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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Swedish imam calls for destruction of "Jews, Americans and Brits"

The Religion of Peace strikes again.

Perhaps more newsworthy than the headline, which can be looked at as the ravings of a single lunatic, are the explicitly anti-semitic literature that is being sold at the Great Mosque in Stockholm. The Muslims who claim that they are not anti-semitic don't expend too much effort to eradicate such hate from their midst, which waters down their arguments substantially. (A good example is the EJP interview with another Swedish imam who denounces the words of the other Imam but softpedals its importance.)
An investigation by a Swedish radio station has revealed a deep-set hatred for Jews amongst some of the country’s Muslim leaders who have were caught on tape calling for the destruction of Jewry and other “infidels”.

Last Friday, the Swedish Radio program Ekot, The Echo, broadcast an investigation they had made into what is said in mosques and Muslim prayer services in Sweden.

Using a hidden microphone, they taped prayer sessions and conversations with 15 imams in Sweden.

They found that all imams but one, stated that war, violence and terrorism are incompatible with Islam.

However, one imam led a prayer service in which he called for the destruction of the “Jews, Americans and Brits” and “enemies of Islam. " The service included the following call:

“God, keep Islam and Muslims high and protect Islam
God, humiliate the infidels
God, humiliate the enemies of Islam
Jews, Americans and Brits
And all those who support them
Who cooperate with them
And who are in alliance with them
God, destroy them all,
God, leave none of them alive,
God, give victory to mujahedin everywhere

Antisemitic tapes sold at Mosque

On Sunday, the Echo program also reported that they had uncovered tapes featuring anti-Semitic content which are being sold in the bookstore of the Great Mosque in Stockholm.

On one tape, which featured a picture of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas leader that Israel assassinated in March 2004, said: “Oh God, eradicate the Jews, Oh God, eradicate the Jews, Oh God, eradicate the Jews! Oh God, curse them and banish them and let them be whipped by suffering. Oh God, over heaven and earth!

According to Swedish Radio, the tape also spoke of “Jews as vermin, as brothers of monkeys and pigs, and that there is no solution to the Jews but a jihad – a holy war”.

On Monday, the Chancellor of Justice, a legal authority dealing with freedom of speech, stated that it will now consider the case whether, in selling this and similar tapes, the Great Mosque can be charged with incitement against Jews.

British Muslims: Using 7/7 to Promote Islam

In the wake of the 7/7 tube bombings, the British Home Office asked the British Muslim community to come up with a report containing ideas to contain extremism among British Muslims.

The report was issued a couple of weeks ago, and many of the recommendations seem more oriented towards proselytizing and promoting Islam in the UK rather than containing extremism. Not surprisingly, the Muslims who wrote the report seem to spend more time blaming the British for creating an environment that somehow forces Muslims to become terrorists than the terrorists themselves.

The (British) Asian News site has details. Notice how the "moderate" writers of this report take for granted that Palestinian suicide bombings against Jews are not terrorism and are justified, as well as the myth of al-Dura being factual:
The introduction to the report, for example, states: "Emphasis has also been placed repeatedly on the need to look not only at the events that occurred on those two days in July, but to the causes behind them."

In the section on security the working group is openly critical of legislation presented by the Blair government as a means of 'saving' the public from future suicide bombers. They warn in this section: "One cannot ignore the effect of successive UK Governments’ foreign policies........neither can Islamophobic attitudes, still largely prevalent in British educational institutions, much of them based on mythical paradigms of Islam and Muslims cultivated by orientalists over many centuries, be considered irrelevant to the issue."

This same group sound a grave warning on proposals to make "inciting, justifying or glorifying terrorism" a criminal offence. Does this mean, they ask, that UK Muslims who publicly support Palestinians who attack the state of Israel for occupying their land, will be arrested for justifying terrorism, indeed, under such new laws, would Cherie Blair have run the risk of charges when she was shown on television stating she could understand what motivated suicide bombers after witnessing a young Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli soldiers as his desperate father attempted to shield him?

Other working parties suggested a series of reforms aimed at tackling violent extremist attitudes and boosting the image and knowledge of Islam in Britain.
A raft or reforms are proposed to improve the profile of UK imams and mosques. They amount to a regularisation of the Islamic clergy rather along the lines of the structure and training of the Church of England priesthood.
They want to see national advisory council of mosques made up of influential imams and Islamic thinkers representing the many traditions in the faith.
This would give guidance on training and practices in and around mosque.
A National Islamic Resources Centre is another suggestion. This is seen as a powerhouse for developing more affective training within the Muslim community and could also spearhead a campaign to improve the knowledge of Islam in mainstream schools.
There is also a proposal for forming similar centres in areas with a significant Muslim community including Manchester. They would be come a cultural hub for mosques and Muslims as well as representatives of other faiths.
For existing imams there would be professional development programs to keep them 'up to scratch'. Home grown imams would be encouraged as opposed to the present practice of bringing them in from the Indian sub-continent.
In order to win especially young Muslims from extremist, and to educate the non-Muslim population on the values of Islam, a travelling 'roadshow' of international Islamic scholars is suggested. They could tour the country staging conferences and seminars on the faith.
The report also suggests that a British Muslim toolkit could be established to help Islamic societies, mosques, parents and youth on how to develop in the faith.
The working party on education highlights what it calls the "gaping hole" in the national schools curriculum on the contribution of Islam to European civilization. One of the ways to remedy this, says their report, would be to create an Islamic way of life exhibition to tour schools.
On a national level the report wants to see an Islamic media unit, similar to the one that exists in the Foreign Office, created in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. This could disseminate positive information about Islam and counter, what it sees as the general negative reporting, especially in tabloid newspapers.
The proposals have been welcomed by Home Office minister Hazel Blears, but even if they are implemented, will they alone be able to overcome the rising anger in the Muslim world over perceived violent injustice against Islamic nations which began with the first Zionist land grab in Palestine and continues with the occupation of Iraq? Time will tell.
So not only does the British Muslim community completely abdicate any soul-searching for the existence of terrorists in their midst, not only do they continue to justify terror against Jews as being perfectly acceptable when writing a report to their own government, but they blame the British for how their terrorists act and cynically use a terror attack as a springboard to increase the influence of Islam in the UK!

Palestinian Arab democracy in action!

Let's give these guys a state!!
On Monday, Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip called off primary elections after rival Fatah gangs fought street battles and stormed polling stations, firing into the air and stealing ballot boxes.

Primary elections that were held in five West Bank areas late last week have resulted in a stunning defeat for representatives of Fatah's old guard.

'What happened in the Gaza Strip is a real disaster for Fatah,' said Haitham Salah, a Fatah operative. 'It shows that we are living in a jungle full of gangs and militias.' (Bright guy, this Salah. - EoZ)

Many of the candidates who lost the vote have since complained of irregularities and cheating, urging Abbas to cancel the results and hold new elections. PA officials here said the turmoil in Fatah could force Abbas to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for January 25.

PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan, who is running in the primary elections, called on Abbas to form a commission of inquiry to look into the events that took place in the Gaza Strip on Monday. He accused veteran Fatah leaders of seeking to disrupt the vote to prevent young activists from winning.

Dahlan and many other Fatah activists fear that Abbas is planning to appoint his own candidates to run in the parliamentary vote because of the party's failure to hold free and democratic elections. "The era of appointments is over," Dahlan stressed, referring to times when Yasser Arafat used to appoint Fatah officials. "We insist on elections."

Sources in the Gaza Strip said Dahlan's followers were among the gunmen who raided several polling stations to protest against the fact that the names of thousands of Fatah members had been omitted from voting lists.

I love how the most violent people are the first ones to lecture others on democracy!

The Phantom Arab Moderate (Shmuel Katz)

A theme we've covered before, but well written and thought-out.

It must be emphasized again and again - so-called "moderate" Arabs do not accept the existence of Israel any more than "militants." All the wishful thinking in the world will not change this fact.

And when you look at modern Israeli history through this lens, every action by the Arab world vis-a-vis Israel is entirely consistent with the ultimate destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. This includes Camp David and Oslo.

Hat tip to IRIS blog.

Even those Israelis who claim that peace between sovereign Israel and the Arabs is a practical possibility rest their claim on the bald assumption that there exists a solid body of Arabs who are "moderate."

They do not face the reality, taught by many decades of experience, that the most "moderate" of the Arabs (who might have a hand in setting the policies of their people) do not differ, in their view of what Israel's future should be, from the manifestly immoderate mainstream Arabs. They differ only on the method, or process, by which the elimination of the Jewish state is to be accomplished.

This is true of all the Arab states - members of the Arab League - but most importantly of the states that have launched wars against Israel since 1948.

The outlook of such phantom moderates has not been kept secret. It comes to the surface from time to time from quite authoritative quarters.

In December 1980, shortly after Israel's peace treaty with Egypt was signed, a former prime minister of Egypt, Mustafa Khalil, delivered a guest lecture at Tel Aviv University. There, speaking - as he said - "frankly and scientifically," he pointed out that the Arabs do not "regard the Jews as a nation at all, but as a religion only. "When it come to nationality," he declared, "a Jew can be an Egyptian Jew, a French Jew or a German Jew." Egyptians, he said, wanted to be good neighbors with Israel, but they expected the Jews "to change."

Five years earlier, another leading Egyptian intellectual, Boutros Boutros Ghali, cabinet minister and subsequently secretary-seneral of the United Nations, gave equally cultured utterance to the same idea, but then gave voice also to its underlying threat. He told a Cairo journal that if Israel maintained "its Jewish character" and did not assimilate in the Arab homeland, "then we will have no integration of Israel with this region." Indeed, if Israel defended its right to sovereignty, he added, "I think you can have no peace in this region."

SHORTLY AFTER the Yom Kippur War, the editor of Egypt's leading weekly journal, Al-Mussawar, explained that the English word "peace" can be translated into Arabic by either salaam or sulh, but these words had different meanings. Thus, he wrote, if the Jews returned to the 1949 Armistice Lines (where the Arab states' aggression against newborn Israel had been halted) the Jews could expect no more than "salaam." It was "only by returning to their senses, and dwelling under one roof and under one flag with the Arabs of Palestine," that they could expect "sulh" (real peace, reconciliation).

At that very time reports were circulating in the West that in Egypt (which had launched four wars against Israel since the Jewish state's birth in 1948) a new, moderate, more friendly wind was blowing toward Israel. And so an American writer, Joan Peters, having been sent on a journalistic mission to Egypt, decided to test these reports on the spot.

Her findings were published in an article in Commentary magazine (May 1975) under the title "In search of moderate Egyptians." She started on her project in America by studying the literature attesting to a positive change in Egyptian attitudes toward Israel.

"To my amazement," she wrote, "once in Egypt I found virtually no evidence of such a change." She interviewed as representative a cross-section of Egyptians as she could find. She lists them: government officials, writers, academics, scientists, demographers, doctors, architects, engineers, housewives, shopkeepers, students, soldiers, salesmen, cab drivers, waiters, women's rights activists, secretaries, carpenters, travel agents, communists, leftists, nationalists and right-wing conservatives.

She recorded in detailed quotation a number of her interviews and learned that far from Egyptians being friendly to Israel, there existed a consensus not only of fierce hatred of Israel, but of virulent anti-Semitism - which in sum would deny the Jewish state's right even to exist.

TWENTY-FIVE, 30 years have passed, and one fine day in September we read the report of another search for moderate Arabs. This time it is in Israel itself, and the search is reported by an Israeli writer, Yossi Klein Halevi, who sought common ground - cultural, spiritual and hence, as a Jewish moderate, political - with Muslim Arab counterparts. He too, like Joan Peters three decades years earlier, had "numerous candid conversations with - in his case Palestinian Arabs - "at all levels of society." And he cites "one telling example," with Gen. Nasser Youssef, the Palestinian Authority's interior minister.

Halevi, as he related in The Jerusalem Post of September 28, asked Youssef hypothetically what would happen if Israel withdrew to the 1967 "borders," uprooted the settlements and redivided Jerusalem. Youssef replied that "the refugees would be returning to the area… and then there would be no need for an artificial border between Israel and Palestine."

"But," said Halevi to Youssef, "aren't we negotiating today over a two-state solution?"

"Yes," Youssef replied, "as an interim step. You aren't separate from us, you are part of us. Just as there are Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs, you are Jewish Arabs." He went on to speak of this unified Palestinian state joining with other Arab states.

General Youssef, adds Halevi, "is widely known as a moderate, deeply opposed to terror - because it is counter-productive to the Palestinian cause…."

Youssef is thus fully representative of the supreme hutzpa, precisely of the moderate Arabs. Emboldened by the great success worldwide in disseminating the grotesque claim to a "Palestinian" history that never existed, mainstream Arabs teach their children and make it plain to the world that their intention is to destroy the Jewish state, directly if possible, or by phases, as so often described by their late leader, Yasser Arafat.

Here the moderate Arab steps in and proposes a moderate alternative - the same one suggested in 1980 by former Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil: vaporization of the Jewish national identity.

THE ARAB propaganda success has not been achieved without passive Jewish help - the help of unbelievable inaction. The most egregious blunder of successive Israeli governments and Jewish Diaspora leaders has been the complete failure to build a National Information Center (what we call hasbara), having the scope and authority of an Israeli government ministry, to tell the world - but first of all the Jewish people - the truth of their own nation's unique relationship with the Land of Israel, reaching back 3,000 years to its biblical history and resting on the momentous modern international acknowledgement of that relationship in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for the "reconstitution of the Jewish National Home" in Palestine.

That center would, moreover, enlist all possible resources, Christian as well as Jewish, to counter the monstrous fictions of the so-called Palestinian cause - and now the vicious waves of anti-Semitism swirling through the nations of the West.

The writer, who co-founded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset, is a biographer and essayist.


Reasonable sounding liar - Dr. Sam Hamod

According to this site,
"Sam Hamod is a former advisor to the U.S. State Dept; founder of 3rd World News (Wash, DC);Director of The Islamic Center (Wash, DC); Professor at Princeton, Michigan, Howard and Iowa (ret.)." He is a Lebanese-American born in Indiana, according to another biography. He is also president of the American-Islamic Institute.

Dr. Hamod is retiring as main editor of his "Today's Alternative News" site, and he signs off with a somewhat reasonable-sounding defense of what he calls "true" conservatism and a statement of what he believes is best for America:
Since 2000, my site has been dedicated to truth, honesty and the pursuit of justice and democracy. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I am interested only in America being a moral leader in the world, a nation that aids those in need, a nation that takes care of its own and is interested only in the interests of mankind and follows the moral order of the major religions of the world, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism and Bahai.

During this time, I have been critical of many things that have not measured up to what I thought was good for America or for the world; I have condemned those who called for violence, regardless of their alleged religion (whether they called themselves Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) when they did evil things. In our time we have seen plenty of hatred being spread by people from all these faiths—there is no need for me to repeat their names—they are known to all of you, and we all know the evil of their deeds, and I have called them on it.

Some thought that because I have been so critical of GW Bush’s war on Iraq that I must have liked Bill Clinton—not so. I thought Clinton betrayed the Palestinians and offered them only a Bantustan existence.
To this day, I have no respect for Clinton or his wife; but I do respect George Bush Sr. for having the courage and insight to know that it was best not to enter and destroy the infrastructure of Iraq (even though he and I, and many others knew that Saddam Hussein was a devil).
America cannot police or control the entire world; just as the Spartans could finally not control the world of their time; nor could Rome when it became too big and wanted to conquer the known world of the time.

...
I liked Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams the first, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Carter and even Nixon ( I still feel that he did more good things than bad in office; but he, like many others made mistakes); I also liked the pre-presidency of Lyndon Johnson and his moves to help integration, and I liked the later John F. Kennedy after Kruschev taught him a lesson in power politics. I have always distrusted Henry Kissinger, I think the truth about him has come out in the long run; he did little for real peace in the Middle East, instead, he was a shill for Israel and still is. Henry, whom I’ve known for years, has always had a hatred for the Arabs and Muslims, even though he tried to cover it with slippery semantics. On the other hand, Zbignew Brezinski. has been a fair man in world affairs and did work for peace wherever he went. This shows you that we can have good men, like Z B, but also men who drag us into immorality, like H K.

Again, my main concern is peace and justice in the world.
You might quibble with his politics, but it sounds patriotic and well-thought out. He is, after all, a professor, and he must have spent many years defining his positions.

But in his conclusion, on the subject of Israel, any pretense of objectivity and reason (and truth) flies out the window before he retreats back into his pseudo-patriotism:
I also think it is high time that Amrericans realize that Sharon’s and Israel’s agendas are not America’s agendas. We must quit supporting Israel in a carte blanche fashion. We must not fund them if they continue this oppressive and inhumane behavior, this illegal behavior, toward the Palestinians. By our support, we are complicitous in this evil that Sharon and Israel perpetrate upon the Palestinian people. If America quit following the Tom Lantos’ , the Grahams, the other Zionist agents in our Congress, we’d be better off. Most Americans don’t realize that every Israeli is subsidized by America to the tune of at least $40,000.00 per person, per year—you show me an American, aside from a Congressperson, who gets that kind of financial assistance. Bah!

So then what am I—I am a true Conservative. I wish to conserve our Constitution, our moral leadership, our water, our air, our people’s rights, our honor in the world, our honor in our courts, our opportunity to lead the world and make it a better place. I fear our last two presidents have done just the opposite; neither have served our nation well. Let us hope and pray our future presidents will do better.
Now, if you look at his other writings and the contents of his on-line magazine you will see opinions that are far more way-out and bizarre than this piece quoted here. As we've seen in many other times, the anti-Israel crowd will filter their messages based on their audience, so they can sound reasonable on TV and we have to dig a little bit to see their true agenda.

The essay quoted above is a classic example. In the middle of looking back at his worldview, he makes a claim that he feels all Americans should know - that the US subsidizes Israel to the tune of $40,000 per Israeli, per year.

Really? A quick calculation shows that he is saying that Israel gets $251 billion dollars annually from the US! Such a breathtakingly idiotic statement (a quarter of a trillion dollars annually to Israel!) is hardly what one would expect from an impartial academic.

Not only that, but this article by Matt Welch from 2001 does a nice job at finding out that Dr. Hamod seems to subscribe to the Jewish-owned media worldview, as well, claiming that 90% of reporters are Jewish. Welch also finds a different quote from the professor, praising Palestinian "children" and saying that American children should emulate them - throwing stones at the US Capitol. How patriotic!

Like the other pro-terror propogandists, Sam Hamod is a charlatan, a bigot and a liar who uses his apparent academic credentials to espouse hate and falsehood. He is no patriot; his agenda is indistinguishable from those of Islamist supremacists. It is important to expose the real views of the terror-apologists and anti-semites when they get published in mainstream media opinion columns.

The truth is never far from the surface.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Send pizza to Gush Katif victims

I hadn't sent any pizza to IDF soldiers for a few months and I didn't notice that PizzaIDF.org now also has an option to send pizza to the victims of the Gaza explusion as well.

Great idea before Chanukah!

Quick moderation quiz

For those who consider some Palestinian leaders "moderates" and "peace-loving":

Can you name a single time that the Palestinian political leadership or the PA-controlled press ever criticized Syria, Iran, Saddam's Iraq or indeed any radical Muslim state?

Now, how many times have they criticized the US?

Today's Palestinian Police Phunnies XVI


According to the CIA Factbook, there are about 1 million Palestinian Arab men between the ages of 15 and 65. According to yesterday's Phunnies, there are about 52,000 Palestinian "policemen" - more than one in twenty adult men work in "security" and the ratio of police to the general population is about 1 security officer per 67 people.

In contrast, in Canada the ratio of police to the general population is about 1:533.

Which would make the PA-controlled areas by far the safest in the world!
A group of gunmen on Sunday went on a rampage inside the offices of the online newspaper Donia al-Watan in Gaza City, destroying furniture and equipment and threatening to kill the editor-in-chief, Abdallah Issa.

Donia al-Watan is an independent newspaper that has been reporting extensively on corruption and lawlessness in the Palestinian Authority - issues that the PA-controlled media often tend to ignore.

Sources in the newspaper said the attackers were members of one of the Palestinian factions, but refused to elaborate. According to the sources, the gunmen were sent by the secretary-general of the faction to attack the offices and threaten the editor-in-chief following a critical report about him that appeared in the newspaper recently.

The attack came as PA security forces launched a massive campaign in various parts of the Gaza Strip in a bid to restore law and order. The campaign, ordered by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, comes amid growing criticism of the PA's failure to fight crime.

During the campaign, gunmen stole a PA police vehicle in the Nussairat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. PA security officials said the crackdown was directed only against criminal elements and that there would be no attempt to confiscate weapons belonging to various Palestinian militias, including Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In more scenes of lawlessness, three Palestinians were murdered in Ramallah over the past week. One of them was a 75-year-old woman.

Meanwhile...
Gaza - The outgoing PA justice minister, Nahed Al-Rayes, affirmed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is responsible for the "mushrooming corruption" rampant in its institutions.

Speaking at a political seminar held in Gaza city, Rayes charged that the PA "fostered the corrupt elements notorious for squandering public funds and violating the Palestinian citizens' rights".

Some PA security officers exploited their powers to "embezzle public money" as the relevant authorities remained silent towards such illegal practices, he further charged.

"The PA security elements were setting up gangs inside their apparatuses in order to loot public and private funds let alone terrorizing the citizens", the former minister charged.

Daughter of Ziyon updates her blog!

Sorry, but I forgot to mention this important news last week, when the beautiful and talented DoZ made one of her rare blog appearances.

The news is a little dated now but she is still fun to read. (I'm not biased at all!)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Today's Palestinian Police Phunnies XV


More on Mahmoud Abbas' bizarre way of fighting terror. (Also note al-Haaretz referring to the "Israeli regime".)
Several days ago the Palestinian finance minister, Salam Fayad, resigned. ...

[Some] reports (such as in the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida PA daily, from the end of last week) say Fayad resigned because Interior Minister Nasser Yousef, who is responsible for the security services, added to the Gaza services another 2,500 youths - almost all of them militants from Fatah and other movements. Yousef did this with the approval of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and plans to add another few thousand young Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists to the security services in the near future. Adding thousands of people to the security services would be a budgetary burden on the Palestinian treasury, and Fayad, according to these reports, would not have been able to stand for it.

Senior Palestinian officials explain that putting thousands of youths into the security services, especially in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank, is the only way Abu Mazen can obtain calm, security-wise. Tens of thousands of youths complete Palestinian high schools and universities every year and don't have anything to do. In the past, they came to Israel to work and returned home every evening with full pockets. Now the only way to calm them down is to have them join the PA organization. It doesn't matter where; the important thing is that they be placed in some sort of framework and receive a small salary.

For comparison's sake, at one point, some 20,000 Palestinian workers (mostly teachers) worked for the Israeli regime in the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to an unknown number of security officials. Some 160,000 people are serving in the Palestinian government, about a third of them in the security services.
So this means that the Palestinians have over 50,000 "policemen" of which many are just terrorists and most don't even bother working.

Yeah, this idea of giving Palestinian Arabs control over their own people is working out real well.

I also love the line "the only way to calm them down is to have them join the PA organization." This is stated as a matter of fact - and its implications are large:

It means that, according to the PA:
  1. Criminals must be paid off to stop crime;
  2. Palestinian Arabs have no ability (nor desire) to build their own private industry and to make money by actually selling things that the world might need;
  3. Palestinian Arabs are inherently violent (otherwise, why can't they remain calm on their own?)
  4. Palestinians cannot possibly get out of the mess they are in by themselves and they will demand more and more money from the world to pay off their own terrorists who have no intention of keeping any sort of peace with Israel.
The Palestinian Authority worldview is colored by these assumptions (which are, incidentally, incredibly bigoted against Palestinian Arabs.) And no one on the world scene has the guts to call them on it.

Muslim charity money diverted to terrorists

Gee, ya think?

The real question is whether the donors knew exactly who they were sending money to the entire time.
Charity cash for Palestinian poor was siphoned to suicide bombers
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
Published: 28 November 2005

Millions of pounds donated by British and other European charities to help the Palestinian poor were unwittingly diverted to fund terror and support the families of suicide bombers, Israeli prosecutors claimed yesterday.

Ahmed Salatna, 43, a Hamas activist from the West Bank town of Jenin, was remanded in custody by a military court charged with distributing €9m (£6.2m) for such purposes over the past nine years. The recipients are alleged to have included the family of a young man who blew himself up at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001, killing 15 people and wounding 107. Hamas and Islamic Jihad acknowledged responsibility.

The charge sheet names two British charities, Human Appeal International and Interpal. Human Appeal is a broadly based fundraising organisation, currently helping victims of the Pakistani earthquake. Interpal describes itself as 'a non-political, non-profit-making charity that focuses solely on the provision of relief and development aid to the poor and needy of Palestine'. No one was available for comment at its London office yesterday. Other charities mentioned were the French CBST, the Italian ABSPT and the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which operates in Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.

Mr Salatna, who has directed an Islamic charity in Jenin since Israel released him in 1996 after serving three years for Hamas activity, was arrested in September. Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said Mr Salatna directly transferred the European funds to Hamas cells, suicide bombers and their families.

Haveil Havalim #46 released - a twofer for the Elder!

Double, double, double the fun at Israel Perspectives as two of my articles were accepted for inclusion in the latest Haveil Havalim!

My only regret is that I can no longer make fun of different blogs spelling it differently.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

It's still the freedom, stupid

The recent Egyptian election fiasco (where the Egyptians tried to forcibly limit the Muslim Brotherhood's chances) and the recent Fatah elections show once again the fundamental problem with promoting "democracy" in the Arab world in the wrong way. As this article I wrote in January describes, we should be promoting freedom first, not democracy:

Elder of Ziyon: It's the freedom, stupid: "The Western world has been falling all over itself, breathlessly praising the Palestinian elections as an example of 'democracy' and saying that it shows that Palestinians are now mature members of the exclusive club of democratic nations. The Palestinian spokespeople like the exerable Ashrawi are also jumping on the bandwagon of 'See? We proved we are democratic!'

Even the more skeptical pundits, those who point out that the election was a foregone conclusion, and that the PA threatened those who wouldn't vote for Abbas, and the fact that many ballots were cast multiple times, seem to think that if the election was truly fair, it would herald the start of a new era in the Arab world.

But almost everyone is missing the point. Elections aren't a magic panacea that turns terrorists into upstanding public citizens. There were sham elections in the old Soviet Union and Iraq as well, and Hitler was 'democratically' elected.

People are mixing up elections and freedom. Freedom is the prerequisite for true democracy.

Only in a society that has true freedoms, of press and religion and freedom to demonstrate, where the marketplace of ideas is available to all, where there is no fear of publicly stating unpopular opinions - only there can one hope to see truly fair elections, true democracy where each person can freely make up his or her mind.

It is a reasonable assumption that people want to be free. It is reasonable to assume that people who enjoy freedom will not be as interested in starting wars with other nations without good reason. But it is by no means guaranteed - it is entirely possible that Egyptians would vote for a state based on Islamic law (and then they would voluntarily take away their own freedoms.)

But if we want to promote democracy, we need to first promote freedom, we need to promote equal rights for women, we need to set the groundwork where true democratic leaders can emerge.

A society where there is no functioning justice system, where the rulers can act with impunity, where the media is controlled tightly and reporters threatened, where the schools are told to teach hate - this is not a free society, and this is not a democratic society.

It is disheartening to see so many people get so excited over something that doesn't exist.

Egypt is the flip side of the same coin. The US, by promoting democracy over freedom and wanting to fight terror, is then put in the hypocritical position of supporting free elections and simultaneously supporting Egypt's attempts at stopping the pro-terror Islamist groups from winning.

Push freedom of the press first. Allow the marketplace of ideas to flourish in the Arab world. That should be the number one priority in reform, not rushing to some sort of magic elections.

"Hitler" does well in Fatah elections

A neat fact buried in the bottom of an AP report of Fatah elections (where convicted and wanted terrorists did extremely well):
Two fugitives from Fatah's violent offshoot, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, also secured high positions. The Jenin winner, Jamal Abu Rob, who gave himself the nickname ``Hitler,'' is wanted for killing several suspected informers with Israel. The Nablus candidate, Jamal Jumaa, is a leader of Al Aqsa in the West Bank's largest city.


In May, Arutz Sheva reported that Fox News interviewed "Hitler":
Another terrorist candidate is wanted Al-Aqsa Brigade chief Jamal Abu Roub, who goes by the nickname “Hitler.”

“Hitler” told Fox News reporter Jeniffer Griffin [sic] that he expects to win a seat because he gives his people “dignity and safety.” Fox News screened footage of Abu Roub publicly executing an Arab accused of helping Israel. He has been running from Israeli security forces, but appeared in public to campaign - with the reporter - assuming Israeli forces would not apprehend him while he spoke with a Western reporter.

Asked whether he thought the nickname “Hitler” would affect his election chances, Roub said, “I got this name because of my personality. I am a guy that has a strong personality and uses violence, if needed, to respond.”
I guess that for Palestinians, publicly identifying with a genocidal mass murderer who killed millions of Jews is a good career move. Just don't call them anti-semitic - they hate that.

Friday, November 25, 2005

al-Guardian promotes Muslim Brotherhood agenda

Apparently, the AP's dhimmitude towards the source of all of today's terror organizations is also alive and well at al-Guardian, which published an op-ed from the Muslim Brotherhood's "vice president", complete with his claims to be pro-democratic, pro free-speech and a follower of all liberal Western tenets:

No need to be afraid of us

The Muslim Brotherhood believes that democratic reforms could trigger a renaissance in Egypt

Khairat el-Shatir
Wednesday November 23, 2005
The Guardian

The violence that has erupted across Egypt in recent days is the result of government panic at the success of the Muslim Brotherhood - even in the rigged polls that pass for elections in the Arab world's most populous country. As the second round of voting opened on Sunday in Egypt's tightly restricted parliamentary contest, around 500 of our members were arrested at dawn and machete-wielding thugs attacked our supporters at polling stations. But the provocations of a corrupt, oppressive government - backed by the most powerful countries in the world - will not intimidate either our organisation, which has survived for 77 years, or the Egyptian people, who have increasingly come to trust us.
...We are committed to democracy and to respect fair election results, whatever the outcome.
...What we want to do instead is trigger a renaissance in Egypt, rooted in the religious values upon which Egyptian culture and society is built; for we believe these values can effectively deal with the obstacles that have hindered reform and development. At present, political life in Egypt is plagued by apathy; only a few parties with puny followings are officially allowed to join the political process. The priority is therefore to revitalise political life so that citizens can join a real debate about the solutions to Egypt's chronic problems and the sort of future we want for our country. We believe that the domination of political life by a single political party or group, whether the ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood or any other, is not desirable: the only result of such a monopoly is the alienation of the majority of the people.

Our aim in seeking to win a limited number of seats in parliament is to create an effective parliamentary bloc that, in conjunction with others, can energise an inclusive debate about the priorities of reform and development. Not a single political, religious, social or cultural group should be excluded from Egypt's political life. The objective must be to end the monopoly of government by a single party and boost popular engagement in political activity.

Second, we would hope to contribute to achieving significant political and constitutional reforms: in particular, to remove restrictions imposed by the regime on political activity and give the parliament a much bigger say than it has now. Without real powers to question the executive, parliament will remain a mere facade. Third, we would hope to contribute to greatly needed social, cultural and economic reforms. Such reforms can take place only once the grip of the state executive is regulated by an independent legislature and independent judiciary.

The success of the Muslim Brotherhood should not frighten anybody: we respect the rights of all religious and political groups. So much damage has been inflicted on the country over the past century because of despotism and corruption that it would be impossible to embark on wider political reform and economic development without first repairing the damage to our basic institutions. Free and fair democratic elections are the first step along the path of reform toward a better future for Egypt and the entire region. We simply have no choice today but to reform.

Has there ever been such a transparent attempt to fool liberals into believing that the terror-supporting Muslim Brotherhood is just a bunch of liberal activists?

Transparent or not, it obviously works at least in the UK's liberal newspapers. As Scott Burgess points out, the president of the Brotherhood has said that suicide bombs against civilians is legitimate, America is Satan and Islam will invade America and Europe. A slightly different message than they present to al-Guardian, but then again - isn't this part of the invasion of Islam to Europe?

The Muslim government that they are working tirelessly toward will have no tolerance for minorities, free speech or dissent. But hypocritically using these issues to get support from the West is a whole different ballgame.

Security at Rafah officially a joke

The border between Egypt and Gaza is now completely irrelevant, thanks to Palestinian Authority terror-supporters, apathetic Egyptians and Europeans, and Condi Rice.

Rafik al-Hasanat, a senior member of Hamas who has been wanted by Israel for more than a decade, on Wednesday night returned to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

The terminal was opened for a few hours on Wednesday to allow hundreds of Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side to return home to the Gaza Strip. Hasanat is one of several Hamas fugitives who have returned to Gaza after Israel relinquished control over the Rafah border crossing.

A senior member of the armed wing of Hamas, Izzaddin Kassam, Hasanat fled to Egypt in 1993 after he learned that the IDF was searching for him because of his involvement in terror attacks. Since then he has been hiding in Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Jordan.

Hundreds of Hamas activists chanting slogans in support of the Islamic movement welcomed Hasanat home.

Sources close to Hamas said many of its activists, including top leaders, have managed to return to the Gaza Strip since the Israeli pullout. Last month one of the founders of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed al-Milh, returned to the Gaza Strip after spending 20 years in different Arab countries.

Shortly after the Israeli withdrawal, three top Hamas fugitives infiltrated into the Gaza Strip. One of them, Nihro Masoud of the Jabalya refugee camp, was one of the founders of Izzaddin Kassam. He fled to Egypt 14 years ago and spent most of the intervening time in Sudan.

The Rafah border crossing is expected to reopen on Friday following an agreement that was reached between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.

The deal, brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this month, calls for the stationing European Union monitors at the terminal.

Under the terms of the agreement, Palestinians below the age of 18 and over 40 will be able to travel through the border crossing without a visa. The terminal will also remain open 24 hours a day.

A ceremony scheduled for Friday will formally re-open the border crossing. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is expected to attend the ceremony together with Egyptian and United Nations officials.

PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Thursday that the 70 European monitors would be present at the border crossing only in the first week or ten days after its reopening.

Stressing that there would be no Israeli presence at the terminal, Abu Rudaineh said, "The European presence at the terminal is not an alternative to the Palestinian presence there. Nor do they represent Israel. The Palestinians will have the upper hand."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

AP backgrounder on the Muslim Brotherhood misses a few facts

The AP helpfully published a background piece on the Muslim Brotherhood after the group made gains in Egyptian elections. Here is what it wrote:
Some facts about the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned but popular Egyptian group that has inspired Islamic movements across the Arab world:

_Founded in 1928 by Hassan el-Banna, who advocated Islamic law and faith in God to rectify a society adrift and dependent on the West.

_Banned in 1954, but tolerated at various levels. It fields its candidates as independents under the slogan 'Islam is the solution,' but their affiliation is known to voters.

_Renounced violence in the 1970s, but the government continues to treat it with suspicion.

_Its welfare and charity work, done with efficiency and dedication, endears it to many, especially the poor.

_Holds 15 seats in the outgoing 454-member parliament. In voting so far it has won 47 seats and is expected to gain more in runoffs and a third round of voting.

Somehow AP improbably missed the fact that the "Islamic movements" it helped inspire include Al Qaeda, Hizbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. For some odd reason, the AP forgot to mention terror altogether in its list of "useful information."

To learn a little more about the origins of the Muslim Brotherhood, check out a Palestine Post article from October 19. 1948 that I had found a couple of months ago:


Seminary girls in Israel cause international incident

A few days ago, Southern Lebanon was rocked by a bird-flu scare - from a carrier pigeon from Israel. As Ya Libnan reports (the graphics are theirs):

Kfar Tibnit, Lebanon - A courier pigeon with a love letter from a girl thanking her boyfriend for a "terrific night they spent together" has flown across the border from Israel, triggering bird flue scare throughout southern Lebanon.

postal carrier _pigeon 4.gifThe love letter which was from a girl thanking her boyfriend for a "terrific night they spent together" has flown across the border from Israel and landed on the roof of Ahmed Kamel Zaytoun in south Lebanon's Kfar Tibnit township on Friday. He found the letter concealed in an iron ring with figures identifying the trained carrier.

According to local media, the letter was written in English and Hebrew. The girl from Israel's upper Galilee panhandle speaks fondly of the night she spent with her lover, thanking him and asking him to acknowledge receiving her message to her e-mail address.

postal carrier _pigeon 3.gifShe also wrote in the message a postal address in the Kafar Qassem district in the Galilee, the Beirut daily newspaper As Safir reported. But the name of the lover and his address were not mentioned.

Scared that the pigeon may be carrying a bird flu virus, Zaytoun, who had no difficulty catching the love messenger, rushed it to the police station of Nabatiyeh town, which in turn rushed it to the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture laboratory in Al Fanar to determine whether it is clean or contaminated.

The Beirut ANB TV network, which aired a full coverage of the pigeon being seized and inserted in a big cage by Zaytoun, said the incident sent a bird flu scare sweeping across the region. The population is awaiting an assurance from the ministry of agriculture, ANB said.

But what really happened was quite different!
Why did the carrier pigeon cross the border? It depends on who you ask.

According to the Lebanese Ya Libnan News Web site, the bird was carrying a love letter from an Israeli Arab girl intended for her Lebanese lover.

But if you ask Detroit teen Rachel Greenbaum, you'll get a completely different answer: The Israeli Arab girl is really an American seminary girl, and her Lebanese lover is, in fact, the pigeon.

Greenbaum and her friend Stacey Gertz, 17, of Chicago, were part of a group of 95 mostly American teenage girls on a trip to the North led by their seminary, Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (MMY).

On November 16, they reached Mitzpe Hoshaya, where they participated in an activity called "Kfar Kedem‚" which simulates life in Israel during the time of the Mishna.

With MMY director Rabbi David Katz leading their troop, they dressed in the clothes of the time, made pita, rode donkeys and slept in tents.

"As we left, Menahem Goldberg, who runs Kfar Kedem, asked us to let us know how we enjoyed our stay there. But since Kfar Kedem is old-fashioned, Goldberg wanted us to send a message the old-fashioned way, by a trained carrier pigeon," Katz said.

Goldberg supplied a form on which to write the message, complete with spaces for writing phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The name "Kfar Kedem" was also on the form.

Greenbaum and Gertz immediately volunteered to take care of the pigeon overnight. "All the other girls thought the pigeon was disgusting and didn't want to take care of it, but we wanted to," said 18-year-old Greenbaum.

As the girls boarded the bus to leave, the bus driver asked what was in the box. Worried they would not be allowed on with the pigeon, the students told him the large, white box had cake in it.

"That's how the pigeon got his nickname - Uga ['cake' in Hebrew]," Greenbaum said.

"Rachel and I became emotionally attached to Uga after taking care of it overnight," Gertz added.

The next day, Greenbaum filled out the note to send back to Kfar Kedem with the bird. "It said something like: 'We love you Uga. Thanks for last night. We had a wonderful experience,'" Gertz said. "Everything was in English except for Uga's name. We added some inside jokes to the note and wrote Rabbi Katz's phone number and e-mail, and then the bird flew away."

Uga was supposed to reach Kfar Kedem within two hours. As time rolled on, the girls grew worried. After not hearing anything about Uga for a few days, they received a phone call Tuesday "telling us to open up the newspaper," Gertz said.

Ma'ariv had published a story from the Lebanese press about a carrier pigeon sent to Lebanon by an Israeli girl thanking her Lebanese boyfriend for the wonderful night they shared.

At first, Lebanese police thought the note was an intelligence code and tried to decipher it. They then concluded that it was a love letter from an Arab Israeli girl from Kfar Kasim to her Lebanese lover.

"They mistook Kfar Kedem‚ for the Arab town of Kfar Kasim," Katz said, laughing.

Though it is not clear why, the misunderstanding was exacerbated by the belief, on the part of the Lebanese man who found Uga on his roof, that the pigeon was carrying bird flu, leading to further reports in the Lebanese press of a bird flu scare across southern Lebanon.

A Westerner in Beirut who wished to remain anonymous confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that Lebanon was aflutter with the story of the bird. "It came out in the newspaper on Sunday," he said, "and everybody was talking about it."

The girls of MMY still cannot quite believe they are at the center of the story.

"I started laughing when I first found out," Gertz said. "There was no way this could be true. It sounded like it had come from the pages of The National Enquirer."

Goldberg is dumbfounded about her identity as described by the media. "They think I'm an Arab girl sending this letter to my Lebanese boyfriend thanking him for a great night we spent together," Goldberg laughed. "The whole episode is so funny. It's like a domino effect - a whole line of mess-ups.

"Of course we were really upset that we started a bird flu scare," she added, "we wouldn't wish that on anyone."

As it stands, the girls miss their long lost friend. "We just want Uga back," Gertz said. "We want him free."

UN could have stopped Hizbollah attack - but chose not to

Proof #3971 that the UN is at best irrelevant, at worst supporter of terrorism:

In light of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon's (UNIFIL) failure to stop Hizbullah's attack in the north on Monday, it is time to reassess the organization's mandate, Foreign Ministry director-general Ron Prosor said Wednesday.

Prosor's comment came in a Jerusalem briefing to some 60 ambassadors or their second-in-command on the volatile situation in the north.

Harry Knei-Tal, director of the Foreign Ministry's political research department, said the fact that UNIFIL did not stop the attack from occurring raised questions about whether it plays a constructive role there at all.

According to diplomatic assessments in Jerusalem, UNIFIL must have been aware of the preparations Hizbullah was making in the area to carry out the attacks. Moreover, the IDF had provided UNIFIL with information on the group's activities over the last few weeks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

MEMRI hits the mark

The existence of MEMRI clearly hits a nerve with Arabs. A recent AlJazeerah.info article lists many very dubious anti-Arab quotes and then says:
The Israeli translation company Memri would translate a sermon of an Imam in a desert outpost that no Muslims outside the outpost itself had heard of. But it does not translate the venom of the settlers' rabbis....
Another recent article out of Saudi Arabia reads from the same script:
Carmon is a former Israeli intelligence officer sent by Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington to establish the translation company MEMRI, which concentrates on obscure Imams of mosques in the Empty Quarter but not the racist diatribes of settler rabbis in Palestinian lands.
Clearly services like MEMRI hit a big nerve with our friends who support and fund terrorism. Not once have I seen them claim that MEMRI mistranslated them, and their critique that MEMRI only quotes "obscure Imams" are slightly contradicted by the fact that the bigotry displayed by the Arab world and translated by MEMRI is broadcast on their TV stations.

Perhaps one day they will evolve to the point that their obvious embarrassment turns into real introspection and change.

After 39 months of diplomacy, Iranian nukes on schedule

The United States and Europe will not seek a referral this week of their case against Iran to the United Nations Security Council, American and European diplomats said Tuesday. Instead, the diplomats said, they will allow more time for China, Russia, India and other countries to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear activities.

Iran's secret nuclear program was first discovered in August, 2002, with the revelation of the existence of two secret nuclear sites, a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and a heavy water facility in Arak.

Since then we have had over three years of Iranian breaking promises, defiance, bravado, empty negotiations and thumbing its nose at the UN, and nothing has changed - except for one thing:

Iran is now 39 months closer to building a nuclear bomb.

Today's Palestinian Police Phunnies XIV

The first semester at Al Azhar University since Israel quit the land it occupied for four decades has been a bust. School has been closed for more than a month.

The problem began in October, when a dean at Gaza's largest university ejected a male student from a women's-only patio area. The next day, about 50 armed relatives of the student -- many police officers -- barged into a weekly meeting of the deans and yanked university president Adnan Al Khaldi by his shirt from the office, down the stairs, through the front plaza and off the campus before releasing him.

The university staff was promised action by Palestinian politicians and security chiefs. But nothing happened, and Khaldi has since put his 14,000 students on recess.
Of course the author of the article likes to blame Israel as much as the Palestinians for the Gaza chaos, because if he didn't he wouldn't be "even-handed."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"Exercise Restraint"

So, Hizbollah decides it wants to shell northern Israel and kidnap some Jews - and the US calls on Israel to "exercise restraint."

And Israel is actually doing it, even though there is no indication that Lebanon has the desire or means to "restrain" the terrorists.

Makes one wonder who is formulating Israel's defense policy.

UPDATE: Thank God. Israel didn't stay restrained for that long.

Festival of the Hardliners

As I predicted in my last post, the media latched onto the word "hardliner" when describing Likud like a pit bull. The dearth of independent thinking in the media is always fun to watch, as each "news" source mindlessly follows the lead of others in finding a shorthand way to describe people they disagree with.

"Sharon broke away from his hardline Likud Party on Monday"
"
pushing for a March election after deciding to leave his hardline Likud Party"
"
just hours after deciding to leave his hardline Likud Party"
"Israel's Sharon leaves hard-line Likud Party"
"PM Ariel Sharon quit his hard-line Likud party, saying..."
"
The Gaza pullout, which was bitterly opposed by Likud hard-liners..."
"
Ariel Sharon's final break with Israel's hard-liners instantly redrew the political ..."
"
when he quit Likud, the hardline party he helped found..."
"Declaring that hard-liners in his conservative Likud Party had made life "unbearable,"
" pursue plans to end the conflict with the Palestinians without having to battle Likud hardliners..."
"...what was expected to be a difficult contest with hard-line rival Benjamin Netanyahu..."

The media shapes the news as much as it reports it. Sharon is now being hailed as a "centrist" because there is a major party to his right. But a week ago, despite his political moves in Gaza, you would never have found Sharon called a centrist in the media. And keep in mind that Sharon has done things that well-known "dove" Yitzchak Rabin would never have considered.

This gives rise to the absurd situation where Palestinian terror-supporting groups are labeled consistently as "moderate" while Jews who want to live in the territories are consistently labeled "extremist." The average news reader internalizes these messages and starts thinking that families who just want to live where they grew up are equivalent to suicide bombers; and Holocaust deniers are more moderate than the party that gave Egypt Sinai in exchange for a piece of paper.

When the press applies inaccurate or overly simplified language to situations, it affects reality. It gives real terrorists carte blanche and puts people who truly want peace on the defensive. It is irresponsible and dangerous. It costs lives.

(This morning I saw the BBC report on this story and the person they felt was best qualified to comment on Israel's political earthquake was none other than Hanan Ashrawi! She tried very hard to say that Sharon's new party is "right" and that the Likud is "far right." It would be far more accurate to describe Ashrawi as a "terrorist supporter", her party Fatah as a "terror group" and Hamas as a "hard terror group.")

Monday, November 21, 2005

How will the media describe the Likud now?

The world media like to assign single words or short phrases to people and political movements. This simplifies things for them; they get out of the responsibility of actually reporting anything with any complexity and they can quickly influence the readers to think as they do.

Hence, Ariel Sharon was inevitably described as a "hawk" (never a "risk-taker for peace" for example), Mahmoud Abbas as a "pragmatist" (never a "Holocaust-denier"), terrorists as "militants", Shimon Peres as a "Nobel-prize winner", people who support the settlers as "ultra-nationalists" and so on. We read this appellations so often that we don't think about them but for those who are not intimately familiar with the political landscape it is easy to see that if one side elects a "hawk" as a leader and the other one elects a "moderate", then the "moderate" must be a more reasonable person and any problems are the "hawk's" fault. (

Now, the media have a few problems - if Sharon no longer heads the Likud and starts a "centrist" party, it can hardly keep calling him a hawk when there is a major party to his right. But abandoning the "hawk" label takes time because to do that means that they've been calling him the wrong label for years now. So for now they will probably try to avoid labeling him until they can find something new to hang onto him, and just refer to him as the head of a new "centrist" party.

But what do they call Netanyahu and the remaining Likudniks? "Hawkish" has been too closely associated with Sharon, so they need another name that conveys their strong disapproval for anything they stand for.

The early favorite seems to be "hardliners." Although al-Ha'aretz likes calling them "extremists," a term others like to reserve for Al-Qaeda terrorists and the Jewish religious right-wing.

Iranian nuke lies continue

I'm sure that the Iranians have only "peaceful" plans for nuclear warheads.
Iranians admit receiving nuclear warhead blueprint from disgraced Pakistani expert

International suspicion of Iran's nuclear programme heightened yesterday when it was revealed that Tehran had obtained a blueprint showing how to build the core of a nuclear warhead.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told diplomats that his inspectors had recently obtained documents from Tehran showing that the Iranians had been given various instructions on processing uranium hexafluoride gas and casting and enriching uranium. These had been obtained via the black market in nuclear technology headed by the disgraced Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Informed diplomats said the blueprint for casting uranium was required in making the core of a nuclear warhead, although that alone was not enough for the manufacture of a weapon.

United Nations inspectors had long suspected that the Khan network had helped Iran, but this was the first time the Iranians had come clean on the issue. They told the inspectors they had not sought the information, but that the Khan network had supplied the documents anyway.

This claim stretched credulity among diplomats and nuclear experts, and reinforced their conviction that Tehran is determined to acquire the capacity and knowhow for nuclear weapons.

Pakistani nuclear experts are always calling me and emailing me with information on how to build nuclear warheads - sounds credible to me!

The terrorists behind the French Intifada

Interesting analysis out of India. It makes sense as well that the initial rioting was spontaneous but that it morphed into something that was specifically Islamist.

(The IRIS blog has been following this very closely.)

One wonders what "Hizbut Tehrir" means...
HIZBUT TEHRIR BEHIND FRENCH INTIFADA

by B.Raman, CAMP EUROPE

All indicators point to the involvement of some Pakistani, Algerian and Moroccan members of the London-based Hizbut Tehrir (HT) in the violence by sections of angry Muslim youth, which has rocked the suburbs of Paris and some other towns of France since October 27,2005.

2. The outbreak initially was spontaneous following the electrocution of two Muslim youth as they were fleeing away from a random identity papers check by the Police. The violence continued to be spontaneous, with no external instigation, for three days. In the meanwhile, it is reported by reliable sources, the headquarters of the HT in London saw the agitprop potential of the developments in Paris and sent some of their experts, who had participated in instigating the violence earlier this year in Afghanistan over the alleged desecration of the Holy Koran by the US guards at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba and in Uzbekistan over the allegedly autocratic ways of the local Government, to Paris to stoke the anger of the youth and exploit it for their purpose.

3. With the help of the sleeper cells, which the HT has already established in Paris and other parts of France for some months, they drew up plans for keeping the violence sustained in order to further radicalise and mobilise the youth against the French Government. For this purpose, they exploited the already prevalent anger in the Muslim community of France over the ban on the wearing of head scarves by Muslim girls in public schools and over the ruthless action taken by the Police in the past against suspected radicals. The intemperate and insensitive language used by the French Interior Minister, which is perceived as an insult to Islam and the Muslim youth, facilitated the task of the HT.

4. The HT has the same objective as Al Qaeda, namely, the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate, but denies any link with Al Qaeda and claims that it intends achieving its objective through overt political agitation and not through resort to terrorism or other forms of political violence . While there is no evidence of its involvement so far in any act of jihadi terrorism anywhere in the world, it has been involved in many instances of political agitation in the streets in some countries and in attempts at subverting the armed forces and the intelligence agencies in Pakistan and other Islamic countries.

5. It is reported by reliable sources in Pakistan that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistan has instructed its cells in France to assist the HT clandestinely as best as they can. Similarly, the Jamat-ul-Furqa (JUF), which has some followers in the community of Caribbean origin in France, has also asked its followers to assist the HT. Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, was suspected to be a member of the JUF.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Saudi website links to the Elder

A website (in both Arabic and English) supporting the Saudi teacher who was punished for praising Jews has gone up, with many interesting details about the case:

After the Saudi authorities captured the terrorists who perpetrated the may 11, 2003 tragic terror bombing in a residential area in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Muhammad al-Harbi made a public announcement to his school’s students praising the Saudi police and supporting anti terrorism actions waged by the Saudi government. He explained that that terror acts are against Islam and do not represent the faith nor its followers. This announcement was not received well by some of the other teachers in the school who adopted some extremist views and conservative ideologies that did not agree with Mohammed’s thoughts. They started plotting against Mohammed for his sincere efforts in spreading the message of tolerance and support for anti terror acts.

Some strange and violent things started happening to Mohammed in the school and also outside the school: one day he posted a newspaper article about anti terrorism, but Mohammed was surprised to discover that some teachers who had been witnessed by students took down this article , he found his car vandalized, and he was shot at while working in his office in the school. Then, he discovered that one of his students filed a case against him and he was charged by the following: admiration of the US and the west because he says “OK”!, adopting unreligious thoughts, teaching students about alcohol, performing magic/witch craft, and making a mockery of beard. This case was filed in a different town and Mohammed had to commute to court to meet a religious judge who told him in the first hearing that he was not fit to teach inside or outside Saudi Arabia. The judge did not give much attention to the fact that Mohammed had to teach about alcohol since this was a chapter of the government chemistry curriculum and that he was performing chemistry experiments and not which craft as this student was claiming; he also never made fun of beards and/or religion.

The teachers of this school started taking some students to camps and secretly meet with them. These students and others later showed up in court as witnesses against Mohammed. Mohammed felt that he was powerless and had no one to turn to so he contacted some Saudi journalists (their articles published in the Arabic version of this website) who immediately started writing about his case to support him and make his issue a national concern. More Saudi writers, Saudi newspapers, and some Saudi online forums began a supportive campaign for Mohammed. The renowned Saudi lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-lahim volunteered to represent Mohammed in court. Mr. Al-lahim discovered many violations made by the judge and asked to review other files but the judge refused to grant him with any access or formal representation of his client. The judge was furious that the case leaked to the media and quickly made his ruling on Nov. 12, 2005 to imprison Mohammed for three years and four months and lash him 750 lashes in front of the people to see: 50 lashes each week.

Muhammad’s lawyer is currently trying to appeal this harsh and unjust verdict. Many are still also waging a supportive campaign for Mohammed and his family (his mother and two sisters).

It is important to note that this website is made by Saudi citizens feeling for Mohammed and whole-heartedly supporting his cause for a peaceful world. Muhammad al-Harbi does not know about his website and we voluntarily dedicate this space to him, his family, and all who support him. We are praying that Mohammed's innocence will prevail and that those who falsely accused him will be punished.
[...]
He invented an instrument that produces a sound before the fall of rain. He put this machine at the school's gate to help students know if the rain was coming in order to avoid getting wet in their way home. this machine produces musical sound; so his fellow opponent teachers accused him of legalizing music, which is banned in the Wahhabi sect of Islam, and when Muhammed's case went to court, the judge accused him of using witchcraft to operate this instrument!
Another article with details at FreeMuslims.org.

I noticed this site because of a link from it to mine, which surprised me, to say the least.

The stories seem somewhat fractured and contradictory, but any reading of the articles shows that the Saudi court system and society as a whole is a joke.

UPDATE: They seem to have finally looked a little closer at my site and took down the link. So much for my new Saudi and Egyptian fans who read my blog as a result (about 20 hits.)

Remember the Roadmap?

My question of the day is - has the Palestinian Authority ever fulfilled a single obligation under the "roadmap" since 2003 vis-a-vis Israel and terror?

Let's take a look at the specific Palestinian obligations in this area and whether the PA has done any of them:
  • At the outset of Phase I:

    Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
Um, no.
  • Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conduction and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
Um,...no.
  • Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
Uhhhh, no.
  • All Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered Interior Minister.
Ha!
  • Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.
Looks like Syria didn't get the memo. But Iran dodged the bullet - it isn't Arab!

The PA did fulfill some meaningless political obligations - drafting a worthless constitution, appointing a toothless prime minister - but as far as any agreements with Israel are concerned, it looks like the record is pretty much 0 for 5.

And remember that the way that the roadmap was written was that the first bullet item was required before any other moves were made (as well as a reciprocal agreement from Israel to stop incitement and agreeing to a two-state solution, which it clearly has.)

Good stuff to remember whenever the press mentions supposed violations of the roadmap by Israel.

Haveil Havalim #45 is out

Over at Mirty's Place, home to an artistic and technical wiz, comes the latest issue of Haveil Havalim, the best of the Jewish blogosphere.

At the suggestion of Soccer Dad, I nominated this post about Hebrew slang, a topic I find interesting because my knowledge of modern Hebrew is sorely lacking. Language development is a neat topic altogether, the weekly Forward column by Philologos always teaches me something I never knew. Modern Hebrew has had to "grow up" in only a hundred years and this is probably why there is less resistance to change and integrating words from other languages in Israel than in, say, France.

Anyway, it is (as always) a good issue of HH!

Google News points to explicitly anti-semitic article

This is not the first time Google News (which does not publish a list of its "news" sources) ended up pointing to racist or bigoted content. Check out this nice editorial:

The Jewish War On Freedom Of Speech

Corporate West causes terror in order to profit from it

by John Kaminski

ENGLEWOOD FL -- (OfficialWire) -- 11/19/05 -- One by one, those who oppose the manipulated Jewish version of history are being forcibly removed from society, and silenced because their views conflict with the program of mind-controlled slavery that has been meticulously crafted by the people who control the world by controlling the money.
A quick look through the "OfficialWire" website at news.baou.com finds a number of articles denying the Holocaust but some other innocuous and even reasonable articles. It appears that it is simply a service where people can send any press releases and they'll print it, no questions asked.

Holocaust deniers and other Jew-haters found a nice loophole to make their "articles" appear to be published in a legitimate "news" source, and they are taking advantage of it.

Whether OfficialWire is just passing information or is actively editing articles can be determined pretty easily. All we need is for someone who writes original articles that are pro-Israel to compose one for submission to this "news" service and see if they publish it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Big headline in September, tiny detail in November

In September, during the PA municipal elections, quite a few media outlets trumpeted this fact:
Palestinians Enforce Weapons Display Ban

Friday September 30, 2005 2:01 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) - Palestinian authorities began enforcing a ban on public displays of weapons Thursday, arresting three people and confiscating the guns of off-duty police officers in a key step toward imposing order in the chaotic Gaza Strip.
But it has been six whole weeks, and who can expect the PA to keep up such a restrictive law for so long? After all, Israel will keep conceding to them anyway!
GAZA (Reuters) - Hundreds of Fatah gunmen marched in Gaza and fired in the air on Thursday, demanding reforms for their dominant Palestinian faction ahead of its first vote to choose candidates for a parliamentary election.
And this article about either a different rally at the same time, or the same rally seen through a completely different lens:
Hundreds of members of the Palestinian militant group Al-Aqsa Brigades marched through the streets of Gaza City on Thursday morning demanding jobs and an international inquiry into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Masked gunmen marched through the streets and arrived for a rally in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council building. Some shot guns into the air and some members were seen displaying missiles. Militants held pictures of the late leader whilst listening to speeches.
Outside of Israeli papers, no media pointed out the obvious fact that Abbas' claim to be enforcing his ban on public displays of weapons has been shown to be a lie.

Another Palestinian pseudo-concession (itself a reaction to the promise to disarm terror groups) bites the dust. And the media somehow doesn't notice it that Palestinian promises are not worth the paper they are written on.

Palestinian persecution of Christians (JCPA)

It is interesting that Palestinian persecution of a religious minority gets a free pass by the so-called "human rights organizations".
On the heels of the Gaza disengagement, which was intended to empower the Palestinian Authority to improve the lives of its people, few journalists have reported on the acutely trying times facing the Christians residing in areas "governed" by the Palestinian Authority. In his book, Professor Weiner, Scholar in Residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, provides an in-depth look into the nearly uninterrupted persecution of Christians throughout the decade since the Oslo peace process began.

Living amidst a xenophobic Muslim population plagued by endemic violence bordering on anarchy, the Christians have shrunk to less than 1.7 percent of the population in the Palestinian areas. “Tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad, while those who remain do so as a beleaguered and dwindling minority," Weiner said.

"Their plight is, in part, attributable to the adoption of Muslim religious law (sharia) in the constitution of the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, the Christians have been abandoned by their religious leaders who, instead of protecting them, have chosen to curry favor with the Palestinian leadership.” Professor Weiner's book reveals and analyzes why this persecution - largely ignored by the international community, the media, and even the human rights organizations - has metastasized to the extent that it threatens the very existence of this 2000-year-old community.


The PDF of the full report is here.

Israeli blind golfer gets hole in one

An inspiring story:
A blind Israeli golfer realised the dream of every amateur hacker when he shot a hole-in-one.

Zohar Sharon aced the 160-metre (176-yard), 15th hole at the Caesarea Golf Club in Israel during a round on Monday.

Sharon, with a handicap of 20, initially thought he had overhit his tee-shot but was delighted when his caddy, Shimshon Levy, found the ball nestled in the cup.

"He went crazy. I did not understand what he was shouting about, I thought a snake had bitten him," Sharon said of Levy, who accompanies him on his regular rounds of golf and lines him up for his shots.


But the story of Zohar Sharon is much more than just one lucky shot. He is a blind golf champion who only took up the game competitively a few years ago: (this story is from March, 2004)
Zohar Sharon, winner of the 2003 World Invitational blind golf tournament in Scotland, takes a window seat at a restaurant and pub inside Morgan Run, a posh golf club and resort in North County’s Fairbanks Ranch.

Sharon sits by the window of the clubhouse sipping coffee with a huge grin on his face, even though he’s just finished playing one of the most grueling rounds of golf a player could experience, with sight or without.

Flash back 25 years. While on an army demolitions detail, Sharon lost sight in his right eye after a chemical substance was accidentally sprayed in his face. Three years later, he lost his remaining sight forever while driving with his first wife, who had to take the wheel when Sharon’s left eye rapidly filled with blood. Severe depression, and eventually divorce from his wife, followed.

But now he’s a successful golfer and an accomplished painter and sculptor who has exhibited his works in galleries and exhibitions. After he went blind, he also became a trained physiotherapist. He never golfed before going blind. He’s only been serious about the game for three years. Now, he wins golf tournaments playing against people with sight.

He claims to regularly hit 100, but that’s a bit of an exaggeration – his handicap at the Scottish World Invitational was 37, good for an average round of 109. He won his category (B1, for completely blind) at the Tournament by 20 strokes; he would have been first even without his handicap. Next up? The World Blind Golf Championships in Melbourne, Australia, in April.

Sharon lives near downtown Tel Aviv and is 51. Hiss golden-brown skin tone reveals his Yemeni ethnicity. With his receding hairline, athletic figure and barking intensity, Sharon possesses the type A personality of an Israeli colonel (he actually served five years as an officer in the army, after his compulsory three-year stint.). You can’t tell he’s blind. He’s not wearing dark sunglasses and his eyes aren’t an eerie void of translucent glassiness; they are a solid brown that often have an uncanny ability to pierce deeply through the eyes of the person he’s talking to, as if he could see their soul.

Sitting at the table to Sharon’s left at the clubhouse are a father and son tandem, Rafael and Jorge Mareyna, both Mexican Jews who until the last decade lived in Mexico City. They are Sharon’s friendly competition for the day. Also seated is a Canadian Jew, Nitsan Watkin, who for the next week will serve as Sharon’s interpreter and caddy, even though he doesn’t know much about golf.

Seated at the foot of Sharon’s right leg is Dylan, a 3 1/2-year-old Israeli-born golden retriever. Dylan is Sharon’s guide dog. He basically has had the day off running around wild at Morgan Run. Trained at the Israeli Guide Dog Center for the Blind, Dylan loyally sprints after and chomps up Sharon’s infrequent errant and short drives.
This is Sharon’s first golf outing in the U.S., where he’s come to help raise money for the Israel Guide Dog Center. He’s also practicing for a charity event in Palm Springs (held February 9) that raised an estimated $125,000 for the Center and other charities.

Sharon’s first introduction to golf came when the divorce lawyer of his first wife presented him with a putter and some balls. In the mid-1980s, a golf rehabilitation program was developed for disabled Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) veterans. According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, Sharon is one of 20 or so veterans who have participated in this project.

The Superman-strength of Sharon’s spirit and the encouragement and help from his San Diego hosts made this a memorable day on an otherwise miserable afternoon that kept all but a couple hardcore golfers off the greens. Nobody kvetched once about the cold or the rain, not even 73-year-old Rafael, who had a stroke three months ago and was wearing a meager short-sleeved windbreaker, no proper dress for his exposed lean and pale frame. Rafael, who is a member of Morgan Run, doesn’t speak Hebrew and therefore can’t directly communicate with Sharon.

Rafael’s son Jorge learned Hebrew after living in Israel for five years (he also speaks fluent Spanish and English). He has been living in San Diego for a year and a half and plays surprisingly well for having only six months of golfing experience. The physical antithesis of his father, Jorge, 52 and a CPA/financial advisor, stands several inches shorter and has a pudgy frame.

Sharon says he plays golf six times a week, often 10 hours a day. The only day he takes off from the game is on Saturday. He’s religiously observant. He’s not wearing a yarmulke on this day, but always does so when he’s in a tournament or playing with non-Jewish golfers. “I want people to know I’m Jewish,” he says. “I want them to know what Jewish perseverance and courage is all about.”

“Nu, boy nesachek gvar!” (“Come on, let’s play already!”) Sharon says. Sharon travels in one golf cart with Watkin, a Toronto resident and family friend of Sharon’s.

Throughout the afternoon, Sharon and Watkin will be intermittently arguing with each other and laughing hysterically.

In the cart ahead of Sharon and Watkin are the Mareynas, soft-spoken, well-mannered gentleman who speak Spanish to each other and on more than a few occasions yell words of encouragement to Sharon.

Approaching the first hole, the elder Mareyna gives the scouting report to Sharon’s interpreter. “Zohar, the first hole is 180 yards away. It’s a par 3. If you hit it too low, you’ll get it stuck in the dry grass.

Hit it high and straight. There are two sandtraps 50 yards from the hole on both sides of the flag.” Sharon approaches the tee and has Watkin help him lean over to feel the ball.

Watkin painstakingly tries to line up Sharon. Sharon constantly questions Watkin about positioning. Watkin’s lack of golf knowledge immediately frustrates Sharon, who possesses a fierce competitive intensity. “Am I lined up straight? Should I swing open or closed?” Sharon asks.

Sharon takes a couple of practice swings and again asks Watkin if he’s properly aligned. Watkins tells him he’s ready to go.

Sharon looks up in the direction of the flag as if he could see. It’s easy to forget he’s blind.

His first drive is solid. Jorge yells to Sharon, “Maka tova!” (“Excellent shot”).
“Ze haya yamina, nachon?” (“That went wide right, correct?”) Sharon asks. He not only knows the direction of his shots, he can tell the fate of the other golfer’s swings by the sound of their drives.

On his next approach, Sharon is informed that he’s about 20 meters away from the hole. He doubts Watkin’s estimate. “Really, 20 meters?” he asks, looking Watkins right in the eye. Watkins answers him while looking down at the ground.

Watkin has the toughest assignment of the day. He is Sharon’s surrogate caddy for the first five holes; he later gladly relinquishes the role to Jorge. Sharon’s full-time salaried caddy is named Shimshon Levy, who doesn’t speak English very well either and couldn’t attend Sharon’s first U.S. golf visit.

Now on the green, Sharon instructs Watkin to stand next to the flag and clap so he can judge by the sound how far away he is. On other holes, one of the other golfers taps the flag with their putters.

Golf is a frustrating game for people who can see. Imagine how it must be for a blind golfer. When Sharon sinks a putt as he does on the first hole, it’s nothing short of miraculous.

According to Ha’aretz, soon after starting to play, Sharon began working with Dr. Ricardo Cordova, a sports psychologist in Israel. Cordova, who was the psychologist for the Bolivian national soccer team before migrating to Israel, instilled in Sharon the ability to imagine each shot.

“Without Ricardo, I wouldn’t be here right now,” says Sharon. “I’d be completely lost.”
Here’s what Cordova did with Sharon: For several weeks, Sharon didn’t even swing with his clubs. The two worked solely on visualization and biomechanics. Towels were placed under Sharon’s arms to restrict his arm movement and keep them within close proximity to his trunk. Cordova made sure Sharon’s motion didn’t involve unnecessary muscle groups.

Next, Cordova had Sharon practicing his swinging motion – still without the use of his clubs. Sharon would take imaginary swings and relay to Cordova how far the ball flew in the air and how far it rolled in his mind. The third stage of Sharon’s training involved pain. Cordova lined up the ball next to a pole. If Sharon’s head and torso excessively protruded during his backswing, his skull would receive an uncomfortable reminder from the pole.

By the time Cordova allowed Sharon to swing at a ball approximately two years ago, Sharon found it quite easy to drive the ball far distances. His blindness allows him to enter a trance-like state where he imagines every shot and considers all inclines, declines and other hazards that lay on the course.

“Sharon considers golf to be a highly spiritual game,” says Watkin, walking back to the cart in route to the second hole. “He feels absolute peace and tranquility when he’s playing, even if he’s frustrated by an inexperienced caddy.” Watkin continues, “Zohar’s concentration is tremendous. He forgets everything when he’s on the green.”

Sharon puts his putter back in his golf bag, which is attached to the back of the cart. He puts the covers back on his clubs and readjusts the tightness of the bag’s straps. This reporter knocked his head twice getting into the cart, while Sharon enters the cart and moves around the golf bag with ease.

A friendly argument ensues between Sharon and Watkin, evidently about Watkin’s lack of golf knowledge. Dylan the guide dog is tied to the golf cart. He has his rear left leg lifted, relieving himself on the golf cart’s tire. Suddenly, Watkin steps on the cart’s accelerator. Dylan manages to turn around on a dime and sprint, keeping up with the cart.

Before playing the second hole, Sharon is asked if Dylan is forbidden to run around the course without a leash.

“Ata tishmor al lo?” (“Are you going to watch him?”) Sharon asks, undoing Dylan’s leash. And with that, Dylan is free to roam around Morgan Run. While Sharon is mentally picturing his approach for the second hole, Dylan is digging a hole in a sandtrap.

Sharon’s second drive goes beyond the flag, only 20 yards away.

“Keemat be degel,” (“It’s near the flag”) says Jorge, who has a thicker Mexican accent than his father.

The rain picks up once again. On the way to the second green in the cart, Sharon has his left arm around Watkin. Sharon’s head rests on Watkin’s right shoulder.

“I love you,” Sharon tells Watkin (in Hebrew). “I joke with you and I’ve been hard on you but understand I love you.

Caddying is a thankless job. I could never be one.” Sharon repeatedly refers to Watkin as “Ach-ee” Hebrew slang for “my brother.”]

It’s a surreal image: three Jewish golfers of different ethnicities, one blind with a free-roaming guide dog. Sharon’s golf bag says “Caesarea Golf Club Israel.” This scene would never have transpired on this course a few decades ago, not at a blue-blooded resort like this. Before he started playing golf, Sharon’s only opinion of golf was that it was for wealthy elitists. Now he realizes golfers can be normal people.

“Maybe their kids are spoiled, but overall, the people I have met have been fantastic,” he says.

Meanwhile, the sky darkens around the hilltops surrounding the course. After the seventh hole, Sharon acknowledges that the rain on this very unusual day will not let up. When asked if he’s pleased with his performance, he jokes, “I feel like crying.”

Sharon tries to persuade Jorge to be his caddy for another round of golf at the Bridges Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe.
“I would love to, but I have a business to run,” laments Jorge. “You are an extraordinary man Zohar.”

Perhaps Sam Silverstein best summarized the experience of witnessing Sharon golf. Silverstein, who organizes numerous golf tournaments around Palm Springs, played with Sharon at the Canyon Country Club Tournament in Palm Springs two days after the Morgan Run tune-up.

Silverstein told the Journal: “He swings better than I do, and I can see.”