I have full rights to reside in my home in the Israeli settlement of Shiloh.

After undergoing partition, which the Arabs rejected, and after becoming victorious in several wars of aggression designed to eradicate the country and its population, there is nothing wrong or evil in the building of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Jewish willingness, mistaken in my opinion, to concede land for peace, is ineffective and only increases Arab terror. Gorenberg's complaint is a result of his skewed ideological and political position, not a tenable legal proposition.

Yisrael Medad, Shiloh, Samaria, Israel.

If you want Gorenberg's article, drop me a line:



Okay, here's the link. Please note that you need to register with the National Post in order to access certain on-line items, this being one of them.)

And here's another letter there:

It is a tour de force to discuss the origins of the "settlements," the "West Bank" and the "Green Line" without mentioning the core legal document that addressed these issues. Following the San Remo Conference, the Mandate for Palestine was adopted in 1922 by a majority vote at the League of Nations. The Mandate made the status of Palestine, west of the Jordan River, quite clear by recognizing "the historical connexion of the Jewish people with Palestine and ... the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country," and by encouraging "close settlement by Jews, on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." The provisions of the Mandate have never been abrogated.

Former Israeli PM Levi Eshkol was misguided by the ill-conceived legal opinions of Shapira and Meron who pronounced all settlements illegal and advocated a return of the "West Bank" to the Arabs. But 40 years later, Mr. Gorenberg's omission of the Mandate -- the fundamental Middle East document of international law -- is simply unforgivable.

Salomon Benzimra, Toronto.

Bonging Tonge

Not a bad letter about some idiot posing as a Liberal Democrat and a Baroness the one who, when speaking to a pro-Palestinian lobby, said of Palestinian suicide bombers: "If I had to live in that situation - and I say that advisedly - I might just consider becoming one myself."

Offensive words

Sir, We condemn the comments made by Baroness Tonge in a meeting at the Liberal Democrat Party conference on Wednesday.

Baroness Tonge evoked a classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theory when she said: “The pro-Israel lobby has got its grips on the Western world, its financial grips. I think they have probably got a certain grip on our party.” In addition, she repeated her past comments of sympathy for suicide bombers living in the Palestinian territories.

Two weeks ago the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism reported a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents and discourse in the UK. Baroness Tonge’s remarks demonstrate the reasoning behind the report’s concerns about the creeping acceptance of anti-Jewish prejudice within mainstream politics and media. The report warned that anti-Israel discourse evolves all too quickly into anti-Semitic rhetoric. We believe that the language deployed by Baroness Tonge, as a member of the House of Lords, was irresponsible and inappropriate.

Everyone has the right to disagree with all or some of the policies of the Israeli Government, as do some of the signatories of this letter. That should be a mature debate, in considered, robust and responsible political language. It should not be done by purveying myths, or by deploying offensive language.


(Kippah tip: Harry's Place)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Comics: The Jewish Angle

Trying not to overreach, Rabbi Weinstein cut out a passage that likened Batman’s bat cave to the Machpelah, the so-called Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where the Bible says Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried.


From what was the passage above cut out?


Religion and Comic Books: Where Did Superman’s Theology Come From?


...Rabbi Weinstein’s study of the classic superhero comics, infuses a new book, “Up, Up and Oy Vey!” The volume, which has nearly sold out its first run of 5,000 copies, contends that writer-artists of the classic comics, many of them Jewish, were influenced by their religious heritage in devising characters and plots.

“I feel queasy when I read people who use pop culture to try to proselytize,” said Rabbi Weinstein, a member of the Lubavitcher Hasidic sect who is the campus rabbi at Pratt Institute. “And I didn’t want to enforce my own fantasy.

“But I knew the writers were Jewish. That’s a historical fact. And when I bought all the comics, and gave them my rabbi’s reading, I saw something there. Judaism is filled with superheroes and villains — Samson, Pharaoh. And it’s a religion rich in storytelling and in themes of being moral, ethical, spiritual.”

That thesis made sense to another expert in the field, the author David Hajdu. “Many of the important early comic-book creators were barely adults when they started working,” said Mr. Hajdu, whose coming book, “The Ten-Cent Plague,” explores the comics craze of the postwar years. “Nor were they worldly, nor very well read or educated. They drew, literally, from what they knew. That is, the culture of their homes and their neighborhoods, which were mostly Jewish.”

“Up, Up and Oy Vey!” arrives as the classic comics are being treated far more seriously than anyone might have imagined in their heyday. A major exhibition on comics is on display at the Newark Museum in New Jersey and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. The reconsideration began in the late 70’s, when Will Eisner, creator of “The Spirit,” put the form to literary purposes in a memoir of his childhood in a Jewish immigrant household in the Bronx, “A Contract With God.”

...“This book came out of midnight conversations over wine and chicken soup around the Shabbos table,” said Rabbi Weinstein, 30.

In his research, the rabbi delved into the biographies of comic-book greats...Along with those examples of Judaic influence, “Up, Up, and Oy Vey!” offers instances like the name of Superman’s father, Jor-El, with “el” being the suffix to many biblical names and the common use of masks and false identities, akin to the heroine Esther in the Purim story, who goes by an alias in Persian society.

The NYT Shocked Me

I found this cogent sentence here in a story on the Shabba Farms area and who owns it:-

Of course, there is no guarantee that Hezbollah will disarm if the Shabaa Farms area is transferred to Lebanon.

So succinct, so pithy , so true.

So elementary and obvious about Arab political designs.

What has happened to the New York Times?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Does This Intimidate You?

I met Abdelaziz Eljaouhari, the son of Berber Moroccan immigrants and an eloquent Muslim political activist. He talked with fluent passion, in perfect French, about the misery of the impoverished housing projects around Paris—which, as we spoke, were again wracked by protests—and the chronic social discrimination against immigrants and their descendants. France's so-called "Republican model," he said furiously, means in practice "I speak French, am called Jean-Daniel, and have blue eyes and blond hair." If you are called Abdelaziz, have a darker skin, and are Muslim to boot, the French Republic does not practice what it preaches. "What égalité is there for us?" he asked. "What liberté? What fraternité?" And then he delivered his personal message to Nicolas Sarkozy, the hard-line interior minister and leading right-wing candidate to succeed Jacques Chirac as French president, in words that I will never forget. "Moi," said Abdelaziz Eljaouhari, in a ringing voice, "Moi, je suis la France!"

And, he might have added, l'Europe.

Earlier this year, I visited the famous cathedral of Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris. I admired the magnificent tombs and funerary monuments of the kings and queens of France, including that of Charles Martel ("the hammer"), whose victory over the invading Muslim armies near Poitiers in 732 AD is traditionally held to have halted the Islamization of Europe.[1] Stepping out of the cathedral, I walked a hundred yards across the Place Victor Hugo to the main commercial street, which was thronged with local shoppers of Arab and African origin, including many women wearing the hijab. I caught myself thinking: So the Muslims have won the Battle of Poitiers after all! Won it not by force of arms, but by peaceful immigration and fertility.

Read it all.

Purim? In a Film?

"For Your Consideration" is a film that centers on three actors who learn that their respective performances in the film Home for Purim, a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, is generating award-season buzz.


More plot?

Try this:-

The film focuses on the cast and crew of a small film called "Home for Purim", about a dying Mother and the rest of her family as they come home for the Jewish Holiday Purim. Starring in the film-within-a-film is Maralyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara, in top form), a struggling actress. Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Moynihan. Half-way through production, Hack receives word of an internet rumour that her performance could earn her an Academy Award. Posey and Shearers' characters also get word that they too could be walking down the red carpet. The film follows the cast and crew as they make their way towards awards season, and shows us their highs and lows.

I just learned that plot outlines are really hard to do. Anyways, as for FYC; it's great. The funniest film I've seen all year (inches by Little Miss Sunshine). Guest truly is gifted when it comes to the comedy genre, and now he can put this on his resume as well.

One thing that is noticably different here than from Guests' previous works is the fact that he doesn't use a Mochumentary format. I was initially worried about this, but it all turns out fine. Those who *really* loved the "interviews" with the characters of the past films need not worry; the cast is interviewed in this movie as well, only we see the interviewers. FYC really pleases the crowd in that at the beginning of the movie you chuckle, but by the end it has you in stitches. The theatre I saw it with loved every minute of it; there were uproars of laughter even we first saw certain characters. No actual jokes were needed.

You can tell that Guest and the cast really have a ball doing this movie. They playfully rib Hollywood and everything associated with it, including two "Ebert and Roeper"-style critics, trashy entertainment tv shows, and more.

O'Hara steals the show as the washed-up Maralyn Hack. She steals every scene she's in for the last third of the movie, but to give away any of it would be giving away one of the funniest things on film this year. Posey and Shearer are also very good, with Posey going from bizzare-comic actress in the first half to relatable in the second. She, along with much of the rest of the cast, is criminally underrated. Jennifer Coolidge is without a doubt one of the funniest women working. She can speak one word in a film and it would leave the audience in stitches, and it's no exception here.

Playing the Heiress-turned-Producer of "Home for Purim", Coolidge is given a lot more to do here compared to the little time she had in A Mighty Wind. Eugene Levy and John Michael Higgins are both equally hilarious, but the two who had everybody laughing all the time are Fred Willard and Jane Lynch, both playing hosts of a trashy Entertainment show. From Willards' bleached fauxhawk to Lynchs' almost-scary robotic movements, these two chewed up the scenery and had the audience loving them.

or this one:-

The outrageously hilarious "For Your Consideration" was well worth the wait. Again delivered with comic precision by Guest's crack repertory company, his patented brand of parody -- call it gentle skewering -- takes affectionate but deadly aim at its awards buzz mania target and the results aren't just funny, they're face-hurting funny.

Look for boxoffice results that could well top the $16 million-$17 million taken by "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind," especially if -- dare we say it? -- the picture should itself generate some of that nasty awards season buzz.

Certainly a major candidate would have to be the ever-brilliant Catherine O'Hara as Marilyn Hack, a perennially struggling actress who takes a role playing a dying Southern Jewish matriarch in the period indie melodrama, "Home for Purim."

Cast as the Pischer family patriarch is Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), best known for his commercial appearances as a giant wiener, but now looking to hit the big time with lines like, "It's a dang mitzvah!"

Rounding out the family in this first feature by sitcom veteran Jay Berman (Guest with an Albert Einstein 'do), is the contrary daughter, played by Callie Webb (Parker Posey), a former stand-up comic whose widely panned one-woman show, "No Penis Intended," was dubbed "an unfunny romp" by one unamused critic; while the part of her enlisted brother is filled by Brian Chubb (Christopher Moynihan), who happens to be her real-life boyfriend.

But it looks like it is Marilyn's ship that is finally about to come in when an Internet rumor touts her performance as bona fide Academy Awards material and, in no time flat, that contagious Oscar fever becomes the talk of the town.

"Home for Purim" is suddenly on everybody's lips, including those of Chuck Porter (Fred Willard in an orange faux-hawk) and Cindy Martin (Jane Lynch), the unctuous hosts of "Entertainment Now."

All that attention is causing Sunfish Classics president Martin Gibb (Guest newbie Ricky Gervais) to consider making a few not-so-subtle changes that would make the picture more commercial, much to the chagrin of screenwriters Lane Iverson (Michael McKean) and Philip Koontz (Bob Balaban).

By now, with most of the cast having worked together on Guest's three previous films, one only needs to see them pop onscreen to start laughing, and that's especially true of Willard as well as Jennifer Coolidge as Whitney Taylor Brown, the film's producer and family diaper service heiress whose over-the-top wardrobe looks like it was raided from MGM's old costume department.

Forgoing their usual behind-the-scenes, mockumentary format Guest and Levy (who plays Shearer's shallow agent) have opted for a straight-ahead narrative this time around, which manages to make room for an expanded cast of real characters.

They're all terrific, but at the end of the day this is O'Hara's show all the way. Watching her navigate her freshly plumped-up lips around her extreme makeover just before the arrival of nominations day, is alone worth the price of admission.

and for balance:-

Though she's endured the business for more than three decades, actress Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) still isn't recognized when she drives up to the front gates of the studio. She's there starring as a dying Southern matriarch in a low-budget drama called "Home for Purim" opposite Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), who sees the role as a chance to escape his typecasting as Irv the Footlong Weiner in tube spots.

The crew of "Home for Purim" and the industry hangers-on are about par for the Tinseltown course: insecure, suspicious tonsorial train wrecks with laughably trendy wardrobes. There's the relentlessly cheery makeup guy (Ed Begley Jr.); Miller's distracted agent (Levy); a non-sequitur-spouting publicist (John Michael Higgins); the bland, middle-aged helmer (Guest); the EPK producer (Carrie Aizley); a breathtakingly dim producer (Jennifer Coolidge); and the mismatched screenwriting duo (Bob Balaban, Michael McKean).

One day on the set, Brit d.p. (Jim Piddock) lets slip to Marilyn that an Internet site has speculated her perf may be worthy of that little gold statue. She soon tells Miller, as well as co-stars (Parker Posey, Christopher Moynihan, Rachael Harris), the last a humorless Method type.

Soon the rumor has leaked to a series of contempo entertainment programs, caricatured with spot-on precision. Chief among them is "Entertainment Now," co-hosted by terminally perky and sharp-tongued duo (Jane Lynch and Fred Willard, here sporting a fluffy blond Mohawk).

The media buzz, in turn, attracts the attention of smarmy Sunfish Classics prez Martin Gibb (Ricky Gervais) and his jumpy assistant (Larry Miller), whose boutique distrib is interested in acquiring the film -- with maybe just a few script changes. Renamed "Home for Thanksgiving," pic gets raves from a pair of bickering tube crix (Don Lake, Michael Hitchcock). Can the coveted noms be far behind?

Of course, "Home for Purim" is terrible -- and nobody really seems to care, or even notice. As with the small-town theater company in "Guffman," even the hint of validation is enough to spur on these oddballs.

Entire company is in top form. Rep company newcomer Gervais has a priceless few moments discussing restaurants with Coolidge, while Shearer's character sums up the pic's main theme: "Oscar is the backbone of this industry, an industry not known for backbone."

Little-known thesps Deborah Theaker and Scott Williamson, who between them have been in almost all of Guest's directorial efforts, are given incrementally larger roles here as Marilyn's pal and a morning talkshow host, respectively.

If there's a whisper of disappointment, it's in the promise of O'Hara's touchingly conflicted Marilyn. The role feels underwritten -- particularly as O'Hara cedes face time to a huge supporting cast that includes various thesps doing one-off-cameos as themselves.


There have been weirder items.

Today's Second Double Entendre

(Of course if you are reading this from the top down, this second entry seems to you to be chronologically first but, hey, that's blogging for you)

Madonna provides the new (sort of) double entendre, or at least, a funny way of phrasing:

Pop singer Madonna on Thursday defended staging a mock crucifixion during her record-breaking "Confessions" world tour, saying it was not "anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous" -- but a plea for people to help one another.

Several religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, have complained that the scene was insulting and NBC television is trying to decide whether to include it in a special to air in November.

Madonna, in a statement made as the "Confessions Tour" ended in Japan on Thursday, said: "There seems to be many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross and I wanted to explain it myself once and for all.

"It is no different than a person wearing a cross or 'taking up the cross' as it says in the Bible. My performance is neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole."

And then she added,

"I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing

He would? Really?

Pals. Still Having Geography Problems

Can you find the two errors in these remarks of President George W. Bush?

President George W. Bush today told Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, "Welcome to Washington, D.C.," although the two were at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Bush made the error during the meeting with Abbas, whom he described as "a man of peace."

And what did Abbas reply?

I mentioned to the president that more than 70 percent of the Palestinian population -- they believe in the two-state solution: a state of Palestine and a state of Israel living in peace and security next to each other. That means that the Palestinian people desire peace, and there is no power on Earth that can prevent the Palestinian people from moving toward a peaceful solution and living and coexisting in peace.

Now, of course, we look forward to activate the various plans and the various resolutions and the road map in order to be in a position to reach with our neighbors the desired objectives.

We always, Mr. President -- we look forward to your support and your help and your aid, because we are in dire need for your help and support.

Mr. President, we will always be faithful and truthful to peace, and we will not disappoint you.

And how many errors in those remaerks?

Civilians Again

No terrorists are ever killed by Israel.

"Militants", yes.

"Activists", yes.

"Gunmen", yes.

"Militiamen", yes.

And always, but always, "civilians".

Here's today's NYT report by Greg Myre:-

The Israeli military killed five Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Thursday in what it said were operations directed against militants. But four of the dead were civilians, including three teenagers who were tending sheep, according to Palestinian medical workers.

In northern Gaza, Palestinian militants fired four rockets into southern Israel, causing damage to a college and a water pipe. Afterward, the military said Israeli soldiers spotted Palestinians retrieving the rocket launcher, and Israeli forces fired artillery rounds from the Israeli side of the border.

Three teenage Palestinians were killed, according to Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, which described the three as sheepherders. They were identified as Zidan Abu Rashid, 16, Ala Abu Dahruj, 16, and Muhammad Masaleh, 15.

Palestinian militants frequently fire rockets and then flee, leaving the launcher behind because they fear a rapid Israeli response. The launchers are often retrieved later.

The Israeli military said it attacked the Palestinians because they were spotted handling the rocket launcher after it had been used to fire on Israel. But the military said it did not know whether those retrieving the launcher were the same ones who fired it earlier.

Okay, since this is standard Israeli military practice, why would the Pals. want to endanger themselves to retrieve the launchers?

Money? Quite possible.

Stupid bravado? Sure.

Trying to help the 'armed struggle' for the liberation of Palestine? No doubt.

Just plain being dumb? Maybe.

In any case, their deaths were not due to Israeli practice but to Pal. practice.

It's their choice - terror or negotiations (not that Israel would gain from any negotiations).

And maybe the world's press will relate more honestly to events in the war against terror?

And why not Duck Breast

Keeping Kosher With Duck Breast Schnitzel

Laura Frankel, the author of “Jewish Cooking for All Seasons” (John Wiley & Sons, $34.95), is the chef and an owner of Shallots, a kosher restaurant in Chicago that once had a Manhattan branch. Her new cookbook provides a modern chef’s approach not just to Jewish cooking, but to kosher cooking. And instead of traditional matzo ball soup, chopped liver and tsimmes, the recipes expand the repertory.

Parsnip and roasted garlic bisque, duck breast schnitzel with maple mashed sweet potatoes and braised chard, and a very good cocoa and canola oil devil’s-food cake with a pareve egg-based chocolate mousse filling, so it can be served with either meat or dairy, make this book worthwhile.

It's Rosh Hashana,!

Double Entendre: As Good as it Gets

Ellen Barkin is Jewish and is also recently divorced.

As the New York Times reports:-

Then there is her personal life, which has been turned inside out since the abrupt end of her marriage to the financier Ronald O. Perelman in January.

The breakup was tabloid-ready: Mr. Perelman’s lawyers surprised her with the news that he was seeking a divorce, and he had security guards stand by while she moved out of their regal townhouse on East 63rd Street. Much of the six-year marriage between the billionaire and the movie star seemed to play out in public because of the couple’s prominence, though its essence remained a mystery.

That fortune notwithstanding, the rupture left Ms. Barkin feeling raw. Her ex-husband’s behavior “was shocking,’’ she said. “What I thought was a commonality was a very different bond.’’

Ms. Barkin said the marriage was founded on genuine affection. “I loved Ronald Perelman,’’ she said. “I can say that unequivocally.’’ Mr. Perelman, she suggested, had struck a cooler bargain.

In his mind, she said, “I was an accessory, being accessorized, the perfect one — age-appropriate, the mother of two children, successful in her own right.’’

And then, she utters (consciously? unconsciously?) this double entendre:-

“And you know I wasn’t a bimb,’’ Ms. Barkin said, less with rancor than regret. “I was a good get.’’

Get is the Hebrew term for divorce.

So, was it good or not?

Some might think it was good:-

Now Ms. Barkin, 52, has chosen an equally public denouement by putting up for auction the extravagant jewelry that Mr. Perelman lavished on her, having decided to part with more than 100 pieces valued at $15 million — a symbolic and literal purging of the union.

“These are just not memories I want to wear out every day,’’ Ms. Barkin said.

The trove, to be sold at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center on Oct. 10, includes a 32-carat apricot diamond ring that Mr. Perelman, who is the chairman of Revlon, gave Ms. Barkin weeks before their divorce; a pair of emerald and gold cuffs designed for the Duchess of Windsor, valued at up to $80,000; an emerald necklace that once belonged to Doris Duke that could fetch as much as $350,000; and a selection of pieces by the cult Parisian jeweler JAR. Only 80 to 90 JAR creations are produced each year, said François Curiel, the chairman of Christie’s Europe. “When you have 17 pieces of JAR in an auction, it’s an event.’’

For Ms. Barkin, the sale puts a seal of finality on her relationship with Mr. Perelman, whose wish to be single again caught her unawares, she said. A divorce granted by a Manhattan court a few weeks later left her with $20 million under the terms of a prenuptial pact.

'Cooked' Rice

The Pals. don't pull punches when given a platform. No embarrassment there.

Here's from the Secretary of State's press conference yesterday:-

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the Palestinian people are suffering in spite of the mechanisms trying to help them. President Abbas, and surely you know he's trying to form a unity government in order to help lift the – to get to the
financial aid from the Americans and the Europeans. In the light of these efforts, in the light of the suffering of the Palestinian people, are you going to support his unity government? Are you going to recommend a lifting of sanctions on financial aid to the Palestinians?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have welcomed his efforts to bring an end to the crisis through the formation of a unity government, but a unity government would need to reflect the Quartet principles because you can't have peace unless you recognize the other partner for peace and renounce violence.

That said, we have been very supportive of President Abbas. We have been supportive of the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people through direct assistance to the Palestinians people for humanitarian needs. And we supported in the Quartet, of course, the expansion of the temporary international mechanism which could allow then for assistance to get to the Palestinian people for specific needs.

QUESTION: What incentives are you giving Hamas to – besides killing their
leader or kidnapping their leader and killing their people? What incentive? You
are putting more conditions on them now.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the incentive for Hamas should be to be able to live up to the promises that it made to the Palestinian people in the elections that they would have a better life. And clearly a better life is only going to be won on the basis of the roadmap, on the basis of a two-state solution, and that two-state solution can only be achieved if both parties are committed to peace.

Credit to them for their chutzpah.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

CAMERA Makes a Good Point

NY Times Ignores Huge Pro-Israel, Anti-Extremism Rally in NYC

On Wednesday, September 20, 2006, over 30,000 Israel supporters rallied across from UN headquarters in the heart of New York City to protest Iranian President Ahmadinejad's presence there and to call for the unconditional release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Speakers voiced support for the war against radical Islam and called upon the United Nations to confront Ahmadinejad for trying to incite genocide against the Jews.

But this important protest was largely ignored by the media. The New York Sun covered the rally, as did Agence France Presse and the JTA, but the New York Times carried no mention of it. Its New York desk apparently found other stories more newsworthy; its lead story was about a model subway train company planning to use sounds recorded in the New York City transit system.

It is interesting that American anti-Israel protests - even outside NYC, and drawing only "thousands of protesters" - have warranted more coverage in the Times recently. [For example, "Rally Near White House Protests Violence in Mideast" Aug. 13, "Marchers Oppose Israeli Bombing" (in Dearborn, MI) July 19].

Why does the Times see news of this large pro-Israel, anti-extremism rally as unfit to print?

Gorenberg's Gore

Gershom Gorenberg has an article in Canada's The National Post.

Chronicle of a quagmire

For years, the existence of Israel's West Bank settlements has complicated peacemaking efforts. Gershom Gorenberg explains how they got there

It ends:-

Today, a quarter million Israelis live in the West Bank (and 180,000 more in annexed East Jerusalem). This spring's election gave a clear majority to parties that seek to pull out of much of the territory (though popular opinion has swung against a unilateral pullout since the summer's war with Hezbollah).

The stern warnings ignored in 1967 now seem obvious -- to remain Jewish and democratic, Israel must accept division of the land. The convoy to Kfar Etzion was the start of a march of folly. The settlements will make it far harder to withdraw. Yet another lesson of 1967 is that the hard decisions must not be evaded.

I sent the paper this letter:-


Gershom Gorenberg's article, "Chronicle of a quagmire" (Sept. 21), is less than comprehensive and therefore is prejudicially misleading on the issue of Jewish residency in areas, which since 1967, have been administered by Israel.

The true starting point must be the international legality awarded to the right of Jews to live in their patrimony by the Supreme Council of the League of Nations in 1922 following the decision of the San Remo Conference of April 24, 1920 . The Mandate charged Great Britain, as part of the recognition given to the "historical connexion of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country", to facilitate Jewish immigration...(and)...encourage...close settlement by Jews on the land (Article 6). Moreover, no Palestine territory "shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power"(Article 5). I have full rights to reside in my home in Shiloh.

After undergoing partition, which the Arabs rejected and after becoming victorious in several wars of agression designed to eradicate the country and its population, there is nothing wrong or evil in the building of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Jewish willingness, mistaken in my opinion, to concede land for peace, is ineffective and only increases Arab terror. Gorenberg's complaint is a result of his skewed ideological and political position, not a tennable legal proposition.

Gorenberg's Gore

Gershom Gorenberg has an article in Canada's The National Post.

Chronicle of a quagmire

For years, the existence of Israel's West Bank settlements has complicated peacemaking efforts. Gershom Gorenberg explains how they got there

It ends:-

Today, a quarter million Israelis live in the West Bank (and 180,000 more in annexed East Jerusalem). This spring's election gave a clear majority to parties that seek to pull out of much of the territory (though popular opinion has swung against a unilateral pullout since the summer's war with Hezbollah).

The stern warnings ignored in 1967 now seem obvious -- to remain Jewish and democratic, Israel must accept division of the land. The convoy to Kfar Etzion was the start of a march of folly. The settlements will make it far harder to withdraw. Yet another lesson of 1967 is that the hard decisions must not be evaded.

Pilloring Pollard

For those unaware, I coordinated the activities of the Knesset Lobby on behalf of Jonathan Pollard between 1987 until 1994 and continue to be involved in its work. I visited him twice in jail in 1990 and 1993. I played host to his then wife, Ann, and his family and I maintain communications on a regular basis with his sister.

This sentence from a Haaretz story on a new book, "Capturing Jonathan Pollard" (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2006) by Ronald J. Olive, I think needs highlighting:-

On the basis of Pentagon and law enforcement sources, Olive concludes that the nature of the information Pollard passed on to Israel did cause real damage to U.S. security. It is also believed that what Pollard still remembers could still undermine U.S. national security if it gets out.

Let me state that as far as I know, the "damage" to the U.S. was to the pride of the members of its intelligence community and nothing else. All other "damage" was done by many other, too many other, spies that almost all, among them who were resonsible for the deaths of American agents, received lesser jail time.

In addition, this is hogwash, unadulterated non-kosher hogwash, about what he still knows. He was arrested in 1985. Twenty-years (21) have passed. The Iron Curtain is down. The new enemy is the Islamic axis. The world has changed. But the American intelligence establishment hasn't.

And that's the danger to America as much as it is to Israel and Jay Pollard.

If the rest of the book is as shoddy, self-serving and misleading as this, it proves the danger existing to America's security structure is unfortunately shaded by discriminatory and ideological irrationality.

Sea Change? It's Only a Mikveh

In interviews with the Forward, younger Conservative women concurred that the move was unlikely to inspire an immediate sea change.

What are they talking about?


Liberal Rabbis Calling on Women To Take the Plunge for Ritual Purity

Top leaders of Conservative Judaism are promoting a plan to encourage female congregants to plunge regularly into a ritual bath, following the adoption last week of rabbinic guidelines by the movement’s central lawmaking body.

At a September 13 meeting held in New York at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards voted to approve three opinion papers, or tshuvot, tackling what are traditionally known as the laws of “family purity.” The decision by the 25-member body of rabbis to endorse the varying opinions, each of which offers a slightly different take on the religious laws that require women to bathe each month in purifying waters, is the first time that the Conservative movement has made official its position on sexual relations between men and women following the completion of a woman’s menstrual cycle

My Letter in NY's The Forward

Eitam Was Wrong, But So Were Gaza Expulsions

A September 15 editorial terms Knesset member Effie Eitam’s call for the expulsion en masse of Palestinians from the West Bank as “lamentable” and a “mischievous assault on decency” (“Effie’s Choice”). I agree. Even Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the iconic nationalist Zionist, rejected the idea.

In the now-famous 1923 article setting out his basic doctrine vis-à-vis the relationship with the Palestinians of the Jewish national home, “The Iron Wall (Part I),” Jabotinsky wrote, “I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true…. Politically… I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine…. I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone.”

Nevertheless, in characterizing Eitam’s message as “rooted in a form of messianic optimism,” the argument must then be expanded and the question need be asked whether the forced removal of Jews from those very same areas is legitimate, democratic and moral. It is obvious that the establishment of a second state in the territory the international community set aside for the reestablishment of the Jewish commonwealth will result in a uni-ethnic polity.

No Jews would be able to reside in Hebron, Beth El or Shiloh. Is this expulsion, perhaps, also stemming from despair, and is it that exiling of Jews from their homes is also a messianic optimism?

If so, we only have to review the total failure as well as the dangerous developments of the disengagement from Gaza. Terrorism has not stopped, and the Qassams are only improving.

Eitam is wrong, and so are those who seek to ban revenant Jews from living in their patrimony. But if the expulsion of Jews is a solution, there will always be people who secretly harbor the hope of removing Palestinians, believing that what is good for Jews is equally good for Palestinians.

-Yisrael Medad*

*The writer lives in the West Bank town of Shiloh.

If Ben-Gurion Had Gone to Synagogue Service

Okay, this wasn't at High Holiday service but at the funeral of Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann.

The Rosh Hashana Temple Mount Ad

This should be appearing in Makor Rishon for this weekend's edition.

It deals with a Halachic subject whether one can blow the Shofar within the walled city of Jerusalem on a Rosh Hashana that occurs on the Shabbat.

Normally, handling a shofar on Shabbat is not permitted. However, in the confines of the Temple compound it was allowed.

Over a hundred years ago, it was argued that it is possible today not only in the Temple precincts but also the walled section of Old Jerusalem and all the background, in Hebrew, is here.

What the Irgun and Lechi were facing

Between 1944 and 1948, the Irgun and the Lechi waged a guerilla war of liberation against the British occupying forces. This is the type of military might they faced:

Carol Mather joined the Welsh Guards at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, and attended Sandhurst. In February 1940, before his officer training was completed, Mather volunteered to join the 5th Special Reserve Battalion, Scots Guards. The battalion was formed in anticipation of supporting the Finland in the Winter War in 1939-1940, but the conflict ended before it left the UK. Mather returned to training with the Welsh Guards and was commissioned in 1940. He volunteered for training at the Irregular Warfare Training Centre in Lochailort in October 1940, joined No.8 Commando, and headed with the unit to North Africa in January 1941 as part of Layforce.

After 8 Commando was disbanded on 1 August 1941, Mather joined "L Detachment", the nucleus of the future SAS headed by David Stirling, where he joined raids on enemy airfields. In October 1942, he was offered the opportunity to join his elder brother on the staff of General Montgomery. Montgomery was a family friend, through his wife, Betty. Rejoining Stirling's force for a last operation deep behind enemy lines, he was captured by the Italians in Tripolitania on 20 December 1942. He was transferred to Italy by submarine, and spent 9 months as a prisoner of war in Fontanellato in north Italy. He escaped in September 1943, shortly after the Italians agreed an armistice with the Allies, and walked 600 miles down the Apennines to the Allied lines near Campobasso, north-east of Naples.

He returned to England in November 1943, but rejoined Montgomery as a liaison officer in early 1944 to assist with preparations for D-Day. He landed on D+1, and remained with Montgomery through the operations in north France and Belgium, acting as Montgomery's eyes and ears on the front line. He was awarded the MC for a successful reconnaissance mission in Nijmegen on 18 September 1944, on the second day of Operation Market Garden, while it was still occupied by the German Army. On 9 January 1945, he survived being on an Auster that was shot down near Grave: the pilot was killed, and another passenger, Major Richard Harden, took the controls and crash-landed while Mather deployed the flaps. Mather was hit by four bullets and badly injured, suffering 13 separate wounds and losing a kidney. He spent several months in hospital before rejoining Montgomery in July 1945 near Osnabrück.

Mather joined the regular army in 1946, returning to his regiment, the Welsh Guards, in Palestine, where he remained until the independence of Israel in 1948.

Did the Husband Know?

Sometimes, news is really news.

For 47 years, Elfriede Rinkel lived a seemingly blameless life in a rundown apartment in San Francisco. She was a first-generation German immigrant whose husband, Fred, was a German Jew who had fled the Nazis.

Together, they mixed easily in Jewish circles, attended synagogue and donated to Jewish charities. When Fred Rinkel died two years ago, his widow buried him in a Jewish cemetery, his gravestone adorned with the Star of David - with space for herself next to him.

This week, however, it transpired that the little old lady from the Tenderloin district harboured a secret she withheld from her husband, her family and the US authorities.

For the last year of the Second World War, Ms Rinkel - then known by her maiden name Elfriede Huth - worked as a guard and dog handler in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, not far from Düsseldorf. More than 130,000 women passed through the slave labour facility in six years, and more than two-thirds of them died - in gas chambers, medical experiments or from malnutrition and disease.

According to the US Justice Department, which has spent the past 27 years tracking down suspected former Nazi collaborators, Ms Rinkel's duties included using dogs to march inmates to work. "She was an integral part of the machinery of destruction and persecution," the chief of the Office of Special Investigations, Eli Rosenbaum, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

That's a Lot of Kabbalah

Madonna will wrap her Confessions tour Thursday at the Tokyo Dome as the top-grossing tour ever by a female artist.

Although final numbers are not all in, tour producer Arthur Fogel puts the tally at $193.7 million from 60 shows that drew nearly 1.2 million in paid attendance.

The Governor, the Israeli, the Homosexual Relationship, the Synagogue and...AIPAC

James E. McGreevey, former governor of New Jersey, maintained a secret homosexual affair with Golan Cipel.

Three excerpts from his book:-

One afternoon, we took a bus trip to a local arts center in Rishon Lezion, a rather featureless city just outside Tel Aviv. We were greeted there by the mayor, but it was his 32-year-old communications director, a former Israeli naval officer, who caught my eye. That’s too casual a way to put it. My attraction to him was immediate and intense, and apparently reciprocated. Our eyes met over and over before we were introduced. “This is Golan Cipel,” said the mayor. “He is familiar with New Jersey—for a number of years he worked at the Israeli Embassy in Manhattan.”

We shook hands for a long time. “I followed your campaign very closely,” Golan said. “Twenty-seven thousand votes is a very narrow margin.” He went on to describe my strengths among various constituencies. I was startled by his knowledge of my campaign.

At lunch I made sure to sit next to him. “Democrats take Jews for granted. It’s a powerful constituency. You have to develop relationships with them,” he said. “You got a good percentage of the overall Jewish vote. But if you’d gotten even a small number of Orthodox votes, and all of the Reform Jews, you would be governor today.”

He had smart ideas about my campaign, but I was only half-listening. Watching this handsome man talk—and show an interest in my political standing—totally mesmerized me. Nobody commits to memory the demographic standings of a politician halfway around the world as an academic exercise. I was flattered beyond anything I’d ever experienced before.

I assumed he was straight, but what was happening at this lunch if not flirting? I flirted back, a bit shamelessly. I can’t say I ever had a more electrifying first meeting—so dangerously carried out in a room full of politicians who could ruin us both.

I craved love. For years sex had been all that was available to me. From the time in high school when I made up my mind to behave in public as though I were straight, I nonetheless carried on sexually with men. I visited bookstores in New York and New Jersey and had sex in the small booths there until I became too famous to risk discovery. I lurked around parkway rest stops, exchanging false names and intimacies with strangers. But there never was an emotional meaning to these trysts, even the few that were repeat engagements.

The only place where I had ever found any real pleasure in these encounters was in Washington, during my law-school years. At the juncture of Sixth and I Streets, just around the corner from Judiciary Square, there was an abandoned synagogue and a narrow alley leading to the long-forgotten gardens in back. Every night, rain or shine, this hidden pocket of Washington filled with men just like me—almost all of them wearing business suits and, on most of their left hands, proof that they’d made the same compromises I had. We were the power brokers and backroom operatives and future leaders of America. We just happened to be gay.

I felt as though I’d come upon a sanctuary—it was a churchlike, almost spiritual place. Moonlight squinted through the stained-glass windows into our garden, catching an inviting eye or a face stretched in ecstasy. I looked forward to my visits there, sometimes two or three a week. I quickly learned whom to approach and whose advance to wait for, when to move quickly, which posture said “no thanks” and which said “please.” One evening, as I stood on one of the metal platforms back there, a word came to me: liberated. Standing there in full sight of this group of men, I’d finally found a way to show who I was. I am finally free, I told myself. When of course I was just in a bigger cage.

How do you live with such shame? How do you accommodate your own revulsion with whom you have become? You do it by splitting in two. You rescue part of yourself, the half that stands for tradition and values and America, the part that looks like the family you came from, the part that is acceptably true. And you walk away from the other half the way you would abandon something spoiled. You take less and less responsibility for the abandoned half, until it seems to take on a life of its own—to become something you merely observe. And when you’re on the other side, in the shrubbery or behind the synagogue, you no longer recognize your decent self.

Once, after an exhausting day in the transition office, I made secret plans with Golan to see him later, at his apartment. The state troopers, now my constant companions, dropped me at the condo and parked around back. When I was sure they couldn’t see me, I pulled on my running clothes and slipped out the front. Golan’s apartment complex was roughly half a mile away, but difficult to get to on foot. I ran along the sidewalk for a while, then below a railroad underpass before returning to the sidewalk and ducking into his building.

He greeted me in his briefs. “Did anybody see you?” he asked, closing the door quickly. We kissed, hard.

I was totally in love with this man. He loved everything I loved. Politics never bored him. He loved strategy and demographic analyses. He loved power, philosophy, justice. He never stopped thinking about these things, and that’s what gave his life purpose and joy. I think Golan expected me to end up in the White House. Maybe that’s what he loved about me—my potential to bring him to Washington. If he was using me as the engine driving his own ambition, I didn’t mind. I liked seeing myself reflected in his eyes.

I finally settled on an ambiguous title for Golan: special counselor to the governor—part scheduler, part policy strategist, part consigliere. I was pleased at the notion that I’d found a way to meet Golan’s expectations while keeping suspicions to a minimum. But of course neither was the case.

Twice Golan and I had managed to spend whole nights together—once in Philadelphia, where we’d gone for the Army-Navy game and a Jewish event, and another time for a meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., where we had the nerve to tell the state troopers we would share a double-occupancy room “to save taxpayers’ money.” We made love on the floor that night, fearing the troopers would hear a squeak from the beds.

More Holocaust Denial

And these people think by just talking they can get somewhere with him:-

Over the objections of the administration and Jewish groups that boycotted the event, Mr. Ahmadinejad, the man who has become the defiant face of Iran, squared off with the nation’s foreign policy establishment, parrying questions for an hour and three-quarters with two dozen members of the Council on Foreign Relations, then ending the evening by asking whether they were simply shills for the Bush administration.

Never raising his voice and thanking each questioner with a tone that oozed polite hostility, he spent 40 minutes questioning the evidence that the Holocaust ever happened — “I think we should allow more impartial studies to be done on this,” he said after hearing an account of an 81-year-old member, the insurance mogul Maurice R. Greenberg, who saw the Dachau concentration camp as Germany fell...

And Haas is Jewish!

The decision by the council’s president, Richard N. Haass, to invite Mr. Ahmadinejad to the session touched off a rare outcry protest in an organization whose meetings are usually as staid as the portraits of long-forgotten diplomats on its walls.

Mr. Haass, who ran the policy planning branch of the State Department during Mr. Bush’s first term, first had to fend off senior administration officials who had argued that he should not give Mr. Ahmadinejad the legitimacy of a hearing — especially with the likes of Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under President Bush’s father, or Robert D. Blackwill, who directed Iraq policy at the White House under Condoleezza Rice.

“It’s fair to say that Dr. Rice thought this was a bad idea,” one senior State Department official said. “A really, really bad idea.”

So did leaders of several Jewish groups, whom Mr. Haass invited — and who promptly asked if the council would have invited Hitler in the 1930’s. “Some of us considered quitting to make it clear how offensive this is,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who was one of the Jewish leaders whose attendance Mr. Haass sought.

But after a flurry of phone calls, including with Elie Wiesel, the writer and Holocaust survivor, they decided against a mass resignation — particularly after the council made the session a “meeting” rather than a dinner. (There were light hors d’oeuvres on the side; Mr. Ahmadinejad never touched them.)

“It is more offensive to break bread with the guy,” Mr. Foxman said. “I thought dinner was crossing the line.”

And he goes on:-

When Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel, told Mr. Ahmadinejad that Iran “did everything possible to destroy’’ efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the president said, “If you believe Iran is the reason for the failure, you are making a second mistake.’’ Why, he asked, should the Palestinians be asked to “pay for an event they had nothing to do with’’ in World War II, saying that they had nothing to do with the systematic killing of Jews — if those killings, he added, had happened at all.

“In World War II about 60 million people were killed,’’ he said at one point, when pressed again on his refusal to accept that the Holocaust happened. “Two million were military. Why is such prominence given to a small portion of those 60 million?’’

A few minutes later, he asked a question himself: “In the Council on Foreign Relations, is there any voice of support for the Palestinians?’’

So, I sent the NYT this letter:-

In his verbal sparring with Martin S. Indyk during his meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rhetorically asked "Why should the Palestinians be asked to 'pay for an event they had nothing to do with' in World War II, saying that they had nothing to do with the systematic killing of Jews" (Sept. 21). However, they certainly did play a part in the Holocaust.

As a result of three years of anti-British and anti-Jewish terror between 1936 - 1939, the Arabs of Palestine, in addition to killing over 500 Jews, so influenced British colonial policy that the gates of Mandate Palestine were closed to the Jews attempting then and later to flee Hitler and the Nazi 'final solution'. Out of 11 million Jews marked for death, the British permitted but 75,000 immigration certificates during the war.

Moreover, the leader of the Arabs of Palestine, Mufti Haj Amin El-Husseini, took refuge in Berlin, met with Hitler, expressed his ideological unity with Nazism, broadcast Arab-language support throughout the Middle East and personally mobilized Muslim troops in the Balkans and elsewhere to participate in the Holocaust.

I hope not all members of the CFR were fooled by Ahmadinejad's disjuxtapositioning.