Eighth light

Almost forgot!

Eighth Light Menorah

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Seventh Light

Plus latkes!


Seventh light menorah

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Virtual Menorah: Sixth Light

Sixth night of Chanukah

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The Virtual Menorah: Fifth light

Back to the past.

Fifth night of Chanukah

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Fourth light

Fourth light menorah

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Third light

Now I use my new picture.

Third light of Hanukkah

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The Virtual Menorah: Second Light

Gimme that old-time menorah.

Second night of Chanukah

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The Virtual Menorah returns: First light

You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?

I thought I’d bring back the Virtual Menorah of yesteryear.

Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish readers!

First light in the menorah

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The Catmage Chronicle updates

It’s been a while since I updated this blog regarding my novels. Book three in The Catmage Chronicles will be out soon–I’m just waiting for the ebook conversion and one last proof of the print version.

The cover is spectacular.


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Fact-checking the BDSers

American Jewish Reggae singer Matisyahu is again the target of the anti-Israel BDS movement, this time on American soil, not Spanish. While the irony of a Jew being kicked out of a Spanish festival is not lost on us, the summer attempt failed spectacularly and the claims against Matisyahu were debunked. But the lies survive. Herewith is a guide to debunking the Matisyahu BDS falsehoods that you can link to and share.

Claim: Matisyahu was not targeted because he was Jewish
No other participant in the Rototom Sunsplash Music Festival was asked to make a political statement of any kind. In fact, one of the other participants was far more controversial than Matisyahu. He was not asked to make any kind of statement, and as far as we know nobody protested his presence in the festival.

One popular Spanish entertainer, the Uruguayan-born Jewish singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, noted in a sardonic tweet that the festival “doesn’t want a Jew like Matisyahu, but says yes to a homophobe like Capleton,” referring to a Jamaican reggae star known for his anti-gay lyrics who’s on the festival program without a peep from the organizers.

We rate this claim False.

Claim: Matisyahu supports Israel’s “violations of Palestinian rights”
In Matisyahu’s own words:

I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process.

We rate this claim False.

Claim: Matisyahu plays benefit concerts to raise money for AIPAC
Matisyahu appeared onstage at the 2015 AIPAC conference. So did Rita Jahan Foruz, David Broza, Joel Chasnoff, and JewKvox. Now, we’re not Matisyahu’s manager, but we’d bet dollars to doughnuts that AIPAC paid Matisyahu to perform. Because that’s how concerts work.

We rate this claim False.

Claim: Matisyahu plays benefit concerts for the Israeli military
Matisyahu did play at a star-studded benefit for Friends of the IDF, an organization that was founded in 1981 to support and supply services to IDF soldiers and their families. Their mission statement:

IDF initiates and helps support educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the young men and women soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland. FIDF also supports the families of fallen soldiers.

Raising money for soldiers in need of financial assistance, supplying religious items to Jewish soldiers, helping bereaved families cope with their losses, or helping with the educational costs of a soldier is hardly supporting the military. FIDF supports the inviduals beneath the uniform. The FIDF is a private, charitable organization that supplies these services and more to individuals–not the IDF.

By the way, Matisyahu last played at the FIDF concert in–wait for it–2007. If the BDS crowd has to reach back eight years to find something to use against him, then they’re really doing it wrong.

We rate this claim False.

The anti-Israel BDSers are trying very hard to make these accusations a legitimate attack on an American Jewish singer who happens to support Israel. In doing so, they are trying to make it okay to intimidate Americans into having opinions that only fit the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist BDS mindset. This is unacceptable on many levels, not least of which is the cherished American value of freedom of expression. It seems that more and more Jewish artists and actors are being hounded by the anti-BDSers these days–Scarlett Johansson and Sodastream, anyone? Matisyahu is the latest Jew being attacked for having the temerity to be pro-Israel. Most of the BDS attempts fail miserably. We expect this one will, too. Matisyahu’s concert will go on as scheduled.

If you can’t make the concert in Ithaca, just enjoy the video of last year’s AIPAC concert. We certainly did.

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L’shanah tovah tikatevu

A happy, healthy, and sweet new year to my Jewish readers, friends, and family.

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The Iran Lobby in FP magazine

You’ve heard of Foreign Policy magazine, right? Respectable publication, lots of experts write for it, heads nod at what the experts say, impeccable sources, etc., etc. Take this article about how we shouldn’t be worried about Iran’s military. Because it’s a myth that the Iranian military is dangerous and that Iran has plans for hegemony over the Middle East.

Far from being a hegemonic power, able to domineer and subdue its regional rivals with impunity, Iran has a regional position that remains untenable, all while its regional rivals procure weapons systems that make themselves increasingly invulnerable.

Indeed, sober assessment shows that — both quantitatively and qualitatively — Iran’s regional rivals are well positioned not just to counter a “rising” Iran but to compete with it as well.

Wow, that sounds very informative. But wait, there’s more!

Quantitatively, Iran’s military expenditures have sunk far below those of its Gulf rivals. In 2014, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), more than 25 percent of Saudi government spending was devoted to beefing up its military assets — expenditures that totaled more than $80 billion. Along with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which spent nearly $23 billion, the two Gulf Arab countries comprise well over half the $173 billion in military expenditures spent by all Middle Eastern countries that year.

Comparatively, Iran’s military expenditures failed to measure up. During 2014, Iran’s military spending was about $15 billion, which comprised about 9 percent of total military spending in the Middle East. That’s a mere fraction of Saudi military spending and about two-thirds of the UAE’s. The Gulf Cooperation Council states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — outspend Iran on arms by a factor of 13.

I didn’t know that the Saudis are outspending the Iranians! Look at all I’ve learned. The Iranian army is nowhere near as dangerous as I thought it was!

But wait! You know what the magazine doesn’t tell you? That Trita Parsi, one of the authors, is a paid shill for NIAC, an organization that purports to be the voice of American Iranians and yet seems to have issues when American Iranians disagree with them (cf: fraudulence in intimidation lawsuit). Tyler Cullis, his co-author, is one of his employees at NIAC. The article is bought and paid for by the Iran lobby.

Funny that Parsi being president of NIAC doesn’t seem to be relevant to FP when he writes about the Iranian military in a respected foreign policy magazine. You wouldn’t get that kind of lack of transparency if the head of AIPAC wrote an opinion piece. But here, FP doesn’t think it’s worth mentioning that the author is the head of an Iranian lobby firm (which of course denies it’s an Iranian lobby firm).

By contrast, of course they included Michael Oren’s bio in his recent article about Obama and Israel.

Michael Oren, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States and now a member of Knesset, is the author of Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide (Random House).

But they don’t tell you that Trita Parsi is the head of NIAC. Go figure. And he says we don’t need to worry about Iran’s hegemonic tendencies.

Never mind that Iran is now in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Their militray is a paper tiger. The president of the National Iranian American Council says so. Oh, wait. I’m sorry, it’s just Trita Parsi, anonymous writer for Foreign Policy magazine.

A lot of people disagree with the Iranian shill, including the Saudis. But don’t worry. Be happy. Iran is going to get $150 billion released, and Obama is pretty darned sure they’re not going to use it for terrorism or the army or things like that. Because Iran is at heart a peaceful, rational country. Those chants of “Death to America“? Burning U.S. flags, stomping on Obama’s face? Well, they don’t really mean it.

Just like they don’t mean it when they say they’re going to destroy Israel. Chanting “Death to Israel?” MILLIONS of them? Putting out a video game that allows you to send missiles into Israel? Don’t worry, they don’t mean it–wait, they do.

The Trita Parsis of this world are liars. They are covering for a hegemonic regime that hates Israel and the West. Nothing good will come of the Obama nuclear negotiations. Nothing. Don’t believe their spin. The Iranian army is a threat to more than just Iran’s immediate neighbors.

Don’t believe what you read in so-called respectable magazines until you do some research about who’s writing the articles. And don’t forget, FP hired the odious Stephen Walt, co-author of the execrable “Israel Lobby” book. That tells you all you need to know about FP.

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Haters gonna be stupid

A neo-Nazi group in the U.K. will be marching in a Jewish neighborhood, spouting anti-Jewish slogans, and probably burning or destroying Jewish items. They’re threatening to burn the Talmud and stomp on the Israeli flag.

Neo-nazis in the United Kingdom announced plans to burn the Talmud and shred Israeli flags at an upcoming early July march in London’s Golders Green Jewish community, The Jewish Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Joshua Bonehill-Paine, a white supremacist activist, urged followers to participate in a private ceremony at Golders Green that would burn the Talmud “in recognition of its racist anti-white teachings.” He said the planned demonstration for July 4th would then be followed by others in the London neighborhoods of Finchley and Stamford Hill.

He said flags would be ripped, rather than burnt, at the protest, in order to avoid prosecution, and would mark solidarity “with those oppressed by the illegal state of Israel.”

Um… so what? You can burn the Talmud. You cannot destroy what it stands for. It’s a book. We have plenty more.

Don’t give these idiots any more oxygen. Laugh at them as they stomp on the flag and burn the Talmud. I would if I were there.

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Hello bias my old friend

I’ve come to talk about you again.

Because a news piece softly creeping left its bias while I was sleeping

Israeli Police Officers Kill Two Palestinian Men

Wait, what? Why on earth did Israeli police officers kill two innocent Palestinian men?

JENIN, West Bank — Two Palestinian men were fatally shot by the Israeli police after attacking officers with knives, one at a contested shrine in the West Bank and the other at a checkpoint near East Jerusalem, a police spokeswoman said Saturday.

Ohhhhhhh…. they attacked the officers and tried to kill them. So they were shot. And died. I guess that totally justified a biased headline like that. Say, what does the rest of the story say? Well, first the AP has to put in a paragraph that isn’t about the attack, so that vital details beyond the second or third paragraph will drop off your “World News” section. Then they have to make it look like the Israelis shouldn’t have shot the knife-wielding attacker.

They were the latest in a recent spate of attacks by Palestinians who appear to be acting alone and without the backing or instruction of any organization. They have carried out several deadly attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank using vehicles, knives and guns in recent months.

The first shooting took place at the Zayyim checkpoint on the outskirts of East Jerusalem late Friday. A police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, said a man identified as Ali Abu Ghannam, 17, ran toward officers with a knife at another checkpoint, then ran to the Zayyim checkpoint and threatened officers there. They shot him when he tried to stab them, she said, but Palestinian medics who arrived later said it was not clear what had taken place.

The police later released a photograph of a cleaver and what appeared to be a kitchen knife tipped with blood that they said Mr. Abu Ghannam had wielded.

The second shooting occurred on Saturday near the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron, a site revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians as the ancient burial place of Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Ms. Samri said a 20-year-old Palestinian man was shot by one officer after he stabbed another officer, 19, in the head and chest. The wounded officer was treated at a hospital. Ms. Samri did not identify either the injured policeman or his assailant, and Dr. Hijazi Abu Mazyar, an official with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, said his group had not yet ascertained the dead man’s identity.

They couldn’t spin the second attack, so they went on to talk about the one and only Jewish terrorist attack on Muslim worshipers. Because an attack in 1994 is totally relevant in 2015.

Reuters managed to get the headline right. But they tell a very different story than the AP.

Israeli forces kill two knife-wielding Palestinians – police
Israeli security forces killed two knife-wielding Palestinian attackers in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Saturday, police said.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, a Palestinian was shot dead by a paramilitary Israeli border police patrol after stabbing one of its men in the head and chest, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. The injured policeman was taken to hospital.

Samri described the dead Palestinian as being around 20 years old. No further details on his identity were immediately available.

Earlier, 17-year-old Palestinian Ali Abu Ghannam attacked Israeli border police with a cleaver at a checkpoint in East Jerusalem and then fled, with troops giving chase and firing warning shots in the air, Samri said.

Look at that. Warning shots and everything. Amazing how the AP didn’t think that was a necessary detail. But then, the AP has an agenda, and it’s anti-Israel.

So does the New York Times, but hey… they’re “the paper of record”. All the news, and all that.


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Introducing the Hulk News Briefs

There are so many news stories pissing me off that I think I’ve gone past the “I can’t even” portion of my brain and into the naked fury bit, also known as my inner Hulk. So let’s begin with effing Russia, the country my grandparents and great-grandparents were smart enough to emigrate from (thanks, smart family!)

Oh, fuck you, Russia: Russia sells S-300 missiles to Iran. The only reason Iran wants them is to stop Israel or the U.S. from being able to take out Iranian nuclear weapons plants. Russia shrugs and says that there’s nothing to worry about. The chants of “Death to Israel”? No biggie. An Iranian general calling the destruction of Israel “non-negotiable“? Oh, don’t sweat it.

Israel (among others) downgrades the representative it’s sending to Russia to commemmorate the USSR’s victory over Nazi German? Well, that’s something to get angry about.

When even VOX says the Iran deal sucks, it sucks: Even uber-lefty “explainer” “news” site thinks the Iran deal is bad. that should tell you something. Also, this.

The way the president has set this up, he has incentivized Iran to pocket huge benefits up front.

In Wisconsin, being conservative and Republican is illegal: National Review profiles the Wisconsin “John Doe” laws, that purport to be looking for illegal money in politics but are actually intimidating conservative groups. They are secret trials that you are not allowed to mention to anyone. It’s KGB Russia in one of the most progressive states in America. But don’t think you’re safe in a red state. Here in Virginia, a Marine was arrested because of a Facebook post.

Ending on a hopeful note: David Cameron on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Read it all.

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