Words of the Week: Ron Leshem (trans. Mitch Ginsburg)

Many Israeli writers petition for peace and rail against the occupation. I have added my voice to that choir, particularly in May during the government’s lethally inept handling of the Turkish flotilla that tried to break the embargo on Gaza. Yet, as I look back at 2010 and the flotilla, I deeply believe that the greatest peril is from a ruthless and implacable foe: religious fanaticism. And the people on the ship that the Israeli naval commandos boarded, the Mavi Marmara, with their motive and capacity to manipulate world opinion, were acting cynically on its behalf. The death of nine people on the Mavi Marmara was a calamity. But activists on board stabbed and shot the soldiers who sought to steer the ship to a port from which nonmilitary cargo could be trucked to Gaza.

It is simple for an author to declare: “Peace. Peace now!” But it is a hollow demand.

From “Israel’s Present Tense,” by Ron Leshem (trans. Mitch Ginsburg), The New York Times, January 2, 2011

Words of the Week: David Rothkopf, via Jeffrey Goldberg

A must-read post from Jeffrey Goldberg, on “Fact-Checking Stephen Walt,” quotes David Rothkopf on Walt’s co-authorship of that pernicious “Israel Lobby” work:

“…(W)hatever the pale intellectual merits of his hackneyed argument may be, he and Mearsheimer know full well that their prominence on this issue has come not because they have had a single new insight but rather because they were willing and one can only believe inclined to play to a crowd whose ‘views’ were fueled by prejudice and worse. They may not be anti-Semites themselves but they made a cynical decision to cash in on anti-Semitism by offering to dress up old hatreds in the dowdy Brooks Brothers suits of the Kennedy School and the University of Chicago. They did what the most desperate members of academia do, they signed up to be rent-a-validators, akin to expert witnesses who support the defense of felons with specious theories served up on fancy diplomas. They would argue that they were daring to speak truth to power. In reality they were giving one crowd in particular precisely what it wanted to hear.”

Words of the Week: Jeffrey Goldberg

On “The Non-Surprising Attempt to Bomb Chicago Synagogues,” as on virtually everything else, Jeffrey Goldberg gets to the heart of the matter:

What is not surprising at all is that the people — presumably, though we shouldn’t assume for certain, Qaeda-affiliated terrorists — who manufactured these bomb are fundamentally annihilationist in outlook, meaning that they have as a primary goal the killing of Jews, everywhere. This shouldn’t be a controversial conclusion to make, but there are many people out there who believe that al Qaeda and its fellow travelers are angry over settlements. They are not. They are angry over the continued existence of Jews.

Words of the Week: Phyllis Chesler

You know how some people threaten to cancel magazine subscriptions because of the covers that greet them (and their families) when they take the new issue out from the mailbox? Well, right now I’m seriously considering canceling my TIME subscription. Not because the cover (issue date: September 13, 2010) was lewd or inappropriate for young eyes. But rather, because the cover was coyly outrageous, unfair, offensive, and inappropriate for any eyes.

And so I share with you some wise words from Phyllis Chesler, motivated by this cover story.

I hope that people more fully understand that TIME Magazine as well as countless other media in the Western world, can no longer be trusted to tell the truth.

So sad. But so true.