ZOIDBERG's blog

The Shame Of It All by Daniel Gordis

The Shame Of It All
March 7, 2008

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There were days, and they were not that long ago, when Zionism was about something
different. Days when Zionists could articulate what the purpose of Jewish Statehood
was, days when Israelis understood that having a state was about changing the existential
condition of the Jew. Not anymore.

Hayyim Nachman Bialik, writing in 1905 shortly after the slaughter in Kishinev,
understood that the very essence of Jewish existence had to change. What else could
he possibly have been saying in his epic poem, "The City of Slaughter" (scroll down to the two paragraphs that begin with the lines
"Descend then, to the cellars of the town"), when he describes the mass rape scene in
which Jewish women are helpless victims and Jewish men are powerless to intervene? In fact,
for Bialik, the villains of the scene are not the Cossacks; rape and murder are simply what
Cossacks do. The problem with what happened in Kishinev, Bialik intimates with his
bitter irony, rests with the Jewish men. It's bad enough that they were too weak
to intervene, to defend their wives, their sisters, their mothers and their daughters,
though that is clearly lamentable. But worse than that, they were too frightened
to even try. And even worse than that, Bialik says, is that when the slaughter
and the butchery were over, these men looked down at the broken bodies of the women
that they had supposedly once loved, and instead of holding them, instead of telling
them that they still loved them, instead of assuring them that they would take care
of them no matter what, they gazed at these violated, half-dead women, and saw a
halakhic question. "Is my wife," the Kohanim in Bialik's poem want to know, "still
permitted to me?"

Staying to Help in Iraq By Angelina Jolie

washingtonpost.com

Staying to Help in Iraq
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance,
from us and others, can have an impact.

By Angelina Jolie
Thursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders,
the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the
departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of
innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in
many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United

Sarkozy's Brave Move by Thane Rosenbaum

The New York Sun


Sarkozy's Brave Move

BY THANE ROSENBAUM
February 25, 2008
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/71759

President Sarkozy's honeymoon with the French people may have finally come to an end over, of all things, the Holocaust.

After an all-too-public divorce from his wife, Cecilia, followed by a tabloid-assisted romancing of a former supermodel and present pop star, Carla Bruni, now his new wife, the French president's approval ratings have declined and there is widespread disappointment of his management of the economy — all of this in just the first eight months that he has been in office.

Yet, the piece de resistance of Mr. Sarkozy's stumbles may have come last week when he announced a decision to require all fifth grade students to learn the story of one of the 11,000 French Jewish children murdered by the Nazis.

Mr. President, Don't Forget Iran by Christopher HItchens

The Wall Street Journal

OPINION

Mr. President, Don't Forget Iran
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
February 19, 2008; Page A19

Dear Mr. President: A few months ago, it became possible to hear members and supporters of your administration going around Washington and saying that the question of a nuclear-armed Iran "would not be left to the next administration." As a line of the day, this had the advantage of sounding both determined and slightly mysterious, as if to commit both to everything and to nothing in particular.

That slight advantage has now, if you will permit me to say so, fallen victim to diminishing returns. The absurdly politicized finding of the National Intelligence Estimate -- to the effect that Iran has actually halted rather than merely paused its weapons-acquisition program -- has put the United States in a position where it is difficult even to continue pressing for sanctions, let alone to consider disabling the centrifuge and heavy-water sites at Natanz, Arak and elsewhere.

When you can't deal with the devil By Spengler

Asia Times ~ Oct 30, 2007

When you can't deal with the devil
By Spengler

A year later than I expected, the drumroll has begun towards a
Western attack on Iran's nuclear capability. Despite the best
efforts of Western diplomacy, the "moderate" option in Iranian
politics expired last week with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's
triumphal consolidation of power.

A combination of economic distress and external threats, Western
capitals hoped, would strengthen the position of the loser in Iran's
2006 presidential elections, Hashemi Rafsanjani, and external
pressure would undo the decision of the Iranian electorate. At best
that would have been a deal with the devil; unfortunately, the devil
was not returning phone calls last week.

The Counterterrorism Club By Thane Rosenbaum

The Wall Street Journal

COMMENTARY

The Counterterrorism Club
By THANE ROSENBAUM
July 18, 2007;
Page A15

Last week, Germany, a relatively unscathed contestant in the game of radical Islamic roulette, publicly debated the antiterrorism proposals of its interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. The law under consideration would permit the government to engage in online searches of computers and to shoot down hijacked planes. Mr. Schäuble also recommended the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists and the assassination of terrorist leaders abroad.

Persian Puzzles By Bret Stephens

The Wall Street Journal

GLOBAL VIEW
By BRET STEPHENS

Persian Puzzles
June 19, 2007; Page A16

'Neo-Cons to plot Iran strategy amid Caribbean luxury." Thus did an Internet sleuth describe a conference convened late last month in the Bahamas by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies -- a think tank so sinisterly right-wing that its board of advisers includes Donna Brazile and Chuck Schumer.

Had our sleuth been at the conference, he might have been disappointed to find that nothing by way of bombing coordinates for the pending attack on Iran's nuclear installations were presented. On the contrary, the 30 or so conferees -- Iranian-born intellectuals, Middle East scholars, journalists and former officials from Democratic and Republican administrations and foreign governments -- could agree on little other than that Iran is a uniquely aggressive regime intent on becoming the predominant power in the Middle East. As to how best to confront it, the conference raised more questions than it answered. Here's a partial list:

Inadvertent Truths by William Kristol

The Weekly Standard


Inadvertent Truths
George Tenet's revealing memoir.
by William Kristol

05/05/2007 12:00:00 AM

George Tenet's At the Center of the Storm is a self-serving and often whiny recollection of his time as director of central intelligence. Among other failings, the author seems to have fabricated the story that frames his discussion of the Iraq war, an impossible meeting with Richard Perle at the White House on September 12, 2001--impossible because Perle was in France on that date and remained there for three days. The context he provides for his famous "slam dunk" comment makes it arguably more damaging to his reputation rather than less. And yes, it's a bit rich to read the former CIA director's complaints about unfair leaks when a small group of unelected bureaucrats from his agency, including some close to Tenet, leaked almost daily against the White House. Clearly, President Bush made a mistake by retaining Tenet, a Clinton appointee, in the job for the better part of his first term.

Can Petraeus Pull It Off? by Max Boot

The Weekly Standard

Can Petraeus Pull It Off?
A report on the progress of our arms in Baghdad, Baqubah, Ramadi, and Falluja.
by Max Boot

04/30/2007, Volume 012, Issue 31

The news from Iraq is, as usual, grim. Bombings, more bombings, and yet more bombings--that's all the world notices. It's easy to conclude that all is chaos. That's not true. Some parts of Iraq are in bad shape, but others are improving. I spent the first two weeks of April in Baghdad, with side trips to Baqubah, Ramadi, and Falluja. Along the way I talked to everyone from privates to generals, both American and Iraqi. I found that, while we may not yet be winning the war, our prospects are at least not deteriorating precipitously, as they were last year. When General David Petraeus took command in February, he called the situation "hard" but not "hopeless." Today there are some glimmers of hope in the unlikeliest of places.

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