Vidal gored

Gore Vidal, the novelist and essayist who died this week, famously remarked “I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.” Equally (if not more) famously, he engaged in a hissing match with the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., infuriating the latter by calling him a “crypto-Nazi.” Buckley, ordinarily a civilized and skilled verbal pugilist, responded with ferocity best captured by the YouTube clip here: “Now listen, you queer,” he said, “stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” What is less well known is Vidal’s resentment fueled hatred of the Jews. In this vintage piece by Norman Podhoretz, the long-time Commentary editor dissects this pathological strain of Vidal’s pathological personality. Along the way, he treats us to entertaining and instructive tales of squabbles among the literary lions and pretenders of the second half of the twentieth century. Read “The Hate That Dare Not Speak Its Name.”


The Strange Case of Jewish anti-Semitism

Professor Steve Plaut tells a sobering tale of Jewish anti-Semitism, offering punchy profiles of some of the most egregious players on this ever fashionable scene. In this oldie-but-goody piece published back in November 2010, he assembles an impressive rogues’ gallery of intellectual miscreants, whose each succeeding thumbnail bio is more bizarre than the last. Plaut explores the evident psychopathology of such academic stars as linguist Noam Chomsky and Tel Aviv University professor Shlomo Sand, who actually doubts the provenance of the modern day Jewish people: “Sand last year published a ‘book’ … that claims that most Jews today are frauds, converts from the Khazar Turkic tribe, impersonators of Jews.”

Plaut rejects the appellation “self-hating Jew” as simplistic and just plain wrong: “they are masters of narcissism. They hate other Jews…” He offers his gut take on what makes these people tick: “I personally believe it is a sort of infantile rage by disturbed people, resentful towards their parents for forcing them to become toilet trained. I am serious.”

Lest the reader think that JAS is a marginal intellectual fad, Plaut rams home its pervasiveness, asserting that it is “experiencing an explosion…, a virtual plague,” citing examples all over the political map (this writer rejects “spectrum,” but that’s another post) and a reference to it dating to the 1947 Gregory Peck flick “Gentleman’s Agreement.”

Read more here.


Barack and Barak

From JWR, here is Mid East commentator and Jerusalem Post luminary Caroline Glick’s very nice, albeit disturbing, digest of the boggling irrational “strategy” and policies pursued by the two Baracks: Israeli Defense Minister and former PM, Ehud and the American President. Mr. Obama is revealed as alarmingly out of his depth while playing nicey nice with the likes of Erdogan, the Iranian mullahs and their enforcer Achmadinejad.

Excerpt: “Then of course, there is the Gaza precedent. Ignoring the lesson of Lebanon, Barak’s successor Ariel Sharon reenacted his unilateral surrender policy in Gaza. Like Barak, Sharon promised that once Gaza was cleared of all Jewish presence, it would magically transform itself into a Middle Eastern version of Singapore.”

Read more


Open Letter to Meg Whitman

The open letter examines a case of strange bedfellows, all knotted up, in the BDS (see below) campaign against Israel. HP is the client of Texnology Inc., whose president is active in ISM (International Solidarity Movement); This past week, she called for a demonstration at the Harvard graduation to protest US House vote to fund Iron Dome anti-missile system. HP itself is a long-standing target of BDS.

Dear Ms. Whitman,

It’s a curious juxtaposition.

On one hand, Hewlett-Packard is a target of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, that potent and diffused instrument of an economic and propaganda war that seeks to isolate and enfeeble Israel. And on the other, we see that HP has a prominent place, as a high profile client, on the web site of a company called Texnology Inc. (http://texnology.com/ ), a service provider of publishing software. So where is the contradiction?

The rub is that Texnology’s owner, Amy Hendrickson, uses its resources – its e-mail servers – to disseminate anti-Israel propaganda to advance the objectives of BDS; these objectives include boycott and divestiture of HP because of its business interests in Israel.

This past week, Texnology’s servers were the source of a mass distribution e-mail, composed by Ms. Hendrickson, that set its sites on the “Iron Dome,” Israel’s cutting edge missile defense system, whose sole function is defensive. Its primary purpose? To thwart incoming Grad Katyusha missiles fired at school buses and other civilian targets in southern Israel by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza strip. But Hendrickson’s missive insists that the project will “kill Palestinians, destroy their land and homes and make war on neighboring countries.” Her e-mail clamors for protest at Harvard’s graduation ceremony this week against US funding of Iron Dome, recently approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 411 – 2.

Such a lopsided vote affirms Israel’s right to self-defense and its historic strategic and intelligence sharing relationship with the United States, which is undermined by Hendrickson’s false protestations of Israeli aggression.

So, let’s connect the dots. Ms. Hendrickson supports the terrorist group Hamas and BDS; she uses her company’s servers to advance their ends; HP’s name links to Texnology prominently on those same servers. So HP endures the shame of association with a terrorist sponsor and is itself a target of that sponsor. Isn’t that just great?

I would add that HP might want to rethink its high visibility business relationship with a company whose president uses company resources as a tool of war against an ally of the United States.  Thanks for your attention.

Harry Kanigel


Herman Cain’s moment

The grave illness of boxing great Joe Frazier brings to mind his chief pugilistic adversary, the unforgettable Ali and the rope-a-dope tactic he employed in a match against George Foreman, of Foreman grill fame. The tactic should have been dusted off by Presidential candidate Herman Cain who could have played it to great advantage in the sexual harassment dust-up…

It is widely reported that Cain had a ten day heads up that the eleven year old S H charges would make news. What a great opportunity for a wily Cain to lie in wait for the media onslaught and calmly introduce himself to the mass of Americans who are not paying attention to the Republican pre-primary skirmishes and the tedious observations of cable news pundits.

With major media outlets irresistibly drawn to the seemingly wounded black conservative, Herman could have held forth expansively under the glare of hostile attention on the big stage; a primed and unflappable Cain could have swatted aside the nebulous and anonymous charges with impressive good cheer and equanimity — to great effect.


Protecting Civilians in Libya?

For a bit of refreshing sanity, consider British author and essayist Peter Hitchens’ trenchant take on the Libyan conflict and, broadly, the “Arab Spring.” Hitchens affirms the obvious but oddly soft-pedaled truth that the thugs who will control Libya after Gaddafi are likely to be worse – much worse. This can be confidently stated without shying from the sure knowledge that the Gaddafi regime is indefensible.

So why are NATO troops there? Hitchens effectively swats aside the quaint hope that it’s about principle. If it were, “…we would be bombing Bahrain too, and demanding the withdrawal of the Saudi troops who arrived there in such sinister fashion last Monday [March 7, 2011]. But Bahrain’s the base of the U.S. 5th Fleet, so we won’t be doing that. And as I’ve said here before, this supposed objection to rulers killing their own people is not consistent. Sometimes–as in China, Bahrain and Syria–we’re happy to let them do it. “

Astute blogger and author Lawrence Auster effectively stitches together a couple of Hitchens’ Libya columns – here.


Now it’s Progress

Victor Davis Hansen considers the recalibrated media take on U.S. interventionism that has accompanied Obama’s Libya actions. National Review Online, Mar 31. A snippet:

(e) Stuff happens: Many supporters of the Iraq War condemned Abu Ghraib as the poorly supervised, out-of-control prison it was. Lax American oversight resulted in the sexual humiliation of detained Iraqi insurgents. It was a deplorable episode, in which, nonetheless, no one was killed, and yet it took an enormous toll on the credibility of Bush-administration officials. But while the media were covering the Libyan bombing and the Middle East uprisings, a number of Afghan civilians allegedly were executed by a few rogue American soldiers. That was a far worse transgression than anything that happened at Abu Ghraib during Bush’s tenure — but it was apparently an incident that, in the new media climate, could legitimately be ignored. Obama made “stuff happens” an acceptable defense for those doing their best to run a war from Washington.

Read more here