Archive for March, 2009

Out of the Islamist Closet

Mohamed Omar has for a long time been known as a moderate Muslim voice in the Swedish cultural discourse. But lately, he seems to have turned away from the path of moderate Islam toward radicalism, and recently he came out as an Islamist.

Well, what does it mean to be an Islamist? How does this newfound love for radical religion express itself?

In Omar’s case, so far most notably in two ways: propaganda against gays and Israel.

On his blog, he laments that “the power of the faggots has grown” since homosexuality was legalized in 1944, and that he thinks that for “us Muslims” it could be ok to illegalize homosexual acts.

With regard to Israel, he’s stated that the great threat today is the Zionists, and that Swedish politicians who support Israel should be surveyed. According to Existens, a show about religion and society on Swedish public television, he recently stated that whoever doesn’t support Hamas and Iran are playing into the hands of the Zionists.

Homosexual Zionists beware.


March 31, 2009 at 09:11 5 comments

A Dog’s Life

Just like his British colleague, it seems that the Jordanian monarch, king Abdullah, has a great love for dogs. I must say I find this most endearing, but wonder how the royal family dodges theological objections that some Muslims might raise to a descendant of the prophet Mohammad having canine companions.

Instead, I want to direct your attention to another sensitive subject connected to the royal pet.

Like so many of his subjects who can afford to escape the less developed health services on the East Bank, King Abdallah’s favorite dog has apparently been receiving medical treatment in Israel for quite some time. Thus it was only natural that now, when he fell ill again some time ago, he would once again be brought over to Israel for treatment.

This is a sensitive issue at the best of times, but unfortunately this time around the royal pet fell ill at the worst possible timing — during Operation Cast Lead, when any kind of connection with Israel or Israelis was deemed highly politically incorrect in the Hashemite Kingdom. Nonetheless, the dog was brought here — in the strictest secrecy — to undergo emergency surgery at the Beit Dagan veterinary hospital.

But alas, not even the Israeli vets could save the beloved dog, who passed away in their care. And now, as if this death in the family wasn’t traumatic enough as it was, the whole affair has become public knowledge.

March 29, 2009 at 20:45 Leave a comment

The Great New York Novel?

As the day for my departure to New York approaches, I’m inundated with tips from friends about what to do in the Big Apple: where to eat, where to shop, what museums to visit, and what clubs to go to. Everybody has something to say. One almost gets the impression that I’m the last person in the country to visit New York.

I’m obviously very grateful for all these helpful tips, but there is still one aspect of the trip that’s unresolved: what should I read on the flight?

I’ve tried to compile a list of suitable literature, and here it goes:

  • Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  • Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

Any further suggestions for the ultimate literary New York experience are more than welcome.

March 26, 2009 at 09:24

Political Prostitution II

The Labor Party, once the leading political force in Israel, has seen better days. In fact, the party of Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin has been in a steady decline for the last decade or so. In the elections a month ago, the party confirmed this trend by losing so many seats that it now — for the first time ever — is merely the fourth largest party in the Knesset, after Kadima, Likud and Israel Beiteinu.

Immediately after the elections, the Labor members of Knesset decided that they must take the consequences and go into opposition. Nonetheless, the party chairman Ehud Barak couldn’t stick to that decision and today it was announced in Israeli and international media that he has also signed a deal with Netanyahu to join the new government. He personally, but so far not his party.

Now, the question is: why is it so important for Barak to join the Netanyahu government that he’s willing to sacrifice what pitiful remnants of dignity and credibility he and the Labor Party had? Is he really that greedy and desperate to cling to power?

Or could it be that he knows something that we don’t know? Is he perhaps willing to subject himself to the scorn and contempt of the nation in order to save it from the looming threat of an imminent Iranian attack? Is he in fact  a national hero and a great statesman? Our redeemer perhaps?

Obviously, I don’t know, but it still seems to me that Barak by this move has qualified for the title “biggest political whore of all times”. (Sorry Shimon, you come in second yet again.)

March 24, 2009 at 09:35 Leave a comment

Political Prostitution

A few days before the general elections, the spiritual leader of Shas, rabbi Ovadia Yosef, gave one of his traditional post-Shabbat talks to an audience of admirers. He then said, that voting for Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman was like casting your vote on the devil himself.

Today, the media reports that Shas has signed a coalition deal with designated PM Benjamin Netanyahu, joining a future government — with none other than Avigdor Lieberman, who signed a deal with Netanyahu already last week.

Avigdor must be quite pleased: from satanic election foe to kosher-for-coalition in just a few weeks. That’s some spiritual promotion.

It would almost seem that the honorable Ovadia Yosef is practicing one of the world’s oldest professions.

And no, I do not refer to rabbi.

March 23, 2009 at 08:13 Leave a comment

100 Years Young

We’ve been waiting for a hundred years, but now the day is almost here. Tel Aviv will kick off the official celebrations of the city’s centennial this week, and if the chaos that they’ve caused on Rabin Square is anything to go by, it’s going to be some major kick-off.

Read more here.

March 22, 2009 at 09:13 Leave a comment

Doubly Fresh

Like so much else in life, freshness is a relative thing.

In Sweden, fresh milk that you buy at the supermarket stays fresh for four to five days. Fresh milk bought in Israel today is already marked “kosher for Passover”, since it’ll stay fresh well over the holiday that starts in another two weeks.

Obviously, Israeli milk doesn’t stay fresh five times longer than Swedish milk thanks to the superior quality of Israeli cows, but rather due to all kinds of chemicals added to the milk to prolong its shelf life. This is needed, since Israelis — unlike Swedes — don’t consume more than a liter per day per person. If you only take milk in your coffee, you need to consume quite impressive quantities of coffee in order to finish off a liter of milk in four days. (Much like Swedes, actually.)

Speaking of fresh milk, I just realized that I’m almost out of the stuff. I popped over to AM : PM to buy a carton, since I don’t have the time nor the energy to stand in the endless pre-Shabbat lines at the supermarket. There I realized that they want NIS 8:80 for a liter. 

Eight shekels and eighty agorot! For a liter of milk. Not vodka, not oil, but milk. That’s more than two dollars — almost twenty Swedish crowns.

Now, that’s really fresh.

March 20, 2009 at 12:10 3 comments

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