February 2003 Archives

On the road


There will be little to no posting here for the next few days, as I shall be separated from my computer. But feel free to browse around.

A sad day in the neighborhood


He wasn't cool and he wasn't trendy, but Mister Rogers brought joy to the hearts of millions of children over many years. My brother and I were among them, and my brother's kids, raised in Israel, are some of his biggest fans.

Fred Rogers died today of stomach cancer at the age of 74. He was a kind, gentle, talented and dedicated man. He was a genuine mensch. And he'll be very much missed by a lot of kids, young and old alike.

A nasty surprise


Ariel Sharon announced the cabinet of the new Israeli coalition government today and, as promised, there were some surprises. Most notably, in spite of his strong implications to the contrary throughout the recent election campaign, Sharon did not offer the Foreign Ministry to Binyamin Netanyahu.

I can't find a ready quote to support my recollection of Sharon's comments during the campaign, but I do remember paying particular attention to his pronouncements on this issue. Perhaps he found it expedient to encourage the perception that Netanyahu would keep his job because of polls like this one, conducted by Dialogue/Ha'aretz on January 21, 2003, a little over a week before the Knesset elections (emphasis mine).

If Labor doesn't agree to join a national unity government, and Sharon forms a narrow government, who would you like to see as minister of defense?

Mofaz 43.5% Netanyahu 11.6% Meridor 10.8% Olmert 0.7% Lieberman 6.2% Don't know 25.1% Other 2.1%

Vote Likud:
Mofaz 66.7% Netanyahu 16.3% Meridor 2.3% Olmert 0.0% Lieberman 3.3% Don't know 10.7% Other 0.7%

If Labor doesn't agree to join a national unity government, and Sharon forms a narrow government, who would you like to see as foreign minister?

Netanyahu 54.6% Olmert 5.6% Shalom 2.2% Livnat 1.4% Shitreet 14.1% Don't know 17.1% Other 5.0%

Vote Likud:
Netanyahu 74.1% Olmert 4.2% Shalom 1.1% Livnat 1.7% Shitreet 6.3% Don't know 9.4% Other 3.2%

Other polls conducted around the same time yielded similar results, and Mofaz did get the Defense portfolio. But the Foreign Ministry was offered to (and accepted by) Silvan Shalom, a relative unknown with virtually no diplomatic experience.

Sharon has shown himself to be a rather adept politician. So I'd like to assume that he had good reason (other than petty vindictiveness) for this little stunt. It's well known that Bibi staunchly opposes the creation of a palestinian state, which could have resulted in problems with the Bush administration that Sharon doesn't want. Bibi even challenged Sharon for leadership of his party over this issue, and lost (the party sided with his view but not with him). But political appointments are often made on condition of acquiescence with respect to certain issues (remember Joe Lieberman and school vouchers? And Israeli cabinet members are a lot easier to remove than are American Vice Presidents in the event such an agreement is breached).

This has a bad smell to me, but what do I know? Perhaps some American pressure was brought to bear. Or perhaps Sharon really does have a grand vision in mind. Here, in any event, are relevant excerpts from the analysis of one pundit who seems to be almost as bewildered by this turn of events as I am -- Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post:

Why have two political enemies, when you can have only one?

Netanyahu at the Foreign Ministry, according to this thinking, would eventually begin nipping at Sharon's heels challenging him on the Quartet's road map, among other issues.

Put Shalom there and he will be so grateful to have received the job that his loyalty to Sharon and Sharon's diplomatic path will be cemented forever.

. . . . .

In selecting Shalom, Sharon picked a foreign minister who will not chart an independent path as Netanyahu might have done. Though, to Netanyahu's credit, it must be said that in the three months he has been in the job, he faithfully echoed the government's policies and has kept his differences with Sharon over the Quartet's road map and the overall diplomatic policy pretty much to himself.

But Sharon had to be asking himself, for how long? Shalom has no foreign policy experience, yet from the prime minister's point of view this may well be an asset, as Sharon will clearly be in charge. Shalom is also not the first person appointed to the job who had very little experience in foreign relations. David Levy had no experience, nor except for a stint as a Mossad man in Paris did Yitzhak Shamir.

Sharon has selected a foreign minister who probably does not have firm views on how best to approach the US Congress, or how to promote ties with Italy, or how to utilize the Russian media on Israel's behalf. All these are issues Netanyahu knows about and has opinions on.

As such, Shalom will be much more dependent on the professionals in the Foreign Ministry, and on leads from the Prime Minister's Office, than Netanyahu.

Lack of experience means there will likely not be a tug of war between the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry. This tug of war, however, is not necessarily something that runs counter to the country's interests.

Let the good times roll


Mardi Gras comes but once a year, but our own Carnival of the Vanities is a weekly occasion. This week's host is Kesher Talk, and Judith Weiss has assembled a rather juicy selection of entries. Go and sample.

Palestinian school daze


From Yahoo! News:

Palestinian school girls hold portraits of Iraqi President Sadam Hussein, left, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as their teacher stands beside them, right, during a rally against a U.S.-led attack on Iraq at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern of Gaza strip, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra).

An up note


Mike Sanders has returned to the blog! I, for one, have missed him. Good things to come. . .

Chunky Monkey anyone?


TrueMajority.com has proposed its own text for Tuesday's Virtual March on Washington, and Carey Gage has done a little edit. I think it's a remarkable improvement over the original, don't you?

It really is a shame Ben Cohen didn't stick to making ice cream. I guess this is what happens when you have a lot of money and too much time on your hands -- if you're an idiotarian to begin with, that is. Yes, the "Ten Principles" all sound wonderful. Read the fine print.

The plot thickened


Moe Freedman reported a few days ago on Laurie Mylroie's latest essay discussing the connections between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida. Mylroie's extensive work on this subject, as well as that of Vanity Fair reporter David Rose, hasn't gotten much play up to now. That may be about to change.

It might not be a bad idea to keep an eye on this website, either.



I'd like to close out the week with a rant on one of my least favorite subjects. Boycotts.

The Arab League first instituted a boycott of Israel back in 1946 -- before the State of Israel even exisited. The Arabs renewed this boycott campaign in 1973 in conjunction with their oil embargo and continue to try to do so periodically. Has this boycott succeeded in bringing Israel to its knees? Hardly. Did it disgust some people and devalue the Arabs' political capital for quite a few others? Did it inspire anti-boycott legislation in the U.S. as well as various counter-boycotts and counter-counter-boycotts? Yes, it did.

Boycotts are nasty, petty and mostly ineffective in achieving their ultimate goals, though they can do damage. China continues to sponsor an international boycott of Taiwan. Many U.S. groups call for a boycott of China. "Grass roots" boycotts of Israel are still going on, although they don't get much attention. But this academic boycott of Israel, sponsored by Steven and Hilary Rose and promoted by the likes of Mona Baker, has been criticised every which way by every thinking person who has addressed the issue. Arab countries even today are sponsoring boycotts of the United States because they want to pressure us to drop our support for Israel or our "aggression" against Iraq.

We can't have it both ways. Either all of these boycotts are legitimate expressions of disapproval or persuasion or none of them are. My vote goes to "none."

Ergo, this boycott will not win my support either. A boycott of French, German and Belgian products is not the way to encourage those countries to revise their views or reconsider their foreign policies, especially considering that there is not even a remotely universal consensus on the merits of those policies. Without such a consensus, the net result of the effort is likely to be a wash at best, as weasel lovers organize counter-campaigns to support the European champions of their cause. Performances like this (link via Matt) may make for good street theater, but what do they really accomplish? The thousands of dollars worth of French wine that these restauranteurs poured down the drain had already been paid for. The French really couldn't care less if the Dom Perignon passed through a human digestive system on its way to the sewer. And, in the long run, it's either the American restaurant or its American clientele that will end up eating the bill for this little show.

Individuals who choose to avoid the products and tourist attractions of weasel world are free to make that choice and are to be commended for putting their convictions into practice. But organizing a boycott of these countries is pointless and possibly counterproductive. Let's use our energy instead to support our own government, which is hopefully about to demonstrate beyond question the wisdom of its way and the folly of theirs.

Shabbat shalom.

In other words


Ibrahim Nafie, reputedly Egyptian President Mubarak's favorite mouthpiece, finishes this week's diatribe, calling for Arab unity against American aggression, with the following extraordinary quote:

Will all Arab governments, without exception, rise to the level of responsibility towards their peoples and the history of the Arab nation? Or will each go its own way, absorbed in the pursuit of their separate concerns and transient interests, relegating their collective fate to be swept up by the tides of circumstance? If the latter proves the case, then I believe it is Egypt's right to take those decisions it deems will best serve its historic responsibilities and protect the welfare of its people and national security in the face of any remiss in Arab positions.

Let's try the exact same quote from a slightly different perspective, shall we?

Will the all Western governments, without exception, rise to the level of responsibility towards their peoples and the history of the Western nations? Or will each go its own way, absorbed in the pursuit of their separate concerns and transient interests, relegating their collective fate to be swept up by the tides of circumstance? If the latter proves the case, then I believe it is America's right to take those decisions it deems will best serve its historic responsibilities and protect the welfare of its people and national security in the face of any remiss in Western positions.

Of course, just to make that statement on a racist par with Nafie's we could substitute "Caucasian" for "Western," but I think it's already too narrow as it is. Let's try again.

Will all of the world's governments, without exception, rise to the level of responsibility towards their peoples and the history of humanity? Or will each go its own way, absorbed in the pursuit of their separate concerns and transient interests, relegating their collective fate to be swept up by the tides of circumstance? If the latter proves the case, then I believe it is America's right to take those decisions it deems will best serve its historic responsibilities and protect the welfare of its people and national security in the face of any remiss in other nations' positions.

Now doesn't that neatly (if not gramatically) sum up the exact American position that the Arabs and their many dupes are contantly ranting and raving against? The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze.

The truth about Sami


For anyone out there who's still laboring under the delusion that the allegations of Sami Al-Arian's intimate involvement with Arab terrorism post-date 9/11 or are part of some government plot to shore up support for the War, get over it. And if you have a few hours, go take a look at this statement, delivered before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Government Information, on February 24, 1998, by Steve Emerson. You might also want to try to catch a look at Emerson's documentary film, Jihad in America, which aired on PBS back in 1994. Al-Arian has a starring role in both.

In memorium


Today is the first anniversary of Daniel Pearl's murder. Meryl muses on some of the implications of this senseless crime and links to the comments of others, as well, including those of Judea Pearl, Danny's father. Judith at Kesher Talk mentions some of the ways Daniel Pearl is being remembered and will continue to be remembered in the coming days. More information can be found at the Daniel Pearl Foundation website.

Anniversaries (yahrzeits, as we call them when it's a death that is being remembered) are a time for looking backward, but also for looking forward. Has the world community, in its shock and revulsion over Daniel Pearl's murder, taken steps to assure that such vile behavior won't be tolerated in the future? Hardly. Just a few days ago, I came across this article (translated from the Hebrew by the Israel Government Press Office):

Al-Raya, the publication of the Islamic Jihad, printed a threatening article against Zev Schiff. Ronen Bergman received information that a terrorist organization knows which restaurants he frequents. Yoram Binur was accused of collaborating with the Zionist enemy, and the ISA
increased security around another journalist's home. This is how Palestinian terrorist organizations are attempting to tame the Israeli watchdogs of democracy. A phenomenon.

The article describes in frightening detail some of the elaborate schemes that have been employed to influence and intimidate the reporting of Israeli journalists. Threats of kidnapping, murder and harm to family members, backed up by evidence of access, are common.

Yoram Binur, Channel Two's reporter for Arab affairs sounds much more disturbed from the growing and apparent tendency. "The fact the Israeli journalists, along with academic researchers dealing with the Palestinian issue, are being threatened, is very frightening," he says. "There is a serious danger here that jeopardizes the freedom of expression in Israel. It is a very serious situation that must not be tolerated. The offensive intervention of terrorist organizations, with the intention of threatening and influencing the words of Israeli reporters, is crossing a red line. There is clear evidence of the terrorist cells' abilities to threaten and carry out their threats. If Israeli journalists become threatened on a regular basis, that breaks
the consensus that existed here for years. We must not belittle their military capabilities. They have shown us more than once just what they are capable of. The activists sent out on these missions carry them out with all the loyalty and professionalism of the elite commando unit."

But here is perhaps the most chilling part of all. According to Binur, the palestinians have come to regard Israeli journalists as their champions over the years. The Israeli media was (and in some cases remains) notoriously left-leaning in its spin on the news up until the palestinians rejected the Camp David proposals and launched the current "intifada." Now, says Binur,

Israeli journalists have been considered during recent years as cooperating with the establishment, a kind of messenger of the Zionist regime. In the opinion of everyone in the Territories, the Israeli press has been recruited on behalf of the government.

So now, unless they start to toe the line, these journalists are to be considered "collaborators," traitors deserving of a death sentence, to be judged, sentenced and executed by palestinian terrorist thugs. Destined to meet the same fate as that meted out to Daniel Pearl one year ago today?

Heaven forbid.

Weasel watch


Hmmm. Can I nominate Vicky Drachenberg for the Nobel Prize Committee? No, I don't mean to the Committee. I was thinking more like, you know, she could just take over the whole job from the weasels who are doing it now. Her qualifications? Well, this post on the nomination of Jacques Chirac for the Peace Prize, for starters.

The President of the Land of the Brie and the Home of the Knave is no more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than I was for running away from all the bullies who threatened me in grade school.
Land of the Brie and the Home of the Knave? Now there's a meme worth repeating. More >>>

Here, a spray


This bizarre story began at the Philadelphia airport this morning, but it sure didn't end there.

The incident began at Philadelphia International Airport around 12:45 a.m. EST, when the 22-year-old man arrived at a security checkpoint while trying to make a flight to Saudi Arabia after a day of travel problems spawned by a major snowstorm.

The student's visa was fine, the FBI said later. But airport security asked him about a container of liquid in his luggage. While trying to show that the container was a bottle of cologne, the man inadvertently sprayed its aromatic contents on two airport security guards, officials said.

This guy sprayed himself, apparently to show everyone that there was nothing harmful in the bottle. At one time that might have been enough to allay fears. But the instinct for self-preservation can no longer be assumed. So . . .

. . . [T]he action prompted airport security to issue a code-red hazardous materials alert, which brought FBI agents, city police officers and hazardous materials specialists from the Philadelphia Fire Department rushing to the site.

Fearing the cologne could be a harmful biological or chemical agent, authorities sent the two guards to a nearby hospital, which quarantined its emergency room for three hours until what hospital officials referred to as "the unknown substance" could be identified as cologne.

Two city police officers, who also came into contact with the cologne while examining its container, later went off to a doughnut shop and a 24-hour Rite Aid pharmacy in Philadelphia, officials said. When authorities found out, they ordered both stores shut for 45 minutes until the analysis was complete.

I've been listening to the news reports all day, including interviews with some of the people that were trapped in the Rite Aid and not too happy about it. Overkill? Well, it's hard to see the logic in some of the procedures that were and were not implemented. Does it really take three hours to determine if something is cologne or a toxic chemical agent? Why wasn't the area of the airport where the substance had actually been sprayed evacuated or quarantined? Why were the police officers permitted to wander off in the first place if there was a concern they'd been contaminated? And once they had, what was to be gained by barricading them and other customers in stores? Shouldn't they have been taken to the emergency room instead?

My impression is that the people who were making the decisions here didn't have much of a clue as to what the risks were or how to address them effectively, so they just panicked. That doesn't bode well for a real emergency situation, so I hope someone takes notice and moves to rectify the situation, pronto.

The Saudi student, by the way, was released after questioning, but he didn't make his plane. The forecast is for intermittent mewling from various quarters about "profiling."

There's a lesson for travelers in this incident. If you're questioned by airport security about anything in your luggage, keep your hands in plain sight, don't touch anything, speak when spoken to and do not attempt to demonstrate the benign nature of the items you're carrying.

Making waves


Ocean Guy has been posting a little sporadically lately. He must be getting distracted by trivialities like, oh, I don't know, . . . work? life?

Anyway, I just noticed a few recent entries that merit special attention. I'm sure this one, about the "R visa" program, has been linked elsewhere, but I haven't seen it. And then there's this one, which dares to remind us of one version of the Arab-Israeli conflict you rarely hear any more. A view from a member of Israel's old radical right, the few surviving members of which still remember that the Jewish homeland promised by Lord Balfour was to encompass all of "Palestine" -- including the 75%, now called "Jordan," that was subsequently given to the Hashemite prince Abdullah.

OK, I'll bite


For some reason, I've developed this strange urge to look at photos of Leonbergers. I wonder why?

When I found this page, I couldn't help but notice that the first three photo groups are from Belgium, France and Germany, in that order. Could this be a secret code??? (my personal subtitle: NEXT!) Accordingly, although there are some quite attractive specimens in those groups, I've chosen this photo as my, um, self-portrait. (It's also the only one in which the meteorological detail is currently accurate.)

A tip of the hat to The Talking Dog for one of the most ingenious, entertaining and labor-intensive blog promotions I've seen to date. Check it out. If you have a blog, you're probably there.

Pipes nails it


Polls, Palestinians and the Path to Peace
by Daniel Pipes
New York Post
February 18, 2003

Why are Palestinians so angry at Israel? There are two possible reasons.

Political: They accept the existence of a Jewish state but are angry with this or that Israeli policy.

Rejectionist: They abominate the very existence of Israel and want to destroy it.

Which is correct has many implications. If Palestinians only want changes in what Israel is doing (such as building towns on the West Bank), then it is reasonable to ask Israel to alter those actions - and the main burden of resolving the conflict falls on Israel.

But if Israel's existence remains at issue, then it follows that the conflict will end only when the Palestinians finally and irrevocably accept the Jewish state. Seen this way, the main burden falls on the Palestinians.

If it's a routine political dispute, diplomacy and compromise are the way to make progress. But if the Palestinians reject Israel's very existence, diplomacy is useless, even counterproductive, and Israel needs to convince Palestinians to give up on their aggressive intentions. More bluntly, Israel would then need to defeat the Palestinians.

Which interpretation is correct?

I think that's supposed to be a rhetorical question. Dr. Pipes has some interesting statistics to back up his conclusion and some practical suggestions on how to move forward. >>>>>>

Reverse field


So it seems that, while my idols are showing their clay feet, Imshin has found a Great Man where she didn't expect to. Tony Blair has won her over, and for good reason.

Unloading baggage


Heroes are a tough sell in today's world. Time was when you could fixate on a public figure you admired, read just about everything in print, watch every television interview and never become disillusioned. Today the media makes a fettish out of digging up dirt on just about everyone. Hero worship has become near impossible to sustain, except through persistent and willfull ignorance, which is perhaps to say that it's run its course and should be let go.

I've never had much use for hero worship, myself, but I have occasionally suffered from it. The person who has been front and center on my personal pedestal for the better part of my adult life is a musician named Peter Gabriel. Yes, that Peter Gabriel. I put it that way because one of the reasons his music has always appealed to me is its degree of intimacy. Gabriel never came off as a superstar. But here's where that willfull ignorance thing comes in. I stopped going to his live performances many years ago, partly because I absolutely hate large crowds, but probably mostly to avoid the recognition that the intimacy was gone. I prefer to remember him sitting casually on the edge of a small stage singing Mother of Violence with his feet danging down into the first row of the audience.

My supersized admiration for this man stemmed from a number of things: sheer delight in his music, admiration for his creativity, his sense of drama, the immensity of his vision, and deep respect for his global perspective, his focus on human rights, his powerful inclusion of musical influences and personalities that might otherwise have found access to Western markets difficult. Among all of these talents and ideals, though, consistent with them but increasingly uncomfortable for me, it was becoming obvious that there were some political perspectives that I would prefer to ignore. So I prepared for disappointment but tried to avoid the inevitable by more or less hiding my head in the sand. And then, today, I happened upon this*, and this:

Gabriel would also like to separate the signal from the noise in the realm of current events. "I think it's really important for America to open its borders at this point," he says. "Obviously, since September 11, it's gone the other way. It's so critical that enough people in England as well as in America ask, Why is it that these young men and women would be willing to lose their lives as well as take a lot of us down, to punch a hole in our way of life? Until that question gets answered, if we just think these are bad, evil people, and we must destroy them, we're not going to get anywhere. Historically, yesterday's terrorist is tomorrow's political leader. Nelson Mandela was a 'terrorist,' and he's probably the man, the politician, I most admire."

You can't go back. While I was reading those words, I could hear the pedestal crumbling into dust, as it probably should have long ago. Still, it's a difficult transition. Part of me is in denial, grumbling that the guy has clearly lost it, that he's adopted the "look" of his old buddy, countercult guru and convicted murderer Ira Einhorn, that he's now playing music with monkeys and imagining that he's got "something magical there." Well, that may be the case, but I realize that this is actually a personal issue. It's really sort of the end of the process of my letting go of my last links to the wide-eyed idealist peacenik flower child I used to be and moving on.

Maybe this is why, although I'd been anxiously anticipating the release of the (way overdue) new Peter Gabriel album, I only just listened to it for the first time this weekend. And the magic, the power and, yes, the intimacy are all still there. But the baggage is gone.


*From the current edition of Jewsweek. You can check it out if you like, but I can't find corroboration anywhere, so I'm skeptical. Feel free to disillusion me further.

The Menin Gate


At the end of the large central square (grote markt), stradling one of the main roads into the Flemish town of Ieper stands the Menin Gate. It's an imposing structure and wherever you wander in the square your eyes are drawn to it despite the splendid buildings around you. Inexorably. It's hard to ignore and that's the way it should be.

If you first approach the Menin Gate without any idea of what it is, it appears similar to other arched stone gateways that span the entrances to European towns. But then you might spot the memorial wreaths and the inscription etched into its summit. It's only when you pass under the first arch, though, that you realize the entire inside surface of this huge structure is etched. The marks are so small, you might not recognize them at first as writing. Names. Rank upon rank of names arranged in straight columns, marching up and down the stone. They are the names of the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force who died in decisive battles at Ieper (1914, 1915 and 1917) defending the liberty of Belgium and all of Europe in WWI. There are almost 55,000 of them, etched there in that cold stone.

It's mindboggling, approaching these columns of names, trying to wrap your mind around the price that was paid by those regiments in this one little corner of the Continent. So many names, each representing a person who died here in battle. Then (or maybe later) you come to learn that the names etched on the Menin Gate don't represent the total British casualties at Ieper. They only represent those whose bodies were never found. And there are more. The names didn't all fit here, so some of them are memorialized elsewhere).

All together, the British Commonwealth, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and others, lost over 135,000 men in the Ieper Salient. The inscription over the Menin Gate reads as follows:

To the armies of The British Empire who stood here from 1914-1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave
Those armies suffered the horrors of trench warfare and the first German experiments with the use of chlorine gas. French and Belgian soldiers fought and died in these battles as well, of course, and they have memorials of their own. Ieper (or Ypres, as it's called in French) is only twelve kilometers from the French border.

I've been thinking about the Menin Gate a lot over the past few days. As I said, it's an impressive monument. I used to think that it represented clear and concrete evidence of Belgium's understanding of the debt they owe to their defenders across the Channel. Every single night at 8 p.m., the road through the Gate is closed and six buglers play a moving tribute to the war dead called The Last Post. Every night. The Flanders Field Museum sits at the opposite end of the square, another apparent acknowledgement that freedom doesn't come painlessly, that sacrifices must be endured to guaranty its survival.

I guess I was wrong. When I look at Belgium today, I see a country obsessed with its own incredibly misplaced sense of self-importance. I have to wonder what they're thinking when they hear the bugles of The Last Post in Ieper now. Maybe they figure that's just for the tourists.

A new Blogmosian


Our newest member is Weekend Pundit, a most worthy addition to the Blogmosis battalion. Dale and John join us from New Hampshire with some stunning local photos and equally stunning prose. (I thought I'd reached my saturation point with Columbia eulogies, but this one really nailed it -- and started my eyes brimming again.)

Welcome, guys!

Blowing the whistle


Tikkun, a/k/a Michael Lerner, has posted a long rambling diatribe on its website called "Why Rabbi Lerner Blew the Whistle on ANSWER's anti-Semitism : The Facts." It's worth a read just to get an idea of who exactly it is that is being denied the "right" to speak at the S.F. pro-appeasement rally tomorrow. Some excerpts:

Of course, the media has tried to use this to hurt the anti-war movement. But we think we've been rather clever in being able to use those media moments to articulate the anti-war message and to make clear why people must demonstrate this weekend. In fact, we've gotten into venues that allow us to get the anti-war message to many people who have never heard it put so clearly. And we have already heard many people tell us that because of our voice they now feel more able to come into the streets this weekend, knowing that their concerns are being expressed and articulated, concerns that otherwise would have kept them from participating even though they too oppose the war. It is precisely because they've heard these concerns validated by us that they can now feel good about being more activist in opposition to the war.

It kind of sounds as if Lerner is suggesting that he and his merry band of lunatic fringers are the last hope of a near comatose anti-war movement. Would that this were true. And, in fact, he later reiterates this point, rather forcefully:

But one thing is certain: the anti-war movement has not yet been successful in finding a way to make its message politically effective, and that is why opportunists like Diane Feinstein and some of the liberals running for President in the Democratic party have been willing to support the war. Rather than push TIKKUN away, or demean the role of Rabbi Lerner, a serious leadership would attempt to include him and us in its decision-making, and, give serious attention to the perspective developed in Tikkun for how to reach out and reframe the issues around Iraq in a way that might build mass support for a peaceful approach.

Look. The sorry fact is that Lerner has been tolerated by the likes of A.N.S.W.E.R. and UPJ for a long time now because he provides some highly visible Jewish color and some plausible deniability against claims of anti-Semitism in their ranks. Once he started making these accusations himself, however, his usefulness sort of came to an abrupt end.

Not that Lerner has just now discovered this taint in his fellow crusaders. His book (it's actually more like a big pamphlet) "The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left" was published more than ten years ago. I haven't read it, but a reliable source who has tells me that it's well written and "does a good job exposing the double-standard many on the left hold Israel to." Somehow, this understanding didn't restrain Lerner from lending his name and his "title" to countless campaigns and activities over the years in which that double standard was all too prominent.

To get an accurate picture of who Lerner really is, I can't recommend a more disturbing source than Lerner himself. His own rather pathetic autobiography fills in many of the sordid details of his life and leaves one wondering how it is, exactly, that this man manages to inspire a "following," however small and wild-eyed it may be. For a more spirited discussion of Lerner's background, including several references to the ongoing debate over whether and in what sense he's really a "rabbi" at all, you might want to check out this thread from last fall over at LGF.

Diane points out that even Justin Raimondo is bashing Lerner now, and I must say he does a pretty thorough job. (Yes, I managed to find the article and, no, I'm not going to link to it, either.) It's always disconcerting to find myself in agreement with Raimey on anything, no matter how trivial, but in this case I'll have to live with it. I was even tempted to get way down in the dirt and quote him but, . . . nah, that's going too far.

A lousy note to conclude the week, but still better than my reactions to today's "debate" in the U.N. Security Council. I try to refrain from using four letter words on this blog, which leaves me with very little to say on that subject right now.

Shabbat Shalom

A different slant


Imshin links to this analysis by Lynn Sislo of a very different kind of anti-war statement. Lynn says it's one she can respect. It's certainly clear why, and it's a shame that this guy and his friends don't get it.

Diane is trying to explain it to them, but I doubt that she'll get through, either. They're too busy planning to trash New York for peace.

When you lie down with dogs . . .


Given my past posts about Tikkun (especially here, here and here), it may come as no surprise that I have no sympathy whatsoever for the current plight of the illustrious Rabbi Michael Lerner. There are any number of extremely apt old saws that cover this situation. But rather than rambling on about flea-bitten dogs or roosting chickens, I'd like to point out that, up to now, Rabbi Lerner's alleged campaign against anti-Semitism on the left has been particularly muted compared to his passionate advocacy of the "rights" of palestinian supporters of terrorism and murder (though he doesn't support such activities himself) and his insistence upon inserting his personal dogma and self-flagellation into Jewish rites and rituals.

And let's be clear about Lerner's support for Israel as a Jewish State. It's a temporary evil, hopefully to be disposed of once a portion of the human race has outgrown its parochial ways.

After what Jews have been through, it is not reasonable to expect them to be the first to give up the protections of an armed state. On the other hand, we see nationalism as a perverting influence in Jewish life—and one that must be overcome.
To be fair, Lerner then goes on to advocate the eradication of all "trappings of national chauvinism, militarism, and excessive focus on boundaries" worldwide. So he's an equal opportunity anti-nationalist. But he also suggests that a "truly" Jewish state would be one that didn't make petty distinctions between the religious, ethnic and cultural background of its citizens. In other words, it would be just the sort of multi-cultural secular democratic state that Israel's enemies have always advocated.

In the meantime, A.N.S.W.E.R. is claiming that Lerner was blackballed, not because of his "support" for Israel or his "campaign" against anti-Semitism, but because he called A.N.S.W.E.R. nasty names (well, that's not the way they put it, but that's the general gist). Personally, as utterly distasteful as it is to agree with A.N.S.W.E.R. about anything, I'd be more inclined to accept this explanation. In fact, the more interesting story here (because I couldn't give a flying f*&^ about whether Lerner's allowed to speak at this hate-fest or not) is that A.N.S.W.E.R., by their own admission, appears to be trying to close ranks and silence all dissent. It'll be interesting to see who else in their "peace camp" has the balls to criticize them now that Lerner's been made an "example."

(Belated) Grunow epilogue


I did notice, by the way, via Instapundit that the jury verdict in the Grunow case was thrown out by the presiding judge. I discussed this case (or, more accurately, reactions to this case) in some detail here. But to recap: a jury in West Palm Beach found a gun manufacturer liable for distributing a gun that was used by a high school student to kill his teacher. The jury found this particular defendant bore 5% of the responsibility for the crime due to the fact that the weapon did not have a safety lock mechanism.

After all the posturing about the injustice of bringing this suit against the gun manufacturer, it appears the judge intervened on quite different grounds. Simply put, the jury didn't follow the law.

The plaintiff argued that the absence of a lock was an inherent defect in the gun. The jury didn't buy that but they assessed liability anyway because they were persuaded that guns shouldn't be sold without locks. That wasn't one of their options. Lacking any legal basis, the verdict should not and did not stand.

This ruling says nothing, it should be noted, about the potential liability of gun manufacturers for injuries caused by guns that are inherently defective. That's a battle that remains to be fought another day.

Don't mess with my lexicon


Jim Henley has launched a smear campaign against the use of Charles Johnson's useful epithet, "idiotarian." Such use will henceforth bear dire consequences.

Chris Newman loses points for using the long-past-its-smell-date term "idiotarian," . . . .
I'm not sure who exactly it is that those of us who continue to use the term are losing points with, but I'm sure I don't care, either. Anyway, so much for the sanctity of free speech.

Chris, by the way, has responded with an accurate analysis of the reason behind Jim's antipathy toward the word, but has nonetheless elected to capitulate. Too bad.

Notice to all pointkeepers: use of the terms "idiotarian" and "anti-idiotarian," where appropriate, will continue unabated at In Context.

The root of all evil


Perhaps inspired by the annual Muslim pilgrimmage to Mecca (Hajj), the regular venom that's spewed by the mullahs in the Gaza strip took on an especially ominous note last week. Along with the usual condemnations of Israel, the U.S. and the West in general, the lavish praise for the sacrifices of the "martyrs" and the endless incitement to terrorist acts, there was this sparkling little gem from Shaykh Ibrahim al-Mudayris:

O Palestinians, o Muslims, we swear that nobody will enjoy safety in the world unless injustice to the Palestinian people is lifted.
Interesting quote, that. I wonder what he's trying to say, exactly. But consider the source. These guy are just blowing off steam, right?

Well, the reason this quote caught my eye is because it's not the first time I've heard such sentiments expressed lately, although I hadn't previously heard them expressed so explicitly as a threat. Last week I came across this one.

The fact that the Palestinians have been stripped of their freedom and of their own state is the main reason for the acts of terrorism we are witnessing around the world.
But this latter quote isn't from a raving sheikh in a palestinian mosque. It's attributed to Thorbjoern Jagland, the current chairman of Norway’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee and a former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister as well as a former member of the Mitchell committee (remember them?).

Allowing some room for skepticism (considering the source), this quote was allegedly made in the context of a proposal by Mr. Jagland for the insertion of NATO "peacekeeping" forces into the Middle East to keep the Israelis and palestinians in line -- a proposal, by the way, that has apparently been endorsed by the Norwegian parliament and the Norwegian Foreign Minister, and so far ignored by just about everyone else in the world except for the Palestine Media Center and its various outlets. Norway would seem anxious to follow up on the overwhelming success of the Oslo accords.

It's certainly nothing new on the part of either the palestinian preachers or the Norwegian policitians to suggest that Israel is the root of all evil in the world. But these two statements, blatantly associating an increase in terrorism world wide with the failure to satisfy palestinian aspirations, should perhaps be taken with more than a grain of salt.

It's about time


Little Green Footballs frequent commenter E. Nough, author of the famous "Zionist occupation of space" parody, has finally hung out his own shingle.

Welcome, E.!

Way overblown


Diane is calling foul on a story that seems to have taken on a life of its own in the past few days. This lame editorial in the New York Sun has a whole lot of people justifiably pissed off. But both the editorial and the chain blog reaction are missing some crucial information. The City of New York has not refused to issue a permit for next Saturday's big anti-war rally, and no one's First Amendment rights are at stake, here. The protestors have simply been told they won't be permitted to march past the U.N. due to some major public safety concerns. That's what the fuss appears to be about.

Tacitus has already acknowledged that Diane makes a good case. I'd have to agree.

True peace


Believe it or not, I consider myself an advocate for peace. Real peace. The kind where people have learned to respect one another, to appreciate their differences and to work together to make the world a better place. There's peace between the U.S. and Canada. We don't always agree on everything and once in a while some genuinely hurtful remarks may fly back and forth across the border, but "hostilities" don't come to more than that, and it's unlikely that they ever will. We're at peace with Great Britain, obviously. We're even at peace with Germany and France, though sometimes you wonder why. Peace is a good thing. When there's genuine peace, you can disagree and no one dies.

What I don't advocate is fake peace. Meaningless, empty gestures toward peace. Playing at peace when all you're really doing is putting farcical makeup on the face of war. Like the fake peace of the "peace activists," who go for a slumber party with Yassir at the Mukata and make kissy face while the region burns around them. And the Daniel Barenboims of the world who purport to prostrate not only themselves, but also their country at the feet of their enemies, who make "peace" by denouncing who they are and where they come from, by oozing obsequiousness toward those who would just as soon see them crushed like bugs, by adopting the humble posture of the dhimmi. Those who try to make war into peace by playing make-believe. That kind of "peace" only leads to more war.

In a recent issue of Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent, I found this article, written by David F. Tilman, a cantor at a local congregation. It seems that when he wasn't too busy forcing Holocaust survivors to listen to Wagner or playing free concerts in Ramallah, first class idiotarian Daniel Barenboim was creating a musical peace project in Chicago called "West-East Divan." His collaborator in this project: world famous musical expert and peace advocate (wait for it) Edward Said. More smoke and mirrors? Yes, but it's possible that this project has some substance, as well.

The purpose of the workshop, according to the article, is to bring together "young musicians from Israel and Arab countries to study and perform classical music in a 'totally nonpolitical atmosphere.' " It's brought together the talents of Israeli cellist Inbal Megiddo and pianist Saleem Abboud-Ashkar, a Christian palestinian from Nazareth. But politics appear to play little, if any part.

“Politics doesn’t have to come into music, although it comes into so many other aspects of life,” Megiddo declared with conviction.

Cantor Tilman doesn't agree:

Clearly other prominent contemporary and historical classical performers, who have used serious music to express a variety of ideological positions, do not share this view.

Undoubtedly, their joint music-making is a source for future hope and understanding both for the residents of the Middle East and for the rest of us in these very troubled times.

Well, no, it really isn't. And this is where the smoke-and-mirrors part comes in. The East-West Divan has created other unlikely partnerships, as well. Last year, in a similar collaboration, Abboud-Ashkar performed with Israeli pianist Shai Wosner at Georgetown University.

At a panel discussion after the concert, one audience member asked if such a musical partnership could lead to a wider Arab-Israeli dialogue or understanding. Wosner answered, "Unfortunately not. I wish it could. It would be a lot easier," he said.

But this type of musical collaboration can be a "perfect example" of what can be accomplished "in case we get over our [political] problems," said Abboud-Ashkar.

Mr. Wosner and Mr. Abboud-Ashkar are quite correct. These collaborations are, in fact, inspiring, so long as they don't serve as a pretext for political negotiations or unauthorized concessions by either side. They show us what can be and hopefully will be accomplished if true peace can be achieved. They do not, however, promote peace, encourage peace or create peace, nor are they "a source of hope and understanding." It's an important distinction to keep in mind.

True peace. May it come speedily and in our days.

Shabbat Shalom.

Judenrein West Bank?


Jack Rich wants to know why. I'd be really interested in an answer to that question myself.

Nothing ordinary


I continue to discover new perspectives on Israeli astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon (z"l) that I find deeply moving, such as this excerpt from an article in Ha'aretz:

For Israelis, however, there was nothing humdrum about the flight - down to the kosher food that had been specified by Ilan Ramon, a secular Jew who felt his allegiance belonged to his people at least as much to the credo of the Right Stuff, a tradition that might well have looked askance on deviance from the American norm.

Neither was there anything the least common about his decision to take aboard a picture drawn by a star-struck boy later killed by the Nazis in Auschwitz, a place that Ilan Ramon's mother had somehow survived. The picture, dark and dreamy, showed the earth as seen from the moon.

Nor was there anything in the least ordinary about the fact that unbeknownst to him, the little boy's sister survived the war and moved to Be'er Sheva, where the little boy's niece was in Ilan's high school class. "My brother is finally getting a chance to go into space," said the slain artist's sister, as Columbia lifted off last month.

As Meryl has pointed out, the original picture wasn't lost with the Shuttle. But this personal connection seems almost spooky, until you remember what a small country Israel really is.

Let's roll!


If there was one crystal clear message in Colin Powell's speech today, it was this:


A view from Karbala


A friend of mine brought this article from The New Republic to my attention a few days ago. I had intended to mention it earlier and got distracted. Now I see that James Taranto mentioned it back on Friday.

Zainab al-Suwaij lived in the holy Shiite city of Karbaba (in southwestern Iraq) during the Gulf War. Her story is a tale of betrayal by the United States, and it's uncomfortable to read. But it's a valuable insight into the experience of the Iraqi population under Saddam's rule of terror -- an insight that those opposing the impending war ought to find even more uncomfortable.

Ms. Al-Suwiaj is now the executive director of the American Islamic Congress, "a social organization dedicated to building interfaith and interethnic understanding." If you visit their website, you'll see that this does, in fact, appear to be what this organization is all about. A very far cry from the likes of CAIR, MPAC and AMC (webite currently down). Contrast and compare.

The right honourable ass


The Rt. Hon. Gerald Bernard Kaufman sits in the House of Commons of the British Parliament. He's a member of the Labour Party and a Backbencher. First and foremost, however, he is an ass.

Back in April, 2002, a few weeks after the Passover massacre at Netanya, Mr. Kaufman delivered a speech to his colleagues. In it, he described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "war criminal" and a "fool," accused him of "war crimes" at Jenin and of "staining the star of David with blood." He also called on P.M. Tony Blair to put an end to Sharon's "defiance" of President Bush. (Not surprisingly, I found this speech posted here.)

But it was this opening "joke" that especially caught my attention.

I became a friend of Israel when I was eight days old, and I have the scar to prove it. [Laughter.]

Really! Of all the idiotic drivel and backpedaling I've read by those trying to defend this cartoon, none comes close to equalling the offensive stupidity and cluelessness of this entry by the illustrious Mr. Kaufman.

Anti-Semitic material can easily be spotted. The front page of the New Statesman on 14 January last year was blatantly anti-Semitic. It depicted an enormous Star of David impaling Britain's Union flag with, underneath in huge, bold letters, the strap-line: "A kosher conspiracy?" Brown's cartoon, specifically based on, and attributed to, a Goya picture, contained no Star of David. Indeed, no Star of David or other Jewish symbol was to be seen anywhere in the cartoon.
There was no Star of David anywhere in the cartoon, ergo it could not possibly be anti-semitic. Anti-semites should display a big banner under their work that says, "Notice: the above item is intended to be anti-semitic! Please notice the Star of David, the tell-tale signature of any genuine anti-semite. If you don't find the Star, you're being taken in by a pseudo-anti-semitic fraud, probably created by a baby-eating Zionist to create unwarranted sympathy for the State of Israel. Don't be fooled!"
The fact is that Israel's right-wing government wants it both ways. It desires, on the one hand, to be accepted as a nation among nations, entitled, for example, to trade concessions from the European Union. On the other hand, whenever circumstances suit it, it plays the victim card – for example, dragging off visiting statesmen, such as Robin Cook when he was Foreign Secretary, to pay their respects at the moving Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in penance for having done or said anything not to the liking of Likud prime ministers.
Yes, this is the way the right-wing government of Israel "punishes" those who offend it in any way. It "drags them off" to Yad Vashem and forces them to grovel in the dirt. This is also, by the way, the way the left-wing governments of Israel have "punished" those who have offended them which, in Mr. Kaufman's alternate universe, would apparently be just about everyone. How dare Israel ask to be accepted as a nation and at the same time invite visiting dignitaries to visit Yad Vashem! What unmitigated gall!
The other card played by right-wing Israelis and their apologists to seek to justify policies that must be unacceptable to many thinking people, is the democracy card: Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East, surrounded by a rogues' gallery of Arab autocracies. That Israel is a democracy is undeniable; but even democracies cannot be awarded a free licence to carry out odious policies. The United States democracy under Lyndon B Johnson's presidency immersed America in the Vietnam morass. "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?" was not regarded as an unacceptably anti-Christian denunciation.
Well, of course, I see it now. An obvious analogy, don't know how I could have missed it! The U.S. is a democracy, Israel is a democracy. A U.S. President was accused of killing kids, an Israeli Prime Minister is accused of killing kids. All in a good day's work, what?

Did anyone denouncing this extremely offensive cartoon suggest even for a minute that criticism of Israel's "odious policies" was the issue? No. But this is the rock that all anti-semites, even (and perhaps especially) the Jewish ones, crawl under when they're attacked for their anti-semitism. "Baw! You won't let me criticize Israel! Every time I bring up the teeniest little atrocity, you scream anti-semitism!" Well, go ahead and "criticize" to your heart's content, moron. We can take it, really we can. And we can give it back, as well. But just because it's critical of Israel doesn't mean it isn't anti-semitism. Star of David or not, it's like Meryl says: "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a no-brainer."

In the meantime, I'm going to be looking for a copy of that lecture on "religion as a motivating factor in international conflict" that Mr. Kaufman delivered at the (Government sponsored) Zayed Centre for Co-ordination and Follow-up in Abu Dhabi last year. Should be interesting. Oh, look! Here's a summary.

The best response to terrorism


Ha'aretz, Friday, January 31, 2003

Teen bomb victim's family to immigrate
By Avi Silverman

The family of Glasgow teenager Yoni Jesner, who was killed in a Tel Aviv suicide bomb, is to leave Britain and move to Israel because they feel they have "paid in blood" for the privilege of having a homeland, the young man's older brother Ari Jesner told Anglo File.

Yoni Jesner's death had "reinforced" his family's ties to Israel, compelling them to leave Britain and build a new home here as they now feel they are a "part of Israel," his brother said. Yoni died four months ago after suffering head injuries in a bus explosion on Allenby St. in Tel Aviv.

. . .

For Gladstone [Yoni's step-brother], what confirmed his conviction to start a new life in Israel was the British media's coverage of Yoni's death.

"They are always looking to say critical things back in Britain. Of course they said it was a Briton who had been killed, but then immediately the focus was on what Israel would do to retaliate," he says. "It was a perfect opportunity to cover it differently, to present it as a human story, and it was an opportunity that was missed." The reaction in Israel could not have provided a more stark comparison for Gladstone, however.

"Within 18 hours the entire family were here. One minute we were all working in London and 18 hours later everyone was in the hotel. It was really a strange and surreal feeling, but the reaction from everyone here was amazing. In the hotel we even got comfort and reassurance from the Palestinian Arab waiters."

More. . .

Ilan's legacy


Israel and the Sinai peninsula are seen in this view from television cameras aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia January 26, 2003. Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon is aboard the shuttle working in the SPACEHAB module on 80-plus experiments representing the latest application of microgravity as a fundamental, versatile tool to gain insights in space and improve life on earth. REUTERS/NASA

(thanks to NC, via LGF)

Getting it


Yosef "Tommy" Lapid is the leader of Israel's Shinui party, which won an impressive 15 seats in the new Israeli Knesset last week. Lapid and his party are somewhat controversial due to their avowedly secular slant and their well publicized antipathy toward the influence of Israel's religious sector on public law and policy. Imshin discussed Lapid at some length recently. So did Diane (but it's scattered through both Letter From Gotham and Gotham 2003). Alisa has added some commentary, as well.

But my opinion of Mr. Lapid sunk dramatically yesterday after reading this open Letter to the Orthodox at Israel Insider.

We aren't talking about religion, but equal rights and equal duties. The minute you recognize this, we will no longer have any disagreement. We will live our lives and you must live yours - but not on our account. You must understand that secularism is not the dismissal of religion, but a way of life. Freedom of individuality is holy in the secular public's perspective just as the laws of the Torah are holy in the orthodox perspective. When you forbid a secular person from drinking coffee after he ate a steak, it is like a secular person forcing you to eat non-kosher meat. When you forbid a secular man from riding the bus on Saturday, it is the same as a secular man forcing you to ride a bus on Saturday. Secularism is not a network of people sinning against the Halacha (Jewish law), but a way of life that a majority of the population lives according to.
This letter is, to begin with, disingenuous. It isn't directed to the Orthodox. No Orthodox Jew could possibly take this nonsense seriously. It's directed toward secular Jews who already agree with Lapid and secular Jews who don't know enough about Orthodox Judaism to disagree with Lapid. I'm not an Orthodox Jew, or anything even close. But I know enough to call his bluff on this.

There are many complex problematic aspects to the religious dictatorship over certain parts of Israeli life. Many of them are explained quite succinctly by Imshin, Diane and Alisa. But it's nothing short of ludicrous to assert that "Freedom of individuality is holy in the secular public's perspective just as the laws of the Torah are holy in the orthodox perspective." There is no parallel whatsoever between forbidding a secular person from riding a bus on "Saturday" and forcing an Orthodox Jew to ride that bus. One is an inconvenience, an annoyance, an imposition. The other is a violation of deeply held principles, a horror, an abomination.

Throughout our history, Jews have been forced to eat non-kosher meat and desecrate the Sabbath by their persecutors as a means of insulting both their persons and their religion. Many Jews have given their lives rather than do so. How many secular Jews would give their lives for the God given right to put real cream in their coffee at a restaurant? Not many, I expect.

I'll repeat. I have absolute sympathy for the secular Jews in Israel whose lives are often turned upside down by the imposition of Orthodox rules and regulations. In a country where there's only one day off a week, how is a person without a car to accomplish anything in the absence of bus service, with most of the stores closed? Why should secular Jews be forced to observe Orthodox restrictions on marriage and divorce? Why shouldn't restaurants be permitted to serve non-kosher food without penalty if they wish to cater to non-religious clientele? These are problems that Israeli society should and will have to deal with. But to start a "dialogue" in the demeaning manner that Tommy Lapid has done, as if he has no understanding of or interest in the most deeply cherished beliefs and traditions of Judaism is, in my opinion, nothing short of disgraceful.

For a different take on the value of tradition to Israel and an understanding of why these issues are so much more complex than they seem at first glance, I refer you to Caroline Glick's excellent article in yesterday's Jerusalem Post, "A Tribute to Ilan Ramon's Legacy" (for those who don't want to endure the JT registration ordeal, you can also find the full text here):

Ramon made clear at every opportunity that he went to space, not simply as a citizen of the State of Israel, but as a Jew. As the representative of the Jewish people he recited kiddush on Friday night. As a Jew he said Shema Yisrael as the space shuttle orbited over Jerusalem. As a Jew he insisted on eating only kosher food in outer space. And as a Jew he told the prime minister from his celestial perch, "I think it is very, very important to preserve our historical tradition, and I mean historical and religious traditions."

In so doing he showed that there is no limit to what a person can accomplish as a Jew. He said to all Jews, here in Israel and throughout the world, even as anti-Semitism again threatens us, even as Jews in Israel are being murdered just for being Jews, our enemies will never define us or tell us there are limits to what we can do.

Ilan Ramon (z"l) clearly "got" what Tommy Lapid seems to be missing. Reciting kiddush on Friday night and eating kosher food are positive manifestations of Jewish identity, even though not all Jews choose to observe them. Col. Ramon chose to positively affirm these manifestations of his identity in front of the entire world, with great pride. In this, as in so many other things, I do hope others will follow his example.

To sleep


I'm afraid to sleep, afraid that I'll dream of people and hope exploding into nothingness.

Rest in Peace



U.S. Air Force Col. Rick Husband, 07/12/57 - 02/01/03

U.S. Navy Cmdr. William McCool, 09/23/61 - 02/01/03

U.S. Navy Capt. David Brown, 04/16/56 - 02/01/03

Kalpana Chawla, Ph.D., 07/01/61 - 02/01/03

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Anderson, 12/25/59 - 02/01/03

Laurel Clark, M.D., 03/10/61 - 02/01/03

Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon, 06/20/54 - 02/01/03

May their memories be a blessing.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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