A synagogue was attacked by around 20 masked men while hosting a youth party in Gothenburg, Sweden, local media have reported.
Police arrived at the scene, where Jewish students had taken refuge in the basement.A police spokesman said: “There are several molotov cocktails that have been thrown against the synagogue.”It’s about bottles and gasoline.”A fire broke out between vehicles in the car park, fire fighter Kristoffer Wahter told local news.
No injuries were caused and the building did not catch fire, Police inspector Peter Nordengard said.Initial local media reports suggest the group was around 20 men wearing masks carried out the attack.
He said: “We are in place with a number of units.”Online police have said: “We do not know much more than there are several molotov cocktails that have been thrown against the synagogue.”
Authorities have asked for asked for information on possible suspects from the local community. Security forces arrived at the scene around 10.10pm local time (9.10pm GMT).
The incident comes after protests in nearby Malmo were reported to by shout anti-Semitic chants while protests Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Police were at the scene at 10.10pm local time
There is no suggestion the incidents are linked.
The US President’s decision was greeted by international condemnation as his fellow world leaders spoke out against the move.A “Day of Rage” was called in Palestine with protests held across the world, including the UK. Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Shapiro writes: Barack Obama has done his best for nearly eight years to undermine the state of Israel. He’s signed a treaty that enshrines an Iranian path to a nuclear weapon while funding their global terrorist activities to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. He’s repeatedly undercut Israel’s image on the world stage, labeling Israel a mere outgrowth of the Holocaust and suggesting that Israeli intransigence stands as the chief obstacle to peace. He’s ushered Benjamin Netanyahu out the side door of the White House, attempted to undercut the prime minister’s speech before Congress, and then deployed an election team to Israel to try to defeat him in an election. Obama has tried to cut weapons shipments to Israel in the middle of a war against terrorists, forced Israel to apologize for stopping weapons shipments to Hamas terrorists, and funded the Palestinian terrorist unity government with American taxpayer dollars.
“Here’s the most plausible explanation: Obama despises Israel because at root, Obama despises the traditional Judeo-Christian underpinning of Western civilization. He breaks down Bible believers into two categories: fools and liars. The fools are the ‘bitter clingers,’ the idiot masses who fall into racism and xenophobia and Bible jabber because they’re poor and stupid. The liars are the self-interested characters who want to do what they want to do while citing the Bible for their support.”
Nonetheless, Israel has survived.
Actually, Israel has thrived.
It’s thrived, in part, because Obama’s absolute incompetence has created an alliance of convenience between Israel and its erstwhile enemies. Saudi Arabia is more fearful of a nuclear Iran than of Israel; Egypt worries more about the Muslim Brotherhood than about Israel; Jordan frets over the Palestinians more than it does over Israel. Even the Palestinian Authority is more concerned about Hamas and ISIS than about Israel.
That means that there’s been very little pressure on Israel to make concessions to Palestinian terrorists in recent years.
Obama’s animus for the state of Israel stretches beyond the typical internationalist leftist view of Israel as a colonialist outpost, a cancer growing in the heart of the Muslim Middle East. Most internationalist leftists think that Israel is the cause of Muslim ire, that if Israel were to disappear, suddenly the Muslim lands surrounding it would view the rest of the world with fresh, dewy eyes. This is the same general philosophy that blames the West for the problem of Islamic violence, that suggests that income maldistribution breeds discontent that in turn breeds terrorism.
Obama may think that, but that’s not what drives him.
Something deeper drives Obama when it comes to Israel. Why else would he spend the last few weeks of his presidency throwing gasoline on Israel and then lighting a match?
Some might suggest ideological kinship with Islam. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Netanyahu Exposes US Treachery in UN Vote, Slams Obama, Kerry; ‘Friends Don’t Take Friends to the Security Council’Posted: December 26, 2016
Source: New York Post
“What happened today is that the United States joined the jackals at the U.N. That was a phrase used by Pat Moynihan, the great Democratic senator, the former U.S. ambassador who spoke for the United States standing up in the U.N. and to resist this kind of disgrace. To give you an idea of how appalling this resolution is, it declares that any Jew who lives in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter, inhabited for 1,000 years, is illegal, breaking international law, essentially an outlaw, can be hauled into the international criminal court and international courts in Europe, which is one of the consequences. The Jewish quarter has been populated by Jews for 1,000 years. In the war of Independence in 1948, the Arabs invaded Israel to wipe it out. They did not succeed, but the Arab Legion succeeded in conquering the Jewish quarter. They expelled all the Jews. They destroyed all the synagogues and all the homes. For 19 years, no Jew could go there. The Israelis got it back in the Six-Day War. Now it’s declared that this is not Jewish territory. Remember, it’s called “the Jewish quarter,” but it belongs to other people. And any Jew who lives there is an outlaw. That’s exactly what we supported. The resolution is explicit in saying settlements in the occupied territories and in east Jerusalem.”
The Israeli official’s admission marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the last eight years and signaled an era of close ties between Israel and the incoming Trump administration.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Josef Federman reports: An Israeli official on Friday accused President Barack Obama of colluding with the Palestinians in a “shameful move against Israel at the U.N.” after learning the White House did not intend to veto a Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem the day before.
“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.. The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory.”
“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.,” the official said. “The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory,” he said calling it “an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN.”
Israel PM’s Office releases tough condemnation of Obama after UN vote pic.twitter.com/00i1NGDVJb
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) December 23, 2016
Earlier he said Israel’s prime minister turned to President-elect Donald Trump to help head off the critical U.N. resolution.
“Under heavy Israeli pressure, Egypt called off a planned vote in the Security Council hours before it was to take place. In the diplomatic activity ahead of the postponement, both Netanyahu and Trump issued nearly identical statements urging the U.S. to veto the measure.”
Although the U.S. opposes the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block resolutions condemning Israel, saying that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through negotiations. But after eight years of failed peace efforts during the Obama Administration, Israel has expressed concern the outgoing president would take an audacious step to leave his mark on the region. In recent weeks, the White House had been especially secretive about its deliberations.
The Israeli official’s admission marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the last eight years, and signaled an era of close ties between Israel and the incoming Trump administration.
Israel knew even before the Egyptian draft resolution that the White House was planning an “ambush” and coordinating it with the Palestinians, said another Israeli official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal diplomatic conversations.
Israeli diplomats believe they were misled by the U.S. during a meeting last week between high-ranking Israeli and Obama administration officials in which the U.S. side offered reassurances about its efforts to support Israel but declined to explicitly state that the U.S. would veto such a resolution if it came up. The Israelis told their counterparts that “friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” the official said. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Trump Opposing U.N. Israel Resolution ‘Extremely Effective and Extremely Daring’Posted: December 23, 2016
The U.N. was expected to vote today on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, and reports indicate that Obama was ready to allow the resolution to pass until Egypt put off the vote. President-elect Donald Trump put pressure on Egypt not to go forward with the resolution, and it seems to have had an effect. Charles Krauthammer said that the resolution could have done serious damage to Israel, making Trump’s involvement bold and effective.
Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated as wildfires rage through parts of the Israeli city of Haifa, the third largest in the country. On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.
Huge flames are being fanned by strong winds in residential areas in the north of the city of about 250,000.
“It’s likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic. I don’t want to disturb the investigation.”
— Roni Alsheich
Fires are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.
Israel’s police chief said arson was suspected in some cases and hinted that some of it could be politically motivated.
“It’s likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic,” Roni Alsheich told reporters, adding: “I don’t want to disturb the investigation.”
“Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav said there were indications that one of the fires started when ‘someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids’ in an industrial zone.”
On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.
Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav said there were indications that one of the fires started when “someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids” in an industrial zone.
Four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with a fire near Jerusalem and are due to appear in court on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently.
“Four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with a fire near Jerusalem and are due to appear in court on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently.”
The Palestinian Authority has offered to help Israel’s fire department, a senior Israeli security official told the BBC, but has not yet received a reply.
Meanwhile, hundreds of military reservists have been called up to help battle the three-day outbreak of fires. Read the rest of this entry »
The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was consecrated in 1855 as an Episcopal church called Trinity Chapel. It has been Serbian Orthodox since the 1940s.
“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad. I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”
“For this to happen on such a holy day, I don’t know what to say,” said Alex Velic, a 31-year-old churchgoer, as enormous fireballs erupted from the shattered windows of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava on West 25th Street.
“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad,” he said. “I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”
A force of 170 firefighters responded to the fire, which started shortly before 7 p.m., FDNY officials said. Church officials and the FDNY both said there were no reports of major injuries, though three firefighters and a church caretaker had minor smoke inhalation.
“Nobody is hurt, everyone is safe,” explained Father Djokan Majstorovic, dean of the cathedral.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said there had been 700 people inside the church earlier in the day for the Orthodox Easter service. He added that the cause of the fire at the historic house of worship is still under investigation.
“It’s a very sad day today,” Nigro said. “They had their Mass at 10 a.m. and then a luncheon. The good news is that there was no one inside when the fire started and there are no injuries. One man is being checked out for smoke inhalation.” Read the rest of this entry »
A video posted by a Jordanian-Palestinian teacher on Facebook shows his young daughter holding a large knife and declaring, “I want to stab a Jew,” the watchdog group MEMRI reported, amid an ongoing surge of stabbings and other terror attacks by Palestinians on Israelis.
“Why do you want to stab the Jew?”
Abdulhaleem Abuesha, a teacher in the Madaba refugee camp in Jordan, posted the clip on Friday. MEMRI translated and highlighted it on Tuesday.
“Because he stole our land.”
After his daughter Rahf, standing in front of the refrigerator in the kitchen, declares her desire to stab a Jew, Abuesha asks, “Why do you want to stab the Jew?”
“With what do you want to stab them?”
“Because he stole our land,” she replies.
“With a knife.”
Her father confirms approvingly: “They stole our land.” He then asks, “With what do you want to stab them?” Read the rest of this entry »
France simply doesn’t have the stomach for it.
David P. Goldman writes: Ignored in news coverage of the Paris massacre is the single most pertinent piece of background: A 2014 opinion poll found that ISIS had an approval rating in France (at 16%) almost as high as President Francois Holland (at 18%). In the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, ISIS’ support jumped to 27%. Muslims comprise about a tenth of France’s population, so the results imply that ISIS had the support of the overwhelming majority of French Muslims (and especially Muslim youth), as well as the endorsement of a large part of the non-Muslim Left.
“Finding a needle in a haystack is possible only when the haystack helps you find the needles. The French authorities would have to persuade its own Muslim community to turn informer against its radicalized youth.”
Reporting the survey, conducted by the polling organization ICM for a Russian news service, Newsweek’s France correspondent Anne-Elizabeth Moutet wrote, “This is the ideology of young French Muslims from immigrant backgrounds, unemployment to the tune of 40%, who’ve been deluged by satellite TV and internet propaganda.”
“Muslim community leaders would have to fear the French state more than they fear their own radicals, and this would require a large number of arrests, deportations, and other coercive actions. In this case the situation would get worse before it got better.”
After last Friday’s massacres, to be sure, the flip-it-to-them attitude reflected in last year’s poll no doubt has attenuated somewhat. Nonetheless, it is clear that a very large proportion of French Muslims support the most extreme expression of radical Islam, offering the terrorists the opportunity to blend into a friendly milieu. The problem has gotten too big to be cured without a great deal of mess and pain. In the Gallic hedonistic calculus, a massacre or two per year is preferable to a breach of the tenuous social peace. And that is why France will do nothing.
That makes counter-terrorism challenging, but not impossible. There are two successful models for suppressing terrorists who enjoy the passive support of the ambient population: the French in Algeria and the Israelis after the Second Intifada of 2002. The first is infamous for the extensive use of torture and mass reprisals against civilians; the second succeeded on the strength of superb human as well as electronic intelligence and seamless integration of military, police and intelligence organizations. Israel reduced the number of Arab suicide bombings from 47 in 2002 with 238 dead to only 1 in 2007 with 3 dead.
Unlike the French in Algeria, Israel undid the Intifada entirely without the use of physical stress on prisoners. Israeli interrogation techniques do not require physical stress; humiliation is a more effective tool than pain with Arab suspects. Prior to 1999, Israeli security forces employed mild forms of enhanced interrogation (sleep deprivation, hooding, and so forth), but eschewed the practice afterwards. By contrast, the French Army shelled and bombed villages that gave refuge to the rebels of the Algerian Front de Libération Nationale, killing tens of thousands indiscriminately and forcing 2 million Algerians out of their homes.
It also used extreme forms of torture to elicit information from captured FLN fighters. Popular revulsion against the conduct of the war brought down the Fourth Republic and returned Gen. Charles De Gaulle to the presidency. More than 90% of French voters backed Algeria’s independence in a 1962 referendum, and France voluntarily abandoned what it had won by brutal methods on the ground. Read the rest of this entry »
61-seat majority leaves Netanyahu little margin for error
TEL AVIV— Nicholas Casey and Joshua Mitnick report: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finalized a deal late Wednesday to establish a new governing coalition, concluding weeks of negotiations after his March 17 election landslide victory.
“The present government is going to be even more dysfunctional than the last government given how narrow it is. Something has got to give.”
— Sam LehmanWilzig, a political-science professor at Bar Ilan University
At a joint news conference with Naftali Bennett, the leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home party and the last hold out in the coalition haggling, Mr. Netanyahu said he planned to immediately inform Israel’s president as required by law that he had successfully formed a majority coalition.
“No one was surprised that the negotiations were drawn out with all the parties, but no one was surprised that it ended on time.”
— Benjamin Netanyahu
Mr. Netanyahu’s struggle to form a coalition was a turn of fortune for the Israeli leader after his Likud party won a decisive mandate for a fourth term in the March vote. He opted to dissolve parliament and call early elections with the hope of forming a more cohesive and stable coalition. Now, he faces the prospect of more instability instead.
Mr. Netanyahu’s new majority numbers just 61 seats held by right-wing and religious factions, leaving Mr. Netanyahu with little margin for error in the 120-seat parliament, called the Knesset.
Analysts say that while such a government might be hard to topple from the outside—it will be solidly right-wing—such a narrow majority could leave it vulnerable to pressure from demands from individual lawmakers within his coalition that could endanger his government. Read the rest of this entry »
Blizzards are quite rare in Jerusalem, so when a recent storm dumped around ten inches of snow on the city, some people were pretty excited. Farther south in Israel, some communities got snow for the first time since the 1990s. (read more)
LONDON — A video posted online on Tuesday, purportedly by the Islamic State extremist group, depicted a black-clad militant with a knife threatening to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours unless the government in Tokyo paid a ransom of $200 million.
“To the Japanese public, just as how your government has made the foolish decision to pay 200 million to fight the Islamic State, you now have 72 hours to pressure your government in making a wise decision by paying the 200 million to save the lives of your citizens.”
— Masked Islamic State Militant
The video, which could not immediately be verified independently, showed two men, identified as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, kneeling on a rocky hillside, with the masked militant standing between them.
“Using human lives as a shield to make threats is an unforgivable terrorist act, and I am extremely indignant. I strongly demand that they be released unharmed immediately.”
— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan
The militant linked the ransom demand to a Japanese offer of assistance to enemies of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which controls a large amount of territory stretching from Syria into Iraq. The group says it is seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate and has previously shown videos of the beheading of two Americans, James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff, and two Britons, David Cawthorne Haines and Alan Henning.
From the Japan Times:
In an online video released Tuesday, the Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese citizens unless Tokyo pays a ransom of $200 million within 72 hours.
The hostage crisis developed as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on the final leg of a six-day tour to the Middle East to pledge $200 million in non-military aid to countries in the region.
Abe vowed to save the men…(read more)
“To the Japanese public, just as how your government has made the foolish decision to pay 200 million to fight the Islamic State, you now have 72 hours to pressure your government in making a wise decision by paying the 200 million to save the lives of your citizens,” the masked man said in the video, speaking with what sounded like a British accent. “Otherwise this knife will become your nightmare.”
The masked man, whose voice, manner and attire resembled those of a person who appeared in earlier videos showing beheadings, did not specify a currency, but a subtitle in Arabic identified it as dollars.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan made the promise of nonmilitary assistance to foes of the Islamic State on Saturday during a visit to Cairo on a Middle East tour.
The hostages in the video wore orange jumpsuits, the attire of many of the group’s captives in previous videos. The threat thrust Japan into the sort of high-profile hostage dilemma that has vexed the United States and Britain, which both say they refuse to pay ransoms. Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman reports: President Barack Obama’s administration is reportedly considering putting some muscle behind its opposition to new settlement construction by Israelis in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to reports, the administration is weighing the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Israeli government.
“Senior Israeli officials said that White House officials held a classified discussion a few weeks ago about the possibility of taking active measures against the settlements,” Haaretz reported on Thursday.
When confronted with this rumor, administration officials did not deny it. “A few senior American officials approached by Haaretz did not deny this, but refused to disclose more details,” Haaretz continued. “National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan refused to comment.”
A discussion on such a sensitive and politically-loaded issue in the White House is extremely irregular and shows to what extent relations between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have deteriorated. In recent years European states have imposed increasing sanctions against the construction in the settlements, while the United States has made do with denunciations.
An Israeli official who was briefed by the Americans on the issue said the administration started discussing it following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last meeting in the White House in early October and the public confrontation over the settlements that occurred later.
On Friday, spokespeople with both the White House and the State Department refused to comment on the rumor that the administration was considering sanctions on Israel.
While Earnest reaffirmed the strong bond between the two nations, he called the settlements “illegitimate” and said the U.S. was deeply concerned about the settlement activity. Read the rest of this entry »
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) September 11, 2014
Hundreds of Arabs flocked to the Temple Mount on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the barrage of rockets upon Israel’s civilian population. The video, captioned in Arabic, reads “[c]elebrations at the Holy Al-Aqsa mosque after hearing the sounds of rockets explode in occupied Jerusalem.”
[VIDEO] What’s More Fun Than a Scientific Analysis of Solar Flare? Solar Flare Analysis by Cuckoo-Bananas Religious Cult Member Warning of Demonic Witchcraft Ceremonies and One-World Locust Army Takeover!Posted: June 13, 2014
Note, it looks normal, credible, reasonable, and semi-scientific, until about 4:40 (skip ahead to the good part) then the wheels come off, and the narrator reveals the truths from the secret chambers! Here are a few highlights. Listen as he correlates current solar flare activity to an event “this past weekend” when…
“…the Pope, and his bunch, was over in Jerusalem, bein’ where they shouldn’t be…”
“we’re seeing the move of the Locust Army guys, encapsulating the world religions..”
“…what we’re gonna see also, is that they get the religious sector involved, they will pull the political sector also, so that the One-World Locust Army will have a complete takeover.”
“They’re bringing them together in the place, where we saw the demonic witchcraft ceremonies..”
“I’ve been warning you the spread of this Locust Army…”
“The whole world will see through the Pope world TV system..”
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) May 27, 2014
AP 5/8/2014 7:44:07 PM
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Roman Catholic official in charge of the Vatican‘s properties in the Holy Land on Thursday urged Israel to safeguard Christian holy sites, following a number of vandalism attacks on churches and monasteries ahead of a visit by Pope Francis.
Vandals have recently scribbled anti-Arab and anti-Christian graffiti on several Christian holy sites and properties, including an attack this week on the Vatican’s Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency says it fears there could be similar attacks as the pope’s visit approaches at the end of the month. He is scheduled to visit Jordan, the West Bank and Israel from May 24 to 26.
The “Custody of the Holy Land” issued a statement expressing concern about the attacks and said the uptick in violence appeared to be connected to the visit. It called on Israel to “work urgently against extremist elements” to ensure peace and safeguard Christian holy places. Read the rest of this entry »
Police say the protesters began throwing stones and firecrackers at a group of visitors, prompting the authorities to respond with stun grenades and rubber bullets.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
—Luke 24:5–6 (ESV)
For Breitbart.com, Ken Klukowski writes: “He is risen!” For centuries, it was proclaimed in the streets on Easter morning. It was a way that Christians identified each other on this day, as another Christian hearing it would respond, “He is risen indeed!”
Easter was the hope of an eternal existence, and one that has baffled scholars for centuries to explain. It’s hard to come up with a theory that explains it all away.
There was a sizeable group of men and women, whose leader claimed to be divine. They saw their leader arrested, tortured with a series of savage punishments that often proved deadly in their own right, nailed to a wooden cross through his hands and feet by professional executioners who crucified convicts on a regular basis, hung on that cross for hours until he was dead, then one soldier thrust a spear into his chest to confirm his demise before taking him down. The soldiers involved in this process would themselves be executed if a person handed over to them for termination was let go alive, so they tended to be thorough. After that point, his body was wrapped in burial clothes and he was put in a tomb under guard. His followers fled in fear and despair.
Then three days later they say they saw him, and spent time with him over a period of days. They said they spoke with him, ate food with him, and walked with him. Then they say he was taken up before their eyes into heaven. And for the rest of their lives, they would travel the known world heedless of any dangers, talking about Jesus Christ and writing the New Testament of the Bible. They were persecuted and executed one by one, yet still continued with unabated zeal for decades until their last breath. Read the rest of this entry »
Woman involved in deadly terror bombings kept her past secret from authorities in President’s home state
For National Review Online, Jillian Kay Melchior writes: A terrorist from Jordan briefly worked as an Obamacare navigator in Illinois while authorities remained unaware of her conviction for involvement in a deadly grocery store bombing and two other attacks.
Rasmieh Yousef Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in several bombings, including the 1969 attack on an upscale Shufersol grocery store, which killed two Hebrew University students who had stopped in to buy groceries for a hiking trip in the Jerusalem hills. Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe were killed by a bomb hidden in a candy box tucked on a shelf, which also injured nine or 10 others, according to a website maintained by the Israeli government to commemorate terror victims.
Ben Chu writes: Chinese Whispers was once a party game. A message would be relayed in hushed tones through a long line of people and emerge at the other end amusingly garbled. Most of us have found alternative amusements nowadays, but the name survives as a figure of speech; an idiom used to signify how facts or a story tend to get twisted over time and distance.
Why ‘Chinese’ though? There seem to be no concrete answers. One theory has it that messages relayed between the lonely watchtowers of the Great Wall suffered this kind of distortion. Another is that China was once a byword for misunderstanding and confusion in the West, something to do with the supposed ‘inscrutability’ of the Chinese. It doesn’t seem to be a very old usage, with the first references only appearing in the middle of the 20th century. But whatever the provenance of Chinese Whispers, there’s something rather appropriate about the name.
China has always loomed large in the Western imagination because it provides a handy screen on to which we can project our dreams and nightmares. First the dreams. The Jesuit missionaries of the 16th century projected China as a country in which men like them achieved, promoted as councillors to emperors, ignoring (or perhaps ignorant of) the fact that the ostensibly meritocratic, imperial exam system was riven with corruption and nepotism. That tradition of wishful projection continues today.
Many executives of Western multinationals talk of China as a new capitalist Jerusalem, a land of eternally high GDP growth, the biggest untapped consumer market on the planet, the place where the state sees its proper function as to help the private sector to make money. Of course, occasionally they will come up against an awkward fact that challenges this dream – reports of baby milk formula adulterated with a harmful chemical by a Chinese manufacturer, for instance, or a corruption scandal – but these are seen as tests of faith to be overcome. They cannot be permitted to interfere with the glorious vision.
Then there are the China nightmares. The French philosopher Montesquieu, in the 18th century, reviled China as a country where there reigned “a spirit of servitude”. In a similar vein, the Victorians projected China as a place where intellectual progress had come to a pathetic stop. What they were both doing was imagining China as the very antithesis of everything they wanted their own nations to be: free, vigorous and expansive. Read the rest of this entry »
WILLIAM BIGELOW writes: A former Israeli national security adviser who is a retired Major General in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has claimed that Barack Obama forced Israel to abandon attacking Iranian nuclear sites last year.
According to the Israeli paper Mida, Giora Eiland said, “Israel has the capability to destroy the Iranian nuclear program,” but White House officials told Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu, who was ready to issue the order, to jettison the strike. Eiland asserted, “At that time the prime minister thought that we were at the crossroads with regard to the Iranian nuclear program.” Read the rest of this entry »