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The Right to Free Speech

The right to free speech is inherent in most western democracies, its protected by the first Amendment to the United States Constitution. On this blog Bagel Chatter, Free Speech is encouraged, but hate speech or antisemitism will not be tolerated. ... Mr Bagel
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mr Bagel is Back

Yes its true, despite a spectacular absence of blogging for over two months, Mr Bagel has returned.
Mr Bagel has been 'moving' from a remote country location to a more civilised part of Australia.

Moving has required Mr Bagel to do five seperate trips of over 2,000kms each, despite selling what we thought was almost all of our worldly possesions, we still had to do five trips to move our 'personal belongings'. Which raises one very valid point, how personal can 5 trailers worth of belongings be? Do you think Mr Bagel might just be a horder? mmm?

Anyway after selling all our furniture we have been rushing around buying beds and fridges and lounges and just about everything else required to life a civilised life. Now that Mr Bagel has moved to civilisation he has decided to stop talking to the soccer ball with a wig. (Tom Hanks.)

We've only been in town a week but, living where there are shops, and services is such a refreshing break from living hours away from the most basic shopping. Its taking some adjustment, I generally spoke to about 3 peaople a month where I lived, now I see hundreds a day.

Mr Bagel: Thank you to all the well wishers and the emails I received


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Israel's purchase of German Volkswagens opens wounds

- Your comments and discussions are most welcome -
on articles which appear in Mr Bagel Chatter.

JERUSALEM - Retired agronomist Shmuel Elhanan speaks German and talks fondly about his parents' house in Berlin.

But like many Israelis and German-born Jews in the United States and elsewhere, Elhanan, 77, has a love-hate relationship with his homeland.

He is a Holocaust survivor of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. For decades after World War II ended, he refused to set foot in the country responsible for killing his family and millions of other Jews.

So Elhanan was angry when he learned recently that the Israeli government will begin buying Audi cars from Germany's Volkswagen. Skoda, a Czech automaker also owned by Volkswagen, will fill out the government's fleet of cars over the next four years.

VW's history includes using slave labor during World War II. Hitler himself was responsible for the prototype design of the VW Beetle and the company went on to build military vehicles for the Third Reich.

"It's a very hard thing to understand," Elhanan said. "Why would our leaders want to drive in German cars? Do they understand the impact ...?"

Germany, Israel now allies

For decades after Israel's founding in 1948, it was virtually unthinkable for anyone living in the Jewish state to buy German products, especially from companies that were part of the Nazi war effort. There are an estimated 240,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today.

But the anti-German phenomenon faded as time passed and wounds healed. Germany is now one of Israel's closest political and economic allies.

Volkswagen contributed to a $1.7 billion survivors' fund set up by 12 German companies in 1999 to acknowledge "remembrance, responsibility and the future." VW also established a separate fund for surviving workers and families of the wartime slave labor force.

Tens of thousands of Israelis visit Germany on holiday and educational trips each year. Israeli stores now stock all types of German-made goods: kitchen appliances, consumer products and clothing. Israel also relies on German-made weapons for its armed forces.

Yet both Israelis and their government have tended to shy away from German cars.

German imports represented only 8 percent of car sales in Israel last year, a small number that industry experts say is due to the lingering unease about the role modern-day manufacturers played in the Nazi era and the high cost for luxury cars.

Israeli officials have used Volvo cars for more than 20 years, so both business analysts and politicians reacted with surprise when the government announced this month that the Audi A6 and Skoda Superb models would become the new autos for the government.

A spokeswoman for the Finance Ministry said the government considered three major factors: price, safety and maintenance costs. She declined to provide details about the cost of the contracts with Audi and Skoda.

Mr Bagel: I considered buying an old Volkswagen Beetle a while back as a runabout, then I remembered who was responsible for its initial design. That was enough for me.

I'm not so sure I would feel comfortable owning a German car.

Much publicity is given to the gestures that Germany has made towards the sufferers of the Shoah. But there's one very hard to ignore fact.

Why are Jewish communities forced to fund raise to build synagogues which were destroyed by the Nazi's? Making well publicized gestures still does not account for the enormity of the damage the Nazi's caused to Jews.

Germany really can't undo the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the Nazi's, but it certainly could help with the rebuilding of Synagogues especially in Germany.

If Germany was really interested in forgiveness then they have a long way to go. Including replacing all the places of worship which were wiped out by the actions and hate of the Nazi's.

Making gestures of compensation to living individuals 60 years on, is simply an exercise in cynical cost effective accounting. Why weren't they made when the vast majority of Jews who suffered due to the Shoah were still alive?

What do you think? Would you/do you drive a German car. Are you comfortable with the Israeli government's plans to procure cars for their fleet from the German manufacturer?


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Israel row over Harry Potter sale
Sanctity of Sabbath broken

The worldwide launch of the latest Harry Potter is provoking religious controversy in Israel.

Bookstores will be opening on the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day, to sell the final instalment to eager fans.

Most shops are normally closed for trade on the Sabbath, which runs from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Religious politicians are accusing the bookstores of putting profits ahead of religious sensitivities for agreeing to open their shops.

The Israeli Industry and Trade Minister, Eli Yishai, has threatened to fine any store that opens on Saturday.

Israeli law forbids businesses to force their employees to work on the Sabbath.

Advance orders

"I think it's a little chutzpah [audacious] of them to open the stores just to make money," Associated Press news agency quoted Israeli member of parliament Avraham Ravitz as saying.

But the booksellers remain unrepentant.

Steimatzky, part of Israel's biggest bookstore chain, is hosting a gala event in Tel Aviv to launch the book.

The chain says that it has received ten of thousands of advance orders for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and has no plans to cancel or postpone its event.

"We are required by the publishers to start selling the books at this time," said store buyer Nancy Ayalon.

The Harry Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide and have been translated into at least 64 languages, including Hebrew.

Mr Bagel: Ok, so what do people think? Is this acceptable that an Israeli Book chain allows the breaking of Sabbath over the release of the final Harry Potter book?

BBC: Israel row over Harry Potter sale


Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Whole World Is Watching
Have you say!

By Thomas L. Friedman
The New York Times

The Whole World Is Watching

The blogosphere has made the global discussion so much richer — and each of us so much more transparent.

Three years ago, I was catching a plane at Boston’s Logan airport and went to buy some magazines for the flight. As I approached the cash register, a woman coming from another direction got there just behind me — I thought. But when I put my money down to pay, the woman said in a very loud voice: “Excuse me! I was here first!” And then she fixed me with a piercing stare that said: “I know who you are.” I said I was very sorry, even though I was clearly there first.

If that happened today, I would have had a very different. I would have said: “Miss, I’m so sorry. I am entirely in the wrong. Please, go ahead. And can I buy your magazines for you? May I buy your lunch? Can I shine your shoes?”

Because I’d be thinking there is some chance this woman has a blog or a camera in her cellphone and could, if she so chose, tell the whole world about our encounter — entirely from her perspective — and my utterly rude, boorish, arrogant, thinks-he-can-butt-in-line behavior. Yikes!

When everyone has a blog, a MySpace page or Facebook entry, everyone is a publisher. When everyone has a cellphone with a camera in it, everyone is a paparazzo. When everyone can upload video on YouTube, everyone is filmmaker. When everyone is a publisher, paparazzo or filmmaker, everyone else is a public figure. We’re all public figures now. The blogosphere has made the global discussion so much richer — and each of us so much more transparent.

The implications of all this are the subject of a new book by Dov Seidman, founder and C.E.O. of LRN, a business ethics company. His book is simply called “How.” Because Seidman’s simple thesis is that in this transparent world “how” you live your life and “how” you conduct your business matters more than ever, because so many people can now see into what you do and tell so many other people about it on their own without any editor. To win now, he argues, you have to turn these new conditions to your advantage.

For young people, writes Seidman, this means understanding that your reputation in life is going to get set in stone so much earlier. More and more of what you say or do or write will end up as a digital fingerprint that never gets erased. Our generation got to screw up and none of those screw-ups appeared on our first job résumés, which we got to write. For this generation, much of what they say, do or write will be preserved online forever. Before employers even read their résumés, they’ll Google them.

“The persistence of memory in electronic form makes second chances harder to come by,” writes Seidman. “In the information age, life has no chapters or closets; you can leave nothing behind, and you have nowhere to hide your skeletons. Your past is your present.” So the only way to get ahead in life will be by getting your “hows” right.

Ditto in business. Companies that get their hows wrong won’t be able to just hire a P.R. firm to clean up the mess by a taking a couple of reporters to lunch — not when everyone is a reporter and can talk back and be heard globally.

But this also creates opportunities. Today “what” you make is quickly copied and sold by everyone. But “how” you engage your customers, “how” you keep your promises and “how” you collaborate with partners — that’s not so easy to copy, and that is where companies can now really differentiate themselves.

“When it comes to human conduct there is tremendous variation, and where a broad spectrum of variation exists, opportunity exists,” writes Seidman. “The tapestry of human behavior is so varied, so rich and so global that it presents a rare opportunity, the opportunity to outbehave the competition.”

How can you outbehave your competition? In Michigan, Seidman writes, one hospital taught its doctors to apologize when they make mistakes, and dramatically cut their malpractice claims. In Texas, a large auto dealership allowed every mechanic to spend freely whatever company money was necessary to do the job right, and saw their costs actually decline while customer satisfaction improved. A New York street doughnut-seller trusted his customers to make their own change and found he could serve more people faster and build the loyalty that keeps them coming back.

“We do not live in glass houses (houses have walls); we live on glass microscope slides ... visible and exposed to all,” he writes. So whether you’re selling cars or newspapers (or just buying one at the newsstand), get your hows right — how you build trust, how you collaborate, how you lead and how you say you’re sorry. More people than ever will know about it when you do — or don’t.

Bagelblogger: What say you? Will the new generation be accountable to a digitalized CV of their every possible interaction? Is the Web bringing in an era of 'Big Brother' or is the individual both more able to express themselves and paradoxically more accountable for their actions? Is the practice of anonymity on the blogosphere an attempt to counter act this, or is it simply a preventative measure against being sued for libel; whilst being able to attack opinions one disagrees with?

Make sure you say what's on your mind!

Article Credit: New York Times subscription article
Photo Credit: Thomas Friedman. (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)


Monday, May 21, 2007

JIB Finals Voting Results - Real Time


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mr Bagel needs your help; and would like to set a few things straight...

The Final Countdown:

ell its five hours to go until the voting for the JIB awards finish.

There's a half a world between me and the rest of most of you.
Living in Australia, in the outback is very hard. I don't have the usual 'Jewish connections', in fact I see my Rabbi and Shule in Sydney, very rarely every time I do a 4ookm journey to Sydney.

We will be moving in 6 months time back to Sydney from this beautiful but very remote place that we live in. Its tough being were we live, unlike most of you, you see the Internet as simply a auxiliary connection to a few Jews speckled around the world.

The fact of the matter is, to us Danielle aka Baleboosteh, and myself Aaron ,aka Bagelblogger you are our world.

It may sound really lame, but every moment we spend on the computer on the Internet is in an effort to try to connect with other fellow Jews. For us there is at the moment no other way.

You are our family, and like families we do argue, we do disagree occasionally.

Now I will not deny that any one voting for Danielle or myself in the next 5 hours would be greatly appreciated, the voting in our class is very very tight.

Danielle: Best Photo/Graphics Blog

Aaron: Best of the Rest

Aaron: Best Designed Blog

But I'd like to talk about something else.

Something more important than winning.

I'd like to talk to all the fellow bloggers out there (like us) who dont have 350 commenters visiting their blogs, the bloggers who sometimes question themselves why they blog, and do they really get the return of the energy and emotion that they put in, back out.

All the smaller bloggers who have tirelessly advocated for Israel, tirelessly spread positive words and wrote advocating on Jewish issues.

There will be a few happy winners to day, they will get their JIB award for best..., whatever.

Some of them will go on and announce to the world 'Winners of 17 blog awards in the Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards', something that they should be ashamed of.

To the organization that pretended to support these awards, but actually used them as a cynical self promotion exercise, you should be ashamed of your selves. You will now have the chutzpah to publicize your 'awards' and announce yourselves as the award winning blogs of....

To these blogs and to their owners, you have done a disservice to yourselves and to the other bloggers which blog with such a passion.

The greatest disservice is the theft, yes strong word, theft of an award which should go to the bloggers who blogged all year round, not just when the awards are coming up.

To the bloggers who slogged it out, and wrote regardless of the lack of acclaim and thanks, who receive very little recognition, you are the real winners of these awards. You are the ones most worthy.

The bloggers who wrote 70 posts a month or more during the Lebanon War, not the bloggers who wrote 19 posts in the whole of 2007.

I would like to address the real winners of this years JIB Awards competition.

The bloggers who refused to compromise, refused to do things they knew weren't right. They refused to vote for themselves more than once. They refused to change they're behaviour despite the presence of Arutz Sheva and other organizations blogs.

This was never a level playing field, It was never a fair test of who has a good blog, it was simply, who was best at ambush marketing themselves, sending the largest number of spams, getting the best media campaign and even to the point of acting unethically.

There's only one winner in these JIB's, and its not the people who won JIB awards, its the people who refused to compromise on what they knew was right and what is wrong.

Your know who I'm talking about, and to those people you are the winners.

Shalom Aaron
Mr Bagel

I live in Australia so 10pm vote closing time is not 10 pm closing time for me.
I've woken up especially early to write this post, its 5 am, and its is absolutely freezing.

I wish all the ethical jbloggers out there the best of luck.


Jew and the Carrot Voting History last 36 hours

Click read more to see the graphic showing
voting progess over the last 36 hours.

This reference is put up for the public record

Regards Mr bagel