Frum award nominee

Bernard Avishai, at TPM:

The Guardian has seemed bent on making Palestinian concessions seem like a betrayal. But they have reported only one hand clapping. Palestinian territorial and other concessions, I will show, were the other side of significant, creative Israeli proposals and concessions. Any prospective agreement would be a compromise, for God’s sake. The Guardian is curiously pandering to Palestinian rejectionists the way Fox News panders to AIPAC.

The real point of an agreement is to create conditions that allow each side to build their culturally distinct civil societies–to allow Israel to continue pursuing its economic globalization, and allow Palestinians to build in the West Bank something like the city-state Palestinian leaders and entrepreneurs are building in Ramallah (and have already built in much of Amman, Jordan). We need to keep our eye on the ball and avoid childish sensationalism about who is weak and who is strong. The Guardian has a huge picture on page one of a Palestinian teen waving a flag. How about a picture of Palestinians building the Al-Ersal office towers in Ramallah?

Most irresponsible is the paper’s treatment of Saeb Erekat. He is reported to have told Tzipi Livni: “It is no secret that…we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim [the Hebrew word for Jerusalem] in history. But we must talk about the concept of al-Quds [Jerusalem in Arabic].” The Guardian put in the headline only the first part of the sentence, and then implied in the story that Erekat was a kind of Patti Hearst, adopting the conquerer’s language, when he was in fact trying to create an atmosphere of empathic reciprocity. Does the Guardian actually like this conflict?


Build-your-own-reality watch

Also, the Quote of the Day:

The Dish doesn’t hate Palin. — Patrick Appel, The Daily Dish, 1/24/11

Antisemitism inseparable from defense of Israel, according to an incoherent Dish post

Steve Clemons is having none of the usual anti-anti-Semite code being flung at him

“Usual anti-anti-Semite code”? What could this even mean? Seems like blithering.

( “Ante-anti-Semite code” might have made sense if this was at all a meme but it’s not. — I myself have broached the idea that Sullivan might be what I called an “ante-antisemite.” )

because he actually shares the Obama administration’s approach to Israel,

The viewpoint is about the same as every administration. The only thing different about the “approach” is that Obama wanted a settlement freeze to precipitate significant negotiations … But Andrew must be dreaming in a time machine because my president (not Andrew’s yet) has abandoned that approach and even withdrew — before Israel gave an answer — the idea of extending a freeze for 3 months.

but wants a change in tactics:

I would like to know from Jennifer Rubin and from her editor — and from the Chairman of the Board of the Washington Post — what I have ever said, what I have ever written, what I have ever organized that deserves the characterization I received from Jennifer Rubin today at the Washington Post. What does she consider makes me an Israel-basher?

The fact is that Jennifer Rubin referred to people on the list or perhaps the list as a whole, but did not mention Steve Clemons or identify him as assembling this list.

But while we’re on the subject, should Clemons ask the same thing about everyone else on the list, such as … Chas Freeman.  Has he ever said he is not in favor of Israel’s security? Lip service doesn’t count for very much.

I think the answer is that any criticism of Israel is evidence, in the paranoid neocon mind, of anti-Semitism.

Or perhaps this is classic projection. Since Rubin never said anything about antisemitism, only “Israel-bashing” … the paranoid mind obsessed with antisemitism is … Andrew’s.


UPDATE: It turns out Mearsheimer is on the complete list of signatures Clemons solicited. Why didn’t Clemons put John Mearsheimer’s name on his list of notable signatories at Huffington Post?

Seems hypocritical for Clemons to demand an explanation of why he considered himself to be accused of “Israel-bashing” when Jennifer Rubin mentioned the list as a whole; but on the other hand not to provide an explanation of why he didn’t think Huffington Post readers should know that one of his signatories were John Mearsheimer, who day by day has built a reputation as an Israel-basher.

Heck, it doesn’t just seem hypocritical; it seems downright shady.

Quote of the day

Out of unspeakable tragedy, he showed to the world a small panorama of civic goodness, and sought to ground the abstract aspirations of democratic society in the everyday activities of common citizenship. He asked that Americans take renewed devotion from those who, in going about their daily lives together one Saturday, gave devotion’s last, full measure.

President Obama’s words in Tucson last night – already rated among the best of his Presidency – looked to exemplify ordinary life, and to place its defence and celebration as the hallmark of democratic politics. He demanded that politics dignify itself in accepting such an elevated task. — Sean Coleman, 1/13/11

From Coleman’s post “Obama in Tuscon” on Normblog.

Quote of the Day

9.42 pm To rate this address on any political meter would be to demean it. The president wrested free of politics tonight and spoke of greater things. I pledge myself to try and follow his advice and debate with vigor and spirit and candor and bluntness, but with more civility, more empathy, and, yes, more love. — Andrew Sullivan, 1/12/11

He sounds like a cult member.

Still, maybe Obama is the only guy he will take character advice from. Many in the anti-torture debate said the same thing to him, but the damage, the damage via The Atlantic anyway, has been done.

“Kerking” a mass murder

Wanting to pin shame and guilt on his political opposition:

My own view is that this is a moment for sane conservatives to control their kerking knee and reflect a little on what they have enabled. If politics is warfare, people will die.

They’ve enabled this?  It wouldn’t have happened without them and their rhetoric?

That is bullshit, and he knows it. But here’s a question: If an assassination happens and the murderer is a right-wing nutcase whose nuttiness predates the Tea Party and Palin, going back to the time of the Contract with America, have today’s conservatives “enabled” this?

I wouldn’t go as far as to say “they enabled it,” but I would say they “contributed to this.”

… To be honest, from pure self-interest, a Republican would say to him or herself “We ‘dodged a bullet,’ with this guy not being one of us. So let’s ratchet down the appearance of violent rhetoric, so that if a mentally-ill Republican does something like this in the future, we don’t get blamed.”

But Sullivan wants them to be viewed already guilty — by analogy! And “sane Republicans” must agree with him?

From the liberal side of it, I’m wondering why Sharon Angle was not shamed out of town for her comments about “Second Amendment” remedies. That’s it.

A defense of heated rhetoric here

And there is a defense of heated rhetoric here: what language are you going to use when a president institutes torture or goes to war on empirically false pretenses?

What we need now is a presidential speech that can affirm the positive aspects of robust debate while drawing a line under the nihilist elements of personal and ideological hatred. But it is clear to me at least that if American politics is to regain its composure, the forces of Palin and what she represents must be defeated. Not appeased or excused for, but defeated in the derelict public square of what’s left of our common discourse.

Sullivan means: “and there is a defense of Dish conduct here.”

But anti-torture voices did tell him that the imprecisions, inflations and elisions in his heated language made it wrong for the cause and perceivable as the fire of straw men burning in protest, driving people away from dialogue “in the derelict public square of what’s left of our common discourse.”

No one wants to dialogue with an ego who attempts to shame others and hold himself morally above people while wanting them to be misconstrued.