Thursday, February 22, 2007

A diplomat reacts to Israel's scandals

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/diplomat-reacts-to-israels-scandals.html


Talk to an Israeli about our recent wave of scandals and official resignations and you will hear expressions of outrage or dismay.

A newspaper editorial-page cartoon, above, shows three deposed officials. The Hebrew sign on the empty chair states, "Reserved." The question is who will be next to fall.

The figures in the cartoon are, from left, former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, the highest official so far to resign in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon war; former Justice Minister Haim Ramon, convicted of kissing a woman against her will; and former Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi, who stepped down only hours after an investigative commission reported on underworld penetration of law enforcement.

Various groups are demanding that others resign, including our prime minister, our defense minister and our president. Our president, accused of rape, refuses to resign. He faces a hearing May 2 to determine whether he is to be indicted. Meanwhile, he is on a three-month leave of absence.

Israelis have been saying that these cases embarrass and depress them. They express concern about how the revelations may be affecting the country's youth. Polls show the public is worried about corruption and dissatisfied with its leaders.

I have encountered only one person who has a good word to say about what has been going on. As you might expect, this person is not an Israeli. He is a diplomat in a western embassy, a professional analyst who has spent the past few years observing Israel. In conversation, he sums up what he has learned about us.

"I'm impressed," he says. What impresses him, he explains, is that Israel has shown that it is prepared to call its highest officials to account.

"Other countries don't do this," he adds. He mentions the investigations of former Prime Minister Sharon and his two sons. He cites other examples including the former justice minister's conviction on sex-offense charges as well as the case against the president.

Maybe some of the accused Israelis did what their accusers claim, I suggest.

"That's not the point," says the foreign analyst. "The point is that no one is above the law here."

This makes Israel different from other countries, he repeats.

Who sees our reality more clearly? Is it Israel's disgusted citizens, whose involvement makes them sensitive to corruption and failure? Or is it the embassy analyst? His emotional distance allows him to perceive Israel's strength in dealing with its officials' shortcomings.

The foreign analyst, who is heading to another Middle East posting, offers another observation about Israel. Things change fast here, he says.

He gives a non-political example of how this can affect what we think we see. A store will go out of business, and almost immediately a new shop with entirely different merchandise will open in the same place. No sign remains of what had been there only days before.

Israelis are used to a fast pace in public life, too. This may be one reason that few people take to the streets in protest while polls show that many harbor strong feelings. Israelis know that the problem of the day may have a short life, and that something new and surprising could happen tomorrow.

--- Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Send Flowers- From Israel

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/send-flowers-from-israel.html

Israel is one of the leading exporters of flowers and related agricultural products - It is a fact: Israel is third in the world in exporting flowers to the EC countries. You can also order Israeli flowers in the USA. Israeli flower export is a $200 million annual business. It seems unlikely that our arid climate could be growing flowers to compete with Holland, but it is true. Hothouses, hi-tech innovation and ingenious irrigation schemes make up for lack of water and help take advantage of our long sunlit days to produce flowers in abundance in winter, in time for Valentine's day. Continued here

Pro-Palestinian groups are trying to boycott Israeli flower export, an evil Zionist plot, on the pretext that they are grown in "the territories." However, most Israeli produce, including flowers, is grown inside Israel proper. The Israeli flower export industry began in the late 1950s, when the West Bank was part of Jordan and Gaza was held by Egypt.

So if you support Israel but do not live here, make a point of asking for flowers imported from Israel. Check that the flowers have a bar code ending 7 290.

I confess to having played a tiny part in this Zionist conspiracy. My parents were anxious to make a special bar mitzvah celebration for me. Our family was not rich, but all the other kids at my Hebrew school had fancy bar mitzvot. Mine could not be quite as fancy, but it would be special. An uncle in Israel had a friend who wanted to see if it was possible to export flowers by air to the United States. My mother was a flower freak. With some difficulty, she arranged to have dozens of bouquets of gladiolii flown in from Israel.

The flowers were flown in by special air freight, and had to be picked up on the day of the event from a freight hangar at Idlewild airport, then undergoing extensive modifications to accomodate jet airliners. We set off for the airport in our little second hand green two tone Nash Rambler, a vehicle that had seen better days. On the way, my father had picked up a Yiddish comedian, who was also to appear at the Bar Mitzvah.

Searching for the obscure hangar, our route took us across several runways. Crossing one of them, an automatic gate went down ahead. My father tried to put the car in reverse and back out. The little Nash Rambler would not reverse. In fact, it would not move. A gate went down behind us. Presently, a DC-6 airliner came taxiing down the runway, headed for our car. This was a source of a certain amount of anxiety. The DC-6 was not large compared to today's jumbo jets, but it was more than a match for a little green Nash Rambler. The plane stopped, and just stood there impatiently, its propellors whirring about expectantly. Eventually, the rear gate was opened, the car was pushed off the runway and coaxed back to functionality. Naturally, the comedian had to repeat and embellish this story at the bar mitzvah banquet.

Gladiolii

Happy Valentine's day. Don't forget to send flowers - From Israel.
Ami Isseroff

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hershl - A Jewish success story

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/hershl-jewish-success-story.html

(How Jews who are vociferously against Israel appear from an Israeli perspective)
Harry Schweig, known in the Jewish faith as Tzvi or Hershl, was a failure at 33. He lived at home with his mother. He lectured in Political Science and Cultural Globalization at the University of Podunk on the Styx. He could talk for hours about Jungian themes in the post-structural analysis of the depletion of the ozone layer, and discourse at length about the metanarrative, without ever being able to define it. In brief, he was the modern day incarnation of the nerd, first immortalized perhaps by P.G. Wodehouse over 80 years ago in the timid person of Mr. Fink-Nottle. Instead of newts, Hershl had political science and cultural globalization.
Hershl's was a dull existence indeed. He was not the life of the party. He wasn't even the death of the party. When he entered or left a roomful of partygoers, it made no difference. He was transparent, invisible. Long haired coeds wearing tight jeans did not hang on his every word or stare admiringly at him with their large blue eyes. In fact, they shunned his company. He drifted from university to university, publishing desultory papers in obscure journals. Hershl longed for success, recognition, tenure, women, lecture invitations, but all these accolades went to other laborers in the vineyards of academia.
P.G. Wodehouse was the creator the memorable Bertram Wooster and his estimable valet, Jeeves. That pair were forever engaged in advancing the amatory and other careers of various people like Fink-Nottle and our unfortunate Mr. Schweig. For Schweig, there was no to be no Jeeves who would find a magic solution to his predicament. But Schweig rescued himself.
The Lord often helps those who are bereft of other hope, and sometimes inspiration comes from other quarters. Whatever the source, one day Hershl had an epiphany. Hershl's Jewishness was nominal. He knew less about Judaism than he did about Shintoism. Being Jewish was another bad card dealt him by the deck of fortune, like his thinning hair and his expanding waistline and receding chin. It was irksome. That Israel place kept coming up in the news and reminding him -- and others -- of his Jewishness. He became convinced that his Jewishness was a bothersome appendage that prevented his advancement. He toyed with the idea of changing his name to Harold Stanley, but decided on a better plan instead.
While reading the ancient book, "The Art of War," by the venerable Sun Tzu, it occurred to Hershl that a liability can be turned into an asset, a weakness into a strongpoint. He scrapped the fourth revision of "The politics of meaninglessness according to Lyotard and the post-structuralist metanarrative" and began writing:

"Israel is an apartheid state. As a Jew I must disociate myself from the evil policies of the well-poisoning and blood drinking Zionists. Israel is a historical mistake. Zionism is racism. Plan Daled was a Zionist plot for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine..."

And so on, in that vein. Hershl was not overburdened with any knowledge of the Middle East or Israel, but he had an abundant supply of periodicals containing politically correct articles that summarized the work of authors who had summarized the work of other authors, who sumarized the work of others who had invented history. These served as a never-failing source of inspiration.
When the work was done, Hershl spiced it up with references to globalization, metanarrative, colonialism and neo-conservatives, added a few war criminals here and there, and sent it off to a prominent journal. Hershl's article was published with the following lede:
A prominent Jewish intellectual, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, speaks out against Israeli policies and the oppressive colonialist warmonger Zionist occupation...

Hershl's
article became a classic, reprinted in anthologies entitled "Jews speak out against Israel" and "Jews for Justice in the Middle East," posted on the Web and linked from Web sites such as Radioislam, Stormfront and other bastions of liberal thought.
By reading reams of fashionable review articles, Hershl became a "Middle East Expert." He could explain to you why, if Hamas kill Fatah, that is the fault of Israel, and why, if Fatah steal from Palestinians, that is likewise Israel's fault. He could expound on colonialist themes in the Talmud, and he was a past-master at inventing quotes of David Ben-Gurion and Ariel Sharon. "David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary, 'We will grind the bones of the Arabs of Palestine to make our bread.' Ariel Sharon said 'We will drink the blood of the Palestinian Arabs.'" Hershl could explain that suicide bombings were due to Israeli policy and the 9-11 attacks were a plot by the Mossad. Hershl could explain that the Duvdevani unit of the IDF was worse than the Tottenkopf SS. He had read it in a Counterpunch article, so it must be true. "Not in my name!" exclaimed Hershl.
Hershl expanded his article into a book, "How the Zionist conspiracy accomplished the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," and then another book, "Son of How the Zionist conspiracy accomplished the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" and "How the Zionist conspiracy accomplished the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine Returns." Zionist organizations branded him a traitor and an apostate, increasing his cachet among the connoisseurs of anti-Zionism. The Guardian and the New York Times defended him as a "Liberal."
Hershl visited Beirut and was photographed shaking hands with Hassan Nasrallah. He travelled to Iran and kissed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on both cheeks, declaring that the Holocaust never happened, and was all an invention of the Zionist conspiracy.
Success was his at last. The telephone did not stop ringing. Hershl's lecture calendar was full. Everywhere he went, Hershl told about the difficulties experienced by a Jew who speaks out against Israel. He explained that the Zionist establishment would not let him speak. He explained it in the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books. He appeared on television and expatiated on the attempts of the Israel Lobby to ban him to oblivion. He was featured on the BBC, on 60 minutes and PBS. Thanks to Hershl, everyone, everywhere in the English speaking world, got to know that the Zionist lobby quashed dissent.
Lissome females in jeans willingly removed those garments and others in the service of intellectual inspiration for the courageous anti-Zionist don of Podunk on the Styx. He was offered tenure, but turned it down for a post at a more prestigious university.
You are looking for a moral? Comeuppance? Forget it. Look in the book of Job. Hershl the anti-Israel Jew lived happily ever after, enjoying the accolades of the wise and the fruits of his endeavors.
Ami Isseroff

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Robert F. Drinan, 1920-2007

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/robert-f-drinan-1920-2007.html


At this weblog devoted to life in Israel, it's appropriate to note the passing of Robert F. Drinan, a Jesuit priest who died Jan. 28 at age 86 in Washington, D.C.

He was a friend of Israel and the Jewish people.

Drinan's obituaries have emphasized other aspects of his extraordinary career. In 1970, Drinan became the first priest elected as a voting member of the U.S. Congress. He is remembered as an early critic of the U.S. war in Vietnam, and as the first member of Congress to file a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon.

Almost none of the media coverage after his death mentioned that he was a leading voice in the human-rights campaign on behalf of Jews in the former Soviet Union. In 1972 he co-founded the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry. He chaired an international committee for the release of Natan (then Anatoly) Sharansky.

Drinan also served on the advisory board of the activist Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. This was a self-styled "grassroots" movement that favored direct action over the cautious approach taken by the Jewish establishment. This group which Drinan chose to support could be described as militant, in the meaning which "militant" had before it became a post-9/11 euphemism for violence and terror.

Also generally unmentioned in Drinan's obituaries is his 1997 book, Honor The Promise: America’s Commitment to Israel. The journal Foreign Affairs described it as a "passionate pro-Zionist essay by the Massachusetts Congressman and Catholic priest. Father Drinan argues that anti-Semitism has been transformed in the Third World and the United Nations into anti-Zionism."

Drinan took stands on principle, at times in conflict with the teachings of his church. He opposed constitutional amendments to outlaw abortion and permit prayer in public schools. He once called himself a "moral architect" who helped shape policy. Critics referred to him as "the mad monk."

Drinan won five elections for Congress. He was undefeated until Pope John Paul II ordered him in 1980 to abandon politics or give up the priesthood.

After Drinan announced that he would be leaving Congress, "with regret and pain," friends in the Washington Jewish community organized a simple luncheon in his honor. Genuine affection filled the room. It was not a happy farewell. The speaker from the Jewish community had tears in his eyes.

On leaving Congress, Drinan returned to academic life. He taught human rights, legal ethics and constitutional law at Georgetown University. He continued to write books.


From left: Professor J. David Bleich of Yeshiva University's law school, Father Drinan, and Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA School of Law, at a program on "Tolerance from the Religious Perspective."





Colman McCarthy, director of the Center for Teaching Peace, wrote in The Washington Post that Drinan "saved his most fiery writing for the National Catholic Reporter, the progressive weekly to which he contributed a regular column."

Drinan commented on Catholic-Jewish relations in his National Catholic Reporter column Feb. 28, 2003:

"John Paul II has demonstrated more understanding for the Jewish community than any pope in history. He has seldom, if ever, publicly recalled his personal reactions to what happened [in the Holocaust]. But he has recognized the state of Israel after all his predecessors, going back to 1948, refused to do so. He has tried to implement the Vatican II decree on Christian-Jewish relations published in 1965. He has taken several other initiatives.

"But at the end of his pontificate, the residue of anti-Semitism, accumulated in centuries of disdain for Jews by Christians, still remains. It is sometimes not directly articulated, but expressed covertly. It is a sort of ethnic, tribal, class animosity that is more a vaguely inherited bias or prejudice, transmitted silently by an unseen, unspoken and odorless feeling."

Drinan ended that column by quoting from a 1977 “Declaration of Repentance” issued by the Catholic bishops of France:

“We confess this sin. We beg God’s pardon, and we call upon the Jewish people to hear our words of repentance.”

Drinan wrote that those words "are still painfully true."

The Georgetown University Law Center has set up an electronic memorial for remembrances of Father Drinan.

-- Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Guest blogger: Eilat (II)

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/guest-blogger-eilat-ii.html



by Ernest Stock

I came back from a long weekend in Eilat the day before the explosive charge went off that killed three of its citizens. All reports emphasized that the tourist sites were a good distance away from the blast and were not affected. But there was a connection. The victims operated the bakery which supplied the fresh bread and rolls to the hotels for their guests' breakfast.

And there's reason to fear that Monday's suicide bomber shattered more than the storefront in a placid neighborhood at Israel's southern resort, and the lives of the men who worked in it.

What had brought me and my wife to Eilat that Friday morning was the Israel Chamber Orchestra's annual classical chamber music festival that took place at the Royal Beach Hotel. The place was fully booked, and its spacious banquet hall reverberated to exquisite sounds three times a day. In between concerts, musicians, soloists and music lovers mingled on the beach or at the poolside; the January sun was warm enough for the hardier ones among us to test the water.

Saturday evening's performance concluded with a dazzling rendition of Johann Strauss waltzes, which the Hungarian guest conductor, Gabor Hollerung, prefaced with some remarks. The waltzes, he said, expressed the composer's nostalgia for the dream that was late 19th century Vienna; he was already full of foreboding that it would not last. Then the conductor told the Israeli audience that for him Eilat was also a dream, a peaceable idyll in a strife-torn part of the world. It was his prayer that it would last for many more years to come. Then he mounted the podium.

Less than two days later, the bomber struck.

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Friday, February 2, 2007

Let's hear it for Israeli parrots

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/lets-hear-it-for-israeli-parrots.html

Parrots, Jews and Israel show up together on the Internet largely in two contexts. They figure prominently in Jewish jokes ("Wait 'til you see the odds we get on Simchat Torah ..." "Bird, what bird? Oh, that bird! It was delicious") and in highly negative and hackneyed op-eds:
Continued here (with parrot picture)



Western media parrots narrative on Massacre...

Dhimmi Carter defends his hate book, parrots jihadist propaganda...

Carter has gradually come to parrot their anti-Israel political agenda...

Every time Condoleezza Rice or another of Bush's parrots talks...

Parrots are real birds though, and they are visible in large numbers, outside our apartment, along with more pedestrian swallows and pigeons. The last like to nest in the window sills.

These are not joke parrots, or White House parrots, or Zionist warmonger parrots. They are beautiful green birds. They are Olim Hadashim (new immigrants) from India it seems. Parrots were once apparently native to the land. However, this variety are Drara parrots introduced from India, according to those who know.


All is not bliss however, as some claim the parrots are not Zionist parrots, and do not recognize the right of Israel to exist. There are parrot hawks and parrot doves. Parroting the usual hard line, the hawks proclaim:

The beautiful green Indian parrot called “Drara” has undergone an “incredible multiplication” during the last few years as its predators have rapidly decreased in numbers, Dr Yossi Lasham, an ornithologist, was quoted in the daily, “Yediot Ahronot.” The rich and natural food available all over northern Israel has aided its growth and they have wreaked havoc on the date plantations in Amakim, necessitating authorities to issue directives to adopt measures to control or even reduce their numbers, Dr Lasham told the paper. “Large Drara parrot causes great damage to the cultivators of dates, apples and other fruits,” a senior cultivator, Glozner, from the Beit Shean valley said...“We have identified it as our real enemy. Following the declaration, it would be possible to make a thinning process in places where the bird was causing great damage”, the farmer said.

Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Strategic Threats, will soon issue a strategic threat, directing the Israel military industries to find a solution for the airborne menace.

But before Mr Peretz decides to send the IAF after the enemy, he should hear from the doves too. Tamar Giat, who had a pet parrot, told Yediot Ahronot:



"The Drara parrot is harmless and the only fruit it eats are those given to it.

"The parrots can be easily traced ("followed" in the original, no doubt) flying joyfully in the national parks in Tel Aviv, where there is an ongoing dialogue between those living as pets and those who managed to flee, narrating the sweet life outside the cage,"

Ms Giat does not explain how she believes the parrots existed before people fed them. Perhaps they ate mahn (manna) from heaven. We see them eating little red berries from the trees that surround our building, so they must have adapted fairly rapidly to life in the wild.

The Rabbinate has not yet decided if Drara parrots are Jewish yet. If they are Jewish, they must tithe the fruits and refrain from eating in Jewish fields during shmita years.

The Palestinian authority is considering protesting the incursion of these real Zionist parrots, taking over the airspace of the Palestinian people. They will tolerate only the imaginary ones that infest the pages of Al-Hayyat al Jadida and similar journals.

They are nice looking birds, aren't they?

Ami Isseroff

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Ramon: A pretty girl that gets a kiss

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/ramon-pretty-girl-that-gets-kiss.html

Haaretz takes issue (below) with the verdict in the case of Haim Ramon. What happened here is that a man lost his career because he kissed a girl. That is the bottom line apparently. President Katsav, accused of rape, has yet to be tried. Consensual or not, this was just a kiss.

The punishment does not fit the crime, does it?

Quoth Haaretz:

The verdict in the trial of Haim Ramon marks the beginning of a new age,
and not necessarily a better one, regarding the attitude of the justice
system to sexual offenses.

Actually, the verdict heralds the dawn of a new age in far more than the attitude of the justice system to "offenders." The victim is known only as "Heh" - a letter of the alphabet. Such letters are becoming popular Hebrew names apparently, since there is also an "Aleph" who complains she was raped by the President of Israel. Don't call your little girls by such names, as such females are liable to sexual harassment it seems. Choose different names for your daughters.

Continued

Kidding aside, the use of a letter for the plaintiff's name is the protection afforded to victims of sex crimes, so that they are not stigmatized by society. It is appropriate for rape cases, and similar judicial procedings. But a kiss, was after all, just a kiss, and not indecent assault, at least in popular understanding. A kiss is now categorized, according to Israeli law, as a crime worse than bribery or violent assault or murder. The names of murder victims are published. The names of kiss victims are not.

Kiss victims, like rape victims, appear on Israeli television with their faces blurred over and their voices distorted beyond recognition, their words rendered in subtitles.

"Gvi zvesthem yom sheshmhi," says the victim. And the subtitle reads, "This is a great day for me." Why do they bother giving the voice? She could be saying "I made the whole thing up" for all we can tell.

Daughters may now sue their fathers for indecent assault. Consider the case of Bet, a young lady aged 25, daughter of Hayim from Holon, who will appear on Israeli TV next year with her face blurred over, and give her version of long past events, rendered by subtitles:

Last year I saw home videos of me as an infant. I was totally shocked. My father kissed me without my permission when I was two years old. He kissed me on the belly too. He tickled me and said "Metuka Sheli" (my sweet one). All this was done without my consent. I was a helpless infant. Can't you see me crying in the video? I demand justice! The old goat has to be locked up.

The case will hinge on the question, considered by the learned justices, of whether "Metuka Sheli" was a fatherly term of endearment or not. The victim will swear on oath that at the time she believed "Metuka Sheli" was dangerous libidinous innuendo with sexual overtones. Neighbors will testify that the defendant called his wife by the same term. Poor old Hayim will get 3-5 in Maasiyahu prison with no conjugal visits. Conjugal visits are not for sex perverts. They are only for people like Yigal Amir, who murder Prime Ministers.

Those who are worried about the demographic problem in Israel, should consider the effect of this verdict, which makes kissing a crime.

Ramon should have been defended by the great, though fictional attorney, Horace Rumpole. Some legal references for the consideration of the learned justices of the appeals court:

A pretty girl that gets a kiss,
And goes and tells her mother;
Has done a very naughty thing,
And don't deserve another.

And, from the bard himself:
"Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made
For kissing, lady, not for such contempt." - W. Shakespeare.


Ami Isseroff

Strictness bordering on harassment

By Haaretz Editorial
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/820163.html



The verdict in the trial of Haim Ramon marks the beginning of a new age, and not necessarily a better one, regarding the attitude of the justice system to sexual offenses. On the one hand, the Ramon verdict will make it easier for a woman to lodge a complaint in cases that until now were considered borderline. On the other hand, defining Haim Ramon as a sex offender and a non-consensual kiss as a sexual crime opens too wide a door and may blur the boundaries between real sexual crimes and inappropriate behavior. To a great extent, detached from the sexual permissiveness and freedom in society, the judges ruled that "a kiss on the mouth with the tongue that is non-consensual is clearly a sexual offense that needs no proof. We are not dealing with sexual harassment, not with a gray area... but rather with an intrusive, damaging and humiliating act... a kiss that is non-consensual arouses repulsion, disgust, revulsion." These statements appear detached from the times and cultural context, as if they were written in a different society.

Ramon's conduct as described in the verdict is the vulgar and unacceptable behavior of a man in authority, who according to the judges did not think he needed the soldier's consent for the kiss. The fact that he lied in court is itself serious. However, it is a long road from this to criminal conviction. It seems that from the moment the soldier was persuaded to register a complaint, and the appropriate clause in the law was found, and from the moment the attorney general decided to issue the indictment, the road to conviction was paved, perhaps too smoothly.

The question is not whether Haim Ramon kissed the soldier against her will and whether this behavior is to be tolerated when it comes to a government minister, but rather whether the court is the appropriate place to discuss behavioral norms and whether the ease with which Ramon is defined as a sexual offender does not hold some risk of confusion between real criminals and those whose behavior is intolerable.

Israeli society seems to have come a long way from the total disparagement of cases of sexual harassment to strictness in this regard, which sometimes, as in this case, itself borders on harassment.

The offenses of which President Moshe Katsav is suspected are clearly sexual, and have components of long-term coercion, aggression and humiliation, and secretiveness, while the case of Ramon touches more on relationships between men and women, on a misunderstanding, on the boundaries of flirtation, matters that it is difficult for the court to rule on, if at all. The strict attitude taken with Ramon and the defining him as a sex offender might engender a sense of persecution and contempt for the concepts of sexual attack in general.

Criminal law should have absented itself from this case, and bringing it to court involves treatment by the investigative and prosecutory authorities that is too energetic and pressured, even in the opinion of the judges. This is another aspect of the transformation of Israeli society into a litigious one ad nauseum, and the giving over of issues of morals and behavior to judges, as if their opinion on the question of what is disgusting and repulsive is more important than that of any other person.

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Anti-Zionist, not non-Zionist

http://israel-like-this-as-if.blogspot.de/2007/02/anti-zionist-not-non-zionist.html

In a post about a suicide bombing that killed three Israeli Jews in Eilat on Jan. 29, I referred to Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv as "anti-Zionist." The post appeared at ZioNation, and at Israel: Like This, As If.

A reader has taken me to task for referring to Rabbi Eliashiv as "anti-Zionist."
This reader writes:

"I am neither a supporter nor a follower of Rabbi Eliashiv, but I think your dig at him was somewhat unjustified.

"Firstly, he is not a Zionist, but neither is he an anti-Zionist, as you state. He is not Neturei Karta, but the spiritual leader of part of Agudat Yisrael, a party which has members in the Knesset and supports (sort of) the government."

No dig was intended. I would like to explain the use of the term "anti-Zionist."

Zionism, reduced to its essence, is the assertion that Jews have national rights.

A Jew who does not agree with this assertion is, by definition, an anti-Zionist.

This definition may seem harsh, or arbitrary. It is both.

It reflects the harshness and the arbitrariness of the world in which Jews have lived, either as a minority without the rights of others, or as a nation battling enemies who reject these rights.

"Non-Zionist" is not a label to apply to a Jew. Jews cannot credibly profess to be agnostic on the question of whether they should be entitled to rights.

It can be added that Zionism is what provokes the question and sets its terms.

If no one claimed that Jews have national rights, there might be no question to debate. The claim has been put, though, and only two answers are possible: Yes, or no.

-- Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv

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'Like this, as if' is a literal translation of Hebrew slang, 'kahzeh ke'ilu.' This Hebrew expression is a literal translation of 'so, like,' as in 'It was so, like, cool.' A weblog translating Israeli life into English.


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