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Levels of importance

A correspondent writes:

You quote that passage approvingly in your entry on more checkpoints. I don't understand. If it is consistent and appropriate for you to believe that the lives of Israelis are more important than the lives of Palestinians, then there is someone for whom the opposite is true. As long as there is someone for whom the lives of Israelis are more import than the lives of Palestinians and someone for whom the lives of Palestinians are more important than the lives of Israelis, there is going to be conflict. It simply can't be that believing such a thing is morally appropriate.

Let's be honest here. If I had to choose between saving my brother's life, or saving yours, my brother would live. That is human nature. I'm not quite up on my New World Code of Moral Behavior, but I think that to deny that most people think more highly of their friends, family, and own societies is unrealistic. That theory isn't in general practice. It is especially not in practice in the clan-centric Arab world. Do I think my family's lives are more important than yours? Yes. Do I think that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinians? Yes. Do Palestinians think their lives are more important than Israelis? Yes. Is that the root of the conflict? No.

It is naive to think that the war in Israel will cease if only each side would stop believing their lives are more important than the other's. I can't boil down the why of the conflict that is Israel to a pithy one-line answer, nor will I even try. But the current conflict can be summarized: The Palestinians are at war with Israel, and have been actively warring for the past two years, only they call it "intifadeh" instead of "war." They say their goal is independence. If their goal is an independent state, however, one has to wonder: How does killing a four- and five-year-old in cold blood advance that purpose?

As to why I quoted Hillel Halkin's article approvingly: The checkpoints were in place last month in Hebron, when the IDF clamped down tightly on the city. When they were removed, the result was the death of a dozen Israelis, and fifteen injured.

That is why I approve of checkpoints. And more checkpoints, until the killing stops.

It's not my imagination

I spent most of yesterday away from the papers and television and internet. We had a small birthday get-together at Heidi's, me, her family, and a friend of mine from the synagogue. We played with my new digital camera and ate corned beef (imported from NJ and sitting in my freezer for the appropriate event) and latkes (made fresh, by me), frustrated Sorena's designs on my cake by having an angel food cake instead of one that she could frost and then smother with overly-sweet things, and had an overall great time.

And at one point in the evening, Heidi asked me how the website was going. I told her, gave her a sketchy summary of my latest subjects, and moved on to something else, as we don't discuss Israel anymore. But I started wondering afterwards: Am I, perhaps, too close? Am I reading too many magazines and websites and authors that focus on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments? Perhaps some perspective is needed. Maybe it's not as bad as I think it is.

And then I get online and get an email from Alex Bensky, telling me about this. And then I go to Charles Johnson's site and see this.

No, it's not a lack of perspective on my part. It's the sad, sick, awful truth: The Arabs are trying desperatately to become the 21st century Nazis. They want to eliminate the Jews, period. It's not the "settlements"—Hebron was a Jewish city from time immemorial, and the remnants of the ancient Jewish citizens were slaughtered and expelled in 1929—by the Arabs, of course. Yesterday, the Arabs tried to do it again.

This time, even Kofi Annan couldn't stomach the naked hatred and brutality. He actually called it a terrorist attack. He didn't blame the "settlers." Does this mean the tide may actually begin to turn?

I won't hold my breath.



Well, some of these links are funny

Michele found me a hilarious link. Not for the kiddies or the prudes among us, but damn, it's funny.

I knew about Mary a while ago, but I did not know that she needs to change her name to Donna Quixote. She regularly reads and comments on an anti-warblog that is so disgustingly anti-Semitic that Judith Weiss is marking a thread URL to throw back in the faces of anyone who claims that LGF is bigoted. Anil, have you ever been here? Go. It'll make you sick.

Mary, I'm nominating you for the Blogger Medal of Honor for your efforts on that weblog, but damn, girl, you are one thick-skinned, crazy woman. I could never put up with those assholes on a daily basis.

Carnival of the Vanities # 8 has been up, but I wasn't linking yesterday. And read Bigwig's description of giving his daughter a bath at a non-routine time (ignore the asshole in the comments, who obviously should never reproduce; I did).

Have you been to Scrappleface lately? Scott's making French fart jokes, reporting on the plight of the Sea Monkeys (I always wanted to buy one from those ads in the back of my comic books, but never did), an article that proves the bin Laden tape was a fake, and an article that proves that Al Gore is still alive. A busy man, our Scott Ott.

Terry Oglesby made me laugh. But Yorkieblog is having a rough time of it. So let's send some hits her way and cheer her up. (How is it that I find myself agreeing with Pat Robertson? My God, we really are in Bizarro World, aren't we?)

Diane E. is quitting blogging. Bummer.

I have not written as much original content lately as I've wanted to. The world keeps getting in the way. However, I bought myself a birthday present yesterday—that digital camera I promised myself last year. (I am, as Diane E. says, an effing Scorpio, and today is my effing birthday, and I'm effing effing years old.) I expect the camera is going to inspire me to do words and pictures. I should be able to get some shots of the Dog Parade at Heidi's that I've told you about. That's where all three dogs follow her from room to room while she does her chores. Maddening to her, hilarious to me. At the very least, I may put up some dog pictures to go along with the cat pictures, so you can finally see the cast of characters I've written about. And of course, Sorena will no doubt want me to put pictures of her on my website. I'd best remember to have a G-rated page that week.



More checkpoints, please

Hillel Halkin (thanks, Charles) wrote what I've been thinking about the benefits of IDF checkpoints:

"What I want to say to you is this. It is wrong to deliberately humiliate Palestinians at a checkpoint, just as it is wrong to keep them for no good reason from getting to work, or to school, or to the hospital. I think anyone doing so should be punished. But a week doesn't go by without the discovery at some checkpoint of bombs and weapons and Palestinians planning to use them. Every time this happens, the lives of Israelis are spared. If there had been more checkpoints, or more thorough ones, the weapon that killed Revital Ohayon and her two children in Metzer might have been discovered, too.

"And if 10 more, or 100 more, or1,000 more checkpoints could have saved those three lives, and if at those checkpoints thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of Palestinians would have been harassed and humiliated and kept from getting to their jobs and to their schools and to the hospital, I would have said: Fine, let them be.

"You would like me to look at it objectively. Objectively, I agree: we are only breeding more hatred and violence. You want me to imagine how I would feel if I were a Palestinian. I suppose that if I were, I might want to kill Israelis myself. But I am not objective and I am not a Palestinian. It's not that the lives of Palestinians don't matter to me. But Israeli lives matter more.

"I know this doesn't sound terribly enlightened. And it certainly doesn't lead to any of the political solutions that we both know are necessary if this horror is going to end. But being objective would not make me more human. It would make me less.

It's the second paragraph that I agree with the most. Until the terrorists stop coming into Israel and the West Bank and blowing up Israelis, the checkpoints are necessary. If the Pals want to stop the checkpoints, let them stop the bombings, shootings, and knifings. Each time a sociopath shoots a child in cold blood, it merely reinforces the reasons for checkpoints and even more stringent measures.

Oh. And I would change "not a week goes by" to "not a day goes by" in the first paragraph. Every day—every single day—the IDF captures weapons and prevents terrorists from murdering more Israelis.

While I pondered, down and dreary

It's not funny around here lately. While I'm trying to think of a new funny post, I realize that I'd never put my Terms of Use on the left menu. That has been fixed. I think there are many of you who have never seen them, and, well, my legal department tells me that I'm simply opening myself up to lawsuit after lawsuit by not having the Terms of Use in a high-profile place. Okay, it's fixed, my lawyers can leave me the hell alone now.

And really, I'm serious about the Godiva. Well, actually, I'm fonder of clauses 1. and 2.A than the others. And my birthday's just around the corner, too. Just a hint, folks.

Why I write

Scott from AMCGLTD sent me this letter yesterday:

I'm a young, dumb, white kid from small-town Arkansas. We had two, count them two, Jewish kids in our entire public school system. Being in the middle of the deep south just after the civil rights movement made its biggest gains meant the folks around me were all busy hating people that looked different, not people who worshipped different. Didn't know much about Israel, just a far away place with lots of scary things going on in it. My parents were supporters, and so I was too, but I couldn't tell you why.

Then I went to college, and to get a handle on this whole Israel thing I took a liberal-arts course in "Israel and the Middle East". At the tender age of 19, I didn't really understand what "ivory tower marxist holdout" meant, but my professor was a card-carrying, comb-over example of the worst sort. And so I started to believe that maybe the Palestinians really were the aggrieved party in all this mess.

Then I started my blog, and stumbled, not sure how, onto you, Larry, Imshin, and a whole bunch of other folks, who quite pointedly, in no uncertain terms, and with *proof* not being provided by my media, showed me just how screwed up my perceptions were. Every time one press monkey or another dredged up some slanted awful thing about how Israel wasn't doing enough and Israel was screwing it up and if Israel would just listen to reason it would all get better I could come to you guys for the other side of the coin. Not unbiased, but at least not claiming to be either, you folks helped me figure out my own "middle path".

And, thanks in no small part to you and yours, I too stand firmly behind Israel.

Thanks, Scott. That means a lot to all of us, and yeah, it did make my day a bit better. Like the description of your professor, particularly the "comb-over example" part. I'll have to remember to steal that someday.



A father gives the eulogy for his children and his wife

You cannot read this without your heart cracking.

Last Friday I came to pick up my children. We played in their yard and they found a lizard. Matani, my darling, was afraid of the lizard, and Noam, my soul, was not afraid and played with the lizard with the neighbor. They played with the lizard, and the lizard, as lizards do, left its tail and ran away. It left them just with the tail.

They were fascinated by what happened. They ran to their mother, who knows everything and gives them answers right away, and asked about the tail that stayed in their dish and kept moving, while the lizard disappeared.

So she explained them lizards have this talent, that when you catch their tails they cut them off, run away and grow a new tail. And now you went and left me, your tail, because I always was your tail, and I can not grow a new life, and my heart and my head and my eyes, everything was cut off in the part that I lost.

Revital, we are 34. We met when we were 16. Half a lifetime. Half a lifetime, from 16 to 34. Not half, it is a whole lifetime. From the first day we were soulmates. We went through a whole world together. We came back from the ends of the world and remet. Then we said we are just going around and around and looking for things that are not there. And that everything is staring us right in the face.

And we decided that you and me are you and me, and I am yours and you are mine forever. And we were very scared, because we were such good friends, that if romance came between us, we would be less good friends because it would ruin our friendship, and we said we are strong enough, and it turned out we really were strong, because even after we got divorced, we stayed best friends.

And then you and the kids went and I cannot call you and tell you I am sad. Forgive me everyone, but she is lucky she went with them. I wish I did too, to be with you.

But I know why I am not with you. Because I am the tail. Because you are the good ones and I am the bad one. Because God only wants the good ones and he leaves the bad here on earth.

The article ended:

As the children were lowered into their graves, Ohayon placed a plastic bag containing pacifiers in Noam's grave. He placed a bag containing Matan's butterfly collection in his grave.

Thanks to Justin Weitz for the URL.

The Kibbutz Metzer Massacre: How to fight them

The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade is proud of the murder of children. Lynn B. quotes some of their latest announcement, via IMRA. Imshin is a bit regretful that she posted in anger yesterday and raised a few hackles. Don't be regretful, Imshin. The heart cannot be gainsaid, they tell us. People don't like what you said about extremists? Fuck 'em. There's a difference between writing a post in anger about something petty like an asshole who's sending you hatemail, and a post written from the anger of your heart's anguish. Knowing that Matan and Noam cowered underneath their blankets from the real-life bogeyman, who killed them with bullets paid for by the EU and Arab nations, should be enough to crack any right-thinking human being. Which brings us to:

What kind of sick, twisted, pathetic piece of human garbage can put a bullet through a four-year-old child? One raised on a steady diet of lies and hate and anti-Semitism. How do we fight them? Well, I'm too old, alas, to move to Israel and join the IDF. But I have a website, and I have a voice, and I have an income. I'm their second-worst nightmare: An American Jew raising money for Israel. Only this time, I don't want to raise money for the hospitals or the ambulances. This time, I want to raise money for the defense. If anyone can find me a direct donation page to the IDF, I'd be grateful. In the meantime, here's a list of charities from which to choose:

How we can hurt them: Support Israel financially.

Here's the page for the UJA's Israel Emergency Fund. Here's the link to donate directly. (You can donate via credit card online with this link.)

Here's a Stand By Israel page with tons of links for donations, investment, and Israeli products.

Buy Israel bonds as presents as well as investments.

Here's a page with military-related donations and links.

Here's one that contributes directly to the IDF in many forms. Here's the online donation page.

For the more peaceable of you: Buy Israeli products. Teddyflipped has a great page of links.

I sent my donation to the LIBI IDF site, in the names of Matan and Noam Ohayun—the murdered children.

The grandmother of all essays about Jew-hatred is bubbling up inside me. Here's a tip for the anti-Semites: You can't. You've tried, you've failed, we're still here. Suck it up or die, we don't care. We're still here. The Romans are gone. The Assyrians are gone. The Babylonians are gone. The Third Reich is gone. Feel free to join them in the graveyard of history. We'll still be here, long after you're gone, too.


To whom it may concern,

Please excuse the shortage of blogging recently. Meryl has been overwhelmed with rage due to an inability to comprehend the actions of a sick, twisted murderer who shot two children, four and five years old, while they hid under the blankets after he killed their mother. It came on especially hard today, as she watched a coworker's five-year-old daughter for a few minutes after the end of class.

The anger doesn't seem likely to go away soon, what with the terrorists responsible saying that only the location of the murder was a mistake, not the victims nor, indeed, the action itself.

Please go to Ribbity Frog's Save the Children link and help ease his rage, as well.

Try not to let the bile overwhelm you as you think of the animal that perpetrated this horror. And realize that in the Jewish faith, the father of those children and the husband of that woman will say Kaddish for them every year on their anniversary and on holidays, and for the next year every Shabbat. He is 34 years old.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. There should be intermittent showers of anger today, followed by a deluge of rage when Meryl becomes coherent once more.



Looking for the Israeli point of view?

Try Imshin:

This, by the way, has little to do with what is said about us outside of Israel. The outside world is outraged regardless of what we do or don't do. We have become completely desensitized to their one-sided cries of "atrocity, atrocity!" even when justified (Where was the outrage, yesterday, of the cold-blooded slaughter of two small children in their beds?).

The far left sees Sharon as a murderous criminal. The far right sees him as too restrained and inactive to be effective, thus failing to protect Israel properly.

But Sharon carefully, oh, so carefully, treads the middle way, refusing to be pressured or blackmailed by either side. And neither the left nor the right seem able to understand why the great majority of the Israeli public is so relieved and grateful for this.

"Don't worry," said a very right wing co-worker of mine, when I conveyed to him my fear that Bibi Netanyahu would be voted as the Likud Party leader at the end of this month and not Sharon. I was amazed, certain that at least he would be rooting for Bibi.

The left underestimates the Israeli electorate, of course, made up as it is of the stupid uneducated masses. Don’t worry, when the time comes, we will vote for a government that will know how to make peace, as we have done before. Now we want a government that is not afraid to wage war, but that doesn’t go overboard. Sharon has proved he is the one who can do it, if not perfectly, at least adequately. In this part of the world, that’s a great deal.

These days, what we need most is patience. A lot of it. Not known to be a particularly Israeli characteristic. Both far right and far left seem to be most lacking.

Oh, and they can try and persuade us that Israel’s ruined economy is Sharon’s fault till they’re blue in the face. We know the truth.

She's lived there all her life. I expect she knows a bit more about the situation than many non-Israeli bloggers. And, well, I respect and admire her, so my money's on the horse she's betting on.

Meryl, meet Meryl

No, not my name-twin in Texas, though sure, go say howdy to her and wish her well in her pregnancy. What I'm talking about: When I woke up this morning and tried out my voice, I discovered to my delight that it sounds like my voice again. It's still a bit hoarse, but we're getting closer and closer to 100%. Of course, if this keeps up, I'm going to have to find my microphone and boot up the media machine and make a .wav file so you can all hear me, what with my writing so much about my talking. Or lack thereof.

Don't worry, I promise not to record myself singing in the shower. Or anywhere else. Well, actually, I can keep a tune, but my voice isn't anything special to think of. Iron Gall's voice is pretty damned good, though. So's her writing.

It's a school day, and I have some things to do this afternoon. And Buffy's on tonight. It may be a while before you hear from me again. Ha. Hear from me. I can speak again! I can talk! Hooray!

I'm sleeping in today

So here are a bunch of links for you instead. And they're all going to be weblogs that I haven't mentioned in quite some time. Well, except for Jack's. But that's because I want him to write more.

You know, last week, I went over to Blogs of War and discovered that, yeah, Dr. Frank is still missing in action.

TV Land is an evil, evil place, where they rerun old shows that suck me into their vacuum and keep me watching even as I cringe and say, "I'm not a teenager anymore! Happy Days sucks!" (Of course, the fact that I had a huge crush on Henry Winkler—like every other girl in the country at that time—might have something to do with it. And the Fonz is Jewish, folks. Hahahahaha, he's one of us!)

What, you want to know, does this have to do with Blogs of War and Dr. Frank? Well. It appears that although the Fonz is still back in the fifties, Dr. Frank is back on his weblog. He snuck in a few days ago. And he has a pretty amusing comparison: When it comes to Iraq, is W. the Fonz, or is he just Richie Cunningham? Stay tuned, kiddo, and we'll see.

I can't pick out any individual post from Grasshoppa that I like better than any others. Geoff is funny and furious at the same time, or funny and ironic, or funny and nasty... just go read his weblog and see what you think.

I've been poking around some in the other hemisphere, and let me tell you, there are some mighty fine blogs down that way. Everyone knows about Tim Blair, sure, but did you know about Whacking Day? I've been meaning to link to his evisceration of Ann Nutjob Coulter's so-called thoughts on the usefulness of DNA evidence:

What's Ann really given us?

- rapists are evil - wow, she's in revelatory form here folks
- some lawyers are scumbags - does her insight ever fail her?
- DNA evidence in death penalty cases is phony - yeah, you said that in the first place - why?

Ann should leave conservative argument to people capable of making it, and go audition for the tile-turning role on Wheel of Fortune. It's both within her intellectual capacity and quieter for the rest of us.

If he keeps this up, I may have to offer him a place to stay on his tour of America in '03. (And no, dear, it won't be in my bedroom. There's a quite comfortable sofabed in the living room.)

Now if I could only get Tex to change his site colors to a more readable scheme—like almost anything but white-on-black.

Garrett Moritz continues to amuse, entertain, and inform. He's found a hilarious spoof of the LOTR trailer made by some MIT guys with a lot more time on their hands than you'd think they'd have.

Garrett's also got a lot to say about where all the Democratic warmongers have gone, how his generation is going to write the next On the Road, and reports on the great Pop vs. Soda controversy (and adds his own controversy, Coke, to the mix). Garrett, you should get in touch with me via email. I'll be in NJ for Thanksgiving weekend, and heading into the city for a get-together with some fellow bloggers. Of course, many of us are in (sigh) your parents' generation, but we'll ignore that for now. Or at least not admit which of us those would be.

Jack Rich is leaving me wanting more. Again. I like his commentary a lot. Write more, Jack.

Jim Miller is another one who has succinct, interesting, and funny commentary on current events. And, well, strange legalisms on British paperbacks. He also linked to this excellent article on the slave trade in the Sudan, and how America is ending it. Funny, we don't seem to be getting any credit for it, though.



A Veteran's Day story from an unlikely source

I didn't have anything to say about Veteran's Day, really. My father served in WWII, but he never made it out of the country, only as far as Texas (which he hated to his dying day, Lair). My uncle served in Europe, but he never talked about it. (So much for Jews not serving in the army, hm?) Another uncle was in the army during Korea, but I don't think he was in combat. So no, I haven't much to say. I was definitely an ultra-liberal in my youth, but I never blamed soldiers for our nation's mistakes in Vietnam, or attended any anti-war demonstrations (before my time, really). The draft ended shortly before my older brother would have been eligible. I do remember my mother at the time saying she'd drive him to Canada herself. Lucky for us we never had to come to that decision, what with the current climate of anti-Semitism over there, hm?

Anyway. Here's a story from Jeffrey Zeldman's site, one of the techies that most of my readers don't even know exists. He's been around far longer than any of the warbloggers you know and love, and warblogger would be the last word you'd use to describe Zeldman. But go read Veteran's Day. (Thanks to Ben Henick for this one.)

Reader Appreciation Day

I've been catching up on answering my email, and while I was at it, decided to clean out the mailbox somewhat (can you say "packrat"? I knew you could). Doing that, of course, entails rereading old messages from readers over the past few months, going all the way back to the Blogathon (Quana Jones and Combustible Boy were the only ones still awake and sending me email encouragement at five a.m.; folks, I still remember and thank you for it).

You have sent me jokes and articles and links to weblogs that you think I'd be interested in. I've received get-well wishes and laryngitis remedies and offers of help finding apartments. Every question I've asked has been answered quickly and easily, usually by more than one of you. There has been much encouragement, some correction of mistakes, and a (thankfully) minor amount of hate mail. Many of you have become "virtual" friends. Our conversations ebb and flow, and sometimes, I admit, I have to think to myself "Who is this again?" before remembering an earlier conversation—which is frankly not much different from my struggling to put a name to the face of someone I'm speaking to after synagogue, so I'm thinking it's a sign of age more than anything else. But overall, I would like to give a great big thank-you to my readers, who make writing this weblog a much more pleasant task.

Hey, you're why I update this weblog even on the weekends, when the readership can drop off as much as fifty percent. That still leaves half of you looking for new posts, and I find that I can no more ignore my readers than I can ignore my cats. There you go. A new tagline for My readers: They're as important to me as my cats.

It's a compliment. Honest.

The horror that is the EU

What's wrong with this picture? Read the paragraphs below and see if you can pick out the phrase that horrified me the most:

Hamas leaders reaffirmed Sunday their strong opposition to the suspension of suicide bombings inside Israel and said the goal of talks with Fatah officials in Cairo was to unite the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel.

The two parties made almost no progress on the issue of suicide attacks in the first session of talks, a senior PA official said Sunday night. In Cairo, representatives of Hamas and Fatah held another round of talks at an undisclosed venue to try to work out a common strategy that would confine terrorist attacks to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Fatah delegation, led by Dr. Zakariya al-Agha, is trying to convince Hamas to agree to a temporary suspension of suicide bombings inside Israel. Fatah argues that the attacks have caused harm to the Palestinians and lost them the sympathy of friends, especially in the US and Europe.

Fatah's position also states that the attacks should be halted at least in the period leading up to Israeli elections because they would play into the hands of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party and weaken the Left and Israel's peace camp.

The Cairo talks, the first of their kind since 1995, are being held under the auspices of the European Union and the Egyptian government. EU officials have held a series of meetings with Hamas leaders in Syria and Lebanon in an attempt to persuade them to confine their attacks to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Egyptians have also put immense pressure on Hamas to agree to the change in strategy, arguing that the world can understand the killing of Jewish settlers and IDF soldiers, but not innocent civilians inside Israel.

No, it's not the last one. That one is chilling enough, but Egyptians believe that the world understands the killing of all Jews, and to say otherwise is merely public relations. That's not the least bit surprising or off-message. It's the paragraph above it, in particular, this sentence, that bothers me the most:

EU officials have held a series of meetings with Hamas leaders in Syria and Lebanon in an attempt to persuade them to confine their attacks to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The European Union officials have been working with Hamas to try to get them to kill only Jews in uniform or living in the settlements. Because after all, Jews have no right to live there. It's not like it was the Jews' ancestral homeland from which they were forcibly removed, or anything.

This is why I hate—literally, hate—the European Union officials. They should be working with Hamas to get them to stop bombing, period. What kind of crap is this? "the world can understand the killing of Jewish settlers and IDF soldiers, but not innocent civilians inside Israel"? And the EU goes along with this? Are they so morally bankrupt that they can't see how many different kinds of wrong this is?

But then, these are Europeans. They are used to, indeed, apparently require the deaths of Jews, since they've been doing it for so long. And since there are so few Jews in Europe, well, Israel gives them a good alternative killing ground. They can even get to declare their own hands to be bloodless. Which is probably why Christopher Patten is refusing to investigate charges that the UN funds going to the Palestinian Authority are being used to fund acts of terror and death.

Each time I read an article like this, it reinforces my thoughts that America is right to act unilaterally. The EU is morally bankrupt. Actions like this show that they have lost their right to lecture Israel on how she should conduct herself.

The new week begins

My voice has returned, for the most part—it sounds about ninety percent to me now, although that percentage fell heavily after teaching class this morning. I really wish somebody would have told me before I started teaching that classes stopped being dictatorships after I left them. I came very, very close to telling the children today, "This is not a democracy, and you don't get a say in how I teach the lesson!" but I managed to control myself. This time.

Actually, the good news was talking to one of the parents after class, and finding out that her son loves coming to class and thinks I'm doing a great job. (I think her son is a great kid, so we're even in that regard.) It's the little victories that get you through, I suppose.

I spent the afternoon researching an article I'm working on, and then about an hour or two in a foul mood as the result of my research. Came awfully close to writing an essay on how much I hate Great Britain, and how many deaths of Jews their intransigence in British Palestine caused, right up to the day when they turned over their mandate. It certainly explains the anti-Semitism of assholes like Vanessa Redgrave, whose latest cause is the Chechens. I'd link to the article, but that would require my actually having to type her name twice in one day, and I think if that happened, I'd burst into flame. Feel free to find it via Google all by yourselves; you're big boys and girls, and web-savvy, too!

By the way, for those of you who have been wondering what I look like, I finally decided to post a picture for you. Above is one of me as a Lucky Strike Girl from a Halloween party from, hm, sometime in the 90s is all I can remember. Sorry about the darkness in the bottom, but we were more concerned with the costume than my legs, although I can remember that I was wearing black tights, and that I couldn't eat or drink or smoke while wearing the costume, and that the top came off fairly quickly after this shot was taken, so I could enjoy the rest of the party. It was definitely one of my more clever costumes, and one I put more effort into than most. It was also hot as hell in there, another reason the top of the costume came off early and stayed off. Any old-timers out there that can tell me what LS/M.F.T. means? I remember, but only because I found it in an ad from a magazine of the fifties.

What, you were expecting cheesecake? I'm not that kind of girl. Michele, who absofraggin'-lutely rocks, is, however. But it's for charity. (And no, Michele, I did not give you pneumonia. I had a virus. You have pneumonia. And you're 375 effing miles north of me. What, they don't teach geography in Noo Yawk schools? If you went to school in New Jersey, like I did, you'd know that a virus has a spreadable radius of only 350 miles. I have, however, passed it on to some people in the D.C. area, I think.

Speaking of the D.C. area, I'm thinking seriously of heading up there for a couple of days to see the sights. Josh Trevino has promised me lunch in the Congressional Dining Room. Anyone up that way have a guest room? I hate being alone in hotels in strange cities. I'm booked through November. How's early December in D.C.? Or should I just wait until cherry blossom time?

Look at that. It's not even mid-November, and already I'm thinking of spring. I hate the cold.



The Night of Broken Glass

On the nights of November 9 and 10, rampaging mobs throughout Germany and the newly acquired territories of Austria and Sudetenland freely attacked Jews in the street, in their homes and at their places of work and worship. At least 96 Jews were killed and hundreds more injured, more than 1,000 synagogues were burned (and possibly as many as 2,000), almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed, cemeteries and schools were vandalized, and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

During the November pogroms, stormtroopers smashed Jewish store windows, destroyed goods, and carried out massive looting. German officials calculated that 7,500 enterprises were damaged or destroyed in the rampages.

The Nazis forced the Jews to pay the costs of the pogroms and banned them from gainful economic activity. Insurance monies to cover the damages were confiscated, Jewish store and home owners had to repair their buildings at their own cost, and an "atonement" fee of 1 billion Reichsmarks (about $400 million) was imposed on the community.

The official German position on these events, which were clearly orchestrated by Goebbels, was that they were spontaneous outbursts. The Fuehrer, Goebbels reported to Party officials in Munich, "has decided that such demonstrations are not to be prepared or organized by the party, but so far as they originate spontaneously, they are not to be discouraged either."

A Personal Memoir By Michael Bruce
Michael Bruce, a non-Jewish Englishman, provided this eyewitness account:

...Hurriedly we went out into the street. It was crowded with people, all hurrying towards a nearby synagogue, shouting and gesticulating angrily. We followed. As we reached the synagogue and halted, silent and angry, on the fringe of the mob, flames began to rise from one end of the building. It was the signal for a wild cheer. The crowd surged forward and greedy hands tore seats and woodwork from the building to feed the flames.

Behind us we heard more shouts. Turning, we saw a section of the mob start off along the road towards Israel's store where, during the day, piles of granite cubes, ostensibly for repairing the roads, had been heaped. Youths, men and women, howling deliriously, hurled the blocks through the windows and at the closed doors. In a few minutes the doors gave way and the mob, shouting and fighting, surged inside to pillage and loot.

By now the streets were a chaos of screaming bloodthirsty people lusting for Jewish bodies. I saw Harrison of The News Chronicle, trying to protect an aged Jewess who had been dragged from her home by a gang. I pushed my way through to help him and, between us, we managed to heave her through the crowd to a side street and safety.

We turned back towards Israel's, but now the crowd, eager for fresh conquests, was pouring down a side road towards the outskirts of the city. We hurried after them in time to see one of the foulest exhibitions of bestiality I have ever witnessed.

The object of the mob's hate was a hospital for sick Jewish children, many of them cripples or consumptives. In minutes the windows had been smashed and the doors forced. When we arrived, the swine were driving the wee mites out over the broken glass, bare-footed and wearing nothing but their nightshirts. The nurses, doctors, and attendants were being kicked and beaten by the mob leaders, most of whom were women.


The tragedy of Kristallnacht was not the destruction. No nation has been free of violence. No nation has been free of the rowdiness of the ignorant. The tragedy, rather, was that government, which should protect the individual and his property against violence, in this instance encouraged and abetted the violence against the Jews. The violence was a joint act by the government and the populace. Early on the day of November 9 a message went out from Gestapo headquarters: "There will be very shortly in Germany actions against the Jews, especially against the synagogues. These actions are not to be interfered with."

- Leonard Baker

Terrorist Kills Two in Israeli Kibbutz Attack

Mind you, Reuters calls the terrorist a "gunman" in the headline. In the story, they call him "A suspected Palestinian gunman." Because he's only suspected of being a Palestinian, or is he only suspected of being a gunman, what with his having killed two and wounded five kibbutzniks. Not settlers. Not soldiers. Civilians in northern Israel. Update: Five deaths.

Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades is taking responsibility. They tried to kill more, but two of them blew themselves up on the way into the kibbutz.

Looks like the traditional Palestinian Authority welcome for the American peace team has been accomplished. Thank the IDF that it wasn't a bigger blast.


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.