zenpundit.com » symmetry

Archive for the ‘symmetry’ Category

Happily or sadly, our AIs still lack the creative leap

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- on one current comparative advantage of being human, and calling for the design of a ReSearch Engine ]
.

You may not like hymns — or thrash metal. Facebook, whose market value topped $100 billion about a year ago, “thought” that if I liked this video:

I might also like this “related video”:

State of the art! Big Data! Analogical thinking!

Seems like the algorithm didn’t listen to the music, it just decided “King of Heaven” and “in Heaven, King” were pretty similar as word-groups go.

Actually, their reasoning is not that bad, once you think about it in DoubleQuotes terms — they’ve stumbled on an “opposite” rather than a “similar” — but as we’ve seen with such examples as Oxford and Cambridge, or the Army / Navy game, opposites and similars aren’t so dissimilar after all.

Sadly, when it comes to musical tastes, opposites don’t necessarily work too well, and similars would in this case have been preferable.

**

But the issue is human cognition and the attempts of computer scientists to match it — and specifically, to match and even surpass our analogical powers.

As I wrote in WikiLeaks: Critical Foreign Dependencies, in an online chat session with David Gelernter years ago, I said:

My own hunch is that an aesthetic sense is *the great sorting principle*, that it has to do with pattern recognition, and specifically the recognition of isomorphisms, parallelisms in deep structure. So an AI that recognized deep isomorphisms across wide topic distances would be the ideal web navigator, as an I that recognizes deep isomorphisms across wide topic distances is a creative mind. It would also be playing Hesse’s Bead Game, no?

to which he responded:

Hipbone, I think basically, that’s exactly right. I wrote a book about this issue of what you call recognizing isomorphisms in widely different domains, a tremendously important issue in how the human mind works.

From my POV, the human mind recognizing a rich correspondence between two rich insights, perhaps even from widely separate domains, is the very essence of creativity — isn’t that what the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture – and thus the eventual proof of Fermat’s last theorem – was all about?

My brief chat with Gelernter dates to 1998, his book The Muse in the Machine: Computerizing the Poetry of Human Thought, to 1994. On pp. 2-3, he writes:

Reasoning is one big part of human thought, and thought science has reasoning decently under control. Philosophers and psychologists understand it and computers, up to a point, can fake it. But there is one other big piece of the picture, which goes by many names: creativity, intuition, insight, metaphoric thinking, “holistic thinking”; all these tricks boil down at base to drawing analogies. Inventing a new analogy — hitching two thoughts together, sometimes two superficially unrelated thoughts — brings about a new metaphor and, it is generally agreed, drives creativity as well. Studies (and intuition) suggest that creativity hinges on seeing an old problem in a new way, and this so-called “restructuring” process boils down at base to the discovery of new analogies. How analogical thinking works is the great unsolved problem, the unknowable longitude, of thought science. “It is striking that,” as the philosopher Jerry Fodor remarks, “while everybody thinks analogical reasoning is an important ingredient in all sorts of cognitive achievements that we prize, nobody knows anything about how it works” — not even, Fodor adds (twisting the knife) in an “in the glass darkly sort of way” (1983, 107)

**

For a comparable, consider this NYT evaluation of another tricky issue for AI — Brainy, Yes, but Far From Handy:

The correlation between highly evolved artificial intelligence and physical ineptness even has a name: Moravec’s paradox, after the robotics pioneer Hans Moravec, who wrote in 1988, “It is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult-level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a 1-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility.”

Brainy the current AI’s may be, and even beginning to manage physical agility — but mentally agile?

If they still can’t tell that a taste for classic hymns does not correlate closely with a taste for German thrash, they’re not agile enough for the HipBone / Sembl style of games..

**

Derek Robinson wrote a piece about my HipBone Games and AI back in the 1990s. It’s succinct, it’s relevant.

Here’s how I see these matters: I am calling for the development of a ReSearch Engine, with the HipBone Games, Sembl and DoubleQuotes as devices to be used in its construction.

The ReSearch Engine’s purpose would be to learn from humanly identified analogies — gleaned from repeated playings of the HipBone, Sembl and DoubleQuotes games — to recognize deep and richly textured analogies across the breadth of human cultures, following the principle laid out above:

deep isomorphisms across wide topic distances

Such an Engine could hopefully provide us with the links of associative links that at the moment are glimpsed in moments of genius (think: Taniyama‘s conjecture of 1956 connecting the mathematical realm of elliptic curves and that of modular forms), which then take years to be ironed out and brought to fruition (think: Wiles‘ proof of the Taniyama–Shimura–Weil conjecture, along the way to his proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, 1993).

The successful design of such an Engine would be a — hmmm– singular event.

Share

Are DoubleQuotes supposed to be new? 2 – further rumblings

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- including an update on Sembl, the soon to be released web-playable game I'm involved with]
.

Credit: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/h20zakgu/how-to-photograph-a-solar-eclipse.html

Credit: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/h20zakgu/how-to-photograph-a-solar-eclipse.html

**

In my earlier post, Are DoubleQuotes supposed to be new? 1 – Musashi & Zimmeman, I wrote:

DoubleQuotes are as old as time and space, as old as Sun and Moon, as old as the constellation and star sign Gemini, as old as Cain and Abel, as old as Castor and Pollux who brought us the Art of Memory, and as new as Will McCants of Brookings reporting on the apocalyptic strain in the Daesh / IS “caliphate”.

Here, I’d like to pick up on that paragraph, and lesh out sdome of the details///

**

Time and space:

Time and space, stillness and motion, particle and wave, potential and kinetic energy, active and passive, creative and receptive, day and night, hot and cold, sun and moon, oranges and lemons — the human tendency to understand the world around us in pairs is basic to our nature, perhaps the earliest human cognitive skill — self and other being the archetypal example of differentiation.

Sun and Moon:

In the case of sun ansd moon, there’s a further sense to the pairing. As this photo of an eclipse of the sun shows –

eclipse

— the sun and moon subtend the same angle at the eye:

The image shown in Figure 1 at the start of this unit (repeated above), was taken during a total eclipse of the Sun, in which the Moon blocked out light from the Sun’s photosphere, enabling the chromosphere and the corona to be seen. This happens because of a remarkable coincidence. The Sun is very much bigger than the Moon – about 400 times bigger in diameter – but it is also very much further away, by almost exactly the same factor. This means that the Sun and the Moon appear the same size in the sky: that is, the Sun and the Moon have the same angular size.

Coincidence? Or not?

We can even make a DoubleQuote of the answers given to that question by Dr Jason Lisle in his Splendor of God’s Creation (upper panel, below)…

SPEC DQ sun moon

and Caleb Scharf, a blogger for Scientific American (lower panel, above).

One could see a sort of lunar calendrical DoubleQuote in the relatively rare juxtaposition of Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha just a few days ago.

There are also DoubleQuotes to be found in scripture, in the “chiastic” arrangements favored by the Psalmist, in which the same statement is repeated in different words, with the order of contents reversed — here are two such doubtlets, from Psalm 33.6 and Psalm 19.1 respectively, once again addressing the very nature of creation in terms of “the heavens”:

  • By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
  • The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
  • And even the pagans knew that much, as the story of Simonides the poet shows ..

    Gemini, the Twins, Castor and Pollux:

    What interests me about twins is that they embody the archtype of division and separation in human form, two that are so nearly one that both their differences and similarities are worthy of deep study — and capture our awed attention by their sameness-in-difference.

    And Castor and Pollux? I’ve told the story before, but will tell it again. In Frances Yates‘ words:

    At a banquet given by a nobleman of Thessaly named Scopas, the poet Simonides of Ceos chanted a lyric poem in honour of his host but including a passage in praise of Castor and Pollux. Scopas meanly told the poet that he would only pay him halfthe sum agreed upon for the panegyric and that he must obtain the balance from the twin gods to whom he had devoted half the poem. A little later, a message was brought in to Simonides that two young men were waiting outside who wished to see him. He rose from the banquet and went out but could find no one. During his absence the roof of the banqueting hall fell in, crushing Scopas and all the guests to death beneath the ruins; the corpses were so mangled that the relatives who came to take them away for burial were unable to identify them. But Simonides remembered the places at which they had been sitting at the table and was therefore able to indicate to the relatives which were their dead. The invisible callers, Castor and Pollux, had handsomely paid for their share in the panegyric by drawing Simonides away from the banquet just before the crash. And this experience suggested to the poet the principles of the art of memory of which he is said to have been the inventor. Noting that it was through his memory of the places at which the guests had been sitting that he had been able to identify the bodies, he realised that orderly arrangement is essential for good memory.

    And if orderly arrangement is essential, and symmetry perhaps the most ordely of arrangements, then the twinnings of ideas we call DoubleQuotes fall honorably under the patronage of Castor and Pollux.

    Finally, here’s an up to the minute DoubleQuote in the wild, in the form of a tweet from a respected analyst:

    Will McCants:

    **

    For a quick update on how the Sembl web-playable variant on my HipBone Games with emphasis on visual moves is coming along, see Cath Styles‘ latest video:

    Sembl for peace from Catherine Styles on Vimeo.

    Share

    Sanctified payback, blowback

    Friday, August 29th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- so IS is using waterboarding? meditating on copycattism as a jihadist strategy ]
    .

    1902waterboarding

    **

    Here’s the basic news, from Adam Goldman and Julie Tate, Captives held by Islamic State were waterboarded, in the Washington Post today:

    At least four hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State, including an American journalist who was recently executed by the group, were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity, according to people familiar with the treatment of the kidnapped Westerners.
    .
    James Foley was among the four who were waterboarded several times by Islamic State militants who appeared to model the technique on the CIA’s use of waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    **

    Some have tried to downplay the implied similarity:

    “ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” said a U.S. official, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State. “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”

    In this case, sadly, correlation is almost certainly causation, in the sense that the Qur’an permits the otherwise impermissible when one takes an action in war against enemies who have previously taken the same action against one.

    And we have taken the action of waterboarding:

    Three CIA detainees — Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaida and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were waterboarded while held in secret CIA prisons. Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was waterboarded 183 times, according to a memo issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

    **

    Others have vaguely waved their hands in the direction of the idea that what we do may rebound on us:

    Critics of waterboarding have said for years that the practice endangered Americans, putting them at risk of being subjected to the same brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy.

    “Waterboarding dates to the Spanish Inquisition and has been a favorite of dictators through the ages, including Pol Pot and the regime in Burma,” Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) said in an op-ed in 2008. “Condoning torture opens the door for our enemies to do the same to captured American troops in the future.”

    **

    But there’s more specificity to it than that.

    I suppose I first caught on to it when Osama bin Laden said:

    And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

    and I was instantly reminded of Qur’an 2.194, which contains the phrase in the Pickthal version:

    And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you.

    Yusuf Ali translates the whole verse thus:

    The prohibited month for the prohibited month,- and so for all things prohibited,- there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, Transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.

    But I’ve said all this before, talking about that speech of OBLs in more detail in Close reading, Synoptic- and Sembl-style, for parallels, patterns.

    **

    Finally, waterboarding is not the only procedure that our own actions have opened us up to in this sense:

    François said Foley was subjected to mock executions — something suspected al-Qaeda operative Nashiri also endured while being held in a secret CIA prison, according to a report by the inspector general of the CIA. The Justice Department did not sanction mock executions.

    There’s plenty of room for innovative brutality on the part of IS, even without this kind of divine sanction — but it still might be useful for us to be aware of Qur’an 2.194 when considering psssible second-order effects of our own tactics, eh?

    Share

    Gaza symmetries and asymmetries

    Sunday, July 20th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- "hatred of the other" viewed as a cognitive matter, and Richard Landes on the capacity for self-criticism ]
    .

    Credit: Amir Schiby

    **

    Nicholas Kristof has a post today for the NYT Sunday Review, Who’s Right and Wrong in the Middle East? — in which he explores the symmetries and asymmetries playing out in Gaza. He concludes with the following paragraph:

    Here we have a conflict between right and right that has been hijacked by hard-liners on each side who feed each other. It’s not that they are the same, and what I see isn’t equivalence. Yet there is, in some ways, a painful symmetry — and one element is that each side vigorously denies that there is any symmetry at all.

    Let that stand as the epigraph of this post, while we turn to EO Wilson for a theoretical basis:

    Reification is the quick and easy mental algorithm that creates order in a world otherwise overwhelming in flux and detail. One of its manifestations is the dyadic instinct, the proneness to set up two part classifications in treating socially important arrays. Societies everywhere break people into in-group versus out-group, child versus adult, kin versus non kin, married versus single, and activities into sacred and profane, good and evil. They fortify the boundaries of each division with taboo and ritual. To change from one division to the other requires initiation ceremonies, weddings, blessings, ordinations and other rites of passage that mark every culture.

    Rush Dozier in Why We Hate picks up the thread:

    Us-them stereotyping emerges directly from the primitive neural system’s basic survival response. It is a form of categorical thinking in which the categories are mutually exclusive. To the primitive areas of the brain, one is either “us” or “them.One cannot be both.

    Jesus is reported as saying both “he that is not against us is for us” [Mark 9.40] and “He that is not with me is against me” [Luke 11.23], whereas GW Bush offers less ambiguity: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

    Dozier again:

    It appears that this kind of either-or analysis results from the pre-conscious alerting system’s need for extremely rapid processing, which requires that phenomena be simplified as much as possible and placed in unambiguous categories.

    The alert with its binaries, and the analytic, with (hopefully) its nuance — which would we be better advised to entrust with such major matters as war and peace?

    Jesus again, overriding the binary opposition [Luke 6.27-28]:

    I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

    **

    Let’s move to one specific distinction — one that provide us with a binary, while arguably transcending binary thinking.

    Richard Landes makes a strong point in his post titled Self-criticism and cultural development, when he asserts:

    Self-criticism stands at the heart of any experiment in civil society.

    He continues:

    Only when we can acknowledge errors and commit to avoiding making them again, can we have a learning curve. Only when scholars can express their criticism of academic colleagues, and those criticized are able to acknowledge error, can scientific and social thinking develop. Only when religious believers can entertain the possibility that they may not have a monopoly on truth (no matter how convinced they might be of their “Truth”), can various religions live in peace and express their beliefs without fear of violence. Only when political elites are willing to accept negative feedback from people who do not have their power, only when the press can oppose those who control public decision-making, can a government reasonably claim to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

    The distinction, the asymmetry I’m interested in exploring today is that between those who self-criticize and can accept criticism, and those who neither self-criticize nor accept criticism.

    In my reading of the two quotes from Netanyahu and Diskin that I paired at the tail end of my post Israel / Palestine: some delicate balancing acts, Netanyahu seems to me averse to Israeli self-criticism, while Diskin clearly welcomes and practices it.

    Here’s an individual, unofficial example. In an “eyewitness account of how the synagogue of Rue de la Roquette [in Paris] was attacked by a mob, and fought back” titled ‘Yesterday, a Part of My Love for France Left Me’, Aurélie A. wrote:

    I can already see myself jumping at the throat of one of the keffiyeh wearers shouting “Death to the Yids!” He wants to kill Jews???!!! I want to leave him for dead! I do not recognize my own hatred!

    There’s the binary at work, generating hatred to meet hatred — and the reflective mind that sees the binary as simplistic, and moves self-critically beyond it.

    Landes again:

    Nothing contrasts more with Israel’s culture of self-criticism than its belligerent neighbors, especially the Palestinians. Here we find one of the most aggressive zero-sum political cultures on record. They accept no responsibility for the war they wage, and justify all their behavior — including how they treat their own people — as a response to the Zionists. They demonize the Zionists with conspiracy theories and blood libels drawn from the most delirious of European anti-Semitic fears to inspire their victimized people to take arms against this malevolent enemy. Who could self-criticize when being assaulted by such merciless and powerful forces? Self-criticism under such conditions is unthinkable, and dissent is treachery. The exceptional number of Palestinians killed by Palestinians suggests a culture in which intimidating dissenters and eliminating traitors is the norm.

    Those who say all who criticize Israeli actions are “Anti-Semitic” are overreaching: there is certainly a strong current of anti-Semitism alive and at large in the world, but the capacities to self-criticize and to accept criticism imply that one may critique what one loves as an expression of that love.

    **

    The image of the four Bakr boys no longer playing soccer on the beach which heads this post is the work of the Israeli artist Amir Schiby. You can read it as a pro-Palestinian work of propaganda — or as an artistic criticism by an Israeli of the current Israeli operation in Gaza. You can also read it as a simple, beautiful expression of grief.

    Its beauty argues for one of the latter two interpretations, and Schiby’s own statement on his FaceBook page that he intended it “as a tribute to all children living in war zones” clearly suggests the third.

    Not a binary, partisan statement, then, and not even the raising of a “provocative question” — but an arrow to the heart, a wordless pang of grief.

    Share

    Israel / Palestine: some delicate balancing acts

    Saturday, July 12th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- what does it mean to give a balanced view of an asymmetric conflict -- when the asymmetry may be as much moral as material, pragmatic as idealistic, as viewed from either side of the fray? ]
    .

    The phrase “a fair and balanced view” rolls off the tongue easily enough, but what if truth and balance are, shall we say, asymmetric?

    Is that balanced?

    How about this one?

    I can’t speak for Wajahat Ali. I’d prefer 0 : 0 myself, but do those two tweets balance — or cancel — each other out?

    **

    There are arguably other asymmetries that balance the hugely asymmetric ratio of Palestinian and Israeli death tolls, whether or not you think Zach Novetsky‘s comment is a valid one — how about this one (with a hat tip to Lex)?

    Is that a rebuttal of Wajahat Ali’s asymmetry, essentially erasing it — or a voice in counterpoint to it, providing balance?

    What about John Robb‘s assessment this morning?

    Isreal just shot down a drone using a Patriot missile. ROI on that “attack” was ~100 to one. At $100 a drone, a solid strategy would be to launch them 24×7 to grief the air defense system.

    Here’s a Washington Post blogger’s attempt to preface what the headline terms “The lopsided death tolls in Israel-Palestinian conflicts” with a balanced and balancing first paragraph:

    In the current conflict between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip, both sides have attempted to harm the other. Hundreds of rockets have been fired from Palestinian territory with the aim of harming Israeli civilians, while Israeli military strikes have hit hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip.

    **

    It’s pretty clear by now that I consider juxtaposition a singularly powerful device for raising questions — but part of the purpose of such questioning is to discover the ever deeper nuances of a situation. Consider, for example, this somewhat more nuanced analysis of the same events:

    Israel’s astonishingly effective Iron Dome air defense has prevented Hamas from killing Israeli Jews and spreading terror in the civilian population. Ironically, though, the better Iron Dome works, the less sympathy the rest of the world has for a nation that remains under rocket attack.

    There’s something close to the “simple twist of fate” Jung called enantiodromia going on there — although the reversal of polarities involves a switch from the “hard power” to the “soft power” realm in this case, there’s still a blowback effect.

    **

    Far preferable from my own point of view to the various asymmetries and imbalances we see in the real-time playing out of hostilities is this example of a symmetry of grief, recognized in a symmetry of compassion:

    That’s a different — though related — conflict, of course.

    Here’s a similar one, which I like because it ends “I defend ppl” — and one hopes in a 160 character parallel universe, Taslima would ineed have added “And vice versa” before that final remark, as her tweet surely implies:

    **

    And I’m always happy to see Christians and Muslims united in search of peace, but when two parties in a three-way tug-o-war make common cause — as in the case of Palestinian Christians and Muslims making common cause against Israel —

    — should that be celebrated as a gesture of unity in the face of “crusade vs jihad” rhetoric across a wide swathe of the world, or viewed as an example of polarization, “Palestinians vs Israelis” — or both?

    **

    Those are some of the symmetries and asymmteries I have run across in commentaries on the situation — but how do participants view the situation? To anchor us in some of the political realities and ambiguities, here are some comments posted this week by two Israelis with close experience of the situation.

    Yuval Diskin, Shin Beth chief 2005-2011, offered considerable nuance on his FB page:

    I see the severe and rapid deterioration of the security situation in the territories, Jerusalem and the Triangle and I’m not surprised. Don’t be confused for a moment. This is the result of the policy conducted by the current government, whose essence is: Let’s frighten the public over everything that’s happening around us in the Middle East, let’s prove that there’s no Palestinian partner, let’s build more and more settlements and create a reality that can’t be changed, let’s continue not dealing with the severe problems of the Arab sector in Israel, let’s continue not solving the severe social gaps in Israeli society. This illusion worked wonderfully as long as the security establishment was able to provide impressive calm on the security front over the last few years as a result of the high-quality, dedicated work of the people of the Shin Bet, the IDF and the Israel Police as well as the Palestinians whose significant contribution to the relative calm in the West Bank should not be taken lightly.

    PM Netanyahu speaking two days ago offered this blunt assessment, as reported in The Times of Israel under the header, Netanyahu finally speaks his mind:

    He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank. He indicated that he sees Israel standing almost alone on the frontlines against vicious Islamic radicalism, while the rest of the as-yet free world does its best not to notice the march of extremism. [ .. ]

    Netanyahu has stressed often in the past that he doesn’t want Israel to become a binational state — implying that he favors some kind of accommodation with and separation from the Palestinians. But on Friday he made explicit that this could not extend to full Palestinian sovereignty. Why? Because, given the march of Islamic extremism across the Middle East, he said, Israel simply cannot afford to give up control over the territory immediately to its east, including the eastern border — that is, the border between Israel and Jordan, and the West Bank and Jordan.

    More explicitly:

    Netanyahu didn’t say he was ruling out all territorial compromise, but he did go to some lengths to highlight the danger of relinquishing what he called “adjacent territory.” He scoffed at those many experts who have argued that holding onto territory for security purposes is less critical in the modern technological era, and argued by contrast that the closer your enemies are, physically, to your borders, the more they’ll try to tunnel under those borders and fire rockets over them. It had been a mistake for Israel to withdraw from Gaza, he added — reminding us that he’d opposed the 2005 disengagement — because Hamas had since established a terrorist bunker in the Strip. And what Hamas had been doing in Gaza — tunneling into and rocketing at the enemy — would be replicated in the West Bank were Israel so foolish as to give the Islamists the opportunity.

    “If we were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, like they tell us to,” he said bitterly — leaving it to us to fill in who the many and various foolish “theys” are — “there’d be a possibility of thousands of tunnels” being dug by terrorists to attack Israel, he said. There were 1,200 tunnels dug in the 14- kilometer border strip between Egypt and Gaza alone, he almost wailed, which Egypt had sealed. “At present we have a problem with the territory called Gaza,” the prime minister said. But the West Bank is 20 times the size of Gaza. Israel, he said flatly, was not prepared “to create another 20 Gazas” in the West Bank.

    And finally:

    Beyond Israel’s direct current confrontation with Hamas, and the eternal Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu also addressed the rise of Islamic extremism across the Middle East — covering the incapacity of affected states to resist it, and Israel’s unique determination and capacity to stand firm. He said Israel finds itself in a region “that is being seized by Islamic extremism. It is bringing down countries, many countries. It is knocking on our door, in the north and south.”

    But while other states were collapsing, said Netanyahu, Israel was not — because of the strength of its leadership, its army and its people. “We will defend ourselves on every front, defensively and offensively,” he vowed.

    And in a passage that was primarily directed at Israel’s Islamist enemies, but might equally be internalized by those he plainly regards as Israel’s muddle-headed self-styled friends, he added: “Nobody should mess with us

    Share

    Switch to our mobile site