Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome to Sderot

Here is a chilling formulation of something you already know to be true. It is from JINSA INFO Report #781.
“For Hamas, the key is to keep the rocket attacks below an understood threshold and Israel's response will be tolerable, precise and produce minimal collateral (Palestinian) damage. The Hamas pattern is to fire one, two or three rockets at Sderot. Wait a few days and do it again. Injure two, three, four Israelis. Kill one or two, but not more than that - this week. Increase the range and accuracy of the rockets incrementally. Hit Ashkelon, but just once. Then wait. Hit a shopping center, but if no one is killed, the Israeli response is unlikely to threaten Hamas rule. If Israel does retaliate, the world will probably be more annoyed by the "disproportionate response" than the original rocket attack.”

The report goes on with an interesting analysis of Israel’s military doctrine and how she is currently being forced by world opinion and the demopathic tactics of her enemies (internal and external) to fight outside the comfort level of her defensive doctrine. As I was reading, though, something was bothering me. I was still stuck on the seemingly more limited issue of the terror involved. Who are these people who are being killed by the rockets? How do they live knowing that, only if some, unspecified number of them of them are killed and maimed, will their government be moved to do something about the terror under which they live? This dangerous and painful situation is only partially a product of the Arab/Islamist dream of annihilation of Israel. It is made possible by a combination of ruthless internal enemies (e.g. the far left peace movement), clueless dupes (e.g. Olmert, Livni, et al) and shortsighted erstwhile foreign “friends” who do not understand the reality of the threat. This motley assortment of fools and instigators hold Israel’s defense establishment, her regard for her own citizens and, indeed, her very moral, civic, ethical and intellectual integrity hostage.

When Shirley Jackson's famous short story The Lottery was first published sixty years ago in the June 26, 1948 edition of The New Yorker magazine, it set off the most violent reaction the magazine had ever experienced. In the story, the reader is gradually drawn into a nightmare- as what seems to be a “normal” American farming village gathers for some sort of annual community gathering. There is a lottery involved and little by little it becomes apparent that it is a “selection process”. The reader’s curiosity gives way to bemusement as the author quietly seeds in ominous details that build a sense of foreboding. Then, near the end of the story there is a sudden shift to horror when we realize that the “slightly too” nonchalant dialogue and mysterious references have been leading up to the revelation of a sacrificial rite. One person in the community is chosen by lottery to be stoned to death- sacrificed for “the good of all”.

It is little wonder that the story caused the explosion of controversy that it did. A scant three years after World War II, the cataclysmic battle against totalitarianism, here was a story that hinted that the enemy was not dead, but could lie ever so close beneath the surface in the most unlikely of places. Is this lottery totalitarianism? I think it is. It is a society that holds itself hostage in a suicide pact. The eerily believable rationalization that the lottery must be carried out because the welfare of the group is everything- the individual is nothing- is the brutal signature of fascism.

The weird, unconvincing quality of the “reason” that stoning one member of the community to death is “for the good of all” is also a dead giveaway. It is true that an oblique reference to the sacrifice having a good effect on the corn is made but there is a dispiriting vagueness about it and nobody seems to endorse it convincingly. In fact, the agricultural pretext is really irrelevant. The central drama of The Lottery is the absence of individual human value. In my post about Islamofascism, I quoted Louis Menand (ironically, writing in the New Yorker), “official ideology can be, and usually is, absurd on its face, and known to be absurd by the leaders who preach it.” This is another hallmark of totalitarian systems. These lottery victims are the moral equivalent of suicide bombers, human shields and hostages. They have no power to achieve anything. Their own genuine emotions and aspirations are anathema to the system in which they live. Only their annihilation is of value. Every one of them is a martyr- most of them just aren’t dead yet. They are, in every sense imaginable, dead men walking.

I thought of this when I read JINSA report #781. The people of Sderot listen for the sirens all day and all night 365 days a year and all must wonder if today is the day that a rocket will come through the ceiling in a busy dining hall or a kindergarten classroom or a high school auditorium and finally be “enough” to force the government to use the power it has always had- but may not always retain- to eliminate the threat. They wait for the government to act. They pray for the rest of the world to recoil in horror. They face each day with bravery and hope. Just like the people in Jackson’s story, they are hostages.

Apologists, multiculturalists and advocates who try to convince themselves that the horror and savagery of Jihad is somehow lessened by pointing out the great (mostly ancient) achievements of Islamic culture are fond of pointing out that modern mathematics were made possible by the development of the concept of zero by Muslim mathematicians. This makes sense. It should be no surprise that one of Islam's last real contributions to human progress was the discovery of zero. It appears to me that, at least under the most fundamental application of their religion-as-political-system, zero is the human condition.

JINSA Report #781 concludes with this:
“It is hard to advocate large-scale military action against Hamas (or Hezbollah). The price will be high. But if Israel is waiting until a "Passover Massacre"-type terrorist attack and plans then to do what it knows it has to do, why wait? To wait is to give Hamas more time to import Iranian weapons, train its forces and build defenses - allowing the building a greater deterrent to IDF action out of fear of greater IDF losses completes the inversion of the defensive principles that have served Israel to well until now.”

Why wait, indeed. It is not just defensive principals that are inverted here; it is morality, integrity and simple logic. We know that Hamas has sworn to eradicate Israel. They say so freely.  

If there was outrage in 1948 over the publication of that short story, how could there not be outrage today when an Israeli government dares Hamas to kill one more Israeli and see what happens and when they do, dares them to kill another one. Over and over again the children of Sderot draw lots and when one of them is torn apart by ball bearings or has a leg blown off, what happens? Is it somehow “for the good of all” that they suffer?
Now the Israeli government has arranged a cease-fire insuring, not eventual peace but even more death and suffering. It is not even necessary to believe the predictions of JINSA on what a cease-fire means. Even if you refuse to see the Iranian shipments arriving and the burrowing and trenching of the fortification builders, there is no need to believe the analysts, only recall what has happened to every other cease-fire in that conflict. They have all been broken by the slaughter of innocent Israelis. It is as regular and relentless as the annual lottery in Jackson’s story. Who will be the first one to die when the cease-fire breaks? Is it worth it or is it as futile and empty as the annual sacrifice chosen by lot?

That answer must come from the Israeli government. When suffering appears endless and accelerating and you begin to doubt its value, the answer must provided out of action and dedication. Abraham Lincoln, speaking from Gettysburg a place of great violence and slaughter rededicated himself and his nation to a higher purpose when he said, “…we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” The Israeli government must reaffirm their purpose the same way, and they must not shrink from committing themselves to facing the realities and acting accordingly.

Do you believe that it is about The Nakba or The Occupation or The Settlements? Do you allow yourself the fantasy that there is a way to stop the madness- a sacrifice big enough to satisfy this ravenous cult?

Then what did the innocent victims die for on 9/11- or Madrid- or London- the Darfur? This is part of the same grotesque lottery that has been going on for 1500 years. In spite of the sacrifice of the innocent victims of 9/11, it is all too easy for us to deny that we are hostages too, but those “zero beings” from the Islamist void will not be happy to delete only Israel. They have "selected" them for annihilation first but it is nothing personal, you understand, just a sacrifice to prove there is no value to human life. There is no value to anything that does not affirm the spiritual vacuum of Islamism. It is not because they worship Allah, nor is it is that they believe Mohammed was a prophet. It is that they believe that he was the only prophet, that they know the absolute truth and that it is their mission to ignore (and destroy) all evidence to the contrary. If you believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they will not rest until they destroy you too.

The Jihadists are not interested in cease-fires or peace. They are happy to tell you what they want. They want the world to live under Shari’a law. They believe that anyone that doesn’t want that is sub-human and deserves to be killed. This is nothing less than another confrontation with the evil of fascist, totalitarianism, and that is a beast whose hunger cannot be sated with souls, nor can its thirst be slaked with blood. The lottery they are holding is to determine not if you will be destroyed but when you will be destroyed. We are all citizens of Sderot- its just that most of us don’t know it yet.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Note from the French Lunatic Asylum

I am still working on the next installment of the How Stupid/Wrong/Evil series but I had to get this off my chest.

Richard Landes has a translation of an article from the French weekly news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur up at Augean Stables. Because I am unfamiliar with the naval-gazing world of the French Elite (they invented the word!), at first I thought that “Nouvel Observateur” must be some kind of French Idiom for Lunatic Asylum. The thing is such a monument to un-self conscious self-deification and denial of reality that it reads most readily as either parody or the ravings of the insane. If you read it sentence by sentence and really listen to what they are implying, it really sounds as if it was written by a group of loonies- some who think they are Napoleons, Louis XIV, a few Richelieus and a Robespierre or two- sitting around in the day room of a French mental hospital. I searched some of the names of the signatories and to my surprise, most of them appear to be out on the streets and without psychiatric “paperwork”. So, I guess, it turns out that we were meant to take it seriously.

This, then, is another and much more frightening story. Richard, who has now posted a brilliant analysis of the political and cultural implications in addition to the original translation, has summed up the demopathic thrust of it very well. I looked back at his translation of the original document, though, and I feel compelled to off my own version of it. Richard, as usual was at great pains to get meanings and tones right. As a result he was able to preserve much of the delusional veneer of reasonableness that holds the piece together.
I was so taken by the absolutely delusional arrogance and self-congratulatory tone I just had to do a re-translation of my own. I have tried to open up the text so that we can see what is going on in their minds and hearts. Richard’s translation is below in black and mine is interspersed in red.

Seven years. It’s now seven years that a obstinate and hateful campaign has tried to tarnish the professional dignity of our colleague Charles Enderlin, correspondent for France2 in Jerusalem.

Seven years! Mon Dieux! These Jews have long memories! This is getting serious; people are actually starting to pay attention! That’s why, in this entire mewling, deceptive screed we will never once mention the scabrous nature of the libel that Charles Enderlin committed and we are denying. We really don’t care about the anguish it cased the Jews. Let’s not mention all the bloodshed suffered in Israel either. Forget the civil war and deprivation in the Palestinian territories. Who cares about the terror it inspired all around the world. So what if when we finally get to the end of this great steaming pile of rubbish we will have done nothing but shown that we are more concerned with issues of false dignity and personal honor than we are about the accuracy and honesty of what we actually do and our effect on the world. Maybe if we keep talking about dignity and professionalism, though, they notice we are all basically a bunch of pompous, venal, lazy, opinionated fools too… It shouldn’t be a surprise- as our resident Napoleons have said, “Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.”

For seven years the same individuals have attempted to present as a “hoax” and a “series of staged scenes” his report showing the death of Mohammed al-Doura, 12 years old, killed by fire coming from the Israeli position on the 30 of September 2000 in the Gaza Strip during a confrontation between the Israeli army and armed Palestinians.

We are not going to name the people who are “persecuting” our friend Charles because, frankly some of them have more reputable jobs than we do and we want to make them look like a small group of fringe nuts. This is a little trick we learned in journalism school, just one of the reasons we feel superior to ordinary people and immune to their ridiculous desire to “understand what really happened”. We have no intention of playing their game and looking honestly at the evidence they have put together. We will simply re-assert the same hideous libel that got Charles in trouble in the first place. We do this because it is so obviously untrue that now, after seven years of supporting it blindly, we could not possibly bear to do what Enderlin and the rest of us should have done in the beginning: look at all the evidence as objectively as possible. Here is the equation; Enderlin accuses the Jews unjustly because he believes he is doing a greater justice for the Palestinians. Then the Palestinians, who started the hoax in the first place, use the unjust accusations against the Jews to rationalize terror, intransigence and murder. Enderlin, instead of being horrified by the libel and bloodshed he has helped to create, becomes horrified by the possibility that he might be exposed as a lazy repeater of lies and a tool of the propagandists, decides that among the tough choices he had that it would be a higher benefit for all of humanity for him to defend his squalid career and fight the truth coming out- right down to the last Israeli. We agree! Because if Enderlin can loose his credibility just because he told lies that resulted in thousands of deaths, we might be vulnerable too!

On the 19 of October 2006, the correctional tribunal of Paris had judged the principle animator of this campagne, Philippe Karsenty, guilty of defamation.

On the 19 of October 2006, the cause of arrogant dignity won the first battle. It was a great victory, really. It should have ended, once and for all the amusing notion that Charles had anything to “explain” to these people. The judge in that trial was our kind of jurist! He ignored the existence of evidence that showed it really was a hoax. It should have been a lesson to everyone! Charles said it happened, why should it matter if it happened or not? Louis XIV over here (actually there are a few of him here) used to say “the state is me” (L’etat c’est moi )back in the old days. That was before he was an august French journalist now we all live by his revamped motto “the truth is me” (la vérité c'est moi).

The decision rendered on the 21 of May by the appeals court of Paris, invoked by Philippe Karsenty recognizes that the claims made by him “unquestionably struck at the honor and professional reputations of the information professionals” but admits, curiously, that the “good faith” of Philippe Karsenty, who “exercised his right to free criticism” and “did not transgress the limits of free speech.” This decision which exonerates Philippe Karsenty both surprises and worries us.

Speaking of the good old days, whatever happened to the times when you could say anything you wanted to about the Jews and they would just be so glad you weren’t beating them with whips they would take it and say “thank you”. But noooo, this guy Karsenty appealed his conviction! They feel they have the right to ask questions and to see proof- what an insult this is to the dignity of a true journalist- an information professional! OK, so on the appeal the court said that Karsenty “did not transgress to limits of free speech,” but they did say that his claims “unquestionably struck at the honor and professional reputations of the information professionals”, (Oh, wait, that must mean that the judges thought that it was accurate enough to warrant questioning his honor and professional reputation. Sacre Bleu,! I’d better steer away from the part of the judgment where the judges agreed with Karsenty that the preponderance of the evidence was in support of Karsenty’s claims)

We are surprised, because it grants the same credibility to a journalist known for the seriousness and rigor of his work, who exercises his profession in sometimes difficult conditions, and to his detractors, engaged in a campaign of negation and discrediting, who ignore all the realities of the terrain and have no experience of reporting from a conflict zone

We are surprised and shocked! How could the court do this? Don’t they know that each journalist is like a little Richelieu whose every word is the emerging truth and whose dignity is as sacred as it is transparent and undeserved. Have you ever seen The Killing Fields or All the Presidents Men, or The Year of Living Dangerously? Well we are now, with transparent cynicism, going to try to imply that Enderlin is that kind of journalist. Besides, you have no idea how serious and rigorous it is sitting on ones’ flaccid behind in comfortable salons in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and sipping Merlot and sorting through the crap that whatever contacts from the Palestinian Propaganda Ministry have weaseled their way into your confidence send by.

It worries us, because it gives permission in the future for a “permission to defame” journalists, which would permit anyone, in the name of “good faith” and “the right of free criticism,” to strike with impunity at the “honor and reputation of information professionals.”

It worries us because, just as the first Richelieu believed that nothing trumped the power of the State, we believe that the authority over what is and is not true must rest in the hands of the Information Professionals. I mean, if we allow any schmoe whose only authority is “good Faith” or “the right to free speech” to question with impunity what we say and write, that’s going to lead to chaos. Zut allors! the next thing you know, facts will become known, debates will break out and people might even try to think for themselves. 
We are the Information Professionals, people, we will tell you what to think!

At a time when the freedom of action of journalists is the object of repeated attacks, we invoke our attachment to this fundamental principle, pillar of democracy and we renew our support and solidarity with Charles Enderlin.

These are tough times for Journalism. First the Jihadists, and Palestinians intimidate us with violence, loss of access and even kidnapping so that we are terrified not to repeat all the stuff they stage and write. Then the Israelis show us up for the pusillanimous humbugs that we have allowed ourselves to become- its just not fair! We still want you to believe that we are still a pillar of democracy, even while we have allowed the Islamists to turn us into a weapon against democracy. But our highest allegiance is to our pathetic selves and the cynical pose of mock nobility to which we pretend. That’s why we are with Chuck! We’ll do anything to preserve our position and privilege. That’s why we want Enderlin to keep pursuing Karsenty and his supporters. We need to destroy them all. As Richelieu once said, “If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him”. To us, there are things that are more important than honesty, accuracy and free speech. Oh, Robespierre wants us to say, “Omelettes are not made without breaking eggs”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How Stupid/Wrong/Evil Were They?-Part 1- The BBC

Is anyone else wondering where the media is? No, I know the newspapers are still grinding out the daily sausage and the anchor people are still hailing out to the reporters “at the scene”. I am talking about how deserted The Mohammed al Dura Affair that, once enticing and popular swimming pool of the media, has become. Where reporters, anchor people and foreign correspondents used to frolic, splash and gaily hold the gasping reputations of Israel and the Jewish people under water for hours at a time- and pull their bathing suits down and stab them repeatedly and mutilate their corpses? Now that the French courts have cleared Israel’s name and shown the whole thing to be a hoax, it is as quiet and desolate around the al Dura pool it is almost as though someone had floated a big ole economy sized Oh Henry bar out into the water.

Where are the defamers and slanderers now? How do they feel when they look back on that frenzy, when they were fairly quivering with orgiastic glee as they clattered out calumny on their keyboards or yodeled their voice-overs into the rising chorus of the media lynching of Israel in September and October of 2000.

This first and paradigmatic blood libel of the twenty-first century, the Muhammad al Dura affair was launched by the arch media megalomaniac and soulless dupe Charles Enderlin, but it was sustained and propagated by a legion of other egomaniacal progressive ax-grinders, a stampede of sincere but addled multiculturalists and a diverse assortment of media whores with a wider variety of unwholesome agendas than a naked antiwar street parade in Berkeley.

I’ve been going back to see what they were saying at the time and I will compile it here. Maybe some of the perpetrators will consider what they have done and take at least some of it back.
The byline-less article on the BBC website from October2, 2000 is where everyone else starts. You can always count of the BBC for the gold standard in snide, superior, “butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths” anti-Semitism/Zionism.

It’s pathetic enough that the article uncritically uses the wildest accusations and the most damning language taken from Enderlin’s report. For instance they repeat his allegation that the gunfire was so unremitting for 45 minutes that all the father (Jamal) could do was try to shelter Mohammed, implying that in 45 minutes there was never an opportunity to get out of the line of fire. Forty-five minutes is an eternity when you are firing high-powered military rifles, never mind trying to weather the fusillade. Then they call the boy, “a new martyr for the Palestinian cause”.

The most telling stuff, though, is the two quotes from the boy’s parents.

Little Mohammed’s Mom is quoted as saying, and the BBC quotes the father (allegedly lying in the hospital with life-threatening wounds) as saying his son died for "the sake of Al-Aqsa Mosque" The BBC is not this stupid.

Did an actual BBC reporter hear them say those things? Or was is a Palestinian official that passed on the thoughts of the faux-bereft mother and father?

You cannot tell me that the pointy-headed dupes at BBC saw nothing about these two quotes that would arouse suspicions that there was something odd, some kind of stage-managing, and manipulation going on here. Mere hours after her son goes off for the day on errands with his father and is allegedly cut down unexpectedly but intentionally by Israeli gunfire the mother says, “This was his sacrifice for our homeland, for Palestine”? What exactly does she mean, “his sacrifice”? Only if they did something heroic to save others, has anyone ever spoken of any of the office workers on 9/11 as having made “a sacrifice”. The firefighters and policemen made sacrifices. Surely, people in the towers who stayed to help others made sacrifices. The passengers on flight 93 made a sacrifice in their courageous uprising because, even though they would have died anyway, there is no question that they traded the last few minutes of their lives to protect the safety of others on the ground.

No, but they probably did feel OK about ignoring that suspicion. How do they rationalize it? First of all, they are in a very competitive business. This stuff is big news and the world wants to see it.

Then there is the fact that they know that if they say anything that The Palestinians do not like, they will find their sources of news dry up very quickly. They can’t even send their most supine toadies for the “Palestinian Cause” there anymore without them being attacked, kidnapped and otherwise intimidated. So they, like Charles Enderlin, have become dependant on Palestinian and other Islamist operatives masquerading as journalists. They know that the honest, democratic Israelis are boring and not a source for sensational news so they are stuck with being tools of the Fatah and Hamas propaganda machines.

How do they disguise pathetic gaffes and inconsistencies for their Palestinian controllers? Well, look at this story. For one thing, if you went to the link above, you will notice that they isolated the two quotes out of the mainstream of the story. They do not comment or elaborate. They certainly do not tell you how they got the quotes. There is no phrase like “His mother told BBC’s Alan Johnston” or “Sources at the hospital told BBC that the father said,” as you would expect to see in a story that was giving you all the information you need to understand the situation.

Then too, they can always fall back on the soft-racism of lowered expectations. That is to say the filthy, ragged back edge of the multicultural sword is that minorities and other cultures are held to reduced standards of humanity- always low enough so that they cannot fail the test. Do they intentionally kill innocent civilians? Do they endanger their own children by putting them in front of gunmen and hiding their missile launchers in their elementary schools? Oh, ah, that’s understandable. Do they publicly and vehemently call for the death of everyone else in the world that they don’t agree with? Yes, well, I’m sure that’s just a “cultural” thing I’m sure they don’t mean it the way it sounds. Do they teach their children that everyone that does not worship the exact same God in the exact same way is not human- a pig- a monkey- a dog? Hmmm, okay, that’s not ideal but they have a history of treating their slaves and sub-humans with mercy- most of the time, uh well a lot of the time, well, alright… sometimes.

At any rate, it does not seem likely to me that the BBC got the quote directly from the parents. If they did, all the sadder for the parents. Clearly, if a mother and father say the exact same insensitive crap about the (faked and/or staged) death of their son with identical political bravado, it rings no alarm in the minds of anyone and the very politically correct and even more venal BBC.

Coming next: Cynthia Cotts- the least accurate sentence I have yet discovered in a written article about al Dura.