sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

August 3, 2012

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Filed under: Bay Area politics, Israel, politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:40 pm

UPDATE: To clarify, the people on the photo below are not my family.  I took it from a newspaper.  I do not know a single individual in the picture, and they don’t know me, I’m pretty sure.  Please don’t have them.


A while ago I commented on pictures of Bay Area residents partying in Cuba that were appearing in a local paper under the heading “The Sun Shines Everywhere”.  I commented on the politics of local media:

Me and DH were talking about what goes on in that section.  I thought that perhaps Alameda Sun publishes just about any picture that readers care to send in because they can’t possibly have that many submissions.  DH suggested a way to test out that theory.  Next time we are in Israel, take a picture with IDF soldiers next to the Wailing Wall.  Send it in, see what happens.

But, hey, what do you know, this image comes from the latest issue:

The Sun Shines in Jerusalem, Israel

Caption reads “Michelle, Alex, Nathalie and Sam Koka recently attended a family wedding in Jerusalem, Israel. They then played tourist and visited the Old City. They didn’t forget to bring along the Alameda Sun.”

“Jerusalem, Israel”?  I mean, me and Mitt Romeny, we know that Jerusalem is in Israel, but the IOC doesn’t.  It could be an editorial oversight.  And the head of a certain avid letter writer is guaranteed to explode.

Speaking of Jerusalem, Israel.  American LGBT activists might be staging Chick-a-File make out sessions, but the Gay Pride parade in the Israeli capital was the model of propriety.


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).

April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Israel!

Filed under: Israel — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 12:34 pm

Israeli Independence day, Yom Ha’Atmaut, is April 26.  On this day we celebrate the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the modern Jewish state in Palestine in 1948.

CiF Watch has a link to a fascinating collection of posters commemorating Israel’s statehood that were released by Israel’s Ministry of Education every year starting 1949 (sans 1957).  Cif Watch posted the very moving (I think) inaugural image and comments:

[M]y favourite of all the many beautiful designs is the very first one from 1949 which carries a quotation from the Declaration of Independence that is just as relevant today as it was all those decades ago.

“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.”

קובץ:Israel 01 Independence Day 1949.jpg

In contrast with most other nations, that natural right still has to be defended and protected by Israelis.

I found the poster from last year intriguing:

Yom HaAtzmaut

Israeli Independence Day 2011

It’s a nesting doll of various Israeli memes.  The outermost doll is a builder, with Zionism being an ideology of building.  It’s nice that there are still people out there who after all these years still think of themselves as builders of civilization.  Most of us in the West prefer to deconstruct.  Then we have a businessman and a soldier as well as two undiscernable figures.  I love the fact that the smallest figure is that of a little boy because it speaks to the idea of generational continuity and the eternal life of the Jewish people.

I’m not into the quilty theme they had going in the 70s, but on the way out of the lost decade of style they produced a really nice image:

Yom HaAtzmaut

Independence Day 1979

I love the Jewish land theme coupled with a shining city upon a hill, and the Matisse meets folk art styling.  Another lovely one, reaching into the Jewish history:

Yom HaAtzmaut


This one was produced in 2002, on the height of the “Second Intifadah” when the terrorists were blowing up children at pizzerias and Holocaust survivors at Passover meals:

Yom HaAtzmaut

Yearning for peace

I remember seeing the image in papers at the time and thinking that Israelis are insane.

October 14, 2011

“Courageous” Prisoner Swaps

Filed under: Israel, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:17 am

It looks like after five years in Hamas captivity Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be finally coming home:

David Meidan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s pointman on the Schalit affair, is expected to travel to Cairo on Saturday night to work out the final details of the deal approved by the cabinet earlier this week.

Under the agreement, Israel will immediately release 450 male prisoners on a list of names drawn up with Hamas, and another 27 female prisoners, and then get Schalit in return. Israel will then free another 550 prisoners of its own choosing in two months.

Gilad Shalit

One can’t help suspecting that after the release of the first 477 jihadis Israelis will get a cold body.

Israeli/terrorist prisoner exchanges are notoriously lopsided.  Here’s wiki:

Over the last 30 years, Israel has released about 7,000 Palestinian prisoners to secure freedom for 19 Israelis and to retrieve the bodies of eight others. A number of diplomatic efforts have been made to secure the release of Israeli IDF personnel following their capture by enemy forces.

In 1985, Israel released 1,150 prisoners in exchange for three Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon. Then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin defended the deal. “When no military option exists,” he said, “there is no choice but to enter negotiations and pay a price.”

How about this 2004 swap with Hizbollah:

In exchange for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers, missing since October 2000, and one Israeli businessman, abducted in October 2000 under questionable circumstances, Israel released more than 430 Arab prisoners on January 29, 2004.

I remember reading comments in conservative chatrooms in the US at that time; some people thought that there was something wrong with the reporting because that can’t be true.  No; this is how it’s done in Israel.  Bodies of three IDF soldiers are worth more than 500 jihadis.  On the other hand, as long as prisoner exchanges exist, lopsided or not, more Israelis will be kidnapped.  That’s why countries like the UK don’t pay ransom.  Israel, on the other hand, will release terrorists who will, no doubt, go back to slaughtering people.

Hillary Clinton called the deal “courageous”.  That’s a novel concept.  There are good deals, and there are bad deals.  If a deal is “courageous” it  means it is not just bad but dangerous.

It must be very important to Israeli soldiers to know that they will not left behind.  It’s important for the nation created in the aftermath of the Holocaust to know that every one of them counts.  And no matter how a civilized government acts with respect to prisoner exchanges, it’s always a bit of a cold calculation.

Another thing to consider is that quite a few terrorists that will be released on Tuesday are alive because Israel doesn’t have capital punishment.  They need to return to it.  Masterminds of terror attacks on Israeli citizens should meet death in the hands of Israeli justice.  Plus, Israeli prisons will not accumulate reasons to kidnap IDF soldiers.

September 21, 2011

When Worse Is Better

Filed under: Israel, Middle East, politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 3:27 pm

If the Obama Administration is currently working overtime to prevent unilateral declaration of a second Palestinian state at the UN, it’s not because of  some mysterious outbreak of spontaneous philosemitism.  You see, Barack Hussein Obama cornered himself with the Jewish voters and donors.  So, now we have the spectacle of staunchly Democratic Jews abandoning the party at a faster rate than rest of the base, and the President must, must, must consolidate the base.

happier days of 2008

'Bamster surrounded by the schmucks (this post was crying out for Yiddish) in pre-low T days of 2008.

So, the President will throw this particular bone to the Jewish community, he’ll block Abbas’s statehood bid.  But look, in his speech before the UN he never referred to Israel as the Jewish state.  Never mind that he shouldn’t be talking about Israel at all, he should be talking about Iranians who claim that their weapons will soon be able to reach American shores.  Israel is a red herring.

Ironically, it’s not unimaginable that a more pro-Israel President would not block Abbas.  Think about Bush pressing Sharon on Gaza, which was done, in part, to placate the Arabs.  Sometimes worse is better, just not the way Lenin meant it.

In any event, a second Obama term would be disastrous for Israel because the President will not be bound by any kind domestic political calculations.  Something that 2/3 of American Jews who still maintain that they support Obama should consider.

UPDATE: Desmond Dekker’s Israelites came up on iTunes, which was rather appropriate:

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