Blintzkrieg in Gaza; Madoff covers up family jewels

"Gaza medics in the line of fire," from Al Jazeera


Congratulations to the New York Times. The word "war" made it into a front-page story this morning about Israel's war on Gaza.

Ethan Bronner's piece even sports the word in its headline: "Gaza War Role Is Political Lift for Ex-Premier."

As I noted yesterday, the Times has a particular problem calling a spade a spade in the Middle East. Witness one of its other war stories this morning, Steven Erlanger's "Rockets Fired From Lebanon Into Israel," which generally avoids the word "war" and features this lede:

Israel's conflict with Hamas in Gaza threatened to broaden on Thursday as at least three rockets were fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon.

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Yeah, "conflict." Please. The pro-Israel New York Post has no problem calling this a war.

Even Israel's government is calling its bombardment of Gaza "Operation Cast Lead." Compare that with the B.S. euphemisms the U.S. is using in Iraq and Afghanistan: "Operation Iraqi Freedom and "Operation Enduring Freedom."

Look, if people don't want to call what's going on in Gaza a "war," I'll settle for "blintzkrieg."

There was a time, oh about 40 years ago, when the Jews of Israel were an underdog state with a sense of humor (especially among their American Jewish supporters) melded into their fight for survival. See this Time story from 1967, in the midst of what became known as the Six-Day War, that rounded up jokes about that "conflict" under the headline "Blintzkrieg" (supply your own ba-dum-pum rim shots after each line):

"It's unfair," said a U.A.R.[United Arab Republic] spokesman. "They have 2,300,000 Jews on their side. And we have none." He denied, however, that Egypt had asked the Russians for their 2,500,000 Jews. Soon after the war's start, Nasser made a brief guest appearance on the popular Cairo TV show, Where's My Line? Reports from the second day of fighting indicated that the Egyptians had destroyed four Jeeps, a kosher mobile kitchen and 14 air-conditioned Cadillacs. The Israelis claimed 400 MIGs and 24 flying carpets. Ralph Nader launched a campaign to provide Arab tanks with back-up lights.

The unstoppable Israeli thrust through the Sinai Desert quickly became known as the blintzkrieg. It was led by the crack regiment known as the Bagel Lancers. When Israeli troops reached the Suez Canal, they grabbed the lox. At one point in the campaign, an Arab division spotted a lone Israeli sniper on a sand dune. The commander dispatched three men to get him. When they did not return, he sent a dozen. None of them came back. So he finally sent an entire company. Two hours later, one blood-splattered Egyptian soldier crawled back. "It was an ambush," he explained. "There were two of them."

The Six-Day War was a turning point. Forty years later, the laughter has died out. Israel acts less and less like an underdog and more and more like an overlord, thanks to its decades of harsh occupation policies, and as many commentators in Israel have noted with anguish, the decades of acting like occupiers have coarsened Israeli society.

The Jewish state's grim throttling of Palestinians these days is pretty much unleavened by humor. Insanely orthodox. Humanism is also kosher, but you wouldn't know it these days.

Anyway, I'm still willing to be assaulted by a blintzkrieg. Make mine raspberry...

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