11 November 2010

Brief Analysis of a Typical Media Story About Israel

PUSHING AHEAD--not just GOING AHEAD.  We all know Jews are pushy!  (And if not, we do now.) 

Israel pushes ahead with E. Jerusalem housing

Move comes despite opposition from Palestinians, United States

JERUSALEM — Israel is pushing ahead with plans to build 1,300 new apartments for Jewish families in Arab East Jerusalem, the Interior Ministry said on Monday, despite fierce opposition from Palestinians.
No, the Interior Ministry of the State of Israel did not say that it is building 1300 apartments in Arab East Jerusalem.  It said that it is building in Jerusalem, period.  An opinion has been inserted right into the first line of this story to make sure readers know that the Jews are the bad boys, and the Arabs are the victims.   
The timing of the announcement could prove an embarrassment for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in the United States looking for ways to revive Middle East peace talks that have stalled over the issue of Jewish settlement building.
An embarrassment for Binyamin Netanyahu?  The prime minister is not in the least embarrassed about Israelis building in Israel. The word 'embarrassed' was inserted in order to imply somehow that it is common knowlege that Israeli building in Jerusalem is a shameful act. 

Peace talks have not stalled--they never really started.  The 'stall' involved has to do with the existence of Israel, and not an entirely fabricated building issue.  Before 1967 talks were not only 'stalled,' but non-existent.  Notice that the Arabs have nothing to do with any of the problems--only Jews can stall peace talks.  In reality, Israeli policy was completely obvious before these so-called peace talks began, and the Israeli governmnet made it clear that building in Jerusalem would not be stopped beyond a moratorium of specified duration.   

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said plans for some 1,300 Jewish housing units in two neighborhoods on land Israel seized in a 1967 war had been made public, passing another procedural stage toward eventual construction.
Ah, land 'seized in war.'  Israel reconquered parts of its ancient homeland after repeated attacks against Israel by the Arabs.  Now Israel's defensive wars and territorial ajustments are portrayed as aggression against Arabs, in order to steal their land.   

She said the public could still raise objections to the plans and it could take a long time before building commenced.

"It can take months or years from this point until building can actually begin, or even before tenders for building are issued," Orbach said.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said regardless of when the building actually takes place, the latest Israeli move was a sign of bad faith.
But nothing new or unexpected whatsoever has happened, Mr Erekat. You knew explicitly Israel public policy on building in Jerusalem, as did the Americans.  This feigned dissappointment is a scripted affair.

He said the Palestinians had hoped Netanyahu had gone to the U.S. "to make a choice for peace and not settlements."
Israel building in its capital means Netanyahu has mad a choice for what? War? And by the way, Jerusalem is not what the press calls a 'settlement.'  It is an established large urban area of the modern city of Jerusalem.   
This MSNBC story was illustrated with the photo of an Israeli neighbourhood in Jerusalem, and a lone Arab woman in silhouette dwarfed by the apartment towers.  The imagery is distinctly intended to be anti-Israel. The giant buildings covering the land of this poor, simple village woman--another variation on David and Goliath story, with Israel as the nastly big fellow.
From: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40075378/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa

07 November 2010

Talking Boards

The silly Kabala game, someone's idea of kiddie amusement from the 1960s, I believe. Rather like the more famous Oui - Ja boards, better known as the Ouija Board, and around in various forms for most of known history as talking boards.

In any event, I think I have figured out the source of most national foreign policy around the world.

Curiously, if you reverse the French-German oui and ja, you get Jaoui, which sounds a lot like Yaweh. Some might really make something big out of that!

And you never know . . .

16 October 2010

Tel Shikmona by the Sea

Amazing what you pass on the way to the doctor. There was a villiage here 3500 years ago. That makes the 6th C. Byzantine mosaic floor seem almost too recent to get excited about. Just up the road is the place where the Union Jack came down on British rule. There are Templar graveyards nearby, and a bit further away, some of Napoleon Bonaparte's mighty warriors are buried. Bedouin dominated the area once, an so did the Kurds. And the Catholic Crusaders. Lots of peoples and cultures have come, and they have gone.

Only one has come back.

12 October 2010

Lewy Promenade, Haifa

An artistic rendition of the famous Lewy Promenade (טיילת לואי), next to the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, overlooking the Port of Haifa several hundred meters below.  One of the best high views in an city in Israel.  Surprisingly,  not usually crowded.  The might of the Israel Navy can be seen below, depending which vessels are in port.  Large cruise ships as well.  And the large grain intake and storage facility, Dagon's Silo (ממגורות דגון).  It is in a part of the upper Karmel which abounds in pleasant cafes, sushi bars, a few Chinese restaurants, and lots of general purpose eateries.  A Swiss-French place just opened up.  The area is not at all dominated by fast food, and there is only one low-key McDonalds in these streets, which is not all that crowded compared to the street cafes.  Haifa Cinemateque is here, too, showing art films and foreign films not of the Hollywood persuasion, and Hebrew films.  Very popular.  Boutique hotels are popping up more and more, though the big Dan Panorama twin towers dominate the hotel scene. There is a zoo, which explains the lion-roars on a quiet moment.  The Karmelite subway upper terminus goes down the mountain through shopping and business districts, and ends up at the bottom near the port.  

05 October 2010

Peaceful Train/Peace Train

Israeli train hurtling forward along the Mediterannean coast through the bright autumnal skies from Haifa. Next stops: Akko, Nahariyah, Tyre, Sidon, Beirut. Ah, but the Rosh Ha-Niqra tracks were blown back in '48. No one wants Jews on this kind of train. Happy, prosperous, jabbering Israelis, soldiers dozing with mouths hung open, squawking childred, shoppers clutching their purchases, day-tripper. The real Israel is so incredibly...

02 October 2010

PEACE TALKS: Built on sand, and made of it, too

If the so-called peace talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Makhmoud Abbas fail, as they surely must, it will have nothing to do with Israelis building in parts of Israel that the rest of the world does not want Israel to have. We were not born yesterday: Of course we know that the land in question is touted as "occupied Arab" or worse yet "occupied Palestinian" land. We are well aware that several incompatible realities are overlain on these lands.

However, if the talks fail it will not be because of the decisive--and constructive--activities of Jews in Israel. Nu? we like to build where we live--nothing new. The building freeze always had a limited time period, and an explicit expiration date, well known to their excellencies Abbas and Obama. For whom was the resumption of building a surprise?


Abbas didn't have to linger so long over his whine-and-cheese waiting for most of the freeze period to run out before heading for the table. Bibi sat there staring at his watch and smoking cohibas, worried to death over Abbas. Was he hurt? Did he lose his way? Was he short of bus fare?

Now, over the years the Arabs have painted themselves into so many corners on the matter of Israel that we must soon revise the basic paradigms of the geometry of one-dimensional shapes (how many corners can one square contain?). They rioted once because the British Mandatory government said hence forth they would be called Palestinians, G-d Forbid! "We'll have none of that, sir!" they cried out. "We are Syrians!" Even the infamous Azmi Bishara, no friend of the Jewish state, is on record as saying that there is no such thing as a Palestinian. Probably why he went home to Syria. All righty then. Jews in the Palestine Mandate were Palestinians, Arabs were Syrians, except Druse who were (and still are) Druse, and Bedouin who couldn't give a rat's arse.

Something like that.

The UN partition gives these Syrians-not-Palestinians all of Gaza, and a heck of a lot more than just bits of Samaria and Judea. But the independant British-created eastern Palestinian state of Trans-jordanian Palestine marches into Judea and Samaria and unilaterally annexes the land.

Who complained?

Egypt marches into Gaza and takes the strip.

Who complained?

Of course there were terrorist attacks against Israel off and on throughout this period when Israel was shut out of all these parts of the Holy Land. So wanting to destroy Israel had nothing to do with "occupation" so much as it had to do with Israel's very existence.

By the mid-1960s Arafat and friends created the Palestinian People out of thin air. And now for my latest trick... Tiny Israel facing tens of millions of Arabs looked brave, and the Arabs a little bullyish, thus a small, defenseless Arab people called The Palestinians was spoken into existence. All right out of the Protocols of the Elders of Islam. Now Israel, increasingly wealthy, modern, and hi-tech, with an awesome army called the Guardian Host of Israel, looked like the Big Bully.

You get the picture...

Or you don't.

Either way, this show won't go on forever. It does have an ending, folks, and nothing important about this ending will have been decided in Washington or Brussels or Moscow.

07 August 2010

Strangers Amongst Us

A certain part of the Yankee web, and lesser bits from everywhere else, too, are abuzz with news of imminent disclosure by major governments of the true history of alien contact in the post-WWII era until today. The story is alleged to include all kinds of meetings between aliens, and everyone from Eisenhower and Churchill to young Queen Elizabeth and the popes. Shocking--or not--is the insistence of the talking heads and bloggers that a high percentage of adults in America and elsewhere firmly believe that we are being visited by beings from... ?

Not clear.

Genuine aliens as in outer space folk of interstellar origin probably still tops the list, to which we must add inter-dimensional beings, and, slightly related to the later, good old fashioned demons. There are many types of aliens, by the way, and they don't all get along with each other by some accounts. Aliens are held to be evil by many, as saviours of mankind by others, and of mixed intentions depending on which alien race we are talking about. You had to know that this wasn't going to be easy or simple. 

A good deal, perhaps the majority, of this alien material is propounded in what some call the "alternate" media, the media that is real and true and honest, that tells it "like it is," as opposed to the "mainstream" media which is deceptive, and controlled by International Zionism and/or the New World Order, or just run and controlled by stupid, conventionally-minded eedjits. Never mind all those conventionally-minded eedjits, the so-called alternate media is very suspect itself, full of racists and anti-Semites, and demanding that its gospel be swallowed whole by the self-claimed independent thinkers just as much as middle America accepts the nightly network news. The rugged individualists are in fact soft and squishy groupies moving in lock-step with their self-appointed leaders. 

Conventional wisdom is absolutely useless in thinking this through. Governments have a reputation for deception and cover-up, and institutional academia makes fun of any PhD faculty interest in such things as aliens, except, of course, as part of a study in popular culture. It is a dilemma, as it is way too easy to either accept uncritically the reality of alien contact, or to dismiss it all with humour and condescension. 

And don't even think about claiming the middle ground--it is a killing zone of credibility as bad as either extreme.

29 June 2010

Tidal Pool

What child, of however many decades residence upon this earth, has not imagined himself shrunk down to a centimeter in height, and become the owner of many grand adventures in a once-small place? This tidal pool, just big enough for my two feet and a place to sit on the edge, became a mighty ocean, and the minnows within leviathans of the deep. Just for a moment. And it was good.

So necessary to leave the absurd, artificial construct of day-to-day life and return to reality once and a while!

08 June 2010

Helen Thomas, an American Media Icon

Now, Ms Thomas, when you suggested that the Jews of Israel "go back to Poland," did you mean to say, to the country of Poland in general, or specifically into the ovens of the extermination camps?

No big deal--just wanted to know.

Oh, and about your hasty evacuation of that "Helen Thomas-occupied" front row and center seat in the White House press room: Are you going back to Lebanon any time soon?

Well Helen, you may not be shy, but you are retiring!

02 June 2010

An Ultimately Dangerous Game

A NATO member, once with aspirations to be accepted as a part of Europe, now looking to the east and currying favours with its former Ottoman Arab subjects.

Slowly, the supposed political advancements of the post-World War II era, and of the post-Cold War era, are dissolving into ancient alliances with future plans.

28 May 2010


I crossed the road to the beach in front of my apartment building with no specific aim or purpose. As I strolled up and down sand, I was struck by the abundance of fruit and vegetables that had washed up. Here a yellow onion, there a cob of maize, then a small bunch of plump green grapes, an orange. A kohlrabi, another onion (this time purple), and some indeterminate greenery. A few ordinary pippins, and then, and then, the verdant green of a granny smith, well-knawed and thus much appreciated--the bite-marks a clear testimony to its flavour and quality.

I am reminded of a cab ride to work years ago, when the driver saw a sack of potatoes in the road ahead, and with great skill slowed down the van, opened his door, and snatched the spuds like an Afghan buzqashi player. The driver exclaimed the wonderful chips he was going to make that evening. One of the passengers, not excited himself about eating food found in the road, turned to the driver and said, "maybe someone hit a cow and it'll be lying in the road somewhere up ahead, and then you can have steak with your chips."


07 May 2010

Proximity Talks

Incessant stillness

Raging in a silent place

Dry, timeless, painful rage

04 May 2010

A Very Special Welcome . . . Mat

Bibi, this doormat is suggested for your use. Please place it outside whatever room it is that you use to meet with envoys and potentates from the Golden West who come with thinly veiled threats and ponderous ultimata for the Jewish state concerning peace, borders, defence, walls, home-building, state-building, international law, and final solutions. Mr Prime Minister, make each and every one of them knows that this doormat was placed there just for them.


One can see the most amazing things from the front window, without even having to rise from the recliner. Some use the giant, mind-numbing flatscreen tv as their window. Some prefer the rear window, and glimpses of wife-murderers and other mysteries. I'll stick with the front view. More edifying.

I haven't had a television most of my adult life, and didn't grow up with one in the family livingroom, as the centerpiece and gathering point of life in the house. This doesn't make me superior, or in any way wiser. There are more ways to be an idiot by choice than there are cable channels, and that's saying a lot. Just that Teleos-vision is more my style. The view of the sea and the sky from my window is a form of perfection, as in something complete, lacking nothing, whole in and of itself. I'd rather be attracted to the high places, the places of brightness and colour, than to those dank, spelunkian, torch-lite dungeons inhabited by television. True, by my own choice I have not plumbed the half-centimeter depths of the American sitcom, or the latest too clever British humour offering; I have never watched Albania's Got Talent! and I live without game shows. I am denied the pseudo-analytics of the polished but uneducated suits and hairdos of corporate altnewsland. The jabber-jabber of the pundit does not assail my ears.

I think I can live with this lack.

Or maybe I can live because of this lack . . .

27 April 2010

Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird, it's a Plane, No, it's . . .

Magen David--Shield of David--struggling to form over Haifa on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut, Independence Day. But no, it is just light, and hardly even an imperfect Magen David. Imagination grasping at a suggestion based on a hint come out of an emotion. Mother Mary in a Marmite lid. Baba Sali in a dish of khoumous.

Yeah, something like that.

We all see what we want to see.

And some people want to see Signs from the Heavens. And miracles. And things of incorruptable, everlasting value.

Geez, some people!

04 April 2010

THE 1942 WANSEE VILLA CONFERENCE IN BERLIN: The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem

DIE ENDLOSUNG, the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. This was the subject of the Nazi conference at Wansee Villa, Berlin, on 20 January 1942. Mass murder was the solution of choice, notwithstanding the fact that nearly one million Jews were already dead by less systematic, inefficient means than were to be used later.

I am very sorry to report that, over the past month or so, I have heard a few of my fellow Israelis wonder if Obama has already had his own version of a secret Wansee Villa conference on a final solution to what is euphemistically called the Arab-Israel problem, and increasingly, the Israel problem. And starting to sound like a cynical reworking of the infamous Jewish Question. (Which once rated a Library of Congress subject heading all its own.)

Of course I am bound to admit that only a very few have uttered this fantastic notion. Surely this statistically irrelevent count means nothing? (Not that the establishment of truth is ever a popularity contest.) This is too much to accuse even an unfriendly American president of, is it not? The idea that the permanent solution to the so-called Arab-Israel problem is, for some leaders, such as Obama, part of an attempt at removing Israel by stages from the family of nations is unthinkable, or nearly so. Isn't it?

Shall we ask Mr Biden?

Say it ain't so Joe!

30 March 2010


Burning the hometz (chametz, khometz etc), any food with levening in it, is an ancient Biblical commandment for the Feast week of Pessakh, or Passover. Not everyone goes through this ritual, but it is amazing how many do. The spiritual significance is great: yeasty things represent arrogance and puffery, whereas humility is a requisite for approaching God in a spirit of heart-felt gratitude during the Pessakh week. Humility is the basis for honesty in all the doings of man, secular or spiritual. Honesty is a way of life for all who fear God. God is the source for life itself.

Cleansing the soul by burning bits of bread and flour: A mere tradition, an arcane ritual from the ancient dawn of Semitic spiritual awakening? Or a remarkable moment for grasping reality?

07 February 2010

Getting Your Bearings

I do not make the mistake of equating the 2nd Lebanon War back in '06 with the lengthy conflagurations that have destroyed millions of lives and prevented anything like a normal, happy existence for a generation or more. It was not a state-against-state war, nor was it really a war so much as an anti-terrorist operation.

However, in light of the fine art of the bellicose-turn-of-phrase practiced so frequently of late by Israel fans Khassan Nasrallah, Bashir Assad, and Makhmoud Akhmadinejad, and the arming and upgrading of Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran's nearly ready nuclear weapons programme, I'd like to explain the purpose of these little steel balls in the photo above.

The purpose of these steel balls is to rip open human flesh, unto death if possible. Which is frightening when you think of the car park in front of my building where they were found, after a rocket attack. The road infront of our apartment is a relatively quiet cul-de-sac, and a very busy playground for children for hours of every day. A little family-run convenience store guarantees a steady flow of small-change sweets-junkies. Children and Hizbollah missiles is not a good mix.

Israel imperfectly carries the war of terror to the enemy, to his firing points, to his command posts, armouries, depots and communications lines. Our self-professed enemies blindly fire into our cities. Firing unsophisticated rockets on approximate trajectories is ineffective as a killing machine, but how will this play out with the new and improved weapons now in the bully's arsenal? Think about it. Shudder, shudder, and then shudder some more.

One set of enemies attempts to rip apart our flesh, and another would divest us of our humanity, our legitimacy, and our spirit. By definition Israel can do no right. Were we to agree to destroy ourselves, the enemies of the battlefield would ridicule our suicidal weakness, while our diplomatic enemies would censure us for taking unilateral action.

Our neighbours and near-neighbours have armed themselves with advanced ballistics, into which equation we must soon add nuclear weapons and sophisticated air defense systems. We will truly miss those crude, Soviet-Stalanist Katyushas when the rhetoric ceases and a new generation of missiles land in my car park.

What to make of it all? Massive stockpiling of increasingly sophisticated weapons by virulently anti-Semitic regimes, whose intentions have been clear all along, and life goes on as if normal? I think not. Anciently, in a situation as we now face, the prophets would have been walking the Land and exhorting the people to return to Ha-Shem, to end to their wicked ways and humble themselves. Yet there is the mortgage, and the job to worry about, and people are not showing panic or fear, and the grocery stores are well-stocked, and the this, and the that. Being pulled in one direction by the trivial, the apparently necessary day to day concerns, and being pulled in another direction by an existential urgency, and the need for some deep thought.

It is not easy to get one's bearings in such an environment.

14 January 2010

Inhabiting the Divine Aesthetic

What I choose to call the Divine aesthetic is essentially minimalist, readily comprehensible, and devoid of pretense. I recall a man once, who when asked what his accomplishments might be, said that he collected views. Those who thought that he was making an obscure reference to an accumulation of paintings or photographs, perhaps even picture postcards from a life-time of holidays, were wide of the mark. The old fellow simply meant that when he climbed a hill, or turned a bend in a country lane, or watched a sunset over the water, he appreciated the beauty of what he saw, and he absorbed the moment with subdued joy. They then asked him, "yes, but what did you do with your life?" He thought for a moment, having misunderstood the intent of the question, and chimed, "I said thank you for those views."

The Divine aesthetic is much like this example. Nothing is accomplished, yet here is where life is lived. We prosper in the gift of our own creation, and not in the illusion of our attainments.

God collects a bit of dust, and makes a man. Man responds by gathering a bit of dust and making a pot.

That was, possibly, the birth of hutzpah. Better the man had said "thank you" for his life, and inhabited the Divine aesthetic without guile or motive.

13 January 2010

Arab Muslims Were Better Colonizers Than Europeans

In 1187 the Kurd Salakh e-Dinn (Saladin) defeated the combined Crusader army near the hills seen in the distance. Photographed from Korazin, near the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). This defeat was a noteworthy bad hair day for the Roman religion, and the European attempt at colonizing the Holy Land. Many Arabs consider it a victory of Islam over conquering Europeans. All of which is very interesting, considering that the Arab world was, before the rise of Islam, confined to one place--the Arabian peninnsula.
Now how did it come to be that so many non-Arab countries and cultures ended up being called "Arab" countries? Why are non-Arabs from Moroccan Berbers to Egyptians to Syrians and Lebanese Phoenicians all called "Arabs" today? Well, let me tell you.
Outsiders, conquering Arabs, did what the Crusaders did, but with one big difference: the Muslim Arabs were much more succesful colonizers than the European Catholic colonizers. And you know what they say--the victor writes the history.


11 January 2010

See Shells by the Sea Shore

I am frequently to be found collecting shells by the sea shore in Israel. These specimens were found by a firing range which extends to within a few meters of the water. Among the cockles, whelks, limpets and murex, they caught my eye. They'd be real collectors items if only they weren't so common.

09 January 2010

RODS & STAVES: Being There when it counts: Psalm 23

The Lord is my sheperd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for He is with me; His Sceptre and His Support, they comfort me. Psalm 23

I took a close look at the Hebrew text of this Psalm, and decided that I might translate it a little differently. Not that rod and staff are bad translations, as much as, perhaps, they are less complete as conveyers of the nuances of intent than other words. I like sceptre and support better than rod and staff. A sceptre is a symbol of the power of the throne of God; and God supports His people, Jew or Gentile, with an outstretched hand, which though unseen, will catch us when we begin to fall, steady us on uncertain or hazardous journeys.

Or maybe:
"Your power and authority, and your concerned loving kindness, they protect and sustain me in all travail."

Best would be two or three English words footnoted in the text to explain each Hebrew word, but then, that would make a cumbersome book that scholars might love, but nobody else could easily read.

There is a Being There, when being there really counts, and that is the point.

Paw Print in the Sand

Ah, winter! Walking on the seashore in my shirt-sleeves, on a clear, breezy day, with the snow-covered peak of Mount Kheirmon off in the far distance. Some people dress according to the calender, so I pass people on the footpaths in coats and hats. Others dress by feel, and thus the joggers in shorts and T-shirts. Some check out the weather report--they usually tie a sweater or jacket around the waist or neck, just in case.

Then there're the romping canines, oblivious to anything but the joys of running naked in the sand, and chasing crabs and surf froth, and sniffing dead jelly fish. Hot, cold, wet or dry, nose to the wind, and off he flys.

Its a Dog's Life for me!