Five for Friday

Maybe the end of this week brings with it more hope, as a 72 hour cease fire starts while negotiations get underway to find a solution. While I am not optimistic, I hope for the best.

Just one week ago, there was also talk of a ceasefire. There was no definite news by the start of Shabbat. On the way out of shul after the Friday night services, the warning siren went off in Ra’anana and we had our definite news. Maybe it will be different this time.

This week’s links go back to the usual pattern of including some less serious content, to lighten the load, and refresh your browsing pleasure.

This week’s must read bonus:

Here’s to a peaceful week ahead.

Shabbat Shalom!

BBC blunders badly, and is found out

A great spot by BBC Watch.

Pay close attention. First a BBC interview features this chappie:

"...defiant citizen Nasman Al-Ashi, who said that the world was failing Gaza.”

“…defiant citizen Nasman Al-Ashi, who said that the world was failing Gaza.”

It turns out he has been on before. And watch the chappie become a baddie:

Dr Basman Al Ashi, the director of Wafa hospital, house the entrance to a Hamas attack tunnel leading into Israeli territory and was also used as a Hamas command and control centre, a weapons storage site, a missile launching site and a sniper post.

Dr Basman Al Ashi, the director of Wafa hospital, which housed the entrance to a Hamas attack tunnel leading into Israeli territory. The hospital was also used as a Hamas command and control center, a weapons storage site, a missile launching site and a sniper post.

Do you think the good doctor might be a Hamas person? Or just a stooge? He is certainly no ordinary joe as he pretended to be. He is certainly spouting antisemitism. But why should that trouble the BBC?

Be careful out there. You cannot trust the media.

Well done, BBC Watch!

Mob rule in Scotland

Sad news from Scotland (via the Scotsman):

AN ISRAELI arts company has been forced to axe its entire run of performances at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe after facing an angry protest before its first show in the city.

Underbelly, the London promoter which had booked Incubator Theatre into one of its main venues, said it had been reluctantly forced to pull the plug based on police advice.

However, it has vowed to find the company – which is part-funded by the Israeli state – another venue, despite threats from campaigners to continue to disrupt its “hip hop opera” wherever it is staged.

More than 50 leading cultural figures in Scotland have called for the company’s shows to be boycotted, although the stance has been criticised by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

More than 150 protesters turned up outside Edinburgh University’s Reid Hall before the first preview of Incubator’s production got under way.

Talks were held later with the theatre company, the police and university officials.

A statement from Underbelly said although the first preview performance had gone ahead, the logistics of policing and stewarding the protest and the impact on both Underbelly shows and those in other venues made it impossible for the show to continue.

The statement added: “All tickets for forthcoming performances in the Reid Hall will be refunded. When an alternative venue is found, customers will be able to book tickets for that show separately.”

Announcing the cancellation of the shows at the venue’s gala launch, Underbelly director Charlie Wood said the attempts to stop the company performing were “plain wrong” and went against the entire ethos of the Fringe.

He added: “The protest caused huge disruption to shows we had here and at the Gilded Balloon. If they continued to protest in this area every day for four hours, the festival simply will not happen.”

Fringe chief executive Kath Mainland said: “It was a practical decision based on the whole picture and the disruption to all the other shows that are here.”

John Stalker of Incubator added: “Everybody who supports the right of artists to have their work presented believes the show should carry on. I had friends there who felt very threatened by the protest. Today was a sad day for Edinburgh.”

Albie O’Neill, spokesman for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which was behind the protest, said: “The level of support from the public has been overwhelming and reflects the strength of feeling against this Israeli state-funded theatre company and revulsion over what is happening in Gaza.”

Peaceful protest? Doesn’t sound like it, does it?

Perusing the comments below the line gives you a flavor of the hatred and bigotry being directed towards Israel. There are one or two swimming against the tide of the baying crowd, but largely it is poison on parade.

Random thoughts:

  • Are the “50 leading cultural figures in Scotland” proud of what they helped achieve? See freedom of speech? Nah, we don’t want any of that.
  • The numbers involved – 150 protesters – are not big. So, despite the big bash Israel campaign, it’s not exactly indicative of mass consent. But 150 was enough. I wonder if the locals have worked out some of the implications of this?
  • The state sponsorship label is a handy peg upon which to hang some hatred. The group does get some money from the state, but they are scarcely apologists for the government. And I wonder how many of the other international groups get state support of some sort or another. I’m sure all their governments are squeaky clean and there are no double standards being exercised.
  • I won’t be buying any Edinburgh rock ever again.

In UNRWA schools they can count: 1, 2, 3…

unrwa mossad

The Elder of Ziyon skewers Chris Gunness.

Gunness deserves it, and much more.

For example, see here for the background to this:

If UNRWA had a shred of integrity, it would fire Gunness for his obvious bias and hate towards Israel. However, an organization that is built on lies – to support a group or “refugees” who are 99% non-refugees – is not bothered at all.

As another example, see here for the background to this:

Chris Gunness from UNRWA responds with his usual hand waving, hoping that people don’t notice that he is not addressing the real issues. For example, while it is true that UNRWA might vet employees for known terror ties, this by no means proves that UNRWA schools are neutral and do not teach hate for Israel. I have proven that they, in fact, do, along with support for jihad and “martyrdom.”

As the Elder has long ago stated, it is time to abolish UNRWA.

More parking masterclass – orthodox edition

Ra’anana, 29 July 2014.

Car, abandoned. Driver, a bandit.

Car, abandoned. Driver, a bandit.

Yes, that’s the pavement he has partly parked on. Yes, that’s the road he’s partly sticking out into. Yes, that’s the driver to the right. He noticed me taking a picture of his car.

You would have been very proud of me. I berated him entirely in Hebrew. Not a single Anglo-Saxon expletive left my lips.

It was, indeed, a parking masterclass. Pedestrians? Sod them? Zebra crossing? What’s that?  What a fine example this apparently orthodox chappie set. Doesn’t he look so proud of his work? What an utter…

Artistic fate

The fate of many artists is to be best appreciated (and rewarded) after they die. Sadly, that’s certainly true of the late Philip K. Dick, a troubled science fiction author who produced a wide ranging seam of work that has been efficiently mined and exploited since his death in 1982.

From the Register:

Philip K Dick ‘Nazi alternate reality’ story to be made into TV series

Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle

Ridley Scott has signed on to make Philip K Dick’s Nazis-in-America story The Man in the High Castle for Amazon Studios, according to industry mag Deadline.

Scott’s production firm Scott Free and X-Files writer Frank Spotnitz will make the alternate reality tale in which the Nazis won an extended World War II and are occupying the US in the ’60s. The project was originally supposed to be made by Syfy into a four-hour miniseries.

The sci-fi author is clearly a favourite for Scott, who previously directed Blade Runner, and for Hollywood fodder in general. Two versions of Total Recall movies have been made, along with Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau.

The Man in the High Castle, a Hugo-Award-winning novel, is set in 1962 and tells the story of American life under Fascist rule while the Axis Powers – Japan, Italy and Germany – plot against each other.

The story is one of a number of new projects to be greenlit by Amazon Studios as video-on-demand firms ramp up original in-house productions. Netflix has enjoyed huge success with series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black – which have racked up Emmy Award nominations and wins – and Amazon has been racing to catch up with projects like Alpha House and Betas.

I discovered Philip K Dick when I was a student at University. I bought a book, on spec, in the then Grants’ bookshop in Union Street. (I cannot remember the title – it may have been The Zap Gun.) I was hooked. It was not mass market, accessible material; it was strange, puzzling, troubling, thoughtful, intriguing, and refreshing. He did not get the New Yorker crowd to love him, but within the genre many appreciated and understood his work. He asked questions that few others did, in a way that challenged many of our conceptions.

Gradually, I bought more and more of his stuff until, over the years I had acquired and read all of his fiction. So, it’s with mixed emotions that I see his work turned into somebody else’s vision. I can only begin to imagine what Mr D would have said, were he still alive today.

Comment is free – and so is the bias

Here’s something that is truly disproportionate. The Guardian‘s recent Comment is Free articles include:

  • When I served, the Israeli military was the most moral in the world. No more. [28 July 2014 - Yuli Novak of Breaking the Silence]

  • As the Gaza crisis deepens, boycotts can raise the price of Israel’s impunity [28 July 2014 - Rafeef Ziadah of War on Want]

  • Israel’s argument for war against Palestine ignores the context [26 July 2014 - Dahlia Scheindlin of +972 magazine]

At least they don’t hide their bias.