Monthly Archives: March 2007

Islam vs. Judge Paruk: Annals of Civic Heroism

Debbie Schlussel has a fascinating post on the Michigan Judge, Paul Paruk, who stood his ground — despite the potential consequences for his career — against creeping Islamism. His deeds contrast notably with those of a particularly craven (or sadistic?) German judge who ruled that, since Arabs live in a culture of violence and the Quran approves of wife-beating, Arab husbands can legitimately beat their wives in Germany. Shades of Sweden’s Minister of Justice on Muslim hate-speech. (Hat tip: Antidhimmi)

March 29, 2007

Islam v. Judge Paruk: In Litigation Jihad, Frivolous Niqab Lawsuit Ignores Basic Law

By Debbie Schlussel

The litigation jihad on behalf of sharia (Islamic law) continues.

Last year, I wrote about courageous Hamtramck, Michigan Judge Paul J. Paruk. Judge Paruk presided over a case in which the Plaintiff, Ginnah Muhammad, wears a niqab–a full Islamic face veil, in which only the eyes are visible.

Muhammad, a convert to Islam and a Black Muslim, was asked by Judge Paruk to remove her niqab in order to testify. She refused, and her case, therefore, resulted in a judgment against her. Judge Paruk stated that he needed to see to her face to determine the truthfulness of her testimony. Since Muhammad refused to remove the veil, she was not allowed to testify and lost her case.

Yesterday, a litigious Muslim attorney and Hezbollah supporter, Nabih Ayad (who frequently represents Islamic terrorists and illegal aliens), sued Judge Paruk on Muhammad’s behalf in federal court.

ginnah in niqab
Ginnah Muhammad in her Niqab [note the heavy eye make-up… looks like “I Dream of Genie.” — rl]

Ginnah and lawyer
Ginnah with Terrorist Lawyer Nabih Ayad

That a judge and jury be able to fully assess a witness’ testimony and gauge his/her truthfulness is a standard precept taught not just in law school, but in high school law classes. Niqabs have been used to hide all sorts of things. Fawzi Mustapha Assi, who smuggled weaponry to Hezbollah, escaped the U.S. wearing a niqab to cross the Detroit border to Canada.

On the Silence of the Left about Muslim Atrocities

Bradley Burston, a columnist for Ha-Aretz, a “Progressive Zionist” with a taste for even-handedness, has just written a courageous column on the misguided silence of the politically correct “left.”

Muslim atrocities, Muslim victims, our silence

By Bradley Burston

As Jews, we learn not to talk about it. We’re taught, from an early age, that it’s not our business. As leftists, we’re taught to interpret it in the broader context, as the understandable outgrowth of occupation, of colonialism, of Western oppression.

So this month, when a Palestinian toddler named Hassan Abu Nada was killed in the crossfire of a Hamas-Fatah gunfight in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lehiya, we said nothing. His grandmother was wounded. This was none of our affair.

Just as in December, when Palestinians gunned down three children of a Fatah security chief, boys aged three to nine on their way to school. We knew better than to pass judgment, protest on their behalf, raise our voices.

Just as we kept our opinions to ourselves when, in a Frankfurt court, a Muslim woman whose Muslim husband beat her and threatened to kill her, was denied a divorce. Judge Christa Datz-Winter ruled that “the couple came from a Moroccan cultural milieu in which it is common for husbands to beat their wives,” The New York Times reported. “The Koran, she wrote, sanctions such physical abuse.”

Just as every morning, when the news of a fresh act of moral obscenity reaches us from Iraq, we swallow hard and shut up. On Sunday, for example, when a Sunni Muslim mosque was stormed, its minaret blown to pieces, and the structure set ablaze, in apparent retaliation for a suicide truck bombing the beside a Shiite mosque the day before.

Muslims should be able to worship without other Muslims blowing them to mist. Muslim children should be able to go to school and back without other Muslims shattering their bodies with automatic fire. Muslim women should be able to live their lives without worrying that their husbands are within their rights to beat them and threaten to kill them.

And we, as non-Muslims, should be able to say something about it.

Not a simple issue. Especially for those of us Jews and leftists who were educated at places like Berkeley, where we received our degrees in Selective Blindness, with a minor in Understanding the Roots of Violence when practiced by Muslims.

We were taught to sniff out, publicize, and condemn every instance of racism, violence, injustice, and humiliation practiced by Israeli Jews against Palestinian Muslims. And that was as it should be.

Erlanger on Israeli Soldiers: Where’s the Balance?

In an interview with Lori Lowenthal Marcus and Steve Feldman, Steve Erlanger explained that it was not really part of an article on the “lost generation” of Palestinians to do something on the culture of hatred and violence with which the Palestinian leaders — political and religious — abuse that generation. “That’s another story,” he commented evasively. “We’re waiting to read that other story,” his interviewers responded.

I’m sure that Erlanger’s still working hard doing the extensive research necessary to cover the topic, especially since he seems to be a total neophyte on the subject. But in the meantime his next piece was the following account of the “small crowd” of still-leftist Israelis come to hear about the painful experiences of Israeli soldiers forced to maintain “humiliating” checkpoints in the West Bank. Read it through and ask yourself if there’s any knowledge or desire to impart any information on what makes such onerous checkpoints necessary.

Israeli Soldiers Stand Firm, but Duty Wears on the Soul

By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: March 23, 2007
JERUSALEM, March 22 — Some of Jerusalem’s nicest people gathered the other night to listen to a talk by an Israeli soldier troubled by how he and some of his colleagues had behaved in the occupied West Bank.

The small crowd on a rainy evening was a bit disheveled, with lots of untamed hair and sensible shoes. Largely English-speaking, they were generally somewhere on the left of Israel’s wide political spectrum, and they listened earnestly as Mikhael Manekin, 27, spoke quietly about his four years of service with the Golani infantry brigade in the West Bank.

The small — read dwindling — “left” group is not “some of Jerusalem’s nicest people.” They may be nice, but the most outstanding characteristic of them is their commitment to completely unrealistic approaches to the problem. (See below.)

On Removing the “Refugee Rock”: Common Sense from the Arab World

In an article in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on March 26, 2007, the eve of the Arab League summit in Riyadh, liberal author Dr. Mamoun Fandy wrote on the Arabs’ tendency to leave obstructions to development in place rather than remove them, comparing these issues to rocks left in the middle of the road.

In particular, he points to the Palestinian issue as one that has drained the energies of the Arab states for more than 50 years, and calls on the conferees at the summit to remove the demand for the return of Palestinian refugees from the Arab peace initiative in order to arrive at a practical and realistic solution to the Palestinian issue.

The following are excerpts, courtesy of MEMRI:(1)

“For 50 Years the Arabs Have Been Walking Around the Palestinian Issue”

“King ‘Abdallah Bin ‘Abd Al-’Aziz’s initiative has traveled the breadth and width of the Arab states and the world since 2002, until they [i.e. the Arabs] returned to it once more in Riyadh in 2007.

“It was inevitable that the initiative, like every Arab dossier, would tour like this… [The Arabs] have become convinced today that this tour is no solution, and have returned to the land of the 2002 initiative for the Riyadh summit… [But] the basic problem for the [summit] conferees can still be summed up in one word: ‘rock.’

“I am referring to… the boulder placed in the middle of the public road, which is surrounded by the cries of those with a vested interest in its remaining in place.

“In every country in the world, when a rock obstructs a road, the municipality hurries to move it aside to facilitate the flow of traffic. However, in the Arab world, someone throws a rock in the road, and instead of moving it aside, those claiming to be of sound judgment come up with [what they consider] the ideal way to deal with the problem of the rock – namely, placing a sign above it saying “Careful of the Rock.”

“The worst thing is that tending to the rock requires, in the long term, entire institutions – from the workers who man the shifts at night carrying lanterns to light up the sign above the rock, to the construction of an overpass to circumvent the rock, or the digging of an underpass.

“One of the most important responsibilities of the Riyadh summit is to get rid of the rock, instead of placing a warning sign on it and going around it.

The rocks that stand in the path of our success and our development are many, from all our institutions… to our international relations. But I will be blunt right from the start, and say that leaving the Palestinian issue for 50 years without an ultimate solution is the largest rock blocking the road of Arab development. Either we remove this rock from the road with a fundamental and permanent solution, or else we continue building overpasses and underpasses.

Lessons from the Gaza Sewage Tsunami: A Teaching Moment

The case of the Gaza sewage flood is, by now, fairly well known. I comment on a fairly good article by AP reporter Ibrahim Barzak on the affair in order to emphasize some of the lessons it can teach us about the nature of Palestinian suffering.

One of the fundamental question of our coming decade is: Who is responsible for Palestinian suffering. When Hamas fires katyushas into Israel and provokes responses, the MSM has no problem reporting the “fear and loathing” the Israelis inspire in a “victim” people. But whom should Palestinians fear and loath for causing their unbearably humiliating condition?

sewage weapons
From Cox and Forkum, Hat tip: LGF

Sewage Flood in Northern Gaza Kills 5

Tuesday March 27, 2007 10:01 PM

By IBRAHIM BARZAK

Associated Press Writer

UMM NASER, Gaza Strip (AP) – A huge sewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip collapsed Tuesday, killing five people in a frothing cascade of waste and mud that swamped a village and highlighted the desperate need to upgrade Gaza’s overburdened infrastructure.

Rescue crews and Hamas gunmen rushed to the area to search for people feared buried under the sewage and mud. Dressed in wetsuits, they paddled boats through the layer of foam floating on the green and brown rivers of waste. Others waded up to their hips into the sewage.

The noxious smell of waste and dead animals hung in the air.

Angry residents drove reporters away and mobbed government officials. When Interior Minister Hani Kawasmeh arrived to survey the damage, his bodyguards fired in the air to disperse the crowd.

Were these reporters Palestinian or foreign. Why were they driven away? If such a disaster happened in a civil society, locals would rush to the press to complain about their leaders. Did they drive away foreign reporters because they were ashamed? Is that why we have no photos?

It would have been nice to get a report of what the people from the town were saying. What kinds of “hidden transcripts” did such a callous act of incompetence on the part of the government bring to the surface?

In one house, everything from the television to the sink was covered in muck. “We lost everything. Everything was covered by the flood. It’s a disaster,” said Amina Afif, 65, whose shack was destroyed.

Aid officials said plans to build a larger waste treatment facility had been held up for years by perpetual fighting in the area between Israel and Palestinians and donor concerns about political instability. However, construction did not appear to have been affected by international sanctions imposed on the Palestinians after the militant Hamas group’s election victory last year.

This is less than enlightening. Later the journalist will explain why it’s not the fault of the sanctions.

The existing treatment plant in northern Gaza – located just a few hundred yards from the border with Israel – stores waste in seven holding basins. With the burgeoning population producing nearly four times as much waste as the plant could treat, officials have put overflow sewage in the nearby dunes, creating a lake covering nearly 110 acres, the U.N. said.

On Tuesday morning, an earth embankment around one of the seven basins collapsed, sending a wall of sewage crashing into the neighboring village of Umm Naser.

The wave killed two women in their 70s, two toddlers and a teenage girl and injured 35 other people, hospital officials said. More than 200 homes were destroyed, health officials said.

Now where are the pictures of these poor victims? Where are the lengthy interviews with their families? Where is the footage of mothers and daughters wild with grief over their slain family members?

Palestinian Self-Criticism: Give Credit Where Due

PMW has recently posted a remarkable piece of Palestinian self-criticism. Since I often tout self-criticism, and as often complain that Palestinians rarely if ever engage in the practice, I want to highlight this remarkable case, and congratulate the courageous and perceptive author, Dr. Nadir Sa’id, Director of Development Studies at Bir Zeit University.

Some Imams incite to
kill women, beat children: PA Academic

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook – March 15, 2007

In an open challenge to Palestinian leadership, Dr. Nadir Sa’id of Bir Zeit University condemned the violence in Palestinian society and placed the blame on the political and religious leaders. He blamed both Fatah and Hamas, including the Prime Minister and others ministers, for hundreds of killings. He condemned some Imams who preach the killing of women and beating of children. He criticized these actions, as well as the hate incitement that has created a Palestinian society permeated with violence. Children have learned that the use of violence achieves power and influence.

This self-criticism is rare in the PA media. If it continues, this is a positive development.

Click here to see Dr. Sa’id’s condemnation of Palestinian leadership

Dr. Nadir Sa’id, director of Development Studies at Bir Zeit University:

The last months in particular proved without a doubt the existence of political crime [in Palestinian society], and it is related to the attempt to achieve a high level of power, control and influence … The political struggle for rule. One of the primary and clear forms, which draws attention, having powerful and clear influence, and which caused hundreds of deaths, is clearly the crimes committed in the struggle for influence in the [Palestinian] Authority. But there are other types, including the attempt to threaten opposition, threaten those who disagree…

What is important regarding political crime, and especially in the Palestinian situation, is that there is a kind of conspiracy not to punish the criminals. This is the big problem. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the recent struggle between Fatah and Hamas. First: Who will punish those who facilitated these violent environmental conditions? Who will punish those who gave the orders? Who will punish those who committed [the crimes]? Who will punish the people who remained silent and did not hesitate to justify this type of violence?

What we see now, and this is the basic problem in the culture regarding the culture of violence, is that what has happened, he who killed here and there, is now appointed as a minister in the [Palestinian] National Authority. That is, it is a clear message.

Humiliation and Terrorism: Goldhagen’s Analysis

Daniel Goldhagen has an excellent discussion of the problem of “humiliation” and Jihad. While for polemical reasons he may be dismissive of “humiliation” as an explanation of Arab/Muslim “rage,” his overall point — there’s much more to the problem than “humiliation,” is crucial, especially when it comes to policy options. I’ve highlighted particularly significant passages and added some notes.

Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Issue #4, Spring 2007

The Humiliation Myth
Humiliation doesn’t explain terrorism; the spread of Political Islam does. A response to Peter Bergen and Michael Lind.
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

As Peter Bergen and Michael Lind ably demonstrate in their recent article [“A Matter of Pride,” Issue #3], the notion that poverty causes terrorism – and that, absent poverty, terrorism would diminish radically – is a fallacy. Indeed, the “myth of deprivation” is so manifestly inadequate that it is worth asking whether its supporters actually believe it or whether, instead of confronting the complexities of terrorism’s causes and the difficulty of combating it, they prefer to mouth a platitudinous perspective that poverty causes all ills and that alleviating poverty (which will not happen soon) cures them.

It’s actually worse: I think most people want to believe that poverty causes terrorism because we Westerners think we have the formula for “curing” the problem thus understood. “Throw money at it.” That’s the French solution with their “lost territories.” Goldhagen’s right that we won’t be alleviating poverty soon the world over. But we think we can solve it in places where we decide to push hard (the so-called “Middle East Marshall Plan”). Of course, when “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” — when we throw money at impoverished cultures that, often, are the product of their terrorist “leaders” — we end up engaging in what Pamela of Atlas Shrugged, in a conversation with David “poverty causes terrorism” Korn in a conversation at the OSM/PJ Media launch called “extortion.”

Kristof and Soros’ Use of B’Tselem’s Statistics: Dupes Take Sides Foolishly

In fisking Kristof, I ran across his use of B’Tselem’s statistics. He said:

B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights organization, reports that last year Palestinians killed 17 Israeli civilians (including one minor) and six Israeli soldiers. In the same period, B’Tselem said, Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians, triple the number killed in 2005. Of the Palestinians killed in 2006, half were not taking part in hostilities at the time they were killed, and 141 were minors.

I responded:

B’Tselem is an increasingly criticized human rights organization. They have proven to be as gullible to the claims of victimization from “Palestinian sources” — or as biased — as their sister “human rights” NGOs in the West.

[NB: When I showed a copy of Pallywood to the folks at B’Tselem, the head of the organization told me she couldn’t see what relevance the propensity of Palestinian sources to systematically lie might have for B’Tselem’s work, and her top Arab-Israeli field researcher wanted details on the woman who “gave birth in the car” [from Pierre Rehov’s Road to Jenin so he could investigate another Israeli violation.]

These figures are cooked. All the categories are subject to deconstruction – “not taking part in hostilities at the time they were killed,” “minors,” and above all, “killed by Israelis” – all these identifications are based on taking at face value, testimony that has proved itself radically untrustworthy. Garbag in, garbage out.

Now it’s altogether possible that Kristof, on other topics apparently perceptive, doesn’t know what he’s channeling here. After all, if he read his own paper’s journalist, how would he know about the depth of the hate-speech that drives the devouring maw into which he pushes Israel with his “friendly advice.” Perhaps he trusts his friends in the progressive NGOs to give him reliable information.

But as a professional journalist — indeed here, he presents himself as a counselor — doesn’t he owe us at least due diligence?

Now the Editors of the NY Sun have done (minimal) due diligence, and their comments bear out some of my suspicions:

Aside from the fact that Israel was being attacked by the Palestinians after withdrawing to the 1967 borders of the Gaza Strip, here’s some context that Mr. Kristof left out. B’Tselem is funded by German church groups, the governments of Switzerland and the European Union, and the same Ford Foundation that underwrote the anti-Israel agitation that preceded the United Nations’ Durban conference.

Moreover, the statistics Mr. Kristof cites don’t include Israelis killed by other Arab terrorists working in league with the Palestinian Arabs and funded by the same Iranian terror master. In 2006, that included 43 Israeli civilians and 117 Israeli soldiers who were killed in the war with Lebanese-based Hezbollah. The B’Tselem statistics do include — but Mr. Kristof omits — the 55 Palestinian Arabs killed in 2006 by other Palestinian Arabs, a figure to which can be added another 84 killed in intramural violence in January and February of 2007.

BBC takes MSM Hypocrisy to New Levels

Fascinating report on the BBC’s efforts to block public awareness of its biased reporting. Hypocrisy… dishonesty… and… honor-shame. And of course, the loser is… the public, who still don’t know that Israel has been on the frontline of a global Jihad they are already involved in without knowing it. (Hat-tip: JW)

BBC pays £200,000 to ‘cover up report on anti-Israel bias’
by PAUL REVOIR –
Last updated at 21:24pm on 22nd March 2007
Comments (17)

The BBC has been accused of “shameful hypocrisy” over its decision to spend £200,000 blocking a freedom of information request about its reporting in the Middle East.

The corporation, which has itself made extensive use of FOI requests in its journalism, is refusing to release papers about an internal inquiry into whether its reporting has been biased towards Palestine.

BBC chiefs have been accused of wasting thousands of pounds of licence fee payers money trying to cover-up the findings of the so called Balen Report into its journalism in the region, despite the fact that the corporation is funded by the British public.

The corporation is fighting a landmark High Court action, which starts next week, in a bid to prevent the public finding out what is in the review, which is believed to be critical of the BBC’s coverage in the region.

BBC bosses have faced repeated claims that is coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been skewed by a pro-Palestianian bias.

The corporation famously came under fire after middle-east correspondent Barbara Plett revealed that she had cried at the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004.

The BBC’s decision to carry on pursuing the case, despite the fact than the Information Tribunal said it should make the report public, has sparked fury as it flies in the face of claims by BBC chiefs that it is trying to make the corporation more open and transparent.

How Europe Can Lose: Pipes on Underestimating Your Enemy’s Intelligence and Your own Stupidity

Last December, Dan Pipes posted a piece entitled “How the West Could Lose.” It’s the kind of thing that the Europeans can’t even think about much less assess. For an example of how suicidal the Europeans, see Paul Beilin, “The Islamicization of Antwerp” (comments in next post).

Middling souls sustain;
Great souls launch, democracies;
Small ones, destroy them.

How the West Could Lose by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
December 26, 2006

After defeating fascists and communists, can the West now defeat the Islamists?

On the face of it, its military preponderance makes victory seem inevitable. Even if Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon, Islamists have nothing like the military machine the Axis deployed in World War II, nor the Soviet Union during the cold war. What do the Islamists have to compare with the Wehrmacht or the Red Army? The SS or Spetznaz? The Gestapo or the KGB? Or, for that matter, to Auschwitz or the gulag?

Yet, more than a few analysts, including myself, worry that it’s not so simple. Islamists (defined as persons who demand to live by the sacred law of Islam, the Sharia) might in fact do better than the earlier totalitarians. They could even win. That’s because, however strong the Western hardware, its software contains some potentially fatal bugs. Three of them – pacifism, self-hatred, complacency – deserve attention.

Pacifism: Among the educated, the conviction has widely taken hold that “there is no military solution” to current problems, a mantra applied in every Middle East problem – Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the Kurds, terrorism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. But this pragmatic pacifism overlooks the fact that modern history abounds with military solutions. What were the defeats of the Axis, the United States in Vietnam, or the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, if not military solutions?

My favorite is “War is not the answer.” A popular bumper sticker in places like Cambridge. As soon as one suggests that force may be necessary, the conversation is over. “Oh, you’re one of those people who think that they only understand force.” Well no, they understand more than force, but without force, they don’t understand much.

This issue lies at the heart of demopathy: Arabs/Muslims play on our desire to believe that they are “rational” like “us.” And while there are some who do, the culture remains in the place where the vast majority of pre-modern cultures have operated for millennia — “might makes right.” That’s the point of the Caliphate.

Mis-applying a Problematic Paradigm: Soros Redefines “Deeply Superficial”

George Soros has a long piece in the New York Review of Books about the critical contribution of AIPAC to our disastrous foreign policy along with some major tilting at Alvin Rosenfeld. He proves himself a thorough and profoundly uninformed disciple of the Politically-Correct Paradigm (PCP1) but, as some have already pointed out, very wealthy people seem to think they can be an expert on every and anything… sort of like Donald Trump.

What’s so worrisome is how hollow – again – all this sounds. Just PCP bytes, strung together like Pallywood footage. If you just squint hard enough, you won’t see just how profoundly misguided the narrative, the analysis, and the recipe for resolving the problem. Even Barack Obama has distanced himself from this silliness.

It is way too long and poor to fisk from start to finish — how much more interesting to read articles that tackle real issues like Goldhagen on humiliation and terrorism (up next) — than this intellectually meager fare. What I do focus on below is the rant within the rant in which Soros tilts at Alvin Rosenfeld. Just understanding how mediocre his argument on this topic will give a taste of the overall, lengthy, diatribe.

What makes this particularly unfortunate is that it comes from the “pen” of a great admirer of the philosopher and scientist Karl Popper, a passionate advocate of the “Open Society” — after which Soros named his “democracy-promoting” Open Society Institute (of which I was a fellow back in the 1990s) — as well as an articulate spokesman for the exegetical modesty of scientists who must always remain open to the possibility that their formulae for understanding the universe may be wrong and need to be subjected to criticism. In this case we have an inability to see the difference between an extraordinarily open society — Israel — and its extraordinarily closed neighbors, on the one hand, and an unquestioning application of a highly questionable paradigm — “Land for Peace” — to a conflict where the contrary paradigm seems most operative — “Land for Jihad.” In pursuing such a misguided framework, and deriving a particularly harsh strategy — force the open society to make huge concessions to the closed societies in the hopes that these latter will keep promises they show no sign of intending to keep — Soros urges on a strategy that turns Israel into a sacrificial lamb (or a test-monkey in a space probe), and threatens terrible damage to the West’s ability to resist Islamism. Nor is he alone in such a foolish approach.

On Israel, America and AIPAC

By George Soros

The Bush administration is once again in the process of committing a major policy blunder in the Middle East, one that is liable to have disastrous consequences and is not receiving the attention it should. This time it concerns the Israeli–Palestinian relationship. The Bush administration is actively supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the US State Department considers a terrorist organization. This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East.

You would not know from Soros that Hamas’ charter cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion approvingly (article 32), and invokes a genocidal apocalyptic Hadith about killing every last Jew on the planet (article 7). “Hey. I’m sure they don’t really mean it. You know those Arabs… always exaggerating. They were democratically elected, no? That makes them legitimate representatives, no? We make peace with enemies with whom we negotiate, no?”

Now why would Soros act as if this were not an issue? What’s the purpose of whitewashing Hamas? Does he do his own research? Or does he get fed information by his handlers?

It goes on from there. If you feel like having the most simplistic, dusty Oslo logic thrown in your eyes for many paragraphs, go to the article and read it. It doesn’t get any better than this mediocre rehash in its analysis, all served up with a tone of complete confidence. At one point, he informs us that many don’t understand Hamas, but those (like himself) who do, know that the bad Hamas is in Damascus and the good Hamas, responsive to the Palestinian people who elected it, is in the West Bank and Gaza. One has to wonder how so stunningly gullible a man could have made so much money.

Listen to the hollow man: Erlanger defends himself

If you haven’t already, listen to the radio show with Steve Feldman and Lori Marcus in which both Steve Erlanger and I appear in tandem. His interview is a fine example of how someone like Erlanger, confronted with observations and conclusions he has never deigned to discuss in his writings, has almost no refutation. In some cases he agrees, reaffirms and adds to their points. So why does he not talk about these matters? Why does he systematically reinforce the PCP “take” that has Israeli behavior as the causative agent in this conflict?

Even as he has to back peddle, it’s sideways. All of this economic misery dates back to the Intifada of 2000, he points out. But why did we have this self-destructive descent into violence when the Palestinians had their statehood on the negotiating table, a violence which has, in the past 7 years, metastasized and now threatens to engulf the whole world? “Partly because of the violence that came out of the Intifada, and partly Israel’s security measures to counter that violence…” he explains. Good “even handedness.”

But pay close attention. The “even-handedness” is in the hand supposedly concerning the Palestinians: “the violence which came out of the Intifada.” Violence is the subject of the sentence and the agent here, not Palestinians. On the other hand, the agent of the second part is “Israel’s security measures” that respond to this (disembodied) violence (for which – my guess is Erlanger believes – the Israelis are at least half responsible).

This stilted language that assiduously avoids being clear about Palestinian responsibility for anything negative reminds me of the British CNN reporter talking about Palestinian celebrations for 9-11, which we used in Icon of Hatred. “Palestinian resentment against America for its ongoing support as it is seen of Israel in this conflict, in this Middle Eastern conflict, however while some Palestinians were taking to the streets in apparent celebration….” No need for the “however,” the “while,” the “apparent…” but, along with the explanatory “for its ongoing support of Israel” they all serve to “pull the punches” of this clearly dangerous news report.

You listen to his other excuses for not reporting and tell me what you think.

My friend Antidhimmi thinks that Erlanger, despite his intelligence and like so many other journalists, is a very ordinary person. Like many of the journalists who inform us about the world, he is not up to the serious task before him. He does a third rate job of trying to understand the issues, has extremely limited self-awareness, avoids confrontations, and reports with the pack. So in the long run his intelligence ends up working against us, his intended audience. He packages this mediocre work so well that it looks really professional and thoughtful and defends it with the kind of hollow and evasive excuses he gave on this show, which were a low-key version of the fatuous generalizations about not being intimidated, not having a double standard, and doing a pretty good job which he made in the conference in November. And in this, he resembles the rest of his MSM colleagues far more than any of us can afford. The generation that cannot see Pallywood under their noses.

As to the big question: Why didn’t he report on incitement to hatred in the Palestinian territories? — an issue nicely treated by Ken Levin at Frontpage? – he responds by saying, “well that’s an entirely different article.”

No it isn’t. It’s critical to understanding why a generation has been destroyed and lives in insane hatred and resentment. But let’s grant Erlanger his point, despite how facetious an evasion it is. Okay, Mr. Erlanger, as Steven and Lori then pointed out, “we look forward to seeing the article. Soon.”

I challenge Steven Erlanger formally. I think you don’t write about this material because you’re afraid of what the effect on your contacts within the Palestinian territories would be, your access, and even your safety. I think you can’t write about it, and if you do, it will end up sounding a lot like that CNN reporter reporting on the celebrations of 9-11… although… while… apparent… and especially, all direct response to Israeli behavior.

Go ahead, Steve, prove us wrong. We’re calling you out.

On Lori Lowenthal Marcus’ Radio Program After Steve Erlanger

Partly in response to my fisking of Erlanger’s recent piece on the “Lost Generation” of Palestinian youth — a lengthy article that never once addressed the abuse of these children by their brave leadership — Lori Marcus has asked me to be on her program this afternoon:

THE ZOA MIDDLE EAST REPORT
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21.2007
12:00 NOON – 1:00 PM EST
1540 AM – Philadelphia area and
anywhere in the world
(click on “listen live” or on “listen anytime” if you missed us live)

Steve Erlanger, NYT Jerusalem Bureau chief,
will join us as we question him about his coverage of the Middle East,
and particularly his “news”story that ran in the NYT on March 12th:
A GENERATION LOST: The Second Intifada; Years of Strife and Lost Hope Scar Young Palestinian Lives.

Following the interview with Erlanger, we will be joined by Richard Landes,
BU History Professor and an expert on media manipulation. Richard will discuss the various levels of dangers presented by the mainstream media’s portrayal of Israel -
and the NYT is the Mother of all Mainstream Media!

CAIR’s Response to Criticism Resembles That of Hyper-Critical Jews

CAIR has responded to recent criticism in the NYT (fisked here), in a way that reminds me of how the hyper-critical Jews responded to getting criticized. No substance — just “YOUR TRYING TO SILENCE ME.” I only cite the opening lines here. Let the masochists go and read more.

CAIR: Attacks Seek to Silence Muslims
Source: Letters to the Editor

CAIR: ADVOCACY GROUP FOR MUSLIMS GETS QUESTIONS

ATTACKS SEEK TO SILENCE MUSLIMS

This New York Times article on the challenges facing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) exposed the relentless efforts by “a small band of critics” made up of racist right-wing and neo-Zionist extremists who seek to silence and marginalize American Muslims and groups that represent them by exploiting anti-Muslim fears in our nation.

Wow! This is how they handle criticism? Smear the groups that you don’t like? Fear-monger and hate-monger? The ADL may be Zionist. It’s hardly either neo- or extremist. And most of the critics of CAIR, including other Muslims, are not trying to marginalize American Muslims, but groups that, under the guise of defending American Muslims, are actually pursuing theocratic Muslim agendas.

CAIR’s purpose is very clear. It is a grass roots organization that serves as America’s largest and most visible Muslim civil rights group. CAIR is to the Muslim community what the NAACP is to the African-American community or what the ADL is to the Jewish community.

If only. Assertions will not do with a record like CAIR’s. It’s not enough to say, “Our critics are Islamophobes and Zionazis.” You’ve got to address substance.

For the record, CAIR unequivocally condemns terror attacks targeting people of all faiths and in all areas of the world.

Alas, only for the record. CAIR can get their folks out to demonstrate against movies depicting Muslims as terrorists — in honor-shame cultures face matters above all — but not to demonstrate against Muslim terrorists. On the contrary, they cheer on Hamas. Condemnations from CAIR of Muslim terror sound a lot like Otto’s apology to Archie in Fish Called Wanda… “I’m sssssssss…., I’m sssssssssh…”

CAIR operates under the strict guidelines of its core values. These values include: support for freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and a commitment to supporting policies that promote dialogue, civil rights and diversity in America and worldwide.

Okay. The rest you can read if you want. The issue here is: are these the words of demopaths or democrats?

Fjordman on European Anti-Semitism: It’ll be the Death of Them

Fjordman has a post at Brussels Journal that illustrates many of the themes I’ve tried to emphasize here at Augean Stables, in particular the way that anti-Zionism will be the death of Europe. Sure it feels good to pop those tasty truffles of moral Schadenfreude and point the finger at Israel. But when your cholesterol is at 350 and your arteries are clogging, maybe you can’t afford that indulgence any more. Can Europe go on a resentment-free diet? Can it cast off its ingrained anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism?

Why Europeans Should Support Israel
From the desk of Fjordman on Mon, 2007-03-12 07:49

One of the most frustrating things to watch is the powerful anti-Israeli and sometimes outright anti-Semitic current that is prevalent in too much of Europe’s media. Bat Ye’or’s predictions about Arab anti-Semitism spreading in Europe as the continent’s Islamization and descent into Eurabia continues have so far proved depressingly accurate. This trend needs to be fought, vigorously, by all serious European anti-Jihadists. Not only because it is immoral and unfair to Israelis, which it is, but also because those who assist it are depriving Europeans of the opportunity to fully grasp the threat and understand the nature of the Jihad that is now targeting much of Europe as well.

This is precisely what I mean when I say that anti-Zionism is a form of cultural AIDS: the need to dump on Israel is so strong that a) it makes Europeans an easy channel for Jihadi propaganda, and b) it makes them incapable of recognizing how dangerous their foe, because any admission that Jihad is a ruthless and totalistic enemy would mitigate their ability to dump on Israel for harming innocent Arabs. The sad, obvious, and denied truth is that the two most “medieval” trends in the 21st century go hand in hand — global Jihad and anti-Semitism.

Kristof “Helps” Israel: Dupe of the Day

Nicholas Kristof has published a piece that combines political naïveté with a cloying concern for Israel, and recommends US-assisted suicide. Kristoff is an excellent example of someone who, not understanding the Israeli self-criticism vs. Palestinian demonizing chasm, ignores the latter (like his colleague Erlanger) and uses the former against the Israelis.

Talking About Israel
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
March 18, 2007

Democrats are railing at just about everything President Bush does, with one prominent exception: Mr. Bush’s crushing embrace of Israel.

There is no serious political debate among either Democrats or Republicans about our policy toward Israelis and Palestinians. And that silence harms America, Middle East peace prospects and Israel itself.


Uh oh. Let me guess. He’s going to tell us that there is an opportunity for peace, and that by not pursuing it, we will make things worse for America. Rewarmed Oslo logic: “Land for Peace.” It systematically avoids the painful lessons of the 21st century: “Land for War.” And its advice will produce the opposite of what it claims: harm America, Middle East peace prospects and Israel itself… not to mention the first and constant victims of this misguided policy — the Palestinians.


Within Israel, you hear vitriolic debates in politics and the news media about the use of force and the occupation of Palestinian territories. Yet no major American candidate is willing today to be half as critical of hard-line Israeli government policies as, say, Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper.

First, this is not true. Haaretz is one of the more popular sources for Western journalists. But leave it to Kristof to complain that it’s ignored. And to the degree that some of the more grotesque stuff doesn’t come out, there’s excellent reasons. Haaretz is a ferociously “self-critical” newspaper that makes a specialty of the kind of attacks on the government that characterize”masochistic omnipotence complex.” For the West to report this self-criticism as if it were accurate rather than rhetoric would seriously miinform the public. As it is, by presenting even a watered-down version of this self-critical stuff from Haaretz (Gideon Levy, Amira Hass), side-by-side with the “other side” — i.e., demonizing scapegoating claims of Palestinian press (which practice is called even-handed), skews the picture that the Western media present to their audience profoundly. And apparently Kristoff is both a channel and a victim of such disinformation.

Palestinian Gunmen Shoot Down 8 Year-Old Girl

News from the Palestine of “unity government.” (HT: ELS) Okay, so will this get a tiny fraction of the attention that Muhammad al Durah got? Where’s the outrage?

Of course, I don’t expect much. But at least, can we stop being sucked in by the demopath’s outrage? Can we at least not fall prey to the “Is our blood cheaper than theirs?” when they treat their own blood as cheap?

Gunmen kill Palestinian girl in Gaza
By JPOST.COM STAFF

An eight-year-old Palestinian girl was killed Sunday when she was shot by gunmen in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah.

The Palestinian news agency Ma’an identified the fatality as Shidei Abu Muhsan and reported that another two women and a young boy – all relatives of Muhsan – were also shot in the incident. Their conditions were unknown.

Palestinian medical sources said that the dead girl arrived at Yousef a-Najar Hospital with a bullet wound to her chest and doctors declared her death moments later.

In addition, masked gunmen kidnapped a member of the Fatah affiliated Force 17, Abu Muhamed Abu Samalah, 40, in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said.

Ma’an said that there there was great concern over increased Palestinian infighting in the wake of the formation of the new Palestinian Authority unity government.

CAIR, Demopathy, Honor, and Journalistic Dupes

Neil MacFarquhar wrote an article for the NYT on CAIR under fire. It had a strong penchant for the “anti-McCarthy” approach (also CAIR’s) in which “the current climate” makes any Muslim suspicious, implicitly criticizing those who denounce them. On the other hand, it is very short on the substance behind accusations. So it throws out terms like Wahabbi without defining them (yes, they’re radical, but no idea what that means in terms of ideological hostility to the very principles of civil society and human rights, which is, after all, the point of the post).

Protein Wisdom has a good post on the body of the text, including some interesting remarks about MacFarquhar’s record as a Mideast journalist.

The piece concludes with some remarks about CAIR by “moderate” and “secular” Muslims:


Some Muslims, particularly the secular, find CAIR overly influenced by Saudi religious interpretations, criticizing it for stating in news releases, for example, that all Muslim women are required to veil their hair when the matter is openly debated.

But they still support its civil rights work and endorse the idea of anyone working to make American Islam a more integral part of society. One Arab-American advocate compared CAIR to “the tough cousin who curses at anyone who speaks badly about the family.”


This is endearing, but deceptive. The overwhelming evidence is that CAIR is a demopathic organization, a sympathizer and apologist for jihad (which, at least in its current form, thrives on terror), and an active agent for an Islamist agenda to Islamize the world. The evidence hardly supports the notion that CAIR is “trying to make American Islam a more integral part of society.” On the contrary, it seems like an organization dedicated to making American society more Islamic. Any member of civil society who wants civil rights guaranteed all around (the only way to go), cannot responsibly favor an organization that militates only for the civil rights of its own members and support forces aimed at depriving others of their rights.

These American Muslim moderates seem, at best, to be willing dupes of these demopaths — we don’t agree with some of their religious stuff (the veil! come on, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of theocracy) — but we do agree with their civil rights work. That’s classic free-rider stuff. We like them when they do stuff for us, we look the other way when they do the “other” stuff. On the contrary, the major voice against CAIR should be American Muslims who are prepared to live in the world of modern civil societies and recognize that the “helping hand” CAIR offers to the larger Muslim community is a predatory talon. Calling them “the tough cousin” is just a euphemism used to keep the problem hidden “within the family.”

islam will conquer

If this were just some blowhard cousin venting steam, okay. But we have too much experience of how readily Muslim “rage” at being criticized translates into violence.

london madrid

Now we move into MacFarquhar’s finale — the classic tropes of the “liberal’s” criticism of criticizing Islam.

Some activists and academics view the controversy surrounding the group as typical of why Washington fails so often in the Middle East, while extremism mushrooms.

Huh?

Let me see if I can unpack that statement (which we see in the remaining paragraph never gets explained). By attacking a “moderate” group like CAIR, Washington (here a euphemism for the Bush administration), with its characteristic McCarthyite paranoia, ends up alienating the moderates and provoking the extremists. The combination of “some activists and academics” here is revealing. The PCP2 folks, ripe for being duped by demopaths, insist that any organization that says it’s moderate — and militating for human rights too boot! — should be taken at face value. (They’re just like us.) Any one questioning them is a McCarthyite, racist, Islamophobe, and if the situation gets worse, it’s their fault.

This is a bit like making the pope responsible for the violence of Muslims when he quoted a 14th century Christian saying Islam is a violent religion. It’s the placating instinct of our “civilized” and “morally evolved” intelligentsia that feels that we should do everything we can not to provoke Muslims, what the French Jews call “l’esprit munichois” — the spirit of Munich. The fact that “activists” (read demopaths) and “academics” (read dupes) are on the same page here makes perfect sense. It’s the classic Moebius strip of cognitive egocentrism — they lie, we don’t want to provoke them by challenging them and appearing “racist.” They win.

Accordingly MacFarquhar closes with a spokesman from a mosque that he tells us is “moderate.” (Indeed the man has confronted radical Muslims because he believes in an Islam that is the religion of peace.) But this particular quote offers us the comments of an apologist, not a real moderate.


“How far are we going to keep going in this endless circle: ‘You are a terrorist!’ ‘No, you are a terrorist!’? ” said Souleiman Ghali, one of the founders of a moderate San Francisco mosque. “People are paying a price for that.”

So what’s that supposed to mean? There are no terrorists? We shouldn’t call anyone a terrorist? How about “ending” the circle by defining terrorism in such a way that a) the definition applies to everyone — even those who attack Israeli civilians, and b) defining groups that apologize for terrorists and support the agendas of terrorists as radical, unreliable, and “to be avoided.” It’s not like people are locking up Muslims for being members of CAIR. CAIR wants more than the right to exist and say what it believes.

CAIR wants respectability. It wants to be taken seriously, to advise the FBI, to mediate between the government and American Muslims. They need to earn those privileges, not demand them, and then accuse anyone who gets in the way of being Islamophobic.

And once again, our beloved NYT tells us the story in ways that misinform, mislead, and focus on politically correct approaches rather than the substance of the criticism, sewing back up the fraying ends of the Moebius strip that’s paralyzing our ability to think clearly and defend our civil society — and the human rights it’s committed to — from the attack it’s under.

Another failing grade.

Erlanger Gets a D in Journalism 101: Palestinian Suffering via PCP

Steven Erlanger, the NYT Middle East correspondant has written a major piece on “The Children of the Intifada,” a long-overdue look at the devastating consequences of the endemic state of war that exists in the Palestinian territories. It’s a classic example of how “framing” the story makes so much of a difference, and why the two criteria of reliable and valuable journalism are accuracy — most of his concrete information is probably accurate — and relevance. It’s in his silence on the extensive and relevant information about Palestinian contributions to the violence that plagues their youth that Erlanger fails his readership most dramatically.

A piece about Palestinian youth lost in a world of hatred and violence needs to weigh the obvious factors in this tragic scene — Israel keeps the Palestinian population in a headlock — against the less obvious, indeed surprising factors — a Palestinian culture so committed to war that it sacrifices the lives and minds of its children to the pursuit of its vendettas. A good journalist would give both elements to the reader, interpret the evidence in terms of the two alternatives, and even pass judgment at the end on which is more significant. Erlanger does nothing of the sort.

My first exposure to Erlanger was last November when I heard him speak at a conference on the Lebanese War of this summer. He is the man who made the ludicrous remarks I took out of the final version of my Herzliya talk:

As one prominent Middle East correspondent for a major Western newspaper put it recently at a conference on the media and the Lebanese war – and here I paraphrase – “there’s no real double standard; I’m not intimidated and I don’t think there’s serious intimidation of journalists by Israel’s enemies; the MSM does not really have a double standard in their reporting on the conflict; the MSM is perfectly justified in raising the issue of ‘disproportionate response’; and basically, we, the MSM, are doing a pretty good job.”

Many people had told me that Erlanger was one of the better NYT journalists covering the Arab-Israeli conflict. This article illustrates well the kind of “high standards” of both writing and interview research that one expects from a NYT journalist, accompanied by a radical skew that systematically misinforms the reader of the nature of the problem examined.

To better understand what’s wrong with the article, let me first review a key issue that explains why our media have done such an appalling job covering the Middle East. According to the prevailing “story-line,” this conflict is about a people who want nationhood, frustrated by their overly powerful neighbors, the Palestinian David vs. the Israeli Goliath. Here the agents of oppression are the Israelis, the victims, the Palestinians. All kinds of liberal cognitive egocentrism inhabit such a world view — Palestinians are like anyone, they prefer peace to war, they want their children to succeed in higher learning, they want a nation of their own, alongside the Israeli one whose creation has cause them so much pain. In this scenario, suicide terror is the product of “despair” and “hopelessness” at achieving what we all want — the good society.

However this paradigm may find supporting information, it necessarily ignores the impressive evidence of another, far more disturbing tale at work. Here, whatever the Palestinian people want, their leaders want war and consider them sacrificial victims in a war of vengeance and honor that can only end with Israel’s annihilation. Here this elite, rather than using the opportunity to state-build and improve the lives of their people offered by the Oslo Peace Process, used it as a Trojan Horse, an opportunity to prepare for war. And here this elite systematically used the occasion of controlling its media and education systems to implant a genocidal hatred of Israel in its young — a form of child abuse that should stagger the liberal imagination. In this scenario, suicide terror is above all the product of despair and hopelessness at destroying Israel, to which the leaders and their brainwashed children happily sacrifice “the good life.”

The victory of this elite in both destroying a peaceful future for its people with the sacrifice of its youth in the second Intifada, and the MSM’s report of events as if it were the fault of Israel’s “disproportionate response,” has sealed the fate of this unfortunate generation. In presenting this horrorific situation, the PCP journalist must find a way to present the data bass awkwards, laying the heavy blame on Israel — the occupation is the problem, Palestinians would opt for peace if only Israel made enough concessions, etc. — even as any conscientious observer knows that this is deeply deceptive.

Below, I systematically fisk this article, as deceptive for what it does not say as misleading with what it does say, redeemed only by some of the interviews it quotes. At the end, I make some general comments on why this seemingly competent piece is actually one of the standard products of the Augean Stables.

Mental Exercise: One of Erlanger’s multiple claims at the conference where he gave the MSM fairly high marks for their Middle East coverage was: “I’m not intimidated by Palestinian violence, and I don’t think most are. On the contrary, if the Palestinians tried to intimidate me, it would have the opposite effect.” So while you read Erlanger’s take on the tragedy of the Palestinians, ask yourself what he might have to deal with were he to be any more explicit on the role of their elites — “secular” and religious — in fostering, prolonging, intensifying this suffering. And then ask yourself why he didn’t.

Erlanger in bold blockquote, RL in regular font.

Children of the Palestinian intifada: The lost generation
By Steven Erlanger
Sunday, March 11, 2007

NABLUS, West Bank: Their worried parents call them the lost generation of Palestine: its most radical, most accepting of violence, and most despairing.

They are the children of the second intifada that began in 2000, growing up in a territory riven by infighting, seared by violence, occupied by Israel, largely cut off from the world and segmented up by barriers and checkpoints.

Who “occupies” the Palestinians? You could say the Israelis, despite their withdrawal from most of the population centers of “Palestine” during the Oslo Process (1994). But you also could argue that their elite occupies them much as Arab elites occupy and exploit Arab masses throughout the Arab world. This generation of Palestinians represents the first one raised and trained not by Israelis but by their own people. But the devastating evidence of this elite’s abuse of an entire Palestinian generation with genocidal brainwashing has not changed Erlanger’s “short-hand” for the situation — “occupied by Israel.” This is not a promising start.

Narcissism’s Brittle Identity: Shrinkwrapped on Self-Criticism

I have a series of posts on the issue of self-criticism, in which I argue that, while most people do not like self-criticism, Jews, by training and culture, are so drawn to self-criticism that outside observers may mistake their harsh comments about “themselves” (i.e., Jews, Jewish institutions, Israel) for reluctant admissions of the truth rather than prophetic rhetoric designed to “whip the object of the criticism into shape.”

Shrinkwrapped has two posts that explore the opposite, the fragile sense of self that leads many — individuals as well as groups — to reject any criticism, no matter how accurate. It’s important to understand the world of the kind of person who cannot tolerate any criticism. From The Rising Tide of Narcissism

…the Narcissist’s self esteem is actually quite fragile. Since it is based on an inflated sense of the self, ie it is not based on a realistic assessment of the self, the Narcissist needs constant affirmation by the environment that they are, indeed, the “special” person they have always been told they were. Such people have a noticeable lack of resiliency. When the Narcissist inevitably smacks up against an indifferent environment, as when the young person graduates college and enters the work force, reality intrudes in unmistakable fashion. Your boss does not consider you special unless you can actually do a good job. It is very easy to see how the Narcissist, who already tends to use projective defenses to avoid knowing of his own short comings, can very easily slip into a paranoid position with the real world.

“Since I know I am special, and have never really been challenged, when my boss tells me I have done a poor job, it can’t be true. ——> He must have something against me!”

Now, multiply that attitude to a much larger scale. Major societal problems arise when a large group of people with fragile self esteem and a poor sense of self collide with modern day tribalism, ie, identity politics. Then the problem becomes the system, or the man, or the ruling class, or the Jews, or Bush and the Rethuglicans, or racism; never does the person take responsibility for their own failures because to do so risks a psychological catastrophe. Suddenly, one’s always fragile self esteem, artificially buttressed all these years by a facile environment, crumbles. The result is devastating despair. Alternatively, reality can be denied and the despair defended against by externalizing the rage and directing it at those you believe now oppress you.

This dynamic can be applied to those who cry “racism” at every turn; it can describe the psychology of the Palestinians who have been taught they are special and held down by the “oppressive” Jews since 1948 and yet have failed so miserably in creating a functioning society; it appears wherever the toxicity of identity politics and aggrieved victims wield power.

The saddest aspect of this is that the “victims”, whether individuals or societies that have a distorted sense of self, have no hope of ever changing their circumstances until they find a way to deal with reality and tolerate the painful work of acknowledging that the world does not necessarily see them as “special.”

And here we get at one of the key “sins” of the “progressive left.” They have systematically given the Palestinians this sense of specialness, fed their sense of grievance, and encouraged their immediate recourse to conspiracy theory to explain anything that might undermine that sense of specialness. By making the Palestinians their “chosen people,” the “Left” has done their self-appointed job of countering the outrageous notion that the Jews are the “chosen people”.

How much better to be Palestinian, and chosen by the most morally evolved community on the planet, than Jewish and chosen by a non-existent God?

Except that the chosenness of the Palestinians derives from and reflects the narcissism of the Western generation (including that of the Western MSM), and the consequences of that “tutelage” have been catastrophic for everyone but the hate-mongers. The Palestinian refugees are a particularly vulnerable population. Despised (unfairly) by their own brethren for fleeing the fight with Israel in 1948, chosen to be the sacrificial victims on the altar of Arab honor, injected by their own “revolutionary leadership” with the worst elements of violent resolution of conflicts, this is a people born in victimization. By bathing the Palestinians in approval as part of their own self-indulgent moral heroics, Western “progressives” inside and outside the media, have joined together with an abusive patriarchal authoritarianism (terror strikes constantly at home), and created within Palestinian culture a toxic combination of resentment, violence, and paranoia. (Rachel Corrie comes to mind, but more broadly all the members of the ISM who live among the Palestinians but would never dream of challenging suicide terrorism.)

A recent example of the problem of Western apologia appears in an exchange between Timothy Furnish and David Slavin at History News Network. Furnish traces the origins of Muslim anti-Semitism to the origins and endtimes of the religion, arguing that the presence of Israel is not the cause of the current wave of paranoid apocalyptic hysteria about Jews. Slavin criticizes him with a sad and shallow litany of characteristic “politically correct” rhetorical maneuvers including chiding HNN for giving voice to such “puerile” commentators as Furnish and thereby harming HNN’s valuable reputation. Then he follows with the standard fare — including using Karen Armstrong as an authority. In the end, Slavin would have us read a classic piece of Muslim self-pity from the Guardian. With such friends, can we ever hope to see Muslims begin to acknowledge the hypocrisy of their demopathic rhetoric — “the imperialist Israelis have violated our rights and committed war crimes!” — by acknowledging the ferocious heritage of Islam — a history of imperialism and massacres, indeed genocide — that still carries so much weight in the present?