Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yahad-In Unum

17 months ago: A member of French priest Patrick Desbois' team shows a bullet casing which he found in Bogdanokva, the site of the biggest mass extermination of Jews in Soviet Ukraine, in Bogdanovka, Ukraine, July 16, 2007. Over a period of three weeks in late December 1941 and early January 1942 _ with a break for Christmas _ 48,000 Jews were executed in Bogdanovka.

In contrast with the ultra-traditionalists comprising the SSPX, whose members as recently as January, 2009, have referred to the Jewish people as a people of deicide, and whose first order adherents have made public statements trivializing the Holocaust, we may juxtapose the example of Fr. Patrick Desbois whose work documenting the scope of the Holocaust in the Ukraine during WWII, presents evidence too graphic and solid to impeach.

Again it is deeply regrettable that Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of this sect. While there is something to be said for the Latin mass, the public statements and political associations of SSPX first order clerics displays a strain of anti-Semitism and xenophobia that is truly medieval in its colorings. That SSPX's exculpatory letters and statements regarding Bishop Williamson's statements fall short of retraction and disavowal betrays a disingenuousness to pronouncements that anti-Semitism is incompatible with the type of Catholicism SSPX espouses and practices.

Some readers have written that the John Crossan post on "Who Killed Jesus" (see below) is a past issue and hardly worth returning to. However, one can not help but be both surprised and concerned about the number of times the issue of Jewish Deicide crops up in Christian doctrine amongst the traditionalists as well as the number of times the word Deicide occurs in their open-source pastoral correspondence.

While one my sign an anti-modernist pledge and hove close to pre-1962 liturgy and doctrine, this does not give the spiritual intellect the right to repeat and legitimize historical errors within scripture without seeking to make clear those aspects of the past that were inaccurately known in centuries prior to 1962.

With respect to the Shoah, Fr. Desbois' work stands as an example of how far society still must travel in order to understand the full impact of genocide and anti-Semitism. Here is a recent article on Fr. Desbois' book:

Priest uncovering beginnings of Final Solution

KIEV, Ukraine — The Holocaust has a landscape engraved in the mind's eye: barbed-wire fences, gas chambers, furnaces.

Less known is the "Holocaust by Bullets," in which over 2 million Jews were gunned down in towns and villages across Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Their part in the Nazis' Final Solution has been under-researched, their bodies left unidentified in unmarked mass graves.

"Shoah," French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann's documentary, stands as the 20th century's epic visual record of the Holocaust. Now another Frenchman, a Catholic priest named Patrick Desbois, is filling in a different part of the picture.

Desbois says he has interviewed more than 800 eyewitnesses and pinpointed hundreds of mass graves strewn around dusty fields in the former Soviet Union. The result is a book, "The Holocaust by Bullets," and an exhibition through March 15 at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Brought to Ukraine by a twist of fate, Desbois has spent seven years trying to document the truth, honor the dead, relieve witnesses of their pain and guilt and prevent future acts of genocide.

Some 1.4 million of Soviet Ukraine's 2.4 million Jews were executed, starved to death or died of disease during the war. Another 550,000-650,000 Soviet Jews were killed in Belarus and up to 140,000 in Russia, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Most of the victims were women, children and the elderly.

Begun after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the slaughter by bullets was the opening phase of what became the Nazis' Final Solution with its factories of death operating in Auschwitz and other camps, all in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Desbois devotes his 233-page book, published by Palgrave Macmillan in August, to his work in Ukraine, where he says he has uncovered over 800 mass extermination sites, more than two-thirds of them previously unknown.

Since the book was written, he has expanded his search for mass graves into Belarus and plans to look early this year in areas of Russia that were occupied by the Germans.

Sometimes bursting into tears, old men and women from poor Ukrainian villages recount to Desbois how women, children and elders were marched or carted in from neighboring towns to be shot, burned to death or buried alive by German troops, Romanian forces, squads of local Ukrainian collaborators and local ethnic German volunteers.

Even then, it was methodical, Desbois' research shows. First, Germans would arrive in a town or village and gather intelligence on how best to transport the victims to extermination sites, where to execute them and how to dispose of their bodies.

"It was done as systematically as it was done elsewhere," said John Paul Himka, an expert on the Holocaust and Ukraine at the University of Alberta in Canada, who is not connected to Desbois' work. "You can read as they're figuring out best way to do this, the best way to shoot ... it's absolutely systematic, no accident here."

Desbois' interviews and grave-hunting tie in to millions of pages of Soviet archives, heightening their credibility, says Paul Shapiro, of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum who wrote the foreword to Desbois' book.

Father Desbois' work is also having an impact on efforts to preserve Holocaust sites. In December, the 26-nation International Task Force on the Holocaust called on European governments to ensure the protection of locations such as the mass graves Desbois is uncovering, according to Shapiro, who helped draft the resolution.

Among Desbois' key findings is the widespread use of local children to help bury the dead, wait on the German soldiers during meals and remove gold teeth and other valuables from the bodies. His work has also yielded evidence that the killings were most frequently carried out in the open, in daylight and in a variety of ways — shooting victims, throwing them alive into bonfires, walling up a group of Jews in a cellar that wasn't opened until 12 years later.

Desbois' witnesses are mostly Orthodox Christian, and he comes to them as a priest, dressed in black and wearing a clerical collar, taking in their pain and trying to ease their suffering. Many have never before talked about their experiences.

In the village of Ternivka, some 200 miles south of Kiev where 2,300 Jews were killed, a frail, elderly woman, who identified herself only as Petrivna, revealed the unbearable task the Nazis imposed on her.

The young schoolgirl saw her Jewish neighbors thrown into a large pit, many still alive and convulsing in agony. Her task was to trample on them barefoot to make space for more. One of those she had to tread on was a classmate.

"You know, we were very poor, we didn't have shoes," Petrivna told Desbois in a single breath, her body twitching in pain, Desbois writes in his book. "You see, it is not easy to walk on bodies."

Desbois, 53, a short, soft-spoken man with dark, thinning hair, says the stories give him nightmares. The most difficult is "to bear the horrors that the witnesses tell me, because often the people are simple, very kind and want to tell me everything," Desbois said in a phone interview while on a trip to western Ukraine.

"You have to be able to listen, to accept, to bear this horror," said Desbois. "I am not here to judge the people's guilt, we are here to know what happened."

Desbois' small team includes a translator, a researcher, a mapping expert, a ballistics specialist and a video and photo crew. He often joins his witnesses in their homes, leaving his shoes outside. He tends to a peasant's cow while the man tells his story.

Desbois has deep personal roots in his project, dating to 2002, when he first visited Ukraine to see the place where his grandfather was interned as a French prisoner in World War II.

When he arrived, the locals told him of a stream of blood that had run from the site where the Jews were executed and of a dismembered woman hanging from a tree after the Nazis threw a grenade in a pit full of people. When he was offered a visit to more villages, he did not hesitate.

"I am in a hurry to find all the bones, to establish the truth and justice so that the world can know what happened and that the Germans never left a tiny village in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia without killing Jews there."

The Holocaust is a divisive topic here because some Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazis. Jewish groups are grateful for Desbois' efforts and lament the lack of government support for his and other Holocaust research and education programs.

"As a Ukrainian citizen and a Ukrainian historian it pains me ... that there is no policy of national remembrance," said Anatoly Podolsky, head of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies. "We are not responsible for the past but we are responsible for remembering."

Desbois leads a French association, Yahad-In Unum (the Hebrew and Latin words for "together"), which was founded by Catholics and Jews to heal the wounds between the two faiths. He believes that as a Catholic priest talking to Orthodox believers about the killing of their Jewish neighbors his work advances that healing mission.

"The book is meant so that people know ... that a genocide is simply people killing people," Desbois said. "My book is also an act of prevention of future acts of genocide."


Randy Herschaft reported from New York.


On the Net:

The Holocaust by Bullets book site:

Yahad-In Unum:

Museum of Jewish Heritage: http:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Law and Ordure

[Attorney-General Janet Napolitano]
Napolitano's measure to summarily deport immigrant criminals may be fully justified but it IS anti-immigrant. Immigrants have just as much right to commit crimes in America as Americans do.

But starting a campaign against immigrant criminals instead of against criminals in general is politically impeccable. Even the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who made San Francisco a 'Sanctuary City', would be hard pressed to say a word in favor of immigrant criminals. It just demonstrates that Napolitano is no idiot and has chosen a good wedge issue.

There is an echo of the career of Nicholas Sarkozy here. During the riots in Paris in 2005, the official heir-apparent to Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Dominique Villepin, was saying mealy-mouthed sympathetic things about the poor rioters and their plight that would have driven them to burn cars and attack the police all over the suburban periphery of the city. The violence went on for almost two weeks.

The upstart Minister of the Interior at the time, Sarkozy, announced that firehoses would be used by the police, and was decried as a fascist by the press. so it didn't happen. Finally he announced that any immigrant conivicted of a crime would be deported to his home country
whether he was legally in France or not. The rioting stopped that very day.

One smart aleck blogster (me) noted that the mainly Muslim rioters hated France enough to burn it down, but not enough to leave it.

In the subsequent election not even all Chirac's power and influence over his own party was enough to get the nomination for the weasel Villepin. Meanwhile the Socialists, typically of them, had a series of debates and party conferences and convoluted compromise resolutions about whether it was OK for the rioters to burn down parts of Paris.

Sarkozy won handily and is the most pro-American and pro-Israel President of France since the Fourth Republic. Which is to say, whatever the press' sympathy for the downtrodden immigrants, they have no traction and risk their own credibility to defend immigrant criminals.

Believe me, if a yahoo like me can figure this out, Janet Napolitano was born knowing it.

Coming Soon

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This isn't funny, it's an age test

While We Looked Away for a Moment

Newegg is selling a 1 terabyte hard drive for less than a hundred dollars. That's terabyte with a 'T'.

Haaretz: Linguistic Balance and Symmetry

An IDF jeep that was damaged in a bomb attack Tues. near the Gaza border in which a soldier was killed and three others were wounded.

Here is how the Israeli source, Haaretz, reported this same event presented by the NYT article of the IDF soldier killed in action:

IAF strikes Gaza after IDF soldier killed near border

“The incident near the border was the first deadly attack carried out by Palestinian militants since a cease-fire went into effect in the coastal strip 10 days ago.”

“The soldier, who served as an NCO in the army, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near an Israel Defense Forces patrol along the Gaza border, near the Kissufim crossing.”

And here is how the same Israeli source reported the Palestinian killed during the Israeli military response to the Palestinian attack:

“A Palestinian was reportedly killed in ensuing clashes between IDF soldiers and Gaza militants in the area. Heavy gunfire was audible along the border in central Gaza and Israeli helicopters hovered in the air, firing bursts from their machine guns, Palestinian witnesses said.”

There is much more balance and symmetry in the use of verbs and no use of passive voice ambiguity to spin reader perceptions, ever so subtly, as in the NYT piece describing the same event.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All the News That's Fit to Print

from the New York Times today --
After 10 days of relative calm following the cease-fires that halted the Gaza war, violence flared on Tuesday after the Israeli soldier died and Israeli troops mounted incursions into Gaza that killed one Palestinian and wounded another.
Notice that the violence "flared" like a fire that was almost out. No one actually consciously did anything to deliberately violate the ceasefire, certainly not the Palestinian who pulled the trigger nor the mullah who told him to.

Notice too that the Israeli soldier "died". Perhaps from a heart attack? From cholera? Certainly not from Palestinian gunfire. By contrast the Palestinians were "killed" and "wounded" by Israeli troops.

Modern Times

[Joseph Ratzinger in his Hitler Youth uniform]

On January 16th Pope Benedict XVI withdrew the excommunication of the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X, commonly known as the Lefevrists or SSPX, welcoming them back into the Catholic Church.

They are, by reputation at least, largely unreconstructed Vichy-era anti-Semites. One of them, Bishop Williams of England is an outspoken Holocaust denier. Notably, no penance or conditions were imposed.

Just as we are to believe in many coincidences rather than in the existence of Jew-hatred, surely this action and Pope Benedict's early membership in the Hitler Youth and his subsequent career are also a coincidence.

Presumably Ireland's foreign policy will be adjusted to reflect this new coincidence.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Irish Scholar John Dominic Crossan Investigates Who Killed Jesus

Dr. John Dominic Crossan

Excerpted from John Dominic Crossan's website:

The death of Jesus is one of the most hotly debated questions in Christianity today. In his massive and highly publicized The Death of the Messiah, Raymond Brown - while clearly rejecting anti-Semitism - never questions the essential historicity of the passion stories. Yet it is these stories, in which the Jews decide Jesus' execution, that have fueled centuries of Christian anti-Semitism.

Now, in his most controversial book, John Dominic Crossan shows that this traditional understanding of the Gospels as historical fact is not only wrong but dangerous. Drawing on the best of biblical, anthropological, sociological and historical research, he demonstrates definitively that it was the Roman government that tried and executed Jesus as a social agitator. Crossan also candidly addresses such key theological questions as "Did Jesus die for our sins?" and "Is our faith in vain if there was no bodily resurrection?"

Ultimately, however, Crossan's radical reexamination shows that the belief that the Jews killed Jesus is an early Christian myth (directed against rival Jewish groups) that must be eradicated from authentic Christian faith. [Blurb from John Crossan’s website]

Link to PDF of first chapter:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How I Have Kept My Ouevre Concise

[Click on cartoon for larger image.]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ireland Expresses Condolences - May 1945

[Click on the image to read the letter]

The above image purports to be a primary source document in the form of a letter written by the United States Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. David Gray, expressing his concern regarding a breach of diplomatic protocol.

Ambassador Gray served in this capacity from 15 April 1940 to 24 June 1947. He was an Uncle through marriage to Elanore Roosevelt and may have been more sensitive to this slight than others in his position.

This document image, as well as several others from different sources that corroborate this event, are availible through the Nation Archives, Ireland ( It should be noted that much of Mr. Walshe's personal correspondence has yet to be released to the public and it is difficult to build a ballanced picture from only a few sources; however, given Conor Cruise O'Brian's observations, one can not help but wonder.

In recent biographies of Mr. Joseph P. Walshe, Irish authors report Ambassador Gray's strong bias against Mr. Walshe. Ambassador Gray asserted in official correspondence that Mr. Walshe favored the Axis powers over the Allies during WWII. Against this portrait, Irish historians present the argument that Mr. Walshe presented a nuetral face for Ireland's policy during the war but was secretly pro-Allies in his beliefs.

More research of course needs to be conducted on this subject.

It is difficult, however, to not give weight to the behavior of Ireland's senior diplomat and other state representatives in this symbolic visit to Nazi Germany's ambassador in Dublin.

While it is noted that this visit occurred in May of 1945, and that Ireland has more than a half-century of diplomatic evolution since these events, one wonders what kinds of seeds were sown and what kind of harvest was reaped by politicians and diplomats evidencing this kind of approach.

Was this a simple breach of protocol, or was it a sign of other ideas then current in Irish politics and culture?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Emerald Isle and Emerald City: Ireland, the Vatican, and Palestine

[Image: President Sean T. O'Ceallaigh inspecting the guard. Mr. O'Ceallaigh was President of the Republic of Ireland from 1945-1959 and set the tone for diplomatic relations between Ireland and Israel.]

"If one were to throw a sack of flour over the Irish parliament, it is unlikely that anybody pro-Israeli would get white. Among the 120 members of the Dáil-the Irish parliament's lower house-and the hundred members of the Senate, not one name springs to mind as a regular defender of Israel. There are either those who do not care or pro-Palestinians."

Dr. Rory Miller interview comments (cited from Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Rory Miller, "Irish Attitudes toward Israel," European-Israeli Relations, 181-94).

After reviewing several of the positions that Christy and Damien espouse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one is struck by the similarity of these individuals’ respective view with those of Ireland based Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign: (link:

Much of The Scenic Route’s critique of the politics of the Left and its stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict appears directed at organizations and umbrella groups of this ilk. This site contains links to a wide range of human rights organizations as well as to thinkers and writers on the Israeli Left and Palestinian center. The IPSC, while relatively small, is among the most vocal groups of its type. The page devoted to Irish voices lists a total of three politicians, leaving one with the impression that those politicos willing to back the Hamas position in Irish politics are relatively few in number.

Under the category: The Importance of Ireland’s Role [as an arbitrator?] one may read the following paragraph:

“Irish diplomats and politicians speak with the moral authority derived from our history of peaceful co-existence, cooperation and mutual respect for other peoples and nations of the world since the foundation of our state. Owing to our centuries long struggle for independence and recent experience of conflict resolution, others who long for justice and peace are inspired by the Irish peace process.”
However inspired the world may or may not be with the Irish peace process, the casual observer has every right to examine the record of Irish diplomats and politicians to speak with moral authority on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

It is worth remarking that Ireland, in pursuing its diplomatic role as an international self-styled moral authority, has been in the vanguard of United Nations efforts to speak out on issues of religious intolerance. In an interview conducted by Manfred Gerstenfield with American Law professor Anne Bayefsky, Bayefsky “points out that Ireland has been the EU's leading state on the subject of religious intolerance at the United Nations. Yet it was determined to exclude any mention of anti-Semitism from the 2003 UN resolution on religious intolerance. Ultimately, to avoid a separate motion by Israel, Ireland agreed to include such mention if Israel withdrew its motion, which it did. Yet, the Irish delegation reneged on its promise.” (Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Anne Bayefsky, "The United Nations: Leading Global Purveyor of Anti-Semitism," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 31, 1 April 2005).

While several scholars are quick to observe that this diplomatic behavior smacks of a form of anti-Semitism, one must weigh the possible provenance of such a policy. After all, it is a diplomatic axiom that nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests. On the level of economic exchanges, for example, the record between Ireland and Israel are distinctly more positive.

A quick survey of Irish diplomatic behavior toward Israel since 1948 suggests that there exists a set of biases that require careful and critical examination.
First, in the most recent major example of Ireland's diplomatic attitude toward Israel and Arab terrorism it may be stated that Ireland was one of only three countries, the others being France and Spain, that sought to prevent the EU from declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization. (Rory Miller, Ireland and the Palestine Question, 1948-2004, by, Irish Academic Press, 2005).

By way of aside, the monarchies of Bourbon France and Bourbon Spain each carried titles conferred by the Pope designating the Christian role of these monarchies as temporal powers under a duty to protect Christians. The French monarchs were designated Christianissimus (Most Christian) and the Spanish monarchs were designated Catholicus. The politics of the Spanish reconquest of the Iberian peninsula and the expulsion of the Muslim and Jewish populations therein during the XV and XVI centuries did much to shape the demographics of early modern Palestine. Moreover on the subject of extra-territorial rights concerning the protection of Christians in Muslim lands, particularly in with respect to Ottoman-era Palestine and the city of Jerusalem, France and Spain have served as a Vatican sanctioned Christian state-powers charged with the protection of Christians at the holy places. Here is a summary of the historical legal position of Jerusalem related to the nineteenth-century Ottoman Capitulations as summarize by the Irael Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The Holy Places in the city have often been a matter for dispute. In the 19th century there was bitter controversy when certain European countries extended their protection over the various Christian churches in Palestine, and over their Holy Places. Some of the Powers also established consulates in Jerusalem (France, Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sardinia, Spain and the United States). For the purpose of regulating the status of the various churches at the Holy Places, the Ottoman government published a number of firmans, the most important being that of 1852. This firman dealt with certain Holy Places and determined the powers and rights of the various Churches in those places. This arrangement was generally known as the 'status quo', and has been applied to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and its dependencies, the Convent of Deir al-Sultan, the Sanctuary of the Ascension (on the Mount of Olives), the Tomb of the Virgin Mary (near Gethsemane) in Jerusalem as well as the Church of the Nativity, the Milk Grotto and the Shepherds' Field near Bethlehem.

It is worth hypothesizing the extent to which historical Vatican policy toward the status of Jerusalem has affected the diplomatic relations of these three modern majority Catholic European states, Ireland, France, and Spain with the modern state of Israel.

For the record, the Vatican itself has never backed away from what was essentially a nineteenth-century position supporting the extraterritorial (one would now use the term international) nature of Jerusalem. The Vatican did not offer official recognition to the state of Israel until December 30th, 1993.
The Vatican felt compelled to articulate its position on the extraterritoriality of Jerusalem with the successful formation of the state of Israel in 1948 in two Encyclicals issued by Pope Pius XII (In Multiplicibus, 10/24/1948 and Redemptoris Nostri Cruciatus, 04/15/1949). Below are the relevant excerpts from the 1949 Encyclical:

9. We have never ceased to pray repeatedly for this enduring and genuine peace. And to the end that it might be brought to fruition and permanence at the earliest possible moment, We have already insisted in Our Encyclical letter In Multiplicibus, that the time has come when Jerusalem and its vicinity, where the previous memorials of the Life and Death of the Divine Redeemer are preserved, should be accorded and legally guaranteed an "international" status, which in the present circumstances seems to offer the best and most satisfactory protection for these sacred monuments.

10. We cannot help repeating here the same declaration, encouraged by the thought that it may also serve as an inspiration to Our children. Let them, wherever they are living, use every legitimate means to persuade the rulers of nations, and those whose duty it is to settle this important question, to accord to Jerusalem and its surroundings a juridical status whose stability under the present circumstances can only be adequately assured by a united effort of nations that love peace and respect the right of others.

11. Besides, it is of the utmost importance that due immunity and protection be guaranteed to all the Holy Places of Palestine not only in Jerusalem but also in the other cities and villages as well.

12. Not a few of these places have suffered serious loss and damage owing to the upheaval and devastation of the war. Since they are religious memorials of such moment—objects of veneration to the whole world and an incentive and support to Christian piety—these places should also be suitably protected by definite statute guaranteed by an "international" agreement.
Link to full text:

It is worth consulting the full text of this document. Its redaction fails to mention the state of Israel and its overall points and concerns mirror diplomatic discourse found in official statements made by the governments of France, Spain, and most particularly, Ireland.

Such parallelism between the Vatican positions taken toward Israel and the official and unofficial discourse on the Israel-Palestinian conflict one reads in Irish political tracts suggests that historians would be justified in taking up the important question of Ireland’s role in support of Vatican policy in East Jerulsalem and the extent to which the policy of Ireland toward Jerusalem specifically and toward the state of Israel generally is informed by Vatican positions regarding Holy Sites.

Ireland for example, did not extend immediate recognition to the state of Israel in 1948. Irish policy in this matter appears not to follow and independent source. Rather, Irish policy solidly adheres to Vatican developments. This is illustrated by that government extending to Israel the barest minimum of recognition and only upgraded diplomatic relations when questions arose surrounding Ireland’s application to join the European Union. Thus one finds the very odd diplomatic announcement by Ireland on 25 January 1964 that it had granted de jure recognition to Israel “some time ago.”(note: (note: Stefan Talmon: Recognition of Governments in International Law (1998), p. 73)

But like the Vatican, Ireland withheld full recognition and establishment of full diplomatic relations was slow, very slow (the agreement to establish diplomatic relations was not finalized until 12 December 1974). Lastly, it very curious to note that the Irish government did not approve the opening of the Israeli embassy in Dublin until 14 December 1993, some two weeks prior to the official recognition of the state of Israel by the Vatican. (note: Talmon (1998) p. 73). Again, such diplomatic parallelism is too stark to ignore.

While this is just a brief sketch on a complex topic, the pattern illustrated here indicates that nineteenth-century attitudes (at least 19th century) die a hard death and continue to linger on in forms that are not quite as obvious as one would suspect given the gloss and glitz of our modern media age.

Nothng Changes But the Cover Story

By Mark Steyn
January 10, 2009 12:00 AM

In Toronto, anti-Israel demonstrators yell “You are the brothers of pigs!”, and a protester complains to his interviewer that “Hitler didn’t do a good enough job.”

In Fort Lauderdale, Palestinian supporters sneer at Jews, “You need a big oven, that’s what you need!”

In Amsterdam, the crowd shouts, “Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the gas!”

In Paris, the state-owned TV network France-2 broadcasts film of dozens of dead Palestinians killed in an Israeli air raid on New Year’s Day. The channel subsequently admits that, in fact, the footage is not from January 1st 2009 but from 2005, and, while the corpses are certainly Palestinian, they were killed when a truck loaded with Hamas explosives detonated prematurely while leaving the Jabaliya refugee camp in another of those unfortunate work-related accidents to which Gaza is sadly prone. Conceding that the Palestinians supposedly killed by Israel were, alas, killed by Hamas, France-2 says the footage was broadcast “accidentally.”

In Toulouse, a synagogue is firebombed; in Bordeaux, two kosher butchers are attacked; at the Auber RER train station, a Jewish man is savagely assaulted by 20 youths taunting, “Palestine will kill the Jews;” in Villiers-le-Bel, a Jewish schoolgirl is brutally beaten by a gang jeering, “Jews must die.”

In Helsingborg, the congregation at a Swedish synagogue takes shelter as a window is broken and burning cloths thrown in; in Odense, principal Olav Nielsen announces that he will no longer admit Jewish children to the local school after a Dane of Lebanese extraction goes to the shopping mall and shoots two men working at the Dead Sea Products store; in Brussels, a Molotov cocktail is hurled at a Belgian synagogue; in Antwerp, lit rags are pushed through the mail flap of a Jewish home; and, across the Channel, “youths” attempt to burn the Brondesbury Park Synagogue.

In London, the police advise British Jews to review their security procedures because of potential revenge attacks. The Sun reports “fears” that “Islamic extremists” are drawing up a “hit list” of prominent Jews, including the Foreign Secretary, Amy Winehouse’s record producer, and the late Princess of Wales’s divorce lawyer. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Islamic non-extremists from the British Muslim Forum, the Islamic Foundation and other impeccably respectable “moderate” groups have warned the government that the Israelis’ “disproportionate force” in Gaza risks inflaming British Muslims, “reviving extremist groups,” and provoking “UK terrorist attacks” — not against Amy Winehouse’s record producer and other sinister members of the International Jewish Conspiracy but against targets of, ah, more general interest.

Forget, for the moment, Gaza. Forget that the Palestinian people are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth. For the past sixty years they have been entrusted to the care of the United Nations, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas and the “global community” — and the results are pretty much what you’d expect. You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the UN refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it. And, even if you don’t deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the “Palestinian Authority” has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian “nationalist movement” has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist dispute, it would have been over long ago.

So, as I said, forget Gaza. And instead ponder the reaction to Gaza in Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and golly, even Florida. As the delegitimization of Israel has metastasized, we are assured that criticism of the Jewish state is not the same as anti-Semitism. We are further assured that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, which is a wee bit more of a stretch. Only Israel attracts an intellectually respectable movement querying its very existence. For the purposes of comparison, let’s take a state that came into existence at the exact same time as the Zionist Entity, and involved far bloodier population displacements. I happen to think the creation of Pakistan was the greatest failure of post-war British imperial policy. But the fact is that Pakistan exists, and if I were to launch a movement of anti-Pakism it would get pretty short shrift. But, even allowing for that, what has a schoolgirl in Villiers-le-Bel to do with Israeli government policy? Just last month terrorists attacked Bombay, seized hostages, tortured them, killed them, and mutilated their bodies. The police intercepts of the phone conversations between the terrorists and their controllers make for lively reading:

“Pakistan caller 1: ‘Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.’

“Mumbai terrorist 2: ‘We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China.’

“Pakistan caller 1: ‘Kill them.’

“(Voices of gunmen can be heard directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)”

“Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims.” Tough for those Singaporean women. Yet no mosques in Singapore have been attacked. The large Hindu populations in London, Toronto, and Fort Lauderdale have not shouted “Muslims must die!” or firebombed Halal butchers or attacked hijab-clad schoolgirls. CAIR and other Muslim lobby groups’ eternal bleating about “Islamophobia” is in inverse proportion to any examples of it. Meanwhile, “moderate Muslims” in London warn the government: “I’m a peaceful fellow myself, but I can’t speak for my excitable friends. Nice little G7 advanced western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.” But why worry about European Muslims? The European political and media class essentially shares the same view of the situation — to the point where state TV stations are broadcasting fake Israeli “war crimes.” As I always say, the “oldest hatred” didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt: Once upon a time on the Continent, Jews were hated as rootless cosmopolitan figures who owed no national allegiance. So they became a conventional nation state, and now they’re hated for that. And, if Hamas get their way and destroy the Jewish state, the few who survive will be hated for something else. So it goes. But Jew-hating has consequences for the Jew-hater, too. A few years ago the poet Nizar Qabbani wrote an ode to the intifada:

O mad people of Gaza, a thousand greetings to the mad

The age of political reason has long departed so teach us madness

You can just about understand why living in Gaza would teach you madness. The enthusiastic adoption of the same pathologies by mainstream Europe is even more deranged — and in the end will prove just as self-destructive.


The New York Times today --

Art Hoax Unites Europe in Displeasure

LONDON — Why didn’t anyone realize right away that there was something seriously weird about the new piece of art in Brussels?

The piece, an enormous mosaic installed in the European Council building over the weekend, was meant to symbolize the glory of a unified Europe by reflecting something special about each country in the European Union.

But wait. Here is Bulgaria, represented as a series of crude, hole-in-the-floor toilets. Here is the Netherlands, subsumed by floods, with only a few minarets peeping out from the water. Luxembourg is depicted as a tiny lump of gold marked by a “for sale” sign, while five Lithuanian soldiers are apparently urinating on Russia.

France? On strike.

The 172-square-foot, eight-ton installation, titled “Entropa,” consists of a sort of puzzle formed by the geographical shapes of European countries. It was proudly commissioned by the Czech Republic to mark the start of its six-month presidency of the European Union. But the Czechs made the mistake of hiring the artist David Cerny to put together the project.

Mr. Cerny is notorious for thumbing his nose at the establishment. He was arrested in 1991 for painting a tank, a Soviet war memorial in a Prague square, bright pink.

In the case of “Entropa,” Mr. Cerny presented the piece as the work of 27 artists, one from each country. But it was all a huge hoax.

After being challenged by reporters this week, Mr. Cerny admitted that he and two of his friends constructed the whole thing themselves, making up the names of artists, giving some of them Web sites and writing pretentious, absurd statements to go with their supposed contributions.

For example, next to the piece for Italy — depicted as a huge soccer field with little soccer players on it — it says, “It appears to be an autoerotic system of sensational spectacle with no climax in sight.”

The fake British entry, a kit of Europe in which the piece representing Britain has been taken out, says, “This improvement of exactness means that its individual selective sieve can cover the so-called objective sieve.”

Before the hoax was discovered, the Czech deputy prime minister, Alexandr Vondra, said “Entropa” — whose name alone should perhaps have been a sign that all was not as it seemed — epitomized the motto for the Czech presidency in Europe, “A Europe Without Borders.”

“Sculpture, and art more generally, can speak where words fail,” he said in a statement on Monday. “I am confident in Europe’s open mind and capacity to appreciate such a project.”

But he does not feel that way now.

“An agreement of the office of the government with the artist clearly stated that this would be the common work of artists from 27 E.U. states,” he said. “The full responsibility for violating this assignment and this promise lays with David Cerny.”

On its Web site, the Czech government said that it was “unpleasantly surprised” to learn the truth behind the mosaic.

The work has undoubtedly upset other people, too. The Germans are probably not too thrilled that their country is represented as a series of highways that, looked at a certain way, possibly bring to mind a swastika. Spain has to settle with being a huge construction site, while Romania is shown as a Dracula-themed amusement park.

According to the Czech News Agency, the Bulgarian government — the one whose country is shown as a bunch of toilets — summoned the Czech ambassador in Sofia to lodge an official protest. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian permanent representative to the European Union was quoted as saying: “It is preposterous, a disgrace. It is a humiliation for the Bulgarian nation and an offense to our national dignity.”

The Czechs have said that they are not sure what steps they will take before the official unveiling, scheduled for Thursday.

As for Mr. Cerny, on his Web site he said, “We knew the truth would come out.”

He added, “But before that we wanted to find out if Europe is able to laugh at itself.”

Apparently not.

The New Year

The stock market has lost 12% of its value. A year ago, that would have been a disastrous decline had it been spread over a whole year. The current decline took place over the past week. We are so used to the beatings that we don't even notice them any more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More NoGoodnik Israeli Propaganda

The G_ddamned Free Market

[Sony KDL-32M4000/91]

Since I seem to be spending a fair amount of my life here in this little apartment I have decided to dandle myself by buying a television. A television, like a cellphone, a stereo, a car, a computer, a refrigerator, a microwave, a digital camera, a DVD player, indoor plumbing, and electric light, is a necessity of modern life.

I have a television but it is in the hands of people who are paying what seems to me a pretty penny for the use of my house for a week. So like a proper American I NEED a second one. Hopefully there will be others renters as well so I can even pay for it. I have had good luck with Sony products in the past (except for an over-priced micro-tiny laptop which sucked) so I started with those.

I quickly found out that there are S-series Sony televisions, L-series, W-series, K-series, V-series, M-series, XBR4's, 6's, and 8's,and absolutely nowhere any explanation what the differences are. The specifications and compare-the-products tables for them are all but identical. They vary as to size and price which makes sense, but also as to series, with no explanation of what difference it makes if one spends more or less.

Yet another age issue, I suppose. I still occasionally refer to 'color televisions' and regard 32 inch screens as enormous when everyone not verging on senility refers to them as 'small'.

One would think that if I had money and saw a shiny object I wanted, that I could just get it. But no, not in the Third Millenium, the Age of Marketing.

Postscript -- I have learned that the much-prized and expensive 1080p highest resolution HD is useless because there is almost no source material for it. Cable companies do not broadcast in it. DVD players do not use it. A 1080p television is an enormous and very expensive device the sole function of which is to play Blu-Ray disks. My local movie rental place has six Blu-Ray movies in stock. Six. Netflix has a few but you have to pay extra and go on a waiting list to get them.

The Brain Trust

One of the things that characterized the Reagan Administration was its domination by the cabinet. It was widely believed that Ronald Reagan was more of a mediator among cabinet secretaries than the actual executive in charge. He was sometimes described as functioning as a chairman of the board rather than a president.

One doesn't know whether is just breathless hype by a partisan and not-yet-disappointed media corps or an actual fact, but it is said that Obama's appointments to the highest echelons of the administration are the brightest and most accomplished ever. (Kennedy once famously quipped that the assembled elite were the greatest assemblage of brains and talent in the White House since Thomas Jefferson dined alone.) Whether Obama governs, or mediates among those who do, it is in any case clear that the cabinet will loom large in the new administration.

What emerged in the course of the Reagan Administration is that cabinet government is vulnerable to factionalism. The struggles within the administration were not over pride of place and parking spaces. They went to core issues of domestic and foreign policy. As a friend of Israel I remember poignantly the struggle between the Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, a vitriolic enemy of Israel, and the Secretary of State, George Schultz. For several years Weinberger prevailed. He used his office to violate treaties with Israel, to delay and divert aid authorized by Congress, and arranged the judicial murder of Jonathan Pollard. In the end, after friction with Congress and repeated embarrassments of Weinberger by his Arab proteges, Schultz prevailed.

If Obama's cabinet-level appointments are as distinguished as the media tell us, we can expect some version of that factionalism within the Obama Administration from beginning to end. Wrangling and in-fighting are not governing. They are the opposite. The next few months will show us whether or not the quality of the appointments is too much of a good thing.

I cannot speak to the credentials of other appointments, but I am unimpressed with the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The appointment is political rather than based on merit. Senator Clinton's direct participation in government during her husband's administration was on health care reform, not foreign policy. And she botched even that and had to be muzzled for the remainder of her husband's term in office.

Compare Condoleeza Rice who was a leading scholar and analyst in several areas of foreign policy at Stanford's Hoover Institute. Bush may not be the best and brightest, but Rice is. She inflicted diplomatic defeat after diplomatic defeat on France, starting from an unpopular position on Iraq. That is the mark of an intelligent, skilled diplomat. She repeatedly turned Bush's sow's ear of a war into a silk purse of diplomatic victory.

I do not foresee Mrs. Clinton having the same success. Unfortunately, since she was not appointed for her abilities, it will be all the harder to dismiss her for her lack of them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

An Inexplicable Difference?

[The Golden Mosque in Samarra, the holiest site in Shi'ism, built in 852AD, was bombed and its dome destroyed in 2006. When it learned the perpetrators were Sunnis rather than Israelis, the UN resolution read more or less, "Boys will be boys". Christy and Damien were morally outraged and meant to go to the huge angry demonstration in Dublin that somehow failed to take place. But Mr. C was busy trying to wangle a date with a fat blonde waitress so he couldn't go. Mr. D. was equally morally outraged but he had a coupon for a free supersize order of chips at a McDonalds on the other side of Dublin from where the huge angry demonstration didn't happen, so he couldn't go either.]

If the Israelis were Muslims instead of Jews, would anyone really care about Israel and whether it is legitimate or not? Would the question even be asked? Wouldn't it suffice that it was created by a vote of the United Nations and the devotion of its people? Do Westerners know or care about whether Iraq or Bangladesh or Indonesia is legitimate? Does anyone ask if the 7 major language groups of Afghanistan, no one of whom is a majority, necessarily and intuitively constitute a nation? Do they care more than perfunctorily about how many people got killed, quite unjustly, in bringing those countries about? Do we know or care who was there before the current occupants? Or what became of them?

Yet their concern with Israel is obsessive. It is especially obsessive when compared to their indifference to the origins of Saudi Arabia, Chile, Zambia, or Australia.

India and Pakistan became independent the same year Israel did, 1947. More people were killed in the communal fighting and mass expulsions between the Hindus and Muslims that year than the Palestine Mandate had people. The border between the two countries, like the border between Israel and the Egyptian and Jordanian occupied areas of Palestine, was and is no more than a ceasefire line. Just as between Israel and the Palestinian territories, the borders remain hotly disputed, especially in Kashmir.

There have been five wars between the two countries. One is much stronger militarily than the other. Yet no one cries out against the stronger as automatically an aggressor because stronger. The weaker side continues to make horrific terrorist raids on the other, as last month at Mumbai. Both side have nuclear weapons, yet the Quartet does not rush in demanding peace.

Yet none of that elicits more than a yawn from the Christys and Damiens of the world. Not a single issue is different except that the scale is vastly greater. Twice as many people live in supposedly "occupied" Kashmir than live in all of Israel and the Palestinian territories combined. More than a million Indian soldiers serve in "occupied" Kashmir all day every day, year round. That is more than twice the number of soldiers Israel has ever been able to call up even for a few weeks when its very survival has been on the line.

Yet Christy does not rage, Damien is not appalled by the injustice of it all. ANSWER does not take to the streets, British and Canadian universities do not boycott, the UN does not denounce, leftwing Presbyterian churchmen do not divest. No one denies the right of India or Pakistan to exist. Why not?

It is very hard for an outsider, seeing the odd difference, not to be at a loss to explain it. What can the explanation be? What is the source of the obsessive and hostile interest?

One can note however that Europeans do not have a thousand year history of hatred of Hindus.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just How Crazy Are They?

[The Iranian Bad Boy]

Excerpt from the New York Times today --
The fight [in Gaza] has accelerated a regionwide battle for influence among Muslim states that was heating up even before the Israeli military attacked Gaza in response to rocket fire from Hamas. The greatest enmity has developed between Iran and Egypt, though just a few months ago it appeared the two were moving toward normalizing diplomatic relations, which had been downgraded when Iran named a street after Anwar el-Sadat’s assassin.
I assume it is close to the corner of John Wilkes Booth and Benedict Arnold, near the Lee Harvey Oswald turnoff? Just past Sirhan Sirhan?

[Harvey and Jack finally break down and ask directions --]

Harvey: Is that near Leon Czolgosz Plaza on Guiteau blvd?

Jack: Yes, it is just before the Squeaky Fromm Mall.

The Street Demonstrations

[Signs by ANSWER, people by local Palestinians]

The agenda of the Left has eroded more and more with the passing years until substantially nothing is left of it. Even more so for the hard Left.

Advocacy of pro-Soviet and pro-Communist positions has vanished with the Soviet Union and all but a few Leninist fossils. The Left's membership has always been middle class and hostile to workers, wages, and unions, so in the one area where the Left could be relevant, they aren't. They have always taken great pleasure in calling absolutely everyone in America racist. In the months after tens of millions of their fellow racists elected a person arguably a negro to lead them, and who is shortly to be entrusted with a virtual carte blanche for national leadership, that may not have quite the traction it once had, even for the simple. Internationalism is gone now that Americans fear their jobs will be sent overseas by predatory capitalists. The establishment of democracies throughout Central and South America has cost them that set of issues. The former Left demand that the United States intervene against dictatorships abroad is now called the Bush Doctrine. What is an angry young Red to do?

The Left has become irrelevant politically, yet we are at a period in our history when the urge to rebel against and defy the system of society that has so clearly failed us, is stronger than ever. The mood of anger will grow with the unemployment rolls and increasing job insecurity for the still-employed. There is much to be angry about and not many ways to vent it.

Israel is central to Left thinking because it is all they have left. And even that issue barely draws flies. I was at a counter-demonstration when the major Left organization, ANSWER, ran a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate on Montgomery Street in the city. There were about 500 of them to 100 of us.

But thinking about who each group was was instructive. The main party affiliation of ANSWER members is the WWP -- the World Workers Party, a Trotskyite splinter from the Socialist Workers Party. The main party membership of those on our side was the Democratic Party, a splinter group which controls both houses of Congress and the White House. Our position is shared by the Republicans and the Democrats. Similarly, the leading members of the European Union support our position. It is very hard for politicians anywhere to articulate a position that makes it right for the Palestinians to bombard Israeli towns and wrong for Israel to prevent them from doing it.

But not hard at all for angry street leftists to shout slogans and to wave signs. But they cannot put anyone in a suit at a table who has anything defensible to say. So the rallies go on and signify nothing because they cannot lead to political organizing or political influence, let alone electing anyone.

Even with that, the considerable majority of people whom ANSWER was able to bring out were Palestinians living in the Bay Area. Which is an inherently limited constituency.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

["home-made" Qassam rockets]

from The Middle East Papers --
Saturday, 10 January 2009 20:41 Yisrael Ne'eman

The old adage that one can plan how to begin a war but where it ends, nobody knows, is particularly pertinent to Hamas. Khaled Mashal who heads the organization's political office in Damascus was in Cairo this week to begin arranging a cease-fire with Israel. He is reported to have remarked that Hamas' shelling of Israel from the end of the tahadiya (calm) on Dec. 19 until the Israeli aerial bombardment on the 27th was only meant to pressure Israel into accepting Hamas demands – in particular concerning the crossing points, but were not meant to bring about a full scale conflict.

Certainly one can doubt his claim. To end the blockade and obtain access to the outside world Hamas only needed to stop all rocket fire and the crossings would be opened under the international and Israeli supervision agreed upon with the Palestinian Authority. To start gaining legitimacy and get off terror lists in Europe and North America further opportunities included allowing back the PA security forces and administration they expelled during the Gaza civil war of June 2007 and the facilitation of the exchange of prisoners - Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for hundreds of Hamas militants/terrorists. Furthermore, the declaration and implementation of an economic development program in conjunction with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Fatah would go a long way in securing Western and other international financing for industry and modern port facilities in Gaza City. Instead Hamas chose a "limited conflict" which veered out of control after hundreds of rockets were dropped on Israel over a two week period (begun even before the tahadiya was over).

The fact that Khaled Meshal and Hamas attempted the same tactic that brought disaster to Nasrallah and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, suggests that maybe neither leadership is quite as competent as they have led everyone to believe?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

From my niece in Tsfat

There was an incident in Ashdod while Tal [my grand-nephew] was there with two sisters who heard the siren and got out of their car and huddled in a bus stop. The one sister said "Did you hear that?" to the other sister. They heard the hissing sound of the rocket falling. She said "It's here." The explosion yanked her out of her sister's hand, she flew up in the air, crashed down, and died.

The surviving sister told what had happened on the news so vividly and articulately you could imagine it as if you were her. The one who died was 39 years old and had 3 kids. She was on the cel phone to her husband and he heard the whole thing.

Unless the Hezbollah gets involved we will be OK in the North but there is no way to know what will happen next. I think this is the worst war of our history. I think Israel just got fed up with these assholes and is going for broke this time. No one I know here would want the government to even consider a ceasefire in all the pain of seeing the soldiers fall and civilians killed. We can't live like this any more.

-- Shelly

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

[Palestinians and the Left]


Monday, January 05, 2009

Now that I am proudly pro-Palestinian...

[Do Not Disturb]

As a friend of the righteous and oppressed Palestinian people I agree with the widespread criticism leveled against Israel. The bombing and invasion of Gaza in response to only a few thousand rockets against the people of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and now Beersheva IS disproportionate. Even including the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and the attempted kidnapping of others.

It is important to understand the strategy of our Zionist enemies in making a deliberately disproportionate response. I think it is called 'deterrence.'

When one tweaks the tiger, if she tweaks you back you are free to tweak her again whenever you please. If instead, she rises up and tears you to pieces, the lesson is clear -- NEVER tweak the tiger.

Look Familiar?

[The Hohenzollern Palace in Berlin]

The Hohenzollerns were the Prussian royal family and produced rock stars like Frederick the Great and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Was San Francisco City Hall copied from this palace or were they both copied from some earlier baroque palace?

Prize for the first person to supply the correct answer is a kosher crab dinner at Fisherman's Wharf, no expense spared.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Long Live Palestine!

[my true colors]

After much soul searching, I have changed sides. Like Anonymous, I am now whole-heartedly pro-Palestinian. I am firmly opposed to Israeli military action against Gaza. I want the Israeli army and air force to cease all actions against both civilians and uniformed Hamas fighters. I want to see Gazans safe and happy in their homes. I want Israeli soldiers to go home.

I think the best way, indeed the only way, to achieve these things is for the Palestinians to permanently stop shooting rockets at Israel, to permanently stop sending suicide bombers to Israel, to permanently stop stockpiling weapons to use later, to permanently stop teaching hatred of Jews. That is how we pro-Palestinians can put our agenda into effect.

The Israeli government has already announced that they will accept these conditions. If we can trick the Israelis into not bombing and invading us in return for our not constantly trying to kill them, we could have a decent life.

Speaking as a committed pro-Palestinian to my fellow pro-Palestinians, whaddya say guys? Let's do it.

Exciting Free Offer

It turns out that you can subscribe to this hot mess.

Which means that you can place a bookmark on your web browser that will show whenever a new pile appears. Instead of checking the blog, you can check the bookmark instead.

Cursor down to the very bottom of the page to where it says, "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)". Click on the word 'Posts'.

It is equally easy to turn it off.

Just the facts, ma'am

[Dragnet - Joe Friday]

There is a saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Unfortunately most people's opinions are unencumbered by facts.

Here are some facts encumbered by opinion --

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Why Israel is Bombing Gaza and Not Jordan

Anonymous writes --
Interesting points actually, and I appreciate your willingness to overlook my past mean comments.

I would say the international community has very clearly not being willing to provide money to the Palestinians - compare the respective foreign aid payments to Palestine and Israel. Israel has for many years being a massive geopolitical partner for the United States and has been awared with billions of direct military aid, never mind favourably prices on military equipment from the United States. I think the weighing scales very clearly depict one side profiting from this arrangement more than the other.

I really think you should send some time in Gaza. I spent half a year in Gaza in 2004 (Working as an aide to a BBC reporter, but thats quite irrelevant to this discussion) and that place is, quite literally, an open air prison. That expression has become something of a cliche when used in relation to Gaza but it is nevertheless true. I haven't spent much time in Africa, or some of the world's poorer spots, but it is undeniably that the Palestinians live in abject poverty. They have no ports, a laughable airoport, and little infrastructure to boast of. Its a dusty little hellhole, especially when compared to the fantastic Israeli infrastructure and public service system.

I'm not exactly pro-Palestinian, but I always find it amusing to see people living in comfort trying to explain away abject poverty as being 'their fault'... The sins of the father creates a vicious cycle which isn't readily explainable to westerners.

It is a common problem with the enemies of Israel that their arguments are generally based on either ignorance of facts they should know, or indifference to facts they do know.

When Arafat was alive and Chirac was president of France, and Gerhard Schroeder was first foreign minister, then Chancellor, of Germany, the European Union could not do enough to satisfy itself that it had sent enough aid to the PA. The money went for "education". In the face of repeated public demonstration that the "education" money paid for anti-Jewish hate literature in PA schools, the EU turned a blind eye. When money for PA hospitals and clinics was diverted to arms, the EU refused to hear the evidence. When money for PA infrastructure was just plain stolen by Arafat and his cronies, the EU just didn't see a problem.

All that changed in 2005. French voters, angered by Arab rioting in the suburbs of Paris, voted in Nicholas Sarkozy. German voters elected Angela Merkel. In 2006 Palestinian voters elected Hamas. Hamas was listed by the EU as a terrorist organization to which the EU was neither inclined nor legally permitted to send aid. When Hamas was elected, the EU aid promptly stopped. Gaza's economy collapsed.

That that would happen was made abundantly clear to Palestinian voters. They voted for Hamas anyway. The largest source of income in large parts of Gaza is welfare payments from the UNRRA, an international organization.

So Anonymous' initial remark that the international community has not been willing to send aid, is simply wrong.

Compare Israel's treatment of Jordan and its treatment of Gaza. Is it just a coincidence that there are no rockets or suicide bombers attacking Israel from Jordan and that there are no Israeli airstrikes on Amman and no Israeli troops there?

The fact that Anonymous can't see the connection between Palestinian attacks on Israel and Israel's counter-attacks tells us a great deal about the clarity, even the rationality, of his judgment.

The fact that Anonymous was with BBC, the leading western source of anti-Israel propaganda, comes as no surprise whatever.

Anonymous suggests that I "really should spend some time in Gaza", omitting to mention that the Palestinians of Gaza savagely murder any Jew they can lay hands on. Israel on the other hand has a million Arab citizens which means Anonymous can go there freely and safely. Anonymous compares these two facts and concludes that he is almost but "not exactly pro-Palestinian".

I think Anonymous needs considerably more familiarity with the subject matter on which he has such important opinions before he is entitled to a superior amusement.