Monday, July 31, 2006

A Great Anti-Chomskyite Passes Away

French essayist and historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet, perhaps most famous in the english speaking world for his battle against Holocaust denial and his ferocious denunciation of the good professor's defense of denier Robert Faurisson, has passed away at 76. The english-language press seems not to have noticed. For those of you who read French, here is Le Monde's obituary. For those of you who want a taste of Naquet's brilliance as an anti-Chomskyite, here is his most famous deconstruction of Chomsky's morally bankrupt endorsement of Faurisson.

On Cinema

The Australian film magazine Senses of Cinema has published an essay of mine on film director Sam Peckinpah. It might make a refreshing change from the endless reports of war. Enjoy.

Judge-Penitents on Parade

The inevitable cascade of condemnations begins.

The British Independent , for example, published an editorial by Robert Fisk under the title: "How can we stand by and allow this to go on?"

"You must have a heart of stone not to feel the outrage that those of us watching this experienced yesterday. This slaughter was an obscenity, an atrocity yes, if the Israeli air force truly bombs with the 'pinpoint accuracy'' it claims, this was also a war crime," Fisk said.

"Israel claimed that missiles had been fired by Hizbullah gunmen from the south Lebanese town of Qana as if that justified this massacre. Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, talked about 'Muslim terror' threatening 'western civilization' as if the Hizbullah had killed all these poor people," he added.

Another British newspaper, the Guardian , also published an editorial titled: "How can 'terrorism' be condemned while war crimes go without rebuke?"

"Washington's partners in this hypocritical war on terror are given free rein to wreak their own brutal, illegal violence. As if we didn't know it already, the conflict in Lebanon shows that truth and war don't mix. All
parties to the tragedy of the Middle East resort to disinformation and historical falsification to bolster their case, but rarely has an attempt to rewrite the past occurred so soon after the fact.

"Israeli ministers and their supporters have justified the bombardment of Lebanon as 'a matter of survival.' Total war has been declared on Israel, so Israel is entitled to use the methods of total war in self-defense. This would be reasonable if it were true, but it isn't. It's completely false.

"The conflict was triggered by a Hizbullah operation in which two Israeli soldiers were captured and three killed. Let's be frank, this wasn't exactly the Tet offensive. It certainly didn't justify Israel's ferocious onslaught against the very fabric of Lebanese society. Yes, the rocket attacks on Haifa are an appalling crime, but they followed rather than preceded Israel's decision to escalate the fighting."

Let us speak of Britain. A country which I admire and to which I am related by blood. A country which once ran the greatest empire in the world. Which invented the term "administrative massacre". Which annihilated villages and killed numerous civilians quelling rebellions from Ireland to Iraq to India. Which gave Ireland the Black and Tans, who responded to IRA terror by massacring civilians in a football stadium. Which has, in other words, acted exactly had Israel has in the past, and worse.

And let us talk of other nations. Of France, for instance, whose actions in the Algerian War make Israeli tactics look like the innocuous play of children. Which responded to the horrendous threat of a Greenpeace protest to its nuclear tests by dispatching its secret service assassins to sink a boat and kill innocent people. Of Germany, we shall not speak. It is not necessary. Perhaps we should mention Russia or China, but that too is unnecessary. Even the history of the United States, lest we forget, has its dark passages.

Or perhaps we should speak of the Arab street, which showed no compunctions about such slaughters as the Munich atrocity, the murder of schoolchildren at Maalot, the hijacking of uncountable airplanes, the suicide bombings of thousands of civilians, a plethora of unprovoked wars whose only cause was genocide.

The outrage of judge-penitents, who condemn the other while exonerating themselves, is an issue beyond sorrow and regret for unnecessary dead. It is an arrestation of truth. The truth that war is random and terrible, and that innocent people die. And that the mere fact of death, and the dealing in death, is not, in and of itself, an indication of absolute moral purity, or corruption. A fact which, in their apologetics for terror and condemnation of Israel's resistance to it, they have themselves silently accepted, and have silently chosen who and what they will exonerate. And who and what they will condemn.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

This is not purely the work of a lone nut. The Islamic genocidists and their leftist supporters have created the atmosphere of hatred and violence which has led to this incident. It will get worse. One cannot echo Hitler's rhetoric without eventually echoing his actions. The Jewish community in America needs to start pointing fingers in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chomsky Back in the Game

A few posts ago, I wrote:
Perhaps even political evil's foremost apologist has, for the moment, run out of excuses for terrorism and mass murder. Give him some time.
I was right.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In Every Generation...

Something struck me about the statement by Sheldon Drobney in the previous post. It points, I think, to a generational issue which may be significant regarding leftist antisemitism. It is this:
Most of the anti-Semitism comes from racism and most of the racism I have experienced has come from the far right, not the left.
The first statement betrays only Drobney's total ignorance of the history and development of antisemitism. The second, however, may or may not be actually true (liberals have a remarkable capacity to ignore political evil in their own camp) but it is very telling. Because I, a generation or more younger than Drobney, have had the exact opposite experience. All the racism I have experienced has come from the far left. And not only the far left. A liberal preacher at Boston University, a Unitarian church member, an anti-war activist, a professor of political science, all liberals or leftists, all made unmistakably antisemitic statements to me personally. What I have witnessed vicariously, through the media and my own studies, is equally absolute. Every single one of the public figures and movements I have witnessed making antisemitic statements are from the left. The only right wing antisemitism I have encountered has been from brain-impaired skinheads and the occasional statement by David Duke. I did not and do not consider these an active threat to my existence. Liberal and leftist antisemitism, on the other hand, howls at us from organizations and institutions which are prominent, effective, well-financed and influential. The rabbis said that in every generation our enemies rise again to attempt our destruction. They were right. But they should also have mentioned that quite often they wear new and very different masks.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Liberal Delusions

Via LGF, a piece of self-congratulatory delusion by Sheldon Drobney, apparently a major financier of Air America:
So my conclusion is that the bloggers who violently hate Israel and see it in black and white terms are not really liberals. They may even be anti-Semites, but they are not representative of the liberal community that was so active in achieving racial and ethnic equality. It is a contradiction for a true liberal to be an anti-Semite. Furthermore, I would not put it past the right wing to flood the liberal blogs with hateful criticisms of Israel to advance a perception that liberals are anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. And I see Karl Rove's fingerprints all over this.
To use layman's terms: bullshit. Antisemitism is not only representative of the "liberal community," it is the essence of liberalism itself. Liberalism is a bid for power first, and an ideology second. Its advocacy of racial and ethnic equality is, in fact, an expression of the imperialism inherent in liberal universalism. Liberalism must expand, its ambitions are total. Its desire is not, in fact, to make all peoples equal, but to make all peoples liberal. Its desire is not to equalize, but to conquer. When peoples are not liberal, they must be destroyed. This is not confined to antisemitism. Witness the brutal and inhuman racism directed at black and Hispanic conservatives. But in the case of the Jews, we have an absolute rejectionism.

The reason is that liberalism must seek to annihilate the Jews because the very fact of Jewish existence is, in the end, a rejection of the metaphysical totalitarianism at the heart of liberalism. Judaism is particular, rooted in place, uncompromising in its pride and its belief in its unique and divinely connected existence. This is called Chosenness. I am at best an agnostic, but I do not deny Chosenness. It is a fact of history. Albert Camus wrote that "a mission exists for any human group which knows how to derive pride and fecundity from its labors and its sufferings." He was speaking of the working class. He could easily be speaking of the Jewish people. This too is Chosenness. In the eyes of liberalism, this is not only offensive, but an existential threat.

This principle was summed up by the avatars of the French revolution, who proclaimed that the glorious new order of reason would grant everything to the Jew as a citizen and nothing to the Jews as a people. In other words, for the Jew who is not a Jew, everything. For the Jew who is a Jew, who willfully embraces the ephemeral architectures that make him a Jew, nothing. The reason is obvious. It is rooted in the essentially destructive nature of liberalism. Liberalism is based on the rejection of all connections or values beyond the material. We are all human beings, we are all flesh and blood, and this is our only legitimate value. The architectures of the past which make us human are demolished by liberalism, and those who hold to them are considered enemies of the one true faith. Thus, liberalism becomes an inquisition dedicated to the reduction of man to the biological. The medieval Inquisition named its justification the immortal soul. Liberalism calls it equality. It is still, ultimately, only another name for the will to power. And the destruction of those who would stand in the way of its absolute consummation.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

An extraordinary lineup of genocidal Islamic racists and their leftist supporters taking to the streets to call for our annihilation is up at LGF.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It Was Only a Matter of Time

...before the good professor chimed in. Once again, he's being "interviewed" by psychotic pseudo-journalist/corrupted abuser of taxpayer funds Amy Goodman on her show Democracy Now! I'd love a show called Defund Pacifica Radio Now! but I'm sure that wouldn't be high on Miss Goodman's list of priorities. Robbing the American taxpayer is always preferable to democracy if you're the one getting paid.

At any rate, even Chomsky can't seem to bring himself to defend Hezbollah with any passion. His embrace of its leaders just a short time ago seems to have lost its charm. Who knew? Of course, he does manage to blame it all on Israel.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah. Well, he's correct that hundreds of rockets have been fired, and naturally that has to be stopped. But he didn't mention, or maybe at least in this comment, that the rockets were fired after the heavy Israeli attacks against Lebanon, which killed -- well, latest reports, maybe 60 or so people and destroyed a lot of infrastructure. As always, things have precedents, and you have to decide which was the inciting event. In my view, the inciting event in the present case, events, are those that I mentioned -- the constant intense repression; plenty of abductions; plenty of atrocities in Gaza; the steady takeover of the West Bank, which, in effect, if it continues, is just the murder of a nation, the end of Palestine; the abduction on June 24 of the two Gaza civilians; and then the reaction to the abduction of Corporal Shalit. And there's a difference, incidentally, between abduction of civilians and abduction of soldiers. Even international humanitarian law makes that distinction.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what that distinction is?

NOAM CHOMSKY: If there's a conflict going on, aside physical war, not in a military conflict going on, abduction -- if soldiers are captured, they are to be treated humanely. But it is not a crime at the level of capture of civilians and bringing them across the border into your own country. That's a serious crime.
And that's the one that's not reported. And, in fact, remember that -- I mean, I don't have to tell you that there are constant attacks going on in Gaza, which is basically a prison, huge prison, under constant attack all the time: economic strangulation, military attack, assassinations, and so on. In comparison with that, abduction of a soldier, whatever one thinks about it, doesn't rank high in the scale of atrocities.
Not a word, of course, about the Kassams which have been fired on a daily basis from Gaza into Israeli towns, such as Sderot, where one of my best friends lives. Nor the fact that these missiles have been fired for years without a significant Israeli response. Nor the fact that the very presence of Hezbollah on the northern border is a violation of international law and UN Resolution 1559, which has yet to be enforced. International law, it seems, is only of interest to Chomsky when it serves his purposes. Chomsky's breezy dismissal of Iranian involvement in this, despite the use of Iranian missiles by Hezbollah, is hardly surprising. The good professor, as I have noted below, seems determined to allow Iran the time to develop nuclear weapons whatever the cost. Chomsky's denials regarding the Iran-Syra connection are especially fascinating, since this connection is common knowledge in Lebanon and the Arab world at large. The only groups, in fact, who are bothering to deny it are Iran, Syria, and the Western left. Chomsky appears to abrogate to himself the right to engage in pro-Arab propaganda even when it is not pro-Arab, that is, even when the Arab states themselves reject it. No one, it appears, who murders Israelis or Americans can possibly be guilty of anything.

One must assume that Chomsky is citing the instance of kidnapping civilians to refer to Israel's Hezbollah prisoners. This is apparently, the crime "that's not reported", due no doubt to the extraordinary powers of the Zionist conspiracy. Of course, if Hezbollah's war against Israel is legitimate, as Chomsky claims, then those are prisoners of war and not kidnapped civilians. If Hezbollah's war is not legitimate, than Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and, again, Israel's taking of prisoners is legitimate. To Chomsky, of course, the taking of Hezbollah prisoners is illigitimate because it was done by Israel. When adhering to racist double standards one really ought to have the courage to admit to it and not hide behind facile and cowardly pretensions to a hypocritical universalism.

Chomsky is, of course, correct that abducting civilians is different from abducting soldiers. Abducting soldiers is a casus belli, a case for war. To acknowledge this, "whatever one thinks about it", would, of course, demand that Chomsky acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel's military operations. Including those undertaken before the missile attacks. Attacks which are, since they deliberately target civilians, also a blatant violation of international law. Instead, we must be satisfied, it appears, that, like mass murder on the part of leftist regimes, Chomsky considers abducting soldiers to be "not high on the list of atrocities."

Still, it is telling that despite Chomsky's recent hugs and kisses with the Hezbollah leadership, he spends most of his time talking about Gaza. An issue which is, to say the least, not of great significance at the moment. Perhaps even political evil's foremost apologist has, for the moment, run out of excuses for terrorism and mass murder. Give him some time.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The major ground operations seem to have started.
The clashes occurred as the IDF significantly expanded its ground operations in southern Lebanon on Thursday, sending in thousands of troops. Air assaults against Hezbollah targets also continued throughout the day.
And we didn't get Nasrallah yesterday. Here's the proof, courtesy of LGF.

Kofi Annan really needs to return that Nobel Peace Prize. Its becoming embarrassing for all involved.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

There's an article in today's Yediot Acharanot that I can't seem to find online. It has some pretty extraordinary statements that have apparently been coming into the foreign ministry from various secret channels. These are reportedly messages that have come in from Arab countries that do not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, in my loose translation:
From an unnamed Arab ruler:

"I support your actions in Lebanon felt the need to inform you at this hour. You must continue to the end. Many in the Arab world support you." (Literally: "Many sources in the Arab world clasp fingers with you.")


"Continue your military attacks until you erase Hezbollah."

"You will do a great good to Lebanon and to the entire region if you assassinate Nasrallah."

"All who define themselves as moderate clasp hands with you."

"Only Israel has the courage to stand against this man [Nasrallah]."
How accurate any of these are, I don't know. But according to foreign ministry officials quoted in the article they are not surprising or unusual. Curiouser and curiouser, as they say.

War Upends Us

And everybody else, apparently. Check this out:
Without mentioning Hezbollah by name Saudi Arabia blamed certain “elements” inside Lebanon for the violence with Israel and said “it is necessary to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventures adopted by certain elements within Lebanon without the knowledge of legal Lebanese authorities.” While reiterating its support for Palestinian and Lebanese resistance against Israeli occupation, Saudi Arabia has clearly said it is against irresponsible adventures undertaken by certain elements in the region without consulting the legal authorities putting all Arab nations at risk. The Kingdom has also said “these elements must take responsibility for their irresponsible actions and they alone should end the crisis created by them.”

This angry response from Saudi Arabia has politically isolated Hezbollah and Hamas besides holding them responsible for their actions. This attitude of Saudi Arabia, which has been doing all it can to protect the Arab world from Israeli aggression, is enough to unmask the adventurers, who have violated the rights of their own countries and tried put their people under the guardianship of foreign countries like Iran and Syria. A battle between supporters and opponents of these adventurers has begun, starting from Palestine to Tehran passing through Syria and Lebanon. This war was inevitable as the Lebanese government couldn’t bring Hezbollah within its authority and make it work for the interests of Lebanon. Similarly leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has been unable to rein in the Hamas Movement.

Unfortunately we must admit that in such a war the only way to get rid of “these irregular phenomena” is what Israel is doing. The operations of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon are in the interest of people of Arab countries and the international community.
From the Arab Times of all places. Is it possible that the "Arab street" is finally getting tired of its dream of wiping us out? Or is this simply the natural schizophrenia of war?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

One soldier was killed today in a ground incursion into southern Lebanon. The ground phase seems to have begun. Zicaron l'bracha.

The Ghetto of History

A great many voices have been raised in anger over this article by Richard Cohen in which he refers to Israel as a historical mistake. Cohen does not strike me as a hater of Israel. Most of the rest of the article is fairly supportive, but he has clearly accepted a mythology of sorts. A mythology based primarily in an Arab supremacist (or Muslim supremacist, if you prefer) reading of history. The basic premise lies in his opening paragraph:
The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.
This is, of course, a mythology which has, at times, been echoed on the Israeli left and among the "New Historians", such as Benny Morris. It is, nonetheless, wholly racist and rather obviously so.

The mythology states, in effect, that there is no history but Arab history. There is no history but Muslim history. Zionism (and Zionism is what he is talking about here) is an alien force. A bizarre, demiurgical act of violence against the natural development of human events. I must emphasize the artificiality of this mythos. History is not natural. That is, the very idea of history as a natural development, operating under reasonable and autonomous rules, is itself a human creation. It is the Kantian a priori we require to understand the chaotic reality of events. As soon as this architecture of thought takes on the aspect of divinity, and this is what Cohen grants to it, it becomes a weapon, and not a means of knowledge.

What Cohen has accepted is a history as a weapon. A mythos as a weapon. This architecture denies Zionism because it must. Because if history is Arab, or history is Muslim, then history cannot also be Jewish. That is, there cannot be a history of the Jewish people or a Jewish people which acts within history and upon which history acts. This denial ends in the exile of Zionism. In an apartheid history which creates a metaphysical ghetto whose doors are locked upon the Jewish people. We are made unnatural, alien, and perverse. A mistake.

I know what Zionism is. It is difficult to express and even more difficult to explain. I leave it to better writers than myself. Over half a century ago German-Jewish intellectual Walter Benjamin, on the eve of his suicide in the face of inevitable Nazi capture, wrote the following:
A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
This storm is also Jewish history. And the Angel's desire, the desire to awaken the dead, to make whole the catastrophe, this is Zionism. It is the structure of catastrophe formed by these ever mounting debris which makes our history, which demands a reckoning with those who would deny us. Who would return us to the ghettos of history. It is this denial, this rape of history in the name of history, which finds its expression in the mythology which Mr. Cohen has so lamentably chosen to accept.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Read Kishkushim for real time updates from Haifa.
There's a major wave of missile attacks across the north at the moment. It looks more and more like ground forces are going to have to be deployed to deal with this.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just caught a clip of Bush and Blair talking on Channel Two. They didn't know they were being filmed and the results were truly marvelous. Quoth George Bush:
If they just stop Syria from doin' this shit its all over.
Yeah. I really like that guy.
Fox News just reported that the IDF has entered southern Lebanon. Israeli Channel Two is not reporting this at the moment. I'll keep you posted.

So far none of the Hebrew media is reporting this. I'm inclined to think its false.

Apparently there was a brief incursion today but no major ground forces were deployed.
One of the worst things about this current situation (among many) is the anti-Hezbollah Lebanese who are caught in the middle. This blog has some very tough commentary by a liberal Lebanese writer. He's plenty mad at us right now and I would probably feel the same way if I was in his shoes. I wish people like him had the political power to change the situation, but they don't. Someday, I hope they will. Many times, Israel has to act as if it has no friends. I pray that after this is over some of the connections between Israel and liberal Lebanese, and liberal Arabs all over the Middle East, can be repaired. Ultimately, that is the only real hope for this region. As the poet said: "Peace comes dripping slow." At the moment, we fight. Tomorrow...
Here's an interesting interview with Natan Sharansky, one of the more extraordinary human beings alive today (you try surviving seven years in a Soviet jail). He thinks that Israel has a very short window of opportunity to destroy Hezbollah before world opinion forces us to stop. I'm not entirely convinced of that, since I think Hezbollah is just dumb enough to keep attacking us until they're completely crippled by our retaliation. However, the increasing outcry about the damage being done to Lebanon will be a major political factor. He has some very interesting things to say about the contrast between Olmert and Sharon. I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but he knew both men, so don't take my word for it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

According to Israeli Channel Two at least two of the workers killed this morning in Haifa were Israeli Arabs. Apparently, Hezbollah isn't only a gaggle of pestilential fanatics, they're also incredibly stupid.
My friends over at Kishkushim have moment by moment updates on the missile attacks in Haifa. Take a look.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Moment of Clarity at the UN

Courtesy of Kesher Talk and Vital Perspective, here is Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman telling it like it is before the reprehensibles of that highly lamentable organization. Its an extraordinary statement and I fully recommend sending it to as many people as you can. I reproduce it here in full:

Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, let me take you back to a warm summer's day in Beirut 32 years ago -- exactly this very significant day for you and your people -- the 14th of July, 1974. I want to describe the scene to you and to my Lebanese colleague. Cafes and bars bustling with young people, beaches filled with happy holiday-makers -- the Switzerland of the Middle East.

How different this scene is from the one on Beirut streets today, 32 years later. But this difference did not start this week or last year. The difference started only one year after the scene I just described, in 1975, when the Lebanese began their long dissent into oppression, depression and terror. This is a country that has been held hostage for more than 32 years by tyrants from the north and terrorists in the south, a country whose fun-loving, business-minded entrepreneurial and liberal population has been tormented by decades of oppression, sectarian strife, fundamentalist violence, religious conflict, Syrian control, political assassinations, terror, and full- fledged civil war...

In May 2000, Israel took the painful and politically difficult decision to fully withdraw from southern Lebanon, having been compelled a few years earlier to establish a security zone there in order to prevent terrorist attacks and rocket-shelling from Lebanon into Israeli towns and villages. This council acknowledged Israel's complete withdrawal from southern Lebanon and its full compliance with Security Council Resolution 425 in a presidential statement on June 18th, 2000.

This was Lebanon's moment of truth. Would its government look inward and free its people from the stranglehold of terror, or would it allow its territory to become a base from which Hezbollah terrorists would launch attacks against Israeli civilians.

Tragically, Mr. President, the Lebanese government chose the latter.

The Lebanese government got a second chance after the partial implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, which resulted in the withdrawal of most Syrian forces from Lebanese territory. Again, this council and the entire world were waiting to see how Lebanon would respond to this historic opportunity. Yet again, unfortunately, the Lebanese government chose to succumb to terror rather than vanquish it, to let its southern region be occupied by terrorism rather than disarm it, and to relinquish control over its country rather than exercise its full sovereignty.

Seldom before has the description of a people as never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity been so apt. Lebanon sadly did not heed the demands of the international community and did not obey the repeated resolutions of this aghast council. Today, sadly, the Lebanese people are burying the costs of this inaction and ineptitude.

Mr. President, two days ago Hezbollah terrorists, operating with impunity in southern Lebanon, unleashed a sudden and unprovoked attack into Israeli territory. Scores of Katyusha rockets rained down on Israeli towns and villages, causing many civilian casualties. In the midst of this horrific assault, Hezbollah terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing a number of soldiers and kidnapping two more, who were taken deep into the terrorist stronghold of southern Lebanon. Israel had no choice but to react, as would indeed any other responsible, democratic government.

Having shown unparalleled restraint for six years while bearing the brunt of countless attacks, Israel had to respond to this absolutely unprovoked assault, whose scale and depth was unprecedented in recent years.

Let me emphasize this indisputable fact -- Israel's actions were in direct response to an act of war from Lebanon. Although Israel holds the government of Lebanon responsible, it is concentrating its response carefully, mainly on Hezbollah strongholds, positions and infrastructure.

The hundreds of Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon in the last few days demonstrate the magnitude of the immense arsenal of rockets and weapons that Hezbollah has amassed over the last few years, a danger we have repeatedly warned against. Many of the long-range missiles that have hit Israeli towns, including Nahariya, Safed, Rosh Pina, and the port city of Haifa, were launched from private homes, with families residing inside, where a special room was designated as a launching pad, with a family playing host to the missile. This is yet another example of the cynical and brutal way the Hezbollah organization uses civilians as human shields, with complete disregard for human life.

Mr. President, over the last 48 hours, more than 500 Katyushas and mortar shells were fired into the northern part of Israel, killing two civilians and wounding hundreds more, among them women and children. Israeli civilians and eight soldiers have been killed, hundreds have been wounded.

It is very important for the international community to understand that while Hezbollah executes this vicious terrorism, it is merely the finger on the bloodstained, long-reaching arms of Syria and Iran. Hezbollah, together with Hamas, Syria and Iran, comprise the world's new and ominous axis of terror, an infamous club -- infamous club, the entry fee to which is the blood of innocents and the terrorizing of the entire world.

Membership to this club requires an unfathomable capacity for evil. The president of Iran has repeatedly denied the Holocaust, while gleefully preparing the next one. Many of the long-range missiles fired into Israel in recent days were Iranian missiles, made by the same regime that is now trying to possess nuclear weapons, the same region that is funding Hezbollah to the sum of $100 million a year.

Do we dare to ask ourselves how many families in Lebanon today are being prepared to house dirty bombs and other weapons of mass destruction courtesy of Iran?

Syria, another member of this club, is a well-known protector and financier of terrorist organizations, playing host to them in its capital, Damascus. The Syrian government, which still regards Lebanon as "southern Syria," works ceaselessly to undermine all efforts towards a peaceful future in the region.

Lebanon is today occupied by terror, whether in the south, where it is directed at Israel, or in Beirut, where it kills opponents of Syria and former prime ministers. The real occupying power in Lebanon is terror, terror instigated by Hezbollah, but initiated, funded and perpetrated by Syria and Iran.

The Lebanese government, having missed so many chances in the past, at such a horrendous cost to its people, today has another chance to free itself from the stranglehold of terror, another chance, Mr. President, to release itself from the evil control of Syria and the deadly influence of Iran, and deploy its forces in the south, exercising its sovereignty over a free Lebanon.

Mr. President, there are words that speak far louder and clearer than anything I can voice today. These are voices of Lebanese -- brave, patriotic Lebanese parliamentarians and ministers who, just over the last two days, have cried out to all of us from the brink of the abyss in their beloved country. Let me quote some of these courageous statements to you.

The words of Lebanon's communications minister, Mr. Marwan Hamadeh, only yesterday saying that -- and I quote -- "Damascus gives the orders, Iran supplies the equipment, Israel reacts, and Lebanon is the victim."

Or the words of Alias Attala (sp), a Lebanese politician representing the majority of its parliamentary members, and I quote, "We welcome any Arab and international support, but strongly oppose any enforced involvement of Lebanon by regional players' considerations" -- a reference to Syria and Iran -- "that are not within the interests of the Lebanese people, for the sole attempt to achieve opportunistic benefits at the expense of the Lebanese people. The Syrian regime indulges itself in teaching Lebanon and Palestine lessons according to its own interests through these peoples. Why do those who always protect their regime express understanding of its reasons and preferences and do not express any understanding of Lebanon's reasons and preferences?"

Or the words of an unnamed Lebanese minister who said, again only yesterday, and I quote, "The Hezbollah has not only kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, it has taken the whole of Lebanon hostage," end quote.

Mr. President, with your permission I would like to make a personal appeal to my esteemed Lebanese colleague.

Your Excellency, you know deep down that if you could you would add your own brave voice to those voices of your brave compatriots and colleagues. You know deep in your heart that if you could you would be sitting here right next to me right now because you know that we are doing the right thing, and that if we succeed, Lebanon will be the beneficiary. And I believe that most members around this table, as well as many in this chamber, including our neighbors, realize this reality.

Mr. President, this council and the international community have a duty today to help the Lebanese people achieve the goal of a free, prosperous, democratic Lebanon. The sad and tormented life of this war-torn land has today entered another sad chapter in its history. It is up to every one of us to help right this chapter to ensure that this opportunity is seized not only for the benefit of the Lebanese and Israeli people, but for the sake of generations to come.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Guardian's coverage seems pretty typical. Almost the entire article deals with Shia supporters of Hezbollah and their "defiance" of Israel (which involves supporting unprovoked acts of war like kidnapping soldiers). Other groups are mentioned as if in passing and then only to note that they're fleeing the country. From this article you'd never know that the majority of Lebanese are not supporters of Hezbollah. Hezbollah was, after all, the only political group in the country which opposed the Syrian withdrawal, an issue which brought thousands of Lebanese into the streets. Apparently, the only voices worth mentioning are those which hate Israel and support acts of terrorism. This is the Arab world according to the Guardian. And I thought they were anti-racist...
Ha'aretz has the details on the overnight attacks in Lebanon. Things were extremely tense yesterday. The newspapers all had "WAR" as their headline in massive block letters along with pictures of the dead and kidnapped soldiers. News kept trickling in all day about more attacks in the north, culminating in the rockets that hit Haifa, which is a major escalation on the part of our friends across the border. The worst part was waiting to see what our response would be, so now that its happened things may calm down a bit. I don't think the Lebanese government has the power or the will to stop Hezbollah on its own, so Nasrallah would seem to have overplayed his hand. He doesn't seem to realize that the possibility of the Lebanese army de-escalating the situation was his only chance to get out of this moderately intact. Big Pharaoh has some very interesting commentary from our fellow anti-Chomskyites in the Arab world. I wouldn't be shocked to see major Israeli ground incursions into southern Lebanon over the next few days. Oddly enough, the silent majority of Lebanese who don't support Hezbollah may not be too unhappy with this. I await the "international community"'s inevitable condemnation.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hitting the Fan

The you know what is flying thick and fast these days. Michael Totten, it appears, is prescient. I'm not sure what is going to happen now, but major operations in the north and in Gaza are certainly on the agenda. Seven soldiers were killed this morning and two kidnapped. The IDF has been retaliating along the northern border all day. A major reserve call up is underway. That usually indicates a large scale operation in the making. Meanwhile, Gilad Shalit is still in the hands of God knows who and they are likely doing things to him neither you nor I wish to contemplate. A boiling point is coming. What the response will be, I don't know. The world seems have grown somewhat bored with bashing Israel on a constant basis, and may have moved on to some other, more fashionable whipping boy. We can only hope. One thing is certain: the situation is bad and its about to get a lot worse.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Obvious Ignored

The Good Professor has recently weighed in on the side of appeasement (of course) in relation to Iran and its prospective nuclear weapons program. The text is rather chilling, and well worth examination, if only for an abject lesson in academic double-talk. As per usual, Chomsky asserts that everything is the fault of the United States.
A near-meltdown seems to be imminent over Iran and its nuclear programmes.

Before 1979, when the Shah was in power, Washington strongly supported these programmes. Today the standard claim is that Iran has no need for nuclear power, and therefore must be pursuing a secret weapons programme.

Thirty years ago, however, when Kissinger was secretary of state for President Gerald Ford, he held that "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran’s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals". Last year Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post asked Kissinger about his reversal of opinion. Kissinger responded with his usual engaging frankness: "They were an allied country."
Chomsky, of course, loathes Henry Kissinger as only a Jewish antisemite can loathe another Jew; especially when said Jew manages to be successful in precisely the arena in which the antisemite has the most unjustified and yet vociferous pretensions to expertise. We are bound to point out the rather obsequious obvious: Namely, that anyone in their right mind wishes an allied state to be stronger than an enemy state. And that, moreover, to ensure such a situation is the sworn duty of any Secretery of State. Chomsky, as ought to be clear, desires America's enemies to be stronger than its friends, since such an imbalance holds out the possibility of America's destruction. But, as with all courageous intellectuals who speak truth to power, he lacks the courage to say that openly. This refusal to acknowledge blatent implications extends to the most salient of Chomsky's denials: the nature of the Iranian regime.
Iranians are surely not as willing as the West to discard history to the rubbish heap. They know that the United States, along with its allies, has been tormenting Iranians for more than 50 years, ever since a US-UK military coup overthrew the parliamentary government and installed the Shah, who ruled with an iron hand until a popular uprising expelled him in 1979.
There was, of course, an undeniable popular uprising against the Shah. There was also a coup d'etat on the part of a theocratic minority that destroyed all collaborators in the uprising excepting itself and installed a totalitarian Islamist government. Chomsky rather desperately erases this essential event. In fact, Chomsky spends a total of seventeen paragraphs explicating his stentorian opinions on the Iran nuclear crisis without mentioning even once the nature of the Iranian regime. This is an omission of convenience, no doubt, but it is so immense in its implications that omission becomes a meaningless evasion: it is, in fact, a despicable and extraordinary lie. It is an essential lie, however, as it allows Chomsky to evade, for instance, the series of protests which have intensified over the past several years against the Iranian regime. All brutally put down by its theocratic rulers and completely ignored by self-styled guardians of human rights such as Noam Chomsky. But its true meaning is as a granting of indulgences to what inevitably follows.
There are ways to mitigate and probably end these crises. The first is to call off the very credible US and Israeli threats that virtually urge Iran to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent. A second step would be to join the rest of the world in accepting a verifiable Fissban treaty, as well as ElBaradei’s proposal, or something similar.
It is, of course, pointless to mention that it is not Israel which has threatened Iran but quite the opposite. Indeed, violating every principle of Chomsky's precious international law (which is, for Chomsky, merely a tool of his own hypocrisy) Iran has threatened Israel with genocide. Chomsky generally claims to disapprove of genocide, although we must grant that he shown himself remarkably sanguine on the subject so long as the correct ethnic/religious/political group is being slaughtered. We all, apparently, have our little contradictions. Nonetheless, this deliberate ommission clearly does not strengthen his case. In fact, it rather ungenerously points to its absurdity. A man with a good case to make does not need to engage in lies in order to justify it. Chomsky, as per usual, admits the paucity of his opinions by way of the method by which he justifies them. Such is the cost of an engaging lack of frankness.

Nor are we prone to granting much credence to Chomsky's other proposals. He claims, for instance, that negotiations will be sufficient to allieviate the crisis. This ignores, of course, the apocalyptic nature of Iran's ruling ideology, as well as the precedents of history. Chomsky's legendery genius has apparently failed to appreciate the example, for instance, of North Korea, which made several "good faith" agreements regarding its nuclear program only to announce (as any anti-Chomskyite could have predicted) that they had violated them all and produced nuclear weapons. At which point, of course, there was nothing anyone could do about it short of nuclear war. This is, apparently, and despite his claimed horror of nuclear apocalypse, of little concern to Chomsky. The capacity for Armageddon appears to be of little consequence to Chomsky so long as it is in the correct hands. In the hands, that is to say, of those who are enemies of the United States and are therefore prone to attempting to use said capacity against the America Chomsky loathes. Or the Israel Chomsky loathes. The two countries are, in any event, almost interchangeable in Chomsky's mind.

What all this blubbering points us to, however, is a true intention. What Chomsky wants for Iran is not a peaceful solution (because he obviously knows, judging by his deliberate omission of it, that the nature of Iran's regime precludes the possibility of a peaceful solution) but time. Which is, of course, precisely what Iran is playing for. Chomsky wants talks without threat of sanction and agreements with no possibility of enforcement. Without the credible threat of military consequences, such would be the conditions of any talks or agreements. What this amounts to, in other words, in the case of Iran is several more years in which to develop its nuclear program. Chomsky is either a fool (which he may well be) or he knows this already. If the latter is true, then we may assume that Chomsky's role is not that of observer but that of collaborator. What he desires is, essentially, to do everything possible to insure that nuclear powers hostile to the United States and Israel, governed by regimes mad enough to make use of said nuclear power, will come into existence with as little harassment as possible. Hegemony or survival indeed.