Friday, March 06, 2015

Google removes "Gaza Man" game

On Monday, I was the first (as far as I know) to report on the new "Gaza Man" video game in English.

There is now an update, from the pro-Hamas Middle East Monitor:

In response to Israeli pressure Google Play has removed the Gaza Man game.

Yesterday afternoon, Gaza's children found themselves unable to find the link to download the game on Google Play.

"It is new, but it became my favourite game," Sally Haddad, 12, from Gaza told Days of Palestine.

"I had played the game on my father's mobile for three days. On the fourth day, he bought me a new mobile to download the game and play it myself, but unfortunately, I did not find it," Haddad said.

Gaza Man is a Palestinian game simulating a battle between a Palestinian fighter covering his face with the Palestinian Kuffiyeh (scarf) and aggressive forces using automatic rifles, tanks, drones, fighter jets, etc...

The game starts, as it is clear in the game trailer, as the aggressive forces kidnap a boy playing football and harass his mother. Then, the fighter appears targeting these forces and causing them severe losses.
Those poor Gaza children! The media and NGOs say that they have no food, no water, no shelter - and now the starving, homeless tykes can't even play a violent anti-Israel video games on Android phones that their fathers buy them!

Daily Mail shows British antisemitism in latest "walk as a Jew" video

From The Daily Mail:
British journalist Jonathan Kalmus decided to test the levels of prejudice in two British cities with shocking results.

'You Jew' was the anti-Semitic scream which came from a passing car. My shaken wife tried to explain it away to my seven-year-old daughter as a very large sneeze. They were simply playing in a local park in Manchester a few weeks ago when the incident ripped through what should have been a peaceful and wholesome time for any mother and child.

'Fight the Jewish scum' and 'Jew, Jew, Jew... Run', were the more vicious threats hurled at me in the past few days, however, when I decided to secretly film and find out whether 'Jew-hatred' really is alive and kicking on British streets.

The answer to that question is a resounding and heart-sinking yes.

I took the inspiration from the viral videos of Israeli journalist Zvika Klein, who filmed himself being threatened on the streets of Paris, and Muslim Hamdy Mahisen, who filmed himself getting abuse in Milan.
Zvika walked in Paris for 10 hours, Hamdy in Milan for five. It took me just one minute. One minute of walking one single, busy major street in Manchester before abuse was flung at me.

In 25 minutes on that one single street in Longsight, I was spat at by one man and called 'a Jew' multiple times by passers by, even by a young boy walking with his father.

I was just walking in the street testing the effect of being clearly identifiable as a Jew by wearing a small traditional Jewish head covering called a kippah.

In Bradford the situation was more shameful. It took 13 minutes, during which I was stalked by a man who repeatedly took pictures of me. He followed me on foot for five minutes and thirty seconds according to my footage.

There was a shout of 'you Jew' at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park. Minutes later a man turned his head and yelled 'fight the Jewish scum' just behind my back.
Some time later three youths shouted at me across a street repeatedly, 'You're a Jew, not a Muslim...Jew, Jew, Jew run!'

I was prepared to walk for hours and expected to get nothing on camera. On Manchester's curry mile, a haven of mixed cultures and skin colour, it took two-and-half-minutes for a young lad on a bike to ride up to me and shout, 'You're a Jew' in my face. I was left speechless that anti-Semitism is so obvious.

In total, between the two cities I suffered a series of anti-Semitic hate incidents, two more than those in Zvika Klein's video and achieved in one-tenth of the time here in Britain. What a horrible reality.

Why did I pick Bradford? For a simple reason. Last summer during the height of another Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinians, 5,000 people, predominantly young Muslim men, gathered for a mass rally in Bradford City Park. The city's MP, George Galloway, spoke while flanked by two butch men wearing T-shirts emblazoned 'Palestine's army you are not alone'.

Mr Galloway has repeated on many, many occasions that his message and political struggle is with Israel and Israelis, not Jews. Despite that, statistics show that bringing the Middle East's struggles onto the streets of Britain has a direct effect on how people treat Jews.

No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighbourhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the centre of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business.

No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city centre, should be welcome.

But it is no surprise. The latest statistics from the Jewish Community Security Trust show 2014 was the most anti-Semitic year in Britain on record. 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 - that is 37 per cent higher than all the attacks in France in the same year. Anti-Semitism in Britain is growing fast. Incident rates have doubled from 2013 to 2014.

It is completely understandable that anyone who does not feel the threat would not realise the extent of anti-Semitism, how common it is and how it effects Jews in our country every day.

But anti-Semitic attacks and verbal abuse are everyday concerns for British Jews.

As I encountered anti-Semitism for nothing but walking in a street, many other people walked past me and did nothing. They heard the comments, and were caught on camera turning back and looking as others hurled abuse. When someone spat on my back no one stopped to intervene.
His experiences in other European cities are interesting as well.

On a related note, Ben Judah in Tablet is in the middle of a series of articles about anti-semitism in the UK. In his latest article he visits Bradford, the home of anti-Israel politicians George Galloway and David Ward.

While Galloway had no interest in speaking to him, Ward did - and his description of the interview reveals quite a bit:

David Ward, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, is also widely believed to be anti-Semitic by British Jews for his stridently anti-Israeli remarks, which often accuse the Israeli government of intentional mass murders and other supposed crimes, which British “Zionists” seek to cover up through their supposedly powerful institutions. On Holocaust Memorial Day this year, Ward said that Israel had committed “genocide” in Palestine, and he has mockingly attacked the oldest representative body of British Jews, the Board of Deputies, Tweeting—“What a shame there isn’t a powerful, well-funded Board of Deputies for #Roma.”
...Ward agreed to meet me in his office in Bradford, festooned with the yellow campaigning colors of his party. But he was nervous and jittery, recording the conversation and backing away from some of his statements without renouncing them completely. Cross-examining the distressed politician makes it clear to me that what Jews find anti-Semitic about this man is a question of rhetoric, not considered views. Under pressure he seemed to have relatively few of these: He admitted that he did not challenge the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East as he is “a firm believer in the United Nations” and accepts the 1947 partition resolution. Ward strongly denied that he is attacking Israel to appeal to the Muslim vote, claiming that when he walks around Bradford, those who come up to congratulate him on his anti-Zionist stance are “mostly from the Church groups.”
The MP for Bradford East said he rejected out of hand Galloway’s declaration of Bradford as an “Israel-free zone” and “absolutely” understands why European Jews wanted to makealiyah after the Holocaust and is merely opposed to the fact that the United Nations resolutions calling for a Palestinian state alongside Israel have not been honored.
But does he stand by his characterization of Israel’s actions as genocide? He could neither hold my eye nor respond to this question, insisting that he had been referring to the U.N. definition of genocide and attempting to move on. When I produced a print-out of the U.N. definition of genocide he seemed at some points to look a little scared and began talking about Israeli acts of ethnic cleansing in 1947. “That’s pretty serious stuff,” he said, “and amounts to the United Nations definition of genocide. I think the harm that’s been done to the people of Gaza comes under that definition as well.” Since Ward clearly believes acts of massacre or ethnic cleansing count as genocide, had he heard of the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands, I asked. His face betrayed he had not. Asked whether the termination of Jewish life in Arab states are also genocide, he seemed confused, then lost, before admitting—“it sounds like it was.”
Just like Galloway, he is at pains to emphasize that he is not anti-Semitic. But equally it is clear that he has not considered, or is not willing to consider what drives the intensity of his Israel-hatred. When I pressed Ward on the fact that British Jews advise each other not to wear kippot in Bradford, he seemed surprised. With a Jewish community in the dozens—it seemed the MP had never bothered to consider this fact. Shouldn’t a member of parliament be better-informed and more aware of the potential impact of his rhetoric? “Never overlook the stupidity of people,” said Anthony Julius, author of Trials of the Diaspora and a leading thinker on anti-Semitism in Britain. “Stupidity is a necessary element in understanding political life. The willful refusal to engage with the complexity of political phenomena, in the face of the burgeoning, intrusive, complexity is a fact of contemporary life. It’s a kind of willful self-blinding.”
“With David Ward,” he explained, “it’s a case of I’ve got my prejudices, do not confuse me with the facts. I don’t think he cares what he said, providing it plays well with the constituency he wants to appeal to.”
The entire article is excellent, documenting today's antisemitism in Bradford, and it ends off with this sobering anecdote:
[O]ne of the last occasions the Jews gathered visibly in the street outside the synagogue for a funeral something went terribly wrong. The hearse carrying the remains of the son of one the founding rabbis of the synagogue was trying to reach the synagogue, but both ends of the street were mysteriously blocked with traffic. Rudi says then Asian youths burst out and began shaking the hearse. Others saw them fly a Palestinian flag.

Political Pallywood in "decision" to stop security coordination with Israel

Mahmoud Abbas has threatened for years to stop security coordination with Israel, similar to his perennial threats to resign or to dissolve the PA.

Which makes this story interesting:

The leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation has voted to suspend all security co-operation with Israel, insisting that Israel – as occupying power – should assume all responsibilities for the Palestinian territories under international law.

A statement issued by the PLO’s central committee on Thursday night announced it was calling for the suspension of “all forms of security coordination given Israel’s systematic and ongoing non-compliance with its obligations under signed agreements, including its daily military raids throughout the State of Palestine, attacks against our civilians and properties.”

Although the final decision to implement the council’s decision rests with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, well-informed sources told the Guardian that Abbas supported the decision.

The move, which came after two days of talks by the PLO’s central council, comes in the midst of a close-run Israeli election campaign and is certain to escalate tension between Palestinians and Israelis.

The PLO’s central council is the second highest decision-making body. Significantly, it takes the threat to end cooperation beyond rhetorical statements to mandate action on the issue.

The statement added: “Israel, the occupying power in Palestine, must assume all its responsibilities in accordance with its obligations under international law.”

It called for a boycott of all Israeli products and not only those coming from Israeli settlements, adding: “Israel must pay the price for its refusal to assume its responsibilities under international law, including the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.”

Although the Guardian understands that the end of security cooperation will not be immediate, the decision by the PLO is regarded as binding on the Palestinian Authority and Abbas.
The Palestinian security forces report to the PA, not the PLO. But the PA itself reports to the PLO.

PLO members are not elected, and the supposedly democratic PA is subservient to the self-selected leaders of the PLO.

The PLO of course is dominated by Fatah.

And the PLO, Fatah and PA are all headed by the same person:

While The Guardian assumes that there is some sort of formalized process going on here where an independent PLO Central Committee voted for this decision, everything is up to (and orchestrated by) Abbas - including implementation of the decision.

Ha'aretz disagrees with the Guardian:

Instead of implementing the decision immediately, however, Abbas is expected to try to use the threat of its implementation to push the United States and the European Union to pressure Israel to halt construction in the settlements and release Palestinian prisoners as conditions for restarting diplomatic negotiations. In his speech to the council on Wednesday, Abbas said explicitly that he would be willing to resume negotiations if those two conditions were fulfilled.

The council’s decision to suspend security coordination indicates that its members are seeking to keep the PLO, and themselves, relevant among the Palestinian public by taking aggressive positions in response to what they view as Israel’s peace rejectionism.
The entire thing is theatre. Abbas used the committee to pretend that he will do something he has no desire or interest in doing, but it is meant to scare the West, just as his previous threats spook Western nations into pressuring Israel.

The Guardian is playing its role, by gravely informing its readers that this is serious.

It's not. It's the political Pallywood. As usual, it will work to add pressure to Israel, which is the real point of this farce.

Ha'aretz is probably wrong in the goal being to release prisoners or stop settlement activities, although that will be part of conversations with the West. The goal will be  to have Israel release the tax revenues that it has been withholding from the PA after its decision to go to the ICC to charge Israel with war crimes.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Questions NBC's Ann Curry should have asked Zarif

NBC's Ann Curry's interview with Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Jaraf Zarif was interesting, but she could have done a much better job. Here are some questions she should have asked:

When he said:
Well, it is unfortunate that Mr. Netanyahu now totally-- distorts realities of today. He even distorts his own-- scripture. If-- if you read the book of Esther, you will see that it was the Iranian king who saved the Jews. If you read-- the-- the Old Testament, you will see that it was an Iranian king who saved the Jews from Babylon. Esther has a town in Iran where-- where our Jewish population, which is the largest in the Middle East-- visit on-- on a regular basis. It is-- it is truly, truly regrettable that bigotry gets to the point of making allegations against an entire nation which has saved Jews three times in its history: Once during that time of-- of a prime minister who was trying to kill the Jews, and the king saved the Jews,...
She could have asked "But didn't that king support the annihilation of the Jews - men, women and children - to begin with before his wife Esther revealed that she was Jewish?"

When he said, "This is about nuclear technology, this is about scientific advancement, this is about pride of the Iranian people" she could have asked exactly what scientific advances Iran can do with 6000 centrifuges that it cannot do with 100. Because the only real use for 6000 centrifuges is to build a bomb.

Why has Iran consistently denied inspections, and indeed tried to hide from satellite images, the activities at the Parchin complex? And what exactly happened at the huge explosion there last year?

If you are not interested in nuclear weapons, why did you hide your involvement with the secret Syrian nuclear weapons site that Israel bombed in 2007?

Your regime doesn't only constantly talk about annihilating Israel, but also the United States. State-run demonstrations routinely say "Death to America." Can you elaborate? Who exactly should be killed?

What is your vision of the Middle East? Do you want Iran to be a superpower? Do you want Shiites to govern the majority Sunnis?

There are lots more she could have asked. It is a shame that reporters don't do the proper research before such important interviews.

03/05 Links Pt2: The World Needs a Muslim Martin Luther; Jihad John to head UN Human Rights Council

From Ian:

Dr. Mordechai Kedar: The World Needs a Muslim Martin Luther
The problem with these conferences is that they never have even one person who is prepared to state the painful truth: the Quran, the Hadith, the history and biography of our prophet are filled with ideas, commandments, precedents that push our youth to terror, just as they motivated our forefathers to conquer most of the known seventh century world. The concept of conquering strange lands, the rule of Islam through terrible violence is what got Islam out of the Arabian peninsula to conquer the region from Indonesia in the east to Spain and Morocco in the west, and it is this that pushes our young men and women to join jihad and continue subjugation of the rest of the world.
True, there are other factors - political, social and economic - that help promote terror, but the main, basic reason is the ideas and precedents in islam's holy works, and until real reformers arise and insert significant changes into these writings, instead of holding meaningless conferences like the recent Saudi one, Muslims will continue to hide their heads in the sand, and the world will continue to think that Islam is a religion of peace, because that is what the distinguished speakers at these conferences say. Denial of the real problem will perpetuate the problems derived from it.
We need a Muslim Martin Luther, who will ask the right questions, start an Islamic reformation, one that will quarantine all the notions of subjugation, violence, hatred and repulsion, changing Allah's religion into something that will bring the cycle of violence and death to an end, giving life to Muslims and others. Until that reformer is born, the Islamic world will continue shedding its own blood and that of others into the bloody swamp, fire and tears called Islamic state whose methods are exported from the depths of the seventh century to today's entire world.
Douglas Murray: Hate Crimes: US Lynches the Facts
Since the beginning of this year, we have had, alongside the usual violence aimed at the Jewish state, the targeting of Jews in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen. In all instances, the sites were targeted because they were likely to have Jews.
Unfortunately, the leader of the free world, U.S. President Barack Obama, among others, seems loath to acknowledge this fact. Just recently, he described the Paris terrorists as "a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris." There are not many ways in which it is possible to see the targeting of a kosher store in Paris as "random." But with U.S. administration spokesmen trying to pretend that the victims in that shop were not likely to be Jews, it would be surprising if they simply lacked the information. It was, in fact, a heroic Muslim worker, Lassana Bathily, who risked his life to save the lives of several Jews by hiding them in the basement freezer, which he shut off before going back upstairs.
It is probably not out of ignorance that the administration tries not to focus on the religious dimension of the recent terrorist attacks -- which also include members of ISIS in Libya slitting the throats of 21 Egyptian Christians because, the ISIS members said, the kidnapped men were Christians -- but rather for fear of what the general public might do with this information.
Because if you view your public as a lynch-mob-in-waiting, as so many Western leaders seem to do, then you assume you must do everything you can to restrain them from perpetrating constant acts of violence against Muslims.
If that is your view of your public, then talking about "random" folks being shot is the sort of circumlocution you will select.
Should you wish to address the problem, you might call together a summit aimed at tackling "violent extremism." But the whole exercise must continuously be directed away from identifying the problem. The Jews cannot have been targeted because they were Jews, because if they were, then you may find yourself having to explain the ideology that propels the killers.
Israel Agrees To All BDS Terms (satire)
The BDS Movement has won a landmark victory in what is called a historic decision in which the Israeli Government has unanimously voted in favour of agreeing to all BDS terms.
When the bill was introduced by MK Hanin Zoabi, most Knesset members were quick to jump on board.
“I believe the major turning point was when Sinead O’Conner cancelled her show in Israel in support of the boycott movement.” said Ayelet Shaked, a member of the formerly right wing Beit HaYehudi party.
“When Sinead cancelled, it created a shockwave through Knesset that really had us re-examining ourselves.”
Implementation of the new law will involve dismantling the protective barrier that has completely halted suicide bombings, awarding the Palestinians with a state with all of Jerusalem as a capital, a Gaza seaport for uninterrupted Iranian missile import and full right of return for all 6 generations of descendants of Arabs who left their homes so that Israel can be destroyed unhindered.

Purim joke 6: Man of the House

A husband, having just finished reading the book, 'Man of the House,' strode into the kitchen and up to his wife.

Pointing a finger in her face, he said: "From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law! I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I'm finished I expect a sumptuous dessert.

"Then, after dinner, you are going to draw me my bath so I can relax.

"And when I'm finished with my bath, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair??"

His wife replied, "The Chevra Kadisha?"

(joke explanation after the jump)

Purim Joke 5: The conversion

Two old Jewish men are strolling down the street one day, when they happen to walk by a Catholic church.

They see a big sign posted that says, “Convert to Catholicism and get $10.“

One of the Jewish men stops walking and stares at the sign. His friend turns to him and says, “Murray, what’s going on?”

“Abe,” replies Murray, “I’m thinking of doing it.”

Abe says, “What are you, crazy?”

Murray thinks for a minute and says, “Abe, I’m going to do it.”

With that, Murray strides purposefully into the church and comes out twenty minutes later with his head bowed.

“So,” asks Abe, “did you get your ten dollars?”

Murray looks up at him and says, “Is that all you people think about?”

Yes, it was a historic speech (Vic Rosenthal)

Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:

And if, in fact, [Iran] does not have some sense that sanctions will not be removed, it will not have an interest in avoiding the path that it’s currently on. — Barack Obama, March 3, 2015

I must admit that I feel sorry for President Obama, and not just because of his syntactical difficulties. I was able to watch PM Netanyahu’s speech in real time, while Obama was too busy, and had to content himself with looking at the transcript. To think, he even could have been present at the historic event had he wished to be!

I’m reminded of the day I stayed home in Pittsburgh to go to a football game, the day that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech in Washington. Or when a bunch of friends went to some music festival at Woodstock. I had to work that weekend.

Because it truly was historic. I’m sure that except for the most cynical partisans (e.g., Pelosi), all of those present felt it. The representatives of the American people, and not just the Republican ones, responded warmly and positively. Netanyahu spoke honestly, both intellectually and from the heart, and it was impossible to listen to him without perceiving this.

The speech had two parts, melded together. The first was the practical argument about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The second was more of an emotional appeal for morality in policy, which stood in sharp contrast to the Kafkaesque language that issues from the Obama Administration.
Obama said that Netanyahu didn’t say anything new and didn’t offer a “viable alternative.” It is true that he didn’t say anything new — the nature of the deal and the fundamental problems with it have been explained over and over, by Netanyahu and others. But he did offer an alternative: a better deal that would seriously restrict Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, and require Iran to change its behavior:
We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world. Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.
Obama responded with a remarkably convoluted argument which first mischaracterizes the PM’s position, and then seems to say that since nothing we can threaten Iran with can stop them from developing nuclear weapons, we can only stop them by not threatening them.

I won’t take up too much space on this. Here’s an analogy:

Judge: You are guilty of bank robbery. I sentence you to 10 years in prison.
Bank robber: I won’t agree to more than 2 years. Take it or leave it.
Judge: Oh, OK then.

Iran has violated the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty that it signed, refuses to allow inspections of sensitive facilities, and maintains secret installations. It violates the UN Charter by committing armed aggression against its neighbors, calls for the destruction of another UN member state and exports terrorism and murder all over the globe. It needs to be called to account — made to stop its behavior by full-scale international sanctions of every kind, including military action if all else fails.

This is the moment — maybe the last chance — for the post WWII ideal of morality in international relations, for those who believe that cooperation can bring about peace and deliver human rights to step up and take the right side for a change. PM Netanyahu probably doesn’t expect much from the international institutions like the UN, nor, unfortunately, from the Obama Administration. But he does think the American people and their representatives will understand and respond.

Barack Obama considers “the nature of the Iranian regime’s ambitions when it comes to territory or terrorism” a distraction. But the nuclear issue doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are moral reasons to oppose the regime, with or without nuclear weapons:
That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.” 
I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.
Netanyahu listed some of the crimes that the Iranian regime has committed against Americans and innocent people all over the world. And he didn’t hesitate to describe it precisely as it is:
Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.
Americans have been aching to hear words like this from its own leadership, but they will not. They won’t hear the word ‘jihad’, or even the word ‘enemy’ unless applied to an abstract concept like terrorism. They won’t hear terrorism connected to Islam. They won’t be told that the world’s conflicts are related to ideology, specifically Islamic ideology; rather, they’ll hear that the problem is poverty and economic inequality. They’ll even be told that the US can partner with Iran to stabilize Iraq, while Iran holds war games in which mockups of US naval vessels are blown up.

Americans and their congresspeople are not stupid, and they understand that there is something very wrong here, even sinister. Part of the impact that Netanyahu’s address obviously had comes from the contrast between his plain speech and the administration’s Orwellian discourse.

Obama’s media lackeys pulled out all the stops in minimizing the importance and content of the speech, in insulting and accusing Netanyahu. The New York Times, the Pravda of the Obama Administration, repeated that the speech contained ‘nothing new’ and called it “exploitative political theater.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said members of Congress “made an unprecedented spectacle of showing allegiance to a foreign head of state.”Jon Stewart called the event a “blowjob.” Yes, he did.
But the members of Congress who gave the PM some 24 standing ovations clearly didn’t see it that way. They understood that Benjamin Netanyahu is not only fighting for the survival of his nation and his people, but providing moral clarity about the intensifying conflict between the West and radical Islam — the conflict about which Barack Obama chooses to remain ambiguous.

The speech will probably have little effect on the Israeli election either way. Israelis have heard all of this before. Some appreciate Netanyahu as the world-class leader that he is, and others will continue to despise him because — just because. But that’s a different subject.

The importance of the speech will be for Americans, who heard a polite but devastating indictment of their president and his administration. They heard the facts. Now it’s up to them to ask the question that the facts demand:

Which side are you on, Barack Obama?

03/05 Links Pt1: Dershowitz: Netanyahu deserves a response; Abbas: We won't accept a Jewish state

From Ian:

PMW: Fighting Israel and Martyrdom-death promoted by Abbas' Fatah
In a recent post on Facebook, Abbas' Fatah movement reiterated its admiration and support for those who become "Martyrs," presenting this as a good deed for the future of Palestinians. In a greeting, Fatah wrote: "Good morning, Martyrs of Palestine, who are watering our roots with their blood, so that they will grow into a fruitful tree." The greeting further addressed the Palestinian "resolute mothers," who sacrifice their children for their people when they "give away what they hold most dear":
"Good morning to the people of Palestine, the people of defiance;
Good morning, land of the free men;
Good morning, Martyrs (Shahids) of Palestine, who are watering our roots with their blood, so that they will grow into a fruitful tree, strong of trunk;
Good morning, wounds of the innocent;
Good morning, children of Palestine, who carry their innocence in one hand and the stone in the other;
Good morning, resolute mothers of Palestine, who give away what they hold most dear (i.e., their children)."

[Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page", Feb. 22, 2015]
A few weeks earlier, Fatah and its youth movement issued statements honoring "Martyrs," praising them for "watering the land of Palestine with their pure blood." Fatah declared that "Martyrdom-death for Palestine is a destiny."
Alan Dershowitz: The White House must respond to Netanyahu’s important new proposal
The Administration must now answer one fundamental question: why would you allow the Iranian regime to develop nuclear weapons in ten years, if at that time they were still exporting terrorism, bullying their Arab neighbors and threatening to exterminate Israel? Why not, at the very least, condition any “sunset” provision on a change in the actions of this criminal regime? The answer may be that we can’t get them to agree to this condition. If that is the case then this is indeed a bad deal that is worse than no deal. It would be far better to increase economic sanctions and other pressures, rather than to end them in exchange for a mere postponement of Iran obtaining a nuclear arsenal.
There may be better answers, but the ball is now in Obama’s court to provide them, rather than to avoid answering Netanyahu’s reasonable questions by irrelevant answers about “protocol” and personal attacks on the messenger. Israel deserves better. The world deserves better. The American people deserve better. And Congress deserves better.
An unconditional sunset provision is an invitation to an Iran that continues to export terrorism, bully neighbors and threaten Israel—but with a nuclear arsenal to terrorize the entire world. This would be “a game changer”, to quote President Obama’s words from several years ago, when he promised that he would never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Suddenly, “never” has become “soon.” Congress should insist that any provision allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons after ten years must at the very least be conditioned on a significant change of behavior by the world’s most dangerous regime.
The American People Don’t Like the Terms of the Iran Deal
In a Monday interview with Reuters, President Obama said, “If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist … if we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon.”
Voters overwhelmingly reject that deal: 84 percent—including 80 percent of Democrats—think it’s a bad idea to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons 10 years from now in return for agreeing it won’t obtain nukes before then.
The poll of 1,001 registered voters must be taken seriously because its results show real consistency over time.
For example, “Some 55 percent think it would be ‘a disaster’ if Iran were to obtain the capability to use nuclear weapons, while 40 percent sees it as ‘a problem that can be managed.’ Those sentiments are unchanged from 2010.” It shows a sharp partisan divide, which clearly reflects the reality of the present moment. But here is the most remarkable finding, to my mind:
Overall, two-thirds of voters (65 percent) favor the U.S. using military action, if necessary, to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Just 28 percent are opposed.
To varying degrees, majorities of Republicans (81 percent), Democrats (54 percent) and independents (53 percent) agree on using force to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Purim joke 4: The Southern debutante ball

In 1964, a US Navy cruiser put into port in Mobile, Alabama for a week's R&R. The first evening, the Captain was more than a little surprised to receive the following letter from the wife of a very wealthy plantation owner and industrialist:

Dear Captain:

Thursday will be my daughter Susan's debutante ball. I would like you to send four well-mannered, handsome, unmarried officers. They should arrive at 8 p.m. sharp, prepared for an evening of polite Southern conversation and dancing with lovely young ladies.

PS: No Jews.

Sure enough, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, the lady followed her butler to answer a rap at the door which was opened by the butler. She found in dress uniform, four handsome, exquisitely mannered and smiling African American naval officers.

Her lower jaw hit the floor, but pulling herself together she stammered, "There must be some mistake."

"Madam," said the first officer, "Captain Cohen doesn't make mistakes.”

Purim joke 3: The Vatican wedding

Three of the holiest nuns in Vatican City decided that they wanted to get married to their lord, Jesus. So the pope decided it would be appropriate to have an elaborate ceremony to celebrate such a magical and uplifting event.

As the ceremony is under way, three chassidim with long beards and black frocks  suddenly walked into the cathedral and took a seat all the way in the front.

The pope went over to them and said, "No offense to you gentlemen, I do not have anything against people of your faith, however; I am just curious as to what are you doing here?? If I came into synagogue on Yom Kippur, you would certainly ask me the same thing."

They all looked up at the Pontiff. The one in the middle with a long red beard answered, “We are on the groom's side.”

Muslims upset that hotel in Jaffa blocks view of mosque

Muslim leaders in Jaffa are upset at the construction of a new hotel.

The main reason? Because it is near a large mosque - second in size only to Al Aqsa - and the hotel blocks the view of the mosque from some angles.

However, they have a bunch of other reasons to be upset if that reason isn't bad enough.

For one thing, they claim that the land that the hotel is being built on is really Islamic Waqf land that was stolen from them.

In addition to this, pornographic things are practiced inside the hotel and in its grounds with swimming pools and naked women, which affects the feelings of any Muslim human being, according to [Jaffa Muslim League official Omar] Siksik.

Third, the hotel grounds allegedly include a Muslim cemetery.

Fourth, the hotel guests might insist that the mosque not issue ear-splitting calls to prayer at dawn.

Fifth, the hotel is a place where people "practice immorality."

Officials say that the hotel is 'flouting all religious rights and humanitarian principles."