To those who are fasting for Yom Kippur (starting tonight) I wish you an easy fast. May you be assured of an entry in the Book of Life – and a nice long one at that.
Given the ever present covid warnings and the recommendation to pray outside, for Rosh Hashanah services, I went to the outdoor minyan that’s a short hop, skip, and jump from our apartment. The organizers had made a real effort to make it as comfortable as possible. There were even electric fans (on timers) to generate a decent cooling breeze. Still, at four hours plus, the first day’s service was too long. As one wit put it, “I wondered if they were actually planning on stopping for lunch.” On the second day, they shaved thirty plus minutes off that. So, long, but could have been worse.
Since moving to Israel, I have gradually ditched all the ArtScroll machzorim for Koren versions. The Rosh Hashanah machzor – the Rohr Family Edition – has a superb introductory essay by the late former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. What a great writer he was.
“These are days of reflection and retrospection when we stand in the conscious presence of Infinity, knowing how short and vulnerable life really is, and how little time we have here on earth. This can be, and should be, a life-changing experience.”
I cannot do justice to the essay here, but I do recommend you read it. Any Jew with a heart that reads the essay will be touched by it. It won’t turn a non-believer into a believer, but if read with an open mind, it will enrich your soul with an awe inspiring perspective on life, the universe, and our place on this planet. To put it another way, food for thought. And, for what it’s worth, I heartily thank the Rohr family for making the publication of that machzor possible. It’s a beauty. It played its part in spiritually enhancing the chag.
So, how was your Rosh Hashanah?
Whatever you did for Rosh Hashanah, I hope you weren’t part of the shocking breach of covid lockdown in Melbourne. What arrogance. What selfishness. And where is the rabbinic leadership? The offenders should be named and shamed and banned from receiving honors for a few years. Should be, but won’t. Somebody should force them to read Sacks’ essay in the Koren machzor.
So, how was your Rosh Hashanah?
Whatever you did for Rosh Hashanah, I hope you weren’t part of the dozens of infected pilgrims caught returning from Uman with faked negative tests. What arrogance. What selfishness. And where is the rabbinic leadership? The offenders should be named and shamed and banned from receiving honors for a few years. Should be, but won’t. Somebody should force them to read Sacks’ essay in the Koren machzor.
It seems to me that there are too many elements of organized religious Jewry that have lost their way. Not all. Not most. Some. But even one is a disgrace and brings opprobrium down upon the larger Jewish community. Change is badly needed.
Carrot or stick? What works best depends on the situation. I happen to believe if that you reward bad behavior, that encourages more of the same. With that in mind, this Times of Israel headline did not fill me with an overwhelming sense of optimism about peace in our time.Why is Israel making goodwill gestures in response to the violence from Gaza?
One theory is that Joe Biden requested (ordered?) this. This would give Biden some clout with the Palestinians, but would only be of any value if he used it for something sensible. What might that be? Rewarding the Palestinians further by reopening the consulate in so-called ‘East Jerusalem’ would just be more carrot. What’s the end game?
Another theory is that it’s an experiment to see what happens – as other approaches have failed to make a lasting impact – and a (futile?) public relations exercise. For example, with the extended fishing limit, that could bring meaningful economic benefits to the fishermen. Would they then have any clout in holding back Hamas? Do Hamas care if the fishing limit is reduced? All very puzzling.
My pessimistic view is that this is all a waste of time. It’s not going to achieve anything. Peace? Don’t make me laugh. It’s certainly not going to bring back the soldiers’ remains or the Israelis held, presumably alive, in Gaza. All I can say is that if the captives were white former residents of Tel Aviv who had served in the IDF, the situation would not be as it is now. My guess – and, yes, it is a guess: more of the same. No real change.
What drives the behavior of corporations? Is it purely the pursuit of profit? If asked, many would confirm they are in business to make money, but they do have standards of behavior as shown by their mission statement or code of conduct.
Remember Google’s “Don’t be evil”? That justly famous piece of text was originally a motto, then part of their code of conduct. After the 2015 corporate restructuring, parent Alphabet Inc. declared “Do the right thing” to be its motto, also being part of its code of conduct.
A December 2020 article by the Register reports:
“On Thursday Google was hit for the third time in as many months in the United States with an antitrust lawsuit, once again focused on the internet giant’s alleged monopolization of the search advertising market.
The legal challenge was filed in a District of Columbia federal court by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on behalf of a coalition of 38 state Attorneys General. The states claim Google has engaged in anticompetitive conduct to maintain its dominance of the search advertising market, denying netizens the benefits of competition and harming advertisers with lower quality results and higher prices.”
A July 2021 report from Bloomberg says:
“Alphabet Inc.’s Google was sued by three dozen states alleging that the company illegally abused its power over the sale and distribution of apps through the Google Play store on mobile devices.”
These pieces of litigation have a way to go yet, but if it were true that Google was illegally abusing its power, that surely would not be doing the right thing. How does that sit with their code of conduct?
Note that, according to the Register article:
“The EU began its own antitrust inquiry into Google’s search ad business in 2010 and eventually targeted three Google businesses – Shopping, AdSense, and Android. In the years that followed, those investigations led to over €8bn in fines.“
You might argue that a company that’s been fined for antitrust activity might take care in its dealings. You might say that it’s business as usual today and, anyway, it’s all a matter of interpretation. But, even if you think there may be excuses for such behavior in that area, there are lots of corporations who have certainly not done the right thing in fields other than antitrust law. For example, take a look here.
In his excellent Locus piece Tech Monopolies and the Insufficient Necessity of Interoperability, Cory Doctorow says this:
“Corporate personhood is obviously a sham. In his dissent in Citizens United, Supreme Court Justice Stevens wrote that corporations have no claim to free speech rights because “corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.” Companies may project a set of “corporate values,” but these values are a marketing strategy, not a set of deeply held convictions.”
As the author makes clear in his article, corporations rarely have your best interests at heart. Worth remembering.
Don’t you just love the naivety and earnest effort of the young? They seem so convinced they are right. For example, people like these:
What offends me about these daydreamers is that they bang on about what they see as the problem, but do bugger-all about proposing solutions. They are happy – not to say ecstatic – to criticize Israel, but there endeth the effort.
It’s also interesting to see how casually they discard the safety of me and the other citizens of Israel. This is from the ‘Our Message’ part of their website:
“Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is a system of violence and discrimination that infringes Palestinians’ freedom, dignity and human rights. For whole generations of Palestinians, occupation has meant a life of petty humiliations, gross injustices and all-pervading fear. For Israelis, it has meant enforcing an oppression which requires brutality, dehumanisation and a disregard for democratic ideals. The occupation is not just immoral and illegal, but is an affront to fundamental Jewish values of equality and human dignity, despite being conducted under the guise of Jewish safety. No Palestinian or Israeli deserves the status quo, yet it will continue and worsen until Israel’s military rule over Palestinians is brought to an end.”
The guise of Jewish safety? I guess I must have imagined all those terrorist attacks. No, you couldn’t make it up: a fragment of text is their fig-leaf cover for assaults on the Jewish State.
As part of their online activities, they attack Israel in all sorts of ways. For example, you may not be surprised to hear that they don’t like the IHRA definition of antisemitism. And so, here comes a tweet from their lofty perch.
According to them, the IHRA definition has been used to silence legitimate criticism of Israel.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have never seen anyone criticizing Israel stop just because they have been accused – often justly – of antisemitism. I’ve never heard of anyone being silenced because they were accused of antisemitism. But maybe my experience is limited. So, I thought I’d ask the experts.
So far, no response.
I’ll do a follow up if they deign to reply. Don’t hold your breath.
Assuming this post by the Elder of Ziyon is accurate, it appears that the people occupying and claiming ownership of the currently disputed property in Sheikh Jarrah do not have the proverbial leg to stand on.
- In 1956, Jordan and UNRWA allowed Palestinian refugee families to live in newly constructed property
- In exchange, the families gave up their refugee ration cards, but not their status as refugees according to UNWRA
- The lease provided that if they returned to their original homes they had to return the property to Jordan
- The lease ran for three years and three months after which it could be renewed on the same conditions for 30 more years, after which they could renew it for another 33 years
- Payment under the lease was nominal
- There is NOTHING that gives the families any ownership right
Note that if they renewed the lease, they are tenants until 2022. However, it’s unclear if they did or even could renew the lease. Also, as I understand it, they have refused to pay any rent – peppercorn or otherwise – which undermines the rights they might have had as sitting tenants. But, the key aspect of this factual information is that it comprehensively demolishes the occupiers’ claims of ownership. False, false, false.
Damn these facts sure are tricky. They just don’t seem to stack up the way Israel’s critics would like. (Which is why such people ignore facts and promote emotional propaganda.) But it would have been nice if the usual suspects in the media made a token attempt to mention the facts when stirring up their anti-Israel supporters.
To close, let me make it crystal clear that I am not jumping for joy that anybody might be turfed out of what they see as their home because of the current eviction action. But by the same token, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. As a general rule, people shouldn’t live rent free and certainly shouldn’t expect to live rent free.
We have a new government, finally. Yes, they are strange bedfellows. Yes, they do not have the strongest backing. Yes, the odds are stacked against them. But they do have much in common. And if they can focus on the key issues that are for the benefit of the whole country and make progress bit by bit, who knows how far they might get.
It will be good to have a government that tries to pass a budget and tries to govern instead of trying to hang on to power so as to free Bibi from the troublesome nuisance of three criminal trials.
I confess to being entertained by the haredi parties screaming about the end of Judaism in Israel. Losing power (and money) was never going to come easy to them. Bibi’s criticism about Bennett’s (alleged) inability is unsurprising. But Bibi forgets he too had to start somewhere and he too was grossly underestimated.
I confess to being particularly happy for Yair Lapid. He has gone from strength to strength displaying qualities of perseverance, endeavor, honesty, self-sacrifice, and leadership. If he does become Prime Minister, he will deserve it more than anyone else in the current Knesset.
As for Bennett, I wish him luck. I want him to succeed, to make a difference and show what we can achieve if we work together, to be inclusive for the benefit of all instead of exclusive for the good of the few.
This, from who else but the Guardian, is another example of their drip, drip, drip bias and demonization of Israel.
The rocket fire screwed up the hopes of a ceasefire all on its own! Nobody fired them. They were autonomous rockets…
Oh, come on Guardian. There was room for “by Hamas” in that title. But you deliberately chose not to blame your terrorist friends. Shame on you.
(An informed reader might know it was Hamas. But I wonder how many uninformed or lazy readers will read that headline and subconsciously at least blame Israel.)
This article is classic Guardian propaganda. It’s a puff peace for terrorists that demonizes Israel.
For example, only once is there mention of Hamas rockets. It’s hidden well down the content (23rd paragraph out of 26!) and – surprise, surprise – is couched in terms that suggest Israel is the aggressor:
“Among those who have raised urgent concerns has been the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has called on both sides to respect the urgent medical requirements of the people of Gaza. “In the past seven days in Gaza, we’ve seen extensive air strikes and also rockets going out from Gaza to Israel,” a spokesperson inside the coastal enclave told the Guardian.”
It’s almost an afterthought: “…and also rockets going out from Gaza to Israel.”
Not once does it say why Israel is attacking Gaza. Indeed, the ONLY actual mention of Hamas uses language that is so understated and lacking any import of violence, it is almost laughable.
“While Israel has accused Hamas in the past of using medical facilities as a cover for its activities…”
Activities? The Guardian makes it sound like an after-school club! Obscene.
How about this from a ‘spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza’:
“There has been a depletion of resources over the course of the year of the corona pandemic, and now this aggression has drained our limited health capacities significantly. We will be in a dangerous situation as a health system within days if this continues.”
It’s fair comment that Gaza’s medical resources are not in a good state. However, the Guardian doesn’t take the time to point out that it’s strange that the health resources have diminished while Hamas still has plenty of resources for war. You could do pretty well buying medical kit with the money that, for example, 2,000 plus rockets consumed.
Try this for size:
“Also among the facilities damaged on Sunday was a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which also said that a clinic that provided trauma and burn treatment had been hit by an Israeli missile in Gaza City.
Even before that strike, the MSF medical coordinator, Dr Natalie Thurtle, had warned of the danger facing Gaza’s already depleted health system. “The 14-year Israeli blockade on Gaza means that the health system here lacks many of the things it needs to treat people even during normal times,” said Thurtle last week.”
I have no idea about the strike. I am certain that Israel won’t have deliberately targeted the place, just as I am certain that MSF cannot be trusted. They have form in hating Israel. But put that tragic inevitability of war aside and concentrate on the blockade part. As any fool knows, including Thurtle, there is no ban on medical equipment. It’s an out and out lie. If there is a shortage of medical equipment, it’s because Hamas prioritizes military equipment. But does the article mention that? Not a bit.
Then try out this intellectual exercise. Assume for the purposes of discussion that there were a blockade against medical equipment even though there isn’t. We know that Hamas have managed to smuggle in Kornet anti-tank weapons. If they can smuggle in anti-tank weapons, for sure they can smuggle in medical equipment. They choose not to, in the same way they choose to spend money on instruments of war rather than medical instruments. The Guardian knows this, but they don’t – and won’t say it. Because to do so would remove some of the buffy shine that Hamas has accumulated thanks to years of propaganda and incitement against Israel by the Guardian and their ilk.
To be clear, I don’t want innocent civilians to die or suffer. But that’s what happens in war. If you don’t want dead people, don’t fire rockets at Israel. Simple really.
Make no mistake. The Guardian is at least partly responsible for every rocket fired at Israel. Reporting – and that’s a joke term – like this pours oil on troubled waters. The Guardian’s moral compass is not so much broken as shattered beyond repair.