Tuesday, June 28, 2005
"Parasites on Poverty" is a campaign that has been initiated by a group called Global Peace and Justice -- who are normally involved in the usual anti-American / anti-Israel cause du jour. This time, however, the target are the pokie machines and loan sharks that many believe are bleeding New Zealand's poorest communities dry. The motives are commendable (one might argue about the efficacy of targeting these people rather than the behaviours that lead them to make money). But, what is distressing is the imagery that is being used to market the movement.
Here is an example of a Parasites on Poverty poster:
It depicts Jesus throwing the moneylenders out of the Temple. That Jews pervert worship for commercial ends is an age-old anti-semitic calumny. The painting here plays on this: an ahistorically non-Jewish looking Jesus casting rather semitic-looking traders out of the Temple.
This is despite the fact that they were really money-changers, not money-lenders).
These associations are galling enough; but we know that there has been a history of associating Jews with usurous moneylenders and a suspicious reverence for money (this picture from a certain amoeba who met his rightful end):
GPJA leader John Minto (who has much dedicated himself to anti-racism) should think twice before launching such imagery in New Zealand.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
I have already commented on Amnesty International's deranged comparison of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre to the Soviet gulag system. The Guardian expose on the subject can be read here. Now, proof that Amnesty truly has lost all sense of proportion. Patrick Devenney, in FrontPage magazine compares Amnesty's reports on the USA and North Korea. 200,000 North Koreans are held in what Amnesty demurely refers to as "detention centres":
...[i]n other camps, it is estimated that 20 to 25 percent of the total prison population dies every year, leading to a staggering amount of death. These prisoners are often arrested by authorities with no explanation or formal procedure. In some instances, three generations are jailed together, with children being imprisoned for the imagined crimes of their grandparents. In other smaller prison camps, run by the North Korean security apparatus, prisoners are routinely tortured and politically "re-educated." These camps are not hidden, one can easily view satellite photos of them, along with descriptions from the many North Koreans who have escaped. Amnesty, apparently, has not found such evidence compelling enough to include this in their report.When President Bush referred to North Korean concentration camps, he wasn't wrong, and wasn't exaggerating. I am sure he weighed his words deliberately.
Amnesty's annual report on North Korea was a meagre 1351 words: barely half those used to excoriate Israel for sins infinitesimal in comparison, and a third of those needed to tear into the US.
Again: it is becoming clear that Amnesty retains precious little moral credibility, and has deteriorated into a tendentious political popinjay. I call on anyone who has a habit of giving money to Amnesty to withhold, and let the organisation know, in writing, why you are doing so.
When NGOs learn that there is a price to degrading their missions and becoming effective lackeys of tyrants, maybe they will mend their ways a little.
Monday, June 20, 2005
For those who don't like sports/watch TV/read newspapers, Michael Campbell, a New Zealander (and a Maori guy from Titahi Bay to boot), has just won the US Open -- one of Golf's Majors. Along with perhaps the 4 tennis grand slams, world heavyweight boxingchamp, and a handful of Olympic events), it is one of the biggest individual sporting prizes in the world.
This is quite something. The world's fairways and driving ranges are full of people trying to be the next Nicholson, or Faldo, or Woods. But this guy from the end of the world (and, with all due respect, Titahi Bay is, even more than the rest of NZ -- it's over an hour from Wellington!) has done it. Absolutely brilliant.
In fact, in my personal (and wildly unpopular) opinion, this is cooller than most of the Oscars we've won recently.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Sadly, what was the world's leading group for protecting the rights of the imprisoned and oppressed, and preventing the free world from forgetting about political prisoners, has fallen victim to the political madness of our times, and become a far-left pressure group, abandoning its mission.
It has now put up a web-page entitled "USA: Betraying Human Rights". It includes, among other features, video of comments from Noam Chomsky on conditions at Guantanamo Bay. Chomsky, as I'm sure many of you will know, is the doyen of hard-left academics.
Chomsky, incidentally, has endorsed such human rights luminaries as Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro and the Khmer Rouge. He has also defended holocaust deniers, and claimed that America had no right to be aggireved after September 11. For an excellent analysis of this man's mendacity and hyppocrisy, read this article by Keith Windschuttle.
In any event, we all agree that, in its prosecution of the war in terror and its wars to remove the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, the US has employed some tactics that can be questioned. But to say that they amount to "betraying human rights" is to ignore orders of magnitude so immense that the statement becomes farcical.
By comparison, have a look at the Guardian's report on the conditions suffered by innocents people in concentration camps (I do not use that term lightly) in North Korea: gas chambers, murder by medical experiment, forced starvation.
When Amnesty devotes so much energy to excoriating America for possibly violating the rights of terror suspects, but ignores state murder and terrorism on a vast scale in so many places, it has ceased to speak for human rights, and is merely a mouthpiece for a warped ideology.
How interesting. After years of liberal elites around the world scoffing at the supposed lack of intelligence of the US President, and comparing him unfavourable to his "nuanced" challenger last year, guess who did better at university?
CNN can tell you.
There's no weaseling out of this by saying that the comparison is inapt, either: they were at the same school at (basically - Kerry was one year ahead) the same time.
Just goes to show how stubborn a media-borne calumny can be, and how it can distort the truth. My guess is that the "Bush is stupid" meme will be resistant to these revelations, as it is so embedded in the DNA of our cultural arbiters.
But even before these results were released, I asked those who parroted the received wisdom one question: if GWB is unintelligent, how come he keeps winning?
No-one has been able to answer this without resorting to a Byzantine, and somewhat crazy-sounding, conspiracy theory.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Monday June 6 was Yom Yerushlayim -- the 28th of Iyar in the Hebrew calendar. It is the day on which we commemorate the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 from Jordanian control.
It was the first time since the Bar Kochba rebellion (131-135 CE) in which our holy sites were in Jewish hands. And more than that, the return of Jewish sovereignty to the site of our Temple signified the hope that our redemption, our geulah, is imminent.
The Zionist project has been fantastically successful: it has brought an oppressed and ravaged people back to its land, revived its language, rescued Jews in danger. But sadly the vision of the Jewish people settling the whole land in Israel has had to be weighed against the reality of another people also living in the land. There have been, and are to be, saddening compromises.
But nonetheless, the enormity of the liberation of our holy city remains, and we should celebrate it. I feel that this is true whether we see the State of Israel as the fulfilment of the eschatological dream, or as merely a haven and human achievement, while not bringing with it the real geulah.
A transcript of a Voice of Israel broadcast made at the time is available here . It brings to life (especially for those of us who were not born then) the miraculous nature of that event. It's hard to keep dry eyes.
(Thanks to R' Gil Student of Hirhurim).
Former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar tells the Jerusalem Post that Europe's opposition to Israel and obscene double standards in Middle Eastern politics (merrilly funding Palestinian terror etc) are part of a silly adolescent desire to distance themselves from the US, and that Israel should ignore them.
"Europe likes appeasement very much; this is one of the most important differences between us and the States," Aznar said in an interview on the Bar-Ilan University campus. "Europeans don't like any problems. They prefer appeasement."
Unfortunately, his electorate bore this assessment out, responding to that horrendous Islamofascist outrage in the worst conceivable way, and replaced him with an appeaser of the worst kind. Shame.