Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Israel's Impartial (cough, cough) & Objective (cough, cough) Media

Yedioth Ahronoth publisher accused of delaying Sharon report

Publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper Arnon Moses delayed for weeks the publication of many reports on improprieties allegedly performed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his son Omri, according to a deposition submitted to court on Tuesday by the former editor of the paper's weekend supplement.

Nir Bachar said in his deposition to the Labor Court that the paper's editor-in-chief Rafi Ginat and Moses acted to delay or edit out probes concerning the power relations between government and prominent business figures, as well as initiated inquiries aimed to slur persons and entities they were personally connected with.

The latest of those alleged incidents concerns the Cyril Kern affair, in which the South-African businessman was said to have given Sharon $3 million, which was allegedly laundered through a shell company established by Sharon's eldest son, Gilad, and Kern.

According to Bachar, Ginat and Moses delayed the publication of a report on Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff, which shed new light on the Kern affair, because to the best of his knowledge "a public figure closely related to the publisher Moses was featured in the report."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Doing As I Have Been Asked

I received this note:

I've translated this Purim article from Hebrew by Israel Eldad. Briefly, he was the ideological successor of Yair Stern. Following Yair Stern's murder in 1942, Eldad became one of the three men who formed the Lehi's 'Center'. After the state, Eldad became active in publishing a monthly magazine named Sulam. This article is taken from a[n issue of] Sulam magazine. Those of you with websites, please put the article on your site. Thank you!


Since I have translated many articles and other material fro Eldad, I see no reason not to accede to Shifra's request.

Four Purim Questions


How does Purim in which we dress up, wear masks, play Purim games, differ from Pesach in which there are no costumes and no masks and no games?

That Purim was all about dressing up, covering. Esther doesn't tell; dresses up to a Persian lady. And also when her heart was grieving she wore lovely royal garments and beautified herself in order to find favor in the king's eyes, and the fate of her nation depended in the perfection of her make-up and the comeliness of her blue eye shadow. And juxtaposed to her was Mordechai who was covered in sack and ashes as he prayed. She was before a king; he was before the King of Kings.

And now to the feasts? From the beginning until the end – feasts. Here is the origin of the games.

And so many secrets and sly diplomacy. Bigtan and Terash, Achashverosh and Haman, Mordechai and Esther, Esther and Achashverosh. Secrets and conspiracies.

Not so in Pesach.

There everything is revealed.

From Moshe's being revealed as a Hebrew until G-d's revealment to Moshe at the burning bush.

And the much revealed exodus.

And from the beginning until the end all is revealed and known and everything is deeply serious. Without games and feasts.

There is no redemption in costumes.

The redemption is visible.

"To Life"

How does drinking on Purim which is drinking "le chaim", differ from drinking on Pesach in which one does not say "to life"?

Because that is the essence of Purim: the life was saved in the lottery, in fate. There was a decree to kill and the decree was canceled and the Jews of Persia and Madai were left alive.

On Pesach we drink four cups of redemption. In Purim there wasn't redemption at all and only the life, the life alone, the life in its nakedness was given to us.

And hence the drinking "to life".

And in Pesach we drink to redemption.

No Measurement versus Four

How does Purim in which no measurement was set for the amount of drinking, differ from Pesach in which four cups were set?

Because Purim is a matter of a miracle, and the miracle is a thing without measurement, without law. In fact: the miracle is the breaking of law.

But Pesach is a matter of redemption, and redemption has laws and doesn't have chances, it has necessity and doesn't have successes, hence it has rules, and even drinking rules.

Because there is law to redemption.


How does Purim in which we were commanded to give Mishloach Manot, differ from Pesach in which we were not commanded thus?

Since on Purim we were given life as a gift. It's a matter of rescuing, and every rescue is a gift whether if from Heaven or from human hands.

But redemption is not a matter of a gift. Redemption is a law.

Which we will take and we will receive not as a gift.

As a law.

Written by Israel Eldad, "Sulam" magazine, Adar 5717.

Translated by Shifra Shomron, 21 Shvat 5766, Nitzan Caravilla

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Begin's Democracy

Herzl Makov, director of the Menachem Begin heritage Center has published an article at Ynet which should be read:

Wanted: Begin style democracy

Where are the lefties concerned about settler rights, and settlers concerned about the Arabs?

In the 1950s Menachem Begin left for a tour of South Africa, to promote the recently-released English translation of his book, The Revolt.

Upon entering the hall in the town of Kimberley to deliver a speech, he discovered a small issue: Two black people wanted to come in, but the white officer at the door forbid them entry, due to the country's Apartheid laws.

"There will be no lecture until they are admitted," said Begin. Eventually, they were permitted to enter, and at the end of the evening Begin approached the men with signed copies of his book.

In those years Begin campaigned in Israel against the military rule placed on Israel's Arab citizens. He claimed the State of Israel could not tolerate discrimination against any minority whatsoever.

Later, as prime minister, he instructed the Shin Bet security service to stop using torture as part of its interrogation process, and he told Ariel Sharon – then head of the ministerial committee for settlements – not to plan settlements on privately-owned land (neither really complied).

Menachem Begin is not considered a "black lover," and is not really suspected of trying to curry favor with Israel's Arab voters. In Africa as in Israel, he was a human rights fanatic. He was truly a liberal.

One-sided liberalism

There are still liberals in Israel today, but in keeping with the unilateralism currently in fashion, it is granted only to those we agree with: Those interested and concerned with the Palestinian issue (wrongly called "leftists") are concerned with Arab rights, whereas those waving the flag of the Complete Land of Israel and who oppose withdrawals (called "right-wingers", also in error) are pained by police brutality against right-wing protesters.

Liberalism has become so one-sided that it has affected even individual rights organizations. There is Btzedek to represent the right and B'tselem on the left.

Even the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has become identified with left-wing causes, and does all it can, all its image will allow, not to defend the rights for those on the right. Even the Supreme Court is suspected (with some justification) of allowing a "secular, leftist, Ashkenazi" agenda to blind the eyes of justice.

Defending rights

The phrase, "I detest what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is well known. In Israel, we might add, "on condition that your words comply with what I think."

I am looking for the "leftist" who is concerned about the rights of Jewish settlers, and the "right-winger" who is pained by the violation of Arab rights.

Our society is full of dialogue groups, round-table discussions and meetings intended to find a common denominator, in an attempt to "get to know" one another, to exchange a few hugs.

This is an effort in vain. We have differences, real and deep, and there is no reason to blur them. We don't need a lowest common denominator; rather, we need deep mutual respect, and mainly fanatic respect for basic rights.

When some in the settlement movement clapped their hands at the blatant breaking of the rules, with contempt for proper procedure and the violation of Arab human rights, they should have expected those same politicians to be less concerned with the basic rights of Jewish settlers.

And those who are currently unconcerned at the manner in which people were uprooted from their homes but are happy with result should expect that the lowly standards that have been established will one day be turned against them.

Democracy means more than elections from time to time. It does not mean a dictatorship of the majority, and certainly not of some elite.

Israel and its citizens need a liberal democracy, a democracy championed by Menachem Begin.

Qassams Incoming

YNet is reporting:

The barrage of Qassam rockets from the northern Gaza Strip continued Sunday, with one rocket landing some 50 meters (164 feet) from an elementary school in a community in the Gaza vicinity.

Another Qassam hit near Moshav Mavki’im just south of Ashkelon, next to a gas station. There were no casualties or damage in either of the attacks.

The Red Dawn alarm system failed to go off to warn of either attack, apparently due to the dust and haze.

Eilat Mazar Replies Re: Gershon Baskin

I had some correspondence with Gershon Baskin about his lack of support for the Jewish aspects of the Temple Mount (following his concern over the Museum of Tolerance - Muslim cemetery controversy (see here).

Well, Eilat wrote me that she doesn't know who Baskin is and doesn't recall him asking to be a member but that her activities were public and everybody could have joined if they wanted to.

Well, here's her letter in the original Hebrew:

ישראל שלום רב,

מי זה בכלל גרשון בסקין?

לא זכור לי שם כזה של מישהו שפנה אלינו אי פעם .

בתחילת הפעילות שלנו, לפני 6 שנים!, גייסנו חברים בפעולה חד פעמית שנרתמנו לה. (בעיקר מי שעסק בזה במרץ והחיוניות האופיינים לו הוא ישראל כספי שמטבע העניין ניסה לגייס "פיגורות ציבוריות". כמובן שהיינו מעוניינים לגייס חברים ממגוון הדעות והסקטורים שכן העניין שהעלינו אינו קשור לפוליטיקה- משו נה ככל שזה נשמע. התפישה השגויה והבעייתית שכל מה שקשור בהר הבית הוא פוליטי(במקרה זה בדרך כלל שם נרדף לימני קיצוני) בודאי לא עזרה לנו לגייס אנשים "מהשמאל". לפיכך נדרש לנו מאמץ מיוחד של הסברה ושכנוע של האנשים הללו יותר מאשר הצורך לעשות זאת לאחרים.

מאז לא עסקנו בגיוס חברים אלא בעיקר את מעט כוחנו השקענו כדי לעורר את המודעות ולשמור על ההר שלא יתרחשו בו , לפחות לא בגלוי, פעולות הרס כמקודם .

נראה לי שהתלונות שאתה מעלה בשמו של האיש הן קנטרניות בעיקרן .

לא בטוח שהוא מרוויח בצדק את העיסוק של שנינו בעניין



Well, that takes care of that.

The Zivotofsky Decision

It's tough getting the American State Department to do something they definitely do not want to do. Like listing "Jerusalem, Israel" in one's birth certificate and passport.

Little Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky started something.

As Susan Tuchman, who was very much involved in the brief before the Court of Appeals for the District of D.C., wrote, while the court has not decided to force the State Dept. to change, what it did do was

"The court simply determined that the plaintiff had "standing" and could proceed with his lawsuit to enforce the "passport" law. It's an important step, but not the final one."

For those of you who want to read the ruling, click here.

The Nixon-Kissinger Reflections

Sorry but this will be long. I don't want it to get archived away and then you won't be able to read it.

How Nixon got shot of Munich

By Amir Oren

Eleven members of the Israeli delegation to the Munich Olympics were murdered by people belonging to the Black September organization, or killed in a failed rescue attempt, on September 5, 1972. One angle of the story remains vague: the politics and diplomacy in the wake of the terror attack.

Now the missing information has been supplied, thanks to the declassification last summer of secret documents from U.S. President Richard Nixon's administration. Some verbatim excerpts from these documents provide a rare lesson in personal and international relations, with the help of an American team then headed by President Nixon, Secretary of State William Rogers, his rival - and ultimately successor - National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and Kissinger's deputy, General Alexander Haig.

'They have got to hit somebody'

September 5, 10:35 P.M. Haig reports to Nixon that all the hostages have been killed. "The Israelis are going to react," he says.

Nixon: "Who are they going to hit though?"

Haig: "Lebanon, though they will find out where based [sic]."

Nixon: "They are capable of it. They have got to hit somebody, don't you think?"

Ten minutes later, Nixon says to Haig: "Hell, what do we care about Lebanon. Think we have to be awfully tough. I want you to run that by a couple of people. Any nation that harbors or gives sanctuary to these international outlaws - we will cut off all economic support. Obviously Lebanon. Jordan's another. Don't know who else we have relations with."

Haig: "We may have some Chinese problem on this."

Nixon: "Screw the Chinese on this one. Be very tough."

At 10:55, Haig phones Rogers and tells him that Nixon plans to call a meeting at 8:30 A.M. the next day. "He has asked you to come over and sit down and see where to go on this. He's threatened to break relations with nations that harbor or give sanctuary to these guerrillas."

Rogers: "He can't do that, especially when we don't know which nations. What we are trying to do tonight, we are trying to get some protection against a JDL [Jewish Defense League] blowup."

Haig: "He always wants to do something. We have to be careful not to do something he will regret."

Five minutes later, Nixon tells Haig over the phone: "I might consider showing our position on this by flying to the Israelis' funeral. Tell them that I am here at the White House getting reports as they come in, and that I am saddened and shocked by this terrible incident and we will comment in the morning."

At 11:25 P.M. Rogers and Haig talk on the telephone. Rogers suggests that Nixon issue an executive order for a day of mourning in Washington with flags at half-mast.

'I talked to Rabin'

September 6, 1972. Morning. Nixon and Kissinger, some of the time in conversation with Rogers and Haig, some of the time with White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, Kissinger's rival in ingratiating himself with Nixon:

Kissinger: "Now, let me say a word about the Israeli situation, Mr. President, because I feel very, very strongly about it. I look at it the way we would look at it if eight Pakistanis killed eight Indians. I think you have been a statesman ... And I don't think we should throw it away in cheap shots. And this thing could easily turn now. My great fear is, World War I started because the Austrians had been frustrated for 15 years, had the archduke assassinated; the Germans and the whole world was outraged. And they thought that for once they would have a free shot, and they were going to settle the Serbian problem once and for all."

Nixon: "The Austrians thought so?"

Kissinger: "I beg your pardon?"

Nixon: "The Austrians thought so?"

Kissinger: "The Austrians thought. Now, my worry is that if we say to the Israelis too much that the ..."

Nixon: "I talked to Rabin last night. He sure hasn't talked that way."

Kissinger: "Well I would really like to talk to Rabin in a formal way today when he comes back."

Nixon: "The thing that I would emphasize to Rabin, I hadn't thought on this, which would be a very good test for the Israelis - I don't know whether they are able to do it or not. Mrs. Meir, and she's the only one that can do it, should call upon the International Olympic Committee to go forward with those games."

Kissinger: "I agree with you."

Nixon: "But the other reason is she can say, 'Well that's what my boys would have wanted.' It will make them look good rather than ... You see, the trouble with the Jews is that they've always played these things in terms of outrage. You've got the Jewish Defense League raising hell and saying we ought to kill every Arab diplomat. What we have to do is enough here, that we're showing an interest. It's my thought that the best thing here is to let Rogers take the lead in the damn thing - rather than me ... We've got to show we care on this one because, you were in this country, well I guess you weren't, you don't really know, Henry, what the Jewish community will do on this. It's going to be the goddamnedist thing you've ever saw. Did you see both papers this morning?"

Kissinger: "Yes."

Nixon: "And you're absolutely right that that can stir it all up into something very, very ... so we've got to show the greatest understanding and sympathy and the rest so that they don't get into the hands of the extremists."

Kissinger: "Mr. President, Haig and I have been on the phone half the night with the Israelis, who wanted us to do the opposite of what you suggested, which is the right thing. They wanted us to appeal to the International Olympic Committee to cancel it [the games]."

Nixon: "They're crazy. But they want to look good, don't they? ... You see, that's exactly ... the reason Mrs. Meir should do it. She's the only one that can. Is that what the terrorists want? They want to make it appear that they've stopped the games. It's like these assholes that tried to stop us running the government."

Kissinger: "I will talk to Rabin because they don't trust Rogers, but they do trust me. But I'll talk to him quietly."

Nixon: "What does Rogers think we should do?"

Kissinger: "Well, Rogers thinks we should declare a national day of mourning. I'm against even that. It's not our day of mourning, Mr. President. It's easy enough now to do a number of grandstanding ... And also, God I am Jewish. I've had 13 members of my family killed. So I can't be insensitive to this. But I think you have to think also of the anti-Semitic woes in this country. If we let our policy be run by the Jewish community ..."

Nixon: "By the radical Jewish community ..."

Kissinger: "By the radical Jewish community and declare a national ..."

Nixon: "You understand what I was talking to Haig about last night was gestures. Let's do some things here. But nothing that would make the Germans too mad and so forth ..."

Kissinger: "What I would favor, Mr. President, is to go to the UN ..."

Nixon: "Me?"

Kissinger: "Not you. Not physically. To have the United States to go to the UN and see whether we can get some international rules on harboring guerrillas and so forth."

Nixon: "Now, I've called Rabin. I've asked him to call me this morning to get me a report. You know they have the best intelligence. You know he was so good last night ... He says I haven't got all the information."

Kissinger: "I'm really concerned that it's easy enough now there's a lot of emotion for it, but if they take Beirut, which they could, they'll do something."

Nixon: "They mustn't do that ... They can't start a war over this. You think they might?"

Kissinger: "I think they might. They're in the best position they've ever been in. No Russians there. We've got an election campaign. Now I got a promise out of Golda Meir two months ago when you asked me to that they wouldn't take military action. But this is an enormous provocation. And they are emotional. And I don't want them to think that they've got you in their hip pocket."

Nixon: "Well let me say, you have no problems with Rabin. The way he's talking, he's very rational."

Kissinger: "Rabin is the sanest guy. But they ..."

Nixon: "But he has others that are not."

Kissinger: "They have their own election campaign coming up next spring."

Nixon: "Well, you don't start a war over anything like this."

The Jewish swimmer

The continuation of the conversation, according to a memorandum from Haig:

"The president stated that the United States should not agree to drop out of the Olympics and that Israel should remain consistent with the position it announced earlier to see the games through.

"Secretary Rogers stated that all had agreed on this stand the day before since it would be a terrible slap at the Germans to precipitously withdraw. It appeared that the Germans were in deep difficulty already for their handling of the situation at the NATO air base.

"Rogers said: 'Perhaps we should send some of our athletes such as the U.S. swimmer who is of Jewish descent [Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz].' Dr. Kissinger stated that no resolution would be likely to pass. The question is how to posture ourselves. The resolution should talk about rules of conduct of those who sponsor radicals who operate across international borders. It is probable that the Peoples' Republic of China would veto ...

"Rogers stated that it would be impossible to get any kind of action. Kissinger stated that this was true, but it would serve as a deterrent to Israeli action ... Rogers stated that another advantage of the tragedy was that it will again underline the need for an overall settlement.

"The president commented that it was ironic that the German government found itself in the position of protecting Israeli athletes ... The president stated that he did not think the flag at half-mast was a good idea. Kissinger agreed. Rogers said that we would just do this in public buildings. The president stated maybe just the White House."

After Rogers and Haig leave the Oval Office, the conversation between Nixon and Kissinger continues:

Nixon: "I want to get him [Rogers] off of the other thing. As you know, he wants to have a long talk with me this morning, and [unclear] ... I don't want to get into the Russian thing, so let him do this thing."

Kissinger: "Oh, no, no ..."

Nixon: "[Unclear] Let him be the lead horse."

Kissinger: "Oh, God. The only thing I want - the Israelis distrust him so much they wouldn't do a thing without checking with us anyway ... I don't think he should go to Tel Aviv for the funeral even if he should engineer an invitation."

Nixon: "Bill? Oh, shit no."

Kissinger: "Yeah, but they might want him. That might give them some visible American support, and that would embroil us with the Arabs."

Nixon: "Listen, let me tell you something. My view - this incident blows any chance at [a peace agreement]."

Kissinger: "You are 100 percent right."

Nixon: "But the point is, let's let Bill be out in front. Your idea of going to the UN, he finally got the point ... And it will be great for him and it will be great for us." Kissinger: "Above all, it will be good for you, Mr. President ... Because if he goes up to the UN, he will be doing something concrete. Of course, nothing will come out. Nothing ever comes out. But we could make a lot of statesman-like speeches about curbing terrorism."

Nixon instructs Kissinger to get Rabin on the phone, and says: "Would you tell him that ... let me put it this way: Tell him, 'Look, Mr. Ambassador, the president wants to get Rogers on the right side of this issue.' And second, tell him it will be good to put the goddamn UN on the spot. We want to put them on the spot on this issue, because we think we got them by the balls here. For him to urge Rogers to go to the UN. Would you tell him the president would like for him to do that? ...

"Also, tell Rabin that I consider it very statesmanlike, Mrs. Meir's statement. Would he please convey that to her. Particularly with regard to going forward with the games. That I had independently reached that conclusion, but did not want, of course, to suggest it. But I think that's exactly the kind of thing that will make tremendous points in the world by not trying to knock off the games. That's what the athletes would have wanted. Third point is that now that they're in this good position, don't blow it. Tell him, 'Don't blow it.' [Unclear] You've got to remember that the president is their friend. Now we've got some world opinion for them. But don't ... these things can turn very fast."

Kissinger: "You're right."

Nixon: "I don't want them to go conquer Beirut. I don't mind them going in and knocking off a few camps, but even that's bad right now."

Kissinger: "I think ..."

Nixon: "They would be very well to be the injured, play the injured martyr."

Kissinger: "But if we can get to the UN within the next 24 hours. Now this statement here will hold us for 24 hours."

Nixon: "What statement?"

Kissinger: "Well, where we say we've consulted with other governments. Frankly, I wouldn't consult because if you do it, they'll say no. And if we go ..."

Nixon: "All right." (Turns to Bob Haldeman.) "You see, Bob, of course nobody understands what the president is trying to do here. I'm trying to get Bill doing something! As I told you last night on the phone, Bob, rather than farting around whether Henry sees [British Prime Minister Edward] Heath, or [West German Chancellor Willy] Brandt, or some other. Now Brandt may pose a problem at this point."

Haldeman: "The UN thing is an ideal thing."

Nixon: "Let's talk a little about lowering the flag. What I'm concerned about is that you can be sure as hell that [New York City Mayor John] Lindsay [a former Nixon rival in the race for the Republican nomination] is going to lower the flag, Congress is going to call for lowering the flag ... Here's the point. [Unclear] Why don't you order the flag when some Irish nationalists get killed?"

Kissinger: "That's right. What will Irishmen say if you didn't lower it when the school children got killed in Belfast ..."

Nixon: "That's right. It really hits the point that the flag ought to be low all the time."

Haldeman: "You didn't lower it when the guys [from the Japanese Red Army, which launched a terror attack on Lod Airport in May 1972] went in the airport and shot up the people."

Nixon: "Well, it's the Olympics. The Olympics, they're international and all that business. Suppose, for example, somebody went in and machine-gunned the UN and killed six Arabs there."

Kissinger: "My instinct is - sure, right now you'll get a lot of indignation. But whether more people won't feel that this is the president of all the people ... "

Nixon: "Going too far?"

Kissinger: "But Bob would have a better judgment than I."

Nixon: "Yeah. Now the idea of the church thing appeals to me if I do it my way. My way would be I call upon all Americans to go to church and a moment of silence. But I think, in my way, I quietly slip out of this damn door ..."

Kissinger: "That doesn't bother me. "

Nixon: "... and pick maybe that little church across the way without ... any notice of it. I just walk round, sit in the church for five minutes and walk out. Get my point? That's my moment of silence."

Kissinger: "That I think, that has meaning. That has human compassion. You show where you stand, but you don't involve the presidency of the United States in an official act."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Oops, There Goes Another "Militant"

In a Reuters story, I found this line:

Elsewhere in Gaza, a top Hamas bombmaker died when a device blew up as he was training militants to prepare explosives.

So, for the umpteeth time on this site, I'll ask:

Why use the word "militants" to describe people who are obviously militaristic, violent and even terroristic?

Friday, February 24, 2006

This is a Professor?

Martin van Creveld is a professor of military history at the Hebrew University and a bit full of himself.

He has an op-ed in The Forward in which he argues against coming down too harshly on Hamas. So, what does he suggest?


Under such circumstances, the best way ahead is probably to impose some sanctions, but only moderate ones. Contrary to the desires of some hard-line Israelis, the goals should not be to co-opt Hamas or to bring it down.

First, it is doubtful whether such objectives can be achieved by any sort of pressure, short of systematic starvation that would make Nablus look like the disastrously short-lived Nigerian breakaway republic of Biafra. Second, even if such objectives could be achieved, it is not at all clear that doing so is desirable.

Instead, the aim should be to make it clear to Hamas that Israel and the donor countries are unhappy with them, that they should consider modifying their ways to make some kind of progress possible, and that such behavior on their part could result in some real benefits. No less — but no more

This is an intelligent analysis? Incisive? Academic? Intellectual? Professorial?

Hello? "Some" sanctions? But what sanctions?

We're in suspense - what is Israel to do?

Shout "nu-nun-nu"?

For this VanCreveld received payment?

Horrified? Ricidculous!

A group of English students, observing a police operation in Jerusalem, were - are you ready for this? - horrified! Heavens!!!

Here's the story:-

The tour bus passengers, students from England, were horrified to see a group of masked men in civilian garb standing over a group of handcuffed men lying on the sidewalk. Only the word police on the ski masks indicated who they were.

Ah, so the words "police" did appear. As if we haven't seen masked policemen all over Europe.

Well, who were the students?

The students were on a tour organized by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), on their way back from Pisgat Ze'ev and Shuafat.

And who is/are ICAHD?

...our activists gained direct knowledge of the brutalities of the Occupation, we expanded our resistance activities.

Oh, so that's why they were horrified.

P.S. If you click here you can see a "masked activist", another one, here for a masked demonstrator and if you google around, you'll find a few masked policemen in thumbnail pics that I can't link to.

Media Criticism of NYT & Refusal to Publish Muhammed Caricatures

I got to here from here.

Jeff Gannon wrote:-

The "Sensitive" New York Times

Last week, I attended a presentation of the Kalb Report at the National Press Club and heard Byron Calame, Public Editor of the New York Times defend the newspaper’s decision not to publish the cartoons of Muhammad that have stirred up radical Islamists. Calame said that describing the cartoons was sufficient in reporting the story. While some might think that decision shows sensitivity, I see cowardice and hypocrisy....

...The New York Times wouldn’t print a picture like this [the famous God touching man finger-to-finger] unless it was promoting a new gay-themed movie.

Calame also made a weak argument that publishing the Muhammad cartoons might endanger NYT’s reporters in Muslim countries. However, it is a reminder that it isn’t Christians who are cutting people’s heads off.

New Game: Pay-the-Leader

Remember the game "follow-the-leader"?

Well, there's a new one:-

The European Union is considering making direct payments to the moderate Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, as a way of supporting him while trying to maintain financial pressure on Hamas, the anti-Israeli militant group that swept to power in elections last month.

This is like so cool. So democratic. So financially sound.

So Middle Eastern, oops, sorry, so European.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And the next Minority Group after Christians is...

ONLY HUMAN: For Gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv Is Mecca
By kathleen peratis
February 24, 2006

Al-Fatiha — which calls itself the principal international organization promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arabs — is located not in Beirut or Cairo, but in Washington, D.C. And no wonder: The international movement for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people hardly exists inside the Muslim world.

Arab human rights organizations sometimes advocate for gay rights, but they do so sotto voce. In fact, the only country in the Middle East in which gay people may safely leave the closet is Israel. Which is why, for gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is Mecca.

Gay Palestinian men flee to Israel because they are not safe in the West Bank and Gaza. They also have no place else to go.

"Israel is close and far at the same time," says Haneen Maikey, a gay rights activist with Jerusalem Open House, one of the principal gay rights organizations in Israel. If the sexuality of a gay man in Palestine is exposed, his family might torture or kill him and the police will turn a blind eye.

Israel is heaven on earth. Sort of.

Did You Know there were Christians in Gaza?

I didn't know there were Christians in Gaza.

But there are.

Read on:

Gaza's Tiny Christian Community Threatened With Violence
By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
February 23, 2006

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) -- Extremists are threatening to blow up the Palestinian Bible Society in the Gaza Strip if the people who work there do not close up shop and abandon their ministry by the end of February, a Christian source told Cybercast News Service.

The threat appears to be the work of Islamic extremists who are determined to drive Christians out of the area. Arab Christians are taking the threat very seriously, said a Palestinian Bible Society information officer who asked not to be named.

There are only about 1,500 Christians living among an estimated 1.2 million Palestinian Muslims in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Bible society has been in operation there since 1999.

Eleven local Palestinians staff the center, which includes a Christian bookstore that sells Bibles. Scriptures are displayed on large billboards, and at the front of the store is a sign that says: "God's Word is Life for All." Above the shop are computer rooms, multi-purpose halls and a library that is open to the entire community.

And all they want is to propogate the Bible:-

"It really breaks our heart that some groups are against the whole idea. We ask Christians worldwide to pray, not only for us, but also for those who are trying to hurt us, as Christ commands us to do."

"Settlements" are Useful Then ?

This is almost a daily occurence:-

On Thursday morning, Five Qassam rockets were launched at Israeli territory from the evacuated northern Gaza Strip settlement of Dugit. Two of the rockets landed near the community of Netiv Ha'asarah, north of Gaza; three others landed in the vicinity of Karmiya and Yad Mordechai. No injuries or damages were reported.

So, instead of using the communities for consructive enterprises and using the millions of dollars awarded them to restart the greenhouses, this is what the Arabs were prefer to do.

If I was a left-wing progressive, like him, what would I think of such behavior? Would I continue to press Israel to retreat and furthen weaken itself?

Why the Difference?

Haaretz lets us know that:-

At least ten people - Israelis and Palestinians - sustained light injuries Thursday afternoon in a clash with Israel Defense Forces troops at a separation fence construction site, between the Palestinian village of Beit Sira and the town of Maccabim, within the Green Line.

Dozens of "Anarchists Against the Fence" activists and some 200 village residents clashed with the troops, who were securing the bulldozers paving the route of the fence.

The forces fired rubber coated bullets and sprayed tear gas at the protesters. The protest delayed construction work at the site by several hours.

Now, if using rubber coated bullets they only managed to "lightly" injure these anarchists, how come they managed to severely injure dozens (over 50, at least, needed hospital treatment) at Amona without using such potentially lethal methods?

Or were they so heated up at Amona (why????) and so "motivated" (by their officers and the officers by the politicians in government) that their clubs became almost lethal weapons at such close range?

Olmert is "Smolmert"

"Smol" is Hebrew for Left.

Left in Israel means, first and foremost, conceding territory and being weak on security affairs and inefficient in dealing with Israel's diplomatic needs.

Here's the new Likud clip (in Hebrew) portraying Ehud Olmert as a Lefty, and utilizing a play on his name - "Smolmert".

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Are we being even-handed here?

At the Ha'aretz web site, you can click on an ad and read this message request:-

We are American Jews who care deeply about Israel and who are filled with sorrow by the continuous cycle of violence and death in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We call upon the US government to embrace an initiative that can build on the momentum generated by the Gaza withdrawal, lay the groundwork for a negotiated settlement, safeguard the lives of Israeli settlers, and remove a major obstacle to peace.

We call upon the US government:
To urge the Israeli government to reverse its longstanding policy of offering financial inducements to Israeli settlers in the West Bank and to redirect those funds to settlers who are now willing to return voluntarily to Israel proper;

To provide generous foreign assistance and to solicit contributions from the European Union, other major industrial democracies, and the United Nations for this massive relocation effort.


It is sponsored by Brit Shalom v'Tzedek.

As I am in favor of freedom of expression, no matter how ridiculous, irrational and wrong (but excluding direct and immediate calls to violence), as long as I get a chance to reply, let me posit the question:

were these people in favor of Rabbi Meir Kahane's idea of collecting money to move Arabs out of Israel?

After all, if money is the solution, does it not or rather, should it not work both ways and benefit all?

DovBear's Program (?)

A bit back I criticized the DovBear blog and wrote:

But getting back to DovBear, after several months of trying to get a handle on his approach to religion and politics, I think it is more a matter of personality and character rather than cogent analysis of policies and positions. What my late mother called "farbissen". Someone is always just bitter about everything no matter what and enjoys criticizing.

He responded:-

Guilty. But here's a news flash: I am not here to do "analysis" or anything dry and boring like that. I am here to entertain you, to make you think, and to slaughter sacred cows. Get with the program.

Somehow, I don't think he has a program or if so, it may be one of self-destruct.

He's now got entangled, figuratively speaking, with Renegade Reb and I added this there at her comments:-

Does anyone else out there get the impression that while DovBear surely is vain and cocky, a characteristic young Jewish men are conditioned to develop, he also displays elements of the farbissen behavior, that bitter reaction that comes from realizing that he could be better even while being very good but then needs to put others down so that he feels even better, while being bitter? And I hope others than DB will comprehend that.

I hope that, at least, he's enjoying himself, if not in the process of self-destruct.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

And How Much a Proportion of Jews Have a Second Home in Israel?

This item, somehow (don't ask me how), published in the London Times, caught my eye:-

AMONG the trends identified by the ONS is a sharp rise in the number of second homes abroad purchased by Britons.

In 2000 there were 176,482 holiday homes abroad owned by Britons and by 2004 this had increased to 256,609.

The most popular country for a second home was Spain, where the number rose from 47,650 to 69,284, followed by France where the figure rose from 35,296 to 51,322.

Chris Palmer, chief executive of the estate agent Cluttons Resorts said: “About 5 per cent of the UK adult population now owns an overseas property and this figure is likely to double over the next decade.

I have read several of my fellow/gal Jewish bloggers, in answering those meme quizes that were fashionably popular 2-3 months ago, that many wished to be able to live in Israel such as OrthoMom.

Well, reflecting on the above stats from England, I was wondering whether anyone has researched or tried to ascertain what percentage of American Jews own residences or have other living arrangements (time-sharing, etc.) in Israel.

Unlike England, where they are motivated by bad local weather, cheap air travel and other factors, Jews should be affected by religion, ideology and family relations.

Could be interesting or disappointing or exciting in terms of results.

Belated Response

I do not nor can I not spend the required time searching through the Blogosphere to find references to me that I truly need to respond and react to.

So, with a few minutes spared me, I found this here at #32, from some two years ago (but they're archived so for me they still exist):

...so I googled part of that Geocities article (parts of which are contradicted by another of your linked articles) and discovered that Google has only spidered 3 sites where there is any mention of this article: Jewschool where you guys clearly had a similar debate recently; another site that mentioned a reference to Halevy writing on Raviv; and the Geocities site you provided.

So I looked at the Geocities site a little more closely, “Israel Media Watch,” and discovered that it is run by Yisrael Medad, an American living in a settlement. He is a good writer, and an intelligent person, but everything I found from him seemed to attack the press for its Left wing bias and for ignoring “obvious” stories like this Raviv story. He also seems to dislike the Israeli Left and in an unpublished letter to the New York Times, he blames the Israeli Left for becoming totally irrational with respect to Arab-Israeli conflict. Needless to say, he finds no such problem on the Right.

So if I follow this line of thinking, the Israeli Far Right was non-existent before Rabin’s assassination. It was just Raviv pulling media stunts or trying to impress impressionable Rightists with 140 IQ (read: Yigal Amir).

and this at #48-

That guy whose site you quoted, Yisrael Medad, seems to be an intelligent person, but he also seems eerily focused on the evils of the Israeli Left, and I did not find the general atmosphere and overall claims on his site to be compelling.

Now, just to clear this up, briefly:

a) thanks for the appreciation;

b) Left wing bias exists, it's proven, it's statistically overwhelming to Right wing bias and more importantly, it's admitted to by the honet media persons like Shelly Yechimovicz, Dan Margalit, Ari Shavit, Matti Golan and others. Ihave a whole slew of quotations about this;

c) the thing about Raviv was that, if you can remember, he was the main focus of the media and it was he who staged the most atrocious and outlandish incidents of "incitement", "violence" and whatnot. Once he set the stage, he enabled the left-leaning media to comfortably zero-in on this subject that would not have merited the attention.

This attention then played into the hands of the looney Right who then began to hyper their own activities.

The Shamgar Report specifically notes that the State of Israel paid Avishai Raviv to...yes, incite against Rabin and lost control of him and, crucially, did not adequately stamp down on him after cathcing up with his shennanigans so that his message of violence became maximized through state help, aid and assistance.

And Shamgar blamed the media for not picking up on the fact that Raviv was "staging" his "performances" and that any normal person would have and should have known they were "produced" artificially. He charged that the media did not fulfill its obligation. That's the main point to be considered.

I've Been Disparaged

One Robert Silverstein thinks I can't write:

...I’ve written about Atlas Shrugged and its wild-eyed search for anti-Semites under every bed in my overview of the participants in the pro-Israel Pajamas Media blog. CAMERA Snapshots is the blog of Committee for Accuracy in Mideast Reporting in America. Those are the folks who are always accusing CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post of being anti-Israel because they cover both the Israeli and Palestinian side of the conflict. For CAMERA, writing a story about Palestinians is tantamount to anti-Israel propaganda. Or how ’bout Joe Settler? Pretty much a given where this guy stands in the political divide. Ditto for Israpundit. You won’t find a dispassionate discussion of the conflict in any of these blogs. Of eleven blogs in ‘Group A’ of this category, one, Dan ‘Mobius’ Sieradsky’s Jewschool, is progressive. Sound “fair and balanced” to you?

Group B contains the aforementioned Little Green Footballs and other gems like MyRightWord (guess which side of the political spectrum it’s on?), Zion Report, Only in Israel, and Soccer Dad...

...By the way, did I also say that these chenyuk’s (a disparaging Israeli colloquial term) can’t write?.

Why not drop him a line, even at this late date, and tell him what you think?

Notes from My Lecture

By mischance, while referencing the previous posting on the Temple Mount, etc. I stumbled across this summary of my Limmud 2005 lecture on ascending the Temple Mount.

At the end of the talk thread, I found this, a bit of a compliment I would presume:

I take your point; there's nothing specifically polemical here, I'm just getting creepy vibes from the account. But you were at the talk, and if you feel that the guy wasn't a Zionist nutter then you're very likely to be right.

Well, he is a Zionist nutter. He talked about how within days of first coming to Israel he got thrown off the Temple Mount, and has been thrown off ty- times since. But I got the impression he's an open-minded Zionist nutter, not an Arab-hater or security paranoiac or religious fundamentalist, etc.

Caricature Redux

Apropos the whole Muhammed caricature controversy, I was reminded that back in 1929, after almost a year of contentious behavior by the Muslims of Mandate Palestine over the Kotel, riots broke out. One of the "justifications" the Mufti later used was that the above picture had been distributed by a Yeshiva as a fundraising instrument. According to him, it clearly showed the intention of the Jews to take over the Haram E-Sharif.

Here's an excerpt from the Shaw Commission to illustrate this:-

As appeared from page 31 of the Shaw report, the Mufti had addressed to the Administration on October 8th, 1928, only a few days, therefore, after the incident at the Wailing Wall, a memorandum in which he accused the Jews, among other things, of wishing to take possession of this Wall, called Ab Burch. This untruthful accusation had been denied by the Jewish National Council in Palestine, in an open letter, dated November 1928, addressed to the Moslem community in the country (page 30 of the Shaw report).

The accusation, however, had been maintained later and had continued to spread until finally it became a general belief that the Jews wished to take possession of the Mosque of Omar itself, as well as other Arab holy places. In spite of the absurdity of such allegations and repeated protests on the part of the Jews, this belief had persisted. There was no doubt that it had largely contributed to increasing the hostile feelings of the Arabs for the Jews.

The Jewish response was "who, we?" and "don't be silly".

But the Muslims didn't believe them and reacted to this poster as they have done to the Muhammed cartoons but with one difference.

If today they could at least say that the drawings that appeared in the Dannish press and then around the world were impugning the character of their Prophet and being a desecration, what was this poster doing comparable that should have brought about the murder of 133 Jews, 67 of them, men, women and infants in Hebron?

Bibi as Big Brother

He should be more careful posing.

Satire on Hamas

The Onion has a funny piece.

It opens:

Hamas Calls For 'Giant Summit' With All Israelis
February 15, 2006 | Issue 42•07

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK—After his militant Islamic party took the majority in Palestine's recent elections, Ismail Haniyeh called for a "giant summit with all living Israelis" Monday, rekindling international hopes for peace in the war-torn region.

Haniyeh characterized the one-day summit as "the final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute," and invited every Jewish citizen of the world to attend. Haniyeh said he expects more than 5 million participants from Israel alone.

My Letter in The Guardian (UK)

In response to the Oestreicher piece:-

Paul Oestreicher is right that "modern Israel was born in terror". But that terror was Arab terror that needed to be responded to. Arab terror in Jerusalem in April 1920; in Jaffa in May 1921; in Jerusalem in November 1921; in Hebron, Safed etc in 1929; throughout the mandate territory from April 1936 to May 1939. And Arab terror in response to the UN partition resolution beginning in December 1947. All this terror was initiated by the Arabs who refused any political resolution, any compromise or any mediation.

Yisrael Medad
Shiloh, Israel

(and notice: not "West Bank")

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hi Babe!

Chris McGreal of the Guardian wrote about "apartheid" Israel on the 6th (I and 7th (II) of this month.

This week, he's got a sexier subject:

Ask Huda Naeem how she intends to use her influence as a newly elected MP for Hamas and she ticks off a list of wrongs done to women in the name of religion. Forced marriage, honour killings, low pay and girls being kept out of school are her priorities for change in the Palestinian parliament. That is when she is not preparing her 13-year-old son to die in the fight against Israel.

"A lot of things need to change," she said. "Women in Gaza and the West Bank should be given complete rights. Some women and girls are made to marry someone they don't want to marry. This is not in our religion, it's our tradition. In our religion, a woman has a right to choose.

"As a woman and an MP, there are areas I want to concentrate on but that does not mean we have forgotten our struggle for our homeland, and preparing our children to die when the homeland calls for it."

Such a sweet story.

Female MKs, eggs over lightly, schhol packs, and...boom!

The Truth Will Come Out

Haaretz reports:-

A retired Israel Defense Forces colonel who was present at the evacuation of nine structures in the West Bank outpost of Amona submitted a complaint Monday alleging police brutality against protesters who clashed with security forces.

Colonel (res.) Moti Yogev petitioned the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department for an inquiry into claims that Border Policemen, without provocation, struck young girls who asked to exit the vicinity where the clashes were taking place.

In his petition, Yogev writes that close to 11 A.M. on the day of the incident, an entire Border Police unit descended on a group of girls who, along with their teacher, were pinned against the wall, "begging [the officers] to allow them to leave the riot area."

"The officers began shoving them and hitting them for no reason," Yogev writes.

Yogev recalled how he approached an officer believed to be the commander of a police unit and requested that the security forces cease striking the girls and allow them to leave the scene.

"Three Border Policemen, among them Eyal Peri, pushed me and struck me with clubs in my stomach," Yogev wrote. "I fell as I was struggling to breathe, but the policemen kept pushing me and rolling me on the floor again and again. When I managed to get up, they pushed me against, and then I hurt my knee."

"Today I walk around on crutches with an injured knee that will require extensive rehabilitation," he wrote.

Yogev said that he witnessed "horses trampling over people lying underneath their horseshoes", a police commander who ordered his officers to catch young protesters who were loitering peacefully and to "just hit them."

Yogev also recounts how police officers entered a building where girls had locked arms. One of the girls told an officer: "My brother, don't hit me. I'm your sister."

Yogev said the officer "answered her in a Russian accent: 'Shut up you Jewish bitch' and brutally struck her."

Yogev, a former commander of special forces unit Sayeret Shaked and a deputy commander of Sayeret Matkal, submitted the complaint through attorneys Amikam Hadar and Hedva Shapira. The petition is the latest in a series of petitions to PID alleging excessive use of force at Amona.

On Monday, a human rights groups representing the Yesha council of settlements revealed that three policemen who were at Amona volunteered information about the day's events, including the claim that police received unequivocal instructions to "crack open heads."

Oh My G-d! What a Cleric Thinks

Paul Oestricher, who is a member of the Church of England's general synod and director of the Centre for International Reconciliation, Coventry Cathedral; he is now a chaplain at the University of Sussex, has published an awful op-ed in the UK Guardian.

His main thrust is this:-

But the main objective of my writing today, is to nail the lie that to reject Zionism as it practised today is in effect to be anti-semitic, to be an inheritor of Hitler's racism. That argument, with the Holocaust in the background, is nothing other than moral blackmail. It is highly effective. It condemns many to silence who fear to be thought anti-semitic. They are often the very opposite. They are often people whose heart bleeds at Israel's betrayal of its true heritage.

I began with the recognition that the cancer of anti-semitism has not been cured. Tragically, Israel's policies feed it - and when world Jewry defends Israeli policies right or wrong, then anger turns not only against Israel, but against all Jews. I wish it were mere rhetoric to say that Israeli politics today make a holocaust the day after tomorrow credible. If the whole Muslim world hates Israel, that is no idle speculation.

He continues,

My concern, however, is to express solidarity with the Israel that is not represented by its leaders or popular opinion.

But he also wrote this line:

"But I know too that modern Israel was born in terror."

which moved me to write him this:

But that terror was Arab terror that needed to be responded to.

Arab terror in Jerusalem April 1920.

Arab terror in Jaffa in May 1921.

Arab terror in Jerusalem in November 1921.

Arab terror in Hebron, Safed, etc. in 1929.

Arab terror throughout the Mandate territory during April 1936 – May 1939.

Arab terror in response to the UN partition resolution beginning in December 1947.

All this terror was initiated by the Arabs who refused any political resolution, any compromise any mediation.

The cleric responded to my letter and wrote:

From: Paul Oestreicher [mailto:paul_oestreicher@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 1:03 PM
To: Yisrael Medad

Thanks. All that is history. All share guilt. My article is about today and tomorrow and my wish that the people of Israel should LIVE.


and I replied:

So, why did you bring it up?

You didn't use the word "terror" in describing what the Arabs do.

Seems your morality is duplicitous, as you impugn Israel – unjustifiably – and excuse Arabs. That's no way to achieve peace but to help the Arabs avoid it.

An Unkind Cut

A story on circumcision delayed from Chicago:-

An Illinois judge has halted the circumcision of an 8-year-old boy while his father contests the mother's plan for the operation.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jordan Kaplan granted a temporary restraining order on the operation Friday, the Chicago Tribune reports, but to preserve the child's privacy the newspaper isn't releasing names.

The 31-year-old mother has said two doctors agreed with the circumcision, saying it will prevent medical problems.

The 49-year-old father fears it will harm his son both emotionally and physically. He called it an "unnecessary amputation."

Circumcisions, usually performed on newborns, aren't common worldwide and have ebbed recently in the United States where about 60 percent of boys now get the procedure compared to 90 percent in 1970.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now takes a neutral stance on the issue, leaving it up to parents.

Critics of circumcision call it a human rights violation and unnecessary, while those in favor say it is healthy for males.

Dear "Father",

Trust me on this one. No harm. Jews have produced brilliant scholars, scientists, sportsmen, sailors, social workers, salesmen, surgeons, scribes, etc., etc. et al. Lead him to the mohel.

Bloggers Lingo

William Safire had this on the language of the bloggers:

February 19, 2006
On Language

Every walk of life and field of endeavor generates its own insiders' lingo. Those of us in the MSM — that's the superannuated, archaic mainstream media — have our own jargon, of which the first sentence of an article is the lede, the early edition is the bulldog and the guys working into the wee hours make up the lobster shift.

Some of our special vocabulary is being stolen from us by the denizens of the world of Web logs. Above the fold — the top half of a standard-size newspaper page, where the major stories begin — now, in "blargon," is what we see on a blog's screen before we begin to scroll down. The jump — the continuation of an article on an inside page — is now a place to which the blog's readership is referred inside the Web site. A sidebar — which we fondly remember as a boxed, related article alongside the main newspaper article — is, to a blogger, a column down one side of the screen displaying advertisements, archived links or a list of other blogs called a blogroll. Even the reporter's byline, that coveted assertion of journalistic authorship, has been snatched by the writers derogated as "guys in pajamas" and changed to bye-line, an adios or similar farewell at the end of the blogger's politely expressed opinion or angry screed. (The prevailing put-down of right-wing bloggers is wingnuts; this has recently been countered by the vilification of left-wing partisans who use the Web as moonbats, the origin of which I currently seek.)

But what of the original terms being bandied about in what became known at 12:54 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2002, as the blogosphere, when William Quick posted the coinage on his blog, Daily Pundit? The name blog is universally described as "short for Web log," but Jason Goldman, product manager for Google's blog-host Web site, Blogger, says that its meaning is different: "A Web log was and is 'a log of requests that comes into a server'; it's the domain of techie people and no fun to look at. But blog, though coined from 'Web log,' is a word open to all sorts of linguistic play that has taken on the meaning of 'a personal web page.' "

That means it is time to send the world a ping about the link love or memes available to be tagged, as well as a friendly tip on deliciousing.

A ping is not just the word for a sound anymore. It is also an acronym for "packet Internet gopher," a program that tests whether a destination is online and can also be the gently noisy notification sent when a blog needs updating or has been updated. Link love is "an unsolicited, posted link that aims only to amuse or interest." Other blogophiles call it linky love and stress a more intimate sense of reciprocity: "to link to another blogger because that person has linked to you." One who carries this yearning for online linkage to extremes is called a link slut or worse. Bloggers do not treat this as prurient, nor is "the discovery that some other blogger has posted an identical thought at the same time," which they call simultaneous blogasm.

"A meme is a type of online chain letter," explains Teli Adlam, a glossarian at blogossary.com, "where bloggers answer questions designed to give a quick overview of the blogger's personality." The author is then supposed to tag — that is, to induce — other bloggers to participate by answering the same questions. Tag, as a noun, is a descriptive label applied to an individual post.

Delicious, though an adjective in standard usage, is both a noun and a verb in blargon: Adlam defines it as "a social bookmarking service that allows users to share their bookmarked sites with others. To del.icio.us someone is to add them to your delicious bookmarks. Many bloggers strive to make it onto the del.icio.us front page (otherwise known as being popular)." This has led to the verbal noun or gerund deliciousing.

The darker side of the Web cannot be ignored by the blogerati (meaning "people sophisticated in operating blogs," derived from digerati out of glitterati, all three bottomed on literati). Even MSM types know what spamming is: that was first reported in 1991 as the mischievous swamping of a network with unsolicited postings, and today denotes any unwanted messages in e-mail as well. Biz Stone, author of the 2004 "Who Let the Blogs Out?" informs me that dotted is the word used to describe any site that is sending out bursts of traffic. It is rooted in the practice of the Web site Slashdot to send traffic to another site by linking to it. The recipient of all the traffic is said to be slashdotted. Stone defines spam blogs, splogs and zombie blogs in his glossary as "these strange animated robot-generated texts meant to game search engines. When it's published as unwanted feedback on people's blogs, it's called comment spam."

This brief survey — a labor of link love — was conducted by means of blogging. Thanks to the blogerati who shot my query around the Web asking for jargon, a solicitation that N'Gai Croal, technology editor at Newsweek, calls blegging. He also notes "Another good blog term is to fisk, from Robert Fisk, a U.K. journalist. That's when you take an article and reprint it on your blog adding your line-by-line critique. It comes from bloggers doing that to Fisk's work, and now you'll hear 'That was some fisking of Bush's State of the Union.' "

Fasten Your Seltbelts

The above map illustrates the difficulty of protecting the Ben-Gurion International Airport from Palestinian missiles, with or without a fence. The range is just about perfect to hit the planes as they come in, dropping low for the landing.

Avrum Burg's Confession

In a review of the new book, Yamim Ktumim (Orange Days) by Sivan Rahav-Meir and her husband, Yedidyah, who are a journalistic husband-and-wife-separate-but-equal team, Avrum Burg has this remarkable piece in Haaretz:

In the interests of proper disclosure, allow me to say something I have never said before: When I was growing up, Motti Zisser was the boy I loved most. He and I shared a dorm room at the yeshiva. The classrooms and study halls were not where we learned the things we needed to know in life. Like kids everywhere, we learned much more from each other. Motti taught me to play volleyball. He taught me to see the world through "smile-tinted" glasses, without anger, with so much creativity. I have never told him how important he was to me. People didn't say such things back then. We were rough, tough Israelis.

After high school, we hardly saw each other. He went on to make a name for himself in his world, and I went my way. Now our paths have crossed again in "Yamim Ketumim" ("Orange Days"). After all these years, our differences have clearly deepened. His religious and spiritual life is rooted in the Orthodox Zionist world, whereas I have become alienated from the "straight and narrow" of that world. For many years now, I have been outside the Orthodox mainstream, searching for ways to renew and rebuild Judaism.

And yet, we still have much in common. One of his daughters has adopted a secular lifestyle, just as some of my own children have. This is a terrible source of pain to him, but he loves her dearly and somehow, through the cracks in the relationship between an adoring father and a daughter who is carving out a path of her own, Zisser has become privy to certain insights into aspects of religious Zionism that this insular movement has been studiously avoiding.

"Over the past 15 years, religious Zionism has gone over to black-and-white," he says. "Most of us have parents who survived the Holocaust and brought with them both good and bad in the wake of their wartime experiences ... In those days, the rabbis busied themselves with Torah, not politics ... Their job was to teach us Torah ... and how to be good Jews."

And us? "We placed our children in the hands of rabbis whom we believed were doing their job and teaching them Torah, but our children came back from yeshiva schooled in politics."

Beyond his insights on the virus that has paralyzed the nerve center of religious Zionism, Zisser represents a lifestyle all his own. He is part and parcel of the business world and the realities of the day, but without compromising his faith. He is a full partner in the world of secularity, Arabs, modern communications and politics, but in the final analysis, he calls himself a "Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] Zionist." He is pious in his religious observance and belief, yet an equal partner, sharing the same rights and obligations on all Israeli political issues, from foreign policy and finance to evacuation of settlements and demarcation of borders.

Zisser is a tremendous challenge to secular Zionism - much greater than all the extremists who represent the various streams of Judaism today. If we were friends again, if we were back in touch, I would hug him and say all those things that are so commonplace today, but which were so hard to say back then: I love you, Motti, and I owe you so much.

Not Anti-Semitism? They Just Hate Jews

The French police arrested members of a gang that abducted, tortured and murdered Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew from Paris.

"They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."

While the citizens of France were shocked by the unbridled violence of the gang, Halimi's family claims that the murder was motivated by anti-Semitism.

"We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair," Rafi Halimi, Ilan's uncle, told the press.

"First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone," Rafi Halimi added. "When we said we didn't have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it," Rafi said. "They also recited verses from the Koran."

But the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told Parisian Jewish radio on Thursday that "no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action."

No anti-semitism?

A police source said the gang is a group of childhood friends who grew up in Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. The gang includes Muslims of North African descent and is headed by Youssef Fofana, who has escaped police capture so far. According to Marin, the gang had made six similar abduction attempts in the past.

Last Monday, a few days after the kidnappers ended contact with the family, Ilan was found near a suburban train station south of Paris, naked, handcuffed and gagged, with burns covering 80 percent of his body. He died on the way to the hospital.

They would do that to a Muslim?

Can They Burn Down A Virtual Site?

Now the Arabs are Killing their Dead (More on the Tolerance Museum)

Following up on this post of mine, the Simon Weisenthal Museum of Tolerance has released this:

You may have read some recent articles in the press regarding the discovery of human remains at the construction site of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Center for Human Dignity-Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem. Unfortunately many of these articles are inaccurate and we would like to set the record straight.

A group of Islamic organizations petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel to permanently halt the construction of this project on the grounds that it is a Moslem cemetery. Here are the critical points:

• The Center for Human Dignity is being built in the heart of West Jerusalem, on land granted to the Simon Wiesenthal Center by the Government of Israel and the City of Jerusalem. At no time did the Government of Israel or the City of Jerusalem designate the site as a Moslem cemetery. Rather, it had a legal status as a ‘public open space.’ The site ceased to be regarded as a cemetery for many years, both de facto and de jure . No burials have taken place in the Mamilla cemetery since the beginning of the 20th century.

• More importantly, the religious leaders of the Moslem community, have, for many years, regarded this area, including the Center for Human Dignity site, as land which could be developed for public purposes after moving and reburying graves and human remains.

•In 1927, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini, (a pro-Nazi supporter of Hitler) issued a religious ruling that forbade continued burials in this area in order to change its use to a commercial designation so that the land could be used as an economic impetus for Arab growth.

•In 1929, the Grand Mufti, initiated the building of the Palace Hotel on the southern part of the Mamilla cemetery and re-interred human remains found during construction, as already then the cemetery was considered ‘Mundras’ (abandoned), which according to Moslem law would permit it to be used for public purposes.

•Moreover, at that time, the High Moslem Council set an area of the cemetery for public buildings and an Arab university which was never built due to lack of funds.

• On June 7, 1964, the issue was brought before the Sha’aria (Moslem Religious Law) Court. The president of this Moslem Court of Appeals in Jaffa ruled the cemetery “a Mundras…that its sanctity has ceased to exist in it…and it is permitted to do whatever is permitted to do in any other land which was never a cemetery….” To this day, this religious law approach that permits graves to be moved for public and/or commercial use purposes remains in effect in Moslem countries like Egypt and Lebanon.

• For the last thirty years, the site consisted of two parking lots, an underground (four-level) parking lot, and an open, paved lot bordering the old Mamilla cemetery. Hundreds of cars parked in these lots every day. There were never any objections.

• The Simon Wiesenthal Center initiated a town plan to build a museum on the parcel allocated to it by the Government of Israel and the Municipality of Jerusalem and the City of Jerusalem issued a building permit to construct a museum. For five years during the public planning process, the Center for Human Dignity was the subject of hearings at open City Council meetings, through notices published in both Hebrew and Arabic newspapers, and the architectural model was on public display at City Hall. At no time throughout that entire public process, did a single person or organization come forward to object to the use of the grounds on the premise that the site was a Moslem cemetery.

• All of Jerusalem is layered in memory and history and it is not unusual for construction work in Jerusalem, a 3,000-year-old city, to encounter archeological artifacts and remains. That is why there is a special department called the Israel Antiquities Authority, charged with the special handling of any archeological artifacts or remains that are found. Since the commencement of excavation, the project has been under their supervision, and every instruction has been followed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center made its case to the Israeli Supreme Court on February 15, 2006 and awaits its decision. Further, the Center is fully committed to finding an acceptable solution according to the highest norms of Judaism and Islam. The Center has offered three possible remedies to the Court, which it would underwrite, including re-interrment of the ancient bones to a Moslem cemetery, erecting a dignified monument to those whose remains were removed, and cleaning up and restoring the adjacent Moslem cemetery, (at SWC expense), which sadly, has been unkempt and neglected for decades.

Unfortunately, some parties wish to pre-empt the Israeli Supreme Court and do not have the courtesy to allow justice to take its course. In so doing, they only embolden those extreme elements whose sole objective is to reclaim the heart of Jerusalem and to permanently stop the construction of the Center for Human Dignity-Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem. They will not succeed!

First the Arabs kill themselves in suicide missions against us.

Now they are killing their dead.

That's the way It gets Edited

Some have asked me about my letter in the Jerusalem Post Magazine this past Friday. It seemed a bit, well, sort of just hanging there.

It read:-

Rabbi Froman - albeit with meritorious intent - exists in a fantasy world, which he would have others inhabit too.

Seems a bit nebisch, no?

Well, here was the original letter:-

The picture accompanying your cover story on Rabbi Menachem Froman ("Always look on the bright side", Feb 3), showing him extending his tefillin wrapped right arm in 1997 towards Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, is but part of the event. Yassin never extended his hand in return and they subsequently never shook hands.

That reality highlights the fantasy world that Rabbi Froman, albeit with meritorious intent, exists in and would have others inhabit as well.

Yisrael Medad

There was an inquiry about the letter, thus:

Jerusalem Post Letters wrote:

Re: letter for magazine

This letter is ok -- with a major reservation. Your underlying point, as we know, is correct -- that those guys, that guy included, feels no friendship for us. But look at Yassin's hand in the picture: It sort of hangs there, limp, and I'm wondering if he would have been capable of extending his hand had he wanted to. This point -- the extent of his paralysis -- needs to be checked and included in the letter, because if he couldn't have shaken Froman's hand, the letter doesn't work.

And I replied:

i am almost positive that I have seen Yassin in interviews on Israeli TV waving his hands around in gestures. i recall that the point was made at the time that Yassin made no attempt to move towards Froman and it was noted.

Oh, well. Next time.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Barney Ross and Menachem Begin

A new book about the famous boxer Barney Ross has just been published written by Douglas Century.

The NYT Book Review section has this to say:-

Perhaps the greatest of the 30's crop of Jewish boxers was a fighter out of the Maxwell Street area of Chicago, born Dov-Ber Rasofsky, better known by his nom de guerre, Barney Ross. The 19-year-old Rasofsky-Ross won the Chicago and Intercity Golden Gloves championships in 1929 and turned pro that same year, just as the Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt, soon to be replaced by bread lines and Bonus Army camps. Fighting to exorcise "the bitterness and hatred inside me" that resulted from the murder of his father in a grocery store holdup, Ross embodied the hopes and dreams of his Jewish followers, who were also battling with bitterness against the forces trying to keep them imprisoned in their ghettos.

Into this vacuum came three little men who stood taller than their actual heights: Tony Canzoneri, Jimmy McLarnin and Barney Ross. They also stood for something more, ethnic identification: Canzoneri was Italian; McLarnin, Irish; and Ross, Jewish. Together these three would be the tonic the sport needed; as Century makes clear, their ring wars, in effect, were wars for ethnic turf...

...Ross next determined to challenge the welterweight champion, McLarnin, who was known as the Hebrew Scourge and the Jew Beater for taking on, and taking out, the best of the ghetto heroes.

In as thrilling a fight as New York had seen in many a year, Ross threw both caution and punches to the wind. Discarding the efficient, careful style that had served him so well in his previous 57 fights, he matched McLarnin punch for punch. Time and again he got away with it. He also got away with a split decision and the welterweight championship. Twice more these two greats were to battle for the ethnic turf of New York. And when the final tally had been made, it read: two victories for Ross, one for McLarnin and three for boxing.

Ross would go on to fight 18 more times, his final bout coming in 1938 against the perpetual motion machine called Henry Armstrong. For 15 rounds, Ross exhibited an infinite capacity for pain, absorbing everything Armstrong had to offer. He was badly beaten, and as he left the ring the sportswriter Grantland Rice asked, "Why didn't you quit?" A defiant former titleholder answered, "A champ's got the right to choose the way he goes out."

And, if you know me, there's another angle.

Here's a bit from the letter of his niece:-

Thanks to research by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, we know that upon Uncle Barney's return to the United States in 1944, he became active in the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, also known as the Bergson group. The Emergency Committee used full-page newspaper ads, public rallies, and Capitol Hill lobbying to pressure the Roosevelt administration to rescue Jews from Hitler.

Uncle Barney was also active in another of the Bergson committees, the American League for a Free Palestine, which sought to rally American support for the creation of a Jewish state. He spoke at its rallies and chaired its George Washington Legion, which recruited American volunteers to aid the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Jewish underground militia (headed by Menachem Begin) that was fighting the British in Mandatory Palestine. The Legion was patterned on the famous Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which had recruited Americans to fight against Franco in the 1930's Spanish Civil War.

One of the Bergson group's newspaper ads featured a photo of Uncle Barney with this message from the boxing champ: "There is no such thing as a former fighter. We must all continue the fight."

Barney Ross fought the good fight, inside and outside the ring. He fought for America in World War II, and he fought for the Jewish people in his efforts on behalf of Holocaust rescue and Jewish statehood. That is a powerful and inspiring example for today's Jewish athletes to follow.

Audrey Cantor
Chicago, IL

P.S. The Washington Post has this I thought should be added:

Violence was strictly verboten in the family of Reb Yitchak (Itchik) Rasofsky, "a Talmudic scholar and Hebrew teacher in Brest-Litovsk, then a thriving center for Jewish commerce, culture, and scholarship on the border between Belorussia and Poland." It remained verboten after the family moved to the United States -- first New York, then Chicago -- after the pogroms of 1903. As his third son, Dov-Ber, recalled many years later, his father said: "The religious man prizes learning above everything else. Let the atheists be the fighters, the trumbeniks , the murderers -- we are the scholars."

Dov-Ber -- Beryl, as he was called -- remembered those words, but he scarcely lived up to them. In Chicago, he was strictly "a street tough -- a trumbenik " -- and by the time he was 15, he had found his way to a professional fight club on the South Side. He was raw but supremely gifted. Soon he changed his name to Barney Ross, and by the time he was in his twenties, he was "celebrated . . . as the world's lightweight, junior-welterweight, and welterweight champion."...

...As a youth, he had witnessed the murder of his father on the street outside the little store he ran and thereafter was consumed by rage. "The bitterness and hatred inside me made me a much tougher fighter," he said. "Every opponent in a street fight seemed to remind me of Pa's murderers and so I seemed to find extra strength in fighting them, or kicking them in the groin and making them scream in agony." He took that rage into the ring, combined with a fierce desire to make enough money to support his mother and reunite his family, which had been scattered after his father's death.

And Dr. Rafael Medoff of the David Wyman Institute, a friend, adds this:-

In 1947, a group of St. Louis Jewish gangsters associated with reputed mob boss Mickey Cohen agreed to hold a fundraiser for the American League for a Free Palestine, on one condition--that the League provide Ross as the keynote speaker. In their eyes, the former boxer was the living symbol of Jewish toughness. League officials later estimated that thanks to Ross, the event brought in more than $100,000 for the cause of Jewish statehood.

Do You Know What Mundras is?

If not, go here and learn all about how the Museum of Tolerance is being bamboozled by the Muslims.

Latest Haveil Havalim Out, or is that On?


Me and many, many other good Jewish bloggers.

Latest Amona Clip in English

As I'm having difficulty uploading it (I really don't know anything technical about it, so please bear with me), here's the new Hebrew site with the galleries of Amona police and security forces.

Arghhh, Agha and Malodorous Malley

Remember these two:

Hussein Agha, Robert Malley?

They first wrote this apologia for Arafat which set off a flurry of responses and rejoinders among them: this, this, this and much more.

Hussein Agha is a specialist in Israeli-Palestinian issues and senior associate at St Antony’s College (Oxford); Robert Malley is a former adviser to President Clinton and director of the Middle East and north Africa programme of the International Crisis Group (Brussels). Here's a Le Monde op-ed they did recently.

Anyways, they're back at it and here's an excerpt from their latest KASACH (Hebrew abbreviation for Kissui Tachat ["covering your ass]:-

The electoral results sent shockwaves that are still reverberating, and even the abstemious Islamists must have been left with something like a hangover. Still, there is the possibility of hopeful developments in which all, Hamas, the US, Israel, and Fatah alike, display flexibility and pragmatism. Hamas would name a government that includes independents and technocrats. The government would recognize the PA's past agreements and commitments and continue to deal with Israel. Hamas would maintain its truce, seek to convince other political and rogue groups of its wisdom, and press for a program of good governance and reform. Donor funds would continue to flow and keep the Authority afloat. Israel would proceed with the second phase of its unilateral withdrawal, this time from the heart of the West Bank.

Indeed, insofar as the burden has shifted to Hamas, the US and Israel could achieve their objectives at less cost than had the old regime prevailed. With Hamas eager for quiet and stability, Israel will not have to pay a high price; nor will Washington have to invest much diplomatically to obtain them. Hamas faces pressures of its own making now, and they are likely to be far more effective than anything emanating from the outside.

Hamas eager for quiet and stability????

You, sorry, they gotta be kidding, right?

The Price of Liberty - Distributors Arrested

General Yair Naveh, who didn't know something about Amona he claimed, had this flyer distributed near his home on Friday.

Its distributors were arrested.

Someone Remembers Me Being in the UK

Someone who calls himself "Igor" had this on a thread where I commented defending Jabotinsky from the old false charegs that Jabotinsky was a lover of Muusolini:-

Soru is absolutely spot on. I can remember leafleting against Yisrael Medad when he spoke at my university many years ago. He is the last person I expected to bump into here.

Posted by Igor at February 16, 2006 03:25 PM

"Respect" Zionist-Free

Found this via Harry.

at Imperial College last week, Stockholm Syndrome poster girl and Respect party national council member Yvonne Ridley proclaimed Respect a "Zionist-free party" and said any Zionist members "would be hunted down and kicked out."

I said this would happen (as did many others)

Dr. Martin Sherman, a friend and colleague, published an article in which he claims, quite cogently, that "One-by-one, the promises of disengagement have proven false".

Excerpt from here:-

Rarely have all the premises of a political undertaking so critical, with such decisive long-range strategic consequences, managed in so short a period of time to appear so outrageous and unconsidered.

Not one of the positive things that were supposed to come about due to disengagement has come to pass. Similarly, not one security issue that the pullout was supposed to solve has been solved.

Before our very eyes, all the prophecies of doom are coming true, and all the rose-colored predictions have been forgotten. This is true with respect to every possible issue: Security, politics, economics, and perhaps most importantly, ethics and morals.

And, by the way, he's a lecturer in political science at Tel Aviv University.

Let Us Begin to Praise Begin

The New York Sun has published an editorial praising the decision Menachem Begin made in 1981 when he sent Israeli fighter planes to bomb the artomic reactor in Iraq.

Now with the world facing Iran, the paper writes:-

...let us pause to consider the reaction that greeted Prime Minister Begin's strike on Saddam's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.The airwaves and the newsstands were flooded with government denunciations. The Chinese communists called the Israelis "arrogant gangsters"; the French called the strike "unacceptable"; the Soviets called it an "act of gangsterism"; and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency described it as the most serious incident in his career. Even the Reagan administration joined in. The State Department said America "condemns" the strike, and, at the United Nations, Ambassador Kirkpatrick compared the raid to the "brutal" Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and voted against Israel in the Security Council. The administration then sanctioned Israel by suspending the delivery of F-16 fighters.

A few newspapers and columnists saw past all this. Robert Bartley's Wall Street Journal issued a now-famous editorial, "Mourning the Bomb," commenting that "it's nice to know that in Israel we have at least one nation left that still lives in the world of reality" and that "we all ought to get together and send the Israelis a vote of thanks." In Germany, Axel Springer's Die Welt defended Israel. William Safire of the New York Times predicted that one day the world would thank the Jewish state. The Tulsa World wrote, "The United States and other powers have treated the spread of nuclear weapons as an abstract problem to be talked about. The Israelis have recognized it for what it is: a monstrous threat to survival that must be avoided at all costs."

But for the most part, the world's press was beside itself with outrage. The Soviet news agency called it a "barbarous attack." The New York Times editorialized that "Israel's sneak attack on a French-built nuclear reactor near Baghdad was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression" and concluded that "Israel risks becoming its own worst enemy." The Memphis Commercial Appeal chastised that "this was a reckless action. Indeed, it must be described as an act of war every bit as much as the Japanese sneak attack upon the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor was." The Boston Globe warned that "the one thing the raid will not do is ensure the welfare of the Israeli people," while the Washington Post wrote that "the Israelis have made a grievous error. "Time warned that "Israel has vastly compounded the difficulties of procuring a peaceful settlement of the confrontation in the Middle East."

What is going to be the reaction, a generation later, if and when America or Israel acts in Iran? Have the chancelleries and editorial rooms learned from the errors of a generation ago? Years after Osirak, Max Frankel conceded in his memoirs that the Times's response was a "major mistake." Vice President Cheney famously sent the following note after the 1991 Gulf War to the Israeli commander who led the 1981 raid: "With thanks and appreciation. You made our job easier in Desert Storm. - Dick Cheney." But will a new storm of outrage erupt if either Israel or America acts? The real lesson of the last pre-emptive bombing of a nuclear program is that even though it was met with worldwide condemnation and only a few editorials of support, the logic become clear in the long run. That is what the world was taught by the courage of Menachem Begin, who uttered his famous retort "never again" and went to his grave understanding that even in a life marked by almost constant heroism, his attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor was his great prime ministerial act.