Friday, May 03, 2002

MORE GOOD STUFF FROM THE POST: Charles Krauthammer has another excellent column regarding the truth of Jenin, and the ramifications of the world's indifference to it. Citing a list of recent Palestinian terrorist attacks, he notes:

These are massacres -- actual, recent massacres. Massacres for which the evidence is hard. Massacres for which the perpetrators claimed credit. Where was the Security Council? Where was the Kofi Annan commission? Where was the world?
The United Nations' excuse will be that these murders were perpetrated not by states but by groups. But this is nonsense. The Palestinian Authority is a recognized government. The links of its top leadership to these murders is precisely the kind of question that warrants investigation. Yet the very idea that the United Nations would investigate Palestinian massacres is absurd.
The fact that such an undertaking is unimaginable is what has made the past several months so deeply, despairingly troubling. The despair comes from the bewilderment of living in a world of monstrous moral inversion.
...Palestinian apologists wave away this double standard with the magic mantra of "occupation."
More nonsense. Twenty-one months ago, Israel offered a total end to the occupation, ceding 100 percent of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank to the first Palestinian state ever. The Palestinians turned that down and took up the suicide bomb. By the Orwellian logic of today, the Palestinians are justified in perpetrating one massacre after another to end an occupation that Israel offered to remove almost two years ago.
For the "international community," as embodied by the United Nations, such inverted moral logic is the norm. This is what it must have been like living in the false consciousness of Soviet communism, where everyone had to publicly and constantly pretend to believe the official lies, all the while knowing they were lies. This is what it must have been like living in the 1930s, as the necessities of appeasement created a gradual inversion of right and wrong -- the Czechs, for example, pilloried by official opinion in Britain and France for selfishly standing in the way of peace at Munich.

Why can't the New York Times have any such clarity on its editorial pages?
THE POST IS SMOKIN' (BUT NOT INHALIN'): The Washington Post has a great editorial on the ghastly prospect of a Bill Clinton talk show.
IN DEFENSE OF MUDDLING: The irreplaceable Jonathan Rauch describes why muddling through the Middle East crisis is the best policy for now:
There are moments that call for emergency action and a clear and unified government policy. The terrorist attack on America was such a moment. The current crisis in the Middle East is not. In the Middle East, now is the time for muddling through, extemporizing, and sowing a certain amount of constructive confusion. Now is the time to zig and zag. Now is the time, above all, not to be panicked by doomsayers.
He also outlines the problems that would be raised by introducing American "peacekeepers" on a large scale, which most advocates of that policy ignore:

The day American and other foreign forces landed in Palestine, any militant with a dime's worth of sense would know exactly what to do: Test the peacekeepers by attacking Israel with suicide bombers, rockets, mortars, or whatever works. Something like that, recall, happened in southern Lebanon in the early 1980s, when Palestinian militants exchanged blows with Israel over the heads of a United Nations peacekeeping force. (The U.N. force, by the way, is still there and has suffered 245 fatalities to date.)
If peacekeepers allowed Israel to respond militarily to strikes from Palestine, the war would be on again, this time with hapless peacekeepers diving for cover in the middle. On the other hand, if the peacekeepers restrained the Israelis, they would effectively shield the aggressors, as foreign forces ended up doing in Bosnia.
In any case, surely the only way to hold off an Israeli response would be for the peacekeepers to promise to hunt down the bombers themselves. If they kept that promise, they would turn the Israeli-Palestinian military conflict into an American-Palestinian military conflict -- an outcome that Osama bin Laden would dearly love. More likely, they would squabble about what to do, taking halfhearted measures and creating an endless "coalition crisis." The militants would love that, too. After a while, Israel would get fed up and roll its tanks to the border, causing a diplomatic or even military showdown between Israel and the peacekeepers. By this point, the militants would be beside themselves with glee.

Robert Kagan made similar arguments in a recent article.
I think that Rauch is on to something in his dismissal of the talk of "emergency." Much of the urgency, in my opinion, exists in the minds of those in the media, on the Israeli left, in the U.N. and State Department - who were looking forward to a once-in-a-lifetime peace settlement and are instead confronted with the prospect of returning to what passed for a quotidian situation in the region, of constant-but-manageable hostility with no imminent prospects of resolution. They are panicked over the death of hope. But hope for something which does not exist is mere fantasy, which is a poor basis for policy. And it blinds the "hopeful" to the real point, which is that the event which was most likely to stop the death spiral of the region was Ariel Sharon sending Israeli troops into the West Bank.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

THEY SHOOT THE CORPSES, DON'T THEY? Apparently the Palestinians have beenstaging fake funerals in Jenin.
A BETTER WAY FOR THE U.N. TO SPEND ITS TIME: Yossi Klein Halevi outlines what the U.N. should try investigating for a change.
THOSE SIMPLISTIC, VIOLENT EUROPEANS: Yet another great piece by Mark Steyn on the contrast between American and European reactions to September 11:

Well, sure enough, the crude, xenophobic rednecks did assert themselves. But not in America — in Europe. Muslims kill thousands of Americans in America, and there’s a big anti-Muslim backlash France! Oh, and also Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal and those other provinces of the land of sophistication where explicitly Islamophobic parties are now a significant part of the political calculus. What d’you reckon Le Pen’ll get this weekend? Just his 17 per cent base? Maybe 20? And how many voters will stay home? France’s domestic intelligence agency has apparently advised the government that Le Pen will pull at least 30 per cent. That seems rather high for a chap BBC announcers, demonstrating their famous impartiality, describe as ‘virulent’. There can’t, surely, be that many French electors willing to vote for M. Le Virulent, can there? I mean, this isn’t Mississippi, is it?
For the Europhiles in the US media, the events of recent weeks are bewildering. It’s barely two months since they were reporting approvingly every snotty crack by Chris Patten and Hubert Vedrine and regretting that Washington was so out of step with Europe. But then the synagogue attacks became too frequent to ignore, and M. Le Pen whupped Jospin’s sorry ass, and frankly, if you can pick only one place to be out of step with, Europe’s an excellent choice. Like the man almost said, I do smell destabilising violence in the wings. In fear, the Continent, to my mind, has always proved mean-spirited and violent. M. Le Pen is certainly ‘mean-spirited’; the synagogue burners and kosher-butcher shooter-uppers and Jewish schoolbus stoners are certainly violent. And somehow, when Messrs Patten and Vedrine were deploring American ‘simplisme’, it never occurred to us that their idea of sophistication was a culture in which the most interesting political question is which strain of anti-Semitism — anti-Jew or anti-Arab or anti-both — is more potent.
...Almost every ‘American’ nightmare the elites warn against is, in fact, an already well-established European reality: downmarket TV, xenophobic electorates, Wild West lawlessness.
...Muslims killed thousands of Americans, but America doesn’t have anti-Muslim political parties — just a goofy President who hosts a month of Ramadan knees-ups at the White House and enjoins schoolkids to get an Islamic penpal. America has millions of Muslims, but they don’t firebomb synagogues and beat up Jews, and, if they did, the police wouldn’t turn a blind eye. Meanwhile, France has a presidential candidate who makes oven jokes, a foreign minister who believes in the international Jewish conspiracy, and a number-one bestseller which claims the plane that crashed into the Pentagon never existed. But look on the bright side: Europe may be ‘mean-spirited and violent’, but at least it’s not American.

BLACK IS NOT WHITE: James Lileks has another phenomenal piece today on, among other things, why those who compare Sharon to Hitler are saying far more about their lack of moral and intellectual capacity than about the Middle East:
Aphorism #1: Nothing is ever black and white, but if the other side says it is, then you’d better operate on that principle.
...When the citizens of Israel are told daily by their press and TV that the Arabs are subhumans who must be destroyed, then Sharon will be like Hitler. When Arabs must wear crescents on their shirts, Sharon will be Hitler. When stadiums full of Jews bay for the blood of the Arabs, and pour out in a torchlight parade to kick and beat and shave the beards of devout Muslims, Sharon will be Hitler. When the organizing principles of the Jewish state are war against neighbors, territorial conquest and the extirpation or subjugation of all non-Jewish peoples, the Sharon will be Hitler. When the mosques are burned and the minarets toppled and the babies thrown in the air and speared on bayonet point, Sharon will be Hitler.
As it stands, there is not an Arab member of the Knesset who even worries that the door to his office will have its locks changed overnight.
...What makes the Sharon = Hitler construction so unforgivable isn’t just the dilution of the true horror of Nazism. The very idea suggests that its possessor has succumbed to moral imbecility. Hitler was devoted to the destruction of the Jews. Not the subjugation of a people for a political purpose, but the destruction of an entire race. And who preaches that today? I was listening this morning to a talk show host broadcasting from Israel, and he was noting what he saw on Israeli TV, and Palestinian TV. (Did Hitler allow an all-Jewish radio station to broadcast in Berlin in the 40s? Just asking.) The Palestinian TV had an interview with a psychiatrist about what to do if your child wants to be a martyr. He was generally against the idea, but the show was interrupted by ads featuring Arafat shouting Martyrdom! Martyrdom! Martyrdom! (The anti-globo folks would prefer this to an ad for Coke, I guarantee you.)
...There was the murder of the five-year old girl by Palestinian operatives. Shot to death in her bed. Shot to death in her Mickey Mouse sheets. Shot to death by a man who could look a child in the face and rejoice in her shattered skull. I know there are some people who believe that Israeli soldiers intentionally kill children, and that killing five-year olds is Israeli state policy. Believe what you want. Just find me the Israeli paper that celebrates this action. Find me the wall poster that salutes this brave soldier. Sing me the song that glorifies this murder as an active of devotion to G-d. Then tell me this:
Who is the greater threat to this child pictured below? It’s either the nation that withdrew from the Sinai, withdrew from Lebanon, admits Islamic Movement politicians to its deliberative body and would gladly make peace with any nation not sworn to destroy it - or it’s the culture that hangs the grenade around the necks of its children.
You decide. Let us pretend, for the sake of argument, that it’s actually a case of black and white.

BRUCE BANNER WAS ALWAYS A WIMP: Via InstaPundit, Meryl Yourish sets out the "Stan Lee Solution" to the Middle East crisis, starring the Incredible Hulk. I think her proposals are more realisitc than anything floated by the State Department on the topic.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

WHY NOT TO BE AN ACADEMIC: Check out this hilarious post by Tony Woodlief about his experiences getting his Ph.D.
MY ALMA MATER SLIPPED UP IN ITS HIRING: A visiting professor at Columbia Law School makes some points which seem obvious, but I never expected to hear them expressed by a member of the faculty there:

Nothing the UN has done in recent memory justified a shift in earlier attitudes. On the contrary, in the past year the UN sponsored a vicious antiSemitic World Conference "Against" Racism in Durban that wrongly characterized the "plight of the Palestinian people" as one of racial persecution, fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and provoked irrational passions that undermined both the cause of peace and of human dignity.
...Seeking to rid itself of a serious image image problem in view of its highly selective interest in terrorism, the Security Council last fall adopted Resolution 1373. It called upon member states to report back about action they had taken to combat terrorism. Defining terrorism was omitted. Reports poured in - more than 150 by now - and those from Arab states repeatedly invoke the Arab Terrorism Convention. It says armed struggle "by whatever means . . . against foreign occupation and aggression for liberation and self-determination" is not an offense [while excluding any such action directed at Arab states]. Those reports are being considered by the council's Counter Terrorism Committee, which is making sure no posssible queries or criticism of this distinction leak out.
Not that such criticism will ever be forthcoming. Syria - one of the nations the American State Department has designated as a state sponsor of international terrorism - is on the Security Council wreaking havoc. The council is now a platform for continuous advocacy of terrorism as a strategy of this state's political interests. These interests, shared by the rest of the Organization of Islamic Conference, were sufficiently powerful at the UN to defeat in January the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism. The OIC is holding out for a license to kill Israelis.
The Security Council call for a Jenin investigation, and continuing efforts at the council to draw fire away from Palestinian terrorism, is part of familiar UN strategy. For years, the UN has been the Palestinians' personal, well-financed advocate. There are hugely disproportionate numbers of UN resolutions on Israel (19 in the 2001 General Assembly, eight in the 2002 Human Rights Commission) while allegations of human-rights violations anywhere else are routinely ignored. Nothing ever on China or Syria, for instance. There are myriad reports over decades on Israel by three UN bodies and by an entire UN division dedicated to Palestinian rights. All of this goes on while Israelis are kept on the outside as the only UN state not permitted to stand for election to the full range of UN bodies.
In the din, the UN endgame has been obvious for years. The UN has the answers: Jerusalem belongs to Yasser Arafat, as General Assembly resolutions have proclaimed. Enormous numbers of Palestinian refugees should be able to return so as to destroy the Jewish character of the state of Israel, according to the UN Durban Declaration - now metastasizing its way through the entire anti-racism program of the UN. And these "solutions" should be imposed by international intervention under UN auspices.
...In short, the UN turns the war on terrorism, and the meaning of human rights, on its head. Suicide bombing is right. Self-defense is wrong.

For a more usual reflection of how Columbia Law School responds to the war on terrorism, see these reflections from the most recent alumni magazine. While the fora took place not long after 9/11, the reactions haven't aged well.
ANOTHER NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER SPEAKS OUT: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 winner, recently compared Israel's policies towards the Palestinians to apartheid, saying that he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about."
He also blamed the "Jewish lobby:"

People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what?
The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.
Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.

Damian Penny provides an accurate rejoinder:

Think about that for a second: Archbishop Desmond Tutu compared the "Jewish lobby" to Hitler, Stalin and Idi Amin. And like many Palestinian sympathizers, he's upset about the "humiliating" checkpoints and roadblocks set up by the Israelis. Might I make the radical suggestion that the Israelis wouldn't need roadblocks if the Palestinians weren't sending so many suicide killers?
Apartheid was based on racism. Israel's security policies are based on the fact that the Israelis are surrounded by 300 million people who want to kill them. Are you incapable of telling the difference, or do you simply not care?

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY NEGOTIATION OUTSIDE ARAFAT'S COMPOUND IN RAMALLAH: This article in the San Francisco Chronicle about a Palestinian kindergarten is one of the most chilling pieces I've read in a while:

Six days a week, kindergarten teacher Samira Ali El Hassain tells her class of 30 5-year-old boys and girls what makes the world go round.
"Here is how an egg becomes a chicken," she says to a student. "Here is how to draw a circle," she tells another.
Hassain then quizzes the class about a previous, more serious lesson. "Who are the Jews?" she asks.
The children know the answer by heart: "The enemy!" they reply in unison.
"And what should we do to them?" Hassain asks in a voice that is as casual as when she discussed chickens and eggs.
"Kill them!" the children cry out.

It only gets worse.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

WHAT IS THE U.N. GOOD FOR AGAIN?David Tell describes its main pastime: investigating, passing resolutions and otherwise making a nuisance of itself towards Israel:

IN 1948, when the armies of five surrounding Arab dictatorships invaded tiny, newborn Israel--in what the secretary general of the Arab League announced was a "war of extermination" against "the Jews"--the United Nations sat on its ass. And did not send a fact-finding mission.
But, oh, how the U.N. has been making up for that oversight ever since. For more than 50 years now, the Jews have been its favorite subject.
Among the nearly 200 nations represented at the U.N., only Israel has ever been assigned special--reduced--membership privileges, its ambassadors formally barred, for 53 straight years ending only recently, from election to the Security Council. Meanwhile, and right up to the present day, that same Security Council has devoted fully a third of its energy and criticism to the policies of a single country: Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which regularly--and unreprovingly--accepts delegations from any number of homicidal tyrannies across the globe, has issued fully a quarter of its official condemnations to a single (democratic) country: Israel.
...No fewer than four separate administrative units within the U.N.--two of them directly supervised by Kofi Annan's governing secretariat--do nothing but spend millions of dollars annually on the production and worldwide distribution of propaganda questioning Israel's right to exist. The "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories," for example, "investigates" Israel's continued "practice" of "occupying" not just the territory taken in the 1967 war, but also the land within its internationally recognized, pre-1967 borders.
....Maybe the U.N. picks on Israel simply because it can. Or maybe, just maybe, there is a darker impulse at play.
...In curricular materials published by the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Education, "Objective Five" for high school history teachers reads as follows: "The student will understand why the people of the world hate the Jews." It is a question for the ages. Zionism may no longer be racism at the United Nations. But anti-Semitism is forever.
THE UGLY EUROPEANS: Charles Krauthammer scores again with his analysis of why the Europeans have reverted to their historic roles as abettors of genocide:

What is odd is not the anti-Semitism of today but its relative absence during the past half-century. That was the historical anomaly. Holocaust shame kept the demon corked for that half-century. But now the atonement is passed. The genie is out again.
This time, however, it is more sophisticated. It is not a blanket hatred of Jews. Jews can be tolerated, even accepted, but they must know their place. Jews are fine so long as they are powerless, passive and picturesque. What is intolerable is Jewish assertiveness, the Jewish refusal to accept victimhood. And nothing so embodies that as the Jewish state.
What so offends Europeans is the armed Jew, the Jew who refuses to sustain seven suicide bombings in the seven days of Passover and strikes back. That Jew has been demonized in the European press as never before since, well . . . since the '30s. The liberal Italian daily La Stampa ran a cartoon of the baby Jesus, besieged by Israeli tanks, saying, "Don't tell me they want to kill me again."
Again. And this time the Christ-killers come in tanks. Just when Europe had reconciled itself to tolerance for the passive Jew -- the Holocaust survivor who could be pitied, lionized, perhaps awarded the occasional literary prize -- along comes the Jewish state, crude and vital and above all unwilling to apologize for its own existence.
The French were the vanguard of this modern anti-Semitism that can tolerate the Jew as victim but not as historical actor. It was 35 years ago at the outbreak of the Six Day War that Charles de Gaulle cut off French support for Israel, denouncing its audacity in fighting for its life over his objections. But he did not stop there. He later went on to famously denounce the Jews as "an elite people, sure of itself and domineering."
The rejection of docility -- "sure of itself" -- was Israel's real crime 35 years ago. It remains Israel's crime today. Israel's recent three-week Operation Defensive Shield, the boldest and most justified Israeli military offensive since the Six Day War, provokes precisely the same reaction, though not always expressed with de Gaulle's candor.