Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Get Out of My Kitchen!"

That's what the late Golda Meir would say to Ehud Olmert.

Noam Shalit is translated as calling Olmert one with "unbelievable worthlessness".

The Hebrew is שלומיאליות ללא תיאור and I would transcribe that as:

"indescribable incapability"

RA, my Oz of Translation, leans towards "indescribable incompetence".

P.S. And while on semantics, I spotted this over at the Reka site of foreign language broadcasts of Kol Yisrael: "Mortar shell breaks calm but ceasefire holds".

In other words, there's a calm and there's a ceasefire. So, even though the ceasefire was ceased, the calm remains. Go figure it out. And get out of the kitchen!

This Blog is Going On Vacation

I will be unable to maintain frequent and regular computer communication over the next two weeks - although I will do my best.

So, keep coming back to check and if my posts are few and far between, forgive me.

I will be back.

Now, If a Right-winger Had Written That

Yossi Verter's analysis piece in Haaretz is entitled

Olmert's maneuvers are last gasps of dying man

Now, if a right-winger had written that, Haaretz would be up in arms claiming the nationalist camp is calling for his assassination.

You Knew It Was Coming

Truce tense but holding after Gazans fire mortar, IDF kills W. Bank militants

In the first such strike since a cease-fire went into effect in the Gaza Strip last week, Palestinian militants from the coastal territory fired a mortar shell at the western Negev late Monday night. No injuries or damage were caused.

Coming was (a) the violent infraction of the missile and (b) the attempt by Haaretz to involve IDF activity in Judea & Samaria, as if that was part of the "quietude" (aka ceasefire) agreement (it isn't).



Two people were lightly wounded Tuesday afternoon as three Kassam rockets hit the western Negev, in a second violation of the Gaza cease-fire since it went into effect last Thursday.

Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor

Response to Nicolas Kristofs op-ed "The Two Israels"

Letter to the Editor
New York Times

In his oped, Nicolas Kristof (June 22, “The Two Israels”) illustrates the danger of the “halo effect” that surrounds many powerful non-governmental organizations, which use distorted human rights claims to promote ideological agendas. While otherwise very professional journalists question and independently verify the claims of governments, corporations, and others, the statements of groups that assert moral objectives tend to be taken at face value. In this article, Kristof extols B’tselem and Machsom Watch (the women who "volunteer at checkpoints to help Palestinians through"). As documented by NGO Monitor, both are political organizations based in Israel that have appropriated human rights rhetoric for partisan goals, mix fact with fiction, and grossly distort history in order to promote their private agendas.

For example, Kristof repeats the simplistic statements of these NGOs regarding Hebron – a city of immense religious and historical importance to the Jewish people – without mentioning the impact of the 1929 massacre and expulsion of the entire Jewish community. A limited return to this historic city was only possible after 1967. Since this context is inconvenient for promoting B’tselem’s political objectives, which would mean again removing the Jewish population from Hebron, these political activists focus instead on one-sided human rights allegations in which Palestinians are always victims, and Israel is always the oppressor.

Seduced by the “halo effect”, Kristof uses B’tselem’s very narrow window to strip the wider context and sell his own interpretation of the conflict and strip it of the wider context. Following B’tselem’s lead, Kristof also ignores the human rights violations of Jewish Israelis in Hebron, including the murder of a 10 month old baby – Shalhevet Pas by a Palestinian sniper. And claims regarding the impact of Israel’s separation barrier and checkpoints completely erases the fact that hundreds or perhaps thousands of Israeli lives that have been spared by preventing the entry of suicide bombers. This is also a primary human rights issue, which the activists in B’tselem and Machsom Watch find inconvenient, and which no human rights group has documented using video cameras.

Expropriating human rights rhetoric for partisan claims, erasing the context and complexity of conflict situations, and applying human rights exclusively to one side of a conflict is morally unacceptable. Such biased approaches from NGOs have severely undermined the ethical foundations and credibility of human rights, which are by definition universal and must be applied equally.

Gerald Steinberg
Executive Director
NGO Monitor
Jerusalem, Israel

More Hareidi Posters

This one, on a bus stop, warns about women wearing flesh-colored and net stockings :

These are warning about the Gay Parade later this week in Jerusalem:

and these too deal with the upcoming gay parade:

The High Journalistic Quality of Israel's Press

While Mr Sarkozy’s words were lauded over by the local Israeli press, images of his glamorous wife dominated the media.

“Queen Carla” has arrived, said the headline on Israel’s largest daily, Yediot Ahronot. Inside was a two-page spread with a discussion of her $2,500 Prada dress and $1,200 hand purse. Mr Sarkozy’s diplomatic mission was included in a sidebar of the page.

In the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, an enlarged image of Mrs Bruni Sarkozy topped the front page, with her husband and the Israeli prime minister appear off-hand in the background.


Monday, June 23, 2008

I Feel Sorry for Them

There are weird opinions out there.

Like the ones in this article, Will Islam Build The Temple? by by George & Dana Brown (a Father & Son Team).


Today all Islam dress in white when visiting Mecca and many Moslems also wear white as everyday garments. Conversely, a great many Jews wear black as everyday dress [?! not all Jews are Hereidi or Hassidic] and have even built hotels, homes, roads, and other structures atop the buried Holy City of Jebus/Jerusalem and the preserved inner Temple of the Solomonic Temple and the Levitical City. [?! nothing is built there except Muslim structures] Therein, GOD'S Holy Ark once resided west of the valley of Ben Hinnom (Jeremiah 19:2 KJV). Jewish authorities have even acted in total disregard of those historic properties buried in the earth beneath their modern day structures (Lamentations 2:9). Meanwhile, certain Jews have even proclaimed themselves to be the Temple builders, collect monies for doing so, but don't even know nor care what the Solomonic Temple looked like and profess the phony mount atop Hadrian's temple site to be where to build their gilded outhouse [?! what's phony is this interpretation of Jewish law; and Hadrian never built a temple - he destroyed the site and ploughed it under, calling it Aelia Capitolina] totally contrary to Temple design and location. [?! what design? what location?]

The Talmud, 5th division of the Kodashim, in the chapter called Middoth meaning measurements describes the white and black dress code. Those wearing white are described as clean while those with a blemish are to wear black. So, will those wearing white build the Temple? (Sura 2:248). [?! you mean Muslims? oh come one now, they are destroying all remnants of the Jewish Temple]

...Jewry, of course, reigned from Solomon for almost 3,000 years [?! "from Solomon 3000 years? whose calendar?] as the Sixth Kingdom before losing the world sceptre when their occupation forces took GOD'S Holy Arks captive [?! I think an apostrophe is missing. there was but one Ark] by their guns, threats, and failure to cooperate in 1985 AD (Daniel 4:30-31; 5:25-28; Genesis 49:1,10; Zechariah 5:4; Revelation 17:10-11).

This is so ridiculous. I can't conceive of a father & son team contemplating this stuff and thinking it is real or based on sources. Poor people.

Nope, No Basis

I have touched on Zochrot before.

In an invitation of theirs, they write:-

Right of Return is the moral and political basis for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Actually, it isn't.

The moral basis for peace was shattered by Arabs from, for convenience sake for those who don't like that many details and that long a period for the 'conflict', 1920. They rejected any political presence of Jews in the Land of Israel. Now, for the sake of you who don't agree with me, the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Conference, Versailles Conference and the League of Nations were anathema for the Arabs here. But to adopt a position that no Jew belongs anywhere in this country as a future sovereign and, after 1937, no compromise of partition was to be accepted, means - again, in a moral sense - that the Arabs were immoral.

And in rejecting the 1947 partition, they continued in their immorality.

This immorality was not only political and diplomatic but quite physical. Jews, only because they were Jews, no matter what age or sex, were killed. They were killed in initiated political violence in waves in 1920, 1929 and 1936-39 and very year in between. Jews who had been living in the country of families who arrived hundreds of years ago were slaughterd and raped as well as those who arrived just the other day.

The Arabs attempted ethnic cleansing, as I have pointed out at this blog. They rejected any recognition of Jews as bearing a nationalist character. The Mufti turned the dispute into a religious one over the false claim of the Temple Mount.

With these paramters, the decision to go to war in 1947, morally and politically, disallows any so-called "right of return". That 'basis' is gone, non-existent. It doesn't belong to the equation. Some 800,000 Jews were forced or encouraged out of Arab lands, losing much more in property and money than the Arabs. That the Arabs were kept in camps makes those Arab hosts part and parcel of their own internal immorality.

In sum, Zochrot and other similar groups like Al-Awda cannot argue from a moral or political position/basis that Israel has to permit any 'return' of those who in 1948 sought to destroy Israel, the international crime of politicide, those who were members of terrorist groups acting against international law during 1949-1967 in killing Israeli civilians, those in 1967 who sought again to destroy Israel and who have continued since then to operate illegally as terrorists.

That wasn't right and they get no rights.

The Growing Subversion

Haifa Conference for the Right of Return And the Secular Democratic State in Palestine
June 21-22.

[in where?]

Friday and Saturday, June 20-21, 2008
Haifa, Al Midan Theatre, Khouri St 2
The Program
Friday June 20th, 2008
Memory of the Nakba and dreams for the future, return of the refugees, preserving ties amongst various parts of the Palestinian people, and message to Israeli society

17:00 – 19:00
Young People's Encounter
Youth Struggle, Manifesting Return, Democracy and Secularism
Workshop Facilitator : George Ghantous
The workshop aims to explore the meaning of the expression "right of return and democratic secular state", through examining the components of 1) right of return, 2) secularism and the interrelations of religion and politics, 3) democracy, 4)
Palestinian identity, 5) pluralism within one society.

17:00 – 19:00
Youth Meeting
Youth Struggle, Manifesting Return, Democracy and Secularism
Workshop facilitator: Lana Khaskia

19:00 – 22:00 Opening Session
• On behalf of the Initiating Committee – Rajaa Zo’abi O’mari
• Ayman O’deh – Secretary General - Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH)
• Awad Abed El-Fatah – Secretary General - National Democratic Alliance (BALAD)
• Muhammad Kanaa’ne – Secretary General - Abnaa elBalad Movement (The movement is part of the coalition that constitute the Initiating Committee )
• Palestinian speakers from the post-1967 occupied territories and the Diaspora
• Dr. Anat Matar
• Prof. Bhim Singh from Kashmir
• Greetings to the Haifa Conference.

Saturday, June 21
9:30 – 10:00 Reception and registration in the lobby
10:00 – 10:20 Greetings and dividing into workshops – large hall
9 workshops in three cycles: 3 simultaneous workshops in each cycle 3 workshops
10:30 – 12:00
12:00 – 13:30
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break
14:30 – 16:00 3 workshops
16:00 – 16:15 Coffee Break
16:15 – 18:00 Concluding Session
First workshop cycle: 10:30 – 12:00
(1) Aspects of the Conflict in Palestine Facilitator: Hisham Naffa
Dr Massoud Eghbarieh 1. The Palestine Question, from understanding the conflict, to
defiance: theory and practice 2. Between national and class levels – the history and horizon of the Wehbe Badarneh trade union struggle in Palestine
3. The racist separation wall and the World Monetary Fund's policy Doud Hamoudi
4. Israeli economic hegemony – variations in a one complementary Prof. Leila Farsakh
colonialist economic order throughout Palestine
5. The Jewish question and the Jewish state, in view of resisting Eli Aminov
imperialism in Palestine
(2) Zionism and the Borders of Ethnic Cleansing; facilitator: Dr. Johnny Mansour
1. Ethnic cleansing in Zionist ideology and practice Dr. Mahmoud Muhareb
2. The Negev – ethnic cleansing here and now Atiya el-A’assam
3. Cleansing without borders – ethnic cleansing in the Golan and Dr. Taysir Mara’i
failed attempts in South Lebanon
4. Separation as a new form of transfer Jonathan Cook
5. Ethnic cleansing in Palestine, a crime against humanity – who Attorney Walid Al-Fahum bears the responsibility?
(3) Right of return and the democratic secular state in human rights perspective;
facilitator: Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein
Attorney Hassan Jabareen
1. Democratic regime throughout Palestine: expanding the borders of the state of all citizens, and the return of the refugees 2. Right of return of the internally displaced and refugees – between Attorney Wakim Wakim positive law and natural right
3. Return of the refugees as a condition for humanizing the Israeli Michael Warshavsky entity – criticism of recognizing the right of return in exchange for
an actual return
4. The democratic secular state – the right to self-determination and Omar Barghouti
de-Zionisation of historical Palestine
Second workshop cycle 12:00 – 13:30
(4) Partition of Palestine: Solving the problem or complicating the solution?
facilitator: Rawiya Shanti
1. Palestine – a one united continual history and geography across the Dr. Ibrahim El-Fanni eras.
2. The colonization and racist separation regime – comparing South Dr. Amneh Badran
Africa and Israel
3. The right of return between the two-state and the one-state solutions Badil - Bethlehem
4. Concluding the one-state solution from international law and Dr. Uri Davis
(5) Palestine towards freedom and return – Philosophical, pedagogical and political perspectives; facilitator – Salman Natur
1. Dialectics of homeland and Diaspora, and resisting the misleading Prof. Ilan Gur-Ze’ev temptation of the 'return home'
2. Scenes of the tragedy – notes at the sides of the catch Dr. Ismail Nashef
3. Secularism – supportive environment for the national and cultural Abed Anabtawi
freedom project
4. An optimistic look at the return of the refugees – from an anarchist Eyal Rosenberg point of view
(6) The Crisis in Israeli Society; facilitator: Ranin Giryes
1. Who's afraid of the return of the refugees? Developing practical Eitan Bronstein
ideas about the return of the refugees to Palestine
2. An optimistic perspective: "Despairing of the state" as a leverage to Ofra Yeshua-Lyth end the religion/state fixation
3. Jewish Arabs in Israel: will they facilitate the way to the 1 state? Reuven Aberjil
4. Anti-Zionism as a Zionist belonging, and alternatives to a Jewish Yana Knopova
collective identity

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch Break
Third workshop cycle 14:30 – 16:00
(7) Different Perspectives of a One-State Palestine; facilitator Muhammad Kayal
1. A bi-national state for Palestinians and Israelis Dr. As’ad Ghanem
2. A democratic secular republic of all its Palestinian citizens Prof. Yehuda Kupferman
3. The democratic secular state in the context of a liberation vision Muhammad Kana’aneh of the Arab world
4. The catch and the escape Ahmad Katamesh
(8) Boycotting Israel and Solidarity of Nations; facilitator Samieh Jabbarin
1. Lessons to be learned from South Africa – boycott from without Melissa Hall and popular struggle within
2. The European civil society’s support of the struggle for return and John Rose
against racism
3. Boycotting Israel – Resisting the normalization of Occupation and Yael Lerer
4. How to comply with the Palestinian call to boycott Israel? Roy Haroush/Kobi Snitz
5. Boycott: civil resistance is the most effective in face of a Omar Barghouti
complicated Zionist Colonial oppression
(9) Approaches to freedom and enlightenment in the activity of civil society
organizations; facilitator Subhi Zgheir
1. Feminism: resisting hegemony in theory and in practice Leila Jaroushi / Areen Hawari
2. The dialectics of the self and the other, and the formation of Awni Kreim a belonging youth Palestinian identity
3. Towards liberation of the Israeli Society of Hegemony and Dr. Mary Totari the Nakba denial
4. The Palestine 48 struggle against discrimination and racism, Muhammad Zidan
differs but completes the struggle of the Palestinian people
16:00 – 16:15 Break

16:15 – 18:00 Concluding Plenary; facilitator Makbula Nassar
Presentation of workshops conclusions;
discussion on what to do tomorrow, and how to define the tasks at hand?
17:00 Proposal for a concluding public statement
17:15 Discussion with audience participation
Joining the Follow-up Committee for ongoing activity
(defining timetable for the final formulation of public statement)
18:00 Closure

Every Gov't Project Always Overshoots its Budget

Who didn't know this?

The state of the art bridge, dubbed 'the Bridge of Strings'...[at the entrance of Jerusalem] cost NIS 246m. to build, more than threefold its original budget, according to a city comptroller report.

The report stated that had its actual cost been known, the project was unlikely to have ever been approved.

How Right

Here is Enderlin's defense in a nutshell:
"I'm the journalist, you're a nobody. I know everything, you know nothing. If you criticize me, it's slander."

Citizen-readers, overwhelmingly critical of this appeal, have greater mastery of the issues than the know-it-all press corps.

Al-Dura: The tide is turning
Jun. 22, 2008

Fields of Amatzia

Photographed by Ben Rappaport

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Talansky Tickle

Real headline:-

Israel can't keep taking handouts
from Diaspora Jews


I can't stop laughing.

This is what one could term the Talansky Tickle.

Liscentiousness at Summer Holiday Hotels

Found in Geula.

More Anti-Gay Parade

Ehud Olmert: Between Gaza and Iran...

...and Ehud Barak...

...and Tzipy Livni and Shaul Mofaz...

Kristoff and Hebron

The "dialogue".

Another HH



Yea SoccerDad.

Truth - Even in the NYTimes

Most Israelis consider the truce with Hamas an admission of national failure, a victory for a radical group with a vicious ideology.


This Buchewalder Sleeps Soundly at Night

Manfred Kriegel is a big, bluff man, hair tied back in a pony tail. He is a passionate country & western singer. The 65-year-old has had a chequered history: after various attempts to escape East Germany he was jailed by the Stasi and freed by the West. Now he lives in the house of the former camp commandant, the SS officer Rudolf Kenn.

Over the kitchen table the SS architects carved the slogan: “To be German means to show character.” Mr Kriegel has covered it up with a block of wood. He has also plastered over a huge blue skull with the chilling motto: “Führer, give us the order and we will follow you!”

It was painted by the masons from the Operation Todt building team that created the camp in 1944. “But the brown floor tiles, they're original,” Mr Kriegel said, leading us through the spacious house.

By the standards of eastern Germany it is a des res: high ceilings and french windows leading into the garden. Mr Kriegel led us through a corridor plastered with photographs of Manfred and the Rangers — his band — John Wayne, Elvis and a certificate from the Cheyenne tribe awarding him the name “Singing Bear”, and into the living room.

This is where Kenn had a Jewish inmate killed because he struck a false note on the piano while playing Oh, How Deceitful Are the Hearts of Women.

Does Mr Kriegel sleep badly at night? “No”.

Read full story.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Can You Believe This?

Bill Weinberg is editor of the online journal World War 4 Report whose mission is: to scan the world press and Internet for important stories overlooked by the mass media, and examine the headlines with a critical eye for distortion, deceit and propaganda. He is an award-winning 25-year veteran journalist in the fields of human rights, indigenous peoples, global war on drugs, ecology, and war.

Weinberg writes here that:-

The Jewish fundamentalist group “Ateret Cohanim” [???] and the Muslim Waqf that administers the Haram al-Sharif accuse each other of carrying out illegal excavations at the Temple Mount. At issue is the long-lost Ark of the Covenant, whose re-emergence is held by the Jewish fundamentalists as signaling the coming of the messiah. One fundamentalist group, the Temple Mount Faithful, openly seeks to build a new Jewish temple at the site—which would, of course, mean demolishing the Dome of the Rock, adding to fears about the Israeli-approved excavations.

“Temple Movements” sacrificed goats at the site [???] before Israel's courts issued a ruling barring the ritual. But the self-proclaimed “New Sanhedrin Council”—conceived by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz as a revival of the ancient Hebrew supreme religious body, the Sanhedrin Court—refuse to recognize Israel’s secular courts. In February 2007, six children were shot and wounded in a Hebron protest [???] against the Jewish archeological work at the Temple Mount. Tisha b'Av, the Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE, generally falling in August, always sees security beefed up at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.

Ironically, the Jewish fundamentalists arguably have more of an ear in Washington’s corridors of power than Tel Aviv’s. The mutual enmity between Hagee and Ahmadinejad reflects their fundamental unity. A clear repudiation of such politics in post-Bush America would go a long way towards staving off unparalleled disaster. Unfortunately, that still hasn’t quite happened.

That is quite a piece of conspiratorial misrepresentation.

Let me try to place the above in another context.

The Temple Mount was the site of the First and Second Temples, later destroyed and, according to the prophets, where a Third Temple is to be built. The Arabs in the 7th century conquered Jerusalem and built on the Temple Mount two major structures, the El-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Yassir Arafat claimed at the 2000 Camp David Conference that the Temples never were located on the Mount.

Ever since the 13th century and perhaps earlier, no Jew has been allowed by the Waqf to enter the Temple Mount compound (the issue of Jewish restrictions has been dealt with in other places by me). This changed in 1967 although the Israel governments have prohibited Jewish prayer there and have been quite strict about free entrance.

Now, if any sort of compromise were to be suggested between Jews and Muslims, the Temple Mount should be one text case. For example, all Waqf destruction of Jewish artifacts should stop immediately. There are no "excavations" by the Waqf, as Weinberg claims, but simple diggings for two underground mosques and in doing so have dumped archeological remains (now being taken care of by Gaby Barkai and Tzachi Zweig). "Ateret Cohanim" do not engage in diggings at the Temple Mount. In this, Weinberg display gross ignorance. Writing thus actually negates his mission about biased media. Even the Hasmonean Tunnel wasn't "at the Temple Mount" but parallel to same. Weinberg accepts poisonous Arab propaganda a la Sheikh Salah Raad it would seem.

No goats have been sacrificed at the site. As for shootings, in 2002 two TIPHers were shot and killed near Hebron but TIPH didn't even mention the identity of the killers who were Arabs but TIPH doesn't record any shootings of Arabs at their web site. A TIME report doesn't mention any shootings. This very detailed list of incidents also doesn't include a shooting of six Hebron Arab children.

Weinberg is a peddler of false tidings.

P.S. I left a comment there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

As If It Could Be Done (An Obama Supporter on Support for Israel)

Merrill A. McPeak found it necessary to respond to criticism of a 1976 Foreign Affairs article. Why? Because General Merrill A. McPeak (ret.) is co-chairman of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force from 1990-1994.

The response is entitled How to Secure Israel: Demilitarized land for peace is the key to a settlement

More than 30 years ago...I wrote and Foreign Affairs published an article now being circulated in the blogosphere as evidence of an alleged anti-Israel point of view. Some commentators reach farther, suggesting that since I have been an active supporter of Barack Obama's presidential bid he, too, is anti-Israel. Both these assertions fall flat after any objective reading of the historical record.

...for friends like me, "success" means a secure Israel at peace with neighbors who recognize and respect its existence. Even so, we should maintain our special relationship and help Israel keep its qualitative military edge.

As for the article, much has changed in 32 years and much has not. The essential argument holds: no set of realistically achievable geographic borders produces safety for Israel. Rather, the security requirement is that any of the territory taken in the Six-Day War and given back as part of a peace settlement should be effectively demilitarized...

And if it can't be done?

And if Hezbollah trains Hamas?

And if Hamas takes of Judea and Samaria?

This guy sounds like Dan Halutz - we can win from the air.

On American Support for Israel

U.S. opinion on the Middle East is not monolithic, nor is it frozen in time. Since 1967, it has undergone significant shifts, with some groups becoming more favorable toward Israel and others less so. Considerably fewer African Americans stand with the Likud Party today than stood with the Jewish army in World War II. More changes may come. A Palestinian and Arab leadership more sensitive to the values and political priorities of the American political culture could develop new and more effective tactics designed to weaken, rather than strengthen, American support for the Jewish state. An end to terrorist attacks, for example, coupled with well-organized and disciplined nonviolent civil resistance, might alter Jacksonian perceptions of the Palestinian struggle.

It is entirely possible that over time, evangelical and fundamentalist Americans will retrace Jimmy Carter's steps from a youthful Zionism to what he would call a more balanced position now. But if Israel should face any serious crisis, it seems more likely that opinion will swing the other way. Many of the Americans who today call for a more evenhanded policy toward the Palestinians do so because they believe that Israel is fundamentally secure. Should that assessment change, public opinion polls might well show even higher levels of U.S. support for Israel.

One thing, at least, seems clear. In the future, as in the past, U.S. policy toward the Middle East will, for better or worse, continue to be shaped primarily by the will of the American majority, not the machinations of any minority, however wealthy or engaged in the political process some of its members may be.

Read this article, "The New Israel and the Old: Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State" by Walter Russell Mead, here.

(Kippah tip: AJG)

Pictures from Shavuot

Pre-dawn at the Kotel:

With the breaking dawn:

Taken by Ilana Brown

At Least They Can Publish Adverts

In response to this statement

Police: Leftists in Hebron more dangerous than right-wing counterparts

Peace Now calls for suspension of police commander who said extreme left-wing activists provoke settlers in hope of producing violent response. 'They have become an even greater threat than the anarchists,' said Commander Peled

"The activity of some leftist organizations in Hebron is more dangerous that which is being conducted by their right-wing counterparts," a senior Shai District Police official told Ynet Monday.

"Organizations such as Bnei Avraham (which is committed to 'disturbing the occupation, disrupting the segregation and apartheid regime') and Breaking the Silence are wolves in sheep's' clothing", the official said in light of the growing tensions between left and right-wing activists in the West Bank city.

The head of the Israel Police's Hebron district, Commander Avshalom Peled told Ynet that "from my experience in the Hebron and Gush Etzion area, the activity on the part of the militant left can be severe and dangerous."

the Left got very agitated and published this ad in Haaretz yesterday:

It reads: "To Apply the Law in Hebron" and demands the police retract their announcements (where did free speech go?), to allow the "Breakers of Silence" to continue their tours (which are provocative), apply the law equally and calls on Israelis to participate and come to Hebron.

The signees include Shulamit Aloni, Michael Ben-Yair, Shlomo Gazit, Ruth Dayan, AB Yehoshua, Amos Oz, Mordechai Kremnitzer and Yossi Sarid, among others.

Gee, I had thought thses leftists had disappeared.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mochel Mohel

Rabbi beats speeding ticket

Quebec's Jewish chaplain for prisons got a speeding ticket quashed after convincing a judge he'd been rushing to a medical emergency: a baby boy who was bleeding from a ritual circumcision.

...After listening to the rabbi's story, the judge said Lévy had proven the "necessity" of why he'd been speeding, and threw out the ticket.

...Lévy testified he'd received an emergency call from a distraught mother in Côte St. Luc whose 8-day-old boy had been recently circumcised. The bandage had come off and the boy was bleeding into his diaper. The date of the incident was not mentioned in court, nor the speed at which Lévy was travelling.

"The mother was upset and wanted me to get there as soon as possible," said Lévy, who is also a rabbinical judge in Montreal's francophone Jewish community. "The boy was bleeding, and that's always serious."

Why didn't the mother simply call 911 and have the boy taken to hospital? St-Pierre asked.

...Lévy is also qualified as a shochet, a ritual slaughterer of animals. In April 2006, he protested the high cost of kosher meat in Montreal by slaughtering lambs himself for the Passover holiday and selling the meat cheaply. The move got him censured by the Grand Rabbinat du Québec, which declared the meat not kosher because it didn't have the stamp of approval of the Va'ad Ha'ir, the organization which supervises kosher labelling in the city.

For the last two years, Quebec has been in the throes of multiple controversies over "reasonable accommodations" of religious minorities, including orthodox Jews.

Told of the speeding charge and Lévy's acquittal, a prominent Côte St. Luc rabbi expressed amazement.

"The court bought the story?" asked Reuben Poupko, who leads the Beth Israel Beth Aaron congregation. "It shows we're really living in a shtetl."

The Full Story

I don't approve of violence and especially violence against defenceless persons.

Violence against criminals or people attacking you is just fine.

I was upset at the Sussiya story but only now saw this at BBC:

The wife, Thamam al-Nawaja, said the settlers had given them 10 minutes to leave an area where they were grazing their animals; when they refused to move the settlers came and beat them.

Well, so there was another narrative.

Not that this justifies violence but maybe the Arabs were tresspassers?

A Mother's Illogic

Mother of missing soldier: Hezbollah will kidnap again if Kuntar not returned

The mother of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Ehud Goldwasser on Thursday warned that Hezbollah will abduct more Israelis in the future if Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar is not returned to Lebanon as part of a deal for her son's release.

"If Kuntar is not exchanged today there will be more kidnappings and maybe this time also of Israeli citizens traveling on holiday abroad. Nasrallah is determined to return Kuntar at any cost. His next attempt may be much worse," wrote Miki Goldwasser in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

But if we do return him, Hezbollah will surely kidnap againa and again becuase it pays off for them.

Public Service Message

Internet addiction is a 'clinical disorder'

Obsessive internet use is a public health problem which is so serious it should be officially recognised as a clinical disorder, according to a leading psychiatrist.

They suffer four symptoms: They forget to eat and sleep; they need more advanced technology or more hours online as they develop 'resistance' to the pleasure given by their current system; if they are deprived of their computer, they experience genuine withdrawal symptoms; And in common with other addictions, the victims also begin to have more arguments, to suffer fatigue, to get lower marks in tests and to feel isolated from society.

Early research into the subject found highly educated, socially awkward men were the most likely sufferers but more recent work suggests it is now more of a problem for middle-aged women who are spending hours at home on their computers.

Psychiatrist Dr Jerald Block said some sufferers were so addicted to the internet that they required medication or even hospital treatment to curb the time they spent on the web.

He said: "The relationship is with the computer. It becomes a significant other to them. They exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer through any number of mechanisms: emailing, gaming, porn."

He added: "It's much more acceptable for kids to talk about game use, whereas adults keep it a secret. Rather than having sex, or arguing with their wife or husband, or feeding their children, these adults are playing games."

Dr Block, of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, in the USA, first made the claims in an editorial for the American Journal of Psychiatry.

A Dispute About Ignorance

I read an article I wished to comment on in Haaretz.

So, I wrote this letter:

One can ignore Michael Handelzalts' agnosticism but not his ignorance. In making use of the Brady-Drummond dialogue regarding where did Mrs. Cain come from, as part of his knocking the Biblical account ("She doesn't look Jewish at all", June 13), he contradicts his own acceptance of that narrative as one "being a work in progress".

While Christianity may have difficulty answering the question, any religious Jewish 8-year old could have informed Handelzalts that Rashi, based on Midrashic interpretation, states that the triple use of the Hebrew word et in the verse of Genesis 4:1 indicates that twin siblings were born with Cain and Abel, one sister and then two sisters, respectively.

Handelzalts is free to disbelieve. Not to know is another realm altogether.

Yisrael Medad

Michael Handelzalts responded:

One can ignore Yisrael Medads' impertinence, but not his misreading and misrepresenting the printed text.

When I wrote about the Bible being a "work in progress" I meant that the text as we know it, signed at Yamnia, was written, edited and reedited until that date. The Rashi interpretation of Genesis 4;1, based on Midrashic interpretation may have been known to all religious Jewish 8-year olds (although there is, possibly, somwhere in israel one child who is not aware of it). The interpretation, ingenious as it may be, it is rather belaboured, and the third "et" possibly could have also been a scribe's error. Were we to accept it, Cain and Abel would be marrying their next of kin, which - I believe - is not recommended by the Scriptures.

Medad is free to disrespect me amd my views. To assume my ignorance on the basis of a misreading an\or misunderstanding is another realm altogether.

מיכאל הנדלזלץ
Michael Handelzalts
HaAretz הארץ

But if he wasn't "ignorant", why did he not at least mention the Rashi interpretation in his original piece and argue with it there - instead of with me here?

On The Society Page

GUESTS ATTENDING the Queen's birthday reception hosted by British Ambassador Tom Phillips were somewhat surprised to hear Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaking in favorable terms of the period of the British Mandate. But then it all became clear. Livni explained that her parents had met while robbing a British train, but had served time in different prisons.

Were it not for the Mandate, she might never have been born, she said, raising a laugh. (Livni did not elaborate, but Eitan and Sarah Livni were both pre-state Irgun activists - her father was an operations chief and her mother, who died recently, aged 85, was involved in several major operations. "I was disguised as a pregnant woman and robbed a train carrying £35,000," Sarah said in an interview shortly before she died.)

- - - -

Among the other guests were three representatives of the "Yesha" setters' council - chairman Danny Dayan, Shaul Goldstein and Yisrael Medad - who had been invited for the first time.

When Phillips was asked by this columnist whether the invitation signified a change of policy on the part of his government, his reply was: "We've always talked to them."
"Yes, but there's a difference between talking to them and inviting them."

Phillips smiled, retorting: "They know where we stand."




British Embassy invitations upset Palestinians
By Carolynne Wheeler
Last updated: 10:09 PM BST 18/06/2008

The British Embassy in Israel has shocked Palestinians after members of a hard-line Jewish settlers group were invited to a reception marking the Queen's birthday.
The British ambassador, Tom Phillips, hosted the event last week, inviting British expatriates and members of the Israeli political elite.

But the presence of the three guests from the Yesha Council, which represents Jewish settlers in the West Bank, has raised fears about a change in British policy. Britain has long held that Jewish settlements on the West Bank are illegal and an obstacle to peace.

Dani Dayan, the chairman of the Yesha Council, said: "We represent an integral and important part of the Israeli population, of more than 300,000 citizens, and we are glad to see the British embassy recognise this fact."

A spokesman for the embassy said: "In a way, it's very important for us to hear from them what's going on in the settlements."

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said: "The settlements are illegal and the European policy has not changed. To invite the [representatives of] settlements to parties... I think the British government should answer this question, not me."

Well, I'm shocked, I tell you, just shocked!

They're Out!

Gay Arabs, that is.

Gay Arabs Party Here, Risk Death Back Home

It's Saturday night, and Sami is feeling the Middle Eastern dance tracks of DJ I.Z.'s set at Habibi. Upstairs at the Stonewall Inn for the monthly roaming party, he pushes through a thicket of men and hits the makeshift dance floor, where he and an Egyptian friend break into freestyle belly dancing. A gay Muslim Moroccan, Sami loves Arabic pop music but rarely gets to dance to it.

But Sami (like most of the people in this article, he requested that his real name be withheld) does go dancing often...but most remain closeted to some degree, and once in a while, they just want to hang with their homies.

Finding other gay Arabs wasn't always so easy...Immigrants were terrified to attend their first GLAS meetings, lest someone see them and tell their family. Even today, Arab families—the primary, all-important social unit—place immense pressure on their children to marry. It's still common for gay Arabs to do so, then take an out-of-town job while sending money back home. Those who are able to attend college abroad enjoy a reprieve—but once back home, they face an arranged marriage.

Politics and religion exert more pressure to stay in the closet. In most Arab countries, homosexuality is not only illegal, but the penalties for it are also harsh—including torture and death. The infamous "Cairo 52" were arrested by police who broke up a boat party on the Nile River in 2001; the men were beaten, exposed, publicly humiliated, and imprisoned for up to five years. In Islamic-fundamentalist nations like Iran, gay men are allegedly hanged.

Although Islam remains the dominant religion in the Middle East, it accounts for only half of our Arab immigrants. Most others are Christian, with a smattering of Jews.

...Like their American counterparts, many queer Arab immigrants simply don't want to join gay social networks or activist groups; they're too busy working, playing, and just living day-to-day lives. For instance, Zakharia—a Palestinian- American who's been in the U.S. since 1982—works at an advertising agency, has been out to his family, and lives with a longtime partner. For immigrants like him, "being here makes it much easier," as Sami puts it. "There are so many things around you that make you feel welcome. You can do whatever you want—have a life, a job, whatever—and be gay." You can even dance to Arabic pop music in the arms of another gay man.

(Kippah Tip: AJG)

It takes all kinds.

Destruction at Yitzhar

There's trouble at Yitzhar.

Pics (via Yonah Tzoref) -

Bloggered here, too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Biblical Names. Ooops

The fact that many places in the United States, especially, are names from the Bible, like Shiloh, Hevron, Bethlehem, etc., I have always maintained, should be used to the advantage of those of us who live or support the residency of Jews in the places where the original places those names recall were.

So, I thought it fortunate that I found more names, in Vermont: Hor ("And this shall be your north border: you shall draw your border line from the Great Sea to Mount Hor". Numbers 34:7,8) and Pisgah ("And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho". Deuteronomy 34:1).

But then I read closer:-

From the beach of Lake Willoughby's Southwest Cove, the sheer cliffs of Mount Pisgah tower over the deep, frigid water. Across the narrows, Mount Hor's peak completes the look of a Scandinavian fjord. In the summertime, the beach offers a different view: naked sunbathers. Southwest Cove is one of the most famous nude beaches in the country, but there's a move under way to make people put their suits back on.


But Who Is Counting?

Presently there are 135 Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and dozens of additional “outposts” – settlements not yet officially recognized by the Israeli Government. These house over 562,000 Jewish Israeli residents: 282,000 in the West Bank (without Jerusalem), 260,000 in neighborhoods built in Arab Jerusalem or annexed to Jerusalem, and 20,000 in the Golan Heights.


Al-Jazeera Hears the Truth About Jewish Communities

Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Yesha Council, on Al-Jazeera on Jewish communities.

He appears at 2:55 until 5:40, give or take a second:

He reminds me of me.

I Was in Betar, Too

Carl then recounts, "When I was 13 years old I had some close friends in a Zionist youth group called Betar. They wore uniforms and kept talking about a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan. I didn't care about that. I just wanted to be with Shloime and Moishe."

Which Carl is that?

Carl Reiner!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Visualizing Victory

Found here

More BO Bad News

In fine-tuning his foreign-policy agenda, Barack Obama is turning to a core group of Middle East experts who have spent more than a decade, in Democratic and Republican administrations, exploring avenues to engaging Iran and Syria.

Chief among them are Dennis Ross, former President Clinton's lead Mideast negotiator; James Steinberg, a deputy national-security adviser under Mr. Clinton; and Daniel Kurtzer, a career diplomat who developed Mideast policy under President Bush and his father.


Why bad?

Each one tried to undermine Israeli security, negate its legal rights and diplomatically, participated in browbeating and unfair press subversion.

The Real Reason?


The Vatican has banned the makers of Angels & Demons, the latest Dan Brown thriller to be filmed, from shooting scenes not only in the Vatican but in any church in Rome on the ground that it is "an offence against God" and "wounds common religious feelings".

Could it be that the screenwriter is one Akiva Goldsman and its leading lady in Ayelet Zorer (here)? Not your usual Catholics? (they're Jewish and Israeli)

Where is The Zohan When You Need Him?

Terrorists Attack Gaza Hairdressing Salon

Unknown Gaza terrorists took aim at hairdressing in Salon in Rafiah early Monday morning, blowing it up with a bomb, according to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency. The business was owned by a woman.

You don't know The Zohan to whom I am referring?


In You Don't Mess With the Zohan, a comedy from screenwriters Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Judd Apatow, Sandler stars as Zohan, an Israeli commando who fakes his own death in order to pursue his dream: becoming a hairstylist in New York.

Once he lands in New York, Zohan wows his older female customers with his sexual prowess (and the hairstyles he copies from his beloved 1987 Paul Mitchell book) but he also finds he's fallen for his boss, Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a sassy salon owner who happens to be Palestinian.

That Rafiah hairdresser and her salon could use The Zohan now.


Now where is this taking place?

By Friday evening, the checkpoints were gone from ________________, leaving residents to ponder...after nearly a week of intense police attention.

...______________ was on lockdown for six days, until Thursday, as __________ tried to end a spate of shootings by setting up checkpoints where all occupants of vehicles were required to prove that they had a legitimate reason to enter the area. The police said they had stopped vehicles because most of the killings were drive-by shootings...

...“Why don’t they check some of these guys standing on the corners, run them out of our neighborhood?” Ms. _______ asked, gesturing toward a cluster of young men nearby.

Police checkpoints are not uncommon, but the Police Department’s demand for people’s names and the telephone numbers of their destinations brought national attention.

...the Police Department declared the initiative a success. The police said they made one arrest, turned away 46 vehicles and stopped more than 700 vehicles at 10 checkpoints. And, most important, there were no killings over the six days.

Officials have left open the possibility of additional checkpoints...

...Another resident...known as Winky...“It’s only dangerous to outsiders,” [he] said

So, are we in Israel?

Shiloh? (Despite that Winky there, I'm Winkie)


It's Washington, D.C.

(see this article: After Checkpoints, Gratitude and Deep Skepticism )

Now, with Condi Rice going ballistic over checkpoints

Rice, who at a news conference with Abbas on Sunday demanded that Israel do more to ease life for Palestinians in the West Bank by removing roadblocks.

Facing Palestinian frustration at the pace of the negotiations, Rice made unusually direct remarks Sunday about the consequences of Israeli construction and roadblocks in the West Bank...

...Israel maintains hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints throughout the West Bank, saying they are needed to protect settlements and prevent would-be attackers from crossing into Israel. The Palestinians claim the travel restrictions have stifled their economy and made free movement in an area they claim for their state extremely difficult.

Rice said she had discussed the lifting of Israeli roadblocks, but did not say Israel made her any new promises. When Rice visited in March, Israel promised to remove 61 roadblocks. The United Nations reported that only 44 have been dismantled, and most of them had no or little significance.

"It was the first time that I had raised this issue, and so it will be now a discussion as to how to carry out that concern, or how to address that concern," Rice said.

At the same time, she acknowledged there is a "real security dimension" for the Israelis.

There was one suicide bombing last year and two so far this year. That's down from a high of 59 in 2002, the year Israel began building a separation barrier along the West Bank and multiplying its military checkpoints and roadblocks.


you might have thought that.

But no, those checkpoints were in the Trinidad neighborhood of Washington - Condi's stomping ground.

How blind can some people be?

Lame Livni

TIME has a story on Tzipy Livni.

An extract:-

When she finally took the plunge, it was to help shape the terms of the exchange. "Tzipi said she'd prefer to be the negotiator than let someone else do it and give it all away," says Eran Cohen, her former political adviser.

Voted into the Knesset in 1999, she became a loyal supporter of Ariel Sharon, leader of the right-wing Likud Party; when he created the more centrist Kadima, she followed. In six years, Sharon named her to seven different ministerial posts. Along the way, she broke with her parents' Zionist views; friends say she'd rather have a peaceful Israel to bequeath to her children. Livni also rejects the Likud Party's vision of an Israel encompassing both banks of the Jordan River. "In order for us to be a democratic and a Jewish state, in the long run, we'll have to give away some of the land," she says.

She's contradicting herself.

First, she's giving it all away.

Second, Israel is not getting peace and certainly not security.

Third, the real demographic problem that exists is whether Israel's Arab population wants to be Israeli or a bridgehead to turning Israel into Palestine peacefully.

Condi Goes Robust Again

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Linda Gradstein.


QUESTION: So you said that they may reach an agreement, they may not reach an agreement by the end of the year. Salam Fayyad said a few days ago it doesn’t look like they will reach an agreement. What if they don’t? What happens then?

SECRETARY RICE: I don’t speculate on those sorts of – on what might not happen. Let’s, though, review what they’ve already achieved. It has been seven years since there was a peace process underway. And despite the very determined efforts of everybody at Camp David, they didn’t get there. And despite the very determined efforts of everybody after Camp David, they went through a very, very bad time. And nobody wants to repeat that experience.

They have a, I think, more robust way of going about this for a couple of reasons now. We’ve learned some lessons from before. The first is that we’re trying to proceed on multiple tracks, not just have negotiations out there as the only track. Because I believe, and I think the parties believe that the improvements on the ground have to reinforce the negotiations and vice versa, and that the Roadmap obligations -- which there was no Roadmap in 2000 – that the Roadmap obligations will need to be met in any circumstance before – if one could imagine a Palestinian state coming into being, which is why the agreement is subject to the Roadmap.

So you’ve got three interlocking, but somewhat discrete tracks that we’re working on. And I think they’re making progress on all of them, not fast enough for me, but progress on all of them; for instance, on the conditions on the ground, what’s going on in Jenin or in Nabulus, and the ability, then, to link that to movement and access improvements, and to then bring in quick economic projects and, ultimately, longer-term economic progress of the kind that Tony Blair has. And it will improve conditions on the ground and their sort of – their thinking about once they’ve figured out – once Jenin is well underway, what do they do next.

And you can imagine this as a series of these throughout the West Bank that has the advantage of giving the Palestinians greater responsibility for security control, improving the capabilities of the Palestinians for security in doing so. They’re talking about a rule of law component to that, so jails and courts and the like. And then, movement and access that is linked to that rather than just trying to say, all right, let’s fix movement and access. You’re actually fixing it in a very concrete way and that, then, permits economic activity to really flourish.

So that’s a model that is not completely isolated from the negotiations, but it is going on, whatever the state of the negotiations. As I said, Roadmap obligations, we’re working on and is – in a rather more systematic way that I talked about. So I think there’s more of an infrastructure around the final status negotiations this time.

The other piece is the international support mechanism here, which has resulted in the various donor conferences as well as the Bethlehem conference, and the Arab support, which the Arabs have been a part of the process from the beginning rather than being left to the end. So I think it’s structured in a way that they will be able to keep pushing toward the establishment of a Palestinian state on whatever timeline.

Now, that said, I still think that they’ve got a very good chance that this can happen – within the Middle East (inaudible), that they’ve got a chance of getting an agreement before the end of the year. But we shouldn’t underestimate all of the things that are going on as a part of the Annapolis process and just isolate on the final status issues. That’s why Annapolis was structured the way it was. It was structured not just to have the final status negotiations be the only part, because the rest of this has to work as well.


Fulbright Follow-up

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, can I ask you about Fulbrights? I’m Ethan Bronner --


QUESTION: -- from The New York Times.

SECRETARY RICE: New York Times, right.

QUESTION: How are you? Three of the seven, we were told on Friday or on Thursday, maybe on Wednesday, that they were not getting out. They sent you a letter on Saturday --

SECRETARY RICE: Mm-hmm, yeah.

QUESTION: -- they sent me a copy of. And I was told by numerous Israeli authorities that they are big security risks, these three guys, but they won’t tell me what the security risk that they pose is. Do you feel that it’s right that they not go out? What have you talked to them about?

SECRETARY RICE: We – I’ve received the letter. We’re engaging Israeli authorities about it now. And it continues to be my belief that these – that all of the Fulbrights should be able to take up their fellowships. Look, I – we will talk to the Israeli authorities, but obviously, you know, we have procedures of vetting people for visas. And so we will continue to work with the Israelis, but it is – unless something comes forward that I don’t yet understand, it’s my view that these people ought to be able to take up their fellowships.

QUESTION: Because they did go through some kind of security procedure from the American perspective, didn’t they? There was a vetting form that was filled out for each of them?

SECRETARY RICE: Obviously, if we’re going to issue visas to people, we go through processes. And I just want to repeat, I consider it extremely important for these young people to be able to take up their fellowships. And unless there is something that I have not yet seen, and I don’t – you know, I don’t rule out that there may be some reason that we’ve not yet seen. But unless I see some other reason, I – we’re going to continue to work to try to get them help, because I would hope they can take their fellowships.

QUESTION: And then when I spoke with the Israelis, they said that they were sharing with you their concerns. Have they done that?

SECRETARY RICE: I’ve – the Ambassador’s been working on this. I have not talked to the Israelis myself directly about it, except to say that I consider it to be a very high priority to get this resolved.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just Rolling Along Not

Get a grip, lady.

Police stop Saudi woman flouting driving ban

Saudi police have detained a woman for violating rules banning women from driving in the conservative Muslim country, a newspaper said.

The woman from Buraida, north of Riyadh, was stopped by a police patrol after driving 10 kilometres to collect her husband, al-Hayat newspaper said.

The woman's "legal guardian" - her husband - was required to sign a declaration that he would not allow her to drive again, it said. It was not immediately clear if she was released or would face legal action.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women from driving on the basis of fatwas, or religious opinions, from clerics who say it is un-Islamic.

A Righteous Among the Gentiles

Comments made by Ricardo Carvalho:

The Chelsea defender condemned the club for the “cruel” sacking of Avram Grant as manager, two days after their Champions League final defeat to Manchester United on penalties. The 30-year-old had intended to ask for a transfer after Grant’s dismissal, but changed his mind after the appointment of Scolari.

Avram did a great job, but they still decided to sack him,” Carvalho said. “Yet after Jose Mourinho left, he picked up the team and got good results. In the Champions League he was only one penalty from winning it. It was very cruel. It was very ruthless.

Bad Boy Brzezinski

One of those Carter crew people, the most anti-Israel of all, Zbang Zbigniew doesn't give 5 cents for Israel:

Brzezinski Says Bush Should Dissuade Israel From Attack on Iran

Former White House National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said President George W. Bush should privately dissuade Israel from carrying out any military strike against Iran in an attempt to cripple its nuclear program.

In an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt,'' Brzezinski said an armed conflict between Israel and Iran would widen to include the U.S. as Iran struck back against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...``The Iranians cannot effectively retaliate against Israel, so they'll retaliate against us,'' Brzezinski said. ``And then we will be tempted to retaliate against Iran, and we'll be drawn into a very destructive conflict from which we will not extricate ourselves for many years to come.''

Why can't Iran retaliate against Israel?

Bad aim?

So we should wait until they are (a) nuclear armed and (b) better at aiming before then attacking?

What a bum.

That Darn "Public Opinion" Again

...on the question: “In your opinion, who among the following individuals — Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Bibi Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, Shaul Mofaz, and Avi Dichter — can best advance the peace process between Israel and Syria and the Palestinians while safeguarding Israel’s vital interests?” the results obtained were in this order: Netanyahu — 27%, Livni — 17%, Barak — 8%, Mofaz — 6%, Olmert — 5%, Dichter— 3%.


Condi's Thinking

QUESTION: Can you respond to the -- Israel’s announcement yesterday, I believe, of a new 1,300 home settlement in East Jerusalem, and how you expect to be able to, you know, talk to both sides about this since that’s precisely the thing that the Palestinians regard as the greatest obstacle?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it will certainly be a topic of conversation and I expect to raise it with all of Israel’s officials and leaders. And we’ve said before that this is a time to try and build confidence, and this is simply not helpful to building confidence. [and what is, Madame Secretary?] And so we’ll have a further discussion of it, but I intend to have a discussion of Roadmap obligations generally, and this is obviously a Roadmap obligation that’s not being met.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you are not annoyed that every time you go there, there is a new announcement of settlements, either just before you come or just after you leave?

SECRETARY RICE: Unfortunately, there have been a few whether I’m coming or not. I think that – look, it’s a problem. And I think it’s a problem that we’re – that I’m going to address with the Israelis. And it’s also – as the President said today, it’s also every reason – or it gives us every reason that we really ought to be determining the boundaries of the state, because what’s in Israel will be in Israel at that point, and what’s in Palestine will be in Palestine. And that’s the best way to resolve this, but you know, I repeat, we’ve talked a great deal about the importance of Roadmap obligations, and this one isn’t being met.


Rubin Rubs It In

Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at IDC Herzliya and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal, really rubs it in to our peace messianists.

As I've always said, not every problem has a solution. Here's how Rubin says it:-

The Region: Drowning in solutions

...basically the situation we face regarding the absurd belief that the Arab-Israeli, or more immediately, the Israeli-Palestinian, [is that the] conflict can be resolved at this time.

Let me say it again: despite the mountains of speeches, conferences, articles, committees, foundation grants, projects, currencies of every description and policies expended on it, there is no solution in sight for the conflict. It will continue for decades.

Hamas is not about to become moderate. Even Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which few reporters can even mention without inserting the word moderate before their names, isn't anywhere near moderate enough to make peace...

For some it isn't obvious because they know nothing about the region, its history or politics...

...the idea of finding the solution, and a speedy one at that - the holy grail of policymakers - negates not only all of our previous experience but also any sensible analysis of the current situation.

Why is this? Along with the ignorance factor, there is arrogance ("I will make peace"), and opportunism (there's a lot of money, fame, and career advancement in the peace industry). There is also a baffled rationalism - why wouldn't the Palestinian or Arab leaders make peace when it is so much in their interest? (Answer: they don't think peace is in their interest, and also believe it to be unnecessary and immoral.)

Finally, there are just plain old good intentions, which have killed almost as many people in history as bad intentions.

...There is no solution in sight and no gimmick that will bring such an outcome. Let's begin the discussion there.

...But as long as we spend a disproportionate amount of our time pretending there's some imminent Arab-Israeli solution (or attending to the ridiculous notion that the failure is Israel's fault), we won't give enough attention to the real threats, issues and options.

And, yes sir, that's one of the reasons why the Middle East is such a mess, the Western attempt to deal with the region such a shambles, and the effort to understand the area generally such a disaster.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And That Blessing Was...?

Jonathan Lewis was married Saturday evening to Jonathan Michael Adler. Suellen Johnson, a friend of the couple, received permission from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to officiate at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Chatham, Mass. Another friend, Charles Munitz, the president of Temple B’nai Brith in Somerville, Mass., took part in the ceremony, which included a Jewish blessing.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Not True

Shaul Arieli is a bit notorious as a former Gaza Brigade Commander who promotes the Geneva Initiative and is a member of the Peace & Security Council. Here are some of his musings (from 2004 and one on Jerusalem displaying outlandish impractical ideas and pseudo-intellectual thinking with no basis in reality.

Anyway, I caught him here saying something stupid:

Another factor contributing to the waste of taxpayers' money is the state's refusal to allocate resources to building checkpoints along the fence, despite having already spent billions on its construction. Arieli says that the traffic of settlers who cross the Green Line is heavy in certain areas, and that they refuse to undergo security checks. Today, vehicles carrying a yellow Israeli license plate can enter Israel proper through the fence - as did the truck with a bomb that reached Tel Aviv from Qalqilyah a year ago, but did not explode.

they refuse to undergo security checks???

Not true.

We are slowed down at all crossings, looked at and occasionally stopped for a check if something seems suspicious. That's it.

Fun with Obama


Just Some Nice Words of Description

I just felt these words needed repeating:

Charles Bowerman, 16, who wore a splint on his wrist on Thursday, remembered diving under a table, watching chairs fly. Then the force of the tornado pushed him across the concrete floor, past where a wall once stood, and out onto the grass.

I was going to the Lord’s side, and I was going to go there flying,” Charles recalled thinking. “It felt like I was about to be lifted up...


Do We Call This Hypocrisy?

The Left here in Israel, among its many complaints, has pointed out that, on occasion, maps printed either by nationalist groups or even the government, have ignored the geographical presence of Arabs on those maps.

In most cases that I recall, the complaint is just that - really unsubstantiated. Usually, the maps are for a sepcific purpose - to show the way or to highlight Jewish population growth or some such other instance.

For example, here's a map that could be complained about:

All of Israel and most of Samaria are empty of any villages or towns, Jewish or othwerwise.

But, of course, that's because the map wants to highlight Ariel, to highlight it as a "settlement".


Because its a Peace Now map, published as part of an ad in Haaretz on June 4th.

Here's the bottom portion of it:

Because it's a Peace Now ad against President Shimon Peres visiting the town and it reads:

"Mr. Peres, you've taken a wrong turn. Ariel is a 'settlement'."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And There But for A Comma

Johann Fück, Die arabischen Studien in Europa


For further information about the Germans, their manuscripts and their libraries, see Johann Fück, Die arabischen Studien in Europa (1955).

It's a book, an annotated edition of eight unpublished papers on the Qur’an and various aspects of Islam in the Middle Ages:

Die Arabischen Studien in Europa bis auf den Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Leipzig, Harrassowitz, 1955. Orig. full cloth. VIII,335 pp.

The Inbal's Furling Response

Follow-up to this previous post:

From: Rodney Sanders
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 5:28 PM
Subject: RE: Inbal Hotel flies PLO flags ... protest this insult to Jerusalem

Dear _________,

I am responding to your note of concern regarding reports of "PLO flags" displayed at our hotel during the last two days of May.

Firstly, let me say directly that I am very sensitive to the concerns of our guests, and that I, too, felt uncomfortable when asked, even by the Israeli government, to fly the colors of the Palestinian Authority at the hotel.

But that is exactly what happened. The Israel Minister of Public Security Avi Dicter chose the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel to be the venue for the International Security Forum, a conference on “Challenges to Homeland Security”, of which MK Avi Dicter was the chairman.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertkoff and a dozen other internal security ministers from Europe and beyond were invited and Minister Dicter also invited the Palestinian Minister of Interior.

We were instructed by the Israel Ministry of Public Security and the organizing committee to fly the flags of all those participating in the conference, including that of the Palestinian Authority.

While not meaning to add to anybody's distress, I think it important for me to mention that other prominent hotels are often asked by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host Israel-Palestinian negotiating sessions. Sometimes this also involves flags.

I can assure you that I, as the General Manager of the hotel had no intent of making a political statement and have no desire of doing so in the future.

I would like to apologize for placing the flag on the building. I have now since learnt how sensitive this issue is to the feelings of our nation and our people, but I believe I had no choice but to follow the request of the Ministry.

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Sanders
General Manager



News of the enemy flag adorning the popular Jerusalem hotel spread quickly after Arutz-7 blogger Yisrael Medad published a letter by Yonatan Adler informing of the Inbal-PLO flag display. Various grassroots organizations quickly took up the gauntlet, and letters by citizens expressing extreme concern began arriving at the Inbal Hotel.

So, Who's Racist Now?

BBC reports that

Libya's leader has strongly criticised US presidential candidate Barack Obama for saying Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.

Col Muammar Gaddafi said he was either ignorant of the Middle East conflict or lying to boost his campaign.

Referring to him as "our Kenyan brother", Col Gaddafi also said Mr Obama might suffer from an inferiority complex because of his African origins.

The issue of race could make Mr Obama's behaviour "more white than white people", Col Gaddafi suggested, rather than acting in solidarity with African and Arab nations.

Col Gaddafi's defiant and famously politically incorrect rhetoric returned when talking about Mr Obama towards the end of the speech.

"The statements of our Kenyan brother of American nationality Obama on Jerusalem... show that he either ignores international politics and did not study the Middle East conflict or that it is a campaign lie," he said.

"We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites."

"This will be a tragedy," Gaddafi said. "We tell him to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him."

Know A Bagpiper?

Have him play this.

When Its Lost, You're Lost


The British government says a senior intelligence official in the cabinet office has been suspended after secret government documents were left on a commuter train.

The documents on al-Qaida and Iraq were found by a passenger on a London commuter train Tuesday. The passenger gave the documents to the British Broadcasting Corp. The government's decision to suspend the employee comes as police launch a major investigation into the security breach. An internal inquiry is also under way.

reminded me of something.

Avraham "Abrasha" Tamir, Ezer Weizmann's National Security Advisor, losing documents in an Egyptian brothel.

To What Does This Refer?

the willingness of the American Jewish filmmakers to mock their Middle Eastern cousins is also a subtle, unmistakable sign of cultural maturity.

This film:

“Subtle” and “maturity” may seem like odd words to use about a movie that wrings big laughs from pelvic gyrations, indoor Hacky Sack and filthy-sounding fake-Hebrew and -Arabic words. But much as it revels in its own infantilism, “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” is also brazenly self-confident in its refusal to pander to the imagined sensitivity of its audience.

I suppose some Middle East policy-scolds may find reasons to quarrel with “Zohan,” either for being too evenhanded or not evenhanded enough in its treatment of Israelis and Palestinians. Did I mention that it’s a comedy? Seriously, though, the movie’s radical, utopian and perfectly obvious point is that the endless collection and recitation of political grievances is not funny at all, and that political strife is a trivial distraction from the things that really matter. There is so much hummus, and so little time.

Happy Birthday, Ma'am

The British Ambassador celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's 82nd birthday last night.

One table had kosher food - nice herring, cheeses, potato chips, salad - and there was Magnum ice cream bars (I had two).

Tzippy Livni spoke

Present, besides me, from over the Green Line, were Dany Dayan and Shaul Goldstein, here seen talking, sort of, with Yariv Oppenheimer of Peace Now. In fact, they were just barely tolerating him. (I'll be debating him next week).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lobby? What Lobby?

Finally we come to the financial argument, namely that the US gives an inordinate amount of money to Israel -- too exorbitant a cost that is out of proportion to what the US gets in return. In fact, the United States spends much more on its military bases in the Arab world, not to mention on those in Europe or Asia, than it does on Israel.

Israel has indeed been very effective in rendering services to its US master for a good price, whether in channelling illegal arms to central American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s, helping pariah regimes like Taiwan and apartheid South Africa in the same period, supporting pro-US, including Fascist, groups inside the Arab world to undermine nationalist Arab regimes, from Lebanon to Iraq to Sudan, coming to the aid of conservative pro- US Arab regimes when threatened as it did in Jordan in 1970, and attacking Arab nationalist regimes outright as it did in 1967 with Egypt and Syria and in 1981 with Iraq when it destroyed that country's nuclear reactor.

While the US had been able to overthrow Sukarno and Nkrumah in bloody coups, Nasser remained entrenched until Israel effectively neutralised him in the 1967 War. It is thanks to this major service that the United States increased its support to Israel exponentially. Moreover, Israel neutralised the PLO in 1982, no small service to many Arab regimes and their US patron who could not fully control the organisation until then. None of the American military bases on which many more billions are spent can claim such a stellar record.

Critics argue that when the US had to intervene in the Gulf, it could not rely on Israel to do the job because of the sensitivity of including it in such a coalition which would embarrass Arab allies, hence the need for direct US intervention and the uselessness of Israel as a strategic ally. While this may be true, the US also could not rely on any of its military bases to launch the invasions on their own and had to ship in its army. American bases in the Gulf did provide important and needed support but so did Israel.


Question of Obscenity

The test of obscenity still hinges on a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which held that a work is not legally obscene if it has "literary, artistic, political or scientific value."

According to that test, is Ehud Olmert obscene?

Moekie's Shloshim

Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ask the Question

You saw this item?

A CRACK team of cybernauts will form a rapid-response internet "war room" to track and respond aggressively to online rumours that Barack Obama is a Muslim and unpatriotic.

As he gears up for his general election fight against John McCain, Senator Obama and his chief advisers are aware of the danger of such rumours, amid polling data showing that a significant number of Americans believe he is a Muslim or are suspicious about his background.

...Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Senator Obama, said the internet team was still being finalised.

She added: "The only way to run a campaign is to respond immediately when inaccurate information is put out. The (emails) are saying he's a Muslim. He's not. He's a Christian. He often brings up the emails that are out there and the smear campaign that's been run against him on the internet. We definitely recognise that getting out the correct information about Senator Obama is to our advantage and to the voters' advantage."

...Despite his long nomination fight against Hillary Clinton, his campaign aides concede that millions of Americans still feel that they do not really know him.

Senator Obama's Kenyan father, who left the family when he was two, was a Muslim, but not particularly religious. The Illinois senator lived in Indonesia from the age of six until 10 with his white, American mother and Indonesian stepfather, who was also a Muslim.

Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, nor worshipped at a mosque.

He moved from being agnostic to finding Christ in his 20s, with the help of his former Chicago pastor: the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a figure whose incendiary sermons now haunt his candidacy and has increased suspicions among some voters about his patriotism.

A poll in mid-March found that 13 per cent of Americans think Senator Obama is a Muslim - a 5 per cent increase since last December. Another found that 23 per cent of Democrats who hold negative views of him believe that he is a Muslim.

The same survey showed that 61 per cent of voters view him as patriotic, compared with 76 per cent for Senator Clinton and 90per cent for Senator McCain.

And so the real question is: how come Obama thinks being Muslim is wrong or at the least, problematic?

Is Islam a bad thing?

The Boat Yet Floats


Come back tomorrow.

"House" and the Hassid

This episode of "House" had a Jewish theme:

Roz is a Hasidic Jew, recently converted, and even more recently married. At her wedding ceremony, she loses control of her bladder, and a large stain of bloody urine appears. She collapses and falls, breaking her leg. She is admitted to House’s team for the evaluation of her condition.

You can't stop here but if you are a doctor or looking for one, you can continue:

Dr. Thirteen reports that Roz’s urine culture was negative (meaning no urinary tract infection) and there is no history of trauma or sexually transmitted diseases. A CT scan was negative for cancer and kidney stones. She reports that Roz’s sodium was low, however, and suggests that Roz may have endometriosis of the bladder. Taub counters that the low sodium may be related to Roz fasting before the wedding, while House posits that Roz may have been exposed to a toxin, carboxylic acid in particular.

House agrees to let Thirteen start Roz on treatment for the possible endometriosis (with AIs, i.e. Aromatase Inhibitors) and get a cystoscopy . Meanwhile, he sends Taub and Foreman to search Roz’s apartment where they find no carboxylic acid, but discover that prior to her conversion, she had been a heavy metal record producer. She admits to a history of heroin use, but not for some time. A hair sample is obtained, but the tests are negative. Additionally, the treatment for endometriosis has been unsuccessful and the cystoscopy clean.

Taub suggests Roz may have cryoglubulinemia (abnormal proteins in the blood that thicken with cold temperatures), but House feels she has porphyria (problems in the synthesis of hemoglobin), and her sudden conversion to Judaism suggests the mental problems commonly seen in certain types of porphyria. Roz’s husband considers this an insult, and requests a new doctor. Cuddy agrees with the cryoglobulinemia diagnosis and wants to start her on Indomethacin (a potent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the same class as Motrin).

Meanwhile, Roz has become hypoxic with her oxygen saturation dropping to 85%. This argues against both cryoglobulinemia and porphyria. She is kept on oxygen and her saturation improves. Foreman mentions Wegener’s Granulomatosis, but House now believes it to be Lupus with a hidden heart problem. He orders a stress test. Roz makes it through the test well and has no evidence of heart problems. After the test, she develops sudden leg pain and the team believes that she might have a blood clot. An MRI is obtained, which shows no clot, and an fMRI (functional MRI, which works by detecting increases in blood flow within the brain, and these are believed to represent area of brain activity) is ordered as well, ostensibly to look for subtle signs of a stroke. The fMRI shows activity in her limbic system (one of the emotion centers of the brain) when Foreman is placing an IV (a painful situation) which House believes shows that Roz has masochistic tendencies, but Thirteen discovers she was praying during the IV placement, so that might explain the limbic activity.

You sure you want to continue?

As Roz stands up after the test, her blood pressure and heart rate come crashing down. When she sits or lies down, she is fine — she only has a problem when standing (orthostatic hypotension — low blood pressure when standing). She is started on fludrocortisone and ephedrine (two drugs that can be used to treat extreme cases of orthostasis). The differential now includes pheochromocytoma (a tumor that releases high levels of adrenalin and similar compounds), systemic sclerosis (better known as scleroderma, an autoimmune disease), and a heart arrhythmia. An EP study (”electrophysiology study”, which looks for abnormal rhythms in the heart) is ordered, but the results are normal. The suspicion now turns to an autonomic nerve disorder such as Riley Day Syndrome. A thermoregulatory sweat test is ordered, but instead of becoming overheated, Roz becomes hypothermic (an abnormally low temperature) and has a seizure.

Infection is now considered as a possible diagnosis, as is Addison’s Disease (a condition where the adrenal glands do not make enough steroid hormones). Roz is started on Cortisol to test for Addison’s and she starts to feel better (cortisol is a steroid hormone). As Thirteen examine her though, she notices a swollen abdomen and Roz reports that she is starting to feel dizzy. Thirteen quickly realizes that Roz has internal bleeding. Chase (apparently the only surgeon in the hospital this season) wants to perform an exploratory surgery to locate the source of bleeding, but Roz decides to delay the surgery until after she has had a chance to celebrate Shabbat with her new husband, even though it might cost her her life. The differential diagnosis now includes DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation), hydatid cyst (a tapeworm cyst), volvulus of the small intestine (a twisting of an intestinal loop), polycythemia vera (too many red blood cells in the blood), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) and even Parkinson’s Disease. During the brainstorming session with the team, House has a sudden revelation and realizes that Roz has a nephroptosis, also known as a floating kidney. Instead of being firmly secured to the underlying tissue, her right kidney is hanging loosely, just supported by a few blood vessels. This explains the blood in the urine, the internal bleeding, and the orthostatic hypotension. The strain this is putting on the right adrenal gland (located on top of the kidney) likely explains most of her other symptoms. The floating kidney was not noticed on the scans because they were all performed with her laying down and it only shows up when she is standing up. Surgery should be able to fix her problem and stop the bleeding.

Want the entire transcript? Go here.

(Kippah? tip: Ilana)