Sunday, July 31, 2005

an interesting thing I found

I got this from (a lot of very good stuff there)

The ancient Hebrews were, by modern standards, very horrible people. (Then again, so were their contemporaries like the Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians, and Greeks.) The Old Testament says that God told the Hebrews to "smite" entire races, and even to kill their women and children.
On the other hand, the ancient Hebrews developed the Ten Commandments: a code of law whose basis was Natural Law. The Commandments prescribed how people should behave toward each other, as opposed to obedience to a king or a central government. Although the ancient Hebrews had slaves (like everyone else in those day; Greek city-states were democratic only for their citizens), their laws actually accorded slaves some rights.
Judaism changed with the times. With very few fringe-element exceptions, modern Jews do not believe in "smiting" other races. Jews are tolerant of other religions; it was under Jewish occupation of Jerusalem that the city first opened to Christian as well as Jewish pilgrims. Modern Judaism rests firmly on the foundation of Natural Law.


Jesus, the founder of Christianity, was a nonviolent teacher and philosopher. He preached a way of peace and reconciliation. Luke 6:27 says "…Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you."
Like Judaism, Christianity changed with the times, but for the worse. Christians suffered persecution by the Romans but, once Rome became Christian, it began to persecute "pagans." Pagens were compelled to convert, often at the point of a sword. The "wrong" kinds of Christians were persecuted for "heresy."
Medieval times saw the Crusades and, after the Reformation, the Inquisition and the Thirty Years War. Medieval Christians were capable of enormous violence in the name of God.
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, however, saw a move toward greater tolerance of all religious faiths. The Catholic Church is reconciling itself with Jews and Protestants. Modern Christians, like their religion's founder, prefer just peace to war, whether just or unjust. Modern Christianity rests firmly on the foundation of Natural Law.


Natural Law is so important to Hindus that they personify it as a god, Dharma: "Right Conduct" or "The Right Way." Those who uphold Dharma are supported by it, while those who try to undermine Dharma are destroyed by it. This is because governmental and social systems that go against Natural Law are so dysfunctional that they cannot survive, and they will eventually fall of their own weight. Buddhism Gautama, the Buddha ("Enlightened One") was the founder of Buddhism and the bringer of the Bodi-Dharma ("Good Law," similar to what Christians call the Gospel or Good News).
The Buddhist Dhammapada (Mascarò 1973, 35) says, "For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love." (See Luke 6:27 above)


From the Analects of Confucius
"The Master [Confucius] said, He who rules by moral force (té) is like the pole star, which remains in its place while all the lesser stars do homage to it. …"
"The Master said, Govern the people by regulations, keep order among them by chastisements, and they will flee from you, and lose all self-respect. Govern them by moral force [that is, in accordance with Natural Law], keep order among them by ritual and they will keep their self-respect and come to you of their own accord."

Taoism simply means following the Tao, or Way. Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching says, (LXIII) "Do good to him who has done you an injury" (See above; this suggests that Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism have a common origin.)
"Man models himself on earth,/ Earth on heaven,/ Heaven on the way,/ And the way on that which is naturally so." The final stanza of this verse suggests natural law; "that which is naturally so." This verse also suggests that natural law is Heaven's Way.


Unlike the founder of Christianity, the founder of Islam was not a man of peace:
Muhammed was not only a warrior himself, who had been wounded in a battle at Medina against the men of Mecca in 625. He preached as well as practiced war. In his last visit to Mecca in 632 he laid down that, though all Muslims were brethren and should not fight each other [tell that to the Sunnis and Shiites], they should fight all other men until they said, "There is no God but God."
Muhammed, by contrast [to Jesus], had been a merchant, had a keen understanding of the value of wealth, properly used, expected the umma [Muslim community] to accumulate it and saw it as a method of doing good, both collectively and individually. He himself raided the caravans of the rich, unbelieving merchants of Mecca, and spent the loot to further his cause. This was an example that his holy warriors followed in their assaults on the rich kingdoms of Byzantium and Persia.
...There could be no territoriality in Islam, because its destiny was to bring the whole world to submission to the will of God. ...Only when the whole of the House of War [Dar el-Harb, everything outside the House of Islam, or Dar el-Islam] has been brought within the House of Submission would Islam's destiny be complete. (John Keegan, A History of Warfare)


by Rachel Saperstein
Jul 29, '05 / 22 Tammuz 5765

Our community phone message system is in operation most of the day. Notices of prayer meetings, protest gatherings, organized meetings between soldiers and settlers, births, deaths, controlled explosions, 'take cover' because of Arab bombardment, 'return to normal' (or what passes for normal here) - all these and more are reported to us.

But most frightening of all was the notification last night that police and soldiers were scouring the Gush Katif communities to round up Jews who are labeled illegals - those who entered without permission, or stayed beyond the time permitted on their permits.

"The police have no search warrants," the voice on the phone from the Local Council tells us, "don't let them into your home."

Each day, the rules become stricter, the decrees more draconian, the police more brutal.

The latest is that we were told personal friends are no longer allowed into Gush Katif. Only close relatives - a child, a parent, a sibling - will be permitted to visit. Residents entering or leaving Gush Katif must show identification at four different checkpoints. Non-compliance, or compliance not speedy enough to suit the police, is treated brutally.

My friend, U., a 57-year-old grandmother, refused to show her ID and was dragged from her car by four policemen and beaten, then arrested and charged with trying to run them down with her car. Allowed to return home hours later, covered in bruises, she sat and wept. In two weeks, she will be subjected to the sight of her 15-year-old son's remains being disinterred from the Katif cemetery.

Mr. K. was in the act of showing his ID when a policeman demanded he turn off the motor of his vehicle. Mr. K asked to keep it running so the air conditioner could protect his small children from the intense heat. Mr. K was dragged from the vehicle and arrested for non-compliance with a police order. His children were returned to their mother. He is under house arrest at the home of a relative in Be'er Sheva. His right to return home has been nullified.

Teenagers, both residents and visitors, are routinely beaten. The fear of a beating is used as a deterrent to keep people out of the ghetto called Gush Katif.

The government's heavy hand is experienced over and over. Ariel Sharon's private police force, the Nachshon Brigade of the Israeli police department, trained in 'following orders', practiced their skills as head-breakers arresting foreign workers. Cleansed of all feelings, these uniformed thugs will be leading the forces mercilessly expelling us from our homes.

In three weeks, our health clinic will close down.

In three weeks, the sole bank will close down.

In three weeks, postal service will end.

The government has sporadically shut down our telephone and Internet service. Our electricity and water will follow. We are already filling empty cola and juice containers with water for that day.

Sharon's private army and police are sweeping down on us. We are to be separated, sterilized and broken at all costs.

This roundup of Jews is the first step in the eviction of Jews from Jewish Gaza and northern Samaria, to be followed by the eviction of Jews from all of Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, east Jerusalem. To be followed by even worse....

Yet, we keep our spirit of humanity alive. We smile at one another. We smile, though the shelves in our stores are increasingly bare. We do our laundry, change the sheets, cut the grass. We listen to Torah lectures. Thus, we keep our humanity and sanity.

Where are you, my fellow Jews? Where are you, my Christian friends? Where are your protests as democracy is destroyed in our holy land of Israel?

From Bill: If you are a blogger, or know a blogger please pass this on; people need to know what is actually going on behind the 'Iron Curtain' of Israel (Liberal) national media.

Oh, and just as a bit of trivia; this is my 150th post

The Palestinian Jihad Authority

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
Jul 28, '05 / 21 Tammuz 5765

Is the current Palestinian Authority, under the stewardship of Mahmoud ("Abu Mazen") Abbas, a terrorist entity, a terrorist-supporting regime, or a soft dictatorship struggling to control terrorists?

In January of 2003, the head of the PLO's political department, Farouk Kaddoumi, declared: "We were never different from Hamas. Strategically, there is no difference between us." He made the comment in an interview with the Nazareth-based weekly Kul Al-Arab.

The PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is run and controlled by Fatah, the veteran terrorist faction to which Abu Mazen belongs and which was headed by Yasser Arafat until his death. Article 12 of the Fatah constitutional document states as a goal of the organization, "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." Moreover, the goals are to be achieved by violence. Article 19 states, "Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."

And the leaders of the Fatah-led PLO, given more power and international legitimacy in their guises as heads of the Palestinian Authority, have remained loyal to the organization's goals and commitments. Two recent examples of this will suffice.

On Sunday, June 12, 2005, the PA executed several men accused of "collaboration" with Israel. That is, their "crime" was assisting Israel in fighting terrorism, something the PA is committed to doing itself under the terms of the US-sponsored Roadmap. However, such behavior is perfectly logical if "armed struggle is a... decisive factor in... uprooting the Zionist existence...." Those Arabs willing to fight terrorists are then undermining the "armed struggle".

By the same token, those Arabs involved in terrorism, including suicide bombing attacks, are taking part in the "armed struggle" and are not to be fought by the PA. And that is precisely the approach taken by Abbas in practice.

Last month, the PA released Islamic Jihad terrorists arrested in connection with the February 25, 2005 Stage Club suicide bombing attack which claimed the lives of five Israelis, leaving over fifty wounded. An Israeli official said that "the revolving door" prevalent under Yasser Arafat had returned. Also last month, PA Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Qidwa announced that as long as the "Israeli occupation" continues, the PA will not disarm terrorist factions. The weapons, he explained, are not "illegal" as long as the "occupation" continues. Considering that Fatah sees the "occupation" as continuing "unless the Zionist state is demolished," it would appear that weapons in the hands of Arab terrorists will never be considered "illegal" by the PA, hence they will never be confiscated.

Recent bloodshed and confrontation between the PA and Hamas, therefore, is not over the attempts of Abbas to curb terrorism. On the contrary, as we have seen, he has no intention to do so. How can he, when "strategically, there is no difference between us"? So, what is the internecine battle over?

Hamas is demanding a cut of the Gush Katif pie after Israel uproots the thousands of Jews who live in the 20 communities in the Gaza Strip. The land there is now quite desirable, after having been transformed from dirt and sand into a veritable oasis by Israeli farmers and builders. Hamas believes that it deserves a chunk of the land, as it credits its ongoing terrorism against Israel for having chased Ariel Sharon away. The method for it to get its share of the booty, Hamas proposed to Abu Mazen, is a joint authority specifically to handle the Israeli withdrawal from Jewish Gaza. Abbas, for his part, insists that there is only one authority - and it is the PA. And the PA, he says, will take over the Jewish areas when the Israelis withdraw.

By the way, did anyone mention the casino to be built on part of the evacuated lands?

In short, there is no conflict between Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority that a little real estate won't fix. And that means that the creation of an Islamist terrorist state is well under way, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas.

Sex offenders and Clinton

Did you know that nearly 800 convicted sex offenders got medicaid-funded viagra? I didn't until a short while ago.

Apparently the inspiration for this came from a 1998 letter written by someone high up in the Clinton administration(it seems the more I hear about the guy, the less I WANT to hear more).

Saturday, July 30, 2005

On this day

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis, which had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Only 316 out of 1,196 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters.

Confessions of a Once-Hopeful Leftist - Part II

by Jared Israel
Jul 28, '05 / 21 Tammuz 5765

Arabs live in Gaza; so do Jews. Gaza Jews live in towns and villages built on what was previously considered un-farmable land. Junk land. Before 1967, when Israel seized Gaza from Egypt, that land was inhabited by nobody. These are indisputable facts.

Arab leaders tell the world that their struggle is not against Jews per se, but against a supposedly expansionist Israel. All they want is a state for the Palestinians; so, national liberation.

As a recovering Hopeful Leftist, I remember believing this. I began recovering from my Hopeful condition when I began testing this belief against reality. For example, if Arab organizations were really for a state (and not against Jews) what would be their attitude towards Jews living in Gaza?

The answer is, they would welcome Jewish individuals to stay. The Palestinian Authority would publish official documents guaranteeing protection of the rights of what would be, upon the departure of Israeli forces, a Jewish minority. And they would guarantee that attacks on Jewish people, prior to the proposed pullout, were punished as sharply as possible, thus making an international statement. This would be a brilliant stroke, creating the impression that Arab leaders were anti-racist. It would weaken the opposition to turning Gaza over to full Arab control among Israeli Jews.

Why don't Arab leaders take this politically shrewd stand?

There is a substantial Arab minority in Israel, with normal rights; indeed, Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights than those in any Arab state. For example, in what Arab state can Arabs organize and campaign for state officials without fear of police repression?

Israeli Jews who physically assault Israeli Muslims are subject to the extreme penalties of the law. In Israel it is a hate crime, and one that is actively prosecuted, to call for physical attacks on Muslims or make remarks considered insulting to Muslims.

So, even if the Arab Palestinian movement is based on hatred of Jews, it would seem smart to welcome Gaza Jews to remain, thus telling the world that Arab leaders are just as humane as Jews.

What is the reality?

No such pledge has been made. Instead, every Palestinian Arab faction attacks the Sharon government's plan to evict Jews from Gaza as insincere, inadequate, or both. Not only does no Arab faction say Jews should be invited to stay, none denounces attempts to kill Gaza Jews, except by sometimes saying that such attacks should be temporarily halted lest they prevent the planned Israeli pullout.

On Saturday, June 18th, CNN reported that Mahmoud Abbas, alias Abu Mazen, President of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, held a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. For months, Arab terrorists had been shooting and launching rockets at Gaza Jews. For example:

"Earlier Saturday (i.e., the day of the press conference - JI) two Palestinian militants opened fire at Israeli troops guarding an Israeli settlement in Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. One militant was killed and another was wounded when the soldiers opened fire, Palestinian officials said." -- CNN, June 18, 2005 (4)

And after the press conference ended:

"Shortly after Rice spoke, a blast was heard in Gaza. Palestinian militants said they had launched two rockets toward an Israeli settlement in southern Gaza." -- CNN, June 19, 2005 (4)

Notice that in one case, the attack was directed at settlements, meaning towns where Jews live. In the other case, the Arabs tried to kill troops protecting Jews from murder. So, both attacks told Jews that their presence in Gaza was an offense punishable by death.

How did Secretary Rice and President Abbas react?

Ms. Rice reported on her meetings with Palestinian Arab officials and spoke of the need for "peaceful withdrawal", not mentioning that rockets were targeting Jews and that Arabs were trying to kill soldiers protecting the Jews. These were non-events.

As for President Abbas, he was Orwellian:

"We discussed with Dr Rice the issue of the calm in general and the Palestinian factions' commitment to this calm. We will continue to maintain the calm to reach a favorable result, whereby everybody will be committed so as to move to other steps after the withdrawal." -- Transcript of June 18th press conference. (5)

Notice that Abbas spoke of "continu(ing) to maintain calm." Three times in two sentences he called the assembled world media's attention to the "calm" in Gaza. So: War is Peace; Murdering Jews is Calm.

The world writes this off on the grounds that the attacks are supposedly the work of Hamas, supposedly the fringe of Arab politics. The idea is that if supposed moderates, like Abbas, fight Hamas they'll isolate themselves.

If this 'defense' were accurate, it would mean that much of the Palestinian Arab population was won to such extreme hatred of Jews that even when Israel plans to pull State forces out, no Arab politician dares to declare killing Jews to be wrong, let alone welcome Jews to stay in Gaza as people. And this, despite the international political gain of making such statements, even if they are lies.

However, it wasn't Hamas that tried to murder those soldiers trying to protect Jews from murder: "Two Palestinian militant groups, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad, claimed joint responsibility for the failed attack."

And what is Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? A military branch of Fatah, whose candidate in the Arab election was Abu Mazen, alias Mahmoud Abbas, now president of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. The guy who spoke alongside Secretary Rice at the June 18th press conference.

(Here are photos of Abbas enthusiastically campaigning with leaders of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades:; the above page is backed up at:

O National Liberation, what Crimes are Committed in thy Name

The world has been conditioned to think it is perfectly acceptable for the Arab "liberation" movement to enthusiastically support killing Jews, even though it would be a political coup for them to pretend that they morally oppose such killings.

Thus has the once honorable idea of national liberation been transformed into its opposite - a license for race hate, the very thing national liberation was supposed to combat.

By way of contrast, consider the 19th century nationalist struggle to unify Italy.

Prior to unification, the Italian territories included, and include today, a large French-speaking minority and a large German-speaking minority, as well as Jews, Albanians, Greeks, Slovenians and Croats. Jews in the then-Papal State were confined to ghettos whose gates were locked at night to prevent them from mingling with Gentiles, or otherwise escaping.

Not only did the Italian liberation movement give full rights to minorities, it tore down the walls of the Jewish ghettos, declaring the Jews free and equal (much to the fury of the Vatican...).

Similarly, after World War I, when Serbs led in creating a united state of the South Slavs (Yugoslavia), they did so in conjunction with Croats and Bosnian Muslims, even though many members of the latter groups had participated in anti-Serb atrocities as soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Or consider this. On April 28, 1948, the Haifa (Jewish) Workers' Council published a declaration calling on Arab workers not to respond to the demand, broadcast by Haj Amin Al-Husseini's Arab Higher Committee, to leave Haifa. Instead, the Arabs were urged to stay and build Israel for Jews and Muslims alike. (You may read the declaration in full at

That's how real national liberation movements work. In liberating themselves, they embrace potential brothers, rather than organizing the murder of Jews.


(4) Rice on Israel troop withdrawal: "'There is no more time'",, June 18, 2005 Saturday, 2:33 AM EST, WORLD, 748 words, RAMALLAH, West Bank

(5) "Palestinian leader affirms commitment to Gaza coordination, Rice urges progress", BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, June 19, 2005, Sunday, 2949 words

Friday, July 29, 2005


Did you hear that the IRA is planning to 'pursue it's goals through political and democratic means?' I didn't until a little earlier today.

I've always been rather opposed to the IRA, first because they're terrorists, and I hate terrorists. Secondly because, they're poor winners: THEY WON! They got the British out, there's an independent Ireland, what more do they want? What, all of it? The people in the north Want to stay in the UK! Why do you think they still have the RUC and friends?

So anyway, there's a lot of liberals who are almighty surprised that the respective governments of Britain and the US are treating this with some skepticism: They (the governments) are saying that the IRA has to disarm before they'll believe it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

On this day

On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. World War I began as declarations of war by other European nations quickly followed.

When You Have to Shoot First

Published: July 28, 2005


IN the summer of 1984, as we manned a hilltop observation post during my first stint of reserve duty in the Israel Defense Forces, I heard an awful story from a friend whom I'll call Eldad. Like the story of the police officer who killed an innocent man at the Stockwell subway station in London last week, this one had elements that got my liberal hackles up.

Western democracies are supposed to defend the individual against the power of the state. For this reason, democratic governments place strict limits on the use of force by their agents - executives, judges, members of the military and law-enforcement officers. When someone dies at the hands of one of these agents, citizens are justified in asking: Did the killer abide by the law? Were his motives pure? Was death really the only choice? All too often, the answer to these questions is no.

Eldad's story took place in Lebanon, where he and I had both served for the bulk of our regular army service, before we graduated to the reserves. He was stationed at a roadblock in southern Beirut. A car pulled up to the roadblock and three men jumped out and started spraying bullets at him and his comrades. Within a split second the Israelis were returning fire and, before they had time to even think through what was going on, two of the assailants were shot dead. The third was also on the ground, badly wounded but conscious.

"I went up to him and raised my rifle and switched it to automatic," Eldad told me. "He put up his hands as if to fend me off, or maybe beg for mercy. But I just pulled the trigger and filled his body up with bullets."

But you killed a wounded and disabled man, I objected. That's against orders. It's also immoral.

"He could still use his hands, and he might have had a grenade," Eldad said testily. "He was going to die anyway. And he deserved it."

Eldad's last two arguments were specious. He had no way of knowing how badly the man was wounded, nor was he authorized to mete out judgment.

"You would've done the same thing." He glared at me.

I didn't know whether I would have done the same thing. I half thought I wouldn't have. But what I realized at that moment was that, if I hadn't, I would have been wrong. The man had control of his hands and could have had a concealed and deadly weapon.

A terrible thing happened in London last Friday. On his way to work, Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician, was chased down by suspicious police officers. When he tripped and fell, the officers asked no questions and gave him no warning.

One of them fired eight bullets point-blank into his head and shoulder and that was that. At first sight, it was an act much more severe than Eldad's, because Eldad had been under attack and shot a man he had good reason to think was armed. Mr. Menezes had hurt no one.

On the other hand, it was an easier call. The police saw a man wearing a long coat out of place on a hot summer day jumping over a turnstile and running for a crowded subway train. He did not stop when he had been ordered to do so.

Just two weeks before the killing, four suicide bombers had blown themselves up on subway trains and buses in London. Just days before, there were all the signs of another coordinated attack - and the police had reason to believe that bombers were still at large. The long coat on a summer day was just the sort of telltale clue that the police had been told to look out for. A number of suicide bombers in recent years have used such coats to conceal the belt of explosives strapped around their waists. What's more, the police acted under express orders to shoot in the head someone they thought was about to commit a suicide bombing.

Suicide charges are usually built to be set off with the flick of the bomber's finger. The terrorist can be disabled, flat on the ground, and surrounded by heavily armed men and still blow up everything around him.

So the officer who killed Mr. Menezes did a horrible thing. But he also did the right thing. One of the tragedies of this age of suicide bombers - indeed of any war - is that the right thing to do is sometimes a horrible thing. Remember: there's an essential distinction between us and the suicide bombers. The suicide bombers perpetrate gratuitous horrors. We do terrible things only when it is necessary to prevent something even worse from happening.

When the Profile Fits the Crime

Published: July 28, 2005

IN response to the serial subway bombings in London, Mayor Michael Bloomberg prudently ordered the police to start searching the bags of New York's subway riders. But there will be absolutely no profiling, Mr. Bloomberg vowed: the police will select one out of every five passengers to search, and they will do so at random, without regard for race or religion.

In that case, the security move is doomed to fail.

Young Muslim men bombed the London tube, and young Muslim men attacked New York with planes in 2001. From everything we know about the terrorists who may be taking aim at our transportation system, they are most likely to be young Muslim men. Unfortunately, however, this demographic group won't be profiled. Instead, the authorities will be stopping Girl Scouts and grannies in a procedure that has more to do with demonstrating tolerance than with protecting citizens from terrorism.

Critics protest that profiling is prejudicial. In fact, it's based on statistics. Insurance companies profile policyholders based on probability of risk. That's just smart business. Likewise, profiling passengers based on proven security risk is just smart law enforcement.

Besides, done properly, profiling would subject relatively few Muslims to searches. Elderly Muslim women don't fit the terrorist profile. Young Muslim men of Arab or South Asian origin do. But rather than acknowledge this obvious fact, the New York Police Department has advised subway riders to be alert for "people" in bulky clothes who sweat or fiddle nervously with bags.

Well, a lot of people wear bulky clothes. A lot of people fiddle with their bags. And for that matter, a lot of people sweat. Could the Police Department be any more general in describing the traits of an Islamic suicide bomber? Could its advice be more useless?

Truth be told, commuters need to be most aware of young men praying to Allah and smelling like flower water. Law enforcement knows this, and so should you. According to a January 2004 handout, the Department of Homeland Security advises United States border authorities to look out for certain "suicide bomber indicators." They include a "shaved head or short haircut. A short haircut or recently shaved beard or moustache may be evident by differences in skin complexion on the head or face. May smell of herbal or flower water (most likely flower water), as they may have sprayed perfume on themselves, their clothing, and weapons to prepare for Paradise." Suspects may have been seen "praying fervently, giving the appearance of whispering to someone. Recent suicide bombers have raised their hands in the air just before the explosion to prevent the destruction of their fingerprints. They have also placed identity cards in their shoes because they want to be praised and recognized as martyrs."

The bodies of the London suicide bombers were recognized by their identification cards. And on the eve of the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers shaved and perfumed themselves with flower water in a pre-martyrdom ritual called ablution. But don't expect the federal authorities to screen for these indicators on Amtrak, which pulls into Penn Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, two of the biggest commuter-rail depots in the country. Not only is there no passenger profiling on Amtrak, but there's no screening or mandatory searching of carry-on bags. The only restriction on bags is a 50-pound weight limit - and that's not much comfort when you recall that the bombs used in London weighed only 10 pounds.

Once an Islamist suicide bomber is sitting next to you on the train, your chances of escape are slim. The only solution is for the police to stop him well before he boards your car. But with the system as it stands, that terrorist could easily slip in through the numerical window of random security screening. By not allowing police to profile the most suspicious train passengers - young Muslim men who fit the indicators above - Mr. Bloomberg and other leaders not only tie one hand behind law enforcement's back, but they also unwittingly provide terrorists political cover to carry out their murderous plans. Call it politically correct suicide.

Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institution media fellow, is the author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington."

Spaceships and freedom

You know, there's gotta be something good about a country where for a few million dollars you can build your own spaceship and fly into space.

Thanks for goingalong with me, I've been aching to say that for a while.

Confessions of a Once-Hopeful Leftist - Part I

by Jared Israel
Jul 27, '05 / 20 Tammuz 5765

Many who support the notion that Israel should pull out of Gaza do so from the perspective of what might be called the 'Hopeful Left'.

The Hopeful Left, of which I was once a fervent member, believes that Palestinian Arabs are waging a classic struggle for national liberation; all the Palestinian Arabs want is a state of their own in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Since Palestinian Arab violence is viewed as stemming from supposed Israeli suppression of national aspirations, the hope is that if Israel showers the Arabs with concessions, extremists will be isolated; moderates (once meaning Yasser Arafat and now meaning Mahmoud Abbas, otherwise known as Abu Mazen, and his Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority) will be empowered; peace will reign.

Such is the Hope of the Hopeful Left.

Beginning three years ago, I was forced by the tremendous escalation of media attacks on Israel to study the facts about the Arab-Israeli dispute. I now believe the Hopeful Left is dangerously wrong. There is much evidence that the Palestinian movement is not an outgrowth of the history of some Palestinian people, but an artificial creation of the Arab states, with much help, at various times, from Great Powers, such as the former Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and others.

A lot of evidence caused me to change my mind; a humbling process, since it meant I had been remarkably wrong since the early 1970s. Some of that evidence involved the origins of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which dominates the current Palestinian movement. Surely if the Palestinian Arabs were waging a legitimate national liberation struggle, the PLO has been its leading voice.

Among the things I learned was that, according to the Egyptian State Information Service, the PLO was formed in 1964 by 13 leaders of Arab states at an Arab League summit meeting:

"They approved many decisions, including holding the summit annually, establishing the unified supreme Arab command and forming an organization representing the Palestinian people." -- from the Egyptian State Information Service's history of Arab Summit meetings.(1)

Odd, isn't it, that Hopeful Leftists are able to ignore the fact that the PLO was created by some of the most regressive regimes on earth? Regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia) that allow the stoning to death of women for having extra-marital affairs?(2) It's a tribute to the human capacity to avoid facts that rudely contradict one's beliefs.

In any case, since the Arab states were in 1964 (and are now) waging a war of words and guns against Israel's existence, the fact that the PLO was formed by the Arab leadership does not speak well for the PLO.

And consider the following text, included in the founding charter of the PLO, which I stumbled upon by chance during an internet search a couple of years ago:

"Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area." (The 1964 charter is backed up at

Odd, isn't it, that a national liberation movement now claiming to be focused on the demand for a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip included in its founding document an acknowledgement in principle that Palestinian sovereignty does not include the West Bank and Gaza Strip? The only part of historic Palestine, as the PLO calls it, that the PLO then demanded was the part occupied by Israel.

If you look at the current charter of the PLO, you will search in vain for the above text. Why? Because the charter was rewritten in 1968, and the text excluding the West Bank and Gaza from Palestinian sovereignty was removed.(3)

What happened in between to transform historic Palestine?

What happened was that the Arab states lost their 1967 war against Israel.

Consequently, Egypt and Jordan lost control of Gaza and the West Bank, respectively. So, once these areas went from being controlled by non-Palestinian Arabs (by PLO definition) to being controlled by Jews, they entered the realm of Palestinian sovereignty. Doesn't this support the conclusion that the Palestinian national liberation movement is, in fact, an artificial creation, an attack force in disguise? That it was not created to strive for national liberation, but against Jews?

Let us test this thesis in terms of a current proposal, seemingly made by the Israeli government, but originating, I believe, in the Bush administration. Under this proposal, the Israeli government would evict all Jews from the Gaza Strip and turn it over to the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, which, by the way, is led mainly by the same people who lead the PLO.



(2) Arab states are attacked for the practice of stoning women to death for adultery on a Muslim web site This web site appears to argue that, according to Muslim texts, rather than stoning the women, punishment should be limited to 100 lashes.

(3) The revised PLO charter can be read at

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On this day

On July 27, 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting.

Letter to Soldiers and Police Officers of the Gaza Evacuation

00:33 Jul 27, '05 / 20 Tammuz 5765
By Racheli Chajbi (translated by Yishai and Malkah Fleisher)

Dear Soldier/Police Officer, In this letter you will not find ideology. This is a completely personal appeal from me, directly to your heart.

My name is Racheli, I was born 25 years ago in Yamit [a Jewish community in Sinai which was surrendered to Egypt as part of the Camp David Accords], and since the evacuation of Yamit I have been living in Gush Katif.

I live here with my husband, my two daughters, my parents, my siblings, and my grandmother - four generations who are happy to live together in a place they love so much.

I turn to you with a plea that you take time to consider the action that you are being demanded to fulfill.

Close your eyes and imagine the following situation: you knock on the door of the house of the Shalva family in Neve Dekalim, you hand them the evacuation order, and begin to fulfill the mission.

Let us begin with the evacuation of the first generation.

My grandmother, Grandma Penina, 92 years old, a Holocaust survivor, arrived in Israel on an illegal boat but was denied entry and kicked out to Cyprus. Even after she arrived in Israel, she encountered many hardships. This is her house, and she has not had another for these last 17 years.

This evacuation is really not hard. She is a frail woman who does not weigh a lot, and of course, does not resist with force. But why do your eyes fill with tears when Penina’s eyes express that this is not the first time that she has been kicked out of her home? In the past, she was kicked out of her home – to Auschwitz…

Grandma Penina is on the bus. The evacuation of the first generation ended successfully.

Now back to the house, to the second generation. My parents, my father Moshe (son of Grandma Penina), and my mother Esti, do not put up any violent resistance, but their eyes are full of tears, which tell a story. Moshe and Esti were kicked out of their house in Yamit 23 years ago. When the soldiers knocked on the door of their house and put them on buses together with their four children, the eldest being three-and-a-half-years-old and the youngest a few weeks old, they [the soldiers] promised them [the parents] that the bus would take them to Be’er Sheva and there they would be taken care of…

With a backpack, and in it a change of clothing for each child and a few cloth diapers, Mom and Dad looked like refugees in every sense. It was obvious that they could not come to their parents looking like this, for the association with Holocaust survivors would be too heavy a burden.

After four hours of waiting on the sidewalk of the Be’er Sheva Central Bus Station, my father Moshe turned to the police, but there too he found no salvation. After many hours of waiting, a good Jew passed by, and after receiving the negative response to his question of whether they had a place to sleep, he gathered them to his house in Ganei Tal.

In those days, we lived in the foyer of the family's house, until a temporary apartment was found for us in the community of Katif. Until our house was built in N’vei Dekalim, my parents made every effort to organize their life anew. My father established a business in N’vei Dekalim, and life returned to normal, or so it seemed...

Moshe and Esti are also almost on the bus, when you suddenly remember that you don't actually have any answer to the deeper question that is hanging in the air between the two of you - 'Where to now? What is next?'

Now they, too, are on the bus, and the second generation's evacuation has been completed successfully.

This time, with somewhat heavier steps - you return to continue with the 3rd generation. Eleven out of twelve of my brothers and sisters live in N’vei Dekalim, from Ori, age 26, to Tiferet - the youngest one, who just finished first grade. Now, the mission may be a bit harder. Going back and forth to the bus eleven times in the heavy heat is hard, but it is even harder to withstand the looks of the children, full of fright when they see you - for they had always believed that you are supposed to protect them and give them security. Now you are ripping them out of their home, in which they were born and raised.

The eleven children have been put on the bus, including the bride and two new grooms who have joined the family. The 3rd generation evacuation has ended successfully as well.

Now you return to the house, all the while the cries from the bus reverberating in your ears, your legs barely obeying your commands. Only the 4th generation evacuation remains – and this one's really child's play. Two little girls, Moriah – four-and-a-half years old, and Efrat, two-and-a-half years old - my daughters. What could be so hard about taking two little girls?!

You raise the two of them together easily and carry them toward the bus, when suddenly Moriah says in tears, "But I want my house" - and it dawns upon you that when you finish evacuating the 4th generation, you will have erased the normal life of an entire family. When you reflect on my daughters in your hands, you think about the next generation, you think about your children, or the children that will be born to you in the future. You are struck with fear when you think about what you will tell your children when they will ask you how you served the State - will you be able to tell them that you are proud of your service for the State?

Please think!

No, you really don't have to disobey orders.

If you received an order to lift a truck weighing many tons, you wouldn't have to disobey orders – simply your strength would not serve you in that task.

The soul, too, has its limitations!

I turn to your soul, to the heart of that soldier or that officer who swore to protect the State of Israel.

Please think...

From Bill: If you are a blogger or have a friend in Israel or know someone who is simply intirested in what is going on over here, please pass this on.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Who's surprised?

Can't write a long article, very rushed, here's something I found on the New York Times:

An independent survey suggests that the Palestinian Authority's forces are divided, weak, badly motivated and underarmed.

I'm sure there is someone, somewhere, who's surprised by this, most of them are probably Democratic presisential nominees.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Whassup Whasdown

My neighbor went down to gush katif (I took care of her dogs) and she sent this email about her experience down there.

dear family,

just got in ,most amazing experience-good ,bad and ugly .i am writing
this before i read my 122 (really,no kidding) emails so i don't know
what info you've got.the most striking thing about the trip,mon
afternoon -thursday afternoon was the amount of mesiras nefesh i
witnessed in the camp/tent city.the spirit and emunah of the people
was indscribable.i truly believe that some of the best jews IN THE
WORLD were to be found there.there were many miracles-babies didn't
whine or cry,dogs didn't bark,people in the yishuv [village] and in the camp
shared and cared for one another.there was one of many many
examples-when a few young women saw me and yardena looking for a non
portasan facility in the nature-they invited us to their
house,insisted we take showers,supplied towels and insisted and made
lunches for us.when i told them that i was going to try to find my
boys(who were last seen by yardena doing hasbara and singing and
dancing with the soldiers on the periphery of the gate) to give them
the sanwiches they made more and added baked goodies.daniel gratefully
took these items on his secret(but ultimately unsuccessful) all night
mission.there were so many examples of children holding hands,sharing
a snack or patiently waiting in the blistering heat or during the
march or in the never ending makolet line;btw we set up our sleeping
bags on the second and third nights on the grass outside the makolet
and i estimate that with 60,000 people(actual,realistic) the makolet
did the same amount of business in3 days as in 3 years!!the man
selling ice pops was literally singing-"baruch hashem,every day should
be like today".

i joked(pople say this is an accurate description too) that this was
the happiest ghetto ever...

you know what,i'm going to send this because i have to pick yardena
and her little student up from the pool,and then continue to beit
shemesh to pick up yardena's best friend from america who is in
israel( this is her last free shabbos).to be continue.

okay,bye for now


And here's part two:

dear family,

we're beginning the process of recovering from our trip.last night i
shaved and bathed a flea bitten macy,began the long cleanup
process.while yardena gave her swimming lesson to shalva.the little
girl is making progress she blew a few bubbles and let go for a second
all while yardena plays with her.the lifeguard ,who is a childrens'
swimming instructor told yardena what and how to teach.then we drove
to beit shemesh to pick up yardena's friend,leah,stopped at my
favorite fruit market on the way back and for one of the first times
in my life i went to sleep without doing all the laundry and dishes.of
course this morning i already made apple-berry(from our
garden),chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting,chicken soup,cole
slaw,breaded oven fried eggplant and lots more.i missed cooking over
the past few days and i would like to put some stuff in the freezer
for when i'm in america for 2 weeks.

anyway,what mommy commented about my description was exactly the way
it was.i'm not too emotional either but you'd have to be made of stone
not to feel choked up in the camp,especially on wednesday when the
people poured in and the march was beginning.the two highlights among
the marchers were the tah katom( college students against expulsion)
and the children marching around on wednesday afternoon.the tah katom
had many very clever signs and wore orange graduation caps.some of the
signs that i remember were-

-sharon don't tell us stories-literature students

-we are against uprooting-dental students

don't write this in history-history students

look the settlers in the eyes-optometry students

against human experiments-biology dept

there is no moed bet(the makeup exam given on matriculated exams) here

yardena asked one of the girls walking with the moed bet sign(or
chemisrtry ,i forget)if we could take a picture of them both.she
hugged yardena and said she'd love when we get the pictures
developed i'll share them.

the younger kids walked around the periphery of the camp chanting a
song about soldiers telling their officers that they just

i forgot to mention that on tuesday night(3 a.m.) we got up to see
lubavitchers dancing and singing on the main road.we followed them to
the gate where we saw thousands of people streaming in(either the
fence was opened up in some places or the police allowed people in at
that time-i'm not sure).girls were handing out free gush katif
produce-bowls of salad,carrots and cooked potatoes to the
people.bretslover and /or lubavitcher were dispensing testubes of
shnaps.when we got to the gate we were talking to the other
revelers(all ages from all parts of israel). a person came over to
talk to us about the camp atmosphere and i told him what i was
experincing.then he said"that's good-can you repeat that) and got his
mike and cameraman.he was taping for arutz sheva video.i was very
hesitant but he persisted.unfortunately for him,when the camera went
on i was not as articulate as when he casually spoke to me.then
channel ten came over to interview me.truthfully,i hope neither
interview made it to viewers-we were sunburnt,wt from the dew and mud
on our sleeping bags and our sandy ,unbrushed hair was sticking up
like nick noltes' dwi mugshot and worst of all i stuttered and i
didn't sound so smart.

i spoke to a lubavitcher waving a large yellow moshiach banner and
said to him"what type of rally is this?for moshiach or against
expulsion?" he said with g-ds help both!!!

th heat was prettybad in the negev in mid july.the first aid where i
went to get advil and tylenol for me and yardena said that they have
been busy treating people for dehydration.

when we began the march(60,000 people NOT including the hundreds of
buses that were turned away) we felt like we were going to split the
red sea-

here is the page we read before we began-

Info Sheet Handed Out to the Marchers in Kfar Maimon
We are winning.
Here are the facts:
The police force and army are disintegrating.
The police stations are empty of police.
The army cancelled all preparations for the expulsion.
The police and soldiers are tense, depressed and being exposed to the
facts as brought to them by the believing public. They are losing any
will to take part in the expulsion.
Due to the general chaos and lack of forces at the Kisufim junction,
many people were able to cross over into Gush Katif.

We are on our way to Gush Katif.
Thousands are joining us daily at Kfar Maimon.
We are resting and preparing, while forcing the police to concentrate
all their forces in Kfar Maimon.

Sharon wants to turn this into Tienenman Square. He wants blood and
violence so that he can carry out his scheme with brutality.

We want this to be the Ukraine.

We call upon everyone to bear with us patiently, even if this
situation continues for days or even weeks. Just remember not to use
any violence.

btw,one of the many people who we spoke to said that the police took
away the bus driver's license and told them that if one person gets
off the bus at netivot(and not beersheva as stated) he would not get
his license one got off but many made their way from

daniel's bus from jerusalem was among the many stopped but most
managed to get to kfar maimon.

when i met up with him before the rally,he told me he was leaving his
bag with his tudat zehut and just taking his tefillin and walking all
night towards gush katif.i asked him how he could-his neck and
shoulders wer badly sunburnt and his feet had blisters but he said for
this he was impervious to pain.

i'm oing to send this and continue part 3 after i take my stuff out of
the oven....

okay,bye for now


And Finally...

dear family,

okay my apple berry pies are out of the oven,and i've got a few
minutes to continue whassup whasdown.

another example of kindness was that one of the families hooked up a
panel of 20 sockets with extra chargers for people to charge their
cellphones in their carportwithout that i would not have been able to
charge my phone,yardena's phone or the spare phone(joel's) that i gave
to daniel that he really NEEDED.there really are soooo many
examples.jews all over the world are good and kind(like the family
that hosted uncle paul when he was in the russian army) but it was
just so very concentratedand just striking at how cooperative and
special the people were.

of course we ran into one of ariel's army buddies.(there's hundreds of
these funny stories but i can't remember them all).this guy heard me
and yardena talking english so he asked if he could buy one of our
orange ribbons(we had plenty of "orange" to was a real
sacrifice for us too because orange is definitely NOT our color ).so
he said he'll buy it when i insisted he just keep he explained
that he just got out of the army,he's got some i asked
,casually,'which unit?" so he said nachal chareidi.then i said i have
a son there but if he's out then he couldn't be with ariel.then when i
told him ariel kirsch was my son,he went berzerk telling me how ariel
is "the man" the "coolest,toughest:in the unit,etc.yardena in addition
to the heat almost passed out because she can't bear to listen to all
the praise about ariel(she sees a different side to him...).anyway we
talked and he told me his story and sends regards to his buddy,ariel.

then we started on the march and as we walked,we talked to all the
soldiers,police and swat team(yasamnikim).the teenaged girls would
look at their name tags ask for a smile.the hesder boys would look at
what unit they were in and sing their units song even had
some choreography.we said good evening and good night .one of my
friends said to one boy that refused to talk to her"you know,i have 2
sons in the army,they know what they are going to tell their
children,what will you tell yours about YOUR service?"she says he assessment is that the soldiers are kids,some don't want
to be there and clearly feel conflict(yoni recognized a leftist from
the kibbutz gezer that he was on the natiol baseball team with.yoni
threatened to throw a fast ball at him...).the police are a mixed
bag-some are human some are not.the swat team was like looking at the
face of evil.i couldn't help but see them as kappos.they may not have
even been jewish!.they had hate in their eyes and billy clubs in their
hands and would not hesitate to use the arsenal of rubber
bullets,stone pellet shooters,ninchucks,and water cannons.they were
sickeningly armed to the teeth to fight peaceful women
,children,yeshivah bachurs who were the end,we did not walk
towards kissufim because the 20,000 police/army would want to turn it
into a bloodbath .they think they won,but in so many ways we won.i
won't get into politics because i still have stuff to do for shabbos.

anywaywhile we were walking in kfar maimon wed night,daniel and other
merkaz harav students set out on foot,through side roads and fields to
get to gush katif(or at least prove that the soldiers and police can't
carry out this mission with diversions and exhausted ,limited
manpower)by the morning,he got there but was surrounded by cops and
taken to be arrested in beersheva.he called from joel's charged phone
to ask me to locate his back pack and id(which he intentionally left
behind).i looked all around and could not find of the
townspeople took me and his baby in a truck to all the houses to find
it(daniel only knew that he was in a camp near a family named
cohen...).we never found it.while i was looking in yards,a group of
girls said"are you the mother of kirsch?"so i said "oh yeah,did you
see where daniel was staying.?"they said "oh,we know yoni..."(btw,yoni
has a lot of groupies...).

in the morning we had a bus take us home.of course the bullying thugs
made our bus driver stop for an hour at a roadblock because they
accused him of heading towards gush katif.

on the bus home we made friends with other people and while i was
chatting,my cellphone rang-[name deleted] called to tell me that he "jumped"
off the bus on his way to the police station.i repeated what he was
telling me and the people near me on the bus started cheering and
clapping. he just called from yeshivah to tell me how it happened.
when the bus slowed at a lightht pushed the back door open and ran.
then he pulled off his orange(incriminating) shirt and he said unfortunately
his tzitzis too,turnedhis baseball cap around backward and after walking
around for an hour made his way back to jerusalem from beersheva.and he got
his back pack somehow,also.

so i really had a once in a lifetime experience-i told ariel that it
must be like the army is for him-the extremes(the righteous people and
sharon's goons on the other end).olivia came down for one day(monday
night) and said that one little child was trying to get a policeman to
take a taffy from her.the cop said'don't make my job harder' and
finally gave in .he put it in a pocket with other taffies.

i'm a little disappointed that there was no miracle(even i spiritally
challened felt magic in the air).i'm also sorry that i will be in
america .i hope a miracle happens before that.

okay,now i must finish shabbos preparations...good shabbos

okay,bye for now


From Bill: Wow! hearing this sort of stuff from a person who's actually been out there is really refreshing after mainstream media. and the kid who jumped the bus? he's still wanted so I had to delete an incriminating line.

Everything here reproduced with the permission of the original writer (my neighbor).

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Read this and then guess where I found it.

Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq

Published: July 22, 2005

WHILE yesterday's explosions on London's subway and bus lines were thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as well) been "punished" by Al Qaeda for participating in the American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? While this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims.

Conflicts in the Middle East have a tremendous impact on Muslim public opinion worldwide. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But many of the terrorist group's statements, actions and non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad.

First, let's consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Another motivating factor, we are told, was the presence of "infidel" troops in Islam's holy lands. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was reported to be upset when the Saudi royal family allowed Western troops into the kingdom before the Persian Gulf war. But Mr. bin Laden was by that time a veteran fighter committed to global jihad.

He and the other members of the first generation of Al Qaeda left the Middle East to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980's. Except for the smallish Egyptian faction led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, now Mr. bin Laden's chief deputy, these militants were not involved in Middle Eastern politics. Abdullah Azzam, Mr. bin Laden's mentor, gave up supporting the Palestinian Liberation Organization long before his death in 1989 because he felt that to fight for a localized political cause was to forsake the real jihad, which he felt should be international and religious in character.

From the beginning, Al Qaeda's fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). "Born again" or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970's (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the "world proletariat" and "Revolution" without really caring about what would happen after.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don't distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

Even their calls for the withdrawal of the European troops from Iraq ring false. After all, the Spanish police have foiled terrorist attempts in Madrid even since the government withdrew its forces. Western-based radicals strike where they are living, not where they are instructed to or where it will have the greatest political effect on behalf of their nominal causes.

The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of "Globalized Islam."

Guessed yet? I found this in the New York Times.

You know what? very few people seem to groc the fact that these attacks are not in responce to anything we've done: 'We' being brits, americans, israelis, anyone who has been targeted by terrorists. We don't need a majority of people to realize this, we just need 3, 4, 5% of OUTSPOKEN people to remind the rest of the proles that 'WE're good, THEY're bad, Nothing's relative.'

please feel free to go ahead and post a comment if you want, even if it's something like; 'killijkanagrad.'
I've been rereading my history lately, and I read something very interesting; a quote of a Republican during the 1864 elections:

"Neither you nor I nor the Democrats themselves can say whether the Democrats are running on a peace platform or a war platform; I believe it to be peace and war. That is, peace with the rebels and war with their own government."

thet is quite applicable today. I only hope that they lose this one like they lost that one.

This is Insane

I've found this... Thing, that is totally insane.









Saturday, July 23, 2005

On this day

On July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb assassin; the dispute led to World War I.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Christians V. Muslims

Many muslims seem to look at the world as some sort of war between Islam and Christianity to see who will dominate the world.
Speaking as a not-very-religious jew, I think that it would be a lot better for the world if the Christians won.

ten reasons why Christianity is preferable to Islam:

#1: Muslims would never have thought of the U.S.A., or if they did, the mullas would certainly never have allowed it.
#2: The closest thing to a Jihaad that christians have ever done was the crusades, and once those failed, they GAVE UP!
#3: In most christian communities, a husband doesn't have the right to beat or kill his wife for being in public with a strange man.
#4: If Christopher Columbus had suggested to almost any muslim ruler that the world was round, he'd have been drawn and quartered (at the least).
#5 There is no Christian-predominated country in the world where it is illegal to practice Islam. (unlike in many Islamic countries, where christians are regularly killed or enslaved).
#6 the Catholic church got rid of the Inquisition on it's own, Islam is going to need a great deal of help to get rid of the Taliban, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and all those other groups who are supposedly fighting in Allah's name.
#7 Christians generally don't do suicide bombings.
#8 When the Serbs started killing Muslims in Bosnia, they weren't applauded by the entire christian world; when Muslims do something similiar, they are.
#9 there were christian kingdoms allowing freedom of religion as far back as the 15th century; today, there aren't many muslim coutries that allow the same.
#10 Many jews were saved in World War II by christians acting as groups of christians: There was a protestant village in france that hid 5,000 jews throughout the whole war; the Arch-Bishop of Bulgaria threatened to lie down on the tracks in front of the first train carrying jews to the concentration camps; the Bishops of Holland threatened to excommunicate any catholics who helped the germans find jews; the Pope hid Roman Jews in the Vatican! Many Muslims also saved Jewish lives, but they were almost always acting as individuals: when muslims acted as groups of muslims, it was almost always in support of the germans. Remember the Wafdists anyone? The Iraqi revolt?

So anyway, I hope I haven't offended TOO many people by this(Yeah, yeah, only every muslim and lefty reading this), and given you food for thought. Please post a comment(I need all the feedback I can get), and read plenty more of me.

I am shocked, shocked!

I read a New York Times article entitled 'The Rural War' by Robert Cushing and Bill Bishop, in which they act all shocked and surprised at the fact that the majority of casualties in Iraq were from rural counties.

after reading it I'm like; So What? more people from rural communities join the army, and once in the army, they're more likely to be posted to a combat unit: The simple fact is, that us Hicks are generally more combat-able than Urbanites.

I deeply apologize to any Inner-city kids who are offended by this; I'm just calling it like I see it.

My reasoning goes as thus: People from Rural places tend to eat more healthy food, breath fresher air, and lead more physically active lives. Also, People from Rural states (such as Texas or Vermont) are much more likely to see and/or use a gun on a regular basis (valuable experience when in basic).

I told my dad about the article, and he did a marvelous impression of captain Ranou from CASABLANCA saying: 'I am shocked, shocked to find that there is gambling going on in here!' (if you've never seen it, watch CASABLANCA, it's a great movie).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

On this day

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon

Some fun

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things
people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published
by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges
were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?

WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?

WITNESS: July 18th.

ATTORNEY: What year?

WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?

ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.

ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?

WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.

ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?

WITNESS: Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"

ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan.

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.



WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he
doesn't know about it until the next morning?

WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?

WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?


ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?


ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?


ATTORNEY: How many were boys?


ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?

WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?

WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.

ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead

WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.

ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?

WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an
autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?


ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?


ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?

ATTORNEY Did you check for breathing?


ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you
began the autopsy?

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wanted Terrorists Killed Near Jenin

By Ezra HaLevi

IDF Special Forces killed two wanted terrorists near Jenin Tuesday as internal violence between Hamas and Fatah terror gangs erupted in Gaza.

An IDF SWAT team entered the village of Yamoun Tuesday morning and called upon the wanted men to come out of the structure in which they were hiding.

When they refused, a D-9 bulldozer began to move toward the home to demolish it. The terrorists then ran out of the house and sprayed automatic gunfire toward the security forces.

Soldiers returned fire, killing the two men. None of the security forces were wounded.

Security sources report that the two terrorist brothers, Ibrahim and Warad Abahara, were commanders involved in the execution of several attacks against Israeli civilians. Unconfirmed reports say they were both senior members in the ruling Fatah Party's al-Aqsa Brigades terror gang. Ibrahim Abahara prepared the bomb belt used at a bus station in Haifa in December 2001, maiming dozens of Israeli civilians.

In growing infighting in Arab Gaza, nine members of the Palestinian Authority's para-military police force and two Hamas gang members were wounded in gunfights Tuesday morning, after two Hamas offices and a vehicle were burned in pre-dawn attacks, which Hamas blamed on members of the Fatah-controlled PA.

From Bill: So the Terrorists are fighting each other? this is good news.

Monday, July 18, 2005

On this day

On July 18, 1936, the Spanish Civil War began as Gen. Francisco Franco led an uprising of army troops based in Spanish Morocco.

From the chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association and head of the Department of Psychiatry at 'Ein Shams University in Cairo

"Although you [President Bush] invest a lot of effort in proving yourself, you are not successful in doing so because you are stupid and understand nothing about what is happening in the world. 'Stupidity' and 'idiocy' are synonyms, and if you don't like the word 'stupid,' you are an evil person with an ugly soul. Don't you understand, stupid, that Israel does not want peace? Don't you understand, stupid, that Sharon is a criminal murderer? Don't you understand, stupid, that the interests of your country are in great danger because of your complete bias in favor of Israel? Don't you understand, stupid, that the entire world is now standing against you and the policy of your administration? Don't you understand, stupid, that anyone who dies for the liberation of his homeland is a martyr? Don't you understand, stupid, that when a girl of 18 springs blows herself up, this means that her cause is right, and that her people will be victorious sooner or later? ? On the strategic level, there must be a pan-Arab plan in order to reach our goal. The goal of all of us is to liberate Palestine from the Israeli aggressors. To use words that some people no longer like to use today: 'We will throw Israel into the sea.' This phrase, by the way, is the truth."

Okay, listen you Primped-up, pan-Arab Plutocrat, 'You will throw Israel into the sea'? I know being a psychiatrist you don't have a good memory so I'll remind you: That's what you guys said the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. And you know what? Israel is still there.

As for calling George Bush stupid, well I'm with stupid: 'El Stupido' has forged together an alliance of free-thinking peoples and launched crippling blows at the 'pan-Arab' conspiracy; he's liberated millions of innocent people whom you'd rather see suffering under the tyrannical regimes of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, brought those same people freedom and democracy, armed and trained them to defend themselves against the psychological killers who you so obviously support, he's taken a measure of power from your Nazi friends and added strength to the forces of freedom.

Your assertion that the entire world is arrayed against us is patently untrue: our good friends the Israelis aren't against us; the british are side-by-side with us in Afghanistan and Iraq, Aussies, Poles, there are a lot of people who are not only not against us, but are actively or non-actively aligned with us against you.

As for that 18-year-old who blows herself up, thus proving her cause right: When she is forced to do so, and in doing so, she kills dozens of innocent children, well, to us ignorant Americans that kind of shows the opposite.

Don't you understand, 'Stupid' that the Israelis GAVE Yasser Arafat everything he demanded, that HE was the man who precluded any chance of peace, that the Israelis are even now on the verge of civil war because they have given up land (AGAIN) because the palestinians said that then there would be peace like they've said before and like every time they've broken their word.

'The interests of our country are in great danger because of our complete bias in favor of Israel?' I'd like to remind you that we GIVE 46.1 million dollars a year to the palestinians alone (that's more than forty TIMES France's contribution), and do you how much money we give the Israelis? None.

And maybe we are biased, why? Because the Israelis don't use children as as human shields and your precious palestinians do. Bacause the Israelis don't deliberately target civiian women and children and the palestinians do. Because the Israelis didn't celebrate when thusands of us were killed in a sneak attack on september 11 2001 and the palestinians did. Shall I go on? Because in Israel people are free to practice whatever religion they want, say what they want, live where they want, marry who they want, and nowhere in the 'pan-Arab' world is that true. Because the Israelis don't make martyrs out of people who murder hundreds of women and children and the palestinians do. Because the Israelis aren't terrorists and the palestinians are. Because Israelis don't kill us and the palestinians do.

I would like to thank you doctor, you and all your kind for showing us what true evil is, and that it must be opposed, while continuing to be so ineffably stupid that you make George Bush look like Einstein.

Last and finally, the reason you continue to ridicule and look down on us: You're afraid, And with good reason too: we've destroyed the Taliban and liberated the Afghanis, we've destroyed Saddam Hussein's Regime and liberated the Iraqis, and we're coming for you; it will only be a matter of time until we're liberating the uneducated, unwashed peasants you're keeping under your heel. Fear us, because you can do all that you can to stop us, and We'll still Win.

In Poland, Anti-Semitism is in Retreat

by Jeff Jacoby

Belzec, Poland -- Hanging in the Galicia Jewish Museum, a Krakow gallery opened last year by British photojournalist Chris Schwartz, is a picture of the monument to the murdered Jews of Wieliczka. The modest stone marker recalls the day during World War II when the SS rounded up a group of Jews in that southern Polish town, ordered them to strip and shot them. The photograph shows the monument defaced with graffiti -- in red paint, someone has scrawled "Nazis OK" over the list of the victims' names.

Some months after shooting that picture, Schwartz told me, he returned to Wieliczka and saw that the graffiti had been removed. But there was a new desecration. Where the memorial refers to "Polish Jews," someone had scratched out the word "Polish."

The Wieliczka monument could be a metaphor for the slow transformation of Polish anti-Semitism. Today, naked Jew-hatred, to say nothing of praise for the Nazi genocide of six million Jews (half of whom were murdered on Polish soil), is increasingly viewed as detestable in Polish society. But at the same time, many Poles continue to regard Jews as an alien race.

From President Aleksander Kwasniewski on down, Poland's leaders strongly denounce anti-Semitism -- a far cry from the explicitly anti-Jewish stance of the pre-war Polish government and the Communist regime that ruled from 1945 to 1989. The unknown person who painstakingly removed the "Nazis OK" graffiti from the Wieliczka memorial is not alone: Many Poles today are deeply involved in efforts to eradicate the hostility to Jews for which their country was long infamous.

During the course of a nine-day visit to Poland, I met several of these people, including Andrzej Folwarczny, a former member of parliament and founder of the Forum for Dialogue Among Nations (which organized my trip, along with the American Jewish Committee), and Paula Sawicka, the wife of a government minister and president of Open Republic, an organization created to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in the Polish media and public schools. Their efforts, and those of others like them, have had an impact: According to the AJC, Poland has less anti-Semitic violence than France or Germany, and anti-Jewish slurs are now almost unknown in Polish politics. When it comes to foreign affairs, Poland has become one of the most pro-Israel countries in Europe.

But like the vandal who effaced "Polish" from the Wieliczka marker, some Poles persist in seeing Jews as incompatible with "real" Poles. Jews have lived in Poland for nearly 1,000 years; they accounted for a tenth of the country's pre-war population. Jewish roots run deeper here than almost anywhere else in the world. But there are still Poles for whom "Jewish" and "Polish" remain mutually exclusive categories.

I thought of the Wieliczka photograph when I visited the site of the Belzec death camp, where half a million Jews and several thousand Gypsies were murdered in 1942. The director of the powerful new Belzec memorial -- a symbolic mass grave containing the ashes and pulverized bones of hundreds of thousands of the Nazis' victims -- is Robert Kuwalek, an earnest young historian who grew up in nearby Lublin. As he walks around the site, Kuwalek explains that for a long time he resisted studying the Holocaust because he found it "psychologically too difficult."

But each time he interviewed Polish Jews for his dissertation on pre-war Zionism, the conversation inevitably turned to the fate of their loved ones during the Nazi years. Eventually, he took a job with the state museum at Maidanek, the site of another Nazi killing center. Yet, he was so unnerved that he managed to write only a single paper in his first year. "Whenever I had to come to Belzec for research or with survivors," he says, "I would get a stomach ache."

Though he was educated in the Communist era, when the fate of the Jews under Nazism was largely ignored, Kuwalek was always aware of the Holocaust. His grandmother told him when he was a child that the worst day of her life was when the Germans liquidated the Jewish ghetto near her home. Years later, she still remembered the gunfire, the screams and the sight of Jewish babies hurled from windows by the SS.

Today, Polish students learn about the Holocaust in school, and younger Poles are more likely to appreciate the sensitive new memorial, as well as Kuwalek's determination that the history of Belzec be honestly told. But with many older Poles, he says, "it's obvious that they think I am Jewish." They can’t imagine any reason a Pole -- a "real" Pole -- would be working here. "To them," Kuwalek says, "this place is only for Jews."

The Catholic archbishop of Lublin, Jozef Zycinski, is another Polish leader deeply committed to Polish-Jewish brotherhood. He has repeatedly led memorial services for Jewish victims of the Holocaust; in one moving ceremony a few years ago, Zycinski and Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, took soil from the sites of a synagogue and a church destroyed by the Nazis, mixed it together, and planted a Polish tree and an Israeli grapevine in the mingled earth as a symbol of reconciliation.

Zycinski variously describes anti-Semitism as a psychiatric disorder, a cynical political ploy and -- citing Pope John Paul II -- a sin. But when I ask him how many of his counterparts in the senior Polish clergy share his views, he mentions only three. The others, he says diplomatically, have "different priorities."

No, the millennium will not come overnight; the Polish-Jewish divide is old and deep, and it will take time to close it completely. But it is closing, no question about it. For Jews raised on the stereotype of Poles as unshakably anti-Semitic, it comes as a shock to discover that even as anti-Semitism is on the rise in much of Europe, in Poland -- of all places! -- it on the wane.

[This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe of Thursday, July 14, 2005.]

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blair Says 'Evil Ideology' Must Be Faced Directly

These are excerpts from a July 16 speech made by Tony Blair- In a major speech drawing battle lines for the global response to terrorism, he said Saturday that its "evil ideology" could only be beaten by confronting its "symptoms and causes, head-on, without compromise or delusion."

". . .What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a clash of civilizations - all civilized people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it.

"This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods, but their views. Not just about their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do, but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others."

"If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi government?"

"What was Sept. 11 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb and the election of a new Spanish government were they planning another atrocity when caught? Why, if it is the cause of Muslims that concerns them do they kill so many with such callous indifference?"

"Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to."

From Bill: Cool, eh? here's an Englishman who I would vote for (if I lived in the United Kingdom, of course).

On this day

On July 17, 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower linkup of its kind.

Where's the Newt?

Published: July 16, 2005
We are in the midst of a remarkable Washington scandal, and we still don't have a name for it. Leakgate, Rovegate, Wilsongate - none of the suggestions have stuck because none capture what's so special about the current frenzy to lock up reporters and public officials.

The closest parallel is the moment in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" when members of a mob eager to burn a witch are asked by the wise Sir Bedevere how they know she's a witch.

"Well, she turned me into a newt," the villager played by John Cleese says.

"A newt?" Sir Bedevere asks, looking puzzled.

"I got better," he explains.

"Burn her anyway!" another villager shouts.

That's what has happened since this scandal began so promisingly two summers ago. At first it looked like an outrageous crime harming innocent victims: a brave whistle-blower was smeared by a vicious White House politico who committed a felony by exposing the whistle-blower's wife as an undercover officer, endangering her and her contacts in the field.

But if you consider the facts today, you may feel like Sir Bedevere. Where's the newt? What did the witch actually do? Consider that original list of outrages:

The White House felon So far Karl Rove appears guilty of telling reporters something he had heard, that Valerie Wilson, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, worked for the C.I.A. But because of several exceptions in the 1982 law forbidding disclosure of a covert operative's identity, virtually no one thinks anymore that he violated it. The law doesn't seem to apply to Ms. Wilson because she apparently hadn't been posted abroad during the five previous years.

The endangered spies Ms. Wilson was compared to James Bond in the early days of the scandal, but it turns out she had been working for years at C.I.A. headquarters, not exactly a deep-cover position. Since being outed, she's hardly been acting like a spy who's worried that her former contacts are in danger.

At the time her name was printed, her face was still not that familiar even to most Washington veterans, but that soon changed. When her husband received a "truth-telling" award at a Nation magazine luncheon, he wept as he told of his sorrow at his wife's loss of anonymity. Then he introduced her to the crowd.

And then, for any enemy agents who missed seeing her face at the luncheon but had an Internet connection, she posed with her husband for a photograph in Vanity Fair.

The smeared whistle-blower Mr. Wilson accused the White House of willfully ignoring his report showing that Iraq had not been seeking nuclear material from Niger. But a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that his investigation had yielded little valuable information, hadn't reached the White House and hadn't disproved the Iraq-Niger link - in fact, in some ways it supported the link.

Mr. Wilson presented himself as a courageous truth-teller who was being attacked by lying partisans, but he himself became a Democratic partisan (working with the John Kerry presidential campaign) who had a problem with facts. He denied that his wife had anything to do with his assignment in Niger, but Senate investigators found a memo in which she recommended him.

Karl Rove's version of events now looks less like a smear and more like the truth: Mr. Wilson's investigation, far from being requested and then suppressed by a White House afraid of its contents, was a low-level report of not much interest to anyone outside the Wilson household.

So what exactly is this scandal about? Why are the villagers still screaming to burn the witch? Well, there's always the chance that the prosecutor will turn up evidence of perjury or obstruction of justice during the investigation, which would just prove once again that the easiest way to uncover corruption in Washington is to create it yourself by investigating nonexistent crimes.

For now, though, it looks as if this scandal is about a spy who was not endangered, a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle and was not smeared, and a White House official who has not been fired for a felony that he did not commit. And so far the only victim is a reporter who did not write a story about it.

It would be logical to name it the Not-a-gate scandal, but I prefer a bilingual variation. It may someday make a good trivia question:

What do you call a scandal that's not scandalous?


Saturday, July 16, 2005

On this day

On July 16, 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children were executed by the Bolsheviks

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sharon Has Isabella Syndrome

by Shelomo Alfassa

Yehudah HaLevi once wrote the tearful words: "My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west. How can I find savor in food? How shall it be sweet to me? How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet Zion lieth beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?"

When Yehudah wrote this, Edom represented the Christian Crusaders that were occupying Jerusalem, while he existed under the thumb of Islamic rulers in Muslim Spain. Today, Jerusalem is liberated from Crusaders and the Jews have been able to return, but Islam remains a driving force in the world, as it was during Rabbi Yehudah's life. In our day, Islamic terrorists and politicians - sometimes one and the same - have caused such great havoc for the Jewish State that the State is willing to pacify them, handing them an important portion of the Jewish homeland that has belonged to the Jews since Samson toppled the Philistines.

Years after Yehudah's poem was written, Spain fell into the hands of the Christians and in 1469, Queen Isabella married Ferdinand of Aragon. Isabella's marriage to Ferdinand united Spain's two largest kingdoms and laid the foundation of the Spanish state. The Edict of Expulsion issued in the Spring of 1492 and promulgated in July of the same year, declared that no Jews were permitted to remain within the Spanish kingdom; they all would have to leave forever. The king and queen of Spain felt the Jews committed "most dangerous" and "contagious" crimes, and if they were expelled, all would be well. The Jews were told they had to the "end of the month of July" to "depart from all of these our said realms and lordships, along with their sons and daughters." They were given "until the end of the said month of July" to better "dispose of themselves, and their possession, and their estates...."

The Jewish people would be banished from the land where they had lived for over 1,000 years because the Spanish felt the Jews had caused great "injury" against the non-Jewish community by observing religious festivals and remaining observant of their religion - a religion despised by non-Jews. In the end, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to depart, "never to return or come back." But did this disengagement of a people from their land help Spain, a country that had declared that the Jews were the cause of the problem in their kingdom? No. It led to the economic demise of a country that was once a world power. Only a century after the Jews were expelled, Spain fell as the world's most powerful nation.

In our day, Ariel Sharon and the radical Left have what can be termed Isabella Syndrome, a sickness that manifests itself by development of hatred towards the religion of Judaism along with the idea that if you marginalize religious Jews, all will be better. This month, 513 years since the Expulsion from Spain, Jews are once again faced with being forced from their homes, primarily because of non-Jewish pressure. What makes it unique this time is that pressure is also coming from within the Jewish community.

Jews in the 15th century thought their persecution was a message sent from God because they had sinned, because they had become increasingly secular in their day-to-day life. The same can be said for the issues which face the Jewish people today; ultimately, God is in charge. That said, Ariel Sharon and others who are not Torah observant should realize that expelling Jews from their Biblically ordained land is decisively wrong. As the rabbis have said, it is not Sharon's right to give away pieces of Eretz Israel.

There is an important lesson for Sharon and the others in his camp to heed: it is one thing not to be religious, but it is wholly another to do something that causes your own religion and people to suffer. By removing Jews from their land, by devastating their lives and destroying their livelihood, we do nothing to help the Jewish nation. By labeling Jews who are observant of the laws of Judaism as "radicals" we do nothing to help, and everything to hurt, our image in the non-Jewish world.

There is a famous legend of Jewish history saying that the Sultan of Turkey laughed when he heard Isabella was expelling the Jews from Spain, for it was a foolish thing she was doing. Today, expelling Jews from their modern homeland is no different. In fact, it is worse than foolish; it sets a dangerous precedent to which the world will hold Israel in the future. Expelling the Jews from Gaza sets up a legal paradigm to expel the Jews from Hebron and eventually from Jerusalem. Isabella thought that if the Jews of Spain were marginalized, then Spain would be better off, but that did not happen. Sharon feels that if the Jews of Gaza are marginalized, then Israel will blossom and all will be well between Jews and Arabs. She was dreaming and he continues to dream.

Most important, giving in to demands of Islamic terrorists who have declared they want nothing less than the total annihilation of the world Jewish community is about the most absurd thing one can imagine. It is without question the most absurd move to reward murderers who have caused the street to run red with the blood of our people. The slippery slope we are now perilously perched upon grows smaller each day.