The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Friday, April 29, 2005

              Columbia's Israel Problem
As stunning as this may seem, Columbia University does not have a Jewish Studies Department. They have decided to try to rectify this by creating an Israel Studies chair, endowed by four trustees. But as Martin Kramer points out, the search committee for this chair shows that Columbia still doesn't get it.
The committee includes Ira Katznelson, chair of the ad hoc (a.k.a. "whitewash") committee that investigated student grievances; Dan Miron, a long-suffering Hebrew lit professor in the Middle East department; and Karen Barkey, an authority on the Ottoman empire. So far, reasonable. But then add this to the mix: Rashid Khalidi, the ubiquitous Edward Said Professor; and lesser-known Lila Abu-Lughod, a Palestinian American anthropologist and signer and supporter of Columbia's divestment petition.
This is a joke. Jewish alumni, and those who care about Columbia's intellectual honesty should withhold their contributions. Maybe then Columbia will get the message.
|| Nudnik 3:05 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
Victor Hanson writes today that we shouldn't be too upset that some countries don't like us. In fact, it may be a sign that we are doing things right.
In short, who exactly does not like the United States and why? First, almost all the 20 or so illiberal Arab governments that used to count on American realpolitik's giving them a pass on accounting for their crimes. They fear not the realist Europeans, nor the resource-mad Chinese, nor the old brutal Russians, but the Americans, who alone are prodding them to open their economies and democratize their corrupt political cultures. We must learn to expect, not lament, their hostility, and begin to worry that things would be indeed wrong if such unelected dictators praised the United States.
In another excellent article, he criticizes the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of those Senators opposing him.
|| Nudnik 2:25 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              European Predictions
Denis Boyles, National Review's European correspondent in Paris has grown weary of Europe, so he is going to the Midwest.
One Kafkaesque morning, as I was waking up from anxious dreams, I discovered I dreaded going to work. All I wanted to do was cheat on my perfect wife, ignore my children, stab my oldest friend in the back, and smoke a cigarette, even though I haven’t smoked for almost 20 years. My hair broke out in gel and my underwear turned into briefs - then shrunk three sizes. I realized I was slowly becoming a French person.
But as he leaves EUtopia, he has some predictions for what we should expect from the Continent this summer.
|| Nudnik 12:06 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The Democratic Philosophy
David Gelertner perfectly defines the philosophy of the Democratic Party - 'We're Smart, You're Dumb'.It seems that the entire Democratic agenda is to make sure that people don't make decisions for themselves, because obviously the Democrats know what is better for them.
How could anyone be opposed in principle to private investment accounts within Social Security? I could understand Democrats arguing that "private accounts are a wonderful idea but the country can't afford the transition costs right now." But mostly I hear Democrats saying they're a lousy idea, and that President Bush wants to wreck Social Security — because, after all, he wants to let you keep a great big whopping 4% of your payroll taxes in a private account instead of handing over every cent to the government. How on Earth could anyone be opposed in principle to letting taxpayers manage a minuscule fraction of their own money (their own money, dammit!) if they want to? Because private accounts violate the Infantile American Principle, so dear to Democratic hearts. Little kids should turn over their cash to the Big Smart Government for safekeeping.
This principle relates to much more than the current debate on Social Security. Virtually every proposal of the Democrats relies on the reasoning that the Government will decide for everyone. This has been the basis of a few failed ideologies of the 20th century, yet the Democrats seem to have not learned from history.
|| Nudnik 12:00 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, April 28, 2005

              Krugman's Healthcare
We constantly hear from the left (among others) that the healthcare system in Europe is so much better than in the United States. Paul Krugman wrote a column about this last week in the New York Times. His argument focused on the "fact" that the infant mortality rate is higher in the US than in Europe, and that life expectancy is greater in Europe than in the US. David Hogberg, in The American Spectator, debunks these claims and shows that the government run health systems of Europe, are in many cases much worse than the private healthcare of the United States. He ends with these statistics:
Of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, one-fourth die of the disease. About one-third die in France and Germany, and a little less than half do in the United Kingdom. Of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, less than one-fifth die in the U.S., while one-fourth do in Canada, nearly half in France, and more than half in the U.K.
|| Nudnik 1:36 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Iran's Nukes and Russia
In a move that is probably designed more to appease the US and Israeli publics, Putin today took a harder line on Iran's nuclear program.
Putin, at a news conference in Jerusalem, said Tehran's agreement to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia -- which agreed to supply the material to Iran's Bushehr plant -- "does not seem to be enough."

He said that in addition, the Iranians should "abandon all technology to create a full nuclear cycle and also not obstruct their nuclear sites from international control."
Since Russia is the main sponsor of Iran's nuclear program, it seems to me that this statement is pretty much meaningless. Still, maybe the US sale of 100 laser-guided "bunker buster" bombs to Israel has something to do with his greater interest in controlling Iran's nuclear ambitions.

At the same time, Iran is once again threatening that if talks with the EU-3 fail, it will restart its Uranium enrichment program. I wonder what the EU-3 will compromise on now.
|| Nudnik 1:20 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Arab Government reprints an article from the current issue of Foreign Affairs by Bernard Lewis entitled Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East. Lewis is one of the preeminent scholars of the Arab world, and is writing about the possibility of consensual government there. He points ot that the current idea that Arabs are incapable of consensual government because dictatorship is endemic to the culture is simply wrong. Consensual government did exist in the Arab world, though not in the form that we are used to.
Consultation is a central part of the traditional Islamic order, but it is not the only element that can check the ruler's authority. The traditional system of Islamic government is both consensual and contractual. The manuals of holy law generally assert that the new caliph--the head of the Islamic community and state--is to be "chosen." The Arabic term used is sometimes translated as "elected," but it does not connote a general or even sectional election. Rather, it refers to a small group of suitable, competent people choosing the ruler's successor. In principle, hereditary succession is rejected by the juristic tradition. Yet in practice, succession was always hereditary, except when broken by insurrection or civil war; it was--and in most places still is--common for a ruler, royal or otherwise, to designate his successor.

But the element of consent is still important. In theory, at times even in practice, the ruler's power--both gaining it and maintaining it--depends on the consent of the ruled. The basis of the ruler's authority is described in the classical texts by the Arabic word bay'a, a term usually translated as "homage," as in the subjects paying homage to their new ruler. But a more accurate translation of bay'a--which comes from a verb meaning "to buy and to sell"--would be "deal," in other words, a contract between the ruler and the ruled in which both have obligations.
Despotism and dictatorship were actually fairly late imports from Europe, specifically from Nazi Germany.

Lewis is cautiously optimistic that with the elections in Iraq we are seeing a reversal of the rule of despotism and the possibility of the birth of true consensual governments in the Arab world.
|| Nudnik 12:55 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

              "I punched Saddam in the Mouth"
An interesting article about Samir, the Iraqi now living in St. Louis, who was the man who pulled Saddam out of his spider hole.
|| Nudnik 1:05 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Some Good News
Last week the British Association of University Teachers voted to boycott academics from two Israeli universities, unless they declare that they do not support the Israeli government. Judging by the reaction to this boycott from some British academics, it seems that there are still a few who are willing to stand up against this immoral action.
The backlash, which may take the form of mass resignations from the union, has seen an outpouring of protests by Jewish and non-Jewish academics across Britain.

John Vail, lecturer in political economy at Newcastle University, wrote in an e-mail to fellow academics: "The boycott is blatantly discriminatory and reeks of double standards." He added: "Although I have no current research links with Israeli academics, this has made me want to go out and develop some just so as to show my disapproval of this motion. I hope that our local branch will pass a motion that expresses our disagreement with the national policy."
The AUT received a further resignation this morning, as a professor from Hertfordshire University cancelled his AUT membership. This followed the resignation of Reinier Salverda, of University College London, bringing the number of academics who have resigned from the union to four. More resignations are expected to follow.

Fifteen academics from the Board of the London-based Leo Baeck Institute signed a letter expressing "dismay" at the AUT resolutions: "All agree in deploring the proposed boycott of Israeli universities and academics who fail to satisfy a political inquisition. Israeli universities, notably the three targets of the boycott, represent the best ideals of the university as a place of tolerance and the free exchange of views, in which Jews, Muslims and Christians study and work together."

The letter, which registered alarm at the "double standards and hypocrisy" behind the resolution, asked: "Will the tests and the boycott apply to Israeli Arab academics or only Jews?"
An excellent question, that I'm sure the boycotters will be hesitant to answer.
|| Nudnik 1:04 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

              More Bolton
Frank Gaffney makes a good case that the whole argument regarding the confirmation of John Bolton is nothing more than refighting the 2004 election.
They're back. The people who tried to defeat George W. Bush are the same people now trying to defeat his nominee for the United Nations, John R. Bolton.

And George Soros,, the Democratic Party machinery and, not least, John Kerry hope to demonstrate, by so doing, they were right all along on what is, arguably, the most important national security issue of our time: Need America pass a "global test" to protect its vital interests?
The fact is that the Democrats refuse to have a serious debate about Bolton's views because they know they would lose that debate just like they lost in November of last year. So not being able to discuss the issues, they have sunk to the "politics of personal destruction" based on the most absurd allegations. Proving once again that they are simply not a serious opposition.

Bill Sammon reports that the White House now understands this, after screwing up the initial part of this confirmation battle, and plans to present it to the American people as a debate about the role of the UN. I'm sure the Democrats are not looking forward to that.
|| Nudnik 1:43 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Back to the '90s
An overriding desire of the Democrats seems to be a return to Clinton times. And why not? The market was up every day, every other person was an internet millionaire, we were at peace (relatively), and terrorists didn't kill enough people for us to really care. This regressionary desire seems to be the thrust of today's Nicholas Kristof piece. You see, during Clinton's term, North Korea had no nuclear weapons (maybe one or two), and now under Bush they have six. This of course is due to the fact that Bush refuses to engage in bilateral negotiations with North Korea the way that Clinton did. Kristof is trying to make the argument that the 1994 "Agreed Framework" negotiated by Carter - the greatest example of appeasement since the Oslo Accords - stopped the North Koreans from working on their nuclear program. He does mention, however, that
...but about 1999, it secretly started on a second nuclear route involving uranium.

That was much less worrisome than the plutonium program (it still seems to be years from producing a single uranium weapon), and it probably could have been resolved through negotiation, as past crises had been.
So the "Agreed Framework" worked so well that North Korea started a Uranium enrichment program?

This whole article is complete and utter non-sense. The left side of the political spectrum refuses to learn that appeasement simply does not work. North Korea abided by the agreement for as long as it was convenient for them, and when it was no longer convenient they stopped. Now that they need more oil, and more food, they are once again using the same tactics as before. Their hope is that the Bush Administration will act like the Clinton Administration and agree to supply them with whatever they need, while they pretend to stop their nuclear weapons program. Until, of course, they want something else. Then we will go through this whole routine again. This is the standard result of appeasement.

Realistically, there is only one way to deal with North Korea and that is to force China to pressure them to give up their nukes. China wants hegemony of the region, convincing them that their support (or lack of pressure) on North Korea will harm that desire, i.e. by Japan and/or Taiwan going nuclear, is the best way to disarm North Korea.
|| Nudnik 11:41 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, April 22, 2005

              Pax Americana
A very interesting article by Efraim Halevy, former Mossad Director and Ariel Sharon's National Security Adviser, about the possibilities in the Middle East now that the US is fully involved.
|| Nudnik 3:47 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The Big Lie
Since the conclusion of the Iraq War, the Left has consistently peddled the story that Saddam had no WMDs. This of course, led to the shrill cries of "we were lied to!!!!" and that Saddam was contained, therefore this war was unnecessary. I don't think its necessary to once again discuss the actual reasons for the war beyond saying that this war had as much to do with WMDs as World War I had to do with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. As with any lie, if it is repeated enough times it eventually becomes accepted as the truth.

Even before the invasion of Iraq, a number of intelligence agencies expressed concern that Saddam's WMD program was being dismantled and shipped out of the country. Now it seems, the IAEA is hopping onto this story(subscription required).
The Saddam Hussein regime dismantled all WMD facilities and either concealed them in Iraq or shipped them to Syria. This is more than the assessment of agencies within the U.S. intelligence community: It is even the assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Last week, the IAEA concluded that Iraq dismantled dozens of nuclear sites that had been operating under the Saddam regime. In a letter to the UN Security Council, the IAEA said satellite imagery revealed significant dismantling and removal activities at 37 Iraqi sites linked to Saddam's clandestine nuclear program since 2003.
|| Nudnik 12:06 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, April 21, 2005

              Blame Game Shame
The left continues to find new things that they can blame our president for. As always, Ted Rall is on the front lines of lunacy.

Why do so many cops lie? My pet theory is that, in the same way that Bill
Clinton's sex scandals encouraged promiscuity among impressionable young
people, George W. Bush's contempt for the truth and the law, including granting
permission to torture and jail the innocent, set a tone that emboldens law
enforcement officers to feel that they can get away with anything.

Just wait… next week Ted will have an article blaming George Bush for the bad weather that we are having. He’ll tie it to Kyoto or something.
|| Elder of Zion #6 4:30 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

              Bolton Battle
The disgraceful Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee have managed to browbeat a couple of Republican Senators, forcing the vote on his nomination to be delayed. The Democrats' stated reason for their opposition to Bolton is that he is a "serial abuser" of his subordinates. The evidence of this was quoted by Mark Steyn in an article last Sunday:
So I was interested to hear about the kind of violent Boltonian eruptions that had led Boxer to her diagnosis. Well, here it comes. (If you've got young children present, you might want to take them out of the room.) From the shockingly brutal testimony of Thomas Fingar, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Intelligence Research:

Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?

Fingar: No, he was angry. He was standing up.

Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?

Fingar: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.
So Bolton put his hands on his hips, and that makes him a "serial abuser"? The Democrats more and more show themselves for the feckless fools they are. Having lost the election for President, having lost more seats in the Senate and House, they have consigned themselves to throwing pies (literally and figuratively).

Frank Gaffney has the perfect solution for what the President should do in response to these Democratic character assassination: recess appointment, and luckily a Senate recess is coming up in a few days.
Consequently, President Bush should serve notice on the Senate: Complete whatever further investigations now indicated and vote the Bolton nomination in the Foreign Relations Committee and on the floor of the Senate before the upcoming May recess. Or face a recess appointment of Bolton that will enable him to get to work at the United Nations while senators are engaging in constituent services and other important matters outside of Washington.

Perhaps President Bush can make this bitter pill less difficult for committee Democrats to swallow. The president could offer to provide anger-management classes to senators who might be infuriated by their inability further to defame so estimable a public servant as John Bolton and to prevent him from advancing at the U.N. the president's policies - policies that are, in the end, their real reason for their efforts to deny him this post.
I doubt the President will do this. But at this point the only way to fight Democratic intransigence is by descending to their level and declaring all-out war on them.
|| Nudnik 2:40 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Zarqawi's Nukes
Bill Gertz reports today in the Washington Times that US intelligence agencies have received a number of reports that Zarqawi now possesses a nuclear device or is preparing a dirty bomb.
The classified reports have been distributed to U.S. intelligence agencies for several consecutive months and say Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, has stored the nuclear device or dirty bomb in Afghanistan, said officials familiar with the intelligence.
It is still unclear if the source of this information is reliable, especially given the belief that if al Qaeda had a nuclear device they would not hesitate to use it. It seems that if they have actually obtained a nuke or dirty bomb, the most likely place they would use it is in Europe, primarily because of the relative ease of bringing it there as opposed to into the US.

The question then is if a nuke or dirty bomb were detonated in a European city, what would their reaction be? Undoubtedly, a sizeable segment of the European population will blame the US and/or Israel. But would such an attack have any effect on government policies? Would there be some kind of crackdown on Muslims or on immigration? My guess is that while there would probably be some internal changes, European foreign policy towards the Arab world or to the GWOT would remain pretty much the same as it is now - Arabist and anti-American. As to actually retaliating for such an attack, its hard to execute any type of military action when you don't have a military.
|| Nudnik 11:41 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Monday, April 18, 2005

              Palestinian Education
Mahmoud Abbas has so far refused to take the crucial step of disarming the terrorists groups operating in Gaza and Hamas. The reason he has given for failing to do this is that this would prompt a civil war in the PA. But, as Micah Halperin points out, there is a much simpler step he could take to show Israel that he is serious about peace - slightly alter the educational curriculum.
The official 10th grade Palestinian school curriculum teaches The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion.

The edition used in the schools is published in Syria. The curriculum never mentions that the Protocols are a forgery of the Russian secret police created by the Czar in order to generate the notorious myth that the Jews control the world.

One must ask: Why teach The Protocols if not to expose the work as a conspiracy theory of Antisemites? In any other context, what is the educational purpose behind teaching The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion to impressionable 10th graders given today's social and political climate?

In order to perpetuate the myth. We all know the answer. The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion has not been removed from the Palestinian school curriculum, the book has not been removed from school library shelves, only, ONLY, in order to perpetuate the myth.

The Palestinians continue to teach The Protocols because they are not yet committed to the reforms. And Mahmoud Abbas, as president, is the man responsible for re-educating or not re-educating his people, for implementing reforms or for letting them linger, ignored if not forgotten.
If the Palestinians refuse to do even this, it should raise serious doubts - for anyone still not harboring them - that the Palestinians really want peace.
|| Nudnik 3:56 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Hillary the Politician
For the past few years, all the talk about Hillary has been about how good of a politician she is. It has been clear to everyone that she is planning to run for President - the New York Senate seat was merely a stepping stone - and that all of her positions have reflected her preparations for the Presidential campaign. Jay Cost thinks that all of her well telegraphed moves actually reflect the fact that she is a horrible politician, not the genius everyone thinks she is.
The answer to this question boils down to obviousness. Hillary's movement is a big deal first and foremost because everybody notices her movement. Mr. Frist and others do not get noticed because, while one can identify their political movements through systematic evaluation of their voting records, their positioning is more subtle. But not Hillary's. There is nothing subtle about her strategic positioning. Not a thing. Everybody talks about Hillary's political calculations not because they are brilliant but because they are obvious, because everything about Hillary screams "political calculation." There is nothing organic to her politics; it all seems artificial.

This is the sign of a bad politician. All politicians do the same things. They all change their views. They all move with the political currents. They are all flexible and pragmatic. What differentiates the good politician from the bad one is that you never notice that the good one is pragmatic. A good politician is as smooth as a well-aged single-malt scotch. Hillary is a bad politician. She is like that bottom-shelf blended garbage that sells for $12 a handle.
He may be right that she is a bad politician, but come the Presidential race all this will be irrelevant. She will be the darling of the press who will continue to convince us that she is brilliant.
|| Nudnik 2:40 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, April 15, 2005

Victor Hanson criticizes all those bien-pensants - Scowcroft, Brzezinski, Albright, among others - who keep coming up with reasons for why Bush's policy just wont work, and how they keep being wrong.
For the last year, such well-meaning former "wise people" have pretty much assured us that the Bush doctrine will not work and that the Arab world is not ready for Western-style democracy, especially when fostered through Western blood and iron.

But too often we discuss the present risky policy without thought of what preceded it or what might have substituted for it. Have we forgotten that the messy business of democracy was the successor, not the precursor, to a litany of other failed prescriptions? Or that there were never perfect solutions for a place like the Middle East - awash as it is in oil, autocracy, fundamentalism, poverty, and tribalism - only choices between awful and even more awful? Or that September 11 was not a sudden impulse on the part of Mohammed Atta, but the logical culmination of a long simmering pathology? Or that the present loudest critics had plenty of chances to leave something better than the mess that confronted the United States on September 12? Or that at a time of war, it is not very ethical to be sorta for, sorta against, kinda supportive, kinda critical of the mission - all depending on the latest sound bite from Iraq?
|| Nudnik 2:36 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The EU and Hamas
The EU wants to be more involved in the Middle East "peace process". So far, Israel has resisted this involvement. In the past few days, some documents have come to light that may explain why.
In June 2002, Alistair Crooke, then security adviser of Miguel Moratinos, then EU special envoy to the Middle East (and currently foreign minister of Spain), met secretly in Gaza with a Hamas delegation headed by the organizations then-leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

The veil of secrecy was broken, however, when the Israel Defense Forces seized a transcript of the meeting in November 2002 at the compound of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Service in Gaza. The transcript has now been made available by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, based near Tel Aviv.
If a top EU official meeting with terrorist leadership is not bad enough, it is instructive to see Crooke's interaction with Yassin and the other terrorists.
Crooke: "We believe that the settlements are illegal. The European position on this matter is not vague. . . . The building of settlements must be brought to a complete halt. As for terrorism, I hate that word. I have spent some time in my life with freedom fighters like in Colombia. We were affected by the events of September 11. People cannot tolerate the sight of babies being killed, and that triggers an emotional response. When America reacted to the September 11 events, the Afghan people should not have paid the price for that."

This struck a responsive chord in Yassin: "Time will tell that . . . it was global Zionism that paralyzed the American security, so that war could be declared on the Islamic world and on Hamas. About 100-120 Zionist-American agents [knew about it] and did not report it. I do not rule out the possibility that they attempted to seduce Hamas [operatives] and other Islamic operatives [to do it]."

Crooke: "What Europe has done " [changing the subject:] We do not consider the political wing of Hamas to be a terrorist organization, and the same complaints were made regarding Fatah.'
For the EU, Hamas and the other Palestinian terror groups are "freedom fighters", and all those dead Jewish babies are an inconvenience.
|| Nudnik 2:07 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, April 14, 2005

              Our Worst President
Ned Rice compares Jimmy Carter to the recently departed Pope. Needless to say, Jimmy comes up a bit short.
As our commander in chief, Jimmy Carter consistently displayed three basic characteristics: hapless incompetence, (what a charitable person might describe as) a distaste for confrontation and danger, and - paradoxically, given the first two - an almost cartoonishly inflated ego. In short, Jimmy Carter was the deputy sheriff Barney Fife of American presidents: alternatively bumbling, then petrified, then egomaniacal, then back to bumbling, and so on for four long, surreal years. One of history's true buffoons, Jimmy Carter was, at best, a post-Nixon electoral palate cleanser of a president whose sole contribution to America's legacy was readying the way for Reagan by his own ineptitude. Or to put it another way, Carter was the transitional boyfriend we dated briefly just after Nixon broke our heart and just before Reagan swept us off our feet. I do wish someone would tell Carter that: He still thinks he's the love of our life.

John Paul II, on the other hand, as a young seminarian risked death at the hands of the Nazis to complete his studies - then again later in life in defying not only the puppet government of his beloved Poland, but the Soviet monolith itself. The assassin's bullet he survived was nothing compared to what the Soviets might have done to the world if not for brave men like himself. President Jimmy Carter's naive, appeasement-based foreign-policy views only made that job harder and more necessary. Lucky for all of us the former Karol J. Wojtyla was up to the job.
|| Nudnik 2:52 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Out of Ideas? Throw Food!
In the last few weeks, a number of prominent conservatives have endured culinary attacks; Bill Kristol and David Horowitz had pies thrown at them, while Pat Buchanan had salad dressing dumped on him. George Neumayer thinks that this is the natural reaction of liberalism's failed ideology, and will only lead to more violent acts as the left continues to lose power.
Underneath the robes, vestments, and suits they collected during their march through the institutions remained the grubby attire of radicalism only now visible as they return to their posture of primitive protesting -- a wild, speechless style of protest that throws light on liberalism's essential hostility to reason and morality. Why do liberals who regard themselves as apostles of Enlightenment reason resort so quickly to intimidation and primitive exertion of will? Because fundamentally liberalism is based not on reason but on force. It is a willfulness writ large that becomes more vivid as liberals lose power and fail to control a people unpersuaded by claims that find no basis in reality and thus cannot be calmly demonstrated by reason.
Ann Coulter, who was herself the target of one such attack, points out that this somewhat contradicts the liberals' assertions that they are the intellectual one.
|| Nudnik 1:30 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              More Academic Freedom
An interesting story of an economics professor's battle with the PC police at the University of Nevada. The comment that started his persecution was:
In March of 2004, during a 75 minute lecture in my Money and Banking class on time preference, interest, and capital, I presented numerous examples designed to illustrate the concept of time preference (or in the terminology of the sociologist Edward Banfield of "present- and future-orientation"). As one brief example, I referred to homosexuals as a group which, because they typically do not have children, tend to have a higher degree of time preference and are more present-oriented. I also noted--as have many other scholars--that J.M Keynes, whose economic theories were the subject of some upcoming lectures, had been a homosexual and that this might be useful to know when considering his short-run economic policy recommendation and his famous dictum "in the long run we are all dead."
This, of course, led to charges of a "hostile learning environment" and consequently a full out harassment of the professor by the university administration.
|| Nudnik 11:48 AM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Killing Terrorists Bad?
Al-Reuters news service comes up with a ridiculous headline this morning: Israeli Soldiers Kill Militant, Straining Truce. Maybe, if the Palestinians actually lived up to their agreements and arrested terrorists, Israel would have no need to do this themselves.
|| Nudnik 11:03 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

              Columbia Whitewash
Bruce Thornton writes an excellent critique of Columbia University's handling of the recent controversy over anti-Israel bias in its department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures. The foxes were sent in to investigate the disappearance of chickens, and lo and behold didn't find any gone.
|| Nudnik 3:51 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Appalling, But Not Surprising
France has so gotten used to appeasing hostile regimes, that it does not seem to know any other way to operate. Today we learn that Chirac has been pushing the EU-3 to accept Iran's "right" to enrich Uranium. At this point, it is no longer a surprise to be betrayed by France. More and more, it seems that the Iranian nuclear program will only end at the hands of the US or Israel.
|| Nudnik 2:54 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
We thought that academia in the US was anti-Israel. In the last week, England's academics have shown themselves to be even worse. Once again, they are proposing a boycott of Israeli academics, unless of course they renounce their government. There is nothing that I can say about this that Melanie Phillips has not said in this excellent article.
The motion has already been compared to McCarthyism. This is too kind. However cruel, illiberal and arbitrary that disturbing period was, a number of those who were hounded subsequently turned out to have actually been communists. By contrast, Israeli academics are to be persecuted for failing to denounce their own country for seeking to defend its citizens against genocidal mass murder. A more appropriate comparison would surely be the forced conversion of the Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages, or the show trials under Stalinism. For in true totalitarian tradition, only those in the pariah group who denounce their own will be permitted to have a livelihood. To survive in the cradle of free expression, Israelis will have to betray their own people in the cause of hatred and lies.
The Jerusalem Post editorial calls this the "antithesis of freethinking".
|| Nudnik 12:18 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
It seems that the Left's objections to John Bolton's confirmation to the UN are grounded in the allegation that he has "disdain" for the UN. The obvious question then, is why does the Left not share that same disdain for an organization that in the past few years has embodied and propagated ideas that are supposedly antithetical to the beliefs of these "progressives". I don't think it's necessary to once again recount all of the UN scandals. The New York Sun's editorial perfectly addresses the Democrats' objections.
The fact is that the Senate hearings on the nomination of Mr. Bolton to the United Nations have been a classic case of what is wrong with the Democratic Party. Here we are in the midst of a war with Islamist terror, in the midst of a historical scandal over the oil-for-food program, in the midst of a crisis of credibility at the United Nations over the behavior of its peacekeeping forces, in the midst of a reform in the management and fundamental structures of the world body, and in the midst of a debate over whether the United Nations ought even to stay in New York. What do the Democrats do but fall to quibbling over the nominee who once dressed down a bureaucrat.
|| Nudnik 11:09 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

              Abbas's Future
In today's Jerusalem Post, Barry Rubin looks at the situation of Mahmoud Abbas. His conclusion is similar to one that has been written about previously, namely that for all his nice talk and nice suits, Abbas is simply a nicer looking Arafat. His actions up to now, in relation both to Israel and to the terrorists in his midst, have in no way distinguished him from his predecessor. More importantly, his rule may be very short-lived. In the elections coming up in July Hamas is expected to triumph fairly handily over Fatah and Abbas. What the US's reaction to this would be is unclear. It would be difficult to reconcile negotiating with the PA headed by a group on the US terrorist list with the Bush Doctrine.

At the same time, IDF intelligence is warning that the Palestinians plan to return to the war that they have paused, and with greater ferocity. Throughout this hudna, all the terror groups have been re-equipping and recruiting. There are even reports that they have managed to smuggle Strella surface-to-air missiles into Gaza. All of this is happening because Abbas refuses to confront and dismantle these terror groups. Until he does that, any negotiations with him will lead nowhere.
|| Nudnik 11:38 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, April 08, 2005

              Iran Continues Bubbling
Another report from Iran of demonstrations in a number of cities.
Street demonstrations calling for democratic reform are spreading in cities throughout western Iran.

The Iranian opposition has reported clashes between Kurdish pro-democracy forces and authorities in western Iran. The opposition said battles took place in Baneh, Mahabad, Marivan, Piranshahr and Sanandaj.
Interestingly, opposition sources are claiming that these demonstrations were inspired by elections in Iraq.
|| Nudnik 6:08 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
A few years back, Boston Harbor was so polluted that if one took a bucket of water out of there, dumping it back into the harbor would be in violation of anti-pollution laws. Now it seems a similar thinking is being applied to the Koran.
If Kafka met Monty Python, and George Orwell edited their collaboration, they might have come up with something like the following real-life exchange.

It took place in an Australian court where two Christian pastors were found guilty of "religious vilification" of Muslims by lecturing to their flock on Islam. At one point during the trial, defendant Daniel Scot began to read Koranic verses in his own defense. The Pakistani-born pastor hoped to prove to the judge that his discussion of the inferior status of women under Islam, for example, had a specific textual basis in the Koran. As he began to read, a lawyer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, the plaintiff in the case, objected. Reading these verses aloud, she said, would in itself be vilification. Poor, ultimately convicted, Mr. Scot put it best: "How can it be vilifying to Muslims when I am just reading from the Koran?"
CAIR and various other Muslim groups haven't yet had the Koran banned, but they have forced NRO and others to stop selling other books critical of Islam.
|| Nudnik 3:44 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Yad Vashem
In today's New Republic, Martin Peretz writes a very powerful article about the opening of the new Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. The last paragraph, which is about Kofi Annan's participation in the opening ceremonies is truly scathing.
There was one discordant note in the opening ceremonies, and it was the participation of Kofi Annan. He had taken time out on his way to Jerusalem to pay homage at the Ramallah grave of Yasir Arafat, a certified legatee of the anti-Semitism of the Nazis. How diplomatic! The secretary-general's very presence evoked the offending memory of his predecessors: U Thant, who removed U.N. troops from the Sinai--a decade-old barrier to war between Israel and Egypt--on the command of Gamal Abdel Nasser, which unleashed the Six Day War; and, most grotesquely, Kurt Waldheim, whose personal role in the Final Solution to "the Jewish problem" was suppressed by the great powers and the U.N. bureaucracy. And what were Annan's qualifications for this ceremony? Well, he is an expert on genocide, an expert of a certain sort. In his diplomatic practice of the 1990s, in various U.N. posts, he became a genocide-denier, since he refused to act against the extermination wars in Bosnia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. If the history of our time is written honestly, it will record that Annan stood passively by as the new exterminators went to work. Shame will be his memorial, his everlasting name.
|| Nudnik 1:49 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Middle East Negotiations
The land-for-peace negotiations formula has proven to be an unmitigated disaster - with Israel giving up tangible land for intangible promises of peace that have been all too easily broken. Today, Hizbullah has taken this formula one step further. Responding to the UN and US demand to disarm, Hizbullah has proposed that if Israel gives the Shebaa Farms to Lebanon - despite the fact that even the UN has ruled that this territory belonged to Syria - then they might be prepared to discuss disarming. I have very little doubt that the UN and Europe will seize this new formula and force Israel to withdraw from Shebaa Farms so that Hizbullah can move in there. I also have very little doubt that once Israel is forced to withdraw, Hizbullah will come up with another demand, and then another, and then another. Appeasement always works in the same way.
|| Nudnik 12:45 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Arab Development
A few days ago, the UN released the latest Arab Human Development Report. As would be expected, these Arab intellectuals placed a large measure of blame for the lack of freedom and democracy in the Arab world on Israel and the United States, showing that the idea of actually looking inward and analyzing their problems has not yet fully taken hold. The US and Israel dismissed this analysis as "misguided". Yet, as Caroline Glick shows, despite the dismissal of these Arab claims, the policies of the US and Israel vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict are based on very similar logic.
The view among American policymakers and Israeli Foreign Ministry types, both egged on by their ideological bedfellows in Europe and the international Left is based on two presumptions. The first is that the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the cause of the Arab conflict with Israel. The second is that the Palestinians are weak and the Israelis are strong and that the way to solve the conflict is to strengthen the Palestinians and weaken Israel.

The second presumption is what leads both Israeli and American foreign policy elites to advocate Israeli surrender of land and rights to the Palestinians and to support Palestinian acquisition of arms, money and sovereignty.

The first presumption is what leads both Israel and the US to ignore the direct dependence of the Palestinian conflict with Israel on outside support by Arab League member states led by Egypt. Egypt, like the rest of the Arab world has never accepted Israel's inherent right to exist as a Jewish state in the Levant. Yet over the years, the rhetorical focus shifted from overt calls for Israel's destruction through war to overt calls for Israel's destruction through the establishment of a Palestinian state and unlimited immigration of millions of foreign born Arabs to Israel. These calls are obfuscated to a degree by a public fixation on the perceived weakness and actual misery of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – both of which are blamed on Israel.
Daniel Pipes and others have long asserted that defining the Arab-Israeli conflict as an issue of Palestinians and a Palestinian state is wrong. The idea that a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians will lead to Arab rapprochement with Israel, is exactly backwards. The Arab-Israeli conflict can only end once Arab states fully accept Israel as a Jewish state in the Middle East. And for this to happen there will need to be a complete political and societal change in the Arab world. When Arab tyrants are no longer around to direct the frustration of their own people onto Israel and the United States, and instead to look critically at their own societies and come up with solutions to their own problems, only then will peace be possible in the Middle East. President Bush has embraced this concept and his policies of spreading democracy reflect that. The Arab world is tentatively wading into this democratic stream. Unfortunately, Europe's continued reliance on the policies of the past are giving Arab tyrants hope that they can outlast Bush and avoid the long necessary reforms.
|| Nudnik 12:18 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, April 07, 2005

              The Hudna Goes On
The Palestinian "cease-fire" continues.
A Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian militants hit a cemetery in the Negev town of Sderot on Thursday evening, causing no damage and no injuries.

According to Israel Radio, the missile was probably fired from the Beit Hanun area of the northern Gaza Strip.
This seems to be a small indication of what is to come. According to this report, the IDF is preparing itself for a renewal and increase of the Oslo War in the fall of this year. As predicted, the Palestinians have spent their "cease-fire" time re-arming and preparing themselves for more attacks.
Already, a huge amount of weapons has been smuggled from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip, the sources said. They estimated that more than 3,000 assault rifles, 400 pistols and 400,000 rounds of ammunition were brought into the Gaza Strip between July 2004 and February 2005. They said 600 kilograms of explosives have also been delivered to Palestinian insurgents.

Palestinian insurgency groups have also been amassing rockets and missiles, the sources said. They said the groups, particularly Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have acquired more than 180 anti-tank rocket launchers and five anti-aircraft missiles.
It is clear that Abbas has no control over the PA, with infighting spreading to his own party, and that the Palestinian elections, as well as the upcoming "dis-engagement" will not bring Israel one step closer to peace. Until the terrorists are completely wiped out, and the Palestinians fully realize that war will only bring them more and more misery, peace will be impossible. No agreements, no "cease-fires", no Road Maps will mean anything until Israel fully defeats the Palestinians.
|| Nudnik 2:48 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

              France's Problem
Just about a month ago Paris experienced a race riot. I have not seen this reported in any major news outlets, yet what undeniably occurred should be a serious wake-up call to France. But judging from the way it has been swept under the rug, not just in the US press, but also in France, seems to show that France has no intention of confronting the most serious problem the country has faced since being overrun by the Nazis.

Olivier Guitta in the Weekly Standard describes what happened.
On March 8, tens of thousands of high school students marched through central Paris to protest education reforms announced by the government. Repeatedly, peaceful demonstrators were attacked by bands of black and Arab youths--about 1,000 in all, according to police estimates. The eyewitness accounts of victims, teachers, and most interestingly the attackers themselves gathered by the left-wing daily Le Monde confirm the motivation: racism.

Some of the attackers openly expressed their hatred of "little French people." One 18-year-old named Heikel, a dual citizen of France and Tunisia, was proud of his actions. He explained that he had joined in just to "beat people up," especially "little Frenchmen who look like victims." He added with a satisfied smile that he had "a pleasant memory" of repeatedly kicking a student, already defenseless on the ground.

Another attacker explained the violence by saying that "little whites" don't know how to fight and "are afraid because they are cowards." Rachid, an Arab attacker, added that even an Arab can be considered a "little white" if he "has a French mindset." The general sentiment was a desire to "take revenge on whites."
So if this really happened as described, why is no one talking about it? Most left wing organizations attributed these attacks to economics - an expression of a class struggle. Interestingly, the same people that downplayed and made excuses for anti-Semitic attacks are the same ones now trying to minimize the significance of these events. More and more it should be strikingly obvious to all but the willfully blind that France has a serious problem with its immigrant population - most of whom are Arab or North African, Muslim, unassimilated and oftentimes unassimilable. As the writer points out, these ethnic tensions are most evident in schools. In a study done for the inspector general of education, many of these issues are clear.
Obin discusses the attitudes of Muslim students, some as young as first graders. He reports, for instance, that Muslim students, asked their nationality, answer, "Muslim." When they are told that this is not a nationality and they are French, some insist that they can't be French since they are Muslim. This should come as no surprise. The presidential commission that examined the issue of secularism in 2003 reported that "extremist groups are working to test the Republic's strength and push some young people to reject France and her values."
Reading this after reading the recent interview with Bat Ye'or should be a wake-up call to everyone in the West that if something is not done, and soon, Europe will be lost.
|| Nudnik 10:21 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Academic Diversity
It is pretty much an accepted fact at this point that university faculties are far to the left of the general population and even of their own students. This is one European professor's experience of the climate at an elite US liberal arts college.
In fact, their uncritically positive image of Europe astonished me so much that I began trying to convince them that they were wrong. (In the name of free speech and an educated academic conversation – things that you would expect to find on a college campus.) This turned out to be a bad idea: my colleagues slowly but steadily changed their attitude toward me. I refused to acknowledge that the politics in Europe was as superior as European wine, cars or cuisine. (In fact, I prefer California wine, I drive a Chevrolet and I love pumpkin pie!)

The most feverishly liberal among my colleagues now began looking at me as a traitor. One told me to stop expressing my political views when other faculty was around. Why? Because, he said, “I do not want to have to defend why we have a conservative here” at our department.

As much as this shocked me, I began talking to a close group of friends about it. I had realized that the overwhelming majority of my colleagues were radically liberal, effectively socialist. I had also realized that the overwhelming majority among them, in turn, would not tolerate dissenting political views on campus.
Jonah Goldberg looks at the inane arguments in Paul Krugman's latest column for why there aren't many Republican academics. The attitude on campus is best exemplified by this quote
Here’s a better example than anything Krugman musters. And I cite it simply because it was something I read just yesterday. These things happen every day. The historian John Moser, who has just written a fascinating biography of J. T. Flynn, recently went to the Organization of American Historians conference. While there he happened to mention to a colleague that he voted for Bush. She responded, "And yet you write books.”
|| Nudnik 1:13 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Poor Jimmy
President Bush is heading to Rome today for the funeral of the Pope, with an official delegation that includes Presidents Clinton and Bush (pere). One President noticeably not included in this delegation is Jimmy Carter. It seems that despite his entreaties, President Bush refused to invite him. After all of Carter's criticisms of the President - something not traditionally done by ex-presidents, especially abroad - its not that surprising that Bush wants nothing to do with him. The Prowler has the story.
|| Nudnik 11:20 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A very interesting interview with Bat Ye'or from the American Thinker. She explains better than anyone why it is that Europe is so anti-American and anti-Israel. And not surprisingly, it all started with France.
|| Nudnik 2:42 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Monday, April 04, 2005

              Thanks, Ward
This month's New Criterion thanks Ward Churchill for bringing the issue of "academic freedom" and "free speech" to the forefront. They make an important distinction between the two, and speculate that as more people note that distinction, there will be a backlash against the leftist radicalism currently present in the universities.
|| Nudnik 1:42 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, April 01, 2005

              Moral Authority
From today's Washington Times:
The world's most repressive countries hold more than a quarter of the seats in the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission and their presence has subverted the panel's mandate, a respected watchdog group reported yesterday.

In its annual report on the world's biggest human-rights abusers, Freedom House lists 18 countries as the "worst of the worst regimes" and notes that six of them -- China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe -- are members of the commission.
This is, of course, the organization that claims moral authority and regularly issues condemnations of Israel's human rights record. UN delenda est.
|| Nudnik 12:07 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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