Help where it’s wanted, &c.


As you may have read, Israel has played a big role in relieving Haiti, following the hugely destructive earthquake. Unfortunately, the Israelis have a lot of experience in digging people out of rubble, etc. They are a people who have faced bombings over and over. At the end of 2003, there was a major earthquake in Bam, Iran. (Yeah, I know: “Bam,” an earthquake.) The Israelis were alacritous: They wanted to send rescue workers immediately. There was no time to waste, and Israel was very close, physically, to Iran. But Iran refused this aid and expertise. The government preferred that people die rather than suffer the ignominy of being rescued by Jews. This episode was a further indication of the psychosis prevalent in the Middle East. Fortunately, Haiti, for all of its sufferings, does not suffer from that.

I noticed an interesting piece by Marty Peretz of The New Republic — noticed it because it was cited in Commentary’s Contentions. Peretz wrote,

I’ve just read the transcript of the president’s remarks about Haiti, the ones he made on January 15. He noted that, in addition to assistance from the United States, significant aid had also come from “Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others.” Am I missing another country that truly weighed in with truly consequential assistance? Ah, yes. There it is. Right there “among others.” Yes, the country to which I refer is “among others,” that one.

The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. The Israeli field hospital was the only one on the ground that could perform real surgery, which it did literally hundreds of times, while delivering — as of last week — at least 16 babies, including one premature infant and three caesarians. . . .

It’s not that Israeli participation in the Haiti horror was being kept secret. I myself saw it reported several times on television . . .

So didn’t Obama notice? For God’s sake, everybody noticed the deep Israeli involvement.

(For the full piece, go here.) In any case, it is rather remarkable that Israel, a tiny country very far away from Haiti, and with serious — indeed, existential — problems of its own, should find the time and resources to help this afflicted people in the Caribbean. Will the world credit Israel for it?

That question was merely rhetorical.

A reader wrote me with a story out of Tyler, Texas: here. In short, five churches in the area have been burned, in rapid succession. Actually, now there are six: as we see here. This has not made national news, as far as I’m aware. There is no racial angle. (Remember when church burnings were just about the biggest story in America?) Our reader says, “Seriously, have you ever heard of this many church burnings in a month? How is this not getting national coverage?”

It’s a fair question, I think. We have a big country, and there is a lot going on, from sea to shining sea (as Bill Buckley liked to say). Still, it’s a fair question.

I thought a line from an Associated Press report was just a little — a little right-leaning, dare I say? Maybe sneakily conservative? Anyway, I smiled at the line. See what you think:

Oregon has set aside its history of shooting down tax increases on statewide ballots, with voters endorsing higher taxes on businesses and the rich amid a brutal economic slump.

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature made it as easy as they could for the voters to raise taxes on somebody else, and the electorate responded Tuesday by approving Measures 66 and 67.

“Democrats in the Oregon Legislature made it as easy as they could for the voters to raise taxes on somebody else” — love it (not the action, the phrasing). (For the full report, go here.)

This story is sort of interesting. It’s about an Arab member of the Israeli legislature and his visit to Auschwitz. It got me to thinking about Jewish members of Arab legislatures, and . . .

Oh, wait . . .

Have you received your current issue — your current issue of National Review? I have a piece called “Two Inconvenient Canadians.” Who are they? They’re Stephen McIntyre, a business consultant and maverick intellectual, and Ross McKitrick, an economist and professor. And why are they inconvenient? Well, they’re inconvenient to some — they are inconvenient to the “global-warming red-hots,” as I call them in this piece. The crowd over at the CRU, and associated with them.

The CRU, let me remind you, is the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain. They are the characters in “Climategate,” the eye-opening scandal that broke in November. They are also the ones who feed the IPCC all that golden information on which we have come to rely. The IPCC, you remember, is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.’s global-warming arm. The IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, with Al Gore.

But why are the two M’s — McIntyre and McKitrick — inconvenient? Because their work has called the hockey stick into serious question.

Okay, remember the hockey stick: the hockey-stick graph. This was the killer graphic used in the IPCC’s 2001 report — the report we used to think of as especially flawed, until the 2007 one was exposed. The killer graph, and graphic, purported to show the global temperature from the year 1000 to the year 2000. Until about 1900, the line was relatively flat; then it shot sharply upward. The graph looked like a hockey stick. And it went all around the world, becoming an icon of global warming. On its basis, we were supposed to reorder our economies and our very way of living.

Anyway, I tell the story of the M’s in this piece, or at least some of the story. And I would like to give you a little extra here. As you know, those who don’t buy the Gore/IPCC line on global warming — who are the least skeptical or critical — are called “deniers.” This is perhaps the most obnoxious ploy of the global-warming people: to link their critics to Holocaust deniers.

I asked the two M’s about this “denier” charge. McKitrick answered coolly. He said, “Anyone who’s arguing any kind of complex issue affirms some things and denies other things, so you could use the term about anyone in the debate, if you focus only on the things he disputes rather than the things he argues for.”

And McIntyre’s response? Tinged with a wonderful indignation: “At some level, you should be able to criticize Michael Mann’s principal-components calculations without being called a ‘denier.’”

Michael Mann is the leader of the team that brought the world the “hockey stick.” More about him in a moment.