31 July 2007

The Mighty Heart controversy

For me it started with the article by Debbie Schlussel in the FrontPage magazine. Let's not mince the words - the article is a hatchet job, and a very thorough one to boot. Debbie has definitely gone overboard, trying to judge the movie as if it were financed by the Israeli Tourism ministry and should have been focused solely on the Jewish motives. That bit of criticism really cracked me up:

And don't forget Wall Street Journal reporter Steve Levine, played by Gary Wilmes, the most stereotypically Jewish-looking actor they could cast - a living embodiment of the angst-ridden, sweaty big-nosed, glasses-wearing Jew you'd find in "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" picture book for kids.
I have even taken the trouble to look up the poor guy's picture. I am not sure that Gary Wilmes is that living embodiment mentioned above, but it is clear that he will have to consider an investment in some major plastic surgery now.

But after looking up some stuff on Debbie's site, I think I have caught the drift. It seems that Debbie is sometimes slightly overexcited (all for the good cause, no doubt), like in this case, for instance:
Then, there is this BS:

In Palestine, Jewish terrorist attacks finally persuaded the British to pull out.

WRONG again. The Brits pulled out, if anything, because they were tired of Islamic/Arab violence (there was no Jewish violence against the Brits) against British soldiers, and because eventually the land was carved up into Israel, Jordan, etc.
Ah well, as I said, it is all for the good cause, and anyway history these days is a flexible science...

But... Saying all this, there is more to Debbie's article than meets the eye. Of course, there is no place to criticize Winterbottom, Julie and Pitt for focusing on Mariane Pearl and the chief of Pakistan's counterterrorism unit. After all, it is their movie and their license.

But blaming the barbaric execution of Daniel Pearl on the misdeeds of US in Guantanamo is pure unadulterated bullshit. The list of kidnappers/murderers demands includes the one re Gitmo prisoners indeed, but read it in its entirety:
We still demand the following:
  • The immediate release of U.S. held prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • The return of Pakistani prisoners to Pakistan.
  • The immediate end of U.S. presence in Pakistan.
  • The delivery of F-16 planes that Pakistan had paid for and never received.
We assure Americans that they shall never be safe on the Muslim Land of Pakistan.
And if our demands are not met this scene shall be repeated again and again...
It is quite clear that the absurd list was never intended as a base for negotiations and that its sole purpose was to increase the publicity for the planned act of murder. The fact that Winterbottom, Julie and Pitt made Gitmo a focal point of the movie is telling.

Another salient point in the article - disregard of the fact that Daniel Pearl is Jewish. As noticed here:
...something could have been inserted about Daniel Pearl, a man from a family with deep Israeli roots — scenes and sentiments that would make him a real person who once lived, loved, and later died a horrible death, publicly.
It is not certain that Daniel's fate was sealed by the fact of his Jewishness, but it is certain that the fact did not escape the attention of his murderers and they obviously enjoyed it. The title of the execution clip - "The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl" is sufficient testimony.

The royal pair of Hollywood is definitely way above their heads into politics. Not that it makes them outstanding, many other Hollywood stars and mega-stars have discovered the politicking as a new and glamorous pastime. But the mix of the mega-star popularity, naivety, good will and ability to dumb down any complex issue to a set of childish slogans has a definite impact on general population. Here is one example of a rave review by a groupie:
...without apology, it is simultaneously an unabashedly political vehicle that does not fall victim to sloganeering or jingoism, as well as an effective and gripping re-telling of a story that is still fresh in the minds of the audience. I know a lot of people are criticizing the movie.. but the best thing about this movie was it does not points finger on anyone.
Yep. An unabashedly political vehicle that does not "points finger on anyone", indeed...

But the best expression of the above mentioned Hollywood mix is provided by the royal pair:
The hero of this movie is a Muslim Pakistani Captain . . . . Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish--they all came together, all of them becoming great friends.
Why, indeed, can't we all get along and be friends? I really don't know. Maybe because there are too many gently smiling folks like this one:

I really recommend this clip as a mandatory viewing. Notice that the person that appears in it is an American resident and knows his rights exceedingly well. It is also worth your while to visit his site at _http://www.al-buruj.com/_ to get an in-depth understanding of the creature. And the ideology that moves him and his ilk, making it kinda difficult to make friends with him.

But don't tell Brangelina about it - it may distress them, possibly on a shooting day, and then the damage to the world will be immeasurable ...

to Bagel Blogger.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.


To whom it may concern...

At least 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.

to Daled Amos.


30 July 2007

Hitler? Sheffield Utd?

The arcane art of understanding the history of relationships between British football fans, their clubs of choice and their rivalries is definitely out of my reach. Clearly, the whole football business was invented in times immemorial by the Elders to keep the British Empire from growing too quickly. Looking back, it seems that this measure was too severe...

Anyhow, this is funny - so enjoy.


Mind readers

I don't know how exactly it is done, but the precision of the result in uncanny!

You Should Learn Portuguese

Muito legal! For you, learning a language is all about the lifestyle that comes with it.
And Brazilian beaches, hotties, parties, and soccer matches are just your style.

Oh Rio, Rio!


29 July 2007

A very minor celebration

Granted, the number we are going to celebrate in our own humble way will seem puny and laughable to many a blogger. Still, it is another good reason for lawful intoxication:

So here is to the victory of bloggers over common sense. Cheers!


About frugality

Vice President Dick Cheney is undergoing a minor surgical procedure Saturday to replace the battery that powers a device monitoring his heart rhythms.
I bet you anything that these scrooges from the government procurement office ordered a cheapest no-brand battery the last time it was replaced. Instead of going the right way.


28 July 2007

Hearing an echo

This headline in Guardian would make a normal person sit up and pay attention:

Two Americans detained by Iran for alleged spying last night admitted involvement in US-backed pro-democracy projects but appeared to stop short of making widely anticipated full confessions. The acknowledgements by Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbaksh - both Iranian-born academics - came in recorded interviews broadcast on state television apparently to show that civil protest movements in Iran were being supported by the US.
Acknowledgment... Real eerie. Especially considering what it is about and where it comes from.
A sixty seven years old Iranian-American academic against the might of Islamic Republic of Iran.
Ms Esfandiari, 67, Middle East director of the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Centre, and Mr Tajbaksh, 45, an associate of the George Soros Open Society Institute, face charges of "espionage" and "endangering national security" after being accused of trying to overthrow Iran's Islamic system.
And a Guardian scribe registering the farce in a detached way of an uninvolved apolitical observer. An immediate association:
The British lawyer and MP Denis Pritt, for example, wrote: "Once again the more faint-hearted socialists are beset with doubts and anxieties," but "once again we can feel confident that when the smoke has rolled away from the battlefield of controversy it will be realized that the charge was true, the confessions correct and the prosecution fairly conducted."
Probably we are not far from reading in the Guardian something in the line of: "the trials in Moscow Tehran represent a new triumph in the history of progress". No doubt St. Seumas is already training his pen...

to Judeopundit.


A hot day

No, not it Israel - in Santa Fe on that day.


26 July 2007


This, rather mundane these days headline, is repeated every week or so:

The U.N. Mideast envoy warned Wednesday of impending economic collapse in the Gaza Strip unless Israel reopens the Hamas-led territory's main commercial crossing to the outside world to ease international isolation.
I'm sure that the writer did not mean anything but well, same as Michael Williams, the quoted UN envoy. And that the statement in its published form was crafted for brevity and for maximum impact. So, putting that "unless" on paper, the author of the statement had a tough choice to make. Either go the full-proof, short and easy way (which was the eventual decision, obviously) or to make an effort and to say that unless:
  • Hamas stops the attacks against Israel - both by its own members and by the other gangs
  • Hamas stops the incessant attacks against and digging under the border crossings
  • Hamas starts cooperating with Israel and international organizations that try to feed and to cure the people of Gaza
the tragic situation of 1.5 million citizens of Gaza will get worse and worse.

It must be said that, surprisingly, the UN envoy referred to some of the salient points:
Williams said Palestinian militants fired 192 rockets and mortar shells at Gaza's crossings and into Israel in the last month. He said Hamas' military wing was responsible for most of the attacks on the crossings, while Islamic Jihad fired most of the rockets and mortars into Israel.
However, the AP hack conveniently placed this text way down, where most of the readers do not arrive, getting first slightly incensed by the intransigence of these cruel Jooz and then bored by the whole damn subject.

And so the wheel turns...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.


"Self-hating Jew" - a terminology issue?

The article What self-hating Jews can teach Muslims is one of the many thought provoking pieces by Bradley Burston. Its main premise: using a specific category of Jews (and Muslims) as a mirror, albeit distorted and faulty, to highlight the ills of the respective societies, is not a trivial idea. Of course, this article will be attacked (actually it is attacked, just look at the talk-back) by both the ultra-left and supra-right and no doubt Bradley himself will be branded as a self-hating Jew (I just cannot force myself to read the talk-back, after stumbling on a revelation that "Einstein gave Israel the formulae for the Atom bomb").

My attention, aside of the main idea mentioned above, was riveted by the use of the term "self-hating Jew". It seems that this buzzword, so beloved by the cranks of the Masada2000 type, was unquestioningly accepted not only by the hawks of the Jewish political spectrum but by the doves as well.

It is rather an unfortunate turn of events, for several reasons.

1. "Self-hating Jew" is a fallacy.

Aside of a handful of (more or less) obvious psychiatric cases like this one, the overwhelming majority of people branded this way are anything but self-haters. These people do hate most of us, Israelis, for just being what we are. They hate the unfortunate (for them, but also for us) fact of being born into a Jewish family. They hate the mere suspicion of whispering behind their backs, especially during an anti-Zionist gatherings they frequent. They hate each other, squabbling and competing for media attention and notoriety.

But they definitely do not hate themselves, rather the opposite. They clearly understand where their personal profit is and do their best to turn even the fact of their Jewishness into a marketable product. It could be witnessed by so many articles starting with a statement like "I am a Jew, but...".

Ask yourself whether insidious Norman Finkelstein - a man who transformed the largely Jew-haters' occupation of denouncing the so called "Holocaust industry" into a profitable high visibility business - is a self-hating Jew? Hardly.

Is John Rose - a person whose hate of the "Zionist Entity" may serve as a beacon for any wannabe Jihadi martyr - a self-hating Jew? Nope.

Is Tony Greenstein (to use another recently reviewed example) a self-hating Jew? No way, his love of self is nothing short of narcissism...

Etc. The examples above are not anecdotal evidence, rather some fairly typical, if more notorious, representatives of the species.

2. "Self-hating Jew" is misleading.

I would guess that Bradley used this term for convenience only - to designate the easily identifiable group of people. However, the danger inherent in this unfortunate term becoming a commonly used language coin should be transparent. For those of us who are just lazy, it contains a convenient explanation of the phenomenon. This term does not require further breakdown, analysis and the trouble of going into the reasons why. Which frequently leads us to wrong conclusions about the nature of this or that attack and, as a result, to a wrong response that may entirely miss the point addressed by this or that SHJ...

3. "Self-hating Jew" label is convenient to the so called "self-hating Jews".

Of course, the two points above are used (and abused) exceedingly well by the people we unthinkingly label by that term. It should be clear that by wrongly labeling a person we provide him/her with a convenient point for a counter-attack, having nothing to do with the issue at hand and in this way only help this person in muddying the issue.

These are my three points on the subject, following the IDF tradition of dividing everything (but the cafeteria chicken) into three parts. And my only hope is that it will dissuade a few of my readers from using this term altogether.

And if you are in need of a strong adjective or two to replace that SHJ nonsense - we are open for business here at any time (aside of that allocated for eating, sleeping and related tasks).


25 July 2007

This and that

To pick up the blogging activities where they stopped is a bit difficult. So, to warm up - a few news items that met my wandering attention during the last month or so.

Doctors removed five small growths from President Bush's colon yesterday after he temporarily transferred the powers of his office to Vice President Dick Cheney under the rarely invoked 25th Amendment. "All were less than 1 centimeter (about four- 10ths of an inch) and none appeared worrisome," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.
That's not necessarily a most important news (even if its subject is the first colon), but what drew my attention was the picture editors have chosen to illustrate the subject of the said surgery:

The only two protein-based objects in the picture that may have been suspected as polyps are clearly too large to match the description in the above quoted article. To avoid the confusion, here is a picture of a polyp and its normal habitat:

The picture makes it clear that a polyp a) does not bark and b) does not manage other people offices (S., please, refrain from the obvious remark).

After less than an year of trying to handle our minister of strategic threats Avigdor Lieberman, Iranians switched to the new policy: if you can't beat them - join them. So they have decided to make him an Iranian Honoris Causa:
Is Avigdor Lieberman a "good Muslim"? An Iranian newspaper apparently thought so when they accidentally used a picture of the Israeli minister of strategic affairs to illustrate an article about Iranians being mistreated in the United States. The article accused the US of discriminating against Iranians living in its territory, citing the example of an Iranian man who was fired from his American job due to his religious beliefs, according to the website Assar-Iran.

This is one strategic threat Lieberman was surely not prepared to cope with. His neighbors started complaining lately about intermittent wailing in several languages spiced by Russian cursing at all hours. (Hat tip to BV).

One of my earliest suspicions (dated even earlier than the suspicion about the bees and flowers story) was confirmed by this news.

A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life as a civil servant. Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed a huge fluid-filled chamber took up most of his skull. French researchers say it left room for little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue. "He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant," Dr Lionel Feuillet of the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.
What can one say, aside of idle speculation on the nature of the fluid?

And from the latest news, something picked from the Channel 2 radio today:

Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu published a spate of ideas for improvements in our school education. The improvements according to Bibi should include a 50% salary increase, more stringent requirements to the wannabe teachers, more powers to the school principal etc. The strange thing is that the stuff was published in Russian only, addressed to the Russian-speaking population via good services of a popular Russian language newspaper.

Addressing in this way the slice of population that is (supposedly) more sensitive to the quality of education is a fairly transparent ploy. Obviously Bibi is trying to win back some votes from the above mentioned Lieberman.

The less strange part (well, knowing Bibi a bit) is that this same Bibi, while serving as a minister of finance, cut tens of thousands of hours, causing some serious "downsizing" in the schoolteachers population. Ah, well, what else is new?

And going back to the subject of polyps: some electronic gizmo in Blogger innards has decided to classify me as a spambot and enforced the cursed word verification on this here blog. Dear Google - the countdown has started...


21 July 2007

Be back soon

In a few days, I guess, the normal services should be resumed. Meanwhile, enjoy: