Friday, June 23, 2006

Leaving the nest

The hardest balance a parent must strike are the simeltaneous desire to teach his/her child independence while still keeping the child close. In recent weeks - and in the near future - all my children have taken steps toward leaving the nest.

Our oldest just got certified by Microsoft for Excel. She took the certification test in lieu of a computer final. In a few days she's headed off to camp; but she's an expert with that by now. But when she comes back, she's planning on driving lessons.

The next just completed middle school and is preparing for Yeshiva next year. Which Yeshiva he would attend was his own decision. He also was a contributing photographer to his yearbook. And we just received word that he won an honor for academic achievement.

Our middle child just started Bar Mitzvah lessons. In a little more than a week he's scheduled to go to Israel for 3 weeks with my parents. (At which time, he will hopefully be getting his Tefillin.)

#4 just completed reading all 6 Harry Potter books. And he's only 7 1/2.

And our four year old just got her ears pierced. And if she's allowed she might well be in kindergarten next year.

Each of them progressing in his or her own way, getting ready for the day when, inevitably he or she will leave our nest.

Time marches on.

No wonder I have so many grey hairs in my beard.

ps Pictures courtesy of child #2. There was a nest in our dogwood tree. Yesterday the (apparently) two eggs hatched and one of the chicks fell to the ground.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The acceptable hate
A number of bloggers have commented on the International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC) decision to finally allow the Mogen David Adom admittance. Of course the MDA's admission is under conditions that renders it less equal than other member organizations: MDA's symbol is enclosed in a "Red Crystal," if members of the MDA are working in a country that doesn't approve of a Jewish Star then they may only wear the crystal.

The basic unfairness and obvious capitulation to antisemitism cannot be overstated. Still this is an accomplishment on some level, but this cannot be the final status.

However this is the ICRC's mission statement:
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.

By taking the irrational Arab/Muslim demand into account the ICRC arguably is violating its impartiality and neutrality.

Consider Article 38 of the original Geneva convention
Art. 38. As a compliment to Switzerland, the heraldic emblem of the red cross on a white ground, formed by reversing the Federal colours, is retained as the emblem and distinctive sign of the Medical Service of armed forces.

Nevertheless, in the case of countries which already use as emblem, in place of the red cross, the red crescent or the red lion and sun on a white ground, those emblems are also recognized by the terms of the present Convention.

Even though the MDA preceded the 1949 convention it was the one insignia that was not allowed to convert to a member organization. This compromise perpetuates that injustice.

Keep in mind that the symbol that offends the ICRC, does so because it offends the Arab/Muslim world. Just this week Ghana's John Pantsil - who plays on an Israeli soccer team - celebrated his nation's World Cup victory by producting an Israeli flag. Unfortunately, that simple act of appreciation had consequences as a number of bloggers noticed.

The cowardly reaction of the Ghana Football Association as recorded by the BBC was
Akufo-Addo met ambassadors from the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria and Morocco and apologised to them.

"The incident was the act of an individual, who was completely ignorant of its political and diplomatic implications, and clearly had no official support," he said on Thursday.

"The government of Ghana deeply regrets this act by one of our citizens.

"Ghana has not drifted from its even-handed diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli conflict and we hope that this incident will not affect our relations with our Arab brothers and sisters."

Yes let's be evenhanded, we mustn't offend Muslims by dignifying Israel's existence. Yes let's be neutral and impartial by abiding by the hateful prejudice the Muslim world displays towards the world's one Jewish state.

The acceptability of Arab/Islamic antisemitism in a world that claims to abhor mindless hatred is a disgrace. Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post have condemned these outrages in editorials. Antisemitism disguised as hatred of Israel reamains respectable even among the enlightened.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Garlasco did not change his mind
Despite a report in the Jerusalem Post that Human Rights Watch activist Marc Garlasco changed his mind, the Human Rights Watch website says otherwise. In a dispatch dated June 20, 2006 after meeting with Gen. Klifi Garlasco said “An investigation that refuses to look at contradictory evidence can hardly be considered credible ... The IDF’s partisan approach highlights the need for an independent, international investigation.”

So what happened?

In addition to the IDF investigation, Daled Amos - Hurray For Pallywood--At Gaza Beach - reported that a German newspaper raised a number of significant questions about the filming of the tragedy.
In the footage taped by an IDF drone during the attack, you can see five craters left by IDF artillery shells, but 250 meters away people could also be seen--but no one is seen running away or showing any signs of fear.

Irbad told the German newspaper that paramedics told him about what had happened and took him to the scene--but there are no paramedics on the scene until later in the footage, apparently indicating that Irbad was actually the first on the scene.

And if Irbad was the first one there, why were most bodies covered by sheets--who was there before to cover the bodies?

According to Irbad, that reason that Hadil Ghalia was not injured, is because she was swimming--but the footage he took shows here fully clothed and dry.

The newspaper notes that there is a shot of a man carrying a rifle next to the dead body of Hadil's father--but in earlier footage, the same man can be seen lying on the beach along with the injured.

Irbad's footage shows paramedics in green clothes and a dozen bearded men looking for evidence on the beach--but the question is whether those are Hamas affiliates and why they were preoccupied with collecting evidence instead of helping the injured.

Irbad said the reason he filmed Hadil istead of trying to calm her is that: "She asked me to film her. She wanted to be seen next to her father to show the world the crimes that Israel is committing."--but the newspaper asks, "Did the shocked 10-year-old girl, who had lost her father minutes earlier, give the cameraman direction instructions?"

He also linked to Deja Vu, who quoted from an e-mail sent by Dr. Michael Bayme
Some of you may have been following the tragic story of a Gazan family that was destroyed by some sort of bomb last friday. The world of course chose to blame Israel - without verifying any facts. The fact that Israel immediately accepted all the victims to its hospitals was seen as an admission of guilt, and not as a humanitarian gesture.
There is now incontrovertible proof that Israel did not cause the tragedy - shell fragments extracted from one bomb victim match the types of bombs made by Hamas - and not Israeli artillery shells. How do I know? I received the victim last Sunday (at 2:00 am), operated on her until 5am, and have re-operated every night since. Now she's out of danger, and will survive to rejoin her family.

AbbaGav, by the way is right.

Clearly Garlasco and Human Rights Watch want an independent inquiry. Did Garlasco say one thing in the presence of the Jerusalem Post's reporters to avoid further questioning and then say what was expected of him when he returned to headquarters? Or did the Jerusalem Post get it wrong?

The Washington Post, for its part, suggests that there's been no change in Garlasco's opinion
Also this month, an explosion on a beach in northern Gaza killed eight Palestinian civilians. Palestinian officials and a rights group have said an Israeli artillery shell may have caused the blast. Israel has denied involvement.

While there seems to be a bit more uncertainty "may have caused" is not definite, the "rights group" still seems to contradict Israel's version.

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