Quick Takes

   Something is pathologically demented about people and a religion that protests the burning of a book by murdering human beings in cold blood. That such should engender “apologies” from Americans is another sign of how far the US has fallen from its perch as moral leader of mankind since the Obama administration took over. These Qur’an were burned because they allegedly contained inscribed, inflammatory messages. But the Qur’an itself – with its explicit calls for the death of Jews, Christians and infidels – is inflammatory. Perhaps those who are so up in arms – literally – about the burning should explain that, and apologize for it, and all the evil perpetrated in its name. Instead, the moral are busy apologizing to the immoral, and thereby ensuring more evil and immorality.

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Word came, again, last week that Mormons were baptizing the dead, including Anne Frank, Simon Wiesenthal’s parents, and even the living like Elie Wiesel, who called upon Mitt Romney to rebuke his church. The latter is certainly misplaced – the Mormon Church has already denounced it – but I have a different reaction: who cares? Does the conversion of the dead mean anything in the real world in which we live? Can a conversion that does not involve the voluntary embrace of a set of ideas, practices and values really mean anything? There are some who are matriculated at the School of Perpetual Outrage. I find it hard to get worked up about something that is inherently meaningless, and reserve my outrage for things that really matter, in the real world, not the fantasy world.

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When gas prices spiked to more than $4.00 per gallon in 2007, the media were rife with accusations that the increases were due to President Bush’s desire to enrich his oil friends. “Bush was to blame!” and it was up to him to rein in his friends and force them to lower their prices. Well. Obama has largely escaped criticism for the recent rise in fuel prices, even though his restrictions on drilling off the coasts, in Alaska, and his rejection of the Keystone pipeline has played havoc with the reliability and pricing of future supplies. Obviously, media bias is apparent, as high oil prices might devastate President Obama’s re-election chances (one reason why he is outspoken in pre-empting any criticism before it even comes). But only two other possibilities present, the latter more plausible: the media has learned that presidents do not control the price of commodities, but the laws of supply and demand do. Or, that somehow, behind the scenes, George W. Bush is still responsible, manipulating oil prices to help enrich his oil friends. That’s about right.

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   PA “President” Mahmoud Abbas, whose term expired around the time George Bush’s did, announced that Israel is trying to destroy any evidence of Arab Jerusalem. Rather than expose him as the liar and fraud that he is, and suspend “peace” talks indefinitely, PM Netanyahu castigated him in the strongest terms as … “not how one makes peace,” and not what Israel expects from someone who is supposed to be “pro-peace.” How pathetic, how inadequate to the task! In fact, the exact opposite is true – it is the Arabs who have for a decade erasing Jewish history from the Temple Mount one bulldozer and truck at a time, with a pusillanimous response from Israel. When Netanyahu wastes his breath speaking of a “peace process” with such brazen, shameless liars, he reveals himself to be an unserious man. And when he freezes construction permits in Yerushalayim – as he did again in the last few days to prevent any Obama contrived criticism when the PM arrives in DC this week – he demonstrates again a remarkably thin grasp of history, and undermines Israel’s claim to its own land. Yet, brilliant musings like those will win standing ovations at the AIPAC Policy Conference next week when Netanyahu speaks. It is far better to clarify what is real and true than to pursue facile and fatuous applause lines.

In a related note, the Arab world now wants the UN to investigate the “Judaization” of Jerusalem. This is a typical Arab gesture – accusing their enemies of doing exactly what they wish to do (massacres, genocides, poisoning, etc.) To save time and money, Israel should admit the charge but point out its untimeliness: Jerusalem was “Judaized” 3000 years ago.

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It is hard to remember the last time any Congress passed legislation because it thought it was good for the country, rather than being good for the special interest groups that ply the victors with money or the blocs of voters that furnish them with votes.

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Saw this somewhere, perhaps the great Thomas Sowell:  “Always be yourself, because the people that matter don’t mind, and the people that mind don’t matter.”

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Isn’t it uncanny (or something else?) that Parshat Zachor is read again this coming Shabbat, and once again the Jewish people are forced to deal with a diabolical, genocidal dictator bent on our extermination – just like Amalek, Haman, Hitler and all the others. “Remembering Amalek” is real, because it reflects the past and the present – and the future – simultaneously. That is why it is a mitzvah to remember Amalek. That is why dealing with Amalek is a dynamic and substantive part of Jewish life.

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