Thursday, March 7, 2013

Brief Notes: Meta and Thinking Aloud

Mike L.

I love meta.

I do and I admit it.

Thinking about how we think on things is a practice that I very much appreciate.  Many people feel that it is hopelessly self-indulgent, but I find it to be reflective in a way that perhaps even Barack Obama might give Jews credit for.

It's not "soul searching" exactly, as Obama would have us do to see if we are worthy of not being attacked and killed, but it is nonetheless helpful.

And really, for what little it may be worth, all I want to say in this brief note is that all we are doing here is thinking aloud.  That's it.  I have no partisan agenda.  I do not particularly care about either Democrats or Republicans or liberals or conservatives.

This is not a team sport for me.

All Israel Thrives is about is thinking on an issue that is important to many people and that is vitally important to me personally.  I don't expect everyone to agree with me and when I am wrong I usually do not have much problem acknowledging the mistake.

If I sometimes offend people in my opinions I am very sorry about that, but I will not allow the fear of offending people to interfere with my expression of the truth as I see it.  For example, if I say that the progressive-left as a political movement has betrayed its Jewish constituency through the acceptance of anti-Semitic anti-Zionists within their ranks, I know that many progressives will be offended.

Well, there's nothing that I can do about that.

The truth is the truth and there is no question that the progressive-movement and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party have betrayed their Jewish friends for precisely that reason.  I don't mind if Jewish supporters of Israel remain Democrats or progressives, I just want them to be honest.  I want them to own up to the truth.  And I do not want them, as I sometimes say, to piss on my head and tell me its raining.

In any case, I think that you guys are great and I thank you sincerely for your participation and would encourage our readers who may not comment, to jump in, as well.  This is a reasonably friendly environment, I think.  And, you guys should know, that I am working on a piece entitled, Breaking the Oslo Delusion which I hope to publish sometime within the next week, or thereabouts.  It will probably be around 2,000 words, which is about 8 pages in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font.

Now you guys go forth and be nice to people in your world.

I'm usually not, but I have a special dispensation!


Oh, and by the way, say hello to Little Snort... or Schnorrboit, as he is sometimes known.

He's a beast!

{And he stinks of Snachos.}


  1. Mo meta. Are you making a spring training pilgrimage this year?

    1. Spring training, now that's what I'm talking about!

      Our Monster Storm failed to materialize around my way (we got exactly 0.0 inches last night), and though we're supposed to have flurries overnight tonight, it's up in the 50s finally, as far as the ten-day forecast can see, beginning Saturday.

      The Sixers really crapped out over the past few weeks, but the Flyers are looking up a bit. They should hold us over until the Phillies get going.

      Baseball! I feel warmer already...

    2. Hey, look what the cat drug in!

      Nice to see you, man.

      In fact, I'm glad that you raised the question about Spring Training because I do not want you to think that Laurie and I are blowing you off.

      We've actually decided to skip Phoenix this year and head back east to visit some old college buddies of mine. We'll spend a little time in Connecticut and we'll spend some time in New Hampshire. We'll do some fishing and tour UCONN. Check out my old stomping grounds and beer drinking joints.

      You know, Laurie is from Middle Of Nowhere South Carolina and we've been down that way any number of times because her folks are still there (whereas my folks naturally retired to Florida because it's some kinda rule they have there at Boca Del Vista) but she has yet to see, Trumbull, the town that I grew up in.

      I'm even thinking about sneaking on to the Easton Reservoir, where I spent many happy hours and days as a tiny Zionist.

      But, no, where are not going to Arizona this year and thus will not see Andres Torres back with the team in Scottsdale.

      And, btw, what the hell happened to Brian Wilson??

      Where he is and that stupid beard, anyways?

      Lincecum cut his hair and they can't seem to drag Pablo out of the Kentucky Fried Chicken joint on Geary and 6th!

      I don't know what the hell is going on with these guys.

      All I know is that it's damn good to be Buster Posey.

      I wish people would call me Buster Posey, but they don't.

    3. I see how it is. I'm in Scottsdale, so you make sure you're going to be as far away from here as possible.

      Not that I have self-esteem issues or anything...

    4. Damn man, I had to click the Easton link and I thought you were gonna be around my Easton (Larry Holmes, yo!)...


      I love Easton, and Phillipsburg. And Allentown, and Bethlehem, and Wilkes-Barre and Scranton from whereabouts one of my grandmothers grew up...

      Never knew Laurie was from South Carolina. I've wanted to visit Charleston, and admire its architecture, forever. Next time I head down to Key West (which would be my third time, but this time I'm gonna stop over in Charleston!), I'm gonna do it...

    5. Puzz!

      You, my friend, are always welcome here.

      Needless to say, I would love to see you guys if I could, but sadly there is no Scottsdale in my near future.

      Sooner or later, tho, surely you'll find yourself on a flight to San Francisco for whatever reason.

      Let me know.

      We'll get Chinese food.

      Any time that you want.

  2. Sounds about right to me. In particular, the 'thinking out loud' part.

    Unlike certain others, when I left Daily Kos, I left its attendant silly juvenile "gotcha!" games ("OMG somebody you blog with said something I don't like so that means you're all genocidal mass-murdering jihadis!!1!") right back at that swamp where it belongs.

    Some people elsewhere really need to grow up, and at least try to act kinda sorta somewhat close to their chronological age.

    As for 'team sport,' I suppose the fact that I no longer really view myself as a Democrat helps me to see things a bit differently than I did even just a couple years ago.

    Although I'm still registered as a Democrat (if I wasn't, I'd essentially have no say in Philadelphia city politics, as Pennsylvania's primaries are closed, and the Democratic primary election in a city which votes 90% Democratic therefore decides virtually all of our local races), I suppose I'm ultimately just a liberal curmudgeon who doesn't really like anybody who runs for any of our offices these days, from any party. Honestly, I think we're all screwed since there's nobody out there who is willing to take seriously the necessary task of re-localizing our economies and doing the dirty work of building more sustainable food and transportation, etc, systems as we head into a post-fossil fuels energy era.

    But that's another issue(s) altogether. I suppose you could say I'm even just... thinking out loud... here. Heh.


    I look forward to that piece, Mike!

  3. I think it will go a ways to just say it is "too many" of Progressives, rather than "the" Progressives. Or perhaps "way too many" because it seems to me that the point of departure for Progressives is to have sympathy for the Palestinian narrative and to see Israel in a negative light. The old Said-Lewis thing again, especially among the "better" educated.

    I agree that people get offended too easily, and some want a "right" not to be offended to trump the actual right of free expression.

    Some even seek to censor the right, not only to express, but "to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (UDHR Art. 19)

    Censorship, particularly when done by arbitrary authority, is a cowardly way to address controversial issues and harms the seekers and receivers of information. It is especially egregious to treat "offenders" with comtempt or use pejorative code words to shut down discussion.

    Some also want a right not to be offended to extend to religions. But there is no such "human" right and blasphemy does not interfere with the right of individuals or groups to engage in religion.

    The question I would ask Progressives that support Obama is: Is there anything he can do that would cause a change in support with regard to Israel?

    Watching how things develop, it seems that the paramount objective is to destroy Republicans, rather than understanding the ideas and beliefs held by virtually half of the population. Thus, anything that takes away from this objective (even criticism of his approach to Israel and the Middle East) must be tolerated without objection, less getting the Bob Woodward effect. In other words, does the end justify the means just because you are making the world better?

    1. "it seems that the paramount objective is to destroy Republicans, rather than understanding the ideas and beliefs held by virtually half of the population."

      As is quite often the case in the other direction, as well.

      What gets my backyard pygmy goat, however, is when those who engage in this tactic, from either side, then seek to draw a distinction between themselves and the "far left" or "far right," who they claim is the real problem these days, without realizing that they are in fact simply all mirror images of each other, and who are all, as Jon Stewart would say, hurting America. In seeking to destroy, as you say, anyone who thinks differently than they do.

      There are exceptions, of course. Antisemites and racists of all sorts do not deserve respect or understanding (then again, they are not "cockroaches" to be eliminated, either - they're just clearly wrong). But some are clearly way too quick to label these days.

  4. A delusion is only a delusion if you don't know it's a delusion. Otherwise it's just studied hypocrisy. Because I can easily forgive someone who's slow and dull; they fell out of their mama that way and we love them anyway. It's the people who tell me "I'm an ignorant lying stooge and damned proud of it!" who should be thrown into a sinkhole.

    "I'm not as dumb as I look, no one's as dumb as I look and we both know you're lying to me."

    1. "A delusion is only a delusion if you don't know it's a delusion."

      Though I can't quite believe, myself, that any reasonable pro-Israel person can still believe, at this late date, that the Palestinian leadership actually wants a real two-state solution, I can at least kinda sorta understand one wanting to maybe hold onto Oslo for at least a little bit longer.

      One more chance, and all that. I'm not opposed to that, myself, though I don't think it'll produce anything worthwhile.

      What I personally would like is for Israel to unilaterally end this stage of the conflict (because we sure know the Arab War on the Jews won't ultimately end as long as there is a Jewish State anywhere in our historical homeland) by declaring final defensible borders, withdrawing behind same, and then in the case further attacks should happen, reacting as any other sovereign state anywhere in the world would to attacks upon itself by a hostile neighbor.

      In such a case, in which Israel is no longer "occupying" the inevitable criminal terror state that will surely become Palestine, I would hope the rest of the world (or at least the West) will then finally put things into their proper perspective.

      Either way, in the end, all I can do is hope Israel does whatever is best for her, and support that.

      Those who would insist that Israel 'sit at the table' forever, waiting for 'negotiations' which will never happen...

      (the better so that they may not be embarrassed by Israel at the cocktail parties they attend)

      ...are clearly not to be taken seriously. I agree.

  5. IMO the war is a religious war. As such, nothing being done now and nothing that resembles what is being done now can ever solve it.

    Is there a solution? Well maybe if we wait for one particular religion to catch up to the 21st Century like the other religion.

  6. ps


    Make sure you cross post it at the Joint.

    1. I think that I may try to get it placed at some place like PJ Media.

      It's basically just a broad statement concerning much of the kinds of things that we discuss here. Mainly its concerned with how the language that we tend to use to discuss the conflict puts Jewish people in the Middle East at a terrible disadvantage because the terms themselves suggest Israeli Jewish guilt.

      Thus we lose the argument before the argument even begins and this is why liberal Jewish defenders of Israel tend constantly to be on the defensive.

      I much prefer offense, don't you?

    2. I don't know, Mike.

      Some superdooper progressive genius I read elsewhere suggests that what we actually need to do is 'sit at the table.'

      And 'build confidence' amongst those who are dedicated solely to killing Jews, because such things are VERY IMPORTANT(tm) in negotiations, as everybody knows!

      G-d forbid Hamas should think we don't respect them, after all. We certainly wouldn't want to come across as mean. Or (gasp!) 'right wing!'


      I actually felt my fingers trying to bleed in protest as I typed the above lines, tongue planted firmly in cheek. I am astounded some actually really do 'think' this way...

    3. Y'know, Jay, if this was a mere two or three years ago I would probably be with them.

      We're rational human beings. We want a fair negotiated conclusion of hostilities with two states for two peoples in peace. Yet at some point there has to come the recognition that this is not necessarily what the Palestinian-Arabs, or the larger Arab world, wants.

      If they refuse to take "yes" for an answer then we need to learn to take "no" for one.

      If it was what they wanted they could have accepted a state for themselves in '37, but they didn't. In '47, but they didn't. There were the infamous "3 Nos" in Khartoum in '67. Then Arafat refused Barak's deal in 2000 and Abbas turned his back on Olmert in 2008.

      The deals kept getting better, but no matter what they were they were always refused.

      What this means is that there is nothing that Israel can offer them that they will accept. Olmert offered Abbas well over 90 percent of the WB with swaps, the entirety of Gaza, and the Arab sections of Jerusalem as a capital, yet this was still not acceptable.

      And what that means is that the Jews need to stop playing this sucker's game and act in unilateral fashion.

      Israel needs to declare its final borders and remove the IDF to behind those borders and it should do so based on Israeli security requirements.

      I, in fact, do not favor the annexation of the entirety of Judea and Samaria for reasons that should be obvious. If it were up to me I would see Israel annex some modified version of Area C, including the major settlement blocs, and leave it at that.

      But it's not up to us, it's up the citizenry of Israel.

      I just want them to get on with it, basically. We will not see the end of hostilities in our lifetimes, but the Israelis can exert their sovereignty in a direct and no-nonsense manner.

      I wish that they would do so.

    4. I believe you and I see things the same way, then.

      Although it's ultimately up to Israelis what they'll do (and I'll support them on whatever that is), what I would personally like right now is for this stage of the conflict (because savage bigotry against Jews simply for being Jews will never end in that part of the world, or at least not in our lifetimes) to end via unilateral action by Israel. Because we sure know this will never come about via 'negotiations' with people who are simply willing to wait it out as long as it takes to achieve their ultimate goal, which is the end of Israel.

      My ideal situation would involve drawing defensible borders, keeping all of Jerusalem -- not only because from an urban planning standpoint it's a bad idea to split cities, force municipal bus drivers to become experts on border policy, etc etc; but also as the price the Palestinian Arabs and their allies must pay for launching, and losing, multiple wars, conventional and otherwise -- and then withdrawing behind those lines.

      The Palestinian Arabs have all that is left, and hopefully they'll undertake the task of creating a successful state (or two - Gaza as a sort of Hamastan, and Judea and Samaria as whatever Fatah will make of it; that's up to them) of their own, rather than turn those lands into failed, criminal terror enterprises.

      I believe I'm more "pro-(average)-Palestinian" than their leaders and 'progressive' keyboard allies are, but that's neither here nor there. Ultimately, I'd say it's long past time for Israel to cut them off, and let them do what they will. Hopefully, that involves forming a successful state for a people who have also been continually abused and ill-treated by their Arab brethren for at least as long as any of us have been alive.

      Hopefully, they'll take that opportunity, and value it more than they do continuing to act as pawns for Israel's neighbors in their never-ending quest to destroy her.

  7. I tend to look at it in terms of game theory. In non linear game theory, made 'popular' by John Nash, of "A Beautiful Mind" there's a subset of strategies called 'strategic dominant'. "SD" approaches are demonstrated to run in the players' advantage no matter what the opponent does. That is, whatever the other player does or doesn't do, your game will always come out slightly ahead. There are subtle differences in the gaming of strong vs weak dominance but that's beyond the discussion here. But the wider point is that the best approach is to play without playing the opponent. Just proceed along whatever SD path will improve your own odds irrespective of anything your opponent does.

    Israel should proceed along an SD strategy that more closely aligns their own goals with zero consideration to any possible outcome (not actions, outcomes) the Arabs can achieve. What the Arabs are trying to accomplish is utterly beyond the point. It plays no role. Israel needs to take steps, whatever those steps are and head off in that direction. If that means scads of unilateral actions that don't consider the Arabs hurt feelings, good. That means it's a good SD approach.

    1. Theories, to me, are suspect by nature, even this one, in this matter and as a guide to moral behavior, which matters.

      That does not mean that Israel should not act in its self interest as a nation state as it sees fit, but only that it is impossible if not unwise to forget the human element which creates permutations and opportunities.

      Even if Palestinian hurt feelings seemed less like a ruse, hurt feelings generally seems a pretty weak justification to prevent exercise of external self-determination. It is obvious from the complete record that Palestinian intentions are to engage in aggression, to the extent possible, with peace as a stepping stone to more war. Hatred that consumes so many against Jews is obvious as well.

    2. Moral behavior and ethnics are not simply being nice to be nice you know. If it were then there would be no moral dilemmas in the world; that what hard choices are. But more deeply, if you're confronted by someone who would happily eat their own arm if they could kill you, then one needn't worry about any sort of normal long run detente in the hope they will someday moderate their views. I doubt anyone can conceptualize a 'contained' Nazi state that sued for peace in 1945 and went on to exist in its own little bubble being 'that crazy country over there in central Europe'. At best, at very best all we can do is rip a page from Jabotinsky and create absolute 100% separation between Israel and her neighbors; an Iron Wall, no peace, no war, no relations, no recognition, no trade, no dealings at all. And in the midst of that accept that the water level of rockets flying around is what it is and try to knock down as many of them as possible.

    3. Jabotinsky, so far as I know, did not want an Iron Wall, but to coexist, based on the reality present.

      What I said was that morality should not be removed from the equation when pursuing theories of how to act.

    4. I believe Jabotinsky can be boiled down into a few simple precepts

      The Jews are coming, and no one's going to stop that
      They desire to live side by side with the Arabs
      Whether they do or not is entirely up to the Arabs
      If no conciliation can be found then there must be absolute separation