The latest excellent video from Prager U features former Canadian PM, Stephen Harper, explaining why Israel deserves support, not condemnation.
Transcript: [Read more…]
The latest excellent video from Prager U features former Canadian PM, Stephen Harper, explaining why Israel deserves support, not condemnation.
Transcript: [Read more…]
Another stellar Prager U video, this one explaining why the Palestinians still don’t have their own state — and no, you can’t blame the Jews for this one:
I went to the doctor yesterday for an ear infection and discovered that I have high blood pressure. The doctor’s not treating the problem yet, in case my blood pressure was spiked from my ear pain. I certainly hope that’s transitory pain is the reason. In two months, we’ll check again and see whether it’s reverted to normal or is still trying to make me look like one of those cartoon characters with steam coming out its ears. If the latter, I’ll really need to revisit how I handle all the stress in my life.
The chocolate treatment, apparently, is not working. Also unfortunately for me, the stuff about which I blog isn’t the stuff of zen moments. All of you should feel free to send me calming thoughts.
Two amazing Arabs (one Muslim, one Christian) speak about the Arab and the Leftist community’s responsibility for peace with Israel and the world
The first amazing Arab, Aly Salem, wrote an article about the disgraceful way in which American Progressives and other Leftists ignore Islam’s most revolting behaviors:
My own experience as a Muslim in New York bears this out. Socially progressive, self-proclaimed liberals, who would denounce even the slightest injustice committed against women or minorities in America, are appalled when I express a similar criticism about my own community.
Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask: Why? Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral: The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, the jihadists are a minority who don’t represent Islam, and I am fear-mongering by even wondering aloud.
This is delusional thinking. Even as the world witnesses the barbarity of beheadings, habitual stoning and severe subjugation of women and minorities in the Muslim world, politicians and academics lecture that Islam is a “religion of peace.” Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia routinely beheads women for sorcery and witchcraft.
Salem’s article is behind a Wall Street Journal pay wall, but if you search for it by name on Google, you should be able to get a link that gives you free access.
The second amazing Arab is George Deek, a Christian Israeli-Arab diplomat living in Norway, who gave a speech recently in Oslo. If you don’t want to, or don’t have the time to, spend 30 minutes listening to the speech, you can read the transcript here.
Here’s just a small sample of what Deek has to say:
In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights. Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees?
Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere. And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations. Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.
The Obama administration finally has an enemy it hates more than the Tea Party: Israel
It’s already been a couple of days since Jeffrey Goldberg revealed that the Obama administration, headed by the King of Choom, has taken to calling Bibi Netanyahu, a battle-tested warrior, a “chickensh*t” coward. Nevertheless, I’d like to share with you my favorite post on the subject, from Danielle Pletka, at AEI. She immediately hones in on the disgusting manipulation and lies that characterize the Obama dealings that then led to the vulgar insult:
Lots of twitter today over an important piece by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic about the crisis in US-Israel relations. Most have focused on the Obama administration “senior official” sourced comment that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is “chickenshit.” The full quote is worth reading:
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”
Goldberg has his own take on the accusation, and plants blame for the mutual antipathy squarely on the Israeli side. He’s a thoughtful analyst, and he’s not wrong that the Israelis have been, to put it diplomatically, incautious, in their approach to the Obama team. Nor are critics entirely wrong when they suggest that internal politicking – and not peace process politique – have been behind recent Israeli settlement decisions. But that analysis fails to adequately appreciate the fons et origo of the slow-mo disaster that has been US-Israel relations under Barack Obama, and does readers a disservice by laying out the rather shocking notion that team Obama thinks he has somehow played the Israelis into… allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Here’s “another senior official” with whom Goldberg spoke (speaking of chickenshit; um, what about going on the record?):
“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
Let’s get this straight: Bibi et al, who have what most would agree is a legitimate and existential fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon, are “good” because they’re, er “chickenshit” about launching a strike on Iran; oh, and Bibi is also labeled a “coward” for having been “chickenshit” in that regard. But he’s “bad” because he won’t cave to a Palestinian Authority and Hamas so riven by terrorism, corruption and incompetence that they won’t “accommodate” with each other.
How can we read this as anything other than an appalling display of hypocrisy, hostility to Israel and warmth toward the very powers that have killed almost as many Americans (Iran, Hamas, et al) as al Qaeda? Did team Obama label Ahmadinejad as “chickenshit”? Have they labeled the Qataris, who arm and fund ISIS at the same time that they buy US weapons as “chickenshit”?
Read the rest here.
What will the upcoming elections mean for Israel?
Richard Baehr examines how the upcoming elections might affect Obama’s relationship with Israel. I think, after reading Baehr’s analysis, that the takeaway message is that, whether Obama keeps his Senate or loses it, he’s going to do his damndest to screw Israel. Tell me if you agree with my assessment.
If you think the government is out to get you, you’re correct
The New York Times turns in a surprisingly good article about the way in which the IRS is simply stealing people’s money, without even a pretense of Due Process. The opening paragraphs set the tone:
For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.
The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.
“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”
The federal government does.
Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.
This is something I’ve known about for some time because, back in the early 2000s, I worked on a case involving federal seizure and forfeiture. In America’s efforts to stop bad guys, we let the camel’s nose in the tent with this one. The government camel is now fully in the tent, destroying everything in sight.
I’d like to think that a Republican congress, aided by a Republican president, would rein in this travesty, but I doubt it. Remember — they all get paid out of the same federal pot of money, so they all (judges, congressmen, bureaucrats, executives) have a vested interest in maintaining a system that robs from Americans to give to the government. Reagan was right in principle, but will prove to have been wrong in practice:
Moonbats try to debate gun rights
I don’t know how he made it happen, but Charles C. W. Cooke (of National Review) was able to get an opinion piece about blacks and gun rights published in The New York Times. It’s very good, of course, although it doesn’t say anything that we pro-Second Amendment people don’t already know — you know, stuff about the way in which the Jim Crow, Democrat-run South tried to keep guns away from blacks so as to terrorize and kill them more easily, and how law-abiding blacks are still sitting ducks for the worst malefactors in society.
It’s a good essay, and one that I highly recommend, but the really fun reading material is what you find at the comments, as the usual NYT cadre of moonbats tries to escape and evade little things like facts and logic. Here are some examples from the 219 comments the Times allowed to stand before closing the comments section. You’ll notice that the ones I culled (which are from the top reader-approved comments) haven’t bothered with any facts at all, but are strong on ad hominem, bootstrapping arguments:
Brian A. Kirkland North Brunswick, NJ 3 days ago
“The poor and the black”, uh huh.
I don’t care how you paint it, this is the most convoluted irrational argument I’ve read in some time. Are you making the case that African-Americans need to arm themselves to take on the racist government? Are you saying that the answer to racist is armed resistance? You might be right, but does someone from National Review really mean that or are you making a Rand Paul gambit, to say anything that will get those, slow witted, African-Americans to go along?
No, son, you’re not going to make the picture of Malcolm, protecting his home after it’d been bombed, an icon for Caucasians. And, though there were armed African-Americans at some of those rallies, most were Caucasians, come to take their country back from the black guy. Let’s not be silly here.
You are not interested in the lives of African-American, except as a voting block to support your obsession with gun culture. We have enough access to guns. If you want a gun for personal protection you can have one.
Lots of African-Americans are like lots of Caucasians; we own guns, like fine wine, speak English well, are like other human beings. This is not news.
By the way, the NAACP is publicly supporting Marissa Alexander. https://donate.naacp.org/page/event/detail/wl3 Like all of your ilk, facts don’t matter much to you, do they?
Rima Regas is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA 3 days ago
Where to begin…
I’m glad you support the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, out of some equal rights magnanimity that is uncharacteristic of someone on the right. Using that magnanimity as the vehicle from which to take a swipe at the NAACP, Reverend Sharpton and, Malcolm X, no less, is disingenuous, to be kind.
The problem isn’t that blacks can’t get as many guns as whites. The problem is that an increasing number of white cops feel perfectly comfortable using their guns on black men, when they should be remembering the oath they pledged and refrain from doing harm onto a fellow citizen.
John Crawford III, Mike Brown, Vonderrit Myers, and all of the other young black men who’ve died recently were unarmed young men who died at the hand of an armed policemen who used a supposed fear for their lives as justification to shoot to kill. No gun would have saved these young men.
A country that has as many guns as it has citizens is one that has too many guns.
#BlackLivesMatter is about the cessation of police brutality on young black men. It has no bearing on the gun rights of whites or blacks. Using Jim Crow to advance the right to bear arms is the cynical use of a false equivalency in order to make an unrelated point.
agathajrw Minnsota 3 days ago
This is the most sorry excuse for an opinion piece published in the nytimes that I’ve ever read. It is a blatant advertisement for the NRA and the gun industry. To say that those of us who have been life long advocates for gun control were inextricably linked to racism before 1970 is shameful.
Jim Phoenix 3 days ago
This is insane. There is an epidemic of gun violence killing young black men, and this guy thinks the black community needs more guns.
Ecce Homo Jackson Heights, NY 3 days ago
What magnificent sleight of hand! Mr. Cooke turns the mindless proliferation of high-power weaponry into a conservative bulwark against racism. I can’t help but admire his rhetorical agility.
The fact is that African-Americans are victims of violence, including gun violence, at staggering rates. Ours is a society where homicide is justified by reasonable fear and fear of a Black Man is reasonable, almost per se. Arming African-Americans won’t help. Disarming white Americans will.
You know why we will never change liberal’s minds? Because they have no minds. They exist in a bizarre world of people with empty heads and jerky knees. For more information where I stand on guns, you can go here.
The Obama economy is not happy
Happy days are not here again under Obama. Just as Roosevelt, that Leftist darling, managed to worsen the Depression, Obama, another even more Leftist darling, has managed to turn in the worst non-recession economic performance in at least 100 years. This is what happens when you put a socialist in charge of the economy.
On the lighter side, here’s a nice joke about capitalism.
Barack Obama, in his own words
Ed Lasky has done yeoman’s work pulling together Obama’s own words to paint a picture of a very angry man who lusts after power, hates America and white people, and generally wants to see socialism become the law of the land. Here’s a sample (hyperlinks omitted):
The Constitution is just a piece of parchment to him and he blames it and the Founding Fathers for making the fulfillment of his goal to “fundamentally transform America” harder to achieve.
Obama willfully dismissed ISIS as a threat, demoting them to JayVee status. Obama has dismissed threats from Al Qaeda repeatedly bragging that Al Qaeda was decimated and on the run on the path to defeat and then defeated — a claim Obama has made over 30 times. In the real world, Al Qaeda and its offshoot, the JayVee ISIS, now occupy more territory and has far more wealth and power than it ever had before. It is on the run, alright, towards a city and shopping center near you. But rest assured, Obama tells us, they are defeated and the tide of war is receding. He barely reacts but recreates instead. The world is more tranquil than ever before because of Obama’s leadership. Does it feel that way to most Americans?
There’s a reason Democrats are opposed to voter ID
Yes, this is old news by now, but I can’t resist posting it on my own blog:
How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.
Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.
The obligatory video showing the debate audience laughing at Dem candidate who tries to invoke “War on Women” shtick
A study about flu vaccinations for the elderly is a microcosm of the whole climate change so-called “science” debacle
We’ve discussed at length on this blog the fact that climate change is no longer a science but a faith. Why? Because it has become an unfalsifiable, infallible doctrine. No matter how often a hypothesis fails to be borne out by data, the sciences do a quick twist in mid air and, just before hitting ground, announce that the failure, rather than refuting the whole anthropogenic climate change theory, actually proves the theory to be true. In fact, as often as not, the fact that the theory utterly failed is even better proof that we’re approaching climate Armageddon. So you see, it’s faith, not science.
Well, that same “faith over science” problem reared its head in the world of vaccination studies and with equally deadly effect:
An important and definitive “mainstream” government study done nearly a decade ago got little attention because the science came down on the wrong side. It found that after decades and billions of dollars spent promoting flu shots for the elderly, the mass vaccination program did not result in saving lives. In fact, the death rate among the elderly increased substantially.
The authors of the study admitted a bias going into the study. Here was the history as described to me: Public health experts long assumed flu shots were effective in the elderly. But, paradoxically, all the studies done failed to demonstrate a benefit. Instead of considering that they, the experts, could be wrong–instead of believing the scientific data–the public health experts assumed the studies were wrong. After all, flu shots have to work, right?
You can read more here about a decidedly unscientific approach to science that has led to innumerable unnecessary deaths amongst the elderly.
The joke that is the Left’s obsession with diversity
A friend of mine has tackled the fatuousness of the Left’s obsession with diversity. Since my friend is extremely intelligent, not to mention a most elegant writer, the Left comes off looking ridiculous.
Good stuff at the Watcher’s Council
I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately (hence the high blood pressure), so I’ve been remiss in passing on to you a few cool links for the Watcher’s Council.
First, Council members weigh in with their very specific predictions for the upcoming election.
Second, Council members have nominated exceptionally weasel-like people to be the Weasel of the Week.
Third, the Watcher’s Council nominations are in. I’ll link to all of the nominations in a separate post, but you can check them out at the Watcher’s Council site here.
Lovely pictures of classic Hollywood stars and their knitting
In the old days, before blogging became a compulsion, I kept my hands busy with knitting. I have a slightly peculiar technique, because I’m a left-hander taught by right-handers, but I also have, if I do say so myself, a very beautiful stitch. During my knitting heyday, I used to love collecting knitting books, especially books about the history of knitting (with this one being my favorite).
What the old books allude to, but don’t address in detail, is how much knitting took place (maybe still takes place?) on Hollywood sets. If you’d like to know more about that practice, or if you’d just like to look at wonderful pictures of gorgeous Hollywood stars knitting back in the day, check out this post at Seraphic Secret.
XXX If you’re looking for a good deed….
My fellow Watcher’s Council member Greg, who blogs at Rhymes with Right, was deeply moved by the plight of New Beginnings Church in Chicago. After its pastor, Corey Booker, broke ranks and endorsed Republicans, his church was promptly vandalized and robbed. That robbery is a huge setback for the Church’s planned expansion. If you go here, Greg explains how you can help the church out.
Do you sense a little bit of bias in this survey?
On my Facebook page, two of my friends linked to a “survey” that hinted that it was actually created on California Governor Jerry Brown’s behalf so that he can learn Californian’s opinions about what the state should do with regard to climate change. I clicked on over and got this priceless first page:
So that’s what it looks like when special interest groups manipulate the people.
It seems that the absolute savagery in Syria is causing a few Arabs to revisit whether Israel and the Jews are really their enemies. I doubt a tipping point will happen any time soon, but maybe what’s going on in Syria is, for Arabs and Muslims, the equivalent of being mugged by reality.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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):
In other words, not only is the two state solution redundant, it will never happen.
I’ve been reading two things that seem to twine together. The first is the ongoing news out of Gaza, about Hamas continuously firing missiles into Israel (as well as into their own population). Noah Pollak wrote a very good commentary in response to a question about why Hamas, through its outpost in Gaza, keeps fighting and fighting and fighting. The answer, of course, is that Hamas fights because that is its nature. Fighting is its raison d’etre. Without fighting, there is nothing.
The second thing I’ve been reading, which at first glance seems unrelated, is Rabbi Joseph Teluskin’s Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible — a very informative and enjoyable retelling of the Old Testament, along with Rabbinical commentary.
The story of Abraham and Sarah, of course, brings up the history of Hagar and Ishmael. Telushkin reminds us of two things about Ishmael. First, he repeats the prophecy that God’s angel made about Ishmael: “He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Genesis, 16:12.) The second is the fact that the Muslim Arabs claim descent from this same Ishmael.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
[Link fixed. Thanks, Gringo.]
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
I’m a scientific ignoramus. Although I’ve been skeptical of global warming from the start, my skepticism hasn’t been rooted in a sound grasp of facts and scientific principles. Instead, it arises because of my source problems: I deeply distrust the people touting climate change.
From the moment Al Gore started mouthing off about it, and triggered massive hysteria in the MSM, Hollywood, and the Leftosphere, I backed off. To me, these people’s embrace of the issue lacked any coherent thought or rigorous analysis. For them, it was simply another nail in the Bush Derangement Syndrome coffin, and a convenient way to do indirectly what they’ve been trying to do directly : handicap America’s ability to compete in world markets. That’s why, even though I agree with some of the goals — most notably getting the whole world off Arab Oil so that we’re not funding the Islamist instruments of our own destruction — I’ve absolutely refused to buy into the whole Global Warming mantra.
Others, fortunately, have more knowledge than I do, and they’re not buying into it either. The latest knowledgeable person to speak out is Brian Sussman, a metereologist, who explains that the Global Warming crowd has made its case by ignoring some facts and exaggerating other facts completely out of recognition. And he does it all in lucid prose, easy for the lay man to understand.