Monday, February 28, 2011

Can I Ask Mr. Netanyahu A Question?


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed resentment towards settlers seeking new construction tenders for building in West Bank settlements. Netanyahu said that "People do not understand where they live. If you do not live in this world, it is possible to disregard everything, and I suggest to be weary in order to protect the existing constructions. What is at stake is the new and existing construction."

...Commenting on the issue of settlements in the West Bank, Netanyahu assured that "Right now we are in efforts to protect existing construction. We are in a very difficult international reality, and the US veto in the UN Security Council was achieved with great effort. We could ignore everything and say 'no problem,' but as prime minister with responsibility for this country, I have the overall responsibility."

"We all want to strengthen the settlement and therefore we ought not ignore it. We are a few weeks after the the Quartet's decision, after the US's veto, before another Quartet decision, and therefore we must consider the reality in which we live. When there is a changing world order in the Middle East, there are those who seek an easy but irresponsible solution, and we won't help them with that."

My question (okay, questions):

so why did the police show up to tear down those structures?  what advantage accrues to provoke such scenes?  do you have any influence over the Defense Minister?  what about the 'quiet' freeze on construction? 


J Street Had An Accident

From EOZ:-


Shot At J Street

Seems J Street has a sense of humor, sort of.

They were selling shot glasses that should be filled only to the "Green Line":-

At $5.

That means no Jerusalem neighborhoods like Ramat Eshkol. French Hill. Hebrew University. Hadassh Hospital.

The Kotel.

Of course, maybe the Green Line doesn't apply to Jerusalem.

No.  It does since they support the Sheikh Jarrah (aka Shimon HaTzaddik) Solidarity group.

Phot credit: David A.M. Wilensky

J Street Is Treif

Ben Sales went hungry at the J Street Conference.


No kosher food.


Some people say J Street is too far to the left; others complain that it’s too far right. But there’s another, more basic reason for Jews to doubt J Street’s kashrut:

Its food is literally not kosher.

Of course, plenty of Jewish organizations serve non-kosher food at their events, and that’s fine. Given that the vast majority of Jews don’t keep strict, certified kosher, there’s no reason to foot that bill. But almost all Jewish organizations, and certainly all major ones, make the effort to provide kosher options for those Jews who do require a hekhsher. At the very least, they would offer kosher food for purchase.

Not so with J Street.

When I arrived at the conference this morning, before 8 a.m., I asked a staff person if the breakfast would include kosher options. She told me it would. But when the food arrived, there was nothing kosher to be found–not even fruit. I sufficed with coffee and decided to wait for lunch, when–with an hour of free time–I could rush on the metro to a kosher restaurant.

When that time came, I got ready to hurry out of the conference room only to be told by multiple J Street staffers that there were sandwiches for purchase across the building and yes, some of them were kosher.

You can guess what happened next. I arrived at the sandwich cart and requested the kosher option. I got a blank stare in return, and when I asked the manager she told me she had no idea what I was talking about. She hadn’t heard anything about kosher sandwiches. The best they could do, they said, was a regular turkey sandwich with the cheese taken off. No good. I bought a Clif bar, a Nature Valley, a Kit Kat, an apple and a banana. I filled the feast out with some mini Twix I found at a conference table.

Maybe I’m making too much of this, but I think that an intentionally Jewish organization that bases its platform on Jewish values should make more of an effort to respect a basic traditional Jewish practice. This is especially true for J Street, which emphasizes pluralism and acceptance...

My, my.  There was this in September 2009:

...The average age of the dozen or so staff members is about 30. Ben-Ami speaks for, and to, this post-Holocaust generation. “They’re all intermarried,” he says. “They’re all doing Buddhist seders.” They are, he adds, baffled by the notion of “Israel as the place you can always count on when they come to get you.”

I guess they are also baffleds by the concept of "kosher".

But, to be pluralistic, there's this clarification

The "Buddhist seders" meme comes from NYT article about J Street where Jeremy Ben-Ami is cited as saying "We all hold Buddhist seders" and "We are all intermarried". Ben-Ami is not intermarried. His wife, Sara, is a daughter of a Rabbi and descendant of a family which co-founded Petah Tikva more than 120 years ago. And of course "Buddhist seder" was just a joke.

Nevertheless, many people harped on that Buddhist seder bit but I didn't locate any J Street corrections but one J Street sympathizer who was quite pro-Buddha


J Street's Values or Its Hypocrisy?


[Jeremy] Ben-Ami said that J Street itself strongly opposes the BDS movement, but that “we engage with people we disagree with. We don’t shut them out. Those who are involved in the BDS movement in the Jewish community should be argued with and shown that they’re wrong, but to just shut them out is wrong.”
At the same time, Ben-Ami, as well as Saperstein, distinguished between campaigns to boycott Israel entirely versus those targeting products and institutions in the West Bank.

So, I don't get invited to discuss, discourse or debate?  Not even engaged?

I'm shut out, I guess.

Is that a value or plain hypocrisy?


Rahm Rammed Even Before Swearing-in Ceremony


A top member of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's transition team abruptly resigned after the Tribune inquired about recent findings that she violated state ethics rules by using taxpayer resources for political purposes while serving as executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Judy Erwin, a former state lawmaker who also co-chaired Emanuel's mayoral campaign, stepped down from her high-level state job last summer, was fined and promised to never seek a state job after conceding that she conducted political business on state time, according to a newly filed ethics report.

Erwin admitted using her office e-mail and phone while working on a campaign committee for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, using staff resources to plan her trip to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and engaging in campaign fundraising activity while on the job, the state's Executive Ethics Commission ruled in a decision filed Feb. 16.


Legal Mumbo-Jumbo on a 'Palestinian' State

I found this excerpt from "Sovereignty, Colonialism and the 'State' of Palestine Under International Law" by John Reynolds, Irish Centre for Human Rights, June 13, 2009 and my comments follow:

The creation of a Palestinian State in some form has been envisaged since at least 1922, when Palestine came under British Mandate pursuant to Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant. According to the British Colonial Secretary:

His Majesty’s Government conceived it as of the essence of such a mandate as the Palestine mandate, an A mandate, and of Article 22 of the Covenant, that Palestine should be developed, not as a British colony permanently under British rule, but as a self-governing State or States with the right of autonomous evolution.25

By the time of the UN Partition Plan in 1947, conceptions of that State had changed according to prevailing social and political circumstances, but it still had not come to fruition. The annex on Palestine contained in the 1945 Pact of the Arab League stated that:

Even though Palestine was not able to control her own destiny, it was on the basis of the recognition of her independence that the Covenant of the League of Nations determined a system of government for her.

Her existence and her independence among the nations can, therefore, no more be questioned de jure than the independence of any of the other Arab States.

Even though the outward signs of this independence have remained veiled as a result of force majeure, it is not fitting that this should be an obstacle to the participation of Palestine in the work of the League.

Palestine formally became a member of the League of Arab States on 9 September 1976, and on 15 November 1988 the Palestine National Council (PNC) declared the existence of the State of Palestine, in what is known as the ‘Algiers Declaration’.26 The Declaration was “an attempt to affirm the reasonableness and international legal legitimacy of the Palestinian cause”,27 and was followed by attempts on the part of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)28 to accede to international legal treaties and elicit membership of several UN specialised agencies. The recent declaration to the International Criminal Court by the Minister of Justice of the Palestinian Authority (the interim self-government authority established by the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in the 1990s) appears to be a continuation of this strategy, which is broadly aimed at advancing the PLO’s political aspiration of Palestinian statehood by reconciling it with the legal framework established by the UN and accepted by the majority of the international community for resolution of the question of Palestine; that is, a two-state solution. The question with which this paper is concerned is not whether such a solution is viable or desirable or realistic, or whether placing faith in the established paradigm of State-building generally is even, given the history of decolonisation, the appropriate framework for succeeding foreign rule, but whether the Palestinian claims to statehood are supported by the salient norms of international law, set out briefly in the previous section.

On the face of it, many of the criteria for statehood could be said to be satisfied to certain extents in the Palestinian context. The Palestinians, as a people that identifies itself as a national group connected to a Palestinian homeland, are recognised as a people with the right to self-determination. Part of that people, the Palestinian population of the OPT — comprising the vast majority of that territory’s population and living together in it as an organised community—could be said to constitute a permanent population for the purposes of the criteria for statehood in international law.29

25 See the statement dated 5 August 1937 by Mr. Ormsby-Gore, the Colonial Secretary, at the League of Nations, Permanent Mandates Commission, Minutes of the Thirty-Second (Extraordinary) Session devoted to Palestine, held at Geneva from 30 July 30 to 18 August 18 1937, including the Report of the Commission to the Council, Official No. C.330.M.222 1937. VI, p. 87.
26 Palestine National Council, Declaration of Independence, 15 November 1988, UN Doc. A/43/827-S/20278, 18 November 1988.
27 Omar Dajani, ‘Stalled between seasons: The International Legal Status of Palestine During the Interim Period’, (1997-98) 26 Denver Journal of International Law and Policy 27, at 59.
28 The PLO has been recognised by the UN General Assembly, as well as by the Government of Israel, as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. See General Assembly resolution 3236 (1974), UN Doc. A/9361, and Letter from Yitzhak Rabin to Yasser Arafat (9 September 1993), reprinted in The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Agreement: A Documentary Record (Institute for Palestine Studies, 1993), at 128-129, respectively. 
29 It must be noted, however, that Israel at present retains ultimate control over that population in terms of its population registry, of who may enter and leave the OPT, where they may reside, etc.

The first problem with this presentation begins with the very first presumption of

The creation of a Palestinian State

Actually, the idea was the reconstitution of the Jewish national home in which Arabs had no special mention but were lumped together in the demographic pool of simply "non-Jews".


Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;

The second problem is in this formulation:

conceptions of that State had changed according to prevailing social and political circumstances,

Those circumstances were mainly the illegal attempt by Arabs to violently thwart the Mandate decision and deny Jews any place for their "home" anywhere in the territory definbed as "Palestine". Moreover, the British betrayed the Mandate decision in 1939 by issuing a White Paper policy statement that was considered an illegal act in that it broke with the terms of the British Mandate as decreed by the League of Nations and the Balfour Declaration.

As happened the report of the Permanent Mandates Commission to the Council of the League, the Commission unanimously stated that:

•... the policy set out in the White Paper was not in accordance with the interpretation which, in agreement with the Mandatory Power and the Council, the Commission had placed upon the Palestine Mandate.

As the paper makes clear:

...His Majesty's Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State.

A third point is this terminology:

the history of decolonisation, the appropriate framework for succeeding foreign rule

Despite repeated attempts by Arabs and their supporters, Jews returning to their national patrimony were not and are not "colonisers" or engaged in "colonisation". (and read this)

The fourth negative element is this

The Palestinians, as a people that identifies itself as a national group connected to a Palestinian homeland

Self-identification is simply not sufficient especially as there is an internationally legally-recognized pre-claim by the Jewish people that surely is superior to any Arab-related claim since the Arabs were conquerors and occupiers of the Jewish homeland beginning in 638 CE, 2000 years after the Jewish presence.  During the Mandate period, the nationality of "Palestinian" applied to Jews and non-Jews as so even according to this "analysis", Jews still have at least (and so much more) an equal claim as any Arab.

Today, the assertion of a separate "Arab Palestinian" identity, which is distinct from, say, Jordanian identity in that Jordan was a fiction of British colonialism from the March 1921 Cairo Conference, is a fabrication and cannot compare with the historical, religious, cultural and physical connection Jews had and have with the Land of Israel.

In all, Reynold's legal mumbo-jumbo is all blarney (in the sense of: cajolery; deceptive or misleading talk; nonsense; hooey).  Which is too bad since Reynold is a doctoral candidate at the Irish Centre for Human Rights and also a Government of Ireland Scholar; NUI Travelling Scholar; LL.M International Human Rights Law (NUI Galway); BBLS (University College Dublin) .  His academic papers are here.

Mr. Reynold seems to be be ideologically driven by a political viewpoint, which is unfortunate for him and academia.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bob Dylan's Jewish Headgear Looks

A bit Chassidic:

The Hilltop Youth look:

The tefillin look:

With Reb Shlomo Carlebach:


Hiking From Rimonim to Samiya

Rimonim and Ein Samiya are along the Allon Road.


Absurd is not the word

Excerpts from Nick Cohen's Observer piece:-

...Far from being a cause of the revolution, antagonism to Israel everywhere served the interests of oppressors...The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the forgery the far-right wing of the decaying tsarist regime...denounces human rights and democracy as facades behind which the secret Jewish rulers of the world manipulated gullible gentiles.

Syrian Ba'athists, Hamas, the Saudi monarchy and Gaddafi eagerly promoted the Protocols...Europe's amnesia about how tyranny operated in our continent explains why the Libyan revolution is embarrassing a rich collection of dupes and scoundrels who were willing to laugh along with Gaddafi. His contacts in Britain were once confined to the truly lunatic fringe. He supplied arms to the IRA, funded the Workers' Revolutionary Party, Vanessa Redgrave's nasty Trotskyist sect, and entertained Nick Griffin and other neo-Nazis. We should not forget them when the time comes to settle accounts. But when Tony Blair, who was so eloquent in denouncing the genocides of Saddam, staged a reconciliation with Gaddafi after 9/11, his friendship opened the way for the British establishment to embrace the dictatorship...British academics who were happy to accept his largesse...

...The European Union, which did so much to export democracy and the rule of law to former communist dictatorships of eastern Europe, has played a miserable role in the Middle East. It pours in aid but never demands democratisation or restrictions on police powers in return. That will have to change if the promise of the past month is to be realised. If it is to help with democracy-building, Europe will need to remind itself as much as the recipients of its money that you can never build free societies on the racist conspiracy theories of the Nazis and the tsars. They are and always have been the tunes that tyrants sing.


Why No Temple

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu explains why the Temple construction is being delayed:

From "Kol Tzofayich", No. 575, Parshat VaYakhel (this past Shabbat):

"Even today we all speak about the Temple in every prayer, sing songs, etc. In actuality, not very many believe that in a practical sense, the mosques will be removed from the Temple Mount.  They say the UN won't agree, that the US President will threaten, that the EU will apply sanctions, that there'll be a third world war, etc.  The Temple is left to just talk...[but the Torah lesson is] to teach us that the commandment is not a distant was not the non-Jew who prevented construction but the laxity of the Jews who sought to blame others...".


I Guess First Survives


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Leftwing Lunacy


How long Human Rights?

How long do you think it'll take for the "world community" to act?

The U.N.'s top human rights body on Friday began an emergency session on Libya to decide whether to condemn and ostracize the North African country for its crackdown on anti-government protesters. It is the first time that the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council has held a special session to scrutinize one of its members.  European nations were leading the effort to condemn the crackdown ordered by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime, order a U.N.-led investigation into possible crimes against humanity and propose suspending Libya from the council.

Any takers?


Friggin' Fisk

"Nice" catch by Elder:

Robert Fisk:

"Indeed, there were times last night when Gaddafi – in his vengefulness, his contempt for Arabs, for his own people – began to sound very like the speeches of Benjamin Netanyahu. Was there some contact between these two rogues, one wondered, that we didn't know about?"

The complete idiocy of hatred of Israel and Zionism in one comparison.

I once, in the late 1980s, sat close to him for a short background interview at the GPO in Jerusalem.  I almost got drunk just smelling his breath.


My comment at Kristof's Blog is Up

On Bahrain.



Why was Galliano arrested? What can you learn from the headlines?

This is John Galliano:

What was ihis alleged crime?  Depends, I presume on the newspaper.

The UK Guardian:

John Galliano arrested in Paris after drinking session

John Galliano, who is head of Dior, was held by police after allegedly making antisemitic remarks to a couple at a cafe

The UK Sun:

Fashion legend Galliano arrested 

BRIT fashion legend John Galliano has been dumped by his label after being arrested on suspicion of assault and anti-Semitism.


Dior suspends star designer John Galliano for alleged anti-Semitism

UK Telegraph:

John Galliano suspended by Dior following arrest over 'anti-semitic rant'

The Independent:-

John Galliano arrested

The NYTimes Magazine:

John Galliano Suspended from Dior

I guess antisemitism usually comes in second but due to a significant Jewish presence in the fashion scene (the 'shmatte trade' as I knew it in NY.  My father worked in it many years ago as a floor manager for a women's sports and swimwear plant).
Design pics from VogueUK


Galliano is alleged to have told a woman sitting at a table beside him: ‘Dirty Jew, you should be dead.’
France’s Europe 1 radio claimed he then ranted to an Asian man sitting with her: ‘****ing Asian b******, I’m going to kill you.’ He then allegedly turned back to the woman, repeatedly calling her an ‘ugly whore’, the station reported. Witnesses called police during the incident, said to have taken place in front of dozens of astonished revellers.
A police source said: ‘We arrived extremely quickly and managed to break up the disturbance. The man involved was briefly arrested and then released pending charges for assault. ‘Witnesses said he swore heavily, using anti-Jewish insults, before attacking a couple. ‘Both have provided witness statements, as have a number of other people at the bar, including staff.’
Anti-semitic remarks are punishable by up to six months in prison in France, but Galliano has not yet been charged with an offence. His lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, ‘formally denied’ his client had made racist comments. But Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano said: ‘Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any anti-semitic or racist words or behaviour.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Think About That


In fact, of the 11 million Muslims that have been killed in violent conflicts since the middle of the last century when the state of Israel was created, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Muslims were killed in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli-Arab conflict. However, more than 90 percent of all Muslims killed during the same time period were killed by fellow Muslims.



Wall Posters

My new collection, straight off the walls:-

a) the above rails against any IDF supervision of Yeshiva studies

b) this one dealt with a kashrut issue

 c) according to that one, a policie station will become a presence at Shabbat Square due to the treachery of Shmuel Weissfisch

d) that last one conerned itself with instructing all to get rid of all immodest advertisementswhich include male models and young girls.

Shtreimels Are Hot

Two ads, one on top of the other, for shtreimels:

Top one announces a shtreimel fair.  Prices of those headgears start at $450.

Lower one announces hat drycleaning, starting at 30 NIS.


Murky Merkel

She doesn't like us.

Merkel chides Netanyahu for failing to make 'a single step to advance peace' In a tense telephone call, PM tells German chancellor that he was disappointed by Germany's vote at UN


This Is A Sinister Journalist


David Cronin, author and self-described campaigning journalist...who writes for several broadsheet newspapers including The Guardian, The Irish Times and the European Voice was confronted by security and removed from the EU Council press room...Following his attempted citizen's arrest Cronin said...he had made the decision to confront the Foreign Minister having visited occupied territories last Friday. He said he was "shocked by how Israeli soldiers and police in full riot gear were firing tear gas at young boys who were doing nothing more sinister than throwing stones at the forces of occupation

That is a very sinister journalist.


What, He Should Worry?

Caught this in a new promotional piece by Isabel Kershner about a new movement, Sharek, not Shreek and not Shrek or Shreak, which seeks to guide local Arab students and youth activists to find "a voice and a focus, coalescing around a single popular issue that they believe will help the Palestinians in all of the above: ending the schism between the West Bank, where the mainstream, secularist Fatah dominates the Palestinian Authority, and Gaza, which is under the control of Fatah’s rival, the Islamic militant group Hamas".

...the Palestinians suspended short-lived negotiations last September after Israel refused to renew a moratorium on construction in West Bank Jewish settlements.

As [Mr. Ghassan] Khatib [spokesman for the government in the West Bank] put it, “Do you see any negotiations that we should be worried about?”

Well, since there was enough negotiating to cause Saeb Erekat to resign, there were negotiations. But if he isn't worried about them, neither am I.

Not that I don't mind negotiations, it's just that I somehow have the feeling that even the so-called 'moderates', the darlings of Western journalists, aren't negotiating in good faith and their goals and targets in such negotiations are inimical to Israel, its future, its security and its national ethos.


Kristof's Scattered Thinking

In his "Is This Apartheid in Bahrain?", Nicholas Kristof not only publishes "A few scattered thoughts about Bahrain" but quite clearly more than enough scattered thinking.

He writes

...Bahrain is modern, moderate and well-educated, and by Gulf standards it has more of the forms of democracy than some others. But here’s my question to King Hamad: Why is it any more appropriate for a minority Sunni population to rule over majority Shia than it was in South Africa for a minority white population to rule over a majority black population? What exactly is the difference?

Indeed, the language of the ruling party sounds a lot to me like the language of white South Africans — or even like the language of white southerners in Jim Crow America, or the language of militant Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

In the first place, in limiting his aspersion to "militant Israeli settlers", he may think (I can still use that term with Kristoff although in a tenable fashion) that his intention is that not all "settlers" are "militant" - which is palpably true. But is that his intention?

Secondly, Bahrain is located in Arabia. Sunnis and Shiites are an internal Islamic theological andf now political problem. The Land of Israel lies outside Arabia although because of Islamic militancy, Arabs expanded their territory and invaded our homeland, conquered it, occupied it and subjugated the Jewsih minority (by then) population. And continued to do so for some 1300 years and then, when the League of Nations recognized our right to reconstitute our national home in its historic borders, Muslim and even Christian Arabs waged a campaign of terror to halt that legal right.

In other words, the language of the oppressed minority in Bahrain may be closer to the language of myself and my fellow revenants residing in Judera and Samaria.

He then writes

The other day I saw a sign reading “Imagine Bahrain without the al-Khalifas.” That kind of thing is utterly inappropriate. The opposition has to do what Nelson Mandela did so brilliantly in South Africa – make clear that majority rule will not lead to persecution of the minority. Every time the democracy movement scrawls “Death to Al-Khalifa” on a sign, it erodes its own legitimacy before the world.

which comes close to explaining why there are "militant settlers" in Judea and Samaria who see and hear and experience what are the true intentions of the Arabs and not only in Judea and Samaria but in Israel as well.

Kristof should learn more about history before he becomes too scattered.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guess Who Is Illegitimate Now

Not connected to Israel.


Hamas: Fayyad lacks legitimacy to form govt

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Salam Fayyad is not authorized to form a government and does not represent any political faction because he is appointed by Fatah, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhari said Thursday.


The Corruption of Religious Thinking

I blogged in November on the Christian attack, originating from liberal and progressive ideology, on Christian Zionism and on the claim Zionism makes, even by its secular proponents, that it is a fulfillment of religious tradition. That attack continues.

Here is one opinion, of Daniel C. Maguire, a professor of moral theology at Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit Institution, and past president of The Society of Christian Ethics from a year ago writing

Israel’s conservative government ignores the “back to the 1967 borders” solution since it would take away their prime excuse for imperial expansion and their claim of unique victimhood and insecurity... The prophet Micah is looking more and more like a realist. Before it is too late, Israel and the United States should remember the words of Micah. You cannot build “Zion in bloodshed” (Micah 3:10). Zechariah said it also: “Neither by force of arms nor by brute strength” would the people be saved (Zech. 4:6). The United States and Israel, these twinned amnesiacs, forget prophetic wisdom to their own peril and undoing.
In another "admission" piece he writes of:

fits of brutality and the retreat into religious mythology that have characterized some Israeli governments, especially under the Likud.

and claims, ludicrously, that he is "Jewish" and that his

coming out as a Jew would certainly surprise my Irish Catholic parents...My coming out as a Jew would also surprise Benjamin Netanyahu, especially when I insist that I am more Jewish than he is.  Did I convert to Judaism? No need to do that. I just became Jewish, I absorbed Jewishness as my ego and personality was being constructed. It was a matter of osmosis...

See his "piracy" comparison of Israel with Somalia. 

This is plain silliness.  But he attempts to be a serious theologian and he quotes Scripture, which the Devil does well, too. His ultimate goal, though, is to zero in on the "Special Relationship" between Israel and the United States:

Israel and the United States have a unique relationship, one so close that Israel has been called the 51st state, a privileged state that pays no U.S. taxes and receives ten million dollars a day in aid, more than any other country, except perhaps Iraq. The prime alleged reason for this intimate bonding is a shared commitment to democracy, with Israel being, allegedly, a bastion of democracy in a hostile Middle East. As ever in statecraft, the alleged is rarely the real...Severe criticism is a service to both nations. The acknowledgment of guilt is the beginning of wisdom and the first step to peace.

1. Both nations were founded on ethnic cleansing
2. Both Israel and the United States claim religious warranty for their existence and expansionism.
3. Both the United States and Israel claim their special security needs justify violence, unchecked militarism, torture, violations of human rights and international law, and imperial expansion.
4. Both the United States and Israel are sacrificing their original idealism at the altar of empire.
5. Both the United States and Israel define their national identity in morally normative terms.
6. Both the United States and Israel preach nuclear disarmament while armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons
7. Both the United States and Israel use strategic amnesia as policy to cover over inconvenient imperialist, expansionist, and genocidal truths. It acts as cover for all six of the just listed unflattering similarities.

This orientation of inter-related Marxist, post-modern and progressive themes, utlizing theological frameworks, is nothing but a twisting of intent and purpose. It is a mixing of concepts, applying sources to radical philosophy in a disjointed attempt to undermine the most moral and ethical ideals - assuring the existence and security of the Jewish people in its national homeland.

Maguire dares to quote Micha and does so selectively.  Here's from Chapter 4 which envisions a renewed Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount and the non-Jewish nations making a pilgrimage to the restored Jewish sovereignty with the return of the dispersed Jewish people to Zion and champion Israel against all assembled against her:

1 But in the end of days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths'; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide concerning mighty nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken. 5 For let all the peoples walk each one in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven away, and her that I have afflicted; 7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a mighty nation; and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from thenceforth even for ever. 8 And thou, Migdal-eder, the hill of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come; yea, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? Is there no King in thee, is thy Counsellor perished, that pangs have taken hold of thee as of a woman in travail? 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and shalt dwell in the field, and shalt come even unto Babylon; there shalt thou be rescued; there shall the LORD redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 11 And now many nations are assembled against thee, that say: 'Let her be defiled, and let our eye gaze upon Zion.' 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they His counsel; for He hath gathered them as the sheaves to the threshing-floor.

He quotes Zachariah but ignores Chapter 12:

 3 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. 4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness; and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5 And the chiefs of Judah shall say in their heart: 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength through the LORD of hosts their God.' 6 In that day will I make the chiefs of Judah like a pan of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. 7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah. 8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that stumbleth among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as a godlike being, as the angel of the LORD before them. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.

The portrayal of a Biblical prophetic pacifism, of a weak Israel, of an Israel that will not be restored to political primacy is, well, since we are in a religious framework of reference, evil.

And a university employs him.


It's Not About Israel

Der Spiegel carries a story about immigration fears.

For a change, it is not about criticism of Israel's policies regarding illegal infiltration from Africa via Egypt and Sinai into Israel.  In 2008, TIME reported on

200,000 foreign workers from East Asia, Africa and Latin America who have found their way to Israel. About half of them are illegal

and quoted a Noa Kaufman of the Israeli Children pressure group criticizing government policy.

A 2010 story on the deportion of illegal children quoted Sigal Rozen at the Hotline for Migrant Workers

and Noa Maiman, an actress who has been prominent in the campaign for the children, who described the decision was "cruel."

But the Der Spiegel story didn't focus on Israel.  It informed us that

Italian ministers now warn that if his Libyan government collapses, people will flow across the Mediterranean.

These officials were concerned

...that hundreds of thousands of immigrants could head for Europe. Italy's interior minister, ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, called on Thursday for European help in dealing with a looming "catastrophic humanitarian emergency."

...said Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Wednesday..."It is a Biblical exodus. It's a problem that no Italian should underestimate."

and there are other worried countries

"Germany, as the largest and most economically powerful country in Europe, has a special responsibility to act," said Monika Lüke, head of Amnesty International in Germany. "Germany has to finally end its obstructionist attitude regarding a common refugee policy in the EU."

I guess we cann be relieved?

At least they are not talking about "illegal settlements".


Academic Interpretations

There's a new book out, edited by one Rory Miller, "Britain, Palestine and Empire: The Mandate Years", Ashgate: Farnham, Surrey, which seems to me, according to this review, to be decidely anti-Zionist.  Indeed, Miller has made a career out of the theme.

For example, as here:

In “Flawed Foundations: The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate,” (Chapter 1) James Renton offers a highly nuanced analysis of the 1917 statement; he emphasizes that the majority of British policy makers viewed the document as a wartime measure (17-18) and that most did not, at the time, envisage it as laying the foundations for an actual Jewish state. However the reference to the “native population” rather than specifically naming the Palestinians left them at a distinct disadvantage in future negotiations. Since the Balfour Declaration did not specifically mention the Palestinians (citing only the “non-Jewish population”) they were subsequently viewed as a “disparate series of peoples” (35) and were therefore little considered or often ignored altogether. The recently published full-length book, The Balfour Declaration (2010), by Jonathan Schneer, provides a further expansion on the many motivations for and impacts of the 1917 Balfour statement.

Susan Pedersen describes the relative strengths of Zionist and Palestinian arguments for statehood in “The Impact of League Oversight on British Policy in Palestine” (Chapter 2). Pedersen convincingly demonstrates the pro-Zionist stance of the League’s Mandates Commission. She also details the successful efforts by Zionist leaders, particularly Chaim Weizmann, in putting their case before the international community. Indeed, the essays in this collection effectively highlight how the Palestinians were consistently out-maneuvered and out lobbied by the Zionists in the corridors of power in London and Geneva and even within Mandate Palestine. Thus the League increasingly came to support the argument that Mandate had been established to create a Jewish state and that it did not entail a “dual obligation” (58) as many British policy makers increasingly came to believe.

Of course, the idea that the powers convened at San Remo and at the League of Nations, as well as those at the Versailles Peace Conference simply knew that there was no "Palestinian Nation" but rather Arabs as individuals residing in the Mandate-to-be area, would never occur to Renton.  Pederson couldn't believe that the diplomats and their aides, despite heroic pro-Arab efforts, especially by Lawrence and then others at that March 1921 Cairo Conference, simply knew that the Jews were much more deserving of attention because of their historical connection which, at that time, unlike today, was indisputable and very-well known and accepted.

The Arab inability was based on their bad case.  They were at a distinct disadvantage because Zionism was genuine, portrayed a true and just concept which merited international support: legal, diplomatic and moral.

Any other interpretation, would be predicated on personal ideological frameworks.


Violence: Police Beatings

Clashes with police.  Beatings on legs.  On backs.  Shortages.

No, not in the Middle East.



Fans queuing outside the Chinnaswamy stadium in the Indian city of Bangalore to buy tickets for the cricket World Cup have clashed with the police.  Television pictures showed policemen hitting dozens of fans on their legs and backs.  Many of the fans had been waiting since Wednesday night. Reports said they were angered by the shortage of tickets available for purchase at the venue.

Bangalore is to host Sunday's World Cup showdown between India and England. According to reports, barely 8,000 tickets are up for sale at the stadium which can accommodate 40,000 people.

Don't just read a headline.


CNN Goes for Doubles

In a story backgrounder on the situation of "unrest" in the Middle East, CNN includes 16 countries but the "Palestinian Territories" get repeated:-

Is that the infamous "double-standard" ploy?


Non-Zionist Turncoats

While J Street is promoting an organization whose agenda now includes the liquidation of the JNF and the Jewish Agency, here:

The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement’s...central volunteer(s), Sarah Beninga, will receive J Street’s Honoring Our Heroes award at the organization’s conference in Washington this weekend. The movement decided to use the award as a launching point for its national expansion, which will see the group renamed “Solidarity.”

The group’s new manifesto, released on Tuesday, calls for an end to the “occupation” and the “liquidation or fundamental change of organizations that contribute to the dispossession of Arabs, including the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund, and the Israel Lands Authority.”

these elected (and former) MKs and officials are attending:

Shlomo Molla; Member of Knesset (Kadima)

Amir Peretz; Member of Knesset (Labor)
Ophir Pines-Paz; Former Member of Knesset (Labor)
Nachman Shai; Member of Knesset (Kadima)
Laura Wharton; Member, Jerusalem City Council
Orit Zuaretz; Member of Knesset (Kadima)

Lurching left. Far and out left.

Okay, non-Zionist is the term.

(k/t: LBD)

Gay Porn Overcomes Boycotting

(k/t*: Omri)


...We were looking forward to covering "Party to End Apartheid!," an Israeli Apartheid Week event on March 5 at the LGBT Center, where those two worlds would collide.

Our excitement was short-lived. Pornographer Michael Lucas was furious that the Center would hold such an event and vowed "a boycott that would certainly involve some of the [NYC LGBT] Center's most generous donors." Lucas, one of gay porn's most outspoken figures, is known equally for his "Men of Israel" films, his rabidly right-wing political writing for the Advocate, and his custom-made dildo in the shape of his own manhood.

We were surprised at how quickly he succeeded.

Just hours after writing, "It was an inexcusable decision on the Center's part to associate itself with a hate group like Israeli Apartheid Week, but there's still time for them to reverse course and begin restoring their reputation," Lucas proclaimed victory, writing: "We prevailed! Congratulations to everyone who stood with me in support of Israel. With your help it took only eight hours to accomplish our mission."

The LGBT Center released a two-sentence statement: "We have determined that this event is not appropriate to be held at our LGBT Community Center, which is a safe haven for LGBT groups and individuals. Therefore, the meeting at The Center has been cancelled and the host group will no longer meet at The Center."

Was that a hardcore operation?
"k/t" = kippah tip, my term for hat tip



Michael Oren Has A Problem with Menachem Begin?

After reading Michael Oren's op-ed, I sent this letter to the NYTimes, which, as usual, was not published:

In his op-ed, Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael B. Oren, in reviewing Israel-Egypt relations, notes that "Anwar Sadat, also started...a revolution of peace" ("Will Egypt Be a Partner in Peace?", February 21). It is unfortunate that Israel's highest official representative could not see fit to mention Sadat's partner in that peace process, Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who indeed initiated the new diplomacy that led to the 1979 treaty and for which merited the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yisrael Medad
Shiloh, Israel

Yisrael Medad is the co-editor of the recently published "Peace in the Making: The Menachem Begin-Anwar Sadat Personal Correspondence" published by Gefen


The "Notables" of J Street

Someone at J Street had gone Arab.

Semantically, at least.

Here's their crowing for their first conference last year as they convene this week for their second conference:

Full Page Ad in Washington Post from Israeli Notables on J Street Conference

In a full page ad running in the Washington Post, Haaretz, and Jewish weeklies all over the United States, current Israeli politicians and other Israeli notables congratulated J Street on its first inaugural conference.

Anyone who has some knowledge of the Arab-Jewish conflict is aware that the term "notables" refers to the elite class of rich and educated Arabs, the local aristocracy, who ruled the peasants, oppressed them, ignored them and ultimately betrayed them by fleeing early on in the 1947-1948 war (see:  Ottoman Reform and the Politics of Notables--Albert Hourani).

Moreover, they engaged in internecine fighting, killing each other off.  Some of the "gang":-

(For background, see here;  herehere;  and p. 145 here)

And now, J Street revives the term of 'leaders' who are worthless.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Rules for Success a la Rahm Emanuel


Rahm's rules for victory

...Emanuel observations suggest some answers about how Emanuel is different than the average fanatically driven, would-gladly-slit-your-throat-if-you-get-in-my-way candidate when it comes to climbing the greasy pole of politics. Here are seven Rahm rules:









Gadhafi's Not a Muslim ?

Reported (k/t: Steve Plaut):-

Gadhafi's residence at Tripoli's Aziziya Gates was guarded by Gadhafi loyalists, waving his picture and chanting slogans, along with a line of armed militiamen in vehicles, some masked, he said. The radio station building downtown was also heavily fortified.

"Mercenaries are everywhere with weapons. You can't open a window or door. Snipers hunt people," said another resident, who said she had spent the last night in her home awake hearing gunfire outside. "We are under siege, at the mercy of a man who is not a Muslim."

He wouldn't be Jewish, now, would he?


Will Oil Soothe the Revolution?

Are you paying attention to the rising oil prices?

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices rose past $99 a barrel on Wednesday as forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi clashed with protesters expanding their control over parts of the country.


Nothing like a little kerosene on the fire. Nomura Securities says that if Algeria joins Libya in the land of chaos, oil prices could shoot to $220 a barrel. That’s in a worst-case scenario, the investment bank adds unhelpfully.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell for a second straight day Wednesday after clashes in Libya sent oil prices to two-year highs and technology giant Hewlett-Packard said its revenue growth was slowing.

Will the West continue to encourage the 'Al-Jazeera revolution' as prices rise?


Brent crude futures rallied above $110 a barrel on Wednesday, posting the biggest three-day percentage gain in a year, as the escalating violence in Libya could further reduce its production.


No "Hand-in-Hand" - They Stab Priests...In Egypt

I guess that Muslim-Christian solidarity in Tahrir Square ("Muslim-Christian unity was one of the themes on Sunday. Members of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority said mass in the square and many of the placards combined the Muslim crescent and the Christian cross. "Hand in hand" was a common chant") was all BS:-

Coptic Christian priest killed in southern Egypt
Associated Press

Feb 23, 4:46 AM EST

ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) -- A Coptic Christian priest has been killed in southern Egypt, triggering street demonstrations by several thousand Christians.  The priest was found dead in his home. A fellow clergyman, Danoub Thabet, says his body had several stab wounds. He says neighbors reported seeing several masked men leaving the apartment and shouting "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," suggesting the killing was motivated by the divide between Egypt's Muslims and its minority Coptic community.

What else is BS in Egypt?

Muslim Brotherhood secular?
Maintaining Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty?

(k/t: YV & AR)

Memoirs of the Deir Yassin Battle

By an Irgun commander who participated.



Is Netanyahu Becoming Illegitimate?

Ted Belman at Israpundit notes:

PM Netanyahu issued the following statement as payment or part payment for the exercise of the US veto.

“Israel deeply appreciates the decision by President [Barack] Obama to veto the Security Council resolution today. Israel remains committed to pursuing comprehensive peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. We seek a solution that will reconcile the Palestinians’ legitimate aspiration for statehood with Israel’s need for security and recognition.”

No longer is he claiming defensible borders, a united Jerusalem or the settlement blocks. Not only is he not asserting our legal rights, he is also not asserting our historical rights. The fact that he has maintained a defacto freeze and that the Cabinet Committee voted unanimously to not extend Israeli law to the communities in Judea and Samaria, says volumes.

If you think that's a misquote, here's the source Ted doesn't provide.

Menachem Begin, in signing the The Framework for Peace in the Middle East

agreement of the Camp David Accords, opened the way for the use of that term.  In A c., it reads:

The solution from the negotiations must also recognize the legitimate right of the Palestinian peoples and their just requirements

I recall that he once responded to criticism by saying: 'for sure they have legitimate rights but creating a state is not one of them'.  He pointed out that the plural, "peoples", indicate the Arabs as individuals, as persons, but not as a people in the national sense.

He must assuredly was opposed to statehood.

In the book I edited, you can find these words of Begin written in August 1980:

...The Egyptian delegate made a speech at the United Nations in which he said, inter alia:

...iii) "The Palestinian people should exercise, without any external interference, the inalienable and fundamental right to self-determination, including the right to establish an independent state on the West Bank and Gaza.

Thus, the Egyptian delegate to the United Nations.

However, not one word about self-determination (which, of course, means a state), or about an independent (Palestinian) state appears in any one of the pages, paragraphs, sections, sub-sections etc. of the Camp David agreement. Dr. Ghali, speaking of behalf of Egypt, committed almost incomprehensible deviations from, and total contradictions, to, the Camp David accord which you and I signed and which our friend President Carter signed as witness, and which all of us are obligated to carry out in good faith in accordance with the old golden rule: Pacta sunt servanda. It is not Israel, Mr. President, which commits a breach of our peace treaty of the other, not yet fulfilled, part of the Camp David agreement; spokesmen of Egypt, of various levels, do...

...Jerusalem is and will be one, under Israel's sovereignty, its indivisible capital in which Jews and Arabs will dwell together in peace and in human dignity. Whosoever declares that the sovereign acts of our democratic Parliament are null and void makes a declaration which is null and void.  The same applies to our settlements in Judea, Samaria, the Gaza District and the Golan Heights. They are legal and legitimate and they are an integral part of our national security. None of them will ever be removed.

It would seem that Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to read the book, "Peace in the Making".


Ziona, In This Instance, Is Not A Female Hebrew Name

Ziona (pronounced in Hebrew tzi-yo-na) means "towards Zion".

Not in India:

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - The more, the merrier is certainly true for Ziona Chana, a 66-year-old man in India's remote northeast who has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren -- and wouldn't mind having more.

They all live in a four storied building with 100 rooms in a mountainous village in Mizoram state, sharing borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, media reports said...His wives share a dormitory near Ziona's private bedroom and locals said he likes to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

...The family, all 167 of them, consumes around 91 kg (200 pounds) of rice and more than 59 kg (130 pounds) of potatoes a day. They are supported by their own resources and occasional donations from followers.

"Even today, I am ready to expand my family and willing to go to any extent to marry," Ziona said.

I think there are some Negev Beduin like him.

But with different names.


When The Persians Knocked on Jerusalem's Door

Refreshing our history knowledge:

Xusrō II consolidated his power around the Persian Gulf and sent envoys to Arabia, as far as Mecca to inquire about the situation. The last king of al‐Hira, al‐Nu’man III ibn al‐Mundir was killed and the Lakhmid state put under other Persian loyalists in 602 CE. When the Roman emperor, Maurice was removed and Phokas came to the throne, Xusrō II used this event as a pretext for the conquest Syria and beyond. First Roman Armenia was captured by Xusrō II, and in 604 CE with blazing speed, his two generals Šāhin and Šahrwarāz conquered Syria, Palestine in 614 CE, and then Egypt was taken in 619 CE, and the Persians even went as far as Libya, while Anatolia was conquered between 619‐622 CE. We have vivid description by Antiochus Strategos of the conquest of the city of Jerusalem in 614 CE and the taking of he holy cross which resonated in Roman empire and the event was much lamented.
We should remind ourselves that this was an early Christian view of things. The Jewish sources provide us with a more nuanced view of the events in Jerusalem. A Piyyutim or Jewish liturgical poem from the period suggests that the Jews initially saw the Sasanians as their savior.
Indeed the Sasanians allowed the Jews not only to inhabit the city, but also to built an alter and retake the Jewish sacred space (H. Sivan, “Palestine betweenByzantium and Persia (CE 614-618),” La Persia e bisanzio, Roma, 2004, p. 90). But by 618 CE the balance of favor had tipped towards the Christians by the Sasanians. Xusrō II was not anti‐Christian. In fact he had already presided over the election of a new patriarch of the Church of the East in 605 CE which was a sign of royal favor.  The conquest of Jerusalem shocked the Eastern Roman empire which in 610 CE had made Heraclius its emperor. Heraclius was intent on leaving for North Africa, but it is said that his mind was changed by the clergy to remain and with the aid of church funds, he mounted a counterattack. From the Black Sea he entered Armenia and went into the heart of the Persian empire in 624 CE, sacking the sacred Adūr Farrōbāy temple at Ganzak in retaliation for the taking of the “True Cross” by the Sasanains from Jerusalem.

You read how the Temple Mount was the object of Jewish attention.


You Will Want to Read the Rest of David Solway's Article

It starts off thus:-

I have by this time written and posted maybe two dozen articles bitterly decrying the ruinous ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. In developing my arguments, I have used every discrediting metaphor and analogy I could think of — Obama as a defective scholar, as a greedy restaurateur, as a mad apologist, as a Science Fiction Destructor, as a sorcerer’s apprentice, as a sly feline, as a flamboyant orchid, as President Stuxnet, as an arboreal lycopod, as an arrogant college sophomore with failing grades, as a Burgher of Schilda, as the Playboy of the Western World, as the Pied Piper, as Zartan who assumes the identity of the president in the film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, as the reincarnation of the false messiah Sabbatai Zevi, and more. I have even suffered nightmares in which he appears like a spook out of the yawning earth to haunt a terrified people.

But it didn’t start out that way.

To continue here.


To My Chicago Readers: Attend This Symposium

May I suggest you attend?


Eliezer Berkovits Symposium
at University of Chicago

Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992), chair of the Department of Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew Theological College (Skokie, Illinois) from 1958 to 1975, is now widely recognized as one of the more significant Jewish theologians and Orthodox rabbinic thinkers of the twentieth-century. A product of Eastern European yeshivot and the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin, Berkovits fled the Nazis to England and Australia, moved to the United States, and finally immigrated to Israel. His thought engaged the concrete problems of the Jewish people during a period of momentous change, from the Holocaust to the establishment of the State of Israel, addressing a range of questions from biblical theology to the halakhic problem of the agunah, feminism, and the challenge of conversion.

Berkovits was one of the first Orthodox leaders to build bridges with Reform and Conservative Judaism and, through his own person, had a strong impact on the Chicago Jewish community. In recent years there has been a renaissance of interest in Berkovits’ writings in Israel, including translation and publication of a number of his works into Hebrew and, most recently, into Russian.

The Center for Jewish Studies of the University of Chicago, in collaboration with the Spertus Institute, is proud to sponsor this symposium, bringing together leading scholars of rabbinics and Jewish thought to critically address Berkovits’ contributions to modern Jewish thought and life.

This program is open to the community at no charge, but registration is required. To register, contact or 312-322-1773.

Location: TBA
Twitter Hashtag: #EVeliez0306

It seems Shalerm is not involved.


For example, they founded in 2003

The Eliezer Berkovits Institute for Jewish Thought for:

•Publishing the works of Eliezer Berkovits, including re-issuing out-of-print books; publishing edited collections in order to render his thought more accessible; translating his writings, where relevant, into English, Hebrew, French, and Russian; and arranging for first-time publication of previously unpublished essays, Articles, and lectures.
•Establishing the Berkovits Archives, which will collect and house all papers and Articles, published and unpublished manuscripts, responsa, lecture notes, correspondence, recorded speeches, and other materials pertinent to scholars interested in researching or writing about Berkovits' life and thought.
•Promoting Original Research into the life and thought of Eliezer Berkovits through grants to resident and visiting scholars, authors, and graduate students interested in writing about Berkovits' life and ideas. As part of this effort, the Institute will support the writing of an intellectual biography of Berkovits.
•Conducting Conferences and Educational Activities on the thought of Eliezer Berkovits and on the subjects on which he wrote and taught.

Oh, well.


Quotable Words


“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money,” Samuel Johnson declared back in the 18th-century heyday of print, and while an army of blogheads has recently refuted this claim, at least partly, the principle of defiant professionalism, however embattled, is still sound.

AO Scott in a movie review

A Pal. Geography Lesson

How to realign your geography.  Here:

Violent clashes erupted Tuesday evening between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces in several districts of Silwan town, southern Al-Qsaa mosque.

a) There are no "districts" there.

b) Silwan is not a "town" but a neighborhood.  In any case, they claim it's located in "East Jerusalem", not a separate entity.

c)  Al-Qsaa (?) [Al-Aqsa] is a mosque and located high above Silwan within the Temple Mount compound.  It is actually in the southern part of that compound.  Silwan is indeed south of that location but totally disconnected.

Oh, that "violence"?
Witnesses told WAFA News Agency that dozens of youths threw stones at Bait Yontan settlement, while the guards opened massive and indiscriminate gunfire causing a state of panic among women and children.

"He who throws stones....".


When Israel's Diplomat Forgets History

A participant in a recent evening with an Israeli diplomat felt a bit disturbed by the resposnses and phrases he heard.

The event he attended was with Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin Israeli diplomat. It was sponsored by a group called Dor Chadash which seems to be a great idea, linking up young Israelis who are stuck in America with American Jews who haven't yet made the decision to get unstuck. They want to

1.Create meaningful connections with Israel through cutting edge programs and engaging events focused on Israeli culture, heritage and current events.
2.Develop social bonds with members who are equally passionate about Israel.
3.Become actively involved in the local, national and global Jewish community.

Don't we all.  Anyway, the participant found that

...the talk was rambling and the hosts had to ask him several times to wrap it up so that we could get to the Q-&-A period.

More substantively, though: Khaldi said the vast majority of Israelis, including himself, favor the creation of a Palestinian state/the two-state solution. In the Q-&-A period, on the interrelated issues of his thoughts on the Jewish State question and the question of whether Jordan is in fact the second state...He said that the Jewish State "is a fact." He did not endorse or reject that fact, and before moving on to another question he said "There is a problem with the national anthem." On the second point, he explicitly and repeatedly denied that the British Mandate for Palestine had resulted in the creation of two states, Israel and Jordan. He said that Jordan ("like Saudi Arabia") was separate, part of a separate territory and process, having nothing whatsoever to do with the British Mandate. His line of argument seemed to be that the Mandate territory equals present-day Israel and that therefore, the second state has not yet been created.

My informant was perturbed, as I am.

First, Jordan was administered up until 1946, when it gained independence, as part of the Palestine Mandate:

Britain administered the part west of the Jordan, 23% of the entire territory, as "Palestine", and the part east of the Jordan, 77% of the entire territory, as "Transjordan." The subsequent two mandates were administrated under one single British Foreign Office High Commissioner which does not prejudice or vacate the international principle whereof official League of Nations documents referred to them as if they were two separate mandates.

Moreover, in 1946,

...When the UK announced plans for Transjordanian independence, the final Assembly of the League of Nations and the General Assembly both adopted resolutions which indicated support for the proposal. However, the Jewish Agency and many legal scholars raised objections. Duncan Hall said that each mandate was in the nature of a treaty, and that being treaties, the mandates could not be amended unilaterally. John Marlowe noted that despite Transjordan's theoretical independence as conferred by the 1946 Treaty, the Arab Legion continued to be used, under nominal Transjordanian but actual British command, for police duties and for frontier control in Palestine. The Jewish Agency spokesmen said that Transjordan was an integral part of Palestine, and that according to Article 80 of the UN Charter, the Jewish people had a secured interest in its territory...Transjordan applied for membership in the United Nations. The President of the Security Council, speaking in his capacity as the representative of Poland, said that Transjordan was part of a joint Mandate. He denied that the Mandate had been legally terminated and asserted the rights and obligations of the United Nations. He mentioned that US Secretary of State Byrnes had spoken out against premature recognition of Transjordan, and he added that the application should not be considered until the question of Palestine as a whole was addressed. Transjordan's application for UN membership was not approved. At the 1947 Pentagon Conference, the USA advised the UK it was withholding recognition of Transjordan pending a decision on the Palestine question by the United Nations.

And on that two-state solution, polls on that issue are hazy.  The indications are that while many  belive that that is the solution, very few believe it will come about.

In any case, I think the diplomat needs some review lessons on Mandate history.


Deep-Throating J Street

J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami has said that recent publicity challenging his group is merely a matter of “finding the right tonality” (“J Street Vows To Calibrate Tone Amid Criticism,” Feb. 18):-

“At times we haven’t paid sufficient attention to the music,” said J Street’s founder and president, Jeremy Ben-Ami. “Our lyrics are correct, our policies and positions are in line with majority views in our community, but we’ve come on slightly too edgy, too ready to hit away at people we don’t agree with. That rough edge hasn’t been helpful.”

It's not a question of 'tonality' but of political tonsillitis: swollen egos, tender necks, soreness, making it difficult for others to swallow their policies, causing us headaches, giving Jews a fever and chills and major congestions of rational thinking. In their acute actions, J Street has sent bad breath and and drooling.

I don't like employing comparisons that might lead one to think of bacteria and viruses due to historical throwbacks but if Ben-Ami thinks it is just a situation of fine-tuning his tones, the probelm is deeper and might call for radical procedures.


The Iran Slip-By or, "Walk All Over You"


Israeli leaders maintained a tense silence on Tuesday over reports that two Iranian Navy ships had passed through the Suez Canal and entered the Mediterranean en route to Syria, a move described by officials here as a provocation.

An Israeli government official said Tuesday that the development constituted a “new footprint in the region” for Iran. He added that given the Iranian-backed presence to Israel’s north, in the form of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and to the south, with Hamas in Gaza, the episode is of great concern to Israel.

And that 'foot' was stepping all over Israel.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Please Read This Take-Down of J Street

By Lenny Ben-David.


And there must be more reasons than just 26.


On the Middle East Weapons Trade

Seems that (a) Arab Middle East countries are stockpiling crowd control weaponery including teargas (so Israel is just like others); and (b) some people assume there may be a probelm with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 'hood:-

Analysis by the Guardian of export licence records held by the Department for Business shows that the UK government issued 20 licences between July and September last year for export to Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman of riot control weapons including teargas, smoke and stun grenades.

It also granted or amended licences worth up to £182m to sell products to Libya, including "crowd control ammunition", "teargas/irritant ammunition" and training in teargas/irritant ammunition.  A licence has been issued to supply shotguns to Bahrain, and sniper rifles to Oman and Qatar.

"The Middle East was a growing market until a few weeks ago," said one arms trader who, like most, asked not to be named. "It's a question now of who do we want to sell to. Do we want to sell hi-tech equipment to [Egypt's] Muslim Brotherhood? I don't think so."

I hope money won't affect their thinking.


Alaskan Women Are Tough


State Rep. Sharon Cissna is returning to Alaska by sea after refusing a pat-down search at a Seattle airport.

A spokeswoman for the Anchorage Democrat says she underwent a body scan and was then required to undergo the pat-down by Transportation Safety Administration or leave Sea-Tac airport. Cissna, who has had a mastectomy, described the search as "intrusive" in a statement.

TSA spokesman Kwika Riley says agents are checking into the report and will release a statement later. Scannell says Cissna had undergone medical treatment in Seattle.

She says Cissna will now travel by ferry from Seattle to Juneau.

Monday, February 21, 2011

At The Gefen Publishers Stand - Int'l Book Festival in Jerusalem


Administration Language (Where's The Soap?)

From Elliot Abrams blog:

...the Administration then issued an extraordinary “explanation of vote,” read by UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Though we had to veto, she explained, “we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace…we agree with our fellow Council members—and indeed, with the wider world—about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity...

This is amazing language for diplomat: “folly,” “illegitimacy,” “devastates,” “corroded,” and so on. It’s hard to recall such a vehement statement against Israel, nor one that contains so many conclusions that are, to say the least, highly debatable. Has construction in and around Jerusalem or in Ma’ale Adumim, for example, “undermined Israel’s security?” Given that the Israelis and Palestinians concluded the Oslo Accords and the numerous other agreements while construction activity was far greater than it is today, what is the basis for saying that it “devastates trust?”

...emotive language such as Amb. Rice employed serves no purpose. Arab newspapers will headline the veto—assuming of course that they have space in their pages tomorrow after covering the revolts in Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Libya, Bahrain, and Egypt—and are very unlikely to cover her speech. Only Israelis and supporters of Israel in the United States will study her language, and remember it.

This wouldn't be a method of the famous Obama Administration "engagement" policy?


Conquering Al-Aksa

Remember my post on someone you probably never heard of previously, Qaradawi?

Well, watch this clip where you can hear all of his words, like

In his address to an estimated one million Egyptians gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi had a special message to "our brothers in Palestine."

"I harbor the hope that just like Allah allowed me to witness the triumph in Egypt, he will allow me to witness the conquest of the al-Aksa mosque [on Jerusalem's Temple Mount] and will enable me to preach in the al-Aksa mosque," Qaradawi said.

"Oh Allah, allow us to preach in the al-Aksa mosque, amen," he said to shouts and cheers from the crowd.