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Israel

Encrypt with Coca-Cola

What won’t those blasted Israelis think of next!

(Dedicated to Nick, but of the gravest interest to all in Zanzibar.)

Code-a-cola: how to hide secret messages using fizzy drinks

Next time you see someone spilling a drink in a bar, you could actually be witnessing a spy secretly decoding an encrypted message. This might sound like something from a Bond movie. But a team from Israel has used some rather niffy [nifty? --J.] chemistry to come up with a way to use common chemicals such as cola as the encryption key to code and decode hidden messages.

[Snip]

Article explains. Every well-informed and properly-equipped Bond understudy will want to learn the theory behind the technique, and the technique itself … for some value of “learn.”

The inherent anti-Semitism of the left

Zero tolerance for antisemites

I was having a beer and a chat with a friend of mine the other day who has lived for many years in various parts of the Middle East as an executive for various Oil and ancillary companies. Mike is the first to make jokes about the hypocrisy of the Saudi, UAE and Bahraini arabs when it comes to public attitudes and private behaviours (such as the locks they keep on their drinks cabinets to stop their servants stealing their alcohol), but when it comes to the subject of Israel, apparently I am “brainwashed by Jewish propaganda”.

Where exactly this “Jewish propaganda” is coming from is somewhat obscure. Certainly the 4th estate (apart from the Jewish Chronicle I suspect), have been pumping out guff about all Israelis being baby murderers since I first picked up a Grauniad in the 80′s. Perhaps it is being transmitted via WiFi – in which case a tinfoil hat would seem to be in order.

The inherent and often-times overt anti-Semitism of the left I find strange, because they are usually the first to make the pod-people like accusation of “Racist!”, but as per usual it is only wrong when it fails to support the narrative of the “poor Palestinians” and the “diversity enriching Muslim community” (provided they don’t have to live with the imported hordes).

Jeremy Corbyn, erstwhile demolisher of the Labour Party (praise be upon him), is a prime example of this hypocrisy as are his followers in the Momentum group.

Activists linked with the Jeremy Corbyn’s hard leftist Momentum group are partly to blame for a rise in anti-Semitism at Oxford, a senior source at the Oxford University Labour Club has alleged.

It comes after a former co-chairman of the club claimed the infiltration of ‘hard leftists’ at the Oxford University Labour Club has led to a ‘vicious culture of personal attacks’, including the recent anti-Semitic incidents.

It also follows the resignation of the co-chairman of the organisation, Alex Chalmers, earlier this week after accusing a large proportion of members of having “some kind of problems with Jews”.

It is alleged the hard leftists are members with links to Momentum, the hard-Left group backed by Jeremy Corbyn, and are claimed to be advancing an “authoritarian and intolerant” Marxist tradition that “punishes dissent”.

Momentum activists blamed for rise of anti-semitism at Oxford Labour Club, a senior source has claimed

For myself, I will continue to openly support Israel as the only democracy in the region worth mention and where I encounter the hypocrisy of the left call it out for what it is.

I think Mike will think twice about raising the subject again. :-)

112 – not out.

Yisrael Kristal was born in Zarnow, Poland on September 15, 1903

That is remarkable. He was born three months before a couple of brothers from Ohio thought railways were a bit passé.

He survived WWI, WWII and was also was put in Auschwitz. I have been there though in happier times. The birds do sing. There is a myth that they don’t. What isn’t a myth is the pond with the mortal remains of 600,000 people. More of course were gassed and then burned.

Right. I have an Airfix to make. It is a P-51D-25 with Invasion Stripes. 6x’.50s is the sound of freedom. I am peering now over this Lenovo lappy at me (me!) in the forward ‘pit of a DH Tiger Moth. Irvin jacket and goggles and all that. That was at IWM Duxford and exit via the gift shop and all that. I quite fancied an Irvin jacket to own yet they were GBP 700! That is more than my wife’s Vauxhall Corsa is worth on the open market. I bought a mug instead. “We sweep the skies”. I alas (RG colour-blindness) am a Quaker warden so rather than sweeping the skies I mop the toilets. But then I am taller then Tom Cruise and not a twat. And Tom Cruise is a twat. And I can handle an F-14 better than him.

But anyway- I ramble – getting to 112 is a feat. Best of luck sir! I guess if you can survive a NAZI death camp you can take on anything.

PS He might also recall Newcastle winning the league. The last time they did that was 1927. I was born in 1973.

A Distaste of Israel.

A Waitrose magazine showcasing the food of Israel has been hammered online for ignoring what activists regard to be the ‘illegal occupation of Palestine’.

The supermarket chain’s monthly food magazine ‘Waitrose Kitchen’ contained a 32-page brochure called Taste of Israel.

But the glossy advert, sponsored by Israel’s Government Tourist Board, has sparked outrage among campaigners – with some claiming it ignores what they believe is an ‘apartheid regime’.

Yah what! This is about food and tourism. Does anyone honestly expect the Israeli tourist board to include a disclaimer along the lines of, “The shakshuka is to die for but if you lived in Gaza we’ve already killed you. Sorry.” Or “Come see our historic sites, dine on our cuisine and we chuck in a side of ‘genocide’”. This is ludicrous. I have Chinese, Iranian and Russian cookbooks. Does this endorse their governmental actions? Of course not! So why are the “activists” so het-up?

Rabid anti-semitism is part of it. The politics of displaced envy from the bien pissants of the West is part of it. By that I mean they are projecting their own feelings on politics onto the Palestinians and further assuming (often correctly) there is a great deal of envy from the Palestinians for a rich and advanced country next door. It is a form of redistributive fantasy which is of course a subset of the pernicious fixed wealth fallacy. Basically if Israel didn’t exist or “shared” then Gaza City would look like Tel Aviv. Yeah, right. The Intel i5 in this laptop was designed in Israel. He has a demon-ridden laptop – avert your eyes children! It may take on other forms!

Like become a MacBook Air or something?

Let’s call a spade a spade here. Israel is prosperous and (generally) reasonable (nowhere is perfect) because since 1948 Israelis have moved heaven (and a lot of earth) to create that and I have never blamed them for fighting like a cornered tiger to defend that. I know it is more complicated (and the settlements were wrong both morally and strategically) but… I take the Randian view here that if it is a choice between civilization and the building and inventing things that flows from that.

Israel has just had an election. It passed over quite peaceably. On the other side of the fence though…

When the Hamasites took power they took it upon themselves to storm their opponent’s offices, wreck the place and defenestrate anyone they found. They also stormed his private residence and stole his Nobel* and… I am not making this up… Someone stole his toilet. They stole his fucking toilet. One day it may be found and authenticated and placed in a museum with people solemnly shuffling past it in awe like it was the Grail or something. One day there maybe a cult of the One True Holy Aracrapper or they could go to B&Q and look at the many false Aracrappers. Well, as long as ISIS doesn’t get there and smash it first as an idol. I could say more on ISIS on this sort of score but that will have to wait.

Anyway, Israel is a civilized place that grows, makes and does things people want. What have Hamas ever done for the general (or their own) good except (sporadically lethal) amateur rocketry and furious Islamist rhetoric? I’ll stick with my computer and a Jaffa orange but thanks for the offer Hamas but just do fuck-off. As a Brit born in 1973 I grew-up through the slings and arrows of the IRA and I’m bored of this game now. I can’t imagine what it is like for an Israeli. I can’t imagine it is much fun for a normal Gazan – living in a continual bullet festival. Gaza could be a really nice little city state (the beaches look great) – a sort of Monaco on the other side of the Med. Who is stopping this? Well, according to the ludicrous response in the West to a British supermarket issuing a load of Israeli recipes** it ain’t just the Kings of Jihad*** even if they sit upon the Porcelain Throne of the Arafat****.

*Dear Gods what a sick joke that was! It is still to be located. I guess when Dr Jones is mended he can go on a quest for it.
**Which deeply ironically are not entirely dissimilar to those from the rest off the Eastern Med from Turkey round to Egypt.
***Not to be confused with the Kings of Leon.
****Not to be confused with “Game of Thrones”.

It ain’t just Islam…

This is arguably one of the more bizarre stories I have read. Ever.

A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.

World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.

And why? Why? because of XX-phobia. Seriously. They also took-out the EU foreign affairs supremo and the Mayor of Paris.

Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.

Now if Chancellor Merkel had been strutting her stuff in a sling-shot bikini and heels and nowt else then OK but this is the original photo…

Now I’m no fashionista but that is a modestly dressed woman. And she is also the German Chancellor so she ought to be there. God knows what Abbas was doing there but France and Germany are best buddies these days (thanks for small mercis – I mean we don’t want to go through all of that yet again).

Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.

“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”

He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.

I am lost. There is no way anyone could take that image as sexually provocative (I assume that was this loon’s point). I mean it ain’t Miley Cyrus. And in terms of the “family paper” schtick don’t families tend to have female members? Call me old-fashioned but I female relatives. I don’t think that unusual. And what the flying hellskis is the desecration stuff about? These people weren’t martyrs. They were just unlucky by and large. Could have been me, could have been you. This site has republished the Motoons of Doom. And in what way Chancellor Merkel takes away from the loss is beyond me. Also one of the dead was a female French cop. If anyone was a martyr she was dying in the line and all.

But this is only sort of about sexism. I mean it is but there is more. The massacre was about freedom of the press and an Israeli paper chooses to Photoshop inconvenient truths like the sex of the German Chancellor out. OK, fine print what you want but don’t doctor photos and then go on about martyrs for press freedom.

Or is it just plain sexism and they object to a female heading a major nation? Is it that simple? Get over it. We did with Maggie when I was a little kid.

What century are these folk in? I mean really? Moshe Dayan fought for this?

PS. And as someone from a culturally Christian background the idea that an image of a woman is a desecration is just weird.

A couple of the questions for the post Christmas period: Ancient Greek learning and English freedom – religious and political.

The Republic of Venice, like some other Italian States, was in contact with the Greek (Byzantine) Empire to the east, where Ancient Greek learning was preserved, from the most early days – contact was never lost in the Dark Ages. And the other states of Europe were in close contact with the Republic of Venice and the other Italian states. Yet the education system teaches that Greek learning came only from Islamic Spain. Is this theory really true?

Did, for example, thinkers in the British Isles such as the Irish thinkers from the 5th (indeed reaching back to Patrick and Pelagius [yes Pelagius, that free will scholar of Greek and possibly Hebrew, - of course I would drag him into it] of Roman Britain) century to the 9th century (before old Ireland was destroyed by the Vikings), or the English thinkers of the 12th century and so on (not just Roger Bacon there were other great Greek scholars and scientific thinkers also), really get their knowledge of Greek from Islamic Spain? Of course both the Greek Orthodox Church and the old Irish Celtic Church are not known for the delight in the predestination of Augustine – even if philosopher theologians do strange twisted gymnastics to try and reconcile predestination and moral responsibility (the reality of choice – of the existence of the human agent). Just as Judaism has always rejected predestination (unlike mainstream Islam) and stood for individual moral responsibility – the reality of choice, of the human person.

Also…..

In almost every case the Reformation of the 16th century led to a Church that was committed to Predestination and was a department of State – after all Predestination was the central doctrine of Martin Luther and John Calvin (they both HATED freedom and reason), and Luther taught that the State should control the State and Calvin taught that the Church should control the State – the autonomy of Church and State was utterly alien to both these thinkers. In England it led, by the 18th century, to a Church that was far MORE in favour of moral responsibility, free will, (hostile to Predestination and so on) than the Roman Catholic Church was, and to a Church that was largely part of the landed interest (backed by local patrons and so on as well as being a, largely, independent landowner itself) rather than being a department of state – an “Established Church” rather than a “State Church”. A Church that was theologically and socially radically different from the rest of Protestant Europe. Why?

Even in the 16th century someone like Richard Hooker (the three legged stool – scripture, tradition, and REASON) seems distinctly English – distinctly “Anglican” (a possible misuse of language – but I hope you get my point), by the 17th century philosopher theologians such as Henry Moore and Ralph Cudworth, perhaps the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar of his age, are quite acceptable in England, but would have seemed radially alien in the Protestant nations of Europe (and in the centralised Counter Reformation Catholic world) – with the possible exception of the minority tradition in Holland, the Arminian tradition (and remember it was the MINORITY tradition in Holland).

Why was England so weird in its Church development? Unlike both Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe.

I have asked these questions before – but just received utterly irrelevant answers such as “Ralph Cudworth believed in witchcraft”, yes he did (so did the great Common Law thinkers Hales and Selden), but why did the Church in England (both Anglican such as Granville Sharpe and William Wilberforce and Dissenting such as Richard Price [but also his Anglican political opponent Edmund Burke] – or a bit of both such as John Wesley) contain so many people, such as Cudworth and Moore and….., who believed in religious toleration and moral responsibility, free will – hostile to predestination. Why did the English Church turn out, in the main, so differently from the rest of Europe?

So was there no movement of Greek learning from the Byzantine Empire directly to the states of Italy? Was it all via Islamic Spain? Even though Venice was technically part of the Eastern Empire itself? The “Islamic Spain is what matters” idea seems like a unlikely theory. But I am willing to be corrected.

And why did the Church in England, certainly by the 18th century, turn out so different from both Protestant and Catholic Europe? I suspect that the answer to this question is the key to the different POLITICAL development of this land in the late 17th century and the 18th century, compared to the rest of Europe.

Ghastly and futile

The latest killings in the Synagogue in West Jerusalem are profoundly depressing. It goes without saying, (but say it I will), the acts were evil acts of nihilistic murder, wholly without any justification. Anyone sane condemns this kind of thing without qualification as I do.

Neither do I shed any tears that the perpetrators were killed at the scene by Israeli police. This act, and those like it, do present a serious problem however. The perps were clearly prepared to die, indeed in the death worship cult that is radical Islam, a martyr’s death is seen as a reward in some way.

So what can the state do about this phenomenon? Well they can tighten security to a degree, but as I understand it, it’s already pretty tight in Israel. A determined, armed man who is prepared to die will almost always be able to take out a few people before he dies.

And so, there is talk about re-enacting the old house demolition policy that was abandoned in the mid 2000’s. The argument now goes “Well Saddam isn’t around to fund the rebuilding of the family houses and it may act as a deterrent against future attackers if they know their family will suffer”

I don’t believe in collective punishments, but setting aside the argument for a moment, there maybe something to this as a deterrent concept.

I make no judgment, but I do have a question. Should the law apply to everyone equally or not? Should some people be above the law ?

You may remember Mohammed Abu Khdeir the Palestinian teen who was kidnapped and murdered in a revenge attack against an earlier kidnapping of three Israelis. Should the killers of Mr Khdeir have their family homes destroyed? Yes or No?

Gaza – The Warsaw Ghetto

How often have we seen it now?

Gaza/Warsaw, is there a comparison? A similarity?

Of course there is. It would be absurd to deny it.

In each city it is a case of Jews fighting an existential battle, in a war they didn’t start, against a hatemongering, genocidal and fascist enemy, who has the declared intention of wiping out every last Jew on the planet.

Of course there is a similarity.

This time though, the Jews have not been disarmed and half fully starved beforehand. That makes a difference.

Israel Confirms Acceptance of 72-Hour Ceasefire

Story in full, from Israel National News.

Hamas has broken the last two ceasefires, shortly after they began. Hard to believe, I know, but there it is.

Utterly beside the point, but I can’t help noticing the sheer artistry of the photo.

Israel Confirms Acceptance of 72-Hour Ceasefire

Cabinet votes to accept 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, beginning Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. local time.

By Elad Benari

First Publish: 8/4/2014, 11:45 PM

Ground offensive in Gaza.img521832
Ground offensive in Gaza
Flash 90


Israel confirmed on Monday night that it has agreed to Egypt’s proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, to begin Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. local time.

The confirmation came after the ministers in the Security-Diplomacy Cabinet held a telephone discussion during which they voted to agree to the ceasefire.

According to Channel 10 News, the ministers also decided that an Israeli delegation, headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molho, would make its way to Cairo for talks on a permanent ceasefire.

Earlier Monday, a senior Egyptian official said that both sides had agreed to the ceasefire.

“Egypt’s contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations,” the official told AFP.

Hamas has taken advantage of past temporary ceasefires to continue to fire rockets at Israeli citizens.

On Friday, the group violated a 72-hour ceasefire shortly after it went into effect, killing two IDF soldiers and kidnapping a third, Hadar Goldin, who was declared dead by the IDF on Saturday night.

On Monday, Israel announced a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire. Hamas took advantage of this ceasefire as well, firing rockets at southern Israel just two hours after it began.

Bibi to Obama: Don’t Second-Guess Me Again

The way the POS-in-Chief and his people treat P.M. Netanyahu and his country is beyond belief.

First, the short-form; below that, a lengthier piece.

BREAKING NEWS Netanyahu: No More Cease-Fires

By Steven Ahle on August 2, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced that Israel will not accept any new ceasefires. Instead, he says that Israel will destroy Hamas ability to fire rockets into Israel at will. Israel has already agreed to 6 ceasefires, all broken by Hamas before they even got started. In the last case, Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier, 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.

Since the latest hostilities have broken out, the Israelis have not only had to battle Hamas, but also the UN and Obama and John Kerry. Obama pressured Israel into agreeing to a 72 hour ceasefire, that Hamas broke within the first hour. They killed two IDF soldiers and captured one.

Netanyahu expressed regret over the death toll in the Israeli/Hamas war. …

The cabinet voted unanimously that they will not even entertain the possibility of a cease fire.

From the New York Post:

Don’t second guess me again: Netanyahu to US

By Associated Press

August 2, 2014 | 5:50am

Don’t second guess me again: Netanyahu to US
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to his countrymen on Monday, warning of a “lengthy campaign” in Gaza.

WASHINGTON — Following the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel.

Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration “not to ever second guess me again” on the matter. The officials also said Netanyahu said he should be “trusted” on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks.

The Obama administration on Friday condemned “outrageous” violations of an internationally brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and called the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier a “barbaric” action.

The strong reaction came as top Israeli officials questioned the effort to forge the truce, accusing the U.S. and the United Nations of being naive in assuming the radical Hamas movement would adhere with its terms. The officials also blamed the Gulf state of Qatar for not forcing the militants to comply.

Story continues at source.

The Gazza Strip.

Apparently Twitter users have been confusing the drunkard former England footballer Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne with Gaza the place.

Maybe it is just me and I, like Gazza am from Gateshead, not Gaza but this tickles me.

Fans of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, popularly known as ‘Gazza’, were left confused and fearing for his future as a Free Gaza campaign took off online.

Tweets with the hashtag #freegaza have been trending on Twitter in response to the violence in the Middle East, with users using their posts to urge Israeli forces to stop their assault on the Gaza Strip. The conflict, which started on July 8, has led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people.

But followers of the troubled player, who has become known for his battles with alcohol and drugs, mistakenly thought that he had been arrested and that the campaign was in support of his freedom.

And…

Pignorance has no end.

Two from “The Daily Beast”

First, from a story on ISIS and like-minded others in Holland, with links at the source:

ISIS’s Black Flags Are Flying in Europe

World News
07.28.14

The symbol of the murderous Islamic State is waving in The Hague. ‘Death to the Jews,’ shout the demonstrators. Yet the Dutch government authorized the protests.

Pro-Hamas, anti_Israel Demonstrators in Holland.1406565178252.cached

“Death to the Jews” chanted the crowd waving the black flags of the Islamic State, or ISIS as it used to be known. They were looking for new supporters for their cause, the creation of a worldwide caliphate answering to the man who now calls himself Ibrahim: a zealot too radical even for Al Qaeda who has stormed through Syria and Iraq carrying out mass executions, crucifying rivals, beheading enemies. But these marchers were not in Syria or Iraq; they were in The Hague in The Netherlands. And their message was one tailored to the disaffected young descendants of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

“We are Moroccans,” went out the cry over a portable loudspeaker. “The French killed the Moroccans but they didn’t kill them all; the grandchildren of the few men left protest against the West, America and the Jews.”

Many of the demonstrators covered their faces with Palestinian scarves or balaclavas. “Anyone who doesn’t jump is a Jew,” someone shouted as the whole group started jumping in a scene that might have been ludicrous if it weren’t for the hateful message. “Death to the Jews!” the crowd shouted in Arabic.

This scene last Thursday came in the wake of an earlier demonstration supposed to defend the Palestinians suffering in Gaza, which turned quickly into a hatefest targeting Israel, with people carrying placards that screamed “Zionism is Nazism.” But while the comingling [sic] of pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment has become all too common in European protests in recent weeks, that the battle flag of the Islamic State waved in the streets of The Netherlands on July 24 is something new and particularly dangerous.
. . .
In a letter to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote about the concerns of the wider Jewish community when it sees these racist demonstrations espousing the cause of the so-called “Islamic State” that opposes everything about democracy.

[Story continues at source.]

And, in order not to change the subject, from a column by Jesse Rosenfeld, also from The Daily Beast. One of the hundreds of comments is also below.

Israel Is Minting the Next Generation of Hate

07.30.14 Jesse Rosenfeld

The children of Gaza still have dreams for their future. Who do they admire? Anyone who might protect them: a doctor, a journalist, the fighters from Hamas.

GAZA CITY — The bombs continue falling, more and more people are running for their lives with fewer places to go and as the screams from beneath the wreckage of Israel’s assault become more frequent, a generation of Gaza’s children are being shaped by what they see. And yet, as kids often do, they can still surprise you.

Inside a Gaza City UNRWA school that’s been turned into a shelter, children pack the courtyard. Several are kicking a soccer ball around. A blue United Nations flag sits atop the building and the windows below are draped with laundry that spills out onto lines that crisscross the outdoor walkways. The stench of the backed-up toilets combines with the fumes of garbage fermenting in the midday sun. Inside, piled desks covered in sheets in the hallways partition makeshift rooms for the families.

There are now some 200,000 people in Gaza living in conditions like this, and many if not most of them are children. At least half of Gaza’s people—that is, 900,000 of the people here—are under the age of 18.
. . .
For the most part the ones here are under ten years old. None has ever left the narrow and overcrowded 40-kilometer strip of land called Gaza. They cannot remember a world without Israel’s seven-year blockade. They are living through their third war.

Ten-year-old Yasmine al Attar stares at me from under her dark curled bangs. ….

says she admires the Palestinian fighters, led by Hamas, who are, as she understands the situation, trying to repel the Israeli attackers.

But Yasmine isn’t looking for a Muslim warrior’s martyrdom. Like the other children here she’s looking for someone to defend her: doctors, journalists, fighters—and those are the people she wants to be some day. It is an attitude reflected by many of the children who mask their trauma behind unwavering smiles as they bubble with chatter about the devastation they’ve seen.
. . .
Mohammad [al Attar, also 10] says he wants to be a teacher if he has the choice. But, if nothing has changed by the time he grows up, he says, he knows he will fight. There is no malice in his voice. For this 10-year-old there are no childhood fantasies about the romance of war or political delusions about a grand victory. He’s making an honest calculation about the possibilities. “I just want to protect people,” he says.

It is not Hamas propaganda, the school curriculum or even their parents that make these children see a future where continued resistance is the only option for survival. That was an education taught by the Israeli bombs that flattened their homes and by the bread lines across the street from the school.

And here is one of the comments to the second piece:

rinki 4 hours ago

HERE IS WHAT “MINTS THE NEXT GENERATION OF HATE”

Hamas kids show encouraging to kill jews

Sometimes they say it better than me…

From Jihad Watch. This is good.

Chloe Valdary concludes this terrific piece by saying, “It is of course your prerogative to continue to utilize platitudes for your cause. You are entirely within your rights to chant words like ‘equality’ ‘justice’ and ‘freedom fighter.’ You can keep using those words for as long as you like. But I do not think you know what they mean.” Indeed. Or maybe they know full well what they mean, and want to confuse and manipulate people into no longer being sure, so they can more easily claim them for themselves.

“To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman,” by Chloe Valdary, Tablet, July 28, 2014 (thanks to Linda):

The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.

• If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation — you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”

• If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”

• If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate — you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.

• If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive — whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition — you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.

• If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.

• You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.

• You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, travelling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews — and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities — and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.

• You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.

• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist….

She shoots. She scores. That is serious back of the net.

Sam Harris in Defense of Israel


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Not a Sam Harris fan, as I dislike and mistrust militant atheists just as much as other militantly religious or anti-religious folk. Particularly when they seem to believe it’s they themselves to whom the phrase “from God’s mouth to your ear” applies.

But this piece by Mr. Harris is an op-ed that by me deserves great praise, particularly as it probably offends most of his natural audience. (Of course, I don’t agree with every word, nor every implication.) And I know why he put in all those parentheticals: It’s to try and cut off at the pass the obvious accusations with which we’re all too familiar.

Audio at source, from which the following are excerpts. The whole is a fair bit longer, and of course better integrated.

July 27, 2014

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

gaza

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT [Note: This is a verbatim transcript of a spoken podcast. However, I have added notes like this one to clarify controversial points.—SH]

The question I’ve now received in many forms goes something like this: Why is it that you never criticize Israel? Why is it that you never criticize Judaism? Why is it that you always take the side of the Israelis over that of the Palestinians?

I have criticized both Israel and Judaism. … I’ve kept some sense of proportion. There are something like 15 million Jews on earth at this moment; there are a hundred times as many Muslims. I’ve debated rabbis who, when I have assumed that they believe in a God that can hear our prayers, they stop me mid-sentence and say, “Why would you think that I believe in a God who can hear prayers?” So there are rabbis—conservative rabbis—who believe in a God so elastic as to exclude every concrete claim about Him—and therefore, nearly every concrete demand upon human behavior. And there are millions of Jews, literally millions among the few million who exist, for whom Judaism is very important, and yet they are atheists. They don’t believe in God at all. This is actually a position you can hold in Judaism, but it’s a total non sequitur in Islam or Christianity.

I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state.

[Note: It is worth observing, however, that Israel isn’t “Jewish” in the sense that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are “Muslim.” As my friend Jerry Coyne points out, Israel is actually less religious than the U.S., and it guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens. Israel is not a theocracy, and one could easily argue that its Jewish identity is more cultural than religious. ....]

More civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few weeks than militants. That’s not a surprise because Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Occupying it, fighting wars in it, is guaranteed to get woman and children and other noncombatants killed. ….

Whatever terrible things the Israelis have done, it is also true to say that they have used more restraint in their fighting against the Palestinians than we—the Americans, or Western Europeans—have used in any of our wars. They have endured more worldwide public scrutiny than any other society has ever had to while defending itself against aggressors. The Israelis simply are held to a different standard. And the condemnation leveled at them by the rest of the world is completely out of proportion to what they have actually done. [Note: I was not saying that because they are more careful than we have been at our most careless, the Israelis are above criticism. War crimes are war crimes.]

It is clear that Israel is losing the PR war and has been for years now. One of the most galling things for outside observers about the current war in Gaza is the disproportionate loss of life on the Palestinian side. This doesn’t make a lot of moral sense. Israel built bomb shelters to protect its citizens. The Palestinians built tunnels through which they could carry out terror attacks and kidnap Israelis. Should Israel be blamed for successfully protecting its population in a defensive war? I don’t think so.

there is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions towards them. The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal. … [Note: Yes, I know that not every Palestinian supports Hamas, but enough do to have brought them to power. Hamas is not a fringe group.]

The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking. Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that it should have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews.

And this gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it.

The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does.

Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields.

There are reports that Israeli soldiers have occasionally put Palestinian civilians in front of them as they’ve advanced into dangerous areas. That’s not the use of human shields we’re talking about. It’s egregious behavior. No doubt it constitutes a war crime. But Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.

If you’re going to talk about the conflict in the Middle East, you have to acknowledge this difference. I don’t think there’s any ethical disparity to be found anywhere that is more shocking or consequential than this.


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

It’s not just us brutal Anglo Saxons you know…

Protest outside Muenster Town Hall

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in the historic city of Münster, Germany – a university town with 50,000 students and famous as the site of the Rathaus where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.

What was not so appealing this weekend was the protest outside the historic Rathaus by a group of supporters of the Palestinians shouting quite frankly repulsive and anti-Semitic slogans while the Police looked on with cold eyes.

The rally had been called by the “initiative of the Friends of Palestine in Münster”. Bearing banners and pamphlets to express their protest the participants were mainly women with headscarves and children.

They also chanted slogans such as “child murderer Israel” or “mass murderer Netanyahu”. In a pamphlet stated: “We do not hate the Jews, but the terrorist state of Israel.”

On the opposite side of the street, under the arches, demonstrated a significantly smaller group of people for self-defense of Israel.

Heated verbal exchanges on the principal market (in the original German, translated into English by Google Translate)

It was quite clear to all concerned that the Police were not there to ensure the demonstrators didn’t get out of hand (as occasionally happens with environmental and Neo-Nazi protests in Germany), but rather to ensure that the demonstrators themselves were protected from the public at large.

Marcus, my host for the weekend, is an educated native German with a doctorate in physics who spends his summer vacations building village schools in rural India, so not exactly a little-Deutschlander, but he was outraged to the point of anger that the “…spectre of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era…” (his exact words) should be displayed again on the streets of Germany.

I pointed out to Marcus that if the right to free-speech means anything, it means the right to make statements which others may find offensive and that there is no general right not to be offended.

“Quite correct”, Marcus said, “but if the protesters had been ethnic German’s rather than immigrants, then they would have been dragged away by the Police at the first anti-Semitic outburst” - this was in relation to an anti-immigration protest at the Münster Rathaus some months ago, which the police had broken up for exactly that reason.

“The police are afraid to intervene because they are Muslims” was Marcus’ final word on the matter.

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