Monday, March 31, 2008

Fitna: The Movie, And The Petition On Behalf Of Geert Wilders

According to IMDb:
Fitna is a film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in the Dutch parliament. The movie offers a critical view of Islam and the Koran. The name comes from the Arabic word fitna which is used to describe "disagreement and division among people", or a "test of faith in times of trial".
The webpage begins with: "Warning! This synopsis contains spoilers"
If there is anything in this movie that you don't already know about, you've been asleep.

Then again, if you have--you are not alone.

A full overview of the video is available on Wikipedia

Of course, the film was greeted with criticism--instead of the violence the movie discusses.
The ambassadors of 26 Islamic countries want the Netherlands to investigate whether the film Fitna made by Dutch right-wing populist MP Geert Wilders can be banned. They asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen whether it is possible to start legal proceedings against the anti-Islam film. The meeting at the ministry in The Hague was attended by ambassadors of countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Here is a petition you can sign on behalf of Geert Wilders, who made the film.

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Back From The Hospital

Late Thursday morning my wife and I took our 4 month old son to the hospital and got back home Sunday afternoon--Baruch HaShem, he is doing much better. (My wife and I are still recovering)

Gimmel Tefachim was up most of Wednesday night, unable to keep anything down--throwing up formula, Pedialite and even water. His doctor advised us to take him to take him to the hospital. Once there, they took a number of specimens for cultures, including a sample of spinal fluid to test for Meningitis. Somehow, at a time that most hospitals seem to be in a rush to get you out of the hospital, this one seemed intent on keeping us as long as they could.

Shabbos there was made much easier thanks to Baruch Who and his wife, who provided us with food for Shabbos, and took care of our daughter--who was thrilled to have a 3-day sleepover.

The hospital actually did have facilities for providing food for Shabbos, and I was in the process of asking a shaila of my rabbi, when my wife called for more details on the meals. It turns out that the hospital charges $28
per meal.
per person.

We gracefully declined their hospitality--although I wonder if maybe they should take a crack at going into the kosher catering business.

As long as they change their name.
Somehow, I don't think that Saint XXXXXXX Kosher Catering would go over too well.

Towards The Creation Of A Liberal Jewish Lobby

Look out Mearsheimer and Walt.

Last year saw 2 attempts at splintering support for Israel.

In a review of Zev Chafets' book A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance, Jonathan R. Cohen writes in the January 2007 issue of Commentary about the increasing antagonism of Protestantism for Israel:
A large part of the problem, he [Zev Chafets] writes, is the "post-millennial" theology of the liberal churches, which holds that "every house built for Habitat for Humanity; every hot meal served at a downtown soup kitchen, every human-rights document signed at the United Nations, helps speed the arrival of the messiah." In this deeply political view of the "end of days," Israel is prayed as an obstacle to peace, a war-mongering nation that imposes suffering on the innocents. Thus, while evangelicals proudly declare their Zionism, many of the mainline churches battle the Jewish state with every tool at their disposal, from meeting with Islamic radicals to disinvestment campaigns that equate Israel with apartheid-era South Africa. [emphasis added]
This "political view of the 'end of days," may be one element in the creation by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton of a New Baptist Covenant that would differ from more conservative Baptists on the issue of Israel, tending more to the view that Carter has taken in his new book.

But this "political view of the 'end of days" is not so different from the worldview of liberal Jews who have been critical of Israel--even after the Disengagement, and claim that Olmert is not doing enough. Liberal Jews chafe at the idea of AIPAC taking a leading role in putting the stamp of approval on what is best for Israel.

So besides Carter trying to challenge the conservative landscape, we now also have George Soros who spent millions funding and tried to have Bush defeated in the 2004 election--not to mention the bogus Lancet study that widely exaggerated the number of casualties in Iraq.

Similarly, we have Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine, who definitively stated:

“I would not be surprised to learn that some branch of our government conspired either actively to promote or passively to allow the attack on 9/11,” Lerner wrote in an essay published in the new book, “9/11 and American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out.” Lerner added that he would also not be surprised if it turned out that the attacks were not the result of a government conspiracy. [emphasis added]

Besides the fact that we see that nothing surprises Michael Lerner, apparently Lerner--by buying into the conspiracy theory--puts himself in the interesting position of potentially allying himself with other like-minded conspiracy theorists: the kind that think that Israel was behind 9-11 and warned Jews to leave in advance of the attack.

Not surprisingly, Lerner also buys into actual anti-Israel claims. In his defense of Jimmy Carter Lerner buys into Carter's repetition of the accusation of excessive Jewish influence whereby:
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.
Then there is Yossi Beilin, who also wants to create massive change--but this time not just in terms of Israel itself. This time around, Beilin wants to do for Judaism what he did for Middle East Peace with his Geneva Plan. Beilin wants to create a secular Jewish movement:
The new forum's goals include instituting some kind of civil marriage and divorce, instituting secular conversions to Judaism and obtaining state funding for secular yeshivas. It will also work to promote separation of religion and state.

...The forum's long-term goal is creating a secular Judaism movement, including secular conversions. Such conversions, according to Beilin, will require familiarity with Hebrew culture, the Hebrew language and Jewish history. "Secular conversion might be harder and more complex than religious conversion," he said, adding that such conversions would be the real revolution.

...Shabbat is also likely to be a subject of controversy. Beilin wants Jews to be able to work on Shabbat and to choose any other day of the week as their day off, as members of other religions can.
So: what happens when you combine Jimmy Carter, Michael Lerner, George Soros, and Yossi Beilin together? The results are really not all that unexpected:

Michael Lerner, founding editor of the liberal bimonthly Tikkun, wrote in an email to the magazine’s contributors early this month that he is in the process of exploring the possibility of working with the former president to build support for a left-wing alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Lerner mentioned that he and Carter had just spoken on the phone about the issue, but declined to discuss specifics, saying the chat was confidential.

Lerner is not alone among Jews on the left eager to launch a counterweight to the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse. The Forward and JTA have reported that financier George Soros has been consulting with leaders of dovish groups, including the Israel Policy Forum, Americans for Peace Now and Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, on launching some sort of pro-peace process initiative.

In an interview with the Forward, Lerner said that his envisioned collaboration with Carter would be in harmony with the efforts of Soros and liberal Jewish groups, not in competition with them. [emphasis added]

And of course
Meretz chairman MK Yossi Beilin yesterday commended the establishment of the new lobby. Beilin told Haaretz that the lobby would not compete with AIPAC but portray another facet of American Jewry. [emphasis added]
So we have anti-Israel Carter and anti-Zionist Soros along with extremists like Lerner and Beilin focused together on the same project--all to provide a voice to the under-represented liberal Jewish voice.

Gershon Gorenberg lays this out in the current issue of Prospect--A Liberal Jewish Lobby. But Eric Trager challenges:
the assumption that American Jews are overwhelmingly dovish on Israel, and therefore poorly represented by AIPAC. Gorenberg’s empirics actually suggest otherwise. For example, seeking to prove American-Jewish dovishness, Gorenberg cites a recent AJC survey that found a 46-43-plurality support for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Yet support for Palestinian statehood is not a particularly dovish position in the U.S. Indeed, it represents a rare instance of Republican-Democratic consensus-and the close divide among American Jews therefore suggests, if anything, a hawkish streak. In this vein, the same survey showed that 58 percent of American Jews opposed compromising on the status of Jerusalem-a step that Israeli-Palestinian peace likely requires no less than the evacuation of most settlements. Gorenberg therefore completely misses the relevance of American Jews’ 57-percent opposition to military action of Iran: rather than suggesting a dovish outlook on Israel, it most likely reflects weariness with the Iraq war, which American Jews now oppose 67-27.

Trager goes further:

Gorenberg’s suggestion that an American “liberal Israel lobby” is the best means to affect this change strikes me as odd. After all, any lobbying effort against the Israeli settlement policy should appeal, first and foremost, to the Israeli government and Israel’s voting public-not the U.S., which bears no responsibility for the settlements and has long opposed their construction.

...But Gorenberg is an Israeli citizen, with all the voting rights and civil liberties that come with it. He therefore possesses direct levers for influencing Israeli policy, and hardly needs American Jews–a group he misunderstands anyway–to adopt his cause.

It's one thing to talk about a liberal version of AIPAC, but with Soros, Beilin, and Lerner--we are not talking about your father's liberal Jews.

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The Jews Of Zimbabwe

In light of the elections in Zimbabwe, James Kirchick writes on Contentions about the Jewish community there:

Zimbabwe’s small community of Jews — numbering no more than 300 — is particularly vulnerable, as most of them are elderly. Due to the massive inflation of the past 8 years, their savings have disappeared, and many depend on families abroad or on Jewish philanthropy. (Peter Godwin’s recently-published memoir, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, is a searing account of one Jewish family’s struggle to survive in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.) Mugabe is prone to anti-Semitic outbursts, and has long expressed support for Palestinian terrorist organizations. Though they are numerically small and represent no threat whatsoever to his regime, the Jewish community of Zimbabwe would be an easy group for Mugabe to scapegoat as he sinks to even further levels of desperation.

Claudia Braude has a piece in this week’s Forward reporting from Harare on the state of the Zimbabwean Jewish community. She writes that contingency plans are being drawn up by an African Jewish organization to help Zimbabwe’s Jews emigrate should they find themselves in physical danger following the election. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Israeli government sponsored a series of heroic missions to rescue Ethiopian Jews wishing to flee oppression and make Aliyah. Perhaps the time has finally arrived for another Operation Moses.

I had no idea at all that there was a Jewish community there. According to the Zimbabwe Jewish Community website, their website:
nearly 110 years of Jewish Communities in Zimbabwe and help record the history and details of a unique period for the benefit of both current and future generations. From a peak of some 7,500 Jews in the early 1970s - the total Zimbabwe Jewish community in 2006 is approximately 270 souls (from 294 in 2005). This is the story of a once vibrant community who settled for many different reasons in what was originally Rhodesia - later to become Zimbabwe. Time however, is of the essence as the numbers of those that can "tell the story" and the remaining community dwindle.
The Jewish Virtual Library traces the Jewish community in Zimbabwe to early immigration from Russia and Lithuania:
In 1894, the first synagogue was formed by 20 Jews in a tent in Bulawayo, Rhodesia. The second community arose in Salisbury (Harare) in 1895; a third congregation, which has remained small, was established in Gwelo in 1901. By 1900, 400 Jews lived in Rhodesia. The first Jews came by way of the southeast coast through Portuguese Beira.

Rhodesian Jewry was always very active in regional and international Zionist activities. In 1898, the Central African Zionist Organizations were established in Bulawayo as the Zionist supervising organization in the region.

In the 1920s and 1930s, several Sephardic Jews arrived from Rhodes. By 1921, census data reported 1,289 Jews living in Rhodesia. In the late 1930s, several German refugees, moved to the country fleeing Nazi persecution. Following World War II, Rhodesia witnessed a period of economic prosperity; consequently a number of Jews arrived from South Africa and England.
A variety of links to various sites about the Jewish community of Zimbabwe can be found at Jewish Zimbabwe

Read posts about other Jewish communities.

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The Changing Face Of Lakewood...

...and the consequences.
Two Cases for Decentralization

by Jonathan Rosenblum
March 26, 2008

Last month, the English Yated Ne'eman bravely published a two-part article by R' Avraham Birnbaum on some of the consequences of the ever accelerating dominance of Lakewood within the American learning community.

While the transformation of Lakewood is largely a tale of the remarkable growth of the American learning community, the changes have not come without costs.

It is now a standard rite of passage for American bochurim who are ready to marry to head for Lakewood. While they are in shidduchim, they will learn in overflowing batei medrash, with a thousand or more bochurim. After marriage, the default assumption is that the young couple will continue to live in Lakewood.

The presence of most of the eligible young learners in one place also has its effect on young women. Those from "out-of-town" communities must either leave their parents' home and move to New York or endure costly and draining long-distance dating.

The Lakewood community of today bears little resemblance to that of even twenty years ago.
At the time of the petirah of Rabbi Aharon Kotler, zt"l, in 1962, the number of kolleleit was no more than a hundred, and only a few hundred when his son Rabbi Shneur Kotler, zt"l, passed away almost two decades later. Today the number is 4,000.

Twenty years ago, most of the community lived in aging homes on a few tree-lined streets around Bais Medrash Govoha. Today it sprawls over vast suburban housing developments far beyond walking distance of the Yeshiva. Many of the capacious new homes are occupied by young couples drawn by cheaper housing than they can find in Brooklyn.

The changes in the community are ones of kind, not just quantity. The kollel couples in Reb Aharon and Reb Shneur's day were idealistic pioneers charting a new course for American Jewry. By and large, they had left their home communities in response to Reb Aharon's call of learning Torah lishma. Today, Lakewood is the most comfortable place for young Torah families to live, and a new trend is emerging of parents purchasing homes in Lakewood and eventually joining their married children there.

Not surprisingly, there have been tensions between the denizens of the "old yishuv" of idealistic kollel families and some of the newcomers, who bring a different lifestyle to Lakewood.

Perhaps the most significant development discussed by R' Birnbaum is the "brain drain" from other established communities to Lakewood. He suggests that an infusion of a large number of young kollel familes from Lakewood into established communities would not only inject needed new blood into those communities but also be good for the kolleleit. The latter would regain some of that pioneering idealism to spread Torah that Reb Aharon instilled in his closest talmidim. (That is already taking place in many towns around Lakewood, where kollelimhave been established and to which groups of kolleleit have moved.)

The presence of larger kollelim might also attract bochurim returning from Eretz Yisrael to the yeshivos in which they previously learned and where they have a personal connection to the rabbonim. In smaller yeshivos, the danger of bochurim falling between the cracks, with no one to guide them personally, would be reduced.

THE CENTRALIZATION OF FULL-TIME AVREICHIM in Lakewood is, in part, economically driven by the lack of affordable housing in major cities with large Orthodox populations. In Israel, economic factors are pushing in the opposite direction.

In Eretz Yisrael too there is a great centralization of the learning community. The dream of every yeshiva bochur is an apartment in Jerusalem or Bnei Brak, or, failing that, in one of the new all-chareidi communities within commuting distance – Beitar, Elad, or Kiryat Sefer.

Yet that dream is increasingly beyond realization for many young couples. In outlying Jerusalem neighborhoods in the process of "chareidization," the price of a small apartment that the couple will likely outgrow in a few years is rapidly climbing towards $200,000. Recent government-imposed housing freezes in Beitar and elsewhere have sent housing prices skyrocketing, if one can even find an apartment to buy.

Clearly, the dream of an apartment in or near Bnei Brak or Jerusalem for every young couple is not sustainable. Few parents can afford even half of one $200,000 apartment, much less of many such apartments.

What the long-range solution is no one knows, but part of that solution will have to be more young couples moving to the periphery, whether in the South or North, where apartment prices are less than half of those in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.

That move will encounter resistance from both young couples and their parents. The former will claim that their growth in Torah learning will be imperiled by being removed from the major centers of learning.

Not necessarily. When Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky was a young rav in Tzitevian he had no one with whom to talk in learning regularly. And the same was true of most of the other 300 communal rabbonim in Lithuania. And yet Reb Yaakov testified that you could not catch one of them on a Tosofos anywhere in Shas.

Today there are many great talmidei chachamim in communities like Tifrach, Ofakim, Netivot, and Rechesim. And there is a special atmosphere of mesirus nefesh for Torah to be found among those who did not insist that they could only learn if they received an apartment in Jerusalem or Bnei Brak, and who may have even followed the Gemara's recommendation to seek the daughter of a talmid chacham, even one without a handsome dowry attached. Young couples in these communities also do not have start married life with the burden of guilt of watching their parents crumbling under debts they can never hope to repay.

And finally let us not forget an old A. Amitz story - which, as readers know, are all true - in which the narrator is the youngest sibling of a large family. By the time she gets married, there is no money for her to buy in Jerusalem, and she must move to the periphery. But in the end, it is she who ends up living surrounded by all her married children (and nieces and nephews as well), and who can, as principal of the school, provide jobs for all her daughters and daughters-in-laws.

Makes sense.
You can read other articles by Jonathan Rosenblum at Jewish Media Resources

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HonestReporting Video: Ending "The Cycle Of Violence"

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Israel's "New" Image

The Israeli Consulate in New York sent out an email recommending an article in AdWeek: Best Face Forward. The good news is that Israel is doing more than concentrating on facts and figures to counter negative propaganda.

On the other hand, apparently they have not given up on figures altogether:
The Maxim shoot, designed to help redefine Israel's public image, was initiated by David Saranga, the consul for media and public affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York. It was part of a larger effort to give a new face to the nation as it approaches its 60th anniversary this spring.

...In the U.S., Saranga's office has launched a range of initiatives, both virtual and offline, to shift the image of Israel among audiences typically indifferent or even hostile towards the country. "Our research indicated that Israel is perceived primarily through two lenses: militarization and religion," says Saranga, who worked with New York-based Insight ResearchGroup (IRG) to conduct focus groups measuring Israel's appeal across the U.S. "What was lacking was a human lens."
Human lens? Just what is it about Judaism in Eretz Yisrael that lacks a human lens? Maybe they should come right out and say that what Israel is looking for is to look more 'fun'.
Prior to the Maxim shoot, Saranga developed and launched a MySpace page representing the entire State of Israel. Post-shoot, he launched one on Facebook, as well. He also created a blog,, which offers stories about Israeli culture, from fashion and film to music and cuisine, which was recently updated with a richer video-based interface.
But someone in Israel seems to have a one track mind and has arranged for the Sports Illustrated 2008 swimsuit issue to be filmed in Israel.

Yet, overall, focusing on particular places in Israel instead of Israel as a whole has had a positive effect:
So much so that the print campaign resulted in up to four times the number of previous visits to the Tourism Office's Web site, reports Jeff Upward, director of Total Media International in London, which handles all of Israel's U.K. and European media placement. "And some 20 times more visits when the spots ran on TV and in the London Underground," says Upward, compared to the period before the ads ran. He adds that recent print and outdoor campaigns in Russia saw tourism to Israel increase by 130 percent from that country, while a print-only campaign in Italy boosted business by 40 percent from 2006 to 2007 (numbers from Total Media International).
But just what is happening to Israel's image as a result of the new approach--especially using Maxim and Sports Illustrated to give Israel a "human lens"?
And the new efforts are appearing to sway the masses -- at least, the Maxim-reading masses. According to a study conducted late last year by IRG, the Maxim article succeeded in creating a more multi-dimensional image of Israel in the eyes of its readers. Fifty-two percent of respondents found the article "very appealing," 37 percent said they viewed Israel as "more liberal" and, perhaps most importantly, 74 percent said the article made them look at Israel "as more like the U.S."
What is not discussed is what is gained by giving Israel a "more liberal" look--and just what did people have in mind when they said that they looked at Israel as being "more like the US"?

The final question is whether Maxim and Sports Illustrated are going to help what Israel is supposedly really after:
"Even if parts of the public already support Israel, that is not enough -- we want them to care about Israel," says IRG head Boaz Mourad. "Because just like any brand, the more people care about you -- the better for your brand."
If that is really the key, just how much more are people going to care--really care--about Israel just because of bunch of half naked women?

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How Dare Jews Close Their Stores on Saturday!

Who is more offended: non-Jews or Jews?

Rabbi Avi Shafran

The media’s fascination with Orthodox Jews seems to only intensify with time. Some of us Orthodox may be discomfited by reports that television and motion pictures have come to increasingly offer up observant Jewish characters and observances; but one supposes that is simply the price of our community’s growth in numbers and visibility. Feature stories, at least those that don’t treat the Orthodox as some sort of freak-show exhibit, are generally unobjectionable. Legitimate news reports, of course, are fine.

One might question, though, whether some news stories are truly newsworthy, especially when they give vent to sentiments that regard Orthodox Jews as sinister or threatening.

A March 9 article in the business section of The New York Times may or may not have been journalistically justified. It was, though, thought-provoking.

The piece described how some residents of the Long Island community of Great Neck have come to feel oppressed by a growing Orthodox Jewish population in the village. The problem? Several stores have been closing on the Jewish Sabbath.
One woman lamented how, wanting to buy a box of nails one Saturday, she found the local hardware store dark. Another had a similarly disconcerting experience with a liquor store. The horror.

And so, the whispers (and comments spoken aloud to reporters) these days include phrases like “pressure from the religious community,” and sentiments like the fear that the neighborhood is “going Orthodox” and being “targeted” by observant Jews.

One patron told The Times, “Everyone is entitled to practice their religion as they choose, but please don’t push it on me.”

“Pressured?” “Targeted”? “Push it on me”? Observant Jews who purchased homes in a suburban community are an invading force? A merchant who decides to close his business on the Jewish Sabbath is pushy? What year is this again?

Something beyond mere inconvenience, one suspects, is at work here, some resentment with roots deeper than the need to drive a few more blocks one day a week to buy some nails. The “don’t push it on me” patron may have revealed a gnarled limb with another comment she made, simple and straightforward: “It annoys me no end that stores are closed on Saturdays.”

Her annoyance seems visceral, its source the Sabbath itself. Or, perhaps more accurately, the fact that there are Jews who insist, even in this day and age, on its observance.

The annoyed may include non-Jews, but Great Neck has a substantial Jewish population, and it has often been the case that Jews are at the forefront of objections to the appearance of Orthodox fellow-Jews in a community. But why would any Jews feel discomfited by other Jews’ honoring the Sabbath? Would they be piqued if they lived in a devoutly Christian community where merchants chose not to do business on Sundays?

What it brings to mind is the story of the Jewish fellow who found himself seated on a plane next to a bearded man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a long black coat. Unable to control himself, the clean-shaven gentleman gives the other one a disapproving look and a long lecture about how Jews today need not look or act like their great-grandparents, how Judaism has evolved, how we Jews should be Americans first, Jews mainly in our hearts, and so on.

With a bewildered look, the bearded passenger quietly responds: “I’m Amish.”

The lecturer turns crimson and apologizes profusely. “I want you to know,” he stammers, “that I so respect your determination to live by the ideals of your faith and your community’s traditions. It is inspiring to know that there are people who put eternal truths before society’s whims and fashions…”

“Just joking,” the beard interrupts, with a mischievous smile. “You were right the first time.”

Such Jewish multi-personality disorder deeply disturbs some Orthodox Jews, and understandably. Why indeed should a Jewish person fully accept a non-Jew’s choice to honor his faith and tradition yet resent a fellow Jew’s choice to honor his own?

Maybe it’s my naturally optimistic bent, but what occurs to me is that, on the contrary, something positive lies in Jewish discomfort over Jewish observance. If there are indeed Jews in the Great Neck posse, the fact that they would never even feel, much less express, chagrin over Amish folks’ or Catholics’ or Muslims’ observance of their faiths yet are “annoyed” by Jews observing theirs can only mean one thing: they truly care about Judaism. Enough to be bothered when reminders of how Jews were meant to live intrude on the complacent comfort of their lives and puncture their consciences.

Their aggravation, in other words, is just fallout from the self-assertion of their Jewish souls.

If only they would decide to think instead of fume. Then their pain could be turned to great gain.

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

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Young Israel Sponsoring Blood Drives In Israel During Chol HaMoed Pesach

From an email:
Give the gift of life - give blood!!!

National Council of Young Israel and Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel, in conjunction with American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), will be once again co-sponsoring a series of blood drives in Israel:

Monday April 21, 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM, Le Meridian Hotel, Haifa

Tuesday April 22, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Kinar Classic Hotel, Galilee

Wednesday April 23, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Thursday April 24, 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Nirvana Hotel, Dead Sea

Further details can be found on our website:

AFMDA collected more than 800 units of blood from American tourists in 2007; Young Israel is playing a key role in reaching AFMDA’s goal of doubling that figure in 2008. Keep in mind that that Magen David Adom supplies 97% of the blood used by Israeli hospitals and 100% of the blood for use by the Israel Defense Forces.

For information as to who is eligible to donate and other questions, details please contact Jonathan Feldstein at; 057-761-4220.

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Haveil Havalim #160 The Waffle Edition Is Up!

This week, Life In Israel is hosting Haveil Havalim #160.
Lots to read.

For more information email Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net.

You can submit your post to the next edition of haveil havalim using the carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found at the blog carnival index page.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Last Remaining Palestinian Industry

What are we coming to when China is the kaffiyeh capital of the world?
Yasser Herbawi once supplied much of the West Bank and Gaza with black-and-white checkered scarves, the proud emblem of Palestinian identity made famous by the late Yasser Arafat.

But most of his looms now stand idle, his product edged out by cheap imports from the world’s newest kaffiyeh capital: China.

After a decade of being flooded with Chinese goods, from scarves to toys and bags, the West Bank’s largest city is struggling to compete - yet another obstacle to economic independence for Palestinians as they strive for a state of their own.

...Herbawi wants import restrictions, but these seem unlikely: His son, Izzat, noted that even Arafat’s Fatah movement, once a large customer, now buys some kaffiyehs from China.
Apparently, that now leaves Palestinians with only one last industry to brag about:
[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: "We desire death like you desire life."
This is from Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of parliament--that's the same Hamas that was voted into power by a majority and is still giving Fatah a run for their money in the West Bank.

Apparently, Hamas has found it is far easier to motivate by spewing hate than by inspiring pride. Thus the success of the Palestinian Arabs in killing people.
Thus the failure of the Palestinian Arabs in doing anything else.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Jews Of The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Were Terrorists!

As Done With Mirrors points out:
Language in the Patriot Act and related bills defines terrorism as “any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place it was committed.” Current law also bars admission to the U.S. for anyone who ever provided “material support” to any armed group.

The terrorism definition is too broad. The Warsaw ghetto uprising of World War II doesn't belong in the same file as al-Qaida. [emphasis added]
Of course we are talking about the Patriot Act--American, not International Law. Still, using the point of view of the Patriot Act: suicide bombings and other terrorist acts committed by Palestinian terrorists in Israel are indeed terrorist acts.

Going one step further, shouldn't any member of the PA who has been involved in 'terrorist' acts against Israel really be considered terrorists in the full sense of the word?

Like Abbas:
Mr. Abbas last week told the Arabic-language Al-Dastur, “I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965,” the year his organization, Fatah, initiated terrorism against Israel. (Transcript provided by PMW.) The renowned “moderate” Palestinian leader then explained his pride in “having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world ... including Hezbollah, who were trained in [PLO] camps.”
And shouldn't the US view Abbas--if he should return to terrorism, as he has hinted on doing if he does not get what he wants--as a terrorist?

The law is the law.

On a more somber note, the same definition of a terrorist is resulting in a major miscarriage of justice in the US:
During his nearly four years as a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq, Saman Kareem Ahmad was known for his bravery and hard work. "Sam put his life on the line with, and for, Coalition Forces on a daily basis," wrote Marine Capt. Trent A. Gibson.

Gibson's letter was part of a thick file of support -- including commendations from the secretary of the Navy and from then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus -- that helped Ahmad migrate to the United States in 2006, among an initial group of 50 Iraqi and Afghan translators admitted under a special visa program.

Last month, however, the U.S. government turned down Ahmad's application for permanent residence, known as a green card. His offense: Ahmad had once been part of the Kurdish Democratic Party, which U.S. immigration officials deemed an "undesignated terrorist organization" for having sought to overthrow former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
As Michael Totten notes, here is a case where a real freedom fighter is being labeled a terrorist:

The INS says Ahmad “conducted full-scale armed attacks and helped incite rebellions against Hussein’s regime, most notably during the Iran-Iraq war, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom” while a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The KDP is one of two mainstream Kurdish political parties in Iraq. Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is a member of the KDP. The KDP fought alongside the United States military as an ally during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After Operation Desert Storm the KDP fought the Saddam regime after President George H. W. Bush called on Iraqis to do so. During the Iran-Iraq War, the KDP fought the Ba’athists because they were actively resisting genocide in the Kurdish region where Saddam used chemical weapons, artillery, air strikes, and napalm to exterminate them. And he’s a terrorist?

Poorly defined laws have let terrorists get away with murder.
Here is an example of a law that is twisting the achievements of an ally and deporting him.

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The US Has A "Aha" Moment: PA Is Not Fighting Terrorism!

No, really!
Specifically, the Americans are concerned that the PA does not engage in the full spectrum of counterterrorism activities, including arrests, interrogation and trial, as it would if it were trying to eradicate the armed wings of Islamic terrorist organizations. Instead, it makes do with trying to "contain" terror - to prevent specific attacks, and to keep Hamas from growing strong enough to threaten Fatah's rule in the West Bank.

The PA security services do occasionally arrest members of Islamic organizations, but they do not then follow up with the other steps in the "chain of prevention": interrogations, arrests of additional operatives, indictments and trials. Trials generally take place only if the PA is under external pressure, as in the case of the Palestinians who killed two off-duty soldiers out on a hike near Hebron three months ago. And when they do take place, they are generally hasty affairs.

Israel has been complaining about the lack of a "chain of prevention" for years, ever since the second intifada broke out in 2000. Now, it seems that the American monitoring team, headed by General William Fraser, has adopted Jerusalem's position on this issue.
So the US is concerned. Well, at least they did not say they were surprised...

[Hat tip: Contentions]

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The Man Behind 6 Million Muslims Converting To Christianity--Each Year

His name is Zakaria Botros: and though he may not be responsible for all 6 million conversions, he is a significant thorn in the side of Islamists:
Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros [check out his website] — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.

...The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. More recently, al-Jazeera noted Life TV’s “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world.
The reasons for his phenomenal success:
  • The new media — particularly satellite TV and the Internet
  • Botros’s broadcasts are in Arabic
  • His polemical technique has proven irrefutable.
Read the entire article from National Review.

MEMRI has 4 clips of Botros in action

Clip 1 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Botros: Verses Must be Struck from the Koran; I Demand an Official Apology from Muslim Governments to Christians [Clip / Transcript]

This includes Boutrus' 10 demands--including removing certain indencidary verses from the Koran.

Clip 2 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Botros: The Prophet Muhammad's Hadith Is Reminiscent of Hitler [Clip / Transcript]

Clip 3 - Coptic Priest Zakaria Botros on the Spreading of Islam By the Sword [Clip / Transcript]

The segment includes this piece:

..."This reminds me of a true story that I heard about the preachers who spread Islam in Africa. They reached a certain place in order to spread Islam, and they asked one of the locals: 'Do you prefer to worship one god and have four wives, or to worship three gods and have one wife?' We, of course, don't worship three gods, but that's what they said. The African said 'I like four women, and I don't care which god. I want four women.' So they told him to say the shahada, and he did.

"Then they told him he had to be circumcised in order to become a Muslim. He asked: 'Do I really have to? I am a grown man.' They answered: 'Yes, you have to, in order to get the monthly stipend, and you can marry four wives.' The man agreed, and underwent the pains of circumcision despite his advanced age. They began to pay him the monthly stipend, and after a few months they cancelled the stipend. The man went and asked: 'Where's the money?' They told him: 'Now you are deep in Islam, you don't need the monthly stipend any more.' He threatened: 'I will abandon Islam.' They said: 'If you leave Islam, we will carry out the apostasy punishment on you.' He asked what it was, and they said: 'We will chop off your head, and cut you into pieces.' This African man began to mumble: 'What a strange religion: when you go in they cut off a little piece of you, and when you go out, they cut you into little pieces.'

Clip 4: Coptic Priest Zakariya Botros: Islamic Scholars Attack Christianity to Cover Up Scandals in the Life of Prophet Muhammad [Clip / Transcript]

Islamists are so desperate to discredit Botros, they have a bogus video on YouTube--claiming that someone throwing a tantrum and spilling water on someone is Botros--see the above videos and it is clear the YouTube video is not of him.

May he have many disciples.

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Video: Proof Jamal Al Dura Lied About His Wounds

Back in December, Nidra Poller wrote an article for Pajamas Media revealing that the claim by the father of Mohammed Al Dura that the scars he has came from being shot at by Israel--has been debunked:
Philippe Karsenty, who is appealing his 2006 defamation conviction-for declaring on his Media-Ratings site that the al Dura news report was a blatant fake-obtained medical records proving that Jamal’s wounds were treated by an Israeli surgeon in 1994. Now the surgeon, Yehuda David, has confirmed this information on a December 12 newscast on Israel’s Arutz 10 TV. Jean Tsadik of Metula News Agency resumed the Hebrew-language newscast for French-speaking readers.

According to the Metula release, Jamal al Dura declared on medical records in 1992 that Palestinian militia had attacked him with axes. Doctors at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital* were able to save his life but he lost the use of his right hand because they could not repair a ruptured tendon in the forearm. Palestinian doctors referred Jamal to Tal Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv in March 1994. Dr. Yehuda performed reconstructive surgery, grafting a tendon taken from the foot, and restoring almost normal use of the hand. The medical record of that operation also refers to the removal of “foreign bodies,” suggesting that other instruments besides axes were used in the 1992 attack.
Now the video demonstrating the lie is up on YouTube:

Just one more link in a chain of lies, broken

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When Barack Missed The Sermons, Did He Read Wright's Racist Bulletins?

Sweetness and Light has a post about Barack Obama’s church, in which Pastor Wright included in his bulletin [PDF]--on the "Pastor's Page" no less--an open letter to Oprah Winfrey (a member of the congregation at the time) in the June 10, 2007 edition of their bulletin. The letter was written by Ali Baghdadi an Arab-American activist who has acted as a Middle East advisor to Elijah Muhammad the founder of the Nation of Islam, as well as Minister Louis Farrakhan and has met with Castro, Saddam Hussein, Hafez Assad, and Kadafi among others.

On the one hand, the letter contains the usual propaganda:
My family tree and my roots in Palestine go back to time immemorial, long before Islam, Christianity and Judaism came into being...

...You must know that Zionist Jews from all over the world, particularly Europe, came to my Palestine, not as guests, but as settlers and occupiers in the early part of the 20th century. The natives were referred to as “snakes” from which the land must be cleansed. In 1948 they occupied 72% of my land and emptied out over 500 Arab (Christian and Muslim) towns and villages. In 1967 they occupied the remaining 28%. Six million of us have been living in refugee camps in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon for the last fifty nine years, even though the United Nations ordered the Israeli government to allow us to return (1948 UN resolution 194).

...As we offered the Crusaders who occupied our holy lands for two hundred years, Jews can stay and share our land, if they wish to live in a free and democratic Palestine that respects the rights of all, regardless of their religion, race, or ethnicity.
But the letter goes further, and Barack's pastor includes all of it:
Many pregnant Arab women have lost their babies while waiting for clearance on their way to hospitals. There are over 550 of these checkpoints that divide our land into ghettos in the West Bank alone. Though the water we get does not meet our basic needs, notice the swimming pools Israelis enjoy in settlements built on our stolen lands.

...During the Second Intifadah, the uprising against Israeli occupation, Muslim and Christian activists, chased by the Israeli death squads, were given refuge in the church.

...I must tell you that Israel was the closest ally to the White Supremacists of South Africa. In fact, South Africa allowed Israel to test its nuclear weapons in the ocean off South Africa. The Israelis were given a blank check: they could test whenever they desired and did not even have to ask permission. Both worked on an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs. [emphasis added]
This is the kind of garbage that Pastor Wright not only believes, but also distributes to his congregation, in addition to what he says in his sermons.

According to World Net Daily:
The latest revelation about published material from Obama's church follows the discovery last week by BizzyBlog that Trinity United Church of Christ reprinted a manifesto by Hamas that defended terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews – to America's Declaration of Independence.
That article adds that
Obama e-mailed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency a statement regarding the Hamas publication in his church newsletter explaining he "certainly wasn't in church when that outrageously wrong Los Angeles Times piece was re-printed in the bulletin."
Forget about the apologetics offered by Obama and others--the question returns: what is Obama doing there, and how much of what Wright says and writes does he believe?

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The "Unavoidable" Results Of Adopting Sharia Into Family Law

In February, the Archbishop of Canterbury advocated the adoption of Shariah--Islamic law--into family law, saying that it was "unavoidable". Later that month, an article came out describing the equally unavoidable results of such a decision. MEMRI has translated parts of that article:
Libyan Liberal Muhammad Al-Houni on Statements by Archbishop of Canterbury: If Europe Adopts Shari'a, It Will Revert to Pre-Enlightenment Era

In a February 26, 2008 article in the Arab liberal e-journal Elaph, Libyan-European liberal thinker and entrepreneur Muhammad 'Abd Al-Muttalib Al-Houni wrote that the recent statements by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams on implementing shari'a law in Britain constituted dangerous encouragement to fundamentalists in their war against the Enlightenment. He added that such statements could have very grave repercussions for the struggle for freedom in Muslim countries as well.

The following are excerpts from Al-Houni's article:
Would Europe Have Islamic Courts, or Would We Send European Judges to the Taliban to Learn Shari'a?

"I recently read a statement by the head of the Anglican Church [Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams], the upshot of which was that there was nothing wrong with the British legal system adopting some laws from Islamic shari'a and their implementing them for British citizens of the Islamic faith.

"There has already been a great clamor [and argument] between supporters and opponents of these statements, so I thought that I, as a Muslim citizen of Europe, would take up this thorny subject and attempt to understand this statement and its implications. [I do this] in order to shed light on what would happen in Europe if its countries were to adopt the kinds of measures that the English archbishop is demanding.

"I do not think that this demand that some laws from Islamic shari'a be adopted into European law is [meant] to include shari'a criminal law - that is, punishments such as killing the apostate (a Muslim who converts to another religion), amputating a thief's hand, cutting off a brigand's opposing hand and foot... stoning the adulterer to death, publicly flogging wine drinkers, killing homosexuals by throwing them from a high place, or allowing a relative of a [murder] victim to deal with the murderer, instead of the state.

"I imagine that the archbishop is referring [only] to Islamic shari'a laws regarding personal status. So let us imagine these laws being implemented in European courts.

"First of all, on the procedural side, there would need to be Islamic courts in European countries to adjudicate in all disputes involving European Muslim citizens - or else a large number of European judges would have to be sent to the Taliban to learn shari'a thoroughly enough to implement its laws.

"Also, European countries seeking to implement shari'a would need to submit their reservations regarding any international conventions they may have signed. This is because they will have to:
"1) Permit polygamy for European Muslim citizens, and not punish them for it - [even though] this is considered criminal under European law;

"2) Permit European Muslim citizens to beat their wives to discipline them, as the Koran urges;

"3) Allow men to unilaterally decide to divorce without requiring any court proceedings, as this is a right guaranteed [to men] by shari'a;

"4) Give daughters [only] half the inheritance rights that sons have, while widows receive only an eighth of the inheritance;

"5) [Not] consider women's testimony the equal of men's in shari'a courts;

"6) Deprive a divorced woman of custody of her children if she remarries;

"7) Allow European Muslim citizens to marry in traditional marriages without the need to officially register these marriages;

"8) Eliminate adoption, since it is contrary to shari'a;

"9) Force a woman whose Muslim husband converts to another religion to divorce him, because he is an apostate;

"10) Prevent European Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims…"
Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Illegal Construction In Jerusalem--By Arabs

With the accusations of illegal construction by Jews, it is worth noting the illegal construction by Arabs that is being ignored. From Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs:
Illegal Construction in Jerusalem

Justus Reid Weiner

NGOs assert that Arab Jerusalemites have no choice but to build their homes illegally since the municipality systematically rejects their applications for building permits. Then they must contend with municipal inspectors who send bulldozers to demolish their homes.

Human rights lawyer Justus Reid Weiner, a scholar-in-residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has just completed the first systematic study of illegal construction in Jerusalem. Based on scores of interviews from across the political spectrum - from Mayor Olmert to Sari Nusseibeh, original documents, and on-site inspections, Weiner's heavily illustrated new book discredits the conventional wisdom about the causes and effects of illegal building, and documents a pattern of politically-motivated behavior and criminal profiteering that characterizes much of the construction in the Arab sector of the Holy City.

In the Jewish neighborhoods, illegal construction typically takes the form of additions to existing legal structures - such as closing a balcony or hollowing out under a building to create an extra room. In the Arab sector, however, illegal construction often takes the form of entire multi-floor buildings with 4 to 25 living units, built with the financial assistance of the Palestinian Authority on land that is not owned by the builder.
  • Illegal construction has reached epidemic proportions. A senior Palestinian official boasted that they have built 6,000 homes without permits during the last 4 years, of which less than 200 were demolished by the city.

  • This frantic pace of illegal construction continues despite the fact that the city has authorized more than 36,000 permits for new housing units in the Arab sector, more than enough to meet the needs of Arab residents through legal construction until 2020.

  • Arab residents who wish to build legally may consult urban plans translated into Arabic for their convenience and receive individual assistance from Arabic-speaking city employees.

  • Both Arabs and Jews typically wait 4-6 weeks for permit approval, enjoy a similar rate of application approvals, and pay an identical fee ($3,600) for water and sewage hook-ups on the same size living unit.

  • The same procedures for administrative demolition orders apply to both Jews and Arabs in all parts of the city, as a final backstop to remove structures built illegally on roadbeds or land designated for schools, clinics, and the like.

  • The Palestinian Authority and Arab governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an intentional campaign to subsidize and encourage massive illegal construction in the Arab sector, seeing this as part of their "demographic war" against Israel.

  • Many large, multi-story, luxury structures have been built by criminals on land they do not own, frequently land belonging to Palestinian Christians living abroad.
  • This epidemic of illegal construction is similar to illegal building that troubles cities in scores of countries worldwide and where the authorities utilize the law to demolish the structures.

  • More than any single factor, the 35-year-long boycott of municipal politics by the Palestinian leadership has resulted in the continued imbalance in municipal services in Arab neighborhoods vis-a-vis Jewish neighborhoods.

  • Despite frequent accusations that the city's planning policy seeks to "Judaize" Jerusalem, the Arab population of the city has increased since 1967 from 27% to 32%. Moreover, since 1967 new Arab construction has outpaced Jewish construction.
Who will ultimately bear the burden of chaotic development and an eroded quality of life in the Arab neighborhoods? Are their long-term interests served by the Palestinian Authority's "demographic war" or the profiteering of land thieves?
Illegal Construction in Jerusalem (172 pp. including a fold-out map, charts, tables, documents, and aerial photographs) is available from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 02-561-9281, for $50 + postage ($10 airmail to North America; $6 airmail to Europe; $2 surface mail in Israel).

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How Pro-Israel Can Obama Be If His Advisers Aren't?

Robert M. Goldberg writes in The American Spectator about Obama military adviser and national campaign co-chairman Merrill "Tony" McPeak--one more adviser who is critical of Israel. That by itself is not the issue; what he criticizes and the degree, is:
McPeak has a long history of criticizing Israel for not going back to the 1967 borders as part of any peace agreement with Arab states. In 1976 McPeak wrote an article for Foreign Affairs magazine questioning Israel's insistence on holding on to the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank.

In recent years McPeak has echoed the Mearsheimer-Walt view that American Middle East policy is being controlled by Jews at the expense of America's interests in the region. In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, McPeak complained of that the "lack of playbook for getting Israelis and Palestinians together at...something other than a peace process....We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that."

The interviewer asked McPeak: "So where's the problem? State? White House?"

McPeak replied: "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."

..."Let's say that one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq.
Even as the other anti-Israel advisers of Obamas fade into the background, a certain pattern remains:

McPeak is not the only member of the Obama campaign who holds such twisted views. Others such as Robert Malley or Zbigniew Brzezinski have found themselves downgraded to "informal" advisers as their anti-Israel views are made public. Samantha Powers was dismissed for calling Hillary a monster, not for sharing McPeak's belief in the malign omnipotence of the "Israel lobby."

Obama has a Jewish problem and McPeak's bigoted views are emblematic of what they are.

Read the whole thing.

[Hat tip: Powerline]

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Just How Sly Was Cheney?

Writing about Dick Cheney's visit to the Middle East, Noah Pollak finds something particularly noteworthy about his press conference:
At the opening Olmert-Cheney press conference, Cheney said this:

America’s commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakeable, as is our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other threats from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The United States will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security. . . .

History has clearly shown that when encountered by Arab partners like Anwar Sadat and the late King Hussein of Jordan, who accepted Israel’s permanence and are willing and capable of delivering on their commitments, Israelis are prepared to make wrenching national sacrifices on behalf of peace. I have no doubt this is equally the case with Palestinians. [Emphasis mine.]

This seems to me a very sly variation of damning with faint praise — in this case, damning the Palestinians with as yet unjustified praise, to highlight the difference between their record and examples of actual Arab peacemaking.

If so, Cheney is being too sly by far. Just which Middle East leader wants to follow in the footsteps of Anwar Sadat and be assassinated? And even King Hussein: he was more of a survivor than a 'player' in the Middle East, having been edged out by Arafat as representative of the Palestinian Arabs--and later probably thankful for that.

Are either of these men role models that are going to be attractive to Abbas, even assuming he has what it takes (such as...intent, for starters) to make peace?

One thing is for sure. When Cheney said "I have no doubt this is equally the case with Palestinians," he was referring to accepting Israel, not making "wrenching national sacrifices on behalf of peace."--and therein lies the problem.

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A Lubavitcher Princpal In The South Bronx

[Hat tip: One Jerusalem]

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Monday, March 24, 2008

What Is This Strange Attraction Palestinians Have For Genocidal Maniacs

One can assume that despite Saddam Hussein's war crimes (see here), the loyalty of Palestinian Arabs for Hussein derives from the payments he made to the families of suicide bombers. But Saddam Hussein was not alone in having Palestinians' affection:
Many Palestinians also nurtured a similar sympathy for Milosevic. What may be considered the most surrealistic gesture during the entire decade of recent Balkan wars occurred six months after NATO’s bombing of Serbia: on December 1, 1999, the Palestinian Authority (PA) invited Milosevic to Bethlehem to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas. News of this invitation, although more or less ignored in the West, was reported with banner headlines in the Balkans. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that if Milosevic accepted the invitation he would be arrested on arrival, since Israel, as a U.N. member, is obliged to fulfill arrest orders issued by The Hague tribunal, which had indicted him. The PA, not being a U.N. member, was under no such obligation. And the PA was not the only Palestinian element to vacillate over Kosovo. Earlier in 1999, the Palestinian Islamic extremist Hamas movement issued a statement, denouncing U.S. intervention to settle the Kosovo crisis as "hiding under the slogans of human rights to impose its power in the Balkans." Hamas thus echoed the allegations of Milosevic’s own media, as well as the Russians and various leftists worldwide.
So much for twisted allegiances of the Palestinian Arab. It is not surprising then that saner minds--Muslim minds--find that they have more in common with Israel than with the Palestinian Arabs:

Many in Kosovo are well aware that they have more in common with Israel than with the West Bank and Gaza. "Kosovars used to identify with the Palestinians because we Albanians are Muslims and Christians and we saw Serbia and Israel both as usurpers of land," a prominent Kosovar recent told journalist Stephen Schwartz. "Then we looked at a map and woke up. Israelis have a population of six million, their backs to the sea, and 300 million Arab enemies. Albanians have a total population of eight million, our backs to the sea, and 200 million Slav enemies. So why should we identify with the Arabs?"

A better question might be why the apologists for the Palestinian Arabs cannot bring themselves to recognize that their precious underdogs might not really be quite as sympathetic as they try to make them out to be.

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Fatah/Hamas Agreement Lasts 24 Hours--Would Peace Treaty With Israel Last Any Longer?

Never mind the verbal agreements--just how much is an agreement actually signed by Abbas' Fatah worth? Not surprisingly, it is not worth much at all:
'Signing of Yemeni proposal a mixup'

Top aides to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday distanced themselves from a Yemeni plan outlining a path to reconciliation with Hamas movement, and one said an Abbas envoy only signed the document because of a mixup.

Under the Yemeni proposal, signed Sunday, Abbas's Fatah movement and Hamas would agree in principle to unite in a single Palestinian government. However, in several days of talks in Yemen, the bitter rivals failed to resolve the crucial question of how they should share power.
So just how much is Abbas' word worth these days?

But that's OK, because it's all Vice President Dick Cheney's fault. I guess not we know the real reason for his Middle East trip:
A senior Abbas confidant, chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei, said Monday that al-Ahmed signed because of a mixup. Al-Ahmed called Abbas' office repeatedly to get guidance, but Abbas was meeting at the time with US Vice President Dick Cheney, and al-Ahmed went ahead and signed, Qureia said.
What was most interesting was this piece:
"Hamas is trying to lead us to endless talks without backing away from its military coup," aide Yasser Abed Rabbo told the Voice of Palestine radio. "Hamas is giving no signs of doing so. On the contrary, it gives more signs of repression and taking over more Palestinian Authority institutions in Gaza."
Imagine, apparently Hamas is the new Israel of Gaza, with Fatah now demanding concessions from Hamas instead of just talk while condemning Hamas repression (dare we say 'occupation') in Gaza.

Fatah seems to have a limited repertoire.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Just How Desperate Is Reuters?

Reuters must be looking for a way to attract more readers and are turning to blogs. Naturally, if you are looking for a controversial topic that is sure to attract readers, Israel is good topic--and the more one-sided the post the better.

You can imagine what Reuters was looking for.

And they found exactly what they wanted--just in the first paragraph alone:
The Zionist regime has given orders to allow Israeli troops to fire live rounds on Palestinians protesting the illegal Apartheid Wall surrounding Jerusalem. So as not to acquire bad press, the order to use lethal force against protesters does not extend to protests in which Israeli and international peace activists are also participating.
Having started this new feature and selecting the particular post they wanted, Reuters hedges:
The following blog post is from an independent writer and is not connected with Reuters News. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not endorsed by [emphasis added]
The fact that Reuters has this trash does imply a certain level of endorsement--especially considering the fact that instead of "opinions and views," Reuters has decided feature a blog claiming to present something as fact without giving any source whatsoever. [Update: Actually that is not true--the post quotes The International Middle East Media Center, which specifies no source, other than unnamed "Israeli media sources".]

Reuters' sloppiness is exceeded only by the lack of integrity of the blog they showcase.

Actually, what Reuters did was especially atrocious since it amounts to 'laundering' Arab propaganda--take an unreliable Arab news source, the article is quoted in a blog, then the blog is showcased as a commentary of an established 'fact'

Is this the new trend in news reporting?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

[Hat tip: Honest Reporting]

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Palestinian Apologists Mistake Yeshivas For Madrassas

It dawned on me--how Palestinian Arabs, and the apologists who defend their murder of civilians, so easily excuse the murder of defenseless teenagers in Yeshiva Merkaz Harav. Their justification run like this:

the chairman of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Mike Napier, has written that Mercaz Harav is "a training center for illegal occupation, murder and Arabs to the gas chambers."

...Napier added: "Ala Abu Dhaim killed eight students who were being trained to oppress and dispossess him, his family, his entire people. He was himself killed by an armed student."

...The blog continued: "The syllabus at the yeshiva, according to Napier, includes "contempt for all Gentiles, not only Arabs"; poisoning wells; and stealing the organs of non-Jews. Not the usual Talmud and Torah; or perhaps, for Napier, this is exactly what Talmud and Torah entails.

The problem is that the Merkaz Harav Kook Yeshiva apparently is being mistaken for something like this fine Palestinian house of worship:

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Leave it to Workers World, representing the "oppressed peoples of the world"--that is if you mean oppressed by ignorance:
Israeli yeshiva cloaked racism in religion
By Joyce Chediac

Suppose a group of KKKers and other white supremacists had their own “church” that was really a center for justifying and organizing murderous attacks on African Americans. Suppose an African-American person, tired of lynchings, tortures, beatings and humiliation of his people, came into this church with guns blazing.

Would there be any doubt that this was a reaction to racism, and not hatred of Christians? Wouldn’t it be clear who were the oppressed and who were the oppressors?

Something much like this recently happened in Jerusalem, but the real relationship of forces has been deliberately obscured by the Israeli and U.S. governments and the corporate media. [emphasis added]
Give Chediac credit for at least giving, if unintentionally, an accurate description of Islamist Madrassas. She, like the rest of the apologists for terrorism, haven't the foggiest notion of what yeshivas in general and Merkaz HaRav Kook are really all about.

Rav Kook once said, "Better by far to err by the love that cannot see, than the hatred that is blind".

But for people like this--as with the terrorists they defend--hate trumps truth.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Now Showing: Haveil Havalim- Purim Is Over Edition

This week, Jack is hosting the Haveil Havalim- Purim Is Over Edition, with all kinds of different posts from around the JBlogosphere.

Dig in.

For more information email Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net.

You can submit your post to the next edition of haveil havalim using the carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found at the blog carnival index page.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

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How Do Muslims Deal With Voluntary Conversions?

Especially when the person voluntarily converting is one of their own:
Italy's most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service.

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Magdi Allam's head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

"We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another," Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. "Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close."
Muslims may not take as cheerful a view as Pope Benedict, but overall those interviewed seem to have dealt with the conversion. But this comment was interesting:

Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam's choice but said he was "perplexed" by the enormously symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.

"If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives," the ANSA news agency quoted Pallavicini as saying.

Perhaps Pallavicini has forgotten about the last 'high-profile' conversion in the news--when Fox News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were kidnapped in 2006 and forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint and make a video proclaiming their conversion:
Unfortunately, the video has been taken off YouTube, but you can see the clip from Fox News Sunday (on Hot Air) where Centanni confirms, about halfway through the clip, that they were coerced.

The AP article is charitable on the Muslim law for those who convert out of Islam:
There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death—though killings are rare.
So much for delicacy.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama Still Does't Get Israel

In Best of the Web, James Taranto quotes this comment that Obama made about his pastor's controversial comments:
They expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country--a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America, a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

While partially correct on the Middle East conflict, the comment does reflect Obama's lack of familiarity with the history of the conflict. Taranto writes:

To characterize the conflicts in the Middle East as "emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam" is only a partial truth. In fact, Arab states have sought Israel's destruction since its creation; and many of Israel's enemies over the years--Nasser's Egypt, Assad's Syria, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Yasser Arafat's PLO--have adhered to secular ideologies.

It is true that the growth of radical Islam over the past 30 years has given anti-Israel belligerents a more religious consistency. For example, Hamas, which now controls the Gaza strip, from which it frequently fires rockets at civilians in southern Israel, is an Islamist group.

Hamas would be the terrorist group whose Mousa Abu Marzook wrote an op-ed last year that appeared in the LA Times--an op-ed that BizzyBlog notes Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, reprinted in his church bulletin: A Fresh View of the Palestinian Struggle.

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