31 March 2007

The Top 50 Rabbis in America

Newsweek has published a list of the top 50 American rabbis. Go and take a look here.

And here is my count (I get a kick out of counting everything under the sun, composing statistics and then drawing conclusions):

Orthodox: 15 (30%)

Conservative: 10 (20%)

Reform: 18 (36%)

Reconstructionist: 3 (6%)

Renewal: 2 (4%)

Hasidim: 1 (2%)

Lubavitch: 1 (2%)


Reform Jews make up approximately 35% of the American Jewry, and their rabbis represent 36% of the top 50 rabbis in America - which is fully within the norm.

Conservative Jews make up approximately 26% of the American Jewry, but their rabbis constitute only 20% of the top 50 rabbis - some nerve-racking food for thought for our Conservative friends, although the difference is hardly cause for serious worry.

The Orthodox make up approximately 10% of the American Jewry, yet their rabbis are more than just pulling their weight, making up 30% of the top 50 rabbis.

The Reconstructionist are also big winners: They are 2% of the American Jewry, but they have managed to sprout 6% of the top 50 rabbis.


A conductor, a hooligan and doing a Gibson

So what happens when a professional (apparently) musician turns to the murky realm of politics to gain inspiration for his new production? Here is the musician:

Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay) is part of three generations of classical musicians. "Music was the family trade, and I was also intended to carry the baton.”
And here is the subject matter:
Samson is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel. It was based on a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton, who based it on Milton's Samson Agonistes, which in turn was based on the figure Samson in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges. Samson is considered one of Handel's finest dramatic works.
And here is the result:
The Victoria Philharmonic Choir is creating a stir with its version of Handel's Samson oratorio. The choir's version of the classic story turns the Biblical tale on its head by portraying Samson as a suicide bomber in 1946 Jerusalem.

Some say I'm brave, some say I'm anti-Israel or whatever, but that is OK," Capet said. "The point is to get discussion going."

Brave? Come on, it is all in the realm of poetic license. In is not like one would put a pile of shit in a box in a museum of art... oops, it was already done. Anyway, it is not about bravery for sure.

Anti-Israel? Come on, who cares about a politicised musical? Was done already, without much success...

So, while some may say whatever some may say, I say that little knowledge is a dangerous thing and may cause one to be called simply stupid. So it is time to present here a politically incorrect but true version of Samson's story. Mind you, I am not Norm, too (there is no Norm but Norm in any case), so it is not a refined version, be warned.

Samson (pronounced Shim-shon) was no refined third generation musician, that's for sure. He was a muscle-bound shtarker to start with ("Samson was said to be so strong that he could uplift two mountains and rub them together like two clods of earth"). He was an animal torturer ("Samson attaches torches to the tails of three hundred foxes, leaving the panicked beasts to run through the fields and vineyards of the Philistines, burning all in their wake.") He was a biggest hooligan in the known history ("Using the jawbone of a donkey, he slays one thousand Philistines.").

But first and foremost, Samson was a womaniser, lusting after every skirt (or was it toga at the time?), especially the goyish ones, of Philistine persuasion ("Samson's eyes were put out because he had "followed them" too often"). Which trait eventually caused his demise.

Now, there are two versions of the last act of that demise process. The totally wrong one, by the author of the linked CBC article: "He is chained in the temple by the Philistines and forced to witness a sacrilegious act. He pulls down the temple, killing himself and thousands of others in the process." It was difficult for Samson to witness anything at the time, dear scribe, for the simple reason of him being blinded prior to the act in question.

Then there is an accepted version (from Wiki):
Once inside the temple, Samson, his hair having grown long again, asks the servant who is leading him to the temple's central pillars if he may lean against them.

"Then Samson prayed to the Lord, 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for one of my two eyes.' (Judges 16:28)." "Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' (Judges 16:30) Down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more as he died than while he lived." (Judges 16:30).
Of course, this version is a load of crap as well. The truth is much more mundane: Samson, as the story goes, after being blinded was put by Philistines to work grinding grain. Which work causes grain dust to fly around and the result is intense itching all over. So the only thing Samson had in mind while in the temple was to scratch his back against something. Unfortunately, Philistine know-how in the building industry was extremely poor, and Samson was, as it was already mentioned, quite a hefty bloke...

Anyway, suicide was the last thing Samson had in mind, and making him out to be a suicide bomber at the Jerusalem King David hotel is akin to making, for example, a distinguished Vancouver conductor into a... successful dealer in second hand camels of dubious pedigree.
Capet says presenting Samson as a terrorist is not meant to offend, or cast blame, but to challenge our notions of what a terrorist is. "Is there any difference between pulling down a pillar or blowing a bomb?" he asks. "Samson killed thousands of people. To show him in the traditional mythological sense does a disservice."
Our notions of what a terrorist is, dear Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay), are quite made up, and they could hardly change because of a two-bit conductor with aspirations and his pathetic attempt to tamper with classics for his own nefarious ends.

So let's summarize:
  • The people who blew up King David hotel were terrorists - not because of their intent to do in a few British officers but because many innocent lives were taken.
  • Samson was a hooligan, as was already established. May he rest in peace.
  • Philistines had some outstanding girls, obviously. They (both the Philistines and their girls) are no more and are not a subject of this post. But it must be mentioned that they may have been blond. Judging by Samson's obsession with them.
  • You, Simon Capet (pronounced Ka-pay), are quite a shameless publicity seeker, trying to do in a small way what one Mel Gibson has done in a much bigger way with The Passion Of The Christ. Witness the key sentence: "The point is to get discussion going."
  • I do not believe one Simon Capet has a future as a successful dealer in second hand camels. Doesn't have what it takes.


30 March 2007

A peculiar outrage and Dayenu

Reading this peculiar article by one Ronan Bennett, I cannot help but think about an ancient song which is one of the most beloved songs of the Passover celebration ritual. It is called Dayenu, which could be loosely translated as "it would have been enough". The explanation of the song here says:
"It", in the Passover story, represents each favor that G-d created to help free the Hebrews from slavery. This song is essentially a song of thanks and gratitude to G-d, where its message is saying: "If G-d did a simple favor for us and didn't do anything else, it would have been sufficient", even if granting more favors would have helped the Hebrews to escape slavery sooner, or helped contribute to less suffering. The main point of the song is to recognize and be grateful for even the simplest of favors from another.
So, the adults and the children play it out this way: the grown up asks (or, rather, sings out) the question:

"Had God taken us out of Egypt, without bringing judgments against them--"

"Dayenu!" sing the children.

"Had God brought us into the Land of Israel, without building the sanctuary for us--"

"Dayenu!" the children shout.

And more and more... Beautiful song, does not sound too good in English, but you get the general idea. So what is the connection to the above article? The author is, probably, into masochism, judging by the fact that he is so lovingly describing various methods of torture and humiliation. He, in effect, recommends that the captured sailors, no matter what is done to them, say "dayenu" for not being subjected to any of the tortures he lists.
Turney may have been "forced to wear the hijab", as the Daily Mail noted with fury, but so far as we know she has not been forced into an orange jumpsuit.
Her comrades have not been shackled, blindfolded, forced into excruciating physical contortions for long periods, or denied liquids and food.

Etc. You get the general drift by now, do you?

Anyhow, I am personaly keeping my fingers crossed for the 15 fellows kept in Iran and hope that they will be home before Passover dinner, and will be able to say "dayenu" in their own non-Jewish way.

I also hope, just a bit, being a vengeful Elder and all that, that the fifteen, or some of them, will read the above mentioned article and get their mitts on one Ronan Bennett (two n's and two t's) and beat the holy crap out of him.

Although, come to think of it: how do you beat the crap of a person who is full of it?

Cross-posted on DSTPFW.


Good questions, Sir Gerald!

It is not that I have anything personal against the British nobility. All these titles, honorifics, shields, swords, plumages and gaily decorated horses are rather pleasing to the eye and to the ear. Besides, it always reminds me of the long history, painstakingly researched and documented genealogy, heroics, King Arthur's tales, etc.

On the other hand, the subject matter never fails to remind me several episodes from Monty Python related to the inanity of some, apparently too inbred, members of the same class. Lately, though, I have started to doubt the theory of inbreeding. It looks like with some characters it is sufficient that the Queen bestow the title on them for their IQ to drop to levels hitherto unknown in the history of politics.

Take, for example, Hon Gerald Kaufman, MP or, in other words, Sir Gerald. Here he is, celebrating with his grateful electorate a victory in the umpteen years of fight to save a... golf course and a golf club from extinction by a murderous business park development:

No, he is not the one sitting - he is the one in the informal clothing, probably ready to tee off as soon as the photo op is over. Unless this t-shirt is for the march in protection of foxes. Or something.

Here is a better picture of him:

(It is the one on the left really, the other one got stuck to it by mistake, probably because it is called noseglassesfortruth. After all, no one will expect a mustache on a Hon MP - really!)

Anyhow, Sir Gerald is taking up a lot of good causes, as you can see. The only fly in his oinment is the existence of the State of Israel that really bothers his (otherwise clean as whistle) conscience and causes him to erupt from time to time. And so it happened that Sir Gerald succeeded to inject a dose of hilarity in the deadly serious subject of Arab League peace proposal. His wrathful response to the article by Jonathan Freedland left Monty Python gang standing. I must copy it here in its entirety and keep it for future generations.

Is the Jonathan Freedland who says that it is essential for peace in the Middle East that the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, be bypassed, the same Jonathan Freedland who, during last summer's disgusting and disastrous Israeli invasion of Lebanon, said that it was essential for peace in the Middle East that that same ineffable Olmert should have his standing enhanced?

And if the Israelis strip-searched the British consul-general who arrived at Olmert's office in Jerusalem by prior appointment, how would they treat an Arab League representative who turned up in Jerusalem uninvited?

Gerald Kaufman MP
Lab, Manchester Gorton
As you can see, the letter is nothing more than two questions. And just by asking these two questions, Sir Herald has admirably succeeded in conveying several messages:
  1. That he is all het up by the whole Middle East nonsense
  2. That the (possible) proliferation of Jonathan Freedlands causes him a stomach ache
  3. That he sees connections between events that other people don't even dream of
  4. That he hardly understands what this is all about but is angry as a hornets' nest disturbed by a bear
  5. That he is a nincompoop of a highest degree - but of a rather endearing category
He is really endearing with these questions. As a child that one would like to sit down with (or, maybe, to set him up on one's knee) and to tell him (while feeding him some politically correct food, like carrot cake) that:
  • The answer to your first question, Jerry, is yes - this is the same Jonathan F. You see, Jerry, Jonathan wanted to see Olmert stronger then and wants to bypass him now, for reasons that... ah well, have some more cake, dear.
  • The answer to your second question is: them Zionists have indeed something terrible in mind for the Arab League representative, in case one has a misfortune to show his face at the Ben-Gurion airport. Strip search is a child game compared to what they plan. But you must not, dear Jerry, even think what they will do to a noble Jooish-British MP setting his foot in the same place. Woe to such a person... Bad, bad Israelis!
  • Have more cake, Jerry...
  • See, Jerry, this is a cat! It is fluffy and hunts mice.
  • And this is a dog, beware of it.
  • And this is a napkin. Let's clean up that drool, Jerry, here, now who is a good boy?
No, it is definitely not inbreeding, I say. It is the title...


29 March 2007

Words of Wisdom

“If Islam laid down its weapons, there would be peace in the Middle East.

If Israel laid down its weapons, Israel would cease to exist.”-Somebody


Britain takes Iran to UN, woman sailor remains captive

LONDON (AFP) - Britain took the escalating crisis with Iran over 15 captured sailors to the UN Security Council Thursday, as Tehran withdrew an offer to free the only woman detainee.

Iran also demanded an apology from London for what it said had been an incursion by the British navy.
Some especially zealous Iranians want more than just an apology:

Yeah. But back to apologies:
The logical solution ... is for the British authorities to accept the reality, present their apologies to the great Iranian people," armed forces spokesman General Alireza Afshar was cited as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Iranian people are great indeed, the problem is they are lead by a bunch of shitheads that should really be executed. To start with the one in the quote below:
The head of Iran's supreme national security council, Ali Larijani, earlier said the only woman captive, Faye Turney, would not be released because of Britain's "incorrect" attitude.
Correct attitude for Brits should be rather different. Like to blow a few Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats out of the water. But this is considered bad diplomacy these days.

Too bad.


A little bit of drama

And if there's one lesson the world can learn from Northern Ireland, it's that a little bit of human drama and symbolism goes a long way.
This sentence closes a remarkable article by Jonathan Freedland. The article broaches an idea that has been in the air for quite a while already, and its main motif is simple: let an important Arab leader repeat the Anwar Sadat outstanding act of personal and political bravery and come to Jerusalem with an emotional appeal to Israeli public, thus bypassing the indecisive and weak Olmert and creating a sweeping wave of public support for negotiations.

After all, to start the negotiations is the most important thing, and both sides may soften their stance on the issues that currently seem unsolvable (I am outguessing Jonathan here, since he is not saying it directly).

So what about it? First of all, a remark about the lesson we can learn from Northern Ireland: the one Jonathan has mentioned above is not the only one. There are two (at least) additional lessons:
  1. It took about 400 (four hundred) years since 1606, when the first Scottish Protestant settlers were 'planted' in the Ards peninsula area of Ulster, to get to the current state of affairs in Northern Ireland.
  2. And no less important: the colonial politics of military conquest and settlement won. The settlers have finally gained recognition. After 400 years of strife.
Seems a far cry from the situation in the Middle East, doesn't it?

But of course, the mixed message from the Arab League could be read by any person in any way he/she wishes to interpret it:
Arab leaders gather in the Saudi capital of Riyadh today, swearing they will never amend their five-year-old land-for-peace offer to Israel.

But while the communiqué that the Arab League will issue at the end of their two-day meeting is expected to be written in unyielding language, many believe that the 22-nation group is nonetheless getting ready to bargain quietly.
There is a room for any interpretation and any expectation. The big question is: whether the people of Israel, tired as we are by many years of double tongued messages from the other side, should count on that vague "readiness to bargain"?

After all, that eventual peace treaty is to be signed not by a Saudi prince or by the Arab League, but by recalcitrant Hamas folks, who are not even trying to hide their piecemeal approach to elimination of Israel. An excellent in its clarity expression of the current Palestinian government stance was already helpfully provided:
The spokesman for Hamas in the Palestinian parliament, Salah al-Bardawil, told Haaretz, "we will not agree to recognition of Israel or peace with it [as it appears in the initiative]. We have no problem with the part of the initiative that calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and the right of refugees to return."
It could hardly be made clearer, can it? And what kind of solution does Jonathan offer for the crucial issue of the right of return?
Israel insists that any such right would be impossible to implement, spelling the demographic end of the country as a Jewish national home: Palestinians should instead return to the proposed Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. If Riyadh sees no return to the original language, Israel will refuse to engage with it.
In other word - nothing. This is the dead end, and the whole good-intentioned article is undone by this central problem. And how does the author cope with the issue? Simply by ignoring it and leading instead to a dramatic crescendo at the end of the article:
It's a good idea, for it would call Israel's bluff. The country always says it wants peace; now the sincerity of that stance would be tested. If the language on refugees and borders were loosened, thereby denying Olmert a reason to say no, all the better.
But neither the language on refugees nor the language on the borders will be loosened. And no Israeli leader - on the left or (especially) on the right will dare to enter negotiations where the impossible conditions are stated in such a clear and destructive way in advance.

I dare Jonathan to imagine a situation where Israel offers the Arab League to start negotiations, stating in advance that it is not to return any occupied land and to apply to Arab League the same approach he has taken to Israel (e.g. a dramatic visit of Olmert in Riyadh or some other theatrical gesture). I can guess what his response will be.

So what is left? Just a bit of drama, I am afraid.

Meanwhile, in related news:
Also Wednesday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired seven Qassam rockets at Israel, Israel Radio reported. Two of the rockets landed in open areas near Ashkelon. No injuries were reported in either incident.


28 March 2007

World's Tallest Man Married

The Elders extend their hearty congratulations to Bao Xishun, the tallest man in the world, on his marriage. May the abundant blessings of the Elders be upon them.

Connect the dots

What do you do if you happen to find yourself knee-deep in sewage in your backyard? I guess you would get to a dry place first and then figure out a way to get rid of the flood and make sure it does not happen.

The recent tragic events in Gaza show that this simple logic is just not applicable in some places.

The earthen wall of a sewage pond in the northern Gaza Strip ruptured Tuesday, flooding a nearby village and killing at least four Palestinians, providing a tragic illustration of Gaza's crumbling public works after years of neglect and recently curtailed foreign aid to the government.
A brief google shows that complaints about the lack of sewage processing are dated way before the last elections in Palestinian territories that brought about the cutting of foreign aid. No, the problem was known and clear to all. It is just that the powers that be in Gaza could not care less about the well-being of their subjects, when the first and foremost action item on their agenda is to get more and more arms to kill the hated Jooz.

And thus there is a line of business burgeoning in Gaza that has a direct impact on the issue of sewage treatment: the rocket science. You see, to build one Qassam rocket you must have about 2m of pipe. Multiply 1000 (which is roughly the number of Qassams launched on Israel) by 2m and you shall see how the dots connect. Clearly the iron will of the terrorists makes the sewage treatment even more of a pipe dream.

But of course, the Zionists will be blamed for that sewage disaster as well.

In related news:

12:38 IDF sends two pumps to Gaza to help lower level of sewage (AP)

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


The bumpy road to peace

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have agreed to meet biweekly, holding talks that could include discussions about the formation of a Palestinian state.
Of course, the brain dead defeatists traitors on the left will scream that Olmert is rejecting all and any peace initiatives. Of course, the brain dead aggressor kill them all traitors on the right will scream that Olmert is selling off the idea of Greater Israel. But we, the Elders, eternally in the midst of thing, stirring the brew and even adding some secret ingredients, know better.

These biweekly meetings are a monumental achievement of Condoleezza that will create a solid base that will serve as a cornerstone in that peaceful edifice that will house the civil engineering equipment of friendship, brotherly love and understanding, which equipment shall clear the road for negotiations that will conceive a new roadmap for peace. Which peace is already around the corner, so to say behind the curtain and waiting to enter the stage.

In short - the two leaders will meet every other week to play poker. Why poker, you ask? Just because both are notoriously bad at it, and Condoleezza has decided that they should at least start to learn something useful for a politician. What version of poker was chosen is not disclosed, but we have been told that the cards will be marked and that each player will be given four spare cards and instructions (in Hebrew and Arabic respectively) for hiding them in various items of underwear.

The game of Battleships used by one of the previous administration to improve the relationships between Itzhak Shamir and Yasser Arafat was rejected this time, due to the bitter experience with the two. Each time one of the two had to visit the restroom (which happened quite frequently due to prostate issues), another one was erasing some of the ships belonging to his opponent, thus increasing the enmity.

The poker game will be accompanied by the regular cooking meetings for the men's spouses. The two will exchange recipes and each will cook the dishes proposed by the other one. Both ladies have absolutely refused to disclose the planned menus and, of course, the recipes. Only a few words said by Abu Mazen's wife were (partially) overheard: "this ...ucking....ilte...ish", leaving our agent (unfortunately male) even more confused.

White House is nurturing great hopes regarding these meetings, and the CiC of the 6th Fleet was ordered to maintain the second highest level of combat readiness. Just in case a new pack of card will have to be flown in...

In the picture: Zionist Condi stealthily passing a fifth ace to Zionist Olmert


Israeli PM Ready to Make 'Painful' Concessions

This time I have picked it up here. No matter, we have been hearing this statement for the last umpteen years, and I don't know about the person(s) stating it, but to most of us it has become a pain in the neck.



Oh boy...

A woman was caught with three crocodiles strapped to her waist at the Gaza-Egypt border crossing after guards noticed that she looked "strangely fat," Officials said Monday.

The woman's odd shape raised suspicions at the Rafah terminal in southern Gaza, and a body search by a female border guard turned up the animals, each about 20 inches long, concealed underneath her loose robe, according to Maria Telleria, spokeswoman for the European observers who run the crossing.
One is bound to think first about a new idea by Hamas to start a new kind of warfare, training crocodiles to bite the hated Jooz. But the truth is elsewhere in this case.

While presenting to the public a puritanical mask of a dedicated jihadi, Hamas' chief Ismail Haniyeh, as well as his colleagues, is known to indulge his more base urges in the privacy and seclusion of a certain Gazan club. Many years ago, as a youngster, Ismail was smitten by the formidable act by incomparable Cicciolina and her python.

It so happened that the pet shop in Cairo was out of pythons and the lady in question has decided that crocodiles, being just another kind of reptiles, will do...


27 March 2007

How did they know?

The Leprechaun says,
"Wake up drunk."

Find Out Your St. Patrick's Day Advice at QuizGalaxy.com


to Oceanguy.


The Fires of Hell Are Real and Eternal, Pope Warns

"What's lying in store for the relationship between Jews and Catholics?" is the thorny question I find myself asking more and more often these days. The Pope, the one currently in office, truly seems to be keen on curtailing the significant accomplishments of his predecessor, John Paul II, and Vatican II in principle.

I first became rather apprehensive about and even fearful of the man after reading these lines:

He gave a long address at the site of the former concentration camp and failed to mention anti-semitism, and offered no apology - whether on behalf of his own country, Germany, or on behalf of the Catholic Church. He acknowledged he was a "son of the German people" ... "but not guilty on that account"; he then launched into a highly controversial claim that a "ring of criminals" were responsible for nazism and that the German people were as much their victims as anyone else. This is an argument that has long been discredited in Germany as utterly inadequate in explaining how millions supported the Nazis. Given his own involvement in the Hitler Youth movement as a boy, and his refusal to make a clean breast of the Vatican's acquiescence in the horrors of Nazism by opening its archives to historians, this was a shabby moment in Catholic history. Not for this pope those dramatic, epoch-defining gestures that made the last Pope such a significant global figure.

Even worse, in his Auschwitz address, he managed to argue in a long theological exposition that the real victims of the Holocaust were God and Christianity. As one commentator put it, he managed to claim that Jews were the "themselves bit players - bystanders at their own extermination. The true victim was a metaphysical one." This theological treatise bears the same characteristics as last week's Regensburg lecture; put at its most charitable, they are too clever by half. More plainly speaking, they indicate a deep arrogance rooted in a blinkered Catholic triumphalism which is utterly out of place in the 21st century.

Now the Pope has reminded the world of the looming danger of being sent to Hell.
Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said.
I have to acknowledge that whenever religious leaders, especially of such impressive station, start speaking bombastically about Hell, I am instantly overcome with a feeling of nausea. I can't explain my sentiments using hard-nosed logic, but I am under the impression that lectures of this sort create nothing but rifts between people. As a Jew living in a Christian country, I fear that I will find myself, sooner or later, on the receiving end of hatred, triumphalism and a frenzy of proselytizing that often follow from such pontificating.
God had given men and women free will to choose whether “spontaneously to accept salvation . . . the Christian faith is not imposed on anyone, it is a gift, an offer to mankind”.
Judging from the above quote, those who do not accept Christianity, Jews for example, are heading for Hell. I, of course, don't really buy for a moment this claptrap, but I am, nevertheless, deeply nervous about the reaction these proclamations might elicit from the faithful. And I am also wondering what the Pope is really up to... At this point, I only sense that he is intent on resurrecting Christianity, which is not a worrying development per se, but I am curious as to what it means for us Jews.


Anti-Semitism at MSU

Meryl has recently reported on the disturbing, but expected, resurrection (or, to be more precise, intensification) of anti-Semitism taking place at MSU, the most prestigious university in Russia, right before our eyes. Quite frankly, I yawned loudly after flipping through the story published by the NYT, as MSU has always been the unassailable bastion and the proud flagship of anti-Semitism in Russia. The story, therefore, has no real shock value to someone even casually acquainted with the situation on the ground in this country. The happenings are essentially rather run-of-the-mill part of the broader pattern of behavior typical of MSU.

As usual, the fundamental reasons for this notoriously phenomenal anti-Semitism are both abundant and complex, but, in my view, it all boggles down to the following: MSU has always been scared stiff of Jews and wanted desperately to protect itself from our “offensive”. While the general population was, for the most part, getting drunk on cheap vodka (probably prevented from doing anything else by the elite Elders’ brigade), Jews were receiving higher education en masse and then venturing into science as well as other highly demanding professions. MSU was obviously designated as an institution for Russians mainly, considering that in any other case it would have swiftly become a university teeming with Jews. (Yeah, I am gloating.) Needless to say, few among the ruling classes wanted to provide Jews with such a head start in life.

The bottom line is as follows: If Jews constituted, for example, 2% of the population, then they could not, as the informal (or formal?) policy read, make up more than 2% of students at MSU. By way of illustration, my mother was not admitted to this university, despite the fact that she had passed all the exams brilliantly, because there already were too many Jews at the faculty she intended to enter. Determined to fight on, she appealed, but it goes without saying that her case was dismissed straight out of hand. According to her, the people who were afforded the pleasure of informing her about her lack of success in the endeavor had to struggle to repress their cheerful smiles – after all, a Jewish girl had just been cut down to size. (Hooray!)

Those yids who did make it to MSU against all odds were persecuted mercilessly and ruthlessly – Sergey Brin et al. can definitely attest to the fact.

I am not even talking about the sheer hell Jewish professors had to go through – this narration would undoubtedly be almost physically painful.

All told, the persecution in question boasted considerable magnitude and occasionally assumed almost unbelievably perverted forms. Sometimes it was escalated, sometimes lessened out of the blue, depending on the environment in the country and a myriad of other factors (such as the mood of the bigwigs).

Anti-Semites have always received a hearty welcome at MSU, and a great number of professors, to this day, are infected with the virus - the goings-on at the Faculty of Sociology are a towering testament to this sorry state of affairs.

A lot of time has, thankfully, passed since those “dark ages”, and much has changed. I am a student at MSU and have rarely, if ever, experienced any discomfort because of my nationality (if truth be told, I am trying my best to keep it secret). I have repeatedly been assured, however, that the situation in the Humanities (Sociology, Philosophy, History and all the other faculties of this variety) is, sadly, vastly different and not so inspiring.

The only occasion when my hair was made to stand on end was when I was submitting my documents prior to the exams. I had to fill out a disgusting application form, which, among other things, demanded that I state my nationality. To add to the shock I understandably felt at that moment, I had to state whether I was an Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jew. Someone had been busy carrying out quite a bit of research, eh? (To be honest, I assumed, after the telling incident, that I had better apply to some other university if I wanted to actually receive higher education.)

Oh, and I was also once called an "AshkeNAZI" by one astute fellow student of mine, and a son of one professor to boot.

Moving on to the story brought to light by the NYT, the students have been protesting the corruption that undeniably permeates the Faculty of Sociology for a while already. As a matter of fact, they have even been arrested once for their demonstrations and insubordination. What is immensely encouraging and uplifting about this story is that most protesters, fed up with the bald-faced lies passed as the absolute truth as well as a few other liberties the faculty allows itself, were, in the main, Russians, not Jews.

The Russian media, unsurprisingly, is mute, distant and indifferent as far as this whole affair is concerned. The two articles I have managed to dig up can be accessed here and here by those who are proficient in the Russian language.


So how dangerous is Indy?

This is, of course, in reference to the inane headline So how dangerous is skunk? by Indy.

You would think that this dubious rag that for years propagated its own version of truth regarding cannabis (among other similar "truths") will recognize its guilt and its complicity in the suffering of thousands of deluded youngsters and just quietly shut up. But what really tickles Indy's fancy?

Our decision to drop The Independent on Sunday's 1997 decriminalise cannabis campaign has been applauded and decried throughout the world. At the heart of the controversy is the link between skunk and schizophrenia.
If you can see any sign of repentance in the above quote, please let me know. I shall visit my optician shortly. Meanwhile, there are all the necessary symptoms of unrepentant "in your face" idiocy in this quote, since the danger of skunk were widely known way before and are not restricted to schizophrenia alone.

Think about this:
Cannabis remains the most commonly-used drug in the UK with one in 10 people using it in the last year, according to the British Crime Survey.
How many of these (roughly) 7 million deluded dorks were influenced by the raving of Indy?

Imagine the stink Indy would have raised were cannabis marketed and advertised by a private company (well, the drug cartels, growers and dealers are somewhat private, but at least they have the decency not to advertise via the usual channels). In fact, the above mentioned supply chain owns Indy a great deal of appreciation, if not a hefty commission.

And to add insult to injury:

Alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than many illegal drugs including the hallucinogen LSD and the dance drug ecstasy, according to a new scale for assessing the dangers posed by recreational substances.
Please reassure me that this is not an attempt to start a new campaign in the name of social progress on the general lines of "a good trip is better than a bad hangover". Please?

I hope some crafty lawyer is already drawing the lawsuit that will ruin this cesspool of a newspaper. In the name of all the people who were blindly led into the abyss by the relentless and self-assured idiocy.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


Lost in translation?

A senior Iranian military official warned the United States against launching any attack on the Islamic Republic, a news agency reported on Monday, two days after the United Nations imposed new sanctions on Iran.

"If America starts a war against Iran, it won't be the one who finishes it," Morteza Saffari, naval forces commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
Something is definitely lost in translation here. If anyone cares to decipher the text - go ahead.


26 March 2007

New Ehud, new Bibi

That's, of course, our new Ehud, reinventing himself by holding his poor innocent grandson for the whole duration of a meeting with his supporters.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak, a leading candidate for the leadership of the Labor Party, addressed supporters Sunday, presenting himself as the candidate to contend against Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu as the next prime minister of Israel.

"We will return to lead the country, and not in the too distance future," he told a crowd of 1,500 supporters at Kibbutz Yakum in his first public address in months.

"Without us there will be a terrible vacuum that will threaten the Israeli democracy, and without us it will be Bibi and the Likud as the political defaults," he said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.
Of course, Bibi is mirroring this speech with his own supporters elsewhere. And you know what - both of them are right in this amazing case!

Why don't they just slug it out one evening behind a pub and leave us alone?


25 March 2007



Blonds 'no good' in Mideast talks

Says Japanese FM:

Blond, blue-eyed Westerners probably can't be as successful at Middle East diplomacy as Japanese with their "yellow faces," Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso was quoted by media as saying on Wednesday.

"Japan is doing what Americans can't do," the Nikkei business daily quoted the gaffe-prone Aso as saying in a speech.

"Japanese are trusted. If (you have) blue eyes and blond hair, it's probably no good," he said.

"Luckily, we Japanese have yellow faces."
Whatever it takes to reach true peace, dear Mr. Aso. We can live without blonds for a while, if required.

Another thing: besides being less trustworthy, blonds could be awfully distracting

from the peace effort, I mean.


Want some calamari?

The person in the picture above is Captain John Bennett, a lucky sailor who caught himself some squid (partly in the picture as well). This puppy weighs 495 kilograms, making it the largest ever caught.

But it won't get any bigger because it's already dead cold. And scientists can't figure out how to defrost it. Squid expert Steve O'Shea, who will be studying the creature, said it was weighed last week while it was still frozen in a large container.
At this stage our squid expert said (probably in the throes of scientific excitement) something that was totally unexpected:
Dr O'Shea said the colossal squid was priceless to scientists, and would be worth many millions of dollars if it were insured.
I am not sure that it is an accepted practice amongst the squid community to apply for insurance. On the other hand, with inventiveness and eagerness of some insurance companies, it may be not totally out of question.

After all, Captain Bennet was not so lucky. The boffins got wind of the catch, and promptly sequestered the beast for their own nefarious ends.
The squid is being housed in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. Meanwhile, the scientists have yet to decide how best to thaw out the animal, which was frozen into a container soon after it was captured.
I would say, piece by piece, according to the size of a party they want to throw at any specific evening. One can only envy the eggheads: half a ton of prime squid will keep their parties going for a good few years.



24 March 2007

England 0 : Israel 0

Twenty two physically and mentally challenged individuals who should be much better off painting license plates in an institution that doubtlessly exists somewhere for cases like these, with round the clock supervision of watchful and caring staff members and regular hours, which proposal is much too generous, since these license plates would have to be recycled immediately anyway...


Iran seizes 15 British sailors in Persian Gulf

Iranian naval vessels seized 15 British sailors and marines Friday in Iraqi waters, the UK's Ministry of Defense said. The British personnel from the frigate HMS Cornwall were "engaged in routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters," and had completed their inspection of a merchant ship when they were accosted by Iranian vessels, the ministry said in a statement. Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain identified the vessels as those of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards navy, a radical force that operates independently from the regular Iranian Navy. Aandahl said that no shots were fired during incident and that the British sailors appeared unhurt.
Now from BBC:
A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, said the three vessels had entered Iranian waters on Monday morning.

An Iranian military spokesman indicated the detained crew could be freed quickly if an inquiry shows there had been no malicious intent.
Of course. And what about the official British response?
A spokesman at the UK defence ministry said British forces in Iraq were using boats to train the Iraqi river patrol service, and the craft may have strayed across the maritime border by mistake. "The waterway runs over a mile wide. The border runs pretty much down the middle of it," he said.
Anyway, it seems that the 15 guys may be in for a fairly long stretch.
Our Tehran correspondent says a rapid solution to the incident may no longer be possible, because the issue has moved into the political arena.
Surely, when the defense ministry is already handing over all the cards to the Iranians. Just as a reminder:
In June 2004, six British marines and two sailors were seized by Iran in the Shatt al-Arab between Iran and Iraq. They were presented blindfolded on Iranian television and admitted entering Iranian waters illegally. They were released unharmed after three days
Now, of course, everything depends on how much of a production the Iranians will want to make of the case. Let's hope the sailors will be back as soon as possible.


New stress therapy

Just in case you've had a rough day, here's a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological texts. The funny thing is, it really works.

  1. Picture yourself near a stream.
  2. Birds are softly chirping in the cool mountain air.
  3. No one but you knows your secret place.
  4. You are in total seclusion from the hectic place called "the world".
  5. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.
  6. The water is crystal clear.
  7. You can easily make out the face you're holding (of the Democrat or whomever you don't like) under water.
  8. See, you're smiling already.
From these nice folks.


A short story for computer nerds

In fact, the original story is quite long, and I have decided to convey its essence in a few words for people in the computing business.

  1. Inadvertent deletion of a hard disk
  2. Panic
  3. Panic caused reformatting of a backup hard disk
  4. Backup tapes unreadable (when were the backup tapes readable?)
  5. No disaster recovery setup
  6. ... gloom... more gloom...
  7. 300 cartons of paperwork to scan...
And now the whole story again - in two words:

Government. Bleh...


23 March 2007

The Confusion Sign

This is the official, one-of-a-kind confusion sign of SimplyJews:

From this day onward, this will be the second official confusion sign of this Elders' den:

All glory be to the Elders!

The Greatest Domain Name Ever

You know what? Someone actually owns the following domain name:

http: //www.yahweh.com/

At first, I got all excited and bubbly, but my elation was soon gone, as it quickly emerged that the site belongs to yet another weird American cult. Some people are incredibly preposterous to say the least.

What's next?

http: //yahweh.blogspot.com?

P.S. Oops, it turns out that the above name has already been taken as well... You never know.



It seems that Carter (almost) trouble-free sailing with his "Palestine: Peace or Apartheid" opus is coming to an end. Here is what another POTUS has to say about this attempt to be universally liked (by the Arab street):

Former President Bill Clinton, in a handwritten letter to AJC Executive Director David Harris, voiced appreciation for his efforts to expose the inaccuracies in President Jimmy Carter’s book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Thanks so much for your articles about President Carter’s book. I don’t know where his information (or conclusions) came from …” said Clinton. “I’m grateful.”
More here.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


Cleanest? Oops...

Netanyahu's comments on cleanliness came less than an hour after police recommended that Likud MK Yisrael Katz be charged with fraud and breach of trust.
What could one learn from this gaffe? First of all, the importance of real time information flow. Secondly, that cleanliness is not a good criteria to measure politicians - after all, the quantity of dirt per party is simply proportional to the number of MKs in the party these days.

And most importantly: that closed mouth gathers no feet.


The hazards of dieting

I have always been suspicious of all kinds of diets and other restrictions on my intake of food, drinks and drugs (of course, not classified as controlled substances - as if somebody, not being a deity, can claim control of substance). Now my suspicion is confirmed firmly and finally.

Researchers at Sweden's Karolinska University Hospital were approached by a 59-year old non-drinker after he registered positive for alcohol when blowing into an in-car ignition interlocking device that would not allow him to drive. As a glider pilot who supervised private aviation, the man had been surprised and upset about the positive result, which occurred while he was undergoing a weight loss program involving a very low calorie diet.

to Charles.


Bagel Blogger is back!

After about a week since his mysterious disappearance, Aaron aka Bagel Blogger is back in all the splendor of his magnificent template.

Here he is, and one of these days he will tell us what kind of a mission his blog was on.


Al Gore and the Moore principle - riding the wave

The whole story circulates too widely to comment on it, after all everyone and his mother in law already spent a few sleepless night waiting for the wall of seawater swallowing his dwelling. And everyone has already discussed with his mother in law the derision of some people (especially of Republican persuasion in US of A) about this famous water wall.

But it seems that, after getting that Oscar, Al Gore is not content with his cinematic achievements, trying to use the momentum for political advancement.

Even though he has stated he does not intend to run again, polls suggest Mr Gore would be one of the favoured candidates among Democrats, challenging the popularity of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
The first part of this quote is a consolation, the second a warning: it may happen. And the big question is whether the public will hand the job to the person who... how to say it mildly... reinvents more than just himself.

It has become rather an accepted practice in some "progressive" circles to counter the lies of the other side by even bigger lies and exaggerations, all "for the cause" (let's call it The Moore Principle). When some leftist journalists say that the truth does not matter anymore, when some documentary makers produce fairy tales, it seems only logical that a person with presidential aspirations and similar political leanings will pick up and use the same method. Look what some sober people are saying about Al Gore and his ride on the wave.
Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.

It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.
I am not too good in non-metric units of measure, but I guess that a difference between 23 inches and 20 feet is a bit more than a centimetre or two. I would also guess that fear, even when not coupled with greed, is a very good brain stimulator and makes crowds much more receptive to the message and the messenger. And the messenger is right here, looming larger than life, waving his Oscar (what symbol stronger than this one was invented in US?) and, while not explicitly promising salvation, at least broadly hinting that he (of course) is the savior. The Moore principle at its finest.

As Terry Glavin says:
Climate change alarmism is every bit as corrosive to public debates and public policy as climate change denial. Inattention to the truth, inconvenient or otherwise, is no better than propaganda.
But Al Gore seems to be undisturbed by the people who, belonging to his camp, are worried about the price of "inattention to truth" (That's Terry Glavin, being more British than a Brit in this case - as far as understatement is concerned). This is the answer Gore offers his critics:
I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.
So - maybe there is an opportunity here for the man? Like, for example, to improve his understanding and to start with purchasing a measuring tape to get an inkling of the difference between an inch and a foot.

And as for the title of the above linked article: " Reinvented Gore returns to Capitol Hill": reinvention seems to be a strong feature of Gore, after all he has already (re)invented the Internet...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


A new career choice, John?

This is John Terry, a centre back (or center back for heathens) of the English football team:

And this is what he said in an interview in Israel:

Israeli team is one of the best in the world.
Now, there are several possible reasons for this amazing statement:
  1. Good manners taken to the extreme
  2. Covering one's arse, just in case of the impossible happening
  3. Heavy turbulence during the flight to Israel
  4. Really liked this girl in immigration control
  5. Preparing for a stand-up comedian career
In any case, I am not going to watch this massacre. Short of landing a few paras on the stadium and shooting most of the English team, there is no escape for blues-and-whites...


Six Babies On The Way - With Six Women

Need I say more?

A music producer told a US court he has six children on the way - all with different women.

Ricky Lackey was asked by a judge how many children he had during sentencing on an attempted theft charge.

Lackey, 25, of Cincinnati, told Hamilton County Judge Melba Marsh: "None, but I have six on the way."

"Are you marrying a woman with six children?" asked the confused judge.

"No, I be concubining," he replied, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Prosecutors said Lackey is the expectant father of six children with six different women. The women all are expected to deliver in August, September and October.

Lackey's lawyer, Stephen Wenke, stopped his client from saying more.

Those distraught women can be dangerous...


22 March 2007

More Cool Facts About Israel

"This is what I refer to as hooters hasbara.", says Aussie Dave aka Israellycool, referring both to the decision of Hooters to open a first restaurant somewhere in Tel Aviv and to this:

The beer 'n' babes magazine Maxim will send photographers to Israel next week for an Israeli women photo shoot that Foreign Ministry officials hope redefines what the magazine's hormone-charged readers think when they hear television reporters say "the situation in Israel is hot."
Well, this is the question of terminology. Some may consider the situation hot, but some will call it totally cool. Anyway, to give you some food for thought on the subject, here comes a potpourri of the relevant material, lovingly collected by some unnamed (unless you consider "alon9999" to be a name) connoisseur.

Warning: the contents are not what you would call strictly kosher!


Cool Facts About Israel

Let us bask in our glory:

The war and the generals

Apparently the iron will of the public to let a few heads roll in the aftermath of the second Lebanon war makes the real investigation into the reasons for some failures close to impossible. Otherwise, there is no reasonable explanation to the unbelievable fact: the investigation of the failures in the logistics area, where lots of complaints on the lack of ammunition, food, even water were voiced, was undertaken by... the OC IDF Logistics and Medical Branch Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi.

Noting the poor quality of equipment found in emergency military warehouses during the second Lebanon war, OC IDF Logistics and Medical Branch Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi announced Tuesday plans to invest NIS 2 billion to upgrade the equipment used by reservists in a time of war.
Speaking at a press conference at Tel Hashomer on Tuesday, Mizrachi said the emergency warehouses would undergo a complete overhaul - over a period of five years - and be stocked with new vests, helmets, weapons and uniforms.
Will it be at least reasonable to ask the general where exactly has he been in the years before the war? Because we know only too well what kind of advice he offered during the war:
"If our soldiers deep in Lebanon are left without food and water, as far as I'm concerned they can break into local shops" (Technology and Logistics head, Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi, finds an alternative to his branch, in an interview with Army Radio).
In another interview (no link, unfortunately), the same Avi Mizrachi displayed his philosofical inclinations by telling that logistics are ruled by Pareto principle. Which means that you succeed to do your job in 80% of the cases, more or less. Which also means that these 20% of our guys who found themselves without food, water or reliable equipment have Pareto to blame - instead of general Mizrachi.

And to add insult to injury, our learned general has some ideas for the future:
In addition, Mizrachi, who led a probe into the role the reservists played during the war, has recommended the creation of a three-year program in which reservists will train for a period of 10 days once every two years and enlist for operations and guard duty once every three years.
I don't know, folks. Tell me what you want, but in my book a general like this should be court-martialled without delay and, hopefully, frog marched to the nearest wall and shot.

But my book is, probably, not good enough for IDF...


Is it the rock bottom?

A new level of atrocity was reached recently by the terrorists in Iraq.

Insurgents detonated a bomb in a car carrying two children after using the children as decoys to get through a military checkpoint in Baghdad, an American general said Tuesday.

American soldiers had stopped the car at the checkpoint but allowed it to pass after they seeing the two children in the back seat.

"Children in the back seat lower suspicion," he said, according to a transcript. "We let it move through. They parked the vehicle. The adults run out and detonate it with the children in back."
There is no need to comment on this. Only one question haunts me now: is it the lowest in human behavior we are seeing, or, maybe, the future is preparing more?


Zahra Kamalfar - free in a free world!

Good news via shlemazl:

An Iranian woman who had been living with her two children at Moscow's international airport for nine months is free in Canada.

Zahra Kamalfar arrived at Vancouver International Airport on Thursday, after a flight from Europe. Surrounded by reporters and supporters, she burst out sobbing, then fainted, after being reunited with her brother, Nader Kamalfar, whom she hadn't seen in nearly 14 years.

I am happy that her suffering is over. We all should be happy that she has escaped the talons of Iranian "security" apparatus. Hopefully, she will be able to recover and lead a normal life after the tragic years in one of the most oppressive regimes in existence.


21 March 2007

Obama vs Clinton and vox populi

This is, probably, one of the more remarkable expressions of public opinion in a presidential race:

If, indeed, as Obama himself says, his staff didn't have anything to do with this "Vote Different" clip, this is a grass-roots phenomena at its best.


A tale of unspeakable cruelty

Al Jazeera (the dot com variety - not to be mixed with the dot net one) made a big production out of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed torture story. In an article titled "The torture of Sheikh Mohammed worked!", Al Jazeera says:

UN investigations had previously concluded that the United States committed acts amounting to torture at Guantanamo, including force-feeding detainees as well as subjecting them to prolonged solitary confinement.
While this provides a weak support to the claims of torture, for once we are going with the folks of Al Jazeera. After all, where we'll all end up if we continue to ignore the voices of free press?

Specifically, it is clear that the unending stream of confessions by the subject is really getting out of hand, and very soon he may start to confess to all the dastardly deeds that by right belong to the realm of Elders. So we have decided to investigate the situation, sending our ace agent for the purpose. And the truth exceeded our expectations.

As you can see on the latest photo of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he was definitely force fed, since he does look as a stuffed goose.

But the most striking change is not that of the girth (after all, let's not forget the hectic and nerve-wracking way of life KSM used to enjoy before his capture, compared to the current serenity, regular meals and medical supervision). What is most amazing is the hair, of course. The pictures from our archives show the bald head of KSM:

And his bare hairless body (only a fragment, so do not get overexcited):

The lack of hair served him well in the sewers he used to frequent in his undercover activities.

So, the stark truth of the matter is that it is not only sleep deprivation, force feeding and solitary confinement - no, there is more. Of course, KSM served as a laboratory rat for one of the giant pharmaceutic concerns that is developing a new hair growing drug and was in dire need of testing volunteers. And of course, the process was tortuously painful, this is why KSM sings so freely.

And this is not the end of it, as our valiant agent discovered. Another stage of torture is being planned for KSM. It appears that another company, in cosmetic surgery this time, is going to try out its new widget for hair removal. We want to save our readers from the horrors of the new method, so we shall only say that the adhesive strips used by the female part of population pale into insignificance when compared to the new way. It is promising to become a bestseller!

Better him than us, that for sure...

Update: Fresh from the press, Al Jazeera reports on another prisoner singing his guts out:

A Guantanamo Bay detainee is said to have confessed to planning an attack on the USS Cole in 2000 and assisting with the bombing of two embassies in east Africa in 1998, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon.

Wallid bin Attash told a military hearing that he bought explosives and recruited the team that rammed a boat into the ship.
Now the picture of the suspect:

Clearly the suspect has undergone the hair enhancement treatment as well. No doubt now.


How do you say "homosexual" in Polish?

This is how. No, it is not a new Polish joke, it is for real:

The Polish government is to ban discussions on homosexuality in schools and educational institutions across the country, with teachers facing the sack, fines or imprisonment.

Mr Giertych, the leader of the ultra-conservative League of Polish Families, a junior coalition partner in the government of prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said the aim of the proposed law would be to "prohibit the promotion of homosexuality and other deviance".
Yeah, well, whatever. Let's be silent about something and it will just go away. I hope Mr Giertych does not cover his head as well, in order not to see the "deviance". Cause a deviant might just happen to be around...

And these ambitious plans do not stop with Poland.
Poland's education minister, Roman Giertych, has said he hopes to introduce a similar ban across the entire EU.
Be fun to watch...


20 March 2007

Confusion in the Arab street

Haaretz reported today on a poll that may be of some interest to inquiring minds.

The poll's most dramatic finding was that 28 percent of local Arabs did not believe the Holocaust happened, and that among high-school and college graduates the figure was even higher: 33 percent.
I am not sure about the dramatic part: is it re the benefits of higher education?
Asked about Israel's war in Lebanon last summer, 48 percent of the Israeli Arabs polled said they believe Hezbollah's rocket attacks on northern Israel during that war were justified, even though numerous Arabs were killed and wounded as well.

While 89 percent said they view Israel's bombing of Lebanon as a war crime, only 44 percent said they see Hezbollah's attacks on Israel as such.
Er... so what is the big deal? If I do not like somebody, it makes it easier to say things about him/her... There must be some reason for the people polled to dislike us, obviously. And the following statement, no matter how absurd it may seem, only follows in the steps of the previous ones:
Half of Israeli Arab respondents said Hezbollah's capture of the two Israeli soldiers, which sparked the fighting, was justified.
Why? I am not sure this question was in the questionnaire. But could the reason why be that the Israeli Arab chieftains are brainwashing them quite relentlessly, like this:
MK Ahmed Tibi said he doubted some of the findings and said he cannot explain the numbers indicating support for Hezbollah, although he noted that usually there is no empathy for the aggressor, which he said was Israel.
So - the learned Dr. Tibi cannot explain the numbers, but he can easily finger the aggressor, you see.

But, after all, it is not that straightforward as it may have looked to you to start with. Here comes the really mind-boggling part:
The poll also found that Israeli Arabs worry about their future: 62 percent worry that Israel could transfer their communities to the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state. Sixty percent said they are concerned about a possible mass expulsion.

Among the Arab respondents, 76 percent described Zionism as racist. But more than two-thirds said they would be content to live in the Jewish state, if it existed alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
Somebody is mightily confused here. And I suspect it is not me... Yeah.

And, since confusion was mentioned:

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


Good news according to Guardian

First of all, it's quite some time since I had my teeth in Guardian's knee. Secondly, it is a rare case when a Guardian's (or, rather, The Observer's, if anyone cares) writer is in this win-win situation, when in one sentence she could both send a kiss the Palestinian way and deliver a kick on the shin (the second most painful kick in the female arsenal) to the Israeli government.

And all I need for illustration is this one sentence from the whole article:

The new, more moderate government installed in Palestine yesterday has not been recognised by Israel.
That's all, really. See how simple and elegant? On one hand we have a new and more moderate Palestinian government (it is clear to every rational person, isn't it?). On the other hand, we have these bloodthirsty recalcitrant Jooz who just do not see the hand of peace offered to them.

That "moderate" government is headed by Hamas, powered by Hamas and belongs to Hamas lock, stock and barrel. The honor of negotiating with Israel is left to Fatah people, true, but to what end? Who is going to accept, ratify and carry out any possible agreement between the powerless Fatah with its powerless chief and Israel? The same good old Hamas that does not give a hoot about any agreement and, in fact, continues to refuse even to consider recognising Israel. Demanding recognition for such government is a travesty, and any unbiased person with more than one brain cell can see it clearly. But these are, probably, two extraneous requirements in Guardian's HR recruitment forms.

Using a very lively imagery by a superb Russian author, the whole act of creation of this "moderate government" is akin to covering a pile of shit by some autumn leaves. Not that the leaves in this case are just some mere innocent leaves. At this point I just must pass the microphone to Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin of The Passing Parade:
So let me get this straight: people are annoyed that the party that wants to destroy Israel won the elections against the other party that wants to destroy Israel, but won't actually come out and say so at the moment. Since everyone knew that the governing party that wants to destroy Israel but wont come out and say so really does want to destroy Israel whether they say so or not, why is everyone so concerned that the party that wants to destroy Israel won the election, since by definition both of the parties involved want to destroy Israel, except that the second party that wants to destroy Israel finds it politic at the moment not to mention that they want to destroy Israel just as much as the other party that wants to destroy Israel but has no qualms about bringing up the fact that they want to destroy Israel, unlike the party that wants to destroy Israel but doesnt want to come out and say that they want to destroy Israel. There is a theme here, isnt there, or have I missed something along the way?
This quote is still as true and vibrant as it was at the moment of its writing. And I promise to repeat it again and again in the hope that some of it (at least the "So let me get this straight " part) will register with some of the Guardian scribes.

Or is it too much to hope for?

P.S. Hamas has already done their best to provide some substance to the claim that the new government is more moderate:

Initial reports indicated that the man, identified as an Israel Electric Corporation worker about 40 years of age, sustained moderate injuries to his thigh and that his wounds were not life-threatening.
Indeed, Hamas is mellowing. In other times they would have killed him...

Just a reminder: most of electricity in Gaza is provided by the Israeli Electric Corporation.


The 21-year-old Palestinian student was interrogated by Egyptian police and confessed he belonged to Hamas that intended to provide him with an explosive belt and instructions to cross into Israel...
In the olden times the student would have blown himself and the Egyptian policemen to smithereens. Now it is all moderate, moderate, moderate...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com