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PAM ! Pam-para,pam-pam ! PAM ! PAM !

Oct 31, 2009

" Snake Oil ..."

"The Islamic Republic is an establishment built upon the foundation of Islam...and it has made achievements"

=== ""When science is founded upon faith and Islam, no one will be able to stop it,"" ===

The Nobel Prize Committee has just announced that the next combined Nobel Prize for Science, Peace & Human Right will be granted to the " Basij Laboratories in the Institute of the Revolutionary Science and Technology in Tehran "! The astonishing achievement made by the Basij Scientists has spared the agony from thousands of homosexuals in Iran in a blink of an eye. The technique was tested on Baha'is, Zoroastrians Christians and other LOW LIVES with fantastic results ! Minor adjustment to the procedure are necessary in order to turn this Cosmic scientific breakthrough into a universal Islamic remedy for all human sufferings including the eradication of " The Big Satan " ( and the small one!..) from the face of the earth!

Since no significant scientific discoveries are possible in the future, The Nobel Prize committee is proud to declare, that the Committee will disperse itself by using the newly discovered " The Ultimate Snake Oil From Tehran " !

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Iron gloves ! Mr. Obama, IRON !...

(JTA) -- Iran will continue to progress in its nuclear program as long as Israel continues to have nuclear weapons, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

The Iranian president made the remarks Tuesday during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the semi-official state news agency ISNR reported.

"When an illegal regime possesses nuclear weapons, the other countries' rights for peaceful nuclear energy cannot be denied," ISNR quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons but has never admitted to having them.

"The Zionist regime is a threat to all nations and it wants the region to be free of strong countries," Ahmadinejad reportedly told Erdogan. "Today we see that applying force in Gaza was not enough for them, so they are attacking holy Jerusalem."

Ahmadinejad called on the countries to stand together to overcome regional "threats."

The meeting came as United Nations nuclear inspectors visited the site of a previously unknown underground nuclear enrichment plant, and two weeks after Turkey canceled a NATO military exercise due to Israeli participation.

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Oct 29, 2009

HAMAS - YOK ! ...

Elder of Ziyon entered the Goldstone report's conclusions and recommendations section into Wordle and here are the top 250 words in graphical format using . The size of the words indicates how often they were used.
Find the word :- HAMAS

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Oct 28, 2009


2009-10-28 04:18:35

by David Harris

JERUSALEM, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama hopes leading players in the Middle East will help create a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but a series of diplomatic tiffs between Israel and other countries in the region suggest a worsening of ties and less willingness to work with Israel.

In the last week alone relations between Israel on the one hand and Egypt and Turkey on the other have taken a turn for the worse.


Egypt said this week it would not take its seat at next month's planned Euro-Med conference if it is attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The controversial Israeli politician is embroiled in a long-running argument with Cairo that has become increasingly personal of late.

As a result, the summit has been postponed.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleged in the British newspaper The Guardian that Lieberman had said Israel intended to nuke the adjoining Palestinian coastal enclave, the Gaza Strip.

Israel immediately dismissed this claim as preposterous. Yet it came just after Ankara refused to allow Israel to participate in a NATO exercise over Turkish airspace, the incident suggests something is very wrong in the normally cordial relationship.

Much of this icy view of Israel goes back to Israel's major military offensive on Gaza in December and January. There has been considerable international condemnation of Israel's actions.

Both Egypt and Turkey have said the recently published Goldstone report into events in Gaza got it right. That report, which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council in late September, argued that Israel may have been guilty of war crimes during its winter operation.


While officials in Israel are reticent to comment publicly on the tiff with Egypt, behind closed doors they are putting much of it down to Lieberman's own comments that Cairo found offensive. Before taking up his current post, Lieberman once said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could "go to hell."

While Lieberman is persona non grata in Cairo, Israeli Foreign Ministry is continuing normal working relations with Egypt. The ministry's director general visited Cairo earlier in the year.

When asked about the relationship, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David said there were many "common interests but sometimes there are differences as to how to achieve them." He refused to comment on whether the latest Egyptian snub was aimed at Lieberman or Israel in general.

In the case of Turkey, Israel has a lot to lose. Not only has Turkey played a crucial role in regional peace efforts, most notably between Israel and Syria, but the country also represents both strategic and economic footholds and targets for the Jewish state.

On the economic level, Turkey has been the most popular destination for Israeli tourists for several years. Its proximity to Israel along with once warm ties made it the ideal location. However, tourist numbers have dropped off since the Gaza operation and subsequent highly-publicized rows. There is also talk of some business deals being placed on hold.

Strategically, Turkey has become a close partner of Israel, particularly in the realm of defense. The two countries have taken part in many joint military exercises along with the United States.

All this led Israel to launch a media campaign to try to repair the damage.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) published an item on Tuesday, for example, looking at the extensive rescue work it carried out in Turkey in the aftermath of the 1999 earthquake that rocked northwestern Turkey, killing estimated 17,000 people.

"The human memory is short. At the time, the Israeli delegation was a real hit, we were very popular -- not only during but also after the event," Hezi Levi, the man who headed the Israeli team, said in the article published by the IDF.


On the face of it and given international criticism of Israel in the post-Gaza operation period, that there is room for assuming the reactions to Israel from Cairo and Ankara are purely objective. However, there is opinion in Israel that much of the current deterioration in ties is because of internal political issues in both cases.

"Behind the scenes relations are pretty good between Egypt and Israel (when it comes to dealing with fundamentalist organizations). In other areas you can see how Egypt attacks us in international organizations... This mix is a part of the rules of the game," said Zaki Shalom of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

In Turkey's case, Shalom said divisions between the secularist military and the ruling AK Party, with its Islamist roots, mean that Israel is fair game in the battle between them.

The Turkish defense establishment enjoys a very close working relationship with its Israeli counterpart and does not want to see it damaged. At the same time Erdogan's the Justice and Development(AK) Party sees the Israel issue as being one that can endear it to the more religious elements in Turkish society.

"I think in the long term the pragmatic approach will prevail in Turkey, and while relations might not be what they once were, I think we'll see good, practical ties," said Shalom.

For now though, Israel is busy trying to extinguish fires where it can -- sending out people like its eloquent deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to tackle reporters' questions.

The Goldstone document is dogging Israel's efforts, while Tuesday's publication of a report from Amnesty International on Israeli water policy concerning the Palestinians has done the country no favors.

Israeli diplomats are hard at work in friendly capitals trying to persuade Western countries to block moves in the international community to punish Israel for its role in the Gaza fighting.

For now though, the headlines suggest an increasingly isolated Israel within a Middle East that does not buy its narrative and is making increasingly clear its opposition to Israeli policies, particularly with regard to the stalled peace process with the Palestinians.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

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Oct 22, 2009


Shalom AOW,

All insurance policies are good for as long as you don't file a claim!...
And as the old Chinese proverb says:- " Pay to your doctor generously
while you are healthy !..."

My personal experience with the 'American Health Care System' was in 1969 after arrival with my ship "Persimoncore" to Hoboken N.J. . I was rushed to Mt Sinai hospital with excruciating pain in my stomach (bladder stone) and was left in the emergency room with pain killers waiting for a letter from the Israeli consulate... Once the letter arrived, I was transferred immediately to a 5 stars VIP room with two 'Playboy style' nurses!...

I read the correspondence between you & Lila with great interest. Lila ( as an Egyptian I presume ), knows better than any of us, how important it is to stay healthy if you wish to have a roof above your head!
Dear AOW, we are the lucky one to live in countries which enable us to get medical services ( even on modest scale ) with the best Doctors, the best medicines and treatment !
Think of those Zillions out there, surviving on "Whtich's brew", Black Magic, Zuzu 'doctors', Camel's saliva etc.

In Israel, minimal Health insurance is compulsory ! it covers 80% (statistical) of the medical needs of an "average" Israeli. The service is given by 4 mayor Insurance companies ( historically established on political and ideological grounds...) under the NATIONAL INSURANCE ( like US Social Security ) umbrella.
A member is entitled to choose the Medical Service Provider and to enlarge "The Basket" by additional premium to "Gold card" (95%) which I have, "Platinum card" (99.9%) for VIP, MK & Selebs... and soon they will invent the "Cryptonium card" (200%) for the Arab Sheiks from the Golf !... But they don't need it! They go straight to the private clinic or fly the whole clinic & staff all the way to their palace!

I'm following the "Mega Debate" about the Obama's Health Care Project in your country. My personal opinion is that it is doomed to fail with devastating results. In order to make it work with positive "Momentum", an 75% (at least!) consensus must be guarantied in advance! US didn't learn a single thing from the European experiment! Look at Sweden today, it is a living corps with maggots eating it from the inside! ALIVE ! The rest of Europe isn't much better ether....

We the Israelis, have developed a unique ability:- TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES !
US Ambassador to the UN said:- "Secure Israel Vs. Sustainable Palestine" or in other words:


What happened to the world? Has it lost it's mind? Every body wants "Israel's Destruction Now" and at the same time they will risk their life to enter by all means to a country full of desert, with no oil, no water, Just full of Jews with contradicting ideas and opinions... with an unbreakable determination TO LIVE !

Give a big hug to Mr. AOW and whisper into his ear :- " this is from the JIZFI "


Do you know which document is the most expensive on the black market today?

Columbia Shuttle driving license ? NO !
Nobel Peace Prize diploma ? NO !
Israeli Passport ? BINGO !
I took the liberty to put this entry on my Blog for my Twins to know their father better!...


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Goldstone, you are not alone !... More CRAP !

Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein takes to the New York Times’ op-ed page to accuse his former organization of “issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.”

At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West.

I agree that it’s sometimes, though not always, useful when criticizing human rights violations to make a distinction between democratic and nondemocratic societies. At best, however, this only provides some benefit of the doubt to democratic societies — it doesn’t provide a “Get Out Of Geneva Conventions Free” card. And I’m not sure how or whether this distinction should apply to the territories that Israel has held under military occupation since 1967.

For Palestinians living in the West Bank, almost every movement — to school, to work, to visit friends or family — is circumscribed by the arbitrary decisions of Israeli military rule. Attempts by Palestinians to challenge and correct Israeli abuses through the legal system, in the rare cases that they actually see the inside of a courtroom, and the even rarer cases that they are actually successful, are often then simply ignored by Israeli occupation authorities. Non-violent protests are violently suppressed. (And, of course, life in the West Bank is a vacation compared to life in Gaza, which is maintained by Israel as the world’s largest prison.)

If we’re to draw a hard line between free and authoritarian societies, then, Israeli-occupied Palestine clearly belongs on the authoritarian side of that line. Israel could begin to solve this problem by ending its occupation, withdrawing from the settlements, and cooperating with U.S. efforts to achieve a two-state solution, but Netanyahu has apparently decided that a better strategy is to continue the occupation, increase the settlements, and attack Israel’s critics as anti-Semites and self-hating Jews.

Bernstein continues that, compared to Israel, “Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent.”

The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

This is a powerful claim, and it would good if Bernstein offered some data to support it. But he didn’t, because it’s not true. A 2005 report in The Forward determined that “Human Rights Watch has in fact devoted more attention to each of five other nations in the region — Iraq, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran — than to Israel.” A look at HRW’s website reveals that the organization has in fact prepared “report after report” on countries throughout the Middle East, everything from freedom of association in Morocco to Kurdish rights in Iran. Of the five reports this year that dealt with the Israel-Palestine conflict, all five focused on the Gaza war — understandable, given the serious regional implications of the event — and two of those specifically focused on and criticized Palestinian actions.

Obviously, criticism coming from Robert Bernstein carries a lot more weight than smears from the likes of Gerald Steinberg or David Bernstein. Unfortunately, his criticism traffics in the same unsubstantiated — and unfalsifiable — assertions of bias, and the actual claims he does, like theirs, make don’t really withstand scrutiny.

It is true, as Bernstein notes, that Israel has numerous domestic human rights organizations. But what he doesn’t mention is that many, if not most of them have come to the exact same conclusion as their international counterparts: The Israeli assault on Gaza was rife with abuses and attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Noting these allegations does nothing to excuse or diminish Hamas’ behavior, nor the behavior of authoritarian regimes throughout the region. But rather than investigate these allegations, as the United States has repeatedly encouraged it to do, the Netanyahu government has instead chosen to declare war on human rights NGOs. It’s unfortunate that Bernstein should now make himself part of that effort.

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Israel: U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Urges Peace Talks

Published: October 21, 2009

The Obama administration’s ambassador to the United Nations told Israelis on Wednesday that it was not enough to pay “lip service” to peace and urged the government to restart negotiations immediately, without preconditions, aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state. The ambassador, Susan E. Rice, above, in an address at a high-powered conference hosted by President Shimon Peres of Israel, also assured Israelis — many of whom are wary of President Obama’s Middle East agenda — that her government is committed to their security. “As President Peres always reminds us, being serious about peace means taking risks for peace,” Ms. Rice said. “Being serious about peace means understanding that tomorrow need not look like yesterday.”

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Israel closer to EU than candidate Croatia: Solana

Israel closer to EU than candidate Croatia: Solana
09:32 AM EDT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has a closer relationship with the European Union than official EU-membership candidate Croatia, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Wednesday.

"Israel is, allow me to say, a member of the European Union without being a member of the institutions," he said to warm applause from a conference of business and political leaders in Jerusalem. "It's a member of all the programs..."

"No country outside the continent has the type of relations Israel has with the European Union," Solana added, emphasizing Israel's participation in EU research and technology programs.

"I don't see the president of Croatia here," Solana said, looking out over the audience.

"But I have to tell you, now that he is not here, -- he is a candidate to be part of the European Union -- that your relation today with the European Union is stronger than the relation of Croatia."

"Don't tell him that," Solana added.

Croatian President Stjepan Mesic was visiting Israel this week and was due to address the 2009 Israeli Presidential Conference later in the day.

His country is an official EU membership candidate. It is first in a queue of five Balkan hopefuls seeking a place in the European Union and could join in 2012.

EU membership is Croatia's highest priority. It is trying to complete entry talks and join the block as quickly as possible, hoping the common market will boost its developing economy and living standards.

Israel takes an active part in many EU programs and EU membership is favored by some in power. But the country has never made a formal bid to join the 27-member EU.

(Additional reporting by Igor Ilic in Zagreb)

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Oct 21, 2009

Stupidity vaccine ! Urgent !!

Farrakhan suspicious of H1N1 vaccine
Published: Oct. 19, 2009 at 11:56 PM
MEMPHIS, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan told an audience in Memphis he believes the H1N1 flu vaccine was developed to kill people, a witness said.

Farrakhan, 76, spoke for nearly three hours Sunday at a gathering to observe the religious group's Holy Day of Atonement, which also marked the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reported, citing a source who attended the speech.
"The Earth can't take 6.5 billion people.

We just can't feed that many. So what are you going to do? Kill as many as you can. We have to develop a science that kills them and makes it look as though they died from some disease," Farrakhan said, adding that many wise people won't take the vaccine.

"The black community has become toxic and must cleanse and restore peace from within," Farrakhan said. Farrakhan told listeners not to become complacent as a result of Barack Obama's election as the United States' first black president, the newspaper said.

"You have to understand that he was voted in to take on the affairs of a nation, not yours and mine. He is the American president, not the black president," he said.

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I don't have a title for this one yet....

By Khaled Abu Asbah
First Published: October 20, 2009

JATT, Israel: The concept of “shared citizenship” refers to all citizens of a state being able to take equal part in the public and civic space of that state. The Israeli education system does not have a policy of promoting real and active shared citizenship either in principle or in practice.

When we claim that all the sectors within the overall education system in Israel must promote an active form of shared citizenship, we are not advocating the effacement of the religious, national-ethnic or cultural identity of any one of the sectors or educational streams. Citizens have a right to differ from one another on almost every level; but what they should have in common is equal shared citizenship.

The education system is one of the important arenas for advancing shared citizenship. In its present state, the Israeli education system is divided into four streams: Jewish-state secular, Jewish-state religious, Jewish Ultra Orthodox, and Arab-Israeli. These demarcations are not merely structural and do not only imply different levels of access to material resources, but — most importantly — they lead to divergent national and cultural narratives which are in conflict with one another. These narratives also impact the curricula as well as the quality of the teaching and its outcomes.

This separation and divergence within the educational system create civic and public spaces which are cut off from one another and encourage stereotypical perceptions which feed prejudice. A segregated and fragmented education system is a recipe for a segregated, fragmented and alienated society.

Concern for this state of affairs underlies initiatives by civil society organizations to create a core of shared educational values. However, reality has shown over and over again that it is easier to build a core of educational values around topics which are not subject to dispute, such as scientific disciplines, or to agree on shared universal values (with the exception, perhaps, of the Ultra Orthodox sector). On the other hand, it is very difficult — perhaps even impossible — to shape a policy of shared citizenship within Israeli reality, which is characterized by ethnic and national divisions, since the majority Jewish group appropriates the expanded definition of citizenship exclusively for itself, basing this on the definition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Therefore, once the discussion touches on Arab society in Israel — and not merely on the splits within Israeli society such as between secular and religious groups or people from Ashkenazi or Mizrahi backgrounds — the issue becomes particularly difficult. The real test of Israeli society can be found in its approach to the question of equal rights for the Arab-other citizens of Israel.

The creation of an intentional policy of shared active and equal citizenship which is accessible to all will necessitate securing equal rights for the others in society as well as for society as a whole and an acceptance of the other as a legitimate member of society regardless of national, ethnic, religious or cultural identity.

But there is no agreement about these basic principles, not within the political establishment nor within the educational system, which is responsible for shaping a democratic and equal society. In this reality, it should come as no surprise, then, that the education system does not act to strengthen the national pride of the Arab student as it does for his or her Jewish counterparts.

Several ministers of education tried to deal with this issue and even drafted bills aimed at redefining Israel’s educational goals, such as the amendment to the State Education Law drafted by former minister Amnon Rubinstein in 2001 which identified the Arab public for the first time. However, even this amendment (which was passed) did not yield a breakthrough in policy which would have had significant implications for educational programs.

Moreover, in the past decade, the education ministers, most of whom have come from the right of the political spectrum, have been pushing even more intensely to strengthen Jewish national Zionist identity amongst Jewish students (while maintaining the status quo among Palestinian students). At the same time, there have been many attempts to pass laws that would weaken the equal citizenship of the Arab citizens, such as the loyalty law proposed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, which, if passed, would have demanded that every citizen declare allegiance to the State of Israel as a Jewish-Zionist state and the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” law that passed in 2003, preventing citizenship for spouses of Israeli citizens, when the spouses come from the occupied territories.

In light of this complex reality, when the Jewish majority is fortified in its positions and even establishes a policy of narrowing the shared civic space, the weakened Arab minority responds with an attempt to change its status by expanding the shared civic space. Therefore, one can expect to see growing alienation between the two groups unless an alternative policy is put into place which would promote an equal and shared citizenship for all citizens within one civic framework.

Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect a policy change on the part of the ruling majority. However, there are still areas for consensual agreement which can be cultivated and discussed within the education system. This should be predicated on the provision of appropriate tools for dealing with disagreements and essential differences — tools that could ensure that the process would not fail.

Khaled Abu Asbahis the director of the Massar Institute for Research, Planning and Social Consulting. He is a senior researcher at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem and a lecturer in Sociology and Education at Beit Berl College and Al Qasemi College. For further information about shared educational values please visit the Van Leer Institute website. This article is part of a special series on nationalism in the Israeli educational system and was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

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33 minutes

Second US- Israel Juniper Cobra Drill

October 21st, 2009

IsraelOn the heels of conducing a joint missile defense exercise - which simulated a response to an attack by the Islamic Republic, Syria, and Hezbollah - Israel and the U.S. will conduct another today. (Source)

As part of a biennial exercise between the two countries, this drill, also called Juniper Cobra, is dubbed the �largest-ever� simulated attack on Israel. Testing air defenses, the drill will assess Arrow, THAAD, Aegis, Patriot, and Hawk defense systems. News source Yediot Aharonot noted that the working assumption upon which the exercise is based is that the United States, in the event of a war, will provide Israel with missile defence systems that will operate alongside the Arrow II.

The Arrow II is part of Israel's Iron Dome, an anti-rocket shield designed to defend Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets and also serves as a major component in a multi-layered missile defense system.

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Oct 20, 2009

God bless "Paint Brush"... & Curse Goldston !

Anti-Semitic cartoon from "Yaser Ahmad"

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Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast

Published: October 19, 2009

AS the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

Kelly Blair

At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps.

When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.

Nowhere is this more evident than in its work in the Middle East. The region is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.

Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields. They know that more and better arms are flowing into both Gaza and Lebanon and are poised to strike again. And they know that this militancy continues to deprive Palestinians of any chance for the peaceful and productive life they deserve. Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism.

The organization is expressly concerned mainly with how wars are fought, not with motivations. To be sure, even victims of aggression are bound by the laws of war and must do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties. Nevertheless, there is a difference between wrongs committed in self-defense and those perpetrated intentionally.

But how does Human Rights Watch know that these laws have been violated? In Gaza and elsewhere where there is no access to the battlefield or to the military and political leaders who make strategic decisions, it is extremely difficult to make definitive judgments about war crimes. Reporting often relies on witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their own rulers. Significantly, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert on warfare, has said that the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

Only by returning to its founding mission and the spirit of humility that animated it can Human Rights Watch resurrect itself as a moral force in the Middle East and throughout the world. If it fails to do that, its credibility will be seriously undermined and its important role in the world significantly diminished.

Robert L. Bernstein, the former president and chief executive of Random House, was the chairman of Human Rights Watch from 1978 to 1998.

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The schoolboys who worshipped Nazi memorabilia arrive at the War Memorial Museum to apologise.

Robin Klitscher, president of the Returned Services Association, which represents former members of the armed forces, said he pitied the students, who were missing more than an understanding.

"They are in total ignorance of what they've done," he said.

The boys, who could face suspension, have been ordered by the school to apologise on Tuesday to staff at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where they staged their prank.

Karen Mason, a spokeswoman for the museum, described the photographs as "hugely offensive and tasteless".

She said of the students: "They do not understand at all or have any empathy.

"I would like them to come and see me and I will do my best to explain to them exactly where they have gone wrong, because they have gone seriously wrong."

Stephen Goodman, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, said the boys' action "trivialises the Holocaust and it trivialises the suffering that people went through.

"Anything that trivialises suffering dooms us to repeat history rather than learn from it.

"It is not such an affront to the Jewish community, it is more an affront to all New Zealanders who served in the armed forces in any war."

Mr Goodman has met John Morris, the school's headmaster, to express his concerns over the stunt.

Mr Morris said on Monday there was "absolutely no justification for the immature and unthinking" actions of the boys.

He said they would face "appropriate" disciplinary action.

The incident comes just weeks after students at Lincoln University in Christchurch were photographed wearing concentration camp prisoners' costumes at a fancy dress party.

Auckland Grammar, a state-run secondary school established in 1850, is one of the country's most sought after by parents, who praise its high academic standards and emphasis on traditional virtues.

An obelisk in the school grounds commemorates former pupils who fought during various wars.

Eminent alumni include the Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary, film star Russell Crowe, the cricketers Martin and Jeff Crowe, and several former government ministers.

Some 12,000 New Zealanders died while serving during the Second World War, close to one per cent of the country's total population at the time.

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Oct 19, 2009

Mr. Goldstone, Read it with your glasses ON !...

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

The Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.
Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population. Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.
The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.
The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.
Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.
More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians.
Mr. President, Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets.

And I say this again: the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Read more HERE

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Oct 17, 2009


Pardon My Turkish


By Philologos

Published October 24, 2003, issue of October 24, 2003.

In the Israeli writer Amos Oz?s autobiographical account of childhood and adolescence ?A Tale Of Love And Darkness,? to be published in English translation this spring, Oz?s father, a Hebrew University librarian with a love for words and their etymologies, says at one point to his son, ?And as for your [Hebrew word] gazoz,, it comes to us straight from the French.?

Whether you know what gazoz is may depend not only on whether you?ve been to Israel, but also on when you?ve been, since this erstwhile staple of the Israeli diet began disappearing in the 1960s and has been gone for years. Once purchasable for the equivalent of a few cents at any corner stand or kiosk, gazoz came in a glass, to which was added half-an- inch of fruit syrup and a long squirt of carbonated water from a fountain. In the years of scarcity that followed Israel?s establishment in 1948, when canned and bottled soft drinks were few and expensive, gazoz was the national beverage.

But where did the word itself come from? I had always assumed, without thinking about it very much, that it came from gaz, the Hebrew word for ?gas? that is borrowed from European languages. In this Oz?s father concurred, deriving gazoz, it would seem, from French gaz?, ?gaseous? or ?carbonated,? although Italian gazzosa, ?carbonated drink,? would look like a better bet.

And yet the other day, while reading, of all things, a biography of Turkey?s great dictator and reformer Kemal Ataturk, I came across a curious detail. At the time of the ?Izmir trials? of 1926, Ataturk?s not entirely successful attempt to jail his political enemies, one of these, a certain Dr. Nazim, mockingly labeled the Turkish president ?Gaz?z Pasha? ? translated by the biography?s author as ?Little Napoleon,? with the footnote: ?Gaz?z: fizzy lemonade.? The Turks must have borrowed this word, along with the soft drink it designated, from the Italians ? and since Palestine was under Turkish control until 1917, it is highly likely that Turkish rather than Italian was the immediate source of Hebrew gazoz. French, it almost certainly wasn?t.

Considering the fact that modern spoken Hebrew developed in Turkish-administered Palestine, there are surprisingly few Turkish words in it, the reason being that Turkish officials conducted their business with the local population in Arabic, so that few Jews had a knowledge of Turkish. One of the few Turkish words to have entered everyday Hebrew is d?n?m ? which, as Hebrew dunam, is the standard unit of land measurement in Israel. The only difference is that the Israeli dunam, approximately a quarter of an acre, is exactly a 1000 square meters, whereas the Turkish d?n?m was 940.

Yet one or two Turkish words did enter Hebrew, so cleverly disguised, like gazoz, as European borrowings that no one has noticed them. This is the case with the kova tembel or ?tembel hat,? the floppy bell-shaped head covering that used to be as ubiquitously worn in the streets and fields of Israel as gazoz was drunk, and that now, like gazoz again, has all but disappeared. The kova tembel was once the icon of the Israeli, used by cartoonists and illustrators as the sombrero is for Mexicans and the top hat for Uncle Sam; today, ironically, the only place you are likely to see it is on the heads of tourists being shepherded around by an Israeli guide.

A kova tembel resembles a soft, round dunce cap, which is why I always thought that tembel derived from English ?dumbbell.? And yet ever since I discovered several years ago that tembel is the Turkish word for ?lazy,? I have revised this opinion. Although the dunce cap in all likelihood did give the kova tembel its name, the dunces in question, I now tend to believe, were Turkish rather than English ? not dumb pupils made to sit in a corner of a classroom in London with a conical cap of shame, but lazy ones given the same treatment in Istanbul or Izmir.

In any case, both gazoz and the kova tembel are now yok ? itself a somewhat outdated Israeli slang term meaning ?forget about it? that comes from the Turkish word for ?there isn?t any.? And to say ?Forgeddaboudit!? there is malta yok, an expression with an amusing history. In the year 1645, the story goes, the Ottoman sultan Ibrahim the Mad ordered his fleet to attack the Christian island of Malta in the western Mediterranean. Upon receiving the order, however, Ibrahim?s chief admiral, fearing such a move would end in disaster, placed a candle on his naval map, allowed the wax drippings to fall on the little island until they covered it, declared to his adjutants ?Malta yok,? and sailed off to attack the Venetians in Crete. The siege of Crete lasted 24 years, in the third of which Ibrahim lost his head, and the Venetians finally surrendered in 1669. It took 300 more years for gazoz and the kova tembel to become malta yok in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Questions for Philologos can be sent to

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Oct 16, 2009

I sow it Pamela!.. I'm not blind!

Juicy video. Much thanks to Mark Campbell for sending this for Atlas readers to munch on. Campbell caught the second half of my "debate" with Keating (along with Rep. Adam Hasner's excellent remarks, as well as those by Alan Kornman of Act for America).

I sow it Pamela!.. I'm not blind!

By Elise Labott CNN

(CNN) -- It's the end of an era.

Gamal Helal (middle) assists during a meeting between Yassar Arafat and then-president Bill Clinton.

Gamal Helal (middle) assists during a meeting between Yassar Arafat and then-president Bill Clinton.

Gamal Helal, the longtime Arabic translator to four presidents and six secretaries of state, wrapped up his last day at the State Department on Thursday.

Helal was one of the only constants in U.S. Mideast policy over the past 19 years, helping the United States navigate both wars with Iraq, the war between Israel and Lebanon, and Israeli operations in Gaza.

During every major peace summit -- Madrid, Oslo, Wye and the 2000 Camp David talks -- Helal had a key seat at the table.

One foot in the State Department, the other in the White House, Helal often worked outside conventional diplomatic protocol to become a senior Mideast adviser to Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and, most recently, Barack Obama, as well as their vice presidents and secretaries of state.

Now he is starting his own consultancy, Helal Enterprises, and has signed Exxon Mobil as his first client.

"It's been a privilege to serve so many presidents, vice presidents and secretaries. But everything must end to make room for new beginnings," Helal said.

As for the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, his lips are sealed.

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