< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Friday, March 19, 2004

Chinese authorities squashing blogs

by Christopher Bodeen at Salon.com
(subscription only, but you can get a free one-day pass)

March 19, 2004 | SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- China has shut down a pair of Web sites that were free-ranging user forums known as blogs, stepping up government attempts to control political discussion on the Internet, a media watchdog group reported even as one site reappeared Friday.

However, a note Friday on the page of the second site, blogbus.com, said it was still closed due to content problems.

"Because individual postings contained forbidden content, the server is temporarily down. We will seek a speedy resolution to the problem,'' said a message on the site's Web page.

The other site, identified by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders as blogcn.com, said its page had shut down for "server upgrading'' but made no mention of any forced closure due the content. It appeared to be restored on Friday.

China has enthusiastically promoted use of the Internet for commercial applications, but battles to prevent it becoming a forum for criticism of the Communist Party. A special team of police monitors Web sites and chat rooms for sensitive content, and sites are told to censor themselves or face penalties.

In addition, at least 54 people have been jailed for posting essays or other content deemed subversive online. Rights groups say the arrests point to a worrying new abuse of the country's loosely defined subversion and state secrecy laws.

Blogs, online diaries in which users post their thoughts for others to read, have become hugely popular among China's roughly 80 million Internet users.

While some postings appear to be oblique criticisms of the government or calls to action against censorship, blogs haven't previously been noted as a source of anti-government activity.

Blogbus.com had hosted more than 15,000 individual blogs, according to Reporters Without Borders. It said the site was closed on March 11 for "allowing a letter to be posted that was critical of the government.'' No details were given and it didn't say what political factors allegedly prompted the closure of blogcn.com.

"After closing Web sites and discussion forums, the Chinese authorities are now targeting blogs, one of the last outlets for expression still open to Internet-users,'' the group said in a statement faxed to journalists.

If you want to hear the President, don't count on NPR

I only listen to NPR when I'm in the car for various ten-minute schleps to the kids' schools or the grocery store. But Every Single Time I turn it on, I get furious. Just now, it was the way they glossed over the President's speech today. They didn't broadcast even a single audio moment of it, though they gave Colin Powell's words from Baghdad a little airtime. That's because they like Powell more than Bush. They are more transparent than they know.

Even when there have been presidents I couldn't bear, I've always wanted to know what they said. The extent to which NPR goes to humble the Office of the Presidency is really shameful.

The great thing about blogging is that when you come home from an upsetting car radio interlude, you can blog it, and in this case, link to the text of the speech.
The murders in Madrid are a reminder that the civilized world is at war. And in this new kind of war, civilians find themselves suddenly on the front lines. In recent years, terrorists have struck from Spain, to Russia, to Israel, to East Africa, to Morocco, to the Philippines, and to America. They've targeted Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Yemen. They have attacked Muslims in Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. No nation or region is exempt from the terrorists' campaign of violence.

Each of these attacks on the innocent is a shock, and a tragedy, and a test of our will. Each attack is designed to demoralize our people and divide us from one another. And each attack must be answered, not only with sorrow, but with greater determination, deeper resolve and bolder action against the killers. It is the interest of every country, and the duty of every government, to fight and destroy this threat to our people.

There is no dividing line--there is a dividing line in our world, not between nations, and not between religions or cultures, but a dividing line separating two visions of justice and the value of life. On a tape claiming responsibility for the atrocities in Madrid, a man is heard to say, "We choose death, while you choose life." We don't know if this is the voice of the actual killers, but we do know it expresses the creed of the enemy. It is a mindset that rejoices in suicide, incites murder and celebrates every death we mourn. And we who stand on the other side of the line must be equally clear and certain of our convictions. We do love live, the life given to us and to all. We believe in the values that uphold the dignity of life, tolerance and freedom, and the right of conscience. And we know that this way of life is worth defending. There is no neutral ground --no neutral ground-- in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death.
Someone on NPR ridiculed the simplicity of this, but one has to know that a thought can be simple, yet still true and right. I believe the President's words are both. I wish we could have heard them, even on National "Public" Radio.

"W", simply stated, in an elegant typeface, drop shadowed. Classy.
$23.99 on a LS T-shirt, at Cafe Press

Full text of speech President Bush delivered this morning at the White House
courtesy of OpinionJournal

Time flies when you're having fun

Funny how things coincide - just at the time I am reconsidering my blog, someone comes along (thanks to Rick) and asks me to write an essay about the recent correspondence I've had with the NY Times Public Editor, within the context of my pro-Israel blogging -- for a paper. Now I not only have to rethink and reconsider my blog, but I have to structure these thoughts and write them down.

Before I knew about blogging, I spent a solid year writing to the press and various others, objecting to their bias against Israel -- objections, rants, letters to editors, unsolicited guest opinions and op-eds. I wrote hundreds of letters; most remain unanswered. My tone back then was very different, absolutely outraged, extremely angry, and in complete disbelief that such things could appear in print. Little did I know what was to come, or how quickly things would deteriorate. The phrase, "new low," is laughable at this point - there is one every day or so.

If I ever get the story written, I'll post it or link to it, and if I don't blog so much in the next few days, it's because I'm trying to write this story of my own evolution amidst a crumbling reality.

It's not easy - in order to procrastinate, I get completely distracted by emails I wrote "back then." For example, in August '02, I wrote to The New York Times, asking why certain remarks by Secretary Rumsfeld had been omitted fom their coverage.

This is what Rumsfeld said, according to Arutz Sheva:
"My feeling about the so-called occupied territories are that there was a war, Israel urged neighboring countries not to get involved in it once it started, they all jumped in, and they lost a lot of real estate to Israel because Israel prevailed in that conflict. In the intervening period, they've made some settlements in various parts of the so-called occupied area, which was the result of a war, which they won."

This is how the Times conveyed it - page A6, column 1, 8/9/2002, of 1087 total words:
In remarks in an open meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sharply criticized the Palestinian Authority, referred dismissively to disputed lands in the West Bank and Gaza as ''the so-called occupied territories.'' Apparently referring to a Palestinian state, he said only that at some point ''there will be some sort of entity that will be established.''

Mr. Rumsfeld's comments were hailed in the Israeli press as ''an unusual pro-Israeli appearance,'' as Maariv, a Hebrew-language daily, put it, and denounced by the Palestinian information minister, Yasir Abed Rabbo, as an example of ''the position of the extreme right in the American administration.''

Mr. Rumsfeld insisted that there was not ''a dime's worth of difference'' between his views and those of Mr. Bush and Secretary Powell.

Carl Lavin, News Editor for the Times, replied to me that "Editors and reporters are constantly making decisions balancing the importance of what people say and what the comments mean."

On the other hand, I got a very gracious and prompt reply from the writer, Chief Diplomatic Correspondent for the Times, Todd Purdum:
You make a very fair point, and I can only say that we were aware of the remarks when they were made, sought to get them in the paper promptly, and for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with a desire to suppress the remarks, only managed to do so this morning. It was, more than anything, a case of not having a "Middle East" story to plug the comments into, but, I can assure you, your frustration mirrors my own.

Thanks again for reading The Times and for taking the time to write. I hope you will keep on keeping us honest.

Have I kept on, "keeping them honest"? Not really, but then, is it possible? Is blogging better? I don't know, but I'm starting to think that as a collective, the pro-Israel blogosphere could very well become a mighty tool. Gd help us.

Good Shabbos.
with love and hope for Israel,

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Stephen Plaut

1. Murdering people makes you a killer or a terrorist. But if those murdered are Jews then you are an activist. You might also be a militant.

2. Crashing jet planes into buildings makes you a terrorist. But attempting to shoot down civilian planes landing in Israel makes you an activist.

3. Placing large bombs on trains in Madrid makes you a terrorist, but placing bombs on Israeli buses full of children makes you an activist.

4. Blowing up a nightclub in Indonesia full of Australians makes you a terrorist. But mass murdering Israeli children makes you an activist.

5. Snipers shooting innocent people in Virginia are terrorists. Snipers shooting Jews in the West Bank are activists.

6. People trying to ram soldiers with trucks and cars are generally terrorists unless the soldiers in question are Jews.

7. Throwing rocks at civilians makes you a criminal and maybe even a terrorist, and if you do so off a California overpass you will get jailed. But throwing the same rocks at Jews in Israel makes you an activist and maybe even a professor at Columbia University.

8. Denying the Holocaust makes you a racist and a fascist bigot, unless you are an Arab, in which case it makes you a moderate, at least if you deny the Holocaust in grammatically correct English.

9. Hiding behind children when you shoot weapons at soldiers makes you a coward and a villain, unless you are a Palestinian or an Iraqi Baathist.

10. Murdering children makes you a fiend and maybe a nazi unless the children are Jews, in which case you are an activist with legitimate grievances.

11. 9-11 and 3-11 terrorism has no underlying causes or root grievances, but Middle East activism in which Israelis get mass murdered does - because of Israeli insensitivity and because Palestinians feel occupied.

12. When Bosnians or Albanians in Kosovo get mass murdered, that is a war crime. When Jews get mass murdered, this is their comeuppance for their insensitivity, and of course it is reactive activism.

13. When Americans assassinate al-Qaida or Taliban leaders anywhere they find them, this is part of the war against global terrorism. When Israel shoots terrorist leaders, it is an obstacle to peace and is unjustifiably deactivating activism.

14. When the US jails hundreds of terrorists in Guantanamo Bay without trial, this is because the jailed are terrorists. When Israel jails people who have mass murdered Jews, this is undermining the peace process and antagonizing activists.

15. Firing mortars and rockets into civilian areas in the Balkans makes you a war criminal. Firing them from Gaza into Jewish homes makes you a militant.

Albanian Muslims burning churches in Kosovo

DEBKA: London approves 500-750 British troops for Kosovo where Albanian Muslims are burning churches in worst outbreak of ethnic violence with Serbs since 1999. Wednesday 22 killed. NATO troops diverted from Bosnia Thursday given permission to use force against Albanian rioters.
This Question and Answer on Latest Violence in Kosovo at today's Scotsman doesn't mention Muslims when explaining "ethnic tension" between Serbs and Albanians, but al Reuters does (paragraph #7):
The new [NATO] troops will reinforce 17,500 peacekeepers and 9,000 local and international police trying to keep a lid on the province of two million Muslim Albanians demanding independence and 100,000 Serbs, many in enclaves relying on NATO protection.

So, these Serbian enclaves are where the "clashes" are. I know hardly anything about this situation, but the map does remind me of the Palestinians wanting "enclaves" (or "settlements") of Jews to disappear from within their midst.

Is there anywhere that Muslims live with others . . . in peace?

Maybe Taiwan:
At the two-day "International Seminar on Islam" held at Taipei's Grand Hotel, speakers condemned terrorism and acts of violence, such as the recent bombings in Spain and 9-11, saying that "Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, justice, and love for humanity."

Speaking on the subject of terrorism, Dr. Abdul Wahab Noorwali, Deputy Secretary General of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth told the audience that Islam is a religion that promotes peace, tolerance, humanitarian values and respect for fellow beings, and it rejects violence and terrorism wholly.

However, he noted that, "there has been a distortion campaign launched by the Western countries and institutions against the Muslim people.'

Dr. Noorwali said there must be a clear differentiation between acts of terrorism and legitimate resistance against tyranny and oppression, for example during the medieval Crusades, and the recent era of European colonialism.

He observed that, "Western mass media is using various kinds of fabrication, deception, and misinformation with no care for any religious or moral deterrence, academic, or professional objectivity. They exploit the mistakes committed by some Muslims due to their misunderstanding or reaction to injustice and persecution...."

"Terrorism belongs to no particular religion, country or nationality, and it has nothing to do with the hereditary characteristics of any particular nation... It is wrong to associate it with a particular religion, country, or nation as it is being done by the Western media and institutions," he noted. . .

[Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene] Chien said; "In Taiwan, we highly value our religious freedoms and ethnic harmony. We welcome the World Muslim League and our friends from throughout the Muslim world to continue assisting people in Taiwan and East Asia to learn more about Islamic culture and properly interpret Islamic teachings."

See also this 1998 Canadian Security Intelligence Service report: Islamic Unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (of northwestern China), and this from 1999, which also describes the situation:
Positioned precariously on the border with Central Asia, in recent years the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region —a large province in northwestern China—has been witness to increasing tensions. Within its borders, the province's largest minority population, the Uighurs, have been involved in a fight for independence against the Chinese authorities. . .

Of all the national minorities in Xinjiang, the Uighurs, an ethnically Turkic people, are the most dissimilar to the Chinese with respect to religion, language, architecture, and cuisine. They embraced Islam in the 10th century under the rule of Satuk Bughra Khan. Unlike the Mongols or the Manchus, none of China's dynasties have sprung from their ranks. Drawing from the Turkic roots of the Uighur language and from Islam, Uighur national identity has always developed independently of the Chinese empire and has culminated in a strong tradition of revolt against foreign domination.
For those of you who made it this far, thanks for going off on this tangent with me. It's kind of interesting.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Terror attacks getting old

A man holds a small Tora while he stands in silence in front of what
used to be the Israel Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday,
March 17, 2004 during an act to commemorate the 12th anniversary of
the bomb attack that destroyed the building killing 22 people.
(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

See also the Jewish Virtual Library's list of Major Terror Attacks against Israeli Embassies and Representatives Abroad.

Nit-picking over photo captions again

An elderly Palestinian, Mohammad Ali, 78, is pushed away
by an Israeli security man after he tried to hinder the work
of a bulldozer during a demonstration by Palestinians against
Israel's construction of the security fence which goes over
their land in the West Bank village of Midya.(AFP/Awad Awad)
Now, does it look to you like the Israeli is pushing him away? or pulling him, possibly out of harm's way?

I no longer give AFP, or any of the large photo agencies, any benefit of the doubt. I am suspicious and cynical about their political agenda. I have good reason to doubt their professional integrity; see this and this at CAMERA.

A Google search for [al Reuters] gets about 978 hits, with or without a hyphen.

Why hasn't Arafat built a single home for one refugee family?


The problems facing the Palestinian people and the PA economy are not due to a lack of resources. Instead of feeding, housing, and employing Palestinians, significant amounts of financial aid have been siphoned off by Yasser Arafat and other PA officials for their personal benefit.

The Palestinians living inside the Palestinian Authority have been given far greater international financial support than most other suffering peoples. Since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993, the U.S. government has committed more than $1.3 billion in economic assistance to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Since the end of 2000, Arab states have transferred to the PA monthly financial aid of $45 million (since April 2002 this sum was increased to $55 million).

The EU transfers to the PA approximately $9 million monthly.

By the end of 2001, the Palestinians had received $4 billion (the figure is now closer to $5.5 billion) since the 1993 Oslo agreements. This is the equivalent of $1,330 per Palestinian. By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $272 per European (in today's dollars).

These PA revenues do not include the $8-14 billion in assets the Palestine Liberation Organization is believed to have accumulated over the years through drug trafficking, illegal arms dealing, money laundering, fraud, extortion, and legal investments.

We hear a great deal about the suffering of the Palestinian refugees, but most of these refugees live in camps under the direct control of Yasser Arafat. With all of these resources, why hasn't he managed to build a single home for one refugee family? Where is all the money, and why hasn't it been used to help the Palestinian people?

Read it all at IsraelInsider (10/17/03).
One of the comments that follows the article says, "Arafat hates Palestinians." Some of them are not too fond of him either; see Muslim group opposes Arafat's burial on Mount, JPost 3/3/04.
My daughter is in the fifth grade; Abdullah Quraan is in sixth.

The enemy is so ruthless, so twisted, that they would have blown up this child
in order to murder Jews

The incredible story from the Israel News Agency:
[Abdullah] Quraan said he met two men at the checkpoint on Monday. He said he and a friend raced to their vehicle ahead of a crowd of other children to get the business.

"They gave us a small travel bag, a plastic bag, and a bottle of water," Quraan said. The men told him to deliver the goods - described as clothes and auto parts - to a woman on the other side of the checkpoint. He said the men agreed to pay him the equivalent of about $4 to carry the items on a cart.

Alert soldiers confiscated the bags at the checkpoint and cleared the area, Quraan said. A bomb squad came in and blew up the bags. The boy said he was interrogated for several hours and released.

Army spokeswoman Maj. Sharon Feingold said the troops had thwarted a major terror attack and that the boy's life was saved only because a booby-trapped cell phone inside a bag didn't explode. She accused the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, of exploiting the boy. . .

"The question of whether Quraan's handlers really intended to blow him up without his knowledge makes absolutely no difference," Israeli commentator Amit Cohen wrote in the daily Ma'ariv. "The man who packed the bomb in a schoolbag must have taken into account the possibility that the child carrying the bomb was liable to get hurt."

Back in school Tuesday, Quraan said he had done nothing wrong. "These people [the Israeli army] are liars, I don't believe them, and if it was a bomb, they would not have let me go so easily," he said at his school.

Read it all.
What kind of crazy world are we in, where we're actually, seriously, talking about children blowing up?
Look at this!


Or, how I really wouldn't mind events that glorify Arabs,
if only they weren't continually abusing women and children
and murdering innocent civilians all over the world

My son Sam, who is a senior in high school, came in the door just now and told me that the students at his school voted today on a theme for their upcoming prom. Here are the choices they were given by the student council:
1. Hawaiian
2. Renaissance
3. Arabian Nights
I probably don't even need to mention that in Sam's class (the only voting we know of so far), it was almost unanimous for #3.

Dear Gd,

With all due respect, I have some questions:
Why? Why here? Why now? Why us?

I can see the local headline already:
War/Hate/Fear-Mongering Pro-"Israel" Activists Ruin Kids' Fun by Protesting Prom
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


"Ashdod bombs leave Palestinian cabinet in tatters"

I am so offended by this I can hardly breathe.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - "The double suicide attacks in Ashdod which led Israel to freeze the political process have plunged the Palestinian government into one of its deepest crises yet with newly-installed prime minister Ahmed Qorei threatening to resign, cabinet sources said."
I thought this TERRORIST ATTACK left ten innocent people DEAD (quite literally in tatters), their families' and friends' lives shattered, and certainly their sixteen children in an agony I can't imagine . . . . but I never thought about THE POOR PALESTINIANS! and how the "bombs" (attached to two Palestinian teenagers) might have "plunged" them into "one of the deepest crises yet."

More such words and phrases follow: pressure, emergency, aftermath, "cracking at the seams," "completely crippled" . . .

And of course, Israel is blamed:
. . . some ministers sought to play down the divisions within the Palestinian leadership and insisted the current crisis was entirely Israel's responsibility.

"There is no peace process to speak of that might have been affected by the attack. The main reason behind this internal deterioration is the absence of political hope," said Palestinian labour minister Ghassan Khatib. "It's true that the Palestinian government is under pressure but it is not responsible for obstructing progress," he told AFP.
624 words, and no mention, NO MENTION that Arafat's Fatah was itself responsible, NO MENTION of the ten dead Jews.
"The Ashdod bombings, whose immediate result was the cancellation of much-delayed summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Qorei . . . "
Funny, I thought the "immediate result" was innocent civilians blown to bits, dead and never coming back. I thought the "immediate result" was a new rash of funerals.

Israeli rescue workers stand next to dead bodies of victims at the
bombsite in Ashdod, March 14, 2004. Two Palestinian suicide bombers
killed at least seven other people in a double-attack at Israel's port of
Ashdod, prompting Israel to cancel talks on arranging an Israeli-Palestinian
peace summit. (Nir Elias/Reuters)

A relative grieves over the grave of Tzion Dahan, 30, during his
funeral in the southern city of Ashdod. . .
(AFP/Nadav Neuhaus)

Relatives of Zion Dahan weep at his gravesite during his funeral in the
Israeli port city of Ashdod, Monday, March 15, 2004 . . .
(AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

The father of Gil Abutbul mourns over his coffin during his funeral in
Ashdod, March 15, 2004. . . (Nir Elias/Reuters)

The wife of Gil Abutbul mourns over his coffin during his funeral in
Ashdod, March 15, 2004. . . REUTERS/ Nir Elias

The Poor Poor Palestinians . .
A cabinet minister said Qorei deplored that his recent trip to Europe yielded little backing and quoted him as saying that "everybody has turned their backs on us, except France."
Hell, even in their coverage of the Ashdod attack itself, AFP doesn't mention the dead! though it does make sure to provide names, ages, home "towns" and terrorist associations of the two terrorist scum. See it to believe it.

My heart is on the floor. I'm afraid it's turning to stone.


Patrick Pearlman: I have to laugh.
First, my apologies to all those readers who are angered or saddened by the latest terror attack in Ashdod.

But, quite frankly, I have to laugh.

Let me assure you, it's not a laugh of joy. It is a laugh born of the deepest bitterness. The bitterness that results from watching a defeatist, hypocritical government and press continuing the charade of fighting the war on terror, a war they are striving mightily to lose. The bitterness of watching a government that claims to represent the Jewish people but undermines the very foundations upon which that people stand.

The tragicomedy unfolds with mind-numbing predictability. Like preceding attacks, the Ashdod attack was typical: Murder Jews, show they're not safe anywhere in Israel, dance for joy in the streets and pass out candies. Like prior attacks, the PA?s response is typical: Condemn the "atrocity" (though, of course, the PA's armed wing carried out the attack) and call for "negotiations." And the Israeli government?s response is pro forma: Lightly bomb a few empty buildings, delay meetings with the PA for a respectful time, and utter the usual bromides about "not negotiating under fire" and "holding the PA responsible" for the latest attack.

Meanwhile, Sharon will continue planning the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, Judaea and Samaria. Sharon will continue, undemocratically, to seek support for this pogrom not from his own ruling coalition (Heaven forfend!), or from his own people (perish the thought!), but from the international community that sponsored Oslo, the Roadmap, the Geneva Accords, etc. He will continue to talk about the need to "disengage" from the Palestinians unilaterally "until there is a partner with whom we can negotiate." The PA terror machine will continue to be funded -- either by the Israeli government or with its acquiescence -- and left in place to incite and organize further attacks. And Jews will continue to be told by their government, their media and their intellectuals that this is all "reasonable" and "necessary" to "win the war"?

I have to laugh because it's too twisted to be true.

Israel's leaders have learned nothing from Oslo and its progeny. They still have a raging case of Oslosis. They continue to pursue and promote policies of national suicide on the grounds that "there is no alternative." And Jews continue to pay the price for their leaders' failure. Even if their leaders are too blind to see it, the Jewish people must understand that they cannot "disengage" from the Palestinians. They must know, viscerally at least, that there is nowhere they can run to and no fence they can hide behind. The Jewish people must realize that they have an alternative: To really fight - for themselves and Eretz Yisrael, regardless of what the festering muck that is the "international community" thinks.

Until the day ordinary Jews acknowledge the reality of their situation, and put their hands to work to alter that reality, they will continue to be sacrificed on the altar of Oslo. And Israel, regardless of whether it is a "State of the Jews" or a "Jewish State," will die a little death with each sacrifice.

This time next year, I pray that I'm not laughing.

I am glad to call Patrick Pearlman my friend; he is an ardent proponent of Moshe Feiglin's Manhigut Yehudit movement.

Yasher koach, Pat.

Three mitzvot for the price of one

Buy this matzah and you will not only be fulfiling the obligations of Pesach,
but also helping the State and the Land of Israel!

JNF and OSEM are once again partnering to support Israel’s land and its economy. For every 5 boxes of OSEM matzah products sold, OSEM will make a donation to JNF to plant a tree in Israel. OSEM will also be advertising JNF's tree planting program and other vital environmental projects, on all Passover and matzah product boxes.

“The Jewish people are looking for ways to support Israel,” said Izzet Ozdogan, President of OSEM USA. “This is a great way to do it - with one purchase you are helping Israel’s economy, fulfilling the obligations of Passover, and planting trees in Israel - three mitzvot for the price of one!”

Banagor gives it to the Spanish electorate

I knew he would
European Victory, an excerpt:

Let us, for a moment, consider the truth of history. I believe (perhaps I am mistaken) that Osama Bin Laden called attention to the fact that the Moors lost Spain, and that it was part of his dream to reclaim it - a full year and a half before the Iraq war. Naturally, Europeans never take terrorists at their word, so some excuse was needed to justify the fact that Bin Laden must have been correct and the United States, and those who follow it, simply wrong. This is of course the European way.

It appears that the Spanish, along with the rest of Europe, not only are unable to remember history, but are unable to learn from it as well. With all of their "post colonialist" deconstruction, I doubt that any could actually tell you what exactly happened in 1492, and why it is so vital that Spain suffer for this "indignation" even today. But, in the beautifully high spirit of multiculturalism, one cannot go pointing fingers at anyone else except for the United States of America.

Europe has failed the test. This indeed was the European reaction. We all remember the American one on September 11th. It was the very practical, clear-headed, simple response of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and doing what had to be done in a time of war.

Europe and Spain's reaction to the same exact event? Hide; capitulate; appease; run.

Words utterly fail me in expressing my absolute revulsion at the European mindset - for make no mistake, this was a European election and not merely a Spanish one. I fear that we will stand alone in the end, abandoned by all save Israel and a few other odd allies, while the barbarians storm our gates to sack our cities and wonder at our Pantheons before they destroy them forever.
"Words utterly fail" him? I don't think so. Read it all.

Just got a (late) (very late) Chanukah present

T-shirt sez
"People demand freedom of speech
as a compensation for the
freedom of thought
which they seldom use."

-- Kierkegaard

A Tribute to Rachel Corrie:
Thanks for showing us what "peace" really means

from today's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, by Ruhama Shattan

Today is the first anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. I want to thank Corrie for the explosives that flow freely from Egypt to Gaza, via the smuggling tunnels under the Gaza homes that she died defending.

Perhaps it was these explosives that in the year since her martyrdom--oops, death--have been strapped around suicide bombers to blow up city buses and restaurants in Israeli cities, particularly in Jerusalem, killing men, women and schoolchildren (two of them classmates of my daughter and her friend in the February 22, 2004 bombing) and leaving hundreds more widows, orphans and bereaved parents.

On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing Palestinian children how to despise America as she snarled, burned an American flag, and led them in chanting slogans, and as she gave "evidence" at a Young Palestinian Parliament mock trial finding President Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.

Perhaps her help in fanning the flames of violent anti-American sentiment led to the October 2003 bombing of the Fulbright delegation to Gaza to interview scholarship candidates, killing three. There will be no new crop of Palestinian Fulbright scholars this fall.

On the first anniversary of her death, I wanted to thank Rachel Corrie for providing her organization, the Palestinian-sponsored International Solidarity Movement, with the opportunity to release a manipulated photo sequence "showing" an Israeli military bulldozer deliberately crushing her. (I would also like to thank the Associated Press and the Christian Science Monitor for taking up the baton and immortalizing this cynical ISM stunt.)

On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing the way to all those who seek peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Corrie's peace, as anyone familiar with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah organizations that she defended with her life knows--or as anyone familiar with the weekly rants of the Friday preachers in the Palestinian mosques is aware--means not peaceful coexistence but the elimination of the state of Israel, and death to those they call "the usurping Jews, the sons of apes and pigs."

Thank you, Rachel Corrie, of Evergreen State University, where the profs wear khakis and kaffiyehs at graduation ceremonies, for showing us what peace really means.
UPDATE 3/19: I added my two cents to the Reader Responses:
It's noted at the end of Ms. Shattan's piece that she has lived in Israel since 1976. To my mind, this alone entitles her to be as cynical as she likes. After all, Corrie was trying to protect the very people who every day threaten Israeli lives and in fact, seek to destroy the entire nation of Israel.

On the other hand, it bears mentioning that the authors of recent articles seeking to glorify Rachel Corrie and her death (such as those in the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer) may have spent a vacation or two in the disputed territories, but live in the relative safety of the United States.

Corrie's good intentions ceased to matter when she misplaced her loyalties. If other young people can learn from her folly, and reject these terror advocacy groups who prey on the combined idealism and ignorance of youth, then perhaps some good will have come of her wasted life after all.

It's the only way I can see where she might truly have protected someone.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Petition against Gibson's movie as a hate crime

It's late at night, and I don't know what I think of this yet, but a petition has been organized requesting the US Attorney General "to apply hate crimes statutes, as appropriate," to Gibson's "Passion."
Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” through purposeful rewriting of the Christian Gospel mythos has, itself, become an anti-Semitic diatribe which, since it’s February 25, 2004 release resulted in hate crimes against Jews, Synagogues and Jewish Cemeteries in cities throughout the US. Mel Gibson’s unbiblical and a-historical account of the “crucifixion” story has taken Hutton Gibson’s claims that the Holocaust is “fiction,” even one step further.

Just as Adolf Hitler described the 300th anniversary performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play as "a convincing portrayal of the menace of Jewry" in 1934, Gibson and Writer/producer Tom Fontana’s 2004 use of extreme graphic and excessive violence set up and perpetrated at the urging of “the Jews” in their portrayal displays a clear prejudicial bent against the Jewish faith.

United State law defines "bias related" or “hate crime” to mean a "designated act that demonstrates an accused's prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibility, physical handicap, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act." Depending on the state, criminal and / or civil laws may apply, as well as recently enacted Federal statutes.

We implore US Attorney General John Ashcroft and the US Department of Justice to evaluate the anti-Semitism clearly presented in Gibson and Fontana’s portrayal, and ask that civil, criminal, and Federal hate-crime laws, as appropriate, be utilized not only against the perpetrators involved in each and every act which it has encouraged, but against the directors, producers, and screen writers responsible for the work itself.
Why don't we just call the ACLU instead? Just kidding . . . (Do check out this link, though -- Daniel Pipes thinks it was perhaps the ACLU who instigated the disruption of his talk at American University.)

Reconsideration in progress

There are two things we can do

One of the reasons I am in the process of reconsidering this blog (why do I do it? is it effective? can I not do it? can I do it better?) is that it feels so useless. I don't want to merely witness catastrophe (The Diary of Anne Frank Lieberman), if instead there is some way I could help to stave it off.

I recently joined a discussion group about Israel's public relations problems, and someone there suggested that we copy what the Arabs do so effectively: endlessly repeat a mantra of buzzwords (occupation, apartheid, etc. etc.) and one-liners. We have to admit that's been incredibly effective.

It occurs to me that there are two things we can do along these lines. We can endlessly repeat both the intransigent goal of Arab terrorism (to utterly destroy Israel in the process of conquering the world for Islam), and the theme of "They R Us," i.e. the dead Jews buried today in Ashdod are us Jews, and the dead buried in Madrid are us infidels.

If more people were to understand these two aspects together, then maybe we could grow some hope.

My husband collects toy trains, railroad books and fly-fishing rods; my mother-in-law collected spoons and thimbles. I collect jihad quotes. And I'll share them with you, as part of my determination to be more effective, but the "effective" bit depends on your sharing them as well. Send them to newspapers, magazines and television news, to people who understand and even more so to those who don't yet.

Here then is the first installment. Links will take you to the source.
Muslims "have the right to kill four million Americans, including a million children, to displace eight million Americans and to cripple hundreds of thousands more" -- Suliman Abu Ghaith, a promient al Qaeda leader.

Reuven Paz, a veteran of Israel's intelligence apparatus, said the goal set for al Qaeda 20 years ago by its main ideologist, the late Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian, is to create a single Islamic state that would encompass the world. (Azzam was killed 14 years ago in Afghanistan by a bomb planted in his automobile.)

". . . the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe" --HAMAS leader, Mahmoud Zahar.

"When the Marines were in Beirut, we screamed, 'Death to America!' Today, when the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, 'Death to America!' is still, and will always be, our slogan" -- Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah.

"Certainly the region will witness the day when the Zionist regime will cease to exist - the new Intifada of the Palestinian people will not stop despite all the oppressive steps - and just as many events that seemed impossible occurred, the establishment of a Palestinian State and the destruction of Israel will certainly occur." -- Iranian leader Kahmenai, in a meeting with Syrian premier 11/23/2000.

Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam of the most important mosque in Mecca: The Jews are "the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs."

"The logic of justice obligates the application of the single verdict [on the Jews] from which there is no escape; namely, that their criminal intentions be turned against them and that they be exterminated." -- Textbook called Islamic Education for the Tenth Grade, 1999-2000, page 116.

"The conquest of Romia [Rome] and the expansion of Islam will reach all the areas where the sun shines and the moon appears .... The signs of salvation are absolute, numerous, and as plain as day, indicating that the future belongs to Islam and that Allah's religion will defeat all other religions." -- prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, the Qatari-based spiritual authority for the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood.

Settling an old score: Islamists mean to conquer the world

"On the road to conquering Europe" by Yoav Keren

Anyone thinking that the massacre in Madrid is the result of Spain’s support for the war in Iraq, should pay careful attention to one sentence in the announcement of responsibility. “This was part of settling an old score with Spain, which bears the cross”, declared the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade.

When Al-Qaeda speaks of an unsettled score, it doesn’t matter if the group that took responsibility is actually the one that perpetrated the attack. They are not referring to the 1,300 soldiers that Spain sent to Iraq or to President José María Aznar’s summit meeting with President George W. Bush before the war. They are referring to a much older score, one that goes back to 1492, when the Christians expelled the last Moslems from Grenada and completed their re-conquest of Spain. The score will be settled only when the flag of Islam again flies on Spanish soil.

The ambitions of current-day Islam go beyond Spain. We recommend that European leaders and citizens, especially those who think that Israel is the source of all evil, read the Islamic legal decision written by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, one of the most important legal authorities in the Islamic world, last year. In the article (selections of which are quoted by Jonathan D. Halevi on the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website), Qaradawi notes:
“Islam will return once more to Europe as a conqueror and as a victorious power after it was expelled twice from the continent. I assume that next time the conquest [of Europe] will not be achieved by the sword but by preaching and spreading its ideology. The expansion of Islam will reach all the areas where the sun shines and the moon appears."
He also writes that the conquest of Rome, the center of Roman Catholicism, will be symbolic of Islam’s victory over Christian Europe. (Italians and Christians everywhere, take note).

Qaradawi is not the most extreme Islamic legal authority. He actually spoke out against the attacks on September 11. The difference between Qaradawi and Al-Qaeda is limited to the means. Their goal is the same, to conquer the world.
Continue reading at Maariv.

Radical Islam scores in Spain

"No country in the world is more determined to disappear"

Radical Islam has scored its first unambiguous victory against the West, and it should have been visible at a long distance (Why radical Islam might defeat the West, July 8, 2003). Winston Churchill's quip that the appeaser hopes the crocodile will eat him last does not apply when the prospective victim expects to be in another world before the crocodile comes around.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist Party crushed Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party in Spanish elections on Sunday. US commentators expressed consternation that Spanish voters would reject America's ally in the Iraq war after al-Qaeda's apparent act of retaliation last Thursday, March 11.

Spain's death-knell sounded long before the train bombings in Madrid, however. No country in the world is more determined to disappear. The country's fertility rate of 1.12 live births per female is the lowest in the world. As recently as 1975, at the death of strongman Francisco Franco, the fertility rate stood at 3 births per female in 1976. By 2050 Spain will have lost a quarter of its population. Germany and Italy, whose fertility rates fell earlier than Spain's, will lose a third, according to economist Anthony Scholefield.

Half a millennium after the Reconquista, when Spanish Catholicism expelled the country's Muslims and Jews, Spain has no choice but to ask the Muslims to return and take possession of its land by stages.

Every Spanish worker in 2050 will support one pensioner, which is to say that the pension system will be bankrupt. According to one academic study, 5 million additional immmigrants must be working in Spain in 2050 to save the pension system, out of a projected population of 37 million - and that assumes an immediate recovery in the fertility rate to 1.5. At this point, it hardly matters what future fertility rate Spanish demographers might project. The demographic catastrophe of the past 30 years puts the pension system on a crash course toward bankruptcy, unless Spain attracts an army of immigrants.

Except for a trickle of immigrants from Latin America, North Africa provides most of Spain's immigrants at present. Two hundred thousand Muslims now reside in Spain, and they have built 100 new mosques in the past 10 years. Unless Spain were, most improbably, to attempt a recolonization from Latin America, it cannot do without more Muslims.

Socialist voters may not have worked out the arithmetic; Jose Zapatero's supporter in the street simply does not want to be burdened with America's distant wars, especially if they draw fire at home. It all amounts to the same thing. Countries too lazy to produce their next generation will not fight. Who will lay down his life for future generations when the future generations simply will not be there?

Read the rest at Asia Times Online.

See also Victor Davis Hanson: "Blame whom?"
By a wide margin the citizenry elected a Socialist cabinet that had previously promised to distance itself from the United States and its Iraqi operations. The terrorists, although they had childishly cited Spanish culpability from the Crusades to the Reconquista, vowed to keep striking until the Spanish people did in fact what they just did. Indeed the appeasement almost anticipated the formal terrorist communiqué itself, in what must have made even the ghost of Neville Chamberlain rise up from his grave. Since most interviewed on the street expressed greater anger with the United States than they did with Islamic terrorists, let us hope that their pique extends to asking American air and naval forces to leave their shores as well—but then so far that has not been one of the mass murderers’ demands.

More Palestinian Child Abuse

"A 10-year-old was arrested with explosive material at a checkpoint near Nablus," an Israeli military source told AFP on Monday, adding that he was in possession of around 10 kilos (22 lbs.) of explosives.

"He was taken into custody for investigation. The explosives were detonated in a controlled manner."
Next thing you know, the Arabs will be accusing Israel of kidnapping the boy.

UPDATE, DEBKA: Explosive device weighing 7-10 kilos connected to mobile phone discovered by Israeli roadblock in 10-year old Palestinian schoolboy’s book-bag on his way home from school to Nablus village. Child promised large sum to carry bomb loaded with screws and nails, which was rigged to blow up child and roadblock.

Yitzhak Rabin was a Kahanist?!

by Ariel Natan Pasko

Yitzhak Rabin was a Kahanist. I said it in 1994 and 1995, and I'm saying it again. You know terminology is a funny thing; you have to understand the real meaning of what a person says, the words he uses, to truly understand the ideas they intend to convey. So I repeat myself for clarity...

Rabin was a "Kahanist in Reverse" and so too is Ariel Sharon today.

So are both Yossis, Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin, Peace Now and Gush Shalom, they all want to get rid of the "Palestinians." After twenty years, they've finally agreed with the "demographic threat" that Rabbi Meir Kahane warned about. The only difference is that where Rabbi Meir Kahane, his followers, and the current transferists on the Right, like Rabbi Benny Elon and the Moledet/National Union Party want to "Transfer" the Arabs out of the Land of Israel and "Transfer" full control of the Land to the Jews; Yitzhak Rabin, his followers, and the current separationists like the Labor Party, the both Yossis et al and their Yahad Party and others on the Left, want to "Transfer" Jews out of parts of the Land of Israel and "Transfer" parts of the Land to Arab control.

Today we can add Sharon and parts of the Likud Party, along with - so-called Centrist - Shinui, who want to "Transfer" Jews out of Gaza - they call it "Disengagement" - to the list of "Kahanists in Reverse."

It's a funny thing about terminology; Rabbi Meir Kahane never used the term "Transfer". He always spoke of "Havdalah," that is "Separation" between the Jews and the Arabs in the Land of Israel. The Jews would stay. The Arabs would go, voluntarily or otherwise. Interestingly, Rabbi Kahane always said he wished the Arabs a good life, somewhere else, just
not in "his" country.

Then he was banned from running in the 1988 Knesset elections.

Continue reading "Transfer vs. Separation".

Ashdod: They R Us

More murdered Jews. We cannot bear it, nor can we seem to stop it. We can only learn their names and know that they are us, our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers, our bubbies and zaydes. Their children are our children.
Pinchas Avraham Zilberman, 46, from Tel Aviv.

Moshe Hendler, 29, of Rehovot, is survived by his wife and six-month-old daughter. The terrorist asked him for a drink of water, and, in his last act, Moshe gave it to him. He will be buried at 4:45 PM in Rehovot.

Ophir Damari, 31, of Rehovot, was a workshop mechanic. He was married and had two children a 2-year old daughter and a 7-month old son. He will be buried at 3:15 PM at the Marmurek cemetery.

Avi Suissa, 55, from Kiryat Malachi, was a warehouse manager. He left behind a wife and six children, his daughter in her ninth month of pregnancy. His funeral procession will leave the Vaknin Synagogue at 4 PM. A former member of the Kiryat Malachi town council, Mayor Moti Malka said that he met with Suissa a few days ago, and that Suissa said, "I'm willing to volunteer for any public cause - just call me."

Mazal Marciano, 30, from Ashdod, was a mother of two small children. She worked at a meat-marketing firm in the port as an office administrator. She will be buried at 2 PM at the Ashdod cemetery.

Maurice Tubol, 30, from Ashdod - childhood classmate of Mazal Marciano, he was about to purchase an apartment of his own. Survived by his mother and three brothers.

Tzion Dahan, 30, Ashdod was a second-generation port worker who operated heavy machinery. He was married and had a six-month old daughter. Six months ago, he narrowly escaped death when a cable snapped loose barely missing his face. He will be buried at 4:15 PM at the Ashdod cemetery.

Dani Asulin, 51, Ashdod - survived by wife Negba, two children, and one grandson. A 30-year veteran of the port, he had just returned from a two-week mechanical equipment course in Germany, and was about to leave for another course in Finland.

Avi Avraham, 34, Ashdod - married just four months ago. His wife, Etti, heard about the bombing from Avraham's sister and tried to raise him on his cellphone, but to no avail. He will be buried at the Kara'ite cemetery in Ashdod Monday at 2:45 PM.

Gil Abutbul, 31, from Ashdod, was a crane mechanic. He was married and had two children. Friends say he was continuously smiling and willing to help others. He will be buried at 5 PM at the Ashdod cemetery.
Ten dead, at least seven spouses widowed, sixteen children bereft of a parent, a grandchild and one on the way will not have their grandfathers. Sixteen people were wounded; ten remain in the hospital, one woman in serious condition.

According to Hizbullah TV, the attacks were perpetrated by HAMAS with the FATAH. The two bombers, may their names be erased, were 11th-graders.

Maariv reported Palestinian celebrations:
Palestinians hit the streets in celebration across the West Bank. . . scores of well-wishers rushed to mourning tents set up at the villages where the two suicide bombers hailed from. Scenes of jubilation were also seen in Palestinian cities, most notably Jenin, where candy was handed out to passerby on the streets as shots were fired in celebration.
According to Arutz Sheva, the Channel Two report emphasized that the announcement from FATAH, claiming responsibility, termed Ashdod as "occupied territory." Look at a map, folks, and let me remind you of what master terrorist Yasser Arafat said in an interview thirty years ago:
"We don't want peace. We want war, victory. Peace for us means the destruction of Israel and nothing else. . . the purpose of this violence is to liquidate Zionism in all its political, economic and military forms, and to drive it out of Palestine forever. . . We will fight until victory. Decades if necessary. Generations."
May all those who grieve be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. . .

Antisemitism surges in Canada

JPost: The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada has more than doubled in the past two years, according to a new report issued by the League for Human Rights of B'nai B'rith Canada.

In its 2003 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, the league noted that there had been 584 recorded episodes targeting Jews last year, the highest number in the 21 years of the audit's existence. The figure for 2003 marked a 27.2% increase over 2002, and a rise of more than 104% since 2001.

Incidents included harassment, vandalism, and physical attacks, with most of them having occurred in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where the bulk of Canadian Jewry lives. According to the report, there were 23 incidents targeting synagogues, 22 involving Jewish communal buildings, and 46 against Jewish students on campus. Dozens more involved threats and hate mail, in the workplace as well as via the Internet.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Double Suicide Bombing at Ashdod, south of Tel Aviv

Ten Killed, 19 Wounded
At least eight ten people were killed Sunday and 19 were injured, three of which in critical condition, in a double suicide bombing at the Ashdod port.

Hamas' military wing Iz a Din al-Kassam and Fatah jointly took responsibility for the bombings on Al-Manar television in Lebanon.

It was unclear how the bombers entered into the port's compound. An Ashdod municipal worker told Channel 2 that he "was shocked" that an attack could take place in the port since "it is well secured."

One of the bombers reportedly exploded at the port's main gate and the second bomber managed to jump the fence which surrounds the facility and blew himself up inside a factory in the compound.

JPost: Hearing news of the attack, Palestinians took to the streets in the Jenin and Jabalaya refugee camps to celebrate. Drivers honked the horns of their cars as gunmen fired into the air to express their joy. Others distributed sweets to passersby, hailing the suicide bombers, and calling on all Palestinian groups to step up their "resistance operations against the Israeli enemy."

Yasser Arafat: We won't accept [a peaceful agreement]! Never! We will continue to make war on Israel by ourselves until we get Palestine back. The end of Israel is the goal of our struggle, and it allows for neither compromise nor mediation. The issues of this struggle, whether our [Arab] friends like it or not, will always remain fixed by the principles we enumerated in 1965 with the creation of Al Fatah:
First: revolutionary violence is the only system for liberating the land of our fathers;

second: the purpose of this violence is to liquidate Zionism in all its political, economic and military forms, and to drive it out of Palestine forever;

third: our revolutionary action must be independent of any control by party or state;

fourth; this action will be of long duration.
We know the intentions of certain Arab leaders: to resolve the conflict with a peaceful agreement. When this happens, we will oppose it.

Oriana Fallaci: Conclusion: you don't at all want the peace that everyone is hoping for.

Yasser Arafat: No! We don't want peace. We want war, victory. Peace for us means the destruction of Israel and nothing else. What you call peace is peace for Israel and the imperialists. For us it is injustice and shame. We will fight until victory. Decades if necessary. Generations.
Interview with History, pp. 130-131.