Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is This An Islamic Joke?

How many female Saudi Arabians can fit behind the steering wheel of a car?

None, but 5 arrested for trying.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Series of Wall Posters

Here they are:

a) asking for offspring

b)  asking for progeny at the Western Wall

c)  men's only dance workshop sessions for theater perfromance

d)  the impurifying of Jerusalem by Friday shows and cultural events near the Old City walls

e)  a poster display board at Shiloh, with the monthly walk-around the Temple Mount (to the left) and memorial for Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu (at the right) with a women's fashion sale in yellow:


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Silly Errors and I Bet He Considers Himself an Expert

One Daniel Byman has a new book out which I spotted at Barnes and Noble.  A High Price, on Israel's war against terrorism.

I reached page 15 and found two silly errors of fact.

One, it is implied that the Irgun in the 1930s, acting against Arab terror during their "Revolt", was led by Menachem Begin.

He only became commander in December 1943.

Second, the Irgun fighters who overcame the gurads at the north gate entrance of the King David Hotel and brought in seven milk cans filled with explosives were not disguised as Sudanese waiters.  They weren't black nor very tall.  They were 'Arab workers'.

And people expect to learn history from him?


First Day in New York

We're here in Manhattan:

Lunch was at a great restaurant, U Cafe (, and it turns out he knows well our neighbor from Shiloh who hails from Paramus where he served, prior to being a restauranter, as a chazan.  I had French onion soup

my wife had grilled salmon with Israeli salad
and I had Portabella salad

and later, we had coffeee with a friend at Barnes & Noble at 86th off of Lex and there I found the book I edited with Harry Hurwitz on the shelf:

Soon to get together with my sister & brother-in-law.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Looking for the Flotilla?

Try here:



Let Him Research Here in Israel

Andrew L. Pieper ( of Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA published Flouting Faith? Religious Hostility and the American Left, 1977-2000 and from the abstract, I cannot imagine the 'fun' he'd have researching the same paradimg here in Israel:-

Recent scholarship has outlined and debated theories of a culture war taking place within the United States, with religious traditionalists pitted against nonorthodox religious believers and nonbelievers. Some scholars and commentators contend that the American Left has contributed to this culture war through its hostility toward Americans of faith. This theory, which I call the Irreverent Left thesis, purports that such hostility has caused religious traditionalists to abandon the Democratic Party for the Republican Party, leading to Republican victories in national politics. This article examines whether the Left has become more hostile to religion. Using content analysis of American Left publications — The Nation, In These Times, and Mother Jones — I examine the attitudes of progressive elites from 1977 to 2000. Findings indicate that although the American Left has become more hostile toward religious faith, this hostility is more likely a result of the shifting partisan loyalties than a cause.


The 'Sink or Swim' Flotilla Update/Overview


Will it be 'sink or swim'?  For the activists?

How many coming? -

Ynet has learned that six ships that were meant to take part in the Gaza-bound flotilla are being detained by the port authority and the coast guard in Greece. Senior officials in Jerusalem have confirmed the report.  While the organizers of the maritime convoy claim that more than 1,500 activists are set to take part in the initiative, it now appears that not more than seven ships, carrying 200-500 passengers, will participate in the flotilla.

And Kol Yisrael's reshet Bet station exposed the facade of "advocacy journalist" Joseph Dana (although he called The Nation -- "mechubad" -- respected), former Media Coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee in Bil'in, Naalin, etc. and showed that Dana was an ex-Israeli anti-Zionist with a huge chip and little professional reporting qualifications.


Are These Human Rights Groups Human?

Are these human rights groups - human?

Amnesty International & the Israel Section
B'Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights
in the Occupied Territories
Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights
Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
Human Rights Watch
International Federation for Human Rights
Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza
Physicians for Human Rights - Israel
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Rabbis for Human Rights
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights

Well, read this and also read this.

Does their joint statement call for Shalit to be released?

Do they all demand Shalit's release seperately or together?

What do you think?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is Anthony Weiner Thinking "Why Me Not Him?"


Florence Henderson, the actress who played perky mom Carol Brady in the beloved family sitcom, says she [had] a one-night-stand with career politician John Lindsay, who was the mayor of New York City at the time.

Henderson, now 77, recounts in her upcoming memoir that she was cheating on her husband during the 1960s, and gave in to her better judgment when her married and unattractive friend put the moves on her over drinks at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"I was lonely. I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. So, what did I do? I did it," she writes in "Life is Not a Stage," set for publication in September.

I guess Episcopalians beat Jews on this score?


ALERT - Intermittent Blogging Over Next Two Weeks

I will be, with my family, in New York for the coming two weeks so sorry to disappoint all those expecting 10 blog posts per day.

I'll try my best but...

...blogging will be intermittent.


From Gaza to Libya Via Whitehall

Writes Robin Shepherd at The Commentator, inter alia:

Our armed forces owe a huge debt to Israel over the operation in Afghanistan where our strategy against suicide bombing was designed according to advice from the Israeli military and its counter-terrorism experts.

Israel has saved British lives, which is one reason why we really do owe that country such a debt of thanks.

Instead, of course, our public diplomacy is Arabist to the core.

The Foreign Office’s anti-Zionism is so extreme that when Richard Goldstone himself withdraw the key allegation in his United Nations report that Israel had deliberately targeted civilians in the Gaza conflict in December 2008 and January 2009, they issued a statement to The Commentator saying not that they now believed the Goldstone Report should be withdrawn but that they were determined to stand behind it!

...If Israel did more than any other army in history to safeguard civilians and Britain still gives succor to a report (and an agenda behind it) which alleges war crimes charges against the Jewish state over that operation, then logic dictates that war crimes charges would be even more justified against Britain itself.

In its sordid assault on Israel, the British Foreign Office is thus undermining Britain’s own national interests...We could be hoist with our own petard.

Lacking any credible legal, moral or intellectual response, the Foreign Office can only rely on the hope that hostility to the Jewish State is a unique phenomenon. It’s one rule for the Jews, and another for the rest of us...But it’s also reckless in the extreme. We have no idea how the (ridiculously named) “Arab Spring” is going to turn out. We don’t even know what’s going to happen in Libya, or how long we’ll be there...

Read it all.

New Book: Only Israel Will Be A State West of the Jordan River

Recently, there was a Sovereignty Now conference and I know the Yesha Council is planning a similar campaign idea and now we have this:

Dear Friends,

...While teaching Middle East Studies for 35 years at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I researched and wrote extensively on Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian question, minorities in the Middle East, Islam, and U.S. foreign policy.

My new book "ONLY ISRAEL WEST OF THE RIVER" defends the Jewish national state narrative, rejects the Palestinian state idea, argues in favor of Jerusalem united under Israeli rule, elucidates the Jewish settlement enterprise, while offering a coherent paradigm to contend with the Israeli-Palestinian conflct.

ONLY ISRAEL WEST OF THE Jordan river is my core proposal to generate new political discourse and conflict-resolution toward a vision of peace. My book cuts through the fog of disinformation on behalf of reality, truth, and justice.

For a learning experience on the most controversial and potentially explosive political issue of our times, order now ONLY ISRAEL WEST OF THE RIVER at: or on at list price $8.99.

Mordechai is a good friend and has written this previously in a book review:

...The use of terminology such as "‘the occupied territories" and the definition of West Bank settlements as an "obstacle" to peace exhibit standard pietism...alleged Palestinian moderation, though sullied by the rise of Hamas with its Islamic agenda and jihad ethos, is conventionally contrasted with Israeli obstinacy in these works.

Two alternative explanations can be proposed to explain the impasse. One relates to the objective parameters characterizing the political paralysis: the tiny geographic size of the country in which the aspirations and growth of the two national communities must be satisfied; the complexity, rather than criminality, of the Jewish settlement enterprise across the land; and the intermixing of the Jewish-Arab populations in the Jerusalem urban metropolis. A second explanation relates to the explicit Palestinian objection to recognize Israel as a Jewish state...

The entire political edifice of the Oslo paradigm, based on PLO moderation and the two-state prescription, is challenged by the inherent logic embedded in the sacred doctrine of rogue Palestinian nationalism, and also in the transient character of a political solution limited only to the post-67 borders. Indeed, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip may be less than a political solution for the Palestinian problem and more of a "final solution" to the Jewish problem. Perhaps sentimental optimism may eventually give way to a stroke of realism in consideration of such political affairs.

...A new political paradigm for conflict-resolution will arise and acquire public support only when, after stages of disappointment and disintegration of cooperative efforts, the inability of the old paradigm to solve the problem at issue is recognized. The two-state solution seems neat and simple, but is unworkable. The Palestinians and the Israelis both want more than the 1967 lines offer; neither is willing to consider those lines as their optimal choice...The new paradigm will presumably posit not two states - Israel and Palestine - west of the Jordan River, but only one, meaning that there will not be a third state between Israel and Jordan. The one-state solution will forge in new ways the parameters of its social-demographic and political-constitutional makeup.


GPO Warns the Media on the Flotilla

I am not sure that the wording of this letter is the correct form, especially the part about being banned for 10 years, as the press is there to observe. And for sure, he could have added that any injuries incurred are solely their responsibility for getting in the way since the IDF is legally obliged to uphold the law.

Jerusalem, 26 June 2011

To: Representatives of the Foreign Press in Israel
Re: Press Participation in the Flotilla

Dear friends,

A flotilla of ships is due to arrive soon in the Middle East in order to try and enter the Gaza Strip.

This flotilla is a dangerous provocation that is being organized by western and Islamic extremist elements to aid Hamas, which the world defines as an extremist Islamic terrorist organization.

Those participating in the flotilla have declared that it is their intention to "break" the naval blockade that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip for security reasons, given Hamas's efforts to smuggle weaponry and terrorists into the Gaza Strip.

The flotilla intends to knowingly violate the blockade that has been declared legally and is in accordance with all treaties and international law. The Government of Israel has instructed the IDF not to allow the flotilla to reach its goal.

As the Director of the Government Press Office, I would like to make it clear to you and to the media that you represent, that participation in the flotilla is an intentional violation of Israeli law and is liable to lead to participants being denied entry into the State of Israel for ten years, to the impoundment of their equipment and to additional sanctions.

I implore you to avoid taking part in this provocative and dangerous event, the purpose of which is to undermine Israel's right to defend itself and to knowingly violate Israeli law.

Please pass along the contents of this letter to your editorial boards around the world.


Oren Helman, Director
Government Press Office

The media is there to report what goes on just like at Montgomery, Alabama, Gandhi's Salt March in India and other civic actions no matter how we view the situation. Even though we know that the "media" also includes the involvement of advocacy activists who will probably interfere as subjective reporting efforts, asking them not to be a part is a bit pie-in-the-sky, with all their bias. Suggesting that they observe but from another ship, may not be practical but at least it stresses the concern of Israel that the press members not be injured.

Who knows, maye a camera would catch things we desperately need to prove out case.


On The Haifa Situation 1947-1948

Haim Tivon's letter disputing claims of Israeli dirty operations:

Cleansing operation

During the five months of the campaign in Haifa in 1948 I fought in the city in the 22nd Battalion of the Carmeli Brigade, and took part in one of the two decisive and multi-casualty battles: the battle for Beit Khoury. Reading the article by Shai Fogelman, I wondered whether he was writing about the same event.

The article says almost nothing about the events of December 1947 - April 1948 in the city. The present-day reader is liable to get the wrong idea and think that this was a tranquil time which was spoiled only by the Haganah's "sudden" attack on the Arab neighborhoods in Operation Bi'ur Hametz [Operation Cleansing the Leaven] on April 21, 1948.

The truth is that those months were rife with terrorist acts and bloody attacks by the Arab forces, most of them against Haifa's Jewish citizens. The attack by the 22nd Battalion on April 21-22 and the conquest of the Arab neighborhoods was the decisive action in a campaign of a few months, involving the defense of the Jewish neighborhoods, the outskirts of the city and public transportation, as well as retaliatory operations in the wake of Arab attacks which did not discriminate between civilians and combatants.

During this period the 22nd Battalion alone lost 35 men and the Carmeli units another five. The guard corps lost 14 of its troops and thus the total number of Haganah fighters killed in the campaign for Haifa stood at 54. I don't know how many Jewish civilians were killed - or, more accurately, murdered. It is hardly the case that "the Jewish side sustained relatively few casualties," in Fogelman's scornful formulation.

The attempt to attribute the flight of most of Haifa's Arabs to the shelling of the Old City market with Davidkas is peculiar. After all, the Arabs who gathered in the market were already in the midst of their flight out of the city via the port. Fogelman himself writes that of approximately 62,500 Arabs in Haifa, 42,500 abandoned the city in the months that preceded the operation launched to conquer it, leaving only about 20,000. And this was even before the attack on the market!

Accordingly, it seems to me that Fogelman's attempt to inflate this shelling to mythic proportions that bear a historic influence on the history of Haifa in 1948 is not consistent with the historical facts, which in themselves are sad.

As one who wholeheartedly yearns for a good life together with Haifa's Arab residents, despite the burden of the past in which we fought each other, I regret what is said in the article - and all the more so because Haifa constitutes about the only example in our country of a place in which the two communities, Arabs and Jews, share a good and tranquil life together. Against this background, I am especially irritated by Fogelman's reliance on publications of the Im Tirtzu organization.

Haaretz is never an independent sole source for facts.


NYTimes Bombs, Strafes Gaza

In words, of course.

From today's story

Building Boom in Gaza’s Ruins Belies Misery That Remains


GAZA — Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.

As pro-Palestinian activists prepare to set sail aboard a flotilla aimed at maintaining an international spotlight on Gaza and pressure on Israel, this isolated Palestinian coastal enclave is experiencing its first real period of economic growth since the siege they are protesting began in 2007.

“Things are better than a year ago,” said Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University, who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70 percent over.” Ala al-Rafati [said] nearly 1,000 factories are operating here, and he estimated unemployment at no more than 25 percent after a sharp drop in jobless levels in the first quarter of this year.

...“We have 100 percent vaccination; no polio, measles, diphtheria or AIDS,” said Mahmoud Daher, a World Health Organization official here. “We’ve never had a cholera outbreak.”

The Israeli government and its defenders use such data to portray Gaza as doing just fine and Israeli policy as humane and appropriate: no flotillas need set sail....For the past year, Israel has allowed most everything into Gaza but cement, steel and other construction material — other than for internationally supervised projects — because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs....Karim Gharbawi is an architect and building designer with 10 projects under way, all of them eight- and nine-story residential properties. He said there were some 130 engineering and design firms in Gaza. Two years ago, none were working. Today, he said, all of them are. Another result of the regional changes is the many new cars here. Israel allows in 20 a week, but that does not meet the need...

The picture portrayed in the rest of the article points to problems, but, heck, it's still the NYTimes.


Modesty Fashion in a Blaze

Naamah Sapir, you are not alone.

...She said there was an explosion of tzniut fashion blogs online, including Fashion-Isha and Frum Fashionista with Jewish women taking inspiration from modest styles seen in the pages of Vogue and other fashion magazines...



President's Conference - Part Four

Today, a special three-part bloggers' session was convened. First was Natan Sharanksy, who I first met in Moscow in November 1976.

Second was the President himself, Shimon Peres (next to him is former Cabinet Secretary Israel Maimon, Chair of the Conference Steering Committee):

and then Jim Wales of Wikipedia:

Peres defined Jewishness as holding to a moral code, a thirst to learn and a desire to help Israel survive.  On the campuses, we must show that despite all criticism, Israel holds the high moral ground.  As an 11th Commandment: respect your peers.

On the security issue he sounded quite hawkish - Israel has been attacked 7 times in 63 years; we alone are a state that faces destruction threats and in all the region, we alone are separated by religion, culture and history from all the others.

We must always exercise the mind - and he notes that while Rabbi Elyashiv is almost 100, and his body almost really doesn't exist, since he never stopped studying, his mind is a salert as when he was much younger.  The IDF should combine camp & campus - providing a BA degree by end of service.


Did Former Congressman Weiner Convert? To Islam?

He thinks so:

...FP: According to Islamic Law, Huma Abedin could be killed, right? If the whole thing is not a charade and a trick, it is a bit curious that her family, who are Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim Sisterhood operatives, have allowed this and not punished her, no?

Spencer: Yes, Jamie. If the marriage is not a sham, it is exceedingly strange that Huma Abedin’s mother and other Muslim Brotherhood connections would have no problem with it. She is, of course, a high profile individual in the United States, and thus is in a very different situation from that of a woman in Saudi Arabia who might enter into a relationship with a non-Muslim man. In Saudi Arabia, such a woman would almost certainly be murdered; would Brotherhood operatives murder the aide to the Secretary of State for committing the same sin? That is not so clear.


And if he had converted to Buddhism:-


Goldstone Report in an Exchange of Letters

Found an exchange of letters at the NYRB:

In response to:
Goldstone and Gaza: What's Still True from the May 26, 2011 issue

To the Editors:

David Shulman’s article “Goldstone and Gaza: What’s Still True” [NYR, May 26] ignores the implications of Richard Goldstone’s stunning mea culpa. After reviewing Israel’s recent Gaza investigations, Goldstone declares: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” On the key issue of intentionality, he concludes that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy” by Israel.1

Mr. Shulman, conceding that Goldstone was right to make that correction, states that “anyone who knows the Israeli army knows that, for all its faults and failings, it does not have a policy of deliberately targeting innocent civilians.” But Mr. Shulman is curiously unwilling to follow the logic of that statement. Since war crimes require intent to injure civilians, it follows that all the charges against Israel collapse. Mark Toner, spokesman for the State Department, thus declared that the government did not see evidence of “any” war crimes and “now we see that Justice Goldstone has reached the same conclusion.”2

Similarly, Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, now acknowledges that the incidents cited in two of his organization’s three Gaza reports are “too isolated for us to conclude that the misconduct of individual soldiers reflected a wider policy decision to target civilians.”3 Those reports cover 80 percent of the fifty-two alleged civilian casualties identified by HRW.

While agreeing with Goldstone’s retraction, Mr. Shulman fails to recognize that there is no longer a legal basis for charging Israel with war crimes. As a result, he complains about Israel’s attack on armed Gaza police officers, claiming they were passive bystanders and not part of Hamas’s military apparatus. But Hamas’s final casualty figures include the police as combatants.

Mr. Shulman also raises general concerns about civilian suffering but overlooks the circumstances in which the conflict was waged. Hamas disguised its fighters in civilian garb, hid its troops and weapons among civilians in densely populated areas, and used civilians as human shields. It deliberately placed Gaza’s citizens in harm’s way. Accidental damage to civilians was inevitable despite the best precautions to minimize collateral damages. It was Hamas’s goal to win a public relations victory by exploiting pictures of civilian suffering.

I share Mr. Shulman’s concerns about Israel’s prolonged occupation, settlements, and lack of progress in peace negotiations. But when individuals like Mr. Shulman and powerful NGOs like HRW portray Israel as a pariah state, they are polarizing the parties and creating a poisonous atmosphere inhospitable to peace negotiations. They are making matters worse, not better.

Stuart Robinowitz

The author is a retired partner and of counsel to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and was formerly an adjunct faculty member at the Yale Law School. A longtime supporter of Human Rights Watch, he led human rights fact-finding missions for HRW and the American Bar Association.

David Shulman replies:

There is considerable difference between holding Israel to account for its policies and actions in Gaza in December 2008–January 2009 and seeking to “portray Israel as a pariah state.” Indeed, were the State of Israel to assume responsibility for what its army did in Gaza, and were it to transform its policy toward Palestinians into something that was minimally rational, constructive, and humane, it would soon emerge from the overwhelming isolation it now suffers in the international arena.

Mr. Robinowitz cites my statement denying that the Israeli army deliberately targets civilians as a matter of policy. Goldstone’s retraction largely focuses on this point and should be welcomed. This does not, however, mean that there were no cases of wrongdoing in Operation Cast Lead or that charges of war crimes simply collapse. Given the high civilian casualty figures and the overall level of destruction, the results of the army’s internal investigations of such charges are, in my view, perfunctory and far from convincing. (The precise figures, as compiled by B’Tselem, are given in my piece.) Many specific cases—such as the killing of the handcuffed, unarmed Iyad al-Samouni on January 5, 2009, to mention but one example—remain unsolved. I have little confidence that the army intends to investigate these cases with the seriousness they deserve; nor do I think that we are talking only about rare and episodic aberrations. Nonetheless, I repeat: it is wrong to posit a deliberate army policy of targeting civilians.

To the best of my knowledge, Human Rights Watch never claimed that such a policy existed. It is thus misleading to suggest that HRW has “now” retreated from such a claim.

Moreover, the absence of a policy to kill civilians deliberately is not enough; actions that inevitably result in high civilian casualties, and that follow from premeditated decisions on the part of the army command, remain crimes of war. In my view, the extensive use of white phosphorus and the heavy artillery bombardments in densely populated areas of Gaza—both amply documented during Operation Cast Lead—clearly fall into this category.

There is also the charge, which figures prominently in the Goldstone report (Chapter XIII), that Israel deliberately targeted civilian infrastructures in Gaza, perhaps in order to punish the civilian population collectively. Here the evidence is, unfortunately, all too persuasive. Mr. Robinowitz can decide for himself whether, for example, the targeting of a major water and sewage disposal installation at al-Sheikh Ejlin, serving the huge civilian population of Gaza City, does or does not constitute a crime. The Israeli veterans’ peace group Breaking the Silence has collected credible testimonies in which soldiers describe participating in such so-called “infrastructure work.” Note that Goldstone has not retracted the harsh conclusion to this chapter in his report.

Far from overlooking the context in which the war was waged, I have argued that this context determines the moral issues at stake. Fighting that takes place in the midst of a civilian population requires judgment and, sometimes, unavoidable risk on the part of the individual soldier and of his or her commanding officers. One can complain about the ugly exigencies of such a war; they are, however, not new to Israel’s experience. My claim, on the basis of direct testimonies from soldiers who took part in the Cast Lead campaign, is that previously accepted rules of engagement were changed and that a “zero-risk” policy was adopted—for the first time in Israel’s history. In effect, this can only mean greater civilian casualties. Mine is by no means the only Israeli voice protesting the new modus operandi as falling short of the ethical standard that the army had hitherto set as its norm (even if it sometimes, perhaps often, failed to live up to this norm).

One should not dodge the moral question by speaking of “accidental damage to civilians,” or by refusing to acknowledge that many innocents died in the deliberate attack on the police cadets in the opening moments of the war, or, more generally, by ignoring the consequences of the tremendous firepower unleashed by Israel during the operation. What is worse, none of the above can be isolated from the current wave of nationalist hysteria, racist legislation, self-righteous posturing, and self-destructive policies that has engulfed the State of Israel and now informs much of its public discourse—including official statements by government spokesmen, the Foreign Ministry, and many members of the Knesset. Such statements and the actions they seek to justify or defend are the true cause of the present “poisonous atmosphere inhospitable to peace negotiations.”

Richard Goldstone, "Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and War Crimes," The Washington Post , April 1, 2011. ↩

Associated Press, as reported in "Goldstone Says He Won't Seek Nullification of Gaza War Report," Haaretz , April 6, 2011. ↩

Kenneth Roth, "Gaza: The Stain Remains on Israel's War Record," The Guardian , April 5, 2011.

Seen An Egyptian Coptic Church Lately?

Ever heard of the Virgin Mary Church on Cairo’s al-Wahda Street?


Well, on
May 8, this church, in the impoverished Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba, a ten-minute drive from Tahrir Square, was a scene of devastation. It had been ravaged by flames and its insides gutted, smashed, looted, and charred after clashes broke out between Muslims and Christians over the case of a Coptic woman named Abeer Fakhri, an alleged convert to Islam whom ultraconservative Salafis had claimed was being held against her will at the nearby Church of St. Mina, which was also attacked. Fifteen people were killed in the violence and almost two hundred injured.

This extract is from this article, "Egypt: The Victorious Islamists" by  Yasmine El Rashidi in the New York Review of Books, a very liberal left weekly.

The "good" news in Egypt is

Of all the organized political movements and groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, its Freedom and Justice party, and its loose alliance of similarly conservative political entities—such as the recently approved Islamist al-Wasat party—are the only ones pushing for elections in September. Liberal opposition groups have called for their postponement, citing the need for more time to organize, but the military, so far, has said it will not change the date.

And there's more:
The Brotherhood made scathing statements against women and Copts soon after Mubarak’s ouster. Its leaders are now openly calling for an Islamic state, something they had previously denied was among its goals. “They will never change,” the outspoken newspaper editor Abdel Halim Qandil told a friend and me recently. “I don’t trust them. They are deceptive.”...the Muslim Brotherhood seems confident that it will emerge victorious in September’s parliamentary elections. In February it said it would win no more than 20 percent of the seats; it is now—officially—aiming for 50 percent. Essam el-Erian recently told me, “But of course we want a majority or the largest percent we can get.” Through a coalition agreement with other Islamist groups, Lacroix said, this “seems increasingly likely.”
At the end of May, in a public library in Imbaba, not far from the Virgin Mary Church, a group of Salafis—who call themselves “Salafyo Costa” after Costa Coffee, which they like to drink—held an open meeting, intended “to begin a dialogue with liberals and help cast aside this idea of us as devils,” as Mohamed Tolba, one of the group’s organizers, told me...After the meeting, one of the Salafist wives approached me, inviting me to a women-only gathering at her house. “You’re so young,” another said, before proceeding to explain how she slowly converted from being uncovered to wearing a full-face veil. “It just takes time,” she said reassuringly. “You get used to it.”

...Sitting in the Virgin Mary Church with Father Sarabamon, I told him about the invitation of the Salafi women. He smiled. “They want to convert you,” he told me. “I fear the worst. You know already that they don’t teach Coptic history in schools. It will take time, but I see the direction we are moving in.”

As goes Egypt...

But of course Barry Rubin has been writing this for months.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is This Why the Flotilla Activists Are Depressed?

From a US State Department release:

...We underscore that delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas, could violate U.S. civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration.

That was from a Press Statement of Victoria Nuland, Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC
June 24, 2011


My "J Generation" Post at the JPost

It's here.


Flotilla Activists Depressed

We're informed via Twitter


Joseph Dana Spending time with the passengers, the insanity of the reactions from governments over the flotilla has become clear and deeply depressing.


The Real Apartheid in the Middle East

The news:

Delta Partnership With Saudi Air a Controversial Connection

The Saudi government-owned carrier does not allow anyone into Saudi Arabia, no matter their ethnicity or citizenship, if that person has an Israeli stamp on his or her passport...Delta's new alliance with Saudi Arabian Airlines through its Skyteam Network is coming under fire. As policy, the Saudi government-owned carrier does not allow anyone into Saudi Arabia, no matter their ethnicity or citizenship, if that person has an Israeli stamp on his or her passport.

"...[ADL notes] discrimination of this kind has no place in American business or trade."

..."As a Jewish person, I should be able to fly into Saudi Arabia or anywhere else," says South Florida Delta passenger Michael Friedman. He says he has many Delta miles under his belt, but thinks partnering with the Saudi carrier reflects badly on Delta. 

...The Saudi government [claims] that it does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion.  The statement did not mention entry denied to those with Israeli stamps on passports.

...While Delta cannot control the Saudi government's rules governing who is allowed to enter that country, the airline can certainly choose with whom it forms alliances, as one South Florida traveler told NBCMiami at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Internatonal Airport.  "I guess it's something that we need to be more educated on, who we're doing business with," said Lisa Angelbello, just before boarding a Delta flight.

More news (with correction on Saudi policy):

The Saudi Arabian embassy on Friday (June 24) denied as "completely false" reports that U.S. Jews would not be able to travel to Saudi Arabia under Delta Air Line's planned partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines..."Rumors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false," the embassy statement said. "The government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion."  Saudi officials told CNN that the kingdom does not grant visas to holders of Israeli passports because it does not recognize Israel, and will not deny entry visas to Americans simply because of an Israeli stamp on a U.S. passport...Delta did not deny concerns about Jews' or Israelis' ability to travel to Saudi Arabia.

And that has led to action:

A U.S. lawmaker wants the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate allegations that Delta Airlines has entered into an agreement with Saudi Arabia that could prohibit American Jews from flying into the country - a charge the airline and the Saudi government vigorously dispute.  “I request your investigation into this matter to determine whether Delta Airlines violated U.S. law or regulation and to ensure no U.S. citizen is denied their right to fly solely on the basis of their religion,” Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk wrote in a letter to the head of the FAA.

So, Jews have problems.  What about Christians?  Well

The Saudi regime's Expatriates Monitoring Committee used a new high-tech finger-print system to identify Nirosh Kamanda of Sri Lanka as a Christian, reported Arab News, the government-approved English-language paper.   "The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims," said Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department in charge of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca. "The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals and overstayers."
More on him here.  And see this.

Should Christians protest?  Why not is suggested here.

Is that a form of apartheid?


Friday, June 24, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Those, even Jews themselves, who announce they have nothing against Jews but are opposed to Zionism are like those who say they like Afro-Americans but can't stand the color black.


Looking Back on That 1947 Partition Recommendatiom and Around-about

Who was enthusiastically in favor?

Not them:

December 3, 1947

Anti-partition Demonstrations Break out in Egypt; 30,000 Demonstrate in Baghdad

New demonstrations broke out in Egypt today and violence was reported in at least one city as Arabs in the major centers of the Middle East joined the Palestine Arabs in a protest strike against the U.N. decision in favor of the partitioning of Palestine. At Zagazig, a town about 40 miles north of Cairo, the British Institute was wrecked and gutted by fire after being attacked by 1,000 demonstrators...In Cairo, Premier Mahmoud Nokrashy Pasha told the Parliament that Egypt would "ignore" partition. Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League, told demonstrating students in Cairo that it was their duty to go to Palestine and fight...In Baghdad, 30,000 demonstrators were kept in line by mounted policemen. Recruiting offices were reportedly opened in Beirut for Arabs desiring to fight in Palestine.  According to another report some 20-odd Syrian deputies volunteered for combatant service after the Syrian parliament had voted some $880,000 to raise a "striking force."

Two months earlier:

The ex-mufti of Jerusalem today arrived in Beirut, attend a meeting, begun yesterday, of the Arab League Council, which will discuss the Palestine problem, among other matters...Sheikh Hassan el Banna, head of the Moslem Brotherhood, had pledged to send 10,000 young Arabs to "save Palestine." In a cable to Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League who is now in Beirut, Banna said that "fighting is the only means of saving Palestine."

By the way, this sounds familiar:

[UN] Israeli representative Aubrey Eban...pointed out that other atrocity stories mentioned by Azzam Pasha had proved to be "imaginary." In addition, he asserted that any suffering of the civilian population was the responsibility of the Arab states who admittedly invaded Palestine.

And what about the theme of boycott?  Here, from October 1947:

The Arab League Council today decided on measures to strengthen the boycott of "Zionist-made" was reported tonight from Beirut.  Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, general-secretary of the League, declared that Palestine was the keystone about which had been built the first agreement for military cooperation in the history of the Arab nations....

And here's the left-wing talking in October 1947 (sounds like today's radical progressives?):

There is no danger of an Arab invasion of Palestine in spite of the threats of the neighboring Arab countries, it was reported here today by three leaders of the Histadruth...Abba Khoushi, Joseph Biankower and Don Pines...

Did the Arabs invade before May 15, 1948?

February 5, 1948
British Repulse Arab Attack at Palestine-syria Frontier; Capture Iraqis and Syrians

One Arab was killed and several wounded in a fight between British frontier troops and an Arab unit dressed in military uniform which attempted to cross from Syria into Palestine to attack Jewish settlements in the Mishmar Hayarden area. Two Iraqis and four Syrians were captured in the battle, while the others retreated into Syria.

And this from March 4, 1948

Approximately 5,000 Arabs invaded Palestine from neighboring countries since the adoption of the partition decision by the General assembly, it was reported today in the House of Commons during a debate on the Palestine question in which Foreign Secretary. Ernest Bevin participated.

What else went on that I could recalll to you?  Ah, this:

Nuri Pasha es-Said, ex-Premier of Iraq and President of the Iraq Senate, submitted to the recent meeting of Arab state premiers a plan worked out by British officials providing for the annexation by King Abdullah of Transjordan of the projected Arab part of Palestine, to be set up under United Nations auspices as a separate state, it was learned here.The Arab part of Palestine, under the British plan, would then be used as a British advance base in the Middle East.

Did Jews assert their rights?  Yes.  The Jewish Agency described:-

...the statement made yesterday by Jamal Husseini, Palestine Arab leader, to the opening session of the second part of the London Conference as a "complete disregard of the fundamental facts of history and the present position of the Jews," the Jewish Agency office here today stated that the Arabs need not fear the emergence of a Jewish state.  Maintaining that the Zionists have always taken into account the presence of the Arabs in Palestine, and the fact that it is surrounded on three sides by Arab-speaking countries, the statement declares that Husseini and his friends ignore the attachment of the Jewish people to Palestine and their determination to renew their national life there, and the international recognition given their right to do so. "To call Jews returning to Palestine 'aliens' is to fly in the face of the most patent reality affecting the country's political future," the Agency continued. "The Jews are returning as sons of the country, ready to share it with the Arab inhabitants, but not conceding the latter's exclusive or predominant mastery in it. "The Jewish claim to statcheed is as natural and as elementary as any other peoples'.

There is so much to be reminded of.


Rip-off at J Street

As reported:

Sullivan took his 15-year-old chow mix, named Ivy, out for a quick walk, Wednesday morning. Upon his return, Sullivan saw an SUV backed up to the front door of his home on “J” Street and a man loading up a t-v, computers and a guitar.  “I go, oh, he’s ripping me off,” said Sullivan. “So I ran in front of his bumper, I’ve still got the dog on the leash, I pounded on the hood of his car and said stop.”

And there is expanded room available at J Street, too.


Sex Cues and the Media

There's a new academic study out entitled "Sexual Cues Emanating From the Anchorette Chair: Implications for Perceived Professionalism, Fitness for Beat, and Memory for News".

Writen by Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Lelia Samson of Indiana University, Bloomington, the experimental study:-

employed one of the most compelling visual cues of female sexual attractiveness (low waist-to-hip ratio) to test the influence of news anchor sexualization on audience evaluations of her as a professional and their memory for the news that she presents. Male participants saw the sexualized version of the anchor as less suited for war and political reporting. They also encoded less news information presented by the sexualized than her unsexualized version.

Conclusions were drawn in line with evolutionary psychology expectations of men’s cognitive susceptibility to visual sex cues. Women participants, on the other hand, did not vary across conditions in their assessments of the anchor’s competence to report on war and political news. Moreover, they encoded more news information presented by the sexualized than unsexualized anchor condition.

The "low waist-to-hip ratio" is compellingly sexually attractive?

When does a viewer ever see that space?

Behind the news desk, she would appear so:

Without the desk, you'd see this:

What are they talking about?

The "low-waist to hip ratio" (WHR) is

...the ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips. Strictly, the waist circumference is measured at a level midway between the lowest rib and the iliac crest, and the hip circumference at the level of the great trochanters, with the legs close together. The waist-hip ratio equals the waist circumference divided by the hip circumference.

I still don't get it.  Even blind men prefer that and they can't see.

Anyone enlighten me?

Ah, this is a bit more clear:

The study was done in a controlled fashion, where men watched the same 24-year-old anchor read the news in a newscast produced by the researchers. In one newscast, the anchor "was dressed in a tight-fitting dark blue jacket and skirt that accented her waist-to-hip ratio," and she wore red lipstick and a necklace, said the study. In the other, the same woman was dressed in a "shapeless and loose-fitting" jacket and skirt. The participants were given a quiz about the stories on the newscast and questions about the anchor's appearance.

P.S.  Another study.  And its good for less heart attacks (avoiding other physiological elements, I guess, is also good for fewer heart attacks, quite).  Dress standards is an issue.

P.P.S.  Check out this humor (originally here):

...the biggest conclusion I get from this study is that universities will throw money at anyone with an idea and a scientific procedure, no matter how predictable the results might be. With that in mind, I'm going to see if I can get funding for the following:

-- A study to examine whether people prefer pizza or Brussels sprouts.
-- A study to see if men drive faster in a Ferrari or a Ford Focus.
-- A study to find out what happens to rain when the temperature dips below 32 degrees.


Maybe There Was a Hole in the BBC's Bucket?

The BBC is so, so...idiotic and anti-Jewish from this report (k/t=EOZ):

The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence has suggested.  The most likely explanation is that those down the well were Jewish and were probably murdered or forced to commit suicide, according to scientists who used a combination of DNA analysis, carbon dating and bone chemical studies in their investigation.  The skeletons date back to the 12th or 13th Centuries at a time when Jewish people were facing persecution throughout Europe...

Does the BBC think it natural that 17 people are at the bottom of a well?

Was there an undiscovered hole in the bucket?

Is there a hole in the brain processes of the brains of BBC editors?

Consider this:

Eleven of the 17 skeletons were those of children aged between two and 15. The remaining six were adult men and women. Pictures taken at the time of excavation suggested the bodies were thrown down the well together, head first. A close examination of the adult bones showed fractures caused by the impact of hitting the bottom of the well. But the same damage was not seen on the children's bones, suggesting they were thrown in after the adults who cushioned the fall of their bodies.

Or is it plain bias and antis....?


The (Martin) Indyk Sqawks and Fingerpoints

I think I misunderstood a story I heard about last night and that I was not supposed to report it.

But Carl has.

This is what was known to me some 12 hours ago:

Some of the participants at the President's Conference in Jerusalem witnessed a very public display of uncivil and undiplomatic behavior on Thursday afternoon, around 5:30 pm. In the main entrance hall, in full view, former US Ambassador to Israel and State Dep't hack and now being financially supported by Haim Sabban at the Brookings Institute, Australian-born Martin Indyk (who did consider Gaza "A failed terrorist state" in 2007 but still promotes a two-state solution as if that isn't a failed diplomatic position) went up to Prof. Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor and began to shout at him. Indyk then turned around, made a standard obscene gesture with his finger, and stormed out.

Well, after Baker's "f" word and the French Ambassador to Great Britain's "sh*tty" remark, one would think that a scatalogical maneuver by so esteemed a personnage like Indyk would be out of order or very faux pas. I do know that a fellow blogger approached Indyk and asked a real question and she received almost a sqawk (*), whihc, considering his moniker, is pro forma.

I wonder if he has any other uses for his fingers besides perhaps, to unsully his olfactory organ.

It is surmised that this incident was apparently related to the New Israel Fund. Indyk had joined NIF's board, and in 2010, his effort to get NIF funding in Australia was cancelled after a series of embarrassments. Indyk wrote a crude column directed at the head of NGO Monitor, Steinberg, and blaming him for exposing the NIF facade. NIF tried again, as NGO Monitor published new reports detailing NIF's central role and cover-up in funding BDS-supporting anti-Israel NGOs like CWP, Adalah, etc. Apparently, the Australians did not buy the NIF-Indyk line, and this, most probably, could explain his uncouth behavior and loss of emotional control.

I hope his daughter his colleague's daughter, who seems to have semi-followed her father's footsteps, and even found that the residents of Tekoa, who she visited, "challenged her preconceptions", will stop short of silly, immature temper-tantrums.  She should also condsider an ideological-political reverse. [Sorry, I erred: The one who "met kind, warm people who challenged her preconceptions" in Tekoa is in fact Aaron David Miller's child, not Martin Indyk's].

Look where it got her father's friend.


In Yiddish, an indyk is a...turkey.

Well, Ten Years Have Passed. And...?


The Zionist, the new Jew, wants to dominate and he pretends that he has got a particular civilizing mission with which he returns to a backward, degenerate race in order to put the elements of progress into an area which wants no progress. Well, that has been the pretension of every power that wanted to colonize and aimed at domination. The excuse has always been that the people are backward and that he has got a human mission to put them forward. The Arabs simply stand and say NO. We are not reactionary and we are not backward. Even if we are ignorant, the difference between ignorance and knowledge is ten years in school. We are a living, vitally strong nation, we are in our renaissance; we are producing as many children as any nation in the world. We still have our brains. We have a heritage of civilization and of spiritual life. We are not going to allow ourselves to be controlled either by great nations or small nations or dispersed nations.

by Azzam Pasha, Secretary of the League of Arab States, to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, March 1946.


Dog? It's the Women!

The whole world was in an uproar about a supposed stoning of a dog by a Jewish Rabbinical Court decision.

It didn't happen; no dog was killed.

But what about a beheading story that did happen?

This one:

Migrant worker Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, was executed after she was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer, Khairiya bint Hamid Mijlid, with a meat cleaver.

The maid carried out the killing after she was denied permission to leave the kingdom and return to her family in Indonesia, according to officials in Jakarta.

"The Indonesian government has decided to impose a moratorium on sending workers to Saudi Arabia," labour minister Muhaimin Iskandar was quoted by state news agency Antara as saying.

The only similarity is that a court was involved in both instances.



I am sitting here at the computer and just caught Angelina Jolie in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" in this dialogue:

She and Brad Pitt are revealed both to be assassins and after first fighting each other and even trying to kill each other, come to an understanidng and while fleeing pursuerss in a high speed car chase, Pitt laments that they've both been lying to each other for their entire marriage and says,

"We're going to have to redo every conversation we've had."

At which point Angelina says,

"I'm Jewish."

Well, the screen writer is also Jewish.  Though this version lacks those lines at page 95.

But she doesn't look well, that Jewish:

But don't forget, I have a special affinity for the family - through Shiloh, the daughter.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

A "Thank You' Wall Poster

Remember that poster, in Hebrew and English, asking those going to the Western Wall for dawn prayers on Shavuot holiday to use the Damascus Gate for men while the women were requested to pass through Jaffa Gate? (No? Well it's the fourth poster here)

Well, they were so pleased that they put up a thank you poster:

All the worthy and righteous women who went through Jaffa Gate, and especially those who did so later on during the day, are to be blessed and congratulated.  Through their actions, Israel is redeemed.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Say Hi to the Hittites

Is is any coincidence that the Turks are promoting the cause of a Palestinian people and also the Hittites?

Press Release

Çorum, 24 March 2011

The Çorum based Hitit University, that has just celebrated its 5th anniversary, announced the establishment of a “Research Center of Hittite Civilization”. The foundation of this center that is affiliated with the Hitit University Rectorate was announced at a panel and a reception at the Anitta Hotel.

...the foundation of such a center would effect the course of Hittite studies in Turkey and Çorum. He pointed out the negligence of Hittitological work in Turkey and compared it with active Hittitological research and publication in Europe and America.

Ünal also gave a long list of goals and duties...
• To research the geography, history, language, art and archeology of Hittite civilization.
• To set up a comprehensive library in which researchers can find every kind of information and secondary publications on the Hittites and lay down an archive of the entire Hittite cuneiform text corpus, which will consist of transliteration and translations.
• To support archeological excavations, surveys, restorations and the reconstruction material remains.
• To plan projects about the Hittite Civilization and to collaborate with other interdisciplinary research programs and cultures such as Hattic, Sumerian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Luwian, Palaic, and Hurrian studies.

Additional information can be found at

Hitit University, Department of Archaeology, Research Center of Hittite Civilisation
PK 19030 Çorum, Turkey

I have read weirder things.


Fake Settlement Scheme?




Not in our neighborhood.

Here's the story:

Fourth Rothstein Associate Pleads Guilty in Fake Lawsuit Settlement Scheme

A fourth associate of convicted fraudster Scott Rothstein admitted to his role in a $1.2 billion investment scheme involving fake lawsuit settlements...[they]...set up a fake TD Bank website showing Rothstein had $1.1 billion in a trust account...“The investors, relying on this information, ended up investing in excess of $35 million,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence LaVecchio told the judge.

...Rothstein pleaded guilty last year to five counts of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, admitting he sold investors interests in bogus settlements in sexual-harassment and whistle-blower suits. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison...The cases are U.S. v. Renie, 11-60123; U.S. v. Kusnick, 11- 60125; and U.S. v. Caputi, 11-60124; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).

You may call us "illegal", and we're not.

You may term us "illegitimate", and we're not.

We're the authentic Zionist expression of dedication and commitment to the Land of Israel, to assuring Israel's secure future and to prevent the collapse of the Jewish national ethos.


And America's New Ambassador to Israel Is...

Inside info:

The newly appointed US ambassador to Israel is a young man (44) named Daniel Shapiro. It is difficult to have a civil discussion with his mother about Israel because "everything would be just fine if Israel would agree to peace."

Daniel and his wife spent a year during college in Israel - he speaks Hebrew and Arabic. He worked in Bill Nelson's office where he pronounced his admiration of Dan Kurtzer's approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

He is also about as far left as it is possible to be, a huge, long time supporter of Obama and has the potential to be a snake in the grass where Israel is concerned.

People need to be forewarned about the potential damage he may do.


President's Conference - Part Three

Carl has done a very good job of detailing what went on at the session devoted to Israel-Diaspora Relations this morning.  So, read him and I will add some other details and observations.

But first, the dramatis personea:

(left to right: Moderator Shmuel Rosen, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Dani Dayan, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger and Prof. Dina Pinto.  Photo credit: YMedad)

As expected, Dani, who I knew was well prepared, did an excellent opening salvo.  He described acts that he thought were beyond criticism and dialogue and exchange of views and then declared that they were anti-Israel.  I will have to do some more research but Jeremy's line of defense was to prevaricate and deny and then to declare that J Street wasn't attacking Israel (in the instance of the UN Security resolution on Jewish communities in Yesha: "...we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy") but, acting as Americans, they were supporting an American policy.  Did you get that?  That was "dual loyalty" at its worse - backhanding Israel and then denying they did it as Jews.  Dani also noted that all this talk of the "tent" is problematic because what J Street is doing is sneaking in to this community tent and subverting from within.

Amos Oz's daughter, Fania Oz-Salzburger, actually said two things memorable: the first, that Israel's need to learn the new global language and get nuances correct (Carl has on this "She says brush up your English and don't play into anti-Israel hands" which is true but I think that, at this point, she really did express concern about Israelis, even well-meaning ones, who adopt terms that indicate to Israel's enemies that the enemies are right in that they lose the semantic under-layers - and I was thinking them so much about her father).  The second was her attempt to portray pre-1967 kibbutzim as the legitimate expression of "the Zionist settlement enterprise" whereas the post-1967 Yesha communities are not.  That attempt at distinguishing, of course, makes no difference to Arabs, local or others, and so Fania, professorship and all, was simply, to quote her, 'playing into the hands of Israel's enemies'.  She also said at the end that the Yesha communities were a real danger to Israel's existence and therefore it is quite legitimate a target for criticism.

Poor Dina Pinto.  She had to deal with the panel, explain why ethnicity and God are not in the lingo of Europe and then saw fit to attack Chief Rabbi Sacks for daring to declare that "human rights" is the new mutation of anti-semitism which always rides on the central motif of discourse (in the Middle Ages - religion; in the 19th-20th century - science and now human rights).

The alliance between Dani and Rabbi Yoffie, - who, I must note, not only remembered when we met long ago but is aware that I blog (see, there are advantage to blogging) and I must have said something very negative about him for him to recall my activity, - was played almost perfectly by Dani, even when he noted that Reform Judaism realized the era of its ways when it was anti-Zionist and decided to come back into the tent in 1937.  I am sure, though, that few youngsters there were aware of that prehistoric event (and ARZA only joined to Zionist Organization in 1978).

The episode with Judge Goldstone and the South African Zionist Federation (Carl writes: "South African Zionist Federation delegate raises Goldstone...Adds quick anecdote. They asked Goldstone whether he believed the Israeli government was responsible for war crimes and Goldstone said no") is inadequate a retelling.

The man actually said that he asked Goldstone if he truly believed that Israel purposefully committed 'war crimes' and he said that Goldstone admitted he had a problem with "this [Israeli] government" but he pointed out to the judge that the government that led Operation Cast Lead was a Kadima government, not Likud.  I think that is an important addition.

One other matter.  Dani Dayan revealed that he had met the members of a Congressional delegation led by J Street.  I know someone who was invited to meet with a J Street group earlier and was heavily pressured to withdraw due to the firm opposition to any contacts with J Street and the need to ostracize them.  I do not think it fair to say one thing and to do another. [Dani adds: "I never pressed anyone not to meet J Street.

Additionally, I don't consider it as meeting J street but as meeting 5 members of Congress.]

One last thing, with thanks to David Bedein who reminded me.

Who wrote the following:

Western political leaders have acquired a concern for 'Arab-Palestinian homelessness', which is selfishly economic rather than humanitarian.  At the same time they ignore that three quarters of the original Palestine Mandate area is now under Palestinian-Arab rule.  The sooner disaspora Jews and the Hebrew nation recognize these new realities, the stronger they will be.

The Hebrew renaissance offers a painful choice to Jews.  They can live in the diaspora, often  facing isolation, persecution and ambivalent identities, or they can return to their ancient land and face perils, but with a chance for honorable self-fulfillment and an end to wandering...

It was Yitzhaq Ben-Ami, father of Jeremy Ben-Ami, on page 544 of his book.
Years of Wrath, Days of Glory.

Think about that.


Arutz 7 has a video up, in Hebrew, of course and here is their interview in English with Dany.


P.P.S.  Youtube.


For anyone unaware Lush is a leading toilertries retailer in every high street in the UK.

Read on now:

Monday, June 13, 2011
Responses from Lush about its Death to Israel campaign
Updated 14 June:
Below is the correspondence with Lush about their Death to Israel campaign on their website. Note that, since this correspondence started, it seems that Lush have actually removed the campaign from their website in the sense that, although the link is still there you won't find it by searching the Luch website. That is good news.

Dear E____,

Thank you for your email. I'm sorry to hear you're disappointed with Lush's support for the OneWorld project.

The history between Israel and Palestine is long, complicated and often under dispute. However, what is very clear is the level of suffering occurring today, in part due to the construction of the wall which is cutting Palestinian people off from vital health services and has dramatically increased poverty in the area. History does not excuse such suffering. It will take both sides to come to a solution, but what is also clear is that this is not a conflict of two equal sides and thus the onus must be on the dominating force, Israel. The OneWorld project is supported by both Palestinian and Israeli organisations and aims to help create peace for both sides.

We support organisations fighting for human rights all around the world on a variety of issues, from the freedom of West Papua and Tibet to labour rights of workers in India, women's rights in Africa and environmental rights of indigenous people in Latin America. Whilst there are many other issues we have not supported, there are sadly limitations as to how much we can do.
Throughout the course of the year we support many humanitarian, animal and environmental causes, many of which are nominated by our own customers. We welcome and value all feedback, so thank you for getting in touch with us. I will be sure to pass your comments on to our Campaigns team for future consideration.

Kind regards,

Vicky Jansson
Customer Care Manager
Lush Ltd.

Do you really need them in your hair?


President's Conference - Part Two

What would we be and where would we be without radical liberal ideology?

Author Amos Oz spoke last night at the Conference and - are you ready? - criticized the peace process with the Palestinians.

As reported (sorry, I really didn't want to wait for his flagellations as I have read them for decades):

Oz said he believes the "ongoing occupation" of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the construction in settlements is in general immoral, as well as bad for Israel's interests...[he] received intermittent applause as well as a good deal of booing, added that the "expulsion of Palestinians" from their homes in Jerusalem and their "replacement" with settlers is also bad for Israel. "I am saying this as a man who loves the state," he added.

...the good news, he said, is that the vast majority of both peoples know they must eventually cede some of their ancestral homeland. "Will they dance in the streets when the solution is implemented? No," Oz said. The author added that the solution must be based on the 1967 lines. He also gave his version of peace: One day there will be a Palestinian embassy in Israel and vice versa, he said, and they will be walking distance from one another: One in east Jerusalem and one in its west.

Besides everything else wrong there, Oz seems not to know, or refuses to accept, that the majoirty of the Arabs do not accept partition, territorial compromise or even land-swaps.

So, he either lies, is an Arab propagandist or is really not that intelligent.

I am shortly off to the Conference hall, where at 11 AM there will an air raid drill. This should be fun to watch.

Then it's Jeremy "J Street" Ben-Ami and 3 others vs. Dany Dayan at 11:30.

Part One.

Support the Brody Cemetery Project

As I have written here before, my family on my mother's side is from Brody (and my father's family from Zbaraz) in the former Galicia region, today, west Ukraine. Here's where those cities are:

A new project needs some money and perhaps some of my readers would be interested in supporting this effort:

Dear Brody & Galicia Researchers:

I wrote to you several times—most recently last month—about the new Brody Cemetery project. I thought I would update you on our progress!  Thus far, we raised about 84% of our goal of $4,500 from 36 contributors out of over 300 Brody registered researchers.

As we are so close and believe you will help us make our goal, we went ahead—and contracted with our researcher in the Ukraine who has started the work. The time of the year to do this project is here and we would have missed the window of opportunity if we waited until we achieved 100% of our goal. We took a chance by relying on you donating to achieve our goal, so that we would not have to wait until the spring/summer of 2012 to do the project.

Samples of his initial project work are attached (reduced resolution).

We are so close to our $4,500 target but we need YOUR assistance to make the goal and photograph and index the metzevahs in the new Brody cemetery.

Please consider giving generously today so that the work may continue now!
Donations can be through our JewishGenerosity account on either Gesher Galicia's page:

Or on the Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Records (JOWBR) page:

Please contact me for questions.   Those of you that would like to join the 2nd phase of indexing the photographed data, please contact me.

Ami Elyasaf
Project coordinator

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is "Palestine' A Liberal Cause?

Check these out and there are more posters here:


Peres' Presidential Conference - Part One

I attended the first major session this evening of the Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow.

A lot of people.  Here are some on a break:

Shakira was quite intelligent in her presentation and noted the Abrahamic Culture here and announced "we are all Israel":-

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks from England:

Dr. Ruth Westheimer:

Industrialist Yitzhak Tshuva, Malcolm Hoenlein (back to camera) of the Presidents' Conference and Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz:

Photo credit: YMedad

Amos Oz just finished a silly speech ignoring the reality of Islam and the "Palestinian nationalist movement" and warped the historical record.

Anyway, the worst disappointment was Israeli MC Yigal Ravid with Sarah Silverman.  He was completely out-of-depth with her.  She mentioned her need to pee, berated her brother-in-law Yossi Abramovitz, spoke of things coming out of her *ss and asked him if he was on 'delay' as he kept asking her questions which she had already just answered.  Silverman also promoted gay marriage and presumes scatalogical talk in public is cool. She tried to be smart and he preferred her comic character.  She did promote solar power as solving the Arab-Israel conflict, not knowing that's already being done, as Gil Troy notes and as being going on for decades.

End of Day One.


Dig? We Must? We Must!

In this book,

Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began by Ronny Reich, Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeology Society, 2011, 368 pp.

you can read of Reich’s personal history with the site which is that

...Reich first encountered the site in 1969 as an accidental tourist who accompanied Amihai Mazar on an outing to the Gihon Spring. Reich next encountered the site in 1995 as an accidental excavator who the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) sent to dig there. The task fell to Reich because no one at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology agreed to do it. The task lasted longer than Reich expected and proved to be professionally, intellectually, physically and emotionally challenging. The toll these challenges took is expressed in occasional outbursts against named individuals, and in Reich’s lament, “Shiloh enjoyed the support, and especially the favor of the entire archaeological establishment and all his colleagues. In contrast, I did not always have the feeling this was so in the IAA.”

And you do know why the establishment didn't appreciate digging there.


Where Did Mary Magdalene Pray?

In a synagogue, of course.

But which one?

Perhaps they have found it.

Read on:

In 2007, a third–fourth-century C.E. synagogue with beautifully decorated mosaic floors depicting Biblical episodes was discovered at the site of Khirbet Wadi Hamam outside Tiberias; just last summer, European archaeologists digging only 4 miles away, at Horvat Kur, announced that they, too, had found a synagogue, probably dating at least a century later.

Perhaps the most exciting recent synagogue discovery in Israel was in Magdala, reputedly the home of Mary Magdalene. (Was this the synagogue she regularly attended?) On the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the newly discovered Magdala synagogue, excavated by archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), is one of only seven uncovered in Israel that was in use during the first century C.E., when the Jerusalem Temple still stood. The others include Masada, Herodium and Gamla, with which BAR readers are familiar. Other possible examples have been excavated at Herodian Jericho, Qiryat Sefer and Modi’in...The Magdala synagogue from this time is richly decorated with frescoes of colored panels. Mosaics with geometric designs covered the floor. Impressive columns supported the roof. And a strange, nearly 3-foot-long stone block found in the center of the synagogue is elaborately carved on the side and the flat top. Among other reliefs, it features one of the earliest depictions of a seven-branched menorah.
Dina Avshalom-Gorni, the Israeli archaeologist who excavated the site for the IAA, believes the artist who carved the menorah may have modeled his depiction after the actual seven-branched menorah that stood in the Temple, making it a rare representation of the candelabra before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E...

There were Jews in the country then?

You mean Jews have historical connections to this land?

Maybe they deserve a national home in the land?

Oh, sorry, we already went though that.