If you're already visiting Elder of Zion, be sure not to miss the Peter Hitchen's story he has linked to, about how media reports of Palestinian reality in Gaza and on the West Bank are, how to put this, not fully reliable.
Much (by no means all) of what Avigdor Lieberman has to say is reasonable. The problem is that they aren't the sort of things a top diplomat is supposed to say, nor does he seem to have a sense of time and place. As a foreign minister he's a disaster. Evelyn Gordon, however, has the numbers to prove that one of his recent outbursts was quite factual, even if not diplomatic.
Apropos Lieberman's positions, our Hard Left and their American financiers are aghast about how Israel is rapidly departing the democratic world. They might benefit from a glance over to The Netherlands, a country with no enemies, no engagement in war since 1945, and no particular reason to worry about much, which has just elected a new government:
The new government will ban the face-covering Islamic veil, and forbid police and workers in judicial institutions from wearing the headscarf. Immigration via marriage will be curbed. State subsidies for newcomers’ language courses will be turned into loans, and a failure to pass the subsequent tests could become grounds for a refusal to grant residence permits.The agreement is long on heavy-handed police tactics as a response to crime-ridden ethnically mixed neighbourhoods, but has nothing to say about poor infrastructure, school drop-out rates, skills shortages and low social mobility among both immigrants and natives in such areas.Maybe Israel's Hard Left and its American financiers are more noise than substance, however (though they certainly are very noisy). According to a poll described in the JTA, America's Jews seem, by and large, to be somewhat to the right of Israel's electorate on the issues of Israel. I admit I was a bit surprised by this, but I"m far away and it's hard to tell. From here it's hard to know how important the Peter Beinart and Matthew Yglesias types are - or perhaps, aren't.
Finally, the Guardian tells with a straight face that conditions in Basra (Iraq) are vastly improved recently. The report would have us accept that everything was fine until 2003, but even using that dubious timelline, things are pretty good. I don't deal much with Iraq, which is mostly beyond the scope of this blog. However, back in early 2003 I wrote (in an e-mail, I wasn't blogging then) that the invasion of Iraq could not seriously be judged for a decade. I'm not certain I was right about that, but since the decade isn't up yet, I don't have to stake a position yet.