31 March 2009

War On Terror (WOT) is dead - long live BEWIG!

As it follows from this:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday the Obama administration had dropped "war on terror" from its lexicon, rhetoric former President George W. Bush used to justify many of his actions.
And why is that?
Internationally, the phrase was seen by critics as a "with-us-or-against-us" philosophy, overly dependent on military force and what many Muslims decried as an attack on Islam.
Since no administration can administer and no military force can act without a catchy acronym, an alternative is being offered: BEWIG - Benignly Engaging With Islamic Grievances.

Other proposals welcome.

The silenced orchestra

According to this BBC article, a West Bank children's orchestra was disbanded by the parents and neighbors after a performance given in an Israeli town of Holon (Not "Horon" as misprinted in the article).

So what is the crime perpetrated by the youngsters? It appears that the presence of a few Holocaust survivors in the audience was interpreted as a "political event":

Adnan Hindi, a social leader in the Jenin refugee camp, accused the group's director of "exploiting" the children for political reasons.
Well, to start with, there wasn't even a hint of politics, since:
It was part of the Good Deeds Day event set up by an Israeli billionaire. Good Deeds Day is an annual event to foster "hope and brotherhood" founded by Israeli billionaire Shari Arison.
It is quite a stretch of imagination to find politics in the life and deeds of this specific billionaire. But even if there is a smidgen of truth in the paranoid accusation of Mr Hindi, these are the kind of politics any normal person will bless without hesitation (you would think so, at least).

Then came the punitive measures. Disbanding the orchestra wasn't enough. According to the (watered down) BBC report:
The room in the house of the orchestra's director, Wafa Younis, where the teenagers practiced, has been locked and boarded up, local residents say. Parents are also said to have stopped their children from participating in the group...
According to JP/AP report, the vengeance went further: Wafa Younis has been barred from the camp (She is an Israeli Arab from the village of Ara). Also:
Sources in the camp said that the political factions in Jenin have also decided to ban an Israeli Arab woman who helped organize the event from entering the city.
The wave of paranoid outrage went even further:
Adnan al-Hinda, director of the Popular Committee for Services in the Jenin refugee camp, said that the participation of the children in the concert was a "dangerous matter" because it was directed against the cultural and national identity of the Palestinians.
And further:
He accused "suspicious elements" of being behind the Holon event, saying they were seeking to "impact the national culture of the young generation and cast doubt about the heroism and resistance of the residents of the camp during the Israeli invasion in April 2002."
But the most revealing statement belongs to a political representative of our partners in the peace process:
Ramzi Fayad, a spokesman for various political factions in the Jenin refugee camp, also condemned the participation of the teenagers in the Holocaust event, saying all the groups were strongly opposed to any form of normalization with Israel.
Yeah... if you feel the peace in the Middle East in your waters, better send your waters in for an analysis. Sad.

A rabbi is spooked by another rabbi

Ghosts are supposed to infest and act from time to time in old castles, sights of great battles, cemeteries etc. The ghost story in this case develops in a London house with a history of a rabbinical presence.

...when the distraught rabbi turned to his congregation for help, "they confirmed that these strange events have occurred in the past, and estimated that the noises were caused by the ghost of a rabbi… who was the synagogue's first rabbi and passed away 40 years ago, and is now seeking tikkun for his spirit."
And how does the ghost manifest his presence?
Closed windows have been opened; he's been hearing knocking, and so forth.
Obviously this is a pretty introverted ghost, who doesn't even enjoy showing himself to the dwellers. Being a person of materialist persuasion, I prefer to think of an alternative to supernatural presence. Such as some house pest, for example a rat or an especially big and frisky cockroach. It being London, the house must be pretty old, and what with the ages that passed and old moldy manuscripts available for the roaches' consumption, some strange mutations could have developed.

While the biannual tikkun prayers for the dead offered by a rabbinical expert couldn't do any harm, I would suggest that, since the time for the Passover cleaning is nigh, a good fumigation could go a long way to the solution of the problem. Even the ghost must be spooked by the process.

Yes, I would say - go for it, rabbi!

30 March 2009

Husband's porn threatens minister's job - ???

One of the most incomprehensible headlines I've ever seen. By CNN.

Here it is for posterity:

What it is about, in fact:

Leading British Cabinet Minister Jacqui Smith's political future is in doubt after her husband admitted to paying for adult movies with taxpayers' money.
Oh well...

29 March 2009

The Elders' personal message to Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

Dear Ms Sebag-Montefiore,

With great concern and consternation spilling into outright ire, we, the Elders, read your soul outcry in one of our favorite adrenaline level support publications, The Guardian's CiF.

A Jewish friend of mine, now in her 20s, recently told me about a shocking incident while she was at school. Aged 16 she was confronted in front of her class by a history teacher and was asked to explain Israel's conduct.
We are shocked. Really, for crying out loud! The unspeakable history teacher will be punished according to our best practices. As for your wish, expressed so eloquently in this:
Despite my own connections and history, what I really want is to be free from having to explain, to justify, to comment on or condemn Israel's actions.
and in this:
Just because I'm a British Jew doesn't mean I am answerable for – or even associated with – Israel's actions:
The Elders' HQ, upon calming down a bit and issuing a few operational orders to our field agents in Great Britain, authorized me to provide you the following document (cut along the lines below and keep in your wallet at all times).

------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: whom it may or may not concern
From: EoZ Eternally Unlimited

Subject: Ms Sebag-Montefiore - not a Zionist by any means

The Bearer of this document is not, never was and never will be answerable for any activities, deeds, claims, representations and daily atrocities perpetrated by the State of Israel, also referred to as the Zionist Entity, the Small Satan, etc.

The Bearer is free of any commitment, obligation, debt, allegiance, loyalty to the above mentioned State and as such is not required to explain, to excuse, to explicate, to justify, to comment on, to condemn, to decry, to excoriate, to objurgate, to chastise and in any way to refer to the said State.

The Elders confirm that any resemblance of the Bearer's last name to that of the well-known Zionist is unintended and shouldn't be construed as Bearer's support for the latter's activities in any way, method and manner. To ensure that understanding, everywhere the Zionist's name is used the previous sentence will be prominently displayed.

The Bearer is entitled to carry the following badge when deemed necessary or convenient:

This document is irrevocable and doesn't expire. Subject to local taxes where applicable.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. Any other timid, self-conscious, encumbered by the unfairly pressed on them misfortune of their birth and otherwise afraid of their imagined complicity with Israel, British Jooz are welcome to apply for a similar document and badge.

Self-addressed stamped envelope attached to the request will be appreciated.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Does Ashley Biden snort cocaine?

I really don't know, nor do I care. But for the overexcited, as usual, a calming down picture.

Just watch the flower and them bees, coolly and diligently collecting stuff. Breath slowly and shallowly. Relax...

28 March 2009

Photohunt: hands


The theme for this week is "Hands". Taken literally, it was too tough for me.

After all, my hand with its short, pudgy and gnarly fingers is definitely not one of the world's wonders. On the other hand, the SWMBO's hand, which is quite nice, could serve as an object of admiration, but it could be misconstrued as sucking up, so I had me a problem. I have decided to resolve it by bending the rules a bit, so here (click to embiggen):

Two days ago I have succeeded to make another step towards getting a good picture of the Palestinian sunbird. This time, instead of its customary few seconds stop, this guy (it's a male of the species) decided to stay on the branch for a while and to pose for me. Here is another one:

Look at this critter's claws - could you in clear consciousness call them feet? No. "Hands" will be a much more fitting term, wouldn't it?

And here is another member of the avian society:

In this picture this crow is strolling along the wire. With some effort you can call its lower extremities "feet", if you disregard the ability to hold to the wire, of course. But now look at this:

Try to scratch your head (you ear, as the case might be) with your foot and see where it gets you. So it is hands again, ain't it?

Case closed, and have a great PhotoHunt.

If you liked what you have seen (or read) in this post, add your link in the comments:
I promise to visit your place as soon as possible!


To look for other photo hunters, go there.

***

Young couple moves in with her ex-husband

That from CNN:

Struggling to make ends meet, trying to dig themselves out of debt, Nicole Thompson-Arce and her husband have moved in with her ex-husband.Together, the unlikely threesome of Omaha, Nebraska, is raising two young daughters from the first marriage.

It's the kind of situation that has left cable guys howling.
I am not a cable guy, so this is probably the reason I am not howling. Yet.

But the real reason should be unearthed in any case, and I would venture a guess: it's the curious habit of carrying a hyphenated name...

27 March 2009

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

His article On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda is a mandatory read. I shall not spoil it too much, just a quote or two:

I never imagined that I would need police protection while speaking at a university in the U.S. I have been on many Palestinian campuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and I cannot recall one case where I felt intimidated or where someone shouted abuse at me.

What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the “occupation” as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel.
No comments. Enjoy.

Via Zionism & Israel

The Oliphant cartoon: the problem is political misunderstanding, not hatred

I, personally, couldn't care less about another anti-Israeli cartoon that makes its rounds in the media and all over the Internet. After all, the market for such produce is there... It is funny, though, to read the verbal acrobatics of people like Keith Woods, dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute, in this link.

Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, decided to analyze this gem of visual arts. Enjoy.

It is silly to say that the Pat Oliphant Cartoon in the New York Times and many newspapers around the world is antisemitic. But it’s also a bad mistake because the cartoon deserves serious analysis to show just how dangerous and wrong it is, in ways that not only hurt Israel but all Western democracies.

You can see the cartoon at this URL or view it at the end of this article:
http://news.yahoo.com/comics/uclickcomics/20090325/cx_po_uc/po20090325
Let’s deconstruct the cartoon to show the basic ideas that underlie it and that make it lie.

  1. To begin with, it is not a very good cartoon and bears a striking resemblance to anti-Israel propaganda cartoons in its crudity and one-sidedness. Aesthetic decline has accompanied political crudeness. It doesn’t just say: these people are wrong but these people are 100 percent evil and hateful. The next step is, of course, they deserve to die and their state deserves to be wiped off the map. Is that what Oliphant thinks? Who cares? That’s what he said.
  2. On the left is a huge figure. On the right is a small figure. The implication that need not be spoken here is that the big figure—the powerful side—must be wrong. Oliphant like many or most Western intellectuals, academics, and policymakers, still doesn’t understand the concept of asymmetric warfare. In this, a weaker side wages war on a stronger side using techniques it thinks can make it win. What are these techniques? Terrorism, indifference to the sacrifice of its people, indifference to material losses, refusal to compromise, extending the war for ever. This is precisely the technique of Hamas: let’s continue attacking Israel in order to provoke it to hit us, let’s target Israeli civilians, let’s seek a total victory based on genocide, let’s use our own civilians as human shields, and with such methods we will win. One way we will win is to demonize those who defend themselves, to put them in positions where they have a choice between surrender and looking bad. This cartoon is a victory for Hamas. But it is also a victory for all those who would fight the West and other democracies (India, for example) using these methods. Remember September 11?
  3. The big figure has no head, and hence is not a human being. Israelis are not human. Moreover the headless figure is irrational. We are to believe that Israel attacked Gaza for no reason. Forget about thousands of rockets, hundreds of mortar shells, and scores of cross-border attacks. The tiny figure on the right is no threat. So there is no reason to attack it. Attacking is immoral and irrational. The same could—and has—been said about al-Qaida, Hizballah, Pakistani terrorists striking at Mumbai, etc.
  4. Dehumanization: The figure on the left is a monster, a robot. Monsters and robots deserve no sympathy; they have no right to self-defense. If tomorrow an Israeli child or civilian is killed in a terrorist attack, how can one have sympathy for these people since they are not people?
  5. Goosestep: The leg is raised In a Nazi goosestep; the shoe is a jackboot. Thus, Israel is a Nazi power. But why is it a Nazi power? Because it isn’t human and just attacks women and children for no reason at all. And what happens then? Since Israel is said to be Nazi, any sympathy for 2000 years of Jewish suffering—including Arab terrorist attacks—is thus erased. Incidentally, this is all being done when there is still no proof (not even weak proof) for a single Israeli soldier having committed a single atrocity. Where, then, is the rationality here?
  6. Sword: Ironically, the sword is the weapon used by Islamists to behead people. Why a sword? Because it is a primitive weapon for a primitive people. The hand which is very hairy—again the ape, dehumanized image—holds the sword at a 45 degree angle reminiscent of a Nazi salute. See point 5 above.
  7. The Magen David is Israel’s symbol. Therefore, despite the fact that it is also a general Jewish symbol, it is not antisemitic to use it. Of course, the context matters, too. But that is not what is most important in this cartoon. Still, the author could have labeled the monster “Israel.” Note, however, that “magen” means shield, and the name of Israel’s army is the Israel Defense Forces. In Gaza, they were acting in a defensive manner but that of course escapes much of the media coverage and things said about the war. What strikes me as most bizarre about the usage of this symbol is that it is being wheeled forward, as if Israel seeks to install itself in the Gaza Strip. But Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, openly stating that it wanted peace. The symbolism is to make the action purely offensive, an aggressive war to annex territory, which of course is untrue
  8. The shark is to me the most offensive part of the cartoon because it shows that the cartoonist has lost any sense of his tradition. Aren’t all the other elements enough to show his theme? The “over-kill” puts it into the category of Arab propaganda cartoons. It says: Israel is innately aggressive, that the whole state of Israel is permanently aggressive and exists for no other reason. If the cartoonist had shown Israel doing mean things to helpless Palestinians, the suggestion is that the Gaza War is a terrible thing. The way this cartoon is done it suggests that Israel’s existence is a terrible thing.
  9. Palestinians are portrayed as only women and children. There are no fighters. Was there no army in Gaza, no 20,000 Hamas men under arms? Did Israel attack a defenseless area? Again if the cartoonist wanted to portray Israel carelessly attacking into a civilian area, the implication would be that it used excessive force or insufficient care. I would disagree but the extremism of the cartoons suggestion, and its falseness, exceeds the usual bounds of Western rationality.
  10. The evil Israel is heading right toward the Palestinians and they are running in fear. Here is an accurate way to describe the war: After Hamas unilaterally announced it was cancelling the ceasefire, it launched even more rockets and mortars at Israel than it did during the “normal” ceasefire. Their range was increasing and the lives of one million Israelis became impossible. Hamas leaders openly bragged that Israel was afraid to fight back and they would keep escalating. Israel then attacked, the Hamas forces retreated into the middle of highly populated civilian areas. After some fighting, where civilians were used by Hamas as human shields, Israel had no intention of going into the most densely populated neighborhoods. It thus ended the war, and withdrew. Hamas then came out of hiding and bragged that it had won a great victory. The fantasy Israel created by Oliphant and others would have continued the war, wiped out Hamas, and retaken the Gaza Strip. In military terms, Israel could have done this with minimal casualties for its own side. Far from proving anti-Israel claims, the history of the Gaza War proved the opposite.
This is, then, a loathsome cartoon. But to dismiss it by the single word “antisemitism” will foreclose thought as to why it is a loathsome cartoon. It will allow its defenders to avoid facing the real problems with this cartoon and the worldview it represents. And worst of all: that argument implies that the only problem was using the ambiguous Mogen David, that it would have been acceptable if he had just written the word “Israel” on the Nazi monster he created to represent the Jewish state.

Finally, this cartoon represents the mentality that will plague every Western and democratic state in the coming years. Imagine the exact same cartoon but with the Magen David replaced by the Stars and Stripes—the evil America attacking the Taliban or al-Qaida, or Iraq, or Muslims in general. Indeed, this is the kind of cartoon which has appeared aimed against America or the West in general. It is part of the merging of much Western fashionable intellectual and cultural thinking with that of extremist Third World, and especially radical Islamist, propaganda.

The cartoonist doesn’t hate Jews; he probably doesn’t even hate Israelis. What is involved here is a lack of understanding so enormous that it will both incite hatred; cause violence and death; and block policies needed to help people—including Palestinians who, are supposedly the object of its sympathy but thus doomed to suffer under a repressive regime with a permanent war policy.

Antisemitism? Ask not for whom the bell tolls because Israel, the canary in the mine—the one who first they came for—can tell you that you are all next.

26 March 2009

More on the Israeli war crimes in Gaza

In a way the rise of this subject was as inevitable as the next sunrise. After eight years of Qassam bombardment and the callous (and documented) use of Gazan population as one formidable human shield during the Cast Lead operation, Hamas propagandists have desperately looked for a way to raise some stink. With willing assistance of many Western media outfits and, of course, the Arab media hungrily lapping up any soundbite, the Hamas propaganda machine went into overdrive, producing numerous "documented reports" on IDF atrocities.

There is no special finesse to the process. To take one example:

The report said a working group had documented and verified reports of violations "too numerous to list." For example, on January 15, in a town southwest of Gaza City, Israel Defense Forces soldiers ordered an 11-year-old boy to open Palestinians' packages, presumably so that the soldiers would not be hurt if they turned out to contain explosives, the 43-page report said.
Yep. The violations are "too numerous to list" - so why bother, let's give a (verbal) example that is just a mirror copy of a video clip of Hamas "freedom fighters" using a kid to move around under the eyes of IDF soldiers. The only difference is that there is no video recording in this case... Crude, but everything goes when you have an eager audience clamoring for more.

Of course, there is a legal side to the issue as well, and who better to judge IDF than a Jooish "UN rapporteur" Richard Falk (the 911 troofer, not to forget)? It is also inevitable that this expert on international law would find the following interpretation of this law:
Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians. "If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law," Falk said.
I don't know where our professor finds the inspiration for his creative legal opinions (is it the same mind rays that cause him to look for explosives in WTC remains or the alcohol fumes that color his considerable schnozzle?). You see, Geneva conventions do not prohibit attacks when civilians are in vicinity of the military targets, they only demand that the warring forces do their best to minimize the civilian losses. In any case, the smell raising from the bovine excrement of the above quoted is awful. And it (the quote) doesn't have a lot to do with international law, rather with Falk's hate for Israel... but who cares?

On the other hand, there are some attempts to check and disprove some of the allegations. And Haaretz and The Guardian have indeed to answer some questions for their shoddy and tendentious "reporting". I have no doubt that in many cases that are in the realm of hard facts, the allegations will be refuted, and they are being refuted. But many of the accusations that are based on the Hamas' "eyewitness reports", like the one quoted at the top of this post, will remain what they are: propaganda pieces built for the consumption by the willing, and there are no facts in the whole world to change that.

But not in all the cases, and here we come to the other side of the propaganda strife. I mean the IDF brass heads sweeping responses. Here comes our Defense Minister Ehud Barak:
I have no doubt that what needs to be probed will be probed, but I also have no doubt in my heart that the IDF is the most moral army in the world.
I cannot tell how much I resent the oxymoron "moral army" that is used by our politicos so frequently. Army is an organization that has as it chief purpose state-authorized killing of humans. As such, it is quite difficult to find a more immoral line of business.

Besides being put in almost impossible (as far the number of civilian victims is concerned) situation when fighting Hamas thugs in densely populated area, besides doing their best to minimize the number of victims, as any military expert will find, IDF is a human collective designed to kill people. For that purpose members of this collective are issued deadly weaponry. And, as in any given group of humans, there are all kinds in IDF. There are nervous novices whose fingers are light on the trigger. There are tired sleep-deprived gunners that in some cases misinterpret commands transmitted over noisy radio links (clear proof of this is that most IDF losses where from "friendly fire"). And of course, there is a small percentage of trigger-happy individuals, for whom a war is an opportunity to play out their darkest desires. It will be stupid to deny - every army in the history has their share of such characters, and the "most moral" IDF is not an exception, much as it pains me to say so.

And it is not that other armies don't make mistakes (or intentional trigger squeezing, as it happens). Two examples from today's on-line news:
NATO-led troops shot dead two Afghan farmers who were watering their land in east Afghanistan, a police chief told Reuters on Wednesday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said civilian casualties are the biggest cause of tension between him and his Western backers...

A missile strike believed to have been launched by a US drone aircraft killed at least four people in Pakistan's tribal region of South Waziristan on Wednesday, intelligence officials and Taliban sources said.
But here the difference between IDF and any other army as far as the treatment by the media comes into play. Don't expect NYT, Guardian and others to start trumpeting for a special UN rapporteur to get to Afghanistan or Pakistan in a hurry. Don't expect any pre-recorded conclusions of "investigation committees", pompous announcements by legal beagles and media storms.

Why, indeed? But it's an issue for another time and another post.

P.S. Saying all that, I still cannot avoid mentioning a person that, as usual, takes the cake: the Guardian's own Stalinist Seumas Milne, who, of all the dirty hacks, has the temerity to teach somebody about universal values, moral norms and human rights. Bleh...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

25 March 2009

Killer SMS spreads through Egypt

According to the latest:

The Egyptian government has sought to dispel rumours that a mobile phone text message "from unknown foreign quarters" is spreading around the country and killing those who receive it. The extraordinary move by Egypt's health and interior ministries follows press reports that an SMS containing a special combination of numbers killed a man in the town of Mallawi south of Cairo. "He died vomiting blood, followed by stroke, shortly after he received a message from an unknownphone number," the Egyptian Gazette reported on Wednesday.
Well, we here in the Elders' HQ can neither deny nor confirm this rumor. However, we have to commend the Egyptian government vigorous response to the phenomenon. Unlike some decadent Western folks that in such case will be satisfied with a limpid myth denial in Snopes:
Egypt's interior ministry has detained three workers at an oil company for allegedly starting the rumours "and they are now being interrogated," MENA said.
We can predict that at least three persons are now in danger of dying while vomiting blood...

23 March 2009

Charles Darwin's personal finances revealed

The revelation about Darwin's inordinate passion for footwear caused an uproar in the media.

In his letter to the Queen Darwin withdrew his candidacy from nomination to the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. A fragment of the letter was intercepted:

...that this, innocent by itself Hobby will be misused by my political Enemies. However, it is my best Judgment that my personal Enemies, as well as the Enemies of Your Majesty, especially the powerful Lobby I prefer to leave unnamed in this Letter...
Which hitherto unknown incident caused Darwin's retreat from politics into natural sciences, his desire to put a distance between himself and the treacherous political eddies of Albion, his five-year voyage on HMS Beagle... the rest is history.

As it was planned all along by you know who.

21 March 2009

Photohunt: yellow


The theme for this week is "Yellow". For a change, it was fairly easy for me to find a few samples of yellow in my recent collections. Two of the flora and two of the fauna.

No classification of the flower is forthcoming from this photographer, he being a total ignoramus in botanic. But it's pretty (I guess) and yellow.

In this riot of wild flowers there are several kinds of yellow ones, I suppose.




And re the two chaps above - they come from a the recently held local cats expo. The only two with yellow eyes I found in the set I shot. The first one is a Scottish Fold. Quite a beauty to a feline lover's eyes, isn't it?

Well, it could happen I wouldn't be able to visit tomorrow, so see you all a bit later.

If you liked what you have seen (or read) in this post, add your link in the comments:
I promise to visit your place as soon as possible!


To look for other photo hunters, go there.

***

20 March 2009

Omid Reza Misayafi, Iranian blogger, died in prison

Our friend Hamid Tehrani has told us that Omid Reza Misayafi has died in prison in Iran. Omid was sentenced in December to three years in prison for “insulting” Iranian religious leaders.
More here.

Whole Foods' bananas may cause a deadly erection!

Details.

19 March 2009

Rafael's Indian promo, militant feminism and other trifles

As a latent MCP (Male Chauvinist Pig), I am always on lookout against committing another involuntary faux pas that will expose my inner id (Yid?) again. This time I simply cannot avoid a (mild) confrontation with the... anyway, here is the story. It starts with a moderately stupid, moderately cheap promo clip of Israeli arms developer and manufacturer Rafael. Here it is:



After watching it, you can agree that it may be too cute and too cloying as well, but it's a matter of taste. And that not all the female participants stand up to scrutiny by an expert (oh well, even by an amateur). Otherwise it is just another attempt to encourage sales of another kind of hardware/electronics by somewhat subdued (compared to other similar ads) use of natural female attractions.

But this is only a start. The said promo has apparently stepped on two over-sensitive corns of the Californian Jooish folks calling themselves Jewish Voice for Peace: anti-Zionism and militant feminism. And thus caused a stream of adjectives that any Mark Twain's time reporter would be proud of. Here are some examples.

On Indian customers as perceived by what is called "Israeli defense officials": "feminized, sexualized, exoticized, undeveloped dependent on Israel's/Raphael's masculinized high-tech-protection".

On the promo itself: "Outrageous, blundering, ignorant and offensive".

On Rafael image: "masculine, black leathered, superior".

When it came to what the author (Rela Mazali) calls "Israeli culture", she obviously went out of steam, since what she says about the said culture is "[it] systematically and actively works to weaken women through a broad spectrum of strategies and practices". No adjectives. And then the article swiftly goes to annihilate the said culture, the said society etc... All triggered by that clip.

So, what can I say? First of all, I wouldn't purchase any armaments from Rafael (not "Raphael" as the learned Ms Mazali stated) until further notice or before they come to their de-masculinized senses. Or, simply put, are sufficiently emasculated.

Second: I want to draw the attention of Ms Mazali and her esteemed colleagues to the form of the weaponry presented in that clip. Definitely phallic (not "fallic"), and this concern should be addressed by Rafael immediately. Or else (see above).

Third: while I've enjoyed, as mentioned above, the extraordinary prowess in the use of adjectives, I suggest that the process should be streamlined. I mean further extrapolation of the creative use of that "-ized" suffix (or whatever it is called in English grammar, how the heck would I know?). For example: instead of "Outrageous, blundering, ignorant and offensive" use "outragized, blunderized, ignorized and offensivized". Instead of "masculine, black leathered, superior" it should be "masculinized, black leatherized, superiorized (supersized?)" etc.

Of course, in some cases an explanation of the term should be attached. For example, the use of "enemizes" by Ms Mazali has caused me to read the whole sentence where it appears at least twice. Before I grokked that it is not some exquisite perversion applied by the Zionists to their neighbors.

Well, time for a conclusion. What can I say about the article as a whole?

Just that it is simplifized, shrillized, black-and-whitized, hyperbolized, anti-Israelized and ignorantized to the hilt.

Oh, and as a result: stupidized.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

18 March 2009

Now I am worried

When a blogger starts to develop additional hobbies, it may be a sign of his/her blogging muscle (wherever it is located) beginning to slacken. Could easily be a sign of an impending hiatus, we have seen it happen to many a good blogger.

So, when my favorite blogger (writer, to be precise) Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin of The Passing Parade, who happens to have a great eye for photography in addition to his other talents, publishes a superb photo and a hilarious essay on his evolution as an aspiring photographer, I am becoming worried.

So much so that some ideas, like stealing his camera and chaining him to a keyboard, start entertaining my feverish imagination.

Nah, he will manage.

Or else.

Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel? Is it really news?



In the clip above you can see one of the Fatah's big cheeses indulging in some verbal acrobatics (on March 16, 2009) to tell you that Fatah is the same good ole Fatah of thirty years ago and no worries on that account:

I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel even today.
In fact, what Mr Dahlan is explaining in the rest of his interview is that the recognition of Israel by PLO was an act of financial prudence and shouldn't be viewed as anything else.

So it doesn't leave me any choice but to quote (again, it's the third time, but it only gets better with repeating) Akaky Bashmachkin:
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 doesn't want to come out and say that they want to destroy Israel. There is a theme here, isn't there, or have I missed something along the way?
The above dates back to beginning of 2006, but it is as true and as definitive as it was then.

Via Palestinian Media Watch.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

16 March 2009

Finally: a peep show on SJ

Click "Read more" only if you are 18 years old or above (or as applicable at your location):


15 March 2009

Yeah, dude, who wouldn't?

Lifted with thanks from Aussie Dave.

14 March 2009

March 15th: EATAPETA (Eat a Tasty Animal for PETA) Day

Let me make it as clear as humanly and humanely possible:

  1. I am not against vegetarians, I count at least 3 of the kind as my best friends.
  2. I myself have been known to gnaw on a cucumber, tomato or even an occasional carrot (celery excluded, of course).
  3. I am against people who watch other people's plates, other people's glasses and other people's cigarette holders/pipes/tobacco pouches.
  4. I am against any kind of people who not only consider their way of life to be the best, but insist that others follow them in their brilliance or folly.
And most of all - I despise hysterical, tactless and stupid behavior so consistently displayed by the notorious jerks of PETA. Quoting Meryl:
So they do stupid things. Like run truly offensive ad campaigns? Or run a shelter with a 97% kill rate. Or wear KKK costumes to protest a dog show. (Yes, really.)
Or quoting myself:
When you think that cheap and revolting propaganda cannot get any cheaper and more revolting, here come PETA puppets - a pitiful result of accidental cross-breeding between STD and Ebola - with a new idea.
So, folks - nothing personal, but tomorrow's EATAPETA day, so here:

I commit myself to at least four different (vegetarian all!) animals on that day, cheeses, eggs, fish and miscellaneous insects and bacterias swallowed by mistake notwithstanding.

Bon appetit!

Photohunt: four


The theme for this week is "Four". So, of course, you are going to view four pictures with some relevance to that number.

To start with - the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, with four out of its six minarets. It was difficult to find a point from which my lens were able to get all six of them, so here...

This one here is a domestic feline (Felis catus). You can count the legs if you doubt that there are four of them.

And here is a completely different animal (Canis lupus familiaris) - altogether much less intellectual domesticated species as compared to the previous one, but surprisingly with the same number of legs. The chief reasons that I photographed it were that a) it's cute in an unhygienic way and b) it's of the breed that Georgia O'Keeffe favored.

And speaking of cuteness, here are the four cute and voracious chicks of a barn owl, one of my favorite birds. Actually, there were five in that year's brood, but it's rather a long story...

If you liked what you have seen (or read) in this post, add your link in the comments:
I promise to visit your place as soon as possible!


To look for other photo hunters, go there.

***

I can haz piss in the Holy Land

Cause I am great. I am strong. I am Nobel. I am Jimmuh.

Oh well. Like in this:

13 March 2009

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the toy monkey and confirmation of Darwinism

Sometimes people erroneously perceive their destiny in life. This is what may have happened with Mahmoud the Mad too.

The embarrassing disclosure was made on Amoo Pourang (Uncle Pourang), a programme watched by millions of Iranian children three times a week on state TV. It came when the unsuspecting presenter, Dariush Farziayi, asked the name of the toy animal his young caller had been given as a reward for good behaviour.

"Well, my father calls him Ahmadinejad," the child replied.
Of course, Mahmoud wasn't happy with that answer, and the TV program is being shut down. However, there is more to the story than just a random blooper:



Many a besieged scientist in these mad days of intelligent design and whatnot will be grateful for this support.

Hat tip: David All.

Comrade Duch

I was quite happy reading this post by Mick Hartley:

This 66-year-old man, Kaing Guek Eav, "Comrade Duch", is currently on trial in Phnom Penh, accused of crimes against humanity.

Duch

He was in charge of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, also known as S-21:

I will be even more happy when the bastard hangs. I have seen the museum which is now located in the prison, here is one of the many pictures I've taken:

This is a room where prisoners considered important were held (for about 2-3 months, when they were murdered nearby or in one of the hundreds of killing fields of Cambodia). The equipment required: the shackles (the prisoner wasn't lying on the bed but beside it), the ammo box to defecate into, the improvised steel/aluminum cup for meager portion of rice and water. Being taken to a killing field after three months of torture, hunger and despair was really a deliverance for most of the condemned.

I hope against hope that the Cambodian people find a way to make his last days on this planet as inhuman as possible. Make him beg for the noose.

There must be a catch somewhere in that one

In the post Recommending fiction by Norm. I mean, nothing Norm writes is simple. If one doesn't succeed to read between the lines, one is left, as usual, feeling that his foot is either in a trap or in one's own mouth. So how do I answer these two questions:

First, are readers of fiction, in fact and in general, better people than non-readers of fiction? Has anyone ever done research on or produced evidence of that? Those are not rhetorical questions.
As a person that shuns biographies, is scared by books titled "How to..." and is suspicious of the "General knowledge" section in a bookshop and, of course, counts self as a better type of people, how should I answer that?
Second, there's something horribly narrowing about recommending the reading of fiction because it's useful or improving. It's far more valuable and enjoyable than that.
At least that one was easy. Not only all of the above, but you can also read fiction while you smoke. In the bathroom, of course, where one is allowed to smoke.

Still I have a feeling of my own unwashed toes being too close to my face for comfort...

Elena Basescu for the EU parliament!

For an AP article:

Elena Basescu, the youngest daughter of Romania's President Traian Basescu, poses in Bucharest, Romania, in May 2006. Romanians are now riveted, some even revolted, by President Traian Basescu's 28-year-old younger daughter's decision to run for a seat in the European Parliament. Many cry nepotism, say she lacks political experience, stumbles in public speaking.
I say, let Elena win! It will not be the first time in history when a horse (Equus ferus caballus) is introduced into a legislative body. Besides, this specific legislative body can do with some lightening up.

Update: oops, it's about the one on top... OK, let them both go to that parliament, no worries.

12 March 2009

Seth Freedman - opening one eye in Israel

Again a easy (cowardly?) paraphrase of Seth's piece in CiF Opening eyes in Israel. No, it's not going to be a strictly confrontational response. After all, it could be a matter of some pride that, as Seth reports, there are Jewish youngsters that are ready to give a hand to Jewish and Arab poor, the downtrodden, the immigrants of all kinds, colors and origins. Good.

I, on the other hand, have a few questions to ask Seth about some points he makes.

  • The marvelous Sadaka-Reut site - is it intentional or just an omission that words like "Sderot", "Qassam", "rockets" don't appear there or are hidden in some sophisticated way?
  • While there is a Coalition against the Siege - why isn't there a coalition against the attacks on border crossings? And a coalition against persecution of Christians in Gaza? And...
Then there is (as it frequently happens in Seth's articles) a multitude of references to Judaism. Usually these leave me confused.
  • The "core Jewish values" and "the true teachings of our religion": what exactly is meant by these: "an eye for an eye" or "love thy neighbor" - to take two examples. (Anyway, turning the other cheek will be rather New Testament and not exactly "core")?
  • How does the total reliance on religious "core values" square with the knowledge that the majority of religious Jews support the Greater Israel pipe dream?
  • Wouldn't the ideology of Hadash (the Israeli communist party) go against the grain of Judaism in a few aspects?
And, of course, there is a big question mark regarding the "dominant strand of Zionism" and the "old guard" with the "sixty years of acquiescence" to it. It is really a one-eyed convenience to present these bad ole Jooz as a monstrous "Zionist juggernaut" in whose headlights the poor Arab rabbits, deer and other miscellaneous game are patiently waiting for the last shot. I can only laud the poetic license. But should I take it for a correct reading of the last 60 years of history as Seth insists? Hardly.

A presentation of the Zionism as a monolithic hateful unity, of Judaism as a monolithic love an sunshine alternative, of Palestinians as a helpless downtrodden minority under the wheels of the Israeli juggernaut is good for one thing only - to widen the gap between the two one-eyed people and to promote exactly the opposite of what Seth, in his charming naivety, is trying to promote.

There must be another way, innit?

Darwin vs global warming?

At least in Turkey:

The main Turkish government agency responsible for funding science has provoked outrage by apparently censoring a magazine article on the life and work of Charles Darwin.The article was stripped from the March issue of the widely read popular-science magazine Bilim ve Teknik (Science and Technology) just before it went to press.
And what served as a replacement for Darwin's face?
The magazine, which is published by Turkey's research funding and science management organization, TÜBİTAK, also switched a planned cover picture of Darwin for an illustration relating to global warming.
Hmm... at least it's not an illustration of the intelligent design committee in situ. And another consolation: global warming seems to be a matter of consensus with Islamists. Good.

Is Kelly Clarkson pregnant?

And why is it important enough to lose sleep over it?

Click on the above, watch it for five minutes. Breath shallowly and slowly. Relax.

Doesn't life look better now?

11 March 2009

Embattled top Persian intel pick Haman withdraws

He he. You can hardly be cooler that Judeopundit.

What some Brits show to some other Brits

Of course, it's just a sequel to this post.

I have a question for the nice hell-wishing folks of Bedfordshire: are you afraid that there are problems with the supply of virgins in paradise? Is this the chief reason for rerouting British soldiers to hell?

More here.

Hat tip: David All.

Nizo's point

I have intended to write another post - on another religion, however this is so much more important: behold The "Saw" of Islam by Nizo (a rather old one I got to read today). The clarity and the truth of this post are not to be argued with, as is the conclusion:

Unfortunately, Islam is indeed the Solution in the Arab world at the moment, as there's no other viable choice. No alternative ideology has the energy, the weight, or the unifying potential of Islam. The question is, which of the many, many versions of Islam will prevail. Will there be a regressive Caliphate or a new brew of Islamic democracies that draw from the positive and inclusive elements of the the Quran and the Hadeeth?
Again - not to argue with what seems to be inescapable, just to add my two cents: in any conflict between different factions of a specific religion my bet will be on the fundamentalist extremist wing. This is simply the way it goes - unfortunately for all of us, for the whole world.

The South China Sea underwear encounter - a temporary misunderstanding

There is nothing more misleading than a pack of media hounds getting the wrong scent, as the brouhaha surrounding the mishap between USNS Impeccable and a few Chinese boats clearly demonstrates.

Washington had lodged a formal complaint with Beijing yesterday alleging that five Chinese ships, including a naval vessel, harassed the USNS Impeccable in international waters on Sunday. The Pentagon alleged it followed other "aggressive" incidents and urged China to observe international maritime rules.
Of course, the journos have seen only the military stand-off point, disregarding the essence of the issue. Which is stated quite unequivocally:
US crew members sprayed the smaller vessels with fire hoses, hoping to keep them away."[But] the Chinese crew members disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet," the statement added, in what the Pentagon has described, with some understatement, as a "bizarre" incident.
I would say that this is a singular most important attempt of rapprochement since Nixon's ping-pong diplomacy. Of course, being communists, Chinese folks may have interpreted the "wet t-shirt term" erroneously, but one should make allowances for lack of experience, translation problems and remember that it was just a first for everyone concerned.

As for the next try: aside of hiring some more suitable team players, Chinese navy should consider getting closer than 25 feet: not every sailor in US Navy owns binoculars.

10 March 2009

The other Iranian moderate

Update: this post is based on a misinformation, see more here.

I have chosen this headline, since I have already posted on one such moderate in Hashemi Rafsanjani - a moderate murderer.

The man who is much on the agenda these days, mainly as a moderate alternative to Mahmoud the Mad is Mohammad Khatami:

Khatami had run on a platform of liberalization and reform. During his two terms as president, Khatami advocated freedom of expression, tolerance and civil society, constructive diplomatic relations with other states including those in the European Union and Asia, and an economic policy that supported a free market and foreign investment.
Pure angel. Anyway, here he appears again:

Notice - he is the one not smiling. Must be a moderate then...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.

What some Brits say about some other Brits

Click to enlarge and read this amazing document.

Hat tip - Theo.

09 March 2009

Rosner's Domain: Boycotting the bank that is sponsoring Dubai tournament

Barclays declines to take the lead set by the Wall Street Journal (Europe) and the Television Tennis Channel, both of which pulled out of the tournament. The Tennis Channel put out the following statement: "Preventing an otherwise qualified athlete from competing on the basis of anything other than merit has no place in tennis or any other sport, and has the unfortunate result of undermining the credibility of the very nature of competition itself." The Wall Street Journal noted: "The Wall Street Journal's editorial philosophy is free markets and free people, and this action runs counter to the Journal's editorial direction."
While these here bloggers are not into sport in any significant way and could care less about tennis, a bit of boycotting could go a long way toward persuading Barclays Bank to be more careful with its PR in the future. Which is a good thing, you will agree.

More here.

Just let's not shout "Antisemitism!", OK? Dubai's act was purely anti-Israeli - it is dirty politics at its best.

Guardian - slip of the tongue?

In the moral equivalence twilight of British press, where the use of the charged word "terrorist" is a big no-no, Guardian still makes an exception in one case: when the person(s) killed or maimed is (are) of British persuasion:

Sinn Fein condemns terrorist attack

It's as good time as any to use this revolting moral equivalence maxim: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". Especially when the attacked were British soldiers in the occupied Northern Ireland.

Eat your own excrement, folks. Until you grok that a fucking terrorist is a fucking terrorist.

Eastwood thinks political correctness has made society humourless

That for sure.

Gloss over dross, this is what PC has become.

Now let's see how it goes: A Joo, a duck and and Irishman enter a pub in Mecca...

Hey, don't take away my key...

Oh, man...

CNN surely gets the scoop when it sees one:


And San Francisco has surely grown summat since last time I've seen it. Wow...

08 March 2009

Ex-Israel head faces rape charge

This was the headline on BBC site today. A bit of an exaggeration here. Israeli president is rather a figurehead, mainly a ceremonial job.

Unless they mean something else... oh well.

P.S. CNN were more precise this time.

Haveil Havalim 207: A very TRS HH

TRS - The Real Shliach, who promises to bring us all closer to our father in Heaven, produced a great edition of Havel Havalim. I already feel a bit closer. Read it, so you can feel it too.

The joke of the week.

This.

Charles Freeman - Barack Obama owes America an explanation

Just because the Hezbollah blew up a few marines in Lebanon is no reason to hold a grudge, right? And just because Hamas insists that it wants to wipe out every Jew on the planet, that's no reason to slight them either, correct? And the demonstrations with huge crowds chanting "Death to America" are no reason to hurt these wonderful Islamic gentlemen either, are they?
This and more in the article by Ami Isseroff.

07 March 2009

Fat Duck restaurant mystery unveiled

It is easily found between the lines in this CNN article.

As many as 400 people may have gotten sick after eating at a renowned Michelin-starred restaurant in England, health authorities said Friday. The Health Protection Agency is investigating an outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting among diners...
And the reason is:
The Fat Duck is renowned for such eccentric items as snail porridge, salmon poached in licorice gel, and scrambled egg and bacon ice cream.
Have to run, sorry...

Holy book - not just an instrument, after all

Warning: personal disjointed rambling, of necessity offensive to all religious people.

נכתב ביום חול, פורסם מראש בים חול
No one, myself included, could learn anything useful from my personal cursory study of The Book with an immediate bout of amnesia as a follow-up . Some bits and pieces of interest still remain, obviously, this is why this post on Norm's place caused me a second take. Another reason was that Yaacov Lozowick also posted on the same subject. Talk about coincidences...

The post on Norm's is not by himself - it is by Matthew Kramer, Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy, Churchill College, Cambridge, but it is (almost) just as good. And here, probably, comes the real reason for my post here: self-gratification. Because of this passage:
One's awareness of those shortcomings can temper one's criticism of other religions. Consider, for example, the current propensity of Muslim extremists in various parts of the world to engage in murderous mayhem. On the one hand, the claim that their evil acts of carnage have nothing to do with Islam is simplistic at best. Anyone who has perused the Koran with intellectual honesty will be aware of the hideous passages on which the Islamist fanatics can and do seize in order to 'justify' their terrorism. On the other hand, the perception of a basic divide between the Koran and the Bible in this respect is likewise simplistic. The Bible teems with as many ghastly passages as the Koran. It lends itself to being cited in support of iniquities just as readily as does the Koran. Hence, given that there are no grounds for thinking that the sacred texts of Christianity and Judaism are indissolubly linked to terrorism, there are no grounds for any corresponding accusation against the sacred texts of Islam. An acquaintance with the Bible enables one to recognize this point clearly.
Bingo, as my Yank friends will say. I have always believed that any holy book in the hands of a skillful murderous demagogue could serve as an excellent tool for stoking many kinds of hate, many forms of mayhem and for stocking a veritable supermarket of bigotry.

But this is not the only use for a holy book, of course. In other hands, in other times it could be a used for a totally opposite purpose, I am more than sure. It is just that this versatility of the holy books makes them more dangerous than any WMD, in my humble opinion. Much more accessible to the knaves, tyrants and murderers, too.

What else? Critically taken, the Bible provides a lot of surprisingly precise historical information, while the opposite could be said at the same time - blind belief in everything written in The Book causes another kind of blindness.

And it will be a grave omission to forget the beauty of many passages and the poetry. Says Matthew Kramer:
Much of the Bible's poetry (in Job, quite a few of the Psalms, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and so forth) is among the finest produced in any language.
I suggest that a person who never used a passage or two from the Song of Songs to woo a girl cannot be called a real man. In this regard a funny soundbite on the Song of Songs from Bartleby:
This poem describes the joy and ecstasy of love. It has been understood both as a picture of God's love for Israel and of Christ's love for the Church.
Yeah, sure, you can say it again. Saying it again wouldn't make any difference. I don't remember the precise details of the circumstances when I've used the Song quotes on the ladies, focused as I was on other issues at the moment, but I can bet anything that the love for Israel didn't play a significant part in the proceedings. Even if the mount Gilead or tower of David were mentioned...

And, of course, no Russian speaker can remain indifferent to this:
In Deuteronomy 8:3 and in Matthew's and Luke's gospels (with Christ's response to the first temptation), we encounter the aphorism 'Man does not live by bread alone'. In the present day, that maxim is almost universally taken to mean that bread is necessary but not sufficient for human flourishing. In its original Biblical context, by contrast, the maxim means that bread is sufficient but not necessary for human flourishing. (In Deuteronomy, bread was unnecessary because God sent manna instead; in the gospels, bread was unnecessary because Christ was able to survive on purely spiritual sustenance.)
"Не хлебом единым ссыт человек". Indeed...

So, all in all - yes, The Book is not just an instrument for unscrupulous, it is much much more.

Oh, almost forgot - learned another word thanks to Professor Kramer: "rebarbative". Useful. Take heed, some of you out there.

Some Zionist cats for you

Well, partly Zionist. Enjoy (speakers on, please).



Via Rahel.

06 March 2009

Durban II and CiF luminaries

I confess I am visiting CiF in order to get a positive charge by reading a few comments by its regulars. This time it's Not Durban all over again article by Benjamin Pogrund.

And the winner of the stainhood medal for March 2009 is a person goes under the moniker of JosephPorta for his brilliant deduction:

Israel is now unmasked as being ruled by Zionists who have a particular agenda.
Here you go, Joseph:

So who are you, Pinky the dolphin?


This amazing critter could be observed in Lake Calcasieu, an inland saltwater estuary, north of the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern USA. Boffins' claim that Pinky is an albino doesn't change the incontrovertible fact: Pinky, as its name suggests, is plainly pink.

A worrying question, though: since pink dolphins are known to inhabit Chinese waters, couldn't Pinky be an agent of a foreign power? Dolphins could be naughty if they put their minds to it, you know.

Another interesting question, seeing as Pinky is swimming in Cajun land: does a pink dolphin taste differently from its regularly colored fellows? It's a purely theoretical question, mind you, dear vegetarians, before you jump on my throat.

Tee hee...

Somebody, pick me up from the floor!

05 March 2009

Iran, the Jews and Roger Cohen

This is a slight modification of the NYT headline Iran, the Jews and Germany, an article by Roger Cohen.

In that article Roger Cohen, NYT op-ed columnist, tries to answer his many critics regarding his series of apologetic articles on Iran. Soccer Dad has dealt with one of these articles - The other Iran - in his post Apologist for the mullahs, which easily made a mincemeat of the article and the author.

In Iran, the Jews and Germany Roger Cohen makes an effort to backpedal (somewhat clumsily) from some of his stronger sentiments in the previous articles. Well, the "flawed but vibrant democracy" is muted a bit by "Iran is an un-free society with a keen, intermittently brutal apparatus of repression, but it’s far from meeting these criteria [of a totalitarian state]". Things like this, a bit of glossing over some too obvious signs of adoration.

No attempt, however, was made by Mr Cohen to gloss over another, more pernicious statement: "Iran has not waged a war of aggression for a very long time." Of course, wishful thinker like Cohen can't allow himself and errant thought about the terrorist bombings in Argentina. Or about the unending flow of weapons to Hezbollah - the cancer on the Lebanon's body. Or about incessant military support of Hamas. Or about fomenting unrest in Iraq with willing assistance of Shia clerics... the list could go on and on, and why should Iran wage a war of aggression by its own lily-white hands? To cause unneeded wrath of Roger Cohen?

Another clumsy attempt at backpedaling - in a different direction, though, becomes clear when you compare the last article's passage:

If you’re thinking trains-on-time Fascist efficiency, think again. Tehran’s new telecommunications tower took 20 years to build. I was told its restaurant would open “soon.” So, it is said, will the Bushehr nuclear power plant, a project in the works for a mere 30 years. A Persian Chernobyl is more likely than some Middle Eastern nuclear Armageddon, if that’s any comfort.
where Cohen assuages the worry about Iran's nuclear aspirations, with an older article's statement:
The Iranian nuclear program, which Iran implausibly says is for civilian purposes, is “the greatest challenge” now facing 21st-century leaders.
Clumsy as heck, but whatever works...

So what is it Mr Cohen (assaJew, mind you, he wouldn't let you forget) trying to say in his latest article about Iran and its Jews?
  • Iran is un-free society - check
  • It is managed by a virtual dictatorship of one Khamenei - check
  • Its mouthpiece "president" is most active Holocaust denier in the world - check
  • The fanaticism does exist - check
  • The threats to annihilate Israel are issued - check
  • Life in Iran is more difficult for Jews than for Muslims - check
  • The nuclear development is clearly not for peace - check
But:
  • The air you breathe in Iran is not suffocating!
  • Ahmadinejad's rival in the next presidential elections, Mohammad Khatami, once spoke in a synagogue!
  • Anything but mad, the mullahs have proved malleable!
  • Internet and satellite television is widespread, the BBC’s new Farsi service is all the rage!
  • Iranians are not cut off, like Cubans or North Koreans!
The last but not the least:
  • No fire has burned the Majlis, or parliament, down!
Ergo:

Iran’s Islamic Republic is no Third Reich redux!

Please don't laugh, because really Mr Cohen is motivated by an essentially overwhelming force, the one beautifully expressed in this paragraph:
One Iranian exile, no lover of the Islamic Republic, wrote to me saying that my account of Iran’s Jews had brought “tears to my eyes” because “you are saying what many of us would like to hear.”
Dear Iranian exile: Mr Cohen indeed performs a great service to many people: he just tells them (and himself) what they (and he) want to hear. It is so simple... and so pathetic.

And, to my sorrow, Mr Cohen in his naivety (?) reminds me too strongly about the uncountable fellow travelers from the West visiting Soviet Union during Stalin's time and bringing back the usual laudatory reports. While people were incarcerated and died in droves.

But could Roger Cohen, a journalist of such caliber, achievements and standing, be so naive? Well, it's another can of worms I really don't wish to open. No, sir...

Afterword: Stumbled on this accidentally on Soob (thanks Jay):

Notice the source. Apparently the mention of Germany by Mr Cohen was relevant, after all...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.