It’s no fun being Cassandra….

Poor Cassandra was cursed by the Gods with the gift of making accurate prophecies that no one would believe.  The disasters she foresaw always came true, but she was helpless to stop people (and nations) from racing towards their doom.  The endings were always so terrible — and Cassandra was herself swept up in them — that she never even got the consolation of a good “I told you so.”

Ever since Obimbo appeared on the scene, we at Bookworm Room have been Cassandras.  We’ve vacillated between trying to decide whether Obama acts as he does through incompetence or malevolence, but we’ve always been clear in our own minds that his approach to the Presidency would be disastrous, both at home and abroad.  One of the things we (and by “we,” I mean my readers and I) predicted was that the Obamessiah, by creating a leadership vacuum in the space America used to fill, would release dangerous forces — just as the Soviet Union’s collapse unleashed long simmering, and quite deadly, regional rivalries in the Balkans.

The headlines now seem to bear out our worst predictions.  Just today, Danny Lemieux forwarded to me a Gateway Pundit post relaying the news that, because Saudi Arabia acted in Bahrain (yes, filling the American leadership vacuum), Iran is now rattling its sabers:

A senior Iranian legislator called on the foreign ministry to show firm reaction against deployment of Saudi military forces in Bahrain and take strong stances and measures in defense of the rights and independence of the Bahraini people.

“The foreign ministry should take a strong position against the dispatch of the Saudi forces to Bahrain” and defend the people’s move and rule over the country, Mostafa Kavakebian said in an open session of the parliament on Tuesday.

God forbid this comes to something, the regional line-up is going to be Israel and Saudi Arabia versus Iran.  What’s impossible for me to know — I simply don’t have the sechel (Yiddish:  smarts) about Middle Eastern allegiances and alliances — is where the other countries, aside from Syria and Lebanon, both already Iranian proxies, will fall when the whole thing blows.  They all hate Israel, but their degrees of loathing for Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to determine which colors they wear in this fight.

I could say “I told you so” but, Cassandra-like, I don’t have the heart to utter those words.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Sharm El Sheikh

In honor of Mubarak’s strategic retreat to Sharm El Sheikh, here is the anthem of the 1967 War, which saw Sharm El Sheikh end in Israel’s hands, a situation that lasted up until Egypt got it back in 1982, as part of the peace treaty:

Israel, American Jews, American Christians and a whole bunch of other stuff too

I struggled for a few minutes to find a clever title for this post that would convey the volume of information I’m about to download from my brain, but realized I couldn’t.  A laundry list description will just have to do.

You see, last night, I had the pleasure of attending a Hanukkah party that the NorCal chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition hosted.  What wasn’t surprising was that conservative Jews attended the party.  What was surprising was that they came from all over the Bay Area. Apparently the opportunity to get together with fellow conservative Jews is a beguiling one, even if one has to travel a hundred miles or so to do it.

What was even more surprising, and was also tremendously heartening, was the number of non-Jews who attended out of a feeling of solidarity with Israel.  It was a reminder in the flesh of the fact that America’s tiny percentage of Jews, standing alone, cannot account for America’s (not the administration’s, but America’s) long-standing support for Israel.  That strong support comes about because America’s Christian population respects and believes in that small, democratic Jewish state, a nation surrounded by hostile forces inimical, not only to Israel, but to America as well.

Another draw for the party was the speaker:  syndicated columnist Joel Mowbray.  I’ve enjoyed Joel’s writing for years, and hoped that he’d be as delightful a speaker as he is a writer (some writers, sadly, do not translate well to the spoken word).  Happily, he exceeded my expectations.  He’s a charming speaker, offering everything you’d hope for:  pleasant voice and cadence, good sense of humor, a well-informed mind, and an easy verbal lucidity.

Joel spoke about the situation in Israel today and he was surprisingly optimistic.  He says that Israel is enjoying an extremely prosperous time right now, with a growing economy and a significant lack of terrorist violence.  The targeted killings in the West Bank and Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, and the Hezbollah War all served, temporarily at least, to quiet the terrorists and give Israelis a respite. Further, the setbacks to Iran’s nuclear program, especially Stuxnet, have given the Israelis (not to mention the Arab nations around them) some breathing room.

Israelis fully understand, though, that this is merely a respite, rather than a lasting peace.  A nuclear Iran is an impossible-to-contemplate game-changer, not just in the Middle East, but throughout the world.  The Israelis are planning accordingly, both defensively and offensively.  In other words, they are being smart, rather than burying their heads in the sand.

Most of the questions in the room expressed concern about Iran and about President Obama’s manifest hostility to and disdain for Israel.  Joel believes (and I agree) that Obama will not go too far in undercutting Israel should the bombs start to fly.  He also believes (and I agree) that Americans will support Israel.  The other countries will huff and puff, in a very ugly way, but they too will be happy should Israel succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear pretensions.  As Joel pointed out, the situation in North Korea is a useful illustration of the impossible Hobson’s choice that arises when you have a rogue nation armed with nuclear weapons.

I asked Joel about American Jewish voting trends in the 2012 elections.  He said that, except for those implacably wed to liberalism, signs are good for a shift away from the Democratic party.  (To which I’ll add that we can only hope that American Jews finally start living up to their reputation for intelligence.)  It occurred to me that the recent attacks against Glenn Beck, charging him with antisemitism because he is going after George Soros, may be a preemptive attempt to keep the Jews on the Progressive reservation.

After Joel’s speech, I got the opportunity to talk to some old friends and some new ones.  One of my old friends asked me an excellent question:  What is it with the self-loathing Jews?  My response to him is that they are desperately trying to deflect attention from themselves.  “You say you hate Jews?  Well, so do I.  Heck, I hate them even more than you do.  So if you ever feel like attacking Jews, you can just ignore me.”

From that, we talked about how supportive American Christians are of Jews and Israel.  My friend opined, correctly I think, that part of the reason American Christians identify strongly with Jews is because American Christians are versed in both the Old and the New Testaments.  He pointed out that, in Europe, the Old Testament is virtually ignored.  Not only does that mean they hear only that part of the Bible hostile to Jews, it also deprives them of the ability to understand and appreciate the Jews’ rich history and their deep ties to the Holy Land.

Barbara Tuchman, incidentally, makes a similar point in her wonderful book, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour, about the philosemitism that characterized the Jewish upper classes in the years leading to the Balfour declaration.  Because they were steeped in the Old Testament, the Brits, while they wouldn’t dream of dining with a Jew, thought it was a fine thing to reestablish a Jewish nation in the ancient homeland.  Nowadays, between oil and Leftism, it’s hard to imagine a Britain that doesn’t waiver between vicious and virulent antisemitism, but that wasn’t always the case.

It was truly a revitalizing evening.  Not only was Mowbray’s cautious optimism comforting, it was a very real pleasure to be in a room full of Jews and non-Jews alike, all of whom share a deep commitment to liberty and individual freedom, whether exercised in America or abroad.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Real airport security — by Spartacus *UPDATED*

Sometimes, a reader leaves a comment that is too good not to elevate to post status.  This time, it was Spartacus, writing in response to my question about real ways (not stupid, embarrassing, intrusive ways) to improve airport security:

***

A childhood friend of mine got married in the Tel Aviv area in 2002. By happy coincidence, the wedding date fell squarely in the middle of my one-and-only European vacation so far, so catching one more flight over to the other end of the Med was a no-brainer. Pricewise, it made the most sense to Chunnel over to Paris and round-trip from there, where there were two options: Air France or El Al. About the same price, so toward which was I more favorably disposed, ideologically speaking? Duh. El Al it was.

Got to the airport in Paris way early, like you’re supposed to for international flights, and went to check in. The ticket agent said something about going over somewhere to answer some questions or something. Questions? OK, sure, whatever. A trim, young, friendly, and utterly charming security gal appeared from out of nowhere, led me in my confusion over to a little kiosk, and began to ask me questions. All kinds of questions, and all very enjoyably and conversationally asked. Where was I from? What did I do for a living? Why was I travelling to Israel? What did I plan to see while there? Where had I been on my vacation so far? How did I get from Point A to Point B? And from B to C? What did I see while in B? What was most enjoyable about C? Is the food good there? Oh, and how did I get from A to B again? And if I wanted to get from B to D, why did I go through C on Mode X and then switch to Mode Y when it would have been faster and cheaper just to go direct by Mode Z? (“Dang,” I thought, “I spent two months planning this vacation, and she’s right! Why didn’t I think of that?”). Oh, and how is the food in C again? Classic interrogation techniques, not unlikely learned in the IDF, and flawlessly performed by a very quick-witted security professional.

In retrospect, it all made sense. My profile: young, single, male, non-Jewish, non-Israeli, no previous flights on El Al, and travelling alone. So, yeah, they naturally wanted to talk to me. The Q&A actually lasted about 80 minutes — a fact I completely missed until looking at my watch later. Between the friendly conversational tone, the fast pace, and her crystal-blue eyes… [sigh]… it seemed like about five minutes. When we were done, she escorted me back to a security room where I could see the last stages of the examination of my backpack: 35mm film rolls were being taken out of the plastic cannisters, X-rayed, and carefully put back in; my neatly folded and rolled underwear was being neatly re-rolled exactly as it had been; and so on. No cubic centimeter of my pack had been left unexamined. But the examination of the pack was unnecessary, since by the time I got on that flight, El Al knew everything that was in my mind and in my heart.

Security-wise, the flight to Tel Aviv was uneventful until we were almost there. You know how they now ban people from lining up outside the restroom in the front? Well, I was almost all the way in the back, in between the two aisles, and a bunch of guys started gathering all around. Real Orthodox-looking types. Since we were almost there, I was beginning to wonder if they couldn’t just hold it until we landed. I was startled nearly out of my seat when they all suddenly burst out in some Hebrew song. So they weren’t really waiting for the restroom after all! I still don’t know what they were singing, but I think it was something like, “Paise be to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! We will soon aquire the localizer signal to ILS Runway 27 and begin our pre-landing checklist!” (But coming from the guy who thought they were all going to the restroom, you might want to take that with a grain of salt.) It was interesting and different, which is cool.

My friend successfully got married, and about a week later, I was back at the airport. Just for good measure, they had me spend another very enjoyable 80 minutes of Q&A with another very attractive security gal. After being released to the departure gate, I looked out the big plate-glass window. Airplanes shifted busily around the tarmac as the pinkish glow of the coming dawn enveloped the entire scene. “Beautiful,” I thought, as I pulled out my camera. About 3.6 seconds later, another very attractive security gal quietly appeared from out of nowhere (yes, this was becoming a recurrent theme) and gently informed me that no pictures were allowed in the terminal. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know.” But it made sense. And it showed once again that they didn’t miss a thing.

Back at Heathrow a few days later, I went up to the United counter to check in for my flight back to the States. The ticket agent, who fit all of the negative stereotypes of a DMV worker, followed the United Airlines security screening procedure — she pulled out a small card, from which she read two questions: “Are you a terr… terr… terr… Oh, whatever… Do you have any bombs with you today?” Not especially looking up to register my responses to these questions, she gave me my ticket. And the security procedure which had bothered me not in the least on my way over to England now, in comparison, made me fear for my life.

I would fly El Al again almost anytime, anywhere… maybe even Point A to Point A, just for the heck of it.

UPDATE:  This is a good companion piece to Spartacus’ El Al post.

British politician claims Israel is the root cause of world wide terrorism

Yes, you read that post caption correctly.  British Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge, in a speech in the House of Lords, claims that terrorism around the world is Israel’s fault, because Israel treats the Palestinian’s badly:

On the issue of world conflict prevention, Tonge then said: “It is a disgrace to us all that problems such as Kashmir and Palestine are still alienating Muslims all over the world.

“The treatment of Palestinians by Israel is held up as an example of how the West treats Muslims,” she said, “and is at the root cause of terrorism worldwide.”

You have to check out the JPost article to get the full flavor of her delusional rant.

How does one talk to someone like this, someone who, moreover, has quite the bully pulpit to articulate her particular brand of insane poison?  It doesn’t seem to occur to her that, even if one assumes that her premise is true, and that Israel doesn’t treat Palestinians well, that’s scarcely an explanation for the Muslims’ worldwide terror spree.  If not being treated well explains worldwide terrorism, we should be on the receiving end of terrorism from Israelis, who are treated badly by the surrounding Muslims; from Kurds, who are brutalized by the Turks; from Christians, who are brutalized everywhere in the Muslim world; from expatriate Cubans, whose compadres are prisoners in their own country; from Tibetans, who are on the receiving end of totalitarian, often genocidal treatment from the Chinese; etc.

But that’s logic, and logic doesn’t work in crazy land.  This is a woman who has convinced herself that jihad has nothing to do with Islam itself, and everything to do with victim status.  Well, it’s time for the Jews to start claiming victim status, then.  Maybe that will turn around her lunacy.  Or maybe not, because what we’re really seeing here is hardcore antisemitism, of the type that knows no logic or rationality.

A perfect judo defense of Israel

Judo, which I don’t do, is a beautiful martial art predicated on using your opponent’s own momentum against him.  Gabriel Latner, a 19 year old Canadian, has proven himself to be a master of intellectual judo.  You can read here the overall context within which he exercised his intellectual martial arts; and here you can see him in action.  I wish Mr. Latner a long and happy life.  He deserves it.

(By the way, you’ll notice that Latner takes a few slaps at America, but I forgive him.  Completely.)

Why Tom Friedman is an idiot

[Despite being about the pompous and boring Tom Friedman, this is not an appropriate post for the under-18 crowd.]

I don’t think that there’s any doubt BUT that Tom Friedman is an idiot.  His worship for Communist China — which in typical Friedman fashion routinely takes the form of acknowledging its failings, yet nevertheless lusting after the same power that creates those failings — is manifest evidence of his idiocy.  He’s coy, but he can’t disguise his unwholesome passion for totalitarianism.

It’s not just his totalitarian yearnings, though, that make Friedman stupid.  It’s also his blatant inability to align facts and conclusions.  Friedman made his reputation as a fact guy.  He’s written lots of ostensibly fact-based books.  Certainly, he impresses the self-styled intellectuals on the Left with his mastery of facts.  But the reality is that, in his columns, he frequently ignores painful facts, fakes real facts, and misuses actual facts, all of which adds up to stupid.  He is the living embodiment of 2+2=5 (except that he often functions in the realm of imaginary numbers).

If you’re wondering why I’m harshing on Friedman with such venom this morning, it’s because of a column he wrote yesterday about Israel and the Palestinians.  The whole column exists in a parallel reality universe.  Taking his usual irritating, condescending stance of wise father lecturing recalcitrant children, he essentially demands that Israel just get with the Obama program and make concessions that will inevitably lead to the lion and the lamb lying in peace together.  Evelyn Gordon neatly dissects the factual vacuum in which Friedman’s fatuous demand exists:

Thomas Friedman argues in today’s New York Times that Israel should extend its freeze on settlement construction because when a key ally like America “asks Israel to do something that in no way touches on its vital security … there is only one right answer: ‘Yes.’” Friedman is, of course, correct that countries should help allies anytime they can do so without great cost to themselves. Where he’s wrong is in saying that no vital Israeli security interest is at stake.

It’s true that Israel has no real security interest in a few more houses here or there. But it does have a vital security interest in ultimately securing defensible borders, which can’t be done without retaining some territory on the other side of the Green Line under any deal. And continuing the settlement freeze would undermine Israel’s negotiating position on this issue.

Not only does Friedman deeply misunderstand the actual facts on the ground, he ignores the ones that conflict with his overriding need to support Obama in pushing a course of action that is antithetical to reality.  Per Rick Richman:

Friedman writes that he has “no idea whether the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has the will and the guts to make peace with Israel” but thinks Abbas should be tested with another moratorium. No idea?

He knows that Abbas’s term of office expired nearly two years ago and that Abbas is “President Abbas” only in the sense that George Mitchell is “Senator Mitchell.” He knows Abbas declined an offer of a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) with a shared Jerusalem. He knows Abbas has stated he will “never” recognize Israel as a Jewish state nor negotiate any land swap. He knows Abbas cannot make peace even with Hamas, which controls half the putative Palestinian state. He knows Abbas has repeatedly canceled elections and that the idea of the Palestinian Authority as a stable democratic entity is a joke. He knows Abbas has declared he will never waive the “right of return,” which makes a peace agreement impossible even if every other issue could be resolved. He knows Abbas has taken no steps to prepare his public for any of the compromises that would be necessary for a peace agreement. How many tests does Abbas have to fail before Thomas Friedman has an idea?

So I’ve now provided proof that Friedman is an idiot.  He doesn’t understand the facts he has, and ignores the facts he doesn’t like.  From that foundation, he makes grossly (and gross) ideological arguments, assuming the preening, snide posture of a seasoned sage, condemned to deal in perpetuity with ill-educated louts.  The question is why is Friedman like this?

Friedman wasn’t always such an idiot.  He was always a pedantic, formulaic writer, but twenty years ago he actually used to make facts and theory mesh well together.  The problem is the bubble.  Friedman is encased in an ideological bubble, with no countervailing forces, that renders him the functional equivalent of an unpruned hedge:  he’s wild and ugly now, instead of neat and compact.

The heart of the problem is Friedman’s gig at the New York Times.  Week after week, year after year, Friedman has to churn out articles that suit the Times’ mentality.  If he doesn’t do that, he loses his job.  This won’t affect him financially, of course, but it will humiliate him.  He likes being one of the Times’ most widely read columnists.  He likes the fawning and the adulation.  He wants to keep these emotional strokes going.  No surprise there.

The problem for Friedman is repetition.  There are only so many issues to be had, especially because, unlike a blogger, he’s subject to topical limitations.  Much as he might want to, he can’t break free and write about weddings or recipes.  (A blogger, by the way, can refresh him or herself with occasional forays into irregular topics.)

The only thing Friedman can do to stay fresh is to push the envelope.  Since he can’t keep repeating himself, he has to come up with ever new and exciting ways to keep his audience’s attention.  The result is that, while Times’ subscribers may think that they’re reading a staid, serious news organ, they’re actually getting the intellectual equivalent of a sleazy strip tease.

Think about it:  When the audience gets bored with the 37th iteration of the glove being pulled off finger by finger, the next thing to do is to tease the buttons on the bodice.  And when that gets tiring, bit by bit, item by item, the stripper finds herself inevitably pushed towards nudity.  Once she reaches nudity, there’s nothing left, especially if that nudity reveals, not that she looks like some airbrushed Hollywood star but, instead, that her bra was stuffed and that the cellulite is wearing heavy on her thighs.  At that point, all she can do is holler really loudly, in the hope that she deflects people’s attention from the fact that she’s not only stale and boring, but ugly too.

Friedman’s columns are exactly the same.  When pedantic reasoning got boring, he resorted, still pedantically, to opinion.  And when that got stale, he moved into the realms of fact free opinion.  After that got old, there was totalitarian fantasy disguised as pedantic fact-free opinion.  Column by column, Friedman is not only getting more extreme in his writing, he’s stripping himself bare intellectually, and revealing the padding and ugliness.

What makes it even worse in the world of Tom Friedman is the high wall that the Times has built around him.  Because the Times decided to remove comments, Friedman doesn’t have the reality checks that, in the stripper world, tell that gal to go on a diet and keep her clothes on; and that in the political world, should tell Friedman that he’s got his facts wrong, that he’s missing facts, or that his conclusions don’t make sense.  To keep my sexual analogies going, Friedman is getting all the feedback of a good masturbater.  He knows how to make himself happy, something that does not require him to venture beyond the lining of his own brain, but woe betide anyone who has to share the experience with him.  He’s accustomed to an audience of one, and he will brook no criticism or changes.

And that’s why Friedman is an idiot.  And selfish.  And mentally ugly too.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

What makes George Soros tick?

Barry Rubin thinks he knows.  I would say “what a sad, pathetic little man,” except for the fact that his “sad, pathetic little man” is one of the richest people in the world, and is using his personal pathologies to destroy a nation and its people.

A righteous gentile — José María Aznar

José María Aznar.  It’s not a name that meant much to me in the past, since Spain’s internal politics weren’t of overriding interesting to me.  It’s a name that interests me a great deal now, because it is the name of a man of extraordinary integrity, of true righteousness.  It is he who started an international organization called Friends of Israel, and it is he who speaks with courage and clarity, not just about Israel’s right to exist, but about the necessity of Israel’s existence:

Let me be clear. We don’t want in any case to defend any particular Israeli government or any particular set of policies or any particular party. Israeli institutions are mature enough to defend their choices. We want to stand up for the right of Israel to exist. Judeo-Christian values form the roots of our civilization. Delegitimizing Israel undermines our identity, warps our values and put at risk what we are and who we are.

So, dear friends, it is not only the threat that if Israel goes down, which, make no mistake, many of its enemies would like to see happen, we all go down. It is that letting Israel be demonized will lead to the deligitimation of our own cherished values. If Israel were to disappear by the force of its enemies, I sincerely doubt the West could remain as we know it.

You should read the speech in its entirety and then, if you can, post a link to the website, or send out an email about it, or post it on facebook.  What Aznar says must be repeated, and then repeated again, until it drowns out the ugly cacophony of lies aimed at delegitimizing the state of Israel.

New country discovered at the Marin County Fair

I spent yesterday at the Marin County Fair.  It was, for the most part, a very pleasant experience and could have been any county fair, anywhere in America.

The kids wanted to spend all their time on the midway, standing in long hot lines, spinning to the point of acute nausea, and being suspended upside down for considerable amounts of time.  The carnies hawked games guaranteed to lose you as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, in pursuit of elusive and always disappointing prizes.

Inside the fair buildings, you could see beautiful arts and crafts, flowers, creative writing samples, science projects, etc., all the while scratching your head as to why that one, rather than this one, won the prize.

Head over to the farm area, and you could see racing pigs, sleeping turkeys (that was an unexpectedly funny one, as the turkey just collapsed where it lay, so that everyone kept asking “is it dead?”), ridiculously cute bunnies, and surprisingly beautiful chickens.  All in all, a typical county fair.

Or maybe not so typical.  First of all, I must share with you the garbage cans gracing the fair.  On the Midway, where the hoi polloi hang out, the garbage cans are ordinary, garbage-in-here cans.  But on the other side of the fair, the one with the booths and displays, the cans definitely cater to Marin sensibilities:

Clutching the children’s dripping ice cream cone remainders in my hand, I was quickly able to eliminate “bottles and cans,” but got confused by “compost” versus “landfill.”  I finally went with the latter choice, seeing it as the safer, catch-all option.  But really, who knew that there was going to be an environmental IQ test at the garbage cans at the county fair?

There was another thing that was atypical, not for ordinary fairs, but for the Marin fair.  Every year, the Democrats and the Republicans set up booths.  What fascinated me this year (and this is an entirely unscientific observation, based on my own periodic walks past the two booths) was the fact that the Democratic booth most closely resembled a ghost town, while the Republican booth consistently had people walking up and just exuded energy.  This was fascinating, not only because it visually represented the enthusiasm gap we’re hearing about, but because, in Marin, going near Republican things can make you radioactive if your friends catch you — but this year, fewer people seemed to care.

But what I really wanted to post about was the fact that a new country has been discovered at the Marin County Fair.  I kid you not.  You see, the fair’s theme was “Going Global — Connecting Cultures.”  In the spirit of that theme, the YMCA contributed an umbrella that its members (presumably its young members) had decorated.

I was too short to see the top of the umbrella, but I could see that base holding the umbrella had pasted on it the names of different countries.  (The pictures are sidewise to make it easier to view the writing.)  You’re familiar with many of these countries:

As you have, I’ve heard of Colombia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Honduras.

Things got a bit surreal, though, on the other side of the umbrella base:

Honduras, Zambia, East Jerusalem, Ireland, Bangladesh.

Whoa, whoa!

Did you say East Jerusalem?

Why, yes, I think that, if you were working with the Y in Marin, you did indeed say that there is a nation among nations called “East Jerusalem.”  Apparently the Y is ahead of even the U.N.’s own wishful thinking curve.  If it could, there’s no doubt that the U.N. would go back and undo that pernicious 1948 vote creating and recognizing the State of Israel.  But why wait for the U.N. to act when you can do it yourself at the Marin Y?

I sometimes think that Marin might be its own country too.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

When the policeman goes away — or what happens when a big nation retreats

In 1989, when it became clear that the former Soviet Union could no longer stop the spread of Democracy in the Eastern Bloc countries, many of us naively assumed that a new dawn of peace and harmony was about to arrive.  We envisioned lions and lambs frolicking together, all bedecked in dewy flowers.  What actually happened, of course, was that Central Europe exploded.  It turned out that one of the benefits of Soviet dominance was that the Soviets squashed traditional tribal rivalries that used to send those nations into periodic convulsions.  Without the strong arm of the Soviets, ethnic and religious warfare broke out with nice historic ferocity.

Although we didn’t like the former Soviet Union, which was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, its fall did remind us that a superpower is often times useful to keep the peace.   You and I learned that lesson.  The Ivory Tower Obamites clearly did not.

Obama’s first act upon moving in to the White House was to retreat.  He retreated everywhere he could.  In the former Eastern Bloc, when he abandoned allies; in the Middle East, when he abandoned allies; and in Latin America, when he abandoned allies.  As if the years 1989 through 1994 had never happened, he blithely assumed that, with the withdrawal of a bullying superpower (because that, quite obviously, is how Obama views the nation he leads), the lion and lamb would frolic together, bedecked in dewy flowers.

What’s happening, of course, is precisely what happened when the Soviet Union retreated:  long simmering discords, held in check only by a super power’s presence, are coming to the fore.  Putin is bullying and killing left and right, both within his borders and in countries that were formerly part of the Russian republic, while Chavez is bullying and killing left and right within his own borders, and is working hard to destabilize democratic regimes within Latin America and to ally himself with Islamists and Communists outside of Latin America.

And then there’s Iran.  It got the green light from Obama to savage its own citizens and to build a bomb that it manifestly intends to use for two reasons:  (a) to destroy Israel; and (b) to become the Super Power in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are aware of what Iran’s goals are in the absence of the U.S.’s strong hand.  And as I long ago predicted, they are joining forces, according to the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  They may hate and fear each other, but they hate and fear Iran more.  It remains to be seen whether Israel really is setting up a functional military base in Saudi Arabia, capable of strikes against Iran, or if this is just an elaborate feint, intended to scare Iran into retreat.  Either way, it’s interesting to see how nations are struggling to fill the vacuum America behind left when Obama unilaterally retreated.

A petition for a legitimate investigation

While Obama’s team slobbered all over itself to join up with the UN crowd to investigate Israel’s blockade against a hostile country and its efforts to enforce that blockade, the Jewish Community Relations Council is seeking signatures on a petition asking for a somewhat more useful investigation:  one into the affiliations (and, I’m sure, terrorist records) of the passengers on those blockade running ships.  If you’re interested in signing off on that petition, go here.

Probing questions for the useful idiots aboard the Hamas Flotilla — by guest blogger Lulu

  1. Are you aware that Iran was caught smuggling weapons into Gaza?
  2. Do you think Israelis have any legitimate reason to be concerned that Hamas may try to receive weapons via boat?
  3. Did you know that Hamas activists have shot about 4000 rockets into southern Israel since Israel withdrew form Gaza?
  4. Does that trouble you?
  5. Do you think it is possible that weapons might have been aboard your ship?
  6. Here are pictures of an Israeli soldiers being beaten with metal poles, another held behind a door by armed guards, and another lying in a pool of his own blood. How do you reconcile this with the concept of peace advocacy?
  7. There has been much news made of Helen Thomas’ statement essentially stating that she believes Israel should be ethnically cleansed of Jews. Do you share that sentiment?
  8. Do you think Israel has a legitimate right to exist? What about Australia? New Zealand? Canada? The United States? Jordan? Pakistan?
  9. Is there a reason you don’t object to living in the United States when you are not a Native American?
  10. If Israelis are killed by weapons brought into Gaza because you succeed in ending the blockade would you feel morally responsible?
  11. What is your opinion of suicide bombings?
  12. As a peace activist would you be willing to advocate for the release of Gilad Shalit who has been totally denied his human rights for the past 4 years, denied any contact with the Red
  13. Cross or anyone else, and held in unknown conditions by Hamas?
  14. Would you be willing to visit Israel and hear their side of the story?
  15. Are you aware that Hamas’ charter calls for the mass murder of Israelis and Jews?
  16. How do you explain your support of this murderous regime while still claiming to be for peace?
  17. If Israel were ethnically cleansed where do you propose the Israelis should go?
  18. Where do you suggest Jews with ancestry from Arab lands that do not accept Jewish residents should go?
  19. What about those Israelis whose families have lived in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the land of Israel for thousands of years?
  20. Do you like Jews?

(Bookworm here: What do you think the odds are that any news journal will ask the useful idiots these questions?)

“You can’t go home again”

In my post about Helen Thomas, I focused on her incredible stupidity in saying that Jews are the interlopers and “Palestinians” the indigenous people.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Jews have lived in Israel non-stop since about 1800 B.C.  The “Palestinians” — a name I put in scare quotes because there really aren’t such people, there are just Arabs — are the recent arrivals.  The old ones arrived about 2000 years after the Jews.  The new ones arrived within the last Century.

Oh, and as Closet Conservative points out, Helen’s ignorance isn’t just about far history, but also about near history, because there’s no home to go back to.

Pro-Israel Rally in Los Angeles – by guest blogger Lulu

I attended a very large pro-Israel rally at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles today. Numerus blocks were closed off.

First thing, whatever the media reports, there were more people there than they claim. To my untrained eye, there appeared to be many thousands. The crowd was tightly packed for blocks. There were so many people we found it hard to walk through to get closer to the speakers, so we stayed near the back.

After so much negative press and seeing the disgusting anti-Israel rallies everywhere — full of hatred and lies — it was a beautiful thing to see so many out to support Israel. We stood near a large Hispanic Christian group wearing tee-shirts in Spanish with a picture of a cross and a star of David. They held signs with slogans such as “Christians for Israel”. There were many Christians there supporting Israel. Israeli flags were everywhere as were American flags, and very effective posters asserting Israel’s right to safety and self- defense, and what constitutes a peace activist (not carrying murderous weapons or working for Hamas might be a good start).

My daughter and I had to park at least 5 blocks away after searching over 20 minutes for a space. While walking to the rally, we saw numerous cars drive by with huge Israeli flags flapping outside the window or sun roof. At first we had trouble hearing the speakers, though that was later fixed. I learned later that Governor Schwarzeneggar was there.

I heard Chuck Devore, who opened by having the crowd chant, “Free Gilad Shalit!” over and over. He said all the right things about security and the security lessons for America drawn from Israel’s experience with terror.

There were many speakers and I don’t know who most were. The only one who was jeered was the representative of Peace Now. Repeatedly people were told to just listen but my sense was the crowd was fed up with pie in the sky naive dreamers like Peace Now. With Israel in its current precarious position, people didn’t have the stomach to hear any kumbaya speech.

Two speeches really struck me. One was an evangelical preacher who shouted “Am Yisrael Chai” (The Jewish nation lives), and spoke about how Israel has 500,000,000 Evangelicals all over the world supporting it. He received great cheers from the crowd. Another Evangelical minister, from a Hispanic church, began his fiery talk — largely delived in Spanish — with “Viva Israel, Viva Israel, Viva Israel!!!” He said that he had hoped to get 100 from his church to come and more than 200 were there.

So about those numbers:  The LA Times reported that “hundreds” were there. Later in the same article, they mention that the LAPD estimated the crowd at 2200. So, I suppose it was 100’s — 22 of those hundreds to be precise. I am pretty sure, though, it was more than that. People were constantly coming and going, but I would think we were looking at a minum of 5,000 and probably more.

No surprises to any of you, but the crowd was sane.  There were no signs advocating ethnic cleansing, genocide or violent murder — all causes that the “peace” activists support. The world is morally confused and upside down, but I was glad today to see that there is a fierce love for Israel out there. It was a spirit lifter.

Daniel in the lion’s den

I’ve written about the warriors among us.  By that, I do not mean people who are simply willing to kill.  That’s easy, if you have the right mind set.  Instead, I mean people armed with an overwhelming sense of justice and morality, who will push themselves far above and beyond ordinary people in order to do the right thing.  This teenager reminds us that age is not a necessary requirement for this kind of moral courage:

Hat tip:  Hot Air

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yesterday, White House officials were telling Jake Tapper that Obama would support Israel.  Any minute moments of hope I cherished that the administration actually meant what it said were swiftly dashed.  This is Obama’s version of support:

The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.

The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.

As is this:

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was “tragic”, but he stopped short of condemning the actions of Israeli forces.

While Obama said the deaths of nine people were unnecessary, he said the U.S. wants to wait for “an investigation of international standards” to determine the facts. Israel, he said, should agree to such an investigation.

“They recognize that this can’t be good for Israel’s long-term security,” Obama said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King airing Thursday night.

Just so you know, even though the Obama administration seems to have misunderstood the facts on the ground, there is a good reason for the blockade:

Hezbollah in Lebanon, which shares a land border with Syria and is not under blockade, has a gigantic arsenal of rockets and missiles, more than most governments in the Middle East, and that arsenal includes missiles that can reach every single inch of Israeli territory, including Jerusalem, downtown Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, and the Dimona nuclear power plant. The next war between Israel and Hezbollah will likely mean missiles, artillery shells, and payloads from air strikes will explode all over the Eastern Mediterranean, making last year’s small war in Gaza look even smaller.

Hamas has a relatively tiny arsenal of crude rockets, but if the Gaza Strip were not under military blockade, it could acquire whatever weapons Syria and Iran felt like sending by ship. Gaza could bristle with as many destructive projectiles as Hezbollah has. Food and medicines are allowed into the Strip already, so the most significant difference between Gaza now and a Gaza without a blockade will be the importation of weapons and war material.

More Israelis would be likely to die during the ensuing hostilities, and an even larger number of Palestinians would be likely to die when Israel fights back harder against a better armed and more dangerous adversary.

And again, let me remind everyone (although I know Obama isn’t listening to little ol’ me), the blockade blocks weapons, not anything else.

Having now gotten a glimpse at Obama’s “support,” I have to ask:  What the Hell does life look like if you’re on Obama’s enemies list, rather than receiving his “support”?  Does he come in the night and flay you alive while robotically reciting his boring, pompous meaningless speeches?  I’m no longer pretending that Obama is inept, or misguided, or stupid, although I think he is all those things.  I’m convinced he is evil, as only a true antisemite can be.

It’s a sad day when the only person in a presidential administration making any sense and showing any signs of human decency is Joe Biden, who really stepped up and said the right thing this time:

“I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel’s need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza,” Biden said, according to a transcript of the interview, in which he went on to discuss Hamas’s control of Gaza:

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship–if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight–3,000 rockets on my people,’ ” Biden said.

Kudos to Biden.  He’s not right often, but when he’s right, he lands it square in the middle of the target.

To clear your brain from the miasma that is Obama-think, please read Michael Oren’s op-ed, which the New York Times at least had the decency to publish.

Bibi’s speech regarding the flotilla incident

I like Bibi.  I have always liked Bibi.  The world might have been a different place if his arrogance hadn’t knocked him out of the running for a while there.  Here, in its entirety, is his post-flotilla statement.  The statement also includes video embeds, so I urge you to follow the link and view the videos.

Once again, Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment. I’m afraid this isn’t the first time.

Last year, Israel acted to stop Hamas from firing thousands of rockets into Israel’s towns and cities. Hamas was firing on our civilians while hiding behind civilians. And Israel went to unprecedented lengths to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Yet it was Israel, and not Hamas, that was accused by the UN of war crimes.

Now regrettably, the same thing appears to be happening now.

But here are the facts. Hamas is smuggling thousands of Iranian rockets, missiles and other weaponry – smuggling it into Gaza in order to fire on Israel’s cities. These missiles can reach Ashdod and Beer Sheva – these are major Israeli cities. And I regret to say that some of them can reach now Tel Aviv, and very soon, the outskirts of Jerusalem. From the information we have, the planned shipments include weapons that can reach farther, even farther and deeper into Israel.

Under international law, and under common sense and common decency, Israel has every right to interdict this weaponry and to inspect the ships that might be transporting them.

This is not a theoretical challenge or a theoretical threat. We have already interdicted vessels bound for Hizbullah, and for Hamas from Iran, containing hundreds of tons of weapons. In one ship, the Francop, we found hundreds of tons of war materiel and weapons destined for Hizbullah. In another celebrated case, the Karine A, dozens of tons of weapons were destined for Hamas by Iran via a shipment to Gaza. Israel simply cannot permit the free flow of weapons and war materials to Hamas from the sea.

I will go further than that. Israel cannot permit Iran to establish a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem. And I would go beyond that too. I say to the responsible leaders of all the nations: The international community cannot afford an Iranian port in the Mediterranean. Fifteen years ago I cautioned about an Iranian development that has come to pass – people now recognize that danger. Today I warn of this impending willingness to enable Iran to establish a naval port right next to Israel, right next to Europe. The same countries that are criticizing us today should know that they will be targeted tomorrow.

For this and for many other reasons, we have a right to inspect cargo heading into Gaza.

And here’s our policy. It’s very simple: Humanitarian and other goods can go in and weapons and war materiel cannot. And we do let civilian goods into Gaza. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Each week, an average of ten thousand tons of goods enter Gaza. There’s no shortage of food. There’s no shortage of medicine. There’s no shortage of other goods.

On this occasion too, we made several offers – offers to deliver the goods on board the flotilla to Gaza after a security inspection. Egypt made similar offers. And these offers were rejected time and again.

So our naval personnel had no choice but to board these vessels. Now, on five of the vessels, our seamen were not met by any serious violence and as a result, there were no serious injuries aboard those ships. But on the largest ship, something very different happened.

Our naval personnel, just as they landed on the ship – you can see this in the videos – the first soldier – they were met with a vicious mob. They were stabbed, they were clubbed, they were fired upon. I talked to some of these soldiers. One was shot in the stomach, one was shot in the knee. They were going to be killed and they had to act in self-defense.

(Video embed)

It is very clear to us that the attackers had prepared their violent action in advance. They were members of an extremist group that has supported international terrorist organizations and today support the terrorist organization called Hamas. They brought with them in advance knives, steel rods, other weapons. They chanted battle cries against the Jews. You can hear this on the tapes that have been released.

This was not a love boat. This was a hate boat. These weren’t pacifists. These weren’t peace activists. These were violent supporters of terrorism.

I think that the evidence that the lives of the Israeli seamen were in danger is crystal clear. If you’re a fair-minded observer and you look at those videos, you know this simple truth. But I regret to say that for many in the international community, no evidence is needed. Israel is guilty until proven guilty.

Once again, Israel is told that it has a right to defend itself but is condemned every time it exercises that right. Now you know that a right that you cannot exercise is meaningless. And you know that the way we exercise it – under these conditions of duress, under the rocketing of our cities, under the impending killing of our soldiers – you know that we exercise it in a way that is commensurate with any international standard. I have spoken to leading leaders of the world, and I say the same thing today to the international community: What would you do?  How would you stop thousands of rockets that are destined to attack your cities, your civilians, your children? How would your soldiers behave under similar circumstances? I think in your hearts, you all know the truth.

Israel regrets the loss of life. But we will never apologize for defending ourselves. Israel has every right to prevent deadly weapons from entering into hostile territory. And Israeli soldiers have every right to defend their lives and their country.

This may sound like an impossible plea, or an impossible request, or an impossible demand, but I make it anyway: Israel should not be held to a double standard. The Jewish state has a right to defend itself just like any other state.

Thank you.

Jennifer Rubin had only one thing to add, and I heartily concur: “To our Israeli comrades, I can only offer one suggestion — do it in the first news cycle.”

It baffles me how such a smart nation can be so stupid at fighting the PR war, a war that is as devastating as the guns aimed against it. Israel seems at ease with the guns but, bizarrely, the people of the Book seem lost in the war of words. James Lewis has some good suggestions.

Since the IDF is slow on figuring this one out, though, bloggers are stepping in.  Evelyn Gordon starts on the daunting task of debunking the lies.

John Podhortez explains that Israel did very little wrong

Israel made a tactical error in defending a direct assault on her legal blockade.  The blockade, incidentally, does nothing to prevent Gaza from importing food, fuel, and all the other necessities and luxuries of ordinary, non-terrorist life.  Instead, the blockade’s purpose is to prevent Gaza from importing massive amounts of weapons from Syria and Iran, and turning that small bit of land into the bloodiest, most weaponized hot spot on the face of God’s earth.

In a normal world, the appropriate response to Israel’s necessary escalation in the face of extreme provocation would have been BFD.  In a mad world, however, the public is being told that Israel has finally shown her face as Satan incarnate, killer of innocent peace activists who somehow got confused and, instead of singing Kimbayah, kept shouting “destroy Israel,” as they stabbed, slashed, stomped, pounded, and shot at commandos armed with paintball guns.  (The terrorists, by the way, clearly came prepared for war.)

John Podhoretz, who is not mad, keeps his eye on the ball.

A link to spread around as much as possible, please *UPDATED*

This is the public outreach YouTube site for the Israel Defense Forces.  Bookmark it, send it to your friends, check it often.

Here is the latest IDF real time video from the ship boarding, showing the “peace” activists in full fury:

The West is being played — although perhaps that’s the wrong thing to say.  The West is joyously joining in the game.

Seraphic Secret understands what’s really going on, especially at the UN.

UPDATED:  The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has set up a website that explains Israel’s basic security needs.  The outlines won’t surprise you all, but the details, of course, are illuminating.  Everything would be a surprise, though, to the West’s credulous, useful idiots.  (h/t Bruce Kesler.)

A good friend of mine has suggested that Israel, before releasing the useful idiots, take them on a tour of Israel, showing both her freedoms and the horrors inflicted on people through rockets and bombs.

Info about friends of Israel gathering for a counter-protest in San Francisco

Word got out that ANSWER, a Communist front group, is planning a protest at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco today (June 1), so Stand With Us in San Francisco is trying to gather for a counter-protest.  So, the email you see below is from a group friendly to Israel, giving information about ANSWER’s protest, and what to expect:

Of course, everyone is aware of the recent events involving Israel’s interception of so-called “peace activists” on the Gaza flotilla; some of these “peace activists” attacked Israeli soldiers with knives, crowbars and poles which led to deaths and injuries.

Anti-Israel groups led by International ANSWER are holding a protest in front of the Israeli Consulate building in San Francisco (456 Montgomery Street) Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 PM. SWU/SF Voice for Israel is going to be there to counter them. We will have some flags and signs, please feel free to bring your own as well. If you choose to bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians in general. Signs in violation of our policies do not help the pro-Israel cause and will not be allowed.

Please be aware of the possibility that some of the so-called “peace activists” here in the Bay Area may not be any more peaceful than their counterparts on the Turkish boat; use common sense and avoid engaging with those on the other side as you arrive or leave the area.

We will be updating you on the status of protests at Israel in the Gardens as we become aware of them. We hope that the SFPD will recognize the need to keep anti-Israel protestors away from the gates of the festival.

Finally, we are including this excellent summary prepared by the Northwest (Seattle) chapter of StandWithUs as an information resource.

Friends,

As most of you have already heard, there was a major altercation at sea between the Israeli navy and a flotilla of vessels attempting to run the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

This flotilla was purely a PR effort by groups that support Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel currently allows 15,000 tons humanitarian aid per day into Gaza, more than a ton of aid per person in Gaza every year.

After Israel issued numerous warnings before the flotilla left the Turkish portion of Cyprus that it would stop the flotilla and after numerous warnings at sea by the Israeli naval ships that intercepted the vessels (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4&feature=player_embedded to see a video of the Israeli navy warning the flotilla ships to stop), the flotilla refused to change course. Israel had told the flotilla that if they docked at Ashdod, Israel would transport all the humanitarian aid on their ships to Gaza, but that Israel would not let the flotilla carry the goods to Gaza because it had to inspect the cargo to ensure that there were neither weapons nor weapon-producing or tunnel constuction materials on board.

The flotilla ignored these numerous warnings. After the flotilla continued toward Gaza despite of the warnings by the Israeli navy that they would board the flotilla, Israeli navy commandos did begin to board the flotilla ships.

When the Israeli commandos boarded the ships, demonstrators attacked them with live gunfire as well as with knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators threw at least one of the Israeli commandos from the top deck to the deck below (a 30 foot drop). All the while, the Israeli commandos were yelling to each other “No shooting! No weapons!” Only after what you can see in on YouTube (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU12KW-XyZE&feature=player_embedded#! to see this astonishing video), did the Navy authorize the use of weapons.

Tragically, it is reported that at least 10 demonstrators died and others were wounded. All wounded were flown to Israeli hospitals. Numerous Israeli naval commandos were gravely wounded as well. They, too, were taken to Israeli hospitals. The ships were escorted in to Ashdod, from where any humanitarian aid will be taken to Gaza by Israel.

For StandWithUs’ s statement on the Gaza Flotilla incident, go to http://www.standwithus.com/app/iNews/view_n.asp?ID=1444.

For background facts and videos from Honest Reporting Canada showing “Gaza Flotilla” members attacking Israeli naval commandos, go to http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/specialhralert53020.aspx.

For an eye witness account “A Brutal Ambush at Sea,” by Ron Ben-Yishai of Ynet News, go to http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896796,00.html

For an excellent summary and background, see the materials put together by The Jewish Federations of North America go to http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=221579.

Footage that Israel shot, showing events on board the flotilla ship *UPDATED, REPEATEDLY*

For once, Israel is trying swiftly to retain some semblance of control over the message.  Using facebook, the Navy is disseminating videos of the incident.  I’ll show them here, followed by the IDF’s narrative, which the IDF included with the YouTube footage.  This video narrative begins yesterday, when the IDF carefully warned the flotilla about the borders it was crossing and the risks it was taking:

Israel Navy: “Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostilities which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic. The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. Delivery of supplies in accordance with the authorities’ regulations will be through the formal land crossings and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports on the vessels on which you have arrived.”

Response: “Negative, negative.”

Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces boarded six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israeli Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla, violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.

Large groups of passengers surrounded soldiers and beat them with metal poles and chairs, and threw one soldier over the side of the ship. Some passengers grabbed pistols from the IDF soldiers and opened fire. As a result of the attacks, seven IDF soldiers were injured, and nine of the passengers were killed.

The ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla had publicly insisted on their non-violent intentions, however their violent attack on the IDF soldiers was clearly premeditated. They had knives, metal rods, firebombs and other items ready to use.

Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces boarded six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israeli Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

Early this morning, IDF Naval Forces boarded six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israeli Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid supplies which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

Please help get the real facts out here by sending these videos along through blogs and emails.  Also, please read JoshuaPundit on the subject, before this debacle.  He fully understands how this was a set-up and how Israel tried desperately to avoid precisely this outcome.  Soccer Dad also explains that this flotilla had nothing to do with humanitarianism, and everything to do with boxing Israel into an impossible situation.

UPDATE:  This video nicely explains how urgent Israel’s security needs are:

There should be no doubt that Israel acted within her legal and ethical rights.

Also, Israel Matzav has footage showing the savage glee with which these “peace” activists attacked Israeli forces, who arrived armed with paintball guns.

UPDATE 2:  A “peace” activist stabbing an Israeli soldier in the back:

UPDATE 3:  Melanie Phillips explaining that this whole flotilla debacle was a slo-mo Islamist terrorist attack.

UPDATE 4:  When I first heard that there were 10 dead, and knew nothing more, I sent an email to friends snarkily saying that I bet the flotilla started out with dead bodies in the freezer to “reveal” to reporters at the appropriate time.  (And yes, I know it was in bad taste to say that.)  Turns out I wasn’t far wrong, as some on the flotilla boarded intending to die.

UPDATE 5Bruce Kesler on the disproportionate force that saw Israeli troops armed with paintball guns trying to confront activists armed with knives, iron bars and (as I mentioned above), the desire to die for propaganda purposes.

UPDATE 6Power Line has more on the Israelis’ efforts to avoid bloodshed — and the “peace” activists’ determination to shed blood, their own and the Israelis’.

UPDATE 7Michael Rubin explains why Obama’s response to this situation will have lasting consequences in the Middle East:

So why is it decision time for Obama? Israel feels itself increasingly in an existential crisis. Not only is Iran nearing a nuclear-weapons capability, but it has become increasingly vogue to delegitimize Israel. In the wake of the Gaza ship incident, Israel is going to see whether it has any allies left who will recognize its dilemma, recognize its security concerns, and support it as the crisis grows. Israel knows it can’t trust Europe. Indeed, Europe finances many of the groups which, if they don’t seek Israel’s destruction directly, nevertheless indirectly support terrorism.

If Obama decides it is in America’s interest to make an example of Israel after the Gaza flotilla incident in order to win goodwill in Cairo, Beirut, Tehran, and Ankara, then he must also recognize that the leadership in Jerusalem is going to conclude that it cannot trust the United States to safeguard its security, and that therefore it must take matters into its own hands on any number of issues, not the least of which is Iran’s nuclear program. In effect, if the White House decides to come down hard on Israel now, it is the same as giving a green light for Israel to strike Iran. That is not advocacy; it is just the realism about which President Obama is so fond.

UPDATE 8:  Before this whole poisonous stunt reached its blood conclusion, Omri Ceren, at Mere Rhetoric, wrote an exquisite satire, showing life under the “cruel conditions” this flotilla was ostensibly sent to relieve.  There is no doubt but that this had nothing to do with humanitarian efforts, and everything to do with creating precisely the situation we see today.

UPDATE 9:  J.E. Dyer, one of my favorite military analysts, riffing off of a Hot Air post, has one of the best summaries I’ve seen to date putting together all of the known information and coming up — credibly, not reactively — with the same conclusion I’ve reached reactively:  namely, that this was a Hamas terrorist attack, using useful idiots as props, covers and propaganda tools.  Israel’s behavior, from the git-go, weeks earlier, was honorable to the point of stupidity.

UPDATE 10:  “Peace” activists throw an Israeli soldier into the Mediterranean.  Do you think they hoped he’d just safely float away?

UPDATE 11Jonathan Schanzer explains that the “peace” flotilla wasn’t just an ordinary cruise, put together by some useful idiots.  Instead, it was carefully organized by a known terrorist organization:

The Turkish organizers of the Gaza Strip-bound flotilla that was boarded this morning by Israeli commandos knew well in advance that their vessels would never reach Israeli waters. That’s because the organizers belong to a nonprofit that was banned by the Israeli government in July 2008 for its ties to terrorism finance.

The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) was founded in 1992, and reportedly popped up on the CIA’s radar in 1996 for its radical Islamist leanings.  Like many other Islamist charities, the IHH has a record of providing relief to areas where disaster has struck in the Muslim world.

Read more here.  Melanie Phillips offers similar information about the Turkish terrorist genesis.

UPDATE 12:  The White House, which should be totally au courant with all the info about terrorist ties, useful idiots, and armed “peace” activists, is playing coy, which is the worst possible response, since it tacitly concedes that it doubts Israel.

UPDATE 13: (This will be the last update to this post.  From here on out, I’ll post at the top, as always.)  Doug Ross has an amazing compilation of material showing the jihadists behind this innocent “peace” flotilla.  There is no doubt, as Steve Schippert says, that this is part of what Andy McCarthy describes as “The Grand Jihad.”  Certainly Caroline Glick understands the big picture in the Middle East.  And the Anchoress fully understands the big picture that sees a very little man throwing his weight around in a big White House.

The soft life in America has sucked the brains out of American Jews *UPDATED*

American Jews supported Barack Obama in numbers second only to American Blacks.  They still support Obama.  This is because the soft life in America has sucked out their brains.  How else can one explain that they continue to support him despite things like this:

Washington’s unprecedented backing for a UN resolution for a nuclear-free Middle East that singles out Israel has both angered and deeply worried the Jewish state although officials are cagey about openly criticising their biggest ally.

The resolution adopted by the United Nations on Friday calls on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and urges it to open its facilities to inspection.

It also calls for a regional conference in 2012 to advance the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with around 200 warheads, but has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its capabilities since the mid-1960s.

The document, which singles out Israel but makes no mention of Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, drew a furious reaction from the Jewish state who decried it as “deeply flawed and hypocritical.”

But it was US backing for the resolution which has caused the most consternation among Israeli officials and commentators, who interpreted the move as “a resounding slap around the face” which has dealt a very public blow to Israel’s long-accepted policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Publicly, the Israel government has not criticised the US position but privately, officials expressed deep disappointment over the resolution, which Washington backed despite intensive Israeli efforts to block it.

According to the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “furious with the Obama administration for having failed to prevent the resolution from passing… and for choosing to support it.”

Read the rest here.  I knew this was coming down the pike, but I’m still shocked to see it actually happening.  One wants to shake these foolish, ostensibly sophisticated American Jews and say, “Enough with your misplaced intellectual arrogance.  Bush may have said ‘nuculer,’ but Obama says ‘corpse-man’ — and, worse, much worse, he will destroy Israel despite the fake sophistication you keep pinning on a man with an empty brain and a Marxist, antisemitic heart.”

I continue to believe that Obama will be a one term president, but I’m hoping one term is short enough to keep him from destroying the Jewish nation.

UPDATE:  I guess Jews like this answer my rhetorical question about Jews’ willingness to support the American president who is trying to destroy Israel.

Meet Leftist, non-Jewish Jew: Marcy Winograd

A few days ago, I mentioned Robin of Berkeley’s American Thinker piece about the two different types of Jews in America:  the kind who are reflexively liberal and reflexively pro-Israel, and the kind who are reflexively Leftist and reflexively hostile to Israel.  Robin’s point was that the former do not understand that they have put themselves to bed with the latter, and that the latter own the White House.

I raise Robin’s point here again because Calif. Rep. Jane Harman, who is falls in the first category of Jews, is being challenged by Marcy Winograd, who is most aggressively in the second category of Jews.  Jeffrey Goldberg, who is also in the first category, interviews Winograd, and it’s very scary to look inside her mind.  What’s even more scary is that it’s possible she’ll win the Democratic primary.

Sitting on my spindle *UPDATED*

For the past two days, I’ve been gathering links that I’ve meant to use in stand-alone posts.  That’s clearly not going to happen, though, so let me pass the links onto you, in the hope that you find them as interesting as I did.

Here’s something of a public service announcement:  if you post your phone number in Facebook, your phone number has suddenly become public property.  Please be careful.

Has Sarah Palin acquired a stalker or a legitimate journalist?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Elvis Costello joins the ranks of useful idiots to boycott Israel.  One Israeli politely takes him to task for his ignorance and inhumanity.

Much as the press loves Obama, Obama does not love the press.  They’ll never abandon his ship, though.  Even if they have unexpectedly found themselves traveling in steerage, when they thought they’d booked first class accommodations, he’s still taking them to their socialist port of choice.

Have other presidents blown off Memorial Day?  Even if they have, it still isn’t as tacky as Obama’s having done so, because no other president has ever shown such manifest disdain and disrespect for the American military.  This isn’t a one-off.  It’s a package deal of giving the middle finger to the troops he commands.  [UPDATE:  At American Thinker, they get it.]

Heather MacDonald points to the Emperor’s Nakedness:  all the huffing and puffing about the Arizona law hides the fact that Democrats desperately don’t want to enforce border security.  They will willingly watch terrorists sneak into the country, they will watch drug dealers destroy our cities, they will see masses of immigrants ruin our economy — all before they will give up the possibility of millions of new Democratic party-line voters.

If you live in North Carolina’s Second District, you should find interesting this interview with Republican candidate Renee Ellmers, another woman who found politics through the Tea Parties.

Nihilism and, inevitably, anarchy.  Is that the world’s future?  In a post-Judeo-Christian world, Dennis Prager thinks it may well be.  America used to be the single brake against this trend, but Obama’s America has jumped upon the bandwagon.

I have no idea why it’s a surprise to learn that, the more government spends, the more businesses retrench rather than joining the spending party.  Business people understand what liberal policy wonks don’t:  all that spending has to be paid for by taxes; all those taxes suck money out of the economy; and an economy with no money is a perilous business environment.  The fact that it took a scholarly study to figure this one out tells us just how removed from reality the Ivory Tower crowd is.  [UPDATE:  Just wanted to add one more thing.  I’m reading Jaques Barzun’s The Culture We Deserve for my (conservative) reading group.  I’m only two essays in, but he’s already explained perfectly why I loathed the liberal arts program at UC Berkeley when I was a student there in the very early 1980s.  I’ve always been a member of the true reality-based community.  I therefore never had the stomach for the artificiality of academia.  People don’t live in petri dishes.  They live in the real world, with real problems and, most importantly, real cause and effect.]

Great.  The EPA is planning on managing plants in Texas.  This should go well (see my previous paragraph).

The illogical behavior and beliefs of the American Statist

“Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” — C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Neither Data nor Mr. Spock, two relentlessly logical creations, could ever be liberals or Democrats or Progressives, or whatever the Hell else they’re calling themselves nowadays.  (For convenience, I’ll just lump them all together under the “Statist” title).  As I realized over the 20 plus years of my political journey from knee-jerk Statist to thinking Individualist, the single greatest difference between the two ideologies is that the former lives in a logic-free world.

Sure, as Statists will always shrilly point out, more Individualists than Statists subscribe to traditional religion — and the belief in God definitely requires a leap of faith — but that’s just about the only leap of faith in their lives.  Their political positions are almost always driven by a solid understanding, not only of human nature, but also of the realities of cause and effect.  Liberals, on the other hand, even as they pride themselves on the logic of their abandoning God (never mind that they cannot satisfactorily prove God’s nonexistence), apply magical thinking to just about everything else.

Here, in no particular order, is a laundry list of illogical policies espoused by Statists (with the understanding that modern statism is driven by identity politics and self-loathing):

Statists believe that America’s out-of-control illegal immigration has nothing to do with the fact that, when illegal immigrants sneak across the border, we provide them with education, health care, welfare, food stamps, and the promise that they will be allowed to remain in the country regardless of their unlawful status.  These same Statists, blind to the laws of cause and effect, are always shocked when temporary crackdowns result in a corollary (and, equally temporary) diminution in the number of illegal aliens.

Statists are wedded to the idea that government creates wealth.  To this end, they are bound and determined to use taxes to consolidate as much money as possible in government hands so that the government can go about its magical wealth creation business.  The fact that those countries that have all or most of their wealth concentrated in government hands have collapsed economically (Eastern Europe, Cuba) or are in the process of collapsing (Western Europe) doesn’t impinge on this belief.  As even my 10 year old and 12 year old understand, the government’s ability to print money is not the same as an ability to create wealth.  The best way for a government to create wealth is to ensure a level playing field with honestly enforced rules — and then to get out of the way.

Statists believe that no-strings-attached welfare has nothing to do with the creation of a welfare culture.  My father, the ex-Communist, figured this one out:  “If you’re going to pay women to have babies (meaning constantly increasing welfare benefits), they’re going to have babies.”  In 1994, a Republican Congress forced Clinton to change “welfare as we know it.”  To the Statists’ chagrin, all their dire predictions about weening Americans off the government teat proved false.  Poor people are not stupid people.  If they’re getting paid to do nothing, they’ll do nothing.  If that money vanishes, they’ll work.  By the way, I’m not arguing here against charity for those who cannot care for themselves.  I’m only railing against a political system that encourages whole classes of people to abandon employment.  This subject is relevant now, in 2010, because there is no doubt but that, Rahm-like, Democrats are using the current economic situation as a backdoor to increase welfare benefits to pre-1994 standards.

During the run-up to the ObamaCare vote, Statists adamantly contended that, even if employers would find it far cheaper to pay fines than to provide insurance coverage for their employees, they would still provide coverage.  Likewise, they refused to acknowledge that, if insurers could no longer refuse coverage for preexisting conditions, and if individual fines were cheaper than insurance, savvy consumers would jettison insurance and wait until they were actively ill before knocking on the insurer’s door.  In both cases, the Statists’ illogical beliefs about human nature and economics were proven absolutely and conclusively wrong.  (Info and examples are here, here and here.)

For decades, Statists have contended that if we can just get guns out of citizens’ hands crime will go away.  To the Statists, the problem isn’t one of culture and policing, it’s that the guns themselves cause crime.  What’s fascinating is that they continue in this belief despite manifest evidence that it is untrue.  The NRA was right all along:  If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Statists firmly believe that Individualists (a group that includes Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and other “bitter” Americans), are an angry mob, primed and ready to explode against all non-white, non-straight, non-Christians.  They do so despite hard evidence that angry mobs, as opposed to scattered angry individuals, reside solely on the Left, anti-American side of the political spectrum.

Statist gays, who feel obligated to be Leftists because of identity politics, throw their wholehearted support behind Palestinians, whom they see as the beleaguered victims of evil Israeli imperialism.  They hold to this view despite the fact that Palestinians kills gays, and Palestinian gays regularly try to immigrate to the safe haven of Israel.  In the same way, Statist gays, hewing to their solid Leftist credentials, side with Iran against America, despite the fact that Iran is able to boast about the absence of homosexuals only because it routinely kills them.

Statist blacks, who feel obligated to be Leftists  because of identity politics, are deeply hostile to the police.  While there is absolutely no doubt that, in the past, police routinely harassed, arrested, and killed black people just for being black, we’re not living in the past anymore.  In modern America, the person most likely to kill a black person is another black person.  Blacks need police more than I do, sitting in my comfortable safe, suburbia — yet it’s here, in white suburbia, that our police force, which is largely decorative, is appreciated and admired.

American Statists believe that, if you placate a bully, he will see the error of his ways and become nice.  It didn’t work for Chamberlain in 1938, and I’m pretty damned sure it won’t work for us, whether the bully is Iran, Venezuela, China, Russia or any other totalitarian government intent upon expanding its power beyond its own borders.  I’m not advocating unbridled aggression our part.  That would mean we’re no better than the bullies arrayed against us.  I’m more of a Teddy Roosevelt, in that I’ll allow us to speak softly, as long as we carry a big stick.  Self-defense is not aggression — and sometimes you have to fight to defend a principle, a person, or a nation.

Statist women are silent, absolutely silent, about the condition of women across most of the Muslim world.  I think I’ll rename them “sadist” women, not “statist” women.

Statists tout as a quality Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, who violated American law to bar the military from her campus because of Clinton’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy, but who cheerfully accepted millions of dollars and a chair from the same Saudis who murder homosexuals and treat women like 32nd class citizens.  There’s logic for you.

I opened this post with a quotation from C.S. Lewis regarding the absence of logic in education.  We can see the profoundly dangerous effect that lack of logic has on real world policies.  I’ll end with Tweedledee and Tweedledum opining on logic in a way that only a Statist could appreciate and understand:

“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum: “but it isn’t so, nohow.”

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Obama is setting Israel up for a terrible fall *UPDATED*

Never assume stupidity when malevolence can apply — words that aptly characterize the Obama administration’s approach to Israel.  Evelyn Gordon takes a look at the new “proximity” talks between Israel and the Palestinians, talks that no one expects to yield any results.   After all, the predicate is that the Obama administration has made demands only on Israel, and no demands whatsoever on the Palestinians.  One bar is set impossibly high, and the other bar . . . well, there is no other bar.  That contestant just gets to sit on the sidelines and sip daiquiris.  So why go through this charade?

Because currently, Obama lacks both public and congressional support for moving beyond mere verbal hostility. If he didn’t realize this before, the backlash to his March temper tantrum over Ramat Shlomo would certainly have convinced him.

So he needs to up the ante by painting Israel’s government as responsible for torpedoing a key American foreign-policy initiative — one he has repeatedly framed as serving both a vital American national interest and a vital Israeli one. He could then argue not only that Israel deserves punishment but that such punishment would actually serve Israel’s interests.

To avoid this trap, Jerusalem must launch its own PR campaign in America now to put the focus back where it belongs: on Palestinian unwillingness to accept a Jewish state. For if Israel lets Obama control the narrative, the public and congressional support on which it depends may be irretrievably undermined.

UPDATE: As a companion piece to the above, I recommend Daniel Pipes on the only precondition that matters.

The new Iranian world player — and the president who denies there’s a game afoot

From James Lewis’ must-read article today about the effect of Iran’s ICBM’s (which it has spread throughout the Middle East) and its future nuclear arsenal:

Mahmoud Ahmadijenad is the aggressive chess player behind all these missiles surrounding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Iranian strategy has been to move its missile assets closer and closer to its enemies, including Israel, the American military in the Gulf and Iraq, and the Sunni Arab Gulf states. By 2015, Iran is predicted to have ICBMs that can reach Europe and the United States in less than a half-hour. On automatic standby, those missiles reduce the warning period to such short durations that no human being can make a rational decision. Automatic missiles require automatic defenses, but that also raises the danger of automatic escalation.

Israel is only the most obvious domino. The Tehran regime has had its eyes on Saudi oil and the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina for thirty years. There is no limit to their ambitions for conquest. That’s what they say in so many words.

The Europeans are getting really scared, as they should be. Sunni Arab nations have been anxious about Iranian imperialism for years. The Russians are playing it both ways, but they just put down a massive Islamist revolt in Chechnya with extreme violence, they recently suffered a major terror attack in Moscow, and they have fought Muslim invaders for more than five hundred years. The Russian Orthodox Church (of which Putin is supposed to be member), has been shaped by 1,300 years of struggle with Islam, ever since the Byzantine Empire. Moscow was historically the successor capital to Byzantium after the latter was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Russians have the fear of Muslim jihad in their genes.

Only Obama’s America isn’t worried. In fact, Obama has mentally flipped the source of danger, as Leftists always do, by blaming the victim. Israel has been told, in effect, that the United States will not help defend it unless it surrenders its defensive buffer area on the West Bank and the Golan Heights. That means that Israel’s civilian population will be within reach, not only of IRBMs and cruise missiles, but of more primitive rockets and mortars. Hamas and Hezb’allah, not to mention Iran and Syria, have never left any doubt of their intentions once they have the Israelis at their mercy.

Israel is only the first in line. As you can see, Iran is poised against everything and everybody. But because Israel is first in line, the Left controlling each of Iran’s targets (other than Saudi Arabia), is pretending that Israel is the only target.  This joke perfectly describes the Obama/Europe/Russia view:

Two men, while out hiking, are surprised by a very angry bear.  As they instinctively take off running, one man says, “Hey, we can’t outrun a bear!”  To which the other man replies, “I don’t need to outrun the bear.  I just need to outrun you.”

Outrunning the other victim is a sound strategy, I guess, if you know you won’t be seeing that bear anymore.  It’s a fool’s game, however, when the bear isn’t going to go away, and it’s starting to look awfully hungry again.

B Hussein O tries his first coup

Am I suffering from historical amnesia, or is this the first time in American history that an administration has made a coup attempt against an ally?

The administration of President Barack Obama has launched what officials termed a psychological warfare campaign meant to topple Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Sources in the Obama Administration and the US Congress have confirmed to the Middle East Newsline that the White House and State Department have sought to destabilize Netanyahu’s government by forcing him to agree to an indefinite freeze on Jewish construction in areas taken by Israel in the wake of the 1967 war as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2012. They said the campaign sought to replace Netanyahu with opposition leader and former foreign minister Tsipi Livni.

“Bibi is extremely vulnerable to pressure,” a source familiar with the White House effort said. “We know this from his first term in office and believe he will collapse this time as well.”

The sources said the administration’s strategy aimed to delegitimize Netanyahu in his government and right-wing constituency. They said Obama and his aides have sought to portray Netanyahu as a weak and unstable politician who will destroy relations with Washington as Israel seeks U.S. support for a military option against Iran.

“There seems to be a general belief in the circle around the president that the democratically-elected government in Israel is drunk at the wheel,” Steven Rosen, a veteran pro-Israeli lobbyist now with the Middle East Forum, said. “They clearly will use pressure tactics to bring Israel around.”

If you have the stomach for it, you should read the rest here.

I’m not up to the task of commenting, especially since I have some carpooling to do.  But I will say that this is one of those rare moments where I thought an emesis basin might be a necessary accompaniment to my reading.

Even self-styled victims have lines their fellow-travelers aren’t supposed to cross

We all know that Palestinians are victims, right?  That’s why they get a free pass for eating up billions of dollars in foreign aid without establishing viable communities, for launching tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israeli civilians, and for periodically boarding Israeli buses or entering Israeli restaurants to get an up-close-and-personal approach to massacring Jews.  Still, even self-styled victims have their limits.  In Israel, Palestinian women in Israeli prisons drew the line at being portrayed in Turkish television shows as the victims of sexual assault.  Their gripe is that it makes them look so . . . so . . . victimish:

The Turkish TV show which sparked a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Jerusalem has now incurred the anger of those who were depicted by it as the victims. Female Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails called on the Saudi MBC channel Monday to stop airing the “Valley of the Wolves” series. They claim that a scene depicting a prisoner being raped by soldiers offends their honor.

[snip]

According to a report in the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, “Valley of the Wolves” focuses on the “suffering of a Palestinian family whose sons are killed by the Israeli army.” The report states that Palestinian female inmates are outraged over a scene in which a supposed Palestinian prisoner named Miriam is being raped by IDF soldiers in an Israeli prison.

In a statement issued Monday, the prisoners said that the scene has no bearing with reality. “This is an attempt to slander the Palestinian female prisoner’s image and mask its heroic role.” The prisoners feel that the scene is offensive to Palestinian women portraying them as submissive.

“The broadcast of these images is a humiliation for the people and the whole nation and serves the occupation alone,” the statement read.

The al-Quds al-Arabi report noted that the prisoner in the scene is later seen released from prison and murdered by family members “as traditionally done by the conservative Palestinian society.”

The murder scene also incurred the wrath of the women. “It’s a slandering of the Palestinian family which kills its daughter to clear the family’s honor,” their statement noted.

The prisoners noted that they were proudly welcomed by their families upon their release from prison.

Interestingly, one former prisoner admitted something very important about those Israeli prisons — Palestinian women are not sexually assaulted there:

A former Palestinian inmate from the Gaza Strip Manal al-Nawajha told the newspaper she had never heard of any rape incidents of Palestinian inmates throughout her prison term. She said that the rape scene in the series “compromised the Palestinian struggle and society at large.”

I believe that. Aside from the fact that Israelis generally hold themselves to a high standard, rape has not traditionally been a Jewish crime. That doesn’t mean Jews don’t commit rape; it just means that rape, traditionally, has been aberrant, rather than a part of the larger cultural norm.

If you’d like to protest gay activists who support Islam (which wants to kill them)

You and I know the incredible peculiarities of the Leftist world, which sees feminists ignoring sharia’s worst outrages and gay activists who are out in full cry trying to establish a fully Muslim Middle East, a place in which the only good gay activist will be a dead gay activist.  As to the latter, there is a protest in San Francisco, so I’m forwarding this email for those who are interested in attending:

1. Counterprotest this Thursday, April 8, 6 PM, Roxie Theater, 16th and Valencia, San Francisco.

“Out in Israel” is an LGBT cultural festival taking place in San Francisco during the month of April, sponsored in part by the Israeli Consulate, the San Francisco and East Bay Federations, JCRC, BlueStarPR, and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav. “Out In Israel” showcases some of the best of Israeli LGBT cultural creation: art, literature, film, drama, food, dance, progressive thought and intellectual debate. The celebration includes a Hebrew language LGBT film series, theatrical and musical performances by prominent Israeli artists, cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, literary readings, and panels discussions on LGBT culture in Israel and Zionist perspectives.

This Thursday, April 8 a local anti-Israel group called QUIT (“Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism”) will be protesting outside the Roxie Theater (16th and Valencia Streets, San Francisco) where the festival will have its opening night films. Yes, an LGBT group will be protesting Israel, the one country in the region that does not persecute LGBT individuals and groups. Yes, they will be protesting Israel, a place where LGBT Palestinians flee to seek refuge from the Islamists who harrass, torture and kill them. Yes, they will be protesting Israel, the country that that has openly gay members in its government and military. They will be supporting the agenda of Iran, a country whose leader claims it has no gays– while it publicly hangs them.

They hate Israel so much that they will not say one word about the persecution that they themselves would suffer in Gaza or Ramallah.

StandWithUs/ SF Voice for Israel will be there to stand up for Israel. We will meet at 6 PM in front of the Roxie. Look for the Israeli flags. We will have appropriate signs for this occasion as well as lots of flags. If you bring your own signs, please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians. Signs in violation of our policies will not be allowed.

We understand that some of our members do not agree with Israel’s policies towards LGBT rights. However, we will continue to support Israel in this regard and, at the same time, we look forward to your support in our other activities.

Please note that parking in this area is very limited. The theatre is one block west of the 16th and Mission BART, and 4 blocks from the Church Street Muni Metro.

GENERAL NOTES FOR RALLY BEHAVIOR- PLEASE READ:

Please BE PROFESSIONAL for Israel.

Please avoid signs that are offensive and will alienate press and passers by.

We will have enough signs with strong messages for you to hold, and you can choose from many messages. Please return all signs and flags at the end of the rally.

Please follow police orders.

Please don’t engage the other side.

Please avoid shouting epithets across the street.

They cannot hear you, and it really makes us all look like we are extremists or unreasonable. REMEMBER THAT THEY ARE THE EXTREMISTS– LET’S MAKE THEM LOOK THAT WAY!

At no point should you stand in the street.

If you will talk to press, please be professional and only speak to them if you are very knowledgeable.

We will have designated people prepared to speak to the press, it would be better if you would please refer press to designated

people who will be identified.

At the end of the rally people should leave in groups and avoid engaging those on the other side who may be prone to violence.

GOALS:

To get half of any media coverage that might show up.

To educate people about Israel’s strategic threats, and Israel’s right to defend its citizens.

To specifically educate people about LGBT rights and freedoms in Israel.

To let the other side know that they will not have a free pass as they organize to attack Israel on the streets of the Bay Area.

We will bring educational materials about the Gaza War for distribution as well.

THANK YOU and we will look forward to seeing you this Thursday. Bring your friends!

Peter Wehner gets to the core of Obama’s Israel fight

So many brilliant people have written about Obama’s full frontal attack on Israel.  Each has said something important, and all are very worrisome.  Peter Wehner, however, has most neatly nailed the moral component, the personality issue, behind Obama’s disgraceful behavior (behavior so disgraceful even the London Times caught on).  Here’s Wehner:

The entire theory on which the Obama administration is operating is false. The problem isn’t with Israel’s unwillingness to negotiate or even any dispute over territory; it is with the Palestinians’ unwillingness to make their own inner peace with the existence of a Jewish state.

Yet in thinking through all this, what is most striking to me is the disfiguring of moral considerations. Barack Obama is treating one of our best allies, and one of the most admirable and impressive nations in the world, worse than he treats the theocratic dictatorship in Iran or the anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Obama bows before autocrats and shakes the hands of tyrants and speaks with solicitude and undeserved respect to malevolent leaders. Yet with Israel he is petulant and angry, unable to detach himself from a weeks-long tantrum. Or, perhaps, unwilling to detach himself.

There is in the Obama administration an animus toward Israel that is troubling and may be unmatched in modern times (though Jimmy Carter, as ex-president, probably rivals it). Because of what is unfolding, there will be significant injury to our relationship with Israel. But it is also doing considerable damage to America’s moral standing. At its best, America stands for the right things and stands beside the right friends. In distancing us from Israel, Obama is distancing America from a nation that has sacrificed more for peace, and suffered more for their sacrifices, than any other. It is a deeply discouraging thing to see. And it is dangerous, too. Hatred for Israel is a deep and burning fire throughout the world. We should not be adding kindling wood to that fire.

Read the rest here.

This is not about Jews and non-Jews.  This should align, on the one side, decent people who believe in freedom, democracy and justice and, on the other side, indecent people who support totalitarianism, brutality and genocide.

Noah Pollak also explains just how heinous is the Hobson’s Choice Obama is forcing on Netanyahu.  Of Obama, I can only say, with heartfelt sincerity, that he is a vile, antisemitic, feral, immoral, indecent excuse for a human being.  And that’s on a good day.

About the Democrats and “History”

As I’ve already noted in this blog, the Left’s obsession with history doesn’t go as far as considering whether it’s good history or bad history.  In a superb article, Abe Greenwald makes precisely the same point:

For amid the symbolic fanfare of giant gavels and the tactical gravitas of deployed Lincoln quotes, one important fact is being swept aside: the state’s co-opting of the private sector never ends well. Every learned lesson about free markets and central planning, incentives, the allocation of scarce resources under competing systems, government incompetence, overall quality of life and freedom in socialist vs. capitalist states — in short, the reality of the Cold War — has been unlearned. Sunday night brought us the most ahistoric bit of history-making we’re likely to see in our lifetimes.

Middle East history has also gone out the window. Whenever Israel has acceded to Palestinian demands, the result has been increased Arab violence. The Palestinians, for their part, have yet to do what Israel and America ask: crack down on terrorism and recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.

But Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi can outsmart history. They also know best what’s good for the public, which is opposed to their campus-hatched schemes. Never mind what the people themselves want. The Democrats dismiss, along with history and majority opinion, the very system used to enact policy. The president told Bret Baier, “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate.” Of course not, too much history to make.

Read the rest here.