17 August 2018

Can a fart be misogynist?

"Yes, we can!" could be a male chauvinist answer to that question, of course. But, according this this article, the question was raised in all possible seriousness.


A word of warning: there is a high possibility that most of the content there is a spoof, but Ashleigh Ingle, one of the main protagonists of the piece, does exists and her other ridiculous shenanigans could be traced all over the net.

Well, here is a quote from the other one:
Local activist Steph Guthrie a feminist advocate and community organizer who specialises in social media and interactive events proposed an online campaign to tackle this misogyny that “keeps women down and trapped in their own bodies. I just find it horrific that the patriarchy has been controlling women’s flatulence this whole time and we have just realised this now, it is time for feminist worldwide to re-educate women on how they are being discriminated against.
For full disclosure, I would never try to dominate a lady in that activity.

Safety off and fire at will!

P.S. The hashtag "#FartRape" really exists. Or did exist for some time.

Hat tip: O.S.

16 August 2018

CNN, burning cars, burning boats, bullshit...


A few days ago some Swedish citizens have had them a field day, running around several cities and putting cars on fire. Whether their choice of the cars was random or directed at a specific model or specific owners will remain unknown, probably. But we are here to learn, so CNN helpfully provided an article where one can learn the following:
Around 80 cars were set on fire and a further 40 vandalized in the city of Gothenburg in western Sweden on Monday night, according to Hans Lippens, police spokesman for the country's western region.

It is not unusual for such attacks to take place in Sweden in the week before schools reopen after the summer holiday, Lippens told CNN, but "the current count and level of damage is unprecedented."
Aside of the article showing that the festive events were well organized, the main thing we have learned, of course, is the timing.

What can I say: going back to school after a long, sunny and happy holiday is traumatic for the kids, no question about it. And everyone with real blood in his veins will understand that need for release of the bad feelings. Of course, loving parents can afford a few cars to make the progeny docile for the looming September 1. Especially if the cars were insured.

But - and there is a big but here. The CNN reporters (3 of them on that article!) have done a poor job of research. The real roots of car burning escaped their attention. Which is strange, since at least one of the three names sounds kinda Swedish. But no matter, here I come, helpful as always and armed with Google and a keyboard. Simple as that:
The Vikings were also known to be fearless and ruthless warriors. One of their actions can be used by the aspiring and ambitious managers to help their organizations to create value. After they landed their boat on some distance land and as they departed to fight the local inhabitants (enemies?), the leader would have the crew burn their own boat on the shore. Then they went into battle with the image of their burning boat at their back.

Were they crazy!! Why did the Vikings do that? There seems to be three major reasons. First, it was to strike fear and panic in the hearts of their opponent. Man has always had this love/fear of fire. The awesome sight of a burning ship on the beach could probably be seen for miles, certainly emphasizing the point, “We are here!”

Second, the burning ship was strong signal to the enemy that the Vikings were serious and committed. Given that they had destroyed their only way home, the enemy must have taken that as a sure sign that this was going to be an extremely tough battle.

Third, it was a signal to the Vikings themselves. The burning of their ship clearly made the point that the only possible way home was to win the battle. It reinforced their own level of commitment.

So, dear reader, it is not "Back To School" syndrome at all, but an important part of Viking folklore, a hallowed ancient ceremony, reenacted every year in August, incidentally at the same time when moms and dads visit the department shops to buy new schoolbags, pencils, books, lunch boxes etc.

So there. You are welcome.

13 August 2018

I don’t think I was actually involved in it

They used to say "I was just doing my job". But they weren't sophisticated enough, now they have a new formula.



And since when it rains it pours:


Which occasion is perfectly described by Phillip Mark McGough:
I admit I was present but I don't think I actually knew this was the hand sign for the Muslim Brotherhood, a pan-Islamist organization dedicated to the establishment of a global caliphate and proscribed accordingly in various countries for its terrorist affiliations. At the time I thought I was attending a Star Trek convention. I have devoted my entire life to a lasting trilateral peace between the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Greater Co-prosperity Sphere.
Update: and now another awkward attempt at a spin by Corbyn: a confession mixed with denial. So he was laying a wreath, but it was in memory of the 1985 bombing by Israel.

So patently, pitifully and obviously a lie. Here is what says... Jeremy Corbyn, in Morning Star article he penned:
After wreaths were laid at the graves of those who died on that day and on the graves of others killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991, we moved to the poignant statue in the main avenue of the coastal town of Ben Arous, which was festooned with Palestinian and Tunisian flags.
And this post is, most probably, all you will ever need to know about the protagonist. And what better to summarize it all than another quote from Phillip Mark McGough:
Consider the following:

*Corbyn didn't know that "honoured guests" he invited to tea in Parliament were blood-libelling Jew-hating genocidal scum

*Corbyn didn't know that a mural he defended was brimming with grossly antisemitic caricatures straight out of the pages of Der Stürmer

*Corbyn didn't know that social media groups in which he actively and enthusiastically immersed himself for years were foaming with a truly toxic antisemitism

*Corbyn didn't know that many of his fellow speakers at the innumerable pro-Palestinian hate fests he's attended over the past four decades were antisemitic obsessives, even as he sat through their obsessively antisemitic speeches

*Corbyn didn't know that he was at a memorial service for the terrorists who tortured and murdered Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972 even though he flew to Tunisia to attend the same and was photographed holding a wreath over the aforementioned terrorists' graves while muttering an Arabic benediction in their memory

Bearing the foregoing in mind, there are three- and only three- possible explanations:

(1) Jeremy Corbyn is lying

(2) Jeremy Corbyn has dementia and needs immediate institutionalization, electroconvulsive shock therapy, and a brisk, hourly beating

(3) Jeremy Corbyn is being gaslighted by an evil alter ego, much like Roger Moore in the psychological/supernatural thriller "The Man Who Haunted Himself" [Basil Dearden, 1970]

10 August 2018

And this is the way it rolls with Gaza...

I am really tired of the topic, nothing new to be added to or subtracted from it. So, purely for documentation purposes, here is a summary of the latest developments by Irina, and old friend from the good old blogging days.

***

A few words about the latest Hamas led attacks on Israel:

* They were completely unprovoked. The Arab media is only reporting images of Israeli counterattacks. Israel and US advocates are failing to engage Arab audience on the reality of what happened.

* Hamas was in the middle of reported negotiations over ceasefire terms - so it scored particularly high on the bad faith spectrum, also misleading the interlocutor Egypt.

* Israel, in retaliation, struck two Hamas tunnels. Those tunnels were a national security threat even before the 180 rockets Hamas fired at Israeli civilians. Why weren't they destroyed earlier when Israel clearly knew about them?

* Hamas was clearly trying to harm civilians. 180 rockets damaged homes, other types of private property, wounded civilians, sent pregnant women into labor, and gave PTSD to hundreds of children in Sderot and elsewhere. Yet Israeli retaliation included damaging infrastructure that should not have been there to begin with. What lesson will Hamas and the international community draw from this response?

* Hamas attacking Israeli civilians for no reason: NO condemnation from international community and press. Why are we to take the international press seriously when they are clearly ok with unprovoked unjustified terrorism? Hamas did not even provide reasoning for it, not even a totally fake veneer.

*Hamas staged an attack, then, before they could be punished too severely, claimed that they are now done and want peace. That's not how it works. You don't get to fire deadly parting shots and walk away unscathed with no legal or political repercussions. Or at least you shouldn't. How does a bunch of cowardly terrorists hiding in Turkey get to dictate terms of engagement and what happens next?

* The world then wonders how is it that Israelis and right wing Jews in the US and Europe are distrustful of Arabs. Well, where are the Arabs on questioning their media and on condemning Iran-funded Hamas on risking its own civilians and attacking women and children? How can you have trust and understanding from one side when the other doesn't even want to hear your concerns and dehumanizes you from the get go?

08 August 2018

Israel and disproportionate response

It was written by a person named Jonathan Howard in 2014. A good rebuke to idiots, unfortunately I don't have any access to Mr Howard to ask for permission or just to thank him for writing this. Enjoy.

***

For anyone who thinks Israel’s response in Gaza is disproportionate: I agree. It is absolutely disproportionate. So we must ask ourselves: what would a proportionate response look like, exactly?

Every Friday and Saturday, every rabbi in Israel would remind his congregation how important it is to kill all of the Moslems in the world, wherever they find them. Israeli schools would brainwash Israeli kids to die killing Moslems, for the glory of making Judaism dominate the Middle East.

Israeli TV would broadcast threats of genocide to the Palestinians, with the IDF entertainment unit singing specially-written songs in Arabic about how bloody and glorious the massacre will be. (At the same time, they'd go to the UN and accuse the Palestinians of genocide.)

Israeli girls would be killed by their own families if they liked boys. So would Israeli boys.

IDF artillery would shoot rockets into Arab towns without any military targets, with the intention of killing as many civilians as possible, several times a day, almost every day for the last 14 years.

The Mossad would send hundreds of young Jews to blow themselves up in shopping centres, hotels, cafes, nightclubs and bus stops around the world. Israeli municipalities would name streets after the suicide bombers, and the government would pay their families a pension for life. The proud Jewish mothers of the suicide bombers would appear on Israeli TV encouraging mothers everywhere to give up their children for the cause of killing Moslems.

The IDF would bully and threaten the UN to let them store their weapons and explosives in UN facilities. Israeli artillery soldiers would travel around in UN ambulances, kill their own women and children with misfired rockets, then invite the international press to see the dead women and children and blame it on the Palestinians.

They’d put IDF explosives in Israeli homes, and when they blow up in all too frequent accidents, they’d blame the Palestinians and invite the foreign press to come and see the dead women and children.

They’d ban the foreign press from taking any photos of IDF soldiers in uniform, and threaten reporters if they report anything except dead women and children.

The IDF Spokesman would claim that the majority of IDF casualties are actually women and children.

Bibi’s office, and all of the IDF general staff and senior officers, would be relocated to the basement of Hadassah Hospital (confident that the Palestinians generally try to avoid hitting things like hospitals).

Likud would execute members of the Israeli opposition parties if they criticised Bibi’s conduct, taking them out behind the back of the Knesset building and shooting them in the head.

Before running into their bomb shelters, brave IDF soldiers would force Israeli women and children into the firing line, sometimes breaking their legs to stop them getting away, and sometimes chaining them to buildings. Then they'd shoot missiles at the Palestinians, and leg it into the shelter. They'd emerge to find dead women and children, and call the foreign press over to take a look.

The IDF’s Engineering Corps would kill 160 Israeli child slaves during the construction of tunnels. The tunnels would be designed for blowing up Palestinian schools and homes, and for IDF freedom fighters to kidnap Palestinians to use as hostages.

If the tunnel kidnaps succeeded, Bibi would then use the hostages to force the release of the thousands of Jews in Palestinian jails who were responsible for organising the many Jewish suicide bombings. He would give them a heroes' welcome, and put them to work organising more suicide bombings.

The Israeli government would use most of Israel’s public money on terror tunnels and villas for Likud leaders, and put the rest in Swiss and Qatari bank accounts for Bibi and his friends to enjoy. This would sink Israel into poverty. They'd blame the poverty on the BDS movement, and demand more money from the international community to build more tunnels, and more villas for Likud leaders.

They would proudly announce, quoting the Israeli Declaration of Independence, that they're not going to stop until all of the Moslems in the world have been driven into the sea.

And then they'd come for you.

I think we can be thankful that Israel’s response is not proportionate.

07 August 2018

Corbyn's pearls - for own collection

Really, one can get overdosed on so much crap, so this will be for my own archives. You don't have to... you know.

There seems to be a great deal of pressure on the BBC from the Israeli government and the Israeli embassy, and they are very assertive towards all journalists and to the BBC itself - they challenge every single thing on reporting the whole time.

"I think there is a bias towards saying that Israel is a democracy in the Middle East, that Israel has a right to exist, that Israel has its security concerns.
So, saying that we have a right to exist or, for that matter, to have own security concerns, is biased. What would be the unbiased version, I haste to inquire?

Oh boy, what a worm...

05 August 2018

Professor Waxman and discomfort of the British Jews. Oh, and Freedom of Speech...


It so happens that every time I see an article that starts with the "full disclosure" of the kind: "I am Jewish..." or "As a Jew...", I get butterflies in my stomach. This time wasn't any different.

When I have seen the headline of the article in Times of Israel:

Who gets to define anti-Semitism?

I, of course, was slightly thrilled*. I was less thrilled after reading the lede:
The UK Labour Party must protect free speech, including the comments about Israel that most British Jews abhor.
So free speech is the issue then? Hmm...

And then, of course, the "full disclosure" part:
I am a British Jew, though I have spent my adult life in the United States. I’ve found it more comfortable to be a Jew here, but I have always bridled at the notion that Britain is, or is becoming, an inhospitable environment for Jews, whether due to anti-Semitism on the left there or among its large Muslim population.
Quite revealing, especially the part of being more comfortable. I assume that prof. Waxman was already asked about that confession, so I shall leave it alone. Just to mention that the butterflies in my stomach invited a few friends to join the dance. And when prof. Waxman bridled at that notion - what can I say: the butterflies really lost it, each one dancing and jumping up and down to its own music. Inviting more buddies, too.

Now it is my turn to do that "full disclosure" part, I guess. Not being a British Jew, just an oldish Israeli one, with a considerable time done elsewhere (USSR mostly and USA some), I hate the topic of antisemitism. Every one of the few people reading this blog knows that rarely does it go into this murky subject, for various unrelated reasons.

But when many (if not all) of my British friends, Jewish and not so blessed, bitterly complain about that malady in what used to be their political home of preference, when they leave that home in droves, when they start looking elsewhere for acceptance - only a deaf and blind would ignore that.

When the leader of that party is caught again and again in de facto antisemitic acts, like buddying up to terrorists (tell me who your brothers are...). Like declaring the mere existence of Israel bizzare. By seeming unable even to say "Israel", so deeply is the word lodged in his craw.  Etc. etc.

When dignitaries like David Duke and Nick Griffin declare their support for the said leader - tell me who you friends are now.

When the Deputy Leader says things like "Labour faces ‘eternal shame’ over antisemitism."

When the glorious leader himself is forced to issue an artificially sounding half-confession/half denial, which (at least) includes words like "But I do acknowledge there is a real problem that Labour is working to overcome."

What does all of the above leave of prof. Waxman bridling? I don't know and really don't want to.

But all of the above is not really the point of the discussed article, nor of this post. The real point is the big red herring of free speech, placed by prof. Waxman at the center of his article. According to his logic (or his beliefs) it's quite fine (in the framework of free speech, of course) to direct more attention and criticism to Israel’s alleged crimes and misdeeds than toward other democracies. It is cool (free speech) to compare Israeli policies and actions to those of Nazi Germany. It is quite acceptable (free speech) claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour. Etc.

And I wouldn't even comment on that bizarre notion:
The fact that many Jews are justifiably offended by false analogies between Israel and Nazi Germany does not automatically make such analogies anti-Semitic.
Because, as I mentioned already, this is just another piece of the same red herring and as such is besides the point.

To the point: the vaunted freedom of speech prof. Waxman so selflessly defends is not something that should be protected by a political party, it is rather the business of the government and its institutions and the public at large. To use a (randomly chosen, with apologies to prof. Waxman) definition of political party:
A political party is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.
I strongly doubt that even a man, so liberal in his views as prof. Waxman, will object to the notion that Holocaust deniers, Israel-haters and various other shades of anti-Semites and other racists and bigots, while they might have the freedom of speech protection of their activities and their hate speech, are not entitled to "automatic" (whatever it means) protection of their party membership.

In other words: I might fight to death for your freedom of speech, hateful as your speech might appear, but I wouldn't want to invite you to my party (pun intended).

I hope this dispenses with the red herring in its entirety.

Q.E.D.

(*) And disappointed eventually, since no matter how carefully you read the article, you wouldn't find an answer to this, seemingly trivial, question. Rather a dismissal of the whole by this:
That’s what the British Jewish communal establishment declared in its condemnation of Labour’s definition of anti-Semitism: “It is for Jews to determine for themselves what anti-Semitism is.”

While the feelings and sensitivities of Jews should be considered, they are not sufficient.
One would think (wrongly, apparently) that the issue of defining an insult is in the eyes of the insultee. But prof. Waxman, obviously, doesn't think so. I am not going to deal with this, painfully obvious, strawman, aside of quoting my Facebook British friend, Sarah Minxy Mann Yeager, who expressed it quite well:
People like you are the reason we are running scared. Ask yourself this xxx: if a black person told you they felt there was racism being aimed at them from a political party would you dare to ask them to substantiate it?

If an LGBT person told you they were feeling victimised would you dare to ask them for proof?

Why, as a JEW who tells you there is a palpable threat to their whole group from a political party, do you dare to expect any more substantiation than daily press articles that cover the front pages of our national press from the Daily Telegraph to The Mirror?

If you are curious, YOU go and look. You are clearly not satisfied with the evidence that I have given you and your refusal to believe there is a problem is tantamount to gaslighting.

You are telling me, a JEW, that I am imagining it and there is NO antisemitism. I am telling you there is.

Why is my telling you isufficient? If I were BAME and told your something similar you would not ask for proof.

03 August 2018

Some pigs are not like the others: right, Jerusalem Post?

The story starts with this cartoon a veteran cartoonist posted:

A veteran Israeli cartoonist was cut loose on Tuesday from the magazine he worked at for nearly three decades over an illustration portraying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud lawmakers as pigs from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” The cartoon by Avi Katz drew on a photo of Netanyahu and members of his Likud party snapping a selfie at the Knesset following the passage of the so-called Jewish State law last week.
Undoubtedly, the cartoon was inspired (besides Orwell) by this picture:

Likud MK Oren Hazan takes a selfie with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, and MK David Bitan, right of Netanyahu, after the passage of the so-called Jewish State law at the Knesset on July 19, 2018.

I wouldn't go into the rights or wrongs of the artist's vision or his politics. Should I mention my opinion of many years that Jerusalem Post is quite a provincial rag, and that nothing has happened so far to persuade me differently? Nah, no need, really.

I shall just throw in another tidbit that may look somewhat unrelated to the matter and hand. At the first glance, possibly. Here is a Russian cartoonist, in a country that is not known for its gentleness toward dissidents of all stripes, publishing a cartoon including... but see for yourself:

"Orthodox devils" - says the caption.
And you know what: so far Mr. Kopeikin, the author of the cartoon in question, was neither fired nor fed a Polonium cookie.

Make one wonder, innit?

31 July 2018

NKVD uniform circa 1943, for children - why do you wait?

A personal disclosure: I have little sympathy for the Stalin's prime butchers of NKVD. My reasons are, with all else, rather personal. In 1939 one of my late and beloved uncles, being of the socialist persuasion, illegally crossed the border to get to the socialist heaven of USSR, was promptly arrested, accused of spying and spent more than 15 years in the worst parts of GULAG. The folks in blue and red hats have done their considerable best by him.

Anyhow, we are in the blessed XXI century now, and Mother Russia was celebrating the Victory Day (May 9), as it does every year. This time, some enterprising Internet-based outfit decided to spice the celebration with a special gift for kids:

NKVD officer defending the Motherland
"The uniform is intended for military reconstructions, role games, Victory Day celebrations, theatrical productions, photo shoots," it says in the product description. It is noted that, in addition to the uniform, you can buy a belt, a holster, a sword belt, leather boots and epaulettes.

So, enough time has passed that some elements in Russia, nostalgic for the days of the murderous dictator, decided to start whitewashing the murderous vermin at the beck and call of the 'roach mustaches.
We are living, but can’t feel the land where we stay,
More than ten steps away you can’t hear what we say.
But if people would talk on occasion,
They should mention the Kremlin Caucasian.

His thick fingers are bulky and fat like live-baits,
And his accurate words are as heavy as weights.
Cucaracha’s moustaches are screaming,
And his boot-tops are shining and gleaming.

But around him a crowd of thin-necked henchmen,
And he plays with the services of these half-men.
Some are whistling, some meowing, some sniffing,
He’s alone booming, poking and whiffing.

He is forging his rules and decrees like horseshoes –
Into groins, into foreheads, in eyes, and eyebrows.
Every killing for him is delight,
And Ossetian torso is wide*.
This is the man NKVD served so loyally, and the bones of their victims are scattered all over the country in their silent millions.

Adds a blogger tverdyi_znak:
It might be good to hand all buyers a memo - from whom and how the soldiers of the NKVD protected the Motherland. Among the terrible enemies of the Motherland was, for example, Misha Shamonin, who was shot at Butovo landfill at the age of 13. And not just by mistake, but by law, which allowed the NKVD to incarcerate and kill children from the age of 12.
Misha Shamonin, executed at age 13.
The Russians are obviously trying to forget their past, as do many others. And some (too many) of them will not rest until the past is safely buried. Here is a response from an arch-patriotic Bell of Russia. It is a long screed, most of it in defense of the heroic soldiers of NKVD that were the first to defend the Motherland against the Nazi hordes. It is full of scorn and hate directed at the "libruls" who dare to show their indignation by the revolting marketing ploy. The hateful rhetoric raises to its peak at the end:
What the Russian liberals are doing, mocking the heroes of the Great Patriotic War, looks like rehabilitation of fascism, for which the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for up to three years of imprisonment. Perhaps, when the Russian liberal public finally realizes that punishment for such things is inevitable, their desire to engage in sacrilege will begin to wane. Such kind of people, unfortunately, do not understand kind persuasion...
So much for kindness.

(*) Osip Mandelstam, 1933. The epigram that became his death sentence.

26 July 2018

MK David Bitan, esq. - and this is how it rolls in our Knesset


In an radio interview several topics were discussed with the illustrious member of Knesset David Bitan, until last year* the coalition chair in the Knesset.

One of the topics was the newly hatched Nationality Bill that caused (deservedly or not) an eruption of responses from all shades of the Israeli and international political spectrum. One of the factions that really feel injured by the law is the Druze population. Openly and traditionally supportive of the Jewish state, Druze community in Israel is fiercely loyal to the state and its sons serve in IDF and die together with us, protecting the country. Lack of the clause ensuring equality of all non-Jewish communities in the new law, even if that equality is protected by other existing laws, caused anger and protests that are easy to understand. And here is what he had to say on the subject (partial translation only):

(B. - David Bitan, I - the intervieiwer).
  • B. I am sorry that they [Druze MKs!] were allowed [sic!] to vote against the bill, and now [they appealed to] High Court of Justice... this is something unacceptable. 
  • I. This wouldn't have gone this way during your time [as a coalition chair]?
  • B. No, it wouldn't have.
  • I. What you would have done?
  • B. There are all kinds of thing that it's possible to do...
  • I. Sanctions are to be applied to them?
  • ...
  • I. Can't you understand them a little bit?
  • B. No, I can't understand them, because in general we are guarding the rights of the Druze in a special way. We have a covenant of blood with them, we... they receive all they need. There is no reason that a group... a minority of 120,000 will receive special rights in the Nationality bill. It is not all these millions, it is only 120,000 people. Druze are all in all only 120 - 160 thousands... they get a preferential treatment... 
  • I. So they should be thankful, you say... 
  • B. I didn't say that, I say that it doesn't go as they want... Druze too have to respect the majority, it is not like the majority should respect the Druze...
  • I. [changing the subject]
And no, just in case you have asked: he is not the only one on that level of mental prowess, lucidity etc. This is how it rolls - but I have already mentioned it.

Too bad.

(*) Quit that post due to police investigation of alleged bribery. But still remains a member of Knesset. Unfortunately.

24 July 2018

Forward, to a gentler and progressive Israel! Er... how?

Another stumbleupon situation that caused me to argue with another Jew. Two Jews arguing is usually a lose/lose game, but in spite of this we have never been able to desist. This time it was a Facebook encounter with Nathan Friedman Hersh*, who penned an article Israel's Only Policy on Gaza Is to Beat the Drums of War in (you guessed right) Haaretz.

Before I get to the fisking, let me say that I agree with the headline. It is nothing more and nothing less than a statement of fact. This is exactly what is going on for quite a few years. While the beating of the mentioned drums is never as belligerent as in the picture below, the threats aimed at Gazan leaders in particular and Hamas in general are an almost daily occurrence, so far never carried out to their full extent.


Let's start with the most important point: the article, heavy on criticism and denigration of the government, doesn't offer any solution to the hellishly difficult situation with Gaza. Nothing, zilch, gurnisht. One would have hoped that an article with such a bombastic headline and of such epic length will have at least two thirds of it dedicated to a solution that will stop the strife. But no, that hope fell flat.

There are two points the author offers to our attention as potential steps to a solution:
The first is a 2011 Israeli initiative designed to alleviate the blockade of Gaza with an offshore seaport. The plan would help improve the plummeting Gaza economy while also helping ensure security for Israel.
Another plan to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a solar energy field Israel would build, perhaps with Gulf funding, to supply Gaza with continuous electricity.
Let's assume that Hamas agrees to a seaport with our military oversight and that Hamas/Islamic Jihad rocket scientists don't destroy such an easy target as a solar energy field, in one of their fits of freedom fighting zeal (as they have repeatedly done with border crossings that provide their vital supplies, electricity, gas and water lines etc.). But what exactly is new with the proposal? I am getting tired to remind people to look at what was agreed with Palestinians toward the disengagement with Gaza, to recall the airport that was build and had to be destroyed, the seaport plan that had to be scrapped etc. We all know how it started and how it ended, don't we?

The other fault with the idea of improvement of Gazans' (indeed largely pitiful) conditions is the assumption that the leaders of Gaza care about their lot. So far, all we have seen shows the opposite. People who build their shelters under hospitals and launch rockets from schoolyards don't really care, that much is crystal clear. People who use all available metal to build Qassam rockets and the available cement to build tunnels (not the drainage ones, to our sorrow) don't really care.

Now to this short and unequivocal statement:
The blockade isn’t working.
I know what Nathan thinks about the purpose(s) of the blockade - he sees the blockade as a measure undertaken to break the spirit of the Hamas' freedom fighters:
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert initiated the blockade to strangle the Palestinians of Gaza until they voted out or overthrew their Hamas leaders...
But in fact blockade had one purpose only: to prevent smuggling of more and more sophisticated weapons that are so helpfully provided by Iran and other state actors unhappy with the mere fact of our existence. And it is working - not a full proof measure, but it works. Nothing more, nothing less.

The next curious paragraph:
Instead of listening to those voices, however, the government was satisfied to allow the army to set Israel’s policy toward Gaza. By yielding to the army the mandate to form solutions for Israel’s Gaza problem, government ministers avoid accountability.
What are the voices that should be listened to is totally hidden, the article so far doesn't mention any. The point about letting the army to set Israel's policy toward Gaza is factually wrong - it is the army and Shin Bet that support and push for an improvement of Gazans' living conditions. The point about accountability mentioned is quite absurd: there is a minister that is responsible and accountable for the military and there is a PM responsible for that minister. The buck doesn't stop an the CoS' table. Meaningless and confused.

And the next one, which is not only curious but rather stupid:
Ultimately, this lack of accountability not only led to thousands of innocent Palestinians killed...
Thousands (multiple) of innocent people - right, Nathan? - no matter how many of those killed were rank and file of Hamas troops? No more comments on this one.
As with the occupation of the West Bank, there is no alternative policy to the Gaza blockade. This is by design.
What kind of a dark design it is, remains unexplained in the rest of the article.

Well, the rest of the article I said. That rest is so long and rambling and so unconnected to the quandary of Gaza that I shall leave it alone. Aside of this curious ending:
Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve the possibility of freedom from occupation and blockade. Israelis deserve a government that can offer them long-term, multi-faceted protection from their enemies.
What is omitted from this passage is whether we deserve an end to the attempts to kill us in many different ways. Because the only thing Nathan mentions is "multi-faceted protection", whatever it means. Not peace.


(*) Nathan Friedman Hersh is a writer and the former managing director of Partners for Progressive Israel**. He has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He served in an unnamed IDF combat unit, as follows from the article discussed here and is studying medicine in US. Much to respect, even if his views are somewhat or sometimes confused and his responses when in a tight corner tend to "it is all hasbarah" knee-jerk reaction.

(**) A group that seems to be affiliated with (or very close to otherwise) Israeli Meretz party. Nothing to be ashamed of, some of my closest and dearest are members, but defines one's political allegiances quite well. Boycott the settlements' produce, strive for real peace etc.

18 July 2018

The censor - soon in your home too

The censor will call itself "Content Filtering" these days. If you have used something similar in your cable or other TV provider's set top box to prevent your kids from viewing inappropriate context,  you might guess where it is going.

Only now it is done on a completely another level and it is you who are being protected by the omniscient, benevolent and omnipotent eye of your betters. The ones in Brussels this time.

Here it comes, from one of my British friends who will remain unnamed, just in case. The friend is subscribed to Virgin as an Internet provider. This is what appeared on the screen, after the friend tried to get into Breitbart.com:


I am not a great fan of Breitbart, not in its current incarnation, I haste to declare (in case of the above mentioned Big Brother listening in). But this sucks. It sucks in all major ways and should be fought.

So you better fight.

Update: And something similar almost happened here too.
A radically unprecedented and far-reaching proposal that would have given the government the ability to block Israeli web users’ access to parts or the entirety of any website was stopped in its tracks Wednesday morning, hours before it was set to be voted into law by Knesset members who had “no idea” of its far-reaching implications.
People like Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked are a clear and present danger to democracy. That much is clear, unfortunately.

Update 2: OK, more on the internet filters as implemented in UK.

The Guide to ISP web filters is quite a good explainer:

Since 2013 all new customers to the four biggest ISPs - along with many of the smaller providers - were automatically opted in to web filtering. In 2014 this was extended to all existing subscribers too. If you haven't previously chosen to opt out of the filtering, it's likely your connection will be affected.

The Guide talks about 8 categories of verbotten content, one of which at least (Hate Speech) allows the internet provider a great freedom of decision. The article presents porn as the main issue that was resolved thanks to the filters, but in reality it isn't the only one. Virgin, for instance, calls its filtering "Child Safe", which is quite deceptive, obviously, since they use the Hate Speech on political sites as well.

And yes, you can opt out of the filtering, it is an option, not a mandatory one. When you sign up to service, filtering is switched on automatically, so it needs your intervention to remove it.

But make up your own mind.

17 July 2018

Gaza again - it is coming

The four years preceding the last few months' events on the Gaza borders were relatively quiet. Yes, from time to time the silence was interrupted by a few rocket or grenade launches, but nothing too bad. However, ceasefire wasn't to the full satisfaction of the Gazan ruling clique, especially with the new blood in the top management:


That beast will never change its spots, that for sure. So here are some pictures and no predictions of the obvious and, seemingly, inevitable, soon to come.

Ashkelon 

Sderot

Sderot

Tel Aviv (training)

14 July 2018

Is football the universal religion or is BBC off its collective gourd?

It started for me with looking at the reports on this night's skirmishes on the Gaza border, after a series of rocket and mortar shells barrages from the neighbors. Somehow it evolved in getting to the BBC site. And this is part of what I have found in their World section of the news:


Surely you understand that it is a rare client what clicks on the World section of their site. And even there, all the coverage the murder of "over 100" Pakistanis got is the following:
A suicide bomber has killed at least 128 people at a campaign rally in south-western Pakistan - the deadliest attack in the country since 2014.

A local candidate was among the dead in the Mastung town, police say. So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack.

Earlier, a bomb attack on a similar rally in the northern town of Bannu killed four people. The attacks come ahead of general elections on 25 July.
It must be clear to anyone that vying with Scarlett Johansson isn't all that easy.
And here comes the front page of BBC of that same day (click to enlarge):


What, indeed,  could compete with the crucial question of football vs religion? Or with the way Thai cave smells?

Yeah... and this is the way it goes.

P.S. And regarding the skirmishes mentioned: this is the closest BBC got to any mention of those:

So there.

13 July 2018

Fixing Gaza...Permanently

Rob Miller aka Joshuapundit has written a post that may appear controversial to many of its readers.
However, the level of desperation with the unending strife and unending hate from our Gazan neighbors lead Israelis increasingly thinking about this way of solving the problem. Not yet there, but thinking of it.

***

Related image


Related image


Since March 30th, much of the world's press and a chunk of the so-called 'international community' has been focusing on a series of what can only be called violent riots emanating from Gaza against Israel's border.