Archive for March, 2008


Tuesday, March 25th, 2008


Purim is over, and April Fool’s day has not yet arrived. So how do we explain this?

In a move to protest the IDF’s plan to send thousands of officers into the country’s schools on Wednesday, New Profile – a movement opposed to what they see as “brainwashing” by the army – plans to set up a demonstration in which members dressed as IDF officers will wash a large model of a human brain.

The organizers of the planned protest hope to draw attention to the IDF’s nationwide campaign for students and voice their opposition to the “militarization of Israeli society.”

“I think the fact that military officers have free access to schools exploits the status of soldiers and the status of schools,” said Lotahn Raz, a New Profile activist and organizer of Wednesday’s demonstration, which he called a “street performance.”

If this isn’t enough, Raz makes his satirical intent clear (to me, anyway):

“The army is a hierarchical organization,” Raz continued. “It doesn’t have respect for life, and they have no regard for the equality of women. It encourages following orders instead of individual thinking.” — Jerusalem Post

Although I’m sure it’s a put-on, let me point out a few obvious things just in case:

  • Lotahn, you live in Tel Aviv, Israel, The Middle East, and not Berkeley, California.
  • If you have a problem with the “militarization of Israeli society”, you will have to take it up with the Arabs, who are responsible for this.
  • It’s not true that the army has no respect for life, in general. Just the lives of the guys trying to kill you.
  • Yes, it’s hierarchical and they have to follow orders. Duh.

Update [26 Mar 2008 1858 PDT]: It’s not a joke! They actually held their demonstration. Here’s a picture of their ‘brain’:

New Profile's brain

I am struck dumb by the stupidity and self-delusion of these people.

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One minute with the candidates

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Sometimes someone puts an issue so clearly that one wants to broadcast the words to the entire world. Here is an excerpt from an unsigned editorial in the Jerusalem Post today which is like that:

There are, it should be understood, two basic models for looking at the conflict, each of which leads to different policy approaches. The standard model is that Arabs and Israelis have been fighting for years and that blame for perpetuation of the conflict lies with both sides, or perhaps mainly with Israel, since Israel is the “occupying power” and the Palestinians are seeking independence within land held by Israel.

The second model is almost nonexistent in diplomatic circles …[it] holds that the Arab world opposed Israel’s creation, tried many times to destroy Israel, and still has not come to terms with Israel’s right to exist. It is this Arab rejection of Israel, not a supposed Israeli refusal to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, that is the true obstacle to peace…

The question, essentially, is whether the conflict is about borders or existence. If it is about borders, then it is a matter of pressing “both sides” to negotiate a deal. But if the heart of the matter is an Arab refusal to accept Israel in any borders, than the focus must be on compelling the Arab world to take that fundamental step. [my emphasis]

This implies two things:

  • As long as the ‘existence model’ of the conflict is not accepted by those who wish to promote peace, it will not be achieved.
  • Efforts at peacemaking that ignore Arab rejectionism will not only fail, but will actually support the genocidal program of the rejectionists.

If I had one minute with each of our presidential candidates to talk about the conflict, this is what I would tell them.

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Jewish suicide bombers

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Jewish suicide bomber Jacqueline RosePrior to WWII, there was a controversy between Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews about whether the best option for Jewish survival lay in the Diaspora or the creation of a Jewish state. One would think that the experience of European Jewry would have settled that question for once and for all, but apparently it did not.

In today’s atmosphere of resurgent antisemitism, and particularly that expression of it which I’ve called extreme anti-Zionism, we have a new phenomenon, that of Jews who are not simply philosophically opposed to the Jewish state but who are doing their best to destroy it. Ami Isseroff has written,

In large part, the Arab Palestinian anti-Israel movement is led not by Palestinian Arabs or anti-Semites, but by Jews. Halper, Beinin, Rose, Pappe, Chomsky. Finkelstein and Klug, rather than Alloush, Abunimah, Fayyad Husseini, Qaukji and abu Youssef, are the intellectual mainstays of the movement to wipe out the Jewish state. Their English is much better, and they can cast their ideas in slogans acceptable to western culture. “Secular Democratic State” sounds so much better than “Drive the Jews into the Sea” to a good progressive, doesn’t it? It is hard to label them as “anti-Semites.” It is hard to discredit their lies. — Isseroff, “The future of Jewish anti-Zionism – a Zionist analysis” (entire article recommended).

Isseroff argues that the ‘future’ in question is not a good one. Like the Jewish Bolsheviks who were ultimately murdered by Stalin, if the Arab program succeeds, it won’t go well for those like Tali Fahima and Jeff Halper unless they leave secular democratic Palestine with alacrity (it won’t go well for the Jews of the Diaspora either, but that’s another story).

It may be too late to help some of the Jews that Isseroff mentions, but the most important message, the one which needs to be transmitted to the ‘progressive’ community — many of whose members are Jews — is this one:

The anti-Zionist movement at its most ‘moderate’ is not about self-determination for Palestinian Arabs, it’s about denying self-determination to Jews. And for the less moderate factions like Hamas, it’s about genocide.

Jews that lend themselves to this project are not only deluded, but they are suicidal.

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Two news items

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

A news item in the Jerusalem Post tells us about the continuing effort to ‘bolster’ (they always use this word) Fatah:

Israel has agreed to let Russia deliver 25 armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday – a move meant to bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle with Hamas.

Russia had proposed shipping the armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces two years ago, but Israel initially balked, fearing the cars would fall into Hamas’ hands. Later, the deal was bogged down by Palestinian plans to mount the vehicles with guns – something Israel refused to approve.

Of course, we can be certain that the Palestinians will not install guns on them once they get them, can’t we?

But never mind, here’s another item from the same source:

Fatah officials have agreed to Yemen’s reconciliation initiative and are prepared to sign it, while Hamas officials requested additional time to discuss the initiative with the group’s leaders, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi announced on Saturday.

According to a Yemenite news agency, talks between the rival Fatah and Hamas are continuing to take place in Yemen, after a crisis in talks occurred on Thursday in which Fatah representatives threatened to return to Ramallah.

“Hamas is not declining the Yemenite initiative which aims to resolve the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah,” Ahmed Youssef, adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

Does this say something to us about the advisability of arming Abbas “in his struggle with Hamas”?

Why doesn’t it say the same thing to Israeli PM Olmert or the architects of the “fight Hamas with Fatah policy”, the US?

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Easily insulted Palestinians, logical fallacies, and sovereignty

Friday, March 21st, 2008

From YNet:

Israeli authorities may question Palestinian Americans on arrival in Israel and require them to obtain a Palestinian Authority travel documents, the US State Department said on Wednesday…

“American citizens whom Israeli authorities judge may be of Palestinian origin are likely to face additional, and often time consuming, questioning by immigration and border authorities,” the State Department said in a “travel warning” to US citizens.

The US government is not happy about this:

“Our view, as expressed by Secretary Rice, former Undersecretary (Nicholas) Burns, former Assistant Secretary Maura Harty, our ambassador, the acting assistant secretary for consulate affairs, recently, and a variety of other people, to the Israeli government is that American citizen is American citizen is American citizen,” [State Department spokesman Sean] McCormack said. “There are no second classes…You have a blue American passport, you should be treated like an American citizen.”

Of course, this is exactly the question of ‘profiling’, because this is how Israeli security works: screening resources are allocated in proportion to the likelihood that a person — on the basis of such factors as age, sex, ethnicity, and numerous other factors — is a threat.

Here in the US, profiling is anathema. Because of our national collective insanity regarding anything relating to race or ethnicity, it is not acceptable here to take these factors into account when evaluating the possibility that a particular individual presents a risk, even though, statistically, a young middle-eastern man is more likely to be a member of Hezbollah than a 70-year old female from Minnesota.

The argument seems to be that since there are young Arab men who are in fact not terrorists, then it is inexcusably insulting to them to assume that they are more likely to be terrorists than the above-mentioned female.

But that assumption is a statistical one about a group and says nothing about the particular individual. It is a basic logical fallacy to conflate the two.

Profiling is exactly the same kind of reasoning that a physician goes through when diagnosing an illness like sickle-cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease that is more common in a particular ethnic group.

The important point is that the US State Department needs to understand that Israel, a sovereign nation, is not the US, and is not required to share our pathological inability to think logically.

Israel is also obliged to protect her citizens from terrorism, and in the area of airport security has done a significantly better job than we have.

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