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.

***

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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.

Of course the media refers to them as protests, and the rioters as protestors and the UN as well as the usual channels refer to what has happened as 'war crimes.' So as a beginning, it's perhaps helpful to describe these so-called protests and let the reader judge.

Israel understandably has a border fence with Gaza, a precaution against the numerous terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas and Iranian proxy Islamic Jihad that have occurred in the past. The protests weren't composed of people carrying signs and making a few speeches. They were mob attacks on Israel's border, specifically on points Hamas had advised the mob were vulnerable. The mobs attacked the fence directly with Molotov cocktails, small arms fire, axes, wire cutters, explosives and knives. They used women and children as human shields, and had support from Hamas missiles and mortar shells. In other words, this was an attack, an act of war carried out against a sovereign nation.

The IDF responded the way any country's military would faced by this attack on their borders. After warnings to the mob in Arabic not to approach the border fence and tear gas didn't stop them, the IDF soldiers opened fire when the mob charged the fence in response. It is a testimony to the cool heads, marksmanship and professionalism of the Tzahal that there were so few casualties, and that even Hamas admits almost all of them were Hamas or Islamic Jihad members. If a group of Jewish women and children had approached Gaza with an actual protest asking Hamas to stop firing missiles and mortar rounds at Israeli towns, does anyone doubt Hamas would have killed every one of them and celebrated afterwards?

Hamas's Leader Ismail Haniyeh has made it clear that the riots and assaults of the fence will continue 'until Jerusalem is liberated.' And true to his command, the riots have continued, usually of Fridays after the imams have had a chance to stir up the mobs.

Another assault has been launched from the air. Incendiary kites, balloons and even inflated condoms have been launched towards Israel, resulting in fires that have already destroyed hundreds of dunams of Israeli land. One balloon containing an explosive device and a booby trapped detonator attached to the string was launched to be landed near an Israeli kindergarten only a half hour before the children were scheduled to arrive for class. Here's what it looked like:

Image result for picture of Hamas balloon incendiary

The leftist press reacted as expected. The AP, for instance in an article I won't bother to link to had a whole sob story about how there's such limited electricity nowadays and that it was making medical procedures like tending the wounds of would-be jihadis so difficult. Of course, what this Hamas PR piece didn't mention is that the electricity in Gaza is so limited because a Hamas missile accidentally hit one of the Israeli towers that provides electricity to Hamasastan. And to add to the smell of what the AP and others are peddling, the Israelis aren't able to make repairs because of the danger to Israeli repair crew.

The UN also played its traditional role. An extremely biased UNSC resolution damning Israel for 'war crimes' was unable to pass thanks to a U.S. veto, but the same resolution passed in the General Assembly, 120-8, with 45 abstentions. About half of the EU voted for the resolution, including Spain, France and Belgium, with Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland and Norway also voting in favor. The UK and Germany abstained. Of the major U.S. allies, only the Australians had the guts and decency to vote against this travesty openly...Advance Australia Fair indeed.


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An amendment advanced by U.S Ambassador Nikki Haley condemning Hamas actually passed by a majority, but was disallowed by General Assembly president Miroslav Lajcak. While the resolution has the legal force of a stale piece of take out pizza, the fact that the UN was willing to vote to not condemn a clear aggressor against a democracy, and to actually vote in favor of establishing 'an international protection force for the occupied Palestinians' tells us quite a bit of what the UN has become. As Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon put it, if the UN approved the Palestinian resolution, “it will have signed in writing its unequivocal support for terrorism against Israel.”

“Let us not pretend,” Danon said. “If ISIS were to attack Stockholm tomorrow, ISIS would be held responsible for the attack. If al-Qaeda assaulted Paris, the UN would issue the strongest condemnation of al-Qaeda.”

“Only when Hamas attacks Israel does the UN seek to blame Israel.”

Well they did approve it, and a large part of the UN does approve terrorist attacks on Israel. And they have for a very long time.

So, how to fix this sorry situation?

Obviously the Israelis cannot depend on any cooperation at the UN. Nor can they depend on Hamas to stop attacking them or trust any negotiations they make with them. The latest laugher was Hamas's offer for 'comprehensive negotiation.' You know what Hamas proposed? They will return the remains of two Israeli servicemen,Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul they've held since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. And they will return two kidnapped Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, prisoners who the Red Cross has not even been permitted to visit.

What do they want in exchange? Oh, just to build a seaport and an airport. When you realize the Iran has now joined Turkey as Hamas's paymasters, it's easy to figure out they don't exactly want these things for the tourist trade, but to fly and import weapons and missiles. The Iranians are particularly noted for using civilian airplanes for this purpose. And these attacks on Israel's border are largely at Iran's request, to open up another front against Israel and distract from Iranian attempts to militarize Syria.

And no mention of an actual peace treaty, of course. Israel is never going to be able to negotiate anything like that with people who would use a pretty, kid friendly balloon as a booby trap in hopes of murdering  Jewish children.

What Israel has done to date since the Hamas takeover is to wall Gaza off, destroy the terrorist tunnels into Israel and do their best not to allow Iranian heavy weapons to get into Hamas's hands. Whenever the missile firings and mortar shelling get too intense, Israel engages in  what they refer to as 'mowing the grass' to take out as many Hamas military assets as possible and calm things down until the next time. Followed, of course by the usual media and UN hysterics,

This strategy actually helps Hamas, who care very little about the people they rule or about peace with Israel.It has become, essentially a war of attrition which favors Hamas.

I have a different solution, and it's one I would implement if it were my decision to make.

Wars are won (or lost) when certain things occur. To end a war or the active threat of war, one side occupies enemy territory and subdues it while protecting its own. Or  one side simply destroys an enemy's capacity to wage war and forces them to seek terms of surrender and peaceful coexistence.

Of course, not all wars are decisively won or lost, but that is how a war in which one side is victorious ends.

My proposal is that Israel treat this like the war that it is and do what's necessary to end it. It would not be without cost, but is entirely possible. And certainly an improvement on the status quo.

First, I would inform the civilian population to leave to avoid undue hardship. Then, I would send the IDF over the borders, after announcing publicly to Hamas and the world that any hospitals, mosques, civilian dwellings or schools from which any missiles were fired would be considered  legitimate military targets and dealt with accordingly. After all, the UN is going to condemn anything Israel does anyway, so it makes sense to deal with this Hamas tactic properly, once and for all.

I would then shut off all electricity and water to Gaza. which is now provided by Israel. Men have survived for centuries without electricity, but never for very long without water. The IDF could simply dig in and besiege Gaza City and Khan Yunis while the air force and attack choppers took out the missile launching sites and anything else that was appropriate. Hamas would eventually have to come out to either face the IDF's firepower or to surrender.

After vetting them, the Israelis could definitely let a large part of the civilian population flee to Egyptian Sinai and then close off the Rafah crossing while turning over the Hamas small fry that were captured directly to Egypt's Mukhabarat for a nice, leisurely interrogation. Getting their hands on bunch of Hamas operatives is something I'm sure Egypt's al-Sisi would appreciate, especially when they spilled the beans about their fellow Muslim Brotherhood comrades in Egypt. The Hamas leaders could be subjected to a nice sit down with the Shin Bet, who are noted for their hospitality and encouragement of interesting conversation in these situations. Most of the Hamas leaderrs could probably be turned over to the Egyptians afterwards. Sharing is caring, nachon?

At that point, the Israelis would control previously hostile territory, eliminating an Iran proxy and a probable war front. Mahmoud Abbas would certainly want it turned over to him and the corrupt PLO, but Israel could and should refuse outright, and annex the Gaza Strip. They could then start doing what Israelis seem to do so well, rebuilding and improving the mess, exactly what they did to Judea and Samaria after the Six Day War. There would be no more missiles from Gaza, and not much of a Hamas threat. Perhaps even some of the inhabitants from Gush Katif could resettle there, along with other Israelis. It could even become a haven for Arab and Middle East Christians and Yazedis, whose young men would become as good soldiers defending their new country as the Druse, Bedouin and Arab Christians have been. South Africa's Jews, who are increasingly under threat from the government of their native land might be another good source of population.

And Gaza itself? It would become what it could easily have been with different rulers, a second Singapore rife with trade and prosperity. While Egypt might whine a bit about a large part of Gaza's population settling in Sinai, the increased trade between Israel and Egypt, which Egypt badly needs would be a consolation. Egypt could also probably apply to the UN or elsewhere to get some support money for these new refugees.

The UN and the usual media clowns would go insane. But they do that anyway whenever Israel takes the least step to defend itself. They would never recognize Israel's annexation of Gaza, but so what? They don't even recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, or Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, which is 50 years old. Some European nations might not accept products from Gaza, but there would be plenty of trade with Asia, Eastern Europe and the Arab world to make up the slack.

Wars end with victory. It's time this one did.

10 July 2018

And now, from the murky depths of the 'net...


It is not a big story, all in all. Just a fairly random example of the crap that floats in quantities on the surface (and beneath it) of the endless ocean of bits and bytes we let into our houses.

A small (probably Israeli) Russian language outfit Mignews published an unremarkable short article, titled (translated):

Israeli doctors found out that whiskey protects against cancer

I am calling it unremarkable, because for many years media is inundated by articles about similar discoveries about any and all alcoholic beverages. For all I know, there might be even a grain (no pun intended) of truth in this claim.

In this case, however, the author of the Mignews article has shown an example of journalistic prowess far beyond any reasonable call of duty. Here is a translation of the main part of this short piece:
Israeli doctors after many studies concluded that whiskey can protect against cancer, reports on Monday, July 9, the Los Angeles Times.

Scientists from the medical center BIDMC found that an alcogolic drink helps protect healthy cells from oxidation and mutation due to the content of ellagic [?] acid (antioxidant), which is also present in many fruits. The substance prevents the degeneration of cells into cancerous cells.

Researchers also note that when using whiskey at moderate doses in the body, the level of "bad" cholesterol decreases and the content of "good" increases.
Well, to start with this wholly unremarkable bit of news, the author either doesn't dig English at all or went for an elaborated con job. In any case, its relation to the linked above article in Los Angeles Times is of totally perverted nature I would not dare to characterize. Here are some salient points:

1. The "Israeli doctors" - probably inspired by the full name of the institution: BIDMC means Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (in Boston, USA). The word "Israel" figures there, but...

2. The "discovery" of the wondrous anti-cancer qualities of whiskey - the word "cancer" appears twice in the LAT article in the following sentences:
  • Critics have also raised questions about how the study would address health risks associated with moderate drinking, such as cancer.
  • As an example, they said that an independent review of the study design determined that it didn’t track enough participants for a long enough period of time to determine whether moderate drinking could increase the risk of cancer.
So much for the cancer.

3. And now to the whole enchilada:
Instead, the NIH announced Friday it would shut down the study over concerns about the way officials solicited funding for the study from companies that sell alcoholic beverages. These “process irregularities” had “undermined the integrity of the research process,” the agency said in a statement.
By the time the clinical trial launched, companies including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Carlsberg Breweries A/S, Diageo (maker of Tanqueray gin and Captain Morgan rum) and Pernod Ricard USA (maker of Absolut Vodka and Chivas Regal Scotch whisky) had agreed to contribute $67.7 million in funding.
There is more, much more in LAT piece, but this should be enough to check the veracity of Mignews screed. And another quote from that screed:
Israeli doctors add that [whiskey] hinders the development of dementia.
It seems that at least one person in Mignews needs rather a lot of whiskey...

Unfortunately, there is rather a lot of purveyors of news on the 'net today of a similar or even worse quality. Be careful, y'all out there.

08 July 2018

Review of “Hitler’s Children” by William Grim

This post is mostly a copy/paste of a response to a long article about the apparent nostalgia for the old times that is titled “Hitler’s Children”, written quite a long time ago by one William Grin. But first of all a short preface. The response is written by my penfriend Benjamin Goldstein, a German Jew who is immensely qualified to analyze and criticize the Germany-related content, especially of such a disturbing manner.

The article he is dissecting was sent to me by a friend and, after reading it, I had some doubts about its veracity and a possibility of exaggeration. I have spent only a limited time in Germany by myself, met a limited number of Germans and, being a strict follower of the famous "Don't mention the war" doctrine, have seen mostly good in the people I have encountered. But here comes a man...

About the man: William E. Grim seems to be involved in music, seems to live in Germany and is, probably, hated by a good part of heavy metal community. His Internet footprint is almost non-existent and I couldn't find any "About" page with more info on the man. He has some presence on Amazon, with music-related books, but not active recently. In any case, the article in question starts quite ominously:

I’m not Jewish. Nobody in my family died in the Holocaust. For me anti-Semitism has always been one of those phenomena that doesn’t really register on my radar like tribal genocide in Rwanda a horrible thing that happens to someone else.
And then:
I’m on a bus and a high school boy passes around Grandpa’s red leather-bound copy of Mein Kampf to his friends who respond by saying coooool!? He then takes out a VCR tape (produced in Switzerland) of The Great Speeches of Joseph Goebbels. A few weeks later I’m at a business meeting with four young highly educated Germans who are polite charming and soft-spoken to say the least. When the subject matter changes to a business deal with a man in New York named Rubinstein their nostrils flair their demeanors attain a threatening mien and one of them actually says and I’m quoting verbatim here: The problem with America is that the Jews have all the money.
In short, the article draws a bleak and disturbing picture of the German state of mind. Thus I asked Benjamin to review it. Here it comes:

***


Snoopy T. Goon of blog Simply Jews asked me to review the article“Hitler’s Children” by William Grim. Grim is a white gentile US American who lived in Munich for a number of years. The article was published a year after 9/1, an atack planned in the German city of Hamburg. It is in the aftermath of this then still fresh event in which Grim reassesses the US-German friendship.


In my private meetings with Germans it often happens that they will loosen up after a while and reveal personal opinions and political leanings that were thought to have ceased to exist in a Berlin bunker on April 30 1945. […] Whatever the reason the conversations generally have one or more of these components:
(1) It was unfortunate that America and Germany fought each other in World War II because the real enemy was Russia.
Grim recounts few incidents and as he presents it, readers can’t know how prevailant what attitude is. (1) is very untypical because Germans have a morbid fascination for the Russians. This is in part because the state media attacks all foreign leaders viciously and Russia spends a lot of money into counter-propaganda to unmask some of the lies. Of the Germans who revolt against the mainstream media narrative the stupid ones are often found to gloss over Russia’s dictatorship and to blame all evils in the world on America.
(2) Yes, the Nazis were excessive but terrible things happen during wars and anyway the scope of the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated by the American media which is dominated by Jews.
(2) is rather fringe. Actual Nazi apologists – whom I call neonazis – are rare. There is, however, an issue with the bombing of Dresden. Germans tell themselves that Nazism would have disappeared anyway without their morals broken through brute force against the wider civilian public. This is bolstered by the globalists who put “international law” above realism.
(3) CNN is controlled by American Jews and is anti-Palestinian. (Yes I know it sounds incredible but even among the most highly intelligent Germans even those with a near-native fluency in English there is the widespread belief that the news network founded by Fidel Castro’s best friend Ted Turner who until recently was married to Hanoi Jane Fonda is a hotbed of pro-Israeli propaganda.)
(3) is standard. A usual Israel story in the news is 90% attack on the Jews and some lipservice like “They have a right to defend themselves.” or some even less comprehensible phrase like “We Germans have a special responsibility.” All the guilt is laid on the feet of the Jews, no explanation or defence is offered, and to send the readers into a frenzy some sort of gag order is insinuated.
(4) Almost all Germans were opposed to the Third Reich and nobody in Germany knew anything about the murder of the Jews but the Jews themselves were really responsible for the Holocaust.
The first part of (4)  is very common. The latter half is reimported with the Muslims.
(5) Ariel Sharon is worse than Hitler and the Israelis are Nazis. America supports Israel only because Jews control the American government and media.
(5) is now about Bibi. Since US Republican Barry Goldwater ran for president, the left has effectively established as an unquestioned “truism” that the more Jewish somebody is, the more he is like Hitler.
He recalls the year 2002 as follows.
Synagogues have been firebombed. Jewish cemeteries desecrated. The No. 1 best-selling novel Martin Walser’s Death of a Critic is a thinly-veiled roman a clef containing a vicious anti-Semitic attack on Germany?s best-known literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki (who is a survivor of both the Warsaw ghetto and Auschwitz); the Free Democrat Party has unofficially adopted anti-Semitism as a campaign tactic to attract Germany’s sizeable Muslim minority; and German revisionist historians now are beginning to define German perpetration of World War II and the Holocaust not as crimes against humanity but as early battles (with regrettable but understandable excesses) in the Cold War against communism.
I’m not sure what historians he had in mind, but I can confirm the rest. The pseudo-libertarian party FDP had an antisemitic run under the initiative of Jürgen Möllemann. Möllemann was the head of the German-Arabic Society. FDP had once a Jewish leader, Ignatz Bubis, but was never libertarian enough to care about this or that direction. Few people can stand them anyway.
The situation is so bad that German Jews are advised not to wear anything in public that would identify them as Jewish because their safety cannot be guaranteed.

Love that model! Pisses off all the right people!

This is more true today than back then. The dubious lobby group Central Council of the Jews in Germany reiterates its warning again and again. When I – a former atheist – became religious again, I felt like I wanted to buy a yarmulke. I ultimately decided against it. Pick your fights wisely!




My thesis is quite simple. While Germany no longer has the military power to enforce the racist ideology of the Nazis and while all extreme manifestations of Nazism are officially outlawed the internal conditions — that is the attitudes worldview and cultural assumptions — that led to the rise of Nazism in Germany are still present because they constitute the basic components of German identity.
I wish I could break up this sentence. The last bit about the identity is where he goes awry. But he hits the nail on an important point. Many who try to build up German patriotism like myself are confronted with accusations. And soon it becomes a comparison between Muslim antisemitism and German antisemitsm. I also ignored German antisemitism longer than the Muslim counterpart, but the longer I think about it the less actual differences I can see. The main argument for the Germans is that the violent crimes are rarer. This is true. However, the reason is not a plus, but a minus. Germans don’t have the balls to become violent ever. They don’t even do it to prevent their loved ones from rape. Instead of better morals we only face weaker masculinity. This void is easily filled with alpha male immigrants who do the violence. Real protection only comes with a combination of morals and a toughness to establish and maintain the order. The actual antisemitism is also overshadowed by politicized false accusation from the left against the right.
If you think the Germans are truly sorry for what they did to the Jews think again. There’s never been an official tut mir leid offered by the Germans to the victims of the Holocaust and their descendants because that would admit culpability.
This is factually untrue. Many German officials have said sorry. Not all, but some of the officials felt real sorrow. Particularly Konrad Adenauer behaved extremely honorably, much more than can be humanly expected. A true Mensch who almost got killed by Menachem Begin in 1952 because he tried to facilitate payments to Holocaus survivors. Irgun did not accept any payments because they felt it would smack like forgiveness of the unforgivable. Although one innocent policman was killed, Adenauer kept the bombing secret and made up with Tel Aviv behind the doors.
We should also keep in mind that the Arab terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 atrocities did their planning in Germany. There are several reasons for this. The first is the well-known bungling and de-centralized chaos of the German federal bureaucracy. The second is that Arab terrorists can count on a substantial number of Germans who share their anti-American and anti-Semitic views.
I don’t know how bureacracy plays into organizing flight lessons and razor blades. But I agree that a part of the reason why Arabs get a pass on everything is because their views are not so different from your average German’s views. At least this is true for politics. They are all leftists. The differences come up in family life, religion and public symbols. I wish the contrast were stronger when it comes to democratic values.
He then goes on about the Turkish-German community.
Turkey remains as fragile a democracy as Weimar Germany during the 1920s. It wouldn’t take much for Turkey to fall into the dark side of Muslim extremism.
This was 2002. Now the country has changed as predicted and along that has changed the expat communities in Germany and Europe.
The end result of Muslim immigration into Germany has been twofold: (1) It allows the Germans to feign liberalism and being open to freedom and diversity; and (2) by replacing the Jews they murdered with Muslims who for the most part are as viciously anti-Semitic as were the Nazis the Germans have cynically assured that those few Jews who remain in Germany will be unable to reassert political power even in a minority role.
Conservatives are very outspoken about this pseudo-liberalism that is somehow supposed to redeem the Holocaust (I also call for redemption, but not by suicide). It is also true that Jews have recently been sidelined in public life. In 2002 there were still many public Jews very visible. Most of them retired or died off and are now replaced by a “diversity” cabinet.
After having committed the worst crimes in the history of humankind the Germans were allowed to regain their sovereignty after only ten years…
The Mongols under Ghengis Khan killed 40 million people. The death toll under the Bolsheviks and Maoists is immeasurable. Germans have committed some of the worst crimes, not all.
If there were true justice in the world Germany would no longer exist as a separate country but would have long ago had its territory divided up and dispersed among the Allies.
The same people would have the same issues when they were now French, British or Russian. It would probably be even worse. He opposes the EU because it is doomed to fall under German imperialist influence. That prediction has also come true. Despite all the dishonest ideological claptrap many Germans support the EU simply because they know that it is an exploitation of their fellow Europeans. They are just not honest enough to admit it. Brexit had almost let their masks drop. So what difference would it make if the same Germans were now English or French?
The not quoted parts of the text speak of a great anger about German culture and as explained in the intro he links Germans to 9/11 and the pain he felt at the time. His situation reflects the anger many felt after WWI and again after WWII and the heat of such a sentiment let many people express wishes of near extermination (e.g. the Morgenthau Plan). These angry expressions gave and still give rise to conspiracy theories. It is how history comes full circle.
After breathing calmly again, it is worth to recognize that a people won’t go anywhere. For the good qualities of German culture it also shouldn’t go anywhere. Anti-Americanism or anti-Semitism are common all across Europe and must be cured. It is possible as the changed attitude towards homosexuals shows. The way forward is patience, honesty and no excessive, uncontrolled anger….and the left-wing media agencies should stop pouring gasoline into the fire.

01 July 2018

The Master and Margarita, a random quote

— Тьма, пришедшая со Средиземного моря, накрыла ненавидимый прокуратором город. Исчезли висячие мосты, соединяющие храм со страшной Антониевой башней… Пропал Ершалаим, великий город, как будто не существовал на свете… Так пропадите же вы пропадом с вашей обгоревшей тетрадкой и сушеной розой! Сидите здесь на скамейке одна и умоляйте его, чтобы он отпустил вас на свободу, дал дышать воздухом, ушел бы из памяти!

- The darkness that came from the Mediterranean Sea covered the city hated by the procurator. The hanging bridges connecting the temple with the dread Antonia Tower disappeared ... Yershalaim — the great city — vanished as if it had never existed in the world ... So you, too, can just vanish away along with your burnt notebook and dried-up rose! Sit here on the bench alone and entreat him to set you free, to let you breathe the air, to go from your memory!


Michail Bulgakov, he whose manuscripts don't burn.

And if, reading this, you don't feel the infinity passing by and the air in your lungs pushing out, you really have to read this book. Possibly again.

30 June 2018

Henry Joel Cadbury and American Reform Rabbis

The story of the connection between the two started for me with this disturbing NYT quote:


Not knowing who professor Henry J. Cadbury was, I have started googling, and one of the first links happened to be an archive page of JTA, from the year 1934, referenced in the quote above.

Professor Pleads for Accord Between Jews and Germans

Lo and behold: the quote above was sounded not in some judenrein "safe space", but at annual convention of the Central Conference of American Reform Rabbis.
A plea that the Jewish people “display good will instead of hatred” toward the Nazis who are provoked to committing violence by an attitude of antagonism, was voiced by Professor Henry J. Cadbury, of Bryn Mawr, chairman of the American Friends Service Committee, in an address at the opening session of the forty-fifth annual convention of the Central Conference of American Reform Rabbis held here at the South Mountain Manor Summer Resort. More than 150 rabbis from all parts of the United States and Canada attended.
The article doesn't tell about the reaction of the listeners to the good professor's preaching, so we shall never know, probably. Besides, the speaker wasn't unfriendly or ignoring the plight of European Jews:
The speaker described the boycott of products made in Germany as a “declaration of war without bloodshed.” He urged that Christians, “as their duty,” help right the injustice done by the Nazis. He said that “for the sake of Christianity and its doctrines,” non-Jews join in the movement to “help the Jewish people in Germany.”


And then, of course, Google brought in quite a lot of information on professor Cadbury, "a biblical scholar, Quaker historian, writer, and non-profit administrator" or, in other words, "one of the most respected and beloved Quakers of the twentieth century". Being born in 1883, Henry J. Cadbury was mature enough to be opinionated about WW I:
...Henry Cadbury spoke out advocating for peace, and thus became embroiled in a controversy that led to his being forced to resign from the faculty of Haverford College. It was occasioned by peace overtures that the leaders of Germany sent to the Allies in the autumn of 1918.
Not very surprising, and, one might even say, a laudable sentiment. There is no more information on good professor's stance on Nazi Germany and WW II in general before, during or after the war. But there is a fully expected call for rapprochement with Soviet Union:
In accepting the award at Oslo that year, Dr. Cadbury made an appeal to all nations to improve the strained relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.

He urged Norway and other countries to help in building a bridge by not taking a stand for either of the two big powers and to persuade them to cooperate.
Of course, it will be a grave omission to forget the Nobel prize.
Dr. Cadbury, who was a founder in 1917 of the American Friends Service Committee, served as its chairman from 1928 to 1934 and again from 1944 to 1960.

It was during his second term that the committee, was chosen winner, with Britain's Friends Service Council, of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1947.

The prize was made in recognition of the humanitarian work performed by the two groups.
Do you hear a faint echo from the more recent Nobel prizes? Well, I was just asking.

As for the American Reform Rabbis... being an old and crusty atheist, I do not have a preferred group of religious Jews. Well, I might make an exception for Neturei Karta, but it is a different kind of preference I keep for them. Anyhow, isn't it interesting that the predominantly left-leaning Reform folks tend to entertain the same kind of ideas they did so long ago? And that most of the "anti-Zionist" and bothersome groups, like JVP, If Not Now and similar tend to come mostly from this distinguished branch of Judaism?

Dunno what to say.

29 June 2018

Harlan Ellison RIP

  • The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
  • I don't mind you thinking I'm stupid, but don't talk to me like I'm stupid.
  • Love ain't nothing but sex misspelled.
Abrasive, enormously talented, somewhat wild: the life was that much better with you around, but your books stay.

RIP. See you later.

27 June 2018

Another two gems in my NYT collection

And another gem via Greg Aydt:


With thanks to Noga The Contentious.


To join that other, apparently later, pearl:

22 June 2018

Friends of Pallywood, their bloopers and some historical truth


To the people who follow various failures of the "anti-Zionist" propaganda, this case might not be anything special at first.
At issue is a tweet that COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) shared with its 120,000+ followers in order to commemorate the plight of Palestinian refugees on World Refugee Day. The tweet included an iconic photograph from 1950 depicting a group of Jewish refugees who had been placed by the Israeli government into a refugee absorption center, known as a ma’abara.
But the lazy "anti-Zionism" of COSATU is only part of the story. The other part is about a related matter:
Stories abound about one of these groups of refugees—the Palestinian Arab refugees. Even Israelis learn about the creation of the Palestinian refugee crisis in their schools. But, as is clear from COSATU’s blunder with the appropriated photo, many Palestinians and their global supporters aren’t aware of the other refugee population—the “forgotten exodus” of Jewish refugees and the suffering that Jews in nearly a dozen Arab countries experienced on account of hostility toward Jews, Zionism, and the very creation of the state of Israel.
Read the whole article, it is worth your time.

20 June 2018

The Russian collision or 80+ examples of futility


I know, I know, it might become an obsession. So I have done two things to alleviate the issue: the intentional typo in the headline and a nice masthead picture that has (almost) nothing to do with the subject. But what can I do, with my unhealthy predilection to spy stories of all kinds, especially where a good juicy conspiracy theory is involved? If it goes on, I will be considered a Trump supporter soon, my pledge of neutrality notwithstanding...

It so happens, that many of my FB friends, those of anti-Trump persuasion, happily disseminated a link to this article:

TRUMP’S RUSSIA COVER-UP BY THE NUMBERS – 80+ CONTACTS WITH RUSSIA-LINKED OPERATIVES

Apologies for the upper case, but one has to experience reality. Anyway, the article was provided by a group that is called "The Moscow Project" and bills itself as:
The Moscow Project is an initiative of the Center for American Progress Action Fund dedicated to analyzing the facts* behind Trump’s collusion with Russia and communicating the findings to the public. The Moscow Project’s team employs a multi-disciplinary approach towards its work, leveraging a unique combination of experience and expertise gained on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, and in private industry to examine this complex and sprawling series of events stretching back decades.
(*) On the same page the formula appears again but is modified a bit (emphasis mine in both cases):
The Moscow Project is an initiative of the Center for American Progress that is dedicated to uncovering the truth about Trump’s involvement in Russian attacks on our democracy.
As promised, the article really lists 80+* cases of supposedly suspicious (at best) and possibly criminal/traitorous at worst, contacts between various VIPs related in this or another way to Trump's campaign.

(*) On the day of posting this, the list really contained only 80 items, so I am holding my breath for that +.

I shall skip the list that starts with "The Trump campaign issued at least 15 blanket denials of contacts with Russia...", after all denial ain't a river and all that, let's go directly to the meat, why don't we? So, number 1 (one) in the list of traitorous contacts (I hope you are holding fast to your armchairs):
November 2015: Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen spoke with Russian athlete Dmitry Klokov, a former Olympic weightlifter, while trying to advance a Trump Tower Moscow development deal. This conversation reportedly took place after Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who was previously acquainted with Klokov, put the two men in contact with each other.
If the sheer scale of the traitorous intent behind this act hasn't caused a shock yet, the 3 (three) following items in the list of 80+ are dedicated to further development of this exciting weightlifter affair (believe it or not).

But enough with sarcasm, really. I am tired of it myself. I suspect that you, my rare reader, must have skipped the rest of the discoveries, after seeing the first one. I am built of more stout material, so I read all 80 of them, and may deity be my witness! There are several pearls that only "a unique combination of experience and expertise" could have uncovered, such as:
April 29, 2016: Papadopoulos emailed the Female Russian National about a potential trip to Russia. [#24]

May 21, 2016: Donald Trump Jr. dined with a Russian central banker at the NRA national convention. [#31]

July 7, 2016: Manafort emailed Kilimnik about offering private briefings on the campaign to Deripaska, who claims that Manafort owes him at least $19 million. [#39]

September 2016: Gates was in contact with an unnamed individual who the FBI assessed had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. [#52]

October 12, 2016: WikiLeaks contacted Trump Jr., urging him to ask his father to tweet WikiLeaks links (which he did). WikiLeaks contacted Trump Jr. several other times, although he stopped replying to the messages. [#61]

October 13, 2016: WikiLeaks replied to Stone’s earlier message, telling him not to claim an association with WikiLeaks.[#63]

January 17-20, 2017: Anthony Scaramucci met with Dmitriev at the 2017 Davos World Economic Forum; after the meeting, he criticized U.S. sanctions on Russia in an interview with a Russian news agency. [#80]
Collusion, collision, collection, collective delusion - you name it, but... This article doesn't leave me many options, only this reference to Dostoyevsky (who, in turn, referred to an old English proverb, which I couldn't find):"From a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse, a hundred suspicions don’t make a proof." Much as I would like to see some dramatic developments (see my hobby mentioned above), if this is similar to the material collected by the Mueller's team, the latter endeavor will not end with a bang, barely a whimper...

Too boring.

10 June 2018

Israeli operation, Russian one - or both?


Frankly, this meme I have chosen for the masthead of the post isn't even especially funny. But the subject of the post isn't especially funny either. Weird will be the most fitting adjective, but judge for yourself.

The article in question this time is titled: How Russiagate Became Israelgate, with a subtitle It’s not about Vladimir Putin anymore. And it opens a view on a new direction in the ever expanding scope of the Mueller team's activities.

To forewarn you: the article is a morass of incomprehensible charges, suspicions and claims - even if you go to the links offered in it. Measure the worth of this priceless WaPo starter, for instance:
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III last summer threatened to charge George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser to President Trump, with acting as an unregistered agent of Israel, Papadopoulos’s wife said Tuesday.

Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, an Italian lawyer who married Papadopoulos in March, said the special prosecutor’s office claimed to have evidence that Papadopoulos had worked on behalf of Israel without registering as a foreign agent while he was serving as an energy consultant before he joined the Trump campaign.
So the man was working as an "energy consultant" (whatever it means) for someone in Israel - this before he joined the Trump campaign. Is it in any way or manner relevant to a possible collusion with Moscow, Jerusalem or anyone else? You tell me. And check also this:
In October 2015, Papadopoulos wrote a column for the Israeli publication Haaretz entitled “Natural Gas Isn’t Just about Israel.”
Wow, seriously? Don't you feel the hairy tentacle of Mossad in this act? Or in this one:
During those years, he became acquainted with Eli Groner, who has served since 2015 as a top aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
That sulphurous smell of collusion indeed.

The hilarity of the whole brouhaha is summarized by a quote from a former National Security Agency analyst John Schindler:
Schindler quotes a colleague from the US intelligence community who wonders, “What if the real secret of the Trump campaign isn’t that it’s a Kremlin operation, rather an Israeli operation masquerading as a Russian one?”
Because, you know, of the eternal "cui bono" question, answered by the same "analyst":
“Trump has gone whole-hog for the Israeli right-wing,” writes the former American spy. “The recent move of our embassy to Jerusalem, long desired by the Israeli Right, is merely the most prominent of Trump’s gifts to his pal Bibi and his ruling Likud party.”
If I had a dollar for every time a raving conspiracy nutcase uses the "cui bono" test, which test in every such case invariably pointing to his/her chosen culprit, of course... But in this case we are ostensibly dealing with a high level expert.

One item, though, is to be concerned about, if true:
Some conservative journalists have argued that Mueller appears to have a problem with Israel.
As an example, the article describes two clumsy attempts, not of a counter-spying investigation by the illustrious FBI, but of crude entrapment. Which attempts are clearly based on the so much non-politically correct and maligned ethnic profiling.
According to the 2009 Post article, “Franklin was apparently sent out by his FBI handlers to tempt Jews. He tried Adam Ciralsky at CBS News, who had once sued the CIA for anti-Semitism, and Richard Perle, who was on his way to vacation in France, as well as Pentagon employees who had done nothing more than work with Franklin. All turned down the offer of information.”
All that during the Mueller's years as a head honcho.

And this is a man who already spend an year digging in many possible directions. Of course, it will be stupid of me to prejudge the final outcome - if and when it comes, but the further this process expands, the more it smells - of bumbling, incompetence and failure to find real meat.

Says the author of the article:
It’s difficult to imagine that many of the prominent figures on the left and the Never Trump right who have seen the Russiagate conspiracy as a useful instrument to weaken or corral Trump will be eager to push a narrative about clandestine Jewish control of American politics.
I would dare disagree with this statement. Not difficult at all, unfortunately.

***

As for John Schindler, "former National Security Agency analyst", with some murky bio episodes: his pedigree and his way of thinking are weirdly similar to that of another person, one Wayne Madsen, who bills himself as "communications security analyst with the National Security Agency in the 1980s, and an intelligence officer in the US Navy". Mr Madsen entertained me several times, and his mastery in finding connections between people and events that will seem impossible to a normal person is second to none. Worth your time to compare, and to enjoy.

06 June 2018

The real collusion with Russia


Consider this post to be a free gift* to the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and his tireless investigation of the above mentioned collusion. Which investigation, after a year of tireless digging in all possible directions, seems to have strayed far away from its original target.

The matter at hand is Russian supply of natural gas to European countries. To remind you:
Russia provides approximately a quarter of the natural gas consumed in the European Union; approximately 80% of those exports travel through pipelines across Ukrainian soil prior to arriving in the EU.
So far so good (for Kremlin, that is): being a provider of the essential substance gives Russia, beside a significant income, a valuable addition to their stranglehold on the European behavior in other aspects.

Like the European military readiness and spending.
For the euro area, defence expenditure amounted to 1.2 % of GDP; with expenditure in both areas changing little in comparison with 2015.
Which number, like it or not, drives the Americans mad.
However, it seems fair to point out that making the American taxpayer indirectly fund welfare programs in Germany, a country not in need of financial aid is a troublesome proposition. European nations can stand on their own two feet when it comes to organizing their defense. If Europe does not feel satisfied with its level of defense, it should have those debates within its own countries, without asking Americans for handouts.
So this European attitude makes Kremlin even happier, of course.

But there is a fly in the ointment. Namely, the fact that a good part of the Russian natural gas, on its way from Russia to Europe, passes through the much hated lately Ukraine. Not only does this passage provide Ukraine some much needed income (close to $800M yearly for the passage fees), the pipeline also provides Ukraine itself the much needed gas**. Of course, this state of affairs bothers Kremlin, and thus the Nord Stream - a series of pipelines that eventually will allow Russia to kill two birds with one stone: to avoid paying the passage fees to Ukraine - a considerable saving that, by the way, will hurt Ukraine quite a lot; and to put Ukraine on notice: continue to misbehave and the tap will be closed for good.

And here comes the uncrowned leader of EU - Germany, ostensibly a good friend of USA, a progressive bastion of Western world etc. Here I shall use an unprejudiced German source.
Preparatory work for the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline began off the German coast on Tuesday, just days ahead of a visit to Moscow by German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Nord Stream 2 AG today started the offshore preparatory works for the subsequent pipe-laying in the Bay of Greifswald" on Germany's Baltic Sea coast, the building consortium, led by Russian gas giant Gazprom, said in a statement.
The article doesn't avoid the controversy:
The pipeline has proved controversial, in particular in eastern European EU states, who fear it could be used as a tool to boost Russian influence over the bloc.

Moscow notoriously used gas prices to pressure Ukraine during a mounting conflict with its former satellite which saw Russia annex the Crimean peninsula in 2014 -- prompting EU sanctions in response.
On one hand, Germany has participated in the economic sanctions against Russia, established after its annexation of Crimea. On the other... yes, we need the gas, don't we? And the cheaper the better.

As for Ukraine? Well, a bit more lip service from Brussels, and we got it fixed, don't we?

And this is the way it goes. Does it drive America mad? You bet.

So what?

Oh, and about that collusion...

(*) My favorite Americanism
(**) Not that Ukraine is a totally innocent player in this game. If you believe this Wiki article, Ukrainians tend to siphon off some gas without paying etc. Although, the credibility of Wiki political info is hardly above 50%, be warned...

04 June 2018

Terry Glavin on Gaza - when your friends are worried about you


This post isn't easy for me to write. Not because I don't know what it should say, just because I don't have a solution to the problem raised by Terry Glavin in the article A moral dilemma on the Israel-Gaza border. It is much easier to respond to a relentless propaganda attack by your enemies than to a true concern about you, expressed by your true friend.

There are many good reasons why the so called "protests" on the Gazan/Israeli border result in so many deaths. There are many good reasons why a certain percentage of these deaths is of innocent people. We can argue the military necessities, the "collateral damage", the bloody reality of picking out the villains out of the huge crowd of extras etc. We could (and should) blame the chief instigators of the bloody show, who coldly calculated their PR benefits, while the bodies were still bleeding. And we will be absolutely factually and morally right at that.

However, as Terry says, it is rather beside the point now.
What Israel is now facing is a different and far more sinister security challenge. Hamas exists for the sole purpose of doing violence to Israel and to Israelis. By its various bloodcurdling pronouncements and exhortations, Hamas had made it clear that what it failed to accomplish with its rockets and tunnels, it is now prepared to attempt with the corpses of young, desperate and deluded young Gazans, piled in heaps along the Gaza security fence.
The problem with it, to come to the point, is as Terry defines it:
That is the predicament Israel is facing. If Hamas persists in luring Palestinians to martyrdom at the Gaza fence, the IDF’s rules of engagement – first shoot to warn, then shoot to wound, then shoot to kill – become morally untenable. An abomination.

It is not right, or fair, but this is the dilemma, and it is Israel’s dilemma to resolve.
To summarize for those who haven't yet caught on with what Terry is saying: you are a nation of many talents. Your technology is superb, you have succeeded in multiple endeavors, both military and civil, to find unique and original solutions. Your Iron Dome, your Arrow, your microprocessors, your electronics, your tanks, your guns etc etc. And yes, you are in the right in this stand-off. But you must find a way to deal with it without innocent lives being lost. Without any lives being lost, in fact.

And now we are facing a dilemma, folks. It might seem a lose/lose situation. If we don't shoot - they march into our villages and towns - and not to bring flowers, of course.
Before clashes turned violent on Monday, Hamas posted on social media to encourage protesters to storm the Israeli border, claiming that after the border was successful penetrated, Palestinian leaders would speak to protesters in Israeli towns.“Ismail Haniyeh will speak in Nahal Oz, Khalil al-Hayya in Kfar Aza and Nafed Azzam in Be’eri,” Israel’s Hadashot TV news quoted from Palestinian social media. “After the victory speeches, celebrations will begin throughout Palestine.”
And when we shoot, pushed into shooting by the dire necessity - we lose again, because we are effectively doing Hamas' bidding: provide bloody corpses to the cameras.

And some people correctly say that Hamas will always win the PR war, even as Israel wins the military victories. No, dear Ms Kay, I don't think that in the article quoted above Terry takes us to task. He is a friend who is worried, and for a good reason, about the same thing that worries you, even if we judge your article by its headline only.

So, this is a situation where straightforward thinking doesn't seem to be of much use. And, while both friends and enemies ask the same question: why doesn't such a technological juggernaut have a solution that will keep the "protesters" away from the border fence, I know that we just don't have one. No one has, not that it makes me feel better...

So the order of the day should be to find one, and this is the bothersome issue: I am not sure there is a solution to be found at all.

And this is only half of the problem. The other one, as Terry formulates in his next article, Even rational folks lose their minds when Israel comes up. Hamas counts on it:
It is not an easy thing, getting to the truth of all this, and coming to some rational judgments about the apportionment of blame for the horrible predicament Gazans are obliged to endure: a crushing hopelessness, a quarter of their meagre personal incomes spent on drinkable water, an unemployment rate approaching 50 per cent, the tyranny of Hamas, and no escape.
Of course, the suffering, the neglect, the unemployment are not exactly harmful to Hamas, after all their answer to all this is to point the finger at the Zionist enemy. And to use the suffering for more PR.

It is not that we are blind to the need for a solution. Our media lately is quite full of the articles like these:

Offer Gaza a Marshall Plan in Exchange for Demilitarization

Needed: A different Gaza strategy


Editor's Notes: Changing the Gaza Paradigm

There is a way to solve the Gaza crisis

Essentially they all pursue the same target: improving the quality of life of Gazans in order to pacify the Strip. None, however, provide an answer to the crucial question: how to improve the life of Gazans without handing Hamas another PR victory and strengthen their hold on the hapless population? Another lose/lose situation, another conundrum. I doubt there is a straightforward solution, but we definitely do have to think about an unorthodox one that will do the former without causing the latter.

The alternative to the solution is stark and unwanted: re-occupying the Gaza Strip, getting rid of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other ingredients of the terrorist alphabet soup and taking the responsibility of managing the life of Gazans for undefined, but definitely long period. Not a single sane voice was heard so far in support of this venue (thank deity for small favors).

And, back to Terry Glavin: to stress the point of friendship, a quote from the second article linked above:
I’d said that surely there must be a way the protesters could be stopped without shooting live ammunition at them – that Israel, with its incredible technological capabilities, must be capable of developing a way. That was a cry of anguish, but it was not an argument.
And even if it were an argument: I hope we all are still able to distinguish between a friendly concern and a blame assignment. No worries, Terry.

31 May 2018

Sarcasm, Middle East Monitor and the Elders


Sarcasm doesn't register with some folks. For instance, so called MEMO (Middle East Monitor), that bills itself in this, slightly pompous way:
The use or misuse of information is central to the conflict in the Middle East. There has been a growing need for supporters of, in particular, the Palestinian cause, to master the art of information gathering, analysis and dissemination. This requires well organised, focused and targeted operations. Such initiatives are virtually non-existent in the West today.

The Middle East Monitor (MEMO) was established to fill this gap.
ETC. (Check out the personnel list of this institution, and much of the above will become clear-er).

The latest pearl of MEMO was born by the significant fall of Turkish lira. I just cannot deny myself the pleasure of quoting this opus in full.
Edy Cohen, an Israeli academic and analyst, has blamed the Jewish lobby for the recent volatility of the exchange rate between the Turkish lira and the US dollar.

Cohen, a faculty member at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and an analyst at the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, tweeted the remarks in Arabic accompanied by the hashtag, “support the Turkish lira”.

“The Turkish lira has fallen to its lowest level in Turkey’s history,” Cohen said, going on to claim that the sudden decline had happened shortly after the Israeli ambassador was insulted at an Istanbul airport as he prepared to depart the country.

Addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cohen said: “Don’t you know that half of the world’s wealth belongs to only one Jewish family, which is Israel’s primary supporter?”

Cohen went on to warn that the Turkish economy would experience further losses as a result of the lobby’s manoeuvres.
The hullabaloo around this story was even picked up by the Times (paywall) - probably a slow day in the office there.

As a duly authorized representative of the Elders, I have to correct the numbers aired by the good professor. He is not an economist and, probably, doesn't know that the family in question owns 63.5% of the world’s wealth by now.

So there.

As for MEMO: keep up the good work, folks. With friends like you, Palestinians (and Turks) really don't need additional pain in their backside.

20 May 2018

People of Jaffa

It will be a grave omission on my side to skip another observation related to the promenade described here. You can see in the picture of the promenade in this post that every 50 m or so there is a sign warning the passerby not to venture onto the rocks. It is heartwarming to state that both Arabs and Jews disregard this warning.



And both throw there some strangely looking garbage that could scare the crap out of an innocent tourist.


As for this act of artistic self-expression: you tell me what it means.


Well, and the last one - just to show off my prowess as a photographer.


Nah, it was just a lucky play of sun, shadows and clouds. Oh well...