Saturday, December 11, 2010

Comments trail:

@ Pyramidion: The blogger lays down this indictment:

“Thou shalt not lie”..was not one of the ten commandments … the Israelite scribes only picked their choice out of the 42 Egyptian negative confessions and conveniently left out that embarrassingly uncalled for commandment.

My comment:

It's not at all accurate to claim that the ten commandments do not include an injunction not to lie. As the author of the post here has freely admitted, he used to tell a fib or two as a boy and I'm pretty sure he tells a fib or two as a grownup. A lie is anything from falsely complimenting your wife's cooking in order to keep the peace in the family to lying in the witness stand in a way that can harm your fellow-citizen. The Torah is not concerned with the lies that are necessary to maintain personal harmony. It is concerned with the lies that can cause severe harm to a person and therefore to the justice in society.

Therefore the The Eight (according to some version, the nineth) Commandment instructs:

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

And some translations prefer to say:
"You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people. ."

As for the main contention in this post, that an ancient Egyptian code antedated the ten commandments, I would say, but of course. The ancient Israelites did not invent morality. Morality is part of the human condition. Most of us are born with a certain ability to react to injustice and want to see it corrected. So there is no doubt that the ancient Egyptians, who developed a great civilization, some say even superior to that of Athens and Rome, would have encoded their understanding of what it takes to maintain a civil society into a set of rules and ethics.

@ Vengeful Zhid

"Can you imagine what would have happened if National Geographic described Mohamed's followers as "people with sticks in their hands, shouting and cursing and spitting" or the Muslim holy cities as cow towns?"

More Pollarding from Peretz

Jonathan Pollard:

One of my many comments:

"But you should know exactly who these people are: They are professional victims, mostly brutal themselves, who originate in the ultra-nationalist and religious right. "

I would have liked to see some proof for this statement. Marty likes to pretend to his American readers that most Israelis share American views even when they are in intuitive contradiction to their own interests. Most Israelis would like to see Pollard released and brought to Israel.

Was Rabin part of the "ultra-nationalist and religious right. "?

"In December 1993, The Washington Post editorialized on a campaign seeking presidential commutation of Pollard’s sentence. Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was urging president Bill Clinton to commute Pollard’s sentence to the eight years then served. That call was supported by members of Congress and a range of prominent religious and political figures. Longtime NAACP director Benjamin Hooks, who had himself served as a judge, wrote to Clinton: “I have rarely encountered a case in which government arbitrariness was so clearcut and inexcusable.”

Someone mentioned the Rosenbergs. I think this article by Oliver Kamm is a short and convincing account of the flaws in their trial and the question of guilt:

"Of the Rosenbergs' trial, we can say, more than half a century later, all of the following with reasonable certainty. Ethel's conviction was based on tainted evidence (that of her brother, Ruth Greenglass's husband, David Greenglass). That evidence should have been ruled inadmissible. The prosection case, as it was conducted and regardless of what we now know of the historical facts, was flawed. The prosecutor, Roy Cohn, was a corrupt and unscrupulous man. The capital sentence was unjust and ought never to have been imposed. But the one thing we cannot say is that there is any doubt of the Rosenbergs' guilt. Julius was a spy, and Ethel was his accomplice. "

Apparently it is more dangerous to be found guilty as charged if you are Jewish. At that point there is a certain furious drive coming from some behind the scenes authority, or some compulsive undercurrent of resentment, to extract not just maximal punishment but much more.

"Analysis: For Israelis, including senior government officials, releasing Pollard would go a long way in rebuilding trust with Obama.

When evaluating the current flurry of activity surrounding efforts to free Jonathan Pollard, two assumptions should be kept in mind.

First: Things don’t just happen.

And second: Anything publicly being done by the Israeli government on the matter is known in advance by Washington. Israel is not looking to ambush the US administration on Pollard-related issues.

With those two assumptions in mind, the timing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement that now, 25 years after Pollard was arrested, Israel will publicly ask the US president to release him takes on added interest."

"...cannot rationally weasel out of possible punishment for the disloyalty. "

Is there any risk of that, when Pollard has served three times the punishment his crime merited, by law? What is the worth and credibility of a justice system that reserves "special retribution" for "special cases" determined at the discretion of one or two men?

"The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance." John Rawls

No veil of ignorance for Pollard. Quite the contrary. Jewish spies cannot be allowed to benefit from civil rights. Jewish spies are particularly dangerous, in a very special way, to humanity, so much so that they merit a different, much more strident, judgment of their crimes.


One state, two states, one potato, two potatoes

My comment (with some minor factual corrections):

"They argue that the Arabs (who have demography on their side, and formidable military allies in the form of the Saudis, Iran and so on) have proven themselves unable to share space with Jews. I reject this fatalistic view, and having recently been in Northern Ireland am more confident than ever that we can forge our own futures if we unshackle our imaginations. " (Bob)

"WE" can unshackle our imaginations to concoct any number of unrealizable utopias. I find the idea objectionable, especially, Bob, my dear friend, coming from you. Why is that? Because you don't dare to go into that hostile territory, even when it's only an internet blog. I recall a few times when you registered genuine dismay and shock at what you read coming out of these (English written) Arab blogs when I report about my visits there.

I have come to believe that Arabs and Jews can no more live as equals in any state in which Arabs are the majority, than Jews and German Nazis would in 1939. It's beyond pie-in-the-sky. You have to go into those message boards and blogs to get a feel of the hatred, loathing, contempt and fear. It is an incurable pathology. Why even bring it up? Hussein Ibish, no lover of Israel, dismissed the idea of the one-state solution.

"The fundamental argument that the one-staters seem to be making, which is that we can't possibly get Israel to end the occupation and relinquish their control of the 22 percent of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) but we will inevitably succeed in getting them to relinquish one hundred percent of the territory under their control. This is a problem of logic. The second thing is that once you've realized this, obviously what you've done is set yourself the task of convincing Jewish Israelis to voluntarily do this. The idea of coercing the Israelis into this through military force is absurd, and it could only really be done through voluntary persuasion. What the one-staters argue, actually, is that they don't have to do that. What they're going to do, they say, is bring the Israelis to their knees."

A one state cannot be brought about without the world becoming complicit with Palestinians to destroy Israel. It can be done, by force, by breaking the spirit of Israeli Jews (we can already see those broken spirits, for example, here.

Similar enterprises were carried out with some success in history. Like the mass conversion of the Spanish Jews in 1391, followed a century later by the expulsion of the remainder of unconverted Jews. Or in more recent times, the exhausting of Jews to the point where no solution but flight or death was available. It can be done, never doubt that. The one state solution can be realized, if the world is willing to accept and assist in unshackling its imagination just long enough to facilitate such a solution.

And related, on Z-word

A new accusation surfaces: Eichmann's trial was (partly) a show trial

Tutu and the veil of ignorance

Leaving the West Bank (My comment and the comment that prompted my response must have been removed)

Death of the Peace Process

Stoning women in the movies, applause and what it all means (moved to a discussion about Inglorious Basterds, a movie I blogged about here)

Oprah's choice of Charles Dickens reading for the holidays

More on Nixon and Jews and Kissinger and what not

@Ray Cooke's

Nixon and Jews

(One of my comments:

It is a well known history that it was Kissinger who advised strongly against delivering supplies to Israel, because he thought the Israelis needed to be not defeated but bloodied in order to get Arabs to regain their self-esteem.

It is also known that by the time the supplies began to stream in, the tide had already been turned.

During that period and for a few years after the war, Rabin treated Kissinger with the utmost suspicion.

As for Nixon's observation that

“What it is, is it’s the insecurity,” he said. “It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”

Can anyone claim that Nixon was wrong in his assessment about "the latent insecurity" that causes Jews to overcompensate by being particularly and more than necessarily tough on Israel? From presidential advisors to the most influential journalists to the lesser known ones, isn't there a perceptible tinge of being overly shrill in denunciations of Israel at the right moments?

It's funny how everyone rushes in with the antisemitism outrage when it is a Republican president on the line. I didn't see such eagerness to recognize the disease when it was Jimmy Carter's reputation on the line, he who scolded Golda Meir for not leading a more religious Jewish state and who wrote specific books with the sole attempt of sullying Israel's integrity and those American Jews who support her.)

The Nobel (Peace) Prize:

"U.N. Human Rights chief declines invite to Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Posted By Colum Lynch Monday, December 6, 2010 - 11:30 AM Share

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, has turned down an invitation to attend the Dec. 10 event at which Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese pro-democracy advocate, will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Pillay declined the invitation because she is already hosting a human rights day event in Geneva, her spokesman told Turtle Bay. She has no intention of sending a more junior official to represent the organization in her place, the spokesman, Rupert Colville, said. " (Source)


At 10:46 PM EST, Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

Swedish Muslim suicide bomber rocks Stockholm Sweden.

At 6:21 AM EST, Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

willjames makes a pertinent point. I have thought about it a great deal. The thing is, when I listen to what some of these who are "worried about the pernicious influence of radical Muslim immigrants" have to say about Jews I am not convinced that the good of Jews is exactly their primary concern. Many of them just use Jewish plight to ply their trade and express anger at Jews who remain disdainful of their movement. Some of them use the cause of fighting antisemitism as a trump card the way rabid leftists use it to blame Jews who support Israel as abusing this term. It's a terribly unpleasant time to be Jewish these days and to support Israel. There is no political agenda in which Jews can fit in without compromising themselves in some way.

Those damn dirty pro Israel Nationalist bastards!

We (European Jews) were so comfortable on the Left when in coalition with others against you...but now that theyve turned on Israel and Jews, and you keep on with the pro Israel position...we have not leg to stand on other than tribalism. Damn you to hell!

At 6:27 AM EST, Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

This is a round-about way of suggesting, as I'm sure you agree, that the way forward requires rejecting both a naive multiculturalism as well as a xenophobic nativism. And, yes, we will continue to find ourselves with strange bedfellows until there comes a time when supporters of gay rights and green energy and opponents of Islamization find a way to constellate a shared middle realm where they can party together. Whether or not such a thing can happen before the Messiah comes remains to be seen... ---WillJames

Yeah, those Euro Christians who believe that they are also entitled to a state like Israel, are downright villianous and cringeworthy!

At 12:36 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

most interesting point read today, Liat Collins in JPOst on South America, not a direct quote, points out if a Palestinian State is declared on the 1967 borders, then Palestinians become the occupiers.

Not that that will ever happen, but when I read all the leftist harangues about 'Israel the brutal colonizer', the underlying message is always 'the only Jews we like are when they are victims'.

even though I am not so sure of that anymore.

second best read from Tom Friedman today in NYT:
"...Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, what are you thinking? Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister, offered you a great two-state deal, including East Jerusalem — and you let it fritter away. Now, instead of chasing after Obama and telling him you’ll show up for negotiations anywhere under any conditions that the president asks, you’re also setting your own terms. Here’s some free advice: When America goes weak, if you think the Chinese will deliver Israel for you, you’re wrong. I know China well. It will sell you out for a boatload of Israeli software, drones and microchips so fast that your head will spin. ..."

Actually, I believe America will sell out Abbas for the same boatload plus technical assistance in cyber-wrfare, which might actually be part of what is going in in the new era of WikiLeaks.

Re: Sweden: am settling for smile of the day even tho I never want people to die, it was some wake-up call on creeping sharia...


At 7:03 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chait's thread was good practice now that MP has taken same topic...
thanks for your comments there.
Claire Berlinski on the twilight of Istanbul...

I am going to be reading the National Archives report on the U.S. and post-war Nazis, once I download it using dial-up
(1.3MB takes a while)


At 6:57 PM EST, Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

Will James is like an Israeli European Christian in Israel looking for the party that isnt Jewish Nationalist but is pro European Christian Nationalist, and besmirching any Jewish Nationalist that is also pro European Chrstian Nationalist as morally bankrupt.

Its insanity.

On another topic, here is Ross Douthat on Chris Hitchens and the Paranoid Center. Thought the Contentious Centrist might enjoy it.

Hitchens and the Paranoid Center

At 1:54 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kissinger explains the context of his comment in Dec 26 WashPo, linked today at RCP.

yeah, Hudson on Tutu was long overdue.

The mosque that will NOT go away:

(and today's NYT notes Imam Rauf about to embark on cross-country speaking tour, including Harvard - will they protest like they did Peretz?)

watch for echo?:
"Islamists’ War against ‘the Other’ Under Islamist pressures, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are vanishing from their ancient homelands." Nina Shea (also from Hudson)

will rejoin TNR threads soon, after a much needed break.


At 1:09 AM EST, Blogger Daniel Greenfield said...

I wonder which reality Martin Peretz lives where everyone in Israel has forgotten Shalit and thinks only of Pollard

At 4:15 AM EST, Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

I just cant get all worked up over this Pollard issue.

I think that traitors and spies should be imprisoned for longer periods in general. The problem isnt Pollard's long sentence, but the shorter sentences of others. If Pollard was a Communist/Leftist, his cause would be championed far and wide. Perhaps why others have lighter sentences.

At 11:23 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just read the Peretz 'profile' at NYMag. So, no more Spine. Forced out by the growing legion of Beinarts who just can not stand their lost fantasy of a sort-of-Jewish state?

May cancel TNR after his farewell post. The rest of it is blind to reality, let alone centrism. OTOH, could still provide an outlet to remind them of the votes they have lost, not to mention a counter-balance for me from J-Ru's new blog at WashPo, where I confront the opposite- a blog that is kneejerk conservative except on Israel.



Post a Comment

<< Home