Monthly Archives: June 2009

Studies in Demopathy: Inside the Haifa U. Muslim Apartheid Speech

I have often written here about the problem of demopaths” — people who have no respect for the human rights of others, but complain bitterly about others not respecting their human rights. Recently a the head of the radical Islamic Movement‘s northern branch spoke at Haifa University at the bequest of the Muslim students there.

saed
Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

In order to prevent violence, Jewish students were excluded from the talk.

One student, however, slipped in unnoticed and reported back to the rest of the world. With his permission, I post his remarks. (HT: Steve Antler)

A Case for Democracy
Nir Meital

One of my father’s favorite jokes is the following. A man is driving down highway number one, when his wife calls and says in great concern, “darling, the news channel has reported that there is a crazy maniac driving in the wrong direction on highway One!” The man laughs and answers, “One maniac? I see at least a hundred!”

Listening to the ongoing criticism about Israel, I sometimes feel like the man on highway number one. While attempting to drive with its fellow nations down the road leading west, all Israel can see looking out the window in its warm and humid middleastern highway, is the license plates of countries racing by, turning their backs on every western value imaginable, and honking their horn towards the one country that at present time rejects the tendency in the Middle East to shoot protestors to death on the street or insist that women travel with a male guardian.

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic movement’s extreme northern branch spoke at the University of Haifa today, and toyed with this rather worn out mantra. The University that has learned its lesson from previous Jewish-Arab riots has raised concerns for the safety and peace of its students, and thus decided to separate the two camps. I must note that after witnessing the heated spirits on both sides, I found myself grateful for this rather superficial and seemingly absurd separation.

The result of the separation was the following. A large corridor filled with members of every political group from within the Jewish student body, waving flags, pounding on the floor and making every effort to disturb the speakers in the downstairs hall. One protestor told me, that if Salah has achieved one good thing in his speech, it was the momentary “shalom Bait”, peace and unity, between the Jews. Any other day, this student body would be divided into camps and parties identifying with Yisrael Beitenu to Chadash, and anything in between. Today they stood united. Amazing how far a slight delegitimization of one’s right to sovereignty can go.

Is the Neda Soltan Video a Fake? Gary Trieste thinks it’s 85% probable

While searching for a picture of Neda Agha-Soltan for my next post, I ran across this. I didn’t have time to check out Gary Trieste, or even to examine the evidence. But just reading it through once I had a sense of how it must be for pro-Palestinians to read our arguments. I just don’t want to believe this is a fake, so I am ill-inclined to consider the arguments. I submit it to the readers of this blog to respond to. I have no position yet, although just reading it has been a salutary emotional experience. All comments welcome.

Was the Neda Agha-Soltan video a Hoax?
A few humble observations, and a few impertinent questions.
by Gary Trieste
(libertarian)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It was the shocking video that flashed around the world by the Internet. An at-the-scene moment, taken during the recent Iran election protest demonstrations.

The Neda Agha-Soltan video, shows a young woman in the street, having been struck down by a government sniper’s bullet.

The video shows her stunned, and collapsing backward to the ground while being let down gently by a man.

The woman peers sideways at the camera coming towards her, with an perturbing visage of resignation on her face, probably due to massive shock.
A closeup of her face suddenly reveals rivulets of blood streaming down the side of her mouth and then from her nose, while a doctor attempts to revive her.

In the background we can hear her friends trying encourage and console her. Heart rending sounds of anguish and cries come shortly thereafter when it is apparent she had succumbed to her injuries.

Shocking. An indictment of the callous and brute force of the Iranian militia. A tragic and senseless death that shows perfectly how wrong this conflict is.

And yet, as one gets over the visceral impact of it, past the gut wrenching tragedy, and one begins to reflect . . . does it not have, perhaps, a bit of a “too-perfect-to-be-true” feel to it?

Much like the infamous Stephen Glass articles written for the New Republic, edgy, highly topical, and on point to cutting edge social events, his articles were just too good not to be true, they went down as smoothly as KoolWhip and Flan.

I would have thought al Durah was a more appropriate comparison, no?

“What’s Your Problem with that?”: Enderlin and the Intellectual Corruption of the MSM

(This article has been published at Pajamas Media.)

The startling footage of Neda, the 27-year old woman shot to death in the streets of Tehran recently has reminded some of the image of 12-year old Muhammad al Durah (HT Tom Gross):

The footage of a Palestinian man [sic] being shot dead [sic] next to his 12-year-old son, Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah, by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2000 has been etched in the minds of many Iranians, as state television has continually replayed the images to highlight the “Zionist regime’s brutality.”

Now, the Islamic regime itself has become the subject of similar allegations at home and abroad after gruesome footage of a dying young woman during the suppression of an opposition protest on Saturday was released on the internet.

The image of Neda Salehi Agha-Soltan, a 27-year-old philosophy student, bleeding to death on the asphalt road of a Tehran street after she was shot in the chest, has become the rallying cry of the country’s opposition, which is disputing the June 12 election of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

Only neither Jamal (the father) nor Muhammad al Durah (the son) were killed, not by Israelis soldiers, probably not by anyone, and certainly not “on TV.” These days when real footage, shot spontaneously, of victims of brutal repressive forces make it out of Iran, a country where the leaders make every effort to shut down the media, it may be useful to revisit the case of Muhammad al Durah.

With al Durah, we have a case of footage uncensored by authorities coming out of a conflict in which the allegedly repressive regime — the Israelis — provides the most welcoming atmosphere of freedom for journalists. These journalists repay the Israelis for their tolerance by running Pallywood footage staged by the Palestinians, specifically designed to provoke outrage. And in the case of Muhammad al Durah, the boy behind the barrel at Netzarim Junction on September 30, 2000, the footage was not only staged, but, thanks to the efforts of France2′s Middle East correspondent, Charles Enderlin, it made it around the world with the imprimatur of Western Mainstream media. In short order, it became an icon of hatred, provoking outrage, hatred and violence against both Jews and Israelis — the first blood(less) libel of the 21st century.

One of Enderlin’s favorite arguments is, “look, if there were any substance to these allegations, the Israelis would be all over me and Talal. The fact that they’ve done nothing is proof that we’re right, and Talal is “as white as snow.” He most recently repeated these arguments at his blog.

So let me suggest a counter-argument: If there were any substance to Charles Enderlin’s defense, he would have informed himself of the details of the evidence.

Instead, he continues to remain supremely ignorant of all the telling problems with both Talal’s account and his own.

His performance in his interview with Schapira for the new movie shows us precisely the kind of know-nothing folly that first inspired the term Pallywood, which came not from evidence of Palestinian fakes — I’d already seen many — but from Enderlin’s complacent response to having them pointed out: “Oh yeah, they do that all the time. It’s a cultural thing.”

Here are some views of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a major MSM figure, one of the most influential journalists in Europe for the last two decades. Not one word that he utters has any substance in terms of serious argumentation. In any first-year graduate seminar in history the kind of cavalier contempt for hard evidence and argumentation that Enderlin displays here would earn him the disbelief of fellow students and a ticket to ride from the professors… Unless, of course, we were in an honor-shame culture where someone with protected status could get away with anything he wanted to say.

Both in the details, and in the argumentation, Enderlin gets an “F” in Second Draft of journalism.


Enderlin handles a question from Esther Schapira.

It’s a smear campaign by people who don’t like my work

Here is Charles in court the day of the showing of Talal’s rushes (the beginning of his downfall), pugnaciously leading with his chin. He is typically dismissive — “you can say he was killed by Martians…” and categorical “we didn’t fabricate these images” (if that we includes Talal, it’s problematic). But the most revealing “argument” is that people who oppose him do so because they “don’t want my reports, my books, and my commentaries.”

Note the revealing slip at the beginning: “This is a libel suit… uuuh, a libel against me.” He’s the one bringing the libel suit against Karsenty, but he’s trying to position himself as the victim. Indeed, we met one vociferous ex-Israeli French journalist in the court who was indignant at how Enderlin was being dragged through the judicial mud by this suit against him.

But the larger question is certainly worth considering. Enderlin, true to style, uses conspiracy-theory logic. Cui bono? To whom the good? If I lose this case, then my whole oeuvre will be in doubt. Ergo, those who attack me on this case actually want to discredit me entirely.

Actually, I had never heard of Enderlin before this, and my concern was both to challenge so powerful and hate-engendering an icon — a blood libel — and, as I became involved, to challenge the inexcusable complaisance of the MSM with Pallywood footage. As I’ve learned more about Enderlin, I think he’s right on one point: his behavior here should call into question the rest of his work which, as I’ve learned, is also tendentious and treats evidence loosely. But to go from that to “it’s a conspiracy to shut me up” not only shows the paranoid quality of Enderlin’s thinking, but also the nature of his appeal: “Don’t listen to them; they don’t like my politics.” Alas, this works all too often these days.

***

That’s how I do a story: “The child is dead” is a statement. What’s your problem with it?”

Here’s Charles asked about why he claimed that the child was dead and then three “takes” later, he’s still moving. This is, of course, a critical issue, since the scene in which the child moves was one that he cut from his broadcast.

I don’t know if Schapira asked him why he cut it, but I presume he’d have answered the same way he has for 9 years — “it was the death throes, and too unbearable for the public to view.” You be the judge on to whom this cut footage is unbearable — the viewer or Talal’s and Enderlin’s “narrative.”

In response, Enderlin let’s us know how he works: “This is the way I do a story…”

I’m very sorry, but the fact is the child died. Maybe not at the precise moment I showed. But this is the way I do a story. “The child is dead,” is a statement. What’s your problem with it?

How many Teamsters does it take to change a lightbulb?
12.
Why 12?
You got a problem with that?


Enderlin: “Maybe not at the precise moment…”

Like the Teamsters, this man thinks he won’t be challenged by anyone who counts. He doesn’t have to give a serious answer, because the people who count — his bosses at France2, his fellow journalists — support him fully.

***

Enderlin answers Bourret: Fisking Enderlin’s Blog’s Response (later removed)

In his on-going saga of hitting the bottom and digging, Charles Enderlin has dealt with a challenge on his blog from a major French news anchor, Jean-Claude Bourret on the issue of blood. The answer exemplifies not only the fundamentally flawed nature of Enderlin’s “argumentation,” but illustrates his sheer contempt for any demand that he engage in serious discussion. This answer matches quite closely the aggressive, know-nothing tone he takes with Esther Schapira when she asks him about the blood.

[NB: While I was working on this exchange, Charles Enderlin took it down from his site, saying

“Ayant eu un long dialogue avec JC Boutet [sic], j’ai mis hors ligne les éléments de cette discussion.” [Having had a long dialogue with JC Boutet [sic] I took the elements of this discussion offline.]

I won’t guess what motivated such a strange move, but maybe it has to do with how revealing it was of the poverty of his thought, as analyzed below.]

The issue in question concerns the following photograph, taken the following day, October 1, 2000.

Now there a multiple problems with this photo.

  • 1) The blood is red, despite having been exposed to air and sun for hours. This detail suggests that the blood was added later. Several things corroborate such a suspicion.
  • 2) The blood is where the father was sitting, but the place where the son bled for “twenty minutes” from a gaping stomach wound has not a trace of blood. Again this suggests that the blood was added later without thinking seriously about what it should look like.
  • 3) There is no sign of blood behind the barrel either immediately after the father and son are gone, or the next morning when Talal comes back to film the place.
  • 4) There is no blood on the wall, despite the claim that the father and son were hit by 15 bullets, none of which were recovered in the hospital because, claimed the doctors, they went through the bodies. Hence, one would expect the wall to be splattered with bullet holes and blood.

Esther Schapira asks Enderlin about this in her second movie:

Esther Schapira: It [the incident] happened the day before. The sun shone. Shouldn’t it be dark blood?

Endlerlin: Not when… I’m no specialist, but the next day there was blood there. It was dark, it was… I don’t know how the photo was taken.

Like many of his responses to Esther Schapira the second time around, he’s belligerently contemptuous of the evidence and the argument.

In writing we find the same style. Jean-Claude Bourret left the following question at Enderlin’s blog:

Bonjour Charles!

Je sais que cette “campagne” comme tu la nomme n’est pas agréable pour toi. mais j’ai assité à l’enquête de Philippe Karsenty et je la trouve très convaincante. J’étais également présent à une soirée, ou après la projection, un débat a opposé M. Karsenty à l’un de tes défenseurs. Ce dernier a été pathétique, ne faisant que renforcer la démonstration de M. Karsenty.Parmi les dizaines d’arguments, il y en a un, un seul, auquel je ne trouve pas de réponse : comment se fait il que les deux corps, transpercés par une douzaine de munitions de guerre, et restés 40 minutes contre le mur, comment se fait il qu’il n’y ait pas une goutte de sang, ni sur les vêtements, ni sur le trottoir?

[Hello Charles, I know that this “campaign” as you call it isn’t much fun for you, but I attended Philippe Karsenty’s inquest and I found it quite convincing. I was also at an evening where, after the presentation, a debate opposed Mr. Karsenty to one of your defenders. The latter was pathetic, only reinforcing Mr. Karsenty’s presentation. Among the dozens of arguments, there is one, one only, to which I have not found a response: How is it that there’s not a drop of blood, neither on his clothes, nor on the sidewalk? – rl translation]

To which, one might add, “nor on the wall.” Enderlin replies:

On m’a signalé que tu donnais également des conférences dans le cadre de cette campagne de diffamation. Néanmoins je vais te répondre:

Comment peux-tu, toi un journaliste de télévision analyser des rushes d’un reportage filmé sous le feu comme si c’était une vidéo de supermarché… Talal, le cameraman, a filmé ce qu’il pouvait. Il y a des coupes caméra avec un time code qui courre d’un bout à l’autre.

Quand au sang, il y a bien sur ce que vous qualifiez de chiffon rouge…. Quand à la tache de sang sur le sol… Elle existait bien. Le général palestinien qui s’est rendu le lendemain sur place pour ramasser les balles l’a fait couvrir de sable (devant la vingtaine de soldats israéliens qui étaient dans la position et ont donc tout vu). Nous avons l’image du général… Si toi et les autres experts qui n’ont jamais mis les pieds à gaza ou assisté à un clash entre israéliens et palestiniens aviez posé la question à un chirurgien opérant des blessures de guerres, il vous aurait dit que souvent, elles saignent peu.

Enfin, visiblement, vous croyez être mieux informés que les renseignements militaires israéliens et le Shin Beth qui n’ont jamais trouvé trace d’une conspiration à laquelle auraient participé des dizaines de palestiniens devant une position militaire israélienne, des dizaines de médecins, d’infirmiers de d’infirmières de l’hôpital Shiffa à gaza. Les médecins-généraux jordaniens qui ont opéré le père à Amman etc.

Pour la sécurité israélienne le caméraman, Talal, est blanc comme neige. Mais, bien sur les experts parisiens dont tu fais partie sont mieux renseignés. C’est une campagne absolument ignoble. je continue d’ailleurs à recevoir des menaces de tes amis.

[I’ve been told you were also giving talks in the framework of this campaign of diffamation. Nevertheless, I’ll respond.

How can you, a television journalist, analyze rushes from a report filmed under fire as if it were a supermarket video… Talal, the cameraman, filmed what he could. There are cuts in the filming with a time-code that ran from the beginning to the end.

As for blood, there is, of course, what you qualify as the red rag… As for the blood stain on the ground… it really did exiswt. The Palestinian general who was there the next day to pick up the bullets, had it covered with sand (in front of some 20 Israelis soldiers who were in their bunker and therefore saw everything). We have the picture of the general… If you and the other experts who have never set foot in Gaza or been involved in a clash between Israelis and Palestinians had asked a surgeon operating on war injuries, they would tell you that often, they bleed very little.

Finally, obviously, you think you’re better informed that the Israeli military intelligence and the Shin Bet qui have never found any trace of a conspiracy in which dozens of Palestinians would have had to participate in front of an Israeli military position, dozens of doctors and nurses at Shiffa hospital in Gaza, and the Jordanian doctors who operated on the father in Amman, etc.

As far as Israeli security is concerned, Talal is as white as snow. But, of course, Parisian experts, of whom you are one, are better informed. Its an absolutely ignoble campagne. I continue, by the way, to receive threats from your friends.] – rl translation

Let’s unpack Enderlin’s response.

I got had.

I’ve taken down a post of alleged photos from the Air France crash last June 1, after reader Aviv sent me the link to Snopes — they were shot for the TV series Lost — (which I should have checked before putting them up).

My apologies to readers and thanks to Aviv.

The Psychology of Zero-Sum: Selections from my current manuscript

Part of an ongoing set of posts from my upcoming book subtitled A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century. For close readers of this blog, some of this material may be familiar, but I welcome comments and suggestions. This is, after all, for publication. Footnotes not included.

The Psychology of Zero-Sum: Envy, Schadenfreude, and Mistrust

One of the most difficult aspects of honor-shame cultures for us moderns to fathom is the way in which they tend to view the world as a “limited good” and therefore all transactions and developments as a zero-sum game in which when someone else wins, I lose, and when I win, someone else must lose. While there are obviously cases in our own society where such is also the case – all competitive sports are zero-sum – there are others where the modern economy has, by making economic growth the norm, made it possible for even classic zero-sum situations – competing for a job position, for an A – not so remorselessly zero-sum. Indeed since the “positive-sum” 60s, grade inflation testifies to the strong desire to make even scholarly achievement a fully positive-sum game: everyone is “special,” everyone gets a high grade.

But in a society of scarce resources, like the Bedouins in the desert, or the Karamojong of the arid plains, the very life of the clan depends on their control of oases and pasture land. Here someone else’s gain is your loss, and the competition can get ruthless. Among the Karamajong of Africa, initiation to manhood involved killing someone from the neighboring tribe, man or woman. When the shocked Western visitor objected to killing the women, the tribesman replied: “If we don’t kill their women, they will have more children who will grow up to be warriors and defeat us.”

Zero-sum attitudes have a close relationship to envy: if someone’s success necessarily diminishes others, then any success will elicit envy, and, in many cases, mobilize forces to bring down the haughty ones. Envy, like shame, may be peculiarly human, and play a key role in our evolution. As an individual phenomenon, it is hard to track since, being an admission of inadequacy in relationship to the person envied, few people want to admit to feeling envy. As a social phenomenon – i.e. collective envy – it may play an important role in distribution of wealth by forcing those with a great deal to share. In some tribes, hunter-gatherers hide food and eat it alone at night in order not to lose the “lion’s share” to envious neighbors who demand their share.

There is a joke about a peasant who unearths a magic lamp, rubs it, and out comes a genie who offers him anything, but warns him that his neighbor will get whatever he requests twofold. His answer, “poke out one of my eyes.” Now if this were a chess move rather than a joke, you’d put two exclamation points after it. Why? Because since chess is a zero-sum game, and only the king matters, even a queen sacrifice is acceptable. Here, in one deft move, this peasant has turned a situation in which he would become half a wealthy as his neighbor (had he, say, asked for 1000 head of cattle, or 1000 acres of land) into a spectacular “win” for himself: in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed is king. With this dramatic queen sacrifice, he has bought his dominion at the price of his self-mutilation.

Envy is a pervasive element of the human psyche and of human societies. The issue then, is how pervasive. What do cultures do with envy – accept it? or struggle against it? The expression “crabs in the basket” refers to the way if one crab tries to escape, the others will pull him down, hence, the tendency of people in poverty to show hostility to someone who, by dint of effort, rises above the collective condition and, by implication, sheds an unflattering light on those he or she leaves behind. This is not always negative. The argument that self-help warrior tribes are egalitarian, even ‘democratic,’ comes from their strong hostility to any single person rising to a position of dominance (kingship), not in any way to our notion that every individual, including women, have equal rights to speak and vote.

The evidence suggests that cultures that take envy as an inevitable and pervasive part of their lives produce societies of “limited good,” and by contrast that cultures that resist envy, even in relatively small but significant amounts, become wealth producing nations. When envy dominates a culture, its members mobilize against success. As the saying goes, “the higher up the pole you get, the more your ass is visible.” On the contrary, when people can tolerate success by others, even rejoice in the success of others, you have conditions for economic development. One might argue that monogamy, as painful as it is for alpha males who want to (are genetically programmed to?) spread their seed, is an effort to control the terrible conflicts of envy between multiple wives, not only for their own status, but for the status of their children. Polygamy, on the other hand, gives full range to both the alpha male’s power, and to a “family life” brimming with the most ferocious competitions at every level.

Those cultures in which envy flourishes, in which hard zero-sum games dominate virtually all relationships have certain characteristics worth keeping in mind when trying to understand them.

    Blaming the other: One of the more important dimensions of honor-shame self-help justice is the negative premium it places on self-criticism. The tendency of those who have been shamed by others is to blame the other for the insult. Public self-criticism registers in all but rare cases not as courage, but as an excuse not to fight, as a sign of weakness, of cowardice. To some degree this holds for almost any culture, even allegedly modern ones. “No one in France will admit to having made a mistake,” an observer told me, a few years ago. “It means you’re weak, and it’s the beginning of the end of your political career.” Rare are the cultures in which public admission of fault redounds to the credit of the confessor. Rather, most people blame, and, in some cases, scapegoat a designated guilty victim. The “other” must be wrong in order to save face.

Flushing out the Honor Madness: Palestinian Leadership responds to Netanyahu’s Speech

I recently had a conversation with a friend about the Jews in a major city in the southern USA. He told me that by and large what they got in Sunday school was the classic AIPAC-style narrative: “The Arabs won’t accept Israel and want to destroy it; Israel’s efforts to make peace fail because the only thing they understand is strength, and if you make concessions they’ll interpret it as weakness and press for more.” After a moment of silence in which, presumably, I was supposed to cluck at the hopeless backwardness of such a “narrative” (which as readers of this blog know I call the Honor-Shame Jihad Paradigm and consider fairly accurate), I asked, “So where do you find this narrative inaccurate.”

His response was so perfect that I wrote it down to use in my book.

    The vast of majority everywhere want a roof over their heads, to sleep peacefully at night, enjoy their families, food in their bellies and to say good morning to their neighbors and spouses.

Now how was this a response to my question? It had nothing to do with real data from the Arab world, nothing from the various responses of Arab leaders to various concessions Israel has engaged in since 1993. It’s his liberal cognitive egocentrism, raised to the level of an axiom of human nature (confusing human and humane), and then applied as a negation of any evidence to the contrary. If all people are like this, then the Arabs can’t be like that narrative. QED. PCP. The whole world is like us.

I cited for him the comment of one of the Arab rioters in 1936 to the Peel Commission’s question about why he so hated the Jews, if the Zionists have made the land far more prosperous than it had been before they came:

“You say we are better off: you say my house has been enriched by the strangers who have entered it. But it is my house, and I did not invite the strangers in, or ask them to enrich it, and I do not care how poor it is if I am only master of it” (Weathered by Miracles, p. 207).

He responded: “Do you think they all think like that?”

Good question. I say yes, I sound like a bigot. If I say no, then where are we?

Do they all think that way? Or is this irredentism “merely” an expression of the male mafia, the alpha males who crave vengeance, the political/religious leadership, “the Arab street”? What about the “vast, silent majority.” I’m not sure. I think that many… most… maybe even the vast majority would accept my friend’s lovely depiction of a prosperous and peaceful life. (It is, after all, at the core of the messianic promise.)

What I do know is that as long as honor-shame culture, with its demanded solidarity — asabiyyah — prevails, and as long as it’s enforced with such vicious brutality, whatever your “average Palestinian” thinks, he or she will have no ability to change the dynamic of the HSJP narrative. And when mothers can be driven to killing their daughters by a merciless community that demands it for the sake of family honor, then it can’t just be a problem of elites.

I give this anecdote as a preface to the following post on Palestinian reaction to Netanyahu’s speech, because so much of the dynamics we disagreed upon show up in unvarnished form. Netanyahu clearly struck on honor-shame chord.

If it were a chess game, Netanyahu’s speech would be a “?!.” “?” because if the Palestinians had responded intelligently — even while retaining their desire to destroy Israel — they could have said, “Fine. Let’s get on with it.” Then, when they got their demilitarized state, they could go ahead and militarize and no one could stop them. It’s a “!” because, true to form, Palestinian “pride” trumps (what we define as rational) self-interest at every turn. As a result we have the spectacle of unvarnished zero-sum Arab irredentism in response to a speech that called for basic mutuality — two states for two religious communities. Short of everything, it’s Palestinian suffering.

Below are a series of responses from Palestinian leaders that display all the elements of an honor-shame culture under conditions of humiliation which needs to be fixed by shedding blood — at once childishly violent in rhetoric, and violently malevolent in intent.

There are two questions here: 1) Is this the real reaction, or posturing? Even as posturing, it’s significant. Why take these mad postures? As bargaining tools? Possibly.

2) Is the West listening and registering this? And if so, do they have the wisdom and foresight to tell the Palestinian leadership to grow up and, as Obama might put it: “join the 21st century.”

Palestinian Reactions to Netanyahu’s Speech
‘Akin to a Declaration of War’; ‘Netanyahu is a Liar and a Crook’; ‘The Speech is Worthless and Warrants a Determined Response’; ‘Not In a Thousand Years… Would [He] Find a Single Palestinian’ to Agree to His Conditions

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s June 14, 2009 speech was met with hostility by all Palestinian factions. The Palestinians called Netanyahu “a liar and a crook,” stated that the only purpose of his “hollow” speech was to placate U.S. President Barack Obama, and claimed that he was effectively ruining the chances for peace. Senior Palestinian Authority officials called on theU.S. to force Israel to implement the two-state solution, and on the PA to toughen its positions. Hamas called on PA to stop security coordination and to reassess their position on negotiations with Israel.

Following are excerpts from reactions in the PA press to the speech:

PA: Netanyahu’s Speech Has Ruined the Chance for Peace

Palestinian Authority negotiations department head Saeb ‘Ariqat stated: “The peace process can be compared to a turtle, and now that Netanyahu has turned it over, it’s lying on its back. Not in a thousand years will Netanyahu find a single Palestinian who would agree to the conditions stipulated in his speech. The speech is a unilateral declaration ending the political negotiations on permanent status issues.” [1]

This is an eloquent expression of the arrogance of prime divider elites. They will speak for their people without the slightest hesitation. Essentially, ‘Ariqat [also known as Erakat], the main expounder of the Jenin Massacre in 2002, is condemning his people to decades if not generations of suffering, but he not only doesn’t care, he makes no room for the slightest dissent. No proud Palestinian would stand for this (and I guess, by implication, no one shameful enough to accept the deal, is a Palestinian). So Erakat’s implicit answer to my friend’s query is: “Yes! Every Palestinian thinks this way.” (NB: Erakat’s considered a moderate, not a racist who demeans Palestinians by thinking they’re all war- and hate-mongers.)

The Two-State To Nowhere: Another Futile Attempt At Appeasement

Every once in a while it’s useful to consult a historian with a memory that goes beyond the “so fifteen minutes ago” of the current ADD generation. Here Alex Grobman explains why Netanyahu’s speech touched a nerve in the Arab world, especially among Palestinians. It’s not the Politically-correct Paradigm PCP — let’s compromise and get on with our lives in a spirit of mutuality — it’s the Honor-Shame Jihad Paradigm HSJP — we can only breathe if you die. Or, as Yasser Arafat put it so delicately:

“We don’t want peace, we want victory. Peace for us means Israel’s destruction and nothing else. What you call peace is peace for Israel…. For us it is shame and injustice. We shall fight on to victory. Even for decades, for generations, if necessary.”

And, suprise! they’re still fighting.

The passages Grobman cites — all expressions of the honor-shame world of Arab irredentism when it comes to Israel — shed a particularly revealing light on President Obama’s (falsely) empathic remark about Palestinian suffering being intolerable. If it were “intolerable” they would do something about it. Instead they scream foul at Netanyahu’s speech and dig in for more suffering. Obama’s inability to understand this — and I think it is an incomprehensibility that pervades Western culture which is why I’m writing my current book — is at the heart of the dysfunctional relationship we have with the Arab world. “Suffering? You pussies ain’t seem nothing yet. We can take it, and you better be ready to take it. And if you protect yourself from our misery… we’ll call you apartheid racists.”

The Two-State To Nowhere: Another Futile Attempt At Appeasement

“There is reason to believe that [the president] cherished the illusion that presumably he, and he alone, as head of the United States, could bring about a settlement – if not a reconciliation — between Arabs and Jews. I remember muttering to myself as I left the White House after hearing the President discourse in rambling fashion about Middle Eastern Affairs, ‘I‘ve read of men who thought they might be King of the Jews and other men who thought they might be King of the Arabs, but this is the first time I ‘ve listened to a man who dreamt of being King of both the Jews and Arabs.’”1 Herbert Feis, a State Department economic advisor, did not say this about President Obama’s address in Cairo in June 2009, but after Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, in February 1945. Roosevelt wanted the Arabs to allow thousands of Jews from Europe to immigrate to Palestine to which Ibn Saud responded, “Arabs would choose to die rather than yield their land to Jews.”2

George Antonius, an Arab nationalist, reiterated this point when he said, “no room can be made in Palestine for a second nation except by dislodging or exterminating the nation in possession.”3

Attempts to solve the Arab/Israeli conflict regularly fail because of the refusal to acknowledge that this dispute has never been about borders, territory or settlements, but about the Arabs refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. “The struggle with the Zionist enemy is not a matter of borders, but touches on the very existence of the Zionist entity,” declared an Arab spokesman.4

Unlike the Nazis who carefully concealed the Final Solution, Hamas and the Palestine Authority openly avow their intentions in their Charter and Covenant and in the Arab media which is available in English on the Internet on MEMRI and the Palestinian Media Watch.

For Hamas liberating all of Palestine to establish an Islamic state requires a holy war against Israel. Anyone daring to sign away even “a grain of sand in Palestine in favor of the enemies of God…who have seized the blessed land” should have their “hand be cut off.”5

And the hapless soldier’s sigh runs in blood down palace walls

London (1794)

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every black’ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot’s curse
Blasts the new born Infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

Pictures from the streets of Iran (HT/Noah Pollak, published by Boston.com)

There’s a possibility that, because Iranian soldiers refuse to fire on Iranians, the government has brought in Arabs to do the job (Hizbullah?). At present, this is only a rumor, but it might make sense, and reinforces the rumors that some of the bodyguards of the Gaza clique are Iranian.

There are widespread reports of police and security forces, around Tehran and other big cities where there have been demonstrations, who are not Iranian and either speak Persian with a very pronounced Arab accent or speak no Persian at all…. Reports are circulating that Venezuela has sent anti-riot troops to Tehran to help Ahmadinejad, joining Hezbollah members from Palestine and Lebanon who are employed by the Islamic government as anti-riot police — the reason such forces are being brought in is that some of the Iranian police are unwilling to hit people as ordered and some are even joining the protesters.

Is this Obama’s Jimmy Carter Moment?

Am I getting this right? Are there hundreds of thousands of protesters in Iran — up to a million people in the streets — against an insane, medieval theocracy on the verge of getting the nuclear bomb, which is firing on the crowds, and Osama hasn’t said anything?

Déjà-vu all over again.

Joe Lieberman (not Avigdor) has this to say (HT: Michael Totten)

[T]hrough intimidation, violence, manipulation, and outright fraud, the Iranian regime has once again made a mockery of democracy, and confirmed its repressive and dictatorial character.

We as Americans have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with people when they are denied their rights by repressive regimes. When elections are stolen, our government should protest. When peaceful demonstrators are beaten and silenced, we have a duty to raise our voices on their behalf. We must tell the Iranian people that we are on their side.

For this reason, I would hope that President Obama and members of both parties in Congress will speak out, loudly and clearly, about what is happening in Iran right now, and unambiguously express their solidarity with the brave Iranians who went to the polls in the hope of change and who are now looking to the outside world for strength and support.

I guess one of the problems for Obama is that he forgot there was a reason that we didn’t try and make friends with Iran besides the fact that they didn’t like us. Cozy up to nasties in the hope of charming them — Carter again! — and you end up on the wrong side of history.

Pallywood Sighting:

Simply Jews and Logical Skeptic have posted on an interesting story which illustrates both the Pallywood narrative (Israeli Goliath vs Palestinian David) and the alas too-ordinary MSM and NGO acceptance of these narratives.

Pallywood – Mohammad Badwan
The amazing life and deeds of Mohammed Badwan – The Human Shield

Imagine a Palestinian boy who, as any other boy, liked football, playing in the yard, taunting his sisters, catching flies, running away from the boring lessons at school, etc. All was well with Mohammed Badwan until the the black magic of the Israeli military drastically changed the life of the lad. Here is his picture – during the first encounter with IDF:

The first time the name of the youngster comes up in the Palestinian chronicles is an article on the Adalah site:

    Most recently, on 15 April 2004, the Israeli military used Mohammed Badwan, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy from Biddo, West Bank as a human shield. Mohammed was taking part in a demonstration against the construction of The Wall in Biddo.

Not nice, agreed. But obviously the boy made a lasting impression on the Zionist aggressors, because a week barely passed, and he is used again – and in the same capacity (but now he is an year older). Electronic Intifada knows the details:

    According to the same sources, on 22nd April 2004, a 13 year old boy called Mohammed Said Essa Badwan/Badran was used as a human shield. Mohammed was peacefully taking part in spontaneous demonstration…
    It becomes a habit with IDF (or with young Mohammed) apparently. Or, you can say, an innocent mistake in the date – nothing special.

Why is Europe Dying Demographically? Check out this Ad

Here’s an ad that sums up all the elements of a “friction-free” self-indulgent world created by modern freedom without discipline.

Patient love, self-sacrifice, genuine affection… none of this registers. No wonder Europeans don’t reproduce much. It’s such a… bother.

Now on the other hand, the people who produce many kids don’t hesitate to smack the little creep. Neither side has the patience for the extraordinary patience it takes to raise a child in an integrity-guilt culture where the product is an autonomous individual who chooses responsible behavior rather than acts out of fear.

PS. I’m suspicious of this ad. The kid does not strike me as French (bad accent and he says “la bonbon” rather than “le” or “les”); although the father is a perfect replica of the narcissistic hippies I knew in the early 70s.

Michael Totten Covering Iran

(HT/Joel Fishman).

Iran under Fire

Studies in Honor-Shame: Reda Mansour and a Druze “Dis-”Honor Killing

In response to a previous post here on Honor-Shame culture, EG, one of our regular discussants, left the following comment about a Druze “honor-killing” and the response of the Reda Mansour, the Druze Israeli consul to Atlanta who argues a liberal position against honor killings. The article and the talkbacks (in Hebrew, translated in parts by EG) offer tremendous insight into the clash between a pre-modern mentality and a modern one, between PCP and HSJP.

EG: An interesting insight into processes that are now taking place within a “traditional Middle-Eastern” civilization in an Occidental-oriented context (Israel).

On May 23 this year, an Israeli Druze from the village of Beit Jan, working at the prison administration (hence possessing a gun), presented himself at a police station, confessing to have shot his daughter, whose body was in his car. The reason he invoked for murdering her was “family honour”. Apparently, he didn’t approve/like her boyfriend.

RL: We see here the dilemma of a “man of (family) honor” in a civil society: he knows he breaks the law; he must do so anyway. I want more detail on why he killed his daughter. “Apparently, he didn’t approve of her boyfriend” is inadequate. This brief article claims she violated “the tenets of Islam,” which is strange if the man is a Druze: he would likely not discuss religion, however he identified it.

EG: On June 1st, Reda Mansour, Israel’s consul in Atlanta, a Druze, published an opinion article titled The distance between murder and honour on Ynet (in Hebrew), arguing that “honour killings” should end.

Translated excerpts:

“The girl from Beit-Jan is her father’s victim, but her father is a victim of a traditional society which educated him that murder can get one honour. Yet there are no 2 words as distant from one another as murder and honour.[…]

You can’t get a nicer distinction between honor-shame and integrity guilt culture (or the political systems they engender) than this sentence.

These days, in all minority villages in the country, extra marital relations between men and women are common. This is why such murder cases have become exceptional, but that’s no consolation. Because the traditional society keeps accepting the link between honour and having sex, and the idea that only women should pay the price of dishonour.”

To unpack that. In honor-shame cultures alpha males get points by being sexually virile (i.e., quantity not quality), while females lose honor by not protecting their virtue. As a result, women pay the price of a promiscuous culture of sex on the part of men. (If they were easy, there’d be no honor in nailing them.) I’m interested in his report that “these days” extramarital affairs are common… is that true, or has it always been so? Are they more visible, more easily acknowledged?

Brokaw, Obama, the Israelis and the Nazis: Are there any limits to the MSM’s Moral Stupidity?

In my talks on the impact of al Durah, and how his image mainstreamed the comparison of the Israelis to the Nazis, I point to this banner in Paris:

pdlr medium
Place de la République, October 6, 2000.

And this comment by Catherine Nay (against a graphic background provided by International ANSWER.

I point out that Nay is a major news anchor, the equivalent, say, of Tom Brokaw (only she’s written books on the political process). And then, assuming I’m talking about the Europeans with their special problems with the Holocaust, I ask,

    What kind of moral idiocy can compare the symbolic power of this image — let’s say the boy was even killed by the Israelis in a gun battle — with an image that symbolizes the deliberate murder of over a million children and six million civilians?

Indeed, I’d argue that the comparison is actually an act of moral sadism — designed to deeply wound Israeli and Jewish moral self-respect.

Now Brokaw comes along to show that the French/Europeans, with their deep psychological problems, do not have a monopoly on the moral idiocy/sadism market. In an interview with President Obama at Buchenwald he asks the following question: (HT Honest Reporting)

Brokaw: What can the Israelis learn from your visit to Buchenwald? And what should they be thinking about their treatment of Palestinians?

The president’s answer shows he has a much firmer grasp on the moral universe than Brokaw. But what Brokaw’s question illustrates is how far the trope Israel=Nazis has “progressed” in the last nine years.

The Problem is the Settlements: The Lack of Palestinian Ones

President Obama has fingered the settlements as his first item of business, a strategy of dubious merit except insofar as it uses the issue as a pawn sacrifice. As for the ways the Palestinians need to “belly up to the bar,” it’s fairly vague. Israelis, of course (and, I’d argue, anyone who’s paying attention), are worried that despite the Arabs’ extraordinary ability to position themselves as the proponents of the “two-state solution,” are not at all committed to what Western PCPers assume — i.e., that they accept Israel as a Jewish state with a right to live in peace.

On the contrary, too much evidence suggests that they are committed, one way or another, to the destruction of the state of Israel, and that the “two-state solution” is just another term for the “Phased Plan” for eliminating Israel.

I’d like to propose something that can test Palestinian intentions in concrete terms that will not only reassure Israelis profoundly, but benefit the Palestinian refugees. To my mind, the greatest sign that the Palestinian Authority had no intention of pursuing Oslo as a way to achieve peace, but as a Trojan Horse, is the fact that, once they had control of significant tracts of land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they never made the slightest move to get Palestinian refugees out of the camps and into real housing. The scandal of how the Arab and Palestinian leadership have treated their refugees is the most revealing story in the long and allegedly complex conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis.

I suggest that President Obama demand, publicly, and in the same strong terms with which he addresses the Israelis, that the PA begin immediately building settlements for Palestinian refugees on the lands available to them in the West Bank, so that they can begin living decent lives. This would be an enormous boon to the Palestinian economy, it would mobilize the significant talents the Palestinians have in the building industry, and would signal to the Israelis that the “right of return” — i.e., the demand that Israel commit demographic suicide — is not lurking in the background of the “Arab Peace Plan.”

Nothing prevents the Palestinians from doing this. They would surely get a great deal of (Western) funding to do it. And it would embody President Obama’s call for Arab governments that are “by the people and for the people.”

UPDATE: Noam, from the Blog Promised Land posted the following on my suggestion:

This idea is somewhat disconnected from the reality of the West Bank, let alone Gaza: one can’t really build anything – certainly not a city for hundreds of thousands of people – without Israel’s consent, and Israel doesn’t allow the Palestinians to do any significant work outside the major cities (which are overcrowded as it is). And in Gaza, Israel doesn’t allow any sort of building material in – amongst many other things, from books to pumpkins – so that the Palestinians there can’t even rebuild the houses that were destroyed during operation Cast Lead.

But if we leave all that aside, what is Prof. Landes really asking? The way I see it, he demands from the Palestinians to give up one of their major claims before Israel has even considered to end the occupation, and just in order to prove that their heart is pure. Why should they agree? I don’t support a return of all the 48′ refugees, but I do understand the Palestinian demand to solve this issue on the negotiating table, much in the same way Israel refuses to define its borders until its security concerns are dealt with.

(Having said this, I agree that from a humanitarian point of view, the refugees problem should be solved ASAP, but we are discussing here the political implications of the issue).

As for the “demographic suicide” – well, Israelis should certainly be worried about that, but not because of the Palestinian refugees, but due to the possibility that the ideas of those who oppose the two-state solution – like Prof. Landes – will prevail, and Israelis will be left with the entire land from the sea to the Jordan river, but also with the choice between an Apartheid state and a non-Jewish one.

To which I responded with the following comment:

    Thanks for the post on my suggestion.

    Altho you do have a “humanitarian concession” clause, I find your position on Palestinian refiugees as “bargaining chips” to be fairly horrific. Should Israel have kept their 800,000 refugees from 1948 in refugee camps for the last 60 years as a counter-bargaining chip?

    The Palestinian and Arab leadership’s treatment of their refugees — the camps are really prison camps — is nothing short of scandalous. It’s index of their malevolence: the misery of their own people is a weapon aimed at destroying Israel. it shows the Palestinian people as the sacrificial victim on the altar of Arab hatred.

    So i don’t think it’s “giving up one of their major claims” to start settling the refugees, i think it’s renouncing one of their most heinous policies. It doesn’t prove their heart is pure, it just proves its not black as night, it proves they’ve stopped the revolting practice of inflicting misery on their own people in order to attack Israel and plan her destruction.

    I think if Israel were to engage in anything even remotely similar to this — say not building shelters in Sderot so they could point to children killed by gaza qassams for international sympathy — you’d be outraged. So what I suspect is going on here is an example of a fairly widespread unconscious progressive racism in which the Palestinians are not expected to behave decently even towards their own people, much less Israel. It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations: just as you don’t scold your cat for catching a mouse, you don’t scold the Palestinians for abusing their own people.

    In the final analysis, getting rid of the refugee problem is not a bargaining chip, its an anti-bargaining chip. If the Palestinians renounced the claim to return, they would bring peace much closer, by reassuring Israel they were serious about real peace.

    Finally, on the subject of the two-state solution — I’m not against the idea, I’m against it now (i’m a member of peace-when, not peace-now). Eventually, when Palestinian leadership show signs of willingness to be a civil polity rather than a rogue and malignant state, I’m all in favor. (And this is something they can start doing right away.)

    Now, “two-states” is not a “solution” but a recipe for war. Does that matter to you, in your support of the ‘two-state “solution”‘?

His response is interesting. I encourage readers here to go to his blog and respond — respectfully. I don’t think the way to argue is to call names. His response to my almost calling him names shows a good capacity for self-criticism.

Obama and the Settlements: Narcissistic Patterns?

One of the characteristics of a narcissist is that, being deeply in need of approval but not feeling they deserve it, they try endlessly to get the approval of those who don’t give it — i.e., those who see through them and need, therefore to be won over — and show contempt for those who like them because they are stupid enough to be fooled by their show and not see how worthless they are deep inside. So the classic narcissistic pattern is to suck up to enemies and dump on friends.

On the other hand, there are just people who are cowards, and suck up to people who might hurt them and dump on people they can depend on not to.

What’s going on here? Narcissism or cowardice? (HT/Steven Antler)

The Settlements Myth
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, June 5, 2009

President Obama repeatedly insists that American foreign policy be conducted with modesty and humility. Above all, there will be no more “dictating” to other countries. We should “forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions,” he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth “start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating.”

An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone — Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: “a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions.”

What’s the issue? No “natural growth” means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them — not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns — even before negotiations.

To what end? Over the past decade, the U.S. government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements — and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.

That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why expel people from their homes and turn their towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians?

Croquemichelle, the dim zionist, the meticulous and cruel barbarian!

Michelle’s self portrait

Studies in Honor-Shame: Sichar and Chramnesind in the late 6th century

Note: As part of the book I am writing provisionally subtitled: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century, I have a chapter on honor-shame culture. The following is an excerpt from it looking closely at one particularly revealing example of what went on in post-imperial Europe. -rl

NB. One commenter noted that I use the word feud loosely here. I have added the Latin term everytime the translater (O. Dalton, Penguin edition) used feud.

In order to understand the dynamics of honor-shame warrior values, there are few better passages than Gregory of Tours’ description of a feud that occurred in his own bishopric towards the end of the 6th century. I’ll present it with running comments:

[Historia francorum, VII, 47] A cruel feud [bella civilia] now arose between citizens of Tours. While Sichar, the son of one John, deceased, was celebrating the feast of Christmas in the village of Manthelan, with Austregisel and other people of the district, the local priest sent a servant [puer = lad] to invite several persons to drink wine with him at his house. When the servant came, one of the invited drew his sword and did not hesitate to strike, so that the lad fell dead upon the spot.

Note the near randomness (and anonymity) of the violence. Gregory does not even try to explain it or identify the killer. Probably the slayer was drunk; perhaps the servant was insolent; perhaps he resisted advances. His companions may well have thought his “prank” hilarious. In any case, the difference in social status meant that killing him seemed like a matter of little consequence (which, it turns out, was a mistaken/drunken assessment). Such – to us, random – violence from weapons-bearers meant that warriors dominated public space, and their unarmed social inferiors had to tread very carefully, showing all the necessary deference not to provoke their sudden wrath.

Sichar was bound by ties of friendship [amicitia] to the priest; and as soon as he heard of the servant’s murder he seized his weapons and went to the church to wait for Austregisel. He in his turn, hearing of this, took up his arms and equipment and went out against him. There was an encounter between the two parties; in the general confusion Sichar was brought safely away by some clerics, and escaped to his country estate, leaving behind in the priest’s house money and raiment, with four wounded servants. After his flight, Austregisel burst into the house, slew the servants, and carried off the gold and silver and other property.

Sichar’s ties of amicitia to the priest meant that he was/felt obligated to revenge an attack on his “friend’s” servant, and the fact that Austregisel is his foe suggests that either Austregisel killed the servant or one of his men did. Gregory does not tell us any detail of the battle, but apparently it went badly for Sichar, whose loss inspires Austregisel to bloodlust and he breaks into a priest’s house, kills his foe’s wounded servants and steels his goods. Plunder or be plundered. Losers, continue to lose.

The two parties afterwards appeared before a tribunal of citizens, who found Austregisel guilty as a homicide who had murdered the servants, and without any right or sanction seized the property.

Things having gotten out of hand, a tribunal tries to resolve the problem. They find Austregisel guilty of homicide (and presumably fine him accordingly). Since he only killed servants, whose wergeld is low, the costs were probably not serious, but the tribunal probably also ordered the return of the stolen goods, whose theft was not justified by the battle over the dead lad.

A few days after the case had been before the court, Sichar heard that the stolen effects were in the hands of Auno, his son, and his brother Eberulf. He set the tribunal at naught, and taking Audinus with him, lawlessly attacked these men by night with an armed party. The house where they were sleeping was forced open, the father, brother, and son were slain, the slaves murdered, and the movable property and herds carried off.

If the tribunal had commanded Austregisel to return what he had stolen, Sichar felt he was procrastinating. He impatiently dismisses the (impotent) tribunal, takes an ally and attacks a man of substance, at night, kills him and his family, all their servants, and plunders everything. Bloodlust and the thirst for revenge lead to deeds that Gregory considers “lawless” and, by most warrior standards, would be considered cowardly (nighttime attack). And the circle of injured parties seeking revenge widens.

Hypocrisy at the UN: I am shocked, deeply shocked.

An extraordinay reflection on the hypocrisy at work in the UN. No wonder Israel views the investigation about to commence with deep suspicion. HT/Chaim

The Warped Mirror: The UN hypocrites’ council

Posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman
Comments: 9
An investigation initiated by the UN Human Rights Council to examine allegations about war crimes committed during the recent war in Gaza will begin this week, as widely reported. In order to fully appreciate the implications of this endeavor, some other recent news reports should be taken into account. Consider this report from the London Times:

    Confidential United Nations documents…record nearly 7,000 civilian deaths in the no-fire zone up to the end of April. UN sources said that the toll then surged, with an average of 1,000 civilians killed each day until May 19…That figure concurs with the estimate made … by Father Amalraj, a Roman Catholic priest who fled the no-fire zone on May 16 and is now interned with 200,000 other survivors in Manik Farm refugee camp. It would take the final toll above 20,000. ‘Higher,’ a UN source told The Times. ‘Keep going’:

I’d call that a Naqba (not a Holocaust).

Don’t suspect for a second that the UN Human Rights Council would ignore this massacre perpetrated by Sri Lankan troops fighting the Tamil Tigers. According to a report in The Guardian,

    …the UN human rights council praised its [i.e. the Sri Lankan military's] victory over the Tamil Tigers and refused calls to investigate allegations of war crimes by both sides in the final chapter of a bloody 25-year conflict…. it supported the Sri Lankan government’s decision to provide aid groups only with ‘access as may be appropriate’ to refugee camps.”

tamil refugees
Civilians stand behind the barbed-wire perimeter fence of the Manik Farm refugee camp located on the outskirts of northern Sri Lankan town of Vavuniya Tuesday, May 26, 2009. UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon toured Sri Lanka’s largest war refugee camp, located on the outskirts of Vavuniya called Manik Farm and home to 220,000 refugees, on Saturday, pressing for wider humanitarian access to the camps which have become overcrowded since the government declared victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels in a 25-year war [AP]

Admittedly, there is nothing new about the blatant bias of the UN Human Rights Council and indeed other UN bodies. But rarely has this bias been displayed so brazenly, with so much unabashed contempt for human rights, and with such cynical implications: The UN itself believes that more than 20 000 civilians have been killed, and the UN Human Rights Council found it appropriate to “praise” this “victory.”

And no, so far none of this has dominated the front pages of the international news media in big bold letters, because much of the media seems to agree with the UN Human Rights Council: if Israel isn’t involved, it’s not that important. More than 20,000 dead civilians aren’t particularly interesting if there is no way to blame their death on the IDF.

This may strike some readers as a bit bitter and self-centered, typical Jewish solepsism. Hey, all you particularistic Jews, it’s not all about Israel, the IDF, etc.

But then, consider this:

As this stands it represents the “casualty footprint” of two conflicts over the last twenty years. Democratic Republic of Congo, in which over 5 million people have been killed, mostly civilians, and the Israeli-Arab conflict in which under 10,000 people have been killed. Reverse the names and huge circle gives you the media footprint of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the tiny circle gives you the media footprint of the Congo conflict. Add to the mix the heavy moralistic nature of the coverage of Israel — disproportionate response, war crimes, collective punishment — and you have a mix worthy of justifying the most paranoid Jew.