BigMo’s Blog

Politics and Economics in Israel

No Consequences Obama

10 January 2010
Rehovot, Israel

It’s a great time to be alive, if you happen to Islamic fundamentalist terrorist, fighting America and all it supposedly still stands for. Why is that? Because, whether you are holed up in a cave in Afghanistan, the mountains of Yemen, the Islamic Emirate of Gaza or a recently exposed secret Iranian nuclear site, there are no consequences for your actions. You can send suicide bombers, foment civil wars, plot mass murder, and expect nothing more than “good talking to” from American president, Barack Hussein Obama.

“Why do you say such things about such a distinguished statesman?” you ask. After all, didn’t he just win the Nobel peace prize after just three weeks in office? He gives hope to millions and the promise of change is in the air! Unfortunately, it is not quite clear to which millions he is giving hope or the type of change that is exactly promised. Consider the following.

On June 12, 2009 the Iranian people went to their voting booths and chose between two candidates that had been pre-selected by Ayatollah Khamenei himself. Since the Ayatollah had personally vetted both candidates, could he possibly care about which one actually won the election? A great many Iranians were dismayed when incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a second term. They turned to the street in peaceful protest, when Iran’s Guardian Council, which is appointed by the Ayatollah, conceded that the number of votes in fifty Iranian cities exceeded the number of registered voters. It seems that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had transferred Tammany Hall to Teheran.

Then Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed he had learned another new trick: the Chicago-style police riot. Thousands of protesters were tear-gassed and beaten. Hundreds were arrested. Scores were killed, perhaps more. All of this is documented in video uploaded by hundreds of daring Iranian citizen-journalists. Pictures flooded into Internet sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The beatings, arrests and murders continued.

How did Barack Obama react? Certainly this Nobel Prize winner could bring hope and change to the people of Iran, who had been cheated of fair elections and them brutalized for protesting this fact. Obama told stated that the world was “watching.” This is a stark contrast to John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to ensure the survival and success of liberty.

Obama is watching.

When the communist government of Poland started to crush the Solidarity Movement, President Reagan stated:

We view the current situation in Poland in the gravest terms, particularly the increasing use of force against an unarmed population and the violation of the basic civil rights of the Polish people.

Obama is watching.

President George W. Bush proclaimed in his second inaugural address:

“When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you.”

Obama is watching. Watching while people risk their lives to bring about the change that candidate Obama spoke of; dying in hopes of achieving the basic freedoms that President Obama spoke of in his (in)famous Cairo University speech of 4 June 2009. This is the change that President Obama has brought to the Middle East: no dictator, no terrorist, no Islamic radical need fear America, need fear democracy. It is something the radicals and terrorists have been hoping for!


January 10, 2010 Posted by | Middle East, Obama | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call Abbas’s Bluff

Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh wrote a piece that appeared in the paper’s on-line edition on November 8th entitled “Abbas’s big bluff” in which he analyzes Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to hold new presidential and parliamentary elections January 24th as one of his strangest moves since succeeding Yasser Arafat five years ago. It might seem strange, but actually, it is quite consistent with the character and quality of Palestinian leadership.

Simply stated, the Palestinian leadership is devoid of quality and utterly lacking in character. It is a cancer on the Palestinian people (who really don’t seem to care that they have a cancer), and on the Middle East.

This should come as no surprise to anyone. Fatah and Hamas, vying for leadership of this stillborn entity, are stocked from bottom to top with murderers, thugs, thieves and liars. Even the communist parties that ruled the USSR and its satellites during the Cold War could boast of competent technocrats. Perhaps with the exception of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, the dictator who has driven one of the more prosperous countries of Africa into abject poverty and despair, there is not a less-skilled group of “leaders” in the world.

As Toameh points out, Hamas has already made it clear that it won’t participate in the elections. It has declared that it won’t allow the vote to take place in the Gaza Strip and would punish any Palestinian there who is involved. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, let alone Mahmoud Abbas. As far as Hamas is concerned, there was an election, they won, why bother having another?

If the elections take place as planned, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will become even more politically estranged than they already are. As Hamas legislator, Salah Bardaweel explained: “Abbas will then become the mayor or governor of the West Bank.”

Abbas’s decision to call the new elections came after the Egyptians failed to broker an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. The two rival parties were supposed to sign a “reconciliation” accord in Cairo last month. Hamas backed out at the last minute: better to rule in Gaza than serve in Ramallah. Toameh states that Abbas would be best served by maintaining the status quo, which allows him at least to argue that he’s a democratically-elected president.

However, most educated people in the world have come to realize that “Arab democracy” is an oxymoron. Israeli politicians should stop their hand wringing and just tell Abbas: resign, go into retirement, and write your memoirs. We’ll handle things.

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Middle East | , , , , | 1 Comment

Never Mssing a Chance to Miss a Chance

There is an old saying, “Every people gets the leaders it deserves.” If this is true, one has to wonder what dark stain the Palestinians have on their political souls that have cursed them live with the so-called leadership of the PLO and Hamas. A quick examination reveals that they have followed murderers – plain and simple – murderers, and allowed themselves to be plundered by these so-called leaders.

The PLO – re-styled since the Oslo Accord of 1993 as the “Palestinian Authority” has had sixteen years to build a functioning government and state, but cannot even collect the garbage on time. The PLO’s princes of terror, ensconced in official positions and granting themselves titles as if they had already achieved their long-sought after state, have systematically looted foreign aid and ruined the economy of the West Bank. Hamas, on the other hand, has erased every sign of development, prosperity, hope and democracy from the area it controls, the Gaza Strip.

One certainly cannot say that the Palestinians are uninformed. Ironically, they enjoy a degree of freedom of the press unavailable to the rest of their Arab brethren. Hamas and the PLO operate rival cable television and radio networks that the average Palestinian has no trouble receiving. This, by the way, is thanks to the electricity that Israel supplies. The Palestinian Authority has failed to build a single power plant capable of supplying even the smallest village.

Likewise, Palestinians have access to dozens of newspapers. Each supports the position of one of the alphabet soup of political parties: DFLP, Hamas, PFLP, Fatah, etc. They even have access to Israeli and Jordanian newspapers on a daily basis, not to mention broadcasts from Israel and Jordan. It might be time-consuming to tease the facts out of the opinions, but this is a responsibility that a citizen – any citizen – must take upon himself: critical thinking. It cannot be delegated, subcontracted or outsourced.

Unfortunately, it would seem that critical thinking is not the Palestinian people’s strong suit. If it were, after sixteen years, one would think that they would reject the incompetence and plundering of the PLO. One would think that they would reject the murder and Islamizing (the two often go hand-in-hand), not to mention the international isolation, that Hamas has visited upon them.

People in East Germany, Romania, the Philippines and many other nations have risen up and forced out cruel despotic leaders. The Free World congratulated them, supported them and welcomed all these countries into the ranks of democratic nation-states. The Arab people, and the Palestinians in particular, seem to lack the moral courage to take it upon themselves and make the difficult decisions that come with liberty and self-governance.

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Middle East, Palestine | , , , | 1 Comment

Moral Relativism, Redux

Here we go again!
The Goldstone Report on the Israel’s actions in Operation Cast Lead have cast a serious pall over the country’s image.  There are numerous controversies during this short, but intense conflict.  There was the number of “civilian” casualties (for some reason, most terrorists don’t like to be identified by wearing uniforms), the “wanton” destruction of “mosques” (which doubled as weapon depots) and civilian property (which also served as Hamas’ bases) and the alleged targeting of UNWRA installations (also used by Hamas as staging areas for attacks).

In a perfect world there would be no war.  However, as we all know, we live in a less than perfect world.  There are conflicts. When faced with the necessity to take up arms and defend one’s home, family and way of life, does one toss his or her moral code aside and do “whatever necessary” to win?  No, this would diminish to a degree the value of those things for which one is fighting. However, Israel actually raised the moral bar in how such a conflict should be conducted – America and Russia should take note.

Not that Robert Goldstone recognized this.  No, his report is one-sided, filled with lies, half-truths and omissions.  It is part and parcel of the Islamic fundamentalist propaganda campaign.  It should be lumped in with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denials of the Holocaust; the “Zionism is Racism” slur perpetrated by the PLO and Soviet Union; and the Crusader blood libels.

What should we expect?
What should we expect from the men and women we’ve asked to defend us? Can their officers possibly describe to them every situation they might encounter on the battlefield and how to act? Can we expect a young man, who has been trained to act with deadly force, to reflect on the potential morality of every order at the risk of his own life? Actually, Israel does ask this of its soldiers!

We expect the political echelon to formulate clear and well thought-out policies. We expect the general staff to see to prepare and plan. We expect officers to lead their men courageously. We expect them to win. And yes, we expect them to act in the spirit of the moral values which we have asked them to defend. However, there are limitations to this, especially when fighting a barbaric, cruel enemy.

In the midst of battle, we cannot ask an infantry platoon to act as if they are freshmen philosophy students.  An army must fulfill its basic functions.  Or the enemy’s army will fulfill its basic functions and we will be the worse-off for it.  Western societies have come to view every field of human endeavor as one in which all players should have an equal chance to win.  However, war is a zero-sum game: there must be a loser.  I’m glad it was Hamas!

It’s all just a matter of opinion, isn’t it?
Moral relativism is the viewpoint that moral judgment regarding a person’s behavior depend on whether the person believes his actions to be right or wrong.  This view is commonly expressed as “there is no right or wrong, it’s all only a matter of opinion.”  Acceptance of this view is tantamount to saying that morality has no validity.  Taken to its obvious conclusion, there is nothing objectively wrong with one person torturing and killing another, as long as the individual committing these acts sincerely believes that they are not wrong.

“Cultural relativism,” is the view that moral judgments and rules reflect the cultural context from which they are derived and cannot be applied to other cultures or societies. Some who hold this view are skeptical about even the possibility of saying that slavery is wrong in a slave-holding society! Let’s give this a modern spin.

If I am born and raised in a culture that accepts strapping dynamite to my chest and blowing myself up in a supermarket as a legitimate method of protest, then this act cannot be condemned from a moral viewpoint.  It is part of my culture, and you as an outsider have no moral grounds to condemn my act.

The Price of Tea in China
So, what has all this to do with the price of tea in China? This: moral relativism is a weapon that wounds twice.  First, the person or group subjected to the attack is injured.  Second, the moral relativists – the apologists who often sit safely ensconced in university campuses, television studios and trendy coffee houses – demean and dishonor the victims and their own society.

The vast majority of the IDF acted with great restraint.  Enemy wounded received medical treatment.  There were many instances of soldiers risking their lives to remove women and children from harm’s way.  Many times soldiers held their fire, attempting to ascertain who or what was in a building, and in the process exposing themselves to danger.

Hamas is a terrorist organization with no interest in peace with Israel.  It could easily proclaim its willingness to abide by the agreements that the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed with Israel.  It could easily stop shelling Israeli towns and cities.  It could easily acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. Hamas does none of these things.

Hamas smuggles weapons and ammunition into Gaza, in contravention of past Israeli-PA agreements and flouting international law.   It does so brazenly, offering reporters tours of tunnel digging and smuggling operations. It fires missiles and mortar shells at Israeli towns.  Hamas members dress their children in suicide bomber “costumes.”  It sends the mentally impaired to infiltrate Israel wearing suicide belts – murder belts, actually.  During Operation Cast Lead, missiles were stored in schools, weapons fire was directed from the minarets of mosques and attacks were launched from schools and hospitals.

This is their “culture,” their “moral code.”

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Israel, Middle East, Palestine | , , , , , | 2 Comments