27 June 2010

Germany 4 : England 1

What can I say: at least someone put an end to their suffering, for the next four years.

And re Wayne Rooney: can someone find a parking attendant job for him?

Back to the vacation slumber.

23 June 2010

No Comment Needed

"When the subject is terrorism, all parties and neighbors should be in solidarity. They must work with us, not just in words but in deeds," [Turkish] Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

22 June 2010

Persecution of Rachel Shabi

This may or may not be Rachel Shabi, the author of "We look like the enemy".

Rachel Shabi, a Guardianista correspondent in Israel, a far-left Jew of Iraqi descent minces no words when it comes to the country which she chose to call home:

For decades, Mizrahi Jews have been disadvantaged, disempowered and derided as coming from an inferior Oriental culture that would somehow sink the Jewish state if left uncorrected. Israeli officials openly warned as much – for instance the former prime minister Abba Eban who, during the 1960s, explained that it should be state policy to infuse Mizrahi Jews with "an occidental spirit, rather than allow them to drag us into an unnatural orientalism".

This wouldn't be by any chance because "Oriental culture" generally involves corruption, misogynism, despotism, homophobia, persecution of minorities and garbage-filled cities?

For decades those Mizrahi Jews have had their accents mocked [oh humiliation! Not the accents!!!], their cultures dismissed, their children stunted in downgraded schools – does that not count as racism? Take a walk through the corridors of a high-achieving school in the northern (Ashkenazi) districts of Tel Aviv and compare that to a school in the city's Mizrahi-dense southern suburbs, if you think the situation is any more than marginally improved today.

Oh really? This segregation sounds just awful, doesn't it? Except that Mizrahi Jews were kicked out of Arab lands without any belongings and those that had any (or education) usually ended up in the US or Europe with Israel sheltering the very poorest and least educated among them.

Of course in any western city you will always find poor immigrants living in the wealthiest districts and their kids going to the best schools. Rachel spent her childhood in the UK so she would know first-hand that schools like Eaton are filled almost entirely with Jamaican kids. And we all know that poor immigrant kids are exactly the kind of children studying in the "high-achieving" schools in Arab countries that Rachel admires so much. If you don't know it for yourself any Sudanese immigrant to Egypt will be more than happy to explain exactly how wonderful his life is.

There is just one minor problem with all that... I have always thought that Ofra Haza was synonymous with Israeli culture. And never classified Shaul Mofaz, Amir Perez, Shlomo Ben Ami, Gabi Ashkenazi, Dan Halutz as "low achievers". And the fact that non-religious Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews are marrying each other like there is no tomorrow gives the appearance of undermining Rachel's argument just a tad.

Still, if you find Rachel's piece to be representative of Israeli society, you will surely like some of the comments from the usual Guardian CiF crowd:

Basically, it boils down to this: Mendelsohn good, very good. Falafel bad, very baaaad.

Quite. I mean have you ever seen those racist Ashkenazi Jews as much as touching falafel?

08 June 2010

And meanwhile in Tel Aviv...


Comparing Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto

I am ashamed to admit it but in the past I sometimes doubted even such respectable people as UN officials when they compared Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto. Well, I am mensch enough to admit it when I am wrong. The following video of a Gaza establishment confirms it. Very clearly a major humanitarian crisis. In fact it can't be compared to Warsaw Ghetto. It's much, much, much worse!

Here is the official link to this reputable establishment:


And do check out the menu in case you happen to be in the region. Is it any wonder there is such urgency in breaking the blockade? Probably takes one of those boats just to supply this place with steaks.

The good news for European, American and Israeli taxpayers is that the Hamas-run territory does appear to get by with the help of your dollars.

04 June 2010

Bibi the incurable shlemazl* must go

Apologies for interrupting the stream of silence that was so successfully transmitted on this band. I just have to vent some accumulated frustration lest it interferes with the uneventful and gratifying pace of my long vacation.

This post was triggered by an article (in Hebrew) in a rather yellowish Internet rag that claims its contents to be an exclusive scoop. The headline of this piece conveys the whole message quite effectively: Netanyahu surrendered again and agreed to end the blockade of Gaza.

I am not a superstitious person. I don't even blink at a black cat crossing my path, generally prefer, given a choice, to take room #13 in an hotel and you can freely whistle in my home. However, watching Bibi's (way too long) political career I came to an inescapable conclusion: this man is a walking - and talking - disaster, as far as bad luck is concerned. And he must go, because each time a new instance of his bad luck hits, it impacts not Bibi but the whole country. And each time the results are more severe and more disastrous for us.

While writing this I am not taking a political stance. I am not even viewing the long chain of calamitous acts that were undertaken under Bibi's leadership - military and political, in order to criticize the decisions made. I just want to draw your attention, ladies and gentlemen, to two inescapable conclusions:

The first was already mentioned: bad luck. The Western Wall Tunnel riots, the Hebron Protocol, the Wye River Memorandum, the Khaled Mashal botched assassination affair are only a few examples from his first stint as Prime Minister. And the second one seems to be no less fraught with mishaps - of larger magnitude. His largely dysfunctional government, effectively stoppered from the right and from the left, his headlong plunge into a conflict with White House, the murky Dubai affair, the Ramat Shlomo eruption of Joe Biden and the latest fiasco with the "peace" armada are but a few choice instances of the turbulent fate of Bibi's reign. While it may be true that most of the cases mentioned above could be explained by incompetence or bad faith of ministers, commanders and others, by enmity of the White House administration, by political and military machinations of our enemies, the buck stops at Bibi's table. Still this issue is less important than the second conclusion:

Panic attacks followed by a turn of direction and expensive concessions to our enemies. While Ariel Sharon was not a saint and was frequently wrong in his deeds and his words, his diagnosis of Bibi's tendency to break down under pressure was right on the money. Whether it's groveling in White House during Clinton's times, licking the late King Hussein shoes after the Mashal affair or sudden change of political tune after the Cairo speech by Obama, it's too many times that we have heard Bibi's prolonged and persuasive arguments in favor of this or another sudden change of direction or an undeserved and unjustified concession to our enemies.

If the article mentioned in the beginning of this post is half right, we are witnessing a surrender act of hitherto unseen (and, frankly, unbelievable) proportions. It would be presumptuous and condescending of me to explain what does control-free shipping to Gaza mean to our security. It will suffice to remind that during his last election campaign Bibi used, quite successfully, the image of Iran getting to our doorsteps in the footprints of their Hamas brethren (the image was used to thwart the mere idea of two state solution, which Bibi adopted in a few months).

This time, if Bibi folds under pressure as reported, Iran is going to get to our collective doorstep indeed, and the price will be enormous. Just try to remember it until the next election campaign.

Which you all surely wouldn't.

(*) Shlemazl - an unlucky person.

Go back to Auschwitz. Oh, and don't forget 9/11 guys.

The clip below is not to change anyone's opinion on the related events. Just another confirmation of the obvious.

02 June 2010

Even if you are...

in a hurry, like I am*, with extremely limited Internet time, you have to read this before you go back to your daily routine. I can mention here at least 200 less enjoyable ways to spend your time, work being high up there in that list.

P.S. I always felt that Akaky's Jooish roots will surface eventually, never mind the timing, which is not of the best possible (well, was there ever a good timing for this?).

(*) Still hibernating.