Saturday, February 28, 2009

So Jewish

“I felt oddly guilty for not feeling guilty enough.”

Doriel Waldman

protagonist character in Elie Weisel's A Mad Desire To Dance

and I can think of many more real persons who think like that.

The Words of Avigdor Lieberman

From the interview with Avigdor Lieberman:

A Conversation With Avigdor Lieberman

Interview by Lally Weymouth
Sunday, March 1, 2009; B01

...One of the reasons you are so popular is because you called for a loyalty oath for all citizens of Israel. What do you mean by a loyalty oath?

The dividing line for Yisrael Beiteinu is who supports terror and who fights terror. We cannot accept that there are people in Israel that even during the war [in Gaza] openly supported Hamas...We don't have a proposal to kick people out of the country. But I think the country must demand from the citizens real responsibility. It's a crazy thing in Israel that a minister doesn't agree to our anthem. I can't imagine it.

Do you agree with President Bush that there should be a two-state solution?

It was a big dispute between Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon and me before disengagement [in 2005]. I said you go to establish a Palestinian state without even one Jew, we will become a binational state with more than twenty per cent minority. It won't work. . . . It is really a state and a half for the Palestinians and a half-state for the Israelis. . . .

Our proposal was exchanging territory and population, exactly like the Cyprus model.

You would take the territory where the Jews live in settlements on the West Bank and Israeli Arabs live and swap them?

Of course. Here is a picture of my settlement behind you, Nokdim, in the Judean Desert. I even agree to vacate my settlement if there really will be a two-state solution. What does the leader of the Israeli Arabs say? They're not interested in any Palestinian state. Even the Palestinians aren't interested in a Palestinian state.

You think they want all of Israel?

They want one country from the Jordan River to the sea. [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak gave a very crazy proposal to go back to the 1967 borders. [Yasir] Arafat said no. Also, Sharon gave up all of the Gaza Strip. And at [the] Annapolis [peace conference in 2007], a left-wing government gave very strange and crazy proposals. Even so, the Palestinians didn't accept. Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert tried to jump from the first stage [of the roadmap] to the final stage. It didn't work, it's impossible.

Would you give up the Golan Heights to make a deal with Syria?

I don't see why we must give up the Golan Heights. Damascus is the center of world terror. All these organizations, Jihad and Hamas, their headquarters are in Damascus. Syria supports Hezbollah.

But there are people in your military who argue that if Israel could make a deal with Syria, perhaps you could split them off from Iran.

No, we cannot split them off. Even [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad says that even if he receives the Golan Heights, he will continue his ties with Iran. People don't want to see the truth.

So is your next ambition to become prime minister?

No, my personal ambition is to realize all our ideas. Yisrael Beiteinu is a party that puts on the table all the problems that people are afraid to speak about.

But people in the United States think you are a racist. What do you say to those people?

I think they don't understand our reality. We say the left wing in Israel and the United States is in shock that we were so successful.

The Most Outrageous (and Silly) Comment on the Pal.-Israel Conflict Today

Or this past week, for that matter.

Found here:

The Israeli authorities laid their hands on buildings in the old city and confiscated lands near the old city and built colonial settlement outposts throughout Arab East Jerusalem. These scattered colonial settlements are now being “connected” via underground tunnels under Arab owned houses or directly above ground by demolishing these houses. The rest of the occupied West Bank is also similarly effected.

a) "laid their hands on buildings"

actually, it's Jewish property from the past few centuries (people like this Annie would never have you believe that Jews lived in the country before modern-day Zionism or that there was never really an "Palestine") and in most cases, the property was repurchased.

b) "colonial settlement outposts"

as if Jews didn't live in the Old City of Jerusalem or in Neveh Yaakov (Kfar Ivri) or Atarot or Silwan up until 1948.

c) "underground tunnels"

the reference is to this: A synagogue newly reopened in Jerusalem's Old City has worried Arab neighbors and Palestinian leaders who accuse Israel of using its political power to push them out and shift the city's religious balance toward the Jews. Israelis say the work in the Muslim Quarter merely restored a building wrecked during 19 years of Arab control before Israel captured the Old City in 1967...Hungarian Jews bought land for Ohel Yitzhak from Arabs in 1867 and says a title deed from an Islamic court exists, countering Palestinian allegations that the synagogue sits on stolen Muslim land..."Arab riots" in the 1920s and 1930s during British rule led to the building being abandoned in 1938. It was "vandalised" under Jordanian control of East Jerusalem after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when Jews were barred from the Old City. The booklet also highlights how the ruin was acquired after 1979 by an Israeli... which I commented on due to the involvement of the Khalidi clan.

d) "Arab owned"

in most cases, Jewish property that came into their hands after the Jews of the Old City were expelled or chased away by violent Arab actions against a civilian population that had been living there for many scores of years or more.

e) "similarly effected"

that should be "affected" but are there underground tunnels here at Shiloh? Gee.

Ah, Arab propaganda.

On Today's Media

Those who say Twitter is a harmless pastime, which skeptics are free to ignore, are ignoring the corrosive secondary effects. We already live in an era of me-first journalism, autobiographical blogs and first-person reportage. Even daytime cable news is clotted with Lou Dobbsian anchors who ooze self-regard and intemperate opinion.

On-air meltdowns are the new scoops. The CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli, a former trader, delivered a rant last week on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange about the Obama administration’s mortgage bailout proposal. Nobody at his network seemed concerned that Mr. Santelli had exceeded the bounds of news reporting. Instead, he was propped up by constant replays on CNBC and rival networks as a populist hero. It’s all too likely that he will be rewarded with his own show someday.


Norway's Ghost

...the Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun, who welcomed the brutal German occupation of Norway during World War II and gave his Nobel Prize in Literature as a gift to the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Hamsun later flew to meet Hitler at Hitler’s mountain lair in Bavaria.

Why the festivities, then? Call it reconciliation therapy, or a national airing out.

Hamsun died in 1952 at 92, shunned by his countrymen and heavily fined for his spectacular wartime betrayal. But as the author of revered novels like “Hunger,” “Pan” and “Growth of the Soil,” Hamsun has remained on school reading lists and in the hearts of many Norwegians.

“We can’t help loving him, though we have hated him all these years,” said Ingar Sletten Kolloen, author of “Dreamer & Dissenter,” a Hamsun biography. “That’s our Hamsun trauma. He’s a ghost that won’t stay in the grave.”...

...One of the largest framed items at the National Library was the May 7, 1945, edition of a collaborationist newspaper whose lead article on Hitler’s death was by Knut Hamsun. As most collaborators lay low, preparing alibis, Hamsun wrote, “He was a warrior, a warrior for mankind, and a prophet of the gospel of justice for all nations.”

Queen Sonja, leaving the exhibition, said only, “I think we’ll have to keep two thoughts in our head at the same time.”


An Opinion on Egypt-US Relations


...Egypt and the United States have been allies for 30 years. Yet no candid reviews have been made of that relationship. The Obama administration, occupied with more pressing priorities, needs time to assess Egypt, whose sole card has been its role in peacemaking, whether in its direct relations with Israel or in bringing the Palestinians to a transient truce. Is that worth $60 billion-plus in U.S. aid?

In all facets, Egyptians have suffered under Mr. Mubarak. Ordinary Egyptians loathe the United States because of its support for Israel and the unpopular Mubarak regime. Can we afford to start a new page with Cairo by ignoring the real sources of instability in Egypt? Rising unemployment and poverty, widespread hunger and malnutrition, high inflation, collapsing socioeconomic infrastructure, and failed education and health systems are examples.

Egypt's problems are much more serious and menacing than the poor treatment of dissidents, as much as we love them. The Post was misguided to place the emphasis in the Washington-Cairo relationship on the treatment of dissidents.


and by the way:

An attacker stabbed a U.S. citizen in front of his wife in a popular Cairo tourist area on Friday in the second attack on foreigners in the Egyptian capital in less than a week, security sources said.

They said the American, a teacher in his fifties in an American school in the coastal city of Alexandria, was with his wife and a friend when he was lightly wounded in an unprovoked attack in a tourist area that is home to the 14th century Khan el-Khalili market.

The assailant, who was arrested at the scene, told police he attacked the American out of hatred for foreigners, particularly after Israel's recent offensive on the Gaza Strip, one security source and state media said.

I hope it's not David Holt of the Middle East Studies Program organized by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities at:
MESP Cairo Office:
P.O. Box 213-Zamalek
Cairo, Egypt



No, it isn't David.

Here's what he wrote to me:

Thanks Yisrael—we are ok and most of the time don’t have to worry about such things, Typically safer here than in any major American city. Now if you guys can just keep things quiet enough for us to keep our travel permission to Israel.

Look forward to seeing you soon, and be ready to spread your usual charm with the students

Brachim Lacha

So, I'm responsible for the infractions of the truce. Can't win.

Who It Was

Non-violent Protest, Sort Of

A Pal. slinging away in "non-violent protest activity" at Israeli border police near Bilin.

It's Raining Here in Israel, Finally

It's been raining here.

No flood, yet.

Follow-up on the Issue of "Honor Killings"

After some commentary on this matter, with some insisting that it more belongs to the sphere of simple home abuse rather than a religious/cultural issue, I did some homework.

Here's a better definition of the phenomenom:

The project considers 'crimes of honour' to encompass a variety of manifestations of violence against women including: 'honour killings', assault, unlawful confinement and forced marriage. The motivation or publicly articulated justification for committing such crimes is attributed to a social order claimed to require measures of enforcement; such as measures against women (specifically women's sexual conduct -- actual, suspected or potential), for the preservation of honour vested in male, family and/or conjugal control over women.

Although international human rights law prohibits these violations, domestic legislation and court practice vary in the level of protection and remedy they offer women, in particular where family or conjugal 'honour' is invoked. On a societal level, informal codes mandating such conduct may be endorsed to varying degrees by some sectors of society and challenged by others. The attitude of religious authorities and the implementation of religious laws may also be critical in forming and changing opinion.

On this 'project'.

In a follow-up correspondence, when I asked about those who refused to recognize the uniqueness of the matter, I was informed: researcher liken[ed] responses like that to the way domestic violence was treated 20 or thirty years ago (in the UK). The police at least are beginning to get past the discomfort that they are intruding on something personal or cultural and treating "honour crimes" as crimes, plain and simple.

Modern-day Jonah Tale

A businessman who lost his mobile phone on a beach was amazed when it turned up — in the belly of a massive cod.

Andrew Cheatle thought his Nokia handset had been lost at sea after it slipped from his pocket. But a week later his girlfriend’s mobile rang and it was fisherman Glen Kerley saying he’d found the phone in a 25lb fish. Andrew got the handset back, dried it out — and amazingly it still works.

Andrew, 45, said: “I was messing about with my dog and my phone must have fallen out and been swept out in the swell. “I kept calling it but I gave up hope after a couple of days.”


One, Two...Three!

It seems that the diplomatic future for the Arab-Israel future is a matter of one, two, three.


Clinton says US remains committed to two-state solution

Ahead of Mideast visit, US secretary of state says she'll work to 'create independent, viable Palestinian state and provide Israel with the peace and security'

The United States remains committed to the two-state solution, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ahead of her scheduled trip to the Middle East.


Hamas: We will never recognize Israel

Group shuns Abbas' offer of unity gov't, which he says must agree to two-state solution with Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday any unity government with Hamas would have to agree to a two-state solution with Israel, a demand quickly rejected by his Islamist rivals.

(So, Hillary spoke too soon:

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, are you in any way encouraged by the reports of progress in the Egyptian mediation efforts between the major Palestinian parties?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I believe that it’s important, if there is some reconciliation and a move toward a unified authority, that it’s very clear that Hamas knows the conditions that have been set forth by the Quartet, by the Arab summit. And they must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous commitments; otherwise, I don’t think it will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace that leads to a Palestinian state.)


Israel: Coalition Talk Fruitless

Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the conservative Likud Party who was chosen to form the next Israeli government, met with Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima Party on Friday, in another attempt to join forces in forming a broad coalition. But both said afterward that no agreement had been reached and it seemed unlikely that one would be. Ms. Livni wants a commitment on a two-state solution with the Palestinians, and Mr. Netanyahu is not ready to give one. But neither Ms. Livni nor Mr. Netanyahu closed the door entirely on making another effort.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Have You Read Melanie Phillips "Liberal Fascism"?

This piece is important.

Liberal fascism

It's about

...the now common analogy that is drawn between Israel and the Nazis, or Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto, as used by such Israel-haters...It is used for very specific political purposes. Since Nazism is totally beyond the pale – and since the Israel-haters believe, falsely, that Israel’s legitimacy rests upon the Holocaust – tarring it as a Nazi state delegitimises it and thus advances the agenda of its destruction.

...I would also make a further point that Rich does not make. Calling Israel a Nazi state retrospectively sanitises the Holocaust and lets complicit Europe off the hook – Britain too. After all, Britain was partly responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews to whom it refused entry to Palestine -- in order to appease the Arabs of Palestine who were in league with the Nazis – and who perished in the Holocaust as a result. If the Jews have become Nazis, then their victimisation at the hands of the Nazis stops being the crime of crimes.

It also allows people safely to hate the Jews once again...

Read it all.

US Funding Iranian Uranium-Related Technology Program and Gets Ripped Off

The FBI and NASA are investigating a University of Florida professor and his wife for allegedly defrauding NASA out of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for their own personal use.

Iranian-born Samim Anghaie, 59, is the Director of the Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute at the University of Florida. His wife, 55-year-old Sousan Anghaie, is president of New Era Technology Inc. (NETECH) in Gainesville, Fla.

Authorities say Sousan Anghaie persuaded NASA to award her company "several fully funded contracts," including nearly $600,000 to develop and study a uranium-related technology.

But, according to an affidavit unsealed today in federal court, the couple allegedly used most of that money to buy personal luxuries — including their $480,000 home in Gainesville, a 2007 BMW and a 2005 Toyota Sienna sports van.

They also used that money to buy a property for their son in Tampa, Fla., a property for their other son in Manchester, Conn., a 2008 Toyota Corolla for Sousan Anghaie's sister, and a 2007 Toyota Corolla for another family member.



The Dayton Force and More US Millions

Ethan Bronner in the New York Times deals yet again with the new Pal. messiah: its "security forces".


“These guys now feel like they’re on a winning team, that they are building a Palestinian state,” said Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton.

Rina Castelnuovo

I have dealt several times with this new American mantra of "security" (here I; here II; and here III). Condoleeza Rice was almost ecstatic over it. Most recently, Hillary Clinton's advisors inserted in her statement a reference to this element of the "peace".

It's quite simple:

The Americans train the Pals. on an 18-acre campus built with $10 million of American taxpayer money in the Jordan Valley desert near Jericho, along with a 35-acre, $11 million operations camp a few miles away with a National Security Force Operations Camp elsewhere in Jericho.
The Pals. are trained.
The Pals. fight terror.
The Pals. fight the Hamas and others.
The Pals. (and Americans) then apply pressure on Israel to withdraw, assuring Israel that all is dinkydory and that no rockets or missiles or even mortars will rain down on Israel from the Samarian Hills and Judean Foothills.

Here, from the Pal. mouth:

“We have been trained with American money and by General Dayton, and that means a lot to us,” said Brig. Gen. Munir al-Zoubi, commander of the 1,800-man Presidential Guard, the elite force that protects top officials and guests. “We are here to enforce law and order and to use all means to fight terrorism.”

He was asked whether the word “terrorism” was a delicate one.

“Two years ago, we couldn’t talk about or use the term ‘terrorism,’ ” he said. “Any Palestinian who used the term was called a collaborator. But that is no longer true. We have discovered that many people commit terrorist acts under the cover of resistance to occupation. And we are fighting that.”...General Zoubi added that his forces had been trained in human rights, at their request, and in how to shoot without killing when capturing an armed suspect. [that must have been hard]

Okay, you can stop laughing now, even you people in Sderot bomb shelters.

And how did Dayton come to this?

He said he first became aware of the importance of this conflict beyond its borders when he was leading weapons searches in Iraq in 2003. As he and his men entered barracks of the Iraqi Republican Guards, he kept seeing drawings on the walls showing Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, a sacred Muslim shrine, being strangled by a cobra symbolizing Israel.

I wonder if he gave any thought to the real meaning of those wall drawings.

Just Another Antisemite

On the recanting Bishop:

Williamson's anti-Semitism and dismissal of the Holocaust date back at least to the 1980s when he was rector of a seminary in Ridgefield, Conn. To his students, he was rigid and authoritarian.

...the Rev. John Rizzo, who was a student at the Ridgefield seminary in 1983. Reached by phone in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he is an assistant priest at the cathedral, Rizzo says he remembers Williamson expressing unusual views about the Holocaust.

"He said it was a pack of lies, that we shouldn't fall victim to a type of public sympathy toward the Jews," he said. "He would also tease in regard to my sizable nose, 'Gee, Rizzo, are you a Jew? I want to see a baptismal certificate,' things like that he would say. [There was] this other seminarian by the name of Dan Oppenheimer, and he would say to him, 'Oppenheimer, I don't like your name, there is a gas chamber waiting for you down at the lake,' horrible things like that, he would say."

...Williamson champions The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic forged document from the late 1800s that blames Jews for the problems in Russia at the time. He has called Jews the enemies of Christ and says that they, together with Freemasons, have contributed to the corruption of the Catholic Church.

Rizzo says Williamson expressed such opinions and ultra-orthodox views during spiritual conferences held on Thursday afternoons.

...Rizzo also recalls that when Williamson taught sacred scriptures, he would often espouse conspiracy theories and attack the American government — a theme he would pick up in a 2007 lecture in London where he described the United States as a police state.

"And I hope none of you believe that 9/11 is what it was presented to be," Williamson said at the time. "Of course two towers came down, but it was absolutely for certain not two airplanes which brought down those two towers; they were professionally demolished by a series of demolition charges from top to bottom of the towers."

A Jordanian Tries Out The Democractic System, Criminally


Jordanian charged with making campaign donations

A Jordanian businessman was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly making illegal campaign contributions to three presidential candidates.

The six-count indictment issued Wednesday said Ala'a al-Ali arranged for at least $60,000 in illegal donations to be funneled into the campaigns of three presidential candidates. The New York Times identified these as John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.

...Ali, 37, lives in the Dominican Republic and also goes by the name Ala'a Mohy Eddin Elali.

...Ali could face up to 26 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and making illegal campaign contributions. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer.

The indictment alleges Ali conspired with others to recruit Southern California residents to contribute to the campaigns with promises they would be reimbursed. Ali is accused of reimbursing them with cash or checks.

Roger Cohen Gets A History Lesson

To the Editor:

I was a 9-year-old girl living in Tehran when my family fled to America as a result of the Islamic Revolution. We didn’t leave Iran because of the weather, but because of a second-class existence transformed into a nightmare of religious persecution, which the few remaining Jews that Roger Cohen found have sadly internalized and accepted.

For Mr. Cohen to suggest that Iranian Jews have anything close to religious freedom or free expression in Iran is to discredit the long history of Muslim oppression and to deny the experience of generations of Jews who locked themselves in their homes during the Ashura holidays lest they become the target of the frenzied Shiite masses who filled the streets, or who cringed when they were called a word meaning dirty and impure and told to wait at the end of the line to draw water.

What about the Jewish schools and institutions that were systematically shut down after the Islamic Revolution? Or the fact that while Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are free to shout “Death to Israel,” Iranian Jews are forced to?

We must never forget the true history of Jews under Muslim regimes — my history.

Mojgan Cohanim Lancman
Fresh Meadows, Queen

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spend A Moment With Spender

David Aberbach, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Studies at McGill University, Canada, has a piece on the poet Stephen Spender (here), on the topic of "Stephen Spender's Jewish roots".

I've extracted this as relevant to my blogging and you should know that:

Spender inherited his parents’ liberal views and commitment to social causes, progress and culture...Spender remained under the spell of German high culture and, as soon as the war ended, he revisited Germany and wrote a book about its ruins. Spender had something of the bizarre attachment of German Jews to Germany, described by Frederic Grunfeld: “While half the German Jews were being murdered in the name of a greater Germany, many of the rest continued to think of themselves as ambassadors of the German Geist”...Spender transcends his age, partly for reasons having to do with his German-Jewish background and the failed “symbiosis” of Deutschtum and Judentum, of the prophet Isaiah and Goethe, with an admixture of English Romanticism and Liberalism...The moral basis of Spender’s Communist sympathies was the biblical idea that, as he wrote, “all men are equal in the eyes of God, and that the riches of the few are an injustice to the many”.

My selection:

he saw the creation of the State of Israel in moral terms, as the rectification of a historic injustice. Spender described as miraculous Israel’s survival after being attacked in 1948 by five Arab countries as well as Palestinian Arabs, when many predicted its annihilation and a renewal of the Holocaust. In his book on Youth Aliyah, Learning Laughter (1952), commissioned by George Weidenfeld, Spender defined Israel’s purpose – like that of all nations which have adopted the Hebrew Bible – as religious and moral: to be “a light unto the nations”, an example to the world. As a poet with a social conscience (see, for example, “An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum”), Spender was particularly moved by the care given in Israel in the early years of statehood to deprived and traumatized children (including many Holocaust survivors) from dozens of countries, the majority being refugees fleeing persecution in Arab lands. He suggested that the integration of Oriental and Western children in Israel could be an international model for pluralism.

Israel seemed to fulfil biblical prophecy, as an apocalyptic redemption after centuries of anti-Semitism culminating in the Holocaust: “There has been a terrible wave of persecution; there has been the miracle of the birth of the State; there has been the deliverance from the invading Arabs; there has been the Ingathering; and now there is the struggle demanding a unity which accepts the significance of all these things”. Of the modern significance of the festival of Passover, Spender wrote: “It is not only the celebration of a past religious experience but participation in the miracle of our own times”. Great religious poetry was needed to retell the biblical story in modern terms: Uri Zvi Greenberg was Israel’s poet of national rebirth.

A Matter of Disproportionality

How can the BBC use disproportionality as a weapon against Israel?


Use three maps to explain the damage caused in the latest operations in Gaza during "Cast Lead" and have the ones showing the Arab side very big and deatiled and the one displaying Israel very small and not very detailed.



Here's a map that sort of helps out the Israeli side:

So, The BBC Has a Sense of Humor

Palestinians relaunch unity talks

Leaders of the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have opened reconciliation talks in a renewed effort to create a unity government

A Pal. Interpretation of Obama Via WordlNet

Obama to protest Jewish construction
Palestinian officials 'enthusiastic' about new tone in White House

The Obama administration has pledged to the Palestinian Authority it will closely monitor Jewish construction in the West Bank and will protest any new housing developments in the biblical territory, a top PA negotiator told WND.

"They told us the White House will watch for any Jewish construction," said the PA negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity.

...The PA officials said they were enthusiastic about the new tone of the White House and about recent meetings with Obama's Mideast envoy, former Democratic Sen. George Mitchell. They said they believe that under Obama the Palestinians can extract from Israel concessions reaching "much further" than during talks held under the previous administration.

...A top source said the PA requested that the Obama administration threaten sanctions against Israel for any new Jewish construction in the West Bank.

The source told WND that Obama is said to favor Israel withdrawing from nearly the entire West Bank...The territory, in which about 200,000 Jews live [actually 300,000 already], is tied to Judaism throughout the Torah [and Talmud and 2000 years of Jewish presence] and is often referred to as the biblical heartland of Israel.

The book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at the West Bank city of Shechem (Nablus) and received God's promise of land for his offspring. He was later buried with the rest of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, except for Rachel, in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. The West Bank's Hebron was site of the first Jewish capital.

The nearby West Bank town of Beit El – anciently called Bethel, meaning "house of God" – is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In the dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory. Earlier, God had promised the land of Israel to Abraham at Beit El. In Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested just north of Beit El in Shiloh [that's where I live], believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did You Know No One In the State Dept. Understands Polish?

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Remarks with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski Before Their Meeting
Washington, DC

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is a great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister here. You know, Poland is one of our closest allies, and our relationships between our two countries, particularly the Polish American community and the many contributions that they’ve made, make this an even more special partnership. So, welcome Mr. Minister.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.


Er, what did he say?

Quotable Words

“If I talked about Muslims the way their holy book talks about me, I’d be arrested for hate speech.”

Pat Condell

Amazing Lack of Intelligence on Iran

British appeasement policy can't hold a candle to this guy:

To the Editors:

In their excellent advisory, "How to Deal with Iran" [NYR , February 12], Bill Luers, Tom Pickering, and Jim Walsh omit discussion of one critical issue, which could have considerable leverage in discussions between this country and Iran. In several fora, President Obama has already committed himself to the cause of total nuclear disarmament. What better way to persuade Iran's leaders to give up any lingering wish to obtain nuclear arms than to approach the negotiations after having launched an international discussion of a universal agreement to begin getting rid of existing atomic arsenals? If it were evident that the major nuclear powers, led by the United States, are at long last serious about living up to their [Nuclear Non-Proliferation] treaty obligations and are discussing actual disarmament, they would be in a stronger position to dissuade any others from trying to join a dissolving club.

Robert R. Holt
Professor Emeritus and
Former Director
Program on Peace and Global Policy Studies
New York University
Truro, Massachusetts

This Media Outlet Got It Right

From a Washington Times editorial:

Mrs. Clinton's wrong message on religion

Monday, February 23, 2009

During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Asian tour, a Japanese student asked her how to "eliminate the prejudice towards the Islamic world" in the context of the war on terrorism. Mrs. Clinton responded that the struggle against terrorism is not the result of prejudice against the Muslim world, but a defense against violent extremism. So far so good. Then she added, "Every religion has people who misuse that religion. You know, I'm a Christian, and through the centuries we've had many people who have done terrible things in the name of Christianity. They have perverted the religion."

These pandering remarks send the wrong message...

...Rather than pandering, the United States should be sending a positive message to the world regarding the role of religion in our society. The United States is a plural nation with constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship. In our country people of all faiths live side by side without strife. Religion plays an important role in American society, but in a way that respects the rights and obligations of all believers and, as President Obama likes to point out, the rights of the non-believers as well...

...Were Mrs. Clinton bolder still, she could use the example of Israel, in which freedom of worship is so respected that Israeli sharia courts have the same legal status as rabbinical courts in matters of personal status, such as cases of marriage and divorce. Furthermore, the holiest site in the world for Jews, the Temple Mount, is dominated by a gold-domed mosque. Will we ever see a synagogue in Mecca?


But that's off-limits for non-Muslims, no?

Oh, that's the point.

Leonard Cohen: Observant Jew?

From an interview with him on the occasion of his new tour:

The day after his first American concert in more than 15 years, Leonard Cohen sat in a Manhattan hotel suite warily submitting to an interviewer’s questions, including one about the music in his laptop’s iTunes. In response, he played a klezmer-style Hebrew hymn, then followed it by singing along with one of George Jones’s weepy country morality tales...Religious devotion weighs heavily in both music and life for Mr. Cohen, and it takes many forms...

...About the meaning of those songs, Mr. Cohen is diffident and elusive. Many are, he acknowledges, “muffled prayers,” but beyond that he is not eager to reveal much.

“It’s difficult to do the commentary on the prayer,” he said. “I’m not a Talmudist, I’m more the little Jew who wrote the Bible,” a reference to a line in “The Future,” a song he released in 1992. “I feel it doesn’t serve the enterprise to really examine it from outside the moment.”

...Jennifer Warnes...said: “He has investigated a lot of deities and read all the sacred books, trying to understand in some way who wrote them as much as the subject matter itself. It’s for his own healing that he reaches for those places. If he has one great love, it is his search for God.”

Mr. Cohen is an observant Jew who keeps the Sabbath even while on tour

and performed for Israeli troops during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. So how does he square that faith with his continued practice of Zen?

“Allen Ginsberg asked me the same question many years ago,” he said. “Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I’ve practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity. So theologically there is no challenge to any Jewish belief.”

Well, I have no problems with that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

They Are Dead Serious

BBC reports:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is to seek compensation from Israel for damage to the Gaza War Cemetery incurred during recent shelling. Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban made a personal pilgrimage there to look for the grave of his great uncle who was killed in Gaza during WWI...

...During the recent campaign, the main Gaza War Cemetery suffered extensive damage as Israeli troops and Hamas militants fought nearby.

Now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is seeking compensation from Israel, the BBC has learned.

The organisation estimates the cost of repairing or replacing the 363 headstones damaged by recent Israeli shelling at £95,000.

Excuse me, who said Israel did all the damage?

And what does Israel do about the rockets that fell in our cemeteries?

Four Qassam rockets were fired at the western Negev on Saturday afternoon from the Gaza Strip. The rockets struck the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council and the town of Sderot. Two exploded in the Sderot cemetery

And by the way, it was reported on February 6:-

The Israeli Defence Force said it had not shelled the cemetery during its 22-day assault on Gaza.

It blamed the explosion of a weapons cache during its attack on a nearby Hamas position...Last year, the commemorative altar on a British war grave was blown up by unknown attackers.

The Unstoppable Rabbi

Rabbi Michael Melchior is now a candidate for Jewish Agency chairman, interim.


Prof. Rose Is Wrong - Again

Professor Jacqueline Rose is at it again.

She has an op-ed in The Guardian defending that literary trash of a 'play', "Seven Jewish Children" - which I noted previously - and she attacks Harold Johnston.

However, in trying to prove how faithful the play's text is to classical Zionist sources, she writes:

Repeatedly, Jacobson selects lines from the play as if they self-evidently supported his case. But how can a line like this one – "Tell her it's the land God gave us" – be antisemitic, when David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, stated more than once, "The Bible is our Mandate"? Or, to take another example: "Tell her we're the iron fist now," when it was early Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky who coined the concept of the "iron wall" to convey the idea that the new Jewish nation should be invincible in order to force the Arabs into submission.

Ben-Gurion can fend for himself but Jabotinsky is in need of me and so I left this comment there on The Iron Wall:

My good friend Prof. Rose, who I had occasion to aid in her essay in The Nation on Jabotinsky's novel, "The Five", has made an error in writing this:

"Or, to take another example: "Tell her we're the iron fist now," when it was early Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky who coined the concept of the "iron wall" to convey the idea that the new Jewish nation should be invincible in order to force the Arabs into submission."

As she should know, and I am sure she does, Jabotinsky's 'iron wall' concept, presented in a 1923 essay in two parts, was not to force Arabs into submission but first, to protect Jews from Arab terror which already had struck at Jewish civilians in 1920 in Jerusalem and in 1921 in Jaffa, causing dead and wounded, among them, the author Haim Brener. Secondly, it was to convince the Arabs that they could not cause the Jews to submit and therefore, for the benefit of all, and in the name of justice, they should agree to the idea of a Jewish state.

Here are some extracts:

"...Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel”...

...we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say “no” and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy."

Ms. Rose has twisted Jabotinsky's meaning and so, we are left with the conclusion
that she has also misportrayed the play's intention.

That is too bad, for us, for Ms. Rose and for the people who will be watching antisemitism defended by academics.


Go here, click on the "Listen" button (for the next 4 days) and go to minute 36 to listen to the debate between Rose and Geoffrey Alderman.

Stimulating Humor

United States aid for the Gaza Strip's reconstruction will likely top $900 million, an official said, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared to make her first Mideast trip as America's top diplomat.


The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the donation had not received final approval, said the exact amount was still to be determined.

The official added that the aid would not go to Hamas.


Now, that's a laugh.

An Interesting Opinion

Kadima joining a paralysis government will not pervert the paralysis, but rather, shift the blame for it to Kadima.

Meanwhile, as opposition leader, Kadima would be able to prevent both Meretz and Labor party doves from portraying themselves as the only alternative to the Right. The truth is that the alternative to the settlers at this time is not “peace,” but rather, a drive for partition even without peace.

Gadi Taub

Brit Discovers His Backbone

I think a genteel round of applause is in order:

BBC Trust chairman attacks politicians over Gaza appeal pressure

The chairman of the BBC Trust has attacked political criticism of the controversial decision not to broadcast a Gaza charity appeal.

Sir Michael Lyons told businessmen and women that the BBC faced "undue external pressure" over its refusal to show the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. Speaking to the Cardiff Business Club, he said he had supported director-general Mark Thompson's decision despite "intense controversy".

Sir Michael said: "I began to feel that some of the political criticism of his decision was crossing the delicate line between fair comment and undue interference in the editorial independence of the BBC.

"At that point I thought, and still do, that a red card was in order."

Polish clergy seem to prefer celebrate over celibate

Remember my 'celibate/celebrate' joke (here)?

Well, the Polish clergy have taken it seriously:

Majority of Poland's Catholic priests 'want end to celibacy'

A survey of Poland's Catholic priests has shown that a majority favour an end to celibacy, with some admitting they are already in a relationship with a woman.

The research has dealt a blow to the country's reputation as a champion of traditional Roman Catholic values.

A survey of over 800 priests carried out by Professor Josef Baniak, a sociologist specialising in religious affairs, found that 53 per cent would like to have a wife, while 12 per cent admitted that they were involved in a relationship. A further 30 per cent said that they had had a sexual relationship with a woman.

Prof Baniak concluded from earlier reasearch that the desire to have a relationship and a family was one of the key reasons for priests leaving the priesthood.

His latest research echoes an earlier survey carried out by the Tygodnik Powszechny newspaper. The conservative publication, aimed at Catholic intellectuals, found that as many as 60 per cent of priests wanted the right to marry.

Professor Baniak's survey, however, has come under fire from the Church. Bishop Wojciech Polak, chairman of the Church's Vocations Council, described it as "full of generalisations", adding that he found the "conclusions hard to agree with".

Hillary Clinton Is Coming - Part II

"You mean I have to meet with Bibi?"

Quotable Words

This election is likely a setback for U.S. President Barack Obama's peacemaking agenda and certainly spotlights the shortcomings of the Israeli electoral system, which desperately needs reform. Yet it does broadly reflect the prevailing sentiment among the Israeli public -- that giving up land for peace has been unsuccessful and has weakened Israel. Above all, it shows that once the dust settles, Middle East peacemakers will have to reckon with the increasingly hawkish and ever more fractious Israeli electorate.

Claude Berrebi, an economist at the Rand Corporation

Hillary Clinton Is Coming - Part I

Ahead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's arrival, it seems official Israel is getting busy:

Steps to improve Palestinian daily life in Judea and Samaria

(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)

In accordance with the decision made by the political echelon, the IDF and the Civil Administration took a series of steps in order to significantly improve the Palestinian routine of life in Judea and Samaria. These steps were implemented following meetings between the IDF commanders in the Judea and Samaria region, the heads of the Palestinian Security Authority and other Palestinian senior officials.

The steps that were taken as part of the effort include:

Widening of Palestinian free movement

A road connecting the village of Bani Na'im to road number 60 was opened in the Hebron region, after being blocked due to security reasons since 2001. The checkpoints in the Tulkarm region were reinforced and the passage conditions of the Huwwara checkpoint were dramatically improved. Furthermore, over 135 additional roadblocks were removed in the past year, including the main ones in Rimonim and Atzira A-Shamalia.

Strengthening of the Palestinian Security Forces

Authorization has been given for the opening of 12 new Palestinian police stations, in addition to the 20 new Palestinians police stations authorized last year. Nineteen new Police stations have been built so far.

190 certificates were handed out to Palestinian public figures and security forces personnel (from the rank of Battalion Commander) that allow maximum freedom of movement, as an addition to the 200 people currently holding these certificates.

Following a strict security examination, an individual authorization was given to few senior personnel in the Palestinian security forces, allowing them to have armed security due to real life threat.

Strengthening of the Palestinian economy

The entrance of Israeli Arabs into the city of Nablus is now authorized during weekends. A similar step was taken in the city of Jenin, bringing a significant increase in income to local businesses. The quantity of Palestinian workers permitted to enter Israel has increased, while making the eligibility criteria more flexible.

Relief in the humanitarian sector

An extension was authorized concerning the entrance passes into Israel for those with chronic medical needs and their escorts, as well as medical students doing residencies in Israeli hospitals. The authorizations were extended from a period of three to six months.

Of course, things do go on as normal:

IDF Arrests Eight Terror Suspects

Reported: 08:07 AM - Feb/24/09

( The IDF arrested eight terror suspects over the course of Tuesday night in the Bethlehem, Hevron, Jenin and Kalkilye areas of Judea and Samaria.

The suspects were turned over to the security services for questioning.


Rock Attack next to El Aroub

Reported: 21:20 PM - Feb/23/09

( An Israeli bus was damaged by rocks thrown next to El Aroub, between Bethlehem and Hevron, south of Jerusalem Monday evening.

No injuries were reported in the attack.


Rock Attack next to El Funduk

Reported: 20:56 PM - Feb/23/09

( Two Israeli vehicles were damaged Monday night by rocks thrown at them next to the Palestinian Authority Samarian village of El Funduk, southwest of Shechem.

No injuries were reported in the incident. Israeli troops were summoned to carry out a search of the scene.


Arabs Attack Jews in Samaria, Negev

Reported: 10:32 AM - Feb/23/09

( In Judea and Samaria police are looking for two Arabs who tried to stab a Jew while attempting to hijack his vehicle near the community of Shavei Shomron, south of Jenin. The terrorists faked a traffic accident and tried to steal the Jew’s vehicle when he stopped to help. The victim fought off the attackers who tried to stab him with a screwdriver.

In the Negev, police are searching for Bedouins who attacked Jewish National Fund (JNF) workers as they were preparing land for planting approximately three miles north of Be'er Sheva. No one was wounded, but the Bedouins damaged the equipment before fleeing.

and on and on and on...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yep, Another Archeological Discovery

Arutz 7 reports:

Archaeologists Find Temple-Era Building, Inscriptions

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday that a large building containing what it called "an amazing wealth of inscriptions" dating from the eighth century BCE has been discovered in the Umm Tuba area at the southern end of Jerusalem.

The building was discovered during a salvage operation prior to construction in the area. It was destroyed during the Babylonian conquest and re-occupied resettled retaken by Jews between the Hasmonean period and the destruction of the Second Temple.

...royal seal inscriptions discovered at the site date back to the reign of King Hezekiah.

The full official Antiquities Authority report, with another picture, is here.

By the way, Umm Tubba is where Har Homa neighborhood is.

What Was, Will Be

Arabs and their supporters have several pet projects.

One is making sure Israelis and Jews can't make firm scientific claims about our past.

So, when archeological digs are to be exacavted, all hell breaks loose.

The dig at what is called the Givati Parking Lot just outside the Old City walls, east of the Dung Gate, is viewed, as usual, as an attempt to undermine structures and sneak under the Temple Mount.

The discoveries there are amazing.

But the Ir David crew made another discovery, one in the album of photographs at the American Colony Hotel.

In 1927, it seems, the British, Crawford and Fitzgerald, were digging at the site, where there were no structures at the time.

Here's the proof:

You can there in the background the southern Ottoman wall and the El Aqsa mosque to the back right.

They're Coming To Take Me Away

AFP reports:

Clinton to visit Israel, West Bank next week

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Israel and the occupied West Bank from March 3 on her first official trip to the region, a senior Palestinian official told AFP on Monday.

Clinton will visit after attending an international conference in Egypt to help rebuild Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war in December and January, said senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat. It will be Clinton's first visit since she became President Barack Obama's secretary of state.

Obama's Middle East envoy, former US senator George Mitchell, is expected in the region this week and is due to hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah on Friday, Erakat said.

I hope America wakes up to the dangers it's officials are perhaps forcing on Israel:

Libby Kahane's Reply That Didn't Make the Haaretz Site

Yaakov "Ketzeleh" Katz, MK

MK Yaakov Katz of the National Union Party reacting to the new MKs orientation session.

To his right is Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely and behind him is Yardena Maller, formerly Likud faction secretary and now Knesset Oversight Committee.

Walking Around the Temple Mount

The monthly Temple Mount Gates Roundabout.

It's Adar tonight.

The event is at 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM.

Leaving from the Western Wall Plaza



The Arutz 7 video.

Hurray, That Israeli Film Didn't Get An Oscar!

First, an introduction:

“If we and the movies don’t create an illusion, we’ve failed,” said Mr. Weinstein, whose company released “The Reader.”

"The Reader", of course, excuses the SS, the Germans and a few others who killed (sorry) exterminated Jews. A beautiful woman, a bit of cinema-lite pornography, and poof!, we end up feeling sort of sorry for an illiterate cow who killed Jewish women in concentration camps.

But, my joy is not about Kate Winslett but "Waltzing With Bashir".

This film implicates the IDF in the Sabra & Shatilla Massacre committed by Lebanese Christians against Arab refugees from Mandatory Palestine residng in camps in Beirut in that, supposedly, the IDF shor at refugees fleeing the shooting by their fellow Arabs.

No evidence was ever uncovered regarding this despite a very hostile public atmosphere generated here in Israel in which Ariel Sharon was forced to resign as a result of the Kahan Commission.

In a scathing (Hebrew-language) article, Yossi Blum-HaLevy takes Ari Folman and his film apart. Matti Golan also is angry (in Hebrew).

I'll just mention that the Pal. terror that precluded the military actions by Israel do not exist. Off Israel went into Lebanon, it appears. And its soldiers are cowards.

It's not just an anti-war film but anti-Israel, predicated on self-hate.

Here's Debbie Schlussel's take:

I saw in this animated piece of garbage virtually every canard that HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Israel's enemies around the world have hurled.

Jews as Nazis . . . Check.

Arabs killing Arabs, but it's the Jews' fault . . . Check.

Jews as murderers of "innocent" Muslims . . . Check.

Terrorist Muslims as innocent victims of the Jews . . . Check.

Jews as the Michael Vicks of the Middle East, killing dogs and Arabian horses . . . Check.

Israelis as porn and sex addicts . . . Check.

Israelis as drug addict slackers . . . Check (well, that part is true about the Israeli left, like the scum that made this movie).

Check, Check, Check, Check, Check...

...In a 1.5 hour movie, I counted at least three comparisons of Israeli soldiers to Nazis and the situation to the Holocaust--that's one per half hour. They were called "Nazis." And their entrance into and activities in Lebanon were called both "Auschwitz," and the "Warsaw Ghetto." So let's compare: Innocent Jews rounded up and cooked in ovens versus Palestinians who raped, tortured and murdered the people versus Lebanon getting a tiny deserved taste of their own medicine. Hmmm ... sounds exactly the same to me. How' bout you?

And here's John Rosenthal:

...As concerns Folman’s personal involvement, the results of his efforts at self-examination are notably meager. In the end, he manages merely to “recollect” that he was present on a rooftop while Israeli troops set off flares in the vicinity of Sabra and Shatila, an action that seems to him to have been designed to aid the killers.

Along the way, however, the viewer is served up a veritable orgy of Israeli violence and vulgarity. Israeli soldiers are shown firing indiscriminately into fields and crushing civilian vehicles under their tanks. They are depicted carousing on a military vessel headed for the Lebanese coast (a kind of “love boat,” one character says) and cavorting on Lebanese beaches. They are depicted slaughtering defenseless animals and blowing holes in what appear to be residential structures. “I bombed Beirut every day,” the rock soundtrack blares, “Sure we kill some innocent along the way.” During the “I bombed Beirut” sequence, amidst the scattershot images of varied carnage, Ariel Sharon is depicted sitting down to a breakfast of beef and no less than five eggs, while holding a knife menacingly in his hand. Sharon was the Israeli minister of defense at the time of the Lebanon invasion.

In what may be the single scene most certain to inflame anti-Israeli — if not indeed outright anti-Semitic — prejudice, a portly unshaven Israeli officer is seen slouched half-undressed in an armchair while watching a porn video in an occupied villa on the outskirts of Beirut. (For lord knows what reason, the soundtrack of the porn film is in German.) By virtue of physiognomy and theme, the image is creepily reminiscent of the anti-Semitic caricatures featured in Julius Streicher’s infamous Nazi propaganda sheet Der Stürmer. (See here for an example. The cartoon is titled “Jewish Culture.” It shows a svelte “Aryan” couple contemplating nature, while the Stürmer cartoonist’s stock “fat Jew,” seen in profile, attends a porn flick titled The Sweet Sins.)...

Luckily, it would seem, there are enough smart Jews in Hollywood who saved Israel. Again.

And read Antony Beevor on films that rewrite history: Films that rewrite history, says Antony Beevor, are fatally warping our sense of reality

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Happy Ending

Rightist assaulted by police to be compensated

Court orders two officers accused of manhandling settler during evacuation of West Bank outpost near Ramallah to pay him NIS 4,000 in damages. 'Being a public official cannot cover violent acts,' says Yesha Council

Moral of the Story: Don't Mess With Your Jewish Wife

Don't even think of contradicting the wishes of a Jewish wife.

From Barbara Sofer on the Avitans (here too), which I blogged about:-

ON JANUARY 19, at 8:45 in the evening, they got in their car to leave their home in the village of Shvut Rahel in Samaria, 45 kilometers north of Jerusalem. They were conscious of the time, because they were concerned they'd be late for a workshop they'd registered for at Kochav Hashahar, another village 20 minutes away. Moshe, a building contractor, was at the wheel, driving on the Allon Road. Phone reception in the area is irregular, but on her cellphone Sarah, an English teacher, tried calling her mother Ruth Pepperman in Jerusalem. Her mother didn't answer.

About 10 minutes into the drive, a car started passing them. As it pulled alongside, they heard four loud shots. The window on Moshe's side shattered. "I'm hit," Moshe shouted. "I can't see a thing." He stepped hard on the brakes and they swerved to the side. Their car stopped.

Moshe was bleeding from his mouth and nose. The phone rang. It was Sarah's mother calling her back. "Moshe's been shot. I can't talk," Sarah said and hung up. Sarah looked around quickly. What if the terrorists came back to finish them off?

In seconds she was out of the car. Her fingers dialed the emergency service. They answered on her first try. "Help! I need help! My husband has been shot!" The medic on the line asked her to describe the wound and suggested she have Moshe lie down. There was no way Sarah could get him into the back seat. Besides, she needed to get out of there before the terrorists returned.

Sarah managed to push Moshe into the passenger's seat. Blood poured from his head, but his eye didn't seem damaged. There was a bullet hole in his cheek. The medic told her to press a cloth against it, but there was nothing in the car. She was wearing two shirts. Without hesitation, Sarah lifted one over her head, and ordered Moshe to hold it against the wound. She gripped the wheel and stepped on the gas, heading for Kochav Hashahar.

AS SHE DROVE, Moshe thought he'd reached the end of his life. He thought back to meeting Sarah, whose family immigrated from Manchester, England, when they were youngsters. They'd married 14 years earlier when he was 19 and she was 18.

He bade good-bye to the woman he loved and then recited the Shema.

"I wasn't having any of that," said Sarah. "I didn't just talk to him, I shouted at him, 'I hope you haven't forgotten that we have five daughters to bring up and that you can't leave me alone to do this. You simply have to, have to stay awake and survive this.'"

Who Said 'History Is Boring'?

From a book review:

James Palmer’s “Bloody White Baron,” his life of Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg, is the story of “a loser — albeit an upper-class one” — who turned himself into a visionary psychopath in the Russian far east...Mongolia is the focus, at a time when it was nominally free of Chinese rule after the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty and ushered in a failing republic...Into this terrible shifting world of alliance and double-cross came Baron Ungern, a czarist Buddhist anti-Semite with messianic objectives.

...Prisoners were packed into waterless cars and left to die in sidings. The Whites simply ran amok. Pirates in command of these dreadnoughts of the steppe, but incapable of winning hearts and minds, they spent as much time hunting out Bolshevik spies — and torturing and killing the locals — as they did fighting the Reds. Ungern himself carried this sadistic paranoia to fever pitch.

...the whole story could have possessed the makings of a glorious offshoot of the Great Game, had Ungern been anything more than a murderous sadist. His chief contemporary biographer, the Polish author Ferdinand Ossendowski, ladled on the trappings — the messianic visionary who stood too firm for czar and the right of kings. Presumably Ossendowski saw beyond the torture, the firing squads, the casual executions; perhaps he was not unduly fazed by Ungern’s command to exterminate all the Jews, down to their children. Like many mad people, Ungern had the glittering eye and the gift for wandering prophecy that could, at a pinch, be taken for inspiration; and for a while his life seemed to be demonically protected. But it would be more true to say that the times brought forth the man, and these were appalling times.

...Ungern’s contempt for human life, his icy hatred of Jews, his appeal to a monstrous, ill-formed mysticism fore­shadowed the foundations of the Third Reich...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Protecting National Land

Spotted this advert:

and the short translation:

Tens of thousands of dunams of land pass into Arab hands yearly

Tens of Arab and pro-Arab groups work to achieve the Partition program

Tens of millions of dollars from Arab countries and the EU are poured into the objective of having Arabs take control of state lands

Contribute to the National Land Protection Trust

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Bit of a Mix-up or Pluralism of Conscience

Jason Koutsoukis reports from Ofra:-

Israel's political stalemate has family over barrel


THEY might be a close-knit family of Jewish settlers who live in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but winemaker Yoram Cohen, his son Uriya and father-in-law Jacob Feldman each voted differently in last week's elections.

The reasons why says something about the state of Israel's brief but fraught history, and a lot about the country's knotted political system.

Mr Feldman, 71, voted Likud, the established conservative party of Benjamin Netanyahu that for now remains opposed to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Yoram Cohen, 47, voted Kadima, the centrist party of Tzipi Livni that advocates an independent state of Palestine as the only way to preserve Israeli democracy.

Uriya Cohen, 20, voted National Union, the religious Zionist party that is resolutely opposed to a Palestinian state and supports Jewish settlement across all of the West Bank.

...Yoram Cohen is the one who led the family to the West Bank. He fell in love with Ofra, a settlement about 30 minutes' drive north of Jerusalem after visiting there in 1975. "I was still in high school and it was just a few houses then, but our school brought us here and I fell in love with it, with the peace and tranquillity," Mr Cohen said.

Until about 10 years ago, Mr Cohen made his living as a news photographer, before making enough money to plant grapes in a valley behind his home. Now called the Tanya Winery, named after one of his eight children, Mr Cohen agrees with his father-in-law that a Palestinian state will not eventuate any time soon. "But I believe we need to pursue peace. Kadima has the right approach for this," he said.

..."If this land here became part of a Palestinian state, I would be prepared to move back into Israel, and start again from scratch. If that is what it will take for peace, then I will do it," Mr Cohen said.

...Uriya Cohen...does not even recognise the name West Bank, refer to the 5600-square-kilometre area by the ancient biblical names of Judea and Samaria.

"This is the land that God gave us thousands of years ago and now we are back and we are not leaving," he said...[and] strongly believes in the Jews' biblical right to the land of the West Bank. "Just open the gates to Jordan and let all the Palestinians out. That is where they belong, not here."

Would he ever agree to a Palestinian state along the lines proposed by Mr Olmert?

"Absolutely not. Never. It is never going to happen. No one will ever take my home from me. If anyone does, I will be prepared to fight for it."

Mr Feldman admonishes his grandson for his extreme views - "he's young, he'll change his views as he gets older" - but at the same time says he feels envious of Uriya's certainty...

..."This [the West Bank] is too small a place to have another country, it's too difficult," Yoram Cohen said. "It's probably not much bigger than Melbourne. I think the only way to solve this is that we have to work out a way we can all live with each other."

Livni, Legal Or/And Legitimate

She acknowledged that she was prepared to kill for her country. “To kill and assassinate, though it’s not strictly legal, if you do it for your country, it’s legitimate.”

The "she" there is Tzipi Livni.

Now, as a lawyer, she should know that

...there are no international laws banning assassination. The closest thing to a prohibition is the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents. This treaty (which the United States signed) bans attacks against heads of state while they conduct formal functions, heads of government while they travel abroad, and diplomats while they perform their duties.

The Protected Persons Convention was intended to ensure that governments could function and negotiate even during war. Without it, countries might start a war (or get drawn into one) and then find themselves unable to stop because there was no leader at home to make the decision to do so and because their representatives were getting picked off on their way to cease-fire negotiations.

But other than these narrow cases, the Protected Persons Convention says nothing about prohibiting assassination. Even then it applies only to officials representing bona fide governments and "international organizations of an intergovernmental character." So presumably the convention shields the representatives of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Red Cross, and, probably, the PLO. It does not protect bosses of international crime syndicates or the heads of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.

Another treaty that some might construe as an assassination ban is the Hague Convention on the "laws and customs" of war. The Hague Convention states that "the right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited." (This was a bold statement in 1907, when the convention was signed.)...

...the main legal constraints on sanctioned assassination other than domestic law, which makes murder a crime in almost all countries, are rules that nations impose on themselves.

The U.S. government adopted such a ban in 1976, when President Ford—responding to the scandal that resulted when the press revealed CIA involvement in several assassinations—issued Executive Order 11905. This order prohibited what it called "political assassination" and essentially reaffirmed an often-overlooked ban that Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms had adopted for the CIA four years earlier. Jimmy Carter reaffirmed the ban in 1978 with his own Executive Order 12036. Ronald Reagan went even further in 1981; his Executive Order 12333 banned assassination in toto. This ban on assassination remains in effect today.

Even so, there has been a disconnect between our policy and practice. The United States has tried to kill foreign leaders on several occasions since 1976, usually as part of a larger military operation.

For example, in 1986, U.S. Air Force and Navy planes bombed Libya after a Libyan terrorist attack against a nightclub frequented by American soldiers in Berlin. One of the targets was Muammar Qaddafi’s tent. During Desert Storm in 1991, we bombed Saddam Hussein’s official residences and command bunkers. After the United States linked Osama bin Laden to terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, we launched a cruise missile attack at one of his bases in Afghanistan.

Another opinion:

By examining the strategic and tactical pitfalls in assassination, and by examining human rights law and humanitarian laws regulating assassination, a conclusion is established that assassinations might be technically legal in some circumstances. Yet, complying with international legal obligations entailed therein, and forecasting the security related ramifications of an assassination are difficult.

Maybe in her attempts to subvert Israeli democracy after the elections in which her point-of-view lost resoundingly, Tzipi is assassination Israeli democracy?

(Kippah tip: Muqata for pointing me to the article even though I zeroed in on something else)

So, The Pals. Are Guilty for the "Settlements"?

Myths and Facts by Mitch Bard has a post on the matter.

Some excerpts:

The claim is often made that “settlements are an obstacle to peace.” If, at almost any juncture in the last 42 years, the Palestinians had said yes to peace and no to terror they could have stopped the growth of Israeli communities in the territories. The Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, were unwilling, however, to make peace before a single settlement existed and have repeatedly missed opportunities to establish a state...

...Had the Arabs responded to Israeli overtures immediately after the 1967 War, only a handful of Jews would have lived in the territories...

...Today, while most Israelis still believe in a two-state solution, there is little enthusiasm for additional territorial concessions that could put Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion International Airport and Israel’s heartland within the range of the type of deadly rockets that Hamas unleashed over the last three years from the Gaza Strip. The unremitting terror campaign has again made the prospect for Palestinian statehood more remote and allowed the population of settlers to grow in the last three years from approximately 250,000 to 276,000.

The historical record clearly documents the relationship between Palestinian irredentism and the number of Jewish settlers. It is not settlements that are the obstacle to peace, but Palestinian terror and obstinance. The Jewish population in the territories will continue to grow exponentially as long as the Palestinians pursue this failed policy. Israel proved it would dismantle settlements in exchange for peace after signing a treaty with Egypt...

But, I do not intend on moving as, among other things, the Pals. are too accident-prone so it wouldn't help. And I don't yield on my rights in any case.

A NYTimes Oops

Here's the entire NYTimes report I found here, at 11 AM Israel time..

If you read anything about American lawmakers, let me know.

February 19, 2009
American Lawmakers Visit Gaza

JERUSALEM — Israel’s security cabinet voted Wednesday to make the opening of Israel’s border crossings with Gaza, a central Hamas demand for any long-term cease-fire arrangement, conditional on the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas.

The cabinet decision, widely seen as a hardening of the Israeli stance, seemed to dim the prospects for a quick conclusion to the Egyptian-brokered talks for a consolidated truce.

But the unanimous vote merely formalized the position that was being articulated with increasing clarity in recent days by the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and seemed more focused on expediting a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas for the soldier’s return.

Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, is demanding the release of as many as 1,400 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails in return for the captive soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit. He was seized in a cross-border raid and taken into Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups in June 2006.

A government statement released after the five-hour cabinet meeting said the release of the soldier was a “top priority” for Israel and would “entail the release of Palestinian prisoners.”

Significantly, the statement omitted any reference to a longstanding cabinet decision barring the release of Palestinian prisoners with “blood on their hands,” meaning those convicted of planning or perpetrating attacks in which Israelis had died. Hamas has demanded the release of many such prisoners in return for Corporal Shalit.

“We want to see this over,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr. Olmert, in reference to the Shalit case. “We are willing to pay a difficult price.”

Mr. Regev said specific numbers of prisoners had been discussed in the cabinet meeting, as well as some specific names, so that the ministers fully understood what was involved. But a final list of prisoners has yet to be agreed on, he said.

Hamas has rejected any link between an opening of the crossings as part of a cease-fire and a deal to release Corporal Shalit.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said the Israeli position “imposes new conditions at the last minute.”

“This completely contradicts the Egyptian and Palestinian positions,” he continued in a statement, and he accused Israel of “blackmail.”

He added that Hamas “had no objection” to releasing the Israeli soldier if Israel met his group’s demands for a prisoner exchange.

This week, Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, also rejected any direct link between the truce and the release of Corporal Shalit.

But Meir Sheetrit, the Israeli interior minister, who attended Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, told reporters afterward that Israel “cannot come to any agreement with Hamas or Egypt without solving the issue of Gilad Shalit.”

Egypt has been brokering talks for a long-term truce since Israel ended its 22-day war against Hamas in Gaza a month ago. Hamas is demanding open border crossings and a lifting of the economic embargo that Israel has imposed on Gaza since the militant group took over the area in 2007.

Israel demands an end to rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants against population centers in southern Israel, and a halt to weapons smuggling by Hamas.

In the meantime, the Israeli security cabinet said it would allow only “partial activities at the crossings” to “supply the immediate and basic humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population.” Human rights organizations and some foreign officials have denounced the policy as collective punishment.

The recent sharpening of Israel’s position has caused tension inside the country, too. Amos Gilad, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s liaison in talks with the Egyptians, was quoted in the newspaper Maariv on Wednesday as having told an associate that Israel was risking its relations with Egypt.

“I don’t understand what it is that they’re trying to do,” Mr. Gilad was quoted as saying about the Israeli government. “To insult the Egyptians? We’ve already insulted them. It’s madness. It’s simply madness. Egypt has remained almost our last ally here.”

An Israeli government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the dispute, said Mr. Olmert had called Mr. Gilad in and reprimanded him for his remarks, none of which Mr. Gilad denied.

In Gaza, unexploded ordnance left behind by the Israelis has disappeared from a storage site that was guarded by the Hamas police, United Nations officials and Hamas police representatives said on Wednesday. The missing ordnance, including bombs dropped from Israeli warplanes, was awaiting safe disposal by a team working with the United Nations.

United Nations officials have been circumspect in blaming any specific party for the disappearance of the bombs, but Israel has pointed a finger at Hamas.

A Hamas police officer said the ordnance disappeared when those guarding the site were “obliged to evacuate” their positions after they heard remotely piloted Israeli drones in the sky. He said the bombs could have been stolen by “fighters, but we are still investigating.”

Mark Buswell, the technical director of the group working to clear the unexploded ordnance, said it was the Hamas police who first brought in the weapons, which included two guided missiles and powerful aerial bombs.

On Wednesday, Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, began consultations with the political parties recently elected to Parliament to determine which one should form the next governing coalition.

The centrist Kadima Party, led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, narrowly won 28 seats in the 120-seat Parliament. The more conservative Likud Party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, won 27 seats, but has broader support in Parliament.

Both Ms. Livni and Mr. Netanyahu have claimed victory and the right to lead the next government. Mr. Peres is likely to choose the party leader with the best chance of forming a coalition. Most analysts believe that would be Mr. Netanyahu.

Taghreed El-Khodary contributed reporting from Gaza.

Here's the AP storty:

US lawmakers make rare visit to Gaza

JERUSALEM (AP) — The American consulate says U.S. lawmakers are visiting the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Consulate spokeswoman Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm says Thursday's visit by Democrats Reps. Brian Baird of Washington and Keith Ellison of Minnesota is the first of its kind to Gaza in at least four years.

She says Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry is also expected to arrive in Gaza later Thursday to meet with officials from international organizations there. The lawmakers are expected to meet with U.N. officials, and there are no plans to talk to the ruling Hamas group.

The U.S. considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization and has not recognized its authority in Gaza. Hamas militants violently took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Anyone want to come visit me in Shiloh?


LATMA is a new blog, in Hebrew, dealing with media issues.

Caroline Glick. Erel Segel.

Critiques, satire, the whole hog, er, goat.

Here is an example of their weekly "news updates and reports".

Dust Sky in Jerusaelm

We've had fog in Jerusalem,

and we've had cloudy skies,

and we've had snowy skies

And now, we have had dust skies:

a) looking towards the King David Hotel-

b) looking towards Mt. Zion -

c) looking towards the hidden Jaffa Gate -