Dancing on the edge of a volcano

The opening paras on an article worth reading about the world we are entering: Canada: A “Different” Kind of Antisemitism?

  • “I have a confession to make. If you are Jewish… I used to hate you. I hated you because I thought you were responsible for the [Somali civil] war which took my father from me for so long… When we had no water, I thought you closed the tap. … If my mother was unkind to me, I knew you were definitely behind it. If and when I failed an exam, I knew it was your fault. You are by nature evil, you had evil powers and you used them to evil ends. Learning to hate you was easy. Unlearning it was difficult.” — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, quoted in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, by Andrew G. Bostom.
  • In Canada, Wael al-Ghitawi, the imam of Al-Andalous Islamic Centre, and Sayed al-Ghitawi “both called for the death of Jews. The sermons came to public attention in February 2017, when YouTube videos of the talks were translated into English.”
  • Let us be frank: as is all too clear from the recent European experience, importing large numbers of Muslims means importing Islamic antisemitism. Hate crimes against Canadian Jews are already on an upward trajectory. Is it the Canadian Government’s policy to encourage an increase in antisemitic hate crimes?

France has led the way, Germany is not far behind, and if Canada is well along this trail, there is nowhere it will not penetrate eventually. The Jewish response to anti-semitism has been why can’t we all get on together? Maybe we can, but here’s why it’s unlikely. From the article:

The foundational documents of Islam also reflect total rejection of the Jews and all “disbelievers”. In the hadith (sayings and deeds of Mohammad), there is a verse, still quoted in Article 7 of Hamas’s charter:

In Saheeh Muslim (2922), it is narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them, until a Jew hides behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: O Muslim, O slave of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Except the gharqad (a thorny tree), for it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

In the Quran, surahs referring to Jews, as well as all “disbelievers, and recommend:

And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. [Quran 2:191-193; Sahih International translation]

Islam further claims that all Jewish Prophets — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, and all — were Muslims:

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists. [Quran 3:67; Sahih International translation]

Jesus and Mary were also added to this list of Muslim Prophets. Islamic antisemitism is reflected in the vast holy literature of Islamic texts, and in the almost uncountable incidents in the 1,400-year history of Islam.

Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano is a collection of “Jewish Cabaret and Political Songs 1900-1945”. I love the songs, but the message has always felt real enough to me. The article is very depressing.

 

 

They have Trump surrounded the poor bastards

Read it all, of course, but this is one of the nicer parts. From Secretary Wilbur Ross Heading To China June 2nd through 4th – Likely Authorized To Strip Bamboo Forest…

This helps to understand how significant the economic aspects of the Trump Doctrine are to the geopolitical engagements with North Korea.

Chairman Xi has made a strategic decision in his adversarial approach toward President Trump.  Again, listen to the briefing by Secretary Pompeo – Panda China is telling him they too want to see peace, Korean stability and denuclearization.  However, Dragon China is using the panda mask, and simultaneously leveraging Chairman Kim to aid their trade objectives.

Beijing has made a fatal mistake; they have exposed too much dragon face and did not expect President Trump to call them out on it publicly.

Secretary Ross now heads to China with •Steel and Aluminum tariffs; •auto-sector 232 evaluations; •intellectual property penalties; •over $150 billion in additional trade sanctions/tariffs pending; •and financial sanctions against Chinese banks as economic arrows in his dragon slaying quiver.

Don’t doubt for a minute that based on Chairman Xi’s maneuver with Chairman Kim, Wolverine Ross is not about to fire one -or several- of those arrows directly into the heart of Beijing.

Chairman Xi made a strategic mistake.  Xi genuinely has no idea the level of hurt President Trump is looking for an excuse to deliver.  Things are fixing to get ‘Old-School’.

Hope so. Our way of life is better than anyone’s with the economic benefits only the start of it.

Out of touch is the least of it

From my far-left Californian ex-mate who represents every aspect of the insanity projected by anyone with TDS. Which brings me to this, which is not at all sympathetic, but at least gets discussed: Trump turns North Korea into an attack on the Democrats claiming they are ‘rooting against us in our negotiations’. The sub-headings:

  • The president attacked Democrats in an early morning Twitter rant 
  • His attack was filled with his other grievances against Dems, saying they defend the violent El Salvadorian gang MS 13 and that they want to raise taxes
  • Democrats criticized Trump for cancelling the Singapore summit with North Korea with Nancy Pelosi saying President Kim Jong-Un was the ‘big winner’
  • ‘Dems have lost touch!’ Trump charged 
  • ‘Fox & Friends’ mentioned the Dem criticism on their Friday morning broadcast 

The actual tweet from the President:

Which part of any of this is untrue?

The North Koreans reply

The reply from the North Koreans.

N.K. NEWS

N. Korea says open to talks with U.S. anytime

2018/05/25 08:18

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) — A top North Korean official said Friday his country is still willing to talk with the U.S., responding to President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull out of his planned summit with the North’s leader.

Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan issued a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). It came hours after Trump announced the surprise decision to withdraw from his summit with Kim Jong-un set for June 12.

“We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format,” he said in the statement.

Kim said the U.S.’ decision to cancel the upcoming talks demonstrates how serious the animosity between the North and the U.S. remains, which he said underlines the urgent need of a summit between the leaders of the two countries.

He said that the North Korean leader has made all-out efforts to prepare for the summit with the U.S., saying his meeting with Trump will serve as a good start.

“Despite all of this, the U.S.’ unilateral decision to scrap the talks causes us to reconsider whether all of the efforts and the path we have taken is really the right one or not,” he said.

Kim said that the North remains open to talks with the U.S.

“Our commitment to doing our best for the sake of peace and stability for the world and the Korean Peninsula remains unchanged, and we are open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the U.S.,” he said.

In a publicly disclosed letter to the North Korean leader, Trump said Thursday night (Seoul time) that the cancellation was due to the “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement.”

Trump apparently pointed to the remarks by Choe Son-hui earlier Thursday in which the North’s vice foreign minister lambasted U.S. Vice President Mike Pence for bringing up a Libya-style approach in ridding the North of its nuclear program and threatened to walk away from the summit with the U.S.

“I want to conclude that President Trump’s stance on the North-U.S. summit does not meet the world’s desire for peace and stability both in the world and on the Korean Peninsula,” Kim said.

“The tremendous anger and open hostility that President Trump mentioned is just a backlash in response to a unilateral denuclearization being pushed ahead of the planned North-U.S summit,” he added.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

(END)

We still don’t know how this will end, but the fact remains that leaving any issue of importance in the hands of the left is such stupidity that only people on the left are that stupid. And there are apparently quite a lot of them, not one of whom has any useful suggestion on how to stop North Korea from possessing nuclear weapons.

I should also add this for additional detail: Kim’s boom or bust: North Korea responds to Trump’s call for ‘action’ with video they claim shows the demolition of a nuclear test site after urging U.S. to rethink summit cancellation, offering to meet ‘any time, any way’.

“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting”

NKOREA RIPS PENCE…
Claims demolished nuke site…
MATTIS TELLS CADETS: YOU WILL SEE BATTLE… 

In the midst of all this, I find the American left insane. Why is any of this on anyone’s agenda?

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And then there’s this: T Minus Two Years for a War with China. Here’s the conclusion. You will have to go to the link to find out how it starts.

After the war with China has started, whether in 2020 or a bit delayed, we are likely to say to ourselves that if we had known that was coming, we would have done things differently over the last two years. One important thing we should be doing right now is to have as little as possible to do with China, neither importing what they make nor letting them into the country. One of the first things the Trump administration did was to ban entry by people from countries that were sources of Muslim terrorists. China is setting out to kill a lot more Americans than the Muslims ever will. Proceed accordingly.

Who knows how anything is done at that level. Peace in our time is a wonderful idea if only we knew how to bring it about. It’s certainly not the norm.

BTW it’s worth reading PDT’s letter. A masterclass in the Art of the Deal, but we’ll see.

The object of power is power

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

                       George Orwell: Nineteen-Eighty Four

Two items have just shown up in my inbox, reminding me that the love of political power is the strongest force in human life whose effects drive agendas we normals can never understand. First Mark Steyn on Tinker, Tailor, Clapper, Carter, Downer, Halper, Spy which translated comes down to this:

Brennan and Clapper and Comey and McCabe. They took tools designed to combat America’s foreign enemies and used them against their own citizens and their political opposition. It was an intentional subversion of the electoral process conducted at the highest level by agencies with almost unlimited power. And, if they get away with it, they will do it again, and again and again. That’s what Brennan’s telling us on Twitter and Clapper on “The View”:

Yeah? So what? Whatcha gonna do about it?

Good question.

And then there’s this: T Minus Two Years for a War with China. And its conclusion:

After the war with China has started, whether in 2020 or a bit delayed, we are likely to say to ourselves that if we had known that was coming, we would have done things differently over the last two years. One important thing we should be doing right now is to have as little as possible to do with China, neither importing what they make nor letting them into the country. One of the first things the Trump administration did was to ban entry by people from countries that were sources of Muslim terrorists. China is setting out to kill a lot more Americans than the Muslims ever will. Proceed accordingly.

Things are never as clear looking ahead as looking back, and they’re not all that clear looking back either.

Philip Roth has passed away

If you asked me to name my favourite author, it wouldn’t be Philip Roth, although I may have read more of his novels than any other fiction writer I can think of, so perhaps he is. Alas, he will write no longer, as he has just passed away at 85, and it seems he had stopped writing anyway in 2012 although I hadn’t noticed but had to find out from his obituary. The obit is from the New York Times so is bound to miss almost everything of significance, but as I read Roth over the years, my most certain conviction is that he had drifted from the left to the right, or at least he ended up being able to describe the world not only as I saw it, but seems to have also undergone the same transformation. Let me just quote this:

In his 60s, an age when many writers are winding down, he produced an exceptional sequence of historical novels — “American Pastoral,” “The Human Stain” and “I Married a Communist” — a product of his personal re-engagement with America and American themes.

I read all three as my own private possessions, but let me share with you, in particular, American Pastoral. A melancholy looking back at the madness of the 1960s (for which, I now find, he won the Pulitzer Prize). He also won the initial Franz Kafka Prize in 2001, which I would be more impressed with if the latest winner wasn’t Margaret Atwood. But this is the aim of the award which Roth fully deserved:

The criteria for winning the award include the artwork’s “humanistic character and contribution to cultural, national, language and religious tolerance, its existential, timeless character, its generally human validity and its ability to hand over a testimony about our times.”

Close enough. More important, he was a great story teller who wrote about things that really matter in a way that helps you see what’s there.

MAYBE HE WAS NEVER ON THE LEFT: I just assumed it since he was from New York and all the right people seemed to like his work. But now I’ve come upon this: Philip Roth on Getting Kicked out of Prague, and this was in 1977.

From 1972 through 1977, I traveled to Prague every spring for a week or ten days to see a group of writers, journalists, historians, and professors there who were being persecuted by the Soviet-backed totalitarian Czech regime.

I was followed by a plainclothesman most of the time I was there and my hotel room was bugged, as was the room’s telephone. However, it was not until 1977, when I was leaving an art museum where I’d gone to see a ludicrous exhibition of Soviet socialist realism painting, that I was detained by the police. The incident was unsettling and the next day, heeding their suggestion, I left the country.

And stayed away until the Soviets themselves went away. Very impressive.

AND A BIT MORE: Titled Goodbye Colossus which seems to confirm my take was more general:

In 2006, the New York Times Book Review asked literary scholars, writers, and critics to name “the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.” The book that received the most votes was Beloved by Toni Morrison; but the author who received the most votes was Philip Roth—although the votes for his work were split amongst an astounding seven different novels.

Such objective metrics confirm what, for many, has long been a subjective reality: Philip Roth is the Beethoven of modern American literature. In my view, at least, there is Roth and then there is everybody else. Yes, we enjoy the brilliant Mozartean concertos of John Updike, but nothing quite does it like the Beethovian reverie of Roth. Nowhere else do we find the ferocious passion and pathos, the unfiltered bathos and manic wit, the unsparing humor and surprising compassion, and the relentless, propulsive, vitalistic force of life as we find it in Roth’s fiction. His may not be the literary art of, say, Thomas Mann, but it feels animated as if by the life-force itself. If we read (as Harold Bloom has written) “in search of more life,” when we arrive at Roth, we have found it.

Some vital statistics


Monaco on the left has an area of 4 km². Gaza, shown below, has a land area is 365 km². Both have a Mediterranean sea front. Gaza apparently has an area similar to that of Greater Detroit, which has a population of 4.3 million. Gaza has a population of around 2 million. Monaco is where the rich and famous seem to congregate. Detroit produces cars and is known for its music.

Gaza does not produce a thing other than terrorists who have but one ambition, to kill Jews.

So the question is why does the left, along with our ABC, support Hamas’ ambitions to invade and kill Israelis? Why doesn’t Gaza make an effort to be just like Monaco, or if not Monaco, perhaps Detroit? More pertinent to us, why doesn’t the ABC grow up? On this last question, see Janet Albrechtsen and Sharri Markson, both via Andrew Bolt.

The ABC and its moral sickness

This is the transcript from Q&A on Monday in which the ABC provided oceans of time for a defender of murderers and terrorists to provide excuses why Palestinians were trying to invade Israel as a result of which around 60 ended up dead. Via Andrew Bolt: SHARRI MARKSON: ON THE ABC’S LATEST ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS. The left is morally sick. They cannot bear listening to the other side, and won’t allow anyone else to do so if they can help it. Just look at the paragraph blocks for Randa Abdel-Fattah – who is then followed by Peter Singer, for heaven’s sake – relative to Greg Sheridan.

AMIN ABBAS

Thanks, Tony. Palestinians are often held accountable for crimes committed against them. Last week, the Israeli Army killed 60 unarmed protesters, including many women and children, and injured 2,000, all in a single day. The UN Human Rights Council called for an independent investigation, in which only two countries voted against it – Australia and the US. When will the Australian government stop using the line that Israel has the right to defend itself? And will it, for once, call for the Palestinians’ human rights to be defended?(APPLAUSE)

TONY JONES

Greg Sheridan.

GREG SHERIDAN

Thanks, Tony, for coming to me first on that question.(LAUGHTER)

GREG SHERIDAN

So, look, this is a very emotional and difficult issue. The death of 60 people is a terrible tragedy. And there’s plenty of moral blame to go around. I’ll make a couple of points to you. The United Nations Human Rights Council… Depends where we want to start in the debate, but the United Nations Human Rights Council has zero credibility. It never investigates its members such as Cuba or China, and it has had more resolutions against Israel than against all other nations on earth put together. Now, even if you are a critic of Israel, you cannot believe that it is responsible for more human rights abuses than all the other nations of the whole earth put together – the North Korean labour camp, gulag, 400,000 dead in Syria and so on. So as an organisation, it has zero credibility. And therefore, I think the Australian government was right to refuse to endorse that investigation. Now, the business of the demonstrations is tremendously contested. We’re not going to have time to go through all the detail. If it is the case that the Israelis used unnecessary force, that should be investigated. And I would have faith in the Israeli legal system to investigate it.(AUDIENCE MURMURS)

GREG SHERIDAN

Because it has done so and it has convicted and sent to jail its own soldiers in the past. However, a few things are important to bear in mind. Hamas, which controls Gaza, is a designated terrorist organisation under Australian law, under European law, throughout the states of the European Union, under American law.

TONY JONES

Greg, we’re going to come to a question on Hamas in a moment, so… But just… Australia was one of two countries. The United States and Australia.

GREG SHERIDAN

Yeah, many countries…

TONY JONES

Why did Australia choose to side with the United States?

JANE HUME

Three abstained.

GREG SHERIDAN

Well, I think a number of countries abstained. And in the United Nations…in a similar resolution in the United Nations…

TONY JONES

It makes a point when you vote against something. Abstaining is, “We don’t want to get involved in this argument.”

GREG SHERIDAN

Well, I think we were right to vote against it, because it was…the organisation has no credibility. But, look, a couple of critical points here. In the United Nations General Assembly, many nations, many like-minded nations to us, abstained from the UN Gen…as we did, in the UN General Assembly room. But, look, I just want to continue this thought about Hamas for a second. It’s terribly important.

TONY JONES

No, no. Come back to it, Greg. ‘Cause we are going to have a question on that, I promise you.

GREG SHERIDAN

OK.

TONY JONES

Uh, Randa.

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

Where do I start? Let’s start with why Palestinians are protesting in Hamas…in the Gaza strip. I think it’s important to put this into context if we’re really to make sense of this conflict. They are protesting a brutal siege. They are an open-air prison – the largest concentration camp in the world, as it has been described by a prominent Israeli sociologist. They are about 1.8 million people in a size of about 355 square kilometres. There’s about 41km by 10-12km. They have a blockade for the last 11 years. Israel described it as economic warfare, where they were calculating the number of calories that Palestinians could live under, just short of starvation. They have a population of 75% under the age of 25. 51% of those are children. 97% of the water is poisonous. It is undrinkable. And why is that? Because Israel denied them a water desalination plant and bombed their water treatment facility in the 2008 and 2009 siege.It is an area that is trying to send a message to the world that, after 11 years of being besieged, of being traumatised, of having no sense of dignity or hope and being trapped – they’re not even allowed to leave – they’re trying to tell the world, “Wake up. It’s been 11 years now. What more do we have to do for you to take notice?” And they did it in a non-violent protest. And what were they met with? Nuclear-armed state drones. They were met with live fire by snipers. They were met with people who… The IDF tweeted and then quickly took it down, tweeted that they acted precisely, that they knew exactly where those bullets were landing. And as Lieberman said, he said that every person there at the protest was a Hamas operative. Was Leila Ghandoor, an eight-month-old baby who died, a Hamas operative? He said that there were no innocent people in Gaza.And this is the dehumanising rhetoric that we get when it comes to the Palestinians. That when they protest against something that we would all protest against, they are considered terrorists, and they are blamed for their own murder, as Julie Bishop implied in her tweet, where she put first, before any criticism of Israel, that the Palestinians should exercise restraint. So she is clearly siding there with people who are using expanding bullets on children, on people who are protesting, people who are 700m from a perimeter fence.So, yes, I’m angry on behalf of Palestinians that it takes us this long for the world to wake up. Wake up to what’s happening to Palestinians under our watch. It’s a shame. It’s a disgrace that Australia voted against something that doesn’t even need an investigation. It’s no mystery. It’s no mystery what happened. There’s live testimony. There’s video evidence. There’s photographic evidence. We don’t need another investigation, and then what’s going to happen after that? Nothing. Nothing.

TONY JONES

Greg, I’m going to bring you in because…(APPLAUSE)

TONY JONES

OK. Thank you very much. Greg? I think that, like some of the audience, you reacted when Randa said it was a non-violent demonstration. I presume that’s because there were stone-throwers among the crowd?

GREG SHERIDAN

Uh, well, no. Tony, I don’t want to say anything which I haven’t said, if you know what I mean. So, look, you’ve gotta give me a couple of sentences of context if I’m to answer this. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and they said, “Make this place work and we’ll have a partnership together.” They had six open points. They thought a lot of people from Gaza would come in and work in Israel. They left behind their agricultural industry, and so forth. Now, because of Hamas, which took power and murdered many, many Palestinians…

TONY JONES

OK, Greg, I’m going to interrupt you, only to go to…

GREG SHERIDAN

No, you… No, look, you’ve got to let me…you’ve got to let me give context.

TONY JONES

I will, I promise you.

GREG SHERIDAN

It’s not fair…

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAHBut that’s not what it’s like.

GREG SHERIDAN

It’s not fair to allow all this emotion…

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

If you have a fish bowl…

GREG SHERIDAN…and then to prevent me from having any…

TONY JONES

I’m not preventing you. I’m going to the audience.

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

If you have a fish bowl and you control…

TONY JONES

Both of you, if you just hang on for one second.

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

…you control the food that you can give it, don’t you control that fish bowl?

TONY JONES

We’ve got a question from Josh Gladwin. Go ahead, Josh.GAZA00:47:32

JOSH GLADWIN

Hi guys. Um, cool story, Randa. According to American lawyer and academic Alan Dershowitz, the most recent Hamas provocations, having 40,000 Gazans try and tear down the border fence and enter Israel with Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons, are part of repeated Hamas tactics that he has called the Dead Baby Strategy. Hamas’s goal is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible, so that the headlines always begin and often end with the body count. Do you agree?

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

Oh, poor Israel. We’re forcing it to murder us. And look at what the Palestinians are up against. And I don’t even need to make this up. The IDF tweeted a pictorial inventory of Hamas weapons of war. Let me explain what was on that inventory – arson kites, Molotov cocktails, wire cutters, rope for fence, disabled civilians, children. So that’s basically telling us, in the IDF’s eyes, these are weapons of war – children, disabled civilians – and they are therefore legitimate targets. So instead of blaming Hamas and blaming Palestinians for being murdered, how about we actually look at the people who are actually shooting people and killing babies?(APPLAUSE)

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

And not just that – what I find so contemptible about this is the dehumanisation of Palestinians. The way that we, in a very racist way, assume that they are puppets and pawns of Hamas. They are human beings with free will.

JOSH GLADWIN

Human shields.

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

No. Oh, excuse me. Not human shields. They have dignity, they have free will, they have agency, and they are not some monolithic mass of Arabs. Each one of them there is there for a purpose – to protect and to defend themselves. And they haven’t given up on their right to freedom. And this is what frustrates Israel so much, and its apologists – that we are still there. This is the circle that Israel cannot square. That it wants to maintain and establish an ethno-racial exclusive Jewish nation, but the Palestinian people are there, and we won’t disappear.

JOSH GLADWIN

So why does Egypt have a blockade against Gaza?

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

It’s disgraceful. Egypt’s complicity…

JOSH GLADWINWhy not blame Egypt as well?

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

OK, Egypt, it’s disgraceful. You are complicit. But the problem is Israeli occupation and the siege. (APPLAUSE)

TONY JONES

OK, now, I’ll stop… Greg, that is a question about Hamas. You can talk about Hamas now.

GREG SHERIDAN

OK. OK.(LAUGHTER)

TONY JONES

But I do want to hear from the other panellists.

GREG SHERIDAN

So, very briefly, look, I would honestly urge people to read about this. It’s very difficult to deal with properly in a few sentences in a TV panel. Let me just give you a few points of context. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and said, “Let’s make this work together. If you work together, you can have a very prosperous economic future.” The situation of life in Gaza is terrible, almost entirely because of the actions of Hamas, which murdered…when it took power, murdered hundreds of other Palestinians. Murdered dissidents, threw homosexuals off the rooftop, murdered Fatah and Palestinian Authority people. One of the reasons conditions in Gaza are so bad today is because the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah decided to sanction Hamas in Gaza and stop paying the salaries of Palestinian Authority workers in Gaza.

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

Greg, this is just nonsense. Was Hamas behind Operation Protective Edge, in which 2,200 Palestinians in 2014 were killed? In which 6,000 airstrikes, 50,000 artillery shells, 18,000 homes destroyed, 56 medical clinics destroyed, seven UNRWA schools destroyed, 17 medical clinics? Don’t believe me. Look it up.

GREG SHERIDAN

So…

TONY JONES

Sorry, I’m going to interrupt both of you just for a minute…

GREG SHERIDAN

You’ve got to let me…you’ve got to let me get my defence in.

TONY JONES

Yes, Greg. It’s a flowing discussion, and we’ll come back to you.

GREG SHERIDAN

Yeah, but, I mean, somehow or other, the TV and the people who hate Israel hate this essential context. They hate the context. Now, Hamas is a terrorist organisation, which has murdered many, many, many Palestinians. Don’t believe me. Just google the Hamas Charter and you’ll see it is rank, vicious, foul anti-Semitism. It incites murder. Every time it gets across the border, it kills Israeli civilians. Major General Jim Molan of the Australian Army…

TONY JONES

Greg, he’s on next week and he can talk for himself.

GREG SHERIDAN

…he’s investigated… No, no. Let me finish this sentence.

TONY JONES

No, I have to let the other panellists speak.

GREG SHERIDAN

Let me just finish this sentence.

TONY JONES

OK.

GREG SHERIDAN

He investigated the Israeli Defense Force in detail, and said that it exercises the same moral restraint and the same ethical practice as any Western army would.

TONY JONES

OK. Thank you.(APPLAUSE)

TONY JONES

Now, Peter Singer, you’ve been critical of both Hamas and Israel. So let’s hear your…

PETER SINGER

Exactly. I am critical of both of them, and I think the situation is a tragic one and it has resulted in the tragedy that we’re talking about this time. But clearly there are extremists on both sides. And, you know, there was hope some years ago, when Rabin was prime minister, for example. But, sadly, he was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli and hopes for peace went down. And since then, I think, both sides have gone to extremes. Certainly, the Israeli government has gone to extremes and has not shown signs of really being interested in negotiating peace or stopping settlements. But on the other hand, you have to say, as far as Hamas is concerned particularly, Greg is right – they are a terrorist organisation, they are firing rockets into Israel, they are openly trying to kill Israelis where they can, and they did reject offers of cooperation back when Israel left Gaza. So that’s a tragedy for the people of Gaza. And it’s very hard to see a way out.

TONY JONES

Let’s go to the original question, which was asking about Australia’s vote to reject the investigation into an incident which killed a large number of people and wounded thousands. What’s your view on that?

PETER SINGER

I would have liked to see an investigation, both into why Israel used live fire and could not find a less lethal way of preventing people from attacking and cutting through the fence, but also why Hamas was inviting people to go to the fence when Israel had made it clear that it was going to use force to prevent people, that there clearly was a risk of live ammunition, of people being killed. And why people would go there with their children and babies actually, you know, is mind-boggling to me. What kind of a person would you have to be to say, “I’m gonna take my baby to this area where there’s likely to be firing.”(APPLAUSE)

TONY JONES

Jane.

JANE HUME

The reason why Australia voted against this inquiry was because we believed that it was already being prejudged, that the UN Human Rights Council had already prejudged the outcome. And you could tell that from its language. It didn’t include Hamas in any of the terms of reference of that inquiry. It only included Israel. It included not just Gaza, but also Jerusalem and the West Bank, which weren’t necessarily involved in this particular incident. In fact, it didn’t cite this particular incident at all. And it had an unlimited time period over which it wanted to look at Israeli behaviour. So we felt that it was inappropriate, the way that it had been…the way it had been phrased. Now, Australia has supported these independent inquiries in the past. It supported an independent inquiry into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. So it wasn’t necessarily that…the idea of an inquiry that was the problem. It was the fact that we felt they were already had…had already come up with an outcome.

TONY JONES

OK, we’ve got someone with their hand up over there. I’m going to get a microphone to you. Just hang on. For a comment, hopefully. Go ahead.

MAN

Just a very quick question.

TONY JONES

OK.

MAN

To Greg in particular, but to others. If you were a young man in Gaza, what would you do?

GREG SHERIDAN

Well, uh, look, the quality of life in Gaza desperately needs to be improved. That should be the number one priority of everybody. And it would be improved if Hamas would cooperate with the Palestinian Authority, if it didn’t misuse aid to make attacks on Israel and so on. But the whole… Egypt itself maintains its own blockade with Gaza, because Gaza is constantly threading terrorists back and forth into the Sinai. It is a terrible tragedy for the poor, innocent people of Gaza that they have such a shocking group of terrorists ruling them.

MAN

But what would you do? What would you do if you were there as a young man now?

GREG SHERIDAN

Try to get Hamas out of government. And the courageous Palestinians who have tried to do that have mostly ended up dead.

TONY JONES

OK, Julie, we haven’t heard from you

.JULIE COLLINS

Well, I think the whole…the deaths recently was a bit of a tragedy and, you know, I think the arguments that we’re hearing here tonight at the table show how complex an issue this is. I mean, Labor yesterday called for the government to explain its vote in the UN. We were very concerned that we were one of only two countries to actually vote against it. As we’ve heard, some countries did abstain. But the question would be, well, why didn’t Australia abstain? Why didn’t we talk about, perhaps, supporting another investigation with a differently-worded motion? I mean, we’re not in government, we don’t know what the negotiations around that were. But, clearly, I think both sides, if there was an investigation, would welcome it, so that we can actually get to the bottom of what happened. Let’s not forget, 60 people died. I mean, it is heartbreaking that this continues to happen. This conflict has been going on for a long time. A two-state solution is the only solution, and we need to de-escalate things, not keep inflaming them.

TONY JONES

Randa, I’ll come to you, and you can perhaps answer the question, because I saw you nodding when that gentleman said, “What would you do?”

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

I think it’s an excellent question, because what would the international community have the Palestinians do? They have tried armed resistance in response to occupation, they have tried peaceful, you know, non-violent resistance in the first and second intifada, which was brutally, brutally shut down. They have tried poetry – a poet last week was imprisoned for her poetry. They try peacefully protesting, and they are shot down. So how…what would you have the Palestinians do? There are countless United Nations resolutions that Israel is clearly violating and flouting. The idea that this conflict is complex is something people use as a way to sort of…to deflect attention from what is really a very clear issue here, which is that you have an illegal occupation. You have Israel, which has made the possibility of a two-state solution impossible. There is no viable, contiguous Palestinian state for the Palestinians because Israel has, in violation of international law, transferred 750,000 illegal settlers into the West Bank, taken 80% of the water aquifers. I’ve been on the roads that go through the West Bank that are only allowed for settlers, so that settlers never have to meet those pesky Palestinians. They can live in their own little bubble, in their little West Bank colonies. Then you have Israeli Arabs…

TONY JONES

Randa, we’ve got to come to a final question, so I’ll get you to sum up quickly.

RANDA ABDEL-FATTAH

What would you have the Palestinians do? They… What broke me about this protest is not that they were resisting Israel. It’s not that they were sending a message to Israel. They were sending a message to the world. “This is our cage. We’re rattling this cage. Help us, because we are besieged and no-one is coming to our aid.” So that’s what, for me, is the message here. Listen to Palestinians. Don’t believe Greg. Go and read what you can see. Go on Twitter. You’ll see photos, you’ll see video testimony and evidence, and that’s all you need to make a moral decision.

TONY JONES

Alright.

Sometimes the good die old

Working the Graveyard Shift as I do, I thought I should mention for the record the passing of two of the all-time great authors. The first is Bernard Lewis, and this is from Roger Franklin at Quadrant Online:

Vale Bernard Lewis

bernard lewis

To reach the age of 101 is by any reckoning a pretty fair innings, but mere longevity was the least of Bernard Lewis’ achievements. The author of some 30 books and hundreds of articles passed away on Saturday (May 19) at an assisted-living home in New Jersey, where he spent his final years. As the Jerusalem Post puts it

Lewis was a leading scholar on Oriental and Middle Eastern studies. His study of antisemitism, Semites and Anti-Semites was a cry against Soviet and Arab attempts to delegitimize Israel … he argued Arab rage against Israel was disproportionate to other tragedies or injustices in the Muslim world.

Quadrant‘s Daryl McCann addressed Lewis’ work and his critics on the Left, not least the late and unlamented Edward Said, in our October, 2012, edition. His essay, Bernard Lewis and the Dangerous Creed of Freedom, can be read via this link.

The other is Tom Wolfe who passed away last week at 88. I had been scouting for someone who sees him as I do, but having begun with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in 1968 – and you cannot imagine what a blast it was at the time – and then eventually ended up with his The Kingdom of Speech, his last book, for which I did a rave review* also at Quadrant [November 2016 but, alas, not online], it has been not easy to find someone who covers the terrain. It was not his fiction I truly enjoyed, but “the new journalism”, if you will pardon the expression, since we are talking about something that began fifty years ago. So let me snatch these bits from John Derbyshire’s 2004 review of I am Charlotte Simmons, which fiction though it is, where the right sort of sentiments are struck.

• The political incorrectness. Well, not exactly that. Tom Wolfe takes no point of view, has no bill of goods to sell. He just calmly, coolly records the way things are, the way people look and talk, the commonplace, mostly harmless, prejudices and solidarities that have survived 30 years of relentless media and educational indoctrination against them.

• The class angle. Modern U.S. society is addled with class snobbery. Poor and rural Americans are coarse-looking, ill-dressed, speak in dialect, and have lousy dietary habits. Rich suburban and high-urban Americans would much rather have nothing to do with them. When confrontations do occur, the rustics are insecure but defensive, the rich patronizing but impatient, with a frisson of guilt. Again, these are things known to everyone, but we are not supposed to notice them. Wolfe does notice them, and draws them to a “t.”

• The cold eye. I don’t know how the future will rank Tom Wolfe as a novelist, but he is a simply terrific journalist. Oh, sure, he exaggerates some when writing fiction to get the effects he wants; but you could put a Wolfe novel under a steel-mill press and not squeeze a single drop of sentimentality out of it. Wolfe’s authorial tone to the reader is: You don’t have to like this, and I’m not too crazy about it myself, but this is the way it is, and we both know it. Our society is awash with the grossest kind of sentimentality — in movies and TV, saturating the sappy nostrums of the Sunday magazine-supplements and corporate mission statements, pouring in from self-help cranks, victim-industry moaners and weepers, love-the-world useful-idiot politicians and Oprah-fied pain-feelers. Wolfe is the antidote to all this sugary glop. There isn’t enough of him to have much effect, unfortunately; but when you’re drowning in treacle, the merest squirt of lemon juice is refreshing. Wolfe worships the God Kipling worshipped, The God of Things As They Are.

• Typographical vitality. A copy editor once sent back a manuscript of mine with all the italics, semicolons, dashes, parentheses, and exclamation marks stripped out. She was, I learned later, a disciple of some dogmatic imbecile — was it Strunk? — who had pronounced that the barest text was the best text. Well, the hell with her, and him. Our Tom shares my opinion that every key on the keyboard is there to be used, including the shift key. In I Am Charlotte Simmons he has even ventured a typographic innovation (I think — it is new to me, at any rate): using strings of colons for ellipses in interrupted or disconnected thought. Like this:

::::::trying not to look at him::::::the condom, the ball-peen hammer::::::the undertow again::::::the Doubts::::::more time::::::can’t think spinning like this!::::::Look, Hoyt::::::just wait a second, okay?::::::

• Neat plotting. Wolfe isn’t one of the great plotters — not a Wodehouse, not even a Trollope — but he understands the principles of moral balance and equity that make a novel satisfying to the reader. Virtue need not triumph, but ought at least survive; evil need not be routed, but ought at least be chastened; and there must be a sufficient number of secondary characters we are sufficiently interested in that the author’s giving us some hint of their subsequent fate at the book’s end adds minor satisfactions to the major ones.

* The last para of that review:

In the meantime, I hope there are many who find their way to The Kingdom of Speech which is an amazing read on so many levels, not least of which being how revealing it is about how ideas are formed and sustained across time.

LET ME NOW ADD MARK STEYN ON BERNARD LEWIS: He writes:

I was sorry to hear of the death of the great scholar (and, indeed, psychoanalyst) of Islam Bernard Lewis, a few weeks shy of his 102nd birthday. Nobody is terribly sad when a chap has enjoyed a 50 per cent bonus on his three-score-and-ten – “he had a good innings”, etc – but Bernard was trenchant and vigorous into his late nineties, and there was no one like him, and thus no one to replace him when it comes to a thoroughly informed perspective on the peculiar psychoses of the Islamic world. He was pretty solid on the west’s psychoses, too, because he was old enough to remember what we had been. I quote him toward the end of my book America Alone:

Bernard Lewis, the west’s preeminent scholar of Islam, worked for British intelligence through the grimmest hours of the Second World War. ‘In 1940, we knew who we were, we knew who the enemy was, we knew the dangers and the issues,’ he told The Wall Street Journal. ‘In our island, we knew we would prevail, that the Americans would be drawn into the fight. It is different today. We don’t know who we are, we don’t know the issues, and we still do not understand the nature of the enemy.’

All true.

As to his aforementioned vigor, at the embarkation of a National Review cruise, I once followed him down the corridor to our adjoining cabins. Bernard was then a mere whippersnapper of 93 or so, and I was startled to see, as his crushed linen jacket shrank into the distance, that he was opening up the gap between us with every confident stride.

At a convivial smoker, either on that cruise or another, Bernard and I were engaged in a long conversation à deux – and, out of the corner of my eye, I became vaguely aware of a National Review reader hovering, circling around and then re-hovering. About half-an-hour later, Bernard went off to work the room or whatever, and the hoverer came up to me. “Sorry about that,” he said. “I wanted to come and join you, but the two of you were so animated going back and forth that I didn’t want to interrupt. You looked as if you were hashing out the future of the world. What were you talking about? Iraq? Wahhabi reforms in Saudi? Erdoğan’s dismantling of Turkey?”

“Actually,” I replied, “we were talking about favorite Noël Coward lyrics, with a lengthy digression into Jack Buchanan” – including “And Her Mother Came Too” (which you can hear on our Mother’s Day audio special). These were the songs he knew from his days as a young student at the School of Oriental Studies in the mid-Thirties, and the memory of them warmed him three-quarters of a century later – a small but vital part of “knowing who we are”. No one saw the big picture more clearly, but he had room for the small pleasures, too: A man in full, and marvelous company almost to the end. Rest in peace.