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Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky





















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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published in the American Thinker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading here.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 11:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
A Nauseating Nation Of Voyeurs
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Why should these letters be broadcast for the delectation of the vulgus mobile? That affair is none of their affair. No one knows what he meant to her, or she to him. It's not possible to know. Salacious smacking of the lips, and stupid amazement that, pace Larkin, sex was not invented at the same time as the Beatles, disgusts.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Again, After Many Years
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by Bibhu Padhi (August 2014)


It seems I have lost

your eyes and lips for today—

 

the eyes that looked

at nothing in particular,  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:41 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Invaders
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by Dilip Mohapatra (August 2014)


They come creeping and crawling from all corners
you never know who is lurking where
and when will they strike.

They are nameless faceless
or come in the guise of someone else
and send you unsolicited friend requests on Facebook.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:37 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Three Holocaust Survivors
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Translated from the Hungarian & edited by Thomas Ország-Land (August 2014)

 

1.

Magda Székely

 

            THE PYRE

 

A terrible throne. It hovers above

the vortex of a pillar of fire.

Instead of seraphs and griffins, small figures

bustle below, their bones aglow.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:32 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
If You Could Imagine How Many Times
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by Moshe Dann (August 2014)


“You were always telling me what to do,” Grace wanted to tell her Ex when she saw him down the aisle at the supermarket, looking at the shelf of condiments, his belly resting on the orange handle of a half filled cart, his balding head sparkling under the neon lights. “I wonder what he’s looking for?” she squinted, moving behind the shelf of oils next to the jams and jellies that tempted her. She wondered what else he intended to buy, remembering shopping together when they were still married and she still trusted him, before Diane came along, three years ago, and others Grace didn’t know about, his insurance office buzzing with clients and secretaries, busybusybusy.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:29 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Kosti's Ambrose, Part II
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by Richard Kostelanetz (August 2014)

Continued from Part I.

I is the first letter of the alphabet, the first word of the language, the first thought of the mind, the first object of affection. In grammar it is a pronoun representing the first person and a singular number. Its plural is said to be We, but how there can be more than one myself is doubtless clearer to the grammarians than it is to the author of this purportedly definitive dictionary. Conception of two myselfs is difficult, but fine. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:16 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Let's Make an Opera
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by Janet Tassel (August 2014)


The following is an abridged version of The Death of Klinghoffer, ostensibly an opera, but really a tedious political disquisition set to unlistenable music by John Adams and his librettist, Alice Goodman. Adams's opera, as you know, takes place on an Italian cruise ship, and the only real action occurs offstage: 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish cripple in a wheelchair, is unceremoniously shot and dumped into the sea by four Palestinian punks.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:11 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Zuked
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by Richard Kostelanetz (August 2014)


In the course of writing my memoir-history about Artists’ SoHo (Fordham U. Press, late 2014), I read several earlier books about lofts and artists in lower Manhattan. Some, to no surprise, were much better than others. The most embarrassing by far was Sharon Zukin’s Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change. The copy I have is a 1989 paperback reprint from Rutgers University Press that acknowledges only on its copyright page an earlier 1982 “cloth” edition from Johns Hopkins University Press. No dates appear in either of the book’s prefaces or in the “Postscript to the Paperback Edition.” The back cover says that Zukin teaches “urban sociology and urban political economy at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.” Later, I learned, she became the Broeklundian Professor of Sociology. A lefty academic she no doubt is.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:06 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Road Kill on a Plate
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by G. Murphy Donovan (August 2014)

 
“Your body will not absorb cholesterol if you take it from someone else’s plate.”
– Dave Barry

Once upon a time, the only question about food was quantity; too much here, too little there. “Here” usually meant America or the free world and “there” was usually the undeveloped or Third World. The clear broth of hunger and poverty has now been muddied by political rhetoric; the “have nots” are now patronized by ambiguous phrases like “the developing world.” Individual victims of poverty are called underserved or less “fortunate,” as if luck or the whims of Gods were in play. If Fortuna plays any role in social improvement schemes, surely she helps those who help themselves.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:02 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Blaming Islam
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by Richard Butrick (August 2014)

"An idea is something you have;
an ideology is something that has you."
--Morris Berman

A recent article in the Daily Mail graphically covered the gruesome beheadings, bombings and slaughtering of innocents being carried out by terrorist groups under the banner of Islam - just within a month’s period. It also quotes Andreas Krieg, a Middle East security analyst at King’s College London in Qatar, absolving Islam of blame for the current global crises involving Islamic jihadists. He acknowledges that atrocities are on the rise from Iraq to Syria to Nigeria but insisted that the terrorist acts have, “… nothing to do with Islam.” He goes on to blame Islamophobia and disenfranchisement and claims such terrorist groups are just using Islam, “… to further their particular cause. They adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam, but it has nothing to do with the religion.”  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:59 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Why Muslims “Become Radicalized” is No Mystery
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by Norman Berdichevsky (August 2014)


Our media and government have essentially promoted an ignorance of what motivates Muslims to undertake violent acts preferring to focus on their individual problems of being marginalized in Western societies and subject to discrimination, estrangement due to their inability to integrate or be successful. Abroad the picture is unequivocal with scenes of beheadings and (censored for tv), whippings, death by stoning and the 8th century formula of convert or die actually enacted before our eyes in Mosul in Northern Iraq. This is Jihad in action - witness  Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, ISIS, al-Shabab, the Taliban – by whatever designation it is Jihad in action –whatever the arcane rivalries between Shia and Sunni – you shall know the tree by its fruit.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:54 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The People of Nouwn: Middle East and Iraq's Christians Under Attack
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by Walid Phares (August 2014)


By now, all Christians living in the second largest city of Iraq, Mosul, have been removed, their belongings stolen, their houses seized, their churches burned or transformed into mosques by an army brandishing black flags with Koranic inscriptions on them.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:49 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Israel’s War with Hamas 2014: Part III - The Social Media Battle
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by Jerry Gordon (August 2014)


In the battle to win the hearts and minds of the world, the Israeli war against Hamas in Gaza has seen Psy-Ops raised to a new level of intense information overload. Through the use of operational blogs, websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts both antagonists have flooded the internet with graphic images, videos and propaganda endeavoring to convey messages about their war aims. They are cultivating positions that reflect real time actions on the battlefield. Israel, while punishing Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza through aerial strikes, bombardments and a massive ground incursion has justified their actions because of the rocket war on its civilian population. IDF and independent Israeli hasbarah social media operations have taken great pains to illustrate the extent to which Israel goes to warn Palestinians in Gaza of intended targets via cell phone Text messages, Tweets and even non-explosives missiles.  more>>>
 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:44 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Israel’s War with Hamas 2014: Part II - The Gaza Tunnel Threat
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by Jerry Gordon and Ilana Freedman (August 2014)

 

The Tunnel that Triggered Israel’s Ground Incursion into Gaza

In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, July 17, 2014 prior to a five hour UN–negotiated Humanitarian Pause, the IAF intercepted 13 black clothed terrorists emerging from a tunnel near the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza. Spotted by an armed IAF drone, they quickly scampered back into their tunnel and were promptly dispatched by missiles. Calm returned with the onset of the Humanitarian Pause holding to 3PM Israel time when with a roar a barrage of more than 130 rockets rained down from Gaza on Southern and Central Israel signaling the end of the Pause. At 4:52 PM local time, the IDF announced its limited ground incursion with the express purpose of destroying those Gaza tunnels and underground armories containing upwards of 12,000 rockets and missiles. Israel had flooded Gaza with hundreds of thousands of leaflets announcing that civilians should flee targeted areas. The ground incursion opened with strikes by IAF F-16s and both naval and IDF bombardment of targets in Gaza. 80 Percent of Gaza was plunged into darkness by loss of power.  more>>>

 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:40 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Israel’s War with Hamas 2014: Part 1 - The Prelude
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by Jerry Gordon and Lisa Benson (August 2014)


July 27, 2014 marked the end of Ramadan, the Muslim religious period. It was the 20th day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, the third attempt in seven years to stifle Hamas’ rocket war against the Jewish nation. Israel had exchanged land for peace in August 2005 by unilaterally withdrawing 9,000 Israelis from the former Gush Katif settlement in Gaza. Hamas’ overthrew the Fatah-PLO in 2007 following its victory in the Palestinian Legislature elections in 2006 gaining control of Gaza. From 2006 to the July 8, 2014 - the start of Operation Defensive Shield - Hamas and terrorist partner, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), launched over 10,000 rockets indiscriminately against Israeli towns and cities.  more>>>
 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:36 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
How My Mexican-American Wife Became Jewish
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by Sam Bluefarb (August 2014)


W]hither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

--Ruth I: 16-17

December 7th is a two-fold memorial day for me--my wife’s jahrzeit1--she passed away, December 7, 1997--and the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. When we met in 1953, World War II was still fresh in memory, but it had begun to take on the blurred focus of myth and legend.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:32 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Navi Pillay On Israel's "War Crimes"
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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Navi Pillay Is Under The Impression She Can Dictate American Immigration Policy
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She should be slapped down. The U.N. should be slapped down. In the past forty years, it has become -- slowly, at first, and now rapidly -- an organization that would, if it could, deprive the West of the ability to control its own borders, to control its own judicial systems, and to allow its own citizens to better inform themselves about the meaning, and menace, of Islam.

Here, intolerable as always, she is.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Caroline Poetry: Metaphysicals and Cavaliers
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by David Hamilton (August 2014)


This essay on an interesting but ignored aspect of English literature is from my forthcoming book: Some Literary Essays: Comments and Insights (Booklocker).

There were two groups with recognisable styles in the Caroline or the Stuart period (1603–1714) the Metaphysicals and Cavaliers. T.S. Eliot was a great admirer of the movement known as the Metaphysical poets, especially John Donne. His critical appraisal rehabilitated Donne in the second decades of the twentieth century. Donne’s style was crude compared to Ben Jonson and more suited to Verse Satire. Many of these poems show the use of technique but not always depth of meaning.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:27 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Wizard of Lake Turkana
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (August 2014)


From 1988 until 1990 I was based in the district capital of Lodwar on the west side of Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya. Turkana district is a dry land, mountainous in some areas, cross cut by seasonal rivers and forested riversides. It is populated by one Nilotic speaking tribe, the Turkana, who wandered south into this semi-desert, many centuries ago. When I lived among them, now more than a quarter of a century ago, a few of them had taken on the modern, slightly westernized life style of “down country,” that is, of the southern Kenyans. Most lived a traditional tribal life. And so early in my stay I visited parts of the district with an English-speaking colleague. The following are my impressions from that first excursion out of the regional capital.  more>>>
 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:22 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Obama's Yemen -- And Yemen
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'The Sana'a Illusion' (Farea Al-muslimi, Foreign Affairs)

"Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama suggested that Yemen could be an example for how to bring stability to Iraq. 'You look at a country like Yemen -- a very impoverished country and one that has its own sectarian or ethnic divisions,' he said. 'There, we do have a committed partner in President [Abdu Rabbu Mansour] Hadi and his government.' His comments came as a shock to most Yemenis. The contradiction between their country's political reality and its reputation as an Arab Spring success story has always been glaring, but now it had become absurd.

Just days before Obama spoke, demonstrations -- which were largely ignored by the international media, since few foreign journalists are allowed into country these days -- had broken out in the capital. Angry protesters shut down Sanaa's main streets, burning tires and shouting chants against the transitional government and against Hadi, the man who heads it. Yemenis, it seemed, had simply snapped under the strain of severe fuel shortages, kilometer-long lines at gas stations, and 20-hour electricity blackouts."

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Zerbran at the Bozar
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by Theodore Dalrymple (August 2014)


My wife and I decided to go to Brussels from Paris for the day to see the Zurburán exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The train, however, would have cost us $450, and a flight even more, though the distance is not great. Those are the kind of prices paid by businessmen and bureaucrats (or should I say by taxpayers on behalf of bureaucrats?), to whom they mean nothing, not by art-lovers such as we. We almost gave up. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:11 AM by NER
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