Welcome to a dreary Monday: November 27, 2023, and National Bavarian Cream Pie Day, a pie I’ve never had, but one I should try, as it’s made with custard and whipped cream. Here’s one example (and there’s a recipe):
It’s also Pie in the Face Day, National Craft Jerky Day, Turtle Adoption Day, Lancashire Day in the United Kingdom, and National Electric Guitar Day.
The Rolling Stone has a list of the 250 Greates Guitarists of all Time, and #1 is Jimi Hendrix. That’s fine, but after that things get wonky: #2 is Chuck Berry, for crying out loud, and Clapton gets only the #35 position when he should be #2. Here’s Hendrix doing “Purple Haze,” but Rolling Stone is pontificating that Chuck Berry is right behind him, and way ahead of Eric Clapton. That list is STUPID.
And here’s number #35. which should be #2. Chuck Berry couldn’t touch this. Although I love the Beatles, I still vote for “Layla” as the best rock song of all time—except for the slow part. Check out the solo beginning at 2:20 and see if Chuck Berry could even come close to Clapton’s musicality and technical skill. (Yes, there’s a cigarette stuck in the guitar head.) You can stop listening at 3:30 when the slow part begins, although this slow part is better than the one in nearly ever rendition. Oh go ahead, listen to the end, and tell me if he’s not #2 on the list.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 27 Wikipedia page.
Da Nooz (all war-related today)
*Hamas released 17 more hostages, including one American, which of course President Biden will cheer about (honest, I don’t know why the nationality of released people who were abducted is of great import). Why didn’t Israel agree to let 750 Palestinian terrorists go in return for all the hostages? After all, the net gain to Palestine would be the same—almost. What Hamas is doing here is clear: they’re buying time, regrouping and hoping that world sentiment will build to the point that the U.S. and Israel will have to give up pursuing terrorists, and lose the war. This much is obvious, but I’m so thick that I just realized it. Anyway, from the NYT, we hear of a release yesterday evening of 17 hostages, including an American.
Hamas released 17 more hostages on Sunday, including one American — Avigail Idan, who turned 4 on Friday — and said it would seek to extend a temporary cease-fire with Israel after the current four-day pause is over.
Under the deal reached last week, the cease-fire began on Friday and is slated to continue into Monday. It is the longest break in fighting in Gaza since Oct. 7, when gunmen from Hamas and other militant groups launched a deadly attack on southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has said that it is prepared to grant another day’s pause for every 10 hostages Hamas releases beyond the 50 outlined in the agreement, but the Palestinian group, which controls Gaza, had not previously responded to the offer publicly.
The statement by Hamas came hours after the Israeli prime minister’s office said 14 Israelis, including nine children, and three foreigners had been released on the third day of the agreement, under which both sides agreed to exchange Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
Avigail, the 4-year-old, a dual Israeli and U.S. citizen, and the others released on Sunday were among roughly 240 people taken to Gaza as hostages by Hamas and its allies on Oct. 7, according to Israeli officials.
“Thank God she’s home,” President Biden said of Avigail. Members of her family previously told The New York Times that her parents, Roy Idan and Smadar Idan, had been fatally shot at the Kfar Aza kibbutz. Her siblings — Michael, 9, and Amelia, 6 — survived the violence.
And here’s Hamas playing Netanyahu and Biden like a violin:
Hamas said it would seek to extend a temporary cease-fire with Israel after the current four-day pause is over, a move that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel suggested he would consider if it led to more hostages being released.
Under the deal, the cease-fire began on Friday and is slated to continue into Monday. It is the longest break in fighting in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, when gunmen from Hamas and other militant groups launched a deadly attack on southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking about 240 others hostage, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has said that it is prepared to grant another day’s pause for every 10 hostages Hamas releases beyond the 50 outlined in the agreement. Hamas, which controls Gaza, had not previously responded to the offer publicly.
In a positive indication of Israel’s continued openness to the idea of extending the truce, Mr. Netanyahu issued a video statement soon after the Hamas statement in which he noted that there was already an outline for the possibility of freeing an additional 10 hostages for each additional day of truce. Mr. Netanyahu said he spoke to President Biden on Sunday, and that he reiterated that the goal, regardless of the length of the truce, was to destroy Hamas.
Remember, a long truce can easily morph into a cease-fire, regardless of what Bibi says. And a permanent cease-fire means that Israel has not only lost the war, but is in serious danger of losing its country.
*The Washington Post has a news analysis piece by Steve Hendrix and Hazem Balousha called “Netanyahu and Hamas depended on each other. Both may be on the way out.” Well it’s clear that Bibi is; he’s toast the moment the war is over, no matter how it ends. (The authors note, “Polls show 75 percent of Israelis calling for him to resign now or be replaced when the fighting stops.”) But how are Hendrix and Balousha so sure that Hamas is toast, too?
The bulk of the piece is about how Netanyahu “used” Hamas as an excuse to avoid negotiating for a two-state solution, saying that “there was nobody to negotiate with” so long as the terrorist group is in power. Well, he’s on the way out but I’m curious how the authors discern that Hamas, is, too. Here’s what they say:
In Gaza, where elections haven’t occurred since 2006, gauging support for Hamas is more difficult. Before the war, fear of Hamas retribution kept criticism of the regime largely to whispers. Now, the massive disruptions of bombardment and displacement make polling almost impossible. Some recent surveys show continuing support for Hamas, as anger at Israel grows during the ongoing military assault.
But more Gazans are willing to criticize Hamas on social media and in interviews with The Washington Post.
“I’m not afraid to say it: We don’t want Hamas and not just because of the war, but for years,” said Ahmad, 44, a pharmacist from Deir al-Balah in central Gaza. The Post is not using his full name to protect him from possible reprisals. “The lack of competent governance has left us in poverty and misery, exacerbated by this devastating war. Israel’s actions spare no one, regardless of being affiliated with Hamas or not.”
Motaz, 39, said Hamas’s attack on Israel left him in “horror,” and left his family exposed to Israeli attacks that destroyed his grocery store in Khan Younis last month.
He doesn’t believe Hamas can survive. But he doesn’t see what difference any change of leadership in Gaza would make to its devastated citizens.
“Even if Hamas remains in power, what will remain for us here?” Motaz asked. “There are no homes to live in, and no work to sustain us. I lost my only source of livelihood.”
That’s not a very strong case for an impending end to Hamas, is it?
*Most of the released hostages are still in hospitals, and are forbidden to talk about where they were held, or give details of how they were held. Nevertheless, the NYT also gives some information about the “hows” taken from the accounts of the relatives of hostages who have spoken to the media.
Relatives who have spoken or met with some of the released hostages said all seemed to have spent their weeks in captivity totally cut off from the outside world, and to have returned thinner than before.
“They were eating, but not regularly and not all of the time,” said Merav Mor Raviv, a cousin of Keren Munder, 54, who was released on Friday along with her son, Ohad Munder-Zichri, 9, and her mother, Ruth Munder, 78. “They ate a lot of rice and bread,” Ms. Raviv said, adding that Keren told her that both she and her mother had lost about 6 to 8 kilograms, or 13 to 18 pounds.
Ms. Raviv related that the Munders had slept in a reception room on improvised benches they fashioned by pushing three chairs together, and that when they wanted to go to the bathroom they would have to knock on a door and wait — sometimes for up to two hours.
Adva Adar’s grandmother, Yaffa Adar, 85, was among the hostages released on Friday. She noted that her grandmother had lost weight and was aware that she had been held for nearly 50 days because she had kept count.
. . .The uncle of two hostages who were among those freed late Saturday — Noam Or, 17, and his sister Alma, 13 — told the BBC on Sunday that they, too, were unaware until their release that their mother, Yonat Or, had been killed in the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.
“They have some difficult stories to tell of the way they were captured and treated,” Ahal Besorai said of his nephew and niece. He said he had spoken with them on a video call at the hospital where they are staying.
I’m wondering whether the last tranche of hostages will be those who were ill, and would far poorly under this regime, or whether some hostages have died or been killed without Hamas letting anybody know. But I do share the joy of the relatives and friends of the hostages that have been released so far.
*The Associated Press reports on the rise of antisemitism in Europe and how it’s worrying the continent’s Jews.
Last month’s slayings of about 1,200 people in Israel by armed Palestinian militants represented the biggest killing of Jews since the Holocaust. The fallout from it, and from Israel’s intense military response that health officials in Hamas-controlled Gaza say has killed at least 13,300 Palestinians, has extended to Europe. In doing so, it has shaken a continent all too familiar with deadly anti-Jewish hatred for centuries.
The past century is of particular note, of course. Concern about rising antisemitism in Europe is fueled in part by what happened to Jews before and during World War II, and that makes it particularly fearsome for those who may be only one or two generations removed from people who were the victims of riots against Jews and Nazi brutality.
What most chills many Jews interviewed is what they see as the lack of empathy for the Israelis killed during the early morning massacre and for the relatives of the hostages — about 30 of whom are children — suspended in an agonizing limbo.
“What really upsets me,” said Holocaust survivor Herbert Traube said at a Paris event commemorating the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 government-backed pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria, “is to see that there isn’t a massive popular reaction against this.”
Well, Herr Traube, it’s the same in the U.S. Sympathy for the Jews and Israel all but disappeared two or three days after the attacks, and even before Israel started defending itself by going after Hamas. Why? You tell me!
The list of examples of anti-Jewish sentiment since the Oct. 7 attacks is long and documented by governments and watchdog groups across Europe.
—Little more than a month after the attack in Israel, the French Interior Ministry said 1,247 antisemitic incidents had been reported since Oct. 7, nearly three times the total for all of 2022.
—Denmark’s main Jewish association said cases were up 24 times from the average of the last nine months.
—The Community Security Trust, which tracks antisemitic incidents in Britain, reported more than 1,000 such events — the most ever recorded for a 28-day period.
That all comes despite widespread denunciations of anti-Jewish hatred — and support for Israel — from leaders in Europe since the attack.
Some of Europe’s Jews say they see it on the streets and the news. Jewish schoolchildren face bullying on their way to class, or — in one instance — have been asked to explain Israel’s actions, according to Britain’s Community Security Trust. There’s been talk of blending in better: covering skullcaps in public and perhaps hiding mezuzahs, the traditional symbol on doorposts of Jewish homes.
. . .“Some of us are in a state of panic,” said Anna Segal, 37, the manager of the Kahal Adass Jisroel in Berlin, a community of 450 members.
Some community members are changing how they live, Segal said. Students no longer wear uniforms. Kindergarten classes don’t leave the building for field trips or the playground next door. Some members no longer call taxis, or they hesitate to order deliveries to their homes. Hebrew-speaking in public is fading. Some wonder if they should move to Israel.
“I hear more and more from people from the Jewish community who say they feel safer and more comfortable in Israel now than in Germany, despite the war and all the rockets,” Segal said. “Because they don’t have to hide there.”
Things have to be dire if you’d rather move to Israel than live in Berlin!
*Yesterday reader Stephen sent in a UK news report with photos he took. I reproduce it all with permission:
There was a large rally in London today against anti-semitism. There have been several pro-Palestine rallies in London, I think 7 in all, every Saturday, starting on Oct 14, and they have attracted large numbers, up to 300,000 people. These have surprised me, and I have been further surprised that there haven’t been large pro-Israel / pro-Jewish rallies. There was a relatively small rally a week ago organised by Christian Action Against Anti-semitism. The rally today was organised by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism in collaboration with a number of groups including the organisers of the October Declaration, British Friends of Israel. This was clearly going to be the main rally to attract British Jews and supporters. The theme was specifically anti-semitism as you can see from the posters many marchers held up, but of course the context was the Oct 7 massacre. I attach a couple of pictures. The first shows the start of the rally, outside the Courts of Justice on the Strand, and the second gives a picture at the end, looking up Whitehall from Parliament Square. The obelisk in the distance in the middle of the road is the Cenotaph, Britain’s memorial to those killed in the two world wars. The rally was certainly peaceful. At the end of the rally there were some speeches and both main political parties were represented by senior members. I saw Peter Tatchell (veteran LGBT activist) there, which was a surprise as he was prominent in at least one of the pro-Palestine rallies. He is a complex character so I wouldn’t want to try and summarise his position but he was holding a placard saying he is against all forms of violence. Talking of placards, they were light on humour naturally, but I enjoyed ‘More hummus, less Hamas’. The organisers stated that the count at the rally was 105,000, and from what I saw I don’t think this can be far wrong (from my experiece of football matches with 70,000 supporters). From what I could tell from observing the crowd approximately half were Jewish and the rest were supporters. There are about 4 million Muslims in Britain, and about 250,000 Jews, so proportionally this was a very significant event, and highly newsworthy following the pro-Palestine rallies. I did eventually find an article on the BBC website about it by specifically searching, but it doesn’t appear on the main UK news page.
105,000 is the estimate for the French antisemitism rally I went to in Paris, so it’s about the same. Still, it’s only one-third the size of the pro-Palestinian rallies, which to me is a bit disheartening. But 105,000 is better than 50,000!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, a victim of misogyny, is told to smile. She won’t. Doesn’t she look grumpy today?
Hili: Oh no, not you again.
Hili: I have no intention to.
Hili: O nie, znowu ty.
Ja: Uśmiechnij się.
Hili: Nie mam zamiaru.
From Merilee; I don’t know who did it, but reader’s help would be appreciated.
From Not Another Science Cat Page:
If you’re pro-Israel and like to look at Twitter or videos about Israel, the Elder of Ziyon publishes a collection of links, tweets, and videos every day except Monday. His site is here, and you can see yesterday’s collection of links here. There are far too many for me to post, much less to look at, but the “IDF All Women Tank Crew” below comes from the Elder.
Masih working out! Just a few sentences from the long Twitter caption in Farsi (translated):
On the International Day against Violence Against Women, I recorded this video to say a few words from my heart to you:
Some people take the video of me exercising, singing and dancing hand in hand and try to humiliate me with the most ridiculous sentences, that you don’t like exercising and singing.
What a strange similarity between an anti-woman government that banned dancing, sports and singing for women and a group that does not consider these most basic activities to be beautiful for women. They want to humiliate to say that this is not your place. As they did not consider the club to be a place for women for many years. As they did not consider politics to be the domain of women and their brains are still left in the Stone Age.
We normal women who don’t claim to be professional athletes and singers and dance coaches, why shouldn’t we sometimes dance, exercise and sing like ordinary people? In your mind, if only a few should have this right, that is your problem. Our work does not harm anyone, but it is you who, like the foot soldiers of an ISIS government, seek to intimidate and humiliate millions of women.
She’s pretty strong!
From Malcolm (sound up). This must be one bad-ass cat!
I have a feeling that the Washington Post is going under, and it’s not just because it’s so woke that it equates Israelis hostages with convicted Palestinian terrorists (see below). The paper is just lame in every way possible these days.
From Jez; I have no idea if this is real. Readers? (I’ve heard several times that the UN organization UNRWA actually employs members of Hamas.)
From Barry: an albino gator gets a good scrubbing. As Barry says, “I didn’t know they smiled!”
Caught in the act (I despise people who pretend they’re someone else on Twitter); see here. It looks as if “Maree Campbell” no longer is on “X”.
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl who died at about 14 in the camp.
Two, count them TWO tweets from Dr. Cobb today! He calls this first one “the future”:
And the second he calls “kot.” Cat on a plane!