Sparse Posting

In the relatively short time that I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve already experienced first-hand a phenomenon often mentioned by other bloggers, namely the sense of pressure to post on a regular basis (I was trying for at least one post per day).

Once I began to notice that I was getting a certain relatively steady level of traffic, which I took to mean that I had a set of regular readers, I began to feel that didn’t want to disappoint them — or should I say you.  If you were going to be nice enough and appreciative enough to come back to my blog every day then I sure wanted to have something for you when you arrived.

Unfortunately, I’m finding I just plain don’t have the time for a post a day. Things are now happening in other areas of life that are making that pace — already leisurely enough by the standards of some bloggers — impossible.

I’m not going to announce a cessation of blogging. I’ll just say that I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post. I may get a couple of posts up per week, or maybe only a couple per month, or maybe not even that. I don’t want to say I’ll stop because I can well imagine that something will come along that I’ll just have to post about. By then, of course, I may well have no more readers. Pity, but oh well. If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one around to hear it, the tree has still fallen.

March 8, 2010 at 17:24 1 comment

NAAACP Whinges About ‘Racist’ E-Mails

UPDATE: A commenter has drawn my attention to the possibility that people may not read the whole of this post, with potential resulting mishaps. So let me put the alert up front: this is satire, people. Read the whole thing.

The NAACP has sent a pathetic, moaning complaint to authorities after its headquarters received e-mails from nine-year-old children in an Alabama school calling its members “niggers”, saying that they were sub-human, genetically incapable of advanced culture, and should be used as slaves. The NAACP whinges that this is “racist”.

Although the e-mails had come from the school’s e-mail servers, the school’s Principal denied that there was any problem. “It is true that these e-mails were written by children at our school while they were in school, but we always try to teach the children to consider various points of view”.

Primavera itself is unable to take any position on the e-mails. We simply report the news and it is not up to us to evaluate whether calling black people “niggers” and saying they are sub-human and should return to slavery is in any way racist. One man’s racist is another man’s freedom fighter, after all. That is why the word “racist” in the headline is in inverted commas. If this blog used photos, here’s the one we’d use to accompany this article, because it’s important to underline that there is a possibility, after all, that those kids may be right and that niggers really are sub-human and would make good slave material. And anyway, to be perfectly honest, it just doesn’t suit Primavera’s own prejudices and priorities to show any concern over racism against niggers – on the contrary — which his why we need to distance ourselves from any such concern by the use of scare quotes.

What in the world am I on about? This.

Hat tip: Normblog

(Note: this post is satire.)

March 4, 2010 at 08:33 2 comments

Haiti? Never Heard of it. But Dubai – Now THAT’s a Story with Legs!

How long did the Haiti earthquake stay in the news? A week or two? Not more than that. These days you can open the Google News home page at random, at any time of any day, and not see a thing about it. That earthquake seems so long ago. We certainly haven’t heard much for a while.

How long did the Dubai hit stay top, front and centre on the Google News home page? Well, it’s over six weeks now, and counting. It’s non-stop. The biggest story of the year. Seems like only yesterday — yet it happened just exactly one week after the Haiti earthquake.

When NATO takes out Taliban and Quaeda terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan via targeted killing, it’s a line in the news for one day. When Israel takes out a Hamas terrorist in Dubai via targeted killing, the whole world erupts and can’t get over it for months.

There’s a good op-ed about this in today’s FT. It’s a reply to the appalling anti-Israel smear-job that the FT ran last week, and a capable defence of of Israel’s right to defend itself. Andrew Roberts writes:

The intelligence agents of states – sometimes operating with direct authority, sometimes not – have carried out many assassinations and assassination attempts in peacetime without the legitimacy of those states being called into question, or their being described as “rogue”. In 1985 the French Deuxième Bureau sank Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior trawler, killing photographer Fernando Pereira, without anyone denouncing France as a rogue state. Similarly, in 2006, polonium 210 was used to murder Alexander Litvinenko without Putin’s Russia being described as “illegitimate”. That kind of language is only reserved for Israel, even though neither Pereira nor Litvinenko posed the danger to French and Russian citizens that was posed to Israelis by the activities of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

The reason that such double standards still apply – more than six decades after the foundation of the state of Israel – is not because of the nature of that doughty, brave, embattled, tiny, surrounded, yet proudly defiant country, but because of the nature of its foes.

Indeed. Read the whole article — it’s not long and it’s very much worth a read.

Haiti is forgotten because nobody really cares. How much private satisfaction is to be gotten out of reading about a human catastrophe on an unimaginable scale? Gloating over the supposed mis-steps and supposed immorality and general all-around terribleness of the Jewish state, however — that’s something there’s a market for.

March 3, 2010 at 09:24 1 comment

Who’s Silencing Whom?

Thank goodness for blogs like Harry’s Place.

I blog because I have things I want to say, and some of those things strike me as being very important, and some of those require a bit of thought and care to put clearly and succinctly, but on most days I just don’t have time or only have time for brief, shoot-from-the-hip posts, and  so I often wind up leaving unsaid the things that are most important because I just don’t have time to say them as well as I want to. So it’s great to find just the thing I wanted to say very well formulated somewhere else. I can just quote it, link to it, and feel I’ve done what I really wanted to do, namely add my voice to those saying a certain important thing.

I found one of those things today on Harry’s Place. It’s been said before, but it needs to be said as many times as possible by as many people as possible. It’s this:

The familiar complaint that critics of Israel are being silenced or cowed by charges of antisemitism is in some ways the reverse of the truth. It’s people who call attention to antisemitism, and the enabling or papering over of antisemitism so vividly illustrated by Pilger’s rant, who are being dismissed as Zionist agents, Arab haters, people who can’t possibly be arguing in good faith. We’re not opposing bigotry, the logic goes; we’re employing “the usual tactic,” as Caryl Churchill said of Howard Jacobson when he condemned her ugly [and shockingly anti-Semitic — Primavera] play Seven Jewish Children.

That was written by David Adler of Lerterland, and I found it via Harry’s Place. Adler goes on to quote Huey Newton:

We realize that some people who happen to be Jewish and who support Israel will use the Black Panther Party’s position that is against imperialism and against the agents of the imperialist as an attack of anti-Semitism. We think that is a backbiting racist underhanded tactic and we will treat it as such.

In other words, we categorically refuse to discuss or acknowledge antisemitism, and we will greet anyone who attempts to do so with unthinking hostility.

And we will loudly (and dishonestly) complain that anyone who brings even the slightest criticism of Israel gets accused of anti-Semitism, and we will congratulate each other for being the brave ones who resist the strangely potent and dark and furtive powers that seek to silence us, even those of us who are experts on different kinds of Jews and openly have Jewish friends and use words like “goyim” and “mitzvah”.

March 1, 2010 at 21:32 Leave a comment

Celebrity Apologies

The matter of institutional apologies is a subject that Normblog has commented on several times, most recently here. I broadly agree with Normblog’s views in this area and Norm’s posts save me from having to set out these various considerations (as I would certainly do less ably) in order to preface – by way of drawing a contrast – my remarks about this spectacle involving a pro golfer called Tiger Woods. But I do need to highlight one question regarding apologies, and that is the question of whether they are made publicly, privately, or both.

In the case of institutional apologies, there may well be value in both. Let us imagine that the current Pope decided to apologise on behalf of the Vatican and the entire Catholic Church for the child abuse first committed, and then covered up, by the Catholic hierarchy. It would be worth something were each victim to receive a personal and private letter of apology signed by the Pope on behalf of the Church. The value of such a direct, personal and private apology could not and would not be replaced by a general and public apology by the Pope, made (in order to be public) before international media. Yet such a public apology would also be of value – value of a different kind, and also important, and the need for it would not be removed by private and personal apologies.

And now to my point: I have always thought it inappropriate that celebrities are not only expected to make public apologies for private sins but seem almost eager to do so, and I think it is unseemly in the extreme.

I never wanted to know about Tiger Woods’ philandering in the first place, and now I don’t want to know how sorry he is. I don’t find any of it interesting in any way, and I’ve never understood why, apparently, so many people find such stories and the ensuing spectacles so endlessly fascinating. If anyone were to ask me what I think he ought to do, I’d say he ought to leave the celebrity circus alone; he ought to have the seriousness, remorse and humility to depart from the media spotlight; and he ought to go home, apologise privately and sincerely to his wife, and then show he means it by changing. Not that it would be any of my business to tell him that, except that he seems to be willingly complicit in having his sordid and unimportant story shoved in front of my face every time I want to see what, of real importance, is happening in the world.

February 28, 2010 at 14:03 Leave a comment

Dubai and Double Standards

What was wrong with the Dubai hit? Strangely, many people seem to think that “assassinating” Mahmoud Mabhouh in his hotel room in Dubai was wrong in and of itself.

This, I must confess, I don’t get at all. Israel is at war with Hamas terrorists. They are mass-murderers who try to indiscriminately kill as many Israeli civilians, including children in schools and nurseries, as possible. In war, you kill your enemy – that’s just now it is.

What was wrong with the Dubai operation wasn’t the fact of killing (or “assassinating”, or “executing”, or whatever other term  you prefer) that bloodthirsty terrorist. What was wrong with it was that it was such a bumbling mess. Using faked copies of real passports issued by essentially friendly nations? Plastering the faces of the agents all over the CCTV records of a somewhat less friendly nation? The former angers the countries Israel needs most; the latter makes the Mossad look not only bad, but, more importantly, less of a threat. Israel has lost both diplomatic capital and deterrent value through this operation.

But what seems to upset people, instead, is that Israel killed an enemy that it was at war with. This reminds me of the outrage that erupted when Israel killed a Gazan racist mass-murderer of Jewish children known as Sheik Yassin. One cannot imagine a similarly outraged reaction were, for example, the US or any other country to ever succeed in killing Osama Bin Laden rather than capturing him and putting him on trial.

Double standards? You bet.

February 26, 2010 at 10:02 Leave a comment

PAIJ Patrol, Courtesy of SOAS and the FT

It’s a delicious sport well known to editors at the Groan, the Indy and the New Hatesman: find someone with an unmistakably Jewish-sounding surname to say over-the-top-nasty things about Israel for publication. Whatever these people say must be true because, hey, they’re Jewish! Not that we’d ever be so crass as to point that out, obviously. It doesn’t matter to us! Of course not! (But it does shield our courageous writer against the inevitable charges of anti-Semitism.)

Looks like the FT’s got the hang of this game, too.

It’s not hard to play. First, find a good source of people who are falling over themselves to say over-the-top-nasty things about Israel. Hmm, let’s see…. SOAS! Yes! Even a place like LSE is practically a nest of greater-Israel-Zionism compared to SOAS! Then you just need to scroll through the names… let’s see… Sands… Shepherd… Siegman! Bingo! Henry, your turn to have a go at Israel today — knock yaself out!

And Siegman had a go alright. The failure to withdraw from the West Bank — Israel’s fault. No mention of the fact that Olmert was elected by a majority of Israelis to do precisely that, but then was prevented from doing so by Iran, who, with rocket attacks from South Lebanon (via Hizbollah) and the Gaza Strip (via Hamas) after Israel withdrew from the latter, ensured that further withdrawal from Palestinian territories would become utterly impossible.

But Siegman doesn’t stop there; he goes for the nuclear button: Apartheid state! Again, no intelligent discussion or analysis of this at all. He speaks of treating “citizens” unequally but provides not one ink-molecule of substantiation. Does he really mean citizens? If so, he ought to produce at least one example of where Israeli law provides for differing treatment respectively of, say, Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Or is he really talking about West Bank residents who don’t have Israeli citizenship? We’ll never know because this isn’t what actually matters to Siegman. What matters to him is that his little specialty line of business — as-a-Jew Israel bashing — has netted him another piece in another prestigious (relatively) publication. He’s a reasonably successful PAIJ.

February 25, 2010 at 17:07 1 comment

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