Archive for June, 2009

24
Jun
09

Izzie in HolyLand – Part 2

(Part 1
Izzie: Hi baby!
Barack: Hey Iz, where are ya?
Izzie: In my suite in Rome, just got back from a meeting with Silvio…
Barack: How’d it go?
Izzie: OK, I guess… I dunno, he kept asking me if I wanted to come to a party he was having tonight. Something about him, maybe the hair, I dunno… Don’t think I’ll go. Anyway, it’s you I’m thinking about…  I miss you Baracky baby…
Barack: Is that so?
Izzie: I do, really…  I feel like we barely talk anymore.
Barack: Well, I’ve been busy…
Izzie: I know, I know…. I’m just saying.
Barack: You know, I got Iran and everything.
Izzie: I know baby. And I saw you kill that fly, too! Nice one…
Barack: Thanks, honey. Listen, I better get going…
Izzie: Really? So soon?
Barack: Yeah, I got some stuff…
Izzie: OK…. Baracky?
Barack: Yeah Iz?
Izzie: Is everything OK?
Barack: Whaddya mean?
Izzie: I mean, I dunno, you seem kind of distant.
Barack: Nah, it’s nothing, just got some stuff on my mind. Very busy…
Izzie: OK…. but you would tell me if something was wrong, right?
Barack: Sure, of course I would.
Izzie: OK…. because we haven’t really talked since my Bar Ilan speech.
Barack: Really?
Izzie: Yeah, really. You never told me what you thought of it.
Barack: I didn’t? I thought I did….. hmmmm.
Izzie: So?
Barack: So what?
Izzie: How was the speech?
Barack: Oh! The speech! Yeah, yeah…. it was, ummm…. it was good. Yeah, it was good.
Izzie: “Good”?
Barack: Yeah, good. Good speech baby.
Izzie: Just “good”?
Barack: Ummm, yeah.
Izzie:…..
Barack: Good speech. Interesting, too.
Izzie:….
Barack: Yeah, I liked it.angry%20woman
Izzie: ….
Barack: So anyway,
Izzie: ….
Barack: Izzie? You there?
Izzie: You got a lot of nerve, you know that?
Barack: Excuse me?
Izzie: I SAID PALESTINIAN STATE!
Barack: I know you did honey, but –
Izzie: I DID THAT FOR YOU!!!!
Barack: That’s very sweet, Izzie, but –
Izzie: No, YOU but – DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT WAS FOR ME?
Barack: I’m sure it was, but –
Izzie: But what? What can you possibly have to say? Do you know how disgusting those words are to me? Do you have any idea the nausea I felt as they came thru my lips!?!
Barack: Now wait, now just calm down Izzie…
Izzie: Calm down? Calm down? That’s what you have to tell me? Calm down?
Barack: Are you going to let me say something?
Izzie: This is Rahm’s fault, I know it. That self-hating Jew, I’ll kill him, I swear.
Barack: This has nothing to with Rahm, Izzie, this is between you and me.
Izzie: OK. OK. So, why was it just “good”, huh? Why? Go on, spit it out.
Barack: Well, for one thing, I don’t think saying Palestinian state is such a big deal.
Izzie: You’re serious, right? OMG, unbelievable…
Barack: And second, I dunno, you just didn’t look that honest. I mean, actually, I didn’t believe a word you said.
Izzie:…..
Barack: Wasn’t convinced you were actually going to do something.
Izzie:…
Barack: And it’s not about Rahm, I watched the replay alone.
Izzie: Wait, wait wait wait wait…..  did you just say “replay”?
Barack: Yeah, I had this golf game, I couldn’t cancel, so I Tivo’d it, but –
Izzie: I’VE BEEN TELLING YOU ABOUT THIS SPEECH FOR 2 WEEKS AND YOU DIDN’T WATCH ME LIVE?
Barack: Well, I’m sorry, but…
Izzie: You know what, Barack? Just forget it, OK? Forget it. I’m hanging up, and I’m going to Silvio’s party. And I’m cancelling the meeting with Mitchell tomorrow in Paris. So just forget it, and send me the 3 billion dollars, you know the address.
Barack: Yeah, well, you see, here’s the thing Izzie, I wanted to talk to you about that…    Izzie? You there? Izzie? Sh-t, she hung up. I dunno Rahm, she sounds pissed.

Rahm: Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it. These Jewish states tend to be real princesses. It’ll blow over.

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21
Jun
09

Underqualified and overestimated

On June 8th, Avraham Hircshson, Israel’s former Finance Minister under Ehud Olmert, was convicted of stealing 2.5 million shekels from the National Workers Labor Federation while he was its chairman. The current Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is under investigation for (allegedly) illegaly receiving millions of shekels from businessmen for his election campaign. His daughter, Michal, who is in her early 20’s, has somehow managed to make over 12 million shekels in profits from international business. 
Lieberman’s troubles have sparked gossip in the Knesset hallways that he will soon be indicted and that his days in the Foreign Ministry are numbered. There are even rumors going around about who might replace him, one of them being the bizarre option of Aryeh Deri, the former charismatic leader of Shas, who himself has done time in jail for (guess what) fraud and bribery. Charismatic and charming as he may be, I honestly don’t know if Deri has any clue about international diplomacy. Though according to a recent report, he is already taking private English lessons.
Actually, Deri wouldn’t be the first foreign minister in Israel’s history who didn’t have a clue about diplomacy. And I’m pretty sure Hirschson didn’t have much of a clue about managing the state coffers (but apparently managed to find a way to steal from them). 
Israel’s illustrious political past is dotted with so many similar biazarre appointments that the dots have converged into one big blotch. It’s easy to blame the over-representative political system here, which lets every little party squeeze far more than they are worth from the Prime Minister-elect as he attempts to cobble together a coalition. But what about some basic common sense? Or even a basic atempt to hide the blatant nepotism? 
Nonetheless, here are my top 10 outrageous appointments over the recent years. Apologies to those I left out (there are many, I know. If you wish to enlighten us with yours, please respond):
 dahan_nissim
10. Nissim Dahan  – The Health Ministry is one of those unimportant ministries handed out as gifts, or bribes, to small parties to ease their entering into a coalition. Dahan, besides wearing a black kippa, also has a black belt in karate and a scuba diving license. He is ordained as a rabbi, and thus qualified to be Minister of Health in Ariel Sharon’s first government. But hey, at least Sharon decided to appoint a full-time health minister.
gandi
9. Rehavam “Gandi” Ze’evi – Ze’evi fought in the Palmach and retired from the IDF with the highly-respectable rank of General. He held extreme right-wing views, some would say racist (I would), and was eventually murdered in 2001 by Palestinians in a Jerusalem hotel. He came up with the bright idea to “transfer” Palestinians from the Holy Land, and was thus qualified to be Tourism Minister in Ariel Sharon’s first government. What a great way to encourage people to visit Israel, eh?
 benyizri_yaakov
8. Yaakov Ben Yizri – Ben Yizri of the late “Pensioners” party has full matriculation, from 1940 (according to the Knesset website). This was his primary qualification for being appointed Health Minister in Ehud Olmert’s government.
majadle
7. Raleb Majadele – An Arab representative from the Labor party, Majadele has a high school education and was therefore qualified, if not over-qualified, to be the Minister of Science, Culture and Sport in Ehud Olmert’s government.
meridor
6. Dan Meridor– Along with a few other strange appointments in Bibi’s current government, Meridor has been given the made-up Ministry of Intelligence and Atomic Energy. Meridor, who has a degree in law and on various satire shows has been likened to a freightened cat (due to his infamous inabilty to decide and stand on his own) is thus qualified to be minister of anything atomic.
hirshson_avraham
5. Avraham Hirschson – Hirschson has a “partial academic education” (according to Knesset website) and is a good friend of Ehud Olmert. Which is basically all you need to be qualified to steer the nation’s economy in the wrong direction and be Finance Minister.
yishai
4. Eli Yishai – Yishai has a high school education, is the political leader of Shas, and is thus more than qualified to be Interior Minister and decide who gets deported from Israel, who is allowed in, and who is stripped of their citizenship.
avigdor
3. Avigdor Lieberman – Lieberman has a BA in Social Sciences (hey, impressive!). But it is his promotion of a loyalty oath that makes him qualified to act as a light unto nations and represent Israel around the world as Bibi’s Foreign Minister.
levi_david
2. David Levy – Levy barely knows a word of English, and was therefore fully qualified to serve as Foreign Minister in Yitzhak Shamir’s government and show the world just how enlightened Israel can be.
amirperetz1be0
1. Amir Peretz – Peretz has a high school education and was released from the IDF with the rank of Captain. And so who better to lead Israel into a war in Lebanon than a man who can truly see the big picture, as one may see in the photo above. His English is also impeccable.
 
16
Jun
09

let the games be stalled!

As Barack Obama played golf and Mir Hossein Moussavi was put in house arrest on Sunday, something bizarre happened on a blue podium on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Some guy with a silver comb-over got up and said the words “Palestinian State”.
His name, you ask? Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyahu.
“Holy Sh-t! WHAT??? Did you say Bibi? And he said PS?!?!?!”
Yes, he did. I saw the speech (not live, of course. Had better things to do), and I also saw him utter those words. But when he said them, for a second I thought I actually saw him cringe, almost like he was looking for the nearest puke bucket. He looked like a vegetarian who just got served a juicy, bloody steak. Or like one of those guys in a zany food challenge on some wacky reality show, who just found out he had to eat a plate of live snails to get immunity and stay on the island.
I suppose one could call Bibi’s show on Sunday some sort of “Survivor – The Middle East” (Now THERE’S a season I’ll actually watch!). Sky news actually came up with a good analysis of the speech while hinting to a slightly different genre: “To garble the Rocky Horror Picture Show song, this was a step to the left, but a jump to the right”.
Bibi’s failed attempt to imitate Obama screams for a comparison between the two events. First, just take a look at the venue. Sure, the podium said “Begin-Sadat Center” in both Hebrew and English, but it also said Bar Ilan University in Hebrew alone. This institution, where Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assasin, studied – has often been accused of being a hotbed for right-wing extremism. Obama, on the other hand, spoke at the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo. Now, I don’t know enough to say if Al-Azhar is a hotbed for extremism or not, but I can say it’s gutsy to make a speech in the lion’s den. Most of the people in the Bibi’s audience were Likudniks and wore kippas, so he was basically preaching to the choir.rahm and david
But in my eyes, the main difference was the tone. Obama came with arms outreached, and actually sounded genuine. But Bibi? Exactly the opposite. Even felt kind of fake. I had the feeling he came with two mafiosos pushing him from behind (Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod?) threatening to chop his legs off. “OK, OK, I’ll do it! But you know it’ll be the end of me”, Bibi would say, “The minute Ketsale hears this I’ll be chopped liver”.
OK. So he said yes to a Palestinian State. Wow. Amazing. If you’re excited about that, you’re probably excited about sliced bread and light bulbs. That’s like a mother being proud of her son for taking his first steps – at age 12. Seriously, it’s about time Bibi. And even though he said it, you know he didn’t mean it. Because then came the conditions: It has to be demilitarized, they have to recognize us as a Jewish State, No to the return of refugees, Jerusalem will not be divided, first topple Hamas, we’ll continue to build settlements, and oh, I almost forgot, you can only establish your state on the next Venus and Mars conjunction – and only if there’s a full moon as well. See, who says I’m not flexible?
So did he “survive”? Well, maybe for now. Only time will tell how long his fragile coalition will last. What he did manage to do was make the left and the right angry, so maybe he did do something right. For now, his numbers are up in the popularity polls, too. And of course, how could we forget the Palestinians. They were FURIOUS. Although, I must say I’m quite surprised at their reaction. I mean seriously guys, what were you thinking? That Bibi would be your next de Klerk? Come on…
America said this was “an important step forward”. There are probably a few innocent interns in the White House amazed at how Obama got Bibi to say “Palestinian state” in just a few months. But Barack (can I call you that? I feel like I know you), if I may…. Let me just say, that if I were you I wouldn’t be too impressed. And if you think you’ve bent Bibi, well… all I can say is: You’ve just been “Bibi”ed!
Because trust me, Barack, what Bibi really said is: “A Palestinian state? Are you kidding me? Not on my watch!” And you know what? Bibi is probably right. And how do I know that? Because after the speech I looked up in the sky, and guess what I saw?
“Look, it’s a Menachem Begin! It’s an Ariel Sharon! No, it’s a Yitzhak Shamir! See? Look how he flaps his wings, fusses and kvetches, but nothing happens!”
Bibi is a staller! Possibly one of the greatest stallers since Shamir. From now on it’ll be just words, words words – but no deeds. Let the games be stalled!
Yitzhak_Shamir_PictureThe only thing is, I don’t think Rahm or David have any patience for another Shamir. I think they’ve had enough of this shtick. If I’m correct, Americans – and American Jews in particular – are wary and tired of the situation in the Middle East, and although they see Israel as a strategic ally, at the same time they’re not afraid to see her as a liability. Middle Eastern fundamentalism has brought death to America’s shores, and when you pay billions of dollars a year to a Jewish state to be your ally in the region, but all you get is bloodshed, suddenly it just doesn’t seem like that great a deal. Surely they can get more bang for their buck.
In fact, the American-Israeli relationship reminds me sometimes of the relationship many women (so I’ve been told…)have with their house cleaners. They pay them, yet shiver whenever they enter the door. They hope she’s satisfied with the way the house looks, almost as if to say: “So, is my house clean enough for you to clean”?
It’s time to get things straight. It’s time to show who’s boss. It’s time for American taxpayers to get what they pay for. Don’t fall for empty rhetoric.
You can do it, Rahm.
06
Jun
09

Where can I get this?

04
Jun
09

ari, you forgot something

In his op-ed piece today in Ha’aretz, Ari Shavit seems to have forgotten an important fact. He writes:

ariThe U.S. president’s behavior is not entirely fair. Obama knows the urgent problem in the Middle East is not natural growth in the settlements, and that there is no Palestinian partner at the moment for real peace. There is quite a bit of the absurd in the fact that the man who dons kid gloves when it comes to North Korea’s ruler and the president of Venezuela slams the Israeli prime minister with a resounding punch.

You see Ari, the thing is, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think North Korea or Venezuela are getting 30 billion dollars of military aid over the next decade. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but… doesn’t that give the guy a say in things (or the right to slam a resounding punch, as you would say)? I guess I’m kind of old-fashioned…

02
Jun
09

The Tractor’s Revenge

What a wierd name for a band. But what a band, and what a great song. Can’t believe it’s already 20 years old. Actually, maybe I can after watching the video… 🙂




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