Egypt’s new leader Mohamed Morsi is proving to be a cunning communicator, at least so far as what he puts across to undiscerning Western ears. He manages to sound exceedingly moderate and reasonable, while enunciating unreasonable, indeed radical demands that must be met or else. He in effect says that “it’s my way or the highway.”
Thus, while seeming to affirm his commitment to the 33-year-old peace with Israel, Morsi at the same time piles up impediments upon which he now makes that peace contingent.
The inescapable inference is that if his conditions are not accepted, he would consider himself absolved of his obligation to keep the peace. Continue reading
The entire country mourned the passing of iconic songwriter Haim Hefer on this new year’s second day. We were awash in a deluge of nostalgia, which was only fitting, bearing in mind that Hefer was a master of nostalgia. His ability to home in and seize on the singular sentiment of the era proved the hallmark of his prolific output.
And so in 1948, as the Palmach achieved its greatest feats but was already threatened with dismantlement by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Hefer wrote a somewhat premature self-lamenting eulogy for the Hagana’s elite strike force. I translated its opening stanza:
Gentlemen, history cyclically reappears.
Nothing is forgotten, nothing disappears.
We’ll yet remember how under a lead barrage,
The Palmach in Syria did march Continue reading
Of late, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority appears to be staging recurrent verbal thrills-and-spills extravaganzas. It’s almost as if, when nothing else works, generating headlines constitutes a viable alternative to actual policy and governance.
And so the latest bombshell Abbas attempted to toss was the suggestion that Ramallah might abrogate the Oslo Accords with Israel. It is difficult to fathom who Abbas supposes he may be frightening. If any side has benefitted from Oslo, it is his. After 19 years, Israel can definitely pronounce itself the outright loser of its own risky experiment. Continue reading
As the world braces for more outbreaks of Muslim vengeance for perceived religious insults, there are new twists in author Salman Rushdie’s saga, which in 1989 brought fanatic Islamism’s intolerance to the Free World’s attention.
Iran’s ayatollahs seized upon Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses to launch a global campaign to silence freedom of expression and to have whatever is put out in the public domain effectively submit to Islamic censorship. Continue reading
It is written in the Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet are sinners, whom it is the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who is slain in this warfare is sure to go to Paradise.
Tripoli’s envoy, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja
Difficult as it may be for some New York Times devotees to believe, the above wasn’t enunciated in response to an esoteric 14-minute YouTube clip, which was uploaded months ago by a California-resident Egyptian Copt, which few actually viewed but which invisible Islamic puppet-masters belatedly decried as too offensive to overlook.
The above quote dates back to 1785 but it undeniably bloviates in precisely the same spirit as latter-day Muslim rabble-rousers. Nothing has changed since these supremacist sentiments were sounded to American emissaries Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were dispatched to London in an attempt to reason with the proto-al-Qaida leaders of their day.
Suffice it to say that the negotiations led nowhere. What the two future American presidents – both Founding Fathers with the impeccable credentials of enlightened political philosophers – would hear was that Muslims are above accommodating themselves to lowly infidels and that the infidels had better admit their inferiority and pay the obligatory penalty for being inferior. Continue reading
The inexorable march of time perforce depletes the ranks of the eminent hierarchs who once proliferated in this country’s cultural setting. The most recent to depart was iconic Palmach songwriter and Israel Prize laureate (1983) Haim Hefer, who passed away on the second day of this new year. Continue reading
To those among us with some historical memory, these tense days might be reminiscent of days no less tense on the eve of the Six Day War. Then too Israel was beset by existential threat.
Egypt had blockaded the Tiran Straits, kicked out UN forces from Sinai and filled our airwaves with bellicose bluster about annihilating the Jewish state, a.k.a. the loathsome “Zionist entity.” Four and a half decades later, we are threatened by Iranian nukes and all around us is regurgitated the bellicose bluster about annihilating Israel, a.k.a. the loathsome “Zionist entity.” To those of us who still remember, the vehement vows to obliterate us sound eerily similar. Continue reading