Another Tack: Hamastan’s happy birthday

Hamastan has just marked its third birthday. It was a glad gala indeed, punctuated with buoyant morale and maritime hijinks by “freedom flotillas” raucously rushing to spark the celebrations.

Unbelievably the anniversary of Hamas’s hegemony in the Gaza Strip came and went with scant critical appraisal anywhere. The Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, which took over Gaza in a spasm of violence during June 2007, now appears an acceptable regional fixture. Nobody demands even a modicum of good behavior from it. Hamastan gets such pampering press that it seemingly cannot set a foot wrong.

At first the international Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) mildly hiccupped with reluctant disapproval, not so much for Israel’s sake but out of concern that its darling Mahmoud Abbas, figurehead president of the rival Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, might lose ground. Formally the above guardians of global propriety request that Hamas recognize Israel, forswear terror and acquiesce to previous Israel-PA deals. But in reality they itch to backtrack. Continue reading

Another Tack: Musings on skillful salami-slicers

Salami-slicing, a familiar if infamous ploy, has long been a favorite of assorted shysters whether in business, party politics or geopolitical machinations. It wasn’t invented by the Arabs in their tactically mutating but strategically consistent war against the Jewish state. That said, the Arabs are matchless masters at deploying the deceit, whereas delusional broad-minded Jews voluntarily cast themselves as the ultimate dupes.

In a recent Tack I wrote that “while Israel serially drew back from its positions… Arab orientations during all that time hadn’t budged a fraction of a millimeter. Their only modifications were tactical. Instead of eradicating Israel in one fell swoop (which they didn’t do only because they couldn’t), they settled on slicing Israel’s salami bit by bit to deprive it of strategic depth, render it more vulnerable to predations and erode it by demonization and demoralization. The basic premise remains that at most the existence of the unwanted ‘Zionist entity’ is admitted temporarily de facto, that this entity must shrink and that Arabs have a right to deluge it.” Continue reading

Another Tack: Edgardo and the quarterbacks

Fate inserts assorted unexpected subplots into our lives. Some months ago, a reader from Germany responded to a column of mine in so insightful a manner that I thought it merits acknowledgment. From there sprang forth a friendship by e-mail that still thrives. This non-Jewish German friend quickly explained that his unwavering support for Israel is by no means the bon ton of his Bavarian milieu and that his outspokenness on its behalf hardly enhances his popularity.

A relative of his, a philosophy professor who currently teaches in China, won’t hear of visiting Israel due to its “flagrant human rights violations.”

But aren’t Beijing’s abuses, pressed my Internet interlocutor, far more off-putting? Continue reading

Another Tack: The Otto Weininger syndrome

Suicide can be individual or collective. In either manifestation it can share similar attributes and arise from parallel psychological anomalies. It can be perversely popular.

In early 20th-century Vienna, for example, a spate of high-profile suicides triggered a pseudo-romantic fad. There seemed to be something dashing in taking one’s own life in a grand gesture that apparently made a statement. Pivotal in sensationalizing the fashion was 23-year-old philosopher Otto Weininger who shot himself in 1903 in the same hotel room where Beethoven died (presumably to enhance the dramatic effect). Continue reading