In the post immediately below, I wrote about the fact that Obama in this past week seems to have abandoned reality regarding Ukraine and the Middle East and opted, instead, for a fact-free fantasy. This chart summarizes some of what he’s missing:
Here’s an old joke:
An established comedian invited a friend to join him at a very exclusive “comedian’s club.” The guest instantly noticed something peculiar. In the main room, a person would periodically stand up and shout out a number. “57,” one would say, and a few people in the room would chuckle. After a moment’s silence, someone would holler, “18,” and be rewarded with a chorus of good-natured “boos.”
This pattern continued for a while, until someone shouted out “77.” While a few people let out a short bark of laughter, one guy in the corner was utterly beside himself. He roared with laughter, until tears were rolling down his face.
The guest turned to his host and asked, “What gives? What is it with these numbers?”
“Well,” the host explained, “it’s like this. We’re all professional comedians here and, to be honest, there are only so many jokes around. It got tiring and boring for someone to tell a joke that everyone already knew, so we started assigning them numbers. It’s kind of like a joke short-hand. People still laugh — if they want — but it definitely saves time.”
“Okay,” said the guest. “I get that. But what about that guy in the corner who collapsed with laughter when someone shouted out ’77′.”
Oh, him,” answered the host. “I guess he hadn’t heard that joke before.”
Yes, it’s a surreal joke, but it also explains why I’m having problems blogging lately. When I read a story about Obamacare, I can’t add much to posts I’ve written going all the way back to 2009. I predicted then what would happen now. “You’ll find that in posts 384, 943, 6749, and 34052.” Events in the Middle East? I foresaw those too, including Obama’s love affair with Iran, and Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s entirely predictable coming together against that common enemy. “See posts 3489 and 9492.” Government data manipulation? We covered that too, as we did with gun control, amnesty, foreign policy, etc.
I’ve moved out of fresh and into “I told you so.” As a writer, “I told you so” is boring. It’s also especially boring for all of you, because you were right there with me, making the same predictions. We all saw all of this coming.
The only thing that’s kind of newsy now is watching the oh-so-smart Leftists figure out that they’ve been had. It’s not actually real news, of course, because we all saw this coming too, but it’s still fun to watch. As to these Obamabots, it’s not just that a specific politician has “had” them. Their entire ideology is disintegrating in front of their eyes. Most, of course, will plunge into frenetic denial. That’s old stuff too. For 100 years, communists have been saying that communism is perfect; it’s the implementation that’s flawed. When today’s Leftist’s rant against the president, the party, and the people, they’re foll0wing an old script.
A few Leftists, however, will draw back and say, “We were wrong. We were wrong about everything.” That’s been done too. They’ll be joining David Horowitz, Michael Medved, Thomas Lifson, David Mamet, Sally Zelikovsky, the Power Line guys, and scores of other people who already had their Road to Damascus moment when they realized that Leftism isn’t poorly implemented; it is, instead, fundamentally flawed. I certainly won’t think as highly of these new converts as I do of the older generation. The older generation didn’t need to see America’s economic collapse and her fade into international irrelevance to see which way the wind was blowing.
Since everything seems to be “same old, same old,” except even more so, what would be new and exciting news for a blase blogger in the next twelve months?
1. Obamacare’s repeal, although unscrambling that egg will be virtually impossible. Even if they wanted to, huge institutions such as heavily-regulated insurance companies and hospitals cannot turn on a dime. The somewhat functioning market will have been destroyed, which nothing lined up to take its place. Worse, we know that Republicans politicians are incapable of using the headwinds of repeal to revitalize the free market. (Remember: Democrats have bad ideas and effective politicians; and Republicans have good ideas and brain-dead cretins in office.)
2. A groundswell of popular support for Obama’s impeachment. Of course, that would leave Biden in charge, which is not a pretty thought. The likelihood is that, if he could, he’d move Elizabeth Warren into the Veep seat to stymie Hillary. It would be amusing, but just as bad for America as Obama himself.
3. Israel’s alliance with the Gulf States to launch a devastating attack against Iran’s missile systems and nuclear centers. With strong American leadership, this could actually have a good outcome, freeing Iranians from decades of appalling Islamist repression and destabilizing tyrannies in a way that leads to genuine freedom throughout the Middle East. With our current leadership, a leadership that will have made such an attack necessary in the first place, one can only imagine that the Middle East, the entire Middle East, will manage simultaneously to implode and explode. The human costs will exceed imagination and, because of oil, those costs will encompass the entire planet. Canada, Brazil, the US, and other places may be coming up as major oil producers, but losing Middle Eastern oil in a single day would have incalculable consequences on modern life.
4. The 2014 elections resulting in a Republican sweep the likes of which has never been seen in America. In a way, though, coming as it would midway through Obama’s so-far disastrous second term, this would also be ho-hum news, even if both House and Senate changed hands. What would be more interesting would be to see places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco jettison their Democrat ruling class. I’m not holding my breath on that one. The residents in those cities routinely use elections to double down on failure.
5. Obama comes out of the closet. (And, come on, you know he’s in there.) That wouldn’t affect anything politically, but it would make for great headlines, especially if Hillary refuses to be one-upped and comes out too.
6. Schadenfreude here, but I will enjoy watching New York in the first year of the de Blasio administration. I should start running a pool taking bets as to how long it will take de Blasio to reduce New York to its 1970s status. We all know that it’s easier and faster to tear down and destroy something than it is to renew and revitalize.
7. The New York Times will declare bankruptcy. I see that as inevitable, although would actually be surprised if it happened in the next twelve months.
8. People definitively reject anthropogenic global warming. As with the New York Times’ bankruptcy, this is inevitable. I just don’t see it happening in only 12 months.
9. Oprah recants and announces that she’s no longer calling for the genocide of “racist” people who don’t support Obama.
10. Palestinians lay down their arms. The previous nine hoped-for headlines all have a possibility, even a small one, of coming true. This one does not, but it sure would be great news, and it would snap me completely out of my writer’s doldrums.
And, for those joining me in ennui, some music:
UPDATE: Hmmm. A James O’Keefe tweet suggests that tomorrow may bring some news we haven’t already heard before.
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.
[UPDATE: I should clarify here that, while Fish regularly writes opinion pieces for the Times, and while his beliefs and the Times' beliefs harmonize more often than not, Fish is not a salaried employee of the Times. I've changed the title of this post to add the phrase "guest columnist" in order to reflect that fact.]
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an appropriate uproar about the fact that Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department, along with the usual Leftist suspects in American academia, were sponsoring a much-publicized forum advocating in favor of BDS. For those who do not closely follow Leftist political attacks on Israel, BDS stands for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.”
BDS is a political movement aimed at isolating, demonizing, and bankrupting Israel. Please take the five or so minutes to watch this video, which explains what BDS is — and mentions its goal, which is to “wipe out Israel”:
In other words, then, the BDS crowd seeks Israel’s destruction. I am hard put to find a context in which it is appropriate to use a publicly funded college to serve as a forum for the destruction of a democratic nation that, at least for now, is an American ally? (There’s no saying what Commander-in-Chief Obama will decree in the coming years.)
In respect to Mayor Bloomberg’s formulaic “I hate what you say, but I’ll fight to the death to let you say it” stance, Jonathan Tobin explains why it is so heinous to support BDS conclaves:
But contrary to the mayor’s typically highhanded formulation, this is not a free speech issue. Using a public university to promote hate speech in which the one Jewish state in the world is hypocritically singled out for isolation and destruction is not a matter of tolerating a diversity of views. What is so frustrating about the debate about BDS is the willingness of even those who do not support it to treat as a merely one among many defensible views about the Middle East or, as the New York Times referred to it in an editorial on the subject yesterday, a question of academic freedom whose advocates do not deserve to be spoken of harshly. As I wrote last week about a related controversy at Harvard, the BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies or the issue of West Bank settlements. It is an economic war waged to destroy the Jewish state and is morally indistinguishable from more traditional forms of anti-Semitism that do not disguise themselves in the fancy dress of academic discourse.
As Yair Rosenberg noted today in Tablet, the BDS movement has as its declared goal Israel’s destruction via implementation of the Palestinian “right of return.” This is consistent with their overall rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a separate Jewish state and their opposition to any means of self-defense against Palestinian terrorism.
It needs to be understood that those who take such a position are, in effect, denying the Jewish people the same right of self-determination that they support for every other nation on the planet. That is a textbook definition of bias and such bias when used against Jews is called anti-Semitism. That is why the various members of the City Council and New York State legislature who have spoken out on this issue are right to try to exert pressure on Brooklyn College to cancel the event and the Times and Bloomberg are wrong to defend the decision to uphold it.
I couldn’t have said it better myself (which is why I quoted Tobin at such length).
Despite these protests, the forum went ahead and Stanley Fish, at the New York Times is thrilled. To him, using American taxpayer dollars to fund a convention aimed at destroying the world’s sole Jewish nation (which also happens to be the sole democracy in the otherwise Muslim, totalitarian Middle East) is the essence of free speech (emphasis mine):
Among the cultural institutions a boycott might target are those Israeli universities that are judged to be either actively in league with the government’s policies toward the Palestinians, or complicit with those policies by virtue of remaining silent while they are being implemented. To the charge that a boycott of academic institutions is a violation of academic freedom, B.D.S. supporters reply that because the state of Israel abrogates the academic freedom of Palestinian professors and students (by denying them funding, access and mobility), it is an affirmation, not a derogation, of academic freedom to refrain from engaging in intellectual commerce with Israeli universities. You can’t invoke academic freedom, they say, when you’re denying it to others. So the lines of battle are set with both sides claiming to be academic freedom’s champion, and it is easy to see why a college might be thought to be an appropriate venue for a discussion of the matter.
Doesn’t Fish’s formulation remind you of such famous phrases as “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength,” or even “Arbeit macht frei“?
Fish is either a fool or a fellow traveler. BDS has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with nation killing. Do I need to mention here that, while Palestine is Judenrein, Israeli universities (see video, above), its government, its military, and even its sports associations have Arab and Palestinian members who, provided that they avoid advocating or agitating for Israel’s imminent destruction, have the same rights as Israel’s Jewish, Christian, atheist, and whatever else residents?
Only a perverse Orwellian doublespeak would pretend that BDS — which aims, as I said, to achieve Israel’s isolation, economic collapse, and her ultimate destruction — is simply a tit-for-tat about academic freedom. If academic freedom was the real issue, this would be a cat fight about speaking gigs at various universities. One doesn’t challenge economic malfeasance by targeting the only Jewish nation in the world for complete destruction.
I won’t deconstruct the rest of Fish’s endlessly long article. Suffice to say that it is as rotten as the foundation on which it’s built.
The New York Times is an increasingly foul publication. I don’t use that word — “foul” — lightly. Even during the Duranty years, it aimed for some semblance of objectivity. Those days are gone. Its slobbering fervor for Barack Obama and the Democrats; its unrelenting hostility to Israel, George Bush, Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians; and its amoral and immoral attacks on all religions but for Islam, which PC dictates be shielded behind a Teflon coating despite its institutional misogyny, homophobia, and antisemitism, all make the Times too foul for fowls. Birds, being smart, deserve something a little classier to line their cages.
Reality, stripped of politically-correct pap — or, Hamas is even worse than the Nazis:
For the time being, I’m going to keep this floating to the top of my blog. New content will appear below.
Be warned that there’s a 5 second load time for this. Wisely, considering the hacking Israeli websites are experiencing, the Israeli Defense Force site, which hosts this counter, checks browsers before loading content.
The first casualty of war is truth . . . and truth is never more at risk than in a war against an Islamo-Leftist enemy. Since the Israeli offensive began, social media and major news and television sites have been overrun with faked images purporting to show Israeli soldiers caught in the act of brutalizing children or simply showing dead children.
For decades, Israel never took this disinformation war seriously, only to wonder in the war’s aftermath why she had won the actual battles, but continued to lose ground in the war of public opinion. This year is different. For the first time that I can remember, the Israeli Defense Forces are taking the disinformation war as seriously as the war itself. From the first air raid, they explained why they were doing what they were doing, used video footage to show how surgically precise their air raids are and, most importantly, didn’t apologize. If you act craven, people will assume you’re craven. This time around, Israel has been behaving as a righteous combatant.
What Israel is also doing is acting aggressively to stem the swift flow of disinformation. A good example is the IDF’s own website, which debunks a photo purporting to show an Israeli soldier with his foot on a tragic little girl’s stomach and an automatic weapon aimed at her body. In fact, the whole thing is just as staged as it looks. It comes from a rally in Bahrain. The people in the image are actors in the peculiar passion play of the Islamic world, one that has the true child killers attempting to project their own vile practices on the Israelis who work so hard to avoid civilian deaths.
Here’s the heartrending “innocent child” photo:
Pull the camera out a little, and you see that this is nothing but play-acting, with Muslims in both major and minor roles:
Even Leftist water-carrier Richard Cohen is beginning to figure this one out:
Of all the points of disagreement between Israel and Hamas, maybe the most profound is this one: Israel cares more about sparing innocent lives — including those of Palestinians — than does Hamas. Not only have Hamas and other militant groups this year sent more than 700 rockets crashing haphazardly into southern Israel, but also Hamas instigated yet another war where the chief loser will certainly be its own people. If hell has a beach, it’s located in Gaza.
The Gaza Strip is a congested, fetid place. It is densely populated and in the slums and housing blocks, Hamas has hidden its weapons, explosives and rocket launchers. Israel has gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. Its air force has used new, highly accurate ammunition aiming for rocket-launching sites and government installations. For the most part, it has succeeded.
For Hamas, civilian casualties are an asset.
Let’s see, though, if Cohen can convince his own employer — the Washington Post — to stop lavishing it’s paper and cyber pages with lovingly delineated photos (many faked) of dead Palestinian children. Somehow I doubt it. The narrative is in place, and the MSM is running with it.
I’m posting these debunkings my real-me Facebook page, where 90% of my Facebook friends, culled from my years as a student, lawyer, and parent, are liberal. I don’t include nasty comments with the post, because there’s no mileage in calling my friends blind or stupid. Instead, I preface them with the well-known statement that the first casualty of war is truth. I trust them to be smart enough to draw their own conclusions, I hope that they are honest enough to make the effort.
I have recently had some interesting discussions with Liberal friends that got me to mulling a fundamental question of good versus evil. My thoughts on this did not crystallize until a recent [insert superlative, here] “French conversation” dinner with Book and Charles Martel that kept lapping up to the fringes of my swirling thoughts on this question. Here is what happened:
At my church recently (one wherein my parish spans the full political spectrum), I was voicing my opinion to some friends that, of all the people in the world deserving of my sympathies, “the Palestinians are probably last in line”. A woman burst out furiously from the church pantry and scolded me for not knowing anything about what I was talking about, that the Palestinians were oppressed victims of Israeli perfidy. A short conversation with her was enough to demonstrate that she really didn’t know anything about the Palestinian-Israeli situation other than typical Leftwing propaganda. She and others in the conversation, for example, did not know that Israel’s war of independence occurred in 1948, that there was no “Palestine” before 1948, that virtually all Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries upon Israel’s creation, that more Palestinians have been killed by other Arab states than by Israel, that 20% of Israel’s citizens are Muslim, enjoying full political, economic and religious rights and serve in the military and government (the only Middle Eastern country that recognizes such minority rights, btw), etc. However, what shocked me was how incapable these good women were of seeing the evils represented and committed by the Palestinians. In their view, each act of violence and mayhem committed by the Palestinians and Arabs …against each other as much as against Israelis, was excusable as expressions of victimhood. Since then, I have noticed much of this same dynamic at work in many issues embraced by the Left.
Have Liberals (including religious Liberals) lost their capacity to distinguish between Good and Evil? If so, then we truly are living in a time of Biblical prophesy. What say you?
Yesterday, I wrote about those rare individuals who can rise above fear in a terrorist state to become part of the solution, rather than a mere victim of the problem. With perfect timing, a friend sent me an article from the Times of Israel, about Mosab Hasson Yousef, a young man of unusual moral clarity and admirable courage:
Mosab Hassan Yousef has a knack for controversy. The son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, he has already broken every taboo in the Palestinian book. He has worked for Israeli intelligence and converted to Christianity. Now he is developing a new film which is sure to be no less sensational: a biography of the life of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
Yousef, 33, broke ranks with Hamas in 1997 and began working for the Israeli internal intelligence service Shin Bet. Ten years later, after helping Israel thwart dozens of terror attacks and arrest many members of his former movement, Yousef left for the United States where he sought political asylum and later converted to Christianity.
Today, he says, he is back in Israel for the first time on a personal visit “to inspire a new generation of Palestinians.”
“I love Israel because I love democracy,” he told journalists in Jerusalem Tuesday. “I am here to protest religion’s absolute control of people’s lives.”
Please read the whole article. It’s very inspiring.
When the Left talks about “the children,” they only mean certain children. For example, the useful idiots working at the New York Times have never waxed lyrical about the Israeli children killed in pizza parlors, in their homes, or at bus stops. They’ve never expressed concern about the thousands of missiles that periodically rain down upon Israel with ferocious regularity, nor about the fact that Jewish children are one of the Muslim terrorists’ prime targets. They don’t even weep tears for the Palestinian children whom the terrorists use for shields or train to become human bombs.
However, woe betide the Jews if those same Palestinian children — the ones the terrorists use as shields — actually die. Then the propaganda machine goes into action, the movies get made, and the New York Times movie reviewers get to show both their poetic souls and their Leftist chops (emphasis mine):
A brutally uncompromising blast of outrage, Vibeke Lokkeberg’s “Tears of Gaza” is less a documentary than a collage of suffering. Dropping us smack in the middle of the Israeli attacks on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the film tramples politics beneath the raw weight of civilian testimony. Woven together, these monologues of bereavement and confusion, illustrated with images so terrible they repel rational explanation, form a tapestry of human misery that’s impossible to shake off.
Using extraordinary footage shot by several Palestinian photographers, Ms. Lokkeberg (a Norwegian who was refused access to Gaza) spotlights the extreme deprivation of life under a blockade and the physical and psychological wounds of war. A sickeningly beautiful rain of nighttime missiles is followed by wrenching shots of suffocated infants being hauled from pulverized homes. Tiny, broken bodies — some seemingly fired on at point-blank range — blanket the film, often in excruciating close-up. Postcarnage interviews allow the stunned reactions of three surviving children to shape a quiet meditation on lives irretrievably altered.
Unwaveringly committed to a method that spits on context, “Tears of Gaza” forces us to ask a single, electric question: Amid this much horror, does context even matter?
And it’s that last question that tells you everything you need to know. Context matters tremendously. There are wars fought to subjugate people and wars fought to free people. There are wars fought for principles and wars fought for wealth. There are wars to impose cruelty and wars to destroy cruelty. For example, contrary to Michael Moore’s stupid belief, Islamists are not “freedom fighters” for Islam. They have no interest in freedom. They cannot be analogized to Americans during the Revolutionary War, because the Americans were fighting to increase individual liberties, rather than to subjugate people to a tyrannical ideology.
When a New York Times review waxes lyrical about suffering children and then asks “does context even matter,” you know that this lyricism is being bent to the defense of an evil cause.
Another powerful Danny Ayalon video. Watch it, then, please, please, please share it with people.
(Or view it here if it doesn’t load on my webpage.)
Incidentally, will it make you feel better to know that Danny Ayalon, reciting just the facts set forth in the above video, is causing some embarrassment for the UN, which is incapable of addressing the charges? It certainly made me feel better.
Question: I just wanted to ask a question about comments that were made by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, before the Human Rights High Commissioner for Refugees’ ministerial event in Geneva last week. He basically said that the cause of the Palestinian refugee issue was not so much the dispossession of the majority of Palestinians from their homeland by Jewish militias during the 1948 war and refusal of Israel to enable their right to return under resolution 194. He said rather that it was the establishment of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] which has perpetuated the refugee status by applying unique criteria to it. And I just wonder whether either the Secretary-General or UNRWA has made any response to this statement.
Associate Spokesperson: No. We don’t go into the lengthy history of how the refugee crisis started. As you know, the historians may have differing interpretations of what brought on the refugee crisis. UNRWA, it should be stressed, was established in response to the refugee crisis. And, as you know, the presence of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency throughout the region is designed to deal with the number, the very large number of Palestinian refugees throughout the region. If the situation can be resolved and the situation of the Palestinian refugees can be addressed fairly, then UNRWA’s work will have been done, but at this stage, we are not there. It has a lot of work in a lot of countries with, as you know, tens of thousands of people.
Question: Excuse me, is there no response to the statement by [Deputy] Foreign Minister Ayalon that UNRWA is perpetuating the status of the refugees?
Associate Spokesperson: I wouldn’t react to specific comments. Over the years people have disagreed and have had their own interpretations of…
Question: This is not just a personal comment, this is on the Israeli Government official website, his statement is made. And he is a minister in the Israeli Government.
Associate Spokesperson: Like I said to you just a second ago, the creation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency was in response to the refugee crisis. It is there to handle the situation, the very large situation of refugees across the region that had erupted. And its existence over the decades is testament to the fact that, throughout this time, the situation of the Palestinian refugees remains to be resolved. Yes?
Hat tip: Sadie
Others have said it, but I like best the way Evelyn Gordon said it. After confirming the historic accuracy of Newt’s claim (namely, that Arabs moved into the land at the end of the 19th century, rather than having lived there since time immemorial), Gordon goes on:
One might ask why this should matter: Regardless of when either Jews or Palestinians arrived, millions of both live east of the Jordan River today, and that’s the reality policymakers must deal with. But in truth, it matters greatly – because Western support for Palestinian negotiating positions stems largely from the widespread view that Palestinians are an indigenous people whose land was stolen by Western (Jewish) interlopers.
Current demographic realities would probably suffice to convince most Westerners that a Palestinian state should exist. But the same can’t be said of Western insistence that its border must be the 1967 lines, with adjustments possible only via one-to-one territorial swaps and only if the Palestinians consent. Indeed, just 44 years ago, UN Resolution 242 was carefully crafted to reflect a Western consensus that the 1967 lines shouldn’t be the permanent border. So what changed?
The answer lies in the phrase routinely used to describe the West Bank and Gaza today, but which almost nobody used back in 1967, when Israel captured these areas from Jordan and Egypt, respectively: “occupied Palestinian territory.” This phrase implies that the land belongs to the Palestinians and always has. And if so, why shouldn’t Israel be required to give back every last inch?
But if the land hasn’t belonged to the Palestinians “from time immemorial” – if instead, both Palestinians and Jews comprise small indigenous populations augmented by massive immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the West Bank and Gaza becoming fully Judenrein only after Jordan and Egypt occupied them in 1948 – then there’s no inherent reason why the border must necessarily be in one place rather than another. To create two states, a border must be drawn somewhere, but that “somewhere” should depend only on the parties’ current needs – just as the drafters of Resolution 242 envisioned.
Read the rest here.
Thin and pale, but Gilad Shalit is home at last. To bring this beloved child (beloved of parents and of country) home, Israel released over a thousand Palestinian murderers and would-be murderers. Many mourn that these killers are back on the streets, and rightly so. I hope that Israel has drones hovering over them permanently, ready to erase their existence at the first sign they intend to engage again in violence against Israel. (Netanyahu hints that something like this might be the case.)
In way, though, the exchange can also be viewed as a calculated insult against the Palestinians, but an insult the Palestinians willingly inflicted against themselves. In the exchange rate, Jews have intrinsic to their own countrymen, while Palestinians do not. If this was a financial exchange rate (comparing dollars to some other currency, for example), we’d instantly recognize that the other currency is virtually valueless. The Palestinians’ countrymen love them only as cannon fodder.
It remains to be seen whether, in the long run, a country that values its citizens as individual human beings is going to do better than one that sees its citizens as nothing more than human bombs. I will say that one of my Mom’s old friends (and I do mean old, as she’s 92), just returned from a trip to Israel. She raved about how wonderful the country is: low unemployment, solid infrastructure, happy citizens. She didn’t even mention the two new Nobel science prize winners in her trip review! I doubt that anyone going to the Palestinian territories can say that same, and that’s true despite the bazillions of dollars (and Euros and whatever else) that have been sent to those befouled neighborhoods.
Wouldn’t you like to have lunch with this guy?
Are you familiar with Achmed the Dead Terrorist? Jeff Dunham, a ventriloquist, came up with a skeleton-shaped dummy named Achmed. Achmed is a self-identified terrorist, with the catch-phrase “I kill you.” Here, see for yourself:
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with Achmed, read this bit of wisdom from the Palestinian representative to the UN:
“The UN is the only alternative to violence,” Shaath said during a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.”It will be very costly to us and the Israelis. Our new heroes are Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King.”
Could Dunham come up with better comedy than that? “If you don’t give us what we want, ‘We kill you.’ And, by the way, we get the inspiration for our ‘do as we say or die’ negotiation tactic from those famous pacifists, Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King.”
Is there any sanity left in a world that thinks these violent, duplicitous people are ready for their own state?
Bill Whittle narrates this clear summation of 20th and 21st century relations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. It does not reflect well on the Arabs:
Pro-Palestinian putzes have consistently claimed that if Israel would just bend a little more, and still a little more, then there would be peace in the Middle East. The execrable President Carter (I always affix that adjective to this loathsome human being) now claims that he’s being forced to urge a UN vote for a Palestinian state because Obama didn’t exert enough force on the Israelis to make them really, really bend over. Jonathan Tobin explains that Carter’s criticism of Obama, while reflecting badly on both, reveals a home truth about the Palestinians:
It is highly ironic Carter would blast Obama for being insufficiently supportive of the Palestinians, because the latter prioritized the peace process throughout his administration. Ignoring the evidence PA leader Mahmoud Abbas had no intention of ever signing a peace deal, Obama plunged into the negotiations picking fights with Israel and showing a clear preference for the Palestinian position. But despite Obama’s attacks on Israel’s positions on settlements and Jerusalem, Abbas refused to rejoin the negotiations. Even after the president ambushed Netanyahu in May with his proposal that the 1967 lines be the basis for talks, Abbas still wouldn’t budge.
Had Abbas been willing to make peace, he would have found Obama a useful ally who had little love for Israel. Obama did everything but present a U.S. dictat for peace in order to please the Palestinians, but Abbas never had any intention of negotiating. As the New York Times noted last weekend, the Obama-Abbas spat has been something of a lovers’ quarrel. Having been thoroughly embarrassed by the Palestinians, Obama has stayed aloof from diplomacy on the conflict in recent months.
It’s a really good article, so you may want to read the rest here.
Me, at Pajamas Media:
I challenge you to find a news report with more layers, all of them misleading, than an ostensibly unbiased San Francisco Chronicle “news” article about a canceled art exhibition at the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California. The story’s core is uncomplicated: The museum agreed with an organization called the Middle East Children’s Alliance to showcase art that Palestinian children created. In response to protests, the museum halted the exhibit.
Through a magical combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision, though, Chronicle readers are left believing that children in Gaza, after suffering horrible abuse at Israeli hands, are now victims of American Jewish censorship. (Of course, Chronicle readers, already primed with a steady diet of this kind of reporting, probably started out believing this statement to be true, so this most recent story is just fuel to an already raging fire.)
Chronicle staff writer Jill Tucker begins her report by saying that the museum, “citing pressure from the community,” canceled the exhibit, which was to have consisted of drawings that Gazan children created in the wake of the 2008 war. The pictures’ subject matter included “bombs dropping, tanks and people getting shot.” Barbara Lubin, spokesperson for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, the organization sponsoring the exhibit, validated the drawings on the ground that they represent the children’s “experience.”
Read the rest here.
UPDATE: Kidkaroo’s link to a report about another child indoctrination program, this one in antisemitic Norway, reminds us that this is a worldwide problem.
If we’re going to do a Right of Return, I think we should be methodical. Those who had first dibs on the land currently known as Israel get first dibs today. Let’s work our way down the list:
The first known occupiers were probably the Canaanites. As far as I know, there are no Canaanites still demanding a Right of Return.
The second known occupiers were the Jews, per the Old Testament. They have pursued a Right of Return through purchase, diplomatic means and war. The Jews have occupied the land continuously since the time of Abraham, although some of them left temporarily for destinations such as Egypt, Babylon, and Europe.
The third known occupiers were the Philistines, who gave their name to Palestine, although they are not to be confused with the modern Palestinian Arabs. The Philistines were probably Cypriots. As far as I know, there are no Philistines still demanding a Right of Return. The Jews, incidentally, were in residence during Philistine times.
The fourth known occupiers were the Ancient Greeks. Again, no ancient or modern Greeks have laid claim to a Right of Return. The Jews lived on the land during Greek times.
Then there were the Romans, who are a distinct culture from modern-day Italy. No ancient Romans have resurrected themselves or their claims to the land. The Jews were there during Roman times.
The Romans gave way to Christians — by which I mean Christians who originated in the Holy Land itself or who arrived there during the Dark Ages and the Early Middle Ages from European lands. These people pre-dated the Crusades. Although many modern-day Christians, especially Evangelicals. are deeply supportive of the State of Israel, no one is claiming a Right of Return based upon the post-Roman Christian occupation. The Jews lived in the Holy Land at this time.
The Christians were driven out by the Muslims — driven out quite brutally. They tried to fight back with the Crusades, but the effort didn’t work, in large part, I suspect, because the Muslims were on the spot, while the Christians had to engage in endless medieval journeys. Their hearts may have been in the Holy Land, but their homes were in Europe. In a way, the Medieval Christians were claiming a Right of Return, but I do believe that modern day Christians have abandoned that claim. Did I mention that the Jews lived in the Holy Land at this time?
The Muslims turned into the Ottoman Turks, who no longer exist. There’s still a Turkey, and there are still Muslims, but Ottoman Turks are not demanding a Right of Return. Throughout Ottoman control of the Holy Land, Jews lived there, and were treated extremely badly.
It’s worth pointing out that, by the end of the Ottoman Turk era, the land we now know as Israel was a completely desolate land, inhabited by a few Jews — the direct descendents of the Jews who first displaced the Canaanites — and by an even smaller number of fellahins. The latter didn’t own the land, they just lived on it, while their landlords swanned about in European Capitals, Istanbul or Alexandria.
When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the British took over. Meanwhile, Jews — claiming the Right of Return — actually started returning, beginning in about the 1880s. They bought the land from those rich Ottoman landowners. Much of the land was either useless desert or swamp that even the fellahin wouldn’t inhabit. The Balfour Declaration, which predated the realization that the Arabs sat on the oil, affirmed the Jewish Right of Return. (The thinking was (a) God gave the land to the Jews and (b) it’s such awful land, why would anyone else want it?)
The Jews did something interesting once they settled in the Holy Land: applying brute force labor and modern scientific methods, they started turning this scraggly, hot land, a land that alternated between killing swamps and equally killing deserts, into a land of Milk and Honey. The Arabs were not slow to follow. By the 1930s, piggy-backing on the Jews’ surprisingly productive Right of Return, Arabs were pouring into the land now known as Israel.
These Arabs were not claiming a Right of Return. They were just following the money. The British, with an eye to oil production, allowed the in-flow of Arabs, even as they did everything in their power to keep the Jews out, not because they denied the Right of Return (as noted, the Balfour Declaration affirmed the Jewish Right of Return), but because they did not want to offend those who sat on top of oil wells.
When the going got tough, the British walked away from Israel. The British are not demanding a Right of Return.
In 1948, the Arab leaders told the Arab population in the newly created state of Israel to get out of the way of the path of the oncoming Arab armies, with the promise that, when the Jews were all dead, the Arabs could return and take over the Jewish wealth and harvest the Jewish fields. Things didn’t work out as planned. The departing Arabs, the majority of whom had arrived after the Jews, left and lost their chance to come back. It is these people who demand their “right of return.”
Well, I’m sorry. First come, first serve. Jews had it first, a core group of them never left it, and the Jews are the first people who took it back. That’s the real Right of Return.
And speaking of history, if we’re talking pre-1967 borders, here are some pre-1967 borders to talk about.
Obama is supposed to be hot stuff when it comes to communicating. I’ve long had my doubts, but his reference in today’s speech to Israel’s 1967 borders should put to rest forever the media created canard that this is a guy who can get his points across. You know why? Because he committed the heinous crime of ambiguity.
You see, Israel’s borders changed roughly halfway through 1967. There are two different 1967 borders. Before the Six Day War, this is what Israel looked like. As you can see, she had a north and a south, but practically no middle. Syria was breathing down her neck on the north, Egypt on the south, and Jordon on the east. After the war, this is what Israel looked like. Israel had gained buffer zones on the north, south and east. These are vastly different configurations, with hugely different security ramifications.
So what does Obama, our resident oratorical genius, say? He says this:
We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. (Emphasis mine.)
What in the world does that mean? Bibi Netanyahu is livid. Given Obama’s long-standing and manifest hostility towards Israel, not to mention his constant pandering to the Palestinians, he (and others) reasonably believe Obama is referring to the borders as they existed before the Six Day War. Others, equally reasonably, are saying that Obama is doing nothing more than making explicit long-standing U.S. policy, which has always hewed to the borders as they existed immediately after the Six Day War. Both arguments are right, because the Great Communicator was criminally ambiguous. (There’s also a very good argument that, by explicitly identify any borders whatsoever, something America quite carefully has never done before, Obama undercut completely Israeli room for maneuver.)
One of the things I’ve told my children, repeatedly, is that 80% of the lawsuits I’ve worked on over my 25 year career have arisen because of ambiguous writing or speaking. When people enter into an agreement that contains a sentence or term that is reasonably open to more than one interpretation, you’ve got a nascent lawsuit. Scarily, when the President of the United States, the man billed as the greatest communicator since Lincoln, says something carelessly (or intentionally, perhaps?) ambiguous, you’ve got a potentially nascent existential war in the making.
Great Communicator? Pfui!
UPDATE: I should add here that I happen to agree with those who believe Obama is referring to the pre-Six Day War borders. It’s important to note, though, that Israel currently doesn’t have either of the 1967 borders. She’s reasonably bigger than she was in May 1967 but, having given away a great deal of land for no peace, she is much smaller than she was in June 1967.
I mention this because, if Israel’s borders were identical to the June 1967 borders, it would be obvious that Obama, by specifically referencing the 1967 borders (with some “swaps”) would be trying to return to a May 1967 status quo. Because Israel is neither a May or a June 1967, however, his reference to 1967 creates ambiguity.
UPDATE II: Brutally Honest has more on Netanyahu’s response to the undoubtedly correct interpretation he put on Obama’s ambiguous words.
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.
On Facebook, I linked to Bret Stephens’ article about the slaughter of the Fogel family in Israel (which is behind a pay wall). In it, Stephens says that we in the West have essentially dehumanized the Palestinians by giving them a free pass for acting on their baser instincts:
I have a feeling that years from now Palestinians will look back and wonder: How did we allow ourselves to become that? If and when that happens—though not until that happens—Palestinians and Israelis will at long last be able to live alongside each other in genuine peace and security.
But I also wonder whether a similar question will ever occur to the Palestinian movement’s legion of fellow travelers in the West. To wit, how did they become so infatuated with a cause that they were willing to ignore its crimes—or, if not quite ignore them, treat them as no more than a function of the supposedly infinitely greater crime of Israeli occupation?
That’s an important question because it forms part of the same pattern in which significant segments of Western opinion cheered Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe and even Pol Pot. The cheering lasted just as long as was required to see the cause through to some iconic moment of triumph, and then it was on to the next struggle. It was left to others to pick up the pieces or take to the boats or die choking in their own blood.
A friend objected to the article on the ground that it made the Palestinians sound murderous, since “some” of them celebrated the death. She said the vast majority of Palestinians just desire peace. I responded that one wishes that was so, and pointed to polls from just last year showing that the majority of Palestinians think Jewish deaths are a good thing. Her comeback, which I’ve edited slightly, went this way: The majority of Palestinians weren’t celebrating the murders, only some were. Also, the same poll to which I cited shows that most of the Palestinians oppose violence, but are so frightened of the PA that they feel they cannot criticize it. She also said a more recent poll said that, while a clear majority of Israelis polled say they want peace, the Palestinians are so misinformed that, when polled, they say that they don’t believe that the Israelis actually want peace.
So if I understand it correctly, she’s saying that Palestinians are lying to pollsters about wanting to kill Israelis because they’re afraid of the PA. The illogic seems to be to be that, if they’re that scared of the PA, why are they freely admitting that fear to the pollsters? Either you lie across the board (hate Israelis/love PA), or you don’t lie (want peace/fear PA). As to the Palestinians’ misunderstandings about Israeli goals, it still doesn’t seem to me to deny their blood-thirstiness. It just gives them yet another excuse, which is precisely what Stephens was bemoaning.
What do you say? And can you think of a polite way for me to make the points or, perhaps, even better points.