The beheadings over the last several weeks were intended to terrorize, to intimidate, to coerce obedience, and to enforce a construction of sharia law that, being scripturally rooted, is draconian and repressive.
And let’s not kid ourselves: We know there will be more beheadings in the coming weeks, and on into the future. Apostates from Islam, homosexuals, and perceived blasphemers will face brutal persecution and death. Women will be treated as chattel and face institutionalized abuse. Islamic-supremacist ideology, with its incitements to jihad and conquest, with its virulent hostility toward the West, will spew from the mosques onto the streets. We will continue to be confronted by a country-sized breeding ground for anti-American terrorists.
The Islamic State? Sorry, no. I was talking about . . . our “moderate Islamist” ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
But the confusion is understandable.
September 19, 2014
Israel’s detractors engage in moral inversion, falsely accusing Israel of crimes and sins that the enemies of the Jewish state commit. In the recently concluded summer war of 2014 between Israel and Hamas, the usual clique of UN organizations, human rights groups and media organizations accused Israel of recklessly causing disproportionate civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, while paying less attention to Hamas crimes against both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch demanded investigations of Israel for war crimes and called for embargos against the Jewish state. But a web site that specializes in military analysis, DefenseNews, describes innovative Israeli tactics that significantly reduce civilian casualties. The article quotes Israeli Brig. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Israel Air Force chief of staff, who explained that
Protective Edge marked the first time fixed-wing fighters were used as dedicated assets to division- and brigade-level forces.
“Over the last year, we drilled in a very substantive way with the ground forces and we built a process where our fighters could attack at much closer distances … We did this hundreds of times during the operation.”
The result according to Norkin was that Israel was able to far surpass
an international average of five innocents killed for each targeted terrorist. He said preliminary data from Protective Edge indicates “we’re slowly closing in on numbers of one to one.
Norkin went on to explain,
“When there are residential buildings of three, four and five floors, and the civilians are already evacuated, fixed-wing precision air power is most effective. … I’m talking laser, [joint direct-attack munitions], all of them,”
Norkin’s claims received support from an American analyst of the use of air power and an Air Force general.
Ben Lambeth, a veteran air power author and analyst formerly of Santa Monica-based Rand Corp, said the response time and ranges that Israel claims to have conducted constitute a clear and possibly unprecedented achievement.
Retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula said Israel appears to be headed in a very good direction. “Anything that reduces time, increases accuracy and drives down miss-distance is all good,” he said.
Will the media cover important post-conflict analysis?
Scotland rejects the two state solution. Backed by the nuclear armed British army, navy and air force, the once sovereign state of Scotland is to continue as just another large neighbourhood of the United Kingdom.
Israel has so many great friends amongst the Scottish people (we assume) because the ones we who make the most noise don’t seem to like the prospect of an independent homeland for the Jews remaining here.
Lets hope that Yvonne Ridley’s dream of a “Zionist free zone” in Scotland is now sunk too.
And let us not forget that Scotland is the original place of creation of George Galloway(heaven help them). Perhaps they’re glad he no longer lives there.
Nevertheless, overall it would appear the majority of people in Scotland still think that rule by the British Empire is preferable to self determination under people like Alex Salmond who got in a bit of a twist last week seemingly equating Israel and ISIS.
So it seems that independence is not the answer to everything and having one’s own state, even for a people who have a long, distinct history; an absolutely clear and recognisable culture; their own specific ancient foods (not only deep fried, battered, Mars bars); what amounts to a unique and distinct language (I canneee understand Glaswegians I tell yeeee), is not the best thing in the world. Ever.
So farewell then Scottish Indipendence,
We knew you well,
even if you didn’t know yourself,
well enough to say.
It was No.
Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world.
Is it any surprise that, like the vermin that take over a ruined city, the heirs to this self-destroyed civilization should be the nihilistic thugs of the Islamic State? And that there is no one else who can clean up the vast mess we Arabs have made of our world but the Americans and Western countries?
No one paradigm or one theory can explain what went wrong in the Arab world in the last century. There is no obvious set of reasons for the colossal failures of all the ideologies and political movements that swept the Arab region: Arab nationalism, in its Baathist and Nasserite forms; various Islamist movements; Arab socialism; the rentier state and rapacious monopolies, leaving in their wake a string of broken societies. No one theory can explain the marginalization of Egypt, once the center of political and cultural gravity in the Arab East, and its brief and tumultuous experimentation with peaceful political change before it reverted back to military rule.
Nor is the notion of “ancient sectarian hatreds” adequate to explain the frightening reality that along a front stretching from Basra at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to Beirut on the Mediterranean there exists an almost continuous bloodletting between Sunni and Shia—the public manifestation of an epic geopolitical battle for power and control pitting Iran, the Shia powerhouse, against Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse, and their proxies.
There is no one single overarching explanation for that tapestry of horrors in Syria and Iraq, where in the last five years more than a quarter of a million people perished, where famed cities like Aleppo, Homs and Mosul were visited by the modern terror of Assad’s chemical weapons and the brutal violence of the Islamic State. How could Syria tear itself apart and become—like Spain in the 1930s—the arena for Arabs and Muslims to re-fight their old civil wars? The war waged by the Syrian regime against civilians in opposition areas combined the use of Scud missiles, anti-personnel barrel bombs as well as medieval tactics against towns and neighborhoods such as siege and starvation. For the first time since the First World War, Syrians were dying of malnutrition and hunger.
A security official in the Lebanese city of Baalbek said Saturday a suicide bomber blew himself up near a Hezbollah checkpoint in the Khraybeh area in the Bekaa Valley.
“The Hezbollah fighters at the checkpoint were all killed” and a number more nearby were wounded, he added, without saying how many there were in total.
Lebanon’s National News Agency said three people had been killed at the checkpoint, without specifying that they were fighters.
Earlier, the government announced that a soldier had been executed by Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda.
The soldier “was killed by terrorist groups who threatened to kill other hero soldiers in captivity,” Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said after meeting security officials.
One of Al-Nusra’s Twitter accounts announced that the group had killed the soldier it was holding hostage.
But in the meantime, two years have passed. While Kerry wasted at least 13 journeys here, which showed just how wrong the Americans were in understanding the Middle East, Syria became a den of jihadist murderers, Iraq fell apart and ISIS grew stronger, along with the Islamic defiance to forcibly establish an Islamic caliphate aspiring to reach Western Europe and the United States as well. Kerry should have dedicated this time to the real problems, not to the imaginary problems, and everyone in the Middle East followed this waste of time and drew their own conclusions.
There is no wonder that the coalition the Americans are now recruiting is agreeing to take shape only through words. Washington’s inability to understand the Middle East is still deterring, because for the local elements, misunderstanding means an existential danger. The Obama regime’s misunderstanding is keeping every potential partner away from this coalition, as it is afraid that it will also be betrayed and abandoned by the Americans, as usual.
Last month, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman published an essay in Tablet highlighting how, and why, news organizations get Israel so wrong. The AP’s Jerusalem bureau, where Friedman used to work, was the subject of much of his criticism. He argued that the bureau stuck to a preexisting narrative of Israeli extremism and Palestinian moderation. One of his examples that his former employer stifled stories that presented a divergent narrative came from 2009, when two of his colleagues had a story about a peace proposal from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Palestinian leadership rejected. Both the Israelis and Palestinians confirmed this, but editors pulled the piece.
Steven Gutkin, the former AP bureau chief in Jerusalem, who hired Friedman in 2006, wrote a response in which he denied the charge that the story was pulled due to editorial bias, asserting that the information discovered by the reporters, namely a map depicting a proposed land swap, was old news. (Friedman addressed Gutkin’s response here on the Scroll last week. Gutkin has since published a rebuttal.)
Now, Mark Lavie, a former colleague of Friedman’s at the AP in Jerusalem and the author of Broken Spring, has weighed in, identifying himself as one of the reporters involved in writing about the 2009 peace offer blog post directed to Gutkin. He confirms Friedman’s account of the story being pulled.
I’m not named in Matti’s article, either, but I am the “furious” one who discovered the Israeli peace offer in early 2009, got it confirmed on the record and brought it to you. You banned me from writing about it. That is by far the worst journalistic fiasco I have been involved in, and we’re talking 50 years of journalism here. No denials on your part can erase the truth–and this is the truth: The AP suppressed a world-changing story for no acceptable reason. I am not ascribing motives to the decision–oh, hell, of course I am. It fit a pattern, described by Matti, of accepting the Palestinian narrative as truth and branding the Israelis as oppressors.
While the AP hasn’t responded in any official capacity to Friedman’s essay—and neither Friedman, Gutkin, nor Lavie work there anymore—his arguments have clearly touched a nerve.
As a liberal American Jew, I’m tired of apologizing for Israel’s actions regarding its own security, and as of last month, I’m done with it. I’m done for the following two reasons: my eldest child, Sam, motivated by a desire to do something more meaningful than argue about religion, policy and politics, is currently serving as a lone soldier in the IDF, and he spent much of July in Gaza, as part of a team dismantling terror tunnels. In New Jersey, where the rest of his family lives, we didn’t know, from one day to the next, if we’d ever see him again. The second reason is that Israel, despite its highly imperfect record (unlike that of, say, America or France or England or Pakistan or Kenya or Argentina…) is the world’s sole guarantee against another frenzy of murderous hatred against my people, a hatred that is once again raising its voice, and fists, not only among the dispossessed Muslim residents of Europe, but, most especially, in the official organs of the chattering, and highly influential, classes—so much so that the off-hand remarks of my long-ago dinner companion seem almost reasonable.
Why is it so hard for the world to wake up to its blindness and see that once again it’s easier to focus on the moral shortcomings, real or imagined, of Jews, than to grapple with actual slaughter? From the point of view of the Muslim nations, I get it: let Israel take the heat for the crappy conditions and even worse governance under which vast numbers of Muslims live. Easier to blame Jews than to run your own country with a modicum of basic human decency.
Saxophonist John Coltrane would have been 87 years old today, had he not passed away from liver cancer in 1967. This untimely death means the icon is preserved at the peak of his artistic powers. As both a fiery tenorman and a sensitive balladeer, Coltrane inspired hundreds of thousands of musicians, from Kenny G to Iggy Pop, to do vastly different things in his name.
That dichotomy is often ignored in tributes because few musicians can successfully bridge that breadth of emotion, and even fewer listeners are willing to entertain such variety. In honor of his birthday, here’s a list of ten recordings (in chronological order) that show why Coltrane has few equals, despite the fact that his recording career that lasted less than twenty years.
Keep on reading. There are tunes to listen to too.
In 1973, the great Israeli diplomat Abba Eban famously said, “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” With great respect, I must disagree. Ambassador Eban, who earned a “triple first” at Cambridge, was the personification of the liberal scholar-statesman. Steeped in the traditions of the European Enlightenment, he interpreted Arab conduct from his own vantage point, from which people naturally take advantage of opportunities that would improve political, social and economic conditions for themselves and their children.
The Arab and Palestinian leadership, however, has never viewed the prospect of improving the lives of Palestinians as an “opportunity” – at least if that improvement might have the side-effect of undermining the Palestinians’ continuing challenge to the Jewish state and the claimed right to “return” to Israel. Not even their own fundamental interests to live normal lives have trumped that mythic goal.
This destructive mindset has a long history.
Someone please stop this man.
We mean billionaire philanthropist David Koch, who had the temerity Thursday morning to break ground for a new wing of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
The ground-breaking for the David H. Koch Center for ambulatory care was a quiet affair, a notable change from this spring, when the $100 million gift was first announced. Back then, the New York State Nurses’ Association and SEIU Local 1199 protested the gift with signs that read, “Quality Care, Not Koch Care!”
That’s right: The same groups who usually march against hospitals for closing were outraged that one was expanding. Plainly, it galls them that ordinary people might see these gifts for what they are: the generous donations of a good citizen.
In an interview with Crain’s this month, Koch was asked why his name is on so many of the projects to which he donates. He answered as follows:
“Left-wing Democrats highly enjoy calling me an evil Koch brother, and the contributions I make in these many areas are tremendously worthy. It sends a message to the political groups in this country that don’t like the conservative Republican businessman.”
Maybe the tide is turning. Little more than a week ago, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney appeared at a dinner honoring Koch for the new Metropolitan Museum of Art plaza he’d funded, and both she and Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler took part in a ceremony to mark its opening.
Here’s our question: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Kochs are “un-American.” What does that make the New York Democrats who show up to honor him?