Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gloria Greenfield's Speech

This is the video that I took of Gloria Greenfield (aka one of the producers of the movie version of The Case for Israel) and her remarks after the movie was screened. If you want to hear my thoughts on her remarks, click the link below. Sorry about the poor sound, I was sitting pretty far away, and it cuts out suddenly because it could only be ten minutes in length.

Why Are There Anti-Zionist Jews?

There was an interesting discourse between Gloria Greenfield and an audience member last Thursday, but I didn't post it because I found the video too hard to edit. It basically went like this (I'm paraphrasing quite a bit):
AM: "Why do you think that so many of the most virulently anti-Israel people on college campuses and elsewhere are of Jewish descent? And what should we do to respond to this?"

Greenfield: "Well first I want to make clear that those people you are talking about are not Jews. They have betrayed the Jewish community. Therefore, we should not recognize them as Jews and treat them the way they treat some biblical guy who betrayed his ostracizing them."

Now, I know that others have probably written a lot about extreme anti-Israel Jews/anti-Semitic Jews/"self-hating Jews." Some people think that they have internalize the hatred that others feel against them to such an extent that they have grown to believe it themselves, and take it out on others. Others feel as if they hate Jews and therefore hate themselves because they are Jewish.

I actually think it's a little bit more simplistic than that, though some of the psychological reasons might contribute to it. The reality is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a struggle between Jews and Arabs (who are also Muslims). It would logically follow that those people who are the most interested in the situation would be Jews and Muslims. Christians are only interested when they care about the holy sites of their religion, which is not true of all Christians. Since there are not a lot of Muslims in America, it logically follows that those who care the most about Israel (either for or against) would be Jews.

Conspiracy Theory of the Day

Israel wants to control Pakistan? That's a new one to me. Seeing as how Pakistan is also an ally of the US and on good terms with Israel, this theory that Israel wants to take it over is profoundly illogical. Also, the sky is awfully blue today.

HPW: Dubai Releases Footage of New Suspects

On December 25th (so three days ago) the Huffington Post released the latest in the long line of MAM-related articles. There was nothing particularly unusual about the information contained in the article. There was still no proof that Israel (or any other nation) was behind the killing. However, this article was unmoderated which I think is responsible for the large amounts of abusive comments to make their way into the 165-strong thread. Click the link below to read them.

Comment of the Day

When called out on this comment, this user replies:
And then follows up with this little gem:


So to say that Orthodox Jews are all bigots, and that this user doesn't trust anyone who even has a Jewish name (whether they are even Jewish or not) is pretty bad. And somehow the comeback that is the equivalent of "most of my friends are Jewish!" isn't going to cut it. As we have long known, one can like individual members of that group and still have a bias against that group in general.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

MJ Rosenberg's Latest Strawman

After his latest "genocide" series of articles, in which he intentionally misrepresented his opponent's viewpoint, anti-Israel Huffington Post blogger MJ Rosenberg has done it again, this time to keep the myth of the all-powerful "Israel Lobby" alive.

The story is about a new Republican candidate for Senate named Tom Campbell who is running for office in California. According to Rosenberg, AIPAC has been "called in" to find out if Campbell is "sufficiently devoted to Israel's interests." In other words, Campbell needs to prove that he is going to be sufficiently pro-Israel before given the okay by AIPAC to run for office.

Was this supported by the actual story, linked by MJ Rosenberg himself, upon which the article was based?
What do you think?
"Rivals in the race for the Republican nomination are questioning whether former Rep. Tom Campbell is sufficiently supportive of Israel. They base their criticisms on his voting record, statements about a Palestinian homeland and capital, and some of his past associates.
Their allegations have raised enough concerns for Campbell that he plans to meet Monday with the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He also is reaching out to other Jewish leaders. His campaign's honorary chairman, former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, weighed in to call Campbell's support for the nation "unwavering.""
Did you see that? It wasn't the lobby who questioned Campbell's pro-Israel viewpoint, it was his fellow Republicans. And although it was not explained exactly why Campbell met with AIPAC, that is also the only time that AIPAC is mentioned in the entire article. MJ Rosenberg's conclusion that Campbell is being led by the Israel lobby is not supported even a little bit.

But the fun doesn't end there. Oh no. Rosenberg embarrasses himself even further. Click the link below to find out how.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekend Challenge: Middle East

It's that time again for the Weekend Challenge! Remember, if you are reading these words right now, you must participate in the challenge, regardless of how much or little you know about the subject material. And the topic is...

Name the Countries of the Middle East

I got 12 out of 15. How did you do?

The Role of Peaceful Protesters

In reading Robert Naiman's latest article about the Rachel Corrie court case I grew to thinking about the role that non-violence "resistance" movements play in the Israeli-Palestinian situation. As I am sure we would all agree, non-violent protests are preferable to violent ones, and violent ones should not be encouraged by giving the violent protesters want they want. On the surface, it seems pretty simple. People should not be attacked or harassed by the military (or by police) unless they are doing something that is dangerous or unlawful, like leaving the designated "free speech zone."

Where the Arab-Israeli conflict comes up things get more complicated (as they always seem to): The International Solidarity Movement come to the territories and protest, which one its own is fine. But then they take things to the next level. Here are some examples of the way that the ISM and other groups "protest the occupation:"
-"Acting to deter military operations. Some ISM volunteers object to the use of the term human shield to describe their work because, they argue, in a Palestinian context the expression more usually refers to forced use of captive Palestinians by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) when searching Palestinian neighbourhoods."
-"Removing roadblocks. These are large unmanned mounds of earth and concrete on roads throughout the West Bank, and sometimes placed at the entrances of Palestinian villages by the IDF, thereby isolating those villages' inhabitants by preventing traffic in or out."
-"Attempting to block military vehicles such as tanks and bulldozers."
-"Interfering with the construction of the West Bank barrier and placing political graffiti on the barrier."
These all sound pretty nonviolent, and they are, but only on the surface. Let's take a hypothetical example of a possible situation during the Second Intifada. Israel gets a tip from an informant that a group of Palestinians are building a bomb and are preparing to detonate it at a checkpoint. They gear up a unit of soldiers and go into the West Bank to arrest the Palestinians and confiscate the bomb parts.
As soon as they enter the refugee camp, though, all of these ISM activists come running out into the streets and get in the way. By the time the Israelis clear them out of the way (admit insults and thrown objects) the Palestinians have gotten away. The next day, the bomb detonates at a checkpoint and three IDF soldiers are killed.

In this situation, the ISM interfered with the ability of Israel's military to do it's job. Because of their interference, enemy combatants were able to carry out their deadly mission and three people died for it. Isn't this aiding and abetting the enemy in a conflict situation? Isn't the IDF more than within its rights to kill the ISMers on sight if they try to hinder military operations? I don't think many people would agree.

Robert Naiman: Rachel Corrie's Day in Court

Out of the stable of the Huffington Post anti-Israel commentators is Robert Naiman, with his latest on the March 10 Rachel Corrie case in ...wait for it...Haifa, Israel. According to Naiman, the Corrie family is suing Israel's defense ministry for her death. If Naimanwere simply reporting the facts, it would be one thing, but as usual, he has to put his own spin on it.

Israel is not praised for holding this court case in the first place. Though I have never heard of such a thing happening in other nations in the region, I suppose this kind of expectation is only natural. What is interesting, however is that four people who Naiman calls "key witnesses," and are members of the International Solidarity Movement are also going to be there. I could write a whole article on the ISM, but needless to say: They have a history of quite blatantly lying to slander Israel, including the use of faked photos in this very case, and yet were allowed to testify. If there was ever a suspect witness, it would be the ISM. On the other hand, they have a right to say their piece along with everyone else.

None of this is relevant, though, because Naiman barely pays lip service to the specifics of the Corrie case and instead jumps onto a soapbox about other topics. We'll start with his claim that this isn't so much about the Corrie incident but is instead, "a test case for the power of the rule of law in Israel, when the rule of law comes into conflict with the policies of military occupation."

Isolation Update: Israel to Help Secure the World Cup

The Jpost yesterday reported that over 30 Israeli security companies have been hired to held secure the World Cup in South Africa. Most of the technology provided by them will be high tech security cameras and shields that (apparently) are "rocket proof." I'm not sure what kind of attack (if any) they are expecting at the World Cup, but I suppose it helps to be prepared. I wonder if any of Israel's enemies will refuse to participate in the tournament because of this decision, if they are even aware that it was made.

Clearly this is one of the signs that the international community is going to isolate and destroy Israel. Any day now, it's going to happen.

Solomonia Takes on Kramer's "Genocide"

MJ Rosenberg apparently was not alone among the far-lefters criticizing Martin Kramer's for his words about suspending pre-natal subsidies for Gazans. However, Solomon over at Solomonia has a great takedown of Rosenberg, which I encourage you all to read. Essentially, Kramer is making the following case:

"I didn't propose that Israel take a single additional measure beyond the sanctions it now imposes with the political aim of undermining Hamas. And I didn't call on the West to "deliberately curb the births of Palestinians." I called on it to desist from deliberately encouraging births through pro-natal subsidies for Palestinian "refugees," which guarantee that Gazans will remain both radicalized and dependent. The Electronic Intifada claims that "neither the UN, nor any other agencies, provide Palestinians with specifically 'pro-natal subsidies.'" This is a lie: UNWRA assures that every child with "refugee" status will be fed and schooled regardless of the parents' own resources, and mandates that this "refugee" status be passed from generation to generation in perpetuity. Anywhere in the world, that would be called a deliberate pro-natal policy. Electronic Intifada: "Kramer appeared to be equating any humanitarian assistance at all with inducement for Palestinians to reproduce." Appears to whom? A pro-natal subsidy is a national or international promise to support the yet-unborn, not humanitarian assistance to the living. The pro-natal subsidy in Gaza is the unlimited promise of hereditary "refugee" status to future generations."

Basically, there's a difference between actively stopping births, which is what Rosenberg claimed Kramer was calling for, and taking steps to encourage families to only have enough children that they are able to support. You know, like the rest of humanity is supposed to do. 
Once again, we see Rosenberg's apparent unwillingness to truly understand a subject's point of view and message in favor of creating a flashy, attention-grabbing and Israel-bashing headline. The more he posts on the HP, the more we get a better idea of what kind of journalism they are willing to publish.

Comment of the Day

I couldn't even come up with an appropriate label for this one on the latest unmoderated MAM thread:

The only way it would have been better is if he had answered his own questions. A couple of observations:

1) "The world" remains silent on all sorts of horrid tragedies, of which this incident would not be included. I don't see him complaining about the deaths of actually innocent people in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

2) Have you ever noticed how the only people who complain that no one is allowed to criticize Israel are Israel's critics? Usually right before they criticize Israel? And yet they never seem to realize the irony?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Case for Israel Is Tonight!

Tonight at a nearby Jewish Community Center I am going to see the movie of "The Case for Israel" and (more importantly) going to attend a discussion led by Gloria Greenfield, the film's producer. I will be taking my camera and notebook, and will report back to see if there I hear anything interesting.

My Owning Post of the Day

I'm going to toot my own horn here for a second and show you a post of mine in which I take down skialethia. I think it's pretty good, but you can decide for yourself.

The True Power of the Jewish Lobby

One of the most interesting parts of The $36 Billion Bargain, which I'm still in the middle of reading, is the section where the author Organski talks about the power of the Jewish lobby. He talks about it in some detail, which I'll get back to at some point, but he basically draws the conclusion that the U.S. government's support for Israel is not in fact based solely or even mostly on the Jewish (or Israeli) lobby. It's based on a variety of factors (which we'll also talk about later), but he says that it is in the best interests of all the people involved to maintain the myth that the US supports Israel because of the lobby alone. This is a really fascinating point of view that I had never considered before.

It's to the benefit of the US government to maintain the myth, because it allows the President, Congress, etc., to support Israel without losing political capital abroad. Anytime Jordan, for example, gets mad at the US for giving money/weapons to Israel, the President can say, "Sorry, but domestic politics requires us to do that, don't blame me". "Domestic politics" is the code word meaning the Israeli lobby, and then the Jordanians nod their heads and think to themselves, "well, the President has to accommodate the Israeli lobby, so we can hardly blame him for supporting Israel. If he could make his own decision, he surely wouldn't support Israel". In reality, the President is supporting Israel because of his own interests, but he doesn't get blamed for it by Israel's enemies. Certainly an ideal situation to be in if you are the President.

It's to the benefit of American Jews to maintain the myth, as the illusion of power is power none the less. Even though the Israeli lobby has much less power than everyone believes, if a junior congressman believes the Israeli lobby has the power to destroy him, he will obey the wishes of the lobby. It's human nature to retain power, and if the Israeli lobbyists can keep supporting Israel by maintaining this myth, they're certainly not going to mythbust it.

It's to the benefit of the anti-Zionist movement to maintain the myth as well, fascinatingly enough. For the anti-Semites among them, they can use it as proof that the Jews are evil. But for the mainstream movement, the myth of the all-powerful Jewish lobby is the most convenient and convincing reason that the United States supports Israel. For all movements in America, they need to be popular movements at a certain level (no matter what MJ Rosenberg says). The anti-Zionists believe that their beliefs are the right ones and that most Americans agree with them (ignoring the biased polls). Therefore, the reason why the US supports Israel is not because Americans support Israel (because that's simply impossible), it's because of the Israeli lobby. This myth is extremely useful for the anti-Zionists because it provides a credible excuse about why their beliefs, while shared by the majority of Americans, are not reflected in the actions of the government.

So there you have it. The myth of the all-powerful Israeli lobby exists and is not going away anytime soon, because all the players involved want to keep it around. Therefore, the question is, what should we as grassroots supporters of Israel say when we are asked about the lobby? I would think that convincing the anti-Zionists that the lobby is in fact not all powerful would be difficult to convince and unlikely to be believed, so it's probably not worth it. Perpetuating the myth might result in more anti-Semites being convinced they were right all along, but we're better off in the long run if the US keeps supporting Israel.

The State of the HP: February 2010

Something I've noticed on the Hassan Yousef thread that is exceptional is how strong the pro-Israel presence has become on the Huffington Post. Go over to the comments section of that article and see for yourself. There are many posters all expressing pro-Israel sentiment and supporting each other. Ballpark guess of how many, I'd say around 25.

This is great news from our perspective. The biggest difference that can be made on the Huffington Post in terms of combating anti-Semitism is to make the pro-Israel viewpoint not seem like the minority. Preventing pro-Israel individuals from being ganged up on and insulted, and making anti-Zionist posters think twice before posting something hateful goes a long way on the boards. Thanks to all the people who are (hopefully) reading this blog, and fighting the good fight on the HP. You guys are making a difference, and the Yousef thread shows that.

Something I was wondering about is that the pro-Israel position is so well advocated on this thread in particular might be because the thread is unmoderated. I've never had too much difficulty getting my posts to go through moderation (although it can sometimes take a long time) but it's possible the moderation might be holding up many pro-Israel comments. Have any of you had a lot of comments censored? Or is the Yousef thread simply a sign of things to come, when the pro-Israel posters will be the strongest voices on the Huffington Post?

A Link to Read

I didn't have much time to write today, but I suggest that you instead check out this article about the Camp David negotiations. In short, there is a secret reason that the negotiations fell through, as explained by Saeb Erekat: Israel asked Arafat to acknowledge that the Temple Mount held a religious significance for Jews as well, but he refused to do so. On the one hand, this does make sense, as Arafat would probably have been killed for saying such a thing. But it's yet another nail in the coffin on the myth of the "Bantustan" offer.

Mythbusting: Israel Started It!

On many of the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh related threads (and there have been a lot of those) we see a lot of accusations that Israel is taking the conflict between them and Hamas to the next level (i.e. globally). Posters condemn Israel for acting outside of Gaza and say that doing so is an invitation to Palestinian terrorists to kill Israelis wherever they are. As alysheba hinted earlier, the logic train indicates that if Palestinian terrorists do in fact start killing innocent Israelis around the world, it is Israel's fault for overstepping their bounds. If you look, you can probably find many examples.

For those of you who might be thinking that Israel was the one who has taken the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "to the next level" with this killing (assuming they did it, of course) here is a quick history lesson:

1972: Palestinian terrorists kill eleven Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, Germany.
1970s: Palestinian terrorists hijack airlines, including those of Air France and other non-Israeli airlines.
1973: Palestinian terrorists attack the Saudi Embassy, and kill US Ambassador Cleo Noel (among others).
1973: Palestinian terrorists attempt three car bombings in New York City.
1985: Palestinian terrorists hijack the MS Achille Lauro. Wheelchair bound Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer is killed and then thrown overboard.
2009: Hamas announces that it considers any Israeli or Jew to be a legitimate target, no matter where in the world that they are.

This is not even counting the PLO and Hamas seeking aid and money from all over the world, and this is just what I found in a few minutes. Clearly, it was Israel's enemies who decided to take this conflict worldwide decades before this latest incident. Let's keep this in mind next time someone makes that that accusation.

HPW: Hassan Yousef, Son of Hamas Founder, Was Top Israeli Agent

Ha'aretz broke the story of Hassan Yousef yesterday and the HP reprinted it. Yousef was the son of one of the founders of Hamas, and after deciding he wanted no part of the Palestinian culture of death, joined the Shin Bet. Yousef helped prevent dozens if not hundreds of terror attacks and earned the nickname "The Green Prince" after Hamas' green flag. He worked for years, and has since retired to the United States. The reason he's making the news now is that a biography of him is coming out next week.

Needless to say, I was anticipating consternation from the anti-Zionists, and the fact that the article was unmoderated was icing on the cake. However, it really wasn't that bad. The article was taken up mostly by nyckid's latest handle "woodpecker4" and his constant calling for the liberation of Palestine. You can read most of his stuff below, as well as some other comments.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HuffPoWatch User Profile Update: Thabit

Recent news from the Huffington Post, noted anti-Israel (and not-so-occasional anti-Semitic) talkbacker Thabit has now been banned. If you have any doubts that he was acting against the terms of service, simply check out the profile that Matt and I ran on him. He liked to accuse Jews of racism, saying that this was backed up by the Torah and other holy books, among other accusations. But you can see them all for yourself.

Thanks again to the mods for keeping an eye on abusive users.

Disturbing Comment of the Day

Even though this was posted yesterday, I still thought it was worth sharing. Four hours after being posted this comment remains. Though that my change by the time this post goes up.

Dubai Police Identify More Suspects, Claim Some Headed For Iran

Ynetnews covers the latest press statement by Dubai police:

"Dubai has identified 15 new suspects in the assassination of a senior Hamas figure at a Dubai luxury hotel, bringing the total number of people believed involved in the death to 26, the government said on Wednesday."

But wait! What's this? 

"Dubai police also released passport photos and closed-circuit television footage of the suspects, and said two of them had left Dubai by boat for Iran."

Now, assuming for a minute the Mossad actually did take out this guy, which all the HPers think, why would they go to Iran after the assassination? Of all the places for a high-profile assassin to hide, you'd think Iran would be one of the worst places to go. Unless the Iranian government was in on it somehow, which makes me think this assassination might be a Hamas inside job.

It's possible, of course, that the Mossad went to Iran specifically to throw us off the trail. Those crafty Israelis....

What Were the Goals of the "Irvine 11"?

The HP recently published a long, but interesting, article by one Mark Levine. Levine discusses the legality of prosecuting the "Irvine 11", (the 11 students actively heckling Michael Oren's recent speech at UC Irvine). He makes a convincing case that the state of California should not prosecute the students, and doing so would violate their right to protest. He actually makes a convincing case, I agree with him that the government should not get involved.

However, there was some disagreement about what the students' intentions were. Obviously, none of us can know for sure what the students thought, as we are not mind-readers. Mr. Levine argued that the students simply disagreed with Oren's views and were expressing the fact that they disagreed with him. His evidence of this was that only 11 students out of the 30 or so who came stood up to heckle Oren, and that the students complied with police and did not have to force out.

I disagree with Levine, I think the students were there to do their darnedest to stop Oren from speaking. They knew they couldn't stop Oren outright, but they did the best they could. My evidence is as follows:

1. The fact that the students cheered the loudest when Oren stepped down from the podium part of the way through this speech. This is obvious from the video I posted earlier, and it indicated that the students (at the very least) were happy that Oren had stopped talking. It seems, therefore, that they were pleased he no longer was expressing his views.

2. This Youtube video, identified by Solomonia and produced by StandWithUs. Watch the first three minutes, and note what one of the leaders of the protesters had to say.

So there you go. My views, and Mark Levine's. Draw your own conclusions, but there's one thing I think we can all agree with: these students' actions were the opposite of UCI's values of civil discourse and free exchange of ideas.

HPW: Tzipi Livni Praises Hamas Commander Killing

As you might guess from the title, Tzipi Livni of Kadima praised the death of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh yesterday, but also did not give any hint that Israel had anything to do with his death. The talkbacks were what we have come to expect on any MAM-related thread, so I won't elaborate too much on that. Naturally, the thread is still ongoing at the time of this writing, so I probably have missed more than a few comments.:

HPW: MJ Rosenberg's "Genocide" Story

The number of talkbacks on MJ Rosenberg's latest article have now reached the point where I feel it is necessary to write a "watch" story about it. Before I do, I feel I should point out that though I can see where Dr. Kramer is coming from, I still don't think his decision is wise or moral.

Many of the comments on the thread were attacking Kramer and his views. Obviously, those will not be included here, as Kramer should be criticized just like everyone else. It is when comments took the next step and demonized Israel beyond the facts on the ground that they will go into the thread.

Anti-Semitic Comment of the Day

On the Malmo thread, aka a thread that had little to do with Israel and a lot to do with Jews:

Got ZOG?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HuffPoWatch User Profile Update: MarcusT

A titan has fallen this day. Among the anti-Zionist brigade on the Huffington Post, probably none were more active (or insulting) than the user MarcusT, who has finally been banned. In case you had any doubt in your mind that Marcus was in violation of the terms of service, I suggest that you check out the list of comments that we have collected from him. This user would often compare Israel to Nazis, made the occasional anti-Semitic remark, but most often blatantly insulted anyone who had the temerity to disagree with him. He even posted a link to a Holocaust denial website. This put him far past "legitimate criticism" of Israel and placed him definitively in the "abusive" category.

Though he will surely make another profile and come back under another screename, we must savor this victory while we can. Adios.

HPW: Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes In Malmo

Yesterday the Huffington Post published a story about extreme anti-Semitism in a town in Sweden. Apparently it has become so bad that many of the town's Jews are leaving for Stockholm, England, or Israel. Some talkbackers pointed out a subtle case of bias: Although the article say that much of the anti-Semitism is coming from leftists or from Muslims, the picture is of a group of Neo-nazi white youths.

As for blog-worthy comments, so far there were not nearly as many as I was expecting, consider the reaction that any kind of article about anti-Semitism usually generates. However, at the time of this writing there are still more than 130 comments pending, so more may still come up.

MJ Rosenberg Strawmans Again

Infamous anti-Israel HuffPo blogger MJ Rosenberg struck again last night, this time with a buzzword-loaded article titled, "Harvard Prof Seems To Urge Genocide of Palestinians." Notice the "seems to." Funnily enough, I thought that words like "genocide" should only be used when it is a sure thing, and that someone "seeming to" advocate for it wasn't sufficient. Just another example of dumbing down the word I suppose.

As I am sure I probably did not need to tell you the professor in the story, named Martin Kramer, did not advocate for any such thing. Dr. Kramer has recently spoke about the problem in the Middle East where the nations had too many young men and not enough to work to occupy them. So when men are young, angry and bored, that is when they turn to extremism (of any kind). His theory is therefore that measures should be taken to try and increase the average age back up to manageable levels. The example that Rosenberg points to is that Kramer advocates that the nations who fund UNRWA should cut off pro-natal care to the Palestinians in Gaza. You can read some more about it on Kramer's blog.

This is definitely a controversial viewpoint, but there is no way that lobbying for population control is anywhere close to "advocating genocide," and someone as well informed as Mr. Rosenberg ought to be able to tell the difference. Nor is Kramer even advocating that the nations of the world "cut off" pro-natal care to the Palestinians, he is just saying that they should stop subsidizing it. Even so, do people who pass out condoms in Africa or lobby for population control for environmental reasons advocating for genocide? Is the Chinese government advocating for genocide when they force their people to only have one baby? It seems like once again Mr. Rosenberg is ignoring what Kramer is saying (a legitimate point or otherwise) in favor of using an emotionally charged buzzword.

Between this and the David Sable video MJ Rosenberg is beginning to build a reputation as a strawmanning journalist. Is this what the anti-Zionist brigade is reduced to?

UPDATE: Rosenberg has taken it to the next level with his latest comment:

Dr. Kramer made it very clear that he wanted to reduce the youth of the Palestinian nation, not it's overall numbers. That was Rosenberg's interpretation. But it is really the "Passover story" comment that I think is interesting. Not so much because it is at all a legitimate comparison: Of course it is not. Why did Mr. Rosenberg decide to compare Mr. Kramer to the "angel of death" in one of the most famous stories of Judaism while we just so happened to be talking about Arab-Israeli issues? I can't help but wonder why he chose that particular point to make. Perhaps he has some sort of grudge against that particular story?

Example of a Post: Never Good Enough

The controversy around the Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh killing continues to swirl on the Huffington Post, but there was a comment yesterday that caught my attention. There were some people complaining about MAM's death because it was "extrajudicial," but there were more complaining about this death with the following logic:

Nobody here is crying about the death of him as a terrorist, we're speaking out against how it was done. Innocent people's identities were stolen to commit a crime in a 3rd party country. Anyone who believes in the rule of law cannot support that type of behavior.
He needed a good killing, no problem there. It's going into a another country using innocent people's ID that's the problem.
Do you remember during Cast Lead how people were complaining about there had to be a better way for Israel to defend itself? Many said that Israel should use commando teams to take out Hamas members and rocket launchers, because that way no innocent people will get killed. The trouble is that this was totally unfeasible, but it didn't stop them from demanding Israel try it anyway.

But here, Israel finally managed to do that. Zero civilian casualties, zero collateral damage. It is everything that Israel's critics during Cast Lead days would have wanted. But wait! Israel (assuming it is Israel, of course) used forged passports?! Well then lock them up! How dare they? It seems clear that, although many on the HP talkbacks will agree that Israel has the right to defend itself, fight its enemies, and protect it's people, that is not good enough, Israel now has to fight it's enemies and defend itself the right way. A way that is completely spotless and doesn't make anybody mad. A standard well past the level of "realistic."

If one retreats to the "legal" defense, that what Israel did is illegal and that's that, then there is another problem. Israel's enemies quite blatantly ignore any kind of law or even common decency when running their operations. If Israel does the same, they are put at a severe disadvantage. It would be like fighting with both hands tied behind their backs. And in a case like Cast Lead, when Hamas uses human shields, Israel is put a no-win scenario where either choice they make leads to a loss.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Israel should run roughshod over international law; I'm saying that if it isn't going to be fairly enforced it shouldn't be enforced at all. Remember, Hamas' very existence is illegal under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260. Mabhouh should have been arrested the moment he set foot out of Gaza, and Dubai should have prosecuted for harboring a criminal. When faced with enemies like these, it is completely unfair and even discriminatory to expect Israel to toe the line in every way. Especially when you have America committing "extrajudicial killings" by the hundreds over in Afghanistan, with nary a Goldstone Report in sight.

PS: Elder of Ziyon comments about this phenomenon among larger organizations and bodies.

William Delahunt/J Street Controvery Update

Remember that article on the Huffington Post in which Congressman William Delahunt claimed that Israel had "snubbed" him and J Street, which in turn set off an angry response? Well, it turns out that things didn't quite happen the way it said it did.

Solomonia caught a Jerusalem Post report from Danny Ayalon, the Israeli diplomat who supposedly did the "snubbing." Here's the Foreign Ministry's side of the story:
“[Deputy Foreign Minister Danny] Ayalon did not prevent the delegation from meeting with senior Israeli officials,” as claimed by J Street last week, said Barukh Binah, Foreign Ministry deputy director-general and head of its North America Division.

“Ayalon was never part of the delegation’s schedule and talk of boycotting meetings with congressman has no basis in fact. On the contrary, the deputy foreign minister is always willing to meet with elected officials from any friendly country, especially the United States of America, and [with] Jewish organizations which represent a range of diverse views from across the political spectrum.”

Binah also rejected the “subsequent assertion that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologized in hastily arranged meetings,” which he said was simply not true.

Looks like J Street was caught in a lie. Is Delahunt complicit? Maybe, but it's equally possible that J Street might have deceived him as well.

I wrote to the Huffington Post a letter encouraging them to publish this follow-up story. Click the link below to read it. Hopefully they will print it, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

HuffPoWatch: Israel Unveils Drone Fleet That Can Reach Iran

The Huffington Post finally picked up on the story that Israel has shown off their new drones that are bigger, faster and stronger than everyone else's drones. These drones aren't new, they were used during Cast Lead, and they are impressing military people the world over. On the HP, though, the commenters were not impressed. We get a number of nicely anti-Semitic comments, it's a great way to come off a slow week to be informed that we are still needed. This is an ongoing, moderated thread, so expect updates periodically. Read on...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Israeli Ice Dancing Team Video

Alexandra and Roman Zaretsky competed in Olympic Ice Dancing for Israel last night, and here is a video of their performance (minus NBC commentary). They ice danced to Hava Nagila, and earned a score of 55 points. I don't really know if that was any good, but right now they are in eighth place, so I guess not. Even so, it's worth checking out.

Anti-Semitic Comment of the Day

On a thread about anti-Semitism rising in Sweden and Jews leaving in droves:

Apologies for the formatting, I'm still working on using screengrabs

Im Tirtzu Accuses NIF in "Im Tirtzu Report"

We haven't really talked that much about the Im Tirtzu vs. New Israel Fund scandal, but this summary of the issues was just posted on the Jerusalem Post:

"One of the reasons, The Jerusalem Post learned this week, was that the document the group released last month, now known as the “Im Tirtzu Report,” which listed the New Israel Fund as a main financier of more than a dozen Israeli NGOs...that provided testimony used in the UN’s Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, was the result of efforts modeled after military intelligence operations that trace and pinpoint money trails leading to terrorist organizations"

So basically the NIF uses the same tactics to raise money as terror groups do. Does this mean the NIF is up to no good? Certainly not. But does it also mean that Israeli officials should check out the NIF's funding sources? Most definitely. In Israel especially, making sure organizations are not actively working against the safety and needs of the nation as a whole is a requirement, and investigating the NIF is hardly a violation of democracy. 

HPW: Assassinated Leader Put Himself At Risk & Security Barrier

Today I am covering two threads, one MAM-related thread and one editorial by Rene Backmann. There were not many comments in each, and most of them were legitimate criticism of Israel, but there were also a decent amount of comments that I felt like it was necessary to repost here. Click below to read them.

HuffPoWatch User Profile: Flying_Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman has caught our attention over the past few days when he has made some racially charged comments about Jews. As usual, I cannot be sure whether he is motivated by anti-Semitism or by something else, so I will instead let his comments speak for themselves.

Flying_Dutchman has been active since April 2009 and has 10 fans.

Huffington Poster Blames the (Future) Victims

From the latest and greatest Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh thread:

It is the last paragraph that we should be focused on, because it is unbelievable. First off, let me point out that Hamas already considers Jews and Israelis around the world to be a legitimate target, they said as much in January of last year. And other jihadist groups have killed Israelis and Jews worldwide too, remember Mumbai? It was not Israel who made "the world" a battleground, yet she ignores all of this. But even that is not enough: Alysheba goes on to make a false equivalence between Israelis going on vacation and a hardened Hamas terrorist on a mission to secure more instruments of death. No, alysheba, innocent people are not a legitimate target. But this man was no innocent. Not even the most pro-Palestinian of the Palestinians would go that far.

Then even more odious, she claims that if "innocents also get slaughtered" than it is Israel alone to blame, because they dared to defend themselves, regardless of who it was who did the killing. What an excellent logic trap: If Israel doesn't defend itself, it's people die. If Israel does defend itself, than everything that follows afterward is their fault. The Palestinians are not responsible for their own actions.

Welcome to the twisted world of the Huffington Post talkbacks.

Weekend Challenge Standings: 2/21

And the first Weekend Challenge comes to a close! Everyone congratulate our winner: Ben Madison. Good going Ben, and thanks to those who competed. Next time, let's see if we can get some more participation.

Weekend Challenge Standings (Week 1)
1. Ben Madison (16/17)
2. Zach (15/17)
3. Matt (13/17)
4. Bryan Z (10/17)
5. Anonymous (1/17) [might want to get yourself an actual name if you want to keep competing, Anonymous]

Until next weekend then!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

HPW: Slaying Nearly "100 Percent" Mossad

This is an older MAM thread, but at over 300 comments it definitely picked up a few comments worthy of our attention. It was also fully moderated. I feel I should also point out that at the time of the writing there still is not any hard evidence that Israel was being the Hamas leaders' death. There was also a decent amount of anti-Semitism contained within the threads. Anyway, on to the comments:

Disturbing Comment of the Day

On one of many MAM-related threads, the latest being that Hamas feels he put himself at risk:

UPDATE: This comment has now been removed, though the user remains.

HuffPo Blogger Calls for Israel's Destruction

Mya Guarnieri, one of the many anti-Israel Huffington Post bloggers, has lately written a piece called "Want Democracy In Israel? Acknowledge the Palestinian Right of Return." One might get the impression from the title that the article is about the right of return, but in fact most of it is talking about the Im Tirtzu/New Israel Fund/NGOs controversy that has been flying around the blogosphere for the past couple of weeks. I cannot help but wonder when exactly the Huffington Post is going to publish an article telling the other side of that story, but I'm starting to accept that is like waiting for a train that won't come.

Anyway, it is in the last few paragraphs that Ms. Guarnieri finally gets to her headline. She says:
"The situation is beyond urgent now. And it has been for a long time. The Israeli left must redirect its energies, channeling them to the source of the sickness that threatens everyone, regardless of their political affiliation--the systematic disenfranchisement of Palestinians that began over 60 years ago. Only after the Palestinian right to return has been acknowledged and a shared, bi-national country has been established can we expect to see a truly democratic state emerge."
As I am sure I don't need to remind you, even among the Israeli left a one-state "solution" is considered to be too extreme. So once again we have an Israeli Huffington Post blogger who is more extreme than the Israelis she is supposed to be representing.

I also think it is interesting that she calls for the destruction of Israel in its current form, as a Jewish state. Only then, it appears can they be rid of this "sickness." Apparently just granting the Palestinian people their own state isn't good enough. Unfortunately for Ms. Guarnieri, although she will undoubtedly find quite a lot of support among the Huffington Post keyboard activists, the Israeli left has already left this "solution" in the dust where it belongs.

Alysheba Defends Terrorists Who Killed Americans

alysheba3, one of the many tireless defenders of Palestinian rights, has stepped up to defend Palestinian cheering during 9/11.  Permalink here

What Americans have the Palestinians killed? The ones that chose to move to a country that reinforces their belief that they are superior because of their religion? The ones that moved to a different country not because of a job but because they are given preferential treatment, with government funded homesteading, free medical care and education (gasp, socialism)? Americans that chose their religion over the country they were born in?

If over 1.5 million Americans had been kept in an area the size of Texas, and Soviet weapons had been used repeatedly to enforce that confinement, and commit murder and land theft, do you believe that Americans would have cheered had a similar attack to 9/11 happened on Soviet soil? Of course they would.

Yes, apparently every American killed by Palestinians are racists, wanted preferential treatment, or are "traitors" to America because of their religion, and therefore they totally deserve to die in terror attacks. This kind of racism towards Americans (or American-Israelis) is simply absurd, but I guess I understand. Palestinian happiness over 9/11 is pretty much indefensible, and it makes sense that the best defense the Palestinian defenders can come up with is that America essentially deserved it. And then they wonder why the Palestinians don't have very many American supporters. 

HPW: Bradley Burston's "Pro-MidEast"

A few days ago, Bradley Burston wrote an article about getting past pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian to just be pro-peace or pro-Mideast. That's a lot of pros, but unfortunately a number of comments were notably "antis." Compared to a usual HP thread, it was not too bad, but I thought it was worth writing up:

Anti-Semitic Comments of the Weekend

Well if he has Jewish friends I guess his blatantly Jewish-tinged racism against Israelis is okay. After all, there has never been an anti-Semite who has Jewish friends, right?

 Sure, sure, guys, you just hate "Zionists." Whatever.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend Challenge: Prime Ministers of Israel

Here at the Brothers of Judea, we're starting a new series called Weekend Challenge. At 5:00 pm every Friday, we're going to give you a Sporcle Trivia quiz. Go take it, come back and report your score in the comments section. You must take the quiz even if you know nothing about the subject matter (I can't guarantee it's going to be about Israel or the Huffington Post). You have until Sunday at midnight to complete the quiz. We'll keep track of the scores and reward whoever scores the most per month, or something like that.

This week's challenge: Name the Prime Ministers of Israel. Good luck!

I got 13 out of 17. How about you?

How Should Israel Respond to Terror?

Last summer I worked in a clinical setting with emotionally disturbed children. Our clients were usually from broken homes, often had been abused, and practically all were on some kind of medication. The job of the staff when working with them is to give them something they probably had not known before: Caring adults, friends, and a setting where they could feel safe.

Naturally, the transition for them was not always easy. Many of them had learned to solve their problems through aggression. When they didn't get what they wanted, they would scream. When another child provoked them, they would hit. When a staff member tried to separate two children who were fighting, he or she might get bit. For some children, transitioning into "using their words" instead of his or her fists took the entire session, if it happened at all.

Meanwhile, in Bil'in....

Ynetnews reports on the weekly violence at Bil'in over the separation barrier...

"Defense establishment officials said that the fence was badly damaged and that many stones were thrown at the security forces stationed in the area. The forces prepared for the rally in advance and were ordered to keep their distance and avoid a direct clash with the protestors."

Yes, stones were thrown at Israelis for no apparent reason. Good times, good times. But wait, it sounds like a special guest came to the protest!
"The rally was also attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and politicians Mustafa Barghouti and Taysir Khalid...Fayyad and the other leaders said they support the popular struggle, and urged the international community to intervene and have the fence removed."

Even the "moderate" Palestinian PM Fayyad supports violent protests against Israel. Nice to know he still believes in negotiation as a way to solve problems.

Anti-Israel Posters Reveal Their Anti-Semitism

Sharp-eyed reader "Talossa" has drawn our attention to anti-Semitic tendencies among two high-profile anti-Israel posters, Rachel Brownlee and skialethia.

We'll start with Rachel, as she's the clearest example.

Yes, apparently the Jews inspired and ran the Bolshevik revolution and are therefore to blame for the deaths of 20 million innocent Russians! They cannot possibly be a helpless minority, because they really control the fate of nations! Clearly, Rachel's problem is not only with Israel's actions.

Next, we have skialethia support the "noble work" of Kairos.



Kairos is a Christian organization that just lost funding from the Canadian government because of, you guessed it, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities. Skialethia devotes a lot of her time on the HP to anti-Israel rants, has extreme double standards when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, and supports groups that are borderline anti-Semitic.  Clearly, her problem is not simply with Israel's actions either.

Conspiracy Theory of the Day

From the latest Alan Dershowitz thread:

Mossad has had a policy going back decades, many decades, of targeted killings of those deemed a threat to the Israeli State. This is not specific to Israel. This is what many governments do, including the US.
The Israeli policy has included the targeted killings of even US State department officials. Please note the high rate of "suicides in the early 1950's. This comment is likely to be snuffed out. Too much truth perhaps.

HPW: Alan Dershowitz "Lawyers" the Anti-Zionists on MAM

In his latest work on the Huffington Post, Alan Dershowitz uses his lawyer skills to remark on the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh killing. He concludes that if Israel was the nation responsible for his death, they were completely within their legal rights to do so. You can read his arguments for yourself, I don't need to repeat them.

Naturally, this has provoked some unhappy reactions from the Huffington Posters. They are apparently one of the few groups of Americans shedding tears over Mabhouh's death. I should point out that there were some people who were upset about the alleged use of passports, but that was not what the article was about, so they won't be included. It's still an ongoing fully moderated thread, so there will probably be more comments.

Lbsaltzman Reveals His Anti-Semitism

In a thread talking about what would be the "civilized" thing to do in the case of the Mahmoud al-Mabhoud murder, lbsaltzman reveals what he really thinks about Israel.


The context is right here if you're interested, but it's pretty indefensible regardless. 

Some Old Links

A contributor sent us the following links a couple of weeks ago, but I had yet to get around to posting them.

The first is an article about anti-Semitism on the Huffington Post, covered in a very general way. It was published on Front Page Magazine, which I think might be a very right-wing site, but don't shoot the messenger. It might be worth checking out.

Our second link is to another Huffington Post-watcher blog simply called HuffWatch. He apparently monitors the Huffington Post for news bias, the "liberal agenda" and things like that. It's pretty much accepted in my mind that the HP is a left-leaning news site, as it has the right to be. HuffWatch does sometimes look into anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hatred as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Thought Experiment of the Day

On a thread about an anti-gay Ugandan preacher using gay porn:

Thank you, jlab. You are absolutely right.

HuffPoWatch: MAM Killing: Israeli Officials Convinced Mossad Behind Hit

The Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh saga continues, with currently three articles running on the Huffington Post. In this one, Israeli officials said that they thought that Mossad was the one who killed the Hamas commander, but so far there is no evidence to support far.

There were quite a few comments who were glad to see that Al-Mabhouh was gone, there were others who agreed that Israel had the right to kill him but did not like the way in which they did so. Then there were those that thought Israel defending itself is "murder" and that the operatives should be arrested for war crimes, though presumably the Hamasnick should go scot-free. And of course there were those who took the opportunity to unilaterally bash Israel. It is the latter three that are covered in today's "watch post."

Anti-Semites? Who, Us Anti-Zionists?

From the bowels of the Internet I've recovered this short piece, which I thought marked quite well the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Some of the lines get a bit political, for instance they question the nationhood of the Palestinians. I've reprinted it here:

By Steven Plaut

Say What? Anti-Semites? Who, us anti-Zionists? US? We have nothing against Jews as such. We just hate Zionism and Zionists. We think Israel does not have a right to exist. But that does not mean we have anything against Jews as such. Heavens to Mergatroyd. Marx Forbid. We are humanists.
Progressives. Peace lovers.

Anti-Semitism is the hatred of Jews. Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionism and Israeli policies. The two have nothing to do with one another. Venus and Mars. Night and Day. Trust us.

Sure, we think the only country on the earth that must be annihilated is Israel. But that does not mean we have anything against Jews as such.

Sure, we think that the only children on earth whose being blown up is ok if it serves a good cause are Jewish children. But that does not mean we have anything against Jews as such.

Sure we think that if Palestinians have legitimate grievances this entitles them to mass murder Jews. But that does not mean we have anything against Jews as such.

Book Review: "Anti-Semite and Jew"

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the most famous philosophers of the 1940s-50s, and in "Anti-Semite and Jew" he attempted to analyze the problems of anti-Semitism and how to solve them. Even though it was philosophy, and therefore somewhat tricky to read, I found the book to be quite accessible and very relevant to the topics we are facing in the modern era. However, there was quite a lot to talk about, so I'm going to cut the review off here. If you want to read more, click the link below:

HuffPoWatch User Profile: Paul_Hackett

Update: This user has now been banned from the Huffington Post.

The user Paul_Hackett came to our attention only recently in the latest Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh threads, but apparently he has been around the Huffington Post for quite a while, since March 2009. His behavior in the past couple days, however, definitely made it clearly that he has a history of borderline anti-Semitic comments.

Most of his comments simply involve preaching the Palestinian psuedo-history in which the "Zionists" were responsible for everything that went wrong in the conflict. To hear it from him, Israel is the worst nation on the face of earth, and what they do to the Palestinians and their own people is the most terrible atrocity since Hitler. Basically, he slanders Israel with a completely distorted version of reality. The most notable example of this is when he claimed that Israel killed thirteen hundred civilians during Cast Lead when not even the PCHR would go that far. And of course, he berates and insults anyone who has the temerity to disagree with him about anything.

In going through his comments, he hits many of the anti-Semitic talking points that we have seen elsewhere. Joe Lieberman and Rahm Emanuel are labeled as "Zionists" and their loyalties are questioned. The idea of Israel having a right to exist is laughed at. American Jews are "hypocrites" for daring to support Israel and being upset at the Holocaust museum shooter at the same time. AIPAC is the only reason why anyone in Congress is pro-Israel, and so forth. Take a look at the link below to see the comments for yourself, these are just the worst ones. Since Paul_Hackett repeats himself a lot, many of the posts below were written more than once.

Paul_Hackett has 955 posts and 52 fans.

Anti-Semitic Comment of the Day

From a thread about the UN ban on cluster bombs:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HuffPoWatch: William Delahunt Claims Israel Snubbed Him

Today the Huffington Post covered this story, about a US Congressmen who went to Israel because he wanted to work with J Street. J Street wanted to meet with some Israeli officials but were turned down. But the story doesn't end there, Mr. Delahunt says that he read a newspaper report that he was being "boycotted" by the Foreign Ministry for his affiliation with J Street. Apparently Danny Ayalon felt that Israel did not need "mediators" to discuss things with the Americans.

So in short, it was probably not a good move by Israel, but they do have the right to talk with whom they choose. Regardless, it could have been done more diplomatically.

Anyway, if this had been any other country besides Israel, it would hardly have made a blip on the radar screens of the Huffington Post readership. But since it was Israel, the story set off a firestorm of hatred on the fully moderated talkback thread. Most of the comments were not anti-Semitic, they were generally complaints about US aid to Israel. Hey, we haven't heard that one for a while, time to bring it back! The anti-Semitic comments were usually of the racism against Israel and Israelis kind, and the "Jews own Congress" kind. There was also quite a lot of the "hasbara" insult too. You can read all about it below:

News the HP Doesn't Cover: Youth Found with Bombs

Ynetnews picks up that the IDF found four pipe bombs among the belongings of a Palestinian youth near Jenin (in the West Bank). And where were these bombs discovered? At a checkpoint!

Clearly, violence has not ended in the West Bank and the checkpoints, while inconvenient and unfortunate, continue to save lives every day. We can't ever forget that this kind of thing continues to happen, even when we don't hear about it every day.

Anti-Semitic Comment of the Day: 2/17/10

Here it is, your anti-Semitic comment, made at one of the numerous Dubai Hamas assassin threads, it doesn't really matter which one:


The first three sentences are typical insults, but the rest is accusing Israel of racism and willing to "commit any atrocity". Clearly anti-Semitic. 

MJ Rosenberg Keeps "Jews Control the Government" Myth Alive

The illustrious Huffington Post blogger MJ Rosenberg has published another blog post today about one of his favorite subjects, AIPAC. Mr. Rosenberg has a love/hate relationship with AIPAC, he hates them because they (apparently) control our government and force us to support evil, evil Israel, but he also (in my opinion) secretly loves them because a) it give him something to write about and rail against and b) blaming AIPAC for America's support of Israel prevents him from facing the ugly truth: most U.S. politicians support Israel for real, unshakable reasons.

In this article, Rosenberg continues his thesis. He discusses how Steve Rosen, a former AIPAC director, has recently written that Obama has moved towards the right in terms of his stance towards Israel. I don't think we can really argue with that, seeing as how Obama backed down from his demand for a settlement freeze and renewed aid to Israel. What's interesting is Rosenberg's interpretation about why Obama has done this. He first offers the explanation given by Rosen:

"He [Rosen] says that Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod are paying "more attention to the fact that the independents and swing voters who voted for Obama in 2008 deserted him in droves, including suburban union members who also helped Republicans win formerly Democratic offices in New Jersey and Virginia. The Obama team is worried that independents and Democratic centrists are fleeing to the GOP. It is not the progressives that they want to woo."

However, in the conspiracy theory world of MJ Rosenberg, that couldn't possibly be true. The truth is, obviously:
"More likely, the climb down has to do with the combined impact of influential donors linked to Rosen's old employer, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- and with members of Congress who take their marching orders from AIPAC. With all Obama's troubles, he is clearly less than eager to tangle with the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington. And, no doubt, his cautious aides are warning him against doing anything that might offend a lobby known in Washington as the "800 pound gorilla."

Now, anyone who is paying attention to Obama's movements as a whole (and I am far from an expert) can see that he's moving towards the center in pretty much all areas, not just Israel. You can see this in his summit with the Republicans about health care, his State of the Union address when he criticized all parts of government and called for bipartisanship, etc. Clearly, all of those shifts are due to other reasons besides "The Jews, oops I mean AIPAC, commanded it".  But when it comes to Israel, it can't be because the President's motives are genuine. It's because he's controlled by AIPAC.

One of the many things that doesn't make sense about Mr. Rosenberg's argument is the fact that Obama made anti-Israel steps in the first place. Presumably, AIPAC has always been there throughout Obama's presidency. If Obama is really controlled by AIPAC, how then was he free to issue a settlement demand, etc. in the first place? Jewish lobbying in support of Israel is always present in government, but Obama's policy has changed. That which caused the change must clearly be something else.

HuffPoWatch: Dubai Releases Video of Assassins

The Huffington Post is really going to town on this investigation into the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh's murder in Dubai. There's been a video released on the assassin team, a group of 11 people using European passports.

This thread wasn't too bad in terms of anti-Semitism, most posters on the thread were pleased with the death of Mahmoud, or at least didn't complain too much. The usual suspects, though, arrive to preach morality to us sinners and judge Israel without any evidence. Read on...

Off Topic Review: Under the Dome

For those of you who pay attention to the "What Matt's Doing" and "What Zach's Doing" sidebars on the right, you may have noticed that I have recently completed Stephen King's latest novel, Under the Dome. Even though this book has absolutely nothing to do with Israel or the Huffington Post, I'm going to review it anyway because this is my blog.

I've read some of Stephen King's books, although not much of his most famous horror stories (the only straight up horror novel of his I've read is Pet Sematary). I'm a fan of his writing style because it keeps the plot going at a decent pace at all times, and he does a great job creating believable, interesting characters. He doesn't try to write great prose or compelling literature, he always seems to be more concerned with telling a gripping tale that the reader can get sucked into.

All of his talents are in full force in Under the Dome. From the very beginning of this book, the reader joins the characters of the town of Chester's Mill, Maine, as they discover their town has been encased in an impermeable dome. King creates a huge cast of characters, I estimate about twenty of them all have names and distinct personalities, and he does a good job keeping several plot lines going at once. And the plot moves at breakneck speed, developments in the town are happening at all times. But I never felt lost either, which really is a sign of good storytelling.

The book is not scary at all, if that's something that concerns you (like, say, if you have a really vivid imagination). It's also not a poignant commentary on human nature, I believe (and I think you'll agree with me if you read the book) that what happens in Chester's Mill when it's encased in a dome is not at all similar to what would happen in any other town in the world, as there are some things about the town itself that makes it unique. So don't go into this book expecting to come away with a moral or a lesson to be learned. There really isn't one, just an exciting tale of survival and adventure.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a page-turner, and it would have to be seeing as how it's over 1,000 pages long. I felt connected to all of the characters, they all seemed real to me even to the point where I could predict how they might react to a given situation. Even the "bad guy" was believable, not a typical story villain twirling his mustache for no apparent reason. I would recommend this book as light reading (again, not literally light), but make sure you have some extra time put aside, you won't be able to put it down once you start.

Has anyone else read Under the Dome? Leave your thoughts below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Salam Al Marayati Speaks Out on Behalf of "Irvine 11"

The Huffington Post has recently published an exclusive blog post by Salam Al Marayati, who is apparently the Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Mr. Al Marayati, in this post, is commenting on the Michael Oren heckling incident, which I mentioned last week (the Huffington Post, however, neglected to mention it). He is defending the right to free speech...on the part of the Muslim students!

"One may disagree with the style and tactics demonstrated by the 11 students, but the central issue is not responding to the disruption by the students. Rather, the main focus should be on understanding what led to that action. The protest of Ambassador Oren's speech did not occur within a vacuum, but rather as a reaction to a string of numerous attempts to stigmatize Muslim students of UCI and squelch their free speech."

So apparently, in the upside down world of Mr. Al Marayati, preventing others from exercising their right to free speech is itself protected under the right to free speech! When the "Irvine 11", as the poor oppressed Muslim students are calling themselves, are asked to leave Oren's lecture, it's an example of the UCI administration cruelly shutting down all anti-Israel speech. Apparently, the pro-Palestinian students' right to free speech is stronger than Michael Oren's. As Alan Dershowitz often quotes, "Free speech for me, but not for thee!"

Al Marayati also complains about how all the different times the UCI administration has disrupted Muslim students' activities, which I could go into in more depth, but it's nothing more than trying to justify the Muslim students' actions.

This editorial is pretty unbelievable, but the comments under it (at the time of this writing) all disagree with Mr. Al Marayati's position, so that's good. But we'll see, the post's been up for less than twelve hours.

[h/t: Elder of Ziyon]


I'll be going offline for the next couple days, as I'm going on a skiing trip. Matt will be keeping track of the latest goings on in my absence, though.

Anti-Semitic Comment of the Day

Here's your anti-Semitic comment of the day. I haven't quite figured out how to do a screengrab like Zach yet, but here you go anyway:

Paul Hackett
"I know lots of people from the middle east - Iranians, Palestinians, Egyptians and others. None of them feel feel they are superior to anybody. I do remember a certain group claiming to be "god's chosen people" though. Who was that?. 

It's worth noting that there are hundreds of millions of asian muslims, as well as european ones, plus arab ones, etc. Islam isn't tied to any ethnicity - unlike judaism. So please, in the future why don't you keep your characterizations of the people of the moddle east to yourself."