Israel, Palestine and Gaza: Part IV

January 16, 2009

All the usual caveats apply, needless to say.  Comments are welcome, if non-abusive.

IV The global coalition against Israel

The current war in Gaza has witnessed a huge surge in anti-Israeli sentiment world wide. Animus toward Israel has been steadily growing for many years, and even prior to the launch of Operation ‘Cast Lead’ had achieved a level of cultural embedment that in many respects is both baffling and disconcerting. It has been particularly alarming to see how, over the past few years, the decades-long aversion to anti-Semitism has broken down over much of the western world, and classic Jew-hatred has unmistakeably re-surfaced as part of the anti-Israel discourse.

I say baffling and disconcerting because, on any objective measure, Israel hardly rates at all on the index of pure evil. During the period that Israel has been in existence, the world has witnessed nations conducting themselves in ways that completely eclipse the worst that can be said of Israel: the Soviet Union, the PRC and Cambodia, to name three.

In today’s world, atrocities by the governments of Burma, Uganda, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia, the Congo, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Syria should totally overshadow the crimes alleged against Israel. Some of these the world has largely ignored; some it has deplored – often quite gently. But none of them have attracted the avalanche of fury that has been directed, with steadily increasing intensity, against the lonely Jewish state lodged precariously on the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea.

Some context

Israel has done much that can be disagreed with or even vehemently opposed. Its carrying of the war against PLO terrorists to the streets of Europe was probably unwise, and it made bad mistakes, such as when its intelligence services executed the wrong man in Oslo in 1973 (they mis-identified a Moroccan waiter as Ali Hassan Sulameh, mastermind of the Munich Olympics massacre).

Targeted assassinations are a repugnant instrument for a democracy to employ even against its deadliest enemies, although I can see the rationale and – almost – the need. The establishment of settlements in territories occupied as a result of war was wrong – at least morally, although many sympathisers argue that it was not technically illegal. But Israel has demonstrated that it is prepared to regard the settlements as negotiable: those in the Sinai and Gaza have been dismantled and the territories returned to Egyptian and Palestinian sovereignty. Recently Prime Minister Olmert urged the West Bank settlers to psychologically prepare themselves for the day they must return to Israel proper.

Israel has fought many wars, all of which – perhaps with the exception of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon – were forced upon it by its enemies. Three times Israel has fought off and defeated the combined armies of the neighbouring Arab states, whose war purpose was to annihilate Israel and kill or expel its citizens. No war can be conducted without major mistakes or blemishes, but Israel has committed remarkably few.

Its greatest was the massacre of Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in December 1982. Although the Phalangist militia were responsible for the atrocities, the IDF commanders should have recognised the potential for such actions and guarded against them – as Israel acknowledged, through the findings of the Kahan commission. Ariel Sharon was found to bear personal responsibility and was forced to resign as Defence Minister. The number of victims at Sabra and Shatila is uncertain, but the best estimates appear to be around 500.

World public opinion has never forgiven Israel for Sabra and Shatila, but it has completely forgotten, if it ever really knew, that President al-Assad of Syria, in February that same year, massacred between 20,000 and 40,000 of his own citizens in the city of Hama in reprisal for an attempted coup. Similarly, at around the same time, the number of political prisoners estimated to have been executed by the Khomeinist regime in Tehran ran into tens of thousands. The world paid no mind. I recall Israeli diplomats bitterly remarking, even then, on the double standards that applied to Israel.

The most common charge against Israel is that it is an occupying power, which it has been since 1967 when it captured the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the Six Day War. It appears little known that Israel offered the territories back in exchange for peace almost before the echoes of gunfire had faded. The Arab answer, delivered at the Arab League’s September 1967 summit in Khartoum, was: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

Many anti-Israel bloggers and commentators commonly assert that these territories are Palestinian by right or by nature, and that in occupying them Israel is somehow preventing the state of Palestine from constituting itself. Yet during the period that Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip (1948-1967) there was never any question that a state of Palestine should be created there. Both territories were used as platforms to launch terrorist attacks on Israel, both by fedayeen supplied, armed and trained by Jordan and Egypt, and by military units of both nations. Dozens of attacks were launched in the four months prior to the June 1967 war alone. Given that, and in light of the ‘three noes’ of Khartoum, Israel could hardly be expected to return to the status quo ante.

Serious talk of a ‘two state solution’ only emerged after Israel defeated yet another annihilating invasion by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1973, and it became clear that the Arab states could not destroy Israel by military force, which they had been determined to do since 1948.

It is a historical fact beyond any serious dispute that the Arabs could have created a state of Palestine in 1937, when the Peel Royal Commission recommended it; in 1947, when the UN voted for it; at any time between 1948 and 1967, when the Arabs occupied Gaza and the West Bank; at any time, provided that the terms did not pose an existential threat to Israel, between 1967 and 1977, when the Likud won its first electoral victory, and Israeli irredentism got the upper hand; and in 2000, when Barak offered it.

Each time, the Arabs refused.

The other major charge against Israel is that it is responsible for the current plight of the Palestinians who fled (most) or were expelled (a comparative few) from what became Israel in 1948, who along with their descendants are still maintained in refugee camps as persons of no nationality. Very few people are aware that Israel offered to take back 100,000 refugees after the War of Independence, and that the Arab states refused to allow them to do so. They would only return, the Arabs said, in the wake of victorious Arab armies.

Meanwhile, the Arab states did not allow the Palestinians to settle or gain citizenship within their borders. Instead, the UN’s Work and Relief Agency was set up to fund and run the camps, making the Palestinians refugees in perpetuity. In post-WWII world that witnessed the transfer, often forced, of millions of people – Hindus to India, Muslims to Pakistan, ethnic Germans from a re-constituted Poland, Jews from Arab lands to Israel – only the Palestinians were never permitted to settle and establish themselves in lands of refuge. The Arab states and the UN were determined that the Palestinians should remain unsettled, often in squalid conditions, as a constant weapon and reproach against Israel.

Against that backdrop, it is difficult to understand why international support for Israel (other than in the US) seems to have collapsed so comprehensively. The settlements apart, the most that can be said against Israel, it seems to me, is that it has acted on occasion with unnecessary brutality in executing reprisal raids for terrorist incursions or rocket barrages, and that its religious extremists are a pretty bad lot who hold disproportionate power in the Knesset, thanks to Israel’s foundational mistake in opting for proportional representation as its electoral system.

On the other hand, it has often acted with extraordinary restraint, wittingly putting its soldiers in harm’s way in order to minimise civilian casualties, as was the case in Jenin (despite the mythology) six years ago. The airstrikes which began the current offensive against Hamas in Gaza are far more accurate and careful of civilian casualties than were, for example, the high-altitude NATO strikes against Serbia ten years ago.

But there is more to the current climate against Israel than the lack of sympathy or political support. It’s the level of visceral hatred that seems so extraordinary. The venom on open display is out of all proportion to the crimes – whether real or imagined – alleged against Israel.

Around the world, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets, chanting ‘We are all Hamas now’. The ugliest kind of anti-Semitic invective has been employed, including taunts of ‘Back to the ovens, Jews’, and ‘Finish Hitler’s work’, and ‘The Jews are our dogs’, and many others. What is going on here? Such sentiments are common across the Middle East, but why are they now openly proclaimed across the streets of Europe and the Americas?

Many of the demonstrators have been expatriate Arabs or Muslims, but at least as many were not. As was the case during the war in Lebanon two years ago, people of normally good will and kindly temperament are allying themselves with a movement sworn to the extirpation of a state and a people from the face of the earth, and chanting its slogans on the street.

The new rise of anti-Semitism

I have always been reluctant to ascribe anti-Israel sentiment to anti-Semitism. But it has now become impossible not to see what purports to be ‘anti-Zionism’ as offering a cloak for the old anti-Semitic hatreds.

In May last year, Martin Bright, of Britain’’s New Statesman – part of the anti-Israel axis in the UK media which also includes The Guardian and The Independent – wrote an article pondering why Israel represented a “terrible fault line” of the British (and international) left. He never really answered his own question, but he did note that responses to stories about Israel in his and the other journals of the left always, these days, brought forth vituperation that no-one could fail to recognise as the tropes of classic anti-Semitism. He is quite right: even a cursory read through comments on The Guardian’s CommentIsFree site leave one in no doubt of that.

Even opponents of Israel have been troubled by the trend. A couple of years ago, divestment campaigner Sue Blackwell wrote in Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper that activists associated with the divestment movement frequently approached her saying, ‘You should read this. It explains everything!’ ‘This’ was The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Last year, the doyen of Western scholars of Arabs and Islam, Bernard Lewis, came under a lot of fire from the right in the US for asserting that the anti-Semitic sentiment with which the Islamic Middle East is awash was imported from Europe. Arguing against Lewis, various commentators and bloggers pointed to anti-Jewish passages in the Quran and the Hadiths to demonstrate that Islam is inherently malignant towards Jews.

I think Lewis is right. There are ugly passages in the Islamic texts, it is true – but as much could be said of the Old Testament. The importation into the Middle East of European anti-Semitism goes back at least as far as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who toured the concentration camps in occupied Poland, and urged the exterminators on to greater efforts.

Arab governments sponsor the propagation of blood libels against the Jews which exactly parallel the old European fantasies. Videos of inexpressible vileness have been produced by the governments of Iran and Jordan depicting Jews killing babies to produce blood for baking in ceremonial breads. Cartoons of hook-nosed Jews engaged in acts of villainy, greed and evil abound throughout the Arab media. The Protocols and Hitler’s Mein Kampf are found in every bookshop. When Iran participates in book fairs in Europe, most of its display space is taken up, not with books about Iran, but with European-sourced anti-Semitic tracts.

The extraordinary process we are witnessing today is this: the Middle East, having imbibed the Europe’s anti-Semitic fetishes during the decades when Europe had largely abandoned them, is now re-exporting them back to Europe where they are finding a new, receptive audience.

Some have argued that Europe is still trying to expiate its guilt as the extermination of its Jews by the Nazis. A widely-distributed graphic image juxtaposing a picture of the death of Mohammed al Durah in 2000 (long ago exposed as a hoax) with the small Jewish boy with hands raised in the Warsaw Ghetto – with the clear implication that the former ‘crime’ erased the latter – is a perfect illustration of this.

One victim over-wrote the other across the boundaries of barbed wire.

The pathology of victimhood

There is a difference between victim and victimhood. Victim is a real, single state; victimhood is an imagined, continuous condition.

The world is terrifyingly full of victims. Victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda have their faces cut off and are sent back to their loved ones as a mocking jeer. Victims of Sierra Leone’s militia are asked whether they want their punishment ‘long’ or ‘short’. Depending, their arms will be macheté-ed off at the wrist, or above the elbow. Victims of the North Korean regime eat grass when they run out of food, and North Koreans when they run out of grass. Half a million Sudanese have been victims of rape and murder. Non-combatant casualties in Gaza are victims. The people of Sderot are victims. Teenagers killed in Tel Aviv pizza bars by Palestinian suicide bombers are victims. Women killed in Islamic lands for infringing medieval codes of honour are victims.

But victimhood is something else again.  It is an assumed or imparted – indeed, an elected – condition. It allows people to ascribe their failures in life to the fact that they are victims: victims of their parents, of a loveless childhood, of poverty, of their gender, sexual preference, race, colour, temperament, not-good-enough looks, or religion or political affiliation. On a bad day, if you’re cynical enough, it seems that the very condition of being alive makes you a victim of something, or many things.

Western public opinion does not care much for victims, beyond sporadic events such as LiveAid, but it cares very much for victimhood. Victimhood carries with it a cachet, a badge of honour, a sense of aggrievement, a claim for entitlement and a demand for restitution. It’s a powerful and compelling instrument, which is why so many use it. The prizes are endless – emotionally, politically and financially.

Many seek the prizes of victimhood, but not all can realistically assume the condition. So, if you yourself cannot claim victimhood, the next best thing is to adopt someone who does, and claim their cause as your own. For many western progressives, with little cause to claim victimhood for themselves, their adoptive claimants of choice are the Palestinians. They project the desired condition of victimhood on to the Palestinians, and celebrate it in the demonstrations we have recently seen. Fed by media images, the pressure of the crowd and its own self-intoxication, it readily turns to the kind of hatred so obviously manifest.

It’s hard, indeed, watching their faces and grimaces on the TV screens – well, mainly YouTube videos, actually, as the MSM has been notably discreet – to believe that these people do not actively enjoy their hatred: that it affords them a rush that nothing else could give them.  In this they reflect the crowds of Tehran, Gaza City, Ramallah and Damascus, for whom the only permissible outlet for discontent at whatever genuine  cause (government tyranny, slaughtered families, stagnant economies, no jobs) is the public exhaltation of hatred –  for Israel.

Around the world, millions of people have self-identified with Palestinian victimhood. In a real sense, they (especially the intellectuals) have colonised the Palestinians’ own sufferings in support of objectives they aspire to for themselves. They participate vicariously in the pain of their adoptees, celebrate it and weaponise it to further their own programs and agenda. The names Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Juan Cole and Robert Fisk come readily to mind as standard-bearers in this process. Half-forgotten political movements – Trotskyites, Spartacists, Anarchists, neo-Nazis – have all picked up the weapon.

It is often said that the western left’s sympathy for Israel waned after 1967, when the Jewish state demonstrated the efficacy of its military might. David became Goliath. The underdog became the neighbourhood Rottweiler. In other words, Israel could no longer claim victim status, so that condition was imputed to the new underdog, the Palestinians.

What the world may not have understood is that the foundation by the Jews first of a Homeland, and then a State in Palestine was itself a rejection of their own history (and assumption) of the burden of victimhood. Menachem Begin, the most repugnant of all of Israel’s leaders and an unrepentant ex- terrorist to boot, expressed this in an extreme form in his memoirs (‘The Revolt’). The purpose of forming the Irgun, he said, was to create a new kind of Jew, the like of which the world had not seen since Masada: the Jew who did not wait to be attacked. In less immoderate terms, it may be said in justification of Israel’s military prowess that David may have been the underdog in the fight, but he was never a victim. He fought his enemy, and won.

So the ‘victim’ status previously conferred (falsely) on Israel was transferred to Palestine. It followed that the Arabs’ and Palestinians’ own rationale should be adopted along with the cause itself. And the west’s progressives – many, too in Israel itself – colonised the Palestinian cause to confirm their own emotional and ideological predilections. They were not necessarily ill-meaning, but they identified with the ‘victim’, to the extent that, goaded above all by the images propagated by the media, they were prepared to go over to the side of barbarism.

Thus Iran’s Ahmadinejad is embraced by the Bolivian President of the UN General Assembly, and receives a standing ovation, when he denies the Holocaust, demeans the Jews and calls for the destruction of the their state. Thus, in OpEds around the world, columnists of impeccably liberal persuasion coolly assert that Israel, a member state of the United Nations and home to more than seven million people, has no right to exist. This would have been unimaginable even a decade ago.

And thus, today, in the streets of  the world’s great cities, thousands call unabashedly for the extirpation of Israel, and the completion of Hitler’s unfinished enterprise.

What in the world have we come to?

Next: The role of the media



  1. For someone who purports to eschew emotion, this is a very emotionally wrought piece of writing.

    Over-identification with an aggressive dominant power politically backed and militarily armed to the hilt by the strongest empire in history has led to a profound betrayal by Israel of the heart of Jewish history: its sense of justice. And in that sense what the world is witnessing is the transfer of Jewishness to the Palestinians.

    And hence, because we are not a stupid or completely heartless species, the growing world support for Palestinians that you find so bewildering, but which is very easy to comprehend for those not caught in a web of ongoing victim status, assumed or accorded, meshed with brutal retaliation and revenge. This ongoing faux victim status with which you seem to closely identify, has made Israel in its destructive relations with the vast non-Jewish population around it, differ little in moral terms from the other chambers of horror you describe occurring elsewhere.

  2. “And in that sense what the world is witnessing is the transfer of Jewishness to the Palestinians. ”

    What on earth do you mean by that statement? That there is something monstrous in the heart of Jewishness which is being transferred to the Palestinians, who duly act it out, and therefore the Jews are to blame? It’s hard to see it in another light.

  3. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/anti-semitism-sweeps-europe-in-wake-of-gaza-operation/

    I think that article sums up what is happening or has happened to people like LZ.

  4. Dispossession, persecution and injustice were the lot of Jews for centuries and the radicalism that produced was naturally tied to a strong sense of justice and desire for autonomy and opposition to domination and discrimination.

    Wanting to create a purely Jewish or predominantly Jewish state in an Arab Palestine in the C20th could not help but lead to a colonial type situation and to the predictable development of a racist state of mind and ongoing military confrontation between the two.

    To excuse this reality because of the suffering borne by the Jewish people in the past is to step on the wheel of domination.

  5. “To excuse this reality because of the suffering borne by the Jewish people in the past is to step on the wheel of domination.”

    Reality? You talk of reality? When are you going to engage with the reality? There were a lot of things done badly by both sides, and also things done well – but Israel isn’t going away, so deal with it as a reality in order to find a solution. The only alternative, and the one I think you secretly hope for, is to push the Israelis into the sea.

  6. Re-read this section, please:

    “It is a historical fact beyond any serious dispute that the Arabs could have created a state of Palestine in 1937, when the Peel Royal Commission recommended it; in 1947, when the UN voted for it; at any time between 1948 and 1967, when the Arabs occupied Gaza and the West Bank; at any time, provided that the terms did not pose an existential threat to Israel, between 1967 and 1977, when the Likud won its first electoral victory, and Israeli irredentism got the upper hand; and in 2000, when Barak offered it.”

  7. Hence, my statement that the Palestinians have now assumed Jewishness. It was a compliment and a salutation.

  8. and that Jews have abandoned that essential core is a tragedy for them as it is a calamity for the Palestinian people.

  9. That is hysterical nonsense, AC. I certainly do not hold to such a position or have said anything that would indicate I might. Point to where I have, please.

    If you can’t then please have the grace to admit that your debating tactics are dishonest, crude and deliberately cruel.

  10. I said “the one I think you secretly hope for”. Therefore it was clearly my subjective opinion based on your behaviour, and it was clear that it was something I suspect you work to conceal.

    Therefore I can’t point to a black and white statement, can I? Please work on your textual analysis. Don’t respond to my posts unless you comprehend their meaning, is my advice.

  11. So Jews who agree with me are also anti-Semitic, AC?

  12. On driving Israel into the sea?


  13. The centuries-old totally abhorrent persecution of Jews in Europe has been converted since the foundation of Israel by Israel and its supporters into moral capital to cover and justify whatever the Jewish people would do in the way of domination themselves.

    Jews who support Israel’s modus operandi today and since 1948 have effectively thrown their lot in with the imperial identity of the Christian West and are doing to the Palestinians – Arabs, Muslims – what had for so long been done to them in Europe.

  14. I told you I don’t agree with that statement, AC, and has nothing to do with what I am talking about. You are being disingenuous yet again.

  15. A large part of the world sees Israel’s behaviour, its OTT aggression towards the Palestinians as being sociopathic. And extreme sociopathic behaviour usually elicits a similiar response.

    Israel and its economic, military and political supporters collectively are primarily responsible for any responding (in fact, defensive) sociopathic behaviour on the part of the materially far worse off Palestinian people they have tormented, wages war against and abused for so long.

  16. AC – I agree Israel isn’t going to go away, but then neither are the Palestinians.

    The bottom line is this. Israel owes the Palestinians reparations.

    And then? Well, Jews and Arabs are branches of the same trunk. If they managed to co-exist in the past, why not now? Neither will ever win a definitive victory or wipe out the other. They are doomed (or blessed, as many like me ache to see) to live side by side. How they do so is largely up to Israel.

  17. Oh, yes, it’s all Israel’s fault.

    What about the Arabs’ OTT aggression towards the Jews? Not sociopathic? Not racist? Not exterminationist? Oh wait… that’s the Jews’ fault too.

    “And extreme sociopathic behaviour usually elicits a similiar response”

    That’s your argument?

  18. Look forward to yr post on women in Israel, Rob.

  19. Here’s something for starters, LZ.

  20. “If they managed to co-exist in the past, why not now?”

    Hey – great idea. Let’s put the Arabs in charge and have the Jews pay a tax and wear compulsory emblems and dress identifying them as Jews. And let’s have the payment done in public with a ritual slapping and insulting of the person donating for the enjoyment and edification of all, Jew and overlord community alike, as was the case in many areas.

    You appear to know nothing of the logistics of how the Jews and Arabs co-existed ‘amicably’ over the centuries.

  21. Neat example of objectification, Rob. Ta for that.

    But because the veil in all its forms denies men their usual privilege of discerning whomever they desire, by default it places women in command.

    In the first picture the women are armed and in control of their appearance. In the second the women are defenceless and preening for a photographer. Most likely they will then continue on their daily endurance round of sexual harassment and institutionalised discrimination, a notorious problem in the IDF.

    Veils don’t discourage male lust, rather they heighten men’s fantasies about women. And the more that is hidden, the greater the sexual attraction and the greater the spur to the imagination, the most powerful aphrodisiac.

    Ipso facto, the veiled armed Palestinian women are sexier by far.

  22. “Ipso facto, the veiled armed Palestinian women are sexier by far.”

    What a wonderful analysis! Now tell us how (in Islamic society) limiting a woman’s ability to work, move and speak freely and have access to her children after a divorce IN REALITY increases her ability to express herself, enhances her autonomy and guarantees she will have a wonderful unfettered relationship with her children.

  23. A meaningless generalisation and OT, AC

  24. And here I was thinking we were discussing the comparative status and freedoms of women in the region.

    It looks like you’ll have to explain to me what the real topic is.

  25. The Zionist movement historically did not concern itself with women’s emancipation because it defined the problem of Jewish existence as the fundamental and overriding social issue to which all efforts had to be directed. The Zionists were strong opponents of women’s suffrage, for example and there remain strong conservative religious pressures which result in a lack of civil, legal and economic equality for women in Israel. Women there suffer from significant legal, employment-related and political discrimination.

    This is hardly surprising. When warfare and terror are rife in a society, this affects everything that people do. In particular it affects women. In both the Jewish state of Israel and in predominantly Muslim countries there is an ongoing division and conflict between groups favouring a more secular state and those who want a state based on a greater degree of religiosity. It has been difficult for both Jews and Muslims to set up modern democratic states in which religion is relegated to the private sphere and which grants women genuine equality. The slow rate of change for women in Israel over 60 years is also to a very large degree the result of the general political stagnation of the state because of the permanent focus on militarisation and war.

  26. Interesting. The so-called “existential threat” Israel is said to experience in relation to Hamas probably has less to do with any real physical threat from rockets than from the fecundity of its Arab neighbours and all that flows from that.

    In this context the threat felt by Israel is sub-consciously in fact phallic. After all, mosques are often seen to be aggressively phallic symbols of power and veiled Muslim women can look phallic too with their swathed bodies a vertical column with a protuberence on top, thus allowing them too to occupy the position of the phallus.

  27. Now it all makes sense.

  28. Yes, there can be no doubt it is in part a sexual contest.

    The 16thC Sheikh al-Nafzawi opened his book “The Perfumed Garden for the Soul’s Delectation” – “Praise be to God, who has placed man’s greatest pleasure in the natural parts of man to afford the greatest enjoyment to woman.” And “Thousand and One Nights” is a clear instance of the Muslim appreciation of sex, which is equally pleasurable to men and women.

    Of course, Judaism is enthusiastic about love and sex, as seen by the inclusion of the Song of Solomon in the Jewish scriptures though perhaps it’s not quite the sex manual that is the Islamic text.

  29. “…”

  30. “The current war in Gaza has witnessed a huge surge in anti-Israeli sentiment world wide.”

    How baffling it must be to see “simple” sentiment hold such sway and inexplicably colonise the minds and shape the views of so many millions.

  31. Especially so, given that the Jewish lobby’s control of the media and politics in Australia and the US (Margot Kingston’s deathless words) is so universal and ubiquitous. The sentiment is heroic in its own way – even Hamas-like in its resistance.

  32. Sentiment (aka emotion) is among the most powerful natural forces in our (human) world – for both good and ill. Perhaps, though, not on a par with a storm at sea. But even that’s not true any more, sadly.

  33. Non. Seq. uit. ur.

    Must. Resist. Distraction…

  34. ‘Tis true. Non-sequiturs are a dangerous, some say irresistible and always fatal distraction.

    But then without them, where would we be?

  35. Look! Elvis!

    That was lame, I admit. I just don’t have your talent for these misdirective posts.

  36. You are being particularly obtuse, AC. I have no idea what “look, Elvis” refers too and I’d bet it ain’t deep.

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