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Euro-Hulk, uh, smash?

Joe Katzman, the man who inspired my Hulk blog, has tackled the subject himself, using an international flavor. The result is hilarious. Check out Winds of Change for a good laugh.

Victor Davis Hero

Another superb column from a man who should be advising the President:

We are seeing also a funny type of war. We know that the Taliban hid in mosques and hospitals. The terrorists in Palestine commandeer ambulances, booby-trap apartment buildings, and storm churches. And it is reported that Saddam has hidden his biological arsenal among private residences and in places of worship. There is a trend here aimed at incurring the requisite collateral damage at a time of war — tactics even more baffling when they are juxtaposed with loud bravado about doing this and that on the field of battle.

So inflated rhetoric at last becomes repugnant. We were told "ten thousand" were butchered in Jenin — an incursion variously called a "massacre" or even "genocide" and "a holocaust." When the body count did not reach "thousands" and the conditions of the street fighting never approximated a "genocide," there was nonetheless never a retraction of the Big Lie, never an apology for deliberate misstatements, never forthcoming supporting documentation to support such incendiary allegations. This misinformation campaign is now quite tiresome. We have gone from millions of starving children in Iraq, to the even more millions lost to famine in Afghanistan, to tens of thousands of innocents bombed by our own planes, to thousands in the last weeks butchered by Israelis with "Apaches and F-16s." When no evidence supports any of these wild numbers, the modus operandi is not to retract the initial untruths but to produce yet more lies.

Freudian slip

I watched Nightline's "Town Meeting" in Israel tonight. One of the Palestinian representatives said that there would be peace when Israel drew back to "June 1947 borders". Not 1967. 1947.

Freudian slip?


I watched exactly the types of suits Hanson discusses in the above article.

Final (I hope) bee report

The scene: Late afternoon, my kitchen. I approach the door and open it slowly, looking at the side of the door up, then down. No bee. I look to the left, where there is a slot for the doorknob latch. Uh, no, there are two, and one contains a humongous black-and-yellow striped, big, fat bumblebee. Which may very well have been a carpenter bee, which would be what it was doing inside the slot of my doorframe--looking for a new nesting space.

The action: Meryl jumps back, shouting "Ewww!" while hurriedly closing door. Door remains closed for an hour more, until the neighbors come over and 10-year-old James says, "Let me see!" [Door opens.] "Hey, it's still alive!"

The conversation:

Meryl: EWWW! Close the door! [door closes]
Brenda: Aw, poor thing. Don't let it die. [door opens]
Meryl: I'm not touching it. You want to rescue it, you do it.
James: I'm not touching it.
Brenda: Wait, let me go get something to get it out of there. [Exits] [wind blows]
Meryl: It's gone. I think the wind blew it out of there. [looks on balcony] There it is!
James: Let me see! Wow, it is still alive. It's moving. That is one strong bee. I can't believe it's still alive after a whole day!
Meryl: Get it off my balcony, please.
James: I'm not touching it!
Meryl: Here, use this! [hands piece of junk mail to James] [James attempts to sweep bee off balcony]

[bee moves]

James: Eww! [door closes]
Meryl: Never mind. Just leave it be, whatever happens, happens. If it flies off, fine. If it dies, that's fine too.

[later] [door opens]

Meryl: It's gone. Phew.



Mais oui be serious?

An in-depth interview (in Ha'aretz) of Jean-Marie Le Pen, via Reason's parody of the Corner.

Speaking of Reason's parody of The Corner, sorry, Professor--it is funny. Especially the Dingleberry posts.

NO ESCAPE FROM IT [John Dingleberry] I've enjoyed Alpha-Bits ever since I arrived in this great country. But recently, I find that no sooner have I poured the milk than my favorite breakfast treats begin forming messages in support of homosexuality.

Some of the boys of blogdom are linking to an Australian article on how our sailors wore out the whores of Perth. I won't be linking to the article. Neither am I surprised that 5,500 sailors managed to wear out the sex workers of the city. I'm going to guess that the number of hookers in Perth is in the three-digit range, tops. Duh. Stupid story. Frat-boy reaction by bloggers.

You should instead be linking to this article from the same news source: Jenin "war crimes" revealed.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat told CNN that 500 Palestinians had been killed in the fighting, although he later told The Associated Press he could not document the figure.

Human Rights Watch said its experts had found nothing to back such allegations.

"Human Rights Watch did not find evidence to support claims that the (Israeli military) massacred hundreds of Palestinians in the camp," the report said.

Fakhri Turkman, a Palestinian Legislative Council member and the head of an emergency committee set up to help camp residents, criticised Human Rights Watch and other groups who did not use the term "massacre" to describe the Israeli operation.

"Sometimes we call it a massacre when you kill one innocent person," he said.

Gee, what a surprise to hear a Palestinian official say that. Hm. Maybe I should start a Quote of the Day section. There's my first one. Look above. Readers are encouraged to send in quotes, as I've just made a whole lotta work for myself by instigating this. Make them short, please.

Hulk answer email

Reader Kevin G. came up with a good question: How would the Incredible Hulk have solved the Florida fiasco during the 2000 presidential elections? The question has to be fleshed out somewhat, of course.

The problem: The Presidential election hinges on the outcome of the vote in Florida. Palm Beach County suffers from the results of the "butterfly ballot", which Democrats claim was so difficult to follow that Pat Buchanan stole thousands of Gore votes. Vice President Gore demands a recount, but only of certain precincts. Governor Bush wants no recount at all. The highest courts in the land wind up involved, lawyers argue before the Supreme Court, and a parade of police cars escort the votes that will be recounted to a secure area.

The solution: Hulk smash police cars! Why police always chase Hulk? Hulk make papers fly in air! Then Hulk smash puny humans in funny robes. No, Hulk smash puny Gore-man! Hulk smash puny Bush-man! Hulk smash mean man who make old people cry! Hulk not say name. Too hard!

Actually, if Hulk knew only a little more about politics, I'm betting that he'd really say something like, "Hulk smash people who forget that Al Gore not carry own state in election! If Gore carry Tennessee, Florida not matter!"

By the way--I voted for Gore.

Buzzing insect update

As far as I can tell, it is dead, and I have come to the conclusion that it probably was a driller bee, and that it somehow already drilled into the balcony door. Which would explain why the buzzing was dim at first, and then got louder when I closed the door--it couldn't get out.

That being said--I'm not opening that door today. Nuh-uh. I am going to make absolutely sure it's dead, and then I'll open it. With a large amount of trepidation.

Why couldn't it be a spider? Spiders don't bother me in the least. I have a friend who freaks out over them, but she hates them so much that she gets a frightening expression of purpose on her face, grabs something to smash the spider with--no matter how big it is--and smashes it. It's impressive, actually. Hey! I'll get her over here to open the door.



Miles to go before I sleep

Jenin has its own website. Via Grasshoppa.

Bruce Hill begs for hits. Please go there, he's starting to look pitiful, and I can't marry a man who begs. Even if Buffy is his favorite show, and he's a Harlan Ellison fan.

The buzzing noise and the moving-around noise have stopped. This means either the insect is dead, or it is lying low, planning a counter-attack once I open the door. I'm thinking that balcony door isn't getting opened until the day I have to move out of here. I don't have to use the hibachi.

My brother is of the opinion that it's a driller bee, those humongous bumblebees that eat into the wood of your house to live and then cruise for gnats for sustenance. We have them around here, and it's the tail end of their spring season, and the buzzing noise was definitely loud enough for it to be one of those suckers. But I'm still not opening that door, not without a beekeeping suit. I'm picturing a very angry bee just waiting for me to free him. Nuh-uh!

Judging from the amount of hits and email I got over the Hulk smash! blog, there are a heckuva lot of comics fans who read Glenn Reynolds and Charles Johnson. Well, I know what some of you fanboys are thinking. Hey, I've been a comics fan since I was, oh, eight or so, and only stopped a few years ago because, well, comics really sucked too much and cost too much at that time. I've heard they've gotten better, but--anyway. Yeah, fanboys, I know what you're thinking. And the answer to your question is: The Hulk could always kick the Thing's ass.

Oh, that wasn't the question? Never mind. (Yeah, like I'm gonna answer that question.)

Ew! Ew! Ew!

My balcony door was open, and I heard a low buzzing sound, as of someone cutting bushes in the distance. It was constant, and it started to annoy me, so I closed the door. And the buzzing sound immediately got louder and more frantic, which made me realize that I shut the door on some kind of buzzing insect--a BIG one--and that it was probably really mad right now. So I stepped back out of the kitchen, prepared to run from a really pissed-off bee or wasp or whatever, and the buzzing noise reached a crescendo and then stopped. Phew, I thought. Maybe it got away. Or it's dead.

Only I just heard a low buzzing noise a minute or two ago, and Tig is meowing at the door begging me to open it, with his hunter look on, and, well--I'm going to go take a shower and hope that whatever it is can't get into my apartment. Then I don't intend to open the balcony door until tomorrow, by which time the buzzing thing should be dead.

I hate buzzing bugs. I should get one of my brothers to come over and open the door for me. Omigod, I can hear it moving...

Keeping up appearances

Asparagirl and Zen Flea (here's her main page) both brought up the subject of "looking" Jewish. It's an interesting and deadly serious topic today; like Zen Flea, I don't "look" Jewish, however, I always wear a Star of David. I feel naked without one. And I can never seem to keep my mouth shut, or my expression from turning to a glare, at anti-Semitic remarks.

I find myself watching people now, judging their reaction to me, for as the days get warmer, the Star grows more evident. And the weather seems extremely chancy for Jews these days--particularly those of us in states with large Muslim populations.

TIME marches back

Tal G points to this article on how TIME Magazine altered a photo caption to paint an Israeli demonstration in a bad light. It reminded me of why I let my subscription lapse a number of years ago. My grandfather was always telling me that Time had an anti-Semitic bias, and I disagreed vehemently. Until Menachem Begin was elected Prime Minister of Israel. The TIME piece was a hatchet job, but the line that made me believe my grandfather was right was in the first paragraph of the article. It introduced Begin in this way: "Menachem Begin (rhymes with Fagin)..."

Ronald Reagan was coming to national political prominence at the time. I'm a little foggy on what they wrote to help us pronounce his name, but I'm certain it wasn't "Fagin."

TIME could have written, say, "Menachem Begin (pronounced bay-gin)". Instead, they chose Fagin--the extremely negative, anti-Semitic portrayal of a Jewish thief from Dickens' Oliver Twist--to help people learn how to pronounce Begin's name. Interesting, when you consider that the film Oliver! had been released nearly ten years prior to Begin's election, and the Broadway production, of course, came before the film, and had been dead for years. And I may be wrong--there is that possibility--but I don't think Oliver Twist was on the bestseller lists at the time.

I never renewed my subscription.

Mark Steyn marches on Eurofascists.

The Stan Lee Solution

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that from time to time, I've been taking the Hulk perspective on various problems, specifically the Middle East. Well, when you take a hard look at things, I've realized that there is no problem so complex that you can't apply the Hulk perspective to it. Let's give it a try:

The problem: The standoff at the Church of the Nativity. Palestinians refuse to come out unless allowed to go to Gaza or stay in the West Bank, no Israeli arrests allowed. Israelis want to arrest or exile to a foreign country known terrorist leaders; the rest may go free.

The solution: Hulk smash Church wall! Hulk smash puny humans with guns! Hulk not smash puny humans without guns! Hulk take puny humans out of Church! (Editor's Note: If the IDF doesn't pull back while this happens, Hulk will smash them as well. He never was much good at differentiating between groups of men with guns.)

The problem: Anti-Semitism is rampant throughout France. Synagogues have been burned down, Jewish children attacked, bombs placed in cemeteries. Jean-Marie Le Pen is now a viable candidate for the presidency of France, and French Jews fear for their safety.

The solution: Hulk smash puny Frenchmen! Hulk smash man with woman's name! (Why man have woman's name?)

The problem: The United Nations would like to send a "fact-finding mission" to Jenin to determine whether or not "massacres" occurred. The Israelis refuse to allow a committee of people already known to be hostile to Israel into Jenin, and also refuse to allow the committee to interview their soldiers. Kofi Annan wants to disband the committee rather than make any changes suggested by the Israeli Cabinet.

The solution: Hulk smash puny humans! Hulk smash puny UN! Hulk smash Kofi-man! Hulk smash! Wait--didn't Hulk smash UN before? It near river, right? Uh-oh.

The problem: The world media is extremely biased against Israel, choosing to yammer about massacres without evidence while subsequently ignoring the evidence that there was no massacre. People like Robert Fisk make up facts on a regular basis, while Oxford poets discuss their desires to see "Brooklyn-born Jews" shot. American newspapers ignore major pro-Israel rallies and put on the front page pro-Palestinian rallies, even if only sparsely attended.

The solution: Hulk smash puny newspaper men! Hulk smash puny editors! Hulk hate Daily Bugle! Daily Bugle mean to Hulk! Hulk SMASH!

The problem: Pedophilia is rampant throughout the American Catholic Church. It has seemingly reached epidemic proportions, finally forcing the Church to admit there is a problem and take action to remove the priests responsible. (Editor's note: Okay, it's not the Middle East, but it's hot right now. Shut up.)

The solution: Hulk smash puny men in funny clothes! Hulk smash!

The problem: Yassir Arafat refuses to keep his word, won't clamp down on terrorist activity, indeed, has been traced to payments to suicide bombers, the importation of 50 tons of weapons on the Karinne A, including C-4 to build more terror bombs, and has not even tried to negotiate in good faith to end the conflict in Israel.

The solution: Hulk smash ugly man in head-scarf! Hulk smash! And--phew--ugly man need bath! He smell worse than Hulk!

The problem: Saudi Arabia fears for its image. Fifteen of the nineteen suicide bombers came from Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian, Saudia Arabia is the largest financier of militant Islam in the world. They've hired an American ad agency to improve their image in the United States.

The solution: Hulk smash Saudi Arabia! Hulk smash bad men!

And there you have it. The Stan Lee Solution, starring The Incredible Hulk. If you think my theory doesn't work, then email me the most complicated problems you can think of, and I will attempt to find the Hulk's answer to any problem that comes my way.

Don't tell me there aren't any good liberals

This is why I love Aaron Sorkin. Sometimes, when he crosses fact with fiction it stinks. Other times, you get this:

Last night's West Wing: C.J. Cregg is asked for her opinion on the Saudi religious police who forced teenaged girls back into a burning school because they weren't dressed correctly to come out in public, causing the loss of 17 lives:

Outraged? I'm barely surprised. This is a country where women aren't allowed to drive a car. They're not allowed to be in the company of any man other than a close relative. They're required to adhere to a dress code that would make a Maryknoll nun look like Malibu Barbie. They beheaded 121 people last year for robbery, rape, and drug trafficking. They have no free press, no elected government, no political parties, and the royal family allows the religious police to travel in groups of six, carrying nightsticks, and they freely and publicly beat women. But Brutus is an honorable man.

Seventeen schoolgirls were forced to burn alive because they weren't wearing the proper clothing. Am I outraged? No, Steve, no Chris, no Mark. That is Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace.

And the reason Allison Janney won the Emmy is evident in her scathing delivery. Whoo. Nearly burned out my television set.



Have a look

Very funny read, via Dr. Frank: the Norwegian Blogger does a MST3K take on that insane Egyptian shrink's remarks about the President's intelligence. See, this is why blogging is more fun than print journalism. I can't see the Times printing an article like this one.

The Palestinians change their tune: The "massacre" at Jenin is now a "victory" against the IDF, via Damian Penny.

The propaganda war continues, meanwhile, in the refugee camp itself. Families whose homes had been destroyed were ordered to sit and lie inside tents pitched near the destruction, to be available for interviews and filming with foreign reporters and photographers. At dusk, with the press opportunities concluded, they returned to houses offered to them in the undamaged city or in the rest of the refugee camp.
Other young men, members of various factions, have been on duty in the camp's narrow streets, eager to conduct foreign correspondents to places where they say Israelis killed militants after they surrendered or had been captured.

Yeah, I saw the same kid staring soulfully out of a hole in the wall of a house on both ABC and NBC news last night. They positioned him strategically on the rubble in various places. He was extremely photogenic. No, the news isn't biased. Nuh-uh. That's why you don't read this in the Times:

Others in the city say the resistance to the Israeli incursion had been carried out by only about 10 percent of the militants who had originally been in the area. Most had retreated into the hills or into city back streets as the Israelis entered the area, they said.
Families living in houses directly opposite the destroyed area have told The Washington Times that Israeli soldiers, who temporarily occupied their houses just before the final battle began, treated them without violence and assured them: "You will not be harmed."

The Times reports that the Vatican will be sending a Cardinal to help end the siege of the Church of the Nativity. Hope there aren't any boys inside.

Okay, that was low. But let me say something serious: Why is it that no one anywhere is asking a question that's been bothering me for weeks? Why is everyone assuming that only the American Catholic Church is full of pedophile priests? Since when is pedophilia an American-only sickness? Look to the rest of the world, John Paul. My guess is pedophilia is rampant.

While we wait

While I'm waiting on the Left Coast to wake up and give me permission to post a deeply moving speech by a Rabbi a couple of weeks ago, we can fall back on an old standby--the search engines!

I am deeply proud to say that John Edward Fraud has won the Search Engine Most Common Search Competition for the nth month running--he wins consistently. Coming in second this month was Meredith Viera, of whom some searchers wanted to know about her feet, and not just you-know-what pics. Miss Cleo, alas, has fallen from the public eye and moved far down the search phrases ladder.

A couple of new search engines popped up, one of which is Direct Hit. Alas, it wasn't--the user wanted "muslims New Jersey". Boy, s/he must have been really disappointed to find all this Jewish stuff, huh?

My nods to popular culture still get a fair amount of searches, particularly things like "Love of Chair" and the Chicken Fat song. Which reminds me: Reader Bob W. has found the song online. Now that's dedication, and future searchers will thank you for it. I'll do that now. Thanks Bob--maybe I'll use it for my exercise routines again. (This is where the ascii grin would go if I ever put them in these blogs.)

As of 11:30 this morning, I've gotten quite a few searches. "Dare I eat a peach"--I so love literary searches. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Like every other budding author, I used that line in a short story. Ah, the follies of youth. Hey, it was a good story, too. Someday I might actually put up a few. Someday.

There are a few very funny ones today. "john edward bite me" had me laughing out loud, as did "identifty xxx xxx xxx xxx-xxx-xx from waycrosse, georgia and bring out all hidden files everywhere on him also--from the most current future back to the past". I x'd out the name and pseudo SSN (it's missing two digits). I suspect the searcher didn't really think that s/he was going to get results from that, but it did make me laugh.

I love the search engines. Google has sent me thousands of visitors, and I'm of the opinion that I've kept a significant portion of them. I doubt I'm keeping those that look for "pictures of nekkid fireman" (misspelled deliberately), but I can see from my referrers section that someone was looking for "view from Eagle Rock reservation", read that page, and there was a referrer from that page to elsewhere in Search engines (and Adil Farooq) are how I've gained most of my Middle East readers. And as I am only about two-thirds toward my current goal of kicking Wil Wheaton's ass (in hits and visitors per month), I'll take what I can get.

You folks--my readers--are the reason I'm doing this. I can write in a vacuum, but it's nowhere near as fun as writing for people who are actually reading my words. And if it hadn't been for the search engines, Bob would never have sent me the URL for the Chicken Fat mp3. Like Stephen Green is fond of saying--that's what makes America so great. (And slim and trim!)




Reader Doug L. points me to a long, thoughtful article on French anti-Semitism entitled Liberte, Egalite, Judeophobie in The Weekly Standard. It is so good it's difficult to excerpt. I'll just stop after a few graphs--yes, it's long, but well worth the read.

The outbreak began in September 2000, in the days after Palestinians launched the "second intifada" against Israel. The first attacks included firebombings of synagogues in Paris, Villepinte, Creil, Lyons, Ulis (badly damaged), and Trappes (burned to the ground), and other Jewish buildings (high schools, kosher restaurants) throughout France; desecrations of synagogues and cemeteries; widespread stonings of Jews leaving Sabbath worship, death threats, bomb threats, and Nazi and Islamist graffiti of every description: swastikas, "Hitler was right," "F-- Your Mother, Jews" (Nique ta mere les juifs--a slogan so commonplace that it now appears more usually as NTM les juifs), "Death to the Jews," and "In Paris as in Gaza--Intifada!"

Such slogans, particularly the last, now get chanted routinely at pro-Palestinian rallies in Paris and elsewhere. (As do hymns to Osama bin Laden, according to reports of last October's pro-Palestinian march in Paris.) Anti-Jewish violence has indeed tracked the progress of the intifada, rising during violent periods in the Middle East and falling during truces. There was also a spike after September 11; on the following Sabbath alone, worshippers were stoned at synagogues in Clichy, Garges-les-Gonesse, and Massy; gangs sought to storm a synagogue in Villepinte; and shots were fired outside a Jewish association in Paris. But if it has slowed at times, the cascade of such incidents has never stopped, even for a week, in the last 19 months. At the turn of this year, the League of French Jewish Students and the watchdog agency SOS Racism compiled a list of 406 such incidents.

After Israel's attack on terrorist camps in Jenin and elsewhere, the violence exploded to unheard-of proportions. Over Passover weekend last month, a bomb was found in a cemetery in Schiltigheim, outside Strasbourg, and three synagogues were burned. The authorities seemed to be waking up. While it took 12 days for any national official to even comment on the October 2000 attacks, this time the Ministry of the Interior issued a report showing 395 anti-Jewish incidents in the first half of April alone. Almost two-thirds of these involved graffiti, but the others were more serious, including 16 physical assaults and 14 more firebombings. The Wiesenthal Center circulated an advisory urging Jewish travelers to France to exercise "extreme caution."

It was thus alarming to see Bove, after a pro forma denunciation of anti-Jewish violence, informing viewers of the TV channel Canal Plus that the attacks on French synagogues were being either arranged or fabricated by Mossad. "Who profits from the crime?" Bove asked. "The Israeli government and its secret services have an interest in creating a certain psychosis, in making believe that there is a climate of anti-Semitism in France, in order to distract attention from what they are doing."

Since Bove didn't actually say Jews weren't killed in the Holocaust, it may seem excessive to some readers that B'nai B'rith accused him of negationnisme, or Holocaust denial. But B'nai B'rith is right. They have simply thought about the roots of Holocaust denial a bit more thoroughly than others. For anyone who inhabits Western culture, the Holocaust made that culture a much more painful place to inhabit--and for any reasonably moral person, greatly narrowed the range of acceptable political behavior. To be human is to wish it had never happened. (Those who deny that it did may be those who can't bear to admit that it happened.) But it did. If there's a will-to-anti-Semitism in Western culture--as there probably is--then the Arab style of Judeophobia, which is an anti-Semitism without the West's complexes, offers a real redemptive project to those Westerners who are willing to embrace it. It can liberate guilty, decadent Europeans from a horrible moral albatross. What an antidepressant! Saying there was no such thing as the gas chambers is, of course, not respectable. But the same purpose can be served using what Leo Strauss called the reductio ad Hitlerum to cast the Jews as having committed crimes identical to the Nazis'. They must be identical, of course, so the work of self-delusion can be accomplished. We did one, the Jews did one. Now we're even-steven.

I'm looking for this one at the newsstand as well. This is a phenomenal essay. Perhaps we should mail it to the French politicians.

We'll be right back after these important messages

Well, not really, but it's one of those days. I had a choice between eating breakfast before going to my appointment this morning, or writing in the weblog.

I ate breakfast.

Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometime you don't.

Meryl is feeling one of those third-person moods coming upon her again (which is why she used the word "upon" instead of plain old "on"). Meryl went to the library on her way home today, and has a double armload of history books, specifically Middle East and Jewish history, as well as the DVD of Dr. Strangelove (because, after all, she's an odd one). Watch for many debunkings of myths and lies to come as soon as she can wade through the material. And possibly quotes from the movie.


Whew. I'm better now.

Marketing doesn't work on me. Nope. Nuh-uh. Just because I watched Third Watch last night and just because they had another song at the end of the show which made me remember the song at the end of the show a few weeks ago, which I heard and immediately said, "Who? WHO sings that song?!" and swore to track it down, doesn't mean that I did. At least, not right away.

I waited until last night, when I discovered that Jimmy Eat World wrote the song on the Third Watch episode I was thinking of, and that I'm now up to two songs by them, which means if I hear one more Jimmy Eat World song that I like, I'm buying their new CD.

Nope. Marketing doesn't work on me at all. Nuh-uh.




I am just a worthless liar.
Since I first started bringing my Jewishness to the forefront on this blog, I have received emails from people who just don't get why I think they're anti-Semitic. They send me the ravings of neo-Nazi David Duke and don't understand why I can't just see what he's talking about, just think about it for just a bit; I'll see the logic in it. Lyndon LaRouche is not an anti-Semite, he's telling the truth, if I would just read and understand, I will agree. Look, here's proof of the international Jewish conspiracy; how can I not give up and admit that my fellow Jews are evil? Well, not all of them, just the ones in the conspiracy; the obvious subtext being that if I will only confess to the conspiracy, I will become one of the "good" Jews and my salvation is sure. Why I am supposed to believe them and not my own experience and research is never satisfactorily explained; I can only surmise that it is because I am blinded by my heritage.

I am just an imbecile.
What all these arguments have in common, however, is their need for validation from me--a Jew. It is somewhere between comical and pitiful; it is the verbal equivalent of theater's two-sided mask of comedy and tragedy. But laced within the pleas are the traps: The straw man that is to be burned the moment I accept the bait. Here are the samples, in my own words: If The Jews Didn't Run The World There Would Be No War In The Middle East (or Anywhere Else), Contrast and Compare. The Jews Are Overusing Holocaust Imagery Especially In The Current Situation, True or False. Israel Must Be A Light Unto The Nations; You Said So And We're Holding You To It, Explain. (Corollary: Jews Must Be The Most Moral People On Earth But Muslims (Oppressed or Not) Don't Have To Follow Rules Of Civilized Behavior At All, Summarize.) And the last, most vicious of all the anti-Semitic lies thrown my way to date: The Jews Are Bringing This All On Themselves, In 1500 Words or Less, sans the usual flamboyant Yourish dash and verve. (That last is verbatim from a recent email.)

I will only complicate you.
The global conspiracy of Jews we will just laugh about and move on.

Trust in me and fall as well.
The complaint of overuse of Holocaust terms is a much larger issue than it appears. Translated, it means: "Look, we already gave you a country, Germany paid reparations, there are Holocaust museums everywhere, can we just shut up and move on now? Goddam whiny Jews, always complaining the world is out to get them. Shut up already, willya? Take it in silence, like you did in the good old days."

I will find a center in you.
And yet--the ones who cry the loudest about Jews overusing the Holocaust imagery have no trouble at all expropriating words like "pogrom," which are traditionally used to describe attacks--often massacres--against Jews, generally with the complicity of the local government. The expropriation is insidious. It's quiet. It's stealth anti-Semitism. It is the death of a thousand cuts as, drop by drop, the blood is leeched from the victim. Expropriate enough of the terminology, and the world will only yawn the next time Jews are murdered in great numbers, as they will have been transformed from victim to monster. It has happened already, in Israel, as bomb and bullet tore to pieces hundreds of Jews sitting in cafes, celebrating Bat Mitzvahs, riding trains and buses, having Passover dinner. These deaths are regrettable, the world proclaims, but Israel must "show restraint" and not fight back. And when she does strike out in self-defense, the world rises en masse and proclaims that the Palestinians are suffering Israeli "pogroms". The Star of David "evolves" into a swastika in pro-Palestinian posters at "peace" rallies in the Washington Mall. The Arab press draws swastikas on every Jewish political figure, almost on a daily basis. And the language of the Holocaust, bit by bit, is stolen from the victims.

I will chew it up and leave.
The most vile aspect of the complainers is their attempt to minimize the Holocaust--because that is what they are doing by insisting Jews talk about it too much. And why should Jews talk about it, hm? It's not like I grew up on the block next to the Fried sisters, three women with numbers tattooed on their arms that you could see only in the warm weather, as they sat out on their front porches in their short-sleeved housedresses in the evenings. You could look, but not mention, because they were so traumatized by their experience in the concentration camps that they never spoke to anyone--not even their children--about it. Nor should we talk about Grandma Shirley escaping from the horrors of Poland in the 1930s. We absolutely should not mention that some who died in the Netanya Massacre were survivors of the death camps--because we talk too much about the Holocaust. It's not like there are living Holocaust survivors, and children of Holocaust survivors in our families, after all. Why should we mention a part of recent history? It's like thosed damned WWII vets--why can't they just shut up about the war, it ended more than fifty years ago, we're pals with Germany and Japan now, and the French--okay, well they still hate us and they're still persecuting Jews, but hey, they're French. They eat Ortolans. But we're tired of hearing how great that generation was; it makes us feel inferior, so stop making movies like Saving Private Ryan, willya? Spielberg? Yeah, he's part of that goddam Jewish Hollywood conspiracy, anyway. He's in on it. Oh, and that Holocaust thing--how long do we have to feel guilty about it, anyway? Shut up. Shut up. SHUT UP!

I will work to elevate you
And Israel will be "a light unto the nations" (Isaiah 42:6 ). There is a widespread belief in the world that Israel must be the most moral of nations. The belief isn't even an unspoken one; over and over again columnists and pundits and ordinary citizens go on and on about how Israel must be better than the Arab dictatorships that strive for her elimination; she must not resort to the brutal tactics of her enemies; she must use kid gloves no matter how horrendously her enemies wage war against her. It even warps her ability for self-defense. Terrorists wrap themselves in rusty nails, jagged pieces of metal, and rat poison in an attempt to maim and kill as many as possible? It's an acceptable tactic of oppressed people, now validated by a UN Human Rights Commission statement--to use "all available means" to fight oppression. Yet Israel must try to disarm 14-year-old boys carrying pipe bombs, rather than shoot them because, after all--she's better than that. Israel puts her soldiers at risk rather than Palestinian civilians, even though the "civilians" in Jenin helped orchestrate the trap that slaughtered 13 Israel soldiers. Because she's better than they, you see, and yet the world seems to think the deaths of Jews are somehow less important than the deaths of those who are trying to kill them. Actually, that's rather an old principle, one that Jews are used to hearing. We now have an answer to the dilemma; let's move on.

just enough to bring you down.
The Jews are bringing it on themselves. It's our fault, you see. If only we weren't so--well, Jewish--people wouldn't want to murder us for being--Jews. No, wait, wait--it's the persecution complex, don't you see? It's a self-fulfilling prophecy! Jews are afraid they're being persecuted, and so they are persecuted, thus causing their own persecution! Why, it's brilliant! This completely absolves the world of any blame at all for its actions against the Jews! It answers the question as to why Jews have been persecuted over the centuries, by every people extant with the exception of Native Americans and Australian aborigines and the Fiji Islanders. It's because we were expecting it to happen, and so it happened! Puzzle solved, there's no other explanation for centuries of persecution, this'll do, let's have a drink, shall we?

Trust me. --maynard james keenan
Right. We're done here. The email has been answered.


A beautiful view of what happens next

From a reader's letter, via Justin Weitz--Yossi Klein Halevi has a vision of what will happen on the day after the war:

On the day after the war, we will make peace with ourselves — not instead of peace with the Middle East but as a precondition to it. We will try to determine a common negotiating strategy with our Arab neighbors, and those on the left and the right who have higher priorities than national consensus will find themselves irrelevant.

On the day after the war, or perhaps the day after that, we will turn to the Middle East and try again.
Finally, we will turn to the Arab nations and — without illusions or apologies — offer fair compromise, without surrender. We will acknowledge that we wronged the Palestinians, but we will demand a reciprocal acknowledgment that the Arab world has wronged us, too — turning our homecoming into another form of exile and evoking our hardest face through their self-righteous intransigence.

May his vision be a true one.

Worth reading

An excellent piece on the current thinking of the American Jewish community from the L.A. Times. Perhaps they're trying to make up for their perceived anti-Israel bias?

Also, from the Washington Post, a series called "7 Ways to Think". I can't find a single-page link, so here are the seven articles. The Halevi piece is being linked to by many, but there are six other excellent articles with suggestions for an end to the strife. Let's not overlook any, whether or not you agree with them (and I disagree with several, particularly the one about resettling refugees). But they're all interesting, and worth a look.

_____7 Ways to Think_____

• Israel should enlist JORDAN in the cause.
• South Africa offers a way to address GRIEVANCES
• Foreign OBSERVERS would foster civility.
• A way home for Palestinian REFUGEES
• Enlist the MEDIA to build trust.
• Dismantle a SETTLEMENT to gain security.
INTERVENE when mediation fails.

Proof of Lies

One of the biggest lies of Jenin is that the Israeli soldiers refused to allow ambulances to get the wounded out. This is untrue; Israeli forces allowed ambulances in and out upon the condition that they were searched for explosives and smuggled terrorists; most ambulance drivers refused to allow the searches.

Meryl K. Evans sent me a video of one such ambulance search (not in Jenin, however) that yielded an unexpected bonus: An explosives belt of the kind that was used in the Netanya Passover Massacre. This is why the IDF refuses unfettered access by Red Crescent ambulances. And a note: Using medical vehicles for such purposes is against the Geneva Convention, and thus a war crime. I don't expect the UN Commission on Human Rights to call for an investigation, however. Do you?



Armageddon was on last night, and I was remembering how silly it was, and wondering exactly how inaccurate it was as well. Then I found myself trying to remember the name of that website that deconstructs all of the silly asteroid movies and their mistakes, as well as the conspiracy theory loonies who contend that there was no moon landing. And what do I find over at TNR's Corner but Junk Science, the site I was looking for. Er, except it wasn't. The site I wanted is Bad Astronomy. Hey--Phil Plait quotes Mark Twain on the home page; this man knows his stuff! In fact, I'm adding it to my links page. His movie list includes Austin Powers. Austin Powers? Well, they featured the moon in "The Spy Who Shagged Me." Fair game. He also takes on Star Trek Enterprise and the Phantom Menace. And the science in Armageddon? Well. He calls the page "Armpitageddon".

Here's the short version: "Armageddon" got some astronomy right. For example, there is an asteroid in the movie, and asteroids do indeed exist.

Heh. My kinda reviewer. And he liked Deep Impact, as did I. Well, except for Tea Leoni having to surf the tidal wave in the end, but hey--you can't have everything. Check out the site, it's a nice change of pace.

There is something to be said for those studies about pets reducing your blood pressure. Gracie has taken to lying on the kitchen chair next to me while I work on my computer, and from time to time, I reach over to pet her, and she closes her eyes and thrusts out her chin for the under-the-chin scratch, her second-favorite (the ears are first). And while that's going on, Tig generally meows for equal time, and flops on the floor to expose his belly for a rub, purring quite loudly and closing his eyes in contentment, showing off the fur that's growing in quite nicely since his trip to the vet. It's a nice break.

Last week's blogs are archived. If you're looking for the Human Rights commission documents, or the Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts, click on the links. Iseema bin Laden's diary is also a good bet if you've never been here before.