sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 31, 2012

A Lovely Conference

Filed under: Israel, politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 7:15 pm

Guy Herschmann is a recent graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz.  What’s nice Jewish boy doing in a place like UC Santa Cruz?  Evidently, he was a campus coordinator for the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.  He recently went to a scary event held here in the Bay Area:

One might have expected the Birzeit Society’s 11th annual convention in Burlingame, with its schedule of family outings and festivities, to be a pleasant family affair. The society, established 25 years ago for Palestinians from the village of Birzeit who now live in the U.S., attracted approximately 700 people to its five-day gathering in early July.

But instead of a warm family atmosphere, I witnessed chilling anti-Israel extremism. Children were indoctrinated with anti-Israel and intolerant rhetoric. An emerging generation of activists was trained to proudly use deceit and manipulation to promote a “one-state” solution that has no room for Israel.

At the panel “Palestine: One State vs. Two State Solution,” criticism was heaped on the Palestinian Authority, not for its corruption but rather for normalizing relations with Israel. Mai al Kaila, the P.A.’s ambassador to Chile, tried to win over the crowd by commiserating about the difficulty of establishing Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and by emphasizing that the P.A.’s goal is that “all refugees living in the diaspora have their lands in Haifa, Jaffa and everything.”

She tried to justify the P.A.’s promotion of a two-state solution as a necessary compromise. “What can we do when we don’t have a military power … or a nuclear power?” she asked. The crowd grumbled. “Our strategy now … is nonviolence.” The grumbling grew louder. The audience seemed unable to tolerate the idea of two peaceful states for two peoples. When she sat down, a man declared that “we need an intifada.”

The panel’s featured speakers were the Rev. Naim Ateek and the Rev. Don Wagner, both from Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based ecumenical Christian group known for its hostility to Israel. Panel moderator Ramiz Rafeedie called all supporters of Israel “your enemies.” He warned that advocating a one-state solution could alienate potential allies because it attacks the legitimacy of Zionism, so he advised audience members to refine their arguments to win supporters.

Ateek described a future Palestinian confederation with Jordan and Lebanon as a remedy for a two-state stalemate. “We need to have a third intifada,” he stated, adding that it should be “totally nonviolent.” Wagner contributed classic anti-Semitic canards, saying that Congress is “sewn up” by Zionists. Ateek’s closing statements summed up the tone of the convention: “We say no. We adamantly reject the two-state solution at any price.”

The audience response to these statements was the most disturbing aspect to me. The panel attracted an audience of more than 200, primarily families, including youngsters. They responded enthusiastically to calls for a third intifada, with children as young as 7 applauding with their parents.

I don’t suppose it’s very different from what’s your average Palestinian Authority meeting/public school function looks like.  But look at the persons of Jewish heritage in attendance:

A second panel, “BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on American Campuses,” was equally extreme. Dina Omar, a Berkeley graduate and student at Columbia, joined Nora Barrows-Friedman, who writes for Electronic Intifada and al Jazeera, in laying out BDS strategies and goals.

‘Omar urged the audience to get BDS branded as “just one piece of a larger question of social justice.” She advocated outr each to any and all religious, racial and ethnic groups, economic justice groups, and environmentalists to insert BDS — thme collective punishment of Israel — into all progressive causes. Displaying Occupy Wall Street and Free Tibet flyers emblazoned with BDS slogans, Omar urged students to “use your institutions’ symbols, rhetoric, and propaganda … to turn or flip the message or to insert your message in however subversive a way you can.”

Barrows-Friedman called the message that “people just … need to get along” an Israeli plot against Palestinians.

The speakers advised against reaching out to pro-Israel students, especially if they are Jewish. When asked whether there are any Jewish groups with whom BDS activists can work, Barrows-Friedman, who is Jewish, responded, “It depends on your level of tolerance.” After a pause, Omar answered that the group Jewish Voice for Peace may be acceptable.

In fact, the BDS movement frequently uses token Jews to make its case and deflect charges of anti-Semitism. Barrows-Friedman awkwardly sidestepped an anti-Semitic comment from an audience member, making light of a canard about the “Jewish-controlled” global financial system.

For bonus, remember how the media declared that Romney was somehow wrong to point out the differences between the Israeli culture and that of their neighbors.  Well, shortly before it, World Bank issued a report saying that Palestinian economy can not support a state:

“The Palestinian Authority has made steady progress in many years towards establishing the institutions required by a future state, but the economy is currently not strong enough to support such a state,” economist John Nasir said in a statement accompanying the report, which was released July 25.

The P.A. says it is facing its worst financial crisis since it was founded in 1994, with debts of $1.5 billion and an immediate cash shortfall of $500 million, the French news agency AFP reported. Donor countries have propped up the Palestinian economy with billions of dollars in assistance.

In the report, the World Bank said the aid has led to 7.7 percent gross domestic product growth between 2007 and 2011, but only in government services, real estate and other nontradable sectors.

Oh.  There are two lessons for the Obama Administration in that news item.


July 25, 2012

Iranian Metalheads

Filed under: blogging, Israel, Middle East, music, politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:51 pm

Yesterday the Internet was abuzz with stories of hackers spamming Iranian computers serving their nuclear site with Thunderstruck by AC/DC.  The thing is, the Persian masses would probably enjoy the song.  Metal is big there, and Iranian Black/Death metal is big in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Actually, Black Metal from all of the Middle East is popular here, and they make it everywhere in the region, including such unlikely places as Saudi Arabia.  (Disclaimer: I only know about such things second hand.  It’s not like I have time to go to metal shows in my old age.)

Since Folk Metal (well, all rock-n-roll) draws on pagan music and is very agro, it can get pretty creepy, depending on who is playing it.  Neo-Nazis do metal, for instance, because they like pagan marshal stuff.  And what am I supposed to make of some band that sings in Arabic and has the word Jihad in a song title?  Needless to say, locals eat it up without translation.

Iranian bands are known to express opposition to the ayatollahs, draw inspiration from pre-Islamic antiquity and wave Middle eastern melodies into their riffs and roars.  Here is Arsames with Cyrus the Great:

And here is a translation for accuracy of which I can’t vouch, obviously, but judging from the video Arsames can be expected to be forward-thinking individuals:

Unsuccessful guys in capturing our land
unsuccessful guys in capturing our blood
coming with fear and hesitation
carrying hill of presents on their shoulders

they’re staring with protruded eyes
looking at the sun but they see nothing

unsuccessful folks in capturing our bravery
unsuccessful folks in capturing our glory
coming with fear and hesitation
carrying hill of presents on their shoulders

their souls have shrunk in their corpses
their minds have been torn in pieces
defeating all their aces
we had on our feet their kisses

our Cyrus gave them culture
no pain no sigh no torture
to live in peace is our nature
not killing like a vulture

this is the first kingdom of the world (Persian empire)
the state on the earth as wide as the sun

unsuccessful guys in capturing our land
unsuccessful guys in capturing our blood
coming with fear and hesitation
carrying hill of presents on their shoulders

they’re staring with protruded eyes
looking at the sun but they see nothing.

And here is Aliaj with Mah-e kaghazi, whatever that means:

I don’t know what they sing about, but I approve of the claymation.

Whoever decides to hack Iranians with metal next, should consider this video of the Israeli band Black Landscapes performing Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem:

In keeping with the Israeli Balck Metal theme, here is Salem with Coming End of Reason.  It doesn’t look like the official video, but I have a feeling the band doesn’t disapprove.  It’s nice to see unapologetic Zionists doing something arty:

In a related news, I got a troll today.  I don’t get very many of them around here, so I take each and every one of them as a reminder that I must be doing something right.  This one is from around the Norther Italian city of Genoa, and possibly found my blog googling “National Bolshevism”.  Funny he should use Google, since the founders are Jewish and all.  Anyhow, the troll goes by Suleiman Kahani, doesn’t like Wall Street bankers and appears to be a fan of Hitler, Stalin *and* A’jad.  I hope he stayed here long enough to enjoy this post.

UPDATE 7/26/2012: The fan of Stalin, Hitler and A’jad in the paragraph above might actually be from Serbia.  What do you know?

UPDATE 7/29/2012: Temple of Mut links and posts a cool Persian music video plus summary of Mitt’s visit to Israel.

June 23, 2012

Lots of Courage to Go Around

Filed under: education, feminism, Israel, politics, Soviet Union — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:05 pm

Ladies, you are so brave.  In this post-Sex and the City world the decision to remain childless is a test of courage, you tell me.

Lots of people are brave these days.  Flipping off Ronald Reagan can pass for courage in certain circles.  I first heard of the activists at the gay pride White House reception on the radio.  I was somehow under the impression that they were having fun, but then I looked up the picture.  I dono… if you are going to flip off a portrait of a United States President, at least show a bit of an attitude.  And by the way, did you know that Reagan was a champion of gay rights?

Philli gay activists at 1st white house pride reception

Remember when gay people knew how to party? This one looks like the government has been rationing her Prozac.

I’m sure Alice Walker thinks of herself as brave.  She must; she’s a raving anti-Semite.

On to a different subject-matter, King Shamus has a parody of a certain WW2 Brit poster here.

Are Americans losing faith in public schools?  Only 29% express confidence in the latest Gallup survey (Via Instapudit).  Lack of confidence in public schools might be not unlike the lack of confidence in Congress.  Nobody likes them, but everyone likes their own.  Not to say that all people like their public schools, but many do; that’s why they bought their houses in the vicinity.

Thomas Sowell said (via Conservatives on Fire):

Whatever the merits or demerits of the Obama immigration policy, his Executive Order is good only as long as he remains president, which may be only a matter of months after this year’s election.

People cannot plan their lives on the basis of laws that can suddenly appear, and then suddenly disappear, in less than a year. To come forward today and claim the protection of the Obama Executive Order is to declare publicly and officially that your parents entered the country illegally. How that may be viewed by some later administration is anybody’s guess.

I don’t think this “law” will disappear.  I mean, really, after granting this amnesty we will not take it away, particularly considering that some sort of legislature of this kind was coming.  It’s a particularly nasty way to grant it, but oh well.  Anyhow, Romney makes His Pitch to Hispanics.  I know Romney wants to stay on message, which is the economy, but it’s Obamster who put assault weapons into the hands of drug lords, the weapons that ended up killing Mexicans.  In a long run, “Hispanic” immigrants are yesterday’s news, and Republicans should be courting Asians since they seem to be the next wave of immigrants.

Obama Putin

Is that what happens when that *reset* button is hit?

A carnival of Obama fundraising ideas.

Obamanation Presidential guest edition.

Maggie, who’s blogging again, is telling me that the former Obama CBO director thinks voting should be mandatory.  In the Soviet Union we had something like a 99.9% participation rate with 99.9% voting for the one guy on the ballot.  Everyone just sort of went to the polls because that’s how it’s done, but my big sis, once she reached the voting age, didn’t much care for that.  She’s always been an apolitical kind, G-d bless her.  On the evening of the election day we had poll workers knocking on our door telling her to go vote because they are tired of waiting for her and want to go home.  After the poll workers made a few visits, and my grandparents were a bit freaked out, she made it to the polling place.

Most voter fraud probably goes undetected, but The Daley Gator has an instance, and a union boss is involved.

Guns don’t kill people, bodies of water do!

Warn your liberal friends: That $3 dinner with Barack can cost them hundreds in taxes (and that’s not counting the tax hikes we shall see if he gets his way).

September 7, 2011

Astroturf in Israel?

Filed under: Israel — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 7:34 pm

Turns out, huge demonstrations demanding cheap housing that recently shook Israel were organized by an American Democratic operative:

According to an investigative report by Maariv‘s Kalman Libeskind, the protests were engineered by a group of media strategists who are directed by prominent Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others. Greenberg directed the strategists to create a protest that was not led by one specific group, in order to create social ferment. An unnamed left-wing leader would eventually step into this ferment and take the reins, Greenberg predicted.

I suppose it’s not astroturf if grassroots show up, but I found those demonstrations puzzling.  You see, Israel’s economy is doing phenomenally well and the country is attracting Jewish youth from the English-speaking world:

Despite overwhelming odds, Israel has matured into an economic powerhouse boasting an ever-increasing GDP, strong currency, a lower unemployment rate than the US and the EU, and a rich and diverse culture. With all that Israel has to offer, Aliyah is increasingly becoming a normative lifestyle choice for recent college graduates and young professionals from western countries.
Young professionals in their twenties and thirties are faced with major life choices: What career path should I pursue? Should I attend graduate school? Should I date this person? These critical life decisions naturally tie into where one chooses to live. Will I find fulfillment in Manhattan or Toronto? Los Angeles or London? Such times of introspection inevitably lead to larger questions of how we define ourselves as individuals, as members of a community, and as Jews.
When studying the recent trends in Aliyah, it emerges that many young singles at this juncture in their lives are realizing that their future is in Israel. Since 2002, over 7,000 students and young professionals have made Aliyah from North America and the UK with the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh, bringing with them their skills, idealism and determination to contribute to a society that is at the forefront of global technology.

Seven thousand might not seem like a lot of people, but considering that a little shy of six million Jews live in Israel, and slightly less in the US, and not all of them are in their 20s and 30s, this is not a bad number.  I doubt young people from the developed world would be flocking to Israel if they thought they wouldn’t be able to make a good living there.

Israel’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low, at 5.7% this May, if you are wondering.  The long-term prospects are good thanks to highly educated, dynamic population and the prospect of developing natural resources.  Plus, Israeli society doesn’t have the structural problems that loom over other developed nations.  The total fertility rate for the Jewish women in Israel is 2.9 and rising.  The TFR for Muslim women is 3.7 and falling.

When Greece or the UK rioted, we knew it was about the looming end of welfare state.  Economically speaking things are looking up for Israel.  So why the demonstrations?

Israeli leftist organizations are funded from abroad, mainly the US.  They typically attack Israel on foreign policy issues, and are designed to deligitimize Israel in the global arena.  Foreign money was behind the libelous Goldstein report.  David P. Goldman argued that the protests are good news because they show that the country is united behind Bibi’s foreign policy, and the only way the left can think of attacking him is on the domestic front.  I hope he is right.  On the other hand, perhaps they are just diversifying.

Dear people of Israel, please don’t let the party responsible for the failed American policies select your next Prime Minister.

July 25, 2011

Will Jerusalem Be on the Map Two Years from Now?

Filed under: Israel — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:31 pm

This is not a post about the Iranian nuclear threat, which is doesn’t seize to remind of itself.  Quite a few Arabs in and around Jerusalem would like to see Israel wiped out, even at the price of their own lives.

Last week I re-posted a video about the language commonly used to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Historical Jewish place names are replaced with made-up Arab ones to advance political agenda.

The “International community” is all too eager to destroy if not Jewish people, then any memory of a Jewish presence anywhere in the world.  Legal Insurrection’s Mathew Knee writes about UNESCO editing Jews out of history, again:

A recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report on Arab contributions to science has declared Moses ben Maimon (also known as Maimonides or Rambam), generally considered the greatest of medieval Jewish philosophers and theologians (and incidentally, among the most prominent physicians of his day) to have been a Muslim named Moussa ben Maimoun.

In a few week’s time Fatah and Hamas will declare statehood.  There is probably going to be a war.  Israel will probably retain sovereignty of Jerusalem’s Old City.  Fatah and Hamas will continue laying claim to it, a claim that the “International community” will recognize.

Jerusalem picture

Global warming circa 2008: A rare picture of Jerusalem in snow.

Jerusalem has many names in many languages: it’s Zion, City of David and Salem, to name but a few.  It does have a historic Arab-Islamic name, Al-Quds, which Arab locals prefer, and on which, I’m sure, they will insist.  English speakers should not call the city by any name other than the historic English name because, well, it’s a historic English name.  We call Moscow Moscow, not Moskva, and we call Munich Munich, not Munchen. And, by the way, it’s Pakistan, not Pakeestan.

When new maps go into production, we might just end up with Al-Quds and West Jerusalem, which will make it a sad day in the history of civilization.

Just my uneducated guess.

June 21, 2011

Yelena Bonner, RIP

Filed under: Israel, politics, Russia — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 2:34 pm

Yelena Bonner was Soviet human rights activist and wife of Nobel Price laureate Andrei Sakhorov.  She passed away last Sunday, June 19th.  Mainstream obituaries highlight her heroic opposition to Soviet brutality:

Bonner’s life revolved around the political struggles that characterized the Soviet Union in the 20th century. She joined forces with Sakharov in the early 1970’s.

Bonner was born in 1923 in Turkmenistan into a family of prominent Communist Party officials, according to a biography posted on Harvard University’s website. Her father was killed in Stalin’s purges during the “Great Terror” of the late 1930s, and her mother was interned in a gulag for 10 years.

Bonner was twice wounded during World War II while serving as a nurse for the Soviet military. She became a physician after the war.

She married Sakharov, known for his work on the development of the atomic bomb for the Soviet Union, in 1972, according to the Andrei Sakharov Foundation website.

Following his work on the atomic bomb, Sakharov began publishing writings critical of Soviet politics.

Bonner followed Sakharov into exile in Gorky, in western Russia, in 1980. She was permitted to take trips to Moscow, which enabled her to smuggle Sakharov’s critical writings on the Soviet Union out of exile.

Bonner was convicted of “anti-Soviet agitation” in 1984 for smuggling Sakharov’s writings and lost her travel privileges to Moscow. She was confined to Gorky with her husband.

Mikhail Gorbachev ended Bonner and Sakharov’s exile in 1986 by inviting them to return to Moscow, according to the Andrei Sakharov Foundation.

Bonner, a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group in 1976, received the Rafto Prize in 1991 for her promotion of human rights in the former Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, according to the foundation.

What is said of her later years is either this:

She moved to the United States to be with her daughter after Sakharov’s death in 1989. She published at least four books on her life as a dissident, according to the Harvard website.

or this:

She never stopped speaking out about her country’s politics. In the 1990s, she sat on President Boris Yeltsin’s human rights commission until resigning to protest his military assault on Chechnya.

More recently, she challenged President Vladimir Putin’s human rights record. When a petition circulated in 2010 calling for Putin to step down, she was among the first to sign it.

Bonner was part Jewish, and kept her mother’s maiden name through her marriages.  She embraced her Jewish and Armenian heritage and Russian culture.  She identified with the Soviet refusnik movement of the 70s and 80s.  In her late years Bonner was a staunch supporter of Israel.  Here I turn to Israel Matzav:

Quoting Sakharov, Ms. Bonner reminded the 2009 Oslo Forum audience, “All wars that Israel has waged have been just, forced upon it by the irresponsibility of Arab leaders.” She expressed her “alarm because of the anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment growing throughout Europe.” Ms. Bonner also pleaded for the human rights movement to remember the plight of Gilad Shalit, asking her human rights colleagues why his fate doesn’t “trouble you in the same way as does the fate of the Guantanamo prisoners?…”

Were she a pro-Palestinian, Bonner would be the darling of Western intelligentsia.  Bonner was on the side of freedom in the defining conflicts of her age: she fought against Nazism and Communism, and spoke out against radical Islam.  A remarkable woman and a true hero, RIP.

Yelena Bonner

Yelena Bonner with husband Andrei Sakhorov

May 27, 2011

B****-Slapping Obama

Filed under: Israel, politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:37 am

Actually, I’m going to post a serious video about Israeli borders first.  It’s from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

And now, Gene Simmons of the Kiss doing the b-slapping referred to above:

H/t to Mr. Breitbart for both videos.

UPDATE: More of that b-slapping: Lech Walesa will not meet with Obama.  H/t Mr. Reynolds.

Also, Yelena’s early b-slapping of POTUS.

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