Reality, stripped of politically-correct pap — or, Hamas is even worse than the Nazis:
It’s been another family-maintenance day, which precludes not only blogging but, quite often, even thinking. Having a house full of children is revitalizing and exhausting all at once.
I also took my Mom clothes shopping, which makes her extraordinarily happy, but leaves me limp and floppy. I am every cheapskate’s dream, because I just hate to shop. When I was young and shopped only for clothes to hang on my lithesome frame, it was all fun. Now, though, shopping means shlepping out to get groceries, household supplies, supplies for my Mom, clothing for the children, etc. It’s drudgery not pleasure and, to add insult to injury, I’m not as lissome as I once was. Clothes shopping tends to demoralize rather than hearten me.
All of which is irrelevant to this post’s purpose, which is to pass on to you interesting articles I read this weekend. So without further ado, here are things that you might find as interesting as I did.
I begin with a whole series of articles relating to the fact that, after having rockets rained down upon her for years — and in exponential numbers since Obama’s reelection — Israel is finally pushing back. I’ll throw in here that, while Obama got encomiums from Israel’s supporters yesterday because he said that Israel has the right to defend herself, today he managed to un-deserve those same encomiums. Why? Because he added that this right to self-defense exists so long as Israel doesn’t actually do anything . . . you know, defensive:
Obama said that his message to Erdogan, as well as Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, was that it would be “preferred” if Israel could deter missiles from landing in its territory without ramping up military activity in Gaza. “That’s not just preferable to the people of Gaza, that’s also preferable to Israelis,” he said.
In other words, Israel is once again going to be bullied into a ceasefire after universal obloquy from the usual suspects, but before she can achieve any of her national defense goals. Obama can’t seem to get it through his head that it takes two to tango — and two to make peace. Constantly forcing Israel to hold back, while doing nothing about the thousands of rockets from Hamas and others (well, not nothing, because Obama does send them lots of taxpayer dollars) is just another example of government picking winners and losers — and in this game, Israel always loses.
Yesterday I posted about how the educated elite is economically ignorant, so today it shouldn’t be surprising that we learn that the educated elite is also ignorant about realities in the Middle East. Obama is simply the most visible ignoramus on the subject. Barry Rubin focuses on the foolish mentality Obama displays: namely, that Israel is totally entitled to defend herself, provided that she doesn’t do anything . . . you know, defensive.
One of the things I love about my conservative friends is that, contrary to the stereotypes the Left likes to propagate, they truly respect Israel — and it’s not just because they want all the Jews packed back into that small nation in order to facilitate the Second Coming and subsequent destruction of the Jewish nation. This canard, incidentally, is one of liberal Jews’ deepest suspicions about philosemitic Christians. Instead, true conservatives are people who value individual liberty and economic freedom, and they recognize what the elites refuse to see; namely, that this beleaguered Middle Eastern nation is a bastion of humanism in a dark, cruel, Islamo/Marxist region.
Richard Baehr points out that one of Israel’s problems is that the media and the Left (to the extent there’s any difference) completely ignore the dark cruelties that are integral to Islamic nations today, ranging from starvation in Egypt to civil war in Syria to attacks on sovereign U.S. territory in Libya. Instead, the media focuses obsessively on the small number of civilian deaths Israel tries so desperately to avoid, against an enemy that deliberately places its most vulnerable citizens in the softest targets.
Jay Gaskill tries to give the media a reality check: the problem isn’t Israel, the problem is an aggressive Islamism that has been pushing against and probing at the non-Muslim world since Mohamed first ordered it to do so. Given that this last election proved that the media has deep, strong tentacles into the American psyche, as long as it cannot distinguish cause from effect and predator from prey, both America and Israel are in great danger.
Not everyone thinks that Israel’s imminent incursions into Gaza will be disastrous. Jonathan Spyer argues that the Islamists aren’t truly ready for the fight they picked. Instead, they’re acting from a burst of hubris brought about by Obama’s reelection. According to Spyer, Hamas acted too soon because the Arab Spring effectively bankrupted Egypt, which is now dependent on American and other Western dollars to keep its citizens from starving. As long as the West wants to avoid all-out war in the Middle East, it can put economic pressure on Egypt, which will then put pressure on Hamas.
Okay, I’m done with the Middle East, but no Bookworm Room political post would be complete without some Obama bad-mouthing. I don’t like the man. It’s not just his Leftist policies and ignorance. It’s him. I find his narcissism and egotism repellent and dangerous. So does Neo-Neocon.
And finally, on a lighter note, Joel Pollak has some advice for surviving the holidays if you find yourself with liberal relatives. I’m fortunate in that my relatives, like me, have also made the transition from unthinking Leftist Jews to thoughtful Jewish conservatives. For me, the Thanksgiving holidays mean a restful time in the company of intelligent, fun, like-minded people.
Five years after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, a period during which he has been completely invisible and denied any access to humanitarian agencies, a small handful of American Muslims has finally decided to say something:
The Aug. 26 letter’s 11 signatories include the two Muslim members of Congress — Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) — as well as Muslim academics and communal figures.
“We believe Hamas’ harsh treatment and five-year detention of Shalit is wrong,” the Muslim leaders wrote in their letter, which was addressed to Khaled Mashal, the Syrian-based chairman of Hamas’ political bureau.
I admit that I’m a literalist when it comes to analyzing documents. Sometimes I get so tangled in specifics that I lose sight of the big picture. It’s a sad fact, too, that a lot of people are lousy writers.
All of which is to say that, when I read that excerpt, I understand it to mean, not that the letter’s authors believe kidnapping was wrong but, rather, that they are concerned that Hamas has taken it too far. Had Hamas treated Shalit a little less harshly (and since Shalit has been hidden, who really knows how he’s been treated?), and if Shalit had been held only, maybe, three or four years, instead of five . . . no problemo. As phrased, the excerpt indicates that as Ellison and Co. think that Hamas started off with a good idea, but that it’s handled the thing so maladroitly that it’s become embarrassing.
As I said, I’m a literalist, and most people are bad writers, but that’s what the letter, taken literally, says.
(Hat tip: Sadie)
The world’s useful idiots never get it. Israel targets Palestinian soldiers, and is terribly troubled when she inadvertently kills the civilians amongst whom the fighters hide. The Palestinians deliberately target civilians, and try to kill the largest number possible. Today, they succeeded:
A bus explosion in Jerusalem has caused dozens of casualties, police said Wednesday.
Scores of ambulances converged on the area near the central bus station and a city conference hall in a Jewish neighborhood of downtown Jerusalem, Reuters reported, citing Israeli TV and radio.
People were lying on the ground and taken away on stretchers, according to The Associated Press.
The explosion appears to be the first bus bombing in several years and comes amid rising tension between Hamas militants and Israel.
Israel is fighting a principled war; if Sherman’s March through Georgia is any guide, the Palestinians are the ones who, ultimately, will be fighting a successful war. Wars end, not when the military gives up, but when the civilians give up. That’s why the Palestinians target that population. As long as Israel goes after buildings and specific fighters, she stiffens resistance, I think, without achieving a military goal.
Having said that, I’m not sure I see an option for Israel. She’s in an untenable situation, made worse by the fact that the world forgives the mass murderers and pillories the principled fighters.
The popular meme amongst the unholy cabal that is Islam and the Left is that Israel is a murderous genocidal regime that is currently using the blockade to impose unimaginable suffering on the Gazans. Fortunately, modern communications allow us to see the full extent of that “suffering” (h/t Sadie):
By the way, Gaza is governed by Hamas, and I thought I’d share with you some gems from the Hamas charter:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”
“After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”
“Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.’ (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).”
Although it’s been open for more than a year now, I went for the first time today to the newly rebuilt California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. My visit there was an interesting contrast to my first visit, some years ago, to the newly rebuilt De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
Although I can’t find it now (I think it was on my old Word Press blog), my review of the De Young Museum was that, on the outside, it looks like a series of stacked chicken coops but that, on the inside, it is an exceptionally lovely museum, with beautiful flow and lighting. And since I go to see the art and not the exterior, it’s basically a very satisfying experience to visit the place. It makes the art accessible, which is all one can ask for.
I have the exact opposite view of the newly rebuilt Academy of Sciences. On the outside, the designers managed to create a facade that is both classical and streamlined in a very modern way. It nestles contently on the eastern side of the Park’s main concourse, and is a chic, appealing visual treat. Inside, however, it is utterly chaotic. Various exhibits all seem to struggle to occupy the same space. There is no flow whatsoever, which is disastrous for a building that is meant to cater, not only to crowds, but to crowds composed, in significant part, of highly kinetic little children.
The underground aquarium, for example, is a maze of short tunnels, each of which has exhibits placed randomly in the center of the walkway, as well as along the sides. Tossed about by the milling crowds, it is impossible to discern where one is or what one is seeing. Although I grasped, intermittently, that there was some overarching geographic organization (e.g, fresh water, salt water, tide pools, etc.), everything was so noisy and chaotic, I couldn’t make sense of the exhibits. The old Academy may have had a pokey rectangular layout, but it sure was easy to move through, to see things, and to understand.
Nor has the Academy improved the food problem that always vexed it. For as long as I can remember, the old Academy offered vile food at a shabby underground food court dominated by a stuffed grizzly. The new Academy now has three food venues: a fancy hot dog stand, a buffet style restaurant, and a very pricey restaurant. Oh, did I say that only the last named was very pricey? Forgive me. They all are. If you want anything more than a $3.00 pork bun, feeding a family of three in the Academy will run you close to $50. The prices are justified by the fact that everything is organic this and organic that, but the fact is that the all-organic ham and cheese sandwich tastes remarkably like an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich, only $4.00 more than I usually pay. Of course, the food prices are consistent with the admission prices. It cost me almost $50.00 to take my two kids there, which is a pretty hefty price tag for an experience that left me with an eyeball popping headache.
The new Academy also disappointed me for a very personal reason: they’ve done away entirely with the old gem and mineral collection. Although not of the scale or caliber of the amazing gem and mineral collection at the New York Museum of Natural History, this was a lovely, little gathering of precious, semi-precious and simply interesting stones. For me, it was always one of the highlights of a visit to the Academy, and I sorely missed it today.
Speaking of all-powerful centralized government, if you haven’t thought long and hard about the implications of Obama’s appointing a “Food Czar,” you should.
What I also disliked about the Academy (and what I also dislike about the newly, and nicely, refurbished San Francisco Zoo), is the hectoring tone all these places take. In the old days, the message was, “Aren’t these natural wonders great?” Nowadays, the relentless message is “These natural wonders are great, but you’re destroying them by your very existence.” I don’t take kindly to spending massive amounts of money only to be insulted.
The only part of the Academy that I thought was wonderful, although it too had design problems, was the rain forest dome, which was almost, standing alone, worth the price of admission. It’s a clear plastic dome that has a spiral walkway that takes one up through three levels teaming with trees, plants, birds, butterflies, moths, frogs and lizards. It’s truly beautiful and really well done. The only down side is that the only way to get out is to stand in line at the very top, waiting for an elevator. The lines are long and chaotic. Additionally, since the elevator is at the very top of a rain forest dome, it’s incredibly hot, steamy and, as with the rest of this echo-y, clamorous place, incredibly noisy.
I will say that what made the trip there a much greater pleasure than it would otherwise have been was the fact that I met up with my brother-in-law and niece there. My two were delighted in the company of their cousin, and I always feel lucky when I get to spend time with my brother-in-law, no matter where that time is spent. What a nice man he is.
Whining is finished now. This is where I put in all the links for the things I read today, many of which readers brought to my notice (thank you!), but that I really didn’t get a chance to think about.
I think I am the last conservative blogger in America to link to it, but link to it I will. You must read Angelo Codevilla’s America’s Ruling Class — and the Perils of Revolution, which pretty accurately spells out the state of American politics. You won’t be less worried or frustrated when you’re done reading it, but you will be enlightened.
Did I mention whining a couple of paragraphs above? That’s actually something important to think about. Although I do it all the time, I’m aware that whining is not an attractive quality. A couple of PR and public policy experts have figured out that Israel has been whining lately. The whines are completely righteous and justified, but they fall into a vacuum of ignorance. Listeners are not sympathetic. It turns out that the effective way for Israel to deal with her plight is to do exactly what the Palestinians and their fellow travelers have been doing for so long: she needs to demonize the opposition. And what’s so great about this tactic is that, rather than making things up, as her enemies do, all that Israel has to do is broadcast the opposition’s actual words and deeds. When people see what Israel is up against, as opposed to just hearing how Israel suffers, they become remarkably more sympathetic to Israel’s situation and dire security needs.
By the way, those same Palestinians who have managed to convince just about everyone in the world that the Israelis are worse than Hitler, have managed to hide from the world’s view the fact that, with Israel as their enemy, they are living high on the hog, enjoying standards far in excess of those Arab Muslims in lands that don’t have the good fortune to have Israel as their next door neighbor and enemy.
I loooove Andrew Breitbart. Seriously. I’m just crazy about the guy. I think he is one of the most brilliant political thinkers in America right now. He’s figured out what the PR folks are talking about: show the opposition’s ugly side, using real footage of them being really ugly. And to that end, immediately after the NAACP made waves complaining about unprovable and almost certainly non-existent Tea Party racism, he came out with actual footage of vile racism courtesy of — the NAACP. Genius. Sheer genius. Here’s just one example of the ugly, discriminatory race obsession that characterizes the NAACP and its fellow travelers:
UPDATE: Andrew Breitbart jumped the gun. The snippet he got was taken out of context and, when put back into context, shows Sherrod explaining that, having once been a racist, she’s learned the error of her ways. It also appears that the NAACP audience, which should have been the real focus of this video, as the video was a counter-attack to the NAACP’s decision to lambaste the Tea Party on racism grounds, murmurs approvingly when Sherrod reveals her new, enlightened views of race.
If you need it, here’s a little more on the Democrats’ entire ugly obsession with race, one that turns on its head Martin Luther King’s vision of an America in which people are judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Oh, and here’s one more thing about that race obsession, and how Obama’s administration uses it to consolidate power, while sowing civil dissent.
When I wrote my post about burqas as a weapon, not just a type of clothing, I dragged in discussions of mosques and minarets too. I entirely forget to mention in that article the mosque that is plotted for Ground Zero. Pat Condell did not forget:
Even the New York Times periodically recognizes that federalizing school funding with no regard whatsoever for the situation at the ground is unfair, disruptive and damaging. What staggers me is that these same NYT types are incapable of recognizing an overarching principle, which is that reactive government closer to home is always more understanding than directive central government far away.
Whether you’re in the military or not, don’t believe this administration when it claims to love the military and cries crocodile tears over its sufferings.
It took me almost half a lifetime to figure out that the NRA has always been right: “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” I needed to see crime rates soaring in London, in Chicago, and in Washington, D.C., as well as the chaos in post-Katrina New Orleans neighborhoods that did not have gun owners to finally understand this simple principle. More and more, statistics are revealing the obvious: a law-abiding, armed citizenry is safer than a law-abiding unarmed citizenry. Contrary to liberal fears that arms will automatically turn us into Liberia or some equally horrific anarchic society, it’s clear that what effects such a change is leaving arms only to the criminals.
StandWithUs is circulating a petition directed to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, aimed at putting pressure on Hamas to free Gilad Shalit. Given that those organizations are all rabidly antisemitic and anti-Israel within their own four walls, I think it’s an excellent idea to apply as much external pressure as possible.
Please take a minute to sign the petition.
I’m really not quite sure what to make of this comedy video. It’s from England, yet it’s fact-filled and pro-Israel. I wonder how long before these two people are banned from YouTube:
- Are you aware that Iran was caught smuggling weapons into Gaza?
- Do you think Israelis have any legitimate reason to be concerned that Hamas may try to receive weapons via boat?
- Did you know that Hamas activists have shot about 4000 rockets into southern Israel since Israel withdrew form Gaza?
- Does that trouble you?
- Do you think it is possible that weapons might have been aboard your ship?
- Here are pictures of an Israeli soldiers being beaten with metal poles, another held behind a door by armed guards, and another lying in a pool of his own blood. How do you reconcile this with the concept of peace advocacy?
- There has been much news made of Helen Thomas’ statement essentially stating that she believes Israel should be ethnically cleansed of Jews. Do you share that sentiment?
- Do you think Israel has a legitimate right to exist? What about Australia? New Zealand? Canada? The United States? Jordan? Pakistan?
- Is there a reason you don’t object to living in the United States when you are not a Native American?
- If Israelis are killed by weapons brought into Gaza because you succeed in ending the blockade would you feel morally responsible?
- What is your opinion of suicide bombings?
- As a peace activist would you be willing to advocate for the release of Gilad Shalit who has been totally denied his human rights for the past 4 years, denied any contact with the Red
- Cross or anyone else, and held in unknown conditions by Hamas?
- Would you be willing to visit Israel and hear their side of the story?
- Are you aware that Hamas’ charter calls for the mass murder of Israelis and Jews?
- How do you explain your support of this murderous regime while still claiming to be for peace?
- If Israel were ethnically cleansed where do you propose the Israelis should go?
- Where do you suggest Jews with ancestry from Arab lands that do not accept Jewish residents should go?
- What about those Israelis whose families have lived in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the land of Israel for thousands of years?
- Do you like Jews?
(Bookworm here: What do you think the odds are that any news journal will ask the useful idiots these questions?)
Yesterday, White House officials were telling Jake Tapper that Obama would support Israel. Any minute moments of hope I cherished that the administration actually meant what it said were swiftly dashed. This is Obama’s version of support:
The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.
The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.
As is this:
President Barack Obama said Thursday that the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic”, but he stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.
While Obama said the deaths of nine people were unnecessary, he said the U.S. wants to wait for “an investigation of international standards” to determine the facts. Israel, he said, should agree to such an investigation.
“They recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King airing Thursday night.
Just so you know, even though the Obama administration seems to have misunderstood the facts on the ground, there is a good reason for the blockade:
Hezbollah in Lebanon, which shares a land border with Syria and is not under blockade, has a gigantic arsenal of rockets and missiles, more than most governments in the Middle East, and that arsenal includes missiles that can reach every single inch of Israeli territory, including Jerusalem, downtown Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, and the Dimona nuclear power plant. The next war between Israel and Hezbollah will likely mean missiles, artillery shells, and payloads from air strikes will explode all over the Eastern Mediterranean, making last year’s small war in Gaza look even smaller.
Hamas has a relatively tiny arsenal of crude rockets, but if the Gaza Strip were not under military blockade, it could acquire whatever weapons Syria and Iran felt like sending by ship. Gaza could bristle with as many destructive projectiles as Hezbollah has. Food and medicines are allowed into the Strip already, so the most significant difference between Gaza now and a Gaza without a blockade will be the importation of weapons and war material.
More Israelis would be likely to die during the ensuing hostilities, and an even larger number of Palestinians would be likely to die when Israel fights back harder against a better armed and more dangerous adversary.
And again, let me remind everyone (although I know Obama isn’t listening to little ol’ me), the blockade blocks weapons, not anything else.
Having now gotten a glimpse at Obama’s “support,” I have to ask: What the Hell does life look like if you’re on Obama’s enemies list, rather than receiving his “support”? Does he come in the night and flay you alive while robotically reciting his boring, pompous meaningless speeches? I’m no longer pretending that Obama is inept, or misguided, or stupid, although I think he is all those things. I’m convinced he is evil, as only a true antisemite can be.
It’s a sad day when the only person in a presidential administration making any sense and showing any signs of human decency is Joe Biden, who really stepped up and said the right thing this time:
“I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel’s need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza,” Biden said, according to a transcript of the interview, in which he went on to discuss Hamas’s control of Gaza:
“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship–if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight–3,000 rockets on my people,’ ” Biden said.
Kudos to Biden. He’s not right often, but when he’s right, he lands it square in the middle of the target.
To clear your brain from the miasma that is Obama-think, please read Michael Oren’s op-ed, which the New York Times at least had the decency to publish.
Please, please, please, please, spread this video: