These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 3, 2011.
Monday, 3 October 2011
When I was about ten years old, I used to design cities. It was very easy, and I was surprised that everyone before me had made such a hash of it. I could conclude only that the world had hitherto been populated by fools. At the very center of the city was the parliament building, which was like St. Peter’s but on a bigger and grander scale. Round it ran an eight-lane circular road, from which radiated, symmetrically, six large avenues. How the deputies to the parliament were supposed to reach it—dodge between the traffic, I suppose—was not a question with which I concerned myself. I was designing cities and buildings, not human convenience. Along the avenues were situated the institutions that I then considered essential for cities: the natural history museum, the art gallery, the royal palace. Everything was on a grand scale, and no mess of the kind created by commercial or other inessential establishments was permitted or planned for.
Brasilia was being built while I designed my cities, though in a different architectural vocabulary: one of reinforced concrete rather than marbled neoclassical façades. From the point of view of urban design and planning, however, it was not much of an advance over mine, but, unlike my designs, it was put into practice.
The first thing to say about Brasilia is that it is an astonishing achievement or feat, and this is so whether you think it good or bad or somewhere in between the two. Where nothing but a remote, hot, and scrubby plain existed just over half a century ago, there now stands a functioning city of over three million people. This is enough to excite wonderment.
What perhaps is even more astonishing is that Brasilia was up and running within less than four years of the first foundation being laid. The dream of moving the capital from the coast to the interior was almost as old as Brazil itself, and, indeed, such a move had long been a constitutional requirement, if only a dead-letter one. The idea was both economic and strategic: the move would simultaneously develop the interior and protect the country from foreign occupation.
It was President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, a Parisian-trained former urologist, who finally ordered Brasilia’s construction. According to the story, a man asked Kubitschek at a pre-election meeting whether, if elected, he would comply with the constitutional requirement that the capital be moved, and he said that he would. Whether for reasons of probity not universal among politicians, or for more pragmatic reasons, Kubitschek kept to his undertaking, but made it a condition of doing so that the new capital be completed within his presidential mandate. As with many, perhaps most, or even all grand schemes, the economic cost was not taken into account: Kubitschek was, in effect, Brazil’s Peter the Great, but without the cruelty or indifference to human life. Unfortunately, he was also without the taste.
Continue reading here.
Posted on 10/03/2011 7:17 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 3 October 2011
Caroline Glick On Israel As A Wedge Issue
From The Jerusalem Post:
Last month at the UN President Barack Obama did something he had never done before. He discussed Israel and the Palestinians without once attacking Israel. He didn't blame Israel for the absence of peace.
True, Obama did not blame the Palestinians for refusing to negotiate with Israel. He did not attack Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for making a unity deal with Hamas.
He did not condemn the Palestinians as racist anti-Semites in light of their demand that a Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews, or for their refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist.
But for the first time in his presidency, last month at the UN Obama spoke to a world audience and drew a moral equivalence between Israel that seeks peace and the Palestinians who seek Israel's destruction.
Given his record, this is a step forward.
What caused the change?
Quite simply, the Republican victory in New York's 9th Congressional District's special election earlier this month caused the change. Obama did not attack Israel at the UN because he is concerned that he is losing American Jewish support.
Cong. Bob Turner's election, like that of other Republican politicians since 2009 in traditionally Democratic constituencies owes in large part to Obama's poor economic record. But what made the NY-9 election unique was the major role Obama's hostile policies towards Israel played in the race. With its high percentage of Jewish voters, the district served as a bellwether for Obama's reelection prospects among Jews as well as a litmus test for the Democratic Party's ability to continue to view Jews as automatic Democratic voters and generous Democratic campaign donors.
Obama's UN speech, like the administration's leaked report that it has sold Israel bunker buster bombs signal that the administration views the Jewish vote as in play for 2012. And they are trying to woo Jewish voters and donors back into the Democratic fold.
The deterioration of Jewish support for the Democrats has been a long time in coming.
Traditional Democratic support for Israel began eroding with the nomination of George McGovern as the party's presidential candidate in 1972. Before Obama, Jimmy Carter was the most hostile president Israel ever experienced.
In the 1990s, Bill Clinton was widely regarded as pro-Israel. Yet during Clinton's eight years in office, Yassir Arafat was the most frequent foreign guest at the White House. Clinton's legacy was the Palestinian terror war which broke out in his last months in office.
By the end of Clinton's second term, Republicans had clearly surpassed Democrats in their partisan support for Israel. And in the face of this shift, Democratic leaders insisted that the Republicans mustn't make Israel a "wedge issue." Since Israel enjoys support from both parties, the Democrats argued that it would harm Israel if Republicans made their outspoken and nearly unanimous support for Israel an electoral issue.
American Jewish leaders were happy to oblige the Democrats. Since most of them and most of their members were Democrats, American Jewish groups from AIPAC to the New York Jewish Federation willingly pretended the Democratic Party's growing support for the Palestinians against Israel meant nothing. And the few voices pointing out the increasingly obvious partisan divide were attacked for "politicizing" Israel.
In the two and a half years since he entered office, as Obama's hostility towards Israel became increasingly obvious, demands by Democratic leaders that the Republicans keep mum on Israel and the Democrats became more and more shrill. They reached their climax during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's dramatic visit to Washington in May.
While Netanyahu was en route to the US capital, Obama blindsided him by endorsing the Palestinian demand that all future peace talks be based on an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines. Since those lines would render Israel indefensible, Netanyahu was compelled to confront Obama on the issue during a photo opportunity at the White House the following day.
In the face of Obama's unprecedentedly harsh treatment of Israel, Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee used the opportunity of a joint meeting with Netanyahu for leaders of the National Democratic Jewish Council and the Republican Jewish Coalition to make the case for silence on her party's weak support for Israel.
Her statement reportedly made Netanyahu so uncomfortable that he asked, "Do you guys want me to leave the room and give you guys some privacy?"
While requests to block debate on Israel were respected in the past, the current divide between Democrats and Republicans on Israel is so wide that avoidance of the issue no longer makes sense for Republicans. And so, days after the meeting with Netanyahu, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks wrote a letter to Wasserman Schultz officially rejecting her request.
As he put it, "The Jewish community has a right to be informed about people's records and people should be answerable for the positions they take. This is the essence of democracy."
And indeed, both the RJC and the Emergency Committee for Israel, a conservative group formed ahead of the 2010 Congressional elections, made Obama's hostility to Israel a major issue in the New York 9 race.
Congressional Republicans have also stopped giving the Democrats a free ride for their tepid support for Israel. In the past Republicans avoided introducing major legislation on Israel without Democratic co-sponsors and willingly watered down their initiatives to attract Democratic support. This is no longer the case.
In August Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced a bill that will end US financial support for the Palestinian Authority and steeply curtail US funding for the UN if the UN upgrades the PLO's diplomatic mission. All 57 of the bill's co-sponsors are Republicans.
Cong. Joe Walsh introduced a resolution in September calling for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria. His resolution's 40-odd co-sponsors are also all Republicans.
Israel's enemies in the US peddle the anti-Semitic fiction that Israel's supporters are nothing more than a cabal of activists who band together to defend Israel at America's expense. Extensive polling data shows that the pro-Israel "cabal" includes the vast majority of Americans.
It is due to the public's overwhelming support for Israel that pro-Israel activists have no reason to fear injecting support for Israel into the political debate. The more politicians are called to account for their positions on Israel, the most pro-Israel their positions will be.
And that is the thing of it. Due to the Jewish community's willingness to pretend that there is no partisan divide on Israel, for the past generation, in the face of growing popular support for Israel, successive administrations have adopted policies of appeasement towards the Arabs that have required Israel to take actions that weakened it. That is, because American Jews have agreed not to make Israel an issue, politicians have felt free to pressure Israel to take steps that harm it - without the public's knowledge and against its wishes.
Turner's victory and Obama's UN speech expose the folly of this practice. They show that Israel's position in the US is enhanced, not weakened when politicians are called to account for their positions.
Posted on 10/03/2011 7:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
Broadcasting a Lethal Narrative: The World Council of Churches and Israel
- The World Council of Churches, an umbrella organization for 349 Protestant and Orthodox churches founded in 1948, has expressed concern for the safety and wellbeing of the Jewish people but has largely been hostile to their state, particularly during times of conflict. At these times, WCC institutions demonize Israel, use a double standard to assess its actions, and in some instances delegitimize the Jewish state. They have also persistently denied the intent of Israel’s adversaries to deprive the Jewish people of their right to a sovereign state.
- While the WCC’s pronouncements are portrayed as the result of studied and prayerful consideration, politics plays a central and decisive role in determining whom the WCC will criticize and whom it refrains from criticizing. While the Middle East Council of Churches has prevailed upon the WCC to condemn Israel, the Russian Orthodox Church was able to prevent the WCC from condemning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
- Like mainline churches in the United States, the WCC’s anti-Israeli campaign escalated significantly after the start of the Second Intifada. This escalation was particularly evident in the WCC’s Central Committee, which, in addition to endorsing divestment, established two bodies – the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) and the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) – that both have the singular purpose of ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
- The WCC has devoted a substantial amount of resources to broadcasting its one-sided narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict, but has failed to create an effective response to an ongoing campaign of terror against Christians in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The WCC regularly dialogues with Muslims, but fails to address the issue of anti-Jewish and anti-Christian rhetoric in Islamic teachings head-on. Consequently, Muslim extremists can engage in a slow, grinding campaign to eliminate Christianity from the Middle East without challenge from the World Council of Churches.
Read the entire article here.
Posted on 10/03/2011 7:45 AM by Dexter Van Zile
Monday, 3 October 2011
For Nobel Committee, A Possible Puzzlement
“The rules require that a recipient of a Nobel Prize must be alive. One particularly sad example of this was the Nobel in Medicine that was awarded to Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel, but not to their colleague Stephen Kuffler, who deserved it as well but had died in October 1980, and had he not, would have shared the 1981 Nobel Prize for Medicine with Wiesel, an Uppsala-born scientist who had come to work in Kuffler's lab in Baltimore, and with Hubel, an American who did ditto."
[Posted by: Hugh at November 7, 2004 08:43 PM]
Kuffler's death occurred the year before it was awarded to Wiesel and Hubal In this case, Ralph Steinmann died AFTER the prize had been awarded to him (along with Hofmann and Beutler) but BEFORE the prize recipients had been announced.
University says Nobel Prize winner has died
The Associated Press
October 3, 2011
STOCKHOLM — Rockefeller University in New York says Ralph Steinman, co-winner of this year's Nobel Prize in medicine, has died.
It says Steinman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago and died on Sept. 30, three days before the announcement.
Nobel Prizes are typically not given out posthumously. Nobel committee member Goran Hansson said the Nobel committee didn't know Steinman was dead when it chose him as a winner and was looking through its regulations.
Steinman shared the 10 million-kronor ($1.5 million) award with American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann.
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries about the immune system that opened new avenues for the treatment and prevention of infectious illnesses and cancer.
American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann shared the 10 million-kronor ($1.5 million) award with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, the Nobel committee at Stockholm's Karolinska institute said.
Their discoveries have enabled the development of improved vaccines against infectious diseases. In the long term they could also yield better treatments of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and chronic inflammatory diseases, award committee secretary Goran Hansson told The Associated Press.
Beutler and Hoffmann were cited for their discoveries in the 1990s of receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other microorganisms as they enter the body, and activate the first line of defense in the immune system, known as innate immunity.
Steinman was honored for the discovery two decades earlier of dendritic cells, which help regulate adaptive immunity, the next stage of the immune system's response, when the invading microorganisms are purged from the body.
The discoveries have helped scientists understand why the immune system sometimes attacks its own tissues, paving the way for new ways to fight inflammatory diseases.
"They have made possible the development of new methods for preventing and treating disease, for instance with improved vaccines against infections and in attempts to stimulate the immune system to attack tumors," the committee said.
No vaccines are on the market yet, but Hansson told AP that vaccines against hepatitis are in the pipeline. "Large clinical trials are being done today," he said.
Hansson said he had not been able to reach any of the winners before the announcement.
"Hoffmann for example is traveling in China and is difficult to reach," he said.
Beutler, born in 1957, is professor of genetics and immunology at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California. Hoffmann, 70, headed a research laboratory in Strasbourg, France, between 1974 and 2009 and served as president of the French National Academy of Sciences between 2007-2008.
Steinman, 68, has been affiliated with Rockefeller University in New York since 1970, and heads its Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases.
Hoffmann's discovery came in 1996 during research on how fruit flies fight infections. Two years later, Beutler's research on mice showed that fruit flies and mammals activate innate immunity in similar ways when attacked by germs.
Steinman's discovery dates back to 1973, when he found a new cell type, the dendritic cell, which has a unique capacity to activate so-called T-cells. Those cells have a key role in adaptive immunity, when antibodies and killer cells fight infections. They also develop a memory that helps the immune system mobilize its defenses next time it comes under a similar attack.
The medicine award kicked off a week of Nobel Prize announcements, and will be followed by the physics prize on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The winners of the economics award will be announced on Oct. 10.
The coveted prizes were established by wealthy Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel — the inventor of dynamite — except for the economics award, which was created by Sweden's central bank in 1968 in Nobel's memory. The prizes are always handed out on Dec. 10, on the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.
Last year's medicine award went to British professor Robert Edwards for fertility research that led to the first test tube baby.
Posted on 10/03/2011 8:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
Libyan Rebels Prevent Aid From Getting To Civilians In Sirte; NATO Is Silent
Fighting halts aid mission into Libyan siege city
By Rania El Gamal and Tim Gaynor
SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - A Red Cross convoy carrying aid to relieve a worsening humanitarian crisis in Libya's besieged city of Sirte had to turn back on Monday because Libyan interim government forces unleashed a barrage of gunfire.
Aid agencies say they are concerned about the welfare of civilians inside Sirte, the hometown of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who are trapped by the fighting and running out of food, water, fuel and medical supplies.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took some supplies into Sirte last week, and it tried again on Monday, assembling a convoy of two trucks carrying aid, and accompanied by two four-wheel drive vehicles.
The convoy set off from a bridge a few kilometres west of Sirte but came to a halt after only about 100 metres because interim government forces started firing into the city.
They fired a heavy barrage of mortars, artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft weapons just as the convoy was starting to move. The ICRC convoy turned around and headed back west, away from Sirte.
An anti-Gaddafi commander at the scene, Ismail Al-Sosi, told Reuters: "The rebels secured the way for the International Red Cross to go but as soon as they entered the city they returned because of the (pro-Gaddafi) militias firing. We did not start the firing. The militias started the firing."
However, a Reuters team who witnessed the incident said they saw no incoming fire from the Gaddafi loyalists inside Sirte.
Speaking just before the aborted attempt to get supplies into the city, an ICRC official said the humanitarian situation there was dire.
"We're trying to provide medical assistance and oxygen to the hospital in Sirte," said Hishem Khadrawy. "We are really concerned about the medical situation because of the conflict."
Civilians who were able to get out of Sirte spoke of many other people unable to leave and facing deteriorating conditions.
Boshnab Khalifa drove out of the city with his family. A woman in the back seat of his car clutched a Koran.
"We were in our apartment and then the wall was blown in by a rocket," he said. "The situation is very bad. Our family and our friends are trapped inside. They cannot get out. There are many families trapped inside, some have no gas for their cars, other (cars) have been damaged or destroyed."
Another resident fleeing Sirte, Mohammed Diap, said pro-Gaddafi militias were barring people from getting out.
"There is no food, no water, no power. Some are trapped because there is no fuel, others are trapped because of the militias," he said. "The people who are trapped inside are in danger. There is random shelling everywhere."
Libyans ended Gaddafi's 42-year rule in August when rebel fighters stormed the capital. Gaddafi and several of his sons are still at large and his supporters hold Sirte and the town of Bani Walid, south of Tripoli.
Gaddafi's supporters are too weak to regain power, but their resistance is frustrating the new rulers' efforts to start building the post-Gaddafi Libya.
A city of about 75,000 people, Sirte holds symbolic importance. Gaddafi, known for his self-aggrandising gestures, transformed his birthplace from a sleepy fishing town into Libya's second capital.
At his instigation, parliament often sat in Sirte and he hosted international summits at the Ouagadougou Hall, a marble-clad conference centre he had built on a desert plot in the south of the city.
Concerns about the humanitarian crisis have focussed on the city's Ibn Sina hospital. Medical workers who fled Sirte say patients were dying on the operating table because there was no oxygen and no fuel for the hospital's generators.
Medical staff outside Sirte who had treated wounded civilians fleeing the fighting on Monday said they had been told the corridors were full of patients and that treatment was being given only to pro-Gaddafi fighters or members of Gaddafi's tribe.
"There is a section for civilians and a section for the (pro-Gaddafi) brigades. They are only treating the brigades and leaving the normal people," one member of an ambulance crew told Reuters. That account was repeated by a doctor at a field hospital near the city.
Forces loyal to Libya's interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), have surrounded Sirte. They have until now made little inroads from their positions on the edge of the sprawling city.
On Monday though, pro-Gaddafi forces on the eastern side of Sirte appeared to have pulled back without a fight, allowing NTC fighters to advance about 4 km from their previous positions.
A Reuters reporter who moved in with them said she saw deserted neighbourhoods and empty houses, with burned-out cars in the streets. Sheep, with no one tending them, wandered down one street.
The NTC forces had capitalised on their advance by finding weapons which they said had been abandoned in civilian houses.
A group of fighters headed out of the city on foot carrying a haul of rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov rifles, boxes of ammunition and pairs of new army boots.
"We took them from Muammar, Allahu Akbar! (God is Greatest)," one of the fighters shouted.
Posted on 10/03/2011 8:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
Abbas Zaki Of Fatah Tells The World Exactly What It Needs To Hear
Posted on 10/03/2011 11:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
Fatah Leader Abbas Zaki Re-Iterates What Should Be Obvious: The Slow Jihadists Want, But By Degrees, What The Fast Jihadists Want
Now you have seen, from blessed MEMRI, the man from Fatah, speaking his truthful piece. it is Fatah whose warlords run the "Palestine Authority," an "Authority" whose economoc [;am consists of continuing to receive aid money from the West, and internal security in the "West Bank" assured by the Israelis, thus giving the "Palestine Authority" all the time in the world to concentrate on what most matters: the propaganda and diplomatic war without end against Israel. In short, one of those places richly deserving of that fashinoable adjective "unsustainable."
You have watched Mr. Zaki offering, a little indiscreetly now that MEMRI can pick up, and make available even to the most blinkered of Western officlals, what intelligent people with a grasp of Islam have always understood: his explanation for, justification for, the slight difference in tactics and timing between the Slow Jihadists of Fatah (that is, the P.A., whose warlords want that Western aid to keep coming, and who differ from Hamas only in that keen desire, and in an understanding that to attain their ultimate goals they must relentlessly keep up the diplomatic and propaganda war against Israel, one that the West does not yet realize or pretends to not realize - for to realize the truth, as to realize the truth about the menace of a large-scale Muslim presence in Western Europe, would create difficulties that very few are capable, as yet, of facing) is merely one instrument of Jihad. The business about a "peace treaty" is part of the ongoing war against Israel. The demands the Arabs hope to see fulfilled would represent a capitulation by Israel which, after all, has already been placed -- though it was the victor in the Six-Day War and in the Yom Kippur War -- in the position of having to sue for peace, to beg for negotiations.
It's topsy-turvily absurd. And only fools -- there are, alas, so many, both in Israel and in the greater West --fail to grasp that the Arabs will always make yet one more impossible demand, and are determined to win through "peace negotiations" what they could not achieve through war, and want the U.N., the Quartet, America, anybody, to put such enormous pressure on Isreal as to force that tiny and permanently beleaguered country to cave, its leaders to crack.
But the Israelis are coming, many have come, to their senses. It is now their task to help others -- especially officials in the United States -- to recognize that the "peace" to be maintained has to be one based on deterrence, that is on Israesl's ability to infllict far greater damage, militarily, on the Arabs and Muslims than they can on Israel. And this cannot happen if the West continues to fail to grasp the irrelevancy, or danger, rather, of treaties made with Arabs and Muslims that have never been honored in the most important ways. That "peace' with Egypt was kept only because the Egyptian military felt they had more to lose by going to war, including the possible loss, for the third and final time, of the entire Sinai --in every other respect, Egypt violated its solemn commitments, so carefully hammered-out by the hopeful and naive Israeli negoiatiors, all that business about ending hostile relations and fostering friendly ones, that appear in the Camp David Accords and that everyone keeps forgetting or refusing to acknowledge.
The strategy is simple, and obvious: have the West put pressure on Israel so as to push the Jewish state back into a situation of such permanent peril, with indefensible borders, including loss of control over the Judean heights, that Israel will, sooner or later, succumb to a combined assault by Arabs and Muslims. But it must be weakened, by concessions wrung out of it, and in order to do so, for the past several decades the Arabs and Muslims have been engaged in what is the longest-running, best-financed, most colossal propaganda war in human history. There's been nothing like it, and its main instrument has been the U.N., and all of its local succursales.
The original and clear and exclusive purpose of the Mandate for Palestine has been forgotten. The explicit requirements made by the Mandate, that "encourage close Jewish settlement on the land" -- a land that consisted of all of Westen Palestine (for Eastern Palestine, east that is of the Jordan, was unilaterally, and the Mandates Commission thought illegitimately, deemed by Great Britain not to be subject to such provisions -- on what legal authority? Professor William Rappard, head of the League of Nations' Mandates Commission, was outraged by this unilateral act of the British at the Cairo Conference -- and made part of the hastily-created Emirate of Transjordan.
All of this has been forgotten.
Forgotten, too, or overlooked, is the history of every single armistice agreement or treaty made by Israel with Arab Muslim states. The only case in which an agreement was honored was in the case of the armistice agreement with Lebanon, and that was true only for the first twenty years, when Lebanon was still. in large part, under Christian control and influence, and when that Christian influence diminished, and Muslims came to power, there were more and more violations in the south.
Jordan violated the armistice agreement and allowed Arab terrorists to strike, until Unit 101 under a young and fearless commander, Ariel Sharon, entered Jordan by night and inflicted such punishing damage that the border with Jordan remained quiet for decades.
Egypt, under Nasser, sponsored raids by the Fedayeen -- has the world forgotten the Fedayeen, a word once on all lips? -- more than 19,000 such raids, most of them not very effective, were carried out on farmers in the Negev, until Israel won the Sinai in a lightning campaign in 1956 and Egypt learned such a lesson that it took almost a decade for the effect to wear off.
The Arabs re-framed the narrative, so that the true narrative, that of a Jihad against the Infidel nation-state of Israel, was hidden, and re-presented as something else. Once the "Palestinian people" were invented, the new narrative -- so different from what the Arabs had said in 1948, or from what Ahmed Shukairy had threatened, or even Arafat in his earliest days (the PLO was founded in 1964) -- could take root. And that Arab narrative was meant to make the Jihad more palatable, to dress it up in the fashionable camouflage of a "national-liberation" movement (this was in the late 1960s and 1970s, and the Viet Cong and their supporters were very much in the news, and "national-liberation" was the Theme For Today).
The Israelis did almost nothing to oppose this. Instead of mocking, at every turn, as Golda Meir did, that "Palestinian people" business, they accepted it, they parroted it, their leaders, or at least those who were unvigilant about words, would refer carelessly to the "Palestinians" instead of, carefully, to the "local Arabs" or "the Palestinian Arabs," as they should have. Instead of recognizing Islam as the reason for the permanent Jihad against Israel, Israeli leaders apparently believed that since a few Muslim-populated countries, with secular and anti-Arab regimes -- in Turkey and in Iran -- were potential or real allies, the Israelis must never say anything to indicate that Islam itself was the source of the menace that threatened Israel and, by implication, all non-Muslims. But the Shah disappeared in 1979, and Khomeini and his epigones have been ruling in Iran ever since. And Erdogan, heir of Erbakan, has been ruling Turkey for nearly a decade, and his hostility toward Israel was not caused by, but merely expressed in, the Mavi Marmara business, in which Hamas-related Turkish Muslim fanatics were halted by Israeli forces doing exactly what they had a perfect right to do, and it is Erdogan who, in his public displays (including the browbeating and deliberate attempt to humiliate Shimon Peres months before the Mavi Marmara debacle), has gone out of his way to participate in, to encourage, a propaganda war against Israel, a country that for decades has done everything it could to cultivate and win Turkish good will. With Turksih secularists, that campaign can succeed. With the likes of Erdogan - as with the likes of those who rule the Islamic Republic of Iran -- no such winning of goodwill, or diminsihment of implacably permanent hostiity, is possible. Those who think Israel should apologize to Turkey, and that then Turkey, that is Erdogan and his henchmen and followers, will be satisfied, fail to have followed carefully Erdogan's career, beliefs, attitudes, They have not changed, and they will not -- not toward Israel, nor toward Cyprus, nor toward the countries of Europe that apparently dare to be unenthsiastic about Turkish admission to the E.U.
There is no subsitute for understanding Islam, in trying to make sense of what the Arabs are doing, what Fatah and Hamas, in the matters where they differ (tactics and timing) and in those where they are identical (in the ultimate goal of ending the existence of an independent Jewish state).
There are many statements about this over the decades, by so many different Arab (and "Palestinian" Arab) leaders, from Azzam Pasha, when he was Secretary-General of the Arab League in 1948 (some will wish to be reminded that Azzam Pasha was the great-uncle of Ayman Al-Zawahiri), to Ahmed Shukairy, who was assigned the task of being the spokesman for the "Arabs of Palestine" -- the "Palestinian people" had not yet been invented -- before Arafat replaced him, to Arafat himself. And now to Abu Mazen, for decades Arafat's henchman, a Holocaust-denier as corrupt as any of Arafat's warlords (though none of those warlords has managed to get his hands on as much money, or divert as much to himself, as Arafat did), who has taken to this salim-fayyadesque role of being the mild-mannered Mahmoud "No-One-Here-But-Us-Accountants" Abbas, with the Abu Mazen persona left back at the Miqata in Ramallah, so as not to scare the women and horses at the White House, or the U.N., or elsewhere.
Posted on 10/03/2011 9:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
A Jewish Refugee Returns To Libya Full Of Hope, Tests The NTC's Intentions, Has His High Hopes Dashed
From The Miami Herald
Exiled Libyan Jew says synagogue efforts blocked
David Gerbi gestures during an interview with The Associated Press in Tripoli, Libya, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. A Libyan Jewish man who returned from exile to try to restore Tripoli's main synagogue says he has been blocked from the building a day after knocking down the wall that was blocking its entrance. Gerbi says he went to clean garbage from the synagogue on Monday only to be told by men at the scene that they had warnings he would be targeted by violence. Gerbi, who fled with his family to Italy in 1967, says he was surprised because he had permission from the local sheik.
By KIM GAMEL
TRIPOLI, Libya -- A Libyan Jewish man who returned from exile was blocked from entering Tripoli's main synagogue Monday, dashing his hopes of restoring the house of worship after decades of decay.
David Gerbi, who has spent most of his life in Italy, said he went to clean garbage from the synagogue on Monday, a day after he broke through the entrance with a sledgehammer to great fanfare. Men at the scene told him, however, that they had warnings he could be a target of violence, and that he should stop his efforts.
Gerbi, who fled with his family to Italy in 1967, said he was surprised because he had permission from the local sheik. Gerbi's colleague Richard Peters said several men armed with assault rifles later appeared to guard the building, although none was visible later Monday.
Breaking down in tears, Gerbi said Libya needs to decide whether it will be a racist country or a democratic one.
It was not clear who was ultimately behind the warnings of violence against Gerbi or whether the armed men who passed along the message did so on behalf of Libya's new rulers.
The head of the National Transitional Council that is governing the country was dismissive of the issue when asked about it at a news conference, saying it was too early to worry about rebuilding a synagogue when revolutionary forces were still fighting supporters of fugitive leader Moammar Gadhafi.
"This matter is premature and we have not decided anything in this regard," Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said. "Everyone who holds Libyan nationality has the right to enjoy all rights, provided that he has no other nationality but Libyan."
On Sunday, Gerbi took a sledgehammer to a concrete wall and entered the crumbling Dar al-Bishi synagogue, which has been filled with decades of garbage since Gadhafi expelled Libya's small Jewish community early in his rule.
He and a team of helpers carted in brooms, rakes and plastic buckets and planned to start cleaning out the debris on Monday.
The 56-year-old psychoanalyst appealed to the new leadership to set an example of tolerance, saying that while Gadhafi "wanted to eliminate the diversity, they need to include the diversity."
Gerbi said he had received permission to restore the synagogue from the neighborhood sheik, but that permission apparently had been withdrawn.
Gerbi's family fled to Rome in 1967, when Arab anger was rising over the war in which Israel captured large swaths of territory from Jordan, Syria and Egypt. Two years later, Gadhafi expelled the rest of Libya's Jewish community, which at its peak numbered about 37,000.
Gerbi returned to his homeland this summer to join the rebellion that ousted Gadhafi, helping with strategy and psychological treatment.
He said his fellow rebels called him the "revolutionary Jew" and that he was thrilled when he rode into the capital with fighters from the western mountains as Tripoli fell in late August.
Posted on 10/03/2011 11:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
Definition of, and penalties for 'racist' graffiti
Case 1 - spraying a War Memorial with the phrases ‘Islam will dominate the world — Osama is on his way’ and ‘Kill Gordon Brown’ is not racially or religiously motivated according to the magistrates of Burton on Trent in the Midlands. See this post from spring last year. Muslim boy Tohseef Shah was given a conditional discharge (ie go away and behave) and had to pay compensation and costs.
Case 2 - A member of Muslims against Crusades burning a poppy on Remembrance Day while chanting "British soldiers burn in hell!" in front of people paying respects to their war dead is the offence of "insulting behaviour likely to cause distress" and merits a £50 fine.
Case 3 Two members of the EDL convicted of painting a mosque in Hartlepool, some days after Case 2 above with what the BBC and the Hartlepool Mail report as "racially-aggravated criminal damage" have been sentenced to one years imprisonment. The third, a woman, had her imprisonment suspended, pending her continued good behaviour.
I wondered, what on earth did they paint? Something involving those horrible words begining with 'w' and 'n', taunts based purely on skin colour, and specific threats to the individuals who worship in the Mosque, at the very least. Something with language too vile to repeat in a family newspaper.
Only the Muslim News details what was painted that they describe as "Islamophobic graffiti".
A red cross. But not just any ole red cross - a CHRISTIAN cross, on one door. And on the other door, with the same red paint the "other one was supposed to be a poppy shape". Regional President at Nasir Mosque, Bilal Atkinson emphasised that the cross was Christian.
A cross and a poppy are now offensive, racist and islamophobic.
Graffiti is criminal damage, agreed. They shouldn't have done it; the defendants know that themselves which is why they pleaded guilty. But there is no way, in my Christian country, that the Cross and the flower of Remembrance are offensive, racist or undesirable.
Truly there is a two tier system of law, one for us, and a lesser scale of offences and punishment for Muslims. Let's see what happens this year on Remembrance Day.
Posted on 10/03/2011 11:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 3 October 2011
How Iran Sees Pakistani-U.S. Ties
See here. And the picture is worth more than a thousand of the Islamic-Republic-Of-Iran words of predictable propaganda that follow.
Posted on 10/03/2011 2:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
An Unnecessary -- Even Useless -- Worry About Israel
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Israel yesterday that its increasing isolation in the region means it must take “risks for peace.” This shot fired over the bow of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was made in comments to reporters traveling with Panetta, who is on his first trip to the Jewish state since assuming the leadership of the Pentagon.
But it is not likely to make much of an impression with the Israeli people for the simple reason that, unlike either the Obama administration and the international press corps, they understand Israel has been taking risks for peace for 18 years. Panetta’s statement, like so much of the rhetoric that has come out of the administration, seems to reflect a mindset that treats the events of the last 18 years as meaningless. After the Oslo Accords, the peace offers that both Yasir Arafatâ€‹ and Mahmoud Abbasâ€‹ rejected and the withdrawal from Gaza that turned that area into a terrorist state, how can any American speak as if Israel has stood pat all this time rather than, as the historical record proves, taken terrible risks for which it has gotten little reward?
The Panetta visit is meant to reassure the Israelis who are understandably worried about the way in which the Arab Spring has led to more hate for the Jewish state rather than democracy for the Arabs. It is an unfortunate fact that there is nothing Israel can do to repair relations with countries like Turkey and Egypt, whose governments are whipping up antagonism for reasons that have little to do with the policies of the Netanyahu government. As dangerous as this is, it is the helplessness of the United States in the face of these trends that is most troubling.
President Obama came into office hoping to curry favor with the Arab and Muslim world by distancing the United States from Israel. While that policy shift helped fuel Palestinian intransigence and doomed the already slim hopes for Middle East peace, it did nothing to make America loved. But as the situation in the region deteriorates, Obama still has no answers other than to blame Israel and to demand it take “risks.”
While it is to be hoped Panetta will reaffirm the U.S. security cooperation with Israel that has survived Obama’s predilection for picking fights with Netanyahu, there is reason to worry the administration is looking to set the stage for a new round of pressure on the prime minister. Despite the pledges that the United States will work to preserve Israel’s military edge over its hostile neighbors, the timing of the visit may mean Washington is looking to demand payment for its veto of Palestinian independence at the United Nations.
But even if Netanyahu were to make the concessions on settlements and Jerusalem that Obama wants, there is little reason to believe the Palestinian Authority is interested in signing any peace deal. Rather than muscling Israel, the administration needs to make it clear to the Palestinian Authority, whom Panetta is said to be hoping to “re-engage,” that they cannot continue to be the beneficiaries of American largesse while at the same time doing everything in their power to torpedo the peace process.
Weakening Israel or creating the impression the United States is seeking to undermine its government only makes it less likely the Palestinians and other nations in the region will work for peace. By arriving in the region demanding Israel take “risks” they have already undertaken, rather than making it clear to the PA they will get nothing from their refusal to talk, Panetta has only ensured the standoff will continue.
Posted on 10/03/2011 8:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Why Am I So Romantic? (Lillian Roth, Harpo Marx)
Posted on 10/03/2011 8:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
The Fruits Of Field Work And Scholarship
It is very rare that one encounters a truly scholarly tome that one instinctively knows must have been a labour of love to write, but I have by me just such a book. One cannot overestimate its importance to even the most casual observer of the countryside and I, and others, await with bated breath the, hopefully imminent, publication of its companion volumes. Even the most cursory observation of only the cover of this book is sufficient to tell you that a veritable genius must have worked for a surprising length of time in some of the most physically demanding places in the country – the shopping precincts and their environs. Enough! Let me introduce you to this paragon amongst books, this wonderful manual for the keen nature lover, this useful, pocket sized, guide which encapsulates such a wealth of knowledge. It is The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America – A Guide to Field Identification by Julian Montague.
Published by Abrams way back in 2006 this invaluable field guide has only just come to my attention and I can heartily recommend the common sense approach to the subject embodied by this small, but crucially important, book. For the first time a very careful identification system has been rigorously worked out and the amazing full colour photographs throughout make it easy for the amateur to classify any carts he may come across both accurately and quickly. I had no difficulty in identifying two strays local to me as, respectively, an A10 and a B7. Granted my B7 was also a B14 ARCHAIC, but the fact that I was able to use this guide and establish that fact within seconds more than justifies its position on my shelves.
Buy it! Use it! You will never again confuse ordinary 'Gap Marginalization' with the equally as common 'Edge Marginalization' nor your A9s with your B1s. The whole mysterious life of the shopping cart will be open to you. No longer ignorant on all matters of wheeled basketdom you will be a master observer of all such that you survey. Your friends will stand in awe of your knowledge and your loved ones will look at you with new-found respect.
This is, I venture to suggest, the first truly useful modern field guide ever to be produced for any subject. May there be many more.
Posted on 10/03/2011 9:31 PM by John M Joyce
Monday, 3 October 2011
Rezwan Ferdaus' Relatives Express, In A Disgusting Display, Their Support, But Not When It Comes To Themselves Paying For A Lawyer
The story below describes the show of support given to Rezvwan Ferdaus, accused of enthusaistically plotting to kill Americans through terrorism. Variously described as a "Massachusetts man" or as a "musician" or as "a man from Ashland," Rezwan Ferdaus is a Musilm who was, if the government's facts are correct, following his perfectly reasonable reception of the Qur'an, Sunnah, and Sira. He was making war on the Infidels. He believed that it was necessary to participate directly in that war, that the obligation, in other words, to engage in violent Jihad was personal, and not communal.
But the story also includes this detail: he has a court-appointed legal defender. Why? The pictures of his family house in Ashland show quite a place, worth a lot. Why did his family decide not to take out a home-equity loan, to pay for a lawyer, rather than rely on a taxpayer-funded -- Infidel taxpayer-funded -- lawyer?
Here's the story:
Text size – +
From The Boston Globe:
Ashland man pleads not guilty to terrorism charges as family voices support
WORCESTER – Ashland resident Rezwan Ferdaus pleaded not guilty today in federal court to charges that he plotted to fly remote-controlled airplanes loaded with plastic explosives into federal buildings in Washington D.C.
Relatives of Ferdaus, a 26-year-old Northeastern University graduate, shouted their support and broke into tears today when he walked into a court. He pleaded not guilty to all six charges before Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hillman, who endorsed a defense request and postponed a detention hearing for Ferdaus until Oct. 20.
If convicted on all six counts and given the maximum on each, Ferdaus would be imprisoned for about 85 years.
Ferdaus’ defense attorney, federal public defender Catherine Byrne, told reporters after Ferdaus’ brief appearance in US District Court that her client is the victim of the FBI and US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’ office, which conducted an undercover investigation that led to his arrest last week.
“This case was orchestrated and facilitated by the government,’’ Byrne said. She did not elaborate.
The hearing marked Ferdaus’ first public appearance since his arrest and the revelation in federal court records of his alleged efforts to modify cellphones into control switches for improvised explosive devices that would be used to kill American servicemen and women.
It was also apparently the first time his relatives have seen him since his arrest last Wednesday. As Ferdaus was brought into the courtroom before Hillman took the bench, friends and relatives shouted words of encouragement.
“We’re all here for you!’’ one relative shouted.
A woman who said she was an aunt -- and who shouted at reporters to stay away from the family as they entered the courthouse -- burst into tears when Ferdaus walked in wearing a brown prison jumpsuit.
His mother sobbed heavily before the hearing began, and kept sobbing softly into a white tissue during the 30-minute proceeding. When it was over, Ferdaus’ mother had to be helped to her feet and guided out of the courtroom by relatives.
Ferdaus’ father kept an outwardly stoic appearance while his son sat next to Byrne with his eyes downcast, betraying no emotion.
When the hearing ended, Ferdaus’ relatives again shouted more encouragement.
“We love you!’’ one shouted. “Hang in there!’’ added another. “We’re here for you.’’ [note the acquired use of the demotic, to show loyalty to what is completely alien]
Ferdaus was indicted last week on federal charges of attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive, attempting to damage and destroy national defense premises, receiving firearms and explosive materials, and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations.
Prosecutors say that Ferdaus planned to launch three explosive-laden, remote-controlled planes, each the size of an adult’s body, into the Pentagon and the US Capitol “to kill as many people as possible.’’ He allegedly planned to launch them from East Potomac Park, and a six-man team would then shoot at anyone fleeing the buildings.
“Once we cut off the military, we can take care of the politicians,’’ he allegedly told undercover agents, according to the indictment unsealed last week.
Prosecutors say Ferdaus delivered detailed plans to two FBI agents posing as Al Qaeda recruiters, and he asked for their help in acquiring the model planes, C-4 explosives, and AK-47 assault rifles.
He acquired one plane in August. The agents delivered the guns and 25 pounds of explosives last Wednesday to Ferdaus, who put them in a storage unit he had rented in Framingham. He was then taken into custody.
Prosecutors also said in court papers that Ferdaus gave the undercover agents 12 cellphones rigged to act as switches for an improvised explosive device. He allegedly appeared gratified when he was told that one of the detonation devices succeeded in killing three US soldiers and injuring at least four others, exclaiming, “That’s exactly what I wanted,’’ according to the indictment.
And here's the Ferdaus family house, the one that suggests a certain level of wealth, some of which might have gone to sparing taxpayers the cost of a federal public defender:
Posted on 10/03/2011 9:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 3 October 2011
Fareed Zakaria, Part-TimeApologist For Islam, But Full-Time Careerist, Allows A Monstrous Televised Lie To Be Broadcast Unchallenged
October 03, 2011
Should Fareed Zakaria Have Challenged Erdogan's False Accusation ?
As CAMERA reported, CNN's Fareed Zakaria issued a correction of the incendiary statement made on his show by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan accusing Israel of killing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Zakaria says the problem was a faulty translation of Erdogan's statement. While it is commendable that Zakaria issued the correction, by defining the problem as a faulty translation, he sidesteps his own responsibility as interviewer and host to directly challenge what at the time appeared to be a defamatory accusation.
Erdogan's statement, as it was translated and broadcasted, accuses Israel of perpetrating massive and indiscriminate killing. Zakaria offered no challenge to Erdogan. If he had, Erdogan could have clarified or corrected what he said or Zakaria could have exposed his statement as libelous.
There are three possible explanations as to why Zakaria did not challenge Erdogan at the time. None of these explanations presents Zakaria in a favorable light.
1) He did not want to confront the Turkish Prime Minister while interviewing him. If that is true, then Zakaria's reputation as an incisive interviewer who challenges his guests is diminished.
2) He did not know that Israel has not killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. If that is true, then his reputation as a maven of international politics has been dealt a blow.
3) He wasn't paying attention or didn't consider it important enough to challenge Erdogan. If that is true, then his competence and integrity as a journalist are open to question.
Rather than simply blame it on mistranslation, Zakaria should have been more forthcoming and admitted an error of judgement.
Posted on 10/03/2011 9:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald