Two stories about guns, each showing that the issue is how they’re used, rather than their existence

First, from the NRA, a really solid video about women and guns:

The point, of course, is that guns without people are simply inanimate objects.

Second, an article about the use to which Palestinians put guns — training their children to kill Israelis.

Guns aren’t the issue. Culture is.

Catharsis versus celebration — pictures of the corpse

If you’re not squeamish, you might want to wander over to Dan Riehl’s blog, where he has posted a very graphic picture that is alleged to be of Tamarlan Tsarnaev’s bloodied corpse, complete with a gaping hole in the side put there by doctors trying to save him (or, perhaps, to hasten the inevitable).

The picture’s interesting, but what’s more interesting is what the Boston police had to say about it:

The image of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dead and naked on a slab, snapped by an unknown person, was e-mailed repeatedly by law enforcement officers Friday.

“Suspect 1” was written above the gruesome picture.

Seeing a photo of one of the Marathon bombing suspects dead was cathartic, said one law enforcement official who saw the picture.

Passing it around was a rare chance “to revel” while other officers searched for Tsarnaev’s brother, Dzhokhar, the official said. “Mission accomplished. We’re halfway there. Justice is served.”

I sympathize completely with the police.  They are experiencing the warriors’ subdued, albeit cathartic, pleasure in seeing dead someone who planted a bomb that, mere days before, killed three people and horribly wounded dozens of others, and who hours before had killed one of their own (correction:  killed two of their own).

In this regard, I believe that the police’s response, and their covert circulation amongst themselves of something that’s not quite a war trophy, but is a proof of success, is completely distinguishable from the Muslims in Gaza (a place that Boston liberals strongly support) who danced in the streets and handed out candy to celebrate the death of an 8-year-old boy among others.  Wildly, joyously celebrating an innocent’s death, even if the death occurs in what you perceive as a war, is barbaric.  There’s no other word for it.

A civilized nation will do what it needs to do to win a defensive war, but it never loses sight of its morality.  It mourns the innocents, even as it acknowledges that their deaths may be necessary.  Having said that, though, I think any law enforcement or military that has engaged in a fierce battle is entitled to have proof positive that its direct enemy — the one firing bullets and throw bombs at it — is actually dead.  That’s cathartic, not immoral or barbaric.

NYT’s guest columnist Stanley Fish engages in Orwellian doublethink to justify BDS speakers at Brooklyn College *UPDATED*

[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.]

BDS and terrorism

BDS is a movement perfectly aligned with genocidal anti-American and anti-Israel organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah

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“?

Nazis boycott Jewish stores

The original BDS movement — Nazis boycott Jewish goods

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.

Monday already? Well, there’s good stuff out there.

William Kristol and Peter Wehner, even though using the polite language of statesmen, have delivered a scathing indictment against our absent commander in chief.  Considering that Obama is indeed the CIC, court-martial for dereliction of duty doesn’t seem unreasonable.  Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll even get impeachment.

I know that, for many, the Constitution these days is just passé.  (I mean, if the leader of the House Dems can’t understand it, who can?)  David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman try to resuscitate that vital document in the context of the Left attack on the right to bear arms.

Roger Simon deftly ties together Dr. Benjamin Carson and the racism that still poisons the heart of the Democrat party.

Upon hearing the Pope Benedict is retiring, CNN has leaped into the fray with inchoate conspiracy theories and claims that the child abuse scandal is driving Benedict out.  I have absolutely no doubt, though, that the Pope spoke the truth when he said his health, mental and physical, is the reason he is retiring.  One of the things I’ve seen watching my Mom and her friends age is that, just as the first 18 or so years of a person’s life are a time of incredibly rapid change, so too are the years after 80 for most people (and Benedict is 85).  For my mother, her 80th birthday was like stepping off a cliff — within months, she went from vital elderly, to decrepit old. And it’s not just my Mom.  It’s the norm at her retirement home.  Just as the very young grow up at warp speed, the very old age at warp speed.  I think that Benedict is wise to arrange for an orderly transition and, even more important in these times, is making sure to have a say in the Papacy’s future direction.

Had it been an injured Israel, the Palestinians would have ripped him to shreds and bathed their hands in his blood.  Because it was an injured Palestinian, the Israeli Defense Force acted rapidly to save his life.

If Wolf Howling writes it, it’s good.  So when he turns his eye to the subject of the Obama administration’s war on children and family, with ammunition supplied by ObamaCare, you know it’s a post you’ll want to read.

Have you guys come across anything interesting?  This is an Open Thread.

Is it the end of the world as we know it, or just a new phase in the battle for America’s soul?

I’ve had the same ten tabs open in Firefox this entire day.  I feel like a madman, trying to create order out of the chaos in my mind.  I’m convinced that there’s a thread tying together these articles, but I can’t figure out precisely what that thread is.  Maybe it’s just that each is another indicator that we’re starting to slide very quickly down some slippery slope, and I don’t think that we’re in for a soft landing.

Here are the articles, which I present in the order the presented themselves to me as I read through my normal websites and my email today.  If you can catch the elusive thread tying them together, please let me know.

***

I admire Jack Cashill greatly.  He’s a smart man and a superb investigator.  Nevertheless, I’ve long thought he had something of a bee in his bonnet with his insistence that TWA Flight 800 was anything more than a tragic disaster.  Now that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of watching the Obama administration work with the media to cover up events in Benghazi in order to salvage his reelection, however, I’m much more inclined to believe Cashill’s theory about the 1996 plane explosion — namely, that it was a terrorist attack, possibly of Iranian origination, and that Clinton and the media covered it up in order to secure his reelection.

***

I know this sounds callous, but I think that the only way to save America is to let Obama take it off the cliff.  Here’s my thinking regarding the “fiscal cliff” talks:  The Republicans have three choices:  (1) compromise; (2) stonewall; and (3) walk away.  If they compromise, they’ve lost, as a smugly victorious Obama clearly is not in a compromising mood.  He knows that, once the Republicans are a party to any economic plans, no matter how minimal or reluctant their participation, they will get the blame when things inevitably go wrong (or, in the unlikely event things go right, Obama will get all the credit). The Republicans will be irreparably smeared and become irrelevant.

If Republicans stonewall, the exact same thing will happen:  the media will blame them for anything that goes wrong, and give Obama credit for anything that might stay right.  And as this election showed, Americans listen to the media, despite knowing that it lies and conceals.

The only thing left for Republicans is to tell both Obama and the American voters, “The voters wanted Obama and his economic plans, so they shall get them.  We wash our hands of this.”  If things go well, then Republicans will have to accept that their policies are wrong.  If things go badly — and I suspect that they will, and quickly too — Republicans will finally have a convincing platform from which to sell true fiscal conservativism, rather than once again being enablers for Progressive profligacy. That platform, I believe, is the only thing that can return America to her status as a light of freedom and constitutional prosperity.

***

California health insurance rates are skyrocketing.  The usual suspects are blaming the insurance companies for having the temerity to want to earn enough money to pay their employees, pay-out to their insureds, and have money for stockholders (who are, after all, the ultimate owners of these companies).  You and I knew that this was inevitable under ObamaCare, since people no longer need to buy insurance when they’re healthy, but can wait until they’re sick.  And we knew that the media would blame the insurance companies — just as we know that, if there’s a single Republican fingerprint on any budget plan, the Republicans will get the entire blame for any failures.  Being a Progressive means never having to acknowledge that you’re culpable.

***

Speaking of the appalling, biased media, the IDF provides a detailed glimpse into the way the media and the Palestinians work hand-in-hand to destroy Israel, both in the battlefield and in the war for hearts and minds around the world.

***

It’s official:  Harvard will have a student society dedicated to S & M (that’s “sadism and masochism” for the innocents among you). Please remind me why Harvard is still considered a respectable educational institution, worth the millions of dollars taxpayers that send to it, both by funding direct federal grants and by picking up the costs of all the taxpayer-guaranteed loans its students conveniently forget to pay upon graduation.

***

Yes, Susan Rice is every bit as bad as you think she is — and it has nothing to do with her skin color and everything to do with her personality, political ideology, and ugly track record.

***

One of my high school friends calls himself a life-long conservative, something I did not know about him back in high school.  I think, though, that he could more accurately be summed up as a libertarian, since he is not at all a social conservative.  To that end, he’s expressed dismay with the increasingly high profile of fervently religious candidates in the Republican party.  He’s wondering if he can twist himself around to believe in the Democrat party, which he sees as non-religious.  I countered his concerns by sending him Dennis Prager’s article explaining that socialism is not just a religion, it’s currently the world’s most dynamic religion.  I recognize that the Republican party can be weak and pathetic, and that it is too often made up of RINOs or true ignoramuses who hide behind religion to excuse that ignorance.  Nevertheless, my friend needs to understand that the alternative is worse.

***

One of my long-time peeves (and one of the things that turned me to conservativism) is the way that Progressives mangled Title IX, which was, in relevant part, supposed to remove hurdles to women’s participation in college sports.  Equality of access?  It’s a good thing.  What Progressives have done, though, is to demand perfect equality of numbers.  Because college women have stubbornly refused to participate in college athletics at the same rate as college men, the only way to achieve this artificial parity is to slash men’s athletic programs.  James Taranto explains here, and makes us fully aware of yet another travesty inflicted on America thanks to Progressive politics.

***

And finally, it wasn’t your imagination that, for the first time in America, the 2012 election was openly predicated upon socialist class warfare. Just to make it official, a top Democrat political action group (conveniently working with George Soros funds) has started a website explicitly dedicated to class warfare.

***

So, was I right?  Is the common thread to these links the dissolution of America at every level?

I’m sorry if I sound bipolar.  Yesterday I was enthusing about the possibility of an American Margaret Thatcher and today I’m talking about imminent Armageddon.  The latter is how I feel; the former is how I want to feel.

In any event, I’m not sure one can ever fight a battle unless one simultaneously fears the opponent and feels optimistic about ones own abilities. In other words, success requires an honest assessment of the forces arrayed against you, as well as the belief that it is possible to prevail.  Without that belief, why bother to fight?

This and that, from here and there — the good and the evil from today’s news

There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing someone slice and dice Paul Krugman’s latest idiocies.  Randall Hoven does a magnificent job.  The only sad thing about it is that he’s preaching to the choir.  The ones who really should read his article — namely, the ones who think Krugman is actually smart and honest — will resolutely turn their eyes away from anything that doesn’t bear the liberal media’s imprimatur.

***

I’ve been feeling smug because, next month, I’m going into San Francisco to hear Stephen Moore speak about his new book, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America. I’m feeling even more smug now, because the inestimable Thomas Sowell gives it the highest possible praise:

If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

Now I’ve added excitement to my previously existing smugness.

***

There’s something wrong with America when it’s Germany that leads the way in announcing that it will not back the formation of a Palestinian state at the UN.  Germany’s absolutely right, of course.  The Palestinians, despite getting Gaza to themselves, have done nothing to create even a semblance of a state.  They have no civil structure, no law, and no economy other than handouts from other nations.  All they’ve got is a thriving genocide-centered terrorism industry.  I wonder when Susan Rice, who currently does occupy the position of the U.S.’s ambassador to the UN, will get on board with this one.

***

Speaking of Rice, Republicans on Capitol Hill, and those few RINOs to whom the media grants access, are again allowing themselves to be silenced by the strident Progressive/Democrat bleat that they are “racist” for opposing Susan Rice’s possible nomination to be Secretary of State.  As for me, I hadn’t realized Rice was black.  I’ve seen her pictures, but I just assumed she was darker of complexion than I am.

Frankly, everyone is darker of complexion than I am.  When I was a baby in my stroller, my mom stepped onto an elevator that already held a woman and her young child.  The woman took one look at me, and then pulled her child towards herself, saying “Say away from that baby, Amanda.  She’s a very sick baby.”  I was not sick.  That was me in the pink of health.  I just assumed that Rice was really healthy.  That she self-identifies as black actually surprised me.

But back to the topic at hand, which is the real reasons Rice is unqualified for the post of Secretary of State.  (Although I will say that anyone who takes on the job from Hillary Clinton is in the fortunate position of having  very little shoes to fill.)  For those who lose their brain power every time the word “racist” comes from the Democrat party, Joel Pollak has assembled a list of the top ten substantive reasons to oppose her nomination.  Because I wasn’t really paying attention in the 90s, I didn’t realize that her habit of lying to protect the Democrats is an old habit:

9. Refused to call Rwanda genocide a “genocide,” for political reasons. According to Obama advisor Samantha Power, Rice urged the Clinton administration not to call the Rwandan genocide what it was, for fear of the political impact on U.S. congressional elections in 1994. She and others worked to sanitize references to the genocide, scrubbing government memos to remove words such as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

The other facts in the top ten list are equally damning.  It’s not Rice’s dark skin that means she’s not fit to serve.  It’s her absence of any sort of moral compass.

***

And finally, while we’re on the topic of people lacking a moral compass, here’s a short primer on all of the photo and video fraud that Hamas and its media enablers were able to propagate during a conflict that lasted a mere seven days:

***

Consider this an Open Thread, and feel free to add your own interesting comments and links.

When the combatants are morally unequal, it is immoral to treat them in the same way

One of the really icky things about the Left is that it lacks a moral compass.  There is no good or evil.  There are only evil haves and victimized have-nots.

In a sane moral universe, cultural arbiters would readily be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in the Middle East.  The good guys are the ones that give equal rights to all religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, or Atheist.  The bad guys are the ones that impose horrific burdens on those who do not follow the bad guys’ faith, with those burdens ranging from increased taxes, exile from the land of their ancestors, beatings, and mass murder.

The good guys are the ones that do not torture or kill people because of their sexual orientation.  The bad guys are the ones who routinely torture and hang gay men.

The good guys are the ones who acknowledge that women are fully equal to men, and are therefore entitled to both respect and civil rights.  The bad guys are the ones who view women as inherently evil, lascivious, stupid, and dangerous and, to that end segregate them; dehumanize them through clothing; institutionalize pedophilia; mutilate them; deprive them of basic freedoms, liberties, and rights; and turn any of their infractions, whether criminal or social, into capital crimes.

The good guys are the ones who put into place a defense system that allows them to suffer through thousands of rocket attacks before making the decision to retaliate and who, when they retaliate, will abort solid attacks against known targets if they realize that children are in the line of fire.  The bad guys are the ones who take land for peace, only to break their bargain immediately and rain rockets down upon the opposite entity in the exchange.  And the bad guys are the one who view children as both targets and shields, because they care more about propaganda than lives.

In a sane world, if these two entities went to war because the good guys got tired of years of being the bad guys’ target practice, coverage would be much like the news was in the years leading up to and during WWII:  the good guys would be praised and supported, while the bad guys would be excoriated.  Back in those days, the media knew that the Allies had some bad individuals amongst them and that there were Axis soldiers who were forced to fight and hated what they did.  The media understoid the fundmentak difference, though, between the Axis powers and the Allies — the latter was a healthy society fighting against a sick one before the sick society’s cancer could spread.

Those days of sanity are over.  The media hasn’t gone quite so far as to pretend that the bad guys — the Palestinians, the Iranians, and the Islamists — are actually fighting a good fight.  They do something much more insidious, because only people who pay attention are aware — as Dennis Prager explains, they pretend that the two sides are the same:

[A]n evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.

How has the New York Times reported this?

On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column-wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.

What possible reason could there be for the New York Times to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.

The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers! Virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.

If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.

The Times technique works only too well.  Just today, one of the women in my mother’s retirement community said that none of this would happen if the Israelis would just give Gaza back to the Palestinians.  She was surprised when my mother told her that Israel had already done this years ago, only to be rewarded with a barrage of rockets.  The MSM, which this lady watches assiduously, failed to make that point clear.

Prager’s conclusion, after giving more examples of the Times inability to understand moral absolutes, is the same as that with which I started this post:

As the flagship news source of the Left, the New York Times reveals the great moral failing inherent to leftism — its combination of moral relativism and the division of the world between strong and weak, Western and non-Western, and rich and poor rather than between good and evil.

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 truth about Palestinian refugees

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