I’ll be spending this afternoon happily enjoying the company of relatives visiting from out of town. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate these relatives that much. Now that I’m older, I’m know how important it is to keep up contact with people who knew you way back when. There are shared memories and beliefs that are irreplaceable and that are, in troubling times, deeply comforting.
And then there is the news, which isn’t so good in Obama’s America….
** 1 **
England has long been so favorable to radical Islam that Melanie Phillips wrote a whole, very excellent, book — Londonistan — on the subject. That’s why it was staggering to see the Times of London run an ardently pro-Israel opinion piece. The author is Richard Kemp, a retired British Army man who’s long been an open and intelligent Israel supporter. That he wrote the article was therefore unsurprising. The surprise was that Kemp was given a voice in the Times.
The article is also worth reading insofar as it rebuts British people who contend that Israel is morally disreputable because she’s bombing Gaza, something modern Britain never did to Northern Ireland. (Historic Britain, of course, routinely laid waste to all of Ireland, both through actual war and economic warfare.)
Gaza is not Northern Ireland and Hamas is not the IRA. We governed and policed Ulster to wipe out the terrorists. In Gaza the government are the terrorists — designated as such around the world. In 2005 Israel withdrew all its citizens and security forces from Gaza. Since then it has been a separate state — now under the heel of Hamas — at war with Israel and dedicated to the extermination of the Jewish state.
Hamas is a heavily armed militia, fighting from territory it controls. The IRA, for the most part, was more like a highly dangerous criminal gang that could be dealt with by soldiers acting as policemen.
The absence of Israeli forces in Gaza for nine years let Hamas build tunnel networks to smuggle in military materiel, manufacture and store munitions, deploy forces and infiltrate beneath the border to launch attacks against Israel. It also gave Hamas the freedom to prepare formidable defences, the reason why there have been so many casualties since the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) began its ground offensive a week ago.
For a while there were barricaded “no-go” areas in Belfast and Londonderry which, until broken down in 1972, prevented the entry of troops. But the security forces never withdrew from the province and did not need to launch raids from Britain or fight their way back in.
The better comparison, says Kemp, is to the Nazi V1 “doodlebugs” rained down on London civilians, something that provoked an immediate and fearsome Allied response.
** 2 **
Marc Thiessen, as part of an article rightfully blaming Obama for the situation in the Middle East, reminded me of something I’d forgotten: President Obama is personally responsible for killing more people than the entire IDF has killed in three weeks of fighting. And so a poster is born….
** 3 **
And now a brief non-Israel/Gaza moment to promote a product important to the well-informed conservative: Doug Ross is a long-time blogging friend. He started Bad Blue News, a really smart news aggregator, as a way to promote trending content that conservatives find interesting. Because its got an incredibly smart, dynamic algorithm for sourcing content, it’s always got breaking news. Learn more about it here and consider seriously making it part of your daily rounds.
Back to our regular Israel/Gaza War reporting….
** 4 **
Part of the problem with reporting on the Israel/Gaza war is the same problem that’s affected all reporting from that region: Hamas threatens reporters who try to publish content other than Hamas propaganda — and the reporters lack the courage either to ignore the threats (something I, a physical coward, understand) or to tell their readers and editors that they cannot report accurately from Gaza.
If this is a subject on which you’d like further information, I highly recommend Stephanie Gutmann’s The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy.
** 5 **
The other part of the problem with reporting, of course, is anti-Israel, anti-Semitic bias. When Muslims kill each other, the world (especially the journalistic world) shrugs its collective shoulders and just says “That’s what Muslims do.” The Left holds Islam to an unreasonably low standard and holds Israel to an impossibly high standard.
** 6 **
For those of us who wish the IDF would just take out Hamas in Gaza entirely — kind of like the Marines cleared out Fallujah — that’s clearly not what Netanyahu wants to have happen. This is not political cowardice on his part. Bibi is engaged in an incredibly complex balancing act that involves keeping all of the surrounding loathsome players (Hezbollah, Iran, ISIS, etc.) out of the dispute. I pray daily for his continued wisdom in this regard.
** 7 **
Jews have always been plagued by genocide libels. Early Christians blamed all generations of Jews for the acts of some Jews during Jesus’s lifetime. Later Christians (and modern Muslims) have contended that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children to make matzoh, never mind that this wouldn’t be kosher and, more importantly, never mind that Judaism is built around a reverence for life, not death.
In the late-19th and early-20th centuries, the Russians came out with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a book that’s still a bestseller in the fever swamps of Leftist and Muslim antisemitism. And now there’s a new blood libel: the Israelis are committing genocide against the Palestinians. Dennis Prager makes short work of it.
** 8 **
Victor Davis Hanson looks at the dynamics of a war with an entity that is utterly evil but that still that has all of Europe and most of the world’s press on its side. (And yes, I understand that the previous sentence would qualify for one of James Taranto’s “Fox Butterfield, is that you?” questions.)
** 9 **
Brett Stephens explains exactly how you have to be really stupid, or just act really stupid, to side with Hamas in the current war. He calls this “the Palestine effect” — “The abrupt and often total collapse of logical reasoning, skeptical intelligence and ordinary moral judgment whenever the subject of Palestinian suffering arises.”
Of course, sometimes just being Muslim leads to bizarre thought patterns. Go here, and then try to figure out whether you want to laugh or cry.
** 11 **
Israel provides chapter and verse explaining that it was a Hamas rocket that took out an UNRWA School. Of course, thanks to stupid, immoral, and cowardly reporting, it’s enough for Hamas to say, without proof, “Israel did it” for the world to believe Hamas, not Israel.
** 12 **