Sunday, December 31, 2006

Liberalism Under Attack By Judge

St. Louis judge's outspoken book causing controversy

A liberal-bashing book by a veteran St. Louis judge is to become available publicly this week, but it is already causing a stir in political and legal circles — and prompting some to say it could cost him his job...

In a recent interview, however, Dierker defended the book's themes, welcomed the criticism and said his own lawyers say the book doesn't break any rules.

The first chapter was heavily discussed at the recent holiday party for the Women Lawyers' Association of Greater St. Louis. One judge who attended noted, "Everyone's just pretty much shocked." Association President Lynn Ricci said, "I have read it. I find it disturbing." She also said, "I frankly think that it is a shame that this very smart man has lowered himself to name-calling."...

He may face repercussions in the courtroom. Lawyers could cite the book as evidence that Dierker is unable to be impartial on issues involving women, or liberals, or the American Civil Liberties Union, for example, forcing his removal from cases.

Dierker responds that he is always fair in the courtroom, and paraphrases the book: "Conservative judges are much more likely to know where their biases are and how to draw the line."...

Dierker said that he had to be "polemical" in the book to get attention, and said "controversy is inevitable." But, he said, the controversy may draw
attention to an issue that is permeating the law and the judiciary. "If I wrote
a law review article, who would read it?" he asked.

"I think unquestionably, the more controversy, the more interest it generates from the mundane to the philosophical," he said.

Dierker said criticism of the book may be unpleasant. But, he adds, "If you dish it out, you have to be able to take it."

Deb Does "Palestine" (and Santa)

Deb Reich sends us Greetings from the Occupied Holy Lands

Dear Santa,

I live in Israel/Palestine and I think I am probably addicted to the big bad conflict we have here...Santa, tell me: What in God's name have we done to the children?

If I feel like praying, I can access a direct line to the Almighty by email or fax They have these handy services now. Here's what you do: (1) Compose your prayer. (2) Send it by email, fax, or post and the company will print it and take it to the ancient Western (formerly Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem and stuff it in the cracks with thousands of other supplications to the Most High. Express delivery guaranteed! (3) Pay by credit card, from anywhere - unless you're in Gaza: Gaza the besieged, the starving, where there is no email, fax, or post, no credit card, no electricity, no water, no work, no bread, and not much else, either. You can still pray there, but the company cannot guarantee delivery, and anyhow the service is not really designed for Muslims.

Santa, I have a few other outgoing letters If you know how to get them to their destinations, give me a hand here, okay? And thanks for listening.

Dear Spirit of Love,

Or whatever your name is - get us into rehab, quick! We need help! We are massacring the neighbors - we are killing each other here. People are besieged, shot, bombed, terrorized, and I swear, some folks justify this. They justify it. How sick is that?! We need help! Most of us want to stop the killing but we don't know how. Help!

Dear Abby,

I am a Jewish freethinker in Israel. (Sometimes I write "in Israel/Palestine" because it seems to make more sense, but we won't go into that now.) I have a question. If Jewish renewal in Palestine after a thousand generations is visionary and noble, why is the idea of repatriating the displaced Palestinians after a mere fifty or sixty years seen as delusional? I don't get it.

Deb Reich is a writer and translator in Israel/Palestine. Contact her at

Finkelstein Flunks

Norman Finkelstein wages battle.

From its initial encounter with Palestine the Zionist movement confronted a seemingly intractable dilemma: How to create a Jewish state in a territory that was overwhelmingly non-Jewish? Israeli historian Benny Morris observes that Zionists could choose from only two options: "the way of South Africa"--i.e., "the establishment of an apartheid state, with a settler minority lording it over a large, exploited native majority"--or "the way of transfer"--i.e., "you could create a homogeneous Jewish state or at least a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority by moving or transferring all or most of the Arabs out."

During the British Mandate period (1917-1947) Zionist settlers labored on both fronts, laying the foundations of an apartheid-like regime in Palestine while exploring the prospect of expelling the indigenous population.

Ah, so they did nothing else?

Mapam did nothing.

Ihud did nothing.

Brit Shalom did nothing.

Mapai and its Histadrut did absolutely nothing.

There was no cooperation. No negotiations. No mediation.

Finkelstein flunks history.

Those Democrats and the Jews

The 2006 midterm elections confirmed once again a truism of American politics: American Jews remain overwhelmingly devoted to the Democratic party. According to exit polling, the tilt this year was, if anything, even more pronounced than it has been in the past. Some 88 percent of Jewish votes went to Democratic candidates, while a mere 12 percent went to the GOP.

Along with this lopsided outcome, a historical extreme, comes the news that the number of Jewish representatives in Congress has itself reached an all-time high...

...the paradoxical and disturbing fact is that even as Jewish voters remain unwaveringly loyal to the Democrats, and even as Jewish representation in national office, almost entirely Democratic in color, has risen to an all-time high, the Democratic party itself is becoming demonstrably less hospitable to Jewish interests. Indeed, on at least one matter of central concern—the safety and security of the state of Israel—the party and the American Jewish community may be heading toward a slow-motion collision.

Read more.

What A (You Should Excuse Me) Dumb Question

Can we
Restrain ourselves
When the Qassams
Land in Sderoth
And hurt people?

Can they
Restrain themselves
When we kill
Dozens of Palestinians
In the West Bank?

These people are so very clever, are they not?

Well, maybe "clever" but not that smart.

Tel Shiloh in London's Daily Telegraph

The London Telegraph had a story on Tel Shiloh and I missed it at the time.

Here it is:-

'Church of the Ark' found on West Bank
By Harry de Quetteville in Shiloh
Last Updated: 1:40am GMT 04/12/2006

Archaeologists claimed yesterday to have uncovered one of the world's first churches, built on a site believed to have once housed the Ark of the Covenant.

The site, emerging from the soil in a few acres in the hills of the Israeli occupied West Bank, is richly decorated with brightly coloured mosaics and inscriptions referring to Jesus Christ.

According to the team, led by Yitzhak Magen and Yevgeny Aharonovitch, the church dates to the late 4th century, making it one of Christianity's first formal places of worship.

"I can't say for sure at the moment that it's the very first church," said Mr Aharonovitch, 38, as he oversaw a team carrying out the final excavations before winter yesterday. "But it's certainly one of the first." He said the site contained an extremely unusual inscription which referred to itself, Shiloh, by name.

"That is very rare and shows early Christians treated this as an ancient, holy place," said Mr Aharonovitch. According to the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, was kept by the Israelites at Shiloh for several hundred years.

It was eventually moved to the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple that the Bible says was built by King Solomon around 1000 BC. When the temple was sacked by the Babylonians 400 years later, the Ark was lost, sparking theories about whether it had been hidden or destroyed.

The team at Shiloh is considering whether to dig under the beautiful mosaics that they have uncovered, in order to find traces of the Ark. "We have to decide whether to fix the mosaics here or take them to a museum," said Mr Aharonovitch.

Jewish residents in the modern settlement of Shiloh, which sits on a hill amidst Palestinian villages, want the team to keep digging.

David Rubin, a former mayor of Shiloh, said: "We believe that if they continue to dig they'll reach back to the time of the Tabernacle," referring to the portable place of worship where the Israelites housed the Ark.

Oh My, Diplomatic Robbery

In Jerusalem, December 9:-

Yesterday, M and I, along with two other friends from the consulate, decided to do the ramparts walk in the Old City. That is where you walk around the top of the Old City walls. The views are great and we all took some great pictures. We were all talking about what a beautiful day it was, how much fun we were having and how Jerusalem overall is a pretty easy place to live. That is probably what jinxed us.

We walked up the stairs to a wide part of the rampart (maybe 20 feet wide by 40 feet long....most of it was only a few feet wide). In hindsite, all of us looked up at the two Palestinian teenagers and thought it was odd that they were up there. But all of us dismissed it...true we were on a remote part of the walk, but we were barely a few steps from Lion's gate, the end of the tour, where the police stand. And we knew most of the Old City is covered by cameras, so few crimes more serious than pickpocketing ever occur there.

I was in the lead and the first guy, by the stairs up onto that part of the rampart, asked me in English "what clock," pointing to his wrist. I told him it was almost 1. He said thank you in Hebrew, then stammered a bit and said "you're welcome" in English. I continued on across, figuring this wasn't a place to dally and plus I was hungry and ready to go get lunch. And I as I walked past the second guy, who was standing near the stairs going down on the other side, he said, "wait wait." I looked at him and he said, "give money." I thought he was begging and I said no. Then he pulled out his knife and said "give money." This made me mad, and I said no again. Then he pointed to my camera (a little canon elph) and said "give camera." And I yelled no and put it in my pocket. What I didn't see was that the first boy, the one I had told the time, was clearly the leader (the guy demanding money from me was clearly nervous) and was angry at my defiance. M said he lunged towards me with his knife, a switchblade. She yelled, "Give him the f**king money." This stopped the first guy, and I reached in my pocket and pulled the first bill off the money in my pocket, a 100 shekel bill (a little less than $25 dollars) and handed it to him. M told him I had her money and I told him that was all we had.

In the meantime, our two friends pulled out their wallets. One handed them everything she had, $150 and 120 shekels. The other pulled out a 20 shekel bill and when they demanded more she gave them another 20 shekels (she had about 800 shekels on her). They kept demanding more, but Mary yelled "that's enough." And since some more tourists were coming, the two ran off. In retrospect, I think the one friend giving them so much money was what kept them from continuing to demand more or from hurting us. I don't think the one who asked me for the money and my camera would have hurt us. He was clearly nervous. But the other seemed more dangerous.

We went straight downstairs and reported it to the police, who ran into the city and grabbed every Arab kid they could find in a red shirt (none the right one). One poor group of boys got brought to us twice. Our security came down and sat with us while were inviewed in the police station. It took hours. We didn't get out until nearly 5.

I am hopeful they will catch the guys because of all the cameras. Plus, the police seemed really concerned about the boys having weapons and attacking diplomats.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Irate Because of Iran

A letter that was published in the Int'l Herald Tribune:-

Regarding the news article "Rhetoric heats up at Holocaust conference" (Dec. 13): President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has again called the Holocaust a myth.

I arrived in Auschwitz at age 13 on May 22, 1944 with my mother, a 10-year- old sister, my grandparents, two uncles, three aunts and nine cousins, ages six to 12. I was separated from them that night, never to see them again.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad and the delegates at his conference in Tehran, who I presume have done thorough and considerable research to arrive at their conclusions, could tell me what happened to them?

Jack Garfein, Sèvres, France

Ahmad, any answer?

Josh Hasten's NYT Letter

This appeared in today's New York Times:-

You say that a proposed new settlement “adds nothing to Israel’s security.” But without the presence of Jewish communities on strategic West Bank highlands, the suburbs of Tel Aviv would very likely come under Palestinian rocket bombardments similar to the attacks suffered by Israelis living on the outskirts of Gaza.

Those daily attacks actually prove that the withdrawal from settlements only enables the Palestinians to continue to pursue a path of violence.

Josh Hasten
Jerusalem, Dec. 27, 2006

Josh is a former spokesman for the Yesha Council and it is unfortunate that the Council does not employ him or someone else on a regular basis to engage in information and media activities.

Baker's Finger

I found this while going through some old papers.

It relates specifically to the infamous "F*ck the Jews" statement of James the III but after his Iraq Report, it's now up-to-date.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Topographical Map of Shiloh, 1941

Well, Shiloh per se isn't listed.

But Seilun is - and that's the Greek spelling as we know from the inscriptions I've posted from the newly excavated Byzantine basilica mosaic.


It reads "Lord Jesus, Christ, Have Mercy on Seilun and its Inhabitants. Amen."

Without Peace Now, Haaretz Seems Unreliable

Israeli settlers have set up 200 mobile homes in the West Bank without official approval during the past six months, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday, citing military documents. But both the army and a settlement watchdog group disputed the report.

The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which took power in May, has promised to block unauthorized settlement activity. However, such activity has increased dramatically since the summer, the report in the Haaretz newspaper said.

The paper said its report was based on statistics obtained from the Civil Administration, the army office in charge of the West Bank, but Civil Administration spokesman Shlomo Dror denied Haaretz's claim.

"There were attempts to transfer trailers, but except for one or two we managed to stop it," Dror said.

Dror Etkes, who monitors settlement activity for the Israeli group Peace Now, said he was "surprised" by the Haaretz report, and wasn't aware of any large movement of trailers during the past six months.

"This doesn't match what I know about what's been going on in the West Bank in recent months," Etkes said.

Ironic, isn't it?

Peace Now is more moderate in its claims than Haaretz.

Ambulance Hoax Follow-up

LGF sums up the follow-up reports on the Ambulance story.

What "ambulance story"?

This one:-

On December 19, 2006, the international advocacy organization Human Rights Watch issued a detailed, intensively researched report unequivocally affirming the factuality of an intentional Israeli attack on Red Cross ambulances at Qana on July 23. The report (titled "The 'Hoax' That Wasn't") by Human Rights Watch was created specifically to counter the claims made in my original essay titled "The Red Cross Ambulance Incident."

This commentary is a response to Human Rights Watch's new allegations.


If you are not already familiar with the claims and counter-claims concerning the July 23, 2006 "Red Cross Ambulance Incident" at Qana, Lebanon, then this article will likely make little sense to you. If you have not yet done so, first invest the time to read my original report that started this discussion: The Red Cross Ambulance Incident, at Next, read the entirety of Human Rights Watch's rebuttal of that essay: The "Hoax" That Wasn't: The July 23 Qana Ambulance Attack, by Human Rights Watch.

The story, in a very small nutshell, is this:

Various media outlets claimed that on July 23, 2006, Israel intentionally bombed two Red Cross ambulances in the village of Qana in Lebanon, piercing one of the vehicles right in the center of the red cross on its roof. I wrote an essay disputing the media's version of events, eventually concluding -- after examining all known evidence of the incident -- that there most likely had never been an attack at all. This essay received a great deal of notoriety, which prompted several media outlets to attempt to re-confirm the incident; in updates to my essay, I rebutted those new reports as well. After several months, Human Rights Watch has now issued what it deems to be a definitive re-affirmation that the July 23 incident actually occurred. This essay is a response to that new report.

My conclusion -- at which I did not arrive lightly -- is that Human Rights Watch, despite an elaborate investigation, failed to make a convincing case that the ambulances were indeed intentionally attacked by Israel.

But don't just take my word for it: read the analysis below and draw your own conclusions.

The Subtle Caricature

Found here.

So, That's What We Were Missing

A Palestinian murder mystery novel.

"This powerful first novel from British journalist Rees humanizes the struggle of the West Bank, where Omar Yussef, a modest 56-year old schoolteacher in the Dehaisha Palestinian refugee camp, becomes an unlikely detective amid the uncertainties and violence of modern Bethlehem. ... The characters and the setting are so richly textured and the politicized events so wrenching that the mystery story becomes incidental. Though the story's conclusion offers a gratifying payoff, for many readers the real reward will be a more immediate sense of a distant and bewildering conflict."
-- Publishers Weekly

I set the first of my Palestinian mystery novels in Bethlehem because, for me, the town embodies that people's predicament: Everyone in the world has heard about it and even has ideas how to make it better, but that knowledge doesn't accord to the sinister, noirish reality in which the locals live and about which most journalism tells so little.

At the real-life elementary school where my fictional hero teaches, I read some fresh graffiti last week: "We water the garden with our red blood to let the olive tree grow higher."

The olive is a symbol of Palestinian steadfastness. As the students jumped joyfully all around me for no other reason than that I look rather foreign, I could only hope it wouldn't be their blood feeding the trees.

From Rachel's Tomb, the site where Jews believe one of their Biblical matriarchs lies buried and which I've seen transformed from a crumbling old building with a small dome to a three-story fortress, the road to Manger Square is instructive. Christmas lights are up all along the street, paid for with a big private donation, according to townspeople. But it turns out the street's merchants are paying for the lights.

You can also look at a short film introducing the hero of the novels, Omar Yussef, which features some of the Bethlehem locations from the first book.

Yes, There Still Are Heroic Soldiers

Petty Officer Third Class Dustin Kirby, a U.S. Navy corpsman, was severely wounded by an Iraqi sniper on Christmas afternoon, his family and the Marine Corps said.

The bullet struck the left side of his face while he was on the roof of Outpost Omar, the position his unit occupies in Karma, a city near Falluja in Anbar Province. He suffered extensive damage to his jaw and upper palate, but after several surgeries was conscious and on a ventilator in a military hospital in Germany, his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth DeTreux, said by telephone Thursday...It was his second tour in Iraq. He married weeks before leaving the United States.

DeTreux said Kirby, rendered speechless by the structural damage to his mouth, had begun writing notes to communicate within minutes of being shot, when he jotted a note to his platoon before being evacuated by helicopter. In the first note he apologized to the company's senior enlisted man for being wounded, the colonel said. He then refused a stretcher and insisted on walking to the helicopter under his own power.

"The Only Democracy..."

IMRA pointed me to this item:-


Israel's parliament has approved draconian measures against Jewish opponents of the government's withdrawal policy without being allowed to read the document.

The government measures, said to remain in effect today, were approved by a special Knesset committee in late 2005 in a closed session. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who helped draft the proposals allowed only one parliamentarian to review the document, which enabled the detention of thousands of people, many of them without formal charges.

"The police have issued guidelines to the prosecutors and to the police prosecutors in regard to implementation of the Disengagement [withdrawal] plan and they said that these guidelines are secret," Knesset member Michael Eitan, then chairman of the Constitution and Law Committee, said.

Eitan led the meeting of the committee during a secret session on Aug. 7, 2005, on the eve of the Israeli expulsion of 16,000 Jews from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. During the meeting, a transcript of which was recently obtained, Eitan acknowledged that the regulations proposed by Mazuz were draconian and violated civil rights.

"I received a complaint that the police have issued draconian guidelines to act in a certain way against demonstrators," Eitan said. "And there is a prosecution policy that was especially tailored to repress the demonstrators and to harm their rights."

In April 2005, Mazuz, who quashed a police investigation into corruption by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, issued a secret four-page guideline to police, prosecutors and judges regarding efforts to counter the campaign to block the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. The document included the use of administrative detentions, or imprisonment without charges, the treatment of minors as adults and the arrest of peaceful protesters.

"A fight that is ideologically-motivated causes all parties involved to become more radical," Mazuz told the Israel Bar Association in May 2005. "This forces us to monitor the process on a daily basis."

"The courts have demonstrated a stern approach and approved most of our requests for arrests, including arrests until the end of judicial proceedings," Mazuz added.

Officials said the guidelines enabled the arrest and imprisonment of about 4,000 Jewish opponents of the Sharon government by September 2005. They said many of them were ordered to be held for months until trial.

"They arrested people collectively," attorney Gadi Tal, who has represented anti-government defendants, said. "No judge checked to see the evidence up front. The worst cases were during the Disengagement: A minor who sat a week in jail and no indictment was issued against him. On the face of it, there was no evidence. From the outset they shouldn't have been jailed."

In August 2005, Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan told the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee that his office issued 634 indictments against withdrawal protesters. Nitzan said that more than 200 of them were against minors.

The State Prosecutor has acknowledged that authorities have operated in accordance to the secret guidelines. A spokeswoman said the guidelines remain classified nearly 18 months after the withdrawal.

"The state prosecutor's office issued specific guidelines for internal use, which were not meant to be published," Justice Ministry spokeswoman Ganit Ben-Moshe told "The guidelines were presented in full before the subcommittee of the Knesset Constitution and Law Committee. The guidelines were then presented with some paragraphs erased to the entire committee."

But the transcript of the August 2005 session of the Knesset committee asserted that only Eitan had access to the redacted document. During the hearing, Eitan, who termed Mazuz's secrecy requirements "ludicrous," read portions of the proposed legislation to two other members.

At one point, Knesset member Roni Bar-On, today a minister in the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, suggested that the guidelines and their secrecy were undemocratic. Bar-On, who has yet to discuss the hearing in public, protested Mazuz's insistence that nobody other than Eitan, who has refused to comment on the hearing, be allowed to see the document.

"Guidelines regarding indictments are secret?" Bar-On asked. "What could guidelines that concern indictments contain? It's every person's basic right to know what are the guidelines of the attorney general or any other decision-making body."

"I have a systematic problem," Bar-On added. "If they tell us that we Knesset members can't be privy to material that the state prosecutor and police have seen, then I'm not willing to play the game. I don't understand the purpose of our session. Is it to be able to say in due time that the constitution committee dealt with this?"

Still, the committee, which did not hold a vote, was recorded as approving the government guidelines. Eitan said the guidelines related to the prosecution of minors, police treatment of violent protesters and charging demonstration leaders with sedition.

"There were certainly issues that upset us," Knesset member Naomi Blumenthal, who also attended the secret session, told

In October 2005, Mazuz issued another set of guidelines on the treatment of those practicing civil disobedience against the government's withdrawal policy. The document authorized the dismissal of charges against protesters who did not employ violence or minors without a prior criminal record.

But attorneys for the Jewish detainees said the prosecution has ignored the new guidelines and still operate according to the draconian regulations approved in August 2005. They said prosecutors continue to indict minors and others on trivial charges.

"The judges do not throw out cases on the basis of 'deminimus,'" attorney Eytan Lehman, referring to the principle that the judicial system does not prosecute trivial charges, said. "They rely on the authority of the prosecutor and his judgement. There is no supervision in the attorney general's office as to whether they abided by the guidelines or not."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Verrrrry Interesting

This could turn out to be a very interesting legal conundrum:

AG to Eitam: Repeating anti-Arab comments may lead to charges

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz warned MK Efi Eitam (National Union) on Thursday that he may face charges should he repeat his call to expell the vast majority of West Bank Palestinians and to ban Israeli Arabs from participating in Israeli politics.

In a letter sent by the deputy attorney general for special projects, Shay Nitzan, MK Eitam was told that, "The attorney general has reached the conclusion these statements constitute a criminal offense. However, despite the severity of the matter the attorney general decided an investigation would not be launched at this point in time."

"The attorney general has asked me to advise you that repeating similar statements in the future may lead to criminal proceedings against you," Nitzan said in the letter.

To charge an MK with expressing an opinion as acting in a criminal fashion is a bit over-the-top.

If Eitam attempts to table a bill, then either it is defeated or, as happened with MK Kahane, the legislation was deemed inappropriate for Knesset discussion and was taken off the agenda.

If he travels, say, to Turkey to learn of population transfer methods (Cyprus 1974), then maybe he could be compared to Azmi Besharah.

I would suggest to AG Mazuz that he first learn to apply the law, specifically Para. 11 of the Citizenship Law (*). Or the Law for the Protection of the Holy Places, Para. 2 (Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of seven years. Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years).

Then he could deal with Eitam.

ביטול אזרחות (תיקון: תשכ"ח, תש"ם)
(א) אזרח ישראלי שיצא מישראל שלא כדין לאחת מהמדינות הנזכרות בסעיף 2א לחוק למניעת הסתננות (עבירות ושיפוט), תשי"ד - 1954, או רכש את אזרחותה, יראוהו כמי שויתר על אזרחותו הישראלית והיא תתבטל מיום יציאתו מישראל; ביטול אזרחותו הישראלית של אדם לפי סעיף קטן זה, מבטל גם את אזרחותו הישראלית של ילדו הקטין שאיננו תושב ישראל.
(ב) שר הפנים רשאי לבטל את אזרחותו הישראלית של אדם אשר עשה מעשה שיש בו משום הפרת אמונים למדינת ישראל.

Jewish Power

With clothes and without.

Well, sort of.


Why is that week different from all others? Members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America recently received a memo discussing options for rescheduling next fall’s Fashion Week, which coincides with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Designers currently slated to show on the holy day, September 13, include Calvin Klein (Jew!), Zac Posen (Jew!), and Vera Wang (married to a Jew!).
The memo presents three alternatives: no change, moving it forward two days, or delaying it until October. It seems likely, insiders say, that the CFDA’s going to go with option two and bump up Fashion Week to September 5 through 12, ending before sunset. “It’s a courtesy to the industry, which has a large number of Jewish people involved, not to present shows on the holiest days of the calendar, as the French did last season, showing over Yom Kippur,” says Suzy Menkes (Jew!), fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.

The CFDA is planning to review all responses to the memo before making any definite changes. CFDA president (and Jew!) Diane Von Furstenberg “doesn’t have strong feelings either way and wants the decision to be a collective agreement between designers.”

And How Many This Year?

Behind the news

Nearly three million Muslims have begun the annual haj pilgrimage today, leaving the Saudia Arabian city of Mecca to complete a series of rituals to cleanse themselves of sin.

Extra security measures have been brought in to prevent stampedes which have killed thousands in past years.

During the last haj, in January, more than 350 pilgrims were crushed to death during a stone-throwing ritual near to the entrance of the Jamarat bridge.

Saudi security forces are marshalling the pilgrimage amid concerns that increased fighting between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq could spill over into the haj.

So, how many this year?

Is Ladbrokes involved?

And to be even:-

Stampede Kills Twelve At Annual Religious Gathering

WOODMERE, NEW YORK - [] Twelve people were killed on Thursday in a stampede at the annual membership dinner of Congregation Knessess Yisroel of Woodmere. The victims were trampled as large numbers of attendees surged towards the sushi table. The annual religious gathering was held at The Black Shul in Short Beach.

“I thought I was going to die,” said eyewitness Melvin Friedlander, a Long Island Opthamologist. “One moment people were standing in an ordinary queue. And then when the fake crab was brought out all gehennem broke loose.”

This is the third synagogue dinner this year where tragedy struck. In January, four people were killed when an angry mob fought over a small quantity of tiramisu at a Viennese table. And last month several people were critically wounded during a frantic exodus immediately preceding the speeches.

Following the announcement of the fatalities, Rabbi Calvin Goldfarb issued a statement on behalf of the synagogue. “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” said Rabbi Goldfarb. He added, “This incident reminds us of the fragility of life and the importance of keeping your community in mind when planning your estate.”

Shirley Himmelstein, whose husband Morris was injured at the dinner, was unsatisfied with the statement of the Rabbi. “When my Morris was lying there, I looked for Rabbi Goldfarb to lead the congregation in taking the injured to safety. But when I found him he was number three on the roast beef line and did not want to give up his place.”

The tragedy is having reverberations in the broader Jewish community, where community advocates have focused on the issue of synagogue dinner safety for years. According to Dr. Moishe Christianson, this incident could have been avoided. "I do not understand how we continue to have such things happen year in and year out. I know people like to fill up at the buffet, but can’t people eat a little less or at least divide their time by going to the salad station?”

But Rabbi Yankee Knockwurst of the Rabbinical Association of Traditional Temples (RATT) dismissed Dr. Christianson’s criticism. “This was an unusual incident that does not reflect the broad success of the hundreds of dinners we have every year. Thousands of people attend these events annually, seeking to perform the mitzvah of supporting their community. While any loss of life is a horrible thing, we should never ignore all the good that comes out of these dinners.” As examples, Rabbi Knockwurst highlighted funding for the Kollel Wives Social Club and the Chevra Kadisha.

Rabbi Knockwurst also noted several innovations introduced over the years to enhance the safety of synagogue dinners. “Fifteen years ago we started to put ashtrays on the tables and Boruch Hashem we haven’t had one hall burn down since,” he noted proudly. “We have also diversified our offerings. Some dinners even have taco stations.”

A number of synagogues tried to eliminate the buffet two years ago, but reversed the decision the following year. One such synagogue was the New Israel of Lefferts Boulevard. According to Rabbi Francis Cohen, the synagogue’s rabbi at the time, the idea was not well received. “I had suggested that we have sit down service only. But when people saw that there was no buffet, they immediately started arguing with me and the shul’s president. We knew we were in trouble when people started throwing kishka at the video screen.” Rabbi Cohen is currently working as a waiter at the Flatbush Burger Fress.

Shloimi Schlepstein, the current synagogue president, rejects the earlier efforts to cancel the buffet. “Most people in the synagogue hated the idea, but I can only speak for myself. If we should have such a tragic event at the buffet, chass v’sholom, at least I would know that there would be more for me.” (Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein)

Ah, Good Ol' Russian Antisemitism

Moscow says an anti-Kremlin businessman living in Israel could be behind the radiation poisoning of Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, but the allegation only further complicates a spectacularly bizarre murder case. The prosecutor general said late Wednesday it had found links between the fatal poisoning of Litvinenko in November and Leonid Nevzlin, a former executive in the Yukos oil company who fled criminal charges in Russia and is now an Israeli citizen.

Malley and Seigman Clunk It

Robert Malley, who directs the Middle East program at the International Crisis Group and Henry Siegman, director of the U.S./Middle East Project and a visiting professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (visiting professor? the guy's a complete idiot as I know from speaking with him), have published an op-ed.

There are a most dangerous dudding duo if there ever was.

Here's an operative conclusion they reach after an analysis of why everything is wrong except for the Pals.:-

Hamas will not, however, recognize Israel. That's unfortunate. But is it really worth plunging the region into greater chaos because Hamas will not confer upon Israel the legitimacy the Jewish state is granted by virtually every nation in the world?

Great going guys.

Incrementally increase the political and military power of Hamas without demanding of it the very minimum dipomatic step of a - any - peace process. And then demand, upfront, Israeli concrete territorial and security concessions. And then both Hamas and Fatah get a better chance at really doing Israel damage.

Satirical Take-off on Gideon Levy

We all know Gideon Levy.

In Haaretz, he makes us cry with his weekly columns on Pal. deprivation caused by Israel.

Anyway, Yedidyah Meir of Eppes fame published this in last Friday's Haaretz Magazine and I've translated it:-

Chaos in the Territories
by Gideon Levy

Little Muhammed looked out from his one eye at the guests. His left eye was gone. Near him lay the body of his brother Samir, 12 years old, a clever boy who had possessed intelligent eyes, and had been expelled from Haifa in '48. Ahmed, the neighbor upstairs, had shot Samir. The battle in the PA had reached the back courtyards. "Bury him," the elderly Abu Al-Assed pleaded, his right eye gone, having arrived by foot this morning. "He stinks."

Little Muhammed remained quiet all day today again. The whole week he had been silent. From above, the villas of the settlers look out, built in to the hills. Day after day, the settlers wathc the Hamasniks shooting the Fatahniks and don't do a damned thing.

Gush Etzion in the Snow

Sent to me by Shani Simkowitz of the Gush Etzion Foundation

Temple Mount Snowed In

(Found here)

The Profound Racism of Diminished Expectations

An excerpt from a recent posting by David Warren from Ottawa entitled Look at Palestine:-

...This is democracy, Palestine-style. Hamas won the election last January, but Fatah retained their guns. Hamas has its own organized soldiery, called “militants” by the Western media. Fatah has several militias. You can tell the various groups apart by their headgear. Fatah continues to own the presidency, in the person of Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas dominates the cabinet. It has become unclear, even to sophisticated Europeans, which one is our “peace partner”. Mr Abbas promises (or threatens, depending on the intra-Palestinian point-of-view) to call new elections in the hope of reversing the people’s last verdict.

But even should they think again, about electing the more radical and candid terrorist faction, the guns will remain on both sides, and will still be used to determine social precedence. Many Palestinians may despair about this; many are trying to emigrate. But the very idea that Palestinians should face down, and disarm, “unofficial” militias, as Israel had to do in the course of her formation, exists only in the tissue-paper fantasies of Western “roadmaps to peace”.

To the Western, “liberal” mindset, Israel must be responsible for this, just as President Bush is responsible for the teething problems of democracy in Iraq. For the West is always responsible for everything. If, as President Ahmadinejad of Iran has argued, both Israel and America were wiped from the face of this earth -- as he promises both soon will be -- then our problems are over, and we’ll be one big happy Muslim family (presumably Shia, if Ahmadinejad prevails).

Distorted in the official Iranian view, and scarcely hidden beneath the “liberal” one -- as I discovered repeatedly when I was myself among the media in Israel and the West Bank -- is the profound racism of diminished expectation. They do not hold Palestinians to the same standards, to which Israelis are held without further thought. Specifically, they will not hold Palestinians responsible for behaviour that would be spontaneously condemned, with unconcealed outrage, only a few miles away across the Green Line.

This is systematic, and goes beyond condemnations of violence. No Jew is allowed to live in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority; nor could a Jew expect to live out the day were he left unguarded there. Well over a million Muslims enjoy full citizenship in Israel, and the robust protection of law, even as they grow more radical. Yet Israel is uniquely condemned for denying the Palestinian “right of return”, to Israeli territory.

I could go on almost indefinitely juxtaposing such things -- none of the points being subtle; each as obvious as the couple I have made.

But it’s not that people don’t know. It’s that they will not acknowledge what they know, lest the rest of their worldview come tumbling down with the big lie, of moral relativism.

What, pray, is the big truth corresponding? That all men are held to the same moral standards. That nothing excuses hatred and murder. That what is bad in a Christian is bad in a Jew and bad in a Muslim. One heavenly size fits all.

This is a brilliant and pithy condemnation of the bias that pervades international opinion, whipped up by the liberal media which kowtows to the rampant Islamism dominating this generation's "radical chic".

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rashid Screeds It

Historian Rashid Khalidi, whom I met a Joseph Alper's secret Pal.-Yesha meeting No. 1 (I was rejected as not "moderate" enough for future meetings) tries to explain in a Salon interview why Palestinians have failed to create a nation

Excerpts from Nation building (Interviewer: Jonathan Shainin)

This book ["The Iron Cage"] begins during the British Mandate, but your depiction of that era departs from the conventional narrative.

This book is an attempt to talk specifically about Palestinian history, not the history of the conflict or the history of Israel or Zionism. And there are, as you suggest, many versions of the Palestinian story in this era. One says, essentially, that the Palestinians entirely deserved what they got; they missed a number of opportunities, and were mired in backwardness by comparison with the Yishuv [the Zionist community in Palestine] and later with Israel. That version, both in scholarly work and in popular understanding, is quite widespread. There is another Palestinian and Arab version of the story, which has it that the Palestinians were overwhelmed by forces beyond their control, were helpless victims and had no agency -- they could have done nothing else. They were overwhelmed by a tragic fate. I am actually trying to deal more with the latter than the former. The former ... whatever. I address it in the book; I don't think it's grounded in historical reality.

My focus is on the Palestinians, and on an issue that I was surprised to discover had not really been addressed, which is the Palestinian view of statehood, the idea of state power and governance. No one, it seems to me, has asked, Why did the Palestinians not establish a state before 1948? Why have they failed since to do so? Implicit in both of the narratives that I reject are answers to these questions. The first one says, Because they were backward and stupid, and the second, Because they were overwhelmed by a superior force. But I don't think either of those answers is sufficient.

...From the beginning, the British assumed that they could finesse the issue of the Arabs; they gave them institutions, religious institutions, primarily, which the British hoped would keep them busy, divert them, distract them, give them a certain degree of status. The Jews were a people, and the Jewish Agency was given prerogatives and rights according to the terms of the mandate. There wasn't an Arab Agency because the Arabs, in the British view, were not equal to the Jews. Even at a time when the Jewish population of Palestine was rather small, they had diplomatic representation, the ability to take issues before the League of Nations and so on. The Arabs, during the entire period of the mandate, never achieved this because of the way the British saw them. Over time, the British were forced to modify this view, and by the late 1930s the Palestinians were able to come to the table. But it was two decades too late.

Rashid, the Pals. squandered then and later all opportunities presented to them. They simply preferred the solution of killing Jews to any other political or diplomatic act.

...The religious institutions that were ostensibly at the head of the Palestinian community, as you observe, were essentially created by the British.

I'm not sure anyone has ever fully teased out and pulled together the degree to which these institutions were completely new and artificial, created by the British for the Muslim community. Consider the Supreme Muslim Council, and the grand mufti of Palestine, institutions and positions that had never existed in the history of the country, which the British created on the basis of patterns of indirect control they had employed elsewhere -- Egypt, especially, but also in Ireland and India.

Exactly - all of Palism is artificial in the main.

There is surely an irony here, with the Palestinians, not a particularly pious people, led by a pretend religious figurehead created by the British.

Anybody who looks at the history will say, no, not a particularly pious people. Quite the contrary, in fact, a particularly secular people, in this period and for decades thereafter. The mufti himself was not a pious character -- he was a secular figure until he was anointed by the British.

Sorry, Professor. That statement is historically pretentious and indefensible.

Look at how Gaza has been treated since the evacuation of settlements; Israeli control over Gaza is in some ways even more complete. The settlements are gone, true, and Israel doesn't administer some aspects of life. But it still controls entry, exit, the economy, death, movement, everything.

In Gershom Gorenberg's recent book about the first decade of the settlements, he depicts an essential paradox of the Israeli occupation, in which policymakers felt they could not keep the occupied territories, but they couldn't leave them either. From this perspective, the withdrawal from Gaza is a bit like a magic trick --

Leaving and not leaving. It is a magic trick. I mean, it was a magic trick, but I think we're seeing the screen lifted and the Wizard of Oz mechanics revealed. In fact, they never left. They're getting away with murder in the sense that there's no international opprobrium. But that doesn't mean that the situation is not going to come back and haunt everybody.

That's pure propaganda.

Good for Our Christian Friends of Israel

Here is some correspondence I received (I'll keep it anonymous) displaying the thinking of UK Christian friends of Israel and Zionism:



On December 23rd I was interviewed live on BBC News 24 (TV) regarding the Archbishop’s comments. This gave me opportunity to refer to the growth of the Christian community in Israel from 30,000 to 130,000 since 1948 and to the current persecution of Christians in Iran which has nothing to do with British Foreign Policy. The timing of arrests there showed the real motivation as a reaction to criticism by Christians of Holocaust denial. You may also be aware of my piece (attached) on the security barrier at Bethlehem and the gift of Life as a result to 750 Jews and Arabs in Israel! This is on two internet websites and was broadcast on the Sky satellite. I know these are small responses but they do reflect the support of many Christians for Israel.

Geoffrey Smith

Deputy Director

Christian Friends of Israel


Sent: 24 December 2006 20:17
Subject: Re: Bethlehem

Thank you, . You will have seen my letter on this subject to the Daily Mail, also. It will seem to some noteworthy that one of the few things that spiritual leaders in England of the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Free Church denominations are able to unite on is a wholly misdirected scapegoating of Israel at Christmas in Bethlehem, where the persecutors of the Christian inhabitants for many years have been Muslims under Palestinan Authority rule.

We have the testimony of many Christian witnesses over the years to the truth about Islamic persecution and violence that has made life unbearable and prompted mass emigration. We are also aware that the defensive barrier (less than 5% of which is wall and which I have personally inspected) dramatically reduced suicide bombings and other killing of defenceless Israeli families by over 90%. We know, too, that the wall sections are at towns, where close proximity would make a fence ineffective against the snipers who kill innocent civilians. And we also know that, as you point out, the wall is not impenetrable but has gates for law-abiding travellers and that an extra one was opened at Bethlehem in time for Christmas.

It really is inconceivable that these easily ascertainable facts are unknown to the Church leaders, that they should hasten to condemn without hearing the position from Israeli spokesmen and that they are apparently ignorant of the long history of anti-Christian discrimination throughout the Islamic world and the refreshing difference in Israel, where all faiths have access to their holy shrines and places of worship and there is - uniquely - complete freedom of religion for the followers of Christianity and other faiths.

I don't wish to sound impertinent and I am not an authority but I understood that the Jewish bible was part of Holy Writ and I find it incomprehensible and distressing that Church leaders should openly break the 9th of the 10 Commandments and bear what is patently false witness against their Jewish neighbour, across the way from Bethlehem.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Sunday, December 24, 2006 1:35 AM
Subject: Bethlehem


I find the remarks made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with regards to his visit to Bethlehem, rather surprising in view of the fact that I think he really knows the truth.

He puts the blame of Christians leaving Bethlehem, partly on the war in Iraq and also on the Israeli security barrier.

Now I know that the Archbishop is aware of the population figures of the Christian Community in Bethlehem, which was 75% in 1950 and is now a mere 12%. What also should be mentioned is that two thirds of the Christian Arab population left between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan occupied the West Bank and long before the Iraq war or the construction of the security barrier.

If the security barrier is such a deterrent to living conditions in Bethlehem, why has the Muslim community not gone down in numbers.

The truth is something which the Archbishop only hinted at, and that is that the Christian Arabs who reside under the control of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, are subject to various forms of persecution, such as the loss of their land, forced marriages of Christian women to Muslim men and the firebombing of Churches in Nablus, Tubas and Gaza after the Pope's controversial remarks.

I also failed to hear the Archbishop, when commenting on the decline of the Christian communities in all the countries of the Middle East, stating that Israel is the only country in that region where the Christian Arab population has grown from 34000 in 1948 to more than 130000 in 2005.

As for tourism to Bethlehem, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, the number of people visiting Bethlehem in 2004 was 110000 and in 2005 218000. In addition Israel has just completed, in time for Christmas, a new crossing point at the Northern part of the city.

Trying Out A Poll

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

While on the Subject of Maps

Here's the map that Professor Israel Eldad had drawn up to represent his ideal of Malchut Israel with an explanation (distributed as a post card):-

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Grand Design of Greater Syria

The map of Syria below is to be found in From The Illustrated Atlas, and Modern History of the World, Geographical, Political, Commercial, and Statistical: Index Gazeteer of the World. London: John Tallis and Co., published in 1851.

It illustrates why Israel is having problems with the latest Syrian dictator.

You see, Assad believes in the Great Syria ideology. And Israel has no place in that grand design.

Try reading this book for further explanations.

A News Item Unreported: Slaughter of the Cows

Last week, an incident occured at Amatzia, a moshav in the Lachish region (where I spent a half a year in 1967).

As my good friend BR reported to me:

The previous night our Arab neighbors crossed onto our land and trapped two of our cows. One as you can see was pregnant. As to date more than 30 cows and 60 calfs have been either butchered or stolen from our herd this year.

With this incident the tracker found tracks of four donkeys so they can carry the meat back to the village.

What gives us peace of mind is we have the new security multi-million dollar seperation barrier in place so no sucide bomber can come across, just four donkeys!!!

On previous occassions before the 'Fence' was completed, they would cut some supporting cables from the fence. They would find a path where the cattle would walk and setup a large 'lasso' anchored to the base of a strong rooted brush. As the cow would walk into the 'lasso' cable it would tighten around her neck as she walked a other couple of feet. They would then hit her on the head or leg to get her on the ground and the cut her throat.

I don't know if they still cut the cable from the fence. Many thought that this would stop with the new fence. Duh.

Well at least many contractors were well employed. At least someome benifited.

And here are the gruesume pictures to prove it:-

Why I Oppose the Term "Settler"

I have opposed the term "settler" from the beginning, preferring my own term -"revenant" as well as the term "settlement", preferring "Jewish community".

Here is a long extract from a book, Transforming Settler States, that illustrates my abhorrence to the terms as they are used, and have become a part of the political science vocabulary:-

Settler rule is one form of political domination that is in decline around the world…The settlers' characteristic intransigence makes the transformation of these states considerably more difficult and complicated than the decolonization of conventional colonies, where imperial powers disengaged with the broad support of local social forces.

Settler societies are founded by migrant groups who assume a superordinate position vis-à-vis native inhabitants and build self-sustaining states that are de jure or de facto independent from the mother country and organized around the settlers' political domination over the indigenous population. (Throughout, the terms native, indigenous, and indigene are used interchangeably to identify the inhabitants of the territory prior to the arrival of the settlers: blacks in Rhodesia, Catholics in Ireland.) In some cases (Rhodesia, South Africa, Liberia), economic interests (exploitation of natives and prosperity of settlers) provide a key rationale for political domination; in others (Northern Ireland, Israel, Taiwan), economic considerations have been secondary to other imperatives: maintaining a specific religious or cultural order (Northern Ireland, Israel), a refuge or homeland (Taiwan, Israel).

To constitute a settler state, the descendants of settlers must remain politically dominant over natives, who present at least a latent threat to the settlers' supremacy…Settler states should also be distinguished from conventional colonial states, which were organized around imperial economic and geopolitical objectives...Independent control over state coercion empowers settler regimes to resist domestic threats and foreign machinations; thus attempts to transform them have been more problematic than those to decolonize conventional colonies.

The first imperative of stable settler rule, therefore, is to achieve autonomy from the metropole in the exercise of political authority and coercive power . The greater the degree of autonomy, the greater the settlers' room for maneuver in molding economic, social, and political structures. Under de jure independence (e.g., in Liberia, South Africa, Israel), the metropole relinquishes its juridical authority to interfere in issues such as native political rights, land expropriation and labor exploitation, and the fundamental constitutional status of the territory. This freedom from imperial intervention does little, however, to shield a settler society from internal conflicts and international pressures, as the recent history of Israel, Liberia, and South Africa attests...

The second condition of stable settler rule is to consolidate control over the indigenous population . Effective control is necessary to prevent or contain natives' political mobilization, unrest, and threats to the system's stability and also to discourage metropolitan interference on their behalf. Of course, the scope, intensity, and substance of control vary over time and place. Controls may be extensive and intensive in political, economic, and social spheres—as in South Africa—or less comprehensive—as in Israel and Northern Ireland. Variation is also evident in the relative importance of ideological, coercive, administrative, and cooptative mechanisms.

The system of control may be so successful in disorganizing political mobilization, restricting physical mobility, and ensuring economic dependence of the subordinate group that overt physical repression is rarely necessary to maintain stability...In Israel proper (excluding the West Bank and Gaza), an elaborate system of segmentation, dependence, and cooptation has maintained control over Israeli Arabs; until recently, writes Lustick, this system was effective "at very low cost to the regime in terms of resources expended, overt violent repression, and unfavorable international publicity"[5]...

The third pillar of settler supremacy is to maintain the settlers' caste solidarity and the state's cohesion . Although the great divide is that between settlers and the indigenous population, settler unity is never a foregone conclusion. Internal conflicts within the state and dominant community—along class, ethnic, political, or cultural lines—can be dangerous insofar as they compromise the state's capacity to deliver repression or if cracks in the settler monolith present an opportunity for natives to mobilize...

Never monolithic politically or socially, settler populations nevertheless must maintain some threshold level of cohesion in the face of the common enemy—the subordinate population and, in some cases, the metropole. In Israel and South Africa, moderate and hard-line factions have repeatedly tested this threshold...

Settler Societies as Caste Societies

Settler rule is a particularly resilient form of authoritarian domination. Viewing the country as their permanent abode, settlers typically regard the political system as their private preserve, and the socioeconomic order as the vehicle for their exclusive prosperity. They often expropriate the richest land, lay claim to prime natural resources, introduce social segregation, and exploit native labor (under minority rule) or marginalize it (under majority rule).

...The concept of a communally divided society should not suggest that communal groups live in worlds apart, that social relations are filled with tension and hostility, or that political polarization between them is necessarily intense. Common institutions and shared interests are not altogether absent, and divisions may not pervade the entire social order. Some cooperation and interdependence (e.g., in economic relations) are evident even in the most rigidly stratified and segregated societies. Yet these bonds are insufficient to neutralize social divisions. On the most vital issues facing the society, the norm is a basic intracommunal consensus and intercommunal estrangement, with intracommunal discord and intercommunal harmony the exceptions to the rule.[9] ...

• Intercommunal interaction in everyday life may be superficially cordial, as members of each caste keep their prescribed places. Caste etiquette requires deferential conduct toward superiors, expressed in speech, body movement, and general demeanor—behavior that reaffirms dominant or subordinate status, reduces friction, and defuses dominant members' fears of the subordinate group.
• Such patterned interpersonal relations are reinforced by economic and political inequality and by the dominant value system. In Rhodesia, South Africa, Israel, Liberia, and (to a lesser extent) Northern Ireland, dominant stereotypes portray the subordinate population as backward, primitive, subhuman, childlike, irrational, lazy, and immoral;[12] these attributions help to justify the privileges of the dominant caste and work against social assimilation and political incorporation of the "uncivilized" caste.


Type of State Percentage of Settlers in Populationa
Settler state: de jure independent
Israel (1948-present) 86b
Liberia (1847–1980) 3
South Africa (1910-present) 15
Settler state: de facto independent
Northern Ireland (1921–1972) 63
Rhodesia (1923–1980) 5
Taiwan (1949-present) 14
Colonial state: dependent
Algeria (until 1962) 12
Kenya (until 1963) 1
Namibia (until 1990) 7
New Caledonia 37
Zambia (until 1964) 3
Zanzibar (until 1964) 17
a Population figures are for 1987, except for Algeria (1954), Kenya (1960), Rhodesia (1979), and Zanzibar (1948).
b The figure for Israel excludes the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

...Whether a minority or a majority, the settler caste monopolizes state power and excludes the native caste from meaningful political participation. Yet the respective mechanisms of political domination differ. Dominant majorities can afford to extend formal political rights to subordinate populations—as in Northern Ireland and Israel.[14] By contrast, dominant minorities universalize the franchise only at their peril, driven by the "overriding fear ... that they stand to be overwhelmed by a vastly larger majority"[15] The settlers must protect their island of privilege by de jure political exclusion of natives, limitations on natives' civil rights, and reliance on draconian measures of control (e.g., in Rhodesia, South Africa, and Liberia). Minority settler rule is normally associated with a "Herrenvolk" or master-caste democracy, in which the settlers practice internal democracy while the indigenes experience authoritarian rule.[16]...

...A dominant majority—however politically secure because of its numerical advantage—may attempt to manipulate the democratic rules of the game through elaborate voting qualifications, gerrymandering, and other devices. These mechanisms serve two purposes. First, they help to exclude the minority from the political arena and seem particularly desirable where the majority considers the minority to be innately inferior (in the American South) or politically subversive (in Northern Ireland) or both (in Israel)...

...Where the natives had undeniably evolved, elites marshaled other arguments to maintain the sectarian order—such as "majority rule" or the defense of a unique religious or cultural tradition in Northern Ireland and Israel.

Some of the preconditions for a flourishing democracy (discussed in Chapter 1) are typically lacking in settler political systems. Absent is a unitary political culture—based on accommodation, agreement on constitutional principles, or a shared national identity. Rather, settler systems commonly counterpose a supremacist political culture to the native subculture and assert their ideological hegemony over it...In Ulster and Israel, Catholics and Arabs have their own media, churches, schools, political parties, and voluntary associations. Yet Arab institutions have little leverage over the Israeli state; Jewish civic organizations have registered much more success in containing state power....

...Nevertheless, the imperial government and the settlers often became partners in conflict; their interests and visions regarding critical issues (the pace and scope of territorial expansion, the treatment of natives, the territory's constitutional status) in many cases led the two parties into protracted struggles.[22]...

In some cases the ascendancy of the settler community came only after protracted or violent struggles with the imperial government had escalated into full-scale wars of independence. The British Mandate in Palestine, for example, was fraught with tensions between Jewish settlers and the colonial government. After World War II, guerrilla forces (Irgun, Stern Gang) fought British troops until they won independence for the new state of Israel in 1948...

And check out the use of "settler" here.

Now do you understand what they really mean when they use the words "settler" and "settlements"?

Ellen Horowitz's Review of the Jew Blogging Conference

Slightly abridged:-

On the Brink of Opportunity

Ellen W. Horowitz

A media milestone of sorts took place last week, with nary a mention by the press.
A conference entitled: The Media as a Theater of War, the Blogosphere and the Global Battle for Civil Society, opened up opportunities and possibilities as big as its ambitious title suggests.

...I was inspired by the charged atmosphere and appropriate sense of urgency, and moved by the sense of sincere reflection and remorse that I saw among several of the conference participants. The conditions for real cooperation and correction on the Israel hasbara front were palpable.

A general theme throughout the conference was that although the State of Israel is facing and enormous crisis, it's only under these pressing conditions that the paradigm is capable of shifting. That our long held ideas, institutions, organizations and endeavors are in danger of failure and collapse is indeed cause for alarm, but this also presents us with an immense opportunity for positive change.

Government and military spokesperson met blogger, and academic met layperson. It was a place where heads (with and without kippot) met hearts in what appeared to be a reawakening of the Zionist spirit.

It took a blogging history professor to bring this eclectic bunch together. Richard Landes is a medievalist crusading on behalf of civil society. He's the kind of white knight with a refreshing type of thinking that may help us get through some very dark ages.

...There were some piognant and stunning moments. All the attendees were humbly hushed as French Jew Philippe Karsenty relayed how he had presented a flawless defense, with impeccable witnesses, in the libel suit brought against him by France 2 Television for claiming that the Mohammed Al Dura shooting was staged. He lost the case on the grounds that if the Israeli government or military had not issued a formal complaint against Charles Enderlin's news coverage of the incident, then Karsenty's claims and evidence have no validity.

At this point, Dr. Raanin Gissin, former media advisor to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stood up and offered a spontaneous, heartfelt apology, claiming he felt "ashamed" and "humiliated" for Israel¹s indifference to Karsenty. He lamented a lost opportunity and then called to task government officials who were not at the conference to hear of Karsenty's independent efforts, trials, and appeal on behalf of Israel to correct a gross injustice.

...The IDC Media Conference presented a unique opportunity for Israeli government officials, and academics to get off their high horses and climb down from their ivory towers in order to see the accomplished grassroots and individual efforts which have been launched on behalf of Israel by a lot of concerned, determined, and talented people.

It's a shame that more Israeli press wasn't there to cover the forum, and it's this indifference on the part of our own media sources that may be indicative of the problems we now face on the hasbara front.

The writer is the author of The Oslo Years: A Mother's Journal (Gefen Publishing).

Holocaust History Exchange

From the NYRB:-

Volume 54, Number 1 · January 11, 2007

By Arthur Nádas, Carl Djerassi, Claude Cahn, Reply by Robert O. Paxton
In response to The Jew Hater (November 16, 2006)

To the Editors:

Robert O. Paxton's article [NYR, November 16, 2006] is typically excellent. One detail, however, deserves comment. He writes that France was "the only case in Western Europe where Jews were handed over to the Nazis from areas without any German occupation forces, and an example matched in Eastern Europe only in Bulgaria and Hungary." This contention is not true; the independent Slovak state also delivered Jews to death camps in German-occupied areas.

Claude Cahn
Budapest, Hungary

To the Editors:

Robert O. Paxton in "The Jew Hater" writes: "France...[is] the only case in Western Europe where Jews were handed over to the Nazis from areas without any German occupation example matched in Eastern Europe only in Bulgaria and Hungary."

Hungary has enough atrocities on its account without mistakenly carelessly burdening it with this false accusation. My school year ended abruptly on March 19, 1944, in Budapest because the arriving German army requisitioned the building and grounds for its stables. Their 600,000 plus Jewish victims had indeed been herded and handed to them by fellow Hungarians, but only after the German occupation began.

Arthur Nádas
Budapest, Hungary

To the Editors:

Robert Paxton in his review entitled "The Jew Hater" makes an unforgivable mistake by stating that France was "the only case in Western Europe where Jews were handed over to the Nazis from areas without any German occupation forces, and an example matched in Eastern Europe only in Bulgaria and Hungary."

Bulgaria was a shining exception (together with Denmark) to the dismal record of all other European countries in terms of their treatment of their Jewish compatriots. This subject has been covered in a number of books, including Tzvetan Todorov's The Fragility of Goodness: Why Bulgaria's Jews Survived the Holocaust, which was actually reviewed in your pages on May 31, 2001. To group Bulgaria with Hungary—a country with one of the worst records in Europe in terms of virulent anti-Semitism —is a travesty.

Carl Djerassi
Professor of Chemistry Emeritus
Stanford University
Palo Alto, California

and Robert O. Paxton replies:

The Nazi murder of the Jews of Europe took place mostly, though not entirely, in areas directly occupied by German forces. Some cooperative governments turned Jews over to the Nazis from areas that were not under direct German occupation.

Vichy France, notoriously, in the case I examined in my review, volunteered in May 1942 to hand over to the Nazis 10,000 Jewish refugees from Germany and Central Europe who had been interned in camps in the unoccupied zone of southern France. The transfer took place in July–August 1942, and aroused voluble criticism from some French eyewitnesses and clergymen. This was the only such transfer in Western Europe.

In Eastern Europe, several amenable governments handed Jews over to the Nazis, usually but not always foreign Jews, from areas outside direct German occupation.

As Claude Cahn rightly points out, my list should have included newly independent Slovakia. Between March and July 1942 the authoritarian Catholic regime of Mgr. Josef Tiso rounded up 54,000 of the Jews of Slovakia and placed them in Nazi hands.

In Hungary, the regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, refused to deport the Jews of Hungary as long as his country remained unoccupied by German forces, as Arthur Nádas correctly notes in his letter. Before then, however, when Hungarian armed forces took part alongside the Germans in the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Hungarian authorities expelled some 20,000 Jewish refugees without Hungarian nationality to eastern Galicia where they were murdered by Nazi Einsatzgruppen.

The Bulgarian case was far more complicated than Professor Djerassi allows. The government of King Boris III, formally allied with the Axis, instituted an ascending spiral of discriminatory legislation against Jews, beginning in summer 1940 (totally unlike Denmark), and in April 1941 facilitated the German invasion of the Balkans. As a reward Bulgaria received control over Thrace and Macedonia, taken from Greece and Serbia. In March 1943 King Boris acceded to Nazi pressure to deport 20,000 Jews. The plan was to take as many as possible from Thrace and Macedonia, making up the rest with Jews from within Bulgaria proper. Protests from the public and from parliamentary and clerical authorities (along with the changing tide of the war) persuaded King Boris to cancel these deportations, but not before all 11,343 of the Jews of Thrace and Macedonia had been rounded up by Bulgarian authorities and sent to Treblinka and Auschwitz. All this is clear enough in Tzvetan Todorov's The Fragility of Goodness, a book that Professor Djerassi appears to have read selectively. While King Boris's change of heart is commendable, Bulgaria belongs indisputably among the states that handed over Jews to the Nazis from areas without direct German occupation.

I might also have included in my list Romania, where popular anti-Semitism reinforced the state's restrictions on Jews before 1940. Even though the dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu eventually declined to deport some Jews of Romanian citizenship from within his country's heartland, the Romanian army deported and massacred thousands of Jews from the territories it occupied after its invasion of the Soviet Union in summer 1941.

Grossman Once Again

It wasn't enough that Haaretz published David Grossman's speech at the Rabin anniversary rally (translated by Orr Scharf) or The Guardian (translation by Haim Watzman) nor The Forward (the Haaretz version).

The New York Review of Books has done so too (the translation by Haim Watzman.

Here's one bit:-

The differences between right and left are not that great today. The decisive majority of Israel's citizens now understand—of course, some of them without enthusiasm—what the shape of a peaceful solution will look like. Most of us understand that the land will be divided, that there will be a Palestinian state. Why, then, do we continue to sap ourselves with the internal bickering that has gone on now for almost forty years? Why does our political leadership continue to reflect the positions of the extremists and not of the majority?

The differences aren't great because most of the Right has gone Left.

Decisive majority? Really? By what poll or election?

Will the Land be divided? Again?

Why does the Left sap our national energies and strengths?

Why is it that only the Right is "extremist"?

Maybe it's a nice speech but it is empty of meaning and logic.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Letter on Arendt, Zionism to the London Review of Books


In his review of Hannah Arendt's thought and literary output, Cory Robin, touching on her opposition to Zionism, writes "Zionism left the Palestinians with no options other than emigration or 'transfer', which could be accomplished only using Fascist methods, or second-class status in the land of their birth" (LRB, 4 January 2007). That should be
amended more properly to read "Palestinians, having refused to accept any compromise
offered, left Zionists with no option".

Even if the argument is to be debated on the grounds that the Zionist claim to a national homeland in the area the world knew than as "Palestine" (although no one had heard of Palestinians) is in question, no one surely can disregard the many attempts made by officials, semi-official persons and private individuals to reach a compromise with the Arab nationalists there. This was done despite the purposeful non-recognition of any specific non-Jewish national rights to the country as reflected in the Mandate's Article 9 which stated there was to be respect solely for the "personal status" of non-identified "various peoples and communities". Arabs, whether Syrian or otherwise - there was no such classification of "Palestinian Arab" at the time - were not a factor.

Nevertheless, Arab violence brought about the considerable decrease of the original land dimension of the Jewish national home guaranteed by international law in decisions both of the San Remo Conference in 1920 and the decision of the Supreme Council of the League of Nations in 1922. This was in violation of Article 5 of the Mandate that "no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power". CisJordan was handed over to one Abdullah, a Saudi Arabian refugee set on regaining the throne of Damascus for his brother Feisal who had to make do with the throne of Iraq, so as to create TransJordan, an entity, however, thast was nevertheless administered under the Palestine Mandate regime.

Other compromise proposals such as an Arab Agency idea floated by the British to counter the Jewish Agency were rejected by Arabs. The 1939 Partition plan was rejected by Arabs who even refused to sit on the same floor with the Zionist in St. James' Palace. In the years in-between, over a thousand Jews had been killed in Arab riots in 1920, 1921, 1929 and during the 1936-39 disturbances.

Throughout the late 1920s and the 1930s, Jewish pacifists and bi-nationalists attempted to persuade Arabs that any agreement, even including the idea of halting Jewish immigration, could be accomplished if only they would sit and talk. Even David Ben-Gurion engaged in discussions. Nothing was forthcoming: no recognition of Jewish national rights, of Jewish need before the Holocaust to escape Nazi intentions and of their own distinct non-position vis a vis the overwhelmning international legitimacy that Zionism had gained.

If we fast-forward to 2007, we can, perhaps, rephrase the question thus: if after
15 months following a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and and the
declaration of yet another cease-fire on November 26, 51 Qasam missiles have been
fired into Israel by December 24, is Israel left with any other option except to act in its self-defense and to assume that Arabs will never agree to any Jewish political sovereignty anywhere in what the Arabs call "Palestine" and what the Jews refer to as the "Land of Israel"?

Will it be published?

Chupack's Chutzpah

From Cindy Chupack, a writer and executive producer of “Sex and the City,” is the author of “The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays.”:-

My husband and I have been married a year and a half, and I am flipping through the Pottery Barn holiday catalog while he sorts the mail, and page after page is something beautiful and not for us, because we are Jews. In my humble opinion, Jews have yet to make Hanukkah decorations beautiful, unless you consider a blue-and-white paper dreidel beautiful, but what can you expect from a holiday whose spelling is constantly up for debate.

It seemed so subversive. Christmas? Really? I thought about it for a moment. Or rather, I thought about what my parents would think. But my parents live 1,200 miles away. They weren’t visiting this season. They wouldn’t even need to know. (Unless, of course, they read about it in The Times. Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad!)

Before you answer that in a snappy letter to the editor, fellow Jews (including you, Dad), let me just say that I’m pretty sure that if we’re fortunate enough to have children, we will raise them with the same arbitrary rules we were raised with, trying our best to sell that old chestnut (roasting on an open fire) that “eight nights is better than one,” and putting this tradition behind us until the kids go off to college, if not forever.

Where I Work


The "D"-shaped building in the center.

Actually, Judith is a Chanukah Heroine


Judith Regan, the publisher who was fired last week by HarperCollins in the wake of what executives called anti-Semitic remarks, was investigated and reprimanded three years ago for making an anti-Semitic remark at work, two top executives at HarperCollins have said.

According to the executives and another person involved in the incident, Ms. Regan was investigated in the spring of 2003 after an editor complained that she had boasted of removing the scrolls from her neighbors’ mezuzas and replacing them with torn pieces from dollar bills.

A mezuza is a small slender case containing a scroll inscribed with a prayer that many Jewish families place beside their front doors.

The two executives said the company’s investigation had corroborated the employee’s account and Ms. Regan was reprimanded at the time.

A spokeswoman for HarperCollins, Erin Crum, declined to confirm the account. “We do not comment on personnel issues,” she said.

A lawyer for Ms. Regan, Bert Fields, denied that she had made the remark. The story, he said, stemmed from testimony given by a witness during Ms. Regan’s divorce from Robert Kleinschmidt but she had had nothing to do with the incident.

Mr. Fields said Ms. Regan had not been investigated or reprimanded over an anti-Semitic remark at work.

The furor over Ms. Regan began last month after the News Corporation, the parent company of HarperCollins Publishers, canceled a planned book and television special featuring O. J. Simpson discussing how he hypothetically might have killed his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald L. Goldman.

Last week, Ms. Regan was abruptly fired after a heated telephone conversation with Mark Jackson, a lawyer for HarperCollins, in which she reportedly made anti-Semitic remarks.

On Monday, Mr. Fields promised to sue HarperCollins for breach of contract. “She would never issue any anti-Semitic remark, and she didn’t,” Mr. Fields said at the time. “It’s an outrageous lie to cover the fact that they have no possible basis for terminating Judith.”

Mr. Fields acknowledged last week that during the phone conversation, Ms. Regan drew attention to the fact that her boss and others involved in the aborted O. J. Simpson project were Jewish.

And as for the Chanukah heroine, see here.

Here's One Report on the Blog Conference

The coming out party of the pro-Israel Blogosphere

Thanks to Professor Richard Landes of the Augean Stables, as well as the efforts of Uzi Arad and many others, pro-Israel and pro-truth bloggers from all over the world were invited to take part in a first ever conference, on Media as Theater of War, the Blogosphere, and the Global Battle for Civil Society held in Herzliya at the Daniel hotel. The event was open to the public and free. If you missed it, you missed a chance to meet some of your favorite blogging personalities and commentators from Israel, the USA, Australia and Lebanon, among other places. A mostly hitherto unheralded army of bloggers and Web masters, in large part volunteers, have been laboring to bring people the truth about what is happening in the Middle East, including the inconvenient bits left out by the "mainstream" media. This conference was our coming out party. Raanan Gissin and IDF spokesperson Mark Regev were there, with a lot of IDF people. Hopefully, that means that someone up there finally noticed us. Richard Landes deserves a great deal of credit and awesome respect for making this happen and doing it so well. Kol Hakavod!

Eye opening presentations told us there is still a huge amount of work to be done and many stories to be told. Moshe Widlanski, for example, pointed out that there are piles of incriminating evidence in the form of documents captured by Israel security forces -- documents that incriminate Yasser Arafat and Marwan Barghouti in inciting terror in the 1990s. Joel Rubinfeld of the Brussels based Atlantis Institute pointed out that European media systematically distort news from Israel in a manner much worse than that seen in the United States, a point also made by Nidra Poller of Pajamas Media. A presentation by Mordechai Kedar of Ben Gurion University pleaded for an Israel government sponsored Arab language cable news channel that would tell the Israeli side of the story. The case for such a channel - in English as well as in Arabic, is compelling.

Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch showed media clips of Palestinian propaganda aimed at recruiting children for terror. A cute chick in a children's television program tells kids that if someone steals his tree, he will kill them. Children are taught to grow up in order to blow up and to see "martyrdom" as a vocation.

Noam Bedein, who lives in Sderot and has set up the Sderot Media Center, related his efforts to get media coverage for the every day suffering of the people of Sderot, a battle we have also been waging for a while (see Collective punishment: The victims of Sderot). He said "There is no street or area in Sderot that has not experienced a missile." There is a situation map showing rocket hits as little red dots in Sderot. This map has not been updated since 2004, because if it were, it would be entirely red.

Candy Shinaar of CoHav pleaded for an army of volunteers who could be trained to get the word out on the Web and in face to face presentations, in the same way as the Palestinians have organized their supporters in the ISM group.

Mitchell Bard of Virtual Jewish Library reviewed the situation in US Universities and had some surprising news. According to Bard, the majority of students are not anti-Israel. The great problem is that there are simply not enough courses being taught about Israel, and those that are taught are usually taught by professional Israel bashers, often at Middle East Studies centers funded by Arab oil money. His organization is bringing visiting Israeli faculty to the U.S. and fostering the development of objective study programs.

One topic that was not discussed was as noteworthy as what was discussed. The famous or infamous "Brand Israel" campaign -- an attempt to make believe everything is fine here and ignore the real problems -- was dismissed more or less with a reference to "girls in bikinis are not enough." Hopefully, the official people whose job it is to defend Israel have gotten the message: this is a war for existence, we can't ignore it.

Not everyone was happy and not everything was perfect, as usual. Liza R. of Something Something complained about Manfred Gerstenfeld's talk entitled Verbal Vegetarians have to Learn to Turn the Accusers into the Accused. Besides gratuitously insulting some vegetarians in the audience, Gerstenfeld's in your face remarks probably insulted some Lebanese guests too. Well Liza, it is true that too much "Israel advocacy" originates with the Zionist right, but that is at least partly our fault isn't it? We of the Israeli left and the Zionist left have too often been silent when Israel stood unfairly accused.

It was gratifying however, that panelists did not bow to demands of some of the commenters that the struggle to legitimize Israel must be linked to their own fight for "Greater Israel." Richard Landes, who organized the conference, declared himself to be a person of the left. Many of us find ourselves in some strange company these days. We are bitterly disappointed at the reactionary stands taken by many so-called leftists and liberals, who have been ensnared by the lure of the post-colonialist narrative of the Islamists, or the more tangible lure of petro-dollars. But many of us are also seeking to tell the story of Zionism as what it is, what it was from the beginning and what it should be: a progressive movement of national liberation. Therefore we are equally embarrassed by the insistence of right-wing extremists that we must tie our cause to Greater Israel, or to domestic US issues such as opposition to abortion and stem cell research, which are anathema to us, as well as to extraneous absurdities such as anti-vegetarianism. As a confirmed carnivore, I still have to ask, doesn't Israel have enough enemies, without antagonizing the vegetarians? As a confirmed progressive, I have to ask why anyone thinks it is necessary to add US Democrats to the enemies of Zionism.

Most of my own complaints are of the variety of "the food is terrible and they don't give second helpings." The conference raises a number of questions that require serious exploration and at least one action item. Speaker after speaker bemoaned the fact that too many liberals and radical leftists are attracted to the violence and pathos of the reactionary Islamist and Arab nationalist terrorist groups. Nobody undertook to explain or understand why or how this has come about or how it can be changed. How did blowing yourself up for the greater glory of Allah become the latest thing in radical chic, and how can this be changed? "Philosophers and historians have tried to understand history. Our task is to change it."

An inherent contradiction runs through all of our work. "Information," "facts," and "news" are supposed to be colorless, odorless and flavorless. In the best of all possible worlds, the news and the facts should be the same no matter who tells them. As many speakers pointed out, the supposedly neutral and professional mainstream media are flavoring the news, leaving out embarrassing facts that could cut them off from news sources or that would not be acceptable to their audiences, or do not fit their political opinions. Anti-Israel photographers add smoke to photographs, anti-Israel stringers report "massacres" in Jenin that didn't happen. News people acquiesce in Hezbollah-staged ambulance alerts. Seeing is not always believing. But when so many of our volunteer commentators declare themselves to have a political position, advocate right-wing causes, and excoriate "leftists," how can we ask the public to believe that our version of the facts is the real, colorless, odorless and flavorless news?

Much attention was paid at the conference to the dubious story of Mohamed al Dura, the Palestinian boy who was probably a manufactured martyr of Pallywood, to the manufactured smoke in Reuters photos of Beirut and to the ubiquitous Mr. Green Helmet of Hoaxbullah publicity - a "rescue worker" who turned out to be a Hezbollah operative. Some of these exposes resulted in some positive action -- Reuters is going to be a lot more careful about its photos and fauxtographer Adnan Hajj was fired. Everyone who helped make this happen should be justifiably proud. Generals however, are always planning for the last war. The Lebanon war is behind us, and Mr Carter's book and other challenges are before us. We need to understand how to fight the next war.

One thing that we will certainly need in order to fight the next war is more visibility -- more people doing the work, and more readers. We are making a dent, but it is a small dent. Those who congratulate themselves on exposing the story of how the Mohamed Al Dura story was most likely faked to show that Israeli soldiers killed him, and how he was turned into a martyr, should consider that most people in the world still believe that little Mohamed was really killed by Israeli soldiers. They might get tens of thousands of readers, but mainstream media get millions of readers. Mainstream media are still mainstream, and they have resources that we do not have. As Candy Shinaar pointed out, "soldiers" are in short supply. I hope that the next conference will spend a bit of time on strategies for publicizing Web sites and blogs, and on ways to recruit and train more volunteers who will devote time and effort to exposing the truth.

Ami Isseroff

Original content copyright by the author
Zionism & Israel Center