Archive for November, 2008

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§262 Insult your wife

November 19, 2008

If you’re gonna insult your girl, this is how to do it.

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§261 Two small things I wanted to say

November 8, 2008

1 – Yesterday I tried to blow my wife a kiss while I was brushing my teeth. I ended up kissing my toothbrush.

2 – Today one of my kids was talking gibberish or singing something monotonic… don’t remember really, but basically doing noise just for the sake of doing noise. Being a fan of quiet when it can be achieved I said “If you don’t have anything to say, then be quiet”. Then I realised that someone should say that to politicians too.

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§260 It’s time to get involved – my first very political blog post

November 8, 2008

Until a few days ago I didn’t get involved in the US elections at all. Why indulge in that when I can’t vote? But now when we know who the next president is, it’s time to find out who he is. Yesterday me and my wife watched together on youtube his speech after the victory. That’s the first time ever I’ve seen him doing a speech. Man, that guy has charisma!

I’ve read an Israeli newspaper about the different for and against. I’ve read the Swedish-Israeli freelance journalist Dick Haas’ views on it, I have read what Mr. Goodenough predicts will be the devastating results for Israel, I have read my friend AngryAfrican’s happy swearing about it.

On November 11th there’s municipality elections here. For Ma’ale Adumim I already know what to vote. But it will be interesting to see who will be the new mayor of Jerusalem. The current mayor, Lepoliansky, is not running for another term. Jerusalem, you know, our capital. Our homelands very heart. Center of the Universe. The city about which Obama said would be Israel’s eternal and undivided capital. I guess the new mayor won’t have much to say if Obama breaks his promises and Livni (God forbid) gets elected as our new Prime Minister in February. But he will definitelly play a major role. Will it be secular Barakat, whose picture is seen with a burning West Wall around Jerusalem, put up by his opponents? Will it be religious Porush whose cartoon charicature with lots of beautiful election promises is all over the city? Or will it be multi millionaire Gaydmak who has said so many stupid things so his election slogan has become “Actions, not talks”? And how will it affect? No idea, I’ll try to figure that out after the elections. I can’t vote in Jerusalem in any case. For Ma’ale Adumim everyone are promising to promote building in E1area, the area about which Bush said would be built over his dead body.

A more interesting election coming up is the elections for our parliament in January-February, when we get to know who will be our next Prime Minister. Unless any unexpected surprises, it will be Livni or Netanyahu.

Livni belongs to the spineless Kadima party. Large party because of Sharon, Olmert Mufaz and all big names in it, but the party is totally deprived of ideology. It’s the more leftish ones from the right and the more righty ones from the left joint together in an effort to gain as many votes as possible by staying in the middle. It’s stupid. I hate Netanyahu for his extreme capitalistic views, his trickle-down economy strategy and his efforts to make the richer richer and the poorer poorer. But he is the only candidate that doesn’t want to throw me out of my home. And with a new American president who might very well be interested in dividing our land, we need a strong Prime minister who won’t cave in to american pressure. Netanyahu has in the past (the primaries against Sharon in the Likud in the early 2000’s… when was that…? when Sharon was reelected…?) said “no palestinian independent country” which does sound like he knows what he talks about. On the other hand, he is a politician. He might cave in like the others. On the third hand, he was Prime Minister 1996-1999 and did a good job back then.

Basically, the american elections that were just finished, and the upcoming israeli elections are what will determine our future. Will it be a chaos that will force us to leave our home (either because of evacuation, or because of instability – my children are more important to me than my values) or will we be able to continue to live like we do? Or even better – will there be a peace between people (not only an official politician peace) that will enable us to go visiting our neighbouring arab villages and vice versa? I believe it’s possible – but that will take a long time.

Back to Obama. Haas said he will either be a huge success or a huge dissappointment – but nothing inbetween. I think that can be quite true. People say he will not be as good to Israel as Bush was. That sounds scary. Because Bush was the one who insisted on dividing our land, he was the one insisting on elections in Palestinian Autonomy bringing Hamas to power, he is the one who wiped out one of our threats (Iraq)  making a worse threat (Iran) grow bigger and scarier. Was Bush good to Israel? In some ways he was and in some ways he wasn’t. I’m guessing Obama will be the same – but not necessarily in the same areas as Bush.

So to sum up my impressions… here are the advantages and disadvantages of new president-elect Barack Obama:

Advantages:

  • He has said that Jerusalem will remain our eternal undivided capital
  • He will hopefully assign Israeli-decsendant and pro-Israel Rahm Emanuel to be chief of staff in the White House
  • He is black (big victory against racism)
  • He has charisma
  • He has leadership qualities
  • He is a democrat – less hypercapitalistic than the republicans
  • He apparently got 78% of the Jewish votes (But how exactly a country can know the etnicity disperse of their votes without violating voter’s secrecy integrity principle is beyond me…)
  • If he uses his muslim background and his middle name wisely he might help to bridge the gap between islam and the western world.
  • He has young children which automatically qualifies him as a conflict solver…

Disadvantages:

  • Arab world is rejoicing, attributing the victory to arab american votes, emphasizing his background and middle name and declaring victory over “the jewish lobby”. May their hopes be in vain and may they be as dissapointed as we jews were when we rejoiced the start of the Brittish mandate in 1914.
  • He has talked about talking with Iran. Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but still…
  • He is unknown. He often laid down his vote as a senator, he has never been a decision maker in the past. He is new in the Middle East.
  • If he uses his background and middle name unwisely he might start a third world war.
  • According to Goodenough, some guy called Jesse Jackson supports Obama. According to Goodenough:

Jackson gloated over the changes an Obama presidency would bring. The most important would occur in the Middle East, where “decades of putting Israel’s interests first” would end. And although “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades” remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout.
“Bush was,” he said, “so afraid of … upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing [solving the conflict] a miss(!)”. He added that “Barack will change that” because, as long as the “Palestinians” haven’t seen justice, the Middle East will “remain a source of danger to us all.”
“Barack is determined to repair our relations with the world of Islam and Muslims.”

Above doesn’t sound good for Israel. Of course he is wrong about Bush. I hope he’s wrong about Obama too. “Decades of putting Israel’s interests first”. I guess I can agree to that. Israel’s wish to compromise on the expense of its inhabitants has indeed been put first, as opposed to the Palestinian leadership’s stubborn refusal to any compromise whatsoever. But no, “zionists” were not the ones who wanted Bush to increase Iran’s influence in the Middle East, darkening the deadly cloud over Israel. “Zionists” did not want him to insist on letting Hamas participate in the elections, and the result we can see in Sderot and Ashkelon. When Jackson talks about Palestinians seeing justice, I suppose he refers to their right to be opressed by their corrupted leaders, and not to the difficult task of actually finding a real solution.

I have so far been pretty quiet regarding my personal views about the conflict here. That’s about to change the closer we get to the israeli elections. Basically I can sum it up like this:

  • There’s no easy solutions
  • No one should be forced to leave one’s home
  • A two-state solution is no solution, just another problem
  • Sitting around doing nothing won’t lead anywhere
  • Never ever compromise with terrorists and never give in to their demands
  • Israel belongs to the jewish people. Always have, always will.
  • Jerusalem is our eternal undivided capital
  • Human rights, mutual respect, dignity and ubuntu for everyone, jews, arabs, israelis, palestinians, muslems, christians. We are all created in God’s image and we are all created equal.
  • All israelis must accept that the concept “palestinian” exists as must all palestinians accept that the concept “israeli” exists.

Now, one more thing that Goodenough says about Obama’s role in the Middle East is:

“How much more will Barack Obama not do. On a role before he even gets to the Oval Office, this man means business, and who will be able to withstand his efforts?

Israel’s leaders won’t. They are not people of faith, and America is the only “friend” they have left in the world. As Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned Wednesday: The US will push Israel into advancing the discredited land-for-peace process if the Jewish state refuses to do so.

According to Ynetnews Livni, who is contending in the newly-launched race for prime minister, noted that Israel’s general elections, scheduled for February 10, “must reflect the country’s interest in advancing the peace process, otherwise the international community, headed by the US, will try and push us in this direction.”

She needn’t worry. America will push whoever the Israelis choose to lead them. And whoever they are, those leaders won’t resist.”

Livni is correct here in one way. I have always been convinced that the new american president – be it Obama or McCain – will push Israel to a devastating two-state solution, pulling the deadly front closer to us, enabling rockets to fall on all our cities. We saw it happen in Gaza, and it will happen again if we keep giving in to international pressure. If we keep putting international and american interest above the right of our citizens to live in homes and not bomb shelters. This is why I agree with Livni on one point – “The US will push Israel into advancing the discredited land-for-peace process if the Jewish state refuses to do so.” According to Dick Haas, professor Gerald Steinberg said something similar – It would be wise by the next israeli leaders to make a draft of ideas for the coming steps, something for the Obama administration to deal with. Instead of waiting around until they force something upon us.

This is why the next israeli leader must be strong. S/he must be able to stand against international pressure. Obama pressure. Livni says that the coming elections “must reflect the country’s interest in advancing the peace process, otherwise the international community, headed by the US, will try and push us in this direction.” In other words, israeli public now has the responsibility to show that we are willing to give up our homeland and live under rocket attacks for the rest of our lives, otherwise the US will force us to do so.

I’d rather vote for someone who will actually stand against that international pressure. Someone who will try to find a real solution instead of the “easy way out” of making a two-state solution. Sure, it may look better to the international community if we force people out of their homes, give the terrorists a country to rule with an already victimized population. It may look better to the international community if the current situation turns into a war between two nations instead of the way it is now.

Is it worth it though, Livni? Is it worth giving the terrorists a country to rule? We all know they will make a military pact with Iran, just like Hamas and Hizballah are doing. Is it worth our blood? Is the international opinion more important to you than we are? Because if so, we can wave good bye to zionism, good bye to Israel and good bye to the two thousand year old dream of building up our homeland on the ruins.

Many people talk about the ideologically and morally wrong with the two state solution. Of building a 23rd arab state on the very heartland of the jewish nation. I can agree to that. But it is also important to emphasize the devastating physical results we will see from it. You can disagree with me. You can say that a Palestinian state will be peaceful and live in peace with Israel and it will make all other muslem countries love Israel, and all of Middle East will become a place of Care-Bears. Do you really believe it? I really don’t. And if you believe it, do you believe it so firmly you would put your life at stake? Because that’s what it is here. We’re talking human lives.

I feel I have no choice but to vote for a corrupt politician who promotes slavery work at a minimum wage to fill millionaires’ pockets. I have no choice but to vote for a guy who may very well sign a law prohibiting my right to share my faith with others. I see no choice but to vote for Netanyahu. Just because of the slight chance – the very slight chance – that he will not give in to international pressure to kick me out of my home.

Bottom line – this is Change. New American president. New Israeli Prime Minister in a few months. New Jerusalem mayor in a few days. I do wonder what the future will bring. And I know I will one day look back on myself on this day, remembering my wonder. One day I will look back, having all the answers. But I will still be wondering about the future.

Future is what we make it. Let’s make it change. Let’s make it better.

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One last comment – this is the first time I write something longer about the situation here in my homeland of Israel. It is a touchy subject for many people throughout the world. For some reason our conflict is much more interesting than Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, Sri Lanka, etc. I guess it’s because this is the land of God. The land which produced the Book of Books. The first nation ever to adopt the principle that everyone are equal and even the king is not above the law. These principles that through Christianity has become the foundation of the entire Western World. I guess that’s the main reason we are under the magnifying glass of the world. In any case, since this is a touchy subject, please understand:

  • Blog comments that do not respect me and/or include bad language will not be tolerated
  • There’s no guarantee I will answer your comment, whether you post a support or a condemnation comment
  • I am very busy, I used some spare time on shabbat to write this. I will not be able to write long answers. If you have a twenty-five point comment, please post. But I might not answer. That doesn’t mean “you won”.
  • I will not erase criticism (unless they violate point 1), but I might not answer, or answer very shorty. This doesnt mean you won. It only means that I didn’t want the fact that I can’t answer long answers to prevent me from writing this.
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§259 Will the new president keep his promise?

November 5, 2008

Here’s a letter that Save Darfur coalition asked me to forward to my friends. My blog readers are my friends, right?

In other news I have an inflation paper to get ready by Nov 7th (half is done), I have another paper for the 14th. I have a three hour lesson on Monday to give me the tools to do the paper in price theory for the 14th, and I have 100 pages to read in the accounting book for the paper that needs to be handed in by the 14th. One for the 7th, three for the 14th. And I’m finally getting a little ahead at work with the accounting. I’m almost done with June 2008.


Hi,

Now that Barack Obama is our president-elect, there’s a new hope for Darfur.

That’s because Barack Obama has been a champion of Darfur in the Senate, and pledged “unstinting resolve” to stop the violence and protect the people of Darfur.

It’s our job to make sure he keeps that promise. So I joined with thousands of others and sent a postcard to the next president, adding my voice to the call for Day One leadership on Darfur.

Will you join me and Be a Voice for Darfur?

It’s easy to add your voice. Click here to send a postcard. Remind Barack Obama to stay true to his word.

If Americans from all backgrounds speak together for one cause, then President-elect Obama will listen.

Thank you for your support.

Thatdudeyouknow


If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Save Darfur Coalition.