Barrier or Encouragement?

It’s a generally well recognized phenomenon in politics, that in opposition it is easier to promote extremist policies, than it is to put them in practice, if elected. Often, there are solid, practical – rather than ideological – barriers to implementation.

That thought popped into my mind on reading the Jerusalem Post article about the special honor being granted by the UK to Israeli businessman Haim Shani.

It positively burned brightly when I read this part:

In recent years, bilateral trade between Israel and the UK has repeatedly broken records, reaching $7.2b. in 2016 and $9.1b. in 2017, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. The UK is the second largest trading partner worldwide for Israeli goods, after the United States.

Were Jeremy Corbyn to be elected, would this be a barrier to his anti-Israel plans, or an encouragement?

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European Parliamentary Transparency

This, from Guido Fawkes:

The EU has again blocked the publication of MEPs’ expenses, with Euro-judges today quashing a three-year battle by journalists to get the documents published after the European Parliament itself previously refused to hand over any details. The judges in the ECJ’s sister court ruled that the Parliament was right not to publish the documents as it would enable the MEPs to be individually identified.

Transparency? That’s so un-European

Read the whole thing, here.

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Daft Parker of the Week

On the way home from the office, I saw this and nearly wept.

“It’s my car, and I’ll park where I want to, park where I want to…”

Bear in mind, this is no quiet side street. It’s one of the two main roads in and out of the commercial area in Ra’anana. This idiot – and I have full politeness mode on – decided to park half on the pavement, half off, directly blocking the pedestrian crossing.

Also note, this is one of the most dangerous pedestrian crossings in the city. (And, believe you me, there are plenty of close contenders.) It is badly signposted, with insufficient warnings, is partly obscured by nearby parked cars, and the white paint sorely needs a touch up.

What happened?

I indicated to the gentleman driver (I may have called him something else. and I may have plumbed the deepest depths of my knowledge of Anglo Saxon expletives …) that he should park elsewhere. He resisted. I insisted. (I gave him some helpful physical indications as to what he should do.) He took the hint. He moved his car. I crossed the road, and wondered at the sheer stupidity and selfishness of the driver.  By the time I arrived home, I was still troubled by it, hence the post.

Now I feel better!

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Independently Hostile

The Independent‘s headline about the flareup in Gaza is, in a word, disgraceful.

The Independent is vying for a new low in journalism standards

No-one wants civilian casualties, but outside of video games, that’s what happens in war. And, of course, none of this would have happened if Hamas hadn’t been firing missiles and mortars.

Imagine the outcry if a similar headline had been posted by the Independent about, for example, British bombing attacks in Afghanistan and their civilian casualties. (Funnily enough, you may have missed the detailed coverage. There wasn’t any of substance.) .But, because it’s Israel that is (deliberately) targeted by this vile narrative, whatever criticism is raised will be ignored, and the demonization will continue.

They hate us. And they want everyone else to as well.

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And now for a little good news

From Harry’s Place:

The PSC site has this in their commentary on the defeat:

Campaigners are concerned about threats to freedom of expression in the UK on Palestine as well as Westminster overreach in local democracy.

Yeah, right. BDS is all about freedom of expression. So long as you have the same views as BDS, that is.

I would be pleasantly surprised if the PSC went bust. Probably some crowdfunding campaign will ride to the rescue. Even if they do go bust, they will rise from the ashes, walk away from their debts, and reform as the Campaign for Palestinian Solidarity, or the People’s Campaign for Palestinian Solidarity, or something similar. Judean People’s Front, anybody?

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Tomorrow’s Headlines

Source: WikiMedia

Exhibit One (from the Times of Israel):

Hamas threatens to launch 5,000 fire kites, balloons Friday

Terror group prepares for fresh protests on Gaza border, warns Israeli communities will ‘live under a siege of kites’

Hamas on Thursday threatened to send 5,000 fire kites and balloons deep into Israeli territory on Friday, when the Gaza border will see another of the weekly “March of Return” mass protests, Palestinian and Israeli media reported.

The Palestinian terror group, the de facto ruler in the Strip, said at a press conference that the incendiary devices will be launched from various locations in Gaza during the protest, which will also mark the first day of the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday.

And here is Exhibit Two (also from the Times of Israel):

IDF fires warning shot at Gazans preparing ‘fire balloons’, launches airstrike

Palestinians say missile launched by Israeli drone caused no injuries, in second such incident in less than a day

The Israeli military fired a warning shot at a group of Palestinians who were preparing to launch an incendiary helium balloon toward Israel from the central Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, followed by another airstrike on “infrastructure” to prepare the arson devices.

“A short while ago, an aircraft fired a warning shot at a cell that was preparing to launch incendiary balloons in order to drive them away,” the military said in a statement.

A short while later, the Israel Defense Forces said it carried out an airstrike in the same area. The army identified the target as “infrastructure,” but would not elaborate.

According to media reports, the “infrastructure” was an outdoor facility that was being used by the cell to inflate the balloons and make the incendiary devices.

So tomorrow, the kite offensive will continue, and Israel will have to take serious military action.

I could be wrong, but I don’t see any meaningful outrage from the West about this naked terrorism. I don’t see so called pro-Palestinian supporters rising up in their masses, fessing up that this is an act of war, not to say counter productive, and denouncing it. The threat somewhat flies in the face of suggestions that these protests are peaceful. But never mind that. For now.

Anyway, I predict that tomorrow’s later headlines will include something along the following lines:

Gaza Kite Club Blown Up by Israeli Jets

Hamas Cultural Wing Youth Leader (Kite Section) Killed by Israeli Sniper

Innocent Kite Flyers Shot by IDF

Peaceful Kite Protesters Badly Wounded by

Palestinian Youth Burned by Petrol Set Alight by IDF

EU Criticizes Israel for Disproportionate Response to Kids’ Kites

I am sure you can come up with your own suggestions. Unfortunately, based on past events, the real headlines are bound to include some that are more offensive.

Hey BBC, the Independent and the Guardian, I am looking at you…

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Chelsea to Tel Aviv?

“I created one super successful football club. Maybe I should do it again. In Tel Aviv.” Picture source: WikiMedia

This may not be the most mature response to Roman Abramovich’s new status as an Israeli citizen, now that he has pulled the plug on the Chelsea stadium project, and there are rumors he is trying to sell the club and quit his commercial ties to the UK. However, I cannot help hoping that Israel’s richest citizen does sell Chelsea and then buys Maccabi Tel Aviv, turning it into a European giant of a club that puts Israeli soccer on the map, big time. Boy, would that seriously trouble the BDS activists in Europe!

I know it’s very unlikely, but it’s an intellectual and emotional pleasure playing with the possibilities. I mean, if deals could be done fast enough, the dream outcome would be the double signing of Gareth Bale and Cristian Ronaldo…

[Not so incidentally, if you look at the mainstream media discussion boards about this – for example, the Guardian – you will see that some of the comments are infused with what can only be called antisemitism. It seems that a certain group of people were glad to have Roman while he was their team’s benefactor. But when he is said to be departing, suddenly he is evil, corrupt, and Jewish. As I have said before, the ability of people posting on these boards to hide behind pseudonyms, gives them the ‘courage’ to post vile hate and naked antisemitism. If they were forced to give their true identities, I wonder how many of them would be so bold? Or, is it better that they vent their spleen? Not a short topic. But it needs dealt with.]

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Private Eye and Israel

Private Eye, the UK news and satirical magazine (issue 1464 of 23 February) has an item about the UK’s Security and Policing event.

“The Home Office has invited some of the world’s most repressive regimes to the UK next month to browse stalls selling surveillance technology and crowd control equipment at a ‘security’ fair it is running.”

You can guess what is coming.

The article later reports that:

“The current list of invitees is secret until March, but in recent years delegates have included such cuddly bastions of human rights as Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.”

This is a nasty dig at Israel. Criticism is all very well, but this is demonization. Private Eye doesn’t like Israel. It may no longer have the institutional anti-semitism of Richard Ingrams, but that has morphed somewhat into repeated sniping attacks like this one, which nobody is going to waste any time trying to rebut, but everybody is going to get used to reading. Slowly, slowly poisoning the well.

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The Politicization of Science

The New Scientist (20 January 2018 issue) has an editorial on the cover story: the “worrying signs that civilisation has started to collapse.” The editorial includes the following:

THE idea that we are living in a historic, even apocalyptic, age exerts a powerful pull on the human mind. Eschatology – the theology of end times – is a religious concept, but crops up in many other systems of thought. Marxism and neo-liberalism were both driven by an “end-of-history” narrative. Scientific thinking isn’t immune either: the technological singularity has been called eschatology for geeks, and the study of existential risk even has its own centre at the University of Cambridge. You don’t have to believe in the four horsemen to see the apocalypse coming.

After noting that the end may not be so imminent after all, the editorial points out that a real threat to our world – climate change – has been badly handled. Why? The threat was politicized: used as a stick by political faction alpha to beat political faction beta about the head, and of course the other way round.

The point is not that the activists’ answers are wrong. Business as usual is a sure way to climate catastrophe. It is that they prematurely politicised the science and hence provoked pushback from people on the other side of the fence.

Evidence for an impending civilisational collapse is much weaker, but is already being politicised in a similar way. The causes being offered are familiar bugbears of the left: inequality, population growth and resource depletion. The proposed answers are equally predictable and contentious.

That’s the backdrop.

The main article on the topic includes this:

“The idea that Western power and influence is in gradual decline, perhaps as a prelude to a precipitous fall, has been around for a while. But it has gained a new urgency with recent political events, not least the election of US president Donald Trump. For some, his turning away from international commitments is part of fulfilling his promise to “make America great again” by concentrating on its own interests. For others, it’s a dangerous move that threatens to undermine the whole world order. Meanwhile, over in the old world, Europe is mired in its own problems.”

So the editorial cautions against politicization of the issue, and the main article politicizes the issue!

Let’s be clear: Donald Trump is not the best man to be president of the USA. Will he be the worst? It depends on what media you base your judgement. But the suggestion that it is tenable to hold the end of the world is nearer because of Trump’s election is scaremongering in the extreme. It’s reckless, and panders to the same narrow focus of thought that says only socialism has the answer.

In short, the New Scientist‘s contribution to the discussion is tainted by politicization.

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