Archive for March, 2007


Sunday, March 25th, 2007

FarrakhanIf you haven’t seen the Louis Farrakhan interview from Al-Jazeera (provided by MEMRI), you haven’t lived. Farrakhan, asked if he’s still called antisemitic, chuckles and asks if Arabs are Semites. So how can he, who is pro-Arab, be antisemitic? He goes on to claim that European Jews are not actually Jews or Semites. They are converts to Judaism who have ‘segregated’ the Sephardic and Ethiopian Jews! I suppose the point is that he can be anti-European-Jew without being antisemitic.

He claims that Iran is entitled to nuclear power, since it wants it for peaceful purposes, so as not to be dependent on oil. But the US is opposed to Iran’s atomic program because “the cornerstone of American foreign policy is protection of Israel” and the US fears “Iran’s attitude to Israel”. Attitude indeed.

Watching this guy is like watching a poisonous snake, except that I kind of like actual reptiles.

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It will be a cold day in Hell before I buy a Volvo

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

By Vic Rosenthal

Another country has recognized the Palestinian Authority unity government:

Following Norway’s lead, Sweden announced Sunday that it will re-establish political and economic relations with the new Palestinian coalition government.

During a visit to Ramallah, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that Sweden would not differentiate between Hamas and Fatah ministers.

“Just as we wouldn’t let a foreign body interfere with our governmental issues and differentiate between ministers, we believe the Palestinian government should be treated as a single entity,” Bildt said.

Bildt promised that his government would continue making every effort to assist the Palestinians financially. — YNet

Sweden, unlike Norway, is a member of the EU. I think that we will be seeing more announcements of this type in the near future. Bildt is probably correct that it is illogical and not practical to recognize only part of a government (although I suppose this would have some symbolic value).

Let’s understand what this means.


Significant? Or not?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Recently our local newspaper printed a letter in which the writer suggested that the “moneychangers” (he used this word twice) and Israel were responsible for the war in Iraq. I think it’s safe to say that the editors were surprised by the strength of the reaction that they got from the local Jewish community. I’m sure that the “moneychangers” reference went right by them, but it probably won’t the next time!

Anyway, our contributor Murray Farber was thinking about the lack of awareness of Jewish issues in the media — at least outside of the centers of Jewish population — and he sent us this. Murray is a retired reporter and editor.

Am I too sensitive or am I especially perceptive? Two items in the local media bothered me, and I know it is probably pointless to complain because both came via national syndicates. Last week, a radio station ran an item about Anne Frank as part of a series about women and their achievements or impact. It had the expected material about her — hiding, Nazi occupation, the writings — but it never mentioned that she was Jewish.

Similarly about three weeks ago, local TV ran a piece about high school students — I think they were from Maryland — who gave up their vacations to go to New Orleans to assist in the Katrina rehabilation. The students wore yarmulkas and some had T-shirts with Hebrew writing. You guessed it! Again, the word ‘Jewish’ never came up.

Your reaction?

Christian European culture will soon be a memory

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

By Vic Rosenthal

Pope Benedict XVI warned Europeans that their falling birthrate may lead Europe to “take its leave from history”:

Benedict said he was concerned about Europe’s “demographic profile” — though he did not describe the trends that have alarmed the continent for decades.

In countries like Italy, where many married couples have one or no children, the population is expected to shrink dramatically in a generation or two unless fertility rates quickly increase…

Italy’s fertility rate steadily plunged to a low of 1.25 children per women of childbearing age in 2001, with the last few years seeing a small turnaround, mainly due to births to immigrants. — AP (Yahoo), Europe losing faith in its future


UN slaps Iran’s wrist

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

The UN Security Council has voted to place new economic sanctions on Iran:

The new draft UN resolution bans all Iranian arms exports, freezes the overseas assets of 28 additional officials and institutions linked to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including senior officers of the Elite Revolutionary Guards Corps and the state-owned Bank Sepah, and restricts financial aid or loans to Tehran.

It gives Iran 60 days to comply with the repeated UN demands or face “further appropriate measures” — economic sanctions but no military action — under Article 41 of the UN Charter…

The text builds on the December sanctions which included a ban on the sale of nuclear and ballistic missile-related materials to Iran, foreign travel restrictions on Iranians involved in sensitive atomic and ballistic missile work and a freeze on their overseas assets.– YNet

The resolution was passed unanimously today.

The problem is that in order for sanctions to be effective, they must make it more advantageous for Iran to stop her nuclear program than to continue it. And if the Iranian leadership feels that the strategic advantage of possession of nuclear weapons is great enough to risk an attack by the US or Israel, then relatively mild sanctions will not be effective.

The UN should apply sanctions that will be felt throughout the Iranian economy, and not just on the nuclear program. This might put enough pressure on the government to at least temporarily halt the program, or it might result in a change in government, one hopes to one which will have a different evaluation of the risks and benefits that come with Iran’s becoming a nuclear power.

As I wrote yesterday (see “Iran: we’re serious“), these risks are great, both for Iran and the rest of the world.

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