Monday, June 21, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Potato power

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 04:18 AM PDT

I've argued in the past that Israel's portrayal in the media is extremely unfair given the aid it provides to nations suffering from disasters. But there are other ways that Israel helps less developed nations. Engadget tells us (via memeorandum):

Researchers in Jerusalem have just announced they've developed super simple, sustainable, organic electric batteries which are powered by treated potatoes. Their findings have just been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, and detail uses of the batteries in the developing world where infrastructure is lacking. The apparently highly efficient battery is made from zinc and copper electrodes and a potato slice which has been boiled.

Yissum, the organization charged with licensing out technology developed at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is making this technology available at no charge to the developing world.

Elder of Ziyon suggests another benefit:

"Electric Potato" would be a great name for a '60s cover band.

I can't wait to hear "Incense and melted butter." :-)

Crossposted on Yourish.

Eroding israel's position, shoring up hamas

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 03:55 AM PDT

The New York Times reports:

Bowing to worldwide pressure and condemnation, Israel on Sunday formally announced an eased blockade of Gaza that could significantly expand the flow of goods overland into the impoverished coastal Palestinian enclave, isolated by the Israelis for three years. ... While Mr. Netanyahu did not signal an end to the naval blockade of Gaza or specify precisely what goods would be allowed, his action earned unusual praise from the Obama administration, which has been critical of Israel over the past year and has called the Gaza situation unsustainable.

The praise may have been unusual but it was not unqualified as the reporters were able to find several anonymous administration officials who were willing to express that this still wasn't enough:

Still, Israel did not agree to all American demands. Senior American officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the administration had been pressing Israel to open more land crossings, but that the Israelis were resisting, at least for now.

Both the White House and Mr. Blair signaled that Israel had not gone as far as they wished. "Plainly, there are still issues to be addressed," said Mr. Blair, the former British prime minister, "and the test of course will not be what is said, but what is done."

One senior American official echoed him. "We think this is a good move, but obviously implementation is key," he said. But he added: "Everything that we'd like to see is on there."

The administration's complete statement isn't yet up but Fox News quotes Robert Gibbs:

"Today, the United States welcomes the new policy towards Gaza announced by the government of Israel, which responds to the calls of many in the international community. Once implemented, we believe these arrangements should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

While, of course, the administration hails the move, Barry Rubin argues that it is a disaster in the making.

So, this is the future: A revolutionary Islamist statelet, an outpost of Iran, a base for spreading terrorism and subversion, a source for genocidal antisemitic propaganda has been established for the long term on the shores of the Mediterranean. For all practical purposes, one could have made this declaration tentatively two or four years ago. Now it is clear.

Some people might find the above paragraph to be controversial. But it is all obvious. Hamas will be in power in the Gaza Strip for a long time. Who is going to remove it? It is a client of Iran. Certainly it is under embargo for arms but it does function a lot like an independent state for daily practical purposes. It will return to war against Israel at the first opportunity. It teaches its people to kill Jews and wipe Israel off the map and to be terrorists. That doesn't mean all Gazans support it, but those who don't can do nothing about it. Moreover, the Hamas regime receives indirect aid due to the Palestinian Authority paying much of its civil service and Western projects designed to help its people.

Yes, of course there are limits on what it can do given its size and the pressure still put on by Egypt and Israel. But indeed the above paragraph is an accurate description. Putting it bluntly sounds harsh, but the reality is harsh indeed.

And what could be more ironic than the fact that Western governments frantic for an Israeli-Palestinian peace have just helped put one more gigantic roadblock in the way of such an outcome? Even without Hamas ruling almost half of those under Palestinian rule, the Palestinian Authority probably wouldn't be able to make peace. The consolidation of a Hamas state makes that inability a certainty.

While a change in Israeli policy can be said to mark this new era, the outcome should not be blamed on the Israeli government since the situation was already in place and made inevitable by Western policy. The world has no idea what it has done, how many bad things and how much bloodshed will arise from this failure. In future, it will become very familiar with this reality. People will write about this being true in five or ten years. You are reading about it right now.

In addition Turkey, which has lately been aligning itself with Iran attacked Kurdish territories in Iraq and Iran hanged a Sunni "rebel" leader.

Iran hanged a Sunni rebel leader, Abdul-Malik Rigi, on Sunday morning after a revolutionary court found him guilty of 79 criminal charges, the ISNA news agency reported.

(The last sentence is interesting:

His younger brother, Abdul-Hamid Rigi, was captured in Pakistan in 2008 and executed in Iran last month.

It doesn't say he was extradited from Pakistan, suggesting that it was Iran who captured him.)

So Israel's retreat seemingly encourages an Iranian client. Is there any positive here?

Well at least the administration has taken a first step to making Al Qaeda happy (via memeorandum):

Adam Gadahn called on President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, end support for Israel, stop intervening in the affairs of Muslims, and free Muslim prisoners.

One last point I see (via memeorandum) that an Israel hating leftist sees this as not enough, but a good starting point:

But I also think that the Gaza Flotilla episode has undermined something crucial in the united-we-stand wall that the US and Israeli have presented to the world. Such crises will come easier and can be smaller now, garnering positive publicity gradually through events that will not all be as shocking as the Flotilla attack. By forcing this small retreat, future Israeli and U.S. retreats will come easier and faster. Thus, although it sticks in my craw to countenance a lack of legal accountability for the Flotilla assault, I'll reluctantly take the product, if that leads to a wall being tore down, instead.

Crossposted on Yourish.

But do they allow jews?

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 03:40 AM PDT

If you check out the application form for NYU Abu Dhabi there's typical non-discrimination language:

Students will be chosen without regard to economic status, race, religion, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation.

But a NYT article about the university reminds us:

The project carries risks. While Abu Dhabi is a relatively modern, multicultural Muslim state, homosexual acts are illegal and the Internet is censored. And there is no guarantee that the seemingly limitless resources of its oil-rich government will remain so, given the precarious global economy and Middle East politics.

So is the non-discrimination statement as inclusive as it sounds? Or if they discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, is it possible that they also discriminate on the basis of religion? (I don't know the answer to either question, but my guess is that they do discriminate on the basis of religion; the article doesn't address that.)

On the other hand King Abdullah University of Science and Technology doesn't have a non-discrimination policy. This is as close as the official information comes to admitting that it will not admit Jews.

Yes. KAUST is merit-based and welcomes men and women from around the world

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