Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yes, There Is Justice

Some visitors doubt whether Israel is a country of law and justice, especially vis a vis the Arabs and even more so, Arabs resident in the disputed territories.

Read on:

An Israeli court has sentenced two border guards over the unlawful killing of a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank town of Hebron seven years ago.

Imran Abu Hamdieh died after the two men, Shahar Botbeka and Denis Alhazov, pushed him from the back of a military vehicle travelling at 50mph (80km/h).

Botbeka was jailed for eight-and-a-half years and Alhazov for five-and-a-half.

A Message in A Bottle From...Auschwitz


Builders working near the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp have found a message in a bottle written by prisoners, museum officials say.

The message, written in pencil and dated 9 September 1944, bears names, camp numbers and home towns of seven young inmates from Poland and France.

At least two survived the Nazi camp, an Auschwitz museum official said.

The bottle was buried in a concrete wall in a school that prisoners had been compelled to reinforce...

O Women of 'Palestine', Hear The Call! Act for Peace!

Here's an action plan:

Kenyan women's group tells men: Make war? No love

Thousands of Kenyan women vowed Wednesday to begin a weeklong sex strike to try to protest their country's bickering leadership, which they say threatens to revive the bloody chaos that convulsed the African country last year.

Leaders from Kenya's largest and oldest group dedicated to women's rights, the Women's Development Organization, said they hope the boycott will persuade men to pressure the government to make peace.

Eleven women's groups are participating in the strike. The groups have also called on the wives of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to abstain. It was not clear how either wife responded to the request.

"We have looked at all issues which can bring people to talk and we have seen that sex is the answer," said Rukia Subow, chairman of the Women's Development Organization...Sex strikes are rare worldwide. Many men in Kenya are polygamous, as is allowed by law.

The Vagaries of Middle East Political Fall-out

Irate Israeli passengers have complained to British BMI airline that the Jewish state was wiped off the inflight map which showed flights bound for Israel were instead heading to Mecca.

But the airline denied any anti-Israel agenda and insisted there was a simple explanation: the planes were recently bought from a bankrupt charter company that flew mainly to Muslim countries.

"For this reason the inflight entertainment system in the two planes was made to adapt to the passengers flying to and from those destinations and therefore the map showed mainly places holy to Islam," BMI said in a statement.


Football and Faith

I blogged about Alan before.

And now again:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Very Bad Historical Parallel

Found here:

The West Bank is to Israel what the Sudetenland was to the Nazis.

Does that sentence make sense to you?

Actually, Judea and Samaria are the Sudetenland to Israel as it was to Czechoslovakia.

It is part of our national homeland.

It's where Jews lived for many centuries and from where they were ethnically cleansed by Arab rioters and armies.

It was promised to us by the Supreme Council of the League of Nations.

It is a security barrier to attacks on Israel, its industrial centers, populated cities and its international airport by terrorists with shoulder heat-seeking missiles, etc.

The author of that statement above is an evil idiot.

Our Unwanted Guest

A snake was spotted on our roof Tuesday where he snatched a bird, crushed it and swallowed it and then went under our solar-energy panel absorbers.

Well, we called the snake catchers and they did their job:

You can see the bird inside the snake, just above the stick

And this is just a wrap-around

New Book (in Hebrew) Out

My good friend, Emily Amrusy,

former Channel 10 TV reporter, columnist for Ma'ariv and spokesperson for the Yesha Council, just published a new book, her first.

It's called "Tris" which is the term for the hard plastic roll-down window blinds that are ubiquitous all over Israel.

The cover:

And the plot outline:

Na'ama lives across the Green Line in one of those red-roofed Jewish communities where life, it would seem, proceeds along in a quiet pace but under the surface exist anxious concerns and on the other side of the fence is an Arab village.

Na'ama begins to feel that, instead of her normal full-of-life character, she is a grey shadow of herself, exhausted and attempts to comprehend what is causing the weakness that has overcome her. She discovers that her female neighbors share the same feelings. She initiates a surprising shared communitas which upsets the village, tears off masks but brings in its wake an unexpected grace.

The book is courageous, genuine and full of humor on feminine solidarity the crosses borders. It provides a riveting insight into the conntemporary society in Yesha as well as the behind-the-scenes emotions in a location that is at one and the same time at our doorstep and across the hills.

You will buy a copy, yes?

Sounds Like A Punch Line for a Bad Joke

Palestinian Rivals to Try Once More for an Accord


Green Line Veil

A new post over at my Jerusalem Post blog, "Green-Lined".

A Justification for Blogging

This comment just came in on a post from a while back, not a political post, not a humorous post, just a post of personal nostalgia but it seemed I scored well:

Thank you for creating this site. My grandmother died in 2000, and while scanning our family photos for the rest of my clan, I found several photos that are labelled "Unity House, 1968", and a few with my Grandmother on her last day in a factory in 1971.

I was born in '67 and way too young to know what any of this meant and never had real opportunity to ask; so knowing what the reference to the photos means is pricless to me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Real Estate That's Expensive

It's worth your life:

Palestinian Sentenced To Die For Treason,Selling Land To Israelis

A Palestinian court in the Tuesday sentenced a man to death by hanging for treason and for selling land in the West Bank to Israelis. Anwat Breghit, 59, was found guilty of selling property belonging to his village of Beit Omar near Hebron to Israelis from the nearby Jewish settlement of Karmei Tzur.

The sentence still requires the approval of president Mahmud Abbas to be carried out.

Dozens of Palestinians have been sentenced to death since 2000 over charges of collaboration with the Israeli authorities. Only two death sentences have been carried out, but many others were summarily executed over similar suspicions.

Religion Swapping

This survey:

The United States is a nation of religious drifters, with about half of adults switching faith affiliation at least once during their lives, according to a new survey.

The reasons behind the swap depend greatly on whether one grows up kneeling at Roman Catholic Mass, praying in a Protestant pew or occupied with nonreligious pursuits, according to a report issued Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

While Catholics are more likely to leave the church because they stopped believing its teachings, many Protestants are driven to trade one Protestant denomination or affiliation for another because of changed life circumstances, the survey found.

The ranks of those unaffiliated with any religion, meanwhile, are growing not so much because of a lack of religious belief but because of disenchantment with religious leaders and institutions.

The report estimates that between 47 percent and 59 percent of U.S. adults have changed affiliation at least once. Most described just gradually drifting away from their childhood faith.

"This shows a sort of religion a la carte and how pervasive it is," said D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion. "In some ways, it's an indictment of organized Christianity. It suggests there's a big open door for newcomers, but a wide back door where people are leaving."

The report, "Faith in Flux: Changes in Religious Affiliation in the U.S.," sought to answer questions about widespread religion-changing identified in a 2007 Pew survey of 35,000 Americans.

is useless for anything to odo with Jews, or converts to Judaism - an important element in the declared 'success' of Reform Judaism - for this reason, footnote #2:

2 The survey excludes respondents from the following religious traditions as defined in the 2007 Landscape Survey: "other Christian," "other world religions" and "other faiths." It also excludes "converts" within the ranks of the unaffiliated (e.g., those who were raised atheist and are now agnostic, or those who were raised agnostic and are now nothing in particular), as well as those who gave an ambiguous current or childhood religion in the original survey.

Now Look Who Is Killing Gazan Civilians

Sick Gazans victims of Hamas-Fatah power struggle

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals. Eight Gazans who were waiting to travel abroad have died since the crisis began in March, when the dispute shut down a medical referral committee that helps sick residents find treatment outside of Gaza, according to the World Health Organization.

And let's add this:

A Palestinian health official says a man has been killed in an accident while working in one of the smuggling tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Health official Moawia Hassanein says a 22-year-old man was electrocuted by cables he had rigged for light and power in the tunnel.

Saturday's death brought to 12 the number of people killed in Gaza tunneling accidents this year.

From a Book Review


The revised prayer for the Jews, incidentally, is translated thus:

"Let us pray, and also for the Jews. May our God and Lord enlighten their hearts, so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, saviour of all men."

I can see that Jewish people might [might?] not like those words - but that's because they believe that Jesus was not the Messiah. As for Christians who are offended by it, well, that's their problem.

Why should it be a "problem"? Can't persons of religious faith not appreciate having a believer of another faith trying to persuade them to reject their current belief? This is not a simple insurance policy that one agent pushes into the territory of another, or a fashion store advertising more (or less) garish apparel.

Oh, the book is the new Roman Catholic Missal.

Where Is This West (and East) Bank?


Before and during the construction of the four-lane highway along the East Bank of _____, traffic snaked slowly during peak hours. The journey from West _______ to the city took hours because of the high volume of road users on a then two-lane roadway.

The situation improved dramatically when the four-lane highway was completed. Persons no longer had to leave their homes early to get to work. The four-lane highway represented a great relief.

Those responsible for the country’s traffic management, however, ought not to have become complacent, because what we are witnessing now is a reversal to the same situation.

The lines on the ______________ from seven-thirty each morning are very long and the traffic crawls at the pace of a turtle. The problem is not a blockage of the roadways. The problem is the increase in the volume of traffic caused by the fact that more and more persons are owning vehicles and more and more persons from West _______ are working in the city.

In addition to this, the government is continuing to allow increased housing settlements on the East Bank.

There is now a massive housing scheme at _______ and there are also other private schemes established.

...In addition, there is a development which ought not to have been allowed on the East Bank Public Road between the _______ and ________. Ever since the opening of the four-lane highway, a number of businesses have sprung up alongside the roadway.

This is a problem in _______. Whenever a new roadway is built, buildings immediately prop up alongside the road, thus posing a problem, especially if the road is a public road.


Demerara, Guyana

Pope, Jews, Hitler

From The UK Telegraph:

Pope Pius XII told senior bishops that should he be arrested by the Nazis, his resignation would become effective immediately, paving the way for a successor, according to documents in the Vatican's Secret Archives.

The bishops would then be expected to flee to a safe country – probably neutral Portugal – where they would re-establish the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and appoint a new Pontiff.

...On 6 September 1943 – days after Italy signed the September 3 armistice with the Allies and German troops occupied Rome – Pius told key aides that he believed his arrest was imminent.

General Karl Otto Wolff, an SS general, was told to "occupy as soon as possible the Vatican, secure the archives and art treasures and transfer the Pope, together with the Curia so that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies and exert a political influence."

Hitler ordered the kidnapping, according to historians, because he feared that Pius would further criticise the Nazis' treatment of the Jews.

He was also afraid that the Pontiff's opposition could inspire resistance to the Germans in Italy and other Catholic countries.

Some historians have claimed that General Wolff tipped off the Vatican about the kidnap plans and that he also managed to talk the Fuhrer out of the plot because he believed it would alienate Catholics worldwide.

The latest revelations will be seen by some observers as a further attempt by the Vatican to bolster the case for Pius XII being declared a saint.

Pius has been accused of being anti-Semitic and of harbouring sympathies for the Nazi regime, most notably in the 1999 book Hitler's Pope, by British author John Cornwell.

But other Catholic and Jewish historians contend that in fact Pius was loathed by the Nazis for speaking out about the Holocaust and for behind-the-scenes efforts to save Italian Jews who otherwise would have been sent to death camps...

Bend Backward Or Forward

Barak: Netanyahu will bend on Palestinian state

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said in an interview published Tuesday that he expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to the principle of Palestinian statehood — something the Israeli leader has balked at doing since taking office a month ago.


Is that bending backward to assist the Jewish revenant residents in the communities despite pressure from without (America; EU) and within (J Street; Peace Now) or,

is that bending forward to get shtupped?

Cooperation Is Nice

U.S. troops take part in Israel X-Band radar test

That's X-Band, not X-Men.

U.S. troops took part in a missile defense exercise in Israel last week that for the first time incorporated a U.S.-owned radar system deployed to the country in October.

About 100 Europe-based troops continue to operate the X-Band radar, which is intended to give Israel early warning in the event of a missile launch from Iran.

...Initially, 120 EUCOM personnel were dispatched in September to set up the Army/Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance system, which was made available at the request of Israel’s government. A mix of troops and Defense Department contractors manage the day-to-day operation of the radar, which is situated at Nevatim air base in the Negev Desert.

According to the military, the radar is purely defensive and useful against medium- and long-range ballistic missile attacks..."The radar is considered to be one of the most powerful defensive systems available and its performance and the performance of everyone on the U.S. and Israel team are doing exceptionally well in promoting regional security and providing a useful deterrent to any attack," EUCOM stated.

The system is reportedly capable of tracking a baseball-size object from a distance of 2,900 miles.

It is expected to enable Israel to more rapidly activate its missile-defense system in the event of an attack.

Go Marines - Circumcision

MANILA, Philippines — U.S. and Philippine military medical personnel are helping young men in the Philippines with a rite of passage: circumcision.

The troops are performing the procedure as part of their work in Balikatan — an annual bilateral training exercise that runs through Thursday.

Christians In Iraq - Four Dead


Four Iraqi Christians were murdered within two days by unknown assailants, according to a Christian persecution watchdog group.

Shabah Aziz Suliman was reportedly killed in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Apr. 1, and Nimrud Khuder Moshi, Glawiz Nissan and Hanaa Issaq were murdered thereafter in Dora, a historical Christian neighborhood of Baghdad.

"The killing of four innocent people within the last two days has put a renewed fear in our hearts," said Julian Taimoorazy, president of Iraqi Christian Relief Council, in an interview with International Christian Concern. "What is important is to keep these continuous atrocities in the media and on the policy makers' radars. What we need is a more safe and secure Iraq for all of Iraqi's especially for the Christians who have faced ethno-religious cleansing."

Since 2003, some 750 Christians have been killed in Iraq, according to Archbishop Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk. Dozens of churches have also been bombed.

..."The suffering of Iraqi Christians has been beyond description and is not yet over. More than ever, the Iraqi Christians need our prayer and support," said Jonathan Racho, ICC's regional manager for Africa and the Middle East.

"The latest martyrdom of our brothers should serve to awaken churches in the Western countries to come to the aid of their Iraqi brothers and sisters," he said. "We call upon Iraqi officials and the allied forces in Iraq to avert further attacks against Iraqi Christians. It is simply unacceptable to watch the extinction of the Christian community from Iraq."

Rephrasing Discourse

Do you know what "rephrasing discourse" means, in a practical sense?

Do you know what it means to develop "more inclusive and legitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict" and to "engage faith-based movements."

Jonathan Speyer does.

Read his take on the effort in the UK to legitimize talking with Hamas.


Good Goin' Jennifer

Jennifer Rubin points out a paradox, or better, that ol' Clintonesque sleight-of-the-hand anti-Israel diplomacy move:

Just last week Hillary Clinton was lecturing Congress (and thereby Israel) that unless Israel made progress with the Palestinians the Arab states would not support Israel with regard to Iran. Well, lo and behold, it seems the Arab states are indeed concerned — but with the Obama “engagement” strategy with Iran. Dennis Ross (who hasn’t been seen or heard from in weeks) is being dispatched to the Middle East, and we learn:

Arab governments have been seeking assurances from Mr. Ross and other U.S. officials that Washington’s overtures toward Iran won’t undercut their security interests, U.S. and Arab diplomats said. The Arab governments are asking the U.S. to consult regularly with them as President Barack Obama seeks to hold high-level negotiations with Tehran aimed at ending its nuclear activities. “The discomfort among the Arabs is quite real...

So it’s not Israel’s approach to the Palestinians or lack thereof which has friendly Arab states in a tizzy, but Obama’s Iran policy.

Uri Dromi Complains. Alas

Uri Dromi of the Israel Democracy Institute, Hebrew University lecturer, Jerusalem Post book reviewer and Haaretz contributor of a weekly special obituary highlight section of 'heroes', has a complaint:

I have been preaching for years that Israel should pull out of most of the West Bank, with minor modifications and maybe a land swap. I truly believed - and I still do - that it was the only way for Israel to remain both a Jewish and a democratic state. Once the Arabs become the majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel will either become an apartheid state or lose its Jewish identity [I suggest this is not necessarily a given].

Alas, it seems that not enough Israelis share my views. [alas!] In today's Israel, which is leaning to the right (and for good reasons, I hate to admit), there doesn't seem to be a government with the power to uproot 250,000 Jewish settlers from the West Bank.

Aw gee wiz.

But then, he gets a bit foreboding:

What's the alternative?...

I believe that the answer lies in the collective memory of the Israelis. Eighty years ago, in 1929, the Jews of Hebron, who had lived there peacefully for generations, were suddenly attacked by their Arab neighbors. For three days in August, the pogrom raged, until 67 Jews lay dead and the rest left the city. If the settlements stay under Palestinian rule, scenes like this might happen again, and then Israel has to jump in to help. In short, Balkanization of the conflict.

I still think a two-state solution is the best possible solution, but every day it becomes more difficult to realize.

Believe me, there are other alternatives.

This Wouldn't Be 'Guerrilla Theater' Now, Would It?

Palestinian theatre offers youths a breath of freedom

JENIN, West Bank (AFP) — ...Bisam is among some 200 Palestinian youths who manage to escape the stifling atmosphere of their home in the northern West Bank town of Jenin by taking part in a project called The Freedom Theatre. In addition to an actual theatre that puts on productions for the locals, the project also includes access to computers, books, CDs and DVDs.

"The children love it," says Nabil al-Rai, a 32-year-old actor and director of the theatre that stands at the end of a tiny alley amid the dusty, poverty-plagued streets of the Jenin refugee camp.

"Here, they can feel free."

Feeling free when you live in Jenin is no small feat.

The town of 39,000 lies nestled in the hills of breathtaking beauty that belie the ever-tightening grip of the 42-year Israeli occupation.

Drive just five kilometres (three miles) to the north and you run into an Israeli army checkpoint that prevents West Bankers without special permits from entering Israel. The permits are nearly impossible to get.

Go 10 kilometres west and the way is blocked by Israel's security barrier as it reaches deep inside Palestinian territory walling off a Jewish settlement.

Wander 13 kilometres to the east and the barrier cuts off any access to the flower-dotted hills with majestic views on the Jordan Valley.

The sandy beaches of the Mediterranean are an hour's drive away, but they may as well be on the moon as far as the children of Jenin are concerned..."The children here cannot go to the sea, even to the Dead Sea... They are in a big prison," al-Rai says.

This is so anachronistic, wrong and stupid.

Even before 1967 the Jeninites (?) couldn't go north or west either. South, yes but they had to detour around West Jerusalem.

But let's get back to the theater:

But on the stage, there are no permits and no restrictions. "The whole idea is to have freedom through threatre," says al-Rai. "To think about culture, about how to fight, to keep up resistance and keep the Palestinian identity."

Nice idea. But whose?

The theatre was established by an Israeli woman, Arna Mer-Khamis during the first Palestinian intifada in 1987 and known as "Stone Theatre."...It was rebuilt by Mer-Khamis's actor son Juliano in 2004, with the help of Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the most powerful militants in Jenin who himself is an alumni of the project...

But the theatre is not without domestic critics, including those who resort to violence. A week ago, someone tried to set fire to the building, with the blaze damaging the front door.

"These attacks and threats against the theatre come from small reactionary groups in the camp displaying narrow, racist interests, and who consider theatre, cinema and music as destructive factors in the Palestinian struggle for liberation," the theatre later said in a statement.

Supporters of the project hope that the attack was an isolated incident.

Just make sure that when the gun appears in the first act, it doesn't shoot - not in the third or ever. (*)


"If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." From Gurlyand's Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov, in Teatr i iskusstvo 1904, No. 28, 11 July, p. 521.’

Photo History

Notice the blue-shawled girl at the bottom right of this picture:

Doesn't she remind you of her?:

Very Computer Unfriendly

Notice the flag there:-

Thanks to Rav Tzair, the story:-

Independence Day fliers include Palestinian flag inserted by Web hacker

A Jerusalem community center inadvertently printed Independence Day fliers with the city's logo that include a look-alike Palestinian flag inserted by an Internet hacker, city officials said Sunday.

About 20 advertisements, which were put up by the Givat Shaul community center throughout the neighborhood, include a small Palestinian flag next to a picture of prime minister David Ben-Gurion. They were subsequently removed.

The Ben-Gurion picture used in the advertisement was taken from a Web-based photo archive that had been broken into by Internet hackers, without being noticed by graphic artists or local officials, the heads of the community center said.

"A serious mishap occurred in the preparation of the Independence Day announcement, which was prepared by an external provider, as a result of the infiltration by malevolent sources into the Internet photo archives," the community center said in a statement. "We are stunned, hurt, and apologize for the grief caused to us all."...

Temple Model in England

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this story previously but not sure if I included a picture.

So here it is:


Monday, April 27, 2009

Israel Isn't The Jewish State For Nothing

Israeli Health Minister Yakov Litzman has been updating a nervous public on the swine flu epidemic - and he started by renaming it for religious reasons.

"We will call it Mexican flu. We won't call it swine flu," said Mr Litzman, who belongs to the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party.

Pigs are considered unclean under Jewish dietary laws and pork is also banned for Israel's Muslim minority.

Neo-Ottomanism Is All We Don't Need

...In February, Asharq Alawsat, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, took note of changing attitudes in a widely circulated column, “The Return of the Ottoman Empire?

This new mood started at home. Since it first came to power seven years ago, Turkey’s government, led by the liberal-Islamic Justice and Development Party, has taken a different approach to its role in the region. The mastermind of this turnaround—“neo-Ottomanism,” as some in Turkey and the Middle East are calling it—has been Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister’s chief foreign-policy advisor. In his 2001 book, Strategic Depth, he argued that in running away from its historical ties in the region, Turkey was also running away from political and economic opportunity...And, from being on the verge of war with Syria a decade ago, Ankara is now among Damascus’s closest allies in the region.

The Ottoman past is also in the air in Turkey. At a recent government rally, one enthusiastic supporter unfurled a banner proclaiming the prime minister “the last sultan.” Moviegoers have been flocking to see a new spate of Ottoman-themed films, from The Last Ottoman, an action flick set during World War I, to Ottoman Republic, a comedy imagining daily life in modern Turkey if the sultans were still in charge.

Istanbul’s newest cultural attraction is the municipal-run Panorama 1453 History Museum, a granite-clad building just outside the city’s ancient walls that tells the story of the Ottomans’ conquest of Byzantine Constantinople. In the gift shop, visitors can buy everything from cuff links emblazoned with the sultans’ seal to a 1,000-piece puzzle showing Mehmet the Conqueror entering Constantinople on horseback.


Just ask the Armenians. Although Obama betrayed them.

And as for Jews?

There was this instance:

On the Passover of 1917, the Turkish rulers of the country ordered the residents of Tel-Aviv to evacuate the city. Almost 8,000 people were listed for expulsion. A sense of dispossession accompanied the eviction notice. The expulsion was in effect exile from the homeland. Anxiety-ridden settlers prepared to leave their homes, although not from Egypt but, for a considerable number, to refuge in Egypt. Many felt the symbolism of their plight...

(and see here and here)

and this:

Dr. Gur Alroey, who chairs the Land of Israel Studies Department at the University of Haifa, says there was nothing heroic about that expulsion. "It's almost impossible to grasp today," he said. "Thousands simply got up and left, without resisting, and maybe that is why nobody likes to remember or recall that expulsion."

They scattered to Tiberias, Safed, Kfar Sava, Petah Tikva, Zichron Yaakov, Jerusalem. Some 2,500 of them, mainly the poor, wandered as far as the northern moshavim, or small farming communities. They had to contend with the climate, hunger, poverty and typhus. They survived the first few months, but in the winter of 1917-18, hundreds died of exposure, disease and hunger. Most of the dead were buried hastily, in unmarked graves around the country.

Davos and David

That's the Davos Conference and that's David Ignatius of the Washington Post.

He recalls:-

I had just “moderated” a heated discussion of the Gaza war at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The session became a minor international incident when I told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that, because we had run out of time, he could not have another round of comments responding to Israeli President Shimon Peres, whereupon Erdogan walked off the stage. In the aftermath, I received many outraged messages complaining I had censored Erdogan and sided with the Israelis.

For someone who has spent much of his career trying to operate in the middle of the Middle East conflict and working hard to avoid any appearance of bias, it was an unpleasant situation. Trust me, you would not like to examine the e-mails I got or read the articles in the Turkish press about the incident. There are several explanations I could offer about what happened: that we were 15 minutes late, that each of the speakers, and especially Peres, had abused the time limits, and that the organizers had signaled it was time to end the event.

But that only obscures the larger point. At Davos, I found myself in the middle of a fight where there was no longer a middle. My efforts to do what moderators do—let everyone talk for a while and then find a few inches of common ground—blew up in my face...

...Talking about Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, the normally placid Peres was almost shouting at Davos, angrier than I had ever seen him. Erdogan, in turn, was hot with indignation, voicing a rage that is felt across the Muslim world, and furious that I didn’t give him time to express those feelings fully. It’s understandable, what happened. But it’s not a debate that anyone can “moderate.”

There Goes Abbas

Mideast: Abbas refuses to recognise Israel as Jewish state

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Monday dismissed calls by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognise Israel as a Jewish state..."A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?," said Abbas, quoted by Israeli media. "You can call yourselves as you like, but I don't accept it and I say so publicly."

He also said it was not his job to define or name the Israeli state.

"Name yourself, it's not my business. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic. All I know is that there is the state of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimetre more, not one centimetre less. Anything else, I do not accept."

Many observers believe the so called 'green line' – the pre-1967 Six-Day War ceasefire line between Israel and Jordan – should be the basis for an international border between Israel and the West Bank in the creation of a future Palestinian state...

One Likud Mk was quick off the mark:

Likud MK: Abbas' remarks prove Palestinians don’t want peace

Knesset Member Ofir Akunis (Likud) said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent remarks were "additional proof that the Palestinians are not headed towards genuine peace with Israel...This means that the Palestinians don't want two states for two people, but two states for one people. A Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state is a basic condition for making progress in the peace process."

as was an Arab MK:

MK Tibi calls Abbas statement 'correct and reasonable'

MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List – Ta'al)...called Abbas' words "reasonable and correct." According to Tibi, "recognition between states does not include recognizing the essence of the state but rather their right to exist, their independence and their borders."

and the Foreign Ministry released this response:

The recognition of Israel as the sovereign state of the Jewish people is an essential and necessary step in the historic process of reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians.

The more the Palestinians assimilate this fundamental and substantive fact, the sooner the peace between the two nations will progress toward fruition.

The morale?

Israel is still perceived as an unacceptable presence in the "Arab/Muslim Middle East". A non-identifiable Israel - not Jewish - is perhaps possible, the old slogan of "secular democratic Palestine" comes to my mind from the early 1970s.

We can't be us, the 3000 year-old Jewish people, with our religion, our culture, our consciousness, our beliefs, our philosophy and our history. No, that must disappear.

Well, Mr. Abbas, the holocaust denier, you are no partner. Your moderation is false. Your willingness to compromise is false.

And those who sought you out like Olmert and Livni are false in their diplomacy as a faithful expression of Zionism.

There goes Abbas.

Barry Rubin's Three on Two

Er, that's three points on the two-state solution.

From Barry Rubin's new blog:

...much of the world wants Israel to agree in advance to give the Palestinian Authority (PA) what they think it wants without any concessions or demonstration of serious intent on its part.

The first problem is that the demand is totally one-sided. Does the PA truly accept a two-state solution? That isn't what it tells its own people in officials' speeches, documents of the ruling Fatah group, schools, the sermons of PA-appointed clerics, and the PA-controlled media.

The second problem is that PA compliance with its earlier commitments is pretty miserable, though this is a point that almost always goes unmentioned in Western diplomatic declarations and media...

The third problem is that this leaves no room for asking the question: what does Israel want in exchange for accepting a Palestinian state, leaving West Bank territory, or even agreeing to a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem.

How about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state...How about agreeing-which any nationalist movement should be eager to do-that all Palestinian refugees be resettled in the state of Palestine. How about accepting that a two-state solution would permanently end the conflict? How about stopping daily incitement to kill Israelis and destroy Israel in PA institutions?...

In short, Israel is asked to give without getting in return...

Read it all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cohen the Coverslut

According to Jeffrey Kacrick's "The Word Museum", one of several books on English I possess, a cover-slut, p. 49, is "something that covers sluttishness" (and not this girl band). Yes, Roger Cohen is at it again.

In an op-ed entitled "Clinton’s Mideast Pirouette", he takes absolute delight that "The sparring between the United States and Israel has begun, and that’s a good thing".

He claims "I hear that Clinton was shocked by what she saw on her visit last month to the West Bank...If Clinton cares about one thing, it’s human suffering" and then asserts:

In fact, you don’t so much drive into the Palestinian territories these days as sink into them. Everything, except the Jewish settlers’ cars on fenced settlers-only highways, slows down. The buzz of business gives way to the clunking of hammers.

The whole desolate West Bank scene is punctuated with garrison-like settlements on hilltops. If you’re looking for a primer on colonialism, this is not a bad place to start.

Clinton witnessed it. She was, I understand, troubled by the humiliation around her.

Well, I'm shocked, too.

To the extent that the area is desolate, and we'll exclude the actual desert of the eastern portions of the Samarian Hills as well as the Judean Desert, whose fault is that if not the Arabs? But, of course, desolation is a subjective term. The grapes, the olive trees are not signs of desolation and in any case, we Jews are doing our best to make things bloom.

And as for those "garrisons", if it weren't for Arab terror, who would need to assume a defensive position?

But the reality is that except for a few isolated outposts, areas such as Efrat, Alon Shvut, Maaleh Adumin, Ariel, Alfei Menasheh and others, were thousands and even tens of thousands live give the lie to Cohen's description.

He then goes off on his Iran tangent, misinforming us:

At Madrid, at Oslo and at Annapolis, over a 16-year span, attempts were made to advance peace while excluding Iran. That doesn’t work; it won’t work now. The trick is to usher Israel-Palestine peace efforts and the quest for a U.S.-Iran rapprochement along in parallel.

He actually expected Khomeini to make peace with Israel?

and adds

No peace can be made by pretending Hamas does not exist, which is why advancing Palestinian unity must be a U.S. priority.

Yes, dear Roger, but is it not Hamas which "pretends" that Israel doesn't exist? Or is it not you that pretends that Arab terror, faith-based animosity and Islamic antisemitism doesn't exist?

You're such a cover-slut.


From a comment found there later:

...I would argue that we cannot delay any more. Israel must immediately end its military occupation of these lands and apply Israeli law thereto, granting full economic and social rights to the inhabitants of these lands, Jew and Arab alike. The One State solution is the only solution.

Mr. Cohen’s excesses are also evident when he refers to continued Israeli settlement of these areas as a “primer on colonialism”. Colonialism, as understood during the period from the 15th to 20th century refers to a system of building colonies by one people, in the territory of another, for profit, to expand the power of the metropole, to escape persecution in the metropole, or to convert the indigenous population to the colonists' religion. None of the above applies in the West Bank.

Additionally, there is no support for the argument that the West Bank is the land of another. The land that comprises the West Bank was Israeli, Roman, Ottoman, British, Jordanian, and now under Israel military occupation. The term Colonialism therefore has no application in the West Bank except to support the arguments of those desperate to support the Two-State solution and de-legitimize Jewish development of the land in conformity with Israel and International Law.

Finally and most frustrating for this writer, is reading claims that Israel must work with Hamas or other Islamic fundamentalist elements operating in the Middle East to achieve peace while the United States and other Western powers spend their time bombing or working to isolate such Islamic movements in Afghanistan (Taliban), Pakistan, Iraq (Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia), Iran, and elsewhere. Maybe if Western powers started negotiating with these movements with success, it could pressure Israel to do the same. Until then, Mr. Cohen should find something else to do with his free time.

— A. Gareleck, Binyamin, Israel

And now my one comment is up as is also my second comment.

Religiously Motivated

Religiously motivated, many people become monks, nuns, recluses, delusional, prophetic, observant, humanistic, etc.

And others?

Read on:-

Israeli authorities said Sunday they have caught a Palestinian man who killed an Israeli child and wounded another during a rampage in a West Bank settlement early this month. Authorities said Moussa Tayet, 26, confessed to the killing and handed over a knife used in the attack.

The assailant attacked a group of children in the Bat Ayin settlement with the knife and a pickax on April 2. A 13-year-old boy was killed, a 7-year-old was seriously wounded and a third boy escaped. The attacker fled the scene, leaving behind the small, red pickax.

Israeli military and police officials said Tayet was from a village next to the settlement...he meticulously planned the attack for weeks, picking up the weapons from a hiding place as he entered the settlement. They said he told investigators that the attack was religiously motivated.

Join In At The Discussion


On "Leaving the 'West Bank'".

Bad Vibes

I've heard of punk rock and trash singing but this is the worst, our lefties and progressivies trying to hitch a ride on Leonard Cohen:


Dear Leonard Cohen,

We are Jews, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, who hold your poetry and music in high esteem, and it is because of this respect for your artistic contributions and your moral Buddhist commitment to "save all beings" that we hope that our appeal to you to cancel your planned performance in Israel will not fall on deaf ears.

Israel is facing one of its most immoral historical moments. Its ruthless, criminal bashing of the Palestinians has met with little international criticism or curbing. The silence of most of the world’s governments continues to embolden successive Israeli governments to commit more violent acts. Israel has violated numerous international laws, but so far for Israeli Jews life in Israel goes on as if nothing happened. Indeed, your people, Cohen, have built “a new Dachau, And call it love, Security, Jewish culture”, as you have so perceptively put it yourself in ‘Questions for Shomrim’,[1] but only a few voices have been raised against these injustices.

It is left for us, citizens of the world, to condemn Israeli atrocities and crimes against humanity. Dissociating ourselves from Israel’s brutal policies is the only non-violent way now to avoid becoming complicit in the killing, the wounding and the maiming, and the robbing of Palestinians. Faced with all this and more, Palestinians are calling on all people to support their struggle for their basic rights. Unfortunately, recognizing Palestinian rights will require a fundamental shift in Israeli society. We suspect that this change will be achieved only via external pressure. The least that one can do in such a situation is not act as if it is business as usual. We see our society becoming more and more calloused and racist and given your longstanding, vocal commitment to justice, we cannot envision you cooperating with continued Israeli defiance of justice and morality; we cannot envision you playing a part in the Israeli charade of self-righteousness. We appeal to you to add your voice to those brave people the world over who boycott Israel. We urge you to cancel your planned performance in Israel.


Noa Abend
Iris Bar
Yoav Barak
Adi Dagan
Naama Farjoun
Prof. Rachel Giora
Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
Dr. Irit Katriel
Rela Mazali
Dr. David Nir
Leiser Peles
Yonatan Shapira
Dr. Kobi Snitz


and this


Dear Leonard Cohen:

Your songs have been part of the soundtrack of our lives -- like breathing, some of them. But we can’t make sense of why you’ve decided to perform in Israel in September this year.

If we understand anything about Buddhism – your practice of which is public knowledge – it’s that Buddhism advocates ‘right action’. We accept that this precept, like the injunction to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, is probably honoured more in the breach than the observance. But we can’t believe you didn’t weigh up performing in Israel in the light of ‘right action’. And apparently you’ve decided that it’s right to take your unavoidably starry and very newsworthy presence there.

But what does this say to the Palestinians? If you had just emerged from three weeks of unfettered bombing from land, sea and air, with no place to hide and no place to run, your hospitals overwhelmed, sewage running in the streets and white phosphorous burning up your children, what would the news that the great Canadian musician Leonard Cohen had decided to play for your tormentors say to you?

You will perform for a public that by a very large majority had no qualms about its military forces’ onslaught on Gaza (in fact wanted it to continue). You will perform in a state whose propaganda services will extract every ounce of mileage from your presence (they will use it to whitewash their war crimes). As someone who lives in the US, you are saying ‘yah boo sucks’ to the American academics, musicians, film-makers and others (including poet Adrienne Rich), who earlier this year launched the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel. And you are telling the Palestinians -- who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Holocaust in Europe but have endured the torments of exile and military occupation ever since they were driven out of their country in 1948 -- that their suffering doesn’t matter.

Have you come across an Israeli woman called Dr Nurit Peled-Elhanan? She lost her 13 year old daughter to a Palestinian suicide bomber in 1997, but Dr Peled – showing the compassionate greatness of which human beings are sometimes capable – didn’t retreat into rage, revenge or depression. Instead she co-founded an Israeli-Palestinian network called ‘Bereaved Parents for Peace’. When the 10 year old daughter of a Palestinian colleague was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier, Peled said: ’I sit with her mother Salwa and try to say, “We are all victims of occupation”. But my daughter’s murderer had the decency to kill himself. The soldier who killed Abir is probably drinking beer, playing backgammon with his mates and going to discotheques’.

Or going to a Leonard Cohen concert in Ramat Gan. Is this really what you want to be part of?

Yours sincerely,

Professor Haim Bresheeth
Mike Cushman
Professor Hilary Rose
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead

22 April 2009

I bet you he comes nevertheless.


[1] the reference is to a poem which also includes these lines:

We, you and I, were lovers once
As only wild nights of wrestling in golden snow
Can make one love
We hiked by moonlight
And you asked me to lead the Internationale

I guess he was in Habonim?

Spotted While Perusing times, apparently, he’s trying to be gratuitously offensive, as when he describes as “undiplomatic” the suggestion that all Jews be thrown into the sea...

Who is that he?

Michael Burleigh whose "Blood and Rage: Cultural History of Terrorism" is reviewed by Louise Richardson here.

New HH #214 Up


One Year Difference

I started reading a book review on religion when I noticed the reviewer's info:

Mark Oppenheimer edits The New Haven Review and is the author of “Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America.”

Bar Mitzva is at age thirteen.

Bat Mitzva, though, is at age twelve.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Comment on J Street

...there is no shortage of Jews coming forward to help it [the Obama administration] do so — most notably in the form of J-Street, the...alternative Jewish lobby which has set itself to displace AIPAC and the established Jewish groups.

This describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” It is composed of Israeli and Jewish leftists...J-Street is being smiled on by those within the Obama administration who are in tune with J-Street’s appalling core premise: that Israel is to blame for Arab terror — the age-old calumny of blaming the Jews for their own destruction.

The danger of J-Street lies not just in its savvy, web-based mode of operation but through the way it defines itself as “moderate.” So those who believe with overwhelming reason that a Palestine state would bring Iran to Israel’s border are painted as extremists to silence their voice. Yet if they protest, it is the J-Streeters who claim they are being “cowed into silence.”

Melanie Phillips

Oiy Oren

Thanks to a commentator, over at IsraelMatzav, further to my post here, I was directed to this from the transcript of a September 2007 Background Briefing on ABC Radio National audio of Professor Michael B. Oren speaking at the University of Melbourne:

Michael Oren: Terror posed a primary challenge to our ability to remain a sovereign people, but also a Jewish people, and yet as in Moses and in Ben-Gurion's time, the greatest challenges were not external, they were internal, from the Jews themselves.

The government Ariel Sharon decided two years ago that Israel must withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and so in the summer of 2005 I donned my uniform again as a reservist and participated in the operation to remove 21 Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip and 8100 inhabitants. Those residents regarded Gaza as the Jew's god-given patrimony, a gift which no government had the right to reject, and then the question arose, could this rift be spanned? Could Israel survive it? I was not sure.

On the morning I walked into the first of those settlements, with 500 Israeli soldiers, and the settlers set fire to the gate on fire so that we had to wait until an armoured bulldozer came and broke it down. We poured into the settlement and the residents pelted us with sacks of paint and assailed us wearing the yellow star of the ghetto, calling us Nazis. The settlers then barricaded themselves into the synagogue and would not come out, and finally the commander of my unit reached an agreement with the rabbi of the settlement that they would pray the afternoon prayer and then they would come out, and line up and go on buses. But they did not come out. That poor commander had to make the difficult decision any Jewish officer could make: to break into the synagogue with a sledgehammer. So we broke into that synagogue with a sledgehammer, and what greeted us in there was the most difficult scene I've ever encountered in my thirty years of army service. There were 100 Jews lying on the floor, wailing and screaming, clutching Torah scrolls, clutching pews, crying out for God to save them. And some of these Israeli officers, many of who were pilots and commando, fell as if they'd been hit by bullets. And for a while there we weren't sure who was evacuating whom as some of the settlers came to help the soldiers who had been stricken and fell down. And it took hours to literally tear these people away from these Torah scrolls and physically to carry them on to buses. And I was not sure that we could survive this as a people, as a state.

And finally when we had them on the buses the rabbi came down and asked the brigade commander if at that point all the residents and settlers could come off the buses and address us, the people whom we had just torn from their synagogue. And I thought the brigade commander was going to say 'Are you crazy? Go away'. But no, the brigade commander, with much greater compassion and wisdom than mine, said, 'OK'.

So the same people we had spent hours loading on to these buses filed off the buses. And we all stood there in an H formation with Israeli flags flying, and the rabbi of the settlement got up and spoke to us and he said 'We've just undergone the most profound trauma. What could be worse than this? And yet we must realise that tomorrow when we wake up we will all be part of the same Jewish State and that we have to work together to make this country more just, to make this country more moral, to make it more Jewish.' And then we stood, 500 soldiers, 100 settlers, and we all sang Hatikvah, The Hope, the Israeli national anthem. And then without a word the 100 settlers got on the bus and drove away. We had survived it, but only narrowly.

Does Netanyahu really think he's the best candidate for Israel's Ambassador to the U.S.? Would Michael yield up his American citizenship?

The Calm, Rational Thinking of A World's Leader

Just kidding.

Here, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"This Idol of Zionism Must Be Shattered in Order to Save Humanity… Iran's Revolution Has Already Been Exported"

In his speech in Eslamshahr, Ahmadinejad said: "...The people of the West fabricated what is known as the Holocaust and Zionism, and they have sanctified it and placed it at the top of all holy beliefs. They have all united around it, and by hoisting the banner of Zionism, while using violence and aggression, spreading civil strife, and [perpetrating] Zionist crimes, they have taken over the world and wish to rule it.

..."I declare from [this pulpit] that this idol of Zionism must be shattered in order to save humanity...(1) They must know that the free nations, the Iranian nation, and the people of Eslamshahr will not tolerate this modern idol-worshiping, that they will shatter this idol with force... Indeed, they have already shattered this idol.

"The Zionists are the Ones Running International Relations… The Mask of Judaism [Behind which Zionism Hides] is False"

At an April 22, 2009 speech at the international conference of Islamic prosecutors, which convened in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said: "Let me say a few words about the Durban [2] conference in Geneva: The Zionists are the ones running international relations... Everybody knows that Zionism is a political party, and you all know that the mask of Judaism [behind which they hide] is false, because Zionism is devoid of religion, and they are against religion, against race, and against humanity.

"Zionism is a convoluted and crude party, which operates contrary to the teachings of the divine prophets and against humanity [in an effort] to take over the foundations of the world. Their management of the world takes two forms: One is behind-the-scenes control – they have arranged the [international] institutions so that they will continuously strive to achieve the Zionist goals. They [i.e. Westerners] have prepared the ground for the fulfillment of Zionism's aspirations, and they fully support the Zionist regime, without donning the mask of Zionism [themselves].

"All the organizations – the [U.N.] Security Council and the international political and judicial institutions – wholeheartedly support the Zionists, even though the Zionist mark is not branded on their foreheads.

"I believe that behind the scenes, the Zionists are running these institutions to their own advantage."(3)

(1) Fars (Iran), April 23, 2009.
(2) ISNA (Iran), April 23, 2009.
(3) The Institution of the Iranian Presidency, April 22, 2009.
(4) Kayhan (Iran), April 22, 2009.

A Holocaust Story

...My aunt mentioned casually that Rav Moshe [Feinstein] had an appointment the next day. Would I like to meet him? Would I? It was like asking me, would I like to meet God.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I agonized over what I should wear. Should I approach him? What should I say? Should I mention that his son-in-law was my rebbe? Should I speak to him in English, or my rudimentary Yiddish?

I was seated in the waiting room, in the best clothing I had with me, an hour before his appointment. It seemed like an eternity, but eventually he arrived, accompanied by an assistant at each side. He didn’t notice me.

I was frozen. I had intended to rise deferentially when he entered, but I didn’t. I had prepared a few sentences that I had repeatedly memorized, but I sensed that my heart was beating too quickly for me to speak calmly.

My aunt had heard the chime when he entered and came out of the office to greet him: “Rabbi Feinstein, did you meet my nephew Ikey? Can you believe a shaygitz [unobservant] like me has a yeshiva bochur [student] in the family?”

Rav Moshe finally looked at me. I was mortified. My aunt was addressing him irreverently. She was joking with him. She had called me Ikey, not Yitzchok, or even Isaac.

Then it got even worse. She walked over to him. Surely she knew not to shake his hand. She didn’t. She kissed him affectionately on the cheek as she did many of her favorite patients. She then told him my uncle would see him in a minute and returned to the office.

Rav Moshe and his attendants turned and looked at me, I thought accusingly. I wanted to die. In a panic, I walked over to him and started to apologize profusely: “Rabbi Feinstein, I apologize. My aunt, she isn’t frum [religious]. She doesn’t understand...”

He immediately placed his fingers on my lips to stop me from talking. He then softly spoke two sentences in Yiddish that I will remember to my dying day: “She has numbers on her arms. She is holier than me.”

Rav Moshe had understood what I had not. Our holiest generation was defined by the numbers on their arms.

Dr. Isaac Steven Herschkopf

(Kippah tip: BPOK)

One Is Racist and The Other Is...?

You might recall this caricature published in the New York Post back in February:

As detailed, the cartoon, by Sean Delonas, was partially inspired by an actual chimpanzee attack which occurred at the same time as the signing of the Obama stimulus bill and was considered to possess racial undertones.

The Post editor-in-chief Col Allan claimed the cartoon was a parody of a current news event but Al Sharpton's response was that "it is troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys... Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder are they inferring that a monkey wrote the last bill?"

Now, why did I mention that?

This caricature:

(I scanned it as the connection wasn't working. Could Haaretz have disconnected it?)

How would you categorize a caricature that portrays Avigdor Liberman, Israel's Foreign Minister, as a dog on a leash?

If it was publish in an Arab newspaper, in a Neo-Nazi newspaper, we would probably hear of protests but it's in the Haaretz newspaper.

It's kosher, shamefully so.

All You Need is 'Democracy'

Steven Dallal of Scarsdale, N.Y., and I think I have met him at my sister's synagogue, had a letter published in today's New York Times which contains a matter I had been thinking about recently. So, first the extract and then my comment:-

An enduring solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may come about when Israel recognizes that the Jews’ secure long-term presence in the Middle East hinges on Israel’s willingness to share its democracy with the Palestinian population in their midst.

The Palestinian leaders, rather than holding out for their own separate religious and ethnic approach to a nation-state, must recognize that they are more likely to achieve the dignity that stems from fundamental human rights if they participate with their adversary in an enlightened democracy.

A good number of the persons I have debated in the past from the Left, representatives of the ideology of Peace Now, Meretz, Labour, et al., have raised the issue of democracy. And they have done so paradoxically.

On the one hand, they bitterly complain that Israel is not acting democratically as regards the disputed territories and their inhabitants, their Arab inhabitants. On the other hand, they coyly suggest that as the Arabs learn democracy from Israel, in their contacts with the country, its institutions and citizens, they will be better able to struggle for their independence. And yet in another fashion, the indicate that if Israel is to be democratic, it must reject the continued administration over the territories for, demographically, we supposedly cannot override their numbers and will be 'drowned' in Arabs and with 'one-person-one-vote' will be out-voted, eventually.

Of course, since they do not want Judea and Samaria for all sorts of other reasons, they never entertain the possibility that once the Arabs become democratic, they will then be more rational, liberal, humanistic, tolerant, and whatnot. And then, they will come to the realization that there is nothing wrong is coming to terms with the fact that Jews have national rights and that these can be fulfilled without negating Arab rights because those Arab rights do not include the exclusion and negation of Jewish rights - out of the entire Middle East, one small corner belongs to the Jewish nation for over 3000 years.

That possibility, it seems, never manages to cross the minds of our concessionists.

They are probably not adequately democratic in ideology, psychology and political outlook.

Too bad.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Here Comes More American Pressure

Progress on establishing a Palestinian state must go "hand-in-hand" with efforts to stem Iranian influence in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday, implicitly rejecting the emerging position of the new Israeli government.

Aides to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said this week that the Israeli government will not move ahead on the core issues of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limit Tehran's rising influence in the region...

Asked about those comments during an appearance before a panel of the House Appropriations Committee, Clinton said she did not want to "prejudge the Israeli position until we've had face-to-face talks." But she then cautioned that Israel was unlikely to gain support for thwarting Iran unless there were visible efforts to achieve Palestinian statehood. "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand," Clinton said.


And don't forget what I pointed out what she said earlier:

the search for peace that would result from a two-state solution in the Middle East

Wait. Isn't the "two-state solution" supposed to be the peace?

We still have to continue to search?

Bad News

I don't think he's the candidate, maybe a candidate.


Michael Oren says he'd be honored to serve at Israel's ambassador to the United States, but has not been offered the job.

Oren was responding to a flurry of media reports in recent days speculating that he was a leading candidate for the ambassador post. A Maariv article earlier in the week (link in Hebrew) said, without citing any named sources, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had selected Oren, and on Tuesday Laura Rozen at reported that "sources in Israel and Washington" said Oren was the choice. Rozen updated the story on Wednesday, though, with a Yediot Ahronoth story which cited sources in the Prime Minister's office saying that Oren was one of a number of candidates for the job and that Dore Gold was considered the leading contender for the ambassadorship.

"I haven't received any offer," Oren told JTA on Wednesday

but Haaretz reports:-

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's candidate for Israeli ambassador to Washington, Dr. Michael Oren, supports a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and an evacuation of most of the settlements.

Oren, a visiting Georgetown University professor, said in a lecture there last month, "The only alternative for Israel to save itself as a Jewish state is by unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank and evacuating most of the settlements."

Oren, a Middle East expert and senior researcher at Jerusalem's Shalem Center, gave a 90-minute lecture entitled "The Gaza Crisis from an Historical and Personal Perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...Oren voiced his opinions about possible solutions to the conflict and the policy Israel should take. He emphasized that he does not represent the majority of Israelis.

"I may be the last of the standing unilateralists," he said. "The only thing that can save Israel as a Jewish state is by unilaterally withdrawing our settlements from the West Bank," and waiting for a new Palestinian leadership.

Oren said he does not believe that a solution to the conflict could be achieved at this stage. Instead we should find ways to "better manage the conflict, to relieve tensions and ameliorate the conditions under which people live to ensure against future flare ups."

...Establishing a Palestinian state would require the evacuation of tens of thousands of Jewish settlers from the West Bank and from holy cities like Hebron, Oren said.

To take such a traumatic step most Israelis must be convinced that they would be getting "absolute peace" and the "end of the conflict," he said.

Oren said he supported the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. After they started firing Qassam rockets from Gaza, he said Natan Sharansky asked him if the disengagement wasn't a mistake.

Oren said he replied that it had not been. The mistake was Israel's failure to react to the Qassam fire, which sent a message of weakness to the entire Middle East.

Oren also spoke about his personal experience regarding the Gaza Strip and said he had "traumatic relations" with the Gaza Strip and Hamas leadership...he...cannot forget that his sister in law was killed by a suicide bomber from Gaza

I hope people in Bibi's office will read this.

Carl is vehemently reacting to this.

Remember The Film "Inglourious Basterds"?

Do you recall the new Tarantino film? I blogged about it here, last August. W

Well, Inglourious Basterds is set to premiere (as promised) at the Cannes Film Festival (France) in May. The film will be in competition as well.

The trailer:

To remind you:

...The film centers on an all-Jewish American commando unit called “the Basterds” which is causing mayhem behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France. The unit is led by one Lieutentant Aldo Raine, played by none other than the yellow press’ favorite Hollywood beau Brad Pitt. He leads them to scalp Nazis and wreak havoc upon Hitler’s occupying force, while sporting a moustache that some claim will bring that type of facial hair back into the mainstream. The most surprising aspect of the script though is that the actual main character seems to be not Raine, but a young Jewish-French girl hiding in a Paris Cinematheque. Shosanna [Dreyfus], as Tarantino has baptised his latest heroine, is seeking revenge for the murder of her family at the hands of an evil SS Colonel, Hans Landa. While Nazi party bigshots are planning the premiere of a propaganda film at the Cinemateque, The Basterds’ and Shosanna’s paths will inevitably cross, in what sounds very much like a clever and violent plot to strike against the occupiers...

Let's make it a bit clearer:

The Basterds

The Basterds are a hand-picked bunch of tough guys who chase down Nazis and scalp them, a practice that has given their leader, Raine, his nickname. "The idea is that they're doing an Apache resistance against the Nazis," says Tarantino. "It's taking the idea that the Jews are acting like the Apaches in a no-win situation. The idea is to terrify the Nazis, get inside their minds."

Aldo 'The Apache' Raine is played by Brad Pitt

Aldo Raine is an American hillbilly who has recruited a crack team of Nazi killers called The Basterds, and who joins forces with the British to carry out Operation Kino.

Shosanna Dreyfus is played by Melanie Laurent

Shosanna is a Jewish girl who escapes the SS and moves to Paris, where she assumes a new French identity and becomes the manageress of a small cinema.

Frederick Zoller is played by Daniel Brühl

Zoller is a German sniper who is being celebrated in Josef Goebbels' latest propaganda production, Nation's Pride. He falls for Shosanna, and tries to persuade Goebbels to hold his premiere in her cinema.

Ed Fenech is played by Mike Myers

Fenech is the brains behind Operation Kino, a plan to sabotage Goebbels' big premiere.

Colonel Hans Landa of the SS, aka The Jew Hunter is played by Christoph Waltz

Landa is the suave genius of the SS and a celebrated Nazi. Hitler has personally put him in charge of ridding Occupied France of Jews.

Sounds a bit violent?

You bet:

And this:-

...Quentin was like, 'No, no, no. This is the movie they were talking about in "Knocked Up"! This is Jews kicking ass.' ... This movie has the intensity of 'Reservoir Dogs,' the style of 'Pulp Fiction,' the violence of 'Kill Bill,' the adrenaline of 'Death Proof' and the characters of 'Jackie Brown.' It's really the greatest of Quentin's talents, all culminating in this film."

..."There are a lot of scalpings," Roth grinned wickedly. "He's not going to skimp on the scalping, let me tell you. Quentin based what the Basterds do on what the Apache Indians did. They would do what's known now as the Apache Resistance, where they would capture people and horribly mutilate them, scalp them, torture them, cut them up and leave one person alive. Then, [the survivor] would go back to the cavalry and describe what happened — and the psychological warfare got so strong that if the cavalry came across a bunch of Apache Indians, they would just take their guns and shoot themselves in the heads and shoot each other in the heads because of the horror of what had been described to them. ... This is what the Jews are doing to the Nazis. We get these Nazis and we scalp them, and we beat them to death with a baseball bat."

And to Roth, a Jewish filmmaker from Boston with a well-known taste for blood, there couldn't have been a more welcoming environment to make his acting debut (after small cameos in various films over the years). "What's funny is I expected [Tarantino] to cast a bunch of big dudes. I thought I'd be the smallest guy," Roth marveled. "Instead, he basically cast my Hebrew school class. I looked around, and I was like, 'These are the kids who were in my bunk at Camp Cedar Lake.' It's them going on a killing spree — and that's what makes it so much fun."

Tony Blair: Going Over the Top

Tony Blair is going hyper:-

Mideast talks critical, Blair says; Israeli-Palestinian conflict key to stability in entire region

It is "desperately urgent" to put the Middle East peace process back on the rails by the end of this year, says former British prime minister Tony Blair.

And, says Blair, Mideast envoy for the countries trying to mediate an Israeli-Palestinian settlement, if the window of opportunity is closed, effects of the decades-old struggle will ripple outward destructively to the rest of the world.

Cataclysmic, no?

..."If people end up thinking it's hopeless, the consequences will affect the security of the entire world," Blair said yesterday in an interview with the Star, at the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Toronto.

"I don't think anyone should doubt the fragility of that region, and the wider region of Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.

"This is a global challenge we have to take on – and of which the Israel-Palestine question is a major part."

Wait, there, Tony.

Who makes it a global affair? Who threatens oil crisis? Who attacks the Twin Towers to get at the Big Satan (USA) and the Little Satan (Israel)?

Is it Israel's fault or are the Muslims exploiting a local dispute, of which there are examples of dozens around the globe?

Are you, too, falling for the bluster?

..."My conversations with Netanyahu over a long period of time (show) that if the context for Palestinian statehood is right, and the state would be a secure one, he would agree," Blair said.

...Blair has maintained that Gaza must be included in any peace settlement, and the lot of its people must be improved.

He has also called for talks with Hamas, if it is willing to accept the existence of Israel as part of a two-state solution.

But he said "the West Bank is five-sixths of the territory, and two-thirds of the population. If we make progress in the West Bank, and there are some (better) prospects for Gaza, the momentum for peace will be strong."

Although territory is a large part of the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, Blair said, "religious faith is the most important question that will determine security in that part of the world, and in (our) part of the world in the 21st century."

If religious faith is most important, don't we go back to the Bible?

I feel more comfortable now, I think.

Who Needs Israel? Arabs Kill Arabs All By Themselves

Consider the following:


On Thursday, two separate bomb blasts left at least 60 people dead and more than 110 injured in Baghdad and Muqdadiya, north of the capital city. The attacks resembled past incidents linked to AQI, but it remains unclear who was responsible for them. Earlier this month, AQI launched a coordinated strike detonating seven car bombs in Baghdad that killed at least 37 people.


...SOS Disparus, an [Algerian] advocacy organization which has worked for over a decade on behalf of families to draw attention to the fate of those who vanished in the war, estimated at between 6,000 and 15,000 people.

The group accuses the government of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who recently won a third term in office, of refusing to investigate what happened to their missing relatives. Instead, they say, the state tries to harass them to stop their work on the issue and offers to pay them for their losses.

"They want to give us money and then just close the case, but we don't want their money, says Mr. Ferhati, whose brother disappeared in 1998 – two years after another brother died in the fighting. "We want to investigate what happened to our families."

In a region that's been wracked by internecine conflicts from Beirut to Baghdad, the question of how a divided society reconciles after years spent peering into the abyss is an emotionally explosive one.


A total of 252 Iraqis were killed in violence in March, almost the same casualty figures as in February when the toll was 258, Iraq authorities said on Wednesday.

Statistics compiled by the defence, interior and health ministries showed that 185 civilians, 14 soldiers and 53 policemen were killed across Iraq, while the total number of those wounded stood at 647. The March and February tolls were nevertheless higher than January when a total of 191 Iraqis were killed -- the lowest figures since the US-led invasion in 2003.,,In 2008, 6,772 Iraqis were killed in violence. But in January 2007 alone 1,992 civilians, 40 soldiers and 55 police were killed.


Gaza human rights groups expressed concern this week as a woman from An-Nusseirat in Gaza was murdered in an “honor killing.” The woman was the fourth to die in an honor killing in one week, and another murder had been reported the week before...The murders in Gaza, and the “honor killing” death of a teenaged Muslim girl from Samaria, caused one feminist activist to write to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas this week and request action...

PCHR and other groups have recorded a number of other violent incidents beyond honor killings. Armed groups in Gaza continue to bomb cafes and other businesses seen as violating the precepts of extremist Islam, and clan warfare has been reported as well. Since mid-February, anonymous attackers in Gaza targeted a cafe, killing one person, a journalist's office and a child care center.


Gunmen wearing the headbands of the armed wing of Hamas shot and wounded three civilians in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, last Thursday evening, a leading human rights organization reported on Sunday.


Terrorists Kill 18 In Tripoli Bus Bombing

A bomb killed at least 18 people, including nine soldiers, at a bus stop in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Wednesday.

The bomb had been placed in a bag at the bus stop where soldiers usually gather, the army said in a statement, describing the attack as a "terrorist bombing" - a phrase used in the past by the military when it suspects militant Islamist involvement

And after compiling the above, quite limited list as an example of Arabs killing Arabs without Israel involved, I found this, in which Melanie Phillips had referred to a Bret Stephens piece:

Twenty seven years ago, when I was an editorial writer at the Guardian, I asked my senior colleagues there the same question – except that rather than Chechnya I wondered why the paper scarcely covered Arab atrocities against other Arabs. It’s because, they said, third world cultures don’t have the same respect for human life that we do in the west. So it would be wrong for us to expect the same standards from them that we do from ourselves. Which was another way of saying that people who happen to live in the third world do not have the same rights to life and liberty as those in the west; which was to say the lives of people in the third world were worth less than the lives of people in the’s the default calibration on the morally relativised, ‘anti-racist’ left. Factor in on top of that the particular bundle of resentments and prejudices towards Jews, and you go a long way towards explaining the pathological obsession with Israel and routine neglect of the world’s actual tyrannies and persecutions, which is such a bizarre feature of public discourse in the west.

And this is neat:

Egypt: Islamic leader blames Islamists for Israel's wars

Cairo, 22 April (AKI) - The Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader, Sayed Imam Abdel Aziz Sharif, has blamed Islamist movements in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon for recent wars that have resulted in pain and suffering for their people.

"Hamas and Hezbollah have lit up the fire of Israeli wars to then unload their burden on the population," said Sharif, also known as Doctor Fazel.

He expressed his views in the second part of his latest book, 'The Gaza Shirt', published from his prison cell at al-Aqrab in southern Egypt, according to a report in the Arab daily, al-Sharq al-Awsat.

He strongly criticised both groups for their actions.

"Their way of acting and governing is in strong contrast with what the Prophet Mohammed did. During his time there were many disenfranchised and oppressed Muslims in Mecca, however, the prophet never declared holy war at the beginning," said Sharif.

Sharif said what the Islamist Hamas movement did during the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza "has nothing to do with Islam" and said Islamist movements should "take responsibility and assess whether they are capable of fighting a war before unleashing it."

and read this, too:

Liberal Kuwaiti Journalist Ahmad Sarraf: The Palestinians Would Have Been Better Off If the Arabs Had Disengaged from the Palestinian Cause

Interviewer: "In the recent war in Gaza, you were opposed to Hamas. Many people thought that this was an attempt to justify the Israeli aggression against Hamas, against Gaza."

Ahmad Al-Sarraf: "Nobody justifies aggression against an innocent, defenseless people. My problem with Hamas is that it gave Israel the pretext to carry out this treacherous aggression."

Interviewer: "So you think that Hamas bears greater responsibility than Israel?"

Ahmad Al-Sarraf: "Without a doubt, Hamas bears greater responsibility for this aggression. At the time, there was a truce, which Hamas staunchly refused to renew. If this [non] renewal had stemmed from the beliefs of Hamas or of the people ruled by Hamas, we could have lived with it. But the fact that the decision was influenced from abroad, according to what has been said and published, makes it even more painful."

Interviewer: "What do you mean by ‘influence from abroad?’"

Ahmad Al-Sarraf: "I believe that Iran was involved in the non-renewal of the truce. They thought that the ‘celebration’ they had in Lebanon in 2006 could be repeated in Gaza."

Interviewer: "Do you mean the July war?"

Ahmad Al-Sarraf: "Yes, the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel. The attack and the destruction were ultimately the influence of Iran."..

...If the Palestinians had been left to deal with their Israeli enemy on their own, they would have reached agreements and made peace a long time ago. The problem is that we all want the Palestinians to sign an agreement with Israel according to our terms - the Saudi want them to sign an agreement according to their terms, the Egyptians want them to... and so on. They have not been able to reach common ground with Israel.


"In my opinion, there is no such thing as a justified war. Peace is justified. Nothing justifies the collective killing of people. In my opinion, what happened in Lebanon - the 2006 war - was a crime against Lebanon."

Interviewer: "But it was Israel that attacked."

Ahmad Al-Sarraf: "No, it wasn't Israel that kidnapped soldiers."