Friday, July 27, 2012
Israeli Know-how in Action
the actual nes article here:
Israeli high-tech and scientific innovation has just won yet another
achievement, by being chosen by the "Gates Foundation" as its
contractor to develop special high-tech toilets for use in the Third
The Gates foundation, as in Bill Gates, has allotted enormous amounts
of money to resolve the sanitation problems of the poorest countries
in teh Third World. The biggest health challenge for many of these
countries is acquiring functional toilets. This is especially true in
the very dry countries. In any case, in much of the Third World there
are no sewer lines, so you can see the problem. The Israeli invention
needs no sewer lines, water or eletricity.
Here is an excerpt from the news story:
Revolutionary Israeli toilet gets Gates Foundation grant Earmarked for
homes in developing nations, the device needs no water and generates
its own power to turn waste into sterile, odorless compost.
By Abigail Klein Leichman July 23, 2012, No Comments
An Israeli-invented toilet that needs no water and leaves no waste
caught the interest of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which
awarded parent company Paulee CleanTec $110,000 "to create next
generation sanitation technology to help make sanitation services
truly safe and sustainable for the poor."
"We are one of only very, very few Israeli companies that have
received any grants from this foundation," points out Oded Halperin,
one of the company's original investors.
The toilet is based on the same principle as the high-tech
pooper-scooper featured on ISRAEL21c last October.
Invented by renowned Hebrew University biotech innovator Prof. Oded
Shoseyov based on an idea Halperin thought up, the device gathers
droppings and turns them into odorless, sterile powder within seconds
after the dog-walker pushes a button to release an activation capsule
from the cartridge inside the unit. The resulting powder is a fertile
Earmarked for developing countries by the Gates Foundation, the toilet
will go a step further.
(see the link above for the rest of the story)
I just have one quibble here.
As you see, the invention is being touted thanks to the fact that it
spurns use of water and turns human waste into sterile, odorless
So I think you will agree with me that the product is misnamed.
Instead of the "Pooper Scooper," should it not be marketed worldwide
under the product name, "The Academic Leftist"??
Monday, July 23, 2012
By Steven Plaut
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?
--- Jeremiah 8: 22
The Biblical Land of Israel was blessed with many things, but
nothing compared with the ancient liquid gold. It was an oil that was
commercially perhaps the most valuable natural resource of the
country. Ounce for ounce it was more valuable than gold. It is
called Tseri in the Bible, sometimes also Nataf or Kataf – although
these were evidently names for the plant and not the oil it produced,
usually translated as "balm." It is thought to have been a special
species of a persimmon bush that only grew in the Land of Israel,
although evidently not the sort that produces edible fruit. (The
common persimmon is not native to Israel, although now grows on farms
there.) The oil of Tseri was extracted by scratching the stems and
collecting the sap that seeped out.
The following is based largely on a special news feature that ran
July 20, 2012 in Makor Rishon in Hebrew. I am paraphrasing a lot from
that piece, and the contents below are NOT my own original research.
The fragrance of the Tseri was so intoxicating that it was the only
substance to merit its own special blessing. In the Talmud (Tractate
Brachot 43b) Rabbi Yehuda proposes a special blessing to be said when
someone smells Tseri, blessing The Creator of the Oil of our Land."
Leaves of the plant were used to prepare the Temple's incense. (The
oil itself was not, because the incense powder had to be dry.) There
are reports that the women of Jericho never used perfume because the
fragrance of the plant was so powerful that it would stick to them
when they simply walked about the streets (well, in the case of Rachav
in the Book of Joshua, perhaps when she WALKED the streets!). Goats
roaming near Jericho were said to break out into uncontrollable
sneezing when they got near the plant.
It was so valuable a commodity that part of the ambition of the
Romans in suppressing the Jewish revolts was to seize the groves of
Tseri. Josephus describes it as the most valuable of the products of
the land. The Roman historian Pliny claims that the Jews attempted to
deter the Romans from military aggression by burning these groves so
as to deny Roman access to the treasure. They evidently failed.
After suppressing the revolt, the Romans made a fortune in harvesting
the Tseri, and a branch of it is supposed to have been shown on the
famous (or infamous) Arch of Titus in Rome, although evidently no
longer visible today. The Latin scientific name for it is usually
given as Septuagint Rhetine and it may be similar to Balsamodendron
Opobalsamum (photos here:
In Biblical literature, Tseri is translated as "Balm," (some
translations in English call it mastic), often referred to as the Balm
of Gilad or Gilead. (Gilad is the territory east of the Jordan river,
the lower Golan Heights, which was an area of relative lawlessness in
the later Biblical era. The Prophet Elijah and the Judges Yair and
Yiftach came from there.) It is an area in which the Tseri evidently
thrived. The English word Balsam is derived from Balm, and evidently
is a corruption of Baal Shemen, or the master of the oil. "Balsam"
may also come from the words for "simply perfume." The word
"embalming" comes from "balm" and may refer to an early use of the
oil. The classical historians Pliny and Strabo make reference to it
growing in the Gilad region. It evidently also grew around Jericho.
Moslems believe that it was originally brought there by the Queen of
Sheba as a gift for Solomon. Some archeological remains have been
found pointing to a Tseri industry in Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea (see
There are references to Tseri throughout the Bible. The caravan
of Ishmaelites who transported Joseph to Egypt were merchants of balm.
When Jacob learned that his long-lost son Joseph, presumed dead, was
in fact alive and in charge of Egypt, he sent a convoy of gifts that
included balm. Jeremiah makes several references to it and it is
mentioned in Kings and Ezekiel. It is mentioned several times in the
Song of Songs. I think the New Testament mentions it also. Cleopatra
is said to have grown some for her personal use in Egypt, and later
that spot became a place of pilgrimage for Christians who believed
Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in the grove.
At some point, probably in the late Roman or Byzantine eras, the
plant for the Tseri disappeared form the Land of Israel.
In 1988, some ceramic features were discovered near Qumran (site
of the Dead Sea Scrolls) by American archeologist Wendell Jones
(sometimes thought to be the role model for Indiana Jones), and one
contained an oil with a strong fragrance. Some believe it was Tseri.
Meanwhile, while the plant from which the Tseri was taken was
extinct in Israel, it was thought to be growing wild in certain remote
parts of Saudi Arabia. Several Israeli botanists were able to obtain
some saplings of these smuggled out of Saudi Arabia but were unable to
get them to grow. Similarly, there was no luck with saplings from
Ethiopia. In the end, actual seeds from the plant were obtained from
a German botanist who had obtained them in East Africa. Some seeds
were also obtained from a lab in England, the origins of which are not
known. The main researcher and the man promoting the re-establishment
of Tseri production in Israel is Prof. Zohar Amar, from the Department
of Land of Israel Studies and Archeology at Bar Ilan University. (see
his bio here: http://lisa.biu.ac.il/en/node/1467 and
And he succeeded. Small groves of Tseri are now growing in special
areas of Ein Gedi, the very same areas in which they may have grown in
Biblical and Roman times.
When it becomes commercially viable, you can count on the BDS
"Boycott Israel" anti-Semites organizing a boycott of the oil stolen
from the Palestinians. And should the Messiah show up, there are
ALREADY enough plants growing in Ein Gedi to prepare the Temple's
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Hebrew University Hires a Far Leftist to Assault Ariel University
Organization to serve as its Point Man against Ariel University
This past month saw the launching of a pseudo-academic jihad by the
Tenured Left and by Israel's Ivory Cartel against the accreditation of
Ariel University in the Shomron (Samaria). The Tenured Left is upset
because of the location of Ariel on the other side of the "Green
Line," the 1967 border that the Left wants to be reinstated so that
the Palestinians will be able to operate their own terrorist rocket
base in the West Bank that will bathe Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in
rockets and make life in Israel impossible. The Ivory Cartel is the
lobby of the "seven sisters," the seven universities in Israel, the
lion share of whose budget comes from the Israeli taxpayer. These
operate like a group of pirates divvying up the loot allotted to them
by the taxpayer and do not want anyone else sharing in their treasure
The academic standards of Ariel University are not the issue,
because pretty much everyone, including a panel of decorated experts
with world class reputations, has proclaimed that its standards are
superb, in fact they are far better than the standards at Ben Gurion
University. The Tenured Left is upset because it insists that Ariel
is a "University of the Right," never mind the huge portion of its
student body who are "Palestinian" Arabs. The Tenured Left has no
problem with the four liberal arts universities in Israel acting
unambiguously as "Universities of the Left."
Well, Kalman Liebskind, the intrepid columnist for Maariv, has a
weekend column (http://www.nrg.co.il/app/index.php?do=blog&encr_id=79974780b5e0d394fddbd1a00f4f21d3&id=3910
) revealing just how the Hebrew University, one of the two strongest
and oldest institutions in the Ivory Cartel, is battling and agitating
against the accreditation of Ariel. It seems the Hebrew University,
which also led a campaign in 1964 to block accreditation to Bar Ilan
University, officially hired a radical anti-Israel leftist extremist
to lead its campaign. It commissioned a "report" about Ariel written
by Dr. Zeev Rotem, who just happens to be a long-time agitator for the
extremist Yesh Gvul organization, an organization financed by all the
usual forces of darkness specializing in promoting mutiny and
insurrection among Israeli soldiers, especially among those in the air
force (see http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?2623-Group-of-Israeli-Pilots-Refuse-to-Carry-Out-Airstrikes
) . Yesh Gvul has long led the campaign for soldiers to refuse to
serve until the Israeli government adopts the political agenda of the
communist party. Rotem used to teach at Tel Aviv University. He
likes to accuse Israel of committing indiscriminate murder and
atrocities against "Palestinians."
For more details, in Hebrew, go to
For the very best analysis to date of the jihad by the Left against
Ariel University, see this clip:
Since it is in Hebrew, let me explain that it is a spoof of the
Israeli local version of American Idol, where the star singer being
tested is Ariel the Mermaid, representing Ariel University, and she is
being savaged by the panel of the Ivory Cartel.
See also http://israelagainstterror.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/mordechai-kedar-on-academia-politics.html
2. The Israeli leftist, possibly mentally deranged, who set himself
on fire to protest the fact that he was not getting what he considered
"enough" welfare form the National Insurance Institute (Israel's
social security), died in hospital over the weekend.
The Left held a big "march" and is unanimous in proclaiming that
the guy's death is a byproduct of the terrible inequality and gaps in
wealth and income prevailing in Israel. The Left is trying to
capitalize on his death as part of its campaign to demand that Israel
adopt "Scandinavian style socialism," the new "dream" of the Israeli
Left. The Israeli Labor Party and Meretz are among those trying to
make political hay out of the death.
Inequality causes suicide deaths? Scandinavian socialism is the solution?
Well, let's take a look-see. The following are the suicide rates
for men (they are always lower for women – shown as the second number
in parentheses) in a sampling of countries. The data are from the
World Health Organization:
Suicide rates of men (and women)
Supposedly Non-egalitarian Israel: 7.0 (1.5)
Scandinavian egalitarian countries:
Finland 29.0 (10.0)
Sweden 18.7 (6.8)
Norway 17.3 (6.5)
Denmark 17.5 (6.4)
Iceland 16.5 (7.0)
Piggish Capitalist Countries:
US 17.7 (4.5)
UK 10.9 (3.0)
Singapore 12.9 (7.7)
Holland 13.1 (5.5)
Italy 10.0 (2.8)
Germany 17.9 (6.0)
Canada 17.3 (5.4)
3. I understand that James Holmes, the shooter in the Batman movie
theater in Colorado, may be coming to Ben Gurion University to teach
in the Department of Political Science. Shimon Peres already wants to
offer Holmes his own capital in Jerusalem and half of the Negev.
Friday, July 20, 2012
By Steven Plaut
Comrades!! I have made an amazing discovery! It seems that over the millennia some minor errors have crept into the text in the Book of Genesis, specifically in the segment concerning Adam and Eve. I know this because I consulted an important authority on the subject: my wife.
Let me explain:
The errors have to do with some missing details about what Adam was doing in the Garden of Eden in the first place. It seems Adam was busy with resolving the problem of how to conduct wet-mopping of the floor of his abode in the Garden, the recreational activity that Israelis today refer to as "Sponja." In a typical "Sponja" operation, a large wet rag is affixed to the bottom of a large squeegee on a pole and the sanitation activity proceeds. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7U5HC5I4KQ )
Adam's problem was that he had been planning to recruit the black panther, the bear, and the mongoose from the Garden for the Sponja-ing, but alas they were all off engaged in preparations with Mogli for producing the Jungle Book. Adam figured he could just attend to the Sponja matter on his own.
But the Almighty was observing and quickly realized that Adam had no idea of what the proper way to conduct Sponja was. So while Adam was napping, a rib was removed from him by the Divine Surgeon and it was transformed into a Sponja consultant named Eve.
Eve quickly took the matter into hand. "You are doing everything WRONG, Adam," she commented. "But why do you say that?" "Well," she opined, "For one thing you are doing the Sponja operation from the top of the stairs and then working your way down to the bottom. The problem with that is that when you get to the bottom, you then walk back UP the stairs you just cleaned, leaving tracks!"
"No, that cannot be true," explained Adam. "You see, the force of gravity pulls the dirt DOWN and so the only logical way to Sponja the stairs is from top to bottom." "Oish," said Eve, "Your 'Y' chromosome is interfering with your logic again!"
But that was not the only supervisory role of the Sponja consult. "Look Adam," said Eve, "If you are going to do Sponja, then at least do it properly. You are leaving mounds of un-Sponja'd dirt behind the sofa and refrigerator." "Ah, but YOU are wrong there, Eve," Adam explained. "You see, if un-Sponja'd material cannot be seen by the naked eye, or even by an eye covered with the leaf of a fig plant, then it does not COUNT as dirt at all." Eve responded by pulling long strands of her hair from her head, making repeat Sponja of that room necessary.
"Oh NO Adam, now you are completely out of control. You just dumped the dirty used water from the Sponja's bucket down the drain in the bath tub instead of into the toilet," cried Eve. "Exactly," replied Adam, "That is the proper place to dump it because it flushes out all the hairs that were not caught in the bathtub's drain net. It is simple science, woman!" Eve muttered something in Hebrew under her breath and to the grazing antelopes it sounded like a sentence containing the words "idiot" and "actually has a PhD."
Finally in exasperation, Adam yelled at his consultant, "If you do not like the way I do Sponja, then why don't you just go and do it on your own?" "Don't be simple, Adam," she responded, "You know darned well that I have a cooking class consultation today with my dietician, the Snake."
And the rest of the story is outlined in detail in the Book of Genesis.
A Short, Uncalled-for, and Very SIlly Posting
reported discovery of a 600 year old bra. See
While it is usually assumed that bras became part of the daily
clothing of women and certain male members of Meretz only in the 20th
century, it now appears to be the case that they were worn 600 years
ago, at least in Innsbruck, where this one was supposedly found.
Here are some excerpts from the story:
'The University of Innsbruck said Wednesday that archeologists found
four linen bras dating from the Middle Ages in an Austrian castle.
Fashion experts describe the find as surprising because the bra had
commonly been thought to be only little more than 100 years old as
women abandoned the tight corset.
'Instead, it appears the bra came first, followed by the corset,
followed by the reinvented bra.
'One specimen in particular "looks exactly like a (modern) brassiere,"
says Hilary Davidson, fashion curator for the London Museum. "These
are amazing finds."….'
The story became of importance in Israeli politics hours after it
broke. It seems that the current head of Meretz, Zahava Galon,
decided to take the entire party membership of Meretz on a Boeing 747
to Austria, where they immediately burned the ancient garment.
2. A story about an interesting Plaut:
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Smearing General Kochavi
that Jews are unwilling to leave bygones as bygones. Take the
Holocaust, for example. It ended 67 years ago, yet those Joos keep
thinking that it somehow legitimizes their "occupation" of
"Palestinian lands" and "mistreating" the poor "Palestinians." The
French see nothing wrong with history justifying THEIR occupation of
Corsica, Alsace and Lorraine, to mention just three.
And then there are all those other examples of Jewish obstinacy and
refusal to jettison ties with ancient history. The Krauts this month
tried to make circumcision illegal, showing that they are even willing
to antagonize the Muslims if that is the price needed to antagonize
the Jews. Other Eurotwits are making kosher slaughter of meat
illegal. And the frogs, er I mean the French, never miss an
opportunity to lecture the Joos about their irrational attachment to
archaic ideas and life styles.
Well, consider this. The following quote is from today's Wall
'How's this for a grudge: The western French city of Angers is
petitioning the British monarch to relinquish the crown jewels, as
reparation for the execution in 1499 of Edward Plantagenet, Richard
III's nephew. Edward, the 17th Earl of Warwick, was the last of the
legitimate male line of the House of Plantagenet, seated in old
Angers, which ruled England until Richard III's death in 1485.
'"As compensation for the dispossession of the rights of the Angevin
dynasty and the political assassination of its last direct
descendant," the petition "demands that the United Kingdom remit to
the Angevins, moral heirs of the Plantagenets, the entirety of the
Crown Jewels of England, which should have legitimately reverted to
the Angevin kings."
'The fact that today's British crown jewels post-date the Angevin era
by a few centuries needn't get in the way of what appears to be a
publicity stunt by Angers. The petitioners hope to gather 800,000
signatures during the city's annual street festival in September,
after which they plan to present the petition to Queen Elizabeth II.'
2. I left off a small detail from the TRAIN story I posted yesterday.
Since I often spend time in Hungary working, I started taking an
interest in modern Hungarian literature. Among other writers, I have
read a couple of things by Imre Kertesz, a Nobel Prize winning
Hungarian Jewish author. His best known book is called Fateless in
English, and has been made into a movie (see
http://isurvived.org/InTheNews/Kertesz_Imre-movie.html). The story
there involves a (fictional) Jewish twelve year old boy in Budapest
who is deported to Bergen Belsen.
While interviewing Dr. Kohn for the article I posted yesterday
("The Train"), I mentioned the book, which had a few broad
similarities to his own life's story. I asked if he had heard of it.
"Heard of it?' replied Dr. Kohn, "My step-brother translated it into
3. While the whole world is celebrating the social justice protest
that took place yesterday in Damascus, in which a significant section
of Asad's Alawi junta including members of Bashar's own meeshpoocha
were dispatched to their virgins, the Israeli media have been noting
an interesting twist to the story. As it turns out, exactly one day
before this manifestation of Divine justice here within this planet of
tribulations, the Head of Israeli intelligence, Aviv Kochavi, issued
his own prediction that the Asad regime was doomed and that Asad
himself would not survive the uprisings in Syria. You can see the
article and the the Kochavi statement here:
Getting things right in predicting events in the Middle East is
so unusual that Kochavi clearly deserves at least three cheers and
But there is one other item though in Kochavi's bio, about which
I have posted in the past, and thought the time is right to remind you
Aviv Kochavi was the target of a malicious smear and defamation
campaign launched against him by the anti-Semitic lecturer in
political science, Neve Gordon, the darling of the Ben Gurion
University anti-Israel Left, the twerp who leads the calls for a world
boycott of Israel. Little "SLAPP suit" Gordon issued a defamatory
set of attacks against Kochavi, including some that were published on
a Neo-Nazi pro-jihad web magazine (Counterpunch), accusing Kochavi of
being a war criminal. Read it in the original here:
Kochavi had been Gordon's own commander in the army. As a direct
result of Gordon's lies, Kochavi was forced to cancel plans to do
postgraduate studies in the UK lest the local jihadis petition to have
him prosecuted on the weight of Gordon's smears. Ben Gurion
University officials have never had much to say about Gordon's
behavior in this matter.
I re-post my original expose of Gordon's malicious smears against
Kochavi here (from 2004):
The Leftist vs. the General
By: Steven Plaut
Friday, November 19, 2004
How the groupie of a Holocaust denier defames the newest head of the
Israeli Defense Forces.
This week's newspapers in Israel carried a news item about a new
senior military appointment in the Israeli Defense Forces: Brigadier
General Aviv Kochavi was appointed commander of the Israel Defense
Forces in the Gaza Strip this week. He replaces commander Brigadier
General Shmuel Zakai.
Kochavi, 40, served for the past year as the commander of an elite
army division. Previously he served as commander of the regular
paratrooper division and excelled in battle in the territories during
and after Operation Defensive Shield. Kochavi commanded division
troops that took control of Nablus during that operation. Kochavi is
considered one of the IDF's outstanding field commanders. Kochavi is
scheduled to take up the post in two weeks.
But there is one more important piece of information about General
Kochavi. The general and I have something in common: General Aviv
Kochavi and I have both been the victims of malicious harassment by
Neve Gordon, the anti-Semitic lecturer in political science at Ben
Gurion University, best known for his pronouncements that Israel is a
fascist, apartheid, terrorist state.
Gordon filed a malicious "libel suit" against me in Nazareth court
last year because he was upset that I had dared to criticize his
public political writings (he is a syndicated columnist, including for
the viciously anti-Semitic "Counterpunch" magazine published by
anti-Semite Alexander Cockburn) and also his public political
activities. (I criticized the fact that he had joined the "Solidarity"
pro-terror demonstrators who illegally entered Ramallah and served as
human shields for Arafat in order to interfere with Israeli
counter-terror military operations.) In other words, I criticized an
illegal public political activity of Gordon.
Neve Gordon was particularly upset that I had labeled him a "groupie
of Holocaust Denier Norman Finkelstein" after he had published
articles singing the praises of Norman Finkelstein (who publishes
vicious articles defaming Holocuast survivors and questioning whether
six million Jews were actually killed by the Nazis). Gordon even
comparing Finkelstein ethically to the Prophets of the Bible. Gordon's
articles have been published on the Zundelsite, the website of the
notorious Nazi and Holocaust Denier Ernst Zundel (see this website),
as well as many other anti-Jewish and anti-Israel websites and
magazines. Gordon was offended by my criticism of his political
behavior. He claimed it was "libel" and the suit he filed is now
working its slow way through the Israeli court system. Gordon's
purpose in this suit was to harass me for criticizing his politics, to
silence me, and to maliciously cause me to bear legal costs of
fighting off the frivolous suit. For those interested, more background
information on this matter is here and also here.
I, however, am not the only victim of Neve Gordon's harassment.
Gordon has conducted a campaign of slander, defilement, vilification,
and defamation. against this very same General Kochavi, the Israeli
military hero that was appointed this week to the senior post
Beginning in 2002, Gordon published an article declaring Kachavi (back
then still a colonel) to be a war criminal. The article was published
on dozens of websites and in magazines, and in several languages,
including Hebrew, English, Arabic, German, and Italian. It not only
personally smeared Kochavi falsely. It could reasonably be interpreted
to have been an attempt to motivate acts of violence against Kochavi,
perhaps even incitement to murder. At the very least, it was a clear
attempt to get Kochavi indicted before the International Court of
Justice in the Hague or some similar outfit on trumped up charges.
The article is reprinted in full below. You will notice how Gordon
signs his piece smearing Kochavi while openly listing his affiliation
with Ben Gurion University, in violation of University instructions
and prohibitions on such behavior without a clear accompanying
declaration stating that the views expressed are NOT those of the
university! In this article, as you can see for yourself, Gordon
declares that Kochavi (he spells the name Kohavi) committed atrocities
and war crimes against innocent Palestinian civilians, having given
direct personal command to troops to do these.
Now it goes without saying that this is all Gordon's fabrication.
There have been no charges at all filed against Kochavi for his
behavior in the battle that Gordon describes, in Israel or anywhere
else. Kochavi's troops were hunting for bands of vicious terrorists,
including suicide bombers, who had killed hundreds of Israelis, a
carnage that does not interest Gordon at all in the article. Gordon
accuses Kochavi of ordering assorted human rights violations that even
the worst anti-Israel propaganda outfits did not claim took place in
Gordon's claim that Kachavi ordered troops to utilize Palestinian
civilians as human shields is not only preposterous, but a downright
So here we have the spectacle of the same person who files a libel
suit because he is outraged that someone criticizes his published
political opinions, yet he launches a worldwide campaign of personal
vilification against one of Israel's greatest military heroes -- and a
private person, to boot. Let us emphasize that Aviv Kochavi, unlike
Gordon, is a private person and not a public person. Gordon is a
syndicated columnist who also has lead and represented assorted
far-Left, pro-Palestinian political organizations. Public discussion
of Gordon and his opinions and behavior is a legitimate media topic.
Kochavi, however, is a private person, does not write in the media,
represents no one. He is just a private man doing his job.
Gordon's double standard regarding what constitutes "libel" is
mind-numbing. Kochavi was to have been called to testify against
Gordon in Gordon's own SLAPP suit against me, but the judge truncated
the discovery process before that was possible. SLAPP stands for
Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation, and SLAPP suits are
anti-democratic "libel" suits designed to silence critics through
malicious legal harassment.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By Steven Plaut
Jewish Press (NY) July 19, 2012
By: Steven Plaut
Published: July 18th, 2012
He was having trouble getting up from the platform and into the cattle
car. After all, he was only twelve years old and there was no ramp
leading inside. An SS thug saw him "dawdling" in front of the car and
aimed a boot at the boy's posterior. The boy jumped out of the way
just in time and the SS man fell to his face from the violence of his
Fearing the German would take his fury out on him, the boy scampered
into the train. He hid himself from the Nazi inside a crowded, filthy
car until the train pulled out of Budapest's Nyugati station.
And thus began David Kohn's participation in what many regard as the
most dramatic and controversial train journey in history. For this was
the train organized by Dr. Rudolf Kastner, head of the Hungarian
Judenrat, on which 1,685 Jews rode to safety.
Kohn, today a well-known medical doctor and expert on geriatric health
problems in Haifa, Israel, is one of the diminishing number of
survivors from the Kastner train. And he may be the only one who kept
and preserved a journal of that journey to freedom.
He was born in a small town in Czechoslovakia, in a region where many
of the residents and most of the local Jews spoke Hungarian. After the
destruction and division of Czechoslovakia in the wake of the Munich
accord, the area passed to Hungarian rule.
The problem was that David's father had been a patriot and had taken
Czechoslovak citizenship, which was frowned upon by Hungarian
authorities. The boy was quickly expelled from school there,
supposedly because of the father's citizenship but more likely because
they were Jews.
The family moved into Hungary proper, looking for work and a place to
live. Then Slovakia was detached from the Czech state by Germany, so
for a while they moved back there. The father worked as a forestry
manager, a public service job that kept the family safe as
deportations of Slovakian Jews commenced.
In 1942 rumors reached them that they were on a list of Jews to be
deported. The family stole across the border into Hungary. There they
were hosted by relatives who managed to obtain forged residency papers
By 1943 Hungarian Jews were being moved into "concentration" areas –
not yet internment camps but rather buildings in which the Jews of a
town would be segregated. David was staying with his uncle, a
prominent Neolog rabbi, in Czegled, a town outside Budapest near what
is today the city's international airport. They were locked up in a
single building, and later moved into the town's synagogue. Then
twenty-three of those in the building were selected to be sent to
Budapest for internment. The rest were deported.
David and his uncle were among the twenty-three.
In Budapest they were marched down Andrassy Boulevard, the city's
equivalent of Fifth Avenue with its luxury stores, many owned by Jews
at the time. They were taunted by Hungarian anti-Semitic youths along
the way and eventually were held inside the Rumbach Street synagogue
in the Jewish Quarter.
* * * * *
Rudolf Kastner was a pompous, arrogant and irritating person. He was
born and raised in the largest city in Transylvania, the
Hungarian-speaking territory now in Romania that has passed back and
forth between Hungary and Romania due to the frivolities of war and
politics. He rose to importance in the Hungarian Jewish community and
had the reputation of being an aristocratic "fixer" with ties to the
When war broke out, Hungary allied itself with Hitler's Germany.
Kastner served as a journalist and community leader, moving from
Transylvania to Budapest. Later, as a head of the Hungarian Judenrat,
he was able to move about freely throughout the war. His residence and
offices stood on Vaci Avenue, three blocks from my office today at
Central European University in Budapest, where I teach when I am not
Kastner was renowned for hatching assorted schemes, some rather
hair-brained, during the war years. He tried to recruit support from
Jewish Agency leaders in Tel Aviv for negotiating different rescue
schemes with the Nazis, including the notorious "Trucks for Jews"
deal, which never came to fruition. In 1944 he met several times with
Adolf Eichmann to negotiate the escape of Jews in exchange for bribes
or ransom payments.
But one of those schemes did succeed. Eichmann agreed to allow a
rescue train to leave Hungary with 1,685 Jews aboard, bound originally
for Barcelona in Spain. The ransom price was estimated at 8.6 million
After the war, Kastner became one of the most controversial figures in
modern Jewish history. Regarded as a hero and savior by many,
including Prof. Yechiam Weitz from my own University of Haifa, he was
condemned by others as a collaborator and traitor.
The enmity of his detractors was fanned when Kastner agreed to keep a
promise and testify in defense of an SS officer who had murdered Jews
but who was reported to have saved other Jews from death in the
closing weeks of the war.
Kastner was also accused of hiding the true dangers of extermination
from Transylvanian and Hungarian Jews, making them complacent, and of
playing favoritism in the rescue train saga. In the Kastner libel
trial in Tel Aviv in the 1950s, the court's judge, Shimon Agranat,
later a chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, denounced Kastner
and his behavior during the war, accusing him of having "sold his soul
In 1957 Kastner was assassinated in Tel Aviv by three men who had been
active members of the underground LEHI (the Stern Gang) before
* * * * *
Dr. David Kohn is alive thanks to the Kastner train.
It sounds bizarre today, but most of the surviving Jews in Budapest
were reluctant to sign up for the Kastner rescue train. Until 1944
Hungary was an independent, if oppressive, state allied with Hitler.
It was headed by Miklos Horthy, head of the Iron Cross fascist party.
There were atrocities and some deportations carried out against
Hungary's Jews, but massive deportations and extermination did not
commence until 1944. The end of the war was clearly approaching. The
Allies were heading toward Normandy. The Soviet Red Army was not too
far off east, and everyone could see Germany would lose the war.
The Hungarian dictator Horthy cautiously entered into negotiations
with the Soviet Union and the West concerning Hungary's abandoning the
Axis and switching sides. Hitler quickly learned of these overtures
and ordered the Wehrmacht to occupy Hungary and assume direct control,
retaining Horthy as a figurehead. Eichmann was dispatched to solve
Hungary's "Jewish problem." Horthy was shipped off within a few weeks
to internment in Bavaria.
Eichmann began the mass deportations to Auschwitz. At first they were
mainly of provincial Jews from outside Budapest. Within Budapest, life
was difficult for Jews but they retained a sense of safety and
anticipation of the arrival of the Red Army as liberators. Kohn's
father was taken off to a "work camp" as a "volunteer," the price paid
for the rest of the family being allowed to remain in Budapest.
By this time Kohn was being held with his mother, uncle, and
grandmother in an internment camp inside Budapest on Pavo Avenue,
where Hungary's Holocaust Memorial Museum today stands. Among the
camp's inhabitants were 300 Transylvanian Jews, whose escape to
Hungary had been earlier orchestrated by Kastner. These included some
Kastner relatives, a point of later contention, but also ordinary Jews
of all different ranks and stations in life – including, perhaps most
famously, the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum.
When word came through that a rescue train was being organized, anyone
in the camp could sign up for it but most preferred to remain in the
"safety" of Budapest. They were skeptical and suspicious about where
the Germans would actually send the train and what the fate of its
riders would be.
One did not need any special "pull" or clout to get on the train. And
since there were two trainloads being planned, those willing to chance
the trip preferred the second one, after news would arrive regarding
the fate of those on the first train out. So the first train was
undersubscribed and persuasion was needed to get people to sign up.
Apprehensions and fears notwithstanding, Kohn and his relatives signed
up for that first train out.
The cattle car leaving Budapest was crowded and hot. The air was
stifling and there was no toilet on the train. No one knew exactly
where the train was headed. It made stops along the way. One was in
Auschpitz, whose name was similar enough to another train stop to
trigger dread among the passengers.
When the train reached Linz in Austria, west of Vienna, the Jews were
ordered off the train. Panic spread when they were told they would be
sent to showers for disinfection. By that time they had heard about
the "showers" in the death camps and feared they were about to be
murdered. But showers they indeed turned out to be.
* * * * *
When the train reached the border with Germany, rumors again spread
that the train was going to be detoured to Auschwitz. But it continued
in the direction of Hannover, stopping at a station near the
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Originally built as a "stalag" camp for prisoners of war, this was to
be home for most of the inhabitants of the Kastner rescue train for
the next six months. It is still not clear why they were interned
there; it may have been because of internal disagreements within the
German regime about what to do with them. The original plan of sending
the train to Barcelona was no longer an option, as the Allies were
bombing rail tracks throughout German and France.
At Bergen-Belsen there were no horrific insects to afflict the Kastner
passengers as there had been in the Budapest camps. For the first few
weeks they refused to eat the awful camp food, living off provisions
they had brought with them from Budapest among their belongings.
Instead, they passed their rations to Dutch and Polish POWs in
neighboring sections of the camp. Once their own food from home was
gone, they had no choice but to live off the camp rations, and hunger
The passengers split themselves into different camp "communities" and
"movements." There were "congregations" of every religious stripe,
from the Satmars to the Neologs, Hungary's analogue to the Reform and
Conservative movements of the West. Even the communist atheists had a
"congregation" that held its own Yom Kippur service. The Satmar Rebbe
ended every Sabbath prayer service by singing "Ani Maamin," a song
about the anticipated arrival of the Messiah, with tears running down
The Zionist movements were also represented in the camp. Kohn joined
the Marxist Hashomer Hatzair for three days, thanks to an attractive
girl who was leading it, but left in anger when she threw his cap onto
a sand mound. While retrieving the cap he spotted a group of young
people in the yard studying Talmud.
He introduced himself and joined their group, spending much of the
remaining time in the camp with them, studying, playing chess, getting
into mischief. One member of the group was Yehuda Blum, later to serve
as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.
They gave each other "classes" in different subjects. The boy who
taught the others physics, Joachim Joseph, would become one of
Israel's leading atomic scientists. (Joseph kept a Torah scroll from
the camp when he was released and later gave it to Israeli astronaut
Ilan Ramon to carry with him into space; billions of people saw it in
the broadcast from the rocket.)
Strangely, Kohn felt safe here. His worst fear was to be alone, but
here he lived with his uncle, mother, and grandmother. Allied bombers
could often be seen overhead.
One evening, they were ordered to gather their belongings and report
to the assembly yard. Again panic spread, as they feared they were to
be sent off for extermination. They were loaded onto a train and told
it was going to Switzerland. The train reached the Swiss frontier the
next day and simply stopped. Earlier trains carrying refugees had been
turned back after being refused admission by Switzerland. But, perhaps
due to Western pressure, this train was eventually allowed through.
In Switzerland, warm clothing and food and blankets awaited the
passengers, even some Swiss chocolate. They were shuffled about from
camp to hostel inside Switzerland. Eventually they were sent to Italy
by train and allowed to board a ship to Palestine. Kohn's happiest
moment was when the ship pulled into the port of Haifa. They could see
Hebrew on the signs, flags with a Jewish star, and the port workers
tossed Israeli oranges onto the ship.
It was in Israel that year that he celebrated his bar mitzvah. It was
also where the family received word of the fate of his father. On a
death march from Linz to Vienna, the exhausted man could walk no
farther and dared to sit down. An SS guard shot him to death.
Kohn became an Israeli. He served in the army, then went to medical
school in Zurich. He did his residency in a Tiberias hospital, where
he would listen to the proceedings of the Eichmann trial over a
* * * * *
Today Dr. Kohn is retired but still works many a long hour as one of
Israel's leading specialists on geriatric medicine. He sits opposite
me in our little Haifa neighborhood synagogue. We have a running joke:
when he goes to the bimah to say the priestly blessing, I guard his
shoes against any potential thieves. He lectures and consults. Every
Shavuos he gives a talk to our synagogue's late-night tikkun that
combines medical ethics with rabbinic sources and traditional Jewish
Whatever one thinks of Rudolf Kastner, David Kohn survived the Nazis
and has lived a rich, accomplishment-filled life thanks to the train
odyssey that will forever bear Kastner's name.
Fast afterword. Two brief items were removed from the original
article in editing. The first is the fact that David Kohn, hero of
the piece, is evidently the only person who kept and preserved a
journal of the train and the trip to freedom. The article is largely
based upon it.
In addition, one important segment was removed by the editor on
grounds that it might be offensive. I attach it here and you can
decide yourself how offensive it is:
'The Satmar Rebbe ended every Sabbath prayer service by singing the
"Ani Maamin" song, bloody tears in his eyes, about the anticipated
arrival of the Messiah. Kohn had the "opportunity" on several
occasions to share the latrine with the Rebbe, and jokes today that
many a Satmar Chassid is green with envy at the boy who was blessed
with the chance of observing the majestic bottom of the famous Rebbe.'
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Ice Popsicle
Israeli Left suppressed and Ignored:
Fireflies and Mousketeers
The Caring Classes in Israel, including much of the leftist media,
are suddenly all aghast because of the attempted suicide by a leftist
"social justice" protester. The "protester," one Moshe Silnan,
attempted to commit Oslo by lighting himself on fire. It is of course
possible that Silman was mentally ill, in which case his failed
attempt at suicide (which left him badly injured) is indeed a tragedy.
It is also possible that he is an attention junkie.
He was active in radical leftist groups, including those engaged
in protest over "social justice." His personal grievances seem to be
over the refusal of Israel's National Insurance Institute (similar to
Social Security, but also in charge of welfare payments) to keep him
on the dole. The guy in fact owed back money to the Institute. He is
57, and I say this as someone older than him - that there is no
visible indication that he could not seek a job. And trust me when I
say that he is healthier than I am physically (I do not know about
mentally). He claimed he was trying to commit suicide because he was
angry at the state of Israel and its Prime Minister. See
Those my age recall the Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in
Vietnam as protest. Silman is no Buddhist.
Silman instantly became the poster boy for the leftist "social
justice" protesters. You see, they bleat in unison, Israel is so
unjust and so anti-egalitarian that inequality is driving people to
SUICIDE! Never mind that the suicide rates in those lovely
egalitarian Scandinavian countries are much, much higher than those in
Israel and much higher than those in the worst most inequitable
Copycats began to show up hours after the Silman story. A welfare
recipient in Beer Sheba came to the City Hall this week and also
threatened to set himself on fire. He failed to deliver on the
threat. A Russian 36 year old committed suicide recently by hanging
himself. The Left (and Haaretz) decided that he must have also been
upset over inequality.
Meanwhile, the tenured Left got REALLY REALLY upset when it turned
out that a professor at Ariel College commented on his Facebook page
about Silman and referred to him as a parasite. Amir Hetsroni teaches
communications there. The leftists grasped onto the "incident" in
part because the government is debating this week whether to upgrade
Ariel College to full university status. The tenured Left is leading
the jihad to prevent that from happening, because the upgrade would
eat into the loot divvied out to the OTHER universities and of course
because they disapprove of the fact that Ariel is located on the
correct side of the old Green Line. Never mind that Ariel is a more
serious academic institution than Ben Gurion University and never mind
that lots and lots of Ariel students are in fact West Bank Arab
The professorial chat lists have been filled with hand-wring by
eye-rolling leftists expressing their horror at the comments by
Hetsroni, whose freedom of speech was in their opinion forfeited the
moment he dared utter a politically incorrect sentiment. But the
irony is that the campaign against Hetsroni on these chat lists was
launched and led by one Ofer Cassif, who teaches political science at
a minor community college in Israel. Cassif, it turns out, is a
member of the central committee of the Stalinist Israeli Communist
Party. See http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Editorial%20-%20Ari%20Ben%20David%20-%20TA-Jaffa%20College%20-%20Ofer%20Cassif%20-%20publication-less%20wonder.htm
So the same guy leading the charge against the Ariel professor who
dared in an insensitive manner to dismiss Silman as a "parasite" is
also a leader of the party that celebrates and defends the mass
murders by fellow communists of tens of millions of people as
parasites. So his ultra-sensitivity about the word and the concept
appears to be a bit selective, would you not say, Comradeski?
2. Minnie Mouse, better known as Abigail Disney, is the daughter of
Walt and she is the bimbo mogulette scioness mouseketeer of the Disney
fortune and dynasty. She is upset with the Israeli cosmetics firm
Ahava (whose name means LOVE) and is boycotting it. She owns some
stock in the company and says she is so upset that the company
harvests minerals from the "Palestinian" Dead Sea that she will be
donating all her stock dividends from her investments in AHAVA to
those who are protesting this "injustice" and "exploitation." I
suppose by that she means the Hamas terrorists. She says she is
horrified by "occupation," but not enough to turn the territories she
owns in Anaheim and Orlando over to any Indian tribes.
She wants a Palestinian state? Let her wait for it in the endless
queue to ride Thunder Mountain, from which few ever return in tact.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Life in Israel - Case Closed
You asked me what I could tell you, as an economist, about the
differences between the quality and life and the standard of living in
Israel vs. the US. You asked what my advice would be for a former
Israeli or an ordinary American Jew contemplating moving (back?) to
Israel. That is, ideology and religious feelings aside, from a
practical point of view, where is the quality of life better?
Your question has a simple answer. Based on almost all criteria
and measurements, life in Israel is better than in the US. I do not
know why all the former Israelis and most US Jews do not move to
Israel at once. I think they are foolish for not doing so.
Why do I say that?
First, if we put aside housing, everything about life in Israel
is better than life in the US. Israelis live better than Americans.
They have a better standard of living and a longer life expectancy.
They eat better. They have a better material existence. Israeli kids
and non-kids have every electronic gadget that Americans have and then
some. Israelis are about as likely to own a car as Americans,
although slightly less likely to own two or three. Public
transportation in Israel is a hundred times better than in the US.
The weather is a thousand times better. The health system in Israel,
with all its problems, is better for the consumer than is the health
system in the US, with all its problems, and you are at least as
likely to get highly skilled and competent medical care in Israel as
in the US. Which I guess also means that the chances of major
screw-ups in health care are about the same in both places.
No less important, the average public school in Israel is better
than the average public school in the US. The good schools in Israel
are at least as good as the good schools in the US. Jewish education,
such as it is and it definitely needs some work, is essentially free
in Israel and costs a fortune in the US. Israeli universities, with
all their problems and ugly politicization, and who better than me
knows about that, are better than the average American university,
although not as good as the best American universities, and no one is
stopping Israelis from sending their kids to the best American
universities. Moreover, Israeli university tuition is almost free, or
to be more precise - tuition is about $3000 per year. A month in the
dorms in the US can cost that much.
You are safer in Israel than in the US. That is not a joke or
exaggeration. Sure, Israel has terrorism but the US has violent
crime. You are just as dead if you are killed by a criminal as when
you are killed by a terrorist, and you are more likely to be killed by
a criminal in the US than you are to be killed by a terrorist in
Israel. The only difference is that the violent killer in Israel is
politically driven. And the killing would make the news headlines.
But from a purely mathematical perspective, you and your family
members are safer in Israel. You are much more likely to die in a
traffic accident in Israel than be hurt by a terrorist, and traffic
accident rates are not much different from those in the US and better
than those in most of Europe.
That leaves the exception I noted, housing. Yes, Israelis live
at a disadvantage when it comes to housing, compared to Americans. Or
at least to most Americans. Israelis have better and larger housing
units than New Yorkers. Outside New York, Americans are likely to
live in larger single homes, while Israelis live in smaller
condominiums, purchased apartments. Rent is cheap in Israel compared
to the US. Purchase prices for apartments are higher in Israel. So
Israelis live in less roomy units and have to put up with neighbors in
the same building, half of whom are idiots or lunatics. You get used
So, as I said, housing aside, Israelis have a better quality of life.
There are a few other considerations of course for anyone
contemplating the move. If you speak Hebrew already, there is no
language disadvantage to life in Israel. If you do not, you can live
in English speaking enclaves in Israel, find English speaking work in
many cases, and eventually you will speak Hebrew. The Russians and
Ethiopians can do it and so can you. But it takes a while and can be
That is offset by the fact that, unlike the US, you are living in
a thriving dynamic cornucopia of Jewish life with diverse Jewish
population groups and traditions and religious vibrancy. You can take
courses or hear lessons in Judaism from a different teacher every
single day and need never attend the same teacher twice because the
choice set is so huge. I do not know what the cash value of that is.
You will almost never be accosted on the street by someone asking if
you have spare change, and, on the off chance that you WILL be, it
will likely be by a 79 year old Russian grandmother, not a young punk
looking for drug money. The young black teenagers you will see on the
street are generally wearing yarmulkes. You will almost never see
drunks asleep on park benches or stinking up the avenue. Everyone you
meet will seek to give you advice, and much of it will be good advice.
The Israelis are not particularly polite, although you will be
surprised to discover that Israeli Arabs are. You need never wear a
tie. You can debate Spinoza with your neighbor on the bus. Your
gardener may be studying Maimonides. If he happens to be Yemenite, he
probably knows Maimonides better than the Rabbi. No one listens to
rap music, or almost no one. Israeli pop music is better than
American pop music. Israelis no longer smoke more than Americans and,
thanks to the weather, you can open windows everywhere all year round.
The beaches are about as nice as anything California offers. The
traffic jams can be as bad. The wine is better and always kosher.
The coffee is much better. The falafel has no comparison in the US.
Your children will marry Jewish partners.
Israeli settlements are both legal and necessary
Israel has ever produced. I would lock away the silverware if he ever
came for a visit. His political agenda has long been up for sale to
the highest bidder.
Israel's dual justice system, which never prosecutes those toadies
obeying and pursuing the Left's agenda, just ruled that Olmert is as
clean as the driven snow with regard to two out of three corruption
charges against him. His office assistant was convicted however. A
bit like claiming that the janitor in the Nixon White House was to
blame for the Watergate break-in. Olmert was found guilty of one of
the three counts. Don't hold your breath though for him to do any
jail time. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4253310,00.html
2. A fascinating development this week in Israel was the release of
the report of a governmental commission, whose assignment was to
define the legal status of the "occupied territories" for purposes of
government policy. The commission was headed by Edmund Levy, an
interesting Supreme Court Judge and one of the only ones who is not a
judicial activist leftist.
The Obama people are upset with the report
indication of how good it is - and Israel's moonbat Left is positively
wetting itself in anguish. The synopsis of the report itself can be
read in English here:
Basically the report says that the West Bank Judea and Samaria are
not occupied territories at all but, at most, disputed territories,
something like the US-Canadian border areas were during parts of North
American history. As such, there is no reason why Israel cannot build
there and even seize land there under eminent domain. There is
nothing in international law that would make settlements "illegal."
And these should thus be proclaimed by Israel as completely legal.
Whether or not Israel should build settlements then becomes a matter
of Israeli interests and policy, not legal obstacles.
It has been a while since I stated just what the issue is regarding
settlements, so let me briefly re-state it here:
* It is in Israel's acute national interest to prevent the West Bank
from serving as a terrorist base, from which rockets, mortars and
possibly weapons of mass destruction would be launched at Israel.
Life in Israel would be impossible with the West Bank serving as a
"Palestinian State," basically a clone of Hamastan in Gaza. It is
thus critical to do everything to prevent that from happening.
* Every accord or "deal" that provides for any sort of "Palestinian"
state or sovereignty or entity operating outside Israeli control in
the West Bank will produce the scenario of the previous point, mass
terrorist aggression from "Palestine," making life in Israel
impossible. It does not matter what would be written in any accord
or treaty. Gaza is clear proof of what Israel can expect from any
"withdrawal" from Judea and Samaria, except it would be a thousand
* Israel would be prevented from taking serious action against
terrorist aggression from this "Palestine" by international pressures
and sanctions, and the Israeli Left would rally the world against
Israeli "aggression" in all such cases.
* The only way effectively to prevent the conversion of the West
Bank into a Hamastan terror base is by maintaining a significant
Jewish population there. This effectively prevents international
pressure from producing the conversion of the West Bank into the
second Hamastan, and effectively prevents endlessly-appeasing and
cowardly Israeli governments from capitulating to those pressures.
(Imagine what Olmert would have done without the settlements. Since
most of the settlers are actually living in Jerusalem suburbs, their
presence there also effectively prevents any capitulations by Israel
to pressures regarding relinquishing Jerusalem.
* While there are other moral and historic arguments why Israel and
Jews have the right to live in the West Bank, the only REAL purpose of
"settlements" is to prevent the emergence of any "Palestinian state."
No other rationalization or justification is needed. There are no
alternative effective ways to prevent the conversion of the West Bank
West Bank settlements are no obstacle at all for the economic
development of the "Palestinian" population centers there, nor to
forms of limited autonomy, which should be the MOST that Israel is
willing to concede to the "Palestinians." (And even they are not an
There is a more fundamental problem with the whole word
"occupation." The anti-Israel Lobby, including Israel's Left, adopted
the nonsense word "occupation" originally after 1967 because at the
time it still conjured up associations with the Nazi occupation of
Europe and the Japanese occupation of East Asia before and during the
War. As in everything else, Israeli leaders decided that semantics
do not matter and refused to fight that battle against the word, and
the battle was forfeited more than 40 years ago. The analogous Hebrew
word "Kibush" is an even stupider word, meaning "conquest." It is
like claiming that the Belgian and Dutch territories liberated from
the Nazis by the Allies are now "conquered territories." As a matter
of general policy, I would suggest that any time an Israeli uses the
nonsense word "kibush," and that includes half the articles in
Haaretz, then you should regard absolutely everything else that person
says about everything and anything in the world to be absolute
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Scot Free Spies and Pirate Sorority Sisters
judicial Left and the leftist Attorney General's offices continue to
grovel before their ideological masters and mentors. Uri Blau, the
Haaretz reporter who was involved in the Anat Kamm espionage affair,
will not be going to jail. Clean as a hound's tooth.
You recall that the leftist Tel Aviv University student Anat Kamm
stole thousands of classified documents from the military and passed
them on to her chum Uri Blau, a far-leftist who churns out articles
for Haaretz bashing those who criticize the Far Left. The Attorney
General is going to let him go scot free in exchange for 4 months of
sipping espresso as "community service." Blau and Kamm should in fact
have been indicted for espionage and treason.
But it is not as if they were guilty of expressing a thought in which
a leftist politician was criticized or anything, in which case they
could have been indicted for insulting a public servant. It is not as
if they recommended to someone to read a controversial book about
Rabbinic law, which would have gotten them indicted for racism. No,
all they did was attempt to violate Israel's national security:
2. Israel's Ivory Cartel has struck again. The ivory cartel is the
academic OPEC of Israel, in which the seven universities divvy up the
loot allotted by the government for higher education amongst
themselves. I suggested years ago they should dress up like pirates
emptying the treasure chest while doing so.
The Ivory Cartel, also known as the Council on Higher Education, also
known as the academic Kremlin, just voted to block Ariel College from
gaining full university status. Why? Because the college is in the
West Bank! And because any shekel granted to it as a university
would mean one less shekel for the pirates.
The tenured Left has been demanding that Ariel be boycotted and not
granted university status regardless of its academic quality and
achievements. In many ways it is a better university than Ben Gurion
University. Some of the more interesting engineering innovations
coming out of Israel were developed there. Now the heads of the seven
sisters, the seven universities sharing the loot in Israel, have come
out against Ariel being admitted into their sorority.
Knesset members from the "Right" are already proposing a law that
would bypass and neutralize the cartel and allow Ariel to gain fiscal
parity with the pirates.
3. As you may recall, my guess was that the vulgar graffiti placed on
the walls of Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial was put there by
leftists, not by the ultra-Orthodox vandals the media were universally
accusing. Well, I was wrong. Three mentally defective "Chareidim"
(ultra-Orthodox) evidently were involved. Mental illness, you see, is
not restricted to radical secularist leftists in Israel.
Monday, July 02, 2012
century. (As it turns out, he was also an anti-Semite.) His belief
in socialism was based on silly and absurd utopian fantasies.
Specifically, he believed that the adoption of socialism would produce
a world in which the seas turned to lemonade, a drink fashionable just
back then in Paris. (Among his other ideas were that adopting
socialism would result in 6 moons orbiting the earth, women always
having four husbands simultaneously, and the North Pole would be
warmer than the Mediterranean.) He called himself the Messiah of
Since the start of the "social justice protest" movement in Israel,
the protest leaders have been co-opted by a small group of radical
leftist academics, led by professor of education Yossi Yonah from Ben
Gurion University (where else?). The Yonah team postured as the true
academic social justice public commission, in contrast with the
Trajtenberg Commission appointed by the government. The social
justice protesters have all cozied up with Yonah and his band.
The Yonah team, which includes a few other academics and also the head
of the Histadrut trade union, has just issued its own manifesto for
social justice in Israel. In comparison with its "thinking," Charles
Fourier was a rational deep thinker.
The Yonah team's road map is little more than a collection of naïve
wishes, amounting to little more than the wish that all Israelis
should be happy. It nowhere explains how any of its wishes can be
realized. The only thing it is missing is a sea made of lemonade.
The first and lead item in its "program" consists of this: It thinks
Israelis should be equal and prosperous while preserving the
environment. Just how it thinks any of that can be achieved is never
spelled out. The committee exhibits no understanding whatsoever
regarding the factors that affect income distribution and wage
determination. I doubt Yonah has ever stepped into an economics
classroom. He just wants incomes to be equal. He does not care how
incomes are determined in a market.
The rest of the lemonade-sea program is no better. The Yonah team
unabashedly calls for a massive increase in the size of the public
sector (the same week that Americans are up in arms over a Supreme
Court decision that would allow the government to order them to buy
health insurance). The Yonah manifesto calls for the government to
provide a much wider scope of services currently provided by the
private sector. It calls for suppressing "short term capital
investments" because these supposedly harm "stability," whatever that
is. It calls for better education and health services, without saying
how this can be achieved. The manifesto proclaims housing a "right,"
which means presumably that, if you do not own a housing unit, it is
my duty to pay for your getting one.
The Yonah team wants a halt to privatizations and to the operation of
manpower agencies, a bugaboo of the radical Left because it allows low
income people to find jobs not covered by the "social regulations"
imposed on the market by the bureaucrats. It demands an immediate
reduction in "the cost of living," and while it offers no ideas of how
that can be achieved, the Yonah team evidently has in mind massive
subsidization. Finally, it wants to make governmental budgeting more
"democratic," by making it less democratic and stripping the
representatives of the people of their control over it, passing on
this power to leftist NGOs. It is all a sort of mixture of Lenin with
The main thing that the Yonah social justice program really
illustrates is what has become of academic standards at Ben Gurion
Sunday, July 01, 2012
Ben Gurion University's Assault against Jewish Studies
expose on the latest academic atrocities taking place at Ben Gurion
University. Like so many of the past outrages there, this one
involves David Newman, a leftist geographer who teaches in the
political science department and who is currently Dean of Humanities
and Social Sciences at BGU. Newman is best remembered for having
helped produced an anti-Semitic documentary for British television
. He is collaborator and busom buddy with Neve Gordon. Both of these
critters have repeatedly called for the suppression of the freedom of
speech for critics of Far Leftists. As head of the politics
department, Newman built a department in which no non-leftist was
allowed to teach. The single non-leftist Zionist who was teaching in
the department was fired for incorrect thinking. The academic quality
of that department, where anti-Israel hate propaganda is regarded as
scholarly research, was so atrocious that an international panel of
experts called for shutting it down altogether. (BGU's president
responded to that report by suggesting some cosmetic changes, which
leads me to suggest she go to work for Avon instead of for BGU.)
Well, now, according to Makor Rishon, Dean Newman has a new cause
and that is slashing and reducing the departments in the university in
which Jewish Studies are taught. The university has departments of
"Jewish Thought," Jewish History, and Hebrew literature. Dean Newman
thinks that is far too much. He wants to reduce the sizes and number
of those departments, slash their budgets and merge them into a single
small department. Is he upset because so few students and faculty in
these departments participate in campus pro-Hamas rallies and call for
world boycotts of Israel?
Newman, whose own department was denounced for its academic
standards, likes to call these Jewish departments "mediocre" in terms
of academic quality. They do not publish enough in English, he says,
you know – unlike the books by Neve Gordon calling for world boycotts
of Israel and denouncing Israel as an apartheid regime. Of course, at
the same time Newman is struggling to ADD slots and budgets to his OWN
political science department! Newman, whose department runs
"conferences" every few weeks in which only leftists may speak,
including conferences devoted to Marxist indoctrination, criticized
the Jewish departments for running conferences whose academic quality
was not "high enough"!
The newspaper notes the atmosphere of suppression and terror
introduced by Newman, manifested in the fact that none of the faculty
members of the departments being targeted by Newman were willing to be
interviewed. The newspaper also notes that while the commission
appointed by Israel's Council on Higher Education demanded that BGU's
department of political science not run a PhD program or accept PhD
candidates (because of the department's low quality), not only is the
department still doing so but the chap in CHARGE of the doctoral
program is none other than Neve Gordon. Gordon's own PhD is from the
sixth rate Notre Dame University, where he was associated with the
Kroc Institute. The Kroc Institute is an openly Marxist "institute"
(http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=9647 ), best
remembered for its attempts to bring a radical Islamofascist with ties
to al-Qaeda to the university as a "guest scholar" until the FBI
blocked them. (http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1884
) According to Makor Rishon, Newman has also appointed Gordon to be
in charge of the School's budgets.
2. The following is my translation of an Op Ed in Makor Rishon by Uri
Elitzur. I think it is the best thing that has been written to date
about the "Social Justice Protest" brats in Israel:
It is not a Protest but an Insult
You, dear reader, are not the only one who has no idea what the
protest activists want. No one knows. It is not that you failed to
understand their message, but it is because they themselves have no
idea of what they want. They are enraged, they are bitter, they hate
the government and the Orthodox and the settlers and the rich folks
and the poor folks and Tel Aviv's Mayor. And they honestly and in
their whole hearts feel that it is awful to live in this country in
its current state. Their goal is to bring you to feel the same way,
full of rage and bitterness.
They include some hard-core anarchists with a well-defined
political agenda, but most of the protesters express nothing more than
anger and frustration. Anger about what exactly? Are they angry at
the enormous prosperity of Tel Aviv? The overflowing cafes? The
shopping malls crowded with upscale merchandise? The protesters are
NOT really concerned with the poor and the weak, and also do not flee
from Tel Aviv, because they do not really have it tough. SO what is
Maybe it is just like the anger and frustration that a divorced
man feels when he sees his ex having such a happy time with her new
hubby (or ditto for reversed genders). The reason it is so hard to
define the goals of the protest is that the protest is not really
targeting the "system" or the state for their failures, but rather for
their successes. It is a protest against the annoying fact that
someone ELSE is in charge, someone they were certain would fail and
collapse, but to their frustration that someone succeeded.
That someone is not just Netanyahu. It is not personal and not
even entirely political. It is deeper. This is a protest against the
success of modern Zionism, which they were certain would fail. It is
a protest against the prosperity produced by the same capitalism that
they were certain would collapse. And in spite of all their efforts
and theories, the world by and large is not boycotting Israel or
crushing it. The world does not share the protesters' view that the
state is a captive of "settlers" and the ultra-Orthodox, that the
state has plunged into undemocratic darkness.
The protest is less about rage than it is about the protesters
feeling insulted. Their "enlightenment" and leftist secularism had
promised them supremacy. But a religious man runs the country's
health system. Orthodox and settler youths are senior military
commanders, immigrants from the old Soviet Union sit in the cabinet
and influence policy.
And since they are driven by hurt feelings, social justice
protest is so beloved by them, the self-proclaimed enlightened. It
restores to them their sense of pride and purpose. That and the
grand fun of belonging and being there.
(See also http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=275510)
3. In all the talk about the flood of Africans infiltrating Israel,
in all the condemnation of Israel for not agreeing to be converted
into a country with a sub-Saharan population growing with no limit,
the world and the anti-Israel Israeli Left seem to be forgetting
The Eritreans and Sudanese and others make their way to the Sinai
peninsula, pretending to be "refugees" escaping persecution, but in
reality seeking nice cushy minimum wage employment in Israel. But
once they are in Sinai there is ANOTHER alternative place they can go.
There is another conceivable refuge where these "persecuted refugees"
could infiltrate. In fact, infiltrating this alternative place of
refuge is easy as pie because the gates are all wide open to anyone
from Sinai. And it is an alternative place of refuge in which there
are no "racist Jews" who supposedly object to Africans because they do
not like dark skinned folk.
That alternative place of refuge is Gaza. Any Eritrean, most of
whom are Moslem, and any Sudenese can just walk in, or stroll into
Gaza through the countless smuggling tunnels. These tunnels are large
enough to accommodate endless rockets so a few tens of thousands of
Eritreans should have no problem passing through. There are plenty of
jobs there. And endless handouts from the international "refugee"
organizations. So who says they need to try to enter Israel to gain
safety, jobs or asylum? Who says they need to be oppressed by racist
But there is a problem here. As far as I know, not a single
African has attempted to infiltrate into Gaza. Well, one part of the
story might be that there have been cases of Gazans catching the
Africans while still in the Sinai peninsula and murdering them. There
are persistent rumors even that some Gazans have killed Africans in
order to steal and sell their body parts, which might be what has
inspired the Palestinians to insist that Jews routinely murder people
to steal their body parts.
Here is a sampling of news reports: