Friday, August 31, 2007

More Ha'aretz anti-Israel bias: Darwin, where are you?

Here is a gem. Ha'aretz reports, in the lead story on its web site, the the Palestinian children who were killed on Wednesday were playing tag near the rocket launchers. No other news web site is carrying this item. The article, written by Amos Harel, sarcastically comments about the IDF's initial explanation. The article implies that the army determined that the children were playing nearby and nonetheless carried out the attack. The overall tone of the article conveys a sense that the IDF acts brutally and carelessly, and then tries to cover up its mistakes.
The truth of the reporter's "scoop" is questionable, and the editorial slant is defamatory to the IDF and Israel. Furthermore, this story is carried as a LEAD HEADLINE!
This kind of dishonest crap incites Israel's enemies and provides fodder to the Palestinians propagandists and their European "human rights" friends.
This Israeli behavior is almost as maladaptive as the Palestinian's collective psychopathology.
I've come to the conclusion that much of the political and diplomatic difficulty that we face around the world is the product of our own self-defeating and self-flagellating extreme left media.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More on Palestinian Pyschopathology

As a follow up to my previous post, Dr Guy Bechor explains the overall maladaptive behavior of the Palestinian national movement. This boils down to one obvious conclusion: The Palestinians don't really want to be independent. If they really wanted a state, they would have been able to have one along time ago, in 1948, 1967 and 2000. Yet, each time when they get close to getting what they say they want, they blow things up in their own faces. Instead of building up the physical, social and financial infrastructure for a future state, they squander all of the world's goodwill (and contributions) towards self-defeating violence. After all, it much easier to blame "the occupation" for all of ones ills than actually take responsibility. One gets the sense that the Palestinians have a pathological love-hate relationship with being occupied, which permits them to perpetually wallow in hatred and victimhood.
Pretty pathetic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our Palestinian cousins haven't heard of Darwin

Today's events in Gaza represent yet another example in the long string of maladaptive behavior of the Palestinian people. Out of their endless hatred of Israel, they are willing to send their children to the Kassam rocket launch sites, in order to retrieve the used launchers. They do this knowing full well that the launchers are targets of the IDF and that they are exposing their children to mortal danger. Even more cynically, they do this intentionally so that Israel will be criticized ( especially by Israel's own leftists) for not doing enough to prevent civilian casualties. It's also great propoganda for internal purposes to show how cruel Israel is.

As usual, ultimately their strategy will backfire and they will continue to be their own greatest enemies.

Are these people worthy of a state?

Halachic Fictions

Speaking of Christopher Hitchens, here is a news item from Ha'aretz. No, this time I'm not complaining about Ha'aretz, but about the mixing of religion and politics.

This articles essentially explains that in order for us to eat "kosher" fruits and vegetables during the Shmita, or Sabbatical, year coming up, we must "sell" the farm land to a non-Jew, so that the Shmita laws don't apply. (A Jewish owned farm may not be cultivated for the whole year). The Israeli rabbinate holds by this "sale" (which is symbolic and on paper only), although many ultra-orthodox don't, and insist on buying their produce from abroad or from Gaza, which is considered outside of Israel. During Shmita when you go into a restaurant or store you'll see various certificates signed by different rabbis indicating which type of supervision is used for the fruits and veggies.
This is similar to other legal fictions in Halacha, such as selling chametz on pesach to a non-Jew, or transferring loans to the rabbinic court on the Jubilee year to avoid the Biblical imperative of forgiving all loans. Another example is the "Heter Iska", which is the legal loophole permitting payment of interest on loans and investments, circumventing the Biblical proscription of charging interest. This reminds me of the joke about the Orthodox rabbi bragging to the Reform rabbi about how he deals with the problem of smoking among his congregants, by arranging for the sale of their lungs to a non-Jew.
What other religion does such things? We must look pretty damn stupid.
It is very clear that there was (and will continue to be) a progressive development of Halacha over time that was forced upon it by the changes in society, but the rabbis had to create the impression that these changes were consistent with the Torah. Nothing wrong with changes, but let's be honest!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Israeli Self-Flagellation

One of my favorite news analysis web sites for understanding the Middle East is Dr. Guy Bechor's page. No, you won't find conspiracy theories, scoops, or other nonsense. Just level-headed commentary on the situation, free of political agendas, and based on his expert understanding of Middle Eastern mentality, politics and history.

The original Hebrew articles are more elegantly written, but this English translation of a recent post describes the Israeli tendency towards self-criticism, that often reaches a pathological level. Whereas the Arabs do the reverse, blame outsiders for every misfortune that befalls them, we Israelis collectively blame ourselves for everything. Of course, this stops when it comes to an individual politician admitting error. However, every national issue, from the climate, water, security situation, Arab extremism and terrorism, to road accidents and poverty-- are a result, according to our newspapers and politicians, of incompetence, negligence, malice or other preventable causes.

A measured dose of self-criticism is healthy, if it helps to expose and correct mistakes. But here it is unrestrained and used for political purposes, only results in national depression (and embarrassment in the eyes of the world)

The issue of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier being held hostage by the Palestinians, has been getting emphasis again lately. The media converage has been interminable, not out of sympathy for the family, but more out of the desire to blame ourselves-- for the incompetence of the kidnapping in the first place, to the failure to obtain his release. Guy Bechor has written about this, too. In a nutshell, the possibility and timing of a release has more to do with internal Arab politics than with anything we can do.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Me at Shmurat Dan

Tendentious reporting in Ha'aretz

OK, here is a good example:

This story reports on the near lynching of an Israeli soldier in Jenin and his rescue by Palestinian policeman.

1. The paper claims that there was a gunbattle between police and Islamic Jihad militants who were trying to kidnap him. No other media reported such an event, other than police firing into the air to keep the rioters away while they were escorting the soldier to headquarters.

2. By emphasizing Livni's comments about the PA strengthening, along with the supposed "shootout", the article gives the impression of a supposedly strong "good guy" police defeating "bad guy" militant organizations.

While the Pal police certainly deserve our thanks for saving the soldier, the Ha'aretz article distorts the true and fair grasp of the event: A hapless soldier stumbles into a Palestinian town, inhabited by residents with a bottomless well of hatred toward Israel, is almost lynched, and is rescued by Palestinian police doing their jobs. A close call. If anything, the main lesson of the story is not about the "good guys" getting stronger, but about the limitless hostility among the Palestinians, being promulgated by their media and education, which all but precludes a settlement anytime in the near future.

I assert that this article intentionally attempts to present a falsely optimistic picture to the Israeli public about the true state of affairs, while serving as a basis to pressure the Israeli government for more "gestures" to Abu Mazen.

My First Specimens

Here are today's specials:

1. Last night on the way to a meeting, I was driving on the Beit Oved highway between Nes Tziona and Rishon. On a particularly dark, unlighted section of the road, I noticed some cars braking. As I passed I noticed two young men, riding bicycles, wearing dark clothing, with no helmets and no reflectors or lights on either the bikes or on their persons, riding on the side of the road (not even the shoulder).

I can only hope and pray that these guys don't make it long enough to have offspring!!

2. Dr Yuli Tamir, currently Israel's education minister and probably one of our most ungifted politicians , recently called on Ehud Barak, the defense minister, to sign a statement guaranteeing that the schools in Sderot are safe for students and that they won't be harmed by Kassam missiles. Otherwise she won't open the school year. Barak's assistant shot back that Mr. Barak would be willing to sign such a statement, only after 1. Yuli Tamir would sign a statement that the schools are safe from violence, 2. The chief minister of police Avi Dichter would sign that there would be no crime, and 3. If transportation Minister Mofaz would sign that the roads are safe and there will be no auto accidents.

Dr Tamir, you win the award this week!

3. Rav Ovadia Yosef used to be a respected halachic authority. But once again religion and politics poison each other, as the old man opened his mouth claiming that soldiers died in the Lebanon war because they didn't pray or put on tefillin. These idiotic comments really make me identify with Christoper Hitchens.

4. In later posts I will be writing extensively about Israel's print and electronic media, who consitently, systematically and maliciously, search and seek out, or invent, and then magnify, false news stories. The outcome of this self-destructive stupidity is to intentionally mislead readers and to use the enemy's psychological warfare against our own public in a breathtakingly irresponsible and maladaptive act.

The Israeli Darwin Awards

This blog will be my collection of personal experiences and news stories reflecting the precarious nature of human intelligence. I will attempt to make posts at least once a week, giving detailed examples of human stupidity in public life here in Israel. My hope in exposing these examples is to improve the survival of the Jewish species by selecting out the least deserving of our kind.