Tag Archives: Israel

Where Have all the Moynihans Gone?

The extraordinary 1975 Daniel Patrick Moynihan speech, in response to the madness of the “Zionism equals racism” resolution that had passed. There are no Moynihans now, I fear, and more and more fools who think that Zionism is racism. (I’m related to a few.)

Daniel Pearl’s father wrote a column a few years ago in which he lamented the “normalization of evil.” He was quite right, and as Significant Other said upon reading those words, “there is also the evil-ization of normal.” One normal thing now made to appear evil is supporting Israel.

Listen to this speech, the moral clarity, the understanding of history. It makes me so miss my brother Alan – he was one of the few people (and even fewer relatives) with whom I could have serious discussions about politics and history.

Istanbul

Always upsetting to hear of these attacks anywhere, but when it is a place you once called home, more so. I have many friends in Turkey, most of them former students still in Istanbul and the surrounding area, and  so many have reached out to me via social media to let me know they are ok. Glad for that, but so sad for what has happened, what is happening and what will continue to happen.

I know Istiklal Caddesi well, for though I lived on the Asian side of Istanbul, I often crossed the Bosphorus to go shopping on the European side.

What I find most creepy is that it looks as though the bomber was eyeing Israeli tourists. So sick.

The Anti-Semitism of the Left (Again)

Roger Cohen is a bit late to have noticed this, but glad he wrote this fine column. I have relatives who suffer from what he calls “anti-Zionism derangement syndrome.” But as my late brother — who was far too smart to suffer from it — used to say, you can’t reason with people who have this affliction, as they have no interest in facts. Sadly, I am not surprised that much of this derangement has flourished in academia. (Occasionally, I consider going back to school to get my PhD, but then I talk to friends of mine working in academia and reconsider.)

What is striking about the anti-Zionism derangement syndrome that spills over into anti-Semitism is its ahistorical nature. It denies the long Jewish presence in, and bond with, the Holy Land. It disregards the fundamental link between murderous European anti-Semitism and the decision of surviving Jews to embrace Zionism in the conviction that only a Jewish homeland could keep them safe. It dismisses the legal basis for the modern Jewish state in United Nations Resolution 181 of 1947. This was not “colonialism” but the post-Holocaust will of the world: Arab armies went to war against it and lost.

So simple, really. I don’t understand the difficulty people have grasping this, but I think Bernard Lewis was right when he called anti-Semitism a pathology, a mental illness. It isn’t rational.

The Left’s Problem with Jews has a long and Miserable History

That is the title of an important article by Simon Schama, published in the Financial Times. If you can’t read the whole thing — due to the paywall — you can read about it, here.

I mention it because of the vote condemning BDS in the House of Commons last week. To no one’s surprise, Elizabeth May, renowned half-wit and terrorist-apologist, said she would vote against the motion and then, perhaps also to no one’s surprise, she skipped the vote (the Green Party would be a lot less pitiful if it got itself a leader with a 3-digit IQ. I suspect some Greens are sane and I do agree with them on rather more issues than one might expect).

The NDP voted against the motion, as well. I expected this from most of the NDP, but I was disappointed in Mulcair. Does he want to remain leader so desperately that he will sell out on the one area where he had some integrity? Sheesh. The irony is, it won’t save him. I suspect they will ditch him and get a new leader, possibly from the growing, totally-crackpot-when-it-concerns-the-Middle-East branch of the party. (Remember that lovely candidate of theirs who made jokes about Auschwitz?)

And, of course, the Bloc voted against the motion. Does it even need to be said?

As for the Liberals, I am glad for the way they voted — although it must be remembered that some of them abstained — but they are all over the map on support for Israel. I suspect it is because they have few guiding principles. On the one hand, they seem to want to go back to the “glory days” of getting invited to UN cocktail parties and hanging out with dictators. Hence, the spouting of drivel about “honest brokers” and blah blah blah. On the other, they voted in a morally sound way on BDS.

So make of that what you will. And read Terry Glavin’s great column about why BDS does not help anyone, least of all any Palestinians.

The Arabs of Palestine: Plus ca Change

First of all, must vent. I created this huge, long, magnificent post about this great article, full of quotes and clever observations and links to modern media (in all its pitiful lack of glory) and then, I don’t know what happened, but I lost the page. Lost it! And it was not saved as a draft. Dagnabbit! Stupid WordPress.

I am too lazy to try it again so I will simply tell you to click here and read the whole damn thing and then weep. Weep because so little has changed and weep because even more people now have a stupid worldview and no understanding of history than when this article was written and weep because there are no more writers and astute thinkers of Martha Gellhorn’s caliber. (Seriously, we should just recycle great journalists of the past and avoid many of today’s clowns and their willful blindness.)

“The Arabs of Palestine” was written by the brilliant, glorious Gellhorn in 1961. Remember that when you are reading it. 1961. You will think, at times, she is talking about 2015, but for the changes that have taken place in regards Egypt’s relationship to Israel and but for the references to the Cold War.

Weep! And read. And take away some new expressions. I like her references to “Mad Hatter conversations”. I have had many of those in my time, but one of the few good things about getting older is learning to avoid the Mad Hatter types. Of course this means I avoid many people I used to greet (including some family members).

 

Carry-on Only

I am very proud of self, because I managed to do a nearly five-week trip in France and Italy with only a carry-on bag! It is what Rick Steves recommends, and he is right. It isn’t easy, of course, but once you’ve done it you realize it is the only way to travel.

That said, were I to return to Italy to study for a semester (a possibility in future) I would not be able to manage that. A carry-on bag for three months? I don’t think so. One would end up buying too much and then have to buy a bigger bag with which to return home.

Still, it is terrific to not have to wait at the luggage carousel, and not have to fear losing one’s luggage. Better Half had his bag lost on the trip back, though he did — thank goodness — get it returned six days later. I’ve had my luggage lost twice: once coming back to Canada from Turkey, once coming back from Israel. Both times I got the luggage back, but it taught me to pack light.

Israeli Election

One of the things many people outside Israel don’t understand about it is that none of the mainstream political parties are going to be anything but tough on matters pertaining to Israel’s security (thankfully). While Likud members might have different ideas about the economy or social issues than more left-of-centre parties, that is pretty much where significant differences end. It was, after all, Ariel Sharon — hardliner of all hardliners — who made the decision to have Israel disengage from Gaza. In other words, labels like “right” and “left” can be inadequate. As long as the party the Israelis elect protects Israel, I’ll be happy. That said, it would be fun to see Netanyahu win again for one reason: it would make Obama’s head explode.

On that note, enjoy this Likud campaign ad, which I find very fun. It could actually be adapted to Canada — I would trust Harper with my kids, but I would never leave them with Justin. And while I think Mulcair would probably be a responsible babysitter, I also think he would frighten the children.

The ‘But’ Brigade

I thought I’d plug a couple of pieces I have on Huffington Post. I thought this first one, about Charlie Hebdo, was pretty good, until I read Howard Jacobson’s piece saying the same thing a billion times better. This second one is about some nasty folks in Iran who think they are very clever.

I continue to be amazed by the specious comparisons and attempts at mitigation people make when these events occur, and lest you think I am exaggerating, I’d like to draw attention to part of a comment I saw on Facebook, which effectively compared the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muhammed with the sort of cartoons that appeared in  Der Sturmer under the Third Reich. (I will not correct the grammatical/spelling errors in the comment.)

SOme forms of sarcastic critique (nazi cartoons about Jews in the Prewar Germany) to me are counterproductive to the circumstance they portray. I dont want to ban them but I wont hold them out as symbols of freedom either.

Wow. Just…words fail. There was more to this comment, believe it or not, but I think you can get where it was going and this part made me sick enough. Very big of the commenter to say they would not hold up Julius Streicher-type anti-Jewish vitriol as a symbol of freedom. Especially as they weren’t, unlike the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Let’s compare, shall we?

The anti-Jewish caricatures of which the commenter was writing, were drawn under a dictatorship as part of state-sponsored persecution of Jews. There was no freedom for anyone to draw any counter-cartoons, so to speak. And they made no political point other than “Jews are bad and we want make you all hate them even more than you already do.” They were also not caricatures of a god or religious figure. They were caricatures of Jews, Germans citizens who had been contributing members of society and posed absolutely no threat. The cartoons at Charlie Hebdo were almost all caricatures of a religious figure — Muhammed. Occasionally there were caricatures of terrorists, Islamists living in France or elsewhere. They were drawn as a response to threats on freedom in a free society and they were drawn — here is the key — with no state support whatsoever. The government of France neither opposed nor supported nor insisted upon such caricatures (as did the government of Germany in the 1930s). Other journalists and artists were free to draw counter-cartoons challenging Charlie Hebdo’s choices.

That the person who made the silly (and rather scary) comment is ignorant of history should not come as a surprise. I remember another time, this person asserted to me that Zionism “was started after World War II by Theodor Herzl.” Um, no. Herzl died very early on in the 20th century, I think around 1904. Zionism began, officially I suppose you could say, in the 19th century, though really, there have always been Jews in what we now call Israel. The movement goes way back.

So click on the links above, if you wish, but especially the Howard Jacobson piece. It’s a good intellectual antidote to some of the profound foolishness out there.