Thursday, June 24, 2010
The strange romance between Rivka Carmi and Neve Gordon:
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Spy against Israel and get a Cash Grant from the Israel Government!!
1. Alas, you are going to think this is another Plaut spoof. It ain't. A convicted terrorist has just been awarded 30,000 shekels or about $8000 dollars by an Israeli court because his release from prison was delayed for 81 days. It seems that one Jareis Jareis, an Arab from the Galilee, was sentenced to hard prison time for his terrorist activities in the PLO. He was convicted in 2006 for espionage and passing security information to Iran. He signed a plea agreement to do 34 months, and in which the prosecutor agreed to recommend parole for him after that. When he actually came up for parole, the prosecutor recanted, in light of new information from the Shin Bet that he still represented an acute security threat. So he did some extra time.
He got himself a lawyer when he got out and filed a suit against the state for 425 thousand shekels for making him do his fuller (but not full) sentence, longer than the original plea deal. And he filed it in Nazareth court, where most of the lower court judges are Arabs. In this case a Jewish judge, Yoav Friedman, heard the case. He awarded the terrorist the 30 grand. Tax free.
Now just to put that into perspective, there are very few Israelis who make that much money in 81 days working at jobs. And Jareis was getting free home-cooked food in prison and the latest DVDs during his 81 day paid vacation!
(in Hebrew here: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1175735.html )
2. Thought you might like this one. I have long argued that the average journalist is not qualified to sell fries with your burger or work as a janitor. Today's newspapers in Israel are carrying the front page story: Merrill Lynch reports that the number of millionaires in Israel rose 43% in 2009 compared with 2008. Their definition of a millionaire is a bit strange: it is without housing or real estate, just financial assets of a household being over a million dollars. Naturally the leftist journalists are having a field day. In the middle of the financial crisis, with ordinary Israelis struggling, they opine, the greedy capitalists just make themselves richer. And so on.
Only one little itsy bitsy problem. The real reason behind the 43% increase in the number of Israeli millionaires, in fact probably the only reason, was the sharp drop in the dollar, which made the shekel wealth of a lot of Israelis suddenly worth more than a million dollars, even if the shekel value itself dropped or did not change. Not a single journalist in Israel got it right!!!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wanted: a felonious pre-schooler guilty of producing this piece of verbal violence!
Blame Liberal Media, Courts For Emmanuel Controversy
The headlines in Israel are filled with the mass arrest and imprisonment of a group of haredi parents for disobeying a court order commanding them to send their children to one school and not to another. The world media have discovered the story of intra-Jewish "racism" inside Israel and by and large are repeating the twist to the story provided by Israel's largely leftist media. And, as usually happens, the Israeli media, by covering the story to suit their own biases and ideological agenda, are getting just about everything wrong.
Bear in mind that the Israeli media despise haredim, routinely portraying them as everything demonic and evil in the universe, down to and including "racist." Ask any Israel or any non-Israeli who has heard about the judicial Mexican standoff regarding the girls' school in Emmanuel and he or she will tell you it is all about "racism" on the part of Ashkenazi haredim against Sephardim/Mizrachim.
I Googled "Emmanuel girls school racism" as a set of key words and got 78,000 hits in English and 36,000 in Hebrew.
Putting aside the silliness of referring to intra-Jewish sub-ethnic tensions as "racism," even a shallow reading beyond the headlines in Israel's conscripted media is enough to show there is much more to the story than meets the blind eye.
Consider: the Shas party, which was created as a Sephardic religious power bloc, is backing the Ashkenazi parents in the feud (with a few individual Shas leaders on the other side). The leading Israeli journalist denouncing the courts and the media's misrepresentation of the story is Maariv's Ben Dror Yemini - who comes from a Yemenite family and is a leading voice of Sephardic pride and protest. And among the supposedly racist anti-Sephardic parents arrested by court order were several Sephardim.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court justices are predominantly Ashkenazi (one of those issuing the order to jail the parents, Edmund E. Levy, is Sephardi) as are the media talking heads cheering on the court and its "defense of democracy."
While the Emmanuel controversy is complex, virtually nothing in the story has anything to do with ethnic prejudice or bigotry. It has a lot to do with haredi autonomy, state funding for independent haredi schools, school choice, and judicial tyranny.
First of all, despite the media's obsession with painting the Ashkenazi parents from the Emmanuel girls' school as anti-Sephardic bigots, the school itself is far more integrated than most secular schools in Israel, with a large number of the girls coming from Sephardic/Mizrachi families.
It turns out a handful of Sephardic girls were indeed denied admission to the first school, but the real reason had everything to do with religiosity and nothing to do with ethnicity. The school's governing board believed the girls in question were not sufficiently committed to the school's haredi lifestyle.
The Ashkenazi parents in the controversy are mainly members of the Slonim chassidic court, which has a track record of admitting girls from outside the court to its community school - so long as the girls comply with the community's level of religiosity. (These include such matters as buttoning girls' shirts to the neck and not one button shy of the neck, praying with the texts and pronunciations the Slonim use, and so on.)
The feud in the school is not between Ashkenazim and Sephardim but between haredim, who do not want any kids in the school whose notions of religiosity fall one shirt button below their own, and an imperious activist court that demands they do so.
Most Sephardic families live lifestyles and hold viewpoints that differ from those of the Slonim haredim, though some still prefer the Slonim school in Emmanuel for their kids. When the school admissions committee has doubts about the devotion of a student's family to the school's brand of observance, it sends the youngster instead to a nearby predominantly Sephardic girls school, where the standards for neck buttons are not as strict.
(I should point out here that if anyone suspects me of harboring any anti-Sephardic bigotry, they will have to contend with my wife, who was a proud Sephardic woman long before she lowered her standards and married my Ashkenazi self 25 years ago.)
The conflict was brought before the Israeli court when the family of two girls turned down by the school got themselves some lawyers, evidently paid for by the New Israel Fund. The judges presiding on the court sided with the petitioners. Hundreds of Ashkenazi parents in the school then decided to bus their kids away to a different school rather than have them sit in the same classroom with those they regard as insufficiently observant. The court ordered them to desist and to return their kids to the Emmanuel school. They refused. The court responded by ordering dozens of parents be imprisoned for contempt of court.
Let me be clear. I am all in favor of conditioning Israeli state funding to haredi schools on such things as their adding a bit of math and science to Talmud studies in order to make their students gainfully employable. If Rashi and Rambam could hold jobs and build careers alongside their scholarship, I see no reason why haredim in Israel today cannot. But if they are willing to forgo state funding, the state should let them run their schools as they see fit.
The fact is, both Labor and Likud - as a means of buying the support of the haredi parties for government coalitions - have long ladled out funding to haredi schools with no conditionality at all - including admissions criteria for students. Those dirty deals of tossing out pecuniary pork with no conditions in exchange for political backing created the current Emmanuel standoff.
I also believe in democracy and pluralism. I believe Jews in Israel have the right to live and to school their kids in ways different from my own notions. I also believe the worst fanatics in this story are the judicial activists on the court.
The court has picked a fight with the huge Israeli haredi community, and in response tens of thousands took to the streets in their black hats and long coats in the 95-degree heat to challenge the legitimacy of the court's decision.
I do not see how the court can win this battle. And it shouldn't.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
1. Thought of the week
2. Some additions/corrections to my last posting about the Emmanuel school affair.
a. Among the "racist Ashkenazi" parents sent to prison by the imperious Supreme Court justices are Sephardic parents who were also in contempt of court, having joined the other school parents in civil disobedience.
b. One of the justices issuing the arrest writ was Edmund Levy, himself Sephardic (and so the court panel was not all Ashkenazi as I wrote)
c. No contempt orders have ever been issued against the countless Arab squatters who refuse to move off of lands they do not own and in which they illegally squat, and no one has been jailed.
d. Israel's imperious Supreme Court judges just issued an order to investigate and possibly indict the parliamentary members in the Knesset from the religious parties and other public figures for contempt because of their speaking out against the Court's ordering the parents of the Emmanuel school to be imprisoned. Want to know what the same justices have NEVER done? They have never ordered any indictments of Arab Knesset members who openly endorse terror against Jews, who call for Israel to be destroyed, who travel illegally to enemy countries, who otherwise engage in treason. And since I myself am guilty of the felony of criticizing the court's decision to jail the hareidi parents, if you do not hear from me for a while, send me some cartons of smokes and some metal files inside a cake to the Maasiyahu prison.
It was the same panel of judges that had issued the mass arrest order.
Want to see a place where the government believes schools should be allowed to dissent from the mandatory ethical Groupthink favored by the majority establishment? No, not in Israel:
Quebec, Canada - Court: Attempt to Impose Secular Focus on Teaching Is Like Spanish Inquisition
Published on: June 19th, 2010 at 10:53 PM
News Source: Montreal Gazette
Quebec, Canada - A private Catholic school in west end Montreal has won a court ordered exemption from a provincial government order that it teach a controversial ethics and morality course within the boundaries established by Quebec's Education Dept.
And while the principal of Loyola High School says the Superior Court decision simply confirms what his institution has already been doing -examining other religious and ethical creeds through a Catholic perspective -the judge in the case was withering in his assessment of the Education Department's conduct in its dealings with the school, going so far as to compare the province's attempt to impose a secular focus on Loyola's teaching of the course to the intolerance of the Spanish Inquisition.
4. Notice how foreign politicians tell truths that Israeli politicians are afraid to state?
Geert Wilders: Change Jordan's name to Palestine
Geert Wilders, who leads the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) in Holland, said last week he believes Jordan should be renamed Palestine. The Jordanian government responded by saying Wilders' speech was reminiscent of the Israeli right wing.
"Jordan is Palestine," said Wilders, who heads the third-largest party in Holland. "Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland."
Wilders added that Israel deserved a special status in the Dutch government because it was fighting for Jerusalem in its name.
"If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism," he said.
"There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan." Wilders also called on the Dutch government to refer to Jordan as Palestine and move its embassy to Jerusalem.
The Saudi Al-Watan carried Jordan's response to Wilders' speech. The kingdom's embassy in Hague was outraged, and said the Dutch ambassador would soon be summoned to explain.
Jordan's minister for media affairs and communications, Nabil Al Sharif, asked for clarifications. He described Wilders' declaration as "an echo of the voice of the Israeli Right" and "crows' screams".
"Jordan is an independent and secure country which supports the Palestinian issue, and these imaginings of finding them an alternate homeland are nothing but the delusions of a few people," he said.
The PVV nearly tripled its power in the last election, going from nine parliament seats to 24. The right-wing party, which has called for a ban on minarets and Muslim scarves, has been holding so far unsuccessful negotiations with the liberal Right.
5. And along similar lines:
End the Illegal Colonialist Occupation!!!
by Steven Plaut
Now that the heads of Iran are openly calling for Israel's annihilation, and Iran's "president" suggests that Europe create a Zionist state some place inside Germany or maybe in Alaska, I think we should all promote a REAL solution to the problems of the Middle East and end the illegal occupation. I refer of course to the illegal Iranian occupation of lands that properly belong to the Mongols.
Meaning all of Iran.
True, Iran was conquered or liberated from the Persians by the Mongols militarily starting in 1219. Iran then became a legitimate part of the Mongol homeland. Tamerlane, who was part Mongol, also ran the place. All in all, the Mongol liberation of Persia lasted for two and a half centuries, not much different from the length of the period of Arab rule of "Palestine," after which Iran was lost to Turkic tribes. I guess that means the Turks also have a legitimate claim to a homeland there!
Now if the fact that some Arab armies once conquered the Land of Israel is thought to confer upon them rights of sovereignty and even statehood, why should not the Mongol conquest of Iran do the same? Besides, Iran was once a Mongol state, as recent as 550 years ago, whereas the last time the Land of Israel was an Arab Palestinian state was, well, never.
Not only should Mongol rule be restored to Iran as the only legitimate rulers of the place, but these days the Mongols make far better neighbors than the ayatollahs. The Mongols have no nuclear plans and have never met with the pagans from the Neturei Karta. The Mongols would surely put the Persian Gulf petroleum to better use than the Holocaust Deniers in Iran these days, like developing yak milk production capacities.
So, I say, end the illegal occupation once and for all. Liberate Iran from the imperialist colonialist occupation of the Iranians! Restore it to its proper owners - the Mongols!
Biladi ya ardi ya arda al-judoud
(That is the Mongolian song of national liberation: Its lyrics continue: "Az der rebe zingt Zingn ale chasidim Az der rebe tantzt Tantzn ale chasidim." Alas, I do not know enough Mongolian to tell you what it means.)
Friday, June 18, 2010
1. The headlines in Israel are filled with the story of the court ordering the mass arrest and imprisonment of a group of ultra-Orthodox "hareidi" parents for disobeying a court order that commands them to send their children to one school and not to another. The world media have discovered the story of intra-Jewish "racism" inside Israel. By and large they are just repeating the twist on the story that the Israeli secularist leftist media have attributed to it. And, as usually happens, the media brutally subordinated the story to their own biases and ideological agenda, in so doing getting just about everything possible wrong in the story.
The media despise the hareidim. The media consider them people refusing to live in the modern real world, hiding in their cloistered communities from reality, often living as parasites off the public dole. The media also claim that some hareidim hotheads turn violent whenever anything annoys them, ranging from parking lots operating on the Sabbath to the court seizing custody from a mentally ill abusive hareidi mother who starved her children. Up to that point, the media are completely correct. But the media do not rest at denouncing the hareidim for those things for which they deserve to be denounced, and instead paint them as everything demonic and evil in the universe, down to and including "racist." The media people, almost all of them being leftists, have problems completing a sentence that does not include the word "racist," usually applied to Israelis who disagree with the far Left.
Ask any Israel or any non-Israeli who has heard about the judicial Mexican standoff regarding the girls' school in Emannuel and they will tell you it is all about "racism," by Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox against Sephardim/Mizrachim. I googled "Emannuel girls school racism" as a set of key words and got 78,000 hits in English and 36,000 in Hebrew.
Putting aside the silliness of referring to intra-Jewish sub-ethnic tensions as "racism," a shallow reading beyond the headlines in Israel's conscripted media is enough to show that there is much more to the story than meets the blind eye. For one, the SHAS party, which was created in the first place as a sort of Sephardic religious power block and Sephardic pride juggernaut, is backing the Ashkenazi parents in the feud (with a few SHAS leaders on the other side). Then the leading Israeli journalist denouncing the courts and the media misrepresentation of the story is Maariv's Ben Dror Yemini, himself from a Yemenite family and a long time leading voice of Sephardic pride and protest.
While the Emmanuel story is complex, virtually nothing in the story has anything to do with ethnic prejudice or bigotry. It has a lot to do with hareidi autonomy, state funding for independent ultra-Orthodox schools, school choice, and judicial tyranny.
First of all, despite the media's obsession with painting the Ashkenazi parents from the Emmanuel girls' school as anti-Sephardic bigots, the school itself is far more integrated than most secular schools in Israel, with around one third of the girls in the school coming from Sephardic/Mizrachi families. Moreover, the girls "rejected" by the school attend a nearby predominantly Sephardic religious sister school in which large numbers of Ashkenazi girls study. It turns out that a handful of Sephardic girls were indeed denied admission to the first school, but the real reason seems to be some questions in the minds of the local school board about their devotion to the ultra-fanatical version of religiosity practiced in the community in question.
The Ashkenazi parents in the controversy are mainly members of the Slonim Chassidic "court." They are ultra-Orthodox fanatics. But ultra-Orthodox fanatics have the same right to raise their children the way they want as the rest of us. They have a long track record of admitting girls to their community school from outside their "court," as long as the girls comply with the admittedly-loopy notions of religiosity in which they believe. These include such cosmic matters as buttoning girls shirts to the neck and not one button shy of the neck, praying using the texts and pronunciations the Slonim use, and so on.
The "Ashkenazi-Sephardic" feud in the school is not. Not Ashkenazi-Sephardic, that is. It is instead between ultra-ultra-ultra-hareidim, who do not want any kids in the school whose notions of religiosity fall one shirt button below their own, and an imperious "judicial activist" court that demands that they do so. It is a feud between religious ultras and those somewhat less religious.
Now most Sephardic families are far more sensible than the Slonim hareidim in their own personal religiosity, although some prefer the Slonim school for their kids. Where the school admissions committee has doubts about the devotion of a student's family to their own brand of observance, they send the kid instead to the nearby predominantly Sephardic girls school, where neck buttons may be unbuttoned in wild abandon. (I am reminded of the old joke about the hareidi prohibition on dancing because it can lead to exercising!)
The whole conflict was brought before the court when a family of two girls turned down by the school got themselves some lawyers, evidently paid for by the New Israel Fund, always happy to fund campaigns that attack the Orthodox and make Israel look evil and "racist" in the world.
The Ashkenazi judges in the court eventually sided with the petitioners. Hundreds of Ashkenazi parents in the school then decided to bus their kids away to a different school in Bnai Brak, rather than risk the kids being contaminated by any button openers. The court then ordered them to desist and to return their kids to the Emmanuel school. They refused. The court then ordered dozens of parents to be imprisoned for contempt of court. They are rotting in prison as we e-speak.
Now let me be clear. I would not send any of my kids to any such school, and would never move to a community in which such hareidim were the dominant social group. I do not like the hareidim and disapprove of their notions of religiosity. I am all in favor of conditioning state funding to their schools on such things as their adding a bit of math and science to Talmud studies, to make their students gainfully employable, and to deny state funding if they decline the offer. If they are willing to forego funding, then I think the state should butt out and let them run their schools as they see fit. Let me also add that if anyone suspects me of any anti-Sephardic bigotry, they will have to contend with my wife, who was a proud militant Sephardic woman long before she married this Ashkenazi twit 25 years ago last week. Don't worry, dear, I will be done with the blogging in a few moments and will then attend to the hoovering. (That is the secret of the 25 years!)
But anyway, that is NOT what Israeli governments have been doing. To buy the support of the hareidi parties for government coalitions, both Labor and Likud have long ladled out funding to hareidi schools with no conditionality at all. Including with regard to admissions criteria for students. Those long-time dirty deals of tossing out pecuniary pork with no conditions in exchange for political backing created the current Emmanuel standoff.
But I also believe in democracy and pluralism. I believe Jews in Israel have the right to live and to school their kids in ways different from my own notions.
I also believe that the worst fanatics in this story are the judicial activists in robes in the court. Yes, that group of Ashkenazi-only judges that issued the contempt injunction and order for the mass arrest of the parents. And the media talking heads cheering on the court and its "defense of democracy" were also entirely Ashkenazim!
The very same courts have ordered no one at all arrested after a judicial writ was issued earlier recognizing that the Jews who owned property in the Simon the Righteous (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood are the legal owners and have the right to evict the Arabs squatting in their housing units. When those court orders were ignored by the Arabs, backed by demonstrations of leftists led by Hebrew University professors, no one was arrested for contempt.
The court has picked a fight with the huge hareidi community, and yesterday tens of thousands took to the streets in their black hats and winter coats in the 95 degree heat to challenge the legitimacy of the court's decision. I do not see how the court can win in this battle.
I attach below a short piece on the conflict written by my buddy David Bedein. He and I go back to the Philadelphia 60s together, but I will save those tales for another time:
What is happening in Emanuel: Not an Ethnic Schism. Rather, the result of a social work policy from 40 years ago
ISRAEL RESOURCE NEWS AGENCY AND THE CENTER FOR NEAR EAS POLICY RESEARCH
Beit Agron International Press Center
37 Hillel St
tel. 02 6236368
The conflict that now ensues in the city of Emanuel has little to do with ethnic tensions between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewish Israelis.
Speaking from experience a social work community organizer who worked in the field in the 1970's and 1980's, short sighted bureaucratic decisions that were made then are coming home to roost, a generation later.
The idea then was to lump all lower class people into new housing units and into new towns, with the hope that they would get along with one another.
The Israel Housing Ministry and what was then called the Israel Welfare Ministry mixed families with social problems with working families, and also mixed strictly observant Sephardic families with less strictly observant Sephardic families, with the hope that they would get along with one another.
As the more strictly observant Sephardic families began to choose more traditional schools for their children to learn in, they were not interested in welcoming the less observant Sephardic families to attend their schools, which maintained more rigid standards in terms of dress code, television watching, etc.
A particular Sephardic women in Emmanuel whose daughter was rejected by the school in Emanuel because the standards of religious observance of her daughter and of her family did not meet the requirements of the school.
That Sephardic woman is media savvy.
She contacted the New Israel Fund, the Shas Party and just about every reporter whom she could get a hold of and claimed that she was being discriminated against because she was a Sephardic Jew.
The NIF, Shas and the media had a field day, as did some Orthodox Rabbis like Rabbi Yuval Sharlo of Efrat who appeared on Kol Yisrael on June 17 and condemned the school in Emmanuel for "racist and discriminatory behavior."
The NIF and Shas, stranger bedfellows as they are, sued in the Israel High Court of Justice to demand that the Israel High Court of Justice order the school in Emanuel to admit the less observant Sephardic girls into their school.
The NIF and Shas were successful in their suit, and the Israel High Court of Justice demanded that any parent who refused to send their children to school under such circumstances be jailed.
And, indeed, 61 sets of parents announced that they were ready to go to jail rather than admit the less observant Sephardic girls to the school.
27 of those sets of parents are themselves Sephardic Jews.
Does that fact affect the NIF, Shas and Rabbi Sharlo? Time will tell.
2. Jeff Foxworthy is one of my favorite comedians. He is best known for his "Well, then you just might be a redneck) shticks. I have tried to mimic his style, such as here: http://www.jewishpress.com/content.cfm?contentid=15107
You Just Might Be An Assimilated Jewish Liberal...
(I reprint my own pale imitation at the end of this posting, but I admit I am not really as funny as he.)
Anyway, he evidently just put the following item out and I think it is worth distributing:
Some interesting observations on the Taliban by that great American
philosopher, Jeff Foxworthy.
"YOU MAY BE A TALIBAN IF..."
1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to
2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you
can't afford shoes.
3. You have more wives than teeth.
4. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon "unclean."
5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can't think of anyone you haven't declared Jihad against.
7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives
in your clothing.
8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than
setting off roadside bombs.
9. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at
10. You've always had a crush on your neighbor's goat.
11. Your cousin is president of the United States
3. Speaking of funny stories, Maariv has a really fascinating tiny note within the weekend column of Kalman Liebskind (who devoted his last column to bashing the academic fifth column in Israel). Liebskind responds to an adoring sycophantic column that was published the previous week about convicted traitor and spy Shamai Leibowitz, now a guest of the American penal system.
You may recall that Leibowitz, the grandson of Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, was nabbed by the FBI for leaking classified security documents to his Palestinian terrorist friends and their fellow travelers. Well, Israel's leading daily, Yediot Ahronot, did a piece celebrating Shamai as a great moral hero, a tragic noble role model. The main positive thing that one can say about Yediot Ahronot these days is that it is not as fanatical and treasonous as "Haaretz."
Anyways, as part of the Yediot beatification of Shamai, they showed a graffitus, a graffiti slogan, painted on a supermarket wall near Shamai's former residence. The slogan proclaimed Shamai a courageous attorney, one deserving of support. Yediot showed the wall with the graffiti to illustrate the great respect Shamai commands among the enlightened ones.
Only one itsy bitsy problem with that. Shamai was arrested when he was caught in the act of painting that slogan maliciously on the supermarket wall himself!
So much for Yediot fact checking.
You might even say that Shamai got caught smack in the middle of performing a Michael Lerner.
You Just Might Be An Assimilated Jewish Liberal...