The emir in Gaza

If it did anything, the landmark visit to Gaza by the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on Tuesday exposed a slew of widespread regional fallacies.

First looms the contention of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that the visit ended the political and economic blockade of Gaza. This is vitally important, coming as it does days after another ship hired by radical leftists, the Estelle, attempted to sail from Europe to Gaza to break the blockade that, as Haniyeh himself attests, does not exist.

Hamas and its global coterie of cheerleaders cannot have it both ways. There either is a blockade or there is not. Truth cannot be adjusted to whatever they find convenient at any particular juncture. Continue reading

Another Tack: When the darling departs

Israel’s agenda-driven pundits are strict mono-measurers with no other political yardstick but how any hullabaloo impacts on the Likud – or, more specifically, on its headliner Binyamin Netanyahu. They cheer whatever damages the Likud or diminishes Netanyahu.

Look at how the second coming of Shas’s Arye Deri’s was greeted. Regardless of obligatory hand-wringing about Deri’s criminal record, his comeback offered the Left an opportunity for undisguised gloating, owing to the loudly trumpeted assumption that Deri is sure to bite into the Bibi’s vote-getting potential.

The curious case of Communications, Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon was altogether a godsend allowing propagandists to crow that the Likud no longer represents regular folks. When Kahlon announced his time-out, for whatever reason, it became the leading news item both on air and on page one of the print media. It was as if a shining star had fallen.

This demands a serious reality check. Is Kahlon truly so central a figure, or was this deliberately skewed reporting designed to ingrain the impression that an actual watershed event had just crucially injured Netanyahu? Continue reading

Another Tack: Felicitations for banana-unbenders

The European Union was never popular in Israel and with good reason. Its officious meddling has already well exceeded the bounds of commonplace harassment and has edged ever closer to an infringement on our sovereignty, a suborning of our democracy and the undermining of our vital self-preservation interests.

So despite our government’s fawning felicitations to Brussels, many Israelis frowned on the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the overbearing EU.

By that decision, the Nobel Peace award has finally been equated in stature and gravitas with the Napoleon Prize satirically contrived by the matchless sitcom writers who gave us the BBC’s Yes, Minister back in the 1980s.

The fictional honor, we were informed in the series’ fifth episode, is earmarked “for the statesman who’s made the biggest contribution to European unity.” That prompts the supercilious Sir Humphrey to interject: “since Napoleon, that is, if you don’t count Hitler.” (The fuehrer, by the way, was nominated in earnest for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938, but blew his chances by launching WWII).

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, apparently out to prove that real life can rival the most side-splitting spoof, had already bestowed its peace accolades on frustrated genocide-promoter Yasser Arafat, as it did on Al Gore for scorning the ecological sins of other folks and on Barack Obama for… Well, we haven’t figured that one out yet. Continue reading

Another Tack: If only we were Turks

When it’s properly motivated, the UN can react with lightning speed. It just has to want to, as in the case of the errant mortar shells from the Syrian civil war that inadvertently overfly the border and come down with an occasional thud on the Turkish side.

No lucid pundit can envisage any stratagem that would remotely tempt embattled Damascus despot Bashar Assad to arouse Turkish ire. Assad presumably has his hands more than full at home. He is the least likely to launch deliberate aggression against his big neighbor and thereby ostracize and endanger himself even further in an already hostile world environment.

Whatever else we have to say about Assad, and there’s plenty to rightfully badmouth him for, he certainly didn’t seek confrontation with Turkey. This isn’t his doing. Continue reading

Populist fever

If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hadn’t moved up the elections to early 2013, we’d be voting in late 2013.

Sooner or later, the race must be run next year.

But the difference, in political terms, of when we go to the polls is huge. It matters cardinally to what’s best for the country rather than what’s best for any party. Here Netanyahu has undeniably opted for what’s best for the country. Continue reading

The rial’s fall

Iran’s currency is nose-diving. There can be no disputing this fact. On Tuesday, the rial hit a record low of 36,100 for one US dollar (at unofficial street-trading rates). A week earlier a dollar cost 24,000 rials. In 2011, the figure was 10,000.

This has not only imposed extreme hardship on Iran’s already hard-pressed population but has also created opportunities for all players to hype their self-serving spins.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as expected, sought to bolster sagging morale by asserting that his country’s financial woes were all “due to psychological pressures.” Continue reading

Another Tack: The Dearborn omen

Dearborn, Michigan, may have started off as a no-account aggregate of farms and modest homesteads but it would evolve into a singular omen. This once-quintessential emblem of old-time Americana would stand out as a powerful indication of important things to come. Dearborn encapsulates within itself something akin to an ever-unfolding prophesy of America’s future.

It’s perhaps no quirk of fate that the latest episode in Dearborn’s annals is about protecting the honor of a prophet via anti-blasphemy laws – the draconian sort which proliferate in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other centers of Islamic enlightenment. It’s all along the lines of the international ban on anti-Islam speech proposed at the UN General Assembly by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and darling of America’s own elected leader, Barack Obama.

This is hardly insignificant because the impetus for the outcry about the supposed insult to Muhammad’s repute was given by no other than Obama himself.

It was he and his administration’s mouthpieces who assiduously disseminated the insult-narrative as the pretext for Muslim violence worldwide. They repeatedly underscored, harshly condemned and profusely apologized for said insult – even if in the same breath they also sanctimoniously preached that rioting isn’t a proper response to what they nevertheless did portray as a genuine grievance. Continue reading

Homemade tragedy

The country’s Arab parliamentarians managed this week to surpass even their own most strident incitement against the state that bankrolls them and guarantees their rights to subvert it. Speaking in Sakhnin at the 12th memorial to the 13 Arabs shot dead during the October 2000 riots, MKs Ahmed Tibi and Taleb a-Sanaa in effect agitated for violent vengeance, thereby ramping up already inordinately confrontational rhetoric.

This wasn’t just more of their by-now-pervasive in-your-face insolence – the sort to which we’ve already grown inured. This time there were exhortations for an operative translation by fellow Israeli-Arabs of the escalated bellicosity.

Not much could be left to the imagination when a-Sanaa railed: “If the government fails to do justice, we shall. If it fails to punish the criminals, we shall.” Continue reading