Festivus Comes Early


As Frank Costanza famously said: "I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it!"

No, I have zero problems with you, dear readers. My problems are with…

Well, first, Robert Azzi, who had his usual boilerplate Israel-hating column in my local Sunday paper yesterday (archived here) only slightly modified to account for recent Palestinian atrocities. Sample paragraph where he acknowledges simple reality:

Hamas has committed unimaginable crimes on humanity, war crimes that must outrage all peoples without exception even as one might wage anti-colonial actions and struggles. There is no justification or excuse for Hamas’ barbaric and murderous acts; they are clear violations of international law and must be condemned.

Ah, but can you guess the very next word?

However murderous Hamas’ acts, they neither justify Israel’s systemic violations of international law and conventions nor justify revenge or acts against humanity by invading and leveling Gaza in a way that will “reverberate for generations.”

At heart, Azzi is only truly critical of one side, Israel, for daring to defend itself against "barbaric and murderous acts". He knows Israel's true goal, seemingly only revealed by accident:

Peace isn’t something simply to be desired. It follows from justice. Without justice there can be no peace. Without truth there can be no justice, and today’s truth is that Netanyahu will try to cynically manipulate the aftermath of Hamas’ brutality and indiscriminate killing to try to derail Palestinian reconciliation and further his intention to further disenfranchise Palestinians and to annex all occupied Palestinian land into the State of Israel.

Indeed, just last month at the United Nations, Netanyahu made clear such intentions by showcasing a series of maps, including one that had erased the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza; it was all Israel, from the Jordan to the Sea.

You may not have heard about that map, but (true enough) a lot of the Usual Suspects freaked out about it.

But nobody seems to be claiming that it reflects actual Israeli policy. And Azzi doesn't mention the clearly stated Palestinian slogan "from the river to the sea", pointing to their ultimate goal: destruction of the Jewish state.

As always, Azzi's "both sides-ism" involves selective blindness, and only makes moral demands of one side, Israel.

Ah, but it's not just my local paper trafficking in that sort of thing. Despicable behavior has not been reported at the University Near Here, thank goodness. However, our state has not been totally spared. Instapundit links to a report from Dartmouth, where the kids are trying to outdo Harvard in losing respectability for their institutions. From the student newspaper, a statement from the "Palestine Solidarity Coalition":

The root cause of this violence is apartheid, the institutionalized system of oppression and domination by one ethnic group over another.

Ackshually, I think the root cause of the violence is people wanting to murder the Jews. A little problem they've been trying to deal with for many centuries.

One of the signatories of the Dartmouth letter is one "Roan V. Wade" (real name?), identified as "an organizer with Sunrise Movement at Dartmouth." Instapundit quotes from her wonderful website:

Art has always been a way for me to have a voice, a way of silently shouting my beliefs, a way of seizing space, a way of fighting those who have attempted to strip me of my voice. I view art as a means of communicating the revolution, raising class consciousness, and increasing awareness of intersectional struggles for our collective liberation. My work feeds the flames of revolution whether through creating art directly intended as a form of protest, or by using my own experiences with queer youth homelessness, housing and food insecurity, homophobia, sexism, and sexual harassment and violence to highlight that the personal is political. In these dystopian times, everything is political, including all my work.

The strung-together progressive clichés speak for themselves, as does the quality of her art, also available at that website.

The Daily Mail reports that the pro-barbarian side is also well-represented down in Amherst: Chilling moment pro-Palestine U.Mass students surround reporter, demand to know her ETHNICITY and threaten her with lawyers for covering their protest.

Pro-Palestine college activists harassed a journalist covering their protest and allegedly demanded to know her ethnicity as tensions on US campuses continue to escalate in the wake of the Middle East conflict.

Kassy Dillon, a video journalist with Fox News, said she was targeted after leaving an anti-Israel protest at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.

'As I was leaving, two guys kept asking me my ethnicity,' she tweeted on Thursday. 'When I got into my car, I was approached by a group of the protesters demanding to know my address and phone number.'

But it's not just our institutions of higher education. At the WSJ, Allysia Finley writes about the rot elsewhere: ‘Our Enemies Are the CEOs . . . Our Comrades Are in Gaza’.

Liberals and conservatives alike roundly admonished Donald Trump in 2017, when he blamed “both sides” for violence at a Charlottesville, Va., protest over the removal of a Confederate statute.

“President Trump’s remarks yesterday were reprehensible,” Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry wrote in a statement. “He doubled down on blaming ‘both sides’ for the hatred, bigotry and violence” rather than stand up to “the white supremacists and their racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ views.”

Six years later, Ms. Henry and others on the left are equivocating and blaming both sides for Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel. “The violence in Israel and Palestine is unconscionable,” Ms. Henry tweeted on Oct. 10. “@SEIU stands with all who are suffering, while strongly condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia & hate in all forms.”

Mr. Trump’s opponents accused him of empowering neo-Nazis, but Hamas’s jihad against Israel has exposed that the fiercest anti-Semites are on the left. Perhaps that’s because left-wing activists view Israel’s economic prosperity and Gaza’s poverty through an anticapitalist lens, which holds that all wealth is generated from exploitation.

Finley's headline quote is from "Kooper Caraway, executive director of the SEIU Connecticut State Council". Her bottom line that applies generally to the folks highlighted in this section: "Their obsession with grievance and ideology leads them to rationalize the worst of humanity."

Also of note:

  • This shouldn't be hard. I'm using one of my precious National Review gift links for this article from Andre M. Archie, associate professor of ancient Greek philosophy at Colorado State University: Kendi-ism Is a Dead End. Let’s Return to Color-Blindness

    To be color-blind is to be guided by the moral belief that the mere possession of hereditary qualities, such as race, should not confer moral merit by one’s possession or nonpossession of them. Instead, moral merit can be, and should be, conferred on an individual’s actions, because actions reveal one’s character. It’s incumbent on all Americans to embrace the color-blind approach to race relations before the comfortable racism in the guise of anti-racism seeps even further into the body politic, permanently dividing America against itself. The term comfortable racism describes an environment we are slowly growing accustomed to. It results from the combination of middle-class exhaustion with the topic of race and the ideology of anti-racism. Comfortable racism is an ideology of “separate but equal” by choice. It’s where our society is heading if the value and necessity of color-blindness aren’t taken seriously.

    It should be obvious by now that the Kendi/DiAngelo/etc. "anti-racist" advocacy hasn't moved us anywhere near a better society. Time to go back to treating people as individuals, not "judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

  • WIRED is awful. Popping up in my newsfeed the other day: A Note From WIRED Leadership.

    Editor’s Note 10/6/2023: After careful review of the op-ed, "How Google Alters Search Queries to Get at Your Wallet," and relevant material provided to us following its publication, WIRED editorial leadership has determined that the story does not meet our editorial standards. It has been removed.

    Well, inquiring minds want to know what the story was. And it's easy enough to find, via Hacker News. The article is by Megan Gray, and the lead paragraph is:

    Recently, a startling piece of information came to light in the ongoing antitrust case against Google. During one employee’s testimony, a key exhibit momentarily flashed on a projector. In the mostly closed trial, spectators like myself have only a few seconds to scribble down the contents of exhibits shown during public questioning. Thus far, witnesses had dropped breadcrumbs hinting at the extent of Google’s drive to boost profits: a highly confidential effort called Project Mercury, urgent missives to “shake the sofa cushions” to generate more advertising revenue on the search engine results page (SERP), distressed emails about the sustained decline in the ad-triggering searches that generate most of Google’s money, recollections of how the executive team has long insisted that obscene corporate profit equals consumer good. Now, the projector screen showed an internal Google slide about changes to its search algorithm.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, Gray got it wrong. As one of the Hacker News commenters points out: "The author appears to have gotten the slide exactly backwards."

    The commenter also points out that Grey was once "a former Duck Duck Go executive" and an FTC lawyer, where she battled Google no end.

    Another commenter notes WIRED's belated recognition "that the story does not meet our editorial standards." And says: maybe a better time to apply those "editorial standards" would have been before they published the article.

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Last Modified 2024-01-28 3:30 AM EDT