Monday, June 30, 2008

P&P Smoothie

Recently, I started preparing for myself
a fresh fruit smoothie a-day.
It makes me feel virtuous and happy.
Today I made myself a smoothie
that was light, and bright and sparkling
like a Jane Austen novel...
Quartered Pineapple slices (that's the pride),
one segmented grapefruit, (the humour)
a few torn mint leaves (the irony)
from the mint patch in my backyard
a few cubes of frozen raspberry juice (the prejudice)
orange juice to cover (practical wisdom)
Let them all dance together
in the blender
for a minute or two.
Pour. Drink.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single, cool and pretty-coloured smoothie
must be loaded with vitamins and great taste to make a summer day... perfect.

A normative, and prominent feature of the Shari'a

A lesson in the delights of dhimmitude by Andrew G. Bostom

...the dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle.. .Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]...on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]... They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells...their houses may not be higher than the Muslim's, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle-work is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths...[dhimmis] must hold their tongue.

Iranian Film Critique: Genuinely La-la

Via: Mick Hartley, who has a special knack for capturing absurdities in his net:

Deconstructing "Chicken Run" as a Zionist plot

Even though "Chicken Run" is a sort of fantasy about an animal farm, on a deeper level it depicts the Zionists' favorite themes, which appear in many of the visual dramas of the 20th century. The recreation of a kind of genocide, using visual elements reminiscent of Nazi Germany death camps – an idea linked to the religious themes of a savior and immigration to a promised land – serves a propaganda machine, whose goal it is to depict itself as a symbol for the oppressed and for those who suffer. [...]

Deconstructing "Saving Private Ryan" as a Zionist plot

While the blacks and other minorities protest the fact that Hollywood ignores their role in American history, but to no avail, prominent films like "Saving Private Ryan" highlight the role of Jewish soldiers. By exaggerating this role, the Zionists seem to be trying to achieve legitimacy for their post-war actions. In the military cemetery shown in the opening scene of the film, the picture has been edited to draw attention to the Jewish graves among others. [...]

Deconstructing "Schindler's List" as a mega Zionist plot

The Jewish Steven Spielberg, whose previous film, "Schindler's List," reflected Zionist goals, and who turned the false story of the holocaust into an influential movie, is now making a new movie, about Private Ryan. [...]

If you watch the video clip, here, and listen carefully to the presenter, you may begin to figure out (in case you were stumped) why the claim is made that "Ryan" rhymes with "Zion". He pronounces in Persian "Zion" as "Za'yan", and "Ryan" as "Ra'yan"....

These, and these, are the kind of people some Americans think they can talk to, without pre-conditions... (No, not Obama, who no longer posits the "without pre-conditions" phrase before declaring his intention to speak to enemies of such malevolence).

Gilad Shalit: "The shark and the fish"

Two years since he was kidnapped by Hamas. And no end seems in sight.

Z-blog posted this short story he wrote when he was 11-years old.

Watch it


And closely related to the above, I woke up to this dire news today:

Samir Kuntar To Be Released

Who is Samir Kuntar? A reminder, here.

Haran's wife, Smadar, hid with her two-year-old daughter Yael in a crawl space above the couple's bedroom. Smadar tried to muffle the girl's cries, and accidentally smothered her.

As officers arrived at the building, the terrorists pulled Danny and Einat out of the apartment building and down to the beach, where a shootout with police and soldiers ensued.

Kuntar shot Danny Haran at close-range and threw his body into the sea to make sure he died. He then bashed Einat's head on rocks and with butt of his rifle, killing her instantly.

I suspect that this bit -- "killing her instantly" -- was added out of an extreme and implausible kind of consideration for the horrified reader. We don't want to know what it really may have been like for that four-year-old girl.

By the way, Kuntar remains unrepentant:

"My dear and respectable master and commander," Kuntar wrote in the letter to Nasrallah. "Peace be with you and with our shahids (martyrs).

"I give you my promise and oath that my only place will be in the fighting front soaked with the sweat of your giving and with the blood of the shahids, the dearest people, and that I will continue your way until we reach a full victory. I send my best wishes and promise of renewed loyalty to you, sir, and to all the Jihad fighters."

There is an uninterrupted arc of evil that connects Samir Kuntar with Hezbollah with Ahmadinejad with Iran and its nuclear ambitions.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Offensivity: The saga continues:

No sniffer dogs near a Muslim

The most recent innovation in the attempted dhimmification of Britain:

Police sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at railway stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers – after complaints that it is against the suspects’ religion....

In the Muslim faith, dogs are deemed to be spiritually “unclean”. But banning them from touching passengers would severely restrict their ability to do their job. The report follows trials of station security measures in the wake of the 2005 London suicide bomb attacks. In one trial, some female Muslims said the use of a body scanner was also unacceptable because it was tantamount to being forced to strip.

British Transport Police last night insisted it would still use sniffer dogs – which are trained to detect explosives – with any passengers regardless of faith, but handlers would remain aware of “cultural sensitivities”.

A short while ago I was pretty startled to read this:

The "trial" here involved a London hair salon owner named Sarah Desrosiers and an aspiring stylist, Bushra Noah, whose interpretation of her Muslim faith requires her to wear a headscarf at all times. Ms. Noah applied for a job. In their one brief meeting last year, Ms. Desrosiers decided that her refusal to show any hair wouldn't fit the trendy, "alternative" image that her Wedge salon in King's Cross seeks to project. Patrons and passersby, by her reasoning, like to see where their stylists' tastes run to – in Ms. Desrosiers's case to a dyed pink and blonde do on full display while she works.....

You can guess what happened next. Ms. Noah took her to court.....

... the tribunal still decided that Ms. Desrosiers must pay £4,000 in punitive damages to Ms. Noah – a sum, she says, that puts her small business in jeopardy. Why? It found a novel crime: Ms. Desrosiers was guilty of "indirect discrimination" and causing Ms. Noah "injury to feelings."

A few months ago I was incredulous when I read this:

Hospital beds of seriously ill Muslim patients are to be turned to face Mecca as part of changes aimed at helping patients uphold their Islamic faith.

Dewsbury District Hospital in West Yorkshire will also provide Halal meals and make changes to shower facilities.

Staff at the hospital will take part in training sessions to teach them how to help patients with their faith worship.

A Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust spokeswoman said it wanted to improve its service for Muslim patients.

And there was this story.

And these stories.

I wouldn't care much about these stories. After all, if Britain wants to sink into third-worldism, it's her own business. But I worry because Canadians like to emulate the Brits, angst-ridden as they are about their proximity to their nearest neighbour. So we have a pretty energetic attempt at "reasonable accommodation" here, and some great solicitous compassion for the extreme fragility of Muslim sensitivities. As can be witnessed in the Levant's and Steyn's respective brushes with Canadian Human rights Regulation. More articles, here (French).


Continues here.

Leftism, Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and Jewish Response

The New Centrist began a three-part series of articles about the history and present currency of Left antisemitism.

Part 1:

Part 2:

I will link to Part 3 when it becomes available.

Make sure to read Part 2's comment by Daniel Stark. A case in point:

.... One moment during High School really sent me towards learning more about Israel and the constant aggression towards its existence. This was towards the end of my senior year while my friend was driving me home from school. The subject shifted towards 9/11 and terrorism and we were expressing our viewpoints. My views at the time were Ron Paulish in nature (though that has changed also). When it got to my friends view on 9/11, he said, “You know, the Jews were really behind 9/11.” That response almost made me want to smack him, to wake him up to such an absurd comment. Instead, I told him politely that it was wrong and he should do some more research on it. Since then, I have always looked at motives and rhetoric of those who represent the left and see if bigotry is somehow connected (it is not always the case, but it is out there, as you point out in your essay).

The Dutch Version of Jimmy Carter

This story on Haaretz:

He speaks at controversial solidarity events alongside Hamas officials, lamenting the Dutch government's boycott of the Islamist organization branded by numerous governments as terrorist. He is also outspoken in accusing Israel of state-terror.

Van Agt says: his "eyes were opened" during a catholic pilgrimage to the Holy Land."

Here is what he is quoted to have said:

"All the other Arabs, in some way or another, happy or unhappy, dictatorial or not, have their only states. The only Arabs that never got a state were the Palestinians. "

Arabs have an inalinable right to their own states, you see. But not the Jews. The Jews have no rights, even when he openly admits that

"without the worst crime in the history of humanity, the Holocaust, Israel would not have come into existence in that time and in that formula."

You see, Palestinians who became refugees during a war (and have inexplicably remained so for 60 years) are fully justified and should be supported in the quest for their own statehood, even if it means the destruction of Israel. But the Jews who lost a third of their numbers in the "the worst crime in history of humanity" have enjoyed a gratuitous, unwarranted gain by getting their own state. Note please the easy and cold dismissal of the exterminated 6 millons...


The similarities between this person and Carter are striking. Both former heads of states, both old, both fanatically religious, both have religious-type "epiphanies", after which they feel they finally see clearly and penetratingly and are in a moral position to preach to the unconverted and prescribe insufferable and dangerous solutions. But the similarities go even further: They are also both possessed of great human compassion, directed exclusively towards the enemies of the Jews. The selectiveness of their compassion is really the definitive symptom of their disease.

In the case of Van Agt: In 1972, when he was justice minister, Van Agt told a journalist: "I am only an Aryan" in speaking about his intention to bring about the release for health reasons of the last three Nazi war criminals still in Dutch prisons.

In the case of Carter:One day, in the fall of ’87, my secretary walks in and gives me a letter with a Georgia return address reading ‘Jimmy Carter.’ I assumed it was a prank from some old college buddies, but it wasn’t. It was the original copy of the letter Bartesch’s daughter sent to Carter, after Bartesch had already been deported.“

In the letter, she claimed we were un-American, only after vengeance, and persecuting a man for what he did when he was only 17 and 18 years old.“

.... On the upper corner of the letter was a note signed by Jimmy Carter saying that in cases such as this, he wanted ‘special consideration for the family for humanitarian reasons.’

Of course, like Jimmy Carter, Van Agt denies that he is motivated by any antisemitic sentiment. I wonder what these people think antisemitism means. They seem to really believe in their own words, as if antisemitism begins and ends with the desire to see Jews in gas chambers. As if the kind of words they use, they kind of causes they advocate or excuse, do not eventually lead, as they know very well from history, to the kind of antisemitism from which they feel exonerated.

For my past posts about Jimmy Carter, scroll down here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Israel - Can we count her blessings?

A (first ever) guest post by Mano:

It is a common knowledge, or perhaps a perception, that the state of Israel is a world leader in technology and innovation. In this short paper we will probe this perception from a few different angles.

The Israeli economy grew at a rate of 5.4% per annum during the first quarter of 2008. On the one hand, this is not negligible when compared with other leading economies, which did only 1-2% annually in this quarter (e.g. USA ~1%, Canada ~1.7%). This is quite an impressive performance considering the security situation and the ongoing defense expenses. However, on the other hand, one may say ‘what goes up must go down’ – this is only one part of an economic cycle.

Innovation is, without doubt, one of the elements, which creates economical growth, wealth and jobs. While innovation continuously occurs in large, well established corporations, new firms and startups are known to have lead innovation and paradigm changes, the basic elements required to create economic and corporate value. The table on the right provides the absolute total venture capital investments (in $US) and the number of deals made in a few countries. The last column is the calculated $ in venture capital investment per capita.

The pie chart is a visual representation of the total venture capital investments. It is clear that the USA is leading the pack in absolute terms.

However, when the numbers are adjusted (or normalized) per capita, the result looks completely different. Israel invested about $80 per capita, the USA $22 per capita, and all the rest are far behind. This is shown in the bar graph below. What is surprising (or maybe not) is that Europe is also significantly lagging behind. Is this a leading indicator for the future?

The bar graph below provides data for the last 3 quarters. The trend is positive both in number of Israeli companies acquiring venture capital, as well as the collective $ amount.

God-Given gets a fine

From the 'Z' Word blog"

.... French comic Dieudonne has been fined “nearly $11,000 for referring to Holocaust remembrance as ‘memorial pornography’ at a news conference following a performance in Algeria in February 2005.” The report also notes some of his more choice sayings - “Zionism is the AIDS of Judaism,” along with a variation of this old favorite: “Those Jews who criticize me are all former slave merchants who now control the media and the banks.”

The New Yorker magazine published a profile
of the French comic by Tom Reiss :

Dieudonné gave two performances of “Mes Excuses” in Algeria in early 2005, and held a press conference at which he told his Algerian audience that those in power in France—here he specifically mentioned Jean-Pierre Rafarrin, the French Prime Minister—are forced to “lick the ass” of the C.R.I.F., France’s main Jewish organization, and called the group “a Mafia that controls the republic.” He also said that “the Zionist lobby cultivates the idea of their unique suffering,” adding that “a war has been declared on blacks.” A news report on the now defunct site,, which quoted Dieudonné as referring to the Shoah as “memorial pornography,” caused an uproar.

[-] From the stage of the Main d’Or, Dieudonné mocked his attackers. “Every time Bernard Lévy writes about me, it’s ‘Dieudonné, bastard!’ ‘Anti-Semite!’ ‘Anti-Semite!’ As soon as anything annoys him—‘Anti-Semite!’ It’s a great system, really.” Dieudonné swatted an imaginary mosquito on his cheek, shouting, “Anti-Semite!”

Bernard-Henri Lévy’s apartment on the Boulevard St. Germain reflects why, to the modern French anti-Semite, the initials “BHL” represent what the name Rothschild once did: the ultimate international Jew, running a global plot from the finest address in Paris.

“In France, being an anti-Semite in the old way does not work,” Lévy said when I asked him about Dieudonné. “You will not raise a mass movement by saying the Jews killed Christ—nobody cares. Accuse them of having invented Christ, like Voltaire did in the eighteenth century, still nobody cares. As far as being a special race, nobody believes that anymore.
But anti-racist anti-Semitism—saying that for the sake of the blacks, for the sake of the Arabs, we must make the Jews shut up—this works. If the Jews practiced ‘memorial pornography’—thus exaggerating their own suffering—they became responsible for why the world didn’t care enough about the history of slavery and the suffering of blacks. Dieudonné and his followers suppose that the capacity for empathy and the capacity for indignation is limited. But the brain doesn’t work like this—you can care about the Holocaust and slavery. The more you are concerned by one, the more you are likely to be concerned by the other.”

Dieudonné is just an extreme case of quite a few so-called "Leftists", closer to home, who harbour very similar sentiments and express the same kind of hostility towards Jews, not in intensity (maybe) but in substance. One unmistakable sign is the affection and sympathy such "Leftists" usually express towards notorious antisemites (like Louis Farrakhan). This rapprochement, between the Obscene Left and the Radical Right seems an inevitable eventuality, once you start on the path of Jew-stalking:

As Dieudonné was ostracized by the mainstream media and the political establishment, he made new friends—people like Thierry Meyssan, the author of the much translated 2002 book “L’Effroyable Imposture” (“The Big Lie”), which suggests that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were a plot hatched by elements of the U.S. military-industrial complex; Ginette Skandrani, a staunch Palestinian activist and a co-founder of France’s Green Party; and Alain Soral, a writer for and adviser to Le Pen.

La voilà!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The historical necessity of the Iraq War

Arthur Herman taught history at George Mason University and Georgetown University and is the author of "Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age" (Bantam Books).

Here he writes about how history would judge the decision to go to war in Iraq:

...five years after the launching of Operation Iraqi Freedom, both the mainstream media and America’s political elites treat the Iraq war as a disaster virtually without precedent in our national experience. But while politicians and journalists are not necessarily expected to be adepts of the long view, for professional historians the long view is a defining necessity. As the English historian F.W. Maitland wrote more than a century ago, “It is very hard to remember that events that are long in the past were once in the future.” Hard it may be, but the job of historians is not only to remember it but to judge events accordingly.

In this light—that is, in light of what was actually known at the time about Saddam Hussein’s actions and intentions, and in light of what was added to our knowledge through his post-capture interrogations by the FBI—the decision to go to war takes on a very different character. The story that emerges is of a choice not only carefully weighed and deliberately arrived at but, in the circumstances, the one moral choice that any American President could make.

Had, moreover, Bush failed to act when he did, the consequences could have been truly disastrous. The next American President would surely have faced the need, in decidedly less favorable circumstances, to pick up the challenge Bush had neglected. And since Bush’s unwillingness to do the necessary thing might rightly have cost him his second term, that next President would probably have been one of the many Democrats who, until March 2003, actually saw the same threat George Bush did.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Israeli Racism

By some coincidence, considering the conversation at Bob's and this post, I came across this post on Adloyada today, dealing more or less with the same topics. One commenter (Imshin, also a blogger) posted

this youtube video,

which is a skit by two of Israel's greatest comedians, Uri Zohar (who discarded his life as public comedian #1 to become an orthodox rabbi at a Jerusalem Yeshiva, God's gain and Israel's loss) and Arik Einstein (still a singer and entertainer), from the 1970's. It's somewhat in Hebrew, but you don't need to really know the language to understand what's going on, though I doubt anyone but true Israelis can appreciate the sheer genius of it.

Zimbabwe's Horror Show and the silence of the world:

"One argument is the myth of time. This myth says in
substance that only time can solve problems that we face in the area of human
relations. So there are those who say to individuals struggling to make justice
a reality. Why don't you wait and stop pushing so hard. If you will just be
patient and wait 100 or 200 years the problem will work itself out. Well this
argument still goes around. The only answer that one can give to this myth is
that time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively....
the people of ill-will ... have often used time much more effectively that the
people of good will. It may well be that we will have to repent in this
generation not merely for the vitriolic words and violent actions of the bad
people .... but for the appalling silence of the good people who sit idly by and
say wait on time. Somewhere along the way we must see that time will never solve
the problem alone but that we must help time. Somewhere we must see that human
progress never rolls in on the wheels on inevitability. It comes through the
tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals... Without
this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the insurgent and primitive
forces of irrational emotionalism and social stagnation. We must always help
time and realize that the time is always right to do right."

(From Dr. Martin Luther King's speech)

Last night I caught this discussion on Zimbabwe on Charlie Rose. The participants were: Philip Gourevitch, Chenjerai Hove, Andrew Meldrum, Michelle Gavin.

Norman Geras was born in Rhodesia and blogs about the present situation there often, on his Normblog.

The situation there is simply horrendous.

Chenjearai Hove, of Brown University, described some unbelievable atrocities committed by Mugabe, who is supported by South Africa's Mbeke, in the former's crazed bid to stay in power. In the course of the conversation, he said three things which I found surprisingly honest:

That having been a college student in Rhodesia in the seventies, he had encountered some grim instances of police brutality and torture. But, he said, nothing that was ever done during the colonial stage of Rhodesia comes even close to what is being perpetrated by Mugabe's henchmen today. If this present regime is not toppled, he said, Mugabe may pass away someday but his successor, believed to be the Minister of Housing, will be even worse.

Asked by Charlie what he thought was needed, he said "military intervention", right away. The other panelists agreed with him but dismissed the possibility that the UN would manage to hobble together and activate a necessary peace-keeping army to deal with the situation. They all said the UN will go through the motions of diplomacy and intervention but it will be all talk and prevarication and no action in sight. In the meantime, people who oppose the Mugabe rule are being hacked to death, set on fire, killed in the most cruel and unusual ways, in front of witnesses.

Then the conversation turned to Mbeke's seemingly unfathomable support for Mugabe. In this connection, Hove said that if South Africa would close its border with Zimbabwe, stopping food and other stuffs to go through, Mugabe' regime would fall within days. Again, the other panelists agreed and one of them suggested that even turning off the electricity which is supplied mainly by South Africa, may bring about the same result.

This is where I found myself, once again, confronted by the double standard: When Israel was trying to force the Hamas government to choose between smuggling weapons into Gaza, or providing food for their people, it decided to impose a blockade (of sorts) and turn off a portion of the electricity Gaza receives from Israel. Anyone remotely familiar with Israel's travails will remember the international outrage that ensued. Yet here we have a panel of serious knowledgeable thinkers who advocated these very same measures to be implemented in full in order to stop the intolerable levels of brutality which Mugabe inflicts upon his people.

What can possible account for the difference in attitude? Can anyone offer a plausible enough explanation?

And another point: while the Media, the Barking Loony Left, the criminal UNHUC are all focusing attention on Israel's so-called Human Rights violations, these unspeakable horrors take place, people are mutilated and mass-murdered in Africa. These are all well-documented and witnessed by scores of people and survivors. Yet the world's gaze is still transfixed on Israel. Real victims, who have no oil-rich sheiks to intimidate the West on their behalf, are suffering in ways that are hard to imagine, and they are blotted out of public awareness, pushed aside, marginalized, silenced, by a world's obsession with the Jewish state. Is this another version of the Czarist routine, writ global? Draw attention away from the real concentration of festering evil by creating and swelling up the bogeyman of Israel, a Jewish state? Who, then, on the UNHR Council, will speak for Mugabe' slayed and burned victims? Who will induce South Africa to close its borders and turn off the electric power it supplies to Zimbabwe, in order that finally this crazy regime will collapse under its own sheer brutality and greed?


Update (Saturday, 28 June, 2008):

Z-word made a similar point, here. And Terry Glavin opines, too, here.

Update (Monday, 30 June 2008):

Norm says:

Talk about the ironies of history. That it should be South Africa of all nations that led the opposition to calling this charade - a brutal farce - what it really is, is a tragedy when you remember the solidarity that was mobilized across the world in support of the people of South Africa in their struggle against apartheid. Thabo Mbeki bears the major responsibility for that.


Continues here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Zig and Zag and what's between them:

(Via Engage )

Egypt's Culture Minister Faruq Hosni, a candidate to head UNESCO, has come under fire from Israel and the Wiesenthal Centre for saying he was prepared to burn Israeli books.

Read the report here and ponder the following:

Can this be for real? Can this grownup man, of culture and science pretensions, have achieved what great physicists have failed thus far? Can thesis and antithesis occupy simultaneously the same space? Can matter meet anti-matter and not be annihilated instantly, after all?

He said: "I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt,"


It is "a big mistake that Israeli books have not yet been translated (into Arabic). I have officially asked for it to be done. If people protest, I don't give a damn."


He said

"he opposed a normalisation of cultural ties with Israel"


"it would be "a coup for Israel if I am named to the post (of UNESCO director general) because I will work for reconciliation".


Reminds me of the dialogue on "Sabrina" (1995), in which the mother of the bride describes the wedding preparations:

"Mrs. Ingrid Tyson:

... it's going to be wonderful!

Elegant but simple,

lavish but tasteful...

Patrick Tyson:

Cheap but expensive."

The Lost honour of PEACE
(H/T: Sultan Knish)

I. I finally visited the blog "Sultan Knish" which the New Centrist holds in very high esteem. I can see why.

Here is an excerpt from a post. A more trenchant analysis I have not encountered of the chimera called "peace", a term degraded beyond belief once you consider what it has become:

If you believe the current regime of diplomats and pundits, peace is something that can be obtained for the right price. Where peace once meant the mutual cessation of war, peace has now become something that can now be bought and sold. Put the right amount on the table and peace can be yours, the pimps of peace cry on every corner. Behind them stand their gruesome wares, the terrorists and mass murderers who will have peace with you, perhaps for a night or two, if the right price is paid. The tricks may think that peace is a long term marriage, but they know it is only a one night stand. Hudna. Ceasefire. Time enough for them to rearm and kill again.

We live now in the era of the prostitution of peace. Love doesn't enter into it. Brotherhood doesn't enter into it. We no longer have peace because we are both tired of war and wish an end to it. No, peace has become something that the brute, the thug and the monster offers to the civilized world in exchange for weapons, power and international stature. And so we no longer have peace, instead the very idea of peace has become a lost hope, a compulsive gambler's winning streak, an alky's last beer, a forlorn cause in the darkened streets of civilization's modern diplomatic dystopia.


II. I've just been engaged in something of a debate at Bob from Brockly's. I took umbrage at his, in my opinion, knee-jerk designation of Israeli society as "racist".

Bob writes:

However, despite the racism of Israeli society, large numbers (perhaps a majority) of Israeli citizens clearly want their land to be more hospitable to African refugees, as these stories show:

It is an incoherent kind of logic, that calls an entire society "racist" and simultaneously providing a piece of information that seems to contradict the meaning of this term. Even though I sort of understood what Bob had meant, I saw fit to criticize his choice of words. He explained why he said what he said, and I took the opportunity to provide some calibration and context to his accusations.

At which point The New centrist joined the conversation, launching his comment with the following observation:

I’m so used to the word “racism” being tossed around these days that it is practically meaningless. At one time for someone to call me a racist would have really bothered me (am I, really?). Today, it doesn't phase me in the slightest.

"...ay, there's the rub;" I am still fazed (as in frightened) by such a linguistic sublimation of the solid-to-gas phase transitions. A solid phrase that used to have a stout meaning of some very egregious historical behaviours is now used gaseously, diffusely, to denote any sort of behaviour or attitude which is stimulated by the existance of difference* between people, without due consideration for particular situations and human tendency to protect itself against assault of any type by closing ranks with trusted kin and friends. Arabs (by and large, there are exceptions which I am all too eager to acknowledge) are not Israel's friends, they don't speak as Israel's friends, they don't behave in any manner even remotely friendly. It seems extraordinary that anyone should expect Israelis to think of them as friends.
III. “.. It is generally assumed", says George Orwell, in his famous article: “Politics and the English language” (1946) "that we cannot by conscious action do anything about [the decline of the English Language]. Our civilization is decadent, and our language---so the argument runs---must inevitably share in the general collapse… It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism... Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

... it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. … the English language.. becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible..."

Orwell was a most conscientious thinker and writer. His expostulations about the cheapening of language in the service of shrill and mostly meaningless polemics is just as relevant today, if not more so.
In her book of essays “Economy of the Unlost”, Anne Carson tries to locate the nexus of poetry (writing authentically) and power, by comparing two poets who lived 25 centuries apart, Simonides of Keos (5th century b.c.e) and Paul Celan (a Romanian Jew and a survivor of the Holocaust).

She chose Celan because of his unique biography and his calling. For Celan, the German language, into which he was born and upon which he grew up, was hijacked at a certain point for a national “deathbearing talk”. Once the Nazi regime was defeated, language remained, but badly mutilated and warped, terribly fragile. That’s when Celan decided to work with the German language, with great care and frugality, to preserve what remained meaningful and clean in it.

In choosing to focus on Celan's work, Carson seems to suggest that at times -- when parts of language and meanings of words have been appropriated and deformed, thereby lost -- it is the duty of the poet (a term in which I include authors, writers, thinkers, intellectuals, readers and speakers) to use what is left economically, sparingly, and accurately.

Paul Celan was extremely anxious about the erosion of meanings in language.

“ He sometimes saw language-death as a more universal problem: The tendency of meanings to “burn out” of language and to be covered by a “load of false and disfigured sincerity” is one that he here ascribes to ‘The whole sphere of human communicative means”

It’s this kind of anxiety that animates my concern over the inflationary usage of words, so that eventually these potent terms are drained of their moral import and relevance by being associated all too freely and cheaply with a-historical analogies. Intellectuals ought to adopt this pristine ethos of linguistic economy, to be particularly mindful not to squander the precious meanings of moral terms in the service of some short-term political thesis.

All of the above was triggered by Sultan Knish's correct diagnosis of the precious term "peace" as being degraded by cynical politicians, and morally-illiterate Human Rights activists and such, to the point when it no longer bears even a resemblance to what it meant when the UN was founded and the Universal Rights Declaration was signed and ratified.

I'd like to believe that the process of depletion of meaning from significant terms is reversible, as Orwell suggests. I act as if I believe it and try to be very circumspect in the way I choose my words, to come as closely as possible to what I really want to say.


BTW, the dude in the illustration flashing a "peace" sign is a good example of the corruption undergone by the term "peace". At some point someone mistook, or worse, re-interpreted, the "V" sign, which used to signify "Victory" as "peace". When Yasser Arafat flashed his "V" to adoring reporters (like Barbara Plett), they automatically reported it as flashing a "Peace" sign, something that would go down well with their expected audiences who wanted to believe he was a man of peace. I was always dumbfounded by such interpretations. It was a very visual illustration of his not so subtle "doublespeak". As when he spoke of "Jihad to Jerusalem", his apologists explained it as the aspiration for Jerusalem while what he actually meant was "Jihad", well-understood in its traditional sense, by those he was speaking to, to mean exactly the bloody campaign that he unleashed in 2000.


*In this example:

"Yup, some people do tend to fall for that Grossman-is-a-peacenik jive, not realising that Grossman is a bigot and a fanatic, fully committed to a violent Jewish supremacist state."

which I found here, you will note that David Grossman, for supporting the idea that Jews have a right to their own state, is thus denounced as "a bigot and a fanatic". And in case you are not sure whether this combination of violent epithets does not mean he is a racist, than the author goes on to explain that Grossman is committed to a "Jewish supremacist state". Why did he not untilize the term "racist"? Probably he must have felt that the term "racist" was mild for his purpose and overexcited disposition. Which sort of doubly makes my point. To describe Grossman as a "racist" would have been downright slanderous. To describe him as this author does is simply a character assassination. But , as George Orwell explains: "an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely."

So you see my problem with Bob's "Israeli society is racist" meme? "Israeli society is racist" means, in actuality, that Israel is a "Jewish supremacist state". In which case, David Grossman - the dovest of possible doves, a gentle and compassionate soul by any kind of test - why wouldn't it be justifiable and viable to label him "a bigot and a fanatic"? You start by labeling with an intense, hate-loaded term, and you have no where to go but into exponentially intensified extremeness of the label.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The "Ceasefire": "Giving up the right to defend itself"

The Oslo accords were supposed to bring peace. Instead, through gradual accommodation, they devolved into a nightmare setup where Israel makes concessions in return for increased terrorist attacks. In a few months, we may find that the "Gaza Truce" deal involved Israel giving up the right to defend itself in Gaza, in return for continuing terror attacks and arms smuggling.

ZioNation posts:

The most dangerous aspect of hydrogen sulfide results
from olfactory accommodation and/or olfactory paralysis. This means that the individual can accommodate to the odor and is not able to detect the presence of the chemical after a short period of time. Olfactory paralysis occurs in workers who are exposed to 150 ppm or greater. This occurs rapidly, leaving the worker defenseless. Unconsciousness and death has been recorded following prolonged
exposure at 50 ppm


It took a series of barbaric bombings in March 2002 to finally bring a response by Israel. ...The world got used to the idea that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to blow themselves up in Israeli discotheques, pizza parlors and hotels. The terror was the "accepted" reality, and therefore Operation Defensive Wall and the security fence that stopped the terror were stigmatized as "aggression" and "human rights violations" and a "land grab."

Now Israel has embarked upon a brand new "cease fire" with the Hamas rulers of Gaza. This arrangement begins with an "acceptable" level of mayhem. Gilad Shalit, abducted from Israel, remains in captivity. The smuggling of arms, which was supposed to have been stopped, continues. Israel warns that if the smuggling continues, it will not keep the cease fire. PM Olmert announced that the IDF will act if the smuggling continues. But the smuggling has gone one for two years and the government has continuously threatened to "do something," never setting a deadline for when they would "do something." By this time, both the smuggling and the threats to stop it have receded into the background noise.

The "cease fire" is only a few days old, but already, the Hamas have turned up the level of the Hydrogen Sulfide gas in the chamber. Palestinians fired a mortar shell into Israel. Just one little mortar shell. Nothing to get upset about, surely. The truce is still holding. Actually, that means that Israel is observing the truce, while the Hamas are doing what they please.

Well, it s not as if any of it s new or unpredictable. Any of it.

Inspector Lewis

(Coffee Beans post)

I watched, the other night, on the new PBS series "Masterpiece Mystery", the first episode of "Inspector Lewis", a spin-off from the British detective drama Inspector Morse, set in Oxford. Kevin Whately resurrects his character, Robbie Lewis, who had been Morse's sidekick in the original series, now promoted and the boss of DS James Hathaway.

I used to love Inspector Morse, and mourned him when he died as Morse and even more when the actor John Thaw, his screen interpreter, died some time later. Morse was the very anti-thesis of the flamboyant detective: highly intelligent and feisty, he is often wrong; inclined to high culture and romantic, he is an avowed beer-drinker and cynical. His lack of sex-appeal is simply heart breaking. At the times when he tries to connect with some reluctant woman, it is always a disaster. An introverted snob whose sense of justice is nonetheless sharp, principled, unforgiving. In the original series, his somewhat bumpy friendship with the easy-going Lewis is one of the attractions in the stories told. Lewis is down-to-earth, fun-loving, smart and observant in ways that Morse, often befuddled by his literary knowledge and classical education, cannot quite appreciate until it is almost too late. Lewis and Morse develop some sort of a difficult camaraderie. Now that Morse is dead, Lewis takes over the senior role. His is a different style of sleuthing, different ethos. I'll explain in a minute.

The episode I watched Sunday night was entitled: Whom the Gods Would Destroy. Lewis and Hathaway investigate a murder involving a group called the Sons of the Twice Born. The name is derived from an epithet for Dionysus relating to his birth. The group's activities are arcanely shrouded in Greek myths, quotes from Nietzsche and a Dionysian fondness for drugs. The title is part of a quotation from Euripides - the full quotation is "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

Murders most foul follow in succession as Lewis tries to sort out past sins from present crimes. The mastermind of the group, now a wheelchair-bound, middle aged, aristocratic grouch, hooked on drugs, is married to a young and beautiful woman, who seems to take his unrestrained abuse with great equanimity.

(Spoiler alert)

By the end of the episode we realize, along with Lewis, that this person is responsible for the cold and calculated murder of a young woman many years ago. His wife is that woman's daughter. She unleashed a bunch of brutal dogs upon him, as soon as she gets him to confess to his crime. The only other member of the group is then tried for premeditated murder.

And here is my problem: At the very last scene, Lewis and Hathaway have a conversation. Hathaway asks him why he did not arrest the wife. Wasn't she guilty of pre-meditated murder, just like her husband, just like his co-conspirators?

Lewis answers: No. Not in my book. And walks away.

This is an extraordinary judgment, from a law enforcement agent. He decided that the daughter's motive - revenge for her innocent mother's murder - was a just one, which exonerated her from any accusation of murder. Revenge, in law and order societies, is never acceptable as a motive for murder. It is not alibi. And certainly Morse, Lewis's mentor, would never have let her go free, with such an easy conscience.

Now this might be a great leap in my reasoning here, but I do wonder if Lewis's decision does not reflect the new British ethos, the one we have seen oozing out of the tight seams of British iron control over their emotions (in itself something of a myth, but still..) ever since Princess Diana's death. Away with the stiff-upper-lip tradition, the "fair play" principle. Emotions take over the phenomenal coldness and restraint of the British people. And emotions are expressed in raw justice, that is, revenge as an acceptable and legitimate response to injustice inflicted upon you.

It is very different from P.D. James's "Original Sin", in which an inspector allows a murderer to get away, to commit suicide, because he understood that his revenge motive "an eye for an eye", made a certain sense to him. Adam Dalglish, the poet-prince of all detectives, releases the inspector responsible for this from all duties right away.

There can be no mixing of pity and judgment of a wrong doing. A killing, thought out carefully, set up in advance and executed, is still a first-degree murder. There is no question of self-defence, either pre-emptive and reactive, in these stories.

I shall follow up on the subsequent episodes on "Inspector Lewis". I wonder if this deeply troubling moral question will be kept up and scrutinized as he faces other challenges. And whether Morse's stalwart ethics will be seen to prevail.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Ami Isseroff writes about a recently published book about the findings of Jewish genetic research and its irrelevance to Zionism.

"There is no way to prove a political thesis from biological
science and no need to do so. Political theories and ideology must prove
themselves in the realm of politics, ideology and history. Zionism appears to
have done so, in a unique way that is not true of any other 19th century ideology except perhaps democratic liberalism.

Zionism proved itself in the way that is accepted for scientific
theories: by making and fulfilling a series of counter-intuitive and unlikely

Assimilation in Europe is not possible, despite

The Jews of Europe are about to suffer a catastrophe.

The Jews are a people and can organize themselves as a people and an nation.

It is possible to create a viable Jewish state.

All of the above seemed improbable a hundred and ten years ago, and were bitterly

Even today, anti-Zionists deny the evidence of their senses and insist that the
Jewish state must fall apart because of internal divisions and that the only
future for the Jews is in assimilation or in the most reactionary forms of religious practice. Whatever a nation must be, we are one, and we have proved it.

Judaism is not easily categorizable. Jews have always felt their Jewishness as a religion with the memory of a cherished and a longed for territory. But Jewishness is also an intense sense of historical belonging to a Jewish collective and mutual caring. So much so that even when Jews become atheists, they do not exile themselves from the collectivity of Jews, they don't stop being and feeling Jewish. Even Baruch Spinoza, who was as much of an atheist as could be expected at his time and place, never stopped being a Jew. He was excommunicated for openly defying the rules that regulate Jewish life, (heresy in Judaism is not about what you think in you mind, but how you behave outwardly) but he never converted, been baptised or renounced his own Jewishness. He was also one of the first to fully understand the deep and insuperable affinity that connected Jews to Israel.

Therefore, whether genetics can show blood kinship among the people who call themselves Jews and who live in Israel, a Jewish state, is simply an irrelevant factor and those who either spend their efforts in trying to prove that modern day Jews are not really descended from Abraham are, to all intents and purposes, racists. No other nation has ever been asked to prove any such thing in order to qualify for self-determination.


And related to the above, here Dr. Alexander Yakobson, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, tackles the highly topical question of the uniqueness of Zionism and Israel:

Some argue that these features of the Jewish-Israeli
national identity are inconsistent with modern civic democracy; many others
defend or even celebrate them, pointing to the uniqueness of Jewish history and
culture. The underlining premise of uniqueness itself is rarely questioned. In
fact, however, it appears that this case is far less unique in the modern
democratic world than is widely assumed. There are numerous other cases where
national identity and religion are officially connected in some way, and where
there are official bonds between a nation-state and an ethnocultural Diaspora.

--The first example is Greece (the Hellenic Republic)--

--Another European country in which a close link between religious and national identity has traditionally existed is Ireland. --

--In Norway, The Evangelical-Lutheran religion shall remain the official religion of the State. --

--In post-Communist Poland, the real power and influence of the Catholic Church is greater than in any contemporary democracy --

-- Bulgaria contains a large Muslim Turkish-speaking minority. The constitution includes the usual provision on the equal rights of all citizens regardless of “race, nationality, ethnic self-identity, sex, origin, religion, education, opinion, political affiliation, personal or social status, or property status”. However, it also connects Bulgarian identity embodied by the State with both Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the language of the Bulgarian-speaking majority—--

--Tibetan peoplehood, culture, and society cannot be conceived of without the distinct Tibetan form of Buddhism (sometimes called Lamaism). This state of affairs is more akin to the way some Orthodox Jews would have [End Page 8] liked to see the Jewish people than to Israeli (or Diaspora Jewish) realities. --

--Italy: the Crucifix as a National Symbol in a Secular State --

(The entire article, here, on Engage)

The ultimatum

From comedy to the theatre of the absurd, the UN and its blotted, pompous and ineffectual agencies continue to abuse and amuse:

I. When Israel bombed the site marked for Syrian aspirations to possess nukes,

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.. chastised Israel... in a statement whose strong language reflected his anger at being kept out of the picture for so long.

..."The director general deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency's responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts," the statement said. (Source)

Seeing as how totally ineffective ElBaradei has been, is and will be, in curbing anybody's aspiratins to possess nukes, somehow at his most incompetent when those as yet undeveloped nukes are ear marked, a-priori, to be aimed at Israel, his protestations take on a particularly ridiculous hue.

II. Now that "Less than a day after The New York Times reported that the IAF carried out a major military drill in the first week of June, an apparent rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, Mohammed ElBaradei ... warned that he will quit in the event of a military strike on Iran. "

A military offensive against Iran will turn the region into a fireball he was quoted as saying. “I don’t believe that what I see in Iran today is a current grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time, it would make me unable to continue my work.”

That's quite an ultimatum. Seeing as the agency under his command failed to stop India and Pakistan from acquiring nukes, failed to provide a slam-dunk proof to the UN that Saddam Hussein no longer had nuclear capabilities in development (this failure leading to a war), failed to even tickle the Iranians' feet with his incompetent search for their nuke development sites, his ultimatum to quit over somebody else doing the job thoroughly and capably sounds like sour grapes, to me.

To me, a thorough ignoramus on nukes and such, it seems that Elbaradei's position is clear: Don't interfere too rigorously with the status-quo ( "Muhammad Al-Baradei: If Iran wants to turn to the production of nuclear weapons... it would need at least... Considering the number of centrifuges and the quantity of uranium Iran has... It would need at least six months to one year. Therefore, Iran will not be able to reach the point where we would wake up one morning to an Iran with a nuclear weapon".) Let the Iranians continue as they do now, unperturbed and undisturbed, and by all means stop Israel from taking care of its country and people. For if Israel were to clean out Iran's network of nuclear sites, ElBaradei may find himself out of work, or yet again, confronted by his own global and dangerous incompetence.


And in the meantime, there is this information:

The website of the French news agency Le Monde reported that information originating in different countries other than the US and suggesting that Syria did indeed build a nuclear reactor in Al Kibar, was handed over to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) recently.

This report contradicts the most recent statement made by the UN's nuclear watchdog, in which it denied having any knowledge leading to the conclusion that Syria had the knowledge and means to build such a reactor.

According to the French report, the new information confirms earlier claims that North Korea had assisted Syria in its nuclear endeavors. This negates a speech made on Tuesday by IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei, who said in an interview to Al Arabiya television that "we have no evidence that Syria has the human resources that would allow it to carry out a large nuclear program. We do not see Syria having nuclear fuel."

This is a strange contradiction: How come ElBaradei, speaking for the IAEA, states no knowledge while sources within his own organization stipulate differently?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel

The benighted Iranian regime

and the benighted ethos of the UNHRC

Ahmadinejad's, through his rhetorical antics, "focuses all attention on Jews... while the world remains perfectly oblivious his main assault the Bahais."

I. Remember Ahmadinejad's letter to German Chancellor Merkel?
I am sorry to remind you that today the perpetual claimants against the great people of Germany are the bullying powers and the Zionists that founded the Al-Qods Occupying Regime with the force of bayonets in the Middle East....

Iran and Germany can play a more important role together in the international arena by relying on the noble and high values.

This cooperative relationship can also enhance the role of Europe on the global scene and serve as a model of cooperation between two governments and nations.

It is a rather extraordinary attempt to create an alliance of culture, history and persecution between Iran and Germany. Iran, seems Ahmadinejad to aspire, is the new Germany... The Germany of Hitler, a victim of Zionist and American conspiring.

II. That Ahmad and his crazy entourage of ayatollahs are pre-inclined to share Hitler's sentiments and practices against not only the obvious Jews but other "alien" people is all too clear, for anyone who bothers to dig a little deeper into the ways the Iranian rgime treats its minorities. Very few want to know about it. To know about it is to understand that when Ahmadinjad calls for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, he means exactly what he is saying. And to understand this elementary principle we need look no further than more recent history:

In a 1979 meeting with five of the Iranian Jewish community leaders, Khomeini summarized his position on the local Jews in one of his quintessentially coarse one-liners: “We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless Zionists.” The line has served as the regime’s position on the Jewish minority ever since. So important were these words that they were painted on the walls of nearly every synagogue and Jewish establishment the day after the ayatollah spoke them.

It did not prevent Jews from being relegated to second-class citizenry, nor did it enable them to thrive in post-revolutionary Iran. But it recognized the legitimacy of the Jewish existence in Iran and allowed the community to live on, albeit extremely restrictedly.

III. However, "it is the Bahai community that has been suffering the bleak fate assumed to be that of the Jews. It is the Bahais who are not recognized by the Iranian constitution. Decades ago, Khomeini branded them, among other unsavory terms, a political sect and not a religion, circuitously defining them as plotters against the regime. Iranian Bahais have been accused of espionage for every major power save the Chinese, and simultaneously so. They are not allowed to worship. Their properties are vandalized. Even their dead know no peace, as their cemeteries are systematically destroyed.

Their children cannot attend schools, nor can Bahai academics teach. That is why in 1987, unemployed professors, in an act reminiscent of the Middle Ages, established underground universities to educate the Bahai youth.

Last month, six Bahai leaders were arrested. They had already been accustomed to routine weekly harassments and interrogations, which is why some of their wives have taken up sewing blindfolds to keep the guards from forcing dirty ones onto their husbands’ eyes. What is most alarming about this particular arrest is that they have not returned home and are being kept incommunicado."

Read the rest, here.

UN Human Rights Council, to the rescue of the Iranian Bahais?

Don't hold your breath. Here is the latest scandal from that benighted body:

The UN Human Rights Council is not allowed to
judge religions, according to president Doru Romulus Costea of Romania. Criticism of Sharia law or fatwas is now forbidden.

The representative of the Association for World Education, in a joint statement with the International Humanist and Ethical Union, had denounced the stoning to death of women accused of adultery and of girls being married at the age of nine years old in countries where Sharia law applies.

The speaker, David Littman, was interrupted by no fewer than 16 points of order and the proceedings of the Council were suspended for forty minutes when the Egyptian delegate said that “Islam will not be crucified in this Council” and attempted to force a vote on whether the speaker should be allowed to continue.

On giving his ruling after the break Council President Costea said that the Council "is not prepared to discuss religious questions and we don’t have to do so". "Declarations must avoid judgments or evaluation about religion. … I promise that next time a speaker judges a religion or a religious law or document, I will interrupt him and pass on to the next speaker".

The entire article, well documented with footnotes, here

Israel's Brutal Siege of Gaza

When will it end?

Simply Jews has a post, detailing the horrors:

Numbers speak.. Numbers matter...

Read it and weep...


And related:

Truce with Hamas

Ami Isseroff:

Israel is being bombarded by a pernicious propaganda barrage, which threatens to undermine the IDF, the state and everything we stand for, and to imperil the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Noah Pollak:

The test of Israeli seriousness in enforcing the terms of its cease-fire with Hamas has come more quickly than expected. Here was Amos Gilad, the official who negotiated the deal for the IDF, on Wednesday:

We need a total ceasefire — all included. If tomorrow
morning one single rocket is fired, it will be a violation of the agreement.
There is no room for interpretation, and no mediating body is needed…Egypt, on
its side, is committed to preventing the smuggling activity from Gaza. It’s
simple; Egypt has a border with Gaza, through which weapons and terrorists are
Smuggling is a serious violation of the terms. Any such infraction
will lead to a change in Israel’s stance from the way in which it was presented
to the Egyptians.

Here is Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ Gaza-based chief, today after Friday prayers:

We cannot talk about stopping smuggling because it is
something beyond our ability as a government and we did not give a commitment in
this regard.