Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Enjoy It While It Lasts

Most Israelis see the war with Hizbullah as a failure.
But some Israelis are very pleased with the results.

And who can blame them.
...along Israel's border with Lebanon, farmers are quite pleased with
the way the war has turned out. Associated Press reporter Matti
Friedman writes of farmers in the northern city of Metulah who no
longer take their rifles with them to work in their orchards, and of
farmers in Moshav Zar'it who "are beginning to return to orchards they
abandoned" when Hizbullah terrorists controlled the Lebanese side of
the line.

Though not necessarily confident that the situation will last for very
long, they are enjoying the new situation while it lasts. "The war
erased a threat we lived with for years," a Metulah man said. "We
aren't afraid of snipers or kidnappings anymore. We can breathe."
According to the Washington Post, it's not just the citizens who feel the change.
Lt. Col. Ishai Efroni, a senior army officer in an Israeli border unit, said his men along the fence also feel a marked change for the better, now that Hezbollah men with grenade launchers are no longer a few yards from Israeli tanks.

Efroni said Israeli soldiers trade pleasantries with UNIFIL troops along the border, and that even the Lebanese soldiers sometimes wave. "They're still hesitant _ this is new for them," he said.
Both Arutz Sheva and the Washington Post conclude with a quote from an apple grower, who is more wary:
The yellow flags are gone, but they'll be back

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Liberal Newspapers Suffer From Bad Circulation

IRIS has looked into the story about the falling newspaper subscription of liberal newspapers, with the notable exception of the New York Post.
I then looked at the trend over a number of years and detected an extraordinary trend: every newspaper consistently lost subscribers, except for four which experienced solid growth. Three of those four are the nation's only conservative dailies, while the fourth is arguably the least partisan paper, USA Today.
Take a look at the numbers he has put together.

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Changes At Mere Rhetoric

If you haven't visited Mere Rhetoric, you may not have seen a couple of his latest changes.
For one thing, Omri has finally put together a blogroll.

More importantly, he has put together a (J)Blogosphere Search Engine
that searches a pool of blogs that are basically in the center in their view of Israel. Currently, the search engine is more or less limited to sites on Mere Rhetoric's blogroll, but he is asking for input on other blogs that should be added to the search engine.

Go check out Mere Rhetoric for more information.

I wouldn't say that Mere Rhetoric's site is undergoing a complete overhaul.
It's more of a...rhetorical flourish.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

The Revenge of the Birthday Gift

When I wrote my post about My Daughter's Birthday Party Gifts, I mentioned 3 gifts that I thought were a bit problematic.

But nothing prepared me for: The Revenge of the Birthday Gift.

It turned out that of all the gifts my daughter received, one--Aggravation--was one she already had. Yesterday, after finishing her book report, my daughter went with her mother to Toys-R-Us to exchange the gift--and I decided to stay home.

Big mistake.

Here is the gift my daughter talked my wife into buying:

That's right: My Bling Bling Barbie.

According to Wikipedia
"Bling-bling" (sometimes shortened to simply "bling") is a hip hop slang term which refers to expensive jewelry and other accoutrements, and also to an entire lifestyle built around excess spending and ostentation.

So that's why the box is plastered with:
Life doesn't get any better than this
Get in on this super fab lifestyle
Lesson learned: next time my daughter goes shopping at the toy store, I go along.

And hope I'm better at saying 'no'.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's Time For The Bodgey Bagels Caption Contest

Bagel Blogger is holding his weekly 'Bodgey Bagels Caption Contest'.

All entries for this weeks picture (above) need to be in by Wednesday 1st November - make sure to get your entry in!

Technorati Tag: Caption and and and and and and and and and Jew and Australia and Jewish and BagelBlogger and Bagel Blogger

The Wisdom of Fathers Is Not a Croc

I am jealous of AbbaGav

When my 7 year old daughter seeks to partake of my wisdom, it is to help her take her hairbands out of her hair.
But AbbaGav's daughter asks her Abba to defend her against crocodiles.


Haveil Havalim #91 Is Up At Sweet Rose

The 91st edition of Haveil Havalim is up, hosted this week by Sweet Rose.

Go and take a look at the wide variety of different posts she has collected from all around the JBlogosphere.


Next week, November 5, Haveil Havalim #92 will be hosted by Jerusalem Games. His e-mail is shadejon at gmail dot com.

You can submit one or two of your best Israel or Judaism related posts to dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.

If you'd like to host an upcoming edition you can e-mail Soccer Dad at the same address.

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

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Norman Finkelstein Sinks To New Lows

Catholic League president Bill Donohue seems to have a novel idea of the role of Free Speech on university campuses.

Too bad it is not shared by others.

From The Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights
October 11, 2006


Catholic League president Bill Donohue issued the following remarks today about an incident involving a DePaul University professor:
“Catholics have every right to expect that Catholic colleges and universities are free from bigotry of any kind. Unfortunately, a recent ugly incident by DePaul professor Norman G. Finkelstein has betrayed that trust. To be specific, an online column he wrote at indybay.org suggesting that Alan Dershowitz be assassinated, coupled with an obscene depiction of the Harvard professor, is cause for alarm.
“Finkelstein has every right to quarrel with Dershowitz’s proud defense of Israel’s right to exist, but when he compares him to a Nazi (this despicable charge is made twice), then elementary standards of civility have been shattered. Similarly, calling Dershowitz a ‘moral pervert’ who ‘missed the climactic scene of his little peep show’ is the language used by street propagandists, not academicians. Make no mistake about it, Finkelstein wrote this to illustrate the vicious cartoon he commissioned: Dershowitz is depicted masturbating in glee over dead Lebanese civilians. It doesn’t get much lower than this.

“There are plenty of arenas in and around Chicago where those who want to rant can go to express themselves, but a university is not such a venue: the university exists so that the truth may be pursued. That is what a liberal arts education is expected to provide, and it is nothing but a travesty when the rights afforded faculty members are abused in the way Finkelstein has done. This is doubly true when it happens on a Catholic campus.

“The time has come for responsible Catholic leaders to hold up a stop sign to this kind of ad hominem assault. Robust free speech should be welcomed on campus, but if it is to have pedagogical value, it must respect logic and standards of evidence. Character assassination of the kind Finkelstein engages in does not meet that test. He has abused his rights as a faculty member and he has defamed Catholic education.”
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Condoleezza Rice: I Think I Know, I Think I Know, I Think I Know

Hat Tip: Powerline

In an interview with Condoleezza Rice, Cal Thomas asked her about her statement as the Keynote Address at the American Task Force on Palestine Inaugural Gala, where she said:
I know that sometimes a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel must seem like a very distant dream. But I know too, as a student of international history, that there are so many things that once seemed impossible that, after they happened, simply seemed inevitable. I've read over the last summer the biographies of America's Founding Fathers. By all rights, America, the United States of America, should never have come into being. We should never have survived our civil war. I should never have grown up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama to become the Secretary of State of the United States of America.
Thomas asks Rice how--in the light of extremist Islamist rhetoric, propaganda, and indoctrination--she sees a Palestinian state accepting the existence of Israel.
QUESTION: I'd like to know what evidence you have — I read, and I know you do and a lot more than I do, the sermons, the editorials in the Middle East, the right of return idea, which a lot of people think is just basically overwhelming for a Jewish population with millions and millions of Arabs in the so-called Diaspora. What evidence do you have that teaching their schoolchildren at the ages of four and five to be martyrs, to show up in their little uniforms with plastic guns and their headbands, textbooks one grenade plus two grenades equals, you know, three grenades — what evidence do you have out there that if they had an independent state that they would lay down their arms and not complete the mission of killing the Jews and throwing them out?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace. And when it comes right down to it, yeah, there are plenty of extremists in the Palestinian territories who are not going to be easily dealt with. They have to be dealt with — Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories — they're terrorists and they have to be dealt with as terrorists.

But the great majority of Palestinian people — this is — I've been with these people. The great majority of people, they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do.

QUESTION: Do you think this or do you know this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think I know it.

QUESTION: You think you know it?

SECRETARY RICE: I think I know it.
Just what poll is Rice refering to? She does not say.

Joel Mowbray notes, consistent with Thomas' question to Rice:
Poll after poll has indicated majority Palestinian support for suicide bombings. Even the term used for bombers, "shahids," is one of glorification, the equivalent of calling someone a saint. And whereas children across the world have posters in their room of sports stars or famous artists, Palestinian youths decorate their living space with posters celebrating "shahids."
Could it be that the 70% Rice is referring to is from a Bir Zeit University Poll published on September 20:
12. Peace Process and Negotiations

Palestinians: Yes to negotiation;, no to an immediate recognition of Israel by Hamas

67.0% support an immediate resumption of negotiations with Israel, while 29.7% are in opposition.

In addition, 64.5% support the PNA (led by Hamas) entering into immediate negotiations with Israel to reach a final status agreement.

57.8% support a two-state solution as a final settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; 39.0% oppose such a solution.

52.5% support the idea that Hamas must recognize international resolutions regarding Palestine; 41.0% are in opposition.

52.0% support the idea that Hamas must recognize the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel; 40.8% oppose such a solution.

The majority (62.3%) opposes the idea that Hamas must recognize Israel at this point of time; one-third (33.3%) support Hamas’s immediate recognition of Israel.
But that 67% only supports negotiations--they do not actual accept the existence of an Israeli state.

According to the same poll, 62.3% oppose recognizing Israel, hardly the response of Palestinians ready to live side-by-side with Israel. Also, 65.8% support a unity government led by Hamas: even though 31.6% believe Hamas will not reinforce democracy--this is the same Hamas which has pointedly rejected ceasing terrorism.

If Rice is correct that the vast majority of Palestinians are "perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace"--why does the majority support Hamas.

Condoleezz Rice's presentation of the facts goes further. While Rice may think of herself as "a student of international history," her knowledge of Israel is spotty. Last year, Rice publicly stated:
Two months ago, Israel and the Palestinian Authority took an unprecedented step on the road to peace with the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, returning control of that territory to the Palestinian people...for the first time since 1967, Palestinians will gain control over entry and exit from their territory.
A real student of the relavent history would know that Palestinian Arabs never had control of the Gaza or the West Bank--that prior to the 1967 War, these areas were illegally under the control of Egypt and Jordan; that before that, those areas were under the control of Great Britain by virtue of a mandate of the League of Nations; that before that, those areas were under the control of the Ottoman Empire--even making the jump and assuming that there is a distinctive Palestinian Arab, they never had control over a territory in "Palestine".

Rice can say over and over: I think I know.
But the truth is--she doesn't.

As the editor of the Jewish World Review puts it:

We think the Secretary of State comes off as utopian and rather naive. She needs to go.

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What Does Israel Have Against Judaism?

In this article Jonathan Rosenblum touches on 2 separate but connected issues: a bill that was recently introduced in the Knesset that would forbid any attempt to bring a minor closer to Judaism--and the history of the Israeli government's attempts to forcibly diminish Judaism among children immigrating to Israel.
Hypocrisy Watch

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Yated Ne'man
October 25, 2006

Meretz MK Chaim Oron introduced a bill last week in the Knesset that would impose an automatic six month jail sentence on anyone attempting to influence, directly or indirectly, a minor to be chozer b’teshuva, under the auspicies of any organization that has as one of its purposes bringing Jews back to religious observance. For the time being, at least, the proposed legislation is going nowhere. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is still ardently courting United Torah Judaism in the hopes of bringing the chareidi party into his coalition, and he is not about to let such an incendiary piece of legislation make any headway in the Knesset.
Oron, it would seem, is interested primarily in generating a little publicity for himself by stirring up a religious tension. With Tommy Lapid and his Shinui party now just a bitter memory, Oron hopes to win over some of Lapid’s former supporters. The introduction of the law remains a painful reminder that religion-baiting still has a constituency in Israel today.

In his written materials in support of the legislation, Oron compares his bill to existing anti-missionary legislation. Yet his bill is, in fact, much further reaching than the anti-missionary legislation now on the books. The latter outlaws primarily financial inducements to change one’s religion from Judaism. And the government has never made any serious attempt to enforce laws against missionaries. In any confrontation between missionaries and anti-missionary groups such as Yad L’Achim and Lev L’Achim, the latter are far more likely to be arrested by the police than are the missionaries.

Unlike the anti-missionary statutes, Oron’s proposed bill contains no clause limiting its application to the use of financial inducements to convince minors to adopt religious observance. It is so broadly and unclearly worded that the teaching of Torah, mitzvot and Jewish holidays could easily be interpreted to fall within the ambit of the statute. In the terms of American first amendment jurisprudence, the proposed statute would exercise a "chilling effect" on all teaching of Torah to minors not from religious homes. It would return us to the days of the Romans.

ADMITTEDLY, there is the tiniest germ of a legitimate idea in Oron’s proposal. Parents do not own their children. But they have been entrusted with responsibility for their education. Only totalitarian states refuse to recognize any parental rights to educate their children. In a series of cases nearly a century ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down state statutes denying parents’ the right to provide their children foreign language instruction or a parochial school education. More recently, the Court recognized an exemption for the Amish to state truancy laws that would have required them to keep their children in school until the age of 16.

Parental rights to guide their children’s education are not absolute, but they are far from negligible. Certainly, the Torah community can be counted upon to resist with full force government regulation that limits our ability to provide our children with a chinuch designed to produce yeraim ve’shleimim.

BUT ON THIS SCORE, ORON IS A COMPLETE HYPOCRITE. There are groups in Israel devoted to luring children from religious homes into the secular world. They advertise in the media, and prawl malls and other places where disaffected teenagers from Torah homes are likely to be found, offering them housing, a family to help them make the transition to a secular lifestyle, and other inducements. Oron’s Meretz party has always been a strong supporter of such groups.

INDEED THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH AGENCY and the State of Israel is that of one concerted effort to destroy the Yiddishkeit of children from Torah homes. Between 1939 and 1942, approximately 1,000 Polish Jewish orphans found their way to Teheran.

Over 80 percent of these children came from religious homes. In Teheran, the children were prevented from saying Kaddish for their parents and punished when they persisted. Refugee rabbis in Teheran were denied access to the children. The Jewish Agency informed the Polish government- in-exile, which was paying for the camp in Teheran, that it would forgo all funding if the Polish government insisted that the children be provided with religious instruction.

When the head of the camp, a member of Hashomer Hatza'ir, was told that the children were refusing to eat non-kosher food, he replied, 'Let one or two die of starvation and they will soon forget about kosher food."

Once in Israel, few children were placed in religious institutions, despite the promise of Youth Aliya head Henrietta Szold that placement would be in accord with family background.

Agudas Yisrael, the party to which the parents of over 60 percent of the children had belonged in Poland, prepared hundreds of places for them in Israel. Yet only 30 out of 1,000 children were placed in Agudah institutions. In one camp, Szold herself did the selection. Though 21 of the 29 children had learned in chadorim or Bais Yaakov schools, not one was placed in an Agudah institution.

The "soul-snatching" of the Children of Teheran, in the words of a contemporary columnist in Ha'aretz, was just a prelude to the deliberate efforts to extirpate Judaism from the younger generation of immigrants from Arab lands.

A government commission established in the '50s to study the absorption of the Yemenite community found that the prime objective of the government's absorption policy was "adaptation of the child to the mode of living expressed in the community at large," a euphemism for uprooting their religious identity.

That same commission found that the shaving of peyos, an important symbol of religious identity for Yemenite Jews, was a "methodical practice." So too, the commission found, was "the disturbance of traditional religious study." The tents for prayer were locked to keep children from gathering for religious instruction and holy books removed and strewn on the ground.

Yemenite teachers were forbidden to teach the children. Anyone religious was barred from the refugee camps. When the Yemenite Jews protested this policy in the Ein Shemer camp, one was shot dead by the authorities.

The children were forced to live apart from their families in central children's houses, where the guides told them, "Shabbat does not exist in Eretz Yisrael," and took them on Shabbos hikes, during which they were encouraged to pick oranges in imitation of their counselors.

Parents who wanted to send their children to religious schools were threatened with eviction from their homes and the loss of their Histadrut work permits - a virtual sentence of starvation in those days.

All this was possible because the Yemenite Jews were subhuman primitives in the eyes of those charged with their absorption. Their fervent religious belief was simply one more proof. The absorption authorities considered it an act of mercy to remove the children from their parents.

The focus of the North African aliya, too, was on separating children from parents. Parents were encouraged to send their children to Israel alone, and those who refused remained stranded in transit camps for much longer periods.

To encourage parents to allow their children to go alone, Youth Aliya promised that they would be placed in religious institutions. Most were sent instead to secular kibbutzim.

A 1956 counselor's manual from one such kibbutz emphasizes that the children are to be taught that "belief in G-d is a reactionary doctrine that has no place among mankind's progressive fighters."

The bright thread running through all Israeli absorption efforts is the arrogant contempt for Jewish religion. Those who complain loudest of religious coercion today were themselves perpetrators of deliberate and systematic coercion of hundreds of thousands of children to shed their religious upbringing.

Nor are the attitudes of the early days of the State something of the past. After the massive airlift from Ethiopia in Operation Solomon , Jerusalem's Kol Ha'ir wrote: "So it was with the Jews of Yemen, so too with those of North Africa. So that the young at least would have some chance, the tradition had to be destroyed, the family had to be destroyed.... Better the salvation of the young so that at least they can integrate."

The late editor of Ma’ariv editor Shmuel Schnitzer hit the nail on the head, when he wrote, in response to calls for a Knesset Commission of Inquiry to study the burgeoning ba’al teshuva movement in Israel: Where were the calls for such a commission of inquiry in the early days of the state, when there was not a house in Meah Shearim sh’ein bo meis? When did the Knesset concern itself with the cries of religious mothers whose children had left their homes and their ways? Far from demanding investigations of the matter, the Zionist movement celebrated the destruction of traditional religious homes, as proclaimed itself the wave of the future.

Today the wave is headed in the other direction.
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"Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West"

Here is the movie trailer from YouTube:

More on the movie at their website

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France: The Model of How to Deal With Moslem Integration?

That is the opinion of Matthew Kaminski, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, who lives in Paris. He believes that with the riots that have been raging in France for a year, "French Muslims, like Muslims elsewhere in Europe, exhibit the pathologies that have long characterized the American underclass"--but at the same time Kaminski thinks the French do have a unique advantage in their relationship to their Moslem citizens:
According to a Pew Global Attitudes survey published in July, 42% of French Muslims consider themselves French first; 47%, Muslim first. (In Britain, the numbers are 7% British first; 81%, Muslim first.) In the same poll, 78% of French Muslims say that they want to adapt to French customs. Another recent survey, this one for La Vie, a Catholic monthly, appears to show that French Muslims aren't averse to "French" values: 91% of those interviewed approved of gender equality, 73% of the separation of church and state; 69% said that they don't oppose Muslim women marrying outside the faith.
What is not clear in Mr. Kaminski's article is whether these numbers include the opinion of the radical Moslems who have been rioting, burning buses, and attacking police during the past year? As the riots continue, how will the opinions of this element grow and influence the overall Frence Muslim community?

He quotes from Integrating Islam, by Jonathan Laurence and Justin Vaisse who focus on France--home to Europe's largest Moslem population. Laurence and Vaisse argue that France's Moslems are in many respects moderate and had few protests against Denmark's Mohammed cartoons. (Of course, with the year-long riots going on, maybe the potential protesters were otherwise occupied.)

Kaminski also notes that Dalil Boubakeur, the head of the French Muslim Council, is quoted liberally in "Integrating Islam":
He calls Islam "a religion and a culture that has combined itself with other cultures and that is now combining itself with Western democracy." French Muslims, he adds, "wish for a tolerant Islam, humanist, inviting the faithful to live with their times, to accept modernity."
Still, it would do well for the authors of "Integrating Islam" to keep in mind that historically Islam has often combined itself with other cultures by taking over the country through expansion and occupation.

Kaminski notes that France recognizes the radical element of Islam that has also found a home in France:
It matters, then, that France's anti-terrorism laws are the toughest anywhere in the Western world. French prosecutors can hold terror suspects for years without charge; the definition of "links to terrorism" is loose. Every mosque in France is monitored. Since 9/11, the government has cracked down on foreign financing and moved to train "French imams." All this--more than the slow integrationist trend that Messrs. Laurence and Vaisse celebrate--may be the reason why France hasn't been hit by terrorism since a wave of subway bombings in 1995.
While this may be impressive, it reflects Kaminiski's view of the ongoing riots as a social unrest and not an intifada.

But how much less terrorized does France feel at having their buses burned as opposed to having their subways blown up?

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Arafat and the Cynical Uses of Islam

Joel Mowbray critiques Condoleezza Rice's muddled approach to the Palestinian Arabs. In the process, he makes an interesting point on how Yasser Arafat used Islamic indoctrination to overcome the limitaions of the PLO and "breed a new generation of terrorists":
Palestinian society was Islamicized by none than famously secular Yasser Arafat. Once he was given the reins following the 1993 Oslo accords, Arafat instituted an aggressive program of Islamic indoctrination, primarily through the schools and the media. Palestinian Authority-run schools placed far greater emphasis on Islam than ever before, and every Friday PA television still broadcasts sermons of fiery and bitterly anti-Semitic imams.

The indoctrination worked. In a March 2005 poll by the Palestinian Center for Research and Cultural Dialogue, almost 70 percent of Palestinians expressed preference for living under Islamic law. And a 2003 poll by Birzeit University revealed that nearly 80 percent support the notion of punishing a thief by amputating his hand.

Most observers, including many in the Israeli establishment, refuse to acknowledge the increasing Islamic nature of Palestinian society in large part because they cannot believe that a secular Arab nationalist could have implemented Islamic indoctrination. But Arafat did so out of necessity. The original Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists had an inherent limitation, as the prospect of their own deaths was a deterrent. Arafat thus turned to Islam, which enabled him to breed a new generation of terrorists, who were far more effective than their wiser and better-trained predecessors for one simple reason: Not only were they not afraid to die, but they actually desired death.

It's not just the kids who have been brainwashed. To make sure parents don't follow normal instincts, PA-run broadcasts and newspapers have cynically used Islam to promote the culture of death. This pernicious propaganda campaign has been meticulously detailed by the invaluable Palestinian Media Watch, yet most foreign policy elites seem unaware of the changing face of Palestinian society.
Among those elites, of course, is Condoleezza Rice.
And many, many others.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

My Daughter's Birthday Party Gifts

My daughter turned seven and so we gave her a birthday party this past Sunday.

Disclaimer: My daughter actually turned seven in September, but because of Memorial Day and Chagim, we pushed it off till this past Sunday.

Further Disclaimer: For her party, my daughter wanted for her and all of her friends (16 girls total) to have their nails done--so, with permission, I left for 2 hours and learned in the Beis Medrash. Please note: 2 girls from the High School came and helped, for which they got "Chessed Points." Also, I helped before and after.

By all accounts, it was a success. One of my daughter's friends told my wife that she makes the best birthday parties.

My only problem is with the gifts.
Only 3 really made an impression on her.
She has not really looked at the rest.

One girl gave my daughter a Bratz doll, which--based on my daughter's reaction--is the in doll to have. Barbie is like sooooo last millenium. At least this year. But between what the doll looks like, dresses like, and the box it came in looks like--I am wary. I mean, how am I going to talk to her about being Tzenuah (modest) when she has this doll. Besides, it looks like a voodoo doll of Angelina Jolie.

My daughter also got a radio headset. At 7 years old.
I thought I could wait till she was 17 before she would be tuning me out.
Also, unlike a TV--with radio headphones there is no way to know what my daughter is listening to.

For example, that night we had the following exchange:

My daughter: Imma, all they have on here is talking! Where's the music?
Imma: Here, let me help. [finds station and returns the headset--then turns to me and says with a knowing, satisfied smile:] I found a classical music station.
My daughter: Imma, there's talking on this station too. And they're saying strange stuff.
Imma [takes the radio, listens, and turns to me with a shocked look]: It's a Christian Evangelical station!

The day after, our present to our daughter arrived: walkie talkies--Hello Kitty walkie-talkies. Hello Kitty? What will the Bratz Girls say?! I've been told that I agreed to this gift, but there is no written record that I ever did. I think it may have been a compromise, since one of the things she was asking for was a cell phone. Last year, one of her friends had one.

As soon as I got them working, she took both down to the basement and told me "I'll be talking to you." She didn't mean by walkie-talkie; she meant when she was done playing with them. Within 5 minutes she got tired of talking to herself on the walkie talkies and we experimented throughout the house. It took her a few minutes to pick up on the idea of pushing on the button and holding it down when she wanted to talk; to let go when she wanted to listen. Button or no, hearing her from one side of the house was no problem. Never has been.

My daughter wanted to know the range they had: 3 miles.
She wanted me to bring one to work so she could call me to pick her up.
Then she wanted to give one to a friend so they could talk at night.
She'll end up talking to friends when they come over to play on Sunday.

But I'm wary of walkie-talkies too--it turns out that the walkie-talkies from time-to-time pick up other people's conversations.

I'm not keen on the idea of my daughter talking to truckers.

The day I ask her to do something and she turns to me and says "That's a big ten-four, Big Daddy" those walkie-talkies are gone.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hasbarah Is Not Just An Israeli Problem

We all tend to criticize Israel for its lack of effective Hasbarah. Either there is not enough material or what does exist is badly written; the people who are supposed to best represent Israel often don't get the job done. Remember when the appointment of the Israeli ambassador to Great Britain in January 2004 was made, and the choice was criticized because he did not know English?

Well, apparently, poor hasbarah, is not an exclusively Israeli problem.

Mudville Gazette
recently received an email from CENTCOM Public Affairs about something new that is available through their web site called "Nature of the Enemy", and it presented information gleaned from open-source material available on the Internet. It is accessible here.

His opinion of this one page PDF:
This, my friends, is another of the many reasons why we're losing the information war. One of the most ironic aspects of it is that this is the same DoD that was recently chastised for attempting to plant stories in the Iraqi media to influence public opinion.
Information war, hasbarah--either way, this is something that is not an Israel problem; it is a problem for the US as well.

Why are Israel and the US not up to the Information War?

1. They are not clear on the fact that the Information War is a war.
2. They don't have the passion or the respect for their own culture
3. It is not just an question of information, but the way it is presented--and repeated.
4. They are both too invested in the idea of being civilized democracies and don't want to offend, nor deprive others of their 'right' to express their own contrary progaganda.

Civilizations did not get to be that way by being that civilized.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Difference Between Saudi Arabia and New Jersey

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Hamas Driving Palestinians Out of Gaza and West Bank?

Tim Blair writes about the approaching Palestinian Brain Drain:

Having voted for Hamas, Palestinians now seem inclined to vote with their feet:

A growing number of Palestinians are openly saying they’d like to leave the West Bank and Gaza if given the chance, raising concern about the possibility of a Palestinian brain drain.

They weren’t too concerned about that back when they were stuffing detonators in their kids’ underpants and sending them off to be fitted with Semtex shirts. Brains were drained all over the place.

Birzeit University pollster Nader Said, who has monitored emigration attitudes for 12 years, says the percentage of Palestinians willing to relocate once hovered just below 20 percent. When that figure jumped to 32 percent in a September survey, Mr. Said says he was shocked.

The catalyst, the pollster says, has been Palestinian disillusionment following Hamas’s half-year in government. “What the Israelis were unable to do - try to push the Palestinian out of the country - the internal strife is achieving,” he says.
If true, that would be quite a turnaround, from being everyone's favorite terrorist-group-cum-political-party to giving Palestinian Arabs the motivation to leave--something that Fatah, with all of its corruption, was unable to accomplish.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

If It's On Campus, It's Not Hate-Speech

"One person’s hate speech is another person’s education"
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez, University of California, Irvine

It's not clear if Mr. Gomez would make that required or an elective.

Here's the story:
More than a dozen Jewish student leaders met with Chancellor Michael Drake and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez on Wednesday, October 18 to discuss the recent anti-Semitic vandalism here amidst a broader discussion about how Jewish students feel they are treated.

...Many Jewish students at the meeting blamed the Muslim Student Union for creating an environment in which hate speech can prosper, which they felt had a direct connection to the vandalism.
Chancellor Drake on the other hand condemned hate-speech and "also asserted that hateful speech does absolutely nothing to promote understanding and tolerance"--which puts the chancellor on a different approach than his vice chancellor.

Instead, he took the approach that his hands were tied because it would be a "violation of law to prohibit certain speech," and that
it is not in the power of the University of California to prohibit speech on campus in any fashion because it would be against the constitutional rights of individuals.
The obvious question is whether Chancellor Drake and Vice Chancellor Gomez would have felt the same if the victims were African American...or Muslim.

Jonah Goldberg makes that point, but also suggests that on campus a line should be drawn
I generally agree with the notion that "hate" speech should not be banned by the government. I have less of a problem with universities and colleges curtailing such things within the boundaries of good taste and good character development.
Considering what both the faculty (link expired: check here instead) and the students get away with at Columbia University, it appears that there may be a trend on university campuses that the pedagogic benefits of hate-speech outweigh the teaching of character.

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Getting Recognition For Jews Who Fled Arab Countries

Hat Tip: The Astute Bloggers

From Haaretz:
World Jewish groups began a global campaign yesterday calling for recognition of Jews from Arab countries as refugees in the Middle East conflict.

"The world sees the plight of Palestinian refugees, and not withstanding their plight, there must be recognition that Jews from Arab countries are also victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict," said Stanley Urman, executive director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC).

JJAC, a U.S.-based coalition of Jewish organizations, is one of the groups coordinating the campaign, which aims to record testimonies of Jews who fled in the face of persecution, list asset losses and lobby foreign governments on their behalf.

Jewish groups have estimated that since 1948 at least 900,000 Jews have been forced to leave their homes in Arab countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

At least 600,000 went to Israel. The rest sought sanctuary in France, Britain, the United States and other countries.
The Astute Bloggers notes that in contrast to the approximate 900,000 Jews who were forced to leave there homes in Arab countries, approximately 720,000 Arabs left then-Palestine in 1948.

On the one hand, Arabs will inflate the number of Arabs who fled.
On the other, how likely is it that this issue will get the attention it deserves from Europe in general or the UN in particular?

That would be the UN that established the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, coming up on November 29. Last year, Kofi Annan attended--standing in front of a map of the Middle East with Israel missing and saying:
I invite everyone present to rise and observe a minute of silence in memory of all those who have given their lives for the cause of the Palestinian people and the return of peace between Israel and Palestine. [emphasis added]
I wish the JJAC luck.

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Favorite Commercials

Jewish Blogmeister writes about his favorite Geico commercial--and ask what favorite commercials other people have.

I have a favorite from when I was a kid--for a rather quirky reason, but I cannot verify if the reason is true...

I'm not sure if the commercial is still around, but when I when I was a kid they had a commercial for Park's Sausages both on TV and the radio. In the commercial, a young boy would yell: More Park's Sausages Ma!...please.

I have this vague recollection that at one point, in the actual commercial the boy would yell: More Park's Sausages Ma!

The way I remember it, there were complaints to the company by parents from all over because their children immitated the boy in the commercial and the parents were upset that their children were learning bad manners from the commercial--so in order to keep the successful commercial and keep parents happy, they added 'please' at the end.

Like I said, I don't know for sure if I'm right, but that's the way I remember it--and because of the quirky story behind it, it is a favorite commercial of mine.

(even though I've never tried the product)

Similarly, my favorite movie is The List of Adrian Messenger--because it has a peculiar quirk to it.

Israel Is THE Place For Jewish Innovation

The Muqata makes the case that Israel is the place for true Jewish innovation:
Jewish practical innovation (as opposed to theoretical) is inherently connected to Israel. Like it or not, the resurgence and application of Jewish Nationalism, through Shivat Tziyon, has propelled Judaism forward in a quantum leap like never before in our past 2000 years. The challenge of a Jewish State in a modern technological era is welcomed with open arms by many -- and instead of adopting old-world mindsets that "it's better not to put yourself into a halachic quandary posed by modernization", we rise to the occasion, and embrace it, lichatchila.
This innovative spirit applies to Hebrew, Chumash, Chiddushei Torah, Philosophy and Halachah. To illustrate the last point, he gives a partial list of some of the amazing technical innovations The Tzomet Institute has developed, especially in connection with Shabbat.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Ex-Mosad Chief Wants To Put Us At Ease About Iran

Gee, what a relief.
DESPITE Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s declaration this week that Iran poses “an existential threat to Israel”, a former Mossad chief who is visiting Australia said Tehran lacks the military and strategic capability to destroy the Jewish State.

“Israel is indestructible today. It’s not so simple just to think you can have a device on your hand and you will able to hurl it on to a certain location and wipe out a nation,” Efraim Halevy told an Australian Friends of the Hebrew University dinner at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday.

Halevy, who ran the spy agency from 1998-2003, rejected assertions that Israel faced an “existential threat” during its recent war with Hezbollah. Such claims have “eroded Israel’s self-confidence”, he said.

“Israel has known of this threat [from Iran] for more than a decade-and-a half and has watched this threat grow – you must assume that Israel was not sitting on its hands ... or [waiting] for someone else to do the job.”
What is not at all clear is why--after the appeasement, concessions, and actions Israel has taken against her own citizens and best interests--we should make such an assumption.

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Not All Ceremonial Slaughter Is Forbidden In Norway

In Jew-Hatred in Contemporary Norwegian Caricatures, Erez Uriely writes
Getting rid of the Jews was not an alien notion to the Norwegians, who heard their parliamentarians and ministers propounding racialist theory and expressing anti-Semitic ideas. In 1929, Member of Parliament Jens Hundseid told the parliament that: "We haven't invited the Jews to our land and we have no obligation to hand over animals to them for their religious orgies." Soon after, the Jewish ritual slaughter (shechita) of animals was forbidden.

In principle, the Norwegian law and constitution grant freedom of religion to everyone. In practice, the one exception is the Jews. Norway is one of the few countries in the world where shechita is still banned. In Germany, shechita was forbidden only during the Nazi period. In Norway, however, the ban was introduced three years before the Nazis took power in Germany and continues till today, whereas Muslim ceremonial slaughter (hallal) is permitted. Compassion for animals does not explain the ban on shechita, since hunting is permitted and popular in Norway. About 150,000 people (3 percent of the population) are registered hunters;5 hunted prey often suffers a much slower and more painful death than in Jewish ritual slaughter.
Read the entire article

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This Is TV Intended To Improve The Muslim Image

The New York Sun reports on Islamist TV brought to your living room:
Bridges TV, an American-Islamic TV channel "seeking to improve the image of Muslims in the United States" and to "offer a unique perspective on the Middle East and the war on terrorism," has extended its availability into six states, creating a potential audience of nearly 2 million.

The network's programming includes a mix of entertainment, sports, news, documentaries, and advertisements from companies like Ford, with an emphasis on religious programs.
Emphasis indeed.
  • "One religious figure who appeared October 3 said Muslims have a duty to change America and to increase their numbers to 50% of the population from 2%. He recommended that Shariah, or Islamic law, be implemented in American courts."

  • "During a roundtable discussion on the Arab-Israeli conflict on October 5, one participant offered a solution: 'For the Jews to leave and return to Europe.'"

  • "Bridges TV aired a speech by the influential Muslim scholar Jamal Badawi on October 4. Mr. Badawi, who teaches Islam throughout North America, gave an interview to the Saudi Gazette on June 24, 2005, in which he raised questions about who was behind the September 11 attacks and suggested that Americans could be behind the car bombings of Iraqi markets."

  • "Throughout the day, Bridges TV airs segments of Koranic verses, quite a few of which denounce "unbelievers." One notable verse that aired October 9 praised martyrdom."

  • "An anti-Jewish, anti-Christian sermon from October 5 included the call, 'May God destroy them!'"
One of the stars of Bridges TV is a cofounder and vice chairman of the international health care company CBay Inc., Donald "Skip" Conover, who in an article talked about "his disgust" at inflammatory statements about Arabs and Muslims in the press.

Isn't Mr. Convover isn't watching Bridges TV?
A better question would be why anyone else is.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Video of Palestinians Celebrating 9-11

At least until YouTube removes it for being 'too controversial'

Back in 2002, USA Today asked
What happened, many Americans are wondering, to that wave of sympathy and stockpile of global goodwill they encountered after Sept. 11?
Apparently, not everyone caught the wave.
Like the Palestinians.

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs

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Take The Palestine Quiz

Who Are the Palestinians?
by Yashiko Sagamori
November 25, 2002

A rebuttal:

If you are so sure that “Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history”, I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of "Palestine":

1. When was it founded and by whom?

2. What were its borders?

3. What was its capital?

4. What were its major cities?

5. What constituted the basis of its economy?

6. What was its form of government?

7. Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?

8. Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?

9. What was the language of the country of Palestine?

10. What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine?

11. What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and try and find the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, British pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date.

12. Have the Palestinians left any artifacts behind?

13. Do you know of a library where one could find a work of Palestinian literature produced before 1967?

14. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur?

If you are lamenting the “low sinking” of “once proud” nation, then please tell me, when exactly was that “nation” proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call “Palestinians” are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over - or thrown out of - the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat by Israel in the 1967Six Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day “Palestinians” to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal through military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it “the Palestinian people” and installed it in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the “West Bank” and Gaza, respectively, in the aftermath of the 1967 war?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea, and Samaria have much less of a claim to nationhood than the American Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so-called “Palestinians” have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel. In my book that is not sufficient to consider them a “nation” -- or anything else -- except what they really are: a terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve piece in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side, should pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited upon it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and acceptance of Israel's ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria.

That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?
Yashiko Sagamori is a New York-based Information Technology consultant.
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Kosher Cooking Carnival #11 Is Now Up!

The 11th Kosher Cooking Carnival is now up--
and it is the biggest one yet!

  • Velveteen Rabbi's Spicy blueberry-etrog jam
  • Sukkot Menu -- Asian Style
  • Browned Onion Lukshen Kugel and Sweet Apricot Chicken Tzimmis.
  • Mujadarra - Middle Eastern lentils and rice.
If you want to contribute to next month's Kosher Cooking Carnival, either send it to shilohmuse at gmail dot com or to to the blog carnival
If you're interested in hosting, please let her know.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Shocker: BBC Executives Admit Bias

Back on May 2002, a report came out on BBC coverage of the Middle East, put together by a London lawyer.

Now, the BBC is fighting to prevent the publication of The Balen Report that is crtical of its coverage of the Middle East. So far, the BBC has appeared to be successful--but only so far.

Some BBC employees are making their views felt
It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years: the BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.

A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.

It reveals that executives would let the Bible be thrown into a dustbin on a TV comedy show, but not the Koran, and that they would broadcast an interview with Osama Bin Laden if given the opportunity. Further, it discloses that the BBC's 'diversity tsar', wants Muslim women newsreaders to be allowed to wear veils when on air.

At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.
The BBC bias seems to be in favor of multiculturalism--so that would explain the pro-Moslem and anti-American bias that the BBC is known for.
The full account of the meeting shows how senior BBC figures queued up to lambast their employer.

Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to 'correct', it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it 'no moral weight'.

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a 'very senior news executive', about the BBC's pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: 'The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.'
What it does not explain is the anti-Israel bias.
Perhaps The Balen Report will explain that.
Then we will know why the BBC's multiculturalism has its limits

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Rachel Corrie Is No Anne Frank

Terry Teachout reviews "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" for The Wall Street Journal:
Politics makes artists stupid. Take "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," the one-woman play cobbled together from the diaries, emails and miscellaneous scribblings of the 23-year-old left-wing activist who was run over by an Israeli Army bulldozer in 2003 while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian house in the Gaza Strip. Co-written and directed by Alan Rickman, one of England's best actors, "Rachel Corrie" just opened off-Broadway after a successful London run. It's an ill-crafted piece of goopy give-peace-a-chance agitprop--yet it's being performed to cheers and tears before admiring crowds of theater-savvy New Yorkers who, like Mr. Rickman himself, ought to know better.

So why don't they? Because Palestine is the new Cuba, a political cause whose invocation has the effect of instantaneously anesthetizing the upper brain functions of those who believe in it. Take Mr. Rickman, who evidently intended "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" to be a pro-Palestinian equivalent of "The Diary of Anne Frank." Alas, wishful thinking is not the stuff of exciting theater. The script is disjointed to the point of incoherence, the staging crude and blatant, while Megan Dodds's performance as Rachel Corrie is frankly cartoonish.

Part of Ms. Dodds's problem, however, is that the real-life character she is portraying was unattractive in the extreme, albeit pathetically so. Whimsical, humorless and--above all--immature, Corrie burbles on about her feelings ("The salmon talked me into a lifestyle change") without ever troubling to test them against reality. When she finally does so by thrusting herself into the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian blood feud, she sees only what she passionately longs to see: "The vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian nonviolent resistance."

In an act of unintended self-revelation, "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" ends with a film clip of the 10-year-old Corrie prattling away like a baby robot at her elementary school's Fifth Grade Press Conference on World Hunger: "My dream is to give the poor a chance. . . . My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there." She grew older but no wiser, and in the end died a martyr to her own naiveté.
Read the entire review.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

On Birthdays and Getting Older

My wife's birthday was today, and I've been thinking about birthdays and getting older...

A favorite family story about my father-in-law is about the time my mother-in-law was approaching her 40th birthday.

She was wary of reaching the big 4-0.
Actually, she was terrified.

She was afraid she would be 'old'.
She was afraid that her husband would not care for her as much.
Actually, she was afraid that her husband would not care for her at all.

My father-in-law, being the kind, caring, and gentle person that he is, found a quiet, delicate way to dissuade her of these notions.

He put together a large banner and hung it in front of the house:
I'm told that it did the trick.
And he sustained no physical injuries.

...I remember as a child--I guess I must have been in 3rd for 4th grade--a bunch of us got together and we were talking about how old our parents were. I guess we decided that we would ask our parents and report back the next day.

When I got home from school, I went over to my mother and asked her how old she was--and she told me.

The next day at school, we were talking about our 'findings'.

We each told over what our parents had told us and compared notes.
Until I told them what my mother had told me.
When I did--they all burst out laughing.

I just told them what my mother had told me--that she was 81 years old.
I mean, if you can't trust your own mother, who can you trust?

Last week, out of the blue, my daughter asked me:
Abba, how old are you?

Needless to say, I felt obliged to continue the family tradition.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jimmy Carter's New Book: Israel Is Apartheid

Jimmy Carter, the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP, is coming out with a new book: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

Here he goes again.

According to The Forward:
Israel’s current policy in the territories, Carter writes in the book’s summary, is “a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights.” In a separate passage in the advance draft, the former president stated that “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”

In addition, Carter takes what is being interpreted by some critics as a swipe at the pro-Israel lobby. “Because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the United States, Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned,” the former president writes.
Left unexplained is how land that was never under the control of a "Palestinian People" can be characterized as 'Palestinian land'. Then again, fine historical points and facts have not been known to stand in the way of Jimmy Carter.

More interesting is the actual history of the 1979 Camp David Accords--Carter's sole claim to any success or expertise in the Middle East, especially considering his disastrous mishandling of the Iran Crisis. Yet the actual extent of that role is debatable:

According to Jay Nordlinger in the National Review in an article in 2002:
Whatever the weather, Carter has enjoyed a reputation as a Middle East sage, owing to his role in the 1979 Camp David accords. Yet that reputation rests on shaky ground. The painful truth is, Sadat and Begin had their deal worked out before ever approaching Washington. Prof. Bernard Lewis, dean of Middle East scholars, put it this way to PBS's Charlie Rose recently: "The popular mythology is that Sadat made this enormously courageous and imaginative gesture of offering peace. . . . [Sadat and Begin] then went to the United States to discuss it further, and thanks to the wise statesmanship of Jimmy Carter and his staff, they were able to bring [their work] to a successful conclusion, to a peace treaty." Why, in fact, did the two principals ring the White House? "Well, obviously," explained Lewis, "they needed someone to pay the bill, and who but the United States could fulfill that function?"
Apparently there is good reason to question Carter's alleged role as an honest broker, based on funding he has received for his Carter Center from various Arab donors:

NewsMax has reviewed annual reports that indicate millions of charitable dollars have flowed into the center from His Majesty Sultan Qaboss bin Said Al Said of Oman, Jordan, from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and from the Government of the United Arab Emirates.

Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to the center by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. H.R.H. Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah of Morocco has also contributed tens of thousands of dollars.

There are no corresponding contributions apparent from Israeli sources, however.

So it is not surprising to read in another article by Nordinger about Jimmy Carter:
No one quite realizes just how passionately anti-Israel Carter is. William Safire has reported that Cyrus Vance acknowledged that, if he had had a second term, Carter would have sold Israel down the river.
Nor is it surprising that Carter has the Democrats in a bit of a quandry in the remaining weeks leading up to the elections:
With less than three weeks left before Election Day, Jewish Democrats have been quick both to disavow Carter’s views and to assert that Carter is a marginal figure within the party on the issue, despite being a former president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. At the same time, however, the Democratic National Committee included him in a list of past pro-Israel presidents in an advertisement this week that was aimed at shoring up support among Jewish voters. The ad features a 1977 quote from Carter describing the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel, and saying that “it’s absolutely crucial that no one in our country or around the world ever doubt that our number one commitment in the Middle East is to protect the right of Israel to exist, to exist permanently, and to exist in peace.”
Carter's book is not going to be providing as much election-fodder as it could since the publication date has been moved from November 1 to November 14. According to the publisher's spokesperson, this was done to allow Carter time to add material from the Hezbollah war.

I don't understand why Carter would need the extra time.
Anything he is going to say about Israel, he has already said.
And will keep on saying.

See also Alan Dershowitz's critique on Carter's book

Crossposted on Israpundit

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Something About Baghdad

The Ignoble Experiment writes about Sinan Antoon, who filmed the movie "About Baghdad."
The film consists of a series of interviews with Iraqis from all backgrounds - Sunni and Shiite, rich and poor, educated and not so much, old and young. In essence, the director wanted to find out the reactions to the war and the presence of the American forces.
She describes the documentary in general, and 2 of the people interviewed in particular--
One of them is a woman lawyer who offers a contrast to Lynne Stewart.
The other is a taxi driver who would prefer even Israelis to Hussein.

Antoon offers a real insight into what Iraqis are thinking and saying.
So too does Irina.

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Europe Goes NIMBY

Ocean Guy writes about Guantanamo

It seems like the US is willing to release those who will not be tried--but no country will take them.
This sounds familiar.

Gee, maybe we could set up refugee camps and let the UN take care of them...

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Mr. Toddler Goes To Washington

Well, not exactly.
He wrote to Washington.

And he got a nice response:
"Dear Mr. Toddler:

"Thank you for sharing your views on the crisis in Sudan. The President appreciates your taking the time to write about this important issue..."
(What would PT's reaction have been if the email had addressed him by his first name?)

Also, his email to the president was not about Sudan at all.

It's almost enough to curl your meitel.

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Moderate Moslems: Dialogue and Pathology

No sooner do I finish a post on Soccer Dad about a Moslem attempt at accepting the Pope's invitation to dialogue--and along comes Mere Rhetoric and casts doubt on the entire enterprise.

I agree that the Pope's attempt at dialogue is unlikely to go anywhere, since the whole idea of dialogue--give and take--seems foreign to Moslems who are unlikely to give up a point.

I don't know what else we can do, but Mere Rhetoric has some thoughts.
The question is whether the West has the confidence and security of their values to do it--it hasn't so far.

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Kneeling, But Not In Prayer

When I first saw this picture on The Sunken Synagoue, for a moment I thought it was a picture of Moslems praying.

The actual AP caption
Schoolchildren from the western Negev town of Sderot during a kassam-rocket drill (AP)
It is part of a timeline put together by the Jerusalem Post of the Disengagement.

The Sunken Synagogue's post deals with the attempt by the residents of Sderot to make the MK's in the Knesset aware of what life in Sderot has been reduced to by the constant barrage of Kassam rockets.

He is not optimistic.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hijab Hijinks

Jack Straw writes that "wearing the full veil was bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult".

A British education minister says he supports universities that ban Islamic students from wearing veils.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said on Tuesday that Muslim immigrant women should not be completely “hidden” behind full veils if they want to integrate and become part of Italy’s future.

Tony Blair said the full face veils by Muslim women is a "mark of separation" and made some "outside the community feel uncomfortable".

Allahpundit notes that the latest opposition to the veil comes from...Egypt:

Saleh, known in Egypt as “the women’s mufti” for her numerous fatwas, or religious edicts relating to women, rebutted on daily al-Sharq Al-Awsat, that hers was “a personal comment on an increasingly common phenomenon but which was not meant in any way to offend women.”

“There is a significant difference between the hijab, a simple veil which frames the face, and the niqab, which leaves only the eyes visible” she added. “The first is a religious duty, but the second is a sheer cultural convention, which has no raison d’etre in Islamic sources” she said.

Saleh seems to be echoing something more controversial that Amir Taheri wrote back in 2004:
The headgear in question has nothing to do with Islam as a religion. It is not sanctioned anywhere in the Koran, the fundamental text of Islam, or the hadith (traditions) attributed to the Prophet.

This headgear was invented in the early 1970s by Mussa Sadr, an Iranian mullah who had won the leadership of the Lebanese Shi'ite community.

In an interview in 1975 in Beirut, Sadr told this writer that the hijab he had invented was inspired by the headgear of Lebanese Catholic nuns, itself inspired by that of Christian women in classical Western paintings. (A casual visit to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, or the Louvres in Paris, would reveal the original of the neo-Islamist hijab in numerous paintings depicting Virgin Mary and other female figures from the Old and New Testament.)

Sadr's idea was that, by wearing the headgear, Shi'ite women would be clearly marked out, and thus spared sexual harassment, and rape, by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian gunmen who at the time controlled southern Lebanon.

Sadr's neo-hijab made its first appearance in Iran in 1977 as a symbol of Islamist-Marxist opposition to the Shah's regime. When the mullahs seized power in Tehran in 1979, the number of women wearing the hijab exploded into tens of thousands.

In 1981, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic, announced that "scientific research had shown that women's hair emitted rays that drove men insane." To protect the public, the new Islamist regime passed a law in 1982 making the hijab mandatory for females aged above six, regardless of religious faith. Violating the hijab code was made punishable by 100 lashes of the cane and six months imprisonment.

By the mid 1980s, a form of hijab never seen in Islam before the 1970s had become standard gear for millions of women all over the world, including Europe and America.

But the bottom line is, just what does Europe think they are doing?

Of all the ways to confront the growing problem of Islamist violence in Europe, why tackle an issue that is more likely to encourage moderates to join the extremists in protesting what they interpret as an assault on their religion?

Europe is going after veils while failing to go after those who in speech and action encourage the Islamist extremists.

They are likely to fail in the former while losing the war against the latter.

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Contribute A Restaurant Review to The Kosher Cooking Carnival

  • Do you have a favorite kosher restaurant?
  • Do you dream of your ideal kosher restaurant?
  • Or what was your worst experience in a kosher restaurant?

If you have, Me-ander asks that you send in a link--or if you've blogged on the topic, send in the post for next week's Kosher Cooking Carnival.

You can send in the links or posts to shilohmuse at gmail dot com or via blog carnival


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Baaleboosteh is giving away her recipe for homemade pizza.
She lists all of the ingredients....everything you need for delicious pizza just like hers.
But you'll have to bring along your own pizza-loving children.

Somehow, pizza tastes better with kids around.

Speaking of good food, Batya is collecting posts for the 11th Kosher Cooking Carnival.
You can email her at shilohmuse at yahoo dot com.


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