Friday, June 18, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Matthew Yglesias: Non-Liberal Jews Are Disloyal To The US

Posted: 18 Jun 2010 11:04 AM PDT

That is the implication from Matthew Yglesias's attack on Elliot Abrams: Elliot Abrams Denounces American Jews for Not Exhibiting Sufficient "Dual Loyalties"

At issue is what Abrams wrote as one of the participants in Obama, Israel & American Jews: The Challenge--A Symposium

But my own sad prediction is that among non-Orthodox Jews, the real divide will be between activists (whether leaders of community organizations, synagogue officials, major donors, or regular synagogue goers) and the broader majority of Jews. The activists will dump Obama; the rest will not, for their commitment to Israel and, for that matter, to Judaism is simply less powerful than their secular religion--liberalism as represented in the Democratic Party. Whatever excuse they supply themselves (for example, the Republican candidate for president, or even vice president, will undermine "a woman's right to choose"), they will be displaying their priorities. Israel is simply not near the top of their list.

For which reason, more committed Jews can only thank God for the greater commitment of so many evangelicals--whose party loyalties have not become a religious faith and who will indeed dump Obama if he abandons Israel in a time of peril.

Yglesias counters:

But of course most Jews will vote for the political party that advances the policy agenda, including on abortion rights, that most Jews agree with. What on earth else are people supposed to do?

Is Yglesias claiming that Israel is not part of the policy agenda of the Democratic party? Good to know--but it is not true. A 2007 AJC poll of Jews showed that Israel was very much a part of the Jewish Democratic agenda, leading up to the 2008 election:

34. How important would you say being Jewish is in your own life?

Very important


Fairly important


Not very important


37. How close do you feel to Israel?

Very close


Fairly close


Fairly distant


Very distant


Not sure


38. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew."





Not Sure


19. In deciding who you would like to see elected president next year, which issue will be most important to you? Please select one of the following:

War in Iraq


Economy and jobs


Terrorism and national security


Health care


Support for Israel






Energy crisis


Not sure


The apparent discrepancy between the results of the last question and the others is due to assumption--severely questioned now during Obama's presidency--that Israel's safety is secure under the leadership of the US.

Thus Abrams writes:

Poll data and impressionistic evidence suggest that American Jews are increasingly dubious about Barack Obama's Middle East policy. Most major Jewish organizations, except those that exist solely to support the Democratic Party, have weighed in with anxious complaints, and Democratic politicians also have backed away from public support for the Obama approach.

This is a useful test of American Jews and their leaders: which is the deeper commitment, to Democratic Party politicians regardless of their policies, or to the security of Israel? [emphasis added]

The context is clear: Abrams is addressing the issue of blind loyalty to the Democratic Party--a blindness that will cause them to ignore the issue of  the security of Israel (an ally and asset of the US).

Is Yglesias claiming that Israel's security is now not in the US interests?

Is Yglesias now claiming that conservative Jews have dual loyalties?

To say that  would be twisting his words--just as he twists the words of Elliot Abrams.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

See also: Memeorandum

by Daled Amos

Submitted 06/18/10

Posted: 18 Jun 2010 04:28 AM PDT

This week's Watcher's council nominations are up!

Council Submissions

Non Council Submissions

What's being debated: the actions or the actor?

Posted: 18 Jun 2010 04:28 AM PDT

PM Netanyahu's (post-facto) rationale for the commission of inquiry into the raid on the flotilla is:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a cabinet meeting Monday called in order to approve the committee elected to investigate the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. All ministers voted in favor of the committee.

"I am convinced that exposing the facts will prove that our aim was to conduct a defense operation according to the highest standards," Netanyahu said.

I don't necessarily disagree, however, writing at Ynet's opinion page, Gen. Yehuda Wegman argues that there's a danger involved:

There is a very small distance, if at all, between an inquiry into a state's right to safeguard its sovereignty and an inquiry into that state's very right to even maintain this sovereignty. Agreeing to any kind of commission of inquiry as result of international pressure paves the way for an inquiry into Israel's right to maintaining its sovereignty - that is, looking into Israel's right to exist as a state.

Breath of the Beast elaborates on this:

It is a classic human tragedy, the injustice of "splitting the difference". The Israelis are asking only for their half of the loaf- only that to which they are entitled. The Arabs are asking for the whole loaf- the destruction of Israel. To the orthodox peace-seeker who is both intimidated by violence and morally compromised by progressive ideologies such as the political realism I discussed in my last post, it seems "only fair" to split the difference and give the Arabs three quarters of the loaf. By insisting only on mere survival, the desire for peaceful coexistence and the right to protect her people while her enemies have been calling officially and working diligently for her destruction and elimination, Israel has allowed the prevailing sentiment in this debate to be pushed inexorably toward the side of her enemies.

This is the reason that Israel is the only country in the world whose "right to exist" is always in the debate. Friends constantly assert it as if it needed to be said and enemies often get away with behaving as if she doesn't. While most people claim to believe that Israel has the right to exist and protect her citizens, more and more of them howl in protest at every attempt she makes to do so. More and more people around the world find it possible to rationalize each anti-Israel murder and terror attack as an expression of Arab passion and dedication while the bland logic and humble honesty of the Israelis are, increasingly, seen as stubbornness, bigotry and troublemaking.

PM Netanyahu seeks to defuse a bad diplomatic situation. Still there is little doubt that the inquiry will feed those who seek Israel's destruction.

Crossposted on Yourish.

A turkey of an award

Posted: 18 Jun 2010 03:55 AM PDT

The Woodrow Wilson center is bestowing its annual award to Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Michael Rubin observes:

What they don't mention is that, as Prime Minister Erdogan's chief foreign-policy adviser even prior to assuming his current ministerial rank, Davutoglu has been embracing not only Hamas but its most militant and terror-bloodied faction since February 2006. He has also played a role in Turkey's embrace of blood libel.

Of course if you read what Jonah Goldberg has to write about Woodrow Wilson:

Only someone suffering partisan amnesia could believe Bush has been a more "radical" president than, say, Woodrow Wilson, under whom antiwar dissidents were thrown in jail and beaten in the streets. Wilson was the first president to openly deride the Constitution, mocking the "Fourth of July sentiments" of those who cared too much about its meaning. Where Bush reaches out to American Muslims and illegal immigrants, Wilson demonized immigrants and "hyphenated Americans" with a venom unimaginable today. "I cannot say too often -- any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this republic," Wilson said in 1919.

Maybe the award isn't so inappropriate.

Wakefield's awakening

Posted: 18 Jun 2010 12:07 AM PDT

A week and a half ago, Rob Neyer noted that Tim Wakefield sets Red Sox milestone.

...his innings record says a lot about the history of the Red Sox, doesn't it? By the standards of team records, 2,777 innings really isn't a lot. That number would rank third on the Yankees (behind Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing), seventh on the Tigers (behind Hal Newhouser and five non-Hall of Famers), fifth on the White Sox (behind Billy Pierce and three Hall of Famers), second on the Twins (behind Jim Kaat, and not counting Walter Johnson), third on the Indians (behind Bob Feller and Mel Harder) ... well, you get the idea. It's just a bit of a historical oddity that nobody's ever pitched 3,000 innings for the Red Sox. Doesn't mean it's not a kick to see his name atop that list.

As impressive as that record is, I recalled that there was something even more impressive about it: The Red Sox picked Wakefield off the scrap heap. Anyway, I e-mailed my comment to Rob and I was pleased that he responded to it.

It was the damnedest thing, David. Tim Wakefield was utterly brilliant as a rookie in 1992, going 8-1 down the stretch for the Pirates. In 1993, he couldn't get anybody out in the majors or the minors (after his demotion). He spent the entire 1994 season in Triple-A, and went 5-15 with a 5.84 ERA and with all the accompanying statistics you would expect.

So that was two straight lousy season, and you really can't blame the Pirates for giving up on him. What you can do is applaud the Red Sox for signing him. Wakefield opened 1995 with Triple-A Pawtucket, pitched well in four starts, kept pitching well after a promotion to the big club, and now he's the franchise's all-time leader in innings. Knuckleballers often come with good stories, but Wakefield's got one of the best.


If we throw israel under the bus, would you like us then?

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 11:51 PM PDT

Former Mayor Ed Koch on his buyer's remorse|:

Senator Obama received 78 percent of the votes of the Jewish community nationwide. The only group giving him a higher percentage was the African-American community. Many Jewish leaders, myself included, have concluded that President Obama has reneged on his support for the security of Israel - a major priority for most American Jews and many Christians - and is shifting American foreign policy to favor the Muslim, and in particular, the Palestinian cause. It should come as no surprise that in response to a poll taken by Quinnipiac University asking, "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation between Israel and the Palestinians?" 67 percent of Jews disapproved and 28 percent approved. That same poll showed support by Democrats for Israel was 46 percent and among Republicans, 70 percent. Did this shock me and many others? You bet.

So in order to get closer to the Muslim world, President Obama has clearly distanced himself from Israel. But has it helped him?

Actually, not much.

Shmuel Rosner quotes Pew:

Like his job performance on Iraq and Afghanistan, ratings for Obama's handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are extremely low in predominantly Muslim countries, as are his ratings on Iran. Nine-in-ten Lebanese express disapproval of the way Obama is dealing with the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, as do 88% of Egyptians and 84% of Jordanians. Clear majorities in Turkey (66%) and Indonesia (56%) also disapprove of Obama's handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When you're always seeking to please others, you'll please no one. This is how Gabriel Schoenfeld describes it:

Whatever the explanation for our peculiar behavior, one of its unhappy effects is that it squanders our enormous military and economic leverage. We are capable of projecting enormous power, yet we wind up projecting weakness.

If you're going to betray a friend, shouldn't there be at least some profit in doing so?

Crossposted on Yourish.

Innovation by fiat

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 11:27 PM PDT

Approaching an issue I did recently David Foster punctures the concept of "oil addiction:"

Before we were addicted to oil, we were addicted to coal. This fuel was used to heat homes, to drive locomotives and steamships, to power steam engines in factories, and for many other things in addition to its present-day uses in power generation and iron/steel production. While coal has many positive qualities as a fuel, the age of coal had its drawbacks. Coal mining was dangerous and often injurious to health. Stoking of furnaces involved backbreaking labor...although automatic stokers were developed for locomotives and power plants, the firing of steamship boilers still required the round-the-clock effort of large numbers of human beings. (See Eugene O'Neill, The Hairy Ape.) And coal was and is heavy and bulky in proportion to its energy, so that it could not enable the development of such things as airplanes, automobiles, and farm tractors. All of these factors were changed by the large-scale availability of oil. The need for human beings to serve as Hairy Apes was greatly reduced.

Before we were addicted to coal, we were addicted to wood. In addition to being the primary material used for construction (of ships as well as buildings), wood was used for heating homes and for firing the furnaces of ironworks and other metallurgical facilities. Forests around such enterprises were destroyed throughout the practical wood-gathering radius. In many parts of the world, "peak wood" was a real threat. Wood famine was avoided only via the emergence of the steam engine, which made possible the pumping of water from mines and hence greatly improved the economics of coal mining, and the discovery that coke (made from coal) could serve as a substitute for charcoal (made from wood) in blast furnace operation.

But the phony oil addiction metaphor is only half the strategy of the renewable/clean energy zealots, the other half of their strategy is to argue that there are or will be better alternatives to oil. In his latest column, (also here and here) Charles Krauthammer deftly deflects this argument:

Pedestrian is beneath Obama. Mr. Fix-It he is not. He is world-historical, the visionary, come to make the oceans recede and the planet heal.

How? By creating a glorious, new, clean green economy. And how exactly to do that? From Washington, by presidential command and with tens of billions of dollars thrown around. With the liberal (and professorial) conceit that scientific breakthroughs can be legislated into existence, Obama proposes to give us a new industrial economy.

But is this not what we've been trying to do for decades with ethanol, which remains a monumental boondoggle, economically unviable and environmentally damaging to boot? As with yesterday's panacea, synfuels, into which Jimmy Carter poured billions.

Notice that Obama no longer talks about Spain, which until recently he repeatedly cited for its visionary subsidies of a blossoming new clean energy industry. That's because Spain, now on the verge of bankruptcy, is pledged to reverse its disastrously bloated public spending, including radical cuts in subsidies to its uneconomical photovoltaic industry.

Our nation has long been the leader in technological advancement, but that doesn't mean that innovation can be driven by legislative fiat.

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