Anti-Zionism of fools: What Egypt and the Guardian can learn from Israeli democracy

An Egyptian opposition activist named Himda Hamdi was interviewed on Israeli TV last night and, buoyed by the fall of Mohammed Morsi, told citizens of the Jewish state that if her country could overturn the Muslim Brotherhood led regime then surely Israelis can do the same and remove Prime Minister Netanyahu. While the site of this young, progressive Arab woman speaking Hebrew was in many ways exhilarating, she perhaps needed reminding that Israeli voters peacefully decided the fate of their government in free and fair elections earlier in the year.

When the nineteenth Israeli Knesset was sworn in March, it represented merely the latest chapter in a 65 year history of non-violent democratic political transitions in the Jewish state.

Though Israelis of course disagree on any number of domestic and foreign policy issues, extremes within the country remain at the margins, and the centre continues to hold.  And, whilst there are…

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Life, Fortune, and Sacred Honor

TalesAlongTheWay

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

THE SIGNERS

Gary Hildrith

Have you ever wondered what happened to the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence? This is the price they paid:Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships resulting from the Revolutionary War.These men signed, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor!

What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners. All were men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw…

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La Paz to the North of England

notesfromcamelidcountry

As far as memorable departures go, leaving La Paz by air is as dramatic as any in the world. We were at the airport early, I mean before 3am, to check in and deal with immigration. We’d overstayed our residency visa by several days and although people more experienced at this sort of thing had told us not to worry, we were expecting trouble. In the end we were allowed to leave with a stern ticking-off and a US$45 fine – each.

After sitting around for an eternity in the world’s smallest international departures lounge, we finally boarded our American Airlines flight to Miami and our connection to London. The real joy of this flight all happens minutes after take off: the sun had just risen and from the window of the plane you get a birds-eye-view of the vast, snow-capped Andean peaks of the Cordillera Real. Its a mesmerising…

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Saudi Arabia: Women can work in restaurants

iranaware

DAMMAMWomen can work as waitresses in restaurants run exclusively for females and families.

“Such jobs are not a violation of the Islamic rules,” Chairman of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) Abdullatif Al-Alsheikh told the Dammam-based Alsharq newspaper on Wednesday.

“Women can work as waitresses, cashiers and cooks in women and family-only restaurants,” he said.

Al-Alsheikh said the employment of women in family restaurants to work as waitresses, cashiers and cooks is not against the rules and conditions of the memorandum of understanding the Haia has signed with the Ministry of Labor concerning women’s work.

“The royal decree which has called for the provision of more job opportunities for women has made it a condition to provide them with a suitable work atmosphere,” he said.

Al-Alsheikh asked all working women to strictly observe the Shariah rules in their work places.

“Lingerie shops could…

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Cause for concern this Independence Day

Charles Rowley's Blog

Lovers of freedom in the United States will rightly celebrate the Fourth of July, as the day when courageous colonists challenged the authority of the World’s greatest military power.They will rightly savor the words penned by Thomas Jefferson, words, that boldly put the People before the State.

Many such American freedom lovers, however, will blend their joy with concern and sorrow at recent trends in the governance of their nation. They are now aware that two United States presidents – George W Bush and Barack Obama – have created a comprehensive surveillance system designed to collect and evaluate every telephone, call, email, twitter and facebook message transmitted by any American citizen. Agents of some of the most ruthless and authoritarian agencies of the federal government make such use as they choose of information so garnered. This is a prerequisite for any effective police state. The network massively exceeds that established…

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Tom Watson MP Resigns From Shadow Cabinet

theneedleblog

tom-watson-main

“I wish to use the backbenches to speak out in areas of personal interest: open government and the surveillance state, the digital economy, drones and the future of conflict, the child abuse inquiries, the aftermath of the Murdoch scandal and grass roots responses to austerity.”– Tom Watson MP

It’s a big loss for the Labour Party but their loss will be to the benefit of others who need his help.

Dear Ed,

I said that I’d stay with you as general election co-ordinator within the Shadow Cabinet as long as I was useful. I think it would be a good idea for you, and me, if I stood down from the role now.

As you know, I offered my resignation on Tuesday and you asked me to reconsider. I’ve thought about it and still feel it is better for you and the future unity of the party that I…

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