The Israelis will never learn

Once again, Israel is apparently blathering on about its willingness to agree to a two state solution.  This so irritates me.  There is already a two state solution.  It’s called Jordan, and has been Jordan since the 1920s.  What the loopy-loo wackos on the Left (and, increasingly, in the middle) don’t understand, is that the Arabs have never wanted and will never want a two state solution.  They want a Judenrein world, and they’re patient.

It is this desire for a one state (all Arab) solution, that explains why, as Rick Richman points out, no Middle East solutions have worked thus far.  Also, as one of Rick’s readers pointed out, we in the West further that goal by making Arab single-mindedness functional (emphasis mine):

The Left has a bromide. “War never solves anything”. This is, of course, nonsense. War ended slavery in North America, ended Nazism in Europe, and stopped Japanese hegemony in Asia. However, in the case of Israel-Arab conflict the case can be made that the bromide is true. This is because the normal parameters of war have been flipped-flopped. One of the reasons nations avoid war is that the consequences of loss, to put it mildly, are prohibitive. In this conflict, the Arabs have no incentive to make peace because no matter how many wars they lose the worst they can do is tie. No matter what framework is devised there will never be peace for Israel as long as the Arabs can never lose.

In other words, not only is the two state solution redundant, it will never happen.

Call me Ishmael

I’ve been reading two things that seem to twine together.  The first is the ongoing news out of Gaza, about Hamas continuously firing missiles into Israel (as well as into their own population).  Noah Pollak wrote a very good commentary in response to a question about why Hamas, through its outpost in Gaza, keeps fighting and fighting and fighting.  The answer, of course, is that Hamas fights because that is its nature.  Fighting is its raison d’etre.  Without fighting, there is nothing.

The second thing I’ve been reading, which at first glance seems unrelated, is Rabbi Joseph Teluskin’s Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible — a very informative and enjoyable retelling of the Old Testament, along with Rabbinical commentary.

The story of Abraham and Sarah, of course, brings up the history of Hagar and Ishmael. Telushkin reminds us of two things about Ishmael. First, he repeats the prophecy that God’s angel made about Ishmael:  “He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” (Genesis, 16:12.) The second is the fact that the Muslim Arabs claim descent from this same Ishmael.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

[Link fixed. Thanks, Gringo.]

Perpetually selfish anger and victimhood *UPDATED*

Ymarsakar brought to my attention a post I wrote over three years ago.  I’m reprinting a slightly edited version here, not just because I think it describes well the Arab psyche that drives so much of current international politics (and fears) today, but also because I think it does a good job of describing the Leftist psyche, which sees all politics as personal, and which wallows in victimization and anger:

***

Neo-Neocon got hold of an Atlantic Monthly from October 1961 with a Martha Gelhorn article about the Palestinian refugees, who were still a reasonably new phenomenon back then. Neo-Neocon’s whole post, which excerpts large parts of the article is sad reading, and Martha Gelhorn is amazingly prescient.  I wanted to focus on just one part of the article, in which Gelhorn describes the fact that, despite the rather pathetic situation of many of the Arabs (and Gelhorn is clearly sympathetic to their plight), she simply cannot feel sorry for them:

I had appreciated and admired individual refugees but realized I had felt no blanket empathy for the Palestinian refugees, and finally I knew why…It is hard to sorrow for those who only sorrow over themselves. It is difficult to pity the pitiless. To wring the heart past all doubt, those who cry aloud for justice must be innocent. They cannot have wished for a victorious rewarding war, blame everyone else for their defeat, and remain guiltless….

Arabs gorge on hate, they roll in it, they breathe it. Jews top the hate list, but any foreigners are hateful enough. Arabs also hate each other, separately and en masse. Their politicians change the direction of their hate as they would change their shirts. Their press is vulgarly base with hate-filled cartoons; their reporting describes whatever hate is now uppermost and convenient. Their radio is a long scream of hate, a call to hate. They teach their children hate in school. They must love the taste of hate; it is their daily bread. And what good has it done them?

There is no future in spending UN money to breed hate. There is no future in nagging or bullying Israel to commit suicide by the admission of a fatal locust swarm of enemies. There is no future in Nasser’s solution, the Holy War against Israel; and we had better make this very clear, very quickly.

There are a couple of interesting things about Gelhorn’s conclusion. First, I think it goes a long way to put to rest the Left’s drum beat about our being the logical victims of Arab hate because of the things we’ve done to them. America is not hated because she is the evil Imperialist boogey man of the world.  Instead, she is currently the most logical victim of Arab hate because hate is an integral part of Arab culture and we’re simply the biggest target — not to mention (at least to date) Israel’s staunchest friend.

Second, I found this 44 year old language made a nice bookend to a book review that the American Enterprise Institute did about a book written by a U.N. insider (hat tip: Power Line). The book being reviewed is The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat, by Pedro Sanjuan, an American who served on the staff of the secretary-general for more than a decade. The review is aptly entitled A Stagnant Cesspool in Turtle Bay.

You don’t need a lot of imagination or insight to realize that both the review and the book describe an organization that, since its post-WWII heyday (or maybe its post-Cold War heyday), is nothing but a money-wasting boondoggle for professional bureaucrats hostile to the U.S. (Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you.) What makes the review interesting for purposes of this post is the fact that the U.N. has gone from being a Western dominated institution to being one in the thrall of multiple Islamic countries who draw their U.N. salaries from the West (mostly America), but are irrevocably (and corruptly) hostile to its interest and to Israel.

In other words, they still are filled with hate, just as they were 44 years ago:

During the Cold War, the most serious problem posed by the organization was infiltration of the Secretariat by Soviet intelligence. Indeed, Mr. Sanjuan writes, “the Soviets actually controlled every important aspect of the U.N. Secretariat.” Some of his anecdotes are wildly funny–though they weren’t so funny at the time.

Since the end of the Cold War, Soviet hegemony at the Secretariat has been replaced by the growing influence of the Islamic bloc. Further, before 1989 the U.N. was basically a playground for representatives of irrelevant Third World states to pretend to be important (and enjoy shopping at Bloomingdale’s), while the U.S. and the Soviet Union confronted one another in more important places. Since the collapse of the latter, however, the Secretariat has refocused on undermining the United States–and the U.N.’s other bugaboo–Israel.

Indeed, the most shocking part of this book is the unwholesome obsession of the U.N. culture with Jews real or imagined, whether in Israel or the United States. Although Israel should have roughly 15 nominees working in the Secretariat, until recently there wasn’t a single one; even now, a disproportionate number are Palestianians with Israeli passports. As for the United States, it is alleged to be wholly under the thumb of Jews. When congressional critics like Senator Nancy Kassebaum or the late Senator John Heinz raise embarrassing questions that have nothing to do with Israel–say, about the U.N.’s finances–they are blithely dismissed as Jews themselves.

Apparently the first question put to Mr. Sanjuan himself when he joined the secretary-general’s staff (by his Soviet deputy) was “So your father was a Jew, yes?”) That such nonsense could take place during the tenure of a recycled Austrian Nazi like Kurt Waldheim can hardly surprise, but what are we to say when they continue under his successor, a low-rent Peruvian with the made-up name of Perez de Cuellar?

The only thing that saves the Jews from the malevolent obsession that the Islamic countries have brought to the U.N. is the organization’s gross inefficiency.  It burns up money, but does nothing (if you ignore school girl rapes and massive financial scandals, of course):

The principal characteristic of the organization, in Mr. Sanjuan’s telling, is its massive waste of resources. The Secretariat alone employs 6,000 people at annual budget of more than $2 billion. What do these people do? Nobody can actually say, and it is considered bad form to ask.  Its functionaries arrive at 10 a.m., take a three-hour lunch, and usually depart for their homes at 4 p.m. to avoid the evening traffic. Even during “working” hours many prefer to while away their time in a luxurious cafe-lounge on the top floor of the building.

It’s not clear, either, what useful tasks are performed by those who bother to remain on the floors below, since there is massive duplication of functions and no attempt whatever at rationalization or coordination. One example of expensive make-work is the U.N. publications department, which churns out thousands of documents that nobody reads in half a dozen languages, at a cost of $750 per page. Perhaps the most serious work being accomplished in the building takes place in the garage, where–during Mr. Sanjuan’s time at least–a very sophisticated drug-smuggling operation was under way.

Don’t rely on my summaries, though. Go to Neo-Neocon’s original post, and check out the American Enterprise Institute book review.

***

The above is (more or less) what I wrote in 2005.  The seething, churning, self-pitying hate, though, should be familiar to all who have watched the “progressives” suffer through the last eight (and, especially, the last eight) years of the Bush administration. Progressives have never really had a plan other than to destroy Bush and everything he respresents absolutely and completely. In this, they differ profoundly from conservatives.

As all of you have noticed, the reaction to this most recent election amongst mainstream (and defeated) conservatives is to engage in rational thought aimed at rejiggering conservatism to help Americans recognize that true conservativism will give the greatest benefits to the greatest number of people.  We’re not shrieking about stolen elections or about the terrible new evil resident in the White House (although I think that Obama, if he fails to recognize the innate evil that lives in Iran or Syria or North Korea or Venezuela, or other like places, is a fool, and possibly a dangerous one). Instead, we’re engaged in self-analysis, a bit of self-pity, and a lot of re-messaging.

Given that those same very self-pitying, perpetually victimized Leftists now hold the reins of American power, I think one of the best things we can hope for is that, like a U.N. populated with Islamic Jew-haters, bureacratic inefficiency will outweigh the hatred.  The desire to change will be there — and the Democrats will undoubtedly effectuate a good many changes — but the sheer weight of their commitment to the governmental, bureaucratic process is going to slow them down.  And if Fred Barnes is right, they’ll manage to do just enough to create openings for thoughtful conservatives who have refined their messages and positioned themselves for a victory predicated, not on victimhood and hatred, but on optimism and a belief in American exceptionalism.

UPDATE:  One of the other things that occurred to me about a commonality between the Left and the Arabs is that they’re not only sore losers (with the most recent evidence amongst the Left being the savage response to the will of the people vis a vis Prop. 8), it’s also that they’re ungracious, vicious winners.  This should be a reminder to Israel (who seems to need this reminder on a perpetual basis) that, when the inevitable upcoming “peace” talks begin with the Obama presidency, she’s still in a no win situation:  win or lose, Arab rage and pity will continue unabated.

A trio on why moral relativism re Israel is morally wrong

I don’t have much time to write now, but I read a trio of stories at the Jerusalem Post that remind us why moral relativism regarding Israel is wrong.  Israel, for all her flaws, is a better, more moral country that the surrounding Arab nations, and that’s regardless of any of their virtues:

Another Arab resident in Israel used his vehicle to try for mass slaughter.  Fortunately, he was the only one to die.

An Arab woman crossing at a checkpoint into Israel threw acid on a soldier, potentially blinding him in one eye.  Keep in mind that the check points exist precisely because those crossing into Israel (by the grace of Israel, because no Israelis are crossing into Arab countries) are trying to achieve maximum bodily arm.

And just so you keep in perspective what these Arab countries are all about, let’s look at Iraq, which is a country that America has sort of, kind of, managed to turn into a Democracy:

First his two sons were murdered. Now he faces prosecution. The reason for Mithal al-Alusi’s troubles? Visiting Israel and advocating peace with the Jewish state – something Iraq’s leaders refuse to consider.

The Iraqi is at the center of a political storm after his fellow lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to strip him of his immunity and allow his prosecution for visiting Israel – a crime punishable by death under a 1950s-era law. Such a fate is unlikely for al-Alusi, though he may lose his party’s sole seat in parliament.

Because he had visited Israel, many Iraqis assume the maverick legislator was the real target of the assassins who killed his sons in 2005 while he escaped unharmed.

Now he is in trouble for again visiting Israel and attending a conference a week ago at the International Institute for Counterterrorism.

“He wasn’t set to speak, but he was in the audience and conversed with a lecturer on a panel about insurgency and terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel,” said conference organizer Eitan Azani. “We didn’t invite him. He came on his own initiative.”

Al-Alusi has a German passport, allowing him to travel without visa restrictions imposed on other Iraqis. Lawmakers accused him of humiliating the nation with a trip to the “enemy” state.

Keep in mind as you read the above that it is just one day’s news from the Middle East, and just a small handful of stories about Israel and her neighbors’ attitude towards her.

Let me reiterate the sentence at the start of my post:  Israel, for all her flaws, is a better, more moral country that the surrounding Arab nations, and that’s regardless of any of their virtues.

One of these Middle Eastern nations is not like the other ones

David Suissa has created a series of ads to remind people of all the marvelous contributions Israel has made to the world during its short time as a country (and, impressively, a country perpetually under siege).

I think it’s time to create some ads for the Muslim and Arab world too (click on thumbnails to enlarge):

Hat tip:  Seraphic Secret

I give it an hour or two at best

Hamas never enters into truces with an eye to peace.  It enters into truces with an eye to getting its troops rested and rearmed before the next offensive.  Israel, equipped with knowledge of both core Islamic doctrine (hudna) and Hamas’ own past behavior, nevertheless keeps giving its opponent a breather, rather than keeping the pressure on when Hamas is on the ropes.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, common currency in the Jewish community was the joke about how much smarter Jews were than their Arab opponents.  The one I remember best from the 1973 Yom Kippur War (although it’s certainly not the best joke) went this way:

Shocked by their losses, the Arabs regrouped and began studying their Israeli enemy.  They realized that one out of every three Israeli soldiers was named David.  They therefore came up with a new strategy.  When they were within shouting distance of the Israelis, the Arab soldiers would holler out “Hey, David,” confident that the David’s would rise up, ready to be shot down by snipers.  It didn’t work quite as planned.  When the Arabs yelled out “Hey, David,” the Israelis would holler back, “Is that you, Mohammed?”  Half the Arab soldiers would then rise up and get shot down by snipers.

Bad joke, but you get the point.  These jokes have no currency now.  Israel has been strategically out-thought at every turn.  All she has left is brute force.

More sense on climate change

I’m a scientific ignoramus.  Although I’ve been skeptical of global warming from the start, my skepticism hasn’t been rooted in a sound grasp of facts and scientific principles.  Instead, it arises because of my source problems:  I deeply distrust the people touting climate change.

From the moment Al Gore started mouthing off about it, and triggered massive hysteria in the MSM, Hollywood, and the Leftosphere, I backed off.  To me, these people’s embrace of the issue lacked any coherent thought or rigorous analysis.  For them, it was simply another nail in the Bush Derangement Syndrome coffin, and a convenient way to do indirectly what they’ve been trying to do directly : handicap America’s ability to compete in world markets.  That’s why, even though I agree with some of the goals — most notably getting the whole world off Arab Oil so that we’re not funding the Islamist instruments of our own destruction — I’ve absolutely refused to buy into the whole Global Warming mantra.

Others, fortunately, have more knowledge than I do, and they’re not buying into it either.  The latest knowledgeable person to speak out is Brian Sussman, a metereologist, who explains that the Global Warming crowd has made its case by ignoring some facts and exaggerating other facts completely out of recognition.  And he does it all in lucid prose, easy for the lay man to understand.

Answering back

One of the things that has infuriated me for years in the roiling battle between Israel and her neighbors is Israel’s utter ineptitude at courting the media.  For decades, after ever single “event,” the Palestinians offered dozens of sympathetic people up for interviews with the MSM, while the Israelis offered terse, uninformative commentaries from tight lipped “military spokesmen.”  It allowed the Palestinians to gain complete control over the dialog.  No matter what was going on on the ground, Israel was steadily losing in the war of ideas.

I’m not the only one, of course, who has noticed this.  Michael Phillips has come up with an idea:  a simple chart that examines, not the facts of every event, but simply the number of times Hamas and its ilk have been caught in lies.  I’m not the only one, by the way, who likes this idea.  Michael got over 3,000 extra daily hits from people interested in the concept.  It might actually impress the Arabs too:  as many have been impressed by Israel’s willingness to go after a corrupt Prime Minister.  It can be very useful to separate facts from ideology.

Why Jews are right to suspect Obama’s advisers

Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has accused American Jews of McCarthyism for being critical of Israel’s critics. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. The pattern, repeated over and over as we learn more about Obama’s advisers, is that one of them speaks fondly of the Palestinians or harshly of Israel, Jews get upset and someone then accuses Jews of making any rational dialog about Israel impossible. Jews, they say, are casting a pall on the debate by insisting on unconditional love for Israel as a prerequisite for any discussion about solutions in the Middle East — and that makes it impossible to achieve a solution, since it essentially cuts the Palestinians out of the debate entirely.

In a normal situation, the Obamanites might have a point. Ordinarily, if the world were focusing like a laser on a dispute between two small, bordering countries about riparian rights (or trade agreements, or power plants, or any of the ordinary disputes that might rile adjoining nations), it would be fatal to a peaceful conclusion if the external mediators entered with a preconceived bias in favor of one of the countries. But what Obama and his fellow travelers fail to understand is that the relationship between Israel and her neighbors is not a garden-variety dispute about concrete matters such as borders and water. Instead, it is a binary, existential dispute that demands the answer to a single question: Does Israel have the right to exist?

Israel and her friends say she does have the right to exist. They believe that she and her citizens should not have to worry daily that they will be utterly annihilated by one big bomb or thousands of small ones. The Palestinians and their friends, however, whether speaking through their charters, their rhetoric, their religion, or their actions, say she does not have any such right to exist — and that this is true whether one considers her as a whole nation or as a collection of individual citizens. The Palestinian side to the “debate” has made it patently clear since Israel’s inception (and before), that the beef with Israel is not about a village or a river or a water well. It’s about the genocide of a people and the destruction of a nation.

Keeping the above in mind — and I think you’ll find it a hard conclusion with which to quarrel given a sixty year history of writings, speeches, wars and bombs — the dispute about Israel cannot accurately be framed as “Israel vs. the Palestinians.” Instead, the correct framing is “Israel, alive or dead?” As I said earlier, it’s binary. There is no middle ground. Israel chooses life; the Palestinians and their cohorts choose Israel’s death. To the extent the Palestinians talk of a two state solution, they perceive this, not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, a useful diversion to keep Europe and the American Left busy and happy while the Palestinians, Arabs and Iranians move forward with the plan for Israel’s ultimate demise.

Given that Israel’s enemies plan to deny her, not a border or a town or a river, but her existence entirely, Israel, Jews and friends of Israel have to accept that those who consistently support the Palestinians are either fools or they have an agenda. That is, they’re fools if they go around spouting off about two state solutions and peace, and completely ignore that the Palestinians give this concept lip service only. Only fools, after all, could ignore entirely the fact that, when the two-state issue was really available on the negotiating table, Arafat said no. Likewise, fools consistently overlook the reality that, when Israel makes concessions, Palestinians make none. Fools claim that no meaning can attach to the Hamas charter, Hamas rhetoric and Hamas actions, all of which make clear that Hamas seeks a Jew-free, one-state solution. And it’s clearly a fool who pretends it’s just rhetoric when Iran barely bothers to hide the fact that, once she builds the bomb, her first target will be Tel Aviv. Only a fool could pretend that a two-state solution would work if only Israel (not the Palestinians, just Israel) would give a little more, and a little more, and a little more, and a little more.

Of course, if these advisers who keep pushing the Palestinian viewpoint, all the while loudly proclaiming their support for Israel, are not fools (and how many are really that stupid?), then they must be aware of the actual Palestinian (Arab, Iranian, Muslim) final solution to the “dispute” between Israel and the Palestinians: The end of Israel’s existence, along with the slaughter of every Jew living in Israel. It is no stretch, therefore, to call these Palestinian mouthpieces in the West antisemitic.  No matter how loudly they proclaim that they love Israel and the Jews and just want peace, their goal is precisely the same that Hitler sought — a Judenrein (Jew-free) world. (Remember, it was the Romans who made a desert and called it peace.)

Ultimately, when one side wants only to live in peace, and the other side seeks only blood or destruction, you have to choose your sides. There is no middle. And one when Presidential candidate consistently chooses as his advisers those who opt for the side that advances death and destruction, no matter how prettily they wrap it up in nice phrases about two state solutions and peace, you begin to get suspicious (to put it mildly).

The moment the Palestinians stop calling for and acting to achieve Israel’s destruction, I will take seriously their claim that they seek a second state (and we’ll just ignore that Jordan was created out of whole cloth decades ago to be precisely that), and I’ll be less suspicious of those in the West who are their champions.

As long as the situation on the ground is binary, though, I’m going to view as hostile those who choose the side of death over the side of life — and that’s true no matter how they protest their deep and abiding philosemitism. Until they assert that an absolute precondition for any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is that the latter completely renounce their ultimate goal of Israel’s complete destruction (a renunciation that must prove itself by word and deed), I have to conclude that these “peace seekers” in fact view Israel’s destruction as an acceptable result at the end of the negotiating day.

As many have said before me, if Israel were to put down her arms today, she would be destroyed utterly. If the Palestinians were to put down their arms today, there would be peace in that area of the Middle East.

The myth of the occupied territories

I’m beginning to think that incrementalism is one of the most dangerous things out there, whether it’s the way Obama leaks out the truth about his big lies or the way in which the jihadists keep asking for little things from us — no pigs, no dogs, no occupied territories.  As to that latter bit of incrementalism, Charles Krauthammer reminds us of the big lie behind the current theory that the whole problem with Israel is the occupied territories  (so that, if she just gave them up, everything would be hunky-dory, with no further demands against her):

[In the 1948 War of Independence, which had all the Arab nations massed at 650,000 Jews] Israel prevailed, another miracle. But at a very high cost — not just to the Palestinians displaced as a result of a war designed to extinguish Israel at birth, but also to the Israelis, whose war losses were staggering: 6,373 dead. One percent of the population. In American terms, it would take 35 Vietnam memorials to encompass such a monumental loss of life.

You rarely hear about Israel’s terrible suffering in that 1948-49 war. You hear only the Palestinian side. Today, in the same vein, you hear that Israeli settlements and checkpoints and occupation are the continuing root causes of terrorism and instability in the region.

But in 1948, there were no “occupied territories.” Nor in 1967 when Egypt, Syria and Jordan joined together in a second war of annihilation against Israel.

Look at Gaza today. No Israeli occupation, no settlements, not a single Jew left. The Palestinian response? Unremitting rocket fire killing and maiming Israeli civilians. The declared casus belli of the Palestinian government in Gaza behind these rockets? The very existence of a Jewish state.

Israel’s crime is not its policies but its insistence on living. On the day the Arabs — and the Palestinians in particular — make a collective decision to accept the Jewish state, there will be peace, as Israel proved with its treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Until that day, there will be nothing but war. And every “peace process,” however cynical or well-meaning, will come to nothing.

The dishonor of an “honor culture”

The British press was rocked for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago by the story of an Iraqi girl whose father murdered her quite brutally because she’d fallen in love with a British soldier. (There was no hint, by the way, that she’d done anything about the love; it was an infatuation from afar.) An interview with that father gives one a good insight into the culture arrayed against us in the epic clash of civilizations in which we’re now embroiled:

Two weeks ago, The Observer revealed how 17-year-old student Rand Abdel-Qader was beaten to death by her father after becoming infatuated with a British soldier in Basra. In this remarkable interview, Abdel-Qader Ali explains why he is unrepentant – and how police backed his actions.

For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. ‘If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,’ he said with no trace of remorse.

Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city’s Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death.

Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. ‘They are men and know what honour is,’ he said.

[snip]

It was her first youthful infatuation and it would be her last. She died on 16 March after her father discovered she had been seen in public talking to Paul, considered to be the enemy, the invader and a Christian. Though her horrified mother, Leila Hussein, called Rand’s two brothers, Hassan, 23, and Haydar, 21, to restrain Abdel-Qader as he choked her with his foot on her throat, they joined in. Her shrouded corpse was then tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

‘Death was the least she deserved,’ said Abdel-Qader. ‘I don’t regret it. I had the support of all my friends who are fathers, like me, and know what she did was unacceptable to any Muslim that honours his religion,’ he said.

You can read the rest — which is as sickening as the bit above — here. First and foremost, the article is a reminder that Islam, as practiced by Arabs at least, is possibly the most self-centered religion in the world. It’s not really about serving God, nor is it about living a moral life where your own behavior must measure up to God’s standards. Instead, it’s all about “me, me, me!” “You embarrassed me, therefore you offended God.” “You aren’t living life the way I think you should, therefore I get to kill you to satisfy my God.” Although Islam apologists try to treat it as part of the modern trinity of non-pagan religions, it is, in fact, a religion deeply rooted in human sacrifice — and the sacrifice isn’t for the greater glory of God (which was, at least, the excuse for the ritual sacrifices in days of old), but simply to satisfy the killers’ egos and insecurities.

Second, although it shouldn’t be any less foremost, is the miserable, craven, ill-informed, stupid, dangerous behavior of those on the Left, who claim so loudly to be the staunchest defenders in the West of women’s rights (and gay rights, and workers’ rights, and immigrant rights). These nincompoops certainly pay lip service to these “rights”, and they’re always willing to assert them against those cultures that accord the greatest respect to women and gays and workers and immigrants. At the same time, though, they’re so blinded by their obsequious desire to placate any group that isn’t America, that they are yielding ground at warp speed to people who firmly believe in an unimpeded right to slaughter women and gays, and to enslave workers (especially those immigrants unlucky enough to end up in such bastions of Muslim paganism as Saudi Arabia or Yemen).

Incidentally, Barack Obama is the ne plus ultra of this foul Leftist trend. Although he is frantically denying it now (once more making a bald-faced liar of himself), and although the NYT’s is desperately trying to work as the enabler for this man’s Leftist pathology, he really thinks he can and should just sit down and have a chat with these fanatics, at which point they’ll smile and retreat permanently.

What an idiot — which would be fine if he confined his stupidities to a small circle of friends and business associates. It’s frightening, though, to think that Obama wants to visit this level of cultural unawareness and blatant stupidity on the American people and the world.

The correct response, of course, to this kind of barbarity is Lord William Bentinck’s response to sati (or suttee), the old Indian practice that required a widow to immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.  When told that the British could do nothing to prevent sati because it was an ancient Indian practice and that outlawing it might destroy Britain’s interests in India, he nevertheless went ahead, in 1829, and made the practice illegal.  It still took decades for the practice to die out, but his legislation struck it the first death blow.

Sunday reading

We received in yesterday’s mail a warning (a very nice warning) that my 5th grader is struggling with geometry. As a former geometry struggler myself, I’m all sympathy. We did not get mad at her. What is infuriating, though, is her absolutely unwillingness to learn geometry. After 1.5 years in public schools, she believes that all she has to do is correct the questions she got wrong on the offending tests and, voila, she will have mastered geometry sufficiently to proceed to the next phase of her learning career. Such is the importance of tests in American education. Even the kids have figured out that, it’s not what you know, it’s how you test. She’s working with my husband now, so I had a few minutes to scan the internet, and came up with four interesting things that I’d like to share with you.

I

Mike Devx forwarded to me a link to a Long War Journal article entitled Iraqis begin to ‘despise’ the Mahdi Army. It’s not the kind of article you’ll see in the New York Times, something that probably makes it even more worth the read (“the news that is unpalatable to my ideologically opposed newspaper is my palatable news”). The article discusses the significant changes in Rusafa, a Baghdad neighborhood previously known for its Mahdi Army presence, danger and hostility to Americans. The article describes the inroads that the American and Iraqi armies have made in clearing out that neighborhood. More significantly, it discusses the citizen militias that aim, not to impose some sectarian rule on the community, but to make it a safe place:

But Thornburg attributes most of the improvement in his area in southern Rusafa to the Sons of Iraq, the local neighborhood watchmen who are paid by the US. The Sons of Iraq program was started here seven months ago by local leaders and the 82nd Airborne, the unit last responsible for the southwestern half of Rusafa, which is essentially downtown Baghdad. Local Sons of Iraq leaders claim they were “the first Shia Awakening” against militias and al Qaeda.

“The SOI have exceeded expectations. They’ve turned one of the most violent areas of Baghdad into one of the most quiet,” said Thornburg. “Specifically, they are looking for Mahdi Army. They know who comes into their area, they man checkpoints 24 hours a day, they do vehicle searches, they question people and they patrol. The locals trust them and they are happy with them. They’ve earned a lot of wasta [respect] from the citizens, and the results speak for themselves. It’s a real success story.”

The SOI’s success arises, not just because it’s paid by the US, but because its members hold the Mahdi in genuine dislike, and truly want to uproot this corrupt, thug-like organization from their streets and homes:

Above all, Hassan and his neighborhood watchmen do not like the Mahdi Army.

“Originally, the Jaish al Mahdi [Mahdi Army] in our area used to deceive people by using the name of the religion to do their purposes,” said Dhia, Hassan’s executive officer. “They were all corrupted. They have history in crime, robberies, murders, rapes, and all kinds of bad things. They even reached the level of kidnapping people and demanding ransoms just because they have money. It didn’t matter if he is Shia or Sunni; just because he has money. They gave a bad reputation for Islam.”

American officials assert that the final factor that has improved security is the citizenry’s fatigue with violence and the militias.

This kind of thing was predicted on the Right, and castigated as crazy American thinking on the PC Left — thinking that didn’t respect the unique, animalistic behavior of Iraqis, none of whom (according to the Left) could be expected actually to crave tranquility.  We would do well, in confronting problems created by the Palestinians and other mad mullahs, to start dealing with those who desire peace, rather than cravenly acquiescing on PC grounds to those who insist on slaughter.

II

Speaking of Palestinians, if you’d like an antidote to the crude Leftist history of Israel — which sees Jews as Nazi-like figures who began plotting at the end of the 19th Century to commit genocide against the Arabs, a plot brought to fruition with the creation of Israel — you must read Efraim Karsh’s 1948, Israel and the Palestinians — the True Story.  It’s a real history, based on contemporaneous documents, rather than a false history based on ideological belief and victim sensitivities.

For example, historical records establish that, even on the most extreme side of the Zionist spectrum, Jews anticipated living with a fully integrated Arab population — a population, moreover, that would have the full rights accorded all citizens.  Please contrast this with your average Imam speech likening Jews to apes and monkeys and calling for their total destruction.  Contrast it, too, with children’s television in Gaza, which seeks to brainwash innocent young minds into thinking that their highest role in life is to strap a bomb to themselves to kill multitudes of Jews.  Palestinians may call for a two state solution right now, but they clearly envision two states comprised solely of Muslim Arabs.

These same historical records (including British documents) show that, in the lead-up to Israel’s creation, most local Arabs were amenable to Israel’s full-integration plan.  The Jewish renaissance in what was then Palestine completely revived an economically torporous and backwards area, with huge financial and health benefits to the local Arab population.  The contemporaneous historical record establishes the truth of what my parents always told me (and they lived through those times):  it was distant Arab plutocrats, disturbed that their tyranny over their fellahin might come to an end who fomented the endless genocidal war against the Jews in Israel.

In other words, it was always about power.  Not Jewish power, a la the faked Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but Arab/Muslim political power over the illiterate, starving masses who kept them comfortably ensconced in their desert palaces and Paris flats.

III

Here’s a moving story about one Marine, his old Singer and many, many beautiful stars.  (H/t:  the Anchoress.)

IV

And let me end with my favorite, Mark Steyn.  Many words have been written about Obama’s “speech” (“I could no more disavow this nutty old uncle than I could throw grandma under a train”); the publics’ surprisingly intractable aversion to this same nutty uncle; and Obama’s inevitable narcissistic renunciation of said uncle.  All words written are good, but I happen to like Steyn’s the best.  There’s music to his writing:

It was never a great speech. It was a simulacrum of a great speech written to flatter gullible pundits into hailing it as the real deal. It should be “required reading in classrooms,” said Bob Herbert in the New York Times; it was “extraordinary” and “rhetorical magic,” said Joe Klein in Time – which gets closer to the truth: As with most “magic,” it was merely a trick of redirection.

Obama appeared to have made Jeremiah Wright vanish into thin air, but it turned out he was just under the heavily draped table waiting to pop up again. The speech was designed to take a very specific problem – the fact that Barack Obama, the Great Uniter, had sat in the pews of a neo-segregationist huckster for 20 years – and generalize it into some grand meditation on race in America. Sen. Obama looked America in the face and said: Who ya gonna believe? My “rhetorical magic” or your lyin’ eyes?

That’s an easy choice for the swooning bobbysoxers of the media. With less impressionable types, such as voters, Sen. Obama is having a tougher time. The Philly speech is emblematic of his most pressing problem: the gap – indeed, full-sized canyon – that’s opening up between the rhetorical magic and the reality. That’s the difference between a simulacrum and a genuinely great speech. The gaseous platitudes of hope and change and unity no longer seem to fit the choices of Obama’s adult life. Oddly enough, the shrewdest appraisal of the senator’s speechifying “magic” came from Jeremiah Wright himself. “He’s a politician,” said the reverend. “He says what he has to say as a politician. … He does what politicians do.”

Happy reading this Sunday!

The seeds of hatred

The accepted wisdom is that the intense hatred the Palestinians feel for Jews is a direct result of Jewish annexation of the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 War. Of course, as with most propaganda, this is false. Aside from conveniently ignoring the 1956 and 1948 Wars, not to mention the Koran itself, this view ignores the fact that it was a Nazi/Arab alliance that helped fuel the virulence of modern Arab antisemitism. Indeed, it was this alliance, as much as the oil in Arab lands, that caused the British, who had been fairly philosemitic since Cromwell’s days because of their commitment to the Old Testament, to swing around and become extremely hostile to the movement for a Jewish state. (As to the long-dead philosemitism, I highly recommend Barbara Tuchman’s Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour .)

Mike Devx was kind enough to send me to a great video illustrating the tight ties the Nazis forged with the Arabs as part of their assault on British interests in the Middle East (for British interests, read “oil” and if you’re really interested in how the need to control oil was a driving force in WWII, read Daniel Yergin’s exellent The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.)