17 March 2017

Nike's Pro Hijab as a stepladder to XXI century

The new foray of Nike into the Islamic fashion would have passed unmentioned on these here pages. Whatever I am and whatever I do, fashion of any kind isn't of interest to me. Normally. So, if Nike people want to expand their market to the Islamic world, more power to them. Whatever.

However, this article on this same subject (some well meaning friend sent me) suffers from so many dumb superlatives that I couldn't resist. Starting with this headline:

'Pro Hijab'​ Nike's Latest Stroke of Marketing Genius

But wait, it is just an aperitive, so to say. Here comes a pearl:
No, the hijab and accompanying "What Will They Say About You?" ad campaign is far more about Nike marketing itself to the 1.6 BILLION Muslims across the world and winning their loyalty as the Islamic world rapidly modernizes in the 21st century.
"rapidly modernizes in the 21st century" - believe it or not. Seriously?

And if you want to know what is it Nike stands for and against, here is another good one:
We are seeing a wave of Islamophobia in the United States and across the world that is unprecedented in its scale and explicitness, as Donald Trump continues his attempt to institute a "Muslim ban" and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen talks about outright banning the hijab and "burkini" swimsuit in public.

Well, Jim Weber is the Founder & CEO at Weber PPC - Marketing and Advertising, so he knows all about selling stuff, I guess. We better listen.

15 March 2017

Mobileye sale and knee biters, large and small

The media, of course, is full of praise for the successful exit of Mobileye, the Israeli maker of safety and self-driving car technology, sold to Intel for a serious amount of money ($15.3B, as the media says). I, like many other folks, applaud and congratulate the company owners and employees with their success and wealth. And, seeing how some of the proceeds of that sale will inevitably end up in our treasury's pockets, I too will expect to make a shekel or two out of it in various ways our inventive ministry of finance and others will undoubtedly devise.

So it was kinda strange to see a sour face on the general background of celebration and joy. The sour face belongs to no other than our progressive Haaretz, via its reporter, one Eliran Rubin. The article in question:

Mobileye Founder After $15.3 Billion Exit: 'It’s Not the Money. We Want to Change the World'

But it is not the headline, it is the lede that caught my attention:

Amnon Shashua defends the sale of the self-driving car technology firm to Intel as essential for the company’s growth.

Have you notice that word that somehow jumped out at me when I've read this sentence? The "defends", I mean? Apparently the sale itself isn't as obviously desired step in a high tech Israeli start-up career as one might consider. Somebody had even asked Amnon Shashua why has he done it, judging by the following response:
Asked why he consented to selling Mobileye when it was riding the crest of the autonomous-car wave, with a market cap of $10 billion and alliances with some of the world’s top auto makers, Shashua said he saw it as the only way for the company to keep growing.
I can only guess who was asking and so can you.

The motive of the sale to Intel needing defence appears once again in the article:
Yesterday Netanyahu and Economy and Industry Minster Eli Cohen defended the move, saying it boosted economic growth and helped lure multinational companies to Israel.
I happened to hear part of that on radio, and the last thing that would have come to mind of the listener was that the speeches were defensive in any conceivable way. You can take it to the bank.

But nothing to do about it, I guess. Knee biters will be knee biters, no matter what. And, since small knee biters were mentioned, here is an example of one:

13 March 2017

Some women...

haven't yet got fully immersed in their newly acquired womanhood, I would guess. Witness this tweet that might cause a serious case of cognitive dissonance to a person not familiar with modern identity politics:

Danielle Muscato, a self-identified lady, looks like this:

(and no, before you ask - it is not a joke). Danielle Muscato has her site:
Danielle Muscato, formerly Dave Muscato, is an atheist activist, writer, debater, pundit, musician, and transgender woman from the United States.
So everything is legit and serious. Only, I guess, our fair Danielle still slips back into a male chauvinist role from time to time, what with the references to dick sucking and all.


12 March 2017

Taking Purim to Moscow - really, Bibi?

Purim, between other things, is for practical jokes. So, probably, one should consider the latest Bibi's shenanigan being a part of that tradition.
In a meeting with Putin in Moscow, Netanyahu said Persia had made “an attempt to destroy the Jewish people that did not succeed” some 2,500 years ago, an event commemorated through the Jewish holiday of Purim, which Israel will celebrate starting Saturday night and lasting in some places until Monday.

“Today there is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy the state of the Jews,” Netanyahu said. “They say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles.”
Putin, somewhat uncharacteristically, found a soft way to respond to this amazing hysterical historical lesson:
Adopting a conciliatory tone, Putin said that the events described by Netanyahu had taken place “in the fifth century B.C.”

“We now live in a different world. Let us talk about that now,” Putin said.
Calling for a doctor and a padded cell would have been a breach of diplomatic protocol, surely. Oh well... and of course, Putin's way out of the issue, the "We now live in a different world." was readily provided to Putin by Bibi himself.

But no doubt, this visit will be touted by Bibi's office as another brilliant victory by Bibi over... whatever.

Happy Purim, anyway, people!

09 March 2017

Border control and Israeli democracy

A disclaimer: the author of this post doesn't support* the new law that denies entry to BDS supporters and similar.

And no, I don't feel any sympathy to the BDS crowd who, by and large, diligently work to achieve one goal - so called "decolonization of Palestine". Unlike the fiery and dontcha-dare-argue-with-me Allison Kaplan Sommer, I don't believe that a visit to our place will possibly make a friend out of a BDS-nik enemy.

Saying this, I would like to address the concerns (or glee) of some of my friends and others who decry (or gloat upon) the supposed destructive impact this law has on Israeli democracy, imperfect as it is anyhow. Some of them even consider the law to be an abuse of human rights - no more and no less.

To consider the link between democracy and the right to visit (or emigrate to) a sovereign state, I would like to use a few recent examples from US of A.

Deportation of 35 Russian diplomats from the country by Barack Obama. Not only was it a rather sweeping measure (only a part of these 35 were involved in shady activities, most probably), there was also an issue of their families - all in all rather a nasty deal.

Obama putting an end to the 20-year-old "wet foot, dry foot" policy that allowed most Cuban migrants who reach U.S. soil to stay and become legal permanent residents after one year. No need to explain the meaning of this one, is there?

Trump's immigration ban(s).

If you think that I brought up these examples to attempt some "whataboutery", perish the thought. It is just that when Israel is being discussed, many people tend to lose their ability to think logically. So here we have three decisions related to states' borders and people rights. Some of these are less draconian, some totally amoral (guess which). All of these are relevant to citizens of other states.

Now, how do these decisions impact the state of American democracy? Well, not at all. The point is... I have already made my point: these three decisions are relevant to citizens of other states only. Democracy, by definition, is not about its treatment of foreign citizens. Moreover, democracies are known to treat other states (democracies included) quite shabbily. Democracies cheat one another at finances, spy one on another and sometimes even go to war one with another - all this while remaining democracies.

And there is no deity given right of a foreign citizen to cross the border of a democratic state. As everyone who ever stood in the line before border control and experienced the unwelcoming scowl of the border policeman/policewoman knows only too well.

So there.

(*) The new law is, first of all unnecessary: the border control has always had the authority to turn back unwanted visitors, which authority was exercised from time to time. The worrying tradition of our illustrious MKs to pile one unnecessary law upon another continues. After all, the competition of showing off his/her patriotism never ends with our solons.