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A new addition to On Second Thought

I've been toying with this idea for quite some time. I used to write a weekly humor column for my college newspaper, and I need to get my humor chops back. So every Tuesday, I'm going to write a humor piece and post it. I've no idea what it will be on from week to week, but I'm willing to take requests. This will not feature the Hulk in any way. I need it to be completely original. So if you have any particular subject that you want me to rip into, email me and I'll see what I can do. And I guess I'll simply have to go with my old column name, so it will be titled "On Second Thought." Please don't everyone write to tell me that's already taken by such-and-such a columnist. It doesn't matter. Titles are copyright-free, and I had it first, anyway. And I can prove it.

Credit where it is due

The EU has joined the US in protesting the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction over the separation fence case. Bravo, EU.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Saturday that he hoped that the objections filed by more than 30 countries against the authority of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule of the legality of the West Bank security fence would convince the court to cancel the hearing on the barrier "because it is a political, not judicial issue."

Officials at the United Nations indicated Friday that they cannot ignore the many objections filed, and said that the hearing itself was in doubt.

Fifteen members of the European Union and ten members-in-waiting, as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, South Africa and Senegal joined Israel in submitting affidavits to the ICJ. Several EU countries, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, submitted their own separate affidavits to the court.

The pals are seething.

Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said he was angered by U.S. and British opposition to the World Court hearing on the legality of the fence.

"I cannot understand it," Erekat told The Associated Press. "We seek to use diplomacy against the wall in going to the (United Nations) Security Council and the court of justice, and we find these countries, the U.S. and Britain, trying to shut the door in our faces."

Perhaps if you hadn't just had two of your groups issue a claim of responsibility for murdering 11 Israeli civilians and wounding fifty more, people might believe that you were serious about using diplomacy. It probably really didn't help that the suicide bomber was an effing member of the PA police force. You know, the guys you keep telling us are too weak to defeat terrorists? And the ones we keep telling you are the ones that cause the terrorism?

Sucks to be the proven terrorist group pretending to make peace.

News sources in strange places

Y'know, there's this anti-Semitic hate site called "Jewish Tribal Review" (no link here, though we're currently researching whether or not it's true the site may get knocked offline for the inability to pay hosting costs), and I went over there to look around, and had to laugh. It's your typical, paranoid, Jew-hating site, where they blame the Jews for closing down their credit union account, rather than the fact that if the authors actually had jobs, and could pay their bills, accounts wouldn't get shut down. But it's far easier to blame the vast Zionist/Jewish conspiracy than to look in the mirror and find yourself a useless, brainless sack of shit who can do nothing but envy those who achieve what you cannot. But I digress. (For more on the same theme, see: Better than you.)

In the list of Jewish news of the day was this article on the arrest of a Bangladeshi editor. The charge? Sedition. The reason? He was trying to establish peaceful ties with Israeli writers.

A Bangladeshi magazine editor arrested for suspected links with an Israeli literary group has been charged with sedition for allegedly trying to tarnish the country's image aboard, a police official said Sunday.

Bangladesh, a moderate Muslim country, bars its citizens from formal contact - such as business dealings or cultural exchanges - with Israelis. Traveling to Israel is also restricted.

Police detained Salauddin Shoib Chowdhury, the editor of entertainment magazine Blitz, on Nov. 29 as he was boarding a flight in Dhaka for Bangkok. He allegedly was planning to travel to Tel Aviv.

Immigration officials found in Chowdhury's possession an invitation to a literary conference organized by the Hebrew Writers Association in Tel Aviv on Dec. 1. They also seized a paper - containing remarks calling Bangladesh and its people Muslim fundamentalists - that Chowdhury was to present at the conference, police said.

Police said they also confiscated fax and e-mail messages and computer disks from his residence and office, including a project proposal seeking 120 million takas (US$2 million) from a Jewish group to publish three newspapers. Police did not name the group or say what type of newspapers they were.

On Saturday, police filed a case under a sedition law accusing Chowdhury of anti-state activities for having contacts with Israelis and trying to tarnish the country's image abroad, said Mohammed Abdul Hanif, a police official.

The horrors! He was trying to establish newspapers! He wanted to promote peace with Israel! He called the Bangladeshis Muslim fundamentalists! How dare he? Of course they're not Muslim fundamentalists. Would Muslim fundamentalists arrest a man for merely trying to promote peace with Israel, or travel to Tel Aviv?

Well, yes, they would. And this is Bangladesh, a poor country that would greatly benefit from ties with Israel. Another example of the Muslim Jew-hatred that would rather their own people starve than accept help from the Jewish state. But it's anti-Zionism, remember. Not anti-Semitism.



On a more positive note

The murderer of Saul Singer's brother was one of the 400 prisoners released in the swap last week. The Jerusalem Post editorial page editor wrote about it:

It is no accident that the suicide bomber is the emblematic weapon of the struggle of our age. Each such bombing repeats the question, literally in our faces: Can a society that loves life beat one that celebrates death? Al-Qaida and its groupies are explicit about this. "We know that you are still deluded by your power and think that your fortresses and destroyers and aircraft carriers will protect you. ... these are worth nothing in our eyes. ... we can face you one-on-one and make you taste the despair of those who have put their faith in this world," said one bin Laden mouthpiece.

The jihadis are right that we are more vulnerable than they. Our societies are wide open, and every prick hurts. As the aggressor, they automatically enjoy the initiative and can always choose the softest target, be it the Red Cross in Iraq, vacationers in Bali, or a cafe in Jerusalem. Ho Chi Minh said to the French in the 1940s, "You can kill 10 of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds you will lose and I will win." Or as Henry Kissinger said, if guerrillas do not lose, they win; if the defenders do not win, they lose.

Today's jihadis may seem even more invincible than yesterday's guerrillas, who were ruthless but whose goals included staying alive. But increased asymmetry does not just cut in the jihadis' favor. In the end, the jihadis are not just up against free governments, which may be weak, but the human will to live, which is strong.

Definitely read the whole thing.

Holocaust denial, east and west

Middle East, of course. Omri has a post about Holocaust denial from the Palestinian Authority, who aren't even pretending to hide their Jew-hatred anymore. (Don't forget that the first "prime minister" chosen by Arafat was a Holocaust denier. It's not like that's a new thing with them.)

Mark Glenn, notorious anti-Semite, regular contributor to the subtly named Jewish Tribal Review, and favorite of the Indymedia crowd, has published a sputtering and screeching piece of Jew-hatred at the International Press Centre of the Palestinian Authority. This is what the internationally recognized government of the world's 6 million Palestinians is publishing on what amounts to their Foreign Ministry site: an article that suggests that only 6,000 Jews died in Hitler's death camps and which openly gloats about a coming time when the world will abandon Israel so that the Arabs can finish what the Nazis started.

That this filth was published on the PA's English site is news in itself (the other two languages you can read the PA's site in? Arabic and French. Too perfect). Additionally, this article is also elegantly paradigmatic of the "we're anti-Zionists not anti-Semites" strategies that Jew-haters use to deflect criticism. Sure, it is filled with easily dismissible straw arguments and random anti-Semitic provocations (my favorite: the completely out of place "the murder of Christ by the leadership of Israel"). However, there are at least three also seemingly straight-forward strategies that are actually a little more subtle - the insistence that anti-Semitic discourse is actually anti-Zionist discourse, the identification of Jews with Nazis, and the multiple ways of denigrating the significance of the Holocaust - that call for closer analysis (remember, these authors want to avoid saying anything that would allow the label of anti-Semite to stick to them).

It's a RTR (read the rest) recommendation. Meanwhile, over on Eugene Volokh's excellent blog, we have another Mel Gibson question: Is he, like his father, a Holocaust denier? David Bernstein asks the question, and is getting heat from his readers because of it.

There are some serious problems with this statement, include the gratuitous lumping of the Holocaust with other tragedies that were not relevant in context, that suggest an aggressive hostility to Noonan's question (the question itself would seem a bit strange, but for the fact that Gibson's father is a Holocaust denier), and at best a desire to put the Holocaust into "context". But here's the really troubling part: "The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps." I'm no expert on Holocaust "revisionism" (denial), but I've read enough about it to know that this part of Gibson's statement sounds a heck of a lot like what the deniers say: instead of stating the historically obvious, that there was a systematic campaign to exterminate Jews in death camps, they say that Jews were merely among the many victims who suffered and died in concentration camps; maybe they suffered slightly more than others, but that's about it. Indeed, Gibson is skirting pretty close to "Holocaust denial."

I'd have to see the full article before making up my mind, but I agree with David. Gibson could easily clarify his remarks. And in an interesting coincidence, I received a marketing email for Gibson's "Passion" film. Talk about your wrong target market.

Come back to Lebanon? Thanks, but no thanks.

It seems that Lebanon is such a great country, some of the prisoners just freed in the Israeli prisoner swap are asking for political asylum in Germany. (Hat tip: Leslie S.)

BERLIN - A number of freed Hezbollah militia members asked Germany authorities for political asylum and did not board a plane to Beirut, according to a broadcast report.

At least three or four Palestinians are understood to have taken advantage of their stopover at a Cologne airfield to announced they had no intentions of flying back to Lebanon, said the report on ARD television.

Reports from Beirut earlier had said 21 Lebanese nationals arrived at Beirut airport although initially 23 Lebanese were released under the exchange. Two decided not to travel to Beirut.

Lebanese national Fadi Oulyan stayed in Germany, and the other went to the West Bank. Both men had criminal charges against them in Lebanon. Along with the Lebanese there were five Syrians, three Moroccans, three Sudanese, and one Libyan on board the plane.

In Germany, ARD also reported that Steven Smyrek, a 32-year-old German who was involved in the exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah also decided to remain in the country of his birth.

Tight-lipped throughout the German-mediated prisoner swap, the government in Berlin neither confirmed nor denied the TV report.

Interesting. Two of the Lebanese prisoners have charges waiting for them in Lebanon? And they don't want to go to a Lebanese jail, or face the Lebanese justice system? Why would that be, I wonder? Might it have something to do with the twenty-odd year Syrian occupation of Lebanon?

So. Do you think the Germans will allow extradition if Lebanon claims the criminals? My gut says yes. Then again, I don't think Lebanon will make a move to get them back. Can't have it publicized that some of the criminals in Israeli jails were actually criminals.

The face of the victims: Chezi Goldberg

Lynn sent me the information on one of yesterday's terror victims, a Canadian emigrant who found his faith later in life, and who worked with troubled teens. He also wrote articles for the Jewish World Review and other publications:

If you don't cry, who will?

7:30 a.m. Israel time, Sunday December 2, 2001. Eight Hours after the triple-terror attack on Jerusalem's popular Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall.

He walked into shul. I nodded my acknowledgement like I always do. He made some strange gesture, which I couldn't understand. I went on with the business of the prayer service.

A few minutes later, he walked over to me and said, "Didn't you hear?"

"Hear about what?"

"Didn't you HEAR?"

I understood that he was talking about last night's terror attack on Ben Yehudah Mall.

I assumed that he obviously intended that someone we knew was hurt or killed.

"About who?"

He looked at me as if I had landed from another planet. "About who? About everyone who was attacked last night."

I nodded, "Yes, I heard."

"Then why aren't you crying?"

His words shot through me like a spear piercing my heart. Our Sages teach that "words that come from the heart enter the heart." He was right. Why wasn't I crying?

I could not answer. I had nothing to say.

He pointed around the shul. "Why aren't all my friends crying?"

I could not answer. I had nothing to say.

"Shouldn't we all be crying?"

He was right. What has happened to all of us? -- myself included. We have turned to stone. Some would call it numbness. Some would call it collective national shock. Some would say that we all have suffered never-ending trauma and it has affected our senses.

The excuses are worthless. All the reasons in the world don't justify our distance from the pain that is burning in our midst.

When an attack happens, in the heat of the moment, we frantically check to see if someone we know has been hurt or killed. And then, if we find out that "our friends and family are safe," we breathe a deep sigh of relief, grunt and grumble about the latest tragic event and then, continue with our robotic motions and go on with our lives.

We have not lost our minds, my friends. We have lost our hearts.

And that is why we keep on losing our lives.

The Globe and the Mail ran an article on the death and life of one of their native sons:

Toronto — Yechezkel Goldberg grew up singing on albums with the Toronto Boys Choir, a group that brought children together to celebrate Jewish music. His vocal love of his faith eventually caused him to move to Israel, where he dedicated his life to helping people, including victims of terrorism.

That life ended yesterday morning, when Dr. Goldberg, 42, got on Jerusalem's No. 19 bus. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives just as the vehicle pulled away from the station, killing Dr. Goldberg and at least nine others. The attack, carried out by an off-duty Palestinian police officer, was claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which said the bomber was avenging an Israeli raid in the Gaza Strip.

Today, Mr. Goldenberg's wife, Shifra, and seven children, plus brothers, sisters and friends across the globe, are struggling with a grim reality: More Israelis are dead, and someone they love is on the casualty list.

"We walked over to pay our respects. There's no way we could have possibly known," said David Weinberg, a Canadian childhood friend who walked to the scene of yesterday's bombing to light memorial candles with other members of a visiting anti-Semitism forum. The group didn't know that one of the dead was a dear friend, and ended up attending his funeral.

At midnight in Jerusalem, more than 200 people were waiting for the funeral procession to arrive at the hilltop cemetery where Dr. Goldberg (known to many by his nickname, Chezi) was being brought.

Here is a picture of Chezi and the rest of the victims. He's the fourth one down, with the beard and the kippa. Solomon and Lynn have put up posts about Chezi. Yes, it's time to cry, but I'm still numb. Except for the anger. And the hatred boiling up beneath it.



Don't go to bed mad...

Really. Rather tough around here today, so instead, let me send you to some calmer places.

First, it's Michele's third blogiversary. And even though she didn't credit me as a mentor, because, because, well, because I wasn't one—as I said, even though she didn't give me a shout-out, I'm giving her one. Go read the post, it's quite nice. And give the woman a big hand. Three years is like three decades in Internet time.

Second, Kevin and I had dinner last night, and he names me Blog of the Day that same day. Apparently, all it takes to be Blog of the Day is to take Kevin to Extra Billy's for dinner. What a pushover. You northern VA bloggers need to get in touch with him and then break bread together. Say, Kev, what about that diet? (Says the woman who said "YES!" to the suggestion we get hush puppies as an appetizer.)

We also got a picture of the PETA anti-KFC billboard, which should go up tomorrow.

I have not plugged Lair Simon in days. Maybe even weeks. He is still outrageous and funny and outrageously funny, and I've finally gotten used to all the other guys that post there, too. Except Wind Rider. I decided to vote him off the island. Mostly to bust his chops. Anyone interested in busting WR's chops, go vote him off the island, too.

Murray's got a new gig. He's founded a foundry. No, seriously. You can buy aluminum swords, axes, and various faux cutting tools. Great for that Renaissanc Faire or Halloween costume you've been trying to put together, or just because you want something neat to hang on your wall that can't be used against you by a burglar or a psychotic ex-spouse. Click on the various implements to see what's available, and ignore the ALT text on the main page that says "none currently available" (you might want to fix that, Murray). Buffy axes are in development, so Buffy fans, check back.

Speaking of Buffy fans, Gary sent me a whole bunch of links and expects me to actually read them.

Okay, I did. This one is on Britain's Holocaust Day memorial service, where they paid specific attention to Rwanda. Good to know they're focusing on Britain's rising anti-Semitism trend.

Oh, hell. Just scroll up and down and read the rest yourselves. Gary's stuff is always good.

Video of the aftermath

The Israeli government has chosen to post a five-minute video of the aftermath of today's suicide bombing. The video is extremely graphic. It shows body parts scattered all over, and pools of blood. If you are unable to handle such things, don't watch it. This is the text from the Foreign Ministry's home page, where you can currently find the video:

Israelis started their morning today having to face shocking pictures of dead commuters - victims of a yet another suicide bomber.

The anti-terrorist fence could have prevented this massacre.

The sheer absurdity cannot be ignored. While Palestinian terrorists continue to murder Israelis, the pro-Arab majority at the UN is forcing Israel into the dock at the International Court of Justice over the fence. Thus, the supporters of terrorism condemn the victims of terrorism for simply trying to protect themselves.

All those who criticize Israel for building the fence should take a good look at this morning's pictures from Jerusalem.

(Caution: Video contains very graphic footage.)

On a day when Israel is exchanging hundreds of imprisoned terrorists for the freedom of a kidnapped Israeli civilian and the bodies of three missing soldiers, Palestinian terrorism claims the lives of ten innocent victims, while maiming dozens more. This proves once again that in contrast to Israel's humane outlook, which views each individual as an entire world, the terrorists murder indiscriminately and disdain the sanctity of human life.

The video contains pictures of bodies and body parts. Arms. Legs. Feet. Hands. Torsoes. Judith said she didn't cry until she saw the bloody kippa on the ground. I didn't cry at all. Tears are useless. I got angry. That's what we all need to do. Get angry. And stay angry.

We are at war with animals. Those that plan, commit, and support suicide bombings are less than human. They worship death, and take joy in human suffering. The Jerusalem Post had an article today about this very sickness:

Palestinian society actively promotes the religious belief that their deity craves their deaths. Note the words of a popular music video directed at children, broadcast hundreds of times on PA TV, which depicts the earth thirsting for the blood of children: "How sweet is the fragrance of the shahids, how sweet is the scent of the earth, its thirst quenched by the gush of blood, flowing from the youthful body."

This conviction that the deity thirsts for or craves human death as tribute and sacrifice has its roots in ancient beliefs.

The Bible cites ancient cultures of the Land of Israel: "Their sons and their daughters they sacrifice to their Gods" [Deut: 12]. Even the Israelites were drawn to it: "And they built altars to give their sons and daughters to Molech which God did not command nor consider this abomination [Jeremiah: 32]."

[...] To further encourage this self-annihilation, Palestinians are taught that dying for the deity is rewarded: "All his sins are forgiven from the first gush of blood; he is exempted from the torments of the grave (Judgment)... he marries 72 Dark-Eyed [Virgins or Maidens of Paradise]... on his head is placed a crown of honor, one stone of which is worth more than all there is in this world."

When these monsters blow up another busload of civilians, what do the heads of the EU and the UN have to say?

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and senior European Union officials appealed to Israelis and Palestinians on Thursday to get back to the negotiating table in the wake of Thursday's suicide bombing.

Annan and Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, whose country holds the EU presidency, both condemned the attack on a bus in Jerusalem, which killed at least 10 bystanders and wounded 50 others.

"I am once again going to appeal to leaders for the sake of their people and their nations to summon the courage and leadership to get back to the table," Annan said.

He urged them to "make ... parallel concessions and to take confidence-building measures to move the process ahead."

Cowen said the bus attack should not deter attempts to implement the so-called road map for peace that is being pushed by the U.N., the EU, Russia and the United States.

"The bombings ... are deplorable, they represent a path to violence, they are certainly contrary to the interests of peace," said Cowen. "It's a very deeply pessimistic background against which we are operating, but inaction is not an option."

Annan, speaking to reporters at the European Parliament after receiving the EU's Sakharov human rights prize, said he was "frustrated and disappointed" on the ongoing stalemate in the Middle East.

Frustrated and disappointed. Cut off their effing funding, assholes, and you'll see how fast the pals stop blowing up buses. Cut off their money, and stop supporting the murderers of babies.

Prediction: Tomorrow, when the Israelis retaliate, Israel will be condemned for keeping up "the cycle of violence."

Arafat is dancing in the Mukata tonight. Drop a bomb on it. Please.

What anti-Israel bias?

On Wednesday, Israeli forces had a pitched gun battle with a group of palestinian terrorists, and killed eight of them. Here is the Reuters lead to that story:

Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians on Wednesday in the deadliest raid in the Gaza Strip in more than a month, casting a shadow over a new U.S. push to salvage a battered peace plan.

Here is the lead to today's bus bombing story:

A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in central Jerusalem Thursday, killing at least ten people, as a prisoner exchange between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbollah got underway.

Hundreds of Arab prisoners headed to Germany as German mediators flew a kidnapped Israeli and the remains of three soldiers from Beirut to Cologne for a swap with Hizbollah.

Israeli sources said the blast, which went off near Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's residence, would not block the exchange. Sharon was not home at the time.

Not a mention of how the bombing would disrupt peace efforts, even though a U.S. representative is in Israel trying to get the peace talks started again. The Christian Science Monitor thought this was important enough to mention.

Others things were lost Thursday in the wreckage of bus No. 19: other lives, but also other opportunities to make headway in the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate. The bombing cast a cloud over Thursday's historic prisoner release that had been brokered between Israel and Hizbullah, a Lebanon-based Muslim militant group. The release, three years in the making, raised expectations that there could be a small breakthrough here - potentially culminating in a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, widely known as Abu Ala.

Trilateral talks between US, Israeli and Palestinian officials, scheduled to take place Thursday afternoon, were canceled by Mr. Sharon's office. The talks were to focus on how to ease the economic strain on Palestinians imposed by Israeli travel restrictions on the West Bank and Gaza.

But not Reuters. And let's hear the whining from the pals:

"On a difficult day like today, when innocent Israelis are murdered on the streets of Israel's capital, there is no room to talk about easing restrictions," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said in a statement. "It is up to the Palestinians to live up to their responsibilities to fight terror. Without that, there is no room for progress in the peace process."

Palestinian officials condemned the bombings, but quickly pointed to what they said was Israel's role in provoking the violence. "We cannot provide security through settlements and through walls," said senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

No, but the IDF can, and they're the ones providing security, not the pals, whose own police force are the suicide bombers. They're not even bothering to hide it anymore.

The Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. Palestinian sources named the bomber as Ali Yusuf Jaara, a 24-year-old Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem.

Palestinian security officials said later Thursday that the bomber was a member of the Palestinian police, from the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Here's my new mantra for the day: Die, Arafat, die. And while I'm at it, Nasrallah and Yassin, too. And all of their ilk. All of them.

"Thanks for the prisoner swap. Now eff off, Zionist Entity."

Another suicide bombing, this time in Jerusalem, which, some people may remember, is inside the so-called "Green Line," the demarcation that separates Israel "proper" from the disputed territories. Not that it makes a difference. Arafat left his calling card, and it says, "Don't forget about me. Hamas is only a secondary group here. I'm in control."

Ten people were murdered and 50 wounded when a suicide bomber exploded inside a bus on the corners of Gaza and Arlozorov streets, near the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood at about 8:45 Thursday morning.

Of course, the bombs were filled with shrapnel.

Prof. Shapira said most of the wounded were suffering from lesions caused by metal shards and from the impact of the explosion. "They put in metal balls, nails and bolts into these bombs," Shapira said.

And who was responsible?

Yasser Arafat's Fatah-linked Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed repsonsibility for the attack in a call to Israel Radio.

The terror group said the suicide bomber left his Bethlehem home at 4am Thursday morning to make his way to Jerusalem. The caller said the attack was carried out in revenege for the IDF's operation in Gaza City Wednesday, in which ten Palestinian fighters were killed, the Radio reported.

IDF officers said on Army Radio that Thursday's suicide bombing takes more than one day to prepare, and reject the claim it was carried out as a response to Wednesday's operation in Gaza.


"Jerusalem Police have recently managed to stop several attacks, including the seizure of three explosive belts. All of these planned attacks are still being investigated. Today," he said, "we had no specific warning of this attack and we couldn't stop it."

"The explosive was a large one," Levy continued, and "we will investigate with the Egged bus company why there was no security person on the bus," Levy said.

Half the roof of the bus was lifted 12 meters in the air and was visible hundreds of meters away from the back part of the bus. On the bus itself every window had been blown out. There were three entire human corpses inside the bus and two others lying outside.

Here is the thanks Israel gets for the prisoner swap:

Keren, 14, an eyewitness who was waiting for the bus, told Army Radio that the bus blew up meters before it arrived at the station. People began running towards the bus, she said, and then police arrived followed by ambulances. "I remained rooted to the spot, crying, until I was taken to hospital."

Police and security service said they receive between 50 and 60 general terror attack warnings per day.

Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah welcomed the bombing but did not accept responsibility.

They welcomed the bombing, even as they get back 400 prisoners. The message is clear: Fuck you, Israel. We will never accept peace, and we will never accept your legitimacy.

Arab media reports a female suicide bomber carried out the attack. Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a Hamas leader in Gaza, stopped short of claiming responsibility but said, "It's not important who carried out this operation. The only thing which is very important is that we are resisting occupiers who came ... to occupy our land and to kill our people," he said.

According to police reports, the suicide bomber managed explode at the back of the bus, ripping off its roof. The bus driver said he did not notice any suspicious-looking person enter the bus, Israel Radio reported.

And here are more of the details. These should be published in every newspaper, and shown on every news show. Suicide bombings should not be nebulous, vague images in people's imaginations. They should be seen for the horrors that they are. Maybe then the world would condemn the PA and all of the terrorist organizations.

The explosion occurred moments after the bus pulled away from its last station. The bus starts its route in Hadassah Ein Kerem and makes its way to Hadassah Mount Scopus.

Following the explosion, disoriented people were seen milling around, some were seen at the scene walking around with pieces of human flesh on them. A great deal of blood was seen on the ground, and broken glass littered the streets.

There was a ghostly silence immediately after the attack; the silence one feels in Jerusalem on Shabbat.

Many of the people had managed to get off and make their way to the corner of Arlozorov and Gaza Streets. Some were sitting there in silence. Some of them had pieces of flesh on their jackets.

One person seems to have had his ear torn in half.

Another women was bleeding profusely, her face covered in blood.

Clean out the vipers' nests. Target the leadership. They've gotten comfortable again. Only this time, get rid of the terrorists in the Mukata, too.

At least 30 Palestinian fugitives, many with Israeli blood on their hands from planning suicide and shooting attacks, have returned to Ramallah and found refuge inside Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Mukata headquarters compound, Israel Radio reported and security sources have confirmed.

One of the most senior among them is believed to be Kamel Ghanem, the local commander of the Aksa Brigades, who is believed to have masterminded a number of suicide bombings, personally participated in shootings in the Binyamin district, and coordinated among several West Bank terrorist cells.

Are his hands bloody with this bombing? Doesn't matter. He's killed enough. Why the IDF doesn't storm the Mukata and take these murderers to prison I don't understand.

Oh, wait, now I know why. Because the world outcry would be against Israel for storming the Mukata, not against Arafat for giving mass murderers refuge.

And the EU condemned the bombing. More on that later.



Blogger bash

Actually, just dinner. I'm leaving to meet Kevin of Wizbang, who is in Richmond on business, in a few minutes. However, I've found more interesting reads for you folks.

Blue Octavo Notebook has some interesting reads. Anyone who says "Kids today, they blow up so soon" is okay in my book. I have a question about this one: What on earth are "hydro-politics"? And here, the editor has a post on Omri Bartov and the second Hitler book. Check 'em out.

Tipjar thanks

Thanks again to everyone who hit the tipjar these last couple of weeks. The reason your individual thank-you notes are being delayed is because I'm working on a thank-you page, which URL will be sent only to those generous souls who have hit the tipjar. And, well, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and it's not quite ready yet.

And more

I know most of you won't read the entire article linked below. So here are more excerpts:

But the most explicit and frightening link between Hitler's anti-Semitism and the contemporary wave of violence, hatred, paranoia, and conspiracy theories can be found, first, in the testimony given by the perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and, second, in the official charter of the Palestinian Hamas movement.

As Küntzel writes, citing the Reuters reporter Christian Eggers, during the trial of Mounir el Motassadeq, a core member of the Al Qaeda cell in Hamburg that planned the attacks of September 11, the motivation of the perpetrators was amply documented, but the media have not reported much of what was said at the trial, which took place in Hamburg, Germany, between October 2002 and February 2003. The witness Shahid Nickels, a member of Mohammed Atta's core group, insisted that "Atta's worldview was based on a National Socialist way of thinking. He was convinced that 'the Jews' are determined to achieve world domination. He considered New York City to be the center of world Jewry, which was, in his opinion, Enemy Number One." Nickels said that Atta's group was "convinced that Jews control the American government as well as the media and the economy of the United States... that a world-wide conspiracy of Jews exists... [that] America wants to dominate the world so that Jews can pile up capital."

Similarly, the witness Ahmed Maglad, who participated in the group's meetings, testified that "for us, Israel didn't have any right to exist as a state.... We believed ... the USA ... to be the mother of Israel." And Ralf Götsche, who shared the student dormitory with Motassadeq, testified that the accused had said: "What Hitler did to the Jews was not at all bad," and commented that "Motassadeq's attitude was blatantly anti-Semitic."

And this one, on campus anti-Semitism:

Throughout campuses in the United States, students associated with Arab and Islamic organizations, Christian groups, and the left carried flags, banners, and posters that were mostly focused on one theme: the equation between Zionism, or Israel, and Nazism. Banners portrayed a swastika joined by an equal sign to a Star of David and an Israeli flag featuring a swastika instead of a Star of David. Placards issued the call to "End the Holocaust," and proclaimed that "Zionism = racism = ethnic cleansing," and that "Zionism is Ethnic Cleansing," and that "Sharon = Hitler." A particularly ingenious sign asserted: "1943: Warsaw 2002: Jenin." While some summarized their views with the slogan "Zionazis," others warned, "First Jesus Now Arafat."

What makes this virulent anti-Semitism respectable is that it presents itself as anti-Nazism. To accomplish this sinister exculpatory purpose it needs only to declare that Zionism equals Nazism, just as the old canard of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world is legitimized by its association with American imperialism, capitalism, and globalization. That the vocabulary of this rhetoric is taken directly (whether consciously or not) from Nazi texts is so clear that one wonders why there is such a reluctance to recognize it. In part this is owed to ignorance, which is as rampant today in journalism and political commentary as it always was. In part this is owed to the fact that those who would most readily identify the provenance of these words and ideas are largely liberals, some of whom also happen to be Jewish, and thus are likely to be most harmed, both personally and ideologically, by making this identification. By exposing the anti-Semitic underbelly of this phenomenon, they would expose themselves as Jews and friends of Jews, and would open themselves to the argument that precisely their opposition to this phenomenon is the best proof of Jewish domination in the world.

This is why I think that "Never again" is being translated by the Jew-haters into "Not quite done yet." This is why I will never make this a fluffy kitty and bunny blog, no matter how evil the news becomes. This is why I want to learn how to shoot, and get a gun. You see, when I say "Never again," I mean, "If I'm going down, I'm taking as many Jew-haters as I can with me."

The Nation may not see the anti-Semitism that is plainly visible to anyone with half a brain, but I see it. My eyes were opened in the spring of 2002, when the world sat idly by and lectured Israel not to be harsh to the palestinians as terror bombings were going off at the rate of two or three per day, and hundreds of Jews were dying.

Read this page from bottom to top, and you'll see the sea change I underwent on that day. A few weeks later, this weblog went from being a journal with occasional references to current events to a weblog that centers on Jewish issues, with occasional references to non-news items. That week was the beginning of my leaving my tech blogging friends behind, nearly all of whom lean far to the left and are not, to say the least, pro-Israel. And it was the beginning of my refusal to excuse anti-Semitism in any form. I went from wondering why they hate me to wishing death on those that hate me because I am Jewish. I still feel that way. You want me dead? Guess what: I want you dead, too. And I don't give a damn if people think that I am wrong to wish my enemies death. The Holocaust taught Jews that ultimately, our survival cannot be trusted to any other nation.

There are 1.3 billions Muslims in the world, as Mahathir pointed out, and only about 13 millions Jews. There are 22 Arab nations in the Middle East, and only one Jewish one. Many in the world may like to change that number to zero. Life's tough that way. As Imshin says: Israel isn't going anywhere. Neither are the rest of us Jews.

Hitler's other book

Via LGF, a review of Hitler's second book, written in 1928, while he was on his way to power. Omer Bartov finds disturbing parallels between what Hitler wrote then, and what we hear from various sources today.

What we are witnessing today is a broad front of opinion, spanning the entire spectrum of the political and religious scene, whose criticism of American and Israeli policies, and whose fears and phobias about present conditions, utopian dreams of a better future, and nostalgic fantasies of a mythical past, all converge in a bizarre and increasingly frightening way on a single figure, a single cause: "the Jew." I have long believed that it is pointless, and dishonorable, to debate anti-Semites. Such an exchange of "ideas" only confers legitimacy upon them. But there are times when absurdities become political facts and cannot be ignored. They must, instead, be directly challenged--not by explaining their violent ideas and feelings away, but by putting limits to them through all available means, political, judicial, and, if necessary, by the use of legitimate force. For these are people who mean what they say. If you do not destroy them, they will destroy you. There are precedents for this.

Consider again what Hitler wrote in 1928. Yes, it is insane; but take out the word "race" and replace it, say, with "Zionism" or "American imperialism," and replace the references to the Soviet Union with references to the United States, and suddenly the discourse is not only crazy but also quite common. The "soft core" of this poisonous rhetoric is to be found among some sectors of European and American intellectuals and academics. It tends to identify Israelis as culprits, and Jews as potential Israelis. It is obsessed with the influence of Jews on culture, politics, and economics around the world. The partially successful boycott of Israeli academics in recent years is a case in point, not least because it tends to affect precisely those who number among the most determined and articulate opponents of the current Israeli government's policies. The divestment campaign, calling on American and European universities to desist from any investments in Israel, is another example; this campaign provides cover, and even immunity, for all the regimes around the world that have never recognized academic freedom. The sympathetic understanding expressed in academic settings, and in liberal and left-wing publications, for suicide bombers who blow up innocent civilians in Israel creates a climate of tolerance for murder that is cleverly couched in the righteous language of liberation and justice.

It's a read-the-rest kind of article. Too many things to excerpt.

Sometimes this sort of intellectual-academic-journalistic obsession with Jews becomes intimately linked with anti-Americanism. Several best-selling books published in France and Germany by academics, politicians, and journalists have "confirmed" the already widespread belief (held by 19 percent of the German population according to a recent poll, and apparently by a majority in many Arab and Islamic countries) that the September 11 attacks on the United States were orchestrated by the CIA and the Mossad, and that the latter warned the Jews working in the World Trade Center not to come to work that day. Indeed, the United States, attacked by Europeans for its support of Israel, has been repeatedly depicted as controlled by the Jews, whose lobbies, financial and electoral levers of power, and key figures in the White House and Pentagon, are manipulating both the American public and world politics.

At the same time Israel has been portrayed as the perpetrator of Nazi-like crimes even as these very same portrayals carry echoes of the Nazi representation of Jews. Thus the European media, especially its more highbrow representatives, were as keen to portray the Israeli operation in Jenin last year as a war crime and a massacre as they were reluctant to admit that they had been fooled by Palestinian propaganda and in turn misinformed their publics about the nature of the operation, greatly inflating the number of Palestinian civilians killed in order to justify its description as a massacre. The Israeli prime minister was depicted in a cartoon published in The Independent in London in the shape of a bloody ogre devouring Palestinian children, his features eerily reminiscent of those popularized by Der Stürmer.

Anyone who has access (that is, anyone on the Internet) to racist, anti-Semitic, and neo-Nazi publications in the United States and elsewhere will find almost precisely the same opinions and depictions. These hateful representations are normally not much remarked upon. But there are some important exceptions. Most striking was the speech made by Martin Hohmann, a parliamentary representative of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the German Bundestag, to an audience of one hundred thirty people, on October 3, 2003. Hohmann argued that one had no right to speak of the Germans as a "people of perpetrators" (Tätervolk) because the Jews--presumably those making that argument--were themselves a "people of perpetrators," considering their high representation among the murderous Bolsheviks. This was the first time since the end of Nazism that a member of the Bundestag made an anti-Semitic argument based on the very logic of Hitler's rationalization for war against the Soviet Union. And an elite Bundeswehr general expressed agreement with Hohmann's speech. Under much public pressure, Hohmann was eventually ejected from the parliamentary fraction of the CDU--but 20 percent of his colleagues opposed his removal. And Hohmann knew, like so many fascists before him who said what he said, what many others were thinking. In a poll recently conducted by the University of Bielefeld, it was found that 70 percent of Germans resent being blamed for the Holocaust, and 25 percent believe that the Jews are trying to make political capital out of their own genocide (and another 30 percent say that there is a measure of truth in this assertion), and three-quarters believe that there are too many foreigners in Germany.

More thoughts on the above poll later.

Squeal like Howard Dean, and other links

First there was Treacher, and he made this (second one).

Then there was Fritz, and he made this.

Both of them will make you spew liquid all over your monitor if you happen to be unlucky enough to be drinking when you click those links and the MP3 files load. You have been warned.

And vote for Treacher in Michele's crush contest, because we all know it's really him.

And while I'm at it, go read the Command Post for your latest news on—well, everything.

I have an Instalink to a fifteen-month-old post because James Cappozola of the Rittenhouse Review performed another public delinking ritual. I'd forgotten that he delinked LGF last year. So has everyone else, actually. That's quite an impact those delinkings are making.



Fluffy kitties blog

Tig doesn't care about world eventsI was thinking that sometimes the news is just so depressing, or hideous, or downright disgusting, that maybe I'd just change over the blog completely. Stop reading the news, stop writing about anti-Semitism, and just post cat pictures. And kitten pictures. And cute bunny pictures.

Really. Sometimes, you just have to say screw it, and go with a moment of kitty zen.

Tig doesn't give a damn about world events. All he cares about is getting fed, pet, and played with. Oh, and having a clean litterbox. And then there's going outside when the weather is nice, and complaining that he can't go outside when the weather isn't nice, and oh, yeah, don't forget the tunafish. And bellyrubs. He loves those bellyrubs.

Yep. It's good to be the Tig.

News roundup

The Pope says that wars don't resolve conflicts. Really? So, like, WWII didn't resolve the conflict between the fascists and democracy? Well, there's a different kind of fascism now, and it's armed with human bombs, but y'know, there aren't any more Nazis and Italian Fascisti causing trouble for the rest of the world. I'd have to say that wars do resolve conflicts, if they are handled correctly. They only fail to resolve conflicts in Israel, because the world refuses to let Israel actually win a war. The Pope also said that America should work for more international cooperation. How about more countries cooperate with us? Works both ways, y'know.

LOTR was nominated for 11 Oscars. But no best supporting actor nomination for Sean Astin. Bummer. Then again, the Academy did not nominate the entry from "Palestine" in the foreign film category.

Today is the 59th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Apparently, the BBC can present a biased piece even on this topic. Compare the Beeb's headline with some of the others:

The BBC: Victims tell of Nazi experiments
The Guardian (via the AP): Torture Tales May Alter Holocaust History
The Miami Herald: New Data on Nazis' Victims Comes to Light
The Charlotte News-Observer: Testimonies suggest more work by Nazi Mengele than earlier believed

What does Reuters have to say about this issue?


However, they did put out several articles on Israel yesterday:

Israel Scorns Hamas Proposal of 10-Year Truce
Israel dismissed as ridiculous Monday a proposal from the main Palestinian militant group, Hamas, to declare a 10-year truce if the Jewish state withdrew from territory occupied since 1967.

Top Hamas official Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi told Reuters late Sunday Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation."

"We accept a state in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. We propose a 10-year truce in return for (Israeli) withdrawal and the establishment of a state," he said in a telephone interview from hiding in the Gaza Strip.

His comments appeared to strengthen signs of a big political shift by a faction sworn to destroy Israel and now seeming to move closer to the aims of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

Israel says any talk of Hamas moderation is a smokescreen for military preparations by a group at the forefront of suicide bombings and shooting attacks.

"It is quite ridiculous that a terrorist organization sets conditions for a cease-fire," said government spokesman Avi Pazner in response to Rantissi's proposal.

Rantissi said it would not mean that Hamas recognized Israel or spell the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas has led a suicide bombing campaign that has killed hundreds of Israelis during more than three years of violence.

It has rejected peace talks and demanded that a Palestinian state be formed on all the land that was Palestine under the British mandate preceding the creation of Israel more than five decades ago.

The article itself ridicules the proposal as the bullshit it is, yet Reuters chooses to go with that headline, instead of one less critical of Israel and more of, say, the bullshit offerers of the truce. A headline like "Israel says Hamas truce is insincere" would get the point across without putting the blame on Israel. But then, Reuters wouldn't be Reuters without its daily Israel-bashing.

Last, but not least:

Experts: Mydoom worm spreading faster than last year's Sobig-F

Can you people out there please stop clicking on executable emails from people you don't know? Please? I've deleted about fifty of those emails from my inbox so far. And nearly all of them seem to be from spammers. So it's worm spam. Sigh.



What I did on my winter vacation

It was this:

Sorena and Marissa pause in their sledding to post for a picture

Wow, cute kids and a dog, and cat pictures—all in a 24-hour period. Yes, there are a lot of glazed-over eyes out there right now reading this weblog.

I suppose other things happened in the world, but I took Heidi home from work last night. The roads were awful. It was six hours after I'd driven them (described below). I stayed in 4WD the entire way, and couldn't believe how many idiots who did not have 4WD vehicles were driving at unsafe speeds on I-95, including idiots in 18-wheelers. But we got home safe and sound, and spent this morning sledding with the girls and watching a movie (Holes, a really sweet and funny film, highly recommended) this afternoon. Then I took Heidi to get her car, and saw that the number of idiots remains about the same whether it's night or day, snowing or the day after, or, well, let's face it: A day that ends with the letter "y."

Now to eat dinner and relax a bit.



A weather event

Snow in the lamplightAnd I thought New Jersey drivers sucked in snow. They're nothing compared to Richmond drivers, who drive blithely along as if there were absolutely nothing on the roads, and I'm not talking about people in 4WD vehicles, either. In fact, most of the people I saw in Jeeps were driving the same way I was: 4WD on, 25-30 mph where possible, less where necessary. Saw one moron stop dead in the middle of the road because he missed his turnoff, not caring that there was a line of cars behind him, and that there was an inch of snow on the road.

I got home just fine, and after feeding the cats (ohmigod, we've had no food since this morning, where were you and why were our bowls empty?), Tig insisted he wanted to go out. I reminded him that he hates snow. He insisted that he does not. I reminded him again that there was snow underfood. No, I swear, I don't mind snow, he said. Okay, I told him. And I opened the door. Herewith, the results:

Tig looks left

Okay. Let's see if I can get past the snow this way.

Tig looks right

Nope. How about on this side?

Tig gives up and walks on the snow

Ah, screw it. I'll walk on the white stuff after all.


That's my Tig.

Israel's shameful swap

Haven't we learned? Doesn't Ariel Sharon get that you don't negotiate with terrorists? WTF is wrong with these people? Hamas is already laughing at Israel, and planning more kidnapings.

If those prisoners aren't being released with chips in their scalps so they can be tracked down and killed, there's something desperately wrong with this story.

If those prisoners aren't being released with coffins full of explosives, there's something desperately wrong with this story.

If those prisoners aren't being released as a way to lure Nasrallah out of hiding, there's something desperately wrong with this story.

I think there's something desperately wrong with this story.


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.