Kudos to George Gilder (The Israel Test) for cutting through the fog and showing everyone what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is really all about.
It’s not about denying Palestinians their land, right to self-determination, or dignity. It’s about the Palestinians’ hatred of Jews and the Left’s hatred of free enterprise.
If you believe that European Jews swooped into Palestine and stole the Arabs’ land, you need to study Middle East history, because that’s simply not what happened. I suggest you start with Mark Twain’s travelogue, Innocents Abroad. Mark Twain did not have a dog in the Jews versus Arabs fight because he wrote his book in 1869—twenty-seven years before the founding of the modern Zionist movement. The book is about Twain’s journey to the Holy Land and his astonishment upon discovering that outside of Jerusalem it was all but uninhabited. Study further and you’ll learn that it was the Ottoman Empire that ruled Palestine up until World War I, and that the British gave the majority of Palestine (76%) to the Arabs in 1928. Considering that Israel has offered to relinquish the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, it’s clear that the Arabs could own 90% of Palestine today—were that what they were really after.
The Israel Test is also unique in that it celebrates Israeli high tech entrepreneurship. I couldn’t help but experience feelings of déjà vu as I read about some of the people and companies. Though I was first introduced to Israel’s fledgling high tech industry in the early 1980s, like Gilder I later met two of Israel’s best ambassadors of high tech, the late David Medved (Chairman of JOLT) and his son Jonathan (venture capitalist and CEO of Vringo). Israel is busy inventing products that save lives, make life easier, and make life more pleasant. What positive contributions are her enemies making?
That leads me to a new idea. Given that Israel is increasingly hospitable to high tech startups, and that the U.S. is increasingly inhospitable (with the exceptions of not-for-profit and “green” enterprises), perhaps this would be a good time for Israel to offer itself as a business haven for American high tech entrepreneurs. I don’t know what if any barriers there are to American entrepreneurs setting up shop in Israel, but I suspect the current Israeli administration would be open to lowering or removing them.
Yesterday I attended a fascinating lecture by James L. Cox, MD on prosthetic heart valve design at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. However, there was one thing about the lecture that struck me as odd—yet consonant with the times. Dr. Cox (who retired from clinical practice) expurgated the names of the private ventures with which he is involved from his slides. For example, in a photograph of the headquarters of one venture the firm’s name on the building was blacked out.
I found that silly. There is nothing wrong with profiting from products that prove useful to others. Plus, there are better ways to allay fears that a presentation is merely a disguised sales pitch. First, provide useful and accurate background information. Second, describe what you feel are your product’s strengths and what competitors and critics say are its weaknesses. Third, trust your audience’s natural skepticism and deal with it directly and honestly.
The main thrust of the presentation was that form should follow function. While some artificial heart valves mimic the appearance of natural heart valves, it’s more important that they mimic the performance of natural valves. Dr. Cox (also known for developing the Cox maze procedure for treating atrial fibrillation) explained that that requires looking not only at basic valve function but factors such as turbulence, stresses on adjoining tissue, and so forth. His company, ATS Medical, offers both mechanical and biological valves.
One of the most interesting ideas discussed was percutaneous valve replacement—deploying a replacement heart valve using catheters. The valve is contained in a stent which, once in position, is expanded to push the natural valve leaflets aside. This isn’t a totally new concept—nor is it in widespread use. The “form follows function” design approach can be beneficial here, as well.