Israel is launching a limited ground offensive in Gaza

Israeli flagThere’s been a lot of discussion about whether Israel would follow up on her air bombardment with a ground offensive. On the pro side, if done correctly, it could potentially clear out Hamas forever, or at least disable it for the foreseeable future. On the con side, Israeli casualties, something that Israel always tries desperately to avoid.

It seems, though, as if the decision was made for Israel in the last 24 hours. The IDF killed around a dozen terrorists who were trying to sneak into Israel via a tunnel in Hamas:

Their objective (presumably discovered via searching the bodies) was to launch a major terrorist attack in Israel. This is a risk too great to take, so Israel is launching what it calls a limited ground offensive aimed at knocking out terrorist tunnels. Frankly, I’d be surprised if Israel was able to keep the ground offensive limited. These things tend to metastasize. Whatever happens, I will be rooting for the most moral military in the history of the world to defeat an enemy that is worse than the Nazis.

Ground operation in Gaza

Wednesday night mostly (but not entirely) Middle East round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesJust some stuff that wandered across my screen:

-1-

Brendan O’Neill pulls no punches: It’s no coincidence that the rage against Israel sounds remarkably like anti-Semitism. This is an article that I shared with my “real me” Facebook friends, as I’m sharing dozens of other pro-Israel pieces. This time around, the war has to be fought not just on the front lines, but in the cyber world too, where we’re all combatants.

-2-

One of the things that makes it easier to share this information with my “real me” friends (most of whom are Democrats) is the fact that support for Israel is appearing in the media they trust. For example, Time Magazine ran an opinion piece by Rabbi Eric Yoffe about the immoral demand for proportionality in a fight between Israel, which goes to extraordinary length to protect civilians, both hers and theirs; and Hamas, which would put its own children in its rocket launchers if it thought it could kill more Jews that way.

Indeed, the Washington Post, which has long been hostile to Israel, has suddenly realized this unpalatable truth about the cause it’s so long championed:

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks.

-3-

Jonah Goldberg turns his gimlet eye on the ridiculous claim that Israel is committing genocide in Hamas. If there’s a genocide in Hamas, Hamas is committing it against its own children:

-4-

Tom Rogan on the fact that Hamas is a dead-end, with an emphasis on the word “dead.” It’s a death cult. The fact that it will kill its own people pointlessly in a fight with Israel is irrelevant to it.  The fact that it will stand on nothing but dust at the end of the day is irrelevant to it.  It’s set to “kill” and can do nothing else.

-5-

Michael Totten crafts an exquisite insult against Hamas:

The Israelis are seriously considering a ground invasion since Hamas won’t stop firing, but they’ve already proved to the population of Gaza that Hamas, even with its all its longer-range missiles, is capable of inflicting no more damage on the Zionist Entity than a lone killer armed with only a steak knife.

-6-

Grotesque propaganda won’t save Hamas this time.  People now know what to look for:

-7-

You guys all know I have a special soft spot in my heart for Marines. That’s why I find stories about men such as the “Lion of Fallujah,” who served both the Marines and the CIA in Iraq, incredibly moving.

-8-

Pardon me for being crude, but maybe I like Marines because many of them seem to have bigger balls than the next guy — witness Gen. James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, speaking truth to power (his boss, President Obama) about the administration’s obvious missteps in the Middle East.

-9-

Charles Hurt says what intelligent people intuitively understand: If you make people pay directly for something, you cannot reasonably tell them they don’t have any say in the thing for which they’re paying — or in the economic consequences flowing from that purchase. Even if you shriek that the law gives them no voice, they still think they have a voice.

-10-

How many times have I said that one of the things that’s moving me away from being pro-Choice and towards pro-Life is the fact that the pro-Choice side of the equation is really a pro-Death viewpoint? I simply cannot find myself siding with people who turn infant and maternal death into an untouchable sacrament. But that is what they do, and this is nowhere shown more plainly than in a bill that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D. Conn.) authored, removing all state control from abortions. (David French calls it the “Kermit Gosnell Enabling Act of 2014.”)

-11-

If I ever bothered to think about Simon Cowell, I pretty much thought of him as a genius impresario, and not much more. Now, though, I do think much more of him — he donated $150,000 to the Israeli Defense Force. Hurrah for Simon Cowell!

-12-

Pictures:

Good at making excuses

Holders view of critics

That awkward moment

You left the toilet seat up

Monday at dusk round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThere’s a study out saying that owning a dog will make you look 10 years younger. I’ve got two dogs. Does that mean I look 20 years younger? I doubt it, but I know that owning dogs makes me at least 20 years happier than the next person. ;)

** 1 **

We’ve long suspected that Washington, D.C. is so disengaged from the rest of America as to be a separate country. The TSA has now made that suspicion official: at least one of its agents refused to recognize a D.C. driver’s license.

** 2 **

Even as Hamas places its weapons caches and launchers in schools and hospitals, and tells its citizens to ignore the fliers that Israel sends out before bombing a terrorist location, this is what the Israeli Defense Forces do:

IDF soldiers protecting a child with their bodies

StandWithUs

An Israeli women shared this online saying that on her way back home she heard the rocket sirens while sitting in her car. When she got out, soldiers from an IDF vehicle nearby gathered around the woman’s son and protected him with their own bodies.

This is the true face of the Israel Defense Forces – protecting and preserving life.

#IsraelUnderFire

** 3 **

Hillel Neuer has put together a very simple test so that you can determine whether you’re truly interested in human rights or, instead, are just a garden-variety anti-Semite (or, as Neuer more politely phrases it “anti-Israel”).

I think Obama falls in the second category:

** 4 **

My Watcher’s Council comrade-in-arms, Snoopy the Goon, writes from the front lines in Israel, where the bombs are falling. It seems as if Israelis are finally saying “Enough! We must fight to win, not just to give Hamas time to re-arm.”

Snoopy also caught what may be the most blatantly, stupidly anti-Israel headline the British Guardian newspaper has ever published.  It’s as if the Guardian was trying to out do Dry Bones without understanding that Dry Bones is satire:

It won't be a big deal until Israel fires back

** 5 **

The world has become very surreal when you find yourself periodically nodding in agreement with an Egyptian talk show host’s assessment of Hamas:

** 6 **

My sister and I got around to talking about the changing nature of sex and sex crimes on college campuses. It used to be that boys and girls lived in separate facilities, their events were chaperoned, nice girls didn’t drink, and nice boys didn’t get drunk around nice girls. Now, they share bathrooms and shower stalls (go to 2:20 in this video, for example), sleep in the same rooms, get blotto drunk at parties, and hook up with just anybody. Then, when a girl has Sunday morning regrets after a drunken debauch on Saturday night, it’s the boy who gets in trouble (or maybe the boys). As the mother of a future male college student, I think this stinks.

In criminal law, a person’s drunkenness doesn’t excuse bad acts. That is, you can’t say “I didn’t have the proper criminal intent because I was drunk.” If you freely drank yourself to drunkenness, that decision to leave your rational mind behind is itself evidence of criminal intent.

I think that same standard should apply to women who willingly drink to the point of incoherence, only to discover later that they slept with someone they didn’t like or, worse, that a bunch of equally drunk (although presumably still functional) guys had sex with her while she was unconscious. They should all be kicked off of campus, the whole drunken lot of them, rather than treating the woman as the victim and the men as the criminals. Once you start ejecting all of them, I bet the campus drinking culture will dry up pretty quickly.

But the campus is what it is now, which led me to say, half-jokingly, to my sister, “God help me, but I feel my son would be safer at college if I told him ‘If you need to have sex, invest in condoms and go to a high-priced hooker. At least she probably won’t scream rape the next day.’” I’m exaggerating, of course, because I find prostitution inherently demeaning and exploitative. Moreover, if the FBI has its way, prostitution will also be more dangerous than it needs to be.

** 7 **

Rolling Stone has uploaded a post identifying “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.” The post itself is too stupid to click through. What makes it worthwhile are the comments. Here’s a sampling:

I can play the headline/no substance game too.

Top 5 Most dangerous Bears to watch out for this Summer

1.) Bears with teeth
2.) Bears with claws
3.) Large bears
4.) Small bears
5.) Medium sized bears

“Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock.”

Oh man this sentence was hysterical. It seriously doesn’t even make sense. Popular among handgun owners? They are handguns! Build in barrel? The barrels are removable, but I don’t even think that’s what you’re referring to. Short stock? Pistols don’t have a stock. If you were talking about cars, it would litterally read, “Popular among automobile owners, cars are defined by their built-in tires and short flatbeds.”

Ignorance is required to write something this glaringly stupid.

Hey Kristen,
maybe you can do and article on the 3 most dangerous dog breeds.
1. Large
2. Medium
3. Small
LMFAO

Really…The article can simply be summed up with one sentence:
“Kristen Gwynne thinks guns are icky, because potato”

I’m glad to see Rolling Stone is hiring special needs writers.

I could do this for hours. Tons of the 1000+ comments are brilliant.

** 8 **

We’ve talked for years about the “hate speech” laws in England which are, instead, censorship laws. Those laws are moving to America. In Maryland, graffiti opposing illegal immigrants (without ever mentioning race) is being investigated as hate speech. I consider graffiti vandalism, but this is not a hate crime.

** 9 **

Obama’s love-affair with himself is escalating. He is the hero in his own drama, with Americans alternating playing the roles of villainous foils or adoring fans. Ron Fournier suggests that this self-aggrandizing pose is unpresidential.

** 10 **

Aside from the occasional maudlin, belligerent forays into self-love or subject-specific Republican-hate, when it comes to Obama’s speeches, when you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all :

** 11 **

The Obama administration has tried to claim that the refugee crisis on our Southern border is because of some vague, inchoate violence somewhere down south there in that far-away Latin American place. This surprisingly indescribable, unspecifiable violence is apparently so bad that these children have to trek through several Latin American countries, all the way to Texas, in order to escape it. That’s what the administration says. Will you be surprised to learn that this is untrue?

Tuesday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLast night we watched the most recent episode of John Oliver’s new HBO show, Last Week Tonight. I was interested in what Oliver’s take would be about the two top news events of the past week: Hamas’s terrorist action and Israel’s military response; and the refugee crisis on America’s own border.

Oliver, however, ignored both those stories, choosing instead to focus on “income inequality.” (Ashley Dobson fisks the segment nicely, exposing all of the factual and logical errors in his attack on American capitalism.)

The income equality stuff was the typical moronic shtick, which always sounds ridiculous coming out of the mouth of someone earning at least six figures a year. The absence of any discussion about the top stories was more interesting.

It occurred to me that Oliver could not comment on either story because he couldn’t risk saying what he and his audience really think: As far as they’re concerned, both Israel and America’s border should disappear. It’s one thing to speak these truths in a quiet room; it’s another thing entirely to put them on TV where others might be listening.

In this case, the “others listening” are the majority of Americans who support Israel and are horrified by the unfolding crisis on America’s southern border. It’s better to be thought a hardcore Leftist than to open your mouth and confirm it, right?

As for me, I’m not ignoring those stories. They are defining stories that will shape both the Middle East and America for some time to come. So, follow me into the wonderful world of actual news, rather than HBO’s fairy and unicorn land where a hard-Left, Cambridge-educated millionaire media star cries crocodile tears about “income inequality.”

By the by, the big issue shouldn’t be “income equality,” it should be “education inequality.” That’s not an issue that the DemProgs want to tackle, though, because it’s a direct result of the way in which America’s public schools have been turned into union fiefdoms. We can only hope that the California court ruling holding that tenure is unfair to students will weaken that stranglehold.

** 1 **

With all the dreadful headlines lately (border, Israel, ISIS, economy, etc.), I have to admit that the thing that strikes the most fear in my heart is the possibility that Elizabeth Warren could be a viable candidate for the White House and a possible winner thanks to her populist attacks on Wall Street. Unlike Obama who was a covert demagogue, she’s an overt demagogue and, for that reason, a very scary person. If she’s elected, it will speak to a profoundly damaging trend in American presidential politics.

** 2 **

Back in the dark, pre-gay rights era, Alfred Kinsey claimed that 10% of the American population was homosexual. Over the decades, many people challenged that number. After all, much of Kinsey’s research was done in prison populations and among gay prostitutes. More than that, many of Kinsey’s interviewers (including Kinsey himself) were gay or bisexual. To the extent they interviewed people in their own circles, this skewed the numbers. A recent poll, taken in a time of open homosexuality, probably offers a much more accurate number: less than three percent of Americans self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.  I leave you to your own conclusions about what that number means in the context of today’s hot societal issues.

** 3 **

It takes a surprisingly small vector to tilt a healthy population into being a plague-ridden population. There’s reason to believe that the dissemination throughout the US of infected children may be that vector. It takes true cognitive dissonance to ignore this reality (and to make that point, I’ll run yesterday’s poster again today):

Spreading infections 2

** 4 **

I noted already last week that the Left is accusing Christians of lacking compassion because they want to stop the flood of youthful refugees into America. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck has been oozing compassion for those refugees, which is why I’ve never liked him very much. It’s not the compassion that I dislike; it’s the ooze. He’s a smart man, but he’s ruled by his passions, not his brain. He is, in effect, the male Oprah. But back to the refugees.

I’ve long said that America’s pro-illegal immigrant cadre is inflicting cruel and profound damage on Latin America. As long as we provide a safety valve through our acceptance of illegal immigration, Latin America’s corrupt, inefficient governments and broken economic systems can thrive. They lose criminals, excess population, and non-producers (such as children), while gaining billions in American dollars their emigrants sent back home. What’s happening now on our southern border is this cruel system playing out on a massive scale.

Worse, at home, we’re losing the rule of law. The most compassionate system of all is one that’s free and based upon a reliable and just legislative and judicial system.  In that system, people don’t fear the past, can work in the present, and can plan for the future. The Obama-engineered refugee crisis is destroying that too.

And it will get worse, because there’s every indication that Obama intends to grant mass amnesty to the refugees. He won’t do this by waving the presidential wand and pronouncing “I hereby grant every illegal immigrant amnesty.” He will, instead, do it by refusing, once again, to enforce any of the nation’s existing immigration laws. Doing so will satisfy several important Obama constituents, even as it destroys the US.

One would think that Obama would care that, by doing so, he’s hurting one of his core constituencies:  Blacks.  Blacks are horrified by the influx of people who will compete with them for low wage jobs and welfare. Obama couldn’t care less, though. What blacks need to understand is that Obama is not really black. He’s red — a hardcore Marxist whose primary goal is the destruction of America, which long stood as the bastion of freedom against Marxism. Blacks were just one more in a long list of useful idiots.

Should Obama grant de facto amnesty by refusing to enforce the law, that will be a manifestly impeachable offense, of course.  Sadly, the majority of Americans still don’t want to impeach the first half-black president.

Senator Jeff Sessions is doing his best to rally Congress and Americans to this grossly unconstitutional act, but he’s not getting traction because the drive-by media supports Obama’s political goals.

** 5 **

You’ve already heard that Israel agreed to a ceasefire and Hamas refused. Yay!

That’s not a sarcastic “yay.” I’m thrilled, because that little Kabuki play allowed Israel to prove her good faith and Hamas to prove its bad faith. More than that, Israel is winning. She would be insane to engage once again in her usual practice of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by giving up the instant she makes headway against the genocidal Islamic terrorists gunning for her.

And why is Israel winning? Elliott Abrams notes that Iron Dome has heartened the Israelis, that Hamas is making no headway and that, aside from a rise in antisemitic attacks across the world, nobody of importance is rallying to Hamas’s side. Egypt hates Hamas, and the rest of the Arab world is too involved in its own immolation to care about one more branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

** 6 **

On the subject of Israel, please, please read Daniel Greenfield’s discussion about the nature of Israel’s (and the West’s) response to terrorism. She may finally have to abandon the appeasement approach she’s used for so long.

** 7 **

The Huffington Post (of all places!) has published a fantastic opinion piece destroying the notion that Israel and Hamas are morally equivalent.

** 8 **

Rob Miller provides a first person account of the anti-Israel rally in Los Angeles, which ended with a DHS officer firing a shot when pro-Palestinian protesters got violent (as they invariably do).

If I had my way, every Jew would be required by Jewish law to (a) own a gun, know how to operate it, and carry it on his or her person at all times; and (b) have basic knowledge of hand-to-hand combat techniques.

** 9 **

Americans used to view the government as their servant; now they cringe before it as their master. Nowhere is this more apparent, funnily enough, than in the realm of local government.

I say “funnily enough” because the news is full of stories about overreaching federal, not local, government.  In reality, though, the federal government doesn’t directly touch many people, while local government does. We here in Marin just had our own fight with a local government that wanted to add 900 apartment units along a two lane major artery between two highways. And anyone who has had to deal with a town inspector knows how those departments can abuse their power. Reagan knew how to deal with this problem.

** 10 **

Once upon a time, feminists opposed porn, arguing that it degraded women. Now, Planned Parenthood, an organization feminists adore because it provides abortion, also provides hardcore porn to teenagers — and the feminists don’t care because . . . abortions.

** 11 **

Ted Cruz has suggested impeaching Eric Holder. Holder’s most recent attack on free speech — having the DOJ investigate an anti-Obama Zombie parade float — makes it clear that Holder is a ripe target. If only Holder didn’t have that cafe au lait skin and his solid Marxist credentials, it would be a slam dunk.

** 12 **

Mr. Bookworm is cheap, a quality I admire because I’m cheap too. I was, and he is, a wage slave, which means our money will never grow exponentially. If we’re to have any savings in our old age, we actually have to save money to make that happen.

We still have a great lifestyle: a lovely home, electronics, vacations (Mr. Bookworm’s passion), reliable cars, etc. However, we shop sales, use coupons, and are careful to distinguish between things we want (which must be justified) and things we need (which must be bought as economically as possible).

One aspect of our cheapness is that we don’t waste gas or electricity. After all, the more you use, the more you pay. That’s why, when I met Mr. Bookworm long before anyone had thought of global warming, we conserved energy.

Nowadays, Mr. Bookworm insists that he conserves energy not to save money but because he’s “green.” He’s lying to himself. I know this because, whenever we go on vacation, when a hotel or cruise ship is paying for energy consumption, he’s incredibly profligate with natural resources, most notably when it comes to towels. He’s been know to go through 5-6 clean towels a day on vacation.

I’ve now learned that Mr. Bookworm is not alone in telling lies to himself about his energy consumption and green self-righteousness.

** 13 **

The Left loves to ridicule those on the right who, usually because of religious beliefs, have ideas that are outside of the mainstream. For example, they can’t get enough of the comedic wonders of the creationist theme park. Fine. It’s funny.

But part of the Left’s laughter, of course, is condescension. We would never be so stupid and irrational they reply.

To which Andrew Klavan says, “Really? You’d never be wacky, stupid, and irrational? Think again.” (Klavan doesn’t actually use those words, but it’s definitely the gist of this great post about Leftist lunacy.)

Saturday afternoon clean laundry round-up and Open Thread

Victorian Washing DayAfter a month living with a broken washing machine, I finally got my new one today. I feel revitalized.

I also have a few things I’d like to share with you….

***

The problem with toppling taboos is that, once you’ve started, it’s hard to justify stopping. Take incest, for example.

There’s never been a relationship between incest and homosexuality other than the fact that societies have considered both taboo. While incest has a stronger justification for the taboo — genetic defects and child abuse — the fact remains that one can always work around those problems. Now that homosexuality is no longer taboo in the West, one Australian judge contends that the next taboo is ready to fall.

The judge therefore argues that the availability of birth control and laws against child abuse open the way to legalizing incest. For what it’s worth, on my “real me” Facebook, everyone, regardless of political and sexual orientation, was revolted by the judge’s suggestion.

***

Eric Peters, a 23-year-old veteran who earned the Purple Heart after being wounded in Afghanistan, is walking across the United States to bring awareness to the VA’s cavalier treatment of vets with PTSD. While in Ohio, he visited with the Brimfield Police Department, which described Peters’ journey. If you’re interested in helping Peters during his journey, you can donate here.

***

One of the most shameful aspects of the Obama administration is the way in which it’s abandoned people in Afghanistan who put themselves at tremendous risk to assist our United States forces. In addition to deadly delays, the State Department’s malfeasance is such that it’s now run out of visas entirely. No matter how good American troops are, they cannot fight and win if their own government undermines them and intentionally or negligently exposes their in-country allies to deadly risks.

***

At Legal Insurrection, a primer on the false “Pallywood” narratives that spring up the minute Israel defends herself against terrorist attacks.

***

I posted yesterday about the fact that those people who have health care courtesy of the Obamacare subsidy are happy, and I’m happy for them. The problem is that making insurance available to low-income people could have been done without the government taking over 1/6 of the U.S. economy; without the government intruding into individual healthcare decisions; without kicking people off of their insurance; without making insurance cost prohibitive for people who are paying full fare; and without the insane glitches the government-run system has.

As for that last point — those insane glitches — Debra Burlingame describes the fiasco attached to her “Child Dental” payments. It makes for painful reading.

***

Some innocents thought that, if Obama had a second term, he’d stop blaming George Bush, not to mention everyone and everything else, for problems and would, instead, take responsibility for failures. Hah!

Peter Wehner thinks Obama’s psychology may prevent him from taking any responsibility for the ever-lengthening list of disasters on his watch. I think Wehner’s right. One of the defining characteristics of a malignant narcissist is that things are never his fault. The black hole of insecurity that is at the core of this personality disorder is too well-defended ever to take the blame for anything.

***

It seems that Thomas Piketty’s neo-Marxism just took another blow: He completely neglected to factor in his analyses drastic changes in American tax law that dramatically increased people’s retirement funds.

***

If you feel like being inspired, someone created General Patton inspirational posters.

***

Or perhaps you take your inspiration with cream and sugar. That cryptic statement refers to the fact that the fuel that ran the Civil War may well have been coffee. And in that vein, I suspect that the fuel that ran WWII was cigarettes. So my question for you is this: What substance, if any, has fueled our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?

***

If a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, Obama might indeed be as big-brained as his acolytes insist:

Obama on borders theirs and ours

***

Mary Burke, the Democrat front runner in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race, also refuses to have her mind hobgoblined with any foolish consistency. That’s why this limousine liberal is demanding an end to out-of-state donations, even as 30% of her own campaign comes from out-of-state donors.

***

Your “feel good” Tweet for today:

Here’s some other feel good news: Iron Dome protected Tel Aviv from the three missiles fired at it earlier today.

***

And your delightfully silly video for the day:

(All ingredients used were hamster and hedgehog safe.)

***

And finally, a few posters:

Our public school - factory school system

Megadeath

Gaza hostages

Taxpayers are right wing extremists

This and that — about the Middle East, mostly, with a little Obama stuff thrown in too.

It’s been another family-maintenance day, which precludes not only blogging but, quite often, even thinking.  Having a house full of children is revitalizing and exhausting all at once.

I also took my Mom clothes shopping, which makes her extraordinarily happy, but leaves me limp and floppy.  I am every cheapskate’s dream, because I just hate to shop.  When I was young and shopped only for clothes to hang on my lithesome frame, it was all fun.  Now, though, shopping means shlepping out to get groceries, household supplies, supplies for my Mom, clothing for the children, etc.  It’s drudgery not pleasure and, to add insult to injury, I’m not as lissome as I once was.  Clothes shopping tends to demoralize rather than hearten me.

All of which is irrelevant to this post’s purpose, which is to pass on to you interesting articles I read this weekend.  So without further ado, here are things that you might find as interesting as I did.

I begin with a whole series of articles relating to the fact that, after having rockets rained down upon her for years — and in exponential numbers since Obama’s reelection — Israel is finally pushing back.  I’ll throw in here that, while Obama got encomiums from Israel’s supporters yesterday because he said that Israel has the right to defend herself, today he managed to un-deserve those same encomiums.  Why?  Because he added that this right to self-defense exists so long as Israel doesn’t actually do anything . . . you know, defensive:

Obama said that his message to Erdogan, as well as Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, was that it would be “preferred” if Israel could deter missiles from landing in its territory without ramping up military activity in Gaza. “That’s not just preferable to the people of Gaza, that’s also preferable to Israelis,” he said.

In other words, Israel is once again going to be bullied into a ceasefire after universal obloquy from the usual suspects, but before she can achieve any of her national defense goals.  Obama can’t seem to get it through his head that it takes two to tango — and two to make peace.  Constantly forcing Israel to hold back, while doing nothing about the thousands of rockets from Hamas and others (well, not nothing, because Obama does send them lots of taxpayer dollars) is just another example of government picking winners and losers — and in this game, Israel always loses.

Yesterday I posted about how the educated elite is economically ignorant, so today it shouldn’t be surprising that we learn that the educated elite is also ignorant about realities in the Middle East.  Obama is simply the most visible ignoramus on the subject.  Barry Rubin focuses on the foolish mentality Obama displays:  namely, that Israel is totally entitled to defend herself, provided that she doesn’t do anything . . . you know, defensive.

One of the things I love about my conservative friends is that, contrary to the stereotypes the Left likes to propagate, they truly respect Israel — and it’s not just because they want all the Jews packed back into that small nation in order to facilitate the Second Coming and subsequent destruction of the Jewish nation.  This canard, incidentally, is one of liberal Jews’ deepest suspicions about philosemitic Christians.  Instead, true conservatives are people who value individual liberty and economic freedom, and they recognize what the elites refuse to see; namely, that this beleaguered Middle Eastern nation is a bastion of humanism in a dark, cruel, Islamo/Marxist region.

Richard Baehr points out that one of Israel’s problems is that the media and the Left (to the extent there’s any difference) completely ignore the dark cruelties that are integral to Islamic nations today, ranging from starvation in Egypt to civil war in Syria to attacks on sovereign U.S. territory in Libya.  Instead, the media focuses obsessively on the small number of civilian deaths Israel tries so desperately to avoid, against an enemy that deliberately places its most vulnerable citizens in the softest targets.

Jay Gaskill tries to give the media a reality check:  the problem isn’t Israel, the problem is an aggressive Islamism that has been pushing against and probing at the non-Muslim world since Mohamed first ordered it to do so.  Given that this last election proved that the media has deep, strong tentacles into the American psyche, as long as it cannot distinguish cause from effect and predator from prey, both America and Israel are in great danger.

Not everyone thinks that Israel’s imminent incursions into Gaza will be disastrous.  Jonathan Spyer argues that the Islamists aren’t truly ready for the fight they picked.  Instead, they’re acting from a burst of hubris brought about by Obama’s reelection.  According to Spyer, Hamas acted too soon because the Arab Spring effectively bankrupted Egypt, which is now dependent on American and other Western dollars to keep its citizens from starving.  As long as the West wants to avoid all-out war in the Middle East, it can put economic pressure on Egypt, which will then put pressure on Hamas.

Okay, I’m done with the Middle East, but no Bookworm Room political post would be complete without some Obama bad-mouthing.  I don’t like the man.  It’s not just his Leftist policies and ignorance.  It’s him.  I find his narcissism and egotism repellent and dangerous.  So does Neo-Neocon.

And finally, on a lighter note, Joel Pollak has some advice for surviving the holidays if you find yourself with liberal relatives.  I’m fortunate in that my relatives, like me, have also made the transition from unthinking Leftist Jews to thoughtful Jewish conservatives.  For me, the Thanksgiving holidays mean a restful time in the company of intelligent, fun, like-minded people.

 

Mosab Hassan Yousef — a portrait of moral clarity and raw courage

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.

The MSM: Telling a story in reverse chronological order so as to harm Israel

With a few stellar exceptions, the best way to tell a story is in chronological order.  This is because, in the real world, cause and effect matter.  I suspect that the AP knows this is true, which is why they had their latest report from the Middle East start with the effect (Israeli airstrikes) and the loop back, very reluctantly, to the cause (Hamas terror attacks on civilian centers):

Israel pounded Gaza for the second day in a row Saturday, trading airstrikes and rocket fire with Palestinian militants and killing 15 of them as the deadliest Gaza violence in over a year showed no signs of abating.

Despite Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire, Palestinians fired more than 100 rockets, some striking major cities in southern Israel and seriously wounding an Israeli civilian. The military responded with more than a dozen airstrikes and the targeted killings of Palestinian militants from various Gaza organizations.

Israel’s lauded Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted more than 25 projectiles. Still, residents were told to stay close to home and the cities of Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon called off school for Sunday.

Tit-for-tat exchanges between Israel and Palestinians have been routine since the 2009 war, but a flare-up of this intensity is rare. The Arab League called the Israeli attacks a “massacre.” The United Nations and the State Department condemned the violence and called on both sides to exercise restraint.

Relativism and dishonesty are normative in the media.

A Muslim sponsored letter to free Gilad — not just too late, but amoral (immoral?) too.

Five years after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, a period during which he has been completely invisible and denied any access to humanitarian agencies, a small handful of American Muslims has finally decided to say something:

The Aug. 26 letter’s 11 signatories include the two Muslim members of Congress — Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) — as well as Muslim academics and communal figures.

“We believe Hamas’ harsh treatment and five-year detention of Shalit is wrong,” the Muslim leaders wrote in their letter, which was addressed to Khaled Mashal, the Syrian-based chairman of Hamas’ political bureau.

I admit that I’m a literalist when it comes to analyzing documents.  Sometimes I get so tangled in specifics that I lose sight of the big picture.  It’s a sad fact, too, that a lot of people are lousy writers.

All of which is to say that, when I read that excerpt, I understand it to mean, not that the letter’s authors believe kidnapping was wrong but, rather, that they are concerned that Hamas has taken it too far.  Had Hamas treated Shalit a little less harshly (and since Shalit has been hidden, who really knows how he’s been treated?), and if Shalit had been held only, maybe, three or four years, instead of five . . . no problemo.  As phrased, the excerpt indicates that as Ellison and Co. think that Hamas started off with a good idea, but that it’s handled the thing so maladroitly that it’s become embarrassing.

As I said, I’m a literalist, and most people are bad writers, but that’s what the letter, taken literally, says.

(Hat tip:  Sadie)

Probing questions for the useful idiots aboard the Hamas Flotilla — by guest blogger Lulu

  1. Are you aware that Iran was caught smuggling weapons into Gaza?
  2. Do you think Israelis have any legitimate reason to be concerned that Hamas may try to receive weapons via boat?
  3. Did you know that Hamas activists have shot about 4000 rockets into southern Israel since Israel withdrew form Gaza?
  4. Does that trouble you?
  5. Do you think it is possible that weapons might have been aboard your ship?
  6. Here are pictures of an Israeli soldiers being beaten with metal poles, another held behind a door by armed guards, and another lying in a pool of his own blood. How do you reconcile this with the concept of peace advocacy?
  7. There has been much news made of Helen Thomas’ statement essentially stating that she believes Israel should be ethnically cleansed of Jews. Do you share that sentiment?
  8. Do you think Israel has a legitimate right to exist? What about Australia? New Zealand? Canada? The United States? Jordan? Pakistan?
  9. Is there a reason you don’t object to living in the United States when you are not a Native American?
  10. If Israelis are killed by weapons brought into Gaza because you succeed in ending the blockade would you feel morally responsible?
  11. What is your opinion of suicide bombings?
  12. As a peace activist would you be willing to advocate for the release of Gilad Shalit who has been totally denied his human rights for the past 4 years, denied any contact with the Red
  13. Cross or anyone else, and held in unknown conditions by Hamas?
  14. Would you be willing to visit Israel and hear their side of the story?
  15. Are you aware that Hamas’ charter calls for the mass murder of Israelis and Jews?
  16. How do you explain your support of this murderous regime while still claiming to be for peace?
  17. If Israel were ethnically cleansed where do you propose the Israelis should go?
  18. Where do you suggest Jews with ancestry from Arab lands that do not accept Jewish residents should go?
  19. What about those Israelis whose families have lived in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the land of Israel for thousands of years?
  20. Do you like Jews?

(Bookworm here: What do you think the odds are that any news journal will ask the useful idiots these questions?)