Thursday, March 06, 2008

Choice of Words

Recieved the following today from a yeshivish relative

"FWD: fwd: Terrorists infiltrated yeshivat merkaz harav and have killed at least 7 yeshiva boys. Please say tehillim and please pass the message around......."

1) Jews, not yeshiva boys. Maybe even Israelis (though that may not be entirely accurate, but it would include Druze, who are also Israelis).

2) We haven't had many attacks like this lately, thank god. But I don't recall a txt message saying "10 killed in disco..." or "10 killed on bus..." Maybe text messages weren't as fashionable then.

No, I don't think there was a conscious intention behind 'yeshiva boys.' Maybe it makes it all the more tragic that young people were targeted. If it had been a kindergarten, saying "7 children were killed" would be fine, so why not yeshiva boys? Nonetheless the words stood out.

Advocating Assasination

Update: The video/title/summary don't even tell us when this was from. Would appreciate any further info.

Update 2: My referring to R. Schachter as 'Schachter' everywhere but the first instance is not meant as disrespect, more out of how journalism is sorta done nowadays, or at least my impression of it. I have incredible respect for him and have heard him speak and enjoyed learning from him on many occasions.

Update 3: I'm still having thoughts on whether or not to leave this post up. But I was sent the link and it has nearly 400 views, so I assume it's getting around. Might as well have a place for a good honest discussion/clarification. What's wonderful about this internet thing is that everyone can (and does) comment in some way, contributing to a great discussion which usually, though not always, helps clarify issues. So for now it remains up.

Update 4: I should also note his tone does make it sound like a joke (however tasteless and unfunny). I'm putting the laughter down to 'whatever the teacher says is funny'

This video of R. Schachter 'advocating' assasination of the prime minister if he were to give back Yerushalayim has begun making its way around the Internet.

A 39 second clip is hardly enough to derive context. A more complete (and honest) video would have the question or some more comment before and after to provide context (did Schachter say 'someone might say as a joke...[begin clip]?). That comments and ratings were disabled fuels my suspicion that there's something missing (does YouTube disable comments and ratings, or the uploader?)

Schachter has said things in the past which, when taken out of context, caused an outcry. Assuming the context is as it seems though, a few comments:

1) [removed the part on disobeying orders. not germane to the real topic.]

2) Assasination: There's a possibility that some lunatic will take Schachter seriously, culminating (God Forbid) in the assasination of another Israeli Prime Minister or cabinet member. How much of that lunatic would be due to Schachter and how much due to others advocating assasination (nutjobs or not) would be up for debate. To a not so small extent, such a thing is like painting a target around an arrow you've already shot.

But when you say something, you should expect it to be repeated, whether you asked for it to be kept private or not. And if you're a public figure you should expect to be taken out of context. Which doesn't mean you should never say anything, but don't be surprised when something you do say causes an uproar.

Was what Schachter said irresponsible? Perhaps. I don't have the context (and would love a link to a complete transcript or clip). But I wouldn't take the comment seriously. If Olmert announced Israel was giving up all of Jerusalem and Schachter had a gun and opportunity, I doubt he'd pull the trigger.

3) The poster 'ConcernedYUStudent' - Some are attmepting to blame him, he shouldn't have publicized it, shouldn't 'air our dirty laundry' the same arguments we see time and again, be it embezzlement, failed school system, sexual molestation, whatever. If you say something publicly, expect it to be repeated publicly. Not just within your small community but in the world at large. Those who cling to the ghetto mentality that nothing is repeated outside of our four walls are at best living in an alternate reality or at worse fools.

What his/her motives were I don't know (I encourage him/her to email me, all info will be kept confidential), an attempt to smear Schachter? Genuine concern? Did he approach Schachter first? Or does he genuinely believe this is the best way to approach the issue?

Also keep in mind that attempts to place blame at the feet of ConcernedYUStudent should also look at Schachter for the same argument. 'YUStudent was wrong but let's not talk about Schachter' doesn't work. And shouldn't.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Push push push

Jerusalem Post is reporting that Hamas is reaching out for a cease-fire, not having expected such a large response by the IDF. Which makes you wonder if they've been reading the news about a buildup and training.

This seems to be a recurring theme, see the Second Lebanon War as a previous example, with Nasrallah saying they'd never have kidnapped the soldiers had they known such a retaliation would take place.

Which means now is not the time for the IDF to let up. Now is the time to push Hamas to the wall, to show that they really mean business, to wound them in such an amount that it'll take years to rebuild their ranks.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Former Skinhead turned Chareidi

Interesting article

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bone Marrow - Scam?

Its been quite a long time since I last blogged. I wonder if anyone's actually reading this.

In the last two days I have received an email seeking out a supposed gentleman who is a bone marrow match to an alleged someone else who needs bone marrow.

A quick search of "Nahum Almagor", the person's name, turns up many sites discussing and forwarding this email, including blogs.

I think its a scam. I've emailed GiftofLife and will post the gist of any response received. I think its unlikely (just based on my assumptions) that GiftofLife or any other medical organization would so violate someone's confidentiality that they would list name, last known address and phone number along with birthday. Then again, I got the same information (name, address, phone) from someone who was going to help me secure a $5m inheritance from his now dead father, overthrown by rebels...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ha'edah Responds

Ha'Edah has responded with an editorial assailing those who went to Iran for the "Holocaust Conference." Read the JPost article here. Shmuel Popenheim, editor of Ha'Edah, and author of the editorial claimed that these fringe members account for 25 people worldwide and are out to sully the Eda Hareidit's name.

Quote from Israel Hirsch, one of the 25 fringe members:
Asked what he would do if forced to choose between joining the Arabs in a war against Israeli Zionists and defending Zionist Jews, Hirsch replied that he would join the Arabs.

"All Jewish Zionists, whether they call themselves religious or secular, are apostates who have cut themselves off from the Jewish people," he said.

Popenheim responds:

Popenheim said that he, too, was virulently opposed to Zionism and agreed in principle with Hirsch that Zionism was equivalent to apostasy and rebellion against God. But he said that there was no justification for joining forces with Arabs or Iranians against Jews.

"If I saw an Arab terrorist trying to kill a Zionist Jew, I would shoot the Arab," said Popenheim...."We have to pray to God that he will hasten the demise of this impious sovereignty in a way that no Jew is hurt in the process."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

All Day Rush Hour Traffic

This article on CNN is pretty stupid. It claims that by 2030, NYC will not have enough electricity to meet its needs, that there will be so many people that rush hour traffic will last all day.

Umm...hello? The electricity bit? Well, they assume the population will continue to grow, but that no new power plants will go online. At the same time, they assume many of the older power plants will be shut down. If that's not a recipe for a skewed observation, I don't know what is.

Ditto for roads. More people and more cars, but not more roads. And presumably, the number of people who can telecommute to work (that wonderful internet thing) won't increase. Gotta love "massaged" numbers.

The article raises good points, about how NYC needs more power plants, more housing, etc. Of course, ideas like deregulation or reforming rent control and housing laws are out of the question. They also ignore that little thing called...the market.

See, the way it works is this: If people have to spend more than x hours in traffic, they just won't go to work. So what will happen? Businessess will relocate outside of Manhattan. They'll hope over the bridge to Jersey.

The real argument is that, in order to continue growing, NYC needs to invest in infrastructure. But they don't tell you that. NYC will continue to exist period, and I doubt it'll fall from 8m inhabitants to 2. It just might not grow as much. But they don't make that argument. They really do say people will be in traffic. All day. Idiots.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Vomit Alert

Apparently some folks, dressed like Jews, have decided to attend the Holocaust Denial Conference in Iran.

While the caption doesn't state which sect these "Rabbis" are from, if I had to wager...
And the shot is from Reuters. Its telling that when I saw this photo I actually believed it, despite its origin from Reuters, an agency not exactly unknown for falsified news...

And yet people still wonder how I wonder if I could actually daven with someone like this. You tell me, if one of those six was the tenth man at your minyan, what would you do? After vomitting, of course.

[Update: And the third from the right, he really gets me.]