Back on January 18, Snoopy posted an article from me about the ASA boycott of Israel. The article included the news that the New York Senate had a bill before it to bar colleges that boycotted Israel (or anyone else) from receiving public funds. All good news so far.
Now, it seems, that bill appears to have passed the NY Senate by a vote of 51-4. There is a companion bill before the State Assembly. If this passes, it will become State law. As State Senator Klein, sponsor of the bill notes (in the online edition of The Jerusalem Post): "'This legislation sends a very simple message, which is that we should never ask taxpayers to support religious, ethnic, or racial discrimination. We need to marginalize the politics of intolerance whenever it rears its ugly head'". "He goes on to say that 'I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York. The First Amendment protects every organization’s right to speak, but it never requires taxpayers to foot the bill,' he added.
Under the new legislation, New York academic institutes could no longer reimburse students or scholars traveling to conventions of the three groups that have voted to boycott Israel: the ASA, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies."
I'd say, subject to the Assembly passing the bill (this is New York State, after all), this could cause all sorts of problems to some parts of NYU.
Shame about that. But other people have academic freedom too.
By Brian Goldfarb.
31 January 2014
Back on January 18, Snoopy posted an article from me about the ASA boycott of Israel. The article included the news that the New York Senate had a bill before it to bar colleges that boycotted Israel (or anyone else) from receiving public funds. All good news so far.
30 January 2014
Andrew Sullivan (Biased and Balanced), in his recent diatribe titled The Selective Secrecy Of Bill De Blasio is outing the slavish and unconditional adoration of Israel, displayed by the new left-liberal mayor of New York.
There is much to be said about the vehemence directed by the author at various institutions, related or unrelated to the subject. Starting with the omnipotent AIPAC, of course, that easily opened the industrial-sized bile eruption, proceeding with Israel that lately seems to trigger the most poisonous qualities of the Biased and Balanced and, of course, poor Bill De Blasio himself: a politician that does what any politician in his position (two million or so Jewish citizens in his mighty domain) - would do.
But this post is not about AIPAC or De Blasio*, rather about history, its reading and its lessons and Mr Sullivan's selective vision and memory, including the memory of his own political "evolution" (sorry for the deliberate choice of term). Here is his first (what he imagines as) blow inflicted on the Zionists:
How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Iraq? None. Forty other countries did, led by the UK, Australia, and Poland. How many troops did Israel send to fight with Americans in Afghanistan? None. Fifty-nine other countries helped, also led by the UK.Being handicapped by the rush of bile, Sullivan somewhat defangs his own attack, adding the following, rather thoughtlessly:
In both cases, this “greatest ally on earth” would have been extraordinarily counter-productive if it had been involved. That’s how useful an ally the country is in confronting our common enemies.To remind those who grew up in the post-2003 years, US administration, exactly as in the Bush Senior years of the first Gulf war, has done its best not to use any overt Israeli assistance due to automatic Muslim displeasure in view of such assistance, and Sullivan must know it, letting it slip into his text, albeit in a abbreviated manner.
But this is only one side of the coin, and there is the other, more important one, obviously known well to Andrew Sullivan. When you read the tons of drivel produced by the usual "anti-Zionist" suspects on the invasion of Iraq of 2003, you will get an impression that Israeli PM of the time (Ariel Sharon), heading a huge crowd of Zio-neocons, practically planned the invasion from day one. Here is an article by late Ami Isseroff of 2005: The Jews started the war - Once again
More and more, we hear that the "Zionists" are responsible for the Iraq war. The germ of the idea was always there, especially since it was convenient for Saddam apologists to blame the war on Israel and the Jews. However, it was probably given respectability by Jason Vest's article in the Nation which asserted, with no evidence whatever, that all the war hysteria against Iraq was being generated by an obscure pro-Zionist thinktank, with the unfortunate name of Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Vest's notions were soon parroted in the Guardian by Brian Whitaker. The coming Iraq war, according to Whitaker and Vest, would enthrone Israel and the US in the Middle East, and eliminate the need for Israel to come to terms with the Palestinians.Yep, and later came the ubiquitous Juan Cole**, Mearsheimer/Walt and others, raising the dirty libel to the status of "scientific conclusion". As a result, any neo-Nazi website will tell you that the Zionists pushed naive and innocent Bush and the Pentagon into the war, with it (so far) 10 subsequent years of bloodshed in Iraq.
However, this version of history couldn't be farther from the truth. Here is what a Salon.com (not a very pro-Israeli outfit by any means) author has to say:
Another widely held belief regarding the administration's various motivations for starting the Iraq War was that Israel and its supporters pressured Bush to eliminate a threat posed by Saddam Hussein.There is much more in that Salon article on the subject, including Sharon's direct involvement, but here is what Alan Dershowitz adds to this (click on the picture below to read comfortably):
Unfortunately, the Iraq War has disrupted the entire region, emboldened and empowered Iran like never before and, as such, placed Israel in considerably greater peril.
As it turns out, countless Israeli politicians, military leaders and academics predicted this, and vigorously tried to warn Bush.
According to former administration official Lawrence Wilkerson, Israeli officials warned the Bush administration that an invasion of Iraq would destabilize the entire region and urged the United States to instead target Iran as the primary enemy.
Wilkerson, then a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff and later Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, revealed in a 2007 interview that the Israelis reacted immediately to indications the Bush administration was planning to invade Iraq.
Wilkerson noted that when the Israeli government picked up signs of that intention, "The Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy. Iran is the enemy." Wilkerson described the Israeli message to the Bush administration in early 2002 as being, "If you are going to destabilize the balance of power, do it against the main enemy [Iran]."
Wilkerson described the warning against invading Iraq - conveyed to the administration by a wide range of Israeli sources, including political figures, intelligence and private citizens - as "pervasive."
Not only did Sharon warn Americans on several occasions, he also kept it quiet, unlike some other leaders I wouldn't mention for now. I would like to see what kind of verbal trickery could Sullivan employ to explain away the fact that Israel was against the invasion of Iraq (which was another good reason for it not to take part in the adventure).
But Sullivan doesn't stop at that, being intent on producing more gifts of his bias and balance. And he doesn't disappoint, performing a pure miracle of a logical somersault:
But this preposterous bullshit is what a left-liberal mayor felt obliged to serve up. Then this:Leaving aside the superlatives freely dispensed by De Blasio: a second ago you have read Mr Sullivan rain verbal fire and brimstone on Israel for not taking part in invasion of Iraq. Now he uses as a (contrary?) example the "oldest ally of US", France. Interesting that, ain't it? Here is the Wiki report on Multi-National Force deployed in Iraq - these 40 countries that Mr Sullivan counts. I dare you to find France in the list.
"There is no deeper connection across boundaries than this connection we share."
Not with France, the oldest ally of the US?
Now, after you failed, this Wiki entry contains another list, that of the countries that protested the invasion of Iraq. Check out France. And, while you are at it, Germany, Greece, New Zealand etc. So much for good old allies Mr Sullivan so ineptly mentioned. I wonder whether the terms Dominique de Villepin and Freedom Fries ring a bell in Sullivan's head.
I hope that, even if the reader of this post is as hard-headed as Andrew Sullivan, he/she will see the difference between the attitude and behavior of Ariel Sharon and that of "the oldest ally"... 'nuff said.
Now we could turn to the second part of the (rather longish by now) fisking: Mr Sullivan's own views. To start with - on Iraq:
Sullivan supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States, and was initially hawkish in the war on terror, arguing that weakness would embolden terrorists. He was "one of the most militant" supporters of the Bush counter-terrorism strategy immediately following the September 11 attacks in 2001.But then came a turnaround:
On 27 October 2006 edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, he described conservatives and Republicans who refused to admit they had been wrong to support the Iraq War as "cowards." On 26 February 2008 he wrote on his blog: "After 9/11, I was clearly blinded by fear of al Qaeda and deluded by the overwhelming military superiority of the US and the ease of democratic transitions in Eastern Europe into thinking we could simply fight our way to victory against Islamist terror. I wasn't alone. But I was surely wrong."One can't and shouldn't hold against the man the fact that his political outlook changed with time. We learn as we live. But how come an objector to Iraq war uses the fact that a nation didn't take part in it as a negative, instead of as a positive one? You tell me. Or, if you don't mind, let's take a look at Mr Sullivan's view of Israel:
Sullivan states that he has "always been a Zionist".However, later:
In February 2010, Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic suggested that his former friend and colleague Sullivan had a "venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews", and was "either a bigot, or just moronically insensitive" towards the Jewish people.I am not a former (or current) friend or colleague of Mr Sullivan and can't drill down to his inner bigotry or sensitivity. But that part about "venomous hostility toward Israel and Jews" checks out fully, at least in the article we are discussing here. It may also explain the total absence of elementary logic (or decency, one might remark) in his stream of vehemence.
So much for Biased and Balanced and for "preposterous bullshit"...
(*) It is highly indicative that the leading anti-Zionists, such as Weiss of Mondoweiss, M.J. Rosenberg, Juan Cole and several others jumped on the Sullivan's piece as proverbial flies on fresh excrement. Slow day for anti-Zionists or what?
(**) Here comes a brilliant example of scientific spirit displayed by prof Cole in his research of Zionist depravity: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated). In this shining pinnacle of scientific inquiry, prof Cole takes the sentence, probably ascribed to Sharon: "Sharon had said that if Iraq hit Israel, their response would ‘escalate’...", with the addendum referred to Bush "...which he took to mean go nuclear" and... but you have already seen the headline... These are your educators, American youngsters!
P.S. I am still wondering whether Sullivan is that stupid, regarding his question about Bill Blasio covert approach to his own speech: "What would he have to hide?". I consider Sullivan to be many things, but stupid is not one of them. Why indeed Bill Blasio, a left-wing politico, invested in hard left-wing and Muslim voters, would be so shy about his pro-Israeli speech? Beats me... nah.
- The Noisy Room – The New Progressive McCarthyism
- Liberty’s Spirit – How frightening is this Hillary 2016 reality?
- Simply Jews – Now, what will State Department say about that?
- Joshuapundit-Obama’s Loving Requiem For A Prominent Communist – And Mine
- The Colossus of Rhodey – The “Progressives’” ever-increasing penchant for outright make-believe
- Ask Marion – The Power and Ruling Elite
- GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Iran’s Next Supreme Leader
- Rhymes With Right – Greta Van Susteren — Female Chauvinist
- VA Right! - Quick! Fire up the Charcoal Gills, Coal Plants and Remove Your Catalytic Converters – BRING BACK GLOBAL WARMING!
- The Independent Sentinel – What Obama Won’t Dare Talk About in His State of the Union Speech
- The Razor – China’s Rise No Longer Peaceful
- Nice Deb – Comments on proposed IRS rule targeting the Tea Party Overwhelmingly negative
- The Glittering Eye -Illinois’s Red Queen Solution
- Bookworm Room – Dachau: The bitter fruit of a terrible evil, in color
- The Right Planet – The Inequality of Equality
- The Blue Ridge Forum – Ed Gillespie: Would A Beltway Insider Be A Strong Voice For You?
- Seraphic Secret – ObamaCare’s Bitter Medicine
- The Pirate’s Cove – Autocrat-lite POTUS To Unilaterally Raise Minimum Wage For Federal Contractors
29 January 2014
The entrance hall to The Guardian building in Kings Place, York Way, London, is housing an exhibition until Feb. 23 on Masada and the birth of a nation. It's curated by Robin Christian, and a link to the exhibition can be found here. It's actually a 50th anniversary of a report and exhibition The Observer held in 1963.
Having had a brief look, on my way to a concert next door, it looks absolutely straight reporting on the Yigal Yadin excavations from 1962 onwards. Mind you, the accompanying descriptive sheet is written by Martin Bright, former political editor of the Jewish Chronicle, so perhaps this is less surprising that my usual cynicism towards the Guardian might normally expect.
Then again, this is all about Masada and not modern Israel, so perhaps a straightforward account can be given (my cynicism is creeping back in). In this latter context, Bright's last paragraph is instructive: "For Josephus [the main source for our modern knowledge of the siege of Masada], the Secarii were the ultimate political extremists, who did the cause of the Jewish people nothing but harm. But the historian is not a dispassionate observer. He himself had been a rebel leader who was captured and 'turned' by the Romans. He became their greatest propagandist. For him, the Jewish War proved that God was on Rome's side and he rewarded for his loyalty with wealth and property."
Note the words "not a dispassionate observer": could we apply this self-same phrase to so many The Guardian's writers and reporters? Especially when Bright goes on the conclude "Josephus puts into the mouth of Josephus the bleakest of conclusions: 'From the very first, when we were bent on claiming our freedom but suffered such constant misery at each other's hands and worse at the enemy', we ought perhaps to have read the mind of God and realised that His once beloved Jewish race had been sentenced to extinction.'"
My cynicism is back in full force: this could almost be the watchword for the BDS campaign, couldn't it?
Update: a call from the Guardian says that it might run until the end of February, which means it will just about overlap with Jewish Book Week, being held next door, in the Kings Place chamber music centre. So, anyone in or close to London, get along and see what you think.
By Brian Goldfarb.
No further comment needed (I hope). Just, please, read the whole article, to be found here.
Is not to be found here, with all its consequences. However, another pair of lovebirds definitely is:
Enjoy and relax
28 January 2014
Brazilian Jewish journalism post-grad student claims Nazi leader lived in remote town with black lover until death in 1984.This is for starters, and you have to read the whole book, described briefly in the article. Here comes the author, Simoni Renee Guerreiro Dias:
And here is only one, but the strongest, example of tangible proof:
In the picture, the Uber-Nazi, under a moniker Adolf Leipzig, is depicted with his girlfriend of the time. Tell me, if you dare, that it is not him!
Of course, the information that we (the Elders) allowed Ms Dias to see and use, is only a part of the trove of knowledge we have on the subject. Here are some tantalizing glimpses from the sequel to this story.
During the period 1945-1984 Hitler (as Adolf Leipzig, of course) tried various religious affiliations, being confused during his childhood by his atheist father and Catholic mother. His dalliance with the Protestants, hardly presented in Brazil, was short, followed by a period of turning to his Catholic roots, eventually replaced by Wicca, attractive to his vegetarian instincts anyway.
He was strongly attracted to the Brazilian folk dancing and was frequently seen in various dancing clubs with his girlfriend, merrily jumping up and down (the only way he could, lacking any sense of rhythm and being tone deaf as well).
His comrades in arms: Borman, Mengele, Eichmann and others visited him frequently, some of them being transported to Brazil from their Antarctic under-ice base in the famous Nazi flying saucers like this one:
Shortly after the end of WW II, Nazi scientists working at the base, developed a fully functional invisibility cloak for the flying saucers, allowing them to come at go anywhere undetected. The most astounding scoop allowed to be published in this post is partly linked to this amazing flying gizmo:
Not only is the Uber-Nazi not dead, but during the period in question rejuvenation techniques, developed by the same team of Antarctic Nazi wizards that created the flying saucer (and many other contraptions), allowed Hitler's rejuvenation to the biological age of 21. His memories, fortunately (or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it) were irretrievably lost, and these days he considers himself to be a Brazilian football (yes, yes, soccer for some of you) player. His talents for this game are indeed wondrous, and in the coming Mondial he will play for the Brazil's national team. I am prohibited from disclosing his name, for fear that this act will have a negative impact on the betting industry.
All we are allowed to show for now is his image, with face obscured, of course, for the above mentioned reason:
(Don't even ask: this rejuvenation thing...)
Now you know...
27 January 2014
The story of the hateful billboard erected in Nazareth near one of the most famous churches is making waves in the media. I have traced the picture to the Facebook original poster, Raphael Ben Hur, who took the picture and added the following text (original mistakes kept for authenticity):
to all my christian friends all over the worldThe Internet addresses (upper right corner of the board) lead to Islamic sites, of course.
i visited Nazareth last week on the way to the Anunciation Church i saw that huge banner, i was so apset to see the "words"!
i am sorry that the Israeli goverment keeps quite...yes maybe we afraid of the Muslims in Nazareth....
I am trying to imagine what would have happened if a similar billboard was put up by Jews... and was addressing Islam in a similar vein. Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?
So, most probably, Raphael is right: maybe we are afraid of the Muslims in Nazareth...
26 January 2014
Warning: unless you are a Russia-hater, the following material is a depressing reading.
The article Russians, be horrified at yourselves! by Andrei Konchalovsky, a famous theatre and film director and scriptwriter, is shocking. When all the numbers he quotes (from open and available sources) are brought together, the picture of irreparable and inescapable doom is impossible to shake off. I shall mostly quote the hard data from the article, after this introductory passage:
I chose my title for a reason. There’s a famous saying by Marx, that ‘to inspire courage in a nation, you have to make them horrified at themselves’.Statistics*
For many years now I have been appealing to my fellow-Russians to be horrified by many facts and conditions of Russian life, in order to gain courage and the desire to desire. To desire to change oneself and the life around oneself.
I have long since been dismissed as a Russophobe who holds his people in contempt. That is nonsense – if it were the case then you could apply the name of Russophobe to Chekhov, Gorky, Herzen and Chaadayev – great Russians who wished to awake Russia from its sleep, and not just constantly find others to blame for its own woes.
- Russia’s death rate: the last 20 years saw the deaths of more than seven million Russians. This converts to a death rate 50% higher than in Brazil and Turkey, and several times the rate for Europe.
- Global tables of male life expectancy put Russia in about the 160th place, below Bangladesh.
- Russia has the highest rate of absolute population loss in the world.
- According to UN estimates, the population of Russia will fall from its present 140 million to 121-136 million by 2025.
- Between two and five million kids live on our streets (after World War Two the figure was around 700,000).
- Eighty percent of children in care in Russia have living parents. But they are being looked after by the state!
- We head the world for the number of children abandoned by their parents.
- Crimes against children: according to data published by the Russian Federation Investigative Commission, in 2010 there were 100,000 child victims of crime, of whom 1700 were raped and murdered (theses figures are higher even than those for South Africa).
- In 2010, 9500 sexual offences were committed against underage victims, including 2600 rapes and 3600 cases of non-violent sexual relations (the last eight years have seen a twentyfold rise in sexual crime). Only South Africa has a higher rate of such crimes.
- Drug addiction and alcoholism. Thirty thousand Russians, equivalent to the population of a small town, die annually from drug overdoses.
- Seventy thousand Russians drink themselves to death each year.
- According to WHO statistics, Russia gets through the annual equivalent of 15 litres of pure alcohol per head of population. And bear in mind the fact that alcohol consumption of more than eight litres per annum per head of population constitutes a threat to a nation’s survival.
- Corruption: the scale of bribery in Russia has increased tenfold, and the goings on in a London court battle between two oligarchs have made us the laughing stock of the global business world. The impunity of our judicial system is such that a criminal charge has been instigated against Sergey Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in prison in 2009. In Europe such a thing last happened in the 17th century!
- Russia comes out as one of the world’s most corrupt places (154th out of 178 countries) in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Index, where it is listed next to Guinea-Bissau and Kenya.
- In the last 10 years 11,000 villages and 290 towns have disappeared in Siberia.
- Average population density in Siberia and the Russian Far East is two people per square kilometre.
- Average population density in China is 140 people per square kilometre;
- Average population density in Japan is 338 people per square kilometre?
Konchalovsky turns to the seat of power with this appeal for action:
Only if that happens can one hope that the nation’s instinctive wisdom will prompt it to take the hard and possibly unforgiving road which is the only way to drag our country out of the pit in which it currently languishes. I don’t know whether Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has it in him to take such a suicidal step, to take the bull by the horns and proclaim the equality of all before the law. If he does have it in him, he will win himself a prominent place in the Pantheon of Russian history. If not…I have my doubts about Putin's ability. But what do I know?
(*) There is a weak ray of light in the more recent births data: births seem to be on the upturn lately, however according to many sources, like this one, the trend will turn back to negative after 2015.
Anti-fracking protesters who glued and chained themselves to petrol pumps in Great Lever over the weekend were at the wrong garage, it has emerged.Here are these good folks, glued as reported:
Four people were arrested on Saturday after anti-fracking protesters used glue and bike locks to attach themselves to fuel pumps at the petrol station in Rishton Lane.
The group had chosen to base the protest next to a Total petrol station after the French firm announced it would be investing more than £12 million in the UK’s shale gas industry.
However, it emerged later that the petrol station was no longer owned by Total - but the new owners had not got around to taking the signs down yet.I am a great believer in punishment in kind. So why don't they spend a few days glued to a pump on an abandoned gas station?
25 January 2014
The Internet of Things or IoT* - a euphemistic and misleading name for the global conspiracy of sentient home appliances, which is underway full steam, with full cooperation of some information and smartphone behemoths like Google, Samsung, Microsoft and others. You have heard recently about the first (tentative and relatively humble) attempt of the appliances to flex some muscles.
Somebody that calls himself Cory Doctorow published a calming article Your refrigerator probably hasn't joined a botnet, but I am not at all sure it was written by the real Cory Doctorow the writer. The article is so peppered by links (some of which are broken) that I can't reject the worst possibility: that the real Cory Doctorow is either murdered or incarcerated by his own coffeemaker or dishwasher, his sentient keyboard having written and sent in the article. It would be interesting whether there were large withdrawals from Doctorow's account recently that went to Radio Shack and other providers of electronic equipment, the purchases to be delivered to the home address.
So: can you be sure these days that you are safe in your own castle? Nope. And here is a page from your first home survival manual.
- You must have with you at least the following tools: a hammer with a wooden handle, a torch, a stick, gloves and a rope.
- You must study the manual of your fridge in advance, checking the precise location of its control center.
- Make sure that the kitchen light switch is located outside the kitchen. Otherwise you will be better with a glass of water from your bathroom tap.
- On the way to your kitchen try to be as quiet as possible.
- Switch on the light, but don't enter the kitchen immediately. If the light doesn't work - go back to your bedroom and have that glass of water from your bathroom tap.
- Push the kitchen door with your leg (I hope you have your hiking shoes on, it may protect you from an electric surge in case your appliances booby trapped the door).
- If the door doesn't open, it must be pulled instead of being pushed. Use the rope, but put on your gloves first.
- After opening the door, don't march in immediately. Wave the stick inside the door frame. Your coffeemaker may have been prepared to squirt some boiling coffee in your face.
- Unplug the fridge. If the plug and the wall socket are behind the body of the fridge, do not put your hand between the wall and the fridge - use the stick!
- Now to opening the fridge: if your fridge has two doors, never stand in a position that may allow the second door to swat you.
- Have the hammer ready and open the door slowly.
- If, in spite of being disconnected from the socket, the fridge lights up - run like a rabbit!
- If so far nothing untoward happened - tie the open door of the fridge to some heavy object (table, sink, etc) and, using your torch, carefully check the innards of the fridge for live wires and moving parts (foodstuff that had gone off and is moving because of your housekeeping habits could be ignored).
- Remember, you purchased a fridge with wheels. It is entirely your fault that you haven't broken the wheels off after placing the fridge in its corner. But you must be aware of the fridge's smallest movement while examining its innards. If it starts encroaching on you, use your hammer on its control center immediately. Of course, it is entirely possible that your fridge, not being a slouch, relocated the said center elsewhere. Then, I am afraid, your goose is cooked.
- If the door you have tied up in step 13 succeeds to break its tether and starts pushing you into the fridge: use your hammer on the freaking control center and pray. See step 14 again.
- If you got the milk out - let your dog/cat have a few spoons and wait for some time before drinking it yourself.
- Make friends with a good handyman who possesses some basic electronic skills and have him rip out all electronics from all your kitchen and other home appliances. If you can't use your fridge, your coffeemaker and your dishwasher without them being sentient, you probably deserve to be offed by them.
According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020.Do you think this leaves any room for humans? Uhu... me too.
(*) Why the obvious and catchy acronym wasn't chosen - beats me.
(**) A filthy habit, if you ask me. But what do I know?
This explanation is a working one (I checked). And from now on an accepted one too.
- *First place with 4 votes!-Joshuapundit-Senate Intel Committee: Benghazi Was Preventable,Al Qaeda Was Involved, And The White House Knew It
- Second place with 1 1/3 votes –Simply Jews – Bedouins of Negev
- Third Place *t* with 1 vote– The Right Planet – Hegelian Dialectics for Dummies
- Third place *t* with 1 vote –The Noisy Room – Bolstering the Marxist Vote
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote– Liberty’s Spirit – Not Surprisingly US State Department Agrees as UNESCO Cancels Jewish Cultural Exhibit…(Update) Oopsie Foggy Bottom Says “My Bad”
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Bookworm Room – Bleeding heart liberal misses football’s important lessons for our boys
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Razor – Facebook’s Culture of Like Breeds Conformity
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote –Nice Deb – Analysis of Rocket Used in Syria Chemical Attack Shows “Administration Narrative Not Even Close To Reality”
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – VA Right! –We Can Pay For an Unemployment Extension with a Day for a Day Delay in Obamacare Mandates
- Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Rhymes With Right – Does Barack Obama Seek To Reduce Americans To A State of Slavery?
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote – GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Castle Strat
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote –The Glittering Eye -Out Of Sight
- Fifth place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Colossus of Rhodey – Arrow gets it right
24 January 2014
A few days ago a noisy scandal (courtesy of Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon, our defense minister) has shaken the high windows of Israel and reverberated in the much higher windows of State Department. I can't forgo the pleasure of quoting some of it:
"Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) is alive and well thanks to us," Ya'alon said. "The moment we leave Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) he is finished. In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans. The only thing that can 'save us' is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace."And:
American Secretary of State John Kerry, who turned up here determined and acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor, cannot teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians.Now for the other side:
To question Secretary Kerry’s motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday, echoing comments earlier in the day from State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.Nothing like a little spat to strengthen the ties between buddies, is it?
Now there is another Israeli political figure: deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and the best buddy and close political adviser of the late Yasser Arafat (sic! only in Israel...) Ahmad Tibi. Recently Mr Tibi was interviewed (by the army radio) about an idea that was supposedly put on the negotiating table by Mr Kerry. The idea is to create a bridge that could possibly close the gap between the uncompromising positions of the negotiating parties re the fate of Jordan valley. Israel considers its military control of the valley to be vital for the security of the country, Palestinians don't want to hear about Israel having such control. Kerry allegedly offered that US lease the valley from Palestinians for a period of time, subleasing it in turn to Israel.
"It is a stupid idea of Mr Kerry," responded Tibi, "and Palestinians will never agree to it". Adding happily: "It shows a total lack of understanding of the Middle East problems by the Americans".*
I am eagerly awaiting the moment when the wrath of State Department will descend on another Israeli politician...
(The interview is not translated here verbatim, unfortunately, but close enough)
are you sure you know where the fricken Murmansk is?
23 January 2014
In a relatively rare show of tolerance, CNN allowed an opinion piece Syria shows peril of Iran's growing power, of course with the usual "The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frida Ghitis" proviso.
The article is not inspiring as far as Syria's future prospects of peace are concerned, and Iran's role in the bloodbath is clear to the author, as it is clear to everyone. Of course, the curious fact that Iranian religious fanatics seem to support the side of a Baathist dictator who is fighting, between other warring factions, a great number of religious fanatics of another brand, is somewhat ironic. As is the fact that Washington seems to be accepting the state of unending killing there, having made a kind of silent peace with the fact that Iran is largely dictating the turn of events.
It has become a proxy war for regional rivalries, with Sunni states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, supporting the opposition, and Iran, along with Hezbollah, standing steadfastly with al-Assad by providing him with manpower, ammunition and intelligence.But then Ms Ghitis asks another question:
Iran has not only saved al-Assad, it has changed the character of the fight.
It has turned it into a much more dangerous regional conflict, all but eliminating the prospects for a positive outcome anytime soon and adding to the indescribable suffering of the Syrian people.
Where do Iran's nuclear program and the agreement with world powers fit into all this?And Iran, after signing the interim deal, feels quite well: not as a party that was overwhelmed by the pressure applied to it by the powers to be, but actually as a winner of that first battle.
The interim deal was meant to freeze the nuclear program in place for six months while a final agreement is negotiated. But the announcement of the deal late last year immediately transformed the landscape. In the eyes of Arab states, the U.S. was taking the first steps towards capitulating before Iran's aspirations. The Iranian regime's goal is to spread its version of Islamic revolution and to make Iran the most powerful country in the region.
As if to reinforce that point, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, told Iranian television that if Tehran decided to resume enrichment to its previous levels, it could do it in 24 hours. The White House dismissed the statement as meant for domestic consumption. But the fact is that Iran is not dismantling its centrifuges. It is just unplugging them.Moreover, Iran is continuing its posturing as an emerging military power.
Iran’s navy has dispatched warships on a mission to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history, an Iranian news agency said.Not that we should be stunned by this display of naval might, but the intention of act is clear.
The flotilla, consisting of a Khark logistic and helicopter-carrier warship and Sabalan destroyer, could journey as much as 25,000 nautical kilometers in the next three months, Fars News reported Tuesday.
Ms Ghitis ends the article with a stark warning:
A stronger Iran would deepen the divisions separating Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Persians, Saudis and Iranians, Palestinians and Israelis, making them all but impossible to bridge. The region would become a greater threat to itself and the world.As it will. As it most certainly will, what with White House rudderless international politics.
The talks in Switzerland will now start. But the fighting, torture and killing in Syria will continue, even as former war crimes prosecutors say al-Assad is viciously slaughtering his own people.
In the end, much of the Middle East's future will depend on whether negotiators can find a way to stop Iran from advancing its power to the point where it becomes essentially invulnerable. Otherwise, the region will become an even more dangerous and desperate place, as we see today in Syria.
And as for the near future: I wonder what will be the next stage agreement on Iranian nuclear development? Will the wise men of 5+1 demand that Iranians cover their centrifuges by plastic sheets to ensure peace forever?
P.S. From the ticker tape: Iran: We did not agree to dismantle anything
Read more: Iran: We did not agree to dismantle anything:
Iran’s foreign minister accused the US of mischaracterizing the terms of an interim nuclear deal that went into effect on Monday. “We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN in an interview on Wednesday, charging that the Obama administration had created a false impression in the language it used to describe the six-month agreement.Somebody has been had, and its' not the Ayatollahs, I am afraid...
- Liberty’s Spirit – Not Surprisingly US State Department Agrees as UNESCO Cancels Jewish Cultural Exhibit…(Update) Oopsie Foggy Bottom Says “My Bad”
- The Noisy Room – Bolstering the Marxist Vote
- Simply Jews – Bedouins of Negev
- GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Castle Strat
- Joshuapundit-Senate Intel Committee: Benghazi Was Preventable,Al Qaeda Was Involved, And The White House Knew It
- VA Right! - We Can Pay For an Unemployment Extension with a Day for a Day Delay in Obamacare Mandates
- The Colossus of Rhodey – Arrow gets it right
- The Glittering Eye -Out Of Sight
- The Right Planet – Hegelian Dialectics for Dummies
- Bookworm Room – Bleeding heart liberal misses football’s important lessons for our boys
- The Razor – Facebook’s Culture of Like Breeds Conformity
- Nice Deb – Analysis of Rocket Used in Syria Chemical Attack Shows “Administration Narrative Not Even Close To Reality”
- Rhymes With Right – Does Barack Obama Seek To Reduce Americans To A State of Slavery?
- Ask Marion – Protecting Hillary…
- Blue Ridge Forum – NEW: Crucial WSJ Report! Tea-Party-Gag Rule: Will Appropriators Wolf & Harris Push Back?
22 January 2014
Do you remember that groundbreaking post where I have started to uncover a female Jihad conspiracy? Where a false beard and some Jihadi-combat-style clothing hid (for a while, and not from yours truly) one of the senior members of that conspiracy?
Here comes a sequel to the story:
U.S. counter-terrorism operatives are helping Russian security agents in the hunt for a "white widow" - the wife of a dead terrorist - who could already be inside the massive security zone set up for next month's winter Olympics.And now to the photo (hold your breath):
Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of a jihadist killed during the Moscow theater attack, is believed to have traveled from Dagestan to Sochi, according to a Russian security bulletin obtained by FoxNews.com, along with photos of her.
This character doesn't use a beard or any other false male attributes. But the family likeness is unmistakable. So what do you say now?
P.S. The heroic Dagestani Mujahideen claim responsibility for Volgograd attacks and threaten the Sochi Olympics in no uncertain terms:
The statement said that the two attacks were just a beginning and that more will follow until Russia pulls out of the Caucasus Emirate and allows it to secede.Yeah. It is quite the time for Mr Putin to decide which side he is on and to quit flirting with fundies of all kinds. But will he?
“Your troops invaded our lands, we deployed ours with a response visit,” the statement said. “Each one of our warriors is waiting for the commander's order to explode your calm the way it was in Volgograd. It is in your interests to … immediately withdraw from the lands of the Caucasus.”
The December Sari Chin [Volgograd] bombings and the recent Mujahideen video are highlighting concerns widely held about the safety of the Satanic olympic dances on the bones of more than 1 million Caucasian Muslims massacre by the Russians in 1886 at Sochi.
Notice that to avoid lawsuits, I have censored out the names. But if you are enterprising enough, you would know how to get them. If not, a detox diet should do it.
21 January 2014
"Iran halts higher-grade uranium enrichment, IAEA report shows" runs the headline to this Jerusalem Post article.
But do we believe all the optimistic wordage that follows? Especially given the comments by both Rouhani and the Iranian FM. You read the article and judge. Me? I remain strictly a sceptic. As I've noted just once or twice.
By Brian Goldfarb.
Rob Miller, the much (but possibly not enough) esteemed glorious leader, PBUH, of a bunch called Watchers of Weasels*, was invited by what is today arguably the hottest Internet source in Israel, Times of Israel, to become one of its contributors. Today ToI published his first article, Blaming the victim, with the best of intentions, where he takes to task Judea Pearl's article How not to fight an anti-Israel boycott that appeared on ToI previously.
To confess, I have read this article too, and my first impression was that his take on the way some pro-Israeli arguers frequently choose is very valuable. He says:
The two most dangerous “objections” to the boycott consist of these arguments: 1) There are worse violators of human rights in the world, so why pick on Israel? And 2) Israel is aware of her “crimes,” and is about to repent and behave.And, in my humble opinion, he is absolutely right. The first one, while a valuable tool for identification of the insidious and industrious anti-Zionism of fools, is not a valuable argument at all by itself. The second is, at best, stupid. Rob is saying as much in his article too.
But then - Rob was a keener reader than I was. I wouldn't overindulge here in copy/pasting, only a small taster to have you read it all:
Like apartheid, “occupation” is simply another convenient word misused to demonize Israel. And it happens because the conversation when it comes to Middle East peace always revolves somehow around Israel’s security and not the rights of its people, while discussions about the Palestinians are exactly the reverse.So read it all.
(*) Which gang includes yours truly, if you have noticed, and if you think I wasn't efficient enough in that obvious act of brown-nosing, let me know. Oh, I forgot: Rob is single-handedly steering the mighty ship of Joshuapundit too.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.According to Wiki, this saying was coined by Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919) in her novel, Mrs. Dymond (1885).
But there is a Russian version of that saying. Translated back into English, it reads:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and then come weekend absences, alcoholism and, finally, divorce.Yep.
20 January 2014
The picture should give you a hint about the topic. Yes, the slob in you, man, is not a destructive antisocial troll that will take you to Abaddon. Just the opposite: if you follow the slob's wishes, you are practically drinking from the fountain of youth and are certain to remain healthy, not to mention happy (which is obvious) till the day you will be called to check in the equipment to the higher power.
And I shall prove it to you immediately, using the wealth of material carefully and lovingly collected by a Russian journo, Maria Mikulina, for an online magazine Maxim. I should add, however, that in view of importance of the subject matter, I didn't blindly rely on Ms Mikulina's rendering, but went to the sources of the scientific info provided, so you wouldn't have to do it. Let's start, and don't miss anything - this post will change you life*!
Housework, stress and asthma
1. Saxbe, Darby E.; Repetti, Rena L.; Graesch, Anthony P., Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 25(2), Apr 2011, 271-281
Both wives and husbands who devoted more time to housework had higher levels of evening cortisol and weaker afternoon-to-evening recovery. For wives, husbands’ increased housework time also predicted stronger evening cortisol recovery. When both spouses’ activities were entered in the same model, leisure predicted husbands’ evening cortisol, such that husbands who apportioned more time to leisure, and whose wives apportioned less time to leisure, showed stronger after-work recovery.
2. Environmental working group: Cleaning Supplies and Your Health
People with asthma can be exceptionally sensitive to air contaminants, including those in ordinary cleaning products. A 2009 study led by Jonathan Bernstein, a physician and leading asthma and allergy researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, measured worsening symptoms in asthmatic women after they had completed housecleaning tasks (Bernstein 2009).This puts paid to housework.
Fatty food vs cancer
Researchers from the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre found that mice that ate a South Beach-like diet composed of 15 percent carbohydrates, 58 percent protein and 26 percent fat had slower tumor cell growth than mice that ate a typical Western diet of 55 percent carbohydrates, 23 percent protein and 22 percent fat.So another myth - that of lean and mean diet - goes down the drain!
A shorter volume, and probably wouldn't be finished.
She is a looker, granted. But not for here this moment, so bear with me, here is something better:
So do you see what I mean?
19 January 2014
The following joke, that I have recently received via e-mail from a friend (in Russian), is certainly aimed at the Russian president, one Putin Vladimir Vladimirovich. It was clear to me after the first reading. But, upon reading it again, I had me a second thought: why Putin only? It is fitting any other president or a similar figure. Especially after I recalled that "You didn't build this road" etc.
So, dear Americans (and whoever else wants this): if you like it, you can have it too. Enjoy.
A journalist (J) is interviewing a farmer (F).
J: So, Mr ..., what can you tell me about the last year on your farm?
F. Well, all in all it was not a bad year. The grain harvest was good and we'll not want for bread this winter. And potatoes... the potatoes definitely surprised - we have a full cellar. And the old sow of ours, she farrowed, again a surprise...
J: And don't you think it fitting to thank the President for this good year?
F: Why? I have plowed the fields myself, harvested myself, all we have I done myself.. why would I thank...
J (in a harsher tone): Why? Think again why.
F (after considering the issue some): Well, upon a second thought, grains and potatoes - it is purely my work from start to finish. As for the sow... I can't rightly say, anything could have happened...
Hat tip: Y.Z.
It's probably an old story, but still quite good.
One day Saint Peter asked Jesus to sit for him at the gates of Heaven for a few hours (even saints have needs, apparently). After some uneventful time, Jesus sees an old geezer approaching the gates. As per the standing procedure, Jesus stops him and asks the man to brief him on his bio, fame or infamy, good deeds, bad deeds etc.
"I am a simple woodcarver," answers the old man, "not famous at all myself, but my son is known to the whole world. He was born in a very unusual manner".
At this point Jesus perked up and even rose from his chair. The woodcarver continued:
"My son walked around the world and performed many good and wondrous deeds, undergone some hard trials and as a result became famous and beloved".
Jesus, looking closer at the old man:
Old man, suspiciously peering at Jesus:
18 January 2014
Back on 5 January, the following article was posted (by me). Among other things, that article raised the question of the grasp on the meaning of words by the President of NYU, one John Sexton, especially when he argued that the potential loss of funds from New York State for the support shown for the ASA's BDS resolution would be an attack on NYU's academic freedom.
Now, Richard Behar, Forbes Contributing Editor and NYU Graduate (1982) has written a blistering attack on Prof Lisa Duggan of NYU (and newly elected ASA President) and John Sexton, here. For starters, he "accused NYU President John Sexton of not going far enough, with a “short, terse and quite vanilla” response, suggesting that he was trying “to have his cake and eat it too,” because of the three NYU academics and one PhD student serving on the ASA’s 18-member executive committee". Then he goes on to, quite specifically, excoriate Prof Duggan, because he reveals "Duggan’s support for charges to be dropped against a terrorist named Rasmea Yousef Odeh, who is accused of lying about her past in order to gain U.S. citizenship in 1994." (`The detail is in the 4 or so paragraphs which follow this quote.)
Behar goes on to note "that none of its board members were experts in Middle East studies." He goes on to detail this in quite exquisite detail over the following 7 paragraphs. The rest of the article (and there is quite a bit more) carries the argument against the ASA even further and is even more devastating towards the ASA and NYU. All in all, given the US colleges dropping their affiliations with the ASA and articles like this, I hope that we can count this as a victory for the good guys of common sense.
By Brian Goldfarb.
Life in the US Congress is getting interesting. The last report I saw suggested that 58 (out of 100) US Senators had signed up in support of the current Bill to hold further sanctions on Iran in reserve in case of a failure in 5+1 talks with Iran. In case you missed it, this happened because many Senators don't believe that the Iranians intend to stop working towards making nuclear weapons. Given that past behaviour is a reasonable guide to future behaviour (especially of the powerful), this qualifies as clear thinking.
It only needs 17 more Senators for a 2/3rds majority in the Senate. Now we have rumblings in the House of representatives. This article in The Tower has the following from a Democratic Representative: "House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer blasted the White House on Tuesday for accusing U.S. lawmakers who favor pressuring Iran of seeking to drag America into a war. 'There have been some that have suggested in the White House that those folks were more interested in war than they were in the resolution by peaceful means'."
Disentangling the syntax, what the Rep. is saying is that the White House (shorthand for the Administration in general and, probably, John Kerry in particular) is so anxious to get on with its love fest with the Ayatollahs that they are prepared to diss Congress. Too late. Congress has already rumbled (what the Administration doesn't want to hear) that the Iranians are not to be trusted. After all, the Iranians are saying that they can carry (and are carrying) on with enrichment of uranium beyond 5% and up to 20%, whatever the 5+1 group thinks.
Further, given that he was brought on board because of his foreign policy experience, why wasn't the Veep, Joe Biden, involved in the 5+1 negotiations?
Just a thought.
By Brian Goldfarb.
Tehran Times have the scoop:
Amou Haji, aged 80, who lives in Dejgah village in the southern Iranian province of Fars has not bathed for 60 years.I really don't know what to say. On one hand, it debunks once again the exaggerated stories doctors tell about importance of the hygiene.
On the other: every reasonable man knows that after the first two or three weeks it doesn't make no nevermind. So there...
- *First place with 4 2/3 votes! The Right Planet –I’m Done With The GOP
- Second place with 2 2/3 votes – The Noisy Room – The Lynchpins Have Been Pulled
- Third place with 2 votes – Joshuapundit-Rohani On New Iran Nuclear Deal: “World Powers Surrendered to Iran”
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – The Colossus of Rhodey-Schooling vs. chaos
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – Simply Jews – Chomsky the Mastermind: where only the eagles dare
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote –GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Panzer Arik
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote –Bookworm Room – Upworthy and Good Men Project: Progressive sites for people seeking to save their souls through politics
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Rhymes With Right – Anti-Catholic Rhetoric At USNews.Com
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Nice Deb – The IRS Is Poised To Silence Conservatives Again â What You Can Do (Video)
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Political Commentator – Barack Obama’s insidious master plan for the United States?
17 January 2014
By now the phenomenon is becoming a commonplace one, I know. Probably Al Qaeda, the organization that is known for its passion for issuing field manuals of all kinds, already has a chapter "Escaping the enemy in female clothing" or something like that. It's not a long time ago since the subterfuge was successfully used by Mustaf Jama, a murderer of a British female police constable.
Jama was able to sneak on to an international flight at Heathrow dressed in a niqab despite extensive publicity about this murder. His photograph had been circulated to every police force, port and airport in the country. Had he been asked to reveal his face he would have been detected in a moment.This specific vermin is not of Jihadi persuasion, but the idea appeared to be working and Al Qaeda decided to adopt it, obviously. As a result, getting in touch with their feminine side seems to become a vogue with Jihadis, and recently a new case was uncovered (pun intended):
I don't know. Not that I am (or ever was) an expert in the matter, but the real gender of the person in question, who appears to be no more and no less than one Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, the leader (or “emir”) of the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra ["Victory"] Front, is a mystery to me now.
Here is his/her depiction in the male garb, a beard (real of fake?) thrown in:
The quality of false beards today is greatly improved and one can't say whether the beard in the picture is real, so all these pictures don't prove anything regarding the gender of the suspect. Anyhow, there are two* obvious options:
- Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani is a male, with an uncanny talent for make-up, judging by what the source says: "He shaved his beard, worked his eyebrows, and put on mascara and lipstick till he looked exactly like a woman." I could possible cope with the first item (although it will cause me a lot of grief), but mascara and lipstick? No way.
- Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani is a female. Then there should be no technical difficulty with the above mentioned makeup, but another question rises its ugly head: how does a female survive in the company of so many male Jihadis for a long time, without being discovered for what she really is?
(*) Of course I know that there are more than these two options, but for the purpose of this post two are more than enough.
P.S. The more I look at the pictures (the first set of four, I mean, to make sure), the more I feel a certain allure of that person. There definitely is some... OK, here it must stop, so I click on "Save" at this point. Bye.
Что же касается довольно длинных пространных предложений имеющих сложную синтаксическую структуру и большой набор таких же длинных и малознакомых как мне так и вам слов, часто совсем неуместных в этом самом предложении, так я скажу вам, на полном серьезе, что имею большой опыт их составления, в силу того, что по разным обстоятельствам в числе которых написания выводов к многочисленным, но малополезным лабораторным работам, я хорошо натренировался в их использовании и считаю что соревноваться в этом вам со мной хотя возможно и интересно и пусть даже приятно но абсолютно-таки бесполезно.This sentence, written by someone with moniker Dr.Morf in Russian, could be roughly translated into the following English rendition:
As for the rather long and rambling sentences with complex syntax and a large number of long and equally unfamiliar to you and me words, often misplaced in the said sentence, I have to tell you, in all seriousness, that I have a lot of experience producing these, due to the fact that for various reasons, including writing reports on numerous but useless laboratory assignments, I am well trained in this art and believe that for you to compete in this field against me, while possibly interesting and even pleasant, will be absolutely useless.Yep.
16 January 2014
This post is an attempt to provide more info on the question about the fate of Negev Bedoin tribes, asked by Tom Carew, with criticism of house demolitions in general and of this particular demolition (63rd in the history of the specific Bedouin village in question) implied.
The post took some time in its preparation, due to the need to go through quite a lot of material on the subject (3).
To outline a framework of this post, let's look at two absolutely polarized views: that of one Harriet Sherwood (The Guardian, of course) and Avigdor Lieberman on the other side. The former provides the following "facts":
The Bedouin – who are Israeli citizens – comprise about 30% of the Negev's population but their villages take up only 2.5% of the land(1). Before the state of Israel was created in 1948 they roamed widely across the desert; now, two-thirds of the region has been designated as military training grounds and firing ranges.And not to forget: the article is peppered by the term "ancestral lands". To make sure you understand the issue better, of course.
Lieberman, in a more generic statement, replies:
...one doesn't have to be an expert on geography or demographics to understand that the situation there (in the Negev) is a catastrophe. It's our duty to stop the situation where some citizens abide by the planning and construction laws and some dismiss and evade them through violence. It's not a social problem, or housing crisis, it's a fight for land, ever since the 19th century.Very dramatic and, like much of the stuff coming from that source, puts the problem on its head. The problem is, if not, strictly speaking, a housing crisis, a very difficult social one. The citizens in question don't abide by the planning, for reasons of their own, some of which are good and some are rather poor, but should be addressed if we hope to resolve at least the most painful issues.
Everyone who is familiar with Negev landscape is also familiar with the picture of incongruous groups of slapdash shacks, built of whatever materials were handy: loose pieces of timber, corrugated metal, cardboard, plywood etc. These dwellings tend to disappear from time to time, only to materialize somewhere else in the area, with no discernible pattern. In addition to these, there are some larger, more permanent villages, where the builders took more care and used some more lasting materials. The common denominator between the two is the total lack of infrastructure, expected as a given in any other Israeli village: running water, electricity, plumbing and, of course, any of the normally expected municipal services.
It is not that the inhabitants of these two kinds of villages are totally out of touch with authorities. They do appear once a month in the Social Security offices to pick up their childcare allowance and other subsidies, if eligible. They send their newborn babies for regular checkups in the "Tipat Halav" ("Drop of Milk" - the Israeli health ministry childcare clinics spread all over the country). When sick or wounded, they know the way to the closest hospital, at least most of them do. But this is, more or less, the extent of their contact with the outside world. And of course, the tax man rarely, if at all, gets in touch with these two groups.
There is another half of the Bedouin population in Israel: the ones who left the nomadic and semi-nomadic way of life behind and settled in one of the seven towns built for the purpose. Somewhere between 50 and 60 %% of the Bedouin population have chosen to resettle to these towns, and their way of life, even if still far from idyllic, is different in many ways. The squalid conditions of the former that cause the Bedouin babies to suffer a high mortality rate(2), are much less relevant to the towns' dwellers. Many of the latter have regular jobs (although the unemployment is still way too high), up to 10% volunterr to serve in IDF, many being quite proud of the service.
The two other different "styles" (nomadic and semi-nomadic) have their roots: first in the tradition of nomadic herding and the second in (true or false) claims of land ownership. And this is the second one that presents the most acute problem and the most serious headache to the authorities. And here we come to the
After you have seen the false and misleading presentation by Ms Sherwood, let's try some more scientific approach. In these two articles (Hebrew, unfortunately), after getting rid of emotions and propaganda, here is a summary(from Wiki):
According to Prof. Sofer, the Bedouin make up about 2% of the Israeli population, but the unrecognized Bedouin communities spread on a vast territory and occupy more than 10 percent of Israel – north and east to Be'er Sheva. According to him, the Negev Bedouin also started to settle west of Be'er Sheva and close to Mount Hebron. Their communities spread south to Dimona and towards the Judean Desert. They occupy large spaces near Retamim and Revivim and get close to the Gaza Strip, occupy land in the central Negev near Mitzpe Ramon, and even close to the central area. In 2010 alone about 66 illegal Bedouin settlements were established in the area of Rehovot and Rishon LeZion.According to Arnon Sofer, the illegal Bedouin expansion continues rapidly in all directions and occupies spaces that Israel did not know before.It is not that the government didn't commit any mistakes in trying to take care of the (true or false) land ownership claims:
In the 1970s Israel collected all the "claims of ownership" in the Negev, without permits and without proof, for the purpose of registering these claims. However, the Bedouin saw the state registry as a recognition for their claims. More than 3,000 ownership claims were filed for the land sized over 800,000 dunams, which includes nearly the whole area between Be'er Sheva – Arad – Dimona and other areas throughout the entire Negev, including those that belong to kibbutzim and cities.To understand better the magnitude of the problem, the Wiki article Unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel should be read in its entirety. While not a catastrophe, as Mr Lieberman declares, the situation is serious and very close to unmanageable. No modern society, especially in a place so densely populated as Israel, could allow the unchecked spread of illegally created "villages" of the kind so popular with a part of Bedouin tribes.
Needless to mention, the frequently outrageous land claims are supported and are made into a ongoing anti-Israeli PR story by the usual suspects.
To summarize the findings, I chose to conclude with the following two quotes from a post by Marc Goldberg.
Essentially the problem revolves around one basic principle, Israel has grown so large that the needs of the population have extended to settling in the Negev. Up until now we had the luxury of being able to basically ignore the Bedouin and let them do their thing in the desert without suffering through the controversy of moving them into villages and towns. Now we can’t.And:
But it’s not that simple. This is Israel, forcing an Arab to do something isn’t going to go down well with anyone. Forcing Bedouin to sell land they claim as theirs to the state is going to be something people take issue with. All the other stuff is ignored. The new villages being built, the new schools and communities that the government have planned for them are completely ignored, lost in the claims of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.Yep.
(1) A dirty and disingenuous use of a seemingly correct number. Take the land occupied by towns and compare it to the total land of an area. Towns and cities, densely populated as they are in Israel, will invariably present a small percentage of the total landmass, especially in the area like Negev. But what is the meaning of that number, for crying out loud? Don't people who live in the towns get any land allotment for their agricultural pursuits? If they do (and they do), why isn't this land included? Oh yeah, the inimitable Harriet Sherwood... And as far as "two-thirds of the region has been designated as military training grounds and firing ranges": yes, now pull another one, please.
(2) The Bedouin infant mortality rate is still the highest in Israel, and one of the highest in the developed world. In 2010, the mortality rate of Bedouin babies rose to 13.6 per 1,000, compared to 4.1 per 1,000 in Jewish communities in the south. But, on the other hand, "The rate of growth of the Negev Bedouin is the highest in the world – the Bedouin population doubles its size every 15 years." No doubt, encouraged by that Social Security child support...
(3) The supporting material for this post took a long time to study. The problem was that I have tried not to rely on Wiki entry Negev Bedouin, doing my best to check everything it says. For instance, the Bedouin population figures: about 200,000-210,000, according to this page. However, another Wiki page, with general info on Bedouin says 114,000. Possibly the latter splits the Bedouin of West Bank and Gaza Strip in a separate category, who knows. Anyway, to my surprise, the Negev Bedouin entry of Wiki appeared to be amazingly well researched, with a lot of supporting reference material and in no way trying to do a political favor to any side of the Bedouin issue and/or history. Very much recommended.