web analytics
December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Yoram Ettinger: Jerusalem – American people vs. White House

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Jerusalem has been one of the most dramatic issues of discord between the will of the American people and Congress on the one hand, and State Department-driven presidential policy on the other hand.

In contrast to most Americans and their state and federal representatives, who cherish Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of the Jewish state, all U.S. presidents have embraced Foggy Bottom’s denial of Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, or even as part of Israel. Moreover, the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has disavowed the 1947 non-binding U.N. General Assembly Partition Plan, but for one segment — Jerusalem, which the U.N. designated as an international city.

Israel is the only country in the world whose (3,000 year old) capital is not recognized by the State Department and by the presidents of the U.S. However, the American people consider Israel to be the second most trusted and dependable ally of the U.S. (after Britain), and 71% support (and 9% oppose) Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.

President Barack Obama has gone further than any U.S. president in implementing the Jerusalem policy of denial. He is pressing for an unprecedented construction freeze in Jerusalem beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, and is trying to eliminate any reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” in present and past official documents and communications.

On the other hand, Jerusalem has earned the affection of the American people since the arrival of the pilgrims in the 17th century, who viewed the U.S. as “the modern day Promised Land,” establishing many towns with biblical names, including Jerusalem. There are now at least 18 U.S. towns called Jerusalem and 32 called Salem, the initial, biblical name of Jerusalem (Shalem), meaning wholesomeness, divine, and peace.

While the American affinity with Jerusalem has cemented the unique covenant between the U.S. and the Jewish state, the State Department never viewed Jerusalem as part of the Jewish state. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman followed Secretary of State George Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing any part of Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, inspired by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, opposed the relocation of Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and prohibited official meetings in Jerusalem. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson adopted the Jerusalem policy of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who opposed Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence. Johnson highlighted the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the unification of, and construction in eastern, Jerusalem. In 1970, President Richard Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State William P. Rogers in attempting to repartition Jerusalem and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

However, the presidential pressure was short-lived and ineffective due to the defiant Israeli response, which benefited from overwhelming congressional and public support of Jerusalem as the eternal, indivisible capital of the Jewish people.

In 1995, Congress decided to implement the will of the people, passing overwhelmingly (93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House) the Jerusalem Embassy Act. It stipulated the recognition of unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, a presidential national security waiver, which was introduced into the bill by Senator Bob Dole with the support of Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, has enabled Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama to avoid implementation.

In 1999, 84 senators realized that the national security waiver was misused by the White House, and that kow-towing to Arab pressure radicalized Arab expectations and belligerence. They attempted to leverage the co-determining and co-equal power of the legislature and to eliminate the waiver provision. But, they were blocked by Clinton and by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

In 2012, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties should heed the historical will of Americans, synchronizing the White House and the State Department with the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s indivisible capital. Still, the success of such an initiative requires Israeli leaders to resurrect the steadfastness and defiance which characterized Israeli prime ministers from David Ben-Gurion (1948) through Itzhak Shamir (1992).

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1946

J.E. Dyer: Academia – Pro-Palestinians behaving badly

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

No, this wasn’t in the West Bank.  This happened in London on Monday, 14th May.  The Palestine Society of the University of London’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS) held an event at the Khalili Lecture Theatre, advertised with these words: “I am Palestinian!  Representation and Democracy in the Arab Revolutionary Age.”  The event was open to the public, and – as is often the case – was being videorecorded by people in the audience.

Blogger Richard Millett was one of those using a video camera – for the first few minutes.  About 8 seconds into the presentation, Millett was prodded in the shoulder and ordered to stop recording.  When he refused, a man got in his face, demanding he stop recording, and said, “You’re a typical Israeli, you know.”  (Millett is not an Israeli, and it’s not even clear he’s Jewish.  I have no personal acquaintance with him.)  As that confrontation unfolded, a very large man seated in front of Millett got up, towered over Millett, ordered him to leave, and snatched Millett’s backpack, walking out of the auditorium with it.  The audience began rhythmic clapping, shouting at Millett to leave.  Millett tried to make the case for his presence at a meeting open to the public, being held at the taxpayer funded University of London facility, but the audience continued to shout at him – noise for noise’s sake; noise to drown him out and preempt any rational discourse.

Eventually, Millett did leave, in part to ensure the recovery of his personal belongings.  The audience clapped ecstatically for his departure.

If you go through Richard Millett’s website, what you will see is documentation of a number of such events (most of which he was able to remain and record throughout).  Millett is critical, no doubt about that, but all he does is document exactly what the anti-Israel – and often anti-Semitic – activists and lecturers themselves do and say.  He quotes them accurately and gets them on video when he can.  There is nothing unfair about his coverage; it is scrupulously honest.

The University of London should certainly look into this, and ensure that public events can be attended peacefully by anyone, and that videorecording is allowed to all or denied to all equally.  Such enforcement may have little effect, however, on a group mindset that resents not merely criticism but the simple truth.  If a civic or political group, meeting publicly, is not willing to have its activities and statements recorded truthfully by critics, its purpose is suspect.  Forcible suppression of truth only works one way:  those who practice it have wrong intentions.  There can be no good purpose for preventing third parties – i.e., the whole of society, whether friendly or critical – from seeing what is said and done at a public event sponsored by the Palestine Society.

The flip side of preventing the coverage of pro-Palestinian events is silencing supporters of Israel and those who make a pro-Israel – or even just a balanced – case in the matter of Israeli-Palestinian relations.  College campuses in the United States are the scene of a growing number of such attempts.

Quite a few of the most noteworthy have taken place in California (although by no means all.  On a slightly different head, see here for a Rutgers event to which putative Israel supporters were denied entry, based on blatant profiling by the sponsors.  And here for the attacks on Israel supporters who mounted political displays at UCLA and Penn State).  Back in 2010, writers for the American Thinker summarized a series of events at California universities at which critical or pro-Israel speech was shouted down – including an event made infamous for this exclamation by Dr. Jess Ghannam, a psychiatry professor at UC-San Francisco (emphasis added): “Now, every single Israeli military official and politician will be afraid to speak publicly. It’s huge!”

In a similar vein, Israeli soldiers giving a presentation at UC-Davis in March 2012 were relentlessly heckled by Palestinian-activist students.  One accused the Israelis of having turned “Palestine into a land of prostitutes, rapists, and child molesters.”  He hollered at the soldiers (emphasis added): “How many women have you raped?  How many children have you raped?  You are a child molester!”  And he admitted freely: “I can embarrass myself all I want.  I will stand here and I will heckle!  My only purpose today is that this event is shut down!”

Lieberman Severs Ties with UN Human Rights Council, Blocks Entry of Investigating Team

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced that Israel had severed all working relations with the United Nations Human Rights Council as of Monday this week, and will block a U.N. fact finding team from entering Israel or Judea and Samaria to investigate Jewish settlements.

According to the Israeli government, the council has shown a clear anti-Israel bias, both in the content of its references to it, and its disproportionate attention to Israel’s Palestinian policy, as compared to all the other human rights issues on the planet.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said this “means that we’re not going to work with them. We’re not going to let them carry out any kind of mission for the Human Rights Council, including this probe.”

Speaking in Copenhagen, after a meeting with the Danish foreign minister, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said “Israel never cooperated with all fact finding missions that were sent and established by the U.N. to investigate the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.”

The PLO ambassador at the United Nations on Wednesday condemned Israeli settlement activity in a series of letters to senior UN officials.

“There have been confirmations by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Human Rights Council and the Social and Economic Council on the illegality of all settlement activity in a number of resolutions which are still available, and we are still calling on Israel to respect and implement the resolutions,” Mansour said.

The UN ambassador sent letters to the President of the Security Council and head of the General Assembly, criticizing ongoing settlement building.

Israel is obligated under the Road Map to freeze all settlement activity, Mansour said.

“Israel, however continues directly to neglect and violate all international commitments,” he added.

The ambassador added that settlements are proof that Israel rejects a two state solution based on 1967 borders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week has legalized three Jewish outpost communities which were erected in the 1990s.

At a meeting late Monday, a ministerial committee legalized Bruchin (home to 350 residents) and Rechelim (home to 240 residents) in Samaria, and Sansana (home to 240 residents) in Judea.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reacted by saying, “We don’t think this is helpful to the process. We don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

Palestinians and Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now slammed the government, saying the government is hereby creating new settlements for the first time since 1990.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said that the legalizing ” sends a clear message to both the international community and to the Palestinians that Israel is more committed to land theft than peacemaking.”

Rubin Reports: Romney’s Road – Blast Obama’s Failures and Policy, Expose the Lies, Seize the Mainstream

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012


I wrote this article before Mitt Romney made what might be called his first speech directed at the general election (see the end of this article for the link). And I was pleasantly surprised that he seems to be following the strategy I’ve outlined below. It appears that Romney is changing gears after being bland, centrist, and nasty to win the Republican nomination. This is a superb speech full of sharp and clear points, and I urge you to read it.

What are the weaknesses of Obamaism that my “Marxist-style” analysis highlighted, and how do they suggest the way in which the presidential and congressional electoral campaigns should be conducted?

1. The current policies don’t work for a basic structural reason. You cannot apply highly statist, left-wing socialist policies to the American system and have them work. It is like beating your automobile with a buggy whip to make it go faster or, alternatively, buying a Leaf.

There is no way that Obama’s policies can  revive the American economy precisely because they are based on an ideology that doesn’t fit the system it is supposed to govern. And if he’s reelected, things will become far worse. Mitt Romney and others must highlight this total mismatch.

Obama ignores the facts and doubles down on applying failed strategies, as he did by refusing to increase drilling in the face of high prices or as he continues to do by investing in “green energy” when the green in it is the mold growing on bankrupt facilities.

2. The philosophy and policies of the Obama administration run counter to all previous American thought and practice. Obama can reach to find precedents, but they are very unpersuasive. When he does come up with something, it is either taken out of context or argued as if the America of today hasn’t changed in a century, with cigar-smoking, top-hatted capitalists oppressing workers that have no unions.

Romney should highlight Obama’s departure from the Constitution and consensus. He is the mainstream candidate, Obama is the extremist.

3. Obamaism throws the American system out of balance. There is nothing wrong with having a state capable of balancing big business and the banks from having unbridled power, but that is nowhere close to reality. Instead, the federal government has grown to ridiculous proportions, to the point where it is dictating to society and the individual. Romney should be the candidate of reasonable balance, explaining why the government, taxes, and regulation must be scaled back to reasonable proportions.

4. The Obama approach is not some social justice system protecting the masses, but rather the instrument of a privileged class trying to enrich itself and accumulate power. It is a bid for power by wealthy and upper middle class people who benefit from their relationship to the state to enrich themselves, rather than produce jobs, products, and wealth.

They pretend to serve most Americans, but actually steal the property of the people to benefit parasitical crony capitalists and non-productive upper middle class sectors. Romney must show how government programs that pretend to be altruistic are actually forms of greed that hurt the voters.

5. Romney needs to wage an old-fashioned anti-Washington campaign against big government, high taxes, and excessive regulation, and against a swollen government full of waste, fraud, and abuse.

When they call him rich, he must respond by calling them arrogant, power-hungry, and liberty-stealing. He must provide case after case of massive government waste and fraud to trash the lie that money to the federal government merely keeps the water and air clean, clothes the poor, and does assorted other good deeds. He and the congressional candidates need to show the waste and corruption involved in funding crony capitalism and the turning of government into a foundation that uses tax money to make left-wing groups rich.

He needs to talk about big cuts in spending as ejecting non-productive — indeed, anti-productive — bureaucrats rather than worthy programs. He needs to expose how institutions like the departments of Energy, Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others are counterproductive.

How should this strategy be implemented? First and foremost, Romney and congressional candidates should aggressively denounce Obama’s policies. Let me put it clearly: Romney must do to Obama what he did to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. If he pulls punches and tries to be too restrained, he will repeat the mistake of John McCain and make a humiliating defeat inevitable.

Second, Romney should not try to get the media or the statist-oriented elite to like him — that’s the kryptonite of the opposition — but should appeal over its head to the people. Nothing Romney can do besides going soft on Obama, minimizing the difference, and ensuring his own defeat will get the media to say anything nice about him.

Bibi, Can You Bomb Iran Already or Just Shut Up?

Monday, March 12th, 2012
I am getting really fed up with all the talk and speculation about Israel’s plans to bomb Iran. Will Israel bomb Iran or won’t they? Will America approve the attack or not? Is Israel secretly infecting Iranian computers with fatal viruses? Is Israel backing Iranian underground terrorists? Are Mossad agents assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists? What is all this speculation worth? If we talk about it day and night, is it going to help the situation?
If there is one thing that Iran’s leadership has made very clear, it is that it has no concern with Western public opinion or its media image. Human rights, too, are of little concern to a country that has one of the highest known execution rates in the world. Daily, Iranians are executed for crimes such as rape, murder, drug trafficking, homosexuality, and other forms of “spreading corruption on Earth.” Leaked reports and cell phone videos have shown rape of both men and women in the custody of law enforcement, as a means of degradation and punishment. Beatings and arrests of protesters who oppose the regime are the norm when citizens dare to take to the streets. (On a side note, the silence of the international community on the topic of atrocities committed by the Iranian regime on its own people is deafening.)
America has been at odds with Iran for over three decades – ever since the Islamic Revolution there in the late 1970’s. Years of Western sanctions have had little influence in changing its policies, but sanctions are still suggested by many world leaders as a means of pressuring Iran to discard their nuclear armament programs. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, a regular guest of the United Nations general assembly in New York, denies the holocaust just as he denies that his nuclear plans include using the bomb on Israel. Meanwhile, from the other side of his mouth, he threatens to wipe the Zionist State off of the planet.
Those concerned with Israel’s potential action to deter what is believed to be a threat to its very existence are debating whether we should believe Ahmadinejad or not. They claim that his words are being misinterpreted or that he doesn’t really mean what he says. Talk about speaking out of two sides of your mouth! (It is fascinating how people who claim to be concerned about human rights can be the very people who are so against attacking the abusive Iranian regime. Could there be any higher level of hypocrisy?) Jewish history has taught us that if a tyrant says that he intends to wipe us out, we should take his words very seriously. Individuals like Ahmadinejad need to realize that the Jewish people have good reason to be paranoid and they should make it their business not to be misunderstood when it comes to talking about wiping out the Jewish people and our country. At this point in history, the Jewish people have a strong army and the means to protect ourselves from the Hitlers of this generation. We will not go like the sheep to slaughter any more.
Israeli intelligence authorities need to assess the threats coming from Iran. This is not a public relations issue. Obama and the other world leaders can support or oppose our actions, but Israel will have to do what is best for the future and well-being of the Jewish State. No one else will do the heavy lifting for us. While we cannot diminish the possibility that Iran actually has the technology and the motivation to strike Israel, we also cannot afford to overlook other real and obvious threats to Israel.
At times, it seems that the Israeli campaign on the Iranian threat could be a distraction from the other threats to the State of Israel and lasting peace in the Middle East. While focusing on fears of what might come from Iran (or Hamas, for that matter), the public is distracted from the ongoing incitement coming from “moderates” like the Palestinian Authority’s Salem Fayyad and Jordan’s Abdullah, both of whom regularly convey threats to Israel. They might not have nuclear bombs, but they do have armies and other means of pushing Israel into a dangerous corner.
In the age of social media and the blogosphere, there are new types of threats to regional stability that we should not ignore. Leaders of Israeli security agencies should take note that incitement coming out of a basement in Chicago could be even more dangerous than Iranian nuclear aspirations and verbal threats. Provocation by an unemployed hate monger typing away at his keyboard in a clear effort to ignite the Middle East should get our attention, as well. Electronic Intifada blogger Ali Abunima spends his days and nights trying to bring the concepts of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion into cyberspace. Week after week, in a process of trial and error with different types of lies and incitement, he pushes for the incitement of physical attacks on Israel. Claims that Israel or Jewish activists planned to assault the Al-Aqsa mosque got minimal response. His web-based campaign in support of Islamic Jihadists’ hunger strike while in the custody of Israeli detention picked up more wide spread support. His potential success in causing a new real intifada, bringing people out into the streets within Israel and crossing the borders into Israel could grow be a greater threat than Iran to Israel, and should not be ignored.
It’s time to distribute our threat-evaluation more evenly, and then move from speculation on to decisive action.

Iran: What Will Germany Do Now?

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

A turning point has been reached that challenges the reigning paradigm of German-Iranian relations.

There are sentences that can trigger wars. Among them is this sentence from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran of 8 November 2011: “The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

Contrary to prior assumptions, Iran continued pursuing its nuclear weapons program after 2003. The regime has been conducting research into the conversion of uranium metal into a form usable in warheads, working on the complex detonating mechanisms for nuclear bombs and making preparations for a nuclear test.

Admittedly, since 1945 the world has got used to living with the idea of nuclear weapons in the hands of secular or semi-secular states. But why is Iran determined to push forward with its nuclear program at absolutely any price?

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad answered this question in August 2007: “The nuclearization of Iran is the beginning of a fundamental change in the world”. Iran’s nuclear technology, he went on to promise, would “be used in the service of those who are determined to resist the brutal powers and aggressors.”

These remarks show that the Iranian President does not consider Iran’s nuclear weapons program to be defensive in intent. It is also clear that Iran is ready to pass on its nuclear capabilities to other regimes and movements. There is, moreover, absolutely no doubt about where the “fundamental change” is to begin: “The Zionist regime will be erased and humanity will be liberated”, Ahmadinejad promised the audience at the 2006 Holocaust denial conference in Teheran.

Furthermore, once Iran’s revolutionary leader has the bomb, it will be difficult to disarm him and deprive him of his power without this bomb being used. The world would then have to decide whether to make further concessions to a fanatical regime or defeat it – now at an inconceivably high price.

The small disaster is approaching

So there are sentences that can trigger wars. The above-quoted sentence has brought the moment when American and/or Israeli jets take off to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites menacingly close. The small disaster intended to ward off the great one is approaching.

Is it going to happen or will the international community summon up the will to use all the non-military instruments envisaged by the UN Charter to bring regimes such as the one in power in Iran to see reason? According to Article 41 of the Charter, such measures include “complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations”.

At the moment, apparently not. On the contrary, the sextet of the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany initially entrusted with tackling the Iran issue is less united than ever.

On the one side are China and Russia. They seem reconciled to the Iranian bomb and reject increased pressure on Iran. According to a recent study from the Washington-based Atlantic Council, “China does not feel threatened by the prospect of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. … Some elements in the Chinese defense establishment would actually prefer a nuclear Iran … if that compels the United States to retain substantial military forces in the Gulf rather than East Asia.” Similar considerations may also be at work in the Kremlin.

On the other side are the UK, France and the USA. Last Monday they sharply stepped up their pressure on Teheran. On 21 November the USA reinforced its sanctions against the Iranian oil and petrochemical industries. On the same day France called for an end to purchases of Iranian oil and a freeze on all Iranian Central Bank assets and the UK suspended all financial cooperation with Iran with immediate effect.

That leaves Germany, which seems to be treading water midway between these two positions. In Germany’s Foreign Office, it is being said that the Western proposals “are heading in the right direction”, but must first be “intensively studied”.

The spokesperson for the Social Democrats’ Bundestag group, Rolf Mützenich, even sounded a note of disappointment, finding it “regrettable that individual governments are going ahead with further sanctions on Iran.” We have heard no specific proposals responding to the deepening of the crisis.

The German government, however, has the power to tip the scales. Will it come down on the side of Israel or Iran?

Germany as the founder of Persian industry

Back in the 1920s, Persia was ruled by a man who adored the Germans: Reza Shah. He arranged for 70 German officials to run the Iranian State Bank. He ensured that all the machinery for Iran’s mining, cement, paper, textile and other industries came from Germany. This process reached its climax at the beginning of the 1940s, when 43% of all Iranian imports came from Germany and 47% of all Iranian exports went in the opposite direction.

Gift Wars – December 2011

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Welcome once again to “You’re Asking Me?” It’s pretty much like your typical ask the expert column, with one minor difference (if you want to get technical): I’m not an expert on anything.  Just ask my wife.  A lot of these “experts” kind of talk to you like they know more than you, just because maybe they do.  Is that the type of person you want to ask?  Or would you rather vent in the general direction of someone whose life is just as messed up as yours, and won’t judge you, unless your question is really weird?

We’ll start off today with a really weird question that someone sent in, although I would never say so to his face.


Dear Mordechai,

            I was at Kosherfest (a kosher-food trade show) last month, trying and tasting kosher products, but I couldn’t find a single wig on display.  Are wigs kosher?

JB, Brooklyn, USA  

Dear J,

Thanks for your question, and thanks for telling me which country Brooklyn is in.

Yes, wigs are definitely kosher, if by “kosher” you mean “a Jewish thing”.  In the Goyish world, wigs and toupees are extremely socially awkward.  In fact, if you work in an office with a lot of Goyim, at some point they’re going to talk about it behind your back:

“Um…  Is she wearing a wig?  I don’t want to say anything.”

“Quiet!  She’s right there!”

“I mean it!  Is she bald, do you think?”

“I don’t know.  I’m pretty sure that’s a ponytail bump in the back there.”

“You think that’s weird?  That other guy is wearing a potholder on his head!  With his name on it!”

Ok, don’t look at me like that.  Every guy has, at some point, used his yarmulke to hold a pot or unscrew a light bulb or take something out of a toaster, or open a pickle jar.  (Okay, that last one is just ridiculous.)  Mostly it’s yeshiva guys that do this, because even if they remembered, when they bought food, that they also needed to buy a pot, there’s no way they remembered to buy something to hold it with.  They didn’t even buy something to stir what they were cooking, and have been using a series of rapidly-melting plastic forks.

Come to think of it, even if you’ve never used your yarmulka for this, it would actually be a great use for that pile of old yarmulkas under your bed.  You can just keep them in your kitchen drawers.  You already have your old undershirts under the sink for polishing silver, and your kids are using your old Shabbos shirts as smocks.  Pretty soon the entire house will be covered in Totty clothes.

And no, I don’t know what to do with old sheitels, weird swimming-pool pranks notwithstanding.  But if you think I’m going to answer the question you were really asking back there, you’re crazier than I am.


Dear Mordechai,

            What is the most unfortunate item you’ve ever gotten as a housewarming gift?

AS, Philadephia  

Dear A,

A houseplant.  Especially since I have kids.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but it’s basically like getting a big pot of dirt to keep in the house until it tips over.  Like there’s not enough dirt in my house. 

“No!  There’s also leaves!”

People like getting each other houseplants as housewarming gifts, because it has the word “house” right in the name.  But my feeling is that if Hashem wanted plants to grow inside, He would have planted them inside, like He does at the mall.  The only way to keep plants alive inside is to make them think that they’re outside – to keep them huddled up against a window, remember to open that shade every day AND NOT SPILL THE DIRT.  And that’s besides the fact that the average person can only remember to feed either his kids OR his plants.  Not both.  And the kids make noise when they’re hungry.  So it’s not looking good for the plants.

Seriously, though?  The only people I know that have successfully kept houseplants alive have decent-sized houses with lots of windows and no kids living at home.  Having a house full of plants is the socially acceptable alternative to having 27 cats.


Dear Mordechai,

            I have a sibling who I never really got along with, but now that we’re both grown up and have kids, I would like to show her that I’m an adult now.  What should I get her for Chanukah?

LR, Maryland  

Dear L,

A houseplant.  Especially if she doesn’t have a house.  You can tell her it’s an “apartment plant.”  Come to think of it, you can just bring her a pot of dirt and tell her there’s something planted in it, even though there isn’t.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/gift-wars-december-2011/2011/12/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: