Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Answering Israel’s critics

Six clichés you are likely to hear constantly in the coming days, and why they’re false

Yigal Walt

1) “Israel’s response in Gaza is disproportionate”

Since when is war a mathematical equation? The basic objective of any warring party is to inflict maximal damage on the enemy while minimizing its own casualties. Was there anything proportional about the US war in Iraq? Or about Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait for that matter? Or about Russia’s recent war against Georgia? Israel is doing exactly what any other country has done in the past. This is how war works.

Would a British citizen complain that “too few” British soldiers are being killed in Iraq? Probably not.

And on a more elementary note: Palestinian military inferiority is not an indication of moral superiority. Palestinian insistence on resorting to violence despite this military weakness is an indication of poor judgment perhaps – yet it is by no means an indication of moral virtue. Being militarily weak does not make the Palestinians right.

2) “But Qassams don’t kill”

Actually, Qassams do kill. Not too often, perhaps, but dozens of Israelis were killed and wounded by rocket fire in recent years. Moreover, at this time the Palestinians are firing long-range Grad rockets with even greater explosive power. Such rockets killed 2 Israelis Monday.

Yet beyond the casualty figures, the psychological damage caused as result of living under an ongoing rocket threat is immeasurable. Would anyone in the West agree to have their family live under constant rocket attacks and be regularly woken up by sirens in the middle of the night? Would anyone living under such conditions appreciate being told that “these rockets don’t kill?” Probably not.

3) “It’s all because of Israel’s siege. Israel should allow aid into Gaza.”

Israel has allowed goods into Gaza regularly throughout the “siege”. Palestinians have been able to complement these deliveries with supplies smuggled through hundreds of tunnels (of course, they would likely be able to bring in even more food had they not used the tunnels to smuggle in missiles.).

The day before operation “Cast Lead” got underway, Israel allowed dozens of trucks carrying aid to enter the Strip. On Tuesday, another 100 trucks – double the normal number –are expected to enter Gaza after Defense Minister Barak approved the move.

In short, Israel is allowing aid into the Strip (but guess who has kept Gaza crossings mostly closed thus far? That’s right, Egypt.)

4) “Why didn’t Israel just agree to renew the Gaza truce?”

First, what truce? Terror groups continued to fire rockets throughout the lull, even if somewhat infrequently, and even if the world didn’t seem to care too much. Nonetheless, Israel clearly declared that it is interested in extending the truce. Our top officials made it clear time and again.

Yet Hamas leaders clearly declared that the truce has ended on December 19th, and proceeded to bombard southern Israeli communities with dozens of rockets daily. In short, it is no wonder that even the Egyptians are blaming Hamas this time.

5) “But Hamas was elected democratically – why can’t Israel accept it?”

Although Hamas won the Palestinian elections, it took Gaza by force, in the process hurling rival Fatah members down to their death from high-rises and shooting others in the knees with the declared aim of maiming them. Some democracy.

In any case, Israel in fact “recognizes,” de facto, Hamas’ rule in Gaza, which is precisely why it is justified in attacking the Hamas-ruled Strip, recognizing that it is indeed being governed by a terror entity. Israel did not launch the operation because Hamas is in power there – rather, it did so because Hamas is a terrorist organization that has deliberately targeted civilians with thousands of rockets over the past 8 years.

6) “Israel is targeting civilians”

You mean to say that “one of the most powerful armies in the world” has been bombing Gaza for days, deploying massive air power, dropping hundreds of bombs, and ultimately killing a grand total of 50 civilians or so in the “most crowded place on earth?”

There are two options here: A) The Israeli army is not targeting civilians, or B) Israeli pilots suck. We tend to go with option A.

Indeed, Israel goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, by deploying precise ammunition and specialized techniques. In fact, nobody in the world does this better than the Jewish State.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Apartheid System
These are the names my friends at home use to describe my home. They reach their hand out in solidarity to Palestine while spitting on Israel. As if we don't want peace, or we don't care about the humanitarian crisis.
Dear World,
We do care. We care because we live this everyday. It was only last week I warned my friend that it's been quiet for too long. And then the arguments begin, they begin with accusations, as if this war has a simple answer. As if this decades-long conflict can be resolved. GIVE them back their land my friends shout at me from their comfortable homes in the States. Stop building that wall! What they don't understand is that Palestinians and Israeli's want peace more than anyone. We want to get on buses and move around in the dirt below our shoes. We want to focus on birthdays and new years parties.
I could write paragraph after paragraph defending Israel. But all my time and effort is diminished because of the media, because it's easier to accuse when you've never stepped foot in this land. Because you simply refuse to understand.
But I will actively promote a article that says more than I can in my frustration.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark your Calendar

Christmas Video to my non-Jewish friends.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bush Shoe Throwing Incident

The President Bush Shoe throwing incident has now been made into an interactive game online- to be enjoyed by the masses. Surprisingly, it is a tad addictive. I played it twice in a row.
Click HERE to play.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

it's SO cold TOday.

I'm Blowing in the Jerusalem wind.
I'm holy blown away.
The sky is white and the wind bites.
On this cold Jerusalem DayeeeEEEeeeee.
Du Du Du DU Dududududud Du Du Du

Photo: Pam Krahn

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukkah

Tonight is the first night of Channukah. Let us all dance joyously draped in chocolate donuts and celebrate the miracle of the oil.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My first oil painting

I picked up a paintbrush for the first time since I was probably about four when I painted a butterfly for my mom when I was in preschool in Germany.
P Bonez and I had an artsy night last night trying to paint "Tree". Figured it was a good place for my amateur eye to start and influential enough for P Bonez to explore a more abstract side of art.
After all, with the credit crunch, perhaps we will have to sell our creations to keep our toes warm.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shakespeare and Company

I was surprised to come upon this video on CNN. In 2001, I was travelling in Morocco and when my friends and I found ourselves on the coast in Essaouria. Where white horses ran the beach and Jim Hendrix was known to have a castle. The windows were painted with blue trim and there was a castle-esque Medina around this beautiful town.
We found ourselves in a modest hotel with a rooftop terrace, where we could walk up to and listen to the drum circles around us. The sun would set and we'd wait to see the ever famous green flash of the evening sun when it dipped into the horizon. The friends we made on that rooftop all seemed to come from that one book store in Paris. Some Americans, some friends- a Canadian. It was there I became close friends with a Parisian name Caroline, and months later, I would visit her at Shakespeare and Co. Proudly buy a book and treasure the stamped logo of the famous book store.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twi The Humble Feather

I shamelessly promote the great Twi The Humble Feather. After all, the man on the right is my own flesh and blood.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Last night I dreamt of large horses and long paths to beautiful gardens. Lots of green and slightly damp, water sparkled and sun bled into the sky. I enter an old, building, possibly a mansion- full of echoes and large lamps hanging from tall corridors.
Our horses are parked outside and we're finely dressed. There is a cocktail party inside, filled with verboten appetizers that melt inside our rapacious mouths. The atmosphere is relaxed, haunting music is playing and the sounds of the guests turn into a murmured hum. The blood red sun is seeping into the large iron-trimmed windows, pushing golden rays through the squares and pouring onto the Persian carpet that covers the cold stone floors of this mansion.
We get up to leave. Our horses are becoming restless outside and need to be fed. The evenings are becoming too cool anyway. We need to be home before the chill sets into our bones.
We walk back towards the long corridor and I notice a white board in the hallway.
I pick up the black felt marker and write:
My heels click as I walk to my horse.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

From a friend

A friend of mine wrote this for me. Which could possibly be the biggest honour ever. Someone taking the time to create poetry, just for me. Loves it.

Sometimes I like to imagine you in your youth.
Pre-tatooed, the girl who begged her mother to be a cheerleader in cookie-cutter Oklahoma.
Fresh faced. innocent, but still possessing the spark within.
And sometimes I like to imagine you in your youth, anarchist punk rock
rockstar boxer going against father's wishes
teenage rebellion taking over
Tell me when you got your first tattoo
and the next and the next until you got your last
Tell me when you lost your virginity
When Thailand became the answer
When Thailand became the problem
Tell me about the time you first fell in love
Tell me about the time you began to fall in love every day with the same person
Sometimes I like to picture you as a child,
innocent walking hand-in-hand with your brother on German streets
covered in snow as pure as you.
Because at that age we're all that pure and out of harm's way.
Sometimes I imagine you four years ago. You don't know me yet and I'm not sure if I wish you did.
And sometimes I wish you had my shoulder to lean on when you just needed it.
See, everytime I imagine you it's as a pillar of strength even when you're at your weakest.
I guess it's because that's the only way I know you.
An inspiration to the masses, this is a job you didn't volunteer for
but someone must've thought you'd be up to it.
And sometimes I like to imagine you as life would've had it.
Which is as you are now.
A beacon of hope
A testament to fate and faith and love
Living proof that G-d exists and tests us all
That we all have our own paths to follow
And sometimes when I'm looking for inspiration and strength
I imagine you - past, present and future all wrapped into one
Equal parts lover and fighter
Imagine the someday mother
who will one day raise a nation from her loins
Make ancestors proud as she leads her tribe into
a mango and tutu revolution.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

15 minutes to change the world.

Dearest Tsiki,

Today you would have been 27 years old. Although a few years have passed, my sentimentality has become a part of me. Although you have ceased to come into my dreams, I'd like to believe there is something intentional about it. Last week, I felt you in every moment that passed. We have conversations in my mind and I know this is how it's supposed to be. It would be a lie to say that I don't feel you're presence, or that you are not looking out for the ones you love here, but I simply know people cannot leave the ones they love- they place birds on a tree for us so we can notice them in the early morning, right outside of our windows. They let us see rainbows and shapes in the clouds. They give us a boost in the form of unexplainable optimism when times are dark and feelings of hopelessness are aroused and nurtured by our sour spirits.
Sometimes I tear up at night, thinking about my own life experiences that make me feel so ancient sometimes. I can admit I become afraid when my heart explodes with love for my husband and for the life I lead. Every time I exit the Ben Gurion airport I am always reminded of my first visit to this land, the flowers and the balloons you held for me and the country you introduced to me that I never left.
There is trauma in my soul that I hope will evaporate with time- but because there was so much goodness in knowing and loving you, I am reminded of how fragile life can be. I am reminded in the news and in other stories from those I have come to know since you left us. We cannot control what tomorrow holds for us, but we can definately create memories that warms us so we have nothing to regret when that moment happens that changes our lives forever.
Your family continues to be one of the most important pieces of my life here in Israel. My love for them has grown from our history together but also provides me with such a strong foundation so I can continue to grow with David. I know you are proud. Thank you so much for showing me this world. I look forward to more chirping birds outside of my window.