31 March 2012

Thank You Vietnam Vets day

I know that Vietnam war was and remains a deeply divisive subject in American hearts and minds. As a teen sent by the Soviet powers that be to demonstrate against the "imperialist invasion", I didn't have yet any opinion of my own.

I know that many of the American youngsters sent to fight and to die in the rice fields and jungles of Vietnam also didn't have much of an opinion (or an option). However, they fought bravely and died for something that many of their countrymen scoffed at.

It took me some years to grow up and to become grateful to all the Cold war warriors and to the millions of people who worked, fought and died to rid the planet of the Soviet menace. And to understand that the soldiers who fought and died in Vietnam were a part of this chapter of our history.

And to be thankful.

Habima and policies of exclusion

A bunch of British theater professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights etc, published a protest letter (of course in The Guardian) regarding the invitation extended by the Globe to Israeli national theater Habima.

Interestingly enough, their demand to exclude Habima from the Globe to Globe festival is based on what they call "policies of exclusion practised by the Israeli state". Go figure...

As for the chief reason for excluding Habima, they say the following:

Last year, two large Israeli settlements established "halls of culture" and asked Israeli theatre groups to perform there. A number of Israeli theatre professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights – declared they would not take part.

Habima, however, accepted the invitation with alacrity, and promised the Israeli minister of culture that it would "deal with any problems hindering such performances".
Of course, in their righteous wrath, authors of the letter don't mention the way Habima deals with the issue (by allowing each person to decide on his/her own participation according to his/her beliefs). Oh well, this would be too much to expect, I guess.

A side question to the bunch of hypocrites: how many of them refuse to appear in the occupied Northern Ireland (to take one example)?

Nick Cohen, Colin Shindler and left antisemitism

I stumbled across this, sort of, on the Standpoint website. It's Nick Cohen's review of Colin Shindler's "Israel and the European Left". Actually, I was chasing down a link in a comments thread elsewhere, but what matters is that I found it!

Cohen starts off with a set of general comments on the original ideological links between Communism and Zionism, before they became, in his own words, separated at birth. Then he comes to Shindler's book. Almost his first direct comment on it is the following: "If [Colin Shindler] has not produced a secret history, then it is a history of a secret in plain view; an account of facts that are available but not discussed. After I interviewed him at Jewish Book Week, members of the audience said they had never before heard anyone examine the racist strain in left-wing thinking, even though it was there from the beginning."

Of course, the readers of this and similar sites will not be at all surprised that this strain, as Cohen puts it, in left-wing thinking. If we weren't aware, we wouldn't be here in the first place. Anne's opinions (another Israel based website, in English) was kind enough to post a longish article by me on the Jewish Book Week, including my reactions to the Shindler/Cohen session.

By Brian Goldfarb.

30 March 2012

Exclusive: It is not Azerbaijan where the attack on Iranian nukes will be launched from

Remember: you read it first time here and must be grateful to the Elders for the scoop of the century.

After a prolonged period of FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, the ruling Iranian Ayatollahs came to a final decision. According to this decision, which is, as mentioned, final, IAF - the Israeli Air Force - received the landing permits at several IAF - Iranian Air Force - bases. In addition, IAF planes will enjoy refueling, repair and other logistics support, including detailed maps, weather reports and everything else that may expedite bombing the heck out of Iranian nuclear installations*.

"We cannot take it anymore," reportedly said one of the senior Ayatollahs. "The endless reports about new plans of attack on our nukes that continue to inundate the capitalist media are driving us bonkers. Our generals are totally exhausted, endlessly relocating the air defense units after each such report. Our radar operators are going blind with tension, reporting incoming Zionist jets every few minutes."

"I am unable to open my favorite bookmarks in the morning, without reading about another detailed plan of attack on our nuclear sites and spoiling my breakfast. For so many years I have been a subscriber to Washington Post (ImamXII@aol.com), to New York Times (MahmoudTheAnonymous.President@hotmail.com), to New Yorker (IslamicCatLover@yahoo.com), and now my fingers tremble each time I touch the keyboard..." confessed Mahmoud (The Mad) Ahmadinejad.

Our agent in place, however, reports that the last straw that caused the drastic decision was the disconnection from the banking network SWIFT. This act prevents the Ayatollahs from downloading the last versions of Angry Birds, causing a great deal of teeth gnashing and despair in the circles of the Iranian ruling elite.

Representatives of the Israeli military are at present on a secret location near Tehran, finalizing the last details of the operation with their Iranian colleagues. The Iranian plans for elimination of the accursed Zionist Entity, according to the rumors, are put on hold until the successful end of the current project.

Provision of air cover to IAF planes by IAF planes in case of USAF interference with the bombing operation is discussed as a possible extra.

(*) Protected bunkers for the press, with camera crew enclosures, are being prepared and transportation arrangements will be forwarded to the press prior to the event.

More demotivators

"Loneliness seems more acute in March"

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

29 March 2012

Occupy this!

Of course, the Occupy ... movement is primarily an American business and as such I felt tongue-tied on the subject for quite some time, not feeling that it's my business to opine on. However, since receiving an e-mail with the link to Gateway Pundit's post #Occupy Midwest Vandals Deface Historic St. Louis Landmarks & Leave Threats – “Only Blood of Rich Will Stop Occupy”, I have decided to say a few words. You see, I spent three quite enjoyable years working in St. Louis and consider self having kind of a vested interest in the place, not to mention in some wonderful people I worked with.

Of course, the following picture causes some distress to a person who has some personal memories from a birthplace of world communism (in addition to St. Louis, but this is part of my published bio):

The style is painfully familiar, although the language is different. Killing the rich seems to be the pastime that from time to time becomes an obsession - all over the relatively short history of humankind. Of course, killing, as destroying, defacing and robbing, is much easier than creating.

Anyway, look at that post I linked above: there are more pictures of that genre, unfortunately. The tendency of the kind of people who, as far as I understand, left their signatures in St. Louse, to vandalize instead of creating, is of course not any kind of revelation. In this regard hardly anyone said it better than one of the greatest Russian writers, Mikhail Bulgakov, in The Heart of a Dog:
A dull mutter of voices in chorus, muffled by the ceiling and carpets, was heard coming from above and to one side.

Philip Philipovich rang for Zina. 'Zina my dear, what's that noise?'

'They're [the Bolshevik cell of the apartment house where the scene takes place] having another general meeting, Philip Philipovich,' replied Zina.

'What, again?' exclaimed Philip Philipovich mournfully. 'Well, this is the end of this house. I'll have to go away -but where to? I can see exactly what'll happen. First of all there'll be community singing in the evening, then the pipes will freeze in the lavatories, then the central heating boiler will blow up and so on. This is the end.'
I wish the OWS (and everyone else) would read this book - not that I have a hope that OWS will. And, since lavatories were mentioned in the above quote, I cannot avoid mentioning another "revolutionary" act of the OWS, this time in NYC. Skip the clip and read the text following it if you are too squeamish.

Police said Occupy Wall Street protesters were captured on surveillance video dragging a large receptacle of human urine and feces to an open-air plaza at the corner of Nassau and Cedar streets last Wednesday evening, just before 8 p.m.

They then poured the waste down a set of stairs there, police said.

About 20 minutes later, one of the protesters entered a Chase ATM vestibule on Water Street and poured human waste inside there, police said.
My understanding is that OWS movement consists of all kinds of people. Some of them, I guess, have some justified grudges to nurse. Many of them, however, confirm that Freud's conclusion about the link between money and "human waste" (excrement, to avoid gratuitous use of euphemisms).

Since money is not to be blamed for their behavior, these folks are simply full of shit.

28 March 2012

When Gilad Atzmon went to California

I found this on Bob from Brockley's site, where it's called The great Gilad Atzmon paper chase. Actually, if you go to Bob's entry for 15 March, you'll find not only this item, but also others on Atzmon, not least an item from Alan Dershowitz, written in his usual acerbic style.

More to the point, the Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers article is an amusing account of how, outside the UK and the reach and protection of the various Palestine Solidarity Committees to be found here, along with the weird Socialist Workers Party, Atzmon is a busted flush. The Bay Bloggers note that perhaps as many as 25 people turned up to his gig.

I'm surprised that there were that many still interested in what this deeply unpleasant man has to say. Of course, they could have mistaken him for an important and interesting jazz saxophonist.
By Brian Goldfarb.

The rage boys

Lest we forget, they usually come in more than one type:

From Mick Hartley.

Report to the mother ship

27 March 2012

Let's not play politics with murder

This is the original title of an excellent article (what else) from the inestimable Nick Cohen in last Sunday's UK Observer. How he starts tells you everything about the article. Thus, he asks us "Who would want to kill Arab soldiers serving in a western army, a rabbi and three Jewish children? The white far right or the Islamist religious right?" His answer, possibly slightly unexpected to those of a knee-jerk tendency, is "The inability of leftists and conservatives to reply "both" explains half the political hypocrisy of our time."

Cohen hopes (without much expectation of success these days) that what might be called the sane Left and Right would be able to answer "both", and is sorely disappointed that most of them don't. He also opens up the possibility that in order to make sense of the contemporary political world, we might need to discard old ways of viewing that world.

Conventionally, we tend to think of politics in terms of "left" and "right", like a line on a piece of paper, or on a board. Thus, the left, in favour of greater equality, greater central control of the economy, and so forth, is to be found, quite literally, on the left of this line, with their opposites at the other end. Where, exactly, on the line depends on how extreme the measures one is prepared to use to achieve those ends.

Cohen's approach suggests a different way of looking at this (not necessarily one he supports: it just grows out of this sort of approach). This is to put policies (or ends) to one side, for the moment, and focus on means. Thus, at one end of our political continuum, we would have those approaches which focus most strongly on extreme means to achieve what might (or might not), otherwise, be seen as desirable ends.

Such an approach would see Nazis, fascists, bolsheviks, the SWP…huddled together at the "closed" end of the spectrum (extreme measures justified to reach their ends, no argument permitted as to ends or means), with conservatives, liberals and democratic socialists clustered around the centre - they're not arguing about means, but measures or policies to reach their desired ends. They are also prepared to co-operate, where necessary, to preserve the system of non-extreme means. At the other end of the continuum are the anarchists, as defined in dictionaries of politics: complete openness, no rules, because sanity will prevail.

I have no idea whether Nick Cohen would agree with any of what I have said, but the sanity of his approach to the subject he writes about (as noted in the first paragraph) leads me in this direction. He does note that his approach to the question he asks at the start of his article means that Anders Breivik and Mohamed Merah (the Toulouse assassin) become moral equivalents.

If only Western governments would realise this and stop pandering to well-spoken representatives of the extremists.

By Brian Goldfarb.

26 March 2012

From purveyors of hate to Mohamed Merah

I am preparing this post while the child murderer is still holed up in his flat in Toulouse, quite proud of himself:

He expressed no regret apart from not having had enough time to kill more victims and even boasted of having brought France to its knees...
The pride expressed by a murderer of children and regret about not being able to kill more is not new to us, unfortunately:
As for the two surviving children, the murderers said they hadn’t noticed them. Had they found the two, both said, they would not have hesitated to kill them, as well.
The post is not about the pride of monsters, however. It is about a possibly related stupidity, malice and hate abundantly supplied by the media.

1. Stupidity

During the latest conflagration between Israel and Gaza, Times of London publish a picture:

The text in the circle "Israeli troops launch a barrage of missiles towards Gaza", as explained in Honest Reporting article, is no more than a dumb mistake, as everyone agrees. Since the picture shows The Iron Dome system that intercepts Palestinian rockets launched at Israeli cities. And Times of London is not alone: a somewhat similar capture appeared on CNN site as well:

Indeed... I am not saying it is a totally bad idea - to let Gazans experience the feeling of a really indiscriminate rocket barrage on a densely populated civilian center... but CNN is not immune to dumb capture malady.

2. Malice*

Khulood Badawi, a UN employee, by the way, tweets the "story":

The real story is summarized here:
A Palestinian man carries the body of three year-old Raja Abu Shaban, in Gaza August 9, 2006. The three-year-old girl who had been reported killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Wednesday actually died of an accident, Palestinian medical workers said on Thursday.
3. Hate

Here is an example of intentional spreading of hate provided by Aussie Dave:

IDF soldier standing on a Palestinian girl? The picture has become viral, spreading all over the net. However, here is a full uncropped version of the picture:

This is what is considered "street theater" in Bahrain... and some other places.

Now back to the child murderer Mohamed Merah (who is dead by now, by the way, being ready to be announced as the new martyr in the pantheon of murderers).

As far as Mohamed Merah's patchy bio is concerned, it shows a troubled youth, with multiple (15!) convictions for thievery and robbery, no stranger to violence and as such a grateful subject for Islamist recruitment. Which recruitment doubtlessly made him ready to become a murderer.

But: put your hand on your heart and tell me that the propaganda acts presented in this post - from dumb thoughtless misinformation to hateful faked pictures (which are surely stronger than a thousand words) - couldn't have served as a final catalyst for the murder spree...

More on the subject by Barry Rubin.

(*) The only reason I presented the Khulood Badawi's tweet in a separate "Malice" section is that I don't have proof that this act was an intentional disinformation attempt.

Darth Vader is a Jew, after all

The evidence is overwhelming:

The Star Wars people, apparently, got onto Vader's case quite a few years ago.

The work on the mystery was taken further in the article Changed from Darth Vaderberg at Ellis Island. My research came up with Vilderstein, but let's not nitpick.

So when you hear "May the Force be with you", don't take it lightly...

25 March 2012

Mohamed Merah's ugly legacy

Right after the brutal attack on a jewish school in Toulouse, when everybody still believed it to be the act of a neo-nazi, opinion columnists immediately jumped onto the anti-Sarkozy bandwagon, blaming the french president and his party for the recrudescence of far-right ideology in France. However, when it became clear that the murderer was arab and muslim, the opinion columnists immediately jumped into...the anti-Sarkozy bandwagon, of course. Leaving aside the astonishing absence of the term "antisemitism" in opinion pieces about a deliberate attack on jews, what's striking in these articles is the columnists' view on the victims, as mere instruments for political leaders to use as they see fit and rightly so.

And now this:

A teacher has been suspended in France for allegedly asking pupils to hold a one-minute silence for gunman Mohamed Merah, who killed seven people, according to local reports.
A french teacher has asked her french students to hold a one-minute silence for the murderer of other french students...Why?

Because, according to her students, the teacher claimed that Merah's links to Al-Qaeda were invented by the media and by - you guessed it - Sarkozy himself.

I'm not sure how to label the hysteric demonization of Sarkozy, which ironically puts him on a par with our own Bibi. Is it an issue of ideological left against political right? The wall-to-wall condemnation of Sarkozy's politics in the left leaning media in the aftermath of the massacre seems more like a cult-like alignment behind prevailing preexisting beliefs than serious evaluations of realities on the ground. The New York Times editorial goes even further:
In response to these killings, Mr. Sarkozy has proposed tightening some laws, but his approach seems far too broad. He would make it a crime to repeatedly view Web sites that advocate terrorism and would take action against French residents who travel abroad for training or “indoctrination” by terror groups. It is not clear how such rules would be carried out, or if they can be without curtailing the rights of law-abiding people
I'm not advocating putting people under a microscope, but what about the rights of law-abiding people not to have their loved ones slaughtered by residents who travel abroad for training by terror groups?

The more I think about the reasons behind this vicious attack on Sarkozy, the more it seems that what really triggered it wasn't the outrage at the murders, or concern for the values of western democratic societies. No, it was this wonderful opportunity to smear an opponent and bring the flock of his voters back to the folds of the left. I'm at a loss of words for a definition of this attitude - "moral bankruptcy" floats in and out, but somehow it doesn't seem right. How do we call a situation where ideology trumps morality, common sense, facts on the ground, basic human emotions like compassion? Wouldn't it be the same kind of extremism that's likely to curtail the rights of law-abiding people who happen to be on the wrong side of this ideology?

Apropos the last Russain elections

The text says: "No! Stay at home, we'll fill it in ourselves". The logo in the lower right is that of United Russia - Putin's "party"...

From here.

24 March 2012

"Anti-Zionism" and naivety

Frankly, my astonishment started when I laid my eyes on the headline:

Anti-Zionists must now hang their heads in shame over French Jewish school shooting

First of all, it is totally unclear why would the anti-Zionists hang their heads in shame for any reason whatsoever. As far as I am concerned, most of them could go and hang themselves, but shame? A sentiment alien to most of that crowd, in my experience.

More importantly, any anti-Zionist worth his excrement will immediately and proudly produce the stock answers about anti-Zionism not being antisemitism and about a distinction between a Jew and an Israeli.

The main problem I have with the article after reading it is that, for whatever reason, the author concentrates on proving that, after all, Israel is not so bad. While the point is by itself valid, the author may seem to have made peace with a perverted thesis, promoted quite a few years ago by Seumas Milne and his ilk. The thesis that it is perfectly logical and expected that European (and any other Diaspora) Jews should pay for the sins of their Israeli brethren.

Now, I know that the author doesn't mean it. But in no way does he draw the reader's attention to the abomination of linking Israel and Gaza (and no matter how beastly or not we behave there) to the monstrous slaughter of Jewish children - just for being Jewish. Of course, I am sure that the author him/herself would be quick to point out that therein lies the real - antisemitic - background of the thesis mentioned above.

As for the main point of the article - the shame of the anti-Zionists, here come a few examples that show how quick do they recover from the pictures of slaughter perpetrated by the people they hail.

To start with - a "milder" version, some character who carries a moniker "MoronWatch". After reading a few of his, quite pompous, missives, I am quite sure that the suffix "ing" is missing in that moniker, but to the matter at hand: Toulouse Shootings: a Win for Nazis and Zionists. No need to quote from the dreck, I hope. Surely, Zionists are wild with happiness at the sight of a Rabbi and three kids murdered. You bet.

A place that calls itself CounterPsyOps has a more specific pointer regarding the murderer:

The Pentagon and the CIA specialize in creating terrorists as part of a so-called covert and unconventional war doctrine dating back to the end of the Second World War...
What astonished me in that piece is that its author, the notorious Jew-biter Kurt Nimmo, forgot to mention both Jews and Mossad. Probably rushing to press or whatever.

Another Jew-biter, no less notorious in his inimitable way, Gilad Atzmon, didn't forget neither Jews nor Mossad:
However, I won’t rule out the possibility that Merah was actually trained by Israeli forces. Marah may have conducted a false flag operation. By way of deception is, after all, the Mossad’s motto.
Another hapless conspiracy theorist AANGIRFAN (whom I had a pleasure mentioning once or twice already) goes a bit further with his feverish imagination, producing an opus MERAH IS INNOCENT?, as usual using capital letters in his headline. Recommended reading, not because of any revelation but as a mirror of a conspinut's brain - what AANGIRFAN uses for his blog could be called brain, of course.

And, to round up the selection, here comes an American lady, one Deb Simon, owner of at least two beautiful dogs and a runner-up for Congress (apparently). She doesn't divulge her own opinion but freely copy/pastes other people's conspiracy theories. A repeat of the above mentioned, but it's worth noticing that this candidate for Congress has a blog liberally stuffed with all kinds of "anti-Zionist" propaganda from worst Jew-biting sources.

Update. But the cake is taken, no doubt, by this:

French teacher seeks 'minute's silence for killer'
French teacher was suspended Friday for allegedly urging her class to observe a minute's silence for serial killer Mohamed Merah, the day after he was shot dead by police.

Education Minister Luc Chatel had called for the teacher to be suspended after her class reported she called Merah a "victim" and said his links to Al-Qaeda were invented by the media and "Sarko", referring to President Nicolas Sarkozy.
So much for anti-Zionist shame...

23 March 2012

Sensation: Zionist Borat may cause war between Kuwait and Kazakhstan

These are the dry facts:

Kazakhstan’s shooting team was reportedly taken by surprise at a championship in Kuwait recently. Instead of their national anthem, they heard a parody version from Sacha Baron Cohen's controversial film Borat.

Judging from the YouTube video of the gaffe, the team’s reaction to hearing the English lyrics about “Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region” instead of the Kazakh original’s “sky of golden sun” was restrained.

However, the restraint of the shooting team goes only so far. The official response was much more stern and unforgiving:
The Kazakh team insisted on shooting on the official World Cup organizers apologized to Kuwait for a scandalous incident to the performance of the national anthem of the republic during the awarding ceremony of Kazakh athletes. By proceeding intends to join the Foreign Ministry.
Well, there wasn't any shooting yet, the above translation is obviously another provocation by the obviously Zionist Google. Here is another attempt to translate the passage from Russian more correctly:
The Kazakh shooting team insisted on an official apology from the organizers of the World Cup in Kuwait for the scandalous incident with the performance of the national anthem of the republic during the ceremony of Kazakh athlete's award. [Kazakh] Foreign Ministry intends to join the investigation.
And don't you laugh: when the Kazakh ICBMs start flying, there will be no more laughing, I can assure you. Unless, of course, these two nations decided to drown each other in oil - which both are perfectly able...

So far there is only one clear winner:

Addendum. the full text of Borat's version of the anthem (with possible typos in the origin):
Kazakhstan greatest country in the world.
All other countries are run by little girls.
Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium.
Other countries have inferior potassium.

Kazakhstan home of Tinshein swimming pool.
It’s length thirty meter and width six meter.
Filtration system a marvel to behold.
It remove 80 percent of human solid waste.

Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.
From Plains of Tarashek to Norther fence of Jewtown.
Kazakhstan friend of all except Uzbekistan.
They very nosey people with bone in their brain.

Kazakhstan industry best in the world.
We incented toffee and trouser belt.
Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region.
Except of course Turkmenistan’s

Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.
From Plains of Tarashek to Norther fence of Jewtown.
Come grasp the might phenis of our leader.
From junction with the testes to tip of its face!

Can We Talk About This?

I would urge any readers of this blog who live in London to try and get to "Can We Talk About This?", an entertainment devised and directed by Lloyd Newson. It's performed by the DV8 Company, who combine words and dance to put across a ply. This one is about combatting and confronting Islamism and Jihadism in the west, and Britain in particular.

The deviser asks, in his foreword to the programme, "How does the West support progressive Muslim voices that want a modern and moderate version of Islam which offers equality to women, homosexuals and tolerance towards others' faiths?"

One excellent line in the "play" is along the lines of "Islam has 10 Nobel Prizes, with One and a Half Billion people. Judaism, with 12 million, has 108. We're not under-armed, we're under-educated."

The Theatre (The National" was full of young people, and they were very appreciative of the event. For more info on the company DV8, go to www.dv8.co.uk. Hurry, it's only on until the end of this month.

By Brian Goldfarb.

The (disappointing) Economist, perpetrating antisemitic tropes.

I don't really know how to deal with this topic. One, after all, expects better from The Economist than actually allowing one of its columnists (even in the online edition of the journal) to wittingly (or hopefully otherwise) repeat an antisemitic trope. Yet here we have someone identified only as "MS" saying the following, according to the Community Security Trust "Israel and its Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fear Iran because they suffer from “Auschwitz complex”. Furthermore, this “Auschwitz complex” supposedly links with the Jewish festivals of Purim and Passover. At its end, we are told that Netanyahu’s fears over Iran, reveal his“ghetto mentality”."

This is nasty stuff. Personally, I don't have much time for Bibi (bear in mind that I'm not an Israeli and I don't live in Israel), but the last thing I'd associate with him is anything along these lines. Mark Gardner, the author of the article, adds, in part that "[t]he article says that Netanyahu “seems to be wooing Mr Obama and the American public just as effectively” and that this “resembles” a “doomed marriage” in which 'the more stubborn and unstable partner drags the other into increasingly delusional and dangerous projects whose disastrous results seem only to legitimate their paranoid outlook.' No consideration is given to Iran’s past and present actions. No mention is made of its nuclear programme, its goal of regional domination, its leader’s apocalyptic outbursts, its denial of the Holocaust, its terrorism against Jews and Israelis." {note the internal links in the article}

I really don't want to go on: please read it for yourself. There is another article on this topic by Petra Marquardt-Bigman at Warped Mirror.

Oddly enough, while one increasingly expects "right-wing" journals to be more objective (given my prejudices, more pro-Israeli) these days, while being disappointed by The Economist's lack of editorial control, The Spectator doesn't let its down. The 10 march issue (hard copy, and I failed to access this issue online) has an article by Jeffrey Goldberg (not every right-wingers pin-up boy) on this very topic, much more balanced, meaning…you guessed!

By Brian Goldfarb.

Remark by editor: For the sake of fairness, the title of the Economist article referred in this post and in the original CST response, was changed from the original "Auschwitz complex" to "Masters of their fate?". With the following note from the editor:

Editor's note: The original headline of this blog post was inappropriate and has been changed at the instruction of the editor in chief. No offence was intended and we apologise unreservedly.
The contents of the anti-Israeli rant, however, remained unchanged, and the quantity of the anti-Israeli comments accompanying the article, keeps growing.

China & Iran: Not Quite What you'd Expect!

Well, here's a thing. Walter Russell Mead, an American academic (I think he's a political philosopher) who blogs at "the american interest", also know as Via Meadia - a very bad pun - reports that China has/is reducing its imports of oil from Iran. He suggests that this is by 10-15%.

Given that China takes something like 20% of Iran's oil exports, this threatens to be of significance to Iran's economic well-being. When this is added to the other economic sanctions on Iran, reportedly beginning to bite in a serious way, this all adds up to a significant non-military attack on both Ahmanedinejad and the Ayatollahs. It may all turn out for the best after all - and without Bibi having to unleash the undoubted might of the IAF. Now if only the Chinese government could see its way clear to being equally hard-nosed over Assad and Syria…

By the way, Mead has written a good book ("God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World"), which I'm still making my way through.

By Brian Goldfarb.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

22 March 2012

Seymour Hersh - the last great American reporter

This title used for Mr Hersh reminds me, somewhat appropriately, an old Soviet/Jewish joke: A local Communist party secretary asks Rabinovitch why the latter missed the last party meeting. "Why, if I had known it's the last one I'd have brought my whole family!" declares Rabinovitch.

So with Seymour Hersh: I sincerely hope he is the last of the kind. James Kirchick in his article The Deceits of Seymour Hersh helps to explain why.

“If the standard for being fired was being wrong on a story, I would have been fired long ago,” Hersh told the Progressive in 1998. That Hersh has continued to rise, rather than suffer professional admonishment for his perennial falsehoods, is a testament to the ideological usefulness of his deceits to the people who publish him and the people who praise him. The disgrace is one in which Hersh’s editors and legions of readers are also complicit, and will continue to be for as long as “the last great American reporter” goes on telling them the lies they want to hear.
More where this comes from.

World's Energy Problem Solved

21 March 2012

Mohammed Merah is the name. The rest is usual.

By now, using some tidbits of information, we are allowed a glimpse at the culprit.

France 24 quoted Merah as saying, "I will go to prison with my head held high or die with a smile. Nothing else."
The suspect claims to be linked to al-Qaeda...
He wanted revenge for the Palestinian children and he also wanted to take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions
Breaking news from Reuters: alleged gunman Mohammed Merah was previously arrested for planting bombs in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to Ghulam Faruq, the director of prisons in Kandahar. He was sentenced to three years in prison but escaped in a mass jailbreak in 2008 orchestrated by the Taliban, Furuq told Reuters.
And, of course:
France's most senior Muslim leader says the gunman has acted against Islam. Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Muslim Council said:
These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion. France's Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.
Save the indignation, please. How many days it will take for the vermin's name to start being hailed as a new martyr for the Islamic cause?

Libertarian with a proud past in the Republican party

Andrew Ian Dodge interviewed by Eric Dondero.

Israel's Biggest Book is completed

About the beginning of the project:

And now we are witnessing the happy end:

Photography by Andrea Brownstein
Israel’s biggest book, standing at two meters tall has been presented to the Ma'aleh Adumim community at a special event marking the close of this year’s seventh annual A.H.A.V.A English Read-a-thon.

The event held at the Eshkol Hapayis (lottery granted community building) in Ma'aleh Adumim was attended by hundreds of schoolchildren who participated in the five week Read-a-thon, along with their family members.

A.H.A.V.A opened this year’s Read-a-thon on January 12 with the unveiling of a two meter tall front cover of a book, entitled ‘The Giant’s Book’ with artwork donated by children’s illustrator Netanel Epstein. Children participating in the Read-a-thon were invited to help complete the book with each child illustrating a different word.

20 March 2012

Iranian nukes, POTUS, expectations and common sense

A day doesn't pass without all kinds of media (local and international) offering another deep insight on the subject of whether it will be wise for Israel to have a go at Iranian nuclear sites. As if it weren't enough, about a thousand of various experts and their mom in law have already offered various detailed scenarios of IDF attack, if and when. So detailed that the officers in IDF general staff responsible for planning of the affair don't have to strain their brains, where simply copying all these plans and combining them into a Godzilla of military planning will suffice. Here, for example, is another one of the mentioned scenarios, from CNN, that appeared as if by miracle a minute ago when I clicked on CNN site to check something unrelated.

And of course, the number of experts that deal with the aftermath of such attack is at least similar in number to that of the attack's "planners", if not exceeding the latter. The variety of ways our house here will be demolished by the downpour of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syrian and Iranian missiles, described in excruciating detail, almost caused me to hang a "For Sale" sign on the fence.

There is one point of agreement between the experts: the Israeli strike will happen, and it will happen soon. This comes from overwhelming majority, save one Philip Weiss who considers it prudent to claim that Israeli strike is coming and that it will never happen at the same time. But I mentioned him only as a (living) joke, albeit one in very poor taste.

The (almost) lonely voice of reason, that of prof. Barry Rubin, who considers that Neither Israel nor the US will attack Iran in 2012 and brings several good arguments in favor of this belief, drowns in the tumult of the above mentioned majority. Aside of his arguments, there is an explanation of seemingly irrational blabbing of Israeli talking heads:

So why are Israelis talking about a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities? Because that’s a good way – indeed, the only way Israel has – to pressure Western countries to work harder on the issue, to increase sanction and diplomatic efforts. If one believes that somehow pushing Tehran into slowing down or stopping its nuclear weapons’ drive is the only alternative to war, that greatly concentrates policymakers’ minds. Personally, I don’t participate–consciously or as an instrument – in disinformation campaigns, even if they are for a good cause.
Indeed, the pressure on Iran is stepped up, the recent disconnect of 30 Iranian banks from SWIFT being an excellent example of the tactics outlined by prof. Rubin working. In addition, the incessant noise of the various experts mentioned above causes no end of heartburn and headache to the Iranian intelligence, defense and other officials in charge of promoting and protecting the nuclear effort. Which is all to the good.

To sweep the question of the table: what do I personally believe in? Not that it matters, but.
  • Does Iran strive to get its hands on nuclear weapons? Check.
  • Do Iranian leaders aim to destroy Israel? Check.
  • Will various sanctions against Iran, applied by the world, force Iran into cessation of its nuclear development? Hardly. 
  • Will application of high explosives to multiple Iranian nuclear facilities make the world a better place? Check.
  • Will IDF, so instructed by our government, carry out the strike on Iran - whether this year or later? I just don't know and, as any other member of the public, will have to wait.
  • Do I spend sleepless nights drawing arrows on the map and/or moving toy airplanes to and fro? Nope, I prefer to leave the matter to experts and have better things to do during the night.
  • Do I pine for war with Iran - or any other people? Nope.
  • Am I bothered by the feverish pitch of histrionics reached by the media on the subject? Yes, I try to switch off any appliance that attempts to bring another talking head babbling about it. Even our fridge that, unfortunately, carries an LCD panel and some buttons on its door, became somewhat of a menace to me lately. But I manage somehow.
And in any case, the main point of this post, as it was planned, is not whether the strike will happen or not. It is about the brouhaha raised in the media, especially the Israeli media, about the attitude of Barack Obama (to remind you - the current President of the United States of America) to the issue of the Iranian nukes. And about our (wrong) expectations of the POTUS.

Some people believe that Obama is a great friend of Israel. Just the other day Brian Goldfarb was quoting Jeffrey Goldberg who is quite unequivocally a believer in Obama's unwavering stand on Iranian nukes:
One of the most useful alliances President Obama has created with a foreign leader is the one with a person he ostensibly doesn't like very much at all. Both Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu want to stop Iran from going nuclear (and yes, I'm among the people who believe Obama, for manifold reasons, some having to do with Israel, and many others not, is determined to keep Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold) and both have played key, and complementary, roles in the campaign.
Some people, on the contrary, suspect Obama of very dark designs related to Iranian nukes, Israel and whatnot, to the tune of saying that Obama Wants a Nuclear Iran.
Obama's true education when it came to Israel is by radicals that hated Israel, and even left-wing Jews whose disdain for Israel's right to exist is their guiding force. He truly believes that the world's problems, and particularly the problems of the Middle East are caused by the existence of Israel. He views the Moslem world as having been put upon by the decision of the west to allow and support the reestablishment of the Jewish state.
I wouldn't argue with the two points of view expressed above. After all, Obama stated quite forcefully that he is not going to abide a situation where US will have to deal with containment of nuclear Iran. On the face of it, this is as clear-cut declaration of intentions as anyone would hope to get from a leader of the superpower. Short of the said leader directing the Chief of Staff to sit down with the reporters and discuss the planning of Iran campaign in minute details.

But, on the other hand, Obama is a politician and, as his brilliant election campaign four years ago has shown, a consummate fantasist. Anyone who believes a politician must have his brain examined, I submit. More so when this anyone believes the word of a foreign politician - and I don't even believe a single word coming from the face of our own Bibi, so why should I take what Obama says as a given?

This is why I had a problem with the headline of Isi Leibler's article Can Obama be trusted?  Because any serious discussion of such a critical issue as Iranian nukes that starts with the question of trust or lack thereof, is inherently flawed. To start with, some of us here in Israel tend to forget that we are talking about the head of another state. It shouldn't be beyond anyone's comprehension that the POTUS has his own list of problems to resolve and his own set of priorities to follow. Whether helping out Israel in its hour of need happens to a) match one or more of these priorities and b) isn't contrary to the American interest is not always that clear, unless we are pushing the discourse into the realm of friendship, tradition (not that old, stemming barely from 1967 or thereabout and not always that firm,  let's not delude ourselves) and moral imperatives. Friendship, tradition and moral imperatives don't happen to belong to the list of criteria that comprise sensible realpolitik, unfortunately (or fortunately, who knows?).

Indeed, we should not forget that the POTUS - any POTUS - is first of all and above all the leader of United States, as such accountable to the Congress and to the people who have elected him to the post. Whether this or another act is matching American interests, is for him and his people to decide, and a POTUS who acts against these interests could, even should be charged with dereliction of duty and punished accordingly.

Isi Leibler, thankfully, does arrive to a right conclusion, in spite of the article as a whole dealing with doubts about Obama's position. After all is said, he states:
We would like to believe that the US would support us if we became engaged in a military conflict with the Iranians. However, notwithstanding the improved atmosphere in Washington, when one observes the indifference of the civilized world, including the Obama Administration, towards the current slaughter in Syria and recollects how, despite firm undertakings, the US and others failed to support Israel prior to the 1967 Six Day War, we require little persuasion to be convinced that ultimately we must rely on ourselves.
We must rely on ourselves. And this is the main conclusion we should get out of the media storm. Stop expecting miraculous assistance (from the terrestrial entities, at least). Stop whining. Stop looking around for expressions of moral (or other) support. Just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, because no one else would - or should - do it for you.

And, if you are religious, do that other thing, too. Cannot hurt.

P.S. As for the detailed scenarios of the IDF action, created by the uncounted armchair generals: keep them coming. I bet IDF general staff is grateful for the assistance.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

19 March 2012

At least four dead in shooting at Jewish school in Toulouse

There is still too much noise in the media, but so far it's known that:

Four people were killed and another seriously wounded in a shooting at a Jewish high school in the southern French city of Toulouse, French media reported on Monday.
At least three kids and one teacher are dead. Several others are wounded, although it's difficult to find numbers at this time.

Update: Children aged three, six and 10, and a religious education teacher have been killed in today's shooting at a Jewish school in southwestern France.

Update 2: The incident claimed the lives of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, his 3-year-old and 6-year-old sons Gabriel and Arieh and 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, daughter of school headmaster Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego. A 17-year-old has been seriously injured.

An interesting detail came up in RT (Russian TV) report:
According to a preliminary investigation, the man opened fire with an automatic pistol before switching to another when it misfired. French police say the first automatic weapon employed had a caliber of 11.43, the same as the gun used to kill three French soldiers in the area last week.
While 11.43 (mm) may sound an unusual caliber, it is actually a pretty standard 0.45 inch pistol, not rare at all. Still, not a typical European gun, and it could be that its use, together with the use of a motorcycle, points to the same terrorist who killed one soldier in Toulouse and two in Montauban.

Update. It was the same gun, apparently:The gun used to kill four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday morning was the same used in the slaying of three French soldiers in two separate incidents over the past eight days, French police said.

That's a doubtful package deal, ladies and gentlemen of SC GOP!

According to the news:

A county Republican group in South Carolina wants its candidates to promise to not cheat on their spouses and not watch pornography.
Out of natural (yeah, yeah, I confess to it) interest in the subject, I read the whole article and even watched the clip. Apparently, there is a list of 28 (!) items in the pledge any aspiring SC GOP politician must sign to get further in the political race. Since the article is more focused on the sex-related items of the pledge, so are we* - in this post, at least.

It appears that there are more items related to sex/gender in the pledge than the two mentioned above (no cheating and not watching porn). Here they are, four all in all:

At the first glance, the whole deal looks like an end to any hopes and/or aspirations of non-political kind a person could nurture. Should one sign such a pledge, what venue - aside, of course, ATF (alcohol, tobacco and you know what) - remains open? I wouldn't mention controlled substances where a young Republican is concerned, surely.

So I would propose a gradual method of getting a candidate to embrace the full scope of that pledge. For instance, put a check box near every item in the form to be signed. Allow the signatory to leave one (or more) of the four items unchecked, the addition of the unchecked item(s) to be considered later: say closer to the pension edge or thereabout. That should make the whole process easier to accept. At least I am reasonably sure it would.

I have another remark, of a purely technical nature, about the proposed list above. If a person signs up for abstinence before marriage (item 1), how could the said person make sure she/he doesn't make a mistake with the gender of her/his chosen spouse (item 3)? After all, you cannot judge by appearance alone these days. I feel that this list needs more work. Or, possibly, an addendum that will resolve all related glitches... whatever.

But I am confident that, after a few hours of a brainstorming, all the issues could be resolved. And the life of the GOP candidate in SC will be made much purer. But not without a reasonable slack where some slack is in order.

(*) I sincerely hope you believe me at that and would vote for me when the time comes.

18 March 2012

The transparency of Mya Guarnieri

The article of Mya Guarnieri The killing of Zuhair al-Qaissi exposes Israel's attitude to its supreme court on CiF didn't attract my attention because of the name of the author, neither because of the contents. Ms Guarnieri has already appeared on this blog. There really isn't anything new or useful to add about her.

The contents, while being stale, require a reply, since they will be repeated again and again by the likes of the article's author. So - again and again:

  • Ms Guarnieri doesn't have any new information on Zuhair al-Qaissi, the target of the IDF operation. She cannot disprove the IDF statement that implicated him in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, in being behind the murder of eight Israelis in the highway 12 shooting last year, in preparing another cross-border attack from Sinai, similar to the previous one.
  • Ms Guarnieri claims that "Israel killed him on the basis of secret evidence – evidence that is not subject to legal or judicial review..." However, she doesn't know that there wasn't a legal review of the evidence, which is nowadays a part of the standard procedure before each targeted killing.
These two points effectively leave the article empty of meaningful content. Aside of citing Israel again and again for the past or present, real or imagined misdeeds, hardly related to the subject (at least as defined by the headline), there is nothing.

But of course, Ms Guarnieri has a few demands to make. The first one is a demand for "transparency":
But, without seeing the security forces' secret evidence, it's impossible to know if al-Qaissi was indeed planning an attack, and if the army was in line with the 2006 ruling. There's no transparency in this so-called democracy and, without transparency, there is no accountability to the state's highest court.
I am not sure I will be able to explain to Ms Guarnieri the slight contradiction between the word "secret" and the word "transparency". Maybe you could, dear reader?

The other demand is expressed in a roundabout way, by quoting an Adalah attorney:
From the perspective of human rights law," el-Ajou adds, "assassinations are not legitimate … They should only be carried out if there is a 'ticking bomb.' [Suspects] should be brought to trial.
Yeah. Pull the other one now. Of course it's the fault of Israeli judiciary and Israeli postal services that the late Zuhair al-Qaissi didn't receive the summons to appear in the Israeli court to discuss some of his er... misdemeanors, should we say? And of course, since the secret evidence is, at least by nature of being defined so, secret, it wasn't presented to Ms Guarnieri or Ms el-Ajou, so they can again disregard the IDF claim that the above mentioned late gentleman was a ticking bomb.

As for that inane "should be brought to trial" passage: I can only guess the consequences of sending into Gaza the number of troops required to bring out a single individual (in thousands), the number of innocent bystander casualties and the number of less innocent "colleagues" of Zuhair al-Qaissi IDF will have to pass on the way (both numbers in thousands)... But isn't this precisely what Ms Guarnieri and her ilk are pining for? Another opportunity to present us as butchers?

Too transparent, Ms Guarnieri.

P.S. It's interesting that the article has received much less of the usual anti-Israeli comments as such articles were used to. Does even the crowd of CiF regulars get tired of their own crapola?

More from CiF Watch.

Two from Jeffrey Goldberg on Obama

I know there are a lot of "simply" readers who aren't crazy about Obama, not only am I not one of them, neither is Goldberg. Frankly, Obama is preferable to any available Republican for all matters (except possibly Israel - that's an argument for another day), and these two pieces show why. The first is Goldberg's take on the Netanyahu/Obama relationship (which he calls a "partnership", not too sure about it being that close). Goldberg's convinced that it's for Israel's good. But given his take on I/P and the US, he would, wouldn't he?

The second piece is far more joky: Goldberg's own title is "Obama is such a traditional Jew, sometimes). Still, it makes a change from forever having to chew one's nails about what happens next.

By Brian Goldfarb.

Irish Artist Nicky Larkin. Against Useful Eejits.

By Terry Glavin in The Propagandist. And more on the subject in Terry Glavin's place.

Virgin Mary in bird dropping and other media

Biblical personae sometimes choose strange media to present their images to the public. This time wasn't an exception of the rule, unless you consider the media to be exceptionally foul:

An image of the Virgin Mary that appeared in a bird dropping on the side mirror of a Central Texas family’s truck is causing a neighborhood stir.

And this is just for starters. Now check out that one. Will the miracles ever cease?

17 March 2012

UNHRC on Syria: the travesty continues

Julian Assange will run for a seat in the Australian Senate?

That's the word, at least.

Methinks he will run from his cellmate in the Swedish prison next year, but what do I know?

GOP candidate/Democratic candidate: find the difference

I know that this may cause some uneasiness to both Republican and Democratic friends of mine, but I have always suspected that the difference between the politicos isn't all that big, no matter what party they represent. Here is the proof:

GOP candidate gives pitch at wrong convention

Republican congressional candidate Dan Dolan of Muscatine arrived early at the Monroe County Courthouse for the Republican convention being held Saturday in Albia, Iowa. Unfortunately, the county Democrats were holding their convention in the same building, and Dolan spoke to the wrong group of people.

Dolan laughed Monday when he described the encounter.

“It was a crazy day,” Dolan said. “We had scheduled 10 speaking engagements through the district.” Dolan and a staffer arrived at the courthouse and headed up the stairs into the convention.

“My staffer runs up and says, ‘Hey, Dan Dolan is here. Can he speak?’ So they stopped everything, and I get up there and give my speech,” Dolan said. “I get done, a guy raises his hand and says, ‘I think you want to talk to the Republicans.’”
One guy (unclear out of how many) noticed something... oh boy...

So there.

Kashmir scientists clone rare cashmere goat

Fine and dandy with me. But when will they start cloning sweaters - this way, if possible:

Lets' wait a bit more.

16 March 2012

Come see the clowns, or a fitting eulogy for a dead tyrant

Oops. It was a wrong one, I just got enamored with Send In The Clowns some time ago. No, I mean the real ones here:

Nick Cohen talks to Canucks

Yes, and have you already bought his last book?

Via Blazing Cat Fur.

The Council Has Spoken!

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

15 March 2012

Norks again: a curious case of a dog that is biting you no matter what

I doubt that anyone expected the new North Korean tyrant to be more human or friendly than the expired one. So, just to keep the warm and fuzzy feeling of an old familiar shoe that keeps your old corn pinched, here is another NK story:

Fresh from deal with U.S.,North Korea vows "sacred war" on South

The scenario is not new: after blackmailing the good ole US into another food assistance package deal, which is supposed to bring some respite from burgeoning NK nuclear program, North Korea threatened "sacred war" against the South in a huge rally in the capital Sunday...

  • Dogs bite, we know that. After all, isn't it why we keep the dogs around?
  • Some of the dogs, though, bite the same hand that feeds them. People tend to get rid of dogs like these, in a variety of ways.
  • Only a few dogs bite the above mentioned hand while being fed. I don't have to tell you what should be done with those, should I?
This dog is not just biting by itself, it does its considerable best to spread its particular brand of rabidness, infecting other dogs. In the long run the "containment", "engagement" and other euphemisms for submitting to blackmail are going to extract a very high cost.

Anyone knows a vet that will put this one out of its misery?

Baby Assad and super-chutzpa

For too many years to count I was an unwavering follower of an old definition of ultimate chutzpa: to take a crap on the neighbors' porch and then knock on their door and ask for some toilet paper.

Recently, however, this cornerstone belief has been destroyed in one single blow:

Syria "roundly condemns Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and urges the international community to undertake urgent steps to put an end to these activities and to sanction those responsible," said a foreign ministry statement.
That's it. What will I do now?

14 March 2012

Peter Beinart and the benefits of Twitter

Norm brings up a question asked by Peter Beinart on Twitter:

? for war supporters: why is Iran/Hitler analogy better than analogy w/ Stalin getting nuke in 1949 or Mao getting it in 1964?
Norm's own response to that:
One could turn that around. Why isn't it a better analogy?
I am not sure whether Mr Beinart is genuinely baffled by the question he twits tweets around or, possibly, there is some deeper meaning to it. In any case, I would like to turn it around another time.

Why indeed, dear Peter? And how, precisely, it matters?