Surprisingly, it turns out Yglesias has never been to Israel - until this week. Now he's here, studiously not seeing the 90-some percent of Israel that's not directly connected to the conflict with the Palestinians, but tweeting and blogging (a bit) about what he's seeing - so I'm a regular reader for the duration. It's odd how much he doesn't know, given the statements he occasionally makes. In one of his tweets today he told us that
As best I can tell, 99% of the clichés you've heard about Israel and Palestine are accurate.and also
Hebron is the strangest thing I've ever seenPersonally, I have a sneaking suspicion he went to Hebron with Btselem or someone like them, so the chances he understood what they were showing him were, how to put it, slim.
In the meantime, however, he continues to blog about other subjects,and this afternoon he dabbled in an argument between two other bloggers (who seems to be professors) about the outcome of WWII. I've read Yglesias and the two others, and for the life of me I can't figure out what it is they're talking about. The discussion seems to be about how bad things were in post-1945 Europe, and how WWII couldn't plausibly have been said to have ended well until one had the perspective of, say, 1990:
There’s definitely a sense in which it all worked out for the best in the end, but the conclusion of the war in Europe was both very harsh on the Germans and also a spectacular failure in terms of cosmic justice. You can see this by contemplating the fact that a war France and Britain nominally launched for the sake of saving Czechoslovak and Polish independence concluded by sentencing Poland and Czechoslovakia and a great many other countries to decades of Soviet domination.Soviet domination was a very bad thing, on balance. Still, compared to Nazi domination it was great. Not to mention millions of Eastern Europeans who were slated to die for being in the way of the Germans, and all the remaining Jews. I look at this exchange of opinions between these three fellows, rub my eyes, and ask if it's the same 20th century we're talking about.
Meanwhile, ideological enemies of mankind are still with us, though they use different terminology these days. Barry Rubin notices that the Muslim Brotherhood, an important movement, has essentially declared war on the West... and no-one is noticing. Of course, no-one would expect someone like Matthew Yglesias to make an issue of this sort of thing, but perhaps the New York Times? The Economist? Someone? Anyone?
Finally, since I'm listing odd things, Lizas Welt, an iconoclastic German blog, who follows Henryk Broder in telling the story of one Edith Lutz. Ms Lutz, it appears, has figured out that merely attacking Israel won't get her the media attention she wishes for, so she has decided to tell everyone she's Jewish. A Jew who says awful things about Israel: now that's just what the German media needs. The problem, in Liza's formulation, is that her conversion to Judaism seems to have been very private. So private that no-one in the Jewish community knows about it.
All of this is getting too complicated for poor old me. I guess I'm losing it.