Thursday, 27 July 2017

Jerusalem on Fire


One of the interesting aspects of the original 1947 partition plan that the United Nations had envisaged and decided for Palestine, (UN Resolution 181) was the concept that it had for Jerusalem. It called for a corpus separatum, a special international regime, to be established for the city of Jerusalem.

As we know, this UN resolution was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs. That was the death of the boundaries set by that resolution.   

Last week there was again an outbreak of violence in the holy basin, an area that both Jews and Muslims consider to be holy. The incident was badly handled by Israel’s right wing prime minister, who is besieged by competing populists in his cabinet, whilst the Arabs managed to play their cards cleverly. Israel lost face in this latest round. It had to dismantle, sensible but not sensitively installed security measures it had put in place (metal detectors and security cameras), and return to the status quo ante, hoping to lower the flames, which the Muslim waqf, the Islamic trust that manages the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has been fanning.

The land issues between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine are complicated enough without the incendiary qualities of religion and sites of worship, which one or more groups consider to be sacred. It would be better to take religion out of the equation. The corpus separatum solution was a good idea.

As things seem now, Israel will not agree to give up its status in Jerusalem. It should.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Macron and the Jews


French president Macron turns out to have a knack for theatrical productions. (Any connection to the fact that his wife was his high school theatre teacher?) He persuaded the universally despised Trump, (who is on record with “I was in Paris recently, and Paris doesn’t look like Paris anymore”) to fly to Paris, just three days after he came back from the G20 Meeting in Hamburg, by inviting him to a military parade (that Trump apparently likes). As an add-on, dinner was served at the top of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, so big was Macron’s success, that Trump must have overlooked the “my tower is bigger than your tower” aspect of this part if the visit. 

Next in line was Israel’s also despised prime minister Netanyahu. To create the right atmosphere for a meeting with the recalcitrant Netanyahu, the work meeting at the Élysée palace was preceded by a Holocaust memorial event – specifically, the annual remembrance ceremony for the 1942 deportation of French Jews. The mass arrest and deportation of over 13,000 Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz was organised and carried out by French police. In his moving speech, Macron again pointed out to French responsibility for this act, in which, he said, no German was involved.

Netanyahu – who likes to present himself as the prime minister of the Jewish People, which he is not – was allowed to fit into that role by Macron. The real present, which Macron gave Netanyahu, was his statement that anti-Zionism is a new form of antisemitism. This plays right into Netanyahu’s hands. It is, however, patently NOT TRUE, M. Macron.

Macron should not have politicised this ceremony commemorating France’s shameful deportation by giving Netanyahu a stage. Moreover, Macron should not have come out with a blanket ruling on Antisemitism, as if he was an expert in this highly disputed area.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

6th Letter to Jared (or: Run, Jared, run)


Dear Jared,

It has been almost two months, since I last wrote to you. You have evidently not be listening to me and daily, we get more information about your complicity in the allegedly illegal goings on of your crime family.  

You are probably too busy and will not have noticed a remark made by a fellow Jew, who like your own father was a Netanyahu backer, and like your own father has been found guilty of various tax offences and like your father has been sentenced to jail.

“All the other accused, who fled to Israel, are sitting on the beach”, Arnaud Mimran, recently complained to the French court that would not mitigate his 8-year jail sentence. See, Jared, this bit about fleeing to Israel to evade justice, gave me the following idea:

Why wait until a prisoner swap deal is worked out (much more complicated): Let Netanyahu who is being investigated in 12 separate corruption cases, seek and be granted asylum in the USA, and in return, you can take advantage of Israel’s Law of return that grants every willing Jew the right to settle in Israel.

As an added bonus, both you and Netanyahu can decide whether you wish to take your wives with you, or whether this would be a good opportunity to open a new page.

The problem with my swap idea is that whereas you (unless you are already in jail) can make use of the right to “return” to Israel whenever you like Netanyahu does not have such rights under US laws.

Run, Jared, run, before it is too late.  

Your well-meaning pen-pal David



Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Hamburg – Context / Perspective


Demonstrations surrounding last week’s G20 meeting in Hamburg have produced more headlines than the issues discussed at the meeting itself. Is that justified?

Beyond the obvious fact that G20 meetings logically tend to discuss existing topics that have been in the public debate for some time, rather than hitherto unknown topics –  violence, hundreds of policemen hurt, looting of shops, and above all pictures of torched cars, smoke and fires burning in the streets of a rich city are what makes news.

Germany is a well-managed democracy, which tries to allow outlets for venting political and social frustration. It is in this context that the German government wished to demonstrate the ability of permitting, whilst containing, the democratic display of opposition. It went terribly wrong. But is that of any long term significance?

Unlike the Muslim world, which is undergoing a monumental internal culture war – a war that is being financed and enabled by competing powerful states, that seem to be successful in causing trouble on one hand whilst being total failures in looking after the true interests of their own populations – Germany is at peace with itself.

It is a shame (although, to be expected in an election year) that some German politicians are trying to make party political capital of the Hamburg fiasco. But at the end of the day, it was no more than out of control hooliganism together with most probably a small number of extremist political activists. It was this combined with the German government’s wish to allow peaceful demonstrations and rather unfortunate and inefficient policing. As such, it is of no long term significance.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

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Gay Marriage and German Politics


They all want a piece of the action: Three months before the elections, German chancellor Merkel has indicated that after the September elections, she would allow a free vote (that is, CDU/CSU members of Parliament would not be bound by party discipline) on the issue of gay marriage. Not to be outdone her SPD opponent, Martin Schultz, is forcing a vote this week. If you look at their faces, you will understand: she is calm and calculating, whereas the rather unattractive Mr. Schultz is after a quickie.

Homosexual marriage excites mainly heterosexuals. The number of people who will take advantage of the new law is not expected to be very high. Doubtlessly, there is no reason why the state should interfere in the bonding arrangements its citizens wish to get into. Only, the matter of personal freedom is serious and deserves a serious and honourable discussion in parliament and should not be treated as a quickie to produce immediate satisfaction.

On the other hand, sometimes quickies result in nice babies.

Merkel, Mrs Kohl and same-sex marriage


Why has Merkel decided to “allow” gay marriage? All the other political parties have been calling for it for quite some time and more importantly, opinion polls – which Mrs. Merkel, regularly is guided by –   show that Germany’s population is supportive of equal marriage rights.

The suggestion, that ex-Chancellor Kohl and his second wife have made it clear to Merkel that same-sex marriage cannot be worse than some heterosexual bonds, is being doggedly denied.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

German Gender Craze


German political correctness can be useful if one gets paid by the word. In the past, the German for teachers and pupils, used to be “Lehrer und Schüler.” Now it is: “Lehrerinnen und Lehrer und Schülerinnen und Schüler.” Alternatively, one could also write the non-words “Lehrer*innen und Schüler*innen.”

A few days ago, at a lecture in Berlin, a young male lecturer, describing his own efforts to find certain source material, used the suffix that turns a word from masculine to feminine and said “wenn, man als Forscherin…”. This is ridiculous. Later he spoke of a group of five researchers and said “alle 5 Forscherinnen.“ Does that mean that all five researchers were females, or was he just being pc?

Kohl Papers


History will tell which of the superlatives that are being heaped on Helmut Kohl are deserving. However, if Kohl’s widow will have it her own way, we may be short of some vital information: It appears that she has in her possession letters, papers and documents from the duration Kohl was head of state. This should be illegal.

Politicians should not have title, possession or control of ANY papers created during their time in office, other than their personal correspondence. They should all be the property of the state. The police should be sent with a search warrant and confiscate all the files that Kohl’s widow apparently now has.

Kohl Funeral


Kohl died an embittered man, who since the scandal surrounding his involvement with the illegal funding of his CDU party, felt that he had been betrayed by virtually everybody. His death has brought to the surface – what was no secret – that Kohl’s 34-years-younger widow, who he married right after he was hospitalised with head (brain?) damage due to a fall, totally isolated him from the outside world, including from his sons (and grandchildren) from his first marriage.

If Kohl was suffering from dementia (the press is rather kind to him regarding this), his wife’s handling of his affairs may be even more problematic. She has, for instance, decreed that there should be no German state funeral and has arranged an EU ceremony – in which she tried to prevent Mrs. Merkel from speaking –  instead.

When a head of state dies (or a former head of state), his state funeral is not a matter for the family to have a say in – it is a state ritual and not a family affair. Widows can have whatever arrangements in their churches. State funerals are a matter for the state.

PS: There may be a juicy legal side issue if Kohl’s affair with the woman he eventually married, had begun during the time that she was a subordinate of his.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Adnan Khashoggi


Adnan Khashoggi, the famous Saudi arms dealer, is dead. He was not only renowned for the deals he brokered but also for his glamourous life style, women, yachts and all, had been one of the world’s richest men in the 1970s and -80s. According to press reports „He freely admitted his penchant for prostitutes and was said to have entertained 11 ‘pleasure wives’ on his countless yachts and at numerous holiday homes.”

In the press release announcing Khashoggi’s death, his family informs:
"He lived his last days […] with the same elegance, strength and dignity that characterised his remarkable life. […] He was a pioneer who achieved global recognition in a golden age through his extraordinary business achievements and renowned generosity. Our father understood the art of bringing people together better than anyone.”

Not to speak of the strange suggestion that there was any dignity in a life of an arms dealer entertaining prostitutes, I just love the description of an arms dealer as someone “bringing people together”.






Backpfeiffe and Schadenfreude


Backpfeiffe and Schadenfreude ­ are the two words that came to mind when the outcome of the UK elections became clear. Schadenfreude is of course a term also used in English, whereas Backpfeiffe, is a juicier term than the English slap-in-the-face. That arrogant Theresa (the previous famous Theresa , “Mother” Theresa, was also an annoyingly arrogant person) got what she deserved: she wanted to be crowned by the British people and instead she got the boot. Not enough of it, but enough to give those of us who enjoy it, some schadenfreude. 

We should not forget that the rather unattractive Labour leader Corbyn is a Brexiter too. Instead of a volte-face, the UK has done its utmost to continue on the course of sinking the island. 

Yes, sinking.

Helmut Kohl Strasse / Platz / Flughafen ?


His corpse is hardly cold and already German politicians are competing in suggestions as to how he should be commemorated. Streets and squares should be named after him; No one has suggested an airport as yet but Mrs. Grütters, Minister of Culture, suggested setting up a government funded foundation that will carry his name.

This arrangement whereby politicians name roads,and various publicly funded assets after their deceased colleagues is very popular in Israel, where even C-List local politicians get streets named after them. The current prime minister Netanyahu, even arranged for his deceased father, to get a motorway junction named after him.

Why do politicians, senior as they may be, deserve eternal commemoration? If their achievements are worth remembering, history books will see to it.

I much prefer the British tradition: There are no Margaret Thatcher hospitals, roads or airports. There are not even Winston Churchill ones.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Six Days – Fifty Years


I remember the 5th of June of 50 years ago. I remember the build-up of worry and existential fear during the waiting period preceding Israel’s pre-emptive strike. I remember the immense relief, produced by the quick victory, and I also remember the feeling of exhilaration brought about by the booty: Jerusalem, Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. I don’t think anyone considered Gaza as booty.

But, I also remember that it was very quickly clear to some that the occupation would morally destroy us: It has.  

Can Israel change the sick and self-destructive course on which it has embarked 50 years ago? It does not look promising.

Terrorism Hysteria


The risk of terrorism in Europe is low. Hysteria is high:

The average number of people killed in terrorist attacks in the UK in the period 2000-2015 was – 6. There are peak years, such as we have this year, and before that in 2005, and the one before in 1998, but most years are quiet.

The average number of people killed by bees and wasps per annum – 5. 

The average annual number of people murdered in the UK – 520. 

The average annual number of people who die in road accidents in the UK – 1800.

If you want extra measures, how about dealing with these unnecessary deaths, instead of building up xenophobia.

Mrs. May’s Small-Talk


There has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the UK, Theresa May has announced after the latest terrorist incident in London. So, whose fault is it that there is too much tolerance of extremism in the UK? Who is in charge? Who has been in charge for the last seven years?

Surprise, surprise, … before she was made prime minister, between the years 2010 and 2016, Mrs. May was Home Secretary, in charge of the police and of MI5, the internal secret service. In these years, she cut the number of policemen by almost 47,000.

A bit of searching reveals that Mrs. May, as Home Secretary, had two years ago, in March 2015, announced the launch of a package of new anti-terror measures. At the time, she warned of a ‘clash of civilizations’ between the West and Islamic extremists, adding that there is ‘increasing evidence’ that a small but significant number of people living in Britain ‘reject our values’.

Warning of extremism seems to be part of that woman’s small-talk. But, it turns out that she is not only nasty but also incompetent.

To please the jingoistic press that she depends on, May now announced that she would step up the fight against Islamist terrorism yet again and confirmed that she approves of shoot-to-kill, replacing the previous policy of shoot-to-incapacitate.  

Friday, 26 May 2017

5th Letter to J.K.


Dear Jared,

According to the papers, you are in trouble and I hope that you appreciate the fact, that I do not cut and behave as if I don’t know you.

The right lawyers will probably get you out of it. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to make you change your ways. You will feel even more invincible.

You should have listened to me. What was wrong with just being a quite rich boy? But you were greedy and at the end you will fall.

So much for today. You probably don’t have time to read long letters.

Best
D

PS: Do you think that, that s.o.b., I mean Steven Bannon had his fingers in getting you investigated?

The Commander in Chief vs. Germany


„The Germans are evil, very evil “, Trump is reported to have said a couple of days ago. For a moment I thought, that his visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, two days before, was still haunting him. But Trump, explained, "Look at the millions of cars they sell in the U.S. We'll stop that."

Here is Trump’s note after his visit to Yad Vashem.    


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

4th Letter to Jared Kushner


Dear Jared,

It’s a funny relationship that we have: me writing and you not responding, but I do appreciate that you have a lot on your plate… Moreover, I owe you an apology. Only a few days ago, I wrote that you have disappeared from the radar. We now all know, that it was the radar alright, only that you were busy selling military radars and other such goodies to Saudi Arabia, to the tune of $110 billion, this year alone. By the way, were the 100 million dollars, that the Saudis have pledged to Ivanka’s fund, agreed in the same arms deal, in which you are reported to have pressurised Lockheed to reduce their prices?

Now, in the old days, Jewish mothers wanted their sons to become doctors – you know, the kind of people who heal the sick and the wounded. The gear that you are dealing with, does sure thing not heal any wounds.  

I am sure that your mother is proud of you. Mothers always are. Mothers of successful sons even more so. Deep down, you know that she has no reason to be proud.

Best regards
From your pen pal David,

The Only Shtetl in the Middle East


Israel likes to refer to itself as the “Only democracy in the Middle-East”, though calling Israel a democracy, somewhat stretches the term. During Trump’s recent visit to Israel, that country has demonstrated what it really is: the only shtetl in the Middle East.

The conduct of Israel’s political A List, was nothing less than parochial. Some ministers at the airport greeting line, offered advice, the Internal security minister reported a fake terrorist attack that was in fact an accident, and a member of Israel’s parliament, who was not even meant to be in the greeting line, forced a selfie on Trump.

Evidently, Bibi Netanyahu is not even able to control his blabbering wife who squeezed herself into a tight red outfit and greeted the Trumps with the message “the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us, … we have very much in common, we’ll talk about it over dinner.” Infamous for her hysterical outbursts, Bibi’s wife, Sara, could not help herself and inserted a title which is not hers, “First Lady”, in the dinner menu. That title, were it in use in Israel, would have been due to the President’s wife and not the wife of the PM.

Later that evening, Netanyahu and wife apologised for the simplicity of the Prime Minister’s residence and explained to the Trumps, that only due to their visit, a budget to repaint the house was granted. Hoping for a tip perhaps? This should not be ruled out, as Bibi and Sara are well-known “schnorrers”.

Schnorrers, for those who do not know, is Yiddish for beggars or spongers.

Trump and his New Muslim Friends


Having crucified Muslims before and throughout his campaign – and even after taking office, (remember “Donald J trump calls for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”), Trump must have concluded that those Muslims who are willing to spend 110 billion dollars on US arms in one year, cannot be that bad. Forget Saudi Arabia’s being the country which gave us the 9-11 bombers, which produced Osama Bin Laden and which exports extremist Islam, wherever it can. As to the Saudi population, I suppose that human rights are not so much Trump’s thing anyway, so why bother about Saudi’s track record there.

So Sunni Muslims are apparently fine. But Trump needs to hate at least some Muslims and so he nominates Iran as the Muslims to hate. This – Trump expects – will pay dividends on the home front: and persuade the Republicans in Congress that he is an asset and that he should not be removed from office. After all, bringing in 350 billion dollars from arms sales to the Saudis, over the next ten years, will make many Republicans happy. Additionally, by going on the “Iran the Evil” trip, he not only buys support of all those Republicans who objected to Obama’s Iran deal, but he also gets the backing of the lobbies supporting the “settlement and continued occupation” government of Israel.

Smart move. Nonetheless, let’s hope he fails.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Camel Method is Not a Sexual Position


Practiced by some missionaries, the Camel Method is not about sex.

Developed by Christian missionaries trying to reach Muslims, the Camel Method tries to bring Muslims to Jesus through the Koran itself.  Some of these missionaries will grow beards like Muslims and give up pork in their attempt to reach out to Muslims whom they wish to turn.

CAMEL, by the way, is an acronym that stands for “Chosen Angels Miracles Eternal Life”. 

3rd Letter to Jared Kushner


Dear Jared,

You seem to have disappeared from the radar. Are you simply inundated with the many responsibilities your father-in-law has thrown at you? Or, are you quietly and secretly preparing the coup that will prove to the world that Trump was after all a great choice? Unlikely, but even if you are ­­–against all hope – trying to save ET’s, sorry DT’s presidency, deep in your heart you must know that he must go.

SO – will you collaborate with the team that is preparing the triggering of that one paragraph that opens the door to the removal of a president, who is deemed "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

Just in case you are not sure – it is Section 4 of the 25th amendment.

Trump and Sex Change


Chelsea Manning, who before her sex change, as Bradley Manning, was imprisoned for handing over hundreds of thousands of US confidential documents to Wikileaks, was finally released from jail. President Obama had commuted her sentence from 35 to seven years.

So here’s the deal: For having divulged ultra-sensitive information directly to the enemy, Trump would be given a seven-year prison sentence. He would be entitled to immediate release, as soon as he goes for a sex change operation. He might, of course, find himself subject of his very own pussy-grabbing.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Archangel Gabriel

It is all over the press: Germany’s foreign secretary, Sigmar Gabriel, had arranged to include meetings with two Israeli NGOs, B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence in his programme during his recent visit to Israel. These organisations, like various other NGOs that are critical of the Israeli government are subject to intense intimidation attempts by the Israeli government that is trying its utmost to close them down and block their activities.

Israel is striding fast to become as democratic as Turkey. You may wish to visit the websites of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence and be convinced of their importance, and perhaps even make a donation to support their activities.  

Despite Netanyahu’s attempt to blackmail Gabriel into cancelling his meetings, Gabriel did not budge. By cancelling his meeting with Gabriel, Macho Man Netanyahu was able to prove the size of his balls to his right-wing support base.

A curious coalition of German Gabriel haters and the usual voices of German Philosemites can be heard in Germany in support of Netanyahu, criticising Gabriel and even suggesting that – how not –  the man is an anti-Semite. A false, ridiculous and shameful allegation.

P.S.:
I expect that Netanyahu will not have such problems during next month’s visit of Duterte, Prime Minister of the Philippines, who is on record urging his citizens to kill drug addicts and who has famously stated "Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts. ... I'd be happy to slaughter them." Duterte’s Israel diary is more likely to include meetings with Israeli arms manufacturers than with peace activists.  

May for June


On the face of it, it is all very democratic. The British system enables the prime minister to choose an election date to choose his or her interests. Shortly after assuring the public that she was not going to call a snap election, she called a snap election. But then Mrs. May is an accomplished liar. After all, she is the woman who supported the Remain in the EU campaign and became prime minister to bulldoze a Brexit. Cleverly, she is acting to take advantage of the total state of shambles Britain’s Labour Party is in and the fact that the third party, the Liberal democrats with their 8 MPs seem to have almost ceased to exist. In truth, Theresa May is doing an Erdogan, only she is doing it the British way. She is hoping to have a majority that will make parliament obsolete. Pfui on her.

The only strategy open to true democrats in Britain is to vote tactically, disregarding any party allegiance: Find out which candidate in your constituency has a chance of beating the Tory (unless they are UKIP) and vote for her or him.

Tactical voting on 8 June is the order of the day!