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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Trouble with the Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

Various news media are now reporting that Israel and Hamas have agreed to an open-ended ceasefire. CNN reports (this matches other news sources) that "Israel agreed to ease the blockade on Gaza, open border crossings for humanitarian and medical aid, and extend the fishing limit off the coast to six miles, according to a senior Egyptian government official." Negotiations are supposed to continue on other Hamas demands: for an airport and seaport in Gaza (the better to import more advanced weaponry for the next war with Israel), payment of salaries of Hamas "civil servants," and release of all Hamas prisoners released by Israel in the Gilad Schalit deal and re-arrested by Israel following the kidnap-murder of the three Israeli teenagers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Many Hamas Terrorists Does It Take To Change a Light Bulb?

Three. One to smash the old bulb, one to divert the new bulb to a hole in the ground from which to attack Israel, and a third to blame the Jews for the darkness Palestinians live in.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review of Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn: A Steampunk Faerie Tale

As a writer of alternate history, I can't recommend Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn highly enough. This marriage of steampunk with an Arabian Nights-inspired tale of intrigue, science and magic, is an irresistible, fabulous treat. The characters are fully drawn human beings, and the meeting and clash of Western (Victorian English) and Arab Middle Eastern cultures shatters stereotypes with an authentic, textured feel for the strengths and weaknesses of both. And all without losing for one line the sense of delight and wonder. Run and get your copy today, and be sure to beg Ms. Ackley-McPhail and Ms. Al-Mohamed to give us more of the adventures of the wonderful Ali!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Perspective on the Gaza War

The war in Gaza now seems to be ending (let's hope) with, as it appears, a Hamas defeat (again let's hope). According to the Gaza "authorities," i.e. Hamas, 1,900 people have been killed in Gaza; the Israeli army says 900 of those were combatants. A reliable study last fall found close to half a million deaths in Iraq as a result of the U.S. war in 2003-11. Would anyone dare claim anywhere close to half of those were combatants? The deaths of any innocents in any war is a tragedy. But almost all of the criticism of Israel, which has made unprecedented efforts to protect Palestinian civilians, has been unfair, skewed and tendentious.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fine Impartiality

Something has been tickling at the back of my mind, in these insane summer days when we can witness certain members of the American Jewish community criticize Hamas for form's sake before turning, with obvious relish, to their true object of contempt and disdain: Israel and its "disproportionate" response to being targeted with (at this writing) over two thousand missiles and dozens of tunnels dug with great ingenuity and effort and no other purpose but murder and brigandage. What does this fine impartiality remind me of, I asked myself? Then it came to me, a quotation that the bien-pensants ought to, but most definitely will not, understand and appreciate. Back in 1937 the great old-time American labor leader John L. Lewis, speaking of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, said:
Labor, like Israel, has many sorrows. Its women weep for their fallen, and lament upon the future of the children of the race. It ill behooves one, who has supped at labor's table, and who has been sheltered in labor's house, to curse with equal fervor and fine impartiality both labor and its adversaries, when they become locked in deadly embrace.