8/19/2010

Quick Takes II

I hope to get back to regular posting once I return to Israel next week. In the mean time, here are some more quick takes:


NGO Transparency:
The more transparency the better. Just make sure that whatever the standards are, that it applies equally and evenly.

Eden Abergil:
Obviously, we treat prisoners today better than we treated them in biblical times. Yet, a review of the first part of this week's parsha shows that concern with a captive's dignity is not new or foreign to our tradition.
This article - shrill and self-righteous and wrongheaded and normally not something I'd link to - contains this mistranslation gem: "Suddenly they saw that the Palestinians actually do live in a cage, literately, in order to protect themselves from settler abuse." They do not literally live in cages. I'm not sure how one might live in a cage literately, though a case can be made for Solzhenitsyn. The irony is in the illiteracy of confusing "literally" with "literately."

IZS on Anti-Zionism at Israeli Universities:
My emerging worldview on Israeli politics is that all things must be applied evenly and equally. The people who complain that the government funds non-Zionist Haredi schools should not then complain when others try to apply the same standards to universities. 
Regarding the issue at hand, I take a libertarian view. People can teach, write, publish, research, protest, etc. whatever the heck they want. The government has every right to decide where it wants to spend its shekels, and obviously the interests of its citizens should take priority in that funding: they should be spending more on Tay-Sachs research than on sickle cell anemia research. But if some donor wants to endow a chair in Basque Studies, by all means.
With this in mind, I am simply amazed that a professor of law at TAU can make a statement as idiotic as this one: "The university is an institution that the liberal state must fund without taking any interest in the content of the research it produces or the material it teaches."
You just can't make this stuff up.


The "Ground Zero Mosque":
The emerging consensus is: "They have every right to build it, but I don't think they should." Which is silly. If my neighbor wants to build a garish addition on his house, I might think that "He has every right to build it, but I don't think he should," and I might even tell him that. The goal of my protest would be to try to convince the owner of the house to consider alternatives, which would be all I'm really entitled to do. Is that what's going on here? Is all of the opposition to the GZM really intended to convince the Cordoba Initiative to reconsider? I certainly hope so.
Also, does anyone else think it's ironic that the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in the middle of building a Museum of Tolerance atop an old Arab cemetery in Jerusalem, opposes the GZM? I wonder if the new museum will be made of glass...

Rabbis Behaving Badly:
Mazal Tov to Rabbi Marc Schneier on his forth fifth coming wedding.
Some wonder based on recent photos whether R. Schneier is giving Orthodox rabbis a bad name. I would offer that his impact on the reputation of the Orthodox rabbinate is the same as it always was. Vd"l.
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