Some of their best friends are Jewish

On a day to day basis, while anti-Jewish incitement is a regular state inspired occurrence in the Arab world, it is still working away in the background of much of the Western media – directly or indirectly.

One fine example of this, directly, is the Guardian. (The BBC is not far behind.)

If there is an anti-Israel story, they’ve got it with knobs on and suitable prominence.

If there is a neutral to Israel story, you will only see it there with the most anti-Israel spin available.

If there is a pro-Israel story, it’s either buried, or bracketed with opinion pieces from Israel haters.

And if there is no Israel story or news, there’s typically an anti-Israel CIF piece offered to the circus that constitutes the Guardian’s online fan club.

Without exception – but do tell me if you spot one – the anti-Israel pieces encourage antisemitism. If they don’t do it above the line, those allowing comments are fertile breeding ground for bigots.

By way of a sample, take a look at the two most recent articles by CIF Watch in their Focus below the line series, here, and here.

I’ve posted a sample here. These are below the line comments which remain. In other words, directly or indirectly, this hate speech is condoned by the Guardian.

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Perhaps the next time there’s an initiative to stop incitement in the Arab media, we could invite the Guardian people along to the meeting. There’s so much they could learn…

Meantime, we should thank people like CIF Watch who shine a light into the darkest pits.

 

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ASL in Israel

[This guest post is by Ran.]

No gamers were hurt in the making of this picture

No gamers were hurt in the making of this picture

During last weekend, Israel had the first ASL event in its history. For the very first time 5 gamers gathered in a guesthouse in Tel Aviv, and played ASL for 3 whole days.

Attending the event were Daniel and Josh, brothers and veteran ASL players from Rehovot, Ellis fron Ra’anana, a veteran wargamer but a newbie ASLer who was a guest for a day, Jon from Canada, a born again ASL player, and myself, a veteran ASLer from Jerusalem.

The scenarios played reflected the wide scope of ASL, including a jungle battle between British Ghurkas and Japanese, an early war pre Dunkirk battle between British and German forces in Belgium, a battle for the railway station in central Stalingrad, late war battles involving heavy armor, lend-lease Sherman tanks and more.

From early morning on Thursday until Saturday night, boards were laid, counters moved, and dice rolled for 18 hours a day, barely leaving time to sleep. The atmosphere was friendly, the games were intense and exiting, and the friendly beer and snack breaks refreshing.

We see this event as a successful pilot for future events, and we hope to recreate it with more participants, both veteran and newbies.

Final records (W-L):

Ellis 1-0
Josh 2-3
Daniel 2-3
Jonny 2-3
Ran 3-1

[My session report is here. A big thank you to all the guys for making this event possible.]

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Sherman Marches West

The title is of ASLSK scenario S24 which I played at last week’s ASL Israel event. [See here.]

This scenario is set in 1944 in Beylorussia, with elements of the Soviet 3rd Guards Tank Corps tasked with taking a village held by elements of the German Army Group Center Security Forces, with reinforcements due from 5th Panzer Division’s Pioneer battalion, a Tiger tank, and a Panzer III.

I was the Soviets and Josh was the Germans.

Planning

Josh set up first. This was the first shock: he didn’t just collect his forces and plop them down anywhere on the map. No, he took his time. And then some more time. And he asked for time with me away from the board so he could work his magic without me watching. This was a revelation to me. It dawned on me that this was another reason I had lost my games against Ran: I was not taking enough care about setup. OK. Another lesson learned.

For my attacks, I would like to think I had learned something from my earlier games, and put the experience into practice. I decided on a narrow point of attack. I didn’t fuss unduly about where his hidden anti-tank gun might be, but tried to have infantry up in support, and avoid the more obvious danger spots.

Here’s a picture from around the end of turn 1.

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The red circle shows where the victory point buildings are. On the left of the picture are my two swarms of Sherman tanks, keeping one another company.  The left hand swarm is about to face the Tiger.

Just outside the circle on the right is a troublesome machine gun post. More than once it interfered with my assault.

Josh suffered a bad stroke of luck on turn 2. His Tiger, facing off one of my Sherman swarms, got clobbered by a critical hit. Bye bye Tiger! That freed up one half of my task force which promptly went into an infantry support role, shooting up the village.

My other Sherman swarm got hit by Josh’s anti-tank gun. (It had been hidden in the woods above the troublesome machine gun.) But it only immobilized one Sherman and that plucky chappie retaliated by knocking out the anti-tank crew, and being a permanent pain in the tonsils to the defending force.

Things are heating up

Things are heating up

Josh’s remaining tank was proving problematic. For example, at the start of turn 3 or 4, I had set things up nicely for a coordinated run into the village. That blasted tank hit me with smoke of all things, and – if you’ll pardon the pun – bang went some of my best shots.

Worse than that was the German machine gun. It was slowing down my assault. I did not handle that aspect well and need to work on it.

Action aside

One of the (many) new experiences for me was feeling the pressure of so much decision making. For example, at one point I had a tank fire on a new infantry threat. But I promptly lost an acquired target marker on a more enduring threat. I had simply forgotten in the heat of battle. Another time, after overrunning an enemy position and having the opportunity to recover a machine gun, I forgot to do so.

I was too used to – in other games – flying by the seat of my pants. I needed to take more care and thought before acting.

Tank free

After my first lucky break against the Tiger, I got another when I finally managed to outflank the remaining German tank and kill it off. That meant my tanks were OK so long as they kept out of Panzerfaust range. Later on, Ran told me I had been too cautious with my tanks. I thought they did a good job shooting up the village in support, but he says I could have done more.

Hex by hex

Josh was not giving up terrain lightly, and I was made to fight for all of it. Suddenly, I was racing against the clock.

Slowly, but surely, and just in time, I winkled out the defenders from all the victory hexes. But Josh had a turn to try and take one back and deny me the win. In the end it came down to me pinning his last active squad and denying him the chance for a glorious close assault and shot at victory. I had won, but by the narrowest of margins.

Finally

Josh was new to ASLSK, so I had to act as gatekeeper and prevent him from doing his no doubt usual magic involving bypass movement, machine gun lanes, crispy crews, and so on. [To me, it was impressive restraint; after all, Josh and the other guys playing here knew the combat results table by heart, without looking at it!] But he was a perfect gent about it, was patient and helpful. Once more, I had a great gaming experience and learned a lot.

I am certainly looking forward to the next time. And I’m now sure I’ll be having a crack at ASL sometime. I have started reading the big rulebook!

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No green fingers

I don’t have green fingers. I tend to stay away from gardens and anything to do with them. However, sometimes I cannot get far enough away.

For example, there are plant trays all over the office to brighten up the place and give it a fresh, pleasant atmosphere.

Here is the tray hanging on the end of one colleague’s cube:

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And here is the tray hanging on the end of my cube:

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Dead and gone. I killed them. Not sure how, but definitely killed stone dead.

If you have a plant or a tree you want killed, just let me know.

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Up the Occupation

Would you believe it:

UN Concerned Hamas Terror Tunnels Not Up To Safety Standards

Human Rights Council, Geneva, June 28

The United Nations Human Rights Council expressed misgivings today about the network of tunnels and underground bunkers constructed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere, noting that it is unlikely that the structures meet the requirements that would help guarantee the safety of the people using them.

The Council heard testimony from survivors of a tunnel collapse two weeks ago in which five people were killed, and both the scale of destruction and the depth of the passage made rescue and salvage attempts difficult. In a statement that the Council approved following the testimony, the body urged Hamas to adhere to stricter standards, and chided Israel for putting up barriers that make the construction of the tunnels a necessary measure to avoid detection in executing attacks on Israel.

Before your blood pressure boils over, be aware that this is a spoof. It’s from the rather amusing humor site PreOccupied Territory. What makes this (and other of the site’s posts) so funny, is how close they are to the attitude of much of the Israel hating crowd. You can just see the former rapporteur Richard Falk, saying that the danger in the terror tunnels is all Israel’s fault!

It’s a site well worth bookmarking and following.

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The Yard – Alex Grecian

At the front of my paperback copy of this book there are the following enticing quotes:

‘Will keep you riveted from page one.’ Jeffery Deaver

Oh no it won’t. What have you done with the real Jeffery Deaver?

‘If you like TV drama Ripper Street, you’ll love the Yard.’ Anonymous

Having read this book, I can confidently predict I will not like Ripper Street.

‘CSI Victorian London.’ Daily Express

Utter bollocks. Did the reviewer read the book? Don’t ever let me buy the Express!

You may have guessed by now that this does not rank as one of my favorite books. It’s crap.

It purports to be a Victorian police procedural taking place one year after the Ripper killings have stopped. It purports to be rich in detail and authenticity.

No and no.

What is it? A half decent crime story wrapped up in the thinnest of Victorian veneers – omnibuses, horses, manure, fog, workhouses – and betrayed by twee characterization, and dialogue that is just awful. Worse, the characters – and I am using the term ‘characters’ loosely here – would be better described as time travelers, given the regular output of 21st century speech.

The plot, such as it is, involves Scotland Yard’s newest recruit Walter Day, joining forces with Dr Bernard Kingsley, “a pioneer of groundbreaking forensic science,” on the trail of a serial killer. Things, unsurprisingly, are not all they seem. But a happy ending is assured.

Interesting premise completely killed off by the execution.

Avoid.

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Indyk is now out. He’s still a dick.

Let’s start with this from the Times of Israel:

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants nothing more to do with American diplomat Martin Indyk, who announced his resignation Friday as US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, an Israeli TV report said Friday night.

The reason behind Netanyahu’s statement?

It said that the Israeli prime minister’s displeasure with Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, stemmed less from the US envoy’s role in the collapsed peace talks, and more from his comments in the weeks since those talks fell apart in April. Netanyahu feels Indyk placed disproportionate blame on Israel for the failure of the US-led nine-month peace effort, overly highlighting Netanyahu’s settlement-building activity, and neglected to emphasize the Palestinian role in the collapse of the negotiations.

But it appears there is more of a back story. This is from Seth Mandel in Commentary:

Years ago while planning out a story on Israel’s Labor Party, I called a former Clinton administration official who had been part of the White House’s Mideast diplomatic team. He declined to comment, saying he simply doesn’t talk about Israeli domestic politics. I was surprised but understood. Yet I couldn’t figure out quite why I was surprised until I saw a different U.S. official, Martin Indyk, talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Indyk, who the AP reports is now resigning from President Obama’s Mideast team, had the opposite policy of the official I had called seeking comment. Indyk never hesitated to prattle on about Israeli domestic politics to any reporter who would listen. I was reminded of this when Indyk was universally identified as the source for bitter complaints about Israel to the Israeli press after Indyk failed miserably as the Obama administration’s peace envoy. As Elder of Ziyon noted, Indyk’s meddling in domestic Israeli politics while working for Bill Clinton was so egregious and out of control that Knesset member Uzi Landau lodged an official complaint with Clinton over it in 2000, writing:

In addition to his remarks concerning Jerusalem, Ambassador Indyk offered his views regarding secular-religious tensions in Israel and the role of the Reform and Conservative movements in Judaism. He also intimated his tacit support for Prime Minister Barak’s so-called secular revolution. As a commentator in the liberal daily Ha’aretz noted, “readers are urged to imagine what the Americans would say if the Israeli ambassador to Washington were to come to a local religious institution and say such things.

You can perhaps better appreciate the gravity of Indyk’s behavior by noting it was Ha’aretz that carried the criticism.

Mr Indyk comes across as an arrogant dickhead.

Seth Mandel’s article – which I encourage you to read – includes this condemnation of the man:

Not only did Indyk not know the basic truth about Israeli policy, but he admitted he couldn’t even understand it. When the facts conflicted with his prejudiced preconceptions, he couldn’t process the information.

Which may be why several commentators are joining Seth Mandel in reporting Indyk’s departure as a boost to the chances of peace in the Middle East!

Question: is it possible Obama’s performance in foreign policy for the USA has been so bad – in my view, objectively and indisputably bad for the USA – because his advisers are all of a similar type to Indyk? Arrogant? Ignorant? Prejudiced?

Frightening, isn’t it?

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Five for Friday

  • Sunday – Wedding
  • Monday – Sheva Brachot
  • Tuesday – Graduation (Mazal Tov, Sarah-Lee!)
  • Wedding – Wedding
  • Thursday – White Night Tel Aviv

That was the week, that was! Oh boy, is Shabbat very welcome. There’s some gaming to do today – more on that later – but meantime, here are this week’s selection of links to tickle your fancy.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Dry wit and wry thoughts

Dry Bones produces a cracker about the Presbyterian Church situation. Go to his site and see it, here. You’ll be glad you did.

Regardless, if you think the Presbyterian Church affair has a certain whiff about it, you are probably right. NGO Monitor has a report into the antisemitic tendencies of one of the main BDS movers inside the Church. The summary may be enough for you.

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Is this the most boring inflight movie ever?

I confess to checking the calendar after reading this story from CNN:

A new standard may about to be set for the most boring in-flight movie ever — and it doesn’t even star Keanu Reeves.

Passengers flying British Airways will soon be able to zone out to a film that shows every inch of a slow-speed train journey to the Norwegian capital.

The airline says the film, “The Seven Hour Train Journey to Oslo,” will appeal to people who enjoy “wallpaper” viewing experiences like the barely moving maps that chart flight progress.

Hmm. Boring. British Airways. Do I sense a meaningful connection?

The airline will start screening the feature in July alongside its usual schedule of classics, blockbusters and those lame romantic comedies that shouldn’t make passengers bawl their eyes out, but inevitably do.

The film features no commentary to liven up the proceedings, but highlights are said to include going into tunnels and some children waving from a station. (CNN cannot independently confirm this, it doesn’t have a spare seven hours to kill.)

Neither do I.

This part is astonishing:

Though undeniably tedious, the train ride film could prove an unexpected hit — as it did when it first screened to more than one million viewers on Norway’s NRK state television.

So-called “slow TV” has attracted a cult audience in Scandinavia, with other classics including a burning fireplace and a game of chess.

I can see a new classic if they bother to film the next set of peace talks…

Read it all, here.

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