Monday, March 31, 2008

What is truce?

There is an interesting little blurb in the Jerusalem Post this morning suggesting that Damascus based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is offering Israel a deal only attacking Israeli military targets.
In an interview with Sky News broadcast Monday, Mashaal said the offer was identical to one made to Israel 10 years ago. "We renew our offer to Israel to let the civilians on both sides not be a part of this conflict," he said. "We renew this offer today." Mashaal asserted that if the IDF refrained from killing any Palestinian civilians, Hamas would only carry out attacks against Israeli military targets. Mashaal went on to confirm that captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit was alive.

This is interesting because it appears to suggest that Hamas is not immune to the pressure they have been receiving in different quarters for their policy of targetting Israeli civilians. Now, if one were to believe Mashaal, (and that is by no means a given) 10 years ago puts the alleged original offer in 1998 so I can’t see it making much of an impression at that time. It does open up some potentially new avenues to pursue in regards to Hamas. Although, I cannot see Hamas following up any better than their offer of a truce in November 2006 for the complete cessation of kassam fire. That truce lasted lasted less than 48 hours.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Screw the Luddites

I have turned all my lights on. Besides I am still waiting to die because the sun was going to burn out. Or maybe it’s from the famine the massive population explosion was going to cause. No, no, I remember now – we are all going to die in the nuclear winter Ron Reagan’s industrial military complex will be unleashing on us.

Besides I was far too cold outside today to put much stock in fretting about global warming… although it does make me want to bitch slap Al Gore with my handbag. Oh yeah, I forgot it is not called ‘global warming’ anymore – now it’s climate change. Well, here is a head’s up for the luddite lobby – climate always changes.

There was really something surreal in the air today

The Last Amazon was bored this afternoon so we took a walk to Yonge & Dundas Street – mostly just to window shop. I had no idea that I would end up in the middle of a protest rally for in support of the Chinese Government. Talk about surreal experience to see Dundas Square awash in huge red flags of the People’s Republic of China which is why I sent the Last Amazon home to get her camera, and then, I sent her on her way. I took this second photo from the streetcar because I was trying to show just how large and packed this rally was. I am camera challenged at the best of times but being 5’1” was a real disadvantage trying to get these shots.

I wandered through the crowd across from the street from Dundas Square where the main rally was taking place. I have been to a few protests in my day, but never have I seen such an abundance of cellphones, blackberries, video and regular cameras all flashing away taking pictures. If there were any agents of the Chinese government working the crowd and taking pictures - who could honestly tell? The picture below is of a couple of fellows who were handing out a 2 page, double sided high gloss colour photos with images of CNN pictures accusing the network and the western media of unfair coverage of the Tibetan riots. I asked if I could take their picture for my blog and they kindly posed. I am not sure they entirely understood what I was asking because when I asked for their names it seemed to strain the limits of their English – or maybe the fault was mine. What struck me the most about the rally was that someone or someones had gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to supply the huge Chinese flags that were flying literally everywhere and pick up the cost of the double sided high glossy colour hand-outs which were being liberally handed out.

Small hand-held Canadian flags were being handed out in the crowd as well and I did manage to scope one up. But to say the rally was strictly confined to Dundas Square is a bit of a misnomer. The men pictured below climbed a huge snow pile to stand and wave the People’s Republic of China’s flag in front of the Eaton’s Centre across the street. I tried to make my way to the Free Tibet counter-protesters who were directly positioned across from Dundas Square. They numbered looked about 20 (when I was there) and the crowd was decidedly hostile surrounding them. I walked back to Dundas Square and struck up a conversation with a young man who was handing out flyers. I asked him what organization he represented. He told me he was merely a private Chinese national who heard about the rally and came out to show his support for the Chinese government. Then asked how it came to be he managed to get a job handing out flyers. His impeccable English suddenly vanished so I tried another track and asked him questions about himself. He was much more forthcoming and I learned he was finishing a graduate program in chemistry and was sponsored by the Chinese government. He would be returning home at the end of April.

I asked how he heard about the rally and his answers again became vague and evasive but he felt it necessary to emphasis to me how unfairly China was being represented in the Western media. I did suggest that perhaps the fault lay with the Chinese government’s somewhat heavy handed approach towards the foreign media when the riots first broke out. This seemed to unduly agitate my flyer guy and another flyer handler rushed to join in our discussion.

I took the opportunity to ask her how she heard about the rally and if she represented any specific organization. She seemed eager to point out that she didn’t represent any organization other than being a member of Chinese ethnicity and the rally was heavily promoted in the Chinese internet user forums which is how she first heard about the rally.

She came out to show her support for one united China. She proceeded to lecture me on all the various ethnicities that were united under the government of the People’s Republic of China. I bit my tongue and didn't ask where the Taiwanese contingent was located at the rally but I was spared the full monty of her lecture because a group of young Chinese Canadian high school students decided to crash my little discussion circle. They were really cute and I wish I could have posted a picture of them but the group of them were decidedly internet shy. They first heard about the rally from receiving text message from various Chinese internet forum groups telling them the details of the rally and asking them to come out to support One United China. Besides they were bored and had nothing better to do. G-d bless teenagers.

By this time, my little discussion circle was getting quite large and I had a good size crowd of eavesdroppers when two other young people decided to crash by challenging me if I knew why Tibetans were rioting. That set the flyer people’s backs up and it was a bit of a tit-for-tat going on. The sentiment for the One Love crowd seemed to be that the Tibetan population should be profoundly grateful for the high standard of living the People’s Republic had provided for them.
This really set off the newest discussion members and I decided it was time to do a little dousing of the passions and suggested to the One Love people that perhaps the indigenous population (note to self - people become decidedly hostile once you start bandying phrases like “indigenous”) of Tibet wanted something more than an improved economic situation and perhaps there were real grievances behind the rioting. I used Cuba’s literacy rate to illustrate my point. While it is truly a marvelous thing for Cuba to have 100% literacy rates, ultimately, what good is it for an individual if you do not have the freedom to read or write anything you want? The pro-Tibetan crowd got my point and seemed grateful I got their point - while the One Love crowd seemed merely startled by the idea money cannot buy you everything. Although, I seemed to have made something of an impression on the teenagers and gave them something else to think about….did I already say G-d bless Canadian teenagers?

My little counter-culture group was next crashed by a woman, who I guess represented the ‘ultimate party pooper of all time’ fraction – a real live reporter from the Sing Tao Daily News. I actually feel bad for her because everyone (but me) got rude in a hurry. Apparently, my pro-Tibetans gave speeches at a press conference earlier in the day and the reporter wanted to do some follow-up in the street. Talk about a real crowd killer for all sides of the political divide.

CTV has a few lines of column on the rally online, but just like me, CTV cannot tell you who actually sponsored today’s rally or paid the bill for the flyers and flags. It’s too bad because I think it’s really important to know not only ‘who’ but ‘why’.

Update: I found an article at the The Epoch Times on the rally held today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kid & Booze Quiz

For a woman who rarely drinks it turns out a have achieved "drunkard" status with my knowledge of alcohol…generations of alcoholics finally pays off…sort of

And in the interest of the public education - I would like to announce that if you ever find yourself being swarmed and attacked by five year olds - I am who you should be calling – although, if they number more than 27 you should be providing me with appropriate back-up.


A twist of the screw?

The case of Jonathan Pollard is certainly a strange one. The 2 cent uncontroversial recap for those whom the name Jonathan Pollard means nothing is this - he was a Jewish American naval intelligence analyst who pleaded guilty to passing sensitive information to the Israeli government. This is just one of the areas where is gets murky. Pollard justifies his action by saying as an American ally, Israel was legally entitled to all the information he passed to his Israeli handlers. For some strange inexplicable reason, the American government failed to live up to its own security agreements with the Israelis, so Pollard felt compelled to what the American government should have done but didn’t.

Pollard worked out a plea deal but after he entered his plea of guilty, in waltzes the Director of the CIA for a private chat with the judge and the plea agreement is then torpedoed. No one knows what was said to the judge. It’s all under wraps citing National Security. The government contends the deal was off the table when Pollard and his wife went public and talked shortly before sentencing. This really is the 2 cent version. This case has more twists and unexpected bends than I have every really got my head around.

It was while serving his sentence Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship and various Prime Minister’s of Israel have tried (or not) to have him released into Israel’s care. One thing to keep in mind though; Jonathan Pollard has been incarcerated longer for passing information to a friendly ally than the Taliban American was sentenced for actively taking up arms against the US government. Jonathan Pollard’s case just took another of those weird curves or twists and suggests Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just got caught in a big fib. Ynet News:
"As you are well aware, in the 23 years that I have been in captivity, I have never received one cent from the Government of Israel. Even though, as an officially recognized Israeli agent, I am entitled to full government support and financial compensation, I have received nothing,' Jonathan Pollard said this week in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"Similarly, my wife Esther has never received a single cent from the Government of Israel, nor any kind of support, even when she was seriously ill with cancer," wrote Pollard who has been jailed in the US since 1987 after being convicted of spying for Israel.

"Yet your office continues to lie and to disseminate official government statements declaring that my wife and I and my 'close associates' are receiving 'full support in every possible respect' from the Government of Israel," Pollard said in the letter, which was sent to Israel via certified mail.

"If, as you insist, your Government is allocating resources for me and my wife, but we are not receiving them, then who is getting the money? Are the funds (which you claim are intended for us) being misappropriated by your office and used illegally elsewhere? While we do not know for certain what kind of corruption is going on, we do know that something smells very bad."

A few months ago Pollard's attorney, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, sent Olmert a letter demanding that the PM substantiate the government's claims that it was supporting the Pollards financially.

Olmert's legal counsel, Shulamit Barnea Fargo, wrote in response that "the claims in your letter are for the most part, baseless, and the style in which they are written is offensive. I do not see any place for providing the information which you requested, out of fear that this will damage Mr. Pollard’s welfare and the efforts of the State of Israel to assist him.

Fargo continued to say that "the government has acted in the past and is currently working to assist Jonathan Pollard and his associates." Similar responses were provided by the government to several letters sent by Israeli citizens asking why the State refused to support Esther Pollard, whose financial situation, according to them, was dire. Pollard for his part said in his letter "Mr. Prime Minister, that if the Government had any proof to substantiate the lies your office is disseminating about support for me and my wife, you would have no need to evade the questions my attorney asked."
The case is not ending there. Pollard has been lobbying to have the Israeli comptroller investigate where the ‘alleged’ funds have gone and now the Israeli Knesset State Control Committee has ordered the Comptroller to investigate reports Ynet News:
Lindenstrauss was recently ordered by the Knesset's State Control Committee to investigate actions taken by Israel's governments over the years to release Pollard, but senior defense officials and politicians have claimed that such an inquiry may compromise efforts to release Pollard, who has been jailed in the US since 1985 after being convicted of spying for the Jewish State.

"Allow me to reassure you one more time: your investigation of the Israeli Government’s handling of the Pollard case can not torpedo efforts to secure my release. There are no efforts to secure my release," Pollard said in the letter.

"If your investigation will carefully investigate the money issues I have raised, it is my strong conviction that when the truth is finally revealed, it will cause a virtual earthquake in Israel," he said, "perhaps we will finally understand the real reason that the Israeli establishment did not want me home."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What a Chabad Prinicpal can achieve, anti-racism education experts can only dream about.

Long time readers of this blog know that I am in midst of writing a book. It should have been done by now but my hard drive fried about a year and a bit ago and the book went up in a puff of cyber smoke. Of course, I hadn’t done anything practical like back up my hard drive or print out hard copies (of even my notes) - so I have had to start from scratch. The pace has been more ebb then flows as I keeping getting bogged down in researching background material for my story. The background material has lead to some truly fascinating reading and I have had a tendency to get a mite carried away with one idea after another.

What many of you don’t know is that my story centers around one of Mal’akh Ha’maret or Angels of Death. I got the idea for the story in a bookstore after a chance encounter with an obviously mentally ill homeless woman who was presumably begging outside the bookstore the children and I were entering.

I say presumably because she didn’t ask me for money although she did ask everyone before me. What she did ask me was whether I knew I was walking with Angels. She appeared to be quite taken back by the idea. At the time, I answered quite smugly that I did know - as I had one of my children on either side of me. Thinking about her comment in the bookstore brought back a slight remembrance of a Talmudic story my grandfather once told me. The memory of it is somewhat elusive even now. It had something to do with two of Mal’akh being sent to follow you home after davening in a shul. One was to strength your good intentions while the other sought to encourage your bad intentions. I only remember it because I remember thinking it hardly seemed fair or just. Anyway, the woman’s comment triggered this vague memory which got me thinking about guardian angels and wondering if they ever get distracted. Don’t ask how logically walking with angels lead to a distracted guardian angel which leads to an angel of death but just know one idea inevitably flows into another in my mind.

My grandfather had an early association with Breslovers, and then with Chabad at the end of his life. Until recently, I never really did much reading concerning the Chassidic movement in general, but researching this book has lead me down some strange paths. Currently, I am in the midst of reading Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson’s discourses on Heaven on Earth and Forces of Creation. It is a little hard to avoid learning anything about the Chabad movement without learning a great deal about the last Lubavitch Rebbe as well. Now I am not ready to name him the Moshiach but I am beginning to think of him as one of the truly inspired of our time.

Normally, a Chassidic Jew would live very separate and apart from the secular community surrounding his religious community - as in - not even in death shall the twain shall meet. Rabbi Schneerson changed all that with his Chabad movement or his own particular brand of Jewish outreach. Rebbe Schneerson sent out specially trained rabbis to act as Shulichim (his personal embassaries) with the goal of establishing Chabad Houses literally all over the world with the express purpose of bringing back secular Jews to a more religious life one mitzvah at a time.

In the Lubavitch tradition a ‘tish’ (or table meal) with a Rebbe or Chabad Shaliach is often referred to a farbrengen. I found this video courtesy of a commenter at Joe Settler’s blog and decided maybe the next time Toronto School Board Trustees need to go recruiting for principals for secondary schools in Toronto - they start by wangling an invitation for the next Chabad farbrengen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

McCain Girls

Years ago I decided that perspective is mostly everything in life. Now I am stuck trying to make the McCains Girls fit my worldview….merde.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So Just which Jews will get the Saudi King Seal of Approval?

Apparently, the Saudi King has offered to do a little interfaith outreach per say according the Jerusalem Post account:
Saudi King Abdullah's desire to convene a meeting between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious communities was reported Tuesday by the official Saudi Arabian News Agency. "I invite representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith," the king was quoted as saying. The theme of the expected conference was reported to be "respect among the religions."

The news agency reported that senior Muslim leaders authorized the idea and consultations would be made with Islamic religious authorities from other countries. The king went on to say that "with God's help we will meet our brethren from other religions, including those who believe in the Torah and in the Gospel, in order to find ways to defend humanity."

This, he said, comes after humanity has lost its morality, sincerity and steadfastness. Also, the religions were confronted by challenges such as dealing with the disintegration of the family and ever-expanding Atheism, he said. King Abdullah revealed that he had been preparing the convention for two years and discussed it with the Pope when he visited the Vatican a year ago. Abdullah has not determined a specific date for the meeting.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger expressed his satisfaction over the announcement. "Our hands are extended to any peace initiative and to any dialogue that will bring about an end to terrorism and violence," he said in a statement. "I have said on numerous occasions that the true path to the peace that we long for is through interfaith dialogue."

Which is all well and good but reading this Associated Press account doesn’t give me the feeling that the Israeli Ashekenazi Chief Rabbi will get the Saudi King’s Jew seal of approval.
Prominent Saudi cleric, Sheik Muhammad al-Nujaimi, said he saw no reason why any Saudi official, including Abdullah, cannot meet with Jewish religious leaders. "The only condition is for the rabbi not to be supportive of the massacres against the Palestinian people," he said.

The real problem for the Saudis is going to be to find a rabbi who is not a Zionist and is still prepared to break bread with the King. This effectively takes the Satmar Rebbe off the Saudi guest list. I bet the Saudis will pick some wing-nut fringe group like the Neturei Karta as the only group deemed 'clean and Jew enough' to meet with the Saudi King. Besides, Ahmadjadine already broke the ice by hosting members of the Neturei Karta at the Iranian Holocaust Hate Fest. Either that or one of the wackos from Rabbi’s for Human Rights (as long as they are not Jewish).

If the Israelis are smart they will show a united front before the Saudi King starts with any official pre-conditions. Personally, I would vote for the Rabbi Rambo to represent to the Saudi King. What can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for any Breslover who knows how to kick butt, blog, and yet, still finds the time to read Torah and Talmud.

Tabloid Edition

I love Ynet News in spite of all its shortcomings (very little nuance, no in-depth reporting, very little fall-up and a tendency to sensationalize the most trivial) because it is the most human of all the Israeli-Anglo papers. So today I present the Israeli tabloid edition.

We start with the Ministry of Defense’s decision to allowing 600 Palestinian Authority security officers to deploy in Jenin. Ehud Barak calls it a calculated risk but it does not take a rocket scientist to determine he is not the one whose life is at risk with this calculation.

Then there is the IDF issuing a temporary resident permit to an Israeli man’s gay Palestinian lover. The couple has been waiting five years for a permit and decided to circumvent the civilian process and appeal to the IDF directly. And some people don’t think the IDF command has a strong sentimental streak. My bet is that this is the one thing you won’t see happening in a Palestinian state or even Hamastan.

Arab Israeli Knesset members met with Fatah officials in Ramallah yesterday and announced this:
Fatah will not recognize the Yemeni proposal outlining a path to reconciliation with Hamas as long as the Islamist movement maintains its control over the Gaza Strip, this according to Arab Knesset members who met in Ramallah Monday with representatives of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' organization.

Under the Yemeni proposal, signed Sunday, Fatah and Hamas would agree in principle to unite in a single Palestinian government. However, in several days of talks in Yemen, the bitter rivals failed to resolve the crucial question of how they should share power.

The Fatah representatives, including Mohammad Horani of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Osman Abu el-Gharbiya, told the MKs, all members of the National Democratic Assembly Party, that the delegation to Yemen consisted of officials from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), not Fatah.

According to the senior Fatah members, the Yemeni proposal will not even be considered by the movement's authoritative bodies. MK Jamal Zahalka said following the meeting that he did not detect any change in Fatah's position regarding possible reconciliation with Hamas, adding that he hopes "the intervention of Arab countries, perhaps those with more clout than Yemen, will succeed (in mediating between Fatah and Hamas)."

Zionist controls the media so says Hezbollah’s Nasrallah. Of course, Nasrallah misses the irony in broadcasting his message via satellite to the Arab world and beyond. Obviously, heads need to roll in the International Jewish Conspiracy.

Counter Terrorism Bureau issues Passover warnings for Israelis. I guess the Israeli CTB is also irony challenged.

A senior French bureaucrat is fired for writing that Israel is the 'only state where snipers shoot down little girls outside their school gates’ in article published on a French-Muslim online publication. Irony abounds in this article. How convenient for the author to forget little incidents from Ma’alot to even the more recent Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Massacre. Of course, when the Taliban was totally in control of Afghanistan - they circumvented the whole sniping at school girls issue by closing all the girls schools….which I suppose is one way for the state to keep its fingers off the trigger.

Fatah aids to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claim the Yemeni proposal which re-unites Fatah and Hamas in a power sharing agreement was signed due to mix-up. Wow, that should make Hamas really compliant in the future. Personally, I prefer Israeli Arab MK’s explanation – the proposal is only with the PLO.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Far too late to call this fashionable

Some days, I don't know if I should laugh or cry at what passes for intellectual leadership among Palestinians. I don't read Electronic Intifada all too often – (good reason for that but I digress) but this January 2008 article on 'Alarm Bells Sound Over Jewish State' was responsible for my current brain freeze. I mean where have these people been for the last, say 60 years?
CAIRO, 28 January (IPS) - Within recent months, several Israeli and US officials have stressed Israel's unique character as a "Jewish state." But according to many Arab observers, the designation negates the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, and leaves the door open to expulsion of Israel's Arab citizens.

"The idea of a 'state for Jews' neutralizes the right of some five million Palestinian refugees to return to what is now Israel," Abdel-Halim Kandil, former editor-in-chief of opposition weekly al-Karama told IPS. "It would also subject Arabs resident in Israel to the possibility of expulsion at any moment."

The description was mentioned several times by top-level Israeli officials in the run-up to the US-sponsored Annapolis peace conference held in late November.

Weeks before the summit, convened with the ostensible aim of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said recognition of Israel "as a state of all the Jewish people" constituted a starting point for negotiations. Such recognition, he added, would represent a "condition" for Israeli acknowledgment of any future Palestinian state.

"Whoever doesn't accept this can't hold negotiations with me," Olmert was quoted as saying. "This has been made clear to the Palestinians and the Americans." Days later, Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni made similar statements. "It must be clear to everyone that the state of Israel is a national homeland for Jewish people," she said.
WTF??? There is more if you can stand the general cluelessnes but really - where have these people been since 1948? Honestly, this whole Israel is a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people is not a relatively new concept that Ehud Olmert or George W. Bush dreamed up to screw the Palestinians over.

Nor is it a Zionist plot that was hatched in secret. David Ben-Gurion et al did not make a secret of the whole 'Israel, Jewish state and national homeland for the Jewish people' thingy - and I will go one better and quote David Ben-Gurion’s famous Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel:
Provisional Government of Israel

Official Gazette: Number 1; Tel Aviv, 5 Iyar 5708, 14.5.1948 Page 1

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel

The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, defiant returnees, and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.

This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people - the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe - was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the community of nations.

Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.

In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

Accordingly we, members of the People's Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist Movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British Mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.

We declare that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel."

The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The State of Israel is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

We appeal to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the community of nations.

We appeal - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

We appeal to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel.

Placing our trust in the Almighty, we affix our signatures to this proclamation at this session of the provisional Council of State, on the soil of the Homeland, in the city of Tel-Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the 5th day of Iyar, 5708 (14th May, 1948).

David Ben-Gurion

Daniel Auster Mordekhai Bentov Yitzchak Ben Zvi Eliyahu Berligne Fritz Bernstein Rabbi Wolf Gold Meir Grabovsky Yitzchak Gruenbaum Dr. Abraham Granovsky Eliyahu Dobkin Meir Wilner-Kovner Zerach Wahrhaftig Herzl Vardi Rachel Cohen Rabbi Kalman Kahana Saadia Kobashi Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin Meir David Loewenstein Zvi Luria Golda Myerson Nachum Nir Zvi Segal Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman David Zvi Pinkas Aharon Zisling Moshe Kolodny Eliezer Kaplan Abraham Katznelson Felix Rosenblueth David Remez Berl Repetur Mordekhai Shattner Ben Zion Sternberg Bekhor Shitreet Moshe Shapira Moshe Shertok

Seems pretty plain to me - so how come it's 'an alarm bell’ now and do those batteries ever round out!?!

B is for Bias

The BBC has been accused many times for it’s anti-Israel bias. The BBC maintains it has no bias but then embarrassingly has to go and issue apologies weeks later for its Israeli Mid East coverage. The Jerusalem Post:
The BBC has apologized for significant errors in two recent news reports on Israel.

In a news item on March 7, following the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva attack, the BBC showed a bulldozer demolishing a house, while correspondent Nick Miles told viewers: "Hours after the attack, Israeli bulldozers destroyed his family home. Later, mourners set up Hamas and Islamic Jihad banners nearby."

The house, however, was not demolished; the BBC was embarrassed when news reports from other broadcasters showed the east Jerusalem home intact and the family commemorating their son's actions.

Last week, the BBC apologized live on its news program, admitting it had used footage of another house being demolished. News anchor Geeta Guru-Murthy said: "Now, we would like to clarify a report we heard at this hour last Friday about the attack by a Palestinian gunman on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem. In the report, the day after the attack, BBC World said that the gunman's home in east Jerusalem had been demolished by the Israeli authorities. That was not correct, and the images broadcast were of another demolition."

Go ahead read more here.

once a great notion - naught

Ever read of an idea and just know it is going to turn out badly? That is how I felt reading this Jerusalem Post report:
Israel has agreed to let Russia deliver 25 armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday - a move meant to bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle with Hamas.

Russia had proposed shipping the armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces two years ago, but Israel initially balked, fearing the cars would fall into Hamas's hands. Later, the deal was bogged down by Palestinian plans to mount the vehicles with guns - something Israel refused to approve.

Apparently, it is okay now because the Russians have agreed to not sending the machine gun mounts, and in other news, apparently Fatah and Hamas are papering over their differences. (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas and Fatah signed a statement in San'a Sunday saying that they "accept the Yemeni initiative as a framework for resuming dialogue" to restore the normalcy that existed in Gaza before Hamas's takeover of the coastal region last June.
Geeze, imagine that. I bet this decision of Olmert Administration will come back and bite this government in the butt. In fact, the questions becomes not 'if' but when.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Amazonian Make-up Edition

Years ago I got a job working in an international make-up school. Every one who knew me that it was a hoot because I wore so little make-up. A little mascara for the eyelashes, a little lipstick for the day and for evening - a touch of eyeliner and I was good to go. Other than theatre make-up, I really didn’t have a clue as to how to put it on, and since I lived most of my non-theatre life on the go, I just never had the time to learn. Working at the make-up school was a lesson in just about every conceivable kind of make-up from beauty make-up to blood products. Not to mention I was resident victim as well as made Resident Evil on a regular basis.

As I aged, I learned the value of a little foundation. I use to wear a foundation called Cinema Secrets which was designed as a foundation for film/television. Great coverage, and a very sheer product. The only problem was - washing it off meant really scrubbing because it was completely waterproof. Leave it on too long, and it was back to the junior high style breakouts.

At least once every year, I take the daughter out for what I call the great search for the perfect Amazonian make-up. Finding make-up for the Last Amazon is tricky. She’s too young to wear heavy duty make-up but at the same time her complexion is tricky to match. Finding the appropriate colour combinations is an art in itself. Besides, no real woman really wants to own up to giving birth to clown-girl.

This year, don’t ask me why, we decided to visit Make-up Forever which was always been a big favourite among the professional make-up artists of my acquaintance. I never wore or even tried Make-up Forever before and have I been missing out. No fracking wonder why professional make-up artists rave about it from here to tomorrow.

Originally, Make-up Forever was a French professional line of make-up developed for the theatre. Eventually, its use spread to print and beauty fashion industry. For a long time the only place you could buy it in Canada was in Montreal but now it’s available across the country at Sephora and most Sears retail counters.

I have been wearing their liquid face and body foundation all week. Not only is the coverage absolutely sheer and waterproof but it complete lacks the pore blocking qualities of Cinema Secrets. I know many people rave about MAC but have you seen what their foundations look like on real women – layered cake city. Did I mention that you do not have to set it with powder? However will I adjust to the lack of grittiness on my skin… seriously, most women’s foundation is far too thick and gives an almost Geisha girl quality to the coverage which doesn’t help because it usually has to be set with powder – hence the gritty feel on the skin.

The brow pencil is to die for and having really light eyebrows naturally, I know brow pencils. The pencil is harder than normal but it keeps its point well, and yet, it spreads easily. What more could you ask for? Though, I have to say I am not overly fond of the gel eyeliner – smudges far too easily so it is rather useless at holding a line. Now it may be my technique which is at fault rather than the product. Overall, I give it a great if you’re a fan of smoky eye but not really worth it for use as a hardcore liner.

Eyeshadows and blushes. I haven’t been wearing any but the Last Amazon is absolutely in love with her colours. In general, there is a heavy emphasis on brilliant and pure colours which means more mixing & blending, blending, and then, more blending. The advantage is for all those hard to match complexions - then it is a real boon and you can find colour that is just right for you rather than the girl next door. The downside is if you do not have an eye or feel for colour; you have to speak up and ask for help in filling up palette.

I have been to three different Make-up Forever counters and all the staff have been professional make-up artists. I never thought to ask if it’s the company policy but often with the higher end make-up the companies it the policy to hire only working professional make-up artists rather than any pretty face who manages to fill out an application. The other disadvantage is price. It’s not cheap but a little goes a lot further than your average Revlon or Cover Girl product. Like most things in life you get what you pay for.

By now most of my mostly male readers are probably wondering what is up with this post. I don’t think I have done a beauty edition before and no – I am not being paid to write this post (but I wouldn’t turn down any free samples – hint, hint). And contrary to what some of my readers presume - I will steal the words of Alice Pieszecki and state for the record - I really am a fem. I will probably go back to blogging about war and conflict in short order but in the meantime; I have just given every male with a significant female (or Trannie) other in their life - a great gift certificate suggestion.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ha’aretz is carrying a report of another new study out which concludes Israeli Arabs face a dramatic increase in discrimination in all levels of Israeli life.
Israel's Jewish community increasingly supports the delegitimization, discrimination and even deportation of Arabs, found a report on racism in Israel, set to be released Wednesday.

The report, to be presented at a press conference in Nazareth by Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel, states that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has clearly impacted public opinion, and warns that ideas such as population exchange and racial segregation are gaining ground. It also warns that several Jewish politicians are gaining influence based on a platform of racial hatred.

Mossawa is supported by the Human Rights Program of the European Commission and the United Nations Democracy Foundation. Israel's Jewish community increasingly supports the delegitimization, discrimination and even deportation of Arabs, found a report on racism in Israel, set to be released Wednesday.

The report, to be presented at a press conference in Nazareth by Mossawa, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel, states that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has clearly impacted public opinion, and warns that ideas such as population exchange and racial segregation are gaining ground. It also warns that several Jewish politicians are gaining influence based on a platform of racial hatred.

Mossawa is supported by the Human Rights Program of the European Commission and the United Nations Democracy Foundation.
I am under the gun in my personal life and I don’t see my load letting up any time soon but I will have a lot more to say about this report on another day. Until then, I just want to point out that overall that I believe Israeli Arabs do face considerably more discrimination within Israeli society within the past seven years then they have ever faced before but very little in life or society ever happens within a vacuum-like state and the question really becomes - what does one do about it? Think Peki’in, and then, read this Ynet News account.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I have been out of the loop for personal reasons but I see it doesn’t take much to get me up to speed. The Ynet News:
An Israeli man has been stabbed in the Old City of Jerusalem, Magen David Adom emergency services paramedics reported Tuesday. The man, 49, was stabbed in the neck and sustained light to moderate injuries. Nationalistic motives are believed to be behind the stabbing. According to an eyewitness, the man attacked is a rabbi at the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva in the Old City, who was accompanied by a security guard.

"An Arab stabbed him in the neck," spokesman for the United Hatzalah of Israel rescue organizationYerach Tucker told Ynet. "The guard chased him, but he managed to escape. MDA and United Hatzalah teams treated the rabbi before he was evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center."

MDA Paramedic Ilan Klein told Ynet: "We found a 50-year-old man bleeding from the neck after being stabbed, but fully conscious. He said he was stabbed from behind and didn't see his assailant. Immediately after he was stabbed he continued walking for a few meters until he encountered a police officer.

"The incident took place within the Old City walls, and police forces moved him outside to the Damascus Gate. We administered first aid, gave him IV and oxygen and evacuated him to the hospital."
And as odd as it seems, Toronto isn’t the only judicial community afflicted with judges who rule leniently and call it justice. Ynet News carries this account:
The Haifa District Court sentenced Monday three Arab residents of the Galilee to jail sentences ranging from two to three years for torturing a Hebron man. The three suspected that the Palestinian stole holy books from their community mosque and proceeded to kidnap and hang him, until he lost consciousness.

The judge characterized their actions as one of the gravest cases of violence he has ever encountered. Last September, 21-year-old Amar Asala and 19-year-old Mahmoud Yassin from Arrabe suspected a 24-year-old man from Hebron stole Korans and other Muslim artifacts from the mosque in their community. The two abducted their victim when they saw him hitchhiking at the entrance to the community. They drove him to a deserted olive grove, undressed him, tied him up, and beat him up cruelly using sticks and planks. They also threatened to electrocute him using cables connected to their vehicle.

Later, the two drove the victim, who was still naked and tied up, back to Arrabe, where they picked up another young man, 18-year-old Saud Yassin. They proceeded to beat up the victim and then placed a rope around his neck and demanded that he reveal the location of the stolen property. The man denied that he stole anything, and eventually the accused hung him until he lost consciousness. The three then removed the rope from the man's neck, dressed him up, and called the police with the intention of turning him in. Justice Ilan Schiff noted that the case in question marked a particularly serious offence.

Kidnapping, attempted hanging, and repeated torture buys you only 2-3 years. There are no words.

According to a new poll published in Ynet News - Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip is now more popular with Palestinians than Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

Yep, nothing much changes but wouldn't it be nice to come here and read just once - that peace really did break out?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

At least, I didn’t rate a “Perky Goth”.

I haven’t done a quiz in what feels like forever. I found this one at the Flea’s place and decided to chance it. I really thought the best I could score was Confused Outsider as Goth wasn’t really around when I came of age, and even now, I am not entirely sure what all is involved. However, I did have a passion for wearing my black velvet stovepipe pants with the matching bolero jacket. Usually, I wore it with either a black bustiere or a very ruffled lace shirt and my rubies when I was younger – very radical in 1981, and now, it is more or less widow weeds for me...although I still do wear the rubies and refuse to give up my eyeliner.

What subcategory of Goth best fits you?
created with
You scored as Romantic Goth

You are a romantic goth, better known as a traditional goth. You are probably quickly identified as a goth by outsiders. Black lace, bats, and moonlit cemetaries are just a few of your favorite things. Click on my name to take my other tests if you liked this one.

Romantic Goth


Fantasy Goth


Understanding Outsider


Anything-Goes Goth


Old-school Goth


Ethereal Goth




Confused Outsider




Perky Goff


Death Rocker


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Should have used Fedex

I finally found probably the only Apple laptop user in the entire country who is willing to give up their perfectly good iBook. She is getting rid of the machine because she needs to be able to run the new version of Adobe for her artwork and her little iBook G3 just does not have the pull necessary to do it any more. She got herself a new MacBook Pro. Never mind that I had to cull every single person and connection I had to finally find someone I trust to go take a look at the machine in Vancouver.

I discovered an interesting thing about Apple laptop owners. These fuckers never give up their machines until every last pixel and circuit is completely toasted. Most of them just keep upgrading the machine the old machine until it is an entirely new machine. I have never seen anything like it before. I almost broke down and took the one of the dozen or so laptop deals of non-Apple machines but I really had a hankering to own an Apple so I held out. I got the machine I wanted at a price I couldn’t say no to.

I have copies of the OS, Office for Apple, a sleeve and a new battery but no laptop.

According to Canada Xpresspost the machine should have been delivered yesterday – at the latest. It has now been sitting in Mississauga for the last 72 hours and I have yet to understand what makes today any different from yesterday or the day before. Canada Post isn’t sure either. Even after all these years - Canada Post still so sucks. I was talked into using Canada Post, and if I had used FedEx like my gut wanted, it would have been here already. It would cost me the same amount but without the unnecessary stress and aggravation. If only there was a way to download the machine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Fall of the House of Eliot

I feel like I am the only person in North America who is not surprised at the fall of Eliot Spitzer. When I first read the story I didn’t give out an ‘ohhh’ or even a slight gasp. If anything, I yawned, and I am still yawning. Politician gets snagged in call-girl sting – geeze where have I heard that before? Eight years of Bill “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” Clinton used up all my supposed outrage at political sexual hi-jinx but there are two things which make Spitzer’s situation case slightly unique.

His appalling hypocrisy in actively prosecuting prostitutes and the absolutely outrageous sum of money he is alleged to have spent pursuing his extra-martial sexual relations. Any man who could throw away at least $80,000 US on getting his member pulled by someone other than his spouse does not ever deserve the public trust - let alone the keys to the public purse for that reason alone.

Egad, I feel like rushing out and telling the women who are currently working the snow banks on the corner in my part of downtown to seriously jack up the going rates. Call it Spitzerflation, and tell them, Eliot made you do it.

A great many people are busy arguing that it does not matter what a man or woman does in their private life and it should have no bearing on their fitness for public office. I don’t buy that argument. In fact, infidelity speaks to character and trustworthiness. Anyone who actively cheats on one’s spouse is capable of great deception. Unless you have an ‘open marriage’ there is an awful lot of lies which need to be told to keep the infidelity secret. If one can expend time and energy deceiving the one person in the world who is suppose to be the closest individual in the world to you, and the one person who is always to be on your side; why wouldn’t you shaft Joe and Jane public?

A question that gets discussed regularly in Canada is; why are so few women running for political office. Take a look at the Spitzer saga and you find your reason. I am not suggesting the vast majority of Canadian women are paying to have sex with prostitutes but women often have secrets. Embarrassing secrets, secrets which would absolutely mortify one - if exposed to the light of newsprint. Women generally don’t do public humiliation well which is also the main reason male political bloggers significantly out number female political bloggers. And for those of us females who can withstand a public flaying ‘n’ flogging – let us just say, most of us over the age of 25, would not be running on a family values platform, and hence, it is extremely unlikely we could carry the vote among anyone other than fellow current or former Libertines.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Give a kidney for Justice - sort of

What do the Israeli Defense Minister, the Chief of the Mossad and the head of military intelligence for the IDF all have in common? There is a price on their heads put there by an Iranian group calling themselves the 'Islamic Student Justice Seekers' reports Ynet News:
According to the organization's announcement, the financial prizes are to be given to those who take out the three most senior members of the Israeli security establishment: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and Head of Military Intelligence Amos Yaron.

"The prizes will be given to those who succeed in killing these three international terrorists in any place in the world," the statement read. According to the claims made by the Iranian student organization, Dagan, Barak and Yadlin are responsible for much more than merely Palestinian suffering. The group blamed the trio for the killing of senior Hizbullah military commander Mugniyah, who was killed in a car bomb in Damascus last month.
And just how does the Iranian student group propose to finance the pay-out?
The Justice Seekers also called for volunteers to donate a kidney in order to offer the money acquired via the act to increase the financial prize. The organizers claim that a number of civil groups agreed to take part in the ceremony in order to contribute to the amount of money offered for the heads of the Israeli threesome. The students in the extremist group are connected to another radical organization in Tehran called The Martyrs' Commemoration Headquarters, which organized the establishment of a monument for Imad Mugniyah in the Iranian capital.
No matter what you can make up, it is never as strange, as what your average anti-Semite can come up with. I suppose this can be considered progress as the group is not using student loan money.

Monikers please

I had a friend in middle school who we called Merv. He was originally from the ‘slums of Glasgow’ – (his description not mine). He wrote his name as Murray but it came out sounding like Merv. We all, including our various teachers, just thought it was one of those slums of Glasgow accent thingies and took to calling him what we thought he was saying to our very Canadian ears. Now Merv had a terrible memory for names so early on he developed this rather peculiar coping strategy. He literally referred to everyone he met as either ‘Jock’ for a male or ‘Jane’ for female. Eventually, a new person introduced to Merv would correct him, and he always gave a ‘right, now Jock/Jane as I was saying’ and continue on using his moniker for him or her.

Why am I dredging up this very ancient memory? Because of the whole Anonymous commenter thingy has become my latest peeve. There is nothing more irritating to me than receiving comments from ‘Anonymous’. It becomes even more irritating when there are two or more different posters all calling themselves ‘Anonymous’. It is not that I am asking for everyone to correctly identify themselves using their actual names in the blogsphere. In fact, some of my favourite bloggers use a moniker. I like monikers, and use a moniker of sorts. I am called Kateland in real life (well usually people shorten it to Kate and I am okay with that) but rarely am I referred to as Kateland aka TZH. TZH is a short form for the The Zionist Hack. That little add-on was given to me by an anonymous commenter on another blog.

I can come up with literally a dozen very good and legitimate reasons for not using one’s full legal name including the risk of having someone attempt to steal your real life identity to being stalking by a crazed out of control petulant troll. And if you have ever been stalked in real life you will understand instinctively what I mean. How beret of imagination do you possibly have to be that one cannot take the seconds necessary to come up with a moniker or handle for an online identity rather than use Anonymous? Please people, a little imagination, and if you really are stumped, email me. I’ll give you a moniker that your mother never thought of.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Wii Moments in Family Life

On Friday there was no elementary school for my youngest son, Isaiah Sender - something about teacher-parent interviews. He used his day off to line up ridiculously early in front of the Future Shop in the hopes of scoring an almost non-existent Nintendo Wii.

I guess it paid off because he came home with one. The power brick died on our Xbox 360 so we all have been playing the Wii. I discovered that golf sucks just as much on Wii as it does in real life - but bowling rocks. The Last Amazon suggests bowling rocks in the Wii world because there is no cheesy music, greasy food or smelly shoes smell in our home. She may have a point.

The Amazon and I have both discovered that we need to stand way, way back from either of the boys when they box on the Wii. The only truly safe thing to do is just to leave the room though it is rather an amazing work out the boys get over a game of virtual boxing.

My older son has been lecturing my youngest son, on how he went all wrong in getting the Wii. Apparently, just saving up enough to cover the console and taxes is not enough and you must also be able to cover the costs of all the necessary add-ons e.g., tennis racket, gun, cross bow, recharger kit and the sword.. So to teach his younger brother a lesson, Montana is taking him out shopping for the Wii necessities whose cost will be paid for out of Montana’s pocket. I am not sure how this translates into to teaching Isaiah Sender a lesson in prudent fiscal management and when I did try pointing out this glaring error in their thinking - I got a great deal of “oh MOTHER!!!!!” and much eye rolling.

I am not at all convinced Isaiah Sender has not sold himself into permanent indentured servitude but I am excited about playing Zelda with a sword and a crossbow.

Friday, March 07, 2008

blood and circuses

Most of you have read by now, how an Israeli-Arab resident of East Jerusalem, murdered 8 young Jewish seminary students in cold blood. Apparently, the murderer worked formerly as a Yeshiva driver and his family has hung out the family flag for his nefarious act of barbarism.

I often hear/read excuses for Palestinian terrorism, wherein the official apologistas crowd reckless harp on the so-called demonization or de-humanization of the Palestinian people… but the cause of the so-called de-humanization process more often than naught - lies with their own realm of conduct. Case in point – this Toronto Star article:
In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Al-Manar satellite TV station said a previously unknown group called the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh and Gaza was responsible for the attack. The claim could not immediately be verified. Mughniyeh, a Hezbollah commander, was killed in a car bomb in Syria last month. Hezbollah has blamed Israel for the assassination.

Hamas stopped just short of claiming responsibility for the Jerusalem shootings. "We bless the operation. It will not be the last," Hamas said in a statement sent to reporters by text message. t mosques in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip, many residents performed prayers of thanksgiving, only performed in cases of great victory to thank God.

About 7,000 Gazans marched in the streets of Jebaliya, firing in the air in celebration, and visited homes of those killed and wounded in the last Israeli incursion. In the southern town of Rafah, residents distributed sweets to moving cars, and militants fired mortars in celebration.

I could understand if the Palestinians were celebrating a day when statehood was finally proclaimed and actually meant something. I could understand a day of celebration if a Palestinian won a Nobel prize for science, economics or even literature or an Olympic medal. I could understand if a celebration was held because a peace accord was signed and a day of peace and security was rising in the eastern sky. I can understand all these things but what I cannot fathom is the sheer joy these people take in the slaughter of Jews civilians for the sake of spilling Jewish blood. And I just refuse to reduce my humanity to their level to do so.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A proportionate response?

I fully appreciate the frustration this Ashkelon man feels towards the Israeli governments seeming impotence in the face of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. What amazes me is that there has not been more Moshe the Rocket Scientists. And so it begins - taken from the Jerusalem Post:
Ashkelon resident Moshe Nissimpor decided that the best way to halt rocket fire from Gaza - in light of what he terms the government's failure to do so - is some vigilante justice. Nissimpor developed a homemade 200-millimeter ballistic missile which he planned to launch from Ashkelon into the Gaza Strip.

"From this day onwards, we will push back to the stone age every place which dares shoot missiles into Israel's sovereign territory," he said Wednesday. "It is time the world understood Israelis' lives are not expendable." "I'm afraid this is the only language the Palestinians understand, and this is the language in which we'll speak to them. I have many Gazan Palestinian friends who live as Hamas hostages. Once we bring an end to the rocket fire, Gaza's residents will also live in peace," he said.

Nissimpor arrived at the Ashkelon Municipality building with the missile painted black and lettered "to Hamas, from the residents of Ashkelon" in red, and was planning to launch it. Ashkelon residents gathered round to cheer him on and protest the government's conduct, but at the eleventh hour, police stopped him from firing the missile and seized it. "I wish there were more 'crazies' like me in Israel," Nissimpor said as the crowd was dispersed by the police.

Earlier Wednesday, as the security cabinet met and emerged with a message that the government will stop the rocket attacks against Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip, three rockets struck the western Negev. A total of 14 Kassams were fired into Israel from northern and central Gaza, on the first day in almost a week in which nobody was wounded by the attacks. Almost all the projectiles hit open areas.

First it was the Sderot Facebook, now this in Ashkelon - who really knows what is next? Though, it does make one wonder how many spare children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins the Olmert Administration thinks the civilian residents of places like Ashkelon and Sderot have.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Near-lynching in Jerusalem

I wonder if this is the kind of value work experience one can get on the Birthright Palestine tour? Certainly, there are rather very limited opportunities to learn rioting, lynching, rock throwing on the average night in downtown Toronto.

h/t for video of the near-lynching by Arabs in Jerusalem goes to The Muqata and to the Elder of Zyion for posting it.

Palestinians work hard at trying to be the new Jews.

I suspect a number of you have heard of the Birthright Israel program and for those who haven’t; it is a program designed to bring young Jewish people from all over the world, who have never been to Israel, the opportunity to visit Israel.

Well, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that the Palestinians have decided to establish their own version of Birthright program.
The program, which will begin its first session in May, is run by the newly established Palestine Center for National Strategic Studies, which says it is a "nonprofit, nongovernmental Palestinian organization" based in the Dehaishe refugee camp in Bethlehem.

The group is not shy about its motivation. Its Web site explains: "Simply coming back to visit the land that your parents or grandparents were forced to flee from is a form of active nonviolent resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation. This is because this simple act opposes everything that the 'State of Israel' was founded on (the idea to ethnically cleanse the Holy Land/Palestine of all Arabs, so as to create a purely Jewish state)."

To establish a stronger Palestinian identity, the program is looking to bring first-generation, Western-born participants, 18 years of age or older, to Israel and to the West Bank for educational programs lasting between one and three months.

Reads the Web site: "Upon witnessing the situation in Palestine and completing the program, you will become an ambassador for the Palestinian Cause - your cause - and convince other diaspora Palestinians to return to their homeland so that our nation can continue to survive in exile until the day that we are able to all return home permanently."

The program mimics Zionist and Jewish initiatives almost exactly, even offering "ethnic Palestinian" participants the chance to "apply for Palestinian citizenship" at the Palestinian Authority's Interior Ministry, thus "formally requesting your right to return."

For all the similarities, the program does not support a two-state solution, offering trips to "all of historic Palestine, which includes both the 1967 territories (West Bank, Gaza Strip - OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories]) and [the] 1948 territories, which some people refer to as 'Israel.'"

Birthright Palestine includes volunteer internships in Bethlehem, daily study of Arabic, cultural events and Thursday-night parties. Costing up to $2,900 for the three-month program, Birthright Palestine bills itself as a way to "contribute to the Palestinian economy... Every time you buy a bite to eat, hop in a cab, or buy something, you are putting food on a Palestinian family's table."

Egad – “1948 Territories which some people refer to Israel” and this from a non-Hamas, non-government West Bank group but it is the ten reasons to join which cracked me up - from ‘recconecting with your roots, to opportunity to obtain value work experience, and the opportunity to network with other diaspora Palestinians.

I wonder if the three month tour also includes a tour of these West Bank housing projects? Of course, the Israeli Birthright is a free trip, and at $2,900, I am not sure how successful the Palestinian launch of this program will be. Seems to me, the Palestinians are going about becoming the world’s new Jews all wrong and really need to work on their Jew creeds some more. Personally, I am waiting for Birthright Hamastan to be established as the itinerary alone would be worth the price of this trip. I bet the Shin Bet would think so too.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ralph Klein maybe gone....

but it looks like he isn't the only one. Only 10 seats for the Liberals. Dion may want to work on broadening Liberal party appeal in Alberta. I haven't a clue or suggestion about how one would viably do that but good luck Dion anyway. Taken from the Toronto Star:
EDMONTON–The man known as Steady Ed led the Progressive Conservatives to one of their biggest majorities since the 1970s with a landslide victory in Alberta last night.

It was a resounding win for Premier Ed Stelmach, who had been dogged by criticisms from both the energy sector and environmentalists. He effectively crushed his opponents, who had been campaigning for change, trying to convince voters that 37 years of Progressive Conservative rule was long enough.

The voters disagreed and the Tories got a larger-than-expected popular vote of about 53 per cent. "We laid out a very positive vision for securing our future and protecting our future," said Stelmach in his victory speech. "We've shown once again that we're in tune with Albertans' values and we're in tune with Albertans' priorities."

Stelmach, a former cabinet minister who became premier in December 2006 after taking over the party reins from Ralph Klein, needed to win 42 of the 83 seats in the Alberta legislature. He walked into the campaign, which began Feb. 4, with history already on his side. The Tories had 60 seats going into the election. Late last night, they were leading or elected in 70 seats, compared with 10 seats for the Liberals and two for the NDP. The Alberta PCs got their 11th straight majority, an unprecedented political dynasty in the Canadian electoral system.

I know this isn’t very generous of me, but is there anything lamer than using “progressive” as an adjective to describe a conservative? Have we not moved beyond 70’s style monikers or is it a case that Albertan conservatives are still old school style pc?

Flying pig moment

Will wonders never cease? A Guardian editor apologizes for equating the Israeli Desert Shield operation in the Jenin refugee camp and the attacks of 9/11 on the America in the paper’s editorial page.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A message to my neighbors in Toronto-Centre

I live on a major, major street in the riding of Toronto-Centre. Apparently there is to be by-election held on March 17, 2008. Don Meredith is the Conservative Party candidate for my riding. How do I know this? Well, I have had campaign literature dropped off my door and there are a number of businesses on both Parliament and Sherbourne streets who are hanging his sign in their windows.

Then there is El-Farouk Khaki who is the NDP candidate. I know this because El-Farouk’s signs are up in the neighborhood (primarily over vacant lots/space) and his team has also dropped off campaign literature at my door. And I would like to add that his campaign team has got to be some of the most polite people who have ever knocked at my door. Dippers – who would have thought it?

Apparently, Bob Rae is running for the Liberals. How do I know this? Well, it is not because I have seen any signs in the neighborhood (this isn’t Rosedale) nor has any liberal party campaigners condescended to drop by my door – let alone left any material to read. I know he is running because the The Toronto Star told me so. In fact, if it wasn’t for cheesecake piece on Bob’s campaign in this morning’s paper - I would have missed the fact he was a candidate.

I haven’t a clue where the Greens have gone either – like Kermit says – its not easy being green. I do have a really big favour to ask of my neighbors come election day. Vote for anyone but Bob. I am sure Bob deserves many things but what he does not deserve is to carry this riding.

Adventures in Gaza

This Jerusalem Post article says all you really need to know to get a feel for what is happening within Israel and the Gaza Strip:
Hours after IDF soldiers returned to Israel from northern Gaza after completing the first stage of Operation Hot Winter, a Grad missile slammed into an apartment building in central Ashkelon on Monday morning. 16 people were treated for shock as three missiles hit the city.

Moments earlier, six Kassam rockets hit the western Negev. One of the rockets landed in Sderot while another landed in a kibbutz. The other four landed in open areas. No one was wounded and no damage was reported.

On Sunday night, Givati Brigade infantry and Armored Corps battalions completed the first stage of the northern Gaza operation which began over the weekend soldiers who had been operating in the territory returned to Israel. However, IDF sources told Israel Radio that counter-terror operations would continue.

IDF officials said that an estimated 100 Palestinians were killed during the operation and some 90 were arrested. On Sunday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said that, contrary to media reports, 90 of the Palestinian fatalities were gunmen.

So the IDF goes into Gaza Strip to deal with terrorist elements, meets the challenge 100-2, and then pulls out before the job is even half-way finished.

Meanwhile Hamas uses the IDF pull-out to simultaneously do three things: 1) Announce victory, 2) call for a ceasefire, and finally 3) continue to launch rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

Of course, some could be cynical and suggest while Ehud Olmert is Israeli Prime Minister White House policy sets Israeli security…

back in the day

The Globe and Mail carries this online advice column which rang a personal note from my own experience way back in the day.
My workplace seems to be populated with many nosy people who seem intent on forcing their own views on the rest of the world. One of my colleagues is a fervently religious woman who is not content practising her faith on her own time, but instead interrogates her co-workers in their cubicles and preaches to them. On one occasion she followed me on my lunch break to a shoe store and chastised me for "shopping again."

In my case, it was the owners of the firm I worked for who were evangelical Christians. They saw it as their personal mission to preach to every one of their employees. At the time, I was stuck because I needed the pay cheque and the local economy had really tanked, so I learned to endure. I still remember the anger I felt coming into work every morning and discovering my chair littered with one new tract after another denouncing me unless I made Jesus my personal saviour. I seem to recall singing Patti Smith’s song Gloria a lot under my breath (Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine) while I was at work.

When production issues would come up the first question the boss would ask was ‘what do you think Jesus would do’ which is probably why I have very little patience for those kind of questions today. Frankly, there is nothing more off-putting about Christianity than some of its self-proclaimed representatives. The owners were not bad people per say but they had no concept of personal boundaries and a philosophical doctrine I found fatally flawed.

I use to smile blankly and bite my lip a lot. Often I would say meaningless things like “is that so”, “well now there is a thought”, and “I will take that under consideration”. Then I would spend the return trip home desperately scanning the want ads for a way out. It all worked out in the end as I found a wonderful job working in a Chinese owned sweatshop in the heart of the garment district. It turned into one of the most fantastic experiences in my working life and perhaps I will write about it one day. Although no one tried to convert me to anything - there were many attempts at finding a suitable match for me.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What can you do in 15 seconds?

When the Code Red Warning system alarm sounds you have approximately 15 seconds to find shelter before the rockets land. I have often wondered what happens to the disabled, elderly or sick during those moments. After nearly three years of almost relentless attacks I suspect a great many of the elderly, the disabled and sick have just resigned themselves to the possibility of death and say Shema whenever the alarm sounds.

h/t Treppenwitz

Canadian troops give up weapons and body armour in Afghanistan so they can fight the Taliban "fairly and porportionately"

Hamas sponsors and deliberately launches rocket attacks against Israeli civilian targets. The IDF launch counterattacks at Palestinian militants in the act of firing rockets, metal shops where kassams are made, Hamas leadership locations, and limited raids aimed at capturing terrorists or arsenals within the Gaza Strip. In the course of these operations some civilians are injured or killed; the IDF and the Israeli government often apologizes. When Hamas or its allies wound or kill Israelis civilians, Palestinians take to the streets to celebrate and hand out candy - every single time.

The Israeli strikes and incursions would end in a heart beat - if Hamas stops launching rocket attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel proper.

The Europeans condemns the Israelis for the ‘disproportionate use of force’ presumably because IDF operates at greater level of skill/efficiency and sticks to military type targets. Apparently, this is perceived as an unfair advantage. So, what is the solution? Do we let the civilians of Sderot manufacture and shoot their own missiles back at Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip? Would that still be considered a fair and proportionate use of force? What happens if the Israeli civilians build better rockets than their Palestinian counterparts? Would that still be fair? Israeli is a small country with approximately 7 million – honestly, how many potential rocket scientists or manufacturing Czars can they actually produce?