Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Pursuit of Justice

Top of the evening.

The Jerusalem Post reports today that the long-awaited and oft-delayed Palmer report is to be released on Friday. I will believe it when I see it. The reason for the delay is that publication of the report will force both Israel and Turkey into more-hardened positions, thus preventing any rapprochement. The report is expected to confirm that Israel is upholding a legal blockade, that boarding the ship was legal, that those on board the ship were looking for a fight, that they were backed by the Turkish government, that Israel's internal investigation upheld the highest standards, and that Turkey's internal investigation did not. The report is also expected to conclude that Israel used excessive force.

As regards the last point, I have not read the report. I can tell you that the most dangerous military operation is the seizing of a ship at sea. The first man on board is in extreme danger until a safe area can be secured. When you realize the basic danger of that operation, it is also worth it to remember Field Marshal Moltke's rule that a battle plan never survives first contact with the enemy. I will thus not be the "Monday morning quarterback."

Turkey has stated that it will not accept the report, despite the presence of one of its own citizens on the committee, and despite the international reputation of Geoffrey Palmer.

The title of this entry is "The Pursuit of Justice." It comes from this week's Torah portion - "Justice justice shall you pursue." Justice has been pursued. Justice has been pursued in a world forum not known for much more than tolerating Israel's existence. Part of this pursuit of justice is that you might not like what comes back. That does not make a proper conclusion any less just. For Turkey to reject the conclusion of this committee is an open statement that the pursuit of justice is not as important a goal as the gutting of a neighbouring country.

Israel should not apologize. She did nothing wrong. Turkey should apologize, for incitement, for supporting an act of war, for placing civilians in the line of fire, for blaming Israel before any of the facts were in, for conducting its own sham investigation, and for rejecting a conclusion that is not to its liking.

Good night.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Random Musings

Hi all...

Remember me?

I have two matters I would like to share with you.

Jennifer and I spent the week up at Camp Ramah. Normally, we go up there to teach. However, the summer is winding down. We organized the library, went through the ever-growing pile of old tallitot and tefillin, and buried some old materials that had served their purpose. In the piles of stuff, we found 3.5 sets of remarkably high-quality tefillin, as well as another three sets of medium-quality tefillin. The three sets of high-quality are each worth no less than $500, and probably a fair amount more. The medium-quality sets would probably go for about $375.

1. Parents, when you send your kids to camp with tefillin, buy an inexpensive set. It is nowhere near as much a financial loss.
2. Parents, take one of those clothing labels that we all buy for camp and stitch it to the inside of the tefillin bag.
3. If Jesse were to leave tefillin of that quality at camp, I promise that he would be on the bus back up there to find them.

On the half set, there was one that only had the hand tefillin. I do not know what happened to the head. Camp was ever so kind as to give that to me. It is quite helpful. We have a set of kosher parshiyot for the head. We will need ot get the sofer to make a bayit for it, but that should not cost too much.

In another matter, researchers at Tel Aviv have made the scurrilous attempts at boycott even more difficult to sustain. They have developed a series of four chemical formulations that can detect whether a drink has been spiked by any of the four date rape drugs. They are working now on the means of being able to communicate that information via SMS to a cell phone. At this point, the drinks will change colour if the drugs are detected. As a father of a young lady and of two young men, I am thankful for such an invention.

Those darned Israelis...it really makes one wonder what people might be able to produce if they were more caught up in solving the world's problems instead of causing bloodshed.

It is an important piece of Halakhah for me that Jewish tradition defines handedness by writing and not by how we wield a weapon.

Have a wonderful day.