Jewish Right To Israel

Jewish Right To Israel
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Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Year of Islamist Terror: The Numbers

The Religion of Peace has a list of Islamist terrorist attacks. I converted it to a excel spreadsheet and here are the numbers:

For 2005:
o 6991 people murdered
o 12,382 people injured

Countries attacked:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Chechnya, Dagestan, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, India, Indonesia, Ingushetia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kabardino-Balk., Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine (Jebaliya and Gaza City), Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, UK, and Yemen

It's been a busy year for Islamist terrorists.

Isn't it about time that the West get busy dealing with this--instead of pandering to the CAIR's and Galloways of the world?

If you're curious how there could be terrorist attacks against Palestinian Arabs, it's Hamas:

September 5 Gaza City: 4 killed and 27 wounded when a Hamas weapons lab blows up in a residential neighborhood.

September 23 Jebaliya: 17 killed and 140 wounded when a Hamas truck, loaded with rockets intended for Israel, explodes early, killing seventeen Palestinians (including three children) and injuring another one-hundred and forty.

That's Hamas--the bastion of charity; the ones who are not as corrupt as the PA.

How many political parties in the world can you name that have killed 21 and injured 167 of its own people that are popular with their people?

Palestinian Arabs: ripe for democracy!

Read this post in Czecholslovakian here.

See also Israel 2005: The Results Of The 'Truce'

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Palestinians--Raizing The Bar

Tonight's headline from Reuters: Palestinian gunmen blow up U.N. club in Gaza City
Masked gunmen stormed into a club for United Nations workers in Gaza City on Sunday and blew up the drinking hall in a new sign of spiralling unrest ahead of a Palestinian election.

It was the first such attack in Gaza on a U.N. target and came against a backdrop of growing unease among foreigners. Just over one day earlier, a group freed three British hostages that had been seized to demand foreign pressure on Israel.

...Gunmen burst into the U.N. club, one of the few places that alcohol is served in conservative Muslim Gaza. It had been closed for the day. The attackers tied up the security guard and struck him with gun butts.

Then they set explosives in front of the bar, unrolled a detonator cable and blew up the charges, ripping up the roof and shattering the windows.

Item of interest:
The United Nations is generally viewed with sympathy Gaza. Its agency supporting Palestinian refugees and their descendants, more than half of Gaza's 1.4 million population, is the second biggest employer after the Palestinian Authority.
Left unmentioned is whether the UN, with their running of the 'refugee' camps, is the first or second biggest supporter of Palestinian terrorism.

(That should have been 'razing' not 'raizing' the bar)

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For Palestinians--Charity and Terrorism Begins At Home

Strategy Page updates us on the terrorism scene.

First the good news:
In the two countries that Islamic terrorism was born in, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the terrorists are taking a beating. This is good news that doesn't get much attention, but it says much about the future of Islamic terrorism. In Egypt, the majority of the population continues to be turned off by the seemingly random violence of Islamic terrorists.

...The main source of Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia, has turned on Islamic terrorism with a vengeance.

...
As with Egypt, once Saudis got a taste of Islamic violence, they changed their minds about supporting it.

...
This kind of experience turned Iraqis and Jordanians, previously major supporters of Islamic terrorism, into al Qaeda haters.
But then, on the other hand:
The radical groups continue to survive, partly because of the fact that Palestinian Islamic terrorist groups thrive right next door in Gaza. The Palestinian terrorists are the darlings of the Moslem world because, so far, the Palestinians have concentrated on killing non-Moslems (namely Israelis and Arab Christians).
Apparently after being less than popular in the Arab world, the Palestinians have finally found their way to the Moslem heart. The secret is killing the right kind of people--though Hamas will need to learn to stop blowing up their own people.

But take a look at Elder of Ziyon, who quotes a poll by The Arab American Institute that finds:

1. The most important political issues facing the Arab world are largely the same in 2005 as they were in 2004: expanding employment, improving health care, and education ranking first, second, and fourth. In third place is an issue we did not include in our 2004 poll: ending corruption and nepotism. It is noteworthy that “resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” has dropped from second place in 2004 to seventh place in this year’s survey. (take a look at his post for other results of interest)
And terrorism combined with charity works even better:
Islamic terrorists are aware of this image problem, and there is a, at times, public debate among the leadership over the need to avoid attacks that kill Moslems, especially women and children. Another tactic that works, is good works. Charity projects are good for the image of Islamic terrorists. This has worked in the Palestinian territories (Hamas), Lebanon (Hizbollah), and Pakistan (many groups). However, the "charity" tactic also limits your choice of targets. For the moment, Palestine, Lebanon and Pakistan remain the main training grounds, and support bases for Islamic terrorism. Getting at these bases is difficult, because of the protective "good will" the Islamic terrorists have created.

Imagine that--'Palestine' is one of the main training grounds, and support bases for Islamic terrorism.

Is it too much to hope that the White House might be just a little more cognizant of that fact and perhaps take a little less hands-off approach towards Palestinian terrorism? At least then the idea of creating a Palestinian democracy might actually be imagineable.

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Palestinian's Borderline Democracy

Friday brought business as usual for the Palestinian Democracy:

Here is the original spin on what happened at Rafah, courtesy of AP and Yahoo
Palestinian police angry over growing lawlessness in the Gaza Strip stormed the Gaza-Egypt border crossing Friday, shutting down the border and forcing European monitors to flee, Palestinian and European officials said.

About 100 policemen entered the Rafah compound and took up positions alongside border patrol officers at the customs section of the crossing, Palestinian security officials and witnesses said.

The European observers — responsible for monitoring the crossing and ensuring the terms of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement are upheld — fled the area, fearing the situation was getting out of control, the officials said.













"Palestinian police angry over growing lawlessness in the Gaza Strip"?

Now the story has been updated, and corrected:
Palestinian policemen angry over the killing of a fellow officer stormed the Gaza-Egypt border crossing Friday, firing shots in the air and forcing European monitors to close the border and flee, Palestinian and European officials said.

About 100 policemen entered the Rafah compound and took up positions alongside border patrol officers at the customs section of the crossing, Palestinian security officials and witnesses said.

The European observers — responsible for monitoring the crossing and ensuring the terms of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement are upheld — fled the area, officials said.

The 'policemen' were only interested in justice--Palestinian style:
The policemen were friends and family of an officer who was killed Thursday in a family feud in Gaza, Palestinian security officials said. They took over the border to prevent members of the two families from leaving Gaza and were demanding the execution of the gunman. They also said no Palestinian officials would be allowed to leave until their demands were met, officials said.
Meanwhile, not everyone has corrected the story. Predictably, BBC still has it wrong:
The police were protesting at what they see as a lack of government support for their policing efforts in Gaza.

...Julio de la Guardia, a spokesman for the EU monitors, said they temporarily withdrew to the Israeli-controlled border crossing at Kerem Shalom after Palestinian police advised them to leave.
Protesting? No mention they wanted the gunman who killed their fellow officer executed. The monitors were 'advised' to leave--Oh, so the Palestinian police were merely channeling Nasser.

To their credit, the latest AP/Yahoo version does have this:
The takeover is the latest in a rash of armed kidnappings and takeovers of government buildings that underscores the lawlessness in Gaza and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' inability to bring order to the coastal area following Israel's withdrawal in September.
Is the media getting tired of Abbas?
If they are, they'll only blame Israel anyway.

Crossposted at Israpundit


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Friday, December 30, 2005

Haveil Havalim #50

This post will appear at the top of the page till Haveil Havalim #51 goes up.
Posts subsequent to this one appear below it on this page.

-----

Welcome to Haveil Havalim #50
B'Teavon.

Next Week: Haveil Havalim #51
will be hosted by Shiloh Musings / Me-Ander
Her email address is: shilohmuse at yahoo dot com
She asks that you send this week's links to her about Chanukah, Israel, being Jewish, etc. before Shabbat.

Chanukah


SerandEz sends us to an 8-piece...ummm 8-candle Cute Chanukah Song

Elder of Ziyon is a font of giving: A real Chanukah present for Elder of Ziyon readers

Cross Currents tells the story of Chanuka — holiday of pluralism or holiday of truth?

Jewish Blogmeister reports that The world record for dreidel-spinning goes to...


Parsha

Me-ander Spends Shabbos Alone and Shares a Devar Torah

Velveteen Rabbi discusses how clothes can make the man in Vayeshev: Torah and couture


Minhag


NY's Funniest Rabbi writes about a minhag not in the Shulchan Aruch that gives a new meaning to Silent Night

Family


A Whispering Soul has not forgotten Who By Birth: The Girl Who Never Fully Was

Me-ander marvels at the Small World and looks forward to meeting you in NY.

Soccer Dad writes about his family history in Arrival day


Being a Jew in America


SerandEz's sister-in-law points us to Dennis Prager's article on being called an Uncle Jake

SerandEz discusses a recent court ruling on the separation of Church and State and How the Court's Ruling Affects Religion

Eruv Online writes about The Hundredth-Year Anniversary of the First Eruv in New York 1905-2005


Jews on the Iraq War

Pillage Idiot discusses the Jewish approach to the Iraq war in A Reform Jewish dissenter on Iraq

Jewish Current writes that issues reviewed the resolution the Union of Reform Judaism sent to President Bush, and found that "as a religious document, it is an embarassment in What Would Maimonides Do?


Israel and Jews in the Media

AJHistory examines an episode of a popular TV show on NBC: Law and Order: The Speicher Chumash

Kesher Talk has a series of posts on Spielberg's Munich


Israeli History

Elder of Ziyon gives us an article by The prophet of 1949

Smooth Stone gives us some Photos of the Temple Mount (1877)


Israeli Politics

A Simple Jew writes about the Disillusionment Of A Likudnik

Shiloh Musings gives the rundown of the Likud elections in No Surprise

Blog Free writes about Ir Ha'emuna, founded by residents of the Gush Katif settlement of Atzmona.


Israeli Society

Israel Perspectives writes about the The Jewish Value of Partying!!!

Israel Perspectives asks Who's To Blame for the values of Israeli society

WestBankBlog writes on the dilemma posed by 2 pipe bombs in The squeeky settler gets more patrols

Blog Free writes about accounts of brutality by Israeli police in Storm Troopers with a link to video (does not come up in Firefox, but there is a link to download the file)


Language

Bloghead writes how meanings get lost in translation in Farewell, poor Natbag*, I knew him well.....

jerusalem is the place to be writes about signs of the times in Is 58 years too late?


The Arab World


Critical Mastiff discusses how Wahhabis go beyond Karaites in Idolatries of the Muwahhidoun

Secular Blasphemy directs our attention to a Survey: Majority of Palestinians support al-Qaeda terrorism in Europe, US

Elder of Ziyon asks if there are Two sides to every story?

Daled Amos
thinks current events show how Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade Meets the TWU


Miscellaneous

NY's Funniest Rabbi has a list of Random Questions

Note: To have a Carnival entry listed on the ÜberCarnival, it must include a link back to the ÜberCarnival home page.

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Chanukah: Armed Jews Week

That's the idea of David Kopel's post last year describing Chanukah, which he ties in with more current historical events:
Although there is a widespread myth that Jews in the Holocaust were passive, they were actually more active than any other conquered people. In 1942-43, Jews constituted half of all the partisans in Poland. Overall, about thirty thousand Jewish partisans fought in Eastern Europe. There were armed revolts in over forty different ghettos, mostly in Eastern Poland.

In other parts of Europe, Jews likewise joined the resistance at much higher rates than the rest of the population. Unlike in Eastern Europe, though, Jews were generally able to participate as individuals in the national resistance, rather than having to fight in separate units.

For example, in France, Jews amounted to than one percent of French population, but comprised about 15-20 percent of the French Resistance.

In Greece too, Jews were disproportionately involved in the resistance. In Thessaly, a Jewish partisan unit in the mountains was led by the septuagenarian Rabbi Moshe Pesah, who carried his own rifle. The Athenian Jew Jacques Costis led the team which demolished the Gorgopotamos Bridge, thereby breaking the link between the mainland and Peloponnesian Peninsula, and interfering with the delivery of supplies to Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

Kopel develops this theme and ties it in with Zionism and the return to Israel:
Hanukkah teaches that God’s redemption of the Jewish people is a continuing act of history—and so does Jewish armed resistance during the Holocaust. The resistance proved to the world that Jews were active fighters, and not mere passive victims. That resistance (most famously, in the Warsaw Ghetto) was an indispensable step towards the rebirth of the modern state of Israel.
Palestinians have compared Israelis to Nazis.
Palestinians have accused Israel of attempting a Holocaust.
Palestinians have claimed to be descended from the Philistines.

We have yet to hear Palestinian Arabs publicly comparing Sharon to Antiochus (though Kopel did receive emails making that claim).

But give it time.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Israel's Survival Sense

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

Me-ander notes that survival instincts have become dulled--both in the US and in Israel:
Over confident government officials in the U.S. totally miss-read the situation on the ground, and thousands of people are still homeless due to Katrina and bad planning by the government.

And here in Israel, our disengaged people still are ignoring that Disengagement has endangered the entire country. Kibbutz Saad, a religious kibbutz in the south, is now complaining publicly that they are suffering frequent rocket attacks. They didn't care when Gush Katif was attacked daily, and they didn't care when the good Jewish farmers of Gush Katif were ripped from their homes and their businesses destroyed. Now they are on the front-line. What did they expect?
Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon and his Kadima party just keeps gaining steam:
The Shinui Party will lose its presence and several others will lose ground in the Knesset in the next elections according to a poll by the Geocartographic Institute headed by Professor Avi Degani.

Army Radio reports that Labor will also suffer, winning only 17 mandates. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s new party, Kadima, is predicted to win major support with some 42 mandates thus far.
This is the Ariel Sharon, he of the Disengagement after running a campaign criticizing it, who stifled debate and criticsm, who promises more 'painful concessions'.

Apparently there is a fine line between insanity and Israeli politics.


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Oy Vey Amir...

The Jerusalem Post reports on Labor's new slogan:

The Labor Party unveiled its new campaign slogan on Thursday at a motivational meeting for Labor's Knesset candidates: "Amir Peretz, because the time has come."

Labor strategists said the party would not use negative campaigning or mudslinging, because Party Chairman Amir Peretz did not want it. The goal, they said, was to strengthen the brand and raise party pride.

Israel Perspectives gives his...perspective:

Perhaps this is the cynical side of me coming out, but this slogan seems to be extremely depressing.

Have things gotten so bad that it's time for Amir Peretz? Have we given up on all else that we have decided that perhaps Socialism isn't so bad, after all?
It does seem as if the current political scene in Israel was hand written for Sharon. Likud is a shadow of its former self, and as for Labor...
A poll released on Thursday morning conducted by the Geocartographic Institute pointed to a drastic drop in Labor support, with only 17 mandates, while Kadima, projected to receive 42 mandates, maintained its high level of support.
To see why Labor's support is dropping, take a look at Israel Perspective's suggested ad for Peretz.

Also, take a look at the winning slogans and themes that Biur Chametz has come up with.

Meanwhile, for Israel the choice is among Sharon, Peretz, and Netanyahu.

Oh My.

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When Jews Take A Stand On Iraq

"Hello, I must be going"
Animal Crackers

According to the New Jersey Jewish News, "As Jewish majority lashes Bush on Iraq, a vocal minority insists on staying the course":

After staying largely in the shadows for several years, the organized American-Jewish community has jumped full throttle into the debate over the Iraq war.

...
As the volume of pro- and anti-war debate continues to grow in the Jewish community, a poll of American Jews by the American Jewish Committee shows at least 70 percent of those polled oppose the conflict — a figure that has risen 4 percent since last year and 16 percent since 2003.

In contrast, a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that 52 percent of Americans believe that sending troops to Iraq was a mistake.

...
[URJ president Rabbi Eric Yoffie said]“We are, to be clear, committed to freedom for the Iraqi people; we disagree with the Republican Jewish Coalition about how to bring that about. One of our goals in passing a resolution at our Biennial [meeting] was to stimulate a debate on the war within the American-Jewish community. We are pleased to see that debate beginning.”
Let's see.

The war started in March--March 2003.
The accusation that the US was "rushing to war"--a claim made many times--was first made in The Nation--in August 2002, 7 months earlier. Debate was raging back then.

And now, "
the organized American-Jewish community has jumped full throttle into the debate over the Iraq war"?

Yoffie
is please to have started "to stimulate a debate on the war within the American-Jewish community."

There is alot for Jews to argue about and disagree about in the war on Iraq, but I'd like to know--

1. Where is their information about the war coming from? If it is the mainstream media--the same media which has shown a negative agenda when it comes to Israel--then just how reliable do they really think it is?

2. Why so late to raise the issue? It's more than an oddity--it's a question that deserves an answer.

3. Why oppose the war at a time when, after Bush has finally started to rebut the claims of the media and the Democrats in a series of addresses, Americans are having a favorable view of what is happening in Iraq. According to Rasmussen Reports:
Fifty percent (50%) of Americans now believe that the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That's up from 44% immediately preceding the speech. It's also the highest level of confidence in more than a year.
4. There are already statements from the White House of cutting back troops as Iraqi troops have been trained.

My daughter is sitting a watching the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland while I write this.

How fitting.

See also: Responding to Kennedy on Iraq I


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Is There an Israeli Consensus on Iran?

Stanley Kurtz over at The Corner has a post entitled "Preemting WMD's".
It starts off like this:
Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein reports a political consensus in Israel in favor of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Bernstein makes a strong case that an Israeli attack is likely.
That's all well and good--but apparently The Volokh Conspiracy has been done for most of the day.

I'd like to know more about this 'political concensus'.
I'd like to know how Israelis feel about this.
I'd like to know more about the case Bernstein makes for Israel attacking Iraq.

Does anyone have any interesting links to share on any of this?

UPDATE: Volokh is back up, and the complete post by David Bernstein that I was looking for is back. He writes in part:

...My contribution is that I just returned from Israel, and I found a remarkable consensus in favor of doing whatever is necessary to stop Iran (a consensus no doubt solidified by Iranian threats to annihilate Israel, and recent vicious anti-Semitism emanating from the highest rank of the Iranian government). One leftist member of my wife's family told me that the IDF will do whatever is necessary. When I expressed concern that Iran will retaliate through Hizbullah, he replied that the Lebanese government will stop any large-scale retaliation, or the ramifications will be disastrous in and for Beirut...Given that the anti-Iranian consensus is so solid even on the Left, I would be very surprised if the Israeli government fails to follow through on its promise to prevent Iran from acquiring atomic weapons--assuming, of course, that Iran isn't stopped by other international forces.
In a subsequent post, David Bernstein adds:
There's been a lot of reaction in the blogosphere, most of it supporting Israel's right to preemptively defend itself, but wondering whether Israel has the capacity to send enough long-range bombers to wipe out enough secret enrichment locations against a prepared enemy to truly put a dent in Iran's program. I wonder about this, too, which also makes me wonder if Israel will do something less predictable, but perhaps ultimately more effective, than what everyone has been talking about. I don't know what this might be, but neither do the Iranians.
There may be alot of confidence in the IDF, but Entebbe was long ago.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Shel Silverstein and Israel's Search for Peace

"And then the tree was happy... but not really."
The Giving Tree

A last thought for the evening.

One of Shel Silverstein's most well known and popular books is The Giving Tree.

Here is the summary provided on Amazon.com:
...a tree starts out as a leafy playground, shade provider, and apple bearer for a rambunctious little boy. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy, but with time it becomes more challenging for the generous tree to meet his needs. When he asks for money, she suggests that he sell her apples. When he asks for a house, she offers her branches for lumber. When the boy is old, too old and sad to play in the tree, he asks the tree for a boat. She suggests that he cut her down to a stump so he can craft a boat out of her trunk. He unthinkingly does it. At this point in the story, the double-page spread shows a pathetic solitary stump, poignantly cut down to the heart the boy once carved into the tree as a child that said "M.E. + T." "And then the tree was happy... but not really." When there's nothing left of her, the boy returns again as an old man, needing a quiet place to sit and rest. The stump offers up her services, and he sits on it. "And the tree was happy."
Remember the 'old days' when Israel was always giving?

Each time that Israel had to go to war, fought against the odds--and beat the odds, she was expected to give back the land she had won. At least back then we didn't say that concessions like that would only encourage the Arabs. Returning the land hurt the security of Israel, but it did not make the Arabs eager for more war.

Today it is no longer a question of giving back land immediately following a war--then we were talking about bargaining chips

Now it is more personal.

With Oslo, we began to give the Palestinain Arabs a foothold and put areas under their own control. We allowed Arafat out of obscurity into the limelight, into a position of control.

Other agreements followed--both sides had obligation.

On paper at least.

Areas were given over to Arafat and his crew, so Palestinians could 'govern' themselves.

Israel thought it was happy with the Oslo Accords...but not really.

Israel has taken upon itself the giving mood, with an occasional shove now and then.

Gaza was given over to the Palestinians, in part so they could create an economy--at the expense of Jewish families that to this day are not resettled as they had been promised.

The Rafah pass was opened--Secretary of State Rice made sure of it--under Palestinian control. It was, said Rice, a necessary step in order for "the Palestinian people freedom to move, to trade, to live ordinary lives"

Now, with more talk of 'painful concessions' the West Bank is under discussion--by Sharon and Kadima.

There is talk in some quarters about the need to split Jerusalem--purely in the interests of peace, you understand--do it for the Palestinians. Sharon says this will never happen, but at this point I doubt if many Israelis, or Palestinians, take him at his word.

How far is this going to go?
When will it end?

The end of the review of The Giving Tree:
While the message of this book is unclear (Take and take and take? Give and give and give? Complete self-sacrifice is good? Complete self-sacrifice is infinitely sad?), Silverstein has perhaps deliberately left the book open to interpretation. (All ages) --Karin Snelson
The messages we receive from politicians--both in the White House and in Israel is unclear.
While the world seeks to pat Sharon on the back and tell him his sacrifice is good, it is in fact infinitely sad.

As 2005 draws to a close, 2006 is open to any number of possibilities--just as it has always been in our history.

In all ages.

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Kosher Cell Phones

After the Lakewood ban on the Internet, take a short moment to go to Dishin' Digital with Jeff Caplan, which features the following:

Motorola's new certified kosher phone is a throwback to a simpler time before text messaging, Web browsing and other features that religious leaders consider perilous distractions.

His piece (audio--mp3) is short and cute.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Spielberg's Toughest Critic

With everything the critics are saying about Steven Spielberg's new movie "Munich", now comes Mohammed Daoud--the man who actually planned the Munich Massacre. So what is his reaction to the movie?

Firstly, he is insulted for not being called upon to consult on the movie (for that matter, he is not mentioned in the film either):

He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to the Jewish state.

Secondly, there is his review of the movie, where Daoud finds the movie lacking in 'balance':
"If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone," Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

But Siskel and Ebert this ain't. Daoud's review has only one flaw:

Daoud said he had not seen the film, which will only reach most screens outside the United States next month.

But that accusation of lack of balance apparently got under someone's skin. Spielberg's producer, Kathleen Kennedy says:
"I do feel that we spent an enormous amount of time in discussion and put effort into exploring a fair and balanced look at the Palestinians that were involved in the story," she said, according to an official transcript of the event.
I just wonder whether this much concern about "fair and balanced" went into Schindler's List--or, as Stephen Hunter points out in a review, into Saving Private Ryan:
In the end, Avner becomes a self-imposed, bitter exile. At one point, when two young Israeli soldiers express admiration for what he's done, he recoils in horror. It's worth repeating, however, that this is a theme Spielberg didn't sound in "Saving Private Ryan." In that film, he argued quite the opposite: Kill them until they're all gone.
[Hakaras HaTov to Powerline]
Just what is "fair and balanced" anyway, and how should that figure into the movie--and who is Spielberg trying to be 'fair' to anyway?

We live in a time where Sports Illustrated not only has a swimsuit issue, but also has interviews with terrorists:
Abu Daoud openly acknowledged his role in the Olympic attack, both in his memoir, Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich, published in Paris, and in an interview with the Arab TV network al-Jazeera.
Abu Daoud, terrorist and celebrity.

Now that's balance!

See also: Gibson...Now Spielberg

Crossposted at Israpundit

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You Call THAT A Leap Year...?!

From time to time around February, I've mentioned to non-Jewish friends and neighbors how the Jewish leap year differs from the secular--how, opposed to the addition of a day to February once every four years, in the Jewish leap year an entire month is added periodically according to an 18-year cycle. (It is odd though that despite adding an extra month of Adar, it doesn't seem to help in getting ready for Pesach).

But this year, there is another addition to keep the secular calendar straight.
Not a month.
Not a day.

It's a second.

Reuters reports
:

Get ready for a minute with 61 seconds. Scientists are delaying the start of 2006 by the first "leap second" in seven years, a timing tweak meant to make up for changes in the Earth's rotation.

The adjustment will be carried out by sticking an extra second into atomic clocks worldwide at the stroke of midnight Coordinated Universal Time, the widely adopted international standard, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology said this week.

...Coordinated Universal Time coincides with winter time in London. On the U.S. East Coast, the extra second occurs just before 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Atomic clocks at that moment will read 23:59:60 before rolling over to all zeros.

A leap second is added to keep uniform timekeeping within 0.9 second of the Earth's rotational time, which can speed up or slow down because of many factors, including ocean tides. The first leap second was added on June 30, 1972, according to NIST, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department.
And why all the fuss?
...Precise time measurements are needed for high-speed communications systems among other modern technologies.
I'm counting the seconds.


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He Feels Their Pain

Have you heard? Haaretz tells us that FM: Likud willing to make concessions in talks with PA

The reference of course is to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and he is willing to make not just any kind of concessions--
The foreign minister refused to elaborate on what he called "painful concessions" in a potential settlement with the Palesinians, but added, "it is certain that we won't take an extreme route that that says 'no' to every proposal meant to promote peace."
Again with painful concessions. Shades of Sharon!
"I am ready to make painful concessions for a lasting peace but I have not changed and will not change my stance on the question of security," he [Sharon] underlined.
I know it doesn't mean a thing, but if you Google "painful concessions" -- you get about 38,500 hits. Do a search for "painful concessions" and Israel -- you get about 34,100 hits. Do a search for "painful concessions" and Sharon -- you get about 29,200 hits. It's not scientific, but it's clear Sharon has been talking alot about painful concessions, and now Shalom is doing the same.

There is an article on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s discourse of peace that shows that Sharon has been talking like this for over 3 years. Of course, back then we did not know just how painful it would be.
Speaking at the third annual Herzliya conference in December 2002, Sharon spoke of the need to make compromises for peace and welcomed US President Bush’s Middle East speech from June 24 2002, in which he presented a vision of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. “I have said it before and will say it again today: Israel is prepared to make painful concessions for a true peace,” Sharon said.
...Sharon was interviewed in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on April 13th 2003. The Prime Minister expressed his willingness to make efforts to reach peace with the Palestinians, including the potential dismantlement of some settlements. “There will be a parting from places that are connected to the whole course of our history. As a Jew, this agonises me. I feel that the rational necessity to reach a settlement is overcoming my feelings… If we reach a situation of true peace, real peace, peace for generations, we will have to make painful concessions. Not in exchange for promises, but rather in exchange for peace.”
...Sharon reiterated his will to make ‘painful concessions’ for peace at a Likud convention in June 2003. “We will be prepared to make painful concessions, very painful concessions, for real peace and security.”
I don't know the art of negotiation, but I imagine that if I am a Palestinian negotiator, I'm thinking the other side is ready to fold and there is no need to give up a thing.

Maybe Shalom realizes that when he says:
Shalom also said that "it is inappropriate to declare red lines before negotiations begin, because as far as the Palestinians go, negotiations start there."
This may be the most intelligent thing that an Israeli leader has said about negotiating with the Palestinians.

Maybe all we really need to do is take all the Israel politicians on a field trip to the shuk?

Crossposted at Israpundit

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I'm Just Misunderstood

I've mentioned before that I speak to my daughter in hebrew (Don't Step on That Nachas) and that this has provided for some good annecdotes...

A few days ago, my daughter asked me when she was "going to be a mommy". I responded "Hayom Yavo"--which I figured was an accurate translation of "The day will come", and I would come across as a wise and all-knowing father. (did I mention my daughter is 6 years old?)

The look on my daughter's face was priceless. Her eyes widened as she asked hesitatingly: You mean today?!

I didn't quite think through my words.

It's not the first time.

Years ago when I was at YU, my friend Louis switched to over to YU in the middle of the year. At the end of the year, his parents came to pick him up--but they could not find him. Since they knew me, they came over and asked if I had seen him. I assumed that Louis was at the dorm still. He happened to have been dorming in Morgenstern Hall.

If you went to YU, you know what the nickname for that particular dorm was--and even if you didn't, I'm sure you can imagine.

So Louis' mother, who was a bit worried, comes over and asks me: Have you seen Louis? Where's Louis?

And I, without thinking, replied: Oh, he's probably in the Morg.

I still recall realizing my error just as the words left my mouth, and then seeing how Louis' mother's face changed:

from surprise...to confusion...to amazement...to anger....

I explained myself, but I don't think it helped.

But they did find Louis.

Personally, I think I would have been better off I had answered her in hebrew.

Maybe.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Abbas At The Abyss?

I suppose that everyone has their own personal idea of what a great leader is--and I imagine that Palestinian Arabs have their own definition of leadership as well. But whatever you may consider the hallmark of a great leader, this ain't it:
Abbas even said that the Qassam rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel are "Israel's problem" and that he does not intend to interfere. "Let the Israelis deal with it," he said.
Abbas "does not intend to interfere"? This is not a bunch of kids getting into an argument and Abbas is not "Father Knows Best"

Arutz Sheva describes a situation of increasing tension:
Terrorists claim to have detailed maps of IDF bases surrounding Gaza...the Islamic Jihad terror group has threatened to increase the firing of homemade Kassams, should the IDF implement the security procedures... Abu Abir claims that if the Israeli army orders an offensive into Gaza, the brigades will retaliate “hard and fast.”... "Just as they withdrew from their bases in Gaza, they will retreat from the bases on the northern border,” Al Batsh continued.
Meanwhile:
Abbas is barely on speaking terms with some security officials, and when he succeeds in issuing an order it is not implemented, they said.

This is not Democracy.
It's dysfunction.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

How Do You Say "As You Sow, So Shall You Reap" In Arabic?

In a report on NPR last year, on October 14, 2004, NPR's Julie McCarthy reported on how Palestinian Arabs in Gaza saw the Intifada. Her report starts off with a description of the disproportionate number of casualties between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis--a skewed presentation rebutted by CAMERA. McCarthy later gets to the issue of the suicide bombers:
McCARTHY: ...Glorifying death, according to psychiatrist Iyad Sarraj, has been one of the most damaging effects of the intifada. The doctor and human rights advocate says that the psychology of the people has changed with many younger Palestinians instinctively prepared to sacrifice their lives.

Dr. IYAD SARRAJ (Psychiatrist): The suicide bombing in one word is defying defeat. And the principle behind it is that it is better to die in dignity rather than to live in humiliation and shame.

...Mr. MAHMOUD AJRAMI (Palestinian Diplomat): If a settlement were offered to the Palestinians, we will isolate that tendency. Give us a settlement, a real just compromise, you know, and all these radicals will be isolated in the corner and they will diminish.

McCARTHY: PLO executive committee member Zakaria Al-Agha agrees, but says Israel has done nothing to improve prospects for peace and a Palestinian state. He says Palestinians don't desire to continue fighting, but says the circumstances compel them to.

Mr. ZAKARIA AL-AGHA (PLO Executive Committee Member): We are obliged. Our people is not willing to surrender, but we are willing to stop if the Israelis stopped. This is something just. [emphasis added]

What is not mentioned--not by McCarthy nor anyone she interviewed, is the indoctrination that goes into encouraging Palestinian Arabs to become murderers. See, for instance, Honest Reporting on The Roots of Terrorism, giving specific actions this year alone to glorify 'martyrdom'.

But the problem is more than just posters, articles, and paying the families of the suicide bombers. According to a report by Justus Reid Weiner and Michael Sussman, "Will the Next Generation of Palestinians Make Peace with Israel?":
According to Palestinian psychiatrist Dr. Shafiq Massalha, the next generation of Palestinians will be a very murderous population full of anger and hatred. He reached this conclusion after his study found that over half the Palestinian population aged 6 to 11 dream of becoming suicide bombers. Those familiar with the social, cultural, and educational Palestinian milieu would not be surprised. Since the beginning of the first intifada in 1987, Palestinian children have been mobilized by their leaders to throw stones, create diversions, fire guns, hurl Molotov cocktails, and, most recently, commit suicide attacks targeting Israeli civilians.

...The idea of the shahid (martyr) has become so ingrained in Palestinian culture that it is a major theme in formal education, family values, religious practices, television broadcasting, posters, pre-suicide eulogies, trading cards, family celebrations, movies, music, games, and summer camps. A study done by psychiatrist and Middle Eastern expert Dr. Daphne Burdman has correlated this dysfunctional form of childrearing with a personality disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder - considered to be an antecedent to terrorist behavior. According to Dr. Burdman, as a result of these "strongly-held cultural belief systems and variety of deep-seated psychological mechanisms…there will be considerable difficulty reversing it [their propensity towards terrorism]."
This drive towards terrorism is not the result of suffering but of a planned and cynical system of education and propaganda. To say that it leads to Narcissistic Personality Disorder only captures a small part of the self-imposed tragedy. There are also the statistics:
The power of this campaign of incitement can be measured by the upsurge in the number of child deaths. PA television reported that during a 25-day period in the beginning of the second intifada, 46 percent of the total Palestinian deaths in the conflict were under the age of 18.11 Concomitantly, Dr. Fouad Moughrabi found that during the year 2000 (including the first three months of the second intifada), 105 children were killed. Of these, approximately 62 percent died in "active participation." Astonishingly, nearly a quarter of the Palestinian children wounded in 2000 were under the age of twelve.
The report goes on to describe further encouragement to terrorism in the public schools and religious sermons.

But the idea that the specific encouraging of the emotion of anger can help breed suicide bombers is backed by scientific research done last year. The American Psychological Society last year came out with a report--Prejudice From Thin Air:
Study participants included New York City residents and college undergraduates who were assigned to novel groups either as individuals who tend to "over estimate" or "under estimate" numerical judgments based on a bogus personality test they believed to be valid. They were then led to experience one of three emotional states -- anger, sadness, or neutrality. Once the emotions had been induced, participants completed rapid categorizations of faces of people in their in-groups or out-groups -- people who were both like them and unlike them with respect to the created estimator groups -- that were preceded by quickly displayed words that were either positive or negative in tone. These rapid response tasks provide a window into the spontaneous and non-conscious evaluations that individuals attached to the social groups.

As expected, among sad and neutral participants, no automatic bias against out-group members emerged. However, the presence of anger caused the mind to shift its perceptions and evaluate out-group members negatively, event though they had never encountered this group before. This finding provides, for the first time, compelling evidence showing that specific emotional states influence basic, automatic processes in the brain that are tied to one of the central challenges of social living: inter-group interaction.
Again, anger was the key emotion.

Clarity and Resolve ("Defining the Jihad Mental Disease") points out an article that appeared originally in The Star Ledger entitled The Militant Mind which reports on:
What makes a terrorist a terrorist? Neuroscientists are finding answers inside the brain, while mathematicians explore complex systems to stay a step ahead of extremist networks.
Among some of the findings:
"The prefrontal cortex helps modulate aggressive tendencies. It controls activities and brain structures that ordinarily would be quite active to provocation," said Grafman. "There's no doubt that even if you just fantasize a lot about violent activity, your brain gets better at shutting down the part that holds onto social rules and empathy."

...Katherine Taylor, a physiologist at Oxford University, has studied how repetition and reinforcement of extreme ideas shape the brain. She calls the neural pathways or cognitive networks created by thoughts "cogwebs."

"The idea behind the cogweb," said Taylor, also the author of a book on brainwashing, "is the more something is repeated, and the stronger the emotions associated with it, the stronger that cogweb becomes. And as those connections get stronger, the more likely it is that there will be a quick step through to the action phase. ... And that, of course, is what an ideologue is aiming for."

If scientists can show that terrorism is a sickness, would it be too much to ask that the media drop the pretense and "moral relativism" of calling terrorists 'freedom fighters'?

Another thought: to the degree that Israel is cut off from the Palestinian Arabs, whether by checkpoints, security barriers, or disengagement--and the Palestinians are left more and more to themselves, just what are they going to do with their pent-up anger and the neurological results? Would that help to explain in any way why this year more Palestinians have been killed by their fellow Palestinians than by Israelis?

Just how do you say "As you sow, so shall you reap" in Arabic?


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Palestinian Arabs and Democracy: They Just Don't Get It

On Sunday, December 18, President Bush said in an address:
This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote -- 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world -- means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror. [emphasis added]
Which election was he talking about--the one in Iraq or the Palestinian election on January 25?

Need you ask?

And how do we know? As Diana West points out:
Then there's the Palestinian Authority. Election Day lies ahead (Jan. 25), but primary victories for Hamas already underscore the inability of foreign-made democratic machinery to produce anything akin to homegrown democratic candidates. Instead, we get People's Choice terrorists — convicted killer Marwan Barghouti, "mother of martyrs" Miriam Farhat, and "Hitler" (a.k.a. Jamal Abu Al-Rub), a real crowd-pleaser known for public execution-style slayings of suspected Israeli "collaborators." And these are People's Choice terrorists with attitude: When the European Union, rather surprisingly, discussed ending aid to the PA if Hamas won parliamentary seats next month, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal responded with Sons-of-Liberty-style rhetoric about the dangers of "playing with the values of democracy and freedom."
The dangers of "playing with the values of democracy and freedom"--yes, one good reason to stop supporting Abbas and his crew.

More to the point, as Gil Troy writes in his wordy but accurate title to his article: "Terrorists in suits and ties: Just because terrorists dress up as politicians and run for democratic office doesn't erase the fact they still are murderers":

What happens when a terrorist organization decides to enter the political arena? Does it automatically become legitimate?

...Western diplomats, who like shady salesmen with ties to organized crime, repeatedly strong-arm Israel into buying an increasingly shoddy product, are now pressuring it to accept representatives of an organization committed to Israel's destruction, as long as they are democratically elected.

...Democracy requires more than periodic elections. During the bad old days of communism, in Saddam Hussein's late unlamented regime, the world saw how strongmen could strong-arm voters into voting for them. But questions of the legitimacy of the electoral process among the Lebanese and the Palestinians aside, democracy demands the rule of law, respect for others, basic rights for all. An organization that commits mass-murder with no compunction cannot wipe out its crimes by winning some votes.

And, as we have certainly seen in the street killings within Palestinian cities and in the periodic Beirut bombings, a political culture that celebrates and consecrates mass murder becomes addicted to violence as a way of life internally and externally.

The numbers vary because the situation is fluid, but many Israeli newspapers reported this autumn that this year the numbers of Palestinians killed by fellow Palestinians in some sort of a political or public context - we are not talking crimes of passion - exceeded the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists. And while the number of Israelis murdered by Palestinians has been dropping steadily in the last three years, thanks to Israel's security fence and its more effective counter-terrorist strategies, the number of Palestinians killed amid intra-Palestinian spats is growing.

...We cannot be fooled by them or by Hamas. Terrorists in suits and ties remain cold-blooded killers. Zero tolerance for terror demands an aggressive, consistent attempt to isolate the Hamas and Hizbollah murderers while pressuring the Palestinians and the Lebanese to eliminate these cancers eating away at their respective bodies politic, for their own sakes as well as for the many innocent lives already sacrificed and others still endangered by these murderous maestros of mayhem.
For all of President Bush's praising of the elections in Iraq, will he be able honestly to mention both Iraq and the PA in the same breath come January 25th?

And since the MSM is so intent in attacking Bush, one would think they could have a field day drawing attention to the disaster in trying to bring democracy to the PA--which could be an embarrasment to Bush. The fact they do not shows how deeply invested they too are in selling the Palestinian POV.


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Saturday, December 24, 2005

It Worked Against Hitler; Would It Work Against Abbas?

In Nazi Germany in 1943 there was a rare incident where a public outcry led to a small victory over state-sponsored murder. It was researched by Nathan Stoltzfus and described in his book Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, which was later made into a movie. Richard Levy summarizes the book in a review:

Nathan Stoltzfus tells the little-attended-to story of the German women who rescued their husbands from deportation and death in early 1943. Swept up from their forced labor jobs in what was meant to be the Final Roundup in the national capital, 1700-2000 Jews, mostly men married to non-Jewish women, were separated from the 6000 other victims of the Gestapo and SS and herded into Rosenstra§e 2-4, a welfare office for the Jewish community in central Berlin. Because these Jews had German relatives, many of them highly connected, Adolf Eichmann hoped that segregating them from the others would convince family members that their loved ones were being sent to labor camps rather than to more ominous destinations in occupied Poland. Normally, those arrested remained in custody for two days before being loaded onto trains for the East. Before that could happen in this case, however, wives and other relatives got wind of what was happening and appeared at the Rosenstra§e address, first in ones and twos, and then in ever-growing numbers. Perhaps as many as six thousand participated in the protest, although not all at the same time. Women demanded back their husbands, day after day, for a week. Unarmed, unorganized, and leaderless, they faced down the most brutal forces at the disposal of the Third Reich. Goebbels, Gauleiter of Berlin and anxious to have it racially cleansed, was also in charge of the nation's public morale. On both counts he was worried about the possible repercussions of the women's actions. Rather than inviting more open dissent by shooting the women down in the streets and fearful of jeopardizing the secrecy of the Final Solution, Goebbels with Hitler's concurrence released the Rosenstra§e prisoners and also ordered the return of twenty-five of them already sent to Auschwitz. To both men, the decision was a mere postponement of the inevitable. But they were mistaken. Almost all of those released survived the war. The women won an astonishing victory over the forces of destruction.

Hitler placed great emphasis on winning the support of Germans. Terror was never conceived of as the best means of achieving the perfectly united Volk or even the lesser goal of extorting its compliance...
I just wonder what would happen if a similar situation would occur--not under the unspeakably cruel and horrific Nazi Regime--but under the PA and Abbas.

o How would the PA and Palestinian Arabs in general react to the marriage of Arabs to Jews within their midst--what would they do?

o Whereas the morale of Nazi Germany--when mobilized--could be brought to oppose the murder of Jews, where does the morale of Palestinian Arabs lie?

o While the likes of Goebbels was worried about public reaction to the shooting of Germans, how would Palestinians--and Abbas--react to the shooting of their fellow Palestinians?

o While Nazi Germany eschewed the use of terror as a tool, how does Abbas--who chairs Fateh's main governing body--feel about using terror?

Just asking.

Mark Krikorian at The Corner has a post entitled Nation of Jihad

MEMRI sent out a report the other day that got my attention. It translated the ravings of a sheikh saying that the Palestinians "are a Nation of Jihad and Martyrdom." This is more telling than he probably realizes. Many observers dismiss Palestinian nationalism as fictitious, promoting a non-existent people invented only after 1967. As true as that was, the Palestinians are now a real nation in the hearts and minds of its people, the only way that counts -- but a nation which exists solely to extirpate the Jews. In other words, the Palestinians really are a "nation of jihad" because, unlike the Chinese nation or American or Persian or Mexican or Russian, Palestine has no past, no distinctiveness, no commonality other than being the negation of Israel, the anti-Israel -- anti-matter, if you will, on the periodic table of nations. (I'll accept nominations for which nation is which element -- I vote for France as helium, an inert gas.) I don't mean that every Arabic-speaking person from the old British mandate of Palestine is a killer, but that Palestinian nationhood as an idea is inextricably tied to the liquidation of Israel. And this is why they need to be walled off.
Nazi Germany, with all of its atrocities, at some level had roots to civilization--or there could be no united democratic Germany today.

Where are the roots of Palestinian Arabs?

Like I said, just asking.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Reuters Becomes a Caricature of Itself

Reuters has a short article on how Senators push to exclude Hamas from elections:
Seventy U.S. senators on Wednesday called on President George W. Bush to make it clear to Palestinian leaders that Hamas and other groups that the United States wants terrorist organizations to disarm or be banned from upcoming Palestinian elections.

...The Senate letter follows a resolution passed overwhelmingly last week by the House of Representatives that also urged the exclusion of Hamas from the January 25 parliamentary ballot.

The House resolution said Hamas' participation could undermine the ability of the United States to provide assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

...The senators said Bush should "press the Palestinian leaders to use the leverage they now have with these terrorist groups to insist that they adhere to a basic set of principles before they can run for political office."

In the absence of concrete and consistent action from President Bush, we can only hope that pressure from the Senate and the House can have a positive effect.

But it's the last line of the article that is absurd:
Hamas has grown in popularity among Palestinians for a corruption-free reputation, its extensive charity network and its role in suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israel.
Apparently Reuters finds nothing particularly jarring about that last line. Hamas is just your everyday popular party--corruption-free, charitable, and they kill Jews in their spare time.

It's a balanced political platform.
Balanced--just like the media.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade Meets the TWU

Who would have guessed--it turns out that all the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and their friends want is a little job security.

Why don't they just unionize?

Yahoo! carries the story "Gunmen Briefly Seize Bethlehem's City Hall". (Thus far, Yahoo has not identified these gunmen as Israeli, but you never know) So what was the reason for Palestinian "gunmen" to seize the area this time of year?

Gunmen, some linked to the ruling Fatah Party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, want him to carry out his promise to give them government jobs.

...The gunmen suddenly appeared on the roof of the town hall in the morning. Hundreds of Palestinian police rushed to Manger Square. Onlookers in the square, braving a light drizzle, watched the drama — and the gunmen pointed their weapons toward the crowd.

After about an hour, the gunmen met with the governor of Bethlehem, Salah Taameri, and then walked out of the building.The proximity to the holy site sent waves of anxiety through church officials, and as a precaution, they closed the ancient shrine for several hours. Security officers posted inside the church were told to leave, and the doors to the building were closed.
Palestinian Arabs seem to be taking their cue from others:

o Sharon starts Kadima--so Barghouti threatens to file his own list of candidates.
o Families sue PA for murder of their relatives--so Palestinians sue Shin Bet director Avi Dichter
o TWU strikes in NY--so Palestinian gunmen "protest" that they want jobs.

Of course, if they are going to emulate others, why couldn't the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and others just learn the time-honored art of striking and do things the right way?

Perhaps then, we might potentially have headlines like "Palestinian Union Workers Go On Strike" instead of the more common headlines of the past such as "Palestinians Strike Israeli Targets in Gaza with Mortar, Light Arms"

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Path To Peace: Compromise or Extortion?

Arutz Sheva has an article on the latest demand from the Palestinian Arabs: Arab 'Right of Return' Conference: We Demand Kibbutz Land:
Organizers of a "Right of Return" conference held in Nazareth called
upon Arab parties to include the return of Arabs to land left in 1948,
most of which, they say, is now owned by kibbutzim.

Last weekend the conference, entitled "The Right of Return and a Just
Peace" took place in the Arab city of Nazareth, in the Galilee.

The main aim of the conference was to induce Arab parties to introduce
the concept of the Right of Return into their platforms. According to
a conference statement, "The 'Right of Return' must be incorporated
into their political agenda, so that Israel is not able to extort
recognition as a Jewish state from the Palestinian Authority and Arab
countries."[emphasis added]
It's that last sentence that got my attention. So the Palestinians want to avoid being blackmailed by Israel, perhaps as in: you recognize Israel's right to exist and we'll recognize your "Right of Return"? Forget for now the fact that recognition of Israel's right to exist is in theory non-negotiable and expected as a first step by The Road Map.

Doesn't it seem that the Arabs are confusing extortion with...compromise?

Tarek Heggy wrote an article, Our need for "A Culture of Compromise", in Al-Ahram on 29th September 29, 2002:
A few years ago, I discovered that there is no equivalent in the Arabic ‎language, classical or colloquial, for the English word "compromise", which ‎is most commonly translated into Arabic in the form of two words, literally ‎meaning ‘halfway solution’. I went through all the old and new ‎dictionaries and lexicons I could lay my hands on in a futile search for an ‎Arabic word corresponding to this common English word, which exists, ‎with minor variations in spelling, in all European languages, whether of the ‎Latin, Germanic, Hellenic or Slavic families. The same is true of several ‎other words, such as ‘integrity’, which has come to be widely used in the ‎discourse of Europe and North America in the last few decades and for ‎which no single word exists in the Arabic language. As language is not ‎merely a tool of communication but the depositary of a society’s cultural ‎heritage, reflecting its way of thinking and the spirit in which it deals with ‎things and with others, as well as the cultural trends which have shaped it, I ‎realized that we were here before a phenomenon with cultural (and, ‎consequently, political, economic and social) implications.
My, it's tempting. Arabs have no word for 'compromise'--or integrity! Aha!!

Don't get too excited. In an article "Claims About Words Can Distort Culture",
But it's hard to imagine how any people could conduct the commerce and politics of a major civilization without having a way of talking about compromise. What's going on in all those souks -- is everybody paying retail?

...In fact, Arabic linguists confirmed for me that Arabic has several expressions that translate the English ``compromise,'' though none is a single word. (The phrase that Abbas' translator rendered as ``without compromise'' actually contained a classical Arabic word that came closer to ``relenting,'' but then the English ``uncompromising'' really means something like ``unrelenting,'' too.) When speakers of colloquial Arabic want to talk about compromise, they use phrases like ``we reached a middle ground.''

In this regard, Arabic is no different from English: We talk about reaching a meeting of the minds, striking a balance, finding a happy medium, or meeting someone halfway. Before Shakespeare's time, in fact, English lacked a single verb for compromise, and was none the worse for it.

The fact is that people have many more concepts than can be expressed in a single word in their languages. Take the German word Schadenfreude, which denotes the pleasure we take in the misfortunes of others. True, it's a nice item to have handy in a pre-packaged form. But Red Sox fans don't have to learn German before they can enjoy watching the Yankees drop eight straight at home.

Bottom line, the problem is more psychology than vocabulary.
It is a combination of hate, terror, h
ypocisy, double-standards...

And there is no one word to describe what is happening, in any language.


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Monday, December 19, 2005

The PA and Blintzes: The Poor Man's Democracy

I was reminded today by current events of the following story:

Poor Man's Blintzes

An improverished Jew in an Eastern European village one day asked his wife to make him blintzes.

Wife: "Only rich people can afford to make blintzes."

Husband: "What can't we afford?"

Wife: "Eggs."

Husband: "I'll have my blintzes without eggs."

Wife: "We can't afford the cottage cheese."

Husband: "Leave out the cottage cheese."

Wife: "We can't afford the raisins."

Husband: "I don't need raisins in my blintzes."

The wife makes the blintzes without eggs, cottage cheese, or raisins. The husband takes two bites and says, "You know, I don't see what rich people see in blintzes."
And so it is with the PA and their "elections".

Is there any comparison between the Iraqi elections and what they have accomplished on the one hand and what the Palestinian Arabs are doing?

o Under Abbas, the membership of the PA includes terrorists and murderers.
o Under Abbas, the terrorist groups use their guns to break up the elections--unlike in Iraq where Sunni guerillas were ready to protect polling stations from Al Qaeda.
o Under Abbas, what passes for a constitution declares the Palestinian intent to destroy the country they are supposed to be making peace with.
o Under Abbas, a major political force is a convicted murderer.
o Under Abbas, the corrupt old guard is doing everything it can to hold on.
o Under Abbas, the Palestinian Arabs (unlike the Iraqis) are left to themselves to maintain the peace (don't laugh).
o Under Abbas, suicide attacks are encouraged by paying the families of the suicide bombers.

Meryl Yourish asks What was missing from Bush's speech Sunday night? Her point is the double standard and the White House's abandonment of Israel. By the same token, at a time that Bush is attempting to make up lost ground on the issue of the Iraq war, would anything seem so foolish as mentioning Abbas and the Palestinian Arabs in the same breath as Iraq?

No matter how sanitized Hamas (and by extension the PA) is by the media (see SoccerDad's Hamas, a kennedy school of government affiliate), I'd still like to think that the PA is a "democracy" only the media (and desperate Western leaders) could love.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Palestinian Playtime

Under the headline Double Standard U.S. Policy on Hamas, Arutz Sheva reports:
The U.S. is funding a Hamas-controlled town in Gaza despite a ban against financing terrorist organizations. Congressmen warned that funds to the PA might be cut if Hamas wins elections.
The New York Sun reported back in October that Bush seemed to be taking the latter approach:
President Bush yesterday privately told his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, that while it was up to him as to whether terrorist groups could participate in upcoming municipal and parliamentary elections, America would have no contact with terrorists in his future government.
Meanwhile, the US is not the only one who is expressing second thoughts in their support:
The European Union, the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority, also says it might curb aid to the PA - if Hamas wins the election next month. EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana told reporters in Tel Aviv, "It is very difficult that parties that do not condemn violence ... without changing those positions can be partners for the future,'' Solana said.

PA officials responded by saying that neither the EU nor the U.S. should intervene in internal Palestinian Authority affairs. [emphasis added]
As to how to take the EU's sudden concern with Hamas--I don't know whether this is something that can be taken with more than a grain of salt. Meryl Yourish see's the EU's reaction as nothing more than a 'soft threat'
Yes, the EU has shown us in the past that they don’t particularly care if the PA is rife with terrorists. Yes, they’ve ignored evidence from Israel proving that Arafat was sponsoring terrorism.

But I don’t recall them every stating out front like this that they won’t deal with a terrorist group if it refuses to renounce terror.

Like her, we'll have to wait and see.

On the other hand, there is an odd quality to the idea of a incompetent, corrupt political entity--unwilling to keep its agreements, refusing to disarm terrorists, incapable of keeping its own people from killing each other, completely dependent on billions of dollars in foreign aid (which are lost and wasted)--saying that no one should intervene in their internal affairs.

Here you have a child's playtime version of Iraq, where they think that by putting little pieces of paper into a box you magically create a democratic state. They insist that they are perfectly capable of doing what the big boys do and petulantly stamp their feet at the thought that they have no clue what they are doing.

Of course there are those who agree that the Palestinian Arabs are on a par with the Iraqis when it comes to nation-building. Austin Bay writes:

Despite the violence, Iraqis and Palestinians are creating democratic alternatives. The world's free people need to encourage the Iraqis and Palestinians, not disparage them with defeatist rhetoric and myopic pessimism.

Iraq's and Palestine's victories, now matter how incremental, must be recognized and rewarded.

That's because the democratic revolt's biggest payoffs are at least 10 to 15 years away.

A long haul? Indeed, 15 years is a large chunk of an individual's lifetime. However, in terms of fundamental political and economic reformation, it's no eon.

Peace, the rule of law and steady, honest leadership will make Iraq one of the wealthiest countries in the region. It has water, agriculture, a source of capital (oil) and a population willing to work. Palestine lacks Iraq's natural resources, but Palestinians are aggressive entrepreneurs. Babylon and Bethlehem make Iraq and Palestine prime tourist destinations.

Peace, the rule of law and steady, honest leadership--are there any hints of any of these in the PA? While in Iraq, the insurgents are either in opposition to the Iraqi government or from outside of Iraq altogether, when it comes to the PA, the terrorists are either associated with the Fateh and Abbas or are in the process of being brought in by Abbas--along with their guns.

Furthermore, it's unclear how Bethlehem is a prime tourist attraction, considering the changing demographics:
In Bethlehem alone, the ratio of Christians to Muslims has undergone a complete reversal in the past 50 years—from a 70 percent majority of Christians at the end of World War II to a 30 percent minority today.
And that's from an article in 1997. These days you have articles describing the situation in Bethlehem with headlines like

Christians Fleeing Palestinian Controlled Areas (Near East Report, 1/28/02)
The Beleaguered Christians of The Palestinian-Controlled Area (JCPA, 1/15/03)
New York Times Omits Major Reason Christians are Leaving Bethlehem (CAMERA, 12/24/04)

As the Palestinians continue to make a mess of things, the overindulgent West just continues to spoil them, in the hope--I suppose--that somehow everything will turn out all right and the Palestinian Arabs will stop their tantrum and just quiet down and behave. (not that Arab oil has anything to do with it...).

The fact remains that the Palestinian Arabs are way out of their league. It's a pity that neither the US nor anyone else seems to be willing to put in the time and effort that has been put into achieving what has been done so far--and remains to be done--in Iraq.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

These Pirates Didn't Sing Opera

I pray you, pardon me, ex-Pirate King!
Peers will be peers, and youth will have its fling.
The Pirates of Penzance

In an article appearing on National Review Online, Joshua E. London writes about the first case of an unprovoked attack on Americans by Muslim terrorists under the protection of Arab dictators--when Thomas Jefferson dealt with the Barbary pirates:

The Barbary states, modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, are collectively known to the Arab world as the Maghrib (“Land of Sunset”), denoting Islam’s territorial holdings west of Egypt. With the advance of Mohammed’s armies into the Christian Levant in the seventh century, the Mediterranean was slowly transformed into the backwater frontier of the battles between crescent and cross. Battles raged on both land and sea, and religious piracy flourished.

The Maghrib served as a staging ground for Muslim piracy throughout the Mediterranean, and even parts of the Atlantic. America’s struggle with the terror of Muslim piracy from the Barbary states began soon after the 13 colonies declared their independence from Britain in 1776, and continued for roughly four decades, finally ending in 1815.

One of the key points London makes is to focus on the reason behind the ongoing conflict between these Moslems on the one hand and the US--which did not understand the reason for the attacks in the first place. The answer to that question was later explained at a meeting:
the 1786 meeting in London of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. As American ambassadors to France and Britain respectively, Jefferson and Adams met with Ambassador Adja to negotiate a peace treaty and protect the United States from the threat of Barbary piracy.

These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, “that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.” [emphasis added]

Based on this, Mr. London makes what should be a point well taken but one that will undoubtedly ignored anyway:
Note that America’s Barbary experience took place well before colonialism entered the lands of Islam, before there were any oil interests dragging the U.S. into the fray, and long before the founding of the state of Israel. [emphasis added]
True, Israel holds a special place in the hearts of Moslems, in part as the dhimmis that got away and are now the equals--and more--of the one-time Moslem empire.

After all, while Moslems are fond of pointing to "Palestine" as occupied territory, they tend to gloss over the history of the Moslem attempted expansion which started from the originally Christian areas of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa, and invadedRussia, Belgrade, Spain, Budapest, and Vienna, France and Iceland--before the Moslem invaders were repulsed. (see Israeli Occupation? Moslems Are Just Being Modest) The Crusades were a reaction to Moslem imperialism, a piece of history that seems to get forgotten.

Daniel Johnson, a senior editor and columnist for the London Times and Daily Telegraph, and currently a columnist for the New York Sun writes in How To Think About The Crusades:
In that larger perspective, they take their place as a short-lived counteroffensive against another, much lengthier, and much more relentless holy war — namely, the Muslim jihad against Christendom. For the fact is that whereas the Crusades were a temporary phenomenon that flourished for some two centuries and had quite limited purposes, jihad is and has been a permanent and ubiquitous fact of Islamic life.

Jihad evolved into a doctrine of Islamic jurisprudence as a byproduct of the great Arab expansion after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, thus predating the First Crusade by more than four centuries. Muslim scholars were well aware of the uniqueness of this institution. Ibn Khaldun, the greatest of all Islamic historians and a key witness from the period just after the Crusades, compares Islam with Christianity and Judaism in this respect:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or force… . The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense.
But today, past history amounts to little. Quoting Santayana is droll. The Crusades were evil. The Moslems were victims--and don't even mention the 'C' word, lest you offend. Meanwhile, the Barbary pirates are forgotten. Moslems are not all evil, but without the viewpoint of history we are being led to the belief that the West, and Israel, is.

As long as millions of dollars are being offered to universities to offer even more courses on Islam, isn't it about time to finally have an honest presentation of Islam and Islamic history--warts and all--instead of babying those who claim that Islam and Moslems are just being misunderstood. It's time for Islamic studies not only to grow but also grow up.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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