31 December 2011

Arab League needs to tell the truth about...

a lot of different things, but let's start with Arab League needs to tell the truth about Syria. The following quote summarizes the story wonderfully:

Meanwhile, another 17 people were reported killed in the city [Homs, Syria], including some of the thousands who tried to gather in a central square. Yet Gen. Dabi, who has been linked to the genocide in Darfur, was disconcertingly upbeat about what his team witnessed: “The situation seemed reassuring so far,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.
So much for truth you can expect (and shall receive) from the observers about Syria. However, when the general says that situation seems reassuring, maybe the Arab League reached some agreement with Baby Assad re the allowance of daily killing, who knows?

Meanwhile An Arab Summit Embraces the Butcher of Darfur:
So it was interesting to see what else was in the latest statement issued by the kings, princes and authoritarian presidents of the Middle East and North Africa. First there was a call on "the international community to prosecute those responsible" for alleged "war crimes" committed by Israel in its recent offensive in Gaza. Then came an ardent defense of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who was welcomed to the Doha summit despite an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on multiple war crimes charges.

"We stress our solidarity with Sudan and our rejection of the decision" of the ICC, said the communique, which Mr. Bashir welcomed in a bombastic address to the summit plenary. Leader after leader declared fealty. "We must also take a decisive stance of solidarity alongside fraternal Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir," said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
As a reminder:
To be sure, some human rights groups have alleged crimes by Israeli forces in Gaza. But, according to Palestinian accounts, 1,409 people were killed during the offensive, of whom a substantial number were armed Hamas fighters. In contrast, the United Nations has reported more than 300,000 civilian deaths in Darfur as a result of the genocidal campaign sponsored by Mr. Bashir.
And this is the way it goes...

30 December 2011

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Hugo Chaves reflects

Judging by the photo, Comical Hugo lost nothing of his charm and penetrating intellect, missing hair notwithstanding. So, when he says:
It would not be strange if they [USA, of course] had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now ... I don't know.
you better listen. This relates to the following sad fact:
Chavez, Fernandez, Paraguay's Fernando Lugo, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff and former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have all been diagnosed recently with cancer. All of them are leftists.
And of course, when he adds: "I'm just reflecting," it's because of his all-encompassing humbleness.

As for the picture above being accompanied by this caption "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrives to commemorate the death anniversary of national hero Simon Bolivar at the national cemetery in Caracas": is he looking for a suitable lot near Bolivar? Just in case, you know.

Oh, and speaking about cemeteries:
Caracas - Venezuela is on track to set a new record for murders and to remain South America's most violent country, according to data released by a crime watchdog.

The Venezuela Violence Monitor (OVV) said Tuesday that 19 336 people had been murdered in 2011, an average of 53 per day in a country of 29 million.
Must be some secret CIA mind control technique too.

29 December 2011

Mossad pencils in Saudi Arabia, Ehud Barak vs Tanzania and more

A regular VIP blooper:

"Germany, France and England are not Tanzania, Mauritania or Tripolitania [a region in Libya]," said Barak, noting places whose names rhyme with England in Hebrew. "These are very important, very relevant countries and we don't have an interest in increasing tensions with them or making them bitter enemies."
And now it's a diplomatic tiff... According to the rumors Barak sent out to purchase a world map and a rhyming dictionary.

In an unrelated incident:
Saudi authorities investigating how Kravitz pencils with Hebrew logo showed up in kingdom. 'We have no idea how this happened; our products are only distributed in the local market,' says company CEO.
Do you know how much electronic equipment Mossad is able to squeeze in every pencil? Even I shudder at the thought...

Spain emerges as an Israeli ally in Europe. Get that map of the world to Barak ASAP, just in case.

Arab League monitors arrive in Damascus:

Thank goodness.

Israel targets suspected militants in Gaza, CNN say. Nope, they are not suspected, not anymore...

One of my working disguises unearthed

By Shaun aka Jams.

In fact, my daily one is this:

More robust, less wear and tear.

28 December 2011

Kim Jong-il or herring?

Take a look at this one:

On the whole, I would say, if it takes a dictator croaking on a daily basis to provide his people with some food - so be it.

A side issue: does anyone have the Kim Jong-un's hairdresser's number?

Oh, and guess who is so sad about the tyrants' demise? Right.

Ron Paul again (but no more, I swear)

The statement from Ron Paul's ex-assistant, Eric Dondero, speaks volumes even when Dondero tries to defend his ex-employer.

  • RP is in no way a racist, but “out of touch,” with both Hispanic and Black culture. Oh, and he is intolerant of Spanish and those who speak Spanish in his presence.
  • RP is in no way an anti-Semite, he just wants Israel to disappear. Oh, and he befriended Jews with the specific intent of winning their support for his campaign.
  • RP is not at all bigoted towards homosexuals. He just wouldn't use a toilet seat used by one previously (and he a physician, too!). Oh, and when a gay person came up to RP with his hand extended, RP swatted his hand away.
  • RP a paleo-conservative? No way, you must be out of your mind. That Lew Rockwell, a real dinosaur and a racist one to boot, is his buddy, is his private business. Of course. Oh, and "he strenuously does not believe the United States had any business getting involved in fighting Hitler in WWII. He expressed to me countless times, that “saving the Jews,” was absolutely none of our business." Sure thing, after all the only reason US got into the war was to save the Jews. And a lot of them were saved, of course.
But you know what? I agree with Dondero on this one:
If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters. It’s over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States. His near No vote on Afghanistan. That is the big scandal. And that is what should be given 100 times more attention from the liberal media, than this Newsletter deal.
Just one correction: even his (granted, outrageous) views on Israel shouldn't be that high on the list of priorities. After all, we are talking here about what is good for US of A. It is simply that the more I learn about him, the more clear a picture of a total loon becomes.

And for a bit of comic (so called) relief:


27 December 2011

Aren't you rushing with your diagnosis, professor Eidelberg?

It is already more than a week that I am keeping a curious article titled Diagnosis of a Mental Disorder on my desktop, trying to figure out its drift and, no less, the drift of its author, professor Paul Eidelberg.

The article starts with a good whopping of the reader's senses.

A mental disorder has crippled Israel. This disorder is rooted in fear, but this fear has yet to be adequately diagnosed.
The shock effect is certainly good in catching attention, I can be a witness to that. I would guess it was intended to be, too. The next few sentences explain that part of the diagnosis and, kind of, make a careful allowance for this fear that supposedly eats its cowardly way into our hearts, brains and livers.

Then prof. Eidelberg swiftly brings down another 2x4 on our heads:
But this fear has been magnified and rendered pathological by a related fear engendered by the triumph of democracy over Zionism in the mentality of Israel’s ruling elites.
And what is it that disturbs our professor in our "ruling elites'" behavior? Here it starts:
Despite Israel’s miniature size and precarious existence in the Middle East, its ruling elites have been conditioned to pursue policies toward Arabs—but not Jews—which makes Israel appear more permissive and egalitarian than democratic America, a continental superpower.
Not to go into tendentiousness of that statement, it is factually untrue, as any soldier who ever served in Gaza or West Bank will testify (unless he wears the same kind of eyeglasses as prof. Eidelberg). Here is an article that will dispel this notion in a jiffy.

But professor doesn't stop at diagnosing fear and democracy."Compounding this dilemma is the Jewish reputation for kindness and mercy," he says, adding another dimension to the landscape of our weaknesses. Read the rest of the article. Being a litany of democratic government's sins, mostly of unbearable softness, it ends on a shrill note of despair:
Heaven forbid that the Jews should stand tall and maintain their God-given right to Eretz Israel! No—this would smack of racism! This would undermine the democratic respectability of Israeli politicians and judges, of academics and journalists, and even of several rabbis. Democracy is their life raft.

This democracy, steeped in moral egalitarianism, has emasculated Israel.
Yeah... but the article is, besides putting the finger on the three mortal sins of our times, not very helpful as far as the desired (by our professor) replacement of the cursed democracy is concerned. This is a point that the author leaves for another opportunity, I guess. Or is he being coy?

Well, this coyness sent me to Google, to find other works of prof. Eidelberg. Thankfully, there is no lack of such. There is a touching eulogy for Meir Kahane ("He told the truth, and he died for the truth."). Or try that:
It was because he told the truth about the Arabs, who now applaud Saddam Hussein and scream “Itbach al-Yahud” – “Slaughter the Jews” – that he was called a “facist.”
I don't know who calls the late Rabbi Kahane "facist", especially for the reason unearthed by prof. Eidelberg (an expert in political science, no less). I would call Meir Kahane "fascist", with all due respect to professor's titles, and for totally different reasons.

Then there is the idea (I wonder whether our professor is the real daddy of this misbegotten child) of the "loyalty oath" that, in his design, is also a solution of the "demographic problem" (not clearly explained how that mechanism works, unfortunately).

A special place in professor's heart is allotted to Bolsheviks, whom he sees under every bed (including his own, I guess), typically in this way:
Nevertheless, rather than say Israel has been Americanized, it would be far more correct to say Israel has been Germanized and Bolshevized!
Indeed, the mere foundations of Israel were rotten, according to professor:
Ben-Gurion was indeed a Bolshevik (as admitted in his Personal History), and he very much wanted to induct yeshiva students into the army but was deterred from doing so by the Hazon Ish.
So, Bolshevism of Ben Gurion expressed itself in his desire to recruit the yeshiva students... what a smashing revelation (pity the Old Man failed in this regard, though).

As for Ben Gurion's Bolshevism: it is somehow symptomatic how easily American - born experts in Poli Sci use that "Bolshevik" sticker. Is it due to total lack of experience with the said Bolsheviks, whom they have seen alive only on a TV screen, I wonder? I submit that our learned professor wouldn't recognize a real Bolshevik if it bit him on the posterior...

One thing for sure: being surrounded by red-toothed Bolsheviks, professor Eidelberg still enjoys very much the benefits of democracy he so despises. He is managing a "think tank" that he called (being a founder) Israel-America Renaissance Institute (sic!), publishing his stuff every each way, writing books, teaching in several places. In short, enjoying the bolshevik-led soft-bellied democracy to the hilt.

Somehow forgetting (or, probably, not quite understanding), that in a real Bolshevik-infested place many a thinker, both on the left and on the right, would have made a short-term acquaintance with a sturdy wall and an allotted number of bullets.

Without a mention in Wiki or any other source of information born in the sinful wedlock of democracy...

To conclude: heaven save us from self-made prophets of Poli Sci, who never have a doubt about the Gog-given validity of the "truths" they carry to the masses. And heaven save the democracy they dismiss so casually in favor of undefined but unappetizing solutions tailored to their personal vision of Eden.

P.S. Is it only I who finds the similarity in disdain and even hate for democracy by extreme right wingers and Muslim fundies mighty interesting?

A Zionist zebra for Chanukah

Taylor Lautner, Hallo Pizza, Lily Collins, alacakaranlık şafak vakti, bolo

Don't even try to ask me what all of the above means. Some Google quirk... anyhow, it's time for another bird or something. So here:

So relax. OK?

26 December 2011

The Chanukah Miracle proved…perhaps

The following article comes from the English language version of Haaretz. It claims that, for the first time, archaeological evidence has been discovered that confirms, through artefacts, the written record of the conduct of the Temple service. Of most interest to the writers (and possibly the archaeologists, too) is that evidence has been unearthed supporting the use of oil for burning in lamps in the Temple. Of course, given the time of year, no-one could resist a reference to Chanukah. Further, the final paragraph of the article includes reference to artefacts dating not only to the period of the Second Temple, but also to the time of the Hasmoneans, specifically kings Alexander Jannaeus and John Hyrcanus.

I have to say, as an old Maccabi hand, I hope the evidence holds up. And not just because of the time of year. The more evidence there is for the continuous presence of Jews in Israel as far back as possible (3000 years would be nice), the weaker the argument that Jews "stole" the land from its "rightful occupants" in 1948 becomes. There is already evidence that takes Jewish occupation back to the 5th Century BCE (see this post).

And here is the Ha'aretz story.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Raise high the 'possum, Tar Boilers!

Here is the gist of the story:

If a national animal rights group gets its way, people in a small mountain town in North Carolina will have to greet the new year without lowering a scrappy marsupial to the ground.

Clay Logan, who owns the Clay's Corner store in the far western tip of the state, has been lowering an opossum in a transparent box to the ground every New Year's for 18 years, in a local homage to the famous ball drop in Times Square.

This year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the state Wildlife Resources Commission to put a halt to the tradition, saying the activity is cruel and illegal.

"Ignorance of the law is not a defense, and cruelty to animals is indefensible," PETA Director Delcianna Winders said. "Using a captive opossum as the centerpiece of a raucous party is cruel and illegal."
I have tried to look up the chief protagonists of the story. Here comes the 'possum:

And here is the Clay's Corner store, in lieu of Mr Logan, whose picture I didn't find:

Since there is no depiction of Clay Logan, it will be unfair to him if I present PETA Director Delcianna Winders in full. So here is her leg, from this source:

Ladies and gentlemen, I can ask nothing more of you than to judge by the available evidence. At least, if you decide to let the 'possum go, and I don't see any reason why, please let the good citizens of that NC town have that leg (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) to gently lower to the ground, as the sign of the times, if nothing else...

Oh, and merry Christmas and happy New Year to the folks of Brasstown, NC.

Rachel Maddow and the slowest day in the history of the media

Really, folks, it must have been a total crawler. A slow to beat all slows. A drying swamp.

Otherwise how do you explain that headline:

Rachel Maddow-Lookalike Caught Sunbathing In A G-String

25 December 2011

Another Christmas at The Guardian

Nu, what did you expect? Of course, some people celebrate, some people riot and some people just traditionally dish out the same old, same old.

And here it comes, another Christmas in Bethlehem according to one Phoebe Greenwood*, direct from the location. But if you think it's about Christmas or even about Bethlehem, you will be mistaken. Of course not, not from the Guardian...

The article is predictably titled If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed.

But first of all I want to declare my personal wish for a Christmas present. One measly** dollar for every time I read in The Guardian the following quote (attributed, surely, to a local priest):

"If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed," says the priest of Bethlehem's Beit Jala parish. "He would either have to be born at a checkpoint or at the separation wall. Mary and Joseph would have needed Israeli permission – or to have been tourists."
Notwithstanding the fact that for this specific Jewish rabbi the powers that be would have found a way to get in. As they have found the way... but a bit later about that.

The rest of the article is totally predictable, and I would like to limit myself to one other quote only:
Father Shomali's outlook is more glum: "When I look down my church register, many of the historic family names from the area have already gone. In 20 years, I think we will have no more Christians in Bethlehem."
Sad, ain't it?

Well, it so happens that this year Ha'aretz decided to publish its own opus on the same place. I mean on Bethlehem. Its title is a bit different: Thousands gather to celebrate Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. And its beginning is a bit different too:
By early evening, the Israeli military, which controls movement in and out of town, said some 55,000 visitors, including foreigners and Arab Christians from Israel, had reached Bethlehem.

Palestinian officials in Bethlehem said that with local tourists included, overall turnout was 120,000 - about 30 percent higher than last year.
Do you believe now that the above mentioned rabbi could somehow squeeze between these throngs? You bet...

And now to that quote from Father Shomali. Of course, Phoebe of the Guardian knows the truth perfectly well, but a reminder from the Guardian's local sibling - Ha'aretz couldn't hurt, could it? So:
The number of Christians in the West Bank is on the decline, and many speak of persecution by the Muslim majority, but always anonymously, fearing retribution.

Christians have even lost their majority in Bethlehem where more than two-thirds of the some 50,000 Palestinian residents are now Muslim.
Yep, Phoebe: and for how much do old tattered half-truths go nowadays in your newspaper? I would like to add to my Christmas wish another buck for Father Shomali's complaint too, if you don't mind.

OK, so I am hanging my (freshly laundered) sock near that oil stove, in lieu of a fireplace. Please, Santa, be a mensch...

(*) In favor of Phoebe: she penned a surprising piece Gaza Christians long for days before Hamas cancelled Christmas. Check it out. Meryl, in fact, already told about that one.

(**) That was a figger of speech. A dollar is still a dollar, although... oh well.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

A coolest Christmas decoration idea

Thanks to B.B.

24 December 2011

Ron Paul: The "Just Don’t Look” Candidate

An excellent two-parts article by Roland. Just read it.

Merry Christmas!

To all our Christian friends.

Free Orkut and My Space Funny Christmas  Graphics Glitters

And another one with a bite to it:

23 December 2011

Prof John Mearsheimer attacked: from the Right!

I know that I've posted on Mearsheimer before, but this article is impossible to resist. I'm not sure now where I got it from (I followed a link from elsewhere), but this is a wonderful attack on Prof John Mearsheimer from the right, and from within his own university at that. Talk about the biter bitten! The official organ of the University of Chicago conservatives really, and very articulately, takes Mearsheimer to task. It's not clear (and there are few internal clues, but someone out there may know) whether this is a student or a faculty publication. I suspect the latter, as faculty would be able, if they felt this strongly, to find a wider, mainstream, outlet for their views. Whichever category it is, the writer attacks Mearsheimer on academic, not polemical or ideological, grounds. Note this opening paragraph: "When, after a long career built on a theory that domestic political relationships had a minimal impact on any state’s foreign policy, John Mearsheimer co-wrote The Israel Lobby, a popular book alleging the maximal impact of a small cabal on American foreign policy, we were perplexed at the incoherence. When the book was written without accompanying scholarship on the Turkish lobby which has had a hand in the failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide or push for a Kurdish state, the Irish lobby which greatly influenced the American policy in Northern Ireland for decades, or Arab, Chinese, Tibetan, Greek, Indian, or Pakistani lobbies that have all made their mark on American foreign policy, we were left wondering at the motives of his focus. When the book was finally read and its narrative of the Israeli-Arab conflict rested on shoddy history, a mix of long-ago refuted facts (whose falsehood was easily available over Google) and stark errors of omission, we began to question the animus of Professor Mearsheimer."

My apologies for such a long quote (but it is a long and well argued article), but this opening sets the tone for the subsequent argument. As noted, the authors then set about the current reputation of someone they consider a formerly distinguished scholar with panache. Not only do they question his scholarship, as indicated by the quote above, they also attack his association with the self-confessed anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon. They do this through extensive quotes from Atzmon's book "The Wandering Who", alongside Mearsheimer's endorsement of the book, noting that defending Atzmon's free speech right to publish (even stronger in the USA than in many other liberal democracies) does not excuse this endorsement. Has, they wonder, he actually read the tome? If he has, how can he defend it (there is no evidence that Mearsheimer is actually antisemitic), and if not, how can he endorse the book? Their conclusion is damning: "If Professor Mearsheimer is to retain any of the grace of an accomplished scholar and do right by his home for nearly thirty years, there is but a single option: retirement." As a Brit, I could, however, wish that Atzmon wasn't also, officially, one as well.
Read the whole article here.

By Brian Goldfarb.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Taliban per se and other bloopers

This without in any way supporting that or another party:

More where this one came from.

I promise to post a similar GOP selection when it appears.

22 December 2011

MP Aidan Burley and Europe's amnesia

The protests against Mr. Burley's unconventional party in France have rapidly been muted following his "unreserved, wholehearted and fulsome apology" to jews in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle. Whether he really meant it or just followed the rules, it's beyond the scope of this post.

Why did Mr. Burley apologize to jews?

Why does everyone seem satisfied with an apology to jews?

There is a widespread consensus that nazism is bad for jews, that espousing nazi ideas is only as wrong as the amount of outrage caused to jews. This kind of attitude leads not only to misconceptions about the real nature of nazism, but it also reinforces the wrong and dangerous viewpoint that some all-powerful jewish lobby decides what other people should believe.

When the german Luftwaffe was dropping bombs on London, it wasn't jews they were after. When nazis herded russian POWs to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, it wasn't jews they were after. The polish, the roma, Jehova's witnesses, political dissidents, anyone whom the nazis deemed suspect - they weren't jews either. Why are all these people silent now?

Jews shouldn't accept this kind of apologies anymore, unless they're offered to all the decent people in the world as well. Though I sometimes wonder where have all those decent people gone.

Want a clever kid?

I am asking about the kids, since for you (and me) it's already too late. So, if you want an especially developed heir(ess), send him/her to London. No, not to the London School of Economics or any other haloed establishment of the kind. Check this out.

  • Trainee taxi drivers in London spend 3–4 years learning the city's layout
  • We assessed the brain and memory of trainees before and after this long training
  • Those who qualified experienced increased gray matter in posterior hippocampus
  • Successful qualification was also associated with changes in memory profile
All in all, besides learning a useful trade your kid may become the future Einstein or Dickens. And much cheaper than LSE, too.

Only, what the heck is "posterior hippocampus" and where it is located? No matter, just ask the kid after these 3-4 years...

Hat tip: E.S.

21 December 2011

The truth you already knew about Palestinian refugees.

I am cross-posting this video, with permission, from the Anne's opinions blog, as noted. I couldn't resist, because it's another of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon's delightful videos, this time explaining the Palestinian refugee situation, and it deserves as wide a circulation as possible. The fascinating aspect is that at no time does he say it's all the fault of the Palestinians. No, as we already know, the problem lies with the Palestinians' brothers, the surrounding Arab and Moslem states who won't give them citizenship or even permanent resident status. Also at fault, of course, is that wonderful humanitarian organisation, the UNWRA, who manage to define the descendants of those displaced as refugees, lo, until the nth generation.

One can't help noting the contrast, as Anne does to great effect, with the UNHCR, which defined only those actually displaced as refugees. Further, it strove and strives vigorously to ensure that refugees stop being refugees and become settled, either back in their countries of origin or where they find themselves beached. Thus, the 10 million or so (does anyone have a more accurate figure?) displaced persons (DPs) of WW2 had been undisplaced within less than a generation. Whereas the Palestinians have grown vastly in number - merely because they had children , been denied citizenship where they found themselves and maintained as political pawns. Can't think why…If only Israel had more people as articulate as Minister Ayalon and Mark Regev to explain Israel to the rest of the world. Read the whole article here (linked with permission).

By Brian Goldfarb.

20 December 2011

A Chanukah offering

I just thought I'd offer the following thoughts for Chanukah, something on a lighter note than my usual fare. Well, sort of…

I've just been reading “The Non-Jewish Jew” by Isaac Deutscher, first published in 1968. I know, I should have read it years ago, but I was kind of busy when working as a sociologist, and Deutscher's work didn't really cross my horizon back then. We have to bear in mind that, though he was still a Marxist, he had long renounced his anti-Zionism and had become a sort of non-Zionist. Earlier in the book, in the first essay, "The non-Jewish Jew", Deutscher specifically wonders if an earlier renunciation of his anti-Zionism by him and a specific appeal to East European Jews to head for Palestine might not have saved some of the lost lives. After all, in the early 1930s, he had been expelled from the Polish Communist Party for specifically warning of the threat of Nazism.

What caught my eye in particular in the collection was his essay, based on an interview in New Left Review, 23 June 1967 (a mere 2 months or so before he died) entitled “The Israeli-Arab War, June 1967”, and it is interesting for the foresight he displays as to the problems Israel's military victory could well bring it. His first sentence is “The war and the ‘miracle’ of Israel’s victory have solved none of the problems that confront Israel and the Arab states.” Given his Marxism and his experience of the 20th Century, this is perhaps not surprising, but it is, regrettably, prescient, as we know only too well some 44 years later. What, to the present writer, is surprising is that, throughout the essay, he dismisses the idea that the Arab states genuinely offered any sort of existential threat to Israel.

It is impossible, after this length of time, to know what would have so convinced him: Egyptian tanks rolling into the Negev, the UN peacekeepers having been withdrawn? Syrian tanks storming down the Golan Heights into the Huleh Valley? The Jordanian Arab Legion smashing its way into the New City sectors of Jerusalem? What more than had already happened prior to 5 June 1967 he would have needed short of that is something we will never know, and he never had the opportunity to debate this with any nay-sayers.

However, his last paragraph is most instructive. In full, it reads: “The Arabs, on the other hand, need to be put on guard against the socialism or the anti-imperialism of the fools. We trust that they will not succumb to it; and that they will learn from their defeat and recover to lay the foundations of a truly progressive, a socialist Middle East.”

O, if only (to paraphrase him) “The Arabs [would give up] never miss[ing] an opportunity to miss an opportunity” Abba Eban, as if any of you needed telling.

I actually managed to find a link to that interview in the New Left review, here, but, regrettably, you'll have to pay to read it (and I didn't). Probably easier to get the book from the library.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Happy Chanukah!

This time the best I have seen was this old medley of the most popular Chanukah songs, graced by participation of the late and much beloved Uzi Hitman.

19 December 2011

The small man that resembles a toad in a toupee provides field guidance elsewhere

But will his long suffering people fare better now? I doubt it.

In any case, don't miss this three-post retrospective by Judeopundit.

Time for subtlety?

Bob from Brockley, one of the best out there on the intertubes, discusses the differences between different kinds of anti-Semites, shades of anti-Zionism etc. Atzmon is used as a "beacon" of a kind, to be compared with other samples of anti-Semitic spectrum.

Says Bob:

I'm not sure what to think about all this. One thing I am sure of is that there are lots of different antisemitisms, including lots of different left antisemitisms, and they are not all as bad as each other or equivalent to each other, and they are not all genocidal in their logic. We need a sense of proportion and more calmness in approaching them. We hurt only ourselves through hysteria and paranoia.
In another post Bob contends:
On the other hand, I think it is Hoffmanesquely counterproductive for the UJS to treat Norman Finkelstein as analogous to Gilad Atzmon and Nick Griffin, and to picket Finkelstein at Leeds University, as the UJS have done. Finkelstein has said some unpleasant things and has some unsavoury views, but there is quite a lot of clear blue water between him and the Atzmons and Griffins we should be no platforming. Telling the world we can’t tell the difference is to seriously undermine our case.
I am not sure we have the luxury of analyzing the nuances and subtle differences, where, to take one example, Norman Finkelstein, deranged in his own way, could be less of anti-Semite than our beacon.

Finkelstein visiting a Hezbollah "freedom fighters" cemetery

Yes, the difference is definitely there, for all to see. However, as far as the damage and aggravation caused by such characters are concerned, Atzmon should by rights be considered a lesser factor, simply due to being too obviously deranged beyond the acceptable*.

(*) Of course, we can start discussing what "acceptable" means. No, it's beyond my limited patience right now.

Remember Afghanistan?

No, not the one we know today, the older Soviet version. KCMeesha has an exceptional selection of newspaper articles and other stuff on the subject of 1979 Soviet invasion.

18 December 2011

Hamas senior got lost in the tunnels

The news appeared in Maariv's Hebrew weekend edition on Friday Dec 16.

Maariv, using Palestinian Pal Press as their source, tells that Tahr Atwa, a senior Hamas functionary and a part-time commander in Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades left Gaza five days ago to cross to Egypt, using the underground tunnels system. Recently his family received an anonymous phone call from Israel. The caller who presented himself as an intelligence officer, told the family that Mr Atwa is in Israel and recommended that they get a lawyer.

It was nothing, of course, for our operative to get into the location where Mr Atwa is kept. During the whole interview Mr Atwa was seething with rage, mostly directed at Fathi Hammad, Interior Minister of Gaza (and a part-time commander in Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades)."Zionist lover, imperialist infidel lackey dog, the son of a thousand" were the mildest terms used by Mr Atwa to characterize Mr Hammad.

"I kept telling this ...[omitted] that the ...[omitted] tunnels have become a ...[omitted] maze and a man can easily get lost. We have to have a clear set of signposts put into the tunnels. The no good ...[omitted] has never moved his fat unwashed ...[omitted]. When I get, Allah willing, back to Gaza, my people will kill his ass, raze his house and ... [omitted] his wives and children..."

When our operative tried to placate Mr Atwa, telling him that he is, in all probability, not going home anytime soon and that Mr Hammad may expire meanwhile of a natural malady such as an acute lead poisoning, Mr Atwa's rage boiled over and his power of coherent speech was lost.

The Mr Atwa's jail officer, speaking on condition of anonymity (of course), told our operative that Mr Atwa keeps demanding to be provided with a bus ticket to Cairo and an exit visa immediately. "However, Mr Atwa doesn't have a passport for us to put an exit visa in and, besides, the only banknotes he offers in exchange for the bus ticket are Egyptian pounds. Counterfeited, too", the officer added.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Christina Hendricks - related quiz

The quiz is designed for men, but it shouldn't prevent any woman from participation.

Rules of the quiz:

  1. View the picture below for at least 10 sec (click on it first), but no more than 30 sec.
  2. After viewing the picture, scroll down to questions below the picture.
  3. It is not necessary to post the answers in the comments section below, but it will be more fun if you do.

Ready? Go!

Now to the questions:
  1. What liquid is being promoted in the picture?
  2. How many containers with this liquid have you seen presented in the picture?
  3. Are you sure?
The picture borrowed with thanks from here.

17 December 2011

Lady, don't touch that banana, for Allah's sake!

Seems to me I've missed most of the fun. An Egyptian news website Bikya Masr** on Wednesday published a news item about a brand-new fatwa:

An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any “sexual thoughts.”

The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Sawsana news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.

He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”
The website mentioned above made sure to add: "Bikyamasr.com cannot independently verify the accuracy of the news item at time of writing."

Meanwhile, the story continues and we can clearly see that this new fatwa is only a beginning of a new scholastic and judicial branch of Islamic law*.
He also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.

The sheikh was asked how to “control” women when they are out shopping for groceries and if holding these items at the market would be bad for them. The cleric answered saying this matter is between them and God.
(*) To be called "The garden of forbidden delights" or something in this vein, probably.

(**) The editor of the site issued an editorial with profuse apologies for publication of the quoted piece: On Bikyamasr.com’s coverage of the “cucumber sheikh”. It has to be noted that the editorial doesn't retract the information published in the original article and that the latter still remains in place.

From the ticker tape

The recently downed American UAV put the Iranian army on its feet. Several weeks already, without sleep and rest, they scour the neighborhood looking for a midget parachutist.

From here.

Obama tells US Reform Jews he's as pro-Israel as any previous US Pres

Okay, this may well be a "Ripley: Believe it or Not" moment (I know that Ripley started in the US, but we have one here in London), but President Obama is insisting that he shouldn't be sold short on his support for Israel. Among much else, he "listed areas of close cooperation, including missile defense and Iran sanctions." He does have a point here: Israel, according to a recent news item in The Times (of London, and I can't give a link, because it's behind a pay-wall) has recently taken delivery of some 24 or more new US bunker-busting bombs. These are designed to punch through hardened defences to get at what's below. And we all know that, at present, there can be only one target for these: and it's one of the last two words of the Obama quote above.

So, does this mean that the clear and plain lack of empathy between Obama and Netanyahu is just politics as usual? Possibly. After all, PM Cameron of the UK may just have thrown a spanner into the European Union works over a law change designed to save the Eurozone, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel still phoned him and, apparently, spoke warmly with him: politics as usual. Anyway, judge for yourselves by reading the article from JTA.

By Brian Goldfarb.

16 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens RIP

It is difficult to imagine the world without this man, whether you agreed with him or were his bitter enemy. His brilliance and incisive intellect will be missed sorely in the world where mediocrity is on the rise.

Rest in peace, Hitch.

Constipation as the main trouble of European Union

If you thought that the main issue on the table of EU bureaucrats is the lack of funds combined with unwillingness of the public to tighten the belts, you are wrong. It is the health issues that make for the solons' sleepless nights, apparently. Just a short while ago the EU scientists and bureaucrats came to a brilliant conclusion that water is no good in prevention of dehydration. Not content with one brilliant discovery at a time, they are now busily butchering another sacred cow - the Prune.

They might not be able to save the continent’s economy, but the men of Brussels are finding ways to keep busy. For example, they have decided that since the laxative effect of prunes cannot be proved beyond doubt, they cannot be promoted as an aid to regularity.
Of course, you can understand why a British MEP, coming from the cradle of common sense, was easily incensed and ready to act:
This has angered Sir Graham Watson, a Liberal Democrat MEP, so much that he has challenged the relevant European Commissioner to a prune-eating contest – hoping, perhaps, that gut feeling will trump scientific dogma.
My dear Watson! Dear Sir Graham! In the interest of objective scientific inquiry I would like to suggest a few easy and practical rules of this important scientific experiment:
  1. First of all, the whole EU Parliament and all its other elected officials and permanent employees should participate.
  2. Every participant should be allocated the same quantity of prunes. I would say one kilogram.
  3. The time for consuming the prunes should be limited. One hour should do it.
  4. Each participant will be considered done with this part of the experiment only after drinking a liter of a non-dehydrating liquid.
  5. All participants to be kept in the same room under clinical observation for at least five hours. The time could be dedicated to additional experiments, such as proving that air is not necessarily a remedy against asphyxiation.
I would like to offer a supplementary experiment that could be important for the European agricultural community: to check whether the carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) could be used as a sufficient stoppage measure for the participants that display signs of impatience or discomfort. Knowing the EU penchant for precision, I am confident that the carrots used will be of same dimensions.

On a serious note: do the respected members and employees of that bloated bureaucratic heaven called EU really think that nonsense like this will endear them to the potential Chinese, Russian (and even American) donors when they pass the hat around for contributions?

The heck it will...

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

15 December 2011

Two from "The Commentator": anti-Semites taken to task.

I have a distinct memory of referring to John Mann, MP, before in these columns. He, along with Denis MacShane, MP, is one of the really good guys, you know, the sort who includes antisemitism in their definition of racism. As a result, it's good to see him taking a fellow Labour MP to task for making antisemitic comments (and Denis MacShane has done much the same). Paul Flynn has since issued an apology and retracted his comments, which involved him questioning whether the UK Ambassador to Israel might suffer from "divided loyalties" (because he's Jewish). Mann still attacks him, despite the retraction, on the basis that he should have known better in the first place. And so he should. Here's the link.

On the same page is the link below, to an article written by Petra Marquardt-Bigman on the same day. This time, she's writing about Gilad (I was an Israeli paratrooper, but now I'm an antisemite and proud of it) Atzmon and the support shown by that well-known and formerly highly regarded academic Prof. John Mearsheimer, he of the Mearsheimer/Walt Israel Lobby two man industry. This all revolves around Atzmon's (joke of a) book, "The Wandering Who". This matter has been heavily aired all over the place, not least on Harry's Place and Engage (see the blog roll at the right-hand side of this column), but a new take is always welcome: the more apparently good academics who've lost their sense of perspective can be exposed as what they are, the better. Why does this seem to happen so often in connection with Israel? No need to rush to tell me, folks, the question's rhetorical. Just like you, I already know the answer. Petra M-B can be found commenting at engage, at least occasionally, as well as on her own blog at Jpost - to which there is a link at the end of her piece here.

By Brian Goldfarb.

A death that solved two problems at once

The gist of the story takes one sentence to tell:

A man whose wife had recently died was only a few feet away from his own tombstone in a family burial plot when he pointed a loaded gun at a deputy and was fatally shot, authorities said Thursday.
And the man was helpful in two ways:
  1. No need to go drive too far for his burial
  2. And (I know you will hate me for this, but I can't restrain myself) he solved the issue of his tombstone epitaph. Surely it will be: "I didn't shoot the deputy".
Apologies all around...

14 December 2011

Chris Wallace does Rick Santorum

Again, it's an outsider's view of what is going on in the current GOP race for 2012 elections. Mostly inspired by this round of Watcher’s Council nominations, where this ad was published:

Here comes a good reason (one of several, I am afraid) of the dire need for that ad.

The Lebanese groundhog: does he feel lonely?

At least this is what the author of the article Hassan Nasrallah's loneliness tries to prove. I will not argue with the main points, it is just that the time for celebrations doesn't seem to be too close.

However, the advent of Nasrallah's getting out of the bunker, albeit only to get back in a hurry (what does it mean weather-wise in Lebanon, I would like to know?*), is remarkable by itself.

Granted, there were some sightings of him or, at least, of his shadow, out of the bunker during these five years, but in general he is consistent in keeping low** profile.

And here my personal present to the groundhog, to mark his temporary exit with a message from another lonely guy:

(*) Unless his outing means only that a delousing and cleaning crew requested him to leave for a thorough chemical cleaning of the place.

(**) "Low" is a term of reference, and below ground is quite low by any means.

13 December 2011

DoD to get a new, cheaper manufacturer of RQ-170 Sentinel spy drones?

At least, Lockheed Martin should heed this possibility:

Parviz Sorouri, member of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said that his country will "mass produce" the drones in the near future. He also said that the Iranian version would be "of higher quality" than the original RQ-170 Sentinel, according to the Press TV report.
Globalization and its unexpected fruit...

After all, we all know where the new competitors of Lockheed Martin will go for parts. Same place.

Update: At the Elders' HQ we've read this headline with some interest:

Iran Nearly Finished Decoding U.S. Drone, Tehran Claims

Of course, our operatives have been kind enough to get the decoded text in its current state (in exchange the Ayatollahs were promised that we'll fill in the blanks for them). Here it comes:
deartowelh...splsacceptthisworthlesspiec..fcrapitsareallemon.nd....wedont.no..owyouallwillmanagetouseitbut.uradvicewillbe.ouseitforkeepinitcoldbeeritscoolingsystemisthe.nly.oodthing.wearegoin..obuyus.fewHerons.USAF endofmessage.
Volunteers to parse the text are welcome.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité and, well, a bit of Jew-hating on the side

How does "Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism (CECLR)" sound to you? I mean, aside of that ugly acronym? Nice, isn't it? Of course, nothing but good could come out of an outfit with such an inspiring name. You would think so, that is. Well, think again - after you read this.

Aside of the ugly facts, my attention was caught by this as well:

The silence that followed was such that you could hear your neighbours breathing and all looked in disbelief. The other CECLR female lecturer did not react and the course continued as if nothing had happened.
Is that silence a sign of the times?

Too bad.

12 December 2011

What Is Your Favourite Christmas Song?

No? How about favourite Hanukkah song? Maybe "Holiday season" song? No? Anyone?

To be fully inclusive and fair to the ancient people of Gaza, we can't miss out on the favourite "lob a missile at the nearest Jewish school" song. Do let us know, if that's your kinda thing and please be sure to provide your current GPS coordinates.

To cut a long story short... Ladies and Gentlemen! Please welcome Kinky Friedman with my favourite Santa song:

10 December 2011

A picture is worth a thousand missiles

While everybody's arguing for or against preemptive strikes on an Iran going nuclear, few people pay attention to a different type of war already going on for quite some time on the virtual battlefield called propaganda.

I've recently had a rather unpleasant surprise when, browsing Jewish and Israel related topics on a forum, I came across a particularly nasty comment about israeli massacres. The poster even bothered to upload a very suggestive picture as tangible proof - and of small children, to boot! This one:

Is it deja vu for you, too? The children in the picture are, of course, two of the three Jewish children murdered by Palestinian Arabs in Itamar last March. Following the link helpfully provided in the comment, I found myself in the virtual midst of our sworn enemies, the Hezbollah. Yes, the picture of Itamar children has been posted on Al Manar as proof of alleged israeli savagery and blood lust...alongside an article to match.

If you click properties you can see that the name of the picture is itamar-massacre-caricature. However, since Israel haters are more than eager to cling to half a hair if only it drips anti-Zionist venom, nobody on their side is likely to even think to check the source of the picture. I bet most of them don't even know what Itamar is. Sure enough, I found the same article, with the same picture, on a number of pro-Palestinian sites. Like this one, which also has a number of links to Atzmon's writings. How suitable.

In the same article there's a picture of a girl holding a "Stop killing us sign":

Oh, this sweet oppressed Palestinian girl...but is she?

Obviously, I thought, since we already know about several "borrowed" pictures, there might be others out there we are still unaware of, harder to detect. That's why I aimed my Google at another choice target, the website of PressTV. As expected, anti-Israel article with big picture of poor Palestinians' homes being destroyed in East Jerusalem by big bad bulldozer-friendly Israelis:

Ach, the never disappointing PressTV! Expect the worse, they will deliver it. Even if they have to shoot themselves in foot, as I'll prove in an instant.

PressTV posted the dusty news on December 5, 2011. But....but...were are the news? Because Electronic Intifada clearly says that the same desperate Palestinian mourned the destruction of his beloved home, this time in Gaza, by same bulldozer watched by same soldier on May 17, 2004. If we ever had any doubt that history repeats itself...

One website that caught my eye proudly claimed "This site provide a complete Islamic browsing". Complete with a heart-breaking plea to boycott Israeli products, and equally heart-breaking pictures:

Islamic, and complete, is it? Somehow, I find it hard to believe that Daled Amos would agree (browse down for the picture).

Which shows that there are not enough pictures of Israeli atrocities against poor Palestinians,despite the army of photographs ready and more than willing to shoot them. The pro-Palestinian media, struggling with a severe shortage of Israeli massacres, came up with recycled and stolen pictures. In other words, they chose to lie. They even use our own dead against us. And they don't even bother to deny it:
It is no longer worthy to describe media and information sector as the fourth power only. Changes happened in the region proved that media is no longer a channel to broadcast news, but it turned to be a news and stance maker station. It makes the act and its reaction.
Clear enough?

09 December 2011

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners