Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rosenblum: Ehud Who?

Ehud Who?
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Jerusalem Post
December 28, 2006

Why did Joseph interpret the dream of the chamberlain of the bakers to mean that the latter would soon be hanged? In the dream, birds were eating from the baskets on the chamberlain's head, and Joseph knew that birds never draw that close to a living person.

Our prime minister finds himself in a position not unlike that of the chamberlain: someone who is no longer really there. He goes through the motions of being prime minister: He flies hither and yon to be photographed shaking hands with foreign leaders, makes pronouncements and chairs cabinet meetings. He hopes that if he plays at being prime minister long enough, Israelis will get used to the idea.

But just as the charm of a little girl dressed up in her mother's gown, high heels and make-up quickly wears off and the adults lose interest, so the Israeli public has lost interest in our premier. He has become background noise - occasionally irritating, but something you eventually get used to and ignore.

What the public feels now is not even anger - certainly nothing like the Bush-hatred that energizes the American Left. That anger at least assumes that Bush matters. No such assumption prevails here.
Recently, Jerusalem Post columnists were asked to blog on the wisdom of the prime minister's threatening remarks toward Iran. I didn't bother, on the grounds that those remarks were irrelevant since the Iranians, like the rest of us, have long since recognized that there is no bite behind the bark.

Does the prime minister contradict himself - announcing last week that there is nothing to talk about with Syria, then favoring talks this week; insisting for months that he will not release Palestinian prisoners until Gilad Shalit is returned, and then reversing course this week?

Very well, then, he contradicts himself.

Not because he is large and contains multitudes (with apologies to Whitman); but because he is so fundamentally unserious that his contradictions are also unserious. Even the multiple investigations for influence-peddling and apartment-swapping fail to elicit more than a yawn.

We would prefer to think as little as possible about our prime minister, in part because we do not want to think too deeply about ourselves. We suspect that he may be retribution for our various sins, and that as a society we have been rewarded with precisely the leaders we deserve. What better proof than that no other prominent politician generates a whit more enthusiasm than the incumbent? The two most frequently mentioned potential successors as prime minister have already failed the test and been humiliatingly ushered out of office before the end of their terms.

BUT THERE is another reason we have tuned out the news. We no longer believe that the various zigs and zags in Israeli policy make a difference. To be sure, the provision of 2,000 rifles to Mahmoud Abbas's militias and the opening of checkpoints will make a large difference to the Jews upon whom, if past experience is any guide, those guns will sooner or later be fired, and to the victims of the drive-by killers and suicide bombers likely to slip past newly opened checkpoints.

But they will not make a whit of difference with respect to the one issue with which we are all obsessed: the possibility of one day living in peace with our Palestinian neighbors. These concessions are being offered without Abbas having taken even the first step toward peace, apart from his willingness to accept Israeli concessions. He has not, for instance, deployed any of the tens of thousands of armed men under his control to stop the firing of missiles at Israel, despite a declared cease-fire.

In a recent lecture, historian Michael Oren described the respective Palestinian and Zionist narratives. He noted that there is not one point of congruence between the two: The Palestinians cannot even acknowledge that the ancestors of today's Jews ever had a connection to this Land.

Nor is there any recognition by the Palestinians that sometimes one has to forget the past in order to build a future, as have 38 million refugees from ethnic strife in the past century, including 600,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands. To insist on the return of every Arab who fled Israel in 1948, and all their descendants, is to insist on permanent warfare until one side wipes out the other.

Asked at the end of his talk where these irreconcilable narratives leave the chances for peace, Oren just shrugged his shoulders. And he acknowledged that the situation is even glummer if one adds the Islamic narrative, according to which all of Israel belongs to the Islamic Wakf, and therefore not one inch of Islamic land can ever be ceded, as a matter of religious duty. With the rise of Hamas, that narrative is increasingly dominant in Palestinian society.

WHAT WE need now is a leader who will level with us about our situation, just as Churchill did when he told the British people: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." No more promises of a fun society for those tired of being brave, tired of winning.

Such a leader would clarify for us, and for the rest of the world, that Israel does not have it within her power to bring about peace with the Palestinians. As long as Palestinian leaders allocate every dollar they receive to buy quiet on the street from the tens of thousands of armed men on their payroll, rather than to dismantling the refugee camps; as long as Palestinian children are raised to believe that killing Jews is their national duty; as long as no Palestinian leader dares act against terrorist groups or disabuse his people of unrealistic dreams - there will be no peace.

But it is not enough to shine the hard light of reality. Israel requires as well a leader who can articulate why it is important that we prevail; and why doing so would be, if not the "finest hour" of a very ancient people, at least one of the finest.

A leader who could do that would once again find Jews in Israel eager to pay attention.
More articles by Jonathan Rosenblum are accessible at Jewish Media Resources

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Conyers' "Lack of Clarity"

"You can attack one party for having a lack of ethics, but if any of your own members have problems, it dulls the message with the American people," said Leon Panetta, an ex-Democratic congressman from California and chief of staff under President Clinton. "They begin to put everybody in the same box. It clearly loses some of its impact as a clean campaign issue." USA Today, May 9, 2006
That same USA Today article notes that there were complaints by Conyers' own staff that he would assign workers to babysit, chauffeur and tutor his children and also had his aides work on his campaign on government time. Conyers' lawyer said that Conyers responded to the charges two years earlier and hasn't heard from the ethics committee since then.

But now it is being reported by The Hill that Conyers
has "accepted responsibility" for possibly violating House rules by requiring his official staff to perform campaign-related work, according to a statement quietly released by the House ethics committee late Friday evening.

...Conyers acknowledged a "lack of clarity" in communicating what was expected of his official staff and that he accepted responsibility for his actions.
Representatives Doc Hastings (R) and Howard Berman (D) of the House Ethics Committee were satisfied with stopping short of saying whether there had been any wrongdoing and instead were satisfied with Conyers' office implementing 6 steps to make sure proper standards are upheld. They stated, "We have concluded that this matter should be resolved through the issuance of this public statement."

According to The Detroit Free Press, the actual investigation, which started back in 2003, was originally looking into other allegations: that Conyers’ staff had worked on the campaign of JoAnn Watson for Detroit City Council and Carolyn Moseley Braun's presidential campaign--while getting paid from congressional coffers.

Question: Does the closing of the Ethics Committee investigation include this initial investigation as well, which was not an issue of staffers working for free, but rather for working on the campaigns of others--and getting paid from inappropriate sources?

[Update: In an updated version of the Detroit Free Press, the article makes clear that the earlier infractions were also covered--which just leaves the question of the new headline: "Conyers to monitor staff". I mean, if so, who is going to monitor Conyers, who personally assigned the staff to do what they did?]

According to a statement released by Conyers' office, “he agrees that he could have been more explicit with staff and agrees to do so in the future.”

On the other hand Deanna Maher, Conyers’ chief of staff before she retired in May 2005 and one of the 3 Conyers staffers who filed the complaint with the Ethics Committee, doesn't think Conyers' problem was lack of clarity:
She said she’s surprised that Conyers admitted he might have been wrong during the investigation, calling him a demanding boss who was very clear in his instructions to staff.
The Hill suggests that the findings of the Ethics Committee could cast a shadow on the first week of the incoming-Democratic majority and their plains to change the House ethics rules, as well as raise questions about Conyers’ standing to chair the Judiciary Committee. Maybe so, but The Hill also reports that Conyers will not have worry about any political fallout:
A spokesman for incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Conyers will remain chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Like Panetta said:
You can attack one party for having a lack of ethics, but if any of your own members have problems, it dulls the message with the American people
Check out Doug Ross and his "illustration" on why Conyers' lapse is not the only reason Pelosi is getting swamped with ethics problems.


From Tapscott's Copy Desk:
Federal law makes it a crime for a Member of Congress to use official staff members to perform campaign or personal duties. Many official staff members participate in their bosses' re-election campaigns every two years but they go off the official staff payroll when doing so.
Update II:

Another issue, recounted by Michelle Malkin
As the Washington Times recounted, Maher also alleged that the congressman allowed a former top aide convicted of fraud to obtain a fake passport through the office, and then fled to Ghana.
The aide was eventually recaptured and extradited to the United States. She also alleges that Mr. Conyers used his staff to work on the campaigns of friends and relatives, including his wife's, without taking leave. In 1998, she says, Mr. Conyers ordered her to live in his Detroit home for six weeks taking care of his children while his wife attended law classes. In a Dec. 22, 2004, letter obtained by the Hill, Miss Maher said Conyers staffer Melody Light "conducts her law practice (charging legal fees) out of the congressional office... She has in effect hung out her shingle on [Conyers'] office door." Says Miss Maher in a Jan. 13 letter to the House ethics panel: "I could not tolerate any longer being involved with continual unethical, if not criminal, practices which were accepted as 'business as usual'. " She quit in May.

More here.

Here's Pelosi's defense of Democrat's corruption back in May:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California sought to distinguish her party's foibles from the scandals that brought down Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., for bribery and three former Republican congressional aides who had ties to ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff, a Republican, pleaded guilty in January to corruption charges.

"You're talking about two completely different things," Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. The Democratic ethics cases are "individual challenges that those people will have to deal with," she said, noting that she has called for the House ethics committee to investigate Jefferson. Republicans, she charged, have a system of "corruption, cronyism and incompetence" that goes beyond personal indiscretions.
Introducing the Democratic Congress of 2007: Individually Challenged!

See also
Talking Turkey About Conyers and Congressman Conyers and Islam

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Why Iraq Is Unlikely To Send Aid To The Palestinians

Palestinians on Saddam: We lost a leader

Iraqi tyrant's last words, 'Palestine is Arab,' touch hearts of many Palestinians. 'I cried when I heard the news,' says Jenin resident. Bethlehem residents mourn Saddam, drinking coffee and reminiscing over Gulf War
Many in the Palestinian Authority on Saturday lamented the execution of Saddam Hussein, who received a special status among the Palestinians.

"Saddam was known for his ability to stick to his opinion and say 'no' to a world power," said Husni al-Ajal, 46, from a refugee camp near Ramallah.

The pictures of the "butcher from Baghdad" were hung in many places in the West Bank and Gaza. Some of the pictures featured both Saddam Hussein and former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

It's interesting that on this issue, Palestinian Arabs do not have Europe behind them. The same countries that did not come rushing to back the US in Iraq, apparently are not all that sad--or at least not as sad as the Palestinians--to see Saddam go.

David's Medienkritik has the scoop

The recent results of a poll conducted by Novatris/Harris for the French daily Le Monde on the death penalty shocked the editors and writers at Germany's left-leaning SPIEGEL ONLINE. When asked whether they favored the death penalty for Saddam Hussein, a majority of respondents in Germany, France and Spain responded in the affirmative. Here the results by country:

Percentage of respondents in favor of executing Saddam Hussein:

USA: 82%
Great Britain: 69%
France: 58%
Germany: 53%
Spain: 51%
Italy: 46%

All this while the media is trumpeting that Europe opposes the death penalty.

The Palestinians have never found a despot they didn't love.
Europeans are a bit more finicky.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Best of The Elder of Ziyon

The Elder of Ziyon has a post linking to what he considers to be his posts of this past year.
Not surprisingly, he admits to having difficulty picking out only a few.

There are a lot of great posts from this past year that you should go and take a look at.
Personally, I enjoy the breadth of topics he covers, his historical eye, and his innovative ideas--like blogging about the Arabic Falasteen in Google translation.

Go take a look at The Elder's best.

Update: Elder of Ziyon ended up doing a streamlined version of his list and in so doing the URL changed. I've updated the link.

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More Lessons For Israel From Somalia: Lebanon

Two days ago, I drew some parallels between the Ethiopia's action against Somalia and the inaction Israel has taken against Hamas.

There are other parallels as well--with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross writes for Pajamas Media:
The startlingly rapid retreat of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a Taliban-like group linked to Osama bin Laden, surprised military intelligence officers who less than a week ago were predicting a total route of Somalia’s secular transitional federal government.

The intensity of air strikes by Ethiopia, which has long been allied with the transitional government, has helped turn the tide. Ethiopia’s ground forces, already based in Somalia, have also played a critical role.

Ethiopia’s success was not inevitable: This past week an American military intelligence officer told Pajamas Media that the ICU “will overrun Baidoa,” where the transitional government has been headquartered, and that the only question was when Baidoa would fall. Pajamas Media spoke with the same officer yesterday. He is now optimistic about the Ethiopians’ chances, with one caveat: “Unless you kill the ICU, it will come back. My worry is they’ll drive the ICU out and it will come back in a couple of months.”
Some points:
  • Similar to Somalia, Lebanon also is infested with an Islamist group--sponsored by Iran, not Al Qaeda--which poses a serious threat to the government.

  • Bother Ethiopia and Israel used intensive air strikes. Ethiopia's success, as opposed to Israel's failure, may be due to the unwillingness of the ICU to hide behind civilians as Hezbollah regularly did. Also, Ethiopia seems to have used ground troops from the start--something Israel was criticized for not doing.

  • The fear of the ICU returning is paralleled by the quick return by Hezbollah to full strength. Despite their success, Ethiopia has to deal with the fact that as in Lebanon, there is no one willing to take a stand against the destabilizing Islamist terrorist groups. The one solution: destroy the ICU--and destroy Hezbollah.
Strategy Page notes that:
The clans that traditionally inhabit, and control, Mogadishu, are apparently renouncing the Islamic Courts (an organization controlled by clans further south), and joining the Transitional Government once more. The Mogadishu clans were forced to "join" the Islamic Courts earlier this year.
This is a sharp contrast to the situation in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has been able to claim victory, hold on to their influence, and even increase it. Of course, an important difference is that unlike Hezbollah, the ICU is not the private army of an enemy state--see Michael Totten's Hezbollah's Putsch - Day One.

See also:
Ethiopia in Somalia: Israel Cannot Be Blamed--But Can It Learn?

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Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey - 2006

Rafael Medoff and Alex Grobman have put together a year-end survey of the activities of Holocaust deniers during this past year.

You can access the PDF version of their report here.

Here is the introduction to their report.
Executive Summary: Holocaust Denial - A Global Survey: 2006

The prosecution and imprisonment of prominent Holocaust-deniers in Europe dealt a serious blow to the Holocaust-denial movement in 2006. Some civil libertarians decried the use of laws prohibiting Holocaust-denial, but there was a noticeable decline in denial activity following the jailing of the movement’s best-known figure, David Irving, in Austria, and the prosecution of prominent activists Ernst Zundel and Germar Rudolf in Germany. The release of Irving from prison in December 2006, after serving about one-third of his three year sentence, is likely to reinvigorate the denial movement in the year ahead.

In the Middle East, Holocaust-denial continued to enjoy official sponsorship in many countries in 2006. The regimes in Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria promoted Holocaust-denial or defended Holocaust-deniers. The Iranian authorities took the lead in this regard, organizing the first-ever government-sponsored international conference of deniers, held in Tehran in December.

Iran’s subsequent announcement of plans to establish an institution to conduct ongoing “research” concerning the Holocaust indicates that Tehran intends to continue actively promoting Holocaust-denial. The injection of Iranian financing will constitute a significant boost for the denial movement, since denier-organizations are typically small and poorly-funded. An additional boost may be provided by the creation of the new English-language division of the Qatari government-funded Al Jazeera television network, since Al Jazeera has broadcast remarks by Holocaust-deniers.

About the Authors

Rafael Medoff, Ph.D.
, is the founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. He is associate editor of the scholarly journal American Jewish History and the author of seven books on the Holocaust, Zionism, and the history of American Jewry, the most recent of which (co-authored with David S. Wyman) is A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust. His essays have appeared in numerous scholarly journals, encyclopedias, and other
reference volumes, including Holocaust & Genocide Studies, the Journal of Genocide Research, and Holocaust Studies Annual.

Alex Grobman, Ph.D., president of the Institute for Contemporary Jewish Life and the Brenn Institute, is co-author (with Michael Sherman) of Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? and author of Rekindling the Flame: Jewish Chaplains in the U.S. Army and the Survivors of the Holocaust and Battling For Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post-War Europe. His most recent book is Nations United: How the United Nations Undermines Israel and the West. He was the founding director of the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center , and served as director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles where he was the founding editor-in chief of the Simon Wiesenthal Annual. He edited Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust; Anne Frank in Historical Perspective; and Those Who Dared: Rescuers and Rescued.
Read the entire report here (PDF).

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jimmy Carter: Saint or Boor?

Opinions of Jimmy Carter seem to run the gamut, especially since he came out with his new book. Putting aside Michael Lerner's opinion that "Jimmy Carter was the best friend the Jews ever had as president of the United States," there is the opinion of Robert Fisk who went through Carter's book in a day and found it to be "a good, strong read by the only American president approaching sainthood." Fisk goes on to touch the usual bases about the Israel Lobby, while at the same time extolling Carter and his book as
an honourable, honest account by a friend of Israel as well as the Arabs who just happens to be a fine American ex-statesman.
Lerner himself goes a bit over the top on this "friend of Israel" theme:
To get that agreement, Carter had to twist the arms of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Sometimes that is what real friends do—they push you into a path that is really in your best interest at times when there is an emergency and you are acting self-destructively.

...We know that critique is often an essential part of love and caring.

That is precisely what Jimmy Carter is trying to do for Israel and the Jewish people in his new book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

...Jimmy Carter is speaking the truth as he knows it, and doing a great service to the Jews.

It’s time to create a new openness to criticism and a new debate. Jimmy Carter has shown courage in trying to open that kind of space with his new book, and he deserves our warm thanks and support.
Introducing Jimmy Carter: the Designated Driver of the Middle East--with a touch of tough love.

Rabbi Shmuley has his own interpretation of Carter: not a saint, but not a sinner either--at least not a malicious one:
Jimmy Carter is not so much anti-Semite as anti-intellectual, not so much a Jew-hater as a boor. The real explanation behind his limitless hostility to Israel is a total lack of any moral understanding.

Carter wants to do what's just. His heart's in the right place. He just can't figure out what the right is. He is, and always has been, a man of good intentions bereft of good judgment. He invariably finds himself defending tyrants and dictators at the expense of their oppressed peoples. Not because he is a bad man, but because he is a confused man.

Carter subscribes to what I call the Always Root for the Underdog school of morality. Rather than develop any real understanding of a conflict, immediately he sides with the weaker party, however wicked or immoral.
This reminds me of a comic strip I saw many years ago--I think it was in The Wizard of Id: A Robin Hood figure attacks a rich man, proclaiming something to the effect of "I've come to take from the rich and give to the poor!" In the next frame, we seem him give the money to a poor peasant, who cannot believe his good fortune as he watches his benefactor ride off. But in the very next we see the Robin Hood character come upon the hapless peasant, once again proclaiming "I've come to take from the rich and give to the poor!"--and taking the money away.

After 1967, once the underdog Israel clearly demonstrated her military superiority over the enemies that sought to destroy her--plus put herself in a situation that allowed the world to label her as an occupational power--Israel lost that underdog status which people like Carter use as their moral compass to guide them in a complex world.

And for Carter, that compass will always point due Palestine--unable to recognize Israel's positive points just as he is incapable of recognizing the Palestinians' negative points. This is consistent with the kind words he has had for Castro, Kim Il Sung, and Marshal Tito--among others.

Another view of Carter is offered by Michael Oren, who describes Carter as someone who sees himself as someone in "full-time Christian service," yet
in revealing his unease with the idea of Jewish statehood, Mr. Carter sets himself apart from many U.S. presidents before and after him, as well as from nearly 400 years of American Christian thought.
While the author Ronald Sanders starts off his book The High Walls of Jerusalem, by tracing the popular interest in England in the Jewish revival in Palestine as part of the events leading to the Balfour Declaration, Oren traces an even longer history of the Christian dream in America to see the Jews return to their land. He provides quotes as early as 1620 showing a strong identification with Jews returning to their homeland. Oren also notes that this went beyond mere talk:
But merely envisioning such a state was insufficient for some Americans, who, in the decades before the Civil War, left home to build colonies in Palestine. Each of these settlements had the same goal: to teach the Jews, long disenfranchised from the land, to farm and so enable them to establish a modern agrarian society.
And this was not something expressed only by religious Americans with flighty dreams of Biblical fulfillment either. A Midwestern magnate by the name of William Blackstone submitted a petition--known as the Blackstone Memorial--in 1891 to President Benjamin Harrison, asking for the creation of an international conference to discuss how to revive a Jewish state:
Among the memorial's 400 signatories were some of America's most preeminent figures, including John D. Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, Charles Scribner and William McKinley. By the century's turn, those advocating restored Jewish sovereignty in Palestine had begun calling themselves Zionists, though the vast majority of the movement's members remained Christian rather than Jewish. "It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist State around Jerusalem," wrote Teddy Roosevelt, "and [that] the Jews be given control of Palestine."
While Carter would claim that it is his religious beliefs that are guiding him in his actions around the world in general, and in the Middle East in particular, Oren demonstrates Carter's estrangement from the long-standing religious ties that bind the US and Israel:
In his apparent attempt to make American Christians rethink their affection for Israel, Jimmy Carter is clearly departing from time-honored practice. This has not been the legacy of evangelicals alone, but of many religious denominations in the U.S., and not solely the conviction of Mr. Bush, but of generations of American leaders. In the controversial title of his book, Mr. Carter implicitly denounces Israel for its separatist policies, but, by doing so, he isolates himself from centuries of American tradition.
And in that isolation Jimmy Carter has found his best friends among the petty tyrants and terrorists of the world.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ethiopia in Somalia: Israel Cannot Be Blamed--But Can It Learn?

This past Monday, Ethiopia acknowledged it had sent troops into Somalia:
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi went on television to announce that his country was at war with the Islamic movement that wants to rule neighboring Somalia by the Quran.

"Our defense force has been forced to enter a war to defend (against) the attacks from extremists and anti-Ethiopian forces and to protect the sovereignty of the land," Meles said a few hours after his military attacked the Islamic militia with fighter jets and artillery.

...Meles has said his government has a legal and moral obligation to support Somalia's internationally recognized government. He also accuses the Islamic movement of backing ethnic Somali rebels fighting for independence from Ethiopia and has called such support an act of war.
Some have only admiration for what Ethiopia is doing, and are drawing comparisons with what the US has failed to do. Cliff May at The Corner writes:
I’ve just been talking with an FDD researcher who has been monitoring developments in Somalia via Arabic media. It does indeed appear that the Ethiopians are defeating Islamist forces there. Why are they achieving what American forces in Somalia in 1993 did not and what American forces in Iraq today apparently are not?

More “boots on the ground” may be part of the explanation. The Ethiopians are not attempting to have a “light footprint.” They are not worried about whether they will be seen as “occupiers” or whether their “occupation” will be viewed as benevolent.

Secondly, the Ethiopians are not overly concerned about whether their tactics will win approval from the proverbial Arab Street – or the European Street or Turtle Bay. They are fighting a war; their intention is to defeat their enemies; everything else is secondary or tertiary.

Anyone have an alternative interpretation?
Obviously, there is going to be some hearty admiration for a small feisty country that refuses to back down or even stand still in the face of an Islamist threat. Many in the West can only sit and watch and compare the situation with the complacency and in their own countries.

But more than taking the fight to the Islamists in Somalia there is also the refusal to be intimidated by the need for approbation from the West. Of course, no one is going to hold Ethiopia to the standard--double or otherwise--that the US or Israel is held to, but still an outcry and demand for a ceasefire is a certainty.

It is all too easy to try to draw comparisons between Ethiopia today and the Israel of a different time 40 years ago--a charmed time that is gone forever.

But that doesn't mean that Israel cannot take some encouragement from the fact that Ethiopia is demonstrating that timidity and political double-talk are not the only options.

See also: More Lessons For Israel From Somalia: Lebanon

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Meir Kahane: Dear World

"Dear World" was written by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1988
You can read the text here.

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Hamas Is Stuck With Its Pretensions

In the November 2006 issue of Commentary, Amir Taheri writes on the topic of Iran about those who propose dialog with Iran--on the model of Nixon and China. Taheri writes:
The Islamic Republic is not in that position, or anywhere near it. In fact, precisely because it bases its legitimacy as a revolutionary power in the teachings of Islam, something it does not fully control in doctrinal terms, it cannot abandon its revolutionary pretensions as easily as did the Maoist in Beijing, who "owned" their own ideology and could alter it at will. [p. 24]
Hamas also casts itself as a Islamic revolutionary government--and in the face of the economic boycott relies on Iranian funding. While not all Palestinian Arabs are happy with the prospect of Sharia law, they still support Hamas over Fatah.

The role they have locked themselves into undercuts the claim that by winning an election Hamas has magically reinvented itself as a legitimate democratic government.

It also helps explain their steadfastness in refusing any recognition of Israel, even at the expense of turning Palestinian officials into couriers, while the situation in Gaza deteriorates even further.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Olmert Keeps Using the 'R' Word

Once again Olmert is talking about helping to bolster Abbas, this time by releasing $100 million of the Palestinian tax money frozen by Israel--in order to help the PA to meet humanitarian needs of the terrorists territories.

But lest Abbas and the Palestinians think that he's a pushover, Olmert laid down the law:
Olmert reiterated his willingness in principle to transfer guns from Egypt to Abbas' forces in the Gaza Strip, and to have the Palestinian Badr Brigade from Jordan come to Gaza. Olmert told Abbas Israel would have difficulty continuing to show restraint if Qassam fire continued on Israel. [emphasis added]
No doubt this thinly veiled threat sent shivers down the spines of the hapless Palestinian Arabs. Surely they realize that restraint is not something Olmert takes lightly:
December 13, 2006
"I am very aware how easily we could slide into total violence," said Olmert, "but we still restrain ourselves and don't respond." Olmert added that since the ceasefire was declared on Nov. 26th Palestinians have launched over 20 rockets into Israel. [emphasis added]

December 7, 2006
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that Israel will "continue to show restraint" in Gaza, despite continuing rocket fire. [emphasis added]
November 27, 2006
'Experience ... has taught us that not everything finds immediate expression in a comprehensive, complete and orderly manner,' he said.
Israel can 'Show restraint in order to give the cease-fire a serious chance,' Olmert added.[emphasis added]
July 18, 2006
“Our enemies were mistaken to think that our desire to show restraint was a sign of weakness,” Olmert boomed.[emphasis added]
July 4, 2006
We will not agree to accede to the brutal and baseless demands of those who wish to see Gilad Shalit as a representative example of additional victims that they would attempt to use to blackmail the State of Israel and to undermine the foundations of our existence. We will be strong like the members of his family. We will show restraint like his parents, who have won our respect and admiration. We will be patient. We will fight terrorism. We will free Gilad and we will defeat them.”[emphasis added]
So just how long should we expect Olmert to plug this line?

Well, according to the Consulate General of Israel in San Francisco:
Israel has shown restraint for six years in waiting for Lebanon to disarm Hizbullah and take control of the south per UN resolutions. The time to take action has finally come. [emphasis added]
Israel spent 6 years watching Hezbollah strengthen its position in southern Lebanon, while putting up with attacks and kidnappings.

Just how long would Olmert be willing to put up with the Kassams from Gaza?

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Monday, December 25, 2006

My Daughter Is Becoming A...Girl

I have slowly come to realize that my 7 year old daughter is no longer just a child, but has become a girl...

Friday night, while I was in the other room, I could hear my daughter rummaging in the kitchen. When I came in to take a look, she was proudly making a pitcher of koolaid for the Shabbos meal:
  • One 2 quart pitcher
  • 4 packets of koolaid
  • 4 large scoops of Splenda
Considering that all you need is one packet of koolaid and 2 scoops of Splenda, the drink was a bit strong. Maybe some flavors aren't so bad when they're a bit strong--but this was Watermelon-Kiwi. I was a bit more successful than my wife in keeping a straight face after drinking the koolaid.

Later, still in a helpful mood, she helped set the table too--and I noticed that she was humming a niggun to herself while she was doing it. It took a moment (and a few bars) for me to realize that she was actually humming the tune to Carmen, which she picked up from a Disney movie (The Three Mouseketeers).

The following day, Sunday night, I noticed my daughter writing what looked like a note. When I asked her what she was writing, she showed it to me:

She was gracious enough to assure me that I would still be allowed into her room.
In return, I graciously pointed out to her that since Imma and Abba were still working on fixing up her room, the door has been removed from her room for the past 6 months.

Finally, this morning while driving her to school today, my daughter assured me that it was going to snow tomorrow. When I asked how she knew, she gave me a knowing look and told me that she and a friend had heard it on the news. I explained to her that the weatherman can sometimes make mistakes.

Her response: But Abba, it was a woman!

And my daughter is such a girl.
Baruch HaShem.

Yahoo Interviews 'Israel At Level Ground' About Lebanon

A Yahoo editor separately interviewed Dave Bender of Israel At Level Ground and a Lebanese college student, Rami Cheleb about photographs that they shot during the Israel-Hezbollah War and posted to their respective Flickr sites.

During his interview, Dave Bender spoke of scenes of wanton destruction and loss of life across the north and along the border during the conflict, of Israelis, civilian and soldiers, and locations affected by the some 4,000 Hizbullah Katyusha rocket barrages.

Dave would like feedback on what you think of the interview:
For comparison, here are a few segments from our discussion, wrapped into a longer podcast. Leave a comment below with your impressions: Fair/unfair, slanted/balanced and to which side?

The full photo series is here, video coverage is here, and the audio is here, and in the Odeo podcast gadget up there near the top left-hand side of this page.

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Pearls Before Ahmadinejad

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs:

From Reuters:
A Danish art group that pokes fun at world leaders targeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday by placing an advertisement in a Tehran newspaper with an insulting hidden message.

Beneath a picture of the president, a series of apparently sympathetic statements were arranged such as "Support his fight against Bush" and "Iran has the right to produce nuclear energy". The advert was attributed to "Danes for World Peace".

However, the first letters of each phrase, when read from top to bottom, spell out "S-W-I-N-E".

"We thought we would poke fun at Ahmadinejad because we don't think he's very liberal or sensitive," said Jan Egesborg, a member of the art group Surrend.
Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit reports that after students dissed Ahmadinejad during his Holocaust conference, they have issued a statement, concluding "Whoever sows wind, will reap a tempest."

This is the same guy who in last year's election received just 12% of the vote in the first round, yet somehow ended up with 60% in the second round. But Ahmadinejad was not so lucky in recent elections:
Opponents of Iran's ultra-conservative president won nationwide elections for local councils, final results confirmed Thursday, an embarrassing outcome for the hardline leader that could force him to change his anti-Western tone and focus more on problems at home.

Moderate conservatives critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a majority of seats in last week's elections, followed by reformists who were suppressed by hard-liners two years ago.

The vote was widely seen as a sign of public discontent with Ahmadinejad's stances, which have fueled fights with the West and led Iran closer to U.N. sanctions.

Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran's nuclear program are believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him into power. Some conservatives feel Ahmadinejad has spent too much time confronting the West and failed to deal with Iran's struggling economy.

This is not to say that this 'embarrassment' to Ahmadinejad is going to have any real effect on his statements about the acquisition of nuclear power, his attitude towards the West, or his threats against Israel--but hope always springs eternal:
The results are expected to pressure him to change his populist anti-Western tone and focus more on Iran's high unemployment and economic problems at home.
Maybe. But we're still a long way from seeing any real pressure on Ahmadinejad from within the Iranian leadership to change his ways. As the Wall Street Journal more realistically points out, the onus may be on the US:
It is wrong to imagine that the big winner--former president and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani--is a moderate or a reformer, though he is more certainly presentable than his successor; he too has threatened Israel with nuclear annihilation. But given the limited political choices the regime offers voters, the election indicates that most Iranians dislike the regime and that they take no pleasure in their president's status as a moral pariah.

There's an opening here to promote change, provided the U.S. doesn't reward Mr. Ahmadinejad's bad behavior by failing to punish it, and provided President Bush reminds Iranians that while the U.S. opposes their government, it stands with Iranians who want more freedom.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Flash Presentation of Chanukah in Israel

Gil Ronen, who also created Friday in Jerusalem, has created a Flash presentation of Chanukah in Israel entitled Chanukah.

You can see other, earlier flash presentations by Gil Ronen here

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jewish Blogmeister Inteviews Lake Vent

If you haven't read it yet, go read Jewish Blogmeister's latest blogger interview--with Lake Vent.
Lake Vent talks about what it's like to live in Lakewood, what is the funniest thing about living in Lakewood and about his life in general.

Go read the interview.
Or read Lake Vent himself.

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Menorah Meme

Irina at The Ignoble Experiment started the Menorah Meme--asking fellow bloggers to post pictures of their Menorah and write a story in connection with it.

I wanted last night to see if my daughter would draw a picture of our menorah that I could then scan and upload, but that did not work out.

One of the wonderful things about Chanukah as you grow older is being able to relive the joy and wonder of lighting the menorah through your children. Tonight, two of my daughter's friends are sleeping over, which was also nice.

None of my menorahs have any particular memories or stories connected to them. There is only one menorah that I can recall that has a memory associated to it.

No, it's not this one:


I remember back in college when I was studying at Columbia University. One Chanukah in the dorm, when we all set up our menorahs, someone cobbled together a menorah of his own, using:
  • A fresh roll of paper towels
  • A box of candles
  • A box of matches
Oh to be young and foolish--and have a fire extinguisher nearby.

He set up the roll of paper towels on its end, put the box of candles on top, on its side--and set up the candles on top of the box.

We lit our menorahs and left the room.

A little while later, when we smelled the smoke, we came running back and--surprise--the roll of paper towels had caught fire, and the heat had cracked the glass window.

Naturally, I sprang into action...

I was too panicked to remember about the fire extinguisher, so I filled up a pitcher with water from a sink and doused the fire--and made an enormous mess.

Just mark it down as one more learning experience in college.

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3 Trends in the Use of the "Israel Lobby" Diatribe

Playing the "Israel Lobby" card isn't just for 'academics' anymore

Following the most recent airing of the accusation of the excessive power of the "Israel Lobby" by Mearsheimer and Walt, the same them has been struck in 3 very different circumstances recently. This may signal the seepage of the idea into mainstream discourse. At the very least, it signals that claims about the exaggerated influence of the "Israel Lobby" has become a weapon that people are less and less bashful about using--whether an ex-president in the LA Times, a defense attorney defending a terrorist, or a Jewish liberal.

Jimmy Carter of course, claiming that he was merely Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine when he claimed:
For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.
Obviously, Carter has never heard of Noam Chomsky or read Alexander Cockburn and The Nation. He has not read They Dare To Speak Out-People and Institution Confront Israel's Lobby by Paul Findley, published in 1985. Perhaps he is not aware of Senator William Fulbright's open criticism of Israel back in 1963 or Hedrick Smith's criticism of AIPAC in his 1990 book The Power Game: How Washington Works.

You can argue about the amount of influence that the "Israel Lobby" in general and AIPAC in particular has, but to claim that there is an "absence of any significant contrary voices" just doesn't fly. Carter's accusation of the power of the "Israel Lobby" is as a private citizen writing an editorial in a newspaper, as opposed to writing a 'scholarly' piece or politician and introduces the idea into the general public.

A very different use of the claim of the power of the "Israel Lobby" is in a court case in Illinois where Mohammed Salah is accused of having served as a high-ranking operative of Hamas, which the US considers a terrorist organization. The defense has claimed that Hamas is a political party and not a terrorist group by virtue of having won democratic elections. However, the defense has gone further, pointing to Israel's influence in the case in order to
prove that the criminal case is the product of "the joint venture, cooperation, and partnership" between the American and Israeli governments.

...A defense lawyer, Michael Deutsch, described a "longstanding and profound political military and law enforcement relationship" between Israel and America. One authority he cited is an academic paper published in March, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." The hotly disputed treatise by a political science professor at the University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer, and the academic dean at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Stephen Walt, argues that pro-Israel elements have effective control over American strategy in the Middle East.

Mr. Deutsch also asked to present evidence about the role of the Anti-Defamation League as a "conduit and facilitator" between Israeli and American authorities.
If Deborah Libstadt had not won her court case in David Irving's libel suit in 2000, the result would have been an important boost to Holocaust deniers around the world. Likewise, if Salah's lawyers were to be successful in court in using the claim of "Israel Lobby" influence, it would give the claim an aura of validity that would make it possible to undercut the US-Israel relationship.

The third example of the exploitation of the "Israel Lobby" claim is by Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun. In a recent article, Lerner defends Jimmy Carter's latest book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, going so far as to claim that "Jimmy Carter was the best friend the Jews ever had as president of the United States." Lerner goes on to decry those who oppose his view of the way to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs:
Unfortunately, this peace is impeded by the powerful voices of AIPAC and the mainstream of the organized Jewish community, who manage to terrify even the most liberal elected officials into blind support of whatever policy the current government of Israel advocates. Ironically, this blind support has had the consequence of pushing many morally sensitive Christians and Jews to distance themselves from the Jewish world, which makes blind support for Israeli policies the litmus test of anti-Semitism. Younger Jews cannot safely express criticisms of Israeli policy without being told that they are disloyal or “self-hating,” and elected officials tell me privately that they agree with Tikkun’s more balanced “progressive Middle Path” which is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine.
Lerner takes advantage of the rhetoric of those who accuse the "Israel Lobby" of having too much control in the US and gives it added life, claiming that the same situation occurs within the Jewish community itself. By using the claim himself, he gives the claim added weight.

The "Israel Lobby" claim is being voiced once again--and as more than just a criticism of Israel and its influence in the US. It is also being used as a tool: by Carter to deflect charges of plagiarism, by a lawyers to defend terrorists, and by a Jewish liberal to support his version of a peace plan for Israel.

We will be hearing the phrase "Israel Lobby" a lot more.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Honest Reporting and The Blogosphere Revolution

If you haven't caught the Honest Reporting post, then you may not know about the conference in Israel this past December 17 and 18:

Recognizing HonestReporting's role in multiplying the effect of this internet revolution, HR's Joe Hyams addressed a conference entitled Media as Theater of War, the Blogosphere, and the Global Battle for Civil Society, part of the prestigious Annual Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel's National Security.

The conference was organized by Professor Richard Landes of The Second Draft, which comprehensively debunked the Mohammed al-Dura case and drew attention to the staged events of "Pallywood".

Hyams discussed the implications of the media's reporting of the Qana incident during the Lebanon war. The panel also included Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark Regev, former advisor to PM Ariel Sharon Ra'anan Gissin, and former IDF Spokesman Nachman Shai.

Many bloggers were also represented at the conference, a number of whom can be found on HonestReporting's Links page. Don't forget that HonestReporting has its own Backspin blog where you can comment on many of the media issues of the day as well as respond to our regular communiques (including this one).

We are sure that 2007 will see a further expansion of the blogosphere's influence and HonestReporting intends to be at the forefront of the latest internet technology, such as podcasts and other technological initiatives.
Augean Stables has links to information about the conference:
The link to the program gives a good overview of the speakers and their topics.
The bibliography has links to interesting articles.
Also, check out the right hand column for relevant sources.

Personally, I would like to see Honest Reporting step in as a source, and clearing house, for podcasts and video that bloggers can use on their blogs--for enriching their content and strengthening their presentation.

We'll see in the coming months what Honest Reporting has planned.

There is a page for comments on the Honest Reporting article here.

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Avigdor Lieberman: My Vision for Israel

From Middle East Forum
My Vision for Israel

A briefing by Avigdor Lieberman
December 12, 2006

Avigdor Lieberman is the recently appointed minister of strategic affairs and deputy prime minister of Israel. As the leader of Yisrael Beytenu, the party he founded, his faction holds 11 seats, making it the fifth largest in parliament with almost 10 percent of the total seats. Polls show that he is the second most popular Israeli politician, after Benjamin Netanyahu, with current Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert ranking fifth. Minister Lieberman addressed the Middle East Forum on December 12, 2006. The following is an account of his briefing, as reported in the New York Sun.

Israel's Lieberman Calls for Tougher Stance on Israeli Arabs

by Ira Stoll
New York Sun
December 13, 2006

The deputy prime minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, is calling for a tougher stance toward Israeli Arabs.

Mr. Lieberman outlined his views at a luncheon session in New York yesterday organized by the Middle East Forum, and afterward in an interview with The New York Sun and other journalists.

"The conflict includes not only the Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, but Israeli Arabs also," Mr. Lieberman said. "The linkage between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Arab population — it will destroy us, it is impossible. What is the logic of creating one and a half country for one people and a half country for the Jewish people?"Connecticut, made time for a meeting with him.
Mr. Lieberman spoke of requiring Israelis to sign a commitment to loyalty to the Israeli flag and to its national anthem, and of requiring service in the army or alternative national service. Citizens who refuse to sign the declaration, he said, could continue as permanent residents of Israel, working, studying, and receiving health care benefits, but they could not vote in national elections or be elected to national office.

"It's not racism," Mr. Lieberman said. "The test is loyalty, not their religion." He said he would also deny Israeli citizenship to extreme anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish groups, such as the Neturei Karta, which sent representatives to this week's Holocaust denial conference in Tehran.

Mr. Lieberman said the "close linkage" between Israeli Arabs and the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority is a result of Israeli "weakness."

"If we will be more strong, more tough, they will be more loyal," he said. "They are really afraid about their future."

He defended his statement that Israeli Arab parliamentarians who went to Damascus and met with Hamas should be shot, and he said Americans would understand that position. He asked whether one could imagine an American congressman or senator going to Tora Bora during the war in Afghanistan and meeting with Osama bin Laden, then returning to a seat in Congress.

Still, Mr. Lieberman said, Israel's main problem is not Israeli Arabs, "it's Israeli Jews." He noted that the country has had 10 foreign ministers and seven defense ministers in the past 11 years as fragile political coalitions have collapsed and elections have been called. "It's impossible to establish any policy under these conditions," he said.

On the Iranian threat, Mr. Lieberman said Iran's nuclear ambitions are "the biggest threat" to Jewry since World War II. "Ahmadinejad is not a rational player," he said of the Iranian president. "Any attempt to pacify him is like before the second World War in Europe."

On the Palestinian front, Mr. Lieberman said the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is not about territory or settlements or "occupation" but about values, a conflict between the West and the radical Islamic world.

He had harsh words for the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mahmoud Abbas, the longtime aide to Yasser Arafat who is also known as Abu Mazen. The Bush administration has depicted Mr. Abbas as a partner for peace with the Israelis and as more moderate and secular than his political rivals, the Islamist terrorist group Hamas.

"I don't think that Abu Mazen is the right partner. I think that he is the biggest obstacle," Mr. Lieberman said. "Abu Mazen, he is excellent for declaration, but when he must deliver the goods, he is incompetent."

As an alternative, Mr. Lieberman suggested that Israel work with the "new generation" of Palestinian Arabs who were educated in America and in Europe. He also said Israel should coordinate any agreements it makes concerning the West Bank with Jordan and concerning the Gaza Strip with Egypt.

Mr. Lieberman said Israeli concessions have been interpreted as gestures of weakness, not of good will.

He sketched the framework of a possible agreement with Syria, saying that before any such accord was reached, Damascus would have to close down the headquarters of any terrorist organizations based there. "We can lease the Golan Heights for 99 years," he said.

Polls show that Mr. Lieberman, who also serves as minister of strategic affairs, is the second-most popular politician in Israel. An immigrant from Moldova, he served in previous governments as minister of national infrastructure and minister of transportation. His Israel Beiteinu Party controls 11 seats in Israel's 120-member parliament. Though he started out as an Israeli labor leader, he has backed efforts to privatize Israeli state assets such as the national airline and the radio and television broadcasting authority.

He said the reception he has received has changed. "When I spoke even two, three years ago, everyone said, ‘You are radical, you are crazy,'" he said. Now, he says, people complain he isn't going far enough. One measure of the increasing seriousness with which Mr. Lieberman is being considered is that on his visit to America, a Lieberman with a more moderate reputation, the newly re-elected senator from

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Lemmings Are Smarter Than Israel's Leaders

I've always thought that lemmings were the living metaphor for the committing of blind pointless suicide. Apparently, lemmings have gotten a bum rap, based on the 1958 Disney nature documentary White Wilderness: Lot's of people have a similar view of lemmings:
But it's also wrong. Several websites do a good job of debunking the myth. Take your pick among, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the San Francisco Chronicle, etc. Although lemmings migrate due to population pressures and are known to fall from heights and drown in water, they don't fling themselves off ledges in stampeding hordes, as "Winter Wonderland" leads its viewers to believe. Disney's crew seems to have faked much of the lemming segment: It was filmed in landlocked Alberta, which is not a native habitat for lemmings and does not touch the ocean, and the lemmings themselves were apparently driven off the ledges and into the water. [emphasis]
Now if there were just some way to convince Olmert and his party that when Israel finds herself near a narrow ledge--and when doesn't she?--there is no need to voluntarily fling themselves off of it.

Apparently there are 567 web pages that contain the words Olmert and lemming.
Pity. There really is no reason to give lemmings a worse rap than they already have...

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kosher Cooking Carnival #13: Don't Burn The Latkes!

This month's issue of KCC includes dishes for Chanukah.
Some of the other dishes featured include:
  • Kosher Cookie Swap
  • DaboysOf905: Crab Cakes for Shabbat (yes, kosher)
  • Verbiage Sinful Indulgence
  • Baleboosteh's Corn & Capsicum Fritters
  • An Easy Way To Make Lasagne

The Kosher Cooking Carnival comes out monthly. Guest-hosts are welcome!
Next month Elisheva will be hosting.

Previous Issues of Kosher Cooking Carnival: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 11 & 12!

You can check out what's new and old on Blog Carnival.
You can also add the automatically updated KCC "widget" and/or listing to your own blog.

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Images of Chanukah In The Old City

Israel At Level Ground has put up a collection of exclusive photos he took of Hannuka in Jerusalem's Old City, mostly at the Kotel.

Go take a look.

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The Numbers Don't Back Up CAIR--Neither In US Nor England

Here in the US, the numbers clearly show that despite CAIR's claims--which have been shown to be exaggerated--that anti-Muslim attacks are frequent and a major issue, the fact is that there is a larger proportion of Anti-Jewish attacks. Also, while the number of anti-Muslim attacks in the US have gone down, anti-Jewish attacks have gone up:
o For 2005, the FBI report on bias attacks indicates that 68.5% were anti-Jewish as opposed to only 11.1% were anti-Islamic. Jews are far and away the group that is in greater danger from bias attacks and more in need of protection

o For 2004, the FBI report indicated that 67.8% of bias attacks were anti-Jewish while 12.7% showed anti-Islamic bias. While anti-Jewish bias attacks were slightly up--anti-Islamic attacks actually went down.
Mere Rhetoric links to an article that shows that both CAIR--and Noam Chomsky--are wrong about the extent of Anti-Jewish and Anti-Muslim attacks in England as well:

Jewish people are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than Muslims, according to figures compiled by the police.

One in 400 Jews compared to one in 1,700 Muslims are likely to be victims of "faith hate" attacks every year. The figure is based on data collected over three months in police areas accounting for half the Muslim and Jewish populations of England and Wales. The crimes range from assault and verbal abuse to criminal damage at places of worship.

Police forces started recording the religion of faith-hate crime victims only this year. They did so on the instruction of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which wanted a clear picture of alleged community tensions around the country, following reports of Muslims being attacked after September 11 and the July 7 London bombings last year.

However, the first findings, for July to September, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph under freedom of information legislation, show that it is Jews who are much more likely to be targeted because of their religion.

The situation in England seems more precarious for Jews than here in the US due to the apparent complacency of the legal system there:
The CPS report revealed that not a single person accused of an anti-Semitic crime had been prosecuted on a charge of religiously aggravated offending. It said: "The police statistics include incidents where no defendant has been identified or where there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution."A report by MPs in September said British Jews were more vulnerable to attack and abuse now than for a generation.
Maybe it's time the needs of the real victims of bias attacks was addressed.
Are you listening, Congressman Conyers?

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Ongoing AIPAC Prosecution: A National Disgrace

At a time that CAIR with its terrorist ties gets off the hook, the criminal prosecution of 2 employees of AIPAC is still continuing for over a year--a prosecution which Rachel Neuwirth calls A National Disgrace:
The criminal prosecution of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, former executives of AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been in progress now for over a year (although the trial date has constantly been delayed), is a national disgrace. It is a mortal threat to the American Jewish community, since it strongly reinforces the idea-propounded recently by Professors Stephen Walt, Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, his co-author John Mearshimer of The University of Chicago, Patrick Buchanan, and numerous other prominent soi-disant American patriots, that American Jews' loyalty is to Israel and not to the United States. It threatens Israel by in effect criminalizing efforts to lobby on its behalf by American citizens. In addition, it threatens freedom of the press and freedom of speech for all Americans.

Neither Keith Weissman nor Steven Weissman was ever an Israeli spy. Neither was recruited by Israeli agents. Neither received a cent from Israel . Neither gave classified documents to Israel . They never even saw such documents; rather they are accused of having passed on information that they had heard by word of mouth that their informants allegedly learned from such documents. In effect, they are charged with gossiping and trading in rumors!

In fact, they are not even technically accused of espionage, but only of giving "national security information" (a vague phrase that can refer to unclassified as well as classified information, not necessarily in writing) to "persons not entitled to receive it." These individuals, according to the indictment, included not only Israeli diplomats, but also unnamed American journalists and other American citizens not connected with Israel . The indictment thus criminalizes the widespread practice in Washington of leaking classified information to the press...
Read the entire post.

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Without Rumsfeld and Bolton, Who Will Keep Rice From Overcooking?

According to UPI: no one.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now enjoys far greater clout in foreign policy-making following the fall of her arch-nemesis, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And Rice has repeatedly made clear she wants to see a revived Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The secretary of state defied powerful neo-conservative pressure at a time when the neo-cons still dominated the White House, the National Security Council and the Department of Defense to choose David Welch, a highly respected veteran Middle East hand, as her assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs.

Also, the departure of John Bolton from his key diplomatic position as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations removes a passionate opponent of any revival of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
It's not clear who is going to replace Bolton, what we do know that Robert Gates is going to replace Rumsfeld. Gates, is described as a 'traditional moderate Republican internationalist'--whatever. He is also supposed to have close ties to James Baker and was a member of the ISG until he was picked to replace Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

According to UPI, things will be very different for Israel in particular--and the article gives the nowadays obligatory hint at the "Israel Lobby" claim:
Under Rumsfeld, Israeli military officials had the run of the Pentagon and enjoyed unprecedented access to Rumsfeld and his top officials. They could count on the enormous clout of the DoD, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Rumsfeld himself to block any diplomatic initiatives by the Bush administration that the Israeli government did not like. But once Gates is running OSD, he appears far more likely to make common cause with Rice to pressure the Israelis to make new concessions on reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Whether this is actually true or not of course remains to be seen. Powerline, for example notes that remarks made by Gates at his confirmation do not reveal the opponent of Iraq that Bush's opponents claim Gates is:
I agreed with President Bush’s decision to go into Iraq. Our men and women in uniform and our coalition partners have served admirably there, and, if confirmed, I look forward to working with them on a daily basis to help make the future better for the Iraqi people.

...I believe that leaving Iraq in chaos would have dangerous consequences both in the region and globally for many years to come.
But on Iran, Gates does not take Iran's nuclear threat seriously, nor does he see in Iran a serious threat to Israel either. Powerline quotes Claremont's Seth Leibsohn about one exchange in the hearing:
This exchange between Lindsay Graham & Bob Gates today is disturbing, to say the least. Asked by Senator Graham if Iran would use nuclear weapons against Israel, Gates responded, "I don't know that they would do that, Senator." Somewhat astounded, Graham pushed back:

Graham: The president of Iran has publicly disavowed the existence of the Holocaust, has publicly stated that he would like to wipe Israel off the map. Do you think he's kidding?

Gates: No, I don't think he's kidding, but I think there are, in fact, higher powers in Iran than he, than the president. And I think that, while they are certainly pressing, in my opinion, for nuclear capability, I think that they would see it in the first instance as a deterrent.
As Powerline puts it, according to Gates--other religious fundamentalists higher up than Ahmadinejad are going to keep him in check and act as a moderating influence.

In any case, with Israel's greatest mortal threat reduced to the rantings of an underling, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is free to become a central theme for Rice to continue to hammer away at.

Can 2008 come soon enough?
And will it make any difference?

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

International Symposium To Bring Ahmadinejad To Justice

The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs have hosted an international symposium: Bring Ahmadinejad to Justice For Incitement to Genocide. The goal of the symposium, as stated by Irwin Cotler, is to bring
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Justice for the Public and Direct Incitement to Genocide in violation of both the Genocide Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and the Treaty for an International Criminal Court.

The symposium is getting some media exposure too:
Outgoing U.S. U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former diplomats from Israel and Canada called on the United Nations on Thursday to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with inciting genocide.

The U.N. International Court of Criminal Justice should charge Ahmadinejad for his threats against the United States, for calling for the destruction of Israel and for instigating discrimination against Christians and Jews, the group said.

“It’s important that if we are in this stage where we’re being given early warning, unambiguously, on what his intentions are, then it’s time to take action,” Bolton told a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations symposium.
Besides Cotler, other International Legal and Diplomatic Experts at the symposium were: Ambassador John Bolton, Ambassador Dore Gold, Ambassador Meir Roseanne, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Hon. Dan Naveh, Martin Peretz and Dr. Ruth Wedgwood.

You can watch video excerpts of the symposium here.

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New UN Secretary General Is Already An Improvement

In Looking Forward To Kofi Annan's Successor, I mentioned that given that Ban Ki-moon had a reputation for being a friend of Israel and his selection as the new UN secretary-general made UN officials uneasy--things might be looking up.

Maybe they are:
Incoming United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Iran on Thursday it was unacceptable to deny that the Holocaust took place or to call for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Ban was responding to a question asked at a news conference about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who since coming to power in August last year has caused an outcry by terming the Holocaust a "myth" and calling Israel a "tumor" in the Middle East.

"Denying historical facts especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust is just not acceptable," Ban said.

"Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of states or people," Ban said. "I would like to see this fundamental principle respected in both rhetoric and practice by all the members of the international community."
Right now it's only talk, and Ban has not said anything about Iran's attempt to acquire nuclear capabilities--but so far he stands head-and-shoulders above Kofi Annan.

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