The Corner

Brothers, Bombs, Jokes . . .

Concerning this report out of Jerusalem, a few observations:

1) Erdogan, the Turkish leader, said, “We cannot be positive about a normalization process [with Israel] while bombs are raining on our brothers in Palestine, Gaza.” What about the bombs raining on his brothers in Israel?

Who is Erdogan’s family, exactly? We know it extends beyond his fellow Turks to Arabs. It probably embraces Muslims. Anyone else?

2) “In an interview with the NBC program ‘Meet the Press’ to be broadcast on Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif . . .”

Whoa, whoa. The Iranian foreign minister was a guest on Meet the Press? Why? He represents a regime that stones girls to death for the “crime” of having been gang-raped. It is a criminal regime, a terrorist one. Why is Zarif welcomed as though he were a civilized man representing a civilized government?

I recall when I sat next to a previous Iranian foreign minister, Mottaki, in Davos. There we were, looking out the window at the Alps. Surreal. I wrote about the experience here.

There came a time when WFB stopped appearing on television with the Soviet spokesman Joe Adamov. He decided he should not be paired with a liar for an illegitimate and criminal state.

3) The article informs us that a U.N. official has called on Israel “to take all possible measures to ensure full respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions.” Uh-huh. Our old friend proportionality.

I think I met him in 1986, when President Reagan bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. (Yes, Benghazi was in the news before 9/11/12.) He did this in response to Qaddafi’s bombing of a disco in West Berlin — a disco frequented by American soldiers. The Libyans killed a couple of our people and wounded scores more.

And there was Senator John Kerry on television, fretting over whether Reagan had given a “proportional response.” The response of some of us right-leaning students was, “What would that be? The bombing of a disco frequented by Libyan soldiers?”

What would a proportional response to Pearl Harbor have been? Arranging for a sneak attack on a Japanese naval base someday?

Incidentally, what ever became of Senator Kerry of Massachusetts?

4) You gotta love these calls for restraint. I’m reminded of an old saying: “One can bear lightly a wrong done to someone else.” I’m further reminded of a joke, which illustrates a mindset. You’ll never believe where I learned this joke — from the liberal commentator Mark Shields, who told it on the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, years ago.

Two liberals are walking down the road, when they come upon a man in the ditch. He has been badly beaten, left for dead. He is moaning, groaning. One liberal turns to the other and says, “Quick, we have to find the people who did this. They need help.”

5) Israel is in a weird position: Almost uniquely, they are prohibited from destroying their enemy — an enemy committed to their destruction. They have to slap their enemy on the wrist, retreat behind their borders, and wait to be hit again. At which point they can slap again. We keep seeing this movie over and over . . .

As soon as the Arabs are willing to coexist, there will be peace. Not a second before. You can study this conflict till the cows come home. But it boils down to that.

N.B. Longtime NR devotees will note that the form of this post is an homage to WFB: “Concerning X, a few observations,” followed by numbered points.