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I have picked up a slight cold, which is putting a damper on my returning emails, posting links, and writing. I must rid myself of this ailment before Tuesday. Then again, nothing will stop me from enjoying all three Lord of the Rings films in a row. I'd get up from my deathbed to see them, if need be.

Lucky for me, it's just a little congestion. Off to bed early for me. Teaching tomorrow.


Did you ever notice that the nations lined up in overwhelming support of international restrictions on and control of Israel suddenly get really angry when the international community turns its attention towards them?

Syria is one such country. It is first in line to call for international condemnation of Israel. But when the tables are turned, and America passes the Syrian Accountablity Act, which demands that Syria close down the terrorist bases in Damascus, Syrian leaders get bent out of shape.

Damascus has previously condemned the bill as a bid to punish Syria for its staunch opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq. Government officials have also said the threatened sanctions will not have much affect as Syrian trade with the United States is worth only about $300 million a year.

Joseph Swayyed, an ultra-nationalist member of Syria's parliament, which is dominated by the ruling party, said the law was written to hurt Syria for its rejection of US and Israeli "plots" to control the region.

"No country has the right to enact laws calling to account another country," Swayyed told The Associated Press on Saturday.

So the United States should not reduce loan guarantees to Israel because of the separation fence, and the United Nations has no right to tell Israel how she should deal with the disputed territories, then?

On a different topic but still on the subject of hypocrisy, here's a bile-raising quote by Saudi prince Bandar, the bestest Bush buddy (remember his trip to the ranch in Crawford while Ariel Sharon had to settle for official visits to the White House during the inception of the "road map"?):

Countries that opposed the US decision to invade Iraq have no right to protest US initiatives restricting reconstruction contracts to allies, the Saudi ambassador to the US said Friday.

"It's amazing how people who were doing everything possible to derail the success" of the Iraq war now "feel they have the right" to reconstruction contracts, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan said. "It just takes so much chutzpah."

Leaving aside the obvious hypocrisy, let me just say that chutzpah is defined by a leader of a nation feeling that it is appropriate to use a word developed by Jews, knowing full well that it is forbidden for Jews to set foot in his country, while funding terrorists that murder Jews, and refusing to shut down the funding to terrorists that target Jews and Americans.

This quote is closer to the truth about the Saudis:

Bandar kept his comments about terrorism to a minimum despite recent terror attacks in Saudi Arabia and warnings of more to come.

"That fight has been imposed on us," Bandar said. "None of us asked for it."

You got that right, Bandar. The United States is still waiting for the full cooperation of Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 9/11 murderers, and thousands of anti-American terrorists waiting for their chance to do the same. The fight was imposed on you because your appeasement and support strengthened Al Qaeda to the monster it has become.

George Orwell and anti-Semitism

This has been bothering me since I first read it. Something about it just didn't sit right. I'm not an expert on George Orwell, but I don't ever remember any other source claiming that he was an anti-Semite, and especially never attributing to Orwell anything positive to say about Hitler, let alone these words quoted by Julie Burchill:

Similarly, George Orwell could write in 1940 that he had nothing against Hitler, and follow up this gem with the declaration that European Jews would prefer the Nazi social system to that of Britain, "if it were not that they happen to persecute them". This would be the same Orwell (another Etonian!) who was revealed as spying and squealing on his leftwing friends for the CIA in the immediate postwar period, would it? Mmm, he'd have been quite at home in Nazi Germany himself, then.

As I said, I know little about Orwell, and can't tell you if the spy charge is valid or not. But I could have sworn that Orwell had no hate for Jews. I found this mention in a 1939 essay titled "Marrakech":

As the Jews live in self-contained communities they follow the same trades as the Arabs, except for agriculture. Fruit-sellers, potters, silversmiths, blacksmiths, butchers, leather-workers, tailors, water-carriers, beggars, porters—whichever way you look you see nothing but Jews. As a matter of fact there are thirteen thousand of them, all living in the space of a few acres. A good job Hitler isn’t here. Perhaps he is on his way, however. You hear the usual dark rumours about the Jews, not only from the Arabs but from the poorer Europeans.

That's quite the opposite of what Burchill claimed. Then I found this essay, written in 1945, titled "Anti-Semitism in Britain." I simply cannot conceive that the same man wrote both this essay and the words attributed to him above. Here is an excerpt:

If, as I suggest, prejudice against Jews has always been pretty widespread in England, there is no reason to think that Hitler has genuinely diminished it. He has merely caused a sharp division between the politically conscious person who realises that this is not a time to throw stones at the Jews, and the unconscious person whose native antisemitism is increased by the nervous strain of the war. One can assume, therefore, that many people who would perish rather than admit to antisemitic feelings are secretly prone to them. I have already indicated that I believe antisemitism to be essentially a neurosis, but of course it has its rationalisations, which are sincerely believed in and are partly true. The rationalisation put forward by the common man is that the Jew is an exploiter. The partial justification for this is that the Jew, in England, is generally a small businessman—that is to say a person whose depredations are more obvious and intelligible than those of, say, a bank or an insurance company. Higher up the intellectual scale, antisemitism is rationalised by saying that the Jew is a person who spreads disaffection and weakens national morale. Again there is some superficial justification for this. During the past twenty-five years the activities of what are called “intellectuals” have been largely mischievous. I do not think it an exaggeration to say that if the “intellectuals” had done their work a little more thoroughly, Britain would have surrendered in 1940. But the disaffected intelligentsia inevitably included a large number of Jews. With some plausibility it can be said that the Jews are the enemies of our native culture and our national morale. Carefully examined, the claim is seen to be nonsense, but there are always a few prominent individuals who can be cited in support of it. During the past few years there has been what amounts to a counter-attack against the rather shallow Leftism which was fashionable in the previous decade and which was exemplified by such organisations as the Left Book Club. This counter-attack (see for instance such books as Arnold Lutin’s THE GOOD GORILLA or Evelyn Waugh’s PUT OUT MORE FLAGS) has an antisemitic strain, and it would probably be more marked if the subject were not so obviously dangerous. It so happens that for some decades past Britain has had no nationalist intelligentsia worth bothering about. But British nationalism, i.e. nationalism of an intellectual kind, may revive, and probably will revive if Britain comes out of the present war greatly weakened. The young intellectuals of 1950 may be as naively patriotic as those of 1914. In that case the kind of antisemitism which flourished among the anti-Dreyfusards in France, and which Chesterton and Belloc tried to import into this country, might get a foothold.

I simply do not see an ounce of anti-Semitism in this essay, and have no idea where Burchill got her quote. If anyone out there could enlighten me, please do. My gut's telling me that Orwell is being smeared.



French anti-Semitism: J'accuse

How many times in the past three years have we read articles that say the rise in anti-Semitism throughout Europe is because of Israel's "response" to the intifada?

Well, the French, the same organization that thinks the way to end bigotry is to refuse to allow people to display their religious articles, just added their official seal to this theory:

On Thursday, an official French government report submitted by an Interior Ministry-sponsored task committee concluded that there was a rise in the so-called "new anti-Semitism," relating to a surge in attacks on European Jews since the start of the intifada in 2000, Israel Radio reported.

[...] The report also concluded that the rise in anti-Semitism is nourished by media images of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The authors emphasized that despite feelings of rage or solidarity with one of the sides, the conflict cannot be brought into other aspects of French society.

This is in an article that contains the disgusting fact that attacks on Jews have now become the single most popular entertainment for bigots in France.

So I fear we must take the problem and turn it inside out with a little of their own logic. Let's see if we can't find a similar example on which to pin some collective blame:

Muslim terrorists have blown up American ships, American embassies, conspired to blow up the World Trade Center, successfully destroyed it, claiming nearly 3,000 lives in the event, destroyed a wing of the Pentagon, killed American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, are working today to kill more American soldiers and civilians, and have declared their intention to kill more until we satisfy their ever-changing demands.

Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorist organizations have proven to the world that they are ready, willing, and able to kill Americans and target American interests throughout the world.

So. Why haven't attacks against Muslims risen in reaction to the actions of Muslim terrorists throughout the world?

Then there's the second part to this equation: If Israel's actions are causing adverse reactions to the Jews throughout Europe, why aren't they causing attacks on Jews in America? America has a large Muslim population scattered over many states. Some of them must be radical, Jew-hating Muslims. There are certainly anti-Israeli Muslims in Paterson, Jersey City, Detroit, northern Virginia, and New York City. So riddle me this, Eurocrats, Indymidiots, Chomskyites, and the rest of the Blame Israel crew: Why are there not more attacks on Jews by Muslims in America who are enraged by the actions of the Israeli government? Why are there not more attacks on Muslims by others in America who are enraged by Al Qaeda's attacks on Americans?

I'll tell you why not: Because it is not acceptable behavior in the United States. Because there is a strong police presence that seeks out the perpetrators. Because there is a strong sense of community that will not allow such hatred to commence, whether it is in defense of Muslim women shopping in the aftermath of 9/11, or a group of midwesterners putting menorahs in their windows to protest anti-Semitism in their towns. Because, with few exceptions, the authorities here in America will investigate hate crimes and call a spade a spade, instead of going out of their way to insist that an explosion in front of a synagogue is purely coincidental, or that if only Israel would stop "humiliating" the palestinians and give them their own state, Muslims in Europe would stop attacking Jews.


The problem lies with neither Israel nor the Jews. The problem lies with insufficient policing, lack of official intolerance of such crimes, and a general refusal to recognize that these crimes exist in the first place.

J'accuse, France. J'accuse, Europe. Stop blaming the Jews, and put the blame where it squarely belongs: Back on you, and your tactics which allow Jew-hatred to flourish.


Real life intrudes

At least for this morning and afternoon. More babysitting, setting up a job interview, helping a friend rid her computer of a virus that sends her browser to pr0n sites—gee, I have a busy day ahead of me.

So I think I'll finally send you to the Wizbang Weblog Awards to vote for a few categories. I'm voting for Scrappleface in Best Humor Blog, Healing Iraq in Best New Blog (I'd actually vote for some others, but they haven't got a chance of overcoming the lead in the next two days), and Imshin in Most Egregious Omission. I'm voting for A Small Victory in the Higher Beings Ecosystem poll.

You can vote every 12 hours. So if you remember, vote more than once. It's legal!



Original thoughts to come, later. Promise.

I'm very tired. Babysitting with Mom or Dad around is still babysitting when there are four children, and two of them are two years old. Oh, sure, they're cute as all get-out when they're happy, but go ahead and take away the goldfish crackers because Sarah tells the twins they've had enough, and all hell breaks loose, even though you stoically refuse to get them more crackers and they're wailing at a decibel level that you haven't heard since you stood in front of the speakers at the Chevelle performance at last summer's Y101 Birthday Bash.

And then you try to make a two-year-old understand why you are picking him up and putting him in his crib instead of Mommy, because you're not the one who had outpatient hernia surgery this morning and you're not supposed to lift your children for a minimum of four weeks (oh, yeah, like that's gonna happen, too—she's going to start lifting them on Monday, you just watch).

Anyway. It seems that I wasn't the only one to experience the difficulties of child-rearing recently. Paul has admitted that his wife works much harder than he, and he only has the one child.

I'm sure there are lots more things to link to, but that's it for me for the evening. I'm going to catch up on the sleep that I lost last night, and will be back at Sarah's tomorrow morning to do the heavy lifting for her until Larry comes home from work. It's not really heavy lifting, though. The twins weigh a little more (each) than Tig. They make more noise, but they don't shed. It's a toss-up regarding the cleaning up, though. Litterbox vs. diapers. Hairballs vs. baby messes. Okay. Toddlers take that one.

Taking a break

Last night I woke up from a nightmare in which half a dozen visiting Israeli dignitaries were killed in a terrorist bomb on my former college campus. My brother was wounded in the explosion, and as I left the scene, a professor jeered at me, saying, "Gee, I wonder where Sami el-Arian is?" and I passed a busload of grinning, gloating members of the Muslim Student Association.

Time to take a break from the hate.

Anyway, I'm off helping a friend today. More babysitting, more Hulk Hands and games with toddlers.



Palestinian bombing firm: Jihad and Hatem

Don't you just love those names? I didn't make them up.

Meanwhile, late Tuesday night three Palestinians preparing a bomb in the village of Tuffah were killed when it exploded prematurely.

Premature explodination is my favorite palestinian problem

Two of the dead, both students at the Polytechnic College in Hebron known for its terrorist activities,

Ah, what those wacky college kids won't do for a prank these days.

were identified as Jihad Rasmi Duvish and Hatem Al Kawasmeh, both members of the Hamas.

See? Jihad & Hatem, Bombmaking LLC. Call us; our work will blow you away. (Over to you, Lair, I think we have a winning meme here.)

Reports claimed the three were preparing a bomb in a building once used by the Palestinian Authority security services. Some Palestinian media reports claimed the two were killed by IDF forces, but these were proven to be false.

Here's an addendum to the rule: How can you tell a palestinian is lying? They're publishing it in their own media.

Other people's words

Lynn's back from Israel, and doing her thing over at In Context again. I'll be getting to this article myself, soon. That's the one that reports cemetery desecrations in Auschwitz. As Lynn says:

It doesn't get much more offensive than this.

[...] These are not coincidences. They aren't harmless pranks. They're the manifestations of a hatred so huge and so deep that the veneer of civilization has repeatedly proved powerless to suppress it for long. And, clearly, Europe has once again forgotten its history.

And happy birthday, Lynn. An ice cream maker, hm? Maybe I will find some time to stop by your place on the way back from NJ next time.

Weird search requests

This is one of the weirdest I've seen in quite some time: hulk belly body jew. Sounds like a children's game, like "rock, paper, scissors," doesn't it?

And yes, I'm number one for it.

And for those of you looking for "free nudist pictures of seniors," all I have to say is: Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.

If that's referrer spam, I have to wonder: Who the hell is their target market?

Other links

Ilyika made me laugh out loud with this bit on America electing a female president:

On the other hand, if Dean or another Democrat wins in 2004, Gore's next opportunity is in 2012. And by 2012, Hillary's going to look like hell. What, you think that's every bit as stupid as Frum's theories? Come on, think about it. We've never elected a woman in this country, but if we do, do you honestly think it's going to be an OLD woman?

I'm dead serious about this. We don't even allow old women to report our news, but we're going to get behind them sitting in the Oval Office? You're delusional if you think that's a possibility. I'm not saying that's a nice fact to have to accept; I'm saying it's a fact. This country has not shown the least inclination to equate wisdom and age when it comes to female public figures. I don't see any signs, moreover, that this will change by 2012.

It's in an interesting analysis of how the Republicans are missing the point of Dean's growing popularity.

Charles pointed out this excellent response in the Jerusalem Post to the New York Times' fawning over the Geneva Accords:

The Times also misunderstands the parties to the debate in Israel, describing Beilin's team as "Israelis of good will" and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as an extremist. But Beilin and his supporters were resoundingly defeated at the polls by the Israeli people, and Sharon stands at the center of Israeli opinion. While Sharon is not as popular now as when he was elected, his assessment of the Palestinians reflects the thinking of probably more than three quarters of Israelis.

ANYONE IS free to think that Sharon is wrong, but calling him an "extremist" betrays complete misunderstanding of Israel.

Of course the Times is entitled to think that the great majority of Israelis are not "people of good will" but extremists who want peace less than the Palestinians do. But if that is what the Times thinks, it should put forth this implausible proposition rather than hiding behind the fantasy that Sharon is an extremist who has somehow hijacked the democratic politics of his country.

Both of them get a "read the rest" tag.

And I'm off this afternoon to babysit a set of two-year-old twins and their five-year-old brother. I'm bringing the Hulk Hands with me. No, for entertainment purposes, not to smash the kids. Sheesh. I like kids.

Kitty links

First there's Ellen, who tells E-Pregnancy magazine where to get off with passing along misinformation and superstitions and bad advice about cats for couples with new children around.

Then there's this hilarious return to the kitten picture that went around months ago, via Bigwig. One might even call it Revenge of the Kitten. Spit-monitor warning.

And Bigwig is his usual self, which means I read everything but the beer posts. Those I just skimmed.

And then there's this, which is your moment of kitty zen for the week:

Let sleeping Tigs lie

That's the ottoman of The Chair That Swallows You Whole, Susanna. The chair itself is far more comfy.(She said in an email to me that she thinks the chair is apocryphal and doesn't exist. She'll be here next week and will see for herself.)



Did the earth move for you, too?

So we had a 4.5 magnitude earthquake here in central Virginia this afternoon. Here's a boring graphic representation of the earthquake. No falling buildings, just squiggly lines.

I was standing outside the synagogue offices at the time, talking to one of my students and his mother before class. Then I went inside to find out that our boilers were going to explode. No, not really. But by an amusing coincidence, the education director's assistant turned on the heat at the very moment the earthquake struck. The building shook, scaring her to pieces, and she immediately turned off the heat, fearing that the boilers were going to blow. The first thing she asked me was whether or not I noticed the building shaking from outside, or heard any strange noises.

You know, for all we know, Ellen turned on the switch that caused the earthquake. After all, she is part of the grand Zionist conspiracy. You really don't know how much power we Jews really have, do you? [Insert evil, take-over-the-world laugh here]

A period of relative calm

This is what the world calls "a period of relative calm"—because there haven't been any major suicide bombings or fatal attacks on Israelis in weeks.

What the world fails to note is that the only reason there is "a period of relative calm" is because the IDF, the Shin Bet, and the Israeli police forces work night and day to prevent the attacks.

Also Tuesday, it was released for publication that the General Security Service (Shin Bet) captured a suicide bomber and his driver on their way to perpetrate a suicide bombing in Rosh Ha'ayin on Monday.

The terrorist, Suleiman Abu Ravis, 20, from Balata, was sent on his mission by a Fatah Tanzim terror cell in Nablus.

The Tanzim Nablus cell tasked with driving the suicide bomber to his target, Zabr Abu Saris, 37, and Latifa Abu Draer, 47, both from Nablus, were also captured by security forces. The woman was caught with a bag containing the explosives belt to be used. Security officials told Israel Radio that the addition of the woman to the cell was meant to ease the cell's passage into Israeli territory and expedite the attack, since Palestinian women are subject to less stringent security checks at Israeli roadblocks.

The three met up in the Kfar Kassem area, where Latifa Abu Draer dressed the bomber with his explosives belt. She then returned to Nablus. Abu Saris and the bomber then started making their way to Rosh Ha'ayin but turned back to Nablus when they noticed the large Israeli security presence in their target area.

They hid the explosives belt and fled to nearby Habla village, where Israeli security forces captured them. After their arrest they were handed over to the Shabak, and the explosives belt, weighing 8kg, was subsequently found.

On Monday, IDF and Border Police units intensified patrols along the Green who carried out extensive searches to try to apprehend suspected would-be bombers in the Sharon cities of Kfar Saba and Rosh Ha'ayin.

The capture of the three, a combined operation between Shin Bet, Police and IDF forces, thwarted a second suicide bombing in the space of one week.

That other suicide bombing referred to was this one, where the terrorists were going to blow themselves up inside an Israeli school. This article did not take note of the ready-to-wear explosives belt found in Ramallah last week.

Yes. "A period of relative calm." Only to those who refuse to report—or see—the truth.

IDF tactics come to Iraq

Via Scott Koenig, an article in the Guardian details how the Israeli army is helping American soldiers beat the Ba'athists and terrorists in Iraq:

Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US special forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.

US forces in Iraq's Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centres of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.

But the secret war in Iraq is about to get much tougher, in the hope of suppressing the Ba'athist-led insurgency ahead of next November's presidential elections.

US special forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the "neutralisation" of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.

Good for us, and good for the IDF. And kudos to the military commanders trying to stop the terrorists before they can get a bead on our soldiers. Two suicide bombers were killed before they could murder dozens of our troops, though many were wounded in the major bomb attack. Looks like our troops are improving their defense and their offense.

Arafat's legacy: The science of suicide bombing

Yasser Arafat is going to die, eventually, and we can only hope that it is soon. But his legacy will live on. The man who taught the world how to destroy innocent life to achieve your political goals has spent the past four decades refining the ways to murder bystanders. This morning in Moscow, not far from the Kremlin, we see his disciples' work.

Apparently, Muscovites were "lucky." The bomb went off prematurely, and only one of the two went off.

The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the explosion had been caused by a female suicide bomber, and that an undetonated explosive had been found on the bomber's body.

Police were searching for a thin woman dressed in a dark fur coat who was suspected of involvement in the attack, said Moscow police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev. He could not confirm that the blast had been caused by a suicide bomber.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov told the Interfax news agency that there was at least one and possibly two female bombers and that they had asked a passer-by the way to the lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

"Evidently, the bomb went off by accident," he told Interfax. "The National Hotel was not the place where the suicide bombers had planned to stage the explosion."

Throughout the world, Muslim fascists work daily to perfect the art of suicide bombing. In the Gaza Strip and the West Banks, palestinians cut metal into small, sharp pieces for insertion into the bomb belts they use to murder Israelis. They insert nails and screws and bolts, dipping them in rat poison to inhibit blood clotting. Israeli doctors have developed a fast-acting blood clotting serum in response to the terrorists. They had to. Many victims of the bombings were bleeding to death even though their injuries weren't life-threatening. (There are pictures of X-Rays of bombing victims at the above link.)

These bombs, which Messing says are sometimes funded by Palestinian authorities including Yasser Arafat, are packed with spikes, nails, screws, nuts, bullets, mortar, ball bearings and even rat poison.

There may not be a single, worldwide network of terrorists. But they travel to one another's bases and teach each other their methods of murder. They recruit engineers and bright young men to "improve" their weapons of terror. The bombmakers in Chechnya have studied at the feet of Al Qaeda, who in turn learned their methods from the terrorists led by Arafat—in spirit, if not in fact.

This is the legacy of the palestinians.

This is the legacy of the Israelis:

A new weapon in the fight against world hunger is the new modern multi-million-dollar Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture, at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality in Rehovot.

A recent international conference on "Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in the 21st Century: the contribution of Plant Biotechnology," was held to mark the dedication of the new institute. The fact that world hunger is a problem that plant scientists in the 21st century cannot ignore, was a message that was repeated throughout the conference.

The bottom-line challenge, speakers at the conference noted, is figuring out how to get hearty, vitamin-packed, hybrid seeds to the poor farmer.

"Scientists now have more knowledge of plant biology than ever before in the history of plant science," said Hebrew University Professor Arie Altman head of the new Smith Institute. Spurring the use of gene technology as well as traditional agriculture, he said, the new center is ready to take a lead role in solving the food challenges of the 21st century.

Assuming, of course, the EU doesn't organize another boycott against Israeli scientists.

Comfort food

Homemade potato chipsEverybody has a comfort food, or a food they consider to be their specialty. Lair Simon makes bread. I make potato chips. If I could figure out a way to sell these that didn't involve renting a restaurant to cook them in, I'd make a fortune.

Here's what they looked like Sunday night. Those chips are gone, now. Click for a larger view, but this isn't recommended if you're hungry.



Allah's been blogging: And it's just. not. funny.

I said last week that I don't think you should vote for Allah for either Best Humor or Best New Blog in the Wizbang weblog awards. My opinion seems to have annoyed a blogger or two, so I think I should explain my reasons.

Let's start with the caveat that I don't know who is writing the Allah blog, and that this is not directed personally at him/her/them, except as to the fact that the author is writing the blog. If people choose to take this as a personal attack on Allah, I can't stop them. I can think those people are completely missing the point, though. All I have to judge "Allah" by is what I read on the blog. And what I read on the blog offends me. Greatly.

Here's the thing about "Allah." His schtick is that he harps on Jews and "kufrs," in what is supposed to be a parody of radical Muslim thought. But there's a problem that stems from the conception of the blog: it has become incredibly offensive to me as a Jew. Reading "Jew this" and "Jew that" in negative connotations, the constant insults of Jews, the nasty references to Israel—even though that's the main idea behind the parody—offends me. And I don't think I am alone in being unable to read it without taking offense.

From a recent, fairly typical post.

Rather than be rude to his guest, Allah attempted to gently dissuade him. "So Streicher," said Allah, "Allah sees that you are checking out the shameful woman known as Nicole. You know that she has been dancing with Mister Brownstone, right?" He said that he had and that it was all good. Fine. So then Allah was just like, "Do you not like Paris better? She has that healthy, skeletal, 'concentration-camp look' you value so much." And Streicher was like, "No, she is too much of a Jew for me." So then Allah was like, "Allah can assure you, she is not a Jew." And then f*cking Streicher was like, "Well, you would know, Allah. You created them." Let Allah tell you this, kufr: If there is one thing worse than trying to mack on Allah's girl, it is reminding him that he created the Jew--and reminding him of this in his own F*CKING HOME, no less. It is like, you do not come into the Batcave and point out to Batman that the Joker is still on the loose, you know? Besides, the shahids know that all Allah was trying to do there is create a race of Super Arabs, and somehow the whole thing went horribly wrong. But Allah digresses.

"Concentration-camp look." "The whole thing went horribly wrong." Are you laughing yet?

Then there's this post:

The Jew

And this:

Do you see, kufr, what a peaceful place a Judenrein world would be? It is true that you would lose out on some pretty rad robot technology, but think how many new terrorist friends you would make! What a glorious day it will be when America can call up Sheikh Yassin and invite Hamas over for a pool party. And tell the truth: Have you not ever wondered whether the Jew secretly agrees that the world would be better off without him? Come on. Fatah openly admits that "the main goal of the Geneva Accord was to create a schism inside Israel and undermine the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon"--and still 31% of Israelis support the agreement. You cannot make up shit that glorious, kufr. And yet, Allah cannot deny that he finds it a little sad. How come you hate yourself so much, Jew? You have done pretty well over the last 5,700 years considering that everyone has been trying to kill you pretty much for that entire period. Has Allah Superstar finally worn you down? Oho! Allah is good like that: He cannot beat you in a fair fight, but he can make you so tired of his bullshit that you will give him anything to just go away. Unfortunately for you, like the Zionist P. Diddy, Allah is a bad boy for life--and "[h]e ain't, go-in' no-where. . . ."

Hahaha, "what a peaceful place a Judenrein world would be," that's a funny one.

No, it isn't, actually.

I'm still not laughing. I seem to be missing the parts that are supposed to be humor. Yes, I get that this is a parody. I understand that we're supposed to be laughing because Allah is making fun of Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism and Jew hatred. But I simply can't seem to laugh at things like the posts I have excerpted, and I don't find this form of humor very amusing. Oh, the first few posts had some laughs in them, mostly because they weren't nearly as venom-filled. But the thing that Allah doesn't seem to understand is how uncomfortable it is to be a Jew reading these insults—even though they're not intended that way. Yes, I know he doesn't think he's causing offense. Yes, I think he doesn't want to cause offense. Nevertheless, Allah is causing offense.

Jew-hatred is called the world's longest hatred. Its fires are fanned daily throughout the Arab/Muslim world and beyond. Truth to tell, there's not a whole lot of humor to be found in it, outside of a Mel Brooks spoof here and there. Really, what's funny, after all, about knowing that there are many, many people in this world who want me dead, simply because I was born to a Jewish mother? Let me ask my non-Jewish readers a question: Excluding Al Qaeda, does anybody want to kill you simply because of what you are? Do you have any relatives who were killed because of their religion/ethnicity? Do you read speeches by world leaders about how your people are responsible for all of the evils of the world? Do you hide your religious symbol necklace when a foreign-born television repairman comes to your home, and you didn't want to be treated differently because you thought he might be Muslim?

The world is tough enough on Jews. Unfunny parodies that echo the Jew hatred already extant throughout the world are not high on my list of things to like.

That's why I won't vote for Allah in the Wizbang Weblog awards, and why I don't think you should, either. The blog isn't funny. It is offensive. It doesn't deserve the label of "Best New Blog," because it isn't remotely near the best of the crop from last year. And its level of offensiveness will not change even if it turns out that "Allah" is Jewish.

Jew-hatred: It's just. not. funny.

More hobbits on tap?

Reader Drew C. sent me the news that Peter Jackson is considering making The Hobbit after all.

BERLIN (Reuters) - New Zealand film director Peter Jackson, tipped to win an Oscar for his "The Lord of the Rings" epic, said Monday he would like to make "The Hobbit" prequel to the trilogy and work with some of the same actors again.

Speaking to journalists in Berlin ahead of the European premiere of the last part of the "Rings" trilogy -- "The Return of the King" -- Jackson said he was sad but also relieved that the mammoth project he has worked on for seven years was over.

"I'm glad there's not a fourth Lord of the Rings film next year," he said. "I feel very tired and exhausted."

"I've been working very hard this year. It was the hardest year of the whole seven really," he said, adding that the last part had twice as many computer-generated shots as the second, "The Two Towers," which won an Oscar for digital effects.

"It's my favorite because it has a stronger emotional depth than the other two films, it has a sense of closure," he said.

Despite his exhaustion, Jackson is not resting on his laurels and said if complex rights issues can be resolved he would like to direct "The Hobbit," J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to the "Rings" trilogy set some 50 years earlier.

"I'd be interested in doing it because I think it would give continuity to the overall chapter," he said.

Be still my heart! Does this mean he may get a hankering to tell some tales of the Second Age? Wow, he could have tons of fun with that, and fans couldn't get bent out of shape, as so many stories weren't finished.

I am so psyched for Trilogy Tuesday, but surprised that no one seems to want to do a Tolkien Blogburst this time around. Did you all miss my post from last week?

Forbes Magazine: Who knew it it was funny?

Forbes has a very amusing article about the UN's attempt to gain control of the Internet:

Lest you think that the World Summit on the Information Society is moving too slowly to have any real impact on world information, consider some of its interim achievements. In 2001, just three years after deciding that there should be a summit, the ITU decided it that there should two summits, first Geneva, then Tunis. The ITU also caused the United Nations to endorse the summit and to do it "through an open-ended intergovernmental preparatory committee that would define the agenda of the summit, decide on the modalities of the participation of other stakeholders in the summit, and finalize both the draft declaration and the draft plan of action."

They have achieved the passage of five additional UN resolutions plus one report. They have also conducted and judged a WSIS poster competition that attracted more than 1500 drawings from 38 countries. The three winners and top regional winners can be sent as e-cards from the WSIS Web site.

So what exactly does the WSIS want? According to Paragraph 1 of the Draft Declaration of Principles, it seeks a "commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge." That seems doable, indeed it may have been done already, as the Internet has certainly made a lot of information accessible.

Definitely a "read the rest" recommendation, but that's the funniest part of it.

The faces on the bus

The Richmond area Jewish community is twinned with the Emek Hefer region of Israel. "Twinning" simply means that we have exchanges and programs with them, getting to know each other personally, instead of through headlines in the news. (Emek Hefer, between Hadera and Netanya, was one of the regions that was legally purchased and settled by Zionists in the early twentieth century.)

Emek Hefer Choir answers questionsYesterday morning, the Emek Hefer Choir, made up of teenaged girls, came to sing for our synagogue. They range in age from 15 to 18 (several were headed for Army service shortly after their return to Israel). The schoolchildren were enchanted by the music and the girls. During a question-and-answer period, our students asked questions ranging from how the girls got started in music to what was their favorite color to why are they going into the army (that last by one of the kindergarteners).

One of the children asked them where their families came from. The girls answered each in turn: Russia. Poland. Germany. Yemen. Morocco. Iran. Iraq. There is a mistaken notion that all Israelis are descended from Eastern European Jews. It's a lie put forth by the Arabs and their allies to add fuel to the "colonialism" accusation. And it is a very big lie. More than 60 percent of the Jewish population of Israel is descended from Sephardic Jews (those from the Arab countries). These same spokesliars always manage to forget, ignore, or belittle the fact that the Arab nations forced 750,000 Jews out of their homes after Israel won her independence.

But to get back to the girls in the choir: What I saw was a group of teenagers that are really not much different than my teenaged classroom aide, or the teenagers in my apartment complex. And while I was snapping pictures for the newsletter, a number of thoughts occurred to me. These are the girls who go to the discos and pizzerias and restaurants so popular among suicide bombers. These are the girls who ride the buses to school, the buses that get blown up by terrorists. These are the girls who are not considered civilians by most terrorist organizations, because the draft is compulsory for all Israeli Jews, even though, as one explained to our students, she was going to be a social worker during her two years, and not everyone who serves in the military is a soldier. These are the girls who more than likely know someone who was killed or wounded in a terrorist attack, even though the Emek Hefer region is on the west side of Israel, not within the territories.

Not that that matters. To a terrorist, these girls are nothing more than targets.

To me, they were just a group of teenagers who, I found out, spent some of their spare time in Richmond going to malls, like any other teenager.

These are the facts you don't learn when you read about Israel in the major media. The newspapers and wire services manage to demonize and dehumanize Israelis on a regular basis, while making sure to humanize their killers, sometimes to a nauseating degree.

So. Meet some regular Israelis. Why, they're not very different from you and me.



Albawaba fisks Reuters

Yes, really. Would I lie about something as funny as this? And they quote John Pilger about how to read a news story. Ow, ow, my sides are hurting from laughing. The sneer quotes alone are priceless. Presented for your amusement: Albabawaba enters The Fisking Zone.

The Headline
Eli Berelzon, a Reuters reporter, headlines this story: Ambush Kills Two Israelis Amid Push for Cease-Fire.

First -The headline calls the victims of this Palestinian operation "Israelis" - rather than calling them what they really were: Israeli soldiers in occupation of Palestinian land.

Second - The "Israelis" were "ambushed". Now any good American connoisseur of the old Western films knows that it's a low-down, bottom-feeding sidewinder who will "ambush" and shoot in the back a cowboy who is jus' mindin' his own bizness!

Third - The headline attempts to turn the reader against the Palestinian soldier by couching the news story in the context of "Amid Push for Cease-Fire". Such a context implies that this attack - and others like it undermine peace in the Middle East - but more about that later.

The Story
Following the headlines is the story, replete with reference and nuance that suggests blame to even the casual reader:

1. In a “stand-alone-item”, Eli author repeats the headline assertion that the "Israelis" were killed by a "Palestinian sniper" - and in of all places - Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus himself! - and just before Christmas to boot! - surely raising the ire of Christian Zionists in the U.S.

2. In his opening paragraph, Eli stated:

"Despite the violence that splintered a relative calm, Israel told the United States at talks in Brussels that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would meet Palestinian counterpart Ahmed Qurie next week to help revive a U.S.-guided peace plan."

Analysis: Eli implies that "Prime Minister", Ariel Sharon, is committed to peace despite the continuing occupation, continuing building of settlements and the ongoing, daily attacks on Palestinians. The subtext is that Sharon is a patient man, willing to continue the talks even while his army is under attack. Are we to understand that if the so-called "U.S. guided peace plan" fails - it will surely be due to the violence of the Palestinians? Why does Eli leave for the end of the story - the fact that Sharon had his army invade Rafah, after agreeing to meet with Qurie? How many readers endure to the end of this oft-repeated story of more strife in Palestine?

3. Eli dutifully explains that "Egyptian mediators" will "go ahead with talks with militant factions in Gaza".

Subtext: Egyptian mediators are not talking with the Palestinian people. They are talking with “militant factions”.

What does “militant factions” mean in the mind of the Western reader of the news? Does it not bespeak “gangs, thugs and out-of-control-terrorists”? It also reminds one of the references to the Iraqi resistance as "Baathists, insurgents, gunmen, guerillas and of course, "terrorists".

4. Eli states, "The only people he hit were two soldiers who were killed. The gunman managed to escape ..., probably to (nearby village of) al-Khader," said Brigadier General Gadi Aizenkot in remarks released by the army spokesman.

Analysis: For this we give Eli a point. But where was the mention of these “soldiers” in the headline? There they were called “Israelis”. “Picky” you say? Don’t we all know how many Western readers - weary of reading of these unending battles in the Middle East - read only the headlines? Don’t we know the impact that headlines have? How many readers burrow this deeply into another report of another attack in Palestine? How many western readers left this article believing that this “gunman”, who “escaped” killed two “innocent Israeli citizens”? And this statement from no less than a “Brigadier General”. Does the Palestinian military have the equivalent of “General” among their ranks? - Or are Palestinian military leaders simply “Terrorists”?

5. In the next paragraph of the report, the lone soldier who attacked the Israeli soldiers is called “the Palestinian”. But the PR respondent quoted is “The Commander of Israeli forces”. Eli provides the “Commander’s” explanation of how a single Palestinian soldier accomplished this attack on the well-armed Israeli soldiers - apparently an explanation was needed for this, another embarrassing loss, by the “legendary” IDF ...

"... the Palestinian approached the checkpoint at a highway junction near Bethlehem after daybreak and opened fire with an AK-47 rifle concealed in a rolled-up Muslim prayer mat".

The subtext: “How unfair! How low can you go - concealing a weapon in a Muslim prayer mat!" We told you this is a violent religion! He tricked the Israeli soldiers! He’s a coward! He could never have done it “mano y mano”. How were the soldiers to know? Their only crime was that they trusted a Muslim with a prayer mat!

6. Then Eli writes,

"In Gaza, Israeli forces swept into the volatile Palestinian refugee camp of Rafah before dawn, sparking gunbattles with militants in which at least eight Palestinians were wounded"

Analysis: Again, it seems the term "militants" is preferred over Palestinian "soldiers". Other times the terms "gunmen" and "terrorists" better fit the spin. Calling them "soldiers" which is precisely what members of the Palestinian resistance forces are, would put them on-par with the IDF, U.S. soldiers, etc.

7. Eli writes,

"They said Israeli forces demolished at least three houses. Israel has razed more than 1,200 homes in what it calls operations against arms-smuggling tunnels from nearby Egypt, which are used by militants waging a three-year-old uprising."

Analysis: This is an apparent attempt to explain - perhaps even justify - the destruction of Palestinian homes. It’s more reliable than the law of gravity: The human mind is capable of justifying anything. How well some of us remember the rationalization used during the Viet Nam war: “Destroy a village to save a village”. How well we remember U.S. soldiers killing Vietnamese women and children - because they sometimes carry hand grenades!

8. Buried deep in the article is a reference to Israeli soldiers - this time actually calling them "soldiers" rather than "Israelis", killed 3 weeks ago:

"There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the ambush, the first deadly militant attack since three soldiers were gunned down at a Jewish settlement in Gaza three weeks ago."

Analysis: These three soldiers were “gunned down”. Subtext: “Gunned down in cold blood!” What kind of animal would “gun down” a helpless, unsuspecting soldier in cold blood?

Eli stated, "There was no immediate claim of responsibility" for this dastardly act. Why is a “claim of responsibility” needed? It was the Palestinian military that carried out the operation. What could be more clear? By referring to “this faction” or “that terrorist group" - the reader is moved to believe that the Palestinian resistance is a fragmented bunch of thugs, gangs, and - "terrorists" if you will.

[...] 12. In the end, Eli presents the often repeated two sides of the war in Palestine with Israel saying they cannot take Qurie seriously because of this military operation - and the Palestinians allegedly saying they cannot stop "the militants" because of the occupation.

Analysis: The "two sides" of the crisis in Palestine are often included in news reports like this, adding a "back-door defense", giving the reader an illusion of objectivity and fairness. Such reporting is clever, but in the long term, patently unwise.

Conclusion: The corporate, western media never confronts a simple reality that lies deeply imbedded in 50 years of history: Foreigners, largely from Eastern Europe came to Palestine 50 years ago, razed 300 to 600 Palestinian villages, terrorized and expelled their inhabitants, stole their lands, forced them to live in the squalor of "refugee camps" and have oppressed them ever since their arrival. The corporate media can attempt to obscure that simple reality with layers upon layers of mindless rhetoric, bickering argument and truisms ad nauseum. But they can never, never change that simple reality.


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.