Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Essence of Evil:

I. The Holocaust, according to Hamas

(via Solomonia)

Jewish leaders planned the Holocaust to kill "disabled and handicapped" Jews to avoid having to care for them, according to a Hamas TV educational program. As much of the world prepared to commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hamas TV presented its latest sinister twist on Holocaust denial.

The Hamas TV educational program, broadcast last week, taught that the murder of Jews in the Holocaust was a Zionist plot with two goals:

1- To eliminate "disabled and handicapped" Jews by sending them to death camps, so they would not be a burden on the future state of Israel.

2- At the same time, the Holocaust served to make "the Jews seem persecuted" so they could "benefit from international sympathy."

Amin Dabur, head of the Palestinian "Center for Strategic Research" explained that "the Israeli Holocaust - the whole thing was a joke, and part of the perfect show that [Zionist leader and future Israeli prime minister] Ben Gurion put on." The "young energetic and able" were sent to Israel, while the handicapped were sent "so there would be a Holocaust."...

Video here

More Arab Holocaust denial, here

There is a cynical silver lining to this abomination. It looks like Hamas understands that the reality of the Holocaust cannot be denied. So they are trying to nullify its moral import in some other by claiming it was self-inflicted by the Jews. Not an original tactic, but then, when was the last time one heard an original thought coming from Hamas, or for that matter, the rest of the Palestinians?

Noah Pollak explains another aspect of this strange fulmination:

Much bewilderment and outrage has ensued. But actually this explanation makes perfect sense: Hamas is not only willing but in fact eager to make its people suffer and die in order to win the benefits of international sympathy. The suffering-to-benefits ratio is one of the most important calculations that informs Hamas’ relations with the world: when Palestinians die — it really doesn’t matter how — Israel is condemned and Palestinian suffering rushes to the forefront of international concern.

Amin Dabur, a Palestinian “expert” quoted in the television clip, says that “They were sent [by the Jews to die] so there would be a Holocaust, so Israel could ‘play’ it for world sympathy.” To western ears, this is crazy. But if your experience of the world is that of a member of Hamas, this explanation is eminently sensible

There is, actually, a medical term for this psychiatric disorder. It is called "Munchhausen syndrome", a mental disease in which those affected fake disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is in a class of disorders known as factitious disorders which involve "illnesses" whose symptoms are either self-induced or falsified by the patient. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome.

A variant of this disease is known as "Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy":

Fabricated or Induced Illness is the formal name of a type of abuse in which a caregiver feigns or induces an illness in a person under their care, in order to attract attention, sympathy, or to fill other emotional needs.

I have always preferred to relate to this pathological need for pity from the Palestinians as a rhetorical fallacy.

II. On this day in history,

reminds us a DS Trot,

Hitler killed himself as the Russians surged toward his bunker.

These days he’d probably get some regretful blog posts about who the real war criminals were, why it was in the interests of the allies to make him look bad, and how tragic it was the “truth” had died with him.

Quotes from the comments:

Will: Although to be fair, the Yanks did take their fucking time about joining in on the whole ‘killing nazis’ thing - despite their “Lend-Lease” program (otherwise known as war-profiteering).

Thank fuck for Pearl harbour - they might never have bothered otherwise.


The thesis completely ignores the importance of ideology in the Nazi state and the centrality of antisemism in that ideology–the Nazis believed they were fighting a war of survival against Jewish bolshevism and international finance, and that if UK/USA/France opposed them, it was only because they were controlled by Jewish ’string-pullers’ behind the scenes or crypto-Jews in positions of power (so-called ‘mimicry). The Nazis used the words Ausrottung (extermination) and Vernichtung (annihilation) to refer to their plans for the Jews. And (obviously) the package holiday gone wrong thesis–we couldn’t send them to Madagascar so we had to send them to a resort in Poland instead–is bollocks.

Hitler to a party meeting on 6 April, 1920:

We don’t want to be the emotional anti-Semites who seek to create a mood for pogroms. Rather, we are driven by a pitiless and fierce determination to attack the evil at its roots and to exterminate it root and branch. Every means is justified to reach our goal, even if it means we have to make a pact with the devil.

In a speech to the Reichstag on 30 January 1939 Hitler declared:

I have very often in my lifetime been a prophet and have been mostly derided. At the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance the Jewish people who only greeted with laughter my prophecies that I would someday take over the leadership of the state and of the entire people of Germany and then, among other things, also bring the Jewish problem to its solution. I believe that this hollow laughter of Jewry in Germany has already stuck in its throat. I want today to be a prophet again: if international finance Jewry inside and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, the result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, but the annihilation (Vernichtung) of the Jewish race in Europe!

That’s your trifecta right there–international baking, communism, Jewry.

Now I will wash my keyboard.

III. Jews with and without understanding

Norm tries to understand

They're Jews and they're not gonna be celebrating Israel's 60th birthday. Oh, they find it understandable that others are celebrating - understandable 'in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust'. Which, you might think, would mean they can understand it. But by the end of their letter, all of five paragraphs later, you could be forgiven for the impression that they no longer do find it understandable why others should want to celebrate. For they, you see, cannot celebrate. This is not surprising given that the intervening paragraphs tell you only one kind of thing about Israel - in which the centuries of persecution no longer figure, in which Israel has no achievements to its credit, and in which the country has never faced any threat from anyone, and its citizens have never been subject to hostility, including of a lethal kind. These are Jews who at once understand and do not. Jews with mics. You might prefer to read about these Jews with bikes (click on 'continue without registering').

Of course I cannot understand these Jews. Their position does seem to nullify itself. They encapsulate Jewish millennial suffering of expulsions, pogroms and genocide in 11 bland words, but generously allot 285 words to Palestinian suffering (the third and fourth generation refugees).

The initial premise of these "Jews with mics" was that they are better Jews, because they have universal compassion while those not-so-good Jews only care about other Jews. That means that they morally are a cut above not just other Jews, but the rest of all humanity, they are the very essence of just as the Torah designated the Jew: chosen!

But is their premise correct, judging from their latest attempt at manifesting their righteous chosenness? 11 words for Jewish suffering, 285 for Palestinian suffering is a ratio of 1:26.

Let's assume that their compassion is finite quantity, as it seems to be (since they do not appear to care much for any other suffering that happens in the world); one part allowed for acknowledging Jewish suffering over two thousands years of exile, while 26 parts go Palestinians (for 60 years of so-called exile).

This is a very poor quality of universal compassion. Almost pristine exclusivity is given to Palestinian suffering. That hardly indicates universalism, or Jewish values, when you choose, as a chosen Jew, to put all your compassionate eggs into one rather tattered basket full of holes. To me it looks like opportunism, the kind of thought, that seeks to makes capital out of a situation with the main aim being to gain some benefit, standing, instead of truly winning people over to a principled position or improving understanding.

What they do is not assert an independent, dissenting, spirit of enquiry, but rather they conform to the latest fashionable political meme, which has become all the rage in the British chattering classes. They are not free-standing elements in a bas-relief, projected sharply against a homogeneous background of comfortable orthodoxy. They are part and parcel of that very monochromatic background. They are not the bright seraphim of moral outrage and courage, they are rhinoceros.

The utility of such rhinocerian compassion has been well recorded in history. See I and II for reminders.

A minority group has "arrived" only when it has the right to produce some fools and scoundrels without the entire group paying for it. ~Carl T. Rowan

IV. Never again The video

inspired by Ben Caspit's article: "We Will Not Capitulate"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Antithetical to his DNA...

Two hours after I wrote my last comment about the Wright kerfuffle, here:

In this previous blogpost I tentatively compared Obama to Prince Hal. I think the comparison has been boosted in view of the more recent Wright self-exhibitionism. If Prince Hal is serious about ascending to the presidency, he should do as true leaders do, and cut himself loose from his past Falstaffs, who would cling to him in the hope that some of that power will rub on them...

And no sooner said than done :-)

Andrew Sullvan posted the video, here.

The NYT transcribed the speech and the following Q/A period.

Obama called a press conference in which he dealt with this meddlesome priest... It looks like Obama took my advice, which was grounded in Shakespearean wisdom and in appearance before the press he divorced himself from Wright, a person who has all the bombast of Falstaff without the redeeming charm.

Joking aside, it was almost heartbreaking to watch the ashen-faced, infinitely sad Obama acknowledge that his past reading of the man could have been so wrong. Not one smile did he flash throughout the press conference. Not one jocular statement. It was a heavy emotional moment in which he broke with someone whom he had considered a friend for so long, and has now realized was a narcissistic megalomaniac in search of gratifying his own petty grievances even if this comes with a price paid by Obama's hopes for the presidency.

He spoke simply, clarified in no uncertain terms that Rev. Wright's opinions and positions were anathema to what he, Obama, was and to what his campaign was all about. Particularly painful to him was Wright's suggestion that Obama's voiced positions about Farrakhan and his own hateful comments was due to political posturing.

"I have been a member of Trinity Church since 1992. I have known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years," he said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "The person I saw yesterday is not the person I met 20 years ago."

Obama said he is outraged by Wright's remarks that seemed to suggest the U.S. government might be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community, and his equation of some American wartime efforts with terrorism.

"What particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing," said Obama, who added that Wright had shown "little regard for me" and seemed more concerned with "taking center stage."

"...I cannot prevent him from making these remarks," but "when I say I find these comments appalling I mean it. It contradicts what I'm about and who I am ... It is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country."

In an interview with Rahm Emanuel, on Charlie Rose on April 25, which you can watch here
Charlie asked him what each of the candidates needed to do in order to break ahead and secure his or her nomination. Emanuel said something which I didn't quite understand. He said the winning candidate will have to wrest that nomination by addressing the voters in emotional nakedness, showing who they authentically are and that they are capable, eager, driven, of doing what it takes to serve the American people. He gave an example from Bill Clinton's campaign, which he thought was a turning point. Hillary Clinton seems to have gained some gentle momentum, but this Obama moment we have witnessed today I think is what Rahm Emanuel was anticipating.

(It is said in the Talmud that after the destruction of the Temple, the gift of prophecy was given to idiots, small children and fanatic zealots, the implication being that only people who can legally claim having diminished responsibility can be trusted with forecasting the future...). At the risk of being considered an idiot, I believe this week will be remembered as the time when Obama got his presidential nomination.

Hmm... on second thought, and having perused other responses, scrap the above...)

I think Cass Sunstein had the right measure of the man, after all.



Some of my staunchest readers (who visit my blog 3-5 times daily on average) have expressed an interest in all that I've written about Obama.

So to facilitate their task, here is a link to all posts written about Obama since March.

Same staunch readers are also always eager to read my thoughts about the recently Hamasized Jimmy Carter. So here is another link.

And while we are at it, here are posts about antisemitism, too.

Happy reading!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Racism and Historical Truth:
Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands

'The history of Palestinian refugees deserves international attention. So does the history of one million Jewish refugees from the Arab-Israel conflict. Yet the United Nations has devoted countless resolutions and debates to only one side of this story, completely ignoring the other. For the first time ever in the UN Human Rights Council, at its recently concluded session, the suffering of Jewish refugees from Arab lands was also placed on the international agenda. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Congress adopted a historic resolution recognizing that all victims of the conflict must be treated equally."

Click here to watch video of UN speech.

"We should trust only ourselves"

A small dose of Prozac to reduce the angst of Israelis and Israel well-wishers

Snoopythegoon, of Simply Jews, has decided to give us a sort of a pick-me-up gift for the day after Passover:

When you, an avid reader of Jerusalem Post, go through another editorial by Caroline Glick (to take one, but outstanding, example), the customary feeling of gloom and doom sinks its talons into your sensitive soul. It makes your morning pita taste just the same as that highly hygienic sliced white bread you get from a plastic bag. Syrians are already climbing the fence, Hezbollah is horribly bemissiled, Hamas is finishing a burrow to get to the Prime Minister's office and Mahmoud the Mad is priming the warhead on the doomsday machine.

If you read it here in Israel, your pita still retains a bit of its taste...

...if you are a non-Jooish sympathizer, you just wonder what keeps IDF from tearing all these vicious enemies to bits in one mighty swoop. And your conclusion is that these commie peaceniks at the helm are too impotent to do anything useful and thus condemn the country to speedy demise.

...In any case, the article Israel Is Strong - Really by professor Barry Rubin of GLORIA Center does exactly this.

Let's face it: after almost 2,000 years in exile and only 60 years of Israel as a sovereign nation, it still feels funny for Jews, especially those outside of Israel, to have a state.

That, along with other factors, makes it easy to underestimate Israel's success and security. However, though at first glance it might seem counter-intuitive to say so, Israel today is stronger, more secure and in a better strategic position than at just about any time in its history.

Well, amen to that.

And here is something by way of illustration:

CBS had a segment about the Israeli Air Force yesterday, on its weekly newsmagazine "60 Minutes". Here is a transcript and video:

Asked how he characterizes the threat from Iran, Major General Eliezer Shkedy, the commander of Israel's air force, tells Simon, "I think it is a very serious threat to the state of Israel, but more than this to the whole world." Shkedy says Iran's threats against Israel cannot be ignored. "They are talking about what they think about the state of Israel. They are talking about destroying and wiping us from the earth," he says.

... Risk is part of his job as it is for all Israeli pilots, who maintain a constant state of alert. The call can come at any time and with no warning. We can't tell you how long it takes the pilots to get to their planes - we can tell you it's really fast.

Israel is a tiny country in a tough neighborhood;


The pilots who flew on the Baghdad mission are convinced that the Iranians will be ready. Zeev Raz, the commander of the Baghdad mission told Simon, "We had one point to destroy. They have many points. Many of them deep under the mountains, under the ground and it's a much more complicated problem in 1981."

Asked if he thinks Israel could do it, Raz told Simon, "Well, I really hope it will be solved another way. There is only one thing worse than the Israel air force having to do it. Iran having a nuclear bomb."

It's a scenario which reminds air force commander Shkedy of the Holocaust. He often gives a photograph of Israeli air force planes flying over Auschwitz to his officers. "We should remember. We cannot forget. We should trust only ourselves," Shkedy tells Simon. "I totally believe that."

So do I.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

He has Jewish friends... (Updated on Tuesday, April 29)

(sotto voce) and we know what that means

I. I watched parts of the grandiloquent circumlocutions by Dr. Reverend J. Wright last night on CNN. While I was terribly impressed by the man's erudition (endless strings of dropping names of scholars, books and publishing houses) and histrionics , I thought all in all he gave a rather self-indulgent, boring speech about difference and deficiency which seemed oddly obsolete in this day and age when difference is celebrated to a point of self-abandon (multiculturalism and all that, you know).

Richard Miniter's description is quite acute:

"...he was offered a prime speaking role at an NAACP convention. This was a chance to confound his critics and rescue his friends—by presenting himself as the measured, thoughtful, faithful man that the Obama campaign said he was.

Instead, he appeared in his natural plummage; a seemingly educated man who traffics in bizarre theories.

In the NAACP speech, he calls for reaching out to all faiths “including the Nation of Islam”—a sect that believes that white people are evil beings created a mad alien scientist underneath a volcano.

... he weirdly claims that no one in Detroit speaks English... He puts on a phony Boston accent to impersonate JFK. Than switches to a bad Texas drawl to channel LBJ. Then back to a fake Boston accent to imitate a senator he calls “Ed Kennedy.” Finally, the good reverend reveals his point: Why does no one fault these presidential and senatorial accents when they condemn black speech? That it is the grammar, not the pronunciation, never seems to occur to him. Nor does it occur to him that millions of blacks—from Tiger Woods and Bill Cosby to your doctor and your stock broker—speak standard English. The patois of the streets... is spoken only [by] a small minority. Why does Rev. Wright think the most uneducated are the most authentic?

... He says that blacks and whites love God differently. He then shifts into a mock “white” accent and says, with no feeling, “I love Jesus.” ... he continues, blacks are passionate.. bursts forth with praise music. Why ridicule other people’s faith if his point is religious tolerance?

... Rev. Wright is a racist. He sees people as inherently different in musical ability, speech patterns and nearly everything else based solely on something as inconsequential as their skin.

This is racism, in its full, undiluted essence.

Why would the NAACP give a man like this a forum?

Why would Obama sit in this man’s pews for almost 20 years?"

II. The Sequitur describes another unpleasant aspect of the godly pastor:

"On Sunday, his rebuttal against charges of anti-Semitic remarks and ties with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan appeared to be, in essence, ‘Look, I have Jewish friends.’

He thanked and ticked off a long list of Jewish leaders in the country that he knew (and he threw in at least one Muslim, for some balance, one can suppose).

But more interestingly than that, he thanked someone else: CNN’s Roland Martin, whom he referred to as a “friend.”

Having followed Martin's meteoric rise on CNN I was a little surprised by this nugget of information.

"...during the Wright-“Goddamn America” controversy, there has been no greater defender of the Illinois reverend on cable television than Martin. In fact, Martin, who wore a white Dashiki with gold embroidering while “reporting” on Wright’s speech Sunday night on CNN, has done more defending of Wright than Obama.

Martin should at least offer some clarity on what this friendship consists of.

What is discouraging, however, is that neither CNN nor Martin divulged that he was a “friend” of Wright while Martin repeatedly appeared on-air defending the Wright’s rants, telling us all how we were misinterpreting the statements, how the comments were taken out of context, how we just didn’t understand the black Diaspora (don’t you love when educated people use words like that?). "

III. Taking up the challenge of "Rev. Wright was quoted out of context" Hugh Hewitt went to some trouble and effort to provide Context For Reverend Wright. He has some long transcripts of the actual speeches from which the misleading "soundbites" were taken. I'm quoting just a smattering of some of statements that astounded me by their audacity of candour and upfront defamation:

Remember, they had to send Jesus to a court presided over by the enemy, a provisional governor appointed by their enemies, ran the civic and the political affairs of their capitol. He had him backing him up an occupying army with superior soldiers. They were commandos trained in urban combat, and trained to kill on command. Remember, it was soldiers of the 3rd Marine Regiment of Rome who had fun with Jesus, who was mistreated as a prisoner of war, an enemy of the occupying army stationed in Jerusalem, to ensure the mopping up action of Operation Israeli Freedom. (Jeremiah Wright - 4-13-03 - Cut 1 - Jesus' enemies)

Regime change, substituting one tyrant for another tyrant, with the biggest tyrant pulling the puppet strings of all the tyrants, that does not make for peace. Colonizing a country does not make for peace. (Jeremiah Wright - 4-13-03 - Cut 2 - Military making war for peace is like raping for virginity.)

Turn back to your neighbor and say it again. Governments lie (audience responds). The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposefully infected African-American men with syphilis. Governments lie. The government lied about bombing Cambodia. And Richard Nixon stood in front of the camera, let me make myself perfectly clear, we are not...governments lie. The government lied about the drugs for arms Contra scheme, orchestrated by Oliver North, and then they pardoned, the government pardoned all of the perpetrators, so they could get better jobs in the government. Governments lie. The government lied about adventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.
(Jeremiah Wright - 4-13-03 - Cut 5 - This government lies, Part 2.)

The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, and then wants us to sing God bless America? No, no, no, not God bless America, God damn America, that's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating her citizens as less than human. God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God, and she is supreme (applause). The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent. Think about this, think about this, for every one Oprah, a billionaire, you've got five million blacks who are out of work. For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you've got ten million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condoskeezer Rice, you've got one million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat at the Masters, with his Cablasian hips, playing on a course that discriminates against women, God has His way of bringing you up short when you get too big for your Cablasian britches. For every one Tiger Woods, we've got ten thousand black kids who will never see a golf course. (Jeremiah Wright - 4-13-03 - Cut 7 - God damn America, and Condaskeezza Rice.)

And so on and so forth.

It seems quite obvious that the man does not differentiate between historical times, causes and effects. For him the past is present and alive. His Christianity fails to distinguish between ancient Judea and modern Washington. An extraordinary combination of a heated imagination and self-righteous manipulation. As I speculated elsewhere, he is more like a mullah than a Christian preacher.

I remember an Iranian friend telling me how Shiite Muslims going to Friday prayers at the mosque would be coming out of the services with tear stained faces, the mullah having re-told them of the martyrdom of Husayn in 680 at Karbala , as if the traumatic event happened the day before, not 1400 years ago. This is a way of keeping the faithful in a state of simmering indignation and grievance.

Another pastor on TV said today that he did not understand what Wright was doing. This report may help him understand:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that he will try to change national policy by “coming after” Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he is elected president. The pastor also insisted Obama “didn’t denounce” him and “didn’t distance himself” from Wright’s controversial remarks, but “did what politicians do.” Wright implied Obama still agrees with him by saying: “He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American.

... “I said to Barack Obama last year, ‘If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people,’ Wright said.

Wright seems intent on wrecking havoc upon Obama's campaign. Does he consider him a prodigal son, deserving of being puuled up short for distancing himself from the mad priest publicly? For maybe pronouncing positions about American policies and Israel's rights which he cannot stomach?

Who knows?

I'll wait to see how this definitely operatic drama evolves.


Update: Here is another view (links to the Wright event on video in six YouTube segments.)

It would be hard to imagine any Jew talking this way about Germans, and the Holocaust is still within recent memory. Wright not only never lived through the stuff he excoriates white America for, he grew up in middle class affluence, with a pastor father and a mother who was vice principal of Philadelphia High School for Girls.

Latest insight about Wright's confused signifiers from the classically cool-headed and incisive left-brainer Norm:

Jesus said, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic, divisive principles.

That's the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speaking yesterday in Washington. Biblical or not, his interpretation is based on a rather flexible interpretation of the signifier 'you' - so that it has different referents within the same sentence. The whole point about terrorism, in its accurate meaning, is that the 'you' who has it 'coming back' to them is a different 'you' from those who were doing terrorism on other people, if indeed they were doing that. This flexibility of interpretation involves treating those who were in the Twin Towers on 9/11, or who were blown up on the London Underground on 7/7, as if they were culpable for some previous act of terrorism, which is, in general, false. Not only is Wright rather selective in what he takes from the Bible, since somewhere in it there will be an injunction against killing the innocent, he himself is innocent of the understanding that guilt is not acquired simply through community membership, much less by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And a belatedly shocked awakening from Andrew Sullivan:

If I believed for one second that Obama shared any of this bile, I couldn't begin to support him. But Wright's cooptation of Obama for his own agenda - his assertion that Obama's distancing from him is insincere - requires, in fact demands a response from Obama.

Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright's views; he needs to disown him at this point. Wright himself, it seems to me, has become part of what Obama is fighting against: the boomer, Vietnam era's obsession with its red-blue, white-black, pro and anti-America fixations. That is not what this election needs to be about; and Wright's massive, racially divisive and, yes, bitter provocation requires a proportionate response.

We need a speech or statement from Obama in which he utterly repudiates this poison, however personally difficult that may be, however damaging the impact will be.

In this previous blogpost I tentatively compared Obama to Prince Hal. I think the comparison has been boosted in view of the more recent Wright self-exhibitionism. If Prince Hal is serious about ascending to the presidency, he should do as true leaders do, and cut himself loose from his past Falstaffs, who would cling to him in the hope that some of that power will rub on them...


But I am a liberal offers some more grist for the mill...

Sunday's randomly picked quotes:

Hizbollah is not a job, it is not a family. It is a mix of religion, honour, dignity and discipline. It is my life.' (The Guardian)


Ayaan Hirsi Ali lied to obtain Dutch citizenship. Utterly untrustworthy individual. (Commenter Shukri on bobfrom B)


How to be a union boycotter, in 10 easy steps

(1) Insist, again and again and again, that the union is morally obliged to boycott Israel. Explain that boycotting any other country would involve ignoring issues of geopolitical complexity and might send out the wrong message to someone or other.
(2) Flood the UCU activists' list with detailed and sometimes accurate descriptions of Israeli crimes, but preserve complete silence about crimes of far greater magnitude committed by anyone else.
(3) Take care never to acknowledge that Israel has been under murderous attack since its inception, by people who quite often declare their genocidal intentions towards Jews. Explain that these people will treat Jews with exemplary respect once they get power over them.
(4) Sneer if anyone mentions suicide bombing, especially of colleges or universities, or rocket attacks on Israeli schools - these things are of no concern to an academic union.
The rest is on Normblog.


An example of the lucidity and self-awareness of the pro-boycotting mind:

Finally the real victims of racism today, that is almost a par with the anti-semtism of the 20/30s are not Jews, but Muslims and in my experience those who attack me from the right by claiming I am anti-semitic for wishing to see the end of the State of Israel, are rarely to be seen actually confronting racism and Fascism on the streets and where we live to make sure it cannot develop against anyone, regardless of religion or lack of. I'm not suggesting that this fits with your background as I don't know about that, but that is my experience.

I prove my commitment to anti-semitism by action.

(If the reader is still interested in untangling this verbally and morally confused and sanctimonious activism, he can check the pro-boycotting commenter on BBA)


Elder of Ziyon presents a moron:

The head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency on Friday
criticized the US for not giving his organization intelligence information
sooner on what Washington says was a nuclear reactor in Syria being built
secretly by North Korea.

IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei also chastised
Israel for bombing the site seven months ago, in a statement whose strong
language reflected his anger at being kept out of the picture for so long.

Yes, we all know how effective he would have been in stopping Syrian nukes.


It would be inconsistent for Carter not to hate Jews and Israel, just as he hates America and Conservative Christians.. (Sultan Knish)

Hamasized Carter hiding under Condoleeza Rice's apron:

Carter's holier-than-thou disgusting religious vapidity has left its morally-soiled and illiterate mark on the US's Foreign Office. A new twist on how the disgraceful person, a maligner of Israel and Jews, a de-facto antisemite, gets to be defended and exempt from the consequences of his own interfering folly:

Here is The Iconoclast:

The U.S. government has no business trying to censure this man for telling the truth as he sees it. He's right. Carter is a disgrace and it was he who had no business conducting his own private diplomatic initiative with Hamas. This further confirms our suspicion that Secretary Rice is perhaps the worst Secretary of State in American history - and that's saying something.

And here is The Moderate Voice

Ironically, we have Jimmy Carter to thank for Secretary Condi Rice’s switch in political parties in 1980. Dr. Rice is an expert on the Soviet Union and Russia.

She became a Republican because Jimmy Carter appeared to be so naïve about the Communist Soviet Union following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. She has said, “I remember thinking, What did you think we were dealing with? This is a horrible government — of course they invaded some foreign country!” It was then she decided we needed a tougher policy toward “this repressive regime.” Carter’s mishandling of the Cold War lead her to vote for Ronald Reagan. Condi admired his strength and foreign policy regarding the Soviets. “I thought the Soviets were aggressive and playing us like a violin. I thought Carter didn’t understand the true nature of the Soviet Union, which was pretty dark.”

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Again, Obama's scary fans

There was this exchange with Senator Obama about Farrakhan's endorsement, as reported here:

Obama appeared to dance around how far he should distance himself from the unsolicited backing he received over the weekend from Farrakhan until Clinton cornered him. At that point, he both denounced AND rejected that support.

Obama had been asked a straightforward question by moderator Tim Russert: Did he accept Farrakhan's support.

The following exchange occurred:

Obama: "You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.

Russert: "Do you reject his support?"

Obama: "Well, Tim, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy."

And more recently, this exchange:

"...when Barack Obama’s campaign was informed that Hamas wants the Senator from Illinois to become America’s next president - calling him the second JFK and all - Obama spokesman David Axelrod responded: “it’s flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in [JFK’s] footsteps.”

When asked about the hamasization of Carter, Senator Obama was irritable and short tempered:

" Democratic White House contender Barack Obama could not hide his irritation Monday when asked by a reporter what he thought about former president Jimmy Carter's meeting with Hamas last week.

"Why can't I just eat my waffle?" the Illinois senator said as he ate breakfast in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to MSNBC television pictures.

Pressed again for an answer, he replied: "Just let me eat my waffle."

Commentary by Michael Goldfarb:

Only recently Obama declared that "nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti-Semitism than I have." Apparently there's an exception for when anti-Semites compare Obama to Kennedy. Then all bets are off!

(and waffles take precedence).

Here's how John McCain reacted:

"’s “very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States,” and that “[i]f senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly..."

Reliable Sources

Seymour Hersh, some time ago, took seven pages on the New Yorker magazine to describe and explain Israel's mysterious hit in Syria. He basically comes to the conclusion that the whole event was a contrived theatrical hit, aimed at calming down Syria's new audacity in the wake of Israel/Hezbollah 2006 war. There was no nuclear reactor, just a cement factory or an abandoned military installation:

In Tel Aviv, the senior Israeli official pointedly told me, “Syria still thinks Hezbollah won the war in Lebanon”—referring to the summer, 2006, fight between Israel and the Shiite organization headed by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. “Nasrallah knows how much that war cost—one-third of his fighters were killed, infrastructure was bombed, and ninety-five per cent of his strategic weapons were wiped out,” the Israeli official said. “But Assad has a Nasrallah complex and thinks Hezbollah won. And, ‘If he did it, I can do it.’ This led to an adventurous mood in Damascus. Today, they are more sober.”

Here are the latest revelations:

Piece by piece, the intelligence jigsaw puzzle concerning Israel's air strike on a top-secret military site in northern Syria last September is finally taking shape. When a squadron of Israeli F-15 fighter-bombers destroyed a hitherto unknown Syrian military facility at Dayr as-Zawr, close to the country's north-eastern border with Turkey, there was much speculation that Israel had staged a repeat of its 1981 mission against Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility, which thwarted Saddam Hussein's ambition to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal.

...Even after CIA director Michael Hayden's briefing of Congress yesterday, when he confirmed that the North Koreans had indeed been helping the Syrians to build a nuclear reactor, the Israelis are still refusing to be drawn.

Looks like Hersh was dead wrong and his cynicism did not pay off this time. It should be remembered the next time he writes a fanciful article full of name-dropping and exotic tales from around the globe to give his interesting theories the false credibility of reliable sources.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The chance quote

Bobfrom tagged me for the following book game:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest book was a Hebrew cookbook: The Sephardic Kitchen, by Suzy David. On p. 123 there was a very short recipe for "Yakhni de frijole blanco", which all in all was rendered in 5 sentences. So that was out.

The second nearest book, which was strategically placed next to my photocopier, as a barrier to stop the printed pages coming out of the machine from falling on the floor, happened to be Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf which I re-read a couple of years ago at the urging of a former cyberfriend. We had a pact. I was to read her favourite book and she was to read my favourite love story (Jane Eyre). I kept my end of the bargain but I don't know about her, since our cyber friendship dissipated, the way all cyber friendships, and some real life friendships, do, the difference being not the "if" but the "how". Some end in a bang, some in a faltering murmur, some without even that, just a loss of interest and an ensuing silence... I've experienced them all.

Anyway, on to p. 123 and its sixth, seventh and eighth sentences:

"Well, bravo! You know the Fox trot now, thank the Lord. Tomorrow we'll get you on to the Boston, and in three weeks there's the Masked Ball at the Globe Rooms."

We had taken our seats for the interval when the charming young Herr Pablo, with a friendly nod, sat down beside Hermine."

This random passage is actually not a bad representation of the novella's DNA: the awkward middle aged man, tutored in the arts of dancing and love making by a young woman of "easy virtue", a misleading perception, and the "charming" Spaniard, just alien and oily enough to stir a slight sense of foreboding in the reader's minds. The whole thing is a rather dark journey into the nether regions of human weakness and depravity, a descent into Hades by a hero not too resisting. Not a cheery "weekendy" salutation, but then I'm not as considerate as Bobfrom!

I'm tagging:

The New Centrist,
But I am a liberal,
Bald-headed Geek,
Selma, and
Boycotted British Academic.


Roll call:

But I am a liberal

The reluctant, but friendly, Centrist

Selma (quoting Heidegger, de-translated from Persian! Arrrgghh...)

BHL on Carter's damaging uselessness

(via: bobfrombrockley)

Going off track like this is not new for the man who ...has not stopped vilifying Israel, comparing its political system to that of South Africa during apartheid, ignoring Israel's desire for peace, which is no less real than its errors, even denying its suffering.

A year ago, he told CBS that for years his beloved Hamas had not committed any terrorist attacks resulting in civilian casualties – this, a few months after the assassination of six people at the Karni Terminal, and the attack on Aug. 30, 2004, which killed 16 passengers in two buses in Beersheba.

And it is one thing to speak to CBS, and another to say these words... have indisputable moral authority, to the belligerents.

It is one thing to say, in Dublin on June 19, 2007, that the true criminals are not those who proclaim... that "before dying" Israel must be "humiliated and degraded," but those who would prefer that these charming characters be pushed out of the circles of power, sooner or later, with a distinct preference for "sooner." It is quite another to come over in person and put all one's weight behind the most radical elements... the most hostile to peace, the most profoundly nihilistic in the Palestinian camp.

...Is it the senility of a politician who has lost touch with reality and with his own party? Barack Obama, even more clearly than his rival, has just reminded us that it will not be possible to "sit down" with the leaders of Hamas unless they are prepared to "renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and respect past agreements."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Hairy Post

The European blog Sign and Sight is nothing if not wide-ranging and far-reaching. In its roundup today it chooses to highlight a hairy or rather hairless, topic:

At the opening of his boutique for luxury menswear in Zurich, designer Tom Ford ponders the subject of body hair. "I talked to my father about it, he's 76. And he can't understand the world any more. Everyone is shaved everywhere. When a woman is naked, you should see lots of hair, he thinks. And he's right. That's natural, pure, animalistic. But that's my personal taste. It is something that really preoccupies me though... We were doing a photo shoot with a big group of naked men, all heterosexuals between the ages of 19 and 60. The older ones had full, natural pubic hair, the under-40s were strarkly trimmed, and a few had none at all. I asked the younger ones why they were shaved all over and they replied: because my girlfriend likes it. ... It's a hairless generation, their sexual socialisation happened with porn films that showed no pubic hair. I grew up in the seventies where porn films were still porn films, it was sweaty and hairy."

For ten years now, scientists have been trying to develop a viagra for women, but their search has been fruitless, reports Kai Michel. "Things are definitely changing. 'Women used to come to us with orgasm problems,' explains Claus Buddeberg. This rarely happens today. 'Many women have become sexually emancipated,' he says. 'They understand their own reactions abilities. And they less likely to feel pressured into having to have an orgasm.' Instead over fifty percent of his patients complain about a low libido. According to Buddeberg there are three main factors behind this loss of lust : the ubiquitousness of sexual stimulation in public life. If perfect naked bodies jump out at you on every corner, disinterest is a reaction to the manipulative marketing of erotic fantasies. Secondly, individual experiences with sexuality leave their mark. And thirdly, partnership plays a decisive role: 'And there we often see a desert,' Buddeberg says.

The hairy/hairless woman's body put me in mind of this story I once heard about John Ruskin, who is rumoured to have been aesthetically diametrically opposed to Tom Ford's father's explicit affection for the natural woman's body:

Ruskin's marriage, to Effie Gray, was annulled after six years because of non-consummation. His wife, in a letter to her parents, claimed that he found her "person" (meaning her body) repugnant. "He alleged various reasons, hatred to children, religious motives, a desire to preserve my beauty, and finally this last year he told me his true reason... that he had imagined women were quite different to what he saw I was, and that the reason he did not make me his Wife was because he was disgusted with my person the first evening 10th April."

Ruskin confirmed this in his statement to his lawyer during the annulment proceedings. "It may be thought strange that I could abstain from a woman who to most people was so attractive. But though her face was beautiful, her person was not formed to excite passion. On the contrary, there were certain circumstances in her person which completely checked it."[14]

The cause of this mysterious "disgust" has led to much speculation. Ruskin's biographer, Mary Lutyens, suggested that he rejected Effie because he was horrified by the sight of her pubic hair. Lutyens argued that Ruskin must have known the female form only through Greek statues and paintings of the nude lacking pubic hair and found the reality shocking.[15] This speculation has been repeated by later biographers and essayists and it is now something that "everyone knows" about Ruskin.[16] However, there is no proof for this, and some disagree. Peter Fuller in his book Theoria: Art and the Absence of Grace writes, "It has been said that he was frightened on the wedding night by the sight of his wife's pubic hair; more probably, he was perturbed by her menstrual blood." Ruskin's biographers Tim Hilton and John Batchelor also take the view that menstruation is the more likely explanation, though Batchelor also suggests that body-odour may have been the problem.

Hairlessness is a relative late arrival in Western aesthetics. Or perhaps more accurately, revival. Arab and Muslim women and men have been religiously and culturally instructed to minimize the quantity of bodily hair by way of observing the prophet's exemplary cleanliness dictums.

When I was an undergraduate at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I learned this shocking truth from a roommate who was the daughter of Iraqi immigrants. Apparently, the custom of plucking every hair on the female body migrated through social osmosis from the Muslim population and was adopted by the women in the Jewish community.

Now and here it's called "The Brazilian" and is considered a topic meriting its own episode in "Sex and the city".

Preacher Wright understands Obama:

LGF informs us that Bill Moyer's interview with the meddlesome priest will be airing on PBS tomorrow.

And, "imagine my surprise; he claims his words were twisted."

According to the article on the NYT Politics blog, Wright appears to accept Senator Obama's public renunciation rather sanguinely:

“... so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician....

“He’s a politician... he says what he has to say as a politician.

... He does what politicians do. So that what happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the sound bytes, he responded as a politician.”

I asked the question many times before, and I ask it again now:

Why do Obama's more radical constituencies keep supporting him, in spite of all the renouncing and rejecting that he has done, publicly? What do they think they know, or understand about this man?

So Rev. Wright thinks he understands and knows Obama better than others, better than Obama knows himself, apparently. These statements by Wright smugly and implicitly suggest that Obama is a smooth operator, a liar, who says what he thinks his audience wants to hear, not what he really feels.

In Ryan Lizza's article in The New Republic, we are told Wright is a former Muslim. No doubt his style of preaching is very reminiscent of the way Mullahs preach and inflame their flocks during Friday morning prayers, easily ignoring history, facts and good sense in favour of radical religion and political theories (that's a euphemism for conspiracies). I've seen black preachers preach with much fervour but not the kind of amalgam of politics, religion and hatred that characterizes the Wright's sermons. So I wonder how much of the former Muslim is still animating and motivating the sentiment and feeling of this preacher for Jesus. Moreover, seeing the ease with which he excuses Obama's apparent denunciation of his words and positions as merely keeping up appearances for a political end makes me wonder even further about his Muslim ethos. Isn't dissimulation permissible in Islam as a legitimate tactic, if it furthers a certain political end?

This blog also speculates about these issues:

(1) Wright uses the pulpit as Muslims do in mosques, to preach politics and hate.

(2) It may explain why Wright hates America so much, strongly opposes the Iraq war, and is viciously anti-semitic.

(3) It explains why Wright's newsletter supports Hamas.

(4) It explains why Wright conferred honors upon the Muslim extremist Louis Farrakhan in December, 2007.

(5) In times of conflict, Muslims are permitted to falsely "convert" to Judaism or Christianity. They can remain in this state indefinitely until called upon by other Muslims to return to Islam.

(6) It is hard to explain why neither Obama or Wright have been accused of renouncing their religion (apostasy) by Muslim leaders.

Well, these are legitimate questions and I doubt Bill Moyer asked them of his guest. The only way to know the answer is to wait until Obama gains the presidency and see what he does and whom he honours at that time. For those who simply have to know what all of it means there is no other way of finding out, but through tasting the pudding itself.

I have my own understanding of Obama, who is, I think, at the very least an agnostic who does not have a genuine religious sentiment in the way Bush does. It is quite possible that Rev. Wright has read the measure of the man more deeply than he realizes. If Obama is dissimulating about his denunciation of Wright's position, it is just as conceivable that he was dissimulating when he had chosen him and his church as his power base. He was an ambitious politician then, no less than he is now. If all politicians do is speak deceptively and appeal to their immediate audiences in the hope of gaining their trust, who is to know when a politician is sincerely expressing his true feelings and when he just says things that will please an audience?

Ryan Lizza's article is worth a read. It observes and follows young Obama's intellectual and political roots, how his decisions were made, who and what motivated him. He seems to have had three "fathers" whom he had to renounce, or forget, at one time or another, in order to make progress, and Wright was the last of the three.


Update: Pajamas Media Tom Blumer digs deeper:

Thus far, Barack Obama and his campaign have only specifically condemned the inclusion of the Palestinian terrorist’s op-ed. I am not aware of any condemnation of the other three items noted above.

It would appear that if Obama wishes to put the Wright controversy behind him, he needs to convince the voting public that, as he claims is the case with Wright’s sermons, he was not aware of any church bulletin content that would, if he had known about it, have caused him to leave TUCC.


Works and Days' Victor Davis Hanson:

Speaking of [Wright], the snippets from his interview with a fawning Bill Moyers were about as disingenuous as they come. He claimed they were out of context and his critics divisive, but never disowned what he said. He claimed he was a pastor outside of politics, but his attraction apparently hinges on his political views about everything from the AIDs conspiracy to apartheid. And on and on. The problem with Rev. Wright is, well, he loves the attention, makes a profit on it, and won’t shut up. And as long as he is not disowned by Obama, the more Obama has to explain why he continues to worship in that church, whether Wright is or is not really retired, and what exactly did Obama know and when did he know it. A fair reading of the Obama memoirs suggests he knew exactly what Wright was saying and heard a great deal of it.


For a stupid commentary on the above, read here:

"And yes, as an example, being a different kind of politician means condemning Wright's comments but sticking by the man"

Only of course Rev. Wright did not say "Obama is a different kind of politician". He said: Obama is a politician" the implication being that there is only one kind of politicians and this kind is always about lying, pretending, playacting, obfuscating, etc etc. Wright seems to hold a rather dim view of this member of his church.


Here is one commenter view with a counter point to the "he is a politician" credential:

I was willing to give Obama a pass for Rev. Wright. I chalked it up to his desire for “street creds” among the Chicago constituency he was trying to court. Not too admirable, but hey, he’s a politician. What do you expect? I refused to believe he actually bought into the jive the rev was talking.

But then, from his own mouth came the phrase “typical white person”, directed at his own grandmother. It was then that I knew, that after 20 years some of the bigotry propagated by the rev had taken root in Obama’s brain. A shame, since I did have hope for him.

History lesson (Via The Iconoclast)

Muslim antisemitism did not grow "uniquely Muslim roots" over the past three decades. Muslim antisemitism was always there, within Islam. It was not virulent, because the Jews were weak, despised, and unlike the Christians, had no possible strong outside powers that could pressure Muslims in order to protect their co-religionists within Dar al-Islam. But then the Jews re-established their ancient Jewish commonwealth, despite Arab terrorism that started early against Jews settling on land they had bought (Joseph Trumpeldor at Tel Hai). That Arab terrorism continued throughout the 1920s (a decade that begins with murderous mobs killing Jews in Jerusalem in 1920, and then massacring every last Jew Hebron in 1929) and then through the 1930s, especially during the so-called Arab Revolt.

During that revolt, the Mandatory Authority officials in Jerusalem expelled Captain Orde Wingate for the crime of having taught Jewish settlers how to defend themselves. Meanwhile, Arab terrorism continued. Then there was the attack on the nascent state of Israel by seven Arab armies, and the period of terrorism by Egyptian fedayin (and by Jordanians too, until terrorism from Jordan was ended by a retaliatory raid led by Colonel Ariel Sharon and his Unit 101).

Read the rest, here

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

United they stand

I asked the question a few times:

Why do Obama's more radical constituencies keep supporting him, in spite of all the renouncing and rejecting that he has done, publicly? What do they think they know, or understand about this man?

Here is a possible answer:

...The reason that pseudo-realist Israel bashers and messianic peace mongering Israel bashers support Obama is because they naturally gravitate towards a man on a mission to save the free world from itself.

An empowered, free citizenry will question the realism behind their decision to pretend that the global jihad is the figment of the Jewish lobby's imagination. A cowed, on its way to being redeemed by Obama's cult of personality citizenry will be in no position to argue with them.

... fascist societies... are all about the notions of "unity" and "change" and melding our broken souls into a fixed, united will for change that Obama has made the core theme of his campaign... while [patriotism] connotes the willingness to defend the moral values of a society, unity is bereft of any moral content. "The only value of unity is strength, strength in numbers - and... that is a fascist value. That's the symbolism of the fasces, the bundle of sticks that in combination are invincible."