Haaretz Manufactures Another Lie

Pablo Christiani was born into a pious Jewish family in 13th century France. Somewhere along the line, he strayed from fold and became a Christian. Like many other baptized Jews of that era, he took up a leading role in demonizing his people. He even tried to get the Talmud banned. This kind of thing often proved to be a lucrative career path for Jewish converts. Christiani was paid good money to travel far and wide to convert Jews. Christiani is most famous for his role in the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263, an event organised by the Dominicans for the Court of King James I of Aragon. Christiani would debate the leading rabbi and philosopher Nachmanides. Unlike similar debates in Medieval times, it was not rigged against the Jews. Nachmanides insisted on complete freedom of speech.

To the horror of the Dominicans and the surprise of the wider population, the Disputation went in favour of Nachmanides. The King was so impressed that he awarded the rabbi with a prize of 300 gold coins and declared that never before had he heard “an unjust cause so nobly defended”. He even visited a synagogue in Barcelona and addressed the congregants a short time afterward.

Pablo Christiani was upset. Don’t feel too sorry for him. As a consolation, I believe he was awarded an editorial job at Haaretz.

The Role of Haaretz and Gideon Levy in the Apartheid Canard

Haaretz is a left-liberal paper of good quality. Unfortunately, there appears to be an increasing emphasis on the ‘left’ side of the equation  Its English online edition has an important role. A quick look at the comments reveal its mostly read by foreign hacks and quite a few anti-Semites looking for ‘dirt’ on the Jewish state. Gideon Levy, a journalist for Haaretz, is respected far more among left-wing circles abroad than he is in Israel – like many others at that paper.

Gideon Levy could be described as the Pablo Christiani of our time. He’s also been known to shoot from the hip. He falsely claimed to the now disgraced journalist Johann Hari that the death of a dog by a Qasam rocket got more newspaper coverage in Israel than the deaths of tens of Palestinians on the same day. Unfortunately, the incidents he described occurred three years apart.

Levy’s latest piece of journalistic venom has reverberated throughout the world. He wrote two articles – a report and an opinion piece – on a survey of around 500 Israelis on the political situation. The headline over his report screamed: Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in Israel. 

There was a tiny flaw in the initial report and Levy’s commentary. It was all bollocks.

A number of disparities were picked up by Ben-Dror Yemini, a senior journalist with the Hebrew daily Maariv:

According to the survey, 53 percent of Israelis are not opposed to having an Arab neighbor. That much is clear. But when Gideon Levy passes from reporting to overt incitement masquerading as “interpretation,” he writes that “the majority doesn’t want… Arab neighbors.” Could it be that the second Gideon Levy didn’t properly read what was written by the first Gideon Levy?

Moving on: According to the survey, 33% of Israelis support revoking the voting rights of Israeli Arabs. That’s a grave figure in and of itself. But when it comes to the “interpretation,” Levy writes that “the majority doesn’t want Arabs to vote for the Knesset.” Again, Levy the interpreter seems not to have read Levy the reporter. Is he capable of formulating a sentence that includes only the truth? And where in the hell is his editor? Was there not a single editor who could properly parse the results of the survey?

Not only that, but the headline Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in Israel did not even reflect the findings of the survey. The Israelis polled were asked about the granting of voting rights to Palestinian Arabs if the territories were annexed. It did not relate to the current situation, but to a hypothetical situation. Most Israelis oppose the annexation of the territories in the first place.

Levy has come out with a somewhat tepid apology. Unfortunately, it seems to be available only to Haaretz subscribers  He says mistakes “were not made intentionally, but as a result of neglect due to time pressure”.

Anybody who actually believes this happened accidentally at Israel’s oldest quality broadsheet is a fool.

Gideon Levy is no fool. Neither was Pablo Christiani. But they both had an agenda and an audience, and they did a massive disservice to their own people.

Illustration of a Medieval disputation. These events of the past are still remarkably relevant

The Arts Don’t Need State Funding

If you haven’t already, have a look at Kickstarter. Its a crowdfunding website for creative projects. Last year, it funded three times as many projects as America’s National Endowment for the Arts – and its growing.

The National Endowment for the Arts is not the most costly of government programs, but its not popular – particularly among American conservatives. Pat Buchanan could make it a centerpiece of a Presidential run. The NEA and its equivalents all over the world, like the Arts Council in Ireland, don’t give you a choice in what your money is funding. Kickstarter does. Its going to be bigger, more efficient, and superior from a moral perspective than the mighty fiefdoms of the state arts bodies.

Kickstarter is the future. The NEA will be as irrelevant as the Post Office, and just as much of a laughing stock.

Its all part of a trend. The internet has brought about and will bring about greater liberty. Its doing this better than any activist or pressure group. Soon, most of us may no longer be forced to rely on the government schools or state-approved private schools with the help of websites like the Khan Academy. One day, an artist’s living wont depend on the whim of the bureaucrat,  but on what the public really wants.

In the face of those who dislike this change, I am reminded of something I read in the existentialist novella Liquidation by Imre Kertesz. An employee of a publishing house in Budapest after the collapse of the Soviet Union is bitter about the business going into liquidation without state support. Kingbitter, the senior editor, reminds this woman that state subsidies were the regime’s  way of liquidating literature.

The current regime is doomed, just like the Soviet Union. It will be a bloodless, gradual and most welcome collapse.

Have a Fun, Safe (and Sensitive to Minority Sensibilities) Halloween!

One of the joys the coming of Halloween affords us all is a good laugh at the ridiculous campaigns that have sprung up in recent years asking us to be sensitive about our choice of costume.  Here, for instance, is a handy guide on how to inform your companions that their costume is racist. I’m sure you’ll be the most popular guy at the party.

We’re a Culture Not a Costume‘ is an annual ‘awareness’ initiative at Ohio University by Students Teaching About Racism in Society (or STARS, which is a good indication of how these people see themselves). Basically, they make some posters every year with a crabby-looking member of a minority group next to a guy clearly more fun to to hang out with than they are, only dressed as a sheikh or something. This year, they’ve noticeably added hillbillies. At first, I thought it was a big joke. The creators of this turd of a campaign are actually serious, and the university endorses their fine work.

Oh, and before you put on that kimono or Arab headdress this year, have a look at this handy awareness checklist from another university:

Are TV3 Lying to the Irish Independent?

As noted by tallrite in his comment on my last post, a TV3 spokeswoman has told the Irish Independent that she “was not aware of any complaints being made about Mr Browne’s remarks” on Israel.

Several people have since told me that they wrote to TV3 to complain about Browne’s  ‘cancer’ slur. Some even wrote twice. They have responses from the broadcaster to prove it.

Either the TV3 spokeswoman is lying or they have a particularly incompetent complaints handler.

Vincent Browne: Israel Is A Cancer

The Irish broadcaster Vincent Browne is a leftie. Of that there is no doubt. However, I am often impressed by the way he can give other Irish lefties a good grilling on his show, even if they are disproportionately represented on the panels in the first place. I’ve always been fond of Tonight with Vincent Browne. Its the only television program from Ireland that I bother to catch up with online.

On one subject, unfortunately, Browne lacks all objectivity. And it really shows. That subject is Israel:

Browne has talked about Israel in this way before, but never in so openly vicious a manner. Still, I doubt he will get into too much trouble for this. Demonizing an entire country as a ‘cancer’ (something that must be eliminated, of course) is language associated with hardcore bigots. Nazis have said it of the Slavic nations. Socialists said it of Kulaks. Islamists say it of Jews. An Israeli who says it about Arabs is likely to be labeled a Kahanist lunatic, and certainly isn’t going to be welcome among progressive circles. But from the aisles of organic food stores and the auditoriums of universities, the notion that Israel is a ‘cancer’ is almost taken for granted.

Nevertheless, this kind of talk has no place on a respectable current affairs program, even in Ireland. Its particularly unworthy of  Vincent Browne, who likes to give the odd lecture on media ethics. Browne’s words are an echo of the vilest propaganda produced by Islamic fundamentalist states. For this, Tonight with Vincent Browne has lost a fan.

The Savile Case has disturbing parallels with just about every incident of institutional child abuse

Nothing irritates me quite like hearing pundits as well as normal people talk about all those echoes of the Catholic Church scandals in the Savile case.

There was a fascinating, if incredibly worrisome, truth laid out by Malcolm Gladwell recently in the New Yorker. The fact is, pedophiles have a nasty habit of working their way into positions of trust with access to a pipeline of potential victims. With their sick end goal in mind, this process can often take many, many years. Its a big investment, but the payoffs are huge for the dedicated child molester. It happens in churches. It happens in sports. It happens in charities. It happens in schools and even governments  To me, the Sandusky case at Penn State and the case of Jimmy Saville are remarkably similar. In both cases, men won the hearts and minds of ordinary people due to their tireless charity work with poor, vulnerable children or the sick. Its incredibly disturbing to think that this was never done with the well-being of the poor or sick children in mind, but rather an elaborate way to get a constant supply of them for sexual pleasure.

Unfortunately, there is an equally powerful trend of people within institutions turning a blind eye, burying cases, making excuses and hoping it all goes away. “Pretend you’re asleep, he’s here” is what Stoke Mandeville nurses reportedly told patients when Savile came calling.

A combination of deception on the part of the pedophile and a habit of looking away on the part of colleagues in institutions. That’s how all these people, from Sandusky to Savile, as well as numerous pedophiles from the churches to the boy scouts, get away with it.

The most interesting aspect of the Savile scandal may not be how well, as a BBC employee, he fits into the institutional trend. It might instead be the silence of the notoriously tough and often vicious British tabloids, as noted by Michael White.

Also, how could people look at this man and not think he was more than a wee bit dodgy?

The Incompetence of Ireland’s Office of Public Works

I was not surprised when I read that 37 pieces of art have recently disappeared from Leinster House under the careful watch of the OPW. A spokesman’s comment to the Irish Independent claiming that “given the size of the collection under the auspices of the OPW, it is impossible to know where everything is all of the time” merely made me roll my eyes and mutter “typical”.

I have long argued that the OPW is one of the most incompetent of all state bodies. Even the trendy-lefty Irish Times featured an editorial last year advocating privatization. The OPW simply do a terrible job of promoting and maintaining their assets, even those they graciously allow the public to access in the first place.

Take the example of a wonderful treasure like Camden Fort in Crosshaven, which has been sealed off from the public by the OPW for years and left to rot. Far too few people are aware that this  corner of Cork possesses one of the finest examples of a Coastal Artillery Fort in the world.

Thankfully, since about 2010 a voluntary action group called Rescue Camden has been allowed to enter and clean up the site, and are trying hard to address this problem.

I tried to visit Camden Fort in 2007 for the excellent views of Cork Harbour as well as to see the underground tunnels there. The whole thing was surrounded by an ugly, menacing fence. My companions and I managed to persuade the ‘security’ (a little old lady) to let us in. Then she went away without telling us, locking the entrance behind her. The underground network turned out to be sealed off anyway. Thus, we were left trapped in this admittedly beautiful spot. A mysterious fisherman eventually came by but refused to say how he came in or out. He actually recommended we jump a trench (which would have easily killed us) if we wished to ‘escape’. When this proved unfeasible he produced the keys for the front gate and told us to keep quiet about it.

I wrote to the OPW after my ill-fated visit, despite the fact that I was not supposed to be there. With the millions that have been spent apparently securing the place, I thought they might be open to some friendly suggestions. The OPW did not respond.

Camden Fort would be an ideal location for a military museum. I’m told they have been promising one for decades. When I was there, I actually saw an old piano among the mess inside one of its collapsing buildings.

At least the public can actually walk in there now, and see how important and impressive Fort Camden is. Its a scenic location and a very impressive complex. Any country would be proud to have it.

But this is all typical of the OPW. They have refused to build proper paths to access many sites that would be of interest interest to tourists both foreign and domestic, as if they don’t want anybody to visit them. You have to cross fields to access numerous interesting sites, if you know of their existence in the first place. They don’t properly maintain many sites that are open to visitors, but could attract a lot more if managed properly. I’ve even been told that the OPW have destroyed valuable old records on subjects like Ireland’s Great Famine to make room for storage in their plush headquarters in St. Stephen’s Green.

I’d love to know what individual objects of art or otherwise the OPW has locked away in some warehouse. Not that the Lords of the OPW would ever tell us.

The headquarters of the OPW on St. Stephen’s Green. I’m fairly sure they keep this particular building in decent shape.

The President and the Pakistani: The Reality

The President and the Pakistani, currently running at the Waterloo East Theater claims to be based on:

The incredible chapter in the life of Barack Obama, when he lived in a crime-ridden and violent neighbourhood with an illegal Pakistani immigrant, this is a gripping play about a night when a hunt for the truth exposes the lies we want to believe in.

Barack Obama did indeed share a sixth floor walk-up in Harlem with a Pakistani by the name of Sohale Siddiqi in the early eighties. The play portrays the idealistic Obama struggling to pay the rent in a filthy apartment surrounded by criminals and bums. The setting of the play may be accurate, but the story is not.

First off, Barack is referred to as ‘Barry’, the given name Obama used for most of his life up to his undergraduate years at Occidental College in California. Obama later transferred to Columbia, always intending to move into nearby Harlem. Thus, he would likely have gone by ‘Barack’ during his time in New York. Going to Harlem with an illegal Pakistani immigrant was a politically-motivated gesture to demonstrate where his loyalties lay. Adopting the name ‘Barack’ was a similar gesture. As I have written before, Obama has had a life-long obsession with being ‘black enough’ to be the black leader he wanted to be.  Obama admits that he “ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself with whites”. Thus, he ended up manufacturing an identity and personal narrative. He insisted that people at Occidental call him ‘Barack’, as he recounts in a typical conversation on page 104 of Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:

“Barack’s my given name. My father’s name. He was a Kenyan”.

“Does it mean something?”

“It means ‘Blessed’. In Arabic. My grandfather was  a Muslim”.

This was all true, but Obama had been using the name ‘Barry’ up to this point. The change was for a reason:

[C]onfusion made me question my own racial credentials… To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets [page 100].

On page 105 he admits:

What I needed was a community, I realized, a community that cut deeper than the common despair that black friends and I shared when reading the latest crime statistics, or the high fives I might exchange on a basketball court. A place where I could put down stakes and test my commitments.

So he moves to Harlem. This was a carefully considered choice. ‘The President and the Pakistani’ doesn’t make that clear. Obama didn’t need to live in a dump with low-lives. He could afford better. He found the illegal immigrant Siddiqi through wealthy Pakistani colleagues at Occidental: Imad Hussein, Mohamed Hasan Chandoo, and Wahid Hamid. Obama would visit Pakistan himself, staying at the grand estate of Muhammad Mian Soomro, who in 2007 became Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister.

It wasn’t allegiance to Islam that led Obama to do all this. It was an expression of racial and Third World solidarity. Siddiqi was secular, as well as a heavy drinker and drug abuser.  Obama had expressed pride in his grandfather’s conversion to Islam, purely because he felt it was evidence he was anti-white. Obama had a long interest in Nation of Islam, and his links to them and other anti-white black nationalist movements are shockingly extensive. His image of Islam as anti-European skewed his perception of his grandfather. He notoriously claimed he took part in the Mau Mau uprising and was tortured by the British. In fact, his third wife, whom Obama calls Granny, would tell Obama that his grandfather very willingly served the British and admired their ways. Plus, he only converted to Islam because he found Christianity too soft and feminine.

‘The President and the Pakistani’ begins by portraying Obama and his new friend as a comic bromance getting up to all sorts of wacky antics. It ends with Obama making a commitment to straighten up and act serious after his Pakistani friend’s dog is stabbed by drug dealers. He complains about the cocaine all over the table after he’s invited some friends over for an anti-apartheid meeting. These particular details may or may not be true. We do know, however, that Obama did swear off drugs in this period. He also started jogging. He developed the habits typical of Reagan era yuppies trying to grow up, even briefly contemplating a career in the private sector. He admits in his own account that Siddiqi said he was “becoming a bore”.

‘The’President and the Pakistani’ has proved to be a hit. But don’t believe will give you the real Obama. If it did, no theater would have it.

Barack Obama and Sohale Siqqiqi in 1981

Cover-Up in Benghazi

Does Mitt Romney want to win the election in November? Sometimes, I doubt it. There are echoes in this race of John McCain’s blunders in 2008, when he refused to confront Obama on the matters of Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Obama’s bizarre past writings. One only need look at a golden opportunity he appears to have missed: an Obama administration cover-up that could and should bring down a Commander in Chief.

Pat Buchanan provides the devastating details.

In summary: We now know that the September 11th attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens was observed in near real time by the State Department’s Charlene Lamb. Lamb was in contact with the security section at the Benghazi compound. Scores of men with automatic weapons and RPGs launched a night assault. There never was any protest at or near the site—not against the anti-Muslim YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims or anything else.

The next day, September 12th, Fox News and Eli Lake of The Daily Beast reported that U.S. intelligence had concluded that what happened was a planned act of terrorism. Within 24 hours of the attack, U.S. intelligence had already identified some of the perpetrators as members of an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Maghreb.

Two weeks later, Obama was still blaming a video. Just like the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, had said on September 14th, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice said two days after that. We now know that these people all knew better.

Why did they lie?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure that they needed to cover-up the reality of a terrorist attack in a city they had rescued from Qaddafi’s vengeance eighteen months before.  Obama didn’t want the American public to know that Samantha Power, Susan Rice, as well the Wicked Witch of the White House herself, Hillary Clinton fouled up by promoting intervention in Libya and ended up handing a big prize to Islamists in North Africa. Chris Stevens payed a big price. There are others that need to pay up too.

The Nobel Committee’s Great Mistake

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the EU its Peace Prize for its  six decade contribution “to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights  in Europe”. Heaven knows it needs the prize money. The odds of this convincing Norway itself to join the union are slim, however.

What can explain last week’s surprising decision? The Committee may have revealed a political agenda in favor of European integration and the currency project. Since World War II there hasn’t been a war between the powers of Western Europe. That’s all well and good, but was there really much of a chance of that happening after 1945? Is the EU responsible for these decades of peace?

I doubt it. The Nobel Committee is re-writing history.

The EU as we know it today is far away from the European Coal and Steel Community of the 1950s. Its only existed since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. And that’s where the problem lies. It was Maastricht that led to the euro.

The Nobel Prize Committee is making a massive gamble that this experiment will hold out. They did this despite the large-scale riots on many of Europe’s streets, widespread unemployment, and the significant gains made by both communist and fascist parties in the recent Greek elections.

Its a choice that I believe will come back to haunt them when currency has all but collapsed.  Germany can’t pay for the whole of Southern Europe forever. The unrest now can easily be just the tip of an iceberg.

Well, at least they’re not likely to get the Nobel Prize in Economics.

The Irish politician Mary Hanafin once remarked that unless there was a united Europe, we’d have another Auschwitz. Historical ignorance like this abounds among European policy makers. Supranational experiments, the placing of different peoples under one flag and currency, have rarely turned out well. At best, they split at the first opportunity. This happened with the Czechs and the Slovaks. At worst, they descend into outright chaos, war, and even genocide. This was the case in the Balkans.

My hope is that top-down European ‘integration’ doesn’t go so far as to lead to lead to a disaster on the scale of Yugoslavia when the time comes to dissolve.

Here’s a link to hear Nigel Farage on the matter.