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Sunday, January 11, 2009

“Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. treppenwitz reader, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press!” *

I want to thank those of you who were nice enough to ping me back this morning from all over the world letting me know if my site was loading properly.  While very helpful (and good for my ego!) I'm not out of the woods yet... not by a long shot.  But here's what I know at this point:

Up until yesterday there were four ways to access this site:

  1. http://bogieworks.blogs.com

  2. http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz

  3. http://www.treppenwitz.com

  4. http://treppenwitz.com

As of this morning, anyone who had #3 or #4 bookmarked or blogrolled either got a '404 Page Not Found' message or my page displaying without any graphic formatting.

Unfortunately, much as I would love to blame someone else, the truth is that in my desire to make things a little more user-friendly and flashy around here I seem to have completely screwed things up.

Here's how the train went off the tracks: 

[Note:  The following may be of passing interested (at least for a laugh) to technically inclined folks.  And should serve as a cautionary tale to Luddites like me]

At some point my web host (typepad) started offering something called 'domain mapping'.  As I understand it, this would allow me to have my domain name (treppenwitz.com) display in the address bar along with the sub pages, instead of the unwieldy 'bogieworks' URL.  Sadly, being the technodolt that I am, I tried to do it myself instead of begging one of my tech-savvy friends to help me out.

Take a lesson people; pride goeth before a fall crash!

Apparently, I now know that I should have turned off the domain forwarding over at Register.com before changing the CNAME record (anyone's eyes glazing over yet?), and then I should have waited 24-72 hours to allow the change to propagate around the web before activating the typepad domain mapping.

[insert your favorite facepalm or 'fail' picture... this is my personal fave]

Facepalm

If I had done it correctly the net result would have been a much more logical (and easy to remember) URL experience for people coming to my site.  Instead I think the lights may have flickered over in Silicon Valley as my sheer stupidity challenged the electrical grid out there.

Please stand by while this resolves itself.  Or not.

Without googling it, is anyone out there old enough to know what the title of today's post is paraphrasing?

Posted by David Bogner on January 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Hello... is this thing on? [tap tap tap]

I recieved an email this morning from a friend in LA saying he was unable to view treppenwitz ( he is getting a 404 message when he tries to view my blog).

Is anyone else having trouble?  Obviously if you are reading this you are able to see my site... so maybe just leave me a short comment saying you can see it, and where you are viewing it from.

Examples:

Helpful:  "Hi Trep,  Mike here reading your blog from Seattle and everything looks okay."

Less helpful:  Hi Trep.  Jeff here reading your blog from my den (downstairs just off the kitchen) and everything looks okay... although the blue in your banner isn't quite as vivid as when I view it on the new large LCD monitor in the kids playroom."

Thanks for the help.  A real post will be up in a few hours (once I sort out this mysterious outage).

Posted by David Bogner on January 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rockets hit the North (Naharia)

The radio news here in Israel is reporting that three Ketyushas have been fired from Lebanon into Naharia (in northern Israel).  There are apparently injured Israelis as a result of the attack.

According to JPost

"An Al Jazeera reporter with close ties to Hizbullah said there was no chance the rockets were fired by the Shi'ite terror group, because the rockets were of an outdated model that Hizbullah had not used for years."

In other news, the same Al Jazeera reporter has stated that Hizbullah is also not responsible for the rockets that will be fired later this afternoon from southern Lebanon since the Iranian sponsored terror group only uses rockets from their patron, while the rockets that will be fired at Israel are of Chinese origin.

Update:  Much nonsense is being spewed by the blabbering class about why these three rockets weren't fired by Hizbullah, and were probably 'just' fired by some splinter Palestinian terror group.

I'm sorry but:

a)  If Israeli sovereignty is violated by rocket fire, what the hell does it matter who fired it.  It's not our problem that ostensibly nobody is manning the store up there in Lebanon (even though we all know exactly who is calling the shots).

b)  It certainly doesn't matter to the people who the rockets are landing on what 'brand' they are or who fired them.  Injured is injured... and dead is dead.

c)  When a rocket (or any other ordnance) is inadvertently fired from one country into another, someone customarily issues a statement saying 'oops' (in diplomat speak, of course).  Those of a certain age will remember the Jordanian soldiers regular firing into west Jerusalem and the Jordanian government reporting that 'another solider had gone crazy and acted of his own volition'.  At a certain point the 'duty crazy person' line became a bit hard to swallow.   In the case of Lebanon where there are several factions and groups that are nominally in charge, one would expect multiple 'oopses', or at least a competing denunciations of the act to distance themselves from blame.  But in this case... silence (except for the Al Jazeera apologist journalist mentioned earlier).

d)  If and when the denials and diplomatic 'oops'/'it wasn't us' messages are issued, points a & b come back into play.

Now I'm not looking for Israel to open up a second front now (or ever), but this makes one wonder whether we shouldn't have some horribly disproportionate (yes, there's that word again) scorched earth conventional weapon capable of clearing a very large area around the source of those three missiles?

It has been said again and again by smarter people than I, that Israel's only real long-term defense against our enemies is an overwhelming deterrence (i.e. making them painfully aware of the price they will pay for even 'small' attacks). 

It seems to me that not responding to each and every attack is an excellent way to erode any semblance of deterrence we might once have had.

Posted by David Bogner on January 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This guy gets it

Without a doubt the single best article I've read in years on the subject.

Don't thank me... I'm a giver.

[Hat tip to an old high school buddy who has the same name as the journalist who penned the article]

Posted by David Bogner on January 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Hi, I'm treppenwitz... and I'm a recovering diaspora Jew

All together now: "Hi trep!"

Something that many of my Israeli friends have been pointing out to me over the past few years is that I simply must learn to stop being bothered by what the foreign media and governments say about us.  I know they're right (my friends, that is... not the foreign media and governments), but it's hard to unlearn most of a lifetime's worth of conditioning to care. 

The problem is, I'm hard-wired to seek acceptance and approval... and to keep my head down when uncomfortable topics are being discussed.  Like Israel.    I'm working on it... give me time.

To help me in this task, I've sketched out a 12 step program for recovering diaspora Jews.*  It goes like this:

1. Admitted we were powerless in the diaspora and recognize that living in Israel now means never again having to say we're sorry (or 'please', or 'excuse me', apparently).
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves is the same One that gave us this land.  Top that! 
3. Made a decision to not be a 'frayer', and determine that only G-d above can criticize our foreign policy, or cut in front of us in the grocery line.   
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and found we really are superior to everyone else (or so our mothers tell us).   
5. Admitted to G-d, to ourselves, and to any human being who will listen, that we've been kicked out of almost every country on the planet... so we're simply not moving again.  Move someone else!   
6. Were entirely ready to have G-d remove the last spec of insecurity from our character.   
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.  Hey, that was fast.  Thanks!   
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and assumed they will get over it.  Or not.  Whatever.   
9. Made direct contributions to our own people.  Charity begins at home.  Let someone else worry about the needy neighbors for a change.  
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong we assume nobody noticed (or would ever have the bad taste to say anything).  
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him.  After all... who knows Him longest?  
12. Having had a personal awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other recovering diaspora Jews, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Imshin who introduced me to my new mantra yesterday:  "oderint dum metuant" [Latin for 'let them hate, so long as they fear'].

* Note: This post is in no way, shape or form, meant to poke fun at, or make light of, the incredibly important work of Alcoholics Anonymous and other real 12 step programs.

Posted by David Bogner on January 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The writing on the walls

Last night Zahava, Gilad and I attended a party for a friend's son in Jerusalem.  It was a beautiful affair in a stunning location overlooking the illuminated stone ramparts of the old city. 

However, in the middle of the party I had to sneak off to the Jerusalem offices of Sky News to do a short live interview via Satellite hook-up to their London studios.  And by the time I returned and slipped into the seat beside my wife, I was a little shaken (although I tried very hard not to show it).

The interview was between a female anchor in Sky's London studio, an articulate blogger in Gaza and me.  The interview itself lasted no more than four or five minutes and was sort of surreal for it's lack of substance or point.  But it wasn't the interview that shook me up.  What really turned my head around was my short wait in the Sky News' offices before the interview began. 

On the walls of their Jerusalem office are ten or twelve beautifully framed black & white photographs that are clearly supposed to demonstrate to a guest, the space's occupant's appreciation for the rich, multi-cultural tapestry that is Israel. 

There are photos of Christians in and near the ancient Churches of Jerusalem... Muslims (including crying children) near mosques and in pastoral settings, and of course Jews... mostly in prayer:

Jew photo #1-  A close-up of a hand holding an open siddur (Hebrew prayer book) with a sub-machine gun in soft focus on a table in the near background, within easy reach.

Jew photo #2- An Israeli soldier wrapped in tallit and tefillin praying in front of an enormous battle tank (not the famous one from sukkot taken during the Yom Kippur war).

Jew photo #3 - An Israeli soldier wearing a helmet and holding an assault rifle next to his face, peering around a corner of a stone building as if trying to line up a difficult shot.

After viewing the first two images of Jewish Israelis, an observer could be forgiven for assuming that the soldiers were praying, not to G-d, but to the tools of war before them.  And the third photograph does nothing to dispel the notion of Jewish Israelis as an entirely militaristic society.

There are no images of Jewish women, children or civilians of any kind.  And the only other photograph showing anything approaching a warlike/violent pose is of a young masked Palestinian winding up a rock in a slingshot just before the moment of release.  His pose is simultaneously primitive and heroic... especially when juxtaposed against the photos of well equipped, uniformed IDF soldiers.

To be clear, the cameraman and office staff at the Sky studios in Jerusalem were extremely cordial and solicitous of my comfort... offering tea, and chit-chatting with me about family, pets, blogging and other comfortable topics. 

But I couldn't help feeling that all the while the photographs on the wall were broadcasting a clear message that Jewish Israelis are soldiers. Full Stop.  And that all non-Jewish Israelis are civilians.  Full Stop.  Christians and Mulsims worship G-d or Allah, while Jews - the people who gave the world monotheism - worship Ares, Enyo, Mars, Odin, Murugan, Tyr... WAR!

The writing on the walls at Sky News is clear for anyone to see:  Without Jews there would be no soldiers. And without soldiers, there would be no war. 

Posted by David Bogner on January 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Monday, January 05, 2009

Homo Economicus (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

My good friend Eve Harrow was kind enough to forward an excellent article to me that is a must read for anyone who is interested in a (notice I didn't say 'the') sociological explanation for the prevailing disconnect between western and Muslim societies. 

Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite:

"A decade and a half ago, in his most famous book 'The Clash Of Civilizations', Professor [Samuel] Huntington argued that western elites’ view of man as homo economicus was reductive and misleading — that cultural identity is a more profound behavioral indicator than lazy assumptions about the universal appeal of western-style economic liberty and the benefits it brings.

Very few of us want to believe this.

“The great majority of Palestinian people,” Condi Rice, the Secretary of State, said to Cal Thomas a couple of years back, “they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don’t believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that’s what people are going to do.”

Cal Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: “Do you think this or do you know this?”

“Well, I think I know it,” said Secretary Rice.

“You think you know it?”

“I think I know it.”

I think she knows she doesn’t know it. But in the modern world there is no diplomatic vocabulary for the kind of cultural fault line represented by the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, so even a smart thinker like Dr. Rice can only frame it as an issue of economic and educational opportunity.

Of course, there are plenty of Palestinians like the ones the Secretary of State describes: you meet them living as doctors and lawyers in Los Angeles and Montreal and Geneva … but not, on the whole, in Gaza. In Gaza, they don’t vote for Hamas because they want access to university education. Or, if they do, it’s to get Junior into the Saudi-funded Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza, where majoring in rocket science involves making one and firing it at the Zionist Entity. In 2007, as part of their attempt to recover Gaza from Hamas, Fatah seized 1,000 Qassam rockets at the university, as well as seven Iranian military trainers."

Go read the whole thing and broaden your horizons. 

Is there a good possibility this guy is completely wrong.  Of course... we're talking about sociology.  This discipline doesn't have calibrated instruments that can prove or disprove the truth/accuracy of any given theory.   But this particular explanation for the cultural disconnect between 'us' and 'them' rings true to me. 

I'd be interested to know how others feel after reading the piece.

Posted by David Bogner on January 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Sunday, January 04, 2009

@ssclown of the week

I really hate to give this guy traffic, but he is just so goofy and misinformed that I couldn't resist.

I wish this was the worst example of the joo haters (yes, some of them are even joos) who simply want those pesky Israeli colonists to just sit still and let the poor Palestinians express their legitimate outrage with their crude rockets.

Sadly for every ridiculous @ssclown like this there are 1000 much more sophisticated joo haters who know just enough history and current events to fabricate some really believable lies.

Posted by David Bogner on January 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Early Morning Headlines of note

UN Chief Ban calls for 'immediate end to IDF ground operation!'

Israeli blogger Treppenwitz calls for UN's Ban to 'immediately jump in East River!'

Seriously, where were these useful idiots for the past few years while Israel was being pounded by rockets and mortars?  Suddenly the UN is concerned about civilian casualties? Spare me!

You know what Mr. Ban?  Forget the East River... it's polluted enough already.  Just come over here and bite me!

Posted by David Bogner on January 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The die is cast

The major Israeli news stations are now reporting that the IDF ground incursion into Gaza has begun.

We have many friends and neighbors whose sons are now (or very soon to be) in Gaza.  Please have them in your thoughts and prayers and may we pay as low a cost as possible for this necessary step.

Hebrew-idf-prayer

Translation: 

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Force, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea. 

May Hashem cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighting men from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.  May He lead our enemies under their sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is Hashem, your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.  Now let us respond: Amen. 

Posted by David Bogner on January 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

'Sacred Muslim Values'

This past week Israel's Reshet Bet radio station reported the following:

"Egypt has asked Israeli defence officials to refrain from attacking mosques in the Gaza Strip even if it is suspected that they are used as hiding places for weapons. The Egyptians said that bombing mosques could enrage the Muslim world. Bombing mosques also serves the interests of Hamas, the Egyptians explained, which is exploiting this for propaganda purposes by claiming that Israel is harming sacred Muslim values."

I have to admit that in the opening hours of the present Israeli operation, my American liberal upbringing bubbled to the surface and caused a moment of revulsion at reports that some Gaza Mosques were being targeted.  But those feeling quickly evaporated as I watched films of secondary and tertiary explosions from within those mosques as the rockets and weapons stockpiled inside went up like the 4th of July.

Once again Israel is being asked to spot our enemies a few strokes... a half lap head start... a good-will handicap... just because to do otherwise might inflame Muslim sensibilities.  For some reason, the idea that Muslims themselves have defiling their own holy places with weapons and rockets never enters into the equation for the simple reason that in Jihad [holy war] anything goes. 

For the record, I'm not suggesting that Israel go that far... yet.  I still firmly believe that we must continue to adhere to the norms of modern warfare and the rules of International Law... and I'm please that some respected voices have done a good job of explaining why Israel is on firm legal ground in that respect.

The IDF has gone to incredible lengths to prevent civilian casualties (including actually making phone calls to tens of thousands of individuals to tell them to vacate buildings that are about to be bombed).  But unfortunately, when the wolves make a regular practice of hiding among the sheep... often with the willing cooperation of the flock... regrettably, some wool is going to fly. 

Hamas knows that we can't very well bomb hospitals, so their top terrorists hide out there posing as doctors and nurses.  But the IDF has decided that other places that would normally be considered sacrosanct, such as schools, universities and mosques, are now legitimate targets because of the irrefutable evidence that they are being used to hide weapons, explosives, rockets and high-level enemy combatants/leaders. 

And this isn't an accident.  Those places are deliberately chosen to cynically exploit our 'western values'... the same values upon which Egypt is now trying to play.  Egypt is essentially saying, 'Yes we know Hamas is doing something wrong but we need you to act more correctly since to do otherwise will offend the sensibilities of Muslims around the world'.  Such a thinly veiled threat from our peace partner is chilling.

The truth is, there's no such thing as 'scared Muslim values'... at least where civilians, hospitals and mosques are concerned.  Can a society in which suicide bombing is so widely accepted and admired really claim to hold anything sacred?  The answer is no.   The moment the infidel is involved and Jihad is invoked, the only 'value' that matters is winning at any cost.

To be clear, I'm not willing to win at any cost...  and I'm proud that my country's army is taking great pains to act morally and ethically in this conflict.  But if a few mosques have to be destroyed to keep Israeli civilians from being killed... I can live with that.

Posted by David Bogner on January 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Friday, January 02, 2009

Pali legal advisor spanked by Fox News

Is Fox my first (or even 7th) choice for accurate news?  Of course not.  They are every bit as biased as CNN, BBC, SKY et all.  But at least they have the good form to be rude to talking heads that are out-and-out liars instead of just smiling politely in the name of 'even-handedness'.

Would I rather he had refuted the lie in every one of her prepared talking points?  Yes.  But when time is short and you don't feel like going through the exhausting task of correcting the terrorist's apologists... a good old-fashioned spanking is always a good fall-back option:

Posted by David Bogner on January 2, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why are we allowing foreign press into Gaza?

Seriously, I'm confused.  This is an easy call... a slam dunk:  "No, you can't go into Gaza looking for [probably staged] grisly photos of dead and wounded civilians.  Why?  Because we said so!"

Not good enough?  Here are a few reasons you can take back to your bureau chiefs:

1.  You didn't send your reporters to hang out in Sderot and the other Gaza-belt Israeli communities to get a first-hand look at the human side of our suffering, so your sudden interest in having a press-presence in Gaza is just a tad transparent, don't you think?

2.  Whether you want to admit it or not, your reporters are going to either act as human shields (meaning they'll inhibit our ability to act freely when they are near a target), or they are going to get their foolish asses killed (making us look even worse than you've already made us out to be). 

3.  The Palestinians have demonstrated their willingness to play to the cameras during two Intifadas.  Your presence has a tendency to get young, bored, otherwise-non-political Palis out onto the streets and into violent confrontations with our troops.  So far we've been able to limit our attacks to Hamas leaders and combatants.  But once your camera crews draw out the idle young mobs, the casualty figures will shoot through the roof.  And that will end up being your story.  Reporters are supposed to report the news... not manufacture it.

4.  You have demonstrated that you have no contextual or historical background for covering this conflict.  You have also made it clear you have no desire to acquire either.  You will inevitably send in 'journalists' who don't know the geography, language, culture or history of either side in this conflict, forcing them to rely on unreliable (and biased) local sources and 'fixers' to supply the meat of their stories.  There are already Palestinian journalists inside Gaza.  Your stories are going to end up echoing their propaganda, so why not just take their feed?

5.  We have been working very hard to keep weapons out of Gaza (unsuccessfully, it turns out.  Thanks a lot, Egypt!).  Why on earth would we allow one of the Palestinian's most potent weapons - a fawning foreign press - into the war zone?  Do you think we're really that stupid?  Well, maybe we are.

It turns out the Israeli Supreme Court just approved a petition that will allow a pool of foreign journalists into Gaza. 

[~slaps forehead in frustration~]

 In Lebanon we had to fight a war on two fronts; on the battlefield against an illegitimate terrorist army, and in the media against foreign dupes who printed whatever this illegitimate terrorist army told them/allowed them to see.

We couldn't do anything about that becasue we didn't control the battlefield.  But in Gaza we do. 

Apparently we will never learn.

Posted by David Bogner on January 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack