23 November 2014

Let's counter boycott the boycotters!

It occurred to me that there might just be a solution to the problem of the Boycott. Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement: counter boycott. Why not? There are lots of us wrinklies remembering how we boycotted South Africa (if you want a real apartheid, there's one you youngsters out there should study). We might not have had the effect that we desired, but, by heck, we sure felt better!

Further, these days, Jewish communities in the West, especially, actually do have some real economic clout. This autumn, for those of you who missed it, the UK (for United Kingdom) Jewish Film Festival was due to show some of its films in a cinema/theatre complex called the Tricycle. situated in North London, in an area noted more for its Irish and Afro-Caribbean "immigrants" than those of any other ethnicity. The Tricycle had shown films for the Festival in previous years, but this year, for some unknown reason, they demanded to view the films due to be screened in advance, with a clear implication of potential censorship. Fortunately, the UKJFF Executive flatly refused.

So, the Tricycle Chief Executive and Board scrutinised the Festival's sources of finance and alighted on a grant of £1400 ($2100, or NIS8400, both approximate) from the Israeli Embassy (clearly an Arts Grant from the Israeli - for the Brits reading this - the equivalent of one from the UK Arts Council: government money but administered independently). They demanded that the Festival return this and they would replace it, pound for pound. Naturally, the Festival rejected this out of hand and withdrew their films.

The reaction among the London Jewish literati was immediate: lots of us (my wife and I and all our friends on their mailing list, etc) immediately wrote to them, telling them to delete our addresses from their lists and that we would not be returning until they changed their policy. It is notable that a significant number of Jewish sponsors/donors also withdrew their support. The Tricycle reaction was almost immediate: they promised to reinstate the Festival next year (2015). However, none of us going back until the Tricycle makes good on its promise.

They must have had a nasty shock when they lost the support of a significant number of their sponsors and mailing list members.

They forgot that Jews, these days, are, in the Diaspora, collectively pretty Middle Class +, with a significant spend available for the arts and entertainment sector.

The point of this preamble is to note that the Zim Line has decided to stop attempting to unload cargoes in Long Beach, California, following problems with BDS demonstrators at the port (see this Times of Israel article for details). Despite the efforts of the port authorities to play down the problems, one of them, Lee Peterson stating that "“At the time,...it did not affect the longshore workers and operations continued”, and despite a spokesperson for Zim Lines (apparently, the 10th largest sea-borne freight carrier in the world) suggested that this situation wasn't necessarily permanent, it would appear that Zim Lines will unload elsewhere on the West coast of the US for as long as it takes.

So, all of us supporters of Israel have purchasing power: we can buy or not buy where we like. Perhaps we should be making sure we buy in stores, etc, that are prepared to stock Israeli goods (even if that's not what we're buying today), and avoid stores that support BDS.Capitalist principles of the bottom line and profit margin will soon take over!

By Brian Goldfarb.

Update: Commenter Larry Sheldon is absolutely right, saying:

You make an error if you fail to include the Christian communities that feel and act more strongly FOR Israel [than] some Jewish communities do.
Indeed, the same call applies to our Christian friends as well.

A NYT/Jodi Rudoren Equivalency - this revolting Olympian indifference of NYT

Another NYTimes (im)moral equivalency:

"More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below."
Now read the whole post by Yisrael Medad.

22 November 2014

On the benefits of higher education. Oh, and the fungi, the fungi

And no comments from me. Just enjoy.

But keep in mind that: Berkeley gas pumps to soon feature global warming warning stickers

Since I promised no comments on all of that, please don't count the following as a comment - just as an additional piece of the puzzle that helps to clear up the whole picture:

New mushroom species found on Berkeley's campus
Suffice to say, the place is no stranger to mushrooms.
Yeah... that will be all.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

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21 November 2014

That sweet, sweet taste of propaganda

This collage of three pictures or, rather, of one picture repeated three times, requires some translation work.

The leftmost one, coming from a Ukrainian source and written in Ukrainian, says that a Russian missile damaged the truck but didn't explode, adding that Russian forces continue to bombard the peaceful citizens of Donetsk.

The picture in the middle, by Russian TV this time, says that Ukrainian "chasteners" shoot at their own citizens.

And the rightmost one, coming (live, no less!) from Al Jazz... well, see for yourself.

How do you like them propaganda chickens?

Simon Jenkins, you win. Again.

 I was going to put here a few words about the new inanity by Mr Jenkins, published as usual in the Guardian and titled If Charles Manson has found love, surely that’s a good thing?. But somebody - Claire Berlinski in this case - has already written all I had to say, including the headline: Simon Jenkins, You Win. Here is what she (me too, me too!) says:
The only explanation for this column I can fathom is this one: Simon Jenkins placed a bet, probably a large one, that there is simply nothing — literally nothing — he can write so insane that The Guardian won’t publish it.
Upon second thought, I have added one word to Ms Berlinski's headline. Cause Simon Jenkins has done it quite a lot of times already and, undoubtedly, will do it in the future.

So there.

Our Weasel Of The Week!

Once again, It's time to present this week's statuette of shame, The Golden Weasel!!

Every Tuesday, the Council nominates some of the slimiest, most despicable characters in public life for some deed of evil, cowardice or corruption they’ve performed. Then we vote to single out one particular Weasel for special mention, to whom we award the statuette of shame, our special, 100% plastic Golden Weasel. This week's nominees were all slime-worthy,but in the end the winner was..the envelope please...

 House Minority Leader Nancy 'What VISA IPO?' Pelosi!!

  The Independent Sentinel :    Nancy Pelosi was so very weasley this past week.

“I do not believe what happened the other night is a wave,” Pelosi said about the election, she described it as “an ebb tide.”

She can say any dumb thing she wants because the imbeciles who vote for her will continue to vote for her no matter what she says.

She went into a crazed rant about sexism and ageism last week because CBS news reporter Nancy Cordes asked her if she gave any thought to stepping down as the leader.

After she was asked the question, Nancy said, “What was the day,” she replied to Cordes, “when any of you said to Mitch McConnell when they lost the Senate three times in a row . . . ‘Aren’t you getting a little old, Mitch? Shouldn’t you step aside?’ ”

It’s “interesting that, as a woman, to see how many times that question is asked of a woman and how many times that question is never asked of Mitch McConnell,” Pelosi added.

The rant continued: “I was never on the front of Time magazine even though I was the first woman — wasn’t that a curiosity? Then the Republicans win and [House Speaker John] Boehner’s on the front of Time magazine. Mitch McConnell wins, he’s on the front of Time magazine. . . . As a woman, it’s like, is there a message here?”

Best yet was her big lie about Jonathan Gruber.

She said she didn't know him but there is video of her referencing him in 2009.

Ah, good ol' Nancy. For an elderly politico confused about who won the 2014 midterms, she still manages to shock, offend, bamboozle and mislead with the best of 'em.

And her memory tricks! Remember when she swore she'd never been briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques and it turns out she was - in depth?


Congresswoman Pelosi has whole bunch of stories we could tell..her burying a swipe fees bill for VISA and her and her husband getting access to a special IPO as a reward that even a lot of stockbrokers didn't have access to, her conduct that would have been out and out treason during the Iraq War if congress had declared it, her non-union winery..and who can  forget her telling America that we had to pass Obama Care to find out what was in it! Even her recent shenanigans in denying a Democrat congresswoman who's unable to go to DC because she lost both legs in  Iraq and is heavily pregnant a  vote on committee assignments is weaselly beyond weaselly.... So think of this Weasel as more of a tribute to your long career rather than for just one bit of  prevarication! Enjoy, Leader Pelosi..it's all yours!

Well, there it is!

Check back next Tuesday to see who next week's nominees for Weasel of the Week are!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum, and  remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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20 November 2014

Western media on Jerusalem terror or Palestinian media on same: who is better?

Sometimes I think that we here in Israel pay too much attention to the skewed coverage the local events receive from the main Western media outlets. Sometimes it seems to me that we are harboring unreasonable expectations from a reasonable world that just doesn't care what our expectations are - and why should it?

Of course, the yesterday's (November 18, 2014 for the record) headlines and contents of some senior members of the media world were somewhat bewildering. Starting with the now famous CNN's first headline:

Clearly it was an unintentional gaffe, created by a poorly informed editor, who wouldn't know a mosque (or a synagogue) from Red Lobster.  But then came the second version:

Doesn't smell like an innocent gaffe anymore, does it? More like a deliberate... and then, again, came a change (or a new twist, if you will).

Looks almost like reporting on results of an especially frisky football game, quite multicultural, isn't it? And the usual CNN (and BBC) penchant of setting the words "terror attack" in quotation marks. OK, later CNN has corrected that one after a while, doing "justice" to the two Palestinian "martyrs".

Of course, CBC tried to outdo CNN on that day, with its fabulous entry:

Mm... still not quite up to its big bro, but showing promise.

BBC came with its own contribution, from a bit more sophisticated angle. Unfortunately I haven't saved the original, so the cached version from Yahoo UK will have to do:

As you can see, to serve their unshakable political beliefs, BBC folks moved the synagogue in question to East Jerusalem. Of course, for a reason: that way they could explain ("no, we do not justify or condone such acts, we only explain them") the murder as a spontaneous act of freedom fight.

Then comes the Guardian... yes, I know that placing the Guardian in the same league as the above mentioned senior members of the media world is a bit reaching. But the Guardian "methodology" deserves a separate mention:
The website of British newspaper The Guardian ran a story about the attack from Reuters. The wire dispatch the agency sent included the headline 'Palestinians kill four in Jerusalem synagogue attack' and led with the sentence: ''Two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and a gun killed four people in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before being shot dead by police…."
However The Guardian changed their headline to "Four worshippers killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue" and in their lead, they also excised any reference to Palestinians, publishing: "Two men armed with axes, knives and a pistol have killed four Israelis and wounded several others in a Jerusalem synagogue …"
The normally happily multicultural Guardian for some intangible reasons shuns the mention of the murdered and of the murderers' national identity. Ain't it strange?

The last but not the least in the litany of complaints about the intentional on unintentional slips of tongue and slips of finger is to be CBS (thanks to Peter that pointed to the following):
Introducing a report from Jerusalem, anchorwoman Nora O’Donnell says the following:
The two Palestinian attackers died in a shootout with police. It happened at a contested religious site in Jerusalem.
There is, of course, nothing “contested” about the Har Nof synagogue where the terror attack took place. Nor is there anything “contested” about Har Nof itself, a Jewish neighborhood in the western side of Jerusalem.
Well, looking at all of the above, the best way to summarize it was found by Francine Robin - "My tribute to CNN, that exemplar of accurate, unbiased, thoroughly investigative news journalism":

Quite. So let me offer a refreshing and straightforward alternative to all that double speak and the special, biased brand of political correctness of the Western media. Let's go to our cousins the Palestinians for a dose of fresh air. Here my Facebook friend, Dave McAvoy, explains the Palestinian TV clip (below):
This is the opening 40 seconds of a news report on Palestinian TV - this is the channel run and controlled by the Palestinian Authority - Mahmoud Abbas & Fatah.

This isn't Hamas' channel (Al Aqsa) or Jazeera, or Hizbullah's channel (Al Manar). This is the channel representing a side in these peace talks which Kerry & Obama are in a hurry to start. Again the thugs who went into a synagogue with meat cleavers and were killed by police are described as martyrs - martyrs of the 72 virgins go straight to paradise variety.

The language used here does not sound like that of a party which seriously wants peace or wants to reach any sort of agreement - and notice how it contrasts with what it says in English.

The news editors in this channel have to either run everything through the PA's Ministry of Information - or rather are told what to say by this ministry. No different to Syrian state TV news being dictated to by the Ministry of Information in Damascus. There is no editorial independence. None. This is as party line as it gets.

That, of course, a day after Mahmoud Abbas, the two-faced Palestinian "President" condemned the massacre. Now you know where to go if you want to get some undiluted, prime quality hate, unencumbered by the stale and smelly burqa of political correctness.

Now you know.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – The Man Who Would Be King Edition

Full edition here.

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

19 November 2014

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and the koala's heartbreak

What do you mean "he left"?!?
That was the Russian response to the rumors that Putin left the Brisbane’s G20 earlier than planned in a huff, because of the strong criticism leveled at him by other members of the forum.

As for why the koala figures in the story - a reminder:

Update: Some people have seen the reason for the early departure and recorded what they have seen:

Simply Che - a questionable one

No, not because we would really question that image (#22 in the collection, by the way):

Our Weasel Of The Week Nominees!


Hello and welcome to the Watcher's Council's 'Weasel Of The Week' nominations, where we award the famed golden plastic Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

 Here are this weeks' nominees...


House Minority Leader Nancy 'What VISA IPO?' Pelosi!!

 The Independent Sentinel :    Nancy Pelosi was so very weasley this past week.

“I do not believe what happened the other night is a wave,” Pelosi said about the election, she described it as “an ebb tide.”

18 November 2014

David Horovitz on the multiple murder in Jerusalem synagogue: some people should listen to this

David Horovitz at his considerable best:

Because the final thing that has to be put in writing, even on a horrible, evil day like this, when the fingers loathe the necessity to tap the keyboard, is that it’s not going to work. Palestinian terrorists, and those who incite them and support them, should know: We are not going to be shot and stabbed and bludgeoned out of here by your brutality and the false justifications you invoke to legitimate it.

We stood firm during year upon year of Second Intifada terrorism, when you were blowing up our buses, malls, restaurants and supermarkets, and pragmatism could have dictated that we do what the terrorism was designed to make us do: flee. We do not insist on maintaining our majority Jewish state to the exclusion of your rights. Anything but. We seek co-existence. But your rights cannot be achieved by denying us ours.

For this is the homeland of the Jewish nation, the only place we have ever been sovereign or sought sovereignty. And what needs writing and saying, most especially on a terrible day like today, is that we will not be driven from it.
No, it is not going to work.

Statement by the President on the Death of Peter Kassig: "least of all the Muslim faith"?

In this statement, where President Obama insists on calling Peter Kassig by his "adopted" name Abdul-Rahman, taken (or given, who knows now?) after the latter's conversion to Islam in ISIL captivity, there is a sentence that needs some digesting:

ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.
And no, I don't mean the "adopted as his own" part, false as it may be.

I would rather focus on that "ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith" part. Least of all?

"Least of all" still means "especially not" in the dictionary - I was forced to re-check to make sure.

Which means, in this case... WTF it means, really?

Assistance will be welcome.

Forum: What Direction Do You See The Democrats Going In 2016?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: What Direction Do You See The Democrats Going In 2016?

The Independent Sentinel : The entire party has been brought to the far-left. There are only far-left and those who obey the far-left.