1) Israel’s Dependency on the Drug of Militarism by Robert Scheer (possibly Jewish) argues well that Israel’s current leaders are not working in the best interests of Israel.
It is true that the Israeli withdrawals of the past half-decade, nearly complete in the case of Lebanon and cynically minimal in the Palestinian territories, did not resolve all the disputes or stop all violence. Yet the abandonment of the peace process and the renewed reliance on bombs will prove far more costly for Israel. Long after Bush is gone from office, Israel will be threatened by a new generation of enemies whose political memory was decisively shaped by these horrible images emerging from Lebanon. At that point, Israelis attempting to make peace with those they must coexist with will recognize that with friends such as Bush and his neoconservative mentors, they would not lack for enemies.
Visit the original for more, and lots of comments.
Related story. Read Hall Greenland in The Bulletin; what you make of it may depend on the prejudices you bring to it, but I think it is a fair report. The fact box on the right comes from this article.
2) Has Tony Blair seen the light? You would think so if you read today’s Sydney Morning Herald.
THE British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has called for a fundamental reappraisal of British and US foreign policy, admitting that excessive emphasis on military power and failure to address the Palestinian issue has left the West losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East.
“We are far from persuading those we need to persuade” that Western values are even-handed, fair and just in their application, Mr Blair told the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles.
There was no point disguising the damage the war on the Lebanese border was doing to Middle East peace. When the war ends “we must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us”.
The only way to defeat the “arc of extremism stretching across the Middle East” was to build an alliance of moderation that painted a future in which people of all faiths could live together. The West had to show it was even-handed, fair and just in applying those values.
“Unless we reappraise our strategy; unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade and, in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win, and this is a battle we must win.”
A rather different spin is put on the same speech at Monsters and Critics.com.
Blair’s promotion of Western values as the path to a world based on mutual tolerance, freedom and justice is undermined somewhat by his unwillingness to take a stand against a brutal military campaign which has caused huge civilian loss of life.
Former Foreign Office minister Tony Lloyd, a Labor parliamentarian, said it was hard not to be skeptical about Blair’s claim that Western values were superior ‘days after the world has seen, and not acted, elderly people and children climbing out of the rubble.’
Many question the values of a so-called ‘international community’ which witnesses massacres such as that in the southern Lebanese village of Qana Sunday, where an Israeli airstrike killed over 50 civilians, at least 34 of them children, yet does little but offer token expressions of condolence.
3) Miranda stumbles into darkness. While it has to be said that Miranda Devine does find Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-semitic rant (which would have been perfectly normal, without the drunkenness of course, in Teheran government circles) indefensible, she seeks to downplay it in a way I find quite strange.
The comments are bizarre and indefensible, and raise the question of whether Gibson might share the views of his demonstrably anti-Semitic father, Hutton, who once said the Holocaust was mostly “fiction”.
But where is the same outrage over Mel’s drink driving, which had the potential to kill and maim innocent people, which his words, no matter how vile, did not.
The disproportionate share of opprobrium allocated to each of Gibson’s twin offences demonstrates the wrong-headed and increasingly blase attitude we have towards drink driving, which remains the “single most important cause of road deaths in Australia, and is implicated in up to one-third of driver and pedestrian deaths”, according to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In 2004, one in seven people aged 14 years and over admitted to driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
I won’t argue against the seriousness of drink driving, but did Miranda stop to consider how many deaths, when one looks at history, can be attributed to that same demonic (I choose that word carefully!) line of thought that crept out of the inner Mel on that occasion? In vino veritas and all that, despite the apologies.