These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 29, 2008.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Responding to my heads-up about accounting firm KPMG's "Head of People", reader Windy Blow writes:
Would a managing director, who is now in charge of all the heads of departments, become better known as a "Head of Heads?"
This of course allows for people with a nose they will apply to the grindstone, who have an eye for a good deal, who keep an ear to the ground, have the ability to take it on the chin, who don't tear their hair out (as well as having a stiff upper lip) to be even more sought after.
Yes, and the manager will be hands-on. And all his ideas will have legs.
Posted on 10/29/2008 5:35 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
It said on the radio that London has not had snow in October since 1934.
It feels more like winter anyway, because the clocks have gone back and it now gets dark around half four. From the BBC:
The shadow of winter has descended on Britain. A bitterly cold wind from the North Pole is bringing widespread frosts and snow to many parts of the country. As often happens with these Arctic outbreaks, Aberdeen and northeast Scotland come off worst with the heaviest snowfalls, but even southern England can expect snow on the hills.
How unusual is such wintry weather in the middle of autumn? Snows fell in England in October as recently as 2000 and 2002, but some of the most remarkable events happened farther back. In 1926, on October 25, blizzards hit Scotland and heavy snows fell over England, with some 5cm (2in) of snowfall in London.
Even more unusual weather struck in October 1880. Braemar, in the highlands of Aberdeenshire, recorded minus 11.4C (11.5F) on October 20, Britain’s coldest temperature for October. Thick, slushy snow fell on London, and Surrey saw snowfalls up to 20cm (8in) deep on the hills.
Oak trees were still in leaf and strained under the heavy weight of snow. “They have all the morning been groaning ominously beneath the burden of a dense sheet of snow,” a reader from Godalming, Surrey, wrote to The Times. “At intervals a sharp crack has marked the giving way of some sturdy branch.”
Heavy snows in October do not necessarily mean that a severe winter will follow. Many of the coldest and snowiest Octobers of the past were followed by unremarkable winters, and the Met Office long-range forecast for this winter has above-average temperatures, although not as mild as last winter.
Winter draws on, as it were.
Posted on 10/29/2008 5:39 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
LATimes: Keeping a Promise
This explanation by the LATimes is rather thin. They are not protecting a source they are keeping a promise to a source, or so they claim, by not releasing this video tape.
John McCain's presidential campaign Tuesday accused the Los Angeles Times of "intentionally suppressing" a videotape it obtained of a 2003 banquet where then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke of his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist.
The Times first reported on the videotape in an April 2008 story about Obama's ties with Palestinians and Jews as he navigated the politics of Chicago. The report included a detailed description of the tape, but the newspaper did not make the video public.
"A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi," said McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb. " . . . The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job -- make information public."
The Times on Tuesday issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape.
"The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."
Jamie Gold, the newspaper's readers' representative, said in a statement: "More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite -- the L.A. Times brought the matter to light."
The original article said that Obama's friendships with Palestinian Americans in Chicago and his presence at Palestinian community events had led some to think he was sympathetic to the Palestinian viewpoint on Middle East politics. Obama publicly expresses a pro-Israel viewpoint that pleases many Jewish leaders.
In reporting on Obama's presence at the dinner for Khalidi, the article noted that some speakers expressed anger at Israel and at U.S. foreign policy, but that Obama in his comments called for finding common ground...
The voters deserve to see the tape and hear exactly what was said.
Posted on 10/29/2008 7:03 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
An Enthusiastic Obama Supporter
"Palestinian" Arab Ibrahim Abu Jayab, 24, is seen next to his computer, in his family house in Nusayrat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. He is doing his part to get out the vote for Barack Obama. With a little help from the Internet, 24-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayab is cold calling random American families from his parent's home imploring them to vote Obama.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Posted on 10/29/2008 7:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Censorship at PBS
Read what Lori Lowenthal Marcus has published in today's American Thinker. She lays out her experience with the censorship that PBS exercises to only get across one view: support of what rabid anti-Semitic Minister Louis Farrakhan calls 'the messiah' meaning the Islamic Mahdi or Michael Savage, controversial talk show host calls, 'the annointed one': Barack Hussein Obama. I have witnessed her transformation over the past several years. Lori is s a feminist and liberal Democrat, she has also become a tough advocate for the fight against global Islamic terrorism, defense of Israel and criticism of its callow and corrupt leaders. She was co-host of a weekly talk show the late lamented ZOA Middle East Report with important interviews. Yours truly was a frequent guest. She 'got it' early after 9/11 and never looked back.
Note these telling comments from her American Thinker piece about what transformed her:
After 9/11 I slowly realized that we damn well better listen when people say they are going to kill us because their religion requires it, and they are actually acquiring the means to do just that on a mass scale, and while that production is underway they are doing it, just more slowly than they’d like.
I now know that defeating global terrorism is the single most important issue of our time. It is more important than global warming, than welfare reform, than stem cell research, even than reproductive rights. And that’s because none of those issues can be addressed if we’ve been subjugated to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. As I said to the PBS interviewer but what was edited out, “my daughters won’t have reproductive or many other rights if they are dead or burka’ed.
Here is why she supports the McCain/Palin ticket:
As I tried to explain to my PBS interviewer in a discussion that wasn't aired, I find the McCain/Palin ticket far more reassuring concerning my issue than their competition. Here's why:
Barack Obama simply wants to "reform" one of the most bloated, ineffective and downright destructive organizations on earth, the United Nations. But the reform necessary will never be instituted by the UN General Assembly that is controlled by a voting bloc that consistently votes against US interests and incessantly vilifies our closest ally, Israel.
In the upside-down world of the UN, human rights violators like China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt sit and vote on the Human Rights Council. In 2009, in 4 out of 5 countries on the UNHRC, female genital mutilation is rampant, and in a current member, Egypt, 97 percent of women are genitally mutilated. And that upside-down behemoth is situated in New York City, where the diplomats live tax-free and immune from prosecution, and the tab is largely borne by US taxpayers: the US is responsible for 22 percent of the UN budget. Is it conceivable such an entity will agree to "reform"?
McCain, on the other hand, is calling for a long-needed remedy to the UN: a League of Democracies. Although he isn't willing to say it should replace the UN, it certainly should. The UN is a dysfunctional institution that has failed in the last 50 years to accomplish much except employ armies of bureaucrats and consume enormous quantities of money, much of it US tax dollars. McCain is right that it is time for a bold move on the global diplomacy front.
On why Jews should be wary of being taken in by Obama and should instead opt for voting for McCain:
And now to my last point. The (Jewish) PBS producer asked me whether I didn't think Obama reflected the essential Jewish value of Tikkun Olam. Most people, even when they correctly translate that Hebrew term as "repairing the world," believe it means social action by Jews on behalf of those less fortunate. But that isn't accurate. The term Tikkun Olan appears in a prayer Jews are obligated to say three times a day, and the phrase ends with "to perfect the world under the reign of the Almighty." This Jewish concept is about the betterment of social conduct in order to stop the wickedness of the world to Jews who live amongst them. In other words, it is about Jewish self-preservation and is most emphatically not about substituting social action for Judaism. Striving for social justice is entirely consistent with Jewish values, but it is not The Jewish value, and it certainly is not only a Jewish value.
Perfecting the world under the reign of the Almighty has nothing to do with Obama's strategy for dealing with genocidal maniacs. His strategy rests on the delusion that he can sit down and sweet talk them into submission. McCain's strategy is to prevent those monsters from using the nuclear weapons we know they are building.
Posted on 10/29/2008 9:22 AM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Must The Gazan Arabs Still Make-Do With Dial-Up?
This Arab internaut lives in one of those "refugee camps" in Gaza where people have their very own up-to-date computers, and elsewhere in the "refugee camp" are DVD stores (the kind that are shut down by the more fanatical Muslims, for having films exhibiting Western decadence). No wonder the "Palestinians" who broke through last year into Egypt when a fence (put up by the same Egyptians) was knocked down, and promptly went on a shopping spree, told Western reporters that they were amazed at the poverty of the Egyptians in the Sinai towns they visited.
And the next time someone assures you that the Israelis are practically Nazis, because for some of the Gazan Arabs it is now harder to obtain those top-of-the-line cancer treatments, those open-heart operations, all the medical care that the Israelis have for decades made available, often for free, to local Arabs -- and that those "refugee camps" (actually, built-up villages, and cities, not tent camps as real refugees around the world must endure), are just like...well, just like the Warsaw Ghetto, you now have something to respond.
Yes, now you can innocently inquire of that hideous someone whether it is true, as you have heard, that the "Palestinian" Arabs in "impoverished" Gaza -- where families of a dozen children are routine, and UNRWA keeps shovelling in the billions of Infidel-taxpayer dollars, decade after decade -- have not yet had their homes wired for fiber-optic connections to the Internet, and must, therefore, still make do with dial-up?
Posted on 10/29/2008 9:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
The Woman Who Wanted To Be Stoned
This story reminds me of the time Yvonne Ridley told an audience at Vanderbilt University that since it required four witnesses to "prove" homosexual activity (just like adultery), those homosexuals who are killed according to Shariah law in Muslims lands "must want to get caught." All the liberals in the audience nodded - oh well in that case, it's all right then. A few were outraged. One gentleman I know phoned the local papers with what he thought was a blockbuster scoop, but no one wanted to touch it. Whose to say it's wrong, especially if they want to get caught. From IOL with thanks to Alan:
Mogadishu - Thousands of people gathered to witness 50 Somali men stone a woman to death after an Islamic court in the southern port of Kismayo found her guilty of adultery, witnesses said.
Aisha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, who had been found guilty of extra-marital intercourse, was buried in the ground up to her neck while the men pelted her head with rocks on Monday.
"Our sister Aisha asked the Islamic Sharia court in Kismayo to be charged and punished for the crime she committed," local Islamist leader Sheikh Hayakallah told the crowd.
"She was asked several times to review her confession, but she stressed that she wanted Sharia law and the deserved punishment to apply."
The execution was carried in one of the city's main squares....
Posted on 10/29/2008 9:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Brzezinski's Problem With Israel, And No Problem At All With Islam
"does anyone know the reasons for Brzezinski's antisemitism?" -- (from a reader)
Brzezinski would of course angrily reject the charge. He'd describe his views, the ones that completely ignore Islam and that accept the notion of Israel as the fons et origo of Middle Eastern disarray, as merely "judicious" and “sensible” and – the last refuge of such people, “in the national interest” (one well-financed Arab propaganda group bears the title “Committee for the National Interest” with Eugene Bird, a former minor American Foreign Service officer, as the front man). Brzezinski would heatedly refer to "all my Jewish friends” and the “cheapness of such a charge.” He would say, tiresomely and predictably, "surely legitimate criticism of Israel isn't antisemitism." No, of course it isn't – but everything hinges on that adjective “legitimate,” for just as no one can quarrel with what is “legitimate” criticism, one has to ask what constitutes that “legitimate” criticism. When willful miscomprehension and inexplicable omission of so many facts is exhibited when the subject of Israel comes up, and the nature of the war being conducted against it (a world-without-end Jihad), one is entitled to seek for explanations in a well-known pathological mental condition. When someone has the leisure, and the ability, to easily acquire, knowledge about the real history of Muslims and non-Muslims, and Arabs and Jews, over 1350 years, or over the past century (roughly, since the end of World War I and the League of Nations' Mandate), or even since the 1948-49 war, but nonetheless refuses to do so, and refuses to listen to, or take in and make sense of, facts and arguments made available to them that present an overwhelming case for Israel’s legal, historic, and moral claims (claims that, by the way, mean as much to the continued survival of the West as to the survival of Israel), when a persistent want of sympathy is displayed, its sources transcending mere misunderstanding but rooted in a kind of unshakeable antipathy, one is entitled to start talking about antisemitism. It is the most peculiar mental ailment and even a forme fruste of the disease can transform itself into something more malignant.
But I’d avoid ascribing Brzezinski’s attitude to some easily-invoked “traditional Polish antisemitism.” After all, it was Jimmy Carter of Plains, Georgia who was the real antisemite at Camp David, with Brzezinski merely his approving adviser. There are Poles, and Poles apart. Why not note, of Brzezinski, that when it comes to intelligent and sympathic attitudes, explicit or semaphored, toward the fate of the Jews and therefore toward Israel, Brzezinski is no Czeslaw Milosz. He's no Wislawa Szymborska. He's no Zbigniew Herbert or Waslaw Lednicki. And he's certainly no Adam Mickiewicz, the first poet of Poland, who died of tuberculosis in Constantinople, where he had gone to raise a Jewish Legion to help win Polish independence from the Russian Empire.
Those inclined to psychoanalysis might wish to point to Brzezinski’s dislike, and resentment, of his Harvard government-department coevals and colleagues who were Jewish immigrants from Europe – of Richard Pipes and Adam Ulam, both from Poland, and both more meticulous scholars of the Soviet Union, and more importantly, of Henry Kissinger, who became a success in the Great World earlier, and rose higher, than Brzezinski, and Brzezinski may even have been annoyed by the rise of of Stanley Hoffmann who, though younger than Brzezinski, and choosing to remain in Cambridge to exercise his Alain-and-Aron irony at seminars, lectures, and in the classes he taught, such as the famous course "On War," was more intelligent than Brzezinski, and obviously so. That kind of thing rankles. Brzezinski, incidentally, was turned down for tenure in 1959 (with Ulam, Pipes, and Kissinger voting members of the Government Department at the time). That, too, must have rankled. Does the personal become the political? If you have to ask, you can't afford either.
And now for some musical relief:
Posted on 10/29/2008 9:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Serving God and Mammon
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's kingdom is definitely of this world. From The Times:
Yale University paid Tony Blair’s inter-faith charity more than $200,000 (£127,000) after he accepted a lecturing post on religion and globalisation.
Blair once read a bit of the Koran on an aeroplane, so he knows about both.
Mr Blair was excused from getting the position vetted by antisleaze watchdogs because Yale paid the money directly to his charity.
Don't worry, though - he won't starve:
Tony Blair’s earnings since leaving Downing Street are calculated to have topped £12 million, more than six times his previous lifetime income.
The former Prime Minister, who tours the world speaking to audiences including investment banks, private equity firms and chambers of commerce, is now said to be the highest-paid speaker in the world. Since launching himself on the speaking circuit last October, Mr Blair is understood to have earned more from speeches than Bill Clinton, the former US President, did in his first year after leaving the White House.
As the stock market has plummeted and the housing market has slumped, the man who as Prime Minister championed the “light-touch” system of financial regulation blamed by some for the current crisis is enjoying an unprecedented boom of his own.
At the United Nations there is fear that his focus on commercial interests is jeopardising his unpaid role as Middle East envoy.
One senior official said: “There’s a view in the UN that he’s not making any progress and that from all the status that he brings to the position, he doesn’t seem to be achieving anything . . . He’s meant to work on the distribution of aid to Palestinians and not brokering peace in the Middle East, though he’d like to do that.”
Such is the demand for Mr Blair, who works exclusively through the blue-chip Washington Speakers Bureau, that he has a two-year waiting list for bookings, with clients prepared to pay $250,000 (£157,000) for a typical speech of roughly 90 minutes.
“He is one of the biggest stars in the world. Who else is there?” said Max Markson, the public relations organiser who has taken Mr Clinton, Cherie Blair and Nelson Mandela to Australia.
Who else? Hugh Fitzgerald, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan ....
Posted on 10/29/2008 9:43 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
A Presidential-Election Musical Interlude: You Can't Pull The Wool Over My Eyes (Joe Haymes Orch.)
Posted on 10/29/2008 9:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Ludicrous Polling in Afghanistan
Western pollsters can't seem to think of anything to ask anyone except those two great over-arching questions which so define the modern political races in the West: "Is the country on the right track or wrong track?" and "Are you better off now than you were x years ago?" Timesonline:
Afghans are increasingly pessimistic about the direction of the Western backed reconstruction of their country with growing fears over insecurity and economic malaise, according to the largest annual survey of ordinary Afghans.
The Asia Foundation poll, which canvassed the views of around 6,593 people from all provinces of the troubled country, found that the perception of progress had significantly slowed since a similar survey in 2006.
38% of respondents felt the country headed in a positive direction, while 32% saw it headed in the wrong direction. Whilst this showed a majority remain supportive, the figures compare to 46% with a positive view in 2006 when only 21% of people who saw things negatively.
"There is a clear trend towards greater pessimism over the last two years," said the survey summary.
Asked to compare their prosperity to the period of Taleban rule 36% said they were better off. That figure was down from 54% of respondents two years ago....
Posted on 10/29/2008 10:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Obama & Nadhmi Auchi
There are two articles out today on Iraqi billionaire and friend and backer of Tony Rezko, Nadhmi Auchi, and his ties to Barack Obama. One is in WND, but because of the intemperate language used there, I will quote from Daniel Pipes' article instead:
Barack Obama appears to have personally benefited from funds originating in Saddam Hussein's regime. It's a complicated connection, but one that deserves the consideration of Americans voters.
Two similar figures, Nadhmi Auchi and Antoin S. "Tony" Rezko, served as the intermediaries. Both are Middle Eastern males of Catholic Christian heritage who left Baathist dictatorships for Western cities (Auchi from Iraq to London, Rezko from Syria to Chicago). Both became successful businessmen who hobnobbed with politicians and promoted Arab interests. Both have been convicted of taking kickbacks and both stand accused of other shady dealings.
Auchi, born in 1937, is the more successful. When young, he joined Saddam in the Baath Party. He founded his main financial instrument, the General Mediterranean Holding SA in 1979 – revealingly, while still in Iraq. A year later, he emigrated to the United Kingdom. GMHSA now describes itself as a diverse group of 120 companies with consolidated assets of over US$4.2 billion. The Sunday Times (London) recently estimated Auchi's personal wealth at £2.15 billion, making him the 27th richest person in Britain. He garnered many honors along the way.
On the dark side, a French court in 2003 convicted Auchi of taking kickbacks in the Elf Affair and handed down a suspended jail sentence and fine. One analyst, Hector Igbikiowubo, calls this "probably the biggest political and corporate sleaze scandal to hit a western democracy since World War II." Also in 2003, one of Auchi's firms was accused of taking part in a price-fixing cartel of prescription medicines. In 2004, a report by the Pentagon's International Armament and Technology Trade Directorate found "significant and credible evidence" that Auchi organized a conspiracy to offer bribes to win mobile telephone licenses in Iraq. He was barred from entering the United States in 2005.
Rexko, born in 1955, arrived in the United States in 1974 to study civil engineering. After some work on road construction projects, he went into the fast-food business, then into real estate, with help from Auchi. His political involvement began in 1983 with a mayoral campaign, after which he acquired a taste for cultivating up-and-coming politicians, notably Obama and the current governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich.
Rezko too has extensive legal problems, starting with a June 2008 conviction on sixteen counts of taking kickbacks from companies wanting to do business with the State of Illinois. He also stands accused of evading Las Vegas gambling debts and using false information in the sale of his pizza businesses. In contrast to Auchi's wealth, Rezko is said to be over $50 million in debt.
In three steps, these corrupt businessmen tie the Democratic Party presidential candidate to the executed Iraqi tyrant:
Saddam Hussein made use of Auchi: Auchi's fortune largely grew through his Iraq government connection, much of it sub rosa. In the 1980s, he procured Italian military ships. By 1993, the Italian banker Pierfrancesco Pacini Battaglia testified about Auchi bribing Iraqi officials for an Italian engineering company and called Auchi "one of the most important intermediaries in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries." Auchi is also a major shareholder in BNP Paribas, the French bank deeply implicated in the U.N.'s corrupt Iraq oil-for-food program.
Auchi made use of Rezko: Rezko lobbied for Auchi to be allowed into the United States. A wholly-owned GMHSA subsidiary, Fintrade Services Inc., transferred a loan of $3.5 million on May 23, 2005 to Rezko.
Rezko cultivated Obama: Rezko offered Barack Obama a job in 1990, which Obama declined. Still, Rezko persisted, hiring him for legal work and hosting in 2003 an early fundraiser that, writes David Mendell in Obama: From Promise to Power, proved "instrumental in providing Obama with seed money" for his nascent U.S. Senate campaign. Then, on June 15, 2005, just twenty-three days after receiving Auchi's $3.5 million, Rezko partnered with Obama in a real estate deal: while Rezko's wife paid the full asking price, $625,000, for an empty adjoining lot which they then improved, subdivided, and partially sold to Obama, Obama acquired a mansion for $1.65 million, $300,000 under the asking price...
Posted on 10/29/2008 1:37 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Just Practicing The Obama Change
When the bill came, I decided not to tip the waiter because he was wearing an Obama Tshirt. I explained to him after I ate that I wasn't going to tip him but I was going to redistribute his tip to someone that I deemed more in need, specifically the homeless guy outside. He stood there in disbelief, then angrily stormed away. I went outside, gave the homeless guy $5 and told him to thank the waiter inside. Wonder how the waiter liked that "change".
Posted on 10/29/2008 4:00 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Hatred Is An Important Part Of Islam
MEMRI: Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi Professor of Islamic Law Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Fawzan Al-Fawzan, which aired on Al-Majd TV on December 16, 2005.
Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Fawzan Al-Fawzan: Someone who denies Allah, worships Christ, son of Mary, and claims that God is one third of a trinity – so you like these things he says and does? Don’t you hate the faith of such a polytheist who says God is one third of a trinity, or who worships Christ, son of Mary?"
Someone who permits and commits fornication - as is the case in Western countries, where fornication is permitted and not considered a problem – don't you hate this? Whoever says, "I don't hate him, is not a Muslim, my brother.[...]
This is not racism, my brother. We don't hate a polytheist because of his color, gender, blood, country, or because he is American, European, Chinese, or Asian. They are our partners in humanity. An American Muslim may be better Allah's view than all the Arabs.[...]
But if this person is an infidel – even if this person is my mother or father, God forbid, or my son or daughter - I must hate him, his heresy, and his defiance of Allah and His prophet. I must hate his abominable deeds. Moreover, this hatred must be positive hatred. It should make me feel compassion for him, and should make me guide and reform him.
Of course he's talking about Allah's type of compassion which involves a lot of torture and hellfire.
Posted on 10/29/2008 5:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
"The Difference Between The Rapist And The Racist Is Merely A Matter Of..."
"Prosecutors showed the two-hour video to the jury of nine U.S. military officers on Wednesday. It showed starving and crying children, mangled and blood-spattered bodies and scenes of Muslims under attack in Bosnia, Chechnya and the Palestinian territories.
Gruesome images alternated with footage of bin Laden saying, "The Jews are free to do whatever they wish with Muslim women ... The child dies in the arms of his mother."
The work is titled in flaming letters and punctuated with the sound of gun blasts, sobbing, Koranic verse and martial singing. Bahlul used special effects to superimpose a cartoonish blast over a news photograph of the damaged Cole.
Bahlul sat at the defense table beaming with pride at some segments and nodding in agreement at bin Laden's words. He pounded his fist on the table once at the mention of the defilement of Muslim women." [from this story]
As everyone knows, Israeli soldiers have a code of conduct that they scrupulously adhere to, even at the cost of endangering themselves. Indeed, were I the parent or relative of an Israeli soldier, or simply a citizen of Israel, I'd wish there were a lot less hypertrophied emphasis on this "purity of arms," stuff, and a lot more attention to saving Israeli lives, or not squandering them because to do certain things -- i.e., flatten a neighborhood in Jenin with bombs, as the Americans would quite sensibly have done before moving in, rather than risk the lives, and then lose the lives, of several dozen Israeli soldiers who had to go on foot to look fo terrorists in the old part of town, and had boobytrapped cement walls exploded on top of them, killing almost all of them -- quite unnecessarily.
Bin Laden has it exactly wrong. Israeli soldiers and civilians are almost unique in never engaging in rape, and there is not a single example I can think of in the long history of Israel's wars of self-defense. Not a single example of an Arab woman being raped by Israelis -- so very unlike what the Arabs did, and do, to any Jewish women they can capture, and for that matter so unlike what the PLO did to Christian women in Damur and other places in Lebanon where so many PLO atrocities were committed against Maronites, and what Arabs in Egypt do to Copt women, or Pakistani Muslims have done to Hindu women in Kashmir, or what the soldiers of what was then West Pakistan did to Bangladeshi women -- about a quarter-million were raped, and many killed -- during the 1970-71 war, or what the Muslim Arabs of the northern Sudan have done to black African women in both the south and Darfur.
Indeed, this very fact -- that the Israelis do not rape -- has been frustrating for Israeli leftists, so frustrating that, while having to recognize the absence of rape of Arab women by Israelis, they have at the same time decided to make that very absence into a charge. To wit: the charge of Israeli "racism." Israeli soldiers don't rape, you see, not because they are carefully trained, and hold themselves in check, but because they simply have a "racist" atttitude toward the Arab women.
Indeed, this was made into a thesis by a far-left graduate student, one Ms. Nitzan, working under an even farther-left professor at Hebrew University.
Here's the comical story, with the tragicomical denouement, as narrated in an article by Stephen Plaut:
"It began as just another exercise in political academic wackiness at the Hebrew University.
A graduate student claimed that the absence of any history of rapes of Arab women by Israeli Jewish soldiers proves that the Jews are racists and oppressors, people who do not even regard Arab women as sexually desirable. Such silliness is commonplace these days in academia, and ordinarily no one would have taken much notice. But the student at the Mount Scopus campus and her “research” were then awarded a university honor for her impressive “discoveries.” That drew media attention.
The matter has now become the worst recent scandal in Israeli academia because of the attempt by the heads of the Hebrew University to cover it up, in a manner a bit reminiscent of the worst days of Watergate. Maybe it should be dubbed Scopusgate. The scandal now rivals the “Toaff Affair” in Israel last year, in which a now-retired professor at Bar-Ilan University published “research” in which he claimed that medieval Jews used gentile blood for ceremonial purposes.
The very highest officials of the Hebrew University are themselves now implicated in a dishonest cover-up! The President of the Hebrew University, Professor Menachem Magidor, and the Rector Prof. Haim D. Rabinowitch jointly issued a deliberately false “spin” announcement regarding the MA thesis of the student, claiming that the media had incorrectly described what was in it. Instead of repudiating the student and her “academic advisors,” Magidor and Rabinowitch closed ranks with them and insisted that Nitzan’s “research” represents serious scholarship. The Nitzan Affair simply shows how completely devoid of serious academic standards and quality controls parts of Israeli academia are today.
Hebrew University apologists tried to defuse the cries of outrage over the “research” by claiming that reports about it were all part of some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy. The first two media reports appeared on web sites, one Hebrew and one English, both associated with those on the Israeli Right. The apologists suggested that these were misrepresenting the thesis for political reasons. Then Magidor and Rabinovitch proclaimed that reading the entire thesis would show that it is a serious piece of scholarship. They obviously did not read it.
Well, I have now read the entire thesis (in Hebrew). [You can also, if you read Hebrew] It is not a serious piece of research. It is a disgrace and an embarrassment for all of Israeli academia. The descriptions of it on the two “rightwing” web sites were entirely accurate, and the heads of the Hebrew University simply lied about its contents, in a pathetic attempt at cover-up. While University apologists dismissed complaints about the thesis as tendentious misrepresentation of it by a vast rightwing conspiracy, the rallying in defense of the thesis by the Hebrew University administration and some professors looks a whole lot like a leftwing conspiracy to cover up.
Tal Nitzan was a graduate student in anthropology at the Hebrew University. Her thesis was supervised by anthropology Professor Eyal Ben Ari and by Dr. Edna Lomsky-Feder, from the Hebrew University’s school of education, a leftist with a history of denouncing Israel for its supposed “militarism.” The thesis was evidently also supported by anthropology Prof. Zali Gurevitch, the head of the Shaine Center (and himself an anti-Israel leftist radical), who defended it to the media and made the decision to award it a prize of honors.
Nitzan’s “thesis” is largely a collection of tiresome feminist rhetoric and postmodernist gibberish, not all of it related to rape. The thesis is 206 pages long and tries to appear scholarly by including many long “citations” taken from the fever swamps of radical anthropology and leftist sociology. One has to wade through it with suppressed nausea to get to its main points, and all of the main points are exactly as they were represented in the early media reports; they are at complete odds with the cover-up attempt by the Hebrew University.
Nitzan begins by noting that one should distinguish between organized military rape directly ordered by authorities as a matter of policy, such as in the Bosnian wars, and individual acts of rape by soldiers, which she labels with the nonsensical term “symptomatic rape.” She calls it that I guess because she wants us to think it is a symptom the “racist Zionist system” that is responsible for such crimes. She asserts that the first kind of rape is a form of political policy, whereas the latter kind (the “symptomatic”) is a “direct result of the blurring of social divisions and ethnic-gender barriers” (bear with me here! — SP). She confirms that the first form of organized rape has never been the policy of the Israeli army. She then says that the second form, individual “symptomatic rape,” has replaced the former as a method of humiliation and oppression of Arabs, even when - and especially when - Israeli Jewish soldiers do not do it at all! Hence, she concludes, NOT raping Arab women shows how racist the Jews are.
Nitzan cannot conceive of any rape that is not in and itself a form of establishing political control and defining political power. “Symptomatic rape” for Nitzan is a reflection of the intolerant distancing of the “dominant” group (Jewish men) from the “oppressed” group (Arab men and women). But she then completely turns this “thought” on its head by arguing that abstaining from rape is just as inhumane and oppressive as “symptomatically raping,” and in fact replaces it, because it just serves to reinforce the intolerant attitudes towards Arabs by Jewish soldiers, who think of Arabs as so inferior and horrid that they do not even feel a drive to rape them. Really. “Absence of rape is explained by the social condition in which there is blurring of attitudes towards gender power relations while at the same time social limits… are unambiguous and solid. (page 183)” While giving some shallow lip service to how the “question” of rape refusal is “very complex,” Nitzan’s own “answer” is quite simple and straightforward. And numbingly stupid.
Rape for Nitzan is not violent crime at all but rather is always a manifestation of political plotting by elites. She contradicts herself by noting that, come to think of it, Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women as individuals either. She then contradicts her own contradictions and claims that the absence of rape by Israeli soldiers is “designed” to achieve the same goals as organized mass rape in other countries and in other wars.
Her “conclusions” are that Israel is so racist and intolerably anti-Arab that abstaining from rape is part and parcel of its way to enforce rigid “lines of division.” She asserts that individual soldiers abstaining from rape represent an intentional policy of oppression roughly similar to when governments order mass rape, because in both cases the “policy” serves to subordinate and dehumanize the oppressed victim population.
The main significance of the thesis as an academic work is in the fact that it illustrates the total collapse of any semblance of academic standards at the Hebrew University. The “thesis” is not worth the disk space on which it is printed. Yet it was not only accepted by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University, the department in which the late pro-terror anti-Zionist extremist Baruch Kimmerling spent his career fabricating “Palestinian history”, but was even awarded a prestigious award, one evidently financed with contributions from the Shaine family. (I doubt the Shaines have any idea how their generosity was misused by the university!) Atrociously written and constantly contradicting herself, Nitzan would have been laughed out of any university maintaining serious standards, EVEN if she had been writing about a valid and legitimate subject.
The thesis draws its “scientific” conclusions from open interviews with 25 reserve soldiers, ages 23-32, who served as combat troops in the “occupied territories” during the “intifada.” None of the comments by any of these soldiers support or provide any confirmation, even the most indirect, to any of the lunatic “conclusions” by Nitzan. Most of the interview comments concern the day-to-day tactics and experiences of the soldiers. Nitzan then asked the soldiers why no Arab women were raped by Israeli troops. Their responses varied, ranging from assertions of ethical awareness of soldiers to effective disciple. Some noted the presence of media reporters or of NGO groups in the areas of conflict.
Nitzan constantly disregards what the soldiers actually say and instead attributes to them irrational fears and feelings of disgust and snotty superiority when they interact with Arabs (for example, page 53 and following). Long segments of the thesis are rants about how Israel brutally exercises control and suppression of the poor Palestinians.
But since when is asking 25 random soldiers why no rapes take place a scientific way to go about answering the question? The soldiers are not social scientists and are not criminologists. How any MA degree could be awarded to anyone on the basis of having conducted 25 interviews is one of the mysteries that the Hebrew University authorities have yet to explain. The thesis is totally devoid of statistical analysis or empirical testing, even using the rather primitive methodologies popular among some sociologists. At no serious academic institution would such a superficial exercise in baseless long-winded verbiage be accepted as a “research thesis.”
Nitzan’s anti-Israel political bias is also evident throughout. On page 23 she declares that “Imposing control and instilling fear is a frequent practice (by Israel in the ‘Palestinian-Israeli’ conflict) and so it would be expected that military rape should be used as an efficient method for ensuring the security and survival of a Jewish Israel.” On page 53 she asserts that “de-humanization amidst avoiding demonization is one of the most blatant features of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” [She means by the Jews.] The words “terror” and “terrorist” do not appear even once in the entire thesis. Neither does “bomb,” “bomber,” or “suicide murderer.” No one reading the thesis would have any idea that Israeli military actions in the “territories” have anything to do with suicide bombers and terrorist murderers. The political bias and open political propagandizing should have been more than enough for the thesis to be rejected altogether as pseudo-research. Instead, it got a prize.
The possibility that Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women because they are simply decent and honorable people, or under effective command by decent and honorable people, is automatically dismissed by Nitzan. After all, there are acts of criminal rape in Israeli civilian society, citing a radical feminist group claiming such sexual abuse is common in Israel, so this could not possibly explain the mystery. How the incidence of such civilian crimes rules out the obvious real explanation for the absence of rape by soldiers is not even the worst logical inconsistency by Nitzan and her supervisors.
Nitzan’s thesis contains the Arab “narrative” about just about everything, including such things as the battle of Deir Yassin. The claims of Bash-Israel “historians” are accepted at face value. Arab propaganda is accepted as “scholarship.” Nevertheless, even these confirm that virtually no rapes of Arab women by Jewish soldiers ever occurred. [One of the few people claiming that a few such rape cases did take place is anti-Israel propagandist Uri Avnery, who is not an academic and is hardly a credible source, although one Nitzan on which is willing to rely.]
Once reports about the Nitzan “research” claiming Jews were racist for NOT raping Arabs began to circulate, the heads of the Hebrew University (the President and Rector together) evidently heard outraged complaints and so issued their own statement concerning it, dated December 30, 2007. It reads, in part: “Thank you for your concern about the thesis of the student Ms. Tal Nitzan. In her thesis, Ms. Nitzan examined a number of explanations for the question why the Israeli army is not involved in rapes, as was so widely done by the Japanese in Korea and more recently by the Europeans in Kosovo and by the Americans in Iraq, just to name a few. IDF soldiers are not involved in raping and other atrocities common to other armies, and Ms. Nitzan examined a number of explanations for this proper behavior. It seems that the source, on which the media reports were based, either did not read the thesis or used sentences that were taken out of context (emphasis in original statement). Below please find excerpts from her work (both in the original Hebrew and the English translation, side by side), providing possible explanations for the question why the Israeli army is not involved in rapes.”
This was followed by three brief citations from the Nitzan thesis in Hebrew with English translation. Sure enough, nothing in the three selections, all taken out of context, is particularly outrageous or anti-Israel. But that is only because in 206 pages of babble, it is unsurprisingly possible to find a handful of sentences that are not offensive. Indeed, Nitzan did mention in passing the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Korea, but nearly the entire thesis is dedicated single-mindedly to proving that Jews are racists for NOT raping Arabs. The President and Rector of the Hebrew University did exactly what they disingenuously claimed the media had been doing, selecting non-representative sentences to misrepresent the thesis and make it appear harmless.
Meanwhile not a single feminist organization anywhere has spoken up about this thesis claiming that it is racist when Jews do not rape Arabs. This past spring a gang of Arabs terrorized the Galilee by raping Jewish women for political motives and was apprehended. Some of their victims were children. Nitzan and her professors have nothing to say about THAT wave of politically-motivated rapes. According to Nitzan’s own thesis logic, if a Jewish woman were to be raped by Hamas terrorists, this would pretty much prove that the Hamas are egalitarian and progressive seekers of peace and justice, not treating Jews as the inferior “Other.”
But the most outrageous aspect of this entire scandal is the behavior of the heads of the Hebrew University, defending and endorsing this “research” with a cover-up, and proving that the Hebrew University today, despite one of its retired professors having won a Nobel Prize, has jettisoned academic standards and has lost interest in seeking academic excellence."
Posted on 10/29/2008 6:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
A Musical Interlude: Keep On The Sunny Side (The Carter Family)
Posted on 10/29/2008 6:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Bittersweet, Or, Twenty Years Before The Publishing Mast
Showed up at a local library for what I thought was going to be advice from a well-known horticulturist on how to combat bittersweet vines in your garden, and instead found myself at a lecture by an "editor with more than twenty years experience at a major publishing house" who proceeded to tell an audience of hoping-to-be-published writers her special trade secrets: how to find an agent, how to choose the agent who's right for you; how to market yourself before you market your book proposal; how to package your presentation; how to self-publish when turned down; how to package your self-published book for distributors when regular publishers turn you down; how to go on the road to market; how to to place that self-published book in your local bookstore; how to get free publicity, how to sell, sell, sell that book.
The editor with more than twenty years of experience at a major publishing house explained that the main thing was "for a writer to find their agent." She had personally known "multiple writers who had failed to do so" because they didn't want to pay what agents demanded (a big mistake), and had as a consequence never been published. And she cautioned that would-be writers of books for children should be careful, because the children's book market was special, "a world onto itself."
She wasn't entirely a waste. A bubbly enthusiast, cheerful, and a self-described real lover of books - "in this business, you don't have to be, but it helps" -- why, since you ask, at the moment she was just then reading "Mrs. Astor Regrets," a book about the late Brooke Astor and her scheming son, a book she described several times as "dishy." At least she never told us how important it was to "find your own voice." She was sure, and we all knew it was true because she said it several times, that each and every person in that audience, if only he, if only she, would persevere, would find that agent, get that deal, make that breakthrough.
Then it was time for questions.
"I am writing a non-fiction book about an amazing event, an event that is unique, nothing like it has ever happened in history. It's got something to do with Germany. I don't want to say anything more. But before I tell an agent about it, I want him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Can I do that?"
Answer: Sure you can. But do it only if you don't trust him. If you trust him, don't bother.
"I have written my memoirs about growing up in China and now living here and want to know if I should try to first publish them first in China or here?" [this from a Chinese girl who looked about 25]
Answer: Oh, that sounds really exciting. It sounds like something I'd love to read. Well, to answer your question: If you have better contacts in China, try there first. Go ahead, give it a shot. And if that doesn't work, try here. The important thing is to persevere.
"I am writing a children's book about a white girl whose best friend is an Afro-American girl. Is that still a hot topic now, or has it passed?"
Answer: Oh, yes, that's great. But there is one difference nowadays: Just don't treat it as an issue, okay? Just treat it as normal.
"I'm writing a children's book about a boy and his dog. Is that too obvious, do you think?"
Answer: No. There's always room for one more book about a boy and his dog.
There were other questions in the same vein. And I wanted to ask a question myself. What were the prospects, I wanted to know, for a book about the adventures of an Afro-American boy and his Afro-American dog? Was that a hot topic, or had it once been, or would it be again, and would a book about such a subject be an easy sell, would it be expensive to market, would it be hard to promote, and what kind of advance could I expect?
But I didn't. I held myself in check, and left as soon as the clapping died down, eying on the way out the brownies and cider that had been laid out on a table for the post-lecture period of mingling and trading of business cards and telephone numbers. I drove myself home in a driving rain, and upon entering the house shook off that rain and the thoughts that remained of the partly-wasted evening, and sat down by the warm glow of the computer screen, and looked up "bittersweet" on the Internet.
Posted on 10/29/2008 7:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald