Archive | January 2013

So frack already

Here’s the deal. We’ve said for like a hundred years and then some that G-d had a sense of humour when he gave the only tiny chunk of land in the Middle East to the Chosen People for their country that was devoid of any kind of natural resources. It didn’t seem like he chose too well for his chosen folks. Now, however, it turns out that we not only have the largest natural gas deposit, like ever found, on our coast but that our high and dry desert land is sitting atop the greatest shale oil resource practically on the planet. According to everything I’ve read, the amount of oil we are sitting on is more than Saudi Arabia has pumped or can pump before their wells run dry. We just can’t get at it with traditional oil wells but have to harvest it with a process called fracking.

Fox, Real Clear Politics, the NY Post and the Wall Street Journal have all run stories this week on our amazing shale oil deposit, fracking potential, and the idea that world-wide anti-Semitism is about to turn to dust over lust for our hidden oil. Dream on, folks. I’d say that they might fawn at our feet while grinding their teeth and feeling even more resentment below the surface. On the other hand, they may double-down on trying to make sure that we will lose our lands so that someone, anyone, other than us sits atop it, even if it means they don’t get any (because, hello, look at the neighbours who want to wipe up out and how well they manage their own countries/territories).

I don’t give a frack either way. If we do get fracking then if they fawn, well that will be nice for the couple hundred years it would last because at least we might even get treated equally to other nations for awhile; If they double down on the other option, well we’ve actually got a military that is the best in the world to make sure that is foiled. We should get fracking because folks here could use the economic uplift and, even more importantly, we can use the economic infusion to further research into the technological resources that will keep us afloat after the oil and gas are gone.

We’ve just signed a couple of important deals with Canada on fracking and we’ve just signed on the bottom line on a deal with Russia regarding sale of our natural gas. Ordinarily, at least in my lifetime, the U.S. would have been right in there ahead of everyone else and given preferential treatment but is now nowhere to be found — they didn’t even belly up to the bar. You might write that down as part of U.S. policy to stop new, and a large number of existing, traditional oil extraction domestic ventures, the x-naying of the Keystone pipeline, etc., but it doesn’t hold up well when you consider the government (tax-payer funded) investments in oil extraction south of the border in the last few years, with investments that don’t even give anything back to the U.S. What the frack?

Get fracking, already, I say.

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brrr

I guess our mini-spring is over. We had several days there where the temperatures got up into the nice range. Today, with all the rain, has come the cold again. I am so happy my Ema sent me a super warm (and quite stylish!) fuzzy zip-up jacket. I’m wearing it now. I’ve been too chilled to do any cleaning and, still being sick, took that as an excuse to curl up with umpteen cups of earl gray tea and a good book.

I did have one little visitor. There was a scratching and mewing outside my door and yes, there was the little black outside cat. When she manages to get inside the building now, she no longer runs up to the apartment her abandoning owners lived –no she has figured out where I live and comes directly here. Then sits and cries until I go down and feed her (and the other neighbourhood cats that come up when I do). She came in the brief window we had without rain (hail, lightening and thunder). About 15 minutes after she chowed down, the ‘weather’ started back again. It is raining like gangbusters outside now and I’ve got candles lit in case we loose the electricity with the lightening and thundering going on.

Caroline Glick: Bye-bye London

I’ve got my own comments, based on my own experiences spending extensive time in Europe from the mid-90s into the early 2000s, and the trends I’ve seen since which I will write up later this week. Suffice it to say for the moment, that, when I saw the same trends of thought starting to spread among America’s elite– among those who had strong influence in government, those charged with shaping the minds of the young, and those in position to shape public ‘reality’ — I picked myself up and made aliyah.

Glick’s post below about her experience debating essentially Israel’s right to exist there is quite an understatement. As Douglas Murray of the Gate Stone Institute, who witnessed the debate, writes “Unfortunately, and predictably, the smart London audience sided overwhelmingly with the local idiots, heckling and shouting down points made by the visiting team. The hostility – heckling, booing and more – shown towards Glick and Dayan was unique and appalling.”

Appalling, yes, but not so unique my friend. It has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time and we know from history that where the elites go, so too do the majority of the less informed masses.

In an interview with Haaretz in November 2010, British novelist Martin Amis said the following about discussions of Israel in his motherland:

I live in a mildly anti-Semitic country, and Europe is mildly anti-Semitic, and they hold Israel to a higher moral standard than its neighbors. If you bring up Israel in a public meeting in England, the whole atmosphere changes. The standard left-wing person never feels more comfortable than when attacking Israel. Because they are the only foreigners you can attack. Everyone else is protected by having dark skin, or colonial history, or something. But you can attack Israel. And the atmosphere becomes very unpleasant. It is traditional, snobbish, British anti-Semitism combined with present-day circumstances.

After participating last week in a debate in London about Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines organized by the self-consciously pretentious Intelligence Squared debating society, I can now say from personal experience that Amis is correct. The public atmosphere in England regarding Israel is ugly and violent.

The resolution we debated read: “Israel is destroying itself with its settlement policy. If settlement expansion continues Israel will have no future.”

My debating partner was Danny Dayan, the outgoing head of the Yesha Council.

We debated Daniel Levy, one of the founders of J-Street and the drafter of the Geneva Initiative, and the son of Lord Michael Levy, one of Tony Blair’s biggest fundraisers; and William Sieghart, a British philanthropist who runs a non-profit that among other things, champions Hamas. Levy has publicly stated that Israel’s creation was immoral. And Sieghart has a past record of saying that Israel’s delegitimization would be a salutary proces and calling for a complete cultural boycott of Israel while lauding Hamas.

We lost overwhelmingly. I think the final vote tally was something like 500 for the resolution and 100 against it.

A couple of impressions I took away from the experience: First, I can say without hesitation that I hope never to return to Britain. I actually don’t see any point. Jews are targeted by massive anti-Semitism of both the social and physical varieties. Why would anyone Jewish want to live there?

As to visiting as an Israeli, again, I just don’t see the point. The discourse is owned by anti-Israel voices. They don’t make arguments to spur thought, but to end it, by appealing to people’s passions.

For instance, in one particularly ugly segment, Levy made the scurrilous accusation that Israel systematically steals land from the Palestinians. Both Dayan and I demanded that he provide just one example of his charge. And the audience raged against us for our temerity at insisting that he provide substantiation for his baseless allegation. In the event, he failed to substantiate his allegation.

At another point, I was asked how I defend the Nazi state of Israel. When I responded by among other things giving the Nazi pedigree of the Palestinian nationalist movement founded by Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini and currently led by Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, the crowd angrily shouted me down.

I want to note that the audience was made up of upper crust, wealthy British people, not unwashed rabble rousers. And yet they behaved in many respects like a mob when presented with pro-Israel positions.

I honestly don’t know whether there are policy implications that arise from my experience in London last week. I have for a long time been of the opinion that Israel shouldn’t bother to try to win over Europe because the Europeans have multiple reasons for always being anti-Israel and none of them have anything to do with anything that Israel does. As I discuss in my book, these reasons include anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, addiction to Arab oil, and growing Muslim populations in Europe.

I was prepared to conduct a civilized debate based on facts and reasoned argumentation. I expected it to be a difficult experience. I was not expecting to be greeted by a well-dressed mob. My pessimism about Europeans’ capacity to avail themselves to reasoned, fact-based argumentation about Israel has only deepened from the experience.

One positive note, I had a breakfast discussion last Wednesday morning with activists from the Zionist Federation of Britain. The people I met are committed, warm, hardworking Zionists. I wish them all the best, and mainly that means, that I hope that these wonderful people and their families make aliyah.

While their work is worthwhile, there is no future for Jews in England.

U.S. condemns Arab Spring II

The first Arab Spring didn’t work out so well. Idealistic, young, secular Egyptians hoped to bring in a democratic regime that would recognize basic rights for all — equality of religions, of gender, of sexual orientation –and sparked nationwide protests in support. What they got was a take-over by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, which implemented Sharia in their country.

This means that women are relegated to subjugated and inferior positions, without the basic rights enjoyed by men and women in enlightened and democratic countries and, indeed, without basic rights at all. This means that those who follow any religion save Islam not only are second-class citizens but do not enjoy the basic guarantee of staying alive so long as they cling to their religion. This means that those who are not heterosexual not only do not have the right to live but must be killed.

International media, world leaders, including Obama most specifically, praised the first Arab Spring. Now that those who are protesting that, hey, this is NOT what we were protesting for and, indeed, is worse than what we had, there is media silence. Obama’s administration has even come out with condemnation. Silly me. I thought the U.S. was supposed to be a beacon and light for freedom. Well, things do change.

Murdoch paper published grostesquely anti-Semitic cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day

Drawing on the theme of blood libel, the cartoon, which depicted Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, building a wall using what appeared to be the blood of Palestinians as cement, was featured in one of Murdoch’s leading newspapers, The Sunday Times.

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, said: “This cartoon would be offensive at any time of the year, but to publish it on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is sickening and expresses a deeply troubling mindset.”

Israel’s parliamentary speaker, Reuven Rivlin, wrote in a letter to his British counterpart John Bercow: “For the people of Israel, this is a cartoon which recalls the dark journalism from one of humankind’s darkest periods.”

Murdoch issued an apology — via Twitter. His newspaper, however, stood by the publication until some prominent world leaders (suffice it to say, not Obama) reacted with shock and disgust.

Arab-Israeli scientist makes big contribution to country

We’ve just had the opening of the Moona science, environment and space center in Sakhnin. NASA officials were in attendance.

The center offers Galilee residents the opportunity to learn about personal development and creating collaborations with people from various fields and backgrounds for the sake of developing educational, social and business initiatives and solving regional issues.

The participating founder, Asaf Brimer, who served as a combat pilot in the Israel Air Force told Ynet that “the idea is to take space and utilize it technologically for the economic and social development of the region.

“We have the challenge of creating a common living space, especially in the Galilee which is known as a peripheral area; suffering from ongoing economic and social laggardness and from negative immigration.”

The brainchild behind the project, however, is Dr. Hussein Tarbia, who initiated the project more than a year ago.

“The idea arose a year ago, when I partook in an Israeli delegation for negotiations in South Africa. NASA officials arrived there and presented to the entire world what they can contribute environmentally via space and then I began thinking how I can integrate these things in our activities in Sakhnin and to establish a science, environment and space center.

“When I returned to Israel, I connected with other bodies that came up with similar projects [around the world], and now it has come to light,” Tarbia said.

medical miracles –maybe for Sharon

It was pretty exciting to read that Arik Sharon is showing significant brain activity when shown pictures of his kids and other family members. He’s been in a coma, with no brain activity, since 2005. If I were to go into a coma, (knock wood but just sayin’ in the unlikely event) I’d want to just be turned off. Bye, sayonara. BUT, I don’t think people should be turned off if they haven’t explicitly expressed that wish. I remember reading last year in Israel HaYom about the girl here who had been in a car accident and was in a coma, with no brain activity and unable to breathe on her own, for more than three years. On the very day the doctors convinced the family to pull the plug she opened her eyes and grabbed the nurses’ arm. They were literally about to disconnect her and let her die. While she had to re-learn everything (walking, talking etc) she progressed extremely fast, shocking everyone, and was released from the hospital just a couple of months later. She started university this past fall.

The other miracle story I read about today was about the British twins who were born at only 23 weeks and who both survived and now, at 7 months, have completely caught up developmentally to where they should be if they’d gone full term. The article mentioned that there is another set of twins in the U.K. that were born at only 22 weeks and they are now two years old and indistinguishable from any other two year old that was born at the normal time in terms of development and abilities.