Shariah law can't stop what it doesn't expect.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Joseph Gordon-Levitt (center) battles a baddie in a hotel hallway amid constant shifts in gravity, one of the movie's most visually- and psychologically- stunning scenes.

I've been looking forward to seeing Inception since the moment I saw the trailer for it months ago. Not once did I even fear it would wither in the theater where it shone in the trailers.

I'm going to skip all the gushing and just say that I had found 3 different things when I left the theater; wild and newfound respect for Nolan, respect for DiCaprio, and a new favorite movie of all time.

The word everyone is using to describe it is "cerebral," and for good reason. This thing will turn your head inside out, psychologically and visually.

Go. Watch. Enjoy. Brutal as movie ticket prices are, I plan on going back to re-watch it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Holding Israel to Double-Standards: Zionists Are Guilty as Well

Lately I've noticed that whenever someone attacks Israel for something illicit- an IDF soldier using a Palestinian as a human shield, for example- Zionists instantly jump to the fore and cite the numerous atrocities the Muslim and Arab world commit, insinuating in the comparison that Israel's mistakes are not nearly as bad as her enemies'.

This kind of response is half-right; but I can't help but feel that these pro-Israelis are beginning to get the idea that Israel is a heavenly and pure country, and its people incapable of sin.

Remember the old phrase, 'No one is perfect.' Well, the same can definitely be said of countries and governments, don't you think?

We are always saying that Israel deserves to be treated like every other country on Earth. Enough with the double standards! Let Israel defend her people! Stop vilifying her for acting in self-defense! But we ourselves are often guilty of reversing this double-standard policy; whenever Israel (or, to be more apt, one of her soldiers) does something overtly wrong, it's as if we try to blind ourselves to the act so that we can only see Israel's good. At the same time, we bemoan the same actions committed by other countries and militaries.

This is a fatal, hypocritical mentality. As long as we think like this, we cannot hope to successfully defend Israel in our classrooms, newspapers, and streets. Instead of confronting these wrongful acts head-on, we will always be skirting them by directing attention to the wrongdoings of Hamas and extremist Muslim/Arab groups. Diversion is not the best method of defense because it can only last for so long. So, we must confront the fact that Israel has made mistakes, and that some Israeli soldiers have indeed committed the atrocious acts we don't like to think about.

The fact is that Israel IS just like any country on Earth, especially in that she is governed and populated by humans. Humans who are, after all, only human.

Let's look at an example...

There are people in the US military who have, for whatever reason, intentionally killed Afghani or Iraqi civilians, but everyone knows it is not US military policy to do so; nor is it US government or even US social policy. There is no US document propagating the genocide of the Afghanis. Anyone who genuinely desires a genocide of the Afghani people do not reflect the sentiments of the general population but that of a small minority. So it follows that a US soldier who knowingly shoots an innocent fruit vendor in Baghdad was acting on his own behalf, not that of the US; in fact, US military policy forbade him from doing such a thing, but he did it anyway; he has "broken the rules." Such incidents reflect the individual, not the greater whole. And as we always say, Israel is a lot like the US. The same logic applies to Israel.

In the Arab and Muslim world, of course, instances of abuse and torture and the like are the general norm, against foreigners and against their own people. This is the difference between the West and the Arab/Muslim world.

Let's be real... people commit evil in every country on Earth, in every city on Earth, in every house, apartment, hut, cave, cardboard box on Earth. Israel is no different, but whenever an Israeli, often an IDF soldier, commits evil in the way of shooting an innocent civilian or using a human shield, anti-Zionists blow it out of proportion and make it seem like it's the policy of the entire state, as if Israeli society functioned like a hive. In reality it's the policy of that one individual. And because so many people make such a huge deal out of it, we feel the need to totally and completely defend Israel; acknowledging that she has faults is to acknowledge defeat because the other side is so focused on those faults.

We must remember, though, that to admit fault is not to admit we are wrong. All of us have our own faults as people, and to admit to them is not to admit being a bad person because everyone has their own faults. Having faults does not make you a lesser person; it means you are normal. And acknowledging our shortcomings serves to make us stronger individuals. So if countries and militaries are made up of people with faults, it follows that those countries and militaries will inevitably exemplify some faults as well. If we are able to admit that the IDF (made up of Israeli people) has its faults and makes mistakes, we can stop being so preoccupied in pretending they don't exist. We can instead focus on exemplifying how these faults and mistakes (human shields, killing civilians, racism, etc.) do not define Israeli government and society, and are more anomalies than they are common occurrences, just as they are in every Western society. Likewise, compare this to Arab and Muslim society, where such faults have unfortunately come to define their societies and governments. Only the delusional and uninformed can believe that instances of racism and violence are isolated incidents in the Arab/Muslim world; the tower of evidence to the contrary is staggering in the behemoth shadow it casts over us.

I realize that I'm simply describing the "double-standard problem" that Israel is always subjected to, but a lot of us (me included) can easily be sucked in to believing Israel is incapable of doing wrong. It's an easy habit to fall into without even noticing, and it can stem from having to constantly defend Israel and focus on her good features.

So please, let's be honest with ourselves: instances of IDF soldiers using human shields, abusing Palestinians, etc. DO happen, (remember, the Israelis are only human) but what differentiate them from Hamas and the Arabs is that these instances don't reflect military, government policy, or social norms. Where they are anomalies in Israeli/Western society, they are common practice in the Arab/Muslim world. What's more, not only are foreigners victim to these practices in the Arab and Muslim world, but so are many, way too many Arabs and Muslims as well. But it's important to keep in mind that this is not a result primarily of religion or creed; first and foremost, it's because they're human.

As Romanian punk vocalist/guitarist/moustache extraordinaire Eugene Hutz once chastised, "It is easier to see evil as entity... not as condition inside of you and me."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frank Sinatra's Love Affair With the Jews

Here's something for you Sinatra fans. Very cool history... turns out Ol' Blue Eyes was a pretty great friend to the Jews.

Francis Albert Sinatra (1915-1998) may have been one of America 's most famous Italian Catholics, but he kept the Jewish people and the State of Israel close to his heart, manifesting life-long commitments to fighting anti-Semitism and to activism on behalf of Israel.

Sinatra stepped forward in the early 1940s, when big names were needed to rouse America into saving Europe's remaining Jews, and he sang at an "Action for Palestine " rally (1947). He sat on the board of trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center ; and he donated over $1 million to Jerusalem 's Hebrew University , which honored him by dedicating the Frank Sinatra International Student Center . (The Center made heartbreaking headlines when terrorists bombed it in 2002, killing nine people.) As the result of his support for the Jewish State, his movies and records were banned in some Arab countries. Sinatra helped Teddy Kollek, later the long-serving mayor of Jerusalem but then a member of the Haganah, by serving as a $1 million money-runner that helped Israel win the war.

The Copacabana Club, which was very much run and controlled by the same Luciano-related New York mafia crowd with whom Sinatra had become enmeshed, happened to be next door to the hotel out of which Haganah members were operating. In his autobiography, Kollek relates how, trying in March 1948 to circumvent an arms boycott imposed by President Harry Truman on the Jewish fighters in Eretz Yisroel, he needed to smuggle about $1 million in cash to an Irish ship captain docked in the Port of New York. The young Kollek spotted Sinatra at the bar and, afraid of being intercepted by federal agents, asked for help. In the early hours of the morning, the singer went out the back door with the money in a paper bag and successfully delivered it to the pier.

The origins of Sinatra's love affair with the Jewish people are not clear but, for years, the Hollywood icon wore a small mezuzah around his neck, a gift from Mrs. Golden, an elderly Jewish neighbor who cared for him during his boyhood in Hoboken, N.J. (years later, he honored her by purchasing a quarter million dollars' worth of Israel bonds). He protected his Jewish friends, once responding to an anti-Semitic re mark at a party by simply punching the offender. Time magazine reported that Sinatra walked out on the christening of his own son when the priest refused to allow a Jewish friend to be the godfather. As late as 1979, he raged over the fact that a Palm Springs cemetery official in California declared that he could not arrange the burial of a deceased Jewish friend over the Thanksgiving holiday; Sinatra again -- threatened to punch him in the nose.

Sinatra famously played the role of a Jewish pilot in Cast a Giant Shadow, the 1966 film filmed in Israel and starring friend Kirk Douglas as Mickey Marcus, the Jewish-American colonel who fought and died in Israel's war for independence (Sinatra dive-bombs Egyptian tanks with seltzer bottles!) He donated his salary for the part to the Arab-Israeli Youth Center in Nazareth , and he also made a significant contribution to the making of Genocide, a film about the Holocaust, and helped raise funds for the film. Less known is Sinatra in Israel (1962), a short 45-minute featurette he made in which he sang In the Still of the Night and Without a Song. He also starred in The House I Live In (1945), a ten-minute short film made to oppose anti-Semitism at the end of World War II, which received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taliban Training Monkey Death Squads

Haven't been updating recently because I'm visiting the family. Usually don't like to deal with terrorism when I'm doing that. But I couldn't pass this up.

Chinese rumors that the Taliban is training monkey death squads to kill US troops.

That's right.


Apparently they said it's because the US tried a similar program back in Vietnam, and the decision was meant to be ironic. Well, it sure will be ironic when a clueless simian squad accidentally incinerates an entire Taliban compound with the RPGs the Taliban gave them.