Friday, July 18, 2014

Daniel Silva: The man behind the art restorer and spy

By Eva Trieger
July 9, 2014
LA JOLLA, California — “I am not an Israeli intelligence agent, nor an assassin,” Daniel Silva replied when I asked if his character, Gabriel Allon, was autobiographical. However, after multiple, highly acclaimed novels, the New York Times bestselling author told me he trusts Gabriel’s character to direct the action, stating that he “knows his characters well, and they know me very well.” When Daniel Silva writes, he stated that, like most writers, each character created contains bits and pieces of that author.
Daniel Silva, born in Michigan, and coming of age in California, knew that he had a deep seated desire to become a writer, but set his sights on journalism as a career. While pursuing a Master’s degree in San Francisco, Silva was offered a post with United Press International. Working as a correspondent, he covered the Arab world, and all areas surrounding Israel. Silva recalled that this afforded him an “invaluable” education. It was during this same period, while covering the Iran-Iraq conflict, that he met, Jamie Gangel, an NBC correspondent, whom he married that same year.
The pair returned to Washington, DC where Silva became Executive Producer of CNN’s talk show unit. He was responsible for shows such as Crossfire, Capital Gang and Evans and Novak. In 1994, Silva could no longer quell his novelist’s pen and began writing his first book.
Silva’s lifelong fantasy became his reality in 1996, when his first novel, The Unlikely Spy, topped the NYT best-seller list, enabling him to leave CNN and focus on his writing. This immediate success and recognition surprised Silva, and established his loyal fan base for the subsequent novels, each more developed and intricate than its predecessor.
Daniel Silva was born a Catholic, but converted to Judaism as an adult. His sensibilities are conveyed through central character, Gabriel Allon, the Mossad Agent/Art Restorer. Silva said of Allon, “He restores more than paintings. He restores people, too.” Silva shared that he feels this concept of redemption and restoration is both a human trait and a Jewish ideal. The notion of tikkun olam or “putting things right” is a core attribute of Allon’s personality.
Silva’s role models for writing came from his early exposure to literature. He reported having read Steinbeck and London when growing up in California. Later, he sneaked Sidney Sheldon novels from his mother’s bedside table. One very powerful memory was a fourth grade teacher who would “dim the lights after recess and read to us.”
A voracious consumer of international news, Silva combs newspapers and non-print media daily. His appetite includes The EconomistThe Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times and a host of magazines.   I suppose once a news junkie, always a news junkie!
When I inquired about his training in Art History, Silva revealed that he had the usual intro Art History course in college, but that as a child he fondly recalls his mom “dragging me to museums.” His artistic preferences range from the Old Masters to Impressionists, to the Dutch and European painters. In response to my query as to the nature of art restorers, Silva reported that he works with one exclusively, and really admires his “attention to detail and the manner in which he goes about his craft.”
This author is fully committed to growth and improving with each of his novels. He exerts a lot of pressure on himself in every undertaking whether it is writing or athletics. With this in mind, each time a character returns in a new novel, Silva writes him with greater depth, allowing for his/her growth, maturation and alteration based on life experience. He focuses on the characters’ “lives, loves and families” first and foremost, and then on the action and plot twists.
I was curious to learn if this well respected author ever had the urge to rewrite a book that he’s published. Silva revealed that while he has an endless desire to tinker with a book, generally a deadline prevents him from looking backward.
Silva’s latest book, The Heist, will again feature art restorer, assassin and spy, Gabriel Allon, as he searches for a stolen Caravaggio, in this latest tale of intrigue and espionage.
A Conversation with Daniel Silva” will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 24, at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, at 4126 Executive Drive in La Jolla. Ticket Prices: $32 nonmembers and $27 members. This includes a signed copy of The HeistCall (858) 362-1348 or Reserving tickets early  will ensure a personal copy of this latest blockbuster.
Eva Trieger is a freelance writer who focuses on the cultural arts.  She may be contacted

Moral clarity in Gaza

By Charles Krauthammer
July 17, 2014
Smoke from rockets fired from a northern neighborhood of Gaza City toward Israel is seen, July 17, 2014. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.
“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”
Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.
And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.
The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.
This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.
And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.
Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Why? The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”
It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.
This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.
To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.
In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.
It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today's Tune: Fort Atlantic - Up From The Ground

Death of Venice

It had a good run, and it’s still beautiful. 

Urbanists often use European cities as a model for everything that’s right and true and good about cities. American cities are spread out, so people have to drive along, instead of standing on a public transport next to a man who is muttering about chemtrails and has the personal funk of a Dumpster outside a urinalysis lab. European cities are compact, with everyone living on top of one another in picturesque piles with the square footage of the average American auto trunk. European cities are Walkable, which is the chief virtue nowadays. Well, ancient Rome was Walkable. A collection of Neolithic huts was Walkable. Apparently American cities are strewn with tacks and rattlesnakes and feature large open pits with spikes on the bottom. No one can walk there.

There’s one city no one seems to hold up as a model, and that’s Venice. I was just there for a while, and it’s an astonishing place — for reasons we can surely adapt here.

One. No cars. It is simple to ban cars from all streets with Venice-style zoning, which ensures that most streets are three feet wide. You couldn’t get Orson Welles down these passageways without greasing both sides and shooting him out of a cannon. There are streets in this town where two people who meet going the opposite way cannot pass, but local customs dictate that the person who is taller gets down on hands and knees and the other person climbs over him. No car can enter the streets of Venice unless you lower it into a plaza with a helicopter.

Two. It is quite walkable, and your journeys will give you that marvelous sense of discovery and surprise the urbanists seek. By which I mean, you will be lost. The maps are no help; you’re on a small street named Contradore Della Caravaggissimo Magiori di Luchese, and the map shows C. del Car.Ma.Lu, if you’re lucky. And it’s in the type that makes the bottom line of an eye chart look like a tabloid headline the day war is declared.

Three. It is better than walkable: it is swimmable, and thus provides an excellent form of exercise. Remarkably, the concept of swimming from your house to work never seems to have been popular, for the same reason most people don’t bike to work: You arrive at the office wet and smelly.

Four. It is dense, but with many open spaces where people can congregate and do public-type things, like have a gelato or hang a thief, depending on your era. These squares are called campi, from the old Latin word for “field.” In the early days of Venice, when each island was its own political unit, each campo had a palazzo for the local bossman, dwellings for the citizens, and a church from which the campo now takes its name. There is also a cistern that supplied water not completely contaminated with natural pathogens, and they’re usually decorated with allegorical carvings that depict cherubim holding forth goblets, worn by time into indistinct shapes that remind you half a millennium has passed since the artist put down his tools.

“Half a millennium,” in fact, seems the average unit of time that’s elapsed since anything was built. When we took a water taxi to the airport at six a.m., we stepped down stones that may have predated the first American colony, and looming above in the morning light was a baroque edifice of such ornate extravagance it brought to mind Goethe’s characterization of architecture: frozen music. If you walked 100 paces you’d find another, and another beyond that; if the door was open, the crepuscular interior had visual riches that stunned you to silence and reverence — if not for God, then for the mind of man who could conjure such froth and frosting out of stone, throw the ceiling high in the air, and decorate it with clouds and robed saints twisting up into the empyrean beyond. They are places of joy and wonder.

They are also deserted.

Not just because showtime comes later. In Europe you get the sense that religion is an outdated operating system that won’t load on modern terminals. There’s no way Venice, a city of 50,000 souls — roughly, Fargo, N.D., in 1976 — can support this many enormous churches. The weekly take on Sunday isn’t enough to cover the cost of floor wax, let alone patching a roof from the days of Christopher Columbus.

Still, they’re impressive. Solid and eternal. Less so the housing: The ground floor of Venice is packed with restaurants and shops, but above are beaten shutters with peeling paint, flaked stucco, cracked walls; it has a ruined charm, the sense of a long decay that measures the tick of the second hand in decades. It’s only when you look down from the hotel roof at night that you realize the city is dark. As far as you can see, there’s nothing to see. The lights are off. No one’s home.

Well, not entirely. The city has residents, but as the tour guide explained, they’re the uno per cento. The occupied palazzos and apartment buildings cost vast quantities of Euros. A fortune is required to rehab the ancient structures, and many end up as hotels. Tourists, you sense, are the real residents of Venice, a population that streams in from ships and planes, and mills around like interchangeable red-blood cells through the stone capillaries, replaced every day.

One night we came across a university graduation in San Marco. Hundreds of chairs, a big stage, banners congratulating the studenti. Afterward almost every campo and every street had a knot of grads carousing around, singing a ditty that began “DottoreDottore” — you sensed that if someone started singing it, everyone had to. (The lyrics are utterly obscene.) The highlight of their lives, perhaps — to be young and newly graduated in Venice on a warm summer night, the 19th-century lamps glowing above, the plosh of the gondolier’s oar in the water below the bridge, the narrow streets alive like no other city in the world, really. It puts to shame your own tenure at a flat Midwestern school, where the columned mall was an ersatz retread of this. Of Europe. Of the real thing.

Then again, you have a job, which is why you can afford to visit Venice. What’s ahead for the students? The next day we went to a small art museum on an island where they’ve put the modern art, as if to quarantine the stuff so it doesn’t infect the churches. The exhibition was dedicated to abstract glass. One room had four wavy mirrors the size of record albums, hung one per wall, as if they were Old Masters that needed proper space to breathe and reveal their mysteries. There were about ten staff members and four visitors. Five young women ran the front desk. Each gallery had a young fellow in a nice suit standing around waiting for someone to touch something. They looked horribly bored. You suspected that each had a college degree. Or two.

It’s always unwise to extrapolate anything about a place based on a fortnight of wandering and gawking, but you can’t help but think that Venice is southern Europe incarnate: lovely, old, its churches great sets for a play that closed years ago. It doesn’t make anything except dinner and good coffee. Maybe that’s enough. It had a good run. It would be rude to expect it to invent something or create a new industry. It’s just enough for it to (a) be Venice, and (b) not sink.

The last day we were there, San Marco plaza flooded. The water came up and the tourists splashed around and took pictures, like people at Disneyland playing in the fountains that spray water from jets in the pavement. A storm rose around six, and apocalyptic clouds rolled in and lanced the sea with lightning bolts. The downpour began; the street vendors put away their fake bags and started selling genuine umbrellas; people fled for cafés, and the city was empty.

I took shelter in a church by our hotel, expecting the usual astonishments, and was not disappointed. An altarpiece depicting the life of Moses rose above like stone smoke unraveling into the heavens. Heard some Latin; in the corner, a priest was finishing Mass for a half-dozen people. So it wasn’t over for them after all. There were still a few who came here for shelter. Afterward the priest and the congregants had a conversation, and I eavesdropped.

They were all Americans.

— James Lileks is a columnist for National Review Online.

Dinesh D’Souza Tells the True Story of America

Posted By Arnold Ahlert On July 17, 2014 @ 12:50 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 3 Comments

Dinesh D’Souza’s latest film, “America, Imagine a World Without Her,” which earned a rare A+ rating from CinemaScore, is apparently such a threat to progressive ideology that Costco initially ordered the book on which the movie is based removed from its shelves. One can understand why: the film is a devastating takedown of those who see America as the primary source of evil in the world.

The picture opens with a what-if scenario that includes the assassination of George Washington by a British sniper, and the subsequent disintegration of Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty, as D’Souza asks, “What would the work look like if America did not exist?”

The question is used as a vehicle to set up—and subsequently knock down–the left’s grievance agenda and its victims. Those grievances include theft of land, labor and the American Dream, as well as genocide, segregation and racism. The victims include Native Americans, black Americans, Hispanics and ultimately all Americans. “These indictments developed separately, and each has been around for a long time,” D’Souza explains. “But now they’ve come together in a single narrative of American shame.”

The main driver of that narrative is historian Howard Zinn, whose polemic, “A People’s History of the United States,” has been required reading in thousands of American public schools and universities for years. “When I hear young people on the campus repeat the narrative of American shame, I know they haven’t been told the whole story,” D’Souza notes.

He proceeds to fill in the gaps, explaining most of the world’s history is driven by the “conquest ethic,” where those who are conquered have their land taken and are invariably made slaves in the process. For example, while the left singles out the settlers of the New World for “stealing” Native American territory, D’Souza reveals the same land transfers occurred in precisely the same manner among tribes who successively conquered one another. The charge of genocide is debunked when D’Souza explains that far more Indians died from disease than slaughter, and the same lack of natural defenses that made Native Americans vulnerable to European-borne maladies are the ones that made Europeans susceptible to the Asian-borne diseases that devastated Europe. Tellingly, no one refers to the European tragedy as genocide.

More historical gaps are filled in with regard to the history of the Mexican War and American slavery. All of Mexico was conquered during a rebellion against the oppression of dictator Santa Ana, but half was returned, and Mexican war debt was retired in the process. And while D’Souza freely admits the legacy of slavery was theft of life and labor, he reminds us that 300,000 Union soldiers gave their lives to free the slaves. “What’s uniquely Western is the abolition of slavery,” D’Souza states. “And what’s uniquely American is the fighting of a great war to end it.”

Once again D’Souza emphasizes that singling out America for the sins of the word is a fool’s errand because slavery existed in every culture in the world from the Egyptians to the Chinese to the African to the American Indians (long before Columbus) and, as we are reminded, slavery exists even today.

D’Souza also fills in some important historical gaps with facts that would likely surprise many Americans. These include the existence of free black plantation masters who owned more than ten thousand slaves of their own, and the story of black American Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam C. J. Walker, who became the nation’s first female self-made millionaire marketing a line of beauty and hair products for black women.

D’Souza employs the same technique in debunking the leftist accusations of American imperialism, and the “theft” of the American Dream that capitalism ostensibly represents. From WWII to the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, D’Souza reminds Americans that not only have we stolen nothing from these countries, but expended considerable blood and treasure re-building them. And the free-market capitalism that has showered this nation with unprecedented wealth succeeds “not through coercion or conquest, but through the consent of the consumer.” “The wealth of America isn’t stolen, it’s created,” D’Souza asserts. “The ethic of conquest is universal. What’s uniquely American is the alternative, equal rights, self-determination, and wealth creation. If America did not exist, the conquest ethic would dominate the world.”

The movie points out that the American left embraces a conquest ethic all its own. “The shaming of America is not accidental, it’s part of a strategy,” he warns. It is a strategy formulated by the likes of radical leftist Saul Alinsky who was “the godfather in the art of using shame for political shakedown.” The cultural revolution of the ‘60s provided Alinsky with his army of shakedown artists who have since infiltrated media, academia and, most importantly, government. Ever-expanding government has given us a nation where agencies like the IRS, the EPA, the DOJ and the NSA “are all collecting information and storing it on every American,” D’Souza warns. He explains that Barack Obama didn’t create this liberty-stifling reality. Rather, it created him.

In the closing of the film, he lays out where the nation has been, and where it must go. “The Revolution was a struggle for the creation of America. The Civil War was a struggle for the preservation of America. World War II was a struggle for the protection of America. Our struggle is for the restoration of America.” And while he would like to see the emergence of a leader as forceful and inspiring as Washington, Lincoln, or Reagan, he makes it clear that the ultimate restoration of America must be engendered by the people themselves.

It is important to note that D’Souza freely owns up to the many of the nation’s historical shortcomings. Yet unlike the American left, he offers some much-needed–and factual—context to the narrative. Because leftists like Zin and others are more than willing to leave out so many uplifting American stories in an effort to realize their agenda of national transformation, D’Souza insists we have a moral obligation to reinstate them and prevent it from happening.
He also offers fair warning to the historical revisionists. “We won’t let them shame us. We won’t let them intimidate us. We are going to start telling the true story of America,” he declares.

D’Souza has definitely hit a leftist nerve. Their reviews of his picture ooze with condescension and disdain for his point of view, with Media Matters referring to it as “racially charged agitprop.” Yet the bet here is a lot of Americans would like to see a movie that contains stories about the goodness and greatness of our nation, even as it illuminates the cast of characters and the shame-inducing agenda that forms the heart of their efforts to denigrate American exceptionalism. Costco, whose co-founders Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman are big Obama supporters, reinstated D’Souza’s book following an outpouring of protests. It is most definitely in Americans’ best interests to see what they wished to suppress.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Palestinian ‘Genocide’ Lie

It’s a moral scandal that it’s even necessary to debunk equating Israel with the Nazis. 

Smoke from rockets fired from Gaza City is seen after being launched toward Israel, on July 15, 2014 ( photo credit: AFP/ Thomas Coex)

The Popular Palestinians

July 15, 2014

Demonstrators take part in a protest against action taken by Israel in the Gaza strip near the Israeli embassy in London, Friday, July 11, 2014.

If the Palestinians are merely engaged in a nationalist struggle for self-determination, then why are they inciting genocide of Jewry? In the midst of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas released a music video in Hebrew calling for the Palestinians to bomb Israel and kill all Israelis.

“Raze it [Israel] to the ground, exterminate the cockroaches’ nest, and banish all the Zionists,” the lyrics read.

Some human rights activists and lawyers may get a sense of déjà vu upon reading these words. Back in 1994, there were several radio broadcasts calling for the extermination of human cockroaches.

They were in Rwanda.

When the Hutus began their genocide of the Tutsis on April 6, 1994, the most popular radio station in the country was RTLM, owned by relatives and friends of Rwandan president Juvenal Habyrarimana.

That day, RTLM exhorted its listeners, “You have to kill the Tutsis, they’re cockroaches. All those who are listening, rise so we can fight for our Rwanda. Fight with the weapons you have at your disposal: those who have arrows, with arrows, those who have spears, with spears.

We must all fight. We must all fight the Tutsis. We must finish with them, exterminate them, sweep them from the whole country. There must be no refuge for them.”

RTLM continued to incite for genocide throughout the war. And as the invading Tutsi army came in from Uganda, RTLM staff fled to Zaire with a mobile radio transmitter to continue broadcasting.

After the war, several senior RTLM managers and journalists were convicted of inciting genocide, and conspiracy to carry out genocide and crimes against humanity. And all right-thinking people cheered.

But then, those were Hutus.

Even Palestinian officials acknowledge that their missile offensive that began last month is a crime against humanity.

In an interview with Palestinian Authority TV last week, Ibrahim Khreiseh, the PLO ’s ambassador to the UN Human Rights Committee admitted, “The missiles that are now being launched against Israel – each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets.”

Khreiseh also explained that since Palestinians in Gaza have “appeared on TV and said that the Israeli army warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment… if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing because [the Israelis] followed legal procedures.”

Khreiseh then noted, “We never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or the operations we carry out.”

In other words, the PLO ’s own representative said that Israel is innocent and the Palestinians are guilty of conducting acts of genocide.

But their Western supporters don’t care. Instead, their affection and commitment to the Palestinian campaign against Israel grows in intensity every time the Palestinians escalate their genocidal incitement and violence.

This support regularly involves anti-Jewish violence directed against local Jewish communities and pro-Israel activists.

Consider France. Since the beginning of the year, anti-Jewish violence and intimidation in France has reached levels not seen since the Holocaust. And things have only gotten worse since Palestinian terrorists in Hebron kidnapped and murdered Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gil-Ad Shaer a month ago. Life for Jews in France is becoming increasingly untenable.

Anti-Jewish attacks run the gamut from shouting “Death to the Jews,” and “Finish Hitler’s Work,” to delivering bomb threats to Jewish kindergartens and businesses, to vandalizing Jewish businesses, institutions and other property, to physically assaulting Jews of all ages, as well as Jewish institutions.

On Sunday, violent mass assaults on Jewish targets commenced just as a two-hour-long fanatically pro-Palestinian march was dispersing. Nearly 200 Jewish worshipers were trapped inside of the Don Issac Avrabanel synagogue as assailants, riled up from the march, threw bricks at the synagogue and attacked its Jewish defenders with metal rods.

In the US, levels of violence against Jews by supporters of the Palestinians continue to rise. In San Francisco, pro-Palestinian protesters showed their solidarity with the Palestinian goal of genocide by, among other things, calling for Israel’s destruction while wearing white gloves with red paint on the fingers and palms.

One of the most searing images of the Palestinian terror war against Israel was the photograph taken on October 12, 2000, of a Palestinian terrorist at the Ramallah police station standing in the window and holding up his blood-soaked hands to a cheering crowd below.

Inside, he and his war criminal comrades had torn apart two IDF reservists who got lost on the road and accidentally entered Ramallah. The blood on his hands was theirs.

In Los Angeles and Boston, pro-Israel demonstrators were physically assaulted and subjected to anti-Semitic vitriol. In Seattle, pro-Palestinian protesters held up placards depicting Jews eating Palestinian children and drinking their blood.

Street protests calling for the annihilation of Israel, expressing support for Palestinian terrorists, engaging in rank anti-Jewish incitement and violent assaults against Jews enjoy the intellectual support of the professoriate and the media.

This week, Daniel Mael, a pro-Israel activist at Brandeis, published excerpts from a previously secret listserv of nearly a hundred university professors. On it, the professors “express their fear and disdain on issues ranging from [US] foreign and domestic policy, the ‘American system,’ and ‘the Israelists.’” In other words, anti-Israelism is one of the causes that comprise the Leftist ideological litmus test.

Then there is the media. With rare exceptions, foreign reporting of the Palestinian assault on Israel has followed the script. Both sides are fighting. Israel is killing more Palestinians than the Palestinians are killing Jews.

Therefore Israel must stop defending itself.

And the diplomatic community – with the notable exception of Canada – has been similarly predictable.

No one admits what Khreiseh acknowledged about each separate rocket launch constituting a separate war crime.

No one mentions that Fatah terrorists joined Hamas in its missile campaign.

Then there are the leftist American Jews who claim that they are pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. The Palestinian rocket war makes them uncomfortable.

On the one hand, they cannot ignore the fact that 80 percent of Israelis have been targeted for slaughter by Hamas rockets over the past week and a half. But on the other hand, they define themselves by their criticism of Israel, not their criticism of the Palestinians. So, J Street, like Eric Yoffie from the Reform Movement, condemned both the Palestinians and Israel. The Palestinians are bad to shoot rockets to kill Israelis. The Israelis are bad because they continue to live in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.

As Yoffie explained in a recent essay in Haaretz, to combat Hamas, Israel needs to quit Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, as it quit Gaza in 2005, because then Fatah will make peace with Israel.

Like the Israeli leftists they adore, neither Yoffie nor his fellow leftist Jews have ever explained how peace with Fatah will solve Israel’s problem with Hamas. They never explain how such a peace will pacify or otherwise tame Hamas, an organization committed to the commission of the genocide of world Jewry.

These are distressing times for Israel. For over a week, more than four million Israelis have been forced to run to bomb shelters to protect themselves from Hamas’s attempts to slaughter civilians with rockets in order to advance its ultimate aim of genocide.

And even as Palestinian officials acknowledge the nature of this war, rather than rethink their support for genocidal terrorists anti-Israel activists in the US and Europe redouble their support for the Palestinians, by among other things engaging in violent assaults on local Jews. In so doing, they demonstrate that they share the Palestinians’ ultimate objective.

These activists are in turn supported by the leftist academia.

Their efforts are buoyed by the media which, at a minimum, fail to report on the nature of the campaign against Israel and generally, actively strive to obfuscate it. Leftist Jews, while compelled to condemn Hamas rocket fire, (but not rocket fire by Fatah militias), nonetheless make clear that at a minimum, Israel is also to blame for the Palestinian assault because it doesn’t give other Palestinians its heartland and capital city.

Finally, as we see with US-led Western demand that Israel reach a cease-fire with Hamas without first defeating the Palestinian terror machine in Gaza, the activists, the professoriate and the media are joined by political leaders who all agree that inciting and acting on behalf of the genocide of Jewry is not a disqualifying offense.

A fond farewell to Derek Jeter

American League shortstop Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees, singles during the third inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The voice of the late Bob Sheppard came over the public address to introduce Derek Jeter’s at-bat, as it always does at Yankee Stadium, a surprise gesture that seemed to make Captain Cool pause.
As 41,000 fans rose as one and serenaded Jeter with a standing ovation, time froze for one of those perfect sports moments that we’ll remember fondly 20, 30 years from now.
National League starter Adam Wainwright placed his glove on the ground, stepped off the mound and joined his teammates in applause. Fans chanted “De-rek Je-ter” over and over. Target Field felt alive.
Jeter smiled, doffed his helmet, waved to the crowd. Then he dug in for his first at-bat in his final All-Star Game and smoked a double down the right field line.
Wainwright later admitted that he grooved the pitch, a statement that he undoubtedly regrets, but that shouldn’t obscure the genuine emotion on display Tuesday night.
The 85th All-Star Game will forever be remembered as a tribute to Jeter, his game, and the future Hall of Famer, at age 40, delivered a vintage performance in a 5-3 victory by the American League.
He began with a dazzling defensive play on a diving stop in the first inning that leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen beat by a whisker. He doubled in his first at-bat and singled in his second to raise his career All-Star batting average to .481, fifth-best in MLB history.
And then his final exit. What a moment that was.
Jeter took the field for the fourth inning, only to be replaced by Alexei Ramirez. Jeter left to a third standing ovation — this one lasting more than a minute — as Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played over the loudspeakers.
Jeter hugged teammates in the dugout, as the ovation continued, and then climbed the steps for a curtain call.
“It’s a wonderful moment that I’m always going to remember,” he said. “It was unscripted.”
The entire All-Star gala served as a celebration of Jeter’s career, his legacy, one extended tip of the cap by baseball and its fans before the Yankees shortstop retires after the season.
Fans smothered Jeter in adulation from the moment he arrived in town, and while he sounded genuinely appreciative and touched by that outpouring, his stoicism never failed him. He didn’t want this to be solely about him, as if that was possible.
“I felt the focus should on everyone that’s in this game,” he said.
The idea of a farewell tour makes Jeter squeamish, but the reaction of baseball fans from all over the country at this event felt authentic. It originated from a place of respect.
Respect for Jeter’s unique ability to play the game with grace and dogged competitiveness. Respect for him as a five-time World Series champion. Respect for the way he’s conducted himself with class for two decades while conquering a pressure-cooker market.
“I try to be respectful of everybody I deal with, players, fans, media,” he said.
The best reflection of Jeter’s influence on baseball could be measured in the reverence of the other All-Stars. Numerous teammates used the word “legend.” Another admitted that he referred to Jeter as “Mr. Jeter” the first time they met during a game.
One of the game’s best players, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, chose No. 2 as his jersey number because he idolized Jeter as a kid.
“Every day, just looking at the No. 2 reminds me to be a professional,” Tulowitzki said.
In a moment of reflection this week, Jeter recalled being too nervous to talk to Cal Ripken at his first All-Star Game appearance. His favorite All-Star memory came in 1999 when he felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to find Hank Aaron standing there.
“He said he was looking for me because he wanted to meet me,” Jeter said. “That’s something that stands out.”
And so will this one, the 14th and final time he was selected to play in the All-Star Game. Tuesday’s festivities began with a red-carpet ride down Nicollet Mall in the back of a pickup. As always, Jeter came impeccably dressed in a navy suit, purple tie and sunglasses. Cool to the end.
As the procession crawled toward Target Field, fans of all ages — kids, grandmas, even cops — raised phones to capture a glimpse of baseball royalty. Everyone wanted a snapshot of this final ride.
The crowd roared as Jeter reached the stadium and then formed a mosh pit as he stopped to sign autographs. A group of young girls screamed in unison: “We love you, Derek.” Not to be outdone, a few middle-aged women standing behind them echoed, “We love you, too.”
Perhaps it was a lone voice along the parade route that encapsulated this All-Star Game, this final bow, in a way that was both succinct and meaningful. After Jeter had passed by and the crowd stopped cheering, one man bellowed, “Thank you.”
A perfect response to a perfect farewell.

Chip Scoggins •