Aesthetics, morals, community.

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How Israel Was Disarmed by Bret Stephens

The Wall Street Journal


How Israel Was Disarmed
News analysis from the near-future.

By BRET STEPHENS

Jan. 20, 2010

NEW YORK—When American diplomats sat down for the first in a series of face-to-face talks with their Iranian counterparts last October in Geneva, few would have predicted that what began as a negotiation over Tehran's nuclear programs would wind up in a stunning demand by the Security Council that Israel give up its atomic weapons.

Yet that's just what the U.N. body did this morning, in a resolution that was as striking for the way member states voted as it was for its substance. All 10 nonpermanent members voted for the resolution, along with permanent members Russia, China and the United Kingdom. France and the United States abstained. By U.N. rules, that means the resolution passes.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade by Siobhan Gorman

The Wall Street Journal
SEPTEMBER 4, 2009

How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade

By SIOBHAN GORMAN

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- From a Silicon Valley office strewn with bean-bag chairs, a group of twenty-something software engineers is building an unlikely following of terrorist hunters at U.S. spy agencies.

One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software's main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn't do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe.
Helping Hunt Terrorists From a Bean Bag-Strewn Office

Palantir's software has helped root out terrorist financing networks, revealed new trends in roadside bomb attacks, and uncovered details of Syrian suicide bombing networks in Iraq, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the events. It has also foiled a Pakistani suicide bombing plot on Western targets and discovered a spy infiltration of an allied government. It is now being used by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Benedict's tragedy, and Israel's by Spengler

Benedict's tragedy, and Israel's
By Spengler

World history is the history of Israel, argued the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig - not the tiny Jewish nation as such, but the Jewish idea, embraced by billions in the form of Christianity, or parodied and rejected by additional billions in Islam. The trouble is that no one wants to actually be Israel, least of all the Jews, who recite with fervor the prayer of Sholom Aleichem's Tevye: "God of mercy, choose a different people!" Jealousy at Israel's Election has provoked the persecution of the Jews for millennia, and it is not surprising that many Jews look for safety in insignificance.

Like many Jewish prayers, Tevye's prayer to be un-chosen also has become popular among some Catholics. The Catholic Church holds itself to be Israel, the People of God descended from Abraham in the Spirit. But many Catholics, including some in leading positions in the Roman Curia, think it an affront to the sensibilities of other cultures to insist on the unique role of the Church. At the other extreme , misnamed traditionalists do not think that the mustard-seed of faith is sufficient, and that the Church cannot fulfill its function without returning to the bygone days of state religion. Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor John Paul II, has fought manfully against these prospective deserters within his ranks. The tawdry burlesque over the case of the paranoid Jew-hater and Holocaust denier Richard Williamson is a sad gauge of his degree of success.

Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria


Obama has begun discreet talks with Iran, Syria

AFP Jan 31 10:59 PM US/Eastern

US President Barack Obama has already used experts within the last few months to hold high-level but discreet talks with both Iran and Syria, organizers of the meetings told AFP.

Officially, Obama's overtures toward both Tehran and Damascus have remained limited.

In an interview broadcast Monday, Obama said the United States would offer arch-foe Iran an extended hand of diplomacy if the Islamic Republic's leaders "unclenched their fist."

Eradicating the 'Little Satan' By Ze'ev Maghen


Eradicating the 'Little Satan'
The West should take Iran's threats to Israel seriously.

By ZE'EV MAGHEN

The accession of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been accompanied by a sharp transformation in the Iranian attitude to, and depiction of, the state of Israel. This change includes not only an amplification of the traditional hostility toward the Jewish polity, but also—most ominously—a new conception of that polity as weak and unstable, an easy target for a united Muslim (or united Shiite) offensive.

The Shame Of It All by Daniel Gordis

The Shame Of It All
March 7, 2008

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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?"

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.

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.

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.

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