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New Year's Eve

I'm at my brother's, and piggybacking onto his cable modem. Most of the family is upstairs, gambling—er, playing cards and the like. Sounds like they've stopped for a break. Dave's watching TV. I heard the Three Stooges not long ago. Now I hear kids laughing with him. Yep, the game is over for now. Augie, their Golden Retriever, is in there, too. She's a bit freaked out by all the noise and people. There's also a Yorkshire Terrier around somewhere. Came my my sister-in-law's family, and it's cute enough to make me forget how little I like yip dogs.

I'm relaxing on the much faster surfing, catching up on what I missed the last few days, and yes, I did submit a list to Lair Simon's Dead Pool, but I may have to quickly update it. Just caught a disqualified pick that I chose.

It has been a very long time since I spent New Year's with my brother. I can't remember the last time, frankly. So it's a very nice change, and turning into a nice way to end the year.

I won't be blogging anymore tonight. Think I'll just relax and talk and watch TV, then at midnight yell "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" with everyone and drive on home, keeping a weather eye out for drunks. I had wine with dinner; I won't be drinking another drop of alcohol tonight.

And to my readers old and new, Jewish and Gentile, pro and con: A healthy, happy, and safe new year, and thanks so much for reading, emailing, linking, and yes, arguing. It's been a good year. Here's to a better one in 2004.

But what about the Iraqi refugees?

Saudi Arabia has pledged to build homes for the palestinians who were made homeless by the IDF operation in Rafah (which, as you may recall, shut down numerous tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt). There is no word on what the Saudis intend to do about the thousands of palestinians ejected from Iraq.

Not that we expect to hear about those refugees. Just like we heard almost nothing about the hundreds of thousands of pals thrown out of Kuwait after the first Gulf War. They don't matter, you see. Because Arabs created them.

The many endings of ROTK

Last night, I took Mom to see Return of the King. She liked it very much, but towards the end, I started realizing why so many reviewers are griping about the film having too many endings. I know they're all in the book (with minor changes), and I was happy to see them, but y'know, they do drag on.

And last night, as the scene faded from one to another to another, about the time the scene switched to the Grey Havens, a woman in the row behind me said out loud, "Oh, God!"

I laughed.

I've got some thoughts about Eomer I'll need to share at a later date (Helmet on! Helmet off! My hair would be as pretty as Legolas' if only I didn't have this damned helmet head!). In fact, I think I'll put all of my gripes into a post and get them off my chest and out into the blogosphere.



I hate everything about you/Why do I love you?

Lyrics from a new song by Three Days Grace (or is it Three Doors Down? Damn these new band names!) perfectly express my feelings about New Jersey now. I have not yelled at as many drivers in as short a period since, well, since I moved to Richmond a year and a half ago. In fact, I think a lot of NJ (and NY) drivers were wondering why the crazy woman in the yellow Jeep thinks their name is Dick, right up to the jerk in the parking lot who had to pull out of his space, blocking us from getting past, and (sigh) park next to the curb. Couldn't wait until I passed. Another driver named Dick.

On the other hand, I went to my favorite mall, and got my hair trimmed and styled by my favorite stylist, who told me that a week ago, the mall had half a dozen police cars at each entrance, FBI all over the place, and sharpshooters on the roofs. Apparently, the orange alert included three malls in northeastern NJ.

Tomorrow, I'm planning on hitting my favorite spots in Montclair, maybe my chiropractor, and the kosher butcher shops. Then New Year's Eve with the family, and driving back to Richmond on New Year's Day, keeping a weather eye for the morning-after drunks.

Tonight, Mom and I are going to see Return of the King. Turns out my nephew would rather hang out with his cousins, who are in town for the holiday, doing snowboarding and things like that rather than hang with his aunt. Go figure.

Well, at least Dave has a cable modem connection. I'm on AOL and a 56k modem connection here. Gawd. How can you all stand it?



On a much lighter note

Iowahawk has been simply hilarious lately. He's found the first draft of the letter from Al Qaeda that was put on the Internet.

Dear Crusading Usurper:
How are you? We are fine. Ha ha for you again! Don’t ever think that your crusading "orange alert" and "blue light specials" system will help you although you know very well that even "severe is less than the situation you are in" and that "better deals at Costco are to be had." Nothing will help you but delivering our demands and as soon as possible, and you know that this is to mean next day UPS, and do not even think about "Bill to Recipient" for we will send another invoice for this. Also, make sure to use plenty of bubble wrap.

Yes, it's a must-read-all. Don't be drinking anything.

And a quick note

I think that perhaps I need to reiterate that my anger is not carrying over to Andrea or Michele or any of the other bloggers I disagree with on this issue. Disagreements happen. The only ones pissing me off are the people in the comments who are slinging insults without having read much of what they're discussing, and that only mildly. Clear? Good.

Bam Aid: The cheeses stand alone

So many things, so much to respond to, so little desire to write an extensive post....and yet, I must quote extensively.

My biggest problem with Andrea is her refusal to accept that yes, some things simply do have to be experienced. That was ably taken on by Ilyka, thus saving me many words:

Some things are only understood through direct experience. Yes, I can imagine what it's like to be pulled over simply because a police officer thought there was something "suspicious" about a black woman driving a Mercedes-Benz--but I can't know. I am able to imagine how events like that might shape my world view and my subsequent interactions with others, but even so, what I imagine will be partially informed by my current, actual background, which is not that of a black woman--no matter how much I might try to imagine that it is.

Though I would like to put in my two or three cents. Andrea, just three weeks ago, a TV repairman came to my home. I thought from his accent over the phone that he was Pakistani, and perhaps Muslim. So I tucked my Star of David in my shirt because I just didn't want to deal with any of the possible Muslim-Jew bullshit. I just wanted my TV fixed.

Have you ever had to do anything remotely similar? Like Ilyka said, some things are only understood through direct experience. I have had direct experience with Muslims who took a profound dislike—one would even say hatred—to me because I wear a Star of David. As a matter of fact, several of my worst experiences of bigotry were with Iranian students studying here in the U.S. during my college years. They hated me for no reason other than I am Jewish. Now those students are part of the generation that is running Iran. So yes, I tend to think pretty poorly of Iranians as a whole.

Mike Sanders took the high road, as I knew he would:

Whether you decide to give to an Iranian relief fund or not - with all the anger, rage and hatred in the world it might make sense to be vigilantly focused on increasing our compassion and understanding - our fellow citizens might be a good place to start.

You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. And so is Starhawk. I'm not there yet, with either of them.

The idea is being a jew should I or any jew lift a finger to help any person living in the anti-semitic county of Iran which will accept help from any country in the world except Israel. If I was biblical I might ask "Are there at least ten people in Bam worth saving?"

Not being biblical I say, "if there is one person worth saving should I save them". Can one person make a difference in this world? The answer is yes, one person can make a difference and if sending money to Bam relief I can save that one person who might make a difference then that money is well spent.

Not sending aid will affect us as well. It is the antithesis of everything that america stands for. As americans we are all about helping those not as fortunate and as jews we share those ideals.

Some of the commenters at Michele's are worth reading. From a different Bill:

I suppose that the fact that one of my eight great-grandparents was mostly german (the blond haired kind) is enough to preclude me from being helped by anyone jewish as well.

I also have to wonder how many blacks will quit donating to the Red Cross when they figure out they give a lot of aid and comfort to all the homeless rednecks who's trailers got wiped by the latest tornado.

Laurence , et al, need to consider the possibility that when Joe Iranian receives aid and comfort from a person or organization bearing the Star of David, that might just be enough to turn their personal hatred around. In the name of hate, they'd rather pass that opportunity up.

Um. My best friend is of German descent. My two closest friends growing up were Polish Catholics. Perhaps before you start flinging stuff, you ought to at least read what I've said. Hate is a strong word, and I wouldn't use it to describe my anger. Try reading my blog a little. You might learn something.

I think my favorite comment is from O.Deus:

To raise a minor point here, I don't think that anybody is talking about 'witholding' aid from the people of Iran.

After all by that logic you are withholding money from any charity you don't donate to which means that no matter how many charities you do give to, you would be guilty of withholding money from tens of thousands of other charities.

Ultimately giving is a triage process in which you determine the priorities for which charity to give to based on your own personal values. Everyone has their own values and therefore their own priorities in that regard and I don't believe that it's fair to condemn people for what charities they choose to give to or not to give to as long AS LONG AS THEY ARE GIVING TO SOME WORTHY CAUSE.

From Chuck Simmins:

Meryl and Laurence have strong points of view on a single issue. Like many who fall into that category, they have an us or them perspective.

No, Chuck, I don't believe I do have that perspective, especially not on this issue. Yes, I have strong points of view. I haven't said that other people shouldn't donate aid to Iran. All I said is that I understand why Lair isn't, and why I probably wouldn't. I'm not seeing an "us or them" p.o.v. in that.

From Mary:

Helping people during an emergency is one of those things that’s always right – it’s just human nature to do it, it's why societies survive. Firemen don’t only rescue people they like, they rescue everyone. Doctors are willing to treat Saddam. If we’re going to talk about politics, then I’d say that Israel should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities whenever they feel the need to do so. But we’re not talking about politics, we’re talking about human nature, helping people in need is the right thing to do.

From Gary Farber:

With due respect to Lawrence Simon and Meryl Yourish, they don't get to speak on behalf of Jews, any more than I do. We all only get to speak on behalf of ourselves. When Meryl, or Lawrence, or I, or any Jew, speak of "our" anger, we are speaking of "our anger," singular.

Shame on you, Gary. The "our" in question was Lair Simon and me. I didn't claim to speak out for all Jews. Just us two.

She and Lawrence are entitled to put their anger wherever they want, but I'd say that blaming tens of thousands perfectly innocent poor people, telling them, essentially, they should all suffer horribly and die, because we don't like the ruling members of their government, we hate them and despise them, is, well, telling tens of thousands of perfectly innocent poor people they should all suffer horribly and die.

Because of their dictorial government.

Again: No. We said that we wouldn't be donating our money to Iranian earthquake relief. And I'm with Dave regarding the Iranian population. He wrote:

While I tend to come down on the side of helping people in need. However, I'm a little perplexed by your suggestion (in your example equations) that it's just the Iranian government that hates Jews. My strong suspicion is that if you polled the Iranian public at large, you'd find very few (if any) people who had anything nice to say about the Jews. I think most of what you'd hear would be quite venomous.

Ken says:

Iranians, if polled, WOULD probably exhibit a lot of animosity towards jews. So?

There is a price for being the good guy--and we are the good guy no matter what anyone says--and that is, in times of need you help. You help everyone who needs help. You can argue--or war--over ideology later.

Doing this gives you many advantages. You hold the moral high ground. You become the face of help and succor for everyone--even the citizens of an enemy government. And, in the end, you win.

Why? Because you've proved yourself to be the better alternative. Even great losses will not stop the inexorable march towards the victory that awaits the ideology that understands that there is more than vengeance.

And there is the crux of my dilemma. How do I stop myself from responding in kind to those who hate me? The government of Iran doesn't want any Israeli (read: Jewish) help? My initial impulse is, fine, go eff off, use your own money, your own search and rescue teams, and help your own people. We'll be over here, tending to someone else. But even the Israelis don't consider that to be an adequate response. They're doing their best to try to send aid regardless of what the mullahs say.

Once again, though: I didn't say the people of Bam deserved what they got. I didn't say that no one should help the people of Bam. I said that I completely understand Lair Simon's angry response, and that I share that anger. Not hate. Anger. And I know full well that choosing not to donate to an Iranian earthquake relief fund out of anger is not a very Jewish thing to do. My rabbi would have a few words to say to me. At the very least, I'm setting a horrible example for my fourth-grade students.

But then, Gary's right on one count. I'm struggling with my conscience over this issue. And doing it rather publicly, come to think of it. It's difficult to overcome a history of hatred towards me and mine. I've never been a "turn the other cheek" kind of person. My response to being hit is generally to hit back.

I think I'll end this with a quote from Eran Weintrob, general manager of Latet, the Israeli organization that is trying to send aid to the Iranian victims of the quake:

"We're trying to promote mutual responsibility in Israeli society, and we think if we want to be a strong society, even though we are experiencing a very bad situation economically right now, we should see ourselves as part of the wider world," Weintrob said.

Maybe I'll have that same attitude, or Mike's or Starhawk's, someday. I don't think today is that day. Not yet.

One quick update

Michele and Andrea responded. So did Lair. I don't have the time to answer them, as I have to be on the road in fifty minutes. But I will point out that I'm not angry with them. They posted their feelings and opinions, I posted mine, Lair posted his. Now I have to go drive 375 miles.

Off again

Heading to visit relatives again today. I'll be back later this evening to see the ripples from the two posts below. Play nice.

Hopeful signs from Iran

Judith Weiss emailed me this article from the Iranian student movement. It's a very positive sign. But, as my father used to say, I'm a low marker. This is from December 27th.

The regime's plainclothes men and security agents have arrested in several cities, such as in Tehran and Esfahan, Iranians who angered by the situation had shouted publicly unprecedented slogans considered almost as a blasphemy by the ruling theocracy.

These unprecedented slogans were nothing else than "Long Live Israel!" and "Long Live America!" shouted during tens of popular Blood collect gatherings by Iranians welcoming the Israeli and American support of the quake's victims.

The popular anger has been boosted as the Islamic regime has banned any Israeli support of the quake's victims by rejecting this country's offer of aid. Many Iranians consider such rejection as another prove that the regime's leaders are more willing to let Iranians die by sacrifying them in order to keep their backwarded anti-Semite ideology.

Here's an article published today in the Iranian press:

TEHRAN, Dec 28 (AFP) - The reformist government of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has displayed an unexpected willingness to throw open its doors to international rescue teams and the world's press in the wake of the Bam earthquake.

A matter of a few hours after the quake had devastated the southeastern city and left at least 20,000 dead and tens of thousands injured, the government moved swiftly to announce it was willing to welcome international aid wherever it came from.

The only exception was Israel, which Iran does not recognise, and Interior Minister Jahanbakhsh Khanjani announced: "The Islamic Republic of Iran accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organizations with the exception of the Zionist regime."

And here's a Town Hall article on the Israeli response:

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom offered Israeli condolences to the Iranian people in a statement.

"The government and people of Israel feel the pain of this human tragedy facing the Iranian people, and despite all the differences of opinion, at these moments, a mobilization of the entire international community is needed to help the injured and the families of the victims," Shalom said.

Jenny Perelis-Barak said that the apparent Iranian rejection would not stop the Israeli humanitarian aid organization Latet from searching for ways to send aid to the Iranians.

Latet is still checking what kind of aid is most needed and whether or not the group could send a delegation to Iran or just send supplies through another organization, said Perelis-Barak, communications and media director.

"The people who died [there] or who were injured are human beings...we don't think they are to blame for [the attitudes] of the government," said Perelis-Barak in a telephone interview.

[...] On Sunday, Latet received a few dozen phone calls and "very warm reactions" from Israelis who wanted to donate to the Iranians, Perelis-Barak added.

Nevertheless, Latet is still checking to see if the aid would be accepted and not stopped along the way, in which case the organization would abandon the project, Perelis-Barak said. "It seems from our sources they do want it," she added.

It should also be pointed out that Israel has a large Iranian Jewish population, including Defense Minister Mofaz, who spoke to Iranians via radio recently. In the Islamic nation of Iran, under dhimmi laws, which so-called moderate Muslims like Aziz love to expound upon favorably, Iranian Jews have been consistently persecuted.

Before the revolution, there were some 20 Jewish schools functioning throughout the country. In recent years, most of these have been closed down. In the remaining schools, Jewish principals have been replaced by Muslims. In Teheran there are still three schools in which Jewish pupils constitute a majority. The curriculum is Islamic, and Persian is forbidden as the language of instruction for Jewish studies. Special Hebrew lessons are conducted on Fridays by the Orthodox Otzar ha-Torah organization, which is responsible for Jewish religious education. Saturday is no longer officially recognized as the Jewish sabbath, and Jewish pupils are compelled to attend school on that day. There are three synagogues in Teheran, but since 1994, there has been no rabbi in Iran, and the bet din does not function.

It's easy to say that the majority of Iranians don't agree with or believe in this. However, I'll wait and see what happens. You don't overcome decades of hate with one or two instances of denial. Words are easy. Actions are what we should judge by.

Mind you, I believe that the students and others mean what they say about accepting help from Israel. And I still don't think the people of Bam deserve to suffer. But I don't believe that diverting funds to Magen David Adom as a result of the refusal of the mullahs to accept help from Israel is nearly as great a sin as some are making it out to be. It's a quite human reaction from a very human man.

Anger, yes. Misplaced? Perhaps not.

An earthquake hits Iran, which has no building codes that demand earthquake-proof housing, and kills tens of thousands. The Iranian mullahs declare that they will accept help from everyone but "the Zionist regime." Lair Simon says he will donate money to Magen David Adom instead of the Iranian relief, and points out that Jewish groups are already mobilizing for relief in spite of the mullahs' anti-Semitism. Michele does what she does best, and gives people links of where they can send money and items to help. Lair posts again, repeating his desire to donate to MDA and telling the Iranians—well, let's start quoting:

Take THAT, you filthy dirty Iranian anti-Semites! Sure, you may have tugged at Michele's heartstrings, but not mine. Maybe those Shiite pigfuckers should have spent some of their oil wealth on earthquake-proof buildings in an earthquake-prone zone of the planet instead of giving money to the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad!

Don't like it? Tell the students to grow some balls and bring the Mad Mullahs down instead of whining on their weblogs and pretending they're cyberrevolutionaries.

Michele responds:

While I think the Iran regime's decision to not accept aid from Israel is deplorable, I really expected nothing less from them. However, that does not mean that we shouldn't come to the aid of those who need it. Bam is one of the poorest regions in Iran. These people are completely devasted. There are children who need food, elderly who need blankets, thousands who need blood. It's a bit sad that you would want to make their suffering worse by saying no to their pleas for help.

The discussion continues in the comments, where Andrea Harris tells Lair he's suffering from misplaced anger.

Here's my opinion: This is where the Jew card gets played. This is where I come into conflict with my own conscience. I don't want innocents to suffer, ever. Neither does Lair, in spite of what some people may think. But yes, Andrea, he's angry, and so am I. And yes, we want to lash out at the people who tell us that of all the people in the world, they'll accept help from everyone but Jews. Yeah. That does tend to make us angry.

Our anger springs from experiencing the ever-present Jew hatred that permeates the Middle East. The anger springs from the fact that Iran bankrolls Hizbullah, which has thousands of rockets in Lebanon aimed directly at the border farms and villages of northern Israel. The anger springs from Hizbullah's murder of hundreds of Jews in Buenos Aires. The anger springs from the easy anti-Semitism of some Iranian bloggers, who say they're not anti-Semitic, yet repeat the anti-Semitic canards about Israel and "Zionists." The anger springs from the realization that yes, the mullahs are scumbags, and yes, they don't represent all Iranians—but there are a fair number of Iranians, including, I'd wager, in Bam itself, who would also refuse help from Israel.

You cannot possibly understand our anger, Michele. You cannot possibly understand our anger, Andrea. And I say this knowing full well what stalwarts you are in rejecting all Jew-hatred. But you're not Jewish, and you don't get what it feels like. Lair and I feel it in our guts. Visceral hatred tends to bring out visceral anger in its targets, especially those of us who are not as enlightened as, say, Mike Sanders, who is a devout Jew. I'm certain he would donate to an Iranian relief fund. That's the kind of man he is. And that's also part of what Judaism is all about: Helping those who are less fortunate, even if they despise you. But we're not all on the same page. Some of us get overwhelmed by our anger, sometimes. We're only human.

Many Jewish groups are already collecting funds and doing what they can to help the earthquake victims. Yes, Israel will do her best to send aid on the sly, if they must. I'm not donating anything. That decision has been taken away from me: I can't afford to donate anything right now. But I seriously doubt if I would if I could. Like Lair, I'd prefer to send my money to an organization (like MDA) that doesn't hate me for what I am, and that doesn't discriminate between victims who need help, or refuse donations from people that it doesn't like.

It may seem an ugly side of us to you. But we all have our ugly sides.



Because she asked so nicely: Potato chip cooking tips

Ilyka wants my potato chip recipe. I didn't think anyone would want that recipe because it's, well, like this:

Slice potatoes very thin
Fry in hot oil

However, since I just cooked another batch a couple of hours ago, and since I have a huge bowl of raw potato chips chilling in the fridge waiting to be cooked with dinner, I am feeling content enough to tell you how to achieve the best results with the above recipe.

Yukon gold potatoes are the best potatoes for chip-making that I've found. You want a potato that fries really well. Red potatoes are too moist. They're great for mashing, but generally don't deep-fry well. Russets are okay, as are plain Idaho potatoes. But shape is important: The long thin ones (about two inches in diameter) are generally the best for slicing.

My oil of choice is canola. You can use any light oil that won't add its flavor to the potatoes.

You can slice potatoes by hand with a sharp knife, but I now use a professional-quality mandoline slicer. There are various cheap knockoffs known as the "super slicer" or "v-slicer" that you can pick up for under $20. I can't tell you exactly how thin to slice them, as I measure them with my eye. You'll have to experiment on your own.

Here's the number-one potato-chip making tip that you need to know: After slicing the raw potatoes, place them in a bowl of ice water for a minimum of one hour. Preferred chilling time: Overnight in a bowl of water in the fridge. This curls and hardens the potatoes, and causes them to cook faster and more evenly. Simply slicing the potatoes and putting them in oil is fine, but I guarantee you that you'll burn and undercook them. An alternative: slice potatoes in the morning for cooking later in the day.

Oil temperature: 350°F for an electric fry pot, high flame for a gas stove. Note: Both these temperatures are for a full deep-fry pot holding at least an inch of oil. If you use a frying pan, lower the flame and increase the time required, because your batches will be smaller. Be careful that you're not burning the oil. It needs to be just hot enough to not burn.

Helpful tools: A deep-fry pot with a wire basket. A sturdy set of tongs. A large bowl and colander. Paper towels. Brown paper bags. A splatter-guard.

Now, here's the real potato chip recipe:

Two medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes potatoes per person
Salt, to taste
Canola oil or similar light vegetable oil
Stovetop deep-fry pot with wire basket

Slice potatoes thin and chill for at least one hour in bowl of ice water. Drain potatoes in colander and pat dry with paper towels. Dry well.

Pour oil to depth of an inch or two into pot. Heat on high flame on gas stove; 350°F in electric fry pot, medium-high to high on electric stove. Put a generous handful of potatoes into wire basket, drop into oil. If oil is too hot, reduce heat slightly. When potatoes start to brown, flip them. (Here's where the tongs come in very handy. The potatoes cook at dissimilar rates; tongs help reduce burn.) Repeat until potatoes are desired golden brown. Remember that potatoes continue cooking a few moments after you remove them from the oil, and burn quickly.

Drain potatoes on paper towels or in a double-bagged brown paper lunch bag. (I fold a paper towel in quarters and line the bag with it, as well as using one to line the sides.) Add salt to taste, erring on the side of less is more until you get the hang of it.

There you go, Ilyka. Now remember that I've been doing this for, gawd, two and a half decades at least. I'm a fried potato fanatic. I mean, you have to be a little obsessive to do this, because it's incredibly labor-intensive. Four potatoes, just enough for you and your boyfriend, will probably take you between one and two hours' worth of labor. And be eaten in under five minutes.

You would think that one potato per person would be enough. Trust me, it isn't. You can't stop eating these. In fact, the first batch never makes it into the bag.

And Ilyka, don't blame me if you or your boyfriend become addicted to these chips. You asked. I answered.

Palestinian spokesliars: Caught in the act

This one is far too sweet to pass up: The PA put out a press release saying that British Prime Minister Tony Blair said something that he didn't say, and Downing Street sent out a press release saying he Blair never said it.

Last week the PA's official news agency, Wafa, reported that Blair, like many world leaders, had extended Christmas greetings to Arafat. Blair's purported message included the wish that Palestinians "realize their hopes in establishing an independent Palestinian state," Wafa said.

But Downing Street said it was unaware of any Christmas greetings being sent to Arafat by Blair.

A spokeswoman for Blair in London said: "We are not aware of such a message being sent, so I'm not sure what they're reporting, to be honest. The prime minister doesn't usually send out messages at this time of the year. It is not something that we do. I'm afraid we're not aware of any specific message being sent."

But wait, there's more.

The denial has embarrassed the Palestinian leadership, which on Saturday issued a statement retracting the original story. The statement, carried by Wafa, said: "Before we say anything, we wish to apologize for making a mistake by reporting that Mr. Blair had sent a cable of greetings to President Arafat in which he expresses his hope that the Palestinian people would realize their hopes of establishing an independent Palestinian state."

The statement said in its corrected version of the story that Blair had sent a "traditional greeting card" in response to a similar greeting card from Arafat on the occasion of Christmas.

The statement said that the Palestinians could not understand why the British prime minister's spokeswoman had to deny the story in such an enthusiastic manner. "Most probably this denial stems from the fear of being accused of anti-Semitism, an accusation which the West is usually afraid of, although the contents [of the greetings] did not include anti-Semitic [remarks] or similar things."

Hinting that the British government's denial was the result of pressure from Israel, the statement went on to ask, "What did Wafa say in its original story? Why all the fuss and who's behind it?"

That's right. It's not the fact that you effing lied and got caught. It's all the fault of the joooooos!

The statement concluded by lashing out at the position and tone of the British prime minister's spokeswoman. "The British spokeswoman should have talked about a greeting card without going into the details of an all-out denial with a feeling of guilt," it said. "The hopes of the Palestinian people and their independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital, are legitimate. Britain is first and foremost responsible for the nakba [catastrophe; the term used by Palestinians to describe the creation of Israel in 1948]."

Why, they were downright humiliated for being exposed as the liars they are. So they lied, so what. Britain created Israel! (You so have to laugh at this idiotic logic.)

In Ramallah, a senior PA official described the British denial as "tasteless." He said Arafat was upset with the way the British prime minister chose to deal with the issue. "There was no need for such a strong denial, because we are talking about greetings, not political statements," he added.

Poor, poor Abu Ammar. Not only has he been stuck in the same building for, what, two and a half years now? But he also has to eat some crow about a greeting that he turned into a political statement with a lie that was exposed. Tsk. Hope it doesn't stress the old murderer's heart too much. He might, like, die or something.

One can only hope.


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.