Showing posts from September, 2007


In Israel the Masquerade Begins

The game is a masquerade. In the masquerade everyone dons their masks. The peasants may become lords and the lords, peasants. The sheep may dress as wolves and the wolves as sheep. The cowards will roar like lions and the traitors will puff out their chests like the noblest of patriots. The name of the masquerade is politics of course. Just in time for a major peace conference and a proposed laundry list of concessions that will move Israel one dangerous step closer to oblivion, Olmert and Barak suddenly appear to have found their cojones. Olmert approved an attack on Syria which if true, sounds as if it should rank among Israel's most daring operations. Barak meanwhile is busy playing the hawk, mustering out his most militant rhetoric, blustering that there is no Palestinian partner in peace... even as his own government prepares to make massive concessions to the terrorists. There is a reason why politicians hate extremists and why to a politician the worst curse word, the worst

Today's Churchill - the kind of leadership it will take to win

In 1920, as Secretary for War and Air, Churchill had responsibility for quelling the rebellion of Kurds and Arabs in British-occupied Iraq, which he achieved by authorising the use of poison gas. At the time he wrote, "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes" - The development of the battle tank was financed from naval research funds via the Landships Committee , and, although a decade later development of the battle tank would be seen as a stroke of genius, at the time it was seen as misappropriation of funds. The tank was deployed too early and in too few numbers, much to Churchill's annoyance. He wanted a fleet of tanks used to surprise the Germans under cover of smoke, and to open a large section of the trenches by crushing barbed wire and creating a breakthrough sector. In 1910, Churchill was promoted to Home Secretary , where he was to prove somewhat controversial. A famous photograph from the time shows the impetuous Churchill taking

Pre-Succos Roundup - Evil, Etrogim and the Saudi Lobby

If there is anything to be said for the mainstream media it's that New York based media organizations, that is the tabloids like the New York Post and the Daily News unleashed their hammer blows on that little man from Iran in a way that harkens back to the way the WW2 press treated Mussolini or Hitler. It was a refreshing reminder of what the American press can be and can do when the forces of political correctness and appeasement don't tie their hands. As a sample here's a Daily News article Grinning madman Ahmadinejad squirms at Columbia Unused to dissent at home, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad squirmed uncomfortably for some 90 minutes while trying to put a loving face on a message of hate. In a day of pure New York drama at Columbia University yesterday, Ahmadinejad expressed skepticism of the Holocaust, questioned "who truly was involved" in the Sept. 11 attacks, denied oppressing women and claimed there are no gays in Iran. Ahmadinejad also used his

Heter Mechira and the Problem of Unzer Yidden

All politics is local and in the splits among Frum Jews, the arguments are often very much local too. If there is one thing that explains the splits between sub-denominations of Torah Jews in Israel, it is that "Unzer Yidden", the interests of a specific community takes precedence over the feelings and needs and even physical survival of our brothers and even the land of Israel. That is why this will not be a popular post. Heter Mechira like Gush Katif is little more than another rehearsal of "Unzer Yidden". Had there been a large Haredi farming industry, we know full well that Heter Mechira would as accepted as the sale of Chametz. And conversely if there wasn't a large Religious Zionist farming industry, Heter Mechira might well not exist. That is the nature of the Halacha of convenience. The reality is that Heter Mechira is as legitimate as Heter Iska or the sale of Chametz on Pesach or Pruzbul or many other things I could name. The question to be asked of al

This is what Airport Security Without Profiling looks like

Says it in a single image doesn't it? Realistically which of these women is more likely to be plotting to hijack or blow up a United States jet? The one doing the examining or the one being examined? If this country was at all determined to exercise a sane response to the threat of Islamic terrorism, we wouldn't be seeing scenes like this. We certainly would not be seeing a security guard so religious she's wearing Muslim headgear working as security against Muslim terrorists. This is simply common sense. I would say the same exact thing if the terrorists we were looking for were devout Catholics and the security consisted of devout Catholics or if the terrorists were Orthodox Jews and your security consisted of a bunch of Chassidim. It is nothing short of insane and defies all sanity, logic and common sense. Instead we surrendered to political correctness and we surrendered to terrorism. The best explanation for the scene above is that the airport was trying to be sensitiv

Russian Journalist Investigating Russian Arms Transfers to the Middle-East Murdered

Ivan Safronov, a retired colonel and military correspondent for the Kommersant newspaper was murdered. Ivan Safronov had been investigating covert Russian arms shipments to Syria and Iran. He had been warned repeatedly by the authorities that there would be consequences if his investigation continued. Now he was murdered. Ivan Safronov is the 212th journalist to be murdered under Putin. The Putin regime is of course calling it a suicide and claiming that he jumped out of a window. On the floor the oranges he had just returned from buying still lay, untouched. Before his death Safronov had extensively reported on Russia's military push into the middle east, including the creation of a future base for the Black Fleet in Syria and the plan to base a permanent fleet in the area. This will include the addition of troops and air defense systems. Safronov had also extensively reported on the Putin's regime's plans for a new generation of missiles and nuclear weapons in its escalat

Friday Pre-Yom Kippur Roundup - From Israel to Rome to Repentance

In Israel the violence continues against the opposition with the arrests of Nadia Matar as well as Limor HarHamelech. Meanwhile Niso Shaham who was caught on video calling for the beating of unarmed and non-violent protesters has been approved by the Fatah Suprem... I mean Israel Supreme Court to become the Jerusalem District Chief. In the words of Supreme Court Judge Ayala Procaccia, "a candidate's failure in the line of the duty does not necessarily disqualify him from promotion on the count of breaching the public's trust. Public trust is a term that also recognizes penitence, asking forgiveness and seeking answers." Of course had Niso Shaham been responsible for attacks on Arabs rather than Jews, the same Supreme Court would of course have decided that he was quite unfit, regardless of whatever regrets he might have expressed. As a limited victory, the Supreme Court has agreed to bar David Edri, who trampled Yehuda Etzion, from dispersing demonstrators. Of cours

From the Far Flung Seas

The world was created in Tishrei, all of it from pole to pole and continent to continent, land and sea, mountain and sky formed in this month of Tishrei. On Rosh Hashana Adam and Chava were created and their descendants spread across the whole earth. This Rosh Hashana finds the men and women of the US army and navy and air force stationed across the world and those of whom are Jewish will be celebrating Rosh Hashana in all the scattered places across the world that they are, from the land to the sea and the wide oceans and even the air. From America to Europe and the Middle East and even the Pacific and asia where Jews traditionally have not gone. In the Pacific at the US bases in Japan and South Korea, from the US Navy's Yokosuka Naval Base to Okinawa, to Guam in the Philipines and Kobe in Japan, Rosh Hashana services will be taking places. Guam and Kobe have Jewish communities with their own services which personnel will be able to join. At the Yokosuka Naval Base and Marine Corp

Open Question: Anyone know a good Tzedakah that takes PayPal?

I prefer something in Eretz Yisrael, anything with Gush Katif refugees, Hevron, funding settlements, medical help, etc but if in general you know a good tzedakah that takes PayPal post it in comments or email me. Update: Thanks to everyone who emailed me or commented.

Lunar Craters of the Rishonim and Jewish Craters on the Moon

We go now briefly from contemplating earthly matters to looking up at the sky and contemplating heavenly ones. Not perhaps the distant heavens but our nearby neighbor, the moon. It is interesting to note that two Rishonim, R. Avraham Ibn Ezra and R. Levi Ben Gershon, the Ralbag both have lunar craters named after them. The Rabbi Levi Crater can be seen here, the result of an impact crater by a heavenly body whose brilliant impact produced a crater marking the surface of the moon for longer than human memory endures. Beyond being a brilliant scholar and innovative philosopher, the Ralbag or "Gersonides" was an astronomer responsible for inventing the Jacob's Staff, a tool used for centuries by sailing ships to navigate by the stars. In the dead of night I spread it out like a tent And a thousand stars pierce it with their gleams. Sitting inside, I see the moon and the Pleiades And on a good night, the great Orion himself R. Avraham Ibn Ezra The Ibn Ezra or Abenezra Crater

The Bloody Balance Sheet of War

More and more the media insists on repeating the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and emphasizing that more soldiers died in the War on Terror, than died during the attacks of September 11th. The message is meant to be that since more have died fighting the War on Terror, than died in the 9/11 attacks, that the War makes no sense. On December 7th 1941, over 2400 people were killed. The United States lost nearly 300,000 men in WW2. Over a 100 times as many. If the reason for either war was to even out a balance sheet, so that it only made sense for as long as we had taken less casualties than we did in the original attack, our part in WW2 would have ended after a few months. But it's the left's premise that is based on a fundamental incomprehension of war. The number of casualties you suffer in the opening attack are not the reason for the war. They are a wake up call that the enemy is here and the war has begun. The casualties of Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center occurre

Elul and September

I had made this video tribute two years ago. It did not come out quite the way I wanted it to but it does reflect my love of New York City. After 9/11 on approaching the heaped rubble of Ground Zero through deserted streets, past barricades through foul air, the pervasive sense of loss and desolation grew worse and in my mind I heard, "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav", the song that when composed reflected a divided Jerusalem, part held in enemy hands, a wall cutting through its heart. The loss of two cities, the images or rubble and deserted streets, of catastrophe hovering over all and a common enemy and a love for both cities are reflected here. Shana Tova and may there be an end to catastrophes for us all and may the reign of evil be broken on earth

Lessons from the Holocaust for 9/11:Memorials Don't Matter, Only Actions Do

It has been six years and as the clock ticks and the calendar pages turn, 9/11 has come around again. With the new millennium, September has become the cruelest month. A month of remembrance. But what do we really remember? Six years ago 9/11 was the genesis of a national transformation, Americans uniting as one people, courage was the order of the day and the same virtues that had characterized America's greatest moments were on displays. And then most of us went to sleep again. And now the memorials will come again. But memorialization is often more about us than it is about those we remember. Monuments like tombstones, services and candle holding are coping strategies to help us deal with our grief. They are important to help the living deal with their pain but commemoration does not create meaning or address the real aftermath of 9/11. They are only ways to contain and limit the pain. There were two types of memorials built in the aftermath of the Holocaust. One type is the kin

Congressman Jerrold Nadler is a Fat Terrorist Supporting Bastard

This was Congressman Jerrold Nadler , the Waddler. Technically the congressman representing downtown Manhattan and his own ass. A few years ago, probably fearing that at some point his girth would keep him out of Congress as a security risk in case he exploded, he had liposuction. But like the portrait of Dorian Gray, Nadler may have lost weight but his head is as fat as ever. Recently Nadler, whose main contribution to congressional life, has been treating the Capitol Hill cafeteria as an all you can eat buffet and the halls of Congress as a human hog, soliciting as much pork as he could for his business pals, has been doing his part for the Hillary for President campaign. “Nine-eleven was an act of war,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said as Mrs. Clinton stood by, head bobbing. “The villains aren’t the terrorists,” Mr. Nadler continued. “The villains live in the White House.” (New York Times) I think it's great that Nadler the Hut finally feels free to o

Putting Our Actions Where Our Prayers Lie

In the summer now and in the Selichos recitations leading up to Rosh Hashana, we mourn the loss of the temple. Yet when the remains of the temple are being destroyed before our very eyes, what do we do? Where are the massive protests and the rallies? The gay parade, as abominable as that was, seemed to excite far more outrage than a desecration of the temple itself. If the outrage was truly over the kedusha of Yerushalayim, then where are the massive protests now from the Haredi world or from any other? Instead it seems the religious communities are each preoccupied with their own issues, from settlements to religious affairs budgets. Each community fights for its own but all the religious communities are not prepared to rally together to fight even for the remains of the Bayit. And if they are not prepared to do unify even around that, then why pray expecting it to be rebuilt? The symptom of the disease is a complete lack of unity. We are not a nation. If we were then no force on eart

Another Friday Afternoon Roundup - New Years, Curses, Paganism, Flying Cars and The Irish

Anyone following the news, in America, in Israel, in Europe and the rest of the world as we approach Rosh Hashanah, the new year, cannot help but think of that prayer which asks, That the year and its curses be ended. Certainly as we approach a new year, we can see many curses that we hope will be ended, from Olmert to Osama. Even as Israel is pressured to continue negotiating for the disposition of the Arab terrorists and the Arab refugees, Israel is creating its own refugees, from Gaza and from Sderot where the rockets continue to fall and to kill. Thus let us pray that this year and its many curses be ended and a new year of blessings come. Meanwhile enjoy this video of the X-Hawk, a flying car being designed in Israel. May it soar along with the fortunes of a civilized world that dares to build skyscrapers rising to the sky, flying cars that take off and that aspires and creates in the face of those who would destroy it and grind the human race into the dirt of Mecca. Meanwhile in

Only Belief Can Save Israel

For much of its limited existence the State of Israel faced a struggle between two competing ideologies embodied in Israel's two major political parties, Labor and Likud, Socialist Zionism vs Revisionist Zionism. Socialist Zionism saw Socialism as the only possible system for mankind. Socialist Zionists broke with most Socialist and Communist Jews who believed that Jews had to assimilate and participate in building socialism in their individual countries, realizing that Jews could never be full partners in building socialism in someone else's country. Having seen the anti-semitism on the left, they instead chose to build a Jewish nation to serve as a Jewish socialist homeland. Socialist Zionism did not and does not see Jews or Israel as unique. Israel for them was only a means for Jews to participate in a larger growing union of socialist nations and peoples. That kind of thinking still motives men like Shimon Peres today. It is why Labor is so willing to make concessions under

Dear Tiny Minority of Extremists

Dear Tiny Minority of Extremists, I realize this letter comes to you at a bad time but let's face reality, every time for you is a bad time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. I don't think the Ottoman Empire is coming back especially because if Turkey joins the EU it will be forced to enact socialism and provide equal rights to homosexuals, eliminating any reason for the existence of an Ottoman Empire. Right now your current plans to create a World Islamic Empire or Caliphate have run into a little snag, the little snag being that you all hate each other. So far your war against the Great Satan has turned into Wahhabis killing Shiites and Sunnis who don't agree with them. Sunnis killing Wahhabis and Shiites. Shiites killing everyone who isn't a Shiite. Kurds killing Arabs. Persians killing Arabs. Fatah and Hamas killing each other. Iran threatening Bahrain. Turkey and Pakistan on the verge of civil war. If our governments had any sense they'd just get out of the

The Corruption in Israel is Rising and the Clock is Ticking

As the rockets from Olmert's retreat from Gaza continue to slam into Sderot, the government has finally decided to do something about the problem. No, not the problem of the shelling of Sderot from Gaza but the problem of Mayor Eli Moyal who has served as the outspoken voice of Sderot, refusing evacuation plans and repeatedly demanding that the government do something about the situation. The latest step involved a plan by the residents of Sderot to head to Yerushalayim and to hold classes on the Knesset lawn. After delaying for over a year, the government finally took swift action. Detectives descended on Sderot's city hall accompanied by the National Fraud Squad and the Tax Authority to investigate charges of corruption. Eli Moyal has voluntarily suspended himself and declared his innocence. That of course did not help fellow Likud Sefardi politician, Moshe Katsav. At least Olmert's people aren't bothering to accuse Eli Moyal of rape, even they know a cliche when they

Criticism of Israel Isn't Antisemitic, Antisemitic Criticism of Israel is Antisemitic

As the situation in Israel has worsened, accusations of Antisemitism and accusations that criticism of Israel is being muzzled with claims of Antisemitism have been thrown around like a football. Critics hostile to Israel claim that they are being muzzled. Pro-Israel activists reply that the claim of being muzzled is itself intended to silence the debate by treating retorts from the Pro-Israel side as illegitimate acts of persecution. Out of all that tangled mess, let's get back to basics. No one is of course perfect. No country is perfect. There isn't any person or any government or any country that is immune to criticism or doesn't deserve to be criticized. I've criticized the Israeli government extensively myself. So where do we draw the line between legitimate criticism and bigotry? For one thing fairness is a dead giveaway. Someone who leads a crusade against crime is an activist. Someone who constantly reports and focuses only on crimes by a particular race, is a

Time for Bill Moyers to Go

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives over 350 million dollars annually, money lifted from taxpayers, to fund the programs primarily of the Public Broadcasting Service. Unlike the BBC in England which taxes individual television set owners to fund itself, the "PBS tax" is applied invisibly as part of the Federal budget. Even those who not watch PBS or TV are nevertheless paying the price for it. Aside from its children's programming, PBS stations were known for producing very little of interest airing primarily obscure documentaries, airings of classic music and ballet and imported British dramas and comedies. Its news features were primarily bland as emphasized by the McNeil Lehrer news hour, an hour long newscast so grey and devoid of character it was nearly impossible to actually pay attention to. PBS of course suffered from an inevitable liberal bias and a liberal agenda but in its news features it was a classic bias that ran between the lines of print rath