26 April 2015

Gideon Levy and the Other Side

Gideon Levy, the self-appointed Moral Compass of Israel and appointed by others Baron of deceit industry, is a topic that is guaranteed to get me some heartburn. More than enough has been written about this strange critter on these pages.

The linked clip, however, offers the watcher/reader a hitherto undisclosed angle on the workings of Mr Levy's brain and the resulting tunnel vision of the world espoused by the gentleman. The clip in question is a part of a Israeli Hot TV Channel 3 Mehubarim series, recorded in 2012. The circumstances of the recording: Gideon Levy (driving) and his spouse, with their son Uri (a soldier at the time) and his partner drive to Maale Adumim (a "settlement" township near Jerusalem), when a heated political discussion develops.

Transcript of the clip (G - Gideon L., U - Uri L.):

G: Yesterday I had a great experience: a youngster approached me, while I was eating. He is a member of Maale Adumim town council. I told him that tomorrow I'll be again in Maale Adumim and he almost fainted. He couldn't believe that I am coming to a settlement on Rosh Ha Shana [Jewish New Year Eve]. I find it hard to believe too... A minute later, when the... er... things... got a bit heated, I called him a war criminal. And thus I was left to finish my shawarma in peace.
U: You are over the top...
G: Why over the top?
U: Don't you think that your opinions are too extremist?
G: I don't think that my opinions are too extremist. Why do you think they are too extremist?
U:  Because your mind is locked. Because you say "that's it". Because you think that there is no other way... no way, in your opinion.
G: Right.
U: You are not listening, you are not... You are... your opinion is sacred and you can't be moved [from it]. But first you should listen to the other side.
G: But I am listening. The other side says: "Kill Arabs, be strong, live by the sword, murder Arabs"...
U: Do you agree with me that the Arab that launches Qassams deserves to die?
G: Yes, but...
U: Fine, now...
[a few seconds of both parties trying to get the upper hand in the dialog]
U: No, no, no, just answer me.
G: So?
U: Yes or no, simple, without "buts"?
G: Yes.
U: Fine, we have made half of the distance. So write once an article in favor of Israel. Write once that you are happy with the soldiers. That you son is a soldier. Write at least once, what could happen? What - you will get off your mountain?
G: Uri, take a look to your right. Do you see the roadblock, the fence?
U: OK.
G: Behind the fence there are people living there. These are people who sit behind the fence in a prison. These people live like dogs. And while they live like dogs, we'll not fare well.
U: This is what you say...
G: It will be no good for us...
U: Heck, only the last week a Qassam fell on Sderot. Fuck it! What? I know how to shout too! This is what the other side will say: I don't care! Fuck it! Let them live like dogs and let them all die! Why should I care? Fine, you see - everyone can shout, can come and say... Just listen to the other side.
G: Who is the other side?
U: "Who is the other side?" Here, you see? You are not listening, oh God... "Who is the other side"... you are simply locked in your worldview, that's it.
G: I am very locked.
U: The other side is not of interest to you. Tell me I am not right, and I shall slap you. Because you are wrong. You don't care what I am saying.

Yes, the dialog (oh well...) is sometimes incoherent. And yes, I believe that every son (mine included) had this urge to slap his dad a few from time to time (sometimes deservedly), so I am not gloating at this angle of the conversation at all. But the main point for me (the one I have helpfully emphasized in the transcript) is that "other side" view by Mr Levy.

Apparently, according to this view, aside of Gideon Levy, the "other side", meaning 6.5 million non-Gideon-Levy Israelis is a uniformly hateful gang of bloodthirsty murderers, having only one goal: to kill the Arabs. And only one way of living - by the sword.

That's it, ladies and gentlemen. I don't know about you, as far as I am concerned, the case of the Israeli Moral Compass is closed. Enough said.

But: don't forget the following (by Ben Dror Yemini):
...earlier this week I was asked by a young Israeli I do not know personally, how can I sit in a television studio with Gideon Levy, and not boil from indignation. I assured him I was proud to live in a country where there is a Gideon Levy, who writes and kicks freely. Any other option will be worse.
Yep.

24 April 2015

Mary Harf: so young and already in history. Did you harf today, my dear?

Even after a long disconnect from the virtual reality and an overwhelming amount of mess to be cleaned up after a long absence, one cannot pass such a monumental addition to the dictionary unnoticed.
To say or assert something so patently stupid and preposterous as to generate widespread mockery. Named in honor of State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf.
The State Department Spokesperson was harfing on about how Islamic State jihadists only needed job opportunities in order to give up their evil ways.
So, if your wife (or husband or, to be politically correct, any other kind of partner) asks you that question after a long and tiring day - take it easy, it is not like "barfing".

Well, but pretty close, come to think of it.

P.S. Still, let's not forget that Ms Harf is not, strictly speaking, an owner of her tongue. Someone else, much higher up, should have at least a share of the glory.

Hat tip: American Thinker.

31 March 2015

Blogging is going to be light for a while

For the next three weeks or so. Especially if some lazy people don't pick up the slack.
And you all out there: behave!

30 March 2015

Israel as a magnet for foreign journalists

I could source this text only to a Russian FB post. But it clinches nicely with what I know personally about the subject, so...


Pilar Rahola i Martínez - a Spanish journalist, writer, and former politician and MP about her fellow journalists in Israel.

Israel is a magnet for foreign journalists, not because there is more terror than in Mexico, and not because any of the journalists really care about the war of the Arabs vs the Jews. The real reason: Israel is the West. Foreign journalists live comfortably in Israel, they are looking for the slightest excuse for sensational stories with a magnifying glass and created a reputation for Israel, where shooting happens around every corner. Hence, the stay of a foreign special correspondent in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and so on is life-threatening, and the correspondent has to be paid at the higher rate.

At least 100 foreign special correspondents live in Israel permanently, including reporters of Al Jazeera and all this writing and broadcasting community is eating at the restaurants with clean utensils and regular health supervision. No matter whom of my colleagues I asked, no one dares to buy food in the Arab markets, with the exception of Jaffa, where on Saturdays the Jewish throngs gather. I forgot to point out that there are less accredited foreign journalists in Argentina than in Israel, not to mention Mexico and Colombia.

For a pleasant life one has to pay by providing material. As a result, when Israeli border guards kill two Palestinian terrorists, moans and cries rise to high heaven, but when in Mexico the gangsters and the police shoot 20-30 people daily, the wide world doesn't even know about it.

At the end of the reporting Rahola writes: "Israel must undoubtedly be considered a country under martial law. Any other country in this situation will introduce a strict censorship and definitely establish a Ministry of Information. Israel - an exception. In all the years of [Israel's] existence such ministry or government office has not been established.

When people ask me, "How did they live there ?!" - I say, "Okay," - and they say, "You're kidding, right?".

29 March 2015

Operation Charlie Foxtrot

The man uses same noun twice in the quoted below sentence, but a fact is a fact:

In fact, you can say what you want about the origins of the current mess in the Middle East, but the fact that America’s relations with every important country in the region are worse with the exception of Iran is telling.
Or, in an even shorter but all-inclusive description:
The technical foreign-policy term for this is giant cluster-fuck. (In the military’s shorthand, using its own phonetic alphabet, the expression is charlie foxtrot.)
Now read the whole piece (subscription required, but easy with your e-mail address or your FB ID).

28 March 2015

Germanwings Pilot, Andreas Lubitz exposed as a Jewish Mossad Kamikaze agent

Oh well, it was only a matter of time:

Since the crash occurred, a lot of people have come out and claimed that Andreas Lubitz was a Muslim or a Muslim-convert. This is completely false, Mr. “Lubitz” was in fact a German Jew.
And there are tons of proof in the article, like this:
It should be fairly obvious to the seasoned Jew-Spotter that Mr. Lubitz is not a White man. Firstly, let us examine the eye slits of Lubitz, we find that they are small and slit-like. This is a common feature among the Jews, for they are originally from the desert and the eyelids evolved in a way as to defend the eyes from sun glare.
I cannot give you the direct link, since we here don't link to dreck like that, for fear of ITDs, but a search for the headline will definitely bring it up.

But I definitely could give you a link to the author of the piece, one Joshua Mark John Bonehill-Paine. Judging by the double-barreled name and proliferation of other names, it must be a sad result of inbreeding...

But "Jewish Mossad" is a good enough giveaway, without the name being "racially profiled".

So there.

Update: 2 days after publication and already 450 hits on search for the text in the headline. Cool.

When even MSNBC don't buy your crapola...

it is just the time to regroup.

The panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” wasn’t having any of what White House press secretary Josh Earnest was saying about Yemen, calling him out multiple times and putting him on the defensive during a tough interview Thursday morning.

The issue is that Earnest and the administration are touting Yemen, which is in the midst of civil unrest and being overrun by Houthi rebels, as a success story and a model for fighting against terrorism.
Saying that the jobs of various administration spokepersons became more difficult lately isn't saying much...

Yemen as a model or I still don't want Jen Psaki's job


...a reporter asked if the State Department still agreed with President Barack Obama’s September claim that Yemen is the model for his successful counterterrorism strategy.

Spokesperson Jen Psaki answered, “Correct and we stand by that.”
Somebody give the gal a medal. A big one, please...

27 March 2015

King Bibi - the one-eyed man in the land of the blind?

Since this post isn't going to be complimentary to our new/old PM, let's start with a disclaimer: Benjamin Netanyahu is absolutely right in his fight against the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons. Even without the nukes Iran is the hub of destructive overt and covert terrorist and expansionist activities in the Middle East and all over the world, pulling strings and sowing seeds of dissent. Nuclear Iran will become a major nightmare, and those who tend to reduce the problem to Israel only are due for a rude awakening. So yes, everything Bibi says about Iran is true. And this more or less exhausts the repertoire of good things to say about the subject.

Otherwise - but this blog was never too kind to various negative traits of Mr Netanyahu. While not being solely focused on Bibi, as some people are (Ben Caspit of Maariv comes to mind immediately, with his almost obsessive coverage of the "royal" family), nevertheless many unkind (but true) things were said here on the subject. Yes, the man is clearly focused on his political survival at any price, his personal vanity is exceeded only by that of his spouse and his adherence to truth, common moral and elementary decency tend to disappear if his political survival is endangered.

Oh, and on top of all that he is a very poor liar. But this is an established fact since times immemorial, probably since his affair with Ruth Bar. The affair has shown how easily Bibi breaks down when a bit of pressure is applied (after all there was no "in flagrante delicto" recording, and Bibi's public confession was for nothing, as it appeared).

I frequently used Ariel Sharon's characterization of Bibi's inability to withstand pressure, but it is time to document the quote, for instance from this Hebrew source (supported by video recording):
This man generally tends to panicking. Netanyahu is a jittery man that every time folds under pressure and loses his marbles.

I have seen him this way several times. Israel is a special country, here you have to manage the country and to stand up to most complex problems, you need common sense and nerves of steel. He is lacking both.
And the above is not the only occasion when Arik characterized Bibi in this way. So why this reference to the opinion of a man who wasn't without faults himself? Just because Arik's description of Bibi's traits appeared to be prophetic, and also because the traits have never before been taken to such absurd heights as in the last elections campaign. 

Starting with the (in)famous visit and speech in the Congress. As I said at the start of this post, the speech was necessary and a real case of speaking truth to power. But - and this is an important but - the timing and the botched arrangement of the speech have done nothing to alleviate the mutual dislike between the POTUS and Bibi. Rather the opposite - it is so close to hatred now as to be practically indistinguishable - indeed a fine diplomatic coup for a man who was for a very long time gainfully employed in various diplomatic roles. A fine outcome indeed, and the whole country will pay for it for a long time. But Bibi was sure it will be a feather in his hat as far as the coming elections are considered, and nothing could deter him from this act...

Is Obama delusional about Iran? Definitely. Are Bibi's shenanigans the way to turn the tide? Highly doubtful.

And then came the famous pre-election polls, showing a significant lead of the center-left Zionist Camp, and Bibi completely lost it - just as Arik diagnosed. His declaration of no more support for two state solution, aimed at the right wing voters, his alarm at (imaginary) buses the lefties use to bring more Arab voters to the polling stations, aimed at the Jewish population, his overuse of Iranian scarecrow - in spite of the polls showing that voters care more (much more) about the skyrocketing housing prices, his hysterical poaching of voters even from the friendly right wing parties... All that and more was a clear sign of panic. Come what may, Bibi was seeing his political demise, and it scared the crap out of him. Hence the results.

Theses days, after the Pyrrhic elections win, Bibi is feverishly - and not very successfully - mending the broken links, but at least one and most important link - that to the White House - stubbornly refuses to be mended, and there is no single lump payment that will mend it. We all shall pay the price - in many installments over the years to come.

And no, I am not saying that the current state of Obama-Bibi relationships is solely Bibi's fault - far from it, the POTUS (I am ready to bet) is only too happy to use (abuse) the situation. But Bibi has done a lot and more to give the White House sufficient reasons for this state of affairs. And a good part of this just because he broke down and lost his marbles and his common sense - as predicted.

It is a sad fact that a small and resource-less country that has nevertheless excelled in science, technology, agriculture etc, has dismally failed in one area - it failed to produce at least a few political leaders with gumption, vision and coolness to take on the many problems it is faced with. And no such leaders in view, unfortunately.

Too bad.

For desserts: Ashamed of Netanyahu, infuriated with Obama by David Horovitz.

26 March 2015

In Latest Column, NYT’s Friedman Mirrors Administration’s Shift on Iran

This The Tower article summarizes aptly the Friedman's about-turn:
Three years ago, Friedman touted Obama’s toughness in confronting Iran. Now he’s justifying the president’s retreat.
Enough said.

Only one detail: is it my eyes or the TF's nose in the picture is somewhat brown-tinged?

25 March 2015

The most striking aspect of the Israeli spying leak: stupidity

I have allowed myself a slight modification of the Business Insider's article headline. Because Business Insider's Armin Rosen put his finger at the aspect of the matter previously not discussed.

To start with, the original WSJ article that caused the whole brouhaha doesn't contain a shred of proof of Israel divulging secret information of any kind to US lawmakers. On the other hand, as Rosen noticed, it provides proof that American intelligence services continuously spy after the Israeli VIPs:

In fact, the only confirmed spying between allies in the entire piece comes in the course of disclosing the alleged Israeli operation (emphasis ours):
The White House discovered the operation, in fact, when U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted communications among Israeli officials that carried details the U.S. believed could have come only from access to the confidential talks, officials briefed on the matter said.
So US officials disclosed a confidential counter-intelligence operation against an ally in order to float a factually vague accusation that that ally was in fact spying on them.
What can I say to that "unnamed senior source" in the current administration that fed the bunkum to WSJ? Only one thing: don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

And what can I say to WSJ editor responsible for the article? Thanks, buddy, but do look for another job. Just in case, you know...

24 March 2015

The rage and loathing in Washington D.C.

The latest WSJ article Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S. is a triumph of intention over substance, as anyone who read it can testify. The intention in question being that of White House and State Dept: to inflict another painful blow on Bibi.

Let's try to deconstruct the story. First of all, complaints about spying coming from US, whose spying activities were in the last few years discovered everywhere, save (probably) the Antarctic - which is to be still checked with the penguin population - do sound somewhat ridiculous. The people who can't live with understanding that everyone spies on everyone should probably retire to the above mentioned continent. A name of a certain whistleblower that resides in Moscow, if my memory is not deceiving me, comes to mind, as well as names of several European leaders who found a CIA or NSA grubby hand, while trying to retrieve a sensitive document from their own pockets etc. And a face of a certain American lover of photography - but not bird photography, rather that of military objects in Israel, whom I had a pleasure to escort from a military restricted area during my army days - is etched in my memory too... rather an arrogant fellow, if I might add.

But let's proceed with the article: it doesn't (unlike some hotheads initially claimed) state that Israel spied after US diplomats (although it wouldn't have surprised me - see above). It claims that Israel used the intelligence it gained in order to influence U.S. lawmakers against the deal with Iran. Strangely, it offers as proof the facts that could be retrieved from any public source - such as the 6500 centrifuges Iran is allowed to keep - against all reason and sense, it has to be added. And other similar crapola, intended to muddy the waters while the Iranian deal is being criticized by a rising number of Congress members and the tide of criticism is gathering a real bipartisan support.

The last part of the article, unbelievably, delves again into the "insult" caused by Bibi's visit and speech at the Congress. Unbelievably, because it is wondrous to see how long it is considered possible to milk this totally dry cow. And how hyper-sensitive is the current administration to shenanigans of one specific politico out of hundreds.

Amendment: See the comment by Sad Red Earth. I am ready to recognize the fact that Bibi's visit and speech, besides being poorly timed, was a significant insult to the authority and the seat of power of US.  More significant than I estimated from far away.

So the timing and the goals of the new Israel-bashing campaign, as all the previous ones - deserved or not - show without a shadow of a doubt that the current administration surely decided to remove the gloves in its treatment of Israel in general and Bibi in particular.

Not saying that it is totally undeserved where Bibi is concerned, but I am afraid that Bibi alone is already too small a goal for the all-consuming rage of some people in Washington D.C.

Interesting times we are coming to, indeed.

Update. From CNN, of all sources:

Members of Congress were both surprised by and dismissive of a Wall Street Journal story that the Israeli government spied on the U.S.-led negotiations and leaked information on the developing deal to legislators.

More than a half-dozen lawmakers in both parties and chambers denied receiving such briefings from Israel.
And even more titillating, by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker:
I think y'all all understand what's happening here. I mean, you understand who's pushing this out.
Indeed, we do.

Just a good story

In 1921, one of the blackest years in Russian history, painter Boris Kustodiev, who was working on a Portrait of Chaliapin at the time, was visited by two penniless youngsters who asked him to draw their portrait. One of the pair was 27 years old, the other - 25. They promised the painter two things: that they will become famous and that they will pay by a sack of flour. The wise guys got the flour by repairing something at a mill. Kustodiev just couldn't refuse the rare at the time merchandise. And the two heroes of our story had to keep to their other promise.

Nikolay Semenov (on the right) got the 1956 Nobel Prize in chemistry and Pyotr Kapitsa got his Nobel Prize in physics in 1978.

That's all. I couldn't check the particulars of the story, but doesn't it sound good?

Lifted from a FB blogger Lilit Abrahamyan.

Captain Obama and the Great White Whale

This article by Walter Russel Mead is a relatively short concise summary of the state of US-Iran nuclear negotiations and the amazing hardheadedness displayed by the current administration in its seemingly senseless drive toward the goal. Where the goal is illusory, the partner is a proven cheat and the Senate and the Congress are growing more and more united in their resistance to the agreement.

There seem to be four leading scenarios on the horizon. One is that the President gets his deal, somehow steers it past (or around) Congress, and the deal works: Iran becomes our friend and the Middle East gets better. At that point he looks like a genius and the doubts are forgotten. The critics look bad as the United States sails into a bright new day, and President Obama goes down in history as a courageous and visionary peacemaker who stuck to his guns when the going got tough. This seems unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out.

The second is uglier, but more probable. In this scenario, Iran signs a deal, and after an ugly fight, Congress gives it a grudging and perhaps partial OK. Then pundits and policymakers argue for years about whether it was a success or not, the public mostly dislikes it, and the Iran deal, like Obamacare, becomes a pyrrhic victory. The President notches up a win but his party stumbles under the weight of the baggage.

The third possibility is uglier and, based on today’s news from Congress, more probable still. In this scenario, Iran and the President strike a deal, but Congress succeeds in crippling it. Perhaps it passes a bill and then overrides his veto; perhaps it refuses to pass enabling legislation that the Iranians say is necessary. At that point, the deal breaks down, some of the P-5 begin to circumvent the sanctions, and the President will have a big mess on his hands as Iran, perhaps, accelerates its march toward a bomb.

The final possibility is that the Iranians walk away from the deal. That is not a worst case scenario for the President; if there isn’t any deal he doesn’t have to consume the next several months of his presidency in an all-out effort to protect it from Congress. The biggest downside: He will then have to start from close to zero on Middle East policy, and presumably head back to some angry, jilted allies for help even as relations with Iran grow worse.

The President himself gives 50-50 odds for a deal at this point; if he’s right, and if we assume that the other scenarios are equally probable, he has about a 17 percent chance of emerging from this process with a clear win, a 17 percent chance of a pyrrhic victory, and a 67 percent chance of an outcome that will be considered a defeat.
Dispensing with the mathematics above, the prognosis is not good for Obama.

But the article is focused on the internal fallout (no pun intended) of the looming agreement on US internal politics, leaving mostly aside the existential nightmare that is nuclear Iran. The fallout in question might be bad for White House political standing. But the possible outcome is even worse for the world in general and the disparate group of countries in the Middle East that heretofore considered themselves to be US allies in particular.

20 March 2015

Marco Rubio: criticism of White House policy on Israel

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, Likudnik or Labour, whether you support Senator Rubio on other issues or not: here is a brilliant, fact-based delivery of salient points and a scathing response to the propaganda efforts revving up in White House and State Department lately.



Thank you, Senator Rubio.