Monday, June 28, 2010

From Entebbe to Jerusalem

Maybe someday this blog will roar back into full action - it could happen next week, or next year. Then again, it might not. I'm too busy at other things - though I've got some interesting things to write about. But no time. Sorry.

To make matters worse, this morning I spent half an hour trying to get Didi Remez to admit he'd been hasty in a blog post of his last night. We've been banging away at each other here, back and forth, back and forth. There was never any chance he'd admit his mistake, of course.

Meanwhile, Claudio reminds me that he actually did imagine how the world would respond today to an Israeli raid on Entebbe; his summary of the (sort of) imaginary responses are here. It's brilliant and I highly recommend, but it's also in German, so be warned. I doubt Google Translate knows how to deal with satire.


Didi Remez said...

Why don't you run a quick check of my Twitter feed, Facebook wall and blog, for the words "point taken." Then see how many times you've used them.

I chose my words carefully. The fact that I think differently than you, does not mean I made a mistake. We have different opinions, as the second part of the debate shows, we simply have different opinions.

Didi Remez said...

I hope this will get a smile out of you regarding your current predicament:

Anonymous said...

thanks Yaacov for posting that link,
I saw your first comment yesterday but would have never thought that Didi who seems to me so keen to "talk" only to Israelis conceded to answer you in English thus including humble me - I look forward to reading the print-out tonight.

and wow how could you dare not to read all of Didi everywhere - ts ts ts -
- Writers have that syndrom sometimes, Doris Lessing for example is said to be feared by interviewers because she gets grumpy if they haven't read a sufficient number of hers, but even she never demanded it'd be all but well she only got a Nobel ...


Anonymous said...

Claudio is great as usual
and in support of him, savour this by Sir Max Hastings, former editor of The Telegraph

on June 2, i.e. day 2 after the MARMARA

Whoever started the violence, the Israelis did all the killing.

(which incidentally he would never ever say at the Pritzker Military Library when there seem to be only vets in the audience)

Now compare this to Hastings showing lots of consideration (probably due consideration) for those who did wrong on Bloody Sunday
that, needless to say, is consistent with the way he talks about soldiers at the Pritzker Military Library

I am still reading Hastings up but my first hypothesis is that he can't forgive Israelis for having let RUSSIANS into the country

- I haven't gotten it straight yet but in his mind there must be something about the Russians that takes the nobleness out of Israel (yes of course he is a romantic and an Israel not up to his standards of nobility somewhere after 1973 or maybe because he was Sir-ed made him turn away in saccharine "sorrow" until the Russians clinched it for him.)

BTW I found him using the same quote by Amos Oz already twice. I find the way he uses it not quite clean especially when you combine it with his dislike of Russians and thus think Oz should tell him off, if they are still on good terms at book festivals etc.


Anonymous said...



nice try but a good cartoon should not be so amenable to be taken over by the "other" side


Anonymous said...

Actually, I think Hastings can't forgive Israel because he badly dented his (considerable) reputation as a military historian by writing an awful hagiography of Yoni Netanyahu.

Anonymous said...

does anybody have any idea why this reminds me of lots of the commentariat on Israel

Anonymous said...

there are lots of reasons there always seem to be but the most absurd to me was the way he went after the Russian Israelis

as to hagiography:
he peddled his book on Churchill at Pritzker recently and even though I am a great admirer of Churchill it made me cringe
- so it seems hagiography is just his style*), however, once he has turned his coat then he spins his Netanyahu adoration indirectly like this:

"To me, in my naivete,"
claiming that Netanyahu (Bibi) destroyed it all for him
"what a more thoughtful young man than myself"

The Bibi he maligns in that piece is actually 4 years younger than Hastings, but of course he has no right to claim youthful exuberance for anything while he Hastings needed just a few "thoughts"


*) he hagiographs the Germans of WW2 quite a bit also, but listening at Pritzker's I assumed he did it to make England's and the US's victory look grander (it is also quite common with the Brits to admire German soldiers, even those who were out to kill them - Robert Graves and T.E. Lawrence spring to my mind oh and Rommel of course)

zionist juice said...

dear yaakov,
there is no point in discussing with ideologues.
no point at all. just a waste of energy.
you will not change didi's point of view.
his world is flat like a plate and he does not want to move since moving may cause that he could fall off the plate.

Anonymous said...

zionist juice

that's the conundrum - on the one hand everybody who goes into an argument with the one-track-minders knows that he/she does stand a chance in a 1000s that they might begin to think - on the other hand if one leaves them alone they might get even more traction.

on the one hand if one debates them one might attract traffic to them but if one doesn't go one might miss a chance to disturb their "we possess the truth" chants a bit.

it is a balancing act and probably one gets it wrong more often than not, still what else ...


Anonymous said...

is a demonstration of 500 really "masses" by Israel's standards?
justifying Arab TVs in force?
is there a figure of how many were Israeli Israelis?
does "nearly no outlay" signify that no funding from Foreign Governments was involved?
what an honour for you that Didi doesn't go into mudslinging with you due to a pretension he perceives you to have, how very very considerate of him
if Didi makes a living in the media it can't be due to his skills as an author. But getting slightly or very pompous when writing in a foreign language is quite normal so maybe in Hebrew he is a smash.
I hope you aren't sorry that Didi has stopped coming here because your commenters are beneath his "level of precision and logic".
I gather that you know Didi personally and that you guess that you are older than him, I conclude from that that he is past his 20s.
I have been looking at Didi's blog religiously ever since I found that he didn't want to talk about funding. Most of the time I don't get what he is driving at. But I'll keep trying because I always like to read both sides and as Jeffrey Goldberg has linked to him it must be my mistake that I don't get whatever there is. The demo post was the first that didn't look like same ol' but no it wasn't to be.


Yaacov said...


1. A mass demonstration in Israel is 100,000 people. 80,000 mit-a-kvetch. 500 is, well, 500.

2. No outlay means the sent out a Facebook notice, not much more. Not hard to do, since the 500 people all know each other.

3. I'm honored.

4. I don't think he's a smash in any language. I find his writing tricky: he plays games with language, to prove he's educated, but the result doesn't seem to enhance the clarity, so what's it for?

5. I'm not offended. I learn interesting things from the readers of this blog; if he can't, that's his problem. I suppose it might be the result of his being more intelligent than I and all.

6. To the best of my knowledge we've never met. But we've got mutual friends - including some he probably doesn't know are mutual. I expect he's in his mid-40s at least.

7. I don't read him that often, so I can't say. I do know that he's slippery on the things I ask him. But then, I'm slippery back, so why complain.

Anonymous said...


I'm just reading up the stuff NGO-Monitor linked to in here

and found to my amazement that

Didi Remez is an EMINENT person

He is Mr. NIF Co-ordinator in Israel - that was news to me - I must have overread it when I visited his website that he had such a prominent customer. But I was probably overwhelmed by the glory of Mr. Wolfensohn

The NGO-Monitor-piece has some quotes by Remez who make him look even more like a whiner when he complains of having been called "snobbish" or "snotty" around here. Snobbish I may be guilty off (though Didi doesn't feel snobbish to me), it is part of my vocabulary, but snotty must have been somebody else or more likely somewhere else. Maybe he has a likeability problem. (Naomi Pass btw whined twice that she had to type comments early in the morning - maybe whining is NIF-Style)

However the effort was worth it, at first glance it seems that Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf is feeding at Coteret. It will be interesting to watch whether he links


In case somebody is interested:
- Jeffrey Goldberg and Jeremy Ben-Ami who according to Google has been director at NIF talked:

RK said...

I had the same reaction when reading the post that you did—come on, no mention of the Second Intifada!?—but on further consideration, I think he has a point. (Though his ducking-and-weaving in response to your comment was still more abrasive than it should've been.)

You've obviously arrived at your current views after a great deal of thought and research and not as a result of being shielded from left-wing views (heck, you seem to read a disproportionate amount of left-wing media), and you're well-connected and know a lot of people who followed the same trajectory. It's thus tempting to assume that most Israelis are like you, and that media bias had little effect on political trends—especially since your views are shared by a large plurality of Israelis today. You see the same phenomenon with liberals in the U.S. today. (Though I'm dubious about measuring the strength of the peace camp by the number of seats Meretz has. Not only do we all know lots of lefties who don't vote Meretz, but that measure ignores the adoption of significant parts of the left-wing platform by the center and center-right, the political incompetence of many left-wing politicians, and the fact that voters don't vote on issues individually, but in packages called "candidates" and "parties.)

The problem is that unlike you, most people don't have deeply theorized views about political issues, as any pollster will tell you. (Or just go door-to-door for any political campaign: you'll quickly discover that the way people think about issues is totally different from the way the talking heads do. Ask me for some stories about this sometime.) As a result, media bias can contribute both to stemming awareness of issues among currently agnostic voters who might be receptive, and to actually shifting peoples' views. Remez was right to mention your focus on the Guardian: the British blogger you mentioned earlier (Oyvagoy) described in his post the pervasive and unexamined anti-Israel fog that (according to him) the media have managed to create in the UK.

And let's face it, Channel 2's footage was pretty egregious here.

Yaacov said...

RK -

In many matters, I expect Israeli voters are as similarly ill-informed as any others. But not on the matter of the conflict with the Palestinians. Since this subject is quite literally a matter of life and death, most Israeli's are quite well informed, which is one of the many reasons Didi's claim is so totally outlandish.

RK said...

By the way, the use of "kvetch" to mean "complaint, quibble" (as in "mit a kvetsh" above) is purely American English, not Yiddish. In Yiddish, it means "press", as in:

יוסף הצדיק לאָזט אַראָפּ קונטזיק דאָס שטיקל קױלטש אין קעשענע אַרײַן און טוט מיר אַ קװעטש בײַ דער האַנט.

Yoysef haTsadik roguishly dropped the bit of challah in his pocket and gave my hand a squeeze. (Sholem Aleichem, "Baym Kenig Akhashveyresh")

I would use "pshetl" (פּשטל) instead. But I'm always happy to see Yiddish used!

Anonymous said...


there is a German verb quetschen which means press through a door for example - I wonder which one derived from which ?

but isn't it nice that Yiddish is so alive that words still get used differently - I for one distinctly remember the time wenn gay meant merry and nothing else


RK said...


According to my dictionary, they're both derived from the same Middle High German (Mittelhochdeutsch) word, as with most Yiddish-German cognates.

You're right, there's nothing wrong with people importing the English sense of "kvetsh" back into Yiddish -- Yiddish is always changing. In fact, there are probably Hasidic kids in America who use it this way already, though I've never heard it myself. I just thought it would be interesting to note. Also, there are going to be purists who object to using "kvetch" for "quibble."

Interestingly, I think kvetch is also Israeli slang for "flatten, crush." See this article for instance. The headline says: Lieberman's Plan: Crush Assad. Literally, "To do a kvetch to Assad." I'd look for more examples (my grasp of Hebrew slang is tenuous) but that damn vuvuzela noise from the ads on Ynet's site is driving me insane.

Anonymous said...

our little exchange made me think overnight that I have never read anything about the Nazis purging German of Yiddish
- it seems there was a belief that Yiddish was just another dialect and when our dialect despising Zeitgeist was still more dominant than it is today that was a kind of death verdict. But times have changed at least a little. I live in an area where older people still speak in Niederdeutsch when talking to eachother and what they were subjected to when going first to school and it was all Hochdeutsch and Dialect was Pfui is fit to break your heart. (instead of making use that these were at least partly bilingual people they were harrassed into believing themselves stupid)

But back to the Nazis and Yiddish - though I am told they "cleaned" the language of things like Television and Telefon (Fernseher which survives and Fernsprecher which is dead by now but survived for quite a while in civil servant language)
they seem not to have gone after Yiddish words.

Can that have been so?