Displaying posts published in

July 2013



Last week’s announcement that former senior aide to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Ron Dermer, will be the next ambassador to Washington has been met with generally enthusiastic response both in Israel and in the United States. And for good reason.

The 42-year-old native of Florida is a highly intelligent and thoughtful individual with the additional advantage of being among the prime minister’s closest advisers and confidants. He will not only serve as an appealing public face for Israel in the US, but like his predecessor Michael Oren, he will be able to put forward Israel’s case eloquently.

We wholeheartedly agree with the statement released at the end of the week by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that said, “As an articulate and knowledgeable representative of the State of Israel [Dermer] will be able to present Israel’s case to the administration, Congress, and American people as Ambassador Oren did so effectively… We know that Mr. Dermer will continue in that tradition and will strengthen the bond at all levels between these two great democratic allies.”

Not everybody has responded to Dermer’s appointment with such open arms and an open mind. Published comments claiming that Dermer has long been in the Obama administration’s dog house for allegedly endorsing governor Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election and that Washington was less than enthusiastic about his appointment.


A World of Flowers
Rebecca Alexander lives in Seattle, Washington, and works as a horticulture librarian, answering questions from gardeners around the world. The same week that two men murdered Lee Rigby on a Woolwich street, she assisted two college students in Peshawar, Pakistan, with their floricultural research. This poem is a reflection on the choices we make in the face of adversity, and the legacy we leave the world.
Raising Gladioli in Peshawar (for Gulzar Ullah, Fawad Naeem, and all who grow in adverse conditions)
Your mother dreamed you would grow

upright as a date palm

though your feet were estranged

from Yoruba soil

trainer-shod instead

for tarmacadam and tower blocks

They will say you were a sweet child

mild and pliant if unambitious

until a seething wind of rhetoric

blew through your empty corridors

slamming shut your soul’s last open doors

landing you here, a hollow megaphone

for third-hand hatred

In Peshawar students sift the web

for guidance in building a world of flowers

Gulzar propagates a rainbow,

fingertips dusted with pollen

Fawad breeds in resistance

to pestilence and strife

but you, a continent away-

What have you become,

your palms a red we can’t erase

you have laid waste a life

and with it your mother’s hopes

mourners line a Woolwich roadside

with roses from allotment gardens

and bouquets grown far afield

while in her mind’s eye

the dreamed tree’s roots recoil and fail

and you are lost forever.

The Economic Blunders Behind the Arab Revolutions : David Goldman……see comment from e-pal after the column

In Egypt and Syria, misguided food and water policies set the stage for revolt and civil war.

Mr. Goldman, president of Macrostrategy LLC, is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and the London Center for Policy Research.


Sometimes economies can’t be fixed after decades of statist misdirection, and the people simply get up and go. Since the debt crisis of the 1980s, 10 million poor Mexicans—victims of a post-revolutionary policy that kept rural Mexicans trapped on government-owned collective farms—have migrated to the United States. Today, Egyptians and Syrians face economic problems much worse than Mexico’s, but there is nowhere for them to go. Half a century of socialist mismanagement has left the two Arab states unable to meet the basic needs of their people, with economies so damaged that they may be past the point of recovery in our lifetimes.

This is the crucial background to understanding the state failure in Egypt and civil war in Syria. It may not be within America’s power to reverse their free falls; the best scenario for the U.S. is to manage the chaos as best it can.

Of Egypt’s 90 million people, 70% live on the land. Yet the country produces barely half of Egyptians’ total caloric consumption. The poorer half of the population survives on subsidized food imports that stretch a budget deficit close to a sixth of the country’s GDP, about double the ratio in Greece. With the global rise in food prices, Egypt’s trade deficit careened out of control to $25 billion in 2010, up from $10 billion in 2006, well before the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.

In Syria, the government’s incompetent water management—exacerbated by drought beginning in 2006—ruined millions of farmers before the May 2011 rebellion. The collapse of Syrian agriculture didn’t create the country’s ethnic and religious fault lines, but it did leave millions landless, many of them available and ready to fight.


http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4404153,00.html Are we going back in time when Nazi propaganda dehumanized Jews by depicting them as animals? A recently published cartoon by the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung portraying Israel as a monster “Moloch” devouring weaponry is just another confirmation that anti-Semitism is still in vogue, but with a new more dangerous twist.   Before the creation […]

Illusive Middle East Agreements – the Taqiyya concept Ambassador (Ret.) Yoram Ettinger

http://send.hadavars.com/index.php?action=message&l=2096&c=19795&m=18301&s=a317a26441993bdd8f740ee9a6c71bce The Quran-derived “Taqiyya” concept is a core cause of systematically-failed US peace initiatives in the Middle East; 1,400 years of intra-Muslim/Arab warfare and the lack of intra-Muslim/Arab comprehensive peace; the tenuous nature of intra-Muslim/Arab agreements; and the inherently shifty, unpredictable and violent intra-Muslim/Arab relations, as currently demonstrated on the chaotic, seismic Arab Street. The […]