Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stern Hell

1. The Olmert Government has decided to give the Israel Prize this
year to Israel's worst academic leftist McCarthyist, Zeev Sternhell. That
spelling of his name is not a joke, he really spell sit like that.
Sternhell is a far-leftist political scientist at the Hebrew University.
He has devoted much of his career at painting Israeli non-leftists as
violent fascists who should be suppressed and denied freedom of speech.
Sternhell was one of the promoters of the leftist McCarthyism against
anti-Oslo dissidents, especially after the Rabin assassination by Yigal
Amir. Sternhell considers all non-leftist Israelis to be fascists. The
fact that a leftist extremist is to be awarded the Israel Prize by the
Olmert government states volumes. The committee that nominated Strenhell
was headed by Shlomo Avineri, a one-time (??) hard-core Marxist from the
same department as Sternhell who had been thought to have moved towards
the Zionist center.

Aside from his McCarthyism, Sternhell is also known for some other things.
Wikipedia reports: 'Sternhell was taken to court by Bertrand de Jouvenel,
a French philosopher and political economist, in 1983, after Sternhell
published his work Ni Droite, ni gauche (Neither Right nor Left). Jouvenel
sued Sternhell on nine counts, and Sternhell was subsequently convicted in
France for defamation. In his book, Sternhell accused Jouvenel of having
had Fascist sympathies. Convicted on two counts, Sternhell did not need
to retract his remarks from the book however.' Strenhell is also the
leading academic proponent in Israel of 1930s style Bolshevik central

Edward Said, Columbia University's professor of terror, praised Sternhell
in Al-Ahram, May 21, 1998. In Said's immortal words, Sternhell "author of
a very important recent book on the myths of Israeli society (the main
ones of which -- that it is a liberal, socialist, democratic state -- he
demolished completely in an extraordinarily detailed analysis of its
illiberal, quasi-fascist, and profoundly anti-socialist character as
evidenced by the Labour Party generally, and the Histadrut in

Sternhell wrote in the Davar newspaper in 1988: "In the end we will have
to use force against the settlers in Ofra or Elon Moreh. Only he who is
willing to storm Ofra with tanks will be able to block the fascist danger
threatening to drown Israeli democracy."

In the Haaretz newspaper, in 2001, Sternhell said: "There is no doubt
about the legitimacy of [Palestinian] armed resistance in the territories
themselves. If the Palestinians had a little sense, they would concentrate
their struggle against the settlements, and refrain from planting bombs
west of the Green Line." (see

http://www.leibler.com/article/61 )

[Hat tip:


2. Professors of Hate: http://www.leibler.com/article/61

3. Allies of Iran:


4. Very Good piece:


February 24, 2008
Collective Punishment and Newspeak
By Michael I. Krauss

5. I have a year's salary put down on a bet that it will never be
used against Arab fascists nor Jewish leftists:

Nazism and racism outlawed in Israel
New law approved by Knesset maintains supporting, advocating Nazism or
racism or holding such rallies to be considered a criminal offense.

6. Creepy Convergence:

The Peretz-Farrakhan Convergence
February 25, 2008
Not yet creeped out by the Barack Obama phenomenon? Maybe this will change
your mind. Marty Peretz, the pro-Israel hawk who is The New Republic's
titular editor-in-chief, and Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic head of the
Nation of Islam, are as one in their avidity for Obama. Here's a piece of
Peretz's blog entry from Friday:
He actually brought tears to my eyes. "I was born to a teen-aged mother,"
said Barack Obama, thereby locating his origins in poverty, which is true
and also relevant. He told the nation that in the Austin debate, as he had
told his listeners in many appearances during the campaign. He did not
say, however, "to a white teen-aged mother," unspoken and unnecessary. . .
To give fullness to the paradigm and promise of an open society, we could
not do better--at least in this contest--than to choose a brilliant and
articulate, pragmatic and embracing child of a poor teen-age mother.
And here is the Associated Press, reporting on Farrakhan:
"This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change
and be made better," he said. "This young man is capturing audiences of
black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama's
audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being
Farrakhan compared Obama to the religion's founder, Fard Muhammad, who
also had a white mother and black father.
"A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he told the crowd
of mostly followers. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be
one who can lift America from her fall."
Peretz's and Farrakhan's strange fixation on Obama's mother's race makes
this all the more peculiar. This is one respect in which Obama would be
anything but a pathbreaker: By our count, white women have given birth to
more than three dozen U.S. presidents. We're pretty sure both Hillary
Clinton and John McCain have white moms too.
Again, it's not necessarily Obama's fault that people react in such
bizarre ways to him. It's just that somehow the idea of a president who
provokes such unhinged support strikes us as dangerous.

February 26, 2008


The Sderot Calculus

February 26, 2008; Page A18
The Israeli town of Sderot lies less than a mile from the Gaza Strip.
Since the beginning of the intifada seven years ago, it has borne the
brunt of some 2,500 Kassam rockets fired from Gaza by Palestinian
terrorists. Only about a dozen of these Kassams have proved lethal, though
earlier this month brothers Osher and Rami Twito were seriously injured by
one as they walked down a Sderot street on a Saturday evening.
Eight-year-old Osher lost a leg.
It is no stretch to say that life in Sderot has become unendurable.
Palestinians and their chorus of supporters -- including the 118 countries
of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, much of Europe, and the panoply of
international aid organizations from the World Bank to the United Nations
-- typically reply that life in the Gaza Strip is also unendurable, and
that Palestinian casualties greatly exceed Israeli ones. But this argument
is fatuous: Conditions in Gaza, in so far as they are shaped by Israel,
are a function of conditions in Sderot. No Palestinian Kassams (or other
forms of terrorism), no Israeli "siege."
The more vexing question, both morally and strategically, is what Israel
ought to do about Gaza. The standard answer is that Israel's response to
the Kassams ought to be "proportionate." What does that mean? Does the
"proportion" apply to the intention of those firing the Kassams -- to wit,
indiscriminate terror against civilian populations? In that case, a
"proportionate" Israeli response would involve, perhaps, firing 2,500
artillery shells at random against civilian targets in Gaza. Or should
proportion apply to the effects of the Kassams -- an exquisitely
calibrated, eye-for-eye operation involving the killing of a dozen
Palestinians and the deliberate maiming or traumatizing of several hundred
Surely this isn't what advocates of proportion have in mind. What they
really mean is that Israel ought to respond with moderation. But the
criteria for moderation are subjective. Should Israel pick off Hamas
leaders who are ordering the rocket attacks? The European Parliament last
week passed a resolution denouncing the practice of targeted
assassinations. Should Israel adopt purely economic measures to punish
Hamas for the Kassams? The same resolution denounced what it called
Israel's "collective punishment" of Palestinians. Should Israel seek to
dismantle the Kassams through limited military incursions? This, too, has
the unpardonable effect of resulting in too many Palestinian casualties,
which are said to be "disproportionate" to the number of Israelis injured
by the Kassams.
By these lights, Israel's presumptive right to self-defense has no
practical application as far as Gaza is concerned. Instead, Israel is
counseled to allow goods to flow freely into the Strip, and to negotiate a
cease-fire with Hamas.
But here another set of considerations intrudes. Hamas was elected
democratically and by overwhelming margins in Gaza. It has never once
honored a cease-fire with Israel. Following Israel's withdrawal of its
soldiers and settlements from the Strip in 2005 there was a six-fold
increase in the number of Kassam strikes on Israel.
Hamas has also made no effort to rewrite its 1988 charter, which calls for
Israel's destruction. The charter is explicitly anti-Semitic: "The time
will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the
Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew
hiding behind me, come on and kill him!" (Article Seven) "In order to face
the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising
the banner of Jihad." (Article 15) And so on.
It would seem perverse for Israeli taxpayers, including residents of
Sderot, to feed the mouth that bites them. It would seem equally perverse
for Israel merely to bide its time for an especially unlucky day -- a
Kassam hitting a busload of schoolchildren, for instance -- before
striking hard at Gaza. But unless Israel is willing to accept the
military, political and diplomatic burdens of occupying all or parts of
Gaza indefinitely, the effects of a major military incursion could be
relatively short-lived. Israel suffered many more casualties before it
withdrew from the Strip than it has since.
Perhaps the answer is to wait for a technological fix and, in the
meantime, hope for the best. Israel is at work on a missile-defense
program called "Iron Dome" that may be effective against Kassams, though
the system won't be in place for at least two years. It could also
purchase land-based models of the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System, used by
the U.S. to defend the Green Zone in Baghdad.
But technology addresses neither the Islamic fanaticism that animates
Hamas nor the moral torpor of Western policy makers and commentators who,
on balance, find more to blame in Israel's behavior than in Hamas's. Nor,
too, would an Iron Dome or the Phalanx absolve the Israeli government from
the necessity of punishing those who seek its destruction. Prudence is an
important consideration of statesmanship, but self-respect is vital. And
no self-respecting nation can allow the situation in Sderot to continue
much longer, a point it is in every civilized country's interest to
On March 9, 1916, Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa attacked the border
town of Columbus, N.M., killing 18 Americans. President Woodrow Wilson
ordered Gen. John J. Pershing and 10,000 soldiers into Mexico for nearly a
year to hunt Villa down, in what was explicitly called a "punitive
expedition." Pershing never found Villa, making the effort something of a
failure. Then again, Villa's raid would be the last significant foreign
attack on continental U.S. soil for 85 years, six months and two days.
Write to bstephens@wsj.com1
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