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Your humble narrator is...
...a research analyst at a think tank in the Washington DC area. Born in Israel, raised in Kentucky, movie fanatic and sports nut.
My first-hand account of the Palestinian divestment conference at the U. of Michigan
Archives

:: Saturday, October 19, 2002 ::

Bob & Carol & Ahmed & Fatima

My first bizarre web search hit:

MSN Search: arab wife swingers
1:35 PM
:: Friday, October 18, 2002 ::
Still more freakish Palestinian campus activism
After hosting last week's lie-filled divestment conference here at Michigan, the main pro-Palestinian group on campus was at it again a couple of nights ago. This time, they demonstrated their great tolerance and understanding of Judaism by hosting a talk by a leader of the Neturei Karta "sect" of Judaism, which denounces Zionism as heresy and blames the victims of the Holocaust for bringing divine punishment on themselves for abandoning the true ways of the Torah. Check out
this column in the student newspaper for the sordid details.
4:08 PM
An interesting historical exercise
More often than not, world peace is preserved or brought about through the use of force by good guys against bad guys. The Nobel Peace Prize committee tends to forget about this fundamental fact of international relations, so the Shark Blog is attempting to fill the void with the newly announced Sharkansky Peace Prize, usually rewarded for the principled use of force or courageous sacrifice in the service of peace. Some winners relevant to today's events are Menachem Begin in 1981 for the destruction of Iraq's nuclear reactor, and the multiple recipients of the 2001 prize for their response to 9/11: George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani, the United flight 93 passengers, and the NYC police and fire departments. Submit nominations through the above links. Finding winners for the 1930s might be tough, as there was lots of procrastination and appeasement of evil in that decade.
3:17 PM
:: Thursday, October 17, 2002 ::
Blogging: a very communicable disease
New blogger Mitch Townsend claims that his site is the child of myself and Vegard Valberg. I didn't think I'd be having kids this soon into my foray into blogging, but welcome aboard, Mitch. I hadn't visited the Norwegian Blogger before (now that I have, I regret not having done so earlier), so I guess it must have been in vitro fertilization, or something like that. Ok, I'd better stop before this analogy really gets out of hand.
12:10 PM
J. Goebbels: We're not a threat to anyone
I don't know if the New York Times ran any op-eds by prominent Nazis in the late '30s, but they're running one today by Saddam's UN ambassador. I sure feel better after reading Mr. Aldouri's assertion that "we have no intention of attacking anyone, now or in the future, with weapons of any kind...we have no nuclear or biological or chemical weapons, and we have no intention of acquiring them." I'm not in the (mostly right-wing) camp for whom Times-bashing has become a spectator sport, but what good does it do anyone to give such prominent space to these ridiculous lies?

UPDATE: Via an Instapundit link, I just noticed that James Morrow beat me to the punch. He even draws a parallel to the Congressional testimony scenes from The Godfather Part II, with Scott Ritter as the blackmailed-via-dead-hooker Senator Geary. Sweet!
11:23 AM
:: Wednesday, October 16, 2002 ::
I was with us all the way...really!
For some reason, I occasionally subject myself to the hysterical ranting of Edward Said, who always finds a way to blame America and Israel for all the world's problems. But every now and then, he says something that sounds reasonable, such as the following sentence that appears in his latest column:
Such terrorism as [9/11] most certainly needs to be confronted and forcefully dealt with, but in my opinion it is always the aftermath of a forceful response that has to be considered first, not just the immediate, reflexive and violent response.
I agree with that, certainly as it relates to post regime-change nation-building in Afghanistan and potentially in Iraq. So it seems like Said supported the war against the Taliban, but merely had concerns about its aftermath. However, was that really his position last year? In one article from not long after 9/11 in which he claimed (as always) that everything happens because of the Palestinians, Said referred to "the bombs and missiles falling on Afghanistan in the high-altitude US destruction that is Operation Enduring Freedom." So do you think he's being honest about his retro-active support for the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda? Neither do I.

7:53 PM
A great month of DVDs
A few weeks ago, I picked up new special editions of Amadeus, Singin' in the Rain, and Swingers. They all have great extras, documentaries + commentaries, and I still haven't made it through all that stuff yet. The disc of Amadeus has a new director's cut with some extra footage, most notably an extra scene where Salieri humiliates Mozart's wife and one where Mozart walks out on teaching a rich couple's daughter because the father insists on having his large group of loudly barking dogs around during the lesson. I also just picked up the 5-disc Alec Guinness collection of his classic early/mid-50s British comedies at the pretty awesome price of $42, although I had to wait for a month before the backorder came in. One of the movies is The Ladykillers, a fabulous dark comedy about a bungling group of bankrobbers who hoodwink a little old lady into letting them use her house as their base of operations. I saw it on tape a while back, and the transfer was so bad I could barely tell what was going on. Watching just a couple of scenes on the DVD was like seeing a different movie--you can actually see the characters and hear what they're saying! Next week, there's a new special edition of High Noon.
6:57 PM
:: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 ::
Partisan bashing watch
Andrew Sullivan is a great writer and fun to read no matter what your political leanings, but his right-wing partisanship sometimes gets the best of him. In this post, he talks about Jon Chait's New Republic article that explains how liberals can support Bush's Iraq policy for liberal reasons. Sullivan praises the article but criticizes Chait for including some "gratuitous Bush-bashing." Chait's "Bush-bashing" is in fact the opposite of gratuitous in that it's part of the whole point of his article: that liberals can, and should, criticize many of Bush's domestic policies and clumsy diplomatic zig-zagging while supporting the main thrust of his Iraq policy. Sullivan frequently bashes the Democrats, as he is entitled to do, but he shouldn't be so sensitive about criticism directed at Bush.
1:22 PM
Straight out of "Full Metal Jacket"?
Not that it really makes any difference, but it occurred to me last night that it's possible (though not very likely) that the Maryland/Virginia sniper is female.
10:47 AM
:: Monday, October 14, 2002 ::
A man who keeps things simple
Few people write more crisply and concisely about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than Barry Rubin, who frequently contributes to the Jerusalem Post. He asks and answers 20 questions about "the situation" in this column. This one sums things up nicely:
Does Israel want the territories?

While Israelis differ over proposed borders, the great majority wish to get rid of almost all these lands. Today the Palestinian leadership has created the main argument against doing so by showing that yielding territory increases attacks and claims against Israel.

Had Arafat accepted the Camp David or Clinton proposals as a basis, Israelis would have agreed, the occupation would be over, a Palestinian state would exist right now, and more than 2,500 people would be alive.


7:58 PM
Too busy defending a terrorist?
The divestment conference was supposed to wrap up tonight with a talk by Israeli attorney Shamai Leibowitz, currently a member of arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti's defense team, but no one from the conference was around at the designated building, so I don't know why the talk was cancelled. Leibowitz got some attention recently by comparing Barghouti to Moses, so it's too bad I won't get to see what other reprehensible Biblical analogies he was going to make.
7:47 PM
:: Sunday, October 13, 2002 ::
Al-Qaeda, Iraq, and the Bali bombing
Middle East expert Elliott Chodoff says that they're all connected. Terrorists fool people by claiming all sorts of motives like revenge and frustration, and the potential American offensive against Saddam is the excuse du jour. Chodoff is coming to the university here next week to give a talk on "Sociology of Terrorism," which will undoubtedly be great. I'll take notes and report on it here, and I'm sure I'll learn something, which I certainly didn't do by reporting on all the lies and distortions of the divestment conference!
9:55 PM
A Day of Counter-Rallies and a bit of yelling
Lots of pro-Israel, counter-divestment stuff happened on campus today. There was a rally with speakers from lots of different places, including one guy from Concordia U. in Montreal where a talk by former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was cancelled because of anti-Israel rioting. I met up with Moe Freedman and some of his friends, including his former co-blogger Glenn. The last speaker at the rally was the New York based activist Rabbi Avi Weiss, whom Glenn described as having been "arrested more times than a crack dealer" for various protest-related charges. The rabbi led everyone in chanting pro-Israel slogans, at one point trying "no moral equivalence," but that failed quickly as it has far too many syllables.

Then there was a presentation by federal prosecutor John Loftus about the terror-supporting past of divestment conference speaker Sami Al-Arian. Loftus showed some videos of Al-Arian speaking at some fund-raising events for Islamic charity groups with ties to one of the main Palestinian terror groups, Islamic Jihad. Loftus said that Al-Arian's brother-in-law was deported from America to Lebanon, which refused to accept him. I wonder, what do you have to do to get rejected by Lebanon? Did the Hizbullah say, "whoa, this guy's too extreme for us!"?

Finally, Rabbi Weiss led his NY contingent to the site of the divestment conference, which continued today with training sessions for divestment advocacy. Weiss led the group in a "re-enactment" of the Hebrew University cafeteria bomb--everyone got down on the ground and played dead for a couple of minutes. No red paint or play-doh or anything like that. Then Adam Shapiro came out of the conference and started yelling about how occupation was killing people, that the re-enactment was a tribute to victims of occupation, that the Israeli flag that some people were holding is a "flag of occupation," etc. One of the NY contingent started yelling, "GO BACK INSIDE, HOUSE JEW!" repeatedly before Shapiro went back to the conference and the people all left to board their buses to head back to NY.
4:55 PM

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