Saturday, December 11, 2010

Comments trail:

@ Pyramidion: The blogger lays down this indictment:

“Thou shalt not lie”..was not one of the ten commandments … the Israelite scribes only picked their choice out of the 42 Egyptian negative confessions and conveniently left out that embarrassingly uncalled for commandment.

My comment:

It's not at all accurate to claim that the ten commandments do not include an injunction not to lie. As the author of the post here has freely admitted, he used to tell a fib or two as a boy and I'm pretty sure he tells a fib or two as a grownup. A lie is anything from falsely complimenting your wife's cooking in order to keep the peace in the family to lying in the witness stand in a way that can harm your fellow-citizen. The Torah is not concerned with the lies that are necessary to maintain personal harmony. It is concerned with the lies that can cause severe harm to a person and therefore to the justice in society.

Therefore the The Eight (according to some version, the nineth) Commandment instructs:

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

And some translations prefer to say:
"You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people. ."

As for the main contention in this post, that an ancient Egyptian code antedated the ten commandments, I would say, but of course. The ancient Israelites did not invent morality. Morality is part of the human condition. Most of us are born with a certain ability to react to injustice and want to see it corrected. So there is no doubt that the ancient Egyptians, who developed a great civilization, some say even superior to that of Athens and Rome, would have encoded their understanding of what it takes to maintain a civil society into a set of rules and ethics.

@ Vengeful Zhid

"Can you imagine what would have happened if National Geographic described Mohamed's followers as "people with sticks in their hands, shouting and cursing and spitting" or the Muslim holy cities as cow towns?"

More Pollarding from Peretz

Jonathan Pollard:

One of my many comments:

"But you should know exactly who these people are: They are professional victims, mostly brutal themselves, who originate in the ultra-nationalist and religious right. "

I would have liked to see some proof for this statement. Marty likes to pretend to his American readers that most Israelis share American views even when they are in intuitive contradiction to their own interests. Most Israelis would like to see Pollard released and brought to Israel.

Was Rabin part of the "ultra-nationalist and religious right. "?

"In December 1993, The Washington Post editorialized on a campaign seeking presidential commutation of Pollard’s sentence. Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was urging president Bill Clinton to commute Pollard’s sentence to the eight years then served. That call was supported by members of Congress and a range of prominent religious and political figures. Longtime NAACP director Benjamin Hooks, who had himself served as a judge, wrote to Clinton: “I have rarely encountered a case in which government arbitrariness was so clearcut and inexcusable.”

Someone mentioned the Rosenbergs. I think this article by Oliver Kamm is a short and convincing account of the flaws in their trial and the question of guilt:

"Of the Rosenbergs' trial, we can say, more than half a century later, all of the following with reasonable certainty. Ethel's conviction was based on tainted evidence (that of her brother, Ruth Greenglass's husband, David Greenglass). That evidence should have been ruled inadmissible. The prosection case, as it was conducted and regardless of what we now know of the historical facts, was flawed. The prosecutor, Roy Cohn, was a corrupt and unscrupulous man. The capital sentence was unjust and ought never to have been imposed. But the one thing we cannot say is that there is any doubt of the Rosenbergs' guilt. Julius was a spy, and Ethel was his accomplice. "

Apparently it is more dangerous to be found guilty as charged if you are Jewish. At that point there is a certain furious drive coming from some behind the scenes authority, or some compulsive undercurrent of resentment, to extract not just maximal punishment but much more.

"Analysis: For Israelis, including senior government officials, releasing Pollard would go a long way in rebuilding trust with Obama.

When evaluating the current flurry of activity surrounding efforts to free Jonathan Pollard, two assumptions should be kept in mind.

First: Things don’t just happen.

And second: Anything publicly being done by the Israeli government on the matter is known in advance by Washington. Israel is not looking to ambush the US administration on Pollard-related issues.

With those two assumptions in mind, the timing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement that now, 25 years after Pollard was arrested, Israel will publicly ask the US president to release him takes on added interest."

"...cannot rationally weasel out of possible punishment for the disloyalty. "

Is there any risk of that, when Pollard has served three times the punishment his crime merited, by law? What is the worth and credibility of a justice system that reserves "special retribution" for "special cases" determined at the discretion of one or two men?

"The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance." John Rawls

No veil of ignorance for Pollard. Quite the contrary. Jewish spies cannot be allowed to benefit from civil rights. Jewish spies are particularly dangerous, in a very special way, to humanity, so much so that they merit a different, much more strident, judgment of their crimes.


One state, two states, one potato, two potatoes

My comment (with some minor factual corrections):

"They argue that the Arabs (who have demography on their side, and formidable military allies in the form of the Saudis, Iran and so on) have proven themselves unable to share space with Jews. I reject this fatalistic view, and having recently been in Northern Ireland am more confident than ever that we can forge our own futures if we unshackle our imaginations. " (Bob)

"WE" can unshackle our imaginations to concoct any number of unrealizable utopias. I find the idea objectionable, especially, Bob, my dear friend, coming from you. Why is that? Because you don't dare to go into that hostile territory, even when it's only an internet blog. I recall a few times when you registered genuine dismay and shock at what you read coming out of these (English written) Arab blogs when I report about my visits there.

I have come to believe that Arabs and Jews can no more live as equals in any state in which Arabs are the majority, than Jews and German Nazis would in 1939. It's beyond pie-in-the-sky. You have to go into those message boards and blogs to get a feel of the hatred, loathing, contempt and fear. It is an incurable pathology. Why even bring it up? Hussein Ibish, no lover of Israel, dismissed the idea of the one-state solution.

"The fundamental argument that the one-staters seem to be making, which is that we can't possibly get Israel to end the occupation and relinquish their control of the 22 percent of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) but we will inevitably succeed in getting them to relinquish one hundred percent of the territory under their control. This is a problem of logic. The second thing is that once you've realized this, obviously what you've done is set yourself the task of convincing Jewish Israelis to voluntarily do this. The idea of coercing the Israelis into this through military force is absurd, and it could only really be done through voluntary persuasion. What the one-staters argue, actually, is that they don't have to do that. What they're going to do, they say, is bring the Israelis to their knees."

A one state cannot be brought about without the world becoming complicit with Palestinians to destroy Israel. It can be done, by force, by breaking the spirit of Israeli Jews (we can already see those broken spirits, for example, here.

Similar enterprises were carried out with some success in history. Like the mass conversion of the Spanish Jews in 1391, followed a century later by the expulsion of the remainder of unconverted Jews. Or in more recent times, the exhausting of Jews to the point where no solution but flight or death was available. It can be done, never doubt that. The one state solution can be realized, if the world is willing to accept and assist in unshackling its imagination just long enough to facilitate such a solution.

And related, on Z-word

A new accusation surfaces: Eichmann's trial was (partly) a show trial

Tutu and the veil of ignorance

Leaving the West Bank (My comment and the comment that prompted my response must have been removed)

Death of the Peace Process

Stoning women in the movies, applause and what it all means (moved to a discussion about Inglorious Basterds, a movie I blogged about here)

Oprah's choice of Charles Dickens reading for the holidays

More on Nixon and Jews and Kissinger and what not

@Ray Cooke's

Nixon and Jews

(One of my comments:

It is a well known history that it was Kissinger who advised strongly against delivering supplies to Israel, because he thought the Israelis needed to be not defeated but bloodied in order to get Arabs to regain their self-esteem.

It is also known that by the time the supplies began to stream in, the tide had already been turned.

During that period and for a few years after the war, Rabin treated Kissinger with the utmost suspicion.

As for Nixon's observation that

“What it is, is it’s the insecurity,” he said. “It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”

Can anyone claim that Nixon was wrong in his assessment about "the latent insecurity" that causes Jews to overcompensate by being particularly and more than necessarily tough on Israel? From presidential advisors to the most influential journalists to the lesser known ones, isn't there a perceptible tinge of being overly shrill in denunciations of Israel at the right moments?

It's funny how everyone rushes in with the antisemitism outrage when it is a Republican president on the line. I didn't see such eagerness to recognize the disease when it was Jimmy Carter's reputation on the line, he who scolded Golda Meir for not leading a more religious Jewish state and who wrote specific books with the sole attempt of sullying Israel's integrity and those American Jews who support her.)

The Nobel (Peace) Prize:

"U.N. Human Rights chief declines invite to Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Posted By Colum Lynch Monday, December 6, 2010 - 11:30 AM Share

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, has turned down an invitation to attend the Dec. 10 event at which Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese pro-democracy advocate, will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Pillay declined the invitation because she is already hosting a human rights day event in Geneva, her spokesman told Turtle Bay. She has no intention of sending a more junior official to represent the organization in her place, the spokesman, Rupert Colville, said. " (Source)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Selma's Silence

The Iranian blog "From Tehran with love" is no longer available.

Selma, the blog owner, wrote her last post a few months ago. It was entitled: "Hypocrite" and I remember it was a wry comment on how her belief that there is no God is being contradicted with her need to pray to this non-existent God. A distressing dilemma I am not unfamiliar with myself.

I mentioned her blog and her sad thoughts from time to time on my blog.

I wish I knew the reason why she has gone quiet. She did intimate, a few times, that she was very busy with her studies (translation) and work.

If you happen to read this, Selma, please leave a sign that all is well with you. There are people here, other bloggers, who have been greatly moved by the power of your words, so understated yet so shocking. They will want to hear from you.


Update: You will be relieved to hear that Selma is well and even thriving in her academic career. She emailed me this afternoon and asked to thank all "you guys" who have followed her blog with such interest and concern.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sighted on the Internet:

"When you write a poem about any human activity, you are competing with the experience itself. "

... as Stephen Leacock once said, when you've got your PhD, it means you are all full up, and thereafter no knew knowledge can ever be imparted to you. In the case of these disciples of Edward Said... they're all full up, with no knowledge ever having been imparted to them.

"What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark (in the sea) to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm," South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha was quoted as saying by state news site

"PA Minister made the following remarks on PA TV:

they created a lag and our [Palestinian] prisoners were endangered. Had there not been Israeli criminals or Jewish prisoners in this particular prison, it would have been even slower…"

The Palestinian Narrative

Rabbi Marvin Hier
Dean and Founder
Simon Wiesenthal Center:

"Only last week, a senior Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information official had the audacity to say, “The Jews have no historical or religious ties to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. There is no archeological evidence that the Temple Mount was built during the period of King Solomon….”

This lie was contradicted by their own Supreme Muslim Council, the highest Muslim religious authority in Jerusalem which, from 1924 to 1953 published their own official guide to Jerusalem which described the Dome of the Rock as follows, “Its identity with

the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot according to the universal belief, on which [quoting Hebrew Scripture] ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord.”

We must respond to this continuous campaign to delegitimize Israel by the Palestinian leadership. Only two weeks ago, UNESCO joined in in this campaign by calling Rachel’s Tomb a “mosque,” attempting to steal from the Jewish people one of its most sacred religious sites."


Via: The Iconoclast

Sometime one can find a bargain such as the book Palestina by Hadriani Relandi -- its original professional name Palaestina, ex monumentis veteribus illustrata, published by Trajecti Batavorum: Ex Libraria G. Brodelet, 1714. One can find such original books in only few places in the world, also in Haifa University. [-]

1. Not one settlement in the Land of Israel has a name that is of Arabic origin. Most of the settlement names originate in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Roman languages. In fact, till today, except to Ramlah, not one Arabic settlement has an original Arabic name. Till today, most of the settlements names are of Hebrew or Greek origin, the names distorted to senseless Arabic names. There is no meaning in Arabic to names such as Acco (Acre), Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, Gaza, or Jenin and towns named Ramallah, El Halil and El-Kuds (Jerusalem) lack historical roots or Arabic philology. In 1696, the year Relandi toured the land, Ramallah, for instance, was called Bet'allah (From the Hebrew name Beit El) and Hebron was called Hebron (Hevron) and the Arabs called Mearat HaMachpelah El Chalil, their name for the Forefather Abraham.

2. Most of the land was empty, desolate, and the inhabitants few in number and mostly concentrate in the towns Jerusalem, Acco, Tzfat, Jaffa, Tiberius and Gaza. Most of the inhabitants were Jews and the rest Christians. There were few Muslims, mostly nomad Bedouins. Nablus, known as Shchem, was exceptional, where approximately 120 people, members of the Muslim Natsha family and approximately 70 Shomronites, lived.

In the Galilee capital, Nazareth, lived approximately 700 Christians and in Jerusalem approximately 5000 people, mostly Jews and some Christians.

The interesting part was that Relandi mentioned the Muslims as nomad Bedouins who arrived in the area as construction and agriculture labor reinforcement, seasonal workers.

In Gaza for example, lived approximately 550 people, fifty percent Jews and the rest mostly Christians. The Jews grew and worked in their flourishing vineyards, olive tree orchards and wheat fields (remember Gush Katif?) and the Christians worked in commerce and transportation of produce and goods. Tiberius and Tzfat were mostly Jewish and except of mentioning fishermen fishing in Lake Kinneret -- the Lake of Galilee -- a traditional Tiberius occupation, there is no mention of their occupations. A town like Um el-Phahem was a village where ten families, approximately fifty people in total, all Christian, lived and there was also a small Maronite church in the village (The Shehadah family).

3. The book totally contradicts any post-modern theory claiming a "Palestinian heritage," or Palestinian nation. The book strengthens the connection, relevance, pertinence, kinship of the Land of Israel to the Jews and the absolute lack of belonging to the Arabs, who robbed the Latin name Palestina and took it as their own.

In Granada, Spain, for example, one can see Arabic heritage and architecture. In large cities such as Granada and the land of Andalucía, mountains and rivers like Guadalajara, one can see genuine Arabic cultural heritage: literature, monumental creations, engineering, medicine, etc. Seven hundred years of Arabic reign left in Spain an Arabic heritage that one cannot ignore, hide or camouflage. But here, in Israel there is nothing like that! Nada, as the Spanish say! No names of towns, no culture, no art, no history, and no evidence of Arabic rule; only huge robbery, pillaging and looting; stealing the Jews' holiest place, robbing the Jews of their Promised Land. Lately, under the auspices of all kind of post modern Israelis -- also hijacking and robbing us of our Jewish history.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

European antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the Left


But looking (for another purpose) through the volumes on my shelves by Jean Améry, I happened upon an essay of his from 1976, entitled 'Antisemitism on the Left'. Améry wrote one of the most powerful and distressing works known to me on the experience of the Nazi camps - At the Mind's Limits. It stands alongside the writing of Primo Levi, both as a document of witness and in its philosophical acuity and depth. His essay on 'Antisemitism on the Left' can be found in the collection Radical Humanism. You start reading it and you see at once that virtually none of the themes and arguments now so familiar in the post-9/11 world is absent or unanticipated there.

We are already witnessing how political groups that regard themselves as "leftist" don't waste a word when a despot and paranoid in Uganda commits abominable murders; how they do not protest when the absolute ruler of Libya enacts laws under which adulterous women are stoned... Yet Israel - certainly no model state, but surely a polity that permits opposition... - is in leftist mythology a "reactionary" land.

Further on:

[A]ntisemitism, even if it calls itself anti-Zionism, is not respectable. On the contrary, it is the indelible stain that mars the honor of civilized humanity.


BBC programme examines the phenomenon of antisemitism as anti-Zionist

Anthony Julius:

“Given that the principle of the Jewish state would be defended to the death by most if not all Jewish Israelis, to call for the dismantling of the Jewish state is to encompass the possibility of the wholesale death of its Jewish population. And if one can contemplate that with equanimity, one’s cold-heartedness puts one in the company of antisemites even if it doesn’t qualify one as an antisemite.”

(Via: HP)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Comment Trail

@Bob's: CC among ten nominated for "commenter of the year"

Norwegian Righteousness

On the impossibility of Sex scenes-


Wikileaks @ The Spine

Obama, Turkey, Israel, Leaks (My, what wrath the recent wikileaks has brought forth...)

Helen Thomas Repents
("We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion.")

Palin, Evangelicals, Israel

Who's Who in Israel Delegitimization