Sunday, May 31, 2009

Loyalty Oath Defeated

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation resoundingly rejected the proposed bill that would have demanded an oath of loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state and military or community service in exchange for citizenship. All the members on the committee, except for three ministers from Yisrael Beitenu, voted against the bill. Without the support of the coalition, the bill's chances of being approved by the Knesset are nearly non-existent.

Finally, the government does something right. I'm glad Avigdor Lieberman was unable to pressure Likud ministers into voting in favor of this repugnant proposal.

In related news, politicians are negotiating a compromise over the so-called "Nakba Law". In its original form, the bill would make it illegal to commemorate the Nakba and mourn the creation of the State of Israel. The revised version would not make it illegal for private citizens to commemorate the Palestinians' catastrophe, but would make it illegal to use public funds (taxpayers' money) for mourning Israel's independence. This would mostly mean that Arab municipalities, whose budgets rely more on government money than local taxes, would be barred from funding Nakba-related events.

This sounds like a reasonable compromise to me. Palestinian citizens of Israel should be allowed to express their negative feelings towards Israel, but it would be ridiculous to expect Israel to fund events and materials decrying its own existence. I don't want my taxes to be spent on the Nakba. The Arabs can find other sources to fund these activities.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weird Search Terms: May 2009 Edition

I checked which keywords people used to reach my site and I got a few odd results.

  • I got two hits from Venezuela, three days apart, from someone(s) who looked up "rape fantasy ingrid betancourt". Each one used a different browser, but I'm pretty sure it is the same person. How many sick bastards are there?
  • One person from California looked up "fuck Shimon Peres", and reached my site, despite the fact that I never cursed President Peres.
  • Someone at the office of the United States Senate Sargeant-at-Arms looked up "Schumer and Israel and concert" and reached my post about the settler rally. Why is the Senate's chief law enforcement officer searching for information about senators or reactions to the senators' activities?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Settlements, Nakba, Culture and Netanyahu-Leiberman

The Netanyahu government has made so many bad decisions since its inception, and these last few days particularly, that it's hard to decide where to start criticizing it. I'll try, anyway.
  • Netanyahu has declared that construction in the settlements will not be halted. He claims it doesn't make sense not to allow for "natural growth". I'd say that if a family has a new baby and doesn't have enough room for him, or a new couple gets married, they should do something crazy like buy a house within the green line. What's so bad about the Galilee or the Sharon area?
  • A government panel has approved a bill banning the commemoration of the Nakba. Ministers from the Labor Party have appealed the decision, so the question will come before the whole cabinet prior to a vote in the Knesset. If this becomes law it will do nothing but incite violence and radicalize Israel's Arab population. Who proposed this bill? It's MK Alex Miller, of Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party. Ehud Barak, meanwhile, has avoided voicing an opinion on the matter, saying people should be dealing with "more serious issues". This powder keg is not a serious issue?
  • Another Liebermanite, Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich, ordered the police to disrupt an international Palestinian literary fair in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority has declared Jerusalem as the Palestinian center of culture, and the Israeli government is scared shitless that this tag may stick. What does Israel gain by disrupting cultural events? It just ends up looking like a bully.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Schumer, Weiner and the Settler Rally

Sen. Chuck Schumer and potential NYC mayoral candidate Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, are scheduled to speak at The Israel Day Concert, a radical right-wing rally. They should cancel their participation. As an Israeli and American citizen with voting rights in federal elections in New York, I plan on letting these guys know of my dissatisfaction. You can, too. Contact Schumer here and Weiner here.

I wonder if Schumer and Weiner knew what exactly they were getting into. If you take a look at the fine print of the poster, you'll see that the event is dedicated, among other things, to:

  • The "eternal" unity of Jerusalem, West and East.
  • The far-right wing Ateret Cohanim organization, which specializes in taking over Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and handing it over to Jewish settlers.
  • The "heroic front line families" in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, who endanger Israel's security, not to mention their children's, by being there and who get preferential treatment over us Israelis living within the green line.
  • The "displaced families" from Gush Katif in the Gaza strip.
  • Here's my favorite line: "The more than 3,000 victims of Oslo since September 13, 1993".

They also say no to the division of Jerusalem, giving up any part of the land, the expulsion of settlers, and no to "a PLO/Fatah/Hamas Terrorist State" (when you put it this way, I agree, but there is an option of a PLO non-terrorist state, you know).

Schumer and Weiner, you sure you want to participate in this nuttiness? Is this what supporting Israel means to you? Israel and the settlers aren't the same thing. Hell, they don't even live in Israel!

HT: Jewschool

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eurotrash 2009

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in half an hour. I'll just watch the beginning to see Israel's Noa (Achinoam Nini) and Mira Awad perform, and if I'll still be up, I'll tune in again about two hours into the broadcast (midnight Israel time) to see the point allocation.

I wonder how Noa and Awad will fair. I've seen at least a few seconds of about half the songs in the contest and most of them are horrid. "There Must Be Another Way", Israel's entry, is one of just a handful of relatively good songs, but it may still suffer for political reasons. Voters in other countries might punish Israel for the operation in Gaza and the election of Benjamin Netanyahu. On the other hand, it is a song about co-existence between Jews and Arabs, so some might want to reward Israel for that. And maybe there are some who will vote for the song just because they like it.

By the way, what's with the Czech guy in a superhero suit who looks a little like Mahmoud Ahmedinijad?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Israelis Unhappy With Netanyahu

Haaretz published a public opinion poll today with some interesting results (in Hebrew here, and in English here). A majority of Israelis (52%) are not satisfied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's performance, while just 28% are satisfied. Ha'aretz notes that these are worse approval ratings than Ehud Olmert had after the botched Second Lebanon War. When asked whether Netanyahu is better than Olmert or not, a plurality of 31% said Netanyahu is worse, 28% said they are both the same, and 27% said Netanyahu is better. Considering how hated Olmert was, this is really striking.

I'm not sure how I'd answer that question. On the one hand, Netanyahu is extremely right wing in all areas of policy, while Olmert was supposedly a centrist leader. On the other, Olmert just gave lip service to peace without bringing about results, and his social and economic policies were just as conservative as Netanyahu's. On the peace front, at least we know where Bibi stands. Is it worse to openly oppose the two-state solution than to publicly embrace the idea without doing anything substantial to make it happen?

Speaking of the two-state solution, it is alive and well in the minds of the Israeli public. 57% of respondents in this poll said Netanyahu should tell Obama he accepts the idea of a Palestinian state. 35% say he shouldn't.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Like Keyboards. Do you?

Plinky asks: Do you prefer writing on paper or a keyboard?

Worker using a non ergonomic keyboard

There's nothing like being able to instantly edit whatever you are writing. You suddenly think of something you should have written between two sentences or noticed a typo? No, problem. Just go back and fix it!

I have no problem with writing on paper, but writing stuff up on the computer is much better.