The possibility of war with Iraq could unleash acts of anti-American violence in the United States or overseas by individual extremists who do not belong to Al Qaeda or other Middle Eastern terrorist groups but sympathize with their grievances, intelligence and law enforcement officials say.
A classified F.B.I. intelligence bulletin, issued on Wednesday to state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, warned the authorities to be on the alert for lone terrorists who are not directed by organizations like Al Qaeda.
Suicide bombs (or suicide gunmen) are the perfect warrior for small groups, or for individuals inspired by terrorist leaders. If one Muslim carries out a shooting or bomb attack, expect copycats to start happening, pronto. This is a situation that will snowball if it ever starts.
It's also pretty much unavoidable, it's going to happen at some point.
(note that I wrote this a month before Hesham Mohammed Hadayet's attack on the El Al counter at LAX). The upside: I was wrong about the snowball effect. At least, so far I've been wrong. I hope Muslims realize if there is a sustained campaign of low-level violence by American Muslims that it will have extremely negative consequences on their community as a whole.
I'll go out on a limb here and make a second prediction: if there is another terror attack by a loner American Muslim, there are pretty good odds he will be a college student. Posted
Friday, January 03, 2003
Not Really an Update, this doesn't count
Someone just called and asked if I spoke Chinese. When I responded in the negative, she said she must have a wrong number--and then wished me a Happy New Year. Which reminds me: Happy New Year to all of you people out there in blogland! Gung hay fat choy!
P.S.: is Chris Patten in jail yet? Why won't he approve an audit of the EU money sent to General Yasser Arafat? Because he KNOWS DAMN WELL it's going straight into the coffers of Fatah and the Al-Aksa Murder Brigades. If the EU wants to use tax dollars to fund terror groups, it's no better than Saudi Arabia. Posted
Thursday, October 24, 2002
The last update, ever
Yeah, I quit, I just don't have the time, so I should end it for good.
But a few last things: the leaderless resistance I was worried about continues (first Hadayet, now Mohammed the Sniper)... not on the scale I thought it would, but this sniper incident could open the floodgates by providing so much publicity.
The guy I saw wasn't Hadayet. The guy who made terrorist threats continues to attend or work for the university (or just come to a lot of Muslim Student Union events).
The bestest peace plan ever for the mideast: Israel should withdraw completely from the Palestinian areas, and not cross the border to attack or even gather intelligence. It should hand the territories over to the UN, and tell Kofi Annan he has 4 or 5 years to straighten things out. Israel will only take military action against terrorists on the other side of its borders if the UN asks. Israel won't interfere at all in the Palestinian areas, unless the UN asks.
And when 4-5 years are up, and the terror hasn't ended, and the new Palestinian government (or UN dictatorship) wasn't making a geniune effort for peace, Israel should take as much of the Palestinian territory as it needs for security. (hint: the proximity of the West Bank to the middle of Israel means NONE of it can remain in Palestinian hands if terrorists are launching Katyusha rockets from it; Israel would have to take the whole West Bank). So Israel could give the Palestinians one last chance, and then end the whole problem for good.
There is no way ANYONE could realistically accuse Israel of sabotaging the peace plan, because Israel would completely extricate itself from the territories and leave it up to the UN to run.
Israel would suffer a lot during those 4-5 years, but it would build up an immense resolve during that time, the resolve necessary to engage in ethnic cleansing, and the rest of the world (the UN) would not be able to criticize Israel because they would be the ones in charge of stopping Palestinian terrorists.
It's such a beautiful plan, and the best part is, it actually has a chance of working, because Palestinians might get so scared of losing their Last Chance (they know they're not going to get any more after that), so they might actually make peace, which would be even more incredible. Posted
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
State Censorship by the Ever-so-Sophisticated French
America has divided into two factions: those who fight evil and those who do not believe in evil. The dividing line is religion.
Both are instances in which a kid is used to say something the adults really want to say, but are afraid to say themselves, because they know how stupid, divisive, morally crapulent, or just plain pathetic it is. And they know they would catch hell for it. So they use a kid instead, in the hopes s/he won't be criticized, because of his/her youth.
But we in the anti-idiotarian realm of the blogosphere aren't afraid to call them crudehurtfulnames after ripping their arguments to shreds. If Andrew Sullivan called me an idiot, I think I would cry myself to sleep... Eric Tuan in a way reminds me now of this kid (scroll to the bottom right), because he's going to be scarred for life. (okay, I was kidding about the crying thing, but I would be really unhappy) Posted
Maybe the terrorists were just trying to attack anything they could that was remotely Western. Maybe the French ships are less guarded than American tankers.
Or maybe, they know France is one of the countries they can intimidate through acts of terror (blowing up an American oil tanker just before the midterm elections would be a bad, bad idea for Muslim terrorists). France has shown weakness, and invited attacks on itself. And all the while, they say we are inviting attacks on ourself for showing strength and resolve... Posted
He might not have had ties to any groups, but that doesn't prevent someone from being a terrorist. He was apparently mentally ill, but that doesn't mean his attack was not a terrorist attack. Even if he was so delusional he couldn't be held accountable for his actions, it would still be a terrorist attack. Where did he get this idea, that the mayor of Paris deserved to die? From attending radical mosques.
If an insane person can be brainwashed like this, what prevents a child from becoming warped?
The French are going to have to deal with the extremist Muslims within their midst sooner or later. Because things like this aren't going to stop any time soon. Posted
[update (3:00pm): This is outrageous, Canada is trying to take away the charitable status of the Israeli Red Cross. Canadians should be ashamed, moreso than on an average day.] Posted
Friday, September 13, 2002
Rector, Rectum, what's the Difference?
Eugene Volokh is criticizing the brownshirts at Concordia for banning all Middle East-related speech, as he should be.
But he misses the point, the Rector isn't going to take any action against the rioters. He's going to wait for the whole thing to blow over, and he's banning these events to prevent the Jew-hating thugs from making the news again. If they pull any stunts like this again, the public might get upset and he might actually have to punish them.
Universities that don't prevent hateful riots in the first place are not universities likely to punish the perpetrators after the fact. Just look at SFSU, they did almost nothing. Posted
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Well, the whole flurry of individual attacks thing didn't happen
I doubt these dorks were from al Qaida or any other organization, so they would count as copycat terrorists (assuming they're guilty, which I heartily will). But three goofballs does not make for a big wave of terror.
I predicted there would be massive terror on a very small scale, and very little of it has actually happened, even on this anniversary. If there are enough deranged Muslims in England to throw a party like this in public, why aren't they out roaming the streets, looking for Jews and Americans to stab? Why haven't more of them built bombs and bought guns on the black market, to carry out horrendous attacks?
We know more than a handful of Muslims living in the West travelled to Afghanistan to fight on behalf of the Taliban, so there is no shortage of dedication on their part. Johnny bin Walker was outside the US when the attacks happened, but a few other Muslims went to Afghanistan after 9/11 in order to defend Mullah Omar's dystopia. Why didn't they stay here, buy a few rifles and shotguns, and do some real damage to America, instead of just becoming fodder for B-52s?
You might remember den Beste's post about soldiers and warriors, where warriors lost out to soldiers because they were focused on honor instead of efficiency. I think the answer is that these Muslims are ultra-religous, and it interferes with their thinking. Instead of fighting the war in the most efficient manner possible (as we did), they wanted to fight the war in a manner they thought would please Allah (and thus bring them victory).
Even they must think on some level the 9/11 attacks were wrongful, because instead of trying to emulate them, they went to fight in a normal shooting war, with trenches and lines and artillery. Obviously, there are a whole bunch of creeps who try to carry out terror attacks here (see the link in the first sentence of this post), but most of the fundamentalist Muslims must have thought shooting it out with American soldiers was they way to pursue Jihad. Johnny bin Walker, who could have been a very effective al-Qaida agent here chose to sign up with ordinary Taliban forces instead of training at an al-Qaida camp for terrorists.
Now the question is: 9/11 succeeded in hurting America, but shooting it out with American soldiers didn't. Are the fundamentalist Muslims going to see this as a sign of Allah's divine favor towards terrorism and against fighting conventional battles? Or are they going to see the Taliban's fall as a sign of divine disfavor with fundamentalism?
My guess is answer #2, because we won the war there and people tend to tag along behind winners. Even if the terrorists hit us again, even if they win a few battles, we will still be able to overcome them. Winning militarily will go hand-in-hand with winning politically.
(the sophisticated reader will notice how skillfully I turned a post about how I was wrong into a post calling for more violence and militarism. okay, I did it by accident) Posted
In the early days after our siege, President George W. Bush found a sympathetic world anxious to help. Foreign leaders seemed willing to overlook his earlier appalling approach to foreign policy -- repudiating some environmental and collective security agreements. For a time, Bush became an internationalist in search of allies.
Soon, however, with his conservative advisers egging him on, he proclaimed a new doctrine that smacks of old imperialism -- that we have the right to strike militarily anywhere without provocation.
When did Bush immediately after 9/11 say anything other than that he was going after the terrorists? When did he trip-flop (triple flip-flop) from unilateralist-to-multilateralist-to-unilateralist-to-imperialist?
How does the policy of pre-emptively attacking our enemies constitute "imperialism?" We are not establishing colonies (we're establishing democracies), stealing resources (we're opening them up for the peoples' use), enslaving populations (we're setting them free from dictators and Shari'a). How broadly has the word "imperialism" been twisted, so that Bush's policy could possibly fall under its meaning? Why can't the far Left define a few of their pet words and use them accurately?
And why the "smacks of" qualifier? One could just as easily say Helen Thomas's political stance "smacks of treason," and it would be just as worthless. Political writers should strive to communicate effectively and be as precise as possible. Smacking is for rabble-rousing and partisan sniping, not for mature discourse with the other side. She doesn't write her columns to sway conservatives, they're written for people already in agreement with her.
This policy of preemption -- might is right -- is antithetical to what America has always stood for -- "magnanimity in victory," as Winston Churchill once put it, helping our former enemies and rejecting policies dictated by vengeance.
How is this policy which "smacks of old imperialism" now equal to "might is right?" How could anyone possibly get that idea? We don't believe we have the right to defend ourselves is predicated on our might--that's irrelevant, everyone has the right to defend themselves!
The part about "helping our former enemies," is especially laughable. We helped the Germans after WWII, but we didn't help or even spare the top Nazi officials. We are currently helping Afghan villages that were aligned with the Taliban at the beginning of the war, and even villages whose sympathies still lie with bin Laden (they just have to not shoot at Karzai's forces, and not give actual aid to the Taliban).
Since that fateful September day, we attacked Afghanistan and destroyed the inhumane Taliban regime, hoping to erect a democracy in its place.
Yet, I keep remembering Bush's ominous New Year's message. "This is the first war of the 21st century," he said. Is that any way to inspire the nation?
Bush is not supposed to give speeches for the sole purpose of inspiring us. That's part of his job, if he wants us to follow him, but he should also level with us. And he has done that, this war was different from previous wars, and the difference between future wars and wars of the 20th century will continue to increase. I think what Thomas is trying to say is that we should be more "inspired" by the idea of a 21st century without wars. Suffice to say, I am not "inspired" by the idea that a madman like Saddam could continue to rape, torture, and kill his subjects in the worst manner so long as he does it within his own borders. There are things worse than war.
Bush claims the terrorists are motivated by hostility to our freedom. Others see them impelled by religious zealotry.
Newsflash: the terrorists hate freedom for religious reasons, they think freedom is the opposite of "submission" (the literal English meaning of the Arabic word "Islam") and Democracy is the opposite of the Caliphate proscribed in the Koran. Of course, not all Muslims agree with Osama's interpretation (most don't). When Bush says they hate our freedom, he isn't playing word games or using dumbed-down politically correct language, he's just acknowledging a simple truth.
But the motivation for such virulent hatred obviously deserves more probing. And we need to hear what our government, which has interrogated so many suspects, has learned.
Maybe Helen could go visit a Saudi-sponsored madrassa (hopefully they will force her to don a burqa, saving us all a lot of ocular trauma). There she could learn all about Jews and Crusaders and the Zionist-eaters-of-Arab-children and the innocent martyr Osama bin Laden who was framed by the mossadciafbishinbetvaticanraytheon.
For a time, fear gripped children who saw on television the blazing ruins of the World Trade Center towers and one side of the Pentagon and soon learned that these scenes were not just a surreal horror movie.
But they're not afraid anymore. Time to move on, and forget about 9/11. We have more important things to do than dwell on the horror.
Many people of all ages found their natural self-confidence temporarily shattered. Significant segments of the population -- particularly Arabs and Muslims -- are viewed with suspicion: Stereotyping and racial profiling are back in style.
For some of us, it never went out of style (at least, with respect to defending our nation). I don't walk across the street just because I see a black person, I don't assume Hispanics are illiterate, or that Arabs are terrorists. But I wouldn't let my daughter ride to prom in a limo driven by an Arab Muslim I didn't know if he came to me and offered to do it for a really low price (that's sort of hypothetical, because I don't have a daughter, but sort of not-hypothetical, because Hesham Mohammed Hadayet made that offer to a Jewish man, who wisely declined).
Federal officials are more tightly scrutinizing would-be immigrants.
GASP! THE HORROR! THE HORROR!
And the government is employing wholesale deportations, ruling out appeals to the courts by detainees found in violation of visa laws.
We have neither the time nor the resources to allow for endless legal challenges. And we've been burned often enough in the past allowing people to violate visa laws. If I recall correctly, some of the hijackers on 9/11 had overstayed their visas.
What other arrows do Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft have in their quivers? Who or what might stop them? Maybe the courts will. They seem to be more combative as more constitutional rights are being set aside.
In this atmosphere, many Americans have become wary of dissent and criticism of the administration. Many Democrats, in particular, have lost their voices as the loyal opposition.
I will acknowledge there is an atmosphere of wariness towards dissent. I know, because I'm part of it, I'm wary of the motives of dissenters (although after delving deeper into their arguments, I've found most of them to be fundamentally decent people). But this atmosphere wasn't created by John Ashcroft, it was created by Osama bin Laden. It's amazing how she can claim Ashcroft is responsible for the fallout of 9/11. 3,000 people were murdered, and we're wary of people who don't support the president in taking action against preventing such an attack from occurring again (they want to take a radically different course of action, one that radical Muslims agree with, which makes us wary). We don't silence them, we don't harass them, we just look at 'em funny and Fisk their arguments and call them names like "appeasers."
I will also acknowledge that many Democrats have failed to act as the "loyal opposition." But that's a failure of their own character, not John Ashcroft's.
In the post-Sept. 11 era we have ventured into uncharted territory. But I don't believe we have to lose our traditional spirit of tolerance or undermine the primacy of our constitutional rights to win the war on terrorism.
In fact, if that happened, we would lose much more than we would gain.
But what's this, then? Is Helen really advocating we limit part of our constitution in order to make the country safer? Why does she feel comfortable clamping down on the Second Amdendment but not on the First (or Fourth, or whatever)? Could it be that she doesn't respect all of our constitutional rights, just the ones she likes?
P.S.: I don't think mandating background checks before gun sales violates the Second Amendment (I'm not a scholar on this issue, but it seems like a reasonable enough restriction), but it's well-known that Thomas wants far, far more gun control than just that. The fact she doesn't criticize Diaz, who wants to scrap the Second Amendment entirely, shows she has no respect for this portion of the constitution. Portraying him as a moderate only proves she isn't.
P.P.S.: that column contains the lie that Osama purchased a bunch of .50 caliber sniper rifles in America. In fact, they were purchased by the CIA, and donated to the Mujahedin, and it contains the misstatement that Diaz was a CIA agent. Posted
The copycat attacks are coming.
Small groups and deranged individuals across the world will be attempting terror attacks soon. Posted
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Thank Goodness for the Lobbyists!
Thisnever would have happened in America, thanks to Our Friends the computer lobbyists. I never thought I would be praising lobbyists, but they actually do serve a beneficial function in our democracy sometimes, by preventing really stupid laws like this from being passed. Posted
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Violence and Morality
I am not a pacifist. I do not believe nonviolence is always morally superior to taking "direct action"
to solve a problem.
Obviously, Alley Writer Yack is not a pacifist either. Calling for the death of innocent Muslims to get a point across about terror isn't just barbaric, it's also futile.
A major justification for the intifada is that it was to convince Israel to notice the Palestinians' suffering. But it only strengthened Israeli resolve to do what was necessary to achieve security.
Killing Israelis has not achieved the goal of making them more open and understanding and left-wing. Quite the opposite has occurred, and there is no reason to believe different would happen by killing Muslims.
Killing a large number of innocent Muslim civilians won't show them that terror is wrong. On the contrary, it will show them that terror is RIGHT, that terror is employed not just by them, but by their enemies. That they are in a terrorist war and that all means are justified. Terrorizing Muslim civilians would only push them towards supporting the terrorists, there isn't a chance it would teach them the evils of terror.
That's my purely utilitarian argument, as any other would probably fail to reach Yack. Taking a moral stance against him would only give him the opportunity to proclaim himself a brave dissentor from rigid politically correct orthodoxy martyred for his direct nature etc. etc. etc. Posted
Israel will never be reasonably safe, so long as it has a large Muslim population inside it.
The answer is simple: Let the Arabs have 99% of the Middle East, and let the Jews have Israel. There is no hope for living peacefully alongside such a barbaric culture (even if not every Arab shares that culture, enough of them do to be dangerous. and children of non-terrorist Arabs could still be recruited, some of them will rebel against their parents and support the extremist Muslims, just like some stupid Jew kids rebel against their sane parents by supporting Meretz).
Until the Palestinians change their culture, and stop oppressing gays, women and non-Muslims, and start embracing Democracy and nonviolence, there will be no hope for peace. And right now, those values are associated with Israel and America, making them very unpopular. In short: the Palestinians aren't going to change any time soon, so the Israelis are going to have to choose between waiting another 50 years for their neighbors to come around, or expelling them now, and gaining instant security. Why wait? Will the Arab states be so different in the future?
The rest of this post is copied from the email I get from Honest Reporting, an organization dedicated to exposing lies in the media about Israel. They go overboard sometimes (Eric Alterman isn't an "extremist" on the issue of Israel/Palestine, he's just extremely stupid). But this email was particularly good:
21 August 2002
"COVERING UP FOR FATAH"
* * *
Dear HonestReporting Member,
This week, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to a security
arrangement calling for Israeli troop pullbacks in Gaza and Bethlehem, in
exchange for a crackdown by Palestinian security services to prevent
attacks on Israeli civilians.
Many Palestinian groups -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Yasser
Arafat's Fatah faction -- all issued statements rejecting the deal, while
vowing to continue their campaign of terror. Palestinian groups once again
prove that when presented with the option of regaining land, they choose
instead the path of violence and terror.
However, HonestReporting's survey reveals that most major media mentioned
ONLY Hamas and Islamic Jihad as rejecting the truce -- while inexplicably
failing to mention the third rejectionist party, Arafat's Fatah.
The media has a sordid history of protecting Arafat and covering up his
terror activities. This case is a blatant omission of fact.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Fatah's military wing, the Aksa Martyrs'
Brigades, vowed that "the jihad will continue" and that Fatah-Aksa will
carry out "massive attacks" against Israeli soldiers and civilians -- "and
if there is a necessity in the next phase, there are no borders for the
===== THE WORST OFFENDERS =====
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Serge Schmemann completely omits mention of any
Palestinian opposition to the deal -- though he details right-wing Israeli
* * *
THE INDEPENDENT: Phil Reeves writes a classic case of moral equivalence:
"The agreement's chances of success were already being undermined by
strong opposition from extremists on both sides."
The "Israeli extremists" Reeves refers to is one Israeli party threatening
to leave the government coalition. The Palestinian extremists Reeves
refers to are all the major Palestinian militias rejecting the agreement
===== TWO HONEST REPORTS =====
Of the major news agencies, we spotted only two who included Fatah in the
list of deal rejectionists.
BBC reports: "The security deal, struck on Sunday, has been rejected by
key Palestinian elements, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and even from
within Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, whose members said it was a poor
substitute for full Israeli withdrawal."
BOSTON GLOBE: "Several Palestinian factions, including a militia linked to
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah group, yesterday declared that
they were against the initiative."
===== THE FATAH-LESS PACK =====
HonestReporting encourages members to write to the following news agencies
and ask why they omitted Fatah from the rejectionist list.
HonestReporting also encourages members to monitor your local media to see
how they reported Fatah's rejection of the Israeli-PA agreement.
* * *
ASSOCIATED PRESS notes Hamas, but not Fatah.
* * *
BALTIMORE SUN notes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but not Fatah.
* * *
CNN notes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but not Fatah.
* * *
GUARDIAN (UK) notes Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but not Fatah.
* * *
LA TIMES notes Hamas and PFLP, but not Fatah.
* * *
LONDON TIMES notes Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP -- but not Fatah.
* * *
MSNBC notes Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP -- but not Fatah.
* * *
NEWSDAY notes Hamas and Jihad, but not Fatah.
* * *
REUTERS notes Hamas, but not Fatah.
* * *
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE notes Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP -- but not
* * *
WASHINGTON POST notes Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP -- but not Fatah.
(I shouldn't insult Alterman without explaining why: he is an idiot because he thinks Fatah is made up of freedom fighters. But they oppose this peace deal with Israel. Does that mean the peace deal is anti-freedom? Maybe Eric could explain why Sharon's offer (which has been accepted) of Gaza and Bethlehem first is somehow so evil that Fatah should oppose it. Or he could explain how the members of Fatah are "freedom fighter[s]" when they are fighting against peace agreements.) Posted
But now maybe people will have a better understanding of why Jews from around the country rallied to raise money for Artur Davis and Denise Majette.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well among certain segments of the population (Muslims, Palestinian sympathizers, whites-who-hate-minorities, minorities-who-hate-whites, etc.)
Most blacks aren't anti-Semites, even if a few of their "leaders" give them a bad name. Some people want to see racial conflict between blacks and Jews, but it just isn't there. Posted
But the largest camp in support of Israel gives either religious reasons (and they belong mostly to conservative-leaning religions), or neoconservative/libertarian moralistic arguments. And the largest camp opposed to Israel whines endlessly about colonialism, oppression, racism, and treats terror the same way they treated Lenin's Red
Terror so many years ago.
It's a conflict between one side upholding Western values and the other side a lot of barbarian third-world fanatics. Who fetishizes third-world barbarians? Not the right. Who loudly proclaims the importance of Western values? Not the left.
Both the right and the left contain schools of thought favoring individual rights and communal rights. But they are still very, very different.
The individual-rights rightists demand the right of people to live in peace and security. The individual-rights ACLU leftists are more concerned with the individual rights of terrorists and terror supporters. They complain more louldy about suspected terrorists being imprisoned by the Israelis and about the targeted killings of terror leaders than about the Israelis killed while shopping in the supermarket.
The communal rights leftists constantly bang on about group oppression, racism, and colonialism. The communal rights conservatives are generally more religious (as opposed to the libertarian individual-rights conservatives). They tend to believe in order and acting properly: the idea of the Palestinian people in neverending rebellion against the non-tyrannical Israelis does not appeal to them.
Of course, this is simplifying things, because for a long time it was the left that supported Israel, while the right shied away from it, making "national interest" arguments. Just because the people who come out to man the protest lines tend to right-for-Israel and left-for-Palestine does not tell us anything about the mainstream left and right.
How can one debate the legitimacy of Israeli checkpoints without looking at it from a human rights (individual and communal) perspective? The left/right ideas of human rights make up the framework for all moralistic debate of Israel and Palestine. Only when it is looked through from another view (historical, national interest, etc.) can the left-right debate be sidestepped. Moral arguments are by nature philosophical, and they are an integral part of political philosophy.
Of course, most Americans lean conservative morally. Most Democrats hold up the "right-wing" views of individual and communal rights, and not so much the "left" views. America is a "conservative" nation in that sense (of course, the founding fathers would have called those values "liberal"). Most Democrats are not considered to be leftists in places like Europe. Only extreme leftists here fit in with the Guardian and al-Independent types.
The moral dimension of the Israel/Palestine debate is not a Democrat/Republican debate, but it is a contest between differing worldviews, most of which happen to fall into right- and left-wing categories. Posted
Now this Makes me Angry
What the hell is Osama bin-Fairrington (the artist) trying to say? That it's okay to kill atheists, and the September 11th attacks would have been justified if there were no Christians in the twin towers? That it's better to be a radical Muslim terrorist than an atheist? That the 9th Circuit is worse than al-Qaida?
Let me get this straight, if we acknowledge the separation of church and state, then Osama bin Laden is right about us being godless infidels? Fairrington must be one of those right-idiotarians like Falwell or Robertson. Posted
Friday, August 09, 2002
The New York Times is Biased to the Right
Just kidding! I hate it when people say silly things like that.
Headlines are written by the editors, not the reporters, so they are the best indicator of bias in a newspaper.
Could you imagine the NYT writing a headline like that about a Palestinian instead of an Israeli? They wouldn't. They write slanted headlines to make Sharon look like a racist. He wasn't attacking all Palestinians, just the Palestinian Authority, the headline is grossly misleading, to the point where I would not believe it has an honest explanation.
Now run along you little commies and anarchists and whatever else you are and stop trying to claim the NYT is biased to the right because it's a corporation. The NYT corporation is held very closely by a few families, it's more a mafia than a private enterprise. Posted
Thursday, August 08, 2002
The Ultimate Smackdown
When I first read "what we're fighting for," I dismissed it as common sense and wondered if it really said anything at all. Who doesn't believe in the "just war" doctrine? I know some people don't, but I can't take them at all seriously, I really couldn't care less what they think, so a whole essay defending freedom, opposing fundamentalist murder, and supporting the just war doctrine seemed... worthless. Who cares what a bunch of whacked-out college professors think?
Which sort of surprised me. It shouldn't have, of course. Just because I don't take the nutty professors seriously doesn't mean they don't take themselves seriously.
The authors of "What We’re Fighting For" are, like Instapundit says, delivering an ultimate Fisking. They are masters, the way they are able to take a complex phrase like "as a consequence of the instability of the balance of power in the present unipolar world order," untwist it, and then mercilessly mock the loonies, who don't have a leg to stand on once their prose is rewritten in plain English. I was surprised they wrote a response (I shouldn't have been); I'm not surprised they wrote it in a convoluted manner and dodged WWFF's arguments. But the Fighting For people don't let them weasel out of anything. Posted
Instaman calls the Palestinian terrorists inept for their failure to kill any Israelis, netting only foreigners. But why did they plant the bomb then in an area frequented mostly by foreigners? Why did they carry out one of their last bombings against foreign workers? (I remember a Romanian saying he was taking his family back to his home country, after being near the blast). These are not accidents, they are deliberate.
The terrorists are targeting non-Israelis, to drive them out of the country. Israel's strength comes from her links with the rest of the world; alone Israel is without the natural resources needed to sustain itself as a high-tech economy. It doesn't even have oil. It relies on trade with other nations.
I would say "expect the next attack to be against foreign businessmen," but most suicide bombing attempts end in failure, so I'll bet the Palestinians have already tried to do that, and are still trying. And foreign businessmen know they are in danger, I assume they don't congregate anywhere without a lot of security. Posted
At least he says he's going to beg the Palestinians to stop being terrorists.
Will they listen to him? If they won't listen to Sharon's F-16s, they're not going to listen to a blowhard like Jackson. Posted
Muahahaha Part 2
Okay, don't be jealous of me. Though I've got my new computer running (I'm posting from it now using a wireless keyboard), it's not working as well as it could, and I've had quite a time installing it.
Did you know if you want to use Highpoint RAID on your boot drive(s) you must install the drives into IDE port 3/4 and then edit your Bios telling the computer to boot up from SCSI? Isn't that fascinating?
At least I can run the thing, even with about a 25% loss in performance from what it should have. I think I've still got a few complicated BIOS issues to deal with... Posted
Monday, July 29, 2002
I'm not going to cannibalize my old computer. We're going to keep that one. Which means... I get to buy a lot more for my new computer.
I can't understate just how nice the shiny aluminum case looks. It beats the plastic ivory any day. I also can't understate how lucky I was, picking the right components. The 645DX is perfect for me, it's fast and has lots of the features I was looking for, and it was cheap, the only downside is that it doesn't overclock very well (which I never intended to do). I also accidentally bought an ATX case (which it turns out I needed). I knew I wanted a big case, but I didn't know I needed one.
Now the only big things left are a CPU and a graphics card. I'm off to scour the web to see what kind of card Doom III will want me to have. I can't wait for that game, I saw three screenshots somewhere and now I'm building a computer for it...
Does Anyone Really Believe the Palestinians were close to a Ceasefire?
I don't buy it for a second. For starters, even if they had been close a ceasefire, it would have been worthless because they wouldn't have honored it. From this follows logically that agreeing to a ceasefire would only hurt the Palestinians, because when they carried out their next attack, the world would turn on them (and they would carry out more attacks eventually). Which is why I doubt they were really going to sign one.
But my computer is still dead, and I'm cannibalizing the whole thing for parts, and building a new one... with a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks set to mode 1 (two hard drives that mirror each other, so even if one dies, I keep my data). Well, maybe "inexpensive" is the wrong word, they were $100 each, but they each had 8MB of buffer. I don't know exactly what that means, but the box says it's fast. Posted
If we could have taken out bin Laden before September 11th, and we knew it was coming, we would have. We would have done everything possible to stop them. Posted
Monday, July 22, 2002
Better to Escalate than become Trapped
In a low-level cycle of violence.
Israel's assassination of a big-shot terrorist pig, including massive (by Israeli standards) collateral damage, is a grievous escalation in the intensity of the violence. Before, Israel would have accepted the terror bombings as minor events, and retaliated with minor strikes. But now Sharon is sending a message to the Palestinians: No amount of terror is acceptable.
Sharon's determination and forcefulness will save Israeli lives, which, frankly, is all that matters now. There's no point in trying to spare the Palestinians, they've brought all this on themselves, they can at least face the consequences of their little intifada, instead of constantly being cushioned by the Israelis. When Israel wants to take out a terrorist cowardly hiding behind civilians, it should. Let the civilians learn not to stand next to terrorists. Posted
But I am a big believer in reciprocity. For example, when Palestinian terrorist pigs attack an Israeli wedding or funeral, the Israeli leadership should request an apology from the group that committed the act, and public denunciations of the act from all other terror groups. If this did not take place, the Israelis would declare Palestinian weddings or funerals to be "fair game" for security forces to hunt terrorists.
If the masked terrorists wanted to cynically use children as human shields as they marched through the streets carrying the corpse of a killer... well, 500-pound gravity bombs have a tendency to go right through them, and still take out the terrorists.
What would the terrorists do? Get down on their knees and apologize? Of course it would be a hollow and meaningless apology, but that's not the point.
When a terrorist says once he wants to kill Jews, and ten times that he wants to live in peace, the Israelis assume he's a terrorist. But if he says ten times that he wants to kill Jews, and once that he wants to make peace, the Europeans assume he's a peacemaker, and the Arabs assume he's a sellout.
Making the terrorists issue apologies is more a means of getting the terrorists onto their knees, than anything else. Humiliating the terrorists would hurt their stature in the Palestinian areas (when Arafat gave in to Israel and handed over the terrorists in exchange for his release from Ramallah, his popularity plummeted).
Still, it would be funny if a few of Shimon Peres's relatives were taken out. Like I said earlier, the man needs to experience some consequences for his actions. Maybe he wouldn't be so quick to offer the terrorists another chance at entering Israel if it were his relatives' necks on the line. If he wants to be high priest of the cult of human sacrifice, he can at least have the decency to sacrifice his own family, instead of other peoples'. Posted
Israeli Arabs have traditionally not aided terrorists beyond marching in demonstrations against Israel. But as Israeli security tightens, terrorists might make greater use of Israeli Arabs as a way of bypassing the wall between Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas (I said below they would expend more effort in trying to sneak bombers in, rather than on sheer volume or quality of the bombers). Posted
The Cult of Human Sacrifice
Now the bloodsucking vampire Peres wants to kill a few more Jews in order to prove to the world that Israel is the good guy in all this. Of course, it's not a big deal for Peres, because he doesn't have to take the bus like all the little people. He doesn't have to live with the consequences of his decisions.
Israel was born fighting cults of human sacrifice, and thousands of years later, the only thing that's changed is that now Jews practice it too. Everyone knows the Muslims who call for suicide bombers to appease Allah are members of a cult of human sacrifice, but so are Sharon and Peres. Peres thinks the more Jews he can sacrifice, the more he can show the Europeans Israel is in the right. Sharon the politician is willing to sacrifice a few soldiers in Jenin rather than bombing it from the air for the same reason.
But we shouldn't worry, the PA is serious about coming down hard on terror. It says it's asking Hamas and Islamic Jihad to halt terror attacks. Asking, not telling. Posted
Saturday, July 20, 2002
"You will never be safe..."
The idiot left-wingers pull out slogans like "Israel will never be safe while the Palestinians are oppressed." Palestinian sympathizers in Israel and in Arab countries mimic them (Eurinals love it when they hear third-world types talking like them).
But Arab actions speak louder than Arab words.
The Palestinians' actions scream out, "you will never be safe unless we are oppressed."
The Palestinians have to come on their knees, begging Israel for peace, instead of the other way around. Just like we had to whip the Nazis, instead of begging them for a peace treaty during WWII. Could you imagine the Allies being told by a third party they should beg Adolf Hitler for peace? (Yeah, I just broke Godwin's Law. But I don't care. Replace the Nazi analogy with any other big war analogy, and imagine the victorious country, during the middle of the war, suing for a peace that was not a surrender. It's absurd historically. And it's absurd in Israel's case). Posted
Friday, July 19, 2002
Now they Won't kill Jews
With two suicide bombers, the terrorist pigs were only able to kill 3 Israelis. This is not to minimize their suffering, the three dead left behind many family members, and there were dozens wounded.
But it could have been worse, much worse. The bombs they were using must not have been made very well. Before Operation Defensive Shield, a singe bomb could kill twenty Israelis, if it was made with high-grade materials (the Passover Massacre even claimed 29, but most of the victims were elderly).
But the real issue is that foreign workers were attacked. It's bad enough the Palestinians try to kill Jews, but to kill non-Jewish guests? That's beyond their usual level of reprehensibility.
It's an attack on the Israeli economy. Israel needs the foreign workers, because the Palestinians can't be trusted to work for them (they use the access to Israel to carry out attacks). It's a no-win situation for Israel, when it lets them work, it's accused of "exploiting" them, and when it doesn't, it's accused of starving them. But attacking foreign guests, the terrorists hope to drive them out (and I can't blame them for leaving, they should not be expected to risk their lives for Israel, any more than Jews should be expected to risk their lives for Romania).
If attacks continue to drive down the Israeli economy, Israel might reach a point where it would be cheaper to carry out mass expulsions of Arabs and face European boycotts than to live with the terror. And when transfer becomes economically viable, it will happen. Palestinians are too stupid to realize this, and hold back with their attacks. But, then again, they're not smart enough to hurt Israel to the point where transfer would become economically viable. The current equilibrium could last indefinitely, the current situation won't change any time soon. Posted
How the War on Terror will appear in High School History Books
Fifty years from now, what will the War on Terror have looked like? I would bet in a half a century, a lot of the hate and ignorance within the Muslim world will have abated, and they will have joined us in freedom. And the high school history books will treat the hate as if it never existed. The people who opposed ignorance and prejudice in the Muslim world and rallied for military action outside Afghanistan will be portrayed as backwards and bigoted against Muslims. We're going to be royally screwed by the left-wing historical revisionists who write the textbooks...
Apparently, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet was having financial problems. This will no doubt be hyped by the media and justice department, which wishes to portray his terrorist rampage as an "isolated incident" and not part of a decades-long campaign of terror.
But what does it prove that he had money trouble? Why would that lead him to shoot up the El Al ticket counter? Unless he blamed Israel and Jews for his financial woes (which would make him a lunatic anti-Semite), his decision to attack El Al was purely political (which would make him a lunatic anti-Semite). Either way, a lunatic anti-Semite specifically targeted Israelis.
Is that a "hate crime" or is it "terrorism?" I would suggest they are almost one and the same. I would feel perfectly comfortable using the term "terrorism" to describe the Klan's behavior in the American South, and their crimes were what we today call "hate crimes." The sine qua non of a "hate crime" is that it is part of a targeted campaign of violence against a specific group, that's why we consider even a minor attack like a stabbing to be so much more serious if it is a "hate crime" than a random criminal stabbing (this one is only news because the victim is famous).
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. As dictatorial as your regime is today, democracy is within reach, because you want it. You, the people of Iran, must want democracy if it is to come about, you must be prepared to fight for it (hopefully nonviolently), and even suffer in order to achieve it. But it appears your suffering may not last much longer, if the regime is as weak as it appears.
Assassination Attempt on Chirac: Was it "Terrorism?"
Of course not! The neo-Nazi youth never received any direct orders from any leaders of established terror groups. He was acting on his own, it was an isolated incident. He was probably just having family problems. In fact, he might not even have done it at all. He might have been framed by the French police, who are notorious for persecuting neo-Nazis. (this was all sarcasm) Posted
The hatred never stops. What changes is Israel's ability to defend itself. Israel will not have good neighbors any time soon, but good fences make for safe houses.
If we assume, under the Barak administration, half of the suicide bombers made it into Israel, and we assume on average each killed five Jews, that would be thirty-five Israelis saved. And when you factor in the wounded, maybe a hundred people were not maimed, because Sharon put the Palestinians under curfew. If the suicide bombers were using advanced explosives in their vests (like the Passover bomber), Israel might have been spared a hundred deaths and two hundred maimings (although I doubt the Palestinians are still using a lot of high-grade explosives).
But this new security isn't going to last. The Palestinians, faced with the prospect of their bombers not succeeding, will put a lot more effort into sneaking them into Israel. That will be their main focus, instead of recruiting or building bombs. And eventually they will suceed. The key is for Israel to keep hunting them, relentlessly, forcing them to make survival a priority, instead of giving them the luxury of being able to plan a new attack. The best defense is a good offense. Posted
Isolationist Feelings in Israel
A very good article about the changes in Israeli attitudes towards the world (via Life After Cal). What they really need is a stridently secular hawk party, so ordinary Israelis wouldn't have to side with the religious extremists just to be safe. That would also get the Euros' attention, they like to pretend the Israelis are misbehaving out of religious impulses, and not defending themselves with good reason. Posted
Yet Another Call from MCI
The slimeballs called me back again later last night. I think they're using telemarketing to harass me because I'm mistreating their callers.
So I told the guy, "put me on your do not call list." He went on about how he could save me money, and I said again, "put me on your do not call list." I don't know what the law is elsewhere, but at least here in California, you can tell telemarketers not to call you. Ever. Again.
I should not have had to ask him twice. If they call again, I'll scream at them and file a complaint with the appropriate government body. Posted
But this time, I let the idiot telemarketer have it. When he said he was from MCI, I asked him about WorldCom. He started spewing facts and figures, so I came back by asking him how many employees were laid off. When he said 10%, I asked him if that meant I would get fewer phone calls. He said no. He went on about what a great deal MCI was, and how I was selected for my "credibility" (anyone who says I have credibility has none). I took a cheap shot, asking if his company was credible, and he finally hung up.
[I really do feel bad for the employees who were laid off. After all, they aren't the ones calling me. [I am almost never this rude in real life, I reserve this vitriol for telemarketers. If there is a telemarketer reading this, I don't actually hate you, I know you're just doing your job. But don't hate me for being a jerk.] Posted
Inside the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, the Californian audience had been struck silent. Dennis Bernstein, the Jewish host of KPFA Radio's Flashpoint current affairs programme, was reading some recent e-mails that he had received from Israel's supporters in America. Each one left the people in the church – Muslims, Jews, Christians – in a state of shock. "You mother-fucking-asshole-self-hating Jewish piece of shit. Hitler killed the wrong Jews. He should have killed your parents, so a piece of Jewish shit like you would not have been born. God willing, Arab terrorists will cut you to pieces Daniel Pearl-style, AMEN!!!"
Bernstein's sin was to have covered the story of Israel's invasion of Jenin in April and to have interviewed journalists who investigated the killings that took place there – including Phil Reeves and Justin Huggler of The Independent – for his Flashpoint programme. Bernstein's grandfather was a revered Orthodox Rabbi of international prominence but neither his family history nor his origins spared him. "Read this and weep, you mother-fucker self-hating Jew boy!!!" another e-mail told Bernstein. "God willing a Palestinian will murder you, rape your wife and slash your kids' throats."
Fisk uses interesting language here. "The killings that took place there"–is he suggesting Israel carried out "killings?" Does he really believe there were massacres? It's also interesting that Fisk forgets to mention these allegations turned out to be lies (does he still believe there was a "Jenin massacre" with a death toll in the hundreds?)
Isn't it sort of relevant that the story Bernstein was "investigating" turned out to be a Nazi-type lie? He was criticized as a self-hating Jew and a Nazi because he was spreading Nazi lies. Bernstein is an anti-Semite, because he spreads blood libels about Jews. Not about Sharon, or any other individual, but about all Jews in Israel. I get upset when I hear Nazi Arab lies; apparently a lot of other people do to.
The truth is, Bernstein is a little Nazi shit. He links on his font page to "Bendib's cartoons," which depict Ariel Sharon eating Palestinian children (as well as other Jews doing the same) and Zionist control of the American media and government. The sad thing is, there will always be a market for Jew-hating Jews, for the other haters to hide behind. Anyone hiding behind Bernstein is an anti-Semite in denial.
Yet another: "I hope that you, Barbara Lubin and all other Jewish Marxist Communist traitors anti-American cop haters will die a violent and cruel death just like the victims of suicide bombers in Israel." Lubin is also Jewish, the executive director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, a one-time committed Zionist but now one of Israel's fiercest critics. Her e-mails are even worse.
Indeed, you have to come to America to realise just how brave this small but vocal Jewish community is. Bernstein is the first to acknowledge that a combination of Israeli lobbyists and conservative Christian fundamentalists have in effect censored all free discussion of Israel and the Middle East out of the public domain in the US. "Everyone else is terrified," Bernstein says. "The only ones who begin to open their mouths are the Jews in this country. You know, as a kid, I sent money to plant trees in Israel. But now we are horrified by a government representing a country that we grew up loving and cherishing. Israel's defenders have a special vengeance for Jews who don't fall in line behind Sharon's scorched-earth policy because they give the lie to the charge that Israel's critics are simply anti-Semite."
This dipstick is on the radio claiming he's being censored. He's really just whining that nobody wants to listen to his stupid tripe. There's a difference between being shouted down, and not having an audience. A big difference. And if Fisk describes this woman as one of the "fiercest" critics, you know she's got to be even more full of it than Bernstein. This is the standard left-wing martyr crap Fisk pulls, telling us all how hard it is to be as principled as he, while he sets up straw men he doesn't even need to rebut, just chastise. When will he publish intelligent criticism of himself, rather than just mean emails?
Visiting Lubin's web site, we're treated to Chomsky, the National Lawyers Guild, and a defense of Lynne Steward, the lawyer who was sending messages for a jailed terrorist. Fierce, indeed. Fiercely stupid. As far as it's the "Middle East Children's Alliance," I didn't see anything about Israeli children being deliberately targeted. She was more interested in warning of "The Coming of a Police State in the U.S.?"
Adam Shapiro is among those who have paid a price for their beliefs. He is a Jew engaged to an American-born Palestinian, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement who was trapped in Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the spring while administering medical aid. After telling CNN that the Sharon government was acting like "terrorists" while receiving $3bn a year in US military aid, Shapiro and his family were savaged in the New York Post. The paper slandered Shapiro as the "Jewish Taliban" and demeaned his family as "traitors". Israeli supporters publicised his family's address and his parents were forced to flee their Brooklyn home and seek police protection. Shapiro's father, a New York public high-school teacher and a part-time Yeshiva (Jewish day school) teacher, was fired from his job. His brother receives regular death threats.
Shapiro was not providing medical treatment, that's total bullshit. That's a damn lie. Shapiro has no medical background. He was merely hiding in an ambulance (just like a suicide bomber) to sneak into the Mukata. And it's not slander if it's true. Fisk also forgets to mention Shapiro refuses to condemn Palestinian terrorism. In other words, he likes Jews being blown up. Other Jews don't like this. If you want to celebrate the Ku Klux Klan, that's your legal right–but don't come crying to me when you're run out of a black neighborhood!
Israel's supporters have no qualms about their alliance with the Christian right.
And Fisk has no qualms about siding with the Saudis and the Taliban.
Indeed, the fundamentalists can campaign on their own in Israel's favour, as I discovered for myself at Stanford recently when I was about to give a lecture on the media and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, part of a series of talks arranged largely by Jewish Americans. A right-wing Christian "Free Republic" outfit posted my name on its website, and described me as a "PLO butt-kisser" and asked its supporters to "freep" my lecture. A few demonstrators turned up outside the First United Methodist Church in Sacramento where I was to speak, waving American and Israeli flags. "Jew haters!" they screamed at the organisers, a dark irony since these were non-Jews shrieking their abuse at Jews.
They were also handing out crudely printed flyers. "Nothing to worry about, Bob," one of my Jewish hosts remarked. "They can't even spell your name right." True. But also false. "Stop the Lies!" the leaflet read. "There was no massacre in Jenin. Fiske [sic] is paid big bucks to spin [lie] for the Arabs..." But the real lie was in that last sentence. I never take any payment for lectures – so that no one can ever claim that I'm paid to give the views of others. But the truth didn't matter to these people. Nor did the content of my talk – which began, by chance, with the words "There was no massacre" – in which I described Arafat as a "corrupt, vain little despot" and suicide bombings as "a fearful, evil weapon". None of this was relevant. The aim was to shut me up.
Free Republic is not a religious web site. Even naughty disbelieving atheists like me are allowed to post there. There are a lot of Jewish members.
It's gracious of Fisk to finally admit "there was no massacre" (of course, he probably claimed Israel did everything else up to that point), but at the time, his columns were claiming there was a massacre.
Fisk is paid by al-Independent, he gets money from somewhere. He's paid for his views, and he spins for Arabs. Al-Independent likes to spin for Arabs. It is not illogical to assume Fisk is paid to spin for Arabs.
Dennis Bernstein sums it up quite simply: "Any US journalist, columnist, editor, college professor, student-activist, public official or clergy member who dares to speak critically of Israel or accurately report the brutalities of its illegal occupation will be vilified as an anti-Semite." In fact, no sooner had Bernstein made these remarks than pro-Israeli groups initiated an extraordinary campaign against some of the most pro-Israeli newspapers in America, all claiming that The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle were biased in their coverage of the Middle-East conflict.
In other words, if they report the same way Bernstein does (believing every anti-Semitic lie that comes their way), they will be attacked as biased.
Just how The New York Times – which boasts William Safire and Charles Krauthammer, those giants of pro-Israeli bias, among its writers – could be anti-Israeli is difficult to see, although it is just possible that, amid its reports on Israel's destruction in the West Bank and Gaza, some mildly critical comments found their way into print. The New York Times, for example, did report that Israeli soldiers used civilians as human shields – though only in the very last paragraph of a dispatch from Jenin.
None the less, the campaign of boycotts and e-mails got under way. More than 1,000 readers suspended their subscriptions to the Los Angeles Times, while a blizzard of e-mails told pro-Israeli readers to cancel their subscription to The New York Times for a day. On the East Coast, at least one local radio station has lost $1m from a Jewish philanthropist while other stations attempting to cover the Middle East with some degree of fairness are said to have lost even more. When the San Francisco Chronicle published a four-page guide to the conflict, its editors had to meet a 14-member delegation of local Jewish groups to discuss their grievances.
According to Michael Futterman, who chairs the Middle East strategy committee of 80 Bay Area synagogues, Jewish anger hit "boiling point" when the Chronicle failed to cover a pro-Israeli rally in San Francisco. Needless to say, the Chronicle's "Readers' Representative", Dick Rogers, published a grovelling, self-flagellating apology. "The paper didn't have a word on the pro-Israel rally," he wrote. "This wasn't fair and balanced coverage."
Fisk forgets again to put this in context. The SF Chronicle covered a much smaller pro-Palestinian rally, but ignored completely a pro-Israel rally. Their excuse: the Chron actually said they didn't expect any violence at the rally, so it wasn't newsworthy. I don't know whether that's the truth or a lie, but either way, the SF Chronicle is really pathetic. See, when all this is put in context, Fisk is shown to be nothing but a raving loony. But he can get away with distorting the truth when it takes place 5,000 miles away, at least as far as his regular readership is concerned. They have no way of knowing just how much Fisk distorts things.
Another objection came from a Jewish reader who objected to the word "terror" being placed within inverted commas in a Chronicle headline that read "Sharon says 'terror' justifies assault". The reader's point? The Chronicle's reporting "harmonises well with Palestinian propaganda, which tries to divert attention from the terrorist campaign against Israel (which enjoys almost unanimous support among Palestinians, all the way from Yasser Arafat to the 10-year-old who dreams of blowing himself up one day) and instead describes Israel's military moves as groundless, evil bullying tactics."
The Chronicle is also one of those papers that withholds the word "terror" for describing Palestinians who murder Israeli civilians indiscriminately in public places, in order to terrorize them so they would give in to Palestinian demands. This is what the complaint is predicated on, not just one instance of the Chronicle's word choice in headlines. But Fisk gets to pick and choose the letters he quotes from, and then pick portions of those letters he likes. He's just setting up straw men to knock down.
And so it goes on. On a radio show with me in Berkeley, the Chronicle's foreign editor, Andrew Ross, tried to laugh off the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby – "the famous lobby", he called it with that deference that is half way between acknowledgement and fear – but the Israeli Consul General Yossi Amrani had no hesitation in campaigning against the Chronicle, describing a paper largely docile in its reporting of the Middle East as "a professionally and politically biased, pro-Palestinian newspaper".
The Chron was only "docile" in reporting suicide bombings.
The Chronicle's four-page pull-out on the Middle East was, in fact, a soft sell. Its headline – "The Current Strife Between The Israelis And The Palestinians Is A Battle For Control Of Land" – missed the obvious point: that one of the two groups that were "battling for control of the land" – the Palestinians – had been occupied by Israel for 35 years.
Fisk wants the word "occupation" in the headline. If the word "terror" had appeared in the headline, he would have had an aneurism (even though Zionists have been fighting off terrorists since before they had a state, long before the "occupation." But he wants the paper to phrase everything in terms of the Palestinian viewpoint. Anything less, you see, would be biased.
[skipping three paragraphs of stuff that makes me happy]
But, of course, a fundamental problem – fundamental in every sense of the word – lies behind this strange partnership. As Uri Avnery, the leader of Gush Shalom, the most courageous Israeli peace group, pointed out in a typically ferocious essay last month, there is a darker side to the alliance. "According to its [Christian Zionist] theological beliefs, the Jews must congregate in Palestine and establish a Jewish state on all its territory" – an idea that would obviously appeal to Ariel Sharon – "so as to make the Second Coming of Jesus Christ possible." But here comes the bad bit. As Avnery says, "the evangelists don't like to dwell openly on what comes next: before the coming [of the Messiah], the Jews must convert to Christianity. Those who don't will perish in a gigantic holocaust in the battle of Armageddon. This is basically an anti-Semitic teaching, but who cares, so long as they support Israel?"
That is not an anti-Semitic teaching! If the Christians are right, they we should all convert! If they are wrong, there will be no Messiah coming, so there's no need to worry about an apocalyptic battle. It's not "anti-Semitic" to think your religion is the right one. And Gush Shalom isn't so much brave as it is dishonest. It's not a "peace" organization, it's a terrorist-loving organization (the slogan on their page used to be "it all started when Achmed hit back"). And as I showed earlier, it's not really interested in seeking the truth honestly so much as bashing Israel.
The power of the Israeli lobby in the United States is debated far more freely in the Israeli press than in American newspapers or on US tele- vision. There is, of course, a fine and dangerous line between justified investigation – and condemnation – of the lobby's power, and the racist Arab claim that a small cabal of Zionists run the world. Those in America who share the latter view include a deeply unpleasant organisation just along the coast from San Francisco at Newport Beach known as the "Institute for Historical Research". These are the Holocaust deniers whose annual conference last month included a lecture on "death sentences imposed by German authorities against German soldiers... for killing or even mistreating Jews". Too much of this and you'd have to join the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC – to restore your sanity. But the Israeli lobby is powerful. In fact, its influence over the US Congress and Senate calls into question the degree to which the American legislature has been corrupted by lobby groups. It is to an Israeli voice – Avnery again – that Americans have to turn to hear just how mighty the lobby has become. "Its electoral and financial power casts a long shadow over both houses of the Congress," Avnery writes. "Hundreds of Senators and Congressmen were elected with the help of Jewish contributions. Resistance to the directives of the Jewish lobby is political suicide. If the AIPAC were to table a resolution abolishing the Ten Commandments, 80 Senators and 300 Congressmen would sign it at once. This lobby frightens the media, too, and assures their adherence to Israel."
Again, Avnery is with Gush Shalom, he is a terrorist-lover, and he's disheartened by American support for Israeli self-defense. So he claims a cabal of Zionists, while not actually running the government of America, just have de facto control over everything that takes place on any issue they want to influence. Fisk is just hiding behind a Jew to make this anti-Semitic claim.
Avnery could have looked no further than the Democratic primary in Alabama last month for proof of his assertion. Earl Hilliard, the five-term incumbent, had committed the one mortal sin of any American politician: he had expressed sympathy for the cause of the Palestinians. He had also visited Libya several years ago. Hilliard's opponent, Artur Davis, turned into an outspoken supporter of Israel and raised large amounts of money from the Jewish community, both in Alabama and nationwide. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz noted that among the names of the first list of contributors to Davis's campaign funds were "10 Cohens from New York and New Jersey, but before one gets to the Cohens, there were Abrams, Ackerman, Adler, Amir, Asher, Baruch, Basok, Berger, Berman, Bergman, Bernstein and Blumenthal. All from the East Coast, Chicago and Los Angeles. It's highly unlikely any of them have ever visited Alabama..." The Jewish newspaper Forward – essential reading for any serious understanding of the American Jewish community – quoted a Jewish political activist following the race: "Hilliard has been a problem in his votes and with guys like that, when there's any conceivable primary challenge, you take your shot." Hilliard, of course, lost to Davis, whose campaign funds reached $781,000.
It would be nice if Fisk would remember to mention Hilliard was getting a huge amount of funding from out of state as well, from radical Muslims. This election was turned into an Israel/Arabs issue, with full support of Hilliard. If he had refused the Arab money, he might have won, and so many Jews certainly would not have written checks for Davis.
The AIPAC concentrates on Congress while the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations (CPMAJO), made up of the heads of 51 Jewish organisations, concentrates on the executive branch of the US government. Every congressman knows the names of those critics of Israel who have been undone by the lobby. Take Senator J William Fulbright, whose 1963 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee detailed how five million tax-deductable dollars from philanthropic Americans had been sent to Israel and then recycled back to the US for distribution to organisations seeking to influence public opinion in favour of Israel; this cost him the chance of being Secretary of State. He was defeated in the 1974 Democratic primary after pro-Israeli money poured into the campaign funds of his rival, Governor Dale Bumpers, following a statement by the AIPAC that Fulbright was "consistently unkind to Israel and our supporters in this country". Paul Findley, who spent 22 years as a Republican congressman from Illinois, found his political career destroyed after he had campaigned against the Israeli lobby – although, ironically, his book on the subject, They Dare to Speak Out was nine weeks on The Washington Post bestseller list, suggesting that quite a number of Americans want to know why their congressmen are so pro-Israeli.
And what was the number one bestselling book in France a few months ago? The Frightening Fraud, by Thierry Meyssan (sp?), suggesting that quite a number of Frenchmen want to know why the Americans blew up the World Trade Center.
Just two months ago, the US House of Representatives voted 352 to 21 to express its unqualified support for Israel. The Senate voted 94 to two for the same motion.
This is not true, they were not the same version. The house version was much more bloodthirsty. It was only because Bush asked that the House version did not call for Palestinians to be run out of the West Bank.
Even as they voted, Ariel Sharon's army was continuing its destructive invasion of the West Bank. "I do not recall any member of Congress asking me if I was in favour of patting Israel on the back..." James Abu Rizk, an Arab-American of Lebanese origin, told the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee afterwards. "No one else, no average American, has been asked either. But that is the state of American politics today... The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators' love for Israel. They have everything to do with the money that is fed into their campaigns by members of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that $6bn flows from the American Treasury to Israel each year." Within days, 42 US governors turned up in Sacramento to sign declarations supporting Israel. California governor Gray Davis and New York governor George Pataki – California has the largest Jewish population of any state except New York – arranged the meeting.
Of course, the AAADC would have no problem with the American Congress issuing declartions of support for Hizzbullah and Hamas, so his words ring a little hollow.
Sometimes the support of Israel's loyalists in Congress turns into farce. Tom Delay – reacting to CNN founder Ted Turner's criticism of Israel – went so far out of his way to justify Israeli occupation of the West Bank that he blurted out on MSNBC television that the Palestinians "should become citizens" of Israel, an idea unlikely to commend itself to his friend Ariel Sharon. Texas Republican Richard Armey went the other way. "I'm content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank. I happen to believe the Palestinians should leave... to have those people who have been aggressors against Israel retired to some other area." Do the people of Texas know that their representative is supporting "ethnic cleansing" in the Middle East? Or are they silent because they prefer not to speak out?
If they watch the news, they know he supports it. And they voted for him. (they would be among the fundamentalist Christians Fisk decries in the paragraphs above; has he already forgotten them?)
Censorship takes many forms. When Ishai Sagi and Ram Rahat-Goodman, two Israeli reserve soldiers who refused to serve in the West Bank or Gaza, were scheduled to debate their decision at Sacramento's Congregation B'nai Israel in May, their appearance was cancelled. Steve Meinrath, who is chairman of the Israel Affairs Committee at B'nai Israel, remarked bleakly that "intimidation on the part of certain sectors of the community has deprived the entire community of hearing a point of view that is being widely debated in Israel. Some people feel it's too dangerous..."
Waaah. They can meet somewhere else. If the congregation finds Jewish nonresitance to terror to be as offensive as Jewish nonresistance to Naziism (both of which are designed to slaughter Jews), they won't want the cowards to speak at their place of worship, just like they would have censored Ghandi, for telling the Jews to go willingly to their deaths to preserve their moral high ground.
I don't think this column ever ends, Fisk is something of a gasbag.
Hopes of what exactly, that there might be another suicide bombing, casting doubt on Israel's ability to halt the terror? Hope that the intifada might continue, in all its violent fury? Remember, these headlines are written by the editors of the Times, not by Reuters, and not by normal journalists. If you want to know what the editors are thinking, look at the headlines. Posted
Israeli-Palestinian Peace is Impossible Now
Peace between Israel and the Arabs isn't going to happen any time soon. Not only is a Palestinian state not inevitable, but peace is almost inevitably doomed to failure.
The only "peace" that exists today is the peace of purely rational short-term interests. Jordan needs trade with Israel to stay afloat, because it's one of the weaker Arab countries, and it's afraid Israel will push all of the Palestinians into Jordan, which was cause the Hashemite Dynasty to fall from power. Egypt wants money from the US, and knows it would be soundly defeated in a war with Israel, and the Aswan High Dam could be blown, killing 60,000,000 Arabs (yes, sixty million, ninety percent of the population of Egypt, which is clustered mostly around the Nile). There is no real Arab love for Israel.
The Palestinians will be happy with nothing short of Israel's destruction. The issue of "right of return" for the Palestinians who fled or were kicked out in the 1948 war of independence will not go away, unless Israel lets them all return, destroying itself as a Jewish state. The Palestinians will never cease to use this grievance as an excuse to hate Israel. Nothing Israel does will be able to appease them, short of allowing itself to be destroyed Zimbabwe-style.
So if peace is impossible, Israel needs to forget it. No amount of appeasement will work. So Israel should go to the opposite extreme.
Right now, the situation is fine, there is peace because Israel is strong. If violence starts up, Israel must take action against it. If the violence comes from a specific region of the Palestinian area, that region must be shut down and put under siege. A few days of that would clear everything up. If violence comes from East Jerusalem into the Jewish area, Israel needs to seize East Jerusalem and expel the Arabs.
And if violence comes from Israeli Arabs, they need to be expelled. Not all at once, but if a village is being particularly bothersome, it should be excised, and the villagers sent into the Palestinian area.
If Katyushas are fired from Palestinian areas into Israel, Israel might have to seize and occupy them outright. But only by strangling any violence by responding quickly and to the local area will Israel be able to achieve a state of non-violence. It won't be "peace," but it will be like an endless ceasefire, sporadically broken. (which is better than the so-called "Peace Process," which looked a lot bloodier than Sharon's war process).
Who knows, maybe if that is achieved the Palestinians would look to Israel for greater peace. But Israel should not be pounding on Palestine's door begging the Arabs for peace. When it does that, the Palestinians think peace would benefit Israel more than the Arabs. Israel should make the Arabs come to it, and say, "hey, I've got a great idea, how about we work something out and live together happily ever after?" Until the Arabs are willing to ask Israel for peace, instead of making one demand after another for it, there will be no peace.
Until the Arabs want peace, there will be no peace. Maybe that is possible, maybe they will give up their grievances stemming from 1948 and 1967. Maybe they won't wage endless war on Israel. But only when they want peace will that happen. They don't want peace now, which is why it's impossible. So there will be no peace. So Sharon will continue to bulldoze them.
Instead of trying to convince all of the Palestinians at once that peace is a good idea, which would be incredibly difficult—and incredibly easy for terrorists to sabotage—Israel should work on trying to convince one Arab village at a time. Israel should shatter the Palestinian area and remove all Arab control on the "national" level. Then it could work for peace with individual villages, and when they come around, it could reopen traffic from that village into Israel, to allow them to work and become prosperous. When enough Arab villages and cities wanted peace, Israel could give them a demilitarized state, and let other Arab villages and cities join in on either good behavior on their part, or on the promise of the Palestinian government to control them. When Palestinians want peace, it will be possible, Israel has to convince them peace is a good idea, by taking it from them and not constantly trying to sell them on the idea. Let them come to the idea themselves.
Democracy on the national level would be a nicer way of doing things than creating "Bantustine," but it's just not going to happen. For democracy to work, it has to be fair everywhere. If you think Bush stole the election, you probably think he stole it in one specific place (if you think Gore was trying to steal the election, the same thing basically applies). Can you imagine all of Palestine being democratic enough to hold meaningful national elections? Not at this point in time, when Arafat's lackeys are threatening to kill anyone who runs against him. So small pieces are the only level at which Israel can have—and has had—success at making peace with Arabs. Posted
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