Friday, April 30, 2010
It is the holiest site in Judaism; the most familiar view of Jerusalem. It is how every tourist imagines the Western Wall (the ‘Kotel’ or ‘Wailing Wall’), with the gleaming gold of the Dome of the Rock perched above it. It lures them to pilgrimage to ‘The Holy Land’, to the centre of the three great Abrahamic faiths.
But this image of Jerusalem is now banned in the UK. Never again can it be used to promote a holiday to Israel.
Yes, the ASA have instructed the Israeli Government Tourist Office that they may no longer use the image in their promotional literature.
There were no scantily-clad children inadvertently featured; no topless women; no racially-offensive language; no incitement to ‘religious hatred’; no plumes of smoke from cancer-inducing cigarettes; no glorification of mephedrone or other illicit activity.
There was simply the Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the blue sky.
But the picture was accompanied by the words: ‘You can travel the entire length of Israel in six hours… Imagine what can experience in four days’.
The ASA have judged this to be ‘misleading’ and a breach of their ‘truthfulness guidelines’: Temple Mount is not in Israel, you see: it is in East Jerusalem, which constitutes part of the Palestinian-run West Bank and therefore part of the ‘Occupied Territories’.
And how many complaints did the ASA receive about this ‘misleading’ advertisement?
Yes, that’s right. They receive one solitary complaint, and acted ferociously to ensure that it can never ‘mislead’ the unsuspecting British public again.
And so the delegitimisation of the State of Israel continues apace.
While the Western Wall is officially over the “Green Line” established in the Old City of Jerusalem after the 1967 War, it is at the outer perimeter of the old Jewish Quarter of the City — a quarter that the Jordanian army took over in the 1948 War of Independence and razed to the ground. In other words, there is not a single building in the old Jewish Quarter which has not been rebuilt in the last 50 years, since Israel regained the City.
While the Dome of the Rock (or the Al Aqsa Mosque) may be the oldest Islamic structure in the world, and was indeed built in the seventh century, it was built intentionally on the remains of the Jewish Temple the Romans had destroyed in the 1st century. The Western Wall is the last remnant of that Temple, and is at least 1,000 years older than Al Aqsa. It is, without question, the holiest of holy places to the Jews, while the Dome of the Rock is only the third holiest site to Muslims.
As part of several written agreements — the last being in 1995 and also signed by the Palestinians — Israel has official (and legal) charge of all the holy sites in ‘The Holy Land’.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010
By STEVE LINDE
Tells 'Post' election winner will back Israel.
Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez assured Israel on Thursday that bilateral ties are “very strong,” and whoever wins his country’s presidential election next month will be supportive of the Jewish state.
“Colombia and Israel have had a very long relationship and a very strong partnership too,” Bermudez told The Jerusalem Post, in an interview in his suite at the King David Hotel.
“I truly believe that Colombia today, regardless of who will be the most likely winner, is going to continue on the same track... I am very optimistic about the future of our relationship.”
He also expressed a desire to strengthen Colombia’s military relationship with Israel as well as trade ties, and develop what he termed “joint ventures on innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.”
Bermúdez, on an official three-day visit to Israel, met on Thursday with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman after holding talks with President Shimon Peres on Wednesday. He also visited Yad Vashem and Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Colombian election to succeed President Alvaro Uribe, on May 30, is expected to be a tight race between former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos and former Bogota mayor Antanas Mockus.
Uribe, who gained popularity in his successful war against the FARC rebels, has served the maximum two terms as president and his administration has been tainted by corruption allegations.
Some of the arms that Colombia uses in its battle against the rebels were purchased from Israel, including Kfir aircraft, drones, weapons and intelligence systems.
Uribe recently accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of meddling in the elections by suggesting that Santos’s election “could generate a war in this part of the world.”
“It is an insult to the Colombian people that a foreign government would try to impede its free political will to elect the next president of the republic, with intimations of war,” Uribe said.
The maverick Mockus, an independent candidate, this week retracted a comment he had made in a radio interview that he “admires” Chavez, saying he would like to change the verb to “respects.”
“I respect President Chavez because he was elected and reelected democratically, and anyone elected democratically is respectable,” he was quoted as telling W Radio.
The virulently anti-Israel Chavez has derogatorily referred to Uribe’s Colombia as “the Israel of Latin America.”
In his meeting with Peres on Wednesday, Bermúdez told him warmly: “I admire your people. I admire your country and I admire you. You have many friends in Colombia.”
Bermúdez, born in Bogota in 1966, is a lawyer-turned-diplomat who is married with two children. He served for four years as communications adviser to Uribe, whom he met as a student at Oxford University.
After receiving his doctorate in political science from Oxford, he was appointed an adviser to the Colombian Human Rights Committee. He later served as ambassador to Argentina and was appointed foreign minister in 2008.
An attractive, articulate and affable diplomat, Bermúdez plans to enter the business sector after the May election. This exclusive interview with him was conducted in English on Thursday morning, in the presence of Colombian Ambassador Isaac Gilinski and Israeli Ambassador to Colombia Meron Reuben.
How would you sum up your visit to Israel?
Well, first of all, from a personal point of view, I’m so pleased to be here since this is my first time. It’s a wonderful experience.
Secondly, Colombia and Israel have had a very long relationship and a very strong partnership, too. Both countries and our peoples have suffered and have endured, in a way, similar difficulties. At the same time, I would say that we both are resilient and determined, that we share somehow a lot in common. I would say that for us, it’s very important to make a partnership with Israel in several aspects.
One of these aspects, which was part of the conversation with President Peres, is how we can come up with a joint venture between the private sector and public sector in Israel and Colombia, in projects on innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.
You are a well-reputed country, and you serve as innovative, entrepreneurial and so on, and we would like to learn about that, and we have certain experience. Colombia is well-rated worldwide in terms of professionalism, commitment and innovation too.
We’ve been talking with our delegation, which includes Luis Carlos Villegas, the president of the National Business Association, to make these joint ventures possible, and I think it could happen in the near future. So that’s the big idea of what’s going on in this particular visit.
Obviously, we have several other aspects in which we cooperate with each other, and we need to do more in terms of the fight against terrorism, the cooperation in agri-business, education and so on.
Do you think Colombia can learn from Israel in the fight against terrorism?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And perhaps the other way around too. And the most important thing is how we both can cooperate with each other. Because we in Colombia truly believe that drugs and terrorism are multinational businesses and crimes, and the only way you can actually get rid of those for good is through effective international cooperation.
What is Colombia’s position on sanctions against Iran?
Well, we basically work hand in hand within the NPT framework, and in Latin America we believe it is very important for the entire world and particularly for our region to move ahead on this particular issue.
What have you heard from your meetings in Israel about the resumption of proximity talks with the Palestinians?
Colombia truly wishes that the situation will actually make some progress, for Israel and also for Palestine to achieve a final solution peacefully, and what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen in the media is that there are good signs, and we hope that progress can be made, in the coming future, for the good of the two peoples, for the good of Israel and for the good of Palestine.
There are a lot of Palestinians living in Colombia...
There are a good number, and we also have an important Jewish community, and they both get along fairly well, and in that particular sense, Colombia is a very open country.
You have elections coming up. Do you think Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been interfering in the elections?
I think that Colombia cannot accept anyone from any other country making some comments or suggestions that interfere with our domestic political process, whether it is criticizing or supporting any candidate, whatever his or her name. So we cannot accept that.
On the other hand, I would say that Colombian democracy is a very strong one, and what has been shown, in this campaign and many others, is that we respect the independence of institutions. The political parties and the opposition parties have all the guarantees to run and to campaign, and we have a very strong and vibrant democracy.
I truly believe that Colombia today, regardless of who will be the most likely winner, is going to continue on the same track and on the same path in terms of improving security, promoting investment and social cohesion, and deepening our democracy.
Do you think whoever wins will be supportive of Israel?
Yes, I believe so, yes.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Colombia last year, and you are meeting with him today. What is on the agenda of your talks?
We have a very open agenda. We have been having a candid dialogue. We normally talk about bilateral issues, and regional and multilateral issues.
What about the growing influence of Iran and Hizbullah in Latin America?
We talk about everything. Whatever his or our concern is. We are very open to many issues.
May I ask you about the military ties between Israel and Colombia? Do you see these expanding?
Yes. I’ll give you my particular view on that. I was so impressed yesterday by President Peres, because he mentioned one idea that I think is very, very strong.
He said we should share, regarding the military, and we should have not only camps but also campuses, meaning that people in the army should not only serve but also study, and we are going to have a meeting today with the staff to talk in deeper detail about this.
We would welcome this idea, and are more than pleased to learn about it. That’s a big issue.
Finally, how do you see the future of the relationship between Israel and Colombia developing?
I think it is a very strong and longstanding relationship, and I am very optimistic about the future of this relationship, particularly regarding these two new ideas that have come up during my visit.
The first one I mentioned came from President Peres regarding how the military could become not only a camp but a campus, service and study, but also the idea that I mentioned to have a joint venture between public and private sectors, between Israel and Colombia, regarding innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.
So we’ve been discussing with our ambassadors and our teams how we can make this happen in the near future.
Israel Railways' train passengers have been treated to lectures given by Hebrew University professors during their daily commutes this year as part of the "Scientists on the Train" program by the university to highlight the benefits of science and it's practical role and contributions in everyday life.
A morning commute seems like a good time to embark on an ambitious train of thought.
At least, that was the idea from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which put a professor on a train on Wednesday to lecture commuters.
Passengers on the 9:00 am train from the suburban community of Modiin to Tel Aviv put away their morning tabloids and iPods to listen to a talk from Professor Hanoch Gutfreund on "Einstein's love letters."
The lecture was the first of the university's "scientists on the rails" programme -- an attempt to broaden the appeal of higher education and bring academia to the people.
"The public needs to understand the importance of higher education," said university spokeswoman Orit Sulitzeanu. "Higher education is facing a crisis, its status is eroding and people need to understand it's a strategic asset for the country."
Gutfreund, a former university president, regaled commuters with the details of Albert Einstein's love letters to his two wives, showing how the personal details gave an insight into the life of the great scientist during the period he revolutionised the way we understand the universe.
"We wanted something scientific, but that would also speak to the wider population," Sulitzeanu said, explaining the choice of topic.
The university is also home to the Albert Einstein Archives, the repository of his personal papers.
"I've never given a lecture before where half of the people have their backs to me," said Gutfreund of the talk that was warmly received despite the occasional interruption from the conductor announcing the next station.
"It was wonderful," said Isabelle Tovi, a regular commuter on the line.
"I'd love to attend university lectures, but I just don't have the time," she said, adding that she might consider changing the time of her morning commute to catch the lectures.
Unsure how the move would be received, the train talks have been scheduled for just after morning rush-hour and only in one carriage on the train to avoid antagonising people, said Sulitzeanu.
As the train chugged through tunnels and past the airport, one woman interrupted the professor with a question.
"Will you finish your talk before we reach (Tel Aviv's) Arlozorof station?" she wanted to know.
"Madam, by the time we reach Arlozorof you'll have your BA," came the reply from Gutfreund.
Barbara Kay, National Post
The cuckoo is a disagreeable bird, distinguished by the monotony of its frequent calls -- hence its association with clocks -- and its parasitism: The slyly opportunistic cuckoo lays its eggs in other birds' nests; then the unwitting host raises the chicks as its own. Strangely, when applied to people, cuckoo means crazy. Hmm. Although unethical and irresponsible, the cuckoo bird is anything but crazy in getting what it wants without trouble to itself, but at considerable cost to others.
Consider, for example, the human cuckoos, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA). For the past three years, exploiting resources and an audience they have no legitimate claim to, QuAIA and Dykes Against Israeli Apartheid (DAIA) have been "laying their eggs" -- marching and monotonously messaging their loathing for Israel to throngs of gay-supportive spectators -- in the "nest" of Pride Toronto.
Seeing is believing. Lawyer Martin Gladstone filmed QuAIA 2009 in action to produce a short, damning documentary called Reclaiming our Pride. In it the hatred on the faces of many QuAIA and DAIA marchers is palpable. One sees swastikas on T-shirts characterizing Israel as a Nazi state, and hears menacing chants like "Fist by fist, blow by blow, apartheid state has got to go." The film offers persuasive evidence that QuAIA aren't ordinary political protesters with specific grievances, but Israel exceptionalists, gripped by an irrational obsession with the Jewish state's allegedly fathomless evils, while utterly oblivious to horrific human rights abuses elsewhere.
Over a million people from Canada and abroad took part in Pride Week 2009. Pride creates $100-million in direct economic impact, supports 650 jobs and brings the Ontario government $18-million in tax revenue. In 2014 the World Pride Congress is coming to Toronto. The economic and civic stakes around such a huge event are high.
Pride has traditionally been a boisterous but peaceful event. Yet ominously, in 2009 policing was tripled, in large part a response to crowd volatility provoked by anti-Israel activism. If the parade continues to evolve as a tension-filled, divisive forum where one minority feels singled out for guilt by association, Pride's reputation will suffer, with material losses to the city.
It's no good pretending the vicious anti-Zionism of the apartheid crowd is free of anti-Semitism. Many Jews do feel threatened by it, and rightly so. Some will no longer attend the parade out of discomfort. Typically of others I interviewed, lesbian Denise Alexander told me that the 2009 parade was "the first time I've ever felt unsafe as a Jew in Toronto." It wasn't only the words, "Down with Israel" or "The end of Israel": "It's the tone ... and the veins sticking out in their necks, like in Nazi Germany."
The Pride organizing committee is a "host bird" for the QuAIA cuckoo, but not an "unwitting" one. The "terms and conditions of participation" last year proscribed "images or messages that promote or condone, or may [my emphasis] promote or condone ... violence, degradation or negative stereotypes of any person(s) or group(s)." This year they have withdrawn to the self-insulating "messages ... that promote or condone violence or the incitement of hatred as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada [my emphasis]." In a stroke, the committee has turned an issue of institutional ethics into a legal one, a cowardly evasion of responsibility.
Pride's cultural mandate is to celebrate alternate sexuality, its political mandate to promote the human rights, social acceptance and environmental security of gays and lesbians. Political activism for human rights wherever gays are imprisoned, deported or executed makes sense. So does acknowledging gay-friendly jurisdictions. Kulanu, a Jewish social group, legitimately holds signs saying, "We're proud of Israel because Israel's proud of us." But anti-Israel protest and support for Israel's homophobic enemies belong in demonstrations on Parliament Hill or at the Israeli embassy, not in a forum where Israel's impeccable credentials on gay rights and social integration are second to no other nation.
The Ontario legislature recently passed a motion condemning Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), as did the federal government. QuAIA is simply an IAW proxy; what was hateful in IAW is equally hateful in QuAIA. Political leaders must take ownership of this issue. Michael Ignatieff, Mayor David Miller, Toronto mayoral candidate George Smitherman, Bob Rae, Jack Layton, Olivia Chow, Belinda Stronach and Elizabeth May: You all marched in Pride 2009. Announce that you will not march in Pride 2010 if QuAIA does. Birds of a feather should flock together. Pride must eject the QuQus from its nest.
Email your views to:
Pride Toronto - Tracey Sandilands, Executive Director - email@example.com
Pride Toronto - Ben Freeman, Acting Operations Director - firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Toronto - David Miller, Mayor - email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org - A link to the trailer for Reclaiming our Pride can be found at reclaimingourpride.ca
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
By SHARON WROBEL
“We are excited to welcome Labpixies, they are a natural fit with our Israel team and represent all that is attractive and innovative about the Israeli tech start-up scene,” said Yossi Matias, Director of Google Israel R&D center.
The acquisition is the first-ever deal Google has made in the country since its center in Israel was launched in 2005. Google said that the deal was a strategic step for its Israel research & development center. Under the terms of the deal, the Labpixies team will be integrated into the Google Israel office based in Tel Aviv working across a wide variety of platforms as well as anchoring the iGoogle search page across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
“The shared focus on the user and passion for applications made this the right time to come together and an exciting opportunity to do more together for users and developers,” said Google. “The acquisition is an opportunity to learn from each other to bring more applications to users, help developers and improve the overall developer ecosystem.” Labpixies, which was founded in 2006, creates interactive gadgets for web environments. These mini-applications are personalized web gadgets, also known as “widgets” including iGoogle, Android and iPhone, and are developed in-house, from inception to creation.
LabPixies’ gadgets range from handy tools such as calendars, news feeds and to-do lists to entertainment and games.
The start-up, which is run by a small team of 10 employees, has until now developed 70 widgets and has over 40 million users. The start-up is financed by private investors and received $1m. in a series round of funding in June 2008. One of the investors in Labpixies is Yaron Carni, who represents a boutique Angel group of high added value individuals from New York and London, who invest privately in a variety of Israeli based companies.
"We started Labpixies to create a truly personalized online experience and develop fun widgets that people find useful every day,” said Ran Ben-Yair, CEO of Labpixies. “Working at Google will help us scale to more people as well as giving our team greater opportunities.”
In recent years, Google and Labpixies teams have worked on many projects together, including the launch of global OpenSocial. Labpixies was one of the first developers to create gadgets for iGoogle to give users greater access to useful everyday information such as news, weather, games and videos as well as email.
AIPAC - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Address by PM Benjamin Netanyahu at AIPAC Conference
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Paint Israel - The Project
By RON FRIEDMAN
US, Spanish, Mexican and Israeli urban artists beautify the bombarded city’s public bomb shelters.
“Unfortunately, people here have to live with bomb shelters. We’re here doing a little something to bring some color to something that’s here for an ugly reason,” said American graffiti artist Cycle, summing up perfectly the aim of the Artists 4 Israel mission to Israel.
Tuesday was the group’s third day in Sderot, where urban artists from the United States, Spain, Mexico and Israel have been busy beautifying the bombarded city’s public bomb shelters.
The “Murality Project” is all about sending a message of support to the residents of Sderot.
“We couldn’t be here to build the bomb shelters or fight in the war, but we can help the people fight the debilitating effects, which are just as bad,” said Craig Dershowitz, president of Artists 4 Israel, a nonprofit advocacy group. “We can step in and help reignite the city that has suffered for so long, with our artwork.”
Participating in the project are 25 artists, including some of the top names in New York City’s urban art scene. In Sderot, the group of non-Jewish, American and international artists joined Israelis to contribute their talent to beautify the city.
“Some of the artists here are used to being flown first-class and housed in five-star hotels for commissioned work. Here they sleep on the floor, six people to a room at the local yeshiva building,” said Dershowitz. “They contributed valuable time and art that can sometimes be sold for as much as $10,000, expressing their support for Sderot and Israel.
“There tends to be a misconception that the arts community is liberal and as such doesn’t support Israel. The truth is that those who do are oftentimes silent,” said Dershowitz.
“The graffiti community is never silent,” he continued. “Israel as victim doesn’t resonate with the machismo mindset of graffiti artists, but Israel as a strong, proud defender of its freedoms does… The message of ‘don’t f*** with us!’ sits well with the graffiti mindset.”
Sderot spokesman Shalom Halevi said that the artists’ “can-do” attitude was apparent from the start.
“On the first evening after their arrival, once we’d welcomed them, they were eager to hit the streets. At 10:30 at night, after landing from a nine-hour flight, they were roaring to go and immediately went to work on nearby walls. They painted into the night and only finished at two o’clock in the morning,” said Halevi.
“That’s the kind of attitude you can’t help but admire. Their work here is extremely welcome, both for the aesthetic benefit for the city and the moral support.”
Halevi said that ever since the rockets stopped falling regularly, Sderot has been neglected by both the government and many of the philanthropic organizations that had assisted the city in the past.
“It feels good to see that people in faraway countries are still thinking about us,” he said.
Keeping Sderot in the headlines is the main goal of the Sderot Media Center.
“We’re constantly on the lookout for creative initiatives and the Artists 4 Israel Murality Project was a perfect fit for us,” said Jacob Shrybman, an activist with the center.
Shrybman said the media coverage that the project generated was a throwback to the days of Operation Cast Lead and the months leading up to it, when Sderot appeared in the papers daily.
“It’s important for us to let people know that as the world fixates on Gaza, in Sderot, 3,000 new bomb shelters are being constructed in anticipation of the next round of combat,” Shrybman said.
“You can still feel the tension in the air. People aren’t at ease,” said Saul Schister, a graffiti artist from Texas, who is currently in Israel as part of a Young Judea one-year program.
“One of the artists was working with headphones on, listening to music, and a resident came up to him and yelled at him. He told him that it was dangerous because with the headphones on, he wouldn’t be able to hear the sirens,” said Schister. “I guess that for them, these bomb shelters on every street are a constant reminder that they live in a war zone.”
Even for the Israelis in the group, the visit to Sderot was a first. For the young man working under the moniker Psycho, painting public buildings with the permission of the municipality was something of a novelty.
“I used to paint illegally, but then I was caught by the police. Since then I’ve been doing commissioned work,” he said.
“I don’t really care about the politics. For me it’s more about the art. But I know that the people here have had a rough time and if my work can help, I’m happy to do it. So far people’s reactions have been really positive. Some people have even asked if we can come paint their house.”
Dershowitz said he hoped that after their time in Israel the artists will be able to go back to where they came from as strong advocates for Israel and with a better understanding of the reality on the ground.
“After spending more than a week working side-by-side with Israeli artists – living with them, eating with them and traveling the length and breadth of the country with their Israeli peers – the New Yorkers are going to have a lot of positive experiences to share when they get home,” he said.
“We hope they will then tell people about a different side to Israel than usually gets reported in the media, a country not defined by past conflicts but filled with a vibrant youth culture looking towards a bright future for everyone in the region.”
Prestigious journal rates Israeli cardiology better than most of Europe’s.
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Israeli cardiology has received an impressive report card from the European Society of Cardiology, whose prestigious European Heart Journal has found that the death rate of hospitalized heart attack patients in Israel is lower than that in 29 European countries. In addition, Israeli acute myocardial infarction patients get balloon angioplasty to open clogged coronary arteries faster than in all the others except Germany.
A few years ago, among all diseases cancer was identified as the biggest killer in Israel, surpassing heart disease, whose mortality rates have declined due to improved medical technology, highly trained cardiologists, greater accessibility and better prevention. Accessibility was increased when the Health Ministry required the health funds to give hospitals a rather generous, set amount per procedure instead of the much lower, per diem hospitalization rate.
Experts from 30 countries, from Austria to the UK, were asked to report on their own official national statistics, and Israel was represented by leading cardiologists Profs. Alexander Battler, Basil Lewis and Shlomo Behar.
The just-published scientific paper reported that the number of annual Israeli angioplasties (catheterizations in which a tiny deflated balloon is pushed from the groin or arm into the heart to restore blood flow) is 2,726 per million residents – twice that in the US and higher than France and Italy. Only Germany had a higher rate than Israel’s. Just 4.2 percent of patients died in the aftermath of heart attacks in Israeli hospitals, compared to 11.9% in Finland and 13.5% in Italy.
The article also noted that 75% of Israeli heart patients who undergo urgent angioplasties get it immediately rather than the less effective thrombolysis (injection of tPA, which gradually dissolves the clot).
At the same time, the number of new heart attack cases here is similar to the average European rate of 136 per 100,000, the Israel Heart Society reported. The journal showed in its tables that the rate of Israeli residents per catheterization center was 333,500 (there are 22 centers here), which was at an “optimal” level, making this country look good compared to most European countries. Israeli heart attack victims, on average, reach medical care in 90 minutes after the onset of symptoms compared to twice that in Belgium and Greece.
The heart society’s president, Prof. Gad Keren, and secretary-general Prof. Doron Zager said they were proud that the mortality rate from heart attacks in Israel is among the lowest in Europe. “It reflects upon years of research and hard work by cardiology departments around the country, as well as the health system’s correct investment in catheterization labs. To preserve this achievement for the future and even to improve on it, we must continue to invest many resources in research, manpower and equipment to deal with heart attacks. This investment has proven itself as saving lives,” they concluded.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Bob Dylan - Neighborhood Bully
You can listen to the song here: http://patrupedbun.net/bob-dylan-neighborhood-bully/
Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
His enemies say he’s on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He’s always on trial for just being born.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music
Published: 04.25.10, 08:25 / Israel News
The three-year-old daughter of Fathi Hamad, a senior Hamas member serving as the Gaza government's interior minister, was transferred to Jordan from a hospital in the Strip over the weekend as part of a humanitarian gesture.
Fathi Hamad (Arabic: فتحي حماد) is a political leader of Hamas. Hamad became a Hamas affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, representing his home town of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza. He also leads the Hamas Public Affairs Department and is the director of Al Aqsa TV channel.
On 18 November 2009, Waad, a group headed by Hamad, offered a $1.4 million bounty to anybody who captures an Israeli soldier. The group also called on people living in Israel to try to take soldiers hostage.
Israeli security officials approved the transfer after following a request made by Jordan's King Abdullah, as the girl was in serious danger.
Hamad's daughter and her mother left the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing. The girl received initial medical care in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and was then flown to a hospital in Amman on a Jordanian helicopter.
A defense establishment official explained that despite the unusual request and the fact that the girl's father is a Hamas man, Israel decided to approve the humanitarian move in order to save the girl's life.
The source added that it would have been wrong to turn down the request, despite the fact that Hamad is a senior Hamas member involved in the negotiations aimed at securing the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
Jews share a special bond with suffering people in Haiti, Darfur
By Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun January 27, 2010
If solidarity is built through shared suffering, the state of Israel surely has a special bond with countries afflicted by crisis.
Israel, forged after the Holocaust, has been particularly quick to respond to the suffering of those affected by a genocide in Darfur, and more recently, the earthquake in Haiti.
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a Polish concentration camp where Jews were gassed, starved or worked to death for no other reason than because they happened to be Jewish. Others, non-Jews deemed enemies of Hitler's Nazi regime, also were tortured and murdered in such camps, built in the 1930s and 1940s throughout eastern Europe.
In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly declared Jan. 27 to be an International Day of Commemoration to Honour the Victims of the Holocaust.
The world's Jewish community, having lost six million in the Holocaust -- six million -- sadly, has an intimate understanding of genocide and loss.
Indeed it's now a core concept of Judaism that Jewish people, who today number fewer than 13 million across the globe (5.3 million live in Israeli; another 5.2 million in America), must not stand idly by when the blood of others is being spilled.
This is the essence of the Jewish mantra, Never Again.
And so, when news of the earthquake in Haiti hit with possibly 200,000 dead, Israel responded almost immediately.
"Israel wishes to express its solidarity with the Government and people of Haiti during this great disaster," said a statement posted on the Israeli foreign affairs ministry website, outlining the extraordinary assistance the tiny country was dispatching to Port-au-Prince following the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Within 24 hours, the Israel Defence Force had leased two El Al 747s to transport supplies for a 158-bed field hospital and 220 medical and search and rescue personnel, along with a canine contingent.
The IDF field hospital -- replete with imaging equipment and operating rooms -- was operational within 10 hours of its arrival, prompting one CNN reporter to ask how the Israelis, flying from the other side of the world, were medically up and running while a nearby U.S. field hospital was still in disarray.
Additionally, Jews in Canada quickly began organizing a special fundraising effort for Haiti, through the United Israel Appeal Federations Canada.
On yet another front, "The devastation of the Holocaust ... impels us all to act against the Darfur genocide," declared a Jan. 18 news release from the Canadian Jewish Congress Pacific Region.
Jews in synagogues across Canada last weekend marked a "Darfur Shabbat," reserving part of their Sabbath service to discuss and pray for an end to the Darfur genocide.
Canadian rabbis stated jointly: "On the eve of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the silence and indifference to the plight of Jews in the Holocaust remains all too fresh in our collective memory not to take a stand on Darfur."
Since 2003, some 400,000 Africans in Darfur, in western Sudan, have died in a campaign of ethnic cleansing by a Sudanese-backed militia, the Janjaweed. Another two million have fled their homes.
Would that "Never Again" would become a clarion call for all peoples in this world.
- Republican Mitch McConnell is the U.S. Senate minority leader, not the majority leader as I called him in Tuesday's column.