Thursday, March 31, 2011

  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Press Agency reports that "well-informed sources" say that Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based leader of the political wing of Hamas, traveled to Qatar to pressure Al-Jazeera to tone down its criticism of Syria during the demonstrations there Syria, as well as to pressure the Muslim Brotherhood to take a neutral stance after a sermon by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi last Friday whee he criticized Syria's President Assad.

According to the sources, the mediation came at the request of the Syrian intelligence service, who assured Meshaal that his mission had succeeded with al-Qaradawi, as well as with Al-Jazeera. Waddah Khanfar, director of Al Jazeera, told Meshaal that he could not ignore the events in Syria but he said he would not interview opponents of the regime on Al Jazeera.

I'm not sure why Qaradawi would tone down his rhetoric against Assad, unless Meshaal brought some serious Syrian threats along with his nice requests.

See? Hamas can be a peacemaker - between brutal Arab regimes, terror supporting Islamists, and vicious media outlets.
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From NY Blueprint, yesterday:
"Do you like sexy panties? Then don't boycott Israel." So say the T-shirts worn by activists canvassing Union Square Park and handing out care packages of Israeli manufactured products including Victoria Secret panties today between 1-4pm in Union Square Park near NYU. It is a humorous way of drawing attention to the serious problems caused by the movement to boycott Israel, says the Birthright Israel Alumni Community who is organizing the "Kiss my BDS" event, problems for both innocent Israelis and American consumers most of whom have no idea of the many links between the two economies. These kind of unreasoning attacks on Israel only hurt America - American companies, American super markets, even in American lingerie drawers.

Today (March 30th) to counter the international anti-Israel "BDS Day" (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), sexy Israel supporters will be handing out Victoria's Secret panties in Union Square Park. (Victoria's Secret is on the boycott list.)
As much as I tried,I could not find photos of this important event. Sorry.

However, a blog called Jewish FAIL claims:
After receiving fabric from Israel, the undergarments are actually made by Palestinian women and foreign workers in Jordan who toil under brutal, intolerable conditions and then sew “Made in Israel” tags onto their work. The underwear is then returned to Israel, which exports it to the U.S. Yay, exploited labor masquerading as economic cooperation!
Damn, she's exploiting poor Jordanians!
The NYT article they point to to prove that the panties are made in Jordan is dated...1996. It seems possible, but not certain, that the lingerie is still being made in Jordan for Israeli companies. Ha'aretz reported more recently about "sweatshops" in Jordanian factories owned and used by Israeli companies.

So BDSers are boycotting Victoria's Secret, but others are complaining that Israel doesn't really make the products. I guess it is a second-level boycott.

Jordan, the nation that actually allows the sweatshops, somehow isn't blamed for any of this by anyone. Because, of course, the enlightened leftists who are so keen to complain about Israel and Victoria's Secret don't have very high moral expectations from mere Arabs.

  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Muqata finds at least one Korean Talmud story that is based on a specific legal issue in the Gemara. (The same Korean site has dozens of English-translated cartoons that claim to be from the Talmud; I don't recognize all the stories. If you are bored, just point your browser to and go backwards, changing the 324 to 323 and so on, to read more of these cartoons.)

David Benjamin in JPost finds that the latest UNHRC report on Israel is not as bad as people think. I can't find the report myself, but it is an interesting article.

Forbes' Daniel Freedman talks with Israelis who are hoping to send a robot to the moon.

A New York Post op-ed on the latest Israel hatefest coming to New York: Durban III.

An anti-Israel, but Jewish, Labour MP is caught muttering about those "Jews, again" at the BBC site.

Joseph Puder decries Israel's lack of a satellite channel, a theme we've touched on before.

Jewish Ideas Daily discusses the Arab politicization of archaeology, using it to demonize Israel.

An Irish town decides to be twinned with Gaza City.

Yossi Klein Halevi in the WSJ.

Viktor Shikhman notes that Netanyahu acted exactly the opposite that every critic of him takes for granted. Not that Andrew Sullivan notices.

Yaacov Lozowick goes further into the difference between J-Street and real "pro-Israel" groups.

Is Israel planning to build an island off of Gaza?

That should do for now!

(h/t...YM, Dan, Jack, and others. Sorry, I wasn't keeping track.)
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Stars and Stripes:
The woman and her daughter had been attacked, that much was certain.

They lay on beds in Patrol Base Jaker’s medical tent, calling for “Allah” as a U.S. Navy doctor and corpsman examined them.

Both had been shot. The girl, 12, had a bullet wound to her shoulder. Her mother, in her 20s, about seven months pregnant and with three other children, had been shot in the abdomen.

It had happened overnight, many hours before, while the husband and father, an Afghan policeman, had been at his post. That also seemed pretty straightforward.

But who had done it?

The Taliban,” the Americans were told. And within hours, that’s what the local Afghans were told, too. A squad of Marines and two Army psy-ops soldiers, one wearing a loudspeaker strapped to his back, headed out to the bazaar to tell the people of Nawa that the Taliban had attacked the woman and her daughter.

The only problem with that announcement was that it turned out not to be true.

In the intensive information war that U.S. forces are waging against the Taliban in Helmand province, getting the message out first — before insurgents provide their own version — can trump getting the message out accurately.

Studies done in Afghanistan and the United States have shown that people believe and remember the first reports they hear, not corrected versions, even when clear evidence shows initial reports to be wrong.

“It’s best to be quick and accurate,” said Lt. Col. Dave Hudspeth, commander of 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, headquartered in Marjah. “The enemy — they do info ops, too.”
The attackers were not, in fact, Taliban. Two colleagues of the husband, both also police officers, had attacked the women, according to local Afghan authorities. The motive was sexual assault, they said.

This was not good news for the Marines under orders to help connect the people with their government and the Afghan security forces, although the legal officer in civil affairs hoped to persuade the local Afghan prosecutor to press charges against the two Afghans, to show the government working for the people.

But there were no plans to correct the record, no plans to send out another patrol.

“Any chance to exploit the Taliban ...,” McNamara said.

But wouldn’t the Marines lose credibility when people in Nawa learned the Taliban were no longer suspected?

“Not in this environment,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Withrow.
I can only imagine the outrage that would accompany an article like this if it was published by an IDF magazine.

I cannot advocate that Israel start to lie when events happen and the details are not yet clear. But this article shows how critical it is to get information out quickly, as well as accurately. It also points out how important the information war is altogether.

If Israel isn't going to start lying, then she has to start doing serious investment in getting the truth out first. Things have improved a little in recent years but countering the massive amount of lies needs a much larger effort than what we have been seeing.

(h/t Silke)
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
I am very behind on posting links, but here are three videos sitting in my queue.

Aish Video shows a selection of the anti-Israel hate pages on Facebook, pointing out that they violate FB policy:

They also have a link to a petition to Facebook.

Here is Bibi Netanyahu's YouTube interview:

And here is a video from CNN showing Syrian TV going dark after a woman protester gets close to Bashir Assad:

(h/t Ian, Israeligirl)
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Press Agency reports that a prisoner's three-week hunger strike has ended after "a majority" of his demands were met.

Abbas Al-Sayyed was allegedly placed in solitary confinement after he spoke to Al Jazeera during a courtroom appeal.

His hunger strike gained him some publicity in the Palestinian Arabic media, A PA minister even visited his family and presented them with an honorary plaque, showing solidarity with his steadfastness and principles.

How admirable Al Sayyed is, standing up to his oppressors!


So, why is he in prison to begin with?

Oh, not much. Just for planning the Netanya Passover massacre that killed 30 innocent people. 21 of the victims were over 70 years old.

What a hero.
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From TheJC:
The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are "misleadingly" labelled as produced in Israel.

The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.

Supporters claim it has been "chased out" of its location by regular "noisy and intimidating" demonstrations.

A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: "When Ahava's lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one."

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.
The owner of the store next door shows the spinelessness we can expect from much of the UK:
Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: "I'm pleased Ahava is leaving. It's brought the street down. I've complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.

"Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead."
Perhaps it is time to stage noisy protests outside The Loft? Then Mr. George can follow his own advice!

After all, he believes that any group can shut down any shop they want to, just by acting obnoxious.
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post reported:
The IDF has released an aerial map of Lebanon revealing the location of some 1,000 different military sites and facilities. The map was published on Wednesday in the Washington Post.

According to the map, which the newspaper said it obtained from the Israeli military, Hezbollah has around 550 underground bunkers throughout Lebanon, around 300 surveillance sites and another 100 or so additional installations.
But the actual report in the Washington Post only mentioned this important story peripherally, buried in a story about how Israel supposedly might prefer Assad stay on as leader of Syria.

Today, after other news outlets picked up on the story, the Washington Post ironically has the story as a headline - but based on an AP report, that was based on the JPost report, that was based on the WaPo report that was buried!

So why is this important? As the AP report states:
Many of the sites on the map are located south of the Litani River in Lebanon, the zone where Hezbollah is banned from keeping weapons under the U.N.-sponsored truce that ended Israel’s summer 2006 war with the guerrilla group.

The map itself:

And to show how Hezbollah has turned virtually the entire population of southern Lebanon into human shields, here are details from the El Khiam village:

This seems like something that the UN, especially UNIFIL, should address, right?

Hey...stop laughing!
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Times has an op-ed about the experience of two pro-Palestinian activists, Katia and Alain Salomon, as they decided to go through the Israeli checkpoint at Kalandia.

We had no trouble reaching Ramallah from Jerusalem by public transportation. But we had problems on our return trip. We reached the Kalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on Friday, March 11, at 9:30 in the morning. We chose to get off the bus with everyone else, even though as foreigners we could have stayed on.

We were stunned by what we saw: dwarfing cement structures, barbed wire, cameras. As we lined up we could see an Israeli woman soldier inside a multifaceted concrete blockhouse, peering out at us. Ahead of us there was a tunnel of bars just wide enough for one person. At its end a turnstile was blocked electronically from somewhere.

...After that narrow corridor we stepped into a small area, again in front of a metal turnstile. Many of us were wet, as it had rained in the morning, and it was cold. There were not that many people waiting but only one or two people were let through every 10 minutes or so.

At 12:10 it was finally our turn. We could see the people controlling the turnstile. There were several young Israeli soldiers inside. They seemed to be having a very good time, laughing, horsing around, like all youths. We want to believe that they had no clue as to the moral and physical suffering they were inflicting with their very slow control process.
I have never been to Kalandia so I cannot comment on why there are no benches, or why the process is slow. But the authors of the article - who inform us twice that they are Jewish - know one thing:
We are Jewish, and began to weep. How was it possible that our own people, who have gone through such suffering, can inflict this ordeal, intended to humiliate and intimidate another people?
Here is all you need to know about the Salomons. Yes, they tell us, they are Jewish - but they do not for a second believe that the checkpoints, which have saved countless lives, serve any purpose besides humiliation and intimidation. Nay - their very intent is to humiliate Arabs! Some Israeli architect decided when he designed the building that it must humiliate and degrade people. Because that's how Israelis are.

Later on, they again explain more of what they "know:"
One can easily imagine the feelings of resentment that are born from this experience. This treatment is unwarranted from the perspective of legitimate security imperatives; it is degrading and inhumane and not understandable coming from a nation that wants to be perceived as democratic, a nation among nations.
Here's what this awful, humiliating checkpoint at Kalandia looks like:

What fair minded person can believe that this was designed to humiliate people? All I see is "security." Narrow passageways assures that only one person - potential terrorists included - can go through at a time, limiting damage he or she can do. The bars are no more intimidating than those that are adjacent to New York City subway turnstiles. The cameras are necessary so that individual Israeli soldiers aren't attacked with knives, as they have been. The area is clean.

The Salomons emphasize that they are Jewish in order to find reasons to insult the Jewish state. Instead of researching the reasons why Kalandia was designed as it was, they ascribe evil intent to Israel and insist - without any background in physical security as far as I can tell - that these measures are unnecessary.

It is a shame that so many Jews like the Salomons don't give their co-religionists the benefit of the doubt as to why they might possibly want to build such a checkpoint. Checkpoints are specifically designed to stop suicide bombers, shooters, people smuggling in pipe bombs, and people with knives who want to attack the first Israeli they see including the guards.  Unlike what these Israel-bashers who love to say they are Jewish claim, there are legitimate reasons for every decision made when designing Kalandia - all one has to do is pend a little time researching it.

It is almost sickening that people can write an article like this without once mentioning the challenges that Israel faces and the years of terrorism Israel that forced Israel to build structures like these. If they are as committed to Judaism as they claim, perhaps they can give a little benefit of the doubt Israelis who are trying to avoid being blown up.

Because giving the benefit of the doubt is also a Jewish concept.

UPDATE: I received an email from JB:
I served in the area for months, been to the checkpoint itself a few times and the article is BS. Sure, at certain days there are holdups, but usually the traffic is going just fine - both pedestrian and vehicular. Cases where one person goes through every few minutes are very rare and are usually a result of some kind of brawl the Palestinians started with soldiers. When I served there, our batcom received reports of a fight breaking out with the locals at least one or twice a week. The MPs got it particularly hard, as they were the ones in direct contact with the populations. The guys - and the girls - often got hit, spat on and abused in various ways. That is not to say this is an every day occurence, but it happens. The gals there got to use their pepper sprays quite often.

(h/t YM)
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
...which is why nobody cares.

Palestine Press Agency reports that a group of protesters walking from Al Azhar University to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were beaten and arrested by Hamas police.

Not only that, but Hamas called and warned journalists ahead of time not to cover the Land Day protests, and instructed them to instead cover a Hamas march at the same time.

Hamas also arrested some of the leaders of the March 15th "unity" rallies last night.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From AFP:
The United States consulate in Jerusalem said Wednesday that its consular annex would be closed the next day because of a mystery package that was discovered at the building.

Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a package containing an unidentified powder had been discovered by consular staff around midday local time.

"Police and officials of the environmental protection ministry examined the components, a white powder," he said, adding that the material had been taken away for specialist examination.

He did not know if the package was delivered by post or other means. "That's part of the investigation," he said.

The consular department, which handles passport and other matters for US citizens and visa applications for others, is housed in a new, purpose-built building in a quiet residential neighborhood of west Jerusalem.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
As I mentioned recently, one of my extraordinarily generous readers liked my posters so much, he offered to pay for them to be placed in ads in a few newspapers this weekend - along with my blog URL.

After I put together the ad, I realized that anyone who goes to my URL after reading the ad will be very confused - because it would redirect to the Blogger page, and this is just a blog, not an organized Israel advocacy page that people might expect.

Since the ads are running this weekend, I just created a very basic webpage that points to, with links to a few of my "greatest hits" as well as the blog. This way, I hope that people typing in the URL won't get too confused when they come to my page.

I did not spend too much time on the new landing page, and I created it using a free webpage design service, but hopefully it will do its job. For those who have bookmarked by Blogger page, this is not an issue at all.

Hopefully, when I get the time, I'll make the page more useful.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From JPost:
On a normal day, Shimshon Moshe – owner of the food stand Pitzutz Shel Kiosk, across from the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha’uma) – talks to thousands of people. He acts as an informal information booth, directing tourists and native-born Israelis to the correct buses, and as an unofficial policeman, keeping his eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Between selling cans of Coke and bags of Bisli, Moshe has spent much of the last two days pointing out the holes in his kiosk that were created when a duffel bag exploded just two feet away last Wednesday, killing one woman, UK national Mary Jean Gardner, and wounding 39.

Almost everyone who passes by stops to ask about the bombing, or about Moshe’s brother-in-law, David Amoyal, who was working in the kiosk at the time of the explosion and was wounded in the attack.

This isn’t the first time that Moshe’s kiosk has been a terrorist target. It was totally destroyed in a bombing on December 25, 1994.

Following the bombing, Moshe, who has owned the kiosk for more than 20 years, ironically renamed it Pitzutz Shel Kiosk (“A blast of a kiosk”).

After last week’s bombing, he is considering renaming the kiosk again, Moshe told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“I might name it, ‘Third Time, Ice Cream,’” [pa’am shlishit, glida] he said, laughing, referring to the popular Israeli expression used when something happens by chance twice in a row.

When people passing by hear this suggestion, they laugh as well. It’s the best way to react to this situation, explained Moshe.
This story should be translated into Arabic.

Because the terrorists need to know that the Jews aren't going anywhere.

(h/t CHA)
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
I was asked to make some posters to counter some planned BDS flashmobs and other protests happening today ("Land Day.")

I just made some generic signs that can be used effectively at any anti-Israel protest. as always, click on it to get the larger size and then you can print them or send them to a copy shop:

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From DPA:
Egypt's military unveiled an interim constitution on Wednesday, in the wake of the ousting of president Hosny Mubarak, outlining the government's powers and replacing the country's 1971 constitution.

The declaration from Supreme Council of the Armed Forces asserts that Egypt is a democratic country and ensures freedom of religion and opinion, spokesperson Mamdouh Shahin said in a press conference.
Well, sort of.

In fact, Al Arabiya reports that the part of the constitution that has been most problematic - Article 2 - has remained intact:
(Article 2): Islam is the Religion of the State. Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).
Coptic Christians in Egypt had objected to the part about Sharia. The Muslim Brotherhood was adamant it remain in place.

We see who won that battle.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
I am no expert on international law, but this op-ed in the JPost, if true, would have far-reaching implications for Israel's future. It shows a path that the PLO is using to gain international recognition in September.

Abbas Milani at TNR wonders why the world is silent about Iran's imprisonment of their leading dissidents.

Michael Oren asks - what if Gaddafi had gone nuclear?

The Forward had a good reaction by an Israeli music artist to Roger Waters' boycott. (h/t Daphne Anson via Israellycool)

Yaacov Lozowick wonders why the world is obsessed over the 61st conquest of Jerusalem.

I haven't been mentioning the Abu-Sisi case, mostly because there have been no official statements from Israel, but you should be aware of it.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
I stopped off at a supermarket this morning to find Israeli foods to buy for today's Buy Israeli Goods day.

Here's some of what I found:

So I had Tnuva Garlic and Dill cheese spread on crackers for breakfast, I'll have Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus forluch with some (Israeli-created) cherry tomatoes, and Bamba for a snack.

What Israeli products are you buying today?
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
If you do a Google Maps search for the Great Synagogue in Brussels, and you mouse over the building, here is what you see:

The pop-up box, when expanded and translated, means this:
All political, economic and financial decisions in Belgium are taken here. For a decision to be taken, the Belgian Parliament (Wetstraat) has to seek prior approval from the Learned Elders of Zion cell based at the Great Synagogue of Brussels (Regentschapsstraat).

It's been there for nearly a year.

I complained to Google, we'll see if anything gets done.

(h/t Philosemitism blog)
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Remember "car swarms," the inevitable photos of huge crowds gathering around terrorist cars that Israel targeted in Gaza?

Compare them to this reaction from this morning's Israeli attack on an Islamic Jihad rocket cell, two men riding a motorcycle:

They don't seem to put as much of their heart into it anymore.
An Islamic Jihad leader has condemned the Israeli airstrike that killed a member of his group this morning, in response to rocket fire.

One of the things he said is interesting:

Palestine is holy ground, a royal land, and it is not for the Palestinians only , but for all Muslims.

Which brings up two questions:

Has any Palestinian Christian leader ever expressed discomfort at being explicitly sidelined and dhimmified when Islamic Jihad and Hamas make statements like these?

Has any leftist "pro-Palestinian" group ever condemned the ambitions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose clear goal is not to create an independent Palestine but to use it as a step in the creation of a pan-Muslim 'umma?

The answer to both can be found in the latter half of what the PIJ leader said:

[All Muslims] must release the land from the terrorism of the Zionist enemy.

As long as you frame your goals in terms of destroying Israel, who cares what your ultimate goal is? Because everyone can agree that the main goal is the destruction of the Jewish state, not the niggling details of what would replace it.
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
I was forwarded this interesting video of a group singing in the Kremlin State Palace:

This is the Turetsky Choir, and Israel Matzav has their background.

(h/t Lenny)
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Sylvia in the comments points to a French site that used my "Apartheid?" posters pretty effectively. The first one adds to my poster series, and even matches the font I use to make them all look consistent:

This second poster is a zinger, comparing how many Arabs hold high positions in Israeli government and cultural institutions with how prominent they are in Europe.

By those standards, the EU and France are far worse "apartheid" states than Israel! (Update: Some commenters point out that there are some Arab members of the Dutch parliament, for example, but I think the poster might be referring to the European Parliament.)

Also, my Miral poster spoofs appeared on the Aish website

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The travel section of the New York Times gives us this gem:

I had eagerly gone to every new Indiana Jones movie, but had never longed to venture on an archaeological dig. Nor had I been to Israel. So when my wife and I were invited by a friend to tag along for a week last summer, we more or less leaped at the opportunity. (Any lingering doubts were dispelled when we were told that the hotel room reserved for us in Ashkelon faced north, which meant that it was less likely to incur a direct hit by errant missiles occasionally fired from Gaza, about a dozen miles to the south.)
Errant? You mean, Hamas and Islamic Jihad aren't aiming these missiles at people, but they just occasionally fire them accidentally towards civilian targets?

Now it is true that there were not many missiles last summer when the author went to Ashkelon, but characterizing the Qassams and Grads (which have better targeting capabilities) as "errant" is outrageous.

(h/t Steele Street)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
PCHR writes:

At approximately 02:30 on Tuesday, 29 March 2011, a projectile exploded in a house belonging to Ahmed Kheir al-Batsh, 62, in al-Salam neighborhood in Jabalia, northern the Gaza Strip. Hanin Khalil al-Batsh, 22, sustained shrapnel wounds throughout her body. Her baby Ashour al-Batsh, seven months old, also sustained shrapnel wounds in the back, neck and head. A neighbor, Raed Johar al-Batsh, 35, sustained shrapnel wounds to the head as a result of the glass windows in his house shattering from the blast. The projectile penetrated the window in a room located in the western part of the second floor in the house. It exploded in the northern wall of the room causing a hole. The house was heavily damaged and the glass of the windows in three of the neighboring houses shattered. It should be noted that a site used by members of one of the Palestinian factions is located to the southwest of al-Batsh's house.

Earlier, at approximately 01:30 on Saturday, 26 March, a homemade projectile exploded in a soft drinks factory belonging to Murtaja Company used to make Soft Drinks and Juices in al-Zaytoon neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. A store, covering approximately five dunums, which is used to keep plastic materials was also totally destroyed as a result. Several pieces of equipment in the factory were damaged as well. No casualties were reported.

In a third incident that took place at approximately 12:00 on Thursday, 24 March 2011, a homemade projectile exploded in a wood factory owned by Bseiso and Alami Industry and Trade Company in al-Zaytoon neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Three workers were wounded as a result, one of them seriously. The wounded are: 1. Khaled Mazen Hamada, 25, who sustained serious shrapnel wounds to the head; 2. Adel Ibrahim al-Nemnem, 46, who sustained shrapnel wounds to the head; and 3. Zaher Zuheir Tafesh, 33, who sustained shrapnel wounds in his right hand. The explosion also caused heavy damage to the factory and to a Mercedes belonging to the factory owner.
PCHR's recommendations are unintentionally funny:
In view of the above, PCHR:

1. Calls upon the government in Gaza to open serious investigations into the circumstances of the three reported incidents and to take measures necessary to protect Palestinians and their property.

2. Notes that members of the Palestinian resistance continue to store explosives or to treat such explosives in locations close to populated areas. This poses a major threat to the lives of the Palestinian civilians and constitutes a violation of both International Human Rights Law and the International Humanitarian Law. These actions must be brought to an end because they become more dangerous in view of the public and continued threats imposed by the Israeli occupation forces.
Somehow, PCHR didn't consider calling on members of the "resistance" to stop firing Qassams at Israel in the first place! Instead, they are just berating them for storing their explosives near Arab civilians; just move them to other area where you can shoot at Jewish civilians as much as you want.

In other words, the only reason it is wrong to store and shoot rockets is because Israel will shoot back. Otherwise, this "human rights" organization implies, terrorists can launch all the rockets they want towards Israeli schools, homes and medical clinics.

(h/t Yosef Hartuv)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From yesterday's Homepage Daily:
Don't be scared if you hear sirens in Washington Square Park today; there's no need to find shelter.

"The Bomb Shelter" is a "media installation" exhibit that will periodically sound sirens for 15 seconds. Those who choose to participate will have 15 seconds to get to a makeshift shelter. This demonstration is to raise awareness for the rocket attacks in Israel, where citizens only have 15 seconds to escape to safety — and it's not a drill.

Participants will also hear the sounds of explosions as they rush to make it to the shelter. This, the organizers say, will give people firsthand knowledge of what Israelis face.
Metro reports:
A group of artists intentionally caused terror and confusion in Washington Square park yesterday — by simulating a terrorist attack.

The group Artists for Israel, aided by Birthright Israel, set up a full-size Israeli bomb shelter in the middle of the park yesterday. They blasted sirens and simulated the boom of rockets hitting earth. Participants were given 15 seconds to run for shelter.

“There were people running,” said Arief Hussain, 34, a hot dog vendor in the park. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

But once the sirens started wailing, the NYPD and the Parks Department teamed up to shut down the event at 1:30, just half an hour after it began. “They didn’t have a permit,” said Detective James Alberici of the 6th Precinct.
No permit? Well, what's art without a little anarchy?

More from Artists4Israel, the Sderot Bomb Shelter Museum and Paint Israel show that not all artists are anti-Israel moonbats. It just goes to prove that real liberals do love Israel.

Some of the artists behind the New York exhibit can be seen in this video.

 The exhibit will be traveling to college campuses.

(h/t Zvi)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last August I dug into FBI bias crime statistics to show that there is no significant Islamophobia in America,

The Center for Security Policy has just done the same thing, just more more formally and in a 40-page report. Of course, they have the ability to send their results to every member of the Senate.

The Center for Security Policy today released a revised edition of their groundbreaking longitudinal study, Religious Bias Crimes 2000-2009: Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims - Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend in Muslim Victimization, based on FBI statistics reported annually in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The Center's study contradicts the assertions that religious bias crimes against Muslims have increased, and that the alleged cause is widespread “Islamophobia” in America. In fact, the study shows that religious bias crimes - also known as hate crimes - against Muslim Americans, measured by the categories of incidents, offenses or victims, have remained relatively low with a downward trend since 2001, and are significantly less than the numbers of bias crimes against Jewish victims.

The Center's study also contradicts the assumption of increased hate crimes against Muslims which has been asserted by Senator Richard Durbin's (D-IL) Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, and is the topic of hearings being held today. Printed copies of the study were delivered to each member of the U.S. Senate early this morning.

According to the Center's analysis, in 2009, Jewish victims of hate crimes outnumbered Muslim victims by more than 8 to 1 (1,132 Jewish victims to 132 Muslim victims). From 2000 through 2009, for every one hate crime incident against a Muslim, there were six hate crime incidents against Jewish victims (1,580 Muslim incidents versus 9,692 Jewish incidents). Even in 2001 when religious bias crimes against Muslims increased briefly for a nine-week period, total anti-Muslim incidents, offenses and victims remained approximately half of the corresponding anti-Jewish totals.

The study provides hard data that disproves the counterfactual statements made by a small number of highly vocal Muslim lobbying groups, many linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as leftwing activists. Citing these false assumptions concerning America’s alleged “Islamophobia” and a supposed rising trend in hate crimes against Muslim Americans, these organizations argued against holding the March 10, 2011 House Committee on Homeland Security hearings on Muslim American radicalization, and have argued for today's hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution. The study shows that these arguments against the March 10 hearings, and for today's March 29 hearings, are not based on facts but rather on a political agenda.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
In 2007, I embarked on writing a history of Palestinian Arabs for the blog. I never finished it, but what I did write I am pretty proud of (although some of the links don't work anymore.)

I just posted it as its own page. It is quite long for a blog post - 19,000 words, about a third of the size of many books.

Since I have many more readers today than I did in 2007, I hope that you enjoy it and learn something.

Check it out!
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Ma'an:
The deputy mayor of Awarta and two of his brothers were detained along with dozens of others Tuesday morning by Israeli forces. Officials say the detained men are being given DNA tests and questioned by soldiers.

The detentions come as the investigation into the murders of five Israeli settlers - including two children and an infant - enters its third week. More than 40 have been detained from the village in the course of the investigation, and foreign workers in the settlement were said to have been questioned.

Awarta, the closest Palestinian village to the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar, where the murders occurred, has been the center of the investigation, and was placed under military curfew twice, the first time for five days.
As my interview with the mayor of Itamar showed:

  • The IDF saw muddy footprints leading from the massacre scene to 'Awarta.
  • The IDF found a bulletproof vest stolen from the first, empty home the terrorists entered - in 'Awarta.
  • It appears that the knife used to slaughter the family was found in the home.
  • Unlike Ma'an's insinuations that are now all over the Internet, there are no foreign workers in Itamar so there is no doubt that the murderers came from  the direction of 'Awarta.

(Ma'an's editor tweeted me that he would run a story that there were no foreign workers in Itamar if I could get an official statement. I immediately got one from a settler leader, over a week ago, but he never published the article as far as I can tell.)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
A German blog reports (translation paraphrased):
Once again it has happened. At a demonstration in front of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof on 27 March 2011, that called for a boycott against Israel, police took two men into custody because they refused to cease their peaceful expression of solidarity with Israel by displaying an Israeli flag.

On March 27 2011 there was a demonstration at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof exhibition. The State of Israel was accused of apartheid (an almost racist comparison) and a boycott of Israeli products was demanded. The brutal terrorist acts against Israel, however, have been omitted, downplayed or justified.

At some point two people at the exhibition held up an Israeli flag. That's all they did! They did not interfere, they didn't scream, nor did they riot. Neither did they chant anti-Palestinian slogans, nor did they display any signs with anti-Palestinian views. They only peacefully showed the Israeli flag, to ensure that Israel is not looked upon as the devil, as the Palestinian Hamas claimed, but a lovely country with good and bad sides.

They were thus not so pro-Israel, because to display a flag purely shows that the country has a right to exist, can not really proven to be sign as a special affection. There is no special sign of affection, To say that defense of Israel's right to exist is "pro-Israeli" is as absurd as to assert that one is pro-Jewish by being against Auschwitz and the extermination of Jews. The condemnation of the Holocaust is, of course, not pro-Jewish, but simply pro-human, like the condemnation of the desire for the destruction of Israel nor pro-Israeli but simply is pro-human.

This humanity, however, provoked the pro-Palestinian demonstrators. They went off to the two people. The mere existence of the Israeli flag was already a thorn in their eye,as with Hamas, the mere existence of the State of Israel and Jews is a problem to be solved at all.

When the demonstrators turned to the police, the police did not defend right of two people to hold the flag of a peaceful democratic country, but instead they took down the flag of Israel and took the two people in custody.
The entire post is worth reading, even in autotranslation, as the author is indignant with the direction that Germany is going.

(indirect h/t to Serious Black)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From JPost:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to give up hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid if that is what is necessary to forge a reconciliation deal with Hamas, the Associated Press quoted his adviser as saying on Monday.

Azzam Ahmed stated that "the Palestinians need American money, but if they use it as a way of pressuring us, we are ready to relinquish that aid."
What Ahmed is saying is that the Palestinian Authority would not be pretending to be moderate if it wasn't for American money - they would happily go publicly closer towards Hamas' extremism in the interests of "unity."

Abbas' condemnations of terror - as Arafat's before him - have never been sincere. They are part of the deal, the facade they must maintain in order to continue to get US and EU aid. If they were left to their own devices, the PA would cheer today's terrorist attacks in exactly the same way they cheer yesterday's attacks, naming institutions in honor of bloodthirsty murderers. Is there any moral difference between Samir Kuntar's bashing in the skull of a four year old girl and the vicious stabbing of the Fogel children? Yet Kuntar is a hero, a person that Abbas specifically went out of his way to meet in Lebanon.

If the PLO and PA need to be bribed to act like peaceful human beings, then what more do you need to realize that any peace agreement with them would be a sham? Perhaps one can argue that an artificial peace meant to pacify the West is better than none, but it is not a peace that Israel should be forced to give tangible concessions for.

In other words, a sham peace by the PLO must be reciprocated with a similar peace from Israel: a detente where there is no shooting but where Israel does not give anything permanent upin exchange for mere words.

So President Obama should call Abbas' bluff. Cut off the funds and see how peaceful he acts. If he immediately goes to Iran via Hamas to make up his budget shortfall, then the US will know exactly how pro-West the PA really is. And the true obstacle to peace will be revealed to the world.

(h/t David G)

UPDATE: See also Khaled Abu Toameh on a similar theme.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
A member of the PLO Executive Committee, Hanna Amira, has told Al Quds Al Arabi Monday that the Palestinian leadership is considering throwing out their agreements with Israel, according to the Oslo accords, in September.

"There are proposals on the table for discussion, including the abandonment of the PLO of its obligations under the agreements signed and implemented", he said, stressing that the situation will not remain as it is now, and said, "things after September will be as they were before."

The PLO has been planning to declare itself a state in September.

He also said that the PLO is planning to hold meetings in Arab capitals to prepare for September.

The Palestinian Authority reports to the PLO, and the PLO is in charge of all non-domestic issues.

Of course, this means that Israel can start building settlements outside the boundaries of existing communities as it has been for years, and can ignore the Areas A, B and C that have been created during the Oslo process. The IDF should be prepared to re-enter Ramallah and Nablus in September. After all, if one party abrogates an agreement, then the other is not bound by it either - that's what an agreement means.

Israel should make that clear today, and the Quartet should tell the PLO that unilateral actions on their part that destroy the existing agreements with Israel will not be rewarded.

Not that the Quartet ever had strong words for the PLO and its already existing violations of Oslo.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
A disturbing story from TheJC:
Israel boycotters have declared a "victory" after organisers of an Israeli music conference assured them that the event would have no Israeli government funding.

Campaigners from British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) and the Boycott Israel Network (BIN) threatened to picket "Arts Music of Israel" which is being organised by the Jewish Music Institute at SOAS next week.

Organisers turned down a grant from the British Israeli Arts Training Scheme, after deciding they did not want political connections with the conference. JMI director Geraldine Auerbach said no money had been received from the Israeli government, and a £1,500 grant from BI-ARTS had been turned down.

This week, BRICUP published the correspondence it had with Ms Auerbach, which said: "I confirm that there is no funding directly or indirectly from the Israeli government or institutions." BRICUP also claim Ms Auerbach told them that the event would no longer be promoted via the Israeli embassy.

A trustee of the Jewish Music Institute has expressed his anger and frustration that the organisation turned down Israeli funding for a conference under pressure from boycotters.

David Mencer, a former director of the Labour Friends of Israel, attacked the "appalling lack of judgment and moral character in [the JMI's] distancing itself from Israel."

He said the trustees had not been consulted by JMI director Geraldine Auerbach over the decision. Mr Mencer said he believed the organization had "submitted to blackmail and given the Israel boycotters and Israel haters an unnecessary victory.

"JMI have refused to accept a donation from the representatives of the democratically elected government of the State of Israel for an event about the music of Israel.

"We have made it even more difficult for other organisations trying hard to promote UK - Israel ties by setting this precedent.

"I am sure that I am not alone in wanting to distance myself from this decision. Perhaps most importantly of all, this decision will also have mortally damaged any future attempt to fundraise from the Jewish community, thus jeopardising the future of the organisation."
In this case, it is a big victory for the BDSers. They forced weak-willed British Jews to distance themselves from Israel, as if taking money from Israel would impugn an Israeli music conference.

But did this pacify the Israel-haters? Of course not!

Campaigners say they still plan to hand out leaflets outside the conference, claiming it would be "impossible" to hold a conference on Palestinian music.

Because of that statement, I did a little research into "Palestinian" music and came up with an unconsciously illuminating article, a book review of "Palestinian Arab Music: A Maqam Tradition in Practice".

For a musicology researcher, the book is a treasure trove. The appendices alone (about one-quarter of the large book) contain transcripts and classifications of 28 songs, representing the repertoire of the region, including musical notation, Arabic text, transliteration and translation. For fans of the mathematical analysis of maqam tetrachords, this is a must-read. Discussed genres include shruqi, zajal, mijana, ‘ataba, mu’anna, haddadi, dabke and mhorabe. The authors have beautifully catalogued rhythmic and modal organizations. Famous documented performers include Hikmat Shaheen (father of Arab-American composer Simon Shaheen), Muhammad Abd al-Qader and Yousef Majadeli. When available, the authors even added an update of where the artists had settled decades after the initial research was conducted.

So there does exist at least one, comprehensive, scholarly book on Palestinian Arab music that could certainly be the basis of a conference.

The Arab book reviewer mentions an interesting fact, as an aside:
The book’s stated objective is to document the vocal music of a specific, defined group – the Palestinian Arabs in Israel. Although a worthy dissertation topic, the research was conducted at a time when the target group was still the first generation and had not developed as a defined group or even considered themselves as such. They had lived under the Ottoman Empire and a brief British Mandate during which they traveled, traded and exchanged culture with their fellow Arabs in Greater Syria and Egypt. It was not until a few decades later that there was a group defined by political isolation from its brethren.
Notice the bolded parts. The Arab book reviewer is stating what is obvious to even the Arab world: there was no Palestinian people until recently, and they were defined by the "political isolation" from their "brethren." In other words, they are essentially an artificial construct that was created by the Arab world, not an inherently cohesive and historic group.

And, by the way, who wrote this definitive book on Palestinian Arab music theory?

Dalia Cohen and Ruth Katz, two researchers at Hebrew University.

Monday, March 28, 2011

  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Wednesday, March 30, is Buy Israeli Goods day, a day set aside to counter an annual BDS day of action for that same date.

There is a webpage set up to help you find where in your area you might be able to find Israeli items.

Make sure to let the store-owners know that you are looking for, and willing to pay for, Israeli products!

You can read more about the campaign at StandWithUs.

UPDATE: Here's an incredibly cheesy video to promote BIG:

  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
As a follow-up to this post, I just spent a bit of time puzzling out Korean auto-translations from Google, and I have discovered that in no way are Koreans "studying" the Talmud.

When they say they are studying it, they mean that they have taken a small number of proverbs and Rabbinic stories that have been translated and they are reading and discussing just those stories. .

The Korean Talmud webpages I have seen treat the Talmud the same way one treats Aesop's Fables, as a shorthand way to gain insights into morality and how to live as well as plain entertainment. The bulk of the Talmud - as a basis for an all-encompassing legal system - is not mentioned.

I cannot find any indication of any real Talmud study. I can't find any translations of Talmud into Korean, nor any indication of scholarly study of the Aramaic/Hebrew original by Korean students. And in no way are the Koreans taking advantage of the parts of the Talmud that have sharpened the minds of Jews for centuries - the intricate pilpul, the careful reading of texts for legal ramifications, the hours it takes to reconcile two seemingly opposing source-texts.

As far as I can tell, the Koreans think that the brief snippets of translation they have access to is the Talmud. They do not seem to understand what the Talmud really is, hence the confusion about so many Korean people think they own copies of the Talmud.

So while it is still a fascinating topic, YNet seems to have overblown it a bit.
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The main issue with making good posters is finding the best pictures.

One of the best sites for hasbara is where they have a large archive of stories that tell the good news about Israel. I contacted them to see if they have higher resolution photographs of their stories, and they responded that they often do, and which stories am I interested in?

Here's where I need your help. There are hundreds of stories at that site. If you could go through it in some random order and comment here with the URL of the stories you think would make good posters, a brief description of the story, and whether there was a good photo in the story itself, I would appreciate it!

And you won't regret spending the time at that site, either. You will learn a lot.

  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
I reported yesterday that
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmi said "resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people for liberation from Israeli occupation for and achieving their goal of independence and the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem."
I wasn't sure if this was a PA or Fatah statement, but now I found it on the official Fatah Media website.

The site says the same words pretty explicitly elsewhere, for example it has a history of Fatah that says:
Fatah is characterized by its flexibility and pragmatism, adopting armed struggle when needed, and political action when necessary.
That same document sure makes it sound like the goal is still to destroy Israel, although I'll need a native Arabic reader to confirm that to me. (For example, it seems to have a problem with Jews settling in - the Negev.)
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Hamas is beating women reporters. Ho-hum.

Roger Simon points to an Iranian-produced movie about the Last Mahdi, and has some very good comments on it.

Just Journalism shows us a Turkish hypocrite.

Yaacov Lozowick on Jeffrey Goldberg on J-Street.

My Tenth Intifada Facebook page is still out there - join in the fun!

(h/t Folderol)
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Remember a year or two ago when keffiyehs were considered chic?

Well, H&M seems to think that tallitot (Jewish prayer shawls) are the next big thing. Check this out:

Commenter Kramerica wonders if this is H&M's sly way to get back at BDS advocates who were upset that H&M is opening stores in Israel.
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Captain Avichai Adra'i is not only impressive in what he says, but in how he says it. He knows that his audience - the entire Arab world - respects forceful speech more than the namby-pamby words given to Western reporters and diplomats.

And he lets them have it:

(h/t Alex)

UPDATE: Challah Hu Akbar points out that this is from 2009.
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Lebanese al Akhbar newspaper has been revealing a large number of Wikileaks cables from the 2006 Lebanon war, and they seem to show one overriding theme: Lebanese political parties really didn't support Hezbollah's kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and its subsequent war.

NowLebanon has an analysis:
Indeed, several of the cables, written by the former US ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman, show not Hezbollah’s enemies, but its allies expressing discomfort, or displeasure, with the party. They include two parliamentarians from Michel Aoun’s bloc, Farid el-Khazen and Ibrahim Kanaan, and the former health minister, Muhammad Jawad Khalifeh, who is close to the parliament speaker, Nabih Berri (and who described Berri’s anger with Hezbollah)
The links to the cables, and excerpts, can be seen here:


“Aounist advisor MP Ibrahim Kanaan expressed frustration and deep concern over the present course of events in Lebanon and said he has advised his party leader General Michel Aoun to put distance between himself and Hassan Nasrallah. Kanaan is convinced that Hizballah, with “its extreme overconfidence,” will soon lose control over the rapidly escalating hostilities. In his view, the resulting loss of life and stability will produce a severe backlash in Christian, and possibly Sunni, communities that could destroy Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, since it is currently viewed as a Hizballah ally. Kanaan suggested, however, that the current crisis may offer an opportunity for Aoun and PM Siniora to form a pro-reform “partnership.” Senior Aoun advisor Gebran Bassil, on the other hand, defended Hizballah’s actions and said Siniora’s government was merely reaping the whirlwind created by its passivity and refusal to share power. Moderate Aounist MP Farid el-Khazen, meanwhile, split the difference: strongly criticizing Hizballah’s duplicity and recklessness, while recommending aloofness from the star-crossed Siniora government.”

“In a July 13 discussion with poloff, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, who is frequently used as an intermediary and spokesperson by Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Michel Aoun, said that FPM’s association with Hizballah has been a mistake. Declaring that Michel Aoun did not have the slightest idea that Hizballah was planning such a provocative act, Kanaan professed deep concern that Hizballah was now effectively steering the ship of state. When asked if he thought Hassan Nasrallah was acting like a Minister of Defense, Kanaan retorted, “no, no, much more than that.”

“Kanaan half-heartedly defended the troublesome February 6 compact between the FPM and Hizballah, saying it originally held the promise of bringing Hizballah into Lebanon’s political mainstream. But he conceded that the previous day’s “reckless” ambush in Israeli territory is threatening to completely undo Lebanon’s struggling democracy and threatens to deliver the country back into the tender mercies of Syria.”


“Mid-way through the meeting three visitors arrived at Larsen’s room unannounced. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, Minister of Telecommunications Marwan Hamadeh, and Minister of Information Ghazi Aridi entered the room in good humor and indulged in generous orders to room service with the others present. The three Lebanese politicians reacted positively to Larsen’s proposal to call for a transfer of the Israeli soldiers to the GOL…”

“Over a glass of red wine, a large bottle of vodka (the quality of which sparked a long exchange between Jumblatt and the startled room service waiter), and three bottles of Corona beer, Jumblatt gave a briefing on the thinking of the March 14 coalition which had met that evening. Jumblatt noted the heavy destruction of Lebanese infrastructure but bemoaned the irony that Hizballah’s military infrastructure had not been seriously touched. Jumblatt explained that although March 14 must call for a cease-fire in public, it is hoping that Israel continues its military operations until it destroys Hizballah’s military capabilities.”

“Responding to Jumblatt’s complain that Israel is hitting targets that hurt the GOL while leaving Hizballah strategically strong, the Ambassador asked Jumblatt what Israel should do to cause serious damage to Hizballah. Jumblatt replied that Israel is still in the mindset of fighting classic battles with Arab armies. “You can’t win this kind of war with zero dead,” he said. Jumblatt finally said what he meant; Israel will have to invade southern Lebanon. Israel must be careful to avoid massacres, but it should clear Hizballah out of southern Lebanon. Then the LAF can replace the IDF once a cease-fire is reached. A defeat of Hizballah by Israel would be a defeat of Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon, Hamadeh added. For emphasis, Jumblatt said that the only two outcomes are total defeat or total success for Hizballah.


“Gemayel said Aoun had cooperated with Mossad through the duration of Lebanon’s civil war, and said he allied himself with Syria and Hizballah now because he believed they offered him the best chance at winning his long coveted seat in Baabda Palace.”

Quote: “[Harb] recommended that a strong Israeli advance that completely controls the Hizballah strongholds of Maroun El Ras and Bint Jbeil would provide a chance for the U.S. impose a ceasefire while showing that Hizballah has been overpowered… He also stressed that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a reluctant Hizballah ally, will become the political victim of Hizballah.” 

Lebanese support for Hezbollah today seems to be more because it is the "strong horse" and not because anyone is particularly supportive of the group. .
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From YNet:
On Wednesday the Iranian embassy in Prague organized an event at a well-known hotel in the Czech capital. Prior to the event, a senior embassy official was shocked to see an Israeli flag flying high at the head of a line of flags situated near the entrance to the hotel.

The diplomat spoke to the hotel manager and demanded that the Israeli flag be taken down, but the manager, an Arab-Israeli from Nazareth, rejected the request.

"The (Israeli) flag will remain at the front of the hotel always," the manager told the Iranian official. "If you don’t like it, you are welcome to hold the event at another hotel."

The angry Iranian diplomat had no choice but to accept the hotel's position, and the event was held as scheduled.
According to a Czech site, the Iranians were celebrating Nouroz, the Persian new year, on the spring equinox.
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Today (Islamic Jihad) reports that Hamas officials are optimistic that Egypt will re-open their embassy in Gaza.

The embassy was closed after the Hamas coup in Gaza.

Embassy to Cairo in the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Mohamed Awad, Hamas minister of foreign affairs said Hamas had applied to the Egyptian government to reopen its embassy in the Gaza Strip, saying that "the government is waiting for the Egyptian response to the request" and saying that there are "positive signs" in that direction.

He said that Egyptian-Palestinian relations "has improved markedly and were better than in the past".

In a related story, Hamas leader Mahmoud al Zahar was scheduled to meet with Egyptian intelligence head Murad Muwafi and Assistant Foreign Minister Nabil Arabi on Sunday, marking the first time Hamas officials have met officially with the new Egyptian government.

Looks like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are getting quite cozy in this new Egyptian "spring" and that Hamas is trying to be recognized as the official Palestinian Arab government to Egypt.

It also means that the Egyptian revolution may have destroyed the "peace process." Egypt was an important intermediary between Israel and the PA, and that seems to be gone now. Not only that, but by strengthening Hamas politically, it puts the idea of unity between the PA and Hamas that much further away, and any unity government would be much more extremist making peace with Israel even less likely.

Not that you will find any Western media noticing that. Because how can they admit that two things they wanted so badly are incompatible with each other?
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
Over the weekend, Syrian riots have spread to the coastal town of Latakia. From BBC:
Syrian troops have deployed in force in the northern city of Latakia, where at least 12 people have died in a wave of unrest that has shaken the regime.

Officials blamed foreign forces for the violence, but residents said pro-government gangs started the clashes.

Syrian troops are now in control of Latakia, 350km (220 miles) north-west of the capital Damascus, our correspondent says.

The government says 12 people were killed during clashes on Friday and Saturday, but residents say the number could be higher.

The streets of Latakia, home to 450,000 people, were completely deserted on Sunday and all shops remained closed.
AP adds:
A Latakia resident says the streets are mostly deserted on Monday after unidentified men carrying sticks and hunting rifles pulled over cars and asked for IDs on Sunday and through the night. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
I had mentioned that Syria had earlier blamed "Palestinian extremists" for the unrest when it was just starting, and an advisor to President Assad has made the same accusation about Palestinian Arabs who live in the unofficial Latakia "refugee" camp.

Now a new conspiracy theory is making the rounds.

According to Palestine Press Agency, the person behind the Latakia escalation is Assad's cousin Rami Makhlouf. For two years, Makhlouf has been trying to move the entire Latakia Palestinian Arab camp elsewhere - because they are on valuable beach property and he wants to turn that area into a resort.

A crackdown in Latakia that blames Palestinian Arabs could be the excuse he needs to set up his cream project.

Makhlouf is reportedly a billionaire and one of the most powerful men in Syria.

His name seems to be coming up in many demonstrations as a symbol of Syrian corruption.

The Latakia camp is not an official UNRWA camp but was set up in 1955. Its residents are said to mostly have originated in Jaffa.

Palestinian Arab leaders in Syria have been trying very hard to distance themselves from the demonstrators.
  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
EoZ is up against 7 Agorot in the first round of the quarter-finals of the Pro-Israel Blog-Off.

I was really busy when asked to submit an article and pretty much picked an article I had written that day which didn't even get that much traction here, but which I thought was important.

Last time I took a chance and submitted a cartoon, and while I lost the popular vote (35% of the total score)  the judges liked mine the best and my post won.

So go to Israellycool, read both articles, and vote for which you think is best.

  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Elder of Ziyon
From The Muqata, translated from YNet:
Close to 50 million people live in South Korea, and everyone learns Gemara (Talmud) in school. "We tried to understand why the Jews are geniuses, and we came to the conclusion that it is because they study Talmud," said the Korean ambassador to Israel. And this is how "Rav Papa" became a more well known scholar in Korea than in Israel.

It is doubtful if the Amoraic scholars, Abbaye and Rava imagined their discussions of Jewish law in the Beit Midrash in Babylon would be taught hundreds of years later in East Asia. Yet it turns out that the laws of an "egg born on a holiday" ("ביצה שנולדה ביום טוב") is actually very interesting to the South Koreans who have required that Talmud study be part of their compulsory school curriculum.

Almost every home in South Korea now contains a Korean-translated Talmud. But unlike in Israel, the Korean mothers teach the Talmud to their children. In a country of close to 49 million people who believe in Buddhism and Christianity, there are more people who read the Talmud - or at least own their own copy at home - more than in the Jewish state. Much more.

"So we too will become geniuses"

"We were very curious about the high academic achievements of the Jews," explains Israel's ambassador to South Korea, Young Sam Mah, that was a host on the program "culture today."

"Jews have a high percentage of Nobel laureates in all fields: literature, science and economics. This is a remarkable achievement. We tried to understand what is the secret of the Jewish people? How they - more than other people - are able to reach those impressive accomplishments? Why are Jews so intelligent? The conclusion we arrived at is that one of your secrets is that you study the Talmud."

"Jews study the Talmud at a young age, and it helps them, in our opinion, to develop mental capabilities. This understanding led us to teach our children as well. We believe that if we teach our children Talmud, they will also become geniuses. This is what stands behind the rationale of introducing Talmud Study to our school curriculum."

Young says that he himself studied the Talmud at a very young age: "It is considered very significant study," he emphasized. The result is that more Koreans have Talmud sets in their homes than Jews in Israel.

"I, for example, have two sets of the Talmud: the one my wife bought me, and the second was a gift from my mother."

Koreans don't only like the Talmud because they see it as promoting genius, but because they found values that are ​​close to their hearts.

"In the Jewish tradition, family values ​​are important," explains the South Korean Ambassador.

"You see it even today, your practice of the Friday evening family meal. In my country we also focus on family values. The respect for adults, respect and appreciation for the elderly parallels the high esteem in my country for the elderly."

Another very significant issue is the respect for education. In the Jewish tradition parents have a duty to teach their children, and they devote to it lots of attention. For Korean parents, their children's education is a top priority. (YNET)
I thought this was a Purim joke...but it's not.

Here's an article in the Korean Herald about a rabbi who teaches Talmud in Korea.

Here's a message board posting from 2005 in a Christian forum where a visitor to Korea is trying to figure out why all Korean kids are learning Talmud.

Here's a Korean website filled with Talmudic sayings and stories.

And, most convincing to me...pictured here is a Korean children's book called "Splash Into the World of Talmud". I found other books filled with Talmudic stories for kids.

If only Jewish parents would be as interested in teaching Judaism to their kids as Koreans are!

UPDATE: The story is not exactly what it seems.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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