Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Monday, August 31, 2015


I love this video, I too have a love affair with Eretz Yisrael. Whenever I am there, its like coming home, and when I come back here, I cannot shake the feeling that I am a stranger living in a strange land. I wish I had gone when I was young, now I will have to wait until I am old.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Extra, Extra, Jews Israel!!!

 I want to like the Times of Israel, but as an online daily I just don’t. The first line on this article on American-Israeli Jews encapsulates the ‘why’ I don’t. 

“Fifteen percent of West Bank settlers are American citizens”.  

No, and not quite. Once,  I get over the fact that the Times of Israel has picked the side of the Arabs for referring to the disputed territories by its’ Arab name, I am still left  trying to reconcile the differences and interplay between bias, nuance and facts.I would have accepted the first sentence if it read, ‘ Fifteen percent of West Bank Israeli settlers were originally American Jews’ or ‘American Jews make up to 15% of Israeli settlers in the West Bank’. I would even accept ‘Fifteen percent of Israeli Jewish settlers in the West Bank originate from America’.

But even forgetting the awkwardness of the first sentence;  just what is so newsworthy about a minority population of Israelis living beyond the so-called Green Line? The only real thing one can learn from this article is that the overwhelming majority of Israelis living in the disputed territories are not American olim (immigrants).  

This all came about because an ‘Oxford’ professor discovered that of the 170,000 Israeli Jews of American origin living in Israel, and of those; 60,000 chose to live over the so-called Green Line out of an American olim total population of 170,000. If that isn’t bad enough the article suggests the community of Israelis from America are disproportionately represented as living in the disputed territories.  

“This provides hard evidence that this constituency is strikingly over-represented, both within the settler population itself and within the total population of Jewish American immigrants in Israel,” Sara Yael Hirschhorn, the author of the forthcoming book “City on a Hilltop: Jewish-American Settlers in the Occupied Territories Since 1967,” said during a presentation at Jerusalem’s Limmud conference, Haaretz reported.

I am left wondering if ‘oxford professor’ is now a synonym for dumber than shit or it is the poor reporting skills of TOFI that should be blamed for accurately communicate the Hirschhorn’s thesis?

Apparently, there is an Israeli population of over 750,000 living across the so-called Green line, of which 60,000 are Jews of American origin, so my question is; how many of those Israelis of American origin live outside the city of Jerusalem?  I suspect the vast majority of those 60,000 American olim live in Jerusalem, the united eternal capital of the Jewish people, but we don’t know because of the vapid shallowness of this so-called ‘news’.

One of the sources the Times of Israel draws from is an article found in Ha’aretz.  I have no idea what the Ha’aretz report actually says, as it is behind the paywall, and I, like the vast majority of Israelis won’t pay to read Ha’aretz – not for love or money.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Everything comes to those who Glick

In June 2015, JJ Goldberg ran a hit piece on Caroline Glick and what he believed was her over the top rhetoric at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. 

JJ Goldberg in the Forward
Amid all the fuss over Treasury Secretary Jack Lew getting heckled at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on June 7, you might have missed the day’s biggest bombshell. 

I refer to the nasty smackdown that morning between Post columnist Caroline Glick, the poison-pen darling of the pro-Israel far right, and two of the most storied figures in Israeli security, former Mossad director Meir Dagan and former military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

It happened during a panel discussion on the Iranian nuclear threat. Dagan, Ashkenazi and two other generals who shared the stage all argued that a negotiated agreement is preferable to military action. Then came Glick. Recalling her longtime advocacy of a military strike, she voiced “worry that some of the men on the panel with me have believed we could rely on America.” Then she tore into Dagan and Ashkenazi. Her charge: The two had caused the current crisis in Israel’s international relations — and cleared Iran’s path to a bomb — by refusing an order in 2010 to prepare the military for an attack.

What Goldberg never tells about former Mossad Director Meir Dagan and former military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi is, both men expected their service in their respective posts to be extended rather than terminated once their term of office expired.  

Yesterday, came the big reveal of the Ehud Barak tapes. One time Prime Minister and/ former Minister of Defense is caught up a dispute with his Hebrew biographers, and in a fit of pique, they released the tapes. The tapes justify Glick's accusations Dagan and Ashkenazi.

Friday, August 21, 2015

When Ketchup isn't Heinz

Heinz Tomato Ketchup is one of those iconic American product brands. When isn't ketchup added to the BBQ picnic table? It is found literally everywhere in America. You are more likely to find Heinz Tomato ketchup than peanut butter in American homes. I have watched Americans put Heinz ketchup in literally anything, and nothing ruins a good steak more than drowning it in ketchup, but to each his own. But ironically, in 2015, Heinz Tomato Ketchup doesn’t have as much tomato as you would think.  Ynet News:
Osem has launched a campaign against its main ketchup competitor Heinz, claiming the latter's sauce does not meet the criteria for ketchup and instructing retailers to remove it from their shelves. After conducting lab tests on the Heinz product at its own initiative, Osem on Tuesday morning sent a letter to retailers asking them to remove the Heinz product from their ketchup section, and not place it next to Osem's own product. The letter, signed by Osem Trade CEO Nizan Goldberg, states: "We wish to bring it to your attention that we recently discovered that the product marketed as Heinz 700g ketchup only contains about 21% tomato concentrate and not the 61% tomato concentrate as advertised on the product. The product has been tested in a leading European external laboratory, which produced these findings. Israeli trading standards define ketchup as having 41 percent concentrate. "The incorrect indication of tomato concentrate in the products severely misleads the Israeli consumer public and is a violation of the provisions of the law to protect consumers," the letter states. "This information has also been sent to the Diplomat company and the authorities. Moreover, under Israeli law, the presence of lower quantities of fortified tomato concentrate prevents the product from being called ketchup and it cannot be sold as such."   

Who would have guessed that Heinz Tomato Ketchup is only 21% tomatoes? This really does explain why 15 mls of ketchup contains 4 grams of sugar. Years ago, Heinz wasn’t sweet but tart - it had a bite to it. Now it is so sweet it can literally rot your teeth. So save your money and a few drops of red food colouring to your sugar, and viola! You have a clone of Heinz ketchup!
Then there is J-Street, the American pro-Israel pro-peace lobby group.  The “J” in “J-Street” was allegedly  to stand for ‘Jewish’ and had presented itself as a new hip Jewish organization to counter balance the more traditional Jewish organizations/lobby groups.    Not only has J-Street had to struggle for basic Jew creds within the Jewish community but there are grave doubts about J-Street’s Pro-Israel credentials as well.  

Of course, the recent election ofan American Muslim woman to the presidency of its national student board - J-Street U has destroyed any pretense of J-Street being an authentic Jewish organization. .

Do not misunderstand me, I probably won't find Amna Farooqi half as annoying as leader Jeremny Ben-Ami who, unfortunately, is a bona fide member of the tribe but an organization which positions and portraits itself as an authentic Jewish voice has be be backed by Jewish leaders. 

All of which brings me to the Obama administration and the latest Iran side deal. Whose idea was it to allow Iran to inspect itself?  And why, would any rational person go along with it? 

There is something very 1984ish about 2015. Big Brother may not be watching but you can count on the NSA to be listening. We might not have yet Ministries of Peace, Plenty, Truth and Love but we really are damn close.  Nothing is what it seems to be anymore.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Facebook State Or why there will not be a Palestinian state no matter how many votes the PLO/Palestinian Authority can marshal in any UN vote.

I seriously doubt there is any geographical area denser with NGO's than the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. One of the largest of these aid organization is reporting extreme budget shortfalls.Arutz Sheva report:  

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday raised alarm over a $100 million shortfall in funding for the UN aid agency for “Palestinian refugees”, UNRWA, and called for urgent donations, AFP reported.

Ban said in a statement quoted by the news agency that UNRWA was "a pillar of stability" for five million Palestinian “refugees” at a time when the Middle East is in the throes of crises and suffering.

He called "on all donors to urgently ensure that the $100 million required be contributed to UNRWA at the earliest possible date so that the children of Palestine can begin their 2015-2016 school year without delay."  Ban has personally spoken to several world leaders in the past weeks about the unprecedented funding crisis at UNRWA, his spokesman said, according to AFP. UNRWA has previously warned that it may have to close its schools due to its large debts and fear of going bankrupt.

Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA media adviser, said in July that the financial deficit may cause the body to close 700 schools in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan at the start of the next school year.

I have no doubt that the UNRWA is facing a very dire financial shortfall, but not a single penny should go to either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.  Education, health care, housing, and job creation for Palestinians in either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip is not, and should not be the responsibility of the UNRWA. There is no time like the present to tell Palestinians that the refugee gravy train for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is no more.  These people are not refugees and treating them as if there is any comparison with the ongoing tragic plight of the Syrians is Theatre of the Absurd. 

I am told regularly that Palestinians want and long for statehood, but as long as the UN and NGO's pick up the tab, the Palestinians have no vested interest in creating the infrastructure of governance which creates statehood.  Job creation, medical and education should be the sole responsibility of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. The destruction of Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip was the direct result of Hamas launching an offensive against Israel and consequently, it is up to the Hamas government to provide reconstruction to those citizens who have suffered their loss of their home and livelihood no the UNRWA.

It’s ironic that the Kurds, who have built all the necessary underpinnings and infrastructure for a state; including education, job creations, healthcare systems, and  are leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, are the very people the world seems determined to deny them statehood.  As long as the UNRWA provides, education, job creation, job training, housing, medical care for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority the Palestinians will continue their charade of being only a Facebook state.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Veterans Against the Deal

If I was White House, I will be praying this video will not go viral. Since I am not POTUS, I am doing my bit to help make this happen.  Once of the most powerful 1 minute clips I have seen in some time.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Being an American Ally really, really sucks.

The Atlantic quotes Obama's latest speech on Iran “every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.”

But that's not true.  Canada has commented publicly about the deal and does not support it. 

Of course, Canada just happens to be one of America's oldest allies, which would explain why we don't count. Being an ally of the America really, really sucks. It has come to mean code for; America will screw you over first. Really - just ask the Israelis, Ukrainians, Murbarak, or even the Shah.

You know what else sucks; being the victim of human trafficking and expecting the Americans will not sell you out if there is a chance their corporations can make a fast buck.