Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Olmert to release terrorists in order to appease the other terrorists

Ehud Olmert announced yesterday that he will release 250 Fatah terrorists, and make them sign a pledge that they will never ever again do terror.

Then he's going to make them write 500 times "Sitting in an Israeli jail is proof that Israel exists and I therefore recognize it" on a blackboard.

I mean, really, making them sign that thing? Will it change anything? Since when do terrorists care about not breaking promises to the infidel?

And they are Fatah terrorists. Gilad Shalit is being held by Hamas terrorists. There's an itty bitty civil war going on between them, maybe Hamas won't be too happy about Israel strengthening the "other side" (which is, I assume, one of the reasons that is actually pushing Olmert to do this).

It's not easy being Prime Minister, because statistically speaking, you're bound to make some bad decisions. But I know we ALL have a feeling that we could have somehow handled this better.

In honor of this feeling, I hereby present you with a childhood favorite of mine:
Adoni Rosh Ha-Ir - Mister Mayor.
Sung by Igal Bashan and written by Igal Bashan and Uzi Chitman (another Israeli musician gone too soon). It's a kiddie song asking the mayor to please step aside for one day, I'd like to try out the job, after all I love this city too. Cute way to start the day.

Google Zionism

Just doing as told by Meryl Yourish. Ctrl C + Ctrl V.

Ami Iseroff wants us to get the haters off the Google Zionism search links. One of the top searches is to your typical anti-Semitic loonie site.

Zionism (Jewish Virtual Library)
Zionism (Mideast Web)
Zionism Israeli Foreign Ministry
Zionism & Israel
What is Zionism?
Zionism and Israel On The Web

There. I’ve done my part. Click the links, and if you’ve got a
blog, put ‘em up on your site. Copy and paste them from here.

And my little two cents: Le Sionisme expliqué à nos potes - Zionism explained to our friends. A French book edited by the UEJF, Union des Etudiants Juifs de France in order to tell the French youth about what Zionism really means.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What Really Happened in the Middle East

How to explain to someone who's only heard vague headlines on the news and has no idea what the whole thing is about? I always wanted to be able to explain, in simple sentences, how the whole conflict really started.

The Terrorism Awareness Project has done just that.

If you are at all interested in having simple facts presented to you, go straight away to see this presentation:
What Really Happened in the Middle East

Any questions?

I would like to translate it to French. I hope they won't mind if in future posts I will try to do so. This is too well done to not be shown to the whole of France.

Breaking news: A recording of Gilad Shalit

This is the first sign of life that we have from Gilad Shalit in a year.

You can hear the recording here on walla.co.il. Gilad Shalit's father confirms this is his son's voice.

There is a Hebrew transcript apparently here but I can't read a word of Arabic, so I don't know where to look for it.

Here's the English transcript I took from monsters & critics:

'I am the soldier Gilad, son of Noam Shalit, imprisoned by the martyr Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades.
'Mom and dad, my brother and sister and my friends in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
'I send you my greetings from prison and my yearning to see you.
'I have completed an entire year in captivity, my health continues to deteriorate and I need prolonged hospitalization.
'I am sorry at the lack of interest of the Israeli government and the IDF in my case and their failure to heed the demands of the martyr al-Qassam.
'It is clear that they must heed these demands to free me from my prison, and especially since I was on a military mission under military order and I was not a drug dealer. (Eds: reference to Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum who
was freed from four years of captivity by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in a 2004 mass prisoners swap. He has since admitted that he had been dealing drugs at the time of his abduction.)
'And just as I have parents, a mom and a dad, so the thousands of Palestinian prisoners have mothers and fathers whose sons must be returned to them.
'I have great hope in my government that it will take a greater interest in me and will respond to the demands of the Mujahideen.
Corporal Gilad Shalit.'
This is a whirlwind of emotions for me. Gilad is alive. He needs help. Amnesty is completely silent about this (last news report on Amnesty's site with Shalit's name dates from June 2006). The ADL isn't silent about this (kudos to them, as usual).

In exchange for Gilad they ask that we release thousands of terrorists with blood on their hands.
I ask you, what is a tormented country to do in the face of this? For a parent there is nothing worse than to have a child held in captivity. Yes, it is worse than death. Because there is always the hope of seeing him again living side by side with the terror of what is happening to him every single second. But how can Israel release murderers who openly admit they'll go right back to doing what they were doing? They won't see this as a sign of peace offering. It will be a sign of weakness. And that means there will be more kidnappings of soldiers. And more terror.

Dan Gillerman said it very well: "These people are not in jail for some minor traffic violation. They are in jail because they planned, helped or participated in terror attacks on Israelis."

Israel is a country that is subjected to harsh criticism from organizations like Amnesty and the Red Cross and the UN. We get complaints that it's so hard for a terrorist's wife to come visit her murdering husband because he's in a jail 5 hours away from her. We get complaints that their cell phones are confiscated. No praise for Israel's doctors who take care of those terrorists. No word of praise for the normal jail conditions they receive. And what else? No criticism for Gilad's harsh conditions. He says he needs medical attention. This is the first time we've heard his voice, and look what they're making him say. An Israeli soldier would not say that of his free will.

Where's the balance? What did Gilad Shalit do that the world isn't outraged that anyone in the world might suggest that his freedom is equivalent to the freedom of thousands of terrorists??

Update: Here's a clearer video on youtube. You can tell he's being told what to say.

365 days of despair for the Shalit family

(English translation of my previous post in French)

Today we mark a year since the abduction of Gilad Shalit.

This happened less than a year after Israel removed 8000 "colons" from the Gaza Strip, because the Palestinians complained that they were an obstacle to peace. No. I don't like that word. They weren't "colons". They had nothing in common with colonies as we know the from the French history in Algeria. No. In 2005 Israel evacuated 8000 human beings whose only fault was being Jewish. Jews cannot live under the Palestinian Authority. 8000 Jews living in the Gaza Strip were supposedly an obstacle to peace. I think that the unwillingness of living with 8000 Jews is an obstacle to peace. How many Muslims live in Paris?

One year since armed terrorists from Gaza infiltrated Israeli territory through tunnels, killed two soldiers and abducted Gilad. But the obstacle to peace is the "settlers". One year since we haven't heard any news from Gilad, and the UN lends a deaf ear to the family's and Israel's demands to release him. But this is all surely again because of the "settlers". A whole year without news, and neither the Red Cross Red Crescent society, nor Amnesty International have made a single effort in order to give us an update on his state. This is surely again the "settlers'" fault. Is Gilad still alive? Has he been tortured? Is he aware of all that we've tried to do to free him since last year? Is he aware of this deaf world we live in, this world that is more outraged by the kidnapping of Alan Johnston (BBC reporter who had daily contacts with terrorists, who was in the Gaza Strip and who we know is alive) than by the abduction of a young soldier who was in Israel proper? Gilad, you have a double nationality, you are French also. Where is France who should be fighting for you?

This is a letter I've received by mail. I don't know if it's written by his father or a father. The message, however, is right there.

It is to my son that I send this letter.

Soon it will be one year that the God-crazed, hate-lovers and liberty destroyers have abducted you. Soon it will be one year since your gaze, that of a young man barely even 20, calls to us and tells us: "Come, free me. I can't stand it any longer. I want to see my parents again. I want to go home, and leave this inferno in which I am"".

Your gaze, Gilad - this is a father telling you this - is haunting me day and night. I think of you as millions of Israelis think of you, every single day.

At first I thought we could secure your liberation through negotiations. But today, as the terrorist army of the Hamas, at the orders of Tehran, has launched a ballistic offensive against the State of Israel, I become more and more worried.

This morning, while we were being informed of the death of a young Israeli, murdered by a Kassam missile in Sderot, your abductors announced that they were ready to kill you. A hateful blackmail that they threaten to put to action if Israel doesn't cease from its military response, which is after all no more and no less than that of a legitimate defence when faced with daily acts of war.

My little Gilad, you have been abducted a second time today: The terrorists use your name and what you represent for an entire population in order to make us feel guilty of being a country who defends herself and can't continue being attacked without

It is a dirty war which we are leading against the integrist Islam. I don't believe that they believe in God as they claim. I do not think that it is Islam that is guiding them, but an appetite for death and destruction that knows no limit. They are strong only because they know our weaknesses.

What I call a weakness is our love for life, our respect for our children - I should say all of the children with no distinction - while they at any moment are ready to put theirs in peril or even worse, to use them as human bombs. I still remember those 12 or 14 year old children who would show up at army checkpoints with a bomb ready to explode in their school backpacks. This bomb had been placed there, without their knowledge, by an older friend.

Gilad - I almost want to say "my child" - hold on, stay strong! Today your destiny is ours. A destiny in which, once again, the Jews is imprisoned, threatened only because he is the symbol of unique nation, of a unique history. If the leaders of Hamas think that by using your life they will change the course of history, they are once again mistaken. We love our children but we also have another quality: We never forget...

I call onto the leaders of Hamas and their sponsors to think deeply about the disastrous consequences - for them as well as their protectors - in the even that Gilad's life should be taken. War is one thing. Cruelty and barbarism are another. The State of Israel is with you my son. And know that even when the situation seems unclear, your abductors shouldn't mistake restrain with weakness.

Gilad, this letter that I am sending you is both a letter of respect and of love. Even if you think you are alone in this sea of extremism and violence, our eyes, our thoughts and our actions are all turned towards you.

365 jours de désespoir pour la famille Shalit

Aujourd'hui on marque un an depuis l'enlèvement de Guilad Shalit.

Ceci a eu lieu moins de un an après que Israël a retiré 8000 "colons" de la bande de Gaza, parce que les Palestiniens se plaignaient que cela était un obtacle à la paix. Non, je n'aime pas ce mot. Ces ne sont pas des "colons". Ils n'avaient rien à voir avec les colonies telles que celles que la France a eu en Algérie. Non. En 2005 Israél a évacué 8000 êtres humains dont le seul défaut était d'être Juif. Les Juifs ne peuvent pas habiter sous l'autorité palestinienne. 8000 juifs habitant dans la bande de Gaza était soit disant un obstacle pour la paix. Moi je trouve que la non-volonté de pouvoir habiter avec 8000 Juifs est un obstacle pour la paix. Combien de musulmans habitent à Paris?

Un an depuis que des terroristes armés ont infiltré le territoire Israélien à partir de Gaza par des tunnels, ont tué deux soldats et ont kidnappé Guilad. Mais l'obstacle à la paix c'était les "colons". Un an depuis qu'on n'a plus de nouvelles de Guilad, que l'ONU reste sourd aux demandes de la famille Guilad et d'Israël à faire pression pour le libérer. Mais tout ça c'est surement encore à cause des "colons". Un an sans nouvelles, et ni l'organisation de la Croix Rouge/Croissant Rouge ni l'organisation d'Amnesty International ont fait le moindre effort pour nous donner des nouvelles de son état. Mais c'est surement encore la faute aux "colons". Guilad est-il vivant encore? A-t-il été torturé? Est ce qu'il est au courant de tout ce qu'on a essayé de faire depuis l'année passée? Est ce qu'il est au courant du monde sourd, qui est plus outré par l'enlèvement d'Alan Johnston (reporteur de la BBC qui avait des rapports quotidien avec des terroristes pour son boulot et qui se trouvait dans la bande de Gaza) que par l'enlèvement d'un jeune soldat israélien qui était en patrouille en Israel propre? Guilad tu as la double nationalité, tu es français aussi. Où est la France qui devrait se battre pour toi?

Voici une lettre que j'ai reçue par mail. Je ne sais pas si son père ou un père qui l'a écrit. Le message, en tout cas, il y est.

C'est à mon fils que j'envoie cette lettre.

Bientôt un an que les fous de Dieu, amoureux de la haine et destructeurs de la liberté, t'ont kidnappé. Cela fera bientôt un an que ton regard, celui
d'un jeune homme d'à peine 20 ans nous appelle et nous dit : "Venez,
libérez-moi. Je n'en peux plus. Je veux revoir mes parents. Je veux rentrer à la maison, sortir de l'enfer dans lequel je me trouve".

Ton regard, Guilad - c'est un père qui te le dit - me hante jour et nuit. Je pense a toi comme des millions d'Israéliens et d'Israéliennes pensent à toi, tous les jours.

Au début, je pensais que nous pourrions obtenir ta libération par des négociations et des pourparlers. Mais aujourd'hui, alors que l'armée terroriste du Hamas aux ordres de Téhéran a lancé une offensive balistique sur l'Etat d'Israël, je suis de plus en plus inquiet.

Ce matin, alors que nous venions d'apprendre la mort d'un jeune Israélien assassiné par un missile Kassam à Sdérot, tes ravisseurs annoncent qu'ils sont prêts à mettre fin à tes jours. Un odieux chantage qu'ils menacent de mettre à exécution si Israël ne cesse pas sa riposte militaire qui n'est pourtant ni plus ni moins que de la légitime défense face à des actes de guerre quotidiens.

Mon petit Guilad, tu viens d'être enlevé une deuxième fois aujourd'hui : les terroristes utilisent ton nom et ce que tu représentes pour tout un peuple afin de nous culpabiliser d'être un pays qui se défend et qui ne peut continuer d'être attaqué sans riposter.

C'est une sale guerre que nous menons face à l'Islam intégriste. Je ne crois pas qu'ils croient en Dieu comme ils le disent. Je ne pense pas que ce soit l'Islam qui les mène, mais un appétit sans limite pour la mort et la destruction. Ils ne sont forts que parce qu'ils connaissent nos faiblesses.

J'appelle faiblesse l'amour de la vie, le respect de nos enfants -je devrais dire de tous les enfants sans distinction- alors qu'eux sont prêts à chaque instant à mettre les leurs en péril ou pire, à les utiliser comme bombes humaines. Je me souviens de ces gosses de 12 ou 14 ans se présentant à un point de contrôle de l'armée avec, dans leur cartable, une bombe prête à exploser. Elle avait été placée là, à leur insu, par un copain plus âgé.

Guilad - j'ai presque envie de te dire "mon enfant"- tiens bon, sois fort! Ton destin est aujourd'hui le notre. Un destin dans lequel, de nouveau, le juif est emprisonné, menacé uniquement parce qu'il est le symbole d'une nation et d'une histoire unique. Si les dirigeants du Hamas pensent qu'en utilisant ta vie ils changeront le cours de l'Histoire, ils se trompent une fois de plus. Nous aimons nos enfants mais nous avons aussi une
autre qualité : nous n'oublions jamais…

J'appelle les dirigeants du Hamas et leurs acolytes à bien réfléchir aux conséquences désastreuses -pour eux et pour ceux qui les soutiennent- au cas où il serait attenté à la vie de Guilad. La guerre est une chose. La cruauté et la barbarie en sont une autre. L'Etat d'Israël est avec toi mon fils. Et sache que même si parfois la situation semble trouble, tes ravisseurs ne doivent pas confondre retenue et faiblesse.

Guilad, c'est à la fois une lettre de respect et d'amour que je t'envoie ici. Même si tu crois être seul dans cette mer d'extrémisme et de violence, nos regards, nos pensées et nos actes se tournent vers toi.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Naomi Shemer

Israel is such a young country. You still have some people, some of the great people, who were there even before it was a country, who were there from the beginning. You have those artists who really created the Israel we now know from scratch, be it music or movies or books, even news anchors. Even if you don't share their political views, it's still them, you know. Those people you can't not admire, because they've been there forever. They're the real Israel. They're who you grew up with.
And, in a country as young as Israel, there comes a time when that generation of creators start to slowly fade away, and as nature takes its course, to die. We're not used to this. It's still a shock when one of the "great ones" die. We didn't think. We didn't tell you how much you meant to us. You all were supposed to stay forever, right? I'm thinking of people like Ehud Manor, Ofra Haza, Shoshana Damari, Uzi Chitman, Yossi Banai, and some others whose names don't come to mind right now.
But the one I miss most is Naomi Shemer.

Naomi Shemer wrote lyrics to music, composed music to lyrics, translated songs into Hebrew, invented new creations, and she did it with a kind of magic. She wrote of the beautiful Israel, of the Israel as I always imagine it, as I always remember it. She created for kids as well as adults. She would write a song about the Sinai desert, and you could feel the grains of sand between your toes (בהאחזות הנח"ל בסיני). She would write a song about a couple walking together under an umbrella, and you'd get shivers down your back because the raindrops were right there, falling on you (שנינו יחד תחת מטריה אחת). She had such a noble Hebrew vocabulary, so precise and so delicate and so strong.

So many of the songs everyone in Israel knows by heart were written by her in one way or another. People don't even realize how almost everything was touched by her in one way or another.

But it's not only her songs that I admire. It's her Israelity. She loved Israel, and you could feel it with every one of her notes. She wasn't religious but had a very deep respect for religion. There are some beautiful songs of hers that talk about passages from the bible. She had such an easy way of writing songs to children but without dumbing them down. Songs she translated from French are even more beautiful and poignant in Hebrew than the originals, but without changing the meaning at all, not even for one sentence. (I'm thinking in particular of the song "Ahava bat Esrim - אהבה בת עשרים" sung by the greatly missed Yossi Banai, which is a translation of Jacques Brel's "La Chanson des Vieux Amants"). She translated the Beatles' song "Let it Be" after the Yom Kippur War, a quiet song which echoed the heartfelt prayer that all Israelis were feeling at the time.
She wrote the first part of "Jerusalem of Gold" mere weeks before the Six Day War. She was asked to write a song about the city, so she wrote about the beautiful city, enclosed within her walls, all alone. She was criticized for that once, because in the song she says "The city marketplace is empty, no one is going down to the Dead Sea by the road of Jericho any more...". The criticism was because Jerusalem was not in fact empty. If it was emptied of Jews, it's because the Jordanian troops came in. Arabs lived in the Old City that once flourished with Jews.
Her answer fills me with pride. I can imagine her, very calm, very posed, yet very assertive in the words of her reply. Even for this reply, I can't translate the beauty of her words, but I will give you the general translation.
This criticism angers me very much. It's as if a man misses his loved one, and goes to his psychiatrist, Amos Oz (uh, ultra leftist is a kind description), and he tells him "Don't worry, she's not alone in bed"... A world that is empty of Jews is for me a dead planet, and an Eretz Israel who is empty of Jews is for me empty and deserted.

Here's the original in Hebrew, for those who understand and can appreciate.
זה מעורר בי זעם נורא, הטיעון הזה. זה כאילו בן אדם מתגעגע לאהובתו והוא בא אל הפסיכיאטר שלו, עמוס עוז, ואז הפסיכיאטר אומר לו 'אל תדאג, היא לא לבד במיטה'... עולם שהוא ריק מיהודים, הוא בשבילי כוכב מת וארץ ישראל שהיא ריקה מיהודים היא בשבילי שוממת וריקה

She died three years ago, in the month of Tamuz. That's God's sarcasm for you. A few years before she wrote a song called "Sad to die in the middle of the month of Tamuz - עצוב למות באמצע התמוז", about the sadness of dying before one's time. It is a regular during Israeli Memorial Day, and it was used in the commemorative CD for Itzhak Rabin.

I could list so many of her songs which I love, which I would recommend for you to listen in order to fall in love not only with her, but with Israel, for she was and always will be the real, the beautiful Israel. There are so many that in fact I could just list her whole discography. I'm afraid that if I try to show here a video of one of my favorites, then it'll just diminish the ones I don't show.

So instead, the song of hers that I will present here will be a song sung by me, Moishe Oofnik. She wrote for everyone, and also for kid's shows. This song's lyrics were written by Omer Hillel, a children's author whose books I grew up on, and Naomi Shemer put the words to music. It's a sweet song about a child asking millions of questions, as all children do, such as "What do the trees do? And the houses? And the birds?".
If one day I have the time, I might write the words in all three "languages" (Hebrew, English, and Phonetic Hebrew, if you wish to sing along but can't read Hebrew letters).
Moishe asks Kippi all these questions, and the sweet hedgehog kindly answers. Then the grouch gets grouchy and complains that there are too many questions, so Kippi offers to both ask and answer. This is as nostalgia as it gets for me.

Naomi Shemer, al kol ele, for all of this and for all you stood for, you are greatly missed.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blast from the Past - Arafat is a Mass Murderer

Helping my mom clean out the attic, and I found an old composition book of mine. I would sit in front of the TV, watching CNN, and write what I thought, what I would answer the TV if it could hear me. Sometimes I'd write down a funny thing I'd heard. But usually, it was my reactions to world events. A paper blog actually. The beta version of my blog.

This is something I wrote in the summer of 1999. I was a young idiot and I didn't write the date, but I can tell it was around that time because of other things I wrote in the pages before and the pages after.

I think we should understand that Israel has to stop whatever peace process it is undertaking with the Palestinians. This is because Palestinians don't want a country with the 1967 frontiers, but a total extermination of Israel.
  1. Arafat hasn't changed the Palestinian Charter, pleading the destruction of Israel
  2. Arafat continues provoking terror and violence
  3. Arafat has tripled the size of his army, against all agreements
  4. Arafat has openly admitted that he will not stop armed combat
  5. Arafat sticks to his (impossible) demand for a Palestinian country whose capital is Jerusalem.
These points all lead to one and only conclusion: Arafat is a mass murderer who should sit behind bars and not receive a Nobel Peace Prize. The Oslo accords should be stopped right now, the Palestinian army disabled, and Israel should be given back its lost territories.

Hmmm, I have to say I was quite a smart kid. Some insight I had. Still more than most people have today.

It was so obvious to me back then, and it still is now. Why is it not obvious for everyone else?

Towel heads

Oh my. I really snortled out loud with laughter when I saw this...
Image graciously stolen from Posts from Helms Deep

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Completely off topic, but made me smile (plus, work is boring but no time to blog), some geek jokes. (I can't help who I am)

  • Actually, the Bible is God's blog
  • A true geek is someone who believes that there are 1024 meters in a kilometer
  • There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Guns 'n Roses - Civil War

Listening to 'Civil War' from Guns 'n Roses... Some of the lyrics seem like they were written for the Middle East, these days.

"What we've got here is failure to communicate.
Some men you just can't reach...
So, you get what we had here last week,
which is the way he wants it!
Well, he gets it!
N' I don't like it any more than you men." *
Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The waythey've always done before

Look at the hate we're breeding
Look at the fear we're feeding
Look at the lives we're leading
The way we've always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can't deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D'you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said "Peace could last forever"
And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see
So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can't trust freedom
When it's not in your hands
When everybody's fightin'
For their promised land

And I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scratch scratch

I hate mosquitos. Maybe even more than the BBC.


Nah, it's probably a tie.

[itchy scratchy]

Jerusalem is Israel's capital

I hate the BBC. I hate them for refusing to use the word terrorist. (except for when it comes to describing the perpetrators of the bombs in front of the BBC buildings in London in March 2001).

Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News, said security had been stepped up, and the need for further precautions was being reviewed.
Terrorist attacks on the media were rare and so the bomb marked a significant change, he said.

I hate them for the way in their headlines Palestinians always get killed by Israeli soldiers (active use of a verb), but Israelis just simply die (passive use of the verb, even if they were brutally killed by a suicide bomber). I hate them for failing to see that Gilad Shalit's family is suffering the same pain as Alan Johnston's. (Though this isn't true either... Alan's family got proof that he's alive... We're still waiting for a peep from Gilad).

Now what do I see on JPost? BBC sorry for calling Jerusalem capital of Israel

The BBC apologized this week for referring to Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and promised not to repeat "the mistake," following a complaint by four British organizations.

Arab Media Watch, Muslim Public Affairs Committee, Friends of Al-Aksa and the Institute of Islamic Political Thought sent a joint complaint to the BBC after a presenter on its Football Focus program on March 24 mentioned that Jerusalem was Israel's capital and "historic soul."

I'm sorry, but am I missing a piece of history here? Was Jerusalem ever any other country's capital?
Steel added: "I'd like to add my apologies for this most regrettable, but I'm sure accidental, factual mistake. I appreciate that the status of Jerusalem is of particular concern to Palestinians, and it is important that it is not misrepresented. I am confident that lessons have already been learned, and they will be emphasized as a result of my decision."

Again, I'm thrilled that you realize the status of Jerusalem is of particular concern to Palestinians, but then again so is the status of suicide bombers and Kassam rockets. Just because it's a particular concern of theirs doesn't make it right. On the other hand, while before 1967 Jews were forbidden to enter the old city of Jerusalem (which belonged to Jordan, and we didn't hear any "Palestinians" complain about that), ever since Jerusalem is entirely in the hands of Israel, it is open to all religions of the world.
Does the Beeb care that the status of Jerusalem is also of particular concern to Israelis?

By the way, I truly "admire" the IQ level any organization with the name 'Al-Aqsa'. I went to their website, I guess it's http://www.aqsa.org.uk/. (No, they're not getting a direct link from me, even if I only have two and a half readers) (Hi Mom). They, like every other organization with the name 'Al-Aqsa' proudly show images of what they believe to be Al-Aqsa, that big mosque in Jerusalem with the shiny golden dome.

Well they're wrong.

The golden mosque is the Dome of the Rock. Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah. The Al-Aqsa mosque is the southern congregational mosque that is part of the complex of religious buildings Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It's the small one with the Black/Dark Grey dome. On the picture, number 1 is Al-Aqsa, number 5 is the Dome of the Rock. I wonder how many of the "cool kids wearing the Arafat-Dishrag" know this.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hey look!! I'm in the news!!

I know it's from over two months ago but hey I'm slow :)

Looklooklook I'm in the news and all!

Sesame Street returns to Israel, PA, after more than decade off the air

The Israeli version of Oscar the Grouch, Moishe Oofnik, seen in a city trash can on Israel's Rechov Sumsum. (Haaretz)
Isn't that a nice picture of me? I look like I'm in very deep thought...

Producers tailored the Middle Eastern casts and story lines to the fit the audiences. "Rehov Sumsum," the Israeli version of the show, for the first time includes a Muppet of Arab origin. Its Palestinian counterpart, "Shara'a Simsim," seeks to offer positive role models to boys in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hmmmm... What do you think the Palestinian grouch looks like? They don't mention whether the Palestinian counterpart includes a Jewish or Israeli Muppet...

I wonder how many kids actually see this in the territories. Do they see this more than Farfur the Islamist Mickey Mouse? I would like to go see what the "Shara'a Simsim" episodes look like. Are they really promoting coexistence and dialogue and brushing teeth? I'd also like to see some of the new "Rehov Sumsum" episodes for that matter. I'm sure it's not at all like when I was a kid.

Ahhh, everything was better before :)

Here's a little bit of nostalgia... Arik and the Cookie Monster baking a cake...

Discovering the blogosphere...

See the blogger bar at the top of the page? I like clicking on Next Blog, and travelling around the blogosphere like that. Every once in a while I land on a blog which also tries to protect Israel. Obviously if the blog's address is protect-israel.blogspot.com then it's a good starting point :)

For anyone who understands German, here's a post about Farfur, the Islamist Mickey Mouse.

protect-israel: Mickey Mouse im Hass-TV der Hamas

This Swiss blogger seems just as new as me to the blogosphere. Does this mean that defenders of Israel all over the world are waking up and using their only weapon in order to defend truth and justice, aka Israel?
I hope so. I hope we all become a network of strong independant blogs.

Wilkommen :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Benjamin Netanyahu talks about the British Academic Boycott of Israel

I know not everyone in Israel likes Bibi. And I know people in Europe absolutely hate him. They don't even know why. But then again, they don't need rational reasons, do they?

Anyhow, Bibi is one of Israel's most articulate politicians. He has a sharp tongue during interviews, an impeccable way of speaking, and an assertive no-bullshit attitude. Always calm and posed, even when you can see he's angry. That's the true force of a diplomat. Being outraged, but without needing to raise one's voice. During last year's Lebanon war, he was one of the most vocal defenders of Israel on international screens, along with Dan Gillerman, another strong diplomat.

Here he is again, talking about the British Academic Boycott of Israel.

Come on, Europeans, really, what is it that you don't like about this guy? The fact that he tells things like they are?
In the face of evil, if good men and women sit back and do nothing, evil triumphs

Human Rights Watch wake up and smell the coffee

In an amazing almost flying pig moment (one of my favorite terms on LGF) not only are Human Rights Watch condemning Palestinian violence, but Israel isn't blamed!
'Palestinians committing war crimes'

Why almost? Well, of course they had to start killing each other for the HRW to take notice that human rights are being abused of in the Gaza Strip. So even though there's finally a condemnation of sorts, they could make an effort to not show so much who they really care about...

"These attacks by both Hamas and Fatah constitute brutal assaults on the most fundamental humanitarian principles," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director for Human Rights Watch. "The murder of civilians not engaged in hostilities and the willful killing of captives are war crimes, pure and simple."
So that means what? The residents of Sderot aren't civilians? And by the way, any news on Gilad Shalit? Is he still alive? Does HRW even care?

The Palestinian Journalists Union on Sunday criticized the use by armed factions of press insignia in a statement: "The use of vehicles that carry 'Press,' 'TV' or other signs ... exposes journalists' lives to danger, gives the Israeli occupation a pretext to target and kill journalists and restricts their ability to perform their professional and national duties. We demand all parties stop using these methods."
Because that's all Israel really wants... any good old pretext to target and kill journalists.
Notice also that the demand isn't that they stop attacking (legal) Israeli military posts from the territories that were so *generously* given to them two years ago. Nonono. The demand is that they continue, just use different methods. Yeah, that'll ensure peace and calm over the region. Pffff.

Oh well, at least the HRW didn't blame Israel for writing 'TV' on the terrorists' van. That's one brownie point for them.

Israel's "Greatest Loser" finally wins

The results are out! The next Israeli president is Shimon Peres. The first round ended with 58 votes in favor of Peres, 37 in favor of Rivlin and 21 in favor of Colette. In order to be elected, the candidate needs at least 61 voices, so they were getting ready for a second round, but Rivlin and Colette pulled out before, so that leaves Peres as president by default. Finally. I know what I just said about him being a shtinker and still think that. But I am happy for him. He deserves such a Kavod after all this dedication he's given to Israel. מגיע לו.
If you think about it, it's perfect. He won't be directly involved in politics (which is the way I like it) but the dignified persona that he his is still a representative of the State of Israel, and I know he is much respected even among lefties here in Europe.
Yeah, I'm glad with the results. I know they were predictable, but still.
מזל טוב שמעון, מכל הלב - Mazal Tov Shimon, me-kol ha-lev

Israel's next president

Today Israel's parliament is going to vote on who will be the next president of the State of Israel. The three candidates are Colette Avital (Avoda), Shimon Peres (Kadima) and Reuven Rivlin (Likud).

The position of President of Israel is largely a ceremonial role. As far as I'm concerned, the position is there so that when the Pope dies, the Israeli representative isn't someone as politicized as the Prime Minister of Israel. The full list of real responsibilities is here.
I'm not really sure who I'm rooting for.
Colette Avital I'm not very fond of. I'm sure she's a very nice person in real life, but her position about Jews in Diaspora and Israelis living abroad is personally offensive to me. I know I can't do the same to help Israel as Israelis living in Israel, but I do my bit in other ways. Don't pooh-pooh it. Israel needs all the help from Jews and Israelis in Diaspora that she can get. Who else will stand by Israel through thick and thin if not us?
She was the first of the three candidates to say she will be running for president if I'm not mistaken. Her slogan is very nice IMHO. It's a play on the phrase "Nesi'a Tova". The common way of writing it is נסיעה טובה, and it means "Have a good travel/trip/whatever". It is said so often nobody even notices it. She wrote נשיאה טובה, which means "Good (woman) President".
I'm not sure how much of the votes she'll actually get. She won't have the full support of Avoda since part will go to Peres. She won't get Kadima votes, they'll be for Peres and Rivlin. She won't get Likud voices. And the religious parties will probably not vote for her, for multiple reasons.
Shimon Peres is a whole other story. One the one hand I have a great deal of respect for him. He's the last one we've got who's been there from the beginning. He's given his whole life to Israel and fought, with pen and word, to secure a peace for Israel in the roads he believed were the right ones. He's given so much, yet has never been elected for the leading posts he held. When he was Prime Minister, it was either inherited (from Itzhak Rabin) or shared (with Itzhak Shamir). He ran for president last time, and was sure to win. Except he didn't. Somehow the relatively unknown Katsav got the majority of the votes. I wouldn't want him to be defeated again, not like that.
On the other hand, I have to admit, Peres is a shtinker. If he hadn't two-timed other politicians so often, maybe they wouldn't have done the same to him in the last elections. He's responsible for a big part of European anti-Israel sentiment. Did you know that in real life, Peres and Sharon are (were) very good friends? Yet he's the one who initiated the protest at Kikar Rabin following the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, and from there on he's known in Europe as the "Butcher of Sabra and Shatilla". Sharon was later judged as indirectly responsible (as in, he failed to predict correctly what would happen), but the damage was already done. For the European masses, Sharon is the one with blood on his hands, and they have no clue as to who Elie Hobeika is. Remember Jenin in April 2002? There was no massacre, even anti-Israel UN had to admit the facts. But if so, where did the word massacre come from? Peres was the first to say there was a massacre. The damage is done, Israel is viewed as a genocide machine. It doesn't matter that the issue was later "cleared up". Like the Head & Shoulders ad said in the 80's, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression". There's only one good aspect to his over-zealous Israel criticism. When he says something good about Israel, maybe people listen more, since he's also been such a hard critic as well. But that would require people to have good memories and actually care about right and wrong.
Last thing about Peres and Colette... It's a very well known secret in Israel that she's his mistress. Or at least was his mistress. Is this the sign that their relationship as such is over? I mean, if she wins, it really won't do magic for his male ego in the bedroom area. And he'll resent her (I assume). If he wins, she'll resent him. After all, she ran for the position before him (this time around).
Then comes Reuven Rivlin. I haven't got much to say about him. Listening to Knesset meetings I would hear his voice a lot, trying to be fair and just. During the disengagement plan I though it was very just of him to criticize what he thought ought to be criticized (this is what our politicians are there for, no?) but when push came to shove, he didn't back out of the Likud and didn't resign. I'm not sure how he'd hold up in international meetings with other international dignitaries and such. He doesn't quite have the presence and awe of Shimon Peres, or the dignified look of Colette Avital (who has come here quite often, she's a very good French speaker).
We'll see what the results tell us later today...

Nonie Darwish

Nonie Darwish is an admirable woman with incredible courage. It's one thing to say the things she says if you come from a background like mine. But her? She is the daughter of a Shahid, was taught to hate Israel, and turned out to be a free thinker and a leader.

Press conference at Four Seasons, Beverly Hills for Voices of Muslim Reformers in the Modern World. On the right side you can see Wafa Sultan, another brave woman who isn't afraid to denounce what she believes is wrong in Islam.

This is the true enlightment of the 21 century.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

ADL anti-boycott campaign in full

Now that the ADL anti-boycott site is working again, I got a look at all the ads for the campaign. I like them a lot. Maybe they're not aggressive enough in order to really shock people into deep reflection, but they have a point.

To be shown around!

There's only ONE Jewish country in the world

I have quite a number of Muslim and Arab friends. I avoid talking about politics, especially Middle East politics with them because I've already heard some of the things they say regarding the subject. And I'd like to keep them as friends.

Among these friends I must say I haven't got any who are die-hard Arafat-dishrag*-wearing Sharon-effigy-burning Pally supporters. Most of these friends don't care much for the subject (or any other world politics subject) and have the usual basic ideas that they were taught at home (Israel started the Six Day War, Israel is as aggressor, Israel is building an Apartheid wall, and your regular anti-Israel misconceptions) and since they don't care much for it, they'll never go read anything which will change their mind. The other bunch of friends are relatively more aware of what is going on, but are also very naive. They seem to think that everything can be solved if people just really got to know each other, etc. While I'd like nothing more than their vision of the world to be true, sadly it isn't.

I got an e-mail today from one of my "naive" Muslim friends. Before I go any further, I'd like to point out that he's not anti-Israel in any way, he's visited the country often and doesn't even mind too much the security checks he has to go through, he knows it's part of the deal. He's very attached to his religion and loves seeing the common points between our two religions, as well as between our two languages. His vision of Islam is very pure and very peaceful and not distorted. He's not very fond of the Israeli political scene, but that's okay. If every leftist anti-Israel moonbat would express him or herself in the same rational tones (naive, yes, but rational) as my friend's, then political debates would be equivalent to a Mary Poppins movie matinee. Imams should take a lesson from him rather than spew hate to an impressionable crowd during a Friday sermon.

Back to the email. (Sorry I tend to get carried away). I got an e-mail from him with an image of a flag of "An imaginary country."I don't know whether he drew this or got this from someone else and then forwarded it. In any case I wonder what he means by this. Does the mixture of the Islamic crescent together with the Jewish star in their respective colors mean that he'd like to have a Muslim country with all the freedoms that are natural in Israel? Does it mean that he would like there to exist somewhere in the world a country where Jews and Muslims coexist peacefully? Or does it mean that somewhere deep inside, even though he really likes Israel, he believes that the problems of the Middle East would be solved if only Israel would cease to be a "Jewish country" and would be a "Jewish and Muslim country"?

I'm not going to ask him, because I'm rather afraid the answer would be the third option (though the second one is quite possible too). Even if it's not what he meant by that picture, I know many people in the world believe that that would be the answer to peace in the Middle East.

Why? Why do people believe that the existence of one tiny country with a Jewish majority is such an obstacle to peace? One country of 6 million (or 7 now? I'm not sure) with nothing of monetary value on its lands, surrounded by a billion Muslims living in a dozen or so Muslim countries rich with oil, that's an obstacle? A country smaller than Rhode Island who asks nothing more than to live in peace with its neighbors and to cooperate with them to further advance the quality of life in the Middle East. Why does the one and only Jewish country in the world disturb people so much?

*Keffiehs look like dishrags to me. In fact, whenever one comes into my possession, that's the only use I have for it.

Way to go ADL!

The Anti Defamation League gave me a reason to smile.

I'm going to assume that if you're reading this blog, then you know that there is a call for an academic boycott of Israel by the the University and College Union. It calls on college lecturers to "consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions."

Moral implications? Oh yeah, because you see, Israeli academic institutions are morally wrong because everyone can be a student in them, no matter what religion or race or political affiliation the student might have (can you say as much about Birzeit University?). Or maybe it's that Israeli academic institutions are morally wrong because they are the birthplaces of incredible scientific and medical advances.
Ahhhh, no, sorry, I got it now, the Israeli academic institutions are morally wrong because they are Israeli. Israel will always be singled out as the bad guy, no matter how much good Israel actually brings to the world. And defenders of this boycott will say that this is Anti-Zionism, not Anti-Semitism, thinking that this gives them authority to single out the only Jewish country in the world.
(Btw, if you'd like to try and prove to me that the two are different, I'd love to to challenge you and show you why they are one and the same, at least in most cases)

Anyhow, kudos to the ADL, who came out with the anti-boycott campaign!

"If British journalists and university professors and doctors want to make a point for justice, there are 20 countries they could deal with," explained ADL National Director Abe Foxman. "If they included Israel in their critique, I'd say Israel doesn't belong, but I wouldn't call it anti-Semitism. But if the only country that is subject to criticism in the whole world is Israel, I call it anti-Semitism."

Very well said. I'm sure the ADL won't mind if I post some of the anti-boycott pictures, seen as the goal is for these images to be seen by as many people as possible. The boycott section of their site is down for a while, but I hope it'll be up and running again soon.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Where's the outrage?

I found a very interesting article on aish.com which combines both what I said the other day about the missing world outrage to what is happening daily in Israel, and my main reason for blogging. But the outrage that the article says is missing is OUR outrage. The outrage of the defenders of Israel.

Where's the outrage?

Who would have figured that two years after our heart-wrenching evacuation of Gaza -- two years of continued relentless attacks from an enemy that brazenly calls for our destruction -- we'd be the target of a boycott from British professors? Again, it's tempting to get all blase and say "Been there, done that."
But this blase attitude is a reason why we are losing the PR battle: We assume that getting all worked up about stuff doesn't really make a difference, or that it's not very becoming of Jews. The practical thing to do is to stay composed and look for solutions.
Israel needs the Diaspora to get more emotional right now -- because emotional outrage wins PR battles. Our enemy understands that a lot better than we do.
The most effective TV interview I ever saw happened about five years ago on a major network, while Israel was in the midst of numerous suicide bombings. The anchorman asked Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, a very composed and sophisticated man, why Israel could not arrest these suicide bombers. Well, you should have seen the outrage on Mr. Burg's face.
With clenched fists and an almost growling voice, he said something like: "But how do you expect us to do that when they can blow up in one second?"
It was visceral, it was sincere and it didn't come from talking points. It came from his heart, and I guarantee you it played well in Wisconsin.

This is why I blog. I can't go out and yell slogans in the street, I'd just get stompled all over. And probably shot at. I'm not an important person, I don't get TV time or interviews. But I can write. Not very well, but I hope that wil improve. I can write and I hope people will read what I write. I am open for discussions on any subject regarding Israel and the conflict, though I probably won't be able to answer everything. But I will try. The Diaspora, that's us. We need to get our tushies in gear and protect Israel as best as we can.
By the way, if anyone can find a video of that Avraham Burg interview, I'd really like to see that...

For example, when the bombs fall on Sderot, instead of empty cliches like "no terrorist is immune" and "this is unacceptable" and so forth, we should have the guts to run ads all over the world and get on CNN and the BBC and say things like: "We gave them land, and they gave us war." "This proves that the occupation was never the key problem," and "How would England respond if the same amount of bombs fell on Manchester?"

My point exactly. Only said much much better.

In a brilliant article in Haaretz, Moshe Arens explains why you can't deter terrorists, you can only fight them. It's time for Jews of all stripes to get their mojo back, and join the PR fight.
Even if your only weapon is your PC, and your mouth.

Well, I guess my mojo was hiding in the closet for the last couple of years. I hope this is me getting my mojo back.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Different worlds

Many years ago I had a long standing discussion with a friend of mine. Both of us are Jewish but we had very different upbringings. At home I had a very traditional Jewish life, and though we never spoke politics, Israel was always present. I didn't go to Jewish schools, and once I got interested in the subject, I had to acquire my information about the Arab-Israeli conflict independently. My friend on the other hand had almost no Jewish education at home, went to Jewish schools and was part of a very left leaning Jewish youth movement. One of the schools she attended was rather religious and there she developed a strong dislike for religious Jews. This dislike was deepened with the ongoing discussions about politics that she would hear at the youth movement, which were very strongly influenced with Avoda and Meretz ideology. (Personally I am more of a Likud-Kadima-Shinui person, depending on the subject).

We would argue at length about the settlement issue. She would insist that the only problem the Palestinians (and the world) had with Israel were the settlements. The only reason Palestinians brainwashed their children that killing Jews in the name of Allah will get them 72 virgins in heaven, the only reason Palestinians strapped explosive belts onto themselves and then detonated them in a crowd of teenagers waiting in line, the only reason Palestinians do the Nazi salute and read Mein Kampf, all that, it's because of the settlements. If settlements like Ariel and Itamar disappeared, then the Pallies of the West Bank would accept Israel as a neighbor. If Gush Katif and Netzarim wouldn't exist, then the Pallies of the of the Gaza Strip would be fine with the existence of Israel right outside of their borders.

This, she would say, is also why world opinion is against Israel. If only Israel would show a gesture of good faith, if only Israel would be the "bigger person", if only Israel would give back the occupied territories (this is where I would interrupt and mumble "disputed territories, not occupied, words are important..."), then the world wouldn't be able to not take Israel's side. If Israel gives in to Palestinian demands, then the world wouldn't be capable of saying that Israel has done anything wrong.

It's a bit hard to argue with that ¨logic¨. Especially when you consider this was about 8 years ago, before the world showed its true face.

Still, I couldn't agree.
"But what if we give them back territories, and they continue the violence and the hate? What if they use what we give them in order to attack us even more? I don't trust them."

Her answer was crystal clear, as if she had learned it by heart from her youth movement leader.
"I don't trust them either." (Can I get three cheers for coherence? At least I'd vote for people who say we haven't got a partner for peace. But you? You support negotiations with people you don't trust?) "But Israel can do things the smart way: They can give back territories piece by piece, and the moment the Palestinians misbehave then it all stops. If the Palestinians never misbehave then Israel has what it wants, doesn't it?"

I still couldn't quite see how this was the perfect solution.
"But what if Israel sees they behave well and gives back everything and then they start a war against us? What if even after one piece they start attacking again? Won't they think that we're rewarding terrorism with land? Won't they figure that the more terrorism they perpetuate, the more land they'll get? You think it's that easy to take control again? Once we do, every one will scream that we're occupying again."

But her vision of the world was as clear as it was naive.
"Don't you get it? In that case, since Israel will have done everything that they could do, if the Palestinians throw even one little stone in the direction of Israel, the world will immediately condemn them and will be on Israel's side. If they launch any type of military action against Israel inside Israel's borders then the armies of the world will be there instantly to protect Israel."

In the summer of 2005 her vision finally happened. Israel dismantled the settlements and the army posts in the Gaza strip. All the Jews living there were evacuated. All 8000 of them. You'd think that it'd be a whole lot more since everyone was complaining so much about them being there. 8000 Jews forced to leave because Jews cannot live in the Palestinian Authority. After the disengagement, everything of use that was left (like greenhouses) was destroyed. Synagogues were desecrated. And... Kassam rocket firing intensified. Hey wasn't it supposed to be the other way around? They're happy that we left, they're thankful, so they become a bunch of peace-loving-kumbaya-singing hippies?

My friend and I, we're not in touch anymore. I'm not even sure if she's still in the same country.
But I'd like to run into her some day. I'd ask her "So where's your world indignation over daily Kassam rockets being fired into Israel inside her borders from territories we gave back without any conditions? Where's your world condemnation for the Palestinians' festering circle of violence and hate and applause for Israel's restraint? Where's your world who was supposed to come and save us?"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Useless resolution 1701

There's so much I want to write about that when I do start writing about something, it goes all over the place and doesn't make much sense to anyone but me. I will try to stay focused on one subject at a time. Though you'll have to admit, it's complicated. Everything has an implication on everything else. For example, I still haven't gotten around to writing about the 1967 Six Day War. It's not *that* important right now, especially since you have all the other blogs talking about it, what with the 40 year anniversary and all. (And they're all doing such a good job of it, anything I'd write would really be horse manure in comparison, but I've got so much I've always wanted to say about that subject...)

But there is something important about the Six Day War which strikes me as important today.
Depending on where you learned your history, your version of the Six Day War might be different. People like to think that because I am Israeli, I have the subjective "Israeli" version. I tend to think that this is not so true. Though I grew up in Israel until my early teens, I later moved to Europe, and had a very non-Israeli, non-Jewish education. I never had a history lesson in Israel or in an Israeli school. My mother often wondered how I turned so pro-Israeli despite the fact that nothing in my education was ever in that direction. My education taught me to think rationally and to question everything and to base everything on facts.

The Six Day War is largely considered a war imposed on Israel by a few Arab countries (depends on whether you count just the countries that really participated, or the countries which helped the participating countries, but at that point in time it was quite clear, Israel had no Arab friends). Even though the first shot came from Israel, it is justified as a defensive attack because of a few "minor" details, to name a few: Egyptian naval blockade of the Straits of Tiran, military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula and expulsion of the United Nations Emergency Force from there, as well as Syrian support for Fedayeen incursions into Israel.

All these, as well as clear statements and intelligence documents, pointed to a clear danger for Israel and her citizens. And danger to Israel from Arab countries doesn't mean slight loss of territory or an economic embargo or something "survivable" like this. Nonono. Just like Hamas, Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah make it crystal clear today, Arab countries were very open with their intentions back then as well. The intention always was, and still is, total annihilation of the State of Israel. Push the Jews to the sea. Israel will not survive. Israel will be wiped off the map.
What would any country responsible for her citizens do in such a situation? What did Israel do in the face of this threat? Israel made a preemptive attack against a threatened Arab invasion.

And the world applauded this. Israel was the underdog back then. Arab countries all around showed hostile intentions, and Israel took action. The world could only speak well of this tiny young country which managed to ground the Egyptian Air Force before it even started flying. They congratulated Israel for making a preemptive attack and a short war and in this way saving countless lives, rather then waiting until the Arabs started a full fledged war which would have brought on a much longer battling period.

Now 40 years later, I am astounded by the headlines I see all around me. While the 1967 Time's article about the war is full of awe for the swift Israeli victory, today's articles have a distorted vision of the past and seem to ignore the facts. Israel was threatened. It had every right to defend herself. I don't know how much clearer I can make it.

Now the parallel with today.
It started already last summer. On one side of the border, Israel withdrew from the disputed territories in Gaza and hoped that calm would ensue. It didn't. Kassam rockets were fired regularly into israel, and on June 25th, terrorists abducted Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier from inside the State of Israel. What where they protesting? What more is Israel supposed to give to them so that they stay calm? More land? But I thought all they wanted was the "occupied territories", not Israel itself? Anyway, drifting off. So Kassam rockets and Israeli soldier abduction on that side. Ceasefirese have been made since, but I'm not quite sure what they mean by ceasefire, seen as they haven't ceased to fire Kassam rockets, but have intensified instead.

On the northern border, where every last Israeli soldier left the area in May 2000 (Ehud Barak's decision), Hezbollah had been rearming itself for the previous six years. This included creating Katyusha launching pads inside civilian homes and creating an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of Katyusha rockets to be launched indiscriminately on the Israeli civilian population. On July 12th, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli reservist soldiers, were abducted by Hezbollah under the nose of the UN (again), because Katyusha rockets were fired as a diversion elsewhere.

Israel was under attack and needed to defend herself. For once the world wasn't completely against Israel. Nations were disagreeing on the disproportionate force (that's a whooooole other story...), were quite wimpy about their support for Israel, and towards the end of the war they were getting quite impatient (as were we all), but generally the world agreed that Israel was attacked for "no real reason". It was quite a flying pig moment.
Then came resolution 1701.

The Resolution demands:

  • Full cessation of hostilities
  • Israel to withdraw all of its forces from Lebanon in parallel with Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers deploying throughout the South
  • Hezbollah to be disarmed
  • Full control of Lebanon by the government of Lebanon
  • No paramilitary forces, including (and implying) Hezbollah, will be south of the Litani River

The Resolution at the same time also emphasizes:

  • The need to address urgently the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers, that have given rise to the current crisis.

Now let's go over the list bulletpoint by bulletpoint.

  • Full cessation of hostilities? Well Katyushas have stopped raining on the north, that's true. But have you ever heard of the Muslim concept of a Hudna?
    "if Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud"
    It is not a ceasefire, but a pause in battle so that one side can re-organize itself.
  • Israel withdrawal? Done. (Again.)
  • UNIFIL deployment? In theory, yeah. They don't patrol at night because of the danger involved. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at this. They spend time building a giant Sauna for the Finnish delegation. They accept Muslim countries which don't recognize Israel to watch over Israel's border. I can't stress this enough times, the UN is a bunch of Useless Nobodies.
  • Hezbollah disarmed? Not yet, not ever.
  • Full control of Lebanon by the Lebanese government? Uhhh, nonono, south of Lebanon is still Hezbollah territory.
  • No paramilitary (koffkoff Hezbollah) south of the Litani? Well, what have we learned from the last three bulletpoints? This is an obviously useless resolution point.
  • Now the last point is emphasized. Bring our boys back home. Not only are they nowhere near home, but we haven't gotten any signs of life from them. International law (you know, Geneva conventions and things like that which you always keep waving at Israel) requires that prisoners of war be given contact with the Red Cross. Unless the prisoners are Israeli of course. Amnesty moves heaven and earth in order to ensure the fair treatment of prisoners. Unless the prisoners are Israeli of course.

So you see, all these points mean that were Israel to attack now, it would be justified. It was justified 40 years ago, even if now people don't agree anymore.
But if Israel were to attack now, you wouldn't have to wait 40 years for the condemnations.

And you see, I'm talking all over the place. Too many thoughts in my head and I'm too angry at this world to make sense.

A cute animation from the Second Lebanon War

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Diplomat Leader Award

I love it when people I admire get recognized for their intelligence and their integrity.

While the representatives of Arab nations got ready for their periodic whine (this time's excuse is "waaaaah, Israel didn't let us defeat and annihilate her 40 years ago, we've been miserable ever since, waah waaaaah"), others got recognition for the values they defend.

Dan Gillerman, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, received the Diplomat Leader Award.

NEW YORK — In a resplendent dinner ceremony the night after Memorial Day, the Respect for Law Alliance (RFLA) honored a dozen individuals who have sworn to defend, protect and uphold justice.


Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, accepted the Diplomat Leader Award. He is the first Israeli representative to serve as vice president of the General Assembly in 53 years, since Abba Eban held the position in 1952. Gillerman previously served as CEO of several Israeli companies and is the first person from the private sector that Israel has appointed as ambassador to the U.N.

"We respect your freedom, your bravery, your values — we feel that we have a lot in common," Gillerman said.

Mazal Tov Danny. May this be just the beginning of a long path of defending Israel and Justice.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Headline: Palestinians throw stones

That's not a shocker, is it? So Pallies threw stones. It's the whole concept of the Intifada. So why should this be newsworthy, even for Jpost?

But wait, let's read some more...
"Palestinians throw stones at Peace Now bus"
Ah now that's more like it. There's irony for you. The very same people who trust the Pallies as peace allies, who assure us that their violence is always a reply to some violence on our side, got a stones thrown at them.

Hmmm. I wonder what those people inside the bus were thinking while rocks were being thrown at them. Especially considering the reason they were there in the first place.

Palestinians threw stones at a Peace Now bus and a police vehicle at the end of a left-wing protest in Hebron on Tuesday.
The protest itself, which marked 40 years since the Six Day War, passed without any disturbances.

I hope I'll have time this week to write about the war of 1967, and its implications and those odd little details which MainStream Media seems to ignore/intentionally omit and which make the whole difference.
Anyhow, today 40 years ago started the Six Day War, during which Israel conquered todays disputed territories, Gaza and the West Bank. The war was imposed onto the Israeli population,

404 errors


I just came across a funny 404 error page. Well you have to know the general "all your base are belong to us" bit in order to appreciate, but it made me smile :)

You don't see so many "private joke" 404's anymore. Not that there were so many of them before. I'm glad some people manage to add this little sprinkle of fun to their everyday lives like this.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sour grapes

People are so ignorant.
At least that's what I hope. Because if they're not ignorant than they're just plain anti-Israeli.
On the way home today, I came across a house which was displaying the following poster on a front window.

It shows a shrinking "Palestine" in green in 1946, 1947, 1948-1967, and 2005 alongside a growing Israel. "Israel speaks of peace, but takes the land". No context, no history, no facts.
Context, History and Facts:
"Palestine" as such does not exist. It is a region, much like the Sahara is a region and not a country. The British Mandate of Palestine. The green mistakenly covers a very large portion of this "Palestine" as if to say that no Jews even lived there.
Partition plan, voted on by the UN on November 29th. Plan accepted by the Jews. Plan rejected by the Arab population. Revolts started against the Jews in order to stop them from creating a state in the Jewish part. They were getting prepared to launch a war once the British were to leave.
Palestine is still a region and not a country.
May 14th, the State of Israel is born and the British Mandate of Palestine is over (in the opposite order). In its "birth speech" as I like to call it, Israel extends a hand to its Arab citizens as well as to its Arab neighbors, in hope of a peaceful start. Arab states launch a war against the newborn state, in the hopes of pushing all the Jews to the sea and not having an Israeli state. They lose. Territory is conquered. They complain that they lost and would like to go back to the way it was before they lost. Because if it had been them who had won the war and had made Israel vanish, they would have agreed to pretend it never happened and go back to square one. Sore losers.
Palestine is still not a country. In fact, documents of that period do not refer to the local non-Jewish population as "Palestinian" (since that meant anyone and everyone living in the British Mandate of Palestine), but as Arabs. The green blotches on the map are Egypt on the left side and Jordan on the right side.
Unhappy with Israel's existence, Arab states launch yet another war against Israel, in the hopes of pushing all the Jews to the sea and not having an Israeli state. Israel finds out in the nick of time and launches preemptive attacks, legally recognized as self defense. Arab states are caught off guard. They lose. Territory is conquered. They complain that they lost and would like to go back to the way it was before they lost. Because if it had been them who had won the war and had made Israel vanish, they would have agreed to pretend it never happened and go back to square one. Sore losers.
Israel accepts resolution 242 which included returning some of the territories back to the original "owners" which are Egypt and Jordan. Not Palestine, since that country still doesn't exist and never had. The reply is the famous (though not to everyone apparently) "three no's". No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiations with Israel.
Palestine still doesn't exist. For the record, the PLO - Palestine Liberation Organization - was created in 1964. 3 years before territories were "occupied". So what did they want to liberate exactly?
(I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that the poster was printed before the disengagement, even though we are now 2007 and that gives them plenty of time to take down that poster and buy/make a new one).
After incessant attacks from terrorists on Jewish settlements, Israel decides to unilaterally disengage from the Gaza Strip. Settlements are dismantled (because Jews are not allowed to live in future Palestine apparently) and Gaza is entirely in the hands of the Palestinian Authority. The territory is no longer "occupied".
Palestine could maybe finally start to exist.
No. Palestine still does not exist. What exists is daily Kassam rockets being fired into Israel. What exists is the Palestinian government factions fighting and killing each other. What exists is a Palestinian people who still haven't got a state, as any people willing to have a state should deserve. What exists is the constant fact that for some obscure reason, Israel is blamed for this.

I remember the house number. I could send them explanations, or easy to read posters (they seem to like that) and pamphlets about Israel. But they won't even bother to read. I think. Should I send?