Archive for December, 2013

Murderers go free, yet again, for nothing

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
Palestinian Arabs celebrate the return of 26 prisoners from Israel, December 30, 2013. All but 3 were convicted of murder.

Palestinian Arabs celebrate the return of 26 prisoners from Israel, December 30, 2013. All but 3 were convicted of murder.

Israel has done it again, releasing 26 Arab prisoners (all but 3 were convicted of murder), the third of 4 groups totaling 104 that Israel has been pressured into freeing by the US, in order to ‘bring the Palestinians to the table.’ This release, like the others, happened despite anguished protests from the families and friends of the victims of these terrorists. Caroline Glick gives us an example, Juma Ibrahim Juma Adam and Mahmoud Salam Saliman Abu Karbish:

In 1992, the two men firebombed a civilian bus, murdering Rachel Weiss, who was nine months pregnant, and three of her pre-school aged children, as well as IDF soldier David Delarosa, who tried to save them.

And the Palestinian Authority/PLO, its President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian Arab population in general welcomed these murderers as heroes.

There are two aspects of this that I find interesting. One is the attitude of the Arabs, and the other is that of US officials — John Kerry, Barack Obama, and others responsible for the present débacle.

The Arabs are simple. In their world, a Jew doesn’t hold a Muslim captive. Actual Jewish sovereignty turns things upside down, and their violence is therefore totally understandable, completely justified. Have you ever heard a Palestinian Arab criticize terrorism for moral reasons? The closest they get (which is not at all close) is to say that it’s bad policy which does not help the Palestinian Cause. Let me quote something from the PLO-oriented Ma’an News Service:

Nevertheless, the Fatah official [Nabil Sha’ath] expects 2014 to be dedicated to reactivating Palestinian resistance. The PA, he said, is expected to join more UN organizations and to dedicate efforts to achieve reconciliation with Hamas.

“We have to use smart and fruitful means of struggle rather than violent struggle in order to maintain international support, as negotiations have failed to make a single step forward.”

He added: “The minimum of what we were offered in the year 2000 hasn’t been reached, not to mention that the US has failed to exert pressure on Israel to guarantee Palestinian rights.”

It seems “impossible” to reach an agreement, says Shaath, due to Israeli demands of maintaining security control, annexing Palestinian lands, refusing Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem and requesting that the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

“We will not recognize Israel as Jewish state, and would like to ask John Kerry if he agrees that we recognize the US as a Christian state,” Shaath said. [Huh? — ed.]

Thus, he added, the Palestinians have the right to practice resistance by all means.

“However, we should choose a smart resistance which will not cause us calamities like what happens when a missile is launched from Gaza. We have to make sure the world will show solidarity with us just as in Europe where settlement products will be boycotted by the beginning of 2014.”

It should be understood that there is more to ‘smart resistance’ than joining more UN organizations. ‘Violence’ to Palestinian Arabs means the use of guns and explosives. Throwing rocks and even firebombs counts as ‘nonviolence’. Here are a few words from Linah Alsaafin, a young ‘Palestinian’ woman (born in the UK and raised in England, the US, and ‘Palestine’) about the true meaning of nonviolence:

to even consider throwing rocks as a violent act is absurd. The message is very clear: rocks are thrown at the enemy as a way of underscoring the Palestinians’ disapproval of a foreign occupier from intruding and expropriating their lands and homes. At the risk of insulting their intelligence and losing their respect at such a dim question, I asked a few Nabi Saleh children why they throw rocks. Their responses were simple: We don’t want the army here. This is our village. They are occupying us. …

The David versus Goliath analogy is lost on those well-meaning “nonviolent” folks. Truth be told, the literal Arabic translation of “nonviolent” isn’t used widely. We use the term muthahara silmiya which means “peaceful protest.” It is especially cringe-worthy to remember how I used to look down on those who threw rocks in Bilin and Nilin, something I now attribute to my ignorance and inexperience. I used to think — as a victim the propaganda pumped out by western media — that throwing rocks was a thing of the past, and that we needed new ways to resist, not quite the Gandhi way but something along those lines. Thank God for Nabi Saleh.

The whole article is worth reading. ‘Non-violent’ seems to mean ‘justified’, and ‘the occupation’ is so evil that anything a Palestinian does is justified. When you are driving home from work and a 5-pound rock crashes through your windshield at, say, 30 mph, take comfort in the knowledge that it is not ‘violent’, but ‘peaceful’.

So much for the Arabs. What about the sanctimonious John Kerry, who lectures Israel about making ‘hard decisions’ (ones that will result in the removal of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes and subject the remaining state of Israel to daily terrorist incursions and rocket bombardments), in return for the PLO president who doesn’t represent anyone but himself and will likely not last a year in his position, uttering some kind of formula in English that can be construed as acceptance of a Jewish state?

I am not the only one who is wondering “what the hell does the US get out of this?” Could there be a worse time to weaken Israel than when Syria is engaged in a vicious civil war — actually a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran? When Lebanon is on the verge of being drawn into the conflict, Jordan is destabilized by millions of refugees from it, and Egypt’s economy has imploded? When Hizballah has 60,000 rockets, many hidden in civilian homes, aimed at Israel?

And importantly, when it is obvious to all, Israelis and Palestinian Arabs alike, that no agreement is possible?

I don’t know the answer, although I have my theories. Meanwhile, let me ask Mr. Kerry when it will be OK to release Charles Manson and 103 similar others to Nantucket?

John Kerry's retreat on Nantucket Is., Massachusetts

John Kerry’s retreat on Nantucket Is., Massachusetts

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French Jew-hatred out of control

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

I wasn’t going to write about “la quenelle.” Some things are just too stupid. But even particularly stupid things sometimes have a lesson to teach.

So what is the ‘quenelle’?

It is a the combination of an inverted Nazi salute and a traditional French gesture meaning “fuck you,” popularized by a French ‘comedian’ named Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala.

The gesture has spread rapidly in France. Jean-Yves Camus, a French academic who studies the extreme right, says the quenelle has become a “badge of identity, especially among the young, but it is doubtful that all of them understand its true meaning”. Dieudonné, Mr Camus adds, has become the hero of a movement which sprawls across the traditional boundaries of right and left – anti-system, hungry for conspiracy theories, convinced that the world is run by Washington and Tel Aviv [sic]. Mr Camus says that the “spinal column” of the movement is the conviction that “the Jews pull all the strings”.

Despite several convictions for anti-Semitic remarks, Dieudonné has strayed once again over the boundary between self-proclaimed anti-Zionism and outright provocation. During his one-man show, he attacked Patrick Cohen, a Jewish radio journalist who has publicly criticised him. Dieudonné said: “When the wind turns, I don’t think he’ll have time to pack a suitcase. When I hear Patrick Cohen talking, you see, I think of gas ovens.” France Inter, the radio station for which Mr Cohen works, has brought a case against Dieudonné for provoking racial hatred.

It has become a sport to take photographs of oneself making the quenelle in front of places of Jewish significance, like synagogues, Auschwitz, the Kotel, etc., or with unsuspecting Jews (photos courtesy

The quenelle at Auschwitz

The quenelle at Auschwitz

The quenelle at the Kotel, with an Israeli soldier

The quenelle at the Kotel, with an Israeli soldier

The quenelle with Haredi Jews

The quenelle with Haredi Jews

Here is Dieudonné [“God’s gift”] himself performing the quenelle:

Dieudonné himself.

Dieudonné himself.

Dieudonné has made a career of skirting French anti-racism laws, denying the Holocaust and being as offensive as possible to Jews. According to one observer, he has started a genuine movement:

Yaakov Haguel, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism which organized the New York conference, “The Countering Anti-Semitism and Delegitimization of Israel Conference,” said the salute has already caught on around the world.

“It’s gaining more and more momentum, spreading on the Internet and social networks and turning into a clear Nazi symbol, and it doesn’t appear to be a passing phenomenon,” Haguel told Yedioth Ahronot. “It’s spreading to Israel too these days, and we must acknowledge that and stop it.”

Addressing the conference, Haguel said, “The recent anti-Semitic incidents point to an alarming trend of hatred of Jews around the world and particularly in the U.S., which is considered by many the safest place for Jews. Unfortunately, we are witnessing dozens of anti-Semitic incidents on average within one week across the U.S.”

I said there was a lesson in all this, and there is. It is that nothing plays better when things are going to hell than blaming the Jews, especially in Europe, where the indigenous European cultures are rapidly committing demographic suicide while being swamped by rapidly growing Muslim populations. I can’t say if popular Jew-hatred is increasing in the US, but if it is, it’s related to the job-free economy. Here too it is a right/left phenomenon: traditional working class neo-Nazis and the leftists who made up the ‘occupy’ movement are both out of work and both blaming the Jews.

One thing that makes the US different from Europe is the strong pro-Jewish and pro-Israel position of many, but not all, Christian Evangelicals. American Jews who take this for granted or even see the community as an enemy because it is politically and socially conservative are making a very foolish mistake.

The ‘clever’ photos of quenelles at Jewish sites and with Jews, which the perpetrators view as courageously speaking truth to Jewish power, are essentially childish and craven responses to the powerlessness that the marginalized people taking them experience. It is nevertheless worrisome that this movement is developing alongside the increasing anti-Zionism of the European governments and the Obama Administration — very definitely not the powerless fringe.

There are reports that Israel is planning a program to induce French Jews who are fleeing the country to come to Israel. It is more and more becoming clear that the notion of Israel as a refuge for persecuted Jews, a notion derided by the Beinarts and Ben Amis as outdated, is as true today as it was in 1948, and that the survival of the Jewish people absolutely depends on the survival of the Jewish state.

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Shavit vs. Jabotinsky

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Yesterday Ha’aretz reporter Ari Shavit was interviewed on NPR about his new book. Let me start by saying that Shavit is not a foaming anti-Zionist like his colleagues Gideon Levy, Amira Hass and (formerly) Akiva Eldar. And I have to admit that I haven’t read his book. But the interview reveals a certain mindset that is disturbingly common among the supposedly sane Left in Israel.

For example, Shavit said,

It was part of the Ottoman [Empire]  – and the entire region was, like, chaotic and tribal. So one has to remember, they did not conquer a well-established state, but those other people were there. And my great grandfather did not see them. Now, that’s the source of the tragedy, because on the one hand, you have this amazing triumph that is a result of the brilliant insight [of Zionism]. On the other hand, you have this ongoing tragedy of a 100-year war – more than that – that is the result of that basic flaw, that we did not see the Palestinians and the Palestinians would not see us, and…

This isn’t true, at least for those Zionists with decent eyesight. It was clear to Vladimir Jabotinsky as early as 1923, that as much as some of the more tender-minded Zionists believed that it would be possible to share sovereignty over the land with the Arabs, the Arabs would never willingly agree to it. Zionism does not require expulsion or expropriation of the Arabs, he believed, but it does require Jewish sovereignty, a Jewish state, and he was certain that this couldn’t come about through a voluntary agreement.

The collision of Jews and Arabs in the land of Israel was bound to have a winner and a loser, and Jabotinsky was convinced that a Jewish victory was not immoral, any more than an Arab victory — which history has shown us would have been far bloodier — would have been. Zionism was moral because there was no alternative for the Jews, while there were many for Arabs. But that doesn’t mean the Arabs have to be happy about it.

This is where Shavit’s own vision is distorted. For him, the only moral solution is one in which both Jews and Arabs are satisfied. Unfortunately there is no such solution. The choice is between a Jewish state and the survival of the Jewish people, or the opposite of that.

Shavit is full of guilt, as if there were another option which we could have chosen! As a paradigm for Zionist crimes, he discusses the expulsion of the Arabs from Lydda, a very controversial incident. Shavit concludes that Israel “owes” the Palestinians something — a state. He sees this obligation as absolute, just as he believes that they have an obligation to tolerate our state.

He is wrong. What we, as Zionists, are obligated to do is to create and maintain our Jewish state while doing as little harm to the Arabs as possible. Especially compared to other nationalisms — particularly Arab nationalism — we have done so. The Zionist leadership did what was necessary to create the state, and despite what anti-Zionist revisionist historians say, did not engage in mass murder (as Arabs did whenever possible). Certainly some Arabs were expelled from their homes, mostly — as in the case of Lydda — because of the conflict they were engaged in. Shavit’s feelings of guilt are inappropriate.

And we do not “owe them” a state. In fact, because a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria is simply incompatible with the continued existence of the Jewish state — a result of military realities and Arab and Muslim intentions — we are obligated to oppose such a state.

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Mass PC insanity takes over West

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
Justine Sacco's now-famous tweet.

Justine Sacco’s now-famous tweet.

Paula Deen, Phil Robertson and Justine Sacco. What else is there to say about the mass insanity that grips the West and especially the USA?

For readers in normal countries who may not have heard, these are individuals whose politically incorrect remarks have prompted public crucifixion. Interestingly, Deen and Sacco apologized on all fours, and it didn’t help Deen and does not appear to be helping Sacco (Robertson is not at all apologetic, and he may be the only one of the three to survive).

Mark Steyn has done a great job in documenting the new Age of Intolerance:

I’m not interested in living in a world where we have to tiptoe around on ever thinner eggshells. If it’s a choice between having celebrity chefs who admit to having used the N-word in 1977 (or 1965, or 1948, or whenever the hell it was) and reality-show duck-hunters who quote Corinthians and Alec Baldwin bawling out some worthless paparazzo who’s doorstepping his family with a “homophobic” slur, or having all of them banished from public life and thousands upon millions more too cowed and craven to speak lest the same fate befall them, I’ll take the former any day.

I’m familiar myself with the phenomenon of the embarrassed silence that ensues after I say something that my audience judges to be racist, sexist, homophobic, disablist (yes, it really is a word) or, unsurprisingly, Islamophobic. It is no defense for me to say that I support gay marriage and often give non-disabled people parking in disabled-only spots a seriously hard time. It isn’t how you act, it’s the combination — as Steyn makes clear — of how you talk and who you are.

The phenomenon of black rappers who are allowed to say ‘nigger’ (a lot) has been much discussed, and of course Sarah Silverman is permitted to say anything. I think this is because of who is the arbiter of what is allowed and what is forbidden, which is to say the academic and media elites, which is to say, The Left. They find Silverman amusing, and black rappers threatening. But let a white southerner like Deen, an evangelical Christian ‘redneck’ like Robertson, or a nobody like Sacco break one of the taboos and the gloves come off. Violators are ostracized, lose status and influence, and sometimes jobs and livelihoods.

Think about it: in what is supposedly the freest, most open society in the world, where the Constitution prevents the authorities from interfering with the obscene antics of the Westboro Baptist Church, there is an unofficial but fiercely enforced taboo on certain kinds of speech, managed by an unelected establishment that makes itself judge, jury and executioner.

Now here is what is really bothering me about all of this. Political correctness is more than a limitation on speech; it is an attempt to control thought.

If you think this is an exaggeration, look at the situation in the very belly of the beast, the academic world. Here students learn that opposing the received wisdom, a form of 1960s-style anti-Americanism and  idealization of ‘oppressed’, indigenous, and third-world cultures — which, ironically, was promulgated then by the ‘liberal’ KGB — will get them poor grades. Some don’t care, some are naturally rebellious so they become counter-revolutionaries, but most go along with the flow. The ones that stay in school the longest are the ones that learn to work with the system, not to challenge it. They are the ones who in turn become faculty members.

There is much more to it than just an exaggerated concern for the sensitivities of particular groups. There is a whole belief system. In the politically correct universe, it is forbidden to talk about differences between ethnic groups or genders, even though it’s obvious, statistically, that there are such differences. It is forbidden to say that some cultures are morally superior to others, even though some despise murder and others glorify it. It is believed that certain groups are entitled to employ violence “to obtain their rights” while others are not entitled to defend themselves (the decision about which groups are which is made by the academic and media elite).

In that world it is believed that, on the one hand, conflict would disappear if the various groups, tribes, etc. would make an effort to fully understand their enemies. There are only misunderstandings in PC land, not real conflicting objectives. But at the same time, when electing or appointing officials, it is insisted that only a candidate of the same race/ethnicity/gender/linguistic group can understand the needs of his or her people (regarding ‘linguistic group’: don’t get me started on the meaninglessness of ‘Hispanic’)!

Out there, everyone is divided into two groups. One is ‘people of color’ (which doesn’t include Ethiopian Israeli Jews, who are about as ‘colored’ as you can get), indigenous peoples (which does not include Jews in the Middle East), ‘formerly colonized peoples’ (which doesn’t include Americans, Israeli Jews or Irish Protestants, but does include all Arabs everywhere and Irish Catholics), etc. The other group is called ‘Europeans’, ‘colonizers’, ‘whites’, and so forth. The PC universe sympathizes with the former and despises the latter.

The three victims  I mentioned at the start of this post were all punished for being insensitive to sympathetic groups — African-Americans, gays, and either black Africans or AIDS sufferers or both (I’m not totally sure) — while belonging to an unsympathetic one.

All of this would be amusing if it didn’t have concrete negative consequences for the less-favored groups, like working-class ‘non-Hispanic white’ applicants to universities, or Israeli Jews.

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Worthless Amnesty International should disband

Friday, December 20th, 2013

News item:

BEIRUT — Islamist militants are perpetrating “a shocking catalogue of abuses” in secret jails across northern Syria, including torture, flogging and killings after summary trials, Amnesty International [AI] said on Thursday.

It said in a report that the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), one of the most powerful jihadi groups to emerge from Syria’s almost three-year-old conflict, is operating seven clandestine prisons in rebel-held areas.

Detainees are held for reasons ranging from suspected theft to offences against Islam such as smoking or sex outside marriage. Others are seized simply for challenging ISIL authority or belonging to rival armed groups, it said.

“Those abducted and detained by ISIL include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

I don’t doubt it. One thing we can be sure of is that when subhuman barbarians fight, there will be atrocities on both sides. But why should we believe AI about anything? I am not an expert on what is going on in Syria, but I have a pretty good idea about matters related to Israel, and on that subject AI is neither unbiased nor impartial. Let me quote the respected NGO Monitor (more links and documentation of the claims below are at the site):

AI disproportionately singles out Israel for condemnation, focusing solely on the conflict with the Palestinians, misrepresenting the complexity of the conflict, and ignoring more severe human rights violations in the region.

In violation of its policy of “impartiality,” Amnesty employs two anti-Israel activists with well-documented histories of radical activism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Deborah Hyams and Saleh Hijazi, as researchers in its “Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinian Authority” section.

Allegations of “war crimes”: Distorts [I would say ‘invents’ – ed.] international law, misusing terms like “collective punishment,” “occupying power,” and “disproportionate” in its condemnations of Israel’s Gaza policy.

AI’s report, “Operation ‘Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction” (July 2009), charges Israel with “war crimes” during the conflict. The 127-page publication ignores considerable evidence that Hamas used human shields, minimizes Palestinian violations of international law, and promotes boycotts and “lawfare” against Israel. [AI accepted Hamas accounts uncritically and presented them to the media and UN as results of ‘investigation’ – ed.]

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, AI unjustifiably accused Israel of “war crimes” and “deliberate attacks on civilians,” and relied on Lebanese “eyewitnesses” to allege that Hezbollah did not operate in population centers.

AI hosted a “Russell Tribunal on Palestine” on November 8, 2010, dealing with “Corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of International Law.”

Lawfare: On February 2, 2009, several media outlets reported that AI transferred files to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor regarding alleged “war crimes” committed by Israel. These reports made no mention of any AI initiative regarding Hamas war crimes aided by Iran and Syria.

AI defended the exploitation of British courts by pro-Palestinian “lawfare” activists. Amnesty-UK Director Kate Allen, along with other NGO officials, signed a letter published in the Guardian (“We must not renege on war crime laws,” January 16, 2010), protesting proposed changes to British law that would limit the unregulated access to UK judges that allows for politically motivated cases.

Arms embargo against Israel: Campaigns for an arms embargo against Israel, while ignoring the massive flow of offensive weapons and explosives from Iran and Syria into Gaza. An April 1, 2009 press release (“Shipment reaches Israel, President Obama urged to halt further exports”) revealed that AI tracked a vessel carrying arms across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean Sea. Amnesty-USA accompanied this report with a call for action, including letters to Secretary of State Clinton labeling Israel a “grave violator of human rights” and demanding to know the “reason behind sending these arms now.”

Defending those linked to terror: Following the January 2011 conviction and sentencing of Ittijah head Ameer Makhoul on charges of spying for Hezbollah, AI claimed, “Ameer Makhoul’s jailing is a very disturbing development…[He] is well known for his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation. We fear that this may be the underlying reason for his imprisonment.”

In 2010, senior staff member Gita Saghal was suspended after she condemned AI’s alliance with an alleged Taliban supporter.

“Apartheid” rhetoric: The release of the report “Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water” (October 2009) coincided with a campaign alleging that “Israel’s Control of Water [is] a Tool of Apartheid and a Means of Ethnic Cleansing.” [Jew-hater – ed.] Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, spoke at the Amnesty-UK release of the report, as well as at other Amnesty-UK events.

In August 2010, the executive director of Amnesty-Finland, Frank Johansson, referred to Israel as “a scum state” on his blog.

Although AI claims that it does not accept donations from governments or political parties, in 2008 the organization received a 4-year grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), totalling to £3,149,000. In 2010, AI received £842,000 from DFID. Amnesty International and its branches have also received funding from the European Commission, the Netherlands, the United States, and Norway.

The whole idea of NGOs like AI is to be an independent voice, free from political influence, driven only by humanitarian concerns. Such an organization lives and dies by its credibility (or ought to). But it appears that in respect to Israel, it has none. And therefore there is no reason to take it seriously in any other case.

One can speculate about whether this is a result of corruption by the massive funding available for groups who are willing and able to promote Israel-hatred, the pervasive leftist ideology in the academic milieu from which AI’s ‘researchers’ are drawn, or a combination of both.

But regardless of the reason, the result is that the group has made itself worthless, and should disband.

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