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60 bloggers – a moving tribute to Israel from around the world

The breadth and width of bloggers at 60bloggers is impressive anywhere in the blogosphere —here is a quick peek of some of the recent posts. Go ahead, take a peek.

What I Was Taught about Israel, by Lee Meyerhoff Hendler, a writer, speaker and philanthropist.
Sometime near the turn of the 20th century I almost became a sabra. My great grandfather, Oscar Meyerhoff, traveled with three male relatives to what was then Palestine from his tiny village near Kiev. He hoped to become a settler, then send for the rest of the family….

Los Angeles and Israel: A Story of Friendship and Common Dreams by the Honorable, Antonio Villaraigosa is Mayor of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, where I was born and raised, has a special relationship with the State of Israel. Despite the thousands of miles between us, we share so much – connections of culture and commerce, and ties of blood and family.

Choosing Hope by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, the spiritual leader of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA.
We choose our destinies. Exilic wandering, for the modern Jew, is a choice. As Reb Chaim of Volozhin teaches in his magisterial Nefesh HaChayiim (1824), “And this is the Torah of being a person…One should never say in their heart, God forbid, ‘For what am I and what is my power to enact anything through my insignificant and and deeds? Understand, know, and set in your heart that every detail of every deed, word, and thought is not lost. Every one of them ascends to its own Source to cause an effect in the highest Heavens. (NH 1:4)” No act is neutral, and we can have a cosmic impact by simply thinking differently.

Eating My Way Through Israel by Leah Koenig, Editor of The Jew & The Carrot: Hazon’s blog on Jews, food, and sustainability. She’s also a freelance writer and a serious foodie.
I’ve only ever been to Israel once and that was last year at the age of 25. I’m not exactly sure what took me so long, though it was probably some combination of not being particularly involved in mainstream Jewish activities as a teenager, my parents’ fear of the “situation” in the Middle East, and my own complicated emotions around and relationship to he holy land.

My relationship with Israel by John Leonard author of Nun Bet.
My relationship with Israel began in a wooden church pew in a small North Carolina town. As a boy growing up in a conservative Baptist family, I was at church at least three times a week: twice Sunday and once on Wednesday night. My black, faux leather-bound, zip-up childhood Bible had pictures and maps of the Holy Land. Bored in the church services, I would flip through these images and imagine what that foreign land must be like. Little did I know that about twenty years later I would be able to see these place in person.

Post Cards to Israel by Leah Jones, a writer, ROI’nik, former stand-up comic, and occasional talker based in Chicago where she pens the blog Accidentally Jewish.
March 11, 2004: I’m working in London where I manage an international student residence. We have 24 hour security and the guys who work nights and weekends are all Israeli. The weekend after the bombings in Madrid, I walk with my Spanish students through the streets of London to the consulate. There we light candles, leave notes and walk back with the Spanish flag between. “Todos somos Madrilenos.”

One of my Israeli guys says to me, “Leah, if we stopped working every time a bomb went off in Israel, we wouldn’t get things done. This is life.”

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iFest @ UCI

UCI will be hosting notorious and hateful speakers starting Wednesday with Norm Finkelstein. Which will be followed by ten days of what we casually call hate-week. Partially in response, but also as an affirmation of Jewish identity, Anteaters for Israel has spearheaded a week-long Israel celebration that we are happy to be co-sponsoring. iFest is certainly the largest attempt at UCI to bring a different view of Israel to the campus- and we hope it succeeds in speaking to the majority of students who are uninformed, and uncommitted to the radical Muslim agenda on the campus.

Perhaps the most audacious part of the week will be Thursday night, when an expected 900 people will converge for OASIS – a club night in Garden Grove.
It will be the largest pro-Israel event in OC Jewish Student history by far. Students from all over Socal are expected to this massive Israel party -with Israeli dj’s, complimentary admission drinks, and busing.

Come next week, the mood on campus will change, but we hope that this series of events will garner many more friends for Israel and the Jews on the UCI campus – where we truly believe that the majority of students are sick and tired of 1)their school being used as a recruiting ground for radical Islamic movements, 2) the vilification of Jews and other minorities, and 3) the bullying gangs of MSU students that intimidate dissenters.

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Carter forsakes Tibet, Darfer: Should Israel Pay-up?

Perhaps the Chinese have been stuffing Jimmy Carter’s pockets – most likely through donations to his foundation. [Recently we have seen how they stuff the pockets of another former prez – Clinton] Back in 1980, Jimmy Carter led the boycott of the Moscow Olympics in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But when asked if he supported a boycott over Chinese aggression in Tibet, <a href=”http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iAFbTsPx174-gHXsXMee0tY8oo1AD9010TQG0″>he replied</a>:

“That was a totally different experience in 1980, when the Soviet Union had brutally invaded and killed thousands and thousands of people,” he said, rejecting the idea of boycotting the Beijing games to protest China’s crackdown in Tibet. He did not address whether just the opening ceremonies should be boycotted.

It is only totally different only if you are being paid by the Chinese. If you are a true humanitarian, and defender of people’s rights to self-determination, as Carter proclaims ot the world, you know that the results of China’s invasion of Tibet has been much, much worse than anything the Soviets did in Afghanistan.

China invaded Tibet on March 10, 1959. According to Tibetan sources, since then 87,000 people have been died. China has carried out a policy to destroy Tibetan culture through destroying Tibetan cultural/religious centers, transplanting millions of ethnic Chinese there, brutally repressing opposition, and forcing into exile the Tibetan leader.

Remember last year, Carter returned from Darfur proclaiming it was not a genocide by the Sudanese government, but a regional conflict. This is the standard line of the Muslim totalitarian regimes, who stuff millions into the coffers of the Carter Foundation. China is also under fire for major supporter of Sudan, and not doing enough to pressure the Sudanese.

Today, Carter roams around Israel, visits Sderot, gets rebuffed by Israel’s leaders, and ignored by the Shin Bet. Any goodwill created when they inked the Peace deal with Egypt nearly 30 years ago has evaporated. I just have one suggestion for the Israelis – pay up. For a mere 5 million of so, Carter could “re-examine” his views on the subject. He could “have a new understanding” and become more of an ally. We could get a ghost writer from the Shalem Center to whip together a new book too.

As it says in Pirkei Avot, “K’ne l’cha chaver”, “acquire for yourself a friend.” It will do Israel a lot more good to support Jimmy Carter with backsheesh, than to rebuff him.

“We have Hebron in Israel and Palestine”

Photo from Facebook group

from facebook group against israelFacebook never dreamed it could become anotherbattleground in the war of ideas, words, and politics that surround the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When Facebook abruptly changed the country of people who live over the green-line to “Palestine” from “Israel”, Israelis were pissed off. Not wanting to be in their shoes for a second, I can understand why Facebook did a 180 so fast. I mean who wants to be in the way of a group of angry Israelis who found themselves virtually living outside of Israel, even as their government discusses keeping them out of a future Israel.

For their part, Palestinians of the West Bank are threatening to leave Facebook if this compromise reached — that allows Israelis living in major Israeli cities to keep their country as Israel—takes place. The ever pro-Arab Reuters reports:

“Facebook users in the Israeli West Bank settlements of Maale Adumim, Beitar Illit, and Ariel can now choose between Israel and Palestine,” Barker said last week in an email to Reuters….

“We also offer Hebron in both Israel and Palestine,” Barker said… about 18 West Bank settlements were currently listed on Facebook and that many more would be added in the future, giving users the option of choosing Israel or Palestine.

This virtual war within the world of Facebook has been continuing for a while, ever since groups for and against listing Palestine and Israel popped up. Various anti-Israel groups think Israel should not be listed, and some groups want to see the label Palestine disappear too.

Palestinian users have set up their own Facebook group whose members threatened to cancel their accounts if Palestine was removed from the site. Called “If Palestine is removed from Facebook… I am closing my account,” the group has over 4,700 members. [ED: This group does exist but has 4,398 members]

“We created this group to let our voices be heard not only among Facebook’s management but all the users, and to tell everyone that Palestine is and will always be a country,” Saif Qadoumi, the group’s 20-year-old founder, told Reuters.

Those familiar with Facebook realize that these members threatening to leave can come from any place, and that 4,700 out of over 15,000,000+ users is nothing for Facebook to loose, well, uhm face, over. And since this group was created by students from Dalhousie University, it seems even further proof that no one in the West Bank is being disenfranchised Facebook-wise.

And the last bit of irony – if Hamas succeeds in capturing the West Bank, those users can kiss Facebook goodbye anyway, because it will be banned as it is in Syria, Burma, Bhutan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Iran.

ed note: Gawker calls Facebook’s solution “appeasement”