Archive for July, 2011

A massacre is a terrible thing to waste

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The state of mind of Anders Breivik is beyond understanding for a normal person.  There’s been some discussion as to whether there are ‘signs of mental illness’ in the document that he provided to ‘explain’ himself, but asking the question is ridiculous — clearly there is a big piece missing from his brain, or soul, or whatever. One doesn’t need to be a psychologist to recognize a monster.

It’s probably unavoidable that there will be a few sociopaths like him in our societies. When the pathology is combined with intelligence, energy and resourcefulness, they can be tremendously dangerous. Sometimes they even become the leaders of nations, where they can do thousands of times more damage than Anders Breivik.

But our response to them ought not to be hysteria, but rational thought. And the reactions to Breivik have been anything but rational.

Voices from the Israel-obsessed Left claim that he was working for the Mossad, acting to punish Norway for its support of the Palestinian Arabs. These types are as crazy as Breivik, if somewhat less dangerous.

No, I’m talking about the ‘moderate’ voices in our media, who have pitched themselves into an abyss of illogic in response to this terrorist act.  Illogic — and character assassination.

Here is what the respected columnist Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Post (and it will probably appear in my local paper this week):

The monster who admitted slaughtering at least 76 innocent victims in Norway was animated by the same blend of paranoia, xenophobia and alienation that fuels anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. Yes, it could happen here…

In a 1,500-page screed setting out his philosophy, Breivik referred favorably to the work of several well-known anti-Muslim polemicists in the United States — zealots who usually boast of their influence but now, for some reason, seek to deny it.

Breivik quoted Robert Spencer, a writer who runs a Web site called Jihad Watch, more than 60 times. Spencer is the author of such books as “Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs,” “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t” and “The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.”

Robinson has just asserted, without any attempt at proof, that Robert Spencer’s opposition to Islam is based on “paranoia, xenophobia and alienation” which is the “same blend” as that of Breivik. But whether or not you agree with Spencer, who thinks that Islam is inherently expansionist, or with Daniel Pipes (whom Breivik also quoted a few times), who thinks that a radical interpretation of Islam is contending with a more traditional and less confrontational one, these are rational points of view.

They are based on analysis of Islamic writings and statements, and historical and current facts. They may be right or wrong, but they rational. Nobody knows what demons possessed Breivik, but he certainly did not get the idea of “executing traitors” from Spencer.  Robinson’s blazing non sequitur constitutes defamation of Spencer and others.

Nevertheless, Robinson tries to prove that there is a direct connection:

At least one anti-Muslim blogger had the decency to acknowledge feeling “terrible” about being cited in Breivik’s writings. The anonymous “Baron Bodissey,” who runs a Web site called Gates of Vienna, wrote that Breivik “is a monster and deserves just as little pity as he gave to his innocent, unarmed victims.”

Unfortunately, the blogger went on to write that Breivik’s “total lack of respect for human life is not, however, something he can have picked up from me, or from any of the other Islam-critical writers I know. . . . Indeed, the lack of respect for human life is often one of the great shortcomings of Islamic culture that we have consistently pointed out.”

Think about the implications of that last sentence. If Muslims have no respect for human life, why should anyone respect their lives? Or, for that matter, the lives of the government officials who invite Muslims to live among us? Or the lives of the sons and daughters of such traitorous quislings?

The sentence in question says that a lack of respect for human life often — not necessarily, but often — characterizes Islamic culture. And I’m sure that the blogger in question would cite mass terror attacks and suicide bombers as evidence for that.

Now, I wouldn’t make a statement like that, even with the qualifier ‘often’. I would be much more specific about which Muslims I was referring to. Nevertheless, I see the point of it (if you don’t, note the Palestinian attitudes toward terrorism revealed in this survey).

But the leap to the idea that therefore one should not respect their lives, or anyone else’s, is not justified by logic or reason. It is a non-sequitur, not unlike Robinson’s attribution of devilish characteristics to Robert Spencer, and in particular the kind of non-sequitur that a deranged psychopath with murder on his mind might find useful. It was a peg for Breivik to hang his murderous hat on.

Robinson’s statement that the “implications” of the statement he quotes are that murder is justified, along with the accusations that Spencer and others are “prejudiced purveyors of anti-Islam vitriol” constitute an attempt to characterize legitimate political discourse as hate speech and to shut it down.

Robinson is actually relatively mild, compared to some others. But it’s not unexpected. After all, as Rahm Emanuel almost said, a massacre is a terrible thing to waste.

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Moty & Udi: Nothing wrong with self-defense

Monday, July 25th, 2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United Nations deferred the release of its findings on Israel’s deadly seizure of a Gaza-bound Turkish ship to give Jerusalem and Ankara more time to mend fences.

An inquiry set up by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had been due to publish a report on the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident Wednesday, but Israeli officials said the release was moved to Aug. 20.

The report has been postponed repeatedly while Israel and Turkey, both of which have delegates on the U.N. panel under former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, pursue bilateral reconciliation talks.

I wouldn’t put it that way, folks.

The report has been delayed because it would cut the ground out from under the absurd Turkish position, which is that Israel needs to ‘apologize’ for several of its soldiers defending themselves in the only way possible, from beaten and stabbed to death.

The report is said to conclude that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal, and that the Turkish state had direct involvement in the flotilla and the militant IHH that provided the thugs who attacked the boarding party, as I wrote at the time. It also reportedly says “the IDF acted ‘too soon’ and with excess force,” but after all — this is the UN we are talking about.

If this is correct, then the report shows that the Mavi Marmara incident did not ‘just happen’. While it could perhaps have been prevented by better intelligence and planning on the Israeli side, it was clearly designed by the Turkish leadership to further widen the breach between Israel and Turkey which was initiated by Turkish PM Erdoğan when he walked off the stage at Davos in January 2009, after accusing Israel of murder:

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Erdoğan has threatened to downgrade diplomatic relations with Israel even further if Israel does not meet his demands:

In a speech to a conference of foreign ambassadors to the Palestinian territories in Istanbul, Erdogan condemned the continuing blockade of Gaza as “illegal and inhuman,” and said the Palestinians’ troubles were Turkey’s troubles, and would not go neglected.

Erdoğan opened his speech by naming each of the men killed in the raid on the Mavi Marmara ferry, which led the activists’ flotilla. “We have not forgotten, nor will we forget, the self-sacrifice of our brothers, their memories and the massacre they were subjected to,” he said.

Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel after the incident in May 2010, suspended military cooperation, and closed its airspace to Israeli military aircraft. It wants Israel to apologize for the killings, pay compensation to the families, and end the embargo of Gaza. — Jerusalem Post

Since Erdoğan’s AKP has been in power in Turkey, he has systematically stripped power from secular and military elements who were responsible for relatively good relations with Israel. With the AKP victory in recent elections, he’s moved Turkey even farther from the West and closer to Iran. There is no reason to think that relations will improve in the foreseeable future, and any gesture on Israel’s part will only be interpreted as an admission of guilt or a sign of weakness.

Israel’s Attorney General supposedly advised PM Netanyahu to apologize in order to prevent the filing of lawsuits against IDF soldiers. In other words, Israel should plead guilty for a crime it did not commit because otherwise it might have to defend its soldiers against equally false accusations. Anyway, who’s to say that there won’t be lawsuits in any event, especially if there is an official admission of guilt to serve as grounds for them?

One of the main thrusts of the propaganda war against Israel has been to delegitimize any use of force in self-defense. This was the theme after the 2006 Lebanon war as well as Operation Cast Lead in 2009-10. This is more than just an attempt to damage Israel by making it harder for her to protect herself. It is intended to humiliate and criminalize the state itself.

Note also that Erdoğan demands an end to the blockade of Gaza. The Mavi Marmara incident already was used by the Obama Administration to force Israel to loosen the blockade, which was originally intended as a way of pressuring Hamas economically. The objective now is only to prevent massive amounts of weapons from reaching Hamas.

The Turkish regime has rejected compromises, such as an ‘expression of regret’. This is just as well, since anything Israel agrees to will be spun as an admission of guilt. The best thing that can happen at this point is that negotiations on this issue will end with no result. There is no possible upside for Israel.

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Norwegian terrorist is more like Manson than Atta

Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Anders Breivik (from his manifesto). The badge declares itself a "multiculti traitor hunting permit"

Anders Breivik (from his manifesto). The badge declares itself a "multiculti traitor hunting permit"

The terrorist attack in Norway that was called “the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times” was committed by an individual who placed himself in the tradition of Charles Martel and other Christian defenders of Europe. If you can bear it, here is a boring 12-minute video he posted attacking “cultural Marxism,” multiculturalism and Muslims. And here is a 1500-page document in English that he wrote to explain himself (I haven’t read most of it).

Here are some things that are almost certain:

  • No Christians anywhere will celebrate his actions and give out sweets in his honor
  • Right-wing groups in Europe who are opposed to multiculturalism and worried by what they consider the threat of an Islamic takeover there will nevertheless not claim to ‘understand’ his actions
  • He will not turn out to have received funds or other help from any government
  • Unlike the 9/11 or the 7/7 attacks, this one does not advance the political objective of its perpetrator

Despite the fact that this is one of the most viciously executed acts of terrorism of recent years — and we’ve had plenty to compare it to — I think it will be entirely ineffective as a political act.

One of the objectives of political terrorism is to draw attention to the grievances of a group or movement. How many departments of Middle East studies have been created in the US since 2001? How much material about Islam appeared in American newspapers before then?

But political terrorism is systematic. It always carries the threat that the latest outrage is only the beginning. It is intended to create a “Stockholm syndrome” effect that paradoxically leads its victims to support the cause of their tormentors. Do you think the Israeli Left would be less strident in its irrational demands for national surrender if it weren’t for the serial murders that have traumatized Jews in the Middle East for the past century or so — the phenomenon called the “Oslo syndrome?”

I do not believe that any group will claim Breivik, nor will there be follow-up attacks. His appropriation of the symbolism of Christianity will evoke revulsion. His terrible action will be seen to be disconnected from any political purpose. It’s as if he murdered nearly 100 people to protest the price of milk.

His action will probably damage the anti-multiculturalist movement in Europe.  Those who want to deny the importance of ideological and religious motivations for Islamic terrorism will say “you see, both sides have crazy sociopaths — the real enemy is extremism and terrorism.”

His manifesto is a disjointed, childish collection of ramblings, some of which make sense and some which do not. It calls for a new Crusade, and points out that the Church granted indulgences for Crusaders in the Eleventh Century. It includes detailed plans for deporting Muslims, protecting Christians in Muslim-majority nations, making body armor, making bombs, obtaining weapons, obtaining nuclear weapons (really), physical training, misleading enemies, fighting techniques, lists of targets and political strategies. It discusses the need for his defense attorney to provide him with a “Justiciar Knight” uniform to be worn at his trial. It also contains chilling descriptions of the tactics that he actually employed in his attack, such as dressing as a police officer.

Despite his ideological obsession, in his vicious, personal terrorist act he doesn’t represent anyone. He is closer to Charles Manson than to Mohammed Atta.

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Ilan Pappé’s Middle East peace plan

Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Ilan Pappé's Middle East peace plan

Ilan Pappé's Middle East peace plan

Renegade Israeli academic Ilan Pappé is one of the most passionate anti-Zionists around. Does it also make you an antisemite if you want to see the Jewish people dead and/or dispersed? Anyway, here’s a few drops of his venom:

…we have to extricate ourselves from the politicians’ grip on our lives. In particular we should not be misled by the power game of politicians. The move to declare Palestine, within 22 percent of its original being, as an independent state at the UN is a charade whether it succeeds or not…

This is another gambit in the power game politicians play which has led us nowhere. When Palestinians solve the issue of representation and the international community exposes Israel for what it is — namely the only racist country in the Middle East — then politics and reality can fuse again.

And slowly and surely we will be able to put back the pieces and create the jigsaw of reconciliation and truth. This must be based on the twofold recognition that a solution has to include all the Palestinians (in the occupied territories, in exile and inside Israel) and has to be based on the construction of a new regime for the whole land of historical Palestine, offering equality and prosperity for all the people who live there now or were expelled from it by force in the last 63 years of Israel’s existence.

Nice. But

  • 22% of the “original being” of ‘Palestine’ is exactly nothing. So is 1000%, because there never was a ‘Palestine’, only a bunch of Arabs whose ancestors mostly migrated from Syria or Egypt to take advantage of the development wrought in the land by the hated Zionists.

As Elder of Ziyon tweeted this morning:

How come there are Palestinians with the name al-Masri [Egyptian], al-Hourani [Syrian], al-Turki, al-Hindi – but none named al-Filastini?

Pappé’s insanity is flagrant when he foams, “Israel is the only racist country in the Middle East.” Come on, Ilan: Israel is probably the only non-racist country in the region! Certainly ‘Palestine’, where selling land to Jews is a capital offense and whose ‘President’ has announced that “not one Israeli will remain” after independence, isn’t getting off to a non-racist start.

The best part is his solution: there are about 5 million Arabs living in the Land of Israel, including Israeli citizens and those living in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and East Jerusalem. There are supposedly 9 to 11 million ‘Palestinians’ outside the Land, including the 4.5 million that claim refugee status in the Middle East and expatriates all over the world. So Pappé  wants to ‘construct a new regime’ for these 15 million Arabs along with the 5.8 million Jews that live in Israel today, in the area between the river and the sea. The old one is ‘racist’, so it will have to go.

What a deal! All the land and property there, including nice cars and women will of course be divided fairly among the ‘owners’.

Ilan Pappé actually gave a talk here in Fresno back in 2003, sponsored by the same fair and entirely unbiased academics who are now in charge of Fresno State’s Mideast Studies Department. Pappé now teaches at the University of Exeter in the UK. He was forced to resign from the University of Haifa in 2007 after his disturbed rantings were too much even for the very ‘post-Zionist’ world of Israeli academe, where almost anything is tolerated.


Shabbat shalom!

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Detailed results of Pal-Arab poll even worse than I thought

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I discussed this recent poll last week, based on a Jerusalem Post report. Today, the complete polling data has been released.

The results show that the great majority of Palestinian Arabs do not support the idea of a peaceful two-state solution. Some of the numbers that I note are these:

  • 52% agree that they “do not accept a two-state solution,” while only 44% said they accepted it
  • 56% are “not so certain that Israel will exist 25 years from now as a Jewish state with a Jewish majority
  • Only 7% agreed that “Israel has a permanent right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people” while 84% thought that “over time Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state”
  • 92% thought that Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine while only 3% thought it should be shared

These last three points imply that the two-state solution, where it is accepted, is only accepted as a tactical station on the way to the elimination of the Jewish state, part of the implementation of the PLO’s ‘phased plan‘.

Attitudes towards Hamas seem to indicate that Palestinians approve of its approach to the Jews and Israel, although they don’t want to be ruled by it. Most do not reject partnering with an explicitly genocidal, terrorist group:

  • 81% support the agreement between Fatah and Hamas
  • Of those, 74% would continue to support it even if it resulted in reduction of aid
  • 55% of those who support the agreement believe it will make peace between Israel and the Palestinians less likely

But Hamas is not a popular choice to rule ‘Palestine’. When asked who they would vote for if elections were held today, 46% chose Fatah and only 17% Hamas. Nevertheless, the basic ideas of Hamas are popular:

  • 73% said they “believed” the quotation from the Quran in the Hamas covenant that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him… “
  • 80%: “For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.”
  • 62%: “When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the (Islamic) Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.”

Interestingly, violence as a tactic is not so popular.

  • ‘Only’ 45% agreed with the Hamas  Covenant statement that “Peace initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.
  • Only 32% say that they would support a Third Intifada.

Some have suggested that this indicates a hopeful trend toward compromise and coexistence. But I think that we can see by the continued rejection of Israel’s existence, the support for the antisemitic Hamas platform, and the implication that a two-state solution is a stage in the acquisition of all of the land, that this is only a tactical decision — a recognition that the diplomatic offensive has brought them closer to their goal than the intifadas or Hamas’ rocket attacks (of course, a certain degree of violence is needed to move the diplomatic track along).

Shimon Peres’ remark quoted by Shula in the cartoon above was likely based on questions about what the highest priority of a new Palestinian government should be. Depending on the way the question was asked, 75 or 83% said that it was to “create new jobs.” But although some of the other alternatives offered related to Israel — one was “get Israel to lift roadblocks and ease movement” — there was none that was even close to “promote the elimination of Israel in favor of a Palestinian state from the river to the sea,” which I believe would be a clear winner.

If you think that I’m mistaken, here are some other results, shocking in what they imply about the Palestinian Arab mindset:

  • When asked to quantify their feelings about various people and institutions on a scale of 1 to 100 (100 is the most positive), Dalal Mughrabi got a mean rating of 69.84 — higher than Fatah (61.18) or Hamas (39.85). She was second only to Yasser Arafat, who received 88.92. Dalal Mughrabi was the terrorist who led the Bus of Blood attack in 1978 which killed 36 people, 13 of them children. Jews, on the other hand, got a 4.9 rating and Israel a 1.82. A “two state solution with independent Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel as a Jewish state” was given 19.12.
  • 62% think that kidnapping Israel soldiers and holding them hostage is right
  • An incredible 29% think that “the killings in Itamar,” where five members of a Jewish family, including a 2-month old baby were viciously stabbed to death, were right!
  • 61% think that naming streets after people like Dalal Mughrabi is right
  • 53% think that teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools is right
  • 72% think that denying that Jews have a history going back thousands of years in Jerusalem is right
  • 22% think that firing rockets at Israeli cities and citizens is right (my guess is that many who disagree do so for tactical reasons)
  • 56% favor the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and 51% oppose his release.

These are the people that President Obama thinks “must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state” next door to a truncated Israel. Let’s hope they never reach their “full potential” for evil, which is truly remarkable.

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