Thursday, June 30, 2005

War of the Words: Losing Meaning and Impact

You know what I'm saying. Words like "extremist" or "Nazi" -- are bandied about by biased press, partisan politicians and everyday people like you and me -- used, or more likely misused, in a feeble attempt to make a point. And it needs to stop.

Take the wire services. They use of the word "extremist" when discussing Jews who don't want to be expelled from their homes and they use it to describe vicious terrorists who kill civilians. Does that really make sense? Are the two even slightly similar?

Friend to the Blogway, Tom Carter, did a terrific post about why using the word Nazi is ridiculous, whether it's you or Senator Dick Durbin spitting it out. His conclusion says it all:

Think about the American politician or public figure you find most distasteful. Assuming you know anything at all about World War II and the Nazis, there is no way you can intelligently characterize him or her as a Nazi or make a comparison to Hitler. Think about it. If you're guilty of doing it, you're making yourself look like an idiot. Cut it out.

He's right -- to make outlandish and inaccurate comparisons, to misuse words with intense rhetoric and hyperbole, doesn't bolster your argument. It deflates it.

I wish the media and people in general would do as Tom suggests -- and cut it out.

Find more from the blogway here...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tel Aviv Sunset

Sorry. Can't decide what to blog about again so when in doubt -- dig up another photo (well, in this case a screen capture) from Israel. This was taken near the Dolphinarium, where people gather Friday evenings to welcome Shabbat in with bongo drums and belly dancing (those photos for other lazy days). What's not to love?

Find more from the blogway here...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Spielberg Film a Surprise to Mossad

Hat tip to Rory. Steven Spielberg appears to be more liberal than Jewish with his latest film debacle about the revenge taken against members of Black September following the Munich massacre. Common sense would lead a person to research the script via those involved. According to this article, neither members of Mossad nor the Israeli government even knew such a film was being made. But that's not all. Guess what the film is based on?

Entertainment reports say the film, provisionally titled "Vengeance " and due to reach cinemas in December, is based on a book of the same name whose account of one of the most painful chapters in Jewish history has been widely discredited.

Widely discredited?! Lovely. That's what he wants to use as his basis for the film? Of course this doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be bad, does it?

In the preface to "Vengeance," author George Jonas declares himself a supporter of Israel. But according to at least one member of Spielberg's cast, Daniel Craig, the screenplay is a less-than-flattering portrayal of Israeli tactics.
"It's about how vengeance doesn't ... work -- blood breeds blood," Craig told entertainment magazine Empire.

This has stink on it up one side and down the other.

Find more from the blogway here...

Monday, June 27, 2005

10 Reasons To Love Palestine

I have no idea what it is with me and passing along humor things suddenly but this was another that was a goodie. Hat tip to Naomi Ragen for this one from Goffaq Yussef, a Palestinian comic.

UPDATE: In Comments Section

10 Reasons To Love Palestine
by Goffaq Yussef

Golly gee, I am SOOOO proud to be Palestinian Arab from the West
Bank. Let me tell you the reasons why I have such warm, fuzzy
feelings about my people and culture:

1. There is no such thing as Mothers Day. No worry about cards,
gifts, and expensive meals. There is no honor in being a woman in
our culture, so there is no reason to devote a day to her. We do,
however, get to enjoy watching our fathers beat our mothers
senseless for the slightest real or imagined infraction. Also, if
Dad suspects that Mom spoke to a strange man in the street, he gets
to kill her to preserve the family honor!

2. Weapons. Every child, from the time he can grasp an object, is
trained to feel comfortable with a rifle or pistol in his hand. And
every Palestinian has a weapon: a gun, a rocket launcher, a pound of
C-4. What good are hands if they aren't used to kill?

3. Hate. Boy, we love to hate. Hate is the very basis and
foundation of our culture. From the time a child is old enough to
understand language, we teach him to hate. Hate Jews, hate the
West, hate his fellow man, and most of all, hate himself. We have
no love songs, we do not preach love, the word love does not appear
anywhere in our society. Hate is the fuel that runs our motors.

4. Death. The moment a Palestinian Arab child is born, his parents
begin to plan his death. How will he die? Will he be struck by an
Israeli bullet while being used as a human shield by Palestinian
gunmen? Will he get shot while throwing rocks at Jewish soldiers?
Will he be packed with explosives and sent to blow himself up,
killing others? Or will he merely be one of the many Palestinians
murdered by other Palestinians in the normal course of daily life in
the death-culture of the Palestinian Arabs? Who knows? That's part
of the thrill.

5. Unemployment. Palestinians used to have jobs, working in
Israel. But then, our leaders had a brilliant idea: suicide
bombings! For their own protection, Israel had to close its
borders, preventing Palestinians from going to their jobs, so they
could sit around unemployed and blame the Jews for it. What great
fun to be your own worst enemy!

6. Martyrdom. Who in their right mind wants to be a martyr? Among
normal people, a martyr complex is considered immature and
obnoxious, if not downright crazy. With us, it's the central
syndrome of our society! Hey, look at me, I'm gonna kill myself and
become admired! And then, when we do kill ourselves, instead of
being considered pathetic, we DO get admired! It's a whole complete
cycle of sickness! American kids collect baseball cards;
Palestinian kids collect martyr cards (really! no joke!).

7. A feeling of entitlement. When Israel came into being, we
declared war. We lost. We fought again. We lost. We fought
again. We lost. Israel had the right to kill us all (we sure would
kill all of them if we got the chance). Instead, they allow us to
live on land they conquered. But we can't leave that alone. We
have to claim entitlement to live on land that we lost in 6 wars.
Since when does the loser of a war get to claim the land he fought
over? They don't. But we do. Not only that, but we happily kill
our kids over it! Hey, what's more important -- a chunk of dirt, or
some worthless kid who isn't going to amount to anything anyway?

8. Uselessness. The Jews have won more Nobel Prizes than all other
ethnic groups combined. Their contributions to science, art,
literature and the humanities is far out of proportion to their
population. What have Palestinians produced? Nothing! Not a
thing. We don't do anything productive. We're too busy rioting and
killing and chanting and screaming and calling for everyone's death.
And we blame the Jews for it, as though the Jews stop us from being

9. Friends. The Palestinian people sure know how to pick 'em.
Saadam Hussein. The Taliban. Adolf Hitler. You name a psychopath,
and we embrace him. And look who our supporters are! The American
Nazi Party. The KKK. Just check their websites and see how they
stand in solidarity with us. When you support the Palestinian
"cause," you're in real good company. Bring your white sheet!

10. Freedom. The biggest laugh in the world is when people call us
"freedom fighters" or they say we're fighting for our freedom. Take
a look at all 22 Arab countries. Do you see any freedom there?
Well, that's what our country will be like if we ever get one. It
will be a dictatorship run by armed, masked thugs who will kill
anyone who dissents. Just like we are now. Freedom???? LOLOLOLOL
The word doesn't even exist in our language. Hey, just like George
Orwell said: "Freedom is slavery. Long live big brother!"

Remember: Israel is bad! LOLOL -- It's existence keeps reminding us
what a bunch of losers we are.

Find more from the blogway here...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Volunteering For Israel

Volunteers are very important to Israel's economy because we do the work basically anyone can do, which frees up the soldiers to do the tough stuff -- therefore saving Israel tons of money (I think we saved them 4 million just on my base alone that year). The following is about my experience. Hat tip to Gravelrash for suggesting I do this.

I think it was sometime in 2002. Wanting to help, my boyfriend and I attended a "Shop Israel" event in Los Angeles. Merchants from all over the holy land were able to come to a specific building and set up booths selling their wares. Among these booths was a sign reading Volunteers for Israel. Intrigued, we went over to speak with the two people working there. They gave us fliers. BF and I discussed the idea and were fascinated that such a thing existed. Being that neither of us were swimming in cash, the chance to see Israel and have a good portion of it be free seemed ideal. You work from Sunday to Thursday, food and board are provided but then the weekends are yours (and on your dime) to do as you please. But first you must have an interview. We called and made our appointments. My meeting was with Paul. It was his job to tell me what do expect and to make me realize this wasn't going to be a country club experience. If I was expecting great accommodations, terrific food -- go someplace else. The work would be steady but not terribly hard. After I sufficiently convinced him that I wasn't a debutante (or a member of Hamas), I was in.

A friend suggested we time our trip for Israel's 55th birthday (May, 2003), so we did. We then got an email from our wonderful Sar-El rep, Pam, asking us if we wanted to partake in an offer to volunteers who were going to be there over Yom Ha’atzmaut to pay a little extra and spend the holiday at the soldiers' resort in Ashkelon. BF and I looked at each other and essentially said in unison, "Hell yeah!" Of course, don't get too excited about the word "resort" -- it's a resort by comparison to the barracks, but it seemed more like your average college dorm room. More on that later though.

So the big day came. We arrived in Israel, got picked up at the airport by Pam and were immediately taken to a communications base near Tel Aviv. Guess who was there -- Paul -- who did my interview! So we already had someone we knew there, which was a nice treat. I was put in a females-only barrack with three other women (all from Canada). BF had the same, though his roomies were a mix of US and Canada. The bathrooms were down a path, but at least there was a coffee machine (mochachinos!) in the common area. We arrived late at night, so first order of business was getting some sleep after traveling for a long time on planes. The next morning, we were introduced to our young Madricha (this is the name given to the army rep who acts as a sort of camp counselor) and taken to the mess hall for breakfast. Afterwards, we were given our uniform and a tour of our part of the base.

We were then taken to our work areas. I worked in two different ones (over the three weeks). First, I worked fixing helmets. I scraped the icky stuff off, repaired holes with this substance called Bondo and then painted them. Of course, I just described three different stations. But you spend all day doing just one of those activities. Very much assembly-line type work. Also there, I did a bit of what BF did, which was scraping paint off radio chassis but he also cleaned shock absorbers for radio mounts. The other thing I did was I spent time in a warehouse, rewiring the radio headsets (you are trained in a matter of minutes--it's not hard believe it or not) that go inside the helmets. It's not the most fascinating work, but it's not difficult either and it gives you the chance to chat with and get to know the other volunteers who are there from all over the world.

Your average day was the following: Mornings began with a trek to the mess hall (after the mochachinos in the common area). After, we'd go for flag raising and then off to your work station. Halfway through, there'd be a 15 minute break. Trek back for lunch then back to work. Again another 15 minute break and then you're off for the evening. Evenings occasionally had a program for us to participate in.

Meals are kosher, with breakfast and dinner the same, usually egg in some form, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheeses, bread... maybe some pickles and olives. Lunch is the big meal, with some kind of meat (either brisket or chicken), along with soup, hummus and vegetables (I became VERY fond of an eggplant mixture).

We worked for one day before taking off for Ashkelon, the soldiers' resort that lies on the Mediterranean coastline. We stayed for Israel's Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron). Prior to landing at Ashkelon, we met up with another base. There, many volunteers and soldiers took part in a ceremony honoring the fallen soldiers. We stood for a half hour in the sweltering heat, wearing our berets (that we had to run around our base to earn) that were on loan for the occasion. Later, at Ashkelon, several of us snuck off to the beach area. We thought we were breaking some intense rule by doing this, but the following day, we found our madricha and several others lying out on the sand. We stayed the following day as well at Ashkelon for Israel's 55th Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut).

Once we left Ashkelon, we headed towards Jerusalem. Before we arrived, we went on a tour of the Jewish National Forrest. This is the place where they plant the trees that you buy for Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, when a child is born or in someone's memory when they have passed. There we learned about the ancient aqueducts. It was with these, waaaaaay back when, that people were able to move water to use to help them live. We were then on our own to enjoy the weekend. As a person doing Sar-El, you are given discounts on hotels, tours, etc. The smile it brought to faces knowing that someone cared enough to come help them (especially when we were there) was so gratifying. While in Jerusalem, we visited Ben Yahouda Street (shopping!) -- and we even ran into one of the merchants we bought from back in Los Angeles! It was a happy reunion. We took a tour (that sadly -- commenting on the lack of people there -- only had one other person besides us) that included seeing the Memorial to the Holocaust -- Yad Va Shem, Masada, a hike at Ein Gedi -- and seeing a ton of Ibex on the way to the falls and later swimming in the Dead Sea. The water was fantastic. You just lean backwards in it, and immediately you're floating without any effort. We loved it.

But the most amazing experience was when I got to see the Western Wall. I'm not a religious person, but the feelings that washed over me in that moment... words fail. I tear up just writing this. Amazingly, you can take a tour of the tunnels underneath the Wall, with a guide -- I highly recommend this. I took a video (tacky, I realize, but I have friends who are afraid to fly who I wanted to see this) of the entire tour. Fantastic. There's far more I could tell, but maybe that's another post. Back to the base come Sunday morning to report for work.

During the following week, BF concentrated on disassembling radio chassis outside (and his Israeli tan) while I worked inside -- in the electronics section -- re-wiring radio headsets (as I said above), installing them in the soft helmet (which I also assembled with foam insides) that are then installed in the hard helmet I painted the previous week.

We took other trips on the following weekends, all of which were simply amazing. But during the second weekend, there was a bombing in Jerusalem. One of our fellow volunteers had spent the weekend in Jerusalem with his friend, a sharpshooter instructor with the IDF. The night before, he watched his friend kick around a soccer ball with his two young children. The next morning, his friend took a bus to work. He saw a young guy get on, dressed as a Yeshiva Boucher. Something did not seem right. The sharpshooter pointed his gun at the terrorist's head and was about to pull the trigger when the vile monster detonated his bomb. Our pal's friend miraculously survived -- but is now a quadriplegic. Our pal was pretty freaked out. We all gathered in the TV room to watch constant coverage on one of the 24-hour news networks, hungry for any and all info. After several hours of this, a soldier approached Sahbra (since she is fluent in Hebrew) and asked how much longer we were planning to watch the news. We wondered why. Apparently the soldiers wanted to watch a video, Rambo, that they had picked up. We couldn't believe they wouldn't want to watch the news. This is when he taught us a very valuable lesson. This was huge news to us but to them, it was a daily part of their lives. They needed a release and watching movies, etc., was how they kept sane. We vacated immediately, perhaps a bit more sensitive and a little wiser.

We made friends from around the world, several of whom, like Sahbra, we are still close. I can't recommend the experience enough.

Find more from the blogway here...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

With Friends Like US

According to the Jerusalem Newswire article, US brings Israel to its knees over arms sales, you have to wonder why Israel even continues to speak to us. Don't get me wrong -- I wasn't thrilled that Israel wanted to sell Harpy Killer unmanned drones to China, but I'm not impressed by arms we sell to Egypt or Jordan either. But we imposed sanctions?! Guess what else we apparently did.

The Pentagon had originally demanded Israel fire several senior defense officials involved in the sale, a condition Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Yuval Steinitz called “illegitimate” and “humiliating.”

I'll say. It's like we're punishing our 'of age' step-kids for having a beer -- after they've seen us do it.

According to Yediot Ahronot, under the deal Israel was pressured to accept, Defense Ministry director-general Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yaron and the head of the ministry's security, Yehiel Horev, would be forced into retirement. In addition, America would oversee all of Israel's future arms sales to foreign militaries.

“This is an unprecedented demand,” a senior security source told the newspaper. “This way, the caliber of Israel's weapons industry cannot function.”

Sounds like someone is asking for a double standard again. At this rate, why don't we just make it official -- Israel is our 51st state -- making it yet another one whose borders we don't care to secure. Never mind we're going to seriously affect their economy by this action.

“No country will want a third nation to know every detail about its weapons, especially not formally,” the source said.

No kidding! So what in the world could be the US's reason for this? One speculation...

Steinitz suggested last week that the crisis over the arms sale was more about promoting the US military industry by stemming competition than heading off any real threat to American security interests.

Great. So it's possibly just a giant game of hypocrisy? And monopoly-inducing? Charming, guy.

The United States continues to sell advanced weaponry to Arab nations still officially at war with Israel, as well as hostile neighbors such as Egypt, which pose an existential threat to the Jewish state.

Of course we do. Lovely.

Find more from the blogway here...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Tel Aviv

Sorry, feeling lazy once again, so I thought I'd put up this picture -- the view from the hotel I stayed at in Tel Aviv. If I could have afforded it, I would've loved to move into this room. Tel Aviv was magical for me. You know how you search for the place you belong? This felt like it for me. I miss it.

Find more from the blogway here...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

For Those Who Buy Into the Guantanamo BS

Our pal, Warren at long range, has a terrific post. Read what Lt. Peter Hegseth, a Minnesota native who has just returned after a year at Guantanamo Bay, had to say to his local newspaper about Dick Durbin's (and others') charges.

Find more from the blogway here...

Could It Be True?

While I find it hard to believe that a leader, a military hero, could be so horribly selfish, one still has to wonder. In her latest column in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick discusses a new book, Boomerang, that's been released about why Ariel Sharon, who was once the champion of the settler movement, came up with his disengagement plan. The reason, if true, is nothing short of a betrayal of Israel.

... stemmed from considerations that had absolutely nothing to do with Israel's national security interests. According to the two writers, Sharon's basic impetus for adopting the radical left-wing plan – that had been overwhelmingly rejected by voters in the January 2003 elections – was his desire to avoid indictment for his role in corruption scandals for which he and his sons Gilad and Omri were under police investigation.

How can a hero do something like this just to save his own (and his sons') skin? I truly can't wrap my head around it. The writers allude to private conversations in which Sharon was advised how best to turn the nation's attention away from the investigations into his actions. They claim to have spoken to people who are closest to Sharon. The following paragraph made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Several months ago, a senior government official who was involved in the government discussions about the withdrawal plan told me, "Sharon placed the legal establishment on the horns of a dilemma. They had to decide what moved them more, their love of the law or their hatred of the settlers. It was an easy decision."

Why turn on your own? What is with the demonization of your fellow countrymen and women? I realize I'm naive, but I don't get it. Here's another doozy from the Glick article:

SHELACH AND Drucker's book gives the lie to the notion that any security or strategic considerations were taken into account by Sharon and Weisglass in formulating the withdrawal plan. Indeed, as Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yaron, who now serves as Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's senior policy adviser, is quoted as having said, "If the disengagement goes through, it will be proof that there is no need for any decision-making process in the State of Israel."

This is the case because, as the authors demonstrate, the plan, which was Weisglass's brainchild, was made without any staff work, without any discussion with the army, and without any debate by the cabinet. Weisglass presented it to then US national security adviser Rice without any discussion with or forewarning to the IDF or the Shin Bet and against the strenuous objections of both.

Charming. The more I read, the more angry I get. Glick then goes on to discuss all the moves I think I've discussed before (but don't mind repeating), that seemed incredibly dubious in nature.

To counteract the security establishment's opposition, Sharon effectively fired the IDF chief of general staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, and Shin Bet director Avi Dichter by not extending their tours of duty, as is routinely done for both positions. He simultaneously stacked the General Staff and the Shin Bet with commanders who, like Mofaz, understand that they are personally indebted to the prime minister.

I already did a post about how the Israeli media has played into Sharon's hands with their one-sided coverage. Apparently, they're continuing this trend with their silence about this book. Glick is not afflicted by this illness.

DRUCKER'S AND Shelach's findings point to two critical and acute problems in Israel. The first is that Sharon, in sharp contrast to the public image that his advisers have carefully crafted for him, is neither a great visionary nor a strong leader. He is an old widower moved by personal ambition and an overarching desire to be perceived as a man he is no longer capable of being. The second problem is that our legal establishment is perceived by our political leadership as so prejudicial that it is capable of inspiring policies that are antithetical to national security.

The fact that, in spite of their clear support for the left-wing platform of an Israeli return to the 1949 armistice lines Drucker and Shelach could not ignore the fact that Sharon's entire policy was based on nothing other than his desire to be admired and to avert criminal indictment, shows clearly how history will look back on this period. It also shows that, as was the case with the critics of the Oslo process, critics of this plan – which, like the Oslo agreement, was put together with no discussion or debate, against the strenuous opposition of the defense establishment and with no thought of what would come in its aftermath – will be proven right in all of their warnings of impending disaster.

And Glick would know about Oslo. She was one of those negotiating with the Palestinians for Rabin. While her language is off-putting to many on the left (hi Dad), I still feel that she's someone to listen to and respect. Her closing statement...

There are still two months before this ill-begotten and breathtakingly ridiculous plan is to be carried out. In the time that remains it will be interesting to see whether those, both in Israel and the US, who were brave enough to oppose the Oslo plan on the basis of its obvious and gaping flaws but who today, placing their trust in large part on Sharon's reputation as a strong leader, support the withdrawal plan, will reconsider that support. If they do not, they, like Sharon, will not be remembered by history for their past bravery, but rather for their decision to prefer momentary and opportunistic accolades for their "moderation" over the long-term security of the State of Israel and the stability of the Middle East as a whole.

I don't know anything about the two authors, but Sharon's resume is known to all. Glick is someone I respect and doubt would give credence to something without checking it out, simply because it supports her take on things. If this is true, it's too vile for words.

Find more from the blogway here...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Madrassah in Bridgeview, Illinois

Daniel Pipes has written an interesting article about a piece in Time Magazine:

Marguerite Michaels of Time Magazine got "an unusual degree of access" to the inside of the Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois, sixteen miles southwest of downtown Chicago, with 638 students in pre-K through 12th grades. She wrote up her impressions at "The Model School, Islamic Style" and Robert A. Davis took some striking pictures.

I'm not so sure how "model" this school actually is. While she puts a nice spin on it, questionable things did make it into the article.

"They are obsessed with foreign politics," says Steve Landek, the mayor of Bridgeview. "I come to talk to them about better sidewalks. They want to know how to run for Congress so they can change America's Israeli policy."

Well.......isn't that special? But the kids, being taught in this wonderfully moderate school, must be full of hope and promise, right?

Assigned in English class to write about his American Dream, a 15-year-old wrote that the territories under Israeli control should be returned to the Palestinians and "the Jews should be left to suffer."

I'm so glad they're moderate.

Find more from the blogway here...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Some Good News For Israel!

According to Israel21c, California VCs look to Israel for the next big thing.

For the second year running, a delegation of some 30 American venture capital funds based in California were wowed by Israeli technological startups during a four-day visit last week.

20 innovative Israeli start-ups, in the preliminary stages of funding recruitment, presented their business ventures to the funds - companies specializing in telecommunications, computer and software development, security of computerized environments and media advertising.

How awesome is that? Well check out the article and find out.

Find more from the blogway here...

Anti-Israel Bias -- Thy Name is CNN

Hat tip and a big thanks to Rory for this one. It's a letter from Amit Keinan -- who lost several family members to a homicide bomber. While it's one story about CNN's bias, it's hardly the only story out there. I had to turn off CNN International (shown late at night on the West coast) after 9/11 because its constant anti-Israel bias was sending my blood pressure through the roof.

On May 27th, 2002 a suicide bomber from Yasser Arafat's organization blew himself up near my 14 months old niece's cart, murdering the little baby SINAI KEINAN and her grandmother RUTHI PELED. My brother and sister in law LIOR and CHEN KEINAN were injured.

As you will shortly see, the CNN perfected its ability to report only one side of the story (the EVIL side), thereby supporting only that side's cause and SHOWING THE WORLD HOW BIASED THE CNN IS.

Last Friday (May 31st), the mourning parents made an indescribable effort to come and give two separate interviews:

The first, a live interview for CNN USA (Friday, 4 PM Israel time) - in which they expressed their pain and anguish, thanked the American people for their support and pleaded with the viewers to continue and support Israel in its fight against terror.

The second, a taped interview for CNN International (that unlike CNN USA can be viewed in Europe and Israel through cable) - in which the mourning parents expressed a small part of their strong feelings about Europe's unbelievable continuous support and "understanding" of the Palestinian's cause and the brutal, immoral and murderous ways they use to achieve the same.

We were told the interview was to be aired that day 6PM Israel time. That Friday, 8 PM Israel time, CNN INTERNATIONAL FINALLY APPROACHED THE ISSUE BY SHOWING A LONG INTERVIEW WITH THE SUICIDE BOMBER'S MOTHER WHO "EXPLAINED" WHY HE DID WHAT HE DID (the family's boutique was damaged and a relative was killed in battle(!!!)) !!! WITHOUT AIRING OR EVEN MENTIONING THE INTERVIEW WITH THE YOUNG COUPLE. The same repeated itself numerous times that evening and the day after.

Only the day after, after editing the American connotation of the live interview to the USA (which of course had an effect on the young couple's choice of words) CNN International cynically aired some short unrelated parts of that interview including the mentioned plea for continuing the support, plus a few seconds of the taped interview (out of a 20 minute interview).

All in all, CNN allocated no less then 16.20 minutes to the murderer's family as opposed to 5.35 minutes to the Keinan/Israeli side. The interview with the murderer's mother was aired 5 times (mostly during prime time) as opposed to the US interview with the young couple which was aired twice (non on prime time).

After being approached by a few government offices, the CNN now bothered to acknowledge "a mistake" and air some additional parts of the interviews, which of course now brings us nowhere.

Putting aside all PR issues, one can only begin to imagine what all this did to the mourning families.

I believe knowing the above will suffice in helping the reader do like I did and DECIDE TO NEVER AGAIN WATCH CNN.


For that cause, I ask you to forward the above story to as many people as you can.

Thank you,

Amit Keinan

Find more from the blogway here...

Jews vs. Catholics

My little cousin, who is half of each, sent me the following joke. I thought it was rather amusing, so I thought I'd share.

Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or
leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope
offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the
Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy, if the Pope
won, they would have to leave or convert.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged, but wise, Rabbi Moishe to
represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian and the
Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a "silent" debate.

On the chosen day, the Pope and Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a
full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger.

Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.

Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.

Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared that he was beaten, that Rabbi
Moishe was too clever and that the Jews could stay in Italy.

Later, the Cardinals met with the Pope, asking what had happened.

The Pope said, "First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.

He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there is still only
one God common to both our beliefs.

Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around

He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here
with us.

I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our

He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin.

He had me beaten at my every move and I could not continue."

Meanwhile the Jewish community were gathered around Rabbi Moishe. "How did
you win the debate?" they asked.

"I haven't a clue," said Moishe.

"First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave
him the finger!

Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said
to him, we're staying right here"

"And then what?" asked a woman.

"Who knows?" said Moishe, "He took out his lunch so I took out mine.

Find more from the blogway here...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Your Help Is Needed

MaxedOutMama, a good friend to the Blogway, has posted about someone who needs help. Please check it out.

Find more from the blogway here...

Easing Palestinian "Hardships"

If you're anything like me, you don't understand what the big deal is about the so-called Palestinian "hardships" about going through checkpoints. Guess what? They want it eased, stop sending homicide bombers through them! Case in point is Wafa Samir Ibrahim Bas, a woman with an appointment at Soroka Hospital today (given a temp entry permit by Israel for "humanitarian assistance" -- nice thank you there). Wafa decided to bring more than a purse as an accessory to the doctor -- she brought a 10 kilo homicide belt. IDF caught her, and she admitted she was sent by Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade. Palestinians aren't doing anything to make it easier for Israel to "let up" on security measures, so they'll just have to reap what they sew.

Hat tip to Naomi Ragen. For more info, click here for a Jerusalem Post article on it.

Find more from the blogway here...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day

Hope all you dads out there (including mine -- hi Dad!) have a fantastic day.

Find more from the blogway here...

Democrats Are In Trouble

There is a terrific article over at The American Thinker, by Richard Baehr that is a must-read. It addresses the sad fact that anti-Semites appear to be welcome in the Democratic party. Who can deny that after the John Conyers mock Judiciary Committee hearing giving a platform to the conspiracy theories of known anti-Semite Ray McGovern? What about the corresponding anti-Semitic pamphlets being handed out at the DNC headquarters at the same time? The following paragraph eloquently lays it out.

But when the Democratic Party sponsors what amounts to a festival full of anti-Semitic hysteria and Israel bashing at its own headquarters, and invites anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists in to address members of their Congressional delegation, then I think that the line of basic support for Israel has been crossed. Arguably, when former President Jimmy Carter invited filmmaker and Israel hater Michael Moore to share his Presidential box at the 2004 Democratic convention, the line had already been crossed.  Or maybe it was crossed when the entire Democratic establishment treated Jew-baiter Al Sharpton as a serious Presidential candidate and respected member of the Party in 2004. Now, there can be little doubt.

If the democrats have any hope of taking back the White House or even one of the Congressional Houses, this isn't a great way to go about it. The moderates need to come forward and reclaim the party.

Find more from the blogway here...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

My Cat -- AKA The Stunt Pee-er

(A tale/tail with a lighter side to it, for once.) OK, this is an old picture but it will give you an idea of what I'm up against with my picky feline. If her litter box isn't exactly how she wants it, she acts out. Several years ago, when I was in a small apartment, I was sitting with my roommate, eating dinner, when we heard a weird noise. We looked across the room and saw my cat, standing on top of her litter box (the kind with the roof on top, so they can pee inside). We didn't get it right away, but I soon realized what was happening -- she was peeing into it from above, through the filter! That's when she earned the nickname of Stunt Pee-er. Even while doing a normal session (in her litter box without a lid), she is a stunt pee-er, trying to straddle the box by having at least 3 paws (if not all 4) on the edges of the litter box when she pees.

This picture was her last year, caught peeing in my bathtub. I couldn't believe it! So I bought her the auto-cleaning litter box, that knows when she's done and cleans 10 minutes later and that seemed to solve things.

That is, until yesterday. I walked into my bathroom and caught her again -- this time taking a wiz in my sink! Does anyone else have a Stunt Pee-er in their animal (I don't need to know about kinky siblings) family?

Find more from the blogway here...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Is Slavery Making a Comeback?

Daniel Pipes's recent article, Saudis Import Slaves to America, gives many examples of this practice happening here once again in the good ol' US of A. And it's frightening. But apparently it's not rare for Saudis.

Although slavery was abolished in the kingdom in 1962, the practice still flourishes there. Ranking Saudi religious authorities endorse slavery; for example, Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan recently that "Slavery is a part of Islam" and whoever wants it abolished is "an infidel."

It's one thing if they want to break laws and do horrible things to fellow humans in their country but doing it here? The initial couple profiled in the story, Homaidan Ali Al-Turki and his wife Sarah Khonaizan, are thankfully facing life in prison. That is, if nothing goes wrong. Apparently interference has happened in the past.

... Saudis know they can get away with nearly any misbehavior. Their embassy provides funds, letters of support, lawyers, retroactive diplomatic immunity, former U.S. ambassadors as troubleshooters, and even aircraft out of the country; it also keeps pesky witnesses away.

Sounds like the Mafia if you ask me. Let's hope the government is able to stick to their guns with the prosecution of this pair.

Find more from the blogway here...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Earth Moved

Felt the 5.3 earthquake while I was in the movie theater seeing the latest Star Wars film. It was pretty funny (everyone's reactions -- not the film). Lucas's peppering of today's conflict in the film was super obnoxious and would have been forgivable... in a better film.

Find more from the blogway here...

Need Advice/Anger Issues

I find you all to be rather insightful individuals, so I am asking you for your help.

I've had a recent situation that left me quite angry. I need to get over it already. But how? People who know me IRL probably think I'm used to it by now and developed a routine but I haven't. I think about it often, but I don't want to any more.

How does a person get over these feelings of betrayal/disloyalty/unfairness/fill-in-the-blank and move on?

Find more from the blogway here...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Stealing Israel's History

Hat tip to Rory for bringing Melanie Phillips's Diary to my attention and now yours.

It is painfully apparent to anyone who attempts to set out the facts about the Arab war against Israel that whatever evidence is brought forward is dismissed – because of the widespread belief that the Jews stole the land of Israel from the Palestinians.

Of course, most if not everyone reading my blog knows this is false. Yet she's right -- you have to admit that if that is someone's belief, it's going to be hard to get out of the quicksand. So the question is how to make people understand that what they've come to believe as truth is actually a fallacy? Phillips explains something many of us know but never hurts to repeat.

There was never an Arab country called Palestine. For about 400 years the Jews had sovereignty in what is now Israel and the West Bank, despite losing parts of it to foreign conquest, until they were finally driven out in 135 CE. It was the Romans who renamed Judea Palaestina to expunge all traces of the Jews. The land of Israel was stolen from the Jews, first by the Romans and then by the Arabs. Jews did not conquer Arabs; Arabs conquered Jews. Jews did not ethnically cleanse Arabs from the land; Arabs ethnically cleansed Jews. Even so, a continuous Jewish presence remained in Palestine. Israel was not created in 1948, but restored.

She then quotes a Max Singer article about the League of Nations decision in the early 1920s and how the Arabs never accepted its decision to invite the Jewish people to settle the land:

The Palestinians' claims may be strong enough to justify giving them some of the land they want. But since the Palestinians have never been rulers of the land, it could not have been stolen from them. Palestinians, therefore, are claimants, not the victims of theft. Their behavior should be judged as the acts of a claimant seeking land to which he thinks he is entitled, not as the acts of a dispossessed owner.’

And yet, this argument is never being made by Israel. Phillips has an opinion on this.

The Israelis, who of course have the most direct interest in ensuring that the facts about their own history are made known, refuse to do so. They refuse even to acknowledge the argument that lies behind the libels – that Israel has no right to exist because the Jews stole the land from the Arabs – because they say no other country is singled out in this way by having its right to exist called into question and that to answer the charge is to give legitimacy to the question.

Which has got to be one of the most stupid and self-defeating positions ever. Turning a cloth ear to this libel has allowed ignorance to be colonised by the propaganda of hatred and extermination. While Israel is on its high horse, it hasn’t noticed that someone has cut it off at the knees.

She's got that right.

Find more from the blogway here...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Formula Could Combat Campus Racism

Judea Pearl, in The Jewish Journal, writes about his recent visits to four "troubled" college campuses and he comes to an interesting realization:

Many condemn anti-Zionism for being a flimsy cover for anti-Semitism. I disagree. The order is wrong. I condemn anti-Semitism for being an instrument for a worse form of racism: anti-Zionism.

In other words, I submit that anti-Zionism is a form of racism more dangerous than classical anti-Semitism. Framing anti-Zionism as racism is precisely the weapon that our students need for survival on campus.

He rightly feels that Jews are being denied the basic right of other peoples to self-determination and to nationhood. He then makes the argument that I'm not sure religious people appreciate but that secular Jews understand.

Jewishness is more than just a religion. It is an intricate and intertwined mixture of ancestry, religion, history, country, culture, tradition, attitude, nationhood and ethnicity, and we need not apologize for not fitting neatly into the standard molds of textbook taxonomies — we did not choose our turbulent history.

He remarks that while religion is protected in our society, political views are not so our opponents have reshaped the argument. It's time for us to help students reshape it back.

So, in the name of “open political debate,” administrators would not think twice about inviting MIT linguist Noam Chomsky to speak on campus, though his anti-Zionist utterances offend the fabric of my Jewish identity deeper than any of the ugly religious insults currently shocking the media. He should be labeled for what he is: a racist.

Strategically, while accusations of anti-Semitism are worn out and have lost their punch, charging someone with racism makes people ask why anyone would deny people the right of self-determination in a sliver of land in the birthplace of their history. It shifts the frame of discourse from debating Israel’s policies to the root cause of the conflict — denying Israelis their basic rights as a nation.

Charges of “racism” highlight the inherent asymmetry between the Zionist and anti-Zionist positions. The former grants both Israelis and Palestinians the right for statehood, the latter denies that right to one, and only one side. This asymmetry is the most effective weapon our students should use in campus debates, for it puts them back on the high moral grounds of “fair and balanced” and forces their opponents to defend an ideology of one-sidedness.

I say anything we can do to help kids today combat the fear and bigotry on campus is a step in the right direction. Pearl (he's Daniel's father, by the way) summarizes it this way:

I believe the formula “Anti-Zionism = Racism” should give Jewish students the courage to both defend their identity and expose those who abuse it.

I think he's got it right.

Find more from the blogway here...

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Way to See France

Via Las Vegas.

Yes, I'm feeling uninspired/lazy and decided to simply upload one of my Vegas pictures. Blame it on Michael Jackson. It's probably the only charge that can stick to him.

Find more from the blogway here...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Dershowitz: In the Line of Fire

Hat tip to StandWithUs for this article, Alan Dershowitz: The Hazards of Making the Case for Israel. The man writes an incredible book about Israel and the charming anti-Israel brigade has gotten to work.

A systematic effort to discredit the book, and me, has been undertaken by a well-organized group of Israel bashers led by Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and Alexander Cockburn.

Dershowitz does a fantastic job shining a spotlight on their mode of attack, which is a three-pronged operation to delegitimize the object of their ire -- and it's worked for them in the past.

Because no one has thus far exposed the pattern, each attack may seem plausible on first impression. But when the pattern is examined and exposed, the entire enterprise becomes clear for what it is: a clear attempt to chill pro-Israel advocacy on university campuses by a form of literary McCarthyism.

He gives plenty of documentation about the horrible anti-Israel/anti-Semitic antics of the gruesome threesome. The following is yet another reason why these guys are scary.

Despite his demonstrable lies, Finkelstein is a popular speaker at anti-Israel events on university campuses around the world. He is not quite as popular as Chomsky and Cockburn, but he is paid handsomely by student groups anxious to promote his anti-Zionist rants. The members of the McCarthyite triumvirate are invited to campuses far more frequently than centrist, moderate pro-Israel speakers. There is something very wrong with this picture, but now that the pattern of literary McCarthyism has been exposed, perhaps the picture will change.

If you've never seen evidence of the deeds of these three or even if you've never heard of them, this article is an excellent primer and something with which you should definitely make yourself familiar.

Find more from the blogway here...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

What the Hell Are We Doing?

Apparently, last November -- according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, a mystery sub was caught spying on Israel. Who did it belong to? Apparently it belonged to the US Navy.

Following the incident, reports surfaced late last year that the United States had increased its intelligence operations against Israel as part of an effort to prevent escalation of the conflict with the Palestinians with an invasion of the Gaza Strip following incessant Kassam rocket strikes, or offensive action against Hizbullah in Lebanon or even Syria.

So we're protecting the terrorists now? What the hell is up with that?!

The reports said the United States had increased U.S. satellite monitoring of Israel to determine military movements, import and export of weapons and weapons tests. They also said the Americans had expanded the interception of signals communications from Israeli government and military facilities.

With friends like us... What is our government thinking? Or are they trying to instigate another USS Liberty incident? Hopefully this time we aren't giving what we learn about Israel to her enemies.

Find more from the blogway here...

25 Ways to Help Israel

Hat tip to Naomi Ragen for this one.

David, a young volunteer in the IDF, recently finished his two years service and decided to spend his time in the information battle to help Israel. He has created a wonderful website with a plethora of information on how to help Israel.

Check it out.

Find more from the blogway here...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Need Something? Shop Israel!

Many of us can't help Israel by joining its military, even in a volunteer basis. But there is something YOU can do to help Israel. You can do any and all shopping that's possible over the Internet by buying Israeli products, thus helping her economy.

Have a friend who's about to give birth? One of my favorite gifts to send is from the artist co-operative, Ethnics Art, which is a baby blessing. They have them in Hebrew for a boy or a girl -- or in English, which works for either sex.

Want some of the greatest beauty or bath products out there? Check out one of my faves -- Sabon.

Know of other shop Israel sites? Add them to the comments section!

Find more from the blogway here...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I'm Back

And I have something you should check out. Naomi Ragen has written a very moving piece called, "How We Live" which includes an update about a family whose military son was killed last year in a suicide bombing (many of us on her list, including myself, wrote the family a condolence note) as well as another family who was affected by a different bombing. I had tears welling up when I read it.

Find more from the blogway here...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More in Vegas

More in Vegas
Originally uploaded by estherhoffman.
Interesting dinner last night. No, not the food (buffet at Paris Hotel) but because of a couple eating near us. It was a Muslim couple, and she was covered every inch but her eyes. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt, of course. You cannot tell me that buffet was Halal. How odd is that?!

I am $25 down now for those keeping track.

Find more from the blogway here...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Road Trip

Road Trip
Originally uploaded by estherhoffman.
Sorry I've been out of touch. I'm seeing Big Sister (who has finally returned to work in time to go to Vegas for a conference), which is tons of fun. Don't have too much time to blog but thought I'd share a picture I took last night out our window. So far I'm $40 up.

Find more from the blogway here...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Your Feedback Needed -- Boycott?

Scott, over at It's A Matter of Opinion, got me thinking with his post about the land of hypocrites. Check out the whole post, but what it got me thinking about was possibly pulling our resources to put together a comprehensive list of products that come from terror-sponsoring nations. This list could then set a boycott in motion, perhaps by doing a blogburst, where all of us along the blogway would post that list on the same day. Any thoughts? Is this doable... or crazy?

Find more from the blogway here...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Ashkelon at Sunset

From my trip to Israel two years ago. Posting now... just cause I felt like it.

Find more from the blogway here...

Not Just the Arab Press

Naomi Ragen has another important article to tell us about called, "Anti-Semitism at Le Monde and Beyond." I highly suggest you read it.

Find more from the blogway here...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Report: Anti-Semitism Rife in Muslim & Arab Press

The ADL's latest report about the Arab press is not exactly a surprise but still thorough. Check out their country-by-country analysis.

Find more from the blogway here...

Disengagement -- Not That Simple

I hate the term "settlers" being used for people who have lived in their cities, towns and communities for over 30 years. It's insulting -- certainly the way some people throw the word around. Many people hear the news and see no problem with Sharon's disengagement plan and can't understand why it's tearing not just Israel apart but every Israeli. For everyone, but especially for those of you who can't see the other side's point of view, I have some links you should check out. Naomi Ragen posted another great article about her recent visit to Gush Katif. Then for more of a taste of what is happening, visit Batya's wonderful site called Shiloh Musings. Then get updated news at the sister site, ENGAGE - For a Secure Israel. These aren't faceless individuals, numbers. They are full human beings, each with their own story, their own life that they've built for themselves and their families. I do see both sides of the argument. I think it's everyone's duty to do the same.

Find more from the blogway here...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Summation of AIPAC Policy Conference

OK, I've procrastinated enough.

First and foremost -- this was an incredible experience that I highly recommend. My mother saw my itinerary and immediately registered for the conference! The next one will be held in March, so start saving up for it now.

Each day was filled with knowledgeable speakers and fascinating forums. The forums I attended were "Beyond the Headlines: The Media and the War on Terror" and "Approaching Statehood: Are the Palestinians Really Ready." I will eventually do posts on both of these. Each day started anywhere from 8AM to 11AM and ended between 9 or 10PM, with only a couple of breaks throughout the day. On one break, I did something that was a ton of fun! My mom and I met one of our fellow bloggers -- Jonathan! And we didn't fight about disengagement once. He is a delightful gentleman, and my mother was quite taken by him. On the way back to the conference, she was making a mental list of women she wanted to set him up with. Watch out, Jonathan!

In addition to the forums, there were meals (please, don't go for the food--not easy to serve 5,000 people at once) served and then special speakers, like Natan Sharansky and others whom I've already posted about. During the meals, you can talk with the people, often strangers at first, from all over who are sitting at the table with you. It's a great chance to make new friends and talk about what's going on in the different areas of the country or the world. I met some terrific and very informed people.

One of the many amazing things AIPAC does is arrange for you to lobby your representatives on the Hill. Since there were too many people from my area, our reps came to us.

First up was Barbara Boxer. She mentioned that she is one of the only Jewish members on the Foreign Relations committee. Main points of her talk are the following. (Gindy, I know you can't wait since your love for Boxer is legendary-haha). She expressed thanks to the moderates for the getting the nuclear option off the table. She said she will tell Abu Mazen he needs to lead -- history will judge you. If he tells her all he wants [from the US], it will mean nothing if he does nothing. She said her first responsibility as part of the government is to protect us. The opportunity is the Middle East is one that we can't afford to miss [this was repeated by many over the conference--ed note]. She appreciates that AIPAC gives correct, full info. Others don't--they give skewed [I can go more in-depth with this if anyone is confused--ed note]. "Never Again" is something she heard all the time at the dinner table growing up. I think she lost a whole wing of her family in the Holocaust. She said that Sharon won't leave under fire so if that happens, pullout might not. She thinks if Israel gets out, and attacks still happen, it gives Sharon more moral standing when retaliating [admittedly her opinion].

I missed a lot of Dianne Feinstein (who was late due to a vote she had to stay for) because it overlapped with my next meeting. But her stand-in, her legislative director Peter Cleveland, said that Israel is our ally, friend...alter ego. He called him Abu Mazen [yes!], wants transparency within the PA and that the terror factions/networks must be dismantled.

Congressman Howard Berman has a perfect record on support for Israel, so it's not like he's a hard sell. But it's always necessary to thank your representatives for their support because you can bet they're receiving a lot of negative feedback for that support. He talked about many things but the most interesting thing I learned was that he really likes the Minister of Finance in the PA, Salam Fayyad. He says he's honest and is trying to break the back of the cartels there. His life is constantly in danger. You can read about his efforts here.

Find more from the blogway here...