Friday, June 30, 2006

Putin Orders Iraqi Hostage Killers Destroyed. Wait for the Outrage 

Although Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, may have a lot of shortcomings -- bad human rights record, economic difficulties, a last name I could pronounce in English either Pootin or Pyutin -- but as an American and an Israeli, I kind of have to respect his strong, deterrent, almost Wild West Cowboy-ish response to the murder of four Russians in Iraq:

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's special services to hunt down and "destroy" the killers of four Russian diplomats in Iraq, the Kremlin said.

Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Federal Security Service -- the main successor to the Soviet KGB -- later said that everything would be done to ensure that the killers "do not escape from responsibility," the Interfax news agency reported.

"The president has ordered the special forces to take all necessary measures to find and destroy the criminals who killed Russian diplomats in Iraq," the Kremlin press service said in a brief statement.
We aren't yet at the point of hearing about insurgents' bodies turning up with their heads lying next to them in a sack, tattoed with some Russian profanity, but it looks like that is coming. I, naive as I am, actually believe such a thing might gently encourage other insurgents within Iraq to restrict any future freedom-fighting to the beheading of less volatile targets, like Iraqis and Brits and Americans, not Russians. While Putin's stand is a bit on the brutal side compared to the usual sternly worded letter calling for restraint and respect for human rights, I'll leave the hand-wringing and finger-wagging about this to the Russian Left.

Hold on. Where in the world is the Russian Left? How is it possible to read through an entire story in which innocent Islamic insurgents are threatened with extra-legal bodily violence, and there is not a peep of protest reported from moonbats, academics, diplomats or movie stars. It's as if, well, as if what Putin is doing was actually OKAY. This is worrisome. What will become of Russian society without knee jerk leftist sentiments to keep it from acting in its own interests?

Perhaps the American Left could be sent to Siberia, to open a training camp that will develop a new generation of Russian Leftist gadflies who will put a stop to such outrages (by outrage, I mean what Putin plans, not the killing of Russian diplomats). We would know the Russian Left has finally arrived if stories like this included some of the moral context we have become acccustomed to:
Only when we start to hear these kinds of promising developments will we begin to have hope that Russia can develop the sane kind of liberal democracy we've all grown to know and love.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Watch myself, a timely meme 

A meme, courtest of Soccer Dad: What watch do I wear?

Aha! That's such a trick question!

I don't wear a watch. Why should I? I've tried, many times in fact. I've probably lost, broken, worn out or had stolen as many as 20 watches in my life, the majority within about one month of their purchase. That's a lot of money. It's a lot of time wasted traipsing to Target's Timex counter. And for what?

Why should I have to wear a watch when I carry a cell phone that tells the time? Why should I wear a watch when I work at a computer almost every waking hour of my day, and can have the time displayed from an atomic clock accurate to the nearest femto-second whenever I want? No. I don't wear a watch anymore.

Except Shabbat is a little tricky, when I don't use computers or cellphones. Maybe I should get a Shabbat watch. At least if it only lasted for 30 days, it would take about 7 months for those 30 Shabbats to pass.

Or maybe I'll learn to reckon time directly from the position of the Sun, the Moon, or the stars. I might manage not to break that.

Passing this on, I'll tag:

But Israel is Still the Cruel and Heartless One, Right? 

Sometimes these terrorist press conferences get so outrageous I wonder how the reporters can sit through them. Do they sit quietly, simply transcribing the threats like Terror's secretarial pool? Or do they ask tough, probing questions that somehow manage to illicit threat after cold-blooded threat -- and then faithfully report them all without the questions, context or criticism? What must these press conferences be like to allow blatant evil to be so publically proclaimed, then only to be amplified and publicized by a freedom- and justice-loving media?

Take for instance this recent press conference convened by a Palestinian terror spokesman, Abu Mujahed of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), the group that kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. What exactly this PRC group represents other than unrelenting violence against Israel and its people remains a bit unclear to me; the only important point we all are supposed to understand, though, is that they are not -- repeat NOT -- the same thing as Hamas. Because if Hamas were to openly kidnap Israelis -- as opposed to merely advocating and applauding such behavior while piling on to the ransom demand bandwagon --, it would be understood as an act of war, and that would be so much more inconvenient for the media's pre-determined story line. So forget Hamas; PRC it is.

I'll convey here a few lines from Mujahed's press conference in which he outlined a few points about how the kidnapped soldier might be treated, but I'll add a few probing questions from the media that I assume they MUST have asked, rather than just sit silently transcribing the threats:

Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), said in a statement that Israel should stop wasting time if it wanted to resolve the crisis over Shalit's abduction.

Mr. Mujahed, Patsy Powderpuff, Apologetic Reporting Foundation, I'd like some details about this Israeli waste of time. Are they wasting time to avoid your offers of peaceful coexistence as implied somewhat in non-Israeli interpretations of the Prisoners' Document? Or do they not want to resolve this crisis at all, perhaps using the confusion to coverup something else? And can you say anything about how the kidnapped soldier is reacting to the delaying tactics of his own government?

'Possibility one: the missing soldier, for one reason or another, is dead and maybe there is a morgue available for his body or maybe there is not,' Abu Mujahed said at a news conference.

Patsy Powderpuff, ARF, again here, can I get a followup? So basically, you're saying that the Israelis have destroyed the morgue? And can you confirm for me whether the Israeli soldier was killed in the morgue blast itself? Is he dead for sure?

'Possibility two is the soldier is still alive but is suffering a serious injury. Medication might be available or might not be available ... '

Patsy Powderpuff again. One more followup if I may then sir? If the soldier is still alive, can you give any information about the extemt of the injuries he sustained in the Israeli morgue attack, and does this mean the Israelis took out hospitals as well? Or blockading humanitarian deliveries of medical supplies? No, wait, maybe they confiscated all the medicine, even from the pharmacies?

'Possibility three is that he is fine but that a long time will pass [before he is released].

Patsy Powderpuff again. This is the last one. I promise -- infidel's word -- just kidding; as a journalist I have to be impartial so obviously I don't consider myself "on the Infidels' side." If the missing soldier is fine, even after all the indiscriminate bombing of Palestinian morgues and hospitals, can you explain why he wouldn't want to be released "until a long time has passed"? Would you say that the longer he is with you, the more he understands your cause -- kind of a Patty Hearst thing? Are the Israelis risking a PR debacle as their own kidnapped soldier eventually realizes the cruelty and injustice of his own people?

'Wasting time is not in their interests,' he said.

AbbaGav from AbbaGav News Network. One question. You say it is not in our interest to waste time. Yet if the soldier is dead as you threaten, then wasting time is not the issue. And if he is fine but will not be released for a long time, then it is you who is wasting the time. So it seems that you are telling us he was injured in your attack and then taken from "Israel proper" into Gaza. And it seems that you are threatening not to give medicine to the captive you have injured and refuse to release. So my question is not for you, it is for the rest of the world. How long will you excuse this? When will you demand civilized behavior from a group that demands its own sovereign state?
Obviously, the world's press doesn't have room to print everything. So they just convey the terrorist's essential threats, and leave intuiting the context as an exercise for the reader.

Thanks to Those Who Publicize Haveil Havalim 

After hosting this week's issue of Haveil Havalim, I'd really like to thank everyone who helped publicize it. I know some of you help support the Jewish Blog Carnival week after week, while maybe others were first timers, but all of your support really helps. So much of the valuable readership -- the people who read and click and explore what all of us have to say -- comes directly from your own links. I'd like to encourage those of you who link to Haveli Havalim to continue doing it, and if you haven't done it much so far, to consider making it a regular practice.

This Week's Honor Roll (in no particular order):
Please let me know if I missed you. Thanks again to all who support the effort, to those who write and submit their best work -- and, of course, special thanks go to those who read all these words, too.

I'm a bit under the weather but rest assured we'll return to your regular AbbaGav programming as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Prepare Now For Jenin II 

Israeli soldiers operate armoured vehicles on a field in Mefalsim area on the Israeli-Gaza border June 27, 2006. Israel massed tanks and troops near Gaza on Tuesday for a threatened offensive against Palestinian militants and said it would target Hamas leaders if an abducted soldier was not freed. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte (ISRAEL)
Since Israel withdrew completely from Gaza last summer, the IDF has scarcely even set foot there, even as the Palestinians have rained rockets down on surrounding Israeli communities from their newly Jew-free territory. But now, in the wake of the Palestinian invasion across Israeli borders in which a soldier was kidnapped, the IDF is preparing a mission to enter Gaza and hopefully rescue the abducted soldier.

While Hamas quite publically goes through the motions of demanding the release of all Palestinian "women and children" from Israeli jails, such posturing is really little more than a sick joke. After all, among the jailed "women and children" Hamas refers to are many teens who all but volunteered for Israeli jail time and don't want to leave. More sickeningly, their humanitarian-ish demands include freedom for the Palestinian "woman" inhumanely jailed on the political charge of trying to blow herself up in the Israeli hospital where she was being treated for burns from a cooking accident -- with the aim of killing and maiming as many of her fellow patients and the doctors who cared for her as possible.

The Hamas attempt to protray their invasion and kidnapping as a noble and heroic act on behalf of such innocent, victimized women and children would be laughable were it not for the great masses of media who eat this stuff up, and excrete it right back out. Israel should be under no illusions that negotiations with such a party will lead to the release of Gilad Shalit, their kidnapped soldier. It is for this reason only that the tanks and personnel carriers are once more poised at Gaza's doorstep.

Now look at this picture and tell me what you see:

Palestinian militants from the military wing of Hamas set up an explosive device in preparation for a possible Israeli army ground operation in Gaza Strip June 27, 2006. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES)
To many, this is just a perfectly innocent picture of Palestinian militants setting up explosives to blow up the Israeli soldiers they expect will soon pass by in search of their kidnapped comrade.

But, while there is a slight chance these explosives could take out an Israeli soldier, it is far more likely that history will remember the explosive charge shown in the photo only as one more atrocity committed by Israel in what will likely be publicized as "Jenin II." That's right, in all likelihood, after this bomb blows up -- this bomb we see being laid before our very eyes -- after it takes down all the nearby walls of surrounding houses, the worlds' photographers -- perhaps including Ahmed Jadallah himself -- will be brought back to this very same spot to photograph and report on the cruel war crimes committed by the Israelis as they massacred and wantonly blew up poor refugees' homes.


In case you've forgotten, in case you don't see it yet, here is a little of what it was like in the original Jenin, in which Israel was universally castigated for its heartless massacre of innocents and for the destruction of whole swathes of Palestinian houses:

According to a CNN report [12] Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant Tabaat Mardawi, told CNN enthusiastically from his prison in Israel, that, after learning the IDF was going to use troops, and not planes, "It was like hunting ... like being given a prize. ....He added: "I've been waiting for a moment like that for years."

Mardawi told CNN that Palestinian fighters had spread "between 1000 and 2000 bombs and booby traps" throughout the camp. [13]. Time Magazine said that "some of the bombs were huge – as much as 250 lb. of explosives...compared with the usual 25 lb. a suicide bomber uses." A total of 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in the street fighting. 13 died in a single day (April 9), when, Palestinian fighters lured the IDF into a trap. [...]

Time Magazine also wrote about the heavily wired (booby-trapped) refugee camp. It stated, for example, that on the outskirts of Jenin, an IDF armoured Caterpillar D9 detonated 124 explosive charges. Time also reported that an unnamed "senior Palestinian military officer" told them that it was probably the gunmen's own booby traps that [had] buried some civilians and fighters alive. [20] [...]

Rumors of massacres in Jenin swirled through Palestinian communities which were then echoed in the world press for several weeks, pitting world public opinion against Israel. [22] This was not helped as Israeli authorities prevented the international press from entering the refugee camp for two weeks.

Later inquiries by human rights groups and the UN commission did not find evidence of massacres by Israeli forces in Jenin. [...]

Palestinian Information Minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo, accuses Israel of digging mass graves for 900 Palestinians in the camp, whilst Secretary-General of the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Abdel Rahman claimed [slanderously] that "thousands" had died, the most serious accusations of the episode. [...]

In late April and on May 3, 2002, the United Nations (UN), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released reports about the Israeli military incursions into Jenin. The reports documented that approximately 30 Palestinian militants, 22 Palestinian civilians, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting and thus felt no evidence that a massacre took place.
It isn't hard to see what is coming. It's happened before. Have any lessons been learned? In 2002, Israel risked and lost its own troops by going house to house instead of bombing from the air, just to reduce Palestinian civilian casualties -- and were repayed for such unheard of sacrifice by the global media's blind parroting of the Palestinian charge "War Crimes."

This time, the camera-bearing remotely-piloted drones should already be in the air, ready to film the fake funerals, and Yasser Abed Rabbo's empty mass graves. And the photographs of the soon-to-be-destroyed houses should be seen BEFORE they are blown up, with their bombs and bombers proudly mugging for the camera, confident no one will remember once the "after" shots make the front page. The IDF should have a comprehensive media plan in place before any action in Gaza, so they are prepared to handle the inevitable blame they will receive for having forced the Palestinians to wire their own homes with explosives.


Also on the case:

Elder of Ziyon: "Remember when Israel first mentioned the possibility that the Gaza family had been killed by a Hamas bomb buried on the beach? Pro-terror Hamas supporters scoffed that Hamas would never do something like that - bury explosives in areas that Palestinian Arab children might play." (Once you see his photo, you'll remember it.)

Life of Rubin sees it too, and the danger to Palestinian kids, even if their own militant parents don't.

Daled Amos also notes that freeing the female hospital bombers isn't really enough after all: "After the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the terrorists demanded the release of imprisoned women and children in exchange for his safe return. Now, [with the apparent kidnapping of another Israeli] Hamas has upped its demands--threatening even more kidnappings until all Arab prisoners are released." As usual, Daled Amos has a lot more and is worth a click to read.

UPDATE (next morning): As the IDF moves into Gaza, I sincerely hope I'm wrong, and that the operation succeeds in quickly sending a clear message leading to the release of Gilad Shalit with no more loss of life on either side. I hope everything I've written above is proven totally wrong and shockingly cynical, and that everything goes, well with a happy ending for all -- Gilad released, the Palestinian explosives returned to their hiding places, and IDF forces safely returned home.

My prayers are with Gilad Shalit and his family, the IDF forces intent on rescuing him, and indeed with all the innocent civilians in harm's way -- Palestinian and Israeli alike -- that no harm befall them. I only hope peace may finally come when Israel's enemies no longer believe there is anything to gain through terror and continual warfare. May we all unleash the power of our prayers for such good results. If you'd like some inspiration for your prayers, try Olah Chadasha, Life in Israel or Oleh Yahshan, Shlemazl, and Hayom.

More details on the operation and updates at Euphoric Reality, Hashmonean and of course Israellycool.

Sheehan Announces Hunger Strike, Michael Moore Strangely Silent 

Military Mom to the Stars, Cindy Sheehan, has announced she is planning an open-ended hunger strike:

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan announced Wednesday that she plans to begin an "open-ended hunger strike" on July 4 to urge the Bush administration to bring troops home from Iraq.
That should be a very effective technique: "Chief Terrorist Bush, do what I say, or else I'll STARVE myself to death. Hello? Hello? Is this microphone on? Why isn't he down here talking me out of it yet? I'm not kidding; I really mean it!" Yeah, that'll work. Just like giving herself a near-lethal Crawford sunburn really bent President Bush to her will.

And what exactly is an open-ended fast anyway?

In an interview posted on Code Pink's website, the group's co-founder Diane Wilson said the fast would show solidarity with Iraqis and U.S. troops. "Their bodies are on the line every day," Wilson said, referring to Iraqi civilians. "And so are the bodies of the U.S. soldiers. So shouldn't we be putting our bodies on the line?"

Wilson told her interviewer, fellow Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin, that a hunger strike "can be a very powerful action." She mentioned three previous hunger strikes she organized, two of which lasted more than four weeks.

The "Troops Home Fast," Wilson said, means that she will abstain from food and drink, with the exception of water, as long as possible. "I don't know how long I can fast," she said, "but I'm making this an open-ended fast. I plan to take this as far as I've ever taken anything in my 58 years."
So open-ended means "as long as she feels like it" -- not one of those nebulous and vaguely worded fasting definitions like "Until Success or Death or Tube Fed by Force." She's really serious.

So Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink are fasting to symbolically place their bodies on the line, just like the troops in Iraq. Unless they're planning to eat lead, sand, and IED shrapnel while also swallowing unfavorable New York Times coverage, I think the symbolism may be a little off. But it is refreshing to see they are actually planning to take only water during their fast. None of this "milk-shakes and protein powder" or "candy in the morning and whole grain pizza in the evening" or "fish isn't food" celebrity-diet-style fasting for them.

Speaking of celebrities, Cindy and her Pink Pals will be joined in their fasting by a number of them:

In her latest statement, Sheehan wrote that celebrities like singer Willie Nelson, actor Danny Glover and comedian Dick Gregory will show their support for her by joining in a one-day fast. She urged her supporters to do the same.
Ok, so that's not exactly the top tier of celebrity do-gooders. They couldn't even find a leading sexy starlet or two who need to drop a quick half-pound for an upcoming role? In fact, it's hard to shake the feeling that for some of these celebs, joining Cindy in this event is kind of like showing up on Hollywood Squares in the old days -- no one is exactly sure who they are anymore, but at least they get their mugs on TV for a few more minutes, and it keeps the agents happy. Besides, it's not like they have to commit to any sort of crazy, "open-ended" fasting in exchange for the pub. They just have to get through one day with only water. And they can probably start after breakfast and quit as soon as Cindy and the cameras aren't looking -- it's not the reality of the fast that matters, but the visibility of the support.

However, what is most notable in this list of celebrity participation is the omission of Michael Moore's name from the list of hunger strikers. One has to wonder how anyone could hold him back from jumping all over this opportunity (figuratively speaking of course). In one fell swoop, he could a) demonstrate that yes, he's not SO fat that he can't stay out of the 7-11 for at least one day, if the right cause and cameras are involved, b) make sure that there's no way Cindy can run around like this, sucking up all the moonbat media oxygen by herself, and get away with it, and c) prove there's no bingeing quite like make-up bingeing.

There has to be an explanation why the media hasn't yet announced Michael Moore's intention to join Cindy Sheehan's hunger strike. Perhaps it's because his agent won't allow him to play second fiddle in Cindy's orchestra, so he has to wait a little while before announcing his own, separate hunger strike -- which will obviously be much humongouser and probably the subject of its own (very carefully edited) documentary.

Or maybe it's just that he can't quite decide what an "open-ended" hunger strike means for someone with the inestimable reputational girth of a Michael Moore. Is it enough to skip snacks? Does exercising portion control count? These serious questions must be answered before this Mammoth Among Movie Makers can jump aboard Cindy's fasting bandwagon -- that and a quick replacement of the bandwagon's shocks. (Settle down, I'm a bit overweight myself so I'm allowed to crack fat jokes).

But seriously, it can't be much longer until we hear from...Wait! This just in! We've just received word of what Michael Moore's eventual "Help Starve Cindy" campaign announcement might look like:

Moore Announces Intermittent Hunger Strike for Sheehan

Film-maker Michael Moore will be supporting Cindy Sheehan's recently announced open-ended hunger strike with one of his own. While exact dates, times and media schedules have not yet been finalized, pending word of when Sheehan intends to crack, Moore spokespeople have leaked a few preliminary details.

"Michael will be undertaking an intensive and very lengthy intermittent fast in which he will only consume his food in several limited time windows each day -- and there will be no super-sizing." said Moore spokesman Jimmy Carter on condition of anonymity.

Carter also went on to explain Moore's disdain for Sheehan's media planning, particularly with respect to choosing the goals for her fasting. "The woman hasn't got an exit strategy. It's insane. If Bush doesn't surrender in Iraq, how does she ever plan to eat again without damaging the cause? Cindy may have absolute moral authority -- but she's got no common sense!" When pressed, the former President confided that he had advised his good friend and conventioning buddy to adopt a broad spectrum of easily meetable goals, reminding him "you can't retreat until you've decided how to declare victory."

There was speculation that Moore would also be aiming for a much more upscale fasting entourage than Cindy Sheehan's advisors had so far secured. Names like J-Lo and K-Fed were being bandied about, and plans were being prepared to rebrand the Oscar-winner as a hipper, trendier, more chic alternative to Casey's mom.

While Carter would not disclose the specifics of the list of fasting goals he helped draw up, an afternoon of journalistic dumpster-diving outside the Moore compound has turned up some critical pieces of the puzzle. In addition to vast quantities of fast food wrappers -- indicative of some serious pre-fast training -- a hastily penciled list on the back of a rather large greasy napkin lays out a list of fairly lofty goals:
  • We demand greater sensitivity from the media in labelling terrorists. The whole "militant" thing isn't working out -- these days "militant" is only used for those who kill and maim civilians and the public is starting to think that militant actually means terrorist. M-Moo (and J-Lo and K-Fed) will fast until the biased world media either finds a less judgemental label than militant, like "concerned interventionist" or "idealist" -- or until the media develops new style guidelines requiring that other professions like florists and Catholic priests be called militant too, to restore the original rhetorical cover once provided by the term.
  • Failing that, M-Moo will "fast" until the Microwave Manufacturer's Association ends the conspiracy artificially limiting the power of microwave ovens. Talking point: "In this age of Moore's law (no relation), when faster and faster computers can now compute pi to the last digit in less than a nanometer, it is a national ATROCITY and the fault of the BUSH administration that we still have to wait MINUTES for a stupid bag of microwave popcorn."
  • As a last resort, M-Moo will end his intermittent food regimen only once it is confirmed that President Bush has finally stopped beating his wife, or better yet, once photographic evidence of the contrary is provided -- either way, doesn't matter, as long as there is a press conference.

Linked with thanks to Third World County, Mark My Words, Point Five, and Committees of Correspondence.

UPDATE (via Michelle Malkin): Michael Moore's own website is now shilling for Sheehan's starvation. Still no word, however, from the big man himself.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Haveil Havalim #75 

Welcome to Haveil Havalim #75, this week's kosher smorgesborde of blogging delights. We'll start out, as is not uncommon, with some Israeli fare.

Defending Israel


Pallywood is the media phenomenon in which Palestinian video journalists stage events in order to portray Israel in the worst possible light. While hardly the only difficulty Israel faces, Pallywood has been in the news again after recent deaths on Gaza Beach.

Richard Landes at Augean Stables examines the inability of many journalists covering "Pallywood" to comprehend that, yes, it really is that bad.

You will probably be surprised to learn whose wisdom Arlene from Israel is uncharacteristically quoting this week on the issue of taking out Qassam-launching terrorists, even after the Palestinian civilian casualties of last week: "Only an idiot would not shoot to stop them from launching,"

Omri at Mere Rhetoric writes that people who say that Abbas's referendum endorses a two state solution are either ignorant or lying. Daled Amos, reports on the shady financial dealings of a Jewish organization operating as an unregistered foreign agent, and it's not AIPAC. He also looks into defusing the demographic timebomb, and considers the possibility that as we wait for the fateful moment of Palestinian numeric superiority, watching the timebomb's LED tick down the last few numbers (that would be '3', '2' and then '1'), perhaps the best way to defuse the bomb is to do nothing. Omri also took a look at the demographic time bomb -- and don't worry, he didn't cut the red wire.

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters notices Hamas: Islam, Islam Uber Alles.

Many complain (who me?) but Treppenwitz actually has a plan. The Aliyah Blog also tries to answer the question what should Israel do?

Muse from Shiloh Musings is unhappy with the defense leadership's priorities, comparing them to the Defense Forces from Chelm.

Gulf Coast Pundit brings us some very surprising poll results from Al Jazeera -- and no, the surprise is not in the English language version of the poll.

WestbankMama points out progress made by the Israeli Air Force in responding to the media challenge after civilian casualties.

Bookworm Room has the scoop on one of Israel's newest defenders, a guy you probably haven't heard a lot about.

Dymphna at Gates of Vienna has a stirring defense of Israel in the face of the ironic support for anti-Israel boycotts from the leadership of many American church groups. Canuck at In defence of the righteous also defends Israel against a boycott, the CUPE boycott.

Eliott from Middle East on Target posts about Civilian Casualties.

Ocean Guy at Somewhere on A1A shows us what a Palestinian rhetorical pretzel looks like.

In the wake of Palestinian salaries being paid after recent influxes of cash-stuffed diplomatic suitcases, the Elder of Ziyon has a fascinating theory that might lead you, should you somehow end up shopping in a Palestinian store, to be sure to pay the exact amount rather than risk receiving change in return.

Carl explains at Israel Matzav how even getting Israel admitted to a supposedly non-political, humanitarian organization like International Red Cross is no simple matter as the Arab and Islamic worlds continue to demonize Israel absolutely anywhere and everywhere they can. And just in case you didn't hear about the Mossad agent who made it big at the World Cup, Carl is on top of that story too -- fear not, proper apologetic prostrations for the slightest hint of Israeliness at this year's games have already been offered before the Arab League. Soccer Dad has found the common thread holding these two stories together, and it's not a frayed strand pulled loose from the tapestry of brotherly love.

Defending Israel from Ahmadinejad And Friends


While a lot of attention has been paid to conflict on Israel's immediate borders this week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime continued with their own mishegas, which should not be ignored.

The American Thinker reveals how even a loss by the Iranian World Cup soccer team is no simple matter, with ramifications from Germany to the streets of Teheran. While Germany may be tempted to thank Portugal for solving their Ahmadinjejad problem, in the end it is the Iranian leadership itself which may be most responsible. Snoopy the Goon at Simply Jews brings us the shocking scoop about ancient Persian technology: Iran has had nukes for a looong time.

Roger Waters and the Wall:


While not perhaps the most serious challenge Israel faced this week, Roger Waters' visit and accompanying cliched and gratuitous host-bashing made quite an impression.

Dave at Israel at Level Ground has "all in all, just another prick at the wall." Laya at Jewlicious has more about the same prick at the same wall.

Joe Noory at No Pasaran also covers Waters with "That's right, Roger. No thought control." Aussie Dave objected too, and not just to the gratuitous traffic jams caused by arevised choice of venue.

Boker Tov, Boulder has another wall to recommend for Roger Waters' next trip to the region, not that he's trying to control anybody's thoughts or anything.

Living in Israel:


Let's take a deep breath now and remind ourselves that there is more to Israel than appears on CNN. Sometimes we Israelis just live here, pretty much like people live in most other places.

Olah Chadasha of Greetings from the French Hill fame recommends speaking Hebrew in her post, I No Speaka Hebrew. I think I should have read that about 9 years ago.

Ra'anana Ramblings has Food for Thought. She tells us a little bit about some of the charities here in Israel that feed the hungry, point out one food in particular that they hand out here that you would probably never see from a US food-based charity.

Batya tells us about Orange Basketball at Shiloh Musings and also points out some big music news blogging as the muse at Me-Ander..

Jameel at The Muqata has an amazing midnight visit to Kever Yehoshua bin Nun.

Visiting Israel:


And those of us who live here would love to have you for a visit. It can be an amazing experience...

Irina of The Ignoble Experiment has Inside the Fence. More about her adventures here.

Scottage from Perspectives of a Nomad has the second in a series of posts on his Israel experience. Rafi G., who lives here in Israel, shares a bit about his sister's Israel visit.



Lest we forget, Jewish bloggers are still bloggers, even me. I read Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, just like everybody else, hoping for a good tip or even one of his very generous links. I just wish I'd paid more careful attention to all those good tips when I had the chance; this is harder than it looks. (All right, sure, this link-bait is just a bit transparent, but I think it's ok; Glenn is notably pro-transparency.) Anyway, as bloggers, in addition to writing about Israel and Judaism, we also frequently blog about... blogging.

If you haven't taken Aussie Dave's poll over at IsraellyCool yet, now would be a good time. We'll wait.

Muse at Me-Ander has a New Banner.

Jameel takes the JBlogosphere global, introducing us to the list of Spanish JBloggers. Bienvenidos!

Pragmatician explains how a year of blogging has affected the way he handles issues in real life.

Toronto Pearl at Pearlies of Wisdom has a post noticing a scary phenomenon: An explosion of mid-blog crisis. I feel it. I really do. Must. Keep. Blogging....Stam! I'm ok. [corrected 6/25 3pm: to clarify that Pearl is not having such an explosion herself, but noticing it in others. Pearl has already had her explosion, maybe more than once, and has provided advice on how to survive the blast -- but only for those who click and read!]


At the heart of all of it, of course, is Torah, and we have a number of strong posts focusing on that very subject.

Greg at Presence asks How you like dem apples?

Robert J. Avrech at Seraphic Secret has a moving Hesped.

Hindarochel asks for orthodox opinions and experiences regarding the issue of transplants and brain death.

Jameel looks at Parashat Shlach and finds lessons relevant to today's political world, and the issue of what drives Jewish politicians.

More Good Stuff...

In addition to the frequently blogged topics you know you can expect from the J-Blogosphere, there is also great diversity and unexpected entertainment coming from some very creative writers. This is what is otherwise known as "the miscellaneous section."

If you don't know what the words plinth, vexilloligist, and intaglio mean, then you aren't reading Soccer Dad regularly enough.

Meryl Yourish finds another "exposing top secret information" story in the New York Times, one that can really cause some harm, and in this case, it isn't George Bush or anyone remotely connected to the administration who is doing the damage.

Hashmonean has some survey results, including the large proportion of Muslims who do not believe Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks. Did the pollsters ask a follow up question to find out who these skeptical Muslims believe was yelling in Arabic on the cockpit voice recorders? Scour Hashmonean's post thoroughly, and let me know if you find it. I probably just missed it.

Jack has some great gadgets, including one that would be a perfect gift for the sleep-walker in your life.

Ezzie's got a nice picture this week, one of the few half-decent ones he says, that includes a guy who doesn't look at all like Ezzie.

Judith at Kesher Talk has good news in the middle east. Wait, that must be a typo. Nope. She really has some good middle eastern news. Who ever heard of such a thing, and from a blogger?

Mottel from Letters of Thought has To Hel and Back (lots of scenic pictures from poland)

Jonathan Rosenblum of Cross Currents has Defanging Derfner, a fisking of Larry Defner's piece on Charedim.

Over at PsychoToddler you'll find a beautiful post in which he explains how it is that even after 17 years of fatherhood, in an important way this felt like his First Father's Day.

Rafi G. from Life in Israel has Kadima and the Conservative Movement.

Steve at It's Almost Supernatural has First Anti-Semitism Ruling in Equity Court: Victory Against Hate.

Jameel is on a roll this week, and even his shakiest post deserves a look.

And we'll close out this week's Haveil Havalim with a little Scotch Whiskey, for those who partake, courtesy of Presence.


That's all for the this week. Time to start writing for next week's edition.

Special thanks are due to Soccer Dad who not only founded this whole endeavour, but is still incredibly generous with his time in making sure each issue of Haveil Havalim links to the very best. But if, by chance, some of your very best was overlooked this week, please accept my apologies. If you've blogged something special that belongs in this space next week, you can submit your Haveil Havalim entry using either Conservative Cat's handy dandy submission form or the submission form over at BlogCarnival. You can also email the future hosts directly:

Issue #76 - July 2 - Irina from The Ignoble Experiment has volunteered. e-mail her at sicat222 at gmail dot com

Issue #77 - July 9 - The muse from Me-Ander will be hosting. e-mail her at shilohmuse at yahoo dot com -- but not until after July 2 of course.

Listed at the Truth Laid Bear Ubercarnival.

Friday, June 23, 2006

But Is It Kosher? 

Wired News has incubated a truly meaty story:

What if the next burger you ate was created in a warm, nutrient-enriched soup swirling within a bioreactor?

Edible, lab-grown ground chuck that smells and tastes just like the real thing might take a place next to Quorn at supermarkets in just a few years, thanks to some determined meat researchers. Scientists routinely grow small quantities of muscle cells in petri dishes for experiments, but now for the first time a concentrated effort is under way to mass-produce meat in this manner.

Henk Haagsman, a professor of meat sciences at Utrecht University, and his Dutch colleagues are working on growing artificial pork meat out of pig stem cells.
Isn't that an appetizing opening series of paragraphs? I just had to dig in and work through the rest of it. Here are a few questions on the subject that occured to me while digesting the rest of the article:

A single cell could theoretically produce enough meat to feed the world's population for a year. But the challenge lies in figuring out how to grow it on a large scale. Jason Matheny, a University of Maryland doctoral student and a director of New Harvest, a nonprofit organization that funds research on in vitro meat, believes the easiest way to create edible tissue is to grow "meat sheets," which are layers of animal muscle and fat cells stretched out over large flat sheets made of either edible or removable material. The meat can then be ground up or stacked or rolled to get a thicker cut.

The sheets would be less than 1 mm thick and take a few weeks to grow. But the real issue is the expense. If cultivated with nutrient solutions that are currently used for biomedical applications, the cost of producing one pound of in vitro meat runs anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.
If petri-meat could be made kosher (assuming that matters to you) and affordable (assuming that matters to you), would you try it? How much ketchup would you need to choke down a Petri burger?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Finally, Something That Can Stop the Suicide Bombers 

As I'm sure we've all been told by now, you can't stop suicide bombers in Israel, Iraq, or anywhere else, by military force. Fighting back, attacking the suicide bombers' support or command infrastructure, or even the suicide bombers themselves, well, it only creates more suicide bombers -- which even Sean Penn or Tim Robbins could tell you is a stupid thing to do.

We should also all be well aware of the folly of restricting terrorist access to banking services -- oops, sorry, of restricting "terrorist" access to banking services -- trying to stop the funding for their explosives and family-support martyrs' stipends. This only denies innocents and the not-yet guilty their civil liberties, turning potential friends into semtex-wired enemies, and renders us no better than the terrorists themselves, if not worse. And of course, it won't work either, since the despair of the bombers is so great that they will do whatever it takes, even if it means living a life of great poverty in order to afford the necessary explosives, velcro vests, and farewell video recording equipment.

Checkpoints, curfews, security searches? Same thing. All bad ideas. If we reduce liberty at all in the name of fighting terror -- as opposed to reducing liberty in the name of not hurting feelings -- we will only lose.

The more blood-thirsty and anti-goodness among us may be tempted to conclude that all is therefore lost -- that there is no way to fight the suicide bombing tactic, which is depressing because we do love fighting. A proper self-detonation expresses such a deep seated and intensely held sentiment on the part of the self-detonator that we have no alternative but to honor that suicidal sentiment by surrendering to it. Then all will be well.

But, ladies and gentleman, I'm here to pass on some good news. Do not conclude that there is no alternative but yielding to a Hollywood-pacifist strategy of surrender. For apparently there are other ways of keeping the suicide bombers from their aspirations of chunkdom. And ironically enough, the miraculous answer comes from Hollywood itself in the form of "Don't Blow Yourself Up" Public Service Announcements! PSA's. Commercials. Read and learn:

Public service announcements have changed a lot since that foreboding culinary lesson [of the frying egg illustrating Your Brain on Drugs]. They now include exploding cars, flying Matrix-style stuntmen and exceedingly dire messages like 'Don't Suicide Bomb.'
Dire messages indeed. But if that is what it takes, let's all take a deep breath together and forge ahead.

A new, American-made PSA aimed at discouraging these deadly attacks is currently in production. The ad is slated to air as a 60-second spot on Iraqi television this summer.
Notice how elegantly we are able to temper the direness of the message by merely discouraging suicide bombing rather than condemning it, or forbidding it, or any other such counter-productive heavy-handedness.

Of course maybe we wouldn't be in this jam at all if we had restricted our heavy-handedness to begin with -- by not running around the world fighting with everyone just because they entertain aspirations of destroying America. Who doesn't fantasize about that, from time to time? Indeed, these PSAs will require all the savvy and nuanced sophistication Hollywood and its teams of anti-terrorism experts can muster, if they are to overcome the mess left behind by the US military.

It's a tall order considering that post-occupation Iraq is now rife with militant groups and plagued by increasing sectarian violence. In March alone there were an estimated 175 suicide bombings. There’s also the question of just who will be able to see the PSA. The cost of owning a TV is often prohibitive for the average Iraqi, and those who are affluent enough to get Iraq’s state-sponsored programs are not always thrilled by what they’re seeing. Though there is the new, post-Saddam Iraqi Media Network (IMN), its $6-million monthly budget is provided by the United States and many local viewers feel that its positive reports on the U.S.-led war are simply propaganda so they turn to satellite TV instead. Those who are lucky enough to obtain a satellite dish can receive programs from all over the world as well as independent, Arab-run news channels like Al-Jazeera. And will the type of young man drawn to extremist groups be likely to sit around watching TV?
That is why American PSAs are so desperately needed: because prospective suicidal jihadists just don't feel they can trust their own Iraqi media if there is any Bush-sponsored cash behind it. Fortunately, Hollywood is not Bush-sponsored territory, and of course any reasonable, rational, well-intentioned prospective suicidal jihadist will appreciate that distinction when viewing these PSAs.

Can we fascist, right-wing, chickenhawk bloggers all finally issue a heartfelt apology to the victims of Bush Derangement Syndrome? It should now be clear that the very symptoms we have so single-mindedly criticized and harped on, just because they seemed to jeopardize America's war effort and fighting spirt, are in fact our greatest strength -- they give us CREDIBILITY with the suicide bombers who hate us. And that's all good.

"We all watch it [the results of "terrorism"]  on the evening news," says 900 Frames partner Drew Plotkin, "but we're using a 120-camera set up that was used in films like 'The Matrix.' It gives a frozen-in-time feeling. Instead of seeing a flash and ambulances racing to the scene, we're showing the street right before the attack, during and right after. That will communicate the horror, the carnage, the human toll these attacks take on innocent civilians."
matrix_bombingI agree 100% that prospective suicide bombers and the leaders who recruit them will probably get a little verklempt from such a detailed, slow-motion stop-action depiction of mass infidel carnage. And how could that not have a powerful effect on recruitment?

Maybe we can show these things in Europe and Canada too, as a sort of preventative medicine. Hey, even if it saves only one life, so long as it's not the life of an American war-monger, it's worth it.

I Am SOOO Tired 

No. No, actually, I think I'm sooooo asleep. I really must not be feeling so well. Is this possible? Am I actually sleep blogging? This has got to be a first, some sort of historic accomplishment. Let me check that with a little sleep-googling. Hmm, let's see....

Darn. 781 previous recorded instances of sleep blogging, and counting. Incredible! I was certain that must have been the first instance of sleep googling. But no. There is nothing new under the sun. Someone else has already sleep googled too. Probably more by the time you're reading this.

Wait, how is anyone going to read this? Can I publish in my sleep? And more importantly, should I? Maybe when you blog in your sleep, your head eventually nods off, tipping down until your nose hits the publish button. Hmm. I guess we'll find out. Leave me a comment if you're reading this so I'll know it worked.

Wait, no, I'm probably still be asleep so I won't be able to read any comments, unless I read comments in my sleep. Who would do that? No, if you're reading this, wait a few hours until I wake up, and THEN comment. Either that or comment in LOUD, ALL CAPS so it wakes me up. Thank you.

Don't worry, I actually have some real blogging in the pipeline including this week's issue of Haveil Havalim, which is slowly taking shape in my Drafts folder. All this post may be a new low point in my blog's history, it should not mark its demise. I'll be back.

Now I think I'm snoring. I always wondered if I did that.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Al-Zahar Needs Cash, Time for Hamas 4-1-9? 

FROM: Mahmoud al-Zahar
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister
State of Palestine

Dear Sir, Monsieur or What Have You,

Allah's blessings be upon you, your wallet, and your son's wallet. First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction.This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret.

Surely you have heard of me, I am Mahmoud al-Zahar, the very famous Foreign Minister of the Islamic State of Palestine (peace be upon it except for any places like army bases, roads, stores, homes and kindergartens where Zionist Occupiers might be found). I and my fellow leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement need your help assisting our worthy Palestinian brothers -- and even some of the unworthy ones if they will swear allegiance to us -- in completing an EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE FINANCIAL TRANSACTION. We represent a noble and democratically-elected Jihad leadership that is interested in the importation of humanitarian goods, ammunition and advanced weaponry into our country with funds which are presently trapped in various safe deposit boxes and secret accounts scattered throughout France and Suha-only-knows-where-else.

As you may know, the Sons of Apes and Pigs -- and their Illegitimate Sister too -- have most cruelly stopped the flow of all aid to our poor starving freedom fighters who are insufficiently armed and lack for almost all necessities including volatile chemicals, bullets, remotely piloted vehicles, armor piercing rockets and land mines...oh, and baby formula and whatever else our poor malnourished people need. The Zionist entity confiscates our tax money while the Infidel States of America strong-arm bankers into bouncing all of our checks, even those written to the most reputable of arms dealers. Without a quick infusion of cold, hard cash, it will become harder and harder to continue convincing our government's functionaries to avoid the undignified acceptance of the Zionist Oppressors' offers of food and essential medicinal supplies -- none of which would ever help load a Kalishnakov of course.

So it is therefore with much joy and great ululation that I am able to share with you this most AMAZING discovery -- but ONLY if you PROMISE to keep it SECRET! A recently deceased...shall we say... rival...left a substantial amount of money -- $2,184,073,233.24 to be exact -- which has heretofore remained unaccounted for. I don't want to get into details about this man's horrible, horrible widow and her Parisian shopping sprees, the overpriced private schools for the orphaned brats, or the secret bank accounts, but let me just say that I now have access to this money and no way to funnel it to the poverty-stricken security forces and explosives labs inside my dear country.

This is where YOU come in. As I mentioned, no bank will handle this transaction for us since they are all afraid of being branded so-called terrorist supporters by the Real Terrorist. So we need a reputable 3rd party who can process our $2 billion dollars (TWO BILLION U.S. DOLLARS, AND CHANGE) in their own account and then allow our intermediaries and anonymous moderate supporters to access these funds.

Of course anyone providing such a legitimate and humanitarian service WOULD SHARE IN THE PROFIT and could KEEP 10% OF THE MONEY -- less local taxes, import/export duties, fees and exit visa charges -- I promise.

Time is short. Already I hear the impoverished security forces knocking at my door, and the pre-rehearsed bawling of their hungry future martyrs as well -- as if this is somehow MY fault. They drive me crazy, all of them whining day and night about not getting paid and blocking my personal parking spot with their demonstrations. The cleaners are still prying bullets out of my Picture Wall of Fame after last night's festivities. And I don't know how I'll ever replace my precious autographed photo of me with Khomeini and the Assad the Elder -- those were the days, weren't they? So you can see, you must act now, right away, before we both lose this once in a lifetime opportunity.

But in order to be a legitimate agent of the Palestinian people, you are first legally required to provide a one-time refundable deposit of at least $25,000 in cash. Make sure the money is in small unmarked bills, packed in a suitcase -- I prefer Samsonite, red, with the special coating and stain resistant handles. You should bring it personally to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Word of advice: Do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- bring the cash to the Kalendia checkpoint or anywhere else under the Zionist Occupier's jurisdiction. The Zionist stormtroopers ask way too damned many questions. No, you MUST enter through Egypt. Also, whenever I am smuggling large amounts of cash, I always ask for Ahmad at the Cairo airport; he is most understanding. And when you get to Rafah, tell them The Wart sent you. You will probably need to bribe the border agent several thousand extra dollars -- do not be alarmed,this is perfectly normal -- and then my security people will take good care of you. They will slip you past any surrounding greedy Fatah bastards looking to misappropriate your money -- if my guys put a hood over your head, do not worry, it is only a disguise -- and then they'll escort you straight to my office in the Palestinian Parliament. Or if I am out amongst my constituency, they might take you to an abandoned warehouse I sometimes use for these meetings instead. But don't worry, they will see to it that your deposit is perfectly safe.

Then, after a quick break to phone your relatives and let them know you're here, I would love the opportunity to demonstrate to you the legitimacy and sincerity of our offer of cooperation in this momentous financial endeavor. I could introduce you to other members of the Palestinian government, and the security services who so deparately need a share of this cash. Just to be sure though, others in your family -- those who love you -- they do also possess large sums of liquid assets, do they not? I ask only to confirm my impression that you are a remarkably suitable individual, with a solid family backing, to receive this great blessing.

Please note that this transaction is 115% safe and we hope THAT THE FUNDS CAN ARRIVE IN YOUR ACCOUNT no more than ten (10) banking days from the date of reciept of your suitcase stuffed with CASH.

You may have doubts about this unbelievable opportunity. Perhaps you've read of similar (but completely different) situations on sites exposing various types of frauds, scams and other types of extortion and illegal money-making ventures. Please put these doubts aside. I promise you -- and my word is as good as the email it's written on -- that this is not some kind of Nigerian scam. No one from Nigeria wrote this letter. I wrote it myself -- pretty good, isn't it? Any Nigerian involvement is limited to a purely advisorial capacity and should not cause you even a moment of hesitation in fully investing yourself in this scheme. Believe me, you will get rich quick -- but only if you act quickly. Hurry, but don't forget the red suitcase.

I assure you, I am completely trustworthy and you should not doubt my sincerity in any way.

Yours truly, etc.

Mahmoud al-Zahar

Linked with appreciation to Stuck on Stupid, Third World County, Adam's Blog and Tor's Rants

Monday, June 19, 2006


D.C. Roe wants to honor the fallen of 9/11 and needs your help and mine:

I have a project and I need the help of a few bloggers to make it work.

2,995 bloggers.

September 11, 2006 will mark the 5-year anniversary of the attacks that killed 2,996 innocent people on American soil. A few months ago I started wondering what, if anything, I would write in my blog that day. A remembrance? A tribute? Anything I came up with seemed shallow, cliché, not enough.
What has he decided to do? What does he need from us?

I’d like 2,995 blogging volunteers to help me with a tribute to the victims of 9/11. If you’d like to participate, you’ll be assigned the name of someone who was murdered on September 11, 2001. Then on September 11, 2006 you’ll post your own tribute to that person. It can be anything you want it to be: a photo tribute, an essay, a remembrance, a poem…it’s up to you. Then link back to a page I will create which will give the names of all 2,996 victims and links to the blogs that will remember them that day.

But, and this is critical, I don’t want any of us to remember the murderers. Do not refer to the terrorists. Or their organization. Or their goals. Let them fade into nothing. Let them be forgotten. Remember those worth remembering.
I'm going to participate and I hope you'll consider it too. The project is just getting started and can still use our help.

If you want to participate, signups are being accepted through comments on either of two blogs: D.C. Roe or 2996. You can also sign up by email to dcroe05-at-yahoo-dot-com. D.C. is making the assignments; although, if you have a name you'd really like to honor, it probably wouldn't hurt to request it. A list of names and participants assigned so far is available here.

When we say "never forget" we have to start by remembering.

(via Gina Cobb)

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Haveil Havalim #74, Hear Blue Diary Roar 

Blue Enclave of Blue Diary has done the lion's share of the work, and all that's left now for us to do is read the great links in this week's Jewish Blog roundup, Haveil Havalim #74.

Hopefully something you read there will inspire you to great blogging heights, and you'll send me a link to your best work for this upcoming week. That's right, our Blog-Carnival-Father, Soccer Dad has given me the green light to take another mighty swing at knocking one out of the park. And like Dave Kingman, I'm truly convinced that this time, when I cover Haveil Havalim #75, I'm really going to hit a homerun. Or strikeout trying. So give me your best pitch and let's see what happens.

And don't worry, I'll ditch the gratuitous lion and baseball metaphors before then. I don't know what came over me.

Must Read Daled Amos: Pallywood at Gaza Beach 

As the investigation continues into last week's fatal explosion on a Gaza Beach, it is becoming clearer that much of the media's knee jerk publication of basically unfiltered Palestinian propaganda is likely wrong. While this doesn't surprise me in general -- I expected as much at the time -- nevertheless, it is edifying to learn more about how the Pallywood industry really functions. It's no small feat to take a tragic internal accident and quickly convert it into a global billy club that the rest of the world uses to pound on a hated neighbor in one's stead.

Daled Amos has some eye-opening details culled from a German newspaper among other sources. For instance, the presence on the scene of Zakaria Abu Irbad, the photographer responsible for many of the famous images of the grieving girl, leaves a lot of unanswered questions:
There's a lot more to read in Daled Amos' post, and I have a feeling more will be coming out on this story in the days and weeks ahead. Make sure to check back with Daled Amos to keep up, because you probably won't hear about it on CBS or CNN.

Israel Matzav also has more, putting the Pallywood information into context against the attempts of other news sources to disprove results of the IDF's investigation. Elder of Ziyon also has a quick summary of the issues.

I can't imagine how this kind of issue would have been handled if we were still back in the days when Dan Rather was our only source of information. Actually, yes I can. I'm so glad we have blogs like Daled Amos, Israel Matzav and Elder of Ziyon around (just to name a few).

Probing IDF Defenses is Child's Play 

Here's a story that I came across over a week ago (and another tip of the cap to Gail of Crossing the Rubicon2) that somehow got buried in my pile of blogging to-do's. Usually, when this happens, I just toss the now-outdated link and move on with some pointless top-ten lists instead, but this story was just too infuriating and relevant to let it pass.

Are you aware of how Palestinian militants probe Israel's border defenses?

A group of Palestinian children were sent towards the Gaza Strip border fence holding toy guns on Thursday in order to test the vigilance of the soldiers on duty.

From a distance, troops noticed four apparently armed Palestinians approaching the border north of the Kissufim crossing.

When the four were some 400 meters from the fence, the soldiers realized that they were children, who looked to be about 13 years of age, and that their guns were toys.
You probably didn't see this story anywhere else. I know I didn't. It isn't part of the story the Palestinians and their media partners are trying to tell.

But if -- God-forbid -- there comes a day when perhaps it is too foggy, or evening is falling, and it isn't possible for the soldiers to recognize from 400 meters away that an approaching group of armed militants is actually a bunch of older kids carrying toy guns, you can rest assured that every newspaper, TV newscast and website will carry the story of the outrageous cold-blooded slaughter of innocent Palestinian children who were only playing.

Then again, on the day -- God-forbid -- when Israeli soldiers hold their fire, uncertain about what might be toy guns in the hands of an approaching group, and end up getting shot by slightly older Palestinians -- late teens rather than early teens -- this will make the news, but only in the statistical roundup of soldiers killed by noble Palestinian resistance. Of course it will make the headlines in Palestinian and other Arab news outlets, and result in much ululation and sharing of sweets.

I'd rather imagine a third theoretical day, a different kind of day, in which the world media publishes accurately what is done by BOTH sides. When the Palestinian "militants" are finally exposed not as the defenders of their nation's children, but as their exploiters, maybe -- just maybe -- this kind of thing could stop. World peace? No. The conflict would go on. But I'd rather see the conflict carried on only by adults who know what they're getting into, rather than carried out through militants' proxy use of their own children as burnt offerings on the media's altar of "Israel is Bad" coverage.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pre-emption For Me But Not For Thee 

The Jerusalem Post kindly brings us word of Iran's defense minister pulling the rug out from under the all but the blindest of the Iranian regime's nuclear-apologists:

Iran's defense minister on Thursday vowed that his country would 'use nuclear defense as a potential' if 'threatened by any power.'

Speaking following a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Hassan Ali Turkmani in Teheran on Thursday, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar emphasized that Iran 'should be ready for confronting all kinds of threats.'
This statement brings up two immediate thoughts for me.

First let's be clear on terms. Deterrence is threatening to nuke in response to your being nuked. But the Iranian defense minister is not outlining a policy of deterence, in which nukes will be used only to counter attacks. He is engaged in saber rattling, promising pre-emptive use of nukes in the event of mere THREATS. Does that matter? Consider how the Cold War would have turned out with such a policy. Consider how many trees would hve to be mulched in order to publish all of the diplomatic world's condemnations were Israel to make such an irresponsible pre-emptive threat -- heck, Israel hasn't even openly threatened deterence and it is branded irresponsible just for allegedly possessing  a "nuclear defense." And consider the full extent of what is already publicly considered a threat by the paranoid Iranian regime:

Israel constitutes a real danger to the region and the Islamic states, head of the Council of Guardians, Ahmad Janati, told worshippers at Friday prayers.

He criticized some countries endeavors to establish relations with Israel saying "Establishing relations with Israel will strengthen it to suppress and blackmail states and peoples of the region." Janati reiterated Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy within the framework of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)decisions, stressing that it will not give up this right and will not surrender to pressure. [...]

He stressed that Israel is constantly hatching conspiracies in the region and the whole world and intends to destroy Islam.
You might accuse me of cherry-picking this paranoid Iranian quote to bolster my own paranoid argument. Let me just say that I went cherry picking with my family last week. While cherry picking does allow one to select the lowest, easiest to reach, ripest cherries, that is only because there are so many other cherries also within easy reach, also ripe and juicy, that it's almost impossible to pick a bad one. Gambling a nuclear containment policy on the ability of the Iranian government not to consider Zionists a threat is like letting Michael Moore guard the donuts in the hope that maybe he doesn't like sprinkles.

The second thing I'd like to know is, what happened to all the "our nuclear technology is only for peaceful use" talk? I thought the regime would keep up that charade until at least a day or so after they'd actually dropped the bomb they weren't developing to begin with. Yet here they are blustering about their "nuclear defense." Is this tantamount to an announcement the bombs are ready to go? Or am I merely misinterpreting the term "nuclear defense"? Is it possible Iran is merely pledging to adminster a lethal dose of peaceful x-ray radiation to any Zionist regime that threatens them, rather than dropping the by-now-cliched Map-Wiper?

I didn't think so either.

How Many UN Member States Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? 

The United Nations General Assembly,

Recalling its relevant resolutions on the subject of enforced darkness imposed on Palestinian women and children by Israel, the Occupying Power,

Recalling also the intense unsuitability of the light of Israeli bombardment, shelling, incessant gunfire and burning of native Palestinian olive groves as a replacement for the light bulbs that are the right of the Palestinians and of which they are deprived,

Taking note of the great tendency of Israeli light bulbs to burn out much more quickly than many light bulbs in other parts of the world, even if you are careful not to let your children switch them on and off too often and are not using them in American lamps with faulty transformers,

Noting in particular Israeli domination of the market for light bulbs in the Occupied Territories and the concomitant involuntary Palestinian dependence on inferior Israeli bulbs, which we are pretty sure is a war crime under the jurisdiction of the Internation Court of Justice, but don't ask us to quote exactly which law is broken, we just know it feels wrong,

Aware of the fact that bulbs in other parts of the world do from time to time burn out,

Nevertheless acknowledging that said parts of the world are not Occupied Territory and the responsibility of the Occupying Power, Israel,

Considering the fact that Iraq and also Afghanistan also are urged to petition this body for the change of their light bulbs under the occupation of their various Occupying Powers, be they British, American or other non-indigenous occupiers (but not Tibet or any other "people" occupied by China or other non-aligned friends of this body),

Regardless, waiting to include Iraq and Afghanistan as occupied bulb-deprived territories until such time as they have established their own decades-long records of official complaint,

Stressing the overriding importance of Palestinian light bulbs over all others, even to the extent of safeguarding the rights of Palestinian dim bulbs and not just those actually willfully burned out by the Occupying Power,

Acknowledging the importance of the Israeli withdrawal from within the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank and of the dismantlement of settlements therein as a step towards the implementation of the road map, and of the availability of any spare bulbs that may have created,

Nonetheless overlooking that withdrawal until such time as various committees, commissions of inquiry, boards and trusts established by this body officially notify the Secretary General that Palestinian leadership, such as can be found, is satisfied that no further withdrawals nor increased light bulb imports can be effected through pressures exerted by this international forum,

  1. Reiterates that all attempts by Israel, the occupying Power, to change Palestinian light bulbs on their own, in contravention of the established right of occupied peoples to self-relumination, are illegal attempts to hide the magnitude of the impact of Occupation and are to be condemned;

  2. Further, condemns the failure of the occupying Power, Israel, to change the light bulbs of the Palestinians for whom they bear legal responsibility under numerous sections of international law which it is advised no one ever actually read;

  3. Expresses grave concern at the use of suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians resulting in extensive loss of life and injury; there can we move on now, we said it, we hope you Israelis feel better;

  4. Reminds Israel, the occupying Power, that the rights of occupied peoples living in enforced bulbless darkess are immutable and are to be safeguarded by any means possible, that is to say, yes you deserve it, so don't go quoting us on number three;

  5. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its next session on the implementation of the present resolution, and on the excruciatingly slow but steady bulb-changing progress, and calls upon ALL member states to assist with the Palestinians' gradual relumination, with the exception of the occupying Power, or any power ruled by a reckless cowboy.

Hamas Key Chains 

Hamas key chains? Now that must be an exotic little chotchka. One can't help but wonder what amazing sales pitch would offer hamas key chains as that little extra something that seals the deal. And what use would it likely be put to?
Alas, it's nothing quite so exotic or threatening.

A students reads a copy of holy book of Koran as a Hamas keychain is hanging on its cover during a prayer at Al Mukmin Islamic school in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, Thursday June 15, 2006. Parents registered their children at the hard-line Islamic boarding school founded by freed militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir shared none of the concerns of Western nations over his alleged terrorist links nor that at least one international expert has dubbed it an 'Ivy League' for Indonesian militants since it has produced so many members of the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Nothing but a bookmark for the instruction manual at one of the finest Islamic institutions of higher learning for young boys, the "Ivy League" for Indonesian militants. Completely harmless.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Note to Ahmadinejad: It HAS Been Investigated 

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad apparently wants to have the Holocaust investigated:

'I think we have sufficiently talked about this matter and these Holocaust events need to be further investigated by independent and impartial parties,' Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a news conference on Friday following a meeting with China's president.
Earth to Mahmoud, Earth to Mahmoud, come in Mahmoud. Apparently you have been far away from our home planet lo these last 60 years and have not been in touch with the news, let alone reality. The Holocaust HAS been investigated. And reinvestigated. Then documented. Then the eye witness testimony has been collected -- not just from survivors, but from rescuers, participants, soldiers. I tell you this now so that should there ever be a day on which your space capsule eventually touches down on Earth, you won't embarrass yourself much further.

Unless of course this is all about your definition of "impartial." But even then, the only "impartial" panel you could assemble that would render the judgement you seek would be composed of, well, yourself, and perhaps David Irving and, oh let's see, maybe Louis Farrakhan, just to make sure the group is beyond criticism by including an American -- and even Farrakhan might disagree with you in his own vile way. The three of you can go ahead and have your "impartial investigation", preferably up on your space capsule heading as far into interstellar space as possible while doing so. And while you're up there, could you also do a little honest investigation into a few other controversial so-called historical facts? Like checking if the world is really round as so many blithely allege. After that, you might also look into this issue of the so-called vacuum. Maybe you could open the space capsule door and prove to all the conspirators that the universe truly is filled with oxygen everywhere, and that you can breathe in outer space just fine.

Meanwhile, the rest of us already have the results of impartial investigations. It's called historical fact. Only someone with an axe to grind and a neck he plans to use the axe on is going to be trying to call into question established historical fact at this point. Does that sound like you Mahmoud? Care to elaborate whose neck you're grinding your axe for?

'We want to know whether this crime really happened or not. If so, then those responsible should be punished and not the Palestinians ... If it didn't happen, then the Jews have to go back where they came from,' he was quoted as saying.
I see. So your drive for an impartial investigation is intended only to support your pre-existing agenda of getting the Jews off of their land -- a sort of heads we win, tails you lose proposition. My aren't you the clever one.

There is a little point you are misunderstanding here, Mahmoud. Jews do not live in Israel simply because of the "good fortune" of having had Adolf Hitler wipe out half their numbers while trying for the whole enchilada. Jews live in Israel because it is their home, and always has been, for a thousand years and more even before your magical mahdi jumped down the wishing well you so revere. Doubt it? Ask Christians, whose own faith springs from the very same Jewish roots in the holy land, all predating the "Palestinians" and Islam itself by centuries.

Consult historical records, like Josephus, or the Arch of Titus in Rome. They'll teach you we've been here a long time, and that although we've lost a few battles here and there, we've still never lost the war.

We live here because this land is the very heart of our faith and always has been. You aren't going to change that, even with the help of David Irving and Louis Farrakhan.

You can come up with any historical lies and retellings you want. But unless you want to disagree with a great segment of world history, and call quite a few of the world's other religions liars -- which actually, I suppose, doesn't really bother you much, but it might bother them -- you'd do well to reconsider your fantasy, that you can wipe the Judaism off of Israel.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: