A Haaretz Antidote

The media inside Israel is, generally, left wing. Haaretz is the worst (by far) from my perspective, but the collective vision they have is so negative, that they all share the blame for the way Israel is viewed by the foreign press. Fortunately there are exceptions. And while Israel HaYom is far too close to Bibi for my liking, it is often on target with its critique of the other media. This, for example, is absolutely right:

“In the reality in which we live, a senior officer (major general) who compares processes taking place here to the Germans in the 1930s is a man of values, but an officer who invites his soldiers to pray before an action in Gaza? That’s darker, even reminiscent of Iran. It’s a shame that Albert Einstein isn’t here to test the theory of moral relativism in our country. Perhaps we should recall Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s command prior to the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, when he called on all Allied soldiers to “beseech the blessing of Almighty God” before the operation?”

Of course, the current Lieberman and Herzog adventures in the cabinet, or out of the cabinet, have inspired some shrieking commentary. The Israel Hayom piece is a good antidote to the poison put out by Haaretz and others, and skewers their howls of angry commentary fairly easily.

Do read the whole thing, here.


Five for Friday

Traffic? I see no traffic. Tel Aviv - February 2012

Traffic? I see no traffic. Tel Aviv – February 2012

For various reasons, this needs to be short and sweet. (A lot like this week, or so it seemed.) Therefore, as we once again arrive at the weekend, here are the regular weekly selection of links for you:

And, because that lot is a bit on the heavy side, here’s a bonus on the bright, bouncy, and musical side:

Sir Elton John promises to give Tel Aviv a ‘wonderful, crazy’ night

Shabbat Shalom!


Haaretz and Rodes

This is interesting:

An Israeli Echo Chamber? Haaretz and the Iran Deal

Haaretz’s cheerleading for the Iran Deal raises the question: Were they a willing part of Ben Rhodes’ “echo chamber”?

“Echo chamber” — two words that Ben Rhodes uttered to the New York Times Magazine were enough to expose the media’s failure. The issue has been raging in the US for over a week now, since David Samuels’s piece first appeared, but aside from some minimal coverage, it has received almost no attention in Israel. And that’s very strange, because what Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications said about the gaggle of “freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal” is very serious: “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say,” Rhodes bragged.

This was primarily aimed at the American media, but it has an Israeli aspect: Haaretz newspaper.

Those who have followed the Israeli media certainly remember how coverage of the Iran Deal looked from Schocken Street’s perspective: Haaretz did not even bother hiding that it had taken a side, and its reporters constantly echoed White House talking points in Israel. Now, in light of Rhodes’s confession and the storm he caused, very serious questions have arisen regarding Haaretz’s conduct in the affair, its journalistic prestige, and its professional reliability.

So, was Haaretz part of the press echo chamber that did exactly what the White House wanted, and ditched all objectivity and independent thought? It sure looks that way. Read it all, here. (The original David Samuels piece is here.)


Intellectual property interlude

And now, a short interlude, featuring two tales of alleged intellectual property theft.

In yesterday’s Globes, there is this:

A NIS 900,000 lawsuit for copyright violation was filed against the “Haaretz” group at the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. The claim involves a paparazzi photo of model Bar Refaeli. The suit was filed by US photography company Mavrix Photo, which two years ago photographed Refaeli on her vacation with her husband in Greece, and which guaranteed the “Daily Mail” British daily exclusivity for the photos. According to the lawsuit, the photos appeared on the “Haaretz” group’s website. The lawsuit was filed through Advocates Cobi Marcus and Alon Peled.

I find it difficult to believe that such a principled organization as Haaretz would tolerate any form of intellectual property theft. It must be a terrible mistake, or a breakdown in communication. Oh dear.

OK. Having taken my tongue out of my cheek, I will move on to the report from April, also in Globes, about another encounter Bar Rafaeli has had with intellectual property:

Bar Refaeli has posted pictures of herself on Facebook and Instagram wearing a bikini and saying “Now in the stores swimwear collection with my design.” However, one of the first comments on the Facebook post came from a sharp eyed reader who ridiculed Refaeli by posting a picture of an almost identical swimsuit on sale on eBay for $11 including shipping and making no mention of Refaeli’s collection.

The bikini exhibited by Refaeli is part of a new collection for this summer’s season called “Bar for Hoodies.” The campaign for the swimwear will be officially launched next week and the bikini in question will sell for NIS 135 ($36) – more than triple the price of its eBay clone.

Funny stuff.

Poor Bar Rafaeli doesn’t have to go far to find trouble at this time. The poor girl, often lambasted for dodging military service, is also the subject of a current tax investigation for alleged tax invasion.

Truly, that’s life in the fast lane.


Social experiment surprise

Or not, as the case may be.

From AntiSemitismWatch:

How is this for a social experiment? Last week, some students at University of Chicago proposed a resolution to the College Council to divest from Chinese weapons manufacturers, in protest of China’s severe human rights abuses and its long-standing occupation of Tibet.

Members of the council were quick to condemn the resolution, and for good reason. The members noted it was political, and disrespectful to Chinese students. Other members noted that Chinese students should be given time to respond to the presenters with a counter-presentation. One representative even suggested that the College Council issue an apology to Chinese students for even considering the resolution. The resolution was tabled indefinitely.

Can you see what’s coming?

Curiously, when a few weeks earlier the same College Council passed a nearly identical resolution condemning Israel, no one suggested an apology. These same representatives argued why it was their moral imperative to condemn Israel. They were determined to push this through at all costs, and despite requests, they didn’t even offer the other side an opportunity to present.

The details are worth reading (see here) for they clearly illustrate the inbuilt bias being expressed towards Israel and Jews. Maybe it’s shocking. Maybe it’s expected. But for sure, it is at the core of BDS.


A goodly state of war?

At the Yom HaAtzmaut barbecue last week, one of the other guests – a native Israeli – introduced himself, and after a bit of chat asked Susan and me what we thought of Israel. Before we could reply, he said something like:

“You should know, as far as I am concerned, Israel is paradise.”

There then followed a light hearted conversation about Israel as paradise, and the minor blots we might protest about.

Over Shabbat, I was discussing this amusing encounter with somebody who agreed with the description of Israel as paradise. But there was a kicker: according to this person,  Israel is in such a good state, at least partly because of the wars, because of us being constantly in a state of war (or constantly in a state that is not peace), and because of the army.

Without the wars, so the reasoning goes, people wouldn’t support the need for the army to exist, and to be so well funded.

Without a well funded army, we wouldn’t have those amazing breeding grounds for cyber warriors, and security expertise.

Without the army, we wouldn’t get all that entrepreneurial spirit, and “can do” attitude.

And so on.

It’s an interesting perspective.

If it’s right, does it mean there would be no such thing as a peace dividend?


Five for Friday

Bikers coffee shops the world over; coffee, chocolate, bikes, and flat tires. Tzuba, near Jerusalem - May 2016

Biker coffee shops the world over; coffee, chocolate, ice cream, bikes, and flat tires. Tzuba, near Jerusalem – May 2016

That’s another Yom HaZikaron, and another Yom HaAtzmaut. This year, it was a very Israeli Yom HaAtzmaut, spent with Susan’s Israeli family in Ra’anana, and our future machatunim in Olesh. Not much English spoken! Great times were had by all.

This morning, Susan and I had an early start as we went off to meet Shosh and Mona for a ride around Sataf and then Tzuba. It was glorious weather, a challenging set of hill climbs in places, and a good, solid few hours of exercise. (Thank you, Shosh!)

Now, it’s time to crash out. But first, the regular weekly selection of links:

Shabbat Shalom!


The bittersweet taste of Yom HaAtzmaut


Over the last few weeks, as always around this time of year, more and more Israeli flags start to appear. You see them flying from car windows, car mirrors, apartment blocks, houses, office buildings, factories, restaurants, shops, garages, traffic lights, street lights, motorway bridges, and roundabouts. Everything seems focused on Yom HaAtzmaut, and the celebration of the foundation of the state.

However, before we get there, we have to pass through the preceding 24 hours of Yom HaZikaron, the day when Israel remembers those who have fallen in the wars.

It’s not as if Yom HaZikaron is a surprise – everyone knows it’s coming – but it’s not signaled in advance. It’s almost as if we can only bear the one day of sadness and mourning. That is understandable. But every year, as we make the switch from the end of Yom HaZikaron, to the immediately following start of Yom HaAtzmaut, as we make the switch from somber memorial to sweet celebration, there’s an underlying bittersweet sensation drifting around.

We may not like to stop mourning, as perhaps we fear it means we are forgetting the fallen, even if only for a short while.  Indeed, some may be unable to stop mourning, and who can blame them?

In previous years, when I have been at a Yom HaZikaron ceremony, I have found the whole atmosphere to be an emotional experience. I never fail to be touched by the stories of the fallen and their sacrifice, of tales told by still grieving family, now years, if not decades, after their loss. There’s a sense of shame, of guilt that I am alive, free to enjoy life in Israel because of that sacrifice. I feel responsible for each family’s grief, even though I know that’s ridiculous. It’s my guilty conscience in overdrive. And I only gradually shake off that mix of feelings during the course of Yom HaAtzmaut. That’s part of what makes it bittersweet to me. That sensation underlines how important it is to appreciate what we have – in the face of ongoing hostility and hatred – and to be thankful.

Yom HaZikaron starts tonight.



Any color you want…

…so long as it’s not black!

Here’s a picture of a recently finished set of apartment blocks (a development by Yossi Avrahami). It’s on the route of one of our longer bike rides, from the house to the Tel Aviv namal, and is situated between Herzliya and Tel Aviv.

"Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue..."

“Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue…”

Colorful, for sure. It appears to be one of these love it or hate it designs. I quite like it. Susan says it’s horrible. It does look like a pretty bold decision by the developer to stand out from the crowd.

So far as the people who live there are concerned, maybe they are not bothered because they are on the inside looking out? Maybe it’s only some passers by who might be disapproving?


Is it any wonder Bibi doesn’t trust Obama?

From the Times of Israel:

“A senior official in the Obama administration acknowledged that the background to nuclear talks with Iran was misrepresented in order to sell the impression of a more moderate Iranian regime and thus gain greater American public support for an agreement.”

Obama’s ‘misrepresentation’ went further than that.

It appears that the administration were concerned Israel might launch a military attack. So, Israel was told that the US would take such action rather than have Iran acquire nuclear weapons. With that assurance, Israel filed its attack plans. And now? There is no way the US will take military action against Iran, unless the Ayatollahs are stupid or reckless enough to attack the US directly.

It appears that Obama’s world view remains childishly optimistic, naive, and is infused with a hippy like belief that war is to be avoided at all costs. Israel has extensive experience that proves sometimes there is no option but to fight. And Obama’s weakness in the face of the Iranian regime may well bear poison fruit for years to come.

Is it any wonder Bibi doesn’t trust Obama? Maybe Obama’s dislike of Bibi is because the Israeli leader won’t keep quiet about the US leader’s ‘misrepresentations.’

Read the whole piece, here.