Friday, December 16, 2011

A friend of theirs once took Christopher Hitchens and his wife Carol Blue to dinner at Palm Beach's Everglades Club, notorious for its exclusion of Jews. "You will behave, won't you?" Carol anxiously asked Christopher on the way into the club. No dice. When the headwaiter approached, Christopher demanded: "Do you have a kosher menu?" 
-David Frum on  Christopher Hitchens 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A True "friend" of Israel?

This is one of those pictures, that when you see it, you slap yourself for being fooled.  A few days ago good ol' Newt was taking heat for making an historically rational comment about the "Palestinians," calling them an invented people. It's been a common theme amongst the GOP candidates, bolstering their Pro-Israel credentials. It's a strategy that has been working, convincing religious Jews that they are good for Israel, while conversely, Obama is their enemy. Newt's comment was the most rational yet and I actually bought it. But then, this picture cropped up and I was reminded who he really is, a calculating, manipulative politician. He plays to the room he's in and to the moment. His only allegiance its to himself. View this picture, and remember it well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Deaths in Anti-Government Protests Around the World

Death Tolls in Anti-Government Protests Around The World 2010-2011
If you look to the right end of the chart, you will notice two countries which have been told they risk isolation for their actions and policies, yet of all the countries who have experienced major anti-government unrest amongst their people, they have experienced, by far, the fewest relative deaths.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chag Sameach

As the hours tick down to sunset here in America, the holiday of Succoth has essentially begun in The Land of Israel. For the most of us celebrating the holiday two days plus shabbat, we won't know whether the deal to return Gilad Shalit to his family has been completed until Saturday night. Hopefully, this will be the last holiday he and his family are forced to spend apart.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Value of a Life: Is the life of Gilad Shalit worth more than the life of 1000 Arabs?

    I'm not willing to celebrate just yet, but it would appear that the long lost son of Israel Gilad Shalit is alive, if not well, and will soon be returned to us after five-plus long years in captivity. I myself, won't believe it until I see him home, safe and with his family.


    It should hardly shock anybody, but the deal to get Gilad Shalit back is rumored to include an exchange of 1000+ Arabs in Israeli prisons. This poses the obvious moral dilemma, which has been debated thoroughly. Specifically: letting dangerous criminals out of prison; sacrificing justice for victims of terror; and putting Israeli citizens at risk for kidnapping.

    However, there is another moral conundrum which has gone ignored for many years. When 100 Arab prisoners are exchanged for 1 Israel hostage, doesn't it implicitly devalue the lives of all Arabs? Doesn't it cast a shadow on those arguing for the Palestinian cause, when they point out (accurately) that more Arabs have died in this decades-old conflict than Israelis? This is of course ignoring that Israeli treatment of their prisoners has been far superior to the PA's treatment of its kidnapping victims.


    In any event, we should take a small solace in the fact that Aviva and Noam Shalit will be reunited with their son after too long a time. Maybe we will be able to see new photos of him in happier times.


Monday, September 26, 2011

World War III: A Possible Consequence of a Palestinian State

    It was in the beginning of the past century that the consequence of globalization came to fruition. A complex network of alliances set the stage for the first Great War. All it took, was a spark, the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austro-Hungary that set in motion a chain of events that, by thirty years later, would claim 100 million lives.
     It is now, in the 21st century, that history my repeat itself. If the Palestinian Authority is allowed legitimacy and membership in the United Nations, unconditionally, the results could be catastrophic. One of the most crucial conditions that the Palestinian Authority must meet to be granted full statehood, is full and disarmament and an agreement to not form any military alliances.
     Without these conditions, the alliance of Hamas and Fatah would likely continue to arm and engage in attacks on the population of Israel. It is also very likely that they would form alliances with Iran, Lebanon and Syria; possibly others. Israel already has a military alliance with the United States. If in this state of affairs, there were any sort of incident, a terrorist attack, assassination, or incursion of any kind, it is likely that Palestine, whose military capabilities are far inferior to that of Israel would call upon its new allies for assistance. In this case, the United States would be forced to come to aid of Israel seeing as they'd be at war with four other nations. Furthermore, it is not unreasonable to expect that other countries allied to the U.S. would be compelled to offer material assistance. Germany, England, Canada could all be drawn into the conflict.

     Of course this is all hypothetical, but the distinct possibility exists. The winner would by unknown, although the Israel/U.S. alliance would have a distinct advantage. In any event, thousands if not millions would die.
In short, the notion of Palestinian statehood may be inspiring to those who see the potential of Arab Spring as a beautiful renaissance, but there are real world dark consequences that would be bad for all sides.

     The important question is how can there be peace when Fatah and Hamas have not ceded the right to all of the land of Israel? How can liberty be attained, when they have not pledged to give up violence and terrorist attacks? How does a state equal peace, when the peoples of Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and others have had states for decades, but they haven't quite completely figured out peace, liberty or democracy?

This is of course hyperbole; and the preceding chain of events represent but one possible outcome. However, it is much more likely than a utopian peace where all sides choose to multilaterally give up violence and ancient grievances.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Youtube's whitewashing of Arab hate media

My attention was recently turned towards a video on youtube of a Syrian TV show that portrayed Jews as killing innocent Christian children, to use their blood in the making of Passover matzah. It's the kind of ridiculous nonsense propaganda you'd expect from the Third Reich.
What's really disturbing, is that within a day, youtube removed the video based on its policy against hate speech. This was a very disturbing turn of events, because it hides the truth. It hides that there is a vicious and hateful attitude towards Jews in the Arab world. Pretending that it doesn't exist does nobody any favors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why we oppose the UN's recognition of a "Palestinian" state.

    Recognition of a "Palestinian" state, wouldn't lead to peace; but it would almost certainly cause a war; and this is likely what Fatah and Hamas want.
    The people of Israel, for the most part, are a generous, peace-loving people. Citizens of Israel of all religions, including Islam, are free to practice how they see fit. This is something that cannot be said of all countries in the middle east. So, it may seem strange that so many American Jews will be marching on the UN to protest the recognition of a state for the "Palestinian" people.
    We do not hate; we love. We care for all people and all things. Over the years, Israeli leaders have made painful concessions. One of these leaders paid for these concessions with his life.  How can it be said that we are unreasonable? Over the years, we have put everything on the table, except the one thing that we cherish most; our own lives. On this, we refuse to yield; and it is for this contentious issue, there has been no deal, no peace.
    The so-called martyrs and holy soldiers of Fatah and Hamas continuously send missile barrages into our cities in the day; and scoundrels in the night to slaughter our children. We cease fire to give peace a chance; they cease fire to reload. Many have accused Israel to be a de facto apartheid state; many others dispute this. If Hamas had their way, there would be no ambiguity. It states clearly in their charter.
"Safety and security can only exist in the shadow of Islam." - Hamas charter article 31
    Recognizing a country whose ruling party is in de facto conflict with another nation could never lead to peace; it could only lead to war.
   Furthermore, the campaign by Fatah and Hamas is one of lies and obfuscation. Hamas's charter states as a primary source for evidence of Zionist conspiracy "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a fraudulent anti-Semitic screed that has been debunked as false since the early 20's. Israel needs not stand on houses of lies; we have the truth.

    So we shall not, cannot and must not allow any action that would legitimize a cabal of racist terrorist gangsters, until they first cede their campaign of annihilation.
    Make no mistake, they don't come for land; they come for our very lives. We have committed a very grave insult; to continue to exist in defiance of their will.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Don't give up on Egypt just yet.

A strong vocal minority has made it clear they would like to revisit the days when Egypt and Israel are military enemies; without any strong opposition to their voice, it would appear that the relationship between Israel and Egypt has suffered a massive blow; one that is likely irreparable.

    Many months ago, I watched with hope and trepidation, as the thirty-year regime of Hosni Mubarak came to a sudden, shocking end, after months of protests by Egyptian citizens. Many, in the Israeli community were dismissive of the movement, saying it could only be bad for Israel. Many predicted that a secular nation, who had an uneasy peace with the Jewish state would fall into the hands of islamists. Many, said it was  more complicated than that.

    Worst fears appeared to be realized, when Egyptian rioters (sometimes inappropriately termed protestors) staged a shocking attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo. In the incident, thousands of Egyptians, many of them carrying Korans, pushed through the barriers of the embassy and set it on fire. Miraculously, all members of the Israeli envoy escaped harm, with help from Egyptian security forces. Over one thousand Egyptians were injured, and three were killed. This followed an incident when five Egyptian soldiers were killed in clashes with Israeli Defense Forces, following cross-border attacks with terrorist groups believed to originate out of Gaza; and since, the fall of the Mubarak regime, there have been at least five attacks on the pipeline that provides Israel with oil from Egypt;

 The events looked eerily like a conspiracy plot to pit Israel and Egypt against each other. It's like Tom Clancy novel. Involve a small number of Egyptians in a border clash with IDF forces. When they're killed this sparks outrage amongst the Egyptian public. Then, stage a violent protest at the Israeli embassy that causes diplomatic tensions. Using this model it would be very easy to set the two side against each other then watch as the world burned. Which is why both sides need to affirm their vital, if not uneasy relationship.  The easiest way for a demagogue to gain power in the Arab world is to invoke Israel as an enemy; and blame Zionists for all problems.

    The conclusions were easy to draw; 'The Egyptian people have showed their true colors and they were anti-Israel. But, is it really that simple? Do the actions of these violent rioters represent the Egyptian people? Best estimates put the number of "protestors" outside the embassy at about 3,000. Estimates for anti-mubarak protests earlier in the year were around two million. This would suggest the strong anti-Israel contingent is a mere fraction of those looking to take Egypt in a new direction.  A revolution that took flight on concerns of freedom and economic reforms, is in mortal danger of being hijacked by Islamists and militants.  In July a coalition of moderate, secular groups withdrew from a Friday evening rally of unity, when they felt the event had been taken over by religious groups. Even leadership from the Muslim Brotherhood, have come out against Islamists who "were trying to impose there vision on people in Tahrir."

 Justice Minister Abdul Aziz Al-Jundi said after the attacks that they were the result of "external forces." Al Jundi is likely delusional. To deny that there is significant anti-Israeli sentiment amongst Islamist groups within their borders is silly. There can be no doubt, that the provisional leadership council needs to take more responsibility for internal security. However, this could be an opportunity for moving forward. First, the Egyptians must formally absolve Israel for liability in the deaths of the Egyptian forces earlier in the summer; then, they must go to the Egyptian people and explain why maintaining the tentative agreements with Israel is in their best security and economic interests.

The hard question is what to do with proto-militant groups who may arise now that the Mubarak regime is not around to suppress them.

    This question is harder asked than answered. Outright banning of the groups would likely do little to curb their activities; and would possibly garner them sympathy amongst the public. Strong support must be given to the progressive groups in Egypt who want real reforms that will help their country progress; and not the same Nationalistic demagoguery that has never done anything to help the people.

For Israel the question of the next course of action is quite more difficult.

    These events come at a time when Israel has a full plate diplomatically. They upcoming UN vote on Palestinian Statehood promises to be headache that won't go away anytime soon; and Israel's continuing tensions with Turkey do not look to be getting easier anytime soon. Israel can hardly afford to lose another ally, even if it is an ally in name only.




Thursday, September 1, 2011

Haters gonna Hate...Israel

UK Hate Groups Threaten Classical Music Among Other Things

Just get this out of the way. I love the UK; love it!
I love the Office; I love Guy Ritchie movies; I love Monty Python; and I love Dr. Who. Yet, while two recent incidents at classical music concerts can't be called a trend, they are disturbing. Mostly, because they are hate for hate's sake.

On Sepetember 1, a group of about twenty protesters stormed into London's Royal Albert Hall during an Israeli Philharmonic Performance of Max Bruch.

This latests display of bizarre manuafactured outrage came little over a year afterthe same group (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)  staged a similar protest in Scotland's Queen's hall. After that incident, several PSC members were charged in a Scottish court of hate speech; the charges were later dropped.

Now, I am not a fan of hate speech laws. They are arbitrary and are succeptible to abuse; but this is hate speech. The notion of justice for Gaza or Palestinians is little more than a farce. Their primary method of action, is their B.I.G. campaign for Boycott Israeli Goods. Also featured on their website, is a banner extolling justice for one "Sheikh" Raed Salah, a violent Israeli-Arab cleric with ties to Hamas and Iranian intelligence; he served a five-month prison sentence for assaulting a police officer. Raed is currently banned from entering the UK. PSC's affinity for Raed is somewhat perplexing, considering their desire for Peace and justice.

What is particularly disturbing about the PSC's campaign against classical music, is that it's not against any Israeli product, its against expression, against art and beauty. As despicable as some of the boycotts of Israeli goods are (some of them are just vandalism and theft), there is at least the small glimmer of logic amongst the nonesense. They say don't buy Israeli goods; fine don't buy them that is your right as a human being. But, the protests in concert halls are something new and disturbing, they aren't free expression, they are the denial of expression; and they arent't even in opposition to political speech. They are against classical music, out highest form of expression. Art is the one true thing that separates us from beasts. In this sense, their campaign for "human rights" is nothing short of inhumane.

No word yet if they plan on protesting a performance of Wagner at Royal Albert Hall this Tuesday. Wagner's music of course was the soundtrack of the Third Reich and the Holocaust.






Thursday, August 25, 2011

Near the Syrian Border

North Israel
With a storm brewing, sometimes it's good to remember sunnier days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Enemies From the out Enemies from Within

Glenn Beck's New Crusade

In the 11th and 12th centuries. It was an alliance of Jews and Muslims that defended Jerusalem, unsuccessfully, from Christian Crusaders.
At the dawn of the 21st century we Israelis like to think that things have changed; little has though. Evangelical christians still covet the holy land as the place where their messiah roamed. What has changed, is that instead of a sword, they now use a smile. Instead of the pope, they now have Glenn Beck, the smug, irritating proselyte.

Forget the fact that he has no chance of swaying anybody in support of Israel. He is so hated by those left-of-center (including yours truly), that he only stands to bolster those who are critical of the Jewish State. How has he bolstered any sort of unity amongst those who do support Israel? The only unity he has been able to foment is between leftists who don't like his polemic rhetoric and the right who are rightfully skeptical of his motivations.

Also, let us momentarily ignore that he has no concept of the true meaning of the Jewish state; he merely wishes to use Israel as a talking point in his continuing crusade against Muslims; a crusade that he sees as a continuation of the work of a millenium ago, when the Christian world believed that they were the true owners of Jerusalem and the holy land.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Give them a state.

I've changed my mind. I think the Palestinians should have a state. We shouldn't even wait until the UN convenes. Just give it to them now.
Why!?

Responsibility. If anything like this were to happen while "Palestine" was a sovereign state, a terrorist attack, like the one we saw today, would be an act of war. It wouldn't be the act of a loose non-state actors. It would be one nation invading another; then Israel would have no choice but to invade and the UN could say nothing to stop them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nivea Omits Israel from its list of Middle East Countries-UPDATE

There Are Battles Worth Fighting; This Isn't One of Them.


Yesterday I sent an email to Nivea inquiring about their leaving Israel of the list of countries in the Middle East, but including the Palestine Territories. I just received this email in response to my inquiry.

Hello Mr. Faben,

There have been several recent inquiries as to why NIVEA does not have a local website for Israel. We are deeply sorry that this has offended people.

Beiersdorf is constantly launching local country websites and the list is growing year by year. The NIVEA international website provides only the links to our currently available local NIVEA websites. It does not include our complete list of the countries where NIVEA is sold. We currently have websites for 89 of the 150 countries where NIVEA is sold.

Our products are sold in Israel and a Hebrew/English website is already in development with plans to launch by 4th quarter 2011. It is important to us that we can serve our consumers in Israel with a local website.

We take your comments seriously and appreciate your taking the time to voice your concerns.

Cordially,

Sam
Consumer Relations
Beiersdorf Inc.


        Begrudgingly, I have to admit, that the explanation, while strange, is plausible. Although it does leave the question of why include the Palestinian Territories. However to that there is another plausible explanation. Bare in mind, that the page says "Palestine Territories" and not Palestine. The Israeli government does give control of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. Therefore, the company's inclusion of the Palestine Territories on their international page does not necessarily represent an endorsement of Palestinian Statehood. On Coca-Cola's international site there are links to the West Bank and Gaza; it doesn't make them Anti-Semitic because they don't call it Judea and Samaria.
In a way, this development doesn't bother me. If you give Nivea the benefit of the doubt about the Israel omission, it would seem that their motives are bushiness based. It bothers me a lot more when companies are over political, than when they have political apathy.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nivea Omits Israel from its List of Middle Eastern Countries - Then Changes its Mind

As of the date of this post, August 4, 2011. There is a strange omission on the international page of Nivea, the German skin care products company. Under the list of Middle Eastern countries there is Iran, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories, but no Israel

I started writing this post to help call attention to the startling omission of Israel from the list of countries on it's international page. Before I finished the first paragraph however, the company changed the page; The Israel Hebrew page was added to the list.Nivea international Page before and after the change.

What was behind this bizarre turn of events? I think it is apparent that the company's restoration of the page is due to public outcry; but what sparked the  omission in the first place.

Was it consciousness over alleged human rights violations? Maybe, but if so their standards are pretty inconsistent. Some of the countries on their list are:

  1. Iran
  2. Syria
  3. Libya
  4. Uganda
  5. Russia
  6. China

And speaking of China...

Is it possible that Nivea wanted to avoid involvement in a sovereignty dispute?

If you check the list, Occupied Tibet isn't there; nor is Taiwan. Also absent is Kosovo, which claims its own sovereignty, but is claimed by Serbia; if you were wondering, Serbia is on the list.

So, human rights consciousness as a rational explanation  is out. What is next?

Language:
Did they omit Israel because very few people in the world speak Hebrew?

As languages go, Modern Israeli Hebrew ranks somewhere in the low forties in terms of number of native speakers (about 5M); and Israel with a relatively small population (7M) is the only country where MIH is spoken. Even in Israel, they face strong competition from Ahava, an Israeli based company.
Also, of the thirty some-odd languages listed on the page, only two of them (Norwegian and Lithuanian) rank below MIH; and both of those are in Europe where Nivea's reach is the strongest.
Also, countries like Pakistan, Algeria,
One could easily argue that it was merely a business decision; that it wasn't profitable to spend advertising dollars on an Israeli market with low sales potential.
So, why is this argument wrong? Well, Nivea has a page in MIH. The link was merely removed.

Also, all of the pages for the Arabic countries link to a central page for the Middle East. It begs the question: why were "The Palestinian Territories" listed?  If all the links point to the same page, what's the point of including a country that technically doesn't exist?  Also, why are recognized countries such as Mauritania and Algeria not included in the list?

So, the question must be asked. Is Anti-Semitism to blame?

Let's look at history. Nivea creme was conceived as a product of the German company Beiersdorf in the early 20th century. In the early 1930's during the rise of the Nazis, the Jewish board members were forced to resign. This doesn't prove anti-Semitism, but it does allow the notion of anti-Jewish prejudice into the argument.

Proving anti-Semitism is especially difficult, but its hard to ignore,with the lack of any alternative explanations.

Or maybe it was just a simple clerical error...
...unlikely.

Well, I don't know about you, but I am not satisfied with Nivea's quick fix. They need to offer a reasonable explanation or make positive ammends. Until then, I won't be using any of their products and neither should you.
#boycottnivea

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where are the Israelis?

Watch this new commercial for Sabra Hummus; go ahead. 



Did you like the diversity? I did; almost. If you look there are Africans, Whites, goats, Mexicans, Asians and goats for some reason. It's a cornucopia of the world's people.
If you didn't pick up on it, curiously absent from the commercial were any Israelis/Jews. Sabra, hebrew for a Jew born in Israel (h/t Wikipedia) also refers to cacti; cacti of course are prickly, irritating plants so obnoxious and pointless, you have to wonder why they would refer to Israelis at all; but I digress.

Watch the commercial again and the closest thing you will see to a Jew, are these men. Wearing black and white and wearing hats. However I think they are more likely Italian or Greek. Note the lack of tzit-tzit, mezuzah on the gate and that this villa looks more Italian than Israeli; an Israeli house like that would be made out of Jerusalem stone. 


It is quite peculiar that this commercial which is for an Israeli company, would be curiously bereft of any Israeli Jews. I think it is likely that the advertising company who designed the spot decided that having clearly identifiable Israelis would not do well for sales. The sad thing, is that they are probably correct.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourettes Continues

Glenn beck Nazi Analogy        In the same week that he compared the victims of a savage terror attack to the Hitler Youth. Glen Beck defended those remarks saying:
"if we cannot use Hitler analogies in "logical conversation," "We are going to be a society of gas chambers."

Well I'm calling bs on that. Nobody has said he can't use Hitler analogies. But he really shouldn't.

WAIT...did he say logical conversation? Logical? Glenn Beck does logical, like Elton John does subtle; like Donald Trump does modest; like Bill Clinton does chaste; like Rachel Maddow does dudes; or like Bernie Madoff does ethical. This guy compared President Obama to Hitler because he touted the virtue of empathy.

Also, in many European counties using Nazi regalia and even denying the holocaust is a prosecutable offense. I'm not defending those laws, but there aren't any gas chambers.

Glenn Beck himself, spends most of his time criticizing and vilifying anybody whose world view isn't in line with his. But, cannot sustain any criticism directed towads him. Courage indeed.




Monday, July 25, 2011

Mr. Beck, Please leave Israel

Seriously folks, this is not a guy we want on our side.




Today, Glenn Beck took a principled and courageous stance attacking victims of terror who are too dead to defend themselves. Continuing a long streak of bizarre Nazi references, he compared the Norwegian camp where a(non-Muslim) terrorist gunned down about sixty youths. The camp was a yearly retreat organized by Norway's Labor party.

Beyond the trivialization of Nazism. HE JUST ATTACKED TERROR VICTIMS. Not to mention they were children. I really wonder if it was because this guy was not-Muslim and white.

Let's get something straight terrorism is evil. No matter what your political views are, using civilians as a target to further your goals is wrong. Terror needs to be denounced at every avenue, especially if its done for a cause you have sympathy for.  If you don't denounce terror, you devalue the biggest political argument the Israelis have against the PA.

Beck has played the Hitler card so often, its maxed out. This includes one instance, when he called out Simon Greer (Jewish) for putting an emphasis on the "common good." Saying it would lead to "death camps."

Now, I would say that Beck has gone too far, but that train left the station years ago.

The problem with Beck is that he doesn't understand the true nature of Nazism. By comparing everybody who doesn't share his world view to the Third Reich devalues the Nazis. He lessens their significance in history. This is a bad thing. When he does this, he trivializes the holocaust and by extension, every injustice the Jews have endured in their glorious history.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Groups in Israel and why they already have courage

It takes courage to live in Israel regardless of who you are.

For young Olim (people who make Aaliyah and move to Israel) it takes courage to leave your life in the country you grow up in and move away. Often these Olim move way from countries with better economies (US UK) to a country with high unemployment and underemployment. They often move away from their friends and families to a country that has is surrounded by hostiles. 

Hasidim. The ultra-orthodox in Israel are amongst the most maligned groups in the country. Most of the country is moderate and non-religious and  critical of them. They face criticism for non-army service.  Also many of them protest vehemently against the state, while receiving protection from the state as well as social services while not working so they can study torah. Anybody who read that last sentence would have to admit that takes balls.

Politicians, David Ben-Gurion once told Truman that he had an easy job because  Truman was the president of  several million citizens, while he was the Leader of a nation of Presidents. Any politician who has the audacity to even open his mouth will face attacks from the left front and center. They will face subpoenas from the international criminal court, to assassination attempts from Arabs and Israelis.

Basically everybody who lives in Israel stays in a country that is always facing breaches of its borders, suicide bombers, missile attacks, boycotts and elements with in its on populace that wish to see it destroyed. Courage has never been in short supply.

That is except of course for Glenn Beck. Beck is traveling around the Holy Land with a security escort giving pro-Israel speeches to pro-Israel crowds; and charging a decent amount of money at that. I'm not sure exactly where the courage plays in. Maybe it was when he moved his "Rally to Restore Courage" off of the temple mount to avoid Arabs who might be there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Are the Goblins in Harry Potter Jews?



Griphook Jew
Normally, dismiss such things as folly. But, this creepy. In addition to resembling WWII era propaganda cartoons, they are money grubbing and duplicitous. Even if the correlation is coincidental, it's there. It should be noted, that the resemblance cannot be attibuted directly to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. This design of the character first appeared in the first installment of the film franchise directed by Christopher Columbus. Also, one of Potter's classmates at Hogwarts was none other than the (possibly half-Italian) Anthony Goldstein.
There are also many Jewish mystical themes throughout the books. It would be quite disappointing for all those bored Jews reading through the seven-book series on those long three day Yomtovim. Rowling doesn't escape all reproach however. Dobby the house elf(Zt"L) originally had a thick West-Indian/Jamaican type screetchy accent. We can probably thank George Lucas for making that accent box-office suicide with Jar-Jar Binks.


Keep Calm and Carry On

In the hardest of times, it is often most simple to lose control of one's faculties and to fogo common sense, reason and one's hardest held principles. However in the face of peril and uncertainty. We must maintain steadfast that our values are not compromised. Therefore we shall know for sure that even if we are injured, maimed, killed or conquered, our identity will survive. Keep calm and carry on.
Keep Calm and Carry On Israel

Friday, July 15, 2011

Glenn Beck's Reception in Israel not so Warm

In a Twist Beck is Accused of Being Anti-Israel

      Glenn Beck's public visit to Israel wasn't without controversy. The conservative commentator whose greatest hits include, trying his best to convince his viewers  that holocaust survivor George Soros is trying to take over the world; and comparing Reform Judaism to radical Islam, appeared before parliament to cheers.
Much of Beck's anti-Jewish slant is deliniated in a recent Huffington Post article by MJ Rosenberg

      Beck's Pro-Israel street-cred' includes his reporting on the "Freedom Flotilla" incident. According to Beck he was the only one in the media showing an IDF video showing Israeli soldiers being attacked by protesters. This was of course rubbish. Everybody was using that video.

      Not all Israelis were as warm to Beck. Zo Artzeinu founder Moshe Feiglin has declined to join Beck's 'Restoring Courage' event in August, voicing concerns about Christian involvement in Israel.Popular Zionist blog JIDF.ORG labeled Beck an Anti-Semite for some of this positions and hosting controversial pundits.Beck was also criticized from the right for saying he doesn't oppose a Palestinian state.

      One has to be at least slightly amused at this turn of events. Beck, whose Israel views are more anti-Arab than they are pro-Jew, has made a career out of baseless criticism. Many of his attacks on President Obama and others manipulate facts to create a dishonest narrative.

      For once, Beck is getting a taste of his own medicine.

  • His religion has become a liability. Much as he has attacked Muslims and Reform Jews.
  • Small statements are manipulated to change his views. Much as he has found a way to manipulate any statement to call political opponents Nazis
  • Finally, he is accused of anti-Semitism based on loose associations. (see Beck's  attacks on Van Jones)
It is only unfortunate that most of Beck's Jewish detractors are from the fringe. Hopefully soon more will see Beck for who he really is.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's the harm in a little Lashon Hara now?


lashon hara  `läshən `härä (ערה ןושל) is the prohibition in Jewish Law of telling gossip. Lashon hara differs from defamation in that its focus is on the use of true speech for a wrongful purpose, rather than falsehood and harm arising.
A culprit was named very quickly. Within hours of the announcement of the discovery of the body of young Leiby Kletzky, rumors spread of the name of a suspect. These rumors were later confirmed when NYPD Commissioner announced that the suspect,**** ****, gave statements implicating himself.

I hid the face click if you want to seeThe name and picture of the suspect spread quickly across the blogosphere, facebook and twitter. None of the rhetoric is terribly shocking. Many called him a "monster" and there are already a few groups on facebook calling for his execution, which won't happen (NY State has no Death Penalty statute).
The question though is, is it okay to speak Lashon Hara about somebody so clearly evil?
I would say no for two main reasons. Before I get into that, I want to make it abundantly clear I am not against the reporting of sexual abuse or the exposure of abusers. It has become clear  that this is an issue in this community and the desire to save the community from embarrassment has come at the expense of victims. If you are aware of such abuse you are morally obligated to report it, or you yourself are as guilty as the perpetrator. If not sharing information either allows an abuse to continue, or leaves potential victims unaware and therefore vulnerable to abuse, that is clearly bad. What I am opposed to is the gratuitous gossip within the community once the matter is cearly known. Clear? Good!
First, Facts in Cases Like This Tend to be Murky and Unreliable, Especially In the First Few Days and Can Have Bad Consequences.
I give you for example, the case of Richard Ricci. After the much publicized abduction of Elizabeth Smart in 2002, authorites announced that they had a suspect, Mr. Ricci. He was a loner, ex-con, who had worked for the Smart family and knew their home. He was placed into custody, while many in the media tried to uncover as much info on him as possible. Most concluded that he must be the culprit. There was even evidence to suggest suscpicious activity.  He died in custody, leaving behind his newly wed wife. Ricci of course, was not the kidnapper. It was another suspect whowas captured over a year later.
The urge to jump to conclusions not only lead to the death of an innocent man, but it took attention away from finding the true culprits. Furthermore, it subjected Ricci's wife to undue scrutiny and harassment.
The evidence against Leivy Kletzky's alleged killer is much more conclusive. However it is likely that it will only get more comprehensive as time goes on. The lesson learned is nothing is lost by reserving judgement for the time being. The police and district attorneys are doing their job.
Second, lashon hara is a bad habit to start and a hard one to get out of.
It takes a bit a strength to resist the urge to gossip. The urge is only greater when the infraction is as horrible as the murder of a child. However, if you wish to controll the urge, there is no greater test then when you are presented with somebody pure evil. If you can resist speaking lashon hara about Leivy's killer, you can resist speaking lashon hara about pretty much anybody.
Third, Focus Should Be on the Victim
In all the articles I've read about this horrible episode, I've read lots of facts about the suspect. I know he has two ex-wives. He worked in a plumbing store. I even know where his father worked. I've heard many descriptions of him from creepy, to quiet or even kind to children. However I've head almost nothing about Leivy. What did he like to read? How did he get along with his sisters? Was he an active child or was he shy? How can anybody honestly utter the words Zikhrono Livracha (of blessed memory) if we don't know anything about him. Where is the article in the post telling us he he was? Where is the group on faceook that describes his favorite play activities?
Finally, it Honestly Does No Good.
Cursing the name of the alleged murderer will not bring Leivy Kletzky back to his family. Talking about his previous arrest, will not expediate his conviction and sentencing. Speaking lahon hara in this case will not affect him; it can only affect you...negatively. Anger is not a healing force. It is only destructive. In the Tanya it is described as an evil characteristic emanating from the element of fire. It will only hurt; and I refuse to allow the murderer of a child affect me in any way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Understanding UN Bias Against Israel -- Invitation to Durban 3 NYC Sept 21

Caylee’s Law would not have saved Leiby Kletzky.


      After three days of searching, we have learned that Leiby Kletzky is indeed dead. The young boy from Boro  Park went missing on his way home from summer camp. When he went missing. According to news reports, he had begged his parents to let him walk home alone that day. The Kletzky’s compromised and agreed to meet their son halfway. They never did.



      The tragic tale begs comparison with the case of Casey Anthony. We all know the case of Caylee Anthony, who was missing for 31 days before her grandmother reported her missing to police. Despite the bizarre behavior of Casey Anthony, the mother, police and prosecutors were unable to find enough evidence to convict her of killing her daughter.
      In the aftermath, a number of legislators and citizens have come out in support of Caylee's law. The law wouldamek it a crime for a parent to not report their child's disappearance within a timely manner.
In both cases a child was reported missing. Only in one case, the Kletzky’s wasted no time in reporting the child missing. However, in both cases the result is the same; a gruesome demise for an innocent victim.  It should be stressed that Caylee’s law would not have saved Leiby Kletzky or Jaycee Dugard or Adam Walsh; and for that matter Caylee's law would not have helped Caylee Anthony.



Missing 9-year-old B'klyn boy found dead: sources - NYPOST.com

Missing 9-year-old B'klyn boy found dead: sources - NYPOST.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Attacked by Arabs, Saved by Arabs: The curious case of Nir Nachshon

In a matter of minutes, one man from Israel experienced the greatest extremes of Arab culture; extreme violence and benevolent hospitality. The incident highlighted disparities within Arab culture, and begs the question. Are negotiations pointless or are we talking to the wrong people?     


     Nir Nachshon suspected he might have made a terrible mistake, but wasn't sure until he heard the excited cries of a young boy.



"JEW JEW!"



     Nachshon had made a wrong turn into a predominantly Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Within moments, adults responded to the child's alarms with stones and bricks. His attackers pulled him from his car and began to beat him to death. Then  suddenly he was saved. A local  Arab community leader, along with a couple others pulled him from the mob and brought him into a house, where he was protected until the police arrived.


Darwish Darwish,  one of the men who helped save  Nachson(left with Nachshon)  expressed disappointment with the event, but also said he was concerned with the poor conditions of the area.



What does this mean?


Israel is ever vigilant, for violence against citizens can happen without warning and with extreme prejudice. It casts further doubt over whether or not Jerusalem could ever be divided. Sharing the city with a sovereign and hostile state, would leave citizens at risk for random attacks.


However it does give some hope. The actions of Darwish, lend credence to the idea that some Arabs are ready to live in a sovereign Israel.


Maybe instead of continuing fruitless negotiations with Hamas and Fatah, Arabs like Darwish should be invited to talks with Netanyahu. He voiced his concerns for the welfare of Arabs, but clearly demonstrated an opposition to violence against civilians.


I think clearly now


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An appraisal of the levels of anti-Israel bias

Anti-zionism, is not Anti-Semitism is one of the chief defenses of the anti-Israel movement. But, Is it right? As much we Jews have historical habit of finding enemies 'round every corner. The world has become more complex and identifying our enemies has become harder. Sure, the terrorists are against us, that's easy enough. They make no illusions about wishing death to Israel. But, what about politicians and activists. Who do we trust? Who do we keep an eye on? The answers are even harder to understand than the question. Every criticism of Israel is on its own level. Even reasoned critiques of Israel don't exactly mean anti-Israel bias. Or does it?
10.  The Fair Weather Friend: 
Barely qualifies as anti-Israeli but needs to make the list if for no other reason then to bridge the gap between a passionate loyal supporter of Israel and a peacenik. When a bomb goes off in the Jerusalem shuk, they will be there to condemn Hamas. However, when a picture of a dead Palestinian "protester" makes it way to CNN, they won't offer a strong defense of Israel's military actions. They might go so far as to say they are "disappointed" This person can be highly educated, so their position on Israel is unlikely to budge. Truth be told this person is harmless, but irritating at times. In favor of a two-state solution, in which Israel is dominant.
Note: If the entire world was "anti-Israel" in this fashion. The Jewish State would be in great shape.
Most likely to say:
“Israel has the right to defend itself, but they are heavy handed sometimes.”
Gets information from: New York Times International Section Activities: Arab/Israeli dialogue symposiums. Examples: Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington
9.  Moral Equivalency
Still not quite anti-Israel, but has sympathies with PA Arabs. They will readily acknowledge that terrorist attacks are evil and need to be stopped, but are unlikely to do so unprompted. They are likely to believe that Israeli Defense Forces' actions are responsible for provoking militant action by Hamas, Hezbollah etc. This person might not condemn terror attacks because it should go without saying. Ultimately this person believes in peace (a noble virtue) but believes that this goal can be reached with negotiations, land deals and cease fire agreements(ultimately naïve).A big difference between this type and other liberal critics of Israel is they are unlikely to ignore the human rights violations of dictators around the world, including Arabs. In favor of a two-state solution in which both sides make painful concessions to bring about peace.
Most likely to say:
“Terrorist attacks are immoral, but Israeli actions may ultimately provoke them.”
Gets information from: New York Times Editorial page, John Lennon's "Imagine" Activities: Visiting with Israelis, but also Arabs who have yet to renounce Terror Examples: Hillary Clinton
8. The Morally Superior Intellectual 
This Person sometimes seems like he has a real bug about him on Israel. They will criticize Israel's defense actions, but remain oddly silent after terrorist attacks. These are the guys who describe Israel as occupiers and use words like Apartheid. Are in favor of a two state solution, but one that ultimately favors more Israeli concessions. They have a hard time acknowledging Arab hatred of Jews as a motivation for terror.
Most likely to say:
“Peace not Apartheid”
Gets their information from: European Press, Al-Jazeera Activities: Writing books critical of Israel walking tours of Gaza Examples: Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Christiane Amanpour
7. The Fire brand out for "Justice": 
Wildly unfair in his appraisal of the conflict. This guy looks at the plight of the Palestinians and can only see the muzzle of an IDF M-16. They will condemn IDF attacks on civilians, ignoring that Hamas and Fatah have blurred the line between civilian and combatant worse than anybody North of the African continent in history. People in this category have held Israel to a higher standard than any nation at a war in the history of the world.
Most likely to say:
“The Palestinian people are under siege and there have been war crimes committed against them. The hostilities against them need to cease and the perpetrators need to be prosecuted..”
Gets information from: Biased reports by Arab civilians, Activities: Lobbying UN to prosecute Israeli "war criminals" Examples: Richard Goldstone, Amnesty International
6. Anti-Zionist Hasidim 
You will see these guys protesting at the Israeli Day Parade. Neturi Karta, their philosophy is that Jews should not take control of the holy land until after the coming of Moshiach. What's not really known is that many Hasidim share a similar view, including the Lubavitcher Rebbe who sent many shulichim (representatives) to Israel. The difference is that The Rebbe never advocated any move that would put Jewish lives in danger.
Now to be completely clear the people who you see visiting with Yaseer Arafat and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad are part of a splinter faction that doesn't represent most. Their activism is ironic, considering that many of them live in Israel and current allegiances notwithstanding, would probably be murdered if the Israeli state were to fall.
Most likely to say:
“Be gone, hated Zionists”
Get information from: Unusual interpretations of Talmud Activities: Parading with Palestinian flags, spitting on non-religious Jews  Examples: Moshe Hirsch
5.Kaffiyah Heads:
 This are they guys that everybody thinks of when you mention left-wing liberal anti-Zionists. Their view of Palestinians as victims is so narrow there is no room for error. Will often equate the second intifada with the Warsaw uprising (inaccurately) Any mention of terror, will have them screaming about dead Palestinian children but they will never address the morality of Arab/Muslim terror attacks on civilians.
 Are ever present at every on-campus protest wearing a Palestinian Kaffiyah scarf. The odd thing about the Khaffiyah heads is that they are idolizing Yaseer Arafat who was a terrorist and an odd idol for "peace activists"
Most likely to say:
“Not in my name.”
Gets their information from: Internet message boards: Fliers Activities: On campus Protests, vandalizing Israeli products in stores
4. Flotilla Flotsam
These guys are like Kaffiyah Heads on cocaine. These are the guys who take part in the "Freedom Flotilla" They will tell of Palestinians under siege, but their opinions are short of context. Furthermore, their charitable acts often have little-to-no actual impact. It is pretty much established that the Flotilla's goal was not to deliver aide, but to break Israeli's blockade of Gaza. The most perplexing thing about these guys is their priorities. If their goal is to alleviate suffering and fight oppression their are places in the world were such oppression is  far worse (Sudan, Somalia, Eritria, Syria, Saudi Arabia just to name a few.) Also, they seem to be oddly silent about Palestinians who are killed by other Palestinians or somehow find away to blame even those deaths on Israel. The most famous of whom is Rachel Corrie who was killed in an accident when she stood in front of a bulldozer that was razing a home in the Gaza strip. Of course then theirs Vittorio Arigoni, who was killed deliberately by Palestinian terrorists.
Most likely to say:
“End the occupation”
Get their information from: Hamas Activities: Flotillas, Jumping in front of bulldozers Examples: Vittorio Arigoni, Rachel Corrie
2.(Tie) Despots and Terror Supporters
These guys while not directly involved in terror. Are the ones who make it happen. They fund terrorism and espouse violent anti-semitic rhetoric. Their goal is not merely the reclamation of the "land of Palestine" but the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of all the Jewish people. While they claim moral superiority in their advocacy for the Palestinian people, they use them as pawns in the game of "try to destroy Israel".
Most likely to say:
“Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury.”
Get their information from: They're at the top so they must be making it up. Activities: Funding terror through telethons for Hamas. Denying the holocaust Examples: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Sadam Hussein, Bashar Assad
2.(Tie) Terrorists 
These guys are the murders; the scoundrels; the haters. They kill even their own people. They kill soldiers, politicians,  children, mothers, fathers, sisters, daughters, sons, brothers, friends, teachers, painters, old, young, Jew, Muslim, Christian. The argument that they are motivated by altruism or defense of their home land and people or anything virtuous is so utterly ridiculous its barely worth refute. Lets do it anyway. Anybody who kills a child purposefully. Does not belong on this world and has no right to justify is actions.
Most likely to say:
“We are going to win because they love life and we love death”
Get Their Information from: Madrassas, Radical Imams Activities: Murder, bomb making Examples: too many to mention but Osama bin Laden, Hasan Nasrallah, but in particular Samir Kuntar
1. Holocaust Deniers. 
You might be surprised to see anybody beat terrorist. However, the despotism of the Holocaust denier is particularly insidious. It is because with the politician, there is the attempt to maintain an appearance of fairness. With the activist there is a misguided altruism. With the terrorist there is at least the minuscule part that is motivated by wanting his people to be victorious. But the holocaust denier is motivated solely by hate and hubris. KKK head David Duke (right) once traveled to Syria to address a crowd of ravenously anti Jewish Arabs. He aligns himself with despots like Mahmoud Amadinejad and other terrorists who wish to destroy Israel and the United States.
Most likely to say:
“[Zionists] occupy most of the American media and now control much of the American government…It is not just the West Bank of Palestine, it is not just the Golan Heights that are occupied by the Zionists, but Washington D.C. and New York and London and many other capitals of the world.”
Get Their Information From: The Protocols of the elders of Zion Activities: Spreading hatred, attempting to infiltrate government Examples: David Duke, Mahmoud Amadinejad, Mahmoud Abbas

David Harris of the Huffington Post Sets out Liberal Case for Israel

In a brilliant post from, last year, David Harris states succinctly, a liberal defense for the state of Israel. He excoriates "the bizarre anti-Zionist coalition between the radical left and Islamic extremists." It is everything I've been saying about Israel for years.

He delineates the reality of Israel's internal politics which are largely liberal and contrasts with the politics of the majority of its neighbors whom are extremely intolerant of  religious rights. This is a fact that many in the liberal wing of the anti-zionist coalition have trouble addressing.

Just try to imagine what would become of so many people if Israel were allowed to fall. If you think there are Palestinians suffering now, it would be nothing compared to what would happen if Hamas were allowed to overrun the Holy Land. All of those African refugees, gone. All of those humanitarian missions (Israel was one of the first into Haiti after the earthquake) done.

Consider the riots in Syria, Egypt, Iran, Libya (insert Arab country name here.) If anything, the objective evidence suggests that despite the Zeitgeist of anti-zionist politics, the Palestinians are better off with so-called occupation.
Yes, I had the temerity to suggest such a thing. The problem with the emotional politics, is that they don't allow you to see a few steps ahead. Geopolitics is a game of chess, not checkers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Times’ Flotilla of Moral Equivalence

The Times’ Flotilla of Moral Equivalence: "pIn today’s Sunday New York Times, Jerusalem Bureau chief Ethan Bronner attempts to unravel what he considers a sea of spin about the Gaza flotilla being organized in Greece. Following the model of moral equivalence that has guided virtually all coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in recent decades, the conceit of his piece in the [...]/p"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why the heck would a Zionist vote Democrat, let alone for Obama?

Okay, I get this one a lot. So, I'm used to it.  There is a long and short answer.
Short answer, my political views are some what all over the map.  I'm probably more of a moderate. That is not to say I'm caught in between sides, not able to make up my mind. It means that no one view is dependent on my view in other areas. Lets use an easy chart to explain.
  • I believe in liberal economic policy. Low taxes for poor, moderately higher for the wealthy; Regulation and government stimulus and intervention (That's not socialism folks its Keynesian economic theory)
  • I believe in Health care reform.
  • I do not believe in unlimited abortion rights (and belive the best way to reduce abortions is to provide pre/post-natal services to poor and single mothers)
If you haven't picked up yet views that are typically right leaning are in red and left leaning are in blue. Got it so far? good.
  • I believe in aggressive military policy and strong defense.
  • I think we should treat drug users rather than imprison them.
  • I believe in controlled levels of affirmative action
  • School vouchers (provided that public school funding isn't affected)
  • I strongly believe in Federal programs to help the vulnerable and disenfranchised.
I could go on, but that's not the point. As you can tell, a majority of my views fall to the left side of the aisle. However, I still believe strongly in the foundation, defense and the welfare of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. I also believe in G-d and belive that G-d has ordained that the Jewish people shall dwell in Israel.
I do not believe that the President of the United States has strong influence over Israel's fate.
Why? Well look at President Bush. As advocates of Israel go, he was one of the best. However, during his tenure as President of the United States,  we saw the Second Intifada, the disengagement from Gush Katif, and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.
Are these things Bush's fault? Don't be ridiculous. Of course not. But this is exactly my point. He has no influnce. It's ordained from above.
Forgive me if I don't believe that the electoral college has stronger influence over the fate of the Jews than Hashem
Also, I object to the notion that Obama is anti-Israel. Don't get me wrong, I don't like his policies. But, I don't see the malice and anti-semitism That many of my friends do.  Heres why:
A majority of the reason that people believe  Obama is anti- Israel is his speach to the State Department in May 2011. Most people focused on just two words of one sentence of what I thought was a complex nuanced and thought provoking speach on the current state of affairs in the entire middle-east.
1967 Borders
Let me make this abundantly clear. Israel cannot return to the borders of 1967. They are indefensible and would leave Israel unacceptably vulnerable to aggression. However, President Obama shares this view. A lot of the attacks on his Israel policy are for views he doesn't have. He has advocated an undivided Jerusalem.
Finally, he stated rather emphatically that he thinks Israel and the PA should have the ultimate final word. In other words any final compromises would be obtained by negotiations between the two.
So, I find any charges that he wants to give Israel to the Arabs unfounded. In actuality, his policy is much more evenhanded than other policies. It still leans more towards Israel though. Hamas's repeated stated agenda is the destruction of Israel. Obama has stated in no uncertain terms that the survival and strong defense of Israel is a high priority. However he has stated a need for a two-state solution.

If don't like his policy, because you think he doesn't lean towards Israel enough, fine, I agreee. If you don't like is policy, because he has advocated settlement freezes during negotiations I agree. But to call him an anti-Israel, anti-semite, pro-muslim uberliberal is not fair.
He is not Jimmy Carter.
 I recommend re-reading/watching his speeches to AIPAC and the state department. Do it with an open mind. You might be surprised.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Since he's been gone.

In the 1826 days since June, 26th 2006.
  • The national debt has risen by over five trillion dollars
  • More than 30 Billion tweets have been tweeted on Twitter
  • Michael Jackson has passed away
  • 14 billion apps have been downloaded from the app store
  • Nearly 17,000 have died in the protests of Arab spring
  • There have been over 1,900 American Casualties in Iraq
  • Alex Rodriguez hit 181 homeruns.
  • 68 Stories of One World Trade Center have been built
  • Twenty shuttle launches
  • I personally have been to the hospital five times
  • Al -Qaeda has had three leaders
  • Two Soccer World Cups
  • Two Presidents of America
  • Two Prime Ministers of Israel
  • Boston has seen Championships from its Basketball, Baseball and Hockey teams (and almost football).
  • Southern Sudan has become a country
And Gilad Shalit has been seen exactly zero times by any human rights organization in the five years that he has been in captivity. It is long past due for him to return home. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are you a terrorist on the go who just doesn't have the time? There's an App for that

There is nothing that us Liberal elitists love more than free speech. That is, except maybe for our Apple gadgets.You might be appalled (although probably not shocked) to know that terrorists of entered the modern age and developed a Third intifada program to the apple app store. The application, which consists mostly of links to news content, videos and photos condemning Israel is available on iPodTouch, ipad  and iPhone(a real coup for any anti-semites who opted out of blackberry or Android)The site links to the website 3rdintifada.com, a popular pro-palestinian blog/propaganda fest.
This latest application represents a disturbing trend. In the ongoing conflict. Just this year Facebook deleted a group calling for the Third Intifada.
"One can easily see that this is in fact anti-Israel ... the application calls for an uprising against the State of Israel," Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein
Edelstein wrote a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs urging that he delete the application from the store.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the application is the forums feature. It allows followers to post hate messages to a forum that also appears on the groups website. Potentially this could be used for people who wish to commit violence to network with each other.

The application is free to download.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Look at this Tool!


I scoped this video off Facebook. It shows what appears to be an American-Jewish protester being arrested in Jerusalem. Please, watch. 
Now, I have no problem with this kid. I believe he is misinformed and has been lied to. There is no sense in trying to argue is point. Anybody who goes through the effort of getting on a twelve hour flight and placing himself amongst people who would smack him around if nobody was looking is not going to be dissuaded by dialogue. I'll even give the kid credit it takes balls.
 If he were in PA territories protesting he would have been killed. This is why you never see a corresponding video of an American Arab protesting on behalf of Israelis.  In fact, just last year a pro-palestinian activist. Read that again pro-Palestinian activist was killed in Gaza earlier this year by terrorists.

The unidentified man being resisting arrest.
It appears from the video that he is stopped from protesting by Israeli police and arrested brutally.  But a few points should be made

  • First, the video is edited. There is no way to tell how much time passed in between his showing up at the march and being approached.
  • Second, he should have identified himself. Israel is a state that is on high-alert all the time. It is not unreasonable or absurd to be asked for your identification. Also he had his passport out for much of the time. If it was so important that he not hand it over, why did he display it so publicly?
  • Third, he resisted arrest. When the police tried to take him into custody, he ran, pushed back, screamed. Any injuries he sustained were his own fault.
Maybe he thought he'd never been seen again. Which, of course is illogical, because in Israel, even terrorists don't always get life sentences.

Who am I?

I was raised in a very liberal Jewish household. Like, with many liberals I was raised to be sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed (a notion I still feel today). For a long time, I identified with the plight of the Palestinian people. I felt ashamed that Jews could persecute another people like this.
It was in the early days of the past decade, during the second intifada. That I began to question the logic of the people I was friends with. They claimed that Palestinian terrorists were only defending their people, that   there battle wasn't about hurting Jews. Then, came the Passover bombing in Netanya; and of course there was the pre 9/11 Sbarro's bombing. I questioned actions that had no tactical purpose. They were for lack of a better term. Hate crimes.
A few years later, I visited Israel for the first time. It was in the midst of a fierce debate over the disengagement. I was shocked at how much disagreement there was between the people of Israel. I quickly came to one conclusion. No matter what I believed about Israel, this kind of dissent did not exist in the Arab countries and certainly not amongst the Palestinans.  I saw people of every color living together. This was a very different picture than the one painted by people who criticize Israel.

Eventually over the years, my sympathy for the Palestinian people has not changed. Every life, no matter how disadvantaged is worth living to the fullest of its potential. What has changed is my view on who is oppressing them. The Palestinian people deserve their freedom from Hamas and Fatah, even if they don't know it.
However, it is hard to balance my social values, political ideals and religious beliefs. Come along with me and we'll take a ride.