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Category: World News (page 19 of 21)

News and events from around the world, commentary and discussion from an Israeli perspective

The Only Jew in AlJazeera Net

British Jewish journalist Arthur Neslen Being a Jew in England, says British Jewish journalist Arthur Neslen, is to have your entire identity, culture and history judged in reference to Israel.
Why?
Because Diaspora identity is at death’s door, clinging desperately to this country – the one remaining floating plank from a sinking ship. But to criticize Israel or even talk about it in a reasonable manner among the Diaspora, he says, has become totally impossible; the terms of the debate, he says are just too emotive and too visceral.
And so, in order to provide his critique on Israel, he let Israelis speak for themselves.
Neslen, who is the former London correspondent for AlJazeera.net, came to Israel in 2002 and interviewed some 50 Israelis, from all political affiliations and from all walks of life, and put them all together in a book – or as he likes to think of it “a mirror” – a mirror of just what that Israel is, according to which he and everyone else in the Diaspora is being judged.
He is now in Israel promoting that book, entitled “Occupied Minds: A Journey through the Israeli Psyche” and I had the chance to interview him last week about the work, the people he met while writing it, why he thinks of political Zionism as the enemy and just why he describes Israel is a “modern-day Golem,” which will destroy the very people it was created to protect.
I was also intrigued to know just what it was like for him to be the only Jew at AlJazeera.net.

Find out this and more in the full interview …

One on One – Taken Literally in America

“Here’s to all the lonely people, who think life has passed them by”, so went the words to a popular American tune that came out during the mid 1980’s. These words are even more relevant in today’s increasingly ‘alone’ society in a country whose life styles and personal freedoms are still the envy of most of the world’s population. Studies carried out by a well known research organization, headed by Dr. Len Smith-Lubin, and conducted on a widely diversified group of Americans between the years of 1985 to today, concluded that more and more Americans not only live alone but have no one they can personally rely on in the event of an emergency – even members of their own families.
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The Fourth of July and Yom Ha’Azmaut – Why Must we Celebrate?

Tomorrow, July 4 2006, marks the 230th anniversary since a group of American patriots sat together in the city of Philadelphia to sign a document that had been drafted as a protest to being ruled by a country located more than three thousand miles ‘across the pond’. That document known as the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed by men who were literally risking their very lives to do so. One of these men, a newspaper publisher and itinerant inventor named Benjamin Franklin, put forth his message so eloquently when he said: “Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately”. In the midst of what is now referred to as the American Revolution, an extremely bloody and painful conflict lasting more than 7 years, the 13 American colonies were finally granted their independence from British rule in 1783. This achievement, and that famous document signed ‘In Congress’ on that hot and muggy July day, became the beginning of what has been the world’s greatest achievement in freedom and democracy.
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From Ramla Israel to Kevin Smith – Hey Clip hits 6.2 million views

I visited a friend the other day and as we were sitting in his office with the door open just as these 2 young girls walked by. “These are the “Hey Clip” girls”, he blurted.
“Hey What?” I asked.
“You don’t know who they are?”, he said and looked at me shocked.
WELL NOW I KNOW! (better late then never..)
To see them you wouldn’t suspect that these two 21 year old girls from Ramla are internet stars. Their video take on “Hey” by the Pixies has reached millions and has gotten them interviewed by various shows, fan sites have been built in their honour and they have a true following. The video was supposed to be a birthday gift for a boyfriend and had become much more then that.

This Hey Clip has been viewed by over 6.2 million viewers.

Kevin Smith - Clerks 2
What is truely amazing is that Kevin Smith in his campaign to promote “
Clerks 2” actually made a shameless spoof of the Hey clip girls video. He did call himself a whore for doing that though and it is after all Kevin Smith so he can do shit like that. But still…

Neo-Nazis are Alive and Well in Minnesota USA

The National Socialist Movement (aka NSM88) - Jeff SchoepHe stood at the podium, the balmy spring breeze gently blowing the flags and banners that were situated on either side of the platform from whence the demonstration would take place. A large contingent of police were busy keeping an angry crowd of protestors at bay, a good 300 meters from where the speaker stood, dressed in brown paramilitary garb. In the open area in front of the platform, around two hundred people had gathered to listen to the message that would come from this man, a graying, mustached gentleman with a pronounced ‘middle age paunch’. Many of the spectators appeared to be misfits from society: skinheads, simple working folk, overweight, unemployed school dropouts, abused housewives, and others who wanted to be ‘enlightened’ by the message they would hear. But many others appeared to be very normal, middle class citizens who were apparently dissatisfied with the direction their government was leading them. And for that reason, they had come to listen.

Then the man began to speak, his loud, angry voice rising and lowering in pitch in accordance to the mood of his listeners; and to the chagrin of the protestors being kept at bay. Waving his arms and pointing to the groups of protestors being held back by an increasingly nervous police force, the leader told his audience regarding who he held responsible for their grievances.

Anti Jewish Graphic - NSM88“It is the Communists and the Jews who are causing your children to go hungry and your debts to keep mounting. They hold the power and pay off the politicians to do their bidding! They (the Jews) control the money and own the properties you live in and charge you outrageous rents, while letting the rats run free and attack your families. And they (pointing to ‘the Communists’ holding protest signs) make your beautiful Aryan children attend schools with racially inferior sub-humans.”

He stopped, looked over his audience who appeared to be hanging on his very words, waiting to hear what their leader’s solutions were to all their problems. “We, the National Socialists, protectors of the Aryan Race; we will make this country strong again! We will chase out all these rodents who sap your strength and will to fight”

With his right arm raised in front of him he screamed: “Zeig Heil! Zeig Heil!”
And his audience followed suit accordingly.

This event did not occur in a ‘bier gartin’ in Munich, Germany in 1926; or during the last days of the dying Weimar Republic in 1931. It occurred not long ago in Minneapolis Minnesota, on the steps of one of that city’s most prestigious buildings. It occurred in a nation that gives its citizens the constitutional right of freedom of speech and assembly. This group had a police permit to hold their rally, making their presence there perfectly legal and entitled to full protection against the ‘rabble’ being restrained by police wearing riot gear and carrying clubs and tear gas. And the event occurred after the 9-11 terror attacks in Washington DC and New York City. Interesting enough, Muslims were never mentioned once by this self-proclaimed ‘Fuehrer’, possibly because they possess much of the oil remaining in the world, and because they, the Arabs have the same hatred toward the one group particularly singled out by this modern day group of “National Socialists” – The Jews.

There is a famous saying that goes like this: “They who do not learn from the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them”. Judging from the above incident in America’s Heartland, no truer words could ever have been spoken.

This video was shot in a similar NSM88 event in Lansing, Michigan – It is edited by an Israeli user on YouTube.

“Love Boats” or Garbage Barges? Cruise Ships One of the Earth’s Greatest Polluters

With the summer holiday season upon us, many people go on vacations abroad, including cruises on the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and other bodies of water popular with vacationing tourists. Enjoyable to say the least, these ships offer literally every amenity one can think of, including sports, mini shopping malls, dusk to dawn banquets and entertainment, like casinos. Most people booking tours on these ‘love boats’ fail to realize something that many environmentalists have been concerned about for years: that is, these floating ‘pleasure barges’ are one of the world’s worst maritime polluters. The amount of raw or partially treated sewage expelled, as well as garbage, and just things thrown overboard by passengers is mind boggling; causing severe and often non-repairable damage to the sea’s delicate aquatic infrastructure.

Many people still point fingers at the huge oil supertankers for being the bad guys as far as messing up the world’s seas and oceans. This is true up to a point, as the environmental damage caused by oil spills from a tanker colliding with another vessel, or running aground on submerged rock formations, can take years or even generations to repair (the Exxon Valdez incident off Alaska in the 1980’s is a good example). Cruise ships, which range from smaller ‘island hoppers’ carrying up to 400 people to giant mega vessels like the Queen Elizabeth II (a new version of which has a complete shopping mall inside), will make their ‘contribution’ to world maritime pollution this year as they have in the past. If you calculate the number of sailings against the number of passengers on board, by the end of the summer cruise season, it’s as if a city the size of Rome Italy or Philadelphia Pa dumped all their sewage and garbage into Davy Jones’ Locker. Compounded year after year, one can see the immense environmental problem this creates!

The Mediterranean Sea, one of most popular bodies of water for maritime cruises, is suffering from this problem more than any other body of water. The main reason: except for a very narrow outlet at the Straits of Gibraltar, this body of water is actually a large salt water lake! And what gets dumped into it stays in it, without a constant flow of large underwater sea currents to spread the rubbish around. This damage, combined with wholesale dumping of all kind of personal and industrial waste by literally all countries that have sea coasts on it, is spelling eventual disaster to a body of water that is as historic as Modern Man himself. Israel unfortunately contributes a good deal of marine pollutants from both industry and humans. We also ‘receive’ back a lot of this waste on our beaches, some of which originated on these cruise ships. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be any kind of enforceable maritime laws to make cruise ship companies clean up their act. They will simply continue to dump their wastes into the briny deep until enough people decide that enough is enough and either these companies find a cleaner solution to their waste problems, or face being ‘dry docked’ and not allowed to sail.

Israel and other Mediterranean countries may someday need to extract a good portion of their drinking water from the sea via desalinization plants. What should concern us all is whether the pollution factor can be dealt with as well. And rubbish from all these cruise ships is simply not helping solve the Sea’s pollution problem.

Jonah’s Requim : Saving One of the Earth’s Gentlest Mammals

By Maurice Picow
Israel and Man’s largest Mammal don’t really have much in common; except for the Biblical moral story about a man who, after fleeing from God’s directive, spent three days in the belly of “a great fish” – supposedly a whale. This non-relationship suddenly changed when Israel voted along with other non-whaling nations to limit the amount of international whale hunting that has been partially responsible for severely depleting the world’s whale population. Whaling, or whale hunting for it’s oil, meat, and other products (once nearly all respective women wore corsets reinforced with whale bone) has been an important industry in countries like Russia, Norway, and Japan. America and many other countries either curtailed or completely banned whale hunting after their ‘products’ were no longer being used by their populations.

Israel, as a member of the International Whaling Commission, and due to increase pressure by animal rights activists, cast the deciding vote to limit international whale hunting, much to the chagrin of Japan and Norway. The Japanese still hunt these noble and non-violent creatures, and consume whale meat as part of their diet. As more are more Japanese citizens have discontinued serving this ‘delicacy’ however, it will hopefully not be long until that country joins the anti-whale hunting ‘club’ and gives up hunting them as well. Many of the larger species of whales, including sperm whales, blue whales ( by far the largest of the species), and hump-backed whales have been hunted or decimated by pollution and global warming to the point of some of them being put on the list of endangered species. The fortunes of these great beasts have been further threatened by a severe decrease of certain food supplies, such as marine shrimp-like creatures that many whales consume as their main source of food. Certain forms of algae also important in the whale’s ‘food chain’ are being decimated as well.
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Jill’s Israel Pictures

Jill Cartwright sent these with the following note:

I am sending some pics that provide an apt background to the debate that seems to have come alive on the pages of the site. I dedicate them to Virginia for her unwavering support of One Jerusalem and its writers!! They are a sampling of pictures taken from Nazareth, Jerusalem, Galilee and Bethlehem.

See them all here
Arches Pater Noster
Arches Pater Noster
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A Human Number: Israel and the World Prepares for date 06.06.06

666 is coming
Image thanks.
On Tuesday, many people around the world will wake up to a calendar number date that has been one of dread and apocalyptic connotation since it first appeared in the beginning centuries of the Common Era. Written as a visionary message in the Christian biblical text known as the Book of Revelation, the number 666 was originally meant to refer to Satan and the dark side or underworld that is supposed to the opposite of the goodness performed by Man’s Creator.

While feared and revered by Christians, this so-called “human number” is not part of Jewish thinking. Although Jews have believed in exorcism and ‘dibbuks’, or fiendish apparitions supposedly connected to ‘Satan’, Rabbis and other learned scholars have not dwelt on this topic as a major part of Jewish philosophy. Recent books and films dealing with the dark side of human destiny, and prophecy, have appeared to become more popular, especially in countries like England and America. The recent publicity given to the book and film The Davinci Code, while generating great profits at the box office, is not something that should be taken seriously by normal people. A remake of an earlier film entitled The Oman is also in this light, as it definitely deals with the “Anti-Christ” or son of Satan, number 666 and all.

Undoubtedly, various ‘celebrations’ and commemorations of the day will take place in many locations around, including an American town known as Hell Michigan. Hopefully, people living in Israel will not be involved in these activities, and will simply let the day pass as any other day. Besides, religious Jews use a different calendar based on the 28 day lunar cycle; and not calendar events based on the secular or Julian calendar, devised by a certain Pope Julius back in the First Century.

Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, have always been part of Man’s fear and awe for that part of human existence that has always been hard to understand. Throughout the ages, certain events in human history have made people wonder if there actually is a Satan or Devil trying to gain control of people’s destinies. Terrible wars, natural catastrophes, holocausts, and the like have caused societies to place emphasis on the dark side of human existence, even to the point of actually incorporating these feelings into their respective religious practices. Jews are not immune to this phenomena as has been indicated in Jewish writings, including those in the Holy Scriptures themselves.

With more and more young people in Israel delving into subjects like the Kaballa and the occult, Tuesday’s calendar date may perhaps have more significance to them. This can be a concern to us all as forms of ‘devil worship’ have been known to be practiced by some youth in Israel, even to the point of creating acts of severe vandalism and even animal sacrifice. The Internet has helped to play a role in this behavior, as one can obtain all kinds of information on these topics by simply surfing the Web. We can all simply hope that the secular calendar date 06.06.06 will pass peacefully in Israel, as well as the world at large. We all have too many problems to dwell on, and not get involved in this nonsense.

Shock Magazine Goes Live

Shock Magazine Cover Shot Shock Magazine is a new magazine that recently came out in the US, aimed at the new 18-35 generation. A quick look at the magazine’s website ShockU.com showed some great promise…

Park Eshckol Burned

A mega-fire burst yesterday at the heart of Eshckol Park in the southern Israel.

There were no casualties other then the park itself and the nature within it.

Eshckol Park is a very green and beautiful oasis in the south, and a it is a tourist attraction especially for Israelis during the weekends and holidays. It was a vast meadow ornamented with trees of different types, and right in the middle the Basher River goes through it. But yesterday, the little piece of heaven in the middle of the desert burned down in what firemen described as “The largest fire of the last decade”. Thousands of acres went in flames.

The fire started as two different fire spots. Eight Negev fire trucks were launched, but they came across an access problem, due to the way the park is built, so fire choppers were launched as well. All campers in the park were evacuated to allow better access to the firemen. By night the choppers had to retire for fear of crushing into electrical wires. Tractors and heavy machinery were brought to pave the roads and keep the fire from spreading. Volunteers from the area also pitched in and tried to help stopping the fire from spreading farther into the south, into the park.

But the wind was their real problem, sending flames and sparks directly at that direction, directly at the easily flammable trees and grass of park Eshckol. The fire was monstrous, burning acre after acre, until at one point the fire department announced that there might be danger for the small settlements of the area, especially the settlement Patish and Kibutz Urim.

Reshef Gershon, commander of the force during that night said that, “Many forces were recruited to fight the flames, but the feisty winds fanned the fire and spread it across the park.”

The police are currently investigating the cause to the fire, but there is an assessment by the Authority of Nature and Gardens, that it was started by a “Baggie” vehicle, driving around the park and emitting flammable substance from its exhaust. There is also a danger to many of the wild life of the area. It would years for the park to recover, for new trees to grow and for the green to come back.

And so we are left only with the striking truth which strike us every time anew, that what take years to build, can be burned down in only a few hours.

In Defense of the Finns and the Eurovision

Comments on the recent article appearing in this blog-site regarding Israel’s performance in the annual Eurovision song contest have unfortunately gotten out of hand, with a lot of misunderstandings. The dismal rankings by Israel in this contest was partially due to a song performed by a group who only consented to appear after other groups refused to take part. Singing an American type gospel melody was a bit out of place, even though some Hebrew lyrics were used.

Eurovision Israel has won the contest three times, more than many other participating countries, despite its small size and population. Through the years, many songs sung in the contest by Israeli performers have been good, and many others have not. That can also be said of other countries as well, including ones such as Ireland and the U.K. whose performers have always sung in English, their official language. When the ‘ground rules’ of the songfest where changed a few years ago, allowing non-English speaking countries to enter songs in English as well, many other countries, including Greece, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, etc., began placing better, and even winning the contest instead of placing far below others who had the advantage of singing in a more internationally acceptable language, which includes many of the “romance languages” as well.

As years went by, many countries began experimenting with using more dancing, physical gyrations and various fad type of costumes to improve their chances of winning, resulting in their actually taking home the coveted first prize. Countries using this method of increasing interest in their acts have recently included Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, and now Finland. For Finland, one of the more docile of the Nordic or Scandinavian countries, the decision to send this kind of an act to the contest was met with great debate and controversy by the Finns themselves, and was only allowed to proceed in its final format when public opinion allowed it to be done. Many Finnish citizens were afraid that the act might generate the type of opinion against them as was noted in the previous article.

As it turned out, however, the performance received tremendous praise and acclaim by not only the Finns themselves, but millions of viewers as well. The act’s originality and ‘campiness’ won out in the end, especially with younger viewers who voiced their approval by voting in favor of Finland’s entry.

Israel, who finished next to last, with only Malta receiving less votes, will undoubtedly continue to enter the songfest and may one day win again. The lesson to be learned by all is that many factors come into consideration. After all, why did all the Balkan countries vote heavily for each other, and why did so many former “satellite” countries of the former Soviet Union vote heavily for Russia? Alliances and politics do play a part in these events, as they do in other things as well. One must simply put all factors into proper perspective, and judge accordingly. After all, didn’t someone say the following saying, so long ago: “Judge not, lest ye be judged”?

Rantings from a broad

By Debbie Gold Hadar

Yes. Rantings. I rant – or write – to you from a small and sheltered corner of London, where the temperature outside is languishing somewhere between 1-6 degrees, and inside it feels like Ibiza because I can’t turn down the central heating. So it’s a question of skipping around the room, scantily clad until it’s time to go outside, whereupon I must don my industrial strength steel wool cami-knickers and girdle set; and, to my clothing ensemble on top of this add hats, coats and various scarves and brave the English winter.

Seriously, shame on me. I lived here for 25 years. You’d think I might have some sort of recognition factor, that my body – if not quite embracing the cold as a long lost friend, might have at least shown an inkling of comprehension. Apparently not. God it’s freezing here.

(Not as I type, of course, which I’m doing semi-nude in order to avoid melting into a puddle.)

On the plane on the way over here, I was fortunate enough to catch the latest chick flick. My colleague – a lovely man who resembles the Little Shop of Horror’s Seymour Krelbourne in attitude if not in looks (seriously, I was looking out of the taxi window exclaiming at how central London has changed for the better, he was squinting at the pavements for signs of perennial flora) and I very much enjoyed “Prime”, starring the magnificent Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman – two of the better actors of the female persuasion. Ever. In my not-so-humble, although much considered personal opinion.

Maybe you’ve heard of this movie? Thurman plays Raffi (I know. I know!) – a newly-divorced 37 year old woman with a healthy attachment to her Jewish, successful therapist (Streep). On the path to post-marital enlightenment and happiness she falls for David, a Jewish 23-year-old wannabe artist (who was total eye candy and made the movie even more compulsive viewing than it already was).

David, of course, being Streep’s son. A Jewish boy and the ultimate shiksa. Every Jewish boy’s wet dream; every Jewish mother’s nightmare:

“No, don’t worry about me, I like it here with my head in the oven, this way the light doesn’t hurt my eyes, and I’ll die quicker than waiting for the heart attack that I’ll get when you walk down the aisle in the Church. Or maybe you should just smack me over the head with your baseball bat, dollink. And do something with your hair.

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Finally the Official Mohammed Cartoons Site and Apology

Finally we have a site that is devoted to the Mohammed Cartoons. It was just a matter of time. I especially liked the official apology from Denmark page.

Panel of notables critiques the Danish Muhammad cartoons

By Denis Schulz

Panel of notables:

Jethro Bodine

Baron von Frankenstein

SigmundFreud

Porky Pig
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