Sunday, June 14, 2009
The most interesting idea in his speech is his call for a demilitarized Palestinian State. He's absolutely right to demand that. Palestinians will always keep wishing Israel never existed. The only way to make sure Palestine won't try to retake what it sees as its rightful territory is by making sure it is disarmed. The new state must not look like Gaza does now. I don't support Israeli control of Palestine's airspace, though. While the proximity of Gaza and the West Bank to Tel-Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport poses a risk, I am sure there are ways to deal with the problem.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
It was the first time I've read the entire news section cover to cover and I enjoyed every single one of the articles (except for Shimon Adaf's over-technical report about quantum physics). The different writers wrote beautifully and from very special perspectives. I especially liked Etgar Keret's interview with Ehud Barak (Hebrew here), David Grossman's report from a rehab center for youth (Hebrew here) and Nurit Gertz's observations about the disconnect between Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the staff of his ministry (Hebrew here).
To see all the articles in Hebrew click here. For the articles in English click here and choose June 10 from the drop down menu on the left (sorry, there doesn't seem to be a static URL for the English edition of the writers' table of contents).
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Yes, it's mostly a publicity stunt (though not a very good one - since I only know about it because I read today's print edition - the website has nothing about it and I haven't seen any commercials about it either), and writing subjectively about the news by people who usually write literature is very un-journalistic. I don't see the New York Times, Washington Post or Le Monde handing over their news pages to non-journalists. I really don't care about all that, though. Since it is just a one time thing, I don't see this as an insult to the idea of objective, professional reporters covering the issues in as balanced a way as possible.
So, if any of you notice new bylines and offbeat reports tomorrow on Ha'aretz's website, don't be surprised.
Expect more on this tomorrow, after I read the special edition.
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Section 1. (1) Proposed amendments to this constitution may be proposed either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or by a Constitutional Convention called by Congress.
(2) A Constitutional Convention shall be called whenever the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states shall submit applications to Congress regarding a specific issue within three years of each other.
(3) The number of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention from each state shall be the same as the number each state in entitled to have in the House of Representatives and shall be elected by the same method as representatives by the people of each state. The qualifications to serve as Delegate shall be identical to the qualifications to serve as a Representative, as shall be the compensation each shall receive for their service. However, no senator, representative or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States shall serve as Delegate.
(4) The term of a Constitutional Convention shall not exceed two years. The Convention may dissolve itself earlier if, after proposing at least one amendment to the Constitution, a majority of Delegates so decides. If, after two years, a Convention fails to propose amendments, Congress may call a new convention, even without the application of the state legislatures. This right of Congress shall expire six months after the end of the Convention's term.
Section 2. (1) Amendments proposed by either method mentioned in Section 1 shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures, conventions, or the people of three-fourths of the several states, as whichever of these three modes the proposing body may direct, provided that no more than seven years shall pass from the date of proposal to the date of ratification, unless the proposing body shall specify otherwise when proposing the amendment; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
(2) Whenever conventions shall be chosen as the mode of ratification, the delegates thereof shall be specially elected for that purpose, by whichever method each state shall by law provide. No state delegate shall simultaneously serve in a state legislature, Congress, or any federal or state executive office.
Section 3. All amendments proposed to the several states more than seven years before the ratification of this article and which have not yet been ratified, shall expire one year after the ratification of this article.
Section 4. The Congress and the several states shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 5. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as previously provided in Article V of the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Unfortunately, only four Knesset Members have decided to ditch Labor. Of those four, just one is a politician I like – Ofir Pines-Paz. I have mixed feelings about Eitan Cabel, who was a failure as Labor Party secretary-general but at least had the courage to quit the Olmert government after the Second Lebanon War. The other two defectors are Amir Peretz and Yuli Tamir, both of whom I dislike just as much as I dislike Ehud Barak. Peretz is the incompetent fool who botched the Lebanon War as Defense Minister. He's nothing more than a petty wheeler and dealer. Yuli Tamir, who I used to like, was a terrible Minister of Education who promoted the horrid "Ofek Hadash" (New Horizon) reform plan, which gave teachers a very slight raise in salary in exchange for a lot more hours of work, in effect cutting their per-hour salary.
There are three MKs the defectors need in order for me to support them: Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman, Labor caucus chairman Daniel Ben-Simon, and Shelly Yechimovich. I voted for all three in the Knesset primaries (among those who ended up in the Knesset, Ofir Pines is the fourth person I voted for). If at least one of them joins, the chances of my vote going in their direction will be higher.
In any case, my association with the Labor Party is over. Unless they make major changes, I'm not going to vote for them ever again. Since I've already paid my membership dues for the year, I'll stay on as a party member in case leadership primaries are held during the time I've already paid for anyway. I will not renew my membership after that.
In 2006, when the date was 06/06/06 (666) I joked that my blog is satanic. Not that it's 06/06 again and the 6th anniversary, should I repeat the same joke?
Friday, June 05, 2009
If you don't know who Topaz is - well, to make a long story short, he is a former television star who, as revealed this week, responded disproportionately and violently to the decline of his career and to perceived threats to his prospects for renewed success.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Zochrot, whose name is the feminine form of "[we] remember" in Hebrew, is an anti-Zionist organization dedicated to remembering the Palestinian villages destroyed during Israel's War of Independence, the return of Palestinian refugees and the one state solution. It is mostly made up of Jews rather than Palestinians, which makes it all the more irritating. I have no problem with Palestinians wanting to commemorate their own heritage, but far-left Jewish Israelis whining about how evil we are just piss me off. These are not the people I'd like to see teaching Israel's children.
The Nakba is a fact and should be addressed in high schools. Zochrot's way is not the way, though. Teaching children that we are the bad guys is no less simplistic than teaching them we're the good guys. Let's not teach the anti-Zionist narrative instead of the Zionist one. Show them both, side by side, analyze the differences and think about the Israeli and Palestinian versions critically.
Do it the PRIME way, not the Zochrot way.
I agreed with Obama's words about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the general Israeli-Arab situation. The two-state solution is crucial. Israel has to stop settlement activity while Israelis, Palestinians and Arab countries work toward building the infrastructure of the future Palestinian state. I also agree with his demand that Hamas must renounce violence and recognize Israel in order to be part of the peace process.
The only part of his speech I disagree with is his vision of a nuclear-free world. I'd love nothing more than to see all nukes destroyed, never to be seen again. However, I don't believe that is how things will play out. A "nuclear-free world" would, in reality, mean a situation where rogue countries would have nukes and international law-abiding nations wouldn't. What deterrent would the rogues have against nuking their enemies? Just imagine a world where nobody has WMD except for North Korea.