Monday, May 31, 2010

Unclear on the Concept

Once again, Hamas and its supporters demonstrate their rather unique concept of nonviolent protest--one that includes guns and knives.

Non-violent protest, U.S. style... and Hamas style

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Way The World Is

Says here that Lori Berenson, who dropped out of MIT in 1989 "to pursue a passion for social justice" by joining a Peruvian left-wing terrorist group, has been released from prison in Peru. Of course her loving, doctorate-equipped parents were there to welcome their unrepentant daughter. Which only goes to show that in her own person, Berenson embodies the very thing she claimed to be fighting against: the ability of the privileged white fool to escape the consequences her own folly visited upon "people of color." This week's Chelm award goes to the judge who paroled her.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Chelm Exclusive: A'jad's Version of "Oops, I Did It Again"

And it came to pass, that after his latest diplomatic triumph, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ben-Hammedatha got dressed up in drag and performed this version of Britney Spears' comeback song:

I think I did it again. I made you believe
That we could be friends.
Oh, baby;
It might seem like a nuke,
But it doesn't mean
That I'm just a kook.
'Cause to threaten genocide...
That is just so typically me.
Oh, baby; baby.

... I did it again.
I played the UN.
Got lost in the game.
Oh, baby; baby.
... You think I'm delusional.
That I am a loon...
But I'm fully rational.

You see your problem is this:
You're dreaming away;
Wishing that partners, they truly exist.
I laugh watching the days.
Can't you see you're a fool
In so many ways?
But to rant and rave loudly...
That is just so typically me.
Baby, oh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Fog of Politics

We in Chelm have a great deal of sympathy for poor Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenfeld, who said he fought in Vietnam but turned out to be a bit confused about the facts of his own life, like his fellow Connecticut resident Walter Mitty. Closer to home for us, it's like the time Pinya the Philosopher got carried away with his own speculations and went around telling everybody he had met the Czar and discussed Talmud with him. "Nicky is of the opinion," quoth Pinya, "that it is not sufficient to eat an olive's weight of matzah at Passover, as Our Sages say. You must eat a prune's weight instead."
"But," I said to the Czar, "surely that would upset our stomachs even more than an olive's weight?"
"Ah," said our wise and noble king, "but prunes loosen what the matzah tightens, is it not so?"
Notwithstanding the glorious wisdom of this idea, our friendly neighborhood Cossack, Ivan the Terribly Smelly, came on the scene at that moment and endeavored to relieve Pinya of his hallucination by beating him to within an inch of his life. We hope similarly harsh corrective measures are not required for Mr. Blumenthal.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Obama Gets Tough N'Tender On Iran

We in Chelm love President Obama's ideas to help Iran cushion the blow of proposed sanctions. Here are some modest proposals to make things even easier for the long-suffering mullahs:
  • Allow U.S. companies to export to Iran protest suppression equipment such as batons and tear gas, which can also be used to help traffic cops give directions and to evoke appropriate emotional reactions to His Late Holiness Of The White Beard And Stern Glare.
  • Allow BP to ship underwater oil drilling equipment to Iran.
  • Lift restrictions on shipments to Iran of stinking corpses so that Ahmadinejad can have some on hand to serve as visual aids before his next major speech on Israel.
  • Lift restrictions on cultural exchanges so that the Enola Gay can be sent to Iran as a gift symbolizing the country's entirely peaceful nuclear program.
  • Ease up on travel to Iran so that scholars such as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, David Duke and Pat Buchanan can attend the next Holocaust denial conference in Tehran. And hopefully stay there, in their spiritual home.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chomsky barred from the West Bank? Gevalt!

With the apostate Noam Chomsky barred from spreading his lies at Bir Zeit "Terrorist U" University on the West Bank by an Israeli Interior Ministry official who refused him entry from Jordan, one must ask who has the greater share of Chelm-style wisdom: the veteran traitor to the Jewish people, or the bureaucratic lunkheads in Jerusalem who seemed to think that Chomsky's lies are powerful enough to threaten the Jewish state.

Supporters of totalitarianism like Chomsky delight in putting democracies on the spot in this way, so that they can pose as victims and sneer that freedom of speech is a sham. At eighty-one, Chomsky is getting a bit long in the tooth for his adolescent rebellion against his father, the noted Zionist and Hebrew grammarian William Chomsky. We in Chelm can only bow down before the genuine wisdom of Chomsky père, and trust in the Rock of Israel that like Balaam, the attempts of Chomsky fils to curse the House of Israel will be turned to blessings.

Fooled How Many Times?

We in Chelm pay close attention to events in Persia. For a while it looked like an exact replay of the Book of Esther, with Mohammed Khatami as King Ahasuerus and Ayatollah Khameini as Haman. Of course, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a much bigger Haman, and his name is too long and full of gutturals to be drowned out by groggers.

This morning brings news of yet another version of Iran's enriched uranium shell game, which no longer seems to fool even the Obama Administration. We are reminded of a certain famous cartoon, and also of an old Chelm saying:

  • Fool me once, shame on you.
  • Fool me twice, shame on me.
  • Fool me three times, move to Chelm.
  • Fool me four times, get a visit from George Mitchell.
  • Fool me five times, get a seat on the UN Security Council.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Very Weepy Nakba Day To You

As our Palestinian friends prepare to mourn Nakba ("Disaster") Day, which is how they mark Israel's 1948 establishment, we wish to congratulate them on some 90 years of Chelmesque political leadership replete with own-goals. Some highlights:

  • Rejecting the 1937 Peel Commission report, which would have given them everything in the British Mandate of Palestine west of the Jordan River except for Galilee and a sliver of the coastline running north from the Tel Aviv area.
  • The cozy relationship between their first communal leader, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, and a certain Austrian failed artist with a toothbrush mustache.

  • Rejecting the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine, which would have given them a state side by side with Israel in the former British Mandate of Palestine.
  • Assassinating King Abdullah I of Jordan in 1951.
  • Putting their national fate in the hands of Yasser Arafat from 1964 until his death in 2004.
  • Assassinating Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
  • The Khartoum Conference of 1968, at which the Arab states vowed no recognition, no negotiations and no peace with Israel.
  • Provoking King Hussein of Jordan into expelling the PLO in 1970.
  • Not taking advantage of the opening created by the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979.
  • Provoking the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which led to the PLO's explusion to Tunisia.
  • Rejecting non-violent protest and destroying tens of thousands of Palestinian jobs in Israel during the First Intifada.
  • Siding with Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War of 1991, unlike virtually all the Arab states.

  • Adopting suicide bombing as the preferred Palestinian method of diplomacy in the 1990s.
  • The reputedly ultra-sophisticated intellectual Edward Said throwing rocks over the Lebanese border fence at Israel in 2000.

  • Rejecting the Clinton-Barak offer of a state at Camp David in July 2000.
  • Rejecting the even better Barak offer at Taba in January 2001.
  • Celebrating the 9/11 attacks on America.
  • Provoking Israel's reinvasion of the West Bank in 2002.
  • Electing Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2005.
  • Rejecting Ehud Olmert's offer of a state in 2006.
  • Forcing Israel to wall off the West Bank in the 2000s.

All in all, the Palestinians seem to have adopted their own version of the Golden Rule: "What is hateful unto you, keep doing unto both your enemy and yourself." Way to go, guys!

Pushing the Reset Button on Russia's Soul

We here in Chelm fully support America's attempts to engage with Russia. The ways both Bush the Younger and Clinton the Blonder have gone about it are fully in accord with the wisdom of Chelm. Our chief kabbalist, Shabtai the Nudnik, is taking the best suggestions from each of these august statespersons and is currently attempting to design a reset button for Russia's soul, using his all-wooden Cabbage Difference Engine laptop (it has a sauerkraut CPU). It may need some work, however, because our friendly neighborhood Cossack, Ivan the Terribly Smelly, burst in on Shabtai while he was working and beat him to a borschtlike pulp.

Shabtai the Nudnik, after Ivan's visit

Six Ways To Clean Up The Gulf Oil Spill

I'm gonna clean up this world the best that I can, and I think I can. (Woody Guthrie and the Klezmatics)

While the cleanup efforts around the enormous oil spill from the wrecked British Petroleum drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico seem already to have been designed in Chelm (we like the idea of using a top hat to collect the oil, for example), we can assure you that we are not responsible. However, as good green citizens of Planet Earth (a color we are especially fond of turning after eating Gimpel the Baker's micturatory challah), we wish to do our part. Accordingly, our wisest sages have been conferring for weeks and have come up with the following five suggestions:
  1. Buy a billion gallons of Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar and pour it into the Gulf of Mexico for a healthy seafood salad. This would have the added political bonus of boosting the reelection chances of Senator Arlen Specter, The Amazing Political Hermaphrodite from Pennsylvania, by creating jobs in his home state.
  2. Collect all the birds and fish smothered by the oil spill and dump them outside the mansion of BP CEO Tony Hayward until his company stops and cleans up the spill.
  3. Get an enormous frying pan, buy up Idaho's entire potato harvest and fry up the biggest batch of latkes the world has ever seen.
  4. Have all the owners of those huge obnoxious SUVs drive down to the Louisiana coast with siphons.
  5. Soak up the mess with a billion rags and leave them in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hotel room the next time he attends the UN General Assembly in New York, since he says Iran is only developing nuclear power for peaceful energy purposes.
  6. Send Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and the entire "drill baby drill" brigade down to the Gulf coast with 100 million rolls of paper towels. If they can be found. They seem to have gone strangely silent.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Strange Ploughmates in England

We in Chelm wish the unlikely duo of David Cameron and Nick Clegg in jolly olde England well, but we cannot help but feel foreboding. For one thing, the Torah instructs us (Deuteronomy 22:10) not to yoke an ox to an ass when ploughing. Personally, it reminds me of the time we had two rabbis in Chelm, Rabbi Itzik and Rabbi Shmuelik, arguing over the dietary laws. If you think electoral politics are bad, you should see a rabbinic dispute over the mingling of imaginary milk and questionable meat! It's a long story. Meantime, we wish Prime Minister Ox and Deputy Prime Minister Ass, or is it the other way around, all the best!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chelm, Sweden

The Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was attacked by a would-be Muslim lynch mob at Uppsala University, Sweden, for his depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a cartoon. Vilks was defiant, but the university promptly said it would not invite him back and a Swedish politician issued a mealy-mouthed statement. When your cartoonists have the most courage and common sense of anybody, I think you can safely say your town is a twin city of Chelm. Congratulations, Uppsala!

Progress in The Proximity Talks

The Obama administration is hailing envoy George Mitchell's progress in getting the Palestinians not to talk to Israel, but to the former senator instead. And the meetings aren't even being held in the same city.

We in Chelm are very impressed by this logic and suggest that it be taken further: For the next round of talks, the Israelis should speak with the Americans at Zabar's on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the occupation of which by the Jewish people is not yet in dispute, and the Palestinians should talk to the Americans aboard the International Space Station.

If further progress is made, the final-status talks can be held in different solar systems.

Towards a Chelmesque Foreign Policy

Since President Obama's foreign policy is clearly inspired by the spirit of Chelm, we here feel a certain responsibility for it. Following are some specific suggestions for the "targeted" yet "crippling" sanctions the administration keeps saying it will impose on the Iranian "elites" to stop them from developing an atomic bomb, although it hasn't gotten around to doing so yet because there are much more urgent Middle Eastern matters, such as the very encouraging Israeli-Palestinian negotiations involving Arabs who refuse to sit in the same room as Jews (a Chelmesque order of priorities if there ever was one):

We welcome your suggestions and promise to forward them on to the White House.

Whose Fault Is The Oil Spill?

I feel bad for the British Petroleum executives who testified before Congress. Obviously they feel just terrible about the big mess they have made in the Gulf of Mexico, which is why they are trying to blame somebody else. It reminds me of the time my brother Yankel's goat Shmuelik relieved himself in the doorway of the synagogue.

"Yankel, clean up this mess immediately!" Rabbi Itzik demanded.

"But rabbi, it's not my fault," Yankel pleaded.

"Oh? And whose fault is it then?"

"It's the fault of Breindel, the wife of my neighbor Abie the Fishman."

Rabbi Itzik frowned and rubbed his chin. "Oh? And how's that?"

"Shmuelik wandered into their yard because they've never fixed the fence and ate Breindel's panties, which were hanging on the clothesline drying. They upset the poor beast's stomach!"

I hope for the poor BP executives' sake that their argument is as successful as Yankel's. To this day we have to step around the goat mess when we go to pray, since the Beth Din (the local religious court) has yet to rule on who should clean it up.

Blogging From Chelm

Sholom aleichem from Chelm, that famous city of the wisest of all wise Jews. I am Reb Mordechai Ben-Chaim (reb means mister and not rabbi). I was born in Chelm and have lived here all my life, and as such, I partake in my humble share of my town's great wisdom.

So what, you may ask, am I doing on the great World Wide Cobweb? Well, I had a vision last night when I was bringing back water from the well, and I tripped over a pebble and hit my head on a stone, that our town's wisdom should be shared with the world. This was a challenge, indeed. Although our town is very computer-savvy, with a laptop in every home, most of these are carved out of wood by our master carpenter Reb Eggsacto, so people tend to simply sit and stare at them, although I am told this is not so very different from what people outside of Chelm do with their laptops. We do have a few "real" computers, but as our town has yet to be electrified these don't work very well either. Still, we are conscious of computer hygiene in our town, and we all diligently cover our computers every night so they won't catch cold and come down with a virus.

There was great excitement but also some concern when I told everybody I was starting a blog. "I know all about blogs. They can be dangerous," Rabbi Itzik warned me, shaking his finger in my direction. "My brother-in-law Moishe drowned in a blog when he went out to harvest cranberries. So be careful, young man!"

And so I shall be.