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Promises, promises

I'm actually out of ideas at the moment. So I thought I'd just post about what I'm thinking of writing at some point. I was just telling Lynn that I should try to write one essay per week, in the style of my essay on anti-Semitism, only without as many links, what with all those links putting, like, an extra few days into the effort. But an essay a week seems like an achievable goal. If you have a topic suggestion, I've got comments.

However, I have decided (per the post below) that I am never joining another weblogger award contest, ever—unless there is a money prize involved, and a juried election process. I think we can safely put that in the "Never. Gonna. Happen." category. Why? Because it's not really as much fun as the organizers always want it to be. People say nasty things, or they are interpreted as saying nasty things (are people really questioning whether or not some bloggers are Jewish? Like we need that on top of everything else?), and then there are bad feelings, and—well, you get the idea. When all is said and done, if I win, I'm the blogger who got more people to vote for me. That doesn't make me any better than the rest of the bloggers in the category. Just a better PR hack, or a blogger who has more readers.

Subjects to write about: The High Ropes Challenge and the Leap of Faith at the climbing gym last week. An essay on how Israel's critics want it both ways regarding anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. An essay on Jews who hate Jews. (That one is going to be a long time coming; it's not just sensitive, it needs to be written just right.) A post to some people (*cough* Mark *cough*) to stop answering trolls in my comments, or a post from me in answer to comment trolls. For those of you who weren't paying attentions, someone who called himself "al aqsa martyr supporter" is now "al aqsa martyrs are assholes;" trust me, I can handle my own trolls here. The Eason Jordan affair and the elitism of Davos. Hell, the elitism of the elites. Cats. Must write another essay on cats. Or perhaps the elitism of cats, who were secretly behind Davos and the fall of Eason Jordan.

And that's all for now.

No, wait. Happy Birthday, Abe. Thanks for keeping the nation together.

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The penultimate voting post

That's right, I'm only going to have one more post about voting for me. This is the next-to-last.

I have posted my little fingers off today. I see we're catching up to Jewlicious. They seem to get me overnight, which means you have to work especially hard today, as Saturdays are traditionally very slow traffic day. C'mon, you folks who have never voted or emailed me. Some eighty to ninety percent of my readers simply read this site and pass on by. That's fine. I write for you, too, even though I'm not really sure who you are (though I have a sneaking suspicion that most of you are Jewish). Just click here and vote for me in the Best Overall category, and I think I will never, ever be a part of any voting contest again. I simply can't take the excitement. (Go ahead, say that in a Southern Belle voice, and it will sound just like, well, the opposite of me.)

I swear. Only one more nagging post, tomorrow. So if you only read this blog from work, you're done with the nagging.

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The cease-fire does not hold, part the next

Mahmoud Abbas' policy of "negotiating" with the various terrorists factions is working. For the terrorists, of course.

A Palestinian who planned to launch a suicide bombing attack in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill in the coming days was arrested on Thursday afternoon in a combined operation carried out by IDF and ISA (Israel Security Agency) forces in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The man was identified as Mahran Shukat Abu-Hamis, 21, a resident of the Ein-Beit Ilma refugee camp in Nablus, who planned the attack in an attempt to derail the cease-fire declared during Tuesday's summit in Sharm e-Sheikh.

Abu-Hamis was involved in a number of terror organizations. The planned French Hill attack was jointly set up by Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

ccording to officials, Abu-Hamis was also involved in recruiting suicide bombers in the Nalbus area, who were to perpetrate attacks inside Israel.

He operated together with Tanzim fugitive Doud Katoni, who was responsible for planning suicide bomb attacks in Israel between August and October 2004, attacks which had been thwarted by security forces.

His plans to blow up a packed bus in French Hill had reached advance stages when he was arrested on Thursday.

Abu-Hamis's arrest was a result of information gleaned from other fugitives arrested by security forces in the area in recent weeks.

If you're tired of reading the same-old, same-old, well, I'm tired of writing it. Perhaps I should just recycle my posts from the last so-called cease-fire.

And what is Abbas going to do to stop the attacks?

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - A day after firing his top security commanders, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas headed to the Gaza Strip on Friday to demand that militant leaders stop attacking Israelis,

By the way, the "objective" news article then states:

a strong sign of his determination to enforce a fragile truce with Israel.

Oooh. He's going to demand that they stop attacks. Yeah, that'll work.

You know what will work? Arrests. Real ones. Disarmament. The kind that Yasser Arafat actually did, years ago, in order to fool the world into thinking he was serious about peace with Israel, and in order to rid himself of some political enemies at the same time. Unless and until Abbas starts arresting and disarming terrorists, this cease-fire is a joke. So is the same old crap from the palestinian spokesliars:

Palestinian lawmaker Ziad Abu Zayyad said Hamas was probably trying to strengthen its political position with the heavy bombardment. He said Israel must continue to show restraint.

"Israel has to refrain from any actions that could ignite the ground, that could be used as an excuse to torpedo the actions being taken by the Palestinian leadership," Abu Zayyad told Israel's Army Radio.

Abu Zuhri said Hamas was interested in a truce, but Israel needed to halt all raids against the militants and release prisoners in return.

"Hamas still wants a truce but needs this truce to be with Israeli obligations," he said.

Just as Melanie Phillips wrote:

... the source of this terrible conflict is not Israel’s behaviour. It is not the settlements, the road blocks, the prisoners. It is not, despite the near-universal assumption, the absence of a Palestinian state. The source is the Arab world-backed Palestinian terror war against Israel’s existence.

Until the world acknowledges that, this "truce" will do nothing.

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In celebration of "Einstein Year": Jews who fled the Nazis, Part One

Anne of Boker Tov, Boulder sent me a Yahoo news article about Germany's celebration of Einstein Year, and, well, inspiration hit. You may remember a post from a couple of weeks ago where I quoted the German Chancellor as complaining that Germany is not the state of science and art it used to be. Anne's email gave me a wicked idea.

I'm starting a series on one of the reasons for the German brain drain. Jewhoo! has a marvelous database, and in it, you can find numerous award-winning Jewish scientists who fled Germany because of the Nazis. Here are just a few:

Peter Bergmann: (1915-2002) Peter G. Bergmann was a physicist who worked with Albert Einstein and played a leading role in the advancement of Einstein's theories in the years after World War II. As a professor at Syracuse University from 1947 to 1982, Dr. Bergmann taught relativity to several generations of physicists and was a pioneer in efforts to reconcile Einstein's general theory of relativity, which explains gravity as the warping of space-time geometry, with the paradoxical quantum laws that rule atomic affairs. That quest is now at the center of modern physics. Bergman fled Germany in 1933.

Hans Bethe: Born, 1906. German-born. His mother was Jewish, his father was not. He immigrated to America in 1935 for the "usual reason". As an American he won the Nobel Prize in 1967 (shared) for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions; especially his discoveries regarding the energy production of stars. Hans Bethe is regarded as one of the premier physicists of the twentieth century, and one of only a very small number whose understanding and contributions span nearly all of the subfields of physics.

Felix Bloch: (1905-1983)American. Nobel Prize, 1952 (shared). The award was for his developments of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements. Bloch was born in Switzerland. His parents, who were first cousins, were born, respectively, in Bohemia and Austria and settled in Switzerland in the late 19th century. He was teaching in Germany when the Nazis took over and he had to leave. He eventually settled in the U.S. and taught at Stanford for most of the rest of his life.

Neils Bohr (and son Aage): (1885-1962) Niels Bohr was the winner of the 1922 Nobel Prize for his work on the structure of the atom. Bohr solved the problem of uniting the varying theories of the atom put forth by Einstein, Planck, and Ernest Rutherford. He did important later work in quantum mechanics. Bohr's father was a famous (non-Jewish) Danish physician. His mother was Jewish and she was a member of one of the most prominent Jewish families in Denmark. Like most Danish Jews, Bohr was taken by the Danish Resistance by fishing boat to Sweden in 1943. He came to the United States secretly in 1944 and worked on the Manhattan Project under a false name. After the War, Bohr founded the "Atoms for Peace" program. Bohr, who was one the giants of 20thc. physics, was an important "go-between" in the hasty plan to evacuate Jews from Denmark to Sweden days before the Germans planned to round up the whole community. He had been warned of plans to arrest him days before the evacuation. His great prestige and Nobel Prize opened doors to Swedish officials and helped secure their cooperation. Moreover, it was Bohr, alerted by Lise Meitner, who got word to Einstein about the Germans progress in atomic physics and helped put into motion the decision to pursue the Allied atomic program. We will note that Bohr's brother, Harald, was an Olympic silver medal winner and a brilliant mathematician. Harald, too, sucessfully escaped.

Max Born: (1882-1970) Born, a German theoretical physicist, was a pioneer in developing quantum mechanics. In collaboration with his students and assistants Werner Heisenberg, Pascual Jordan, and Wolfgang Pauli, he attempted to develop a new quantum mechanics. When Heisenberg succeeded in 1925, Born and others were able to advance the theory, using more systematic and powerful mathematics. For Born's interpretation of the square of Erwin Schrodinger's wave function as the probability of an electron's position, and for his further clarification of the wave-particle duality, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1954. Max Born was born into a prosperous, "highly assimilated" German Jewish family. He had very little in the way of a Jewish religious background and he was not a follower of any religion. However, as his autobiography makes clear, he was acutely aware of the place of Jews in German society and was a sharp observer of the rise of anti-Semitism from the late 19th century, forward. Born married a non-Jewish woman. However, he refused, on principle, to convert to Christianity to advance his career or to please the aristocratic members of his wife's family. Born had to leave Germany in 1933.

Phew! Look how long this post is, and we're only in physicists, B's, and only on the first page. Stay tuned for part two, where we finally get to Albert Einstein and continue our way down the rest of the alphabet until we have the final tally of award-winning Jewish physicists who fled the Nazis.

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In other news

A sad loss: Arthur Miller died last night. I frankly don't care what his thoughts on the War on Terror were; the man was a phenomenally talented playwright. I have never forgotten the end of "All My Sons," and, although I got rather tired of all the suicides in in the last act, his major plays have stayed with me since I read or saw them, some as early as high school.

You can't always get what you want: North Korea has demanded bilateral talks with the U.S. after yesterday's announcement that they have nukes. Uh-huh. Yeah, that style's worked with W. for the past four years; it ought to work again. Not. By the way, thanks, Pakistan.

U.S. Refuses One-On-One North Korea Talks: Well, that's a shocker.

A keen grasp of the obvious: Here's an AP analysis with a Duh! moment title: Threats Not Stopping Those Wanting Nukes. Gee. Ya think?

Only her OB-GYN knows for sure: Talk about your sports controversies. This dude looks like a lady, but, well, he's a dude. A male track star in Zimbabwe competed (and won) in the women's divisions. Oops.

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You see what insomnia does to me?

Tsk, tsk. Apparently, the folks at Jewlicious were just ragging me about throwing their votes my way for more cat pictures. And in the comments thread, I saw what Dave was talking about (and what Lair always warns about) regarding the contest taking a nasty turn.

Yeah, whatever. They're kicking my butt in Best Overall again, and we can't stand for that. I need you folks to click this link and vote for me in Best Overall. Why? Because, dammit, now it's getting personal.

Say what you want about me, and I'm fine. But picking on my catblogging? This is an insult that cannot be borne.

Oh, yeah. Vote for Goldstein in Best Humor Blog. Because I don't want him mad at me anymore. (And maybe he'll throw an endorsement my way. You never can tell.)

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Almost the last word on voting

Jewlicious will throw their votes to me if I post a cute picture of Tig. Hm. Cute pictures of Tig. Do I have any?

Tig in a cleaning frenzy

Oh, I guess I do.

In that same spirit (sorry, Tom), I'd like to throw my voters to "Taxi" in the Best Post category. It's really good in a number of ways, and exemplifies not just the spirit of Shabbat, but one of the best things about being Jewish: The commitment to help one another.

If you haven't voted yet, vote for Taxi. At the very least, if they get to second place, I'll drop out of the category. One category is really enough for anyone.

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Ew! Jew cooties!

Once again, the United States is going to knuckle under to stupid, anti-Semitic demands from Muslim nations. First they weren't allowed to use Israeli bullets in Iraq. Now the House will probably shoot down a plan to purchase 12 used helicopters from Israel for use against drugs in Afghanistan.

The House International Relations Committee has temporarily blocked the purchase while it seeks more information.

In a statement, Republican committee staff said the State Department would find it impossible "to counter possible false and unfounded rumors from our radical Islamic enemies about the source and purpose of these helicopters in this region of the world."

[...] Rep. Mark Souder, who heads the House Government Reform Committee's drug policy panel, said the purchase from Israel could complicate the drug fight for the Afghan government.

"We are at the very least viewed as partners with the government," said Souder, R-Ind. "We don't need to make life any more difficult in what is arguably the toughest neighborhood and the toughest country in the world for anybody to get order in."

So is there a voice of sanity in all this?

An aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tim Rieser, said his main questions are whether buying the Israeli helicopters is cost-effective and whether safeguards are being taken to protect the helicopters and their crews. He said he is less concerned about the helicopters being purchased from Israel.

Well, yes. Looks like the key players aren't filling that Dem/Repub role, either. But overall, I cannot believe that there isn't someone out there with the stones to tell Muslims to just suck it up and deal with it.

Yeah, anti-Zionism. That's what it is right. No, it's not Jew-hatred. Not at all.

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I don't believe in the tooth fairy, either

No, I really don't believe there will be peace in Israel in the immediate future. Not when you have incidents like the following:

A Shaky Palestinian Troop Deployment: KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip - More than 3,000 Palestinian troops have been deployed in the Gaza Strip to prevent attacks on Israel and its settlements, a move widely hailed as an important step in a regional peace process. But among the troops, it is clear there is an informal, almost halfhearted, quality to their efforts.

In some locations, handfuls of national security recruits wearing green uniforms and rubber flip-flops perch atop rubble or in the shade of bullet-scarred buildings looking fearful and forlorn. At other locations, sharply turned-out troops equipped with rifles and pickup trucks monitor traffic, inspect cars, and patrol quarter-mile-square sectors as often as four times an hour.

In one incident recounted this week by officers near the southern end of the coastal strip, troops patrolling at night came upon two black-masked Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade gunmen preparing to fire mortars toward a Jewish settlement. The gunmen "cooperated well with us," said platoon leader Jamal Abu Ziad, 41. "We told them to move and they left."

The commandos were not forced to unmask or produce identity papers. "You have to start smoothly with them," Abu Ziad said. "If they didn't listen, we would have arrested them."

Hamas Man is Killed in "Work Accident": A Hamas militant was killed and two hurt in an incident in Khan Yunis yesterday. IDF sources said the man may have been killed during a "work accident" while preparing explosives. Palestinian sources said it was a failed attempt to fire mortar shells at Gush Katif.

Near the settlement of Atzmona in southern Gush Katif, soldiers opened fire at a group of four men who came within 70 meters of the fence surrounding the settlement. One person was severly injured.

Palestinian Militants Unleash Mortar Barrage After Truce Declaration: GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian militants have fired a series of mortar bombs and rockets into Jewish settlements in Gaza, two days after Palestinian and Israeli leaders declared a halt to violence at a summit meeting.

The Islamist faction Hamas said the barrage, which caused no casualties, were a reprisal for the killing of a Palestinian man by Israeli army gunfire from a settlement on Wednesday. Soldiers reacted to a suspected infiltration attempt, army sources said.

Hamas said it launched 46 mortars and rockets over a two-hour period at day break on Thursday and threatened more of the same. The Israeli military reported 17 mortar impacts in settlements and army posts and areas just over the border in Israel.

By the way, Reuters has changed the headline of this article. It now reads "Gaza militants resume fire." And what did the PA do about the mortar fire?

Abbas fires top security chiefs after barrages pound Gaza: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday fired top Gaza security commanders, Palestinian officials said Thursday, following a barrage of at least 25 mortar shells and Kassam rockets fired at Gaza settlements since 2 a.m. Thursday.

Oh, that'll show them. He fired people. No arrests, of course, because, well, they're members of the resistance, fighting occupation. Bad Israelis! Bad!

I'm feeling about as negative today as Melanie Phillips:

But this, of course, is where reality kicks in. The observations about Sharon having changed are correct, as far as they go — and in the Israeli political context, that’s undoubtedly a very long way. But what the world finds so hard to acknowledge -- and what we must never lose sight of -- is that the source of this terrible conflict is not Israel’s behaviour. It is not the settlements, the road blocks, the prisoners. It is not, despite the near-universal assumption, the absence of a Palestinian state. The source is the Arab world-backed Palestinian terror war against Israel’s existence.

The onus is therefore squarely on Abbas to end that war by dismantling the entire infrastructure of Palestinian terror. It is possible — and we must all pray that this is so — that he will turn out to be capable of the statesmanship necessary to end this 100-years war of ethnic cleansing against the Jews of Israel, and to give his own community an identity other than the impulse to destroy another people. But the signs are not auspicious.

Abbas, whose own doctoral thesis comprised a piece of Holocaust-denial, has repeatedly said he will not forcibly disarm Hamas, Islamic jihad et al because he will never cause a civil war among the Palestinians. He has also made it plain that he does not renounce violence on moral grounds but solely as a tactical manoeuvre in order more effectively to realise his aims. And those aims remain — like Arafat’s — not just a Palestinian state but in addition the demand for unlimited Palestinian settlement in Israel, which would of course destroy it as a Jewish state.

And have a lovely rest of the day.

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The problem with Gracie is that she doesn't hold still for as many photos as Tig does. She's smarter than Tig, and knows the camera generally means bright, flashy light in her eyes. Well, then there's the timidity thing. But I caught her sleeping on Tig's spot on the sofa.

Gracie on the sofa

Their orange is so perfectly set off by the black leather, that I've given up forbidding them from going on the sofa or the chair. Claw marks? Yeah, we've got that.

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Those pesky awards

Jewlicious is kicking my butt again. My faithful re-voters can't re-vote. It's one person, one vote. That means some others of you are going to have to step up to the plate. C'mon, my "invisibles." You don't have to register, just vote! Best Overall, and Best Post (Meirav Was Two). No! Wait! Vote for "Taxi" (see above).

You must understand that since I don't get paid to write this blog, save for occasional tips (thank you very much, those of you who have contributed), my writer's ego is sort of counting on winning this contest. And when my writer's ego is happy, I write. When it is unhappy, I feel like everything I write is garbage, and no matter what it is, it winds up in the spike file and you don't get many new posts.

Just want to lay it out for y'all. I know everyone has an ego, but you need to understand that the normal ego is very different from the writer's ego. You should see me after I've written something that I'm really proud of. I'm insufferably cheerful, due to what is known as "writer's high."

Go ahead. Make me insufferable.

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Ward Churchill: Poseur, anti-American, and Holocaust denier

On top of all the other charges against Churchill, we can add anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. (Hat tip: Nick S.) Edward Alexander writes in the New York Sun:

Amid a glare of nationwide publicity,University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill has been asked to resign as chairman of that school’s Ethnic Studies Department because he published an essay in which he likened the 3,000 people massacred at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001,to “little Eichmanns.”<

For good measure, he added that their killers had made “gallant sacrifices” to achieve noble ends. Prior to this incident, Mr. Churchill’s scholarly reputation was based mainly on a squalid tract called “A Little Matter of Genocide” (1997), in which he argued that the murder of European Jews was not at all a “fixed policy objective of the Nazis” and accused Jews of seeking to monopolize for themselves all that beautiful Holocaust suffering that other groups would very much like, ex post facto, to share.

He argued that Jewish “exclusivism” had nearly erased from history the victims of other genocidal campaigns, and that Jewish scholars stressed the Holocaust in order to “construct a conceptual screen behind which to hide the realities of Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinian population.”

He not only likened Jewish scholars who have argued for the unique character of the Holocaust to neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers, he said that the Jews are worse than the latter-day Nazis because “those who deny the Holocaust, after all, focus their distortion upon one target. Those [Jewish scholars] who deny all holocausts other than that of the Jews have the same effect upon many.”

I think the title of the essay itself is reprehensible. But then, I suppose I'm being far too sensitive. Read it all; Alexander has a biting style, but it makes me angry and sad to realize how right he is, and how far to the right I've come. The Jew-haters and America haters keep forcing me farther and farther to the right.

What the poverty of the English language compels me to call the ideas in these professorial fulminations are pretty uniform: anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and tenacious attachment to the motto: “The other country, right or wrong.” The uniformity of opinion has a comic element to it: The extremist professors nearly always present themselves as brave dissenters confronted by a mob of thick-skinned louts when in fact they belong,perhaps more than any other segment of American society, to a community of consent, in which “diversity”means that people look different but think exactly alike.

In point of fact, there was an extremist professor who was confronted by a mob of thick-skinned louts when I was in college. I'll tell that story another day.

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Happy New Year

It's the Chinese New Year, and it's my year. I was born during one of the years of the rooster. (Thanks to Gerard G. for reminding me.)

Chinese Rooster

If you'd like to find your year, go here to see which animal is yours in the Chinese horoscope. And no, I don't buy any part of the horoscope. Timid? Me? Shyeah, right.Good luck

I wish I could share with you a picture of my antique glass painting of the Chinese money god. It's incredibly beautiful, and will be moving into the kitchen as is traditional on the Chinese New Year. I call him Charles. I couldn't say whether or not he minds. I can't show you a picture because my digital camera is broken. Time to take it to Best Buy and get it fixed. (Four-year service warranty, thankfully.)

Good fortune to my Chinese readers, and anyone who celebrates the Chinese New Year.

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News, Jews, and pews

Condi in '08: Condoleeza Rice bypassed Arafat's tomb yesterday on her way to a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas. Way to go, Condi!

Gee, ya think? Get a load of this headline in the LA Times: "Militants Are Wild Card in Mideast Negotiations." And here I thought the terrorists were just another bargaining chip.

The peace is still (not) holding: Let's see. Mortar fire. Check. Attack on IDF. Check. Shots fired. Check. Yep, just another normal day in the terrortories [sic]. (Or should that be "sick"?)

The insecure palestinian "security" force: At least 600 palestinian security officers were also terrorists, killed by the IDF in the last four years. Yeah, these are the people we're going to train in paramilitary techniques again. This is why I keep getting whiplash from the peace process. How the hell are we supposed to believe this won't just be a rerun of the last four years?

Turning down the incitement levels: Mahmud Abbas has ordered palestinian TV to lower the hatred level. We'll wait and see on that. This is the man, isn't it, who denied the Holocaust?

They're in. They're out. They're in. They're out. Speaking of palestinian security forces, here we go again: They arrested the terrorists responsible for one of the latest attacks in Gaza, then released them. Lair Simon calls it their "Catch-and-Release" program.

I lied about the pews. I just wanted a word to go with news and Jews, and, well, "fews" isn't a word. "Mews" doesn't fit. Well, it would if I put up a picture of Gracie, but I'm not.

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The Jewish and Israeli Blogger awards

Voting in the finals is now open. I'd appreciate votes in the Best Overall and Best Post (Meirav Was Two), but if you're thinking of voting for me in any other category, vote for someone else instead. This isn't a humor blog, for instance.

I think the voting is going to be a lot tougher this time around. The good news: One vote, that's it. No more of that once-every-24-hours annoyance.

If you'd like to go to one page for all your voting needs, click on the image below.

JIB Awards Finalist

Voting ends Sunday. And one person, one vote. One big thanks to Dave!

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No. There is another.

Based on this excellent column, I am hereby awarding Jonah Goldberg the title of Apprentice of Juvenile Scorn. You did well, Jonah. And while I have mentioned that several people have the makings of an Apprentice, none has been awarded the title until now. Use it well, Padawan. (For those of you who've come late to the smackdown, read all the prequels to the column for the full effect. It's a thing of beauty.) But how can you not admire the man who wrote the following? me out here. I attacked Cole to keep him from tipping off the American people about the struggle between "hardliners and conservatives" in Iran? (Did he really mean to say "hardliners and conservatives" — thatsounds like a super-lively debate.) I want to kill thousands of Americans and Iranians in an aggressive war? Someone draw me a diagram. Where does Cole get this stuff? Does he just make it up? This is the only column I've written specifically on Iran. Could someone show me the part where I lay out my monstrous warmongering agenda?

Last time I checked, scholars looked for this thing called "evidence."

I—I am overcome with emotion. Why, these could be my own words, and yet, they are another's.

But hey, yeah, sure. If he's afraid of fighting in his own division, I'll step up.

One or two more like this, and Jonah will be promoted to Master. The man can write.

For the skinny on my own rise to Master of Juvenile Scorn™, read this and this, the post that gave me my sig. (It's "Science dudes, watch out! He wants to use your brains for evil!)

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The Bush plan on Israel

This Washintong Post analysis holds about six reasons why I trust the Bush Administration not to sell Israel out. Read it all; trust me, you'll feel better. Some highlights:

Administration officials say they recognize the opportunity created by Arafat's death and European allies' strong desire that the United States play a more active role. But Bush administration officials also are disdainful of the Clinton administration's deep involvement in the peace process, which they believe amounted to micromanaging. Rice has rejected the idea of creating a high-powered negotiator, similar to Dennis Ross in the Clinton years, though she may establish an office within the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to monitor events.

A special envoy is a "tactical question" that is not called for at this point, a senior administration official said yesterday.

"When you are trying to build the institutions of a Palestinian state it does not call for the front-page diplomacy of the sort we saw in the 1990s," he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivities and because he did not want to upstage Rice's trip. "Everyone will understand the United States is in the leading role but if you are not involved in it you won't see it on the front page every day."

[...] "Right now we don't trust each other," said Ghaith Omari, political adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "They will not believe us; we will not believe them. We need a third party, an objective third party that can actually help us move forward, that can come when we have the inevitable disagreements, inevitable frictions that will happen -- especially at the beginning."

Administration officials say such pleas are diplomatic code for the United States putting pressure on Israel. "Everyone is looking for the United States to go back to our traditional role of delivering the Israelis," another administration official said.

U.S. officials say such pressure will only fail, especially because Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in difficult political straits. In the coming weeks, Sharon faces rebellion from right-wing members in his coalition over his plan to withdraw from Gaza and four settlements on the West Bank and from left-wing members over his budget -- which could bring down his government and force new elections.

And apparently, the $100 a month "pension" for retired "militants" is actually the U.S.'s idea.

The United States, along with Britain, also plans a major push to have Arab nations provide funds to support the Palestinians. Only Algeria, Libya and Saudi Arabia have fully paid up, with Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates especially behind in their support.

National Security Council officials have advanced a plan to use the untapped $400 million to provide $100-a-month stipends to impoverished Palestinians -- in part to combat the appeal of Hamas, which has an effective social service system. The money would also be used to create a retirement fund for militia members. In an effort to promote the idea, British officials have invited the Arab laggards to a conference in London on March 1.

While the idea of paying those who may have murdered innocents makes me ill, I can see the practicality of it. If it works, it will replace the Arafat system of graft, where he paid terrorists a monthly stipend to attack Israelis. And it will strengthen Abbas politically.

But there is that part of me that mistrusts him completely, and thinks he's just setting Israel up for the next war, and that this is a regrouping and a reprieve for the terrorists. There is also the part of me that says that even if that's so, the palestinian people will get a taste of peace, and self-governance, and remember what prosperity is like, and may tell Israel's enemies to go to hell the next time the Arab world decides to fight to the last palestinian.

Of course, none of this will work without reining in Hezbollah and Hamas, both of whom are financed by other Arab nations, and who are working very hard to pull off terrorist attacks that will stop the peace process.

My dream scenario: A UN resolution telling Iran to stop funding Hezbollah or face sanctions. Not that I think it would happen. I know, I'm dreaming.

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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 is also a good bet if you've never been here before.