UnknownCrybabies.” Fie on anyone who calls them that. The inhabitants of Sderot I mean. “Killed by a rocket?” a friend of mine asked. “You mean this crude welding together of lawnmower spare parts? You’re more likely to get stabbed in Tel Aviv over a pack of chewing gum. Statistically speaking.”

Make sure to always add a pinch of statistics to any position you take in an argument. With some luck your opponent will think you actually know what the hell you’re talking about. If not, they might be disgusted with your resorting to such a crude device and end the conversation there and then. Either way you win. “High five!”

Always open with a provocation. Make sure you got everybody’s attention. Clichés go a long way too. Like, the first casualty of war is truth. Statistically speaking. Never wears a helmet. Forget about malaria shots. Like Smokey in the Big Lebowski, it’s very fragile. And like Walter, you can’t possibly argue with it.

All in all though, there’s only opinion. Fogs of it. Talking heads. Yammering, slogan-mongering protestors. Government sources. Some nitwit news anchor crooking his head in that concerned angle like they really care. A cabinet spokesman. Leaders of the opposition. A loud mouth at the dinner table. Quiet tongues working from the shadows. And yes, this very blog.

We’re not tough enough on Palestinians.”

You can’t talk to Israelis. Where has that gotten us so far?” “This is our land.”

No, this is our land.”

We were here before.”

Yes, but you were gone for two-thousand years.”

The Europeans tried to kill us.”

That’s not our problem.”

Well, it is now. Could you please all go to Jordan?”


Humans are an emotional bunch. Facts are almost a trivial matter. Subatomic dust. Facts are the debris you examine of conflicting news articles hurtled together at the speed of light in the cloud chamber of a particle accelerator. Facts are the muons and gluons and left- or right-spinning quarks that render physicists all giddy and excited in that Star Trek manner of world-weary nerds.

Truth then must be the illusive Higgs Boson, the God particle, also known as the Holy Grail of contemporary science, unifier of all theories; rumored to explain gravity itself. We all have a ‘feel’ for gravity, especially when we’re tipsy on a slippery dance floor and forget what happened last time we tried to perform the Chachacha. Kids vie with it on sweltering summer days; let’s see who gets to that scoop of vanilla first, tongue or tarmac. Grownups, like alchemists successfully challenge it twenty-four seven using very precise combinations of aluminum and kerosene.

To us mortals truth is much like French fries. You take it with a grain of salt. The challenge though is to learn to accept and communicate with those who like it with mayonnaise. Let’s try to say “Yuk!” a little quieter. How’s that for a new year’s resolution? Try to be a little more curious. Maybe the other guys are having mayonnaise because the ketchup truck is stuck at Eretz crossing. Maybe the driver fell asleep at the wheel there. And perhaps the red that blotches his shirt isn’t ketchup.

Everything you read in this newspaper is true. All the facts and all of the opinions. But if it’s the only paper you’ll read today you might as well read nothing at all. Go home and flip on the idiot box.

Truths are not mutually exclusive. Mayonnaise and ketchup, unlike matter and anti-matter, can coexist. Some even have it on the same fries, with chippered onions. In Belgium, the motherland of mélange, we call that spécial. Sound unpalatable to you? Try this for mayo;

I feel sorry though for all the Sderot residents who’ve been treated for shock recently. Only three dozen Palestinians dead; the usual suspects of militants and civilians, including a woman and child on a donkey cart and not one hoot of regret from the military that they could have done a better job. Shocking indeed.

We all know poverty and hunger breeds moderation. Move over Berlin. If we cut off electricity for long enough, continue to forbid them exporting any produce by air, sea, or land, and have our navy sink any fishing boat leaving port, Barak seems to be thinking, we might just see a love parade in Gaza City next year. Let’s just make sure we get the P.R. Right.

Poor Sderot… Discuss.


Blog comments

1 | Yosef, Kfar Saba, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Tom, even your “objectivity” has an agenda… Hamas exists only to destroy Israel. The Palestinians voted for Hamas, ie to destroy Israel. What do you want us to do, throw candy at terrorists who aim at civilians? Yes, civilians are also unfortunately killed – but not aimed at.

2 | Dr. Yisrael Lache, Haifa, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Your attitude stinks as does your attempt annalysis. Enjoy Rammalla. Keep far from Sterot or go back home where you can enjoyyour mayo with ketchup while observing the French and Dutch speakers try to screw each other.

3 | Julie – Israel, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Tom – I hate your column and I wish that JPost would take you off their payroll NOW.

4 | Jeff, LA, USA, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Look no further than the choice of title for this blog installment. “Poor Sderot.” To mock a city where the elementary school has to have a steel barrier roof built above it so that random explosives from Gaza don’t kill children in their classrooms, is simply sickening. To suggest that Israel’s targeting of rocket-firing terrorists is bad, and that Sderot deserves no sympathy whereas Palestinian communities that elect and support murderers do, is sick. This is not salt and mayonnaise. There are absolutes of good and evil in the world, Mr. Kenis.

5 | SearchForNuance, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Post-modern extremist? An undeniable oxymoron. Tom seems to be one though. He claims that truths are not mutually exclusive but it seems that he finds it almost certainly true that the suffering Palestinians are in the right and that the aggressive Israelis are in the wrong. His article had a promising start – deriding those that belittle the plight of those in Sderot. Instead he ends doing the opposite – mocking the suffering of those in Sderot in comparison to the “true” suffering of the Palestinians. So is Tom the impossible? A post-modern extremist? No… he’s just more extremist.

6 | Sylvain, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 monsieur Kenis, allez faire vos bonnes actions à Sderot pendant quelques semaines et vous connaitrez mieux le problème surtout si un kassam vous tombe sur la tête !

7 | DJStahl, USA, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 12 Israelis killed by Qassams since 2005. Isn’t omitting this fact willfully dishonest? “poverty and hunger”–isn’t it clear Gazans live about as well as Israelis do in working-class Sderot, due to European & Arab aid? Isn’t implication Gazans live in favela-like conditions a deliberate lie? And if there were “poverty and hunger”: it wd excuse wanton attacks with rockets? Gee, Officer Krupke… “Not a hoot of regret” from IDF abt Gaza civilians killed in counterstrikes: But IDF does, & debates the matter w/Haaretz, who protest. Is K following his advice abt more than one paper?

8 | DJStahl, USA, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 “…open with a provocation”–that was the Gaza pullback in 2005. The Gaza response, & the world’s, & Kenis’s, give little reason to hope regarding anything further. Truths coexist. K simply likes half-truths & implicit lies. Perhaps the price he pays for access to Ramallah, lest Arabs there harm him. But for Kenis, & Hedges, & such, there’s the thrill of group-think, & the joy of trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. He doesn’t seek truth, but has more primitive tropisms. K’s tittering deceit leads to more war. And thus to more dead Arabs.

9 | Peter, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 I agree with the bottom line, their is not solution, both sides feel wronged, much like a divorce. So to insist they keep living in the same house is crazy. Lets sign the papers and move on, Arabs can go to their relatives (i.e. Arab countries-since they have places to go) and the Jews keep All of Israel (Gaza and Judea and Samaria). If they have to then pay a palimony (though they really shouldn’t since they are the wronged party) but hey, if it gets the divorce finalized, so be it.

10 | Philip R., Tel Aviv, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Great blog Sir. Very objective and very true. I am very sorry to see people placing a very harsh critique on your article. People kind of forgot how to count. 7 Sderot residents were killed by Qassams over the span of 7 days. 900 Palestinians were killed in response. This looks more like an irrational massive retaliation campaign, then a contained targeted flexible response to a threat. I had always thought that Jews were a rational and compassionate people… Maybe I was wrong to assume this.

11 | Reuven, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 Tom actually succeeds in personally demonstrating less class than the people he tries as describe as having no class. Very sad that jpost gives this garbage such a platform for publication

12 | Mike USA, Thursday Jan 24, 2008 I am now dumber for having read that. What a garble of idiocy. I guess it’s okay to lawnmower parts falling from hundreds of feet in the air that could split anyone in two at any time and funny how these lawnmower parts blow up to make holes in roofs and walls and roads. Unfortunately I guess we are waiting for a direct hit and Israeli deaths to see what happens to your pathetic Palestinians.

13 | Barry, USA, Friday Jan 25, 2008 I agree with Tom on two points, “truth is much like French fries. You take it with a grain of salt.” and,”Truths are not mutually exclusive.” Mr. Kenis works with a Belgian NGO (which one?) in the West Bank. Surely his truth is different from the truth known by a child who is hunkered down in a Siderot grade school building, waiting for the shelling to stop. The core issues have to be addressed by the governments so pressure on both sides can be released. Can both sides really afford to let the causative factors fester on? The cost is only human life.

14 | David Kopel, Friday Jan 25, 2008 Its hard to decide what’s worse: Tom’s opinions or his prose. Since his opinions are merely dull regurgitations of the usual left-wing propaganda, I would have to come down on the side of his prose, which features such bombastic formulations as: ‘Facts are the muons and gluons and left- or right-spinning quarks that render physicists all giddy and excited in that Star Trek manner of world-weary nerds.’ I realize that you can’t hold Bloggers to the same journalistic or literary standards as Jpost’s columnists. But this is ridiculous.

15 | DJStahl, USA, Friday Jan 25, 2008 12 Israelis killed by Qassams since 2005. Isn’t omitting this fact willfully dishonest? “poverty and hunger”–isn’t it clear Gazans live about as Israelis do in working-class Sderot, due to European and Arab aid? Isn’t implication Gazans live in favela-like conditions a deliberate lie? And if there were “poverty and hunger”: wd excuse wanton attacks with rockets? Gee, Officer Krupke… “Not a hoot of regret” from IDF about Gaza civilians killed in counterstrikes: But IDF does, & debates the matter with Haaretz, who protest. Is K following his advice abt reading more than one paper?

16 | DJStahl, USA, Friday Jan 25, 2008 Poor Kenis. Like Chris Hedges, Martin Heidegger, and Paul De Man, Tom can’t reconcile his prejudices with the facts, so he has to wander into realms of fiction. “Open with a provocation”–that was the 2005 Gaza pullback, which led to the current situation. The fiction abt Gaza’s condition assiduously fomented, but remittances from Palestinian workers in the Gulf, UN, EU and Arab aid, purchasing-power parity mean life there is better than in Cairo, Havana, certainly than favelas and barrios. And wd “poverty and hunger” justify wanton rocket attacks on civilians? Gee, Officer Krupke…

17 | Ilbert Phillips, Friday Jan 25, 2008 My new years resolution will be to see if I can educate both American and Israeli leaders to take a realistic view toward the Arabs, the Palestinians, and the Muslims. Often they are all the same and often they are not. What they all have in common is Islam, not a religion of peace. A philosophy that says once Islam has “liberated” a land, it is always Muslim and cannot be anything else.

18 | Yehuda NYC, Friday Jan 25, 2008 Here’s a statistic for Kenis. 4,200 rockets explode in Sederot, population 30,000 in 2 years would be the equivalent of 1,120,000 rockets falling on New York City, population 8 million. And equivalently, only 3,200 dead. Would Kenis then be saying “poor New York…crybabies”. I think not.

19 | Aaron, Friday Jan 25, 2008 Mr. Kenis, I see your Ramallahs friends did not skin you yet, I guess you are still serving your purpose for them.

20 | Shlomo, Friday Jan 25, 2008 The “nonequivalence” argument (in this sad post, and in the comments) truly amazes me. You have to lose as many as you kill for fairness?? Why? We chose to leave so they chose to send rockets, end of fairness. I suppose to be fair, Israel should just indiscriminately launch rockets int o Gaza, so they can be equivalent, instead of fairly pinpoint strikes! Absurd!

21 | Godefroi, USA, Friday Jan 25, 2008 “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity… Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people… to oppose Zionism.” — Zuheir Muhsein, the late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council

22 | ira berkowitz, emeryville, california, Saturday Jan 26, 2008 tom, your arrogance is astounding. you tell israelis to conclude that the bestial murderous attacks made by arabs against jews, since before the founding of modern israel, somehow merit our understanding and forebearance! tom, try studying music or math. those sciences train your mind to employ analytical logic. at present, your thinking is a function of raw emotions only! that is dangerous for you and for all of us, tom!

23 | Eli, Saturday Jan 26, 2008 Last time I’m reading this column. I happen to think that the aiming of bombs at Sderot’s homes and schools, like similar Palestinian hobbies, is pure evil. Still I read articles sympathetic to the Palestinians in the hopes that I may have something to learn. That’s why I’ve read this column a few times. I’ve waited long enough. I’ll move on to other writers.

24 | Harry Carrie, Sunday Jan 27, 2008 This is what it would have been like had the NY Times given Tokyo Rose a daily column in WWII. Not of sinew of sense nor shame left at the JPost. 25 | Laurette-Canada, Wednesday Jan 30, 2008 Well that read was dead air space. Maybe Tom will be one of those cry babies if everyone decides not even to comment on his articles. Silence. Nobody is listening. Nobody is reading. Nobody is commenting. Then he can buy himself a box of kleenex and go live with the Palestinians. Oh but would he be considered an infidel.? OOOOH guess he would be crying then. Don’t think I’ll waste my time with this guy again.


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