Archive for August, 2010

The Hardest Word

Israel has now received its own, admittedly watered-down, version of the Abu Ghraib scandal. In the original, American service men and women posed next to naked and humiliated Iraqi soldiers. In the Israeli version, a female ex-soldier from Ashdod has posted pictures of herself on Facebook next to blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.

The pictures have caused outrage more or less everywhere, from the IDF to the international media, and the girl is met with universal condemnation. What, then, is her response now in the month of slikhot?

According to Israel Hayom, she says: “I’m sorry if I hurt anyone.”

If you hurt anyone? If?

It would seem that the ability to accept responsibility displayed by the Chief of Staff Ashkenazi the other day doesn’t extend all the way down through the organization.

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August 17, 2010 at 14:24 Leave a comment

Führer of the Hill

According to Swedish custom, the climber who first reaches a new peak gets the privilege to name it. Haaretz reports that some climbers with a highly developed interest in the Second World War and a somewhat less developed sense for decorum have used this privilege to give mountains they’ve conquered in Järfälla, not far from Stockholm, names such as “Little Hitler”, “Zyklon”, “Crematorium” and “Third Reich”.

I’m not sure what surprises me the most about this story. I guess it must be the news that there are mountains in the Järfälla area.

UPDATE: The report in Haaretz seems to be based on this article in Dagens Nyheter. At least that clears up the mountain issue.

August 16, 2010 at 10:09 1 comment

Zuabi, Lies and Videotape

Knesset member Hanin Zuabi (Balad) participated in the Flotilla to Gaza, and was present onboard Mavi Marmara when the Israeli marines boarded the ship. Immediately after she was brought ashore, she gave interviews to just about anyone who was willing to listen where she adamantly claimed that she hadn’t seen any armed activists. Beyond that, she also claimed that she had pleaded with the IDF begging them to help the wounded Turkish activists afterward, but the Israeli soldiers refused.

Yesterday, Galei Tzahal published footage that shows MK Zuabi before the boarding, milling about next to activists onboard Mavi Marmara preparing to attack the Israeli commandos. Worse than that, there’s also footage of her arguing with Israeli marines. But unfortunately for Zuabi, the film doesn’t exactly back up her version of the events. It doesn’t show her pleading for the IDF medical staff to treat the wounded Turkish activists. Instead, mind bogglingly enough, she can be seen arguing with the marines trying to stop them from treating the wounded Turks.

I’m afraid Hanin Zuabi has been caught with her pants down, and – as the saying goes – they’re on fire.

The footage can be viewed here.

August 12, 2010 at 04:54 Leave a comment

On Political and Real Responsibility

The Tirkel Committee investigating the events surrounding the boarding of the Flotilla to Gaza in the end of May has started to hear testimonies this week.

The first one to give testimony was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Monday, he declared that he was ultimately responsible since he’s the Prime Minister. But, he added, he was abroad after all, so in practical terms Ehud Barak made all the decisions.

Yesterday, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak was summoned to the committee. He, too, took full responsibility for the events. That is, full political responsibility. In practical terms, he stressed, it was the army that made all the practical decisions.

Today it’s Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi’s turn to testify before the Tirkel Committee. Let’s see if someone will finally assume some real responsibility, or if he too will pass it on to someone else lower down in the political food chain.

UPDATE: Ashkenazi did indeed assume full responsibility without hinting that it really lies elsewhere. More interestingly, perhaps, was his statement that the IDF didn’t know that IHH was a hostile organization. Can that really be? Is there no one in all of the intelligence establishment in this country who speaks Turkish? Not a single one?

August 11, 2010 at 05:17 3 comments

Nuclear Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

An Iranian official calls for a crack-down against cigarettes smuggled into the Islamic Republic. The reason is not – as someone might foolishly believe – that cigarettes cause bad breath, yellow teeth, lung cancer and other unpleasantness. No, the Iranian official warned that “the Zionists” behind the international tobacco company Philip Morris (no, not Phillip Morris) fill their cigarettes with radioactive waste and pigs’ blood – thus rendering them not only extra lethal but also haram.

Nordic Dervish points out how fortunate it is that the perfidious Jews at least haven’t been able to get their hands on the locally produced Iranian cigarettes. Pious Iranian smokers can safely continue with their nasty habits as long as they stay away from the foreign brands.

August 8, 2010 at 11:01 1 comment


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