Archive for June, 2010

Neighborhood Bully

Monday, June 14th, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Bob Dylan fan site has blocked users inside Israel from accessing the site in what the site operator calls a cultural boycott in response to Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Users with an Israel IP address are directed to webmaster Eyolf Ostrem’s blog.

His message to Israeli users reads: “As a contribution to a cultural boycott of the state of Israel — a long overdue reaction to the absurd inhumanity that is demonstrated in its actions and that goes against everything that I and this site stands for — access to dylanchords has been blocked for visitors from Israel…”

Ostrem, a Danish music expert, continues the discussion on his blog, calling Israel “a fascist, belligerent regime.”

Neighborhood Bully, by Bob Dylan

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully

Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music

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Antisemitic craziness for beginners

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Question: which Hamas leader wrote the following this past week?

… the full lunacy and vileness of this latest Israeli war crime is becoming clear to all who can read. Israeli propaganda has worked overtime, based on the kidnapping of the activists, isolating them from the whole world, confiscating all their material evidence, on top of the brutalities of maiming and murdering many of them. This meant that for the last few days, only the the voice of Israeli propaganda was available to the international media. Fictional narratives, more complex than most Hollywood scripts, were woven and reinforced by what must be the largest propaganda machine anywhere.

Of course, this matter [sic] little now. The facts are now coming out, and many inquiries will be conducted and will establish the full horror of this murderous piracy. The world will not be fooled by this anymore…

The resolution of this conflict will only be reached by the annulling Zionism and its racism, its military and ‘civil’ racist machineries, the total removal of all settler communities, and the return of Palestinian refugees, as well as the payment of full compensation to all those who were hurt by the Zionist enterprise over the last few decades.

Give up?

Haim Bresheeth

Haim Bresheeth

No Hamas leader, not even a Turkish Hamas supporter! It was an Israeli Jew and a child of Holocaust survivors, Professor Haim Bresheeth (h/t, Israel Academia Monitor), Chair of Media and Cultural Studies, Deputy Dean of School, University of East London, formerly of Sapir College in the Western Negev — not far from Sderot, a favorite Hamas target. Maybe the din of Qassams landing addled his brain (in case you think he makes sense, the truth about the boarding of the Mavi Marmara is here, here and here).

Bresheeth is the author of several books, including one actually titled “Holocaust for Beginners,” (also translated into Turkish and Croatian!) and numerous articles.  Here is another example of his writing, from in article in the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram (2006):

A sorry tale of collusion emerges from almost every leading newspaper, every hour of quality radio, every current affairs television programme. It is well known that many Jews front numerous media outlets and discourse on the continued Middle Eastern saga of pain, violence and propaganda, yet no one seems to think this strange. There are no Arabs, or even influential Muslims, in similar positions in the British or American media. That in itself is worrying, but would have been less so if we had examples of a wide variety of positions taken by influential Jews — if some were, for example, doing better than mouthing Israeli propaganda, and imaginatively representing the Palestinian, Arab or Muslim perspective, or being sometimes critical of Israel’s positions, especially when they are so obviously not just immoral, but counter- productive. That day has not yet come, it seems.

So the Jews control the media, there are no anti-Israel Jews among Jewish news personalities, and there are no Arab or Muslim commentators heard? The mind boggles.

In 2002, after literally hundreds of Israelis were killed in a series of bloody suicide bombings which followed Arafat’s rejection of the Camp David peace proposals — it seemed at times that every few days there was a new atrocity, 20 or 30 dead — Israel embarked on Operation Defensive Shield, in which the IDF entered the Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria and rooted out the terrorists. One of the most effective counter-terrorist operations ever, it ended the string of bloody attacks.

Naturally, there were howls of protest and condemnation from Palestinians and their supporters who saw their best weapon taken from them. Bresheeth did his part, comparing Israel’s self-defense to Nazi genocide  in an article called “The ghetto is calling“:

At this time Jews who remember the Holocaust should stand up and be counted. They should clearly say that they are totally against Israeli occupation and totally for liberation of the Palestinians from the Israeli yolk [sic]. If the future life of people in the region is dear to them, they should help Israel to free itself from the diseased and debilitating cycle of brutality that they have plunged themselves and the Palestinians into. They should clarify that Israel has not got them on its side, and is not acting in their name. It is not the Palestinians who need to be under pressure after all these years of atrocities, but the short-sightedness of the Israeli public, and its refusal to face reality.

What must come now are sanctions of every kind, withdrawal of help and cooperation from Israeli organisations, up to the point of sending an international force into the region to force the evacuation of the territories. The time has come to take a stand.

If, despite the pressing need to force an end to the violence by ending the occupation, nothing will be done — well, we know well enough what will follow. We have seen it time and again on our screens in the former Yugoslavia. Do we want to wait until all is lost? Our Palestinian friends are calling out to us. Please, let us not abandon them as European society of the 1940s abandoned my own family to their fate.

But that’s nothing. Bresheeth wrote an article in 1989, which now appears on the viciously antisemitic “Radio Islam” web site, called “Zionism and the Holocaust.” In it, he argues that German Zionists colluded with the Nazis, that “Zionism agrees with the basic tenet of anti-Semitism, namely that Jews cannot live with non-Jews,” and that Zionists helped the Germans exterminate the Hungarian Jews. This one, and the site that it appears on, is so vile that I won’t link to it. Google it if you must.

Anti-Israel Jews aren’t news, especially when they are Israeli academics. But Haim Bresheeth is notable because he is also an antisemite, and because the rubbish that he writes is far out even for its genre.

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Barack Obama: choose sides

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

He may or may not be aware of it, but our President has reached one of those crystal-clear moral choice points. Today it’s possible to make a decision that will either put him squarely on the side of the angels, or … the other side.

Today the president can show that America stands up for the truth (and incidentally for Western civilization), he can equivocate and temporize, or even take the dark side. What will he do?

There are reports, which the White House denies, that the Administration intends to support an international investigation of Israel’s actions in intercepting the ships of the “Free Gaza Flotilla.”

The facts of the case  are about as black and white as anything could possibly be. The information is out there for the world to see even without the massive resources of the US intelligence services at the president’s disposal. And this information shows that Israel’s naval commandos were caught in a surprise ambush by a group of organized thugs connected to the Turkish IHH organization, and needed to fight their way out to avoid being killed or taken hostage.

This is not a complicated issue where there is prima facie evidence on both sides of an issue. This is not a question about which people of good will who have the facts can differ. It’s not a question of policy, it’s simply one of what happened aboard that ship on the morning of May 31, 2010.

And that information is available in the form of videos of the boarding itself and of the preparations made by the thugs, testimonies taken from  the captain and first officer of the ship, and testimonies of the Israeli commandos. Look at these videos and conduct your own investigation.

What will the president do? Will he support the next pseudo-forensic lynching of Israel that is being plotted by the UN ‘Human Rights’ Council? Will he support some other ‘international’ investigation which will blame Israel? Or will he issue a statement like this:

The US calls for an impartial investigation of the attack on Israeli Navy personnel on May 31. The investigation should be charged to determine how the attackers were allowed to board the ship with inadequate or no security checks, who organized, trained and paid them, who commanded them during their vicious attack, and whether elements in the Turkish regime knew about the plan in advance or even initiated it. We must not shrink from asking, “What did ErdoÄŸan know and when did he know it?”

And he could add something like this:

The Hamas occupation of the Gaza Strip is unsustainable and should be terminated immediately. Hamas violently overthrew the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, killing members of the opposition. It committed and continues to commit murderous aggression against Israel, a UN member state. Hamas is a terror organization, dedicated to genocide, which violates civilized norms by its anti-democratic, racist and misogynist policies. I condemn those who support or supply the Hamas regime and call on all the civilized nations of the world to work to end this regime.

Today we are in the midst of a struggle between the West and the forces of radical Islamism, led by Iran. Their short and medium-term goals are to destroy Israel, to remove all US influence from the Mideast, to take control of much of the world’s oil resources, and to establish a new Caliphate in the region which will challenge the democratic nations of the world for leadership. Their long-term goal, quite seriously, is to bring about a world entirely dominated by radical Islamism.

Israel, almost surrounded by Iranian proxies, is on the front line of this struggle. This incident represents Turkey’s entrance into the fray on the side of Iran, in an attempt to hand a double victory to Hamas — a tactical victory by forcing Israel to weaken its blockade, and a diplomatic one by legitimizing Hamas in the eyes of the world.

Which side is our president on?

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The last 10 days

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The last 10 days have surprised me.

I thought I was cynical about the way humans are capable of believing things that are contradicted by what they see with their own eyes, but apparently I was naive.

I realized that the phenomenon of ideologues only hearing the voices of their own side was much more extensive than I’d thought.

I saw that the amount of ignorance, stupidity and viciousness in the world, especially the supposedly better-educated part of it, was far, far greater than than I had imagined in my worst nightmares.

I saw that a form of atavistic hatred that I had thought was dying out in ‘civilized’ society was alive and breathing heavily.

I saw some ‘critics of Israeli policy’ drop their masks, because it has now become acceptable to admit that the real problem, in the words of Charles Krauthammer, is “Those Troublesome Jews“.

When Helen Thomas dropped hers (OK, maybe it had been slipping for some time), she was greeted with some official condemnation and massive grass-roots support. Rabbi David Nesenoff, who taped her telling Israeli Jews to “go home, to Poland and Germany,” has received over 25,000 hate mails, some of which can be seen on his website.

There’s a Security Council “Presidential Statement,” a vicious Human Rights Council resolution, demonstrations and rallies against Israel all over the world — even in Fresno, California — a surge of antisemitic incidents in France and other places, threats from Turkey, Iran and Syria, and suggestions from Barack Obama that Israel’s policies are ‘unsustainable’ and must change in the direction of concessions to Hamas.

What precipitated the explosion was that a group of violent Turkish Islamists, in an operation probably planned and certainly supported by the ErdoÄŸan regime, mobbed and beat Israeli soldiers in an attempt to take hostages, resulting in the serious injury of several soldiers and the death of 9 of the Turks.

Hardly a legitimate reason for the worldwide explosion of anti-Israel hatred, or the diplomatic pressure being applied to Israel by friends and enemies alike.

Compare Israel’s actions in enforcing a blockade against the remarkably vile Hamas with the behavior of the Iranian regime last year, when the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei regime stole the election and then beat, murdered, arrested, tortured and raped dissidents who pointed this out.

World reaction then, and especially the response from the Obama administration, was tepid. Many similar comparisons can be made.

Several members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have introduced a resolution condemning Israel and calling for the president to work toward “ending the siege” of Hamas-ruled Gaza. San Francisco, the gay capital of the world, is being asked to support Hamas — I know they would not put it this way, but that’s what it is about — which advocates the death penalty for homosexuality. Indeed, gay Palestinians do their best to escape both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, to Israel, one of the few places that a gay Arab can live in peace.

My wife would explain this by saying “there must be something in the water,” but if so, it’s in the water all around the world.

Here’s how one observer explains it:

…in the last two decades especially, the Left has made anti-Semitism respectable in intellectual circles. The fascistic nature of various Palestinian liberation groups was forgotten, as the “occupied” Palestinians grafted their cause onto that of American blacks, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans. Slurring post-Holocaust Jews was still infra dig, but damning the nation-state of Israel as imperialistic and oppressive was considered principled. No one ever cared to ask: Why Israel and not other, far more egregious examples? In other words, one could now focus inordinately on the Jews by emphasizing that one’s criticism was predicated on cosmic issues of human rights and justice. And by defaming Israel the nation, one could vent one’s dislike of Jews without being stuck with the traditional boorish label of anti-Semite.

So an anti-Semitic bigot like Helen Thomas could navigate perfectly well among the top echelons of Washington society spouting off her hatred of Israel, since her animus was supposedly against Israeli policies rather than those who made them. Only an inadvertent remark finally caught up with her to reveal that what she felt was not anger growing out of a territorial dispute, but furor about the nature of an entire people who should be deported to the sites of the Holocaust. — Victor Davis Hanson, “Helen Thomas, Turkey, and the Liberation of Israel”

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Don’t use anything more lethal than paintball guns

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Washington Post:

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it had warned Israel’s government repeatedly to use “caution and restraint” with half a dozen aid boats bound for the Gaza Strip before Israeli commandos raided the flotilla this week in an operation that killed nine people.

“We communicated with Israel through multiple channels many times regarding the flotilla,” P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement issued in response to a question from The Washington Post. “We emphasized caution and restraint given the anticipated presence of civilians, including American citizens.”

“Don’t use anything more lethal than paintball guns,” the Israelis were warned. “Think how bad it would look if you accidentally shot some Nobel laureates or members of the European Parliament among the humanitarian peace activists on board.”

OK, I made the last part up. But doesn’t it seem that the US is micro-managing Israeli policy more than ever lately?  And not for the better, if you believe, for example, that pressure from the incoming Obama Administration aborted Operation Cast Lead before the final push that would have overthrown Hamas. Or if you think that forbidding Jewish building in Jerusalem is bad for Israel’s sovereignty in its capital. Or if you worry about a radar installation on Israeli soil that is supposed to protect Israel, but which Israelis are forbidden to enter.

Obama Administration officials and advisors are starting to say that close relations with Israel are a liability to US policy.

Well, guess what? It appears that the reverse is true.

Remember when the Bush I Administration told Israel to hold still while Saddam Hussein dropped his Scuds on Tel Aviv? Today we have the ‘red light’ against an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities (possibly such an attack would be impractical, but a red light nevertheless).

Here is my idea for how the US could promote peace in the Mideast: simply get out of the way and let Israel defend itself. Israel is not expansionist. There’s no downside except that the Arabs and Iran will dislike the US. But they do that already.

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