Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Set a Place for Gilad

Facebook campaign to raise awareness about Gilad at your own Seder table:
Soon, we'll be sitting down at the Seder table with family and friends, as we have for thousands of years, celebrating our exodus from Egypt.

We'll begin retelling our story, pointing to the matzah:

This is the bread of affliction, which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.
All who are hungry, come and eat;
All who are in need, come and partake...
Now we are here, next year we will be in the Land of Israel;
This year, captive; next year [we will be] free men.

"השתא עבדי-- this year, captive."

Today, 'captive' rings all too familiar.

This year, someone really IS captive.

A twenty-four year old, lanky young man who grew up in Mitzpe Hila; the shy, cheerful, soccer-playing son of French immigrants. Who, as a kid, wrote stories about a shark and fish who learned to be friends despite their differences. Who spent vacations helping out at his parents' bed and breakfast, who loves to solve math problems, who memorized every international sports tournament result.

Gilad Shalit has been in captivity by Hamas terrorists for almost five years.

In violation of international law, Gilad has been denied visits from the International Red Cross and has had no contact from his family. He has been denied the right to humane treatment and to unfettered access to the Red Cross, in violation of Articles 13 and 126 of the Third Geneva Convention.

This Pesach, while we sit in the comfort of our homes, with candles lit and beautifully-set tables, with family and friends gathering together-- Gilad will be alone in an underground Hamas bunker.

Let us not sit idly by.

Let every Seder table across the world, from New York to Jerusalem, Paris to Mumbai, Moscow to Los Angeles to Sao Paulo, set a place for Gilad. As we thank God for our redemption thousands of years ago, let us also pray for Gilad's freedom and demand that the world not be silent; as we taste the bitter herbs, let us remember that the bitterness hasn't ended.

And when the children ask why on all other nights we eat bread and why tonight we eat matzah, let them also ask why there is an empty seat at the table.

גלעד, לא שכחנו אותך.
We have not forgotten you, Gilad.

ושבו בנים לגבולם | "And thy sons shall return to their borders"

For more information about Gilad and the campaign for his release:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gilad Shalit is still alive

Just a small reminder.

 ~venti cafe latte~

Not to bash the Times, but...

The image alone, from the Times' "Israel Scours Palestinian Village in Hunt for Killers", looks right out of a movie.

A Palestinian girl, Rabah Abd al-Karim, 6, with members of her family  at the doorway to her house in Awarta, West Bank, that was searched repeatedly by Israeli soldiers during a door to door hunt for the killers of a family in neighboring Itamar.

It's unsettling to read about raids of Palestinian houses, "children fright...of" Israeli soldiers, a "dingy, sparsely, with bare cement-block walls" where soldiers "broke all the closets and the family’s first, newly acquired washing machine". Unnecessarily brutal disruption of civilian life is shocking.

Yet I was even more shocked to see that the Times considers the hunt for the Fogels' killers in itself an emotional saga, a human interest story that the murder never was. Let us be totally honest: There was no equivalent article that described the Fogel funeral; no pretty imagery like "dingy", "sparsely furnished", "bare cement-block walls"; no similarly tearful descriptions of Israeli children dealing with post-attack trauma.

It seems as if the story of the children (albeit settlers) who lost their parents and siblings isn't especially compelling to Times readers; people would much rather read about the children who lost their newly acquired washing machine.

~mango passion fruit tea~

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Embracing the Future of Media and Journalism

Interesting, if not unsettling, expose in The Atlantic Monthly, by James Fallows: "Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media"....

How our new fast-paced technological culture is changing the face of discourse and journalism.

~ pomegranate tea ~

Monday, April 4, 2011

Goldstone's Yom Kippur and the NYTimes, Take II

Thanks to Professor Adler for pointing this out. Apparently,
The Times saw a very different op-ed by Goldstone about two weeks ago, just one in a series of articles he'd written trying to clarify and finesse the meaning of the report; the paper rejected it because it said nothing new, the source said. 
That version didn't contain the crucial repudiation of the report's central thrust, that the Israeli Defense Forces targeted civilians intentionally and as a matter of policy...
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy emails, "We did in fact receive an Op-Ed submission from Richard Goldstone on March 22, but that piece bears no resemblance to the one that was published in the Washington Post on Sunday." 

Goldstone's Yom Kippur

I have to say, I was wondering why Goldstone's retraction was published in the Washington Post and not in the Times....
YNet reports that the NYTimes had refused to publish Goldstone's letter of regret.


~ cappuccino~

A Thousand Words

NYTimes chose an interesting image for yesterday's headline, "In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out". I won't even enter the discussion on how misplaced this article is, how utterly irrelevant the Middle Eastern mentality finds sentences like:
With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank,Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Or how statements like 
“We want to generate pressure on Israel to make it feel isolated and help it understand that there can be no talks without a stop to settlements,” said Nabil Shaath, who leads the foreign affairs department of Fatah, the main party of the Palestinian Authority. 
....are nothing new.

Or how the PA's goals, in gaining membership in the UN and then accusing Israel of "occupying land belonging to a fellow UN member", don't make Israelis blink an eye. Since when has the UN had any real influence over Israeli policy? Operation Cast Lead, the Mavi Marmara incident last year, strikes on Gaza in retaliation for rockets into southern Israel: Israel clearly makes its decisions regardless of the United Nations' disapproving frowns and incessant banging of the gavel.

Let's not forget, after all, that it's a conglomerate of countries that includes Qaddafi's Libya, Egypt, Syria, North Korea; an organization which has invited Ahmadinejad to speak, and in heat of the turmoil of the Egyptian revolution, only found time to convene over Israel's imperialistic settlements. 

But let us turn to this most artfully shot image: 
Palestinians prayed near Israeli soldiers on Friday. They were protesting land confiscation in the village of Qusra, near Nablus.

Is this really the only type of protests that goes on? Peaceful prayer, in prostration? Oh yes, the image is beautiful, compelling. Kudos to you, NYTimes photographer, on 
excelling artistically.

But let's not kid ourselves. You craft a pretty bedtime story (not unlike that of Miral), but your educated readers? They're rolling their eyes.

~ cappuccino ~