Thursday, May 31, 2007

I heart Dan Gillerman

I fell in love with Dan Gillerman this summer during the second Lebanon war. He has a way with words at which I can just marvel. He makes his point in three swift sentences, whereas I take five paragraphs just to get an idea across, and I'm not very good at that either. I often wonder if people who are not so well aware of the whole situation can understand the sarcastic remarks he often makes. Very cynical this guy. My hero.

Anyway, there's a reason to my serenading Dan. You see today the UN Security Council issued a statement, calling for a ceasefire from the Palestinians. The odd thing is, there's nothing in that statement that blames Israel or that asks Israel for a ceasefire either. I'm not used to that. I need a chair.
They urged all parties to join the members of the Council in supporting the call of President Abbas for an immediate end to the violence.
Although you'll notice that it's not very clear which violence it is that needs to be ended, the internal violence between Hamas and Fatah, or the Kassam rockets.

In any case, Danny's reply rocks. It isn't as great as some of his replies this summer (I'll have to find my favorites again, and share them with my two and a half readers), but I still love his style. His discreet way of criticizing the UN while seemingly lauding them, ahhhh. Where's the popcorn?

(you'll need real player for this)

"Israel is very happy that the Security Council has finally decided to intervene and to call for the Palestinians to have an immediate cease fire."

"By that I believe they mean both the violence between the different factions and the violence towards Israel."

"Once that stops, there will be no Israeli reaction [...] It's as simple as that."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cause and Effect

See these headlines? Not the Peres trying (again) for presidency. The ones about the Kassam rockets.
The first headline says that a Kassam rocket hit a Sderot house. Is this making echos in the MSM*? Shouldn't it? People from Gaza, a territory Israel has completely evacuated (never mind whether this was a good or bad decision), are shooting rockets in the one and only aim of hitting as many Israeli Jews as possible. The fact that they usually miss and that there aren't many victims is beside the point. They are shooting rockets into a neighboring country for no reason. Ahhhh but there is a reason, I can already hear those voices echoing all over. There are reasons, they are oppressed and occupied and they are freedom fighters fighting for their freedom.
Oppressed? By who? Not the inhabitants of Sderot. Or any by Israeli citizen. Remember the Disengagement in 2005?
Occupied? By who? Not the inhabitants of Sderot. Not by any Jewish or Israeli occupier.
Freedom fighters? How is shooting rockets at innocent civilians going to make anyone any more "free"?
No. There are no excuses.
They are shooting rockets at innocent civilians. They want to kill and maim as many innocent Jewish Israelis as possible.
Second headline: Mashaal is saying the rocket attacks will continue. Precisely those rocket attacks that are being shot just because they might land on Israelis and kill them. Make no mistake. They are shooting rockets at innocent civilians and they will continue.

And then, obviously, whoever gets attacked has to reply. In this case, Israel. Israel, whose army, the IDF tries to minimize civilian deaths as much as possible. The IDF, whose soldiers are not there on some personal vendetta nor do they believe that if they get killed in mission they will become holy martyrs and have 72 virgins waiting for them. The IDF soldiers are there because their country needs them, but as soon as this conflict is over, all they'll want to do is go back home and continue "life as normal". The sooner these conflicts end, the better.
You can tell by the second headline that this is not the case for the other side.

Yet MSM doesn't think this is newsworthy. Oh, when Israel responds to these rockets, then the MSM will wake up and report all about the Israeli "overreaction". Never mind the rocket attacks that started up the whole situation in the first place. No no no. Cause and Effect has no importance when reporting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only thing of any importance is what Israel did wrong.

But is Israel doing anything wrong at all? Were Belgium to randomly fire deadly rockets into France, what would France do? Well, the France of a few weeks ago would probably install a new Vichy regime (snicker, snicker) and promise to move the targeted civilians closer to the border with Belgium. I hope that Sarko would reply with a fierce attack which would have the general idea of "If you attack us, it means you want war, so if it's war you want, it's war you get". Don't get me wrong, I'm not some war loving freak who reels at the thought and sight of blood and gore and guns going off. But when I get attacked, as a citizen of a certain country, I expect my government to do its utmost to protect me. Otherwise what's the government there for? It sure isn't very useful for anything else... (but that's a completely different matter, and I tend to digress rather quickly).
I was saying, if any country on earth would be attacked by its neighbor, not only for no reason but after very painful concessions given to that very same neighbor, that country would answer back and do it with force. No one would question its motives. Unless that country is Israel. So point your finger at us.

Al Pacino said it best:
"You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fingers and say, that's the bad guy. So what's that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide."

For more information about what's going on in Gaza, I'll point you to Israellycool, who's doing a complete coverage of the conflict.

*MSM stands for MainStream Media. Acronym taken from No use in making up my own when Charles' are the best already.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Upcoming Elections in Belgium

I don't understand much about Belgian politics, they seem to have elections once a year for something or other. In a few weeks they'll be having elections for the Senate and the Chambre. A while ago they had communal elections, not long before that they had regional elections, not to mention federal and legislative elections and I'm probably forgetting something.
One of the political parties is called Parti des Jeunes Musulmans, the Young Muslim Party. Their propaganda has started going up (just like everyone else's, obviously) and I do wonder a bit about it. You see they have women on their list. But at least on one of their posters, where they show the faces of the top three names, the veiled woman's face is hidden by the party's name. Coincidence or unwillingness to show a woman's face? What if she does get elected, will pictures of her always be censored? And who on earth is she?

By the way, see the red bearded guy in the picture? He's Jean-François Bastin, the party's founder, a Belgian convert who's more known under the name of Abdullah Abu Abdulaziz Bastin. He's also been active/started some other political parties such as the PCP and the CIB (I'm not sure of the details, you'll have to excuse me) but he's quit those.
Why this person is "interesting" ?
Well, other than being the leading man on a list called "the YOUNG Muslim Party" even though he's about 60 years old, well he has "interesting" connections.
Is he inspired by Hamas n°2 Muhammad Abu Tir? Both of them sporting lovely bright orange beards...

And his family name has been in the news for reasons other than political elections in Belgium. In 2004 his son, Muhammed El Amin Bastin, was arrested for connections to the 2003 terror attacks against two synagogues in Istanbul. Remember those two terror attacks? On November 15, 2003, two truck bombs slammed into the Beth Israel and Neve Shalom synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey and exploded. At least 57 people died and and about 600 or more were wounded (numbers vary depending on the sources).

With neighbours like these...

Tuesday Morning Road Rage

People who don't know the code de la route really annoy me...
I'm usually a very patient and calm person. Except for when I'm driving in the morning during rush hour. The French are bad drivers. In the hope that maybe one, just one, of the drivers who annoy me so much on the road might actually read this blog, I will have my regular Road Rage posts... (to vent, as usual)

< Moishe Oofnik Grouchy mode: ON >
If you are about to enter a roundabout, don't put your right blinker on. Don't put your left blinker on either. Actually don't put any blinker on. We know you're turning to get in. You haven't got a choice.
However, when you are about to exit the roundabout, put on your right blinker. And not half an hour before you leave the roundabout. Try to estimate the time and distance needed correctly. Can't be too hard.
< Moishe Oofnik Grouchy mode: OFF >

TV for children

I have always been appalled by what Palestinian children get to watch on TV. Not only Farfur the Islamist Mickey Mouse clone, but everything those children have been subjected to for the past decade or so. Growing up in Israel I never heard a single call for violence or sacrifice for a greater cause. The songs I heard on the television never included the words "kalashnikov".

This is the TV I grew up with

They are singing their different fruit names in both Hebrew and Arabic. Wouldn't any normal parent want that their kid watch that rather than Farfur?

Differing scales

A discussion with someone over the Sarkozy election. This person kept repeating "Do you realize the gravity of this? Sarkozy has been elected president of France, I mean this is an outrage". I understand that the democratic election of someone like Sarkozy is very disturbing to my friend (I don't understand WHY it's disturbing, I just understand that it IS disturbing). But this same person, when discussing the war in Lebanon this summer, did not find the fact that there are Hezbollah members in the Lebanese parlament at least as worrisome if not more.

And this is what really annoys me. My friend is just an example, but all of Main Stream Europe seems to think in the same way. Sarkozy being elected is more of an outrage than Hamas being elected in January 2006 ( After Israel had unilaterally disengaged from the settlements in Gaza in 2005, but I guess no one cares about timelines in Europe). Sarkozy president is more of a menace to world stability than Ahmadinejad is with his constant menaces of wiping out a country from the globe. Sarkozy making remarks about "scum" is more scandalous than TV shows shown to Palestinian children where they are taught that Islam will conquer the world. Their gravity scales are different than mine I guess (even if Ségolène had won rather than Sarkozy, I still wouldn't have considered it a bigger blow to democracy than say, having terrorists in the election ballots in the first place...).

I don't understand this attitude. This is more than just the general "rooting for the underdog". I wish I could understand what the root of this thinking is, so that I could answer properly to people with this mindset.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

First post

I know people can't always agree. I know most of the people around me don't agree with me. And this is a problem, because actually most of my best friends hate my political opinions. You see, I'm not a socialist, I'm not a leftist, I don't hate Bush, I have no sympathy for Islamists, I don't hate Sarkozy and I guess I am just generally considered as politically incorrect. I tire of arguing with my friends, especially since everything I say about the USA, Israel, the war on terror, Palestinians, the elections in France, Iran, the war in Iraq, 9-11, 7-7, the veil, anti-semitism etc, seems to them to be tainted because I happen to be Israeli.

Yes, I am Israeli. Oh yeah, and Jewish. And therefore people assume that my opinion on what happens in my country (though I haven't lived there since my teens) is biased. Never mind the fact that about 50% of Israelis don't agree with me either. My opinion is biased.

Though it's true, I love my country and no matter where I live in the world I will still consider it MY country, I am capable of criticizing her decisions and actions. I try to remain objective and try to think of things not in terms of "Israel and Palestine" or "Jews and Muslims" or "Jews and non-Jews", but rather people from category A and category B. Easier said than done, I know. But I try. Still, no matter how I turn things, most of the time there's an obvious double standard when it comes to judging Israel. I will talk more about that as this blog progresses (I hope).

Who I really am is not important, as this blog isn't about me. I love civilized discussions, so feel free to comment. But don't forget, this is still my world, and I get to write what I want. If you don't like it, make your own blog. A blog I read a lot is Meryl Yourish, and just like her blog, this is a No Israel-Bashing Zone. If you do not respect the rules of my world, your comments will not be tolerated. I could just quote what she says about it, but the basic idea is this: Whether you agree or not, Israel gets bashed quite a lot, too much. I will not create a platform for Israel to be bashed some more.

There, now that I've done my aggressive bit, I can say I've really written my first post.
I will post mostly in English, but since I am currently living in France, I will probably want to express myself about things happening here and to our neighbors in French. Though I am not very interested in my local politics, so those parts will be rather superficial. I might occasionally post in Hebrew, but this will be more nostalgia.

About nostalgia, I chose Moishe Oofnik to represent me because I feel this is how others see me. For those who aren't familiar with the stars of my childhood, Moishe is from Rehov Sumsum , which is the Israeli equivalent of Sesame Street, and Moishe is the Israeli Oscar the Grouch. When I talk politics with my friends, I feel they all see me as an extremist, though I just try to point out facts and reality and unfairnesses which I notice. So instead, I will vent here, or post things that I find are interesting and most people don't know.

One day I might look back on this post and think to myself that as far as first posts go, I really could have been wittier or at least more interesting. But for now, I guess it'll do.