Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet


I work in firefighting mode these days, sorry for neglecting my responsibilities here. Will be back soon.

August 2, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | Leave a comment

Shameful choices at the SF Jewish Film Festival

There is a new blog dedicated to disturbing developments at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: SF Jewish Film Festival Watch.

Jew-Hate at Jewish Film Festival by Jamie Glazov (FrontPageMag)

Why is a Jewish film festival giving a platform to a documentary and to an individual that serve the cause of anti-Jewish hate?

This Saturday, July 25, organizers of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival plan to show “Rachel,” an anti-Israel propaganda film. The documentary is based on the life and death of Rachel Corrie, an anti-Israel, anti-American activist who was killed in Gaza in 2003 when she deliberately ran in front of an Israeli bulldozer to protect a home that was sheltering terrorists. And not just content with showing the propaganda film, the organizers have invited Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, also an Israel-basher, to speak at the screening and to participate in a question-and-answer session after the viewing.

I think this is my first time writing a letter of protest to a supposedly “Jewish” venue. ACTION OF THE WEEK: A Disturbing Addition to the Jewish Film Festival in San Francisco (StandWithUs)

Good for Koret Foundation for pulling out from this disgrace: The KORET Foundation pulls its funding from the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (StandWithUs)

All their remaining sponsors should be notified the they are about to support an anti-Israel event, providing a podium to antisemites.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | Antisemitism | | Leave a comment

Palestinians are being stripped of their citizenship, the world is silent

It is silent, of course, because this takes place in Jordan. And when Kuwait expelled about 400,000 Palestinians in 1991, nobody cared much, either. This is not the first conflict between Jordan and its Palestinian population, but today it is inconvenient to remember such violent episodes as the “Black September” of 1970. Can you imagine the outcry if similar measures would be taken by Israel?

So why the double standard? Because Palestinian “refugees” (in quotes because no other population carries perpetual refugee status through generations) are being kept in misery, deprived of basic human rights by their Arab brethren. The UN encourages and perpetuates this condition because:
a) this way its numerous agencies and departments are able to milk generous and gullible Western sponsors of billions of dollars, and
b) ever since 1948 Arab-Israeli War, this was made into a political and demographic threat against Israel.

Every other refugee population on the planet eventually gets more or less settled, absorbed, etc. and gets along with their lives.

Amman revoking Palestinians’ citizenship by Khaled Abu Toameh (JPost)
Palestinian Rights: A Warning by Joel B. Pollak (Am. Thinker)
Tensions mounting between Jordan’s Hashemites, Palestinian majority (World Tribune)
Why is the Palestinian Arab refugee problem still here? (MiddleEastPiece.com)

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Palestinian refugees | , , | Leave a comment

Freedom House 2009 report: freedom is an exception from the rule in the Middle East

Yaacov Lozowick, the author of a great book “Right to Exist, A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars” (which I highly recommend to anyone, friend or foe), makes a few important points in his short post, Lands of the Unfree:

Freedom House has published its report about freedom in the world, 20089. They find 42 countries and 9 territories to be Not Free, the report I’ve linked to focuses mostly on the 17 countries and 4 territories that are the worst of all.

The Palestinians aren’t on the list. Or rather, they are, higher up in the Not Free category, and while this is not only because of Israel it is partially so, and this is bad. Still, they’re not in the 21 worst places to be described in the report. Which then raises the question, why do some people think the Palestinians have it worse than anyone else? And what are we to make of American, British, Argentinian or other bloggers activists and noise-makers, who willfully overlook the suffering of tens of millions of people in order to focus mainly or exclusively on Israel’s crimes in denying freedom?

I’m not defending Israel in this post; I’m attacking Israel’s detractors.

I can only add that I see nothing wrong with defending Israel (or any other country, for that matter), especially when it is measured by double standards and is singled out for unjust and inordinate onslaught.

Freedom House

The list of Worst of the Worst, 2009:
Equatorial Guinea
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Tibet (China)
South Ossetia (Georgia)
Western Sahara (Morocco)
Chechnya (Russia)

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Human rights | | Leave a comment

Another Palestinian rocket hits Israel, the world is silent

This is an update on Wishful thinking about Hamas. Unfortunately, it did not take long for another Qassam from Hamas-run Gaza to hit Israel. So will CSMonitor’s Rafael D. Frankel eat the crow and retract his public claims that Hamas has changed? I suggest him to share it with Jimmy Carter and other wishful thinkers, malicious liars and hateful deniers.

The international media is quiet on this news, too busy excoriating Israel basing on unconfirmed allegations made by an anonymous group of former IDF soldiers. While any such claims must be properly investigated, here are real voices of Israeli soldiers: Soldiers Speak Out.

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Media bias | | Leave a comment

Human Rights Watch: biased, corrupt and in denial

HRW has been eroding its claimed “moral authority” for a long time, especially in the Middle East and today’s op-ed in WSJ shows how far they’ve gone: Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia by David Berenstein

A delegation from Human Rights Watch was recently in Saudi Arabia. To investigate the mistreatment of women under Saudi Law? To campaign for the rights of homosexuals, subject to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia? To protest the lack of religious freedom in the Saudi Kingdom? To issue a report on Saudi political prisoners?

No, no, no, and no. The delegation arrived to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW’s demonization of Israel.

Very timely, Jeffrey Goldberg conducted his own investigation: Fundraising Corruption at Human Rights Watch and concludes it thus:

In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization’s investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel’s “supporters,” who are liars and deceivers. It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.

And Barry Rubin provides an example of HRW’s double standard when it comes the the Jewish state:
Human Rights (sic) Watch: The Big and Little Hands Always Point Against Israel

Here’s what they wrote this year about Israeli UAV strikes in Gaza, “Precisely Wrong”:

“In the incidents investigated by Human Rights Watch, Israeli forces either failed to take all feasible precautions to verify that the targets were combatants, apparently setting an unacceptably low threshold for conducting attacks, or they failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to target only the former. As a result, these attacks violated international humanitarian law (the laws of war).”

BUT, here’s what they wrote—in a very different manner–last year about U.S. and NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan in “Troops in Contact”:

“The fact that civilians die or are injured in an airstrike does not necessarily mean the airstrike violated the laws of war, as long as the precautions required by the laws of war were taken and applied in good faith. Beyond the human tragedy, high civilian casualties-regardless of whether they were the result of lawful or unlawful conduct-should always be cause for concern by a military force, as the damage to an armed forces’ reputation and good-will among the population can be considerable. This is particularly true in a country such as Afghanistan where loyalties are often malleable.”

Notice any difference in tone? There’s a willingness to credit good faith; a degree of nuance and context, a difference in sensitivity to legitimate concerns.

Read on more revealing material there.

From Gulag Liberators to Saudi Retainers Human Rights Watch has betrayed its original mission (NRO via IMRA)

July 16, 2009 Posted by | Bias, NGO | | Leave a comment

PA: Israel is slowly softening its positions, so why should we hurry?

Saeb Ereqat is the head of the Negotiations Dept. of the “moderate” Palestinian Authority. Unsurprisingly, in his recent interview in Arabic he directly contradicts what PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in English just a few days ago.

Saeb Ereqat: Over the Years, Israel Has Gradually Withdrawn from Its Positions; Therefore, We Have No Reason to Hurry (MEMRI dispatch)

Many people say that the [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations of the last 10 or 15 years were useless and yielded nothing, but [that is not true]. In 1994 [i.e. during the Oslo negotiations] the Palestinian side could have capitulated and gained an achievement within one month. [That is,] we could have agreed to undertake the management of the education and health [systems] in the West Bank. [Likewise] Yasser Arafat could have accepted what was offered him at Camp David [in 2000], instead of [letting himself] be besieged in the Muqata’a and then murdered for no reason. President Mahmoud ‘Abbas could have accepted [Olmert’s] December 2008 proposal, [but he preferred to wait]…”

“[Likewise], nobody should agree to Israeli settlers remaining in the Palestinian [state].”

Hat tip: ZOA

And if anyone still has any doubts, here’s a revealing video of another proud Fatah official, Kifah Radaydeh: Our goal has never been peace

Today Elder of Ziyon has a short but brilliant (and relevant) post: Abbas: Not clear on the word “flexible”. Here’s a few lines:

So what, exactly, is he being “flexible” on? Not on land, not on Jerusalem, not on refugees; so where is this flexibility?

And why, exactly, does a Palestinian Arab state require Jerusalem to be its capital in order to exist?

And why, exactly, does such a state require its neighboring country to take in millions of citizens it claims as its own?

Perhaps the flexibility is in the timeframe for Israel to negotiate its own destruction.

[Extrapolation from PMW Fatah official implies when Gen. Dayton trains and arms enough of us we will attack Israel? (PMW via IMRA)

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | , | Leave a comment

Do military solutions work?

This could sound like a strawman argument, but these days it seems fashionable to insist that all problems can be solved through “talk”.

Has force worked for Israel? by Bruce Jentleson (MESH)

Is it the case that the lessons of the last 10-15 years are that force has worked, both as compellence and deterrence, and diplomacy has not?

1. The Gaza war was intended to impose substantial costs on Hamas and to deter further attacks on Israel. It achieved both; e.g., attacks from Gaza are down since the war.
2. The same regarding Hezbollah and the 2006 Lebanon war: Look at the northern front and how quiet Hezbollah has been, and how weakened the recent elections showed it to be in Lebanese politics.
3. Oslo didn’t work; Camp David 2000 was another instance of the Palestinians never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity; unilateral withdrawals, both Barak in Lebanon and Sharon in Gaza, gave land but didn’t bring pace; plus the recent stories swirling about Olmert ostensibly offering even concessions on Jerusalem. Arafat was an essentialist; his successors may have more will but lack capacity; Hamas is ideological.
4. The status quo is not great for Israel, but it’s tolerable. Risk aversion, both security and politics, says keep relying on military power. Be sufficiently willing to negotiate to check off that box for the United States and the international community but not much more. Don’t antagonize the political coalition on which your power (read Netanyahu’s) depends.

Read the entire article, it is not as simplistic as this short excerpt and offers an alternative analysis and interesting comments.

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | | Leave a comment

Islam: selective condemnations and double standards

Another confirmation that today’s Islam (Islam, not Islamism), whose preachers explode with loud protests, condemnations and conniptions only when convenient, is predominately driven by dirty politics.

Muslim Double Standards by Tarek Fatah (Natl. Post)

This week, more than 100 Muslims have died and thousands more have been arrested in China. Yet not a peep of protest has been heard on the streets of Cairo, Karachi or Tehran. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it seems, is too busy imprisoning and herding Iranian Muslims to jail to hear the outcry in Xinxiang, while Egyptian religious leader, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has also ignored the persecution of the Uighurs. China, after all is the trusted ally of the Arab world.

This is not the first time the so-called ummah has shrugged off the massacre of fellow Muslims. During Kosovo’s war with Serbia, Islamists depicted Kosovar Muslims not as victims, but as American agents. More recently, the genocide of Darfuri Black Muslims at the hands of the Arab janjaweed militia and the Sudanese government has passed unnoticed by the larger Islamic world.

My friend, the Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy explained this phenomenon: “Many Muslims only pay attention when America and Israel behave badly.” If Israel invaded western China, she mused, maybe the rest of the Muslim world would wake up, cry foul and protest.

July 12, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | | Leave a comment

Ksenia Simonova’s requiem of sand

I was moved by this live art about WW2. This sand animation is from Ukraine’s Got Talent:

The piece uses Mark Bernes’ famous songs. The final phrase says: “You are always near.”

July 11, 2009 Posted by | History | | Leave a comment