web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘evidence’

Russian FM Condemns ‘Hysteria’ around Chemical Attack

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Following last week’s chemical attack, the West has engineered a media campaign to facilitate a military incursion, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in “an emergency press conference” Monday, RT reported. The minister also cast doubts on the American and European charges regarding President Assad’s being behind the chemical attacks on his own citizens.

“Official Washington, London and Paris say they have incontrovertible evidence that the Syrian government is behind the chemical attack in Damascus, but they have not yet presented this evidence. Yet, they keep saying that the ‘red line’ has been crossed,” Lavrov told reporters. “Now, we are hearing calls for a military campaign against Bashar Assad.”

Lavrov said that the U.S., Britain and others have assembled a “powerful force” and are “readying their ships and planes” for an invasion o Syria.

He cautioned that the development is setting the world on a “perilous path” and warned that “repeating the Iraqi and Libyan scenario” by bringing in outside forces would be a “terrible mistake that will lead to more blood being spilled.”

Minister Lavrov expressed outrage over the possibility of a NATO strike on Syrian chemical storage facilities without a mandate from the UN.

Asked if Russia was going to join in the potential conflict on either side, Lavrov said “We have no plans to go to war, but we hope that others think of long-term interests.”

Lavrov also questioned the rebel version of events: “There is information that videos were posted on the Internet hours before the purported attack, and [there are] other reasons to doubt the rebel narrative.”

“Those involved with the incident wanted to sabotage the upcoming Geneva peace talks,” Lavrov charged. “Maybe that was the motivation of those who created this story. The opposition obviously does not want to negotiate peacefully.”

Lavrov reminded reporters that the UN expert team currently investigating the attack sites in Syria “does not have the mandate” to produce an official ruling on who was responsible for the chemical release.

Of course, the FM did not add the fact that it was the Russian and Chinese delegation to the Security Council who fought to clip the talons on that eagle.

“The experts in Syria have the mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used, and if so, which ones, but not who unleashed this attack” Lavrov told the gathered media—in a manner reminiscent of the guy who killed both his parents and asked for the court’s leniency on account of his being an orphan.

“The UN security council will make the final decision about the perpetrator based on this evidence and all the analytical and factual materials available on the internet and in other media.”

Or, in Russian Newspeak: we’re planning to keep this puppy underwater until it stops breathing.

Now, that’s three metaphors for one Russian foreign policy. The NATO bombs are starting to drop in 3… 2…

Erdogan: Israel Behind Egypt Coup

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel was behind last month’s military coup in Egypt.

Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development, or AKP, party that he has evidence that Israel was involved in the July 3 overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Turkish Hurriyet news service reported.

“Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence,” the prime minister said, according to Hurriyet.

He cited as proof a statement by a French intellectual he identified as Jewish, who told the Israeli justice minister during a visit to France before Egypt’s 2011 elections, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box,” Hurriyet reported.

The White House condemned Erdogan’s remarks.

“Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters later Tuesday.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and later expelled Israel’s ambassador following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May 2010 that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in a confrontation with Israeli Navy commandos. The ship was trying to evade Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in March for the incident, and representatives of the countries have met for reconciliation talks. The talks reportedly are held up over the amount of compensation that Israel is to pay to the families of the Turkish casualties and how the payments are to be characterized.

The Refusal To Be Comforted

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers have dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognize it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognized it and replied, “It is my son’s robe. A wild beast has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces.”

We then read: “Jacob rent his clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned his son for a long time. His sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, ‘I will go down to the grave mourning for my son’ ” (37:34-35).

Why did Jacob refuse to be comforted? A midrash gives a remarkable answer. “One can be comforted for one who is dead, but not for one who is still living.”

Jacob refused to be comforted because he had not yet given up hope that Joseph was alive. That, tragically, is the fate of those who have lost members of their family (the parents of soldiers missing in action, for example), but have no proof that they are dead. They cannot go through the normal stages of mourning because they cannot abandon the possibility that the missing person is still capable of being rescued. Their continuing anguish is a form of loyalty; to give up, to mourn, to be reconciled to loss is a kind of betrayal. In such cases, grief lacks closure. To refuse to be comforted is to refuse to give up hope.

On what basis did Jacob continue to hope? The late David Daube made a suggestion that I find convincing. The words the sons say to Jacob – “Haker na – Do you recognize this?” – have a quasi-legal connotation. Daube relates this passage to another, with which it has close linguistic parallels:

“If a man gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to his neighbor for safekeeping … If it [the animal] was torn to pieces by a wild animal, he shall bring the remains as evidence and he will not be required to pay for the torn animal” (Shemot 22:10-13).

The issue at stake is the extent of responsibility borne by a guardian (shomer). If the animal is lost through negligence, the guardian is at fault and must make good the loss. If there is no negligence, merely force majeure, an unavoidable, unforeseeable accident, the guardian is exempt from blame. One such case is where the loss has been caused by a wild animal. The wording in the law – “tarof yitaref – torn to pieces” – exactly parallels Jacob’s judgment in the case of Joseph: “tarof toraf Yosef – Joseph has been torn to pieces.”

We know that some such law existed prior to the giving of the Torah. Jacob himself says to Laban, whose flocks and herds have been placed in his charge, “I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself” (Bereishit 31:39). This implies that guardians even then were exempt from responsibility for the damage caused by wild animals. We also know that an elder brother carried a similar responsibility for the fate of a younger brother placed in his charge (i.e. when the two were alone together). That is the significance of Cain’s denial when confronted by G-d as to the fate of Abel: “Am I my brother’s guardian (shomer)?”

We now understand a series of nuances in the encounter between Jacob and his sons when they return without Joseph. Normally they would be held responsible for their younger brother’s disappearance. To avoid this, as in the case of later biblical law, they “bring the remains as evidence.” If those remains show signs of an attack by a wild animal, they must – by virtue of the law then operative – be held innocent. Their request to Jacob, “haker na,” must be construed as a legal request, meaning, “Examine the evidence.” Jacob has no alternative but to do so, and in virtue of what he has seen, acquit them.

A judge, however, may be forced to acquit someone accused of the crime because the evidence is insufficient to justify a conviction, yet he may hold lingering private doubts. So Jacob was forced to find his sons innocent, without necessarily believing what they said. Jacob did not believe it, and his refusal to be comforted shows that he was unconvinced. He continued to hope that Joseph was still alive. That hope was eventually justified. Joseph was still alive, and eventually father and son were reunited.

Prime Suspect in Etan Patz Case To Be Released Today

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Jose Ramos, imprisoned for 20 years for molesting children and the prime suspect in the case of six year old Etan Patz, a Jewish boy from Manhattan who disappeared on his way to school on May 25, 1979, is set to be released on Wednesday.

Ramos was found guilty of Etan’s death in civil court in 2004, but a criminal court found that not enough evidence existed to charge him.  Ramos has denied any responsibility for Patz’s disappearance.

Obama’s Debate Slip Tells More About his Real View than Anything Else He’s Said as President

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

The Obama-Romney debate has been analyzed from many angles, especially about who won. Yet in the course of the event, Obama said what might be the most revealing slip he has ever made. This one phrase tells more about Obama and the ideology of his left-wing supporters than every other word they have spoken in the last four years.

It came near the end of the debate when Obama was summarizing his policies. He was clearly on comfortable ground, going through all of his cliches. But then, lulled into carelessness by rote repetition of his basic slogans, Obama got lost for a second–as demonstrated by his trademark stutter when he becomes unglued–and dropped in an amazing admission. Obama said:

All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is — is channeled and [emphasis added] — and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share — everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules.

Obama was flattering the American people (genius, grit, determination) and promising that everyone will get a fair share (redistribution of wealth?) and fair shot–terms he has never actually defined. As for everybody playing by the same rules, Obama and his supporters favor different rules for each race, gender, and ethnic group, not to mention crony capitalists.

Yet it is that word “channeled” that gives the game away. Channeled by whom? The government, of course, and the great geniuses whose ideology and book-learning seeks to dominate the economy and culture, forcing people to do things for their “own good.” Who has ever proposed that some power should override the liberty of the American people to channel them, to tell them what to do?

The problem is that in a free enterprise (with reasonable regulation) country under the Constitution, Americans decide for themselves what to do. Nobody channels them, a phrase which sounds like a rancher driving his cattle to market. “Channeled” is a nice way to say manipulated, pushed, forced, and ordered.

We are not speaking here of laws against, say, murder or robbery or littering. These are clear and explicit, accepted by a consensus. This is something far more hidden, in which the implications of laws–for example, how Obamacare is intended to produce nationalized medicine–lead to something that the public opposes or certainly doesn’t want. And it is far wider and more systematic than under any previous government, too.

Thus, Americans will be told what they can do in pursuit of good health, what they can eat, how they can do business, what they are supposed to think and know about, what their religious institutions can do, and so on. Can one imagine any of the great American presidents talking about how he was going to “channel” the people with an increasingly large government that soaked up all the capital; determined the investment; set the rules to direct the health system, energy production, the auto industry, and just about everything else? Clearly, Obama wasn’t channeling George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.

In that moment he revealed himself totally. And, as far as I’m aware, nobody even noticed it.

PS: Another typical Obama moment came after the debate when he ridiculed Romney for saying that there were no laws that rewarded companies with tax breaks for exporting American jobs. Any real intellectual or serious leader would simply have cited the specific laws to which he was referring, but Obama merely kept saying how silly–or dishonest–Romney had been without giving any evidence. And any other president would have been pressed to provide evidence. A small incident but quite revealing of how fantasy-based administration policy has become.

Visit Rubin Reports.

Who In the World is Sam Bacile?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

There’s a bit of a mystery surrounding the identity of Sam Bacile, who has claimed to be an Israeli Jew living in California.

Israel Channel 10‘s Nadav Eyal claims that Sam Bacile is a pseudonym and that the film’s creators are ex-Muslims who converted to Christianity – at least one of them Iranian.

The claim is further strengthened, based on statement in the Wall Street Journal, which leads one to suspect that Egyptian Coptic Christians are involved in the film making.

The movie has been promoted in the U.S. by conservative Coptic Christians, including Morris Sadek, who runs a small group called the National American Coptic Assembly. “The violence that it caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are and it is evidence that everything in the film is factual,” Mr. Sadek said in a telephone interview from his Washington home.

Tzvi Yeheskeli (Channel 10 Arab Affairs Correspondent) questions if the attack on the consulate in Benghazi is actually just about the film, or also revenge for the recent killing of Al Qaeda number 2 in Yemen.

Why I Believe…

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I am not surprised by the level of commitment that skeptics have with respect to their views. In my post Keeping the Faith there are 249 comments as of this writing. Much of it has been a back and forth between Rabbi Bechhofer and those who challenge the traditional beliefs of Judaism: some from atheists; some from skeptics; some who do believe at some level but have decided that the events described in the Torah could not have happened since there is overwhelming evidence that they did not… and instead are allegorical.

I must admit that these issues have troubled me as well. I believe that some of them have simple answers; others have complex answers, and some have no apparent answers at all. But I also believe that the Torah is telling us the truth. How is that possible for a rationalist like myself? First because I do try to find rational explanations where-ever I can. But second is a reason that skeptics will probably not accept.

There is no one reason for me to hang my hat on. There is no definitive and clear proof that I can point to and say: this is it. None of the ‘proofs’ – stated by themselves are convincing. I am just as skeptical as… well frankly… the skeptics! I am by nature a skeptic.

But when one takes the totality of all the evidence and arguments in favor of the truth of Judaism which includes its long history of survival against all odds – my intuition takes over. I believe because my intuition compels me to do so. My rational nature which would normally succumb to all the evidence against Judaism succumbs instead to my intuitive senses.

(I am not going to go into detail about the evidence and the arguments. I have written several posts on that subject in the past. But they are mostly well known and there is no mystery about them. I am not trying to hide them or mislead. They are just not the point of this post and I don’t want to spend any time on those details.)

One may ask why all the evidence against the truth of Judaism doesn’t lead my intuition in the other direction. After all science doesn’t lie. Bible criticism makes a lot of sense. Archaeological finds makes things even more difficult… as does many other clear contradictions to our beliefs.

I believe because in every single case these contradictions have resolutions and questions have answers. Some are clear and some are only possible or even implausible. But in most cases they are at least possible. And in those cases where I can’t even see a possible answer – that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. I am therefore not forced to conclude that because of all the science and bible critics – that Judaism isn’t true. I have a choice to believe and my rationalist mind does not prevent me from using my intuitive mind.

Some might call this Emunah Peshuta – simple belief. Perhaps. But it is not blind belief. I am not a blind believer. However, I can understand why someone would call my belief in the truth of Judaism blind.

I suppose that at some point one does have to take that “leap of faith.” But it is not a blind leap. It is not a giant leap. It is an intuitive belief based on evaluating two conflicting sets of criteria, one that requires a conclusion based on the rational and difficult questions which do not seem to have satisfactory answers. The other is the totality of other perhaps unrelated evidence of Judaism’s truth. That evidence that does not necessarily address all the problems. Questions may remain – and they do for me. But at the same time it is hard to deny all the evidence in favor of Judaism. My own intuition impels me to believe rather than deny.

As I said – I realize that this will probably not satisfy the skeptics. They would probably refute every single piece of evidence that I would posit in favor of belief. But they cannot refute the totality of all that evidence. Nor can they successfully turn me into a skeptic.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/why-i-believe/2012/09/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: