Sunday: Hili dialogue

October 22, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the formal beginning of another week: it’s Sunday, October 22, 2023, and National Nut Day. (I won’t name humans who fit this category, but simply say that cashews and macadamia nuts are the best species in the genus).

It’s also Clean Up the Earth Day, Eat a Pretzel Day, INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAYFechner Day, celebrating the German philosopher, physicist, and psychologist who was neither born nor died on October 22, International Stuttering Awareness Day, and, in Australia, Wombat Day.  In case you haven’t learned this yet, wombats are the only animal that makes cubic poop. Here’s a 6½-minute video on this phenomenon, as well as on other aspects of wombat biology:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 22 Wikipedia page.

Oh, I recorded an hour conversation with Richard Dawkins yesterday for his Substack site. It will be on YouTube soon or later, and I’ll let you know. I thought it went well, but we’ll see.

Da Nooz:

*Breaking news: The president of a synagogue in Detroit was found stabbed to death yesterday morning:

Police are investigating after a Detroit synagogue board president was found dead outside her home early Saturday.

Detroit police have not released the victim’s name, but the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue announced the death of synagogue Board President Samantha Woll just after 2 p.m. Saturday on Facebook.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Samantha Woll, our Board President. At this point we do not have more information, but will share more when it becomes available. …

“May her memory be a blessing,” synagogue officials said.

She was stabbed multiple times.  There’s no suspect nor a motive yet.  A photo of Wolf:

*All sources report that humanitarian aid is now flowing into Gaza, albeit at a trickle for the present. The WSJ reports on the situation:

A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered Gaza for the first time since the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas militants.

Egyptian officials said 20 trucks filled with medical supplies and some food and bottled water crossed into Gaza on Saturday morning before Egypt closed the border again. Citizens of the U.S. and other foreign countries stuck in Gaza weren’t able to enter Egypt, the officials said.

Humanitarian agencies warned that Saturday’s aid deliveries fell far short of what is needed to sustain Gaza’s more than two million residents, about half of whom have been displaced from their homes since the Israeli military began striking the enclave by air two weeks ago. Airstrikes continued on Saturday, including in southern Gaza, where civilians in the north had been told to move by the Israeli military.

The convoy that entered Gaza included four trucks from the World Health Organization, which the agency said carried trauma medicine and kits to treat as many as 1,200 injured people, as well as medication for 1,500 patients with chronic illnesses. The WHO said it also provided basic essential medicine and health supplies for 300,000 people for three months.

The United Nations Children’s Fund said the agency supplied some 44,000 bottles of water, enough for 22,000 people for one day. An inventory of the aid deliveries viewed by a Wall Street Journal reporter showed that the WHO shipments also included fabric used to wrap the dead for burial. Other trucks were filled with aid from the Egyptian Red Crescent and from Qatar.

I approve of this, but only if the supplies are guaranteed not to go to Hamas. Remember, the Hamas butchers who killed 200 Jews on October 7 were carrying UNICEF First Aid kits with them. Hamas may well have first dibs on medicine, and certainly on fuel. I don’t know how to police this, but it should be done given Hamas’s past expropriation of “humanitarian aid.”

*Al-Jazeera (yes, Al-Jazeera) reports that “French intel says Palestinian rocket likely cause of Gaza hospital blast.” (h/t Reese)

France’s military intelligence agency has concluded that a misfiring Palestinian rocket was the likely cause of the deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, as Israel and Palestinian officials trade blame over the blast.

The Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM) said on Friday that an errant Palestinian rocket with an explosive charge of about 5kg was the likely cause of the blast and none of its intelligence pointed to an Israeli missile strike.

In a briefing to multiple news agencies, a senior French military official said the size of the explosion was consistent with rockets used by Palestinians and the impact crater was too small to have been caused by an Israeli missile.

The DRM did not offer an estimated death toll but said it was likely lower than the 471 fatalities reported by Palestinian officials, the news agencies reported.

The assessment was based on classified information, satellite imagery, intelligence shared by other countries and open-source information, including images showing light structural damage at the hospital and relatively few civilian belongings at the blast site.

French President Emmanuel Macron directed the DRM, which does not typically make its work public, to share its findings amid conflicting accounts of who carried out the attack.

Each independent assessment that it was a misfired terrorist rocket increases the Bayesian probability that that was indeed the case and that Israel was not responsible. But try getting the Arab states to believe that, or the Palestinians in the West Bank. They already have their minds made up. You can’t change the mind of a creationist or a flat-earther, and you can’t change the minds of Palestinians who blame Israel for the “attack.” They are impervious to facts.

*Nick Kristof shows his ignorance with an article in today’s NYT: “We must not kill Gazan children to try to protect Israel’s children.”

The acceptance of large-scale bombing of Gaza and of a ground invasion likely to begin soon suggests that Palestinian children are lesser victims, devalued by their association with Hamas and its history of terrorism. Consider that more than 1,500 children in Gaza have been killed, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, and around one-third of Gaza homes have been destroyed or damaged in just two weeks — and this is merely the softening-up before what is expected to be a much bloodier ground invasion.

Not a good start. First of all, he takes the Gaza Ministry of Health’s word, not mentioning that they are notorious liars. Second, the IDF does not consdier Palestinian children “lesser victims” than either Palestinian adults or Israeli children. The IDF operates by far more moral rules of war than does Hamas, and does what it can to save civilian lives, especially children. (For one thing, they know that their image depends on avoiding civilian deaths.) Here Kristof is being a dupe for Palestinian propaganda. But he goes on:

The United States speaks a good deal about principles, but I fear that President Biden has embedded a hierarchy of human life in official American policy. He expressed outrage at the massacres of Jews by Hamas, as he should have, but he has struggled to be equally clear about valuing Gazan lives. And it’s not always evident whether he is standing four-square with Israel as a country or with its failed prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime obstacle to peace.

He says he stands with ISRAEL, for crying out loud, and he has said that many times. In order to stand with Israel, Biden has to deal with Netanyahu.  More fail from Kristof.

Here in Israel, because the Hamas attacks were so brutal and fit into a history of pogroms and Holocaust, they led to a resolve to wipe out Hamas even if this means a large human toll. “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist,” declared Giora Eiland, a former head of the Israeli National Security Council. “There is no other option for ensuring the security of the State of Israel.”

I think that view reflects a practical and moral miscalculation. While I would love to see the end of Hamas, it’s not feasible to eliminate radicalism in Gaza, and a ground invasion is more likely to feed extremism than to squelch it — at an unbearable cost in civilian lives.

Kristof needs to realize that this is a war, and children and adult civilians will die in the effort to wipe out Hamas. Given that Hamas isn’t like the Russian forces attacking Ukraine (something that Kristof doesn’t seem to know), Russian forces who do not use human shields, there will be civilian casualties in Gaza.  Now Kristof may have a point in his second paragraph; I myself wonder whether Hamas can be wiped out by ANY action of Israel.  But what is Kristof’s solution. He has none, but says this again:

The best answer to this test is to try even in the face of provocation to cling to our values. That means that despite our biases, we try to uphold all lives as having equal value. If your ethics see some children as invaluable and others as disposable, that’s not moral clarity but moral myopia. We must not kill Gazan children to try to protect Israeli children.

Umm. . . trying not to kill civilians IS holding to our values, and Israel’s.  But if Hamas puts children and civilians in harm’s way (doesn’t Kristof know that?), then children will be killed. All Israel can do is minimize that killing, and I hope and expect that they’ll do so. . But he has to realize two things. First, nobody is valuing Palestinian children’s lives less than Israeli children’s lives. Second, Hamas doesn’t value its own children’s lives very much, either. Why else would they put terrorists and bombs near schools, and tell Gazans not to flee to the south? Everyone knows that that advice was to guarantee that more civilians, including Palestinian children, will be killed. 

*Women’s Voices reports that a trans male musician in California self-named “Precious Child” is calling for the murder of “women critical of gender ideology” (h/t Ann).

A trans-identified male musician in California is currently touring and performing songs calling for the murder of women critical of gender identity ideology. Precious Child, who previously involved himself in the Wi Spa controversy, utilizes graphic sexual and violent threats against “TERFs” in his music.

During his most recent performance at the Knockout Bar in San Francisco, Precious Child performed his song “TERF Killer,” riling the audience into chanting “kill a TERF today.”

TERF, an acronym standing for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist,” is often broadly applied to all women who oppose the belief that males should be able to self-identify as female for the purposes of access to women’s spaces.

In a video of the performance shared to his YouTube account, Precious Child can be seen chanting “kill a TERF today” while the accompanying music video is shown on a screen behind him. The video features images of bullets and of a knife stabbing into the air as the words “kill a TERF today” flash repeatedly across the screen.

Precious Child has a history of repeatedly threatening critics of gender ideology, with a particular focus reserved for females who oppose gender self-identification law.

Earlier this year, he released a music video for Pride month titled “VILENCE” [sic] which depicts masked trans activists posing threateningly with a variety of weapons – a sword, baseball bats, an axe, and Molotov cocktails – as he sings the refrain, “Show ’em the violence, or they will silence.”

I was asked what I thought of this. My response is that this tests the limits of free speech, but if speech like this isn’t defended, then no speech can be defended. Given that Precious Child didn’t threaten any specific people, nor (as far as I can see) create predictable and imminent violence, his speech is legal. But if violence does occur at one of his concerts, all bets are off for him, now and into the future.

*Finally, the Language Police are still here, though they’re waning since the Zeitgeist is that all previous “errors” are okay. The WaPo describes some of the holdouts in its article, “Meet some people willing to fight for correct grammar usage.”  There are some examples—people after my own heart:

Matt LeBlanc of Fort Wayne, Ind., fights a different battle. “From your space there on Mount Apostrophe, it’s my hope that you can see me entrenched on a nearby embankment: Mount Fewer,” he wrote.

Matt described Mount Fewer as a “shady, leafy place that in recent years has been overrun with Less vermin. The Less threaten to make extinct the Fewer who for eons have lived simple, earnest lives dedicated to accurate portrayals of amounts and counts that are not absolute.

“Like the humble apostrophe, use of ‘fewer’ and ‘less’ is not that hard — and that is why incorrect use of either makes me cringe.”

The District’s Peggy Robin is a brave warrior in the “I/me” army, trying to stamp out the usage of “for so-and-so and I” when it should instead be “for so-and-so and me.”

Peggy insists it shouldn’t be hard.

“You don’t need to know a thing about the nominative case vs. the objective case,” she wrote. “You discover which one is right simply by removing the other person and listening to what it sounds like. Example: ‘It’s good for you and I to speak up.’ Remove the ‘you,’ and now listen: You would never say ‘It’s good for I.’”

And here’s a grammar Pecksniff who WON1

As far as I know, Kathy Dean isn’t a Cockney. She lives in Daphne, Ala., where, several years ago, she passed a property company billboard on her afternoon commute. She can’t recall the exact wording, but the text included an “it’s” that should have been an “its.”

Wrote Kathy: “I tried to ignore it, but it’s like trying to ignore the car wreck along the side of the road. I wouldn’t — I couldn’t — let it go. I had to take action.”

Kathy called the company and left a message on its answering machine along the lines of: “How can I trust your real estate firm to handle the details of a home sale when you can’t even get your billboard right?”

She included a long-winded lesson on proper “its” usage.

Wrote Kathy: “A few weeks later, the billboard had been updated with the correct ‘its.’ This is my grammar victory story. It’s a win for its, one billboard at a time.”

Of course the implicit threat involving the firm’s competence might have helped!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej had insomnia last night (so did I!):

Hili: You got up late today.
A: Because I had a sleepless night.
In Polish:
Hili: Późno dziś wstałeś.
Ja: Bo miałem bezsenną noc.


From Merilee, bullknitters:

From Jesus of the Day:

From The Absurd Sign Project, food for cats!

From Masih, a note about the Sakharov Prize, awarded for “individuals or groups who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.” It went to Mahsa Amini, but, sadly, it’s a postmortem award, for last year she was beaten to death by the Iranian “morality police” for not wearing her hijab properly.

From Anna, an 8-minute bit by Bill Maher about why going to college “make you stupid”:

From Barry. First, one I think I showed recently, but you’ll have to see again because the second tweet is linked to it (I haven’t learned how to separate linked tweets yet.)

As for the second, why is momma duckling doing this? Is she teaching her brood how to evade predators (this is how they do it):

From Jez, a tender moment:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman, age 43, was gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb (we’re down to two per day now that he’s gone off Twitter. Soon there will be one, and then none. . . .

A game try (and perhaps a try for game):

43 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. The language hill I will die on is the capitalization of common names of species. Non-biologist editors these days have cajoled journalists and authors not to capitalize them. This leads to important ambiguity. Is that a great tit or a Great Tit? Is that an invisible rail or an Invisible Rail? Is that a tropical boubou or a Tropical Boubou? Is that a fiery topaz or a Fiery Topaz? Is that a purple finch or a Purple Finch? Is that a green mango or a Green Mango? Is that a perplexing scrub-wren or a Perplexing Scrub-wren? A common loon or a Common Loon? A noisy miner or a Noisy Miner? Is that a horned screamer or a Horned Screamer? Was that a European shag or a European Shag?

      1. Yes, if I was trying to emphasise “Human Being” as a superset including Homos sapiens, Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Denisova (note also maintaining capitalisation on names derived from geographical locations ; so “Piltdown Man” would retain capitalisation too).
        If I was making a general comment (“human beings – so tasty!”) then probably not.
        [Have the Denisovans been accepted as a species on equal footing with Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans? Regardless of how dodgy that footing is. A specific name should be in a particular Latin case, IIRC, but “cases” in general are a section of language I really struggle with in Russian and German, and I’ve never formally studied Latin. ]

    1. In my East Tennessee home county there is a “Titsworth Springs Road.” I’m inclined to ask that the name be changed to Great Titsworth. (Sounds like the name of an English village.)

    2. Nope.

      No capitalisation of the common names of species please. “Great tit”* is not a proper noun. It doesn’t name a specific bird, only a whole class of birds.

      * “G” capitalised here because it is the first word in the sentence.

  2. On this day:
    1721 – The Russian Empire is proclaimed by Tsar Peter I after the Swedish defeat in the Great Northern War.

    1739 – The War of Jenkins’ Ear begins with the first attack on La Guaira.

    1746 – The College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) receives its charter.

    1790 – Northwest Indian War: Native American forces defeat the United States, ending the Harmar Campaign.

    1797 – André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump, from 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above Paris.

    1844 – The Millerites (followers of Baptist preacher William Miller) anticipate the end of the world in conjunction with the Second Advent of Christ. The following day becomes known as the Great Disappointment. [Only a religious nut could be disappointed that the world still existed.]

    1877 – The Blantyre mining disaster in Scotland kills 207 miners.

    1879 – Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb (lasting 131⁄2 hours before burning out).

    1883 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens with a performance of Gounod’s Faust.

    1884 – The International Meridian Conference designates the Royal Observatory, Greenwich as the world’s prime meridian.

    1895 – In Paris an express train derails after overrunning the buffer stop, crossing almost 30 metres (100 ft) of concourse before crashing through a wall and falling 10 metres (33 ft) to the road below.

    1910 – Hawley Harvey Crippen (the first felon to be arrested with the help of radio) is convicted of poisoning his wife.

    1934 – In East Liverpool, Ohio, FBI agents shoot and kill notorious bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd.

    1941 – World War II: French resistance member Guy Môquet and 29 other hostages are executed by the Germans in retaliation for the death of a German officer.

    1943 – World War II: In the second firestorm raid on Germany, the RAF conducts an air raid on the town of Kassel, killing 10,000 and rendering 150,000 homeless.

    1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis: President Kennedy, after internal counsel from Dwight D. Eisenhower, announces that American reconnaissance planes have discovered Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, and that he has ordered a naval “quarantine” of the Communist nation.

    1963 – A BAC One-Eleven prototype airliner crashes in UK with the loss of all on board.

    1964 – Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but turns down the honor.

    1964 – An all-party Parliamentary Committee selects the design which will become the new official flag of Canada.

    1975 – The Soviet uncrewed space mission Venera 9 lands on Venus.

    1983 – Two correctional officers are killed by inmates at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The incident inspires the Supermax model of prisons.

    1999 – Maurice Papon, an official in the Vichy government during World War II, is jailed for crimes against humanity.

    2008 – India launches its first uncrewed lunar mission Chandrayaan-1.

    2012 – Cyclist Lance Armstrong is formally stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being charged for doping.

    2013 – The Australian Capital Territory becomes the first Australian jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage with the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013.

    2014 – Michael Zehaf-Bibeau attacks the Parliament of Canada, killing a soldier and injuring three other people.

    2019 – Same-sex marriage is legalised, and abortion is decriminalised in Northern Ireland as a result of the Northern Ireland Assembly not being restored.

    1511 – Erasmus Reinhold, German astronomer and mathematician (d. 1553). [Catalogued a large number of stars. Reinhold knew about Copernicus and his heliocentric ideas prior to the publication of his De revolutionibus, and made a favourable reference to him in his commentary on Purbach. However, (like other astronomers before Kepler and Galileo) he translated Copernicus’ mathematical methods back into a geocentric system, rejecting heliocentric cosmology on physical and theological grounds.]

    1811 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist and composer (d. 1886).

    1844 – Sarah Bernhardt, French actress and manager (d. 1923).

    1870 – Lord Alfred Douglas, English author and poet (d. 1945).

    1903 – Curly Howard, American comedian and vaudevillian (d. 1952).

    1913 – Robert Capa, Hungarian-American photographer and journalist (d. 1954).

    1917 – Joan Fontaine, British-American actress (d. 2013).

    1919 – Doris Lessing, British novelist, poet, playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013).

    1920 – Timothy Leary, American psychologist and author (d. 1996).

    1923 – Bert Trautmann, German footballer and manager (d. 2013). [Played the final 17 minutes of the 1956 FA Cup Final with a broken neck!]

    1925 – Edith Kawelohea McKinzie, Hawaiian genealogist, author, and hula expert (d. 2014). [Died the day before her birthday, which was noted in yesterday’s list.]

    1931 – Ann Rule, American police officer and author (d. 2015). [Best known for The Stranger Beside Me (1980), about the serial killer Ted Bundy, with whom Rule worked and whom she had considered a friend.]

    1936 – Bobby Seale, American political activist and author, co-founder of the Black Panther Party.

    1938 – Derek Jacobi, English actor.

    1938 – Christopher Lloyd, American actor, comedian and producer.

    1939 – George Cohen, English footballer (d. 2022). [One of the few “greatest one-trophy wonders”, winning solely a World Cup winner’s medal in his career. He was vice-captain, and earned his 30th England cap, during the 1966 World Cup final.]

    1943 – Catherine Deneuve, French actress and singer.

    1945 – Leslie West, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2020).

    1946 – Deepak Chopra, Indian-American physician and author.

    1952 – Jeff Goldblum, American actor and producer.

    1965 – A. L. Kennedy, Scottish comedian, journalist, and author.

    1969 – Spike Jonze, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1972 – Saffron Burrows, English-American actress.

    1983 – Plan B, British singer and actor.

    I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it:
    1906 – Paul Cézanne, French painter (b. 1839).

    1917 – Charles Pardey Lukis, founder of the Indian Journal of Medical Research and later Director-General of the Indian Medical Service (b. 1857).

    1952 – Ernst Rüdin, Swiss psychiatrist, geneticist, and eugenicist (b. 1874).

    1956 – Hannah Mitchell, English activist (b. 1872).

    1973 – Pablo Casals, Catalan cellist and conductor (b. 1876). [Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy (though the ceremony was presided over by Lyndon B. Johnson).]

    1989 – Ewan MacColl, English singer-songwriter, producer, actor, and playwright (b. 1915).

    1995 – Kingsley Amis, English novelist, poet, critic (b. 1922).

    2009 – Soupy Sales, American comedian and actor (b. 1926).

    2014 – Ashok Kumar, Indian director and cinematographer (b. 1941).

  3. Remember NWA, and Ice-T? They had calls for violence in their rap. It was sort of for the show/edgy entertainment/attention, – but also makes you wonder if anyone takes it seriously. I have to say at least someone must have.

    But at this time, Ice Cube and Ice-T are practically childrens’ entertainment now. Ice Cube is actually a “voice actor” in at least one cartoon for kids, but he’s not preaching violence.

    It’s just to illustrate that the violent rap was just to put on a show, to push buttons. They continue with their entertainment career with what gets an audience.

    1. They better watch their use of capital letters if they want to avoid violence around these parts, apparently… ;o)

  4. Kristof’s piece is pretty ludicrous. He comes off sounding very naïve and uninformed. Good grief.
    As to the concern that extricating Hamas may be impossible, I don’t know, but I watched a discussion with Sam Harris who had the notion that the best approach might be to assassinate them covertly starting at the top of their hierarchy, wherever they may be hiding, and work down. That would be, I think, considered a war crime by many, but then the usefulness of such a notion as war crime when dealing with Hamas has lost much of it’s meaning.
    “Sam Harris X Eric Weinstein: Israel-Palestine”

    1. Yes, but even progressive assassination will lead to the production of new terrorists. You may get rid of the old Hamas (which would be nearly impossible), but then a new version will arise. It’s inevitable.

    2. assassinate them covertly starting at the top of their hierarchy, wherever they may be hiding

      MOSSAD may be one of the more effective spy groups in the world, but they’re not infallible. And with that increase in extra-territorial operations, it’s inevitable that at some point they’ll royally fuck up an assassination.
      How many American citizens, in America, are you willing to have die for MOSSAD to miss a Hamas target? Would you be more or less tolerant than the Quataris, mentioned as a Hamas-haven by someone else in the thread?

    3. In what universe is killing archterrorists a war crime?? Was the killing of Bin Laden or Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi a war crime?
      The leaders of Hamas know that they have a target on their back and they are sheltered by Qatar and Turkey. I would expect the US to use its influence on these countries to have them expelled.
      I have no concrete knowledge, and this is not the 70s, but I am 100% that if Israel’s identifies an opportunity to kill them, they will be dead.

  5. AT least the NYTimes in its news articles seems to have stopped attributing explosions in Gaza to Israeli bombing. Not so the BBC as witness this headline this morning – “Gaza hospital images show rows of dead bodies as Israel steps up bombing”.

  6. I believe Precious Child means what he says. While he himself might not kill a TERF (I don’t know that), I have no doubt he would cheer on anyone who did. We’ve seen recently that people who make what seem like extreme statements supporting violence actually do mean what they say.

    As for “humanitarian” aid to Gaza, I know of know reason why we should think that Hamas won’t immediately seize those supplies for their own use. They have a well documented history of doing exactly that. Hell, they dug up water pipes to make missiles, and their political leaders are mysteriously multi-millionaires living in luxury in Qatar. If aid is appropriate, it should have been conditioned on the prior release of all hostages.

    1. I have trouble with this. Certainly some fraction of any aid sent will end up in Hamas’ hands. But I think this is no reason to let thousands of innocent children die. If Hamas hoards most of it for themselves, there could be a reaction against them by ordinary Palestinians, though I suppose it is just as likely that ordinary Palestinians, blinded by hate, would accept the prioritization of Hamas because they are “fighting the oppressor”. I suspect a blockade of humanitarian aid would only fuel support for Hamas.

        1. I think it is the right thing to do. You shouldn’t cause a whole city to starve because there are some terrorists inside. Hamas is going to find or take food anyway, whether aid is let in or not, so there is very little strategic value in blockading food. Purposely starving a city just creates more hatred (and lots of dead kids).

      1. I’m with you, Lou, but you have to realize that Hamas has been siphoning off BILLIONS of dollars from the Gazans for years, and they haven’t thrown the SOBs out (they’re afraid to). Plus half of Gazans approve of Hamas. Still, we need to help those civilians who are suffering.

      2. If a child is taught to hate Jews and to rejoice at their deaths, is that child innocent in any meaningful sense? This is not to say that Israel should kill them deliberately — of course it won’t — but it is to say that Israel has the right in war not to worry excessively about them if the aid it allows the NGOs to provide helps Hamas to kill more Israeli soldiers and civilians. Even baby formula can be converted into cash to buy weapons.

        As soon as parents “accept the prioritization of Hamas because they are fighting the oppressor”, they have allowed themselves and their children to become militarized. This has a military consequence which you seem to overlook. If they are going to give their food and medicines to Hamas anyway, why should Israel let the aid in in the first place?

        This issue is not moot just because some Red Crescent aid has started to flow. What has been allowed in is nowhere near enough to save the lives of those children, say the NGOs. Israel would have to normalize trade with Gaza across its own borders and allow war goods in, like diesel fuel, in order to satisfy the international community (who are fortunately all talk except the United States.) Israel obviously cannot do this.

        A siege, historically, is lifted peaceably because the authorities of the besieged city yield to the besiegers and agree to dictated terms. In this case those terms would surely be the release of all hostages (or their bodies) and the surrender and disarmament of Hamas. The civilians then are supposed to be given amnesty and forgiveness for having sided with the enemy. Then they can rebuild their country if the victors are magnanimous. But not with the enemy still in control of the place.

  7. Kristof has failed to move me. I believe I can sympathize in the abstract sense the ideal of non-violence, or higher-order minimal violence, against those who want to destroy other people (as in not you). There are several Star Trek episodes of this or that alien civilization that profess those ideals in the face of genocide. But I know that those are fictional, and so is Kristof’s plea.
    I don’t know of any society who can keep that perspective in the face of those who literally aspire to destroy your very existence.

    What would be really awesome is if Saudi Arabia could see a path to normalizing relations with Israel, despite this situation. But they have their own interests to look out for.

  8. What is upsetting me is the disappearance of “nor” from the language. It’s not “neither…or”, it’s “neither…nor”. I’ve found the error even in the New York Times. Also disappearing, “whom”.

  9. American and British air forces bombed Mosul into smithereens in order to eradicate ISIS. At least 10,000 civilians died. No convoys with “humanitarian help” were driving into Mosul. It was not so long ago – 2016-2017.

    Nazis were as fanatical as are Palestinian Arabs, both in Gaza and West Bank. So were the Japanese, whose fanaticism also had a religious dimension. I often read and hear that Israel should only fight Hamas and not Gazans. Were the Allies fighting Nazis or Germany? How many civilian Germans had to die in order to crush the Nazis? How much “humanitarian help” was delivered to Germany and Japan before both capitulated unconditionally? And after they capitulated, did their hatred for the winners grow exponentially because of the huge losses they suffered?

    No, the calamity both of these nations suffered took care of the fanaticism. What helped them to return to the human race was wal-to-wall condemnation of their ideologies. There were no pro-Nazi demonstrations in the capitals of democratic states. There were no supporting resolutions from the international bodies and from “human rights organization”. Palestinian Arabs and other Muslims who today believe that the state of peace and nirvana can be achieved only when Israel is eradicated and the last Jew on Earth is killed must experience a calamity and global condemnation.

    Unfortunately, we have become too civilized, and while many of us can bear it when Jews die (after all there is a long tradition of love for dead Jews and dislike for the living ones) the death of Palestinians (but only from the hands of the Jews – when Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians and other Arabs kill Palestinians the world doesn’t want to know about it) is something a civilized person cannot stand. So, yes, most probably Israel will have to fight for its existence for more decades, and probably centuries.

    1. “No, the calamity both of these nations suffered took care of the fanaticism.”

      You are forgetting something. The peace and healing that followed WW2 were the direct result of generous terms and aid to Germany and Japan on the part of the victors. That’s why this peace lasted and the peace after WW1 did not.

      It is challenging to fight the fanatics without making new fanatics. I have no idea how to do it. But I do sense that mercy is an important ingredient.

      I think Israel has done a reasonable job so far, and should not throw that away.

      I’m on the verge of breaking Da Rulz so will not respond anymore.

      1. I do not forget about it. But the help came first after totally crushing the fanatics and their supporters among the civilian population. Plus there was occupation with denazification and, in the case of Japan, a democratic constitution dictated by Americans and forced on Japan.

  10. I will resist commenting on the horrors of the world for at least this one comment.

    I, too, cringe when I hear the less/fewer mistake. I heard a TV commercial yesterday that more-than-once used “less” when it should have been “fewer” and railed (to my poor wife who is used to this) about how even professional communicators can’t seem to get it right.

    My latest bugbear: “going forward.” A good example might be “XYZ will have a new CEO going forward.” My remedy? One can almost always simply remove the phrase “going forward” to fix the problem as in “XYZ will have a new CEO.” Try it! Perhaps you’re not as annoyed by this useless, and now ubiquitous, phrase as I am.

    BTW, as a hard determinist, I (literally) can’t help but be annoyed by the above; nor can I avoid commenting on it. 🙂 Nor could I avoid adding the smiley face, which I don’t like either. And so on…

    1. Related:

      “We, our” (was this John Donohue’s pronouns attempt?)

      “Our plan is going forward”

      “We are going forward”

      Is that a fact?

    2. Progressives must always be “going forward”.
      You are correct, of course. “Going forward” is just a fancy way of saying, “Uh,…”

    3. I hear “separate out” uttered more and more. I would think “out” inescapably inherent in (the definition of) “separate.” I hear media types more and more say that they “actually” did something. What does “actually” add? Should listeners otherwise be skeptical of whether one simply “did” something? Also: “each and every one.” What does “each” meaningfully add to that locution?

  11. I think that the mother duck is diving because she’s a diving duck, and the ducklings will need to do that to feed. It is also a way to escape from attackers – not necessarily predators. I’ve seen ducklings evading an excessively aggressive avocet that way.

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