A New Republic blogger last week pronounced the president’s foreign policy record “hawkish.” This is especially odd, given Barack Obama’s ongoing attempt at persuading himself and the world that he had altered the model of international relations so that it now worked by talk and suasion. This is probably how his enthusiasts—and young enthusiasts, especially—still experience him. Illusions die hard. But even Obama can no longer be wholly persuaded by this, his own fantasy.
I. A year has passed since liberal America and the liberal opinion class, in particular, went ecstatic over the Arab debut into the modern world. I know that my standing in that class is suspect. So, being a bit flummoxed myself by the not altogether dissimilar developments in the vast expanse from the Maghreb to Mesopotamia, I conquered my doubts and made a slight stab for hope. But I quickly realized that I was wrong and left the celebration.
That is a simple fact, no matter what the apologists, paid and unpaid, say. And what they are not immune from is murder activated by politically motivated killers. It almost doesn't matter who the victims are. It's the numbers that count, the bigger the better. Yesterday, Stephen Lee Meyers reported in the New York Times that at least 49 hopefuls for the police academy were blown to smithereens in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town. Meyers wrote that the ministry of the interior had announced that there had been 60 dead. The reporter's own number for the wounded and maimed was 116.
It is a sour irony that there were no Palestinians around to claim the Arab state that the United Nations had bestowed on them at the end of the 30 year process of making separate polities from what once was the Ottoman Empire. As it happens, Palestinian nationalism (such as it was, and it wasn't much) was not a contender for the land at all.
It happened when I wrote about Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as a paradigmatic instance of moral and intellectual backwardness in the ultra-ultra-orthodox communities of Israel. On the day that I wrote I'd noted a headline and article in the Jerusalem Post: "'Sinner' singer given 39 lashed by rabbis." I have no idea whether the rabbis involved were in the circle of "Ovadia", as the grand rabbi is called by his faithful who are many, or not. But the sin for which the singer, Erez Yechiel, was sentenced and, in fact, punished was to have performed in front of a "mixed audience" of men and women.
Actually, almost no one should be surprised that a member in high standing of the “human rights internationale” and a Scandinavian besides resorts to such scummy language when talking about Israel. The London headquarters of the world-wide organization seemed to be in a panic, as reported by Benjamin Weinthal in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post.
There's a fascinating dispatch in Ha'aretz reporting that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear to President Obama that he doesn't want Israel's naval blockade against Hamas lifted. This should be no surprise, and it raises difficult questions for both America and the meddlesome Europeans who can produce nothing diplomatically but hot air. In fact, why doesn't Europe attend to its own terrible problems, among which are the survival of the Eurozone itself and the very liquidity of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland? What does that mean? Leave Israel alone. But it won'
In fact, just hours and days after the NGOs of Gaza—a motley group made up largely of pacifists who happen to admire and support Palestinian violence against the Jews— celebrated the ephemeral propaganda victory of Hamas over the Israel Defense Forces, the command of the mainstream Jihadist fanatics shut down the offices of some self-styled human-rights organizations. The Muslim extremists also confiscated files, computers and other records. There was particular emphasis in the seizures on women’s health and educational organizations. Why not?
I am a little embarrassed to be so self-referential this morning, but I am going back to my Spine from yesterday, “The Relentless Facts of Palestine.” Vice President Biden knew he had to calm the waters in Israel a bit. And he did. So, to an audience at Tel Aviv University--said by some to be comparable to Cairo University, where President Obama delivered his June 4 speech, and which saying tells you how little most people understand the real differences among universities--Biden delivered the reassurances that probably nobody expected: “U.S.
Everything is narrative. And the present “responsible” narrative, we are told, comes from President Obama. It’s too bad he knows very little about the intrinsic history of the dispute or about its present contours, which, after all, he--in his arrogance, vanity, and suave--has done much to make both sides more rigid rather than more amenable to compromise. (Actually it’s at least three sides if you count Hamas-controlled Gaza, which the president blithely ignores ...