Monday, March 31, 2008

A Puppet Show

Here is the transcript

And something for the grownups...

22 questions for Senator Obama :

These are prosecutor's questions, redacted by Peter Wehner on NRO. You Can read them all in the link. I'm excerpting only the questions that interest me:

5. In the speech on race you delivered a couple of weeks ago, you said you could “no more disown [Wright] than I can disown the black community.” Does that mean you believe Wright is synonymous with the embodiment of the black community, that they are one in the same? Is it your view that to disown any person who is black means you would therefore disown the black community? If so, does that mean you would be unable to “disown” someone like Louis Farrakhan? Are there any grounds on which you would disown Wright? If so, wouldn’t that (by your own logic) mean that you would disown the whole of the black community?

7. Can you cite a single public statement in which Reverend Wright acknowledges that what he said deeply offended people, and was both inappropriate and a mischaracterization of what you believe is the greatness of this country? To what evidence of Wright’s public contrition can you point?

12. Since the Wright story broke there seems to have been a concerted effort to keep Reverend Wright from speaking to the press or in public. If he is the man you says he is — if the soundbites we have all seen are anomalous and the portrait of him is a caricature — then why not encourage him to do interviews in order to set the record straight?

13. Do you think it was surprising or out of character for Reverend Wright to reprint an oped by a leading Hamas figure, Mousa Abu Mazook, in the “Pastor’s Page” of Trinity United’s church bulletin?

14. Do you consider Reverend Wright, within context and based on his public comments, to be anti-Semitic? What more would he need to say to cross that threshold?

18. If the GOP candidate for president had a close, intimate relationship of almost two decades with a pastor whose church provided shelter to homeless people, provided day care and marriage counseling but who was himself a white supremacist, asked God to damn rather than bless America, said that the United States got what was coming to it on 9/11, advocated conspiracy theories about genocidal policies being promoted by the American government, said that Israel is a “dirty word,” believed it was a terrorist state and promoted the views of Hamas leaders, would that trouble you? And would you accept the word of the GOP candidate if he insisted that he was not sitting in the pews when those things were said and therefore claimed he ought not be tarnished by the association?

Ed Koch is not happy

We learned recently that Wright's defamatory comments published in church bulletins were, on occasion, also directed at Italians. ABC News reported on March 27th, "Trumpet Newsmagazine, of which Wright is the chief executive officer, published an article written by Wright in which he described the crucifixion of Jesus as 'public lynching Italian style.'" He also wrote, according to, "The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans." Finally, CNN reported on March 28th that, "They [church bulletins] also quote a historian who said that 'what the Zionist Jews did to the Palestinians is worse than what the Nazis did to the Jews.'"

...I am surprised that Obama's description of his minister's hate speech, which he condemns, is limited to the words, "controversial," "inexcusable," "inappropriate, "troubling" and "appalling." Why hasn't he called it by its rightful name - hate speech?

... Obama's explanation of why he was silent until now and the manner in which he characterizes Wright's remarks are worse. Interestingly, he also refers to an apology by Rev. Wright, which I've not seen published anywhere. Have you?

The Death of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Via Mick Hartley:

The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.

The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada. (source)

Roy W Brown, of the International and Humanist Ethical Association, responds:

I used to wonder what States who felt it necessary to kill people because they change their religion thought they were doing in the Human Rights Council. Now I know.

The wafer-thin sham of an international consensus on the promotion and protection of human rights has finally been exposed for what it was – a sham. The fragmentation of human rights now appears inevitable. The proposed Islamic Charter on Human Rights (read “Duties towards Allah”) will certainly go ahead, as will the creation of a parallel Islamic Council on Human Rights. But the OIC will nevertheless continue to attend and dominate the UN Human Rights Council, thereby ensuring its continuing emasculation and descent into total irrelevance.

Just five months before he and more than 20 of his colleagues were killed by a terrorist bomb in Baghdad, the then High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, wrote:

“Membership of the Commission on Human Rights must carry responsibilities. I therefore wonder whether the time has not come for the Commission itself to develop a code of guidelines for access to membership of the Commission and a code of conduct for members while they serve on the Commission. After all the Commission on Human Rights has a duty to humanity and the members of the Commission must themselves set the example of adherence to the international human rights norms – in practice as well as in law…”

Ibn Warraq: How Freedom Of Expression Is Undermined By Islam

The central issue, of which we should not lose sight, of the Fitna Affair is not whether the film by Wilders is good, bad, blasphemous, or offensive to Muslims, but rather freedom of expression. Human Rights begin with freedom of thought, and expression; democracy depends on it. Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, a noble document whose articles 18 and 19 guarantee freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of opinion and expression, Islamic countries on 28 March, 2008 managed to kill it.

The 57 Islamic States with support from China, Russia and Cuba succeeded in forcing through an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression will now be required to report on the “abuse” of this freedom. Theo van Gogh, the Danish cartoonists and Geert Wilders, and anyone criticising Islam, or the Sharia will now be deemed to have "abused" the freedom of expression. In other words, instead of protecting freedom of expression, the amendment will now be limiting freedom of expression.

Normblog, here.


Related to the above, here is a collection of my past posts

A very British story:

Snoopythegoon sometimes serves his readers with arcane stories about strange people. As a rule I don't find them entertaining but rather depressing. But not this one:

Max Mosley, president of motorsports' governing body FIA, is under pressure after a British tabloid reported Sunday that he engaged in sex acts with prostitutes that involved Nazi role- playing.

Mosley, the son of British Union of Fascists founder Sir Oswald Mosley, is alleged to be seen on a video that shows him screaming orders in German and lashing girls wearing concentration camp uniforms.

The man on the video - allegedly Mosley - is also seen to be whipped by the prostitutes before engaging in sexual acts. He then drank a cup of tea with them.

If a person has a penchant for kinky sex which involves sado-masochist shenanigans, wouldn't the Nazi paraphernalia be a rather ... natural choice? Would people be any less scandalized if the games involved curvaceous, Soviet-uniformed dominatrices?

Be that as it may, it appears to me that poor Mosley, who cannot have had a very wholesome upbringing, may be trying to exorcise some of his demons, through these strange rituals. Why do I think these are rituals? Because they all end up drinking tea, instead of indulging in a stupor-inducing, Dionysian alcoholic orgy. The ultimate British social ritual, which couldn't be any more innocent. It is not even coffee...

And even if I'm wrong, I hardly think Mosley's secret sex choices have anything to do with Jews. Which is why I don't really understand why the article makes a special mention of some champion's Jewish mother. For me it is another indication how the British are quite clueless about how to relate rationally to their Jewish compatriots. But that's another story, and another post. All in due time.


The discussion over at Snoopy's has gone where... well, almost any man has gone before. The merest whisper of spanking, and the fetishes are up and about... What is it about men's obsession with sex and cars? Please don't answer this question. I just don't want to know.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is Obama the antidote to the Indecent Left?

Alan Johnson, one of my three favourite British intellectuals (alongside Norman Geras and Martin Amis) flashes a light on Obama's Wright albatross from an unexamined angle:

The post-left luxuriates (is there a better word to describe what Wright was doing?) in anti-Americanism, anti-westernism, anti-Zionism, anti-capitalism, and anti-liberalism. ...
...Wright claims: "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of colour." Mad, of course, but any worse than the post-leftist "9/11 Truth" movement?

How on earth did the left end up here?

...Obama understands that the 1960s had two souls. The optimistic movements of the early 1960s extended the pursuit of happiness to the excluded and challenged America to honour the promissory note issued by the founders. The nihilist movements of the late 1960s denounced "Amerika" and the "great white west".

...Obama's recent speech in Philadelphia was about race, for sure. But, less noticed, it was also a critique of the post-left in the name of a decent left. Wright, he said, had "expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country" and his claims "simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality." Wright's "profound mistake" had been to speak "as if our society was static ... irrevocably bound to a tragic past".

In Philadelphia Obama issued a promissory note of his own, pledging to lead the American progressive tradition back into a 221-year-old story begun by a "band of patriots who signed that document in Philadelphia". His warning to progressives was this: only as part of that hopeful story, not the post-left nightmare about "Amerika", can the work of perfecting the union be continued.

I think what Johnson is saying is that Obama is gifted with the talent of "practical wisdom", which Martha Nussbaum defined as the ability to make right (ethical and realistic) judgments, driven by qualities such as compassion, honesty, empathy, responsibility, or commitment—in any given situation.

It was strange to watch or read Obamapundits and other fans trying to parse his speech about race as if it was some endorsement of the deeper truth that his pastor has articulated poorly. Obama made no bones about his own rejection of such theories and hatred. So why did his supporters reflexively rush to his pastor's defence by claiming he said no more than was true? This is just another case where Obama's fierce critics, who tend to scrutinize his words and actions free of of gratuitous sentimentality, seem better able to understand his ideas. Unfortunately, the chorus of his many "helpers" who seek to preserve his saintly image do more harm than good by apologizing for the mad priest.

Johnson's interpretation is in the same vein as Cass Susntein's advocacy of Obama. Sunstein is Martha Nussbaum's life partner. Johnson displays the same kind of sensibility that Nussbaum does in her many books, the same kind of "practical wisdom". Johnson, I happen to know, is also a great reader of Jane Austen's novels...

For exposure to some of Alan Johnson's easy eloquence and intellectual insight, you can listen here to a lecture he gave on Primo Levi.

(H/T: NWO)


Neo-neocon does not bite...

Presidents have to make tough decisions, including moral choices. They have to have the sort of moral courage Obama appears to lack. They have to recognize that dialogue is not a panacea.

Yet another flaw is that while Obama may see himself as this sort of politician, his political history gives no indication that it is true. Did he do this sort of thing during his tenure in the Illinois legislature, or the US Senate? If so, I haven’t seen the evidence.

Did he do it in his own church? No, no, a thousand times no. Instead, he either bought into the “crazy things” that went on there, or winked at them, or failed to notice them when they were staring him in the face.

I see no clues in Obama’s political life that he is who he says he is: a person who can bring warring sides together in some sort of agreement. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is sincere in his own belief that he is this person. If so, his belief might be based on episodes from his emotional or family life, or perhaps friendships or school experiences. But extrapolating from these relationships to politics, and to world affairs, is a dangerous game.

Perhaps Obama’s true calling is as mediator, or therapist, or even minister. But not as President.

Stalker Syndrome

Why is the British University and College Union once again trying to boycott Israeli academics?

Eve Garrard tries to explain:

What is it that drives them, in a world full of far greater horrors than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Why is it that the National Executive Committee of the union can't be satisfied unless they've ostracized and demonized and punished Israel, alone among all the nations of the world? What is it that has led the union's General Secretary, and even more ostentatiously its President, to renege on the anti-boycott platform which they campaigned on and which got them elected?

....when we examine the actual words and practices of the boycott supporters, something rather different may come to mind. In their perverted use of Nazi comparisons, in their determined silence about the war crimes and crimes against humanity which have been committed against Israelis, and in their obsessional demand that the union should pursue the boycott at the expense of its own efficacy, its cohesiveness, its financial solvency, and its respect for anti-discrimination law, then perhaps what we hear is not so much the whisper of the closet anti-Semite as the rustle of the dirty raincoat - the repetitive, harassing, creepy sound of the stalker.

Consider some of the pro-boycotters' claims in the light of what Wikipedia says about stalkers:

Stalkers will often denigrate their victims [see the repeated and lip-licking comparison of Israelis with Nazis]

which reduces the victims to objects [see the false claim that the boycott is of universities not of individuals; see also the lightminded dismissal of academic freedom].

This allows stalkers to feel angry at victims [see claims about the sinister power of the 'Zionist lobby' which allegedly silences its adversaries; see also the charge that Israelis are colonialists and settlers, with no mention made of just what many of these people were fleeing from when they came to Israel]

without experiencing empathy [see the total silence about the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Israelis, and the genocidal threats made by Israel's enemies],

or they may feel that they are entitled to behave as they please toward the victims [see the claim that criticism of Israel can't be anti-Semitic; see also the kind of discrimination against individual Israeli academics and students shown by Andrew Wilkie and Mona Baker].

Viewing victims as "lesser," "weak" or otherwise seriously flawed [see the charge that Jewish nationalism is illegitimate, and that Zionism is racist]

can support delusions that the victims need.. to be rescued [see Jacqueline Rose's purported psychoanalysis of Israel],

or punished [see the boycott movement passim], by the stalkers.

Stalkers may slander or defame the character of their victims [see claims that Israel is an 'apartheid state', and suggestions that it attempts to commit genocide against Palestinians]

which may isolate the victims [see the stated aim of the boycott movement]

and give the stalkers more control or a feeling of power. (Read it all on Normblog)

Eve Garrard says: "No doubt the shadow of anti-Semitism does hang over the boycott proposals considered as an institutional practice," and goes on to provide a different theory to explain this compulsive obsession by the boycotters, that of the pathological stalker.

However, what is antisemitism if not a pathological stalking of Jews qua Jews writ large?

I wonder if , by diagnosing antisemitism as a form of mass stalking, can't we somehow come up with feasible solutions about ending, or at least minimizing it?

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Here is a website which senator Obama may find useful:

The 100 most beautiful words in English

My three favourites?

esoteric, peregrination, serendipity

And while we are at it, here are the

100 funniest words in English, of which I chose three:

bodacious, kerfuffle, schadenfreude

Blowing in the wind...

Obama’s Ex-Pastor Makes a Surprise Appearance to Thunderous Applause at Chicago Church

Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.


While the "Fitna" kerfuffle is unravelling according to a thoroughly predictable script, take a look at these two reports:

Saudi Jeans: Sanctity of Human Life:

A boy and a girl have died in a horrific car accident after being chased by a patrol that belongs to the Commission for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the northern city of Tabuk. In the details, the Toyota Camry of the boy was completely crushed under a large truck on Medina-Tabuk Rd during his attempt to escape from the Commission’s patrol.

This tragic incident is the latest in a series of highly publicized cases involving the Commission during the past two years that resulted in the death of citizens, such as the case of Salman Al Huraisi who died during a raid on his house in Riyadh last year as well as the case of Saud Al Balawi who died in the Commission center in Tabuk after he was arrested for giving a ride to an unrelated old woman.

... think that one the most important things these stories show is the blatant disregard for human life and dignity. Even if the Commission members were acting within their legal rights, the outcomes of their actions have been disastrous. Yet, none of these incidents has seen the Commission admit that any mistakes have been made or apologize to the families of those who died, directly or indirectly, on the hands of the Commission members.

(No) Hijabs at a Harvard Gym?

In a test of Harvard's famed open-mindedness, the university has banned men from one of its gyms for a few hours a week to accommodate Muslim women who say it offends their sense of modesty to exercise in front of the opposite sex.

The policy is already unpopular with many on campus, including some women who consider it sexist.

...No men are allowed in the gym between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays, and between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even the staff during those times is all women.

The special hours allow the Muslim women, who adhere to traditional dress codes by covering their hair and most of their skin while in public, to dress more appropriately for exercising, said Susan Marine, director of the women's center.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Two videos:

I watched this earlier today. (There is nothing in this short film that I have not seen, read or heard about before. It also mirrors the recruitment videos put out by Al-Qaeda or whoever, showing the exact same images by way of whipping up religious zealotry and violence. Actually, it is quite a bomb, in the Hollywood meaning of the word. The real story is about the reactions to it...)

And I watched this just now.


The New Centrist alerted me to the fact that the Fitna movie was removed.

Here are some reactions I collected on the Internet:

Wilders has a warped idea of Muslim ideology. His film contains only preachers and perpetrators of violence in the name of Islam, acts of violence and the victims of violence. It deals selectively with the Koran. It's very slick and very scarey. It challenges us to "defeat" the "Islamic ideology" as Nazism was defeated. It turns Islam into an uncontested, homogenous monolith of jihad. There are no moderate Muslims in this film because they don't suit its purposes (Engage)

Geert Wilders' film is out (in case you didn't know by now). ... "Subtle" is not the word that comes to mind.

Update: The New York Times says the film "...matches graphic images of terrorist attacks and death threats against Jews..." Talk about not getting it.

Update 2:

Richard Landes called me to alert me to the fact that LiveLeak had pulled the video citing threats. That tells you much. Play the video above to see LiveLeak's statement -- they cite "ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media" among other things. Earlier, Richard had commented that through some eyes, the video could actually be seen as an effective Jihadi recruiting video. (Solomonia)

In a review, a film critic for the Dutch paper NRC Handesblad says the message of Geert Wilders' film is straightforward: the Koran calls for violence and Muslims are receptive to that call. The style of rhetoric recalls "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged."

People who make films to prove a point -- that president Bush is an idiot, that the world is on the verge of an environmental disaster or that the Koran is a fascist book -- are not so much concerned with aesthetics as with making a convincing argument. The maker is part of a long tradition in films -- from agit-prop to advertising. But in a tradition that runs roughly from Sergei Eisenstein to Michael Moore, where should we place débutante Geert Wilders?
(Spiegel on line)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said Friday that she joins in the condemnation, as expressed by the Secretary-General and the three UN Special Rapporteurs, of the tone and content of the film 'Fitna' by Dutch Geert Wilders.Arbour urged all those who understandably feel profoundly offended by its provocative message to restrict themselves to denouncing its hateful content by peaceful means. (Kuwait News Agency)

"Fitna" is a let down, writes Tobias Kaufmann about the video by Dutch provocateur and anti-Islamic filmmaker Geert Wilders. "'Fitna' was at its most effective as long as no one had seen it. As long as it had people quarrelling about a theoretical provocation, as long as debate centred simply around the possibility that an anti-Koran film could be released in the Netherlands, as long as people played out danger scenarios and evoked looming threats, Wilders' film was a wonderful example of the frenzy in which the threat of Islam has plunged even the most contemplative of countries like the Netherlands. And as long as that was the case, it was useful. Wilders could have taken this to extremes. Instead of putting the film online, he could have called a press conference and said: 'All I did was edit together a few clips from the Internet that I didn't show to anyone, and look how you've all wet your pants in fear.'" ( Kölner Stadtanzeiger )


To Geert,

Verily, our religion will stay the same till the Day of Judgment. We are happy that there are people like you to expose themselves to the wrath of Allah. We are also happy because it makes us comfortable knowing that there are true enemies of Islaam as Allah has mentioned in the Qur’aan.

We are not interested in condemning this or condemning that, but we are interested in letting you know that Islaam will dominate all of Europe, including your hometown, and the Jizyah will be established upon your Country, leaving all of the disbelievers in humiliation until they come to Islaam. Let us remind that there are thousands of Muslims living near you; so always expect the unexpected. (Letter to Geert, here)

Guess where these quotes come from:

*The letter says Israel worked on an "ethnic bomb" that kills "blacks and Arabs." The letter also says "Israel was the closest ally to the white supremacists of South Africa."

*The letter also says "Israel was the closest ally to the white supremacists of South Africa."

* Hamas leader Mousa Aba Marzook: "Why should any Palestinian recognize the monstrous crimes carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern Apartheid state?"

Here is the, by-now, predictable answer

H/T: Roger L. Simon

Beating up Jewish boys in Budapest...

I didn't know things in Hungary have deteriorated to this stage. Here are excerpts from George Szirtes' blog:

1. (England)

...Yesterday I was working with a party of Hungarian Jewish students from Budapest. Because most of the boys were wearing a yarmulke I assumed this was a real orthodox group. Their teacher explained that if they wore a yarmulke on a Budapest street there was every likelihood they would be physically attacked. The boys were, he said, enjoying the freedom here of being able to safely wear their yarmulkes in public...

2. (Hungary)

...We are in Budapest since the 15th of March. We saw the rallies & herds with masks& Arpad-sflags & Molotov cocktails.The political situation is disastrous. It's not a deadlock any more, it feels like an inevitable fall into an abyss.

I hope I'm wrong.

It's very cold & windy, sometimes it snows & then the sun comes out; it's a relief, but not a genuine one, everybody knows. The city is full of bad tension, but stilll, still, is full of broken beauty.

I travel from one end to the other, register the changes, the losses, the new elements. See friends, talk through the night, or we meet in coffee-houses & have fast, very dense conversations, because time is short & we are afraid of breaking the fragile perfection of the encounter.The Danube is angry & powerful, green-grey-brown...

...Of course, the people beating up the Jewish boys in Budapest are actually protesting against Zionism and the cruelties and injustices of the fascist Zionist entity. I mean, who knows, those boys might emigrate to Israel, join the Israeli army and become settlers. Or they might know some people who might do that.

Reading these bleak passages one gets the feelng that the Holocaust never happened. It is as if history has opened its hungry bloody mouth and swallowed the tremendum, not to be seen or heard about or remembered... its lessons buried deep in the incontinent need to hate the Jews.

More depressing is the sure knowledge that nothing can stop the contagion now.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Free Speech

I decided some time ago, after some consideration, to subscribe to Oliver Kamm's position about free speech, which is, as he formulates it, nearly absolutist.

Here are a few excerpts from a freshly written post by Kamm, explaining his position:

...While free speech hurts and offends, there is nothing wrong in this. In almost no case is anyone entitled to restitution or protection. (The strictly limited exceptions are where there is 'clear and present danger'; incitement to crime; or defamation. By defamation, I naturally mean a statement that is damaging and false. I do not mean - as one reader of this blog has rueful cause to recollect - a statement that is damaging and true;

...There is no speech more disreputable and fraudulent than Holocaust denial; but the reason it's objectionable is that it's false, not that it's offensive. The only proper recourse to it is the discipline of historical scholarship and critical inquiry, as opposed to the fakery practised by Irving.

...the Stop the War Coalition, which - as my readers know - is a coalition only in the technical sense of binding Islamists and Leninists... a totalitarian organisation for whom the principles of free speech are as inconceivable as Darwin's natural selection was to the late Rev. Billy James Hargis. But I hope the import of this sort of campaigning is not lost on those who might otherwise sympathise with what they take to be the Coalition's purported (though bogus) anti-war message.

Piecemeal Peace in Palestine - one t-shirt at a time

Via: Terry Glavin

So, why did a Jewish guy from Boston want to source from a textile factory in Palestine? I'll let him tell you in his own words:

"While economic development is no substitute for a diplomatic settlement, no settlement can survive without a sustainable Palestinian economy. So while waiting for a diplomatic resolution, we have created a mechanism for ordinary citizens ofgood faith to build goodwill on the ground, and support the peace to come. The concept is simple. When faced with an apparently irresolvable conflict, if there is any one thing all parties agree on, do that one thing and see what happens."

Neiman's optimistic ideals and goals for No Sweat have garnered a lot of positive press over the past couple of years—they've even been the subject of an Al Jazeera profile. That said, No Sweat still needs major funding to pull off this experiment in entrepreneurial diplomacy properly. As Neiman put it, "Hamas has chosen guns. Abbas has bet on butter. If we don't provide Palestinians on the West Bank with butter—good private sector jobs NOW—Hamas and guns will certainly prevail."

See videoclip here.


The Comedy Channel advertises some of its more popular stand-up comics with a series of short sound bites, featuring loony looking childish men of various ages making smart alecky punch lines which have them rolling in the aisles.

Marriage, yells one of them in one such swiftclip, is like having cable with only one channel. This is more or less the prevailing wisdom in mainstream and off-mainstream media, that marriage is chiefly about men bridling against the constraints of monogamy.

This bit of story, which I read today on Normblog, hit me with a gust of fresh sea air, as though I'd stepped from a roomful of raucous sweaty human beings unto an empty stretch of beach in the middle of the night. Suddenly, the light comes from the incandescent stars, the only sound is that of the waves lapping up against the sand, and everything is so clear and simple:

Richard Widmark who has died at the age of 93, ... "was a mild-mannered former teacher who had married his college sweetheart, the actress Jean Hazelwood, and who told a reporter 48 years later that he had never been unfaithful and had never even flirted with women because, he said, "I happen to like my wife a lot."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

“Jewish attack not a surprise” - part II

Persuant to this blogpost:

This and this:

Excalibur offers an apology:

On March 19, 2008, Excalibur published a controversial article in the Opinions section under the headline “Jewish attack not a surprise” about the school shooting at Mercaz Harav school in Jerusalem where eight students were killed.

As the editors of this newspaper understood it, this article attempted to posit an explanation for why the school was targeted from the alleged perspective of the Palestinian population. At no point did Excalibur believe the article was offering a justification for murder. However, we know many people have been upset by the perceived meaning of the article and by misrepresentations in the article itself.

Therefore, Excalibur would like to apologize for printing a headline that was not reflective of the article or the attack itself, for misrepresenting the ages of the school’s students as older than they were, for implying that all students of the school – instead of only some – go on to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, for misrepresenting a quotation by former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and for any unfair ideological attributions to the school and its students and members. We apologize for any hurt these errors have caused.

We hope to continue encouraging debate on issues that push boundaries and challenge our readers, but will make all efforts to ensure fairness, accuracy and truth in all our content.

Excalibur would also like to thank all those who contacted us to express their concerns about this issue and we encourage our readers to visit our website at to read all the Letters to the Editor.

Simply Jews linked to a quiz:

Your eyes are the windows to your soul.

What type of eyes do you have?

I took it twice in, with a few hours between each take. I gave a slightly different answer the second time to the question: Through what color do you see the world?

The answer to this question depends directly on the kind of mood you are in at the moment of answering. So the first time was "grey". The second time, a little more cheerful in the evening, I answered "light blue". The result was the same: I have raven eyes.

Which means:

Positive Traits: Intellectual, Wise, Experienced, Honest, Trustworthy

Negative Traits: Pompous, Condescending, Withdrawn, Pessimistic, Depressed

The "Raven" is popular in myth:
Ravens are common characters in the traditional narratives and mythology around the world, notably a part of North American, Siberian, and Norse mythology. Besides being the representative spirit of actual ravens, he is often depicted as a trickster or culture hero figure, or even as the creator of human beings.
And in literature, which by its very essence feeds upon myth.
Edgar Allan Poe used the raven as a supernatural messenger in his poem "The Raven". In this and Dickens' book, the bird's power of speech is important.
Here is an excerpt:
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
" 'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
This it is, and nothing more."
Poe's spirit seems to have been so full of demons and unknown fears, the merest knock on the window makes him jump out of his skin. That poor raven... inscribed with all those fears...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Inspiring rhetoric

In short, these are the Jews. As Muslims, our blood vengeance against them will only subside with their annihilation, Allah willing, because they tried to kill our Prophet several times.

What should we do with these people? What is the best solution for them? Should it be by shamelessly bestowing kisses, regardless of our religion and our morals, on satellite TV and in clear view of the whole world? Should it be through futile meetings, which are usually conducted on carpets red with the blood of martyrs? Or should it be through an exchange of despicable smiles and ugly handshakes?

What is the best solution for these people, who have perpetrated every possible thing against us? They have destroyed our homes, killed our children, taken our land, and plundered our resources. They have turned our mosques into pubs and bars, where they drink alcohol and get women drunk. From the dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they proclaim that Ezra the Scribe is the son of God.

By Allah, people, the Jews do not deserve such a fuss. They do not deserve to be feared. The Jews are not a terrorizing bogeyman. The Jews are nothing but human scum, who came as scattered gangs to occupy our land. By Allah, if each and every Arab spat on them, they would drown in Arab spit. By Allah, if each and every Muslim spat on them, they would drown in saliva. By Allah, if the Arabs and Muslims turned into flies, the Jews would die from their buzzing. Therefore, my dear brothers, the Jews do not deserve to be feared so much. Therefore, I ask with pain and sorrow: Isn't there a single reasonable man in any of the Arab air forces? Isn't there a single reasonable man among them, who will break through these aerial borders, and bomb the Jews deep in their own land? Where are all the Arabs and Muslims?

And then, there is this:

If the Jerusalem Post is to be believed, Palestinian appropriation of the Holocaust is attaining grotesque proportions:

A new exhibit in Gaza portrays the Jewish state burning Palestinian children in ovens.

A group called the National Committee for Defense of Children from the Holocaust unveiled its premier exhibit last week, entitled "Gaza: An exhibit describing the suffering of the children of the Holocaust."

Rather than teach about the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, the exhibit portrays Israel as the perpetrators of the holocaust; Palestinian children are "burned" in a model crematorium by "Israelis."

According to the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam daily, "The exhibit includes a large oven and inside it small children are being burned. The picture speaks for itself."

The Zionist Organization of America condemned the exhibit, saying in a statement that

"there seems to be no limit to the depravity of Palestinian hate education and

"We have seen over the years every sort of perversity, including educating
children to become suicide bombers and honoring mass murderers. Here, the
Palestinians, both Hamas and Fatah, depict Israelis as exterminating-Nazis, while teaching nothing about the actual Holocaust in which the wartime Palestinian leadership of Haj Amin el-Husseini was in fact very active. Husseini not only
orchestrated campaigns of murder against Jews in the British Mandate, but also
became an ally of the Nazis and worked hard to speed up the work of deportation
and murder," said ZOA President Morton Klein.
This may be an unfair jibe but I have very little doubt that Obama's preacher would support this kind of perversion.


Lionel Chetwynd writes a letter to Obama

Here is the conclusion:

You say you are devoted to Reverend Wright because he brought you to Christ. I can only imagine how powerful a relationship that forges. But, my imperfect understanding of the Christian Faith tells me you can do him an equally magnificent service: You can help bring him back to Christ. Show him redemption and salvation lie not in the satisfaction of doing little dances in a pulpit while you slander good and decent people. Teach him that great leadership and Christian love abjures the very filth – and I pick that word deliberately – that he spews on an apparently regular basis. After all, Senator, you know our government did not invent the HIV virus to kill African-Americans. You know, Senator, this is not the United States of KKK America. You know the truth of 9/11. At least you should. Both you and Michelle have benefited mightily from the new spirit that has come to America in the last two generations. I thought you were part of that. I thought you were post-racial.

But in your silence, in your justifications, in your facile instruction to contextualize, you seem just a more presentable version of those dreary self-promoters, Sharpton, Jackson, Bakewell and the rest. Surely this is not you. Please, Senator, be brave. Lead. From a position of honesty where context is our daily reality, not drawn from bitter memories, no matter how justified they once might have been. Deny Jeremiah Wright your comfort of “context”. Be Presidential. To all Americans.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh Dear, yet another Obama advisor who bodes ill for Israel and has funny ideas about Jewish power...

Power Line:

Why does Barack Obama have so many foreign policy and national security advisers whose statements about Israel and American Jews are problematic? We've written at length about Samantha Power, perhaps his closest foreign policy adviser until she was forced to resign for insulting Hillary Clinton. We've also touched on Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Malley. And by now everyone who follows these things realizes that Obama's long-time spiritual adviser Rev. Wright hates Israel passionately.

Now comes evidence that Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, who serves as Obama's national campaign co-chair and his point man when it comes to establishing the candidate's bona fides on military matters, is also hostile towards Israel, viewing its positions as preventing peace from breaking out in the region. Moreover, in something like the style of Walt-Mearsheimer, he blames American Jews for enabling Israel to take the positions that prevent peace.

Robert Goldberg

McPeak's comments ...reflect the views of Reverend Wright and other Obama advisers who believe that Israel is just a problem to be solved, not an ally to support.

McPeak is not the only member of the Obama campaign who holds such twisted views. Others such as Robert Malley or Zbigniew Brzezinski have found themselves downgraded to "informal" advisers as their anti-Israel views are made public. Samantha Powers was dismissed for calling Hillary a monster, not for sharing McPeak's belief in the malign omnipotence of the "Israel lobby."

Obama has a Jewish problem and McPeak's bigoted views are emblematic of what they are. Obama can issue all the boilerplate statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself he wants. But until he accepts responsibility for allowing people like McPeak so close to his quest for the presidency, Obama's sincerity and judgment will remain open questions.


Hitchens on Obama: glibness and ruthlessness

It's been more than a month since I began warning Sen. Barack Obama that he would become answerable for his revolting choice of a family priest. But never mind that; the astonishing thing is that it's at least 11 months since he himself has known precisely the same thing. "If Barack gets past the primary," said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the New York Times in April of last year, "he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen." Pause just for a moment, if only to admire the sheer calculating self-confidence of this. Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well, in other words, that he'd one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago "base" in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.

You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)

...Look at the accepted choice of words for the ravings of Jeremiah Wright: controversial, incendiary, inflammatory. These are adjectives that might have been—and were—applied to many eloquent speakers of the early civil rights movement... But is it "inflammatory" to say that AIDS and drugs are wrecking the black community because the white power structure wishes it? No. Nor is it "controversial." It is wicked and stupid and false to say such a thing...

.... The consequence, which you can already feel, is an inchoate resentment among many white voters who are damned if they will be called bigots by a man who associates with Jeremiah Wright.


Anti Racist blog became silent:

... Anti-Racist Blog was aware of this, but underestimated the venom and hostility that it would be confronted with...

After experiencing numerous threatening e-mails, phone calls, and messages, threats of legal action, headaches, and harassment, Anti-Racist Blog has decided enough is enough. The burden and risks have become too great, and what used to be so important doesn't seem worth it anymore.

..a special version of the blood libel

Norm this morning

Brian Keenan returns to Beirut:

Dahiya, the worst-hit area, had been exclusively Hezbollah territory - a no-go area for outsiders. When I drove into part of it with a Lebanese driver, I could feel waves of repulsion coming out of the rubble of half-demolished apartments. Some people were still living in makeshift accommodation. Their eyes followed our car with suspicion. "Let's leave," I said, unable to bear the unspoken accusation that I felt was being thrown at

The word "holocaust" entered my head as I looked back at the devastation. History is supposed to tell us what not to repeat - but it seems that for the Israeli military machine, the needle has got stuck.

What are the possibilities here? That Keenan is so ignorant about the Holocaust that he thinks it was very like what the Israeli military did in this area of Beirut in 2006? It seems unlikely he could think so. What then? That he thinks the Holocaust is an acceptable allusion in the context, either because the IDF 'sort of' repeated it in Beirut, or because Israel is a Jewish state and it's a neat historical play to turn it around in this way?

It is sometimes said that one of the fruits of personal suffering is wisdom, and I know that can be true. But Keenan's sentiment shows that it is not a truth without exceptions - that even one who has suffered unjustly can make himself the conduit for a most poisonous theme, this one repeated now often enough to be acquiring the status of a special version of the blood libel

Cécilia María Sara Isabel Ciganer-Albéniz Martin Sarkozy Attias

A little gossip:

Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, former wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, married Richard Attias, three months after her famous ex married his Carla Bruni.

It's a nice, happy end story. No broken hearts, just happy couples.

Cécilia has a very interesting life story, and an even more intriguingly colourful identity. She is the daughter of a Russian Jewish-Gypsy emigre, and a Spanish-Belgian Spaniard whose father was a a Spanish diplomat and her maternal great-grandfather was the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz.*

Her new husband is a Jewish-Moroccan multi millionaire.


* I didn't know Albeniz was Jewish, but I'm not really surprised. I couldn't find whether he was a Jew or a converso, since for the Spaniards, conversos have always been Jews, even after generations of living and practicing as Christians. But it is interesting, nonetheless, to see these cultural threads, to which I have a special affinity, converging, once again. I am devoted to Spanish music, flamenco and my favourite poet is Lorca.

It's funny how I start following a thread and before I know it I find myself back on familiar ground of Spanish scenery and history, which are defining interests in my own life.

I shall leave you with this. Can't think of a better way to start a week.

Why are they undefeated yet?

Paul Berman, in a NYT's article, explains how the modern philiosophy he calls "radical Islamism" is "with its double roots, religious and modern, perversely intertwined, ... wields a lot more power, intellectually speaking, than naïve observers might suppose."

He offers a three pronged explanation:

1. That Radical Islamism is much more than "a heap of medieval prejudices". It draws on local and religious roots, as well as the totalitarian doctrines of 20th-century Europe.

2. None of America's policies in the last three decades succeeded in fully comprehending the scourge: ".. presidents have been satanic (Richard Nixon), angelic (Jimmy Carter), a sleepy idiot savant (Ronald Reagan), a cagey realist (George H. W. Bush), wonderfully charming (Bill Clinton) and famously otherwise (George W. Bush)."

3. The radical Islamists in he Middle East are overpowering liberal Muslims, see them as traitors to Muslim civilization and lackeys of Western and/or Zionist "imperialism". Their best and staunchest allies are the "all too many intellectuals in the Western countries" who "have lately assented to those preposterous accusations, in a sanitized version suitable for Western consumption."

The immune system of the all-Islamic body has been weakened by massive attacks from within the body. Yet Western intellectuals, who should act as boosters to the immune system, make common cause with the forces that are hostile to the very immune system that still has a chance of withstanding the assault of the sickening elements.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

James Lileks on Obama's minister

And the meaning of unity and how to get there...

Mark Steyn on same:

...If you understand that AIDs is spread by sexual promiscuity and drug use, you’ll know that it’s within your power to protect yourself from the disease. If you’re told that it’s just whitey’s latest cunning plot to stick it to you, well, hey, it’s out of your hands, nothing to do with you or your behavior.

... But Obama did something far more audacious: Instead of distancing himself from his pastor, he attempted to close the gap between Wright and the rest of the country, arguing, in effect, that the guy is not just his crazy uncle but America’s, too.

To do this, he promoted a false equivalence. “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother,”

... You can understand why Obama is so anxious to meet with President Ahmadinejad, a man who denies the last Holocaust even as he plans the next one. Such a summit would be easy listening after the more robust sermons of Jeremiah Wright.

Update: Oliver Kamm on Obama and his pastor points to a neglected worry point:

"...While I know that Obama doesn't think the government
created AIDS, I'm less assured that he shares a vision of American power that
understands our singular role in the world. In sum: does Obama believe Harry
Truman was right to end the war with Japan the way that he did? Why is no one in
the media asking him this question? That seems to me an entirely fair query of
man who wants to become Commander-in-Chief."

It seems to me also a fair question, which relates directly to the Democrats' historic record on national security, and it's not clear how Obama would answer it. I hope it will be taken up. If Obama believes Truman was wrong, then that isn't an illegitimate position; but it is one that would cost him the presidency, and with justification.

Anthony Minghella,

of "The English Patient " fame, passed away a few days ago, at the young age of 54.

Here is a list of the films in which he was involved, in one capacity or another.

British Boycotted Academic pays a touching personal tribute to a genuine humanist:

I grieve the loss of this man, whose menschlichkeit has won me over to the point that I should experience his passing as if he'd been known to me beyond all this, even accounting for that strong hook of affinity between second-generation immigrant Londoners, a perspective I felt I could recognize in his work and in his being. More than anything, he showed us so fully and in such exemplary fashion what it means to be a decent, good & honourable human being who maintains high standards in everything, in art as in friendship.

His fair-mindedness, good character & fine sensibilities come through in so many ways which those who actually knew him are talking about today all over the place. Let me just put the spotlight on one aspect of the friendship he offered: his championing of Israeli cinema. In doing so, he took a brave political stance in opposition to the boycotter-types with whom we have become so familiar and he showed much solidarity and friendship in these times when both feel in such short supply. When he headed up the British Film Institute, for instance, London hosted a special season devoted to showcasing Israeli movies. The year before, he'd visited the prestigious Jerusalem Film Festival as guest of honour.

The festival's director, Lia van Leer recalls that he

was so taken with Israel last year that he went back to the UK to open a Jewish film festival there with the declaration "I'm a Zionist."

And then, van Leer adds with relish, he went on to London's (ultra-liberal-artsie) National Film Theater, where he was greeted accusingly with jeers of "You're a f***ing Zionist!" [source]

Having spent an enlightening time in Israel at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Minghella told us with a laugh: ‘By adoption I guess I am Jewish now. I’d like to be.’ [source]

Farewell, Israel

A political documentary:

Accords with Israel are exposed as "The Diplomatic Strategy Against Israel," by which Egypt sought to defeat Israel through diplomacy, rather than establish "Western Peace." Israel's misunderstanding of Islamic goals and values are highlighted by its enthusiasm for Yasser Arafat and the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Next, President George Bush's tragic misunderstanding of 9/11 as a "War Against Freedom," in which the United States played into the hands of Al-Qaeda and the Islamist cause by advocating democratic reform across the Middle East, is revealed. Finally, the Iranian agenda for acquiring strategic weapons to eliminate Israel comes clearly into focus.

Today, at the direction of Iran, Islamists are preparing for a fateful coming war for Islam - and Israel is the number one target and obstacle in the path of Islamic revival. For Muslims, Israel embodies "injustice", and is the ultimate symbol of Islam's decline - a Western, secular society imposed by the West on former Islamic lands. Only with the return of Jews to their historic status as "Dhimmi" or "Tributaries," tolerated and protected within Islamic society, can Islamic revival succeed - resulting in "Islamic Peace" in the Middle East.

Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam reaches the unavoidable conclusion that Western and Israeli misunderstanding of Islam is leading to a coming war - which will have devastating consequences for the West, and worst of all for Israel - Farewell Israel!

Interesting and scary, but nothing new.

Something Something's Liza on the world's indifference to Israel's plight

...We acquiesce to global pressure and continue to “show restraint”, though not without the Prime Minister or one of his henchmen making some silly comment that “we will find the perpetrators of these attacks”, or that “no terrorist will be safe”, or “we reserve the right to respond to these attacks on our citizens, and will do so when the time is right” (which of course hasn’t really happened, given that Knesset members all seem far too busy squabbling over the diversion of funds to protect the inhabitants of Sderot without actually taking any action on the matter).

When the situation escalates to the point of being intolerable (though clearly, the definition of intolerable seems to differ whether one is based in Sderot or in the Knesset), Israel finally takes action. EU and UN personnel are roused out of the long slumber they were clearly enjoying while rockets rained down and Israel did nothing, and suddenly, 8000 rockets later, the world is incensed that Israel has the audacity to retaliate. With sad predictability, we are reviled and demonized for daring to try to protect ourselves, and Hamas scores extra credit points for managing to chip away at the remaining shreds of support among left-leaning Israelis who can no longer be bothered to summon up the energy to care. It’s just too difficult to feel sympathy for the other side’s losses anymore when the world can’t seem to summon up the energy to care about us when we sit back and allow ourselves to be relentlessly pounded.

I guess nothing says global unity like hanging Israel out to dry…

The Iraq War - 5 years...

Oliver Kamm, with his usual economy of words, comments:

It has been said periodically on Comment is Free, but bears remorseless recapitulation. Since 9/11, some parts of the left have crossed over to the reactionary right, and the Guardian, till recently the voice of British liberalism, has become their sounding board.

To mark the anniversary of the Iraq war, the newspaper carried an article by Seumas Milne, declaring: "The unprovoked aggression launched by the US and Britain against Iraq five years ago today has already gone down across the world as, to borrow the words of President Roosevelt, 'a day which will live in infamy'." If you believe Saddam Hussein's regime was a lawful authority of pacific character, the violation of whose sovereignty was comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbour by a xenophobic imperialism, then you might reflect on how easily you confirm the case advanced by Nick Cohen, Christopher Hitchens and me. Your cast of mind is not anti-war, but anti-American and anti-British.

Milne is hardly disinterested in complaining about "a renewed barrage of spin about the success of the US surge". But the state and prospects of Iraq stand independently of the wishes of its observers. The evidence suggests that, not by accident but owing primarily to a remarkable military command, the US-led coalition has belatedly devised a counterinsurgency strategy that works. The surge in US troops - the most visible sign of that strategy - has not turned the country round: the political process is dysfunctional; public services are inadequate. But Iraqis are dramatically safer.

That is a direct outcome of President Bush's having ignored the recommendations of James Baker's Iraq Study Group to wind down combat operations and parley with Iran and Syria. The Petraeus doctrine stresses: "The cornerstone of any COIN [counterinsurgency] effort is establishing security for the civilian populace. Without a secure environment, no permanent reforms can be implemented and disorder spreads." The surge is intended to provide that secure environment. The most recent quarterly report "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq", presented to Congress this month, estimates that monthly levels of civilian deaths across the country have fallen by more than 70% since the surge reached its peak last summer. If you are reluctant to credit official figures, then consider the impressions of an independent observer, Angelina Jolie, writing last month in her capacity as UNHCR goodwill ambassador: "As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: UN staff and those of non-governmental organisations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs."

If there is one person spinning here, it is not General Petraeus. It's Milne. In another article last week, he brandished "evidence ... that the US-sponsored Sunni militias that have been at the heart of the surge strategy - the so-called 'awakening councils' - are already showing signs of falling apart." His claimed large numbers that were quitting the councils amounted to 1,300 in Abu Ghraib and Tikrit. He did not mention that the total strength of the councils is over 90,000. It may be no bad thing if the numbers of these militiamen are reduced. There are too many to be integrated into Iraq's police and army - the US plan envisages about a fifth of them, with the rest being given civilian jobs and vocational training. (The US military, incidentally, does not arm these groups: they are already armed, and everyone who joins them has to provide biometric information and register their weaponry.)

... No British institution in recent decades has conveyed a more authoritative and creditable voice in foreign affairs than the Guardian - on the transatlantic alliance, European integration, the Balkan wars and much else. But most recently, where Iraq is concerned, the newspaper - in what passes for news reporting and not only comment - has taken a stand alongside the scum of this earth. That is some aberration. Let us hope it is short-lived.

Jewish genius...

This is a cool story of Israel's strange and often unpredicable manner of manifesting its resilient genius, despite the odds and its own stupid mistakes....

A mathematical mystery that has baffled top minds in the field of symbolic dynamics for nearly four decades was cracked last year by a 63-year-old former Israeli security guard.

Avraham Trakhtman, a mathematician who worked as a laborer after immigrating to Israel from Russia, succeeded in solving the elusive Road Coloring Problem. The conjecture assumes that it is possible to create a universal map that would direct people to arrive at a certain destination, at the same time, regardless of their original location. Experts say this proposition, which seems to defy logic, could actually have real-life applications in the fields of mapping and computer science.

"In math circles, we talk about beautiful results. This is beautiful and it is unexpected. Even in layman's terms it is completely counterintuitive, but somehow it works," said Stuart Margolis, a colleague who recruited Trakhtman to Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv. "The first time I met him he was wearing a night watchman's uniform," said Margolis.

The mistake in this case is how long it took for Trakhtman's skills to be recognized for what they are. Language would also have been an obstacle. So all the more power to him that managed to get to a teaching position at a university within three years.

Margolis says the solution could have many applications. "Say you've lost an e-mail and you want to get it back - it would be guaranteed," he said. "Let's say you are lost in a town you have never been in before and you have to get to a friend's house and there are no street signs - the directions will work no matter what," he said.

It seems almost surreal to me, but then, any kind of math seems like that to someone who hasn't a clue.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Academia plays host to lies and defamation a la Protocols:

Jewish attack not a surprise, says the author of a short op-ed on Excalibur, York University’s campus newspaper, and proceeds to provide a moral justification for the terrorist attack that left eights Jews dead.

Here is what he says:

It’s no wonder why Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook School was attacked.

I’m not surprised that Ala’a Hisham Abu Dhaim targeted Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook School in Jerusalem.Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook School is described as a religious camp that links Judaism with Zionism. This makes it very different from any other anti-Zionist Orthodox school in Israel.

This institution established a program known as the “yeshivat hesder”. The word “hesder” means the settlement of a curriculum that combines Talmudic studies with military service. In other words, this school has direct connections with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and its graduating students are those whom are committing a holocaust in Gaza in the Palestinians eyes.

This school strengthens the idea on its students and graduates of the land of Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile, as well as the need to make this land a “religious land,” which means there should not be any right to return for the Palestinians that were expelled from their land. The school has around 500 students aged 18 to 30. Many of its past graduates went on to found other similar religious schools in the West Bank settlements which are described as racist among the Orthodox Jews.

In the eyes of the Palestinians, it was the IDF who started the holocaust in Gaza, and the Palestinians are simply targeting the source of that attack. After this incident, thousands went out protesting in Jerusalem cheering “death to the Arabs”. Note here that they’re wishing death to all the Arabs whether they are Palestinians or not. This makes many understand, or at least assume, that the teachings of many of those whom have protested are against the Arabs as a whole, not just against the Palestinians.Let’s not forget the famous quote from the former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin in his speech to the Knesset on June 25, 1982: “[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”

For such a short article, of some 320 words, it manages to compact quite a few lies and mistakes, big and small, the disproportionate number of which beg the question: what is the purpose of it?

Here are a few of its more glaring mistakes:

1. “The school has around 500 students aged 18 to 30.”

8 human beings were massacred in that terrorist arrack, of whom 7 were 18 and younger: Neria Cohen, aged 15, Segev Avihail, aged 15, Avraham mOses, aged 16, Yehonatan elder, aged 16, Ro’I Roth, aged 18, Yohai Lipshitz, aged 18, Yonadav hirshfeld, aged 18. Another boy, Naftali Sheetrit, one of the critically wounded students, aged 14. This information was easily found on the Internet.

2. “This school strengthens the idea on its students and graduates of the land of Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile”

This idea that Zionism aims at expanding the land of Israel from “from the Euphrates to the Nile” can be found nowhere in Israel’s foundational laws, or documents, or even in Israel’s leaders’s statements. Where it can be found is in the Hamas Charter, alongside other lies quoted directly from the “Protocols of the elders of Zion”. It is a doubtful kind of endorsement of your paper, published in an academic institution, that into its pages creep some of the most notorious defamatoty fabrication in history.

3. “After this incident, thousands went out protesting in Jerusalem cheering “death to the Arabs”.

Here’s a report of what happened, found in an article in Ha’aretz which found the real event outrageous enough to merit the harshest criticism:

“Already last week, radical right-wing groups announced that they planned to gather on Sunday at a spot along the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem and march to the Jabal Mukkaber neighborhood. They were bent on destroying the home of the man responsible for the terrorist attack at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, and the place and time were printed on announcements pasted up all over the city…. We are not talking about a mere handful of individuals who managed to get through police barriers, but a frenzied crowd of dozens of violent people…”

Please note that the incident involved not “thousands” of people, spontaneously spilling into the streets baying for Arab blood, but a few dozens extremists who were organized and were looking to enact some vigilante justice on their own. Note the difference in the way an Israeli paper scathingly scolds the police for not doing enough to protect the Arab neighbourhood and Aggad’s attempt at justifying an act of terrorism.

4. And lastly, “Let’s not forget the famous quote from the former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin in his speech to the Knesset on June 25, 1982: “[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”

Here is what Menachen Begin really said: “The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of... Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.”

It seems to me that the description of a person so evil and perverse that he seeks out to kill Jewish children qua Jewish children, that there is simply no comprehending him, as “two-footed animal” does gross injustice to the animal. Animals do not kill randomly. Animals do not murder innocents for revenge.

It is quite puzzling, in fact, that the author of the piece assumes the Palestinians are the ones, as a collectivity, designated as "two legged animal"s. Surely he does not mean to imply, that all Palestinians, to a person, raise their hand to slay Jewish kids, does he? I would hazard a guess that most Palestinians are horrified when Jewish kids are deliberately targeted and gunned down by a Palestinian or any murderer, in their name. In fact, even if images of celebrating Palestinians beam across the world's TV screens, they represent only themselves, and not the millions of other Palestinians who are not celebrating, and are not seen to be celebrating. Why, then, does Aggad assume that he can essentialize all Palestinians as murderers and apply to all of them Begin's angry description of the terrorist as "two legged animals"?

André Glucksmann, the French philosopher, defines terrorism as “a deliberate attack by armed men on unarmed civilians. Terrorism is aggression against civilians as civilians, inevitably taken by surprise and defenseless. Whether the hostage-takers and killers of innocents are in uniform or not, or what kind of weapons they use—whether bombs or blades—does not change anything; neither does the fact that they may appeal to sublime ideals. The only thing that counts is the intention to wipe out random victims. The systematic resort to the car bomb, to suicide attacks, randomly killing as many passersby as possible, defines a specific style of engagement."

It would behove Excalibur’s editor in chief to educate him or her self a little in these matters before allowing the pages of the publication to be used as an open apology for murderers by providing a warrant for another genocide of Jewish people.


Compare the above piece of slanderous editorializing, complicit in preparing the warrant for a genocide, with the moral clarity of Beryl Wajsman, editor in chief of the Subburban, who asks:

Where is the outrage?

The nation under attack never targeted civilians and non-combatants. Never destroyed religious sites. Never sought to obliterate all semblance of their aggressors’ culture and history. The enemies of that nation were intent on just that and had for two generations practiced the crudest forms of nullification and interposition including turning tombstones into toilet seats.

The nation under attack that August day in Montreal was Israel. The gathered thousands at the rally lionized and stood under flags of the murderous Hezbollah, deemed an outlaw terrorist organization by the government of Canada. Israel, the frontline state in the family of free nations, was that day accused of “barbarism” and atrocities that it never committed.

We wrote then, and believe today, that what motivated those leaders who spoke to that rally was political profiteering at its most cynical. The calculus was simple. Appeal to the lowest common denominator of hate and radicalism. Labour leaders sought more card carrying members. Politicians sought votes. Left-wing academics sought validation of their most reprehensible slanders. What strikes us today is what happened to the outrage?

Tibet is once again under the repressive heel of China. Death and destruction abound in the streets of Lhasa and two other major cities. Why are the voices of Quebec civil society now stilled?


Another example of moral clarity:

Tactics like suicide bombings and rocket attacks on
civilian targets are wrong because they are counterproductive. For every Israeli
citizen that is killed they will kill many more Palestinians. This does not do
any damage to the Israeli military machine but it is of extraordinary help to
the Israeli ruling class and state. By pushing the masses towards the Zionist
state, these tactics strengthen the very thing they intended to destroy.

In plain language this means that the only two valid reasons for not slaughtering Jewish are the fact that it does no good and tends to lead to Palestinians getting killed. No other reasons are mentioned. So, it would be fine to slaughter Israeli civilians if it did any good and had no consequences for Palestinians. And they say the Israelis are paranoid…