Wednesday, May 31, 2006

10 links for Monday

Yes, I know that today is Tuesday...possibly even Wednesday, but never again Monday, till next week. But I started this post in good faith on Monday night, um Tuesday morning, and had to put it on the back burner.

Here they are...

AbbaGav notes some organizational changes at the PA--and guess what Farouk Kaddoumi, Rupert Murdoch, and Jerry Falwell have in common.

If you thought the rockets from Gaza were bad, read about what Hezbollah's rockets can do in this post from ConservaJew

The Hashmonean has a post about another IDF success, following on the heels of their strike against Hezbollah.

Judeopundit has found the latest the latest Iranian video game (and if you don't know who Commander Keen is, check out here and here.)

Le Mont De Sisyphe has a post on Reagan featuring a short video some great lines (including an improntu response to Sam Donaldson) and a 14 second video of his election debate with Carter.

Letters of Thought writes about the German-born Pope's visit to Auschwitz.

Life-Of-Rubin ponders the possibility of George Costanza as Shlomo Carlebach!

Psycho Toddler has a beautiful and moving post about his father, who passed away this month.

Hat Tip to Simply Jews who links to a site created by Hanan Cohen for English-writing Israeli-bloggers

Smooth Stone has a post detailing Major Arab Terrorist Attacks against Israelis Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War (it's not a short list)

See also 10 Links For Starting Off The Week

The Day I Was Reported to the Rosh Yeshiva For Practicing Magic

My 6 year old daughter and her friends apparently have taken to playing a new game on the playground--Harry Potter. My daughter apparently plays the part of Hermoine. Though she knows that Hermoine is a witch, when I ask my daughter what a witch is, all she knows is that a witch waves her hands and stuff comes out of her fingers.

Maybe some day I'll tell my daughter about the day I was reported to the Rosh Yeshiva for using magic...

...I was in Israel for a year, at a yeshiva. One morning, I just couldn't find my key to the room. I looked everywhere in the room, but I couldn't find it and my 2 room mates had not seen it either. For the first half of the day, every time I needed to get back into the room, I had to borrow a key. Obviously, I couldn't just keep borrowing the key. I was desperate.

A friend finally mentioned to me a 'trick' that he had heard from his grandmother on how to find lost objects. It seemed harmless enough. He told me the exact procedure that had to be done, but I ignored it at first. Finally, I decided to give it a try. After following the 'ritual', I went one more time looking for my keys in the room.

The way I remember it...almost immediately, I felt drawn to go to my desk and over to the shelf where I had a number of sefarim spanning the length of the shelf. I still don't know why, but I started pulling each sefer half way out and pushing it back in--one sefer after another. Each sefer slid in and after the other...until the 6th or 7th one. Instead of sliding out smoothly, it made a scratching sound. I pulled it out and pushed it in again--and again it made a scratching sound.

I pulled the sefer out and lifted it up and there in the hollow formed between the 2 covers of the sefer as it stood on the shelf--there was the key.

I was pretty amazed at how well the 'bubba meisa' worked, and told people about it--including my roommates. One of them, a guy from Argentina was not so impressed and--without saying a word to me--reported me to the Rosh Yeshiva for practicing magic.

In the Beis Medrash, The Rosh Yeshiva called me over and explained what my roommate had told him and asked me for my side of the story, which I did. He said he would get back to me. Later in the day he came over and showed me a Gemarah, actually it was a Ran on the Rif--but I don't recall where--which dealt with using certain 'Eitzahs' (advice) and told me that what I had done constituted an Eitzah and not real Kishuf (magic). Advice? I vaguely recall thinking this was not the kind of advice I had ever received from my own grandmother.

I haven't tried this 'Eitzah' since--the experience did seem a bit weird. I was also afraid of ruining it by trying it again and having it not work. Since that time, I kept retelling this story many times--until one person told me he didn't want me to tell him the actual details. Maybe he didn't want to take a chance that it was real Kishuf. That was about 15 years ago. I don't think I've mentioned it since.

But after hearing my daughter talk about Harry Potter (she wants to have a Harry Potter birthday party...) I thought I would jot this stuff down.

Someday, maybe I'll tell this story to my daughter.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Friends Don`t Let Friends Appease Terrorists

Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train--or if it is, at least someone may finally be applying the brakes.

In Tough Love From Israel's Friends, Jeff Jacoby writes about friends of Israel that are speaking out forcefully--against what she is doing. He writes about the Center for Security Policy, a Washington think tank. After years of supporting Israel's right to defend itself against her enemies, they have come out with a new television ad (view here) that says Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon and Gaza has played into the hands of terrorists and Olmert's Convergence Plan will do more of the same--"for Israel and for us."

Jacoby quotes Joseph Farah's article, I give up on Israel, which describes Olmert's plan as a "national retreat," and "appeasement of the global jihad," and the Disengagement as an "unmitigated disaster."

Jacoby also quotes an article from the Wall Street Journal by former CIA director James Woolsey that a West Bank Terrorist State, resulting from Olmert's Convergence Plan would be a threat to Jordan as well as Israel--and "Israeli concessions will also make the US look weak."

And that is the key to the tough love that Jacoby writes about--the actions that Israel is ready to take, and have taken, affect the US as well.

Others have noted this new realization as well. Back in April, IMRA quoted from an article in Geostratetgy-Direct (subscription required) that Bush has mixed feelings about Olmert and Sharon. While Israel has cooperated with the US:
At the same time, Bush and some of his aides have been quietly concerned over the image of Israel as a country ready to withdraw in the face of terrorism. Privately, leading aides and strategists believe that Israel's hesitancy to fight Hamas, Hizbullah and other terrorist groups could encourage Al Qaida and those sworn to defeat the United States. They also see Israel's failure to defeat Palestinian insurgents as encouraging Iran's belligerency.
With all of this, there might be good news as well. That is what David Bedein says in an interview with A7 Radio's "Weekend Edition" with Tamar Yonah and Malkah Fleisher

Here is a short excerpt of the interview (3.40 minutes):

this is an audio post - click to play

In the interview, Bedein claims that for Canada and the US, the days of appeasement are over. They want Israel to be strong. Hamas coming to power back in January was a wake-up call to Western intelligence agencies. There is an expectation both in the US and Canada that Israel is going to find a way to resist the Palestinian Authority's attempt to destroy her and the West. The agenda is to stand strong, and Olmert is not the kind of leader they are looking for.

Bedein is Bureau Chief of the Israel Resource News Agency, which has recent articles that hint at this change in attitude. There is an article about Canada--where Bedein spoke with Jason Kenney, the prime minister's parliamentary secretary about measures Canada can take to reform the UNRWA--and an article about the US, where there is an amendment in the works that would condition U.S. funding of UNRWA on an independent audit.

David Bedein writes:

Marvin and Bernard Kalb, in their seminal book, "Kissinger", written in 1976, report that in 1968 the new Israeli ambassador and recently retired Israeli commander in chief, Yitzhak Rabin, accompanied US presidential candidate Richard Nixon to view the Golan Heights, recently captured from the Syrians.

Peering down from Syrian gun positions that were trained on the farmers in Israel's Hula Valley, Nixon observed that, "If I were an Israeli, I would never give up the Golan". Rabin smiled from ear to ear. "Mr. Rabin, what I said was that 'if I was an Israeli'. I am not an Israeli".

As long as Israel's security alone was the issue, the US looked towards it's own concerns first and not necessarily with Israel's best interests at heart. But now there is a conflation of interests, even the survival, of the West and Israel, and if Bedein is correct, the US and Israel may never have been more allies than now.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Monday, May 29, 2006

6 Pages From The Transcript of Kissinger`s Meeting

On December 17, 1975, Henry Kissinger met with Sadun Hammadi, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs. A photocopy of the transcript is available here. The transcript is 9 pages long, but only the first 6 actually deal with the topic of Israel. The reports on the transcript of the meeting seem to use pretty much the same quotes, but there are other things that were said that should be noted. Here are the first 6 pages, with some of the text of the pages. You can also click on the image to enlarge it.

One thing I did not notice in the articles is that Kissinger emphasizes that the influence of Israel--and the Jewish community--is decreasing in Washington, as a positive thing. At one point he claims there is increasing hostility.

Page 1: This is the first page of the document. Kissinger and Hammadi don't discuss Israel right away.
Page 2: Discussion of US vs. USSR as the support for Israel. Hammadi claims Israel as a threat to the region in general and Iraq in particular.
page 3:
Kissinger: I think, when we look at history, that when Israel was created in 1948, I don't think anyone understood it. It originated in American domestic politics. It was far away and little understood. So it was not an American design to get a bastion of imperialism in the area. It was much less complicated: And I would say that until 1973 the Jewish community had enormous influence. It is only in the last two years, as a result of the policy we are pursuing, that it has changed,

We don't need Israel for influence in the Arab world. On the contrary, Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world. You yourself said your objection to us is Israel. Except maybe that we are capitalists.

We can't negotiate about the existence of Israel but we can reduce its size to historical proportions.

I don't agree Israel is a permanent threat. How can a nation of three million be a permanent threat? They have a technical advantage now. But it is inconceivable that peoples with wealth and skill and the tradition of the Arabs won't develop the capacity that is needed. So I think in ten to fifteen years Israel will be like Lebanon--struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.

You mentioned new weapons. But they will not be delivered in the foreseeable future. All we agreed to is to study it, and we agreed to no deliveries out of current stocks. So many of these things won't be produced until 1980, and we have not agreed to deliver them then.

...The Israelis like you better than Sadat, because they like to put it in terms of a US-Soviet problem. We don't want you to have unfriendly relations with the Soviet Union; we don't interfere in your relations with the Soviet Union. But basically, the Israelis prefer radical Arabs.

If the issue is the existence of Israe1, we can't cooperate. But if the issue is more normal borders, we can cooperate. We have moved toward normalization with others -- except Libya. South Yemen we will move towards.
page 4:
Kissinger: Sabbagh was with me when I saw Faisal for the first time. I told him it would take a few years; we would have to move slowly. I have told all the Arabs this. It has now reached the point in America where attitudes have changed. When I testify to Congressional committees, I face increasingly hostile questions about Israel. No one is in favor of Israel's destruction--I won't midlead (sic) you -- nor am I.

But the support in the 1960's was $200-300 million. Now it is $2-3 billion, That is impossible to sustain, We can't even get it for New York. It is just a matter of time before there is a change -- two to three years. After a settlement, Israel will be a small friendly country with no unlimited drawing right, It will be affected by our new electoral law, strangely enough. So the influence of some who financed the elections before isn't so great. This has not been so noticed. It will take a few years before it is fully understood.

So I think the balance in America is shifting. If the Arabs -- if I can be frank -- don't do anything stupid, If there is a crisis tied to the Soviet Union, groups in America could make it an anti-Communist crusade...

Hammadi: What is the Israeli thinking?

Kissinger: First, they want to get rid of me. Because I made them go back. Second, in 1976 they want to provoke the Arabs -- in Lebanon, in Syria -- because they think if there is war they can win and create great
page 5:
turmoil. Third, they want to pass legislation in America to antagonize as many Arabs as possible. So we get the anti-boycott, anti-discrimination, anti-arms sales legislation. They hope the Arabs will go back to a situation like 1967-1973, when the Syrians and Egyptians adopt an anti-American line. So they can say they are the only American friend in the Middle East. What they want is what you predict -- that they be the only friend. We want other friends, to reduce that argument.

Aide: Your Excellency, do you think a settlement would come through the Palestinians in the area? 'How do you read it? Is it in your power to create such a thing?

Kissinger: Not in 1976. I have to be perfectly frank with you. I think the Palestinian identity has to be recognized in some form. But we need the thoughtful cooperation of the Arabs. It will take a year or a year and a to do it, and will be a tremendous fight. An evolution is already taking place .

Aide: You think it will be part of a solution?

Kissinger: It has to be. No solution is possible without it. But the domestic situation is becoming favorable. More and more questions are being asked in Congress favorable to the Palestinians.
page 6: But we support Israel. We draw the line at the destruction of Israel.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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10 Links For Starting Off The Week

After I got to bed late last week after posting my list of links, my wife (Alpayim Amah?) threatened to revoke my computer privileges. Instead, I'm going to experiment with breaking it down to a few posts of a handful (or 2) of links during the week.

Here they are:

WestBankBlog is assembling posts from various bloggers in Israel on why they decided to make Aliyah. The deadline is May 31st, and they will be posted on June 1st. And of course, WestBankBlog is the place to go for this week's Haveil Havalim #71

The Muqata has a post on Secular Kids in Religious Schools, based on a meeting concerning the admissions policy of local mamlachti dati school. The meeting centered on the pros and cons of the school policy that "only families that are not mechalel shabbat publicly can send their kids to the school". He has a followup, dealing with comments left at the original post

Adloyada writes about the NATFHE boycott Israel and the petitions opposing it--and why she will not be signing them, as well as opposition from Nobel Prize winners.

A Simple Jew, highlights the artwork of Yefim Rudminsky. He was a brilliant architect, but after he died it was discovered he painted as well--now there is a debate as to which is his greater legacy.

The Astute Blogger
has a link to a 2 minute video of a children's carnival for Palestinians--which means children dressed up as and learning to be: terrorists.

Boker Tov, Boulder! writes about "Conspicuous Compassion" and how it has failed both Palestinians and drug addicts alike.

Elder of Ziyon writes about a "Liberation Day" rally in a Detroit suburb last Thursday night, that celebrated Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon--while the organizers claim they are loyal Americans who support Hezbollah, they seem to overlook the contradiction in terms.

Israel Matzav writes about more Kassam rockets landing in Israel--this time in an IDF base--and the prospects of getting protection for the kindergartens.

Israel Perspectives now has a gmail account--and actually read through the Terms of Sevice. He reports on Google's novel definition of Acts of G_d.

Rosh Chodesh Sivan is the anniversary of Jack Shack's Bar Mitzvah. He has some...random thoughts.

See also 10 links for Monday

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Haveil Havalim #71 Is Up!

WestBankBlog is hosting Haveil Havalim #71 this weeking featuring:

o Thank You G-d, For the Miracles That You Performed In The Past...and The Present

o Help Us Cope With The Tragedies That We Could Not Prevent

o Give Us the Wisdom and the Courage to Deal with the Threats From Without...

o ...And From Within
  • Israeli Politics
  • Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community
  • The Israel Rabbinate and the Conversion Controversy
  • Secular versus Religious
o Let Us Enjoy Your Gifts to Help Us Get Through...
  • Joy
  • Humor
  • Curiosity
  • Good Food
Next week's Haveil Havlim, #72 will be hosted by Jack's Shack - you can email him at talktojacknow at sbcglobal dot net

You can also submit entries to Haveil Havalim using either Conservative Cat's handy dandy submission form or the submission form over at BlogCarnival.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

10,000 Hits!

But thanks for the hits,
Of every post a thrill
I’ve been through the mill
I’ve blogged a lot and learned a lot...

Frank Sinatra (um...sort of)

Apparently Daled Amos is the 1,147th blog to have reached this milestone, based on a search on Google's Blogsearch (for: blog "10,000 hits").

This 'event' happened on May 27, 2006 at 11:53:56 pm with a hit from Staten Island, viewing my latest post, Not Everything Going Ahmadinejad`s Way.

Thank you for stopping by--and hope to see you here often.


Not Everything Going Ahmadinejad`s Way

With the threat Iran poses to Israel on the one hand and the possibility for the imposition down the road of yellow badges for Jews on the other, it's possible to lose track of the internal situation in Iran.

Not everything is hunky-dory for Ahmadinejad.

Gateway Pundit reports that as a result of fundamentalist Ahmadinejad taking power in August, there has been unrest in the universities.

He reports that this past week:
* After fighting with police and vigilantes on Wednesday, Tehran University students set their dorms on fire Thursday as protests grew more violent overnight.

* Violence rocked the northern Tabriz region again on Wednesday as up to 16 were reported killed in the clashes including three students.

* Students at Ahwaz University in the southern Khuzistan Province also held protests on Wednesday against the regime.
And there's more than just angry students. Gateway Pundit also quotes from an article in the New York Sun that reports:
In Qom, the theocracy was absorbing the aftershocks of a candid interview from Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who told an Iraqi news agency that the current Islamic Republic has failed to deliver the democracy it promised in the 1979 revolution.

The stirrings inside Iran are the most serious challenge to befall the mullahs since the protests that accompanied the 2003 commemorations of the July 9, 1999, Tehran University student rebellions. They also suggest the regime that America and Europe are now hoping to cajole into suspending its nuclear program may be more fragile than intelligence agencies recognize.
Iran even suffers from their own cartoon protests. Yahoo News reports there was a riot on Wednesday protesting a cartoon depicting a cockroach speaking Azeri, implying that ethnic Azeris are stupid. Sticking to precedent, just as the Danish cartoons were protested against over 4 months after they appeared, so the protests against the cockroach cartoon didn't happen until over a week later.

If any of this is a result of US instigations--more power to them.

On May 16, Bret Stephens wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal entitled, How to Stop Iran (Without Firing a Shot). Instead of the current diplomacy being used, Stephens suggests:
  • Take the diplomatic offensive. "Western countries must push the internal conflicts inside the Iranian government," says Mehdi Khalaji, an Iranian journalist and visiting scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

  • Target the regime's financial interests. "In many ways, the Islamic Republic of Iran has become the Islamic Republic of Iran, Inc.," says Afshin Molavi, the Iranian-American author of "Persian Pilgrimages." Between 30% and 50% of Iran's economy is controlled by the bunyad, so-called "Revolutionary Foundations" run by key regime figures answerable only to Mr. Khamenei. Hard-line Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, considered to be Mr. Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor, controls the sugar monopoly, while former President Ali Rafsanjani is said to be the richest man in the country.

  • Support an independent labor movement. On May Day, 10,000 workers took to Tehran's streets to demand the resignation of Iran's labor minister. And despite last year's $60 billion oil-revenue bonanza, the Iranian government routinely fails to pay its civil servants, leading to chronic, spontaneous work stoppages.

  • Threaten Iran's gasoline supply. Iran is often said to have an oil weapon pointed at George Bush's head. Rob Andrews, a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, notes the reverse is closer to the truth: Because Iran lacks refining capacity, it must import 40% of its gasoline. Of that amount, fully 60% is handled by a single company, Rotterdam-based Vitol, which has strategic storage and blending facilities in the UAE. The regime also spends $3 billion a year to subsidize below-market gas prices.
If the US is behind the protests in Iran, perhaps we can look forward to it following some of the other suggestions Stephens offers.

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With Friends Like Kissinger...

In Kissinger sought 'small friendly' Israel, reports that
The United States reached out to hostile Arabs three decades ago with an offer to work toward making Israel a ``small friendly country'' of no threat to its neighbors and with an assurance to Iraq that the U.S. had stopped backing Kurdish rebels in the north.

``We can't negotiate about the existence of Israel,'' then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told his Iraqi counterpart in a rare high-level meeting, ``but we can reduce its size to historical proportions.''
This was revealed on Friday as part of 28,000 pages of Kissinger-era foreign policy papers that were published online collection yesterday. Kissinger's comments about Israel are from a converstaion he had with Foreign Affairs Minister Saadoun Hammadi, eight years after Iraq severed diplomatic relations with the US.

Other Kissenger comments include what he thought the future of the US attitude towards Israel would be:
He said U.S. public opinion was turning more pro-Palestinian and U.S. aid to Israel could not be sustained for much longer at its massive levels. He predicted that in 10 or 15 years, ``Israel will be like Lebanon - struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world.''
On the prospects for a Palestinian state, Kissenger said:
Kissinger said he could not make recognition of Palestinian identity happen right away but, ``No solution is possible without it.''

``After a settlement, Israel will be a small friendly country,'' he said.
A photocopy of the transcript is available here.

Granted this is from the past, but the question does arise as to whether the current goal of the US under Bush is also to make Israel into "a small friendly country."

See also 6 Pages From The Transcript of Kissinger`s Meeting

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Friday, May 26, 2006

The New York Times Odd Editorial On A Palestinian State

In “A Viable Palestinian State,” the New York Times editorial is very concerned with the possibility that anything might get in the way of creating a separate Palestinian state. From the sound of it, the Times appears to be under the impression that a separate Palestinian state must be created at all costs. This might account for the odd arguments they present on behalf of that goal.

How odd of the Times to compare Prime Minister Olmert of Israel with the murderous terrorists of Hamas as two culprits equally guilty of impeding the creation of a Palestinian state.

How odd of The Times to decry the lack of input the Palestinians have been given--overlooking the massive, and bloody, input the Palestinians have had over the years. Israelis are still murdered. Kassam missiles are still being fired at Israeli civilians. The constitutions of both Fatah and Hamas still deny Israel’s right to exist. The Palestinian Authority has yet to fulfill even their first obligation under Phase I of the Roadmap—the "unconditional cessation of violence". The Palestinian Arabs have elected Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel, stop terror, or respect previous agreements with Israel.

How odd that the Times with their great concern that the Palestinian Arabs not be punished by unilateral actions, fail to address the safety of the lives of Israelis that those actions--whether you agree with them or not--are intended to protect.

How odd that the Times praise Olmert for the withdrawal from the ‘occupied’ West Bank. You would think that the West Bank was ever Palestinian land, instead of previously being controlled by Jordan—illegally according to international law—from 1948 to1967, after having been under the control of the British, and the Ottoman Empire before that. The only relevant legal document on the issue is the British Mandate, which according to Eugene Rostow
(who served in foreign policy positions for both Democratic and Republican presidents), establishes “the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan river, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors.”

How odd of the Times to admit that “even a future Palestine that includes all of the West Bank and Gaza is still going to be in two pieces with Israel in the middle, separating Gaza from the West Bank.”—as if this is the actual goal of Palestinian Arabs when they talk about a two state solution. This is a point that Israel Matzav addresses and expands on.

Finally, how odd that despite an entire editorial about creating a Palestinian state and its importance, it is not until the very last sentence that—except for a quote from Prime Minister Olmert—the New York Times once, and only once mentions the word ‘peace’.

How odd that the New York Times totally misses the forest for the trees.

Isn’t it?

There are a number of responses to the Times article on the blogosphere--Soccer Dad links to them in his post Times Zero.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Abbas Threatens Hamas With Referendum For Peace

According to Arutz Sheva:
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has given PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh an ultimatum: Accept a deal for borders within the ’67 line or the issue goes to a general referendum.
On the one hand Haniyeh is claiming that Olmert's visit to the US was a great success and that the Convergence Plan was approved by Bush:
"Israel is trying to set up a country with a Jewish majority and preserve Jerusalem as its capital,” he told PA legislators. "This shows the Israeli government wants to keep the occupation. Unfortunately, the Americans are on Israel’s side.
Haniyeh continues to boast about the success of the terrorist attacks on Israel.

On the other hand, Abbas seems to be pushing towards serious talks that are about more than just talking:
"Are slogans enough to feed the hungry?" Abbas demanded of the PA parliament. "We must stop with the slogans and start dealing with reality. We must stop dreaming and accept what we can take now. Let us not speak of dreams. Let us take the Palestinian state on the ’67 borders," he stated.

Abbas insisted that the majority of PA Arabs are willing to accept the deal. "There is a national consensus on this," he said, adding that the current infighting between Fatah and Hamas is simply wasting time.
After all the hondling following the Road Map and squeezing concessions--and the Disengagement--out of Israel:

o Is Abbas serious about peace this time?
o Even if he is, does he have what it takes to pull it off?
o Is Hamas going to go along with this?
o If it doesn't will a real civil war break out
o Why is it that Abbas is willing to make a referendum, but Sharon wouldn't and Olmert won't

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Early Thursday Morning Links

Here are some links to keep you busy, perhaps whet your appetite, till Haveil Havalim is posted--issue #71 being hosted by WestBankBlog. Have a Good Shabbos.

Arutz Sheva has pictures from the Washington, DC protest

AbbaGav lists 10 reasons why protest against The Da Vinci Code does not compare to Muslim protest against the Danish cartoons.

Adloyada writes about her daughter getting engaged in Almost the ultimate Jewish mother post. Mazel Tov!

A Simple Jew looks into the tradition of the segula of precious stones for healing

The Astute Blogger links to the BBC report on the IDF capturing a major Hamas terrorist released by the PA in 2002.

Boker Tov, Boulder! refers to 2 weird and distressing events--about Islam being taught in the US and Olmert's ideas about peace.

ConservaJew writes about the ignorance of American Jews about life in Israel, and one way to overcome it.

Crossing The Rubicon quotes from a Daniel Pipes article that deals with The Effect of Middle Eastern Issues on American Politics

Elder of Ziyon writes about fear of Chareidim in Israel and suggests a solution

Elie's Expositions posts the final installment of Aaron's Story

Erica's Blog reacts to the recent Kassam rocket attack in Sderot.

Ha-Mikdash relays a report that Shabbat shopping continues to drop in Israel.

Heichal HaNegina writes about Rebbe Shmuel Eliyahu of Zvolin, father of the first Modzitzer Rebbe, and why he stopped davening before the Amud.

The Ignoble Experiment, aka Live Dangerously! writes about Rudyard Kipling and dealing with bad luck

I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. writes about the ultra-Orthodox critique of religious Zionism

Israel Perspectives has a post on the question: Should Jews not living in Israel have the right to express their opnion on affairs concerning the Jewish State?

Israel Matzav reports that Mr. Olmert goes to Washington and finds tough love

Jack's Shack (aka Lord Jack of the Shack) would like a castle

The J-Blogger Interviews is looking for questions for upcoming interviews with OrthoMom and Dave from IsraellyCool.

Judeopundit has linkim

Le Mont De Sisyphe gives the Palestinian side--and presents the solution that seems to escape them.

Letters of Thought resolves the question of which came first--the chicken or the egg.

Life-Of-Rubin offers some advice on blog design

me-ander's Kosher Cooking Carnival #6 is up.

Mere Rhetoric sees Hamas vs. Fatah as Iraq vs. Iran redux

Mirty's Place has some Word Thoughts (and invite an alligator to Kiddush)

The Muqata posts about the sale of Petach Tikva on e-bay

Ocean Guy: Somewhere on A1A is frustrated by ignorance about the history of the Arab-Israeli War

Perspectives of a Nomad--over the weekend--hosted his first radio show in 4 years and saw the graduation of his 7th grade Hebrew class (...he's the teacher)

SerandEz's daughter is 2 months old and her Abba reaches a milestone too.

Shiloh Musings suggests it's time to cut the strings.

Simply Jews writes about media reaction to a Hamas offer for peace (and Haniyeh is not a Clooney clone)

Smooth Stone posts about the search for Hezbollah terrors cells in the US

Soccer Dad and friend advise Hamas: Don't Leave Home Without It

The Sunken Synagogue has some thoughts about the Iranian, and Jewish, dress code

Treppenwitz has a post on Yom Yerushalayim

Meryl Yourish notes that Someone didn’t get the jihad memo

WestBankBlog wonders how bloggers' children see them

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Will The Media Apply Some Afghanistan Perspective In Israel?

Apparently the war in Afghanistan has reached a level that maybe some day will spill over our way.

Yesterday AP carried the story U.S. Airstrike Kills Dozens of Taliban. The story mentions that 17 civilians were killed as well--but while making the point, AP does not beat it to death. In fact, the article makes a point of putting those unfortunate casualties into perspective:

Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid said the airstrike killed 16 civilians and wounded 16. "These sort of accidents happen during fighting, especially when the Taliban are hiding in homes," he said. "I urge people not to give shelter to the Taliban."

...In the hospital, a man with blood on his turban and clothes said insurgents had been hiding in an Islamic religious school, or madrassa, in the village since the recent fierce fighting.

...U.S. military spokesman Col. Tom Collins said, "It's common that the enemy fights in close to civilians as a means to protect its own forces.

"We targeted a Taliban compound and we're certain we hit the right target," he told the AP.
The loss of innocent life is a terrible thing. It is noteworthy that AP put the situation into perspective.

Will it now do the same when Israel is forced to attack Palestinian terrorists who hide among civilians?

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Mornings With My Daughter

My wife and I have decided that our 6 year old daughter is a morning person. It is when she is most alert.

It is also when she has her best material.

Last week I woke up tired, opened the door of the bedroom and stumbled out of the room, not ready for the day. There was my daughter sitting on the floor. She looked up at me with a blank face and said with a perfect monotone:


Under the circumstances, I'm not sure what prevented me from going back to bed and trying again later.

This morning, I overheard the following dialog between my wife and daughter:
Mother: It's time to get up.
Daughter: I'm not getting up--it's cold.
Mother: If you get up, you can dress in something warmer.
Daughter: It's winter!
Mother: It's not winter, it's spring.
Daughter: It's winter...and I'm hibernating!
My daughter watches Disney movies. I think I can trace the hibernating remark to Bambi (Flower the skunk hibernates), but I'm not sure about the first one.

The first time she started using Disney in her 'routine' was when we got her an umbrella--she lost no time in opening it up in the house, walking around and saying "Tut, tut, look's like rain" (The Adventures of Winnie The Pooh)

My wife is a big fan of Lord of the Rings and has the DVD set. My daughter knows this and has asked numerous times if she can see the movie.

I always tell her no.

It's not just because of the violence.
I'm afraid she'll start speaking elvish.


This morning my daughter informed me that when she gets to be a big girl, she is never going to get sick.
I asked her, why not?

She replied: because I'm never going to work.

Neither my wife nor I have ever said at home that we're sick of work, but apparently somehow she got the idea.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Is An Apostrophe?

According to, an apostrophe is:
The superscript sign ( ' ) used to indicate the omission of a letter or letters from a word, the possessive case, or the plurals of numbers, letters, and abbreviations.


The direct address of an absent or imaginary person or of a personified abstraction, especially as a digression in the course of a speech or composition.
Apparently, it is also something that throws off my blog.

After looking around, I found code that allows me to give just the first paragraph of my blog with a link that takes you to the full post. There's even a tag that will take you to the place in the post where you left off.

But after a couple of hours of finagling, it turns out that if there is an 'apostrophe' in the title of the post--the code does not work.

Not a clue why, and the apostrophe problem does not effect SerandEz.

So anyway, if you come across a post with an apostrophe missing in the title, it's not due to back grammar or bad syntax.

Just so you know.

The Palestinian Civil War--When Will It END?

Article summary from Daily Alerts prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

The Hamas-Fatah War - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)

The question on the Palestinian street is no longer when civil war will break out, but when will it end.
Armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah supporters have been taking place every day since the deployment of the new Hamas security force. Over the past two weeks, the homes and cars of at least seven security officers loyal to Abbas have been targeted by Hamas militiamen. Two Hamas militiamen have also been killed in separate attacks by Fatah.

The unprecedented violence has been accompanied by a war of words being fought in the mosques and on television and radio stations, as well as in leaflets. (Jerusalem Post)

See also: Jordanian Embassy Staffer Killed in Gaza Crossfire - Ali Waked (Ynet News)

The other question is how soon the will world make Israel responsible to take actions to calm the situation and what concessions she will be told to make.

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Taheri Stands By Article on Iranian Badge For Non-Muslims

Back on May 19, Amir Taheri, Iranian author and journalist, wrote one of the 2 articles that appeared in The National Post in Canada on the Iranian plans to institute colored badges for non-Muslims in Iran:

While the Iranian economy appears to be heading for recession, one sector may have some reason for optimism. That sector is the garment industry and the reason for hopefulness is a law passed by the Islamic Majlis (parliament) on Monday.

The law mandates the government to make sure that all Iranians wear "standard Islamic garments" designed to remove ethnic and class distinctions reflected in clothing, and to eliminate "the influence of the infidel" on the way Iranians, especially, the young dress. It also envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).

The new law, drafted during the presidency of Muhammad Khatami in 2004, had been blocked within the Majlis. That blockage, however, has been removed under pressure from Khatami's successor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Of the 2 articles, his is the only one still online.

Yesterday, Taheri wrote a short article defending his article--which he still believes is accurate and the truth of which may yet be borne out by future events:
The law has been passed by the Islamic Majlis and will now be submitted to the Council of Guardians. A committee has been appointed to work out the modalities of implementation.

Many ideas are being discussed with regard to implementation, including special markers, known as zonnars, for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, the only faiths other than Islam that are recognized as such. The zonnar was in use throughout the Muslim world until the early 20th century and marked out the dhimmis, or protected religious minorities. ( In Iran it was formally abolished in 1908).

I have been informed of the ideas under discussion thanks to my sources in Tehran, including three members of the Majlis who had tried to block the bill since it was first drafted in 2004.

I do not know which of these ideas or any will be eventually adopted. We will know once the committee appointed to discuss them presents its report, perhaps in September.

Interestingly, the Islamic Republic authorities refuse to issue an
official statement categorically rejecting the concept of dhimmitude and the need for marking out religious minorities.

I raised the issue not as a news story, because news of the new law was already several days old, but as an opinion column to alert the outside world to this most disturbing development.
Since world opinion has had no effect on Iran developing nuclear weapons, it's hard to imagine that it will have any effect on any Iranian plans for a special dress code for their second-class non-Muslim citizens.

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You Know Things Are Tough When The Arabs Boycott The Palestinians

And it's even worse when Arabs threaten to boycott the Arabs who are boycotting Palestinian Arabs.

Haaretz was reporting on May 15 that:
The prominent and popular Islamic scholar Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi threatened on Thursday to issue a religious edict mandating a boycott of Arab and Islamic banks that refuse to transfer monetary aid to the Palestinians. This was the desperate cry of a cleric watching a nearly complete Arab boycott in operation, this time not against Israel, but against Palestine.
Even granting that it was reported even earlier that the US was giving in to pressure to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian Arabas, the Haaretz article claims that what makes the boycott against Hamas work is not the US threat--which was ineffective in the past in preventing European and Arab countries from aiding Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gadhafi--rather it is the Arab attitude towards Hamas itself:
The difference is that Hamas is now perceived as unwilling to cooperate with the official Arab position adopted at the Beirut summit - the Arab League resolution adopting the two-state principle and the 1967 borders. Arab states, particularly Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are demanding a greater effort from Hamas. They are not prepared to accept the possibility that the movement now leading the country that represents Arab unity might rebel against an Arab decision. The "loss" of Palestine into radical religious hands, especially with Iraq inching out of the Arab framework, therefore necessitates restraining action that will bind Hamas's Palestine to the Arab ranks.
Meanwhile, though the US has expressed a willingness to go along with the idea of sending aid--bypassing Hamas--to the PA for humanitarian needs, this also may not be such a clear-cut decision. Fatah and Hamas attacking each other and Al Qaeda on the scene cannot be making the US eager to invest more money into the bottomless pit known as the PA. One US official is quoted as saying:
"If Hamas has money to finance its people, who are riding about in cars and brandishing rifles, it should use it to pay teachers and doctors," he said. "Who's paying for their gas?"

"The Hamas government is the one that ought to take care of its workers," he continued. "We have never paid the salaries of Palestinian Authority employees, and there is no reason for us to do so now."
Meanwhile, the boycott of Hamas is taking a toll. Some Palestinian Arabs are losing faith in Hamas. In The Other Side of the Green Line, Michael Totten interviews some Palestinian Arabs:

“The economy here looks a lot better than I expected,” I said to Sufian.

“It was pretty good until Hamas was elected,” he said. “But look in the stores. Notice there are no people in them. The only things people are buying are food and cigarettes. Only the basics. They are afraid to spend money if they have it.”

“Who did you vote for?” I said.

“I voted for Fatah,” he said. “I’m not affiliated with them. They are just a good party to run things. I don’t think Hamas is ready for power. In some things I agree with Fatah, in some things I don’t. Even though they are corrupt, at least we had money. People are boycotting Hamas so now we are poor. We anticipate things will eventually get better, but we don’t have time.”

“What has changed since Hamas came to power?” I said.

“Business,” he said. “The economy dropped down dramatically. Without industry they cannot boost the economy. We import everything from China. We support Chinese workers. We need our own industry.”
If the US has what it takes to at least not free up all funds to Hamas, combined with the fear in the Arab world of what Hamas might do by instituting Sharia--maybe something can be accomplished.

But don't hold your breath. Apparently besides the White House being skittish on Olmert's 'Convergence Plan,' they are planning on giving Olmert some homework to do:
The administration is also very concerned by the deteriorating situation in the territories and fear that it could eventually cause the PA to collapse, which Washington views as highly undesirable. Administration officials therefore plan to insist that Olmert present ideas on how to prevent the PA from degenerating into total chaos.
After the US took a hands-off attitude toward bringing the Palestinian Arabs to Democracy, it is left to Israel to deal with the mess.

Israel never gets a breather.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Israeli Diplomats to Sue Ahmadinejad at International Court of Justice in The Hague

The following summary of the original article is from Daily Alert, Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Israeli Diplomats to Sue Ahmadinejad at International Court of Justice in The Hague - Ronen Bergman (Ynet News)
  • A group of Israeli diplomats plans to turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague and demand that it launch legal proceedings against Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for conspiring to commit crimes against humanity. The legal file against Ahmadinejad is almost ready for submission.

  • Among the forum members are former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and France Meir Rosen, former Foreign Ministry Director-General Eytan Bentsur, and former Minister Dan Naveh. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, headed by former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold, is providing logistic assistance in preparing the lawsuit.

  • The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 1948 as the international community's response to the revelations on the Holocaust. The Convention defined genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. The acts for which countries can be punished as part of the Convention include "direct and public incitement to commit genocide."

  • Rosen and Gold write that "Ahmadinejad's remarks constitute without a doubt a 'direct and public incitement' to commit genocide. The Iranian regime supports terror organizations, such as the Islamic Jihad, which continuously carries out murderous terror attacks against innocent Israeli citizens. However, the gravity of Ahmadinejad's remarks is particularly outstanding in light of Iran's attempts to develop mass destruction weapons."

  • The document also stated that "the State of Israel must act against Iran through clause 9 of the Convention. According to this clause, disagreements between states that signed the Convention regarding its implementation must be solved by turning to the International Court of Justice in The Hague." Both Israel and Iran signed and approved the treaty in the 1950s.

  • The forum plans to take additional steps against Ahmadinejad in European countries with legislation against Holocaust denial.
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Dan Brown... and Leon Uris

I found a bunch of articles talking about The Da Vinci Code, and one of them struck a chord. Over at The National Review website, in his article, The Da Vinci Crisis: Dan Brown's book reveals a crisis of truth in society, Thomas S. Hibbs notes that the influence of Brown's book is so great it has been reported that there are tourists who visit the Louvre who instead of looking at the Mona Lisa, stare at the floor and ask “Is this where the curator was murdered?”

According to Hibbs, this is symptomatic of a larger problem:
Inhabitants of the modern world are increasingly ignorant of the wider world—geography, politics, world religions, and great works of art. But we have the nagging sense that something significant must be at work in history, in religion, and in art. Brown's story fulfills our desire to have things fit together, to have the great events of history, the great religious teachings, and the greatest works of art and architecture woven into an intelligible story.
Ignorance on one hand...the search for easy answers on the other. Mmmmmm--that sounds familiar!

Pretty much sizes up the situation that Israelis, and those who are pro-Israel, find themselves.

Ever notice how hard it is to battle the kind of propaganda that can be summarized in a two-word bumper sticker, like: Free Palestine.

As opposed to the easy emotional pull that pro-Palestinian propagandists have, we seem to be in the position of having to pull out names, dates, and history books--a real disadvantage. What can we possibly come up with that would fit on a bumper sticker?

Other than: Stop The Palestinian Murder of Americans, what else is there?

Maybe what we need is a 'novel' approach.

In 2001, Edward Said wrote:
The main narrative model that dominates American thinking still seems to be Leon Uris's 1950 novel Exodus.
Said was exaggerating, of course, but Exodus was a literary event and more. When it first came out Exodus was a best-seller in hardcover for more than a year and was in the number 1 slot for 19 weeks. In the US alone, it sold as many as 20 million copies. The paperback edition went through 80 printings. It was the biggest best seller since Gone With The Wind. All this is according to Charles Paul Freund in his article, Exodus and Anti-Exodus: The power of literary mythmaking. But Exodus was more than a best-seller:
The work's real impact, however, lay beyond mere literature. For a great many people, the plot of the novel—and of the even more popular 1960 film—became the popular template for understanding the Mideast, especially issues involving the unending Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Uris popularized Israel as a place of righteous refuge, solidifying a link between the Holocaust and Israel that is actually a matter of contention among Israel's own historians and intellectuals. This is not to say that his story was false; the refuge narrative is at least one valid Israeli theme. But Uris helped make it the primary such narrative, characterizing critics of Israeli policy in terms of that story, and setting the terms of debate for decades.

For example, academic Melani McAlister, in a recent analysis of the relationship between American culture and U.S. Mideast policy, argues that when the novel came out, "most Americans still knew little about Zionism or Israel," and that the Uris story was "a foreshadowing of what Israel was to come to mean to Americans."
Exodus is a story based on historical fact; The Da Vinci Code is a story that has been shown to be based on fabrications of a 20th century Anti-Semite. So, not surprisingly, Uris was able to accomplish something far beyond what Brown has done. Besides building up while Brown has torn down, Exodus was a creative force that inspired and gave meaning. It countered ignorance not by providing easy answers but by providing a goal and an image to look up to--both for Israelis as well as the West.

Of course images and myths have a tendency to dissipate over time. In the case of Exodus, Freund believes that the image created--which granted was greater than life--was diluted in part by the Post Zionist revisionists. Then again, in a way no one could have anticipated, Arafat was able to grab the world's attention and was one of the forces that created the mythos of the Palestinian people and homeland.

It is unlikely that there will be a book like Exodus in our future. But Israel still needs a narrative, a self-image which it has lost and has left it wandering--almost aimlessly--perhaps since the Yom Kippur War.

In writing about The Da Vinci Code, Hibbs wrote:
Brown's story fulfills our desire to have things fit together, to have the great events of history, the great religious teachings, and the greatest works of art and architecture woven into an intelligible story.
Today Jews and Israelis need no less--for our history and our Judaism to be re-energized and our sense of self re-awakened, for everything to fit together.

We surely cannot continue stumbling on indefinitely as we are now.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Haveil Havalim #70 Is Up

Soccer Dad is hosting this weeks Haveil Havalim #70

The wide variety of topics this weeks includes:
  • Life and politics in Israel
  • The War on Terror
  • Jewish rights in Israel
  • Palestinian money woes
  • Mr. Olmert goes to Washington
  • Food for thought
  • Eurabia
  • Arts and Leisure
  • Lag B'Omer
  • Controversy and scandal
  • Academic Acrobats
  • Misc
  • The J-Blogosphere
You can submit entries to Haveil Havalim using either Conservative Cat's submission form or the submission form over at BlogCarnival.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bare Ubercarnival.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Irans History With The Yellow Badge

Though for now it seems that Iran is not planning to force Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians to wear special identification, from some of what has been written in reaction to the initial report it has become clear that Iran--both historically and currently--does not treat non-Muslims well.

The New York Sun, in an article describing the inability to confirm the Iranian implementation of a special badge, notes the lower status of non-Muslims in Iran:
Iran's constitution already carves out special status for non-Muslims. For example, it prohibits non-Muslims from obtaining senior posts in either the army or government. A national ordinance made into law in 2000 and 2001 requires all non-Muslim butchers, grocers, and purveyors of food to post a form in the window of their place of business warning Muslims they do not share their faith. At the time the code was defended in order to enforce Islamic dietary law. Muslims in Iran officially enjoy preference over non-Muslims in terms of admission to universities and colleges.
On the history of the yellow badge in Iran, an article for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, quotes Professor Amnon Netzer of the Hebrew University that a yellow badge was enforced in Iran on many occasions:
Sometimes it wasn't really yellow, it was red. And we don't know precisely its beginning. But some of the poems of the classical period [mention the ribbon], and these [poems] more or less belong to sometime before the invasion of the Mongols into Iran. We know, more or less, that the last period [in which] this patch was worn by the Jews by force was at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.
In Badging Infidels in Iran, Andrew Boston--author of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims--writes a long piece on the equally long history of Iranian treatment of non-Muslims, noting that Shiite Islam in Iran contains within it a hatred for non-Muslims in general and Jews in particular:
Visceral, even annihilationist animus towards Jews is a deep-rooted phenomenon in Shi’ite Iran, hardly unique to the contemporary post-Khomeini Shi’ite theocracy, including the current regime of Ayatollah Khameini and President Ahmadinejad...These Shi’ite clerics emphasized the notion of the ritual uncleanliness (najis) of Jews, in particular, but also Christians, Zoroastrians, and others, as the cornerstone of inter-confessional relationships toward non-Muslims.
Boston quotes Anthropology Professor Laurence Loeb, who during the early 1970's studied and lived in the Jewish community of Southern Iran. Loeb writes about the Shiite belief in the impurity of non-Muslims and its connection to wearing a badge, a:
badge of shame [as] an identifying symbol which marked someone as a najis Jew and thus to be avoided. From the reign of Abbas I [1587-1629] until the 1920s, all Jews were required to display the badge
Professor Loeb emphasizes, “Fear of pollution by Jews led to great excesses and peculiar behavior by Muslims.”

An example of those excesses are found in the writings of Mohammad Baqer Al-Majlisi, an influential Shiite cleric during the 17th century. Al-Majlisi describes the requirements of non-Muslims, such as the blood ransom jizya, a poll-tax, based on Qur’an 9:29, as well as other restrictions in the areas of worship, housing, dress, transportation, and weapons (which according to Boston were intended to render the dhimmis defenseless).

Al-Majlisi describes the extent of the impurity regulations:
And, that they should not enter the pool while a Muslim is bathing at the public baths…It is also incumbent upon Muslims that they should not accept from them victuals with which they had come into contact, such as distillates, which cannot be purified. In something can be purified, such as clothes, if they are dry, they can be accepted, they are clean. But if they [the dhimmis] had come into contact with those cloths in moisture they should be rinsed with water after being obtained. As for hide, or that which has been made of hide such as shoes and boots, and meat, whose religious cleanliness and lawfulness are conditional on the animal’s being slaughtered [according to the Shari’a], these may not be taken from them. Similarly, liquids that have been preserved in skins, such as oils, grape syrup, [fruit] juices, myrobalan, and the like, if they have been put in skin containers or water skins, these should [also] not be accepted from them…It would also be better if the ruler of the Muslims would establish that all infidels could not move out of their homes on days when it rains or snows because they would make Muslims impure.
Along the same lines, Boston quotes the late Persian Jewish scholar Sarah (Sorour) Soroudia on the prohibition of non-Muslims being outside in the rain--Soroudia notes that the regulation was enforced in Jewish communities in Iran as late as 1923

In closing his article, Boston again quotes from Professor Loeb, who wrote in 1976:
Despite the favorable attitude of the government and the relative prosperity of the Jewish community, all Iranian Jews acknowledge the precarious nature of the present situation. There are still sporadic outbreaks against them because the Muslim clergy constantly berates Jews, inciting the masses who make no effort to hide their animosity towards the Jew. Most Jews express the belief that it is only the personal strength and goodwill of the Shah that protects them: that plus God’s intervention! If either should fail…
This is in contrast to Meir Javdanfar, an Israeli Middle East expert who was born and raised in Tehran, and was among those quoted that the report about Iran reinstituting a yellow badge for the Jews was false. In that article Javdanfar was quoted as saying:
"Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I've checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside."

"The Iranian people would never stand for it. The Iranian government wouldn't be stupid enough to do it."
Contrary to Javdanfar's assurances, historically there is an awful lot that the Iranian government--and general population--will stand for.
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Friday, May 19, 2006

Report About Iranian Yellow Badge May Be Incorrect

The report about Iran instituting a special badges for non-Muslims may be incorrect (hat tip historymike's musings)
Iran report of Holocaust-style badges questioned
2006-05-19 09:06:12

The National Post is sending shockwaves across the country this morning with a report that Iran's Parliament has passed a law requiring mandatory Holocaust style badges to identify Jews and Christians.
But independent reporter Meir Javdanfar, an Israeli Middle East expert who was born and raised in Tehran, says the report is false.
"It's absolutely factually incorrect," he told The New 940 Montreal.

"Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I've checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside."

"The Iranian people would never stand for it. The Iranian government wouldn't be stupid enough to do it."

Political commentator and 940 Montreal host Beryl Waysman says the report is true, that the law was passed two years ago.

"Jews should wear yellow strips, Christians red strips, because according to the Iranian mullahs, if a Mulsim shakes hands with a non-Muslim he becomes unclean."
Meanwhile, another report on the authenticity of the story comes from Amir Taheri, an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam:

While the Iranian economy appears to be heading for recession, one sector may have some reason for optimism. That sector is the garment industry and the reason for hopefulness is a law passed by the Islamic Majlis (parliament) on Monday.

The law mandates the government to make sure that all Iranians wear "standard Islamic garments" designed to remove ethnic and class distinctions reflected in clothing, and to eliminate "the influence of the infidel" on the way Iranians, especially, the young dress. It also envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public. The new codes would enable Muslims to easily recognize non-Muslims so that they can avoid shaking hands with them by mistake, and thus becoming najis (unclean).

The new law, drafted during the presidency of Muhammad Khatami in 2004, had been blocked within the Majlis. That blockage, however, has been removed under pressure from Khatami's successor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

AllahPundit discusses the back and forth of the story--he thinks it's true based on Taheri's credentials--at Hot Air.

Update 5/20:
source for the latest on the story and how it is playing out continues to be Allahpundit at Hot Air.
Among the repurcussions of the apparently erroneous report:
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Iran Wants To Renew The Yellow Badge Enforced Under Islam and Nazis

According to a report at

Iran eyes badges for Jews
Law would require non-Muslim insignia

Chris Wattie
National Post

Friday, May 19, 2006

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.
"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

"There's no reason to believe they won't pass this," said Rabbi Hier. "It will certainly pass unless there's some sort of international outcry over this."

Historically, the yellow badge that the Nazis forced Jews to wear was predated by the yellow badges Jews were forced to wear under Moslem rule:

637: Muslim forces capture Caesarea, forcing the city's estimated 100,000 Jews to follow the Pact of Omar, which meant they had to pray quietly, not build new synagogues and not prevent Jews from converting to Islam. The Jews were also forbidden from riding horses and holding judicial or civil posts, and were forced to wear a yellow patch for identification.

807: Harun Al Rashid, Caliph of the Abbasids forces Baghdad Jews to wear a yellow badge and Christians to wear a blue badge.

That Iran is seeking to renew this is not surprising, given Iran's ties to Nazi Germany during WWII.

Crossposted on Israpundit

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Is Israeli Dual Citizenship A Security Risk?

After posting Government: Jews Cannot Be Trusted, I took a look around and found a transcript of a Washington Post forum from March 2005, Jobs Live: Security Clearances led by Derrick Dortch, a career counselor who specializes in government job searching and military transition.

Among the questions asked was one from Jerusalem:
Jerusalem, Israel: I recently immigrated to Israel from the U.S. I may move back to the US in a few years. Would I be able to get a job that requires security clearance since I obtained foreign citizenship? I still hold U.S. citizenship.

Derrick Dortch: Hello Jerusalem,

Thanks for your question. Foreign Preference and Dual Citizenship is a major concern for the United States and can be a major factor in the security clearance process. Pre 9/11 it was a concern but not as major. Post 9/11 it is now a major concern. Most individuals are asked to give their full allegiance to the United States and give up their dual citizenship. This is a case-by-case situation but you should be prepared to do so.

Here is what the Adjudicative Desk Reference says about foreign preference:
The concern. When an individual acts in such a way as to indicate a preference for a foreign country over the United States, then he or she may be prone to provide information or make decisions that are harmful to the interests of the United States.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:
a. The exercise of dual citizenship;
b. Possession and/or use of a foreign passport;
c. Military service or a willingness to bear arms for a foreign country;
d. Accepting educational, medical, or other benefits, such as retirement and social welfare, from a foreign country;
e. Residence in a foreign country to meet citizenship requirements;
f. Using foreign citizenship to protect financial or business interests in another country;
g. Seeking or holding political office in the foreign country;
h. Voting in foreign elections; and
i. Performing or attempting to perform duties, or otherwise acting, so as to serve the interests of another government in preference to the interests of the United States.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:
a. Dual citizenship is based solely on parents' citizenship or birth in a foreign country;
b. Indicators of possible foreign preference (e.g., foreign military service) occurred before obtaining United States citizenship;
c. Activity is sanctioned by the United States;
d. Individual has expressed a willingness to renounce dual citizenship.

You can find out more here: [this link is no longer good. Try this instead]

If you are ever thinking about coming back to the U.S. and being involved in national and/or homeland security you need to understand these and then be prepared when you come back.

Take care and I wish you the best.
Dortch also has a general article on getting a security clearance written for the Washington Post, noting among other things that it is not only federal employees who may need to have security clearance:
There are also many companies – think tanks, research facilities and other organizations – that have contracts or grants with the federal government that require them to access sensitive information. These companies or organizations are required to have their employees cleared by the federal government. No company without a contract with the federal government can independently give or seek a security clearance, and no individual who is not working for the federal government or a contract organization can get a security clearance.
The document that Dortch refers to in the forum, Adjudicative Guidlines For Determining Eligibility for Access To Classified Information, deals not only with foreign preference, but also foreign influence:

The Concern. A security risk may exist when an individual's immediate family, including cohabitants, and other persons to whom he or she may be bound by affection, influence, or obligation are not citizens of the United States or may be subject to duress. These situations could create the potential for foreign influence that could result in the compromise of classified information. Contacts with citizens of other countries or financial interests in other countries are also relevant to security determinations if they make an individual potentially vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:

a. An immediate family member, or a person to whom the individual has close ties of affection or obligation, is a citizen of, or resident or present in, a foreign country;

b. Sharing living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of their citizenship status, if the potential for adverse foreign influence or duress exists;

c. Relatives, cohabitants, or associates who are connected with any foreign government;

d. Failing to report, where required, associations with foreign nationals;

e, Unauthorized association with a suspected or known collaborator or employee of a foreign intelligence service;

f. Conduct which may make the individual vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure by a foreign government;

g. Indications that representatives or nationals from a foreign country are acting to increase the vulnerability of the individual to possible future exploitation, coercion or pressure;

h. A substantial financial interest in a country, or in any foreign owned or operated business that could make the individual vulnerable to foreign influence.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns include:

a. A determination that the immediate family member(s) (spouse, father, mother, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters), cohabitant, or associate(s) in question are not agents of a foreign power or in a position to be exploited by a foreign power in a way that could force the individual to choose between loyalty to the person(s) involved and the United States;

b. Contacts with foreign citizens are the result of official U.S. Government business;

c. Contact and correspondence with foreign citizens are casual and infrequent;

d. The individual has promptly complied with existing agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons or organizations from a foreign country;

e. Foreign financial interests are minimal and not sufficient to affect the individual's security responsibilities.
These are just some of issues that have taken on added emphasis post 9-11.

See also: Government: Jews Cannot Be Trusted

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