Saturday, January 24, 2009

Attitudes Toward Israel

Denis MacEoin in the Jerusalem Post writes in an opinion piece Marching for Hamas:
In a bizarre reversal of all their commitment to human rights and the struggle of men and women for independence and self-determination, the European Left has chosen again and again to side with the bullies and to condemn a small nation struggling to survive in a hostile neighborhood. It is all self-contradictory: The Left supports gay rights, yet attacks the only country in the Middle East where gay rights are enshrined in law. Hamas makes death the punishment for being gay, but "we are all Hamas now." Iran hangs gays, but it is praised as an agent of anti-imperialism, and allowed to get on with its job of stoning women and executing dissidents and members of religious minorities. If UK Premier Gordon Brown swore to wipe France from the face of the earth, he would become a pariah among nations. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens to do that to Israel and is invited to speak to the UN General Assembly

Israel guarantees civil liberties to all its citizens, Jew or Arab alike, but it is dubbed "an apartheid state"; Hamas, ever the bully, kills its opponents and denies the rest the most basic rights, but we march on behalf of Hamas. The Left prefers the bully because the bully represents a finger in the face of the establishment? Almost no one on the Left has any understanding of militant Islam. Their politics is a politics of gesture, where wearing a keffiyeh is cool but understanding its symbolism is too much effort even for intellectuals.

I'd recommend you read the entire article. Denis MacEoin is the incoming editor of the international journal Middle East Quarterly and the author of a blog entitled A Liberal Defence of Israel.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Author Quote of the Day

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.

- Jules Renard

Monday, January 19, 2009

Third Year Anniversary of the Launch of New Horizons

Three years ago, on January 19, 2006, New Horizons left Earth aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle bound for Pluto. Since then, the space probe has flown more than 1.2 billion miles. It is currently between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus and traveling outward at more than 38,800 miles per hour (more than 10 and a half miles per second).

It will not reach Pluto until 2015.

The distances between the planets of our solar system are not small.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Author Quote for the Day

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.

- Peter De Vries

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Puzzling

I've run across letter writers and commentators regarding the current war against Hamas who make comments like "war accomplishes nothing. Killing doesn’t change anything except perhaps to engender more anger and hatred on both sides."

I suppose those who write or say such things imagine they are being profound, but I simply find myself puzzled. Do they mean to tell me that the Allies who attacked and defeated Germany in World War II accomplished nothing--that World War II accomplished nothing? Killing Nazis only "engendered more anger and hatred on both sides?"

How exactly was the world supposed to respond to the Nazis?

I'm sorry, but such words from those who criticize Israel who try to make Israel and Hamas morally equivalent strike me as nonsense or worse.

Likewise those who say, "look the Israelis have killed a thousand but only 13 of their people died from the rockets that Hamas shot at them." As if that means something. Imperial Japan only killed 2402 Americans and wounded 1282 at Pearl Harbor in 1941. So after the United States had killed and wounded that many Japanese the war should have ended? The fact that the United States went on pounding on the Empire of Japan until it was totally defeated was a "disproportionate" response and a crime against humanity, huh?

I just don't understand what is going on in the minds of a lot of people.

What Hate Sounds Like

Examples of Anti-Semitism by way of MEMRI and YouTube:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote for the Day

I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.
--Fred Allen, US radio comedian (1894 - 1956)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thoughts on Hamas, Palestine, and Anti-Semistism

I don’t think most people are willing to believe just how bad the anti-Semitism in the Moslem world is. There is no moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas. That would be like trying to equate England and Germany in World War II. And yes, I do mean that Hamas is Nazi-like. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the Hamas charter:

Notice article 13:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”

Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?

“But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah.” (The Cow - verse 120).
There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:

“The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”

Or maybe just watch a bit of Moslem TV with English subtitles. has plenty of their own words available to watch or read. Or just go to their own websites if you happen to know Arabic.

The reality is this: if Hamas laid down their weapons tomorrow, there would be peace. If Israel laid down their weapons, they would all die.

It takes two to make peace. Hamas does not want peace. They just want the Jews to die. That is a very ugly truth that a lot of people simply are unwilling to face. It's not the first time people have been unwilling to face such ugly truths, of course. We'd prefer to imagine that they don't really mean what they say. That there's some other thing that is really behind it all, like Western imperialism, or economic deprivation, or something else that is more appealing to our sensibilities.

Unfortunately, sometimes the bad guys really are just bad. Sometimes they really are just Nazis.

Remember something: Israel gave back the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for peace. Israel wants peace more than anything. They are like us. They just want to be left alone to live their lives.

And Hamas really is evil and they really do want to kill Jews more than anything.

And also remember this. The original UN partition for Palestine divided it into a Jewish and a Palestinian Arab state. The Jews accepted that. The Arabs rejected it and went to war. Between 1948 and 1967 Egypt held the Gaza and Jordan the West Bank. Why was there no call for a Palestinian state for them then, when the Arabs controlled that territory? Why was the PLO formed in 1964, before the 6 Day War? And why did the PLO attack Israel then rather than Egypt or Jordan?

The Palestinian "cause" is an excuse; it is propaganda. The tyranical Moslem governments of the Middle East really don't care about the Palestinians. It is simply useful to them in their war against the Jewish people, which serves as a way of distracting their oppressed people from who their real oppressors are.


In today's Wall Street Journal, an Opinion article by Daniel Schwammenthal: Europe Reimports Jew Hatred: The mythical Arab Street now reaches deep into Paris, London, Berlin and Madrid.
The depth of anti-Semitic propaganda in Palestinian and other Muslim societies is one of the most underreported facts about the Middle East. It is this anti-Semitism that predisposes Muslims in Europe to attack Jews and fuels the Mideast conflict. The hatred predates Israel's creation. To illustrate this point: The Palestinian leader during World War II, Hajj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, conspired with Hitler to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Luckily, the British stopped the German troops in Africa. The Mufti spent the war years in Berlin and was later indicted for war crimes but with the help of the Muslim Brotherhood escaped to Egypt. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas and other Islamists continue what the Mufti had helped to start: a blend of European anti-Semitism and Islam-inspired Jew hatred. The rejection of Israel's right to exist is what drives their attacks. The media, though, largely ignores Hamas's ideology and its crimes of hiding its leaders and weapons among its own civilian population, and demonizes Israel's attempt to protect its citizens.

You might want to read the entire article.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Author Quote of the Day

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

- Jack London

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Falcon 9 Raised to Vertical at the Cape

According to the SpaceX website, their first Falcon 9 has now been raised into a vertical position at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for its first launch attempt later in 2009.

To watch a time lapse of the Falcon 9 being raised, visit There are also more photographs there of the Falcon 9.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Remember the USSR

On the Volokh Conspiracy website, David Bernstein writes:

One thing I find interesting in reading various authors who discuss the history of the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflict is how the role of the USSR in exacerbating the conflict, and the role of its demise in providing an opportunity for a potential settlement of the conflict, is generally completely, or almost completely, ignored. [A few sentences only tangentially on point deleted, perhaps a subject for a separate post.]

Consider, first, that Israel could have bought itself quite a bit of security if the U.S. had allowed it, France, and the UK to triumph in the Sinai War in 1956. But Eisenhower and Dulles were afraid this would drive Arab public opinion into the pro-Soviet camp.

Then consider that the East bloc secret services recruited, trained, and financed Yasser Arafat to create the violent Palestinian nationalist movement that became the PLO, starting around 1964.

After Israel emerged victorious beyond its wildest dreams in 1967, the influence of the USSR was apparent in several ways. First, the Soviet bloc led an international campaign of boycott and defamation, larded with anti-Semitism, against Israel, creating a siege mentality that has stayed with Israel ever since, and made it that much more difficult to persuade Israel, already traumatized by the Holocaust and the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands, that the "international community" is to be trusted.

Second, Israel's performance against Soviet-supplied enemies Syria and Egypt persuaded the U.S. that Israel was a regional superpower that needed to be engaged, both to further U.S. interests, and to try to keep the (nuclear-armed) country stable and secure so that it didn't inadvertantly start WWIII.

And finally, while religious fanatics were among the most zealous settlers of the West Bank, a certain level of settlment was supported virtually across Zionist party lines, due to the perceived threat of a renewed Soviet-backed war of destruction against Israel. (In part, this was due to Lyndon Johnson reneging in 1967 on American security guarantees provided by Eisenhower in 1956--Israel saw that the U.S. could not be trusted to guarantee its security.) Israeli military and political leaders believed that holding at least some parts of the West Bank gave Israel the strategic depth to ward off, or even entirely discourage, an attack from the West, which proved prescient when Jordan declined to involve itself in the Yom Kippur War.

In 1973, by the end of the Yom Kippur War, Israel had crossed the Suez canal, had a huge segment of the Egyptian military surrounded, and was prepared, if necessary, to march on Cairo (Juan Cole, displaying his usual penchant for accuracy, calls this a "draw-to-slight victory" for Egypt). Damascus was also within range. The U.S. insisted on a cease-fire, because the Soviets threatened to intervene on behalf of Egypt and Syria.

In 1977, Anwar Sadat had tired of the Soviets and had thrown them out of Egypt. When Jimmy Carter naively sought to invite the Soviets to a regional "peace conference," Sadat hastily decided to make his famous visit to Jerusalem. While Sadat and Menachem Begin had little in common, they did by this point share a loathing of the USSR--Begin had been deported from Poland and imprisoned in the Gulag by the Soviets during WWII.

Read the whole thing: The USSR's Role in the Middle East Goes Down the Memory Hole

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Evangelizing an Atheist

I found this by way of a Google Alert, pointing me to this blog: