Saturday, November 28, 2009

I’m heading on down to Sderot early this morning, to interview a French Holocaust survivor who’s opened a candle factory in that much-beleaguered village.

If you think that sounds like a pretty darn good Chanukah story, you’re right – the light of Chanukah, coming from Sderot, started by a survivor of the worst darkness the world ever knew.

All that said, I still get a few butterflies when I set off for Sderot. Yes, yes, I know very well I could get hit by a truck here – crosswalk or not. But most of the world now thinks that things are quiet in Sderot, and unfortunately that’s not true. Sderot is still under bombardment.

Since January of 2009 – when the Arab terrorists agreed to a “ceasefire” (that’s ‘you cease, we fire’ in Arab parlance), there have been 771 Kassam rockets, mortar shells and Grad missiles fired into Israel, most but not all near the Aza border, which means Sderot.

Do the math, and that come to just a fraction over two rockets a day, on average. Are things better, since Israel retaliated with last year’s Chanukah war? Yes, certainly. But two a day is still significant. All it takes is one.

On Friday, the IDF retaliated and attacked a group of terrorists on their way to fire rockets. This terrorist group is relatively new – they belonged to the Jaljalatt terror organization, a Salafist movement working within Aza, and getting their support from Al- Qaeda.

The terrorists were killed, the rocket launching pad was destroyed, and we know one thing for sure: those terrorists won’t be bedeviling Israel any more.

Israel dealt with these terrorists exactly as they deserved – and precisely as was required for our own safety and security.

Israel was smart enough not to bring them into Jerusalem to stand trial.

As the new book, “Start-up Nation” says, Israel is a country on the upswing – we’re moving from a socialistic state into a free market economy. Our economy is relatively good. We're cutting taxes and privatizing formerly government owned businesses. Some of it is painful, but it's working to free up capitol for investment. Not only that, but we’re dealing with our terrorists as terrorists.

My ‘Old Country’ – the US – much to its everlasting shame, is doing precisely the opposite, on all counts.

That's terrible. It makes me both sad and furious. But what can any of us do?

Friday, November 27, 2009


It just goes to show ya: in diplomatic circles, the truth is spoken so rarely that when it is, it makes headlines – and not just front-page headlines, but with a special notice, in a box, ABOVE the main headline, just to make sure readers look below the fold.

That’s where today's Jerusalem Post put the tease for the story about Limor Livnat’s outrageously true remark.

What did she say? At a meeting of the Likud in Beersheba, she noted how Israel had "fallen into the hands of a horrible American administration."

"The (Obama) administration isn't what it once was. It’s harder [on us]," she added. “"I know that the Prime Minister (Bibi – her boss and fellow Likud member) is in distress. The pressures are great, and it is not easy to stand up to the American president. I know what a campaign of tribulations he (the Community Organizer) placed before the prime minister."

There. That’s hardly remarkable, is it? Ask any Israeli on the street, and 97% them will vehemently agree with what Livnat said. It’s completely obvious. It’s just that the truth isn’t something normally spoken in matters of international relations.

Indeed, Bibi’s office was quick to issue some political blather about how Bibi “has expressed many times his appreciation of the brave alliance between Israel and America” and that he “thanks President Obama and the American administration for their commitment to Israel's security.”

Right. It’s a good thing that statement came out as a press release. If anyone had been required to read it, no one could have gotten through it with a straight face.

The truth is, Bibi is walking an extremely fine line these days. In apparently agreeing to a 10-month building freeze in Judea and Samaria, he’s in serious danger of getting dumped by his own coalition – not to be replaced by someone who’s more leftist, as the Community Organizers henchmen seem to think. But by someone who’s further to the right than Bibi.

I don’t know, certainly, but I’m wondering if Bibi doesn’t have a plan, here. Yes, he agreed to a ten-month freeze, but there’s some indication that he’s taken a lesson from the Arabs: Promise anything, then do exactly what you want. There may not in fact be a real building freeze, or not a total one, anyway.

Secondly, however, the moment Bibi agreed, the Arabs announced it wasn’t enough. They still wouldn’t come to the negotiating table. And once again, I remind you: these are concessions they insist on BEFORE entering negotiations.

So the Arabs have already said no, what Israel offered BEFORE negotiations isn’t enough. So now Bibi – on the international scene if not in his back yard – looks like the good guy.

Once again, for the 10,000th time, Israel offered, the Arabs rejected. Back to the starting point.

The real question for many of us in Israel is whether Israel benefits by trying to look like the “good guy” all the time. Maybe we should just go about our daily business, do what we need to do to protect ourselves – from Iran, from the hostile forces in Aza, from the recriminations and accusations of virtually the entire rest of the world. Maybe we should stop pandering to international opinion.

I don’t know what the leaders are thinking – certainly there’s some suggestion that we’re sick and tired of making concessions -- “gestures” – only to always and every time be told it’s not enough.

Sooner or later, it’s just human to say, “Not enough? Too bad. We tried. Now we’re going to look after our own best interests. If you ever get serious about wanting peace, you know where to find us.”

Maybe there’s a leader in the wings out there, waiting for Bibi to be too conciliatory again. Maybe someone else is prepared to take that road. That would be just fine with me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As you’ve all read by now, last Tuesday, Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed the Community Organizer’s State Dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The breaching of all security systems – not to mention incredibly rude and loutish behavior – made news headlines all over the world. To make the publicity-seeking couple seem even more coarse, they saw fit to boast about their achievement on Facebook, compounding their crassness.

What’s funny is that in all the media reports I’ve seen, Tareq Salahi is identified as an “Israeli” – which is really interesting.

If Salahi and his anorexic wife had done something laudable, the news media would surely have referred to him as a “Palestinian”, not an Israeli. Of course as an Israeli Arab, he has Israeli citizenship -- that’s what a “Palestinian” is: an Arab citizen of Israel.

But no. Since Salahi’s crass and subversive conduct – which ranges from criminal trespass to subjecting him to arrest and interrogation for security reasons – was something the media considered reprehensible and embarrassing, THEN they decided to brand Salahi as an “Israeli”.

Yup. There’s just no proper response to something like that. You just have to laugh.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Thanksgiving Memory

Thanksgiving foods are supposedly universal and set in stone: Turkey always plays a role, backed up with stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

But then there are renegades like me. For me, the traditional Thanksgiving foods start with Wonton Soup and end up with bagels and lox.

In my family – which is to say the three of us, my mom, dad and I – didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in what the media suggest is the universal tradition.

I’m not quite sure how our own tradition came into being, but it most likely had to do with the fact that our only other “family” members in the area where we lived where my mother’s sister’s family, and on Thanksgiving, they usually spent the day with the ‘other side’ of their family, which didn’t include us. So if we wanted a family celebration of our own, we’d end up sitting around the kitchen table staring at each other, just the three of us.

That would have been seriously depressing, so early on, someone decided it would be a good idea to ‘Go Away’ instead. Somewhere. Anywhere. After all, there was a four-day weekend involved.

In the early years, the destination of choice was Minneapolis. We lived in a tiny town in North Dakota, right on the Minnesota border, so the drive to Minneapolis took something like six and a half hours.

On Thanksgiving morning, no aroma of roasting turkey graced our house. Instead, we’d get up early and pack our suitcases, adjust the thermostat, close up the house for the weekend and pile into the car.

My duties on Thanksgiving morning included preparing our traditional Thanksgiving picnic, which we’d eat as we were driving, all along the way. The menu never varied: baloney sandwiches on plain white Holsom bread. Each sandwich would be cut crosswise, to make triangles, and then packed – without paper or plastic wrap – into a long narrow aluminum box, which was then put into a glen-plaid travel bag, flanked on each side by a thermos, both of which contained hot coffee.

Fresh water came along in a separate jug, meant to refill the actual glasses of ice water that never failed to accompany my parents on any car trip of any length, including the three block trip to my dad's office. Long before it was common, my dad rigged up a water glass holder that sat on the dashboard so they were never without ice water, no matter where they went.

The goal was to leave by 9 am, so one by one, we’d bring down our suitcases and stow them in the trunk. My father always favored long, low, heavy cars, starting with a series of Hudson’s. One memorable one was a red Hudson convertible, clearly not the choice of any practical North Dakotan, but my father loved the idea of it. It didn’t last long. After the cloth top of the convertible blew off a few times in North Dakota’s fierce winter winds, he started buying hard-topped Chryslers instead, the bigger the fins the better.

Suitcases in the trunk, we’d pile into the car, with me in the back seat. The moment my mother and I had closed our doors, my father would say, to no one in particular, “Your door is open.” Obligingly, my mother and I would open and then re-slam our car doors.

Had a door really been open? I doubt it. That was just something he said, each and every time we got into the car. “Your door is open.” No one ever argued or questioned it. We just slammed the doors again. Only then would he turn the key.

We drove along at a stately pace, stopping only at various “filling stations” to refuel and use the facilities. We didn’t stop for food, but at some point, the ubiquitous sandwiches I’d made would be handed out. By the time we pulled into Minneapolis, it was dark. We’d check into the Radisson – I had a room of my own, right next door to my parents – and unpack. I don’t remember having any more meals that day, but the one thing the Radisson offered that was totally unique was a television set. Imagine. A real television -- in my bedroom! I was transfixed and never turned it off.

The next morning we’d get up very early, quickly eat sweet rolls and coffee in the hotel cafe, and then head for Dayton’s. The goal for today was to be among the first to get into the store. Even in those days Dayton’s was a glittering wonder to behold – the decorations were awesome, glittering crystal, gold and white. Standing open mouthed and gaping at all the glory could take hours.

This was long before anyone had heard of “black Friday” of course but clearly Dayton’s knew the score. They opened at 8:00 the Friday after Thanksgiving, and outside each of the very many entrances, long lines of mostly women waited to get in. My mother and I were always somewhere in the front – we didn’t want to miss a single minute.

These shopping expeditions weren’t intended as any kind of holiday shopping or gift-buying events. This was a time where each of us bought what we wanted for ourselves – holiday shopping came later. I was given $100 in ten dollar bills to spend – which was an amazing amount of money in those days. Today, that might be comparable to giving a kid $800 to go have a good time. These were the days when you could normally buy a nice everyday dress for $6, shoes for $5, or a warm cuddly robe for $3 – except that on this day, almost everything was on sale. Boy, did we shop.

We didn’t stay together. My father, I think, quickly found something else to do although I’m not sure what. He might have spent the day watching television. That was a rarified treat for all of us.

My mother and I would separate, planning to meet once during the morning so we could take the accumulated shopping bags back to the hotel. Then we’d start again.

I’m not sure what year it was, but one year I hit a real bonanza. I loaded up on three-strand fake pearls, on several huge purses with a shoulder strap – who ever heard of such a thing? And sling back shoes. Low heels, with just a strap across the back. I bought about five pair of sling back shoes, one of them in glorious black patent leather. Another year I bought a fake fur coat – full length, sort of a grayish color. I have no idea what animal that plush “fur” (think stuffed-animal fabric) was supposed to represent, but I loved that coat and wore it for years.

By four in the afternoon, we were shopped out, foot sore and generally exhausted. We’d drag ourselves back to the hotel where my father would have ordered “cocktails” together with some kind of snack. We’d take our shoes off, relax, and then head out for our ritual Thanksgiving dinner at the Nankin, a Chinese restaurant.

The Nankin was top heavy with exotica, glistening aquariums all around, lined with red padded velvet booths, each adorned with gold-tasseled red lanterns dangling from every upturned black lacquer surface. It was the most exciting place I could imagine.

The Nankin may still be there – it survived long enough that I was able to take my own kids there on one of our trips to Minneapolis. My kids couldn’t quite understand what I saw in the place, but then how could they? Even so, for me, the Nankin ranks as one of the finest restaurants in the world.

In the early days, I’d order Wonton Soup as an appetizer, followed by something else as a main course. But it soon dawned on me that the Wonton Soup was by far my favorite food, so I started having an enormous bowl as the entrée. My father’s always ordered sweet & sour something, while my mother stuck to chow mien or something else more prosaic. She also hated the bland white rice, so I usually accompanied my soup with her white rice.

When we were finished, the waiter – always male – brought three fortune cookies. We took turns opening them, with my father going last. Year after year, he would break open his fortune cookie and read the little piece of paper: “You will shortly be called upon to pay the bill.”

Every year that struck me as totally hilarious. In fact, my father’s fortune cookie became part of the Thanksgiving ritual. I came to expect it, year after year. Now I find myself wondering what his fortune really read, all those years.

We’d shop again the next day, too, but clearly the enthusiasm was waning. On Sunday, we’d make the long trek home. I’d sleep most of the way.

The years passed, and when I moved to San Francisco for law school, my parents became serious snow birds. In previous years, they’d rented places for a few months at a time in Palm Springs, but by the time I was in law school, they’d bought their “condo” -- an odd little white villa – and spent fully six months of the year there, where my father played golf every day and looked forward to his morning trek to the post office. Why? The post office held out the potential of running into his “good friend” Red Skelton, who my father insisted was “just a great fellow. Nice as can be.” Other celebrity sightings – Bing Crosby and Bob Hope – were also cherished, but Red Skelton was “a guy you can really talk to.”

So now we were all in California, but again, when Thanksgiving came around, the tradition was to “go someplace.” We all flew – separately – to Las Vegas for four days of holiday there.

In Las Vegas, we first stayed at the Flamingo, then at the Imperial Palace. Both were owned by Ralph Engelstad, a friend of my father’s from their days at the University of North Dakota. Engelstad had been the goalie for UND’s Fighting Sioux Ice Hockey team, so every year, football was replaced by reminiscing about the great moments of ice hockey at the University of North Dakota. A couple of years we were invited to have “drinks” with Ralph and his wife Betty, which was quite a treat. My mother insisted Betty had been a “show girl” at one time, which almost certainly wasn’t true, even though Betty had the aura of serious glamour. That made it fun.

None of us were even remotely serious gamblers. My dad and I spent the days at Caesar’s Palace, our gambling destination of choice, albeit for reasons I don’t remember. He’d wander off and play a little low-key Blackjack or Craps, while I’d ruefully donate a few rolls of nickels to the slots.

It didn’t take long for me to seek out the Keno lounge and plunk myself down there for the duration. The variant of Keno I chose to play was relatively cheap. True, you couldn’t win much, but the upside was, it took quite a while to lose whatever funds I’d set aside for gambling, too.

Every evening we’d go to one of the big casino shows. Over the years, we saw just about all the Las Vegas regulars, but the only one that sticks in my mind was Debbie Reynolds – who could forget ‘Tammy’?

The real highlight of the Thanksgiving Las Vegas trip was the food. Because there are no clocks in casinos, breakfast could be ordered at any hour of the day. So for four days in a row, three times a day, I ordered my most favorite Thanksgiving meal ever. Bagels and lox.

Morning, noon and night I ate bagels, lox and cream cheese, garnished with tomato, red onion and capers. I’ve never ever gotten tired of it.

What all of this means is that American Thanksgiving can be celebrated in many different ways, with many different traditional foods. For some, it’s turkey, yams dotted with marshmallows, followed by pumpkin pie.

For me, Thanksgiving brings back warm memories of Wonton Soup at the Nankin, or bagels and lox at a Las Vegas casino.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Random thoughts on Bookmooch….

“Bookmooch” – -- is a world-wide book-trade website that’s proving especially beneficial to those of us in far-flung countries for whom finding and buying English-language books isn’t easy. ‘Bookmooch’ helps – and if nothing else, it’s fun.

The ‘Bookmooch’ principle is simple: you give away – permanently – some book you no longer want, and in exchange, you can select a book you do want, from (theoretically) any one of the thousands of other people who have listed books they’re willing to give away. There’s no money involved – it’s an even trade, exchanging one book for another.

I say “theoretically” because of course the trade involves mailing the books, more specifically paying to mail the books, so not everyone wants to trade internationally. In the US, people who want to trade books have the more powerful option of where the trade options are much richer – simply because of the vast number of English language books available.

Nevertheless, with Bookmooch, there’s a good selection of books available to Israeli readers -- and a surprising number of people around the world who don’t mind mailing to Israel at all.

That was the first thing that struck me: I expected to find some level of anti-Israel sentiment out there, that I’d find people who’d refuse to mail to Israel on principle. Among the vast hordes of members around the world, there probably are some of those out there – if nothing else, there are books available for trade in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan. I’d be perfectly delighted to mail a book to anyone in those countries, but I have a feeling that sentiment might not universally be reciprocated.

On the contrary, what I have found is that people seem not only willing to mail to Israel, but positively interested in book exchanges with us here. I mailed a copy of a Holocaust memoir to someone in Boulder, Colorado, and he emailed back that it was especially fun to get that book from Israel.

I, on the other hand, “mooched” a Donna Leon book from a delightful lady in Venice, Italy. Because Leon’s books are set in Venice, I thought that was interesting – we actually had a nice email conversation about how accurate the setting is (very accurate, she says) and we compared notes on which among the Donna Leon books we liked the best. Those kinds of exchanges make it interesting.

Maybe it’s that book lovers are generally a nice group of people, always and forever interested in talking about books.

All that said, I have run into some situations that gave me pause.

For example:

There’s a woman in California who says in her opening listing that she will mail books all over the world. But when you go to her personal page, she says “all over the world” means that she will mail to the US and Canada only. That’s an interesting world view.

The interaction at the local post office branch on Palmach (for you Beershevites) ranges from utterly fascinating to downright frustrating. If nothing else, it demonstrates that it’s not only California schools that are woefully inadequate. For example, one postal clerk insisted that “Australia” was in Europe, but she wasn’t able to find it on her list of European countries. Had I misspelled it? Ah, no, I didn’t. But I’m not surprised she couldn’t find it there.

Same clerk, different day: “We have no listing for a country called Spain.” Was I sure it existed? Was it an island, maybe?

After one such day, after I’d mailed off books to France, New Zealand, Canada and Scotland, I walked away with no conviction whatever that any of them would arrive.

That time the clerk – different clerk, same post office – seemed totally befuddled about where any of these places were, but finally came up with what seemed to be a random number to charge me, and took my money. Someone, somewhere along the package-shipping line must have intervened, because indeed, all the books arrived at the intended destinations. Whew.

Still, that experience left me with too many doubts, so now I take all books to the Hadassah post office branch, which is just a slightly longer walk. The Hadassah branch is bigger, and the clerks there never bat an eye at where my packages are going. Not only that, but that branch has actually become efficient. Go in there, and you can take a number for the specific function you want to accomplish: sending or receiving a package, paying bills, changing currency, or a couple of other options.

What a brilliant idea. In the Palmach branch, it’s very easy to get stuck behind a line of Beduin doing something complicated with their checking accounts, and each one of them can take up to a half hour to do whatever it is they’re doing. At the Hadassah branch, where I’m in line only behind people who are also mailing things off, I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes. I’ve finally found the longer shorter way to mail books.

There’s a steady group of us within Israel who mooch books from each other, too, and actually that’s even more fun than the more far flung countries. Especially on more remote kibbutzim, there are people who have ‘mooched’ hundreds of books, and sent off just as many. They’re very nice people, very friendly, and now, when I see their names on other email lists for something else entirely, I feel like I know them – even though I don’t.

Bookmooch also serves as an informal news service – one lady in the Philippines noted that she had to suspend her account because none of the post offices near her were open. They’d been inundated by the flood.

In her original listing, she’d noted that she mailed books off “by surface mail” –‘surface’ of the sea, presumably – and that moochers should be aware that it might take four to six months for the book they wanted to arrive. Well, there aren’t many old books I’m willing to wait that long for, anyway. It doesn’t sound like a viable option in the best of times.

I can’t get all the books I want through Bookmooch, but I can get quite a few – and it never fails to be interesting. Check it out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tsk, tsk. A whole lot of angst is going on at the White House. “Dismay” seems to be the word of the day.

Yesterday, Missus Bubba expressed the Community Organizer’s ‘dismay’ at five additional death sentences handed down in Iran, over and above the three issued last month. What did the guilty eight do? They protested – demonstrated, spoke out – against the probably rigged election of the insane and ranting terrorist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The government said he won by a landslide, but the protestors say the election was rigged. Thousands of people dared to object, and eight – so far – have been sentenced to death.

In Iran, the death penalty in Iran is imposed by stoning. Iran's Penal Code specifies that the stones must be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately. Article 102 mandates that men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning.

About this, Missus Bubba and the Community Organizer are “dismayed”. The sentences are, Missus Bubba says, “unfortunate and distressing.”

And, tsk tsk, the Mighty Duo in Washington is “dismayed” at Israel again, too. We stiff-necked people tend to insist on running our own country, which complicates the Community Organizer’s plans.

What is it this time? Building homes again, this time in Gilo, a Jerusalem neighborhood. How dare Israel decide to build places for Jewish families to live in Jerusalem?

This time, it was Robert Gibbs, the smug-pussed White House Spokesman, who was “tasked” (he’s one of those who loves to turn nouns into verbs) with expressing the Community Organizer’s official disgust.

“We are dismayed,” Gibbs said regarding Israel’s decision to build the Gilo homes -- Gilo, by the way, is mentioned in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 15:51) and the Book of Samuel (II Sam 15:12) thousands of years before there ever was such a thing as an Arab “Palestinian.”

"At a time when we are working to relaunch negotiations, these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed," Gibbs said.

Well, heaven forbid that anyone make it difficult for the Community Organizer’s plans to succeed. Hell hath no fury, etc, etc.

Nonetheless, we now see that the White House equates death by stoning for eight political demonstrators with Israel’s desire to house its citizens.

That's silly, of course, but what’s sillier yet are all the things the White House apparently isn’t concerned about at all. The problem is, the US has become a disaster zone, not just domestically but all around the world, and yet Dear Leader directs his wrath toward Jews building homes in their own country.

In fact, the US is “hemorrhaging” at home and abroad, says Victor Davis Hanson in the current issue of in his piece, “Circling Sharks Smell American Blood.”

Hanson notes:

How on the Asia trip, even with the bows, the Community Organizer’s hosts were in no mood to listen to his demeaning lectures on how they should live their lives in such a way that Dear Leader’s plans could be implemented.

Beijing is worried because the US economy is in the tank, and they own too much US debt.

Tokyo is getting frustrated with the US military base in Okinawa. They’d like to “redefine” their relationship to the US.

Seoul is starting to worry about just how valid is the US commitment to keep it safe from North Korea. If I lived in Seoul, I’d be worried, too.

Domestically, the dollar sinks lower every day and the budget deficit is the highest in history -- even as the Community Organizer works overtime to impose massive new debt by taking over the heath care system, the national transportation system, and grabbing vast new federal powers to regulate every aspect of daily life through his environmental mandates. The debt situation is so serious there’s talk about scrapping the dollar as the common international currency.

Official unemployment in the US is over 10% -- whereas real unemployment, which includes those who have stopped looking for work plus all those PhD’s who are working as Wal-Mart greeters, tops 20%.

In Afghanistan, the Community Organizer waffles, as American soldiers die without adequate support.

To the terrorist regimes in Venezuela and Iran, Dear Leader holds out the hand of peace, but neither dictator seems much interested. They can see that Obama is an empty suit even if some Americans haven’t figured it out yet.

In an almost unbelievable turnabout, France is warning the US to ‘get a backbone’ in dealing with the Iranians.

The Russians, on the other hand, are grinning like Cheshire Cats. The Community Organizer gave up the US missile defense system in Eastern Europe, which makes the Russian’s aggressive and acquisitive plans all that much easier. And what did the US get in return? Absolutely nothing. At least someone's happy.

While in campaign mode, the Community Organizer promised to shut down the terrorist prison on Guantanamo, but the means by which Dear Leader apparently plans to do that is by bringing the terrorists to the US, giving them civil trials and the full protection of the US Constitution.

No doubt he’ll grant them full citizenship after they’re acquitted -- those forgetful soldiers plumb forgot they had to Mirandize the enemy army on the battlefield before they could arrest them. But ah, well, what’s the problem? The Community Organizer also plans on offering full citizenship to 17 million illegal aliens who made it unto American soil. A few terrorists more can’t hurt that much, can they?

And besides, the terrorists are Muslims, and so are much favored by the Community Organizer. He goes out of his way, time and time again, to talk about all the reasons he admires the Muslim culture so much. Of course he needs to tinker a little with history to do that, but hey – he’s the President. (Mmm, mmm, mmm)

That chicken may yet come home to roost, however. So far this year, US officials have broken up three radical Islamic terrorist plots being planned inside the United States. They missed the Muslim terrorist at Fort Hood until it was too late, of course, but there’ll be more chances. Terrorist organizations all over the world, including Al-Qaeda, promise more attacks. The Taliban is rejoicing at the Community Organizer’s indecision on Afghanistan, As Hanson says, “they smell blood.”

But to all of this, the Community Organizer seems blithely oblivious.

What’s his concern? That Jews are building homes in Jerusalem. That’s something to really cry about.

Read Hanson’s whole article here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Autumn in Beersheba took place at 2:30 pm on Friday, November 13. It lasted just under an hour, until about 3:25. Then summer disappeared. Winter arrived.

Up to that Friday afternoon, I’d been complaining to everyone who would listen – not to mention all those who quit listening a long time ago – about how hot it was. It was November, for crying out loud, and I’d still return from the simplest errand just drenched. It was beastly hot.

But on Shabbat, as I walked home in the afternoon after a wonderful lunch with friends, I realized I was cold. For obvious reasons, it hadn’t occurred to me to wear anything other than summer clothes. A jacket or sweater? Heavens, no. Why? It was still seriously hot the day before.

But autumn was over, winter was here -- and honestly, it was cold. On the long walk, I reversed my normal pattern, repeatedly crossing the street to find the shady side. Now I was crossing the street to find the sun.

That night, I added TWO of the eventual four blankets to my bed – a big increment. In the fall, I normally add them one by one, as the season progresses. In the spring, I take them off one by one. It’s one way of marking time. But this year the change was so quick I jump started the night-time warmth progression by adding two at once.

We’d already had “first rain” here, which is Israel is quite a celebration – first rain after the long hot summer is so important it even has its own name – “yored geshem”. If the kids are in school, they’re let out to run and glory in it, and I’ve never been able to resist the temptation to do the same – well, I don’t run or jump. But I do go outside into the yard and just stand in it, enjoying the heck out of the fact that water – not to mention FREE irrigation water -- is falling from the skies. It’s absolutely wonderful.

The first rain rarely accomplishes much. For a very short time, it makes everything look very green, because it washes the dust off the leaves of everything. But by the time it dries – minutes later – you see that it didn’t wash the leaves off very well. They stay spotted with dust and sand. It takes a couple of hard rains to wash it all off.

We’ve had a couple of rain showers since then, so everything is looking pretty lush and green around here. We even had a bit of thunder and lightning, but nothing at all like the first year I was here. That year – 2002 - the thunder was so loud it set off car alarms all over the place. The lightening was absolutely ferocious – and I loved every minute of it. Nothing like a major storm for pure fun. I was hoping that every winter would be like that, with monumental storms, but no such luck.

When it rains in the Negev, it RAINS. The drops pound straight down with incredible force and intensity, but it doesn’t last very long – rarely more than five minutes at a time.

The first big task of winter is to dig out the winter wear for my roommates. Dogs get cold – they really do, especially when the change is so drastic. They haven’t had time to grow their own winter coats, so they need a little help.

For many years, the folks wore regular human sweatshirts. Rachel, the mostly-Poodle, fit perfectly into a 24-month kid’s size. Molly Goldberg, though – the mostly Border Collie – is harder to fit. He’s too big to wear children’s clothes, and too slender to wear an adult size. So I had to cut down an adult sweatshirt to make it fit.

But last year, my daughter JJ in California found actual dog coats for the folks. A bright yellow one for Molly Goldberg and sweet pink for Rachel – and hers even has a hood. She doesn’t much care for the way it squashes her ears so we keep the hood pushed down.

Here’s how they look.

My other two roommates don’t get as much attention, so here they are, too.

Their names are Luciano and Mario, except that I can never remember which is which.

Not only that, but one is a girl and one is a boy – and I’m not sure which is which in that matter either. As long as they can tell, I guess it shouldn’t matter to me.

Pound for pound, Luciano and Mario are the best day brighteners that exist. They sing, talk, chirp, screech and carry on all day long. They’re cheery all the time – there’s no such thing as a bad mood for birds. Amazing, to have resident critters who think a single leaf of wet lettuce is just about the best thing on earth.

Luciano and Mario don’t seem to mind the cooler weather any more than they minded it when it was hot. I carry their whole cage outside during the day time, where they hold forth from the outside room, and then at sunset, bring it back in. Neither one seems to indicate that a birdie-coat would improve things at all. They do get extra sprigs of millet, though, to keep their energy level up – the millet is another US import. No one here seems to stock it.

I had to get creative with the millet. The problem was, if I pinned it to the side of the cage itself, Luciano and Mario would invite all their outside bird friends over for lunch. Then the outside birds -- who lack the most rudimentary manners – would gobble the whole thing, pecking at it from outside the cage. In fact, if they could work it loose, they’d fly away with the whole sprig.

Finally I found a way to clothespin it to the little ladder deep inside the cage. Now at least Luciano and Mario get the first bite.

One other thing about winter in Beersheba: every night is a two-dog night.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Here's an intriguing and surely inspired proposal from my good friend -- and endlessly creative ideologue -- Steve Plaut. I think there's some potential for this idea. What do you think?

"Friends, I have at long last come to a realization. The only way to create stability and peace in the Middle East is through creating a new independent state and homeland in Palestine and moving all of the Palestinians into it.

"I am of course referring to Palestine, Texas.

"Yes, there is a town in Texas named Palestine and frankly I think it would be a wonderful place to erect a homeland for Palestinians. The weather is not all that different from that in the area of the Land of Israel referred to incorrectly by some people as Palestine.

"Moreover, there are oodles of advantages to moving all of the Palestinians to Palestine (Texas).

"First, their water problems would be solved. Palestine, Texas is home to the lovely Lake Palestine. Second, the largest employer in Palestine is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I guess that means the prison authorities. And who better to host the large number of Palestinians moving in to town and making them feel snug and comfortable!

"Moreover, Palestine has a rich cultural and historic heritage. The town’s web page claims there are more than 1800 historical sites in the town. It even has its own “Old City,” its own ‘Ir ‘Atika, called, well “Old Town.”

"Palestine was where the Space Shuttle crashed. It also has a wonderful history of accommodating itself to those with strong religious beliefs. David Koresh, the whacko who ran the religious cult calling itself the “Branch Davidians,” set up his first religious camp in Palestine, Texas. The Palestinians could name the site “Al Aqsa,” if they wish.

"After all, they have as much bona fide theological connection to that site as they do to East Jerusalem!

"The founder of the “Branch Davidians,” a flake named Victor Houteff, wanted to set up the new Kingdom of King David there in Palestine, Texas. And he was into having dozens of virgins as his reward also!

"Palestine has parks and a library and a YMCA. Just like Jerusalem! There is a nice branch of the University of Texas at Tyler that operates in Palestine. I am sure it could be renamed Bir Zeit or Ben Gurion University. It even has a gazebo. Take a look at downtown Palestine here: There is even some oil in the ground nearby.

"And best of all, it really is not too far to commute to Fort Hood in case any Palestinian still wants to protest occupation!"

How about it? Let's contact Governor Rick Perry and suggest it. Perry's one of the US's finest governors, and no doubt considering replacing the Community Organizer in his slot at the earliest possible time.

If Perry would agree to this, we'd have peace in the world -- everyone says that the only thing preventing world peace right now is that the 'Palestinians' don't have a state of their own. So Perry could take credit for Peace in the Middle East, and be elected President. Then America could go back to being America instead of Amerikka. All would be well.

Think about it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nellie The Elephant (Toy Dolls)

Back in the days when I was still disdaining Facebook, I lady I admire greatly told me she was on.

I couldn't quite believe it - she's a really fine person. Why would she be bothering with something so ..... what? crass. I guess. Anyway, she told me one of the reasons she was on was "to keep up with the kids and grandkids."

Huh. Well, that made me think.

Now, I have to admit that has merit. I just discovered this morning that my son Peter posted this video on his Facebook -- and I sort of have to admit I like it.

If you can avoid looking at the poor starving lead singer, the music is actually rather catchy. If pressed, I'd say I like it myself -- and certainly never would have run across it on my own initiative.

So here's to Facebook, the lady who inspired me, and to keeping up with the kids -- pretty good, all of it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

There he goes again, bowing to a foreign head of state – this time not the Saudi King but the Emperor of Japan, who has the good sense to look slightly embarrassed.

Since the emperor bows to no one, the Community Organizer’s gesture of subservience went unreciprocated.

No doubt every blogger in the universe will be talking about the bow and what it does or doesn’t mean, but let me add this little story from the Kennedy administration for flavor. This comes from Thomas Lifson, who is editor and publisher of American Thinker.

“Before the Kennedy's first state visit to England, Jacqueline Kennedy asked Duke whether she should curtsy to the Queen. He told her no because she was the wife of the head of state and heads of state and their wives do not go around bowing and curtsying to one another.

“Three years later, after her husband's funeral, Mrs. Kennedy received guests in the White House family quarters. When Prince Philip greeted her, she curtsied to him. Duke was surprised because Mrs. Kennedy was a stickler for protocol and had a steel trap memory for such things. Noting his surprise, Mrs. Kennedy whispered to him:

"Angie, I'm no longer the wife of a head of state."

“Duke said he immediately left the room and wept.”

Get that? Heads of state do not go around bowing and curtsying to each other – until we get to the Community Organizer, who, in what has become his typical George Jefferson “Movin’ on Up” mode, has taken it upon himself to not only apologize to the entire world for the success of the United States, but to bowing and scraping to their leaders as well.

The “scraping” refers to moving the leg back, as Dear Leader did when bowing and scraping before the Saudi King.

It’s utterly disgusting.

Here’s more from Lifson:

“There is no question that an unreciprocated bow is a gesture of subservience. Bowing is a very serious matter in many cultures. I have counseled hundreds of Western executives on the intricacies of bowing when dealing with Japanese business executives, stressing that an unreciprocated bow is a rude gesture of dominance. The body language is clear and unmistakable in all cultures.”

When Dear Leader bowed to the Saudi King, here’s what Abe Greenwald wrote in Commentary:

“Among Muslim democrats and human rights advocates, utter dejection that the "leader of the Free World" has offered himself as a "subject" of the Saudi monarch; among Islamists, bliss over America's seeming prostration before Salafist Islam; among international bad actors, assurance that America poses no threat; and among our allies, depression about the new systemic instability of the most dependable superpower in history.”

And if you’re wondering how the rest of the world leaders greeted the Emperor of Japan, check this HotAir blog – there are photos of all the rest of the leaders, without exception, shaking hands with the Emperor. It was Dear Leader alone who bowed in subservience.

What’s wrong with the now-standard and uniquely American handshake as a form of greeting?

The handshake as a gesture of acknowledgement and welcome was established by the Quakers – the Society of Friends – which began in 17th century England with George Fox, and best remembered in the US for William Penn, one of Fox’s personal followers, the man who founded the State of Pennsylvania.

After narrowly escaping execution in England for treason – anyone who preached anything other than Church of England doctrines was considered a traitor -- Penn negotiated a deal with England’s Charles II to take over land in the Colonies where Penn and his Friends could live free from persecution. In Pennsylvania, the Friends could live and worship as they chose, free from compulsion to bow to anyone. Egalitarianism among humans – between men and women as well, which was also unique – and showing subservience before G-d alone was one of the basic Quaker doctrines. On principle, the Quakers didn’t bow to anyone other than the Creator.

Needless to say, in England, that religious idiosyncrasy frequently got them into serious trouble. During all the decades of persecution of the Society of Friends, many were imprisoned for just that – refusing to bow, which was interpreted as a lack of respect. For men, bowing – for women, curtseying -- was the standard form of greeting until the Quaker’s uniquely American democratic upright handshake was adopted instead.

More than bowing, a standing upright handshake – indicating the lack of weapons as well as welcome – became the traditional form of greeting between equals.

But what’s happening now? That yahoo in the White House is running around the globe bowing and scraping to dictators, tyrants, terrorists and now and then just a plain old emperor.

I’m just trying to figure out how much more trouble this idiot is going to get the world into before the voters can get rid of him in 2012.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Carrie Prejean Threatens to Leave Larry King Live due to Larry Being "Inappropriate"

Good for her! She warned him over and over -- no doubt all elements of the settlement, including either party's motivation -- was confidential. He wouldn't give up. Good for her! Anyway, Larry King by definition is "inappropriate".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Every time there’s a terror attack in Israel – which happens somewhere, virtually every day – we deal with it as it is: “terror”.

Everyone who lives here – left and right alike -- knows what we’re facing. We may have different ideas about what to do about it, how to prevent more of the same, or what should be done about the perpetrators, but only the ‘Peace Now’ crowd tries to deny that it’s terror.

Most certainly, our Prime Minister would never characterize a terror attack as “incomprehensible.” We comprehend it perfectly – no problem there. We know who’s attacking and we know exactly what they hope to accomplish by it.

That’s not the case in the US, in the hazy world of the Community Organizer.

In the US, after an Islamic jihadist managed to kill 13 people on an Army base, the Community Organizer sought to characterize the “tragedy” the same way he would an earthquake or tidal wave: something that just happened. Something for which no one, or any ideology, could be blamed.

I was going to write something myself this morning about the Community Organizer’s totally inapposite speech at Fort Hood, but when I read Rush Limbaugh’s comments, I realized he’d said it better than I ever could.

Rather than paraphrase him, here’s part of ElRushbo’s analysis about the Community Organizer’s words. Read the whole thing at

OBAMA: This is a time of war. These Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here on American soil in the heart of this great state, in the heart of this great American community. This is a fact that makes the tragedy even more painful, even more incomprehensible. It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy but this much we do know. No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts.

RUSH: Yes, it does.

OBAMA: No just and loving God looks upon them with favor. For what he has done we know that the killer will be met with justice, in this world and the next.

RUSH: I mean folks, ought to read to you what my friend Andy McCarthy wrote about this at National Review Online: "After the carnage we’ve seen for two decades, and the high religious authorities that have endorsed it, it is simply astounding that an American president -- at a solemn memorial service for soldiers killed just days ago by a jihadist acting on his rational, broadly accepted understanding of his religious duty -- could claim that 'no faith justifies' sneak-attack murders, and that no religion teaches that 'God looks upon them with favor.'

In fact, a widely held interpretation of Islam holds exactly these principles. No one is saying that all Muslims follow Hasan’s construction of Islam, but hundreds of millions do and they have scriptures to back up their beliefs -- scriptures we could all read if we’d just pull our heads out of the sand. To deny that is to deny reality. A country can’t be protected by people who lack the will to face reality."

And that's what we have in president Obama. I'm still struggling, does he face reality, is he this naive or is he this cunning? He's got to know what jihad is. He's got to know of the imams that preach it. He's got to know that there are scriptures in these people's book that suggests the way to get to heaven is to kill infidels. This is not even arguable. As Andy says here it's not about all Muslims but clearly hundreds of millions of them.

The whole situation is tragic, all right. But the tragedy is that the US and everything it stands for – liberty, freedom, opportunity for all – is under attack. Not just by the Islamic terrorists who seek to bring it down, but by the man who now sits in the White House.

As Rush says, is he this naïve, or is he this cunning?

Monday, November 9, 2009

There’s nothing the world loves more than a dead Jew.

That’s why, in those long-ago days when the Community Organizer and Missus Bubba were vying for the chance to live in the White House, they agreed on one issue: If Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel, they would respond.

Which is to say, the moment Iran had obliterated Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, THEN they both said they’d take action.

What action?

The Community Organizer was typically cagey about his plans. He did say (April 17, 2008) that if Israel is attacked by Iran, he would take “appropriate action.”

Missus Bubba went one better: a few days later, on April 22, 2008, during an appearance on Good Morning America, she said the US would definitely retaliate: "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Missus Bubba claimed. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

“Obliterate”. Wow – that's a good word, and Missus Bubba took the heat for it too, mostly from the Europeans.

But remember, even she was saying what she'd do AFTER an Iranian nuclear warhead had already wiped out most of Israel.

Last week Louis Rene Beres, a professor of International Law at Perdue, published a fascinating column – read the whole thing here:

Beres notes that at one point, even Joe-Schmo Biden said that Israel, as a sovereign country, had the right to “anticipatory self defense”, defending itself from the incipient holocaust before the Iranians actually launched the warhead.

Now, of course, Biden has been silenced. It’s not nice for Israel to threaten Iran like that.

But here’s Benes statement about what would happen in Israel if Iran did attack.

“What does Israel really have to fear in a nuclear Iran? There are tangible and terrifying answers. Twenty-nine years ago, I published the first of nine books that contained informed descriptions of physical and medical consequences of nuclear war. These generic descriptions were drawn largely from a major 1975 report by the National Academy of Sciences, and included the following still valid expectations: large temperature changes; contamination of food and water; disease epidemics in crops, domesticated animals, and humans due to ionizing radiation; shortening of growing seasons; irreversible injuries to aquatic species; widespread and long-term cancers due to inhalation of plutonium particles; radiation-induced abnormalities in persons in utero at the time of detonations; a vast growth in the number of skin cancers and an increasing number of genetic disease.

“Overwhelming health problems would afflict the survivors of any Iranian nuclear attack upon Israel. These problems would extend beyond prompt burn injuries. Retinal burns would occur in the eyes of persons far from the explosions. Many Israelis would be crushed by collapsing buildings and torn to shreds by flying glass. Others would fall victim to raging firestorms. Fallout injuries would include whole-body radiation injury, produced by penetrating, hard gamma radiations; superficial radiation burns produced by soft radiations; and injuries produced by deposits of radioactive substances within the body.

“After an Iranian nuclear attack, even a "small" one, those few medical facilities that might still exist in Israel would be taxed far beyond capacity. Water supplies would become altogether unusable. Housing and shelter could be unavailable for hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of survivors. Transportation would break down to rudimentary levels. Food shortages would be critical and long-term.

“Israel's complex network of exchange systems would be shattered. Virtually everyone would be deprived of the most basic means of livelihood. Emergency police and fire services would be decimated. All systems dependent upon electrical power could stop functioning. Severe trauma would occasion widespread disorientation and psychiatric disorders for which there would be limited therapeutic services.

“Normal human society would cease. The pestilence of unrestrained murder and banditry would augment plague and epidemics. Many of the survivors would expect an increase in serious degenerative diseases. They would also expect premature death, impaired vision, and sterility. An increased incidence of leukemia and cancers of the lung, stomach, breast, ovary and uterine cervix would be unavoidable.

“Extensive fallout would upset many delicately balanced relationships in nature. Israelis who survive the nuclear attack would still have to deal with enlarged insect populations. Like the locusts of biblical times, mushrooming insect hordes would spread from the radiation-damaged areas in which they arose.

“Insects are generally more resistant to radiation than humans. This fact, coupled with the prevalence of unburied corpses, uncontrolled waste and untreated sewage, would generate tens of trillions of flies and mosquitoes. Breeding in the dead bodies, these insects would make it impossible to control typhus, malaria, dengue fever and encephalitis.

“Throughout Israel, tens or even hundreds of thousands of rotting human corpses would pose the largest health threat. The survivors would envy the dead.”

Here’s the problem: we – the whole world – have lived so long with the threat of nuclear annihilation that we’ve become all too accustomed to the idea.

We’re desensitized. We all might recall that horrifying photo of the naked little girl running screaming, after the bombing of Hiroshima. But we’ve become so complacent about what a nuclear attack would do that we can discuss it calmly, treating it as though it were just a slightly different version of Swine Flu.

We’ve become so complacent we can allow ourselves to consider relying on largely-theoretical missile defense systems or the goodwill of the now-elected (unfortunately) Community Organizer, who's biggest campaign promise was that after a nuclear attack by Iran, he would “take appropriate action”.

Right now, the international community is giving Iran yet another opportunity to renounce their oft-stated plan to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. We’re waiting for inspections, for assurances, or else – by gosh – we’re going to get tough. We might even impose sanctions.

Oh, wow. Sanctions! Well, that'll make Ahmadinejad tremble.

The thing is, Israel can’t afford this kind of dithering anymore. The threat to us is not theoretical, it’s been promised, over and over and over. Iran is working as fast as they can to bring it about.

I don’t know any more than you do what the Israeli officials are really planning to do, where their red lines really are.

But I do know one thing: waiting until after Iran has attacked is not an option, even if that meant that the whole world would then wax eloquent about what a marvelous place Israel had been, once upon a time.

Stranger than fiction.....

An Israeli was visiting Paris and happened upon a terrible scene. A dog was attacking a little girl. The Israeli intervened and pulled the little girl to safety but the dog died.

Pretty soon he was surrounded by reporters. “Where in Paris are you from?” one asked. “Tomorrow the headlines will read, ‘Brave Parisian saves girl from dog’, or maybe ‘Heroic Parisian rescues little girl from savage beast.’"

"Actually," the man said, "I am not a Parisian."

"Alright, so the headlines will be ‘Brave Frenchman saves girl from dog.'"

"Well, actually I am not from France either."

“So where are you from?” the reporters wanted to know.

"Israel," he replied. To which the reporters turned and walked away.

The next day, the headlines read, "Israeli-generated violence consumes Paris. Dog dead, little girl injured."

A joke -- of sorts. But Abu Mazen is trying the same thing – for real.

A couple of days ago our world-designated “peace partner” Abu Mazen told a shocked world that he had “no desire” to run for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in the upcoming January elections.

Why not?

“Israel does not want peace, does not want to stop settlement construction and does not want the two-state solution,” Abu Mazen said. “No matter how much they [Israel] try to assault our holy sites and lands, we won't allow them to do so," he said. "Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian people."

(If you can stand it, you really ought to read the whole article. It’s nothing short of insane how the terrorist Abu Mazen rants that the “Palestinians” have done everything they can to bring about peace, but the Israelis refuse to do anything at all to make it happen. Here’s the link:

So there’s no peace, Abu Mazen says, and the whole thing is Israel’s fault. May as well go eat worms.

But today the real reason Abu Mazen is allegedly pulling out is revealed.

What’s the real problem? Hamas, not Israel. That’s what former IDF intelligence Director Zev Farkash says.

"Abbas has no control in Gaza. The chance of a peace pact between Hamas and Fatah [Abbas’ party] is zero. The physical separation of the Palestinian Authority into two areas - Judea and Samaria ruled by the PA under Abbas and Gaza under Hamas – has virtually ruined any chance that the PA can carry out the American goal of turning it into a country."

Well, well, well. Abu Mazen is just joining the crowd, doing what comes naturally. Whatever your troubles are, blame Israel.

All that said, I still don’t believe Abu Mazen, spiffed up as the man of peace, Mahmoud Abbas, will really relinquish control.

After all, from all around the world, cash is still pouring in to help the poor beleaguered ‘Palestinian Authority’. There’s no doubt at all that a goodly portion of that finds its way into Abu Mazen’s own pockets. Abu Mazen will probably decide that while the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune do sting a bit, they don’t hurt nearly as much as would turning down free cash. As long as the money spigot still functions, why quit?

All that fawning attention from the world doesn’t hurt a guy’s ego one little bit either.

The old terrorist won't quit. He just wants to be begged – and bribed – to stay.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Are you ready for this? Here’s a list of United States Senators who today walk the halls of Congress holding their heads high.

In a place where courage, independence and common sense have been in remarkably short supply, here are the Senate Seven who dare to speak out for Israel:
Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas
Senator Jim Bunning, R- Kentucky
Senator John Cornyn, R- Texas
Senator James Inhofe. R- Oklahoma
Senator Jon Kyl, R- Arizona
Senator Joseph Lieberman, I – Connecticut
Senator David Vitter, R- Louisiana

What did they do? They’ve decided that Israel should be allowed to designate Jerusalem as its national capitol.

Pretty earth shaking, wouldn’t you say?

May not sound like it, but it is. Up to now, for 61 years, Israel has not been granted that right, most especially because of the series of lily-livers who’ve occupied the White House.

On November 2, Sen. Sam Brownback introduced S. 2737 and six co-sponsors signed on immediately. S 2737 is quite simple -- it abolishes the “security waiver” that US presidents have used to prevent implementing a 1995 law that declared that Israel’s holiest city and eternal city, Jerusalem, is the capital of Israel.

"It is long overdue for America to recognize the sovereign right of Israel to choose Jerusalem as its capital city,” Sen. Brownback said.

No kidding.

Here’s the backstory:

In 1948, when Israel became a state it established Jerusalem as its official capital. We built the Knesset, Supreme Court and other government buildings there, but until after the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel recaptured the entire city, most government business was transacted in Tel Aviv.

In 1967 we officially annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem and requested international recognition for Jerusalem as our capital city.

Most governments -- including the US – ignored us. They continue to maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv in deference to Arab claims over Jerusalem. Hostile Arab governments refer to "the Tel-Aviv government" because they regard Jerusalem as theirs.

Worse than just keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv, however, is the fact that the US simply refuses to recognize any part of Jerusalem as a part of the Israel. For example, Americans who are born anywhere in Jerusalem cannot register their country of birth as Israel.

What supercilious nonsense! Why can’t a child born in Jerusalem, of all places, be allowed to list “Israel” as his place of birth on his US passport? Yet under long-standing US practice, a child born in Jerusalem lists only the city – Jerusalem – as his birthplace, with no country designated at all.

In the mind of the US’s Arabist bureaucrats, Jerusalem isn’t located in any country.

In any event, thanks to US Jewish groups and a strong cohort of Christian sympathizers, in 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required the US embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem.

It didn't work. Successive presidents -- George Bush the First, then Bubba, then George Bush the Second, and now of course the Community Organizer –chose to ignore the congressional mandate, saying it was “advisory” only.

But wait – it gets better. The 1995 law set forth the official policy of the US toward Jerusalem: that it would remain a united city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.

It also recognized Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, and specified that no later than May 31, 1999, the US embassy would be relocated to Jerusalem. It even set forth a penalty: 50% of the money used to maintain embassies abroad could not be spent if the US Embassy weren’t open in Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. It had accountability, too. Every six months, the Secretary of State was required to report progress to Congress regarding the relocation of the embassy.

So for ten years, every six months, under the two Presidents Bush, Bubba and now the Community Organizer, waivers were issued, saying, in effect, that “national security” issues prevented the move.

Congress tried again in 2002. They included a section in H.R.1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, to again force the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the embassy there.

Still nothing happened.

So now Sam Brownback and his band of merry men are trying again, this time by taking away the excuse of the “security waiver”.

Obviously the Community Organizer’s administration will fight this tooth and nail. Still, for an administration that likes to point to “facts on the ground”, you don’t get much better “facts” than the existence of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. And with Arab terrorist missiles now able to reach Tel Aviv, there’s no reason to insist that American embassy employees will be any more secure in Tel Aviv than Jerusalem.

So kol hakavod – much honor and respect – to the Senate Seven, who dare, at this most dangerous time in Israel’s history – to make public their support.

“I will bless those who bless you
And curse him that curses you;
And all the families of the earth
Shall bless themselves by you." Genesis 12:3

Thanks to for the historical details.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Abu Mazen, have you no shame?

Rhetorical question, of course, because we all know the answer. Of course not.

Shame? What is that? Certainly nothing Arab terrorists concern themselves with.

In yet another announced resignation from political leadership, Abu Mazen (leader of the terrorist party Fatah, who now, resplendent in his Western haircut and bespoke suits, prefers to be known as Mahmoud Abbas) is pulling our cumulative legs again.

Well, why not? It works every time for him.

Every time the going gets tough over there, Abu Mazen announces he’s retiring – or not running – and then dollars, encouragement and support, in about equal measure, flow in from around the world.

So here he goes again: Abu Mazen announced yesterday he has "no desire" to run in the presidential election in the PA territories, slated for January 24. His resignation is ““is not meant as a tactic, or to manipulate.”

For decades we’ve known that when someone says, “It’s not the money. It’s the principle of the thing,” then we know it’s the money. When the Community Organizer announces that something “Is not about me”, then we know it’s all about him. When you hear Abu Mazen say his resignation isn’t “an attempt to manipulate” then you know it’s an attempt to do just that.

He used his most recent announcement of his retirement to blame Israel and the US, of course – Israel has “ruined” negotiating efforts by refusing to stop construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem as a precondition to negotiation. The US, for its part, is at fault for backing Israel -- which gives you some idea of just how dumb Abu Mazen’s thinks the rest of the world is.

In terms of duplicity, you don’t get much better than this:

Speaking directly to the Israeli public, Abu Mazen said: "Peace is more important than any achievement for a political party. Peace is more important than any government coalition. For many years, my opinion and vision have been that peace was still possible and I have sincerely worked to achieve this goal."


Just since the Oslo “Peace Agreements”, here are some of Fatah’s terror attacks:

November 27, 2001, 2 killed, dozens wounded when gunmen opened fire on a crowd in the Afula bus station
November 29, 2001, 3 killed, 9 wounded in a suicide bus bombing.
December 12, 2001, 10 killed, 30 wounded in Emmanuel by a bomb and gunfire on a bus
January 15, 2002, an American kidnapped and murdered at Beit Jala.
January 17. 2002, 6 killed, 35 wounded in Hadera when a gunman opened fire on a Bar Mitzvah celebration
January 19, 2002, 2 killed, 40 wounded, when a gunman opened fire on a crown in Jerusalem.
January 27, 2002, a female suicide bomber killed one and wounded 150 in Jerusalem.
January 30, 2002, a suicide bomber wounded two in Taiba.
February 18, 2002, a car bomb killed one and injured one near Jerusalem
February 18, 2002, 3 killed, 4 wounded by gunfire and bombs in Gush Katif
February 19, 2002, 6 killed, 1 wounded when a gunman opened fire on soldiers near Jerusalem
February 22, 2002, one killed in a drive by shooting north of Jerusalem
February 25, 2002, 1 killed and a pregnant woman wounded by gunmen in Gush Etzion
February 25, 2002, I killed, eight wounded by a gunman shooting into a crowd in Jerusalem
February 27, 2002, a female suicide bomber wounded three in Samaria.
March 2, 2002, 10 killed, 50 wounded by a suicide bomber just outside a Jerusalem synagogue.
March 2, 2002, 2 killed, 50 wounded by gunman near Netanya.
Marcy 10, 2002, a shooting attack killed one in Netzarim.
March 12, 2002, a shooting attack killed one, wounded one in an ambush near Kibbutz Matzuva
March 14, 2002, a remote controlled mine killed 3, wounded 2, on the Karni-Netzarim road.
March 20, 2002, 7 killed, 30 wounded by a suicide bomber in Afula.
March 21, 2002, 3 killed, 86 wounded, by a suicide bombing in downtown Jerusalem
March 29, 2002, 2 killed, 28 wounded by a bombing in a supermarket in Jerusalem
April 12, 2002, 6 killed, 104 injured in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market by a suicide bomber.
May 27, 2002, 2 killed, 27 wounded by a suicide bomb in a Petah Tikvah shopping mall.
January 5, 2003, 23 killed, 108 wounded by two suicide bombers in Tel Aviv
January 29, 2004: 10 killed, 50 wounded in a bus bombing in Jerusalem.
February 22, 2004: 8 killed, 60 wounded in a bus bombing in Jerusalem.
March 14, 2004: 10 killed, 16 wounded in two homicide bombings at the port of Ashdod

Are you getting the picture? Enough, already. I’m tired of typing.

There are hundreds of these terrorist attacks – and remember, these are only the attacked CLAIMED by Fatah – not by Hamas or by other terrorist groups. These are only those that Abu Mazen’s Fatah party claims credit for.

Abu Mazen served as arch terrorist Yasser Arafat’s top deputy for 40 years, and to this day, insists that terrorist organizations are legitimate “Palestinian” entities, and that they have a right to defend themselves against what he terms the “illegal occupation” of “Palestine” by Israel.

And of course this list also doesn’t include some very personal terrorist work by Abu Mazen himself – he was the one who financed the attack on the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

So now, to hear Abu Mazen, the man who has perpetrated, supported and encouraged terrorist attacks to weep crocodile tears at his own goodness, laying it on thick about how he’s “worked for peace” this whole time – well, it’s just too much.

How about that nose, huh?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and caldron bubble…

Halloween may be over, but Mrs. Bubba never stops playing her role. As it happens, Mrs. Bubba is right here in the Middle East, something that ought to terrify every Israeli – and anyone else who sees what’s happening here as a foretaste of what’s on its way to America. So foul a day we have not seen.

What happened? Hamas, the Arab terrorists who brought you Aza, today announced they have missiles that can reach Tel Aviv.

In the beginning, Hamas was limited to trying to kill civilians in Israeli communities just alongside their border – Sderot, Shaar ha Negev and border kibbutzim. Then last winter they expanded their reach and started hitting larger population centers, Beersheba, Ashkelon, Ashdod.

But today, armed with still longer range missiles from Iran, they say they can reach Tel Aviv.

To translate that into California-speak, it’s like before, terrorists could only bomb Fresno, Bakersfield and Culver City, places some have suggested a few mortars could only improve. But now terrorists have acquired weaponry that capable of hitting San Francisco! Now even the most peace-loving liberal can see there’s a problem.

Interesting synchronicity, because on the same day Hamas makes their announcement, Mrs. Bubba, in Cairo, touts her long-time support for Hamas’ partners in terror, the “Palestinians”.

What prompted Mrs. Bubba’s remarks -- to Al Jazeera, yet, the terrorists media outlet – was that a couple of days ago, she’d appeared to say something nice about Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. That drove the Community Organizers’ Arab friends nuts, so she had to establish her bona fides with the terrorists.

As her hubby was wont to do, let’s parse what Mrs. Bubba said in Cairo yesterday:

``I think President Obama was absolutely clear. He wanted a halt to all settlement activity.”

That much is absolutely true. He said he didn’t even want to see a cement mixer is Judea, Samaria or “east Jerusalem”.

``The alternative to stopping all new settlement construction is that it continues.”

Oh, like, wow. Is that profound! But wait, it gets better.

“We the United States do not want to see that, and I know that the Palestinians don't want to see a set of construction activity that will further prejudge or prejudice the outcome.''

A “set of construction activity”? Curious phrase. But let’s go on. Remember, since the ascension of the Community Organizer to his throne, the Arabs – “Palestinians” --assured of his absolute support, began to insist that they would not even enter negotiations with Israel until all settlement activity had been halted.

Get that: before they will negotiate, they want Israel to concede first. And Mrs. Bubba doesn’t think that “prejudges or prejudices the outcome”?

``I was the first American associated with any admin to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state when I first did it 10 years ago.”

That phrase, “associated with any administration” is interesting. One has to wonder what else Mrs. Bubba can claim to have said during pillow talk, since it was her husband who appeared to be the President back then.

“A lot of people thought that was very radical. Now there is consensus we must get to a Palestinian state.''

If she actually said it, no kidding it was radical – it still is. The only place there’s a consensus that “we must get to a Palestinian state” is in the Arab-dominated US State Department and among the 23 Arab nations plus their assorted anti-Semitic groupies and hangers-on. There’s certainly no such consensus in Israel, and we’re the ones expected to cede a third of our country to the terrorists. One would think our opinion might count for something.

``I can't help but reflect back that when my husband was working so came very close. If it had gotten to an agreement we would not be talking about settlement activity...There would be a Palestinian state, it would have a capital in East Jerusalem.”

She’s right about that, too. If arch terrorist Yasser Arafat hadn’t walked out in frustration when Israel’s weak-kneed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin refused to give him 100% of the land he was demanding -- instead of the 97% Rabin stupidly offered – there would indeed be a “Palestinian” state. It would unquestionably have a united Jerusalem as its capitol, because Israel would be gone, nothing more than a figment of history.

If Bubba himself had succeeded, Israel would have long-since been defeated. Why? Because 1. The land area remaining would have been militarily indefensible – nine miles wide right at the point where our population density is the highest, exactly where out single international airport is located; and 2. Because we would have given away our prime source of fresh water. There’s no easier way to defeat an enemy than to turn off the water faucet. Starving out your enemy is one quick way to victory – thirsting them out is even faster.

Then, Mrs. Bubba concluded, “I would be working to further the interests of the Palestinian people.”

Well, probably not. Why would Mrs. Bubba be working to further the interests of the Palestinian people – any more than she now works to further the interests of the Saudi Arabian people, the Syrian people or the Libyan people? The new nation of “Palestine” would be just one more Islamist terrorist state. The only democracy in the Middle East -- the only real friend the US has in these parts -- would be gone.

But hark! All is not well for the Community Organizer. Even as Macbeth’s witches predicted trouble, so should the Community Organizer beware.

Today’s election results in New Jersey and Virginia also foretell the future:
“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes….“

Sayonara, Mrs. Bubba. Write when you get work.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Headline: “Palestinians accuse U.S. of killing peace prospects”

My first response? Thank G-d.

Not that I don’t want peace – which is to say, a just settlement between two peoples, allowing each to pursue their joint and several aspirations in confidence and safety, free from fear of each other.

But that’s not what the “Palestinians” mean when they say ‘peace’. What they mean is an end to the existence of Israel.

They want Israel gone – and then indeed, there will be ‘peace’. Oh, they’ll still have all the internal wars and uprisings, but they won’t have Israel to kick around anymore. Given all the infighting in the Arab world – all 23 countries – it’s clear the absence of Israel wouldn’t result in peace in the Middle East anyway, but at least the Arabs could find someone else to blame.

So if that’s what Reuter’s mean by this headline – that the US has “killed” the ‘Palestinians’ hope of eliminating Israel -- then that’s the first good thing the Community Organizer has accomplished. (But hey – even Hitler had nice handwriting. No one can be all bad, can they?)

In short, I long for the day in which the “Palestinians” heinous ‘peace prospects’ are dead and gone. If Obama accomplished that, that’s a good thing.

Alas, that’s probably not what Reuter’s meant. What’s more likely is that the Arabs are saying they’re profoundly disappointed with the Community Organizer because he hasn’t come through with the goods they believed he’d promised them, i.e., the end of that pesky Jewish state.

The Arab nations – to one of which the Community Organizer literally bowed down – had been led to believe that with the election of Muslim-friendly Hussein Obama, Israel would by this time be so weakened through Washington policy directives that our demise would be within their crosshairs.

To their dismay, that didn’t happen – to an admirable extent, Bibi stood his ground. So now the Arabs feel bitter and cheated. They’re ready to blame Hussein Obama for the failure of “peace” – which is to say, the failure to implement their agenda in eliminating Israel.

See? That’s what happens when you overpromise. Once you’ve promised the sun, the moon and the stars, then when you deliver only a few galaxies, the beneficiaries of your promises feel cheated. They won’t be grateful for the 80% you did deliver. They’ll remember only the 20% they didn’t get.

A seasoned statesman would have known that. Someone with just a tad of experience in something other than the cajones-busting work of Community Organizing in Chicago, of all places -- where cement booties are optional negotiating tools – would have learned that.

Someone with a bit of actual experience in something other than reading someone else’s golden words off a teleprompter would have known: you don’t just go out and promise you’ll be able to force some third party to bend to your will.

But the Community Organizer, in his incredible naiveté, doesn’t understand that. Witness the Olympics fiasco. He assumed the world will bend to his greatness, thanking the heavens above for the ability to do his bidding.

Yeah, well, not everyone is completely twitterpated with his presence.

What I actually think happened is that the Community Organizer – and his trusty sidekick Mrs. Bubba – fell victim to the Jerusalem Syndrome.

The Jerusalem Syndrome – a real set of psychological manifestations – is a recognized group of mental phenomena that come about after a visit to Jerusalem. It involves a number of religiously themed obsessions, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences. If affects Jews and Christians alike, and is independent of any previous incidences of psychopathology.

In a nutshell, a person afflicted with the Jerusalem Syndrome is overcome with a sense of divine mission. They start to believe they alone have the answers to all the world’s problems. That by their dictates, unity, sanity and harmony can be restored to the universe at large.

In short, a person afflicted with the Jerusalem Syndrome believes he can make the lions lie down with the lambs – and more importantly, that in the morning, both critters will wake up healthy and whole.

Hussein Obama appears to be so afflicted. He visited Jerusalem and became obsessed with the notion that he could bring about peace in the Middle East.

He thought he could speak, and it would be. That he could dictate, and the great unwashed masses would follow. That he could envision peace, and the doves would fly.
That didn’t happen. Not to mix a metaphor or anything, but the Community Organizer didn’t have nearly enough pixie dust to cover everyone over here, so there were whole blocks of us who didn’t believe. That’s the problem.

So now the “Palestinians” are upset. They expected the demise of Israel to be handed over like the head of John the Baptist. They didn’t get it. Now they’re unhappy.

Not to worry. If international relations really do function on the “Mouse that Roared” principle, then what will happen very soon is that the “Palestinians” will be granted tens of millions more of your tax dollars, to help them get over their feelings of rejection.

Count on it.