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"a kind of weirdo, a loner, but the most interesting of all"

Some Yom Kippur thoughts from Etgar Keret
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? on Oct 4, 2014 - 10 comments

Geopolitical duct tape and costly disasters.

...the reality of ISIS and what this group seeks is opaque to the public, and to policymakers not clued into the private salons where the details of secrets can be discussed. Even among those policymakers, the compartmentalized national security establishment means that no one really grasps the whole picture. The attempt to get the US into a war in Syria a year ago was similarly opaque. The public cannot make well-informed decisions about national security choices because information critical to such choices is withheld from them. It is withheld from them at the source, through the classification-censorship process, then by obfuscations in the salons and think tanks of DC and New York, and then finally through the bottleneck of the mass media itself.
The Solution to ISIS Is the First Amendment by Matt Stoler [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz on Sep 17, 2014 - 39 comments

"Professors are citizens."

Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita's blocked appointment to teach at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has ignited a debate over academic freedom. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Aug 26, 2014 - 602 comments

Aftertaste

"In peace or war, the ultimate refuge—the sanctuary of all that is humane—lies distilled within the warmth of the kitchen." Journalist Paul Salopek pauses in the middle of his 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk from Africa to South America -- Ethiopia to Tierra del Fuego -- to reflect on the food shared with him during his time in Israel and Palestine. "Watching the women of Nablus move briskly, efficiently, purposefully about their tasks, chatting, often joking (about men, politics, life), I am reminded of all the meals that admitted me briefly into the conflicted lives of Israelis and Palestinians." [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414 on Jul 26, 2014 - 1 comment

This place is full of Raphaels

"I was a nervous wreck because I was about to betray my beloved grandmother and visit her darkest secret. Her secret had a name, and I was going to see him." (SLNYTimes: Modern Love)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 23, 2014 - 14 comments

Israel bombing Gaza again

"Israel and its Palestinian adversaries in Gaza sharply escalated the latest deadly resurgence of hostilities on Tuesday, with the Israeli military conducting an intense aerial bombardment that targeted at least 50 Gazan sites, including homes, and militants in the enclave responding with a long-range missile volley aimed at Israeli population centers, including Tel Aviv." [more inside]
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles on Jul 8, 2014 - 1777 comments

40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 comments

The city as clip art

The "White City" of Tel Aviv is a World Heritage site with the world's largest collection of Bauhaus ("International Style") buildings. In his blog TLV Buildings Israeli artist Avner Givelter depicts these buildings' facades with local colors and typography in the style of the similarly-charming Windows of New York. [previously] [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Apr 1, 2014 - 3 comments

You Like-a the M&M's? The M&M's is good?

Forget West-bank selzer. Who cares about Zohan's hummus? The dawn of a new era: Chocolate. Schwarma.
posted by ericbop on Feb 6, 2014 - 41 comments

SodaStream, the Super Bowl and Scarlett Johansson

The argument against Scarlett Johansson doing Super Bowl ads for SodaStream [pdf] This report provides an extensive analysis of SodaStream (Soda Club), a manufacturer of home carbonating devices whose main factory is in the industrial park of Mishor Edomim in the West Bank, territory occupied by Israel. Using SodaStream as a case study for corporate activity in the illegal settlements, the report explores the concept of industrial production in settlements....Examining the performance of this company is important in order to understand how its success is based, at least in part, on the structural advantages that production in Israeli settlements enjoys. Settlement production benefits from low rent, special tax incentives, lax enforcement of environmental and labor protection laws, as well as additional governmental support. Summary: Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl Ad Becomes An International Controversy. More, from Baltimore Jewish Life: SodaStream Boss Admits West Bank Plant Is 'a Pain.' [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Feb 2, 2014 - 127 comments

Ariel Sharon dies at 85

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon died at a hospital near Tel Aviv last night, aged 85, after spending eight years in a coma. He was one of Israel's more popular leaders as a fierce defender of the Jewish nation, but was loathed by Palestinians and other regional powers who dubbed him the "the Butcher of Beirut". Israel is in mourning. Twitter is reacting. NPR reflects on his life as being one of a warrior's journey to peace.
posted by Mezentian on Jan 11, 2014 - 134 comments

Short-term agreement between Iran and six western powers on nukes

In a six-month agreement, Iran will cap uranium enrichment at the 5% level, reduce its stockpile of already enriched uranium, and allow for more robust international inspections. In return, it will receive no new nuclear sanctions and "sanction relief" in the amount of $7 billion. [more inside]
posted by pjenks on Nov 24, 2013 - 208 comments

Gefiltefish Trombones

Israeli musicians present the music of Tom Waits. [Via]
posted by Rykey on Nov 17, 2013 - 21 comments

The Biggest Crime in the History of Horology

An audacious museum heist, in which a timepiece made for Marie Antoinette was among a haul worth hundreds of millions of pounds, left police clutching at thin air. It was only when the watch turned up 25 years later that the pieces of the jigsaw began to fall into place. - Marie Antoinette : the queen, her watch and the master burglar
posted by beisny on Nov 14, 2013 - 7 comments

Do Iraqi-Jewish Treasures belong in Iraq or Elsewhere?

On Oct. 11, provided the government shutdown doesn’t interfere, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., will open an exhibit titled “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” On display will be some of the rarest of the materials that were salvaged from the flooded basement of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence service. All told, the collection contains an estimated 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents that once belonged to the Jews of Baghdad, who, until they began to flee for Israel in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, constituted one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back more than 2,500 years. - In the chaos of the 2003 war, remnants of a once-thriving Jewish past were saved (or stolen?) by America. Where do they belong? [more inside]
posted by beisny on Oct 7, 2013 - 75 comments

We have a very extensive knowledge of what is happening in Syria.

The Spies Inside Damascus: The Mossad's secret war on the Syrian WMD machine.
On Aug. 20, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began shifting around or using his chemical weapons, Obama would consider that "a red line." The implication was that such a move would lead to American intervention in Syria. Some officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry believed that Obama drew the line because he believed it would never be crossed. If that was his assumption, he made it based, in part, on assessments received from the Israeli intelligence services, which have waged a multidecade clandestine campaign to strip Assad of his deadliest weapons -- and which also have emerged as the United States' primary partners in collecting information on Middle Eastern regimes.
posted by andoatnp on Sep 21, 2013 - 22 comments

NSA Shares US Citizens' Communications with Israel

A new story in The Guardian shows how the NSA routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first filtering it to remove information about US citizens. The memorandum of understanding (published here in full) shows that the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain the phone calls and emails of US citizens. This goes against earlier Obama administration claims that there were strong safeguards in place to protect Amercans' communications.
posted by anemone of the state on Sep 11, 2013 - 115 comments

Ruth Calderon: "The Time Has Come To Re-appropriate What Is Ours"

"Every new member of Israel’s Knesset gives a debut speech, and this year, with 48 rookies, the docket was full, with parliamentarians introducing their résumés, their proposed policies, and their hopes for the coming four-year term. One decided to ignore convention altogether. This member of Knesset used the allotted time to teach Talmud. A full third of the 19th Knesset are observant Jews, but it wasn’t any of them. It was a woman named Ruth Calderon, a Talmud scholar and the founder of two Jewish houses of study. She was elected to Knesset as No. 13 on the list of Yesh Atid, a new party headed by former journalist Yair Lapid that swept the recent elections, earning 19 seats on a promise to bring about a more equal Israel..." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 26, 2013 - 21 comments

To the honorable doctor, hello

Casualties from the Syrian civil war are being treated in Israeli hospitals, some of them with referrals from Syrian doctors. The identities of the patients and the route they have taken is being kept secret for fear of repercussions from authorities in Syria, which is formally at war with Israel. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 26, 2013 - 13 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Abandoned Porn Under The Sea

Gil Koplovitz took pictures of a strip club called the Nymphas Show Bar. One small detail: he did it while he was scuba diving off the coast of Israel.
posted by reenum on Aug 5, 2013 - 35 comments

“a cancer” on Israeli society... “a plague"

Unpromised Land: Eritrean Refugees in Israel (Readibility Link)
"60,000 African migrants sought refuge in Israel. Many found hostility, resentment and a one-way ticket to prison. They are Israel's new unwanted."

Previously on Metafilter: "Politicians say these things in the morning, and by the afternoon we get bomb threats made to our office." - Nic Schlagman, African Refugee Development Center
posted by andoatnp on Jun 24, 2013 - 15 comments

I wear a kippeh because I am Jewish

Women are finally allowed to pray aloud at the Wall in Israel. Women of the Wall have been fighting to be allowed to pray and sing in their tallitot at the women's section of the Western Wall. The first day ended peacefully. They were not allowed to bring a Torah.
posted by jeather on Jun 10, 2013 - 53 comments

The Changing and Terrifying Nature of the New Cyber-Warfare

Silent War. "On the hidden battlefields of history’s first known cyber-war, the casualties are piling up. In the U.S., many banks have been hit, and the telecommunications industry seriously damaged, likely in retaliation for several major attacks on Iran. Washington and Tehran are ramping up their cyber-arsenals, built on a black-market digital arms bazaar, enmeshing such high-tech giants as Microsoft, Google, and Apple. With the help of highly placed government and private-sector sources, Michael Joseph Gross describes the outbreak of the conflict, its escalation, and its startling paradox: that America’s bid to stop nuclear proliferation may have unleashed a greater threat."
posted by homunculus on Jun 9, 2013 - 46 comments

"family, nationhood, verbal imperative, and accountability"

"Trading Faith for Wonder: On Judaism's Literary Legacy". The LARB reviews Jews And Words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 29, 2013 - 6 comments

WSJ's Middle East Real Time blog

Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
posted by mediareport on May 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Crossing the "Red Line"?

Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 2, 2013 - 289 comments

"Bin Laden cowered & hid. Mughniyeh spent his life giving us the finger"

It's been five years since the death of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus. No one ever claimed responsibility for killing him. Hezbollah publicly blames Israel's Mossad, a charge they unsurprisingly deny. So, who killed The Driver? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 30, 2013 - 18 comments

"If there is a third intifada, we want to be the ones who started it."

"Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?"
"One village in the West Bank tests the limits of unarmed resistance."
posted by andoatnp on Mar 18, 2013 - 74 comments

Israel’s Bold New Queen

Ethiopian-born Yitish Aynaw is the first black woman crowned Miss Israel. [more inside]
posted by gertzedek on Mar 13, 2013 - 46 comments

Prisoner X didn't exist until two years after his death.

In June 2010 a news story briefly appeared on the Yediot website about Prisoner X in solitary confinement in an Israeli jail. His jailers did not know who he was, did not share a word with him, no one came to visit him. No one seemed to know he was there. They didn’t even know what crime he had committed or how he came to be in the prison. His prison cell was completely isolated from other prisoners and he couldn’t communicate in any way with them. ABC News Australia has broken the News that Prisoner X was an Australian citizen suspected of Mossad links and who commited suicide two years ago in an Israeli jail. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Feb 13, 2013 - 96 comments

Academic freedom under attack in NYC

The Political Science Department at Brooklyn College is co-sponsoring a panel discussion about the BDS Movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel this Thursday Feburary 7th. The event features Omar Barghouti, BDS co-founder and Judith Butler, prominent philosopher. The college has come under widespread attack for its hosting of the event, with a coalition of New York City councillors threatening to defund the school. [more inside]
posted by mek on Feb 3, 2013 - 142 comments

X-Mensch

Magneto the Jew
posted by Artw on Jan 29, 2013 - 60 comments

Dead Sea Scrolls Go to Court

A brilliant young Harvard Ph.D. faces jail for impersonating a Bible scholar—and rival of his father [more inside]
posted by beisny on Jan 14, 2013 - 16 comments

What do a cake, a runner, a rainbow and a kalashnikov have in common

10 Contested African Images of 2012
posted by litleozy on Dec 31, 2012 - 32 comments

"An Uncovered Woman and Beatle-Haired Men Will Never Liberate Our Holy Places."

From the BBC blog of documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis: "Save Your Kisses For Me: How the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Israeli Right became co-dependents in an abusive relationship." Includes images / film clips from the BBC news archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 3, 2012 - 37 comments

Palestinian Football

A soccer stadium in Palestine was destroyed recently and a number of European based footballers signed a letter condemning the act. Palestine has historically been a difficult place to be a footballer, up to and including being imprisoned, although Mahmous Sarsak has since been freed. Despite all of this, it looks like at least the Palestinian women’s game is on the up and up.
posted by josher71 on Dec 3, 2012 - 35 comments

The Palestinian Bid for Statehood 2012

On the 15th November 1988, the Palestine National Council under Yasser Arafat made a Declaration of Independence. The declaration was supported by more than 100 countries, and recognised a two state solution. It led to a UN vote, which was supported by 104 states and voted against by two. Twenty four years later, on the 29th November, and 65 years to the day after the UN adopted the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas is making a renewed bid for Palestinian statehood. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Nov 28, 2012 - 138 comments

Tensions Rising

Hamas militants have launched a rocket on Jerusalem - the first time the holy city has been targeted in decades - and the first such attack from Gaza. [more inside]
posted by DynamiteToast on Nov 16, 2012 - 580 comments

Niza Yanay - the ideology of hatred: the psychic power of discourse

"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay - "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 15, 2012 - 13 comments

A computer scientist goes all in for poker

Computing Texas Hold'em - Dr. Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins professor, computer security and electronic voting security expert, writes about learning and playing poker. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 11, 2012 - 16 comments

A Wanker Whipping Up Fear

In May of 2010, Michael D. Higgins (now President of Ireland) had an exchange on an Irish radio station with Tea Party supporter Michael Graham, about the state of politics in the United States. [more inside]
posted by gman on Aug 26, 2012 - 40 comments

The Soldier Who Vanished

Until that point, she had been questioned in English and German. But this time a different man spoke — in what she identified as perfect Hebrew. He was dark-skinned and had a thin face. “This interrogation was different from the ones that came before,” Keunecke said. “There was a sense of expectation. It was like a show, as if they wanted to see how we reacted to each other.” - The soldier who vanished: Guy Hever, a 20-year-old artilleryman, walked out of his base on the Golan Heights 15 years ago this week. Despite searches, half-sightings, clues and theories that stretch the imagination, he has not been heard from since
posted by beisny on Aug 24, 2012 - 8 comments

Israel 'prepared for 30-day war with Iran'

Richard Silverstein, an American journalist and blogger on Israeli affairs, says he has been given a leaked document which outlines a plan for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. (BBC).
posted by - on Aug 15, 2012 - 56 comments

They should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers

The Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem houses the Aleppo Codex, considered the oldest and most authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible. Written in the 10th century AD and annotated by Maimonides himself, it was safeguarded by the Jewish diaspora and revered for its linguistic precision and its beauty. "The story of how some 200 pages of the codex went missing — and to this day remain the object of searches carried out around the globe by biblical scholars, private investigators, shadowy businessmen and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency — is one of the great mysteries in Jewish history." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 25, 2012 - 36 comments

"He is no longer his own person."

The Checkpoint. An essay which looks inside the conflicted mind of an Israeli soldier, stationed at a West Bank checkpoint. By Oded Na'aman, currently a student in the Philosophy PhD program at Harvard University, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces from November 2000 to October 2003. Mr. Na'aman is also a member of Breaking the Silence, a website that gathers and publishes anonymous testimonials from IDF soldiers -- combat veterans -- about their experiences and the realities of life in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2012 - 6 comments

Only in Israel

The Dealers is a new Israeli crime comedy, released here this weekend. The poster features the film's central players sitting around a table loaded with booze, weed, bongs, joints and other drug paraphernalia. For the stricter populace of Jerusalem, a modified version of the poster was prepared, one which removes all trace of... You guessed it: Women. The pot and booze? Untouched. [more inside]
posted by Silky Slim on Jul 22, 2012 - 47 comments

I get older, they stay the same age.

Sixty-nine photos of US politicians in high school with a few others mixed in.
posted by gman on Jul 2, 2012 - 74 comments

International pop

"Euphoria", which won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest (previously), is a #1 in several countries, including Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland Of course, it's not the only song charting internationally that you might never hear on US radio. It should come as no surprise that one can readily find international hits online. For instance - Sweden, #4: Panetoz - Dansa Pausa Sweden, #9: Mange Makers - Drick Den This doesn't purport to be an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping-off point. [more inside]
posted by LSK on Jun 13, 2012 - 25 comments

An unauthorized certificate could be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks. This issue affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows.

"Flame" is the name of a newly-identified malware program which utilizes a previously unknown MD5 collision attack to successfully spoof Microsoft Terminal Services, and install itself as a trusted program using Windows Update, Microsoft has confirmed. The program appears to have targeted computers in the Middle East, and specifically Iran; analysts have alleged it is likely created by the same entity that designed Stuxnet. Flame has been live and actively spying since 2010, but went undetected until recently, due to sophisticated anti-detection measures. [more inside]
posted by mek on Jun 8, 2012 - 53 comments

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