Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

All the best to all our readers in 2014!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mark Horowitz: A Harvard Professor's Fraudulent History of Hollywood

It sounds like another cracked, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory dredged up from some Truther website, but it’s the thesis of a recent book from Harvard University Press, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler, written by a freshly minted young Berkeley Ph.D., now Harvard Junior Fellow, Ben Urwand, and supported by documents culled from German archives, pages of supplemental notes, and back-cover bona fides from respectable historians like Richard Evans, who also reviewed the manuscript for the Harvard Press. “It is time to remove the layers that have hidden the collaboration for so long,” the author writes in his prologue, “and to reveal the historical connection between the most important individual of the twentieth century and the movie capital of the world.”
The Collaboration, however, reveals nothing of the sort. The book’s astounding claims are not only flatly contradicted by more credible accounts the author inexplicably ignores, but his thesis is undercut by evidence, old and new, he himself provides. The author misunderstands classic films, not to mention the social and political history of the period. One can’t help wondering why the Harvard Society of Fellows thought this book worthy of support and what Harvard University Press intended by publishing it.

More on this topic here, from Alicia Mayer: http://hollywoodessays.com/2013/12/18/face-to-face-with-ben-urwand-the-question-i-asked-and-his-reply/ 

Still more here, from Clare Spark:

Alan Luxenberg Outs American Studies Association Boycott Leadership

The vote by the 5,000-member American Studies Association to support the academic boycott of Israel, reportedly by a 2-1 margin, has evoked many responses, but none so far has identified the irony at the core of the matter.  To show that irony, and the deeper problem it illustrates, you need to know that a couple of weeks before the ASA vote, the ASA’s 20-member National Council, which administers the ASA and is elected by the ASA membership, pre-voted in favor of the Israel boycott—and did so unanimously.
Can you imagine twenty serious scholars in any discipline voting unanimously on any controversial issue? I can’t, so I thought it worthwhile to examine the composition of the ASA’s National Council and to peruse its members’ academic profiles, as described on the webpages of their home institutions. This simple exercise reveals a stunning lack of diversity of intellectual interests and perspectives in a sector of American society, the university, that explicitly places a very high premium on “diversity.” The apparent obsession with gender, gay and race studies (or of U.S. imperialism) among the members of ASA’s National Council seems to come at the expense of scholarship on just about everything else.
You don’t have to take my word for it. See for yourself or, if you like, scan through the abridged academic profiles below of 18 of the 20 members of ASA’s National Council. All the information is drawn from the faculty profiles as presented on university webpages; none of the language is mine.



Friday, December 20, 2013

Michael Oren: US Congress Could End Israel Boycott


But merely protesting this abhorrent decision will not succeed in reversing it or discouraging other similarly bigoted organizations from following suit. What’s needed is a way to fight back, and Congress can do it.
A successful precedent for that fight already exists in the defeat of the Arab economic boycott of Israel. That embargo began in 1945, before Israel's creation, when the Arab League voted to ban "Jewish products." Over the next 30 years, this boycott damaged Israel's economy—until America stood up.
In 1977, Congress passed a series of laws making it illegal for U.S. companies to cooperate with any boycott of Israel and imposing stiff penalties on those that did. The boycott, Congress concluded, was not only racist against Israelis but all Jews. In signing the legislation, President Jimmy Carter, though a frequent critic of Israel, pledged to “end the divisive effects on American life of foreign boycotts aimed at Jewish members of our society.” Subsequent bills further underscored America's commitment to safeguard Israel from prejudicial bans.
Predictably, the Arab League dismissed these laws as a "hysterical campaign" imposed on the United States by "world Zionism." But when confronted with American steadfastness, the boycott began to unravel. Companies such as Pepsi, Toyota and Xerox, which had formally complied with the blacklisting, began doing business with Israel. By 1994, six Gulf Arab states announced that they were backing off the embargo, and the following year, Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders pledged “all efforts to end the boycott of Israel.”
A similar legislative response could prove effective in quashing the movement to boycott Israel academically. Laws could be passed withholding federal or state funding from any academic program that knowingly blacklisted Israeli scholars or institutions or cooperated with associations that did. While an organization like ASA might prefer punishing Israel to receiving government funds, other academic bodies—including universities—most likely will not. At the very least, lawmakers on the local and national level can go on record expressing their unequivocal opposition to such boycotts.
Opponents of this approach will inevitably claim that it stifles academic freedom and open debate. The contrary is true. Legislation voiding prejudicial boycotts preserves the scholarly interaction essential for academic freedom. Open debate about Israel's—or any other country's—policies must continue unimpeded. What must not be allowed to continue is the isolation of one member of the international community on the basis of bigotry cloaked in academic righteousness.
As Israel’s ambassador to the United States and as an historian who believes in free academic exchange, I often spoke before college audiences and welcomed even those questions critical of Israel. But at the University of California at Irvine in February 2010, protesters tried to disrupt my talk and deprive all those present—students and faculty—of the right to discourse. No other visiting lecturer was singled out, only the Israeli. But 11 of those demonstrators were arrested, tried and found guilty of disrupting free speech. Academic boycotts of Israel aim at the same objective and they, too, can be legally stopped.
If the ASA vote were merely misguided, it might be overlooked. Unfortunately, history teaches us that even small acts of prejudice can multiply and become commonplace. But just as it stood up for American values in 1970s, so, too, today Congress can combat intolerance. By acting decisively now, legislators can assure that high education in American preserves its highest standards.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/will-congress-stand-up-for-academic-freedom-101379.html#ixzz2o3eoHNcB

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pam Geller on ASA's Israel Boycott


Read my column today in The Jerusalem Post.
Just as the sniveling American Jewish diaspora failed the Jews of Europe, we Bergson adagain witness these swashbucking cowards failing the Jews of the 21st century.
The above 3/4-page ad appeared in the New York Times in 1943. The ad was placed by the Committee for a Jewish Army of Stateless and Palestinian Jews (CJA), a pressure group founded by Peter Bergson, Broadway impresario Billy Rose, and Ben Hecht, among others, and was in response to an offer that had been made to the Allies by upper-echelon members of the Romanian government to assist in the transfer of some 70,000 Jews from their fascist state to Palestine or elsewhere.
CJA was denounced by mainstream Jewish organizations as alarmist, unethical, and overly militant.Much the way my work, in particular my savage ads, were denounced by American Jewish leaders. Inaction, submission and cowardice. History repeats itself.

... Israel has not violated international law or UN resolutions, and if these so-called academics had even a rudimentary knowledge of history -- the San Remo resolution, Balfour, the White Paper, and Islamic Jew-hatred -- they would apologize and retreat with their heads hung in shame. The ASA ought to issue a resolution that Islamic anti-Semitism is a violation of human rights, and that calls for a Jew-free “Palestine” are a human rights violation, and the repeated “Palestinian” calls for the destruction of Israel are a monstrous human rights violation.
This boycott should also be a grim wake-up call for those swashbuckling Jewish philanthropists who give over their wealth to colleges and universities -- families like Tisch, Stern, Steinhard, Silver, Kimmel, Wasserman, Levy. What is their legacy? They have built the structures and the machinery that are serving the agenda of the annihilationists and Goebbels-inspired hate propaganda...

Camille Paglia: It's a Man's World

Every day along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, one can watch the passage of vast oil tankers and towering cargo ships arriving from all over the world. These stately colossi are loaded, steered and off-loaded by men. The modern economy, with its vast production and distribution network, is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role — but women were not its author. Surely, modern women are strong enough now to give credit where credit is due!

Read more: It’s a Man’s World, and It Always Will Be | TIME.com http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/16/its-a-mans-world-and-it-always-will-be/#ixzz2nvsFmyfK

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ASA Israel Boycott May Violate Federal and State Laws...


Last week, the American Studies Association’s (ASA) national council, unanimously passed a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The ASA, which bills itself as the “oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” then took the unusual step of asking its reportedly 5,000 members to cast their own votes on upholding the anti-Israel policy. While the deadline to reject the resolution runs out today, Sunday, December 15, the ASA scholars, which fancy themselves as the leading authorities on all things American, seem to have overlooked one small matter – a boycott resolution of this nature violates international, federal and state law in the United States. They leave the ASA and its membership open to both civil and criminal liability.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas Opposes Israel Boycott


It is ironic that while Abbas is saying no to a boycott of Israel, the American Studies Association, an association of U.S. professors with almost 5,000 members, voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israeli colleagues and universities.
The U.S. professors obviously do not care about what the Palestinian Authority president has to say about the boycott of Israel. The professors, like BDS supporters, apparently believe that Abbas is a "traitor" because he is conducting peace talks with Israel.
Abbas's attack on the BDS movement is a serious embarrassment for the anti-Israel activists, many of whom are not Palestinians.
The statements have enraged BDS activists worldwide, with some calling into question Abbas's right to speak on behalf of the Palestinians.
Prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab noted that Abbas's statement in Johannesburg "naturally has angered many Palestinian and international supporters of the BDS movement."
Kuttab wrote that Abbas's statement "reflects the absence of any clear strategy from the Palestinian political leadership except for negotiations. It is unclear whether the reason behind the Palestinian leader's public attack at the BDS movement is a result of trying to protect the Palestinian elite or not wanting to anger the Israelis and their US allies."
Abbas did, however, call on people around the world to boycott products of settlements. "No, we do not support the boycott of Israel," Abbas said. "But we ask everyone to boycott the products of settlements because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal."

Penn State Harrisburg to drop American Studies Assoc membership after Israel boycott

Penn State Harrisburg to drop American Studies Assoc membership after Israel boycott

From the comments section:

Like any parasite, the far left can only be controlled by cutting off its source of feeding. Get federal money out of higher education, and the political nonsense theater the left has been putting on the last 30 years or so will no longer seem so amusing when institutions have to fund it themselves.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The DiploMad 2.0: Joy to the World.

The DiploMad 2.0: The War on Joy: This post started off as a little discourse on the Christmas season and the sort of politically correct nonsense we see emerge at this time....

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wall Street Journal Shills For Boston Marthon Bombers


Reporter Alan Cullison is either a fool or a knave, and his Wall Street Journal editors have no shame, to publish today's illogical, dishonest, contradictory account of his personal support for a Chechen terrorist family:

An insult to the dead.

Cullison declares: "I expected to write about Russia's Islamist insurgency in the future and I thought some Chechen expatriates might help me..." 

In other words, Cullison admits he was cultivating the Tsarnaevs because they were Chechens familiar with the Islamist insurgency, whom the Russians correctly called terrorists.

Rather than begging forgiveness of the people of Boston for befriending killers, he makes a cowardly attempt to pardon himself with an obvious lie that fails the red-face test.

"A decade ago, there was nothing about the Tsarnaevs to suggest any involvement in Islamist extremism..."

Except for the fact that Cullison specifically said he was developing the Tsarnaevs as sources on "Russia's Islamist insurgency."

Cullinson's pathetic screed is a shameful confession of the Wall Street Journal's immoral promotion of Islamist terror--in Chechnya and Boston alike.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Humberto Fontnova on Obama & Castro


Monday, December 09, 2013

Seymour Hersh: Obama Lied About Syrian Poison Gas


The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the US and the UN as a terrorist organisation. Al-Nusra is known to have carried out scores of suicide bombings against Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim sects inside Syria, and to have attacked its nominal ally in the civil war, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA). Its stated goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and establish sharia law. (On 25 September al-Nusra joined several other Islamist rebel groups in repudiating the FSA and another secular faction, the Syrian National Coalition.)
The flurry of American interest in al-Nusra and sarin stemmed from a series of small-scale chemical weapons attacks in March and April; at the time, the Syrian government and the rebels each insisted the other was responsible. The UN eventually concluded that four chemical attacks had been carried out, but did not assign responsibility. A White House official told the press in late April that the intelligence community had assessed ‘with varying degrees of confidence’ that the Syrian government was responsible for the attacks. Assad had crossed Obama’s ‘red line’. The April assessment made headlines, but some significant caveats were lost in translation. The unnamed official conducting the briefing acknowledged that intelligence community assessments ‘are not alone sufficient’. ‘We want,’ he said, ‘to investigate above and beyond those intelligence assessments to gather facts so that we can establish a credible and corroborated set of information that can then inform our decision-making.’ In other words, the White House had no direct evidence of Syrian army or government involvement, a fact that was only occasionally noted in the press coverage. Obama’s tough talk played well with the public and Congress, who view Assad as a ruthless murderer.
Two months later, a White House statement announced a change in the assessment of Syrian culpability and declared that the intelligence community now had ‘high confidence’ that the Assad government was responsible for as many as 150 deaths from attacks with sarin. More headlines were generated and the press was told that Obama, in response to the new intelligence, had ordered an increase in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. But once again there were significant caveats. The new intelligence included a report that Syrian officials had planned and executed the attacks. No specifics were provided, nor were those who provided the reports identified. The White House statement said that laboratory analysis had confirmed the use of sarin, but also that a positive finding of the nerve agent ‘does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed or who was responsible for the dissemination’. The White House further declared: ‘We have no reliable corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.’ The statement contradicted evidence that at the time was streaming into US intelligence agencies.
Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military.
On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin. A sample of the sarin that had been used was also recovered – with the help of an Israeli agent – but, according to the consultant, no further reporting about the sample showed up in cable traffic.
Independently of these assessments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assuming that US troops might be ordered into Syria to seize the government’s stockpile of chemical agents, called for an all-source analysis of the potential threat. ‘The Op Order provides the basis of execution of a military mission, if so ordered,’ the former senior intelligence official explained. ‘This includes the possible need to send American soldiers to a Syrian chemical site to defend it against rebel seizure. If the jihadist rebels were going to overrun the site, the assumption is that Assad would not fight us because we were protecting the chemical from the rebels. All Op Orders contain an intelligence threat component. We had technical analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, weapons people, and I & W [indications and warnings] people working on the problem … They concluded that the rebel forces were capable of attacking an American force with sarin because they were able to produce the lethal gas. The examination relied on signals and human intelligence, as well as the expressed intention and technical capability of the rebels.’

The Perfect Christmas Gift: David O. Strickland's "The FIrst Man Off The Plane"

The Guardian: How Margaret Thatcher Freed Nelson Mandela

was briefed off-the-record by her foreign affairs adviser on several occasions, but when he told me that she had called on the then president, PW Botha, to release Nelson Mandela, I found it difficult to believe. I did not report it as I could not source it. But it was true. In a letter to Botha in October 1985 she wrote: "I continue to believe, as I have said to you before, that the release of Nelson Mandela would have more impact than almost any single action you could undertake."
When Botha stepped down after a stroke in 1989, he was replaced by FW de Klerk, who met Thatcher at Downing Street in June. I was among a group of journalists waiting outside No 10 with the promise that he would give a press conference straight after. We watched him leave then ran up Whitehall to the South African embassy where he had promised to speak. He did not turn up. We were told later that he had been too shocked by Thatcher's vehemence.
Mandela was released on 11 February 1990 (I was at the gates of the jail but to my eternal chagrin I failed to spot him). That evening he made a speech from the balcony of the town hall in Cape Town which was televised, live, world wide. The speech was written by the hard-liners and communists in the ANC and was full of Marxist jargon. "Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960… was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue." Thatcher was appalled. She picked up the telephone to Robin Renwick, the British ambassador in South Africa, and demanded to know why she had ever bothered to battle for Mandela's release if this was the result.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Angelo Codevilla on the Senkaku Islands Crisis

When the Prince Flunks Diplomacy 101

The Diplomad: The Legacy of Nelson Mandela


As it turns out, I was right and wrong. The ANC was a lost cause; they did not believe in democracy, and had a large element of thuggery in their ranks. Many were terrorists who had received training in Libya, and were out for revenge and blood. Mandela, however, was more complicated than I had thought. He had had his violent phase, but only after trying peaceful opposition to apartheid. Both in and after coming out of prison, he proved an extremely intelligent negotiator and compromiser, reaching understandings with Botha and De Klerk, and turning down the volume of the anti-white message of the ANC. He seemed to have an understanding that whites and other non-blacks were essential for a peaceful and prosperous South Africa. He also, surprise, did not go full Mugabe. He won election--although the vote counting was suspicious--served his term, trying to unite blacks, whites, Asians, and others into accepting the new post-apartheid South Africa. He did not try to drive the whites out, and did not go around confiscating farms and businesses. He did not encourage revenge against whites and sought a reconciliation of the races. A practical politician, he turned a blind eye to the rampant corruption among the ANC, finding it better to let the party members expend their revolutionary fervor making money. At the end of his term, he stepped down. Yes, he stepped down. That is an amazing thing in Africa; he stepped down on completing his term of office. It does not happen much on that continent. He, however, never got over his deep mistrust of the USA, and despite his credentials as a victim of human rights abuse, refused to criticize Qaddafy, never gave up his fervent admiration for Castro--who, ironically, runs a racist regime in Cuba--and remained very anti-Israel.

Was he a great man? I think the answer is yes. He had great flaws, but great courage, drive, and commitment to his cause. He showed that a determined person can make a difference. He also showed that an African president can play by the rules and try to be president for all the people of his country. For that he deserves kudos and respect. He, nevertheless, did not establish a viable democratic political system in South Africa, and proved unable to stop the escalating criminal violence that has turned Johannesburg into one of the world's rape and murder capitals. His successors have proven notably less "great" than Mandela, and ANC corruption has gone into the stratosphere--including by Mandela's gangster ex-wife, Winnie. The white and other middle class flight he wanted to avoid proceeded and has grown. I think the jury remains out on whether South Africa can avoid the fate of Zimbabwe in the medium to long run. If I had to place a bet it would be that South Africa will not avoid that fate. Mandela's time in office, unfortunately, likely will prove a brief glorious moment of "what could have been but was not."

Nelson Mandela, RIP.