In high school and college, I spent several New Year's Eve's watching New Year's Eve with Guy Lombardo in friends' parents' basement. Lombardo's last New Year's Eve was 1976-77.
This Tribute To Guy Lombardo Aired Shortly After The Countdown On New Year's Eve. 1977-1978. Guy Lombardo Had Died On November 5th, 1977 And His Brother, Victor, Was Leading The Orchestra At The Waldorf Astoria In New York City. Lee Jordan Narrates This Tribute.
Tom Gross reports that several branches of Waterstone's, Britain's largest bookseller, have been promoting Hitler's Mein Kampf as the perfect gift for Christmas.
Staff at a Waterstone’s branch in the northern English town of Huddersfield, for example, used a festive point-of-sale sticker to promote the book as “the perfect present” with an accompanying personal recommendation message by a staff member trumpeting the book as “an essential read for anyone”.
According to the (London) Jewish Chronicle, Waterstone’s stores in Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere also displayed front covers of multiple copies of Mein Kampf, a sales technique designed to attract shoppers.
There has been remarkably little coverage of this story in Britain’s national press, though The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian did run short news items, and so did Fox News in America. (I have seen no editorials or comments pieces or letters to the editor.)
Several Jewish leaders regarded Waterstone’s apology as less than satisfactory.
A Waterstone’s spokesperson said: “We do not believe we actively promote this book; our customers are capable of forming their own opinions on whether to purchase it or not… However staff should not have used inappropriate seasonal stickers on the book. We will also communicate with all our branches at the earliest possible opportunity to remind them of the sensitivities surrounding our stocking of Mein Kampf.”
But then, given everything else coming out of Britain these days, I suppose we cannot be too surprised.
Speaking with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun in Tehran, Salehi said that Iran was prepared to reenter negotiations with the group made up of the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany based on the "step by step" plan proposed by Moscow in July. The plan calls for a gradual easing of sanctions against Iran in exchange for the Islamic Republic disclosing details about its nuclear program.
And this is from the second link.
The European Union is open to meaningful talks with Tehran provided there are no preconditions on the Iranian side, an EU foreign policy spokesman said on Saturday.
EU foreign policy spokesman, Michael Mann, said in an email to Reuters that Catherine Ashton wrote to Jalili in October and had not yet had a response.
"We continue to pursue our twin-track approach and are open for meaningful discussions on confidence-building measures, without preconditions from the Iranian side," he said.
This is nothing but a stalling tactic. The Iranians will continue to pursue weapons while 'talking' about giving it up.
Last Friday, an Algemeiner reader captured this photo and video of beleaguered New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman with Lebanese Ambassador to the United Nations Nawaf Salam breakfasting at the hot spot.
Salam, who has held his position since 2007 is well know for his key role in forwarding the Unilateral Deceleration of Palestinian Arab Statehood at the United Nations, a move that was vigorously opposed by the United States.
Anne Bayefsky, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and editor of Eye on the UN, commented on Salam’s position as a representative of the Hezbollah dominated Lebanese government, saying, “He is essentially Hezbollah’s representative in the United Nations.” The group, listed as a terror organization by the United States, has dominated Lebanese politics since 2009.
Our eyewitness tells us that their body language seemed friendly and jovial.
The meeting came just three days following the publication of Friedman’s now infamous December 13th column where he wrote, “I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
Don't take their word for the 'body language.' Let's go to the videotape.
The Algemeiner reports that an anonymous Israeli government insider says that the government believes that Friedman's recent hostility to Israel is a result of 'undue Arab influence' on him. I disagree. Friedman needs no help to be anti-Israel.
Sunday is the last day of the NFL regular season (my guys have made the playoffs already and can wrap up home field until the Super Bowl with a win). Here's an awesome touchdown from last Saturday's Bengals - Cardinals game that has had more than four million hits already.
Citing what appears to be a reader’s comment to a Caroline Glick article(and what could be any more definitive than a reader’s comment on a Web site?), B.I. says the Israeli p.m. “is alleged to have an IQ of 180.”
Topping the list, by the way, are Microsoft’s Paul Allen, physicist Stephen W. Hawking, and chess grandmaster Robert Byrne.
It was my mother of blessed memory who would say to me, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” (I got my sense of self-esteem from her.) Insert your own version about Bibi here.
But in an update, the author, Andrew Silow-Carroll, cites sources that say it's Ehud Barak who has the genius level IQ (yes, I find that hard to believe too).
One can see this change as a sign that Israelis have gotten too used to the current — and supposedly unsustainable — situation with the Palestinians, and now foolishly believe the status quo can last forever. Or perhaps it’s a sign that they see little point in debating a topic about which they generally agree: a decent peace deal for most of the occupied land (with many devils in the details). Or maybe they’re just tired of rehashing what has become a very boring issue with no new angles to discover and no new arguments to chew on. I look at this shift in conversation through a more positive lens: Maybe Israelis have realized that they need to sort some things out among themselves pending the big breakthrough in their relations with Palestinians and other Arabs. Maybe they have realized that having a more robust and more cohesive Israel will make this peace more achievable when the day for it finally comes.
Or maybe, unlike those pundits who hyperventilate that something must be done, Israelis simply don't see that any breakthrough is possible at this time. The sorting that Rosner mentions, may not be a cause of Israeli disinterest as much as its effect.
During the past year along the Gaza border, the IDF says 100 Palestinian combatants were killed in military operations, as well as 9 civilians. This is nearly a 1:10 civilian-to-combatant ratio that is unprecedented in any other conflict in the world. The UN estimates an average 3:1 ratio of civilian-to-combatant deaths in conflicts worldwide. That is three civilians for every combatant killed.
Note that the average casualty rate is 3 civilians for every combatant.
During Cast Lead three years ago, Israel was vilified for its "brutal" assault on Gaza, resulting in the Goldstone commission. After the fighting was over, Hamas acknowledged that six to seven hundred of those killed - out of an estimated 1400 - were its fighters. (Even now news reports mention that 1400 were killed as if that fact alone condemns Israel.) In other words, Hamas admitted, against its interests that Israel managed to keep its ratio of civilians to combatants down to roughly 1:1, a collateral damage rate well below average. It shows that the complaints against Israel were motivated by something other than sincere concern.
Mr. Celik, the ruling party spokesman, acknowledged that the airstrikes were a “mistake” but said the accidental killings would not deter the Turkish military from further missions against the P.K.K., which the United States and the European Union list as a terrorist organization. “Turkey has to struggle against terror,” he said.
I found a picture of my friend Aussie Dave, and I posted it because I thought you all would want to know what he looks like.
On Friday, Dave did a post-mortem of his battle with Dicky Silverstein. I want to highlight a couple of points that are the real takeaways of this incident.
I did not go to an “immense amount of trouble he did to perpetrate this hoax” at all. It took all of 20 minutes to create the fake Facebook profile with one friend (!), perhaps 5 minutes to capture the screenshot and upload it to my blog, and my contact spent no more than that corresponding with Silverstein. An hour’s worth of work at most.
There was really not that much “subterfuge necessary to fool” Silverstein. Just one email and a Facebook profile with a clearly fake photo and only one friend. I am actually surprised he fell for it so easily, which just goes to show you the extent of his fact-checking of sources.
As I understand it, this is why Dave bothered to try to entrap Silverstein - to show that Silverstein publishes whatever is put in front of him and is not careful to verify before he publishes. Given that Silverstein is cited by the MSM from time to time, one has to hope that they noticed and take him less seriously the next time he libels the State of Israel.
The other takeaway is this:
Jillian York is director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting free speech online and protecting the rights of bloggers to remain anonymous. One would think someone in her capacity would discourage Silverstein from undermining my online privacy. Instead, she expressed her pleasure at the idea of me being outed. While her excuse was the information was public anyway, the following tweet speaks volumes.
Given we have never conversed previous to this, one can only assume she feels this way due to my politics. In any event, I suggest you read this post.
Isn't it amazing how so-called 'human rights' groups just join the pile-on when someone who is Right wing and/or pro-Israel is targeted?
In the New York Post, Abby Schachter slams former Obama adviser Dennis Ross. Ross wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal calling for pressure on Iran. Schachter says it should have been called Chutzpa. This is from the first link.
In Sept 2008 Ross wrote that for negotiations with Iran to begin, “Iran would not, for example, have to suspend its uranium enrichment first. But to avoid Iran misreading this as a sign of weakness, pressures must be maintained. [...]
"So how to talk and preserve the pressures with¬out making either side appear weak?" Ross continued. "One way to do so would be for the United States to go to the Europeans and offer to join the talks with Iran without Iran having to suspend uranium enrich¬ment. To avoid misleading the Iranians into thinking they had won, the price for our doing this would not be with Iran but with Europe. The European Union would adopt more stringent sanctions on investments, credits, and technol¬ogy transfer vis-à-vis Iran in general or at least on the Iranian energy sector. The Iranians would be informed that the United States is joining the talks but that these sanctions are now being adopted by all European countries."
In Nov. 2008 he wrote that “sharp sticks, of course, must be balanced by appetizing carrots. We need to offer political, economic and security benefits to Tehran, on the condition that Iran change its behavior not just on nukes but on terrorism as well. Sticks will show Iran what it stands to lose by going nuclear; carrots will show its leaders what they would gain by moderating their behavior.”
In Dec. 2010 he was still on this ineffective and dangerous path writing that "we wanted to use engagement so we could deal, directly with Iran” and that “Iran has a chance," said Ross, "to really benefit from the talks in areas like science, technology, etc. and has a lot to gain from the talks."
Today, Ross wants to make it seem as if nothing has happened in Iran over these past three years. There was no stolen election and subsequent bloodbath in the streets of Iran, there has been no Arab uprising in the rest of the Middle East -- an uprising that is looking more and more like it could very well move in Iran's favor. Ross seems to have forgotten that threats against Israel and the United States have continued from Tehran, that the Iranians have a US drone they are stealing technology and information from and finally that the Iranians are now closer than they have ever to having a nuclear weapon.
I agree that Ross didn't help Israel at all during his term in office. But I don't believe he was the one establishing policy. That came from Obama.
He should have resigned sooner and gone public with the real reasons for his resignation - if in fact he resigned over a policy disagreement. But to make it sound like Ross was the guy shaping policy like this op-ed does goes too far in my not-so-humble opinion.
This year, 2012, will be the most important year in Israel's history. The world will never be the same again. With revolutions erupting across the Middle East, elections in the United States of America and the European economy in turmoil, NOW IS THE TIME to stand with Israel. Make a resolution to support The Land of Israel.com and join us in spreading the truth and beauty of Israel with the world. The world needs to know the truth now more than ever before.
"The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year, until the year's end." Deuteronomy 11:12. The eyes of the world are focused on Israel - as what will happen in Jerusalem, will ultimately happen to the rest of the world.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that an anti-Muslim Internet hate site that contained a number of threats of violence targeting mosques, including the comment “I want [Muslim] blood on my hands,” has been taken down by its hosting company.
CAIR said visitors to “Bare Naked Islam,” hosted by WordPress.com, now see the message: “barenakedislam.wordpress.com is no longer available. This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.”
[NOTE: "Bare Naked Islam" was one of the major promoters of the campaign to pressure Lowe's to drops its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim."]
One of the commenters there says that America is bowing to Shari'a law. Indeed it is. The Jihadis have sites all over the internet, but an all-American blog is taken down. We are in a war in which we are defeating ourselves.
Rep. Ron Paul’s defense of Iran’s nuclear weapons program should surprise no one. The same resentment motivates Ron Paul and the Iranian leadership — a paranoid hostility toward a world that is swiftly changing and has little mercy, and a Millenarian desire to return to a mythical, untroubled past. Get rid of the Federal Reserve, scourge the bankers, return to a gold standard and erect a wall around the United States — and we will return to when? To 1957, when the Russians launched the first space satellite, alerting the United States to the danger that it might lose the Cold War? Then, as always, we prevailed, but by the skin of our teeth. Ron Paul’s program is an American version of the Iranian desire to return to a world of Islamic purity that never existed, any more than did a golden age of American isolationism.
America is not the embodiment of hope, but the abandonment of one kind of hope in return for another. America embodies the spirit of creative destruction, selecting immigrants willing to turn their back on the tragedy of their own failing culture in return for a new start. Its creative success is so enormous that its global influence hastens the decline of other cultures. For those on the destruction side of the trade, America is a monster. Now China has become an agent of creative destruction as well, the consequence of its partial adoption of the American model. China indirectly brought about the so-called Arab Spring, by driving up world grain prices and pricing the Arab poor out of the world market for food. Chinese pigs will eat before Arab peasants; food insecurity (if not actual starvation) undermined the Arab dictatorships.
Iranian resentment is understandable. They recall the Brontosaurus in an old Far Side cartoon, standing at the dais addressing an auditorium full of dinosaurs: “The climate is changing, our food supply is dwindling, and we have a brain the size of a peanut. I’d say we’re in trouble.” Islam is a religion of traditional society, of iron constraints and unquestioned hierarchies. By teaching Iranian girls to read, the late Shah set off a cultural chain-reaction: fertility has fallen from 7 children per female a generation ago to just 1.5 today, a catastrophic decline unparalleled in demographic history. And mosque attendance is down to only 2% by some estimates. Creative destruction has burst in upon Iran and turned its society inside-out. The mullahs still have all the money in Iran’s hydrocarbon monoculture, and almost all the guns, and they will do anything necessary to turn the clock back. Their world is disappearing in front of their eyes. They have nothing to lose.
Of course, the mullahs would have nothing without the global economy; after oil, Iran exports nothing but pistachios and carpets. Without foreign oil companies, the mullahs could not drill, pump, or ship their hydrocarbons. The whole apparatus of Iranian Islam is a theme park, an Shi’ite Disneyland funded by oil revenues, perpetuating a barbaric society that could not feed itself without global demand for the natural resources that, by unlucky accident, happen to be located in Iranian territory.
Mullah Paul voices the same fear and resentment in its milder American form. He has in common with the Iranians a desire to make the world go away, and a fixed idea that an evil conspiracy brought about all the problems. Ron Paul isn’t an Iranian, to be sure; he’s just the closest an American can come to thinking like an Iranian without actually moving there.
There's someone else whom Paul calls to mind: Barack Obama. Like Obama, Paul doesn't believe in American exceptionalism. He doesn't believe in the American capacity to make a difference. And like Obama, Paul would withdraw American troops from around the world (as Obama has done in Iraq and Afghanistan) without regard to whether their job is done or to what might happen once they leave. Obama believes in erecting walls around the United States and then more equally dividing American wealth. He harks back to an era when there was no global economy. Does Paul? (That's not a rhetorical question and you should feel free to write about it in the comments - sitting in Israel I know little about Paul's domestic policies other than the fact that he wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve and return to the gold standard. I don't think he favors a Communist-style redistribution of wealth like Obama does but I could be wrong).
It would be a pity to see Americans make the same mistake that they made in 2008. And it would be a threat to World peace and security.
Video: Ron Paul does interview with Iran's Press TV, bashes Israel, defends Hamas
On Jan 5 2009 Ron Paul conducted an interview with Iranian state owned English language propaganda channel, Press TV, where he urges ending support of Israel, defends Hamas and tactics of suicide bombing, states that Hamas is innocent and the Israeli state are the aggressors.
"To me i look at it like it's a concentration camp, and people are making bombs, like, they're the aggressors?"
Let's go to the videotape.
Anyone still want to argue that Ron Paul is pro-Israel?
The Egyptian army raided the offices of 17 pro-democracy groups on Thursday, including three that are financed by the United States. Ironically, many of the secular leaders of Egypt's revolution - who have been left out in the cold in the current election cycle - were brought to the United States for training by these very same groups (Hat Tip: Memeorandum and Mike P).
In Cairo, heavily armed men wearing the black uniforms of the central security police tore through boxes, hauled away files and computers and prevented employees from leaving offices of two of the American groups, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, which are affiliated with American political parties and financed by the United States government. The security forces also raided the offices of the Washington-based Freedom House.
The raids were a stark escalation in what has appeared to be a campaign by the country’s military rulers to rally support by playing to nationalist and anti-American sentiment here.
“General prosecutor & central security stormed N.D.I. office in Cairo & Assiut,” an employee of the National Democratic Institute wrote in a text message from inside its offices. “We are confined here as they’re searching and clearing out office.”
A man, who identified himself as an official with the public prosecutor’s office but declined to give his name, stood outside the offices of the International Republican Institute in the Dokki neighborhood. He refused to answer questions about the raids but said, “Don’t worry, we’re not going to arrest them.”
The raids come of the heels of an investigation by the Egyptian government into foreign financing for nonprofit organizations operating in the country. The military has suggested that such funding has played a role in fomenting protests with goal of bringing down the Egyptian government.
In 2010, the U.S. and Iraq signed an agreement that required the Sunni bloc in parliament to have a say in who runs the defense and interior ministries. But despite Maliki’s pledge, the ministries remain under his control.
“It is very risky to arm a sectarian army,” Rafe al-Essawi, the country’s finance minister and a leading Sunni politician, told the newspaper. “It is very risky with all the sacrifices we’ve made, with all the budget to be spent, with all the support of America — at the end of the day, the result will be a formal militia army,” al-Essawi added.
Like any other U.S. arms deals in the Middle East, the Iraqi-U.S. deal is to counter the Iranian threat, but according to the newspaper, “there are also fears that the move could backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington.”
Joost Hiltermann, the International Crisis Group’s deputy program director for the Middle East, told the newspaper that “Washington took the decision to build up Iraq as a counterweight to Iran through close military cooperation and the sale of major weapon systems.”
But Hiltermann added that “Maliki has shown a troubling inclination toward enhancing his control over the country’s institutions without accepting any significant checks and balances.”
The weapons being sold to Iraq include F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, cannons and armored personnel carriers, and body armor, helmets, ammunition trailers and sport utility vehicles, which critics say can be used by domestic security services to help Maliki consolidate power.
Turkish bank financing Iranian oil says no US pressure to stop
You would think that since President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan are such good friends, if the US asked Turkey to stop dealing with Iran in violation of US and EU (but apparently not UN) sanctions, Turkey would pretend it's in the EU and stop dealing with Iran, right? Well, it goes without saying that's not what's happening. Turkey's state-run Halkbank is financing Indian purchases of oil from Iran. The apparent reason they are continuing to do so is that the Obama administration has not asked them to stop.
Aslan said the bank obeys international banking rules as well as the United Nations’ sanctions against Iran. Noting that Halkbank already has a branch in Tehran, Aslan said Turkey also makes its transactions in return for the oil and gas purchases from Iran through the lender. “One way or another, we have to make these transactions. We cannot carry the money in trucks to Iran,” Aslan said.
He said the bank would consider its position regarding international transactions only if the international community bans any purchase of oil and gas from Turkey’s eastern neighbor. Responding to a question as to whether the bank had been pressured to halt transactions to Iran by the United States, Aslan said there has been no pressure from the U.S. side.
Barack Obama is unwilling to ask his friends to boycott Iran. Maybe that's because his real best friend is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Nearly half of the terror plots aimed at the city since 1992 have targeted Jewish people or institutions, prompting police to ramp up security around such facilities during the holiday season, according to an NYPD intelligence analysis.
Friday, police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there was no specific threat against the city around the Christmas holiday season but that officers were remaining on alert as has become the usual practice.
The intelligence division study showed that in addition to Jews being targeted in eight of 18 plots in the city since 1992, there have been 44 suspected terrorists who have lived in the five boroughs. Aside from Samir Khan, editor of the al-Qaida-linked Inspire who was killed in September in a drone attack in Yemen, all the other suspects have been arrested in prior cases. The NYPD intelligence findings was first reported Thursday by Reuters.
And I thought we needed to worry about 'Islamophobia'....
Of course, the post doesn't mention from what group(s) the terrorists came. Anyone want to take a guess?
If you want a good laugh, read the holiday card sent out by Saudi Ambassador to the United States and public relations genius Adel al-Jubeir. Citing a Quranic verse, he writes "Behold, the angels said: 'O Mary, God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God.'"
Christmas greetings from an ambassador whose government prohibits Christians from worshiping publicly, building churches, wearing crosses or importing Bibles. Invoking the names of Mary and Jesus while representing a government that this year beheaded Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar and Abdul Hamid Al Fakki for "witchcraft."
Saudi Arabia has perfected the art of cognitive dissonance" or, in plain English, hypocrisy. For example, Saudi Education Minister Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed recently spoke at the Saudi-U.S. Business Opportunities Forum in Atlanta. The Saudi Embassy reported that "Prince Faisal characterized the educational system in the Kingdom as a model for the Middle East and North Africa."
God help us if that's true. An eighth-grade textbook currently published by the Saudi Education Ministry declares "The Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians." A ninth-grade textbook echoes "The Jews and the Christians are enemies of the believers, and they cannot approve of Muslims." Six million schoolchildren are indoctrinated with this every year in Saudi Arabia.
Had Jesus been born in Saudi Arabia today, he'd likely be imprisoned, flogged or beheaded.
Indeed. Of course, Islam would have had to exist before he was born, which would require rewriting history....
Israel develops new 'solution' to kill hospital superbugs
Another brilliant solution to a common problem. Israeli scientists have developed a new 'solution' that kills hospital superbugs.
Hospital-acquired infections are one of the leading causes of preventable death in the developed world today, with 100,000 people in the United States alone dying every year from bugs they catch as patients in the hospital, according to the World Health Organization. The old and very young are at an especially high risk of infection from resistant bacteria that can spread like wildfire.
But now superbugs may have met their match, thanks to a genetically engineered cleaning solution developed in Israeli laboratories.
Costing only a few dollars a quart, the solution is non-toxic to patients and can be spread on hospital surfaces to kill what conventional soaps and antibiotics can't, report researchers Rotem Edgar from the Tel Aviv Sourasky (Ichilov) Medical Center and Udi Qimron from Tel Aviv University. They detailed their technology recently in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
The solution uses a laboratory-grown virus called a bacteriophage, which disrupts the DNA of resistant bacteria and renders them susceptible to antibiotics.
"We have genetically engineered the bacteriophages so that once they infect the bacteria, they transfer a dominant gene that confers renewed sensitivity to certain antibiotics," says Qimron, who believes his solution will one day be part of every hospital's anti-germ arsenal.
The researchers say that the new spray could be applied on any surface where there is a high concentration of germs, such as door handles, faucets, bedrails and handrails.
The product is now ready to be tested, first on a nasty strain of E. coli that leads to urinary tract infections in pregnant women. The scientists will also test their spray on other kinds of bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
In the latest issue of December 2011, the editors chose to include two drawings of maps of "Palestine" that included PA areas as well as all of Israel under the Palestinian flag - a sign of Palestinian rule, political sovereignty and the elimination of Israel. One of the maps includes the image of a dagger being thrust through the map. The number "194" and the letters "UN" in the drawings refer to the PA's bid in September to become the 194th member state of the UN.
The same issue of Zayzafuna also included a Palestinian school principal's essay on Yasser Arafat, describing Arafat's terror as heroic after he established Fatah and lauded Arafat for promising "the liberation of all the Palestinian land, without bargaining, without compromise." The editors of Zayzafuna also included a poem by a girl in 9th grade promising the liberation of "Palestine." Both texts follow below:
As mentioned in PMW's study of one year's issues of Zayzafuna, (Chapter 14 in Deception: Betraying the Peace Process) and it is true about this issue as well, the hate messages such as these depicting a world without Israel, are blended in with the numerous positive messages about friendship and the importance of education.
In the US, calling someone an 'Israel firster' is anti-Semitic
In recent years, certain anti-Israel elements in the US have been referring to American supporters of Israel as 'Israel firsters.' In particular, the term is commonly used by the despicable MJ Rosenberg of Media Matters, and by certain bloggers at the Center for American Progress. Obviously, the term implies dual loyalty of American citizens at best and no loyalty to the United States at worst - an old anti-Semitic canard. Now, the bloggers are being called for using the term and for other anti-Semitic entries in their blogs.
“Israel Firsters fighting each other over whose position on the Middle East conflict is more unreasonable,” and, “... Obama is still beloved by Israel-firsters and getting lots of their $$,” CAP blogger Zaid Jilani tweeted.
In an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, wrote, “Invoking the term ‘Israel firsters’ and claiming that Jews are war-mongers is precisely the embodiment of new anti-Semitism. The Center for American Progress (CAP) ignored vitriolic and highly offensive rhetoric of the ThinkProgress reporter and bloggers. As we see in Israel, individuals on the far Left that consider themselves ‘enlightened progressives’ resort to personal attacks and misinformation when criticized. ThinkProgress should have stopped the offensive rhetoric rather than distorting Josh Block’s statements.”
Another CAP blogger, Eli Clifton, cast doubt on the accuracy of a Quinnipiac University poll that referred to the existence of Iran’s “nuclear program.” Clifton also wrote that AIPAC “is now using the same escalating measures against Iran that were used before the invasion of Iraq.”
CAP’s director of Middle East Progress, Matt Duss, has compared Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza to racial discrimination. “Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values,” Duss wrote.
Steinberg said, “It follows from classical anti-Semitism, with inferences of dual loyalty and foreign policy control, and should have no place in American political discourse. This is part of a continuing pattern at ThinkProgress. Two of its reporters, Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib, have blogged for the Electronic Intifada, a highly influential anti-peace and anti-Israel organization. Clifton’s doubts about an Iranian nuclear program are further evidence of his fringe ideological views.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, wrote that the “bloggers are guilty of dangerous political libels resonating with historic and toxic anti-Jewish prejudices.”
Jennifer Rubin, a prominent Washington Post blogger, termed the ThinkProgress bloggers’ language “not merely anti-Israel, they are anti-Semitic.”
CAP spokeswoman Andrea Purse wrote the Jerusalem Post by e-mail on Tuesday, “The allegations against CAP of ‘vitriolic and highly offensive rhetoric’ are based on blatant misinformation. Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib have never written for the website ‘The Electronic Intifada.’ They wrote for a global newswire called IPS and some of their writings were republished by The Electronic Intifada website without permission. The term ‘Israel First’ has never been used on CAP’s blogs, other than to criticize it. Nor have CAP bloggers ever asserted that ‘Jews are war-mongers’ or anything similar.”
Purse continued, “The Center for American Progress favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [that] is the consensus view of administrations of both parties dating back to president Clinton. Our position is based on our strong belief that it is in the national security interests of the United States to achieve a resolution to this conflict. We categorically reject and are offended by the idea that any of our work is anti-Semitic, unless one believes the Middle East peace plan itself and ensuring Israel’s long-term security by securing its neighborhood is anti- Semitic. We welcome a discussion of these ideas on the merits."
Steinberg told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “If CAP wants to disassociate itself from Electronic Intifada, it should demand that Clifton and Gharib’s blogs be removed.”
At PJ Media, David Gerstman takes down Tom Friedman. Friedman's standards seem to evolve so that it is always the case that he criticizes Israel and never any of its enemies. Here's the conclusion.
In these three cases — the withdrawal from southern Lebanon, the Arab peace plan, and “Fayyadism” — Friedman proclaimed he had the answer to promote peace in the Middle East. When none of these worked out as Friedman envisioned, he still found some way to blame Israel for the failures.
The most generous explanation is that Friedman is unserious and will latch onto any idea that sounds vaguely appealing. But that doesn’t explain why Friedman nearly always finds Israel at fault for the lack of peace in the Middle East. If someone is always looking for a reason to criticize you, he isn’t a friend. Friedman’s record on the Middle East shows that he is not — despite his lame protestations to the contrary — Israel’s friend.
Human rights advocates have questioned whether the team has the qualifications or enough independence from the government to help end a conflict that many fear is veering toward civil war as growing numbers of armed men join the opposition. Already, more than 5,000 people have been killed since the popular uprising began gathering momentum — and harsh government retaliation — in March, according to United Nations estimates.
The doubts about the observer mission seemed to grow Wednesday after comments by its leader, Lt. Gen. Muhammed al-Dabi, a former head of military intelligence in Sudan. Speaking about a visit on Tuesday to Homs that was interrupted by gunfire — and a city that has seen some of the worst violence in the nine-month conflict — General Dabi told Reuters, “Some places looked a bit of a mess, but there was nothing frightening.”
So it was interesting to see what else was in the latest statement issued by the kings, princes and authoritarian presidents of the Middle East and North Africa. First there was a call on "the international community to prosecute those responsible" for alleged "war crimes" committed by Israel in its recent offensive in Gaza. Then came an ardent defense of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who was welcomed to the Doha summit despite an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on multiple war crimes charges.
I sure hope Netanyahu reconsiders the offer. The best way to counter lies and distortions is with truth. In recent months, Netanyahu has taken Israel’s case to a joint session of the United States Congress (a friendly environment) and to the General Assembly of the United Nations (a hostile environment). At best, the New York Times falls somewhere in the middle. Why not take your case to the pages of America’s most influential newspaper?
Netanyahu was taking a stand. He wished to show that the New York Times had descended into parody, where Israel cannot be expected to get a fair hearing. I've written about this before. The September 13 Sampler included the following observation. My conclusion is in bold:
It is hard to find a pro-Israel, (or, at least, sympathetic to) Israel op-ed in the New York Times and I want to return to yesterday'sop-ed, Palestinian Statehood.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israel’s security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
It's doubtful that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his wildest, most optimistic dreams, would have dared to imagine when he set off for the United States last week that Israelis would respond to his six-day trip so enthusiastically: According to a new Haaretz poll, they are giving the visit high marks, considering it an overwhelming success.
I'm not going to argue that polls prove anything and, they, of course, can be quite variable. But if there was a single objective measure of the Prime Minister's success, it was a poll. But the New York Times eschewed the poll and constructed a false narrative to fit its editorial position.
His aides had raised hopes that Mr. Netanyahu would offer new ideas to revive talks, but there was really nothing new there. He insisted that Jerusalem “will never again be divided” and Israel’s Army would remain along the Jordan River. And while he basked in Congress’s standing ovations, Ethan Bronner reported in The Times that in Israel the trip was judged a diplomatic failure. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Mr. Netanyahu’s “same old messages” proved the country “deserves a different leader.” Palestinians dismissed the visit and said they would focus on nonviolent protests leading to September.
In other words the New York Times ignored objective evidence of the popularity of Netanyahu's performance and then used the misleading reporting as basis for a subsequent editorial.
Unfortunately, from the sound of Goldman's article, it doesn't sound like the New York Times got the message.
Some 20 Iron Dome missiles sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage when they fell off a truck at an IAF maintenance facility in southern Israel on Monday.
The military said some of the missiles were damaged. Army sources estimated the damage at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan has set up an inquiry committee to investigate the incident, which occurred when technicians who specialize in the Iron Dome air defense system were loading cases containing the interceptor missiles onto a vehicle. Some of the cases were not properly fixed on the vehicle and fell over.
The soldiers were never in danger because the interceptor missiles are equipped with a security mechanism that prevents premature explosions.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said, "A number of Iron Dome missiles were damaged during routine maintenance work. There were no injuries and the damage caused to the missiles is being evaluated. As a result, the maintenance work on the air defense system has been suspended until an initial investigation is completed."
One of the biggest shmucks in the Jewish blogging world - Richard Silverstein - thinks he has exposed Aussie Dave of Israellycool's true identity.
Now, due to a sloppy error on his part (thanks to an eagle-eyed Israeli who finds him as repellant as I, who caught it), Aussie Dave has exposed his real identity. And since I believe that hypocrites deserve their comeuppance and that their dark secrets deserve to see the light, I’m exposing him for what and who he is: David Loeb, 23 Rashi Street Beit-Shemesh, Israel. In his Facebook profile he notes some sort of affiliation with Virgin Megastores, which may mean he works there. If anyone knows, I’d like to find out.
Commenters note that Loeb has featured a picture of a U.S. basketball player for his profile photo which makes that as fake as the rest of him and his blog is. He also might’ve considered that featuring his blog’s URL in his Facebook profile would be another dead giveaway to his real identity.
There's just one little problem: Dave's last name isn't Loeb and that's not his address (I happen to know the real Dave personally). Dave set a trap for Silverstein and Silverstein fell for it (and continues to believe that he has outed Dave) lock, stock and barrel.
Read the whole thing. And if you happen to open Silverstein's blog (or an article that quotes him in the New York Times), keep in mind what a good job of fact-checking Silverstein does before you believe a word he says.
Why Hezbullah is in 'dire financial straits'? Why is this man smiling?
You will recall that ten days ago, I reported that Hezbullah is in dire financial straits. Perhaps this has something to do with the reason why.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is worth some $250 million, a Saudi newspaper reported recently, quoting American intelligence officials.
According to the report, the fortune of Nasrallah's deputy, Sheikh Naim Qassem, and other senior organization members amounts to as much as $2 billion.
The anonymous intelligence sources believe the funds have been deposited in hundreds of bank accounts across the world, including in Europe, using fabricated or fake names.
Two Western sources are quoted as saying that the Hezbollah leaders from time to time channel millions of dollars from their bank accounts or their wives' bank accounts to senior members of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, who are responsible for transferring money to the Shiite organization from the office of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to the report, Iranian parliament members are aware of this corruption, are unhappy with it but are avoiding discussing it.
US aircraft carrier spotted in Iranian exercise area
You will recall that Iran is in the middle of a massive 10-day naval exercise in the area of the Strait of Hormuz. Now, Iran is claiming that a US aircraft carrier, the John Stennis, has been spotted in the exercise zone.
"A US aircraft carrier was spotted inside the maneuver zone... by a navy reconnaissance aircraft," Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi, the spokesman for the Iranian exercises, told the official IRNA news agency.
The Iranian aircraft took video and photos of the US vessel, he added.
The US aircraft carrier was believed to the USS John C. Stennis, one of the US navy's biggest warships.
US officials announced Wednesday that the ship and its accompanying battle group moved through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch at the entrance to the Gulf that is the world's most important choke point for oil shipments.
After warnings from the Iranian government and navy this week that Iran could close the strait if threatened by further Western sanctions, the US Defense Department warned Wednesday that such actions "will not be tolerated."
The United States maintains a navy presence in the Gulf in large part to ensure oil traffic there is unhindered.
The Strait of Hormuz is a key passageway through which 40% of the imported oil of the world passes.
Let's go to the videotape.
But closing down the Strait of Hormuz may hurt Iran more than anyone else.
US officials and outside experts concede that Iran could block the strait, at least temporarily. Testifying to Congress in March, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess said that Iran is expanding its Persian Gulf naval bases, allowing it to “attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz temporarily” during a crisis.
Were Iran to make such a move, it might be hurt more than its adversaries.
Iran’s economy is shaky, as is popular support for its clerical rulers, Nader said. The country is facing new Western efforts to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program, including US sanctions that are awaiting US President Barack Obama’s signature and a possible European Union ban on imports of Iranian oil.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, Iran’s net oil export revenues were approximately $73 billion in 2010; crude oil and its derivatives account for nearly 80 percent of Iran’s total exports; and oil exports provide half of the nation’s government revenue.
Moreover, according to the EIA, Iran’s best customer is China, which took about 22 percent of Tehran’s oil exports during the first half of this year and is a member of the United Nations Security Council and one of the few nations on friendly terms with the Islamic Republic.
China gets 11 percent of its crude oil imports from Iran, according to the EIA, while Turkey, a NATO member that shares both a border and antipathy toward Kurdish separatist groups with Iran, got 51 percent of its imported crude oil from the Islamic Republic from January to June of this year.
While closing the Strait of Hormuz, even briefly, would hurt Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other Gulf oil exporters, the Saudis also ship oil via the Red Sea. All of Iran’s exports and many of its imports of gasoline, food and consumer goods are shipped through the strait.
In other words, a long-term closure of the Strait would likely destroy Iran's economy, but could harm others' as well. Could the mullahs be that suicidal? I'd bet on it.
It's a pity that - as far as I can tell - no one ever followed up on this idea.
The next time someone tells you that the IDF kills civilians....
The next time someone tells you that the IDF kills civilians... show them this:
In general, the IDF sums up the past year along the Gaza border as a success. It says 100 Palestinians were killed over the past year in military operations and that nine were civilians.
This is nearly a 1:10 civilian-to-combatant ratio that is unprecedented in any other conflict in the world.
The United Nations, for example, estimates an average three-to-one ratio of civilian-to-combatant deaths in conflicts worldwide. That is three civilians for every combatant killed. Over the past year in Gaza, it has been one civilian for almost every 10 combatants killed.
The picture at the top is a 'civilian' killed by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead. His name was Anas Naim, and Hamas claimed he was a 'Red Crescent medic.'
Here's Dovid Gabay with Asid HaKadosh Baruch Hu La'Asos Machol La'Tzadikim (In the future, the Holy One Blessed Be He will make a vineyard for the righteous). This is part of the Second Dance album. (I just realized that many of you don't get what "Second Dance" is. At most Orthodox weddings these days, the first dance is when the newlyweds return from their break alone after the ceremony, and the second dance is after the meal).
Shaul Mofaz, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and number 2 in Kadima after opposition leader Tzipi Livni, is complaining that the government is not hitting Gaza hard enough in retaliation for rocket fire.
Mofaz said he approved of the IDF military action on Tuesday night, but asserted that there needs to be more comprehensive operations carried out against the leadership of terrorist groups attacking Israel.
According to Mofaz, inefficient retaliation policies, especially of the current government, have eroded the deterrence successfully created by Operation Cast Lead three years ago.
"The Islamic Jihad is funded by Iran and it needs to prove that it is using the money against Israel effectively," he added, saying that Israel has no choice but to carry out a military operation in order to defend itself.
Mofaz is calling for another Cast Lead? Well, he is, but I'd bet it's posturing. There are primaries soon for the leadership of Kadima, and Mofaz is trying to put some space between himself and Livni.
Syrian exiles: 'Clinton told dissidents to lay down their arms'
Unlike Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry, Hillary Clinton has been smart enough not to allow her picture to be taken with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad - at least as far as I could find. So I had to go with the montage above. But Clinton is apparently no less disposed to keeping the dictator in power than are Pelosi and Kerry (and President Obama for that matter).
YNet has published a lengthy interview with two Syrian dissidents who have found temporary asylum in the United States. The two are still considered to be in danger - as are their families back in Syria - so they are referred to by pseudonyms, and the reporter did not even disclose the name of the city outside which they live. But the interview included this shocker in the middle.
A few weeks ago, Amar met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He presented to her, among other things, information about soldiers who defected and plan to launch a guerilla fight against the army. “To my surprise, she asked that the defectors lay down their arms,” he says. “That’s an odd request. Why didn’t they ask the rebels in Libya to lay down their arms? How can they do it if at any moment they can be fired at and murdered? It’s impractical.”
Is she out of her mind? Does this reflect Obama administration policy? (Yes and yes).
There's lots more in the interview. The exiles say that they don't hate Israel. That they understand that Assad foments hatred of Israel to distract Syrians from his regime's actions. They say that they hate Iran, that they hate Russia for supporting Assad, and that they hate Hezbullah. They talk about how the regime is murdering, raping and torturing children to try to keep their parents in line. It's horrifying stuff, but none of it is too surprising, except for that line from Clinton. I understand that the US doesn't want to get involved in Syria like they did in Libya. But do they really want Assad to stay in power? Why?
Some of you may recall that about a month ago, LATMA had a skit whose theme was that Channel 10 is too big to fail. It is perhaps indicative of the level of interest the Times and other Leftist media take in the minutiae of this country that the Times has now devoted a two-column, front page story to the plight of Channel 10, Israel's commercial cable channel, which owes millions of dollars to the government which it apparently has no intention of paying. Why is the Times so interested? Leo Rennert explains.
The Times is pulling out all the stops to mount a rescue operation in support of Channel 10 with a two-column, front-page article by Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner, replete with dire warnings that democracy and a free press hang in the balance ("Israeli TV Station's Struggle Reflects a Wider Political War" front page, December 27).
Which is laughable once you take into account the fact that Israel's extensive, journalistic gamut leans heavily to the left and, if anything, it is conservative viewpoints which more often than not get shortchanged in the press.
Channel 10 has not spared Netanyahu. It has published exposes of some of his lavish travels to Paris, London and New York before he became prime minister -- with bills paid by wealthy friends. But now, Channel 10 is unable to pay off an $11 million debt owed on taxes and to a regulatory agency. A parliamentary committee, with a majority of government coalition parties, has refused to extend the payment deadline for another year.
The irony is that Netanyahu in previous years intervened twice in support of Channel 10, hoping to expand the marketplace of ideas and debate. But Channel 10's pugnacious exposes of Bibi seem to have turned the wheel -- the prime minister is suing for libel, and one of the station's owners, billionaire Ronald Lauder apparently won't dig deeper into his deep pockets, and the largest shareholder, Yossi Meiman, an Israeli political liberal, made an unfortunate investment in a gas pipeline from Egypt, which keeps getting blown up by terrorists in the Sinai.
To Bronner, all this leaves a very distressing picture of the right scoring points against the left in Israel's culture wars.
The only other independent Israeli TV station, Channel 2, he notes, also faces economic woes, leaving Netanyahu with supposedly strong influence over other media outlets -- state-owned Channel 1, State Radio and a widely distributed, free-of-charge newspaper, Israel Today, bankrolled by a Bibi friend, U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.
But that's hardly a fair, objective way of tallying the political media and cultural score in Israel. Bronner conveniently omits a bevy of imposing counterweights that tip the scales the other way to the left -- the most widely read newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, and far-left Haaretz, the favorite source for quotes in the western press, including the New York Times. To say nothing of Israel's left-leaning theater and literary world, and a big slice of academe.
The Socialist Internationale sure sticks together, doesn't it? I suspect we'll be hearing from President Obama about this soon.
I wonder why Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez thinks that American President Obama doesn't love him anymore. Chavez is accusing the United States of causing Latin American leaders - including himself and Argentinian President Cristina Kirshner - to contract cancer.
Although he said he did not want to make "reckless" accusations, President Hugo Chávez on Wednesday hinted that the cancer that he and four other Latin American presidents have suffered or are suffering may have been caused by a "technology developed by the United States."
"It seems very strange that cancer has hit (Paraguayan President Fernando) Lugo, (Brazilian President) Dilma (Rousseff), then me, and within a few days (Brazilian former president Luis Inácio) Lula (da Silva), and now (Argentinean President) Cristina (Fernández de Kirchner)," Chávez said at the ceremony of Christmas and New Year salutation to the Armed Forces. "It would be hardly surprising that they have developed a technology to induce cancer and that it is known only 50 years later."
Venezuela's Head of State based his suspicions on the tests and experiments with chemical weapons that the US Army secretly conducted in Guatemala in the fifties.
Finally, Chávez asked his counterparts in Ecuador and Bolivia, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales, respectively, to take care of their health.
“We understand that the UN follows diplomatic protocol, but the world body must not forget that its founding purpose is to defend basic human rights, and sadly that message is at serious risk of being blurred today,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a leading advocacy group at the UN for human rights in North Korea....
"Today should be a time for the UN to show solidarity with the victims -- the millions of North Koreans brutalized by Kim's merciless policies of starvation, torture and oppression -- and not with the perpetrator," Neuer said.
"We call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to make clear that today's gesture in no way signals respect for a mass murderer of his own people, a man personally responsible for some of the worst atrocities of our time."
Neuer also expressed concern that the North Korean regime "is likely to exploit the images of flags at half-mast to claim world sympathy for Kim Jong-il and his regime."
There is little hope for any immediate change for the people of North Korea, UN Watch highlights.
“Yes, the world should mourn today. Not for a mass murderer, however, but for the still suffering people of North Korea, who face the prospect of continued oppression under the incoming dictatorship of Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, who’s shown no evidence of being any less ruthless than his father,” Neuer concluded.
A majority in the 193-member UN General Assembly on Dec. 19 approved a resolution condemning North Korea’s human rights record. The measure passed with 123 countries in favour, 16 against. There were 51 abstentions, while three countries were absent for the vote.
The resolution expressed the assembly’s “very serious concern at the persistence of continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic and social and cultural rights” in North Korea.
Voting with North Korea in opposition to the condemnation were Algeria, Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Myanmar, Oman, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.
Surprise: 'Palestinian' motivation to kidnap soldiers has increased since terrorists for Gilad trade
This should surprise no one. The IDF is now admitting that the 'Palestinians' motivation to kidnap IDF soldiers has significantly increased since the terrorists for Gilad trade was concluded.
Motivation to kidnap Israeli soldiers has significantly increased since Israel completed the prisoner swap for the release of Gilad Schalit, a senior IDF commander said Wednesday.
According to Col. Tal Hermoni, commander of the Gaza Division South Brigade, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip are working to abduct Israeli soldiers and are digging tunnels that can potentially be used in such an attack.
"We believe that since there are additional Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails that these groups are working to kidnap soldiers," Hermoni said Wednesday during a briefing to reporters along Israel's border with Egypt."
Hermoni said that there are people working in Gaza "on a daily basis" in the tunnel industry and that Israel was investing significant resources to gather intelligence and locate those tunnels to limit the element of surprise if they were to be used in a future attack. The terrorists who kidnapped Schalit in June 2006 infiltrated Israel via a 500m-long tunnel they had dug under the border near the Kerem Shalom crossing.
Hermoni said that the abduction of a soldier was the type of attack which would have "strategic significance" for Israel and that the IDF was working on multiple levels to prevent such an attack and to thwart one if it is launched. He said that military orders about how commanders and soldiers should operate in an abduction attack were being clarified and are transmitted to all the relavent ranks within the IDF.
So is everyone going to be shocked when - God forbid - it happens again?
Six and a half years ago, many of us warned that giving Gaza to the 'Palestinians' would result in a hail of rockets raining down on Israel. We were ignored. We were right. Now, unfortunately, the same thing is about to happen regarding the kidnapping of IDF soldiers.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children are married and a fourth is engaged! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com