intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.
If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates. - Jay Leno
The problem with political jokes is they get elected. - Henry Cate, VII
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. - Aesop
If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven. - Will Rogers
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. - Nikita Khrushchev
When I was a boy, I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it. - Clarence Darrow
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy more tunnel. - John Quinton
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. - Oscar Ameringer
I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. - Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952
A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. - Tex Guinan
I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. - Charles de Gaulle
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. - Doug Larson
|—||Adlai Stevenson (campaign statement in Fresno, California; 10 September 1952)|
The genomes of Ethiopian people hold echoes of the meeting between a legendary king and queen.
About 3000 years ago, the Queen of Sheba purportedly travelled from what is now Ethiopia to meet King Solomon in Israel. Ethiopian folklore even tells of a child between the pair. But that’s just a story, right?
Perhaps not entirely. Luca Pagani of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, examined samples of Ethiopian genomes and noticed that some individuals had components of both African and non-African lineages. Delving deeper, Pagani and his colleagues discovered that the non-African genetic components had much more in common with people living in Syria and around the eastern Mediterranean than in the nearer Arabian peninsula. What’s more, the gene flow probably took place around 3000 years ago.
The finding is backed by linguistic research, which shows that one of the four language families of Ethiopia migrated from the same region about 3000 years ago. “Middle Eastern language came to Ethiopia along with Middle Eastern genes,” Pagani says. “And that is when the Queen of Sheba legend is supposed to have happened.”
The meeting between the queen and Solomon remains a story, but the populations they came from did meet around that time, says Pagani.
Journal reference: The American Journal of Human Genetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.05.015
|—||Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952|
Turning Palestinians into victims a case of emotional appeals triumphing over facts
Last week the IDF responded with bombings on Gaza targets to the rockets shot from there on southern Israel. It took little time for some foreign media to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer to mainly highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.
Such distortions of the truth have to be seen in a much wider context. The overall propaganda war against Israel includes frequent falsifying of facts and many fallacious arguments. Among the latter are the use of double standards, moral equivalence, distorted analogies, appeals to pity and poverty and so on.
Turning the Palestinian aggressor into the aggressed is a prime example of how emotional appeals triumph over facts. Such appeals have a prominent place in contemporary society. The poor are considered victims, even if they are criminals. In the case of the Palestinians, there is sympathy for them in many circles as underdogs. This is not undone even by the fact that Hamas, the largest political party they voted in, has genocidal intentions. Its leaders declare this openly.
The Palestinians have understood for many years how to use sentimental appeals as part of their overall propaganda strategy. In this way, they mask the long-term profound criminal ideologies that permeate their society. As one has to pose as a victim to benefit from sentimental appeals to the world, the Palestinians have aimed to become super-victims. And if the Palestinians are super-victims, then Israelis can be presented as quintessentially evil.
Palestinian sentimental appeals are not incidental but systematic. Their greatest success was at the beginning of the second Intifada. The killing of Muhammad al-Dura in 2000 was perceived internationally as an Israeli crime. It is now known that the boy was most probably killed by Palestinian fire.
There are many other examples of similar sentimental appeals. Israel has constructed a fence – which at some points is a wall – to protect itself against Palestinian suicide terrorists. Their friends abroad present this as Palestinians having been shut out by Israel arbitrarily. Those politicians calling for removal of “the wall” present themselves as humanitarians. Yet in fact, they are facilitators of the future murder of Israeli civilians.
Israeli checkpoints are also in place to prevent murderous attacks by Palestinians. In the Palestinian propaganda machine, they are another subject for sentimental appeals. They are hyped up further by the emotional emphasis placed by their foreign allies on the fact that even pregnant women are subjected to checkpoints. As if Palestinian terrorists would hesitate to dress up as pregnant women.
The flotilla sham
Until now, the success of the al-Dura fallacy seems unbeatable as the Palestinian sentimental appeal par excellence. A good runner up is the fraudulent Gaza flotilla. It was presented as a humanitarian aid effort. However the Mavi Marmara, the largest ship, carried no humanitarian aid. Neither did two others. Some goods transported were for military purposes. Other items of the aid included pharmaceuticals which had already expired. Seven of the nine people killed on the Mavi Marmara had declared their desire to die as martyrs before setting sail.
None of this was relevant for the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Affairs Catherine Ashton, or the European and German parliaments, as well as many others who condemned Israel. This despite the fact that Israel had the legal right to uphold a blockade on Gaza and thus stop the ships. The international reactions to the flotilla were a great victory of the sentimental Palestinian appeal over the legal rights of Israel.
The recurrent success of Palestinian sentimental appeals should have alerted the Israeli government long ago that these are not unrelated incidents. After more than a decade, it should have figured out that they are an integral and systematic part of Palestinian strategy in the propaganda war. Thus, Israel should have analyzed many years ago the impact of these appeals and how to counteract them.
Unfortunately, the precise nature of this process has escaped the Israeli authorities. Some senior people in the government have even told me that nothing can be done about the defamation of Israel. To make matters worse and in an act of major stupidity, the IDF apologized incorrectly for killing al-Dura.
The issue here is not that the Palestinians have won the propaganda war and Israel has lost it. The problem is that the winner of the propaganda war may ultimately defeat the winner of the physical war. The fight against this war is painstaking. It cannot be resolved by isolated actions. It is a complex process which requires money, time, multi-disciplinary teamwork, systematic application of methodological analysis and management skills. It is a hard road, but the horrible alternative is almost certain defeat.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism
- Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
- A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.
- There are worse things than getting a call from a wrong number at 4 a.m. - like, it could be the right number.
- Always be yourself because the people that matter don’t mind…and the ones that mind don’t matter.
- Life isn’t tied with a bow…but it’s still a gift.
Every act of communication is, in some way, an act of translation. Onstage at TEDxRainier, writer Chris Bliss thinks hard about the way that great comedy can translate deep truths for a mass audience.
Chris Bliss explores the inherent challenge of communication, and how comedy opens paths to new perspectives. Full bio »
Op-ed: Mideast upheaval shatters myth, Arab-Israeli conflict unrelated to region’s troubles
Anti-regime protest in Syria Photo: Reuters
For some 100 years, the following was considered an undisputed fact: The Arab-Israeli conflict is the “father of all Mideastern conflicts.” Should it be “resolved,” the world thought, we shall see cosmic tranquility descending upon the entire region. Mounds of “research” were written about this conflict, inflating to the point of becoming a bubble threatening to explode.
Yet then came the so-called “Arab Spring” and the grim truth was exposed: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is marginal compared to the region’s real conflicts and its actual influence is limited. Indeed, it was an imaginary conflict based on self-interested reasons.
Over the years, Arab rulers who knew that the ethnic, religious, tribal and regional problems in their own countries were terrible and irresolvable (and this is the reason for the awful slaughter in Syria,) always diverted attention to Israel. And so, the Arab masses ignored their actual distress and instead were preoccupied with the usual anti-Israel incitement.
The Jewish State imagined by the Arab world, the Israel no Arab was actually familiar with, had turned involuntarily into a means for washing away Mideastern sins. Many people made a living and gained fame through this beneficial conflict: It became a career for them.
Why should Saddam Hussein reveal to the world the terrible hatred between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq? Why should Assad expose his bloody Alawite rule in Syria? Why should the Egyptians share the terrible economic distress faced by their country? Why should Gaddafi reveal the complex tribal split in his state? And why should Lebanon expose its messy mixture of ethnicities and religions? It’s always better to hide one’s dirty laundry while focusing on Israel: Condemn it, criticize it and disparage it.
And so, the conflict between Israel and the Arabs has turned into a truly operative means for regional rulers; it provided them with their almost only legitimacy vis-à-vis their own people and the world. As long as they spoke about Israel’s brutality, nobody would be talking about their own brutality. They imagined Israel as fragile and crumbling while imagining that they were stable. The truth was the other way around, of course.
Arab masses were fooled
Yet then came the Arab Spring, the Arab public was given a way to express itself for the first time in its history, and suddenly it turned out that Israel is far away and not too relevant. Besides, what does the real Arab distress have to do with Israel at all? The Arabs realized that in many ways their tyrannical rulers deceived them via an imaginary Israel.
If a Palestinian state is established, for example, will Assad embrace his domestic foes? Will Ahmadinejad reconcile with his enemies? Will Libya’s militias make up? Will Yemen regain even a hint of stability? And what does one have to do with the other at all?
Hezbollah used similar logic. The organization gained its fleeting glory during the war it fought against the IDF on Lebanese soil. Yet once that conflict ended, the group lost its legitimacy in the Arab world. Hezbollah would happily revive its conflict with Israel, yet it realizes that the Jewish state is powerful and has the means to destroy the organization this time around.
The first to realize their stock crashed were the Palestinians. Abbas’ decision to approach the United Nations last September was a desperate move. He knew developments were not playing out in his favor. After all, if the region’s real problems are finally being addressed, there is no longer any need for the Palestinian facade.
Who would actually care whether Abbas joins forces with Hamas’ Khaled Mashaal or not? Is there anyone actually affected by this? When the entire Mideast is burning, the Palestinian issue comes off the agenda. This is the reason why international networks such as CNN or France2 are leaving Israel at this time or closing down their offices. The Israeli conflict is not longer a story, with the focus shifting to Damascus, Cairo and Tripoli.
Even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resumes in the future, it will merely constitute one conflict among many in the Middle East, rather than the “father of all conflicts” as it was perceived in the past. Israel, which was perceived as a demon, is returning to its natural dimensions in the region: A small country, not the most influential, but much more legitimate and integrated in the region than in the past.
1. What are you thinking about?
2. Do you love me?
3. Do I look fat?
4. Do you think she is prettier than me?
5. What would you do if I died?
What makes these questions so difficult is that each one is guaranteed to explode into a major argument if the man answers incorrectly (i.e. tells the truth). Therefore, as a public service, each question is analyzed below, along with possible responses.
Question # 1: What are you thinking about?
The proper answer to this, of course, is: “I’m sorry if I’ve been pensive, dear. I was just reflecting on what a warm, wonderful, thoughtful, caring, intelligent woman you are, and how lucky I am to have met you.”
This response obviously bears no resemblance to the true answer, which most likely is one of the following:
c. How fat you are.
d. How much prettier she is than you.
e. How I would spend the insurance money if you died.
(Perhaps the best response to this question was offered by Al Bundy, who once told Peg, “If I wanted you to know what I was thinking, I would be talking to you!”)
Question # 2: Do you love me?
The proper response is: “YES!” or, if you feel a more detailed answer is in order, “Yes, dear.”
Inappropriate responses include:
a. Oh Yeah, loads.
b. Would it make you feel better if I said yes?
c. That depends on what you mean by love.
d. Does it matter?
e. Who, me?
Question # 3: Do I look fat?
The correct answer is an emphatic: “Of course not!”
Among the incorrect answers are:
a. Compared to what?
b. I wouldn’t call you fat, but you’re not exactly thin.
c. A little extra weight looks good on you.
d. I’ve seen fatter.
e. Could you repeat the question? I was just thinking about how I would spend the insurance money if you died.
Question # 4: Do you think she’s prettier than me?
Once again, the proper response is always: “Of course not!”
Incorrect responses include:
a. Yes, but you have a better personality.
b. Not prettier, but definitely thinner.
c. Not as pretty as you when you were her age.
d. Define pretty.
e. Could you repeat the question? I was just thinking about how I would spend the insurance money if you died.
Question# 5: What would you do if I died?
A definite no-win question, but one response that might work is:
“I’d be devastated, and struggle to go on without you.”
Incorrect responses include:
a. I’d turn to your sister for comfort and solace.
b. I’d sell your clothes and shoes and retire.
c. I’d see if your (recently divorced) best friend is still available.
The real answer, of course, is “Buy a Corvette!”
Revisionist Arab narrative of Mideast conflict premised on deception rather than facts
“Don’t ask me nothing about nothing about nothing, I just might tell you the truth.” The iconic song writer Bob Dylan penned these lyrics in the mid 1960s. In light of the recent comments by presidential candidate Newt Gingrich regarding the “Palestinians,” Mr. Gingrich might feel inclined to invoke Dylan’s lyric to those who took issue with his comments.
When it comes to the Middle East conflict, it seems the “truth” depends on who’s talking.
A simple explanation of the facts can go a long way to identify whose version of the “truth” is accurate.
When it comes to the Arab narrative and the name “Palestine,” and “Palestinians,” there’s more than enough “truth” that can be proven to be untrue. For example, if you ask what and where is “Palestine,” virtually every enemy of Israel, including Mahmoud Abbas, will tell you it includes the entire land area which the rest of the world calls Israel.
In fact, “Palestine” refers to a coastal section of land in the area of today’s Gaza Strip that was inhabited by the ancient Philistines who were not native to Israel or the region. Most scholars believe they migrated from Greece or Crete. The ancient Philistines were enemies of Israel. The biblical giant Goliath, whom King David slew, was a Philistine.
The name “Palestine” is from the Latin name “Philistia.” It came to be known as such after the unsuccessful Jewish revolt led by Bar Kochba in 135 AD.
Then Roman Emperor Hadrian, in an effort to wipe out any symbols of Jewish presence, renamed the Kingdom of Judea Philistia He did this specifically to insult the Jews, since the Philistines were their enemies.
For the record, there isn’t, nor has there ever been a sovereign nation called Palestine.
Truth routinely sacrificed
As recently as the Six-Day War there were no specific people known as “Palestinians.”
Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim terrorist who at that time lived in the area that became known as the “West Bank,” (another invented term) said “how can I go to bed as a Jordanian one day, and wake up the next day as a Palestinian?” He is referring to the day before and the day after the start of the Six-Day War.
So where does the name “Palestinian” come from? Many will tell you the champion of this remaking of the Arab image is the late Yasser Arafat. He founded the “Palestine” Liberation Organization PLO in 1964 and began using the term “Palestinian” in order to legitimize his effort to portray the “displaced” Arabs from the 1948 War of Independence as unique with an ethnicity and culture of their own. His effort was motivated by the intentional refusal of surrounding Arab countries to absorb them. It is these people who eventually became known as “Palestinian refugees.”
Another reason for inventing the term is well described by then-PLO Executive Committee member Zahir Muhsein. In a 1977 interview, he said: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality there is no difference between Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for our political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since the Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people,’ to oppose Zionism.”
So when Mr. Gingrich says the Palestinians are an “invented people,” it seems clear he is basing his comment on facts that ironically are supported by the “Palestinians” themselves. Not surprisingly, he has been attacked for speaking the truth, especially by the Arab world. However, other Republican presidential hopefuls also attacked him. Why?
It seems the Middle East conflict is an environment where “truth” is routinely sacrificed in the name of diplomacy. Yet where has diplomacy gotten us? It seems diplomacy has simply given the Arabs the opportunity to continue reinventing the “truth” in order to maintain their agenda of hatred and de-legitimization of Israel.
I suggest it is for this reason Mr. Gingrich felt compelled to say enough is enough, it’s time to speak the truth. I find his comments starkly refreshing and long overdue. If nothing else, his sober remarks may serve as a much needed reminder that when it comes to the Arab revisionist narrative facts don’t seem to alter their agenda. Maybe it’s time the rest of the world started taking note of just who is and who isn’t telling the truth.
“Don’t ask me nothing about nothing…..”
A piece by Lori Borgman originally published in the Indianapolis Star on March 15, 1998.
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense , who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn’t always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I’m A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.