Still Nervous

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13 Responses

  1. Garnel Ironheart says:

    > If someone were shooting at my daughters, he said, I would do everything in my power to stop them. That common sense, human response was notably absent from much commentary on the war.

    Mr. Obama should be taken at his word. If he demands Israel’s unilateral surrender in the face of terrorism, he will first remind us of this phrase and then remind us that his daughters aren’t being shot at so what’s going on in Israel is different!

  2. Garnel Ironheart says:

    “There is no conflict without an end.”

    Rubbish. Every major conflict has had an end. Are either World War I or II still going on? Is the Korean War or Viet-nam War still raging? A conflict ends when one power decisively defeats the other or convinces it that it’s defeated so it’ll slink away ignominously. Neither has happened in Israel which is why that conflict seems unending but were Israel allowed to deael with the Arabs in a proper manner, that conflict would also end.

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    “No, my concerns about the Obama presidency derive primarily from his membership in the class of graduates of elite Ivy League universities.”

    As a graduate of one of those elite universities, I take strong exception to this statement.

    I never heard Rabbi Rosenblum complain that President Bush had degrees from two Ivy League universities, as do Henry Paulson and Michael Mukasey, the latter of whom is an Orthodox Jew. Or about the Princeton degrees of Donald Rumsfield, Josh Bolten or Mitch Daniels. Or John Ashcroft’s Yale degree. Or Alberto Gonzales’ Harvard Law degree.

    Finally, a true story: Early in this decade, there was a serious move to convince Harvard and MIT to divest its endowment holdings from companies that do business in Israel. An internet petition drive was begin. Quickly, a counter-petition drive began. The counter-petition accumulated NINE TIMES the number of signatures from faculty, staff, students, and alumni as did the pro-divestment petition. I was one of the alumni signatories.

    Enough with the sterotyping!

  4. David N. Friedman says:

    Jonathan Rosenblum accuses Obama of being naive in his stand towards Israel and her enemies and this is both an understatement and a compliment. To assess that there is “difficulty in changing souls” regarding the mindset of Islamic radicals is very true. Yet, the belief that an Obama administration will be as friendly towards Israel as the Bush administration is pure wishful thinking. Obama’s initial outreach to the Muslim world on TV was a disaster, as critiqued by Charles Krauthammer and others and if it is diplomatic to bash America’ in order to curry favor–this is not at all helpful.

    Jonathan Rosenblum remains one of the very best minds in our community but I must protest his belief that he has come out of the box as more moderate than expected. His speeches have always infuriated me and now more than ever. Note that as a few conservatives were initially swayed by his private rhetoric, such as Lawrence Kudlow, almost all have joined the growing chorus against his so-called “stimulus” plan which is nothing more than Democrat’s favored pork spending for their own selfish interests. It is shocking that we need to negotiate the President’s budget for wasteful spending down from hundreds of billions of dollars to a few less billions of dollars. If even a Democratic Congress fails to see that a nearly bankrupt nation can afford zero wasteful pork spending–let the voters see the contrast as the Dems and Obama press this agenda with a sure signal of over-reach and insult to the taxpayers. This is not merely a test of wills over people’s pocketbooks–we are at the stage of ruining people’s lives and changing our nation into a crippled socialist wasteland.

    Obama has been cheered by Iran for promising to close down Gitmo and I don’t expect Iran will be disappointed by Obama’s future moves in the Middle East. George Mitchell, of Lebanese ancestry and generally pro-Arab, is going to please few Israelis and even if policy need not be a zero-sum game, the Muslims are betting heavily that Obama is going to bring unprecedented pressure on Israel for concessions.

    The further difficulty in elite perception, is the fact that most of the players, including the President himself, is a lawyer. The kind of result favored by lawyers–i.e. signatures on a piece of paper, is precisely the kind of phony “victory” we should come to mistrust.

  5. L. Oberstein says:

    Once again, I agree with your analysis of the “Middle East Conflict”. Now what? I viewed the exchange between the Turkish Prime Minister and Peres. Peres was magnificent, he covered all the bases and the applause he received were due to the really good job he did of restoring Israel’s image as a decent civilized country after 3 speakers in a row had browbeat him. What bothered Erdogan? 1. Peres raised his voice and this is not kovod to him. 2. The audience applauded Peres which he felt was an insult to Erdogan who called Israelis murderers. 3. The moderator did not let him make a tirade and limited him to one minute, which was in itself more than he was entitled to by the rules of the forum. I+It was an insult to him that he was told he couldn’t speak as long as he desired. In summary – kovod was the issue.
    Isn’t that the underlying problem in Israel’s relations with its neighbors? Israel’s existance is an insult to their manhood.
    Erdogan won the favor of the entire Moslem world.He is a hero because he stood up for his honor . That is the whole “middle east conflict” in a nutshell.

  6. Chaim Fisher says:

    Well, after the dirt-bike-riding, brush-clearing, sentence-massacring Bush administration nearly destroyed the world and its economy, maybe it’s time to give thinking people a chance…

  7. Bob Miller says:

    Let’s give these “thinking people” a chance to think right for the first time in their public lives.

  8. David N. Friedman says:

    Please do not misunderstand J. Rosenblum’s point concerning the problem with elite thinking. In making a contrast with the diplomatic efforts of the Bush administration and his own, Obama was quick to proclaim that he would solve problems unsolved by previous administrations because he was going to offer “determined diplomacy.” Wow–how wondrous! This does not mean that Bush’s diplomats lacked people with academic degrees. Rather, Obama is advancing his naive notion of elite thinking and “sophistication” to solve problems which are not easily solved. JR’s point is that the people dealing with such problems need to have real world experience–something profoundly lacking in Obama’s personal case and also in the case of those he has chosen to represent America, like Hillary Clinton. Only the truly “sophisticated” believe that they can roll hard-core fanatics with formulas such as “mutual interests” or appealing to their soft-side as Obama attempted to do on Saudi TV.

    Yes, we want our officials such as our Attorney General to be as brainy as Mukassey–Eric Holder would therefore come out on the short side of that comparison and so would Biden compared to Cheney, etc. JR’s complaint is as much about attitude and expectation as it is about academic qualifications, per se. The concern is about a reliance on too many ivory tower, egghead” types, unfamiliar with the streets WHEN we are speaking about Arabs. To be fair, this is why C. Rice had problems since she is something of an ivory tower intellectual as well.

    Paulson is a Democrat and this is why he advanced notions which pleased Dems and infuriated the Right (McCain is not a conservative).

    Finally, to correct Rabbi Rosenblum, the conservatives are in a total uproar over Obama’s daily trail of scandals and speeches. His “stimulus” package has brought the Republicans together, his countless blunders make for sharply pointed fare on the talk shows and blogs If the Daily Kos crowd is disappointed, believe me, the conservatives are far more sapped of hope of some semblance of balance from this administration.

  9. YM says:

    Garnel, US troops are still stationed in Germany and Japan, and Korea. I guess these wars are still going on πŸ™‚

    Chaim Fisher, I was reading the Village Voice (!!) yesterday; there was an article about the economic collapse and the writer, no conservative, blames Bill Clinton’s decision not to regulate the trading of derivitaves as the “ikur” cause of the collapse. The article, in general, blames policies of both parties. Stop blaming Bush for everything.

  10. Sam Szlezinger says:

    “…my concerns about the Obama presidency derive primarily from his membership in the class of graduates of elite Ivy League universities.”

    This isn’t about particular universities, more about the liberal tradition which sees progress over time as the defining feature of history.

    Israel’s real problem isn’t so much religion as it is depicted here but the cynical way in which all Arab governments have manipulated their populations and for which religion is used as a convenient cover. Palestinian suffering suits their leaders so they allow them to suffer, indeed, they exploit and intensify it. A Palestinian is not allowed to become homo economicus. Earlier plans which had at their core allowing a Palestinian middle class to arise who would have an interest in peace have not been allowed to develop. Until that changes Mr Obama’s Ivy League clever chaps will be whistling in the wind.

  11. Garnel Ironheart says:

    > US troops are still stationed in Germany

    As a precaution against an invasion from Mother Russia, not as an occupation force of allied Germany.

    > and Japan,

    Because the US written constitution won’t let them defend themselves so the Americans are picking up the tab.

    > and Korea.

    And that show of force is the only reason North Korea hasn’t started round 2.

  12. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    Wow, Charles Hall, Ph.D, is an Ivy League graduate. Who would have ever known? By the way, I find little consolation that a boycott resolution against Israel could have gotten over 10% support from Ivy League graduates.

    My objection is not to Ivy League graduates per se. John Bolton, James Woolsey, my classmate Ruth Wedgewood, and my brother Jeremy serve as constant reminders, for instance, that a Yale Law School education need not drain one of all common sense. William Buckley, who famously remarked that he would rather be governed by any group of people picked randomly from the Cambridge phone book than the faculty of Harvard, did not deny anything could be garnered from an elite education, judging from the title of his first book.

    My objection is to the veritable panting in the New York Times about how smart everybody is in the new administration and how many fancy degrees they have, as if that self-evidently guaranteed that have tapped into some deeper wisdom. My fear greatest fear is that those written about may share that view. That is based on my observation of myself and my friends when I used to hang out in these places.

    One last point, elaborated on in this week’s Jerusalem Post piece, is that those who believe in their problem-solving ability also tend to have a tendency to frame issues in a way that makes them appear soluable. Example, forget about Islamic jihad or Islamic terror just focus on a few bad guys or organizations or particular local grievances. Is that the right framework? My guess is not. But rounding up the bad guys or addressing local grievances sounds a lot more doable than dealing with clashing cultures or civilizations.

  13. Bob Miller says:

    Self-glorification and self-absorption are traditional among the intelligentsia and those who want to bask in their glow.

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