Welcome aboard. That's ok, that's dry blood over there, where an unknown gunman walked into a basement gay teenagers club and bravely emptied two clips into the boys and girls and young adults seeking refuge there. Never fear, though. Around here, blood is a staple and there's always some fresh brewing. But not all is bleak, boys and girls. This is the Weekend Holyland Update, flight 080909, join us for a basic lesson in bazaar bargaining.
Still no leads as to who exactly was the oh-so-brave soul who slaughtered 2 innocents and injured ten more at the gay youth club. The police are asking the gay community to think who it could be because they think the killer hung around gay people – leaving out whether they think the killer is gay (as in the infamous police term “homocide) or just did his homework for a while crawling among them. Meanwhile there was a rally in Tel Aviv, “saying no to violence and intimidation.” Was pretty poorly attended (some 20K) despite some top line artists performing (Yehudah Poliker, our leading gay artist maybe, chickened out at the last minute. I didn't go either, pleading gas money and work), though August in Tel Aviv is not a good time to ask people to stand in a crowd.
In any case, President Shimon Peres spoke nicely, saying everyone has the right to be different and proud, but the thuggery in blue have no leads and so this act of intimidation goes unpunished. Meanwhile, a soldier from the ultra-religious brigade was arrested for posting threats in the internet against those planning to attend the pro-gay rally, and two regional busing coordinators for the rally were threatened by phone. So while we may not be sure that the murderer was a religious nut, we do know that the people aligning themselves with him are. The war is definitely afoot, but already a backlash against the “homo guilt trip” is beginning to gain traction.
In related Sicarii outbreaks, the religious in Jerusalem are still rioting over the opening of a parking lot in a secular part of the city, and the settler scum are still rioting in Palestinian villages each time one of their illegal outposts is taken down by the authorities. They call it a “price tag.” If we don't smack some sense into these Jehovah virus carriers, we'll all pay the price.
On the same note (of malignant jehovahism), the IDF's Rabbi General came out against an article published in the army's weekly, BaMahane (“At The Base”), profiling a religious soldier who came out of the closet during his service. Said the chief Rabbi: “Why do people have to read this?? This is a magazine people bring to their homes where their kids may read it!!” Precisely, Einstein. They're here. They're Queer. Get the fuck used to it. Of course, calls to cash the chief Rabbi out of the army if he can't tolerate gays in it. Not gonna happen, but worthwhile demand none the less.
Another war still unresolved, but showing more cause for optimism, is that between Israel and the Palestinians. To read the headlines from the first few days of the 6th Fatah convention in Bethlehem, you'd think open war had been declared. That's exactly what our right wing was screeching after decisions were reached “Not to recognize Israel as Jewish,” and not to apologize for use of violence in the past. That latest was sloppily translated as “Fatah: violent struggle will continue,” which is actually opposite of what they said. We'll get to that in a sec, but the fever pitch of seemingly belligerent declarations seemed to reach fever pitch when out of the blue, the Fatah delegates dragged out the death of Yassir Arafat and voted on a resolution blaming Israel for it. Because 75 year old men with Parkinson's and other ailments, who have escaped numerous assassination attempts and at least one plane crash that I know of, don't just die! It can't be! It has to be a nefarious Zionist conspiracy! (rolleyes icon).
But there's a logical explanation for this and the rest, beyond the Palestinian tendency towards silly pomposity. The Jewish State thing is simple – it is the job of states to define them, not of their peers, friends or enemies. Israel does not formally call itself a “Jewish State”, the way say Egypt and Syria each calls itself an “Arab Republic”. It is inane in the extreme to demand others to recognize you in a way you do not define yourself. And no, it wouldn't help to pass a Knesset resolution now calling Israel a “Jewish Republic.” First, it would be a very transparent move at this stage, mid-game. Second, it would be a severe declarative worsening of the civic status of the non-Jewish citizens here, who already get screwed enough.
So that's that. The “violent struggle” thing? That's an exercise in critical reading. Fatah said it wasn't apologizing for violent struggle in the past, nor renouncing it in any eventually in the future. However, the actual new platform of Fatah, adopted at the convention, talks ONLY about “peaceful means of struggle” in the present tense. This is a radical change from the past. Of course it didn't stop Foreign Minister Avigdor (Yvette) Lieberman from saying that Fatah's new platform makes it impossible to continue any peace negotiations. (Cue: Reader Don Rich. Yeah, yeah, we're trying to get rid of the guy... woikin' on it).
So that leaves us with the strange Arafat business. That, too, has an explanation. One is making a show of heeding the emotions of the street. The Palestinian street has no doubt that we rubbed out their dear leader, and the convention felt it had to show it was mindful of the people's feelings. But that's just one reason. A more pressing one was that a few weeks ago, one of the founding members of Fatah and one who has always opposed any peace process with Israel, Farouq Qaddumi, came out and accused Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Palestinian Authority senior official Muhammad Dahlan of responsibility for Arafat's death. So the resolution at the convention, more than directed against Israel, was designed to shut Qaddumi up. If Israel is to blame, then Abu Mazen and Dahlan are not – and without even dignifying Qaddumi's accusation with a direct response or recording it in any way in the convention's minutes. In addition to that, Abu Mazen also castrated the opposition by appointing one of its most senior figures, Abu Maher Ghneim, as his deputy and heir-apparent. Ghneim is the man in charge of Fatah's money for the past three decades, owns tons of IOU's, knows where the bodies are buried, has a reputation for a level of honesty and fiscal integrity rare among Fatah leadership, and hitherto was a main opponent of the Oslo accords and any deal with Israel, so bringing him into the tent is a major coup for the Palestinian Authority and for the reality based community.
So what really matters is the new platform adopted, and that says unequivocally: Peaceful struggle against the occupation (peaceful in this context does include throwing stones, mind, but not shooting attacks nor suicide bombings.) So next time some neo-con or over-zealous Jew tells you that Fatah went violent in their recent convention, tell them you know better. Abu Mazen shocked everyone by mastering the convention politically, passing everything he wanted unanimously and foiling his enemies' plots very deftly. If you've ever shopped in an oriental bazaar, you know that just before agreeing on a price, that's when both sides snarl the most, so don't get hung up on the theatrics. Israel HAS a partner. Whether it wants to be one is another question altogether.
Back here, the evil hunt against foreign laborers continues, and the head of the Oz enforcement unit spoke out against the detractors of his unit and its mission. This is what he had to say to the cries against separating children from their parents: “So what, the chick from Survivor also left her baby for a couple of months.” (no, I'm not making this up and no, he was not joking. He also accused anyone having a problem with his work of wanting Israel to be destroyed.)
Meanwhile the government was shamed into issuing a decree temporarily stopping the deportation of children. Their parents, however, are still fair game.
Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai, who just finished unsuccessfully lobbying for the non-conviction of a religious guy who tried to run out of a supermarket without paying and ran over a cashier, now appealed to the President to pardon former minister Shlomo Benizri, who was convicted of taking bribes and being a corrupt piece of horse manure – so much so, that when he appealed his 18 month sentence, he was slapped with another 30 months for good measure. Now Yishai, chairman of the ultra-orthodox Sephardic party Shas, wants Benizri to be pardoned. Why? Because he's Sephardic, i.e. a Jew of Mideastern/North African ancestry. Leaving aside the question of whether Oriental Jews are still discriminated against and to what extent, Benizri happens to be an extremely privileged Sephardic Jew, and one who definitely deserves no special treatment on account of his heritage.
- Swine flu is making some deadly inroads here. Some 12 dead so far, at least a few of them small kids.
- I'm sure you all heard of the long article Auntie Esther wrote for our leading rag here, all about how she converted to the Kabbable-ah scam. Yay us!
- Bibi managed to pass his land reform, after cutting the amount of land to be privatized right away from 200 thousand acres to 100 thousand – most of which is already built, so the change is mostly bureaucratic and simply frees the people who have already purchased their homes from having to deal with the “Israel Land Administration” - a hideously corrupt and calcified entity whose demise is a good thing. This reform still gives Bibi way too much power, but hopefully he'll be out of power before he can actually abuse it, and any attempt to sell off land not yet developed will be met with a fight.
Finally, on a personal note, allow me to remind you that the introduction chapter to my book “Jewcy Story: The Unofficial, Unorthodox, Unabashed Story of an Unusual Tribe” is up for sale (for Kindle and Kindle for I-Phone/I-Pod) at Amazon. Chapter 1, on the return to Zion from Babylonian exile, to be uploaded tonight, so you can get that as well. If you do purchase any chapter, I will most appreciate if you post a review on Amazon, for the benefit of other prospective readers.
Please mind your step as you disembark, and don't forget to rate and comment as you pick up your luggage. Thank you for flying WHU.