Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Thank you to all the soldiers who gave their lives to protect us and have allowed us to live our lives in freedom.

We owe you so much. We owe you everything.

To those who are still with us, stay safe, stay strong. And know you are all in our prayers.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Part Of The Reason I Have Had Blogging Issues

While most of the reason is because I now deal with news all day long for work that reading it/writing it in my down time wears me out (that and the BF would like me to spend some time with him), there is something else. I am going to repost a comment I made on Beak's site that explains something I have found very troubling.

I find it fascinating that people will take issue with Muslims for their strict interpretation of the Koran, hail the reformations that took place in our own religions like Christianity, etc., call us all enlightened (and therefore better than them) and then claim they know G-d hates gays cause it's in the bible. I have seen this hypocrisy around the blogway and in a way, that is one of the reasons I've been staying away from doing too much blogging. Seeing such blatant bigotry from people who call themselves religious (and their religion as being a "loving" one -- and this includes followers of my OWN religion) makes me want to pop a blood vessel. Sorry to write this here, Beak. But I saw these posts, and it just brought it all back. I've been planning to do a post on this, to explain why I've been away (in addition to just being overwhelmed by too much time reading news), but I guess this just inspired me. It's not an attack on any one person (and my apologies that it probably feels that way). Just voicing my incredible disappointment in general. It freaks me out to no end to read comments from people I adore and respect on the subject of terror only to see them able to turn around and make such upsetting statements.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Ultimate Humiliation?

We all know what a huge component "humiliation" plays in the mindset of many Palestinians. They want revenge on Israel for the humiliation they feel over losing several wars, yadda, yadda, yadda.

My question: If humiliation is such a horrible thing in their culture, why is it they have no problems accepting, begging or demanding a handout from international donors like the EU or the US? They are the equivalent of the old squeegee guys who wanted to do your car windows as you entered NY from the Lincoln tunnel but would then bash your window in if you didn't tip 'em. Only at least those guys would clean your window!

What the hell do the Palestinians do to deserve one red cent of the handouts they feel so entitled to and why don't they feel humiliation over this when most of us would?

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Support From Jews But Not For Jews?

GREAT article from our pals at Democracy Frontline. Check it out .

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What World Are We Now Living In?!

I just read an alarming article, AIPAC Case Impacting Security Clearance by Josh Gerstein in the New York Sun.

The Pentagon is invoking the prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists and a Defense Department analyst for illegal use of classified information as a basis for stripping security clearances from government contractor employees who have dual citizenship in America and Israel or family members living in the Jewish state.

Never mind the fact that they haven't been convicted (the case might even end up getting thrown out) -- the witch-hunt is underway. You’d think Israel wasn’t our ally. Wonder if they’re questioning people with relatives in Saudi Arabia. Vile.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Defying Stereotypes

A while ago, I blogged about the evening I spent at an AIPAC event listening to one of the most amazing people I've ever met, Ilka Schroeder. When I went to the AIPAC convention a year later (this past March), I got to meet Ilka again and spend time with her. She is inspiring. She told me about a dream of hers she's hoping to make a reality. Recently, Ilka did a full blown article about this dream with Washington Jewish Week. I probably should just give you the link, but I don't want to give anyone an excuse to miss it. So read it here.

Defying Stereotypes:Ilka Schroeder starts center on anti-Semitism

Author: Eric Fingerhut - Washington Jewish Week

Defying stereotypes
Georgetown visiting prof starting center on anti-Semitism in Germany
by Eric Fingerhut
Staff Writer
Washington Jewish Week

When Ilka Schroeder, a non-Jew from Germany, starts talking about Israel and anti-Semitism, she says people in the United States are usually pretty astounded.

"They expect something else -- I'm European and leftist," she said.

But Schroeder has defied the stereotypes of those labels -- and is trying to get other Europeans to get over their stereotypes of Israel and the Jewish people.

The 28-year-old is starting a center in Berlin to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and she spent much of her five-year term as a member of the European Union Parliament trying to get the organization to reconsider its financial support of the Palestinian Authority.

She is in Washington this year, teaching a class this semester and next for Georgetown University's Center for Jewish Civilization on anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.

Schroeder sees her planned Center Against Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism, for which she's currently raising funds, as an "action-based" organization focusing on Germany that will respond "whenever anti-Semitism comes up."

She hopes, for instance, to provide explanations for why a particular offensive statement by a politician or prominent figure should be considered anti-Semitic, such as outlining the stereotypes upon which a particular remark draws. And she wants to collect data on anti-Semitic incidents around the country that she can disseminate to the media and others.

There are other institutes devoted to studying anti-Semitism in Germany, such as the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University in Berlin, but Schroeder is more interested in commenting on day-to-day political developments than academic research.

She supports the efforts of Jewish organizations that fight anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe, but said that she can add a different perspective because she is not Jewish.

When a Jewish person calls something anti-Semitic, she noted, some Europeans discount it because it is coming from a Jew.

This kind of bias is not uncommon among Europeans, said Schroeder, and she has been fighting it ever since she decided that it was essential to speak out about the E.U.'s support of the Palestinian Authority.

Elected to the E.U. Parliament as a member of the German Green Party in 1999 (she later left the party to become an independent, but still allies with the left), Schroeder said she came to the body without a particularly strong view on the Middle East.

The Sept. 11 attacks changed that, she said, making her realize how widespread anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes were in the E.U. countries.

She saw the attacks not only as directed against the U.S., but against Jews as well, since al-Qaeda was attacking what it sees as the hallmarks of Jewish influence -- Wall Street and the U.S. government. But many Europeans reacted to Sept. 11 not with outrage, but with cries of "These people are poor, we have to understand them."

It was then she realized that she had to become an activist.

In the ensuing months, after published reports revealed that the P.A. was directing E.U. financial aid toward the financing of terrorism, she pushed the E.U. Parliament to open an investigation into the matter. She said the only way she could get fellow legislators interested in the matter was to emphasize the P.A.'s corruption, since not many were particularly concerned about the diversion of the money for violent acts.

Eventually, she said the Parliament did convene a "working group" on the matter -- on which she was not included -- but that no investigation was launched because it could not be proven that the E.U.'s money went directly from their pocket to paying for suicide bombs, which Schroeder found ridiculous.

"They were asking for something impossible" to prove, she said.

Since Hamas took over the Palestinian government, the E.U. has suspended its $600 million in aid to the Palestinians, but Schroeder is not optimistic that the freeze will continue indefinitely. She believes that the eventual E.U. goal is to "challenge the U.S. position [of pre-eminent power] in the Middle East" and across the globe, and funding the Palestinians is one way to do that.

The E.U.'s failure to take Palestinian terrorism seriously is one manifestation of a common theme among many in Europe, particularly on the left: an unwillingness to believe that "Israel may not always be the perpetrator ... [and] Palestinians the victim," she said.

Schroeder estimates that as many as one-third of Europeans might believe that Israel was behind a conspiracy to commit the Sept. 11 attacks. And she says that displaying sympathy for Israel has led to accusations from fellow legislators that she is being "paid by the Mossad."

For many, their anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views fit into their anti-globalization ideology, which states that the "financial sphere" dictates how the world operates and that Jews are influential in that sphere, Schroeder said.

She has continued to press these themes around the world since leaving the E.U. Parliament in 2004, even testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives' International Relations Committee last month about the E.U.'s support of the Palestinian Authority.

Deidre Berger, managing director of the American Jewish Committee's Berlin office and its Ramer Center for German-Jewish relations, said Schroeder has demonstrated a "long-term commitment" to the issues of anti-Semitism and Israel.

"She is one of the most prominent representatives of a phenomenon in Germany of young non-Jewish activists who are focused on issues of antisemitism, due to a number of factors, including a strong feeling of responsibility for their past as well as for the danger to democracy today posed by antisemitism," Berger wrote via e-mail.

Schroeder said her devotion to this issue doesn't really come from a desire to atone for the sins of Germany's past, but because it is the right thing to do -- and she believes more people would come to her side if they simply "use their brain."

"I'm not a big fan of identity politics. ... I really think [this issue] is universal," she said. "This is not because I have a Jewish grandmother," which she doesn't.

"It's purely from reason."

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

I Am Angry

To my mind, if an American is killed anywhere in the world by a terrorist, the U.S. government should either take part in the investigation or contribute to the retalitory response. Daniel Wultz, from Weston, Florida, the American teenager who had been barely hanging on since being in the terrorist bombing that happened about a month ago in Tel Aviv, finally succumbed to his injuries (talk about the worst Mother's Day of all time). Granted, this is just one of many instances where Palestinian terrorists have killed one of our own. But enough already. I don't know how Israel can deal with this (and since I don't live/vote there, I won't presume to tell them how), but I'm sick of my own country putting up with it. It's about time we send troops into the territories ourselves, find any and all responsible and unleash a bit of biblical retribution on their asses. It is vile that we don't lift a finger.

There was a time during Rome's rule where every Roman traveling felt perfectly safe anywhere they were because it was known world-wide the price for harming a citizen of Rome -- Rome would have razed the entire village and then salted the earth. The U.S., as the only Super Power currently on earth, should be that way. It wouldn't need to be done often. Perhaps just once. And the world would be a better place for it.

Yes, I am angry.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Sorry For The Disappearing Act

I wish I had a good excuse. I just haven't been into it lately. It's not that I haven't been busy because I have. I think the fact that I work in news (in a way) now has made me less anxious to read more about it on my off-time. It's all been so depressing, day in and day out. I hope to kick this funk soon, and my apologies for not visiting your blogs. I have a few things I do want to share, which I'll do at some point but here is an article that friend to the Blogway, Jonathan -- of the late-great Noble Savage fame, sent to me that if you haven't already seen it a cazillion times on the 'Net, you should check out.

Never Again?

By Charles Krauthammer

The Washington Post
Friday, May 5, 2006

When something happens for the first time in 1,871 years, it is worth noting. In A.D. 70, and again in 135, the Roman Empire brutally put down Jewish revolts in Judea, destroying Jerusalem, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews and sending hundreds of thousands more into slavery and exile. For nearly two millennia, the Jews wandered the world. And now, in 2006, for the first time since then, there are once again more Jews living in Israel -- the successor state to Judea -- than in any other place on Earth.

Israel's Jewish population has just passed 5.6 million. America's Jewish population was about 5.5 million in 1990, dropped to about 5.2 million 10 years later and is in a precipitous decline that, because of low fertility rates and high levels of assimilation, will cut that number in half by mid-century.

When 6 million European Jews were killed in the Holocaust, only two main centers of Jewish life remained: America and Israel. That binary star system remains today, but a tipping point has just been reached. With every year, as the Jewish population continues to rise in Israel and decline in America (and in the rest of the Diaspora), Israel increasingly becomes, as it was at the time of Jesus, the center of the Jewish world.

An epic restoration, and one of the most improbable. To take just one of the remarkable achievements of the return: Hebrew is the only "dead" language in recorded history to have been brought back to daily use as the living language of a nation. But there is a price and a danger to this transformation. It radically alters the prospects for Jewish survival.

For 2,000 years, Jews found protection in dispersion -- protection not for individual communities, which were routinely persecuted and massacred, but protection for the Jewish people as a whole. Decimated here, they could survive there. They could be persecuted in Spain and find refuge in Constantinople. They could be massacred in the Rhineland during the Crusades or in the Ukraine during the Khmelnytsky Insurrection of 1648-49 and yet survive in the rest of Europe.

Hitler put an end to that illusion. He demonstrated that modern anti-Semitism married to modern technology -- railroads, disciplined bureaucracies, gas chambers that kill with industrial efficiency -- could take a scattered people and "concentrate" them for annihilation.

The establishment of Israel was a Jewish declaration to a world that had allowed the Holocaust to happen -- after Hitler had made his intentions perfectly clear -- that the Jews would henceforth resort to self-protection and self-reliance. And so they have, building a Jewish army, the first in 2,000 years, that prevailed in three great wars of survival (1948-49, 1967 and 1973).

But in a cruel historical irony, doing so required concentration -- putting all the eggs back in one basket, a tiny territory hard by the Mediterranean, eight miles wide at its waist. A tempting target for those who would finish Hitler's work.

His successors now reside in Tehran. The world has paid ample attention to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be destroyed. Less attention has been paid to Iranian leaders' pronouncements on exactly how Israel would be "eliminated by one storm," as Ahmadinejad has promised.

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the presumed moderate of this gang, has explained that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam." The logic is impeccable, the intention clear: A nuclear attack would effectively destroy tiny Israel, while any retaliation launched by a dying Israel would have no major effect on an Islamic civilization of a billion people stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia.

As it races to acquire nuclear weapons, Iran makes clear that if there is any trouble, the Jews will be the first to suffer. "We have announced that wherever [in Iran] America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel," said Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani, a top Revolutionary Guards commander. Hitler was only slightly more direct when he announced seven months before invading Poland that, if there was another war, "the result will be . . . The annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."

Last week Bernard Lewis, America's dean of Islamic studies, who just turned 90 and remembers the 20th century well, confessed that for the first time he feels it is 1938 again. He did not need to add that in 1938, in the face of the gathering storm -- a fanatical, aggressive, openly declared enemy of the West, and most determinedly of the Jews -- the world did nothing.

When Iran's mullahs acquire their coveted nukes in the next few years, the number of Jews in Israel will just be reaching 6 million. Never again?

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Hell Must Have Frozen Over... Again

Cause I'm agreeing with Egypt's Mubarak and Jordan's Abdullah's joint statement. What is this, you ask? The two are against Ehud Olmert's planned transfer of vast areas of Judea and Samaria to the control of Hamas. They get that it will spell trouble for them to embolden Hamas. Why don't Israel's leaders get that?

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