Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A defender of hopeless causes?

I think there is a saint for hopeless causes. I will have to look him up and shoot him a prayer. I think I need him.

My mother told me once that when I was a kid and she asked me if I had done something naughty I would always admit that I had. She said that I was so honest that she never had the heart to punish me. I sometimes wonder if that honesty is a curse. It sure gets me into a lot of trouble. I am always blowing the whistle on popular beliefs that I can see to be wrong -- as my GREENIE WATCH and FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blogs attest. If I went with the flow, I would have a lot more fame and fortune, I think. But I do pretty well anyway. My latest bit of skepticism is:

"Some people even believe that William Zantzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll"

And I am sure that we can all remember Bob Dylan (aka Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham) singing that accusation in his nasal voice. But as far as I can see, Zantzinger was innocent. "Zantzinger" is a marvellous name to conjure with (Dylan even invented a "diamond ring finger" to rhyme with it) so no wonder Dylan was tempted but even Dylan's biographer says that the song was a libel:
The Dylan song followed him around his whole life, though he steadfastly refused to talk about it with reporters. In 2001 Bob Dylan biographical Howard Sounes actually got a quote out of him. "[Dylan] is a no-account song a bitch," Zantzinger said. "He's just like a scum bag of the earth. I should have sued him and put him in jail. [The song is] a total lie." Clinton Heylin - perhaps the world's authority on all things Dylan - seems to agree. "Dylan's concern was not the fact themselves but how they might fit with his preconceived notions of injustice and corruption," he wrote in Behind The Shades. "That the song itself is a masterpiece of drama and wordplay does not excuse Dylan's distortions, and 36 years on he continues to misrepresent poor William Zantzinger in concert."

What actually happened seems to be that Zantzinger was drunk after a celebration and did insult the lady and tap her on the shoulder with a toy cane but that did not kill her. She died several hours later of her chronic medical condition: hypertension, arteriosclerosis and a burst cerebral aneurism -- a "stroke" in popular parlance. Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter because his actions were deemed to have brought on the stroke but that is speculation. Clearly, if the woman had been in normal health, nothing would have happened. So the light sentence Zantzinger received reflected his very low level of culpability rather than anything more sinister. If the court had really been "racist" or even fair, it would not have convicted him of anything at all. And Zantzinger's continued good standing in his community can also be seen as a judgement about his innocence rather than as evidence of "racism" Who among us has not committed indiscretions while drunk?

Hey! Aren't the Lefty whiners who monitor me going to love this one! I wrote the last sentence above ("Who among us...) with them in mind. They will surely use it as a summary of what I say about Zantzinger. Leftists love to quote out of context. The whole truth is generally too destructive of their simplistic ideas. I should have mentioned previously that my fellow Brisbane conservative blogger Leon Bertrand gives the whiners concerned a hard time occasionally.


Olmert has balls after all

Israel will hit Hamas with an "iron fist" if the Islamist movement does not halt its rocket fire against the Jewish state, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned on Monday. "We want to end the operation when the two conditions we have demanded are met: ending the rocket fire and stopping Hamas's rearmament. If these two conditions are met, we will end our operation in Gaza," Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon. "Anything else will meet the iron fist of the Israeli people, who are no longer ready to tolerate the Qassams (rockets)." "Will it take time? Let it take time. We will continue as long as necessary in order to remove this threat," the premier added.

Israel launched a massive operation against the Hamas-ruled territory on December 27 with the declared goal of halting the near-daily rocket fire from Gaza against southern Israel, which has killed four people since the start of the offensive. Israel has conditioned the end of the operation, which has claimed the lives of more than 900 Palestinians, on a complete halt to rocket fire and arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza. Ashkelon, a port city situated around a dozen kilometres from Gaza, has been hit by dozens of Qassams since the start of the offensive.



Prof. Barry Rubin sums up the present situation, writing from Israel:

Israel's resolve is unbreakable. May I point out that it took far less than seven years from September 11 to the election of Senator Obama. Three thousand dead civilian Americans did not sustain majority support for a war against terrorism all that long. From Le Monde's "we are all Americans" to its "we are all anti-Americans" (actually it took about a month). You can depend on Israel but can we depend on you (I speak nationally not of you as individuals, of course.).

We have some of our staff fighting in Gaza at this moment. Volunteering for combat units is at incredibly high levels and I know--because they told me so--that my children are ready to follow this tradition. We are putting in 17-hour workdays to try to combat the lies. Many families like us have volunteered to take people from the south into our homes to live with us if they want to leave to avoid the rocket fire. But guess what? Hardly anyone has agreed to leave their homes despite the rockets being shot at them. Except for a handful of extreme left academics and writers for Haaretz (who naturally have the op-ed columns of American and European newspapers opened to them) the country is united. It has no illusions about radical Islamism or Iran. It will be ready, if necessary, to attack Iranian nuclear installations (unless President Obama talks Tehran out of it, which gives you some sense of the outcome).

So please don't underestimate Israelis and their resolve, especially while our people are fighting thirty miles from where I am writing this. This is not your conception of Israel as of, say, 1995. A huge majority supports the war--and that's not just verbal but putting their lives on the line. One month from today Israelis will elect Bibi Netanyahu--not Senator Obama or Nicholas Sarkozy--as leader of the country. So please keep in mind where the criticism should be put, even as the secretary-general of the UN who embraced Iran's president compares Israel to Nazi Germany and when we don't know whether we can even depend on the United States to support us ten days from today.


Guess Who Cares about Dead Palestinians? Jews!

For those individuals -- such as nearly all members of the world news media -- who, in light of Israels invasion of Gaza -- see moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians, here are some clarifying thoughts. First, it would be difficult nearly to the point of impossibility, to find Israeli or other Jews who celebrate the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Jews both within and outside of Israel cringe when they see pictures of dead Palestinian men, women, and children in Gaza. For thousands of years at their Passover seders, Jews have removed wine from their cups to ceremonially weep for the Egyptians -- their erstwhile slave owners for 400 years -- who died during the Jews exodus. Jews have never stopped weeping for enemies.

The opposite is the case with the large majority of Palestinians. It would be quite difficult to find many Palestinians who do not celebrate the deaths of Israeli Jews or non-Israeli Jews. This is not only reflected in Palestinian polls that show majority support for terrorism -- and terrorism means killing innocent Jews -- it is also reflected in Palestinian media, Palestinian schools, and Palestinian mosques that routinely glorify murderers of Jews, and refer to all Jews as monkeys and the like.

Take for example, Palestinian reaction to the 2001 Palestinian terror bombing of a Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria in which 15 Jews, five of whom were two sets of parents and their children, were murdered and an additional 130 people were injured, some permanently maimed. As reported by the Associated Press, a month later, Palestinian university students opened an exhibition that included a grisly re-enactment of that mass murder. The students built a replica of the Sbarro pizzeria, with fake blood, splattered pizza, a plastic hand dangling from the ceiling, and a fake severed leg wearing jeans and a bloody black sneaker. The exhibit also includes a large rock in front of a mannequin wearing the black hat, black jacket and black trousers typically worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews. A recording from inside the rock calls out: O believer, there is a Jewish man behind me. Come and kill him, paraphrasing a verse in the Koran. It became a popular tourist attraction for Palestinians, to which Palestinian parents took their little children.

Here's the question: Can anyone even imagine Jews, in Israel or anywhere else on earth -- no matter how right-wing they are politically or religiously -- doing something analogous to celebrate the death of Palestinian civilians? I have spoken to Jewish groups on both U.S. coasts since the Israeli invasion of Gaza, and when the subject of Palestinian civilian deaths is mentioned, all I hear is regret and sadness.

This moral chasm that separates Israel from its enemies, and separates the Jews from their enemies, merely confirms what Hamas repeatedly says about itself: We love death more than the Jews love life. This motto is so true that Hamas not only doesnt weep for dead Israelis, it doesnt weep for dead Palestinians. It uses living Palestinians as human shields and uses dead Palestinians as propaganda. The moral disequilibrium is such that Jews weep for dead Palestinian far more than Hamas does.

The second point to be raised is about perspective. If during World War II, Western news media had reported German and Japanese civilian casualties in the same detail and with the same sympathy they report Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza, it is doubtful that the Nazis and the Japanese militarists would have lost that war. Certainly, at the very least, the anti-Nazi, anti-Fascist war effort would have been severely compromised.

The analogy is entirely apt. Hamas is on the same moral level as the two World War II enemies. Do those who condemn Israel for its attacks on Hamas fighters that have tragically resulted in hundreds of civilian Palestinian deaths also condemn the Allied bombings of German and Japanese military targets that resulted in far more civilian deaths? I suspect not since most critics of Israel still regard World War II as a moral war. The overriding issue, therefore, is whether fighting Hamas is moral. If it is, then the unintended death of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, not an evil (except on the part of Hamas, because it situates its fighters and its missiles among civilians, including schools).

Third, if Hamas had the same ability to bomb Israel as Israel has to bomb Gaza, would the number of Jewish civilians be in the hundreds? Or would there be the Holocaust in Israel that Hamas and its Iranian sponsors dream of? The answer is so obvious that this consideration alone renders moral Israels war to destroy Hamas. In a short period of time Hamas will have more accurate missiles and longer-range ones. One of them could kill a thousand or more. Another one could destroy passenger planes coming into Ben-Gurion Airport, thereby causing foreign airlines to stop flying into Israel. It is that inevitability that Israel is fighting to prevent. But in the morally confused world we live in, only with thousands of Israelis dead, would Israels invasion of Gaza be proportional, and therefore acceptable. But Israel is more interested in living with world condemnation than in dying with world sympathy.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Catholicism, Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost or desparate causes.