|Your Brain is Green|
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Blair is an "idiot". Worse, he's well-intentioned, and we know where good intentions lead...
Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Catholic Holocaust survivors should speak up.
No form of agreement for the cessation of hostilities will have even the faintest chance of success if it is not monitored by an international force. Hamas, of course, claims that "any" aggression is "Zionist", while they are pure as the driven snow. Only if there is impartial observation, which can assign blame for provocation and violence where it belongs, will make it obvious exactly who is the aggressor.
On another topic altogether, for those waiting for kubbeh recipes and an explanation of an eruv, it's in the works; you haven't been forgotten.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Jan 25, 2009
Where's all the "Change"? (Americans are not noted for their patience, I fear)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I've frequently tried to point out, on a forum I'm part of, which discusses politics, just how subtlety anti-Semitism informs the media, and then becomes part of one's "informed" opinion. Usually, my correspondents tell me I'm paranoid. They are completely unaware of how they've been affected. (Towns and villages in Israel are often called "settlements", as if they are impermanent, even within the Green Line, or the PA has "militants" instead of "terrorists" but the IRA only had "terrorists"; news reports avoid discussing Hamas-Fatah violence, give PA "ministers" the status of being officials in an existing sovereign state, etc.)
Where anti-Israelism becomes anti-Semitism is, for example, when it is suggested that Israel is not attempting to limit civilian casualties but is actually trying to maximize the count, and when Hamas' tactic of using the civilian population as human shields is discreetly not mentioned. The inescapable conclusion is that Jews like killing non-Jews. Hence the comparisons with Nazis. Indeed, in a way, what the Nazis did to the Jews is being justified, since anyone who enjoys killing must themselves be not quite human. And this type of anti-Semitism goes a long way back: Josephus wrote "Against Apion" to rebut it only about 50 years after Jesus lived.
As long as there have been Jews, there has been anti-Semitism. The "self-hating Jew" is an anti-Semite just as much as the Christian or Moslem who hates the Jew for willfully denying "the truth" which they believe is in their respective religion. It is protean. Jews are poor and dirty and spread disease amongst the Gentiles; they are vastly wealthy and control the world via financial markets. And so on.
It's not going to go away.
Jan 20, 2009
Listen folks, to this ex-Washingtonian: The inaugural speech was written by professional speechwriters, who obviously were told to try for an amalgam of Lincoln, FDR, and JFK (in fact, I was amused to note that Obama actually used a paraphrase of a phrase JFK stole from Winston Churchill). Forget it. The political pundits are already pointing out that Obama has gone back on several key campaign promises, and, last night, watching the news on Israeli TV, The Husband said, "Watching snips from his campaign now, with subtitles, so I understand what he's actually saying, I'm noticing that he really didn't say much of anything concrete at all." So true. "Save the planet!" Exactly how, sir? Um.... "Reform health care!" Ahh.....
Virtually all the political cartoonists in the past couple of days have either had cartoons with "Hope!" or "History" in them. This mindless ecstasy of the American people (350,000 applying for about 8,000 available government jobs in the new administration) is going to be shattered within months, if not weeks. The wheels of government just don't move that fast.
A person on another forum was moved to write: "Oh it's just like Camelot!"
Remember what Camelot gave us: the Bay of Pigs, an assassination, and the Vietnam War.
Well, I hope it turns out better than my instincts tell me it will. One of the great things about being a pessimist by nature is that I'm never disappointed, while optimists always are.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
“The platitude quotient tends to be high, the rhetoric stately and self-serving, the ritual obsessive, and the surprises few.”
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., 1965
Almost all of the standard works on the Crusades overlooks the great Islamic disunity of the period, which greatly helped the Crusaders get a foothold in the Holy Land. There has always been conflict between the Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam, since Mohammad did not have any sons, and the inheritance of his mantle was through his daughters and their husbands. Traditionally, Shi'a Moslems have felt themselves to be the more direct heirs, more radical in their approach, but because numerically they have been a smaller group than the Sunnis, they also feel themselves to be discriminated against. At the time of the First Crusade, the Shi'a were at the height of their glory, with the Fatimid Caliph of Cairo a Shi'a, as well as having created an Iranian kingdom and smaller kingdoms in North Africa*. Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Sunnis held sway, and it was only when Saladin, a Kurdish Sunni, restored the Sunni hegemony, that the Crusaders were pushed out.
Nothing would make Achmadinejad and the Iranian Shi'a mullahs happier than to recreate the Shi'a dominance over large sections of the Middle East. In this context, Israel is almost incidental. Iran has seen the governments of both Syria and Lebanon deeply undermined by its Hezbollah proxy; now it is offering to become the sponsor of Hamas in Gaza. Both Egypt and Israel view this with concern, because, for Egypt, the fear is the linkage of a Hamas which is Iranian and Shi'a in all but name with the Islamic Brotherhood and other radical Islamists. The concern for Israel is obvious. Should a Palestinian State at some point become a reality, and Hamas in Gaza join with Abu Mazen's PA on the West Bank, Iran would almost certainly do its best to provoke a war with Israel. Hezbollah sat this last round out; it would not, if Israel was already facing a two-front attack, from Gaza and the West Bank. The danger to the Arab world as well as to Israel mounts if American forces leave Iraq. There are a lot of Shi'ites in Iraq who would be happy to squeeze the Sunnis between Shi'a forces in Syria and Iran. Jordan would also be under severe pressure.
And all this supposes that Iran doesn't yet have the Bomb, which it undoubtedly will have within 5 years. The West simply isn't doing anything to prevent it.
Listen to Achmadinejad. My former rabbi, whose childhood was spent in pre-WWII Middlesborough in the UK, once spoke of listening to Hitler rant in the 1930s. It was easy to pick up German radio, apparently. Most of the British thought Hitler a bit of a joke, with his shouting and flailing arms and posturing, and didn't take him seriously. But, my rabbi said, since most of the Jews had enough Yiddish to understand Hitler's German, and they believed he meant to do exactly as he said he would. It's the same with Clown of Teheran. He has a variety of goals, including the annihilation of Israel but not ending with it. He wants to get even with the rest of the Islamic world (at least the Middle Eastern part of it), and then most probably wants to Convert the Infidel (for what other reason would Iran be working on missiles that could reach Europe?)
It would be ironic if Egypt and Israel actually worked together to stop arms smuggling via Sinai. Our peace treaty with Egypt has not really been mutually beneficient, or even very amicable. That Hamas, because of the Iranian threat behind it, increased cooperation just goes to show that the Law of Unintended Consequences is always at work.
*From Wikipedia: "Fatimid Caliphate which formed in Ifriqiya in 909. Then ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Egypt and the Levant until 1171. The Buyid dynasty emerged in Daylaman, north of Iran, about 930 and then ruled over central and western part of Iran and Iraq until 1048"
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I don't agree with Goldberg's assessment that Hamas can't be bombed into submission. I think it can; but it isn't practical to do so, since world opinion seems to feel that we must be "humanitarian" (When Hitler was blitzing London, who in Europe told him he must give the Brits food and fuel "to avoid a humanitarian crisis"? Only Israelis get told this, since Jesus, who supposedly advocated pacifism [!!] was a Jew). We know where the Hamas leadership is hiding; but bombing a hospital isn't acceptable (unless it is an Israeli one, when the world then says "tsk, tsk" to the bombers).
Hamas apparently is now willing for a ceasefire -- on its terms, which include the right to resume bombing Israel after a year (I doubt they would stop in the interval, anyway. Only Israel would regard itself as being bound by the ceasefire, and if we retaliated, we would be the "aggressors"), the resumption of food and fuel aid from Israel, and the removal of Israeli troops. No mention of international monitors, which is one of Israel's main demands.
Hamas needs a bit more pounding, unfortunately. It hasn't yet gotten the message that we won't stand for unending shelling from Gaza.