Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interesting but Nonsense, courtesy of the NY Times

The NY Times is out to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though its editorial writers will then have to scrounge for new subject matter. No matter, it forges ahead with two ambitious recent offerings. The first of these two articles has the confident title "How to Handle Hamas":
If Hamas cannot be uprooted, it might be convinced to not disrupt peace talks with violence and tone down its rhetoric. In order for Hamas to want a lasting cease-fire, Israel and its allies must change the organization’s decision-making calculus — a process that will require both incentives and threats.

One way to go about this would be for Israel to allow the regular flow of goods into Gaza with international, rather than Israeli, monitors manning the crossing points. Israeli intelligence would still watch what goes in and out to ensure that the monitors did their job, but symbolically the switch would be important.

In exchange, Hamas would commit to a lasting cease-fire and agree to stop all attacks from the territory under its control. Hamas would also close the tunnels and end its smuggling.

Such a deal would allow Hamas to claim credit for improving the lives of Gazans, and it could use the resulting increase in the flow of goods to reward its supporters. For Israel, the regular rocket attacks would come to a complete halt and the threat of renewed attacks would diminish. A cease-fire would also free up Israel diplomatically. If the problem of Hamas receded, Israel could take more risks at the negotiating table with Abbas.
And exactly why would Hamas go along with this? It isn't as if this could be our secret strategy. Hamas not only undoubtedly reads the NY Times, its leaders also occasionally contribute to the Washington Post.

What Hamas has said would entice it to offer a "lasting cease fire," if it is even being honest there, are the sorts of concessions that two-state-solution proponents envision as being made in exchange for permanent peace. The blockade (and the possibility of its cessation) is already a combination of incentive and threat. Hamas has a clear sense of its overarching goals and an advanced martyrdom ethic. The notion that it could be molded so easily with the ultimate end of defeating its long-term aims is condescending. They may be fascists, but they aren't children.

The Gray Lady also offers an odd bit of triangulation that attempts to enlist supporters of Israel in the anti-settler cause. Religious Zionists, we learn, threaten "Herzl’s Zionist vision":
Herzl’s view stemmed from the ideals of the Enlightenment and the tradition of democratic national liberation movements, dating back to the American and French Revolutions; religious settlers are steeped in blood-and-soil nationalism. Herzl never doubted that Israeli Arabs should have full and equal rights. For religious settlers, Arabs are an alien element in the organic unity of Jews and their land.

The consequences of these differences are huge. If the settlers achieve their manifest goal — making Israel’s hold on the territories permanent — it will mean the de facto annexation of a huge Arab population and will force a decision about their status . . .

Israel would have to choose between remaining democratic but not Jewish, or remaining Jewish by becoming non-democratic. Israel’s enemies have long maintained that Zionism is racism and that Israel is an apartheid state. If the settlers succeed, they will turn this lie into truth.
If the alternative is a land-for-peace deal, it isn't clear that settling parts of the West Bank hurt the prospects for one. And that is assuming that there are prospects for one under any circumstances. If your enemies want to shrink you to nothingness through endless war, it makes sense to grow--especially within your smallish traditional homeland.

And whether settlers are "steeped in blood-and-soil nationalism" (whatever that means) or not, Palestinians certainly support despots. I like actual democracy in my democratic vision. So what will Israel do if ceding the West Bank will never be anything other than what the Gaza withdrawal was: a bloodless military victory for Israel's enemies? Reviling settlers, or a cartoon labeled "settlers," doesn't solve the problem, or even grapple with it. Somehow it also doesn't begin to exhaust the possibilities for faintly inane opinionating.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades Information Office: "Joy and maximize joy in the Gaza Strip Hebron heroic operation"

Autotranslated, but understandable a good deal of the time:
Pervaded atmosphere of joy and happiness the Gaza Strip, after a heroic Hebron, which was adopted by the "al-Qassam Brigades" military wing of the movement "Hamas", which resulted in the deaths of four rapists Zionists.

Zoom shouts and cheering from the mosques of Gaza Strip for the masses blessed the process, and declare the responsibility of "Qassam" it, came out with several rallies and spontaneous organization in different parts of the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of people gathered near a mosque Caliphs in the northern Gaza Strip, chanting tribute to the Qassam Brigades and asking more operations.

The Participants in the march, which started after Taraweeh prayers Palestinian flags and banners green, and cry: "Oh revenge revenge al-Qassam Brigades" and "from Hebron to Gaza .. Qassam code pride."

And seemed to delight in the streets of Gaza, and a large number of people distributed sweets to passersby in the streets, for the blessing of the process quality, which came at a crucial juncture in a common pursuit carried out by the occupation forces and the militia of Abbas against Palestinian resistance.

The young man said Firas Hammad, a distributed sweets on a street in Gaza: "This is a moment of joy, and this is the Qassam Brigades, the lashing out by some, so is the Qassam Brigades, work silently, resulting in two types of work."

He pointed out that from the moment he first heard of the process was uncertain that the Qassam Brigades are behind the process, confirmation came from Abu Obeida to confirm this feeling.

The "Abu Ubaida," spokesman for the Qassam Brigades stressed the responsibility for the implementation of the process, stressing it in a series of implementation plans in response to the crimes of the occupation.

In Khan Yunis, were raised to technicians of the mosques, and left tens of spontaneous marches of the mosques after the Taraweeh prayers, chanting slogans zoom.

Said Haji Abdul Rahim syrup (56 years): "God is great and thankfully, we need the news heartening in this blessed month of jihad and sacrifice, and there is a human came from al-Qassam Brigades, which we return to this anthropologist."

Is not different from the scene in Rafah and the Central Province, where the spontaneous marches roamed the streets and waved flags unification Cubs Green chanting of the Qassam Brigades and asking more operations.

Brahmin and Salem (43 years: "The operation came at a crucial time after a surge in attacks by settlers, and the high frequency of security coordination to say that the resistance is alive and exist, and that all the plots will not succeed."

It seems that the Zionist threats to escalate its aggression after the operation did not succeed in disarming the joy of Gazans, who are still to piece their wounds after the war Criterion late 2008.

1967". He was holding Salman (25 years): "Zionist aggression continuously and do not stop, due to the resistance should not stand idly by, especially given that this process comes against the rapists and the occupied territories since 1967."

And spend hours and increased manifestations of joy and anticipation in the Gaza Strip, amid the prayers and hopes of the return of the Palestinian resistance at the top of "al-Qassam Brigades" to shine once again to strike at the enemy and herds Mgtsbih.
The Al-Qassams Brigade seems to be claiming that this attack was part of something called Operation Fire Something. Any Arabic speakers out there?

Update: Maan News:
A Palestinian group calling itself the Al-Haq ("Rights") Brigades has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's shooting that left four Israeli citizens dead in the occupied West Bank . . . The operation was in response to the PLO's decision to return to negotiations with Israel, the statement said.
A front for Hamas but the real reason for the attacks?

Update: EOZ renders what I called "Operation Fire Something" as "Operation Flood of Fire." Is this destined for non-coverage in the Western Media as in the case of Operation Oil Stain?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

"Izz el-Deen al-Qassam [Brigades], issued a statement earlier saying it 'announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron'"

Source: Reuters.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Music Lesson

I created this for my kids and thought it would be fun to put on the blog:

Western music uses various intervals. The smallest one is the “half-step.” A half-step is the distance between the notes sounded by any two keys on the piano that are right next to each other. If the key to the right of the one you start on is a white key, then the difference between the two notes is a half-step. If it is a black key, that is a half-step, too. The distance between two white keys is usually a whole step (two half-steps), but B and C are a half-step apart. E and F are also. See this:

So the distance between F and the black key right next to it is also a half-step. That note is called “F-sharp” or “G-flat.” We will go into the reason for two names later. You should notice on the diagram above that there is a deeper “C” and a higher “C.” The series CDEFGABC repeats over and over again if you look at a whole piano keyboard. Sing the same melody in high voce and then a deep voice. A piano can do this in about 7 “voices.” Staff paper uses the same notes as a piano keyboard, but the system is a little different. Here is an example:

Notice that some notes are written on lines and some are written on the spaces in between. On a musical staff, the distance between a space and next line or a line and the next space is usually a whole-step, but sometimes a half-step. Between which two notes does the half-step occur? You guessed it, E and F and also B and C. If this information was new to you, it would be worth your while to spend some time digesting it before trying to go on.

Source for staff-image: http://www.music-mind.com/Music/indexlrm.HTM

Some Links

The Great SpongeBob Debate. Juan Cole would never have SpongeBob on his blog-header.

Rooz: "The roots of Anti-Semitism in Iran" Ever hear of "Tier-Mondism"?

Yaakov Lozowick: Response to Lauren Booth. Probably a war-crime (highly disproportionate use of brain-power).

Camera: "AP Illustrates a Deadly Roadside Terror Attack"

Asharq Alawsat: "Lebanon: Weapons…Or Electricity?"

"Turkish Press Freedom"? Heading south.

Cuba and North Korea: Two Songun Peas in a Pod

"The Cuban people," we learn, "have unswervingly followed the road of independence and socialism" while the Korean people are "dashing ahead like wind toward a thriving socialist nation." What's with the Cubans? Why can't they dash like the wind, too?
Rodong Sinmun Sunday dedicates a signed article to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the DPRK and Cuba.

The paper says that for the last five decades the peoples of the DPRK and Cuba have fully demonstrated the might of the friendly relations between the two countries that were forged in the joint struggle to defend socialism.

The Korean people have extended full support and solidarity to the Cuban people in their struggle to honorably defend the gains of the revolution while defeating the imperialists' aggression and interference from the very day they gained victory in the Cuban revolution, the daily says, and goes on:

The Cuban people have extended full support and encouragement to the struggle of the Korean people who are dashing ahead like wind toward a thriving socialist nation holding high the red flag of the revolution without the slightest vacillation and pessimism despite the pressure and sanctions on the part of the imperialist allied forces.

The solidity and invincibility of the bilateral friendship have been consolidated thanks to President Kim Il Sung, the great leader of the Korean people, and Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution.

Under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Raul Castro the Cuban people have achieved great successes in their struggle to defend the country, revolution and socialism while frustrating the vicious moves of the imperialists to isolate and suffocate Cuba.

Well aware that only socialism can guarantee their happy life and bright future, the Cuban people have unswervingly followed the road of independence and socialism against imperialism, holding high the slogan of revolution and struggle "Socialism or death, we will win!"

It is the steadfast stand of the Workers' Party of Korea and the government of the DPRK to support the Cuban revolution and invariably strengthen the bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation.

The Korean people will as ever make positive efforts to continue to develop the traditional friendly and cooperative relations with the Cuban people based on the revolutionary principle and comradely obligation.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

From Ali Abunimah's NY Times (!) editorial

All the Electronic Intifadah that's fit to print?
The United States insists that Hamas meet strict preconditions before it can take part in negotiations: recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by agreements previously signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Hamas is not a member. These demands are unworkable. Why should Hamas or any Palestinian accept Israel’s political demands, like recognition, when Israel refuses to recognize basic Palestinian demands like the right of return for refugees?

As for violence, Hamas has inflicted a fraction of the harm on Israeli civilians that Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians. If violence disqualifies Hamas, surely much greater violence should disqualify the Israelis?
This is inferior-quality Israel-bashing. The side with the "unworkable" prospects for renouncing violence despite getting the worst of it isn't the less violent one. If Israel is the source of the violence, then it doesn't have to give back any territory, does it? It can just call off the violence and there will be peace. (h/t: EOZ)

Today in History

The conspiracy really got off the ground.

Today in History on the Jewish date: Elul 19, from Wikipedia:
Richard I had taken the cross before his coronation (September 3, 1189). A number of the principal Jews of England presented themselves to do homage at Westminster; but there appears to have been a superstition against Jews being admitted to such a holy ceremony, and they were repulsed during the banquet which followed the coronation. The rumour spread from Westminster to the City of London that the king had ordered a massacre of the Jews; and a mob in Old Jewry, after vainly attacking throughout the day the strong stone houses of the Jews, set them on fire at night, killing those within who attempted to escape. The king was enraged at this insult to his royal dignity, but took no steps to punish the offenders, owing to their large numbers.
The dead included one of the Ba'alei Tosafos:
19 Elul - Rabeinu Yaakov of Orleans HY"D (1189), a talmid of Rabeinu Tam, he was killed in London at the coronation of Richard the Lion-hearted

Friday, August 27, 2010

Juche sentence of the day

All that superhuman will and they're still not prosperous. And they even admit it:
. . . a grand blueprint for the nation's prosperity was unrolled and the revolutionary soldier spirit and the Kanggye spirit were given full play to make the brilliant history of a great revolutionary surge shine century after century, cause signal events of bringing earlier the day of appearance of a thriving nation to take place in every part of the country and effect new leap forward and innovations one after another in every unit and at each post thanks to the forced march made by Kim Jong Il for indefatigable field guidance with superhuman will, inexhaustible energy and ardent love for the people.
The latest Haveil Havalim makes the brilliant history of a great revolutionary surge shine century after century.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What if Rauf really is "moderate"?

Christopher Hitchens has a current piece on the Mosque-troversy. Besides hoping that means his cancer treatments are gong well, I would like to examine what he has to say. He dismisses the objections of many on the right as "stupid and demagogic," but continues:
From the beginning, though, I pointed out that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was no great bargain and that his Cordoba Initiative was full of euphemisms about Islamic jihad and Islamic theocracy . . .

Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center, its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything "offensive" to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
Which sounds like the problem might be terrorism after all, doesn't it? Leaving that point aside, Hitchens presents his reservations as pertaining to Rauf himself. I wonder, however, if the left is correct, in a sense, that Rauf is the face of Muslim moderation. In other words, I hate to break it to you, Clash of Civilizations Fans, but it's him or nothing--all the non-marginal alternatives are worse. Or worse still, perhaps the alternatives are actually more of the same, minus Rauf's obviously ample marketing abilities.

I am not trying to make some point about the essential nature of Islam. The good thing about not being a Muslim is that you don't have to believe Islam has an essence--it is whatever its adherents make of it. Unfortunately, nowadays that mostly involves funding from oil sheikdoms and the sort of ideology they favor, which usually seems to come from Egypt.

See the rest of what Hitchens has to say to learn "why the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous."

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, August 23, 2010

New York Times concerned that concern about extremism causes extremism

"Some experts say" is Journalist-speak for "I believe the following":
Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.

Opposition to the center by prominent politicians and other public figures in the United States has been covered extensively by the news media in Muslim countries. At a time of concern about radicalization of young Muslims in the West, it risks adding new fuel to Al Qaeda’s claim that Islam is under attack by the West and must be defended with violence, some specialists on Islamic militancy say.

"I know people in this debate don’t intend it, but there are consequences for these kinds of remarks," said Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism for the New America Foundation here.

He said that Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric hiding in Yemen who has been linked to several terrorist plots, has been arguing for months in Web speeches and in a new Qaeda magazine that American Muslims face a dark future of ever-worsening discrimination and vilification.

"When the rhetoric is so inflammatory that it serves the interests of a jihadi recruiter like Awlaki, politicians need to be called on it," Mr. Fishman said. [...]
This sort of reasoning doesn't just miss the forest, it misses all but about 1.2 trees. All sorts of things "play into the hands" of extremists. According to this logic, the best route for leftists would be to downplay anti-Muslim rhetoric on the right. "Surge of Islamophobic bigotry? Never! What gave you that idea?" At all costs, don't write "To equate these moderate Muslims with that horrific act is pure bigotry, a bigotry that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former Gov. Howard Dean sadly signed on to"--it might fuel extremism. I understand that in Al-Qaeda circles the anniversary of the publication of The Israel Lobby is now a holiday called "Eid Al-Mearsheimer" the blessed day when the meeting of their recruiting goals became assured for decades.

You can't regulate the great American political conversation to avoid fueling the suspicions of extremists. Extremism is nothing if not resourceful in identifying paranoia-fodder, otherwise it would be a pretty anemic extremism. The West's job is not to be anemic in promoting its values and interests and fighting its enemies.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

"Iran highly appreciates the anti-U.S. position of the Korean people standing on the joint front against imperialism"

The unity of world progressive forces:
The U.S. should take its hands off the issue of inter-Korean relations and withdraw at once its troops from south Korea.

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said this on Aug. 17 when DPRK Ambassador to Iran Jo In Chol presented his credentials to him.

The relations between Iran and the DPRK are traditional, friendly and solid relations, the president said, adding that Iran highly appreciates the anti-U.S. position of the Korean people standing on the joint front against imperialism.

He wished the Korean people success in their efforts to open the gate to a thriving nation in 2012.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And the great leaps forward just keep on a comin'

Tired of the Middle East? Let's dig into some real news. North Korea has just developed a vaccine that prevents "relapse and metastasis of cancer":
An efficacious vaccine to prevent has been developed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea . . .

The clinical examinations of some 600 patients operated for liver, lung and stomach cancers show that the efficacy of the vaccine is 54, 32.8 and 20.3 percent higher than other medicines in the five-year survival rate, he added.

Ri Yong Il, a 48-year-old man who took the vaccine more than eight years ago after operation for hepatocellular carcinoma (10x9cm), is still in existence. [...]
And moving, we hope. Another headline at the Korean News site reads "Korean People Merciless to Enemy" and another one details "Kim Il Sung's Immortal Feats in Founding Air Force." What did the Korean Air Force achieve in the Korean . . . er . . . Fatherland Liberation War?
They shot down a U.S. strategic bomber B-29, called a "flying fortress", dived into the enemy's ships with burning fuselages and frustrated their "air supremacy" with the Juche-oriented war tactics.

At the end of the 1960s, the air force of the KPA smashed U.S. large spy plane "EC-121" into smithereens in the air to demonstrate its power again.
And there's also art news:
Oil painting "You Should Conduct Combat Training under the Simulated Condition of Real Battle" deals with the commanding trait of General Secretary Kim Jong Il who has strengthened the Korean People's Army into the invincible revolutionary armed forces . . .

Posters "Soldiers of the General Are Always Ready!" and "Just Give Us Your Order!" and other works well represent the immutable faith and will of all the servicepersons and people of the DPRK to defend the socialist homeland of Juche as firm as a rock true to the Songun leadership of Kim Jong Il and make the enemy pay for the blood shed by the Korean people in the past a thousand fold.
See, it's not all just militarism. The latest Haveil Havalim also demonstrates its power again as invincible revolutionary blog carnival.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Free-speech crusaders thwarted

It seems to be a rule in politics that pure accusations of hypocrisy are hard to come by. The abstract notion of someone being hypocritical is simply not that interesting to people. So if John Doe accuses Richard Roe of hypocritically having one attitude towards A and another one towards B, the chances are that John Doe has some sort of unspoken stake in A or B or both. Case in point:
The Arab European League has been fined €1,000 by a court in Arnhem for carrying a cartoon on its website which suggested the holocaust was invented by Jews, reports Friday's Volkskrant.

The cartoon featured two men in suits discussing how to boost the number of people killed during the holocaust.

The court ruled the cartoon was 'highly offensive' to Jews. The total fine was €2,500 with €1,500 suspended. Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda, head of the AEL who drew the cartoon, was acquitted.
According to a Reuters story:
The Dutch group says it had no intention of disputing the Holocaust, but wanted instead to highlight what it described as double standards in free speech.

The AEL circulated it in 2006 after a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad . . .
MPAC-UK, in a very revealing moment that was repeated over and over again in the Muslim world during the original cartoon controversy, thinks the hypocrisy charge is on-target, thereby reminding us that they are, after all, an organization co-founded by somebody who once gave money to David Irving. (And if you think it is unfair to Muslims to focus much attention on them, recall also that they were invited by the BBC to give a pro-democracy rebuttal to Hizb Ut-Tahrir Caliphate advocacy). Iran's PressTV comments at the end of its article on this latest chapter in the cartoon saga:
Challenging or disputing the Holocaust story is considered a major offense in Europe, entailing fines and long prison term. Many observers view this as a contradiction to the so-called democratic principles of Western democracies, namely the freedom of expression.
Which really means that they, like MPAC-UK, support Holocaust denial (certainly the "soft-core" version, at least), want to shove Muslim taboos down the world's throat, and don't care about freedom of speech. I wonder what Feisal Abdul Rauf thinks. Don't you?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In which I clarify everything

I would assume that any politician who has expressed an opinion on the proposed Ground-Zero Mosque actually thinks what he or she said the first time. And I would like to thank the Ummah for being steadfast throughout all this. (h/t: memeorandum)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kim "enjoys light comedy"

Yet another story about this "light comedy," which, as we learn this time, gave "full play" to the audience's "mental power." I guess they all left the theater and immediately made a great revolutionary upsurge holding aloft the banner of Songun. And that was just light comedy:
General Secretary Kim Jong Il enjoyed light comedy "Echo of Mountain", Kim Il Sung Prize Laureate, now being put on local stages, at the Hamhung Grand Theatre together with servicepersons of the KPA.

The light comedy is such masterpiece of the era that the more one watches it, the more profound truth of life one grasps, he said, adding that it has such outstanding influence and attraction as gripping the hearts of audience and giving full play to their mental power. This comedy, therefore, serves as a close companion and a textbook for our army and people in their life, he stressed.
Wow, that's the sort of rhetoric he usually reserves for something momentous such as a Youth Power Station or a Fertilizer Complex. Maybe he's getting senile.
Recalling that the creators and artistes of the State Theatrical Troupe have remained true to the WPK's literary and art policy by creating and performing excellent works required by the times in every annal of the revolution, he said that they have greatly encouraged the army and people of the country in their drive to greet the 65th anniversary of the WPK and its conference with high political enthusiasm and shining labor achievements by staging the light comedy, monumental masterpiece of the Juche-oriented theatrical art in the new century. He highly estimated their revolutionary performing activities and extended thanks to them in the name of the WPK Central Committee.

Revolutionary literary and art works serve as an effective means of education as it powerfully encourages the party members and other working people to perform feats in their struggle for their great influence and cognitive and instructive significance, he said, stressing the need for the creators and artistes of the country to create many more masterpieces such as the light comedy greatly conducive to giving full play to the mental power of the masses and thus imbue great strength and courage into the servicepersons and people all out in the drive to build a thriving nation.
Still not there . . .

Angry Arab: "Israeli homophobia is ignored in the US"

What is AA talking about? This story, in which some Israeli park workers insist on charging a same-sex couple as two adults instead of giving them the family rate and finally the workers' employer, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority agrees with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel lawyer that the workers were indeed guilty of discrimination and the couple deserves a "deep apology." Wow, that's just like Iran . . .

Ma'an: Haniyeh says PA "waging war against Islam"

Palestinians vs. Post-Palestinians:
Gaza government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accused the Palestinian Authority on Monday evening of waging a war against religion and Islam.

Haniyeh, speaking to reporters at the rebuilding ceremony of the police station in Al-Shati refugee camp, said "what is happening in the West Bank is a religious war that targets the pious people, particularly the new generation."

The Gaza premier said the PA began taking "several steps" from the beginning of Ramadan, including banning a Hamas-affiliated sheikh from making Friday sermons in the West Bank, turning down the volume on mosque loudspeakers during prayer call , and closing associations for memorizing the Quran, which he said has left many mosques without preachers.

"They won't succeed in their war against Islam, because they are fighting God," Haniyeh said, alleging that the PA was trying to impose "religious normalization."

Haniyeh called on religious men in the West Bank "not to surrender" and protest against the PA's actions.
Those sound like fighting words. Is Hamas emboldened by the recent assertiveness of Iran and Hizbullah? When the show-down comes between the PA and Hamas, I'm betting on Hamas.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harry Reid clarifies controversial statement

Visibly shaken by opinion writer Greg Sargent's observation that "This just makes the Dems look weak, unorganized, cowardly, and unwilling to take a stand for principles they plainly believe in," Reid clarified his widely-reported controversial statement that "the mosque should be built some place else."

"I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque somewhere else," he said.

"I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about."

"The Constitution protects freedom of relocation," added Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman. "Senator Reid respects that, but thinks that the decision is perhaps better left until after the Midterm elections."

Source: AP, additional reporting by Yitz (h/t: memeorandum )

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

A moment to savor

MPAC-UK has a recent post with one of their usual charming titles: "The Mossad – Terrorising the World Thanks to the Holocaust." Someone in the comments thread named "Paul M" observes:
Yet another article which features the Holocaust gratuitiously. I have known Auschwitz survivors who go on about the holocaust a lot less than MPAC does.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today (Elul 5) in History

Just in case you thought there was no Jewish history in Israel between the Roman expulsion and Zionism:
The first group of Chassidim, led by R. Mendel of Vitebsk, R. Avraham of Kalisk, and R. Yisroel of Polotzk, reached Eretz Yisrael, 5537 [1777].
Source: Chabad Chodesh

By the way: August 15th, 2005, when the Gaza pullout started, was (incredibly) Av 10, the day after Tisha B'Av.

IRIB Radio (Iran): "Obama' Politicized Mosque Move at Politically-Motivated Iftar"

How's that outreach to the Muslim world going, Mr. President?
Amid opposition by certain groups in the US to the building of a mosque at the so-called Ground Zero in New York at the site of the highly suspicious 9/11/2001 incidents, President Barack Obama on Friday made a politically motivated move by claiming to respect the rights of Muslims in the US including the Cordoba Mosque Project.

He made the comments at the politically-motivated 'Iftar' at the White House State Dining Room to a selective gathering of pro-western Muslims breaking the fast of the blessed month of Ramadhan.

The White House had so far not taken a stand on the mosque, which would be part of a 100 million-dollar Islamic center two blocks from the World Trade Center towers, whose destruction was blamed on Muslims while it was clear that the Zionists were behind the terrorist act that killed 3,000 people, but not a single Jew working in that place, since they were all mysteriously absence on that Monday.

Some Republicans including the defeated vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former head of House of Representatives Newt Gingrich had made common cause against the Mosque project with the Anti-Defamation League, which is a pro-Zionist group.

The wrangling thus provided Obama with an opportunity to try to deceive Muslims once again with his seemingly supportive words for the Mosque project despite the fact he has breached all his election promises of change of policy towards world Muslims as is evident from the worsening of their plight in the American occupied countries of Afghanistan and Iraq in addition to the Palestinians continuing to groan under the jackboots of the US-supported Zionist usurpers of their homeland.
And this was evidently written before Obama backtracked. Did I mention that Rite-Aid has been having two for one specials on bottles of Ibuprofen lately?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Exhibition fails to show true range of Juche art

The NY Times currently has an article about an exhibition in Vienna of North Korean propaganda art. All the art evidently looks like this:

According to the article:
Mr. Noever [the museum director] provoked further furor with his catalog essay lamenting that “our Western ideological lenses cloud, if not entirely distort, the view of other realities” and urging museumgoers to “bid farewell once and for all to Eurocentric and culturally imperialistic attitudes.” The show, he argued, "proves that cultural differences can be bridged with mutual respect."
I gather the exhibition didn't include anything that looked like this:

(h/t: silke) Source of the "fist" painting: Dark Roasted Blend

Update: The latest Haveil Havalim does not fail to show the true range of Jewish blogging.

Obama encourages communication in families

The Judeowife saw I was reading something on the computer and asked why I was laughing. I replied that Obama made a ringing endorsement of the right to build the Ground-Zero Mosque (at an Iftar dinner, no less) and then later denied that he was endorsing the project. "He's such a suck-up" I commented. The holy Judeobochur was walking by and asked "What does that mean?" "He likes to kiss tushies" the Judeowife helpfully explained. I commented: "That's a very diverse collection of tushies he's kissing."

Friday, August 13, 2010

MondoWeiss revives the poison balloon story

I missed it at the time, but on August 4th the MondoWeiss blog revived the poison balloon story, the same day Weiss himself posted admitting he was wrong about the now-famous border-incident tree's location. From a post entitled "The Lebanese Army finally acts to protect Lebanon’s sovereignty":
Israel has violated the ceasefire with Lebanon over 7,000 times since the end of the 2006 war on Lebanon . . . Dropping poisonous balloons over Southern Lebanon causing 8 people to be rushed to the hospital after inhaling toxic fumes.
The MondoWeiss post links to the original Naharnet story. By the time of this Naharnet story it was clear that they were just helium balloons from a promotional event of the Ha'ir newspaper. Just for fun, let's revisit the Fars News story "Israel Massacres Lebanese by Poisonous Balloons" (the image from the Fars story graces the top of this post):
Genocide by poisonous balloons is the new method employed by the Israeli army for killing people in southern Lebanon.

FNA dispatches from Beirut said that the Israeli planes have so far dropped thousands of these balloons all across the woods and coastal areas in southern Lebanon.

The balloons which come in bright and child attractive colors have been observed specially in Nabatieh, Sour and the surrounding villages and, of course, in Beirut.

The balloons read such phrases as 'Happy Birthday' or 'Happy Night' in English and Hebrew . . .

The Israeli army has a long record of massacring civilians with bombs placed inside dolls, mobile sets and similar objects . . .
I searched for the word "balloon" in the 134-post comment thread of the MondoWeiss post. Did the whole MondoWeiss crowd really not notice? Yaacov Lozowick noted the post on August 6.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feisal's Pals like Menorahs

Remember this image?You'll be pleased to learn that the following appears at the website of the Perdana Global Peace Organization:

The post with this image includes some words as well, such as this paragraph:
The Israeli administration’s scriptwriters use a propaganda training manual that teaches the art of lying and how to sugar-coat their poison so that gullible audiences will easily swallow it. Everything Israel dislikes, and everything that thwarts their lust for domination, is now labeled “Iranian-backed”… They would have us believe that everyone in the West – and that includes you and me and the dog – is in mortal danger from Iran and must therefore huddle together in a collective act of aggression orchestrated by Tel Aviv and Washington.
Why should you be interested in the Perdana Global Peace Organization? Well, it lists Ground Zero Mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf prominently on its list of "Role Players and Contributors." (h/t: Big Peace) There are legitimate arguments to be made against "stopping" the Cordoba House project by denying it permits and the like. Those legitimate arguments involve religious freedom, but there is no excuse for believing feel-good nonsense about the project. Delving into what its leaders and members are likely to believe and promote is probably not going to convince anybody (except for a few Leftists) that the project heralds a great new era in inter-fidel relations. It is bound, in all liklihood, to lead to the sort of bad headache one gets from perusing the MPAC-UK site. Have a nice day.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A better idea

A great deal has been made recently about a recent modest proposal to build, next to the planned Ground-Zero Mosque, a center for Bi-Fidels, Trans-Fidels, Cross-Fidels, and other non-traditional Muslims. While the idea has considerable merit, it has, I believe, one glaring drawback: it threatens a certain Massad-ization of the Muslim viewpoint.

I believe that I can propose an alternate plan much more conducive to building bridges and healing the currently strained relations between the two great civilizations. What was the greatest good fortune ever to befall the Hebraic and Christian faiths? Surely there is nobody who will hesitate to aver that it was the advent of Higher Biblical Criticism. What greater gift could we give our Muslim brethren, what greater demonstration that we know that 9/11 was merely the work of a few crazed misfits, than an institute for historical and textual study of the Quran, right next to the site where Bin Laden's minions played into the clammy hands of Islamophobic bigots like Rush Limbaugh and Pam Geller?

Shall the scripture that is the basis for all scientific discoveries languish for lack of truly scientific study? Will we let our Mohammedan brethren base one of the world's great faiths on silly superstitions and outmoded notions of Divine revelation when a truly scientific foundation beckons? If Bin Laden's propensity to bomb an institution is the greatest recommendation one could make for establishing it, then surely everyone will agree that the Al-Wellhausen Institute for Higher Quran Study should be built even before all the funding is in place for the admirable Cordoba House project. And the BFTFCF community will just have to wait its turn.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Some Brief Items

Spiegel Online: "Malaysia's 'Imam Idol'"

Also at Spiegel Online: U-Putz is back with an article about recent events at the Israeli-Lebanese border, entitled: "Lots of Questions, Few Answers in Border Skirmish." Most of the questions do turn out to have answers, however, even according to U-Putz, as various parties admit that Israel's account is the correct one.

Haveil Havalim 279 is up.

Iran is still gurgling with joy over the Lebanese army's role in the recent incident.

Singer sings Syrian tune

And I'm sure it was music to their ears. From SANA (Syria):
"We are confronting a fierce Israeli enemy which usurped lands," Singer Marcel Khalifa said in a statement to SANA, hailing the Lebanese Army's courage in resisting the latest Israeli aggression.

Khalifa's remarks came during a press conference on Wednesday at Talisman Hotel in Damascus.

Khalifa met Syrian journalists who gathered at one of Damascus ancient houses around a fountain.

"Damascus means a lot to me, especially old Damascus which I consider an exquisite cultural haven," said Khalifa, adding that his next two concerts to be staged at Damascus Citadel will be different from his concert at the "Damascus Capital of Arab Culture" Festival.

Khalifa considered that there is an Arab generation which is not interested in the mainstream Arab music aired on Arabic Channels, which seeks to vulgarize music taste.

IRIB Radio (Iran) on Kagan appointment: Obama doing "utmost to appease the influential Zionist lobbies"

They present this as a triumph for the "Zionist lobbies" and then go on to discuss her liberalism, which probably puts her in the camp favoring a softer approach to Iran. Do they draw the connection? You won't find out here:
The third Jewish member of the US Federal Supreme Court takes oath at the White House, today. Elena Kagan was elected as the new member of the US Federal Supreme Court by the US Senate on Thursday with 63 votes in her favor against 37 negative votes.

She is set to replace John Stevens in this legal and judicial organization as of October 1. The US Federal Supreme Court is considered as the highest judicial and legal source in the US and shoulders a number of obligations including interpretation of US Constitution, study of complaints leveled by US federal government against state administrations and vice versa, and issuance of final verdicts in US judicial establishment.

The introduction and confirmation of the 50-year-old Kagan is of importance due to a number of reasons. She is the second member appointed to US Federal Supreme Court by US president Barack Obama. The majority of members of this Supreme Court have been appointed in the past thirty years by Republican presidents and for this reason; the conservative viewpoints are stronger in the US Supreme Court. In fact, currently, five out of nine judges in the Supreme Court are well-known for their conservative standpoints, while the remaining four are classified as liberals. Meanwhile, with the resignation of John Stevens and entry of Elena Kagan to US Federal Court no major change and development takes place in the political makeup of this court. Nonetheless, the appointment of Elena Kagan changes the gender and religious makeup of the US Federal Supreme Court. Thereafter, and for the first time in the US history, three women will concurrently be present at the US Supreme Court.

Kagan is the third Jewish member of the Supreme Court. Jews are occupying one third of seats in the highest US legal and judicial source while only 3% of the American people are Jewish. Nonetheless, in the recent years, US presidents have tried their utmost to appease the influential Zionist lobbies through appointment of more Jews in the judicial establishment, especially the US Federal Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Protestants which constitute 51% of US population, and the ten million Muslims in the US currently do not have any representatives in the US Federal Supreme Court.
That last analysis was kindly supplied by the Ayatollah Buchananstani.
Obama's decision to introduce a liberal figure has led to the protests of a number of Jewish groups in the US.

Kagan is the only member of the US Federal Supreme Court who is a newcomer to this scene and has never had a record of conduct as a judge. Her critics believe she is not qualified to join the highest US legal and judicial source.
Their worst suspicions are proven . . .

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Thursday, August 05, 2010

ISNA: "Iran says it has discovered Arrogant-sponsored plots backing Zionists"

"Plots designed by Arrogant powers to make Zionist regime's alive"--that's some choice Irangrish:
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said Wednesday that the country has discovered Arrogant-sponsored plots aiming at supporting Zionist regime in the region.

"I have good news for Iranians that many plots designed by Arrogant powers to make Zionist regime's alive have been discovered," he said in his trip to central city of Hamedan.
"Good news"?! What if they're just the tip of the iceberg?
The enemy has found that its plots in the region will be thwarted, he said.

Also concerning recent terrorist attack in southern city of Zahedan, Moslehi said, "some individuals linked to the issue are arrested."
Of course, the most perfidious plot of all was the attack on Lebanon:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for international communities to condemn aggressive actions of Zionist regime against Lebanon.

In a phone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman Tuesday afternoon, Ahmadinejad offered condolence on martyrdom of some Lebanese people following Zionist regime's attacks and said, "Zionist regime's measure is out of its disappointment and fury and the international community needs to show reaction against the aggression."

Ahmadinejad then reiterated that, "Iranian nation will always side by Lebanon's brave nation."

Michel Suleiman on his part expressed appreciation on Iran's stance and said, "the recent calm and tranquility in Lebanon caused that Zionist regime start aggressive actions, but it faced Lebanese army firm resistance."

He then added, "Zionist regime is responsible for losses as well as injuring and killing Lebanese people."

"We will file a case against Zionist regime and present it to the UN Security Council." [...]
Is that all? Angry Arab wanted an invasion. I think he has the distinction of being more extreme than the Khomeinists.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Now that we're all agreed on what happened at the Lebanese border

The infallible news source puts the seal of supreme truth on the facts of the case:
"Unifil established [...] that the trees being cut by the Israeli army are located south of the blue line on the Israeli side."

Unifil confirmed that Israel had notified it of its intention to carry out routine maintenance work on trees along the border, and that Unifil passed the information on to the Lebanese army.

The Lebanese army admitted that its soldiers opened fire on troops from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in the confrontation. [...]
This would be a good time to recall what MondoWeiss said about Israel's role in the incident:
Reminiscent of the tractors in the Golan before the Six Day War...
He has since admitted that he was wrong about what side of the border it was, but he has not (in this post, anyway) updated his little reflection on what past Zionist perfidy the current one reminds him of.

And while we're on the subject of MondoWeiss, the site also includes a post from one "Rabbi Lynn Gottleib" entitled "Why I support the Olympia Co-op boycott." The site is supposed to be on "The War of Ideas in the Middle East," but you can't have much of a war unless both sides are represented. So are we going to see a rebuttal any time soon from a Female Imam who opposes the boycott? Just wondering. See EOZ for a visit to MondoCole and Soccer Dad for one to FireDogLake.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Except for the Martyr's Symphony?

The Iranian press has articles from time to time on the doings of orchestras, conductors, and composers. I always wonder whether such stories are mainly for foreign consumption or if the Islamic Republic really likes a nice tune. Here we learn that the Supreme Leader thinks music is "not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic":
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today that music is "not compatible" with the values of the Islamic republic, and should not be practised or taught in the country.

In some of the most extreme comments by a senior regime figure since the 1979 revolution, Khamenei said: "Although music is halal, promoting and teaching it is not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic." [...]

Khamenei has rarely expressed his views on music publicly, but he is believed have played a key role in the crackdown on Iran's music scene following the revolution. When Khamenei was president, he banned western-style music, forcing many stars to go into exile.

Houshang Asadi, a former cellmate of Khamenei before the Islamic Revolution said: "He hated the music from the beginning." [...]
And now his dream of cracking down on it is being realized. Inspiring.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Gaza heat wave bad for bomb-makers

If you can't stand the heat, get out before the kitchen goes boom? From the AP:
[...] Early Monday, a huge blast leveled the house of a Hamas commander in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp in southern Gaza, wounding at least 32 people, according to Palestinian security officials . . .

Often there are accidental explosions in bomb factories. In the hours before this blast, Palestinian security officials said there were two other explosions elsewhere in Gaza, apparently caused by an intense heat wave detonating chemicals. [...]
(h/t: a commenter at EOZ)

Yemen Times: "Egypt’s 'Hashish Crisis' stokes bitterness"

I live in LA, where seemingly every third store sells so-called "medical marijuana," so don't read this and feel all superior or anything:
A shortage of hashish in Egypt is fueling anti-government conspiracy theories, and resentment among the public

It may be an attempt to maintain stability while the ailing president was abroad, or a pre-election clampdown on crime. But whatever the conspirators say, more and more Egyptians are asking: “Where has all the hashish gone?”

Hashish, the once ubiquitous yet illegal substance in Egypt, is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in the country and it’s fueling conspiracy theories and general anxiety.

The issue is especially pertinent to the younger generation, the main consumers of the illegal drug derived from marijuana, who resort to the “remedy” as a retreat from their daily troubles.

Egypt amended laws in 1989 making the possession and trade of drugs punishable by life in prison or even death, but this has apparently not reduced the popularity of hashish.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a young Egyptian told The Media Line that its use is “very tolerated,” adding that his police officer friends had even asked him to store hash for them.

With a waning economy, an unclear political future and frequent reports of politically-motivated clampdowns against opposition activists, hashish has become a popular pastime for young people and a way to take a break from the daily rat race.

“It’s very prevalent,” Sam, author of the Egyptian blog Sand Monkey, told The Media Line. “It’s equal to beer use in the U.S.”

The shortage has caused the street prices to soar. Conspiracy theories abound. The talk of the coffee shops is “Where has it all gone?”

“It’s all half jokes and half conspiracy theories,” said the blogger Sam. “But no one really knows anything.”

A recently formed Facebook group in Arabic entitled “Together against the hashish crisis in Egypt” has so far garnered a modest following of 30 members.

"A large number of Egyptians appreciate hashish and these include decision makers, journalists and artists," according to the group’s manifesto.

Some Egyptians are reportedly tying the mysterious disappearance of the drug to the recent illness of President Hosni Mubarak and his trip abroad. Government officials, according to this theory, wanted to ensure country remained stable until the president’s return and beefed up security along the borders, which in turn has stemmed the flow of drugs into the country, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Youm A-Sabi.

However, Egyptians are skeptical that the authorities will be able to eradicate hashish altogether, the paper reported. This was because too many people in high places have vested interests in the drug trade and have cohorts in the official positions who will help them preserve their interests. [...]