Got Some Catching Up to Do

A few things that have happened over the past week or ten days have oddly gone unnoticed by Half & Half. This is not due to laziness on my be-Half, yet more with sheer fatigue. That’s right – I’m not sleeping well. Neither is the wife, needless to say. The kids are giving us hell. We’re thinking about giving them back. Bless ’em.

So, let’s go through a few of them quickly, some good, some bad, some deserve a full post later on, some don’t. I’ll be using the good ‘ole “thumbs up, thumbs down” routine, courtesy of Simon Cowell, seeing as how I’m an American Ido-holic; and Borat, seeing as how I love everything Kazakh. (Did I just say that?)

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I often complain here about the disappearing act Bibi is doing with Israeli democracy since his election, especially concerning certain kinds of legislation the Knesset has passed and is still attempting to pass. Little did I know that ugly things are happening on the other side of the pond, in that country where my other Half resides, where in certain areas I was hoping it would serve Israel as a role model.

I haven’t lived in the States for years, and certainly never in Arizona (though I hear they have some mean Chile Rellenos down there, and I’m a sucker for Mexican). But one can only wonder what made Sen. John McCain turn into a hard-liner on immigration and support a bill that requires police to stop anyone they suspect of being illegal immigrants – and even calling it “a necessary tool”.

So, people of Arizona, I’d stay clear of the tanning salons and the desert sun, and keep up with the sunscreen, too. ‘Cause if you’re skin is a few shades darker than Mahogany or even Khaki, you just might find yourself in the back seat of a sheriff’s car.

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Even though Netanyahu probably angered the White House once again with his announcement that he’s ready for a Palestinian state with temporary borders and that the building in East Jerusalem would continue, Obama does not seem to be deterred. In fact, it seems like he might even have a plan for us. The U.S. announced on Friday that “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed that next week, the United States would start indirect talks, in which the administration’s special envoy, George J. Mitchell, would ferry proposals between the Israelis and the Palestinians”.

So, I guess that means we’re just inches away from those “proximity talks”. Heck, I’d even go so far as to say – we might even be in the proximity of the proximity talks. Meanwhile, via Mitchell, we’ll hold talks by proxy.

But on a serious note, this is a good thing. This is a sign Obama hasn’t given up yet. In the same article, the Times hints that “some say the whole exercise is simply a warm-up before Mr. Obama puts forward his own proposals for ending decades of conflict.”

THAT’s my man.

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I’ve read a few reports about JStreet and Jerusalem getting closer. Ron Dermer, Netanyahu’s political advisor, met last week with representatives of the lobby, and a few weeks earlier Ambassador Micahel Oren (who once called the group “a unique problem”) met with Director Jeremy Ben-Ami.

Now, I’m usually FOR making up, not breaking up. But it’s this kind of making up that gives me the chills. Sounds fishy. First of all, it’s bad enough there’s no opposition to Netanyahu in Israel itself. Now, the opposition in the States is also being co-opted? I’m also not sure everyone in J Street is happy about this, either.

Netanyahu’s move towards J Street smells more like an attempt to get closer to the lobby it so despises, only to embrace it in a nice, warm, fuzzy – yet deadly – bear hug.

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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited D.C. last week, only to insult his hosts.

I had high hopes for Barkat, for some odd reason. He seemed like an intelligent young man, who could do good for a city in deep trouble. Obviously, I should have done a bit more reading on him. He’s seems to be even more divisive a mayor than his Haredi predecessor, Uri Lupoliansky.

After seeing him in the media, he just doesn’t seem like that smart a guy to me anymore. Here’s must watch of him being toasted by a Sky News host, who evidently knows more about Jerusalem than the mayor of the city himself. I don’t know what kind of media advisor this guy has, but he should be fired nonetheless for letting a man who can only say “I beg to differ” every five seconds.

But what’s worse is the way he acted in D.C., criticizing the administration and saying that Obama is “slapping Israel in the face”. Now listen up, Nir boy – when you go to someones house, even if you don’t like him, you show some respect. That’s why, while visiting Israel, Vice President Biden didn’t tell Netanyahu he’s running an apartheid state – even though he probably thought it.

So, thumbs up for Clinton and Mitchell giving him the cold shoulder.

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And then they go and invite Eli Yishai. Big thumbs down. Really big.

Do they even know what kind of hatred this guy is disseminating?

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This is probably the scariest poll I’ve seen in a long time:

“More than half of Jewish Israelis think human rights organizations that expose immoral behavior by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely, and think there is too much freedom of expression here, a recent survey found.

Slightly more than half agreed that “there is too much freedom of expression” in Israel… The poll also found that most of the respondents favor punishing Israeli citizens who support sanctioning or boycotting the country, and support punishing journalists who report news that reflects badly on the actions of the defense establishment.

“Israelis have a distorted perception of democracy,” said Daniel Bar-Tal, a professor at the university’s school of education, and one of the conference’s organizers. “The public recognizes the importance of democratic values, but when they need to be applied, it turns out most people are almost anti-democratic.”

And to top it off, how about 20 MK’s proposing a bill to outlaw some of the most important NGO’s in Israel?

Frightening, I tell ‘ya.

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A lot of talk lately about the one-state solution. I’ve always leaned towards the two-state idea, yet I still haven’t made my mind up about that one.

But I do smell a post on it. Oh yes, it’s near.

A post is in the vicinity…

Maybe even in… the PROXIMITY…

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