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So the TV repairman came here and fixed my television set, and I have to just shake my head at the idiotic notion I had of perhaps getting the part and fixing it myself. I really have to get my head out of the 1970s. Vaccuum tubes and transistors aren't exactly the guts of television sets anymore. It looked more like the inside of a computer than the inside of a television.

Anyway, turns out the repairman is a Jew from Azerbaijan, and we talked a little bit about that, and the war in Iraq, and technology. Interesting to see that he thinks we are utterly wasting our time in Iraq. He thinks we wasted our time in Bosnia, too.

And he thinks that Tig is too fat.

But I have my TV back. And it didn't cost too much. Big sigh of relief here.



Wizbang's Weblog awards

I haven't yet gotten to writing down why I don't hold much by most awards. So should I feel guilty that I'm neck-and-neck with Megan McArdle in the early voting for Best Female Authored Blog?

There's also quite a contest for best overall, with LGF currently leading Instapundit, but Glenn coming on strong (like we couldn't have predicted that). Kottke's showing a firm third. But I'm still going to call this one for Instapundit.

Allah is running away with the Best New Blog category. Well, sorry, he's just not that good. Go vote for someone else, please. Electric Venom, Ilyka, Outside the Beltway, Allison, Blackfive—all are far superior to a parody blog that stopped being funny months ago. I'm voting Healing Iraq for best Foreign blog. Give someone else a chance to win the new blogs category.

My money is on Scrappleface beating Allah for the Best Humor Blog. Scott Ott is one of the top three funniest guys in the blogosphere (the other two being Lair Simon and Frank J). Nobody else really stands a chance in this category.

There's a real horse race at Best Liberal Blog. But I think Atrios will pull out of the pack and win. It's all in the numbers, folks. The blogs with the most readers and/or name recognition are going to win. Sullivan will take Best Conservative Blog. I can't make any predictions for the Ecosystem categories, because most aren't up yet.

Well. I don't hold by them, no. But I'm fascinated to see how the awards will play out.

What's an addict to do?

My television chose this afternoon to go on the fritz. I discovered this fact at five minutes past six, which is five minutes later than all the repair shops are open. Found one that will come to my house and fix it, for about $125-$145. I can pick up a brand new RCA 13" model for $75 at Best Buy, and believe me, it's tempting. The tube didn't blow. Something called the vertical framistat control broke, the guy said. When I turn off the TV, there's a bright horizontal line flash, then it's off. It makes me want to buy the part and open the TV myself, because I'll bet I could fix it if I knew where it was.

Any TV repairmen out there who read my blog? What should I do?

The only thing I can say is that withdrawal is going to kick in soon. I have unwatched soap operas on tape. I wanted to watch The Two Towers extended edition tonight. Razzafrazzarazzafrazza.


Tolkien Blogburst: The Return of the King

A bit more than a year ago, I ran a Tolkien Blogburst in honor of J.R.R. Tolkien's eleventy-first birthday. This time around, Mac Thomason suggested that I have one in honor of the release of the last of the LOTR trilogy. And so, I'm issuing a call for Tolkien posts.

Last time around, anyone who sent me a post could get in on it. This time around, I'm screening the posts. You can thank Sean Kirby for that, whose post was not exactly the sort I would normally link to. That's right, Sean, if you want in this year, you're going to have to clean up your act.

So here are the ground rules:

1.) Write your post. Deadline is Sunday, December 14th, 7 p.m. EST. The film opens December 17th, but as I expect to be extremely busy on Trilogy Tuesday (yes, all three films in a row, starting at 2 p.m.), the Blogburst will go up on Monday. I will be reading all of the posts and summarizing them, so if you send me your post in advance, it will be helpful. The earlier you send them, the more likely the description will be more than a line or two. Clickthrough habits of my readers tend to be that they click on something I describe in detail.

2.) Email me. Make sure the header reads "Tolkien Blogburst", as I've created a folder and filter rule for it. URLs are due no later than Sunday, December 14th, 7 p.m. EST. I'll send out an email to all participants with the URL for the post, or you can pick it up now (that's the beauty of hand-coding your own HTML):The URL for the Tolkien Blogburst post will be

3.) Spread the word. After The Return of the King is released, there will likely be no more Tolkien films. Ever. It's a once in a lifetime experience for Tolkien fans. The Blogburst will let us make it last just a little bit longer.

New blogs, old blogs

Checking out Anna at Primal Purge got me to check out Mr. Green, who sent me over to Blackfive, which made me realize it was time to send you folks over to some bloggers that are extremely funny, or insightful, or just plain good to read.

Mr. Green has a hilarious post on p.e.n.i.s e.n.l.a.r.g.e.m.e.n.t, which then sent me over to Angelweave, and in answer to this question, I have to say, "Damn glad I quit five years, seven months, and two days ago."

So everyone's been linking to this guy Blackfive, and I can see why. He gets emails from soldiers who were at the surprise Thanksgiving Day presidential visit. All I got was a rock. (Say, Blackfive, did you know your page isn't working right in IE 5.x? Perfect in Mozilla 1.5, but the leading in the titles is off (they're overprinting), and the left and right columns overprint the top and obscure the quote.) Plus, it's a pretty good blog, overall.

Jay found a Miss Ugly contest. Yes, really. Sad.

Yeah, I'm getting a very slow start to the day. Can't decide if I'm coming down with something, or just stressed out.



Signs of hope

First, the oddest headline I've read in some time:

Palestinian woman beaten for refusing to explode

And the story:

A Palestinian woman arrived at the Tarkomiya checkpoint and complained to soldiers that she had been beaten by 4 Hamas terrorists for refusing to serve as a suicide bomber.

The terrorists then escaped in the direction of Kiryat Gat. Southern command police are presently searching for the perpetrators.

If it's true, good for you! And from another article:

A 43 year old Palestinian alerted a Judea and Samaria police patrol to a bomb that had been stashed in a bag and placed near the main road between Hawara and the Tapuah junction in the West Bank.

The Palestinian stopped the patrol and told soldiers, "there is a problem; please follow me."

He led the police to the bag, which contained the bomb. The policeman who noticed wires protruding from the bag immediately closed the area to traffic and alerted additional forces.

Troops evacuated Palestinians working in a local stone factory.

Good for him, too. If only this kind of sentiment caught on, there would be peace in the Middle East.

Time for a timeout

Too many nasty, horrible things going on in the world. It's time to write about other things, like, oh, cats, and kids, and hairdressers.

So I got my hair done while I was in NJ, because since I was there, and Rocco was available, and he's been my hairdresser for like, I dunno, a decade or so, and I am unwilling to find someone new here in Richmond, since I make frequent trips back north. Yeah, I know, someday I should, and someday I will. Anyway. He added a few different layers this time, and while I like what he's done, I am astonished in the morning at what my hair has done while I sleep. It migrates down (I generally sleep on my back), so that when I first see myself in the morning, it's like someone stuck my head in a wind tunnel. Throughout the day, my bangs have stray locks that like to stand straight up, just because they can. I may not let Rocco give me layers next time around.

There was evidence of extreme catfighting when I got home. What gave it away was the long slash on Tig's right ear. I found more evidence in the bathroom. There were some huge clumps of white fur. Tig has no white fur patches, but Gracie has tons of white fur. Looks like she gave as good as she got. Better, because I didn't see any scratches on her. She was sitting in the living room window when I pulled up, and did a cartoon-like BOING!! when she realized that it was me. If only I'd had my camera ready. Come to think of it, Tig was sulking in the window as I was leaving. Nice little bookends, there.

Last night, watching Heidi check Sorena's homework, I think I realized something about cognitive functions. My students in religious school drive me crazy when we read, because they'll read a word perfectly correctly, then the next word on the line will begin with the same letter, and they jump to an assumption of what the word might be, rather than reading what it is. Sorena did the same thing with her math problems, jumping to the wrong conclusion half the time. So then I thought, hey, that's probably what everybody does. It's sort of like a computer trying to match up problems and solutions—it searches through possible answers until it finds a match. So my kids aren't deliberately trying to drive me crazy. I've simply forgotten that I do it, too, because the older you get, the more choices you have for the right answer, through the sheer virtue of knowing more now than you did at age ten. I think I read something recently that says we don't really read all of the words in a sentence, and that we don't even read all of the letters. Our brains get the meaning with only partial information.

However, that didn't stop me from telling Sorena that she needed to stop jumping to what she thought was the answer, and work out the mathematics and get the right answer.

Okay, so I have a nephew, and he's 13 years old. I'm a Tolkien fan. He's a Tolkien fan. I like Linkin Park and P.O.D. He likes Linkin Park and P.O.D. We like the X-Men, and the Simpsons, and various other comic book movies, heroes, etc. So here's my question: Should I be worried that I like many of the things that my nephew likes? I mean, I'm not about to stop liking new music or comic books or great fantasy novels, but should I be the least bit worried that I have a lot more in common with a 13-year-old boy than I do with many people my own age?

Naaaah. Come to think of it, kids have more fun.

Speaking of cats, this is the sight I was greeted by one morning about two weeks ago. He really doesn't fit into the sink. Gracie does. But Tig's a big fat copycat.

Tig in the bathroom sink

Lies, damned lies, and Arafat's lips are moving

Via Charles, this quote from the King of Lies:

"Ask them (the Israelis). Did they face any military activities from our side in the last two months? ... We are ready, but we hope that the other side will be ready also."

Any military activities from your side, King of Lies? From today's Jerusalem Post:

A booby-trapped letter was detected by border police while examining mail on its way to East Jerusalem Thursday morning in the central Gaza post.

Also Thursday morning, a Kassam missile landed in an open field near Shderot, in the Negev. This is the first such shelling after several weeks of relative quiet in the area.

Earlier, several mortars were fired at the border fence in the Gaza Strip causing neither damage nor casualties; and Palestinians opened fire at an IDF post in the southern Gaza Strip.

Overnight Wednesday IDF forces apprehended 7 Palestinian fugitives near Nablus, Kalkilya and Beit Fadjar, which is near Gush Etziyon.

Reserve forces Wednesday night also arrested 4 armed terrorists at a roadblock near Hebron.

And then there's this, from Arafat's current home town:

IDF forces operating in the Ramallah area on Thursday night discovered a ready-to-wear explosives belt.

Okay, once more: How can you tell when Arafat is lying? His lips are moving.

A voice of sense in the Arab world?

Every so often, the Lebanon Daily Star surprises me and publishes an article deeply critical of the Arab world. They've just done another of those:

For all its centrality to the Arab experience during the past half-century; for all the legitimate grievances it has aroused, the Palestinian national struggle has figuratively rendered the Arab world impotent. In their devotion to their Palestinian brethren, the Arabs have catastrophically impeded much-needed progress in other domains, so that deliverance may require transcending this Palestinian neurosis.

[...] The Palestinian problem has also allowed countless Arab regimes to validate despotism and the over-militarization of their societies. While some might argue that this is natural when facing the reality, or possibility, of direct Israeli attack, the explanation is insufficient. For one thing, representative governments are even more adept than dictatorships at defending themselves; for another, open-ended autocracy has usually been implicitly justified, and accepted by Arab citizens, not because of an imminent threat from Israel, but because the Palestinian problem has yet to be resolved.

In so many words, the conveniently open wound of the Palestinian tragedy has allowed Arab regimes to exploit the ensuing outrage felt by their peoples, and to transform this into tolerance for authoritarian, security-obsessed systems perceived as necessary to fight (without ever fighting) a militarily superior Israel.

Specific states have also paid a heavy price for the sanctity of the Palestinian struggle ­ none more so than Lebanon. In fact, the country has had to cough up on two occasions: first, when the Lebanese were denied a chance to defend their sovereignty against the Palestinian national movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, since the Arab world saw this as an affront to the holy cause; and second, today, because the region’s fixation on the Palestinians has taken the spotlight away from an issue that anywhere else would have provoked profound concern: Syria’s indefinite military presence in Lebanon.

Yes, you read that right: A Lebanese newspaper is virtually calling Lebanon "Syria-occupied Lebanon," as I've been calling it for years. And there's still more:

So, Lebanon’s civil war began because the Arabs were too enraptured by Palestinian militancy to see the destructive impact this was having on the country’s society; and today the Lebanese are told that a Syrian departure must await a resolution of the Arab-Israeli, or, more specifically, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Palestinians themselves have fallen victim to the inviolability of their cause. Witness the reaction to the Geneva Initiative, as Palestinians have assailed the plan on the grounds that it sells the refugees down the river. Ultimately, any plan, to be endorsed by both Israelis and Palestinians, will have to at least partly do just that, and the Palestinian leadership knows this. Yet it has opted for vagueness, peddling the story that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected a deal at Camp David because the refugees would have been wronged. This has only raised expectations among refugees that they will someday return to Haifa and Jaffa ­ expectations that will doubtless be dashed for a majority of them.

So who wrote this? An Arab scholar? Journalist? Politician?

Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR

Oh. A quick look around at the news articles shows us business as usual: Vilify, vilify, vilify.



Terrorist tactics: Getting worse by the hour

The IDF caught some terrorists hiding out in a mosque today. Yep, that's against the Geneva Convention, something that the pro-fascist peace creeps would be screaming—if it weren't palestinian terrorists hiding in the mosque, that is. Check out this ridiculous paragraph from the AP story:

Dore Gold, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the Palestinians were planning a suicide attack on a school in the Israeli town of Yokneam. One was wearing an explosives belt like those used by suicide bombers, Israeli media said.

Who else wears explosive belts? Effing UNRWA workers, perhaps? (Give them time.) From the more sensible Jerusalem Post:

A senior security official told Channel 1 TV news Wednesday night that Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus issued the order to its Jenin cells to carry out the attacks. The order was given in the past few days, the source said.

A massive security alert in the North was lifted on Wednesday afternoon after the two Palestinians allegedly planning a suicide bombing at a school in Yokne'am were captured by soldiers in the West Bank.

The arrests of the two – both members of the Palestinian Authority security services and affiliated with Islamic Jihad – came after a daylong alert imposed on the Wadi Ara area.

Security sources said the two had planned an attack on a school near the commercial center of Yokne'am and another in Beit She'an.

One security source confirmed that Munir Rabiah, 23, of Gaza City, and Morad Zeitoun, 20, of Zbubeh, near Jenin, are both members of the PA security forces.

Tell us again, Jimmy Carter, how settlements are the obstacle to peace.

A Shin Bet source said the two men left Jenin Tuesday morning and set out for Bardaleh, where they planned to cross into Israel. "They told investigators that they had chosen the location as there is no security fence in the area," he said.

And tells us again, you effing Jew-haters, how the fence won't stop suicide bombers. They're deliberately attempting all their entries from the areas that don't have the fence. Why else would Arafat be so upset about the fence? You take away his suicide bombs, and he has no power whatsoever.

Another story that slipped by the main media outlets (of course): Attempted terrorist attacks are up dramatically these past few weeks:

"We have witnessed a dramatic rise in terrorist activity, bomb, anti-tank grenade, and mortar attacks, possibly due to the rising awareness that a cease-fire may be in the making," he official said. "We believe the violence will escalate as the date draws closer."

There are constant attempts to improve the range of the homemade Kassam rockets – the Kassam 2 has a 6 to 7 kilometer range and the Kassam 3 a 10 km. range.

"Almost daily there are test launches into the sea, however they are inaccurate and often fail to explode," the officer said.

Security officials estimate that more than 50,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are involved in the terrorism, including planners, recruiters, those who supply the weapons and explosives, and those who choose locations for attacks and compile intelligence. Only a few hundred are actively involved in operations, the officer said.

Between November 19 and 29, there were 93 incidents – 40 mortar attacks, six Kassam rocket attacks, 13 infiltrations into Israeli communities, IDF positions, or the border fence, and 34 shootings. In the previous 10 days, there were 42.

There's something really twisted about comparing 42 terror incidents to 93 and pointing out that it's fifty percent less terror than the next ten days. And yet, that's what it is. But it gets worse. Charles Johnson pointed this out a few days ago, but it bears repeating:

Terrorists also take young children with them to deter soldiers from shooting at them. When IDF soldiers wounded one of a group of armed Palestinians last week, the gunmen evacuated the wounded man on a donkey cart and dragged along several small children with them to prevent soldiers from shooting.

Also against both the Geneva Convention and all the rules of common decency, but then, terrorists have none of that. And still, Israel is the nation that is demonized by the pro-fascists. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate that? Oh, yes, I have.

The Guardian responds to the charge of anti-Semitism

Fresh on the heels of Julie Burchill flipping them the bird on the way out the door, in which she told everyone that she's leaving the Guardian because of its anti-Semitism, and specifically states that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, the Guardian trots out a pet Jew—with a distinguished pedigree—to say no, it isn't, really, it isn't. And by the way, look, they found a Jew who says that anti-Zionism isn't anti-Semitism! There, that proves it!

Methinks the paper doth protest too much. Here's the subhead:

As an idea, a Jewish homeland was always controversial. As a reality, Israel still is - and it is not anti-Jewish to say so

Funny, isn't it, how no one discusses the disappearance of any other nation in the world, not even the ones that were former parts of the British empire, have continuing ethnic and religious wars, and were created around the same time of the twentieth century? (India, Pakistan, ring any bells?) But it's not anti-Jewish to say that the Jews don't deserve a nation of their own, not even the one that was the Jewish state of both Bibles.

It's not anti-Semitic to question the reality of a Jewish state? Yes, it is. They can trot out as many Jews as they like to buttress their point. They're still wrong, and they're still anti-Semitic. Anyone who doubts, take a look at the Guardian's Flash presentation on their version of the Arab-Israeli conflict. My favorite description:

Britain gave up its mandate and the United Nations took over supervision. The UN suggested two states: one Arab, one Jewish. The Jews accepted; the Arabs rejected the plan. David Ben-Gurion declared the foundation of the state of Israel on May 15 1948. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan invaded but were beaten back.

The Jews had secured, and extended, the area proposed for them by the UN.

That's on the Guardian's website. Nothing about the Arab states declaring war the second Ben-Gurion declared Israel's independence. Go read the rest to see how biased it is. Then go here to read a true history of the matter.

The Marxists are revolting

And not in the way you think. Judith Weiss sent me the link to this blog, in which a Marxist takes the pro-fascists' (formerly known as "the loony left," "the angry left," and sometimes just "the left") support of Iraq completely apart:

But how is it possible for us to call ourselves Marxists and support a war waged by a coalition of rich western liberal democracies against the government of a poor “Third World” country? We would turn the question round: how it is possible that Marxism has been so corrupted and distorted that “Marxists” prefer to see thousands more Iraqis die in the torture chambers of the Ba’ath, and millions more suffer under the iniquities excused (not caused) by the UN sanctions, rather than admit that socialists not only can but must support even the worst bourgeois democracy against even the least bad tyranny? For the beginnings of an answer, let us consider just some of the transparent and disgusting lies generated and spread by the western “left” before and during the war.

(1) The Ba’ath regime was in some sense “progressive”: It is very revealing that few western “leftists” ever went beyond ritualised, purely verbal opposition to the “excesses” of the regime, even in the midst of their efforts to hijack the leadership of the anti-war movements from the pacifists, Muslim fundamentalists, “Not in My Name” solipsists and other malcontents with whom they made such opportunistic alliances. Meanwhile, a horrifyingly large number of “leftists” actually praised the regime – for its “secularism”, disregarding the Ba’athists’ praise for Islam as the “soul of the Arab nation”, Saddam’s fictional claim of descent from the Prophet and the addition of “Allah is great” to the national flag; its “socialism”, disregarding the whole sorry history of tyrannies deploying empty leftist rhetoric; and its sporadic defiance of the western powers, disregarding the fact that it happily cooperated with those powers whenever it suited it and them to do so. The western “left” has evidently become so habituated to denouncing the hypocrisy and cynicism of western governments – which we also denounce, though more consistently – that it is now incapable of discerning the hypocrisy and cynicism of nonwestern governments. Any organisation that can call, as the Socialist Workers Party did, for “Victory to the Resistance”, as if the Ba’ath regime’s last remaining loyalists, and those it imported from other Arab countries, resembled the French Resistance rather than the Vichy regime’s Milice and their Nazi friends, has not just deserted Marxism, it has taken off into a world of fantasy from which it looks unlikely to return.

There's much more.



Might as well link

Since everyone and his brother have been sending me the link to the Julie Burchill column, dammit, I'm gonna link to it! It's the one where she points out that the Guardian is anti-Semitic, which is why she's leaving it, and on her way out, points out that the Jews are cooler than the anti-Semites. Then she mentions people like Vanessa Redgrave and makes it a no-brainer. Okay, let's compare: Natalie Portman. Vanessa Redgrave. Oh, okay, let's compare old Jews: Lauren Bacall. (I didn't know she was Jewish!)

Jim's launching his own version of COTV. Jim, you have no idea what you're getting into, but sure, I'll publicize it. I may join in, even. It's called The Bestofme Symphony, and it's for bloggers who have older posts that might not have been as appreciated as they could have been.

Joe Katzman is flat out scaring me on a regular basis now. Go read his site and see if you get as worried about the world situation as I do.

Wind Rider's been mostly AWOL on Silent Running, but I hear he's really busy these days. (Your posts are really missed, WR.) But Murray and Tom and co. are trying to pick up the slack. Here that, Tom? It's your effing blog and you're having to pick up the slack for your co-blogger's absence. Yeah, you better be writing more.

Kevin is setting up a new weblog award. I expect to have a very long post soon on why my reaction to it will be yet another shrug. Which is not to say I don't think you all should have fun with the awards. Go, nominate, vote, have fun!

The League of Liberals is messing with my buddy Da Bear's ecosystem. Let me tell you folks something: NZ Bear is a calm, even-tempered, mild-mannered guy. Unless you continue to screw with him. Trust me on this one, if you piss him off enough, he will pull the entire Ecosystem and tell you all to do it yourself, if you miss it that much. And I'll be the first one to advise him to do it. Bear, you know me. If they're bothering you too much, just send 'em over here. I'll take care of them. And remember, Bear, you know you've really made it once they start pounding you. ( Oooh, that is so breathtakingly original. And funny, too. No, really. I thought about laughing for almost a second.)

If anyone is interested in a synopsis of what went down, Kynn posted one. (I like this guy. He's honest.)

Bill was quoted in the New York Times. Of course, the funniest thing about it is he didn't know it until someone pointed out that he was on page two of the article. Bill, you're a hoot, and Alice has my sympathies.

Israpundit found a pro-Israel Muslim cleric, and interviews him. Nice going, Joseph.

Lair is pushing his Dead Pool for 2004. I have two picks so far: Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein. Anyone know any actors who are dying of variou cancers or brain tumors that I can choose? I need 13 more picks. (He is such a bad influence on me.)

The new fascists

Roger Simon has found a word to describe the people who can no longer simply be called "leftists," because they no longer represent what that word meant. When you see the "peace" rallies in which these people call for the destruction of the Jewish state in the same terms used by the Nazis 70 years ago; when you hear them demonize democratic nations and their leaders and excuse the worst, most repressive dictatorships the world has to offer; when you read the filth they spew, parroting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, you realize that "left," "loony left," and even "angry left" simply does not describe these hateful, bigoted people who scream against oppression of only some people, while turning their eyes from the repression going on anywhere that does not directly concern America or Israel.

So Roger has the new term: They are now pro-fascists. How else to describe those who insist that Yasser Arafat is "the sole legitimate representative of the palestinian people" yet refuse to admit that he was elected in a sham election against a prop candidate, while all the true candidates were terrorized into not running? How else to explain those who want Ariel Sharon remanded to an international court for "war crimes" while insisting that Saddam Hussein must be removed by his own people because that is an "internal" matter? How else to describe those who protest George Bush's visit to Britain while completely ignoring the destruction of a British embassy and bank by Islamic terrorists, because that is not the message they're trying to get out that day?

These people are, at the very least, in bed with fascists. Roger is right. International ANSWER's hand has been documented in many of these protests; their tainted funding has also been documented more than once (thanks, Gregory). Now, these pro-fascists are joining with terrorist and Islamist groups (see: Rachel Corrie and the ISM, Hamas representatives working with "peace" protesters). Certainly, not all of them can be described as pro-fascist. Some are simply ignorant young men and women who think it's cool to protest globalization, America, and Israel. But many of them think—and say—that the world would be better off without America and Israel. To me, that is fascism.

So I'm with Roger. Now we have a label for the terrorist sympathizers: Pro-fascists.

Islam and the world

Here's one that'll piss off Aziz big-time: A Jewish theologian said in 1920 that we're at war with Islam, and will be until the war is won by east or west.

"The coming millennium will go down in world history as a struggle between Orient and Occident, between the church and Islam, between the Germanic peoples and the Arabs," proclaimed Franz Rosenzweig in 1920. These ominous words appear in a collection of the German-Jewish theologian's writings about Islam, published in Berlin earlier this year. It is the most dangerous book I have read in a generation, for Rosenzweig (1886-1929) considered Islam a pagan "parody", "caricature" and "plagiarism" of Christianity and Judaism.

Another grand Zionist conspiracy? No.

Rosenzweig, however, has enormous authority among just the sort of intellectuals who think that born-again Christians are bigoted bumpkins. A whole Rosenzweig industry has sprung up in academia, run by left-wing theologians who admire Rosenzweig's steadfast opposition to Zionism. His closest collaborator Martin Buber wanted a bi-national as opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine. Rosenzweig had no political motive to attack Islam; he did so purely on philosophical and theological grounds.

But the man was certainly prescient. And here's the part that will send the Islamists into a frenzy:

Judaism began with a people, and then became a congregation, and eventually a religion, Rosenzweig argues. Christianity began with a congregation into which it then selected its people, the "new Israel". Islam, he avers, was concocted as an institutionalized religion to begin with, as a parody of Judaism and Christianity. This, however, had dreadful consequences. "Mohammed took over the notion of Revelation from the outside, which left him stuck with the pagan idea of creation as a matter of course," Rosenzweig wrote.

Allah merely is the apotheosized image of an Oriental despot, emphatically not the Judeo-Christian God of love. Rosenzweig altogether repudiates the notion of Islamic culture. As a caricature, Islam is entirely sterile: "Islam never created an Islamic art, but rather took into its service pre-Islamic art ... The pre-Islamic state, namely the Oriental state in its Byzantine form, made Islam into its state religion; the pre-Islamic spirit of the Koran adopted either pre-Islamic rationalism or mysticism and orthodoxy. In Europe, by contrast, in Christian Europe, there arose something new: Christian art, and a Christian state."

Love requires the Judeo-Christian God to create the world. By contrast, "the God of Mohammed is a creator who well might not have bothered to create. He displays his power like an Oriental potentate who rules by violence, not by acting according to necessity, not by authorizing the enactment of the law, but rather in his freedom to act arbitrarily. By contrast, it is most characteristic of rabbinic theology that it formulates our concept of the divine power to create in the question as to whether God created the world out of love or out of righteousness."

The same columnist has another fascinating column that says that Mahathir is right: Jews do rule the world.

Judith Weiss sent both links. Both she and I are a bit mystified as to what this columnist is doing in the Asia Times. But he's there, and his writing is fascinating.



World AIDS Day

Some nations in Africa will be losing entire generations of people. Newsweek has the story. And Michele has more links.

My former boss at AGT died of AIDs. He was only in his thirties.

All the boys in France do the anti-Semite dance

More anti-Semitic incidents. First the ho-hum variety, yet another student beaten up by yet more Muslims, with yet another insistence by the French that this was not an anti-Semitic attack:

A Jewish pupil attending a highly rated Paris secondary school was repeatedly beaten up by Muslim fellow pupils.

[...] The 11-year old Jewish boy, whose name was not released, was repetitively verbally abused and beaten by two Muslim pupils of the same class.

"We'll finish Hitler's job," they reportedly yelled at him. The headmaster moved the Jewish boy to another class within the 1,800 pupils secondary school. The victim is currently under tranquilizers, according to the French weekly "Le Journal du Dimanche".

[...] The headmaster Jean-Marie Renault announced he will "organize a debate on the dangers of xenophobia" next term and denied any foot-dragging in the handling of the case. "The issue is very complex. There is obviously a victim that should be protected, but there are no admission and no witnesses willing to testify. We're in a dead-end."

The French answer to such attacks?

Other Jewish pupils at Lycée Montaigne decided to take off their "Hai" and Magen David necklaces.

This follows on the heels of France's chief rabbi urging religious Jews to stop wearing kippot and wear baseball caps instead.

Via Merde in France, this FrontPage article says that Muslims are committing ritual murders of Jews. This one frightens me so much that I am loath to believe that it is true. Better to read Barbara Amiel's column in this French website about European anti-Semitism. Or here's the translated article.

In the underground parking lot, a Muslim neighbor slit Sellam’s throat twice, according to the Rosenpress interview. His face was completely mutilated with a fork. Even his eyes were gouged out.

Following the crime, Rosenpress correspondent Alain Azria reported, Sellam’s mother said the Muslim perpetrator mounted the stairs, his hands still bloody, and announced his crime. “I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven,” he reportedly said. The alleged murderer’s family was well known for rabid anti-Semitism, Mrs. Sellam reportedly told Rosenpress, a point confirmed to the news agency by the victim’s brother. Within the previous year, Sellam’s mother reportedly said, the family found a dead rooster outside their apartment door with its throat slit, and their Mezzuza was ripped from their door post. Leaving dead roosters is reportedly a traditional warning of impending murder.

I'm not sure what to make of it, but I know this: It's time for the Jews of France to band together and form civilian patrols in their neighborhoods. Curtis Sliwa, here's a project for you.

Here also is the EU's suppressed report on anti-Semitism. Here's an excerpt from its report on France:

As the second Intifada began, the number of anti-Semitic criminal offences rose drastically; out of 216 racist acts recorded in 2000 146 were motivated by anti-Semitism. The peak was reached during the Jewish High Holidays in October 2000; one third of the anti-Semitic attacks committed worldwide took place in France (between 1 September 2000 and 31 January 2002 405 anti-Semitic incidents were documented).

The perpetrators were only seldom from the extreme right milieu, coming instead mainly from non-organised Maghrebian and North African youths.

After interrogating 42 suspects, the police concluded that these are "predominantly delinquents without ideology, motivated by a diffuse hostility to Israel, exacerbated by the media representation of the Middle East conflict ( ) a conflict which, they see, reproduces the picture of exclusion and failure of which they feel victims in France".

Beginning in January 2002, but mainly from the end of March till the middle of April 2002 , there was a wave of anti-Semitic attacks. In the first half of April attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in Paris and surrounding areas were daily occurrences.

This was a repeat of the situation of October 2000.

In reaction to the anti-Semitic mood the number of the French Jews who immigrated to Israel in 2002 doubled to 2,566, the highest number since 1972.

In addition, there was an almost polemical debate on the nature as well as the denunciation of anti-Semitism linked to the situation in the Middle East and to Islam, a debate, which led to divisions between prominent participants and anti-racist groups.

Anti-Semitism and security questions specific to the Jewish community were almost absent from public debate during this period.

In fact, the main ideological themes in the public debate at a time of both Presidential (12 April and 5 May 2002) and national (9 and 16 June 2002) elections were law and order and the unexpectedly strong support for the Front National and its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who played on anti-Semitic resentments.

Viewed from a later perspective, there is an obvious connection with anti-Semitism. During that same period there was a renewed outbreak of anti-Muslim acts and speech attributed to the far right.

No wonder it was suppressed.

There's no place like home

It is so good to be home. It is so good to be surfing at cable modem speeds, not 56k. It is so good not to have to be using my mother's AOL connection. And it's nice to be around cats again. I mean, dogs are okay, but they're not cats.

I almost took 95 through the Beltway today, but found a station that reported the traffic and changed my mind. Accidents near the Wilson Bridge. Nuh-uh. Off at Route 5 and down the back way again, past Fort A.P. Hill. Not a bad drive, but I really do get tired of being on the road after a while. And just for fun, the last idiot I had to deal with was from New Jersey. Yeah, the acceleration lane means you do 25 effing miles an hour until traffic all catches up with you. Idiot. I sat on the horn until he speeded up, as I was behind him trying to get into traffic without getting killed.

Yep. Still feeling that Inner Bitch striking out. And there are a lot of issues I haven't yet begun to write about. Dinner first, then some catching up, I think.

Didja miss me?



Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism: In a Guardian column?

Pigs must be flying again. But this is a wonderful, wonderful column. Via Glenn Reynolds.

Despite piqued disclaimers, some of Israel's critics use anti-semitic stereotypes. In fact, their disclaimers frequently offer a mask of respectability to otherwise socially unacceptable anti-semitism. Many equate Israel to Nazism, claiming that "yesterday's victims are today's perpetrators": last year, Louis de Bernières wrote in the Independent that "Israel has been adopting tactics which are reminiscent of the Nazis". This equation between victims and murderers denies the Holocaust. Worse still, it provides its retroactive justification: if Jews turned out to be so evil, perhaps they deserved what they got. Others speak of Zionist conspiracies to dominate the media, manipulate American foreign policy, rule the world and oppress the Arabs. By describing Israel as the root of all evil, they provide the linguistic mandate and the moral justification to destroy it. And by using anti-semitic instruments to achieve this goal, they give away their true anti-semitic face.

There is of course the open question of whether this applies to anti-Zionism. It is one thing to object to the consequences of Zionism, to suggest that the historical cost of its realisation was too high, or to claim that Jews are better off as a scattered, stateless minority. This is a serious argument, based on interests, moral claims, and an interpretation of history. But this is not anti-Zionism. To oppose Zionism in its essence and to refuse to accept its political offspring, Israel, as a legitimate entity, entails more. Zionism comprises a belief that Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to self-determination as all other nations are.

It could be suggested that nationalism is a pernicious force. In which case one should oppose Palestinian nationalism as well. It could even be argued that though both claims are true and noble, it would have been better to pursue Jewish national rights elsewhere. But negating Zionism, by claiming that Zionism equals racism, goes further and denies the Jews the right to identify, understand and imagine themselves - and consequently behave as - a nation. Anti-Zionists deny Jews a right that they all too readily bestow on others, first of all Palestinians.

Read the entire column. It's not, of course, by a Guardian regular. It's by Emanuele Ottolenghi, the Leone Ginzburg Fellow in Israel Studies at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Middle East Centre at St Antony's College, Oxford.


Of comic books and Jews

Today I spent more time with my family, and managed to remember why I moved away from New Jersey: I went to Rockaway Mall this afternoon and after about an hour, wanted to kill the next person who tried to walk into instead of around me. They don't do that in Richmond. I'd almost forgotten my NJ manners (that is to say, forget that you have any), but they came back after the last schmuck nearly knocked me into a wall. Suffice to say that nobody else managed to make me yield an inch of territory.

My, I do seem to be on the warpath these days. (Those of you who missed Jewish Double Standard Time can catch up with the rest of us.)

But I had a much more relaxing afternoon, mostly spent bonding with my nephew. That's a subject that has troubled me for some time. I've never quite been sure if he actually liked me or just put up with me because we were related. Then last visit, I discovered that he's been a Tolkien fan since the first movie came out, and when he discovered that I'm a Tolkien geek, we went off on a long discussion on the movies, the books, was the Balrog cool or what? And I realized, phew, we do have things in common, and yeah, he does actually like me, too.

This time around, the poor kid was bored out of his skull. I remembered all those painful Sunday afternoons, when your homework is done, and there's no one around to play with, and nothing on TV, and nothing you really want to do—and told Alex that I had a tape of X2 in the car. Did he want to see it?

So we started watching it, and he had a million questions, most of which I could answer (hello, comics fan, too). Then he asked me why everybody hated mutants. "It's really senseless hatred, for the most part. They're afraid of them because they're different. Because some of them have special powers...."

None of my explanations was really getting through. Finally, I said, "Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were Jewish, and mutants are the Jews of comic books."

"Oh," he said. "Gotcha."

He's thirteen years old, and already he knows the score.


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.