Madam Bookworm’s crystal ball predictions in 2009 about Saudi Arabia proved to be eerily accurate *UPDATED*

As I read the headlines lately, I have this peculiar sense of deja vu.  I already pointed out that, back in 2009, a conversation I had with a liberal doctor fairly accurately predicted how Obamacare would play out (although even I didn’t foresee the exchange collapse, perhaps because no one was talking about exchanges in mid-2009).

I had another deja vu moment today when I read Michael Totten’s article about the collapse in the American-Saudi relationship:

The American-Saudi alliance is in danger of collapsing.

The Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis is by far the largest threat to both Saudi and American interests in the Middle East now, yet the Obama administration is buddying up with Vladimir Putin on Syria and allowing itself to be suckered by the Iranian regime’s new president Hassan Rouhani.

Never mind the fact that Rouhani obviously isn’t a moderate and is powerless to negotiate sovereign issues in any case. The White House is so desperate to cut a deal with America’s enemies that the president will go along on even a farcical ride. As a result, the Saudi government is threatening to drastically “scale back” the relationship.

The Saudi-American relationship’s collapse means that the Saudis are trying to figure out how to handle the PR problems of their burgeoning supportive relationship with Israel:

Either way, if the Saudis want to get real, it’s time for them to suck it up and normalize relations with Israel for the same reason they forged an alliance with the United States. The Israelis and the Gulf Arabs have the exact same geopolitical interests right now. They have the exact same list of enemies. Who cares if Riyadh and Jerusalem can’t stand each other personally? Riyadh and Washington can’t stand each other personally either. That hasn’t stopped us from working together when our interests coincide.

Of course, an alliance with Israel would be a little more awkward (to say the least) while the Palestinians are still stateless, but so what? The Jordanian government worked it out and is in far better shape as a result.

[snip]

It’s logical, isn’t it? Israel poses no threat whatsoever to Gulf Arabs and never has. Israel poses no threat to any Arab country that doesn’t act with belligerence first. The Jordanians figured that out a long time ago. So did the Egyptian government even if Egypt’s population remains as clueless as ever. The Tunisians figured it out. The Moroccans get along with Israel just fine under the table.

The open secret right now is that the Gulf Arabs have also figured it out even as they’re loath to admit it in public. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is not-so secretly working with all the Arab states in the Gulf region right now based on shared (anti-Iranian) interests.

The above is Michael Totten writing yesterday, and I urge you to read the whole thing because it’s that good.

And here’s the Amazing Madam Bookworm writing on May 7, 2009:

Obama and team, of course, miss one fundamental thing about the nuclear weapons situation in the Middle East.  As surrounding nations understand, Israel will never use the weapons offensively.  She will only use them defensively. They are her sole deterrent.

The other nations also understand that, much as they loath Israel’s existence, which is a continuing canker in their hearts and minds, she does not offer any existential threat to them.  The reverse is not true.  We know that every nation in the region desires Israel’s destruction and there is every reason to believe that Iran, once it goes nuclear, will use the weapons offensively against Israel.  There is no parity, and forcing Israel to put her weapons on the table (so to speak), will not create any.

The other thing that Obama fails to understand is that, even if Israel is forced to show her hand and the pressure is on for disarmament, Iran will never disarm.  It will lie, lie, lie, and lie again to ensure that it continues to have a usable weapons stock pile.  While Israel’s goal is a simple one:  to stay alive, Iran has a much more sophisticated set of three-tiered goals.  Its first goal is Israel’s destruction; second, it seeks Middle East domination; and third, it desires world domination.  Israel and all of the other nations in the Middle East understand Iran’s first two goals.  Obama and team, despite their myriad degrees, don’t seem to understand any of Iran’s goals.

It will be interesting to see if Israel can withstand Obama’s pressure.  I’m reasonably optimistic that, with Netanyahu at the helm, Israel understands what Obama is doing and understands what will happen if he gets away with it, and will resist this threat.  I also think that, under the rubric of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” allegiances are going to start shifting in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc., may hate Israel, but they fear a nuclear Iran even more than they hate Israel.  My long-held suspicion since Obama’s election (which instantly meant Israel lost her only friend) is that Saudi Arabia, somehow or other, is going to give Israel cover for an attack against Iran.

Nor was that a random prediction.  I said the same thing on July 5, 2009:

I’ve predicted in this blog that, if America continues to coddle Iran, Saudi Arabia will give Israel access to its air space, although it may well lie about that fact later.  Iran’s bluster was fine with the Arab Muslim nations as long as they thought the U.S. would ultimately slap down any Iranian pretensions to regional hegemony.  With that clearly not the case any more, the game is changing and the players are taking new (and, if I do say so myself, predictable) positions on the board:

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Saudi Arab is not the only one to reconsider the world order now that America is a suddenly a weak sister.  Perhaps the rest of the world will drift away from Marxism and coddling Muslim extremism as America becomes a mere spectator and — worse — a spectator that tends to cheer on the bad guys.

Like the teenager who can act wild, knowing that Daddy will ultimately be there to protect her, Europeans (and others) could afford to be weak and silly, knowing that America would come along and clean up their messes.  With Daddy in a coma, Europeans have to stand on their own, and I think their choices are going to be quite different than they were before.

Now that I’m done patting myself on the back, it’s incumbent upon me to add that it didn’t take a genius to figure these things out.  A person with the meanest intelligence, armed with a few facts, could have made exactly the same predictions.  What is also true, though, is that it takes the peculiar idiocy of the Democrat elite to have made such stunningly stupid miscalculations — miscalculations so rife with errors that even dodos such as me could figure out, not only that Democrat policies would fail, but precisely how they would fail.

UPDATEJonathan Spyer makes the same point:

Recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have fueled renewed speculation of behind-the-scenes links between Israel and the Gulf monarchies.

Netanyahu, speaking at the UN, said that “the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy.”

He added: “This affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”

There have been subsequent rumors of visits by senior Gulf officials to Israel, to discuss matters of common interest.

While it is difficult to acquire details of these contacts at the present time, it is a near certainty that they exist, on one level or another. Conversations with Israeli officials suggest that much is happening behind the scenes.

Israel and the key states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (most importantly, Saudi Arabia) share core views on the nature of key regional processes currently underway, and their desired outcome.  These commonalities have existed for some time, and it is likely that the contacts are themselves not all that new.

Read more here.

Hmmm. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh, wait! I did say it myself . . . more than four years ago.

Two posts that I thought you’d find interesting

These posts are completely unrelated.  They both came through my inbox, though, and both intrigued me.

The first is from David Swindle, explaining why he hates Game of Thrones.  I couldn’t agree more, both with the comment from “Recovering Lutheran” that David quotes at the top of his post and with David’s own take on the show.  It’s typical HBO fare, and HBO leans to the left of Left.  It’s Pravda TV, aimed at using “documentaries” and movies to undermine basic American beliefs and values.

The second is about the Arabs’ long game against Israel, with their anti-Zionist message, which hides a push for Jewish genocide, gradually triumphing in the world’s mind over Israel’s push for freedom and her existence as the sole democracy in a world of Muslim tyranny.

Making people aware of Obama’s peculiar fondness for the Muslim Brotherhood

The only problem I have with this video is the narrator’s voice.  It grates on me.  Otherwise, I think the video says things that need to be said, and I hope it gets lots of air play:

And while we’re on the subject, the Washington Examiner, in its sterling multipart series about the Obama we don’t know (because American reporters refused to do their job), has a whole chapter devoted to Obama’s strong Arab-American connection. Incidentally, there’s nothing wrong with a strong Arab-American connection, because there is no ipso facto wrong about any group of hyphenated Americans — unless, of course, as is the case with Obama’s friends, they have ties to terrorist groups and keep getting prosecuted for corruption.

Further thoughts on events in the Middle East and, especially, on the feckless Obama administration

First of all, it appears that the suspicions I voiced yesterday about the film that started it all are, if not true, at least headed in the right direction.  Poynter has a post detailing all the peculiarities about the film — the lies, the misdirection, and the purpose behind it (to incite violence).  It was a head-fake from the beginning.

Second of all, you all have probably heard the stories that Ambassador Stevens was sodomized and mutilated either before or after he was killed.  Right now, these are unconfirmed rumors, but there is every reason to believe that they are true.

When it comes to Muslim Arab culture, how self-delusional were all these people on the Left not to have figured out that there are some cultural stereotypes about Muslim Arabs that live on because they keep proving them to be true: They cook outstanding food, they abuse their women, they kill homosexuals, and they rape and mutilate any of their enemies unlucky enough to have fallen into their hands.

My parents came of age in 1930s and 1940s Palestine, so I’ve heard about Arab culture my entire life (and my parents had lots of Arab friends, Christians admittedly, whom they valued greatly.)  Muslim Arab culture is a brutal one predicated on power, both physical and, especially, sexual. They are adequate friends and horrible enemies. Does this hold true for every single Muslim Arab in the world? Of course not. But it’s true enough for a sufficient percentage of them that we ought to be very guarded in our dealings with them.

Speaking of being guarded in our dealings with them, that guard should include having actual security guards. Too bad Valerie Jarrett didn’t loan some of her guards to the Libyan embassy, which had no American security detail; or maybe she could have given some of the bullets that her guards carry to the Egyptian embassy, where the guards were denied live ammo.

As it was during the Carter years, this is amateur hour at the Ritz. The problem that, when America goes amateur, not only Americans die, but everyone starts taking hits. Without strong leadership from a nation dedicated to individual freedom, you pretty much end up with a pack of rabid wild dogs controlling the world’s zeitgeist.

Dealing with an “honor” culture

“Honor” cultures are incredibly hierarchical.  You’re either up or you’re down.  And you’re always down if you let your honor go unavenged.  Worse than that, if you’re down, you deserve all the abuse and violence that can be heaped upon you.  Honor cultures value people higher in the food chain, but have little to no sympathy for those lower on the food chain.

Grim, writing at Blackfive shows his understanding of this honor culture by saying that the only way America can retain (or regain?) any semblance of standing in the Arab Middle East is to act against the culprits — no hand wringing allowed.

Speaking of hand wringing, I can already hear the liberal apologists:  “If we start the cycle of vengeance, it will never end.”

Well, here’s a reality check for all those apologists — it’s never going to end anyway.  This is not an example of a foolish feud spiraling out of control, a la the Hatfields and the McCoys. It is instead, a case of two entirely antithetical world views, with one of them constantly, and violently, striving for dominance.  We can stand up for ourselves or we can surrender. In an existential war, he who surrenders dies.

There are two sides to every story, especially when the stories are about Israel

Israel Matzav found a post in which two Arab-American women explain how horribly Israel treated them, when it questioned them at Ben Gurion and then deported them from Israel.  Interestingly, although the young women complain mightily about their treatment at Israel’s hands, they never do state explicitly that they harbor no ill-will towards that nation.  Perhaps this omission was deliberate, as Carl discovered when he investigated them a bit more closely.

The Arab world: too habituated to fighting to give it up?

You realize this means war!

When I was growing up, we socialized with a lot of Arabs — from Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, etc.  I don’t know why that was possible back then — if we were anomalies or if, back in the 1970s, the hatreds of the Middle East hadn’t yet made it to America.  It probably helped that most of these Arabs were Christians, although not all were.  I remember these people very fondly, and the lavish meals they prepared are forever enshrined in my memory.

It was at one of these meals that a young woman from Damascus told me something that is also forever enshrined in my memory.  Arabs, she said, are programmed to fight.  It’s in their nature.  Imagine yourself offering a group of Arabs a plate of cookies, she told me.  You say “Would you like a cookie?”  In the West, they would say “Yes, please” or “No, thank you.”  In the Arab world, one will say “Those aren’t cookies, they’re tea cakes.”  And another will jump up and say, “Tea cakes, you fool?  Those are biscuits.”  Then, a third will grab at the plate, spilling it on the floor, and say “You idolators!  Those are crackers.”  Then, she told me, before you know it, the food is being ground into dust on the floor as the Arabs in the room fight to death to force the others to yield to the label the wish to affix on those cookies (or tea cakes, or biscuits, or crackers).  Arabs, she said, won’t know peace until they learn how to stop fighting.

Have you got that little anecdote fixed firmly in your head?  Good.  Now read this news story Sadie sent me:

Fifteen people were killed or injured in tribal fighting in Yemen after a male donkey chased an ass and raped it just near the house of its owner.

Newspapers in Yemen said the owner of the ass got mad after he saw the donkey attacking his animal, prompting him to chase the donkey and hit it.

The attack infuriated the donkey owner, who called his armed tribe men and asked them to take revenge.

“The problem snowballed into an armed fight between Makabis tribe, which owns the donkey, and Bani Abbas which owns the ass…15 people were either killed or injured in the battle,” the Saudi Arabic language daily Aleqtisadiah said, quoting newspapers in Yemen.

Read the rest here.

Let me repeat what that lovely Syrian lady told me all those years ago:  Arabs won’t know peace until they learn how to stop fighting.

Two very different shame/honor cultures

Years ago, I read in an Efraim Karsh book something to the effect that the Arab honor culture is actually a shame culture.  That is, in America, honor is a personal standard, one by which we measure ourselves.  Arab honor, however, is a public face one presents to the world.  If something goes wrong, shame kicks in, and it is that shame that leads to so-called “honor killings.”

Japan is also a shame/honor culture, one in which a loss of honor is manifested by public shame, rather than private embarrassment.

What’s interesting is the way in which the two different cultures react to what the Japanese so elegantly call a “loss of face.”  The Japanese person whose honor has been lost to a public shaming dispatches himself.  He quits his job or, if he’s a hidebound (or masochistic) traditionalist, he commits seppuku (aka hara kiri).  In any event, he expunges the shameful loss of honor by expunging himself.

In the Arab culture, however, the Arab person whose honor has been lost to a public shaming dispatches the one who destroyed his honor.  That is, he expunges the shameful loss of honor by expunging someone else, be it his wife, his daughter, his daughter’s boyfriend, a corporation, or a country.

I don’t have any conclusions to draw from this.  It’s just something I was thinking about when I was discussing the two cultures with a friend.

Understanding “world cultures”

My daughter is taking a required class at high school:  “world cultures.”  My first instinct was to scoff, since I prefer a more classical curriculum, but as I thought about it, I decided it is a very good idea.  That is, of course, assuming it’s taught correctly.  I’m inclined to doubt that it will be, and that’s because we, as a culture, have learned nothing in the last forty-four years.

Forty-four is a pretty specific number, isn’t it?  It takes us back to 1967.  Back then, a short, heated war raged in the Middle East.  Raphael Patai in his book, The Arab Mind, relies upon an anecdote King Hussein of Jordan told in his memoirs to explain how how the Arab “honor” culture dramatically affected the war’s outcome (in Israel’s favor, thank goodness).

As you know, the Israelis, within hours, decimated the Eyptian airforce. However, when King Hussein spoke to a general in charge of the Egyptian fighting, he was assured that the Egyptians had destroyed the Israelis. The young king, who had been educated in Britain and was therefore unfamiliar with his own culture, took this statement at face value and did not send reinforcements — virtually guaranteeing the War’s outcome in Israel’s favor. Had he understood his own people better, he might well have delved behind the honor rhetoric, discerned the truth, and made a history-turning different decision.

The story is in the forefront of my brain this morning because of the news out of Libya over the past two days.  Yesterday, the news reported, Tripoli was won, that Gaddafi was dead or on the run, and his son was a prisoner.  Today the headlines explain that it’s unclear whether any of that is true.  Tripoli may be taken, sort of; Gaddafi is still out there; and his son is rallying his supporters and scoffing and premature reports of his own incarceration.  It’s entirely possible that these original, erroneous stories arose from the fog of war.  However, knowing Arab culture, it’s equally possible that we’re listening to reports from a binary culture, one that is either wallowing in darkest despair or shouting its triumph from the rooftops, regardless of the accuracy of either statement.

It would be too crass to say that Arabs lie.  Lying as a dishonorable thing is a distinctly Western notion.  Instead, they say what they think their listener wants to hear, or what their own honor demands should be reported.  We may have laughed back in 2003 at Baghdad Bob, but we should have learned from him.  He was not unhinged nor was he was stupid.  He was, instead, a product of a culture that describes victory, real or imagined, in hyperbolic terms because those descriptions are a necessary factor in the culture’s own self-image.

One would think that, after decades of wars and dealings with the Arab cultures, we would have figured out that truth, as we understand it, is an infinitely malleable concept in the Arab mind.  Trust, but verify, is too naive an approach in the Arab/Muslim world.  The way in which our media and our politicians should deal with news reports from the Arab world is to say “We’re not believing it until you come back with concrete proof.”  (I was originally going to say “our media, our politicians and our military,” but I devoutly hope that, after ten years of hot war with Muslim and Arab honor cultures, the military is no long so easily misled.)

So, yes, learning about world cultures is extremely important.  I suspect, though, that my daughter’s class won’t teach the important lessons.  Instead, in true politically correct fashion, she’s going to learn that all cultures but our own are spiritually rich and emotionally meaningful.  (I’ll tell you if I’m wrong.)

Stereotypes versus political correctness

My husband and I discussed the concept of stereotypes with the kids.  What we were trying to get through to them is that it’s wrong to take ideas about a group, even if those ideas are complimentary or accurate, and to assume that they apply to an individual.  The mere fact that Jews tend to have higher IQs doesn’t automatically mean that Joe Schmostein is smart.  On the other side of the balance, merely because blondes are the butt of myriad dumb blonde jokes still means it’s a huge mistake to assume that a given blonde is dumb.  (And, Z, because you’re very literal, let me say here that I realize that dumb blonde jokes are just that — jokes — but they’re still a useful rhetorical tool for discussing stereotyping.)

What both my husband and my children had a problem with was that, while it’s wrong to apply stereotypes to individuals, and while it’s wrong to perpetuate lies about an entire group to satisfy ones biases (e.g., those dumb blondes), that doesn’t make it at all invalid to look at group behavior and draw conclusions about the group.  If the numbers show that Chinese people consume more rice more capita than other people (I’m guessing here, but it sounds reasonable), the existence of this data means that this statement isn’t a stereotype, it’s a fact.  That fact’s existence doesn’t mean that any individual Chinese person should be assumed to like rice (ask first before serving), but it does mean that there is an operating truism about the group.

Mr. Bookworm’s confusion about stereotypes versus factual data about a defined group became apparent when the conversation in the car turned to war atrocities (my children are at the ghoulish phase), and my son raised the subject of genital mutilation.  In a previous ghoulish conversation, I’d told him that the Japanese, during the Rape of Nanking, subjected women to genital mutilation as part of their torture and murder.  I then mentioned that Arabs are well-known for castrating their enemies.

My husband was outraged:  “That’s a stereotype!”  “No,” I said, “in terms of the cultural norms of warfare, that’s a fact.  I’m not saying that all Arabs slice off their enemies’ penises.  I’m just saying that it is a typical and traditional Arab approach to war.”  He subsided, unconvinced.

I doubt even this horrific story will cut through his PC, multi-culti world view to convince him:

Devotedly washed and sprinkled with rose petals, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb lies prepared for burial.

But the rituals of death cannot wipe away the horrific injuries that have mutilated his body almost beyond recognition.

Nor do they blot out that Hamza – riddled with bullets, kneecapped and with neck broken and penis hacked off – has the rounded cheeks and gentle face of a child.

[snip]

The teenager’s family were told not to speak of his terrible fate. But in a pitiful act of defiance, they posted the footage of his corpse online.

[snip]

An unseen attendant tenderly shifts the scarred limbs and head so that the viewer can see each injury, including two bullets which were fired through each arm and then entered his chest.

‘Look at the evidence of his torture,’ the narrator urges. ‘Take a look at the bruises on his face and his neck that was broken. Take a look at the bruises on his right legs

‘In addition there is worse. They did not satisfy themselves with all the torturing so they cut off his genitals.’

Savage cultures do savage things, and all the multi-culti pieties in the world won’t erase the fact that the savage Muslim/Arab culture is committed to male genital attacks as a sign of power.

The new face of antisemitism

Actually, it’s not a new face at all — it goes back to Mohammed himself, and his paranoid, resentful rants when the Jews refused to accept him as a prophet.  What makes it new is that, thanks to the modern age and the Leftist media, these messages, which used to be confined to backward desert regions, are all the rage, all over the world:

 

New Trends in Arabic Anti-semitism from Henrik Clausen on Vimeo.

It’s that kind of crap (pardon my language), that allows Reuters to write this kind of crap:

Police said it was a “terrorist attack” — Israel’s term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.

Or that allows Obama to use only passive voice in speaking of Palestinian terrorism, passive voice so extreme he doesn’t even do the usual passive voice technique of waiting until the sentence’s end to include the noun that did the verb.  Instead, he manages never to include any actor in the sentence at all.  He’s not the only one, of course.

The hand is quicker than the eye — or, are we mis-reading Arab misdirection?

Many, myself included, found it heartening that the Wikileaks cables showed that Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries, were talking tough to American diplomats when it came to Iran.  That proved, we said, that, no matter what the leaders said on the streets, behind the scenes they were sensibly aware of their common cause with Israel and America, at least when it came to Iran.

Unfortunately for my peace of mind, Daniel Pipes is now suggesting the opposite:  he says that history indicates that what Arab leaders say on the streets is precisely what they mean, while what they say to American diplomats tends to be what they think those diplomats want to hear.  It’s misdirection, but not running missing the direction we thought it was headed.

The Israelis will never learn

Once again, Israel is apparently blathering on about its willingness to agree to a two state solution.  This so irritates me.  There is already a two state solution.  It’s called Jordan, and has been Jordan since the 1920s.  What the loopy-loo wackos on the Left (and, increasingly, in the middle) don’t understand, is that the Arabs have never wanted and will never want a two state solution.  They want a Judenrein world, and they’re patient.

It is this desire for a one state (all Arab) solution, that explains why, as Rick Richman points out, no Middle East solutions have worked thus far.  Also, as one of Rick’s readers pointed out, we in the West further that goal by making Arab single-mindedness functional (emphasis mine):

The Left has a bromide. “War never solves anything”. This is, of course, nonsense. War ended slavery in North America, ended Nazism in Europe, and stopped Japanese hegemony in Asia. However, in the case of Israel-Arab conflict the case can be made that the bromide is true. This is because the normal parameters of war have been flipped-flopped. One of the reasons nations avoid war is that the consequences of loss, to put it mildly, are prohibitive. In this conflict, the Arabs have no incentive to make peace because no matter how many wars they lose the worst they can do is tie. No matter what framework is devised there will never be peace for Israel as long as the Arabs can never lose.

In other words, not only is the two state solution redundant, it will never happen.

How to avoid the stigma of being called an apartheid state

The head of the UN General Assembly just called Israel an “apartheid” state.  In other words, Israel is emblematic of evil in the world.  I’ve finally realized what the problem is:  Israel has a mixed population.

Think about it:  Iraq expelled her Jews and hounded her Christians into obscurity.  Saudi Arabia makes it illegal to be Jewish or Christian — so there are no Jews or Christians, making it a nice, homogenous population.  Iran also simply expelled or murdered different people.  The same holds true for Arab/Muslim state after Arab/Muslim state, all of whom are in good odor at the UN.

The secret, therefore, to avoid this insulting epithet isn’t to try to accommodate your hostile minority populations.  Instead, the secret is to destroy them entirely.  Once they’re good and gone, and once you’ve become a completely homogeneous racial or religious state by virtue of their (enforced) absence, nobody can tar you with the crime of being an “apartheid state.”

Orwell would be proud.

Perpetually selfish anger and victimhood *UPDATED*

Ymarsakar brought to my attention a post I wrote over three years ago.  I’m reprinting a slightly edited version here, not just because I think it describes well the Arab psyche that drives so much of current international politics (and fears) today, but also because I think it does a good job of describing the Leftist psyche, which sees all politics as personal, and which wallows in victimization and anger:

***

Neo-Neocon got hold of an Atlantic Monthly from October 1961 with a Martha Gelhorn article about the Palestinian refugees, who were still a reasonably new phenomenon back then. Neo-Neocon’s whole post, which excerpts large parts of the article is sad reading, and Martha Gelhorn is amazingly prescient.  I wanted to focus on just one part of the article, in which Gelhorn describes the fact that, despite the rather pathetic situation of many of the Arabs (and Gelhorn is clearly sympathetic to their plight), she simply cannot feel sorry for them:

I had appreciated and admired individual refugees but realized I had felt no blanket empathy for the Palestinian refugees, and finally I knew why…It is hard to sorrow for those who only sorrow over themselves. It is difficult to pity the pitiless. To wring the heart past all doubt, those who cry aloud for justice must be innocent. They cannot have wished for a victorious rewarding war, blame everyone else for their defeat, and remain guiltless….

Arabs gorge on hate, they roll in it, they breathe it. Jews top the hate list, but any foreigners are hateful enough. Arabs also hate each other, separately and en masse. Their politicians change the direction of their hate as they would change their shirts. Their press is vulgarly base with hate-filled cartoons; their reporting describes whatever hate is now uppermost and convenient. Their radio is a long scream of hate, a call to hate. They teach their children hate in school. They must love the taste of hate; it is their daily bread. And what good has it done them?

There is no future in spending UN money to breed hate. There is no future in nagging or bullying Israel to commit suicide by the admission of a fatal locust swarm of enemies. There is no future in Nasser’s solution, the Holy War against Israel; and we had better make this very clear, very quickly.

There are a couple of interesting things about Gelhorn’s conclusion. First, I think it goes a long way to put to rest the Left’s drum beat about our being the logical victims of Arab hate because of the things we’ve done to them. America is not hated because she is the evil Imperialist boogey man of the world.  Instead, she is currently the most logical victim of Arab hate because hate is an integral part of Arab culture and we’re simply the biggest target — not to mention (at least to date) Israel’s staunchest friend.

Second, I found this 44 year old language made a nice bookend to a book review that the American Enterprise Institute did about a book written by a U.N. insider (hat tip: Power Line). The book being reviewed is The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat, by Pedro Sanjuan, an American who served on the staff of the secretary-general for more than a decade. The review is aptly entitled A Stagnant Cesspool in Turtle Bay.

You don’t need a lot of imagination or insight to realize that both the review and the book describe an organization that, since its post-WWII heyday (or maybe its post-Cold War heyday), is nothing but a money-wasting boondoggle for professional bureaucrats hostile to the U.S. (Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you.) What makes the review interesting for purposes of this post is the fact that the U.N. has gone from being a Western dominated institution to being one in the thrall of multiple Islamic countries who draw their U.N. salaries from the West (mostly America), but are irrevocably (and corruptly) hostile to its interest and to Israel.

In other words, they still are filled with hate, just as they were 44 years ago:

During the Cold War, the most serious problem posed by the organization was infiltration of the Secretariat by Soviet intelligence. Indeed, Mr. Sanjuan writes, “the Soviets actually controlled every important aspect of the U.N. Secretariat.” Some of his anecdotes are wildly funny–though they weren’t so funny at the time.

Since the end of the Cold War, Soviet hegemony at the Secretariat has been replaced by the growing influence of the Islamic bloc. Further, before 1989 the U.N. was basically a playground for representatives of irrelevant Third World states to pretend to be important (and enjoy shopping at Bloomingdale’s), while the U.S. and the Soviet Union confronted one another in more important places. Since the collapse of the latter, however, the Secretariat has refocused on undermining the United States–and the U.N.’s other bugaboo–Israel.

Indeed, the most shocking part of this book is the unwholesome obsession of the U.N. culture with Jews real or imagined, whether in Israel or the United States. Although Israel should have roughly 15 nominees working in the Secretariat, until recently there wasn’t a single one; even now, a disproportionate number are Palestianians with Israeli passports. As for the United States, it is alleged to be wholly under the thumb of Jews. When congressional critics like Senator Nancy Kassebaum or the late Senator John Heinz raise embarrassing questions that have nothing to do with Israel–say, about the U.N.’s finances–they are blithely dismissed as Jews themselves.

Apparently the first question put to Mr. Sanjuan himself when he joined the secretary-general’s staff (by his Soviet deputy) was “So your father was a Jew, yes?”) That such nonsense could take place during the tenure of a recycled Austrian Nazi like Kurt Waldheim can hardly surprise, but what are we to say when they continue under his successor, a low-rent Peruvian with the made-up name of Perez de Cuellar?

The only thing that saves the Jews from the malevolent obsession that the Islamic countries have brought to the U.N. is the organization’s gross inefficiency.  It burns up money, but does nothing (if you ignore school girl rapes and massive financial scandals, of course):

The principal characteristic of the organization, in Mr. Sanjuan’s telling, is its massive waste of resources. The Secretariat alone employs 6,000 people at annual budget of more than $2 billion. What do these people do? Nobody can actually say, and it is considered bad form to ask.  Its functionaries arrive at 10 a.m., take a three-hour lunch, and usually depart for their homes at 4 p.m. to avoid the evening traffic. Even during “working” hours many prefer to while away their time in a luxurious cafe-lounge on the top floor of the building.

It’s not clear, either, what useful tasks are performed by those who bother to remain on the floors below, since there is massive duplication of functions and no attempt whatever at rationalization or coordination. One example of expensive make-work is the U.N. publications department, which churns out thousands of documents that nobody reads in half a dozen languages, at a cost of $750 per page. Perhaps the most serious work being accomplished in the building takes place in the garage, where–during Mr. Sanjuan’s time at least–a very sophisticated drug-smuggling operation was under way.

Don’t rely on my summaries, though. Go to Neo-Neocon’s original post, and check out the American Enterprise Institute book review.

***

The above is (more or less) what I wrote in 2005.  The seething, churning, self-pitying hate, though, should be familiar to all who have watched the “progressives” suffer through the last eight (and, especially, the last eight) years of the Bush administration. Progressives have never really had a plan other than to destroy Bush and everything he respresents absolutely and completely. In this, they differ profoundly from conservatives.

As all of you have noticed, the reaction to this most recent election amongst mainstream (and defeated) conservatives is to engage in rational thought aimed at rejiggering conservatism to help Americans recognize that true conservativism will give the greatest benefits to the greatest number of people.  We’re not shrieking about stolen elections or about the terrible new evil resident in the White House (although I think that Obama, if he fails to recognize the innate evil that lives in Iran or Syria or North Korea or Venezuela, or other like places, is a fool, and possibly a dangerous one). Instead, we’re engaged in self-analysis, a bit of self-pity, and a lot of re-messaging.

Given that those same very self-pitying, perpetually victimized Leftists now hold the reins of American power, I think one of the best things we can hope for is that, like a U.N. populated with Islamic Jew-haters, bureacratic inefficiency will outweigh the hatred.  The desire to change will be there — and the Democrats will undoubtedly effectuate a good many changes — but the sheer weight of their commitment to the governmental, bureaucratic process is going to slow them down.  And if Fred Barnes is right, they’ll manage to do just enough to create openings for thoughtful conservatives who have refined their messages and positioned themselves for a victory predicated, not on victimhood and hatred, but on optimism and a belief in American exceptionalism.

UPDATE:  One of the other things that occurred to me about a commonality between the Left and the Arabs is that they’re not only sore losers (with the most recent evidence amongst the Left being the savage response to the will of the people vis a vis Prop. 8), it’s also that they’re ungracious, vicious winners.  This should be a reminder to Israel (who seems to need this reminder on a perpetual basis) that, when the inevitable upcoming “peace” talks begin with the Obama presidency, she’s still in a no win situation:  win or lose, Arab rage and pity will continue unabated.

Where’s NOW now?

American feminists, who have done quite a number on Palin, are remarkably silent about the mind-boggling restrictions placed upon, and indignities visited upon, their sisters in Saudi Arabia:

A new prohibition may be added to the long list of those placed on women in Saudi Arabia: A new sentence according to Islamic law (fatwa) determines that women exiting the doorways of their homes must cover one of their eyes.

The array of prohibitions currently placed upon Saudi women includes forbiddance to leave home without a familial “patron,” fraternize with men in public, drive a car, put makeup on and wear high heels.

The modesty squad on the streets of Saudi Arabia follows women whose abaya (long cloak) is too tight and likely to reveal their curves or those whose hair is visible through their veils.

A senior religious cleric in the country, Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan demands that the rules of modesty be further enhanced.

In the new Islamic legal sentence, al-Habadan announced that when leaving their homes, women must keep only one eye revealed.

According to the sheikh, “revelation of both eyes behind the veil is likely to encourage women to put make-up on and accentuate their eyes. This is corrupt behavior which conflicts with Islamic principles.”

Read the rest here.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: A prescient friend of mine told me before 9/11 that the Muslim hatred of the Western world is grounded in the fear Muslim men have of female sexuality. Everything else — alcohol prohibitions, dog prohibitions, etc. — is just static. In apocalyptic fight between Islam and the West, it’s all about sex.  And in that regard, keep in mind that the incentive for Muslim men to commit suicide/mass murder is, yes, sex with those 70 luscious virgins (or, possibly, which will be a surprise to them, grapes).

A trio on why moral relativism re Israel is morally wrong

I don’t have much time to write now, but I read a trio of stories at the Jerusalem Post that remind us why moral relativism regarding Israel is wrong.  Israel, for all her flaws, is a better, more moral country that the surrounding Arab nations, and that’s regardless of any of their virtues:

Another Arab resident in Israel used his vehicle to try for mass slaughter.  Fortunately, he was the only one to die.

An Arab woman crossing at a checkpoint into Israel threw acid on a soldier, potentially blinding him in one eye.  Keep in mind that the check points exist precisely because those crossing into Israel (by the grace of Israel, because no Israelis are crossing into Arab countries) are trying to achieve maximum bodily arm.

And just so you keep in perspective what these Arab countries are all about, let’s look at Iraq, which is a country that America has sort of, kind of, managed to turn into a Democracy:

First his two sons were murdered. Now he faces prosecution. The reason for Mithal al-Alusi’s troubles? Visiting Israel and advocating peace with the Jewish state – something Iraq’s leaders refuse to consider.

The Iraqi is at the center of a political storm after his fellow lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to strip him of his immunity and allow his prosecution for visiting Israel – a crime punishable by death under a 1950s-era law. Such a fate is unlikely for al-Alusi, though he may lose his party’s sole seat in parliament.

Because he had visited Israel, many Iraqis assume the maverick legislator was the real target of the assassins who killed his sons in 2005 while he escaped unharmed.

Now he is in trouble for again visiting Israel and attending a conference a week ago at the International Institute for Counterterrorism.

“He wasn’t set to speak, but he was in the audience and conversed with a lecturer on a panel about insurgency and terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel,” said conference organizer Eitan Azani. “We didn’t invite him. He came on his own initiative.”

Al-Alusi has a German passport, allowing him to travel without visa restrictions imposed on other Iraqis. Lawmakers accused him of humiliating the nation with a trip to the “enemy” state.

Keep in mind as you read the above that it is just one day’s news from the Middle East, and just a small handful of stories about Israel and her neighbors’ attitude towards her.

Let me reiterate the sentence at the start of my post:  Israel, for all her flaws, is a better, more moral country that the surrounding Arab nations, and that’s regardless of any of their virtues.

Hezbollah turned over mutilated bodies

In my post yesterday about the corpse/prisoner swap in which Israel exchanged, I noted that an inviolate body is a very important part of Jewish religious law, going back to the ancient Jewish revulsion against pagan sacrifice and the subsequent desecration of corpses. (I also noted that I didn’t think that was a sufficient reason to put a whole nation at risk by making it appear very weak in front of an enemy that lives in a hierarchical world, where one is either king of the hill or dirt beneath the enemy’s feet.)

Sadly, it turns out that Israel received two badly (and manifestly intentionally) mutilated bodies:

Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, former Chief Rabbi of the IDF, who was present during the transfer of the fallen soldiers yesterday, said that “the verification process yesterday was very slow, because, if we thought the enemy was cruel to the living and the dead, we were surprised, when we opened the caskets, to discover just how cruel. And I’ll leave it at that.”

I can only hope for the sake of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev that this mutilation took place after their deaths.  It’s too horrible to contemplate that it may have happened before.

Incidentally, based upon my parents’ tales of dealing with Arabs in Palestine/Israel in the 1930s/1940s, I can make one guess as to the type of mutilation involved.  In a routinely used act of desecration that doesn’t need Freud to explain, Arabs who slaughtered Jewish men sliced off the men’s genitals (either before or after death), and stuffed them into the men’s mouths.

Hat tip:  Power Line

One of these Middle Eastern nations is not like the other ones

David Suissa has created a series of ads to remind people of all the marvelous contributions Israel has made to the world during its short time as a country (and, impressively, a country perpetually under siege).

I think it’s time to create some ads for the Muslim and Arab world too (click on thumbnails to enlarge):

Hat tip:  Seraphic Secret

I give it an hour or two at best

Hamas never enters into truces with an eye to peace.  It enters into truces with an eye to getting its troops rested and rearmed before the next offensive.  Israel, equipped with knowledge of both core Islamic doctrine (hudna) and Hamas’ own past behavior, nevertheless keeps giving its opponent a breather, rather than keeping the pressure on when Hamas is on the ropes.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, common currency in the Jewish community was the joke about how much smarter Jews were than their Arab opponents.  The one I remember best from the 1973 Yom Kippur War (although it’s certainly not the best joke) went this way:

Shocked by their losses, the Arabs regrouped and began studying their Israeli enemy.  They realized that one out of every three Israeli soldiers was named David.  They therefore came up with a new strategy.  When they were within shouting distance of the Israelis, the Arab soldiers would holler out “Hey, David,” confident that the David’s would rise up, ready to be shot down by snipers.  It didn’t work quite as planned.  When the Arabs yelled out “Hey, David,” the Israelis would holler back, “Is that you, Mohammed?”  Half the Arab soldiers would then rise up and get shot down by snipers.

Bad joke, but you get the point.  These jokes have no currency now.  Israel has been strategically out-thought at every turn.  All she has left is brute force.

Answering back

One of the things that has infuriated me for years in the roiling battle between Israel and her neighbors is Israel’s utter ineptitude at courting the media.  For decades, after ever single “event,” the Palestinians offered dozens of sympathetic people up for interviews with the MSM, while the Israelis offered terse, uninformative commentaries from tight lipped “military spokesmen.”  It allowed the Palestinians to gain complete control over the dialog.  No matter what was going on on the ground, Israel was steadily losing in the war of ideas.

I’m not the only one, of course, who has noticed this.  Michael Phillips has come up with an idea:  a simple chart that examines, not the facts of every event, but simply the number of times Hamas and its ilk have been caught in lies.  I’m not the only one, by the way, who likes this idea.  Michael got over 3,000 extra daily hits from people interested in the concept.  It might actually impress the Arabs too:  as many have been impressed by Israel’s willingness to go after a corrupt Prime Minister.  It can be very useful to separate facts from ideology.

Why Jews are right to suspect Obama’s advisers

Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has accused American Jews of McCarthyism for being critical of Israel’s critics. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. The pattern, repeated over and over as we learn more about Obama’s advisers, is that one of them speaks fondly of the Palestinians or harshly of Israel, Jews get upset and someone then accuses Jews of making any rational dialog about Israel impossible. Jews, they say, are casting a pall on the debate by insisting on unconditional love for Israel as a prerequisite for any discussion about solutions in the Middle East — and that makes it impossible to achieve a solution, since it essentially cuts the Palestinians out of the debate entirely.

In a normal situation, the Obamanites might have a point. Ordinarily, if the world were focusing like a laser on a dispute between two small, bordering countries about riparian rights (or trade agreements, or power plants, or any of the ordinary disputes that might rile adjoining nations), it would be fatal to a peaceful conclusion if the external mediators entered with a preconceived bias in favor of one of the countries. But what Obama and his fellow travelers fail to understand is that the relationship between Israel and her neighbors is not a garden-variety dispute about concrete matters such as borders and water. Instead, it is a binary, existential dispute that demands the answer to a single question: Does Israel have the right to exist?

Israel and her friends say she does have the right to exist. They believe that she and her citizens should not have to worry daily that they will be utterly annihilated by one big bomb or thousands of small ones. The Palestinians and their friends, however, whether speaking through their charters, their rhetoric, their religion, or their actions, say she does not have any such right to exist — and that this is true whether one considers her as a whole nation or as a collection of individual citizens. The Palestinian side to the “debate” has made it patently clear since Israel’s inception (and before), that the beef with Israel is not about a village or a river or a water well. It’s about the genocide of a people and the destruction of a nation.

Keeping the above in mind — and I think you’ll find it a hard conclusion with which to quarrel given a sixty year history of writings, speeches, wars and bombs — the dispute about Israel cannot accurately be framed as “Israel vs. the Palestinians.” Instead, the correct framing is “Israel, alive or dead?” As I said earlier, it’s binary. There is no middle ground. Israel chooses life; the Palestinians and their cohorts choose Israel’s death. To the extent the Palestinians talk of a two state solution, they perceive this, not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, a useful diversion to keep Europe and the American Left busy and happy while the Palestinians, Arabs and Iranians move forward with the plan for Israel’s ultimate demise.

Given that Israel’s enemies plan to deny her, not a border or a town or a river, but her existence entirely, Israel, Jews and friends of Israel have to accept that those who consistently support the Palestinians are either fools or they have an agenda. That is, they’re fools if they go around spouting off about two state solutions and peace, and completely ignore that the Palestinians give this concept lip service only. Only fools, after all, could ignore entirely the fact that, when the two-state issue was really available on the negotiating table, Arafat said no. Likewise, fools consistently overlook the reality that, when Israel makes concessions, Palestinians make none. Fools claim that no meaning can attach to the Hamas charter, Hamas rhetoric and Hamas actions, all of which make clear that Hamas seeks a Jew-free, one-state solution. And it’s clearly a fool who pretends it’s just rhetoric when Iran barely bothers to hide the fact that, once she builds the bomb, her first target will be Tel Aviv. Only a fool could pretend that a two-state solution would work if only Israel (not the Palestinians, just Israel) would give a little more, and a little more, and a little more, and a little more.

Of course, if these advisers who keep pushing the Palestinian viewpoint, all the while loudly proclaiming their support for Israel, are not fools (and how many are really that stupid?), then they must be aware of the actual Palestinian (Arab, Iranian, Muslim) final solution to the “dispute” between Israel and the Palestinians: The end of Israel’s existence, along with the slaughter of every Jew living in Israel. It is no stretch, therefore, to call these Palestinian mouthpieces in the West antisemitic.  No matter how loudly they proclaim that they love Israel and the Jews and just want peace, their goal is precisely the same that Hitler sought — a Judenrein (Jew-free) world. (Remember, it was the Romans who made a desert and called it peace.)

Ultimately, when one side wants only to live in peace, and the other side seeks only blood or destruction, you have to choose your sides. There is no middle. And one when Presidential candidate consistently chooses as his advisers those who opt for the side that advances death and destruction, no matter how prettily they wrap it up in nice phrases about two state solutions and peace, you begin to get suspicious (to put it mildly).

The moment the Palestinians stop calling for and acting to achieve Israel’s destruction, I will take seriously their claim that they seek a second state (and we’ll just ignore that Jordan was created out of whole cloth decades ago to be precisely that), and I’ll be less suspicious of those in the West who are their champions.

As long as the situation on the ground is binary, though, I’m going to view as hostile those who choose the side of death over the side of life — and that’s true no matter how they protest their deep and abiding philosemitism. Until they assert that an absolute precondition for any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is that the latter completely renounce their ultimate goal of Israel’s complete destruction (a renunciation that must prove itself by word and deed), I have to conclude that these “peace seekers” in fact view Israel’s destruction as an acceptable result at the end of the negotiating day.

As many have said before me, if Israel were to put down her arms today, she would be destroyed utterly. If the Palestinians were to put down their arms today, there would be peace in that area of the Middle East.