Tuesday 28 May 2024

Israel is in zugswang. American Evangelical Protestants would support genocide but Jewish liberal voters in the US and Israel will prevent it.

This is a very interesting and persuasive lecture by John Mearsheimer, who argues that Israel is the big loser in Gaza. 

He is right that Israel cannot defeat Hamas, at least without driving the Arabs out of Gaza and, I'd add, out of the West Bank too.

This is my objection to what Israel is doing. It is not possible for the Israelis to defeat Hamas except by genocide. 

Hamas will continue to rule Gaza unless the Israelis try to do so or unless there is a two state solution, something which seems impossible.

Professor Mearsheimer:

'First of all, they have not defeated Hamas, and they’re not going to defeat Hamas. Kurt Campbell, who is the deputy secretary of state, basically said that yesterday. There are all sorts of stories in the Israeli press that they’re not going to defeat Hamas. They haven’t gotten the hostages back, and they have not been able to cleanse Gaza. Furthermore, they’re stuck in Gaza. They’re there—they got out in 2005, and they’re back there. This is not good. So, what you see here is that Israel is in real trouble in Gaza.'

Quotations

“The aesthetics of modernism, with its denial of the past, its vandalisation of the landscape and townscape, and its attempt to purge the world of history, was also a denial of community, home, and settlement…” Sir Roger Scruton

"Art is the proper task of life." Nietzsche

"When I say I'm suicidal, I get: well, the hospital has a program that can help you with that." Roger Foley, a Canadian man in hospital with disabilities, who says he's been offered euthanasia "multiple times".



Monday 27 May 2024

A British veteran says Dresden bombings were a 'war crime'

By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-041-07 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5483604

I've come to agree with the old man.

My father told me, when I asked him about this, that people in England were delighted by news of British raids on Germany.

Naturally they were.  

When shortly after England and France declared war on Germany in 1939 Tory MP Leo Amery approached Kingsley Wood, Secretary for Air, with a proposal to firebomb German forests 'Kingsley Wood turned down the suggestion with some asperity. "Are you aware it is private property?" he said. "Why, you will be asking me to bomb Essen next!"' 

Sunday 26 May 2024

By 1976 the CIA had taken over the world's English language media and were expanding into other languages

If you remember one thing from reading this, blog please let it be former CIA man John Stockwell testifying to the Church Commission in 1976 that the CIA had taken over the English speaking media and were on their way to completing the takeover of French and Spanish speaking media. 

That includes mainstream left-wing papers.

I was always sure whenever I bother to read Con Coughlin, the executive foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph, that I was listening direct to the voice of MI6. 

I now discover that this has been admitted by the Telegraph in evidence in court.

Vladimir Putin makes peace overtures which so far are ignored. Did the ICJ order Israel to halt offensive in Rafah? Who governs Britain? (as Edward Heath asked in 1974, to receive a dusty answer)

Some wonderful news at last - that Vladimir Putin wants peace, freezing the line between the two armies. 

The news is not given much coverage in the Times or Daily Telegraph.

The UK and US should be delighted but the people who run those government are not.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the highest UN court and nothing to do with the International Criminal Court (ICC), has ordered Israel "to halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Israel has been ordered to stop committing genocide, but denies doing so. I am not sure what the judgment means.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Having only contempt for every existing political party

T.S. Eliot: “Having only contempt for every existing political party, and profound hatred for democracy, I feel the blackest gloom." Letter to Richard Aldington, 7 April 1921

Otto von Bismarck: 'Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied."

Sunday 19 May 2024

Quotations

“I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.” Harry Patch (1898-2009), briefly the oldest man in Europe, and the last surviving trench combat soldier of the First World War from any country.

"Earlier this year, I went back to Ypres to shake the hand of Charles Kuentz, Germany's only surviving veteran from the war. It was emotional. He is 107. We've had 87 years to think what war is. To me, it's a licence to go out and murder. Why should the British government call me up and take me out to a battlefield to shoot a man I never knew, whose language I couldn't speak? All those lives lost for a war finished over a table. Now what is the sense in that?" Harry Patch, November 2004

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Scott Fitzgerald

Palestine is an insoluble problem: foreign countries' attempts to bring peace only make things worse

People tell me that Hamas has to be destroyed but it obviously can't be by military means, unless the entire Arab population is expelled from Gaza. 

(Even then that leaves Hamas units and supporters in the West Bank. They make up one third of the Arab population there.)

That is my issue with what Israel is doing. 

But I wonder whether the IDF is even trying to destroy Hamas. 

To do so would mean entering all the tunnels and the loss of very many Israeli soldiers. 

Instead the numbers of Israeli dead are few and the numbers of Arab fighters who have been killed, provided by the Israelis, are I assume vastly exaggerated.

Geoffrey Aronson, an expert on Middle East affairs, writing in Responsible Statecraft May 16

The article is herehere.

According to an opinion poll in Gaza conducted in whispers two thirds of people in Gaza want an end to the war. I'd have expected more. “If elections were held tomorrow, Hamas right now has the support of about a third of Palestinians in the West Bank, and third of Palestinians in Gaza. This is less than what it was before October 7,” according to Khalil Shikaki, who was in charge of conducting the poll“A lot of people who do not support Hamas, actually support the resistance and support the decision to carry out the [October 7] attack for various reasons. Most importantly, because this is was a momentous event that changed the entire universe for Palestinians.” Israeli policy today evolved in the aftermath of the 1967 war and was best described by its architect, Moshe Dayan. The challenge for Israel and the international community, he explained in 1977, was not to arrive at a “solution” to Israel’s occupation, but rather to learn to live without one (solution). Only in this way could Israel retain the freedom of action to ensure its strategic security — no Arab sovereignty west of the Jordan — and nationalist settlement objectives.


The West Bank settler population at that time was less than 15,000. Throughout the decades since 1967, and in Gaza today, Israel, eschewing master plans for achieving its overriding objectives, has exhibited a maddeningly opportunistic approach to its rule over the West Bank, which among other achievements now boasts more than one half million settlers. ...Israel today is waging three intimately related wars. The first is the actual battlefield war itself, now in its eighth month. The second war is the war about the war — that is, the international battle for public opinion from The Hague to American college campuses that has been unleashed by the war itself. This battle promises to define Israel’s place in the international community for a generation, and attests to the price we all pay for the enduring failure of diplomacy and politicians to establish a viable reconciliation of Israeli and Palestinian demands.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Quotations

 



'As my brother Larry rightly points out, we can be proud of the way we have brought her up; she is a credit to us.'  Gerald Durrell, paying tribute to his mother, Louisa

The US Republican Party is as loopy as the Democrats

US Senator Lindsay Graham (Republican) says he would support Israel dropping an atom bomb on Iran.

I'm reminded of Martin Amis saying the USA is as strange as Saudi Arabia.

The insanity of America was the theme of William Boyd's fine comedy 'Stars and Bars' and there used to be a weekly column about it in the Daily Mail and Daily Express, but now the madness is seeping into other countries via the internet.

I have changed my mind 360 degrees (I do this much more often than most people) and have come round to thinking John Mearsheimer is right when he says that Iran getting the bomb would stabilise the Middle East.

British public opinion poll: two thirds think Israel should call a ceasefire

A recent You Gov poll of opinion in the UK shows that 69% think Israel should stop and call a ceasefire at the current time, about the same as the 66% who said so in February, whereas only 13% think Israel should continue to take military action – a figure unchanged from three months ago. 

Thursday 9 May 2024

Quotations

"All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting." 
George Orwell

'If we lose the intellectual debate, you will not be able to deploy any army in the west, ever.' It turns out pro-Palestinian material IS the reason the US Congress wants to ban TikTok.

These remarks are so revealing. 

Alex Karp (who's a Democrat) and Mitt Romney are obviously right, even though we were told that what the latter said was a dangerous conspiracy theory that undermined faith in democracy. 

Senator Romney has substantiated the theory and it does.

I quote what Caitlin Johnstone published today. She is a socialist and a first class journalist in a word where very few exist. For Middle Eastern and much world news left-wing journalists are by far the most trustworthy.

Video clips are here and here.

'During a vitriolic rant about university demonstrators at the Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security on Tuesday, Palantir CEO Alex Karp came right out and said that if those on the side of the protesters win the debate on this issue, the west will lose the ability to wage wars.

Romanian-Israeli holocaust survivor thinks Israel will never enjoy peace

Ha'aretz carries an interview with Liku Rifca Carmi (née Marcovici) who grew up in a rich Jewish family in Sighetu Marmației, a Romanian town now on the Ukrainian border, that had been assigned by Hitler to Hungary. 

In April 1943 all the Jewish families in Sighet were ordered to report to the town's train station in ten days' time. Her father, Shlomo Marcovici, turned to a coal miner he knew who took them to an abandoned gold mine in the forest, with potable water running through it. 

Israeli Minister of Justice gets his news from Al Jazeera, as the cabinet is 'told nothing'

At a recent meeting with hostages' families, the very right-wing Israeli Minister of Justice Yariv Levin told them, "I know little about the management of the war and the negotiations. We're told nothing and they don't share with us. Most of what I know is from watching Al Jazeera, because I speak Arabic."

I get my news about the war from Ha'aretz (the Israeli equivalent of the Guardian) which is well informed and very critical of the Israeli government, in both respects unlike the British Daily Telegraph, Times, etc or the American media. I probably should follow Al Jazeera too.

'The end of a superpower'

Googling, I just saw 'Masha Gessen: The end of a superpower' and thought it referred to the USA, but then saw that it was a video about the collapse of the Soviet Union.W Documentary

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Masha Gessen: Biden is sacrificing the election for Israel

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American who once wrote a brilliant book about Putin.

Gessen told a Ha'aretz interviewer today that Biden's support for the attempts to suppress student demonstrations in favour of Palestinians will cost him the election.
"If he doesn't have the youth vote he has no hope of beating Trump. So that's another brick in the case for the incredible support for Israel. That Biden and his administration are willing to sacrifice the election to ongoing engagement with Israel is heartbreaking, shocking."

Monday 6 May 2024

There is little point in reading the papers. Twitter is a much better source, now that the CIA no longer controls it

The silly idea that Ukraine can push Russia out of Crimea, as opined by a Chinese 'expert' is relayed uncritically in the Economist, where it is read by people who matter. 

Reuters tells us that 

US intelligence believes Putin probably didn't order Navalny to be killed, Wall Street Journal reports

I had the gravest doubts at the time. It was not in Putin's interests just after the successful (from his point of view) interview with Tucker Carlson.

Values are not a reason to go to war

Two very good articles, worth your time.

This from the wonderful Arnaud Betrand, whom God preserve:

'I won’t retell the history of the Ukraine conflict with NATO expansion, the Maidan coup, the non-respect of Minsk, etc. The fact is that history will be extremely clear: the Ukraine war was anything but “unprovoked”, as you always hear. Same thing with Oct 7th: you have 70+ years of history leading up to it, and first and foremost a dereliction of duty by the West with its largely unconditional backing of Israel against the Palestinians. And guess what: when you back one actor vs another in a confrontation, both wrt Ukraine and Gaza, it obviously heightens tensions and ultimately leads to hot conflict where the party whose adversary you support sees you as an adversary too… It’s basic common sense. As such this “ring of fire” Europe is surrounded by is of its own making to an immense extent.

Sunday 5 May 2024

Quotations


"Marx and Freud are the two great destroyers of Christian civilisation, the first replacing the gospel of love by the gospel of hate, the other undermining the essential concept of human responsibility.” Malcolm Muggeridge


“Life is like the Vīṇā, when it is strung too taut, the strings break, when it’s too loose, no sound comes out. The string that produces a tuneful sound is not too tight and not too loose.” The Buddha

Saturday 4 May 2024

Swiss magazine Blick spoke to half a dozen anonymous commanders on the Ukrainian Eastern Front


'The tenor was that Ukraine would lose the war. “The Russians will conquer the Donbass by October, then the conflict will freeze and we will have to negotiate with Putin,” predicts Serhiy, an officer in a brigade that is holding out in the embattled Chasiv Yar. “The Russians will force us to attack you Europeans as part of their army,” says Ihor, commander of an engineering company in Donetsk.

Students could once borrow the Book of Kells

The student protests against Israel could be the most important consequence of the Hamas attack and Gaza slaughter. We shall see. 

Trinity College, Dublin fined its students' union €214,000 over the protests, to cover the loss of revenues from visitors who come to see the Book of Kells. 

Karl White tells me rhat the Book of Kells was available in the 17th century for borrowing by students against a surety of £3 10s.

Do these things apply to Romania too?

From an interesting article in today's Daily Telegraph by Jeremy Warner.

Poland's GDP could for various reasons overtake that of Great Britain, France and Germany. Could is the key word but Poland has already has a Western standard of living.
"If we instead take purchasing power parity as the measure, which attempts to adjust for the fact that the cost of living is substantially lower in Poland than Britain, then Poland is already richer than the UK – $49,000 per capita against $47,000. That gap is forecast by the IMF to widen further over the next five years to $63,500 against the UK’s $50,000.

Quotations




"It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you."
John Updike

Friday 3 May 2024

Sir Gerald Kaufman `My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza'

 


'My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. Madam deputy speaker, my grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.'


Please do watch an excerpt from Anglo-Jewish politician Sir Gerald Kaufman giving the speech of his life on January 15, 2009 (a pity he was reading from notes) or read the transcript below. 
It really is worth it.

My previous low opinion of him has shot up to the ceiling. Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

He was on the right of the party, by the way, a lifelong Zionist and stalwart of the Labour Friends of Israel.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Vanity Fair plot spoiler alert! Please do not read this until you read the book.

'It isn't difficult to be a country gentleman's wife,' Rebecca thought. 'I think I could be a good woman if I had five thousand a year.'

I just finished rereading Vanity Fair, which I found superficial at twenty. I felt the same about all the many books I read by Thackeray, but Vanity Fair this time was electrifying. 

I have always admired and sided with free spirits, as did Thackeray when young, when he was one, but a lot of them are parasites, crooks or whores. Becky Sharp is all three and a murderess. 

'The enormous death and destruction the IDF is leaving behind in Gaza aren't currently bringing us any closer to achieving the war's goals.'

Amos Harel in Israeli left-of-centre  newspaper Ha'aretz on April 8, 2024 - nothing seems to have changed in the last 3 weeks.

'The IDF and Shin Bet did find tunnels where Sinwar hid during the war. In those tunnels they found Hamas command posts, Sinwar's personal documents and gear, and cells and cages where the hostages had been held as human shields. Since then, he has apparently been moving among other hideouts in his complex deep under the ground of Khan Yunis.


'It's reasonable to assume that Sinwar and Deif will eventually be killed or captured, given the effort being invested in this. Hamas' No. 3 in Gaza, Marwan Issa, was killed in an airstrike last month after he violated the rigid security protocols adopted by senior Hamas officials. It's even still possible that there could be a breakthrough in rescuing the hostages.


'But the public should be told the truth: The enormous death and destruction the IDF is leaving behind in Gaza, alongside quite a few losses on our side, aren't currently bringing us any closer to achieving the war's goals.

Wednesday 1 May 2024

The good old days, consule Planco

King Abdullah I of Jordan had been a member of the Turkish parliament and won the parliamentary seat of Mecca in a contested election before the Great War. I wonder if you could get a drink there. He became king of an impoverished scrap of land, lost Mecca and was outraged by the Jewish settlement in Palestine. 

How can one not but miss the Ottoman empire?

Is England moving away from our traditional close friendship with the Arabs towards siding with Israel? 

I suppose we have to obey American orders.

What a shocking story but the US press asks no questions

I came across this curious story by accident. This so called Syrian terrorism group is apparently allied to Nato member Turkey. America and England have both had men in Syria illegally for years trying to bring down the legal Syrian government but this woman gets 18 years inside. Surely there should be protests?


"Al-Qaeda is on our side in Syria,” Jake Sullivan wrote to Hillary Clinton in 2011, as revealed by Wikileaks. This poor woman however is on the side of terrorists who are out of favour.