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 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.

March 23, 2012

Free Speech Bay Area

Last night DH was looking over one of the two free local papers we still get delivered to our door.

“Is there anything I need to read?” I asked.

“Meh.  If you want to, you can check out the letter here about a “free speech” event for Jew-bashers.”

Under the heading Breaking Down Barriers I read the following:

For more than a year, visitors to the Saturday Alameda Farmer’s Market encounter bright orange traffic cones with notices proclaiming one small place at the very end of the vendor area a “Free Speech Zone” — all this fuss with signage and color that shouts “caution,” for one citizen’s effort to talk about matters of peace in Palestine and peace in the Middle East.

For those who desire to know more about the situation in Palestine, non-violent efforts to resist the military occupation and the international boycott; divestment and sanctions movement that is gaining steam around the world, I would like to extend an invitation to the Sabeel Conference tomorrow and Saturday, March 23 and 24, at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, 732 West Fremont Ave.

The conference will offer an opportunity to hear many voices of conscience — American, Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.

You won’t be put off by seeing “caution” cones or feel yourself restricted to talk “freely” in a small designated area. Instead you will be greeted with invitations to talk with people who live and work in Israel and in the Palestinian territories You will have the opportunity to learn to challenge the status quo, and act to promote freedom, justice and equality.

You might even find yourself challenged to hold onto this issue and join the ever growing call for peace in the Middle East here in the streets of Alameda! Additional information can be found at

— Paula Rainey

I’m curious about these orange cones: did I missed something entertaining a year ago?  Ms. Rainey is a local proponent of the boycott, divest, sanction effort currently in vogue with Israel’s enemies, and she did have an event planned at the Farmer’s Market at some point.

Not sure what boycott of and divestment from a besieged tiny nation has to do with  “peace in the Middle East” or “breaking down barriers,” if by barriers we mean barriers towards peace or at least  security, and not the defensive wall Israel had erected to protect her citizens from terrorists attacks in 2004.  Most of the said barrier is actually a fence, and it did effectively end the “Second Intifada”, or the wave of terror that swept Israel in the second half of the last decade following Yasser Arafat’s rejection of a generous Israeli land offer.  Those opposed to the Jewish state have been railing against Israel’s non-violent defense (which is what the said wall/fence has been since it was built).  The wall part of the construction is prominently pictured on the conference’s website.

The conference will feature a variety of speakers with consistent anti-Israel bias.  Who else signs on to promote the boycott of the sole democracy in the Middle East?  This event is being billed as some sort of an open mike.  Interesting that they feel censored, scary orange cones and what not, because there is another free speech twist.

In May 2010, the Turkish Islamist government sent a ship called Mavi Marmara, loaded with weapons and unusable medical supplies, to break the legal blockade Israel imposed on Gaza Strip in lieu of Hamas terrorists regularly firing rockets on Israel.  The IDF boarded the ship, were attacked and killed several armed crew members.  International outrage ensured as the media outlets the world over had the public convinced that Mavi Marmara was carrying peace activist with humanitarian aid.  Since it is Friday, here is the terrific Caroline Glick and Latma TV with “We Con the World,” a parody inspired by the incident:

Paula Rainy, who at least at one point was a member of the ultra-left Green Party, has long been obsessed with the Jewish State.  She was signing anti-Israel petitions as far back as 2001.  When, following the Mavi Marmara incident, lefties everywhere called for retaliatory boycotts of Israeli ships, Ms. Rainy participated in the East Bay Area efforts.  She wrote letters to local papers about the “historic achievement” of hers: together with her buddies she picketed a ship of Israeli Zim line, preventing it from docking in the Port of Oakland for 24 hours.

We read her letter in the Alameda Journal, another free local paper delivered unsolicited to virtually every household, and DH was pissed enough to write a response.  He did express some doubt before hitting that “send” button (“Basically, I am giving my name and address to every leftist organization in the country”), but mailed the letter.  Not surprisingly, Alameda Journal didn’t print it.

A week later we stopped receiving the paper at our door.  It is still delivered to all our neighbors as well as the empty, abandoned and foreclosed property in the vicinity.  Evidently, defense of Israel around here is beyond the Pale (pun intended).  Needles to say, the local papers and people writing letters to editors had no problem with Assad slaughtering his own people or the Muslim Brotherhood seizing power in Egypt.

Oh well, it could have been worse, we could be living in a real life people’s republic.

February 29, 2012

A Warning from Hillary?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:16 pm

Looking ever more grandmotherly, Hillary Clinton went to Tunisia and met with local youth.  One of them hurled a question:

Questioner: After the electoral campaign starts in the United States – it started some time ago – we noticed here in Tunisia that most of the candidates from the both sides run towards the Zionist lobbies [emphasis mine, ed.] to get their support in the States. And afterwards, once they are elected, they come to show their support for countries like Tunisia and Egypt for a common Tunisian or a common Arab citizen. How would you reassure and gain his trust again, once given the fact that you are supporting his enemy as well at the same time?

Clinton: Well, first, let me say, you will learn as your democracy develops that a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention. There are comments made that certainly don’t reflect the United States, don’t reflect our foreign policy, don’t reflect who we are as a people. I mean, if you go to the United States, you see mosques everywhere, you see Muslim Americans everywhere. That’s the fact. So I would not pay attention to the rhetoric. [Emphasis mine, ed.]

Secondly, I would say watch what President Obama says and does. He’s our president. He represents all of the United States, and he will be re-elected president, so I think that that will be a very clear signal to the entire world as to what our values are and what our president believes.

Thank you for fair warning Ms. Rodham-Clinton.  I’m also watching what Ron Paul says and does.  Having established a reputation for pandering to the Neo-Nazis, Paul is wasting no time forging alliances with Arab Jew-haters:

Ron Paul, who has consistently engaged in anti-Semitic nonsense over the course of the past few decades, has largely attempted to hide his anti-Semitism throughout his campaign. No longer. Ron Paul has issued this Arabic-language flyer outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan:

The flyer actually has two sides. The English side promotes Paul’s “Plan to Restore America” and touts his deficit cutting prowess and dislike of the Federal Reserve. The Arabic side, however – the side shown above – is far less subtle. It says that Paul will cut foreign aid, and specifically mentions only foreign aid to Israel as the target of cutting.

And that’s the point. Paul’s appeal to the Muslim community is strictly and completely based on his opposition to Israel. Paul’s anti-Semitism is well-documented; see his section on Zionism in Paul’s book Liberty Defined (better titled All The Weird Things Ron Paul Believes). His CYA maneuver, stating that he wants to cut all foreign aid, then determine to whom American should restore aid, is just that – a CYA maneuver. His real target is and always was Israel. I don’t see Ron Paul supporters handing out Hebrew flyers at my synagogue proclaiming his desire to cut off aid to Egypt, Libya, and the Palestinian Authority.

Via I Own the World.

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:

September 20, 2011

Debunking the Palestine Lie

Filed under: Israel, Middle East, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:06 pm

Terrific video on Arab-Israeli conflict, via Instapundit:

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.

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