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The Iconoclast

Friday, 01 August 2014
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Paging all Australian Infidels who wish to stand up and be counted, whether on behalf of their persecuted brethren suffering a genocidal Muslim assault in Iraq, or on behalf of the Jewish state of Israel, currently being vilified for having the temerity to defend itself against a would-be-genocidal assault launched from Jihad Armed Camp Gaza.

If you live in or near any one of Australia's three largest cities - Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane - your chance is tomorrow Saturday August 2 2014, and the day after, Sunday August 3 2014.

In Melbourne, Victoria, on Saturday 2 August at 2.30 pm in Federation Square there will be a rally in solidarity with Iraqi Christians.  It has been organised by the Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrian Christian emigre community in Melbourne, supported by the Coptic Christian community of Melbourne which is of significant size and headed up by the decidedly-NON-dhimmified Bishop Suriel.

In an earlier posting at this blog, I drew attention to the rally, in support of Syrian/ Iraqi Christians, which is being held in Sydney tomorrow, August 2, from 9 am at Belmore Park, near Central Station in the City of Sydney.  The march to Martin Place has been cancelled and the speeches, etc will take place in Belmore Park.  If you are attending, travel to Central Station and you will be directed by marshals.  This rally has been organised by the Eastern Christians - Chaldean, Syriac, and Assyrian - and they are being supported by the Coptic Christian community of Sydney.

If you are a Sydneysider, then after attending the rally for the persecuted Iraqi Christians on August 2, you can  make your way to the Eastern Suburbs upon the following day (Sunday August 3) to demonstrate solidarity with the Jews of Israel and with Jews worldwide.  This rally will take place in Barracluff Park, North Bondi (Corner of South Head Road and Warners' Avenue) from 10.30 am.  NOTE: You  must bring valid proof of identity in order to enter the area where the rally is taking place, as security will be tight; placards will be provided.  Jewish community organisations have arranged this rally.

A rally in support of Israel will also take place in Brisbane, Queensland, on Sunday 3 August, from 2.30 (but aim to arrive around 2 pm).  Location: Queens Park, corner of Elizabeth and George Streets.  This rally has been organised by the State Zionist Council of Queensland, the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, and "Bridges for Peace".

This is very short notice - I only heard about these events this morning, myself, and apologise for not posting the information sooner.  However, I hope that at least some Australians who regularly read here may still be in a position to attend.  

If you do manage to get to any one of the above-mentioned, your first-hand reports sent to the "contact us" on this blog or posted in the comments below this article would be most welcome.

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Posted on 08/01/2014 8:23 AM by Christina McIntosh
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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My Fair Lady has told us that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.  She might now tell us of the outbursts, if not yet a tempest, of vicious antisemitic noises and the danger of tempestuous thunder showering the country with irresponsible condemnations of the State of Israel.

Jews have had a long connection with Spain and its possessions.  Some reputable scholars are certain, and a number of others believe, that Spain’s greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes, came from a family of conversos, Jews who in 1492 were forced to convert to Catholicism or be expelled, and that Don Quixote contains many references to Kabbalah or Jewish traditions.

At the current exhibition in the Museo del Prado in Madrid in July 2014 of the paintings of El Greco (Domenikos Theotokepoulos), popular discussion of his origins suggest that even he, born in Crete and raised as a Greek Orthodox Christian who spent most of his life in Toledo, might have had Jewish origins. Apparently, El Greco’s main associates, and his mistress and the mother of his child, were Jewish converts.

The Jewish experience is Spain was virtually terminated when Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon on March 31, 1492 ordered the expulsion from the two kingdoms, said to be the sites of the largest Jewish community in Europe, of all Jews who would not convert. The Spanish Inquisition created the concept of limpieza de sangue (purity of blood) to differentiate those of true blood from those who had Jewish, and Muslim, ancestors. This distinction made in Spanish racial laws was to be transmitted to Nazi ideology. In Mein Kampf, Book 1, chapter 8, Adolf Hitler wrote, “We must fight to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the purity of our blood.”

Some changes in Spanish behavior have been evident in recent years. An amusing drama, symbolizing efforts to overcome past prejudice, and to make amends for Jewish persecution during the Inquisition, was played out in a delightful comedy on May 24, 2014 when the small village of Castrillo Matajudios (Camp Kill Jews) by a vote of 29 to 19 agreed to change its name to Mota de Judios (Hill of the Jews). Its name had been changed in 1623, possibly by conversos who wanted to dissociate themselves from their Jewish origins. The village of 56, mostly elderly, people has no Jewish residents, but no doubt some have Jewish roots.

To make further amends, the Spanish Government and Parliament in an extraordinary move in June 2014 agreed to correct an “historic mistake” by offering Spanish citizenship to the descendants of the Sephardic (“Spanish” in Hebrew) Jews, who six centuries ago, were expelled. Moreover, recipients can accept this citizenship without being required to move to Spain or renounce any other citizenship they may have.

It is improbable that many, if indeed any, of the 800,000 Sephardic Jews in Israel are likely to accept the offer. Antisemitism has reared its ugly head in Spain in an increasing manner. This has been shown in research surveys, writings and by actual behavior. A dishonorable example of that behavior was the anger and hatred registered after the Maccabi Tel Aviv team beat Real Madrid in the final of the Euroleague basketball tournament. As a result, there were 17,500 antisemitic messages recorded by Twitter users, including bulletins of “Jews to the ovens,” and “Jews to the showers.” Noticeably, there has been a striking increase in the number of hostile references to Jews in print and online publications and other web sites.

Perhaps the most distasteful of these references are the continuing fulminations by the Spanish writer and playwright, Antonio Gala. In his latest article in El Mundo on July 23, 2014 he said, in the midst of commenting on what he thought were injustices by Israel in Gaza, that the expulsion of Jews in 1492 was justified. What was surprising, he said, was that the Jews persist. His remarks outrageously allude to a Jewish conspiracy; the Jews “have new means, dimensions, and benefits, with new pressure from a power situated elsewhere in the world and an invisible community of blood.”

Recent surveys in Spain of attitudes towards Jews and the State of Israel show an increase of antisemitic beliefs of five per cent between 2009 and 2012. Questions were asked on four issues; were Jews more loyal to Israel than to their own country; did they have too much power in the business world; too much power in international financial markets; did they talk too much about what happened to Jews in the Holocaust. On all of the answers the Spanish antisemitic score was high, almost the highest of the European countries surveyed. Shamefully, 25 per cent of Spaniards thought Jews were guilty on all four issues.

More pertinent to commentary on recent events is that 59 per cent said they were more likely to view Jews more negatively as a result of actions taken by Israel. This issue has now come to the fore because of a public letter written by one hundred prominent cultural personalities that was printed on July 28, 2014 by the Europa Press. The letter is highly critical of actions by Israel in the Gaza fighting, even to the point of referring to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza as genocide, and to  “Israeli Occupation Forces.”

The letter has received considerable attention because of its celebrated signatories, the most well known of whom are the film stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and the film directors Pedro Almodovar and Benito Zambrano. The first two are well known in the United States. There is no apparent connection between their famous film roles and their present statement. Cruz won the Oscar for best supporting actress in 2009 for playing a mentally and emotionally impaired woman. Bardem, renowned for playing villains, won in 2008 for his role as supporting actor as a psychopathic killer. He signed the letter in El Mondo, a paper that is well known for publishing antisemitic material and cartoons, often referring to Israel as a country of apartheid, colonialism, and ethnic cleansing. El Mundo’s point of view was obvious when it published in 2009 an interview by David Irving, the British well-known Holocaust denier, whom it characterized admiringly as an “expert.”

Bardem is also the author of an article published on July 25, 2014 in the New York Spanish paper, El  Eldiario.es, condemning, as he describes it, the war of occupation and extermination waged by Israel against a people with no means, and in which hospitals, ambulances, and children have been struck by Israeli actions. He, and his fellow celebrities who signed the letter, ignore or appear to be unaware of the war crimes that Hamas has committed, let alone the fact that Israel’s actions are responses to attacks initiated by Hamas. So far, Hamas rocket weapons have been found in three UNRWA schools in Gaza, an existence of which the officials of UNRWA running the schools feign ignorance.  Children have been used as human shields to prevent retaliation against terrorists, and that at least 160 children died when they were used as slave labor to build the tunnels for Hamas.

Bardem attempts to be disarming. He reported his son was born in a “Jewish (?) hospital.” Not unexpectedly, some of his best friends are Jews. In spite of them, his rhetoric, in which his wife Cruz joins, refuses to take account of actual events and the behavior of the terrorist group Hamas. Yet the reality is clear, as proclaimed in a broadcast sermon on July 25, 2014 on Al-Aqsa TV, the Hamas television station.  The broadcast outlined Hamas policy: “Our belief about fighting you Jews is that we will exterminate you, until the last one, and we will not leave even one.”  

Life is not a stage or film set, or an “insubstantial pageant.” The Spanish cultural elite must acknowledge that its stars are no longer in the Hollywood firmament competing for Oscars in supporting roles but engaged in legitimizing war crimes. According to experts in international law, by employing human shields, especially children, Hamas is committing a war crime. By contrast that law entitles Israel to attack buildings, normally used by civilians, which are being used for military purposes. These sites are regarded as legitimate military targets along with weapons and bombardment installations.

Bardem has written, “…there is no place for distance or neutrality.” In his self-conferred political supporting role he should read the existing script of action in Gaza accurately. In writing of a “war of occupation and extermination against a whole people,” he should be addressing the guilty party, Hamas, that has occupied and ruled Gaza since 2007, not the State of Israel.  Bardem should be aware that in July 2014 Hamas executed more than 30 Palestinians who were protesting against it.  He should take care that his “non-neutrality” is not defending or excusing Hamas war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Spain does not need another “historic mistake.”

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 08/01/2014 7:16 AM by Michael Curtis
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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Philip M. Boffey writes part 4 of the 6-part series in the NYTimes:

For Michele Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, there is no difference between the health effects of marijuana and those of any other illegal drug. “All illegal drugs are bad for people,” she told Congress in 2012, refusing to say whether crack, methamphetamines or prescription painkillers are more addictive or physically harmful than marijuana.

Her testimony neatly illustrates the vast gap between antiquated federal law enforcement policies and the clear consensus of science that marijuana is far less harmful to human health than most other banned drugs and is less dangerous than the highly addictive but perfectly legal substances known as alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana cannot lead to a fatal overdose. There is little evidence that it causes cancer. Its addictive properties, while present, are low, and the myth that it leads users to more powerful drugs has long since been disproved.

That doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless; in fact, the potency of current strains may shock those who haven’t tried it for decades, particularly when ingested as food. It can produce a serious dependency, and constant use would interfere with job and school performance. It needs to be kept out of the hands of minors. But, on balance, its downsides are not reasons to impose criminal penalties on its possession, particularly not in a society that permits nicotine use and celebrates drinking.

Marijuana’s negative health effects are arguments for the same strong regulation that has been effective in curbing abuse of legal substances. Science and government have learned a great deal, for example, about how to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. Mandatory underage drinking laws and effective marketing campaigns have reduced underage alcohol use to 24.8 percent in 2011, compared with 33.4 percent in 1991. Cigarette use among high school students is at its lowest point ever, largely thanks to tobacco taxes and growing municipal smoking limits. There is already some early evidence that regulation would also help combat teen marijuana use, which fell after Colorado began broadly regulating medical marijuana in 2010.

Comparing the Dangers

As with other recreational substances, marijuana’s health effects depend on the frequency of use, the potency and amount of marijuana consumed, and the age of the consumer. Casual use by adults poses little or no risk for healthy people. Its effects are mostly euphoric and mild, whereas alcohol turns some drinkers into barroom brawlers, domestic abusers or maniacs behind the wheel.

An independent scientific committee in Britain compared 20 drugs in 2010 for the harms they caused to individual users and to society as a whole through crime, family breakdown, absenteeism, and other social ills. Adding up all the damage, the panel estimated that alcohol was the most harmful drug, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana ranked eighth, having slightly more than one-fourth the harm of alcohol.

Federal scientists say that the damage caused by alcohol and tobacco is higher because they are legally available; if marijuana were legally and easily obtainable, they say, the number of people suffering harm would rise. However, a 1995 study for the World Health Organization concluded that even if usage of marijuana increased to the levels of alcohol and tobacco, it would be unlikely to produce public health effects approaching those of alcohol and tobacco in Western societies.

Most of the risks of marijuana use are “small to moderate in size,” the study said. “In aggregate, they are unlikely to produce public health problems comparable in scale to those currently produced by alcohol and tobacco.”

While tobacco causes cancer, and alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis, no clear causal connection between marijuana and a deadly disease has been made. Experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the scientific arm of the federal anti-drug campaign, published a review of the adverse health effects of marijuana in June that pointed to a few disease risks but was remarkably frank in acknowledging widespread uncertainties. Though the authors believed that legalization would expose more people to health hazards, they said the link to lung cancer is “unclear,” and that it is lower than the risk of smoking tobacco.

The very heaviest users can experience symptoms of bronchitis, such as wheezing and coughing, but moderate smoking poses little risk. A 2012 study found that smoking a joint a day for seven years was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function. Experts say that marijuana increases the heart rate and the volume of blood pumped by the heart, but that poses a risk mostly to older users who already have cardiac or other health problems.

How Addictive Is Marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t addictive in the same sense as heroin, from which withdrawal is an agonizing, physical ordeal. But it can interact with pleasure centers in the brain and can create a strong sense of psychological dependence that addiction experts say can be very difficult to break. Heavy users may find they need to take larger and larger doses to get the effects they want. When they try to stop, some get withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleeping difficulties and anxiety that are usually described as relatively mild.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine, the largest association of physicians specializing in addiction, issued a white paper in 2012 opposing legalization because “marijuana is not a safe and harmless substance” and marijuana addiction “is a significant health problem.”

Nonetheless, that health problem is far less significant than for other substances, legal and illegal. The Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, said in a 1999 study that 32 percent of tobacco users become dependent, as do 23 percent of heroin users, 17 percent of cocaine users, and 15 percent of alcohol drinkers. But only 9 percent of marijuana users develop a dependence.

“Although few marijuana users develop dependence, some do,” according to the study. “But they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.”

There’s no need to ban a substance that has less than a third of the addictive potential of cigarettes, but state governments can discourage heavy use through taxes and education campaigns and help provide treatment for those who wish to quit.

Impact on Young People

One of the favorite arguments of legalization opponents is that marijuana is the pathway to more dangerous drugs. But a wide variety of researchers have found no causal factor pushing users up the ladder of harm. While 111 million Americans have tried marijuana, only a third of that number have tried cocaine, and only 4 percent heroin. People who try marijuana are more likely than the general population to try other drugs, but that doesn’t mean marijuana prompted them to do so.

Marijuana “does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse,” the Institute of Medicine study said. The real gateway drugs are tobacco and alcohol, which young people turn to first before trying marijuana.

It’s clear, though, that marijuana is now far too easy for minors to obtain, which remains a significant problem. The brain undergoes active development until about age 21, and there is evidence that young people are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of marijuana.

A long-term study based in New Zealand, published in 2012, found that people who began smoking heavily in their teens and continued into adulthood lost an average of eight I.Q. points by age 38 that could not be fully restored. A Canadian study published in 2002 also found an I.Q. loss among heavy school-age users who smoked at least five joints a week.

The case is not completely settled. The New Zealand study was challenged by a Norwegian researcher who said socio-economic factors may have played a role in the I.Q. loss. But the recent review by experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that adults who smoked heavily in adolescence had impaired neural connections that interfered with the functioning of their brains. Early and frequent marijuana use has also been associated with poor grades, apathy and dropping out of school, but it is unclear whether consumption triggered the poor grades.

Restricting marijuana to adults is more important now that Colorado merchants are selling THC, the drug’s active ingredient, in candy bars, cookies and other edible forms likely to appeal to minors. Experience in Colorado has shown that people can quickly ingest large amounts of THC that way, which can produce frightening hallucinations.

Although marijuana use had been declining among high school students for more than a decade, in recent years it has started to climb, in contrast to continuing declines in cigarette smoking and alcohol use. Emergency room visits listing marijuana as the principal cause of admission soared above 455,000 in 2011, up 52 percent from 2004. Nearly 70 percent of the teenagers in residential substance-abuse programs run by Phoenix House, which operates drug and alcohol treatment centers in 10 states, listed marijuana as their primary problem.

Those are challenges for regulators in any state that chooses to legalize marijuana. But they are familiar challenges, and they will become easier for governments to deal with once more of them bring legal marijuana under tight regulation.

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Posted on 08/01/2014 5:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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There is more behind Israeli Prime Minister’s objection to Qatar as a go between with the Administration seeking to gain leverage with Hamas for the current 72 hour truce. Qatar’s contribution to Hamas goes beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars diverted to build the terror tunnels. It also encompasses a hitherto unrevealed cyberwarfare effort by Qatar to design and build a high tech system to automatically launch rockets and missiles against Israeli civilians and IDF forces. Start-Up Israel, a publication of The Times of Israel, had an article about the Qatari high tech role in Hamas’ war with Israel  in today’s edition authored by journalist David Shamah, “Qatari tech helps Hamas in tunnels, rockets: Expert”.

Here are some jarring excerpts:

Though many Israelis underestimate its capabilities, Hamas actually has sophisticated computer and networking resources in terror tunnels to detect the presence of IDF troops and to automatically fire rockets and missiles at Israeli targets — and a rich sponsor is helping them.

It is Gulf energy powerhouse Qatar, says Aviad Dadon of Israeli cyber-security firm AdoreGroup. “The Qataris have invested hundreds of millions in both defensive and offensive cyber capabilities,” said Dadon. “We have sourced 70% of the cyber-attacks on Israeli government sites in recent weeks to IP addresses associated with Qatar.”
[…]

Not only is Qatar footing the bill, it also trained Hamas terrorists how to use sophisticated equipment and systems to manage its extensive terror tunnel system, as well, systems to fire rockets at Israel using automatic, timed launching systems.

“Qatar looks at this war between Israel and Hamas as a proving ground,” said Dadon, a senior cyber-security adviser at several Israeli government ministries. “They are taking lessons from the performance of their cyber-equipment and will improve them even further for the next war, which will be even more cyber-oriented than this one.”

According to Dadon, Hamas has embedded sophisticated network systems inside its terror tunnels, giving operatives in command and control centers the ability to monitor events in any of the tunnels. Using sensors and other networked equipment, terrorists can quickly be notified if an IDF unit is advancing in a tunnel, allowing them to disperse quickly — and allowing the command and control staff to set off explosives when soldiers approach a booby trap.

[…]

Besides the assistance Qatar gives Hamas, hackers hired by the Gulf kingdom have been busy hitting Israeli government and infrastructure sites, trying to disrupt the operations of electricity, water, and other critical systems, said Dadon. “They are at the top of the (target) pyramid in the use of cyber-technology for terrorist purposes,” he said, adding that Israel has successfully defended its infrastructure with its own sophisticated cyber-security technology.

Qatar is using the Gaza war to test out systems to defend against threats from neighboring  Saudi Arabia:

While Doha is allowing Hamas to use its technology to fight Israel, it is their own cyber-security the leaders of Qatar are worried about. “For them, the war between Israel and Hamas is a proving ground to see how their investments in cyber systems have paid off,” Dadon said. Qatar is very worried that one of its Gulf rivals — specifically Saudi Arabia — will use technology to attack it, and Qatar spends a great deal of money each year on shoring up its cyber-technology.

The motivation behind the Qatari development of cyber warfare capabilities-overthrow of Saudi Arabia and support for Muslim Brotherhood:

Politics is behind Qatar’s willingness to pay for Hamas’ cyber-system. The Saudis believe that Qatar is behind efforts to unseat the Saudi royal family — using social media and the Al-Jazeera satellite channel.  Riyadh earlier this year recalled its ambassador to Doha, after he refused to pledge that it would “not interfere in others’ internal affairs.”  Eli Aviad, who formerly headed Israel’s Economic Liaison office in Qatar said that, “Israel and Hamas are a ‘playground’ for Qatar. Qatar already spends billions each year on cyber-security, and in recent years that spending has gone up substantially.” While they are primarily interested in cyber defense, Aviad said, “they are also interested in assisting their Muslim Brotherhood allies — and hence their willingness to fund the Hamas terror program”. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The question is who in Qatar, the tiny gas-rich peninsula off Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, are building these sophisticated cyber warfare capabilities. Qatar has only 280,000 citizens supported by nearly 2 million foreign workers, largely from South Asia and the Indonesian and Philippine archipelagoes. Have they sent their best and brightest for technical education in the West or could it be foreign contractors? The US Administration signed an $11 billion arms deal with Qatar shortly after the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. We question what that arms deal may include. Watch out, Egypt.
 

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Posted on 08/01/2014 4:22 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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The son of the founder of Hamas, who has clearly fallen away from Islam, here.

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Posted on 08/01/2014 4:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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Sobre la desproporción: No existe “conflicto en Medio Oriente”

 

funny refeeri
Árbitro cobrando la “desproporción israelí”… ¿Por qué demonios no hay más sangre judía?

En esta ocasión no me dedicaré a profundizar sobre la guerra entre Israel y Hamás, cómo ella unió a toda la sociedad israelí, ni hablaré de las múltiples tergiversaciones, mentiras, omisiones de información o campañas de propaganda que ocurren en los diversos medios de comunicación de todo el mundo empeñados en negar los hechos, rechazar un mínimo de imparcialidad y ser incapaces de entender el simple derecho a la autodefensa de un país democrático salvajemente atacado por una organización terrorista y fundamentalista. Una organización fanática que busca muertos civiles entre el enemigo y su propia población. Eso lo dejo para mis buenos colaboradores y pido disculpas porque desde que estalló todo esto no tuve tiempo de dedicarle ninguna atención por motivos personales. En este caso quiero hablar de la aberración lingüística de la mayor parte de los medios gráficos y audiovisuales de Argentina y posiblemente otros países cuando hablan del “conflicto en Medio Oriente” para referirse al conflicto que enfrenta a palestinos e israelíes por el mismo pedazo de tierra. Desconozco si el caso se repite en otros países latinoamericanos o medios angloparlantes, por eso me limitaré a los numerosos medios argentinos que cometen esta burrada. No considero necesario nombrarlos específicamente porque son la mayoría de ellos y también incluye a los medios que no tienen necesariamente una agenda antiisraelí particular, pero aún así cometen el error una y otra vez.

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Hablar de “conflicto en Medio Oriente” para referirse a lo que sucede en Gaza no solo constituye una ridiculez semántica, sino un insulto a la inteligencia y las víctimas de conflictos mucho más sangrientos y duraderos en esa región. Conflictos (con “s” final) en Oriente Próximo hay muchos y el conflicto palestino-israelí es uno de los menores a juzgar por su implicancia y número de víctimas. Hablar de “conflicto en Medio Oriente” para referirse a lo que sucede en la Franja de Gaza es desconocer que actualmente en Siria hay una guerra que en tres años y medio se cobró más de 200.000 muertos, donde varios países de la región y fuera de ella están implicados, se utilizaron armas químicas directamente contra una población civil y las consecuencias geopolíticas exceden al propio país en cuestión, ya que desató conflictos sectarios, y se cobró muchas víctimas en Líbano y otros lugares. Hablar de “conflicto en Medio Oriente” para referirse a Gaza es negar que hay una guerra civil en Irak donde los fundamentalistas del ISIS – más que una organización poderosa son un Estado en formación – están ganando peligrosamente cada vez más terreno. Y por cierto los muertos que se cobró el último conflicto interno en Irak superan por lejos al de los palestinos e israelíes. Hablar de “conflicto en Medio Oriente” para referirse a Gaza es ignorar lo que sucede en Libia donde los extremistas islámicos, el residuo de viejos partidarios de Gadaffi y el gobierno central aprenden a “dialogar” con bombas, tiroteos, atentados suicidas y secuestros. También es ser cómplice por omisión de la verdadera limpieza étnica que enfrentan los cristianos en toda esa región, donde son brutalmente perseguidos en todos y cada uno de los países árabes. También es mirar para otro lado cuando se trata de la insurgencia islamista en Egipto con su cuota de miles de muertos, el terrorismo permanente en Pakistán, la guerra todavía presente en Afganistán o el viejo conflicto de Turquía con los kurdos, por nombrar algunos. Hablar de “conflicto en Medio Oriente” cuando se trata de Gaza es olvidar que hay otro conflicto que probablemente desembocará en una guerra futura y se trata de las ambiciones nucleares del régimen iraní, algo independiente de los palestinos. Pero no se trata únicamente de los otros conflictos en Medio Oriente que existen actualmente, también resulta impreciso y erróneo hablar de “conflicto en Medio Oriente” para Gaza porque excluye otros conflictos del pasado que no se relacionan con Israel, como fueron las terribles guerras civiles en Yemen (cientos de miles de muertos), la guerra de ocho años entre Irán e Irak, la Guerra del Golfo y la guerra de Irak del 2003, entre otros.

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Parece ridículo referirse al conflicto en Ucrania como “conflicto en Europa del Este”, aunque todos sabrían de qué país se está hablando. Después de todo, actualmente no hay otro conflicto bélico en Europa más que Ucrania. Por ende sería más ridículo hablar de un único “conflicto” en una zona plagada de ellos como Oriente Medio, más aún cuando ni siquiera es utilizado para referirse al conflicto más grave de la zona.

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Pienso que hay dos factores que pueden explicar esta terminología errónea. El primero es la ignorancia, que aparece luego de repetir como un loro lo que escriben los propios colegas y terminar incorporando al vocabulario una mentira desopilante. Aunque la función de los medios debería ser informar, los mismos están compuestos por periodistas que pueden ser igual de ignorantes que cualquier otra persona, más aún cuando reportan sucesos a miles de kilómetros de distancia, sin preocuparse por investigar, influenciados por falsos paradigmas y terminología incorrecta.

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El segundo factor es la desactualizada “teoría del dominó” donde, para referirse al conflicto palestino-israelí, se utiliza el desproporcionado término “conflicto en Medio Oriente” con una clara intencionalidad política. Hace pocos años atrás existía una falsa impresión entre muchos analistas de que la raíz o el corazón de todos los conflictos en Medio Oriente era el conflicto palestino-israelí. Por lo tanto, decían, si se resolvía este conflicto y se creaba un Estado palestino (aunque esto último no garantiza el fin de este conflicto agrego yo), entonces todos los otros conflictos de la región se resolverían y caerían como una ficha de dominó, debido a que esto es el combustible que alimenta el radicalismo islámico y todas las otras luchas. Desde que estallaron las revueltas árabes en 2011, lo único que cayó como ficha de dominó fue esta farsa y ya nadie sostiene públicamente que la resolución del conflicto palestino-israelí y/o la creación de un Estado palestino terminará con la violencia entre sunitas y chiítas en Irak o Bahrein, el conflicto entre el ejército y los Hermanos Musulmanes en Egipto, o la guerra entre los partidarios y opositores de Assad en Siria, por nombrar unos pocos. Por el simple hecho de que el conflicto palestino-israelí nunca fue el único ni el principal conflicto en esa región. De hecho, ningún otro conflicto está relacionado significativamente con Israel o los palestinos, a excepción del conflicto árabe-israelí. No obstante, parece ser tan pobre la información sobre la región que tienen los periodistas argentinos que ni siquiera se molestan en ver los sucesos internacionales que ocurren delante de sus ojos.

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La atención desproporcionada que algunos le prestan a los sucesos que involucran a Israel ni siquiera tiene que ver con un apoyo sincero a los palestinos. Nadie se manifestó, nadie protestó, nadie organizó flotillas, nadie movió un dedo por los palestinos que literalmente se morían de hambre en el campo de refugiados de Yarmouk en Siria, por el simple hecho de que eran asediados por Assad y acribillados por el FPLP. Israel no estaba involucrado. En otras palabras… no Jews, no news.

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Aunque me puede parecer terriblemente inmoral, entiendo a los musulmanes que se manifiestan contra Israel en sus países, aunque rara vez hacen algo más que cacarear. Por un extraño sentido del “honor” que ellos tienen, resulta común y aceptable ver a musulmanes matando a cientos de miles de musulmanes en un país cercano o ver musulmanes secuestrando niñas no musulmanes en Nigeria, algo que no despierta su indignación. Pero si un occidental se atreve a dibujar caricaturas de Mahoma o una docena de palestinos son abatidos en enfrentamientos con los judíos… la ira estalla. Su aparente dignidad ha sido ofendida y humillada en esta derrota. Aunque no comparto su lógica, la entiendo. Es una cuestión de identidad y orgullo, no amor a los palestinos. Un no musulmán matando a un musulmán es mucho más grave que un musulmán matando a un musulmán. Ahora bien, aquellos que no son musulmanes y viven a miles de kilómetros de distancia del área de conflicto… ¿Qué pretexto tienen? ¿Cómo puede ser que hagan la vista gorda cuando niños son gaseados en Siria, cristianos son mutilados en Irak o kurdos asesinados en Turquía, pero le prestan una desproporcionada atención cada vez que le pueden echar la culpa a Israel de algo? Creo que la respuesta es que Israel es un Estado judío y hay un antisemitismo intrínseco en muchas personas. Como dice Pat Condell, si Israel fuera cristiano o budista (por no mencionar musulmán), nadie le dedicaría una décima parte de la atención que le prestan los diarios. ¡Señor réferi, cobre la desproporción!

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Para hablar de “desproporción” como les gusta a los enemigos de Israel, primero habría que explicar lo ridículamente desproporcionado que es dedicarle tantas páginas de diario (en papel o digitales) para denostar a Israel cada vez que muere una docena de palestinos (no esperan a que mueran cientos para llenar tapas de diarios) cuando unos pocos kilómetros más al norte existe un país llamado Siria (¿se acuerdan?) donde en tres años de conflicto murió más gente que todos los judíos y árabes juntos que murieron en el lapso de un siglo entero como consecuencia, ya no solo del conflicto palestino-israelí, sino directamente de todo el conflicto árabe-israelí, con grandes guerras incluidas. El Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU recién intentó intervenir en Siria cuando la cifra de muertos llegó a los 100.000, con nulos resultados por supuesto. Por cierto, las bajas de los soldados israelíes y de los países árabes en las distintas guerras que los enfrentaron superan por lejos las muertes del conflicto exclusivo entre palestinos e israelíes con todos sus atentados, operaciones militares, Intifadas y mini-guerras como la actual. Aunque por supuesto el conflicto palestino-israelí está incluido en el árabe-israelí (los palestinos son árabes), en rigor sería incorrecto y anacrónico hablar del conflicto árabe-israelí para referirse a Gaza. Por el contrario, se puede hablar del conflicto palestino-israelí o, si se busca mayor precisión, del conflicto israelo-gazatí, dado que el territorio de la Ribera Occidental o Judea y Samaria no está directamente involucrado en los combates de ahora, aunque sí bastante relacionado. Recordemos que en Gaza gobierna el Hamás, que sigue con una agenda que es inversa a la del Fatah, partido laico nacionalista que controla la Autoridad Palestina en la Ribera Occidental: mientras que este partido apoya supuestamente la fórmula de “dos estados para dos pueblos”, también aceptada por Israel, y la confrontación no violenta y diplomática, Hamás se empecina en un solo estado, que sea de corte islámico radical en toda la llamada “Palestina” (comprendiendo el territorio del viejo Mandato Británico), destrucción de Israel mediante. También apoya el mantenimiento de la “lucha armada” y se opone a todo diálogo con Israel.

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Muy indignante y escandaloso resulta escuchar insultos contra Israel de parte de los autodenominados “intelectuales” y propagandistas que se callaron y miraron para otro lado o incluso apoyaron a un dictador brutal, un sádico carnicero, un tirano que tortura y masacra a su propio pueblo para mantenerse en el poder unos pocos años más, gaseando niños hasta la muerte, arrojando bombas termobáricas en el medio de áreas residenciales, arrasando con barrios enteros por la sospecha de pertenecer al grupo étnico equivocado (que son la mayoría de la población siria, por cierto), tirando al azar barriles explosivos contra las casas (se parecen a los terroristas del Hamás que bombardean al azar las ciudades israelíes con sus misiles, que por supuesto no tienen un objetivo militar específico), violando mujeres, torturando salvajemente prisioneros y asesinando miles de civiles inocentes. De hecho, si este video fuera el de un niño palestino, las condenas mundiales no se harían esperar (me refiero si existiera un video auténtico, no otro montaje de Pallywood). Los comentarios antisemitas llamando al genocidio serían moneda corriente. Pero como se trata de otra víctima de Assad, a nadie le importa un bledo, nadie organiza pogromos contra musulmanes o partidarios de Assad, e incluso la izquierda canalla lo justifica o minimiza (vamos hermano Assad! Siga matando valientemente a los bebés). Nadie habla de “masacre”, “genocidio” o “barbarie” en ese caso, a excepción de los sirios que lo padecen directamente. Mejor dicho, los “pacifistas” de salón salen a protestar recién cuando una potencia extranjera amenaza con intervenir para detener esa verdadera masacre.

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Otra sobre desproporción, aún antes de que comenzaran los primeros enfrentamientos entre Hamás e Israel. El año pasado la Asamblea General de la ONU emitió tres veces más resoluciones contra Israel que sobre Siria, Irán, Sudán y Corea del Norte COMBINADOS. ¿Alguien puede creer seriamente que Israel, con todas sus virtudes y defectos, es más digno de atención y condena que el régimen de Assad, Irán con su ahorcamiento de homosexuales, disidentes y minorías (por no hablar de su terrorismo global en cinco continentes), Corea del Norte con sus campos de concentración, o los sudaneses con su genocidio en Darfur? ¡Todo eso junto! Ni ellos se lo creen. Menos mal que la Asamblea General solo puede emitir resoluciones no-vinculantes de carácter recomendativo. Ahora el autodenominado Consejo de “Derechos Humanos” de la ONU quiere juzgar por crímenes de guerra a los israelíes (da lo mismo que sea Olmert, Netanyahu, Rabin, Lapid, Livni o el Meretz, para ellos cualquier gobierno israelí que se ve obligado a defender a sus ciudadanos merece un trato similar a los genocidas de Ruanda). Déjenme ser claro: si una ambulancia, una escuela de la UNRWA, una casa o un hospital son utilizados para almacenar armas o transportar terroristas, automáticamente se convierten en objetivos militares legítimos, porque son utilizados para fines militares. Como tal pueden ser destruidos. No hay escudos humanos que valgan.

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El Consejo de “Derechos Humanos” está totalmente desprestigiado. El escándalo era tal que tuvo que ser suspendido y rearmado por Kofi Annan en 2006, sin mejores resultados. Este consejo no tiene autoridad legal o moral alguna para juzgar a nadie (sería una aberración jurídica y una afrenta a la soberanía de las democracias). Este Consejo resulta insólito y tragicómico si tenemos en cuenta que está compuesto por los peores violadores de los derechos humanos en el mundo. Nadie puede creer honestamente que Irak, Libia, Siria, Irán, Venezuela, Cuba, Corea del Norte, Bangladesh o los personajes que presiden el organismo (entre los que se encuentra la esposa del conspiranoico antisemita pro-terrorista Richard Falk) tiene alguna autoridad para juzgar a la democracia israelí. Estoy hablando de países que tienen mucho menos que un historial medianamente limpio acerca del tratamiento a sus propias poblaciones. Son dictaduras, regímenes autoritarios y violadores sistemáticos de los derechos civiles más básicos. Israel no solo debería boicotear a este jurado de bandidos (se retiró del organismo pero lamentablemente había vuelto a ingresar), sino también denegar la entrada a su territorio de aquellos representantes de este organismo anti-israelí. Los derechos humanos no deben ser una broma ni un instrumento político al servicio de las tiranías. No creo en dejar a los terroristas usar nuestro sistema de derechos humanos occidental contra nosotros demandando que sean tratados respetuosamente mientras ellos degüellan a bebés durmiendo en sus cunas y lanzan misiles con la intención de destruir un país entero sin el menor reparo ético. Y esto no empezó hace poco. Recuerden que fue en la misma ONU que se catalogó al sionismo como “racismo”, se condenó la operación de Entebbe y se denunció el tratado de paz entre Israel y Egipto.

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Déjenme darles un ejemplo ilustrativo. Era una semana normal del 2013, no había guerra ni escalada del conflicto en Israel… en un fin de semana, este Consejo de “Derechos Humanos” condenó a Israel cinco veces, al tiempo que la matanza en Siria continuaba, gente inocente era asesinada a lo largo y ancho de Oriente Próximo y los derechos humanos de numerosas poblaciones eran violados sistemáticamente. En muchos de esos países la libertad de expresión era suprimida y dicho Consejo decidió enfocar su atención en Israel por haber clausurado un balcón en un barrio árabe de Jerusalén Oriental que no contaba con el permiso municipal necesario. Como pueden ver, este absurdo no empieza solamente cuando Israel se ve envuelto en una guerra que ni siquiera eligió empezar. Es algo de todos los días, con o sin guerra. Cualquier excusa les viene bien.

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Assad no le pide permiso a la ONU para asesinar cientos de miles de hombres, mujeres y niños. Irán enriquece uranio a pesar de que el Consejo de Seguridad (que teóricamente emite resoluciones obligatorias) se lo prohíbe. No resulta sorprendente que nadie tome enserio a la ONU ni sus resoluciones. Recuerden que en el pasado este organismo designó a Pakistán, la Libia de Gadaffi, el Irak de Saddam Hussein, el Irán de los ayatolás o la Siria de Assad en comités para la protección de la mujer, la democracia, los derechos humanos, el desarmamiento, etc. Yo me pregunto, ya que estamos, por qué no designan a un jefe narcotraficante al frente de una compañía farmacéutica o un organismo de lucha antidroga. O por qué no llaman a un pedófilo para enseñar en un jardín de infantes o le piden a un líder de la mafia que presida un programa policial para la protección de testigos.

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Imaginen si la señora Roosevelt hubiera sabido que los judíos serían vistos nuevamente como los más grandes villanos del mundo en el organismo internacional que ayudó a crear luego de los horrores de Auschwitz. Ella estaría avergonzada de encontrar que la ONU se ha convertido en una fuerza de liderazgo global detrás de una nueva cultura de “derechos humanos” que tiende a ver racismo en cualquier parte, pero antisemitismo en ningún lado (tal vez con la excepción de los cabezas rapadas, que ni siquiera son significativos dentro del antisemitismo contemporáneo).

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Hablando de comparaciones desproporcionadas, me pregunto si Eleanor Roosevelt podía llegar a imaginar que una democracia hebrea sería vapuleada por defenderse de islamofascistas que matan a cualquiera que no piense como ellos, se felicitan con el saludo nazi y pretenden exterminar a todo un pueblo. Me pregunto qué diría ella al escuchar que un conflicto militar que se cobró unas mil vidas es comparado con el exterminio planificado, masivo y sistemático de una población entera (por el solo hecho de pertenecer a una minoría étnica) mediante el trabajo esclavo, el hambre, los experimentos médicos, los crematorios, las fosas masivas, las marchas de la muerte, los campos de concentración, las cámaras de gas, los millones de cuerpos apilados, las cenizas de los muertos cubriendo un continente entero, bebés estrellados contra la pared, los escuadrones de la muerte merodeando el área para disparar a miles de personas a la vez o quemarlos hasta la muerte. En otras palabras, el peor genocidio conocido por el hombre, donde dos tercios de la judería europea fue aniquilada. Otra de desproporción… incluso la Unión Soviética, el país que sufrió el mayor número de bajas en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, perdió menos de un quinto de su población total, cuando los judíos perdieron el 66%… de los nueve millones de judíos en Europa antes de la guerra, seis millones fueron exterminados. De hecho, señor pajarito loco, yo no estaba al tanto de que en la Alemania Nazi a los manifestantes les permitían acostarse y actuar como bebés llorones. Tampoco sabía que a los oponentes del Tercer Reich (incluyendo asesinos de niños) los liberaran de las cárceles con la esperanza de lograr acuerdos de paz con sus enemigos… o que las tropas de las SS utilizaban armas no letales para dispersar a los violentos en los disturbios que lanzaban piedras, bombas incendiarias y molotov contra los hogares (dudo que esto haya podido pasar de todas formas).

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La ignorancia no es una excusa. Hay demasiados libros, testimonios de sobrevivientes, evidencias tangibles, historiadores y millones de inocentes que “se desvanecieron” como para desconocer lo que sucedió. Cualquiera que es capaz de comparar a las víctimas con sus asesinos está falto de decencia, corazón y alma. No resiste ningún análisis y escapa cualquier discusión política racional. La banalización del Holocausto es una de las peores formas de antisemitismo y debe ser tratada como tal, porque es más peligrosa que el negacionismo. La memoria de las víctimas de la Shoá es demasiado sagrada para ser utilizada por los enemigos de Israel para sus aberrantes propósitos espurios.

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Creo que algunos confunden el deseo de los palestinos y su lujuria por la destrucción de Israel con los nazis (desde Amin al-Husseini hasta Khaled Mashal)… pero acusan a la gente equivocada. Contrariamente a lo que esgrimen, Israel no tiene ningún episodio donde asesina niños deliberadamente (y los que cometen crímenes contra árabes inocentes son encarcelados, no festejados y llamados “héroes” como en la Autoridad Palestina). Los palestinos, por el contrario, tienen una larga historia de bombardeos intencionados a escuelas y hospitales, acuchillamiento de bebés y la masacre de Maalot entre MUCHOS otros ejemplos, mientras incitan al martirio infantil, usando a sus propios hijos como tropas de primera línea. Están tan desesperados por mostrar a sus escudos humanos mutilados que cuando es necesario fabrican imágenes falsas de niños muertos, parte del montaje de Pallywood. Y la excusa de que “no son un Estado” no tiene validez jurídica o moral. Todos los bandos beligerantes, tanto estatales como no-estatales (incluyendo organizaciones terroristas) están obligados a cumplir ciertas leyes de guerra. Pero históricamente los árabes utilizaron la Convención de Ginebra como papel higiénico, por eso tiran piedras contra automóviles civiles (causando muertos y heridos), apuñalan y disparan contra civiles, incluyendo mujeres, ancianos, niños y bebés, comen los órganos de prisioneros indefensos, perpetran atentados suicidas en discotecas, disparan misiles contra jardines de infantes y – cuando los israelíes se defienden y responden – se dirigen a la ONU con la nariz sangrando para pedir a Israel que muestre contención. Pero claro, ellos no pueden ser criticados nunca, ni siquiera después de rechazar cinco treguas distintas. Lanzaron más de 2.500 misiles en menos de un mes. Si no matan suficientes civiles, es porque no pueden, no porque no quieren. Es porque tienen delante un ejército que se sacrifica por su población, en vez de sacrificar a su población por ellos como hace el Hamás.

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Por 23 días, Hamás disparó más de 2.500 misiles contra las ciudades israelíes, incluyendo Tel Aviv y su área metropolitana. Además de enviar drones y terroristas a los túneles para infiltrarse en territorio israelí. Casi todos sus intentos han sido frustrados, entre otras cosas porque afortunadamente Israel posee un desarrollo tecnológico impresionante y único que salió a la luz hace poco tiempo. A los refugios, se suma la Cúpula de Hierro, el sistema antimisiles que salva incontables vidas y le permite a la población israelí vivir con cierta normalidad. Pero me gustaría ver cómo reacciona algún otro líder mundial cuando una organización terrorista tiene la costumbre de disparar misiles cotidianamente contra la principal metrópoli de su país. ¿Qué haría el presidente Putin si los chechenos lanzaran 2.500 misiles contra Moscú? ¿Qué haría Erdogan si los kurdos hicieran lo propio con Estambul? Me parece que incluso el presidente Obama lanzaría una operación militar gigantesca si al-Qaeda disparara miles de misiles contra la ciudad de Nueva York.

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Claramente el mundo no pierde la paciencia por la ocupación turca del norte de Chipre, los crímenes chinos en el Tíbet, la ocupación rusa de Abjazia y Chechenia, la ocupación colonial española en Marruecos, Ceuta, Melilla o la falta de independencia de Cataluña, la ocupación francesa de Nueva Caledonia, Martinica, Guadalupe y Miquelón, la ocupación iraní de las islas de Abu Musa, Tumb Mayor y Menor, la opresión en Corea del Norte, la falta de independencia del Kurdistán (35 millones de personas) o el hecho de que desde hace más de cincuenta años los cubanos no pueden elegir a su propio gobierno en elecciones libres (aunque los comunistas realicen malabares conceptuales para explicar que existe “democracia” en un sistema de partido único, o aunque pongan como excusa la amenaza externa del “bloqueo” norteamericano, aunque nunca utilizan la misma comprensión de la amenaza externa cuando se trata de Israel, ahí sí que no perdonan ni una). Y antes de que me olvide, Israel lucha para defender a su propia población de los misiles que lanzan desde un territorio evacuado hace nueve años – no valen las excusas de “tiran misiles porque hay asentamientos” – no lucha para mantener una ocupación colonial a miles de kilómetros de distancia de su territorio como hacen los “civilizados” de la pérfida Albión en Malvinas, Gibraltar y el norte de Irlanda. La así llamada “comunidad internacional” tampoco pierde la paciencia por todos los numerosos y sangrientos conflictos (con “s” final) en Oriente Próximo que mencioné anteriormente. Mientras los países árabes arden por conflictos sectarios, la ONU está más preocupada por SodaStream.

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¿Con qué derecho ellos juzgan a un país diminuto – bastante más civilizado y compasivo que sus vecinos – cuya existencia y población se ven amenazadas constantemente, al borde del secuestro, la muerte y la extinción? Más aún cuando fueron esas mismas naciones quienes persiguieron a ese pueblo cuando era minoría en sus países, sometiéndolo durante incontables siglos a expulsiones, pogromos, inquisiciones, masacres, discriminación, leyes de segregación y genocidios, a pesar de no representar amenaza demográfica o militar alguna. Lo hicieron simplemente por odio, y ahora se escudan en una supuesta (falsa) rectitud para condenarlo por defenderse. ¿Se puede ser más cínico? El pueblo de Israel es un cordero rodeado por setenta lobos. Su misma supervivencia es un milagro, más aún sus victorias, independencia y prosperidad. ¿Quieren proporción? Denle a Israel 22 países árabes y 2.000 años de tranquilidad, como mínimo.

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Les puedo asegurar que la inmensa mayoría de los críticos extranjeros de esta operación no han tenido que marcharse de ningún sitio, ni son hijos de sobrevivientes del peor genocidio de la historia, ni tienen un vecino que amenaza con echarlos al mar, ni vieron un autobús escolar volar por los aires, ni oyen sirenas que avisan de la llegada de misiles, ni tienen un ayatolá demente al lado fabricando armas nucleares mientras dice que los judíos no saben lo que es un verdadero Holocausto… ¿Qué derecho tiene esa gente a pedir explicaciones? ¿Qué derecho tiene esa gente – sentados en sus cómodos sillones con aire acondicionado a miles de kilómetros de distancia con sus palabras baratas de corrección política y pacifismo engañoso – como para juzgar a los israelíes? Ni siquiera están debidamente informados. Los de afuera son de palo.

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Sí, estoy hablando de los europeos. Lo que digan los bananeros hostiles fuera de ese continente me tiene sin cuidado. Su hipocresía es demasiado obvia. Son más irrelevantes que un ladrido a la luna. No tienen ninguna influencia real. Hay que tomarlos con humor (como dijo Ygal Palmor: “si te ganan 7 a 1 en un partido de fútbol en tu propia casa se puede hablar de desproporción, pero la realidad de una guerra no funciona así”). Pero que Europa siga chillando contra Israel causa mucha indignación. Me refiero a la sociedad civil de ese continente, que en un 50% alberga sentimientos profundamente antisemitas (hablando de “desproporción”), mientras los musulmanes matan judíos en Toulouse, Burgas y Bruselas. Siguiendo con la “desproporción”, en Francia menos del 1% de la población (los judíos, qué casualidad) sufren el 40% de los ataques racistas que se llevan a cabo en un año en todo el país (todo el resto de los grupos étnicos, raciales, religiosos y nacionales en el país galo, es decir, el 99%, sufre el 60% restante). ¡Vaya si es desproporcionado! También me refiero a los gobiernos europeos que no tienen problema en importar bienes producidos en prisiones chinas o talleres de trabajo esclavo en Bangladesh, apoyar económicamente las actividades en territorio ocupado del Sahara Occidental o comprar petróleo de regímenes islamistas represivos… Pero judíos construyendo un techo en Jerusalén realmente ofende su sentimiento de “moralidad”, suponiendo que lo tengan.

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Parafraseando a una líder israelí, al antisemitismo no se le discute, se lo combate. Pero para eso primero hay que desenmascararlo y denunciarlo. Espero que mi artículo ayude a este propósito, aunque sea un poco.

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Israel es un país del tamaño de Tucumán con una pequeña población, sin petróleo o recursos naturales, sin embargo es una nación próspera, creada por campesinos, sobrevivientes del Holocausto y refugiados judíos de los países árabes. Israel es haber vencido las posibilidades por el poder de las posibilidades. No tuvo un día de paz, sus enemigos fracasaron una y otra vez en los últimos 66 años. Disturbios violentos, masacres, guerras, terrorismo, emboscadas, guerrillas, ejércitos convencionales mucho más numerosos, Intifadas, atentados suicidas, misiles, propaganda, ofensiva diplomática, boicot económico, ataques cibernéticos y ahora posibles armas nucleares… nada de ello les ha rendido frutos a los enemigos de Yaakov, ni lo hará. Confío en que Israel podrá vencer esto también. Pues aquellos que intentaron exterminar a este pueblo en el pasado – llámese Filisteos, Asirios, Babilonios, Amalekitas, Seléucidas, Romanos, Reinos Cruzados, Imperio Español, Imperio Zarista, Tercer Reich, Unión Soviética o Saddam Hussein – hoy no existen más. El mismo destino le espera al Hamás y la Jihad Islámica. Ellos desaparecieron de la historia, el pueblo de Israel la está haciendo. El pueblo de Israel vive y existe.

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Por mi parte, espero que Israel siga actuando “desproporcionadamente” hasta destruir todos los túneles de Gaza que reptan debajo de territorio israelí, cuyo propósito no es otro más que asesinar y secuestrar israelíes. Que la “desproporción” israelí sea directamente proporcional a la desproporción de los medios de comunicación en la atención y la insensibilidad que tienen injustamente con Israel Que el país se mantenga unido y las fuerzas armadas no se detengan hasta obtener la victoria, esperemos que eso traiga aparejado la caída definitiva del régimen de Hamás de una vez por todas y para siempre, como preludio para la derrota final de todos los enemigos de Israel.

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Posted on 08/01/2014 4:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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From the Daily Mail and the BBC

A Muslim mother has been told to expect a 'substantial' prison sentence after encouraging terrorism in Syria over social media.

Runa Khan, 34, admitted posting a message on Facebook in September, saying: 'Sisters, if you love your sons, husbands and brothers, prove it by sending them to fight for Allah. Don't you want them to enter Jannah. Don't you want them to prepare for you a palace in Jannah."

The next day she posted: "Sisters' role in jihad off the battlefield", the court heard.

Khan, a mother-of-six, also posted a a picture of a suicide vest on the site, alongside a message which read 'sacrifice your life to be in Islam' in July last year. On September 13, she sent a series of messages on the social media site describing a path into Syria and the name of a group in the country to join. 

Wearing a niqab while standing in the dock of Kingston Crown Court, Khan pleaded guilty to four counts of disseminating terrorist publications between July and September 2013. Judge Birts allowed Khan to wear a niqab in the dock after her barrister Jo Sidhu QC confirmed her identity.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Peter Birts QC said: 'I’m sure you have been advised they are charges of the utmost gravitas that almost inevitably will be met by a substantial custodial sentence.' Prosecutor Christopher Hehir said Khan had previously been of good character, but last week accepted a police caution for common assault.

She was granted bail with conditions including not to use Facebook "in any shape or form".

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Posted on 08/01/2014 4:04 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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Here.

An Orthodox bishop, in Lebanon, beginning to sound like a Maronite. There is a famous example of this: the greatest Lebanese statesman of the last or any century was the celebrated Charles Malik (I shook his hand once). Malik was a Maronite in Greek-Orthodox clothing. But Malik was always that way; Bishop Saliba is a latecomer.

George Saliba, Syrian Orthodox Bishop of Lebanon (he has, amusingly,  the same name as the anti-Israel professor of science at Columbia who becomes enraged when Western historians of science, such as Toby Huff, examine the intellectual stagnation in societies suffused with Islam), for a long time thought that if he could mimic the anti-Israel attitudes of his Islamic tormentors, he could fit in. He hasn't read "The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam" by Bat Ye'or, but he's been living it. You can ignore this reflexive, nasty, and wrong comment about how Jews have also treated Christians badly; you can take a former islamochristian out of his islamochristianity, but you can't make him think sanely about Jews (or about Israel); that would require a total break with his past, and besides, what counts is not his see (or the Orthodox equivalent) but he is still living in a Muslim sea. But other Christians in the Middle East, including Maronites and some Copts, have seen the light on Israel, the sole conceivable source of local support and, by its example, succor to the Arabic-speaking (but not Arab) Christians of the Middle East.

But that jarring sentence, which to be charitable -- yes, I know, why should we be? -- might be merely the pro-forma anti-Jewish slant or rant that for the Orthodox in Lebanon, so different in this regard from the Maronites, has gotten used to expressing as a kind of verbal protection-money.  The main point is this: the Christians bet that they could fit in, bet that they could manage to survive in the world of Islam. But Islam, unadorned Islam, the real Islam, is now here for all to see. And the primitives, who always outnumber the other kind, the kind who want to continue to call themselves Muslims but not act as the Qur'an directs, nor to emulate in every respect Muhammad, are now loose and ready for blood and Jihad in the Lands of Islam, and not only there.
 

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Posted on 08/01/2014 3:36 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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Here.

And what is that truth? That the "Christians and Druze" face (political) extinction, will be powerless in a Lebanon divided between two kinds of Islam: that of the Shi'a (now represented not by Amal, bad as it was, but by Hezbollah) and that of the Sunnis, and the old Sunni merchant class, still represented by soi-disant "moderate" leaders, do not reflect changes in the mentality of those whom they claim to represent, the Sunnis who, like Sunnis everywhere (unless they are suppressed by an alarmed and consequently ruthless regime), are listening to the siren song of ISIS, or people very much like those in ISIS, and liking what they hear, because what they hear is the real Islam, the Islam of the Qur'an, the Islam of the Sunna.

And meanwhile, the Druze in Israel now realize, more and more, that only in Israel are they safe, only in Israel are the government and people treating them decently. Some Druze discovered this early on, and serve in the IDF. Others are now being forced to discover this, by what is happening in Lebanon. The Jebel Druze not only has, but is on, a slippery slope.

The Vicar of Bray (Druze Division) may or should be asking himself: How many divisions has George Clooney?

 

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Posted on 08/01/2014 3:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 01 August 2014
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The intelligent assumption of this article is that this is a never-ending war. The unintelligent omission in this article  is the failure to discuss why: Islam is forever, and this or that war or campagin temporary, and the opposition by Muslims to Israel as an Infidel nation-state (and the Infidels in question being the Jews, historically despised, never feared (as Christians from the West were sometimes feared) will always exist. No occasion should ever be lost to make that point, and Israelis need it as do other non-Muslim peoples, for in the end the Jihad, whether conducted through the means of tunnels and 10,000 rockets, by Hamas, or by other means, including demographic conquest, unopposed by the non-Muslim indigenes, those indigenes nearly paralyzed,  still hamstrung by their own inability to recognize the danger and apparently incapable of systematically protecting itself against this domestic demographic threat because most people are afraid to say aloud what they think, and instead sink into the despairing wail of "but what can we do?"

The Gazan Arabs should not be rewarded in any way, and certainly not have even more aid lavished upon them. Even now, the Gazan Arabs in "impoverished Gaza" -- it's a phrase constantly repeated, and I've seen debate after debate where this "impoverishment" is never challenged by the speaker defending Israel, but a false one --have a GDP per capita nearly twice that of Egypt, and far more than Arabs, too, in Yemen, or in any Arab country unblessed with oil or gas. They've done this because they are the permanently spoiled children, the most-favored-"refugee" status having been acquired long ago, and kept, not because they are so special, but because of the desire by so many, for their own reasons, to harm the Jewish state. Were the Gazan Arabs anywhere else, with Israel uninvolved, no one would be lavishing aid upon them, or attention, and the Gazan Arabs would long ago have to try to make what living they could, instead of being on the permanent UNRWA-cum-billions-in-Western aid dole.

Harel makes clear that the lessons learned in the Gaza War will be useful, as a base, for the next war -- the war against Hezbollah, for Hezbollah has tunnels, too, probably far more, and extending far deeper into Israel, into the Galilee (where the Arab population is very large) than the tunnels from Gaza. And instead of Hamas's armory of10,000 rockets, Hezbollah has been allowed, by the U.N.I.F.I.L. and the Lebanese government, and by Israel too (whose citizens now fully realize that it was madness ever to have allowed such an arms-and-tunnel buildup by Hamas and even crazier to allow a far greater buildup by the far more dangerous Hezbollah) to acquire 100,000 missiles, and to build tunnels god knows how deeply underground, and how deep into Israel (though the soil in the north is not as easy to work with as the soil in Gaza). The war continues, because the Jihad goes on, and goes on everywhere. And the more the rest of the non-Muslim world realizes this, the better for Israel.

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Posted on 08/01/2014 2:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Here.

Really?

How do they know?

Did they ask you?

They didn't ask me.

Don't count me among those Americans -- apparently all of them, according to the State Department, without exception -- who is "not proud" about "what the CIA did."

My, how some presume.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Hugh posted this video clip earlier this week. Meanwhile in London many of us sent it to our MPs, the mainstream newspapers, the police, Transport for London, the Mayor's Office, anything that moved frankly. At last a newspaper, the Daily Mail, has taken some notice.

Protesters filmed themselves blocking a London road with dozens of parked cars as they called for Israel to relinquish its grip on Gaza amid concerns the community is becoming 'radicalised' Drivers parked their cars, honked their horns and shouted 'free free Palestine', bringing the major commuter route in east London to a standstill. 

There are several Youtube accounts hosting this video clip - this one has fewer views, but I believe it to be the better sound quality. 

The demonstration took place on July 20 in the Blackwall tunnel which connects Greenwich in south London with Tower Hamlets, an east London borough with a large Muslim population, police confirmed.

The footage of parked cars covered in Palestinian flags and the word 'Gaza' emerged on YouTube early this week and has been shared on Facebook more than 6,000 times. 

It is unclear how long the tunnel remained blocked during the incident. 

Condemning the protest, Conservative Tower Hamlets councillor Andrew Brown told MailOnline: 'My main concern is that the community is being radicalised by all this. It is obviously very concerning. It's something I'm worried about. There are issues in other parts of the world like Ukraine and Nigeria - and there are issues in Tower Hamlets.  But there is a danger in Tower Hamlets that we are focussing our attentions on one part of the world. Mayor Lutfur Rahman put a Palestine flag outside the town hall. . .Last night at our council meeting, we spent 45 minutes speaking about Gaza which meant we ran out of time to talk about GP surgery closures. We need to ensure we maintain a balanced view.'

If any of us get replies that can be made public I will update this site. What is making us particularly angry is that stopping in the tunnel, even after making a simple mistake like running out of petrol, can and does incur a hefty fine. Many of the registration plates of these cars are clearly visible. Others will be visible on the CCTV cameras inside and at the tunnel entrances. Most if not all of those cars can be traced. Home Secretary Teresa May must ensure that they are.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Here.

He supports Israel's right to exist, of course, he yields to no one in his support of Israel, but...

But he can't understand all of the ways and means of Hamas war propaganda, aided and abetted by members of UNRWA and the UN. Some are merely stupid, some are evil. I'm not sure why Dominique de Villepin is incapable of seeing through the propaganda -- the endless pictures of "suffering" children, the immediate attribution of all explosives to the Israelis when there is plenty of evidence of Hamas rockets falling short of Israel and landing in Gaza, the deliberate encouragement by Hamas of civiians remaining in the most perilous places, the very places from which the Israelis have tried in every way possible (leaflets, phone calls, maps showing places to go to, "knocks on the roof") to encourage them to leave, and the deliberate placing of rockets, and other weaponry, in or next to mosques, UNRWA schools, and other places where they assumed, not entirely correctly, that Israel would refrain from firing but from where they could fire, with impunity, on members of the IDF.

Bref, he accepts Hamas's version of events, Hamas's numbers on dead and wounded, Hamas's description of those dead and wounded. But what is it that leads him to do so? What is it, in the past of Hamas, or for that matter of its wholly-owned subsidiary UNRWA, that entitles them to be believed? There is nothing.

But when the hurly-burly's done, when the battle's lost and won, and Israel presents its best estimates, and others, including journalists who were stationed in Gaza, and photographs from the sky, confirm Israel's version, will D. de V. change his mind, admit he was too quick too judge, too excitable, too easily swayed by what others say or think?

No.

There's the sheen, the veneer, but what a limited lad D. de V. turns out to be.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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I have been following the numerous complaints on the Facebook pages of Vue (a cinema chain) and the main Star City leisure complex in Birmingham. They had the ring of truth about them. Now the mainstream press have taken the story and management are having to take the complaints seriously. From the Mirror and the Daily Mail

Furious cinemagoers say were turned away from a busy Vue complex because they weren't Muslim. Leon Jennings, 22, had been visiting Birmingham's Star City entertainment complex with two other friends. But as he tried to enter the Vue Cinema on the site, which includes dozens of bars and licenced restaurants, he said he was turned away by a burly security guard.

Asked why, shocked Leon says he was told by staff the films showing were only for couples and families celebrating the end of Islamic festival Eid. Vue Cinemas have apologised and promised an investigation.

Leon says he and and his two pals were forced to turn around and go home - because "they did not look like they celebrated Eid" and were left feeling embarrassed and discriminated against for being white.

The viewing consultant at a photography studio, from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, said: "I was going there with my pals to the cinema as it was Orange Wednesday and you get two for one. As we drove in the bloke on the gate said to us 'not tonight guys, it's couples and families only'. We thought he was  joking and went and parked up.  We tried to get into the cinema and the security guy stopped us from going in.

"He said we couldn't go in because it was only couples and families celebrating Eid. I tried to point out that there were loads of groups lads who were Asian being allowed in but that made no difference. He said to us we didn't look like we were celebrating Eid. He was making assumptions about my religion and banning me based on my skin colour. "

"It's not like we are trouble makers, we are mature, all dressed respectably and just wanted to go see a film. It will just be seen as blatant racism. You have to admit that if it was done for Christmas there would be uproar. . . "

A Facebook page set up to call for a boycott of Star City has already gained over 800 likes on the social network. Other web-users reported similar experiences on Wednesday - which marked the end of Ramadan, where Muslims fast for a month.

Emma Noakes wrote on Facebook: "My friends family have just been refused entry at VUE cinema as they are not Muslim this is a shocking disgrace. . . This was a lady and her 11 yr old son trying to watch a film in the school holidays. . . "

Zara Marie Smart wrote on Vue Cinema Star City's Facebook page: "Got turned away from here today for 'not being Muslim' I kid you not! will never ever return here and will make everyone aware of the discrimination and humiliation we faced today!"

A spokesman for Vue cinemas apologised. He said: "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to our guests who tried to gain access to our Birmingham Star City cinema. As a company we welcome customers from all religious and cultural backgrounds. We are investigating this directly with the Star City management team as a matter of urgency."

Star City said they were not aware of any of incidents of people being turned away on ground of religion taking place.

Mark Wilson, centre manager at Star City said: ‘Star City is a family entertainment centre open to and enjoyed by all. Star City has enjoyed growing success in recent months and we have a proud record of community involvement. ‘Over the past few days Star City has been extremely busy and the volume of traffic has been very high, causing significant traffic congestion and delays in getting some visitors access into the centre.

‘During the busiest times some visitors have been turned away and there has been some disappointment for some, for which we apologise.  However, there is simply no truth in the recent allegations - the nature of which have no place at Star City.’

The venue ... based in the Aston area of the city, where 87 per cent of residents are from an ethnic group other than white . . . some 392,000 sq ft (36,400 m2) of leisure space, it is one of the UK’s largest leisure centres.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:06 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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The third, in a recent series of such stabbings.

Here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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You can find out something herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Hoffer. And then you can read his books. Each one is short. Each one is worth reading.
 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Reprinted in today's Wall Street Journal, here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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You can be sure that they no longer teach this in our universities. At the Library of Economics and Liberty, Robert Hessen writes the entry on Capitalism:

"Capitalism,” a term of disparagement coined by socialists in the mid-nineteenth century, is a misnomer for “economic individualism,” which Adam Smithearlier called “the obvious and simple system of natural liberty” (Wealth of Nations). Economic individualism’s basic premise is that the pursuit of self-interest and the right to own private property are morally defensible and legally legitimate. Its major corollary is that the state exists to protect individual rights. Subject to certain restrictions, individuals (alone or with others) are free to decide where to invest, what to produce or sell, and what prices to charge. There is no natural limit to the range of their efforts in terms of assets, sales, and profits; or the number of customers, employees, and investors; or whether they operate in local, regional, national, or international markets.

The emergence of capitalism is often mistakenly linked to a Puritan work ethic. German sociologist Max Weber, writing in 1903, stated that the catalyst for capitalism was in seventeenth-century England, where members of a religious sect, the Puritans, under the sway of John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, channeled their energies into hard work, reinvestment, and modest living, and then carried these attitudes to New England. Weber’s thesis breaks down, however. The same attitudes toward work and savings are exhibited by Jews and Japanese, whose value systems contain no Calvinist component. Moreover, Scotland in the seventeenth century was simultaneously orthodox Calvinist and economically stagnant.

A better explanation of the Puritans’ diligence is that by refusing to swear allegiance to the established Church of England, they were barred from activities and professions to which they otherwise might have been drawn—landownership, law, the military, civil service, universities— and so they focused on trade and commerce. A similar pattern of exclusion or ostracism explains why Jews and other racial and religious minorities in other countries and later centuries tended to concentrate on retail businesses and money lending.

In early-nineteenth-century England the most visible face of capitalism was the textile factories that hired women and children. Critics (Richard Oastler and Robert Southey, among others) denounced the mill owners as heartless exploiters and described the working conditions—long hours, low pay, monotonous routine—as if they were unprecedented. Believing that poverty was new, not merely more visible in crowded towns and villages, critics compared contemporary times unfavorably with earlier centuries. Their claims of increasing misery, however, were based on ignorance of how squalid life actually had been earlier. Before children began earning money working in factories, they had been sent to live in parish poorhouses; apprenticed as unpaid household servants; rented out for backbreaking agricultural labor; or became beggars, vagrants, thieves, and prostitutes. The precapitalist “good old days” simply never existed (seeindustrial revolution and the standard of living).

Nonetheless, by the 1820s and 1830s the growing specter of child labor and “dark Satanic mills” (poet William Blake’s memorable phrase) generated vocal opposition to these unbridled examples of self-interest and the pursuit of profit. Some critics urged legislative regulation of wages and hours, compulsory education, and minimum age limits for laborers. Others offered more radical alternatives. The most vociferous were the socialists, who aimed to eradicate individualism, the name that preceded capitalism.

Socialist theorists repudiated individualism’s leading tenets: that individuals possess inalienable rights, that government should not restrain individuals from pursuing their own happiness, and that economic activity should not be regulated by government. Instead, they proclaimed an organic conception of society. They stressed ideals such as brotherhood, community, and social solidarity and set forth detailed blueprints for model utopian colonies in which collectivist values would be institutionalized.

The short life span of these utopian societies acted as a brake on the appeal of socialism. But its ranks swelled afterKarl Marx offered a new “scientific” version, proclaiming that he had discovered the laws of history and that socialism inevitably would replace capitalism. Beyond offering sweeping promises that socialism would create economic equality, eradicate poverty, end specialization, and abolish money, Marx supplied no details at all about how a future socialist society would be structured or would operate.

Even nineteenth-century economists—in England, America, and Western Europe—who were supposedly capitalism’s defenders did not defend capitalism effectively because they did not understand it. They came to believe that the most defensible economic system was one of “perfect” or “pure”competition. Under perfect competition all firms are small scale, products in each industry are homogeneous, consumers are perfectly informed about what is for sale and at what price, and all sellers are what economists call price takers (i.e., they have to “take” the market price and cannot charge a higher one for their goods).

Clearly, these assumptions were at odds with both common sense and the reality of market conditions. Under real competition, which is what capitalism delivered, companies are rivals for sales and profits. This rivalry leads them to innovate in product design and performance, to introduce cost-cutting technology, and to use packaging to make products more attractive or convenient for customers. Unbridled rivalry encourages companies to offer assurances of security to imperfectly informed consumers, by means such as money-back guarantees or product warranties and by building customer loyalty through investing in their brand names and reputations (see advertisingbrand names, and consumer protection).

Continue reading here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:39 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Goodness and mercy coexist with evil in the world. At a moment when the Hamas terrorists in Gaza have horrified the world with the extent of their evil in using Palestinian children as slave labor to build underground tunnels in Sinai and as human shields in Gaza in their strategy to kill Jews and eliminate the State of Israel, the chronicle of goodness and mercy by French Protestants heroically saving persecuted Jews during World War II in a small farming village is being retold.

The story of the courageous and noble 5,000 inhabitants of the village Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, located in the mountains of south-central France, 350 miles from Paris, has been told several times. It was remembered for its good deeds when it was honored in 1990 by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as a place of Righteous among the Nations. The memories of those deeds are recalled in the new release of a revised version of the documentary film Weapons of the Spirit, written and directed by Pierre Sauvage, who was born in the village in 1944 and hidden there, and in a new book, Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead, that provides an accurate account of events, enhanced by personal diaries and interviews with survivors.

The story of the village is even more compelling because the villagers were reluctant for many years to talk about their heroism that accounted for saving at least 800 Jews, many foreign born (the figure is sometimes put as high as 5,000). The villagers sheltered the Jews, who were in danger for their lives, in private homes, hotels, farms, and schools. They forged identification papers and ration cards, and helped some flee to Switzerland. The Jewish children attended school together with local children, and participated in youth organizations.

Other acts of heroism, individual and collective, took place in the dark years of the war when France was divided and the Vichy Regime established in June 1940 collaborated with Nazis, but the moral consensus exhibited in Le Chambon was outstanding, even exceptional. It is rare these days to speak about actions in tones of moral righteousness and goodness, yet the behavior of Le Chambon deserves to be remembered in this way for its remarkable implementation of Christian ethical principles.

The villagers, essentially Calvinists, descendants from the Huguenots, led by their pastor André Trocmé, safeguarded resisters, freemasons, and communists, and above all Jews. Trocmé himself was a pacifist, believing in nonviolence, but many of his flock were not. It was Trocmé who, after France surrendered to Nazi Germany, said it was the responsibility of Christians to “resist the violence that will be brought to bear on their consciences through the weapons of the spirit.” It was also he who protested in a sermon on August 16, 1942 against the roundup of 13,000 Jews in Paris by saying that “the Christian Church must kneel down and ask God to forgive its present failings and cowardice.”

In July 2004 the then French President Jacques Chirac commented that Le Chambon was “the conscience of our country.” The same sentiment is present in the new museum in Le Chambon which records that even during the terrible years of World War II, there were places where people behaved decently. Interestingly, it was the village where Albert Camus lived for a while in 1942 in his attempt to deal with his tuberculosis, and where he wrote the first draft of his book, The Plague. Camus was well informed of the nonviolent resistance in the village. His discussion of the attempts to control the outbreak of disease in the town of Oran is in effect an allegorical representation of Le Chambon resisting Nazi and Vichy anti-Semitic policies.

The opposite form of behavior to this illustration of goodness is that of the terrorist group Hamas. For three weeks in July the war in Gaza has shown the employment of hundreds of rockets by Hamas and the surprising discovery of a considerable number of tunnels built by it for only one purpose, to infiltrate into Israel and kill innocent Israeli civilians. This single purpose is still not understood or is disregarded by many in the “international community” and even in the United States State Department, whose spokeswoman proclaimed it was “important to explain the true facts about what happened.”

Yet the true facts have been clearly stated in the Hamas Charter: the Charter of Allah, issued in 1988. Article 13 declares, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” Secretary of State John Kerry is no doubt well meaning in his attempts to achieve a ceasefire between the parties but his priorities are mistaken. He should press for the immediate end to the firing of rockets by Hamas, and the consequent elimination of the rocket stockpiles, and call for the destruction of the network of tunnels, built at considerable cost to infiltrate into Israeli territory and inflict casualties on civilians.

What a contrast between the historical events in Le Chambon and the continuing terrorism and criminality of Hamas. The Protestants in the French village wanted to save lives of Jews; Hamas wants to end the lives of Jews. The heroic Andre Trocmé, when threatened by a Vichy official for sheltering Jews, replied “We do not know what a Jew is, we only know human beings.” No citizen of Le Chambon ever informed the Vichy authorities or the Nazis about those taking refuge. They felt it was their duty as Christians to help fellow human beings.

Hamas does not help fellow human beings. Not only has it used children as human shields, it has also exploited them. An article in the Institute for Palestine Studies in summer 2012 reports that, according to Hamas officials, at least 160 Palestinian children, who were used as laborers, had died in building the tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border in Sinai. It is not clear if children have been used in building the tunnel network directed against Israel, a network that has used 800,000 tons of cement, an amount that could have been more profitably used for domestic purposes.  It is however noticeable that Ismael Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, who owns a 27,000 square foot area of property on the Gaza beach worth more than $4 million, sends his own children to school in Europe.

One can appreciate that the increase in casualty figures has caused alarm among international observers. No one can be happy about the mounting death toll except Hamas, which displays the photos of dead or injured children for international television coverage to gain sympathy for its cause. Yet it is mistaken policy to call for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that will not simply end Israeli military activity, but also grant Hamas concessions on border crossings and finance.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must know that the argument that both sides have an equal obligation to end hostilities does not reach the heart of the problem. Turki al Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence services, in a statement quoted on July 24, 2014 may have implicitly answered Ban Ki-Moon. He stated, “Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in the Gaza Strip following its bad decisions in the past.”

The solution can only be the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip so that the terrorist organization Hamas is no longer able to commit evil in its objective to eliminate the state of Israel. The threat of the network of highly sophisticated tunnels, each said to cost up to $2 million to build, must be ended. The world, and particularly the World Council of Churches, should remember Le Chambon.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 1:32 PM by Michael Curtis
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Brandon Marlon writes in the Algemeiner:

In the timely hour of battle between Israel and its neighbors, it is helpful to recall the timeless principles of warfare set out in the Torah, Talmud, and rabbinic commentaries that touch upon a variety of combat-related issues still pertinent today.

Canadian scholar Aaron J. Sarna (Boycott and Blacklist: A History of Arab Economic Warfare Against Israel), former chairman of both the yeshiva Ottawa Torah Institute and the Orthodox Jewish women’s high school Machon Sarah, recently took the time to encapsulate some of the voluminous Judaic teachings on conduct during wartime:

What are the main lessons in the Torah regarding going to war?

The Torah’s ideal is peace, but unfortunately war is a necessary evil. Therefore, there is a time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8). War is armed conflict, either mandatory (divinely commanded) or constitutionally authorized through the judicial authorities at the ruler’s request. War is not fought for its own sake; Jews do not glorify it or call it holy. However, it is a holy duty to wage war when necessary.

In ancient times, wars against the seven Canaanite nations and Amalekites fell into the category of divinely-commanded wars. These wars were history-specific occurrences; those nations today no longer exist because of assimilation into surrounding peoples, or destruction. The only operative part today of this category of war that is divinely-commanded is a war of self-defense.

Some wars of King David, in contrast, were discretionary, at his initiative, to expand the borders or to enhance Israel’s reputation among the nations.

The Book of Esther (9:5) contains an example of a preemptive war waged against Haman’s followers, such war being deemed a defensive one.

Rabbinical commentaries on scripture that touch upon the topic of warfare include:

  1. Whoever attacks Israel, it is as if he attacked G-d (Rashi on Numbers Mattot 31:3).

  2. Victory in battle should be the goal; if not, Jewish leaders must not expose the nation to danger (Ralbag on Judges 6:15, regarding Gideon seeking a sign from G-d that he would be victorious against Midian).

  3. An individual and a nation cannot stand idly by while its citizens’ blood is being shed (“lo ta’amod b’dam rey’echa”) (Leviticus 19:16).

Overall, from the Torah’s perspective, a satisfactory peace can only be concluded from a position of overpowering strength—“G-d will grant His people strength, G-d will bless His people with peace”—where the idea of strengthprecedes peace (Psalms 29:11).

In addition, before embarking on war, an offer of peace must be made entailing the enemy laying down its arms and accepting the Seven Noahide Laws (Numbers 21, where Moses first offers peace to Sichon, king of the Amorites).

Furthermore, during the conduct of war, the enemy must be defeated. As King David said, “I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them. I did not turn back till they were wiped out. And I have consumed them and struck them down and they cannot arise, they have fallen under my feet” (II Samuel 22:38).

Notably, failure to drive out enemies from the land if they do not accept a peace offer will be disastrous, a desecration of the divine name: “Then shall those that remain be as pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They shall distress you in the land in which you dwell. And it shall come to pass that what I planned to do to them, so will I do to you” i.e., G-d will drive us out of the land (Numbers 33:55).

Finally, Jews cannot go berserk in the midst of war, but must maintain their humanity because, “Your camp shall be holy” (Deuteronomy 23:14) and because man was created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Morality in combat, known as “tohar ha-neshek”, is required, entailing: no looting, no raping, no harming innocent civilians especially women, children, and other non-combatants, no destruction of crops, no destruction of fruit trees (there are exceptions), no wanton killing (massacres), no scorched-earth policy, no destruction of water supply, no spreading of disease, no destruction of clothing, no killing of POWs, and no torture of captives (unless vitally necessary to prevent a disaster).

Continue reading here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 12:34 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
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A dumb remark, by Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary, here.

Hammond apparently believes that Israel is "losing" support in the West. Is that true? Are the people who are capable of thought -- the others don't matter -- really unable to identify with Israel, to imagine what it would be like to live next door to tunnels from Gaza, with more being busily dug and cemented by the old moles who dig in th'earth because they can't possibly go to work (besides, UNRWA and Western donors have eliminated that need, and Gazans have an annual "income" twice that of Egyptians)? Are people in the West, though subjected to endless Hamas propaganda -- no Hamas weapons or fighters are shown in or near mosques, schools, and so on -- including a campaign to make sure that Western reporters dutifully copy, without questioning, Hamas' figures on dead and wounded, and where only "innocent civilians" (how civilian? and if civilian, just how innocent?) die, because that's what Israel is famous for, isn't it -- killing "innocent civlians"?

 

Before uttering any advice, much less reprobation, to Israel, Westerners ought to do the most obvious thing: put yourself in Israel's place. Remember that Hamas will never stop trying to harm Israel. They did not send 9000 rockets into Israel, since 2005, because they are feeling besieged. They weren't under siege then, with the tunnels wide open from Egypt, and the border open, too. And come to think of it, what kind of "siege" are they under, what kind of "blockade," when Israel has for years, forever, been supplying Gaza with water, electricity, hundreds of tons of food daily, medicine and even, in some cases, access to Israeli medical care. Does that constitute a "blockade"?

Israel is only "losing support," if it is, among those who lack the empathetic faculty, who cannot imagine the existence of Israelis who live with the sound of rockets, and the eerie silence of the earth, with all of its tunnels, and those men, who may be sithering through them today, tomorrow, in a year, in three, with killing Jews the only thing on their mind.

 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 11:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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