28 February 2013

Peter Beinart on Chuck Hagel: deterrence and involvement

The article by Peter Beinart on the brand new secretary of defense only confirmed for me the two things I already knew: that I admire Peter's ability to weave a lot of words into a pretty persuasive story; and that this is one of the reasons to be wary of him. Take for example the five absurd things that Peter has noticed about the whole brouhaha:

  1. It was absurd that at a time when Beijing is clearly America’s greatest geopolitical competitor, the 12 Republican senators on the Armed Services Committee mentioned China a grand total of once during a seven-and-a-half-hour hearing on the challenges of being Defense secretary, and only then because Hagel allegedly had traveled there with a prominent critic of Israel.
  2. It was absurd that during a hearing at which Israel was mentioned 137 times, senators angrily demanded that Hagel retract his claim that lobbying groups that focus on Israel wield disproportionate influence in the Senate.
  3. It was absurd that conservative activists with records of active hostility to gay rights attacked Hagel for being insufficiently supportive of gay rights.
  4. It was absurd that conservative journalists invented a fictitious pro-terrorist organization and demanded that Hagel prove he had never received money from it.
  5. And it was absurd that Rand Paul voted to confirm Hagel after having only hours before voted not to allow a vote at all.
I haven't changed anything in the above quote, just separated the five statements for easier counting.

The marvel of Beinart's writing is that he slips imprecision into the fabric of his logic so elegantly that upon first reading one is left with a feeling of being a live witness to a veritable rain of incontrovertible truths. Well, after a short while one starts to identify some cracks in this impressive wall of verities. Like:
  1. Why mix China and Israel in the same breath? Is China a friend? Is Israel an enemy? Could it possibly be that the senators are worried more about Hagel's stance on Israel and Middle East that that on China? Etc...
  2. What is "disproportionate influence in the Senate" - besides being a rather slavish quote from Mearsheimer and Walt dictionary? Define "disproportionate"?
  3. It is called "politics", dear Peter, and a pol voting or acting against his personal beliefs or promises should hardly surprise a professor of political science.
  4. Now this is what I call a sleight of hand. It is not a conservative journalist that invented the "friends of Hamas" story. Anyway it doesn't matter, since he definitely isn't the one who demanded something from Hagel based on that invention. Oh well, let's call it a genuine mistake.
  5. And for the Rand Paul reference: totally unclear what it has to do with anything. Unless Peter wanted to round up the number of absurdities to five. And there is a good enough explanation to that (fairly common) political zigzag, having little to do with the context of Peter's article.
I don't think a wall with that many cracks would be accepted, even by a very undemanding customer.

But the above isn't really why this post is being written. It was just a necessary word of caution, so to say. Now to the meat of that article. What the author trying to do in it is fairly simple: to force the reader to accept the Iranian nuke as a fait accompli and to learn living with it. And to accept in advance that Hagel is not going to do much about it. Peter uses some historic examples:
But by reminding Americans of the potential costs of preventive war, Hagel was implying that containment and deterrence might be preferable. He was suggesting that if the U.S. can’t stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons short of war, it should make the same tradeoff that Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy made when they allowed the Soviet Union and China to get the bomb.
Of course, on the other hand, he has some pretty harsh things to say about Bibi and the "hawks":
This horrifies hawks for two reasons. First, some of them, echoing Benjamin Netanyahu, claim Iran represents an existential threat to Israel.
Here again Peter displays some impressive prestidigitation. And not only because the relatively sane regimes like ones in Russia and China (at the time discussed) were much less prone to mad decisions. But (and mainly) because not even in the maddest dream would the Iranian leadership consider a nuclear attack on United States.

Israel is another story. Iranian honchos have never minced words about their attitude to that place. And, while I am not totally sure that they are really going for an open attack on Israel that will involve nukes (I am not going to argue with the esteemed chief of Mossad whom Peter quotes with pleasure), I can easily see where an Iranian small nuclear device is inadvertently "lost" near a terrorist training camp, to be smuggled into Tel Aviv.

But even that is not the main point. Here it comes (eventually, but I am still at less than a third of the reviewed article length):

The point is that US, being Israel's buddy, at least for the moment, and not being directly threatened by Iran, could indeed allow themselves the luxury of vacillating between prevention (which Hagel, according to Beinart, rejects) and deterrence and containment, which both Beinart and (according to Beinart) Hagel vastly prefer.

Israel, on the other hand, cannot allow itself to be content with American deterrence and containment. Rather the opposite. And here I have to share the concern that Bibi so frequently and eloquently expresses. Being a public figure and a politico Bibi never goes into the issue of American deterrence and containment where Iran is concerned. But I, being an irresponsible lowly blogger, can:

I don't for a moment disbelieve that in case of a nuclear attack on Israel the might of American military will descend on the mad Ayatollahs and that in a few minutes Iran will be converted into a nicely glassified parking lot. For a simple enough reason: I don't have to believe or disbelieve something I know for sure will never happen. Not a single nuclear device belonging to US of A will be even armed if Iran decides to lob a few nukes at Israel. If we have learned something from history, this is it: aside of a general expression of horror and a few nice (but carefully worded) eulogies, no one will retaliate and everyone will find plenty of good and humane reasons why not to. Exactly as today Peter and many others find plenty of good reasons why "deterrence and containment" are preferable to prevention.

At least in that sad eventuality we could rest assured that Peter will do his considerable best with the eulogy...

As for the general difference between American and Israeli situations, here comes an old but proven joke* (it appears even in Wiki) that applies very well to the situation:
Question: In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what's the difference between the Chicken and the Pig?
Answer: The Chicken is involved, but the Pig is committed!
We are committed, Peter, and US is involved - with an ever present option to uninvolve itself.

P.S. And for a further proof of Peter's mastery of misleading parallels, here is another quote:
America didn’t go into decline because the Cold War was mostly a struggle between political and economic systems, and in that struggle nuclear weapons didn’t really help Moscow and Beijing.
I wish it were a political and economic struggle between Israel and Iran. But doesn't an expert in political science see the difference between the Cold War and the one we are in? Hard to believe.

(*) Hopefully I don't offend my religious friends by that porcine joke. To make it more kosher: there is turkey bacon these days, accidentally with much lower cholesterol content.

Good or bad news?

The title to this piece isn't meant to be funny or ironic: it's a genuine question. According to the Times of Israel, Ahmanedinejad and his presumed successor Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei intend to “effectively dismantle the theocratic structure" of Iran.

While there are no guarantees for anything (Mashaei has to be approved by the Ayatollahs as a candidate, he's relatively unknown, he has to face an election which he may be unable to fix - vide Ahmanedinejad's re-election, widely seen as rigged - and the Ayatollahs may campaign against him), would his election and a dimunition of clerical power be a goos or bad thing? What this comes down to is: who is pushing the drive to Iranian nuclear weapons?

If it's the Ayatollahs, then a lessening of their powers can hardly be a bad thing. If, however, it's the politicians who are driving the bomb forward, then weakening the power of the restraining hand is hardly a good idea, form anyone's perspective, except the extremist politicians, of course. There have been suggestions in the immediate past that, in fact, it's the Ayatollahs who are holding the politicos back. This might, of course, be because they don't want to see the holy places of Iran damaged, or even destroyed, in the effort to stop Iran getting the bomb.

Me? I have no idea. So, as always, make up your own mind, by reading the whole article.

By: Brian Goldfarb

The Looking Glass World of the British far left

I posted an article over on the UK website engage online, which was founded by academics to fight the proposed boycott of Israeli (and only Israeli) universities. Of course, such a boycott would be unlawful (and it's a liberal law, note), but when has that stopped the so-called left?

Anyway, I've been commenting and posting the occasional article there since the site started, in about 2004. What follows is an article that started as a talk to a group of Cambridge Jews (neither students nor academics [except possibly retired ones)], but residents of the place). The talk lasted 20 minutes and the discussion an hour, all very amicable.

Anyway, the article has attracted some attention on the website (i.e., I feel that I've come under attack from those who I would normally consider as allies). What do you think? Please feel free to add your comments at Engage. They're moderated, which means that a small group of editors scans them for relevance to the issue, whether they're advancing the debate, or whether, given British libel law, it might be safer not to publish(!). If you'd prefer to comment here, I'd be fascinated to know what you think.

If nothing else, I'd learn how to do it differently (and hopefully better) next time.

By: Brian Goldfarb

Budweiser Sued for Watering Down Beer? What the...

That headline immersed me in some grave thoughts. First of all because I have tasted Bud once. And than, of course, because of the immortal:

We find your American beer like making love in a canoe. It's fucking close to water.
Strange world we live in...

P.S. And this too.

27 February 2013

Emad Burnat's paper schweitzer

This post is not so much about what the Oscar nominee Emad Burnat says. It's more about things he doesn't mention.

Burnat's and Guy Davidi's documentary 5 Broken Cameras has been nominated this year for the prestigious Oscar awards. It's about the weekly demonstrations in the palestinian village of Bil'in. It can be watched online here.

Burnat wrote an opinion article at Huffington Post. It's what I call a paper schweitzer - you know, that cheese full of holes, more air than substance. The tricky part is that his holes are strategically placed in spots where real substance would have damaged the case he's trying so hard to make. Like this little hollow gem:

That's because, on any given day, there are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other obstacles to movement throughout the West Bank -- an area less than 2 percent the size of California on which some 2.5 million Palestinians live under a ubiquitous system of repression.
 You have to admire the man's ability to pack so many half-truths, omissions, and outright lies in so small a paragraph. Kinda reminds me all those unsuccessful attempts to close the lid on an overstuffed suitcase. In this case, however, the lid must be thrown wide open, which is much easier, believe me.

I've never bothered to check the number of roadblocks and such throughout the West Bank. I remember a time when there weren't any of those "obstacles to movement", not in the West Bank, not in Gaza. A time when people travelled freely both ways - to and from Israel. A time when buses and cafes in Israel exploded at least twice a week, when palestinian workers took out kinves and murdered their employers or just passers-by on the streets, when mothers wouldn't take their kids to malls or other crowded places because fun could rapidly become very dangerous those days. To claim that the checkpoints are merely the actions of a system of repression, which is what Burnat does, is an outright lie. The so called obstacles are our way of defending our lives. Sorry to bother such an important person like an Oscar nominee with such trivial matters as few israeli lives, but they seem rather important from our side of the fence. Um...let's see: checkpoints versus exploding/knife-wielding allahu akhbar shouting cold-blooded terrorists. Tough choice - not!

"...some 2.5 million Palestinians live under a ubiquitous system of repression" - it seems that Burnat, although a talented cameraman, is not so bright when it comes to simple math. Only about 150,000 palestinian arabs live in area C, where Bil'in is, under partial israeli control. The rest, up to 2.5 milion, live in areas under the Palestinian Authority control. Could the PA be what he really meant by "ubiquitous system of repression"? If so, I'm in the rather unpleasant position of agreeing with the man. No point in arguing with  the truth, I always say.

 Coming up next, a really, really big hole in the paper schweitzer. I can't believe Burnat isn't aware of the twists and turns of Bil'in residents' legal battle against the israeli authorities, yet he chooses to write about "Israelis and Palestinians who understand that the true meaning of peace [...] is not the absence of tension, but the presence of justice". Um...tricky. The "presence of justice" is exactly what the people of Bil'in are not interested in, since they have already sued the israeli authorities - more than once - and won - mostly, but, as we'll see, justice wasn't quite what they wanted. From the above linked judgement (pages 5,6):

In accordance with the procedural agreement between the parties, a survey in the field with counsel of the petitioners in HCJ 11363/04 (Ms. Atiyah, adv.) and with representatives of the village of Bil'in was held on December 22 2004. During the survey Ms. Atiyah was given the map of scheme 210/8. It appears, from the State's response to that petition, that despite what had been stipulated, Ms. Atiyah did not appear at a meeting with respondents regarding sections C and D and did not relay any written response regarding those sections. At the opening of the hearing of said petition, it was relayed on behalf of Ms. Atiyah that the petitioners are rescinding their petition, and the petition was abated (on February 16 2005). The petition having been abated, respondents began implementation of sequestration order Tav/40/04 (Boundary Alteration) and the erection of the fence.
10. After just a few days a number of residents of Bil'in, represented by Ms. Atiya, adv., submitted a new petition (on February 21 2005; HCJ 1778/05). That petition was based on the argument that the fence construction work had begun without them having been given the right to a hearing and to appeal. The new petition did not mention the previous petition, which had been abated at the petitioners' request. At the end of the hearing of that petition, the Court ordered the abatement of the petition due to unclean hands (on March 3 2005).

Sorry for the lengthy quote. As can be clearly seen, the villagers of Bil'in have already won their petition.But then, they willingly canceled it, only to file a new complaint days later. Does it make any sense to you?

So...what justice are you talking about, Emad Burnat? The one you had but did not want?

Maybe a glimpse at those nonviolent demonstrations would shed some light on this rather puzzling matter:

Unclean hands, indeed.

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26 February 2013

Chuck Hagel and metaphoric speech

I think I like the presidential candidate for the post of US secretary of defense more and more. A man who is able to use metaphor so fluently... but judge for yourself:

The Embassy of India chided secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel late Monday for suggesting in a previously unreleased 2011 speech that India has “for many years” sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.

“India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan” in Afghanistan, Hagel said during a 2011 address on Afghanistan at Oklahoma’s Cameron University, according to video of the speech obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
I think that the Indian comrades simply misunderstood the metaphoric exercise, brilliantly performed by Mr Hagel in the above quote. To give you a simpler example of same, here comes a story from 1982 - the time of Israeli invasion of Lebanon, when both Syrian and Israeli armies were holding positions in different parts of the country.

A Lebanese citizen approaches an Israeli officer:
- Sir, few minutes ago a Swiss soldier robbed me. He put a gun to my head and then took my wallet and my Syrian watch.
(A silent period of incomprehension follows), then the officer catches up:
- Oh, you wanted to say that a Syrian soldier robbed you and took your wallet and your Swiss watch, right?
- Just remember that it's you who said it, sir!

Well, somebody is definitely fomenting trouble for other people in Afghanistan. Whether it's India or Pakistan or some other party Mr Hagel refrained from mentioning for some hidden, but definitely valid, reasons, is up to you, my dear reader(s).

As for Chuck Hagel: my sincere respect*...

(*) Unless, of course, like many other politicos before him and, no doubt, many other after him, Chuck Hagel simply doesn't know where the heck all these places really are, what is the connection between them and why the heck people keep asking him all these confusing questions? Instead of voting "aye" and be done with all that...

A treat for the secular(ish)

This is to go with that long article/interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman of Yesh Atid and the video of Yair Lapid at the orthodox college (which In hope you have found time to read and view). It's an interview with and profile of Yesh Atid MK Ruth Calderon and her views on men and women sharing Talmud study.

She used her maiden speech to explicate a portion of Talmud, to the great delight of the Acting Speaker of the Knesset, an ultra-orthodox Rabbi member of Shas, who joined in and expanded (without detriment to it) Calderon's thesis. Mind you, he had done military service himself!

By: Brian Goldfarb

Good news all round

"The New York Daily News published an op-ed Monday by BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) founder Omar Barghouti—and then summarily debunked and bashed the piece in its own editorial."

Need I say more? Except that it publishes Barghouti's piece and, at the same time, directs the reader to its own editorial. The links are all in the Algemeiner piece.

But here's a taster (I'm looking forward to reading the editorial myself): "...it proceeds to clarify many of the distortions of Barghouti’s article, but not before first stating that Barghouti’s main aim is to “effectively dismantle the Jewish state” through methods that “verge on anti-Semitism while claiming respectability” with his skill “as a propagandist.”

BTW, is the NY Daily News a Murdoch paper? If so, that would at least partly explain its stance: get someone to hold them, while the rest of the staff hit them! Sounds good to me!

By: Brian Goldfarb

Update: apparently (thanks to the Soccer Dad), the Daily News is a Mortimer Zuckerman paper and not of the Murdoch empire. Good job anyway.

25 February 2013

Correction: it was the Israelis wot done - killed that Iranian Revolutionary Guard General

"Iran was quick last week to blame “mercenaries and supporters” of Israel for Shateri’s death, although it made no indication that he had been killed in the January airstrike," as I noted in the piece I posted on this matter. Now, it appears, that not only was it the Israelis who targeted the convoy, but also that "[f]or Israel, he was long a “prime target,” according to an Israeli security figure quoted by The Times. The report described how, despite the tight security surrounding Shateri, Israeli agents spotted him in Damascus and trailed him as he boarded the convoy headed for Lebanon, after which the airstrike option was utilized."

The rest of the article is here.

By: Brian Goldfarb

24 February 2013

Pakistan: where it's a blasphemy to be against the blasphemy laws

If the case against Shehrbano "Sherry" Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., is indeed going to proceed, this will create a perfectly closed logical loop, a Catch-22 situation that is exactly what any Muslim (or other) religious fundie could only dream about.

And what is the alleged crime of Ms Rehman? Here it goes:

Police in the Punjabi city of Multan filed a blasphemy case against Rehman following a complaint by a local businessman named Muhammad Faheem Akhtar Gill.

BBC Urdu reported that Gill claimed Rehman committed blasphemy during a television appearance in November 2010 in which she was discussing the need to reform and ease Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws.
According to the article, Pakistan is the country with the strictest (read "most inhuman") blasphemy laws in the Muslim world.
The blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which are believed to be the strictest in the Muslim world, are a relatively recent phenomenon. When General Zia al-Haq seized power in 1979, he sought to gain support among religious radicals (as well as the conservative middle class) by accelerating the pace of Islamization and through the introduction of Shariah law.

However, what specifically constitutes blasphemy can be subject to broad interpretation, and therein lay many problems. Hundreds of Pakistanis are currently languishing in prisons for allegedly violating the blasphemy laws -- many are religious minorities; others were likely the victims of trumped-up charges.

“[The blasphemy law] was designed as an instrument of persecution,” Ali Hasan Dayan, of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, said. “It's discriminatory and abusive.”

However, death sentences in blasphemy cases have consistently been overturned on appeal, although several of the accused have been murdered in prison while awaiting sentencing.
Once it is finally established (by a precedent such as Ms Rehman's case) that it's a crime to question the blasphemy laws, the laws become invulnerable to any possible attempt to change or throw them out.

And what about vox populi? Apparently, quite happy with this turn of events. Blasphemy laws provide an endless source of entertainment to the public, it looks like:
An angry crowd of people in Pakistan burned a man to death over allegations he committed “blasphemy” by publicly burning the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

According to police in the Ahmedpur East area of Bahawalpur, in Punjab province, the man was seized from a police station and lynched in front of thousands of onlookers, before police could even question the suspect. He was savagely beaten and then had petrol poured over his body and incinerated.
And don't think the example above is chosen to score a cheap point, because:
According to sources, 51 people accused of blasphemy were murdered before their respective trials were over.
And so it goes.

Hag Purim Sameach!

Today with Judeopundit, showing another angle of this day.

23 February 2013

Hairless in Gaza.

Mad Haiku does cool things
to get one smile
here goes the day

Darn good.

Netanyahu’s political cynicism will backfire?

Much of what Isi Leibler says in his article (I stole the headline from him, adding a question mark) is true, aside of his prediction: there will be no backfire, in my humble opinion. Bibi is going to exhaust everyone, himself included, by his incessant zigging and zagging, but at the last minute (or one minute past that) he will make a necessary number of deals to present his new coalition. Bitter and divided as it may be - but this is exactly how he likes it.

So there.

22 February 2013

This was worth retweeting

So I retweeted it. Yep.

George Galloway, MP, shows just how unpleasant he really is

A minor matter, but one that I couldn't resist (it may demonstrate that, despite my chronologically mature years, I haven't really grown up), from the same issue of The Commentator: the decidedly unpleasant George Galloway walks out of a debate with a student, because that student is an Israeli.

Please take time to read the fairly brief article. but do watch the short video clip, then read the rest of the article. You will notice that the organiser of the debate, who has a decidedly Arabic sounding name, claims that at no time was Galloway misled, in that the nationality of his debating opponent never came up during the organising of the debate (while, presumably, his name does). Note also the decidedly disbelieving response (towards Galloway) of the Oxford students. Go, Oxford, go!

Until now, I've always stated that I didn't believe that Galloway was antisemitic. Unpleasant, yes, and the holder of views that I find decidedly unpleasant (his privilege, however repellent to me). Following this (he says that "I don't recognise Israel", although I don't think he has this option: a member in good standing of the UN can't be "not recognised" - a different debate, maybe), I'm beginning to reconsider my stance on him.

The link's up there: judge for yourselves.

By: Brian Goldfarb   

A very early Chanukah present this year

The real question is can we expect seven more gifts as good as this? And what is this: " The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is reported to have begun shelling Hezbollah positions on the Syrian-Lebanese border, following a 48 hour ultimatum issued to the Iran-backed terrorist group." Could it get better? Islamist targeting Islamist? Not because of doctrinal disputes, but because of very real, this world differences.

This comes about, of course, because Hezbollah (whose patron is Iran, which, in turn, is allied with Assad) members are in Syria, fighting against the rebels and for Assad. It really doesn't matter how often Nasrallah claims that while this is true, they are doing it as individuals. Oh, really? We all know that an organisation as authoritarian as Hezbollah wouldn't let its members go off to Syria without permission and even encouragement.

While we all know that the IDF can manage a 3-front war if it has to (and we would all assume that it has only got better at these things in the intervening 45 years), could Hezbollah? With any luck, they'll manage to piss the Israelis off enough to bring them down on themselves while still being attacked by the Syrian rebels. This is all easy for me to say, I don't live there, and I really don't want any Israeli lives at even more risk that they already are (we have family and good friends there), still, in military-political terms, the scenario is compelling.

See how I arrive at this position by reading The Commentator article.

By: Brian Goldfarb   

Abdullah, King of Saudi Arabia, is Jewish! So?

Now, don't blame me, I'm only a messenger. Here it goes*:

The research of Mohammad Sakher led to an order for his death by the Saudi Regime for the following findings: The Saudi family, who, despite claims otherwise, were descended from Jewish merchants from Iraq. Sakhir found that the Jewish Ancestor of the Saudi family was called Mordakhai Bin Ibrihim Bin Moshe but changed his name to Markhan Bin Ibrahim Musa.

King FAISAL AL-SAUD declared to the WASHINGTON POST on Sept. 17, 1969:

“WE, THE SAUDI FAMILY, are cousins of the Jews: we entirely disagree with any Arab or Muslim Authority which shows any antagonism to the Jews; but we must live together with them in peace. Our country (Arabia) is the Fountain head from where the first Jew sprang, and his descendants spread out all over the world.”

In the 1960’s the “Sawt Al Arab” Broadcasting Station in Cairo, Egypt, and the Yemen Broadcasting Station in Sana’a confirmed the Jewish Ancestry of the Saudi Family ” - James Matthew Cantu.
I don't know James Matthew Cantu from a duck-billed platypus, but he sounds like a solid and reliable source to me. What about you?

And with relatives like these, I have to pay $2 for every darn liter of unleaded?

Must have me a heart-to-heart with Bibi soon... it can't continue.

Our man in the desert

(*) The text comes from a site I wouldn't care to link to, but you can always google it up.

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21 February 2013

Ben Zygier affair and a lonely voice of sanity

Gil Troy on the scandal - in The Daily Beast, no less. Enjoy.

Islamist nuts and university of York

No, not what you think.

Well, not exactly, at least.

Boycott Sodastream? Or not?

Some people may know about the story, some wouldn't:

The Israeli company, which sells a popular kitchen gadget that turns tap water into carbonated drinks, has a large factory in a West Bank settlement. When SodaStream announced that it would run an ad during the Super Bowl, the pro-Palestinian boycott campaign against the company reached a fever pitch.
Indeed, if you google for "boycott sodastream" you shall find a myriad links. It is like the whole world and its mother in law are engaged in a war against one company.

Now check this out:

You may also want to read the article (first link in this post).

20 February 2013

Mossad-grown rats overrunning Tehran

This story, told by Ynet with an obvious dose of gloating, is interesting by itself:

London's Times newspaper says Tehran's environmental agency using sniper teams against rodents running rampant in 26 districts.

The creatures have grown increasingly resistant to rat poison, the Times said, so the council is resorting to less conventional means and has deployed 10 sniper teams who go out at night to hunt their prey with rifles equipped with infra-red sights.

“We use chemical poisons to kill the rats during the day and the snipers at night, so it has become a 24/7 war,” said Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, head of the environment agency.
But of course, one shouldn't be really surprised. To start with, consider the squirrels of 2007:
Iranian intelligence operatives recently detained over a dozen squirrels found within the nation's borders, claiming the rodents were serving as spies for Western powers determined to undermine the Islamic Republic.
Then the pigeons of 2008:
Security forces arrest suspected 'spy pigeons,' near Natanz reactor. Last year 14 squirrels were seized on espionage claims. Fate of captive birds unknown.
Of course, rats, especially the huge, invulnerable to poison ones, were developed by the Zionists quite a while ago and tested at home:
The Palestinian Authority's official news agency Wafa says Israel is using rats to drive Arab families out of their homes in the Old City of Jerusalem. In the past the news agency, which is controlled and funded by PA President Mahmoud Abbas's office, has accused Israel of using wild pigs to drive Palestinians out of their homes and fields in the West Bank.
Pigs are also mentioned, but rats' portability and birthrate obviously won the day for the rodents.

So now Iranians, instead of peacefully developing their nuclear industry, are burdened with that plague, having to waste the time and the talent of their snipers.

On the other hand, seeing as how the space-faring efforts of Tehran are progressing, maybe they could send the rats off to space? 

Next: the plague of frogs. Read about it here!

Yesh Atid MK offers hope for the future. I hope.

I hope you feel you have the time to read the following very long article from the Times of Israel. It's an interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman, ex-US citizen and now an MK for Yesh Atid. The article also includes a video of a 25 minute speech (in Hebrew, with English sub-titles) by Yair Lapid to an audience at the (ultra orthodox0 Kyriat Ono College of Technology. If he, and Yesh Atid, mean what they say, there's hope for the future of Israel. Read and (?)enjoy.

By: Brian Goldfarb  

No further comment is necessary

Just post this under the above heading, given that the article is about a surge in the sale of kosher meat in the UK, following the "horsemeat sold as beef" scandal.

By: Brian Goldfarb  

Israeli sub off Lebanese coast: and people are surprised?

According to The Algemeiner, "Israel has stepped up military activity in and around Lebanon as can be witnessed by the recent detection of a submarine off the country’s southern coast, reports the Lebanese newspaper Ad-Diyar." Why should anyone be surprised at this, given the more than suggestions that Syria is moving all sorts of weapons to Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, courtesy of Hezbollah's Iranian paymasters? Remember that recent arms convoy attacked by Israel (although Israel neither confirmed nor denied this) on its apparent way to Hezbollah?

Anyone who has visited Rosh Hanikra up on Israel's northernmost point on the Med will have seen, as well as the famous caves and the remnants of the railway that used to run from Haifa to Beirut, the line of buoys stretching out to sea marking the sea border between Israel and Lebanon and the permanently on-station gunboats keeping an eagle eye on any movements across that border, as well as the radar station stationed on the heights, looking deep into Lebanon.

So, again, why the apparent surprise that a country as militarily advanced as Israel, with decidedly unfriendly neighbours, should keep a very careful eye on those neighbours?

By: Brian Goldfarb  

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Vacation Edition!!

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19 February 2013

Why did he leave me?

Somebody sent me this story recently. I have done my best, googling for its pedigree, but the earliest appearance I was able to find,  dated February 2006, doesn't carry the name of its author. So I am translating it unattributed. With Google help, of course, so don't judge it too harshly. In my humble, it's a good one.

Yes, where in the world is Gérard Depardieu?

If the Brits cornered the irony market, French folks are doing quite well with sarcasm, as this article on the man they love to hate now shows. They also know about the doings of that "mammoth of French cinema":

Now France eagerly awaits to see where Depardieu will surface next. In an exclusive, the Fuss in France has learned the next two destinations on Depardieu's magical autocrat tour:

Sunny Sudan, where he will be sworn in as Governor of Darfur and get his own oil pipeline, and thriving North Korea, where he will soon serve as supreme commander of the navy and receive an only slightly used satellite-cum-ballistic-missile.
Not bad.

Russians, meanwhile, don't seem to fall in love with their new compatriot. There is a lot of funny takes on the mammoth gratefully accepting the Russian passport. Like that one:

"This is you motherland now, son," says the capture.

And this is the only one without unprintable words...

18 February 2013

On Jewish British Prime Ministers - and some corrections

"If the latest polls hold true, Britain appears to be two years from electing a Jewish prime minister. Labor holds its biggest lead in a decade over David Cameron’s governing Conservatives, and Labor is led by a Jew, the child of Polish Jewish immigrants." So says the Times of Israel. With, inevitably, some caveats.

After all, if "a week is a long time in politics" (Harold Wilson), then 2 years is an age. It's the old (UK) pollsters cliche: if an election were held tomorrow how would you vote? At the moment, 41% of UK voters would vote Labour (please note the "u" after the "o": that's how we Brits and the Canadians - among others - spell the word - the proper way), which would be enough to give Labour a landslide victory, even greater than 1997. But it won't be like that. It never is.

The most interesting aspect of this article is that the current President of the Board of Deputies doesn't think that antisemitism is much of an issue in UK politics. I think he's being a little Pollyannaish here: Ken Livingstone, anyone? To say nothing of all those lovely BDS types who just delight in chanting "we are all Hezbollah now" at the drop of a anti-Israel demo.

You've had the first correction. Here's the second one. The article claims that "Nationwide, 30% of school-age children are Haredi, he says, “and in Manchester [the nation's second-largest Jewish community after London] they may even be the majority.” Even in the context of the paragraph this is in, this needs correcting. The figure refers, of course to Jewish schoolchildren, not all schoolkids. Even then, this may be an overestimate. By no means all Jewish children in Jewish schools are going to be Haredi. Jewish schools, certainly in the London area, are good schools and attract lots of marginally practising Jewish parents. Further, not all Jewish children go to Jewish schools, even in areas of high Jewish concentration and sufficient Jewish school places.

Enough from me. Go read the article. It's actually good news for Jews, for once.

By: Brian Goldfarb  

Guardian - confirming the obsession

Verb: Confirm

Establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts

I was just making sure (establishing) that I understand the meaning of that word.

Anyway, looking for an old post on this blog, I have stumbled on another old post of mine (almost 6 years old). That post - Measuring an obsession - shows quite clearly the mind-boggling overabundance of Israel - related articles on the Guardian's CiF (Comment is Free). It has to be read to be believed, I can assure you.

The obsession, as I said, is unbelievable. I doubt there is another non-Jewish media outfit dedicating so much space and effort to Israel - or to bashing Israel, to be precise. Of course, I clearly understand that this phenomenon is not necessarily mirroring the general sentiment of British society, which, by and large, couldn't give a flying donut about Middle East in general and Israel in particular. I understand that Guardian, catering to a specific slice of British population, does what it has to do to keep its congregation happy, other means of entertainment like boob shots and juicy scandals being cornered by other media channels. Still, one would prefer the Guardian scribes and the multitude of CiF contributors to enjoy the said bashing of Israel a bit less obviously. But it's a moot point anyway.

So, for confirmation sake, I've decided to take a look at the last few days of the Guardian's output, to see if something changed. Here come a few of the headlines for three days, from February 13 to February 15:

Three days and nine articles, all of them strictly negative, and this is only a partial selection! Now you tell me - is it sick or is it sick?

So, the conclusion cannot be anything but a confirmation: indeed, in our ever changing world there remains at least this one steady and permanent fixture: the Guardian relentlessly whacking the Zionist entity, no matter what. And you can take it to the bank - not that the banks, owned by the Elders, as it is well known to the readers of the Guardian, will take it from you as a collateral for anything.

Now, you may ask: how could a minor newspaper with a limited customer base be of any significance in this big and busy world? The answer is: this small newspaper with a relatively minuscule customer base punches way above its weight. This is one of the remaining paradoxes related to the twilight of the British Empire: even powerless and reduced (more or less) to confines of that wet island, its press has an influence that still transcends borders. When BBC barks, people still listen. When Guardian yaps, people at least check their shins for damage.

You may be sure that any "criticism" of Israel that appears in the Guardian will be widely disseminated by eager followers of the same ilk. And even by people who are (ostensibly) Guardian's enemies, such as assorted right wing extremists, neo-Nazis and other gutter life, who know a good thing when they see one.

So you can now better understand why a CiF Watch post by Adam Levick about the Prisoner X affair starts with:

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), has already authored, or co-authored, six separate reports (totaling over 5000 words) in less than two days at the Guardian on the row over ‘Prisoner X’.
(Emphasis mine).

Now remind me again: is it sick or is it sick?

Air Force confirms Russian jets near Guam? Nah...

The general info in the Fox article is, most probably true:

The Air Force confirms that two Russian bombers on Tuesday circled the U.S. island territory of Guam, prompting U.S. jets to scramble and respond.
But the headline is quite wrong, as can be easily deducted from the picture attached to the article:

The point is that Tu-95 is not a jet but a very old turboprop, as the picture ascertains. As it ascertains the fact that somebody in Fox News should take a refresher course on the identified military flying objects.

As for threatening Guam - or any other USA military installation:  that old beast is so slow that the jets that were scrambled had to do some serious throttling to stay with the pair around Guam.

Most probably the crews of these relics came by with a few telephoto lenses to take some candid camera shots of the Guam beaches, like that one.

And, thanks to the Sennacherib, here is another example of the same kind:

Global video gaming company that backed search for WWII fighter jets says no planes in Myanmar

No wonder they can't find anything...

(And no, if you want to be a wise guy, they are not looking for Me-262 or He 162)

17 February 2013

A unique picture of the Russian meteorite

Thanks to D.B.

Quetta (Pakistan), Mogadishu (Somalia), Baghdad (Iraq) - another booming day

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)

Pakistani police have revised the cause of a blast that killed 83 people on Saturday, saying a suicide bomber was behind the attack that pulverized a busy marketplace.

The explosion targeted Shiite Muslims in Hazara, on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta, authorities said.
Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN)
A security guard was killed and five others were injured when a car packed with explosives detonated Saturday in Mogadishu, officials said.
Baghdad, Iraq (AP)
A series of car bombs exploded within minutes of each other in and around Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 28 people and wounding dozens in overwhelmingly Shiite areas.
There must be something in common between these, but I can't put a finger on it immediately.

Global warming? Possibly, but I doubt it.
The flyby of the asteroid? Hm... hardly.
Zionists? Now we are getting somewhere, methinks...

Chavez and 'alternative' treatments

According to this, Cuban and Russian physicians decided to try some unorthodox methods on their patient.

"Today our commander is undergoing alternative treatments. They are complex and difficult treatments that must, at some point, end the cycle of his illness," Maduro said in comments on state TV.
Since Mr Maduro didn't specify the nature of the treatments, we had to do some spying on this one. Here are the results:


At some point, indeed...

Update: After the above was written, I have discovered the nature of the 'alternative' treatments, thanks to Al Jazeera:
...Chavez is shown looking at Thursday's issue of the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma, his daughters still flanking him.
Now the meaning of what Maduro says (below) became clear:
On Wednesday, Maduro said that Chavez is now undergoing "extremely complex and tough" treatments, which he did not specify.
Maduro, as other Venezuelans, may not be aware of it, not being familiar with Granma, but this is a most cruel and inhuman treatment invented by man. So far everyone who ever read Granma died, should I say more?

Odds of death by asteroid - adding to my worst fears

The eggheads have a very strange way to allay a person's fears. Imagine being a hypochondriac and paranoid character like me, who is afraid to fly, experiences a mortal dread of earthquakes, feels vaguely (but personally) threatened by tornadoes, imperiled by tsunamis, petrified by the thought of lightning, considers all the other motorists on the road to be hired killers going for him. Etc.

And then you open an article, ominously titled Odds of Death by Asteroid? Lower Than Plane Crash, Higher Than Lightning and read the following:

Your odds of getting killed by a meteorite are roughly 1 in 250,000. You are far more likely to die in an earthquake, tornado, flood, airplane crash, or car crash (but less likely to be killed by lightning).
How do you feel now? Yes, I know.

And then you get to read another article, titled even better: Meteor shows why it is crucial to keep an eye on the sky. What now? Should you establish a permanent watch on the roof of your house, being ready to jump into your cellar (if you have one) at the sight of a falling star? And what do you do when driving (for instance) - stick your head out of the driver's window and watch the skies?

The above linked useless advice by CNN reminds me the infamous "Falling rocks" road sign:

What is the driver to do when that damn sign is encountered? Stop? Speed up? Speed down? Put a hard hat on? Pray?

And how, for crying out loud, could you keep an eye on the sky without being endangered by the Lego pieces spread through the darn house randomly? Questions, questions...

At least the last asteroid missed us accidentally. Without becoming a meteorite...

16 February 2013

FAA moves closer to widespread US drone flights

That's what they say here. Hm... does it mean that all these goings-on with drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen etc - all this is just a pilot project before moving to the real thing?

Just asking.

The Bulgarians get it right

According to The Times of Israel, via the Hamas website al-Risala, "...Bulgarian security officials came to the hotel where the delegation was staying early Friday morning, entered their rooms, and escorted them to the airport."

While this is good news in itself, it gets better. "The Hamas delegates blamed their eviction on Israel, saying the event had the mark of the “Zionist enterprise,” according to Israel Radio." Nothing to do with the Hezbollah bombing of the tourist bus, of course, or with Hamas's status as a terrorist organisation. Oh no, it's all the Israelis fault. Naturally.

If only the rest of the EU countries were as clear-eyed as the Bulgarians. If only pigs could fly.

By: Brian Goldfarb 

David Ward MP digs himself an ever deeper hole

You will have heard, by now, of the Liberal-Democrat MP David Ward and his, at best borderline, antisemitic attack on Jews (again, the conflating of "Jews" with "Israel"). Well, it just got worse. The Community Security Trust (of the Board of Deputies of British Jews) has a long article on this sorry farrago.

However, before you read it (and I hope you do: it's Mark Gardner at his deconstructionist best), please take note of the following. Despite being censured by his own party, Ward has permitted the posting on his site of a long article (it's the third link in in the first paragraph of the CST report). It's from a site called "zenpolitics" run or owned by someone called John Hilley (no, I'd never heard of him either, and nor had the CST). Gardner suggests that, as long as the article remains up, Ward further demonstrates his unfitness to remain an MP.

The title of the article is instructive: it's called “Guardian continues the hounding of David Ward”. Wow, that must be a first (in the modern era): The Guardian being accused of not attacking Israel! The article referred to is an interview of Ward by Aida Edemariam of The Guardian.

Hilley digs an ever deeper hole for himself and Ward as he seeks to defend Ward, because as he attempts to say that Ward didn't really mean to say Jews when he meant Israelis (a variant of the Livingstone Formulation), he keeps compounding the error by repeating it.

Anyway, as well as reading the Hilley article, do read and admire Gardner's excellent hatchet job. I'm certainly going to save it, to read again at my further leisure.

By: Brian Goldfarb

The humiliation of palestinian refugees

For more than 60 years now the issue of Palestinian refugees is kept alive and kicking by the 300 million strong Arab world, with support and connivance of UN. There is only one reason for doing so: the Arab world's insistence on keeping the fires of Israeli/Palestinian conflict going, for using the enmity and hate to distract their own people from their own problems.

No other refugee group in the world received anything even remotely similar to the travesty of UNRWA - a unique organization that's whole purpose is to uphold indefinitely the status of Palestinians as refugees.

No other refugee group in the world received as heartless and as dehumanizing treatment as Palestinians - and this by the Arab world, by their own brothers and sisters.

See the story as it is told by the Palestinians themselves - with the obligatory few seconds of the Zionist soldiers at the beginning, to be sure.

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15 February 2013

Zhirinovsky: meteorite a new American weapon

There is a comical aspect in everything, as the recent large meteorite that fell in a lake near the Russian city of Chebarkul (Чебаркуль) near Chelyabinsk, proved without doubt. The chief clown of Russian politics, Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky, provided that aspect - again.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky explained that the unusual phenomenon in the skies over Ural was in reality an action of "provocateurs" and "warmongers". According to the politician, the alleged fall of the meteor was really a test of new weapon by the Americans.

Zhirinovsky added that the Secretary of State John Kerry tried to warn the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, February 11, but the latter was on an African trip. State Department announced on Thursday that Kerry failed to contact Lavrov for several days.

The Russain version of what happened in Ural doesn't satisfy Zhirinovsky. "As if we are some primitive tribe," he said with indignation. "What meteors? Nothing never falls nowhere. Cosmos - it is the Universe, there are laws of its own there," the politician declared.
So there, take it as you will.

As for the meteorite: according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the stone was quite large, between 10 and 30 (metric) tons and its speed was around 30-40 thousands kmh. Yep.

More about the clown.

More reading comprehension problems

I definitely need to visit my ophthalmologist, it looks like. This headline threw me:

Wow, I said, finally a new iPhone with a big (well, normal by today's standards) screen, and I am going to know all about it in a sec.


Significant reduction in the ranks of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Israel blamed. So what's new?

Reuters reports (brought to us via the Foreign Policy online journal) that Syrian rebels have killed a senior Iranian revolutionary Guard officer.

Then we have the suggestion that Mossad gets everywhere. The Times of Israel reports that an Iranian Revolutionary Guard General was killed by them. The report states that "An Iranian independent news website reported early Thursday morning that Gen. Hassan Shateri was killed by “mercenaries of the Zionist regime.” This is followed, in the same article, by a further report, that another senior Iranian official was killed just after his car crossed into Lebanon from Syria. It's not clear whether or not they were in the same car.

So far, no-one has directly linked the three deaths, and not to Israel either, apart from just the one. Any bets on how long it will take?

By: Brian Goldfarb

14 February 2013

Ben Zygier aka Prisoner X - the buzz, the facts and the eggs on faces

It seems that the story which began a few days back under headings alluding that Israel is abusing the human rights of a certain Prisoner X is now taking a sharp U turn, and may lead us back to Australia, where it initially broke cover. While we know that the procedures which led to Mr. X Black incarceration were carried out through the Israeli law courts, as evidenced in the publishing of the court documents and naming of the Judge, we also now know that Mr. X was legally represented, his family notified, we now know that certain Australian officials knew of the proceedings*.

Another very interesting fact emerged on the 13th of February 2013: Mr. X had a meeting with Mr. Avigdor Feldman, a noted prominent top Israeli lawyer also known to be an anti-establishment loud mouth, who found Mr. X to be in good sound health, and considering a plea bargain. Having Mr. Feldman on board certainly lessens the probability that Mr. X’s legal rights would have been stepped over. The Israeli press also revealed that Mr. X had been represented in 2010 in Petach – Tiqva district court by three other legal aids at the time of his incarceration and court case, which places Peter Beaumont’s article in the familiar and often practiced Guardian art of knee jerk fact-lite, assumed journalism…

Before we leave the subject of Guardian's coverage of the issue, it should be stated in favor of Mr Beaumont that his previous article on an Israeli subject was written a whole month ago. The man was chafing at the bit and becoming desperate to have another go at the Zionists, which explains the lack of content, the baseless allegations (accusations, to be precise) and the general brimstone and fire style of that unfortunate piece. Oh well... don't expect a retraction in any case.

As the media speculation turns to fever pitch, we have a few questions of our own, based on statements provided by Jason Katsoukis, in this instance by the Guardian.

In 2009, while living in Jerusalem and filing stories to the Australian Fairfax group, Katsoukis was contacted by an anonymous source with connections to the intelligence world.
While asking Mr. Katsoukis about this “anonymous source” may be futile, one may actually wonder about the nationality of this anonymous chirp, and more importantly the purpose behind this anonymous source’s willingness to come forward and chat with him.
The story was that Mossad was recruiting Australians to spy for them using a front company in Europe. It all seemed too good to be true.
Right, too good to be true. So, can we assume that this info would have been provided by an Israeli “source with connections to the intelligence world” or more to the point, by an agent for another government?

At this point in time, we need to note that Prisoner X wasn’t in custody, in fact we are told the following:
In January 2010, a Mossad hit squad murdered the Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai. It emerged that the team had been supplied with false passports from a number of countries including Germany, Ireland and the UK, apparently confirming the very practice Katsoukis was investigating.
So, in October 2009 Mr. Katsoukis receives the tip off, and in January 2010 he proceeds to out the alleged Israeli agent by calling him directly:
The feeling was that we should go to Zygier and put the story to him. It wasn't difficult to find him. He'd was back in Jerusalem so I called him at home.
However, prior to January 2010, presumably, as mentioned in the Guardian piece, along with the initial information he receives in October 2009 from the “anonymous source with connections to the intelligence world”, Mr. Katsoukis reveals that:
I was told too that the Australian authorities were closing in on Zygier and that he might even be arrested.
This in itself may present us with an inadvertent clue as to the nationality and identity of the aforementioned “anonymous source with connections to the intelligence world”.
And here is the other clue:
There was other stuff about Zygier. In Australia you can change your name once a year. He'd done it four times I think, but they were beginning to get suspicious. I also found out that he had applied for a work visa for Italy in Melbourne.
Would an Israeli agent provide this “other stuff”? Do we now understand that the name changing antics raised a flag with certain Australian officials? Mr. Katsoukis information indeed reveals this, but this information in itself then distances the “anonymous source” from Israel. Mr. Katsoukis sources in Melbourne also provide him with visa application information - definitely not the Israeli source here.

Another interesting tidbit came up in the following quote:
Varghese [department secretary - department unnamed] conceded that it was unusual for Australia to use security channels to seek assurances from a foreign government about the rights of a citizen.

"No, it's not normal practice and this is not a normal case," Varghese said.

"The initial advice that came to us on this case was through intelligence channels and the communication on this case has essentially remained through intelligence channels," he added.

He declined to say whether Australia's main spy agency ASIO or the highly secretive spy agency operated out of Australia's overseas diplomatic missions, ASIS, was the Australian intelligence channel that provided the information.
If you take into account the silence of Australian government and the fact that the usual diplomatic channels were not involved, the story points to a serious embarrassment for Australian secret services which, together with Mossad (which, probably, felt the embarrassment as well), agreed to keep the issue quiet - at least until the trial.

We'll probably not know the details of the story any time soon, especially not in the near future, since the story keeps gathering a lot of barnacles shorty after being floated, such as this one:
Western sources "in the know" told Kuwait's Al-Jarida newspaper on Thursday that Ben Zygier, AKA "Prisoner X," was one of the members of the squad which assassinated senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010.

The same sources noted that following the mission, Zygier contacted the government in Dubai and updated it on the details of the assassination in exchange for protection. The sources also said that Israel managed to uncover Zygier's hiding place, kidnapped him and jailed him for treason, and all this while maintaining absolute secrecy. The report has not been confirmed by any other sources.
And if you want more spice, here comes the Guardian, again:
In the midst of an escalating international row with Australia...
Row with Australia? Have anyone but Guardian noticed it? Talk about the power of wishful thinking - if it could be called thinking, of course...

More on the case to follow, probably.

(*) A few quotes from the Haaretz link - just in case it disappears later:
Attorney Avigdor Feldman told Army Radio on Thursday that he met with Ben Zygier – also known as "Prisoner X" and by the aliases Ben Alon, Ben Allen, and Ben Burrows – in Ayalon Prison two days before his apparent suicide and that the prisoner appeared "rational, focused and to the point."
According to Feldman, Zygier’s family had hired him to advise Zygier about a plea bargain that had been formulated with the State Prosecutor’s office. Zygier maintained his innocence, Feldman said.
In an apparent reversal on previous statements, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Thursday his ministry had known about Zygier's jailing in Israel as early as February 2010. On Wednesday he said Australian diplomats in Israel only found out about the detention after his death in custody later that year.

By GideonSwort.

An online Jewish joke

Norman Geras is a now-retired Professor of Political Philosophy at Manchester University. He ran, for a number of years, a seminar on the Holocaust. I attended for a while and delivered a paper there. The quality of the discussion was most interesting and I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know both Eve Garrard and David Hirsh through this seminar.

Since his retirement, he and his wife have moved to Cambridge, and he spends a part of his day writing "Normblog", his blog. It's always worth a perusal and every so often he comes up with a real winner. The following is one: you might even call it a modernist Jewish joke. Whatever you call it, I think it's worth a few seconds of your time.

By: Brian Goldfarb

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