Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Thought-Provoking Article

The whole article is excellent, but I found two items of keen interest from Ari Shavit’s piece in the New Yorker, "Watching Hamas," that I thought would be good for us to discuss.

Shalom Harari is a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has been following the rise of Hamas for almost a quarter century. While most TV channels were broadcasting scenes of Hamas celebrating its victory, Harari had tuned in to a seemingly tedious military ceremony on Egyptian state television. "Look at the wives of the generals," he said. "Many of them are wearing traditional head scarves. This was not so ten years ago. And this tells you where we are heading. When the women of Egypt's pro-Western military elite are dressed like that, you know that the Hamas victory is not about Palestine. It's about the entire Middle East."

And then there is this one….

The impact of the Hamas victory, he said, is not local but regional. "As we speak, there are growing fears not only in Israel but in Jordan, Egypt, and even Syria. The Hamas victory is a Middle East earthquake. Its shock waves will be felt in every town between Casablanca and Baghdad."

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Friday, January 27, 2006

One Life, Many Voices For Hurricane Relief

Please read this post and even spread the word. One Life, Many Voices is a wonderful CD, a true labor of love that has been done by the actors on the soap opera, "One Life To Live," wanting so desperately to find a way to help. Everyone lent their voices for free, as did all aspects of production, lawyer fees, etc, all to raise money to help those affected by the hurricanes of 2005. So if you've been looking for a way to donate that could help our friends and loved ones down South, try this and get some beautiful music in return.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dark Day

Not sure how else this could have turned out...the elections in the Palestinian territories. Was there really a win scenario? I don't think so. At least Hamas says out loud their intentions where the PA just did backroom deals, having Fatah do their dirty work. There is no peace partner. There never was.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Just When You Thought I Had No More To Say On Munich

My fabulous pal who took me to see Munich for free gets a hat tip for letting me know the “writer,” if you can call him that, Tony Kushner, decided to try to stick up for his sorry self in an article in – surprise, surprise – The L.A. Times.

Here are only a few bits and pieces of the whole article, but they're the ones I had specific comments for...

There is no definitive account of what was, after all, a covert operation. But no one is challenging the central historical fact in the debate that "Munich" is meant to catalyze: These Palestinians were assassinated by Israel, following the Palestinian murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich.

So the athletes were murdered, but their murderers were assassinated??

I've never killed anyone, but my instincts as a person and a playwright — and the best books I've read about soldiers or cops or people whose jobs bring them into violent physical conflict — suggest that people in general don't kill without feeling torn up about it. Violence exacts a psychic toll, unless you're a sociopath, and who wants to watch a movie about sociopaths?

He misses the point. The fact is, the killing of the PLO murderers was righteous, hence why there was no need for conflict or guilt. Sort of like when he writes. Does he feel guilt when he has to cut out a paragraph that wasn’t well written? I think not. If you let yourself get too emotional in your job (whatever it may be), it makes it that much harder to do it well.

Here was another gem:

In the film, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is presented not as a matter of religion versus religion, or sanity versus insanity, or good versus evil or civilization versus barbarism or Judeo-Christian culture versus Muslim culture, but rather as a struggle over territory, over geography, over home.

Yes, true. THAT is what is wrong. That is not what the Middle East conflict is about and it’s his inability to grasp that has the rest of us exasperated. The Palestinians don’t care about a home of their own. That’s leftist baloney. Read their charter! They say what they want clear as day – “From the river to the sea…” They want Jews GONE. It really is that simple. They don’t want a homeland next to Israel but rather in place of Israel. He just doesn’t get that.

"Munich" insists that this characteristic of human behavior is not meaningless in the struggle against terrorism. In other words, we believe that one aspect of the struggle against terrorism is the struggle to comprehend terrorism. If you think understanding the enemy is unimportant, well, maybe there's a job in Washington for you.

And if he thinks he understands terrorism, I have a wonderful little bridge to sell him.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

My Mouth Is Hanging Open

After one of my worst night's in a while (this bug is not going away), I woke up this morning to watch my TiVo'd Fox News Sunday. I'm fast forwarding the commercials when I see something quickly flash by that looked like the cover of "The Third Terrorist" book. But it wasn't. It was for a book called "Jerusalem Countdown." As I watch the commercial, I hear about it being a warning of a nuclear showdown between Iran and Israel. Then the kicker.. "This is a wake-up call for Christians to stand in absolute solidarity with Israel." While I realize people feel this way, it was a shock to my half-awake ears to hear it in a voice-over like that on a commerical. Had to hit pause and run to my computer to quickly blog about it while it was fresh in my head! Has anyone else seen this ad or this book? Wild.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Israel... Straight To The Point

From my friend Paul: Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says Israel is an alien implantation whose people should return to Europe or perhaps settle in Alaska. So it is an irony that Israel's president, Moshe Katzav, is in fact a Farsi-speaker born in Iran. Ditto Israel's defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, who is doubtless preoccupied nowadays with how to destroy Iran's nuclear programme. He is advised by Dan Halutz, Israel's former air-force commander and now chief of staff. Lieut-General Halutz was born in Israel, both his parents in Iran. They seem to have taught him a sense of humour. Asked how far Israel would go to stop Iran's nuclear programme, he replied "two thousand kilometres".

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mazen Is Too Much

Another suicide bombing (or work accident, since it happened in the bathroom) occurred in a restaurant in Tel Aviv, near the old central bus station. Abu Mazen's reaction? "This is sabotage and aimed at sabotaging the elections, not only the elections, but also the security of Palestinians." So Islamic Jihad's maiming Israelis was really about destabilizing security for Palestinians? If I connected dots like that in school, I'd get an F.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Master Speaks

One of the great strategic minds on counter-terror in Israel, Boaz Ganor, has written an article entitled, Israel continues to face three strategic terrorist threats . It is wise to listen to him.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

If You Could...

We make many friends in cyberspace. I was lucky enough to meet one of mine in New York City several years ago. We had an awesome time, and I even got the chance to meet and spend time with her sister, who had accompanied my friend to the big city on this rare trip. Yesterday, my dear friend told me her sister has learned that she has a large mass in her brain. Sister is a young mom. Please add her to your prayers. You guys are capable of amazing things.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sick as a Dog

That would be me. And working two full time jobs... no days off this week cause I was called in to one job on my one day off, that being today, for six hours for a seminar. Can't even bring myself to comment on my own blog. Want to sleep or at least cough some more. Where's the tissue box? Miss you guys. Stay healthy.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Threat That Is Iran’s President

You need to read Daniel Pipes’s article, The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It’s not that long, but it’s an eye-full.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Vote For The Greatest Moonbat

Our buddies at Democracy Frontline need our help, so please go vote.

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I've Been Tagged!

Always On Watch has tagged me with the latest germ being passed around the blogosphere--the Childhood Meme.

My life as a child (under 15) in 50 words or less: I was the third out of three girls. A pain in the ass to my sisters, no doubt. I'm very grateful to them for letting me live cause had they done the same to me, I probably would have smacked them upside their heads. I was such a brat.

Where were you a kid? Silver Spring, MD... inside the beltway, btw.

Given the choice, were you barefoot or shoed [sic]? Barefoot whenever possible.

Were you a city kid or a country kid? Suburban, a couple of miles from the D.C. line.

Stupidest thing you did before the age of 15: Gee, so much to choose from. Hmm...I browbeated Big Sister (who's like 5 years older) to take me out rolling (toilet-papering a house) with her and her friends for her high school homecoming duties (she was a cheerleader--they hit the football players houses). She did one round without me and then returned to the house. When the gal who was supposed to pick her up to do more didn't show, I was allowed to go with to do her house. Well, apparently no one ever gets to finish her house cause her neighbor always catches them and calls the police. A cop came, caught my sister's best friend's younger sister (tho older than me) and threatened to take her to the police station if the rest of us didn't come out. Being I was only 10, I thought he was really going to do it so I came out of my hiding space. Big Sister was like, "oh shit, now I have to come out because my little sister did." The funny part is that he took us to my folks' house, who were away on vacation having left my sister in charge. The cop insisted on calling them. There wasn't a phone in their room so the manager of the hotel had to wake them. My mother was PISSED. She was like, "Is anyone hurt? (No) Are the people whose house they did pissed? (No, they were thrilled someone finally finished and decided to leave it up til the morning) Then get out of my house." And I think she hung up after that, lol. We tease my mom all the time that she's great when the big things happen but G-d forbid you forget to bring up the paper towels when she asks.....

Do you know how to play Kick the Can? Yes, but never really did it.

What else did you play in groups? Swim team, basketball.... and I believe I always played Sabrina in a game of Charlie's Angels.

Worst injury? I would say when I fell down on glass and got stitches. That was probably worse than when I fell off the skate board and skinned my knee (still have that scar too) cause I thought the knee pads I had weren't cool enough to wear.

Do you agree with Bob Seger’s line in Against the Wind, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”? I prefer reality these days to the fantasy world I lived in as a kid.

I'm not going to tag anyone but if you want to do it, feel free to say you're going to and leave a link here for everyone to check it out.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ariel Sharon Timeline For Reference

The Life and Accomplishments of Ariel Sharon

Written by Gilead Ini of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA.org). This timeline may be reprinted without CAMERA's permission.

Feb. 27, 1928: Born in Kfar Malal, a Jewish-owned agricultural community (or moshav) north of Tel Aviv where his parents, Samuel and Vera Scheinerman, settled after fleeing the Red Army in Russia.

Aug. 23-26, 1929: Arab anti-Jewish violence erupts across British Mandate Palestine. Rioters destroy several Jewish communities, but unlike in 1921, when Kfar Malal was razed by Arabs, Sharon's moshav survives.

1942: Joins the Haganah, a militia formed to defend Jewish villages against Arab attacks.

1947-49: After the United Nations votes to partition Palestine into two states (one Arab and one Jewish), Arabs renew anti-Jewish attacks; Sharon joins Israeli army.

May 1948: Takes part in battle for Latrun to break the siege of Jerusalem during Israel’s War of Independence and is seriously wounded.

1953: Father of Counter-Terrorism. Heads Commando Unit 101, formed after repeated Arab infiltrations kill hundreds of Israelis. The unit specializes in counter-terror strikes behind enemy lines. Sharon invents many counter-terror methods still in use today.

October 1953: Two Arabs infiltrate Israel from Jordanian-occupied West Bank town of Kibya, murdering a woman and her two young children. In retaliation, Sharon’s Unit 101 raids the town and destroys 42 houses. Although Sharon says the demolished houses appeared to have been evacuated, Jordan reports sixty-nine civilians killed in the operation.

1956: As raids against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip continue, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal and blockades the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships. This prompts a British-French-Israeli invasion of the Sinai peninsula. Sharon is criticized for disobeying orders while taking part in the invasion.

1962: Wife Margalit dies in car accident.

1967: Egypt's Nasser again blockades the Straits of Tiran, expels UN peace-keeping troops from the Sinai Peninsula and masses troops on Egypt's border with Israel. From Golan Heights, Syria bombards Israeli settlements with mortars. Israel reacts on June 5 with a pre-emptive attack against Egypt. Sharon, in command of an armored division, is pivotal in Israel's success on the Egyptian front.

October 1967: Eleven-year-old son Gur dies, accidentally shot by a friend playing with an antique rifle.

1971: Sharon is given assignment to fight terror emanating from the Gaza Strip. Arab attacks go from 34 in June to one in December.

1973: Retires from military and helps found Likud, a new coalition of political parties. He rejoins military and is instrumental in repulsing the Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack. After the war, Sharon is elected to the Israeli Knesset.

December 1974: Resigns from Knesset.

June 1975-Feb. 1976: Serves as advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

1976: Forms new political party, Shlomtzion.

1977: Shlomtzion wins two Knesset seats, and merges with Menachem Begin's Likud.

1977-81: Sharon serves as Minister of Agriculture. Spurred by security and ideological considerations, he expands Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

1981-83: Serves as Defense Minister. During his term, he oversees the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Sinai, which Israel turns over to Egypt as part of peace treaty.

1982: Oversees Israeli invasion of Lebanon, where the PLO has a multi-thousand-man army, in an attempt to halt terror attacks and to rid Beirut of Syrian troops. After Palestinian terrorists shoot and wound Israeli ambassador to Britain Shlomo Argov in June, Israel launches "Operation Peace for the Galilee" and invades Lebanon. The PLO retreats from Lebanon, and Syrian troops evacuate Beirut.

August 1982: Bashir Gemayel, a Lebanese Christian, is elected president of Lebanon, but is assassinated before taking power.

September 1982: Israel assigns its ally, the Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia, the mission of rooting out remaining terrorist cells in two Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatila. Phalangists kill not just terrorists, but civilians as well.

Feb. 8, 1983: Israeli investigation into events at Sabra and Shatila, the Kahan commission report (http://tinyurl.com/e3wt8), finds that "absolutely no direct responsibility devolves upon Israel or upon those who acted in its behalf," but says Israel is indirectly responsible because it did not consider the danger posed by the Phalangists and did not restrain them after hearing reports about a massacre. The commission concludes that Sharon had "disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps" and failed to order "appropriate measures" to prevent or reduce the danger.

Feb. 14, 1983: Sharon resigns as Defense Minister.

Feb. 21, 1983: Time magazine claims a secret "Appendix B" to the Kahan commission report details a discussion between Sharon and the Gemayel family during which Sharon "discussed with the Gemayels the need for Phalangists to take revenge for the assassination of Bashir" Gemayel. Sharon denies the claim and files a libel suit against Time.

Jan. 14, 1986: A U.S. court finds that Time defamed Sharon with false information in the February 1983 article.

1990-92: Appointed Minister of Housing and Construction. Heads program to absorb thousands of Russian immigrants.

1996: Appointed National Infrastructure minister

1997: Appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.

October 1998: Participates in negotiations with Palestinian Authority at Wye Mills, MD. Under "Wye Accords" agreement, Israel agrees to redeploy from 13 percent of "Area C" in the West Bank, and Palestinians agree to prevent terrorism, collect illegal weapons, outlaw terrorist organizations, and end incitement.

September 1999: Elected chairman of Likud party.

Aug. 3, 2000: Palestinian Media Watch raises concerns about "eve of war atmosphere" generated by official Palestinian media outlets.

Sept. 18, 2000: Israel radio reports Palestinian Authority releasing prisoners, including terrorists, for extended furloughs.

Sept. 27, 2000: Bomb explodes near Israeli convoy in Gaza Strip, killing one soldier. The following day, an Israeli patrol is ambushed.

Sept. 28, 2000: Sharon visits the Temple Mount, the most sacred site of Judaism. He does not enter any Islamic mosques. After he leaves, Palestinian stone-throwers attack Israeli police. Later in the day, Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli troops in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Sept. 29, 2000: A Palestinian on joint patrol with an Israeli soldier in the West Bank kills the soldier. Palestinians in Jerusalem's old city attack Jewish worshipers at Western Wall and Israeli police. In the ensuing clashes, four Palestinians are killed.

Feb. 6, 2001: Elected Prime Minister.

May 4, 2001: International commission set up to investigate cause of violence releases "Michell Report," which concludes that "the Sharon visit did not cause the 'Al-Aqsa Intifada.' "

March 27, 2002: A terrorist attack on a Passover Seder in Netanya kills 30, including elderly Holocaust survivors. Terrorist fatalities rose to 452 in 2002 with the number of injured reaching 2,309.

March 28, 2002: Sharon launches Operation Defensive Shield to root out terrorist bases in the West Bank.

June 16, 2002: Israel begins building security fence.

April 2003: The U.S., E.U., Russia and the U.N. propose a road map to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

May 2003: Sharon's government accepts the road map with 14 conditions

2004: Israel continues to build security fence, which is credited with helping to reduce sharply the number of terrorist attacks.

Feb. 20, 2005: Route of fence altered in wake of Israel Supreme Court ruling.

Aug. 14-Sept. 12, 2005: Sharon achieves disengagement from Gaza. Israeli settlers and troops evacuate Gaza Strip and four settlements in West Bank.

Nov. 21, 2005: Establishes centrist Kadima party after quitting Likud. In the weeks that follow, politicians from across the political spectrum join Kadima, and polls predict the party will win in upcoming elections.

Dec. 18, 2005: Suffers mild stroke, returns to work few days later.

Jan. 4, 2005: Suffers massive stroke.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Take On Munich

I didn't pay, don't worry. Got in free with someone from the Writers' Guild. And boy did he have questions for me after the movie ended. That said, here's my take.

Let's start at the very beginning. Flashing across the screen were the words, 'Inspired by real events.' Why not just say the truth? Inspired -- but it's FICTION. That I could have respected. As my bf said, all people will catch are the words real and events. He's probably right.

The film had fine production values... just a questionable script. In the beginning, they show a bit of what happened in Munich but not all. Yet as I watched it and Hatikva played, I found myself getting very emotional. But a strange thing happened by the end, when they showed what "really" happened to the athletes. The movie had been so violent, just like the characters, I had become immune to the violence and the deaths of the athletes did nothing to me but rather I really saw myself detaching to the point that I was noticing the lightening, the other production parts... I was numb. I'm guessing that was sort of the point, but if I'm not engaged in the film anymore, that's really not a great way to make a point. And it's not like I am one to not lose myself in a movie. Hell, I will lose it at well done commercials. I'm a sap. I love losing "me" and getting so into what I'm watching. So if I had that reaction, I'm guessing almost everyone did. Beak?

The movie was very graphic... very graphic with the killings, with sex, dead naked bodies, etc. I felt about Spielberg doing that the same way I laugh at every former female child star having to get caught partying and posing nude in Maxim. So desperate to shed their former persona that they're shouting, "Look world, I've changed!" Spielberg, you're still simplistic. Showing naked bodies and graphic violence doesn't mean your movie-making has matured. Get over it.

Another thing that bothered me was that Palestinians were allowed to make their case, spew their lies and no one in the movie challenged them! Things like the PLO thug saying things like Israelis spill Palestinian blood, all they want is a homeland, a nation (rather than dead Jews), then one of the Mossad said, "We've acted like Europeans toward the Palestinians! Another lovely moment was when one of the team said the only blood that matters is Jewish blood. What??? What a bunch of propaganda hooey! Now anyone who doesn't know any better is going to think what they said is the gospel. For that alone, he deserves to have his Jew card revoked! (No, we don't really do that but you get what I mean.) And no, Schindler's List doesn't make up for that. Only SS could make a movie about the Holocaust and tell it from a gentile's point of view! Would people have embraced Hotel Rwanda had it been told from the useless white UN worker, Nick Nolte's, point of view??? I can't imagine the African-American community not being up in arms about that if it had happened that way. Anyway, I digress.

Then we get Castro's stooge (SS) saying that the CIA paid the mastermind, Salameh, not to kill American diplomats and when Avner and his men were set to do the hit, 3 Americans messed it up, most likely Salameh's CIA buddies. As far as I know (and feel free to correct me), this is soooooooo NOT true! He really made the US look pretty horrible in this movie. But that shouldn't be a shock coming from Spielberg. I'm sure many of you will have comments about this point!

They were also very big on showing how scared the terrorists were, in an effort to humanize them.

They constantly had people making speeches -- pontificating on SS's liberal, pie-in-the-sky, cycle of violence bullshit. At one point, I leaned over to my friend and asked him, "Isn't this getting a bit redundant (showing each killing)?" He was like, no, he was into it. After the movie ended, he said about a minute after I asked that, it totally hit him and he felt the exact same way. Made me giggle.

All in all, unless you want to raise your blood pressure...take a pass.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sharon Has 'Significant' Stroke

Holy shit. My prayers are with him....and with Israel.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Stories Catching My Eye This Evening

Iran president likens Zionism to fascism. Charming. Maybe he’s right that the Holocaust never happened. Sure seems a lot of the world is starting to embrace that hogwash.

A Richmond, Va. family was found dead in their home, arms bound, their throats slit and then the house was set on fire. Sound familiar anyone? Hmm... Time will tell.

Apparently Arutz Sheva is reporting that there has been a 900% increase in terrorist smuggling in the four months since Israel withdrew from Gaza. Hmm. Shock. Not.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Saying Good-Bye to the Holiday Season

I thought to bid the holiday season farewell, I would provide a link to a picture I took for Alex's mom's Christmas card for this year. You will see the new addition to the family (found the day after Alex died, which wasn't the plan but seemed like a gift sent from Alex), plus Alex's dobie sister and the very patient cat. Hope you enjoy it.

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