The view from Germany

First seen at Ynet:

Israeli ambassador to Germany reads hate mail

German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost invites envoy to read aloud a sample of the offensive comments he is sent on daily basis.

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman has taken a stand against the daily onslaught of offensive mail he receives, reading aloud a sample of the hate mail and posting it on YouTube.

In short, a fascinating snapshot of one particular aspect of antisemitism in Germany.

Funnily enough, it’s not all that different from the usual discourse on so called pro Palestinian websites throughout Europe.

Train wreck of a transatlantic journey

David Horovitz at the Times of Israel, about Bibi’s American Adventure:

“Along with the concern and the cynicism, however, there is one other fairly important aspect of the prime minister’s trip to DC that should be borne in mind: The US-led international community has failed Israel, and failed itself, in its handling of Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons. It is on the point of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And Netanyahu has been trying desperately to warn against this misguided course of action.”

I don’t agree with all of Mr H’s fine analysis. For one thing, I strongly suspect that Obama’s allies have been feverishly overstating the damage to Israel-US ties so as to undermine BIbi. Why? Because they fear the man, and they especially fear his message. But, regardless, I only have one more thing to say: read it all.

Tel Aviv Shabbat


We spent Shabbat in Tel Aviv with friends, sampling a variety of shuls, and stretching the limbs with a variety of walks.

Susan and I decided we both miss the sea view – a view we had in Netanya. If you are in one of the taller buildings in Ra’anana, on a good weather day you can see the sea, but it’s not the same. So, it was nice to experience the view again, and have a relaxing (and filling!) Shabbat.

Shavuah Tov!

Five for Friday

It’s the weekend! It sure comes round with a certain regularity, doesn’t it? Unlike the world outside, which veers from crisis to war, from famine to crash, from tsunami to terror. What a mess. Sometimes, the mission to heal the world seems like the Mission Impossible. I admire those who can keep the faith and resolutely stay focused, because I have to tell you, there are times…

OK. Enough philosophy. Time for reality. A mix, for sure, but still reality. Here are this week’s links.

Shabbat Shalom!

Damn fools, and liars

As you may have heard, the winter rain flooded parts of Gaza, and the Palestinian authorities in the shape of Hamas decided to put out a ridiculous story (not for the first time) that it was Israel’s fault. Israel had opened the floodgates in some mysterious dam, and flooded Gaza as an act of war, a crime against humanity, and so on, and so on. (Check out the background here and here, if you want to.)

Well, as an acid test for fact checking – like there are no dams, and no possibility of Israel causing the flooding – huge chunks of the media failed. They blindly repeated the lie. Some even stuck to it after the facts were pointed out to them. You know: the facts they should have, and could have, checked before printing a modern day libel. But they didn’t.

Media cloth – never mind the quality

In one view, this is because journalism in the mainstream has so cut its cloth and reduced the quality of its output to cope with demands for quantity (and speed) that there is neither budget nor time for fact checking.

Media mindset – Israel = bad

Another view is that the media believes anything bad that is said about Israel. Israel, in short, is automatically guilty.

It reminds me of my time working as a defense lawyer in the criminal justice system in Scotland. Sometimes the police lied in evidence. Privately they would admit it. When asked why, the most popular response was something like:

“Well, he probably did it anyway. And even if he didn’t, he did do other stuff. So he deserves to be found guilty.”

That sounds awfully like the media’s bull headed and wrong headed attitude towards Israel. The question is: why?

I’m going to stop there before I post something I will regret later. Meantime, you can think what your own answer might be.

A society of liars

The other observation is that, once again, we see that Palestinian Society has no real values in this area. They lie, lie, and lie again. They lie without remorse, restraint, or fear of the consequences, though they surely know it’s a lie.

There is a poison at the core of Palestinian society, and stories like this prove its existence. Why should anybody trust a society that can collectively promote lying?

The elephant has disappeared

The final point is one you won’t see raised in the western media. Gaza has a problem with winter rain. There are regular floods. Why don’t they do something about it? Wouldn’t it be better for the people of Gaza, for Hamas to build drainage and civilian infrastructure, instead of terror tunnels? Why is nobody outside of Israel asking these questions? Why are the UN, UNWRA, and the so called human rights organizations, silent on this? They are all a disgrace.

Stand with Herzog

By way of follow up to this post: And what if Bibi is right?, David Horovitz at the Times of Israel has penned an op-ed entitled:

Now we know who to believe on Iran.

Hint: it’s not Obama.

It starts thus:

“In an op-ed on February 9, I suggested that Israel’s opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, should stand alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before Congress on March 3, to underline “their common conviction that the regime in Tehran cannot be appeased and must be faced down.”

On Monday evening, as details of the looming US-led deal with Iran emerged from Geneva, Israel’s most respected Middle East affairs analyst, Channel 2 commentator Ehud Ya’ari, made precisely the same suggestion. So problematic are the reported terms of the deal, Ya’ari indicated, that Israel’s two leading contenders in the March 17 elections, Netanyahu and Herzog, need to put aside their differences and make plain to US legislators that the need to thwart such an accord crosses party lines in Israel and stands as a consensual imperative.”

Read it all here,

I like the suggestion of cross party solidarity at Congress. That would fix a lot of the noise coming out of the White House (which sounds remarkably childish and petty to me) and silence much of the baying crowd. (OK; maybe that’s a touch optimistic, but it is still worthwhile because it seems like the right thing to do.) It may be too late to stop this awful deal, but it is not too late for Bibi to act like a statesman, recognize the situation, and rise to the occasion.

Come on Bibi; stand with Herzog!

Dancing in the dark country

From the Associated Press:

Saudi Arabia’s morality police detained a group of young men for dancing at a birthday party and referred them to prosecutors, according to a state-linked media report.

The news website Ayn al-Youm reported Saturday that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice raided a private property in the city of Buraydah, arresting the men inside for “loud music and inappropriate dancing.”

Buraydah is the provincial capital of Saudi Arabia’s Qassim province, which is home to some of the kingdom’s most conservative clerics, who practice a strict interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism.

An unnamed official told the website that when members of the morality police raided the private property, they found the young men in “a comprising situation in their dance and shameful movements.” The official said there was also a cake and candles to celebrate one of the men’s birthdays.

I bet it was the cake and candles that did it. Everybody knows the revolution starts with marzipan and wax…

Read it all – but do try and keep a straight face – here.

And what if Bibi is right?

It appears that Bibi’s criticism of the proposed nuclear deal with Iran may be well founded. The Times of Israel, not known for its blind adherence to the “Bibi is right” doctrine, has this:

Arab nations have joined Israel in expressing concern over the emerging details of a US-led international nuclear deal with Iran, indicating in private talks with US officials that they are worried about the apparent terms of the agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Though Arab officials have been careful not to side with Israel in their stated positions, their worries over the possibility of a nuclear-armed Tehran are in fact similar to those of Jerusalem, and their attitudes towards the current state of nuclear talks between Tehran and Western powers are similarly pessimistic, according to the report.

Leaders of Sunni states such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia fear a bad deal with Tehran would allow it, with the removal of sanctions, to become a nuclear threshold state, the WSJ reported. They say it could also lead to a nuclear arms race in the region.

“At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal,” an official from an unnamed Arab nation told the paper.

Remarkably close to what what Bibi has been saying for a while.

Note the following, too:

The prime minister believes that the Iranians are negotiating in bad faith and that world powers are walking into a bad deal which would allow Tehran to come very close to a bomb while removing all sanctions on the regime…[snip]…“We know that Tehran knows the details of the talks. Now I tell you that Israel also knows the details of the proposed agreement,” Netanyahu said. “I think this is a bad agreement that is dangerous for the state of Israel, and not only for it.”

Bibi believes the Iranians are negotiating in bad faith, or Bibi knows they are negotiating in bad faith? How does Bibi know the details of the proposed agreement? Is that bluster? A bluff? Does it mean that Israel has a high level intelligence source in Iran? Or is it meant to suggest this, to keep the Iranians (if not the Americans) off balance?

The position was somewhat muddied by Kerry’s suggestion (see here) that the USA was ready to walk away from the talks with Iran if no progress made, as there are still “significant gaps” between the sides.

It’s too early to say, but I cannot help myself from fearing that this is another arena where too many miscalculations by Obama (not to say downright naivete) may have doomed the prospects of success, right from the start. I hope that fear is misplaced.

[And no, I’m still not voting for Bibi!]