Thursday, December 29, 2011

Religious Extremists in Israel

If you want to know what's going on in Israel at the moment, watch this report.

I'm back!

Back from a quick family vacation. It's official: I am now a member of J Street's board. Thanks for all of those who voted and to those that have been following this blog since last April.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vote for Me for the J Street Board

Okay friends, I need your support. I'm running for the J Street Board. Please vote for me here! Voting is open until Tuesday. You do not have to be in the US or a current member of J Street. Just check the box on voting page that says to count you as a member.

Also if you could post the voting link on you facebook pages that would be incredible. And you are all invited to my page Vote for Rich.

I'd give you my platform, but it's all here on the blog. I recommend the links "Popular Posts" on the right.


'What pro-Israel Should Mean'

Read J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami's op-ed in this morning's Washington Post. Here's a taste:
Many of Israel’s closest friends — including strong advocates of the U.S.-Israel relationship from both parties — understand that it must choose this latter path because its long-term survival and security are at risk without the creation of a Palestinian state.
The United States desperately needs to have a serious debate over which path best promotes its interests and those of Israel.
U.S. politicians also need to choose. Will they opt to seem pro-Israel to a small number of the loudest voices on the far right, or will they choose to actually be pro-Israel by advocating bold leadership and giving Israel the support it needs to take necessary risks?

Friday, December 16, 2011

'GOP candidates guilty of Holocaust abuse'

Chemi Shalev, my new favorite journo, is on the case. Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt calls it soft-core denial, dangerous, pandering, embarrassing and unhealthy. Shalev's article is here. Read the whole interview here.

Six million Jews and millions of others did not perish so know-nothing fools could cover themselves in their ashes when they run out of cogent thought.

It's time we put an end to this despicable behavior.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And just like that it's over

The Iraq War comes to an end. Aside from the dead, the injured, the maimed, the combatants, the civilians, the families, has anyone else paid the price? All those who itched for war. All those who cheered it on. All those who defended it. All those who exploited it. Our leaders who planned and executed it. Will there never be an accounting? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Condi, et al. are still accepted in polite society. We know they have no shame, but what about us?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yonathan Reports

Our friend Professor Shapir, back in his native Israel, asks whether the tectonic plates beneath the West Bank are starting to move and sends this report from Kibbutz Nahshonim:
As all of you know it is never boring in Israel. Yet some days are more crucial than others. The time before the last time I was here the Turkish flotilla debacle happened. This time the vicious attacks of extreme-right religious fanatics are making the headlines. 
The Likudniks and the settlement establishment supporters are "shocked" from what has happened here in the last couple of days. The most extreme have started to attack not only Palestinians, but Zahal (Israeli Defense Forces) officers and bases as well. To the center and moderate-right leaning people this is a very hard awakening. Suddenly, they realize what rotten elements grew up in the lawlessness of the West Bank they themselves helped to create. The story line of Gershom Gorenberg (he will have a piece on these events in the American Prospect today or tomorrow)  is exposed in a sudden bang to all those who tried to pretend that skirting the rule of  the law is a small price to pay in the pursuit of Greater Israel. For the first time the settlement project is undermined by its rogue elements more than it is by its oponents. Politically the effects will take time to materialize, but future historians may well mark the last two days as the beginning of the decline in the support for the settlments within Israeli public opinion.
For more on the extremist element in Israel read Amos Harel here in Haaretz.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Obama bad, Reagan good?

Chemi Shalev is my new best friend. I swear this is the truth. You see yesterday morning I had a conversation with one of the strongest supporters Israel will ever have in this country or any other for that matter, but of the old school. His distaste for our current president has been well-expressed on prior occasions. Yesterday he stated that what we needed was a strong leader and friend of Israel in the White House, like Ronald Reagan. (Full disclosure: Reagan was the first president I voted against.) I controlled myself and left the comment alone.

Then I awoke this morning and, as I do every morning, checked out Haaretz and saw this from Haaretz's Chemi Shalev, as he remembers Reagan. Shalev starts:
Imagine if Israel would launch a successful preemptive strike against a country that is building a nuclear bomb that threatens its very existence, and the American president would describe it as “a tragedy”.
And he goes from there. Chemi, if you are ever in Chicago. Stop by. Drinks are on me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ICYMTO (in case you missed the opportunity)

ICYMI . . . here's Eli Valley's take on the zombie talking point that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Brilliant.

New blog discovered

Check out Professor David Schaub's blog. He's been following the J Street U Berkeley story, which has just taken a turn for the good guys.

And oh yeah, Go Illini! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If you dare . . .

Click here and follow Haaretz's live blogging of the Republican Jewish Coalition's candidates forum.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Meretz MK assigned body guard

The onslaught against champions of Israeli democracy continues. Following death threats from a right wing extremist, the Knesset Guard and Israeli Police assign Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On a bodyguard. Right wing extremist National MK Michael Ben-Ari calls it "a provocation of the Left." 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Not turtley enough for the turtle club, I guess

How effed up is this? The Jewish Union at UC Berkeley voted (10-9, 2 abstentions) to deny membership to the Berkeley Chapter of J Street U, because J Streeters are just not pro-Israel enough for the pro-Israel club. According to Jacob Lewis, co-president of the student group Tikvah, “J Street is not pro-Israel but an anti-Israel organization that, as part of the mainstream Jewish community, I could not support.” Give 'em hell Jakie!

Jacob, as self-assigned spokes-kid for the "mainstream Jewish community" represented by the 10/21sts who voted to keep the Streeters out of the club, knows what all true blue and white blooded American Jews know -- the real pro-Israel folks are American Jews.

I'm sure that comes as quite a shock to Alon Mazor, the Berkeley J Street U member who sought admittance to the club. Get it? Alon Mazor. Do I need to spell it in Hebrew fonts? Alon, you see, was born in Israel.

So where did Jacob get the idea that Alon's J Street U is anti-Israel? To hear Jacob tell it, it was from another Israeli he heard speak  . . . at a J Street U event. Last year, Assaf Sharon, from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement in Israel spoke at Berkeley and explained to Jacob that East Jerusalem, being beyond the Green Line, is a settlement. Sharon, the presenter at this "virulently hateful event about Israel" is now back home in Israel, spreading his "anti-Israel" message, with a host of other "anti-Israel" Israelis, and where he was recently physically assaulted by those "pro-Israel" Israelis living beyond the Green Line.

Perhaps, if Alon hates Israel so much, he should just go back where he came from, and leave the pro-Israel clubs to real Jews.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meir Dagan - Od Pa'am (Again)

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warning against an attack on Iran:
"I'm concerned about possible mistakes and I prefer to speak out before there is a catastrophe," Dagan said in an interview on the Israeli television program “Uvda."