November 2002 Archives

Philistines

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Now that the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie are mostly either history or leftovers, some food for thought into the weekend.

There never has been, in the entire history of this area, an independent sovereign state called Palestine. The Philistines themselves were a remnant from Caphtor [fn] known as Caphtorim, Cherethites or Casluhim (descended from Egypt, son of Ham) who invaded the coastal strip of Gaza, killed the Avvim living there and settled in their stead [fn]. Therefore the neighboring peoples called them "plishtim," which means "invaders." They lived in the region from Gaza to Ekron, from Lachish to Ziklak, calling it "Philistia." Philistia extended along the short coastal strip from today's Raphla to Joppa/Jaffa, into the northen region of the Negev toward Beer-Sheva. This was the largest area of all of "Philistia/Palestine" the "plishtim/invaders/Philistines/ Palestinians" ever held. By the time of the Roman Empire, they had long ceased to be a distinct national entity, having been destroyed and assimilated into other peoples.

The Byzantines, Christian heirs of the Roman Empire, then ruled until the Arabs entered Palestine in 633 C.E. From 637 to 1071 C.E. all of Palestine was under the domination of Islam, ruled over not by local Arabs, but by the fiat of remote Caliphs, who either resided in Baghdad or Damascus. It is this era of the Arab's "glorious" past that they wish to restore and to which they refer when speaking of their intrinsic rights to this region, claiming that Palestine was given to them by Allah as a result of the "Jihad" in the 7th century, although even then no sovereign Palestinian nation had been created by them. Their dominion over this territory, which is to be the meeting place of all Moslem believers on the Day of Resurrection (this claim lies at the root of the recent Islamic fundamentalist involvement with PLO terrorist activities), lasted but a short period, while that of Jewish sovereignty endured over a 1,000 years.
Shabbat Shalom.

& HAPPY CHANUKAH!

A still, small voice

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Martin Sherman castigates Israel's leaders for even paying lipservice to the concept of a palestinian state east of the Jordan River. While acknowledging the limited relevance of my opinion as an outside observer, I couldn't agree more.

In this regard, there is ample reason for severe reprimand of those who have administered Israel's foreign policy in recent years. The grave dangers involved in the transfer of Judea and Samaria to sovereign Arab rule are so stark, so tangible and so blatant that is seems inconceivable that any foreign service worth its salt (and taxpayers' money) could not be capable of conveying to the world that the establishment of a Palestinian state would constitute an unreasonable, and hence unacceptable, risk for Israel.

No country that wishes to survive can be expected to acquiesce to such a measure; no leader who cannot repel pressures for its implementation should be allowed to continue to govern. The fact that the idea of a Palestinian state has gathered widespread international support does not testify to the merits of the idea or the inevitability of its eventual implementation. Rather it testifies to the quality - or the lack thereof - of the performance of those charged with promoting Israel's interests abroad and the necessity for their rapid replacement.

THE DEADLY threats that would confront Israel in the event of the establishment of a Palestinian state manifest themselves along every conceivable dimension: width, length, height and depth. Width - because Israel will be left with less than the minimum territorial depth required for the deployment of a modern military defense system to protect the coastal plain in which 80 percent of the country's population and 80% of the economic activity are located; length - because Israel will have to contend with the creation of a permanent border, hundreds of kilometers long, on the very approaches of the Dan region and adjacent to the nation's major urban centers; height - because from the highlands of Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians will have total topographical control over all the infrastructure (civilian and military) in the low-lying coastal strip, including airfields, seaports and power plants; depth - because the Palestinians will have hydro-strategic control over crucial groundwater sources, creating a situation in which Israel's water problem could be transformed from a grave but manageable crisis to an insoluble catastrophe.

There's a terrible story about the composition of the High Holiday prayer "U'Netaneh Tokef."
The Bishop of Mainz summoned Rabbi Amnon, a great Torah scholar, to his court and offered him a ministerial post on the condition that Rabbi Amnon would convert to Christianity. Rabbi Amnon refused. The Bishop insisted and continued to press Rabbi Amnon to accept his offer. Of course, Rabbi Amnon continued to refuse. One day, however, Rabbi Amnon asked the Bishop for three days to consider his offer.

As soon as Rabbi Amnon returned home, he was distraught at the terrible mistake he had made of even appearing to consider the Bishop's offer and the betrayal of G-d. For three days he could not eat or sleep and he prayed to G-d for forgiveness. When the deadline for decision arrived, the Bishop sent messenger after messenger to bring Rabbi Amnon, but he refused to go. Finally, the Bishop had him forcibly brought to him and demanded a response. The Rabbi responded, "I should have my tongue cut out for not having refused immediately." The Bishop angrily had Rabbi Amnon's hands and feet cut off and then sent him home.

A few days later was Rosh HaShanah, and Rabbi Amnon, dying from his wounds, asked to be carried to shul. He wished to say the Kedushah to sanctify G-d's Name and publicly declare his faith in G-d's Kingship.With his dying breath, he uttered the words that we now know of as the U'Netaneh Tokef.

Lehavdil, as we say. To make a distinction. But although acquiesence in the creation of a sovereign terrorist state in Israel's "back yard" shouldn't be equated with apostasy, there's an important lesson to be drawn from this story. Some principles shouldn't be compromised, even for temporary expediency, even to buy time. We don't have the concept of taqiyya in Judaism. And this isn't a "compromise for peace." It's a compromise of national security, territorial integrity and the value of human life. No more, no less.

Remembrance

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As we in America give thanks today for the blessings of life and liberty, some of us, at least, will be remembering those who were robbed of those blessings today in Kikambala, Kenya and in Beit She'an, Israel.

May their murderers be brought swiftly to justice.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Loss

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Heartfelt sympathies to Imshin. Her mother has passed away.

Hypocrisy

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Sari Stein exposes (even more of) the hypocrisy of so-called “peace activists.”

See, the so-called "activists" are always ready and willing to stand as human shields in front of Palestinian children throwing rocks, like Fiona Becker. But how many of them are ready to visibly stand in solidarity with Israeli civilians, symbolically stating to the Palestinian terror groups that "if you blow up this bus, you're blowing us up too"? By eating in Israeli cafes, riding Israeli buses, and shopping in Israeli markets, international observers and activists could truly feel the "other" side of the story - the side, despite Becker's assertions, that gets the least and the most biased press coverage of all.
And Imshin does the same.
They do nothing to earn the respect of their Israeli brethren and indirectly encourage the Palestinians' violence. Therefore their peace efforts are not only useless, they are actually detrimental to peace.

This need not be the case. Would it not be a powerful message for peace, if after every murderous suicide attack against innocent Israelis, peace activists would leave the Palestinian towns and refugee camps and go to spend some time with the wounded and visit the mourning families of those murdered? Afterwards, they could go back to the towns and refugee camps and continue giving humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

There may be some who do this, but I have not heard of this happening.

Could it be that they do not do this because the Palestinians might harm them if they are seen to be giving any support to Israelis? Could it be that they dare not visit the mourning house of Israelis, lest they be unwelcome?

If they are really committed to peace, these considerations shouldn't hinder them. They are willing to risk Israeli bullets, after all.

But they do not do these things. Nor do they do ride Israeli buses in a show of solidarity and compassion, as Stefan Sharkansky and others have suggested. They make no effort to show that they give a damn about the suffering even of Israeli babies, who could hardly be blamed for the situation any more than Palestinian babies.

But they are called peace activists, nevertheless.

What she said, what they said

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The riots in Nigeria are front page news, but what's gotten swept into the background are the actual words that "caused" the violence and, even more important, the response of the publication that printed them. ThisDay has apparently removed Isioma Daniel's article from its website, but you can find the text version here. The offending language:

The Muslims thought it was immoral to bring ninety-two women to Nigeria and ask them to revel in vanity. What would Mohammed think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from one of them. The irony is that Algeria, an Islamic country, is one of the countries participating in the contest.
It's hard to imagine the mindset of people who could find those words "provocative" enough to riot over. But it's even harder to imagine that they would evoke this response by the paper that published them.
An Apology to All Muslims...

To all our Muslim brothers and sisters, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahamatul-Llahi Wa Barakatuhu. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon you all. With all sense of responsibility, sensitivity and respect for all Muslims, the staff, management, editors and Board of THISDAY Newspapers apologise for the great editorial error in last Saturday's edition on Miss World Beauty Pageant.

We are sorry that the portrayal of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW) in a commentary written by one of our staff was not only unjustified, but utterly provocative.

The supervising editor made an attempt to remove the offensive portion during the editing process. But we must say that this time, technology failed us, and gravely too. When we realised that the publication had gone to the market, we did not wait to be reminded. The Editor promtply issued an apology and retracted the story . This was published on the front pages of Monday and Tuesday editions. But many thought the apology was insufficient...

At THISDAY, we have no reason to denigrate Muslims or the Holy Prophet. Why should we? Key members of our management are devoted Muslims, including our Group Executive Director, Alhaji Deji Mustapha, who also runs the Friday page on Islam; our Editor at Large, Waziri Adio; our Deputy Editor, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu; our Development Editor, Bolaji Abdullahi; our Associate Editor Ali M. Ali and our Associate Director, Alhaji Nuhu Musa Kazaure among others.

Beyond that the offensive paragraph runs against the grain of our beliefs and what we stand for at THISDAY as we show sensitivity to the complexity of our nation. Why would we do anything that would seem to denigrate any religion, when we believe in the peaceful co-existence of Nigerians?

And there's more where that came from.

Ms. Daniel has "resigned" or been fired, has fled the country or is in hiding, depending on what source you read. Nigerian officials are said to be seeking her arrest, and a fatwa has been issued by the Nigerian Muslim State of Zamfara calling for her death. I think I'll just leave it there.

Hizbullah’s self-indictment

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It’s not as if any of this comes as a surprise. The shocker is that this comes from a report published by Hizbullah itself. But maybe that shouldn’t be so shocking, either. They obviously don’t see is as a problem.

An investigative report published in the Hizbullah weekly journal recently exposed new evidence of Palestinian children's active involvement in terrorist activity earlier this year in the Jenin refugee camp. The children told the Hizbullah reporter of their involvement in the manufacturing of weaponry and of their participation in active warfare alongside armed terrorists.

A translation of the report was published on the Israel Defense Force's website. Hizbullah's reporter, Sami Magnins, said he saw children in the camp being trained to use explosive charges for the sole purpose of defying the 'Israeli enemy.' Fadi, a young resident, said that "the explosives are designed to blow their heads off; the next time they dare enter our camp will be over our dead bodies."

The children, taught from a very young age to throw stones at IDF soldiers, had begun to replace stones and rocks with hand grenades and small explosive charges. "We traded stones and rocks for hand grenades because the impact is that much stronger" explained Rami, a young resident of Jenin.

According to the Hizbullah report, one group of children assisted in the manufacturing of arms while a second group of children placed them strategically around the area as specified by a senior terrorist operative. A third group was instructed to set up ambushes in street corners carrying bags filled to the brim with explosives.

Muatsin, 16, used to kiss the grenades he carried on his back before throwing them at IDF soldiers. He would cry, "Allah, make this explosive as powerful as a ball of fire so that it burns the hearts of the Jews," Magnins reported.

Witnesses said that a young Palestinian aged 16 "threw at least 50 grenades towards IDF soldiers. The children were right alongside him, defending the camp; they succeeded in damaging five tanks and destroying one."

Courtroom of the absurd

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Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, profiled this past weekend in Canada’s National Post, is a young Israeli attorney who’s been capturing a lot of headlines lately with her courageous campaign to defend Israel against terrorism through the courts. She’s sued the European Union for continuing to fund the Palestinian Authority despite clear evidence their contributions are being used to support terrorism. More than once, she has attempted (unsuccessfully) to provide representation for palestinians accused of “collaboration with Israel” in order to assure that they would receive a fair trail. And she obtained a monetary verdict against the PA on behalf of the family of one of the two IDF soldiers lynched in Ramallah in October, 2000. Even more impressive, the court agreed to place a lien on funds owed by Israel to the PA to secure payment of that judgment. Darshan-Leitner has scored some impressive victories and I’ve watched her progress with enthusiasm.

But she's also been involved in causes that are more problematic, most especially her efforts to prevent the extradition to America (she was successful) and Canada (she wasn’t) of two teenaged murder suspects who fled to Israel to avoid prosecution at home.

Today, her office distributed this press release announcing her intention to sue the State of New Jersey and Amiri Baraka.

Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has written to New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey demanding that he fire the State's poet laureate, Amiri Bakara [sic], or she will initiate legal proceedings against his office. The Tel-Aviv lawyer, who heads Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, represents five young Israelis who were detained by Federal authorities for visa violations after the 9/11 attack. The five allege that the New Jersey poet's controversial poem, "Somebody Blew Up America" implies that they knew in advance that the World Trade Center would be attacked and has grievously defamed their reputation.
Baraka’s offensive and ridiculous poem notwithstanding, something’s very wrong with this picture. And it paints Darshan-Leitner as someone who has no understanding of American law as well as someone who doesn’t bother to read the news (hardly likely). For example, it’s fairly common knowledge that McGreevey has asked for Baraka’s resignation but doesn’t currently have the legal power to “fire” him. Moreover, Baraka’s poem arguably only asks a question:
Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion, And cracking they sides at the notion.
While we could certainly debate the status of this gibberish as "poetry," I can't see how it qualifies as "defamation." And Baraka’s hobby horse, of which this poem was only one manifestation, has consistently been that Israel, along with George W. Bush and most of the rest of the world, knew about the attacks before they happened – not that they perpetrated them. Not to mention that Baraka was only one in a long procession of morons who have made sinister suggestions regarding the five Israelis who were spotted filming the WTC fire. Perhaps Darshan-Leitner should also sue David Duke and Edgar J. Steele, among others. Or ABC News, which reported in detail on the speculation.
Despite the denials, sources tell ABCNEWS there is still debate within the FBI over whether or not the young men were spies. Many U.S. government officials still believe that some of them were on a mission for Israeli intelligence. But the FBI told ABCNEWS, "To date, this investigation has not identified anybody who in this country had pre-knowledge of the events of 9/11."

Sources also said that even if the men were spies, there is no evidence to conclude they had advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The investigation, at the end of the day, after all the polygraphs, all of the field work, all the cross-checking, the intelligence work, concluded that they probably did not have advance knowledge of 9/11," Cannistraro noted.

Finally, I can’t generate too much sympathy for these guys, who had apparently overstayed their visas and were working illegally in New Jersey at the time they made a spectacle of themselves filming the destruction of the Twin Towers. I’d also guess that any damage to their “reputation” was done more by the FBI, who detained them for 71 days before deporting them, than by a whacked-out "poet" who didn’t even refer to them by name. And I would expect that Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has better things to do than harass Governor McGreevey, the good people of New Jersey or even Amiri Baraka who, after all, has already made a big enough ass out of himself without any help.

What’s happening?

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Well, UBL’s lovely letter to the American people is making the rounds on the net. He (or whoever really wrote the letter) is going out of his way to demonstrate to us just how totally demented, delusional and evil he and his followers really are, as well as how many idiotic lies he can fit into one 4,000 word diatribe. Well done, guy.

The Jordanians are keeping some 3,000 palestinian pilgrims cooling their heels at the Allenby Bridge instead of allowing them to traverse the Hashemite Kingdom on their way to Mecca. It seems there’s some concern that they might decide to squat in Jordan rather than return to their “homeland.”

Meryl has put up some cool digital photos of really big guns as well as Silent Running blogger Bruce Hill, who was visiting her this weekend.

Chris Newman points to a most interesting essay by Aziz Poonawalla in which he discusses Islam’s relationship with modernity in the context of a recent (but pre-9-11) book on the subject.

Which I guess brings us full circle, as Aziz and the author have a very different point of view than that expressed in the UBL letter.

(BTW, I could swear that the comments I saw on that thread earlier today have vanished, and perhaps it’s just as well. More on this topic, i.e., comments, in the near future).

Between pauses

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I've noticed that several bloggers are having trouble articulating a response to yesterday's terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Me, too. My response was to take a 24-hour time out from the internet. Then I wandered over to Mike Sanders' place for some spiritual refreshment and, well, found this. Mike's equilibrium never ceases to amaze me, but even he seems rattled. And with good reason.

I still have nothing to say about the bombing of that bus that would begin to reflect my feelings. Nor about the bomb that exploded in Hebron this morning, intended to murder more people tonight but which fortunately and against all odds injured no one. But my mother pointed out this column from Wednesday's Jerusalem Post. "Learning from Sadism," by Lawrence Kelemen, is quite frightening, only somewhat plausible and concludes with a bit of puffy pie-in-the-sky prattling. But it's worth a look.

Early last week Revital Ohayon, 34, was reading her sons Matan, five, and Noam, four, a bedtime story when a Fatah terrorist burst into their home on Kibbutz Metzer. She jumped in front of the children to protect them, but he shot all three dead.

A few months ago, on a Shabbat morning, Palestinian terrorists burst into the bedroom of Shiri Shefi, took aim, and sprayed her and her three children with bullets using M-16 assault rifles. Shefi, her four-year-old son Uriel, and her two-year-old son Eliad were wounded. Five-year-old Danielle, who was shot in the head, was killed.

About a year ago, a Palestinian sniper trained his high-powered rifle on 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass, killing the baby girl in her father's arms.

About six months before that, Vadim Novesche and Yosef Avrahami, two Israeli reserve officers abducted by Palestinian police, had their heads beaten into unrecognizable pulp and were then disemboweled by a waiting crowd outside the Palestinian Authority's Ramallah headquarters who then danced, entrails in hand, through the city's streets.

Cases like these stand out among the hundreds of murders of Israelis and foreign visitors here in recent months, not because of their evil but because of their inhumanity. They reveal a terrifying angle of the story of this war.

Beneath the strata of Islamic unity, Pan-Arabism, and Palestinian national aspiration at the root of this great campaign engineered by Arab leaders is pure, unbridled sadism, a delight in cruelty that boggles the Western mind. And even if this lust for savagery is slightly less evident in the "ordinary" shootings and suicide bombings that people suffer in this country on a daily basis, there is a growing suspicion that much of this violence flows from a visceral, Palestinian truculence a craving for Jewish pain, for blood.

After citing various manifestations of virulent anti-Semitic propaganda and child abuse in Arab culture, Kelemen suggests that the palestinian population may be "hardwired" for impulsive, sadistic and suicidal violence. I must say I was tempted, at this precise point in time, to perceive some kernel of truth here. It was comforting to think there might be a "rational," scientific explanation for these mind-numbingly horrific attacks. But I think I'll pass on this one, at least for now. And I'll try to take advantage of this Shabbat to find ways to tame and channel my outrage in more constructive directions.

Shabbat Shalom.

A new Canadian blogger

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Segacs's World I Know. And it promises to be quite an interesting one, too. I'm kinda short on time right now but I wanted to put it up before y'all leave for the weekend. Click on over and check her out.

Finding fault with the Jews – postscript

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I have something to get off my chest in connection with Meryl’s post a few days ago on Jewish anti-Semites. There’s this thing, this distinction, going around about terrorist attacks that happen “in Israel” versus attacks that happen “in the territories.” Or between attacks on “civilians” versus attacks on soldiers or “settlers.”

It seems that if you live in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights or the Gaza Strip, you’re fair game anywhere, according to this philosophy. And if you happen to be in any of those places at any given time, regardless of where you live, you’re also fair game. It’s this philosophy that led some to suggest that the attack on Kibbutz Metzer last week was somehow more repulsive than a similar attack would have been in, say, Kiryat Arba.

According to the folks who espouse this particular philosophy, it would seem, terrorist attacks “in the territories” don’t count. And the article to which Meryl linked, which aserts that Baruch Goldstein is responsible for the onset of suicide bombings "in Israel," demonstrates this point quite well.

The Oslo accords were announced publicly on August 31, 1993. The first Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel occurred in Afula on April 6, 1994. In the period from the announcement of the accords to the Afula bombing, the Hamas organisation carried out attacks, mainly using knives, on Israeli soldiers and settlers in the Occupied Territories.

On February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein shot at dozens of Muslim worshippers at the Cave of the Patriachs [in Hebron] killing 29 of them.

On April 16, 1993, months before the Oslo accords were announced and many months before Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Arabs praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a 22–year-old suicide bomber exploded himself at a roadside café, killing one person and injuring several. It doesn’t matter and it doesn’t count. Because this particular café happened to be on the wrong side of the Green Line. The side where there are no Jewish civilians and every Arab, no matter how many guns, grenades and explosives he’s carrying, is always a “civilian.”

The dozens of people murdered in the weeks after the Oslo accords were signed also don’t matter, because they were “soldiers and settlers in the Occupied Territories.” Except that some of them weren’t. And as for those who were, are they acceptable casualties? Are their deaths somehow less important because they were carved up with knives by thugs who got away and had a chance to kill again? Or is it just that they had the wrong attitude?

In 1989, before the Oslo accords were even a gleam in the eyes of the negotiators, a woman named Etaf Elayan, a member of Islamic Jihad, came close to perpetrating a suicide attack, according to this article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. “I was about to become the first suicide bomber in Palestine,” she says, “but I was caught before I could ignite a car bomb that would have blown up an Israeli government office in East Jerusalem.” In East Jerusalem. “Occupied” East Jerusalem. Doesn’t count.

We saw more of this “philosophy” this weekend, as Israelis of a leftist bent insisted on reminding us that the massacre of the Jewish worshippers at Hebron didn’t happen “in Israel.” And we’re seeing more of it today, as Peace Now announces a demonstration designed to blame the deaths of the Jews at Kibbutz Metzer on the “occupation.” With the supportive participation of the surviving Jews of Kibbutz Metzer!!

Hello Friends of Peace Now in Jerusalem,

Another week of mourning and we ask ourselves:

HOW MANY DEATHS WILL IT TAKE TILL WE KNOW THAT WE MUST END THE OCCUPATION?

How many soldiers must die in defense of racist settlements?

How many citizens must die for a messianic nightmare?

How many innocent people must die in the circle of revenge?

You and Me can make a change!!!!!
This Shabbat - 23.11.02 at 20:00 - we will protest opposite the PM residence under the slogan:

The occupation kills!!!!

We will be honored to host a delegation from Kibbutz Metzer and hear their message!!!

We will Salute Kibbutz Metzer's Determined Faith in Peace!!!!

It’s convenient to blame terrorist attacks “in Israel” on Baruch Goldstein. He was, after all, our worst nightmare. A rampaging, murdering Jew, acting out of pure rage, without regard to any principle of morality or decency or rationality, taking his cue from his enemies and giving them a club with which to beat his friends. Those who glorify or excuse his act share in his guilt. But no organization recruited him to perpetrate that atrocity. No authority winked at it, no government applauded him as a hero or a martyr. He acted alone, with the support of a lunatic fringe. And they know it. He’s an excuse, a pretext, a pathetic attempt to fix the blame where it doesn’t belong. And those who appropriate his crime to push their own political agenda share in his guilt no less than those who build him shrines and speak of him with praise.

Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about you, Gush Shalom. And you, Peace Now. And I’m talking to all of you “supporters” of Israel who claim that murders in Hebron aren’t terrorism, too. Live with it.

Joseph Farah on "Collective Amnesia"

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Ocean Guy linked last week to this very illuminating article by Joseph Farah in The Jewish Star Times. It was also published here, by the way, back in September. How did I miss it???

Why did the Arab population of "Palestine" really flee their homes in such huge numbers in 1948? Farah quotes several contemporaneous Arab sources that confirm it was at the direct instigation of their own leaders. Like this one.

''For the flight and fall of the other villages it is our leaders who are responsible because of their dissemination of rumors exaggerating Jewish crimes and describing them as atrocities in order to inflame the Arabs . . . By spreading rumors of Jewish atrocities, killings of women and children etc., they instilled fear and terror in the hearts of the Arabs in Palestine, until they fled leaving their homes and properties to the enemy.'' The Jordanian Al Urdun, April 9, 1953.
Haven't I heard this somewhere before? Here's the problem, succinctly stated by Farah:
I could go on and on and on with this forgotten or deliberately obscured history. But you get the point. There was no Jewish conspiracy to chase Arabs out of their homes in 1948. It never happened. There are, instead, plenty of historical records showing the Jews pleading with their Arab neighbors to stay and live in peace and harmony. Yet, despite the clear, unambiguous words of the Arab observers at the time, history has been successfully rewritten to turn the Jews into the bad guys. The truth is that 68 percent of the Arab Palestinians who left in 1948 perhaps 300,000 to 400,000 of them never saw an Israeli soldier.

Arab states that initiated the hostilities have never accepted responsibility despite their enormous wealth and their ability to assimilate tens of millions of refugees in their largely under-populated nations. And other states have failed to hold them accountable. It's bad enough the Arab states created a small nation of refugees by their actions.

It's worse that they have successfully blamed that international crime on the Jews. Today, of course, this cruel charade continues. The suffering of millions of Arabs is perpetuated only for political purposes by the Arab states. The Palestinian Arab group is the only one in the world not absorbed or integrated into their own people's lands.

Since then, millions of Jewish refugees from around the world have been absorbed in the tiny nation of Israel. It makes no sense to expect that same tiny Jewish state to solve a refugee crisis it did not create.

Taking on the big guns

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OK, first caveat. I know that most of those bloggers I generally consider friends and allies and most of those readers who are sympathetic to my pro-Israel rants generally tend to be pretty strong advocates of Second Amendment “rights.” I’m resigned to this. It’s just one of life’s curve balls. So it’s with a great deal of trepidation that I venture into the subject of guns. But frankly, folks, the uproar over last Thursday’s $1.2 million verdict against a gun distributor smacks of hysteria and big time overkill, best epitomized, perhaps, in an essay by major league gun hugger Dave Kopel in National Review Online.

I’m not going to reprint most of Kopel’s diatribe here. No fisking today. If you haven’t already read it, please do. And I will try to respond to a few of Kopel’s “points” below.

Second caveat. Let me assure you that I’m really not a big gun control advocate or supporter. At least not so far. I tend to come down slightly on the regulation side of the argument, but mostly because I’m more offended by the obnoxious tactics and specious arguments of the gun lobby than I am by those of the Brady bunch. And because at a very young age, the effects of gun violence hit much too close to home when a close friend’s father was shot to death in the course of a jewelry store robbery gone wrong (he had a gun – so did they). But I also have friends who are gun enthusiasts and who make excellent, well reasoned arguments for maintaining some perspective and restraint in gun regulation with which I largely tend to agree.

With that said, what first caught my eye in the brouhaha over Grunow v. Valor Corp. was a reference to “frivolous lawsuits.” Otherwise known as “abusive lawsuits.” Ah, yes. One of the favorite rallying cries of the gun lobby. Of course, frivolity and abuse, much like beauty, are often in the eye of the beholder. The problem here is that there actually is such a thing as an abusive lawsuit. And one of the ways you can recognize one is that it usually gets thrown out of court on the pleadings, sometimes with sanctions against the plaintiff. Another way you can tell, if it manages to slip past the silly judge, is that the jury finds for the defendant. Neither of which happened here. Does an occasional frivolous lawsuit stealthily sneak all the way to victory? Of course. But too often, “frivolous” lawsuits tend to be those that the person calling them that doesn’t want to go forward. Ergo, any lawsuit against a gun manufacturer or distributor is, as far as the gun lobby is concerned, “frivolous.”

Then there’s the red herring of the civil jury’s failure to find the killer in this case, 13-year-old Nathaniel Brazill, liable for negligence in the murder. Or, in Dave Kopel’s words,

In apportioning responsibility for Grunow's death, the civil jury found that Brazill bore absolutely no responsibility, because of the judge's instructions which prevented them from apportioning liability to Brazill unless the jury found that Brazill's killing was accidental.
Just a teensy bit misleading, that. This aspect of the case has many knickers in a huge wad and I've come across several blog rants about it without even looking very hard. But since the bloggers in question don’t appear to be lawyers, they get a pass. (Not so David B. Kopel, Juris Doctor U. Mich. 1985 and one-time adjunct professor of law at NYU.) So here's the thing. This lawsuit was a civil action for negligence which, by definition, is an unintentional act or omission – or – an intentional act or omission that results in unintentional (but foreseeable) harm. Hence, Brazill’s previous criminal conviction for the intentional murder of Mr. Grunow precluded a finding of negligence for the same act, and the judge so instructed the civil jury. This makes sense, if you think about it for five seconds. Brazill got 28 years to life after a much different trial with a much stricter burden of proof and dozens of other safeguards not present in civil courts. I would suggest that he has clearly been obliged to accept full “responsibility” for his act.

(I’ll digress momentarily and parenthetically on this question. Should convicted and incarcerated criminals also be required to compensate their victims monetarily? If so, shouldn’t that perhaps be taken into consideration in determining their sentence? If so, couldn’t that suggest that rich criminals could buy themselves out of jail? We don’t want to go there.)

As for the gun itself, it's alleged by the Brady Center to be a

highly concealable, low-quality handgun that consistently ranks among the guns most frequently traced to crime . . . among the top three or four crime guns every year through 2000 [even though it hasn’t been manufactured since 1991] . . . , particularly popular among juvenile offenders.
Kopel claims that depriving poor people of access to such cheap, low-quality guns lacking safety mechanisms is “discriminatory.” This is an interesting argument because it seems to imply, among other things, that the right to possess a gun, perhaps like the right to health care, should be guaranteed to all citizens, but without regard to quality, which is the privilege of the well-to-do alone. To which I can only say, huh?

So far, then, we’re supposed to be outraged about this verdict because a) the convicted murderer wasn’t a defendant in the civil case and b) discouraging gun distributors from distributing cheap, badly made guns will prevent poor people from being able to defend themselves. But we're also told that the jury, for lack of any other deep pocket,

aided Mrs. Grunow by taking money from other innocents: the victim of Brazill's theft, a school board which had instituted unusually rigorous security measures, and a wholesaler which sold a lawful product intended to help poor people protect themselves from criminals.
Of course, Mr. Kopel knows full well, having studied this case in some depth, that neither the “victim of Brazill’s theft” (who left a handgun with ammunition in an unlocked bottom dresser drawer while a 13-year-old boy was staying at his house) nor the school board were charged with as much as a dime as a result of this verdict. They weren’t even defendants (supposedly because they had already settled out of court), and therefore they didn’t have any high-priced lawyers arguing their lack of responsibility to the jury. It’s just vaguely possible, in fact, that this is at least part of the reason Valor got away with a measly 5% of the blame.

Finally, we’re told that the verdict will never be upheld on appeal. Kopel cites as “Florida precedent” a case in which an appeals court affirmed the dismissal of an anti-gun lawsuit by a municipality against gun manufacturers. It got thrown out because "governerment entities" can't sue private citizens for the cost of services rendered unless they have "express legislative authorization." Hardly a “precedent” for the reversal of a jury verdict in a personal negligence case. Moreover, as a rule, jury verdicts can only be tossed out as a result of procedural or legal errors at the trial. The presence or absence of such errors will be determined by the appeals court, not by the press or by popular opinion.

“Even so,” says Kopel, “Valor Corporation has been drained of hefty legal fees, and dragged through the courts and the newspapers as if were a wrongdoer.” Imagine that. But he has the answer to this injustice. We need to enact federal Congressional legislation banning lawsuits against the gun industry. That’s part of the “small government,” “states’ rights” stuff that Conservatives are so fond of touting as their prime directive, right? And do we really want more legislation protecting those who get rich selling defective products from ever being required to compensate those who pay the ultimate price for their greed and irresponsibility? Another can of worms.

Well, it's just my opinion, after all. I wasn't there. I don't know if the verdict was justified by the evidence in this case or not. But neither do most of those who have a strong opinion on the subject. What I object to is the assertion that the verdict couldn't have been justified because some people don't like the result. There's much too much of that sort of thing going around these days, on both sides of the great gun debate.

Cyndi & Pat 4 ever?

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Mike Silverman suggests a fantastic ticket for the 2004 Presidential race.

Hey, stranger things have happened. Haven't they?

Lies, hypocricy and more hypocricy

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In her column in last Friday's Jerusalem Post, "Terrorists, liberals, and the EU,"Caroline B. Glick ponders the mysterious murky mind of EU Middle East envoy Miguel Moratinos.

One wonders what Moratinos was thinking about when on Tuesday, as his security adviser was ensconced at the terror summit in Cairo, he attended the joint funerals of Metzer massacre victims Revital Ohayon and her young sons Matan and Ohad. He told reporters "I have come to identify with the victims." But how could he identify with them? He, who just recently had his representatives meet with their murderer to try to cut a deal. He, who insists that Fatah is not a terrorist organization even when Fatah's Web site published the Aksa Martyrs Brigades' announcement of the "qualitative operation in the settlement of Metzer" in which their comrade killed "five Zionist colonizers."

The announcement also warned us that the murder of little boys and girls is an actual aim of Fatah today. "We will continue to strike in any place, targeting their children as well," it read.

How could Moratinos possibly be capable of identifying with the Ohayons? Just this week, Chris Patten, the European Commission's foreign relations chief, said that he needs an investigation of PA abuse of EU funds "like I need a hole in the head." Moratinos, like Patten, refuses to stop the EU's monthly $10 million payments to the PA even though the government and the IDF have provided them both with documented proof that those funds are used to finance Fatah terror cells.

And as if that weren't enough food for thought, she then seamlessly moves on to this:
It is a puzzle how people of reasonable intelligence and of purported liberal values can fund, meet with, and even sponsor conferences for known murderers in the name of saving lives. It was this puzzle that was troubling me, when I received an e-mail from the Zionist student group at Harvard University. It contained the minutes of the group's meeting last week at which programming decisions were discussed. One of the participants encouraged the group to work with the new "Palestine Solidarity" organization on campus.

Although he admitted that he had been treated with overt hostility when he attended its meeting, he argued that it is an organization "very similar to Harvard Students for Israel." No one dissented.

The Harvard students' decision to work with a group whose battle cry is pressuring Harvard to end its investments in companies that do business with Israel jibed well with a similar incident at Georgetown University a few weeks back.

In case you missed the "incident" to which she is referring, the nauseating details are here (link via LGF). But she wraps it up with this devastating indictment. (The emphasis is mine.)
At both Harvard and Georgetown, we find examples of the products of fine liberal Jewish upbringings. In both cases, these liberal Jewish youths are completely incapable of making a case for why it is reasonable for Jews to defend themselves or understand the inadmissibility of hatred, terror, and mistreatment of Jews. What has happened to these flowers of Jewish American society that would make them defend those who represent the total rejection of their right to defend themselves as Jews or to defend the Jewish state's right to exist? Unfortunately, we have no need to look as far as the US for such examples of unwillingness of Jews to defend themselves against attack or their refusal to blame the attacker rather than the victim.

The day after the Metzer massacre, kibbutz members extolled their harmonious relations with their Arab neighbors. Just last month members of Metzer organized demonstrations with those neighbors to protest the proposed location of the separation fence being built to protect them from terrorist infiltrations because the fence is set to be built 800 meters east of the Green Line. Speaking to Ha'aretz at that time, kibbutz member Doron Liebler explained, "I fear that after the fence is built, the gates of hell will open up. The minute there's a fence here, we won't be able to take afternoon strolls without firearms."

Translated into real terms, what Liebler was actually saying was that if Israel builds a fence to protect its citizens, the Palestinian response will be to butcher Jews. So if this is the case, then the belief in peaceful ties is nothing but a fantasy. In what liberal, peace-loving society can one reasonably expect one's neighbors to react to the expropriation of 800 meters of land with terrorism against civilians? The answer is in no such society would one reasonably expect such a response.

How many times over the past nine years have we heard it said by our politicians and sober-minded peaceniks, and even the EU and the UN from time to time, that the Palestinian Authority "is not doing enough to stop terror." The real question, of course, is how could one expect the Palestinian Authority, which is doing everything it can to promote terror, to do anything at all to stop it? What is it that leads people of goodwill and liberal conscience to make common cause with people who are not only fighting to destroy the very liberal, human values they espouse but are also murdering their children?

Excellent question.

Abba Eban

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One of Israel's great statesmen. Ambassador par excellence of the Jewish People to the world at large.

Zichrono l'vracha.

Ice

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I keep trying to lighten up this blog. I really do. But events in the world keep interfering with my best intentions. I have no words to begin to convey how sick with rage tonight's despicable attack in Hebron makes me. And let's not forget that, under intense pressure from former Minister of Defense Fuad and the U.S. of A., the IDF just recently pulled most of its troops out of there.

Anyway, typing is a little tough when you're trying to hold an ice pack on your jaw, so I'll leave it there. For now. Dental implant surgery -- quite an interesting experience. (ouch)

In the meantime, Bruce Tom Paine's been putting up a bunch of truly hilarious posts over at Silent Running. Especially here. And here. And here, too. (ouch)

Oh, and, how about everyone go and wish Meryl a Happy effing Birthday.

Shabbat Shalom.

Our eulogies, their eulogies

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There's this

On Sunday evening, some time after Revital . . . had read the children a bedtime story, the parents were chatting on the phone when a lone Palestinian gunman fired two shots into the front door, kicked it open, and burst into Matan and Noam's bedroom. Although Revital tried to defend her children, all three were shot at point blank range.

"The pictures on television screens of terror victims always passed us by - but not this time," said Menachem Bar-Gil, a friend of Avi and Revital since childhood. "Revital was not just another citizen - she was a wonderful person. She was an outstanding officer in the IDF and worked at three jobs to support her children."

"Your life was one long struggle, but you never stopped," said Revital's cousin Iris Cohen in her funeral oration. "You always gave your soul to help those around you. You wouldn't hurt a fly. How were you taken in such an ugly way?"

"Matan and Noam were always in your arms - even at the last moment. I'm sure you are the most beautiful angels in heaven."

"They lived such short lives, full of love," said the children's uncle, Danny Ohayon. "They knew no hatred. We will learn from them to continue to love."

And then there's this
Ululation's were mixed with tears, for today is her wedding day, even though she has not worn her white dress to be wed to her husband-to-be who has been awaiting this day for over a year and a half! Instead she wore a soldier's uniform and the Palestinian scarf and beautified herself with her noble red blood to transform her wedding into a Palestinian wedding that brings happiness to the hearts of the mothers of the martyrs and the wounded.

In July, Aayaat was to hold her wedding like any other girl in the world, yet she insisted on being a bride in the suit of blood in which only the likes of her are wed, in order to bring pride to her Palestinian people by succeeding to kill and injure tens of Zionist occupiers in a successful heroic operation undertaken by a girl in the heart of the Zionist entity.

Ayat Al-Akras blew herself up outside a Jerusalem supermarket last March. She murdered two people -- a security guard and a seventeen-year-old girl.

How is it possible to make peace with people who think like this?

Words matter

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Sunday's terrorist attack on Kibbutz Metzer, in which two little children, their mother and two other adults were murdered, took place inside the "green line." That's important. No, the blood of those who live in "Israel proper" is no more dear than that of those who live in Judea or Samaria and, no, there's not one iota more justification for an atrocity committed in the latter than in the former. Don't even think about going there.

It's important, though, because it says a lot about the mindset of the murderers. Arafat seems to be going out of his way to let us know that he and his Fatah cronies have no more respect for the so-called "green line" than do Hamas or Islamic Jihad. They have no more intention of permitting Jews to continue living under their own sovereignty in Kibbutz Metzer or in Haifa or in Tel Aviv than they do in Maale Adumim or Hebron. Yes, Mr. Arafat has made a few noises about investigations and undermining peace talks, but that's just for Western consumption. For his own people, as usual, he has a very different message.

The Voice of Palestine, Arafat's radio station, has consistently referred to Kibbutz Metzer during the last few days as a "colony" or a "settlement." One announcer reportedly called it "the village of Awanea, what the Israelis call Kibbutz Metzer."

And here’s the self-congratulatory message that the terrorists from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade published on Fatah’s official website (via IMRA):

We confirm our responsibility for the courageous, qualitative operation in the settlement of Metser, north of Tul-Karem, which was established on stolen Palestinian lands. One of our fighters invaded on the evening of November 11, 2002, killing and wounding several Zionist colonizers, and retreating safely under the grace and the protection of Allah


We have announced, with the establishment of the Brigades, that our struggle is continued in all its forms. We confirm our intention to walk the path of struggle and self sacrifice [suicide attacks] for Allah

We will continue to strike in any place, targeting their children as well We swear to persist with these suicide attacks

The popular army, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, November 12, 2002.

The residents of this particular kibbutz are left-leaning, anti-"occupation," Israelis who consistently advocate for the rights of their Arab neighbors, sometimes at their own expense. But none of that matters. They're Jews. That makes them “Zionist colonizers” living on “stolen Palestinian lands.” In the eyes of these monsters, every Jew, living anywhere in “historic Palestine,” from the river to the sea, is a “Zionist colonizer” living on “stolen Palestinian lands.” Whether they destroy olive groves or plant them, whether they drive the tanks or lie down in front of them, whether they’re members of Peace Now or Kach. It’s time we got that.

We will continue . . . targeting their children as well.

Arabs and Muslims for a Just Peace with Israel

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Have you heard of this organization? Neither have I. That's because there is no such thing. Funny. I was browsing the web today and in just a few minutes, I found the following American Jewish groups that actively advocate an "end to the occupation," a "just solution" to the "refugee problem," and more of the same:

Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel

Colorado Jews for a Just Peace

Minnesota Jews for a Just Peace

Jews Against the Occupation

Jewish Voice for Peace

Americans for Peace Now

Jews for Global Justice

Tikkun Community

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Bubbes & Zydes for Peace in the Middle East (no website)

Jewish Women for Peace and Justice (ditto)

That's not to mention their fellow travelers in Canada, Europe and Australia and the many leftist fringe Israeli organizations that promote similar agendas. But among the latter, there are some, such as The Bridge: Jewish and Arab Women for Peace in the Middle East: Israeli Peace Movement and The Parents’ Circle (Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace) that are osensibly joint ventures between Jews and Arabs.

Now there are plenty of "peace groups" in this country that include subsets of both communities. Not in our Name comes to mind. But that's not the point. With so many specifically Jewish groups devoted to promoting Middle East "peace" at any price, where are their Arab or Muslim counterparts? Where are the Arab and Islamic organizations calling for co-existence, compromise, cessation of violence or even acknowledgement of Israel's right to exist? Where?

I did manage to find one American Muslim group with a promising name: American Muslims for Global Peace and Justice. Their website was "currently unavailable," but Google still has it cached. And then there's this related site. They both give you a pretty good idea of what their idea of "peace and justice" is. Compare and contrast.

Blogging from the heart

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This post by Imshin should not be missed.

It always “amuses” me that people say: “you cannot do such and such because it will increase the Palestinians’ hatred”. So they don’t already hate us? So they didn’t already hate us in1929 when they massacred the Jews of the ancient Jewry of Hebron? We weren’t torturing them then. So if we don’t do anything to protect ourselves so as not to infringe on anyone’s human rights, will they love us then? If we unilaterally cease the occupation; dismantle all the settlements; give in to all the demands we already gave in to in 2000 and more, meaning: let all the Palestinian refugees come back to the long-gone houses that their grandparents once occupied in Haifa and Yaffo; make sure not to build any fences so as not to prevent anyone getting into Israel freely and so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings, will they love us then? Do you promise? And what if they don’t? Will you come from America to save my girls? Who will save my girls then? Who will save other mothers sitting in their homes in the Kibbutz, their little children sleeping in the other room?
When all the pundits and prognosticators have left the studio or sent in their columns, it comes down to the human beings, like this Israeli mother, who continue to live with this madness, who have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. Yes, let’s talk about Israel’s obligations.

Powell on targeted assassinations

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U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had this exchange yesterday with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Late Edition (link courtesy of IMRA):

MR. BLITZER: The U.S. took an action this past week in firing Predator missiles at these al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen, including a U.S. citizen. What's the difference between that targeted killing and the targeted killings the Israelis engage in -- which the State Department has criticized?

SECRETARY POWELL: We believe that there are significant differences. This was a case of clearly somebody engaged in a direct conflict with the United States. We believe that there are other ways to deal with the problems of the Middle East - other ways that are not enhanced. The likelihood of these other ways working is not enhanced by those kinds of targeted assassinations. So we believe there are differences and distinctions between the two situations.

MR. BLITZER: Is the U.S. going to continue this policy as part of the war on terror to go after these targets outside of Afghanistan?

SECRETARY POWELL: I would not comment on what targets we might or might not go after anywhere in the world.

MR. BLITZER: But what you're saying is the Israelis should stop doing what they did, but the U.S., theoretically, can continue to do --

SECRETARY POWELL: Our policy with respect to the Middle East and targeted assassinations has not changed and we will do what we have to do to defend ourselves with respect to terrorist activities.

So, if I get this, America has the right to target Al-Qaida's operatives because they clearly "engaged in a direct conflict with the United States." But Israel doesn't have the right to target Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades because (a) they clearly aren't engaged in a direct conflict with Israel (???) or (b) there are "other ways" to deal with the problems of the Middle East (like what, for instance?).

Nice fudge.

Another anniversary

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This past weekend was the 64th anniversary of Kristallnacht, two of the darkest days in European Jewish history. Meryl Yourish takes us back for a brief glimpse into the horror that was life for Jews under the Third Reich.

On the nights of November 9 and 10, rampaging mobs throughout Germany and the newly acquired territories of Austria and Sudetenland freely attacked Jews in the street, in their homes and at their places of work and worship. At least 96 Jews were killed and hundreds more injured, more than 1,000 synagogues were burned (and possibly as many as 2,000), almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed, cemeteries and schools were vandalized, and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
And that was just the beginning.

Peace Now to supporters: you can't handle the truth

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This item was posted on IMRA tonight. This is only an excerpt from the interview and the whole thing is apparently not available on line, so there's a context issue here. But if the morons at Peace Now really think this way, I hope their supporters will finally get a clue. Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath.

Excerpts from an interview with Tzali Reshef [former Peace Now leader and current Israeli Labor Party "activist"] by Ari Shavit - Ha'aretz Magazine 8 November 2002

Our idea was to talk to the public in a language it was ready to listen to and not try to foist on it ideas it was not ready to accept. I called it the principle of the bus: not to argue now about what the end of the journey will be, but to invite aboard everyone who is ready to travel to the next stop. If we had written in the officer's letter of 1978 that in order to obtain peace, we will have to return all the territories and go back to the 1967 borders and divide Jerusalem and recognize the human aspect of the refugee problem very few people would have gone along with us. We would have remained a pure but marginal left-wing group.

Therefore, I was insistent that our message not be radicalized and I didn't want to have my photograph taken too often as part of the human rights struggle. What gave Peace Now its great strength was our external image as patriots and as people who do not represent the other side. We were able to create a label ("brand") that spoke to a great many people. That label is our success. The result was that while the left wing movements in which my parents were members had dozens or hundreds of people, tens and hundreds of thousands of people support our movement.

Question: Isn't there a manipulative element here?

Of course there is. I was a manipulator when I was 24, but a manipulator in a positive sense of the word. I knew back then that if we said what we
thought it would be taken badly. To say we have to make concessions is bad. That is why we went with the officer's letter. That I why we took Yuval Neria, who was awarded the Medal of Valor in the Yom Kippur War, and placed his name at the top of the list. Do you really think that I thought Yuval understood more than I did because he got the Medal of Valor and I didn't?

We did it in order to combat the negative image and to talk to people in a language that would make it possible for them to identify with us. You can
call it manipulation and there were some who called it opportunism. But in my view, it was a farsighted strategy. I think it was smart.

Smart? How about reprehensible, despicable, morally bankrupt . . . ?

Meanwhile,

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On October 30, 2002, President/General Arafat delivered a long-winded address to the Palestinian Legislative Council. This part of his speech was directed to the people of Israel. I do hope they were listening. Carefully.

Israelis,

What do you want to achieve from fighting, and this war?

Where are you heading? Do you want security? Well, we want to live with you side by side as neighbors, good neighbors, where no sea, ocean, river or mountains separate us; as a wall that is even longer than the Berlin Wall will not be an alternative to goodwill. The line separating us is called the Green Line so let us reach a joint understanding about the concept of security that both of us are yearning for – Security for you and for us. Is your security attainable only by eliminating our dream and our right to live in this land? Can your security be achieved only by undermining our will, oppressing our people, reoccupying our land, and deporting us from it, pursuing illegal settlement activities, denying our children access to schools, denying our mothers access to hospitals, demolishing our houses and bulldozing our fields?

Yep, that’s all we want. Security for you and for us. No sea, ocean, river or mountains, no wall between our weapons and your bodies. The peace of the brave for us and the peace of the grave for you. Don’t try to stop us. Listen. We love you, really. (Smoooch!)

We acknowledged the existence of your state on 78% of historic Palestine and accepted to establish our state on the remaining 22% of this land. So, why are you chasing and driving us out of that small land? Your government is racing against time to establish as much as it can of illegal settlements to make them thorns and spikes in the heart of our tiny state. Your government is doing all it can to prevent the emergence of our state; it nullified mutual agreements signed between us under the witness of the whole world. Why are you going this way while you are fully aware that it leads to destruction of both of us? Do you want to be in a state of war all the time? Can you persevere on this track? Or would you prefer to coexist with us as one family and achieve reconciliation between our peoples in this land, the cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, in which they grew and enlightened the whole world. The followers of the three monotheistic faiths – sons of Abraham - have been living there since the early dawn of history without any type of discrimination. I would like to remind you that a rich heritage of reconciliation and coexistence has prevailed throughout our history and has endured longer than the short age of our wars.

Listen! We acknowledged the existence of your state (even though we keep getting the geography wrong – no – don’t mention the 76% of “historic Palestine” that is Jordan – I forbid it – I am General Arafat – shut up!). See? We know your state is there. So just let us at it. We promise we’ll be quick, if you’ll just get out of our way. Aren’t we all brothers? You must trust us. We have a rich heritage of reconciliation and coexistence that has prevailed throughout our history and will continue that heritage just as soon as you are returned to your proper minority and subjugated status in our land. Those of you who are permitted to live, anyway.

Israeli People,

We have decided to live with you side by side as neighbors. We do not want to drive you out of this land. Our rejection of occupation does not entail rejecting you or refusing to accept to live with you. We extend to you our hand of reconciliation and a an olive branch to resume the track we started in Madrid and Oslo in order to bring occupation to an end; to establish our independent Palestinian state and to achieve an honorable peace for our two peoples, for your children and our children. Peace is our strategic option. We will not drop this option albeit the voices we hear in your side to cancel the agreements and to expel us. You ought to be fully aware that struggle for national liberation is our legitimate right – We will never concede our right to independence and freedom. Our struggle is not driven by spite or revenge. We call upon you to perceive the wisdom that no people can occupy another people and live peacefully at the same time.

We have decided. Trust us. And we have proven our true intentions to you over and over again since Madrid and Oslo. How can you doubt us? Hey! Wake up! I am General Arafat!

We appreciate the rational voices amongst you that call for an end to this conflict and the return to peaceful solutions. This unjust and unjustified war that you are waging against our civilian people has caused you to loose world opinion that was once admiring you. You have lost your economy that was once your great achievement and source of pride. You gained nothing in return. You mostly lost your image as viewed by yourself and the whole world. You have turned your army to a mere contractor assigned to demolish our houses and bulldoz our fields. Shame on you! You committed war crimes against our civilians in Jenin, Khan Younis, Rafa, Gaza and many other Palestinian cities. This should make you feel ashamed.

We appreciate the dupes and traitors among you, really we do. You are losing the propaganda war, my good friends. Everyone loves us and everyone hates you. Give up. Loose world opinion is on our side. And we’ll continue to exploit it, you know we will.

I call upon you to stop that and raise your voices loudly against these massacres that fuel hate and spite between us. Stop before it is too late; it is simply harmful to you as much, if not more, than it is to us.

It's for your own good. Listen to me! I am General Arafat! I shall now proclaim boldly!

I have announced many times before you and I would like to reiterate that to you, to my people, and the whole world that we are against all types of violence that target civilians, Palestinian or Israeli civilians. I reiterate my announcements and declare that every human being has a sacred right to life. We respect this right for Israelis and Palestinians. We condemn all terrorist acts against civilians anywhere worldwide. Such an attitude emanates from our values and ethics. It is our political and human attitude that we do not consider such acts a way to solve political problems.

Yes! Can you not see that our values and our ethics prevent us from targeting civilians? Can you not clearly discern the awesome respect for human life that is rampant among my people? Are you blind? Are you deaf? Do I care, so long as the rest of the world buys this load of crap?

We must be more frank. It is unfortunate that your government has always been escalating violence whenever we attempt to calm the situation and exert real control. Your government and army have opted to strike our security forces in order to weaken us so that they render us incapable of implementing our obligations. Do you recall what your government did when we managed to reach an agreement among our different political parties and popular movements to bring acts targeting civilians to an end? It bombed a crowded residential neighborhood under the pretext of assassinating a certain person. Such an act is solely aimed to escalate violence, and it unfortunately succeeded many times.

Please remember, and don’t ever forget. It’s, frankly, always the fault of the J-E-W-S. No matter how many of you we murder in cold blood, no matter how many of your children we blow to bits, it is you and your stubborn insistence on remaining here, where you don’t belong, humiliating us by your very existence, that is responsible for all of the violence in the Middle East. Your fault!

Your government has been working hard to make both of us fail; this is a fact. Instead of rectifying this attitude, it proceeded in its incitement and manipulation campaign against the Palestinian leadership and against me in person in order to lead you to the conclusion that there is no Palestinian partner on the other side. Why is it launching such a campaign? The answer is simply to set free the hands of your army to undermine the Palestinian Authority, the peace process and the project that I started jointly with my partner, Rabin, to achieve a historic reconciliation between our peoples.

Yes, my dear partner, Rabin, who would rather have cut off his arm than shake my hand, but what could he do? And what can he say, now, he’s dead, you know. He didn’t like me. You don’t like me. Why don’t you like me? What did I ever do to you? Rectify your attitude! Immediately! I insist! I am General Arafat! Shut up!

Strike

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We sometimes tend to think of the Israeli left as analogous to the American left. It’s really not. Israel’s socialist hangover continues to create situations that seem nothing short of absurd to those of us with a more capitalist bent. The Israeli economy is in the toilet, the country is threatened hourly by suicidal mass murderers, but the unions are oblivious. And with this sort of power, why not?

Some 100,000 municipal and religious council workers launched a strike Saturday evening, the second within a month. Sanitation workers will stop collecting garbage at midnight Saturday. In addition, the 40,000 civil service workers striking for the past month are continuing their sanctions.

. . . Starting Sunday morning all municipal offices will be closed, mail will not be delivered, no welfare services will be administered, school maintenance and administration workers and nursery school assistants will not work, and many school busses will not run. Tickets for parking violations will not be issued and emergency services such as fire fighters will operate skeleton crews.

Due to the ongoing strike in cabinet ministries, it is impossible to get a new passport, extend the validity of existing ones or obtain any official document such as an identity card, birth or death certificate. In addition, income tax, Israel Lands Administration, employment bureau, National Insurance and car licensing officers will be closed.

The Treasury and civil servants representatives will make an effort Sunday to formulate a collective agreement, which will enable the public sector to end the strike.

The local authority workers, who have been imposing minimal sanctions in the past few weeks, decided to expand them to a full fledged strike following the Treasury and local authorities' refusal to respond to their demands. The workers are demanding the repeal of a new tax on employer contributions to their pension plans, or alternatively, a wage increase to compensate for the new tax. They are also demanding to reduce the number of workers on personal contracts and hired via personnel agencies.

Blocked

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For some reason, I haven't been able to put a coherent post together the past few days. I've started a bunch, but they're all in various stages of disarray. So I'm throwing my hands up for now.

Shabbat Shalom.

And now for something completely moronic

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I thought I'd already seen the ultimate depth of stupidity to which "reality TV" could sink. Apparently not.

And don't miss

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Sharkansky's Goebbels/Buttu connection (as in Diane Buttu, the very glamorous PLO legal advisor and front (wo)man). Go there now.

Pure, unadulterated hate

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Charles Johnson is publishing hate speech again. And it's from the same old source.

This one goes quite a bit beyond the sermon excerpts quoted in LGF's weekly Peaceful Religion Watch, though. It gets right down to the nitty-gritty.

Query: what can rationally be expected from people who are subjected to this kind of propaganda, day after day, from those they are taught to respect and revere? And what kind of policy can rationally be based on those expectations?

My favorite massacre myths

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The controversy continues over what actually happened in the battle at the Arab village of Deir Yassin in April, 1948. I’ve discussed it in some detail here. The evidence doesn't support the ongoing allegations of a "massacre," but the myth is alive and well, nonetheless.

But there are many palestinian massacre myths, and they come in all shapes and sizes. You can find a comprehensive (and wholly unsubstantiated) list of them here. Of these, after Deir Yassin, the most infamous is that of the "massacre" at Tantura, an Arab village just south of Haifa.

The first interesting thing about the Tantura story is that it’s a new addition. It exploded into public view in January, 2000, when the Israeli daily Ma’ariv first published details of a Haifa University Master’s thesis entitled "The Exodus of the Arabs from Villages at the Foot of Southern Mount Carmel." The study purported to document a massacre by the Israel Defense Forces' elite Alexandroni Brigade of over 200 residents of Tantura in late May, 1948. More “interesting” is that the author of this work was a middle aged Jewish kibbutz member named Theodore Katz. Katz is also a member of the group of Israeli anti-Zionist revisionists commonly known as “new historians,” and a student of Ilan Pappé, one of the leading “lights” of that movement. But the most interesting thing about the story is that Mr. Katz’s “research” has been meticulously examined and revealed to be a complete and utter fraud.

The controversy has been described in a number of places and from a number of perspectives. Pappé, Katz’s mentor and one of his thesis advisors, has published an exhaustive defense of both Katz and himself here. This article [original link defunct - this is an archive] in the Jerusalem Post presents quite a different view. An article in the Fall 2001 Middle East Quarterly entitled “Israel’s Academic Extremists” also includes an interesting analysis. And then there’s this version from Palestine Media Watch. Just the facts, please.

Mr. Katz’s problems began when veteran Alexandroni Brigade members sued him for libel. After discrepancies were revealed between his interview tapes and the excerpts published in his thesis, Katz agreed to settle the case by publishing a public apology. In what he later described as a moment of weakness, Katz wrote:

I wish to clarify that, after checking and re-checking the evidence, it is clear to me now, beyond any doubt, that there is no basis whatsoever for the allegation that the Alexandroni Brigade, or any other fighting unit of the Jewish forces, committed killings of people in Tantura after the village surrendered. Furthermore, I wish to say that the things I have written must have been misunderstood [by the press] as I had never intended to tell a tale of a massacre in Tantura. . . . I accept as truth [only] the testimonies of those among the Alexandroni people who denied categorically the massacre, and I disassociate myself from any conclusion which can be derived from my thesis that could point to the occurrence of a massacre or the killing of defenseless or unarmed people.
Within hours, Katz renounced his apology, but the court required him to honor the agreement nonetheless. When he refused, Brigade veterans published his statement themselves.

Back at Haifa University, a board of inquiry was appointed to review Katz’s work. They, too, found discrepancies as well as coercive and leading interview techniques and selective editing. The thesis was pulled from the library shelves and Katz was given six months to revise the paper. Almost a year later, there’s no evidence that he has done so.

What has emerged in the interim, however, is the source of funding for Katz’s legal defense. The PLO contributed $10,000 of its hard-earned cash to rescue the Tantura massacre hoax. [Update: Ha'aretz reported that it was $8,000 and paid by former Palestinian Authority minister Feisal Husseini.] When asked to comment, Katz said that he didn’t see anything wrong with that. Of course, one could assume that his backers were likely displeased by his apology. Whether that displeasure might have had anything to do with his subsequent retraction and refusal to honor his settlement agreement is a matter of pure speculation.

As for what really happened at Tantura, contemporaneous news reports in the Israeli press appear to concur with the account given by one of the veterans:

"One of the reasons it was decided to take over over the village was to stop the smuggling of arms and food, and to make sure they didn't cut the main road from north to south, from Haifa to Tel Aviv. At one point, the coastal highway had been cut.

"It was quite a battle. We lost 14 members out of the battalion. Katz's claim about the massacre is wrong for the simple reason that early on, by 10 a.m., 99 percent of the villagers had been transported. We first gathered the fighting men in one area. The women and children were put in another, and we gave them water; most of them were transferred to Faradis. The men were transferred to the police yard in Zichron Ya'akov, and then to the Arab area in Netanya, Um Halid."

Arab accounts naturally tend to differ:
Al-Tantura, a village of 1,500 people, sat gently on a hillside overlooking the beautiful scenery of northern Palestine, the rich land and the captivating sea. After a Jewish gang seized control of the area, and in the matter of a few hours one night, the village population was reduced by more than 200 men, women and children.

By dawn, the village was empty; those who had not been killed had fled. Frightened, with no food and little else, Al-Tantura villagers ran north, south, east and beyond the sea.

But here’s the thing. Prior to the publication of Katz’s thesis, there was no mention anywhere of a “massacre” at Tantura, save one: a “memoir” by a Tanturan villager, published in Damascus in 1951 by Sheikh Mohamed Nimr al Khatib, a “well known Imam” (and active member of the Arab National Committee) of Haifa. How strange. As “Solomon Socrates” asks in the MEQ article:
But how could legions of anti-Israel researchers have overlooked a massacre in Tantura for two generations? Had such a massacre occurred, it could not have remained secret. Arab spin doctors, especially in the PLO, would long ago have raised any reports of a massacre and nailed it high on the same flagpole from which it has always waved the banners of supposed massacres at Deir Yassin and the Kfar Qasim. The events at Deir Yassin—in sharp contrast—were not only covered by the press at the time and used to great propaganda effect by Arab leaders, but have been a permanent feature of the Arab-Israeli debate ever since. Indeed, in late 1999 [sic], after the Israeli press had written about the Katz thesis, the PLO Ministry of Information and other agencies issued statements and posted news items about the new study on their web pages.
Indeed. This account [link defunct], referenced by Socrates in a footnote to the preceding comment, first showed up on the PNA website on February 15, 2000, a few weeks after Ma’ariv broke the story. Today there is no shortage of “survivors” of the Tantura massacre who are anxious to tell their tales. But where were they from 1948 through 1999? Just too shy to come forward? Or is it perhaps more likely that that their memories were "jogged" by Teddy Katz, who had discovered Sheikh Nimr al-Khatib’s book with its single uncorroborated horror story and set out the details for them to confirm?

The MEQ essay also points to ramifications of this hoax that don’t bode at all well for the future of peace in the region.

Many Arabs who lived in Tantura in 1948 and their descendents now live in the Arab town of Faradis not far away; following the "discovery" of the massacre, Faradis schools began to organize trips to visit the site of the supposed massacre. Faradis, which sits astride one of the two roads to Haifa from the south, had been spared by and large from the rioting and violence that characterized other Arab towns throughout the years of the first intifada. But in September 2000, the town residents rioted violently, blocking highways and battling police, and live ammunition was used. Could the University of Haifa have created a first in academic history—a violent riot produced by fabrications in a master’s thesis?
The implications of these developments were surely taken to heart by the perpetrators of the latest massacre myth – that of Jenin, 2002. It’s going to take one more post to weave together the intended and actual consequences of these three fables. Suffice it to say for now that there's been an evolution in the fabrication and dissemination of such stories and that their potential effectiveness is largely unrelated to their verisimilitude.

This entry has been updated to redirect broken and defunct links where possible. 04/27/05

The fictitious legacy of Yitzhak Rabin

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Tomorrow we'll mark the seventh anniversary (on the Western calendar) of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. And we'll be subjected to all sorts of nostalgic postulations about the peace that would envelop the Middle East today had he survived. I blog not to praise Rabin, nor to criticize him, but to try to dispense with some of this sentimental propagandistic bullshit.

At last night's lackluster memorial ceremonies in Tel Aviv, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan all made videotaped addresses to the crowd.

Clinton:

It is almost overwhelmingly sad to think what state the world would be in if he was still with us.
Mubarak:
He was a brave fighter for peace. Peace would have become a reality if not for that traitorous hand.
Reality check (from the June, 1995 Middle East Quarterly):
In contrast, the DoP [Declaration of Principles] has failed dismally in its Palestinian dimension. The "liberation" of Gaza and Jericho produced no relaxation of Middle East violence. Quite the contrary, for most of its duration it has produced escalating terrorism. From the Rabin-Arafat handshake until March 13, 1995, 123 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists, compared to 67 for the same period before the handshake. [fn] This increase consisted almost entirely of murders within Israel, for the numbers within the occupied territories were nearly the same in each period. The streets of Gaza have exploded into a crescendo of hatred toward Jews, with a level of savagery unseen since the end of the Second World War. Things are so bad that press reports indicate the Israeli military has been drawing up contingency plans should Katyusha rockets be fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip. [fn]

A recent lull in terror attacks suggests to some Israeli officials that the PLO is at last cracking down on Islamic militants. [fn] But it is a mistake for wishful-thinking Israelis to read too much into this respite, for it likely results more from the Israeli policy of "separation" and restriction of access for Palestinians than any real move by the PLO to suppress terrorists. To the limited extent that the decrease in attacks may been related to PLO policy, there is reason to wonder whether such good behavior will end once Palestinians gain control over the entire West Bank, that is, once they no longer have reason to tamp down anti-Israel violence.

So the "peace process" was already foundering badly while Rabin was alive and well, and although the rhetoric of "closures" and "checkpoints" hadn't yet found its way into the daily lexicon, those "policies" were already necessitated by terrorist activities. And then there's this from a March, 1995, article entitled "As Peace Process Dies, The Blame Game Begins," [link updated] in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a staunchly pro-Arab publication with strong links to the U.S. State Department.
From the beginning, Arafat's Palestinian opponents believed Rabin had no intention of carrying out Israel's obligations under the DOP. Instead, Palestinian skeptics believed, Rabin counted on Arafat and his opponents to comport themselves so badly that the Palestinians could be blamed for the failure of the peace process. Whether or not that was Rabin's original intention, it clearly is now.

In the absence of pressure from the United States, he has made it clear to the Palestinians that so long as the "terror" persists, there will be no withdrawal and no elections. By his actions he also has made it clear to Israeli voters that so long as he is prime minister of Israel there will be no sharing of Jerusalem, no Palestinian sovereignty, and that he will leave the settlers alone. Although his public approval has dipped well below that of Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu, Rabin hopes it will rebound when voters decide that he has cleverly tricked the Palestinians -- and the Americans.

* * *

Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's fox, has taken advantage of a disorganized and inexperienced American president who obviously is susceptible to media and perhaps even cruder blackmail. By doing so, Rabin believes he also has tricked the Palestinians into giving his government enough time to consolidate the complete takeover of their land. What he is overlooking, however, is that in the interest of his own re-election he also has tricked his fellow Israelis into giving up their last chance, almost certainly forever, to live in peace -- and survive -- in an increasingly well-armed, hostile and outraged Middle East.

That's right. Several months before Rabin's assassination, Arab apologists had already declared the so-called peace process "dead," and laid the blame squarely at the feet of the Israeli Prime Minister.

It's way past time we ended this ridiculous charade and started concentrating on reality? Rabin's assassination was an outrage, an abomination and a tragedy. But it wasn't the beginning of the end of the golden road to peace. That road never led anywhere other than exactly where we find ourselves today.

Out of touch

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I hope New Jerseyans are paying attention to Doug Forrester’s newest attack ad (he doesn’t have any other kind). It kinda makes you wonder where he’s been for the last 14 months.

Why did Lautenberg vote against the death penalty for terrorists, making us more likely to be attacked?
Yes, Doug. The death penalty would surely have deterred the 9/11 suicide hijackers. We all know that the Jihadi kamikazes threatening our country are very, very frightened of dying.

You have to be at least 30 years old to serve in the U.S. Senate but, unfortunately, it seems that you don’t have to be in touch with reality. Perhaps Mr. Forrester should have taken some time out from bashing his opponent(s) to keep up with current events.

I link to Michele

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Just 'cause.

Real Zionism

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Michael Anbar had a really interesting essay on Zionism at Israel Insider that I just noticed, even though it’s several weeks old. It’s still timely.

Zionism is not a political movement aimed at establishing a homeland for homeless Jews. It is not setting up a Jewish "reservation," no matter on which continent (Grand Island, Uganda, or Tasmania). To fully understand the cultural meaning of Zionism, without knowing Jewish history, may not be trivial. Even Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, who came from a secular assimilatory background and was moved by the urgent need to find a home for Eastern European Jewish refugees, did not understand this early on. It became clear to him only when he needed popular Jewish support for his new movement.

Zionism was not invented in the First Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897. "Besides the streams of Babylon we sat and wept at the memory of Zion ... Jerusalem, if I forget you, may my right hand wither, may I never speak again, if I forget you!" (Psalm 137) is a twenty-five hundred years old Zionist expression. Nehemiah, who came to Jerusalem about 440 BCE, giving up a high position in the Persian court, was a Zionist and so was Hillel who emigrated from Mesopotamia four hundred years later.

So was Judah Halevi, the philosopher-poet who wrote: "My heart is in the East and I am in the depths of the West? How can I fulfill the pledges and vows, when Zion is in the power of Edom and I am in the fetters of Arabia? It will be nothing for me to leave all the goodness of Spain. So good it will be to see the dust of the ruined sanctuary." Halevi immigrated to Israel in 1141 AD. The hundreds of Jewish Rabbis who immigrated to Israel in 1211, followed by Nahmanides is 1267, were all Zionists. And so were hundreds of other Jewish spiritual leaders and scholars and thousands of their followers who came to the Land of Israel over hundreds of years, way before the modern political Zionist movement was even conceived. The 1878 establishment of Petach Tikva, the first "modern" agricultural settlement in the Land of Israel, preceded Herzl's political Zionism by more than a decade.

While modern political Zionism is of secular nature, its origins are deeply rooted in traditional Judaism. The traditional Jewish Passover Seder has ended with "Next year in Jerusalem" probably since the destruction of the Second Temple. Zionism is a characteristic manifestation of Jewish culture and not a political movement to solve the "Jewish problem." Zionism is definitely not looking for territory to settle displaced Jews, as claimed by the Arabs and even by some socialist Israeli "modern historians".

* * *

There is just one kind of true Zionism imbedded in Jewish national culture. Zionism does mandate sovereignty over the Land of Israel, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, including Jerusalem its capital. In any political settlement, the Palestinian Arabs and Arabs in the neighboring countries must recognize the Land of Israel as the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, with Jerusalem as its capital. This is what true Zionism is all about.

The creation of a demilitarized independent Arab state in parts of the Land of Israel, in order to alleviate conflicts between Arabs and Jews, is not in variance with Zionism, as long as Jews have the right to live anywhere within the Arab state as its citizens, just like Israeli Arabs have now the right to live anywhere within the Jewish state.

Although there are those who would vehemently disagree with Anbar’s entire premise, I think he makes a good case. His last analogy stumbles, though, unless his intention is to limit residence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to those Jews who already live there. But I don’t necessarily see the need for that particular balance. Most Arabs have not spent the last 2,000 years saying “Next year in Acre” or weeping at the memory of Jaffa. And those few who have spent the last 54 years doing so have no more claim to my sympathies than those Egyptian Jews who were expelled from Cairo and Alexandria, or those Syrian Jews who fled Aleppo, or those Iraqi Jews who escaped from Baghdad.

By the way

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I just want to point out that Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, where my nephew was born yesterday, is a very special place where precepts of Jewish law, including strict dietary rules and Sabbath observance, are meticulously maintained. That makes it much more comfortable for the many observant Jews who would otherwise have to jump through hoops to avoid violating religious restrictions during a hospital stay.

It’s also one of the hospitals to which many victims of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem are brought for treatment.

I’d also like to point out that back in July, Meryl Yourish raised over $3,000 for Shaare Zedek in the 2002 Blogothon. So, on behalf of my new not-so-little nephew and his family, thanks, Meryl!

Welcome to the world

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My little brother's wife gave birth to their eighth child early this morning. A big baby boy, weighing in at 3.7 kilos, born at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel.

I'm an aunt -- again.

Shabbat Shalom.

Journalists see red, boycott Hamas

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Here's an interesting item from today's Jerusalem Post. An explosion in Gaza City yesterday killed three Hamas members and wounded several other people, including a ten-year-old girl. The blast appears to have been the result of what's commonly called a "work accident."

Journalists attempting to cover the incident were attacked. And they're mad.

Several journalists, both Palestinian and reporters for foreign networks, were attacked by local Hamas sympathizers, who pushed them and threw stones at them until they left the site. No one was injured, but two TV cameras were destroyed.

The Palestinian journalists decided not to cover the funerals of the three Hamas militants killed in the explosion.

"We call on all colleagues to boycott all Hamas-related activities and events and not to provide any media coverage until further notice," the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate PJS said in a statement. "We hold Hamas fully responsible for the attack on the journalists and for endangering their lives," it said.

The journalists union demanded Hamas issue an official public apology and urged Palestinian police to take action against those who assaulted the journalists.

Early Friday morning, Hamas issued a statement denouncing what it called an "unfortunate attack", but did not elaborate on whether its supporters were involved.

Journalists asking the P.A. to take action against terrorists. Now that's a switch.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2002 listed from newest to oldest.

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