Monday, December 15, 2014

Misstatement is a kind of lying

Someone on twitter declared:  "Netanyahu links UN efforts on Palestine to "surge of radical Islam" . The implication being that Netanyahu falsely and unaccountably linked UN efforts to impose a deal on Israel to the violence presently roiling the Middle East.

 
ישראל עומדת במידה רבה כאי בודד אל מול נחשולי האיסלאם הקיצוני ששוטפים את המזרח התיכון כולו. אנחנו עמדנו עד
  היום בהצלחה והדפנו את ההתקפות הללו.
עכשיו אנחנו עומדים גם בפני אפשרות של מתקפה מדינית, כלומר - ניסיון לכפות עלינו באמצעות החלטות באו"ם נסיגות לקוי 67' תוך פרק זמן קצוב של שנתיים. לכך לא אסכים!
הדבר יביא את גורמי האיסלאם הקיצוני לפרברי תל אביב וללבה של ירושלים - וזאת לא אאפשר. לא ניכנע ללחצים הבינלאומיים שמקורם בפלסטינים. אעמוד בתקיפות ולא אתפשר על ביטחון אזרחי ישראל.

This is the accurate translation:
 
Israel stands much like an isolated island against the groundswells of Extremist Islamic forces that are engulfing the entire Middle East. We have withstood these attacks and succeeded in pushing back against them.

Now we are confronted by a diplomatic onslaught, namely, the effort to induce us, through UN resolutions, to withdraw to '67 borders within 2 years. I will not agree to this.  

Such an action will bring Islamic Extremists to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and into the heart of Jerusalem. I will not facilitate such a move. We shall not submit to international pressure stemming from the Palestinians. I will firmly resist any such effort and I will not compromise on the safety and security of the citizens of Israel.

Now go back and read the tweet that pretends to deliver the gist of this message and judge for yourself how accurate or honest it is.




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

For Human Rights Day that is happening today:

From "Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry” by Michael Ignatieff (2001, p.9):

Global human rights consciousness, moreover, does not necessarily imply that the groups defending human rights actually believe the same things. Many of these NGO’s espouse the universalist language of human rights but actually use it to defend highly particularist causes: the rights of particular national groups or minorities or classes or persons… The problem is that particularism conflicts with universalism at the point at which one’s commitment to a group leads one to countenance human rights violations towards another group.

Ignatieff is claiming here that a noble term which was supposed to uphold an ideal of universal justice, the kind that safeguards the equity and inviolability of all human beings, has been devalued by different interest groups to the point where it is nearly worthless. Politicization of an ethical principle can only lead to the kind of confused, dislocated application of the term “Human rights”, where some NGO’s use it to justify their support of terrorist activities.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I left the following comment here but as usual with such "media outlets" they have draconian censorship  that cannot take what the site itself dishes out so generously*:

 http://972mag.com/watch-israeli-police-let-stone-throwing-settlers-walk-away/99740/


Incident started when Palestinian shabab were doing what they always do, throw rocks at Israeli cars. These two Israelis (how do you know they are "settlers", BTW? If you consider all Israelis settlers by virtue of just being an Israeli and a Jew, you should inform your readers of this meaning which is not immediately clear to Israelis or your average readers) reacted in the way most harassed human beings anywhere in the world would, by being angry and attempting to reciprocate in kind. This behaviour, acting out of anger, is always stupid and dangerously stupid in cases like this. How do they know it was not a trap to lure them into a situation in which they would be assaulted and lynched? Another point: when acting stupidly, people lose all good judgment and do bad things, like trying to take their frustration on innocent by-standers.  Those poor eggs haven't done anything, were not complicit in endangering a driving car or the people inside it. Furthermore, smashing them caused financial damage to the man who delivered them and who had absolutely nothing to do with the cute rock-throwing Palestinian youths. Like I said, anger makes people very stupid and often mean and irrational, but it's no excuse.

And very stupid is the attempt in this article to depict this incident the way it did when the video tells a different line of narrative.

On the other hand, maybe the swollen, one-sided, demonizing tale of settlers violence against Palestinians is so popular that facts and accuracy are not really a principle that matters. All is fair in love and war is the underlying thinking in this tale and we are in love with Palestinians and at war with perfidious (Israeli) Jews, aren't we? Good versus evil, with evil instantly labelled as "settlers". Nice work.

As a parting thought, when they come for the Jews in Israel (judging from the touchingly compassionate comment by "Marnie", such a day will come) noone will pause to wonder who is the Jew and who is the exceptional good Jew.

________

*Checking again 4 hours after posting comment: comment appeared. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eric Hoffer on the strange case of the Jews:

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.
Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese-and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace .

Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. Other nations when they are defeated survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967] he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews. No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on .

There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him. The Swedes, who are ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we do in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.

The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources. Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.
Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.

 Eric Hoffer, writing in May 1968, quoted in Tom Bethell's "Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher" (2012)

In the same line of thought ...

 It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt. (Tacitus)

***
Here is what can sometimes happen: one person wrongs another and doesn't know how to come back from that. So they deepen the wrong. They add further or worse misdemeanours, falsehoods, calumnies or what have you to the original one. This is the dynamic: to reinforce the thought that the first wrong wasn't one, anything which might diminish its recipient helps the offending party convince him or herself that the other must be a bad person, so that the first offence against them was somehow deserved. The deepening process is itself the symptom of a moral discomfort that cannot be squarely faced. (Normblog)

***
Nicholas frowned. He had done much evil to the Poles. To justify that evil he had to feel certain that all Poles were rascals, and he considered them to be such and hated them in proportion to the evil he had done them. (Normblog)

***

... independently of that, she disliked Fanny, because she [i.e. Mrs Norris] had neglected her... (Normblog)

***

 “There is perhaps no surer way of infecting ourselves with virulent hatred toward a person than by doing him a grave injustice.”

 “Propaganda ... serves more to justify ourselves than to convince others; and the more reason we have to feel guilty, the more fervent our propaganda.” ― Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements





Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Free at last, POTUS goes from Mild to Red Hot Contempt

In view of Jeffry Goldberg's recent article:" The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here

The Obama administration's anger is "red-hot" over Israel's settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama's understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming."
I recalled a post I'd written in  2008.  Read this and tell me how wrong it was to have grave doubts about America's "first Jewish president":

And for those who keep referring to his speech to AIPAC, let me draw your attention to this little story from Ali Abunimah, from "The Electronic intifada". By Abunimah's own testimonial, this is what Obama said to him in

"the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies.

As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"

Does it need translation? Isn't Obama practically saying that he cannot reveal his genuine sentiments about the Palestinians because he is in a campaign to get elected? What remains unsaid but pretty clear is that as long as he needs to court the Jewish voice, he cannot be "upfront" about his own position.

As Abunimah himself helpfully adds later in the article:

... given his historically close relations to Palestinian-Americans, Obama's about-face is not surprising. He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power. Palestinian-Americans are in the same position as civil libertarians who watched with dismay as Obama voted to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, or immigrant rights advocates who were horrified as he voted in favor of a Republican bill to authorize the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border with Mexico.

Only if enough people know what Obama and his competitors stand for, and organize to compel them to pay attention to their concerns can there be any hope of altering the disastrous course of US policy in the Middle East. It is at best a very long-term project that cannot substitute for support for the growing campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions needed to hold Israel accountable for its escalating violence and solidifying apartheid.

A quick tour of the rabid anti-Israel Left blogs and media outlets can reveal some other telling quotes which suggest Obama's so-called staunch support of Israel is merely a convenient pose. Like this, for example:

Less than two weeks after Obama gloated to AIPAC about his love for Israel, he unexpectedly admitted the truth while campaigning in Iowa recently. "[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..." said Obama, "the Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart..."


So we have it on the best of the Indecent Lefty's authority that when Obama says

"[N]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people..."


(Really? Not even the genocided people of Darfur? Not even genuinely starving, AIDS victim kids in Africa? Not even persecuted women in Pakistan and Iran? Not even the residents of Sderot, with the daily barrage of Qassams being lobbed at their children, by the very people who suffer most in the world ???)he is "unexpectedly admit[ting] the truth".

Shades of Carter, Tutu.. etc etc..

Can this be a coincidence, when Obama's choice of Foreign Policy expert includes "Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, who says that Obama offers “a new definition of America's role in the world.” (Here)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Comment trail:

A Sane Face on an Old Insanity

  • Avatar
    "Justice [Aristotle] said, consists in treating equals equally and unequals unequally, but in proportion to their relevant differences. This involves, first, the idea of impartiality ... Impartiality implies a kind of equality - not that all cases should be treated alike but that the onus rests on whoever would treat them differently to distinguish them in relevant ways .... That is what is really meant by the right to equal consideration-to be treated alike unless relevant differences have been proved." (Stanley Benn, Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    Cannot help but note how the ferocious boycotters in the comments pounce on the author for laying out with simple, rational arguments the black hole at the centre of their supposedly 'pro-Palestinian' advocacy. There is no light to be had from them. They will never understand why something that feels so intuitively just to them is actually another dot in a long tradition of Jew-loathing (there, I said it!)

    The principle to be extracted from the quote about justice, equality and onus, is very simple: If you single out Israel for special treatment (BDS) you need to be able to explain in simple, rational arguments why. Why Israel, only Israel and none but Israel, deserves to have a world-wide movement of millions (billions, actually, if you consider the entire Muslim world is automatically in boycott of the Jewish state) people who feel it is necessary to boycott and suffocate it. There must be furnished one cogent argument as to why only Israel is boycotted. The fact that it feels right to the variegated boycotter does not meet the threshold of reason,



    Klinghoffer: A Night At The Opera


    "the opera may portray the murderers in a more sympathetic light than many might prefer,"

    "when it comes to Kissinger, Adams and Goodman turn him into a clownish villain."
    In an interview for the Guardian, Goodman says:

    "This, she argues, was her mistake: to depict terrorists as human beings and their victims as flawed. In one particularly caustic attack in the New York Times in 2001, Richard Taruskin denounced the opera for "romanticising terrorists". Taruskin noted that Adams had said the opera owed its structure to Bach's Passions.But in Bach's Passions, argued Taruskin, every time Jesus is heard, an aureole of violins and violas gives Christ the musical equivalent of
    a halo. Klinghoffer has no such halo, while the Palestinian choruses are accompanied by the most beautiful music in the opera.


    What upset Taruskin was giving beautiful music to terrorists," snaps Goodman. "They have to sing ugly music"

    So these two librettos sprang from the same mind and the flaws you have noted (in the quotes I provided) are also not unconnected. The same mind that decided to clownize Kissinger, a Jew with a German name, lionized Palestinian terrorists who killed a Jew with a German name.
    This cannot be a coincidence.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hummus, hummus 
everywhere ...  






Prof. As'ad AbuKhalil gets up in the morning and has hummus on his mind. And Israel is never far from his mind. So the two subjects somehow collide in that highly intellectual and sophisticated mind of his, and, presto, a news item is manufactured for his "Angry Arab News Service" (the only news fit to read by the fabled Arab street). As usual, whenever Israel is mentioned, it is a post dripping with venom:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Hummus and Israel     

It occurred to me that Israel only recently started to claim that Hummus is an Israeli dish. In the Israeli media and (stolen) "culture", there were no references about the Hummus craze until relatively recently the 1980s.  Yet, I grew up with Hummus (and "ful", fava beans) stores all over the cities and towns of the Lebanon.  So how is that explained? Is there a divine explanation for this one too?

I remember growing up in Israel where felafel and hummus stands were to be found at every street corner.  You don't have to take my word for it. Here is Yotam Ottolenghi's own memory of it:

"both chefs got in plenty of trouble as kids for their love of a street-fresh falafel sandwich on the way home from school. Ottolenghi recalls trying to resist temptation:
"You know you shouldn't buy yourself falafel in a pita because you're going to have
lunch served in five minutes, but you really, really must have it. ... You arrive back home, you're so full, your shirt is covered with tahini sauce, it's been dripping all over you ... and we literally had the same experiences, the angry mother, the falafel, the whole thing is so similar in many ways, and we were really living in two separate cultures."


AbuKhalil likes to pretend, I daresay, that all Israelis are of the gefiltefish eating variety. The fact that more than 50% of Israelis are refugees from Arab lands* doesn't jive with his favourite narratives about European colonization.

And "... hummus ... is, of course, an Arab dish that has its variations all over the wider region from Persia to Greece, adopted by the Israelis as one of their national treasures and turned into an obsession."

 AbuKhalil doesn't mind Persian hummus, Greek hummus, Romanian hummus, only Israeli hummus gets his goat! Hummus made by Israeli hands is haram! Why? Need we pry any deeper into that hate-corroded soul for a plausible answer? For the same reason he conveniently forgets that 50%++ of Israeli Jews originate in Arab lands and when their parents and grandparents had arrived in Israel, they did not fall in love with the Yiddish cuisine but preferred to cook and eat the kind of foods they had eaten for many centuries. Somewhat like AbuKhalil himself who prefers to eat, in California of the US of A the foods he had eaten when he was growing up in Lebanon, things like hummus and fried eggplants, or whatever.

Can we suspect AbuKhalil of being racist for pretending Israelis are all white Ashkenazi colonizers who steal  "Palestinian" ownership of hummus? Or a hypocrite, for allowing himself what he denies to others?

From the self-proclaimed anarchist who says: "I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms, but...for Palestine and the Palestinians, anything and everything." this is par for the course.

The term 'hypocrite' fails to do justice to this person.

Addendum:

AbuKhalil to the rescue, providing a quote from Ottolenghi, here:
"Chickpeas have been around for thousands of years in the Middle East, says Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Some scholars even claim an Old Testament passage indicates that Jews ate hummus in Biblical times."
Now where is Hummus mentioned in the bible? Here, Ruth, chapter 2, verse 14:

And Boaz told her at the lunch break: Come here and share the bread and dip your pita in the chickpeas. So she sat with the other harvesters and he served her some of the cooked (roasted?) grains, and she ate her fill and even left some ...

ויאמר לה בעז לעת
האכל גשי הלם
ואכלת מן־הלחם
וטבלת פתך בחמץ
ותשב מצד הקוצרים
ויצבט־לה קלי
 ותאכל ותשבע ותתר׃

 
The Israeli author Meir Shalev explains the linguistic argument for hummus in the Bible.

Bottom line is important, making humus doesn't require great intelligence, it's not quantum theory:

And Professor Felix says that this ? [unclear] hamitz, a mixture of hamitz, is the hummus. And a mixture, it mean something like, like a porridge. Something which is soft, and, and you can...now we know that the plant hummus...himtza in Hebrew...

The chickpea?
...the chickpea was known here for about 4,000 years. The problem is whether our ancestors already knew how to mash it, and add some tahina, and olive oil, and garlic, and lemon, and salt, whatever, you know...the secret form-, formulas of, of hummus. Or maybe they et- [sic], ate it as, as the seed.

You know, maybe they burnt it in fire. Maybe they cooked it. We still cook it today, and eat it with black pepper and, and salt. It's very good.

And, and I feel that it's not such an ingenious unpredictable idea to, to mash the cooked hummus peas, and make it as a porridge, and eat it. We do the same with potatoes. We do the same with, with beans. This is something which is very easy to do.


Israeli hummus recipe:

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/4 cup tahina
1/2 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
2 cloves garlics (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Greek hummus recipe:

1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained
1 lemon
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves chopped
A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt
2 rounded tablespoons tahini paste
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup kalamata olives, well drained, coarsely chopped
1 sack pita chips, sea salt variety (recommended: Stacy's)
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into sticks for dipping
A medium red pepper, seeded and cut into strips for dipping

Romanian humus recipe:

  • 1 Can White Kidney Bean
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Onions – Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

___________________________


* The mid-20th century  uprooting of Jews from the Middle East Arab countries was a traumatic event.  Entire communities were dislodged and removed from places where they had dwelt for centuries and even millennia.  Yet this drama remains recondite and often suppressed. There is a kind of collaborative effort at work suppressing the still deeply felt pain of this catastrophe. One reason for the silence is that Human rights organizations fear that recognizing  the mass removal  of Jews from Arab countries as the Arab-ethnic cleansing of Jews may jeopardize the status of Palestinian refugees who claim that they were ethnically cleansed from the land of Palestine with the creation of the state of Israel. (Une si longue présence : Comment le monde arabe a perdu ses juifs, 1947-1967)