How The Fight Started

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.

I asked her; Do you know him?

Yes, she sighed; He’s my old boyfriend !

I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn’t been sober since.’

My God, I said; who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?

Then the fight started !?

Will Britain Pass the Choudary Test?

If there was a single flaw in the British Prime Minister’s recent speech on countering extremism in the UK, it might be encapsulated in the name “Anjem Choudary.” His speech went into terrific detail on the significance of tacking radicalism through the education system, the Charity Commission, the broadcasting license authority and numerous other means. But it failed the Choudary test.

That test is: What do you do about a British-born man who is qualified to work but appears never to have done so, and who instead spends his time taking his “dole” money and using it to fund a lifestyle devoted solely to preaching against the state?


How Elections Messed Up Turkey’s Plans

Turkey, over the past two months or so, has been run by an interim government. The Turkish voters’ decision to deprive the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002 has not only altered the center of power in Turkish politics, it has also has forced the AKP into a compromised foreign policy.

The AKP’s leadership, in theory, is in coalition negotiations with the main opposition. A historic deal is not altogether impossible, but unlikely. In his unconstitutional campaign before the June 7 parliamentary elections, the AKP’s unofficial boss, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked for “400 deputies” who would amend the constitution to introduce an executive presidential system for him. He did not specify for which party he wanted 400 seats in parliament, but everyone knew he explicitly supported the AKP, which he had founded in 2001. (According to the Turkish constitution, the head of government is the prime minister, not the president. The president has symbolic duties in addition to his powers to appoint high-ranking officials. He must remain non-partisan.)

Instead, Turks gave the AKP 258 seats — not enough even to form a single-party government, let alone to amend the constitution. Knowing that he has nothing to lose, Erdogan wants repeat elections in autumn.

The prospect of another possibly inconclusive election in the autumn, and two months of interim governance, has been sufficient to prune the AKP’s assertive foreign policy, especially in the Middle East.


Superficial and inaccurate BBC reporting on cross-border incident in northern Israel

BBC Watch

At around 5:30 pm on the afternoon of August 20th, four missiles fired from Syria hit areas on the lower flanks of the Golan Heights and in the Galilee Panhandle. Several hours later an article appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page with the typical ‘last-first’ reporting style title “Israel fires missiles into Syria after rocket attack“.

Like all BBC News content, that article’s aim was to “[b]uild a global understanding of international issues” and to inform by means of the provision of “reliable and unbiased information of relevance, range and depth” whilst adhering to standards of accuracy and impartiality. But were those criteria met?Irua Galil Eliyon

The main photograph used to illustrate the report is captioned:

“Rockets fired into Israel caused brushfires after hitting open areas near Galilee” [emphasis added]

Two of the missiles landed in the Upper Galilee district – not “near” it – and…

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A Tale of Remarkable Coincidence

My Travels with Depression

I am one of eight million people living in London and there must be a few million landline telephones beginning with the city’s 020 code. What are the odds of a complete stranger mistakenly phoning my number from 500 miles away, and then revealing information that ends my search for a long lost friend?

As I arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, my home telephone was ringing. I’ve been struggling with a little anxiety over unknown numbers, so answering can often be a challenge.

To my relief, I realised the caller had the wrong number, although the woman was very friendly and explained how she is elderly and partially sighted.

I’m from Scotland and my caller had a very soft Scottish accent, so in no time we were conversing like old acquaintances. Neither of us could guess the remarkable turn our conversation was about to take.

“Where in Scotland are you…

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Jewish ‘Gay Reparation Therapy’ Guru Has a Very Queer Past

Before 1998, religious proponents of so-called “reparative” therapy for gay men and lesbians were affiliated mostly with evangelical strains of Protestantism and the Mormon Church. But that year, Arthur Goldberg, a self-described “born salesman” and “New York Jewish liberal,” discovered he had a son who was “struggling with homosexuality.” Soon after, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (later changed to “for Healing”), or JONAH, was born. “There was nothing in the Jewish world,” Goldberg said in recent court testimony, by way of explaining his decision to co-found JONAH with Elaine Berk, another Jewish parent of a gay son.


Does the Israeli government wants to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque?


The Israeli government wants to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque..


In August 1929, rumors spread of Jews killing Arabs and of a Jewish plot to seize control of Muslim holy places on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. With a rallying cry to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque, Arab mobs looted Jewish shops and attacked Jewish men, women, and children throughout the country. By the end of the rioting, 135 Jews (including eight Americans) were killed and more than 300 wounded.

This was the first time during the British Mandate that religion played a direct role in stoking the conflict in Palestine. It would not be the last, however, as Muslim leaders have found it advantageous to periodically make similar accusations to arouse the local population and the Muslim faithful worldwide.

In recent years, the calls to liberate al-Aqsa from the Jews have become more common. On September 29, 2000, the Voice of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority’s official radio station, called on “all Palestinians to come and defend the al-Aqsa mosque.” The PA closed its schools and bused Palestinian students to the Temple Mount to participate in premeditated riots that escalated into the Palestinian War – popularly known as the al-Aqsa Intifada.