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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Larry Derfner, "Israel’s Next War Is Always ‘Inevitable’": Hezbollah and Syria Are Not Crazy?

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "Israel’s Next War Is Always ‘Inevitable’," Larry Derfner observes:

"Hezbollah and Syria are well and truly deterred, and if Israel were to simply let them be, they would have to be crazy to strike first."

Got it: Hezbollah and Syria (that is to say, what is left of Syria) are not crazy. It obviously doesn't matter to Derfner that Syria's Assad is a mass murderer and a war criminal willing to gas his own people, as per those hotbeds of right wing thinking, New Republic and The New Yorker.

It also doesn't matter if Hezbollah's head, Nasrallah, has repeatedly called for the annihilation of Israel in his rabidly anti-Semitic diatribes. After all, sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me. (Now if only you could tell that to the Jews in Europe who refused to believe what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf.) Moreover, a rational Nasrallah would of course never launch his 100,000+ missiles at Israel's ammonia plant in Haifa and its nuclear facility in Dimona, notwithstanding his threats to the contrary. And even if instructed to do so by his masters in Tehran, who are also sane, notwithstanding their savage persecution of Kurds, Sunni Muslims, Baha'is, Christians and homosexuals and calls to annihilate Israel, Nasrallah would refuse, notwithstanding the fact that he sent his fighters to be slaughtered in Syria's civil war at Iran's behest.

Yeah, right.

Larry Derfner? At the bottom of the Times op-ed we learn that "Larry Derfner, a journalist, is the author of the forthcoming memoir 'No Country for Jewish Liberals.'" No mention by the Times that Derfner was fired by The Jerusalem Post after writing in his blog in August 2011, following a terrorist attack outside of Eilat (my emphasis in red):

"But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have? A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful. If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t. And that’s not easy for a nation that sanctifies the right to self-defense; a nation that elected Irgun leader Menachem Begin and Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir as prime minister.

But while I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don’t want them to use it, I don’t want to see Israelis killed, and as an Israeli, I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen. (I also think Palestinian terrorism backfires, it turns people away from them and generates sympathy for Israel and the occupation, so I’m against terrorism on a practical level, too, but that’s besides the point.) The possibility that Israel’s enemies could use my or anybody else’s justification of terror for their campaign is a daunting one; I wouldn’t like to see this column quoted on a pro-Hamas website, and I realize it could happen."

Derfner subsequently removed the post and apologized, saying in part:

"My intention was to shock people into recognition, but I ended up shocking many of them into revulsion, and twisting what I wanted to say into something I didn’t and don’t mean at all."

All of which raises the question what it takes to get a guest opinion piece published by The New York Times. If you are Jewish, or better still Israeli, and write something horrible about Israel, does this increase your chances exponentially? As pointed out by Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and by others, it sure seems this way.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Fed Opts for Suicide

Have a look at the US Debt Clock, which informs us that US national debt is just a hair under $20 trillion and growing by the second. US total debt now stands at more than $825,000 per family. Yup, that's unsustainable.

As reported by The New York Times in a lead article entitled "Trump Wants Faster Growth. The Fed Isn’t So Sure." by Binyamin Appelbaum:

"Mr. Trump and Janet L. Yellen, the Fed’s chairwoman, appear to be headed toward a collision, albeit in slow motion. Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is determined to stimulate faster growth while the central bank, for its part, is indicating that it will seek to restrain any acceleration in economic activity.

On Wednesday, the Fed plans to make a first move in the direction of restraint. The central bank has all but announced that it will raise its benchmark interest rate at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee."

Raise interest rates and slow the economy? Not a bad idea if national debt was significantly less than $20 trillion; however, given what it is, higher interest rates mean a slowing of US government income from taxation and higher amounts of interest to be paid on American debt, thereby compounding the problem.

Plain and simple, the Fed has opted for suicide.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New York Times Editorial, "Israel Says Dissenters Are Unwelcome": More Israel Bashing

I sent the following email to Liz Spayd, the public editor of The New York Times, today. Let's see if she responds.

Dear Ms. Spayd,

Editorial Headline: "Israel Says Dissenters Are Unwelcome"
Date Published: March 9, 2017

My Concern: This editorial already needed to be corrected on March 10 ("An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated the United States’ position on settlement building in the occupied territories. It has been highly critical of the activity, but has not consistent [sic] held it to be illegal."), which in and of itself is indicative of the Times's bias and further evidences the Times's preoccupation with and hostility to Israel.

More to the point, the editorial states:

"No doubt there are haters of Israel among B.D.S. supporters. But there are also many strong supporters of the Israeli state, including many American Jews, who ardently oppose the occupation of the West Bank and who boycott products of the Israeli settlements in occupied territories."

"Many strong supporters of the Israeli state" among B.D.S. supporters? Excuse me, but where are the facts to back up this claim?

And if there are haters of Israel among B.D.S. supporters, shouldn't the Times provide data explaining whether these "haters" compromise the majority or even an overwhelming majority of B.D.S. supporters/leaders?

And shouldn't the Times examine whether the B.D.S. movement has been known to publish falsehoods and disseminate grotesque anti-Semitic remarks?

And shouldn't the Times have noted that there has not been a new Israeli settlement in almost 20 years, and that whereas existing settlements have grown, territorial swaps involving existing settlements have been a principle underlying all negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel?

As reported by The Jerusalem Post on December 7, 2016:

"[Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union] likened BDS to the National Socialists who boycotted Jews in the 1930s. BDS dresses up antisemitism in the 'new clothes of the 21st century' as anti-Zionism, the party said.

'The German CDU declares with this motion its disapproval and rejection of every form of BDS activity and condemns these activities as antisemitic. The CDU will decisively oppose every hostile action that Israel faces. The CDU professes its deep friendship toward Israel and continues to work toward a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,' the resolution read."

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter, but first, as a favor, I would be extremely grateful if you might be willing to read the following article that I recently published, "New York Times Editorial, "Donald Trump’s Answer to Anti-Semitism? You Don’t Want to Know": Look Who's Talking!"


Friday, February 17, 2017

New York Times Editorial, "Donald Trump’s Answer to Anti-Semitism? You Don’t Want to Know": Look Who's Talking!

In an editorial entitled "Donald Trump’s Answer to Anti-Semitism? You Don’t Want to Know," The New York Times derides President Trump's response at a news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a question concerning "the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States." The Times would have us know:

"For a normal American politician, the moment offered a perfect opportunity for a home run. Condemn the behavior and make a sincere pledge to do everything possible to stop it. There is no question that hate crimes and malicious speech have accelerated since the presidential campaign, with Jews among the prime targets. The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic talk in the United States has reached levels unseen since the 1930s. And there have been bomb threats against Jewish centers across the country."

Got it: The Trump presidential campaign is to blame for the heightened level of anti-Semitic talk in the US, and the Times is innocent of any involvement in the reawakening this horrifying phenomenon. Rubbish!

As Dr. Phyllis Chesler wrote in a July 2014 article entitled "Incitement to Genocide: How NY Times' Coverage and UN Complicity Breed Anti-Semitism":

"The twenty-first century coverage of Israel and Zionism in the paper of record far exceeds its twentieth century pattern of mere dismissal. In the last fourteen years—in the last year-- in article after article, photograph after photograph, and especially when Israel has been under attack, this paper has systematically put forth an Islamist and pro-Hamas agenda with malice aforethought. If not 'malice,' then the level of willful journalistic ignorance and blindness is hard to believe."

New York Times double standards involving Israel? As observed by CAMERA in 2014:

"We found that 6 out of 7 NYT editorials addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict were negative toward Israel, while none were positive. Opinion columns by NYT staff followed the same pattern of condemning Israel: 5 out of 6 were negative toward Israel, while none were positive. As for invited Op-Eds on the topic, 15 out of 20 were negative toward Israel, while only one was positive."

You might also want to have another look at Ron Dermer's December 2011 letter to The New York Times, denouncing perpetual criticism of Israel by the Times:

"I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. After dividing the op-eds into two categories, 'positive' and 'negative,' with 'negative' meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were 'negative.'"

More evidence of anti-Semitism at the Times? Perhaps you recall New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's declaration:

"I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."

Then there was Roger Cohen's New York Times op-ed "Obama in Netanyahu's Web," whose title was painfully in keeping with the anti-Semitic tradition of depicting Jews as voracious spiders. As Andrew Rosenthal, who was then editorial page editor of the Times, later acknowledged to me, this "was not a good headline."

In addition, let's not forget the retweet of a message by Nicholas Kristof, referring to AIPAC as one of "the 2 Most Pig Like Lobbies" (see: "Nicholas Kristof Retweets "OBAMA Told the 2 Most Pig Like Lobbies, AIPAC & NRA, to Drop Dead in Same Month": Is Kristof an Anti-Semite?"). We never received an explanation concerning this abomination from Nick, who soon thereafter took book-writing leave from the Times. Nicholas Kristof and anti-Semitism? You might want to have at look at my article entitled "Nicholas Kristof, Israel, and Double Standards" in The Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.

In this regard, the US Department of State writes (my emphasis in red):

EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis

  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

  • Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions

And as noted today, in an Algemeiner article entitled "New York Times Uses Antisemitic Imagery to Describe Israeli Academy" by Ira Stoll:

"The New York Times has an article about Beit El, a West Bank settlement that has been supported by David Friedman, who is President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel.

'The yeshiva complex is a multitentacled enterprise,' the Times reports.

Tentacles? When the National Rifle Association’s magazine depicted Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York on its cover as an octopus, the Times described it in a headline as 'an Anti-Semitic Symbol,' noting, accurately, that “the image has been used in anti-Semitic propaganda, from the Nazis to the modern Arab world.” Now it is the Times portraying religious Jews in Israel using the same negative imagery."

Finally, let's also not forget the persistent willingness of New York Times "moderators" to permit the publication of vulgar expressions of anti-Semitism (see: "Why Is Antisemitism Permitted in Online Comments "Moderated" by The Times? Open Letter No. 2 to Clark Hoyt, Public Editor of The New York Times").

Bottom line: Left-wing anti-Semitism is no better than right-wing anti-Semitism, and the Times indeed helped lay the groundwork for the current groundswell of anti-Semitism in America.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Maureen Dowd, "Trump’s Gold Lining": Sales of Female Pelvic Protectors Skyrocket

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump’s Gold Lining," Maureen Dowd informs us that Donald's election has reinvigorated the Times's circulation stats:

"Every time our daft new president tweets about the 'failing' New York Times, our digital subscriptions and stock price jump, driven by readers eager for help negotiating the disorienting Trumpeana Oceana Upside Down dimension rife with gaslighting, trolling, leaking, lying and conflicts."

Well, the Times is not alone in reaping the economic benefits of the Trump presidency. My understanding is that sales of pelvic protectors for female genitalia are going through the roof among women visiting the White House, given Trump's leaked "grab them by the pussy" declaration.

Will federal taxes on profits from the sale of female pelvic protectors make a dent in America's $20 trillion debt, i.e. some $808,000 per family, thereby making America great again?

Will America devolve into a dystopian Clock Work Orange society in which pelvic protectors are de rigueur?

Back to my dogs, who are impatiently waiting for a walk.

Friday, February 10, 2017

David Brooks, "A Gift for Donald Trump": Fraternity? How About a Slice of Moose Turd Pie?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Gift for Donald Trump," David Brooks tells of the gift he would like to bestow upon Donald Trump. Brooks concludes:

"So, upon reflection, the gift I would give Trump would be an emotional gift, the gift of fraternity. I’d give him the gift of some crisis he absolutely could not handle on his own. The only way to survive would be to fall back entirely on others, and then to experience what it feels like to have them hold him up.

. . . .

I doubt that Trump will develop a capacity for fraternity any time soon, but to be human is to hold out hope, and to believe that even a guy as old and self-destructive as Trump is still 0.001 percent open to a transformation of the heart."

Fraternity? Heck, David, the man suffers from a severe narcissistic personality disorder and is incapable of change. That being the case, I would personally prefer to give the gift that keeps on giving: A freshly baked, steaming hot, moose turd pie (click on the link and listen, if you're in need of a laugh - we all are, these days).

And I would like to invite Barack, Hillary and Bill to the banquet, provided, of course, that I didn't run afoul of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act.

Back to my broccoli and dogs ...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New York Times Editorial, "A Poison Pill for the Recovery": Alternative Facts

In an editorial entitled "A Poison Pill for the Recovery," The New York Times attacks Donald Trump's order yesterday to roll back Dodd-Frank. Don't misunderstand me: Trump's directive is a disaster in the making, but let's take a closer look at the Times editorial, which continues to pay homage to Obama:

"[Donald Trump] has been lucky enough to inherit an economy that added 11.5 million jobs during President Obama’s tenure, the fourth-highest tally of the 12 administrations in the post-World War II era. There is, of course, much work still to be done: Growth in wages is not yet strong, and too many people are able to find only part-time work. But the foundation on which to build — economic growth, financial stability, monthly job tallies and low unemployment — is firm."

Ah yes, "the foundation on which to build" ...

But now consider what Andrew Soergel had to say in a July 16, 2015 U.S. News & World Report article entitled "Where Are All the Workers?":

"Americans are actually trickling out of work at an alarming rate. The country's labor force participation rate – which measures the share of Americans at least 16 years old who are either employed or actively looking for work – dipped last month to a 38-year low, clocking in at an underwhelming 62.6 percent.

Unemployed individuals who haven't actively looked for a job in the last four weeks, for any number of reasons, actually slip away from the Labor Department's unemployment calculations. So although the unemployment rate ticked down to a seven-year low of 5.3 percent in June, that number didn't do justice to the 640,000 individuals who exited the labor market last month and the nearly 94 million people who were neither employed nor looking for work."

Also consider that Obama left the United States with a crippling national debt of $20 trillion, or some $800,000 per family. Moreover, seven percent of that debt is held by China, a country with respect to which Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon declared in March 2016:

"We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren't we. There’s no doubt about that."

Do you laugh or cry? Me? I'm headed back to my dogs and vegetable garden.