Thursday, May 31, 2007

BBC: "Lebanese opposition party Hezbollah has condemned . . . "

Opposition. Party. I suppose there is a journalistic convention that one identifies things and the BBC thinks that it is more important to be neutral than to actually dispel the ignorance of the three readers out there who do not know what Hizbullah is.
Lebanese opposition party Hezbollah has condemned a UN Security Council vote to set up a tribunal to try suspects in the killing of Rafik Hariri.

The ex-PM and 22 other people died in a huge car bombing in Beirut in 2005.

A UN inquiry has suggested that Syrian and Lebanese intelligence forces played a role - which Syria denies.

The pro-Syrian Hezbollah group, which has previously blocked a parliamentary vote on the plan, said the UN decision violated Lebanese sovereignty.
"Pro-Syrian"? Wouldn't "Syrian-backed" (and Iranian backed) be a more informative way to put it? I suppose the story must avoid stating the obvious at all costs: Hizbullah opposes the tribunal because it works for the guilty party. Perhaps if you read the whole article from start to finish you kinda sorta get the idea. They're subtle, those journalists.
"The resolution, as much as it constitutes a violation of the Lebanese state and an attack on its internal affairs, it is contrary to legal rules and the charters and principles of the United Nations and the objectives for which it was established to achieve," the statement said.

The resolution was "illegal and illegitimate at the national and international level", the group added. [...]
Read the rest if you are more patient than me.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Spot Open on Watcher's Council

Watcher of Weasels has just announced that there is an open spot on the prestigious Watcher's Council. If you are a blogger and are not too busy flaying the plots of the Yankee Imperialists, strengthening the unity of the Ummah, or building a great powerful prosperous nation with the might of Songun, you might want to apply to join. (Image source.)

Der Spiegel: "Contestants to Compete for Donated Kidney in Dutch TV Show"

How would you blog about this story? Would you merely express shock and outrage? Make up other possible game shows? Write an eight-pargraph essay explaining why this is not perhaps such a good idea? Embed a link in the word "yuck"?
A Dutch television company is to broadcast a unique game show where three chronically ill contestants will compete for a kidney donation. German commentators agree that the show is scandalous -- but argue that the real organ donation situation in the Netherlands is even more shocking.

From the people who brought you "Big Brother" -- the show where you can win a kidney.

In "The Big Donor Show," which is to be aired Friday in the Netherlands on the private television station BNN, three seriously ill patients who are waiting for kidney transplants will compete for a donated organ from a terminally ill 37-year-old woman identified only as "Lisa."

The show, of course, has the interactive elements common to reality TV shows. Lisa will interview the three contestants, and viewers will then be able to vote by mobile phone text message for the person who they feel best deserves the life-saving transplant.

Lisa herself will make the final decision about who will get one of her kidneys -- which will be transplanted while she is still alive -- based on the contestants' history, profile and conversations with their families and friends. However some observers have raised the question of whether the kidney will even be suitable for transplantation, seeing as Lisa is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. Normally donated organs come from healthy individuals.

Unsurprisingly, the show has sparked controversy in the Netherlands and beyond.[...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: It's a hoax.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Al Qassam Brigades Information Office: "Abu Obaiada: The Zionist entity have to forget Shalit for ever"

The British University and College Union just voted to boycott Israel, thereby expressing solidarity with the Palestinians. Let's hear from the party the Palestinians elected to lead them, shall we? The interviewee is Hamas spokesman Abu Obaiada (or Obaida):
The politicians in the Zionist entity have plans to execute more bloody operations against the brigades and Hamas, what can you say about that?

Theses Zionist decisions are clearly failed. The Zionist forces in the last weeks executed its air strikes against civilian sites or internal security devices like the executive force. The Zionist entity is flopping. He has nothing to do in Gaza and he has to give up. The Zionist forces failed in Gaza before. We will respond to any aggression not with just the rocks but with every available mean.

What do you think about targeting the executive force sites?

It natural for us to be targeted by the Zionist forces. Because we present the head of the resistance in the Palestinian lands. This caused a panic for the Zionist state. In the issue of the executive force, it is the only Palestinian police force formed by Palestinian agenda. It is not applied Zionist agenda so it will be targeted and that consider as an honor to its members.

What if the Zionist entity executed its threatens and assassinated your leaders, How your response will be look like?

surly the Zionist army may committed crimes against our leaders. But note that when the resistance was in its beginnings, it was a real threat on the Zionist entity. We will use the martyrdom operations, rockets, and may something's you will hear it soon. We stressed that these assassinations will increase the ability of survive to the Palestinian people and Hamas.

What about Shalit?

Abu Obiada direct message to the Zionist entity have to forget Shalit for ever if it assassinated one Hamas leaders. But the surprise was that he said "May be before Shalit released, some of his friends will be with him".

Do you have the intention to improve your resistance means?

We are working to improve our resistance means as we promised our people. The Zionist sanction to the Palestinian people give us strong that our method is right. And our rockets will be more accurate and more influencing.

What about the martyrdom operations in the occupation land in 1948?

Of course, the martyrdom operations didn’t need just to political or military decision. Also it needs to define the circumstances on the ground. Some times there is decision to launch martyrdom operation but the execution delayed. That revert to the circumstances on the ground and the target kind.
I assume that means "Hell, yeah!"
Recently you talked about improving Qassam rockets and you said that it’s a matter of time that the will reach Asqlan, Do you have rockets reach to Asqlan?

In this issue, we said about reaching the rockets to Asqlan that it’s a matter of time. And we are working to develop our resistance techniques and means.

What is your message to the Zionist entity?

Your leadership is don’t know what it is doing. Destroying the rockets, building, and even the leaders martyrdom didn’t make us retreat. It will give us more strength and power to continue our struggle against the Zionist entity and protect the Palestinian people.
"Your leadership is don’t know what it is doing." That's eminently quotable.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

IRIB Radio: "Zionist Entity Plotting to Destroy Palestine"

As if it wasn't enough that they destroyed the Al-Aqsa Mosque!
A senior official of Fatah Movement, Ziyad Abu Ein, described the illegal Zionist entity’s attack on the Gaza Strip as a bid to destroy Palestinian territories.

In an interview with al-Alam news network, he said: the Zionist entity’s recent military measures and its violation of international laws, is intended to destroy the Palestinian institutions.

Referring to the imprisoning of hundreds of Palestinian leaders and figures in the Zionist entity’s jails and the barring of one-third of the MPs from attending parliament, Abu Ein added: “All these indicate that Tel Aviv tends to ruin the structure of the occupied Palestine.”

Criticizing the US backing of the Zionist entity, he said: “the Palestinians have no other choice but resisting against the usurpers of their homeland.”

Turkish Punch, Assad as Sorcerer's Apprentice, and other Liveliness

Asharq Alawsat has a number of important articles today. Two involve the continuing spread of Al-Qaeda and other fundamentalisms in Lebanon and beyond with Bashar Assad in the role of Sorcerer's apprentice. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, often a voice of reason, worries that Syria is "Sleeping with the Enemy":
Everyone knows that bolstering and raising fundamentalist movements in our region, whether Sunni or Shiite, will result in destructive chaos and inevitable conflict by its very nature.

From Morocco to Saudi Arabia, the examples that attest to this are numerous.

What has also confused many is Damascus's ability to use these extremist movements in confronting the Americans in Iraq, controlling Lebanon, or running the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories. No matter how strong Syria's belief is that it is safe from these groups, Damascus needs to realize that these fundamentalist movements are like Black widow spiders that can not befriend. As a matter of fact, armed Sunni fundamentalist groups consider the Syrian regime to be infidel. They might take notice of it tomorrow and even turn on it . . .

Perhaps Syria itself is not aware of how big of an achievement it is utilizing these groups in three different geographical locations. Practically, Syria is the side that has defeated the United States in Iraq more than any other country in the world by systematically and continuously opening the door to extremist groups, thus inflicting tremendous losses to the US military operation in Iraq in a manner that no politician in the White House had predicted. Using these same means, Damascus has proved -- but to a lesser extent -- that it is capable of influencing the situation against Israel. This influence could have been greater had it not been for the red lines that Israel has drawn as to the extent of loss it is willing to bear, and for its inattention to any laws in retaliating against what it considers the source of danger to its security.
"Considers"? If he is stressing the enormity of the forces being wielded by Assad, how can Israel not be threatened?
As for Lebanon, it is an unstable region that can easily be ruined, although difficult to control. Through its alliances, Syria is capable of disrupting the official situation despite its inability to take over the entire Lebanese map. Damascus is now an expert in dealing with all fundamentalist jihadists both Sunnis and Shiites alike. However, sleeping among these spiders is a risk. There is no difference in goals between an armed Sunni fundamentalist movement in a Palestinian camp in Lebanon and an armed Shiite movement in Beirut's southern suburb except in their religious principles. Allowing Hezbollah to carry and store weapons under any pretext will justify the armament of others under the pretext of fighting the Israelis; something that happens once a year, while these weapons are used on a daily basis within the framework of internal balances. [...]
Along similar lines, Tariq Alhomayed, AA's Editor-in-chief suggests that we (never mind who "we" is) should share "Nasrallah's Fears!":
. . . why is Sayyid concerned?
Don't you like that? We world-arrogance types should also start referring to Nasrallah by his first name.
The presence of Bin Laden's followers in Lebanon, undoubtedly, will place the resistance, Hezbollah, and its arms in a critical position and in a crisis. Sayyid knows very well that even if it benefited from Iran and Syria, Al Qaeda is an archenemy of the Shiaa, which is manifested in Iraq. Al Qaeda even explicitly declares the Shiaa as infidels and its enmity towards them surpasses their enmity towards Israel, which is stated in Al Qaeda literature.

Sayyid knows that Al Qaeda will not carry out suicide attacks in central Beirut in protest against Haifa Wahbi but rather against Israeli troops. Then, out of the common logic in the Arab world, the question will be; do we side with Al Qaeda or Israel? And this is a train of thought that Sayyid knows too well. It is the same logic that caused intellectuals of various trends, governments and Arab fundamentalists to take the Sayyid's side when he embarked on the venture of kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers last summer.

Who knows? There may be an attempt to rationalize the devil, Al Qaeda. Hezbollah was one day labeled a terrorist organization and some of its members, even in its Shura council, are wanted by a number of Arab states for involvement in assassination attempts and for inciting disorder in the 1980s and early 1990s.

More important is the dispute with Hezbollah over its legitimacy and that of its arms, which is resistance to the Israeli enemy. Al Qaeda would then be competing with Sayyid in his own turf and in his own trade, implying that the Sunni giant emerged from the magical lamp in Lebanon . . .
Also at AA today, a piece from the "the first deputy general guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood" (that "we" thing again) and the article that goes with that picture of Turkish parliamentarians punching each other out.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tehran Times: "Iran gains the upper hand"

Fox News analyst Alireza Jafarzadeh provides a good summary of why the current negotiations with Iran are a bad idea:
Iran's long history at the negotiating table shows that it is not in the United States' interest to agree to any of Tehran's demands.

Already, there have been indications that Iran is not taking the talks seriously. When direct talks were first announced earlier this month, Iran announced that it would send the deputy foreign minister to participate. Days later, Iran stated that the job would go instead to its ambassador to the United Nations. Soon after that announcement, Iran once again downgraded its representative, stating that its ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, would lead the Iranian delegation. Kazemi Qomi himself has a long history of inciting instability in Iraq, as a former commander of the Qods Force.

Even if the regime does reverse this tactic and treat the talks seriously, it will do so without any intention of acting on any commitments it makes. On nearly every major negotiation, and especially on the nuclear issue, Iran has come to the table only to rebuff all requests made of it, or to afterward disregard any commitments it makes. For the mullahs in Iran, every inch that the U.S. concedes is interpreted as a sign of weakness that further emboldens the Iranian ruling clerics, and invites more terrorism and sectarian violence.
The following item from Iran's government-controlled Tehran Times (via Mehr News) demonstrates that the Mullahs are already openly crowing that their hand has been strengthened. Note the usual references to plots and conspiracies and Point 4 (about the Little Satan):
Yesterday, Iran-U.S. talks on Iraq, which officials from the occupied country also attended, came to a conclusion with the sum total of reports indicating that the Iranian delegation had higher morale and gained the upper hand by proposing creative plans to improve the security situation in Iraq.

A few points should be noted in regard to these negotiations, which will be continued, according to the U.S. ambassador:

(1) Following the United States’ repeated unofficial requests for talks with Iran, which were made through various diplomatic channels, Iran stated that only an official request would be studied. The U.S. then submitted such a request through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. Given that Iran conditioned the negotiations on two points -- a strict focus on Iraq’s security and the presence of Iraqi officials as the third party -- in practice it was Iran that set the agenda. Thus, Iran forced the U.S. to turn its “need” for talks into a “will”.

(2) It is clear from the statements of U.S. officials, including the article by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns published in the Boston Review yesterday, that the main reasons for this “need” are the U.S. entrapment in the quagmire of Iraq and Afghanistan, internal disputes in the U.S. government, Israel’s humiliating defeat in its 33-day war against Hezbollah, and other regional and international problems of the United States. The acknowledgment of the stability of Iran’s political system in upcoming decades and the need to alter regional policies through the establishment of diplomatic relations with Tehran by the occupants of the White House came as a surprise. These are the same people who failed in their use of sanctions, military threats, and international pressure meant to undermine Iran.

(3) Iran’s wise decision to insist on the presence of Iraqi officials in the negotiations proved that Iranian foreign policymakers disdain from cutting bargains over the security and national interests of neighboring countries and Muslim nations of the region, including Iraq. The fact that Iran, after avoiding direct talks for 28 years, sat at the negotiating table with the United States, indicates the importance of Iraq’s stability and security for Iran. Although Iran’s position in the region is different than other countries’, it emphasized the importance of cooperation between Muslim countries of the region to ensure regional security.

(4) Iran also has a greater goal. The stability of Islamic countries would weaken the position of Israel because the Zionists can only secure their interests by fomenting disputes among Islamic countries and entangling them in wearisome insecurity. In addition, the stability of Muslim nations would lead to a greater awareness of Tel Aviv’s conspiracies.

(5) By accepting the U.S. call for negotiations, Iran has also responded to the frequent requests of various Iraqi parties and political, religious, and national figures. Iran could not remain indifferent to the increasing insecurity and economic problems of Iraq and the fact that the Iraqi people have been unable to lead normal lives. The frequent expressions of appreciation by Iraqi officials, including the fact that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki thanked Iran yesterday, prove this.

(6) Through its dominant presence in the four-hour negotiations in Baghdad, Iran showed that it has no fear of talking with the United States. If the members of the U.S. delegation adopt a fair approach and commit themselves to negotiations on an equal footing, and, instead of the usual U.S. posturing, engage in real negotiations and speak as clearly as the Iranian negotiators, then additional meetings would also be possible.

(7) Contrary to the views of Western analysts, in these trilateral talks with the U.S., Iran deliberately avoided discussing Tehran-Washington problems because linking the problems of the Iraqi people to Iran-U.S. disputes would undermine regional trust and Muslim unity. Indeed, Iran-U.S. disputes are so vast and diverse that discussing these matters would require many prerequisites, including a decision by the White House to end its hostile policies toward Iran.

(8) Although the wall of Iranians’ mistrust of the U.S. can be breached, it is so high that it can not be destroyed through a single session of talks and the exchange of a few smiles. People like Mr. Nicholas Burns should acknowledge that writing an article is not a solution for their “need”. In order for the two countries to sit at the negotiating table in the future and settle their disputes, there is one major prerequisite: the U.S. government must take concrete steps to end its covert and overt plots against Iran’s national interests.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

AFP: "Bulgarian Nurses Acquitted of Slandering Libyan Policemen"

This just kinda restores your confidence in the system. Via Naharnet:
A Libyan court acquitted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor on Sunday of charges of slandering policemen by protesting that their confessions had been extracted under torture.

At a hearing lasting less than a minute during which the six defendants were not present, judge Salem al-Homari announced they had been found not guilty and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the legal costs.

The five nurses -- Kristiana Valcheva, Nassia Nenova, Valia Cherveniachka, Valentina Siropoulo and Snejana Dimitrova -- and doctor Ashraf Ahmed Juma had faced a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

The six have already been in custody for eight years and were condemned to death in May 2004 on charges of deliberately injecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV, which can cause AIDS, at a hospital in the city of Benghazi.

The verdict was upheld last December but a final appeal, originally set for earlier this month, is due to open soon.

The accused said that their "confessions" in the HIV trial were forced from them under torture, including beatings, electric shocks and being threatened with dogs.

The medics, largely viewed as scapegoats by the international community, maintain their innocence based on testimony by foreign health experts who said the AIDS epidemic in Libya's second city was sparked by poor hygiene.

The six foreigners had also filed civil suits against 10 Libyan police officers, accusing them of torturing them. But a Tripoli court acquitted the officers, some of whom then accused the nurses of slander.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Asharq Alawsat: "Al-Jazeera Defends Fatah al-Islam"

As Zionist control of the media approaches totality, the Islamophobic neo-con site Asharq Alawsat smears Al-Jazeera, that bastion of objective journalism:
On the fourth day after the outbreak of fighting in Nahr al Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, ‘Al-Jazeera’ started its evening bulletin by stating that the report about to be aired included exclusive footage from inside the Palestinian camp, which conveyed the magnitude of the killing and revealed the extent of "human suffering" experienced by its inhabitants.

The footage, which was aired after, showed images of Fatah al Islam fighters stationed in their positions and firing at targets that were clearly members of the Lebanese army.

The tape did not present any images that reflected the suffering of Palestinian civilians; instead, it showed the fighters hiding behind their arms while they chanted repeated phrases in overlapping voices, such as 'idols' and 'infidels'. They were also seen exchanging information about the location of their 'brothers', their fellow comrades.

Once again, 'Al-Jazeera' channel displays no hesitation in playing the same role that it mastered in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, namely, the official spokesman of fundamentalist groups.

It soon became clear that the Fatah al Islam fighters were dealing with a 'friendly' camera, not one that represented a neutral press. Immediately an ambiguous line appeared concerning the relationship between takfiri [Muslims holding other Muslims to be infidels] groups who's profession is to engage in killing rampages, indiscriminate murder and blowing themselves up on the one hand, and a channel that has managed, ever since its inception, to ignite an Islamist following of growing influence. [...]
Five paragraphs remain of the article. You have your orders.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Linkim 5/27/07

Haveil Havalim 118 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up!

David Ignatius: "What's on Tehran's Mind?"

Dar Al Hayat: "The Palestinians, Yet Again!"

ZioNation: "of urgent concern" (h/t: Simply Jews)

EOZ: "Abandoning Gaza gets retroactively dumber every day"

Asharq Alawsat: "The Trial of Hariri's Assassins and Al Qaeda"

Mehr News: "Iran, U.S. prepare for wary dialogue"

Arab News: "Palestine Service Smashes Network of Collaborators"

(North) Korean News: "Rodong Sinmun on Patriotism"

IRNA: "Speaking of talks with US, deviation from Imam's ideals - Khatami"

Arab American News: "Zionism's first victim is Judaism"

Why can't a Zionist be more like Iran?

Why can't the Zionists be like Iran?
Iran is so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair.
Who, when you're Mugabe, will always give your back a pat.
Why can't the fake regime be like that?

Why does every one do what the other does?
Can't a Kuffar learn to use his head?
Why do they do everything the Big Satan does?
Why don't they grow up, well, like the Imam instead?

Why can't the Zionists take after Iran?
Iran is so pleasant, so easy to please.
When they take you hostage, you're always at ease.

Would you be slighted if I put your name in quotes?

Of course not.

Would you be livid if I had a centrifuge?


Would you be wounded if I spoke of wiping you out?


Well, why can't the fake regime be like you?

Some Basij commander may shout a bit.
Now and then, there's one who's less than sublime.
One perhaps whose vigilance you doubt a bit,
But by and large we are a world paradigm!

Why can't the Zionists take after Iran?
'Cause Iran is so friendly, good-natured and kind.
A better ally you never will find.

If I hosted the First International Congress on the Culture of Resistance would you bellow?

Of course not.

If I denied your silly Shoah, would you fuss?


Would you complain if Nasrallah was my fellow?


Why can't a Zionist be like us?


Why can't the Zionists be more like Iran?
Persians are decent, such regular chaps;
Ready to help you through any mishaps;
Ready to buck you up whenever you're glum.
Why can't a Zionist be a chum?

Why is thinking something Zionist never do?
And why is logic never even tried?
Martyring Palestinians is all they ever do.
Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside?

Why can't a Zionist behave like Iran?
If I had usurped the Al-Buraq Wall,
Been made a Pariah by one and by all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing,
Or carry on as if my home were in a tree?
Would I launch jets and never tell me where they're going?
Why can't a Zionist be like me?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

If you happen to see the most dearly nation in the world

This little nugget is from Fars News, and its real title is "Iran to Set a Paradigm for Other Nations." I included the link so that I won't be accused of making up the article, but you might want to avoid clicking on it: The Fars News site resizes your browser window and who knows what else. Not to worry--what follows is the complete article:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that his country would turn into a paradigm for the other world nations, saying that the bullying powers will have to taste the bitter flavor of such an incident in future.

"Certain powers have mobilized all their potentials, including their instruments of psychological warfare, to exert pressure on Iran to make it give up divine servitude and become their slave," Ahmadinejad said while addressing a congregation of the people in Aran and Bidgol town in Iran's central province of Isfahan on the third leg of his 29th tour of the different provinces of the country.

He further stressed that such a wish may never come true for the world powers.

"Iranian people believe in God only and are not fearful of you. This nation will set a paradigm for the world nations and become the most dearly nation in the world by resisting against your arrogance and expansionism and you will, God willing, taste the bitter flavor of what you are fearful of," the president continued.
Nothing quite punctures hyper-bravado like awkward English.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Who do you think is going to win the election in Syria?

Bashar Assad is up for, ahem, re-election. According to the New York Times:
Many expect the referendum to be a turning point, but they differ on its direction. Some hope that Mr. Assad will begin changes and pardon the imprisoned advocates of change; others fear the referendum will further embolden the government to take an even tougher line domestically and cement its position.

“The regime has total power in the country,” said Riad Seif, a former member of Parliament and an opposition figure. “It controls the economy, the Ministry of Information, and it has hundreds of thousands of secret police. They can use all these tools to achieve their goals.”
The Times article also reports "sparse" attendance at the "kickoff party" of Assad's "re-election campaign." Something must be amiss somewhere, however, since according to the Syrian Arab New Agency support for Assad looks like this:Any uncertainty is bound to be cleared up, of course, by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting:
Syrians go to the polls on Sunday in an ellections which will give President Bashar al-Assad another seven years in office.
See, they're predicting the outcome of the election without reservation. They must have access to accurate polls.
The Syrian Arab Republic's parliament unanimously approved the candidature of the 41-year-old president for a second term until the year 2014.

The ruling Baath Party has called on voters to give a resounding "yes" to a new mandate for Assad.

In july 2000, after the death of his father Hafez, Bashar was voted to office by the Syrian people, receiving a 97.29 percent support.
He'll beat that this time. I just know it.

Update: IRIB reports "Syria vote for Assad unprecedented."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Yiddish-died-and-we-revived-it Watch

A current title at Northern California Jewish News proclaims "Yiddish revival celebrated at U.C. Berkeley conference." I'm all for Yiddish revivals, but I wonder if a conference can pull one off single-handedly. What classes can you now take in Yiddish at U. C. Berkeley?
As a child and then a teenager in Hartford, Conn., Len Goldschmidt heard a lot of Yiddish around the house . . . And when he moved out, he left the language behind.

“I wanted nothing to do with it while I was growing up,” Goldschmidt recalled.

But times change. And so do people.

Last week, the Oakland man spent two days at a Yiddish conference at U.C. Berkeley.

“I realized that there was a very vibrant Yiddish and Jewish community here, and so I became interested again,” he said.

The annual Yiddish conference brought together members of the local and global community for two days of learning about and in Yiddish.

“The conference is one of the few sources available to the general public that can enhance people’s awareness of the beauty, richness and literature that was a part of Jewish life” before World War II, Goldschmidt said.
What happened then, I suppose, is that secular Jews stopped speaking it. Frum Jews don't count.
Professor John Efron started the conference five years ago when he was the head of the Jewish studies department at Cal. He currently teaches in both the history and Jewish studies departments and directs the Institute for European Studies.

“Yiddish is an enormously important language,” he said. “It was part of people’s daily speech and also the language of a very high level of scholarship.”

U.C. Berkeley is one of the biggest centers for Yiddish studies in the United States. It is also one of the few universities that studies Hebrew and Yiddish together.

“That’s really important. Most places regard them as separate,” Efron said of the element that makes Cal’s program unique.
I wonder what this means. Studying Yiddish and Hebrew texts in the same class?
Scholars from around the world attend the conference, often to present their doctoral research.

“It’s the only annual Yiddish studies conference in the world,” Efron added.

Aya Elyada, a graduate student of German Jewish history at the University of Tel Aviv, delivered a presentation about Christian literature on Yiddish in the German-speaking world. Since this is the focus of her doctoral research, she’s lived in Munich for the past two years. For Elyada, the highlight of the conference was hearing a lecture delivered completely in Yiddish.

“It is not often that one gets to hear an entire academic lecture and discussion in Yiddish,” she said. “And of course, it proved that Yiddish is indeed a suitable language for scholarship.”
Glad that was cleared up. The world is, of course, full of institutions in which classes on scholarly subjects are conducted in Yiddish. They are called yeshivos.
Goldschmidt looks forward to the Yiddish conference each year as an opportunity to return to the language of his childhood. Plus, he said, “I can tell a joke in Yiddish and people will get it.” [...]
He could just go to the mikveh on Shabbos morning . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Daily Star: "Bashar Assad need not stay in the club of life-long autocrats"

Wishful thinking:
This Sunday's referendum on a second seven-year term for Syrian President Bashar Assad is hard to judge through the lens of normal politics and governance. The idea that the result could be anything other than overwhelming support is not of this world, and certainly not of this Arab region with its modern legacy of presidents for life. In another two years, the Libyan leader will have ruled for 40 years. Rarely has the world known such a phenomenon as this eternal rule of republican leaders, other than in ancient empires and modern monarchies that have their own forms of legitimacy. For Bashar Assad to slip into this dwindling club of life-long autocrats is a shame, because he does not need to go through such performances of wild adulation. He as a leader and his country as a whole have the assets required to do that which has never been done by an Arab leader: Foster genuine legitimacy and enthusiastic popular support at home, and play a powerful role regionally and internationally, by pursuing policies that achieve win-win situations for all concerned.

Syria feels strong and safe right now, but this is not necessarily a correct perception. The country elicits significant opposition and some active pressures and sanctions from its neighbors and powerful countries around the world. Its core assumptions - that the US will keep making mistakes in the region, and that alternatives to the ruling Assad dynasty are not attractive to anyone - are short-term good bets, but long-term losers. The trend all around the world is toward stability anchored in economic prosperity, good governance and the rule of law. Syria makes gestures of acknowledgement to the global economy, but little else of substance.

Syria has the opportunity - still - to break away from the path of the hard rulers for life, by building on its tremendous assets of human wealth, natural resources, strategic geography and many positive political cards to play in the region. Assad can open the political space in his country, generate a more inclusive and accountable system of governance, tap the talents and creativity of his people, and get out of the trap of being permanently at odds with most of his neighbors and global interlocutors. He hinted that he would do this when he came to power seven years ago, but never did. Term number two is a chance to reconsider the options he still has in that respect.
Don't hold your breath.

Tags: Syria, Assad

Friday, May 25, 2007

Counterpunch: "Zionism and the Doctrine of Election"

This little David-Duke-esque article was approvingly picked up by Al Arab, which is where I noticed it.
[...] When the Palestinian resistance dashed these hopes, the Zionists quickly made plans to evict them from their lands by force of arms. Indeed, in 1948 the Zionists nearly implemented their totalitarian vision when they expelled some 800,000 Palestinians, leveled their towns and villages, and made sure that they would never return to their homes in the Jewish state of Israel. This may have been troubling to some, but Zionists steeped in Jewish sacred history knew that their Lord had urged even more radical measures when their ancestors were taking possession of Canaan.

The theology of chosenness offered another advantage; it did not limit Zionist ambitions to Palestine alone. The Lord's promise was not restricted to Canaan; in a few more generous verses, He had expanded the Jewish inheritance to include all the lands between the Nile and Euphrates (Genesis: 15.18)." With present-day borders, this expansive Israeli empire would include Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and perhaps more. If the Zionists could successfully use the Bible to claim Palestine, they could invoke the same divine authority to claim the rest of the Arab Middle East as well. In the middle of the Suez War in 1956, Ben-Gurion told the Knesset "that the real reason for it [the Suez War] is 'the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon' to its Biblical borders. At this point in his speech, almost every Knesset member spontaneously rose and sang the Israeli national anthem."

The doctrine of election did not merely set the Jews apart from other nations; it also set them above other nations. Over time, this has encouraged racist tendencies. Since the Jews were the chosen instruments of God's intervention on earth, this was interpreted by some Jewish thinkers to mean that Jews were not subject to the laws of nature and society. In other words, as long as the Jews believed that they were acting as instruments of God's will, they did not have to follow the laws of gentile nations. As Israelis have moved to the religious right, a shift propelled by the rationale and experience of Zionism itself, Zionist advocates have shown an increasing willingness to justify their human rights abuses as a Jewish prerogative. As Zionist plans continue to be challenged by their victims, the 'chosen people' slowly but surely take on the hues of a 'master race:' they begin to imagine that they have the power to legitimize their actions by merely willing them into existence.
The author, M. Shahid Alam, "professor of economics at Northeastern University," seems to have first-hand experience on the subject of "willing" things "into existence." That seems to be what he has done with most of his facts.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Easy to see where their sympathies lie

Click to enlarge image:

Amir Taheri: "From Kunduz to Gaza: Who is Stirring Trouble and Why?"

Here are the closing paragraphs:
[...] Strategists in Tehran appear convinced that the US retreat will take place within the next two years at most. They are also determined not to allow the US to help shape a regional alliance capable of protecting a new balance of power. This will create a vacuum in many parts of the region, notably Afghanistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Tehran cannot allow rival radical groups, especially Al Qaeda and the Taliban, to fill that vacuum. It is, therefore, trying to place its allies and clients in strategic positions from which to claim power in Kabul, Baghdad ad Beirut, among other places.

Early signs show that a long hit summer of conflict, perhaps even full-scale war, is ahead of us in the Middle East. The perception that the US is divided and weak has encouraged the most radical elements throughout the region, including Tehran and Damascus. With what was left of the so-called realists and pragmatists on the defensive everywhere, the radical agenda is unchallenged. As Ali Khamenehi, the "Supreme Guide" of the Khomeinist movement said last week Tehran can deploy suicide-martyrdom groups, a weapon "many times stronger than the atomic bombs used in Hiroshima."
Read the rest.

IRNA: "Ahmadinejad: Israel's repeated mistakes to spark nations' wrath"

Yet another example of Ahmadinejad's bellicose rhetoric towards Israel:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here on Thursday that the Zionist regime will face other nations's anger if repeats its past mistakes such as Lebanon's invasion.

Addressing large groups of provincial residents on his 29th provincial tour, Ahmadinejad said the Zionist regime should not think that it can pave the way for a repeated attack on Lebanon by assassinating the Palestinian leaders and crackdown on the public.

"Thanks God Almighty, the world nations and Palestinian people have become aware," he said, adding, "Any repetition of the mistakes will make regional nations angry and result in elimination of the Zionist entity."

Touching on the 60-year crimes of the Zionist Regime, including massacre of women and children at their houses and making the Palestinians homeless, Ahmadinejad noted that big powers do not oppose such actions and support the illegitimate regime instead.

Advising the Zionists to stop 60 years of massacre, assassination, crime and aggression, he said, "If you do not stop massacring, regional nations will soon come on the scene and eliminate you criminals."
Let's see, how did Juan Cole put it? "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Linkim 5/22/07

(North) Korean News: "Architecture for Immortality of Leader"

Asharq Alawsat: "Fatwa or Fantasy"

IRIB: "Shenanigans against Lebanese resistance"

Fars News: "Iranian Jews Condemn Israel" [Possible security risk]

Hitchens: "Peanut Envy: The latest absurdities to emerge from Jimmy Carter's big, smug mouth" ("Pure pleasure"--Martin Kramer)


Mystical Paths
: "Shavuos"

MOChassid: "Fleishig Reinforcement"

Kankan Chadash: "Shavuos and Rosh ha'Shanah"

Divrei Chaim: "bikurim - zman gerama? (part 2)"

Dixie Yid: "Why do Chazal call Shavuos, 'Atzeres?'"

Gut Yom Tov!

Monday, May 21, 2007

"I.R. of Iran, commanding center of awakened nations" --or-- Ayatollah borrows Kim Jong Il's speechwriters again

I love the smell of Supreme Leader pronouncements in the morning. From IRIB:
Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei told a thousands-strong student audience Monday that the spirit of Basij (Qoranic diligence) takes credit for the hope and endurance of the Iranian nation, adding that across the large battleground of wills and prudence in the world, the same spirit helped transform the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic into a commanding center for awakening of the world nations to stand up to America's hegemony.
My little daughter walked past the computer as I had the original article in front of me with the Ayatollah's picture. "Who is that?" she asked. "A very silly man," I replied.
The IR Leader said the essence of Basij equals the readiness to cater to different revolutionary needs at any time or situation whatsoever, adding that any one who enshrines the essence enjoys the spirit, wherever he is located: in student associations or in non-academic surroundings including state departments, nationwide factories, the Islamic jurisprudence centers, or any other places.

Ayatollah Khamenei accredited the nation's preparedness in every situation with the national achievements in the past 27 years.

"The present world's political arena hosts a huge complex war of will and prudence and the point of fact is that the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic of Iran has played and continue to play a determining role in this arena so that one can say the Islamic system has already set off a strong bomb in the world of politics far more powerful than the bomb used by America in Hiroshima," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Raising the superpowers-minded dichotomy of dominance-seekers-subdued countries in the world, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "In the world of politics, America has acted in a way that even the Europeans cannot afford to make a notable say of their own. However, the Iranian nation by its measures and positions has questioned the overall platform of the dominance-seeking power consequently affecting the bystanders of the colossal political conflict which are the nations. For the arrogant American government the reality has proved more bitter than any other poison."

In the same regard, the IR Leader said that the awakened nations of Palestine, Lebanon, Latin America and other points of the world took inspiration from the innocent perseverance of the Iranian nation and the firmer-than-steel resolve of the honorable Imam Khomeini the departed and resourceful reserve must be cherished.

Ayatollah Khamenei urged the youths and the other individuals in society to pick a due knowledge about the current global political situation.

"In the nations' battle against America, the Islamic Republic has turned into a commanding center for the nations so that despite the imbalance of power and abilities of the opposing parties, Iran could changed the situation in favor of the front of nations through its Allah-inspired resolve and prudence to the extent it even enjoys an equal standing vis-a-vis the rival," Ayatollah Khamenei added.

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that faith, revolutionary spirit, and religious motivations have produced a powerful Islamic Republic of Iran against America, adding that the heart and soul of the Iranian nation are intertwined with the revolution and for the same reason everywhere and every time necessary the nation will take on the field to defend Islam, the revolution and the country.

"The reality arises from the power of religion in firming the nations," the Islamic Revolution Leader underlined.
Gotta have firm nations.
Ayatollah Khamenei underlined the role of the students, especially the Basij-grown students in enhancing the commanding position of the Iranian nation as unique.

As regards the role of the Basij-grown students in national affairs, Ayatollah Khamenei reminded his New Year Day's statement in which the honorable alerted about enemy efforts to disrupt the country's economy to present the creed-following administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as incompetent, adding the student Basij associations can help thwart the ploy by assisting the administration to promote its performance.

Ayatollah Khamenei also alerted about another enemy effort namely to hinder Iran's scientific growth and trouble national unity and Islamic harmony, adding that the Basij-grown students can take an active and influential role to foil such attempts.

The IR Leader underlined necessity of full alert on the part of the students, adding, "Such alert should not be summarized in renouncing America alone, rather it takes a more profound concept in light of the enemy's complicated and mainly hidden political and cultural programs."
If he only knew. If he only knew.
"Sometimes the enemy in order to have its plan at full strength lurks to hear some one making a rightful comment. For that reason, we must strictly take vigilance not to allow enemy to abuse an statement," Ayatollah Khamenei urged, adding that to meet the requirement one should know the enemy and avoid careless conduct.

Ayatollah Khamenei called the student Basij association a bi-faceted association, having connection with both the academic surrounding and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) which represents valiant revolutionary resistance.

Ayatollah Khamenei underscored insight as the prime requirement for the association, urging it to acquire a dynamic mind through thought-making and theoretical projects so that it could assess the country's situation aside from political factions and so become able to take its obligations.

Ayatollah Khamenei urged the audience to pay special attention to their academic lessons and morality adding that the association must acquire a thought room, recruit in a proper manner and preserve its organizational unity.

Concerning the involvement of the students in political affairs, Ayatollah Khamenei said "The Basij-grown students could not and should not go unheeded towards political matters rather it should remain full-energy and avoid heedless manners. However, avoiding heedless treatment does not require ignoring the enemy's complicated projects thereby the student Basij must keep path with full alert and vigilance."
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Daily Times (Pakistan): "Ahmadinejad’s visit to Riyadh was fruitless"

This offers a nice contrast between reality and Ahmadinejad's rhetoric:
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Saudi Arabia for the day to talk with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and came away saying the two counties had agreed to “work together to thwart ‘enemy’ plots seeking to divide the Islamic world”. After landing in Tehran his message was nicely packaged: “Fortunately we and the Saudis were fully aware of the threats of our enemies and we condemn them. We ask all Muslims to be aware of the enemy plots and be alert”.

The reference is to the sectarian war in Iraq and the blame is squarely placed on the United States. Mr Ahmadinejad packed a lot of messages in his statement at home. Not only was the Sunni-Shia conflict a creation of the ‘enemy’ of the Muslims, he said, the enemy had to be driven out of the region too: “We came up with a plan to preserve the rights of the Islamic nations and safeguard the rights of the people of the region.” But he made no reference to Lebanon where the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora is supported by Saudi Arabia but opposed by Iran through Hezbollah. He also made no reference to Israel because on this issue, too, Iran toes a different line from the Saudi-led Arab League: King Abdullah’s offer is that if Israel withdraws to the 1967 boundaries the Arab world would recognise it; Iran rejects that and will not recognise Israel at any price.

The Saudi side revealed a little bit more. It saw the visit as a sign that the two countries were pooling efforts “to ease the explosive regional crises”, the two leaders stressing the need to preserve Iraq’s “independence, national unity and equality between its citizens”. It saw Ahmadinejad endorsing Riyadh’s efforts to resolve the political crisis in Lebanon. Most significantly, a Saudi official has said that “the kingdom would try to convince Tehran to comply with UN resolutions and suspend enrichment”.

Actually the meeting was an important one on many counts. It was a meeting of the two representatives of the Islamic schism: the Shia and the Sunni. A dangerous period of non-communication had intervened in which Saudi Arabian sources had voiced concern about the spread of Shia and Iranian influence in the region. Jordan, which stands close to Saudi Arabia, had said things that Iran did not relish at all. It was therefore not easy to begin talking after a period of hostile non-communication.

According to reports, Mr Ali Larijani, the chief negotiator of Iran’s nuclear programme and special assistant to President Ahmadinejad, visited Riyadh twice to prepare the ground for the visit. He and not anyone else went because earlier the third-ranking Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan had visited Tehran and clarified the agenda, which must have concerned Iran’s nuclear programme. Prince Bandar’s father, Sultan, is next in line to the King. Prince Bandar looks after the security agency and is in charge of matters linked to possible dangers of a sectarian outbreak in the country. He also inherits his father’s position.

It is reported that a great feast was prepared for the Iranian president. When the talks began, King Abdullah sat close to Mr Ahmadinejad. This was unusual. He talked of nothing else but Iran’s nuclear programme that the UN Security Council was going to discuss with a view to imposing tough sanctions on Iran. Saudi Arabia itself is greatly worried about Iran’s nuclear posture and the American military build-up in the Gulf, but the King acted as if he was offering himself as a mediator between Iran and the United States.

It is said that the Iranian president with his quicksilver disposition did not like what he heard. The discussion broke up and everyone went for dinner. After dinner there was more deadlock over the nuclear issue. After the meeting, it was expected that the Iranian delegation would stay the night but just after midnight President Ahmadinejad decided to head home. No joint statement was issued which means nothing was decided and each side was to issue its own version of what happened.

If this is what happened, then it does not bode well for the Sunni-Shia world conference together with the Security Council Big Five that Iraq is planning to hold and to which Iran has agreed only tentatively after objecting to including too many extra-regional entities. There is no doubt that some sections of the Iranian ruling elite are worried about President Ahmadinejad’s ‘train without a brake’, but Iran’s pride and sense of honour at being challenged is something that the president can use successfully against all opponents.

Internationally, America’s strategy of threatening Iran is being seen as the latest Washington move, although Washington denies it. Even the Jandullah attacks across the Pakistan-Iran border are seen in this context. If the Riyadh meeting was a testing of the waters to see how Iran was reacting to these moves, it has proved fruitless.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Iranian Press Today: "Illegitimacy of Israel," "US Discredited," "Quantum Leap"

Did I ever mention that the Iranian press likes to attack the fake usurper Zionist regime? Warning: I provided the links, but the Fars News site resizes your browser window and may raise other security issues.

Fars News: "Tehran Stresses Illegitimacy of Israel":
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini repeated Iran's stance in the face of the Zionist regime of Israel, stressing that Tehran views that regime as illegal, illegitimate and a usurper of the Palestinians' rights and land.

The spokesman made the remarks in reaction to the release of distorted quotations from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki while addressing a regional meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan.

Speaking to reporters during his weekly press conference here on Sunday, Hosseini expressed regret over misinterpretations and distortion of Mottaki's remarks.

He further noted Mottaki's statements about the Zionist regime and issues of the Palestinian nation at the WEF meeting as well as his address at the ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Islamabad, Pakistan, and said if media paid due attention to these statements then they could realize Mottaki's points given the abundant asymmetries existing in his remarks.

The spokesman further mentioned expatriation of the indigenous residents of Palestine and arrangement of free and democratic elections to be attended by the original and native residents of Palestine, including Muslims, Jews and Christians, to determine the type of government in that country as the only way to solve Palestine's issue, stressing that the result of such elections would receive Iran's unconditional support.

Elsewhere, he pointed to the achievements gained by the Iranian delegation at the 34th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, and said that Tehran had prepared 15 draft resolutions which were approved by the participants.

"One of these resolutions pertained to Iran's peaceful nuclear activities, which was approved by all the 57 member states. The resolution stresses the need for the use of peaceful means and precondition-free talks as the best way to resolve Iran's nuclear issue," the spokesman reminded.

He also said that as a result of Iran's efforts, participants also passed a resolution stressing Islamic solidarity in a bid to neutralize enemies' attempts and plots for sowing seeds of discord among Islamic countries and nations.

"After 38 years, the Organization of the Islamic Conference for the first time described Shiism as an official religion of Islam and stressed its strong opposition to aggressions against Shiites' lives and possessions," Hosseini continued.

He also voiced pleasure in the ratification of a resolution by the OIC meeting against the Zionist regime, condemning Tel Aviv for possessing nuclear arms. [...]
Fars News: "US Discredited for Supporting Israel":
Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel stressed that the United States' support for the criminal regime of the Zionists has discredited the American nation.

Addressing an open session of the Islamic Consultative Assembly here in Tehran on Sunday, the speaker noted the intensification of the Zionist regime's invasion of Palestine and massacre of the innocent people in Gaza, and reminded, "So far some 18 Palestinians have been martyred while a large number of people have also been wounded."

"Watching the scenes where mothers, spouses and children mourn for the loss of their beloved ones is a source of suffering and grievance for every heart," he continued.

Haddad Adel further blasted European countries who allege to be advocates of human rights for merely watching Israelis' brutal invasions, adding, "These (Europeans) are the same people who cry out when a person is arrested in accordance with the domestic laws of a country, but they have now kept silent. And the United States also extends its constant support for this illegitimate infant (Israel).

"This is the same United States that introduces itself as the flag-bearer of freedom and democracy in the world and intends to gift these items (democracy and freedom) to the Islamic countries as well. But the world people can observe as to how Americans treat Hamas which has ascended to power through the vote of majority of Palestinians and in accordance with the mechanisms which comply with democracy," he continued.

The speaker also mentioned, "Under such conditions that the US supports Israel and the Zionist regime's minister of war officially announces that they intend to assassinate Hamas leader, how can the Americans expect not to be hated by the world of Islam."

He also called on the American people to question the US administration, saying that the United States' support for Israel has ruined the whole reputation of that country.

"We condemn the barbaric acts of Israel and express our sympathy with the bereaved families of the martyrs," the Iranian parliament speaker said.
The Iranian economy may be having difficulties, but don't worry, it's on the "verge of a giant leap." And you thought only North Korea made great leaps!

Press TV: "Iran's economy taking quantum leap":
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the country is on the verge of a "giant economic leap" calling for the nation to take its part.

"The country is on the verge of a giant leap. The infrastructure is developed swiftly and we are creating the (required) conditions (for that). The young expert workforce is entering into the work market. The country has a lot of experience in various fields. We are on the verge of an economic leap," the President said.

In a TV interview on Saturday, Ahmadinejad called Iran as one of the safest countries for investment.

"Despite the current pressures and propaganda, domestic and foreign investment has considerably increased in Iran during the recent years", said the President, adding "But this leap demands a public movement, that is the people and the government should take their part despite the difficulties and pressures. I call on all the people to take part in the movement. The popular economy should move the country forward. The people should participate in the form of groups, companies, and cooperatives. The people should tolerate the difficulties for a 3-4 year period so that our country turns into a developed and modern country," he reiterated.

Ahmadinejad touched on the issue of the fuel consumption Iran and said it falls on the government to decrease the consumption. "The government is seeking to spend the money saved from the fair distribution of oil on stable infrastructure" he concluded.
What a great economic principle: saving money through fairness!

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Linkim 5/20/07

Haveil Havalim 117 is up! Carnival of the Insanities is up! KCC 18 is up!

NY Times: "U.S. Pays Pakistan to Fight Terror, but Patrols Ebb"

Dar Al Hayat: "No Leadership Is Of This Ignorance"

Thomas Friedman
: "Playing the Hand We’ve Dealt" (Friedman has not figured out that you gotta know when to fold 'em.) (Martin Kramer describes this as "Tom Friedman off deep end Hugs Iran, Hamas, Khalidi.")

Amir Taheri: "Syria's Deception"

DKos: "Is an I/P purge necessary for Kos?"

HuffPo: "Smoking and R-Ratings" (Sensible)

Seraphic Secret: "The Inbetween War"

Life-of-Rubin: "Music!! Music!! Here is My List of What to Get"

Treppenwitz: "Open to interpretation"

Guardian: "Israel ready to settle scores"

The Guardian would clearly like to be taken as objective, but that urge has a lot of competition. There is something oddly torturous about how this story is constructed, and I've bolded interesting bits of slanting. Oh, and don't you like the article title?
Israel launched more air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza yesterday afternoon, killing at least two Palestinians, as top officials considered a broader strategy for stopping rockets being fired at Israeli towns.

The air campaign that began last Wednesday has plunged the Palestinians deeper into turmoil after nine days of fierce factional fighting verging on civil war between ruling Hamas Islamists and President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah in Gaza.

For the fifth time in seven days, Egyptian mediators announced yesterday a negotiated ceasefire to end fighting between the bitterly opposed Palestinian groups. But even if the ceasefire holds, it was clear this weekend that Israel planned to use the situation to settle political and military scores with both Hamas and militants who had engaged in a steady bombardment of Israeli towns near the Palestinian borders with their mostly ineffectual homemade rockets.

The announcement of the latest truce also failed to give any details, a bad sign considering that while the fundamental question of who commands the security forces in Gaza remains unanswered, no ceasefire will last, according to almost everyone involved.

An agreement signed by Hamas and Fatah in February to share power collapsed last week, when Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasme resigned because he could not control the various factions of gunmen supposedly under his command.

Al-Qawasmeh had been selected as a neutral choice to lead Gaza's security forces but his neutrality also meant he lacked any gunmen of his own, thus making it impossible for him to exercise any authority over Gaza's many different semi-official armed factions.
Can't exercise authority without your own gunmen.
Within a day, Gaza blew apart, once again sending masked gunmen to the streets in a flurry of gunfights, hostage-takings and a siege of the Islamic University - the intellectual birthplace of Hamas, and a symbolic and military flashpoint over the past year of conflict between the two parties.

Even as the guns in the Fatah-Hamas conflict began to quiet, Israel responded with an unexpected offensive against Hamas-related targets and officials that Israeli officials have long considered terrorists and not part of a legitimate Palestinian government.

Although the US and Israel have openly supported Fatah in the fight by supplying money, equipment and training to its top military commander in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, the Israelis insist that the daily air and artillery attacks on Hamas targets are designed to halt rocket attacks on the small Israeli towns that ring the walled-off Gaza Strip, a narrow sliver of land jammed with nearly 1.5 million Palestinians.

Hamas officials retort that Israel was supporting Fatah, whose fighters appear to be out-gunned, out-trained and out-led by their Hamas rivals. By midweek, Abu Obaida, spokesman for the Hamas military wing, declared an end to the tattered Hamas ceasefire with Israel.
That tattered ceasefire.
Previously, with a few exceptions, Hamas had been honoring a six-month-old ceasefire with the Israelis and had not been firing rockets itself. But its security forces had also ignored repeated attacks on Israel by rocket teams from Islamic Jihad, a militant group of increasing power which ignores domestic Palestinian politics and internal clashes in favour of attacks on Israel. And Islamic Jihad has refused every overture to negotiate on any aspect of Palestinian-Israeli peace.
Let's not mention that Hamas has been arming it.
As the battles with Fatah broke out across the strip, Hamas quickly entered the rocket-firing fray and the nearby Israeli town of Serdot took damage and casualties. But the Israeli offensive, which targeted not just rocket teams but top Hamas commanders, installations and infrastructure, also left the group reeling as it ordered its men to disperse from all known Hamas installations, stay off mobile phones and avoid large gatherings that could be targeted by superior Israeli military technology. This attack on their opponent's command and control ability, at least temporarily, seems to have saved Fatah from a military defeat and might have set the stage for yesterday's ceasefire to hold longer than the previous attempts.
That's interesting.
But Hamas and other militants seem convinced that an Israeli invasion of Gaza is the best plan of action, no matter the cost. In interviews with both Islamic Jihad and Hamas militant commanders over the past month, The Observer learned that both groups badly want to draw Israel into a protected ground combat in a reinvasion of Gaza for political and military reasons.

Politically, Abu Hamza, the top Islamic Jihad commander in charge of the group's rocket programme, told The Observer that the only way to unify the split Palestinian factions is a battle with Israel, even if it devastated the already economically staggering Gaza Strip. And militarily, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim to have adopted weapons, training and tactics from Israel's summer war with Hizbollah and are convinced they can repeat the Lebanese militant group's success on the ground.

For its part, Israel is reluctant to co-operate . . .
Although it's "ready to settle scores."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, May 19, 2007

IRIB: "Zionist regime keeps rampage in Gaza"

This is pretty typical of Iranian coverage of Israeli military operations although the editing in IRIB stories is worse than that of, say, IRNA and Mehr News. The "defenceless Palestinians" include a lot of "military wing" members, don't they?
The fake Zionist regime pushed ahead with a savage aerial attack against defenceless Palestinians in Gaza Friday.

The regime's F-16 warplanes attacked a building in two predawn attacks half-an-hour apart on the eastern outskirts of Gaza city, near the Karni commercial area, killing five and injuring four others.

The martyrs included four Hamas' military wing members and a civilian bystander, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry's ambulance service confirmed, adding two other Hamas militants were in critical condition.

Later in the morning, the Zionist regime targettgd a group of Hamas combatants in northern Gaza.

In the evening, at least three people were martyred in a brutal air attack on a car carying Hamas officials in northern Gaza city.

At least five people were wounded in the attack.

Hamas, in turn, has threatend to renew suicide bombings in occupied Palestine for the first time in more than two years.

At least 12 Palestinians have been martyred - eight Hamas militants and four civilians - in seven 'Israeli' barbaric air attacks since early Thursday afternoon.

The martyrs included two innocent Palestinian teens and another bystander in the suthern Gaza town of Rafah.

Following its unhumane policies, the fake regime continues massacring of innocent Palestinian nation, especially defenceless women and children.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Jpost: "Bearded Gazans on razor's edge between life and death"

I guess I'll never again feel that I sacrificed anything by having a full beard. Here's a story about getting shot in the legs for your hadras panim:
Once, Hamas members were afraid to wear beards for fear of being arrested by Israel's security forces. Today, they are once again afraid of appearing in public with beards - this time for fear that they will be killed or kidnapped by Fatah militiamen in the Gaza Strip.

Sources close to Hamas said over the weekend that at least 10 bearded men have been shot and killed in the past week after being stopped in the street by Fatah gunmen.

One case was caught on camera and has since appeared on the Youtube Web site. The film shows several Fatah gunmen shooting a bearded man in the legs. As the man lies in a pool of blood in the street crying for help, a Fatah gunman approaches him and fires at his head from an automatic rifle, killing him instantly.
Automatic fire to the head at point-blank range--that'll do it every time.
"This man was just an ordinary citizen who happened to wear a beard," said a Hamas official. "It's become very dangerous to appear with a beard on the streets of the Gaza Strip."

According to the Hamas official, most of the victims were killed execution-style by Fatah militiamen and members of various Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority security forces.

They include two journalists working for the Hamas-affiliated Falasteen newspaper, Suleiman Ishi and Muhammad Abdo. "The two are not members of Hamas, but they were killed simply because they had beards," he said. "They were kidnapped by members of Mahmoud Abbas's Presidential Guard and executed in a Palestinian security installation."

Another Hamas official in Gaza City said that many young men had begun shaving their beards for fear of being identified as Hamas members. "We never imagined that the day would come when Muslim men would be afraid to walk in the street because they are wearing beards," he said.
Hey, wait a minute! What about that "fear of being arrested by Israel's security forces" mentioned in the first paragraph?
He said that about 40 bearded men have been hospitalized after being kidnapped and shot in the legs by Fatah gunmen in the past few days. Doctors have been forced to amputate the legs of some of them because of the severity of their wounds, he added.

Fatah accused Hamas militiamen of using the same method against its members. Several Fatah and PA security officers who had been abducted by Hamas militiamen were shot in the legs and left to bleed in the street, said a senior Fatah official in Gaza City.
Does that mean being clean-shaven is also dangerous?
He said three members of the PA National Security Force were shot in the legs on Saturday after being kidnapped by Hamas militiamen earlier in the day. The three, Abdel Rahman Barawi, Khalil Abu Shawish and Ala Abu Shamaleh, were admitted to the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City for treatment.
Not that they'll be safe there or anything.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Update: Israel Matzav has the video. Watch it while eating lunch!

Al Qassam Brigades Information Office Screenshots

Click to enlarge images:

(North) Korean News: "American-Style 'Democracy' Dismissed as Hypocritical"

This one is a bit light on Songunlichkeit and Juche-itude, but it's classic Commie:
The bipartisan system in the United States is a hypocritical and deceptive political system aimed at covering up the reactionary nature of its unpopular bourgeois dictatorship and policies and justifying the capitalist class's domination over society. Rodong Sinmun today observes this in a signed article.

It goes on:

The hypocritical and deceptive nature of the American-style "democracy" under the bipartisan system finds its expression in the fact that the toiling popular masses are excluded from the election campaigns and political activities.

Any citizen of a country should be granted the rights to vote and to be elected in the country without any condition.

The above-said rights related to democracy are not guaranteed in the American-style "democracy" under the bipartisan system.
If only there could be a one-party system as in, let's see . . .
The U.S. federal and state constitutions do not guarantee the poor suffrage. These constitutions restrict the rights of the ordinary people to vote under the pretexts of their property status, level of their education, duration of their residence, etc. The presidential election in the U.S. is an indirect election through electoral college. The president is elected by this electoral college and its members are chosen by ordinary electors. Almost all the members of the electoral college represent the exploiting class.

It is mainly due to this bipartisan system that democracy is suppressed and the political life is getting more reactionary as the days go by in the U.S.

The above-said nature is also manifested in the fact that all U.S. policies and line are shaped and executed in contravention of the desire and demands of the toiling people. The two parties--the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, groups of monopoly capitalists and those who speak for them, faithfully serve the bourgeois only.

What the American "democracy" under the above-said system denotes is very simple and mechanical. When the Republican Party insists "it is right" before acting, the Democratic Party says "it is wrong" before moving. This precisely means American -style "democracy." The political scramble between the two parties is nothing but a clash between the wealthy classes over their interests, the fight to gain more economic profits with the help of power.

Any illusion about the above-said "democracy" leads to national ruin. The world progressive countries and people should, therefore, guard against American-style "democracy" and never allow themselves to accept it, concludes the article.