More Guardian Hate for Israel

And, not so incidentally, more antisemitism.

See this story:

The Guardian turning an antisemitic tweet into bashing Israel

Here’s the Guardian engaging in outright demonization.

See how far you have to read in the article before finding out the facts.

The facts?

  • Japan spends more on lobbying. Articles by the Guardian on that – none.
  • Korea spends more on lobbying. Articles by the Guardian on that – none.
  • The Securities and Investment lobby spends more than seven times the amount spent on pro Israel lobbying. Articles by the Guardian on that – none.
  • The Real Estate industry lobby spends almost four times as the amount spent on pro Israel lobbying. Articles by the Guardian on that – none.

Oh, and I have seen it suggested that the ‘pro-Israel’ amount quoted includes J-Street. Two issues with that. First, it’s by far the biggest contributor. Second, it’s pro-Israel the same way that Abbas is pro peace. In your dreams, pal.

So this hit piece turns an antisemitic tweet into an exercise in bashing Israel.

It ignores the undoubted antisemitism. No excuses. (That bigot didn’t spot antisemitism according to Guardian. She ignited a controversy!) Just ignores it. Then, it leaps out in a not so brave new direction of propaganda spite.

Or, to put it another way, it picks out and unfairly discriminates against the Jewish state.

The Guardian.

Guardians of anti-Israel hate.

Guardians of antisemitism.

Guardians of a world view that abhors the existence of the Jewish state.

Somebody break the news: we’re here to stay.

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Killing by Silence

TOI coverage of Ori Ansbacher's murder

The death of Ori Ansbacher is a terrible, shocking event.

Away from the clamor of calls for the restoration of the death penalty, or the stormy, noisy row over whether to deduct payments from the PA, there is another area where her murder has been met with a deadly silence.

As of now, her death has been ignored by the BBC, the Guardian, and the Independent. Not one word. (Funnily enough, all have covered the latest casualties in the Gaza riots.)

That silence is a killing silence.

That silence ensures that the media consumed by the western world is unbalanced and unfair.

That silence is part of the demonization of Israel. Minimizing Palestinian terror reinforces the (false) narrative from the media that Israel is to blame for everything, and the Palestinians are innocent, oppressed, and deserved of sympathy.

I do not seek to minimize the deaths of Palestinians. Whatever the Gaza rioters were doing, all deaths are to be regretted. But the silence about poor Ori’s murder – while covering every Palestinian casualty – is as hateful, as poisonous, as evil as any piece of antisemitic bilge from so called pro-Palestinian supporters. Arguably, it’s worse because the reach of these media platforms is so wide, so extensive, and so insidiously persuasive.

To put it another way, had Ori been a Palestinian, her death would have been front page, worldwide news. But the death of a Jewish girl at the hands of a Palestinian terrorist? That’s not news.

That silence is a killing silence. It kills the prospects for peace and reconciliation. It kills the chances of even handed treatment in the eyes of the world. It kills by piling further pain on the family who see their daughter’s life rendered as of no value, as insignificant. It kills because it empowers extremists on both sides. It kills the lie that such media is honest and impartial. It kills the belief that liberal media have good principles and moral standards. It kills the belief that western liberals have good principles and moral standards – I mean, where’s the outrage, guys? That silence is a killing silence.

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Last Laurels at Limanowa

I forgot how good this system is. But within minutes of getting Last Laurels at Limanowa on the table, I was in action and having a blast. It had obviously been a while since I played the Ypres game, but the rules quickly came back and I rattled through the scenarios. Sure I made mistakes, but it was still great fun. (No, I did not crack how to win the scenarios for each side. I was in too much of a rush to get to the campaigns.) So now I am playing the first campaign, and it’s all good.

By way of a refresher, this is a game about tactical combat in World War One. Units are companies and hexes are 200 yards across. The game is played in turns of alternating couplets (mini-turns) the length of which is randomly determined.

Combat can be deadly. It’s all too easy to recreate the slaughter of the real thing, especially in the initial stages as you come to terms with the limitations of your troops, and the frighteningly narrow range of tactical options. Oh, and you also get to see how much of a king of the battlefield artillery was.

This title in the series is about the December 1914 encounter between Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empire forces, before trench warfare had taken hold, in Limanowa, southern Poland.

What do I like about the system?

The rules are not complex. They take – in the main – a mix of tried and tested mechanisms, and blend them into something that is smooth, coherent, consistent, and challenging to master. The chaos of war is laid bare for you to experience. Yet, despite the simplicity (or lack of unnecessary chrome) you are faced with tough decisions. There’s no such thing as a perfect plan because you don’t know how long you have each turn. (And that’s before your opponent plays merry hell with your intentions.)

It helps that the atmosphere the game creates seems authentic at the level of action it attempts to portray. It also helps that these are – at least to me – fresh battles, with new history to soak up, and much to learn.

It also helps that the maps are gorgeous, the counters are a lesson in clean design, and the rules are very good. (Although I do have some queries which I posted at Consimworld.)

In short, this is one fun game.

So, a big round of applause to John Gorkowski and Compass Games for this game. The series is one I intend to follow, and I am hoping for and looking forward to future releases.

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Truth in Marketing? (Updated)

Here’s a picture of an advert (from Friday’s Jerusalem Post) for a development by Rothstein in Kfar Yona,

Looks like a cracking view. Nice place to buy a penthouse?

It looks good, doesn’t it?

But would you like to live in a penthouse that is pleasing to the eye, but deceptive? What do I mean? Check out the text:

Er, hello? Anyone got a dictionary?

Oh dear. Another case of inadvertent truth in marketing? Or did nobody bother to actually check the text? Tut, tut Rothstein. Tut, tut Jerusalem Post. You both should be ashamed.

Update: Aaron Silverman points out (correctly) that the text at the top – “multiple breath taking views” should be “multiple breathtaking views”. I suppose they felt it necessary to, er, pause for a breath…

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Antisemitism as a Joke

This cartoon appears in the December 14 issue (number 1485) of Private Eye.

I don’t find it funny.

Is that because:

  1. It’s not funny.
  2. Antisemitism is never funny.
  3. I’m sensitive about antisemitism, so cannot see the humor.
  4. It’s antisemitic.

I recognize that I may not have the most neutral perspective, so this post is as much a form of enquiry as it is a comment. Do you think it’s funny?

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Next Prime Minister of Israel?

Yair Lapid, the next Prime Minister of Israel?

Last night, Susan and I went to a Yesh Atid (There is a Future) meeting (Anglo Division) in Tel Aviv to hear the party leader, Yair Lapid. He was introduced as the next Prime Minister of Israel which is – to put it mildly – somewhat optimistic. However, let there be no doubt, he is by far my preferred candidate. Why? Partly because I like the man, but mainly because I like how Yesh Atid handled itself the last time it was in power – sticking largely to its policy promises – and also, no less, because of the party’s policies. Their intentions for the country address all the key areas in the right way, so to speak. I was particularly pleased to hear Yair promise that one early law, were he successful, would be to limit the number of times one person could be the Prime Minister to twice. (Hello Bibi!)

Underpinning a lot of Yesh Atid’s policies is an honest streak that seems to be missing from the other parties. For example, when in power, Yesh Atid refused to take the money that all the other coalition parties took from the State, just for being in power. Shocking. For another example, within minutes of the election being called, the coalition parties robbed the welfare and education budgets to fund their own political expenditure. Also shocking. Another almost unbelievable story was the reminder that Bibi ordered a personal – OK, a Prime Ministerial – plane at a cost of hundreds of millions of shekels, for no good reason. (The theory is that Bibi felt envious at Air Force One…) A funny story was told about the ministerial vote on work programs. Only two ministers voted against it. Guess which two ministers were appointed to be in charge of the work programs? Welcome to Israel…

Before Yair could start, he was interrupted by a protester – demonstrating against weapons sales to Sudan – who had to be removed by the security team. It’s unclear why the protester targeted Yair Lapid, as the offending matters were not of his creation. Anyway, Yair spoke for about 45 minutes – in reasonably good English – and then took questions.

The questions ranged from aliyah to illegal immigrants to non-orthodoxy to gay rights to educations, pensions, and so on. His answers were OK, but the poor guy has clearly been running around with far too much to do. I say this because his English in the answers was not as sharp or polished as it can be. He had not had enough time to prepare fully, I suspect.  In this arena, he is not as good a performer as Bibi. But, he will improve, and it’s one area that – despite declarations to the contrary – matters least in the Israeli elections. In other words, the Anglos will not have a material effect on the result. That having been said, I was impressed and cheered by the very young profile of the audience. Very heartening. Anyway, for election success, it’s more important how he comes across in the Hebrew media. And there he is very much equal to the Bibi challenge.

What are his chances? In the past elections, Yesh Atid has typically done less well in the polls until the closing stages. That appears to be the case this time around, too. But it needs to do much better this time to break the Likud stranglehold, and so far there’s been no hint of such a change. Instead, the opposition keeps getting split by new parties popping up. So, when it does come to the election, Lapid as Prime Minister is unlikely. But, then again, in the world of Israeli politics, almost anything is possible. After all, this is a country where a new politician could be ranked as getting 20% plus of the vote before making a single speech or uttering a single word on policy or beliefs. So, unlikely, but not impossible.

I’m resigned to another Bibi/Likud victory, but let’s see what actually happens.

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Respect – Jordanian Style

Click the image to go to the Times of Israel story.

The Jordanian narrative is typical of many states in the Middle East. Jordan’s economy is a joke. Civil liberties are a joke. Health standards are a joke. The country is a basket case. So, do they focus their energies and attention on improvement? Initiatives for betterment? Campaigns for freedom? Oh no. Instead, their number one focus seems to be to blame the Jews.

Jordan continues to ensure its people will be served lives of poverty, oppression, and bigotry instead of progress, peace, and hope.

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Bibi, Bennett, Liberman, and Gaza

The West’s warmonger is not waging war. What fools they are. Source: WikiMedia

Be warned: I have no answers. I do have questions, and I do have thoughts. Consider this a stream of consciousness post, with a dash of analysis.

First off, the mission in Gaza that went wrong. Was it a mission of the highest priority that absolutely had to be carried out, regardless of the risk to the potential truce? Or was it less than that, but the army went for it, anyway? My gut tells me it’s the latter, but Bibi and co say it’s the former. I am skeptical. However, there might be a third possibility. It has been suggested to me that Israel regularly penetrates into Gaza, entirely unknown to Hamas. So successful have these penetrations been that they are not seen as risky, but routine. Then Murphy’s Law (or Moshe’s Law?) struck this one time, and all hell broke loose. For sure, I don’t think anyone in the IDF wanted to put a potential truce at risk, but they did. Continue reading

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For Pittsburgh

Ra’anana held a rally last night (after Shabbat) in support of the community in Pittsburgh. There were several speakers, including Daniel Shapiro, former USA ambassador to Israel who is now a Ra’anana resident. Another speaker was a nephew of Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the victims. All spoke from the heart, but the nephew was clearly in pain. The well attended event finished with Havdalah and Hatikvah.

Apparently, this rally happened not because of the Ra’anana Council, but from a Facebook post by a former Pittsburgh resident who wanted to do something to show solidarity and support. The post went viral, and the rally duly took place. Video of the event was sent to those sitting Shivah. Sometimes, social media makes a positive difference.

I hope it’s the last time I go to such an event. I hope it’s the last time there is a need for such an event.

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SF in Israel

The current issue of Locus (a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine) has a chunky part of it dedicated to the scene in Israel. There’s an introductory piece from Shedlon Teitelbaum, one of the editors of the newly released Zion’s Fiction, a good range of interviews (Shimon Adaf, Yael Furman, Guy Hasson, Aharon Hauptman, Keren Landsman, and Ehud Mainon) and a short review of ICon, the genre convention held in 2018.

I have zero involvement in the scene here, so the information was all new to me. Beyond being a reader of such genre fiction, I have rarely had the inclination to get involved in fan activity. I did attend one convention in Glasgow, but it was largely forgettable. My bucket list might include a visit to a World Science Fiction Convention at some point, but for now I am happy just being a reader and keeping (relatively) up to date thanks to Locus.

So far as the interviews were concerned, most mentioned what you might call the special situation of living in Israel. Presumably that is also reflected in the Hebrew language science fiction and fantasy output, though it will be a while before I want to delve into those and confirm for myself. However, Keren Landsman’s The Heart of the Circle is coming out in English in 2019 from Angry Robot (great name for a publisher) and that’s a must-buy, if only to support the author.

On the whole, if you want to know about the SF scene in Israel, the material is a good primer, and regardless is another opportunity for people to find out more about the country from other than the usual suspects in the media.

For my part, Zion’s Fiction is somewhere in my ‘to-be-read’ pile. I’ll get to it, sometime.

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