Sunday, November 02, 2003

Interesting: a roundtable discusssion on "The New World Order" featuring the very insightful Mark Lilla as well as Tony "Dissolve Israel" Judt - sponsored by batty-sounding graduate programs at the U. of Illinois.

Lilla's article "The End Of Politics" offers an explanation of the depressing European trends embodied by Judt's clumsily argued and clearly agenda-driven article in the NY Review of Books (excellent responses to Judt by Bret Stephens and Victor David Hansen have been heavily blogged already).

The question that I would like to put to Judt: "Suppose that your 'binational state' idea were actually attempted and just made matters worse. Would you then support international 'encouragement' to get Jewish Israelis to emigrate?" Like many leftists, Judt pretends that the Israeli gov't contemplates transfer of its Arab population and gets outraged; but his answer to my question could only be 'yes'.
T. and I had brunch on Friday morning at Cafe Hillel. It was a bit less crowded and somewhat more secured than before it was blown up. The less crowded part made it more pleasant to be there. It doesn't strike me as a big deal to visit a place that was recently Islamikaze-d.
This article by Australian parliamentarian Michael Danby provides good context to Mahathir's OIC speech. Mahathir is strongly and pragmatically anti-Western as well as anti-Jewish, but realizes the counterproductivity of terrorism and seeks (or seeked) to develop Islamic strength through economic and military power.

This might mean that Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" should join Shimon Peres' "The New Middle East" as one of the most quaintly naive books of the 90s.
Like most Israelis I'm appalled by the reports that supposedly 59% of Europeans think that we are the leading threat to world peace.

The actual data of the poll (which also asked about the Iraq situation) are supposed to be released tomorrow. My admittedly conspiratorial idea: the results are deliberately engineered by European Commission bureaucrats to promote the "Geneva initiative". The "initiative" has little support among the Israeli public as I've described previously, but from the EU perspective the poll result could be a way to pressure Israel and indicate that they don't respect or recognize our reasons for skepticism.

I imagine my European readers are likely to jump in here and say that the 59% figure is actually plausible. But I haven't seen a good description of what these polled people are likely to be thinking.

Update: Miranda from Germany responds that I'm way off, and that the EU doesn't support the 'Geneva Initiative'.