Monday, December 31, 2007

Encouraging Boys With Guns Goes Beyond Gaza

Guess who's encouraging kids to play with guns?
Playing with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups.
Almost sounds like something you would hear coming out of Gaza or the West Bank. But this is happening in England:
Staff have been told they must resist their "natural instinct" to stop boys using pretend weapons such as guns or light sabres in games with other toddlers.

Fantasy play involving weapons and superheroes allows healthy and safe risk-taking and can also make learning more appealing, says the guidance.

It conflicts with years of "political correctness" in nurseries and playgroups which has led to the banning of toy guns, action hero games and children pretending to fire "guns" using their fingers or Lego bricks.
But Great Britain has not yet gotten to the point of creating videos encouraging children to become suicide bombers and kill Jews--or anyone else for that matter. The current thinking instead is that there is no problem allowing the boys to play with guns
as long as practitioners help the boys to understand and respect the rights of other children and to take responsibility for the resources and environment.
That might be considered a novel approach in some places in the Middle East.

No matter how you may feel about seeing boys play with toy guns, there is still a fundamental difference between this

and this

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Great News! Assad Is Ready For Peace! (Updated)

Must be true--Arlen Specter says so...
President Bashar Assad is ready for peace with Israel, US Senator Arlen Specter said Sunday after talks with the Syrian leader.

Specter said Israel will have to return the Golan Heights for peace, adding that the United States has the potential to ''bridge the gap'' between Israel and Syria, who have not held peace talks since 2000.

Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad on the last day of their two-day visit to Damascus.

Specter said he had the impression from the meeting that the time was very ''positive for productive talks between Israel and Syria.''

''There is a sense that he (Assad) is ready and the Syrian public opinion is ready (for peace),'' Specter said.

The atmosphere is ''very different in Damascus today and is very different in Jerusalem today'' in part because of last month's US-sponsored Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, which Syria attended, Specter said.
We have to keep in mind that when Specter kvells over Israel's 'different atmosphere,' he is talking about what Olmert wants--Specter is not talking about what Israelis want:
Peace talks between the two countries collapsed in 2000 over the extent of an Israeli pullout from the plateau. In one poll this year, only 10% of Israelis supported a full withdrawal.
No mention if Specter and Kennedy asked Assad if he would please stop assassinating Lebanese leaders, arming Hizbollah, and providing refuge for Khalid Meshaal. After all, no need to ruin a perfectly good photo op.
Their dream is our nightmare.

UPDATE: It would be a shame if Specter went to Syria to talk only about Israel, and not address Syria's share in the murder of US troops:
Syria's Baathist regime provides a base of operations for its Iraqi Baathist comrades involved in the Sunni insurgency. Suicide bombers from Saudi Arabia and North Africa arrive by plane in Damascus, and, with the help of facilitators, some 50 to 80 cross into Iraq each month. The Syrians say they lack the ability to stop them; what they lack is the intention.
Just what was Specter doing in Syria anyway?

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Nourishing A Culture Of Death Did Not Start With Hamas

Nor was Israel the first target.

By Barry Rubin

Much will be said about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination; little will be understood about what it truly means. I’m not speaking here about Pakistan, of course, as important as is that country. But rather the lesson—as if we need any more—for that broad Middle East with Pakistan at one end and the Atlantic Ocean coast on the other.

This is a true story. Back in 1946, an American diplomat asked an Iranian editor why his newspaper angrily attacked the United States but never the Soviet Union. The Iranian said that it was obvious. “The Russians,” he said, “they kill people!” Murder is a very effective way to influence people.

A dozen years earlier, in 1933, an Iraqi official, Sami Shawkat, gave a talk which became one of the major texts of Arab nationalism. “There is something more important than money and learning for preserving the honor of a nation and for keeping humiliation at bay,” he stated. “That is strength....Strength, as I use the word here, means to excel in the Profession of Death.”
What, you might ask, was Shawkat’s own profession? He was director-general of Iraq’s ministry of education. This was how young people were to be taught and directed; this is where Saddam Hussein came from. Seventy-five years later the subsequent history of Iraq and the rest of the Arab world show just how well Shawkat did his job.

September 11 in the United States; the Bali bombing for Australia; the tube bombing for Britain; the commuter train bombing for Spain, these were all merely byproducts of this pathology. The pathology in question is not Western policy toward the Middle East but rather Middle Eastern policy toward the Middle East.

Ever since I read Shawkat’s words as a student, the phrase, “Profession of Death,” which gave his article its title, struck me as a pun. On one hand, the word “profession” means “career.”

To be a killer—note well that Shawkat was not talking specifically about soldiers, those who fight, but rather those who murder—was the highest calling of all. It was more important than being a teacher, who forms character; more important than a businessperson, who enriches his country; more important than a doctor who preserves the life of fellow citizens. Destruction was a higher calling than construction. And for sure in the Arabic-speaking world what has been reaped is what has been sowed.

But also the word “profession” here reminds me of the verb “to profess” as in the word “professor,” that is “to preach” and to teach. What is of greatest value is for an educator to preach and glorify death. What kind of ideology, what kind of society, what kind of values, does such a priority produce? Look and see.

Like children playing with dynamite, Western intellectuals, journalists, and diplomats fantasize that they are achieving results in the Middle East with their words, promises, apologies, money, and concessions. Yet how can such innocents cope despite—or perhaps because of--all their good intentions with polities and societies whose basic ruling ethos is that of the serial killer?

And what can be achieved when those most forward-looking and most creative, those who want to break with the ideas and methods creating a disastrous mess, the stagnant system which characterizes so much of the Middle East, are systematically murdered? Read the roll: King Abdallah of Jordan, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon, the bold author Farouq Fawda in Egypt, Iraqi Sunnis who dare seek compromise, Palestinian moderates, Algerian modernists, and thousands of women who seek a small degree of freedom.

The radicals are right: dying is a disincentive. And for every one they kill how many thousands give in; and for every one they threaten how many hundreds give in? Even in the West many individuals who pride themselves as knights of knowledge and paladins of free speech quickly crumble at the prospect of being culled for their cartoons.

Seventy-five years after Shawkat, Hamas television teaches Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip that their highest aspiration should be to become a suicide bomber, with success measured by how many Jews are killed. And, by the way, the Palestinian Authority’s television in the West Bank sends a similar message, albeit slightly less frequently.

Will billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) change anything when the men with the guns grab what they want? Are PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, respectively a timid bureaucrat and a well-meaning economist, going to take a bullet for lifting one finger to get a compromise peace with Israel?

How are you going to get a government of national conciliation in Iraq when the insurgents have shown they can gun down any Sunni politician or cleric who steps out of line?

The current supporters of the Lebanese government are the bravest politicians in the Arabic-speaking world, men willing to defy death rather than surrender to the radical Islamists of Hizballah or the imperialism of Syria. But how can they stand firm when democratic governments rush to engage with the Syrian government that murder them, while Western media proclaim the moderation of a Damascus ruler who systematically kills those who oppose him?

Can anyone really expect a stable society capable of progress in Pakistan when a large majority of the population expresses admiration for Usama bin Ladin? And what about the Saudi system where, as one local writer put it, the big Usama put into practice what the little Usama learned in a Saudi school?

Don’t you get it? The radical forces in the region are not expecting to retain or gain power by negotiating, compromising, or being better understood. They believe they are going to shoot their way into power or, just as good, accept the surrender of those they have intimidated.

That is why so much of the Western analysis and strategies for dealing with the region are a bad joke. Usama bin Ladin understands that, as he once said, people are going to back the strongest horse in the race. According to all too many people in the Western elites, the way to win is to be the nicest horse.

But doesn’t this assessment sound terribly depressing and hopeless? Well, yes and no.

Radical Islamists like to proclaim that they will triumph because they love death while their enemies—that is, soon-to-be-victims—love life.

Be careful what you wish for, though, because you probably will get it. For those who love death the reward is…death.

For those who love life, the outcomes include decent educational systems, living standards, individual rights, and strong economic systems. I can't help but thinking that Western Civilization has been built on a different model, even when people completely forget about it and take it for granted, based on ideas like this:
"I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...." (Deuteronomy 31:19)

All these things, and others that go along with them, are what really produce strength. And isn’t it interesting that, contrary to Shawkat, the nations that put the priority on these values, ideas, and constructive efforts enjoy far more honor and suffer far less humiliation than happens with his model. This is not that they have no faults but they also contain the mechanisms that are usually sufficient to correct these faults.

In contrast, the profession of death has wrecked most Middle Eastern societies. But it has never succeeded in defeating a free society. It is not an effective tactic for destroying others but only for devastating one’s own people.

Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The Sami Shawkat philosophy: alike in its Arab nationalist, Islamist, and Pakistani authoritarian versions which dominate Middle East politics.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Center . His latest books are The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

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Malcolm Hoenlein On Bhutto, Shalit, And Iranian Jews In Israel

Nachum Segal Interviewed Malcolm Hoenlein this past Friday:
Nachum interviewed Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who called in for the latest Weekly Update. They began this week's conversation with a look at Pakistan in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Nachum asked Malcolm to address this week's arrival of Iranian Jews in Israel. They covered several other topics including: Reported deals in the works for the release of Gilad Shalit and other Israeli MIAs, the latest news from Har Choma in Jerusalem, the sale of "potent munitions" from the United States to Saudi Arabia, funding for a follow-up to the infamous Durban conference, and MUCH more. Click the link to listen.

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A Dickens Of A Time Getting A Child To Read

West Bank Mama writes about an article in The New York Times about Scholastic's post-Harry Potter new approach on how to get children to read--and gives her opinion on why she thinks "tricking kids into reading" is not going to work.

This evening I had my own plan to get my 8 year old daughter interested in reading. My parents got the (very) abridged version of a handful of classics--including Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. The abridged version was about 10 pages. I read it to her and this evening, before she went to bed, I started reading her the actual novel.

I forgot about Dickens' style and the fact that since he was paid by the word...he tended to be a bit verbose:
Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.

For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child could survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any age or country.
After 5 minutes, my daughter asked, "Abba--did you start the story yet?"

"I think I'd better think it out again."

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Israeli Flag Rorschach Test

What happens when you look at your national flag? They did an experiment in Israel and the results were not what they expected:
Led by cognitive scientist Dr. Ran Hassin, the experiments involved over 300 participants recruited from the university's Mount Scopus campus. In the first experiment, the Israeli participants—divided into two groups chosen at random—were asked about their attitudes toward core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They were then asked again to share their opinions on the subject, but this time, prior to answering the researchers’ questions, half of the participants were exposed to subliminal images of the Israeli flag projected on a monitor and the rest were not. The results showed that the former group tended to shift to the political center.

Another experiment, which was conducted in the weeks leading up the the disengagement from Gaza, replicated these results whereby participants subliminally exposed to the Israeli flag expressed centrist views in relation to the withdrawal and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza.

The third experiment was held just prior to Israel’s last general election. Here too, the subliminal presentation of Israel’s flag drew right-wing, as well as left-wing, Israelis toward the political center.

Participants who were subliminally exposed to the flag said they intended to vote for more central parties than those who had not been exposed to the subliminal message. The researchers then called the participants after the elections and discovered that people who were exposed to the flag indeed voted for more moderate candidates.
At Contentions, David Hazony theorizes about what is behind this moderating effect:
One answer might be that citizens are reminded of the high responsibility that a national conscience represents, and of the nuance of belief that such responsibility may sometimes entail.

Yet there is another possibility. As the Post reports, “The team did not study the effect of subliminal images of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas flag on Palestinian political leanings.” Perhaps Palestinians would moderate their views in light of their own flag, just as Israelis do—but perhaps not. One wonders whether some flags (such as those flown over free, democratic countries) trigger a different set of unconscious associations than do others. To find this out, we’ll have to wait for the comparative study.

I have a different theory--
Just take a look at the flags of some of Israel's neighbors:

Islamic Jihad


Palestinian Authority

Saudi Arabia

Three of them have the Islamic declaration: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his Messenger." That is not going to summon up any calm moderate thoughts. Two of the flags have pictures of a sword or swords and one has a picture of a gun. The Palestinian flag--which is nearly identical to the Jordanian flag--has no clear symbolism, but the colors do have meaning and refer to different dynasties and people (and black, among other things, is the symbol for revenge.)

Compared to all that, just take a look at the Israeli flag
A simple flag with a nice calm blue design, symmetrical with a star centered in the middle--is it surprising that it would have a moderating effect? And would you like to hazard a guess as to what effect looking at the other flags would have?

I'm just saying...

What I'd really like to know is where they get the ideas for these sort of experiments.

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Holocaust Denial: The PA In 2007

Rafael Medoff and Alex Grobman have come out with a report Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey--2007 available as a PDF from the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. According to the report, although Holocaust denial increased during 2007, there were some positive:
There were also several hopeful developments: two prominent Muslims, the former prime minister of Indonesia and the president of the Islamic Society of North America, condemned Holocaust denial; the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO both passed resolutions opposing Holocaust denial; and the European Union urged all its member-states to adopt legislation prohibiting Holocaust denial.
The report also covers various countries in the Middle East. Here is what Medoff and Grobman had to say about Israel's peace partners:
Palestinian Authority

On July 16, Al-Jazeera Television aired a speech by Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, at a conference honoring his colleague Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: “I want to make it clear to the West and to the German people, which is still being blackmailed because of what Nazism did to the Zionists, or to the Jews. I say that what Israel did to the Palestinian people is many times worse than what Nazism did to the Jews, and there is exaggeration, which has become obsolete, regarding the issue of the Holocaust. We do not deny the facts, but we will not give in to extortion by exaggeration. As for the Zionist holocaust against the Palestinian people, and against the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nation --this is a holocaust that is being perpetrated in broad daylight, with the coverage of the media of globalization. Nobody can deny it or claim that it is being exaggerated.”32

* * *

Speaking at a U.S. Senate hearing on February 8, 2007, Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, explained how the new series of Palestinian Authority school books described the Nazis: “The books create a World War Two without the Holocaust. There are extensive details about the history of World War Two -- they teach about the "race theory" of the Nazi movement: “Race theory evolved during the thirties of the previous century, when the Nazi movement appeared in Germany in 1933 and divided the nations into superior and others who were inferior. It espoused the superiority of the Aryan race, from which the Germans originated, passed racist laws…" [The History of the Arabs and the World in the 20th Century, grade 12, p. 123] They even talk about the trials of the Nazi war criminals at the end of the war: “The Allied states established an international court to bring to trial the senior Nazi leaders as war criminals.”

[The History of the Arabs and the World in the 20th Century, grade 12, p. 46] ...but they don’t teach why they were on trial. They teach the history of WW2, the Nazi racism, and the trial of war criminals. But the Holocaust is not a part of that history.”33

* * *

On November 27, the Palestinian Authority’s official radio station, Voice of Palestine, aired a quiz which depicted the life of Adolf Hitler in a favorable light and omitted any mention of the Holocaust. The quiz, which was the 20th installment of the Ramadan Educational Quiz, required listeners to guess the subject of the description, who was said to be “a leader and politician, born in 1889 in Braunau, Austria. He served in the German army during the First World War, was wounded in service and awarded two Medals of Honor. He joined a small right-wing party in Munich and became the head of this party without a struggle within two years. In 1923, he attempted to execute a coup but failed. He was arrested, imprisoned and released after serving a year in prison. In 1933 he became his country’s Chancellor, and used the state's mechanisms to crush his political opponents. He earned his popularity by succeeding to lower unemployment rates and to generate an economic recovery in his country. Later he prepared his country for the Second World War. His golden year was 1940, when his armies invaded Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Holland, and Belgium and defeated France in June 1940. That year Britain managed to withstand the attacks of his Air Force and he missed the victory over Britain. His armies conquered Greece and Yugoslavia in 1941. That year he violated the non-belligerency treaty and attacked Russia. His armies took control of vast Soviet areas. His armies were defeated in Stalingrad. He declared war on the United States in 1941. By mid 1942, his country controlled the largest land area in Europe and large parts of North Africa. The turning point of the war occurred late in 1942, when his forces were defeated in the Battle of Al-Alamein. He refused to surrender and continued to fight for two more years, but, his bitter end came in the spring of 1945 when he took his own life, and his country surrendered a week later. Who is he?” The first prize winner received approximately $150.34 [p. 11-14]

32 MEMRI Dispatch 1672, 2 August 2007.
33 Palestinian Media Watch -
34 Palestinian Media Watch,
Read the entire report.

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Canadian Court May Allow Doctor To Pull Plug On Orthodox Jew

A situation where "best interest of the individual patient at heart" is pursued when it is undisputed that the patient is opposed to the doctor's decision to pull the plug.
Not a Doctor's Decision

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Jerusalem Post
December 27, 2007

A Winnipeg case currently winding its way to its grim conclusion pits the children of Samuel Golubchuk against doctors at the Salvation Army Grace General Hospital. According to the pleadings, Golubchuk's doctors informed his children that their 84-year-old father is "in the process of dying" and that they intended to hasten the process by removing his ventilation, and if that proved insufficient to kill him quickly, to also remove his feeding tube. In the event that the patient showed discomfort during these procedures, the chief of the hospital's ICU unit stated in his affidavit that he would administer morphine.

Golubchuk is an Orthodox Jew, as are his children. The latter have adamantly opposed his removal from the ventilator and feeding tube, on the grounds that Jewish law expressly forbids any action designed to shorten life, and that if their father could express his wishes, he would oppose the doctors acting to deliberately terminate his life.

In response, the director of the ICU informed Golubchuk's children that neither their father's wishes nor their own are relevant, and he would do whatever he decided was appropriate. Bill Olson, counsel for the ICU director, told the Canadian Broadcasting Company that physicians have the sole right to make decisions about treatment - even if it goes against a patient's religious beliefs - and that "there is no right to a continuation of treatment."
That position was supported by Dr. Jeff Blackner, executive director of the office of ethics of the Canadian Medical Association. He told Reuters: "[W]e want to make sure that clinical decisions are left to physicians and not judges." Doctors' decisions are made only with the "best interest of the individual patient at heart," he said, though he did not explain how that could be squared with the undisputed claim that this patient would oppose the doctors' decision. Meanwhile, an Angus Reid poll of Canadians showed that 68% supported leaving the final decision with the family.

The claim of absolute physician discretion to withdraw life-support advanced by the Canadian doctors would spell the end of any patient autonomy over end-of-life decisions. So-called living wills, which are recognized in many American states, and which allow a person to specify in advance who should make such decisions in the event of their incapacity, would be rendered nugatory.

EVEN THOSE who would not wish to be maintained in a state of unconsciousness, and who do not share the religious beliefs of the Golubchuk family should fear the claim of moral omniscience made by Canadian doctors - and not just because Yosef Mengele was a doctor. As Professor Richard Weikart chillingly details in From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, Mengele's experiments on "inferior" Jewish children for the benefit of the Master Race have to be viewed in the context of German Social Darwinism in the seven decades leading up to the Nazi takeover.

In Weikart's estimate, a majority of German physicians and scientists subscribed to the naturalistic Darwinian world view and ideas that constituted a sustained assault on the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of the sanctity of life. Among those ideas are the claim that there is no fundamental distinction between humans and animals; human beings do not possess a soul that endows them with any rights or superiority to any other species; within the species homo sapiens, there are "inferior" and "superior" individuals, and inferior and superior races; and it is the iron will of nature that the species should evolve through the survival of the superior members and the death of the inferior.

Darwin's cousin Francis Galton founded the modern eugenics movement on the basis of Darwinian arguments, and nowhere did eugenics catch on with greater enthusiasm than in Germany (though many prominent intellectuals in the United States, England and France were also enthusiastic supporters.) In Germany, many took the next step - from eugenics to involuntary euthanasia for the mentally ill and other defectives.

Ernest Haeckel, one of the most influential 19th-century German biologists, whose faked drawings of developing human embryos allegedly recapitulating the evolutionary path still feature prominently in college biology texts, argued for the killing of the mentally ill, lepers, those with incurable cancer, and cretins. As a safeguard, he too recommended a committee of physicians to pass judgment. Alfred Hoche, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg, justified shortening an inferior life if the insights gained would save better lives. "By giving up the conception of the divine image of humans under the influence of Darwinian thinkers," writes Hans-Walter Schmuhl, mainstream German thinkers came to view human life as "a piece of property" to be weighed against other pieces of property.

JUST AS Nazism gave anti-Semitism a bad name, so too did it discredit Social Darwinism. But just as anti-Semitism has reappeared, so has the assault on the concept of the sanctity of life. That assault is not limited to Princeton ethicist Peter Singer's defense of infanticide, euthanasia and bestiality on explicitly Darwinian grounds.

Global warming activists speak of the duty not to reproduce, and view human beings as the enemy of nature's order. So much for the view of man as the crown of creation. In place of the sanctity of life, we now speak of the "quality of life" - a term that explicitly assumes that some lives are worth more than others.

There is even talk of the "duty to die" and clear the way for higher-quality lives, which is why the American Association of People with Disabilities has been actively involved in so many cases dealing with the doctors' right to terminate medical care. The rage for medical rationing in Canada, of which the Golubchuk case is but one example, derives from a desire not to waste resources on low-quality lives.

It would be a bitter irony if Percy Shulman, a Jewish judge in Winnipeg, were to grant Dr. Bojan Paunovic the right to end Samuel Golubchuk's life on the grounds that it lacks the requisite quality.

Read all of Jonathan Rosenblum's articles at Jewish Media Resources

On the point about how eugenics caught on in Nazi Germany and the US, see the following:

In Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It, Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman write:
Nazi racial ideologies can indeed be traced back to the end of the nineteenth century, to the linking of social Darwinism and eugenics that burst on the scene in Germany, arriving from England, where the "science" of eugenics was founded by Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton. (p. 225)
Shermer and Grobman give an example of the case of a girl who, along with her mother were found to be "feebleminded." When the girl gave birth to an illegitimate daughter who was also found to be feebleminded, it was decided on the basis of the science of the day that 3 generations of feeblemindedness constituted a hereditary cause and the girl should be sterilized.

A court finally handed down a judgment in the case--a judgment that was used by the Nazis to justify their sterilization program:
We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing the kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. (p. 226-7)
The girl's name was Carrie Buck. The case was took place in the US. The court was the US Supreme Court and the above words were the opinion of Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

It is dangerous to allow science into the area of morality, or when doctors are given sole moral authority.

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Haveil Havalim #147 Is Up

This week Soccer Dad hosts Haveil Havalim #147, includes a wide variety of posts from around the JBlogosphere in the following categories: Culture, Torah, Israel, Antisemitism, History, Personal, Politics, and Judaism.


Next week Yid With Lid hosts--with the results of his "self-hating Jew Poll."

Don't forget--you can submit entries to Haveil Havalim using the submission form at BlogCarnival,where you can also find past posts and future hosts.

Please remember that the cutoff for nominations is now Friday.

You can email Soccer Dad (dhgerstman at hotmail dot com) if you'd like to host an upcoming edition.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Olmert Backs Down From New Construction

Negotiations are continuing--which means Olmert will have to make more concessions to keep pace:
There will be no new building tenders issued for construction in West Bank settlements and the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged Thursday during a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported.

The Har Homa expansion has been a major stumbling block in the peace process which was kick-started at the Annapolis conference, and while the prime minister vowed that no new tenders would be issued for the east Jerusalem neighborhood, he insisted that tenders already approved could not be canceled.
Only because Abbas hasn't put his foot down yet.

These days, anything can be counted on as being positive:
Army Radio gave an even more optimistic account of the talks, saying that the two sides agreed to leave the Har Homa issue behind them and continue with negotiations toward a final settlement.
According to that logic, w?hy not just go ahead, give them the state, and work out all the details afterwards

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Iran Does Not Have To Nuke Israel In Order To Destroy It

Over at The Corner today, there is an ongoing discussion of the Iranian nuclear threat. Noah Pollak puts in his 2 cents on why Iran will not have to fire nuclear missiles to destroy Israel:
...The reason is that they wouldn't need to do that to accomplish the destruction of Israel. The Jewish state already has a problem in the number of its citizens who tire of the warfare, terrorism, and Arab hatred that are regular features of life in Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live abroad, many permanently, because they seek a "normal life," and many Jews will never immigrate to Israel exactly because of the absence of such a life. All of this is only in the face of Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists who kill with crude weapons. Now imagine those groups with the support of a nuclear patron. Imagine daily life in Israel conducted under the constant threat — the Iranians would surely take every opportunity to remind Israelis — of nuclear annihilation.

The Iranians are probably smart enough to know that if they're patient, nothing so dramatic as nuclear war will be necessary. Simply by possessing a nuclear capability and regularly threatening to use it or supply it to its proxies, Iran will accomplish the psychological and economic attrition of Israel. This goal will be achieved without firing a shot — or at least without full-scale war.
Pollak sees the Iranian threat to the US similarly as one not of direct attack but more of attrition and undercutting US interests. On that point, John Derbyshire rejoins:
...But suppose Iran were to attain her hegemonic ambition. This will hurt the U.S.A. … how? You say it would be putting "the economic health of the nation in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hands." How would it do that? Because Iran would control ME oil and refuse to sell it to us? Oil markets don't, and in fact couldn't, work like that. World oil production will anyway soon begin to decline. Cheap oil is a thing of the past. "Let's declare war against Iran so we can prolong the cheap-oil fantasy for a few more years" — not, in my opinion, a very inspiring slogan.

As for "the security architecture in the Middle East that America has enforced, however shakily, for decades," well, I think "shakily" is putting it very kindly. The ten-year Iran-Iraq war? The replacing of Soviet puppet rule in Afghanistan by jihadists? Three Arab-Israeli wars? Two gulf wars? "Shakily"? I would say.

If, as seems to be the case, Muslim Middle Easterners are addicted to mayhem, it seems to me we should stay out of their countries, except for monitory attacks on them — ferocious but brief — in retaliation for anything they do to us or our interests.

Given the rivalries and hatreds of the ME, I doubt a stable Iranian hegemony is possible. If it is possible, it's something we'll learn to live with, and no direct threat to the U.S.A. that I can see.
With that kind of thinking, and it is not easy to dispute it, Israel really is alone against Iran.

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An Important Reminder For The JBlogosphere

Anonymity does not absolve bloggers of responsibility.

Rabbi Avi Shafran

There was a time, not terribly long ago, when disturbed individuals bent on broadcasting angry fantasies had only soapboxes in public parks from which to rant. And respectable people knew, if only from the ranters’ appearance, to keep well out of spittle’s range.

Today, though, the very means of mass communication that enables so much worthy information to reach such large numbers of people at the speed of light – the Internet – has also been harnessed to spread madness, hatred, lies and (not a word to be used lightly but here entirely appropriate) evil. And so, close on the heels of the swindlers and pornographers who have colonized so much of cyberspace, have come the gaggle of electronic soapboxes known as weblogs, or blogs.

The writer of a recent article in the Agudath Israel monthly The Jewish Observer expressed chagrin at discovering the nature of many Jewish blogs. Often anonymous as well as obnoxious, some of those personal opinion-diaries, he found, display utter disregard for essential Jewish ideals like the requirement to shun lashon hora or forbidden negative speech, and hotzo’at shem ra, or slander; to show honor for Torah and respect for Torah scholars. I would have added basic fairness to the list. And truth.There are, of course, responsible bloggers, in the Jewish realm as in others, writers who seek to share community news or ideas and observations with readers, and to post readers’ comments. Some explore concepts in Jewish thought and law, others focus on Jewish history and society.

But just as an unfiltered e-mail account quickly reveals that the bulk of electronic communications are from people we would really not wish to ever meet in person, so are responsible blogs, in the Jewish realm as in the general, decidedly in the minority.
And even many responsible blogs allow postings of comments from people with very different value systems. As one poster on a Jewish blog, “Joe,” noted: “The whole reason people gravitate to blogs with active comment sections is because of the gosip [sic] and back and forth jabs and insults… If thats [sic] not your thing, fine, but anyone who reads or posts on a blog cant [sic] seriously claim that lashon hara bothers them.”

No one knows exactly why the Internet appears to bring out the worst in people, but there is little doubt that it often does. And the cloak of anonymity seems to unleash truly dark, ugly alter egos. As a popular Jewish blog’s founder told the Forward in June, “There’s a lot of testosterone on the Internet, a lot of swagger… anything can happen.”

Like maliciousness and mayhem. Recently, for example, a 13-year-old Missouri girl who was targeted on a non-Jewish social-networking site for verbal abuse by classmates became so distraught that she hanged herself in her bedroom with a belt.

Another recent e-outrage, although with a happier ending, was perpetrated by a Milwaukee teacher who presented himself anonymously on a blog as a critic of the local teachers union. In an attempt to garner sympathy for union members, he wrote that the two youths who killed 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999 “knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs: One shot at a time.” Only because of the implicit threat of violence, and the resultant involvement of law enforcement, was the teacher’s ruse uncovered. Less prosecutable offenses, although malevolent, misleading and violative of the laws of civil discourse, are, needless to say, of no interest to the police.

And so, many blogs have become showcases for carefully concocted stews of truth and falsehood well stirred and generously seasoned with gall and spleen. The Jewish sites among them like to malign guilty and innocent people alike – extra points for Orthodox Jews and triple-score for rabbis.

On some sites, targets’ guilt is established purely by rumor, innuendo, anonymous accusations and alleged association with accused or confirmed wrongdoers. Innocent until proven guilty? Not in the blogosphere.

Indeed, if a Jewish blog were fully reflective of Jewish values, even those who are actually guilty would not be subject to “open season” maligning. Truth may be “an absolute defense” in American libel law, but not in Jewish law; true statements are precisely the focus of the prohibition of lashon hora. It might strike some as strange, but the Torah teaches us that the evil of such speech is inherent, not a function of falsehood.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the apparent gullibility of so many visitors to those blogs, who, from their own postings, seem ready to swallow any accusation or character assassination, as long as the charges are sufficiently salacious or forcefully asserted. Some of the many adulatory comments posted on offensive blogs may have been planted by the blogerrai-meisters themselves, but many certainly seem to be from other citizens anxious to join in the fun.

Responsible bloggers don’t deserve to be lumped together with the louts and understandably chafe at having their entire enterprise tarred with the sins of individuals. Unfortunately, though, those individuals and their sins comprise the bulk of the blogosphere. Those who counsel avoidance of blogs are no different from those who advise against frequenting dark, crime-ridden neighborhoods. There may be bargains to be had in such locales, maybe even a good library or pizzeria. But they are scuzzy places to spend time in.

The Internet in general is, pace the popular arbiters of societal propriety, not a healthy place to hang out in. That is why many Orthodox Jewish religious leaders have frowned upon its use altogether for recreational purposes. They feel that the windows it opens to every corner of the wider world allow in not only some sunlight but much pollution of the most pernicious sort.

But even if business or other life exigencies require individuals to utilize the Internet, there are dark corners of the Web that are filled with venomous spiders, that pose extraordinary risks and should be avoided at practically all costs. The blogosphere is a particular infested corner.

All Jews should be concerned with basic Jewish values like shunning forbidden speech, refusing to judge others, showing honor for Torah and Torah-scholars. And if we are, we are rightly warned against patronizing the untamed areas of Blogistan. Because, while larger society may hallow the idea of free speech, Judaism considers words to carry immense responsibility. Used properly, they can teach, inspire and elevate. But used wrongly, or recklessly, they can be virtual weapons of mass destruction.

[Rabbi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.]

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The Palestinian Right Of Return--Who Would Come?

For that matter, would anyone come.

Hillel Halkin's essay, The Peace Planners Strike Again, appears in the January 2008 issue of Commentary Magazine. There, Halkin asks:

Where in Israel would the families of refugees go if their “right of return” were recognized? The poorer would end up in Israeli Arab slums hardly more congenial than the “refugee camps” they reside in now. The wealthier would find that their present homes in Amman or Damascus are grander than anything they could afford in Haifa or Jaffa. None would be returning to family property, and all would be choosing to live in a Jewish state whose customs are alien and where they might be discriminated against in various ways. How could this, rather than financial compensation or resettlement elsewhere, be the preferred option of most Palestinians?

And in fact it is not. The same polls that show a large majority of Palestinians vehemently supporting the “right of return” to Israel, a country that few of them have ever been in, report that not many are interested in “returning” there themselves. As in the old Jewish joke that a Zionist is a Jew who gives money to a second Jew in order to send a third Jew to Palestine, the average Palestinian would like another Palestinian to exercise the “right of return” for him

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Islamic Law and Wife Beating (Updated)

Well, I'm glad the Mufti of Egypt set that straight.
Note: video has been removed from YouTube, but can still be view at MEMRI
Here is a brief transcript:
Mufti of Egypt Sheik Ali Gum'a: Wife-Beating Is Permitted by Islam in Muslim Countries, but Is Forbidden in the West

Following are excerpts from an interview with the Mufti of Egypt Dr. Ali Gum'a, which aired on Al-Risala TV on May 26, 2006:

Ali Gum'a: Wife-beating is associated with the cultural status of women in the different societies. Women in some cultures are not averse to beatings. They consider it as an expression of masculinity, and as a kind of control, which she herself desires. In other societies, it is the exact opposite. We must follow reason. When we are dealing with certain societies...

I got a question from Canada. The man said: "Here, it is a crime to beat a wife, even with a toothbrush. Is this prohibition acceptable in Islam? Yes. Islam accepts that the beating of Canadian wives, in this culture and ambience... From childhood they are taught that beating women is a type of barbarism, savagery, and so on. There is nothing wrong with taking this into consideration, and adapting to society, because Islam did not command us to be aggressive towards women.

If in their culture, this constitutes aggression towards women, then we are forbidden to be aggressive towards women. In this situation it is inevitable but to consider [beating] this way, and accepting the society, because Islam did not come and command me to be aggressive towards women. But when Allah permitted wife-beating, He permitted it to the other side of culture, which considers it as one of the means to preserve the family, and as one of the means to preserve stability.

In the comments, B. James Stinson writes:
Two Michigan State University law students have written a scholarly article on wife beating and wife discipline in Islamic Law, posted on the Cienfuegos blog at and I have posted brief comments on my Therapeutic Family Law blog [see comment here]
That is all well and good, but keep in mind you have the Mufti of Egypt--who is supposedly some kind of Islamic scholar and interpreter of Sharia--publicly saying differently.

More than that, the article at Cienfuegos concludes:
In essence, the Islamic approach (of the majority opinion) to wife discipline for her disobedience involves first, admonishing the wife, second, sexually boycotting the wife, and, lastly, physically disciplining the wife through a non-violent symbolic act.

These types of discipline are to be administered sequentially. Furthermore, the husband is to cease discipline as soon as his wife reconciles with him. If discipline does not work to restore marital harmony, then the last-resort of arbitration should be used to bring it about. Ultimately, if arbitration fails, then the husband and wife should divorce amicably as Islam prescribes. One cannot overemphasize that the husband may only discipline his wife with the intent to reconcile with her.

Stated differently, wife discipline may only be used as a means to marital reconciliation. Wife beating not only contravenes this reconciliatory purpose but flies in the face of the Islamic marital relationship as a whole.

In the final analysis, wife beating is so antithetical to Islam that those who believe it endorses such behavior are misinformed or malevolent. We hope that this paper eliminates the former and marginalizes the latter accordingly.
Just how is this Islamic approach to dealing with one's wife different than dealing with one's child and disciplining him through 'admonishment' (Websters: to indicate duties or obligations to; to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner) and negative reinforcement?

There is a clear implication in this article that the wife is second to and not equal to the husband--reminiscent of the the dhimmi second class status of non-Muslims under Muslim rule.

The dhimmi status of non-Muslims leaves a long history of abuse and pogroms behind it; the second class status of women in Islam--as revealed in the article at Ciefuegos--provides the foundation for the beating of women in Islam today.

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Have The Palestinians Settled On A One State Solution?

Powerline has a post featuring an exclusive from Dan Diker, a foreign and defense policy analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on the post-Annapolis talks. He writes, in part:
However, this author’s four meetings this week with three of the region’s top Arab affairs experts and a senior Palestinian official reveal that the Palestinian’s have already jettisoned the idea of reaching a compromise with Israel and have already hit cruise control if only to collect on promises of eight billion dollars in international commitments.

I sat in a Tel Aviv meeting on Wednesday with a senior advisor to Mahmaoud Abbas who told a few of us Israelis in no uncertain terms. “PA leader Abbas’s hands are tied." He will not agree to anything less than a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines including Jerusalem. That means no Palestinian flexibility on their demands for full sovereignty over Jerusalem’s historic Old City and especially the holy Temple Mount. The Palestinian official added that the Palestinians are also not conceding their demand for the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel. The only flexibility is the possibility of a two percent land swap. Why such apparent intransigence already? Negotiations have barely started.

This apparent zero sum Palestinian game may explain why three of Israel’s leading experts and fellow colleagues on the Arab East told me flat out in separate meetings this week their assessment that the Palestinians have already given up on the two state solution. One of Israel’s best known Arab affairs analysts stated to me, “The Palestinian pursuit of a two state solution has ended.” They have condemned themselves to a fate worse than the 1948 “Nakba” (disaster). They are now committed to the one state solution: One state for Arabs and Jews. Moreover, the Palestinians are too tired for another terror Intifada in the near future.

Apparently the White House and State Department are out of the loop.
The phrase "one state solution" is a contradiction in terms.
Just how far would the West be willing to back Abbas on such a play?

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Yid With Lid On Arutz Sheva

Yid With Lid has an opinion piece now appearing on Arutz Sheva: Synagogue and State:
It is precisely because Israeli leaders are ruled by their political desires, instead of using the Torah as a moral compass, that Israel is facing the issues it does. The concessions Ehud Olmert and other Israeli leaders are planning include abandoning Judea, Samaria, the Temple Mount, Hebron, etc. Once you take away Israel's religious heritage, the holy sites become expendable; once they become expendable, so does Tsfat and Tiberias,

The Palestinians get it. That's why they consider recognizing Israel as a Jewish State to be a deal-breaker.
Read the whole thing.

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Blogging--Follow The Money

Candice Choi writes for AP about what blogging may be coming to:
Casual blogging not just lunch money now

...It's no longer unusual for blogs with just a couple thousand daily readers to earn nearly as many dollars a month. Helping fill the pockets of such bloggers are programs like Google's AdSense and many others that let individuals — not just major publications — tap into the rapidly growing pot of advertising dollars with a click of the mouse.

In 2006, advertisers spent $16.9 billion online, up steadily each year from $6 billion in 2002, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. In the first half of 2007, online advertising reached nearly $10 billion, a nearly 27 percent increase over the first half of 2006.

Little technical skill is needed to publish a well-read blog, meaning just about anyone with something worthwhile to say can find an audience, said Kim Malone Scott, director of online sales and operations for Google's AdSense. That's attracted greater readership and advertising dollars, she said.

According to 2006 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 39 percent of Internet users, or about 57 million American adults, said they read blogs, up from 27 percent in 2004, or 32 million.

That doesn't mean bloggers are suddenly flush with money. For every blogger earning a decent side income like Brooks, countless others will never earn a cent.

But with the right mix of compelling content and exposure, a blog can draw a dedicated following, making advertising a low-hanging fruit.

"This is really a continuation of how the Web in general has enabled smaller businesses and individuals to compete if not at a level playing field, at least a more equitable level," said David Hallerman, a senior analyst with the research group eMarketer.

Google's AdSense is an automated program that places targeted advertising on sites big and small. Other programs such as PayPerPost are just as user friendly; bloggers sign up and advertisers cherry pick where they want to place ads based on categories and the number of impressions a site captures.

Getting paid might even help validate what may otherwise seem like a silly or obscure obsession.
I'm not sure which hurts more--being called silly or obscure.

Read the whole thing.

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A New Insight Into Women's Role In Judaism

A Dixie Yid posts an article by Rebbetzin Devorah Heshelis the author of a new book, The Moon's Lost Light. Dixie Yid writes that:
she tells the amazing story of how she had been bothered her entire life growing up in Bais Yaakov in the Lower East Side by the apparant inequality of women in Yiddishkeit. Her example of constant searching, learning and davening are a tremendous lesson for us. My sense is that this book is different from any other and will begin to truly open up your understanding of this topic through sources from both Niglah and Nistar. You can get ahold of her book from Targum HERE (for 30% discount). You can also read a great review of the book by Meyer Twersky in Jewish Action Magazine HERE.
In her article, Rebbetzin Heshelis writes about her journey to discovery of women's true role in Judaism:
The process took over twenty years. First I found out from some of the tradition commentaries that I read that women’s inequality was coming from Chava (Eve’s) sin. That meant that women’s lower status was not how it was originally meant to be, and the way things are now is not the ideal. This in itself was comforting. It showed that Hashem “agreed” that women being unequal was not how He really wanted it to be.

Then I found out about the verse in Jeremiah 31:21 which prophecizes that women will become equal with men. Literally the verse reads “nekevah tisovev gever”. There are many explanations of this phrase, but the deeper commentaries explain it to mean that in the future females would have equal spiritual perception with men. (Later I found out that it also means that women would learn Torah, and would become equal in other ways as well.) But this still didn’t make sense to me, because as far as I could see women already had equal spiritual perception with men. Finally, when I was about 40 years old I read an amazing book called Kol HaTor. Written by a student of the great Gaon of Vilna, it contained his secret teachings on what would happen before the redemption.
Read the entire article.

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Do You Know Who This Is?

A Simple Jew has a post consisting of just 2 photos from the 1940's.
Can you identify the famous person in each photo?

Check out the comments to see if you're right.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bush Signs Bill To Limit Contributions To The UN

The United Nations has decided to vote itself a hefty spending increase of 10% next year--bringing its budget to $4.2 billion. The vote was 178-1, with only the US opposing. Despite voting against the budget, the US will still be obligated to pay about $922 million, almost 25% of the proposed budget.

The Investor's Business Daily, however, notes that
...we in fact pay much more than that each year.

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, we spent more than $5 billion on the U.N. and related activities, ranging from food programs to peacekeeping. That's a rise of 67% during George Bush's first term alone. So much for stingy Americans.
Well, actually the US has taken a step to cut down on contributions to the UN, based on Bush signing off this Wednesday on H.R. 2764: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008:
(Sec. 699G) Prohibits funds under this Act from being made available for a contribution to the United Nations or a U.N. subsidiary body until the Secretary certifies that the U.N. has taken certain spending and procurement transparency steps.
(Sec. 699H) Prohibits funds under this Act from being made available for the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that: (1) the provision of such funds is in the U.S. national interest; or (2) the United States is a Council member.
The bill has been passed by both chambers of Congress and has been signed by the President. It will become law once administrative actions are complete.

This comes out to about $3 million, but it is a start in showing our disapproval of the UN oil-for-food scandal, various reports of abuse by UN peacekeepers--including prostitution, the failure of the UN to act against genocide in Darfur and Rwanda and allowing Iran to continue its nuclear program unimpeded.

The IBD addresses the underlying cause of the problem:
Why such a bad record? Part of the problem is the U.N., which was started after World War II with the best of humanitarian intentions, has been hijacked by a variety of left-wing and anti-Semitic agendas, pushed by an aggressive pack of anti-U.S. and anti-democratic nations that tend to vote as a bloc in the U.N.

According to Heritage Foundation fellow Brett Schaefer, these U.N. voting blocs include the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, and the Group of 77 developing nations (which has 130 members — not 77.) All these groups are, in fact, anti-American, anti-West and anti-free market.
One reaction to this is to take measures to cut back on the funding of the UN. True, you can point to alot of good that the UN has done, but given the opportunity--and $4.2 billion--I think I could do alot of good too.

Of course, there is another course of action: start from scratch. That's what the IBD suggests:
Let the tyrants and bureaucrats go home. Maybe we can form a new organization based on the 89 countries classified as "fully free" by the nonpartisan human rights group, Freedom House. That would give us almost half of the U.N.'s 192 current members — a good start for a new beginning.
This is actually not a new idea. At a Novermber conference about the UN demonization of Israel, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter suggested the formation of a 'Liberty Alliance' of like-minded democratic countries, working together in the context of the UN. Senator Bill Frist went a step further last year when President Bush decided not to seek US membership on the new UN Human Rights Council:
My hope is that President Bush will consider establishing a council of democracies outside of the U.N. system that could meet regularly to truly monitor, examine and expose human rights abuses around the globe.
In The UN and Beyond: United Democratic Nations, put out by the Hudson Institute, Anne Bayefsky writes that reform of the United Nations at this point is probably impossible, and comes the closest to a concrete suggestion:
I think, however, it would make a lot more sense to talk about a UDN, a United Democratic Nations. It could begin with a small coalition of states comprised of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. (p. 2)
Sounds like a good idea--one worth talking up and action on.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Pleads With US To 'Rape' Israel

Now we can finally understand where Haaretz is coming from:
Journalist: U.S. Should 'Rape' Israel

The editor in chief of Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper, David Landau, confirmed yesterday that he has pleaded with Secretary of State Rice to "rape" Israel and its neighbors into resolving their problems.

The comment, which was made during a gathering of 20 Israeli leaders — including academic, military, and press figures — at the home of the American ambassador in Tel Aviv, Richard Jones, was criticized in the last few days by Israeli- and American-based Jewish leaders. The gathering, during one of Ms. Rice's visits to the region several months ago, was convened at her request, so she could hear a wide range of Israeli views, Mr. Landau said.

"'Rape' is a word in the English language," Mr. Landau told The New York Sun yesterday as he reconstructed the event. He said several people, "from the right and from the left," spoke at the dinner, and that when his turn came, he said, "Israel, after 40 years of failing to resolve its problem of occupation," needed a push from America. "Rape it into resolving the problem," he told Ms. Rice.

Some of the participants apparently did not like the comment, Mr. Landau said, and relayed it to one of Israel's leading television reporters, Ehud Yaari, who since then has aired the quote on Israeli TV without attribution, although Mr. Landau said he had never asked that his name be concealed. "I don't go back on what I said," he said, adding that he had published similar sentiments for decades.

Even as a Jerusalem Post cub reporter in the 1970s, he said, he had pleaded with the then-undersecretary of state, Joseph Cisco, to "squeeze" Israel and the rest of the Middle East's warring parties, so they could achieve peace.
Considering the lengths Landau is willing to go to conspire with US officials against the will of the Israeli people, the news that comes out of Haaretz from this point on is suspect.

More than that, what does Israeli law say about an Israeli citizen who urges the representatives of a foreign power to subvert the will and decisions of his country? Between Landau on the one hand and Peace Now accepting money from foreign countries to get Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 borders on the other--the question is just how bankrupt is the Left in Israel?

[Hat tip: Hot Air Headlines]

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Al Sharpton, Jews, And The Democratic Party

Sultan Knish notes the apparently inseparable bond between Al Sharpton and the Democrats:
Despite leading racist attacks against Jews that led to several murders, Al Sharpton has only become more powerful within the Democratic party. Despite being caught on video tape discussing a drug deal, despite a history of lies, blackmail and racial intimidation, the Democratic Party has chosen to mainstream a known racist and hatemonger.
He then ties that in with the roots of the Jewish support of the Democrats.

Read the whole thing.

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A Sari Excuse For A Moderate

Israel Matzav writes about how 'Palestinian' 'Moderate' Sari Nusseibeh shows his true colors, based on a post by Cinnamon Stillwell on her blog.

Of course raising questions about Nusseibeh is nothing new. Smooth Stone summarizes a list of errors in Nusseibeh's book Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life while Efraim Karsh writes about his distrust of Nusseibeh based on his own personal encounter with him--and Frontpage provides examples of Nusseibeh double-talk.

A prime example of moderation in moderation.

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And As The Year Draws To A Close...

You can never have enough contests:
Elder of Ziyon's Dhimmi of the Year
The nominees should be prominent non-Muslims who have accepted and embraced their second-class status in a Muslim-dominated world.

Yid With Lid's First Annual Self-Hating Jew Hall of Fame

Jihad Watch's American Dhimmi of the Year 2007
Vote for the American who behaved in the most pusillanimous, abject, and/or suicidally stupid way in the face of Islamic supremacist bullying and intimidation, peaceful or violent.

Jihad Watch's Dhimmi Internationale 2007
Vote for the world citizen who behaved in the most pusillanimous, abject, and/or suicidally stupid way in the face of Islamic supremacist bullying and intimidation, peaceful or violent.
Take your pick.

Where Do I Get One Of Those?

Dixie Yid has a picture of the very latest in child monitoring technology.

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Now And Zen

Check out Boker Tov, Boulder who finishes off the day with an enlightened list of Jewish Zen sayings, such as:
Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems. What would you talk about?
Or blog about, for that matter...

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where Would Hezbollah be without...Israel?

In A Fresh Look at Hezbollah, Michael Totten quotes from Middle East Strategy At Harvard, where Andrew Exum writes:
The second reason why Hezbollah cannot give up its arms, though, is because so many of the young men who join the organization join to fight. These young men are lured by the promise of fighting Israel, and Hezbollah must worry that if they were to abandon their military campaign against Israel, these young men would simply split from the organization in the same way that so many of the Amal militia’s gunmen left for Hezbollah in the early 1980s. Thus, in order to keep these young men of arms under the same big tent as the rest of the organization, it is necessary to continue some form of armed conflict against Israel. In this way, Hezbollah’s cross-border raids and rocket attacks against Israel after the 2000 withdrawal—while necessary from an internal perspective—ultimately worked against Hezbollah’s overall strategy of deterrence.
Whereas Arab regimes use hatred of Israel as a distraction from their failed policies and corruption, Hezbollah uses that hatred to maintain its ranks and insure its continued existence.

Contrary to Condoleezza Rice, maybe it's not the Israel-Palestinian conflict that endangers stability in the Middle East--on the contrary, perhaps it's the continued existence of Israel that keeps the Middle East from actually consuming itself.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Good Question

In O Little Town of Bethlehem, David Hazony notes the seasonal Israel-bashing reserved for this time of year as Muslim control increases at the expense of the Christian population. He closes with a simple question which the media perpetually leaves unanswered:
What’s unclear about the media’s take on this front is what interest Israel could possibly have in turning Bethlehem into another Jenin, Nablus, or Ramallah.
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62 YouTube Videos About Israel

Good News From Israel has put together a list of 62 Israel-related videos "including specific sections for Israeli technology and a section for Israel music videos (oldies but goodies)"

Also, YouTube videos about Israel's history, including "Israel - Birth of a Nation with Sir Martin Gilbert" (10 parts)

You can see the list here.

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Israelis and Palestinians Share Low Expectations

Just in case Condoleezza Rice--who has quoted questionable polls in the past--comes out again with a poll claiming widespread support and optimism for the goals of the Annapolis summit:
Israelis and Palestinians responding to a survey believe a recent U.S.-sponsored peace conference was a failure and think their leaders won't manage to sign a peace deal in the next year, according to results released Tuesday.

Israelis were more pessimistic, with 74 percent saying the peace summit last month in Annapolis, Md., was a failure compared with 59 percent of Palestinians, according to the poll.

The Annapolis conference officially relaunched Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after a violent seven-year freeze. At the summit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.

But only 23 percent of Palestinians and 8 percent of Israelis think that's possible, the poll showed.

More than half of Israelis — 55 percent — believe that violence will not stop, along with 32 percent of Palestinians, it found.

The poll of 1,270 Palestinians and 564 Israelis was carried out jointly by the Truman Center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. It had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Palestinians and Israelis are also split down the middle on a final peace deal.

Pollsters asked respondents if they supported an agreement that would see a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, territorial exchanges between the sides, a compromise on Jerusalem that would see Israel rule Jewish areas and Palestinians rule Arab areas, and a resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian state and abroad but not in Israel.

A slim majority of Israelis — 53 percent — said they would support such a deal, roughly the same as last year but down from 64 percent two years ago. Forty-seven percent of Palestinians said they would support it, compared to 48 percent last year. [Emphasis added]
Keep in mind that 2 polls--by Ma'agar Mochot and One Jerusalem--indicate strong opposition by Israelis to dividing Jerusalem.

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Gaza Attracts More Parasites

Remember that Islamist terrorist group in Lebanon that the Lebanese army was able to attack with impunity? Seems that Fatah al-Islam has made for greener pastures.

So to speak.
The radical Islamist group Fatah al-Islam, which was recently crushed by the Lebanese army, has begun operating inside the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority officials said Tuesday.

Lebanese army soldiers sit on their tank, during a patrol in front of destroyed buildings, that were destroyed during the fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah Islam group, inside the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

In a statement issued in the Gaza Strip, the group claimed responsibility for the firing of homemade rockets at Sderot on two different occasions over the past few weeks.

The Sunni Islamist group, whose name means "Conquest of Islam," was established in November 2006 and draws inspiration from al-Qaida.

Earlier this year, the group engaged in fierce fighting with the Lebanese army in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon. Dozens of Palestinians and Lebanese were killed in the clashes, which also resulted in the destruction of hundreds of homes in the camp.
And Fatah al-Islam will not be lonely:
...If the claim is true, Fatah al-Islam joins a long list of radical Islamist groups that have popped up in the Gaza Strip in recent years. They include Hizb al-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), Fatah al-Yasser, Qaida al-Islam, Army of Islam, Suyuf al-Haq (Swords of Justice) and the Nasser Eddin Brigades.
Just as stagnant water attracts bacteria--without consistent Israeli countermeasures in Gaza, terrorists are drawn to the one area where the West will allow terrorism to fester.

Fatah al-Islam knows a good thing when it sees one.

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