Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Free Speech As Darwinian Construct

In the wake of David Irving's conviction and the ongoing issue of the Denmark cartoons, there have been all kinds of opinions expressed on the topic of free speech and it's limitations or lack thereof.

Any kind of regulation or censorship generally isn't feasible today, since it would require some sort of confidence in whomever the power and authority of censorship would rest--something unlikely in this day and age. Any argument for limited censorship or implementation of the sort of laws that tripped up Irving runs into the question of where any limitation of complete free speech would stop.

The argument for free speech seems to come down to the idea that by having a free and open marketplace of ideas, even the most objectionable expressions of opinion can be countered and exposed for what they are.

In a way, there seems to be a Darwinian "survival of the fittest" approach going on, suggesting that when the completely open expression of any and all ideas is discussed--the opinions that are based on prejudice, ignorance, hate, perversion of logic, or outright lies will not be able to stand when confronted in the light of day by the logic and good sense of the general population. The underlying assumption seems to be that there is something inherently inferior in such opinions or statements that somehow in the long-run just will not be able to stand under their own weight.

But framed in that way, I don't know that this works in practice. These opinions don't seem to go away, do they?

In discussing David Irving, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal notes:
Consider his first book, on the February 1945 Allied bombing of Dresden, in which he put the civilian death toll at between 100,000 and 250,000. That estimate--grossly exaggerated, as later scholarship would show--became widely accepted and helped spark a now popular perception that Germany was as much a victim of World War II as it was the instigator. Or take "Hitler's War," Mr. Irving's attempt to rescue the Fuehrer's reputation by casting Winston Churchill as the real warmonger. Mr. Irving's Hitler revisionism never caught on among serious scholars, but the Churchill revisionism did.

...Had Mr. Irving only restrained himself slightly, the damage he might have done to our collective historical perceptions could have been incalculably greater.
Irving has left his mark and some of his ideas still survive.

Free speech of the type that David Irving exercises attracts a certain swath of the population and just goes on--in the same way that the urban rumors that I constantly receive via email have not stopped just because of snopes.com.

And now any person wraps himself within the right of free speech against any sort of attack at all, and people from all over the spectrum rise to their defense. At The Corner, Josh Goldberg wrote:
I keep hearing, particularly from conservative emailers in the context of the Danish cartoon controversy, that there is no such thing as "inappropriate speech." This is a popular view among opponents of political correctness, especially among college kids. It is a very opportunistic position to take.

...Of course some speech is inappropriate. Even some political speech is innapropriate (you would think more conservatives who rightly despise Michael Moore would understand this). But inappropriate shouldn't mean illegal. And yet liberals -- and no shortage of conservatives -- consider criticism of inappropriate speech to be somehow an infringement of free speech rights. When Cindy Sheehan or Cynthia McKinney say something idiotic the knee-jerkers respond "they have a right to say it." Okay, but so what? [emphasis added]
Somehow, things have gone so far that there is an underlying assumption that the right to say something grants one immunity from contradiction, as if by saying that Sheehan or McKinney have no clue what they are talking about has impinged on their basic human freedom.

In the case of the Denmark cartoons, Moslems--with no understanding or interest in the fine points of free speech--are offended, with their helpful exploitatin and manipulation by their Imams, by the "blaspheming" of Mohammad. In reality, the cartoons (the 12 original, not the extra 3 phoney ones the Imams included) are an expression of basic speech, protesting a situation that has been verified many times over by the staged Muslim riots.

And now the inevitable comparison between David Irving and the Denmark cartoons is made.

Goldberg continues:
The founders considered political speech to be sacrosanct, but they certainly would have had no problem with a local government banning public displays of sexual deviance and they would not have been fooled by arguments that strippers are exercizing their first amendment rights when contorting themselves around a pole. Today, we treat such cultural expression as holy...
Making distinctions is a tricky thing, but according to Goldberg there is a difference between the expression of political speech and cultural speech. The cartoons were an expression of opinion vis-a-vis growing Islamist violence and terrorism and its political consequences to the State. Irving's opinions go contrary to established historic fact (admittedly a potentially tricky thing to define), and are a perversion of it--arguably for personal gain.

In his book Explaining Hitler, Ron Rosenbaum writes about an interview with David Irving on the company he keeps. Irving admits:

I find it odious to be in the same company as these people. There is no question that there are certain organizations that propagate these theories which are cracked anti-Semites."

He then proceeds to make another amazing assertion: He's only using these "cracked anti-Semites" cynically. He plans to jettison them as soon as he can find more respectable forums.

"What else can I do?" he said, but speak at the gatherings of these "cracked anti-Semites" for the moment. "If I've been denied a platform worldwide, where else can I make my voice heard? As soon as I get back onto regular debating platforms I shall shake off this ill-fitting shoe which I'm standing on at present. I'm not blind. I know these people have done me a lot of damage, a lot of harm, because I get associated then with those stupid actions."

Irving was not interested in protest but in the expression and spreading of a historical viewpoint that was inaccurate, corrupt, and damaging. He gave a veneer of respectability to the most venal anti-Semites--a fact he himself acknowledged. Assuming to apply limitations to free speech is not something to be taken lightly, but I don't believe Irving played by the rules of the game, and despite the problems and issues that Irving's sentence has raised, I am not bothered by the jail time that Irving will serve.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Wolves, Indeed

On the one hand, Valley of the Wolves, the new movie starring Gary Busey and Billy Zane is anti-American. According to the BBC:

It is rabidly anti-American, and it is the biggest draw in town.

...In one scene, trigger-happy US troops massacre civilians at a wedding party.

In another they firebomb a mosque during evening prayer. There are multiple summary executions.

And for the first time, the real-life abuses by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison are played out on the big screen.

Even the doctor - played by Gary Busey - is evil, removing human organs from Iraqi prisoners to send to patients in the US, Israel and Britain.

The Telegraph has a different take on the same movie:

A virulently anti-Semitic film about the Iraq war has provoked a storm of protest in Germany after it sold out to cheering audiences from the country's 2.5 million-strong Turkish community.

Valley of the Wolves, by the Turkish director Serdan Akar, shows crazed American GIs massacring innocent guests at a wedding party and scenes in which a Jewish surgeon removes organs from Iraqi prisoners in a style reminiscent of the Nazi death camp doctor Joseph Mengele.

And the movie even has an inspirational message:
In the closing sequence, the hero is shown plunging a dagger into the heart of a US commander called Sam, played by Billy Zane. The audience responded by standing up and chanting "Allah is great!"
The movie defies all logic. It's as if the West has lost all sense of pride and doesn't care who is taken down.

Are we slitting our own throat so the Islamists won't have to?

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Haveil Havalim #59

[This edition of Haveil Havalim will 'stick' at the top of the page till the end of the week. Subsequent posts appear after it.]

Next week's Haveil Haveilim (#60) will be hosted by Life-of-Rubin. You can email him at
lifeofrubin at gmail dot com


Deja vu needs your help because the Last Jewish Synagogue in Tajikistan is Being Destroyed

Vos Iz Neias uncovers a possible Kashrus issue in the vaccination of birds against the Avian flu virus

The Path To The Knesset, wants you to know that Townhall Meetings have begun.

Psycho Toddler will be making a siyum!

me-ander invites you to the Second Kosher Cooking Carnival

Jews in the news--or should be

Crossing The Rubicon quotes from a Caroline Glick article about the story of the murder of Ilan Halimi

The Ignoble experiment examines how Jonathan Pollard is a convenient symbol, but a very inconvenient person.

My Right Word writes about the many facets of the life of Barney Ross

House of Joy relates how the death of Mr. R. reveals a story of a special man and family


A Simple Jews asks--and gets an answer--on why the source of "Minyan" is rooted in failure

Jewish Blogmeister, reveals a possible battle of the Minyan Websites.

Pillage Idiot reveals some of the things he has learned through "Kaddish bonding"


The Ignoble Experiment recounts the difficulty of choosing between Israel and the US upoon leaving Russia

Elie's Expositions remembers his father on his 75th birtday.

AbbaGav recounts a childhood episode that illustrates the limitations of appeasement

The Ignoble Experiment shares her thoughts about her grandmother's unveiling


IRIS explains why Israel's announcement that no more money will be paid to Hamas is not true.

Centrerion corrects some misconceptions about Hamas

Greetings from the French Hill discusses the reason why she thinks the Russians are meeting with Hamas and dealing with Iran despite Israel and the West's objections

Israel Matzav, explains how Israel is playing a fool’s game with Hamas.

Israel Matzav, notices you'll have to wait in line if you want to fund Hamas.

Jewish Matters

Elms in the Yard shares her discovery of The Museum of Psalms

Reb Chaim HaQoton examines the meaning of Tzara'as

Daled Amos has a post on HaTikvah: Rav Kook and Al Jolson

Israel has some ideas--good and bad

Shiloh Musings notes that there are things in Israel that make no sense

Life in Israel, shows us how Israel is creating new and strong Zionists.

Israel Matzav, writes about new reforms planned for Hesder and the consequences.

Israel Perspectives writes about Meretz's new definition of "Who is a Jew"

Meryl Yourish points out that Israel's Foreign Ministry is VBlogging

Mere Rhetoric is back and explains why Disengagement is still probably a good idea

Miriam's Ideas has a suggestion for the CIA on a sure-fire way to find Osama

Perspectives of a Nomad notes Israel is contemplating withholding aid to Palestinians for Avian Flu

Media Bias

Mensa Barbie guides us to the power of the media via Pallywood

Treppenwitz is fed up with the infantilization of the Palestinians

Simply Jews write about the Jewish infiltration of Al Jazeera and The Muslim Weekly

Mystery achievement takes a look at Robert Novaks' source for an anti-Israel article

Adloyada discusses how the BBC soft soaps Holocaust denier again

SerandEz points out another example of media bias

Other Bias

Smooth Stone writes about the importance of knowing your enemy--and he has a list.

Soccer Dad points notes Israel Apartheid Week

Elder of Ziyon notes whom some are blaming for the destruction of a major mosque

Olympic Coverage (sort of)

westbankblog hosts her own Olympic event.


Jewish Blogmeister has inspired someone to blog?.

Judeopundit finds the rhyme--if not the reason--in why bloggers are frum

Jews Living in Israel

If You Will It shares a Wednesday

Life in Israel, wonders why people are so negative.

Shiloh Musing shares her experience that makes her feel safer on El Al

Jews Living in the US

phishaliyah, is searching for an orange kippah.

Because I'm in my twenties is not impressed by Jewish migration patterns

The View from Europe

Mystery Achievement shares a translation of an article by a Spanish Catholic, entitled"All European life died in Auschwitz" (more info on the author of the article here)

The Reality Show thinks that in the UK, opinion may be turning against Muslims

Cross-Currents has some thoughts about the Danish cartoons by Jonathan Rosenblum

ConservaJew points out why it's important we have Israel

In Israel: Investigations and Defenses

Zion Report notes that there will be an investigation into what happened at Amona--and Kadima is not happy.

Life in Israel, writes about a defense that can only be used in Israel.

The US and Jews/Israel

The Astute Blogger has an idea on why Lawrence Summers resigned from Harvard

Boker Tov, Colorada notices an unexpected guest at the swearing in of the Palestinian Legislative Council

Listed at the Truth Laid Bare Ubercarnival.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism I--The Jewish Lobby

Judith Apter Klinghoffer at the History News Network has posted a lenghty article by Bernard Lewis on "The New Anti-Semitism."

Rather than dwell on how he traces the history and philosopy behind Anti-Semism, some of the actual examples he gives are worth taking a look at. One example of the manifestation of anti-Semitism is the issue of "The Jewish Lobby" that is brought up, which is especially relevant now with the investigation of AIPAC--and the claim that "The Jewish Lobby" owes its allegiance to a foreign power and is disloyal to the US. Lewis writes:
The Jewish lobby is, of course, not the only lobby of its kind. Consider three others: the Irish, Greek, and Armenian lobbies. The Irish lobby, which campaigned against the United Kingdom, America's closest ally, and the Greek and Armenian lobbies, which campaigned against Turkey when Turkey was a crucial NATO ally, were seen as pursuing their legitimate concerns. I don't recall accusations against any of them of disloyalty or even of divided loyalty.
While on the topic, it might be interesting to compare AIPAC with CAIR, especially in the context of CAIR being named as a defendant in a 9/11 terror class action lawsuit. It would be interesting to compare the media coverage of AIPAC and the FBI investigation on the one hand as opposed to the media coverage of the suit against CAIR.

Daniel Pipes has a long article
--with lots of updates--on 5 employees and board members of CAIR:
July 7, 2004: To sum up the state of CAIR's legal play: two of its associates (Ghassan Elashi, Randall Royer) have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, one (Bassem Khafegi) convicted on fraud charges, two (Rabih Haddad, Bassem Khafegi) have been deported, and one (Siraj Wahhaj) remains at large.
He has an August 15, 2005 update that a 6th member of CAIR, Mohammad Nimer, has been named in the class action suit which claims that besides being director of CAIR's Research Center, he "also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Association for Studies and Research ('UASR'). The UASR is the strategic arm of Hamas in the United States."

See also:
o Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism II--Arab Humor
o Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism III--The UN

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Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism II--Arab Humor

On a different tack on Anti-Semitism, Lewis gives an example of the Jewish stereotype in the Arab world, in terms of folklore and humor:
An interesting difference in hostile stereotypes can be found in anecdotes, jokes, and the like. The main negative quality attributed to Jews in Turkish and Arab folklore was that they were cowardly and unmilitary—very contemptible qualities in a martial society. A late Ottoman joke may serve to illustrate this. The story is that in 1912, at the time of the Balkan war, when there was an acute threat to the Ottoman Empire in its final stages, the Jews, full of patriotic ardor, decided that they, too, wanted to serve in the defense of their country, so they asked permission to form a special volunteer brigade. Permission was given, and officers and ncos were sent to train and equip them. Once the Jewish volunteer brigade was armed, equipped, and trained, ready to leave for the front, they sent a message asking if they could have a police escort, because there were reports of bandits on the road.
In particular, Lewis uses this anecdote to explain the humiliation the Arab world felt in the aftermath of the War of Independence, and the subsequent wars it instigated and lost:
This is a very interesting human document. Is it hostile? Not really. It shows a sort of amused tolerance, at once good-humored and contemptuous, that may help us to understand the bewilderment and horror at the Israeli victories in 1948 and after. We have some vivid descriptions at the time of the expectations and reactions of 1948. Azzam Pasha, who was then the secretary-general of the Arab League, is quoted as having said: "This will be like the Mongol invasions. We will utterly destroy them. We will sweep them into the sea." The expectation was that it would be quick and easy. There would be no problem at all dealing with half a million Jews. It was then an appalling shock when five Arab armies were defeated by half a million Jews with very limited weaponry. It remains shameful, humiliating. This was mentioned at the time and has been ever since. One writer said: "It was bad enough to be conquered and occupied by the mighty empires of the West, the British Empire, the French Empire, but to suffer this fate at the hands of a few hundred thousand Jews was intolerable."
According to Lewis then, the humiliation that the Arab world felt was not due to the fact that Jews were for over a thousand years dhimmis--subjugated second class citizens--but because they were historically considered weak and cowardly. In this Lewis is consistent in his view of "Dhimmitude":
If we look at the considerable literature available about the position of Jews in the Islamic world, we find two well-established myths. One is the story of a golden age of equality, of mutual respect and cooperation, especially but not exclusively in Moorish Spain; the other is of “dhimmi”-tude, of subservience and persecution and ill treatment. Both are myths. Like many myths, both contain significant elements of truth, and the historic truth is in its usual place, somewhere in the middle between the extremes.
In contrast, Dr. Mitchell Bard, author of Myths and Facts, has an article on The Treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic Countries where he details how Jewish communities in various Moslem communities in various periods of history were subject to the destruction of synagogues, living in ghettos, and the mass slaughter of Jews. Bard quotes G.E. Von Grunebaum, author of "Eastern Jewry Under Islam":
It would not be difficult to put together the names of a very sizeable number of Jewish subjects or citizens of the Islamic area who have attained to high rank, to power, to great financial influence, to significant and recognized intellectual attainment; and the same could be done for Christians. But it would again not be difficult to compile a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.
But unlike the issue of former dhimmitude, the Arab view of Jews as cowardly comes into play in the way that Israel conducts itself in dealing and negotiating with the Palestinian terrorists from Oslo on--in the constant talk of the need for concessions and seeming reluctance to see to it that the Palestinian Arabs keep their promises and obligations.

It is one thing for Arabs to tell stereotypical anecdotes about Jews--it is another for Israel to insist on playing the part.

See also:
o Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism I--The Jewish Lobby
o Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism III--The UN

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Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism III--The UN

Lastly, Lewis notes some of the disparities in the way the UN has handled the Middle East--going back to 1948.

1. Following the 1948 War of Independence, it was accepted without argument that Arabs could remain under Israeli rule, but no Jews could remain in those areas that ended up under Arab control.

2. Among Jews who could not stay in Arab controlled areas there were "not just settlers, but old, established groups, notably the ancient Jewish community in East Jerusalem, which was totally evicted and its monuments desecrated or destroyed." There was no outrcy from either the UN nor international public opinion. The Arab world took note.

3. The UN response to Arab refugees was to make very elaborate arrangements with extensive financing--as opposed to the UN response to Jews of equal number who either fled or were driven out from Arab lands, and as opposed to how other refugees from other countries were treated ("Hindus who fled or were driven from Pakistan into India, Muslims who fled or were driven from India into Pakistan...the millions of refugees in Central and Eastern Europe—Poles fleeing from the Eastern Polish areas annexed to the Soviet Union and Germans fleeing from the East German areas annexed to Poland").

4. Following the war in 1948, Arab countries went beyond just not recognizing Israel. They also refused to allow Israelis of any religion into their countries. Israeli Christians and Arabs were not allowed into East Jerusalem, though Israeli Christians could enter on Christmas Day for a few hours. At the time, Israeli Muslims were not allowed to go on their obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

5. Virtually all Arab countries refused to give visas to Jews of any nationality--"Again, not a word of protest from anywhere. One can imagine the outrage if Israel had announced that it would not give visas to Muslims, still more if the United States were to do so. As directed against Jews, this ban was seen as perfectly natural and normal."

6. The Jordanian nationality law of February 4, 1954 accepts Palestinian natives and residents as citizens--with no objection by international public opinion.

7. A report was presented to UNESCO on April 4, 1969 on the anti-Semitic material found after the Six Day War in textbooks funded by UNESCO. The report was not published.

Consistently, these actions by the Arab countries were accepted as natural and normal, with no offical protest--a point that the Arab world noted.

Lewis concludes that:
For those who needed it, all this provided an up-to-date, intellectually and socially acceptable rationale for what ought to be called anti-Semitism but, since that word isn't acceptable, might be called Jew-baiting, Jew-hating, or generally being unpleasant to Jews.
See also:
o Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism I--The Jewish Lobby
o Bernard Lewis: The New Anti-Semitism II--Arab Humor

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

February: Busy Month for Palestinian Terrorists

Dr. Mitchell Bard, author of Myths and Facts, has a post up on his website on the Myth "The Palestinians have maintained a truce and ceased terror operations against Israel." In particular, he lists terrorist attacks just during February, noting that according to the Jerusalem Post, "each month, Israel has more than 70 terror alerts":
• On February 2, 2006, soldiers prevented two Palestinian teenagers from smuggling 12 pipe bombs through a checkpoint. The next day two Palestinian teenagers were captured carrying explosive belts (Jerusalem Post, February 3, 2006).

• On February 19, 2006, border police arrested three Palestinians from Bethlehem on their way to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. That same morning, two Palestinians attempted to place a bomb near the southern Gaza security fence (Jerusalem Post, January 2, February 19, 2006).

• On February 20, 2006, the Shin Bet chief revealed that the IDF uncovered a launcher and eight mortar shells in Bethlehem, which were planned to be fired at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo (Ynet.com, February 20, 2006).

• On February 21, 2006, an IDF force found a large bomb factory in Nablus (Haaretz, February 21, 2006).
He also notes the situation in Gaza since the Disengagement:
• Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have continued to fire rockets into Israel on an almost daily basis, and increasingly threatened strategic targets, such as the power station in Ashkelon.

• Smuggling of weapons has accelerated in the Gaza Strip. The head of the Shin Bet reported that the number of rifles smuggled each month has increased from 200-300 to 3,000 since disengagement, and that the Palestinians have also smuggled in anti-aircraft missiles and tons of explosives (Jerusalem Post, January 10, 2006).
It would be nice if the press would notice. As long as the newspapers aren't printing pictures of the 12 Denmark cartoons, maybe they could find some space in their paper to let their readers know about the terrorist attacks that are being attempted in Israel on a daily basis.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Poland Welcomes Ahmadinejad With Open...Contempt

Ahmadinejad's plan to send a delegation to Poland to investigate the Holocaust has triggered a mixed reaction.

A mix of anger, contempt, disgust...
Poland harshly criticised Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that he would send a delegation to the European country "to verify the real dimension of the Holocaust." The influential Warsaw-daily Gazeta Wyborcza defined "inadmissible" the hypothesis of a visit by the delegation to former concentration camps "to look for information supporting an absurd and hallucinating thesis." Polish foreign minister Stefan Meller for his part called "crazy the Iranian committee's idea to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau to count the dead."

..."We will never allow the delegation headed by Ahmadinejad to visit this centre," the museum [of Auschwitz] said in a statement. "We preserve the memory of over one million victims and mean to block the way to anyone wanting to shed doubts on the Holocaust."
Apparently Poland is not alone in having issues with Ahmadinejad. There was a meeting over this past weekend of the European Jewish Congress and they had some ideas of their own:
Leaders of thirty-eight Jewish communities from around Europe called for the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be declared “Persona Non Grata Ad Personam” in European territory, during the European Jewish Congress (EJC) Extraordinary General Assembly, held Sunday, February 19th, 2006 in Vienna.

Austria currently holds the presidency of the rotating Council of the European Union, and as part of the General Assembly, a delegation led by EJC President Pierre Besnainou met over the weekend with the Austrian President Dr Heinz Fischer and Prime Minister Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, to discuss both the Iranian President’s declarations calling for the destruction of Israel and his statements denying the Holocaust, as well as the future of European Union funding of a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
According to the article, they got reassurances on Hamas, but it was the typical boiler-plate.

The EJC apparently started in 1986 and sees itself as a Jewish EU, but I haven't heard of them before. They do have a list of the 40 members here -- a map where you can click on any of the 40 countries listed and get some basic information on things like: Demography, History, Community, Culture and Education, Religious Life, Israel, Sites (geographical not virtural), and contact info.

Assuming Poland keeps to their refusal to allow Iran's Holocaust delegation in, Poland's actions will have more influence that the EJC.

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HaTikvah: Rav Kook and Al Jolson

I came across the audio of Al Jolson singing HaTikva and thought is was interesting--especially since the words are different. Also, I didn't know how old HaTikva (originally named 'Tikvateynu') was, nor Rav Kook's opinion of it.

Here is a basic history of Hatikva:
The title of the national anthem of Israel, Hatikva, means "The Hope." It was written by Naftali Herz Imber (1856-1909), who moved to Palestine in 1882 from Galicia. It was written apparently in honor of the founding of Petah Tiqva, the first new Jewish settlement. The melody was arranged by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia, from a musical theme in Smetana's "Moldau" that is partly based on a Scandinavian folk song.

In 1898, the Zionist organization advertised a competition for an official anthem in the newspaper, Die Welt, and again in 1900 a song was called for, but none was found. In 1901, the song that was then called Tikvateynu was sung at a Zionist congress, and in 1905 Hatikvah was sung by all the delegates at the seventh Zionist congress.

In terms of change in the words and the tune, there is not a lot:
In the course of its evolution, the words of the song were changed slightly. Originally "The land of Zion and Jerusalem" was "where David once lived" (the way Al Jolson sang it) and the original words "to live in the land of our fathers" were changed to "to be a free nation in our own land." The accenting of the words was changed from the Ashkenazi (European) pronunciation to the Sephardic (Spanish or eastern) pronunciation which was adopted for modern Hebrew. That change necessitated a change in the melody as well.
You can listen as Al Jolson Sings Hatikva while comparing the original and current lyrics below. According to an online biography of Jolson:
his version of the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva" raised over $100,000 for the United Jewish Appeal.
(Thanks to Heichal HaNegina for corrections to the transliteration)
Original WordsModern VersionTranslation
Kol od ba-levov p'nimo
Nefesh yehudi homiyoh
Ulfasay mizrach kodimo
Ayin la tziyon tsofiyoh
Kol od balevav p'nimah
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah
Ulfa'atey mizrach kadimah
Ayin l'tzion tzofiyah
As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East To Zion,
an eye looks
Od lo ovdo tsikvoseinu
Hatikvo hanoshono
Loshuv l'eretz avoseinu
L'yichod Dovid, Dovid chano
Od lo avdoh tsikvoseinu
Hatikvah (bat) shnot alpayim
L'hiyot am chofshi b'artzeinu
Eretz Tzion v'Yerushalayim
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Loshuv l'eretz avoseinu
L'Ir bah Dovid, Dovid chano
L'hiyot am chofshi b'artzeinu
Eretz Tzion v'Yerushalayim
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

The Lookstein Center has some material on HaTikvah.

It has an article by Zev Rosenfield, Rav Kook's Response to Hatikvah which notes that:
the concept of national symbols is not alien to Am Yisrael . However, it is imperative that they have religious nature and significance.

...Regarding the national anthem, the issue is not simple. Hatikvah, which is known as the anthem of Medinat Yisrael, was composed by Naftali Peretz Imber, probably in 1878. He first introduced it to the settlers of Rishon Le-Zion, and it gained much popularity among the Olim from Aliya I and III. It eventually was sung at numerous Zionist Congresses and was named the official song of the Zionist movement. However, surprisingly enough, it has never been officially established as the anthem of the State of Israel by Knesset, (as opposed to the flag, which has been accepted). The poem has been revised a few times, and the song we sing today is a shorter and altered version of the original text.

Rav Kook zt"l heard Hatikvah, did not care for it, and disagreed with the attitude that it conveyed. As is well known, however, Rav Kook had great respect for the secular Zionists and contended that there was a level of k'dusha in their work, even without them realizing it. It is for this reason that Rav Kook was not opposed to singing Hatikvah .

Nevertheless, Rav Kook wrote an alternate poem in direct response to Hatikvah, entitled Ha'Emunah . He hoped that it would ultimately replace Hatikvah as the national anthem.

After a detailed analysis of HaTikva and Ha'Emunah, Rosenfield concludes:
It is clear that Imber and Rav Kook zt”l subscribe to two very different outlooks on Zionism. Typical secular Zionists of the late eighteenth century did not attribute any religious aspects to their dream of creating a Zionist movement to return to Eretz Yisrael . They were tired of persecution and anti-Semitism. The only hope was to rely on those courageous individuals who could stand up on their own two feet and breathe life into the dying nation. The only logical place to dream of such a rebirth is the land with common history for all the Jews, Eretz Yisrael . However, if this proved impossible, other options might suffice. This is clearly the message behind Imber's Hatikvah - the last hope for survival.

Religious Zionism stemming from Torah, however, views the return to Eretz Yisrael as something that we have known would happen for centuries. It is not just Herzl's brilliant solution to the problem of anti-Semitism. It is the fulfillment of the prophecies that appear throughout Tanach, spoken over 2000 years ago. It is a promise made by Hashem to Avrahan, Yitzchak, and Yaacov, and recorded by Moshe Rabbeinu in the Torah.
During difficult times like these, we need both the Emunah and the Tikvah to make it through.

You can read the original texts of HaTikvah and HaEmunah, here [PDF].
There is a comparison worksheet, here [PDF].


Here is a recording of Hatikvah in Bergen-Belson on the Friday after liberation. Hat tip: SerandEz

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hamas Election: Respected But Not Respectable

The Wall Street Journal has a great piece on OpinionJournal entitled Friends of Hamas: Democracy must be respected, but that doesn't make the terror group respectable. Though both Russia and Venezuela have agreed to meet with Hamas, and both Spain and France have supported Putin's invitaation to Hamas--all because of Hamas' election victory, nevertheless there is a distinction:
We agree that the results of those elections must be "respected," in the narrow sense that they reflect the outcome of a lawful democratic process. But just because something is respected does not make it respectable: Recall the diplomatic quarantine the European Union slapped on Austria in 2000 when elections there put the proto-fascist Freedom Party in government.
The end result of these and further invitations to meet with Hamas will isolate the US--while the US and Israel are trying to isolate Hamas and deprive it of funds.
Nor is there any shame in doing so: Donors have the right to impose conditions on their beneficiaries, and so far Hamas has rejected international calls that it disarm, forswear terrorism and accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state. As Hamas leader Khalid Mish'al wrote in Britain's Guardian immediately after the election, "We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state. . . . We shall not seek friendships at the expense of our legitimate rights."

Palestinians need to understand that the exercise of self-government carries consequences. For too long, the international community has failed to extract a price for the Palestinian recourse to terror. That failure has not brought peace, but far worse it has produced the "Palestine" we have now: destitute, savage against both Israelis and moderate Arabs, and, so far, incapable of managing its internal affairs peacefully and competently. By refusing to render Hamas respectable, the U.S. and Israel aren't punishing the Palestinians. They're educating them.
The problem is that no one cares about such neat distinctions between respected and respectable, or about accountability. Until the West is ready to turn the corner and stop putting up with the threats and intimidation under the cover of good old fashioned Western 'tolerance'--until that point the West will not be of much help to itself, let alone Israel.

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BBC and the ABC's of Moslem Etiquette

The BBC has the following odd piece:

Peace Be Upon Him
Throughout the BBC's section on Islam you will see Peace be upon Him or (pbuh) after the name Muhammad.

Muslims say Peace be upon Him after every mention of Muhammad's name, as a mark of respect. Muslims do the same when they write the Prophet's name, adding pbuh.

The Arabic transliteration of Peace be upon Him is sallallahu alayhi wa sallam which is usually abbreviated as saw

Far be it that the BBC should be accused of being fearful of offending Moslems--it's just a question of respect. And they would be so happy to oblige any other religion as well:

Use of pbuh on bbc.co.uk/religion
The BBC uses the pbuh in the Islam section out of courtesy, and we would do the same for any other religion if they had a similar phrase that was universally used as a sign of respect. [emphasis added]

Not that they are doing the same, or will do the same, but they would do the same if...
I suppose we could introduce them to such terms as "HaShem" or request Shlita or tz"l where appropriate--but how 'universal' are such terms among Reform and Conservative Jews?

When the site refers to the Prophet on pages that are not in the Islam section, we do not use the phrase.

Your opinions
We would be pleased to hear your opinions on the BBC's use of pbuh. Please email us with your comments.

This would not bother me if I had more faith in the BBC's motives.

Update: The New Criterion notes:

In their continuing effort to raise consciousness, spread enlightenment, and deprecate the traditions that made Britain Britain, the BBC has posted extensive information on major world religions on their internet site. A friend directed us to the section on Islam. It makes instructive reading for anyone wishing to chart the progress of the virus of multiculturalism--that odd compact of self-righteousness, nihilism, and pusillanimity--in elite British society.

The site offers some standard historical exposition about the origin and doctrines of Islam as well as some inadvertently comical items such as the entry "Muslim internet matchmaking," in which we learn that "The internet has sparked a revolution in the way some Muslims are meeting potential partners." (Similar, equally comic, pages exist for other religions.) But what is most striking about the section on Islam is its tone of careful piety. No other religion--except possibly Atheism, "The ideas and story of people who don't believe in God"--receives such fastidious treatment. (The section on Atheism, incidentally, features an interview with that secular saint, Richard Dawkins: a perfect match.) Compare, for example, the introductory caption describing Islam with the one that describes Christianity:

Islam began in Arabia and was revealed to humanity by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Those who follow Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe that there is only one God. The Arabic word for God is Allah.
Got it? Now here's the bit introducing Christianity:
Christianity is the world's biggest religion, with about 2.1 billion followers worldwide. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago.
Notice anything different in the tone, in the approach? For starters, Islam "was revealed to humanity," etc., etc., but Christianity is a statistic. And what's this "peace be upon him" stuff--confessional language in the very secular setting of a BBC internet history lesson? In a religious setting, Catholics will often say "Glory to you, Lord" or "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ." But in the context of an historical document? What's going on here?
Good question.

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David Irving: "Holocaust Denier" Denier?

The Associated Press reports on the results of David Irving's one day trial:
Right-wing British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison Monday after admitting to an Austrian court that he denied the Holocaust — a crime in the country where Hitler was born.

Irving, who pleaded guilty and then insisted during his one-day trial that he now acknowledged the Nazis' World War II slaughter of 6 million Jews, had faced up to 10 years behind bars. Before the verdict, Irving conceded he had erred in contending there were no gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

"I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz," Irving testified, at one point expressing sorrow "for all the innocent people who died during the Second World War."

Irving, stressing he only relied on primary sources, said he came across new information in the early 1990's from top Nazi officials — including personal documents belonging to Adolf Eichmann — that led him to rethink certain previous assertions.

But despite his apparent epiphany, Irving, 67, maintained he had never questioned the Holocaust.

So according to Irving:

1. He mistakenly thought and said that there were no gas chambers in Aushwitz
2. He had found new evidence that led him to rething previous assertions
3. But no, he never questioned the Holocaust

In Denying History, a portion of the movie Mr. Death--about Fred Leuchter's claim to have proved there were no mass gassings at Aushwitz--is quoted where David Irving tells the filmmaker Errol Morris:

He [Leuchter] came back with these earth-shattering results. The big point: there is no significant residue of cynaide in the brickwork. That's what converted me. When I read that in the report in the courtroom in Toronto, I became a hard-core disbeliever. [emphasis mine] (p. 257)

So Irving never questioned the Holocaust--he just disbelieved it.

But in the background of all this, especially in the context of the Denmark cartoons, is the issue of free speech. Unlike in the US, in Europe--and Austria--there is a law against denying the Holocaust:
The court convicted Irving after his guilty plea under the 1992 law, which applies to "whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media."

... The verdict was welcomed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which also highlighted the issue of freedom of speech.

"While Irving's rants would not have led to legal action in the United States, it is important that we recognize and respect Austria's commitment to fighting Holocaust denial, the most odious form of hatred, as part of its historic responsibility to its Nazi past," the center's associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said in a statement.
Denying History offers an approach to the Free Speech issue:
Walter Reich, former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, has noted that we must not confuse freedom of expression "with the obligation to facilitate that expression." We must never pass a law that says Holocaust deniers may not publish their own literature. But we are not obligated to publish it for them in our own publications...Being in favor of someone's right to freedom of speech is quie different from enabling that speech.

...We believe that once a claim is in the public consciousness (as Holocaust denial undeniably is), it should be properly analyzed and, if appropriate, refuted vigorously in the public arena. (p.13-14)
This is not the approach in Europe, as Irving well knows.
But does it apply to the refusal of the newspapers not to publish the 12 Denmark cartoons?

Personally, I don't think it applies at all.

Update: Powerline writes:
David Irving is an awful human being, but it's pretty hard to take the high ground with regard to freedom of speech--over, say, the Danish cartoons--when you're sending people to jail for "grossly playing down" or "trying to excuse" Nazi crimes. Some say, of course, that for Europe the Holocaust is unique and deserves this special legal status. But then, the Muslims think Mohammed is unique, too. Once you start making exceptions of this sort, it's hard to know when to stop.
Update: The headline at the Jerusalem Post reads -- "Prosecutors appeal Irving's sentence", which may seem a bit odd, since normally that would be the defense attorney's job. But the first paragraph clarifies:
Austrian prosecutors in the trial of right-wing British historian David Irving filed an appeal Tuesday to contest his three-year prison sentence, saying it was too lenient.
It's times like this I wish I knew Yiddish--I'm sure there's a phrase for an occaison like this.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Torture and Murder of French Jew by Muslim Gang--Not Anti-Semitic

The Observer, sister paper to the Guardian, reports the following story:
Torturers' Iraq link

Criminals who tortured and killed a young hostage, keeping him naked and hooded and burning him repeatedly before throwing him from a train, were inspired by images from Iraq, according to a French prosecutor.
If you read the entire article, some facts are missing--

o The victim's name (Ilan Halimi)
o The fact that the victim was Jewish
o The fact that the missing gangleader is Moslem
o The possibility that when a Moslem kills a Jew there may be anti-Semitism

Though the report does give the name of the ringleader, Youssef Fofana, that may be because of how stupid it would appear to report that the police are looking for the ringleader and then not report on who the police are looking for.

Or maybe not.

The Times--another British newspaper--gives some of the information hidden by the Observer, yet still manages to skirt around the issue:
Photofit leads to capture of Paris 'honeytrap' gang

Paris police have arrested a dozen people suspected of kidnapping and torturing a young man to death after a blonde woman used to bait their honeytrap gave herself up.
They reveal the name of the victim and even go so far as to admit that the Jewish community is concerned by the fact that 4 other Jews were targeted in botched kidnapping attempts. But according to The Times the key to the gang is not that the victim was horribly tortured, but that it is a "honeytrap" gang that uses women to lure the victim--and the model was not Iraq, but a 1995 movie called L'Appât (The Bait).

At least Haaretz puts the pieces together. It reports that there is disagreement between the family and the authorities on whether there was anti-Semitism:
"We think there is anti-Semitism in this affair," Rafi Halimi, Ilan's uncle, told the press.

"First, because the killers tried to kidnap at least two other Jews, and second, because of what they said on the phone," Rafi Halimi added. "When we said we didn't have 500,000 euros to give them they told us to go to the synagogue and get it," Rafi said. "They also recited verses from the Koran."

But the Paris public prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, told Parisian Jewish radio on Thursday that "no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action." The umbrella group of French Jewish secular organizations, CRIF, issued a statement Friday calling on the Jewish community "to keep calm, cautious and wait for developments in the investigation."
Apparently the fact that 4 other Jews were targeted is not enough of a hint.

Why is it that Europe can have laws that outlaw denial of the Holocaust, but when Moslems beat up, torture, and kill Jews, anti-Semitism is the evil that dare not speak its name?

For more on the media in Great Britain, see Great Britain Keeps a Stiff Bloody Lip

Update: Adloyada notes that:

It's interesting to compare the Observer's report to the European Jewish Press report, which links Halimi's treatment more explicitly to the Abu Ghraib tortures

According to the prosecutor, however, Halimi was tortured in scenes
reminiscent of the abuse of prisoners at Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib jail.

Held prisoner in a Bagneux apartment, "naked, with his face covered," he was abused in "a repetition of scenes seen elsewhere", the prosecutor said.

Update: There is more in another Haaretz article here.

Update: At The Corner, Cliff May quotes from an article by Nidra Pollers online at the Wall Street Journal (registration required):

“The highest echelons of the French government are now preoccupied with the murder of Ilan Halimi. … Once again, as in the suburban riots of 2005, the country is forced to come face to face with the criminalized, alienated and racist Muslim youth and their adult enablers in its midst. …

“The murder of Ilan Halimi invites comparison with the November 2003 killing of a Jewish disc jockey, Sébastien Selam. His Muslim neighbor, Adel, slit his throat, nearly decapitating him, and gouged out his eyes with a carving fork in his building's underground parking garage. Adel came upstairs with bloodied hands and told his mother, "I killed my Jew, I will go to paradise." …

BIG UPDATE (3/3/06):
(This was going to be a separate post, but there are other blogs already covering this)

Last week France finally was openly and freely admitting that the brutal torture of Ilan Halimi which led to his death was motivated by anti-Semitism. The French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy said the members of the gang "were convinced that 'Jews have money'... That's called anti-Semitism by conflation." Furthermore:
Sarkozy revealed that some suspects possessed extreme Islamic and pro-Palestinian literature and documents. What they confessed to the police further confirmed the apprehension that Halimi was subjected to barbaric abuse because he was a Jew.
Caroline Glick is more specific on the nature of the documents that were found:
It appears that Ilan Halimi's murderers had some connection to Hamas. Tuesday, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said that police found propaganda published by the Palestinian Charity Committee or the CBSP at the home of one of the suspects. The European Jewish Press reported this week that Israel has alleged that the organization is a front group for Palestinian terrorists and that in August 2003 the US government froze the organization's US bank accounts, accusing it of links with Hamas.
Glick is relentless in her critcism of how the Israeli government responded to the murder and to the Jewish community in France:

o No Israeli official condemned his murder.

o No Israeli official demanded French authorities investigate why the police were so slow to take anti-Semitism into account while Halimi was held captive

o No Israeli official flew to Paris to participate in Ilan's funeral

o The Foreign Ministry's Web site has no mention of Halimi's murder.

o The Israeli Embassy in Paris did not publicly express its condolences to the Halimi family until February 23--10 days after Ilan was found.

o The French press has noted that the Israeli media has not given the story prominent coverage.

o Halimi's murder has not appeared on the front pages of the papers or at the top of the television or radio broadcasts.

While Glick gives the French government credit for pursuing the murderers once they finally admitted the gang's anti-Jewish motivation, she not only faults the Israeli government but singles out Kadima:

Israel's societal meekness accords well with Kadima's ideology. Its creed was best expressed by Foreign Minister, Justice Minister and Immigration Minister Tzipi Livni last month at the Herzliya Conference and is best characterized as "conditional Zionism." In her speech, Livni explained that Israel's international legitimacy is conditional. Unless a Palestinian state is established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, she warned, Israel will lose its legitimacy as a Jewish state.

So for Livni, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres and the rest of the Kadima gang, unlike every other people in the world, the Jewish people does not have an inherent, natural right to exist as a free, sovereign and independent people in its homeland. For Kadima, the Jewish people's right to self-determination in our land years is conditional on our enemies' acceptance of our right to be here.

I thought that part of the Zionist ideal is that besides being a homeland and destination for Jews, Israel is here to help defend and look out for Jews around world.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Moderation, Thy Name is Hamas

Honest Reporting on Hamas' takeover of control of the PA:
On Saturday, the Hamas terror group, whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Jews, took its place as the majority party of the new Palestinian Authority legislature.

Ismail Haniyeh was chosen as the new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister. Much of the media is describing this terrorist leader as "pragmatic" or "moderate."
Yes, why can't more terrorist leaders who are dedicated to the destruction of Israel be moderate like Ismail? And of course, it will be necessary for Israelto allow time for this "moderation" to express itself. Will the West tell Israel to make some goodwill concessions as well?

[Update: Sure enought, the ever-reliable--and predictable--Jimmy Carter advises "Don't Punish the Palestinians" Among the expected silliness, he writes:
The spokesman for Hamas claimed, "We want a peaceful unity government." If this is a truthful statement, it needs to be given a chance.
The problem with this of course is that it only refers to Hamas' desire to have a peaceful government without in-fighting. All of Hamas' statements about Israel both in public and in their Covenant indicate that they want to wipe it off the face of the earth. Thanks.

Carter's other suggestion for bringing peace:
A negotiated agreement is the only path to a permanent two-state solution, providing peace for Israel and justice for the Palestinians. In fact, if Israel is willing to include the Palestinians in the process, Abbas can still play this unique negotiating role as the unchallenged leader of the PLO (not the government that includes Hamas
But once again, Carter is foiled by reality. According to Arutz Sheva:
Bolstered by its victory over Fatah in Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections, the Hamas is aiming for control over the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
In any case, Carter does not make clear how negotiating with Abbas now would suddenly be any more fruitful than in past years, since Abbas has not fulfilled his obligations under the Road Map thus far.]

Honest Reporting points out that though the mantle of "moderation" and "pragmatism" conveyed by the New York Times, The BBC, The Associated Press, and Reuters
Today, there is no evidence Haniyeh has indicated he is in favor of changing the Hamas charter, rejecting violence, or recognizing Israel. Without these basic steps, it is difficult to see how anyone can accurately define him as "pragmatic."
Ah yes, a terrorist leader only the Mainstream Media could love.

So what did a moderate, pragmatic group like Hamas do when it took the reins of power? Joe's Dartblog notes:

Low comedy from deep within the Muslim world, newly represented by double talking terrorists. Just yesterday, Hamas came into power. As I noted, its first order of business was to indemnify itself—rhetorically, if not legally—from the obligations of Oslo, and to assert that, no, the nation of Israel does not have the right to exist in this world. Despite Hamas’ being essentially a successor government (and thus required under international law to abide by treaties to which the previous government acceded), the party has renounced any treaty that recognized Israel.

Can you guess what the second order of business was? That’s right: to condemn Israel’s decision to cease sending cash to the Palestinian Authority. Specifically, $42.2 million. Since the PA and its new Hamas bosses run almost entirely on the swiftly-eroding goodwill of the rest of the world (terrorism doesn’t pay very well), Hamas is now demanding that Israel reconsider its decision to cut funding. A representative said: “This is a faulty decison, and the Israelis must reconsider their decision. It will only increase hatred.”

The title of the post is "The Terror Authority Springs Into Nonsensical Action."

Apparently, Hamas got a handle on Mideast politics pretty fast.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Is Olmert Now His Own Sounding Board? Duck!

When Sharon was Prime Minister, it was common to say that he was using Olmert as a sounding board, who would make public statements about issues--such as the Disengagement--and Sharon could see what the public reaction was. As we saw, once Sharon made a decision, there was no turning back.

But now, it appears that Olmert is his own sounding board, which is to say he hasn't got one--and like a bat without sonar, the results are dangerous.

Michael Freund points out in Olmert Zigs and Zags on Hamas:
With breathtaking speed, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has once again backtracked on his own policy towards Hamas, leaving heads spinning in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Washington.

Just days after Israeli officials began talking about imposing an “economic siege” on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA), the Government has now apparently decided to permit international funding to reach the PA.

This flip-flop follows shortly on the heels of Olmert’s previous zig-zag regarding aid to Hamas. Shortly after the terrorist group won last month’s Palestinian elections, Israel said it would not transfer any more money to the PA, but then Olmert changed his mind last week and approved the handover of 240 million shekels in taxes and customs duties.
That post was on Thursday. Today, Arutz Sheva reports on another flip-flop:
Defense Ministry officials had hoped that the Karni and Erez Crossings - which have suffered many terrorist attacks in the past, and which have been the point of entry for many terrorists - would be closed as early as this morning. PA officials, too, had been originally informed that the crossings would be closed, but later found out the opposite. Some 3-5,000 workers entered today.
It also reports on a Cabinet meeting on Friday
The following measures were approved:

1. Israel will stop the monthly transfer of tax monies to the PA as soon as the new Hamas government, to be headed by Muhammed Haniye, is sworn in. This is expected to take place in the coming weeks, but it is not clear whether this will be before or after the next scheduled money transfer.

2. Israel will ask the international community to stop all donations to the PA, as of the swearing-in of the new PA government. However, funding to organizations defined as "humanitarian" will continue.

3. Israel will prevent the transfer of aid and means to official and unofficial PA military organizations.

4. Entry of Hamas members to areas controlled by Israel will be restricted.

5. The security checks of workers and goods entering Israel from Gaza at the Karni and Erez Crossings will be stepped up.
However, the article notes that the measures approved by the Kadima-only member Cabinet represent only a watered-down version of the recommendations offered by defense experts.

o The Cabinet did not approve the recommendation of a ban on entry of workers from Gaza.

o There was no mention of a proposed stoppage on Gaza projects to build a seaport and airport.

But acting Prime Minister Olmert did offer the following to Israelis:
Olmert, addressing the Cabinet today, said, "At this point, there is no possibility of reaching an agreement with the PA - but the sky has not crashed in. We were in the same situation during the days of terrorism with Arafat... Israel will not compromise with terrorism, and will continue fighting it with full force... Israel will not have contacts with a regime in which Hamas is a member."
Same old talk. Israelis have no reason to be reassured, except to the extent that they know that Hamas, if they are paying attention, are not exactly quaking in their boots.

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Haveil Havalim--It's Up...and it's Good!

Soccer Dad has posted this weeks Haveil Havalim, #58.
Go and take a look--there's something for everyone.


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Dealing With The Murder of Americans By Hamas

Looks like Hamas needs Westerna aid after all. According to the Associated Press:
The exiled political leader of Hamas said Friday the world has the wrong image of the Islamic militant group and he urged the international community to stop viewing it through the eyes of Israel
The world has the 'wrong' image of Hamas?
OK. Let's view Hamas through the eyes of the US.

Last year on August 30, the Boston Globe carried this story:
Palestinian Authority's US assets are frozen

WASHINGTON -- A Rhode Island lawyer trying to collect a $116 million terrorism judgment against the Palestinian Authority has obtained a court-ordered freeze on all its US-based assets, severely limiting most Palestinian economic and diplomatic activities in the United States at a critical moment for the fledgling government.
Article Tools

The frozen assets include US holdings in a $1.3 billion Palestinian investment fund meant to finance economic development as well as bank accounts used to pay Palestinian representatives in Washington, according to lawyers and court documents filed in Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and New York. Also frozen are about $30 million in assets from the Palestinian Monetary Authority, the Palestinian equivalent of the US Federal Reserve.

Providence attorney David Strachman, who is representing the orphaned children of a couple killed in Israel by Palestinian militants, has also initiated a court action to seize and sell the Palestinian-owned building in New York that serves as the Palestine Liberation Organization observer mission to the United Nations.
It is not till later in the article that we find that the law suit derives from the murder of 2 Americans by Hamas back in 1996:
The case is the first to result in a financial judgment under a 1991 antiterrorism law that allows US citizens to sue foreign organizations in civil court for terrorism. It stems from the 1996 murders of Brooklyn-born Yaron Ungar, a US citizen, and his pregnant Israeli wife, Efrat, whose car was sprayed with bullets by Hamas militants.
But the Ungars were not the only Americans murdered by Hamas.

An article in the Jerusalem Post on August 2, 2002 reported on the reaction to the murder of 5 Americans by Hamas in a bombing at Hebrew University:
US politicians call to extradite HU terrorists

Several New York politicians are calling on the Bush administration to demand the extradition of the perpetrators of last week's terror attack at the Hebrew University to the US to stand trial for the murder of five American citizens.

Twenty-four Americans have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks, and 43 wounded, since September 2000.

At a Thursday evening press conference in New York, Sen. Charles Schumer (D) demanded the extradition of Hamas leaders to the US, among them spiritual head Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, after the terror group claimed responsibility for the July 31 blast inside a university cafeteria, which claimed the lives of seven students and staff members.

"If Hamas killed five Americans on US soil, the United States would demand justice for the families of the victims, and we would go after Hamas," Schumer said.

"We should do no less now. This was an attack on America, not simply an attack on Israel. And we need to take action. We cannot simply sit on the side and let these horrific attacks go unanswered."
Apparently the 'excuse' that Hamas was not intentionally trying to murder Americans does not wash:
Schumer dismissed a statement issued by Hamas after the bombing claiming that Americans had not been targeted in the attack. By planting the bomb at the Hebrew University, "they knew that they wouldn't just be killing Israelis, that they'd be killing Americans as well," said Schumer.

In the House, Rep. Anthony Weiner sent a letter to Attorney-General John Ashcroft on Thursday asking him to extradite those responsible for the attack. "US law makes it a crime to kill or injure, or to conspire to kill or injure, an American national outside the US in furtherance of a terrorist cause even if Americans were not the intended targets," Weiner wrote.
Actually there are even more Americans that have been murdered by Hamas. One website with a list of American victims of Palestinian terrorism running from 1968 to 2003 lists the following American victims of Hamas terrorist attacks:
December 1, 1993: Yitzhak Weinstock, age 19, an American-Israeli student whose family came from Los Angeles, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in a drive-by shooting attack near El Bireh, north of Jerusalem.

October 9, 1994: Nachshon Wachsman, an American-Israeli, was kidnapped and then murdered by Hamas terrorists.

August 21, 1995, Jerusalem, Israel. A bus bombing in Jerusalem by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) killed four, including American Joan Davenny, and wounded more than 100.

February 25, 1996, Jerusalem, Israel. A suicide bomber blew up a commuter bus in Jerusalem, killing 26, including three U.S. citizens, and injuring 80 others, among them another three U.S. citizens. Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing.

March 4, 1996, Tel Aviv, Israel. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Dizengoff Center,David Boim Tel Aviv's largest shopping mall, killing 20 March 4, 1996 Tel Aviv Bombing persons and injuring 75 others, including two U.S. citizens. Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing.

July 30, 1997, Jerusalem, Israel. Two bombs detonated in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market, killing 15 persons, including a U.S. citizen and wounding 168 others, among them two U.S. citizens. The Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, claimed responsibility for the attack.

September 4, 1997: Yael Botwin, age 14, an American-Israeli from the Los Angeles suburb of Claremont killed in a Hamas suicide bombing attack in downtown Jerusalem.

August 9, 2001, Jerusalem, Israel. A suicide bombing at Sbarro's, a pizzeria situated in one of the busiest areas of downtown Jerusalem, killed 15 people, including a 31-year-old tourist from New Jersey, Shoshana Greenbaum and wounded more than 90. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

July 31, 2002, Jerusalem, Israel. Seven people including four Americans, Marla Bennett (24) of Marla Bennett David Gritz Benjamin Blutstein Janis Ruth CoulterSan Diego, California, David Gritz (24) of Peru, Massachusetts, Benjamin Blutstein (25) of Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania and Janis Ruth Coulter (36) from New York were murdered when a remote-controlled bomb detonated in the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria on Jerusalem's Hebrew University Mt. Scopus campus. Eighty-six others were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to the Boston Globe article above:
Palestinian officials have refused to pay the claim, arguing that doing so would be a politically dangerous admission of responsibility for terrorist acts by militants that the Palestinian Authority contends it does not control. Three officials interviewed by telephone from Gaza and the West Bank say they fear setting a precedent that would spur an avalanche of lawsuits that could bankrupt the new government.
Now that we have the 'right' image of Hamas, by all means, let the avalanche begin.

Update: Soccer Dad has a post from December 2004 that discusses other successes in suing terrorists--and the difficulty in collecting.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Time Whitewashes Neo-Nazis for a Song

The above picture appear is of a singing group,"Prussion Blue", profiled in Teen People. Very nice and wholesome...but take a closer look at the shirts.

According to the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies:
In response to a protest by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, Teen People magazine, which is owned by Time Inc., has removed from its web site an article that whitewashed a neo-Nazi teenage singing duo.
The insensitivity is mindboggling, compounded by media whitewashing and just plain carelessness.
The controversy began when Teen People announced that its upcoming February 2006 issue would include a feature story on the 13 year-old twin sisters Lynx and Lamb Gaede who are known as "Prussian Blue." But the announcement described the twins' beliefs only as "white pride" and did not mention that they wear Hitler t-shirts, deny the Holocaust, and frequently perform at neo-Nazi events. One of their songs, titled "Sacrifice," glorifies Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess. (To read the complete lyrics to "Sacrifice," click here.)

According to media reports, Teen People promised the twins it would refrain from using the words "hate," "supremacist," and "Nazi" in the article.

In response to public protests, Time Inc, which publishes Teen People, announced that the article scheduled for the February edition has been canceled.

But the Wyman Institute discovered that Teen People's web site was continuing to run a second sanitized story about the Gaede twins. The second article described their beliefs only as "white separatism" and did not explain that they are neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers.
Last year in October, ABC profiled the group on their show Primetime:
Known as "Prussian Blue" — a nod to their German heritage and bright blue eyes — the girls from Bakersfield, Calif., have been performing songs about white nationalism before all-white crowds since they were nine.

"We're proud of being white, we want to keep being white," said Lynx. "We want our people to stay white … we don't want to just be, you know, a big muddle. We just want to preserve our race."
The girls have connections and high hopes:
...Since they began singing, the girls have become such a force in the white nationalist movement, that David Duke — the former presidential candidate, one-time Ku-Klux-Klan grand wizard and outspoken white supremacist — uses the twins to draw a crowd.

Prussian Blue supporter Erich Gliebe, operator of one of the nation's most notorious hate music labels, Resistance Records, hopes younger performers like Lynx and Lamb will help expand the base of the White Nationalist cause.

...Gliebe says he hopes that as younger racist listeners mature, so will their tastes for harder, angrier music like that of Shawn Sugg of Max Resist.

One of Sugg's songs is a fantasy piece about a possible future racial war that goes: "Let the cities burn, let the streets run red, if you ain't white you'll be dead."
Those who preach racism and hate have a common MO. Like Islamists, Neo-Nazis like to start with the young and unsuspecting.

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