Haggai's Place

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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

:: Friday, March 12, 2004 ::

A lame argument
A dissent and an agreement with David Broder's column about the question of the Bush campaign politicizing 9/11 vs. the historical record of the 1944 FDR re-election campaign:
Keynote [speaker at the '44 Democratic convention] Robert Kerr, then governor of Oklahoma, declared that "the Republican Party . . . had no program, in the dangerous years preceding Pearl Harbor, to prevent war or to meet it if it came. Most of the Republican members of the national Congress fought every constructive move designed to prepare our country in case of war."

So much for bipartisanship!
Uh, yeah, except he was telling the truth. But then there was this:
Kerr was restraint personified compared with the convention's permanent chairman, Sen. Samuel Jackson of Indiana. As he contemplated the possibility of a Republican victory, he was moved to ask: "How many battleships would a Democratic defeat be worth to Tojo? How many Nazi legions would it be worth to Hitler? . . . We must not allow the American ballot box to be made Hitler's secret weapon."
This was, and is, an obviously absurd argument. When your only acceptable terms for the enemy is unconditional surrender, as it was in WWII and as it clearly is now as far as bin Laden and company are concerned, there isn't really any feasible way for the enemy to be "encouraged" by what you do or don't do. What was Hitler going to do if FDR lost, keep trying to win the war? What would bin Laden do if the US government changed, try to launch more terrorist attacks? Gee, that's really different from what they were/are doing already. This stupid talking point should be retired forever.
6:33 PM
:: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 ::
Good headline, bad headline
I like this story from today's Maariv:

Survey: 85% of Israelis wish to join "anti-Semitic" EU
In a variation on Groucho Marx's dictum, Israelis would love to join a club that -- they think -- doesn't want them.

A poll conducted by Dr. Mina Tzemach's "Dahaf" institute found that 85% of Israelis believe the government should submit a request to join the European Union (EU). The poll was ordered by the European Commission Delegation to Israel.

The poll also shows that 80% of Israelis consider the emergence of the EU as a positive development for the world. 90% believe that Israel's relationship with Europe is important, but 61% believe that Israel is not doing enough to cultivate its relations with the EU.

Despite the overwhelming wish to join the EU, 74% of Israelis think that Europe's attitude towards Israel is unfair and that it is pro-Palestinian. Even so, almost half of the respondents said that the EU should be involved in the peace process and can also serve as an example for successful conflict settlement.

Most Israelis also believe that European criticism of Israel is unwarranted. In addition, two thirds said that the EU's attitude towards Israel is a result of anti-Semitism, veiled behind moral principles. Finally, 92% think that it is important to boost Israel's image in Europe.
This one, not so much:

Foreign Ministry says Israel looks like banana republic
Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met this (Wednesday) afternoon with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. This is the second meeting between an Israeli Minister and Blair in ten days. Blair met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom last week.

Government officials say that the Prime Minister sent Olmert to Great Britain because he is concerned that the Foreign Minister does not support the disengagement plan – and therefore does not explain it as it should be.

Foreign Ministry bureau officials commented this evening. "We look like a banana republic. Last week the Foreign Minister presented the Israeli Government's position so there's no reason for an additional Minister to follow up that same explanation a week later. Why should anyone waste Tony Blair's time twice?", said one official.
"Military dictatorship" is the phrase my dad uses most often for Israel these days (along with "junta"). Though the Foreign Ministry issue is obviously applicable to the US as well, where Colin Powell's pronouncements on any number of issues have long since ceased to have any relevancy at all for anyone abroad.
3:54 PM
:: Sunday, March 07, 2004 ::
On to the post-season
The Wildcats wrapped up another great regular season with an 82-62 ass-whipping over Florida. 23-4 overall, 13-3 in the SEC with first place in the division. They're playing their best ball of the season going into the conference and NCAA tournaments, so a strong March run looks like a good bet. Every now and then, it's worth repeating how great it is to be a Kentucky fan.
11:20 PM

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