Archive for ‘israel’

August 9, 2009

Hope and Change, Middle East Edition

Just as the apotheosis of Obama means we’re on the verge of economic recovery — no matter what the unemployment rate — it also means that peace is just around the corner:

The status of Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state is a red line that no Palestinian leader is permitted to cross, President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction declared in the West Bank on Saturday.
According to Israel Radio, the Fatah general conference, which convened in Bethlehem for a three-day gathering, adopted a position paper which also states that the Palestinian national enterprise will not reach fruition until all of Jerusalem, including the outlying villages, come under Palestinian sovereignty.
Fatah, which rules the West Bank but was ousted from power in Gaza by the Islamist Hamas movement, also ruled out any interim agreements with Israel.
“Fatah will continue to sacrifice victims until Jerusalem will be returned [to the Palestinians], clean of settlements and settlers,” the paper states.

Via Memeorandum. At Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer says:

If Obama can force Israel to make enough concessions, they will surely end their jihad against the Jewish State — won’t they? All the learned analysts are just sure of it, so it must be so.

Right. One of the most stubborn follies of the past four decades — and I’m old enough to have watched the 1967 Six-Day War on the 6 o’clock news — is the bien-pensant notion that the essential problem in the Middle East is Israel.

There was a time when nearly all Democrats were staunchly pro-Israel, when even most liberals understood that Arab hatred of Israel was incited by the Soviets as part of a proxy campaign of Third World “wars of national liberation” against the West, and when most people could grasp the significance of the fact that Israel was attacked by enemies armed with MIGs and Kalishnikov assault rifles.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, people in the West seem to have forgotten that history. Now, the American foreign-policy establishment is dominated by alumni of elite “Middle East Studies” programs infested with the likes of Rashid Khalidi and Hamid Dabashi, the Columbia University heirs of Edward Said.

Therefore, “respectable” opinion about the Middle East now endorses the Fatah/Hamas/Hezbollah agenda, which can be summarized in two words: Kill Jews.

The successors of Yasser Arafat have their own American academic echo chamber, so that anyone who opposes their genocidal agenda is automatically accused by “learned analysts” of being an AIPAC stooge. And the Democratic Party is now controlled by what we might reasonably describe as the Sirhan Sirhan Caucus.

June 30, 2009

If Andrew Sullivan is not stupid . . .

. . . he must be trying to deceive people. No alternative explanation works, when he describes me thus:

Robert Stacy McCain, a supporter of the genocide of Palestinians in Israel, in a blog-post that has to be one of the most single-mindedly bigoted diatribes I have read. And I’ve read a few.

So says the Trig-Truther impressario of The Atlantic Monthly, in honoring me with yet another “Malkin Award” nomination, my fourth since February. Earlier today, I paused for a moment to pray and Andrew may therefore be an angel unaware. God bless you, sir, for providing me this opportunity to elaborate on important principles of rhetoric.

Right-click that “genocide” hotlink up there, and choose “open in new window” from the pulldown menu so that you may read Andrew’s Feb. 20 post in a new browser window. (Alt+Tab to toggle between the two.) Andrew quoted this:

Swear to God, if [the Israelis] ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be “forward march” and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order “about face” would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.

To which Andrew replied, “Words fail.” No, sir. Perhaps your understanding fails, but words do not.

“If” is the largest two-letter word in the English language, proposing a contingency or hypothetical. If Andrew Sullivan were hung like porn star . . .

The more farfetched the hypothetical, the more we should consider what follows “if” to be hyperbole, that is to say, an expression carried to an extreme. Argument by hypothesis always involve the risk that some dullard will fail to grasp the point being expressed and incorrectly suppose that one actually desires the scenario described.

Therefore, it becomes unfortunately necessary to reveal that my campaign to become the first Gentile prime minister of Israel was intended as a jest. Furthermore, my tactical plan for Palestinian “genocide” (actually, Andrew, it would be mere ethnic cleansing, since they’d have the opportunity to flee the advancing IDF bayonets) was a hyperbole, a sort of verbal clue that the reader had reached the punchline.

There is truth in humor, of course, and anyone who wishes to read the entirety of my Feb. 20 post may attempt to discern what truth I meant to express. The title and first paragraph:

Glenn Greenwald: ‘No anti-Semite could
possibly hate me worse than I hate myself’

Well, that’s the subconscious meaning of his latest column in his ongoing effort to win the Nobel Prize in literature with his wicked satire of a stereotypical self-hating Jew. . . .

Greenwald is one of these people who has never seen a fight between a Jew and an Arab for which he did not blame the Jew. My Feb. 20 post begins by discussing a category of critics of the U.S.-Israel alliance that includes some of my paleocon/libertarian friends, remarking that one cannot dismiss all such critics as anti-Semites: “The world is more complex than that.”

Being notorious myself, I hesitate to attach the evil stigma of anti-Semitism, an implicit accusation of mala fides, on those who are attempting to offer serious comment on serious matters of policy. Whether it’s James Pinkerton, Pat Buchanan or Taki Theodoracopulos, only conclusive evidence of irrational and irredeemable Jew-hatred will suffice.

Perhaps I am too tolerant in this regard, just as I am too patient in hoping that David Frum will reconsider his “Unpatriotic Americans” anathema against Robert Novak, et al. Similarly, I may perhaps be too hopeful that there is still within Andrew Sullivan’s soul some shred of conscience that would cause him to retract the accusation that I am an advocate of “genocide.”

This essay will be extended over the next several hours. I had other things I meant to do today, but it seems the angels meant otherwise. So if you’ll do me a favor, refresh this post in a couple hours. Meanwhile, the waitress has arrived with your check. (Click the link, buddy. She’s a hot redhead.)

UPDATE: My buddy tipped the waitress in a respectable manner, but a certain resident of Connecticut — maybe Ed’s got a thing for redheads — doubled that tip. My gratitude to both these gentlemen, and to the several others who know how To Insure Prompt Service. Hope you’re all enjoying this latest spectacle, which now continues . . .

Kathy Shaidle is the Only Canadian Who Matters, a woman of such excellent character that I am tempted to forgive the Northern Menace for foisting Neil Young upon us. Lead me not into temptation.

It was she, the diminuitive Canadian, who seized upon the “Ransom Note Method” as the key to understanding a certain species of ad hominem by which the Left cuts-and-pastes various remarks and assembles them into a dossier of distortion, like a kidnapper gluing together a ransom note.

The primary purpose of such an attack is to depict the target — among others, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin have both received this treatment — as a person of such despicable sentiments, guilty of such vile hatreds, that no respectable person can view them as anything but a bogeyman, a demon, an agent of evil.

For decades, the “Ransom Note Method” has been employed against the Left’s enemies, living and dead, and has repeatedly achieved not only its primary purpose, but also its secondary purpose: To intimidate and confuse the Right, to cause them to ostracize those conservatives who are most dangerous to the Left, and to discourage other conservatives from engaging in direct confrontation with the ideological foe.

Kathy don’t scare easy. To quote our hero J. Coddington Van Voorhees VII (“Coddy,” to his friends), I like the cut of her jib. And now that a few people have begun to discern the methods and objectives of the Ransom Not Method, the method’s effectiveness has been permanently impaired. It will soon be destroyed entirely and the Left will be deprived of one of its most reliable weapons.

You assholes picked a fight with the wrong Canadian. Kathy was called a “racist” for her full-throated criticism of Canada’s Orwellian political correctness, so that the book she co-authored cannot even be purchased via Amazon. But she has friends, among them Mark Steyn, and with friends like that, she can handle as many enemies as may come against her.

Welcome to the Camp of the Saints. Hit the tip jar, and come back in an hour or two, because I aim to make sure you get your money’s worth, folks:

“My God, Scarlett O’Hara!” said Tony peevishly. “When I start out to cut somebody up, you don’t think I’ll be satisfied with scratching him with the blunt side of my knife, do you? No, by God, I cut him to ribbons.”
Gone With The Wind

UPDATE 4:05 p.m.: James Joyner is an extraordinarily insightful writer, and when he calls me “perhaps the most skilled attention whore in all the blogosphere,” my instinctive reaction is, “Perhaps?”

Dr. Joyner began blogging in January 2003, when the ‘sphere was as tiny and helpless as little Trig Palin, and his excellent Outside the Beltway blog has grown along with it. The Good Doctor therefore may not appreciate the difficulties confronting a writer who got 6,000 visitors in March 2008 — his first month of full-time blogging — and who did not aim to fail at this new endeavor.

“Attention whore”? Heh. This implies that I would compose a quite risky 1,500-word analysis of anti-Palinism merely to gain attention. (Check the gazongas on that redhead!) Yet it is a fact, one which too many journalists fail to appreciate, that there is no point writing something if no one is reading it.

Dr. Joyner comes from an academic background where entire careers are devoted to that sort of writing. If my prose style is . . . engaging, this is surely no sin in the realm of commercial writing. But I did not come here to argue with my dear friend James, rather to eviscerate Andrew Sullivan. (Just a figure of speech, a metaphor, a bit of engaging imagery to whet the appetite of the reader who is encouraged to suspect that Sully’s intestines will be displayed in the next update, in about an hour.)

UPDATE 4:52 p.m.: Before that interruption, I was discussing principles of rhetoric, namely, if you’re going to attack a man, destroy him.

Don’t shilly-shally around. Don’t snipe or gossip or kibbitz or damn him with faint praise. Be a man about it, and take him head-on, determined that when you finish, there shall be nothing left of his reputation except a smoldering crater and the hushed awe of the spectators.

To do otherwise is to advertise yourself as a soft target. That this principle could be applied to Israeli’s response to rocket attacks from Gaza might make Andrew Sullivan pause, if he were a thoughtful man. Or hung like a porn star.

Ken Layne’s attack on Sarah Palin, involving her son Trig, was astonishingly sadistic. I saw it at Professor William Jacobson’s blog — the Professor quotes it in full, so that you don’t have to click over to Wonkette to see it — and immediately forgot whatever it was I had planned to do before I saw it.

What could motivate Layne’s wanton viciousness? What did Sarah Palin ever do to him to deserve that? Rather, what could anyone ever do to provoke such cruelty? Nothing. Layne’s attack was a raw specimen of undiluted evil.

It reminded me of similar specimens of evil, also involving the governor and her infant son. Motherhood is among the many institution our society once revered, but which are now widely mocked and derided. As I pondered what sort of response Layne might deserve, I thought about that: Why is it Sarah Palin’s maternal qualities that Layne and others like him choose to attack?

A horror and hatred of . . . the “birth canal”?

UPDATE 5:44 p.m.: Hate to repeat myself, but . . . Heh. No point knocking yourself out, eliciting accusations of being a “single-minded bigot,” if nobody’s going to read it.

“Attention whore” or not, as I contemplated Layne’s attack on Palin, the exposed flank was clear. Like others, he seemed offended by motherhood.

Q. What manner of person would do this?
A. A vicious cocksucker.

Now, I have occasionally remarked on the forms of misogyny characteristic of gay-male culture. Others have made similar observations. There is a type of woman that gay men typically venerate — The Diva, e.g., Cher, Bette Midler, Liza, Madonna — and there are types of women that gay men typically despise, perhaps none more than that unglamorous stereotype, the frumpy housewife. If you add the descriptor “Christian” to “housewife,” it’s like chumming the waters near the Great Barrier Reef.

Why is this so? In Principles of Logic thirty years ago, our professor warned against any statement containing “all” or “always,” “none” or “never” (a danger that is best illustrated by Venn diagram). Nevertheless, one might describe the general attitude toward women in gay-male culture, without fear that this description could be fairly characterized as applicable to every gay man. Therefore . . .

Gay men have mother issues — and all that proceeded from there. And having written that and put it on the Internet, now I see that Andrew Sullivan finds fit to accuse me of advocating Palestinian “genoicide.” As Dana Carvey’s Church Lady might say, “How convenient.”

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful . . .

This essay can be extended and, if you refresh this page in about an hour, I think it will be. Do you really think I’m merely an “attention whore”? Or do you suppose that there is some reason I wanted your attention? Let the wise consider, and please hit the tip jar.

UPDATE 6:42: Referencing my discussion of gay culture’s influence in the fashion industry, a conservative blogger left a link to this:

Ladies, a question. Why did you allow gay men to become the arbiters of feminine beauty? Seriously, I want to know. Letting Penis Hilton judge a beauty pageant is like me asking Rosie O’Doughnuts for advice on how to be a real hunk . . .
Ladies, before I hear any more whining about society’s horrendous standards of beauty, consider who sets them, and consider who lets the deciders decide. . . .

Indeed, the artificial standards of the fashion industry are . . . unmerciful, you might say. Look at the ads in Cosmo. How many hetero guys consider anorexic 6-foot-tall heroin addicts to be ideal? Show of hands. Anyone?

Perhaps no skill is more important to survival than the ability to distinguish between a friend and an enemy. An honest enemy is less to be feared than a false friend. Military aircraft carry a signal device known as IFF (“Identify Friend or Foe”) the purpose of which is to prevent friendly-fire incidents, and to enable pilots to know that the enemy in their sights is indeed an enemy.

Women who turn to Cosmo seeking friendly advice are fools, as I explained years ago. And one of the basic problems in politics is quite similar. Republicans are forever listening to “friendly” advice from people who aren’t really their friends.

Ask Sarah Palin about that. She joined Crazy Cousin John’s campaign last year and found herself surrounded by arrogant know-it-all “advisers” whose advice struck her as wrongheaded, and now those same advisers appear as anonymous “campaign insiders” in vicious hit-pieces aimed at destroying her future viability as a candidate.

If Andrew Sullivan wants to be my enemy, this is his choice. I pity him too much to hate him, and his animosity harms me not at all. I wish he wouldn’t accuse me of genocide, but this ludicrous accusation hurts his credibility, not mine.

There were other things I might have added here, and perhaps I’ll add more later. But I’ve got to read this Vanity Fair article and see if I can deduce the identity of the sources. Then a nap, maybe, before preparing for my trip to Alabama.

Please tip your waitress. (Look at those gazongas!)

UPDATE 7:05 p.m.: If you criticize Somali immigrants for harassing a gay man, is your hatred of homophobia perhaps a form of xenophobia? Or is it just regular racism?

Whatever happened to multiculturalism, for crying out loud?

How dare you try to impose your values on those Somalis?! This is eliminationist rhetoric!

May 11, 2009

Pope walks out after Muslim cleric goes on anti-Jew rant during ‘interfaith dialogue’

Via Instapundit and Gateway Pundit, the Jerusalem Post:

Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, launched a poisonous verbal attack at Israel at a Monday night gathering attended by Pope Benedict XVI. . . .
Taking the podium after the pope without being on the original list of speakers scheduled for the evening, Tamimi, speaking at length in Arabic, accused Israel of murdering women and children in Gaza and making Palestinians refugees, and declared Jerusalem the eternal Palestinian capital.
Following the diatribe and before the meeting was officially over, the pope exited the premises. Army Radio reported that the pope shook Tamimi’s hand before walking out.
The Pope was immediately denounced as a “Eurofascist” and a “notorious Pamela Geller sympathizer” by the Little Green Footballs blog.

I might have added that last part.

February 22, 2009

‘My mind immediately focused on Rule 5 . . .’

. . . says Elder of Ziyon, as he brings us Arab babes. So everybody on Rule 5 Sunday must now do a Rule 2 and link him.

Alas, the Elder is insufficiently learned in the sultry ways of the daughters of Ishmael — or, as I call them, “Gee hotties” — for he hath neglected the ultimate in Arabic babehood. Gentlemen, in hope of a lasting agreement, The Other McCain is proud to present: Miss Egypt 2006, Fawzia Mohamed:

It’s part of my Mideast Piece Initiative, and I think that men of goodwill everywhere will agree that this ought to be occupied territory.

February 22, 2009

Israeli Cultural Primer

“Quick synopsis of every Jewish holiday: They tried to kill us; we won; let’s eat.”

February 22, 2009

Obama’s Durban agenda

Carolyn Glick in the Jerusalem Post:

[S]ince the stated purpose of the Durban II conference is to oversee the implementation of the first Durban conference’s decisions, and since those decisions include the anti-Israel assertion that Israel is a racist state, it is clear that the Durban II conference is inherently, and necessarily, anti-Israel. . . .
[B]oth the State Department and the White House must realize that they are powerless to affect the conference’s agenda is because that agenda was already set in previous planning sessions chaired by the likes of Libya, Cuba, Iran and Pakistan. And that agenda includes multiple assertions of the basic illegitimacy of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. . . .

Read the whole thing.

February 20, 2009

Glenn Greenwald: ‘No anti-Semite could possibly hate me worse than I hate myself’

Well, that’s the subconscious meaning of his latest column in his ongoing effort to win the Nobel Prize in literature with his wicked satire of a stereotypical self-hating Jew.

Now, I am friends with some of the writers Greenwald names as contributors to The American Conservative, a publication to which I have twice contributed myself. I understand well what a world of evil is involved in the business of denouncing as anti-Semites all critics of Israel, all critics of U.S.-Israeli relations and all critics of U.S. Middle East policy. The world is more complex than that.

David Frum has recently expressed regret that he and others paid insufficient heed to Iraq war skeptics, but he’s never apologized for his “Unpatriotic Conservatives” smear that impugned Bob Novak among others. Oh, that the Bush administration had included some of those “unpatriotic” voices, to counterbalance the “Cakewalk Ken” Adelmans!

Some would accuse Frum of having been biased on the issue of the Iraq war because he is Jewish and Saddam Hussein was hostile to Israel. Frum would naturally be expected to defend himself as having been concerned only with U.S. interests, and to argue that our alliance with Israel furthers U.S. interests. Many other Americans, Jew and Gentile alike, believe the same thing. The arguments for and against that position have been expounded at great length. That is not a debate I wish to revisit here and now.

What I do want to say is this: If Frum were pro-Israel purely because he himself is Jewish, such a sentiment would be entirely healthy, normal and defensible. I expect Sean Hannity to care more for Ireland than for Iceland, and I expect Barack Obama to care more for Kenya than for Cambodia. The Jew who is proudly Jewish, the Arab who is proudly Arab — these are men I admire and understand, even if I wish their ancient quarrels didn’t continually result in hatred, murder and wars that cause me to pay more for a gallon of gasoline.

By God, I remember when gas was 39 cents a gallon and I believe in my heart that if the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac could live in peace, we would get back to 39 cents a gallon again. (Providing, of course, President Palin’s first executive order in 2013 is to round up the environmentalist nitwits and ship them to Gitmo, where they belong.)

On the other hand, if some of the more atavistic descendants of Ishmael continue vowing to kill every Jew they can get their hands on, then it behooves every Jew with any sense of honor to respond: War to the knife, and knife to the hilt.

When you’re a Jet, you’re Jet all the way. Certainly American Jews can disagree over the wisdom of Israeli policy, considering that the Israelis disagree amongst themselves. But to denounce Israel as guilty of “terrorism” for responding forcefully to repeated rocket and mortar attacks by those Hamas thugs in Gaza, to denounce Marty Peretz’s defense of Israel as “uniquely despicable” — this is what Greenwald has done, and in so doing has covered himself with dishonor.

The effect of Greenwald’s discourse is that Israel can undertake no meaningful action against her enemies without being condemned in similar terms. If it were within Greenwald’s power to enforce his policy preferences, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and every other half-baked cabal of terrorist crackpots would be able to kill Jews with impunity.

The terrorists have no intent or purpose — no political philosophy or policy aim — that cannot be summed up in two words: Kill Jews.

If Glenn Greenwald can’t see that, he’s blind. And if he sees it, but would deny Israel the right to fight back against genocidal hatred, he’s perverse.

But perhaps I’ve told you something you already knew.

UPDATE: Greenwald (who’s obviously got Google alerts for all his sockpuppet pseudonyms) accuses me of “trite little condemnations so predictable and over-used that one almost falls asleep reading them,” while mocking as “adolescent” Jeffrey Goldberg’s response:

[H]e knows that I’m not a revanchist Zionist, but falsely accuses me of being one anyway. What a putz.

Does that make me a “revanchist Zionist” or what? Swear to God, if they ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be “forward march” and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order “about face” would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.

That’s my “Middle East peace plan,” and until it’s carried out, there will be no peace.

UPDATE II: Excuse my extremism, but if you’re going to conquer the land, by God, conquer the land. This was kind of the point of my citing Sherman in response to Greenwald during the Gaza war. The South, really, should be grateful that men like Grant and Sherman finally determined to win the war. Otherwise, the headlines would still be all about the latest “incident” in Nashville or the “uprising” in Charleston, with the United Nations dithering about whether to impose sanctions and crap like that.

While I’m opposed to federal tyranny — and boreal supremacy — you cannot end hostilities fighting by half-measures. A hard war brings a more durable peace. Notice that the Comanches haven’t scalped any settlers lately?

UPDATE III: “Words fail.” — Andrew Sullivan.
UPDATE IV: Under Rule 2, I’m required to link Donald Douglas at American Power., who is the actual neocon chickenhawk Sully’s readers think I am. In fact, I’m just nucking futz, but if you ever hear the Knesset debating whether a Gentile could be prime minister . . . Dude, it’s only a hypothetical. Even Likud would never be that crazy.
UPDATE V: Noted Middle East policy scholar E.D. Kain finds me suffering from “both an inherent lack of understanding regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, and an unhealthy degree of bloody, American-made machismo.” Look, E.D., no need to be so coy. If you want to see the notorious Speedo pic, just say so.

UPDATE VI: As someone pointed out in the comments, I did not win the Malkin Award, but was merely nominated. True. You’ve got to admit, though, The Peace Through Total Annihilation Plan sets the bar pretty high. So I’ve ordered my gown from Bob Mackie and am practicing my acceptance speech (“I’d like to thank the Academy . . .”) in anticipation of the star-studded gala.

Earned my own Memeorandum thread, “Links of the Day” honors at Kingdom of Idiots, “Quote du Jour” at Alas a Blog, and Moe Lane weighs in:

Remind them about their new pro-torture stance! That’s always good for extra spittle.

Moe’s blog-fu is impressive.

UPDATE VII: Welcome Instapundit readers! What Professor Reynolds may not realize is that if they let me be prime minister, he’ll be my defense minister. But first he’s got to get himself one of those cool Moshe Dayan eye patches. Because chicks dig that. (And if anybody wants to hit the tip jar, be my guest!)

February 12, 2009

What the Israeli elections mean

(BUMPED) I don’t know, but Noah Millman is doing the parliamentary math. Based on his math, I figure a 65-seat Likud-led coalition makes the most sense. But what do I know?

UPDATE: Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Elections, shmelections!” (Click the link, guys. Trust me.) More seriously, Allison says:

[S]imple arithmetic shows that the right-wing bloc is significantly larger than the left-wing bloc . . .

A Likud-led coalition, it seems to me, would be more stable than a Kadima-led coalition and thus would be in a better negotiating position with the Palestinians, etc. But again, what do I know?

January 18, 2009

Ceasefire in Gaza

Israel runs out of fish in the barrel:

Israel called off its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, saying Hamas was “badly beaten,” but the Islamist group vowed to fight on in a war that has killed 1,200 Palestinians in the coastal enclave.
Within minutes of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announcing that a unilateral ceasefire would start three hours later at 2 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Sunday, several missiles struck southern Israel.
“Conditions have been created whereby the goals set at the launch of the operation have been more than fully achieved,” Olmert said in a televised address from army headquarters.
He said Hamas’s ability to fire rockets at southern Israeli towns also had been severely limited.

Noah Pollak at Commentary:

Hamas is responding to the announcement with fresh barrages of rocket fire. Israel has recently been under immense international pressure to stop the offensive, including substantial pressure from the U.S. The unilateral nature of the cease-fire should be read in the context of Israel’s (and Egypt’s) desire to avoid direct Israeli negotiations with, and thereby the legitimization of, Hamas. By acting unilaterally, Israel affirms this policy of diplomatic isolation.

The timing of the ceasefire — two days before Obama’s inauguration — tends to confirm my original gut-hunch feeling that the Gaza war was Israel deciding to give Hamas a good ass-whupping before the beginning of a U.S. administration that Israeli leaders view as pro-Palestinian.

Which is not quite the same as “I question the timing,” however. I’m not suggesting anything conspiratorial, just summarizing the most obvious geopolitical considerations involved. And, yes, “ass-whupping” is a phrase you don’t see often enough in discussions of geopolitical strategy.

UPDATE: Ehud Olmert:

“Hamas did not foresee Israel’s determination and its seriousness in bringing about a change of the reality in the region,” he said. “Hamas’s leaders did not believe that Israel would launch an operation of this scope on the eve of the elections. Hamas did not foresee the strength of the military attack, and more than anything else, it did not foresee the results,” he said.

The results? An ass-whupping for Hamas.

UPDATE II: Hugh Hewitt: You know who this ceasefire is good for? Mitt Romney Benjamin Netanhayu.

UPDATE III: Linked at Cold Fury.

January 15, 2009

Israel and ‘the race card’

Ross Douthat:

It’s also worth noting that “race card” debates takes place in a different political context than “anti-Semitism card” debates. In today’s America, there simply aren’t any major political actors taking explicitly racist/segregationist positions, and in recent national elections the race debate has largely moved beyond even the arguments over racially-charged issues like busing, affirmative action and crime, and into the realm of symbolism and subliminal messaging. The debate over Israel, on the other hand, takes place in a context in which explicit anti-Semitism – anti-Semitism as policy, that is, and with at least a somewhat eliminationist edge – is a live and potent political force

I would argue that anti-Semitism is increasingly tolerated for the same reason that anti-white rhetoric and anti-American rhetoric are tolerated. Whatever that reason is, these phenomena are clearly related, since you see so many people like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright dealing in all three.

The Jew, the white man, the American — we are equally scapegoated by the same people. There is a Camp of the Saints situation developing, and those creating this situation are the Wrights and their abettors.

UPDATE: Daniel Larison sees matters otherwise, and I’m really not in an argumentative mood now. Perhaps he should take it up with Phyllis Chesler.