Friday, January 11, 2013

Toronto School Board gives Chris Spence $160,000 golden parachute for serial plagiarism

Photo from TDSB FaceBook page,
he noted, being careful to attribute something for once

Now that it’s been discovered that school board director Chris Spence has been plagiarizing for years – starting with his doctoral thesis if not earlier – he’s had to resign. Chris Bolton, chair of the Toronto District School Board has accepted Spence’s resignation with “a profoundly heavy heart.” And, says Bolton, in resigning, Spence did the honorable thing.

Not quite.

The honorable thing would have been to fess up to all his plagiarizing, which Spence hasn’t done. Even more, the honorable thing would have been to slink off, feeling deeply ashamed. Instead, he’s slinking off with $160,000 of our money.  That’s seven month’s salary, which apparently is what the school board pays for plagiarism these days.

Ah, but surely Spence is entitled to severance pay, you might say. Maybe legally. But not if he wants to be called honorable. After all, you don’t get severance when you get fired with cause, and while it’s nice of the Board to let him resign (which is why he gets severance), if he hadn’t gone peacefully, the Board surely would have terminated him.

The school board would never have even hired Spence if they’d known about his history of plagiarism. Indeed, even OISE wouldn’t have given him a PhD if they’d known about his plagiarism (though admittedly with OISE, anything’s possible), and without his PhD, Spence wouldn’t have been considered for the job of director.

So essentially, Spence got his job through fraud. Is he offering to return the money we’ve paid him? That would be the honorable thing.

I’m not really out for blood. I don’t really mind that Spence hasn’t owned up to all his plagiarism. His public shaming is complete. I don’t need to see him further humbled. Nor do I really expect him to pay back the salary he’s received over the years.

But it’s idiotic to say Spence did the honorable thing in accepting a $160,000 golden parachute.
Not that I blame Spence for accepting the payout. He’s got bills the same as everyone else. But the Board is at fault for offering Spence a severance package. This is what the Board still doesn’t get:  our schools need money! They’re falling apart. And you know, $160 grand here, a $160 grand there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Thanks to Anonymous for pointing out that Spence's severance package actually comes to about $200,000! Also, as usual, Robert K has good commentary over at Eye on a Crazy Planet.

Teachers' Union closes down the province's elementary schools without even going on strike

"No, we're not going to have an illegal walkout.
We can close the schools without one.
Until 4 a.m. this morning, the elementary teacher’s union was determined to stage a one-day walkout come hell or high water. A ruling by the Labour Board? To hell with it. A plea from the premier? To hell with him. Cries of panic from parents who didn’t know what to do with their kids? To hell with them.

Then the actual ruling came down: A walkout would indeed be an illegal strike. Immediately, the teachers’ union said they’d comply. And why not? They’d already caused maximum disruption.

Most school boards throughout the province had already said schools would be closed Friday. Most boards reversed that decision some time early this morning, but that was far too late.

I’m an early riser and a news junky. So I was one of the few parents in Toronto who heard there would be school today after all. But when my child and I arrived (about 15 minutes late), the school was a like a ghost town: empty classrooms everywhere. 

But all the teachers were in.

How did that happen? Did the teachers know all along that if the Labour Board ruled against them – which was always likely – that their union planned to back down?

At any rate, while all the teachers knew there was school today, almost no parents did. There were four kids in my child’s class.

So mission accomplished: schools throughout the province were shut down. But by doing it the sneaky way, unions have avoided a $2,000 fine for each teacher involved in an illegal strike and a $25,000 fine against the union. Good for them. Bad for parents.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hamas, PA reportedly refuse to take in Palestinian refugees from Syria

Gaza leader says the precedent might be used by Jerusalem to counter Palestinians’ demand for the ‘right of return’ to land within Israel

Syrians walking past destroyed vehicles after fighting between rebels and
Syrian troops in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees
in south Damascus, Syria, in 2012. (photo credit: AP)
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority rejected the United Nations’ request that they take in Palestinian refugees who fled Syria during the ongoing brutal civil war, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

Finding themselves increasingly isolated, some 150,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria — there are approximately 350,000 in total in the country — were forced to flee the Yarmouk refugee camp located outside Damascus due to attacks, including an aerial bombardment, by the Bashar Assad regime. Their flight has created a humanitarian crisis in Damascus; others have fled to Lebanon and Jordan, reportedly causing those countries to become increasingly hostile to their presence there.

According to the report, head of Hamas in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh told UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, that the Gaza Strip couldn’t take in Syria’s Palestinian refugees due to an ideological issue: If they take in the refugees from Syria, Israel could use it against them when it comes to the Palestinians’ demand for the “right to return” to villages inside present day Israel, by pointing out that the refugees no longer need to return to Israel because they have been relocated to new homes in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority’s refusal stems from a different reason — a financial one. The PA, which, according to the report, initially inquired about absorbing the Palestinian refugees in Syria, has experienced severe budget cuts and has begged Arab leaders for millions of dollars in loans to solve its debt crisis.

The PA’s own coffers have been hurt following Israel’s decision to withhold PA tax revenues and to use them to pay down a portion of the millions of dollars the PA owes Israel for electricity and other services.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The end of the peace process

President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority accepts framed map that
shows Palestine extending from the Jordan River to
the Mediterranean Sea, with Israel erased. More here.

A recent poll by a Palestinian research firm found that 88% of Palestinians favour violence as the way forward in their conflict with Israel (see here). This should surprise no one. The Palestinians can win make believe victories at the UN, but on the ground, the diplomatic route is futile, since Israel cannot give what the Palestinians want.

The last time anything happened in the peace process was in 2008 when then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians a comprehensive peace settlement. The offer included a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and international control over the holy sites.

Territorially, Olmert offered the equivalent of 100% of the West Bank and Gaza, with a corridor connecting them in exchange for the slivers of land occupied by Israeli settlements.

Abbas said no thanks and he made no counter offer.

Why? Because the Palestinians aren’t willing to concede the Jewish claim to their own homeland in Israel. Hamas makes no secret of its desire to wipe Israel off the map. More “moderate” Palestinians insist on the “right of return.” That is, they claim that the four million grandchildren of refugees originally created by Arab wars against Israel should be allowed to move into Israel and thereby turn it into a Palestinian state.

Obviously peace requires the Palestinians to give up on this idea of eliminating Israel, and in 2008, peaceniks all threw up our hands in frustration at Abbas’s stubbornness.

In retrospect, we should breathe a sigh of relief. For it’s evident the Palestinians wouldn’t have kept the peace, and since the UN voted to give the Palestinians standing as a non-member state, it’s now clear that when the Palestinians break a treaty, the world supports them.

Indeed is there any part of their interim treaty with Israel that the Palestinians have kept?

The Oslo Accords state that neither side can unilaterally try to change the status quo, that the Palestinians cannot, for example, apply to the UN to be recognized as a state. But the Palestinian did just that, and the UN overwhelmingly supported them.

The Oslo Accords require the Palestinians to forego violence, yet since they were signed, the Palestinians have conducted thousands of terrorist attacks against Israel that have resulted in three wars: the Second Intifadah and the Hamas wars of Dec 2008 / Jan 2009 and of November 2012.

The Oslo Accords forbid incitement. But terrorists are the great heroes of Palestinian society. Schools, summer camps, soccer teams and public squares get named in honour of terrorists.

Two days after winning their historic vote for statehood at the UN, the official Palestinian Authority radio station, broadcast songs glorifying suicide bombings against Israel. They included these lyrics: 
We are bombs... the enemies were beheaded... Grieve not, Mother, shed no tears over my torn flesh... heroic men who mock death... We praised the Lord, and set out for Martyrdom. We strapped ourselves with explosives, and trusted in Allah... Onward men, on the roads to glory.
Is there any wonder Palestinians are so enamoured of violence? It’s actively promoted from the top down and from the bottom up.

The Oslo Accords state that parties who pursue their aims through unlawful means (such as terrorism) or that are racist cannot run in Palestinian elections. The clause was included specifically to exclude Hamas, which has launched thousands of terrorist attacks against Israel and openly proclaims its desire to kill Jews.

Canada, Japan, the U.S., Israel, and the European Union have all declared Hamas a terrorist group. Even the UN has declared it a racist organization. (More here.) Yet the international community didn’t object when Hamas ran in the 2006 Palestinian elections.

Strangely, it didn’t occur to people that democracy can’t thrive where political parties have private armies. In retrospect it should have surprised no one that the Palestinian elections were followed by a short, sharp civil war that left the West Bank ruled by the Palestinian Authority dominated by Fatah and Gaza ruled by Hamas.

Because the Oslo Accords were ignored, Israel now has a terrorist enclave sitting on its eastern border. Moreover, even supposing it wanted to, since the Palestinian Authority no longer controls Gaza, it cannot end the conflict with Israel.

As the Palestinians cannot implement a peace treaty, don’t keep their treaties, and receive the world’s support when they break a treaty, we need to recognize that the peace process is dead and that it’s time for the peace movement to change direction.

The obstacle to peace is the Palestinian “narrative.” Israel has long recognized the Palestinian right to a state of their own, but no Palestinian political party recognizes the right of the Jews to their own state.

Instead, the Palestinians – including supposed moderates – claim all of Israel as rightfully theirs, deny any Jewish connection to the land, and paint Israel as an evil entity that ought to be wiped off the map.

In addressing the UN on the historic occasion of the vote for Palestinian non-member status, President Abbas accused Israel of racism, apartheid, colonialism, aggression, murder and ethnic cleansing.

So long as this remains the Palestinian narrative, peace will remain a fantasy, no matter what pieces of paper might be signed.

This piece also appeared on Harry's Place blog in Britain, and because the comments at Harry's Place get deleted after a week, I've preserved them here:

  • Beakerkin  2 days ago

    The elimination of Israel has been the goal since the start of the wars and remained the goal.

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      Reborn  2 days ago

      A poll in the UK would probably show that 90% of the supporters of the "Palestinian cause" believe in violence against Israel.
      A substantial minority would advocate violence against Jews anywhere..
      It is only terrorism against Western interests that keep this wretched issue alive. The atrocities committed by islamists from Mali to the Caucasus are ignored because, thus far, the terrorists do not have sympathetic advocates from our pointless & value free "left".

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        Dcook  Reborn  2 days ago

        As an aside, keep a watch on Morsi going to see Obama. He's still insisting that he wants the Blind Sheikh (responsible for the WTC bombing) released, or as a minimum to have special privelieges. Watch how swiftly (or not) Obama flips him the bird.

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      Colin  2 days ago

      I'll guess that the chances of Palestinians voting for peace with Jews are as much as Sunnis voting for peace with Shias, or by extension with any group of humans that don't belong, apart from say a tribe of DAs.

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        Dcook  2 days ago

        At last! An ATL commenter who understands the peace process is dead and its the fault of the Palestinians.
        Never has Golda Meir's saying "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" been so well defined and seen to be classically true.
        Showing a map where you have erased another country is covered by the conventions on Genocide as one of the elements that defines Genocide intentions.
        How can the lie that "the Palestinians recognise Israel" when it is clear that they do not?

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          Beakerkin  Dcook  2 days ago

          Obviously if you believe in the Obama cult this is a mistake. The messiah can convince people who have never been inclined towards peace to accept peace by blaming Israel.
          Obviously Israelis who don't trust Obama need to read Gene and Goldberg and join the cult.

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            Makabit  Beakerkin  2 days ago

            Yes, I remember when Obamessiah sent Condi Rice to scold Israel about the settlements, and how they weren't helpful to the peace process. My blood near boiled.

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              vildechaye  Makabit  2 days ago

              nice one, makabit.

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                stephen rothbart  vildechaye  2 days ago

                Yes Vildechaye, you would rather make a comment about someone's mistake than the catastrophe facing Israel and nation and people you profess to support.
                That Bush did silly things is not in question, but in case you and makabit have not noticed, Bush is not in the White House now, your man Obama is.
                And despite an extensive and alarming post about the treacherous nature of the international community's attitude to Israel and their unbelievably vile support of everything Palestinian, the only thing you can offer is a smirking giggle on a "gotcha" remark by Makabit.
                At at time when the Palestinians are reviewing maps of Palestine without a Jewish presence, and Obama has just nominated Hagel and Kerry for the roles directly affecting Israel's ability to survive the world's community's persecution of the Jewish state, you can only put your hands over your ears, shut your eyes and go la la la.
                Well good for you and your hollow victory over Bearkin.

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                  vildechaye  stephen rothbart  2 days ago

                  I'll take it. Meanwhile, you can take your "my way or the highway" approach to all things Israel/U.S. and shove it up your peahole.

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                  Beakerkin  stephen rothbart  2 days ago

                  There is no victory. The cult of Obama has not accomplished anything. Even the death of Bin Laden was in spite of Obama, not because of his leadership.

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                  Makabit  stephen rothbart  2 days ago

                  It's not, actually, a gotcha. It's a comment that the criticism of Obama on this issue has been incredibly shallow, and informed by a strong, pre-existing dislike of the man among many of his critics.
                  There is a lot to criticize about Obama's approach to Israel, just as there was about Bush, and a whole long line of presidents before him. But many people don't offer criticism, they offer paranoid explanations of malevolent intent. These same people find things that Bush did, who they consider Israel's bestest friend (as Beakerkin clearly still does), to be premeditated attacks on Israel when Obama does them. I'm not trying to attack Bush, either. He tried, to the extent that he had time and interest, to do the right thing in regards to Israel, and I think he had a certain hope for the peace process. Somehow he got a different reaction from a certain crowd.
                  This does not make me take the folks talking nonsense like this very seriously.

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                    vildechaye  Makabit  a day ago

                    Bingo. Of course, you'll still be accused of being an Obama-worshipper by the local ODS crowd.

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                      stephen rothbart  vildechaye  20 hours ago

                      Well of course if you both like the kind of man who tells the Russians, sotto voce, that they just need to wait until after the election and then things will change, then that is up to you.
                      And if you like the kind of man that appoints a Right wing homophobic anti-Semite as Defense Secretary then that is of course up to you too.
                      I don't like Obama, it's true, but he is President of the United States. And he has just appointed a man both sides dislike as his Defense Secretary, and this is about Israel and her safety, so if you cannot find anything to worry about there, then perhaps it's you who both have the ODS in the sense that you are both so smitten with him that you will never see the things he is doing and saying in a realistic light.

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                Beakerkin  Makabit  2 days ago

                Actually, nobody accused GW of ever wavering on Israel. GW was Pro-Israel and did not waste his time with intransigent Arabs.
                The Cult of Obama says the Israelis should sell their security for the glory of the Cult. The Arabs do not want peace.

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              cba  Dcook  2 days ago

              Just a couple of pedantic points (sorry): It was Abba Eban who (more or less) said that, not Golda Meir, and what he actually said was, "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." He said it in the days before "Palestinian" referred exclusively to the Arab inhabitants of the area. (As you know, prior to Israel's establishment, a "Palestinian" was a Jew who lived in the area.)
              Apart from that, I agree with your comment.

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              Biscuit Barrel  2 days ago

              I have absolutely zero sympathy for the Palestinian cause. None whatsoever. I only have sympathy for the ordinary Palestinians - represented by scum at home and advocated for by scum abroad.

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                Lynne T  Biscuit Barrel  2 days ago

                It never ceases to amaze me how blind most people are to the manipulation that has gone on around the displacement of Palestinians from 20% of Mandatory Palestine over 60 years ago. It's made very outrageously rich men out of scum like Arafat and Abbas and provide employment of various kinds, from creepy "activitsts" to outright bands of thugs who intimidate their opposition into silence or compliance. And I fear that there are elements in the aboriginal community here in Canada who have learned from the Palestinian "resistance". We have at the moment, the chief of a small band in Northern Ontario and some supporters on a hunger strike holding out for meetings with our PM and Governor General on a broader rights issue, while, at the same time she and her spokespeople are is refusing to make any statements about $80 million in funds provided to the band for which the band council has been unable to furnish the independent auditors sent in by the government of Canada with any documentation as where monies meant to alleviate the terrible housing situation on that reserve has gone. I'm sure there are people back in Attawapaskat who know but are likely unable to speak out for fear of reprisals, but little is being mentioned about this in the Canadian media. Instead the focus is on the sideshow that's grown up around the hunger strike under the brand "Idle No More".

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                  vildechaye  Lynne T  a day ago

                  Yes Lynne, I find the tactics and demands of the chiefs and the movement to be quite repulsive; and the cowtowing to their demands (e.g. not good enough to see the PM, the GG must attend too," etc etc) even more revolting.

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                    Lynne T  vildechaye  18 hours ago

                    Terry Malewski, one of the CBC's few good reporters had two things to say about Theresa Spense and her entourage -- that Spense has no idea how to get things done in the modern world and that her PR team are quite incapable of communicating on her behalf.

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                Hunt S Cross  2 days ago

                100% factual and logical.

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                  Colin  2 days ago

                  How recent is the photograph? What's the occasion? Who's in the photo with Abbas?.

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                    Fasdunkle  Colin  2 days ago

                    the speech abbas read at the UN recently was printed on headed paper showing a map of "Palestine" - no Israel.

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                      TorontoBobby  Colin  2 days ago

                      The photo is from a Palestinian Youth Conference in
                      Ramallah, April 27, 2009. According to Palestinian Media Watch, the photo was published in both official PA newspapers. I chose this photo because it was made for publication and shows up nicely, but as Fasdunkle notes, the PA erases Israel from the map as a matter of course.
                      By the way, Abbas told the conference delegates: “A Jewish State, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it
                      and I say so publically. All I know is that there is the State of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimeter less. Anything else I don’t accept.” (
                      You might say it’s good that Abbas does accept Israel within “the borders of 1967” (meaning the Armistice line of 1948). But his rejection of Israel as a Jewish state is a rejection of Israel’s legitimacy. And along
                      with Abbas’s “acceptance” of Israel comes the notion that it’s really all Palestine and the hope that sometime soon it will all be Palestinian once

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                        stephen rothbart  TorontoBobby  2 days ago

                        So we go round and round in circles. The world tries to push Israel into a two state solution which the Arabs will not accept because they do not accept the concept of Israel.
                        So the world punishes Israel for not trying harder.
                        After Alamein, Churchill remarked that the victory was "not the end. It is not even the
                        beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
                        With the Peace process, I doubt very much there was even a start of the beginning. And it is indeed the end.

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                        Colin  TorontoBobby  a day ago

                        How strange of Abbas to allow himself to be photographed displaying a Hamas wish-map. If that - and not the 1967 borders - is his bargaining position, he might as resign and hand over to Hamas whose retrospective claim is for a good chunk of Turkish empire from 'the river to the sea'.

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                      Sebastapol  2 days ago

                      "88 percent believe that the results of the confrontation in Gaza prove that armed struggle is the best means of achieving Palestinian independence."
                      Not really that surprising - it's difficult to see what other message would be taken from Pillar of Defence.
                      There was no ground invasion. There was a relaxation of the blockade. Tel Aviv was proven to be in range. Egypt continued to emerge as the natural political backer of Hamas.
                      This wasn't a bad war for them, especially compared to the disaster of Cast Lead.
                      Meanwhile, literally hours after having granted those concessions to a militant Gaza, 50 arrests made in the West Bank.

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                        Kellie Strøm  2 days ago

                        Brian writes: "The Oslo Accords state that parties who pursue their aims through unlawful means (such as terrorism) or that are racist cannot run in Palestinian elections."
                        I'm having trouble finding this clause in either Oslo 1 or Oslo 2. Can anyone give chapter and verse?

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                        James Mendelsohn  2 days ago

                        Great piece.
                        Question: can anyone please point me to an accurate online account of what was offered at Annapolis?

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                          Lamia  2 days ago

                          An excellent piece, Bryan.
                          Neither the Palestinian populace nor their supporters want peace, they want total victory and the Jews completely under a Muslim heel once more.
                          So they don't really deserve sympathy. And there are far worse and actually real humanitarian problems in the world than in the supposed open-air concentration camp which in fact has a higher life expectancy than any other Arab population.

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                            Lynne T  Lamia  2 days ago

                            Substantially higher. And by the same token, while the Palestinians are not immediately resposible for the vile treatment of Jews in other parts of the MENA, they are very prompt to deny or excuse treatment that dwarfs anything they experienced at Zionist hands in their name.

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                            Fasdunkle  2 days ago

                            This is an interesting view - Israel's Jihad is Mine

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                              vildechaye  Fasdunkle  2 days ago

                              Excellent article by a Muslim woman whose intelligence is surpassed only by her bravery.

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                                stephen rothbart  Fasdunkle  2 days ago

                                Yes fantastic. It would be good to know if her article appeared in any western mainstream media outlets or just in Israel.
                                Or is it just hidden away so as not to put the politicians and Trade Unions to shame for endorsing such a heinous body of murderers.
                                This woman embodies what I used to think about Islam before it was highjacked by intolerant racists, and groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama's new best friends.

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                                  vildechaye  stephen rothbart  a day ago

                                  Always got to throw in a mention of Obama, don't you. See what I mean about ODS.... As for peahole, I don't know what it means, but it felt like the right thing to say at the time. Funny thing is, in spite of your obsessions and hysterics, i like you rothbart.

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                                    stephen rothbart  vildechaye  19 hours ago

                                    Well with friends etc. etc... but you know we are not so far apart in our views as you think, only with regards Obama.
                                    Look, I am not comparing the man to a Hitler or a Stalin, I do not think he is evil. If he is anti-Israel that is his choice. Lots of people are, in fact I don't think he hates Israel as such, just thinks he knows better than they do how to run their country and in trying to push them into his way of the thinking is completely undermining her.
                                    Yes, I think he is a unscrupulous politician and severely under qualified to be President of the United States, but so are many of the politicians on both sides of the political divide.
                                    But like we had with Tony Blair, who was involved in a great deal of dubious, bordering on criminal actions for which he was never held to account by the adoring Press because he was a personable good-looking guy, I feel Obama gets a free ride for similar reasons, and he has been involved a lot of dubious actions even in his first four years.
                                    I hold just two opinions on his policies and I felt them before the election: that is he is a "Clear and Present Danger" to the fortunes of Israel and second he is a "Clear and Present Danger" to the US economy.
                                    So as both these events affect me and my life I feel the need to do what the MSM refuses to do, which is to constantly draw attention to certain things he does as often as I can.
                                    And I did not invent the endorsement of the MB by the White House. It has been reported in many of the publications and by Arab commentators warning against it, as much as by right wing publications.
                                    I think it is important to put Obama's actions in their proper context, not because I don't like him much, but because he is the President of the United States, once one of the most influential nations in the Free World, but fast losing that status. And that's it.

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                                Commentary101  2 days ago

                                Great piece!
                                And, joining the other commentators with the same spirit, I must say that the discussion in Israel, presently, revolves around one key fault of Oslo: The import, for sake of governance, into the WB, of a ragtag band of murders -- the PLO.
                                (It is worth noting, I think, that by 1991, Arafat, with his uncompromising support for S. Hussein, had become one of the most hated -- and marginalised -- figures in the Arab world. 
                                He had established, with remnants of the PFLP, a sanctuary in Tunisia; whence he was inserted into the West Bank... And the rest, as they say, is History).
                                The idea, that an organisation whose raison d'etre has always been Israel's elimination could conceivably reform into a democratic, civil prototype of a future state, is as absurd now, as it was all those years ago(Oslo's 20th anniversary is coming up).
                                Here, I fear, Israel is at least partly to blame. It preferred the easier option, of placating the extremists and the most vociferous of agents, instead of trying to cultivate however slowly, patiently, abidingly, Democratic Palestinian self-government from the grassroots level.
                                I am afraid that Oslo's shadow now casts itself as Israelis referring to Abbas & Co., affectionately, as the "Killers of Tunis" -- they're not mistaken in that characterisation.

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                                  Lee Ratner  Commentary101  a day ago

                                  The best time to have finally settled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was about the time of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Begin had some plans to set up an autonomous government in Gaza and the West Bank and for that to be included in the treaty. It got left out because the Palestinians wanted no part of it, partly because of their non-recognition strategy and partly because Begin's plans did not give the autonomous government a lot of power.
                                  If the Palestinians took up Begin's offer, the Palestinians could have learned how to govern themselves and live peacefully in Israel. Since it would have been part of a wider Israel-Arab peace plan, there would be more pressure to keep in good faith, probably. Within a decade, Palestine might have been a state.

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                                    Commentary101  Lee Ratner  a day ago

                                    Excellent points, thanks.
                                    The mainspring of my argument, was that Arafat shouldn't have been admitted into the WB & Gaza.
                                    Thereafter, we got terrorism, and the festering problem we've got, today.

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                                  Sarka  2 days ago

                                  Excellent article. The question is, where does Israel go from here?

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                                    Petra Marquardt-Bigman  Sarka  2 days ago

                                    Not that I have a serious answer, but unseriously, I'm tempted to say: Hah! We are going nowhere! We are staying put! The Palestinians proudly call it "sumud", steadfastness, and all the world admires them for it -- but yes, we can do it too: Netanyahu the Palestinian:http://www.project-syndicate.o...

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                                      Sarka  Petra Marquardt-Bigman  a day ago

                                      Interesting and persuasive link, thank you.
                                      Though it's rather tangential here, I'm coming to the conclusion that behind much blindly anti-Israeli feeling in the West there is, apart from the usual conscious or more often unconscious antisemitic elements - an effort to preserve illusions about human nature.
                                      Seeing the IP situation for what it is means facing the ugly truth about Palestinian, and more broadly Arab eliminationist, even genocidal, attitudes to Israel/Jews. This is just too painful and demoralising for many people, especially on the left which typically has greater investment in belief in the goodness of human nature, and so in this case cannot entertain the truth because just formulating it seems like committing the sin of racism. And perversely, it is through the logic of evasion that they get mired in an antisemitism.that some of them disingenuously, but others sincerely, deny.
                                      Of course it is not racism: we are talking cultural and political attitudes and mentalities here, not biology; nobody suggests that all Palestinians/Arabs are equally, uniformly eliminationist - only that such attitudes are deep-seated and quite characteristic, and are a major driver of behaviour and - to put it mildly - circumscribe the possibilities of negotiation.
                                      The trouble is, that the much extended concepts of racism now popular on the lib/left - including any unflattering views of culture, characteristic (if not uniform) attitudes and of course religion, in addition to their other problematic aspects, do genuinely disable realistic understanding of IP.

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                                        NicoleS  Sarka  a day ago

                                        Spot on again, Sarka. It's the old story of left wing people wanting to feel good about themselves. Fine, until that becomes the most important consideration.

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                                          Lee Ratner  Sarka  a day ago

                                          I think that a lot of liberals do recognize that there lots of bad parts of Arab/Muslim culture. I think they are reluctant to openly criticize it because they think it'll only make the problem worse; cause the Arab/Muslim societies to go further into their shells. They also think that there isn't anything that could be realistically done to bring about change from the outside. Arabs and Muslims are going to have liberalize themselves and this is going to take awhile.

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                                          NicoleS  Petra Marquardt-Bigman  a day ago

                                          Thanks for a fascinating link, Petra. Do you think Netanyahu is becoming more popular at home, if not abroad?

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                                          Lee Ratner  Sarka  a day ago

                                          At this point, I'm favoring some sort of unilateral withdrawal and containment from the WB. Israel should just leave the WB as much as possible and say its a free state. Allow the Palestinians to form relations with any power they want even Iran. At the same time the security barrier should be maintained.

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                                            Sarka  Lee Ratner  a day ago

                                            It's an understandable point of view, but the example of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza is not encouraging. , with the security risks to Israel even greater in the very likely event of things going wrong.

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                                        Fasdunkle  2 days ago

                                        Abbas remembers some dodgy folk

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                                          Carl Williams  a day ago

                                          Excellent stuff, well done Sir.