Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Olmert's Peace Efforts

Found here.

A Jimmy Carter Leftover

You all read about Carter's criticism of Israel for not being in contact with Hamas.

Well, guess who else isn't?


I ask [PA Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad when we resume if he is in touch with Hamas in Gaza. "No," he says. "I have no official or unofficial contact with them. However, I talk to the people in Gaza all the time. Here we are. You see? You just made a mistake, unwittingly of course, of using the word 'Hamas' and 'Gaza' interchangeably. That's not the reality. Hamas is in control of Gaza, there's no question about that, but not every Palestinian man, woman and child living and suffering in Gaza is Hamas or under Hamas obligation. This is an odd situation which I hope and pray will not be anything but transitional and will soon be a part of our past."

Uzi Condi

Found here.

Somehow, I don't think she'd be carrying an Uzi. She doesn't like Israel that much.

A Letter of Mine in the Jerusalem Post

Kimche's errors

Sir, - David Kimche's apologetics for hosting Jimmy Carter are rife with error ("Why we hosted Carter," April 24). He admits that he and colleagues of the Israel Council for Foreign Relations were engaged in "much soul-searching" over whether to invite Carter to address that forum. Claiming that the council is "an independent apolitical body," however, Kimche makes his first error. As anyone who has access to the Web can read, it is actually a "non-governmental body headquartered in Jerusalem under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress."

Kimche makes his second error when he justifies Carter's criticism of what Kimche terms "Israel's behavior in the occupied territories" by referring to the behavior of "the settlers in Hebron." Setting aside the gross generalization in the use of "the settlers," by accepting the term "occupation" Kimche is making a very political statement. A more apolitical text should have been employed such as "administered." Another error of Kimche is his claim that Carter "tried to be more even-handed." But when the former US president stated that "despair causes both sides to resort to violence," was that truly even-handed or, more appropriately, was it another example of Carter's moral inequivalency as applied to Israel?

Another error of Kimche is his assertion that "the large audience that heard his speech... were impressed by his sincerity and appreciative of his efforts." I was present and I would insist that the audience was a "home court side." There were diplomats, many Arabs from the disputed territories, Israeli peaceniks, representatives of the Christian Peace Team and many journalists. It was a stacked deck.

Although I raised my hand, time ran out for my question but it was phrased thus: Mr. Carter, you have met with Hamas, persons you call terrorists but you ignore the Jewish communities in the areas of Samaria and Judea. You were sent several invitations over the years to come see how we have developed since the time you demanded the destruction of a renewed Jewish village that in fact has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. In not coming, do you think us as worse than the Hamas?

Having heard Carter, thanks to and despite Kimche, I now realize that it probably would not have been worthwhile to have invited him.


Barak is So...Blunt

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It was 1943

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday said Israel and the IDF are the answer to the Holocaust, speaking next to the Warsaw bunker where Mordechai Anielewicz and his men led the 1944 uprising against the Nazis, according to Israel Radio.

Sorry but it was in 1943.

In 1944 was the August Uprising of the Poles.

Skeptical About Islam

Column I spotted in the International Herald Tribune:-

Europe's debt to Islam given a skeptical look

When Sylvain Gouguenheim looks at today's historical vision of the history of the West and Islam, he sees a notion, accepted as fact, that the Muslim world was at the source of the Christian Europe's reawakening from the Middle Ages. He sees a portrayal of an enlightened Islam, transmitting westward the knowledge of the ancient Greeks through Arab translators and opening the path in Europe to mathematics, medicine, astronomy and philosophy - a gift the West regards with insufficient esteem. "This thesis has basically nothing scandalous about it, if it were true," Gouguenheim writes. "In spite of the appearances, it has more to do with taking ideological sides than scientific analysis." For a controversy, here's a real one. Gouguenheim, a professor of medieval history at a prestigious university, l'École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, is saying "Whoa!" to the idea there was an Islamic bridge of civilization to the West...In a new book..."Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel" (Editions du Seuil)...

...Le Figaro and Le Monde, in considering the book in prominent reviews, drank its content in a single gulp. No suspended endorsements or anything that read like a caution. "Congratulations," Le Figaro wrote. "Mr. Gouguenheim wasn't afraid to remind us that there was a medieval Christian crucible, a fruit of the heritage of Athens and Jerusalem," while "Islam hardly proposed its knowledge to Westerners." Le Monde was even more receptive: "All in all, and contrary to what's been repeated in a crescendo since the 1960s, European culture in its history and development shouldn't be owing a whole lot to Islam. In any case, nothing essential. "Precise and well-argued, this book, which sets history straight, is also a strongly courageous one."

But is it right? Gouguenheim attacks the "thesis of the West's debt" as advanced by the historians Edward Said, Alain de Libera and Mohammed Arkoun. He says it replaces formerly dominant notions of cultural superiority advanced by Western orientalists, with "a new ethnocentrism, oriental this time" that sets off an "enlightened, refined and spiritual Islam" against a brutal West. Nuggets: Gouguenheim argues that Bayt al-Hikma, or the House of Wisdom, said to be created by the Abassids in the ninth century, was limited to the study of Koranic science, rather than philosophy, physics or mathematics, as understood in the speculative context of Greek thought. He says that Aristotle's works on ethics, metaphysics and politics were disregarded or unknown to the Muslim world, being basically incompatible with the Koran. Europe, he said, "became aware of the Greek texts because it went hunting for them, not because they were brought to them." Gouguenheim calls the Mont Saint-Michel monastery, where the texts were translated into Latin, "the missing link in the passage from the Greek to the Latin world of Aristotelian philosophy."...His book is interesting and bold. At the very least, it is kindling for arguments on a touchy subject where most people don't have more than inklings and instincts to sort out even shards of truth from angry and conflictual expertise.


Bob Kunst suggests:

Wright's An Obamination

I think

Wright's An Obamanation

is okay.


Wright's Wrong

is also fine.



would go.

Wright the Wrong

The National Press Association press conference.


George Will wrote:-

He is a demagogue with whom Obama has had a voluntary 20-year relationship. It has involved, if not moral approval, certainly no serious disapproval. Wright also is an ongoing fountain of anti-American and, properly understood, anti-black rubbish. His speech yesterday demonstrated that he wants to be a central figure in this presidential campaign. He should be.

Menachem Begin and...Pink Floyd?

The Fletcher Memorial Home (Waters)

Take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
And build them a home, a little place of their own.
The Fletcher Memorial
Home for Incurable Tyrants and Kings.

And they can appear to themselves every day
On closed circuit T.V.
To make sure they're still real.
It's the only connection they feel.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Reagan and Haig,
Mr. Begin and friend, Mrs. Thatcher, and Paisly,
"Hello Maggie!"
Mr. Brezhnev and party.
"Scusi dov'è il bar?"
The ghost of McCarthy,
The memories of Nixon.
"Who's the bald chap?"
And now, adding colour, a group of anonymous latin-
American meat packing glitterati.

Did they expect us to treat them with any respect?
They can polish their medals and sharpen their
Smiles, and amuse themselves playing games for awhile.
Boom boom, bang bang, lie down you're dead.

Safe in the permanent gaze of a cold glass eye
With their favorite toys
They'll be good girls and boys
In the Fletcher Memorial Home for colonial
Wasters of life and limb.

Is everyone in?
Are you having a nice time?
Now the final solution can be applied.


And don't forget Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire".

Important Data

From here:-

The canard that Gaza is the most crowded place on earth continues to circulate. Some people will tell you that Gaza is the most crowded place on earth. Actually, Tel Aviv is much more densely populated than Gaza.

The first modern Hebrew city, not quite 100 years old, has already managed to cram almost 400,000 residents into its 51.8 square kilometers. This makes Tel Aviv more densely populated than Hong Kong or Singapore, which in turn are much more crowded than Gaza.

The UK politician George Galloway wrote in The Glasgow Record last month that the Gaza Strip is "the most densely populated piece of earth on the planet." Galloway wrote that 1.5 million Palestinians live there.

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist currently teaching at Princeton, wrote March 26 that Gaza is "one of the most densely populated places on earth, with 3,823 people per square kilometre." Kuttab's figure is in line with recent Gaza population estimates of 1.4 million.

If Galloway's estimate of 1.5 million Gaza population is correct, this is almost 4,200 people per square kilometer. The Central Intelligence Agency projects that the Gaza population will reach 1,537,269 in July. This would bring the density to 4,270 people per square kilometer.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong have more than 6,000 people per square kilometer. Tel Aviv has more than 7,000 people per square kilometer. If you count the suburbs of Tel Aviv [what we cal Gush Dan], the metropolitan area with its population of 2.3 million has a density of more than 5,000 people per square kilometer, which is considerably more crowded than the Gaza Strip as reckoned by Galloway or Kuttab or the CIA.

Selected estimates of population density:

27,209 people/sq km

24,000 people/sq km

Tel Aviv
7,445 people/sq km
(385,000 people, 51.8 sq km)

Hong Kong
6,352 people/sq km

6,252 people/sq km

5,100 people/sq km

Tel Aviv metro area including suburbs
5,050 people/sq km
(2.3 million people, 453 sq km)

4,900 people/sq km

4,750 people/sq km

4,300 people/sq km

Gaza Strip per CIA projection
4,270 people/sq km
(1,537,269 population July 2008, 360 sq km)

Gaza Strip per George Galloway
4,167 people/sq km
(1.5 million people, 360 sq km)

Gaza Strip per Daoud Kuttab
3,822 people/sq km

The numbers for London, Tel Aviv metro area, Moscow, Tokyo/Yokohama and Warsaw are from the City Mayors site.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Arutz 7 Interview



For the Language Mavens

Not Legion But "League of Trembling Israelites"

Jewish War Veterans suspend Ben-Ami Kadish
The move was ordered by the group's national commander, Lawrence Schulman on Thursday, the New Jersey Jewish News reported...

"There is no place in our organization for those who would seek to defend the interests of any country above those of the Unites States," said Schulman in a statement released by the Jewish War Veterans national office in Washington. "The alleged actions of Mr. Kadish must be condemned in the harshest of terms."

Hey, Schulman, they are alleged actions. In America, you're only guilty after being proved so in a court of law.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Haaretz Translation

Haaretz web site now has this posted at its news flashes:

22:33 Militants open fire at Israeli bus near Ramallah, no one hurt (Army Radio)

Here's the original Hebrew:

אש נפתחה לעבר אוטובוס ישראלי בסמוך לרמאללה

עדכון אחרון: 20:53 , 27/04/2008

אש נפתחה לפני זמן קצר לעבר אוטובוס ישראלי שנסע סמוך לכפר סילוואד שבאזור רמאללה.
לא היו נפגעים, אך נזק נגרם לאוטובוס.

The word "militants" is nowhere to be found. The story is in passive - "fire opened on Israeli bus near Silwad" (by the way, that's probably my bus line, #148).

More Humpty-Dumpty

Jerusalem's Wailing Wall at risk of collapse a portion of one of Judaism's holiest sites, Jerusalem's Western Wall, is crumbling.

The rabbi charged with watching over the structure, which the faith believes to be the last remnants of a retaining wall from the ancient Second Temple, has warned that a section repaired more than a century ago is again at risk of falling.

"We found that the stones at the bottom of the wall, the stones from the Second Temple period, were strong and stable," said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. "However, we discovered that there are problems with the smaller stones, those at the top of the wall."

...Along with the massive stones commissioned by Herod, the wall contains stones placed by the Umayyad dynasty in an eighth-century restoration. But the section crumbling is at the very top, where a series of smaller, uniformly sized stones were added in the 1800s under the financing and supervision of British financier and philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore...

Israel's Antiquities Authority has said there is no immediate risk to visitors, since the heavy winter rains have passed. But the repair work is to begin almost immediately...The repair will be a delicate operation: Jewish religious law forbids the removing of any stone from the wall, and rabbis are divided over who is even permitted to carry out such work.

Traditionally, Jews are forbidden to set foot on the ancient site of what they believe to be the Temple Mount, so the rabbi said much of the work would have to be conducted using cranes rather than scaffolding. Jewish workers on the project will also have to undergo ritual baths.

And Who Said That?

He could have got a tattoo or something like that?

'No I couldn't because then I wouldn't be able to be buried in the Jewish cemetery.'

But he is not Jewish.

'I'm half Jewish. My mother. And that's the half that makes you Jewish. But I don't want a tattoo anyway.

Give up?

Harrison Ford


She was stamped on, suffocated and stabbed by her father. Several brutal knife wounds punctured her slender, bruised body - from her face to her feet. He had done it, he proclaimed to the neighbours who soon gathered round, to 'cleanse his honour'.


Ted Sorenson's Chutzpah

From here:-

In your only attempt at elected office, you ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1970, out of New York, for R.F.K.’s unfinished term.

Oh, you had to bring that up. I had the chutzpah to think that I could run in a state where I had lived for only a few years.

You grew up in Lincoln, Neb., the son of a Unitarian lawyer of Danish lineage and a mother of Russian-Jewish descent. What religion are you?

Your Jewish mother would note that under Jewish law I am Jewish, but I consider myself Unitarian

Notice his own chutzpah? "Your Jewish mother".

His questioner was Deborah Solomon. Jewish. And his Jewish mother wouldn't consider him Jewish? All his antisemitic colleagues didn't consider him Jewish?

My Historical Curiosity

Found this here:

Samir Raafat
Cairo Times, 8 June 2000

Among the first batch of historic blue plaques to be mounted in Zamalek is one that says "Lord Moyne (1880-1944) British Minister of State was murdered on this site by two Stern Gang terrorists on November 6."

Plaque placed in Cairo Cathedral in 1945 in memory of Lord Moyne

An MP for Bury St. Edmunds from 1907-1931, Walter Edward Guinness was raised to a peerage in 1932. The first Baron Moyne occupied the posts of Minister of Agriculture, Colonial Secretary, Leader of the House of Lords and finally Minister of State and British Government representative in Cairo.

The scene of the crime was Villa No. 6 Hassan Sabry Street (today al-Abd Bldg which houses the Four Corners Restaurants) belonging to entrepreneur Maurice Ades. Like many prosperous Zamalek residents, Ades was quick to cash in on a booming wartime real-estate market.

Prior to Moyne, the Rococo villa had been occupied by General Sir Archibald Wavell and Brigadier John Marriott. According to Artemis Cooper, author of Cairo During the War, Wavel's wife-Momo Kahn-had "transformed the house adding opulent oak doors and paneling, an assortment of white furniture, large fishbowls full of white flowers, and a sunken bathtub fit for a Roman emperor."

But there was no Roman emperor at home on 6 November 1944, only the scion of the Guiness Beer empire and his young driver. They had just returned from Grey Pillars in Garden City where Moyne coordinated the British and Allied war efforts in the Middle East from his offices in the handsome three-story building at No. 10 Tolombat Street.

Hidden in the bushes just inside No. 6 Hassan Sabry were two young zealots. Having stalked the place for the past few days, they were familiar with both the surroundings and their intended victim's military-like routine. Any outside interruption was discounted. The quiet neighborhood consisted of a handful of villas and a tiny police complement where Hassan Sabry Streets intersects Gezira. At the worse of times this was manned by a bicycled constable.

For sure the victims never stood a chance. It was over in a matter of seconds. The Right Honorable British Minister and his driver Lance-Corporal Fuller were shot at point blank range as they got out of their official car. Two lives brutally terminated, not at the warfront but on a sleepy Zamalek Sreet, a few meters from Africa's foremost polo and cricket fields.

By the time anyone realized what had happened, the terrorists would have made it safely back to Palestine via a prearranged safe house on the other side of town.

But they didn't.

To their misfortune an out-of-district police constable was unexpectedly passing by on a motorcycle when he overheard gunshots. Sensing something was wrong he instinctively gave chase to two men rushing off on bicycles. The fleeing murderers were overtaken on Fouad Al Awal Bridge (a.k.a. Abou el Ela Bridge, now dismantled).

Confronted with irrefutable evidence neither assassin could deny his guilt. Nevertheless, they argued their case with a logic known only to diehard fanatics: they were carrying out orders from a Zionist terror network operating inside British Mandated Palestine. By finishing off Moyne they were sending a message directly to the highest echelons of the British Foreign Office: "Stop interfering with Jewish immigration into Palestine, or else..."

The two assassins, Eliahou Bet-Zouri and Eliahou Al Hakim, both in their early twenties, were members of the Stern Gang then under the control of Yitzhak Shamir--the same man who would later became Prime Minister of the new state of Israel. They received capital punishment and were subsequently hanged at the insistence of the British government.

As the mood changed and Western psyche increasingly imbued with a feeling of collective guilt regarding the atrocities of World War II, the two terrorists were eventually exonerated. They became the subjects of folk tales, books and poems. For Lord Moyne's assassination rather that stem the tide against the fate of Palestine and the Palestinians had instead hastened Britain's exit from Mandated Palestine.

In 1975 the bodies of the two assassins were exhumed from an empty corner of the Jewish cemetery of Bassatine north east of Maadi and sent back to Israel. No sooner had they arrived when the then-Prime Minister, a young general called Yitzhak Rabin, personally gave Moyne's assassins a military funeral of the type usually reserved for men of distinguished valor. Moreover, the Eliahous were buried at Mount Herzl in an area reserved for the nation's eminent citizens.

The Hassan Sabry Street terrorists had become champions in the eyes of the Israeli public.

Remember the Husband of the Non-Jewish Korean Woman?

He's written a book.


From a review:-

Which brings us to Noah Feldman’s “Fall and Rise of the Islamic State.” The book begins in daring fashion, acknowledging the plight of the region and suggesting it might be saved by Islamic law. That’s right: Shariah...

Well now, that’s a provocative assertion. At a glance, you might think Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School, drew the most difficult card at a college debating tournament...I was eager to see how Feldman would pull off such a novel and unorthodox argument.

And he does not. Or not very convincingly, anyway. Feldman provides an interesting history of the Islamic legal system that prevailed over the Middle East and North Africa, including, in particular, the variant practiced by the Ottomans until the collapse of their empire following World War I. Feldman shows that, through a delicately balanced arrangement that relied on an unelected group of scholars to interpret the Koran and other religious texts, Shariah provided an orderly and predictable legal system that checked the power of the empire’s rulers. And he shows how that system collapsed, thereby speeding the decline of the empire by removing checks on executive power.

But that was then, and this is now. In today’s world Feldman’s argument runs out of steam. How could it not? As Roy points out, modern attempts to impose Shariah have failed wherever they have been tried — whether in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia or Iran. Failed, that is, in Roy’s words, at “instigating effective and legitimate political institutions and social justice, and guaranteeing economic development.” Feldman is correct in pointing out that Islamist ideas will play an increasingly prominent role in the Middle East, but he avoids the critical questions. What about women? What about Muslims who leave the faith? Of these, Feldman says almost nothing.

Maybe Shariah will save the Middle East. But based on the evidence we have, waiting for it to blossom into a humane and modern legal system is to engage in wishful thinking. Feldman seems to recognize this himself, and ends his book by calling on the West to help majority Muslim countries build “institutions that perceive themselves and are perceived by the public as committed to the rule of law.” Nation-building, in other words.

And Therein Lies a Tale

Carole Klein of Sheepshead Bay became Carole King of America

Excerpt from the book: GIRLS LIKE US Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon — and the Journey of a Generation. By Sheila Weller.

And from the review:-

It’s Carole King — the best songwriter of the three — who comes off as the one who really did help change the world: with songs like “Chains,” “Up on the Roof” and “One Fine Day,” all written with her husband at the time, Gerry Goffin, this middle-class girl from Brooklyn influenced the Beatles as well as, undoubtedly, hundreds of bands whose members have yet to be born.

When it comes to King, Weller’s storytelling is particularly adept. By 1961, she tells us, King was not yet 20, although she was already a wife and mother and had written, with her husband, the Shirelles’ No. 1 hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” At the time of its writing, Goffin was still working full time at a chemical company; King was at home, taking care of the couple’s infant daughter. The two were building a dual career as songwriters in the little spare time they had. King wrote the music; Goffin supplied the lyrics.

King wrote much of the melody for “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” during the course of an afternoon. She recorded what she had and then dashed off to a mah-jongg date with a friend, leaving a note near the tape recorder for her husband to find upon his return from work. The song had to be ready to present to the Shirelles the next day. “Please write,” the note said.

Goffin loved what he heard on the tape. “I listened to it a few times,” he tells Weller, “then I put myself in the place of a woman — yes, it was sort of autobiographical. I thought: What would a girl sing to a guy if they made love that night?” And so this glorious song, as astonishing a summation of women’s insecurities as has ever been written, and one that shocked listeners with its frankness, came to be. The melody, at once pleading and confident, had come first: it was so powerful that it inspired a man to slip into the skin, and the heart, of a woman.

Later, King would leave Goffin and reinvent her life, several times over. She went on to make a bold, beautiful and enormously popular LP, “Tapestry” (1971), one of those rare albums that both connect with an era and survive that era’s baloney. Later still, she’d move to Idaho and become an environmental activist. But in 1961 she was a muse who had turned a man — just for the space of a song — into a woman. And that may be even harder than changing the world.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

He Who Orders the Poll Dictates the Replies

Some West Bank Settlers Would Leave If Offered Government Support, Poll Finds

Approximately one in five Israelis living east of the West Bank security fence would leave if offered government support, a poll found. According to an internal government study, whose results were leaked Tuesday to Yediot Achronot, approximately 15,000 of the 70,000 settlers whose communities are not taken in by the fence would accept voluntary relocation packages.

The poll was conducted at the behest of Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon and Minister Ami Ayalon, who want Israel to group settlers within the fence on the assumption that it will serve as the de facto border with a future Palestinian state. The newspaper did not provide details on how many people were polled or the margin of error.

"It was probably like this in the time of the temple"

West Bank Samaritans mark Passover with blood and fire

MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AFP) — Men chant in ancient Hebrew over the sheep, their white garments and knives lit by the fading dusk as they ready a sacrifice for the God of Israel in the heart of the West Bank.

The voice of the high priest crackles from a megaphone, the chanting reaches a climax and they wrestle dozens of animals to the ground, slitting their throats in a 5,000 year-old Passover ritual that may predate Judaism.

The faithful are Samaritans, a community of 710 people living in Israel and the occupied West Bank who trace their lineage to the ancient Israelites Moses led out of Egypt, an event they remember every year on a grassy hilltop near the Palestinian town of Nablus.

...As the men skin the carcasses and sprinkle them with salt, others light bonfires in sunken cauldrons, flames licking at the darkening sky as wood smoke and burning entrails mingle with the cool spring air.

The Samaritans believe they are the inheritors of the religion of Moses as laid down in the Torah, that the God of Abraham lives on Mount Gerizim, and that they can be modern ambassadors of peace in a troubled region.

...Those who have come to view the ceremony -- Christians, Muslims, and Jews -- look on with a mixture of horror and wonder at the ancient wellspring of their three faiths, a primordial sacrifice on a holy mountain.

"It was probably like this in the time of the temple," says Yigal Kann...

Forward to the Past

If you read this

Israel Defense Forces troops on Saturday evening caught two Palestinians who had infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip near the Kissufim border crossing. Only a short amount of time earlier, IDF soldiers had hunted for the two men after having been alerted to a suspected infiltration from the coastal strip.

The IDF forces searched the area near Kissufim, where the Palestinians were suspected of having crossed the security fence.

Residents of local Israeli communities were asked to be alert.


and thought of this period of time, 1949-1956, when the Fedayeen were crossing over the border, murdering, raping, stealing and causing general mayhem, portraying israel as a strategic liability in the eyes of some, you're wrong.

It happened over this past weekend.

Forward to the past.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Land, Nationalism of the Arabs of Eretz-Yisrael

Excerpts from Benny Morris' review, The Tangled Truth, of Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948 by Hillel Cohen, who I have known for more than 30 years:-

The hills of the West Bank--Judea and Samaria--are dotted with well-ordered, red-roofed Jewish settlements. Clearly, they make the partition of the land of Israel/Palestine into two states more difficult, and as such they constitute an obstacle to peace. [or an impediment to an independent Arab state, "Palestine", that would prove an existential threat to Israel]. This is certainly the view in Washington, Brussels, and Tel Aviv, the bastion of center-left Israel. But for most Palestinians (who, incidentally, do not really want a two-state settlement--vide their support of Hamas in the elections in 2006), the settlements represent something far more sinister. They are highly visible agents and symbols of Israel's design to steal their land. [which they stole from the Jews]

...On the one hand, there always were Arabs, in very large numbers, ready to sell their labor and land to the Jews, and to inform on Arab militants, and even to fight their fellow Arabs who were fighting the Jews (and the British, who were regarded as the Zionists' patrons). On the other hand, Arabs were willing to battle against land sales and cooperation with the Jews, and to kill Jews (and Britons) and collaborators. And sometimes it was the very same people, at one and the same time or within a short span of years, who hotly denounced Zionism and secretly helped the Jews. (The Nazi German consul in Jerusalem, Heinrich Wolff, in 1933 contemptuously cabled Berlin that these nationalists "in daylight were crying out against Jewish immigration and in the darkness of the night were selling land to the Jews.")

In his important book, Hillel Cohen, the author of fine studies of Israel's Arab minority, succeeds in presenting an objective view of "collaboration," ignoring for the purposes of analysis the bad name that the phenomenon received during and after World War II.

...Already in the 1920s, Husseini began calling his opponents, primarily the notables of the rival Nashashibi clan, "traitors"--this at a time when there were no clear policy differences between them. (Both the Husseinis and the Nashashibis wanted all of Palestine for the Arabs, opposed all Jewish immigration, regarded the Zionists as aggressive usurpers, and so on.) Cohen argues that the Husseinis' routine use of the terms "traitor" and "collaborator" denuded them of all moral weight or political significance...The value of Cohen's erudite book lies in its meticulous recounting of the history of Arab-Zionist cooperation and collaboration, period by period, region by region, family by family. There are many eye-opening--and pathetic--tales, often well-told.

...A major area of cooperation or collaboration, dating from the start of the Zionist enterprise in the 1880s, was Arab land sales to the Zionist movement--a phenomenon that permanently blighted Palestinian Arab nationalism, sowing suspicion, confusion, and moral disarray. By the end of 1947, Zionist institutions and individual Jews had bought close to 7 percent of Palestine's land surface (which, in all, encompassed 10,000 square miles or 26,000 square kilometers). Almost all the purchases had been from Arabs. (A small quantity of land was bought from Europeans.) Most of the land was purchased from rich absentee Arab landowners, or effendi, who lived in big cities in Palestine or abroad, though many tracts, especially in the 1930s and 1940s, were sold to the Jews by smallholders. "Thousands of Palestinians sold land to Jews during the Mandate," asserts Cohen. He may be slightly exaggerating; but it was this land that made possible the grid of Jewish settlements that served as the core and the shield of the state that was established in 1948.

From the start, both the Arabs and the Zionists understood that legal possession of land "was a necessary condition for realizing [each of] their national idea[s]." Already in 1911, a Jerusalem mathematics teacher named Mustafa Effendi Tamr published an article denouncing Arab land-sellers: "You are selling the property of your fathers and grandfathers for a pittance to people who will have no pity on you, to those who will act to expel you and expunge your memory from your habitations and disperse you among the nations. This is a crime that will be recorded in your names in history, a black stain and disgrace that your descendants will bear, which will not be expunged even after years and eras have gone by."

...It is relatively easy to trace the spoor of those motivated by personal interest, especially pecuniary gain. Sheikh Taher al-Husseini, the nephew of Hajj Amin al-Husseini, contacted the Zionist officials Chaim Margaliot Kalvarisky and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi simply because he wanted Hajj Amin's job as mufti of Jerusalem. Later Taher's son, Zein al-Din al-Husseini, sold land to the Jews. But for many others, especially from the middle and upper classes, the motivating factor was a realistic assessment of the balance of forces...A few were driven by a sympathy for the Zionist cause and an appreciation of Zionist achievements, though almost none agreed to Zionist dominance or to Jewish statehood alongside a Palestinian state in a partition settlement. Hasan Shukri, the Arab mayor of Haifa during World War I and again in the years between 1927 and 1940, cabled the British government in 1921 denouncing those Arab nationalists who demanded that Britain renounce Zionism: "We do not consider the Jewish people as an enemy.... We consider the Jews as a brotherly people sharing our joys and troubles and helping us in the construction of our common country. We are certain that without Jewish immigration and financial assistance there will be no future development of our country as may be judged from the fact that the towns inhabited in part by Jews such as Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa and Tiberias are making steady progress while Nablus, Acre and Nazareth where no Jews reside are steadily declining." Another public figure, Muhammad Tawil of Acre, wrote: "I cannot recognize Hajj Amin al-Husseini as the leader of Palestine because his direction has brought no benefit to the country"--though he later became disaffected with the Zionists who had employed and then discarded him, pointing to a phenomenon that, sadly, would characterize Zionist- collaborator relations down the decades. (This ugly phenomenon survives in the abandonment of some South Lebanese Army veterans after the final IDF pullout from Lebanon in 2000.)

Some Palestinian collaborators were animated by personal friendship, empathy with Jews, or even ideological sympathy. Ezra Danin, one of the founders of the HIS (Haganah Intelligence Service), recalled in his memoirs an Arab who was employed as a guard in a Jewish-owned citrus grove and was involved in land sales on the side: "He believed in the return to Zion and wanted cooperation with the Jews.... I remember an instance in which I once said to him: 'You do it for the money, of course. [So] why do you get so angry if they tell you that you are a hired spy?' He said: 'I for money? I work only for the idea.'" The principle of good neighborliness, a time-honored Arab tradition, also played a part. Some Hebron Arabs, including Ahmad Rashid al-Hirbawi, the president of the town's chamber of commerce, supported--against Husseini's line--the return of Jews to the town after the massacre of 1929, when they had abandoned it.

...But some Arabs, it seems, were won over by Zionist achievements rather than Zionist power. Consider a letter of invitation by a group of Bedouin sheikhs in the Beit Shean (Bisan) Valley to the British high commissioner Herbert Samuel in 1923: "We don't meddle in politics.... We are simple people who live in tents and deal with our own affairs only. We agree with everything the government does.... We have seen no evil from the Jews. We have sold the American [sic] Jewish Agency some of our lands, and with the help of the money we received we are developing and cultivating the large tracts that still remain ours. We are pleased with these Jews, and we are convinced that we will work together to improve our region and to pursue our common interests." This letter, says Cohen, may have been drafted by Chaim Margaliot Kalvarisky, who simultaneously orchestrated outreach programs and ran the Arab Bureau's espionage network.

...Cohen's learned book, especially its lengthy citations from Zionist intelligence reports and from Arab letters and memoranda, incidentally sheds light on a rarely illumined aspect of Palestinian nationalism (and one that indirectly "explains" at least some of the collaborators). From the first, the nationalism of Palestine's Arabs was blatantly religious. Almost all the "nationalist" statements Cohen quotes were couched in religious or semi- religious terms. We are dealing here with an Islamic nationalism. Indeed, when the Palestinian national struggle turned significantly violent, against the British in 1936-1939 and against the Zionists in 1947-1948, the struggle was defined by the movement's leaders as "a religious holy war," a jihad. And those rejecting Husseini's leadership, in peacetime as in wartime, were deemed heretics as well as traitors. The gang that murdered a collaborator in Balad al- Sheikh, a village near Haifa, hung a placard in the village square reading: "We hereby inform you that on 8 March 1939, Nimer the policeman was executed ... as he betrayed his religion and his homeland.... The supreme God revealed to those who preserve their religion and their homeland that he betrayed them, and they did to him what Muslim law commands. Because the supreme and holy God said: 'Fight the heretics and hypocrites; their dwelling-place is hell.'"

This Islamism colored the Palestinian national movement from its conception. When, in 1911, the Jaffa newspaper Filastin attacked land-sellers, it declared: "All land belongs to God, but the land on which we live belongs to the homeland [watan], at the command of God." "Islam does not forgive traitors," village mukhtars were told by urban nationalists in 1920. In 1925, the mufti of Gaza, Hajj Muhammad Said al-Husseini, issued a fatwa forbidding land sales to Jews. The Jews, he said, were no longer a protected people (as they had been in the Islamic world during the previous thirteen centuries). Muslims who helped them were to be treated as heretics, and Christians who aided them were to be deported.

...In their book The Palestinian People: A History, Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal wrote that Palestinian nationalism can be traced back to 1834, when a group of peasants in the Nablus area rebelled against their then-Egyptian rulers. Most historians disagree, and locate the birth of Palestinian Arab nationalism in the 1920s (and the start of general Arab nationalism only a few years before). But for years thereafter, Palestinian Arab nationalism remained the purview of middle- and upper-class families. Most peasants, and perhaps many among the urban poor as well--together, some 80 percent of the Palestine Arabs--lacked political consciousness or a "national" ideology. The masses could be periodically stirred to action by religious rhetoric (Islam certainly touched them to the quick), but this failed to bind them in a protracted political engagement, especially when the price had to be paid in blood. Cohen writes, too hesitantly in my view, that "the conduct of Palestinian society [during 1917-1948] might lead to the conclusion that ... [its] national spirit was not sufficient to the task at hand."

But of course the Palestinians were to change. Indeed, the disaster and the dispersion that befell them in 1948 was itself a major milestone in the formation of a truly "national" consciousness; and the results of the war in 1967 certainly abetted this development. By the time of the intifadas, millions of Palestinians had rallied to the cause, and many thousands were prepared to engage in political action and combat, and to pay the price in blood and imprisonment. By then it was incontrovertible that there was a Palestinian people. Palestinian nationalism may not have been during the Mandate, and may not be today, quite the secular, democratic, and open nationalism of modern Western Europe; and it may still be defined in large measure by what it wishes to destroy rather than by what it hopes to build. It is intolerant, violent, and--above all--religious. But it is most certainly a variety of nationalism.

And I found this comment there:-

Jacob Field

Stop calling them settlements. All that you are doing is helping to enable the redefinition of Israeli Jews as colonizers and foreign settlers with no legitimate right to the land, which is part of the Big Lie perpetrated by Muslims. Israel is a legitimate and sovereign nation voted imprimatur by the United Nations. The fact is that the Israelis living in the West Bank and Hebron do not pose either a moral or a pragmatic problem. Their communities are natural outcomes of Israel's control for almost forty years of areas that are integral to its current defensibility and/or historical heritage. And since the word "settler" is loaded with negative connotations of "intruder," it would be best to cease applying it to Israelis who live legitimately in parts of the Land of Israel that are part of the state of Israel, and whose ultimate disposition remains open. Please drop the immoral paradigm insinuating that Jews must be forced from their homes. Would that you would pay more attention to the illegal houses built by Arab squatters in Hebron who proudly display in a sign that they live on land stolen from Jews.

The New Republic Gets Hot

Dov Bear pointed me here, where I read what Leon Wieseltier wrote:-

Andrew Sullivan rushed to the defense of his idol, I mean Obama. When one types all the time, sooner or later everything will be typed, and so Sullivan, in his fury against Kristol, typed this: "A non-Christian manipulator of Christianity is calling a Christian a liar about his faith." Ponder that early adjective. It is Jew baiting. I was not aware that only Christians can judge Christians, or that there are things about which a Jew cannot call a Christian a liar. If Kristol is wrong about Obama, it is not because Kristol is a Jew. So this fills me with a certain paschal wrath.

Sullivan responded:

My phrase "a non-Christian manipulator of Christianity" is an attack on Kristol's cynicism, not his Jewishness. I agree wholeheartedly with Wieseltier that, "if Kristol is wrong about Obama, it is not because Kristol is a Jew." It is because he is a cynic about faith, and a ruthless partisan indifferent to the truth when it cannot be harnessed to the wielding of power. My post was a protest against the manipulation of faith for partisan purposes. It would apply to anyone outside a faith who has decided to use and manipulate another's faith for his own political purposes. "Non-Christian" would include atheist or Muslim or agnostic or, of course, Jewish. It would apply to a Catholic calling a professing Muslim a fraud or a practising Protestant a liar.

And Wieseltier capitually rebutted:

I still do not see why a Catholic cannot call a Muslim a fraud or a Jew call a Protestant a liar or an agnostic call a believer a cynic, or why one's identity should have any bearing upon the truth or falsity of anything one says, or why the Christianization of Republican politics should not be attributed directly to Christians, but about one thing I wish to be piercingly clear: I do not believe that Andrew Sullivan is an anti-Semite...Of course he is not an anti-Semite. I should have said so before I pounced.

Even King David Found Pesach A Foody Holiday

What Do You Do When You Need Eggs?

My wife decided that she didn't have enough eggs for the last day of Pesach but that was after I had already copme up the hill from my shopping chore.

So, a bit later, I mosied on over to Yonah Tzoref and we went down to his free range chicken run, 1000 square meters ( = 1 dunam).

Here's the proud chicken famer:-

And we began to gather eggs off the floor and the runs:-

Fresh, a bit on the small side:-

How's that for local industry?

On the way on done the hill, we spotted another brush fire (another? yes, here):-

The above is taken from my neighborhood, Ramat Shmuel, at the top of Shiloh, looking out west.

In this one, below, you can spot Maaleh Levona in the background, on the left and below, the #60 Highway:

The smoke is seemingly from Wadi Mussa which leads from our valley towards Nahal Shiloh between Maaleh Levona and Eli. Hope it is brought under control.

Is He Bent Like Beckham?

Soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Victoria, a former Spice Girl, will send their son to a Jewish preschool.

Cruz Beckham, 3, will attend an "exclusive Jewish school" in the Los Angeles area that is "attached to a Jewish temple," the London tabloid magazine The Sun reported.

The Sun reported that Beckam's mother is Jewish, though she does not practice her faith.


How Long to Wait?

I picked one sentence from this story in the NYTimes on the briefing given members of Congress on which to comment:-

While one of the senior intelligence officials said that the United States agreed that Syria was “good to go” in turning on the reactor, it would have been years before it could have produced weapons fuel.


Well, simple. Who cares if years would have gone by before Syria could have produced something nuclear (if that is true)?

If you child plays with matches, do you wait until he burns down the house before punishing him by taking away the matches?

Israel (and the rest of the world) faced with North Korea and Syria fooling around nuclear need just wait until - until when? Until they get to be like Iran?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Something I've Always Wanted to Do...

...Pie Tom Friedman:

Here are the details:

Just seconds into his speech [at Brown University in Rhode Island], he was interrupted by two environmental activists, who stormed the stage shortly after Friedman stepped up to the microphone, tossing two paper plates loaded with shamrock-colored whipped cream at him.

Friedman ducked, and was left with only minor streams of the sugary green goo on his black pants and turtleneck.

He stood in bewilderment and mild disgust as the young man and woman bolted from the stage and out the side door, throwing a handful of fliers into the air to relay the message they apparently were not going to deliver personally.

“Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face…,” the flier said, “because of his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism’s conquest of the planet, for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change. From carbon trading to biofuels, these distractions are dangerous in and of themselves, while encouraging inaction with respect to the true problems at hand…”

After five minutes, Friedman returned to the stage undeterred, with only faint traces of the green cream on his clothing.

The Video of The Naked Chametz Protestor

Here, (in Hebrew but the message is clear).

Truth in Advertising?

Rabbi Shalom Rosner, as previously noted here, picked himself and his family up and made Aliyah to Israel. That is, indeed, remarkable and praiseworthy. He intends to lead a significant portion of his community and, hopefully, his many talmidim, to follow in his footsteps.

To accomplish his grand vision, akin to what Rabbi Shlomo Riskin planned three decades or so ago, he needs, among other things, someone to sell the apartments and houses in the neighborhood of Bet Shemesh he wishes to fashion. Knowing the person who is the exclusive real astate agent, I know that success is assured to a great extent.

Here is the advert that appeared in last Tuesday's English-edition Haaretz:-

For future reference, and following in my dedication to the principle of truth in advertising, please note the names on the ad and the assertion of "many of us look[ing] forward to joining him" and that his community "will, please G-d, serve as a model for other Israeli communities".

To help you, one is a long-time yored who denigrated many of us who live in Israel as Modern Orthodox Jews and another, deprecated those of us who made Aliyah many years ago, intimating that we were 'losers' who couldn't make it in America.

I am so very glad they have come around to a more positive approach.

Another actually owns a home here in Shiloh and others are among the foremost supporters of Jewish residency in Judea and Samaria. It is a formidable list of names and I doff my kippah for their support of Rabbi Rosner's move and will be awaiting them all.

There Went a Schule

New York Magazine reports:

Thomas Nozkowski, a painter, and his wife, the sculptor Joyce Robins, stumbled across a cardboard for rent sign on Hester Street just as they were finishing their studies at Cooper Union. That the studio was a dilapidated former synagogue didn’t mean as much as the 25-foot ceilings and excellent light.

The property had other lives before the couple, who married in 1967 after art school, moved in. It had housed an underwear factory, a shower-curtain factory, the neighborhood still, a Chinese laundry, and a fabric store.

Let's Give Them A Chance

Until Israel calls their bluff, we'll never know, right?

So, let's give Hamas, Gaza and UNRWA a chance to really prove that people will starve and suffer deprivation, etc., etc.

The United Nations has said it will have to suspend its humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip within hours unless it receives fresh fuel supplies. Assistant Secretary General Angela Kane said the distribution of food aid to 650,000 refugees and the collection of sewage from 500,000 would cease.

...In a briefing to the Security Council, Ms Kane said Gaza had suffered "heightened humanitarian distress" caused by closed border crossings with Israel and Egypt, the shortage of basic food and commodities, poor water supplies and sanitation.

..."Unless petrol is allowed in, Unrwa will discontinue its food assistance to 650,000 refugees, as well as its garbage collection services, which benefit half a million Gazans," she added.

"Another 500,000 Gazans are already living in 12 municipalities without any solid waste management capacity - largely due to the lack of fuel."

Hospitals and clinics will also run out of fuel within a week, she warned.

Satirizing Jimmy Carter is Sooo Easy

Fireworks Over Jerusalem's Old City Walls


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rav Kook, Winston Churchill, 1921

Besides the historical value of this video clip, note that at around 3:20, if I am not mistaken, a Sefaradi Rabbi (or is it a Christian?) shakes the hand of a female (Herbert Sameuel's wife?) upon leaving the reception at Government House, then south of Mt. Scopus, near Augusta Victoria, but Rav Kook and the others ignore her:-

Is Pesach Too Late for a Purim Shpeil?

Heard the "Matzah Song"?


Some Chametz on Pesach

Heavy-equipment giant Caterpillar opened negotiations with Christian groups threatening to divest from the company because of its sales to Israel.

The United Methodist Church has been contemplating a resolution to pull investments from Caterpillar due to the use of Caterpillar machinery in the West Bank. In a statement from Caterpillar, sent to Methodist leaders on April 7, the company said it would call on its clients to use their equipment in ways “consistent with human rights and requirements of international humanitarian law.”

Caterpillar also promised to look into engaging in “possible philanthropic activities in Palestinian areas.”

After receiving the statement, the Methodist Church withdrew a resolution targeting Caterpillar for divestment from the agenda of its quadrennial General Conference scheduled to open April 23.

Similarity to Pollard?

The arrest of an engineer on charges of spying have raised the issue of a link or similarity to Jay Pollard.

Here are some details:-

An 84-year-old former Army engineer in New Jersey was charged on Tuesday with leaking dozens of secret documents about nuclear arms, missiles and fighter jets to the Israeli government during the early 1980s, federal prosecutors said.

The engineer, Ben-Ami Kadish of Monroe Township, could face life in prison or possibly the death penalty if convicted on the most serious charge, prosecutors said.

His case is linked to that of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the naval analyst serving a life sentence for leaking documents to Israel around the same time. An Israeli official who came to Mr. Kadish’s house to photograph documents also received information from Mr. Pollard, prosecutors said.

...Mr. Kadish, a balding, gray-haired man wearing a hearing aid, shuffled into a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, where he was released on $300,000 bail after a brief appearance before Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton. He did not have to enter a plea because he had not been indicted.

...According to court papers, Mr. Kadish’s crimes occurred between 1979 and 1985, when he worked as a mechanical engineer at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, N.J., an Army research and development center. He would sign secret documents out of the library and take them to his home in New Jersey — prosecutors would not say in which town — where the Israeli official, a science adviser at the Israeli consulate in New York, would photograph them in the basement, according to court papers.

...The Pollard case has long been a contentious issue between the United States and Israel, whose leaders have argued for his release — a proposal that has been repeatedly rebuffed by American officials.

Mr. diGenova said the Pollard and Kadish cases were strikingly similar.

“They are carbon copies of each other,” he said. “They were the same kind of people, involved the same techniques of taking material from a library and copying it, and they took place at almost exactly the same time.”

...Though Mr. Kadish is suspected of having operated at the same time as Mr. Pollard, and not afterward, another conviction would be embarrassing for Israel because its officials were supposed to have disclosed to the United States all relevant information about Israeli intelligence gathering at the time of Mr. Pollard’s arrest.

...Mr. Applebaum said that while Mr. Kadish was a Zionist and a supporter of Israel, he did not seem particularly fervent.

“He wasn’t wild-eyed and long-haired like some people are when they promote a cause,” Mr. Applebaum said. “He supported causes, but in fact I felt sometimes he should have led more.”

...According to the article, Mr. Kadish grew up in Palestine, fought for the creation of Israel and served in both the British and American military during World War II.

You know what I think?

I think that Mr. Kadish was considered more important to Israel than Jonathan Pollard. And I think that, perhaps, somehow, to keep a possible spotlight off this man, who even may have been personal friends with Rafi Eitan, Shimon Peres or Yitzhak Rabin, that Pollard was sacrificed - kicked out of the embassy, documents were handed back to the US and for a good few years, interest and concern for Jay was kept at the barest minimum.

I hope that the probe of the State Comptroller will look into this.

Just In Case You Missed This Bit of Antisemitism

Fire Damages a Miami Beach Synagogue

MIAMI — A Miami Beach synagogue was severely damaged by fire early Tuesday morning, and members said they suspected arson after discovering a small piece of the Torah on the lawn outside the charred building.

Rabbi Zev Katz, founder of the Chabad House synagogue, said he found the piece of the Torah before crime scene investigators arrived and began poring over the burned remains. So far, police and fire officials have not formally confirmed Rabbi Katz’s suspicions that the fire was intentionally set, though Javier Otero, division chief of operations for the Miami Beach Fire Department, said responders to the fire had noticed that one of the synagogue’s window panes was broken.

...Mr. Weinberger, who lives across from the synagogue, which has 500 members, said he was shocked when he learned of the fire, saying it was a particular coincidence that it was destroyed during the feast of Passover.

“Just when we are celebrating a time of freedom,” he said, “this happens.”

Rabbi Katz said he would hold Friday Shabbat services on the lawn of the synagogue.

“We are going to show people that we are not quitting,” said Rabbi Katz, who later conceded that it was “very devastating right now.”

See here too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Exchange of Opinions

...[For Tony Judt] to equate any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is silly and perhaps dangerous. But it is equally dangerous to overlook, which is what Judt seems to be doing, the enormous destructive role that anti-Semitic theories play in anti-Israeli sentiments in most of the Middle East, be it in populist or intellectual guises. Jews may be doing well in Holland, the US, and Germany, but the attempts to downplay the potency of anti-Semitism will not aid in addressing the "problem of evil" anywhere.

That was Marat Grinberg, Assistant Professor in the Department of Russian and Humanities at Reed College, Portland, Oregon.

And Judt replies:

...anti-Semitism among Palestinians and other Arabs is stupid and deplorable. But far from fueling anti-Israeli sentiment, it has frequently been spawned by it. [?]

Anger and frustration at Israel's actions disposes people to hate all Jews and believe ill of them - as we have seen in Europe's own Muslim communities in recent years. I don't downplay this development. On the contrary, I see it as a new and dangerous twist in the long history of anti-Jewish prejudice. One hundred years ago, anti-Semitism was "the socialism of fools" (Bebel); today it is the consolation of losers. Those who complacently attribute the Middle Eastern tragedy to resurgent anti-Semitism among dispossessed, displaced, and humiliated Arabs should know better. They are blaming the victim.


No, Tony Judt, the Arab is not the victim except, perhaps, the victim of his own stupidity, stubborness and desire to make the Jew the victim, again.

Malley Perverts History

The 1947 UN partition plan gave the Palestinians much more than any current proposal. Yet they rejected it because at the time they formed a majority in and controlled most of Mandatory Palestine.

The above, from a new article by the Pal. sympathizer Robert Malley and his sidekick, Hussein Agha, is true but misleading and actually, a perversion of history.

The partition was meant, as it had been back in 1937 when first promoted by the British as they slid into a reneging on their obligations as outlined in the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision of 1923, to separate territorially the Arab and Jewish communities. It was intended to resolve the violence that the Arabs initiated.

The Arabs rejected it because they did not want the Jews to live as a sovereign and politically independent entity anywhere in the area they called "Palestine", a Latin name for a supposedly Arab country which never existed and was envisioned by Christian Arabs.

They launched terror and murderous riots in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-39 and then began their war of agression in violation of the United Nations.

This statement, though, is quite correct:-

The 1993 Oslo Accords, most Palestinians will concede...never mentioned statehood or independence. It did not define boundaries or the fate of Jerusalem. And it did nothing to halt the settlement enterprise.

And another Malley error:-

Hamas may not be willing to recognize Israel, but it could accept coexistence with it.

This is not what the so-called intellectuals should be reading.

Paris Taliban?

The "fashion" of Junya Watanabe

Ehud Olmert's First Two Years

On the Fourth Geneva Convention

And indeed, the military commander’s general authority to sequester land on the basis of the Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907 [hereinafter –the Hague Regulations] and IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 1949 [hereinafter – the Fourth Geneva Convention], subject to conditions pursuant to international and Israeli law, has been recognized by this court in a series of judgments (see, e.g.: Beit Sourik, at paragraph 32; H.C.J. 940/04 Abu Tir v. The Military Commander in the Judea and Samaria Area (yet unpublished), at paragraph 10 (hereinafter – Abu Tir); H.C.J. 10356/02 Hess v. Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank (yet unpublished), at paragraphs 8-9 [hereinafter – Hess]; H.C.J. 401/88 Abu Riyan v. Commander of IDF Forces in Judea and Samaria, 42(2) P.D. 767, 770; H.C.J. 24/91 Timraz v. Commander of IDF Forces in the Gaza Strip Area, 45(2) P.D. 325, 333-335; H.C.J. 2717/96 Wafa v. Minister of Defense, 50(2) P.D. 848, 856).


Legal Aspects Regarding the Temple Mount

Here is a very good summary by Shmuel Berkowitz, pages 4-14.

And this:-

However, before he restricts the freedom of worship, the military commander must examine whether he is able to take reasonable steps which will allow the exercise of freedom of worship while ensuring the safety of the worshippers. As this Court stated:

“. . . Freedom of conscience, belief, religion, and worship is limited, to the extent necessary in order to preserve public security and order. Of course, before any act which could infringe upon and limit this freedom is taken due to a threat to public security, the police should take all reasonable steps at their disposal to prevent the threat to public security without compromising the right to conscience, belief, religion and worship. Therefore, if the concern regards violence by a hostile crowd against the worshippers, the police must act against this violence, not against the worshippers. If however reasonable action by the police cannot, due to its limitations, remove the threat to public security, there is no choice but to limit the freedom of conscience and religion, as necessary in order to preserve public security.”

H.C.J. 292/83 Temple Mount Faithful, at p. 455 (Barak, J.); see also Hess, at paragraph 19.

Herzl and the Third Temple

Another topic in this novel [Altneuland] is how Herzl's copes with the question of religion in the Jewish state. It is common knowledge that Herzl belonged to that segment of intellectual Viennese Jews who were very distant from traditional Jewish observance. In his first political pamphlet, "Der Judenstaat" ("The Jewish State"), Herzl made it clear that the rabbis would have a respected status in the synagogue - but not in the political arena. In "Altneuland," however, the picture is more complex and more interesting: Although the leaders of the New Society are all individuals with modern views, one of the central scenes in the novel is a description of the Passover Seder night ceremony in Tiberias, conducted by the New Society's president.

The depiction of Jerusalem is particularly fascinating. In it, the Old City is transformed into a historical reserve whose filth has been removed and from which the authorities have now banned the beggars of all nations and faiths who occupied every open space there, and whose presence so troubled Herzl during his only visit to the country in 1898. However, in the center of the new part of Jerusalem, a glorious structure proudly stands: This is, incredible as it may sound, the Third Temple of Jerusalem "which had been totally rebuilt because the time had come for its reconstruction. It had been built in accordance with the building procedures of ancient times, that is, with hewn stone ... Once more, the pillars, cast in copper, stood in front of Israel's holiest of holies. The left column is called Boaz and the right one Yakhin. In the front courtyard were a mighty copper altar and a wide basin of water that was called `the Copper Sea,' just as in ancient times, when King Solomon ruled the land." While it may be surprising to come across such a passage in Herzl's writings, it should be pointed out that the Temple is built in the new part of Jerusalem and not in place of the mosques on the Temple Mount in the Old City. Despite the altar mentioned in the above passage, Herzl does not state that animal sacrifices have been reinstituted. The description of Friday night services at the Third Temple - where there is a separate section for women worshipers, of course - is more reminiscent of a modern synagogue service in Vienna or Budapest than a ceremony based on Talmud tractate or any other ancient rabbinical source. Alongside the Temple there is the Hall of Peace, an international center for the resolution of disputes - a sort of League of Nations at a time when no such institution existed.

Herzl's somewhat conservative liberal position is very apparent here: Religion has a respected public position in an enlightened, tolerant society.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Dirty Money

A new book on Jerusalem has just been published, well, actually an old book republished.

Entitled "Sha'arei Yerushalayim",

it is authored by Moshe ben Menachem-Mendel Reischer. This Moshe Reischer issued "Mishlei Yaakov", the book of the Dubnov Maggid's meshalim.

The book "Shaarei Yerushalyim" was published in the 1860s and is compared to the Tzuf Dvash's "Sha'ar Hechatzer".

But what really caught my eye was the inside of the title page:

And my translation:

"Printed on paper without any Shabbat violation [being involved] and from money without any Shabbat violation G-d forbid including monies from ministries calling themselves with the name of Israel but do not follow the customs of Israel and with the help of G-d [as it is written:] 'When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off' (Isaiah 27[:11] which is interpreted that when the slight merit that they possess shall be finished they will then break of themselves speedily in our days Amen"

The publishing house is called Migdalei Arnan.

Widening Roads at Shiloh

Here at the original Shiloh, the entrance road to our community was recently repaved, slightly widened and a sidewalk was contructed leading down to the junction where the road splits off to Shvut Rachel and our outpost communities.

Seems though that another Shiloh road project is stuck.

One in Montana:-

Cooperation needed to get Shiloh Road rolling

The widening of Shiloh Road was a big, complex project when it first was put at the top of the local highway priority list in 2000.

Over the past eight years, completion of the 4.5-mile arterial has grown much more expensive and no less complex. Two years ago, the project cost was estimated to be $20 million...A year ago, the project price tag was $39.5 million. Despite multimillion-dollar earmarks procured by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, money is short because the costs have gone up with changes in the project and keep going up with construction price inflation.

...In an interview with The Gazette Friday, Lynch discussed some issues that concerned Policy Coordinating Committee members Wednesday. Lynch said that the price for right of way acquisitions along Shiloh Road has to be settled before construction starts because the project is "fiscally constrained." Questions previously had arisen about landowners granting right of way so the project could proceed with the price to be settled later.

...As City-County Planning Board Chairman Al Littler said, private land values along Shiloh will skyrocket after the public invests in improving the road. Hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial development has been projected for this arterial corridor.

But first, landowners, developers and government agencies at every level need to coordinate their efforts and clearly communicate their views. Let's get Shiloh moving on a faster, fully funded track.

Gee, it sounds as if they are ciopying the projects in Jerusalem.

A Possible Solution?

For the Democratic ticket?


The Unasked Question

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has been floating around these past two weeks and his last public appearance was as the guest of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations at the King David Hotel this morning. Your intrepid blogger, me that is, was present.

There were no demos, outbursts or contretemps. But he managed to display his foolishness just the same.

According to Carter, there were no peace talks for the 6 and half years prior to his book, the anathemetic "Palestine - Peace of Apartheid", appeared. He announced "new settlements" are being established every week and that the despair causes "both sides" to resort to violence.

In a typical sleight-of the-tongue maneuver, Carter that (a) many Pal. have been incarerated for 20 years or so; and (b) many were first jailed at the age of 12; and (c) and that since then they were imprisoned. If he means that Israel has kept behind jail persons who are now 32 and have been behind bars since the age 0f 12, I would suggest he doesn't know his tuches from a peanut.

He also made a semi-dramatic announcement: Hamas will agree to any peace plan the Abbas cabinet reaches with Israel, including recognition of Israel along the 1967 boundaries, as long as there is conducted a plebiscite of the Pal. people supervised by the Carter Center and other internationals.

Dramatic? Okay, idiotic.

Carter doesn't believe that the Hamas will demand that the entire Pal. people all across the gobe are to participate? That they will not start a fratricidal war to make sure the ballot box reflects their bullets? That they are to be trusted at all?

I raised my hand to ask a question.

It was supposed to go like this:

Mr. Carter, you have met twice with Hamas, persons you call terrorists and have announced that anyone involved in the final status resolution should be involved in the negotiations. If so, why do you ignore the Jewish communities in the areas of Samaria and Judea? I myself reside in Shiloh, a community you once tried to have destroyed in 1978. I have sent you several invitations to come see how we have developed since then as we now have celebrated our 30th anniversry. Do you think us as worse than the Hamas?

But, sorry to say, I wasn't recognized before the list of questioners was closed.

Lucky Carter.



How a referendum would work is not clear. Mr. Carter said in the interview that he understood that only those Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would participate and that the voting would be monitored by international observers, including observers from the Carter Center.

But Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader in Damascus with whom Mr. Carter had spoken, gave a televised news conference late Monday and said that Hamas wants all Palestinians, including those living abroad, to vote. Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan would likely insist on a right of return to their original homes in what is today Israel, something Israel has said it could never accept.

Mr. Meshal also focused on the return of Palestinians to Israel and Hamas’s refusal to accept Israel’s legitimacy when he said, "Hamas accepts the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and with full and real sovereignty and full application of the right of the Palestinian refugees to return but Hamas will not recognize the state of Israel."

Another "Apartheid" Wall?

Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.

Running On Matza

Most Boston Marathon runners will participate in the tried-and-true practice of loading up on carbohydrates before Monday’s race. But some runners will defer to a much holier practice this year and replace their bread and pasta with matzo and potatoes.

The marathon falls on the second day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, when eating leavened bread is forbidden for eight days because of dietary rules.

For many runners used to filling up with carbohydrates in the days before a race, exactly what to eat, and not eat, to perform optimally and still obey the rules of Passover is somewhat vexing.

“We’re carb loading on matzo,” said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who is running his first marathon.

Pesner and his wife, who are running the race for an autism-research charity, are having a Seder Sunday night with side dishes like potatoes and matzo ball soup, which has the sodium that runners need.

“This is my first marathon, so this was a total divine connection,” Pesner said. “I decided to run my first marathon, looked at the calendar, and it happened to be Passover.”

...Marc Chalufour, a spokesman for the marathon, said the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race, will provide matzo at its traditional Sunday night pasta dinner. There will be salad and other offerings.

The marathon is always run on the third Monday in April, Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, so conflicts happen.

“With Boston pegged as the third Monday of April every year, this is unfortunately an inevitability for us,” Chalufour said. “It’s certainly not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last.”


Letter to the Editor of Haaretz (in Hebrew)


Crossing In These Modern Times

An artist's interpretation of a modern crossing of the Red Sea (thanks to SL):-

And here's one helluva lonely Egyptian:-

The Burning of Mid-Pesach Chametz

These are the posters calling on Jews to come protest the liberalization of the non-display of Chametz legislation that was eased due to a recent municipal court decision, backed by Attorney-General Menni Mazuz.

The demonstartion is set for Tuesday at 5PM at Kikar Shabbat.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Jewess Recognition Award

This week's "Jewess Recognition Award" goes to Danielle Leibowitz:-

Rabbi Henoch Leibowitz, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim: Rabbinical Seminary of America for over 65 years, passed away Tuesday, April 15 in his 89th year.

The rosh yeshiva was born Alter Chanoch Henoch Leibowitz in the town of Selechnik, on the border between Poland and Lithuania. It is not entirely clear what year he was born, but his American passport says June 2, 1918. Rabbi Leibowitz’s first wife, Pesha Leibowitz, died in 2002. He had no children, and is survived by his second wife Danielle Leibowitz.

Video of chupah here Danielle can be seen at 3:11 and here's another video where she can be seen. One of the aidim was a classmate of mine - Rav Avraham Semel.

Do the math.


Temple Mount Bad News

Mazuz declines case against Waqf

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decided to suspend criminal proceedings against the Jerusalem Waqf, in the wake of a complaint lodged by some 150 people. The complainants accused the Waqf of causing repeated damage to the antiquities on the Temple Mount, and to the nation's heritage. Mazuz ruled that the offenses listed by the complainants were "forced," and that they tried to define them "artificially" as criminal offenses. He cited former chief justices who advised caution in enforcing the law on Temple Mount.

To them he grants immunity from prosecution.

What an idiot.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pollard Pokes Olmert Via Lindenstrauss

Lindenstrauss issues court order for PM to testify about Pollard

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has issued a court order against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert which would force the premier to testify before the comptroller on the matter of Jonathan Pollard and his continued incarceration in the United States on charges of spying for Israel...

In December, the Knesset State Control Committee asked Lindenstrauss to investigate the Pollard affair...

Well, now we are getting somewhere.

What Did You Expect?

These are the fun and games when you have too much money and too much time on your hads, I guess.

Rigorous Research (They Claim)

A new book is out.

Bad News From Israel by Greg Philo and Mike Berry of the Glasgow University Media Group.

The book, the authors assert, is

based on rigorous research

and is an

authoritative book [which] examines media coverage of the current conflict in the Middle East and the impact it has on public opinion.

...the authors focus on television news. They illustrate major differences in the way Israelis and Palestinians are represented, including how casualties are shown and the presentation of the motives and rationales of both sides.

The book explores the processes that shape the news. It looks at patterns of ownership and at how public relations, information control and the close political links between the USA and Britain affect what we see and hear in the media.

Funny, but this description and the Glasgow connection impress me most negatively. I smell BS.

Luttwak's Thinking (And On Black-eyed Virgins)

In response to a critique in the Times Literary Supplement, Edward Luttwak had a letter published and I submit an extract:-

...Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s theory that Islamic orthodoxy blocks development, inducing violent expressions of frustration and humiliation because Islam simultaneously promises superiority in all things to its adherents – a frustration especially acute for the Arabs, whom the Koran itself names as the world’s best people. Enzensberger’s theory can certainly be criticized (e.g. the violence started before any frustration – Muhammad himself was as much raider as preacher) but not, as it happens, with the argument advanced by Hegghammer: “If the Muslim world has been retarded for a thousand years, why does the violent reaction come now?”.

That is unhistorical twice over: first, the Muslim world was doing very nicely c1008; second, when relative decline did become manifest centuries later, the seething resentment of almost all Muslim populations, which made it easy for truculent clerics to infuriate mobs into violence, became the salient hazard of travel in Muslim lands long before al-Qaeda. So it is not “now”.

Hegghammer does note his serious reservations about Robert Pape’s theory that suicide attacks have nothing to do with Islam as such but are merely responses to occupation, and mostly by non-Muslims. Pape’s numbers are fatally flawed by the inclusion of the Liberation Tigers of Sri Lanka, a sui generis case, and by the odd classification of Hezbollah and Hamas as territorialists rather than Islamists. But then Hegghammer fails to point out the central error of Pape’s reductionism, shared by many others: the minimization of the specifically Islamic incentive to fight and if necessary die (not suicidal attacks per se), which happens to resonate especially with young men trapped in forced celibacy: a promised paradise of orgiastic sex with both women and boys.

Muslim preachers in conflicted lands are much less bashful than Western commentators in specifying what Allah himself will provide to dead Jihadists: Koran 51–55, “ . . . We shall wed them to dark-eyed houris”. Koran 55:56–57, “ . . . bashful virgins neither man nor Jinn will have touched before. Then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?”. Koran 55:57–58, “Virgins as fair as corals and rubies . . .” . Koran 55:70–77, “ . . . Dark eyed virgins sheltered in their tents . . . ”. Koran 78:31, “. . . gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed virgins for companions . . . ”. Later jurists universally condemned homosexuality, and no preacher would now proffer it, but the text is explicit: Koran 52:24, “Round about them will serve . . . boys handsome as pearls well-guarded”. Koran 76:19, “ . . . boys of perpetual freshness: if thou seest them, thou wouldst think them scattered pearls”.

I for one genuinely do not understand why the centrality of the sexual promises to Jihadist mobilization is so persistently ignored, or even explicitly denied, by most Western analysts, hardliners very much included. There is no such hesitation among the protagonists themselves: outwardly at any rate, death in fighting the infidel is not mourned by their families and friends but celebrated as a zawaj, a wedding.

4510 Drummond Avenue,
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815.

As for the matter of Sex and the Suicidal Muslim, see here. Fromt the transcript:-

Saudi Cleric Omar Al-Sweilem Extols the Breasts and Thighs of the Black-Eyed Virgins of Paradise

Harith Ibn Al-Muhasibi told us what would happen when we meet the black-eyed virgin with her black hair and white face – praised be He who created night and day. What hair! What a chest! What a mouth! What cheeks! What a figure! What breasts! What thighs! What legs! What whiteness! What softness! Without any creams – no Nivea, no vaseline. No nothing! He said that faces would be soft that day. Even your own face will be soft without any powder or makeup. You yourself will be soflt, so how soft will a black-eyed virgin be, when she comes to you so tall and with her beautiful face, her black hair and white face - praised be He who created night and day. Just feel her palm, Sheik! He said: How soft will a fingertip be, after being softened in paradise for thousands of years!

There is no god but Allah. He told us that if you entered one of the palaces, you would find ten black-eyed virgins sprawled on musk cushions. Where is Abu Khaled? Here, he has arrived! When they see you, they will get up and run to you. Lucky is the one who gets to put her thumb in your hand. When they get hold of you, they will push you onto your back, on the musk cushions. They will push you onto your back, Jamal! Allah Akbar! I wish this on all people present here. He said that one of them would place her mouth on yours. Do whatever you want. Another one would press her cheek against yours, yet another would press her chest against yours, and the others would await their turn. There is no god but Allah. He told us that one black-eyed virgin would give you a glass of wine. Wine in Paradise is a reward for your good deeds. The wine of this world is destructive, but not the wine of the world to come.

Wow, closest I've come to pornography.