Sunday, August 31, 2014

SodaStream update 8/31/14:

As per a report in (, George Soros, in early August, sold the 550,000 shares in SodaStream he had purchased in May.

The purchase of those shares caused Soros, champion of civil liberties and of open societies that he has been, to be vilified by BDS founder Omar Barghouti.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sodastream (briefly) revisited

A piece in today's NY Times (8/29/14, "With Gaza War, Movement to Boycott Israel Gains Momentum in Europe") says:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Muslim World Is Aflame

I'm embarrassed to post this because it should be obvious. Then again, maybe not.

Israel could stop seizing West Bank land tomorrow and move to real negotiations for a Palestinian state. No question it should do both things. But in the unlikely event it does these things, Bashar al-Assad would still be using every weapon he can access to utterly exterminate the Syrian opposition to his dictatorship, secular (what little there is or ever was of it) and hardcore Sunni alike; Iran would still be trying to dodge any regimen of inspections and sanctions to get its nuke; ISIS would still be raging barbarically in Iraq and Syria. . . or maybe instead of ISIS something similar if not worse.

The Muslim world is aflame. No telling how deep the infection goes or when it slows.

You can't blame it all on Israel, not even Netanyahu — nor the Palestinians, not even Hamas.

The Israeli-Palestinian struggle is just not the fulcrum of  Middle East events some — including me — used to think.

But it's true Americans think more about Israel and Israeli actions than we do, say, about Syrian action.

That's a given because:

1) The United States funds Israel far more per capita more than any other country.

Why do critics of the media spotlight on Israel forget that?

Arguments about BDS tend to keep critics of Israeli policy from addressing that fact, though it used to be fundamental to the critique of Israeli policy. No more: now it's about whether Israeli professors — mostly dovish  — can partake of academic powwows in the west.

Silly stuff.

Among the other things wrong with BDS is that it's a red herring, it diverts political energy.

The argument about whether the United States should fund the Israeli military as we do is worth having. The debate about Sodastream etc. much less so.

2) There are a lot of American Jews. Doesn't mean we support everything Israel does. By no means. But Peter Beinart is wrong to argue we, lots of us, don't care, have turned off, about Israel. We do care  and therefore are reliable consumers of news about Israel, good or bad. That's not going to change.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hybrids are us . . .

Fascinating piece on hybrid critters in the NY Times Magazine:**

The hybrids discussed include the polar/grizzly bear mix known as grolars or pizzlies  — “A warming Arctic is not a bad thing for grizzly bears". And the coywolf —"roughly one-quarter wolf and two-thirds coyote, with the rest being dog" — which is better adapted to heavily reforested New England than any of its forebears would be. And it includes us, since: "Everyone except sub-Saharan Africans carry a small quantity of Neanderthal DNA that includes traits possibly important for survival in Eurasian environments — immune-system and skin-pigmentation genes, among others."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In a post-Zionist world, Israel can't protect me.

Let me suggest people read an ongoing series in, "France’s Toxic Hate"

A recent post was about Mohamed Merah, perpetrator of the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March, 2012. When Merah received training from Islamists he at first objected to their orders; they had directed him to kill everyone who offended Islam as they interpreted it — "The gays, the homosexuals, the ones that kiss each other in public." But Merah reasoned that if he did that he would be written off as "just another crazy terrorist." So he decided, in order to be taken seriously, to "just kill militaries [police, army] and Jews."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Soros Barghouti hardware store Sodastream

Fred (Facebook friend, who was responding to a timely piece in Salon

about how when it came to the war in Gaza, everybody suddenly is a Middle-East expert, not to mention a strident critic of Israel),

Yep. and isn't it interesting these critics of Israel crawling out of the woodwork are whole hog: they don't just focus on Israeli overkill, as in Gaza, or on West Bank settlements. Nooo. They think the whole idea of Israel stinks. The very existence of the Jewish state bothers them no end. They act as if the very existence of Israel might, unless they act quick, cause cancer.

Nor, it should be said plainly, do they betray any sense of why such a Jewish State came into being, what drove it into being, and, in addition, why  it ain't going away.

Such critics stand with Omar Barghouti, founder and boss of BDS, when he screams and yells about Pope Francis visiting Herzl's grave, what an insult that was to the Palestinian people, to their cause, on the same trip the Pope visited with Mahmoud Abbas, clearly signaling his support for a Palestinian state.

So let me go whole counter-hog (why not, since I don't keep kosher, and have never chowed down on a counter-hog, though look forward): BDS — no, not everybody in it, it's not a centralized organization, and yet there is a leadership, namely Omar Bargouti — has damned George Soros on account of how he bought stock in Sodastream.

Sodastream, remember, the carbonated water maker Scarlett Johansson touted? Sodastream, built on West Bank land, which I still believe should not have happened. Sodastream, which nevertheless does in fact gainfully and respectfully employ some 500 Palestinians. . .

Sodastream: so who do you love, Scarlett Johansen or Omar Barghouti? Ok, not fair.

Who do you love, George Soros or Omar Barghouti.

That's more like it.

George Soros is a great liberal lion of a billionaire. The best really big money can buy.

Omar Barghouti would like to dig up Herzl and cast him out.

Soros? Barghouti?
Soros? Barghouti?

And the answer is!?

(Spoiler, not Barghouti.)

These facebook fights get wild. I have invested too much energy in them. But they have clarified certain things for me as to where I stand with regard to many critics of Israel (the staunch stalwart and uncompromising critics not only of Netanyahu and his works but of Herzl and his.)

Sodastream or not.
Soros or  Barghouti.

Went to my local hardware store, to look into Sodastream.

They had been leafleted by opponents of Sodastream, proponents of Barghouti.

I had been waffling about this for a long time.

Arguments on facebook helped me make a decision, and in the end, a purchase.

Soros v.  Barghouti.

Give me a break.