Jews are smart. Everyone knows that. We just didn’t know how smart. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalili, the brilliant military mind of Iran, is a man not easily fooled. He has figured out that drought in Iran is the work of those wily Jews, identifying the problem as the International Jewish Cloud Conspiracy.
The water shortage, by the reckoning of the conspiracy, is caused by Israelis who have learned how to steal water from clouds. The Israelis take this moisture from passing clouds and send the empties on to Iran.
The chief meteorologist of the country, being a man of science, could not let this pass, but disputed the general with a fine example of Persian delicacy. “The general probably has documents of which I am not aware,” he said, “but on the basis of meteorological knowledge, it is not possible for a country to steal snow or clouds.”
But as a theory, observes National Review, the Cloud Conspiracy is of a piece with earlier Jewish feats of training unlikely creatures to conduct warfare. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a decade ago said the Israelis had “weaponized” animals and insects ranging from sharks to lizards, buzzards and horseflies. How sharks can adapt to thrive and fight in the desert was never made clear.
It’s sometimes easy to think the world and everyone in it is no darn good, with the works of evil men visible all about, and charlatans like Gen. Gholam Reza Jalili in charge. But there’s occasionally a reminder that good men anywhere are capable of selfless acts of kindness and humanity.
An Islamic mob of 300, shouting and waving their weapons, attacked a village in Nigeria the other day, terrorizing several farmers and their families, all Christians, and looting and burning their houses. The Christians fled, seeking refuge among their Muslim neighbors. Ordinarily this would have been a perfect example of leaping from a frying pan into the fire, but not this time. An imam took charge, leading 262 men, women and children to his house and then to his mosque.
The gunmen demanded that the imam turn the Christians over to them and said they would burn down the mosque if he didn’t. But he didn’t, as the BBC reported the story, and the gunmen left, destroying two churches on their way out of town. “The Good Samaritan has many faces,” National Review observes, and “one of them is the Good Imam.”
But not all stories about Good Samaritans turn out so happily. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who tried to open up all of Europe with her example as the Extravagant Samaritan to the tired and the poor of Africa and the Middle East, yearning to breathe free, is in a heap of trouble for her excess.
Young Germans who have never known a chancellor other than Frau Merkel, regard her as immortal. So do many Europeans of other ages. She showed Europe how to weather economic crisis, and talked as an equal to a succession of American presidents. She saved the continent from disasters, says columnist Douglas Murray, only to plunge it into another. This is the disaster that leads many Europeans to anticipate her early obituary.
Uncontrolled immigration, which only yesterday was smugly dismissed as a small problem of cruel American making, now threatens the continent. Frau Merkel first invited everybody in, in part a down payment on what Germany owes the world for past events, circa 1940. Hundreds of thousands of the weary and abused in the Middle East and Africa accepted, and putting their meager possessions in little more than a poke on a stick, headed north on anything that looked like it might float.
Germany took in a million and a half refugees, many claiming political asylum. Sweden welcomed such seekers in astonishing numbers, representing as much as 2 percent of its population. Europe is now taking another look at whether many of the refugees are political, with themselves and their families subject to persecution, pain and even death, or economic refugees, seekers of another kind of relief. Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, concedes now that many refugees are not entitled to asylum.
You can’t blame them for trying by any means necessary to improve their lot, but neither can the European countries be blamed for protecting their culture. Immigration is the issue on which the piety game is easy to play. Early this summer the good ship Aquarius, with 600 refugees picked up at sea, tried to call at an Italian port. Italy said no. Malta, which had earlier lectured EU states about the importance of doing the right thing, said, ah, umm, uh, and finally no, too. Hypocrisy, the wise man said, is the tribute vice pays to virtue.
• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.
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