Follow by Email

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Maureen Dowd, "It Goes With Everything, Even Blue Hair": Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn

Having been accused of anti-Semitism (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/is-new-york-times-columnist-maureen.html) and after rapturously telling us that the president "has a foreign policy" (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/maureen-dowd-why-not-debtors-prison.html), Maureen Dowd is back with a frothy op-ed entitled "It Goes With Everything, Even Blue Hair" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/opinion/sunday/dowd-it-goes-with-everything-even-bad-hair.html).

In her latest New York Times opinion piece, Dowd does us the favor of enlightening us with regard to the virtues of the "L.B.D.," short for, in case you didn't know, little black dress.

Well, unlike the Obama administration and the national security services with the multi-billion dollar budgets advising it, I knew over two weeks ago that the attack on the Benghazi consulate and the Cairo embassy had not been "spontaneous" (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/obama-foreign-policy-naive-and-dangerous.html), but I don't know diddly-squat about L.B.D.'s.

Tomorrow morning I will remove my white, extra large, 100% cotton T-shirt and put on . . . another white, extra large, 100% cotton T-shirt.

In case you didn't know, they go well with white cotton socks.

Even with gray hair.

Thomas Friedman, "The World We’re Actually Living In": Obama Has Mastered the Universe

Sometimes I wonder in which world Thomas Friedman actually lives.

In Tom's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The World We’re Actually Living In" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/opinion/sunday/friedman-the-world-were-actually-living-in.html?_r=0), he begins by telling us:

"For the first time in a long, long time, a Democrat is running for president and has the clear advantage on national security policy. That is not 'how things are supposed to be,' and Republicans sound apoplectic about it. But there is a reason President Obama is leading on national security, and it was apparent in his U.N. speech last week, which showed a president who understands that we really do live in a more complex world today — and that saying so is not a cop-out."

Obama understands the complexities of today's world? Yeah, right.

Two and a half weeks ago I stated unambiguously that the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi and embassy in Cairo had been planned in advance (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/gail-collins-mitts-major-meltdown.html), yet the Obama administration chose to pretend that they were a "spontaneous" response to a silly excuse for a film. This past Friday, the US Director of National Intelligence finally got around to acknowledging that the attacks had indeed been "deliberate and organized" (see: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444712904578024684208469470.html).

What does this tell you about Obama's grip on national security?

Concerning the attack on the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, stated to The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/world/middleeast/egyptian-leader-mohamed-morsi-spells-out-terms-for-us-arab-ties.html?pagewanted=all):

"'We took our time' in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt 'decisively' with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.

'We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,' he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger."

The US embassy employees were "never in danger"? Perhaps Morsi would care to have a look at the videos of the incident and inquire how embassy employees felt when the demonstrators scaled the embassy's walls and tore down and burned the American flag.

More to the point, how is the Obama administration, which "has the clear advantage on national security policy," handling this affront? Simple. Obama and friends are now seeking to provide Egypt with an emergency cash grant of $450 million.

And what about Obama's unconscionable conduct during the Green Revolution? When Iranians took to the streets in July 2009 to bring down the Ahmadinejad regime, Obama, wishing to cozy up to the mullahs, did nothing as protesters, calling out his name, were gunned down, imprisoned and tortured. What did Obama gain by turning a blind eye to these outrages? Tehran has raced ahead with its nuclear weapons development program, notwithstanding Obama's conciliatory posture throughout much of his first term, leading to the current imbroglio involving Iran and Israel.

Worse still, Iran is now threatening that "Iran’s armed forces are able to target any military base around the world" and telling us that "thirty-five U.S. military bases are within the range of Iran’s missiles" (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/iran-more-threats-of-destruction.html).

Thanks, Tom, for telling us from your Maryland mansion how we can all breathe more freely with Obama in charge. Frankly, however, I'm more interested in knowing whether that thing on top of your head is alive or dead and how it accords with your perception of reality.

Obama Foreign Policy: Naive and Dangerous

Those who read this blog were informed almost immediately that the deadly attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi and embassy in Cairo were anything but spontaneous. On September 12 I wrote (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/gail-collins-mitts-major-meltdown.html):

"Make no mistake about it: The movie 'Innocence of Muslims' was a disinformation exercise, timed around 9/11, intended to exacerbate Arab rioting that had been scheduled in advance. Worse still, the global media, hungry for a story, quickly cooperated by publicizing all of the story's false threads."

Nevertheless, the Obama administration chose to pretend that the attacks had been "spontaneous" in respose to this silly excuse for a film.

Well, yesterday the US Director of National Intelligence finally got around to acknowledging that the attacks had indeed been "deliberate and organized" (see: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444712904578024684208469470.html).

Concerning the attack on the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, stated to The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/world/middleeast/egyptian-leader-mohamed-morsi-spells-out-terms-for-us-arab-ties.html?pagewanted=all):

"'We took our time' in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt 'decisively' with the small, violent element among the demonstrators.

'We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,' he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger."

The US embassy employees were "never in danger"? Yeah, right.

So how is the Obama administration handling this affront? Simple. Obama and friends are now seeking to provide Egypt with an emergency cash grant of $450 million. As reported by The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/world/middleeast/white-house-move-to-give-egypt-450-million-in-aid-meets-resistance.html):

"In recent weeks, negotiations over the assistance picked up pace, and the administration decided to provide $450 million instead, including $190 million immediately, because the country’s economic crisis has become acute, with an estimated budget shortfall of $12 billion.

. . . .

In addition to the $1 billion in assistance, the administration is working with Egypt to provide $375 million in financing and loan guarantees for American financiers who invest in Egypt and a $60 million investment fund for Egyptian businesses. All of that comes on top of $1.3 billion in military aid that the United States provides Egypt each year."

Although Obama recently acknowledged that Egypt is not an American ally (see: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gwEQ3WzDMvnIDbKF5ZQGAyA59Qfw), and notwithstanding America's current economic crisis, the president feels compelled to shower Morsi with money?

In which fantasy world are Obama and Hillary living?

Washington Post Ombudsman Also Acknowledges His Newspaper's Liberal Bias

Almost a month ago, Arthur Brisbane, the departing public editor of The New York Times published his final column (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/opinion/sunday/success-and-risk-as-the-times-transforms.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=public%20editor&st=Search) in which he stated:

"When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times."

"Progressivism," i.e. left leaning bias, "bleeds through the fabric of The Times"? Who would have ever imagined?

Now, Patrick Pexton, the ombudsman of The Washington Post is also acknowledging his newspaper's inclinations (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/patrick-pexton-is-it-news-or-is-it-politics/2012/09/28/fac19242-097c-11e2-858a-5311df86ab04_story.html?hpid=z3):

"One aspect of The Post that particularly irks conservatives is the columnists who appear in print and online in news positions (as opposed to those on the editorial and op-ed pages and the online Opinions section). With the exception of Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, who cover politics in a nonpartisan way, the news columnists almost to a person write from left of center.

. . . .


Is it any wonder that if you’re a conservative looking for unbiased news — and they do; they don’t want only Sean Hannity’s interpretation of the news — that you might feel unwelcome, or dissed or slighted, by the printed Post or the online version? And might you distrust the news when it’s wrapped in so much liberal commentary?

. . . .


The Post should first be about news without slant. If The Post wants to wrap its news in commentary, fine, but shouldn’t some of those voices then be conservative?"

Me? I also value balance, and first and foremost seek news from newspapers. Yes, The Washington Post is not balanced, but in its defense, it also provides the views of Kathleen Parker, Jennifer Rubin, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and Marc Thiessen.

The New York Times, on the other hand, has been transmogrified into the unofficial mouthpiece of the Obama administration, and my guess is that it will pay the "ultimate price," i.e. Chapter 11, for politicization at the expense of reporting the news. Maybe George Soros will buy out the company for pennies on the dollar.

By the way, in his above-referenced opinion piece, Patrick Pexton also refers to the "progressive perspective" of various WaPo writers, whose opinions regularly appear on The Post's front page.

Sorry, but what is this talk about "political progressivism"? If most or all conservatives are referred to as "neocons," why is it that liberals or those from the radical left must be referred to as "progressives"? (Despite that fact that I am pro-choice, advocate immediate withdrawal of US ground forces from Afghanistan, and favor gay marriage and gun control involving assault rifles, I am also routinely labeled a neo-con by angry readers of this blog. Yes, I know, I am critical of the One.)

Today, is it forbidden to use the word "liberal"?

It was less than a year ago that Nobelist Paul Krugman of The New York Times wrote (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html):

"Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

. . . .

It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details."

"Liberal," "progressive," "nihilistic" or "revolutionary"? You decide.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

David Brooks, "The Psych Approach": But What About the Devolution of Psychological Treatment?

Steering away from the cavernous darkness of America's dysfunctional campaign season, David Brooks makes the case, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Psych Approach" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/opinion/brooks-the-psych-approach.html), that childhood trauma is linked to scholastic failure and subsequent problems in adult life. Brooks writes:

"When you look over the domestic policy landscape, you see all these different people in different policy silos with different budgets: in health care, education, crime, poverty, social mobility and labor force issues. But, in their disjointed ways, they are all dealing with the same problem — that across vast stretches of America, economic, social and family breakdowns are producing enormous amounts of stress and unregulated behavior, which dulls motivation, undermines self-control and distorts lives.

Maybe it’s time for people in all these different fields to get together in a room and make a concerted push against the psychological barriers to success."

In fact, Brooks is only describing one side of the coin.

A penurious American health care system no longer has the funds to cover psychological treatment lasting more than a few sessions. Faced with the need to cut corners, psychological treatment is devolving into a limited number of sessions with a psychologist or social worker, followed by a prescription for pills intended to mask the problem.

Often the pills are consumed without follow-up involving a mental health care professional.

As reported by Janice Lloyd of USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/health/story/2011-10-19/CDC-Antidepressant-use-skyrocketed-in-past-20-years/50826442/1):

"Use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Eleven percent of Americans ages 12 years and older took antidepressants during the 2005-08 study period, the authors write. They add that though the majority of antidepressants were taken to treat depression, the drugs also can be used for anxiety disorders and other conditions.

. . . .

[L]ess than one-third of Americans taking one antidepressant and less than one-half of those taking multiple antidepressants have seen a mental-health professional in the past year, the report shows."

It's time to "make a concerted push against the psychological barriers to success"? Perhaps it is first necessary to study the devolution of psychological treatment and to review the wholesale dispensation of pills as the standard of care for an increasing number of Americans.

Can tranquilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotic medications cure a nation gone awry? Why do I doubt it?

More Iranian Threats of Destruction Against the US: Just "Noise"?

Although you won't find it in the US news media, Iran is again threatening the US with destruction. As reported yesterday by Iran's Mehr News Agency in an article entitled "Iran can target any military bases in the world: general" (http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1706231):

"QOM, Sept. 26 (MNA) – Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the deputy chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, said on Wednesday that Iran’s armed forces are able to target any military base around the world.

'Our military might has reached such a point that today, we are able to target any point or base in the world at any moment and with any intensity,' the Tehran Times quoted Salami as telling a gathering of armed forces in Qom.

Brigadier General Ali Ostad Hosseini, the IRGC commander in Semnan Province, also said on Tuesday that thirty-five U.S. military bases are within the range of Iran’s missiles."

Meanwhile, Obama still refuses to establish "red lines" regarding Iran's nuclear weapons development program.

Obama also refuses to put personal differences aside in order to discuss with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a coordinated approach to the Iranian nuclear menace, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledges as a threat not only to Israel but to the entire world (see: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/17/238533.html).

Obama insists that he needs to "block out" Israeli "noise" concerning this issue (see: http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1704330)

Apparently, America's president is also "blocking out" unpleasant Iranian "noise."

After all, there is nothing more important than being re-elected.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Maureen Dowd, "Why Not Debtors’ Prison?": The Queen of Snark Declares that Obama Has a Foreign Policy

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Why Not Debtors’ Prison?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/opinion/dowd-why-not-debtors-prison.html), Maureen Dowd would have us know that Romney and Ryan "haven’t spent time thinking and speaking a lot about foreign policy" and take their marching orders from "their neocon advisers." Regarding Obama, Dowd declares:

"At least the president has a foreign policy."

Obama has a foreign policy? Oh really.

Where is there any mention by Dowd of Obama's inane escalation of American involvement in Afghanistan? Hundreds of American soldiers have laid down their lives for this blunder, which is currently costing the US $6 billion per month.

Why doesn't Maureen say anything about Obama's courtship of Syrian President and mass murderer Bashar al-Assad? Do you remember how Senator John Kerry befriended this monster at the behest of Obama? Do you recall how Hillary declared in 2011, "There is a different leader in Syria now, many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer" (see: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3460_162-20047627.html)?

And where does Maureen refer to Obama's unconscionable conduct during the Green Revolution? When Iranians took to the streets in July 2009 to bring down the Ahmadinejad regime, Obama, wishing to cozy up to the mullahs, did nothing as protesters, calling out his name, were gunned down, imprisoned and tortured. What did Obama gain by turning a blind eye to these outrages? Tehran has raced ahead with its nuclear weapons development program, notwithstanding Obama's conciliatory posture throughout much of his first term, leading to the current imbroglio involving Iran and Israel.

Consider also Obama's refusal to honor his promise to acknowledge Armenian genocide; his profound friendship with Turkey's Erdogan who has thrown a record number of journalists into prison; his demeaning bow to Saudi King Abdullah; his kowtowing to China notwithstanding devastating human rights abuses in that country; his ejection of the Dalai Lama out of a garbage strewn side door of the White House; his joyous embraces with Chavez and Qaddafi; his shameless attempts to mollify Russia's Putin (e.g., the open microphone gaffe when speaking with Medvedev) without receiving anything in return; his alienation of Poland and the Czech Republic in order to appease Putin; his denigration of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu when speaking with Sarkozy (yet another open microphone gaffe); and the list continues ad infinitum.

Dowd further observes:

"And on the day world leaders gathered at the United Nations, President Obama’s only high-level sit-down in New York was with the ladies of 'The View,' teasing, 'I’m just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys.'

Romney said he was very troubled that Obama went on 'The View' and skipped meeting other leaders, especially Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

Netanyahu did not deserve a meeting and neither did President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt."

So you need to "deserve" a meeting with the One. Well, I believe that after an Egyptian mob earlier this month attacked the US embassy and burned its flag, Obama should have met with Morsi and read him the riot act.

Regarding a meeting with Netanyahu, Obama would have been wise to put personal differences aside in order to discuss a coordinated approach to the Iranian nuclear menace, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledges as a threat not only to Israel but to the entire world (see: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/17/238533.html).

But Obama was too busy having fun on "The View" and "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Obama has a foreign policy? If so, perhaps the Queen of Snark would care to enlighten us as to its virtues.

Monday, September 24, 2012

David Brooks, "The Conservative Mind": "Republicans Have Very Little to Offer the Less Educated Half of This Country"

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Conservative Mind" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/opinion/brooks-the-conservative-mind.html), David Brooks observes the dichotomy of conservative thought. According to Brooks, there is economic conservatism, which strives to prevent government from interfering with freedom in the market place, and traditional conservatism, whose goal is to preserve society's norms premised upon the harmonious interaction of its various components, including the family, commercial entities, religion and government.

Observing that "[t]raditional conservatism has gone into eclipse," Brooks claims that "shrinking government has become the organizing conservative principle." He goes on to say:

"Since they no longer speak in the language of social order, Republicans have very little to offer the less educated half of this country. Republicans have very little to say to Hispanic voters, who often come from cultures that place high value on communal solidarity.

Republicans repeat formulas — government support equals dependency — that make sense according to free-market ideology, but oversimplify the real world. Republicans like Romney often rely on an economic language that seems corporate and alien to people who do not define themselves in economic terms. No wonder Romney has trouble relating."

Brooks attributes the poor performance of the Romney campaign to this abandonment of traditional conservatism.

However, if Romney has "very little to offer the less educated half of this country," you might expect his support to come from the "more educated half," but this is not the case. As reported by John Zogby in July (http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnzogby/2012/07/18/zogby-demographics-and-2012-income-education-class/):

"Voters with at least a college degree are at least 40% of all likely voters. Here is where Obama does very well leading Romney by 8 points – 47% to 39%. This matches his 8 point margin over McCain (53%-45%) in 2008 and other indicators suggest he will do well again. His approval rating among college graduates is slightly higher than his overall rating from all voters and slightly more than the average feel he deserves re-election."

Or in other words, Romney's base of support is America's middle class, which already values traditional conservatism. Can Romney make headway with the less educated and more educated by expounding upon the virtues of traditional conservatism? I doubt it.

Americans are overwhelmingly concerned with one issue: As recently reported by Gallup (http://www.gallup.com/poll/1675/most-important-problem.aspx), 72% of Americans believe that economic issues comprise the "most important problem facing this country today."

Moreover, whereas Brooks's opinion piece is a fascinating precis of trends in conservative thought, I think it is a mistake to intellectualize an election that is devoid of ideas and intelligence.

Given the importance of economic issues to Americans, where are Romney's ideas - not generalities - for invigorating a stalled economy?

Obama's recovery plan? It also doesn't exist.

America, which is now $16 trillion in debt - Obama declined to acknowledge this number on "The Late Show with David Letterman" (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/09/24/senator-dirksen-call-your-office/#more-806478) - and beginning to teeter, deserves and should be demanding more.

Or do you get what you deserve?



Leftist Israeli Newspaper Haaretz Begins Layoffs: A Sign of the Times or for the Times?

In the past, anytime a op-ed columnist from The New York Times was in need of derogatory information concerning Israel, he or she could usually find the "goods" in Israel's uber leftist newspaper, Haaretz. Haaretz, however, which began to demand subscription fees from online readers in order to bolster its faltering financial position (sound familiar?), has begun to lay off workers (see: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=286006).

Let's face it: Newspapers are in trouble around the globe. Can newspapers catering to a leftist readership carve out a niche market? In Israel the answer is apparently "no."

A sign of the times or for the Times?

Paul Krugman, "The Optimism Cure": It Beats Keynes Hands-Down

"In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again."

- Chance the Gardener, "Being There"

I'm no more fond of Keynes than I am of trickle-down economics. Rather, I believe in Chance the Gardener's school of thought, i.e. after winter comes the spring, unless, of course, the US government is foolish enough to listen to Paul Krugman. If the decision is taken to spend trillions of additional dollars on pork barrel stimulation, overseen by bureaucrats in Washington, and having no sustainable benefit, America will be brought to its knees.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Optimism Cure" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/opinion/krugman-the-optimism-cure.html?_r=1), Krugman whines about Romney's "substance-free" economic plan. Of course, Krugman is correct, but then where is the Obama plan?

Krugman concludes:

"Yet the truth is that it all fits together. Mr. Romney’s whole campaign has been based on the premise that he can become president simply by not being Barack Obama. Why shouldn’t he believe that he can fix the economy the same way?"

But in fact, Romney and Obama are remarkably similar: Neither is offering economic guidance, and both are saying, "Believe in me."

Welcome to the dawn of a new narcissistic age.

In fact, no matter who is elected, we are apt to see improvement in the spring . . . provided that Krugman is ignored.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Maureen Dowd, "The Son Also Sets": Where's the Business Plan?

In the business world, if you want to raise money for a start-up, you must present potential investors with a detailed business plan for future operations. No business plan, no money. Harvard Business School graduate Romney should know this.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Son Also Sets" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/opinion/sunday/dowd-the-son-also-sets.html?_r=0), Maureen Dowd observes with regard to the Romney campaign:

"Even if voters are inclined to fire the incumbent, they need reassurance about what the replacement would do. Romney has failed to give details where needed, and when he does give details, they contradict his own past stands."

Or as I said in a prior blog entry (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/david-brooks-thurston-howell-romney-or.html), "winning the presidency away from an incumbent, no matter how bad the economy, is not a matter of entitlement." Has Mitt provided a business plan? There's not even an executive summary.

Obama's recovery plan? It also doesn't exist. Obama is perfectly content to coast into a second term without providing a program, given the ineptitude of Team Romney.

How refreshing it would be if either candidate were to say that he is planning to put an immediate end to America's ground involvement in Afghanistan.

Or to declare war on Medicare and Social Security fraud.

Or to reinstate Glass-Steagall and the Uptick Rule.

Or merely to treat the American electorate as intelligent adults.

But it's not going to happen. We have only the next season of "Game of Thrones" to anticipate. Everything else is downhill.

Winter is coming.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Gail Collins, "The Polar Express": Collins's Turn to Take an Ugly Swipe at Israel

As noted in a previous blog entry (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/is-new-york-times-columnist-maureen.html), Maureen Dowd is under fire for alleged anti-Semitism.

Not wishing to be left out of the Israel bashing festivities at The New York Times (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/is-new-york-times-columnist-maureen.html), Gail Collins, in her latest op-ed entitled "The Polar Express" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/opinion/collins-the-polar-express.html?_r=0), also feels compelled to take an ugly swipe at US Congressional support for Israel:

"The Senate had a big agenda for its finale. Kicking the budget can down the road! Passing a resolution on Iran designed to demonstrate total support for whatever it is Israel thinks is a good idea!"

Once again, we are being told that the Jews control Congress.

Why should Gail concern herself with the fact that Iran has consistently threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map, to excise the "Zionist tumor," and most recently to target US planes and conquer Jerusalem (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/iran-threatens-to-conquer-jerusalem.html)?

Extermination of Israel? What me worry? Life is all about nefarious Republicans and the reelection of Obama, who can do no evil.

Iran Threatens to Conquer Jerusalem

As talks to rein in Iran's nuclear weapons development program go nowhere, Tehran is growing increasingly bellicose.

During a week in which it unveiled several improved weapons systems, including its Ra'd air defense system which "has been developed to target aggressive US planes" (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9106241392), Iran has also threatened to conquer Jerusalem. As reported by Iran's Fars News Agency (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9106241410):

"A senior Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander warned that any Israeli aggression against Iran would trigger an Iranian operation whose objective would be conquering Beitol-Moghaddas (Jerusalem).

'If the Zionist regime embarks on a strategic mistake and initiates an action against our country, we will respond to them with the 'Towards Beitol-Moghaddas" Operations,' Commander of Tehran's Corps General Mohsen Kazzemeini said Thursday night."

David Brooks, "Temerity at the Top": What's Needed for Innovation

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Temerity at the Top" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/opinion/brooks-temerity-at-the-top.html), David Brooks focuses on the achievements of Elon Musk, the remarkable 41-year-old founder of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors and Paypal. Brooks begins by noting:

"Prosperity is often driven by small enclaves of extraordinary individuals that build new industries and amass large fortunes. These driven, manic individuals are frequently unpleasant to be around. But, if your country is not attracting and nurturing them, you’re cooked."

Brooks concludes with the observation:

"A few ridiculously ambitious people can change an economy more than any president."

I agree and disagree with Brooks. Innovation is necessarily grounded upon vision and ambition. Manic tendencies are not a necessary component of the equation.

Late in the second half of the game, I am blessed to be able to work with two companies seeking to change the world in which we live.

Compugen, which is revolutionizing the manner in which new drugs and diagnostics are discovered, has spent the past decade building an infrastructure of proprietary scientific understandings, predictive platforms, algorithms, and machine learning systems for the in silico (by computer) prediction and selection of product candidates. Although Compugen is the vision of Martin Gerstel, who in the past guided Alza, a drug delivery company, to success, the ongoing realization of Mr. Gerstel's dream is in the hands of some 40 geniuses who have collectively integrated their diverse fields of knowledge - no small endeavor. I meet and talk regularly with Mr. Gerstel and Compugen's management and scientific team. Although I am overwhelmed by their intellects, I have never encountered arrogance or condescension. Quite the contrary: I have always experienced smiles and angelic patience as their scientists have explained to me their latest achievements.

Nano Retina, which is the brainchild of renowned medical device inventor Yossi Gross and nanotechnology icon Jim Von Ehr, is seeking to create a miniaturized retinal implant to restore vision to persons blinded by age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa following a 30-minute minimally invasive operation. A video is worth a thousand words? Have a look for yourselves:



Again, I have only known kindness and caring from the founders and small team of scientists responsible for this breakthrough project.

Innovation is premised upon vision, ambition, teamwork and no small amount of sweat. Temerity, rapacity and insensitivity are unnecessary ingredients.

[As noted in prior blog entries, I am a Compugen shareholder, this blog entry is not a recommendation to buy or sell Compugen shares, and in September 2009 I began work as a part-time external consultant to Compugen. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are based on publicly available information. This blog entry has not been authorized, approved or reviewed prior to posting by Compugen.]

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd Anti-Semitic?

Everyone knows that Maureen Dowd once lifted a paragraph from Josh Marshall without attribution. This is called plagiarism.

We also know that Maureen is a hypocrite. In the past she has devoted many of her columns to the molestation of young boys by Catholic priests. On the other hand, during the course of a 2010 trip to Saudi Arabia, during which she was hosted by Prince Saud al-Faisal at "his sprawling, glinting ranch house with its stable of Arabian horses," she reported that the Desert Kingdom is "chipping away at gender apartheid and cultural repression" (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/opinion/03dowd.html), but forgot to mention the horrors being perpetrated against Saudi women. When I complained to Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times, about this paradox, he quickly came to Dowd's defense:

"Maureen has denounced the barbaric policies in Saudi Arabia against women more than once, including on an earlier trip to that country as I recall."

My response to Rosenthal:

"Re Ms. Dowd's most recent series of op-eds concerning Saudi Arabia, I read all of them and do not recall a single instance where she denounced their 'barbaric policies'. Although there was castigation of Israel, did she did not once mention the practice of 'honor' killings in Saudi Arabia. She never described how women who are gang raped are sentenced to prison and lashings. She never mentioned the problem of 'child brides' in this country.

I recall reading her op-ed, 'Driving Miss Saudi' . . . where she observed how "Young women in Riyadh try to balance Islam and modernity as the stunted desert kingdom makes progress in 'Saudi Time'", but didn't dare breathe a word concerning any of the above obscenities.

Reading this op-ed, one was made to believe that Saudi oppression of women amounted to little more than a dress code."

Rosenthal did not respond.

More recently, following her Sunday op-ed entitled "Neocons Slither Back" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/opinion/sunday/dowd-neocons-slither-back.html), Dowd has been accused of anti-Semitism. As summarized by Politico's Dylan Byers (http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/09/maureen-dowd-meets-antisemitism-charge-135700.html):

"New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd set the Jewish political community on fire today with a column about the Republican ticket's foreign policy proposals that, according to her critics, peddled anti-Semitic imagery.

Dowd fairly observed that neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan are experts in the field of foreign policy, but asserted their strategy was orchestrated by a 'neocon puppet master' who was leading the neocon effort to 'slither back' into power.

Such language, to say nothing of the questionable legitimacy of her claims, struck experts on American-Israeli relations as an inappropriate (though perhaps unintentional) appeal to anti-Semitic stereotypes, and especially offensive ahead of the first night of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah."

Observing the outrage expressed by Steven A. Cook, Jeffrey Goldberg, Blake Hounshell, Daniel Halper and Jonathan Tobin, Byers reported that Andrew Rosenthal had defended Dowd from these charges by declaring:

"No fair-minded reading of Maureen Dowd's column supports the allegations you and others are making. She makes no reference, direct or implied, to anyone's religion."

Yeah, right. Not one of these commentators from both the left and the right is "fair-minded."

But why is everyone suddenly ganging up on poor Maureen?

Not long ago, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/opinion/friedman-newt-mitt-bibi-and-vladimir.html?ref=opinion):

"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."

Is this any less horrifying than what Maureen wrote?

And then there was Roger Cohen's New York Times op-ed "Obama in Netanyahu's Web" (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/opinion/28iht-edcohen.html), whose title was painfully in keeping with the anti-Semitic tradition of depicting Jews as voracious spiders. As a "very senior" Times editor later acknowledged to me, this "was not a good headline."

More about Cohen? Earlier this year, following my complaint by e-mail to Andrew Rosenthal concerning the title of Roger Cohen's op-ed, "The Dilemmas of Jewish Power," the title was quickly changed online to "The Dilemmas of Israeli Power" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/opinion/cohen-the-dilemmas-of-jewish-power.html). Rosenthal did not write back to me, and when I protested to Jill Abramson, executive editor of the Times, she also failed to reply (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/02/stench-of-anti-semitism-at-new-york.html).

Also, we mustn't forget the "contribution" of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to this depravity. As I explained in an article entitled "Nicholas Kristof, Israel, and Double Standards" (http://www.jsantisemitism.org/essays/GrossmanJSA210(4).pdf) for The Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, Kristof routinely rails against purported Israeli injustices, while ignoring the improprities of other democracies:

"Ignorance, however, has never prevented Kristof from foisting twaddle upon the Times’s readership, particularly with respect to Israel. In an August 2011 op-ed, “Seeking Balance on the Mideast” (http://www.nytimes
.com/2011/08/04/opinion/seeking-balance-on-the-mideast.html?_r=1&hp), Kristof lambasted Israel at a time when Assad’s tanks were massacring the inhabitants of the Syrian city of Hama. Kristof sought to excuse himself by observing:

'Whenever I write about Israel, I get accused of double standards because I don’t spill as much ink denouncing worse abuses by, say, Syria. I plead guilty. I demand more of Israel partly because my tax dollars supply arms and aid to Israel. I hold democratic allies like Israel to a higher standard—just as I do the U.S.'

True, Syria has not been a recipient of U.S. aid. But whereas Egypt has received billions of dollars of American aid, Kristof doesn’t write about the persecution and murder of its Coptic Christian minority . . . And while Pakistan, a democracy of sorts, has also benefited from billions of dollars of U.S. aid while abetting the Taliban in Afghanistan, Kristof has been seeking a reduction of tariffs on Pakistani garment exports to the United States, purportedly in order to fight extremism.

. . . .

According to the 'working definition of antisemitism' of the European Forum on Antisemitism: 'Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include: . . . Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.'

. . . .

Kristof plainly has no problem ignoring the persecution of 30 million stateless Kurds, the oppression of Iran’s Baha’is, and the despair of Egypt’s Copts. He clearly holds Israel to rules unlike those that he would set for any other country, democratic or otherwise, be it Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, or the United States. Kristof worries over whether he will be accused of applying a double standard to Israel, to which concern I would observe that there is an old Jewish maxim applicable to Kristof’s angst: 'The hat burns on the head of the thief.' In the best-case scenario, Kristof is guilty of applying double standards to Israel, notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary. In the worst-case scenario, Kristof is guilty of something far more insidious."

More? The New York Times has persistently published the vilest imaginable anti-Semitic comments from its readers notwithstanding review by its "moderators," e.g., "There is no country called Israel, just the squatting of tribal criminals from the Eastern Bloc." Although I repeatedly brought this practice to the attention of past New York Times public editors, I was ignored (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2009/06/open-letter-no-2-to-clark-hoyt-public.html and http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2010/10/sanchez-dismissal-spawns-more-anti.html). When I showed specific examples of these readers' comments to Andrew Rosenthal, he personally removed some of them, but the phenomenon persisted. (I have long ceased reading these comments or submitting them, given that I was routinely censored by the Times's "moderators.")

Still more? When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to a Times request that he submit a guest op-ed for publication, his senior adviser, Ron Dermer, responded this past December by observing (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=249724):

"Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, 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.'

The only 'positive' piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.

Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone's previous submission. In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position. According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print."

Well, over the past week leading up to Rosh Hashanah, The New York Times was again up to its old tricks. The Times published an Israel bashing guest op-ed entitled "Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking," written by Daniel Levy, whose inaccuracies are most kindly described as egregious (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/daniel-levy-seven-lean-years-of.html). The Times didn't bother to inform its readership that Levy was a founder of J Street and continues to serve on its advisory board (see: http://www.newamerica.net/people/daniel_levy).

On Rosh Hashanah, the Times "feted" its readers with another Israel bashing guest op-ed entitled "A Preventable Massacre," written by Seth Anziska, a Columbia University graduate student, whose casual attitude toward historical facts speaks volumes about his inclinations (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/seth-anziska-preventable-massacre-more.html). Again, the Times didn't take the trouble to inform its readers that Columbia lists Anziska's "Advisor" as Rashid Khalidi (see: http://history.columbia.edu/graduate/Anziska.html), a professor once linked to the PLO (see: http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/2008/10/khalidi-of-the-plo/). As known to all, a tape of Obama's 2003 tribute to Khalidi at a farewell party in Chicago is locked away in the offices of The Los Angeles Times (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/226104/i-l-times-i-suppresses-obamas-khalidi-bash-tape/andrew-c-mccarthy).

In short, why is everyone beating up on poor Maureen Dowd when the stench of anti-Semitism permeates the entirety of the Times's edifice?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thomas Friedman, "Look in Your Mirror": How About Taking Off the Rose-Colored Glasses, Tom

In his latest New York Times op-ed, "Look in Your Mirror" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/opinion/friedman-look-in-your-mirror.html), Thomas Friedman observes Muslim expressions of hatred toward other faiths and concludes:

"As a Jew who has lived and worked in the Muslim world, I know that these expressions of intolerance are only one side of the story and that there are deeply tolerant views and strains of Islam espoused and practiced there as well. Theirs are complex societies.

That’s the point. America is a complex society, too. But let’s cut the nonsense that this is just our problem and the only issue is how we clean up our act. That Cairo protester is right: We should respect the faiths and prophets of others. But that runs both ways. Our president and major newspapers consistently condemn hate speech against other religions. How about yours?"

I wouldn't be expecting too much, Tom. Again, have a look at the results of a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in December 2010 (http://pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/):

"At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt . . . say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries: stoning people who commit adultery [82%], whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery [77%] and the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion [84%]."

According to this report, 95% of Egyptian Muslims also believe it is "good" that Islam plays a large role in politics.

Friedman is seeking tolerance from these people? Sorry for being politically incorrect, but Tom may just have to wait another century or two.



Maureen Dowd, "Let Them Eat Crab Cake": And the Loser in 2012 Is . . . Us

A crab cake? I wouldn't know one if I were to see one. On the other hand, I can smell from afar that Romney's goose is cooked

Referring to the recent video of Romney's infamous Florida fundraising fiasco in her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Let Them Eat Crab Cake" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/opinion/dowd-let-them-eat-crab-cake.html?_r=0), Maureen Dowd, oblivious to recent accusations of anti-Semitism against her (see: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/09/maureen-dowd-meets-antisemitism-charge-135700.html), begins by snickering:

"Oh, for the days when we thought Mitt Romney didn’t stand for anything.

As a secret video from a Boca Raton fund-raiser with high rollers in May shows, Romney in private stands for so many bizarre things that it’s hard to tell what’s crazier — his domestic policy or his foreign policy.

Less than 50 days before the election, we learn that Romney may have given up on half of America and on Mideast peace."

Her conclusion:

"One thing we have to give Mitt, though: He is, as advertised, a brilliant manager. He’s managed to ensure that President Obama has a much better chance of re-election."

Well, Dowd is both right and wrong.

Dowd is correct to the extent that this presidential election is over. Barring the announcement of a 20% unemployment rate at the beginning of November, Obama will be re-elected.

But to say that Romney doesn't stand for anything? He stands for himself (as does Obama). Ideas how to remedy the economy? As aptly observed yesterday by David Brooks (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/david-brooks-thurston-howell-romney-or.html), Romney is clueless concerning those who pay and reap the benefits of federal income taxes in the US. His comments in this regard will not be forgiven or forgotten, nothwithstanding the dire state of the US economy, for which he has offered few substantive remedies.

But having acknowledged Romney's lack of substance, let's also admit that there are those, including members of my family, who will press the "Democratic" lever in November even if the walls around them come tumbling down. "You didn't build that"? Who cares, as long as he's not a . . . Republican.

With regard to writing off the chances of the Palestinians negotiating peace anytime soon, Romney is correct. As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated in May 2009 to Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803614.html):

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

Meanwhile, Abbas, intent on living to a ripe old age without fear of assassination for negotiating a peace treaty with the Jews, continues to wait.

Bottom line: Obama will be the winner in November. The loser? The American electorate, which will be faced with four more years of narcissism, indecision, incompetence and economic decline.

You get what you deserve? Actually, America deserves much more from both its political parties.

[Tomorrow, I plan to provide some first hand "stuff" concerning Maureen Dowd, Andrew Rosenthal, The New York Times and anti-Semitism. Stay tuned . . .]

Monday, September 17, 2012

David Brooks, "Thurston Howell Romney": Or How Romney Lost the 2012 Presidential Election

During his first term in office, Obama proved himself a failure even by his own standards. He was unable to resurrect the economy notwithstanding trillion dollar budget deficits, he perpetuated American involvement in Afghanistan at a frightening cost of lives and money, and his outreach campaign to the world's tyrannical regimes and his craven wishy-washiness in the face of challenge have alienated American allies around the globe. Offering no vision how to mend the train wreck for which he is admittedly not entirely responsible, the president has long since buried his calls for "Hope" and "Change" six feet under.

Even Obama's condescending "You didn't build that," coming from a millionaire community worker who made his fortune writing books about himself, did not sink his 2012 re-election campaign. Why? Because Romney failed to provide answers how to bring America back from the edge of the abyss. You see, winning the presidency away from an incumbent, no matter how bad the economy, is not a matter of entitlement.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Thurston Howell Romney" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/opinion/brooks-thurston-howell-romney.html), David Brooks excoriates Romney for dividing the US during a recent fund-raiser into two groups, "the makers and the moochers" and for declaring that the forty-seven percent who are "moochers" will never vote for him. Brooks tells us that Romney doesn't understand who is receiving the lion's share of federal aid:

"The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor."

Brooks concludes:

"But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney."

David is correct. The entitlements that are bleeding the US white are also the most popular: Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. In addition, much of the funding problem involving these programs has little to do with "blame." Rather, Americans are simply living longer. As observed by former Senator Robert Bennett of Utah (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700118223/Three-biggest-entitlement-programs.html?pg=all):

"In the 1930s, when Social Security was passed, we were a very young country where people died early. Roughly half of those who paid in to the program died before taking anything out. Today, more than 80 percent of those entering the work force in their twenties are still alive at 67, and they live almost twice as long after reaching that age than their parents did. The old formula simply doesn't work anymore."

Sure, there is massive fraud plaguing Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and any attempt at balancing the US budget should include a declaration of war against those who swindle these entitlement systems. However, the bottom line is that Americans must be treated like adults and come to terms with living within federal budgetary means. Painful solutions involving cutbacks or heightened efficiency, which are not being proposed by Obama or Romney, must be found.

Do I agree with everything that Brooks says? Absolutely not. Brooks continues:

"Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills."

Sorry, David, but I don't believe in "showering" benefits upon my children in order to allow them to "play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills." I didn't grow up this way, nor will my children. Notwithstanding my paternal instincts to give my children what I never had, I also realize the need to inculcate them with the desire to ultimately declare, "I did build that."

Such a dismal choice America faces on the sixth of November.

Israel Bashing and Journalistic Ethics at The New York Times: They Don't Mix

Less than a week ago, The New York Times published an Israel bashing guest op-ed entitled "Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking," written by Daniel Levy, whose inaccuracies were egregious (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/daniel-levy-seven-lean-years-of.html). Worse still, the Times didn't bother to inform its readership that Levy was a founder of J Street and continues to serve on its advisory board (see: http://www.newamerica.net/people/daniel_levy).

Today, on Rosh Hashana, the Times "feted" us with another Israel bashing guest op-ed entitled "A Preventable Massacre," written by Seth Anziska, a graduate student, whose casual attitude toward historical facts speaks volumes about his inclinations (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/seth-anziska-preventable-massacre-more.html). Again, the Times didn't take the trouble to inform us that Columbia University lists Anziska's "Advisor" as Rashid Khalidi (see: http://history.columbia.edu/graduate/Anziska.html), a Columbia professor once linked to the PLO (see: http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/2008/10/khalidi-of-the-plo/). As known to all, a tape of Obama's 2003 tribute to Khalidi at a farewell party in Chicago is locked away in the offices of The Los Angeles Times (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/226104/i-l-times-i-suppresses-obamas-khalidi-bash-tape/andrew-c-mccarthy).

Such background information is of course critical in assessing the objectivity of both Levy and Anziska.

Needless to say, the Times is free to persist with its anti-Israel agenda, but is there also no obligation to occasionally offer reasoned rebuttal? I have asked the new public editor of the Gray Lady, Margaret Sulivan, for her opinion regarding both these issues, and let's see if she has the courage to reply.

Seth Anziska, "A Preventable Massacre": More Israel Bashing From The New York Times

The Middle East is indeed a savage region. In 1982, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of Bashar al-Assad, killed some 25,000 Sunni civilians (there are higher and lower estimates) in the town of Hama. In 1988, Saddam Hussein killed some 5,000 civilians when he attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja with poison gas. Over 1,200 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terrorists since September 2000. And more recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has killed some 30,000 civilians while attempting to quell the current uprising of his country's Sunni majority.

Further afield in Central Asia, some 1,300 Afghan civilians have accidentally been killed by US-led military forces since Obama became president in 2009.

But never mind any of the above. Today, The New York Times would only have us focus on the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre. Over the course of this abomination, Lebanese Christian militiamen murdered some 800 Palestinian civilians in Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, after the Israeli Army allowed the Christians, hungry for revenge, access to the camps.

In his guest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Preventable Massacre" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/opinion/a-preventable-massacre.html?pagewanted=all), Seth Anziska, a doctoral candidate in international history at Columbia University, informs us:

"Israel’s involvement in the Lebanese civil war began in June 1982, when it invaded its northern neighbor. Its goal was to root out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had set up a state within a state, and to transform Lebanon into a Christian-ruled ally."

Oh really? The 1982 Israeli operation had nothing to do with rooting out terror?

Seth fails to mention the "Coastal Road Massacre" of 1978, when Palestinians from Lebanon landed on Israel's coast, hijacked a bus, and killed 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.

Seth also forgets to tell us about the massive 1981 rocketing of civilian targets in Northern Israel by the PLO.

And then there was also the June 1982 attack in London on Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, by the Iraqi-backed Abu Nidal terrorist organization. But why should Seth be troubled with such minor details?

Alleging deception and "browbeating" of US officials on the part of Ariel Sharon leading up to the Sabra and Shatila massacre, our darling doctoral candidate goes on to say:

"The Sabra and Shatila massacre severely undercut America’s influence in the Middle East, and its moral authority plummeted. In the aftermath of the massacre, the United States felt compelled by 'guilt' to redeploy the Marines, who ended up without a clear mission, in the midst of a brutal civil war.

On Oct. 23, 1983, the Marine barracks in Beirut were bombed and 241 Marines were killed. The attack led to open warfare with Syrian-backed forces and, soon after, the rapid withdrawal of the Marines to their ships. As Mr. Lewis told me, America left Lebanon 'with our tail between our legs.'"

Regrettably, Seth again forgets to inform us that the barracks bombing was perpetrated by Lebanese Shiites, who, like the Lebanese Christians, also hated their Palestinian overlords. In addition, the attack was almost certainly undertaken pursuant to instructions from Iran, possibly owing to US support for Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war. Or in other words, there was little connection between the barracks bombing and Israel, unless you also wish to blame Israel for US combat deaths in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia.

Seth concludes:

"The lesson of the Sabra and Shatila tragedy is clear. Sometimes close allies act contrary to American interests and values. Failing to exert American power to uphold those interests and values can have disastrous consequences: for our allies, for our moral standing and most important, for the innocent people who pay the highest price of all."

"Most important, for the innocent people"? Oh really. Why isn't Seth telling us of the price being paid by civilians in Afghanistan, owing to Obama's inane escalation of that meaningless war? And why doesn't Seth bother to mention the ongoing civil war in Syria, ignored by Obama, which has claimed thousands of civilians lives?

In fact, publication by the Times of this guest op-ed by a doctoral student is all about telling us that the US shouldn't allow Netanyahu to "browbeat" the US into setting "red lines" for the Iranian nuclear weapons development program. Not by coincidence, this guest op-ed was published immediately after Netanyahu informed "Meet the Press" that Iran will be on the brink of a nuclear bomb in six to seven months (see: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=285287).

As observed in prior blog entries, the crux of the current crisis involving Iran and Israel involves lack of faith in Obama. After witnessing his foreign policy procrastination over the past three years, neither of these countries believes that Obama means what he says. In fact, this perception of Obama as irresolute and wishy-washy, i.e. "leading from behind," is what could well lead to a disastrous war, costing thousands of civilian lives.

If the US truly believes that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran's maniacal mullahs do not pose a threat to American interests, taking into account hostility and proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia and also Iran's patronage of international terror, perhaps the US should not promulgate red lines. On the other hand, if, as stated today by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iran poses a threat not only to Israel but to the entire world (see: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/17/238533.html), then it is indeed time for tough talk.

[Columbia University lists Anziska's "Advisor" as Rashid Khalidi (see: http://history.columbia.edu/graduate/Anziska.html), a Columbia professor once linked to the PLO (see: http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/2008/10/khalidi-of-the-plo/). A tape of Obama's 2003 tribute to Khalidi at a farewell party in Chicago is locked away in the offices of The Los Angeles Times (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/226104/i-l-times-i-suppresses-obamas-khalidi-bash-tape/andrew-c-mccarthy).]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy New Year

To those of my blog readers from around the world (some 30 different nations today) who celebrate the Jewish New Year:

שנה טובה ומתוקה

A sweet, healthy, happy and peaceful New Year!

Jeff

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thomas Friedman, "The Talk of China": What Happened to His Bullet Trains and Ultramodern Airports?

Do you remember reading "Tom Swift" science fiction novels as a child? Well, there is nothing "swift" about Tom Friedman.

In his latest New York Times op-ed, "The Talk of China" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/opinion/sunday/friedman-the-talk-of-china.html?pagewanted=all), Friedman tells us from Beijing:

"More and more, the Chinese people, from microbloggers to peasants to students, are demanding that their voices be heard — and officials clearly feel the need to respond. China is now a strange hybrid — an autocracy with 400 million bloggers, who are censored, feared and listened to all at the same time."

So Friedman has finally woken up to the fact that China is not only about bullet trains and ultramodern airports, but also about slave labor and suppressed masses, deprived of basic human freedoms, that built this infrastructure.

Heck, it only took Tom a few years to reach this realization.

Maureen Dowd, "Neocons Slither Back": Netanyahu Makes "Outrageous" Demands for Red Lines

Today's quiz: Read Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Neocons Slither Back" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/opinion/sunday/dowd-neocons-slither-back.html) and tell me what's missing.

Sorry, time's up.

Although Dowd bristles with indignation at Paul Ryan's lack of foreign policy sophistication, where is there any mention of Obama's escalation of American involvement in Afghanistan? Hundreds of American servicemen have laid down their lives for this inanity, which is currently costing the US $6 billion per month.

Where is there any mention by Dowd of Obama's courtship of Syrian President and mass murderer Bashar al-Assad? Do you remember how Senator John Kerry befriended this monster at the behest of Obama? Do you recall how Hillary declared in 2011, "There is a different leader in Syria now, many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer" (see: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3460_162-20047627.html)?

And where does Maureen refer to Obama's unconscionable conduct during the Green Revolution? When Iranians took to the streets in July 2009 to bring down the Ahmadinejad regime, Obama, wishing to cozy up to the mullahs, did nothing as protesters, calling out his name, were gunned down, imprisoned and tortured. What did Obama gain by turning a blind eye to these outrages? Tehran has raced ahead with its nuclear weapons development program, notwithstanding Obama's conciliatory posture throughout much of his first term, leading to the current imbroglio involving Iran and Israel.

Regarding Israeli requests for reassurance from Obama in the face of Iran's nuclear weapons progress, a venomous Dowd writes:

"If President Romney acceded to Netanyahu’s outrageous demand for clear red lines on Iran, this global confrontation would be a tiny foretaste of the conflagration to come."

Netanyahu's "outrageous demand"? Israel is facing an existential threat. Today, given routine declarations from Iran's clergy, government and military concerning Tehran's readiness to excise the "Zionist tumor," even Iran's leading Western apologists can no longer whitewash this menace.

Moreover, Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, is concurrently cautioning that if Israel launches a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear weapons development facilities, it will let fly some 60,000 rockets and missiles against Israeli population centers.

Now add to this ugly mixture the fact that the discussions between the P5+1, led by the EU's nincompoop foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, and Iran, regarding Tehran's nuclear development program, have come to naught.

Then, too, consider the "serious concern" expressed by the IAEA on Thursday over Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and its refusal to allow IAEA inspectors to examine sites suspected of nuclear weapons development activity.

Obama's response to this catastrophe? He has downgraded the joint American-Israeli anti-missile exercise, Austere Challenge 12, scheduled for October, and refused to meet with Netanyahu in New York later this month, owing to his busy schedule. (Obama has time to appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on September 18, but has no time to discuss the Iranian crisis with Netanyahu.)

Should Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu be concerned with the Iranian nuclear weapons development program and Obama's post election attitude involving this catastrophe in the making, if he should be re-elected? Answer: Wouldn't you be worried? More to the point, would you trust Obama to keep his promise to prevent Iran from building its first nuclear weapon?

Meanwhile, Obama has sent his attack dogs to applaud his refusal to adopt red lines and to demonize an apprehensive Netanyahu. California Senator Barbara Boxer, who claims to be "one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress," wrote a letter to Netanyahu, expressing her "deep disappointment over your remarks that call into question our country’s support for Israel." Boxer went on to accuse Netanyahu of injecting "politics into one of the most profound security challenges of our time – Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons."

Sorry, Barbara, for Israel this is not about American politics, but rather about basic survival.

Plagiarist, would-be Iran expert and adviser to Obama, Fareed Zakaria, recently wrote in The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-the-folly-over-red-lines-for-iran/2012/09/12/119a6a62-fd10-11e1-8adc-499661afe377_story.html):

"The Obama administration has brought together a global coalition, put into place the toughest sanctions ever, worked with Israel on a series of covert programs and given Israel military hardware it has long wanted. In addition, the Obama administration has strongly implied that it would be willing to use force as a final resort. But to go further and define a red line in advance would commit the United States to waging a war; no country would make such a commitment."

Obama has "put into place the toughest sanctions ever"? The problem is that the sanctions came too late, and Iran continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program notwithstanding the sanctions.

Israel has been given the "military hardware it has long wanted"? Although there is no denying the Obama administration's support for Israel's defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system, Israel has not been provided with America's latest bunker buster bombs, which could be used to destroy Iran's underground Fordow nuclear facility.

No country would ever commit to red lines and waging a war? Oh really? And all this while I thought that France and England declared war on Germany in 1939 owing to commitments made to Poland. Now imagine how many millions of lives would have been saved if France and England had earlier that year provided red lines with respect to Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia, instead of insisting, notwithstanding opposition from Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš, upon mediation with respect to Hitler's demands. Sound familar?

Yesterday, The New York Times, the unofficial mouthpiece of the Obama administration, published an editorial, "No Rush to War" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/opinion/no-rush-to-war.html), stating:

"There is no reason to doubt President Obama’s oft-repeated commitment to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

. . . .

The best strategy is for Israel to work with the United States and other major powers to tighten sanctions while pursuing negotiations on a deal. It is a long shot, but there is time to talk. And that’s where the focus must be."

So, notwithstanding Obama's decision to downgrade Austere Challenge 12, Netanyahu should have no reason to doubt Obama's resolve, and despite the fact that negotiations with Iran are a "long shot," there's time for talk. Yeah, right. I doubt that the editorial board of the Times would be talking in this manner if Manhattan was facing an imminent nuclear attack.

Yes, there is a serious problem involving a mutual lack of trust between Obama and Netanyahu, and this crisis of confidence could have been averted had Obama agreed to meet with Netanyahu in New York, but Obama, for his own personal reasons, refused.

Which brings us to the crux of the current crisis involving Iran and Israel: After witnessing his foreign policy procrastination over the past three years, neither of these countries believes that Obama is true to his word. In fact, this perception of Obama as irresolute and weak-kneed, i.e. "leading from behind," is what could well lead to war.

[Senator Barbara Boxer declined to comment on the content of this blog entry, inasmuch as I am not a resident of California.]

Obama, Iran, Red Lines and 1939: Israel May Have to Go It Alone Again

Make no mistake about it: Israel is facing an existential threat. Today, given routine declarations from Iran's clergy, government and military concerning Tehran's readiness to excise the "Zionist tumor," even Iran's leading Western apologists can no longer whitewash this menace.

Moreover, Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, is concurrently cautioning that if Israel launches a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear weapons development facilities, it will let fly some 60,000 rockets and missiles against Israeli population centers.

Now add to this ugly mixture the fact that the discussions between the P5+1, led by the EU's nincompoop foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, and Iran, regarding Tehran's nuclear development program, have come to naught.

Then, too, consider the "serious concern" expressed by the IAEA on Thursday over Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and its refusal to allow IAEA inspectors to examine sites suspected of nuclear weapons development activity.

Obama's response to this catastrophe? He has downgraded the joint American-Israeli anti-missile exercise, Austere Challenge 12, scheduled for October, and refused to meet with Netanyahu in New York later this month, owing to his busy schedule. (Obama has time to appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on September 18, but has no time to discuss the Iranian crisis with Netanyahu.)

Obama has also refused to set any "red lines" involving Iranian progress toward its first nuclear weapon.

Should Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu be concerned with the Iranian nuclear weapons development program and Obama's post election attitude involving this catastrophe in the making, if he should be re-elected? Answer: Wouldn't you be worried? More to the point, would you trust Obama to keep his promise to prevent Iran from building its first nuclear weapon?

Meanwhile, Obama has sent his attack dogs to applaud his refusal to adopt red lines and to demonize an apprehensive Netanyahu. California Senator Barbara Boxer, who claims to be "one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress," wrote a letter to Netanyahu, expressing her "deep disappointment over your remarks that call into question our country’s support for Israel." Boxer went on to accuse Netanyahu of injecting "politics into one of the most profound security challenges of our time – Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons."

Sorry, Barbara, for Israel this is not about American politics, but rather about basic survival.

Plagiarist, would-be Iran expert and adviser to Obama, Fareed Zakaria, recently wrote in The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-the-folly-over-red-lines-for-iran/2012/09/12/119a6a62-fd10-11e1-8adc-499661afe377_story.html):

"The Obama administration has brought together a global coalition, put into place the toughest sanctions ever, worked with Israel on a series of covert programs and given Israel military hardware it has long wanted. In addition, the Obama administration has strongly implied that it would be willing to use force as a final resort. But to go further and define a red line in advance would commit the United States to waging a war; no country would make such a commitment."

Obama has "put into place the toughest sanctions ever"? The problem is that the sanctions came too late, and Iran continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program notwithstanding the sanctions.

Israel has been given the "military hardware it has long wanted"? Although there is no denying the Obama administration's support for Israel's defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system, Israel has not been provided with America's latest bunker buster bombs, which could be used to destroy Iran's underground Fordow nuclear facility.

No country would ever commit to red lines and waging a war? Oh really? And all this while I thought that France and England declared war on Germany in 1939 owing to commitments made to Poland. Now imagine how many millions of lives would have been saved if France and England had earlier that year provided red lines with respect to German occupation of Czechoslovakia, instead of insisting, notwithstanding opposition from Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš, upon mediation with respect to Hitler's demands. Sound familar?

Most recently, The New York Times, the unofficial mouthpiece of the Obama administration, published an editorial, "No Rush to War" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/opinion/no-rush-to-war.html), stating:

"There is no reason to doubt President Obama’s oft-repeated commitment to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

. . . .

The best strategy is for Israel to work with the United States and other major powers to tighten sanctions while pursuing negotiations on a deal. It is a long shot, but there is time to talk. And that’s where the focus must be."

So, notwithstanding Obama's decision to downgrade Austere Challenge 12, Netanyahu should have no reason to doubt Obama's resolve, and despite the fact that negotiations with Iran are a "long shot," there's time for talk. Yeah, right. I doubt that the editorial board of the Times would be talking in this manner if Manhattan was facing an imminent nuclear attack.

Yes, there is a serious problem involving a mutual lack of trust between Obama and Netanyahu, and this crisis of confidence could have been averted had Obama agreed to meet with Netanyahu in New York, but Obama, for his own personal reasons, refused.

Indeed, Israel, as in the past, i.e. June 1967, may have to go it alone again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

David Brooks, "Après Rahm, Le Déluge," Versus Paul Krugman, "The iPhone Stimulus"

Note the stark dichotomy.

Approving the no-nonsense handling of the Chicago teachers' strike by Rahm Emanuel in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Après Rahm, Le Déluge" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/opinion/brooks-apres-rahm-le-deluge.html), David Brooks observes that there are two economies which "exist side by side" in modern nations.

According to Brooks, "Economy I" consists of manufacturing companies which "are compelled to constantly innovate and streamline" owing to global competition.

In contrast, Brooks's "Economy II" includes governmental bodies active in "health care, education, prisons and homeland security."

Brooks writes:

"Over the past 50 years, spending on K-12 education has also skyrocketed. In 1960, Americans spent roughly $2,800 per student, in today’s dollars. Now we spend roughly $11,000 per student. This spending binge has not produced comparable gains in student outcomes. Education productivity is down, too.

If Economy I is great at generating output without generating employment, Economy II is great at generating employment without generating output."

The problem is that the bloated Economy II is becoming a burden that Economy I can no longer carry. Unless we reform Economy II and control its spending, the bloat will crush us. National productivity will slide. The economy will stagnate."

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman, in his Times op-ed entitled "The iPhone Stimulus" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/opinion/krugman-the-iphone-stimulus.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fopinion%2Findex.jsonp), notes that spending on the new iPhone 5 could provide an instant boost to the US economy. And if spending on the iPhone could provide significant stimulation, Krugman argues that the government should now provide similar assistance:

"Long ago, John Maynard Keynes suggested that the answer was 'use, decay, and obsolescence': even in a depressed economy, at some point businesses will start replacing equipment, either because the stuff they have has worn out, or because much better stuff has come along; and, once they start doing that, the economy perks up. Sure enough, that’s what Apple is doing. It’s bringing on the obsolescence. Good.

But why suffer through years of depressed output and high unemployment while waiting for enough obsolescence to accumulate? Why not have the government step in and spend more, say on education and infrastructure, to help the economy through its rough patch?"

Well, I won't be buying an iPhone 5. I own an "obsolescent" BlackBerry and will somehow made do. On the other hand, I respect the free market decision of persons desiring to purchase and enjoy this latest technological marvel.

But hire more educators in Chicago, where, according to Brooks, "The average Chicago teacher makes $76,000 a year in a city where the average worker makes $47,000 a year"?

Or, consider Obama's proposed American Jobs Act. This legislation would have added 1.3 million jobs at a price of $447 billion. So divide $447 billion by 1.3 million jobs, and what do you get? Taxpayers would have been saddled with a cost of $344,000 per job.

Excuse me, Paul, but economic stimulation managed by the federal government during the first term of the Obama administration has already taken US debt over $16 trillion with nothing to show for it. (Yeah, sure, the recession might have been worse without it.) Ultimately, however, someone, who had no say in how the federal government distributed these funds, will be forced to foot the bill.

Thank you, but I think I will side with David in this instance.

Compugen Drug Candidate CGEN-15001 Demonstrates Attenuation of Autoimmunity and Reestablishment of Immune Balance

Earlier this year, I was asked if Compugen's opening of a US facility for the development of monoclonal antibody (mAb) drug candidates against Compugen-discovered targets was due to lack of progress involving the company's protein therapeutics. I explained that the contrary was true: Compugen established the California operation owing to the success of its protein therapeutics program.

As I tried to explain in an earlier blog entry (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/monoclonal-antibodies-for-dummies-like.html), there is a relationship between autoimmune diseases (the current focus of Compugen's protein therapeutics program) and cancer (the current focus of Compugen's monoclonal antibody program). If our immune systems overreact, our bodies can be savaged by autoimmune diseases. If our immune systems fail in their mission to detect intruders owing to surreptitious attempts to disguise pathogens, various kinds of cancer can proliferate.

Moreover, to the extent that test results for Compugen's novel B7/CD28-like proteins are successful, the potential of Compugen's novel mAb targets, which are the basis for its protein therapeutic candidates, is enhanced.

This past Monday, Compugen announced:

"Mode of action studies for CGEN-15001 demonstrated both the active suppression of pathogenic immune responses and the reestablishment of immune balance by increasing anti-inflammatory mediators and promoting inducible regulatory T cells (iTregs). Modulation of iTregs is considered an extremely promising approach for treatment of autoimmunity and cancer, and therefore has been the focus of intense industry and academic research in recent years."

What is the significance of this announcement for me?

First, in order to maximize the value of its novel B7/CD28-like proteins, each of which is distinct, Compugen needs to determine their individual modes of action, thereby establishing differentiation among the candidates. The results announced by Compugen for CGEN-15001, which is a first-in-class candidate, plainly demonstrate progress in determining its mode of action.

Second, the successful results for CGEN-15001 add to the potential of CGEN-15001T, the membrane protein from which CGEN-15001 derives. CGEN-15001T is being pursued by Compugen as a monoclonal antibody target and was discovered to be over expressed in prostate cancer, melanoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Third, the results achieved by Compugen for its B7/CD28-like protein therapeutic candidates and its inventory of monoclonal antibody targets serve to validate Compugen's predictive discovery model, which I am convinced is of critical importance for future drug and diagnostic discovery.

[As noted in prior blog entries, I am a Compugen shareholder, this blog entry is not a recommendation to buy or sell Compugen shares, and in September 2009 I began work as a part-time external consultant to Compugen. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are based on publicly available information. This blog entry has not been authorized, approved or reviewed prior to posting by Compugen.]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gail Collins, "Mitt’s Major Meltdown": A Disinformation Exercise Swallowed Hook, Line and Sinker

Make no mistake about it: The movie “Innocence of Muslims” was a disinformation exercise, timed around 9/11, intended to exacerbate Arab rioting that had been scheduled in advance. Worse still, the global media, hungry for a story, quickly cooperated by publicizing all of the story's false threads.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Mitt’s Major Meltdown" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/opinion/collins-mitts-major-meltdown.html), a clueless Gail Collins writes:

"It isn’t clear how the movie, the protests in Egypt and the murders of four American diplomats in Libya fit together."

Collins, however, would eviscerate Romney for his criticism of the Cairo's embassy's response to this orchestrated tragedy. The embassy statement:

"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

This statement was even disowned by the Obama administration (see: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/09/white-house-disavows-cairo-apology-135247.html):

"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government."

Moreover, the link (http://egypt.usembassy.gov/pr091112.html) to the original statement has been broken, i.e. the statement was removed by the embassy.

I believe that the Romney campaign has proven a substantive disaster, but regarding his condemnation of the apologetic US embassy statement, even Obama appears to be in agreement.

The message from the US government needs to be forceful, unwavering and clear: Violence against American citizens will not be tolerated no matter what the circumstances.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daniel Levy, "Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking": Hokum

Almost immediately after it became known that President Obama had refused Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's request to meet later this month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, The New York Times published another Israel-bashing guest op-ed, this time by Daniel Levy, entitled "Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/seven-lean-years-of-peacemaking.html?_r=0). Daniel, we are told, "directs the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations and is a fellow at the New America Foundation." The op-ed "forgets" to tell us that Levy was a founder of J Street and continues to serve on its advisory board (see: http://www.newamerica.net/people/daniel_levy). Levy writes:

"The years from 2005 to 2012 have been seven decidedly lean ones for peacemaking and withdrawal and seven gluttonously fat ones for entrenching Israel’s occupation and settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

. . . .

In terms of land mass, the Gaza Strip encompasses just under 1.5 percent of the total area of British Mandate-era Palestine, (or 'Greater Israel' as the settlers like to call it). However, that same tiny area is today home to approximately 1.7 million Palestinians, or over a quarter of the total Palestinian population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. So, in divesting itself of just 1.5 percent of the land, Israel significantly recalibrated the so-called 'demographic equation' (the ratio of Jews to Arabs in the area under its control).

The 1.5 percent doctrine paves the way to permanent Israeli control of 98.5 percent of the land. West Bank Palestinians can either join their left-behind-in-1948 confreres as second-class citizens in an enlarged Jewish state or continue their stateless existence in insecure and disconnected enclaves of limited autonomy, a kind of Bantustan status."

Queries for Daniel:

• When he refers to "the total area of British Mandate-era Palestine," is he including Jordan, which was a part of the Mandate?
• How does Daniel avoid observing that even according to the Palestinians, Israeli settlements cover only 1.1 percent of the West Bank (see: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/11/17/settlements-obstacle-to-peace/)?
• Why does Daniel ignore the fact that Netanyahu was personally responsible for reducing the number of West Bank checkpoints from 41 to 15 over recent years?
• How in blazes does darling Daniel avoid reference to Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's 2008 offer, rejected by Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas, to create an independent Palestinian state, based upon swapping Israeli territory for settlement blocs, sharing of Jerusalem, and a safe passage corridor between the West Bank and Gaza?

You see, Daniel, I favor a two-state solution, providing Palestinians with independence, security and prosperity, but which also demands that the Palestinians recognize my right to exist. Notwithstanding Olmert's peace proposal and those of Israeli Prime Minister Barak before him, that basic recognition of my right to exist has not been forthcoming.

Meanwhile, while we await this long delayed recognition, I live in the 8-mile wide corridor of Israel between the Palestinian Authority and the Mediterranean Sea. Daniel dearest, I hope you will forgive my preferrence not to be buffeted with the same rockets and missiles that are fired from Gaza at the civilian population of southern Israel almost every day.

[I sent an e-mail to Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times, inquiring whether there is some minimal level of objectivity or adherence to the facts demanded of his newspaper's guest op-eds. Let's see if he replies.]