Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rants of the Week June29, 2010

 I start off this week with something nice, a victory in the protection of whales against hunting.  Please click and help out.


We have some good news from AVAAZ about the IWC meeting.  This is usually on the rant blog, but I will put it on both this week and hope folks will come up with some cash for the cause.  of protection of whales.
The picture shows our petition being delivered to the Australian environment minister.
For the rest of the nice stuff go to Pollyanna


This week the family of this unfortunate young soldier is marching to put pressure on a government that has let him suffer in Hamas captivity for four years.  This entire issue enraged me from the beginning and it is just getting worse.  At least, we see a public reaction, although it too will be used by cynical politicians to score their points.  The Interior Minister who is a member of the Seven Wise (Idiots) is protesting against himself.
The outrage begins with the capture itself.  The details of the bumbling incompetence of the army at the time have now been released to the press.  Inexperienced soldiers were left without command supervision, no one understood what was happening, typical  military idiocy..  Add to that the fact that there exists ground penetrating radar that would have detected the tunnel through which the Hamas fighters came.  The Army has long declined to use this technique, part of the same mentality that resisted replacing the horse with the tank and integrating the airplane into military applications during the early decades of the last century.  Norman Dixon in his book The Psychology of Military Incompetence (Basic, 1976) makes the point that
"bloody foolish" generals,  reach the higher ranks of the military hierarchy through excessive obedience and fear of failure-traits which serve them badly in dealing with the leadership of combat forces   In fact, it is not as simple as just idiocy, although in Israel, the filter that operates is the refusal of the best and the brightest to chose a military career.  For decades bright students have told me why they refused to sign on in the army, to a great extent because of the desire of the mediocrities in authority to get rid of them.  Generals may not all be stupid, but they suffer from personality flaws that make them function in a stupid and counterproductive manner.  It happens in other armies as well as ours.
and has also to do with the role of the media.
OK, so he was captured and the bargaining began.  We could have had him back several times, but the army/government always balked at the number and quality of the prisoners that Hamas demanded in return. Hamas itself is behaving like animals, denying Red Cross access, the works.  We in turn are punishing over a million people in Gaza who have no say in the matter.  For years, we implemented a brutal siege "for Gilad" and now it has been lifted because of the Flotilla debacle.   Does anyone understand the thinking behind all this zigzag  motion that goes nowhere?

The  march for Gilad has gotten off to a strong start and let us hope that it impacts the government somehow.  Sunday night on our way to the car after a concert, we saw a large group of people in a bar, watching a World Cup match between Argentina and Mexico.  They had an empty chair for Gilad.

Our friends in Gush Shalom have gone to court to protest the Mickey Mouse (excuse us Mickey) commission of inquiry .appointed to investigate the Aid Flotilla catastrophe.  I wish them luck but I do not put a lot of confidence in the ability and willingness of the High Court to intervene in what presumably is an executive branch matter.  Good luck Uri and Adam!!
Apparently it is working, the government asked for a ten day postponement and is reconsidering the authority of the commission.  Now Tirkel is supposedly asking for more authority, the army is still trying to stonewall.

Some of you may recall that this august body tried some time ago to get Israelis in North America to phone a special number to report on Jews who were dating or had relationships with shiksas and shkotzim rahmana litzlan. It was lampooned heavily on YouTube and would have been funny if it had not been so pernicious--Grosse Brudder will look after you and keep you on the straight and narrow.  Now this totally superfluous body has come out with its new master plan for the Diaspora.  It is both pathetic and ridiculous

A brave Israeli woman took three Palestinian teen age girls for a fun day in Tel Aviv.  They got past the border guards, everyone had a great time and then some "patriot" filed a complaint.  You would think that the nuclear bombs at Dimona had been stolen on behalf of  the Hizbollah.  In any case, it is a nice story despite the sour ending and I urge you to read and think about our country.
Here are some more  thoughts from the Druze poet  Salman Masalha about what we all need to face up to, Jews, Arabs, everyone--maybe the  insights of someone who is neither Jew nor Arab are the most relevant. I think he goes overboard in his critique of the Israeli medical mission to Haiti.  No Arab country bothered to help there.

Are we on the way to Fascism here?  An article in Yediot Ahronot  by Raanan Shaked explores the question.  We lack one component, the charismatic dictator, but we are working on it.  I submitted an op-ed to Haaretz on the subject, but did not even get a rejection.  


Amitai Eztioni, the sociologist has written an interesting article about the options facing the world with respect to restraining Iran.  He published it in a journal called Military Review
A summary based on an interview with him can be found in Haaretz.

I have vacillated for a long time whether BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) are a just, moral and yes, even effective, way of influencing the policies of our government with respect to the Occupation and the future of our coexistence with our Palestinian neighbors.  I am posting an argument by Rela Mazali in which she makes a compelling case for influencing public opinion by causing pain.  One might argue that it might just solidify the support of the public for the government and its intransigent  policies.  I would like to see some comments on this issue.

This blog is getting to be too long so I will send you off with a Below the Beltway commencement address from Gene.


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