Bruckner on Western Guilt

There’s a new translation from Princeton U. Press of Pascale Bruckner’s latest book: The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism. Working on a deadline, I have no time to go into detail (or read it yet). But here’s a passable review (it sort of fizzles at the end, I’m quite sure the book is much better):

Robert Fulford: Guilt trip, writ large
Posted: March 06, 2010, 9:30 AM by NP Editor
Robert Fulford

All the world knows what causes great global problems. It’s the West, meaning the United States, Europe, the countries that inherited British politics and of course Israel.

There’s nothing that can’t be blamed on the West. Many countries are poor today because Western capitalism keeps them that way. If they are undeveloped, that’s the fault of colonialism, which was invented by Europe after it invented slavery. Colonialism’s numerous crimes will never be forgotten or forgiven, its numerous virtues never celebrated.

Pascal Bruckner describes the melancholy results of these attitudes in his forthcoming polemic, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism (Princeton University Press). His angry book could change a whole civilization’s opinion, if only that civilization had sense enough to pay attention.

“Nothing is more Western than hatred of the West,” Bruckner says. It runs through the bloodstream of opinion, a river of poison that thrives in our universities, affects our media, saps the spirit of foreign policy, and routinely gets subsidized by genial NGOs.

Having spent the last few days checking the footnotes on a chapter on Jihadi millennialism, I’d say that their apocalyptic hatred of us far out shines our festering self-hatreds. Nothing is more self-reflectively negative that Western hatred of the West.

In theory, guilt has a positive effect when it encourages better behaviour. Everyone could use some improvement. But the guilt of the West, as Bruckner correctly sees it, takes a morose and cynical pleasure in moral failure.

“We Euro-Americans,” Bruckner argues, “are supposed to have only one obligation: endlessly atoning for what we have inflicted on other parts of humanity.”

Bruckner identifies guilt as an indirect form of self-glorification. Popular American memoirs express the same syndrome when the authors describe, for large audiences, their earlier lives of degradation as alcoholics or drug addicts. Old sins become the basis of a new importance. In the same way, Europe’s barbarity in the fascist and communist eras gives it the authority of an expert witness.

This is, of course, a classic Christian trope, used to great effect by Augustine in his Confessions.

It acknowledges, of course, only the barbarity of the West. For the crimes of non-Western states, the West likes to find extenuating circumstances, a way of denying them responsibility.

Bruckner was one of the New Philosophers who emerged in Paris in the 1970s. They were passionate anti-communists, more academic yet more flamboyant cousins of the American neo-conservatives. In 1983, Bruckner created intense discussion with The Tears of the White Man: Compassion as Contempt, a vehement critique of the West’s sentimental and mainly unsuccessful aid programs. He influenced many writers, though perhaps fewer policy makers. His fiction can generate as much controversy as his essays. (One novel became the basis for an unfortunate Roman Polanski film, Bitter Moon.)

In the 1990s, Bruckner argued in favour of military action against Serbia in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. He supported the war against Saddam Hussein but later decided the human cost was insupportable. Even so, he writes in The Tyranny of Guilt that the pacifists who paraded against George W. Bush in 2003 were supporting one of the worst dictatorships in the Middle East. He sets down a typically rueful conclusion: “Iraq was an exemplary case of the double bind: whether one approved of the intervention or not, one was wrong.”

I can go with that formulation.

Israel has suffered spectacular collateral damage from Western masochism. We might guess that Europeans would empathize with the state of Israel, which was in large part founded by Europeans on mainly European models. But those in the West who consider their own history shameful find it natural to dislike its offspring in the Middle East. Pathological hatred of Israel has reached grotesque levels in Europe.

Bruckner, no admirer of recent Israeli governments, nevertheless suspects that supporters of the Palestinians are essentially Europeans pursuing their own guilt trips in a foreign theatre. He agrees with Bernard Lewis’s remark that for many people, “the Arabs are in truth nothing more than a stick for beating the Jews.”

Actually, that means they’re not pursuing their own guilt trips, but scape-goating the Jews. In other words, the one place they’ll allow themselves to stop guilting themselves and go after someone else, is when it comes to the Jews.

Why do those who love the Palestinians never march for the Chechens, the Tibetans, the Sudanese, the Congolese? People who speechify endlessly on the Palestinians show no interest in the Uighurs. Those who care about only one of the world’s downtrodden peoples naturally arouse suspicion that something other than humanitarian feeling is behind their rhetoric.

Europe displays its paralytic guilt complex, Bruckner notes, even on its common currency. Once the great artists of Europe (and some not-so-great monarchs and politicians) appeared on European money. Travellers in Europe found themselves paying their bills in Michelangelo, Cervantes or Voltaire. No longer. The European heritage has disappeared from the cash, to be replaced by unidentifiable arches, bridges and doors. Artists are too blatantly specific — too European, in fact. Chastened by its history and terrified by its enemies, Europe prefers to advertise nothingness.

Read more

95 Responses to Bruckner on Western Guilt

  1. [...] Augean Stables » Bruckner on Western Guilt Granholm comes to campus « Western HeraldTyrannies of the Majority. « PostBourgie View the Contact Powered by Tools [...]

  2. Pascale Bruckner’s latest book: The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism…

    Pascale Bruckner’s latest book: The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism…

  3. [...] Augean Stables » Bruckner &#959&#1495 Western Guilt [...]

  4. obsy says:

    In other words, the one place they’ll allow themselves to stop guilting themselves and go after someone else, is when it comes to the Jews.

    And the other place is the USA. There hasn’t been much love for Americans in most of western Europe in the last decade.

  5. JD says:

    Why do those who love the Palestinians never march for the Chechens, the Tibetans, the Sudanese, the Congolese?

    What Marxist or “man of the left” goal, actual or latent, would those serve? None. That’s why they don’t happen except for a few idealistic students who in past decades would have been corralled into Marxist foreign policy discourses.

    One problem the writer has is “Europe”. He should mean Western Europe where the Soviet anti-Zionism campaign is still rattling around. I think it is declining, but sounds louder because the noise machine has to drown out observations about religious motives and Hamas. The PLO was taken as a leftist movement and friendly.

    To answer Michelle, I forget on which thread, yes, Soviet/Western Zionology has lots of religious elements and borrowings. Yet the believers do not sense it that way, indeed, they would call themselves anti-religious, or above religion, and certainly anti-racist. So calling them anti-Semites makes no sense to them, although their thinking is engaged in a leftist discourse that borrows a lot from traditional anti-semitic motifs (e.g., dead children) and insecure types of old Christological reasonings (the Jew must always be wrong, what one Jew says they agree with is proof of truth, all related to collective guilt.) Using their jargon, they are objectively anti-Semites. One might say the leftists in Israel are especially deluded in embracing this anti-Semitic discourse, but I don’t think so. They have no feel for anti-semitism, no bullshit detectors for it.

  6. obsy says:

    By the way: This looks like a good find.
    I will probably enjoy reading this book and “le sanglot de l’homme blanc” too.

  7. obsy says:

    Colonialism’s numerous crimes will never be forgotten or forgiven, its numerous virtues never celebrated.

    There is a scene in Life of Brian where the Peoples’ Front of Judea lists improvements that came with the romans (and concludes that apart from improvements, the romans did nothing good for the people).

    I sometimes hear how well the Spanish lived when the Arabs ruled their country. (Though, I have never heard this from a Spanish guy.)

    Apart from those two examples, “colonialism” has been made the big bad boo word of recent decades.

  8. Lorenz Gude says:

    I heartily agree that the the Europeans are back at it scapegoating the Jews and have managed to go back at it full tilt after a short breather. Just like the Holocaust never happened. I guess I’m just too American to understand their need to do this.

    I have some difficulties going along with Bruckner’s formulation on Iraq. Wrong for different reasons is my take. The left is still wrong in its condescending attitude that people like the Iraqis (and the Iranians) don’t want some from of real democracy. Both these peoples are backing their right to vote with their lives. The sparse coverage and negative spin of the reporting of the Iraqi elections tells me the left is still not interested in acknowledging that or learning from it. The Bush administration got the execution of the war very wrong at terrible human cost but it stuck at it and finally dealt with ‘the Iraq they had, rather than the one they wish they had’. Which is a lot better than getting it wrong in the end. Which is what I am very concerned Obama is doing with Israel, the Palestinians and Iran.

  9. E.G. says:

    See the comparative contingency tables here, on the difference between an honour/shame culture and a guilt culture:

    http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/honorshame_the_middle_east_and_the_american_left.html

  10. obsy says:

    Lorenz Gude,

    let’s say the Europeans have huge Muslim communities that function as catalysts for the promotion and acceptance of Jew-hostile opinions in public discourse. Europe also is handicapped by a left leaning mindset.

    Be patient ― change is already coming to America. Someday, you will be able to understand Europeans.

    The Bush administration … finally dealt with ‘the Iraq they had, rather than the one they wish they had’.

    Are you sure?

    E.G. found a really interesting article that you should read:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LC16Ak01.html

    I don’t agree 100% with that interpretation (but it is much better than anything I have read from Barry Rubin about Obama).

  11. E.G. says:

    Latma’s update (w/English subtitles) with an exclusive Presidential interview:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20M36yvu_NA

  12. obsy says:

    O/T

    Arabs are not willing to talk to Israel, because of the settlements:

    http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/26/the_tragedy_of_tripoli

    Just kidding.
    Arabs are not even willing to talk among themselves.

    So why should they talk to Israel or the USA unless they get abounded compensation for these shameful meetings?

  13. politics says:

    student aid:-
    There’s a lot of talk about the fakers in the memoir industry, and Yagoda takes a particular interest in them. The Holocaust survivors who turn out to not even be Jewish, the faux Native Americans, the white suburban girls who pretend they are inner city hardasses. We swallow their tales whole, even the bit about being raised by wolves in the European countryside while the rest of the continent tore itself into pieces, and then become indignant when they’re revealed as frauds. It doesn’t even take the James Frey-level deceit to raise the audience’s ire medical school.

  14. obsy says:

    This year, my son—who is attending the fourth grade at an American public school—has been subjected to an unending barrage of anti-Americanism, especially around the issue of racism. For some reason the main focus is alleged American racism toward the Japanese in World War Two. In addition, literally not a single positive word has been spoken about America during the entire school year.

    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/03/some-truths-about-americas-anti-racist.html

    You see Lorenz?
    Americans will learn to be more guilt-driven, too. That is what you are paying taxes for.

  15. obsy says:

    As I brought up Barry Rubin before, there seems to be some light on the end of the tunnel.

    Has the Obama Administration, against U.S. interests, declared diplomatic war on Israel?

    Up to now my view has been that the U.S. government didn’t want a crisis but merely sought to get indirect negotiations going between Israel and Palestinians in order to look good.

    But now it has become reasonable to ask whether the Obama White House is running amuck on Israel, whether it is pushing friction so far out of proportion that it is starting to seem a vendetta based on hostility and ideology.

    according to reliable sources, Obama went out of his way to be personally hostile, treating Netanyahu like some colonial minion who could be ordered around.

    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/03/has-obama-administration-against-us.html

  16. Eliyahu says:

    Jews have been the majority of the population in Jerusalem since the mid-19th century. That means in the Old City, since at that time the Old City was the whole city. There was no “east” or “west” Jerusalem recognized before 1948. The part of the city –including the Old City and parts of the New City– that was occupied by the Jordanian Arab Legion in 1948 became “Arab East Jerusalem” for 19 years from 1948 to 1967. That so-called “east Jerusalem” was Judenrein by Jordanian law. The thousands of Jews that had lived there up to 1948 were ethnically cleansed. This process of expelling Jews started in December 1947 with driving the Jews out of the Shimon haTsadiq Quarter adjacent to the prosperous Arab Sheikh Jarrah quarter. Other nearby Jewish quarters in the New City were “cleansed” of Jews in early 1948, with the Jewish Quarter of the Old City following suit in May 1948 when the Arab Legion conquered it. As we know, the synagogues, other institutions and homes in the Jewish Quarter were blown up, including the Hurva Synagogue that has been recently restored — to the accompaniment of Arab protests and riots. Even the charge by an Arab “human rights” group that restoring the synagogue was a “war crime.”

    In light of the above, the denial of Jewish rights to move back into “east Jerusalem” is racist, an attempt to enforce an apartheid policy on Jews in a city where Jews have been the absolute majority for more than 150 years.

  17. Lorenz Gude says:

    obsy,

    You question makes me think.. Yes I am sure that the surge was an effective response to the mess Bush had and significantly reversed the fortunes of the insurgency. And at the very least it allowed Iraq to have elections and set up a national government – sham or not. No, I am not at all sure about the future of Iraq.

    I find I too agree with only some, not all, of what Spengler writes in the article you cite. I thought that his commentary on Obama in particular was very astute. I found it more complementary to Rubin’s work than simply better. This recent post by Johnathan Speyer on Rubin’s website seems pretty astute to me too: http://www.gloria-center.org/gloria/2010/03/repackaging-illusion

    I’ll say this: I don’t think Speyer goes too far when he talks about illusion in Washington and Europe about the Israeli Palestinian peace process and I think he backs up his case convincingly. Spengler I think goes overboard asserting that the Bush’s ME policy was a complete illusion and reduces the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan to Potemkin village status. I’d be more inclined to agree about the latter, but I think Iraqi democracy is more than a sham. The current elections stink of democratic reality, just as the Iranian elections stink of the opposite. I think the Iraqi people have caught on to the trick of hobbling a government they don’t trust by making sure they have a weak coalition and a strong opposition. I’d agree with Spengler that the WaPo’s idea that the US wins with either Maliki or Allawi is self delusional, but I also think both men understand that the Persians have wanted to subvert and control what we now call Iraq since before Xerxes. Yes, if Iran gets the bomb then Iraq will be in an awful position, but I don’t think they will ever like it.

  18. Cynic says:

    Lorenz,

    From your link

    In the Palestinian territories, by contrast, the anti-Western and anti-modern element is flourishing, and has state backers in Iran and Syria. It would probably quickly consume Fayyad, were he to cease to be cradled in the arms of the West.

    Like the pleasant, well-dressed leaders of the March 14 movement in Lebanon – who have now been devoured by Syria and Hezbollah – Fayyad and company are the product of Western wishful thinking. And like those of March 14, they will survive for precisely as long as the West is willing to underwrite them. And no longer.

    While Spyer does not say it I feel that he implies, but too weakly, the fears that Israel has of pulling out under the current situation.
    Within a matter of weeks there will be mayhem and Obama can kiss his Fayyad goodbye unless of course he wants to send in the Marines in a second “surge”.
    The Israeli presence in the West Bank not only protects Israelis against terrorism but also in a manner of speaking protects the PA’s security crowd.

    Then again it seems that it is becoming more and more apparent that the US and Europe are doing everything, while showing clean hands, to finish with Israel.
    I believe that what was reported of Obama telling Netanyahu that he was going to have a meal with his wife and daughters was a lie because they were in New York.
    He has been caught in so many other lies with regard to internal American affairs that only idiots would believe him and his administration.
    Then again if he because of his upbringing is actually a Muslim at heart then taqyya comes naturally.

  19. Lorenz Gude says:

    Cynic,

    I have to agree with you about the West Bank. After Gaza it is pretty hard to expect anything else but chaos. And so I see how the nominal moderates would be pushed aside as no longer necessary to the elimination of Israel.

    The discrepancy between US public opinion and the Obama administration’s public face seems pretty critical to me for how this plays out. I’ve seen the dinner with family incident portrayed as a charade giving Obama distance from an Israeli strike against Iran. Your raising the question about them being in NY is an interesting twist. Whatever. All I know is my gut says that Obama is a social democrat which is entirely consistent with your comment that “the US and Europe are doing everything, while showing clean hands, to finish with Israel.”

  20. Lorenz Gude says:

    QUTESTION: I’m reading Ronan Bergman’s The Secret War With Iran. Any comments or suggestions for further reading? Thanks.

  21. Lorenz Gude says:

    obsy

    I am well aware of the foisting of the PCP 1&2 on those of tender years in the US. True here too in Australia where for example the Marshall Plan is taught as a cynical commercial deal by the Truman administration. (Communism would have triumphed if it wasn’t for those wily capitalists…sigh.) I think what is important is that the American people are not buying either form of PCP now that both are in the driver’s seat. I don’t have a clear sense of what Israel will do but I can certainly see Iran making heaps of trouble if Israel takes out their nukes, yet the alternative seems worse. I also notice our elites are preparing us for the idea that a nuclear Iran is deterable. I don’t buy that.

  22. obsy says:

    Lorenz,

    I don’t know much about Iraq and don’t know what to think of the US-Iraq situation. I tend to believe that an conservative and experienced government is more likely to deal with the real Iraqi situation than a hope-change public diplomacy media hype government with dubious motives.

    Barry Rubin is a smart man. He had a severe blind spot until last week ― maybe based on his experience of former US-presidents.
    You are right: Spengler complements Rubin.
    May the exchange of ideas be fruitful.

  23. student aid says:

    This is very nice tutorial There’s nothing that can’t be blamed on the West. Many countries are poor today because Western capitalism keeps them that way. If they are undeveloped, that’s the fault of colonialism, which was invented by Europe after it invented slavery. Colonialism’s numerous crimes will never be forgotten or forgiven, its numerous virtues never celebrated. Pascal Bruckner describes the melancholy results of these attitudes in his forthcoming polemic, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism (Princeton University Press & medical school). His angry book could change a whole civilization’s opinion, if only that civilization had sense enough to pay attention Politics.

  24. Cynic says:

    Lorenz,

    The way I see things, but them I am not a lawyer :-), Iran already has a strategic base at the mouth to the Red Sea with Eritrea; with nuclear weapons it can tie up the Arabian Peninsula completely.
    Iranian threats, because of the type of regime it is, will have to be taken seriously while it is extremely doubtful that the US under the “leadership” of Obama will do anything other than mutter mealy platitudes to those threatened.
    Iran has its foreign legion in Lebanon and with the backing of Syria will have enough gumption to push through against the wobbly West and dominate the region and control the petroleum exports to Europe completely while the Russians tie a noose around Europe’s neck with total control over gas (LPG) supplies.
    Very doubtful that the Chinese will wade in on the US’ side unless of course they cannot afford to do away with Walmart’s trade.
    Americans have to realise that they cannot afford to give up their “World Policeman” role because they will then give up their own independence and subject themselves as well, and not just other countries, to being dominated by thuggery.

    Does that seem rational?

    I see that Moscow has lost some of its citizens to suicide bombers in the subway.
    Must be because Netanyahu is permitting apartments to be constructed in the Jewish section of East Jerusalem, no?
    By the way have heard from some people that they will be adding an addendum to the prayer they recite on Passover, “next year in Jerusalem”, and that is “Obama permitting”.

  25. obsy says:

    Important article by Barry Rubin:

    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/03/ny-times-defends-obama-not-us-interests.html

    But again. If it comes to why Obama does something, Rubin seems not to get it right.

    The Administration’s and Times’ goal is to portray the issue as not being one of Obama versus Israel but rather Obama plus the Israeli majority against a relatively small number of right-wing extremists who have hijacked the country.

    Obama is a very clever public diplomacy guy!

    My Opinion:
    Obama is not trying to portray this issue as “Obama plus the Israeli majority against …” but as “Obama and the American people plus the Israeli majority against …”.
    Where the importance is on the “American people” part.

    He is not interested in harming Netanyahu, but in harming the image about Israelis that US citizens have. Netanyahu is the easy target. The first big step. US-”interests” against “evil” Netanyahu.

    But how is it to stop there? Netanyahu is presenting only reasonable objections based on American promises and doing it in a very politely manner. (By the way: great speech at AIPAC!) How could any other Israeli leader be more compliant without reducing Israel to an Obama colony?
    And there are no (i.e: zero, null, rien, 0) US-interest in phony peace talks ― under the precondition that terrorists get their will ― at all. The opposite is true. The idea that USA’s image suffering as a result of weakness against Israel is grotesque. Obama has made the USA show weakness to every living worm on earth multiple times. And even worse, he has broken American and even his own promises and undermined allies multiple times (especially Israel and Poland and US-friendly Muslims).

    And almost nobody cared.

  26. obsy says:

    The last part starting with “And there are no (i.e: …)” is not is not connected to my argument. I simply couldn’t leave the issue of these US-”interests” unexplained.

  27. nelson says:

    I too had my doubts about Obama. Now I’m sure the guy is no amateur and he’s playing for keeps. The point is: what is his game? And his endgame?

    Seems clear now that those who are usually considered America’s enemies are not his and his group’s enemies. Why, if there’s a single grain of truth to the story that has been told about the recently deceased Senator Kennedy, the story that he had actively looked for an alliance with the Soviets against Reagan, I don’t think such a thought would be entirely alien in the current White House.

    The one thing we can be sure about this president and his people is that they love power and that their own good comes before anybody else’s, that meaning the whole of the country they govern. What if they concluded that they have a better chance of keeping power in a weak America than in a strong one? What if they bet on the possibility of being only one major international crisis away from much more and more durable power? Would they, for the country’s sake, opt instead for a stronger America in the hand of their national rivals?

    Americans have been lucky until now in that they have been having administrations that, however good or bad they were, used to be rather patriotic, even if just after their own particular way. Thus Americans have been spoiled: they forgot that there are governments, even democratically elected ones, that may consciously work against the common good of the Republic.

    One thing that kept even such mediocre presidents as Carter relatively patriotic while in power was the weight of the tradition, their respect for at least part of the country’s history, a history they wanted to belong to, and even the vanity of being the president of the strongest country on Earth. Thus, there used to be at least some identity between president, country and people.

    But, what if the current government thinks differently? What if someone like Obama doesn’t have the least empathy for the US and the Americans, only for himself and his group, and couldn’t care less about the country singularity, its role in the world and so on? This president was obviously elected by the people (and the media etc.), but does he even want to represent the people? And, if not, whom does he actually represent? Maybe a new class, a kind of transnational state bourgeoisie?

    Let’s take this last hypothesis and, from it, try to infer how would he be acting. Or, instead of passing judgment on his supposed failures and mistakes, we, taking for granted that all his acts (and omissions) were cleverly intentional (and I mean even his giving an appearance of weakness when losing something absolutely irrelevant like Chicago’s Olympic bid) could try to reverse engineer his so to say master-plan. For instance: Obama seemed weak vis-à-vis Israel for some time, he allowed people to think he had been outsmarted by Netanyahu. But was he? What if his last year’s apparent weakness was actually a trap? Or a delaying tactic, since he had more important goals to achieve before, like passing Obamacare? What if he doesn’t even want to just weaken Israel in order to impose a bad solution (from the Israeli point of view) on the conflict – I mean: if he actually wanted to get rid of Israel for good, once and for all, how would he act? How would he be behaving if he weren’t even pro-Palestinian, meaning he couldn’t care less about the Palestinians, but actually looking for a way to fulfill Iran’s (and his own) deepest wishes? Why allow the Palestinians or Arabs to destroy the Jewish State if he can do it all by himself, alone, and thus actually become the world’s greatest living hero? (Clinton wanted to make peace in the Middle East in order to get the Peace Nobel, but Obama does already have his, doesn’t he?) If he feels able to impose a health-care solution against the will of most Americans, why would he behave differently in the international arena?
    I’m afraid this can be done. And getting rid of “embarrassing” (no more) allies like Taiwan or South Korea can also be done – before the next mid-term elections. On the one hand, if he already got to the conclusion that health-care will cost him one or both houses, now he has nothing left to lose and is free to do whatever is in his immediate power to do. On the other hand he may already have a very good plan to win on November. What would this plan be? It has just been proven that he has enough power to bribe, buy or bully as many Democrats as he needed. Why shouldn’t he be able to do the same with many Republicans. Obama is, unlike most of those who oppose him, a guy perfectly able to think –maybe brilliantly—out of the box. Even most of those who disliked him from the start thought, though he started campaigning from the left, that he, like Bill Clinton, would eventually be forced to govern from the center. He is proving before our very eyes that he can govern from a position to the left even of the one he started his campaign from. This man is no Clinton, he is in a hurry, but he knows how to outwait his rivals. He is probably the cleverest guy in the White House since Reagan, maybe even cleverer than him. Take a look at his curve or trajectory: from nobody to state politician, to the US Senate to the White House before his 50s. What’s next? Where does the curve point to?

    Ever since he got into the White House, I felt clearly that a huge power vacuum was being created in the world. But this goes beyond that. He has already been the beneficiary of a power vacuum created in the very core of American politics (many voters chose him because he looked like and was sold them as an outsider above the two corrupt party fray). He is its creature and, understanding this, he is spreading the vacuum that propelled him into power. Chaos, disorder and instability are his medium, and he thrives by propagating them. He has a very good card that, if he plays skillfully, may win him the next elections: a huge international crisis which will make most Americans (because they’re patriotic) rally around anyone who happens to be their leader. I don’t think this is a matter of if, but of when – a question of good timing. Just consider that he just started fuelling the biggest international crisis of his presidency when he was already sure of the approval of Obamacare, I mean: he made the beginning of the international crisis coincide with the temporary end of the national one. He is not playing to the rhythm of politics as usual, but all his adversaries are.
    It would be nice if we could have a better idea of who’s really who right now in the American government, I mean, not only the official list, but the unofficial ones as well. One day we (or our grandchildren) will know, but not now, because (1) most of the country’s investigative capacity (the press, the electronic media, the universities etc.) is on the administration’s side, and (2) because the situation itself is fluid (did, for instance, the German high-command in WW1 know, when they sponsored Lenin’s trip to the Finland Station, that 25 years later they would be fighting a guy called Stalin?). Revolutions do actually eat their children and it is still too early to know whether people like Obama and Soros will be trying to eat each other, and who’ll succeed.
    Among other things, the current American scene has been described as a putsch or a civil war, but I think it most closely resembles a revolution. Obama has often been compared to Carter, but in the end Khomeini may become his most adequate and useful simile – and the president may be trying to change the country not only in ways so radical, but also so unforeseen as the ayatollah did with Iran. Without really knowing it, when the Americans voted for president, they were not choosing, as they have long been used to, between two parties, not even between two views and programs which, though radically opposite, still belonged in the same universe: they were choosing between universes. Obama and whoever he works with, for or against represent a true paradigm shift in American politics and, consequently, in the international system.

  28. Lorenz Gude says:

    I see what you mean about Rubin coming around recently – his latest seems to represent just the sort of evolution in views you allude to.

    http://www.gloria-center.org/gloria/2010/03/has-the-obama-administration

    Anyhow, Iraq has fascinated me since the First Gulf War and I have always thought that Iraqi people left to their own devices might not just kill each other but actually find a viable route to Arab modernism. The Kurds, not being Arabs, complicate that, but seem to me to setting a shining example to their Arab bretheren.(-: Maybe Allawi and Maliki are no better than the Egyptian leaders have been but their country has rejected both Saddam’s tyranny and Islamism by turning on Al Q and Sadr to a considerable and perhaps enduringly decisive extent. So I bring up Iraq as part of the ME puzzle even if it is not particularly relevant to Israel’s problems just now.

  29. Cynic says:

    Lorenz,

    I don’t know if So I bring up Iraq as part of the ME puzzle even if it is not particularly relevant to Israel’s problems just now is really off topic, so to speak, because there are so many intertwining threads of political intrigue that it will need a gourmet to unravel this spaghetti.

    For example U.K. Libs Say Britain Has No ‘Special Relationship’ with U.S.
    No ‘special relationship’ between Britain and US: MPs
    on the one hand, but on the other Milliband seems to be working hand in glove with Obama to corner Netanyahu and Israel.
    The Brits seem only too happy to help sink the Israelis; but maybe it will come to pass that they will discover that Obama is serious about “distancing” America from Britain a process which it seems he began just after being elected when he threw out the bust of Churchill, and gave Brown and the Queen some gifts bought at Kmart. Bear in mind America’s about face on the Falklands issue.

    Maybe Obama sees Iran as a partner in screwing Iraq and bringing more pressure to bear on Israel.

    One thing one can glean from American behaviour over the past two weeks (pre-AIPAC, AIPAC & post AIPAC) is that one cannot take seriously what they say with regard to Israel and subsequently about Iraq and anyone who puts his money on what Obama and his administration says today is stupid because it has changed the day after.

    Here’s an interesting post that displays the disparity in behaviour of so called allies

    The UK’s Disproportionate Response

    CIF’s Israel attack dogs went wild when British Foreign Minister David Miliband announced on Tuesday that he had expelled an Israel diplomat in retaliation for Mossad’s alleged cloning of British passports.
    ………..
    But look what happened in an arguably precisely analogous case in Israel, to one of the Guardian’s favourite sons, Alastair Crooke.

  30. Cynic says:

    Lorenz,

    You may find this following bit interesting especially with the Iraq portion
    The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates

    As I said above, putting one’s money on what he says “today” is stupidity at its best.

  31. Richard says:

    Seperate thought. Has anyone been watching the reports of increasing clashes on the Gaza border? It strikes me seeing the photographs, how much we are seeing the repetition of the manufactured clashes that preceded the Second Intifada.
    The imagery is the same: young men and boys rushing about, being “shot at” (probably watched by bewildered Israelis). I think they’re trying for another al-Dura…
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=172077

  32. nelson says:

    Let’s not forget that Obama is not alone. His leftism and thirdworldism are shared by much of the State Dept, most of whose members are Arabophiles. I’ve just read an article in the WSJ according to which their diplomacy is still trying to make things difficult in Honduras, that neither Obama nor the State Dept. are happy with the outcome there and are doing their best (though more silently now) to reverse the defeat of the Chávez ally they backed: Zelaya.

    Well, if they can be so vindictive over a really insignificant country like that, imagine with how much more hunger they are seasoning Israel in order to cook it. If the Obama administration manages to incite a new intifadah and, then, gives full backing and publicity to the Palestinian side, Israel will internationally be in dire straits.

    I’d really love to know that those responsible for Israel’s future know whom they are dealing with and that they also have something resembling a plan B, meaning an alternative alliance to that which Israel does not anymore have with the US. Maybe it is time for the Israelis to rethink their whole global strategy and get closer to Russia, India and/or China.

    It used to be a dogma since before Israel’s independence that the country needed a very stong alliance with at least one power or superpower. I wonder whether they have gamed it out if Israel can survive –and for how long– without a single strong ally.

    Maybe the US can survive 2 Obama terms, but it is begining to look likely that Israel cannot survive a single one. Israelis in general are at leat clever enough to know they have an enemy in the White House. But is there anything they can do?

  33. sshender says:

    Jay Adler has a very interesting essay about the Settlements being “an Historic Error”.

    http://sadredearth.com/an-historic-error/

    I begged to differ: (sorry for the somewhat repetitive themes)

    The thing is, I too was once captive of the naive assumption that if we were only to dismantle the settlements, the conflict would come to an end. It took me a while to understand that the settlements are nothing but a red herring – a stick to beat Israel with by both the Arabs and the gullible (or maybe less so) West.

    By now, it should be crystal clear to anyone even slightly familiar with internal Palestinian discourse and attitudes that removing the settlements would not matter or change the Pal. intransigence one bit.

    Now, regarding whether the settlements were a mistake to begin with, it’s always easy to judge with hindsight. At the time when they were set up, the prevailing realities and attitudes were altogether different, for all parties involved.

    Without the benefit of hindsight, if I were to step back to the early 70s, I’d say it made perfect sense to colonize the West Bank (no so much Gaza), from both strategical and moral POWs. The West Bank is high ground that – after the near defeat in 73 – was understandably coveted as a strategic asset, in deterrence and prevention. Second, since the territories were taken in a defensive war, and Jordan has ceded any claims to it afterward, (Palestinian nationhood was only in its infancy), it made perfect sense that Jews be able to practice their right to live next to Judaism’s most sacred sites, like in Nablus and Hebron.

    You think that the settlements are a liability and a historical mistake, but are they really? That is to say, had they not been there, would Israel be better off than it is now? I highly doubt it. Being familiar with the Anti-Israeli sentiment in both the Arab and the Western world, and its underlying causes, is it really too much to say that the settlement make little, if any difference in the larger scheme of things? In fact it could only have been an error if – and only if – their absence had facilitated a better outcome to the situation right now, the chance for which are nonexistent. Since the settlements ARE NOT the underlying reason for the enmity towards Israel, calling them a mistake is akin to blaming a rape victim for not wearing a chastity belt and aggravating her assailant further by kicking and screaming.

    At the moment, there are no indicators that any Palestinian state in the WB and Gaza is likely to arise, let alone a viable one. Therefore, Israel is condemned to many more years of policing the Palestinians Arabs (and deterring its Arab neighbour states) which will include military rull. Given this supposition, it is much easier to have control over the situation on the ground with Israeli presence (military or civilian) all over the West Bank.

    Trying to curry favour with the West and Arabs by dismantling the settlements is doomed to fail, because they ARE JUST AN EXCUSE rather than the cause for anti-Israeli sentiments. Moreover, by relenting to the PalArab demands and rewarding terrorism, we only encourage more of the same in future.

  34. sshender says:

    nelson,

    I agree with much of what you’re saying except the list of new allies. I think we all comprehend that the US-Israeli alliance is first and foremost an ideological one – a feature which is not shared with any other existant or potential superpower. The “realists” think of Israel as a liability exactly beacause they do not factor the ideological and moral weights into the equation, or because they simply do not share them. The Russians or the Chinese have little in common with Israel culturally, historically and morally. In fact, they lack that most important component which the US has, and which is responsible for the prosperity in the areas of US hegemony. The Russians and Chinese (I can’t quite speak for India, nor do I see it as a superpower) have never had any other (non-puppet) country with which they had a relationship similar to the one between the US and Israel. This is manily due to the cold oportunistic nature of these regimes all throughout modern history.

    Alligning itself with one of the above is worse than going it alone, because you could never rely on there patrons for unconditional (within reasonable bounds) support.

    As I see, the Obama phenomena is a passing stage, and we just have to sit tight and wait until the storm passes. On the flipside, with sentiments such as Carter’s and M&W’s taking hold of more and more people (whose ranks are swelled by impoverished and disenfanchised 3rd world immigrants who are looking for an easy scapegoat for their hardships, Die-hard paleoconservatives mad with 9/11 and a bustling new generation of “progressives” indoctrinated in the best ways of Marxist and Orientalist traditions to hate Israel and the West in their schools, only to become future leaders soon) are going to “lose patiance” with “that little shitty country”.

    I’m not ready to throw the towell in yet, but given the prevailing attitudes of our time and the gradual but steady erosion in Israel’s legitimacy in the world the storm clouds are definately on the horizon. Of course the West is too stupid to understand that with Israel gone they are going to be next in line to suffer the brunt, but it seems like they are ignoring history – which has taught us unequivocally that when they come for the Jews, it’s only a matter of time until they are next in line – at their own peril.

    Will the world ever learn?

  35. Lorenz Gude says:

    Nelson

    Quite a post. I have been scratching my head of late wondering what Obama is really up to. You’re certainly thinking outside the limitations (ie box) I’ve been imposing on myself. Ain’t no one that smart, but all he has to be is smart enough to parlay a crisis into a second term. You got me thinking. I have tended to discount the idea that Obama really is a revolutionary because I share the same undergraduate education and I worked on the South Side and know the community in which he built his career. People like Wright and Ayers are part of the wallpaper there and even being close to them does not mean you are one of them. But does he intend to change things? Yes, he does! And it is time for me to reset my assumptions.

  36. Lorenz Gude says:

    obsy,

    I take you point about Barry Rubin. You have me convinced that I tend to not read him critically enough. Still, I think Obama is a long way from convincing the American people. He even had something like 300+ congress critters questioning his attitude toward Israel. Not that they amount to much. I think people are watching and that they aren’t going to buy it and they are going to vote against it. But Nelson has me worried! Obama may outfox the people. But I think his weakness may well be that he underestimates independents and Jacksonians.

  37. Lorenz Gude says:

    Richard,

    A month or so ago Iran stored a bunch of nuclear material above ground and the speculation was that they were inviting an Israeli attack. Pretty iffy speculation, but now we have this apparent provocation on the Gaza border. I think it is perfectly credible that Nasralla and Ajad are spoiling for a fight knowing that Israel isn’t going to get much support in the West or, apparently, in Washington. If as Nelson argues Obama thinks he can turn a big international crisis into a second term then Netanyahu’s calculus is complicated indeed.

  38. nelson says:

    One thing that has been observed early about Obama is that he governs as if he were in a perpetual campaign. This strikes me as exactly right.

    We still don’t have a clear picture of what his strategic goals actually are. But his tactical objectives couldn’t be clearer: winning the next vote, winning the next electoral cycle.

    Even those who thought and maybe still think he is weak or mediocre agree about one thing: his electoral campaign and victory were remarkably well timed and executed. I’ve not seen this expression used anywhere else and, if it is indeed new, allow me at least to claim some terminological originality: I’d call his tactics “political Blitzkrieg”.

    The problem about trying to interpret his deeds and actions is the following: it is very hard to dissociate what serves his main tactical goal (staying in power, accumulating more power), what advances his strategic goals (about which we don’t know much: is he an ideologue or an opportunist?)and what might be helpful for both. For instance: is he sincerely pro-Palestinian (or is he maybe throwing a juicy bone to the Arabists at the State Dept. to keep them busy and happy?), rabidly ant-Israel — or is he just sowing confusion among his enemies (and allies)?

    Another thing that has been observed about him and his administration: his talk is mainly hot air. This has been seen as a bug, but if an administration wants to keep its cards close, if it doesn’t want to give any hint about its real objectives, empty talk may be a feature, right? As even their friends in the MSM have already discovered, Obama and his people like to control information tightly.

    Obama won a presidential election without disclosing a single long term objective (unless we consider “hope and change” strategic goals) and has been in power for over a year without becoming any less enigmatic. In the meantime he broke a lot of tacit rules, crossed many red lines which most informed observers thought sacred. Let me stress again: he does not play by the book — at least not by the book(s) Americans used to read and respect.

    It is always pleasing to imagine our adversary blunders, that he is weak, indecisive, ridiculous, dumb etc. We’ll have to do without this kind of pleasure.

    PS: I read Barry Rubin almost daily: he’s one of the few specialist who really understand the Middle East withou illusion. However, even Rubin was fooled by Obama. For over a year he thought the administration was misguided, meaning that he knew, he was sure about what it wanted. Right know he’s starting to understand that Obama and his people are purposefully acting against what Rubin thinks (and most observers assume)are America’s best interests. Let’s see how his thought develops. Maybe soon he’ll find out that this administration thinks and behaves as Middle Eastern, not American, politicians.

  39. nelson says:

    The Jews are usually the first to go, seldom the last and never the only ones — that’s a historical truth.

    So, why don’t all the other potential victims take anti-Semitism as a warning, seriously?

    It has something to do with human nature.

    Even if someone is about to be executed in, say, a month, he still can derive much pleasure, I mean, even imminent death can be made sweet by the fact that someone’s enemies, the people one hates, will be hanged first, maybe today.

    Thus, the persecution of the Jews is not seen by most as a warning about their own following persecution, but as something for which it is even worthwhile to die for.

    We are all, or most of us, afraid of death. Thus, we tend to be grateful to anyone who manages to make our death pleasurable and meaningful, even if it’s our hangman.

    Take a look at the suicide bomber: he doesn’t probably expect to enjoy those 72 virgins (what about the Caucasian Black Widows, right?); but there’s something better, more sure and immediate, that he knows he’ll enjoy fully: the carnage, the fact that he’ll be killing and maiming many and causing perpetual pain to countless others. That’s why he’s not afraid of dying: his death is sweet.

  40. nelson says:

    Lorenz,

    I was introduced to leftist politics through two channels: (1) my dad, till he left Hungary for Israel, was a Party apparatchick for 5 years and a prof of Marxism-Leninism; (2) I spent 1 year (1976) in my country’s best medical school, where I first got in touch with student activism; later I moved to business school, but went on with student politics till I became the first trotskyist to be the president of that school’s student league or association; I was finally expelled from my party because, during the Falklands War, I kept insisting the UK would win and the Argentine military dictatorship would fall; as I proved to be right against the party line, that was too much for my comrades to swallow;

    yet, for a long time, I still kept pretty close to our ultra-left and ultra-leftits in order to get a clear picture of what is it they want and what they would do to achieve it;

    there’s a scene in “Silverado” where the sherriff and his helpers go after Dany Glover; from the river’s other side, Glover shoots his Winchester and his bullets arrive close to the front horses’ paws; someone says “let’s continue the chase, this guy is missing all his shots” and the sherriff replies “you idiot: he didn’t miss a single shot; let’s go home”.

  41. sshender says:

    Take a look at the suicide bomber: he doesn’t probably expect to enjoy those 72 virgins (what about the Caucasian Black Widows, right?); but there’s something better, more sure and immediate, that he knows he’ll enjoy fully: the carnage, the fact that he’ll be killing and maiming many and causing perpetual pain to countless others. That’s why he’s not afraid of dying: his death is sweet.

    This is an interesting interpretation, but it seems that the a very potent facilitating component for suicide bombers is the unquestionable belief in the afterlife, with or without virgins. Having followed this topic closely, it seems that Sam Harris is right at least in part when he says that the ultimate allure of suicide bombings, besides their (or more like their operatives’) strategic earthly aims, is the unwavering religious certainty about the existence of an afterlife, that soothes any possible fears and dulls the basic human instinct of self-preservation. You can hear it in their rhetoric all too often.

    It seems that one of the best tactics to curtail suicide bombings is to uproot the religious belief in an afterlife.

  42. nelson says:

    sshender,

    if their belief in the afterlife were so intense, they’d not lose a single opportunity for being killed by the enemy, for instance, by throwing themselves, knife in hand, against machine guns: that would be enough to make them martyrs; but they almost only go ahead when there’s a possibility of killing many;

    the allure of carnage seems to be stronger or at least as strong as that of the afterworld;

  43. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    There is a mix of emotions at play here.
    On the one hand the hatred is so intense that the thought of killing overcomes everything else. Also in many cases where suicide bombers are concerned there was massive pressure, either peer pressure especially on youngsters or adults with developmental problems, or family pressure to maintain honour in the case of women that forced the survival instinct to take a back seat.
    In several of the bombings, for example, the killer was found to be high on drugs.
    In the case of gun attacks as in the shuk/market in Afula, Israel, the gunmen jumped out of cars to roll in the street and start firing on shoppers and passers by re-enacting scenes out of Hollywood no doubt.

    Then again there are the religious who believe totally in Allah’s will and take not the slightest precaution against injury. One has to experience a drive along a country road in the dark of night at ~140kph/+80mph and on requesting that the driver slow down be told that if it is the will of Allah something bad will happen.
    Something akin, mentally, to what was witnessed in the Belgian Congo in 1960/61 when the witchdoctor convinced those fighting that they were immune to bullets?

  44. nelson says:

    Another interesting point is how personal the hatred became.

    Even during WW2, at least on the Western Front, Germans and allies were able to treat each other and POWs with a certain respect. One is also reminded of the famous WW1 scenes of enemies drinking or celebrating Christmas together during truces or cease-fires.

    This tradition is 300% alien to the Jihadists. POWs exist to be beheaded in front of the video-camera. Civilians are not only legitimate, but preferential targets, including small children.

    The lynching, early in the last decade, of two Israeli reservist in (I think) Ramallah is rather typical. And I don’t know how large a part of the Muslim world (but it isn’t so small) simply dreams about and lusts for bloodbaths. Palestinians do not seem to covet what the Jews have, neither their affluence or land. Many of them seem eager to give all this up and their lives and their families’ lives too just to be able to kill Jews (and Americans and, of course, other Palestinians).

    This is not, and for long has not been, war as usual. There is something deeply demented about it and the only thing that is even more demented is much of the West’s blindness, the effort Western intellectuals make to avoid understanding or simply seeing what’s before their very eyes.

    Sometimes I think that a considerable part of the Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims are even more inebriated with raw hatred than, during the 30s and 40s, most Germans ever were.

    Whoever is able to see this with some amazement can easily conclude that the extermination of the Jews won’t ever sate them: it will only make them even more bloodthirsty. Middle Eastern societies have been poisoned, became addicted to ever stronger poisons and their sickness if infecting all other countries. I’m unable to see this enormous surplus of growing and self-nourishing hatred being discharged in any other way than an apocalyptic one.

    In a way we’re really not dealing with Islam anymore. Islam is just one of the channels through which this evil has been spreading. This is a brand new sect, religion or (millenarian) movement and now it has a life of its own. Where will it take us?

  45. Eliyahu says:

    to understand what’s going on you have to separate Western govts from what is best about Western culture/civilization. Indeed, several govts encourage the attitude of subservience to Islamic jihadism. The UK is probably most prominent among these. British pro-Islamic policy goes back at least to 1922 [when the British and other Western fleets stood by in the port of Smyrna as Ataturk’s forces slaughtered Armenians in the city and drove out the Greek majority there. The turning point may be seen in the publication of arnold toynbee’s book, The Western Question in Turkey, or some such title.

  46. Eliyahu says:

    here is some documentation on Bolshevik pro-Islamism which converged with British pro-Islamism.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/10/bolsheviks-for-jihad-genocide-stalins.html

  47. JD says:

    Very reasonable discussion here!

    As for Obama and Israel, the Honduras matter is instructive. Reported above that the State Dept. is still pestering Honduras. This IMO, and others’, is more about power and prestige. Honduras, by not listening to Obama’s demands, was a small country saying “no” to Obama. Frankly, everyone has said “no” to Obama, but it hurts most from small countries. The recent Israel insult, even if it was a misinterpretation, was another example of lack of power and respect to America, which undermines American prestige. Sure, it has a leftist hysterical flavor, but power is the main game. So far, so bad. Even the Western Euros were starting to tank him, until the Euro took a dive. The Russians are still trying to figure the “reset button.” They cannot figure it out because it is a matter of domestic politics and identity, the idea old liberals have that they “understand” the world better than the conservative other. If you want to see them go beserk, tell them all their cherished Iraq War heroes actually did believe Saddam had WMDs.

    The bunker buster stuff is just gamesmanship for media play.

    Nelson, I have found that people in the British Trotskyist fad were less subservient, or not at all, to Soviet foreign policy discourses, IOW and relevant here, they did not obsess on Israel and the Palestinians. Am I wrong?

  48. Cynic says:

    The WSJ has this
    The U.S. vs. Honduran Democracy

    Four months after a presidential election, reports from Honduras suggest the Obama administration remains obsessed with repairing its foreign-policy image by regaining the upper hand. The display of raw colonialist hubris is so pronounced that locals now refer to U.S. ambassador Hugo Llorens as “the proconsul.”

    Now isn’t this displaying symptoms of an honour/shame culture?

    Washington’s bullying is two-pronged. First is a maniacal determination to punish those involved in removing Mr. Zelaya. Second is an attempt to force Honduras to allow Mr. Zelaya, who now lives in the Dominican Republic, to return without facing any repercussions for the illegal actions that provoked his removal.

    Then again a Dictator while not necessarily succumbing to the honour/shame paradigm always has to be correct even if he has to destroy to project that image.

  49. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    Palestinians do not seem to covet what the Jews have, neither their affluence or land.

    From what I’ve seen, and that is not from the Palestinian side of the border, nothing could be further from reality.
    They covet with very big eyes.
    The discussions we had when they discussed the state of Jewish towns and hamlets in relation to their own but then mocked the stupidity of the Jews who had to pay rates and taxes to get clean tarred roads, garbage collection etc., and when things got heated declared that with time they will “come in and take from the kafir”.
    The frustration that the Jew had and they not, usually peaked in verbal hatred until they realised what they were saying, when they left not being able to face the reasons.
    Their tribal/clan society does not make for a western civil polity. Even amongst their own it is far cleverer to steal than to sweat for something, and from their cultural inheritance a terrible shame that the Jew appears ahead and not behind.

  50. nelson says:

    Cynic,

    you doubtlessly have a point, there must actually be some material jealousy at work;

    but, then, when Palestinians in Gaza put their hands on what those awful Jewish “settlers” had built, they destroyed it as fast as they could;

    maybe I’m wrong, but what you describe can be interpreted in another way; perhaps they don’t really long for what the Jews have in the same way, say, that Mexicans envy the material welfare of their American neighbours; rather, they feel humiliated by the Jews’ affluence – the stress is on “Jews”, not on “affluence”; were it simply material envy, they’d be satisfied with a different solution, one that allowed the Jews to be if they could at least be as affluent as the Jews are, or more;

    but they wouldn’t agree to live alongside the Jews even if the Jews were somewhat poorer than the Palestinians; their problem is not about real material affluence or wealth, but about this wealth’s symbolism, the fact that, from their point of view, it makes the Jews even more “arrogant” and uppity; they’re angry about the very existence of Jewish (comparative) affluence; Saudi, Kuwaiti or Gulf affluence, on the other hand, surely doesn’t make them remotely as angry, they don’t feel that affluence as humiliating;

    in other words: that’s not a kind of envy which could be remedied with their own development and wealth (even if these were a true possibility): this is not a fair play competition they’d like to win, not at all; it’s part of a larger hatred that could only be solved with the extermination of all Jews and the destruction of their wealth; were it given to them to choose between being even richer than the Jews, but living peacefully alongside them, and becoming much poorer than they are just now, but with all Jews dead, do you have any doubt about which alternative they’d choose?

  51. nelson says:

    Muslims and, even more, Arab Muslims believe they should be at the very top, ruling the world; as they feel, they have been cheated, their birtright has been stolen;

    however, looking around, they can more or less understand the very real strenghts of what, according to them, is the Christian world; in a way, fighting against it –a world that was for long richer, more populous, stronger and so on– they could even see themselves as heroic;

    but what about the Jews; they knew the Jews were easily exterminated by the Christian, so weak and worthless were they; then, suddenly, these very Jews show up in their corner of the world, these Jews whom the Christians killed by the million, and what happens? In war after war, battle after battle, they repeatedely defeat them, the muslim Arabs; this means they, the Arabs, are below not only the hated Christians, but below even those insects and worms the Christians exterminated freely and easily, wholesale…

    thus, the Jews became the shining materialization of their own humiliation, a humiliation that can only be overcome with blood, lots of blood: there is simply no other way out; wherever I look, whatever I read, I always come upon these words: the terrible humiliation of the Palestinians (or Arabs or Muslims), and not only in articles, essays or books written by them;

    imagine one were in love with a woman, but she, instead, married a guy who’s better born, nicer, richer, more intelligent and handsome than one is; what can one do except murdering both the woman and her husband in the slowest and more painful way? That’s how people used to think throughout most of human history; most people still think this way.

  52. E.G. says:

    Cynic & Nelson,

    My brief take on “envy”. Thinking from a clan/tribal mentality, it looks more as Gluckschmerz – sorrow, pain, discomfort at others’ good fortune. Furthermore, it seems Arabs feel that al-Yahood’s flourishing country comes at the expense of their own. As if they’re dispossessed not only of the land itself but of everything that’s risen out of it (buildings and crops, material as well as abstract goods). And I suspect it’s less the well being that is linked to these “goods” that is envied, in the sense that they’d like to have the same (without the effort that must be invested to make it), but the power and prestige that owning them implies.

    Pessach Same’ach and Happy Easter to all.

  53. E.G. says:

    Cynic – O/T

    Recommending Tishbi’s white wines (Gewurztraminer @50 Shekels, found at their nice winery).

  54. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    Sorry but my local bus doesn’t go that way so I’m left with the local supermarkets and their markups. :-(

    With regard to #52 There are many forms of behaviour apparent in that kind. The covetousness displayed was readily displayed during the years I worked in close proximity with stealing being as inordinately high as the use of taquiya.
    The again in much of their grasping there was the projection of power to be displayed physically, for example by the $60,000 Mercedes, equivalently priced Volvo or 7 series BMW parked outside the tattered/decrepit home.

    They want without sweating and if that means killing so be it, and if “moral” excuses can be proffered for the killing even better still.
    They want all that Jewish neighbourhoods have but don’t want to pay the rates and taxes that go with them. Thus their own town councils are bankrupt but then demand that the Jews government pay their council workers.
    One just needs the latest round of nonsense generated by alibama and his acolytes (sarcastic enough?) to set off the violent demonstrations witnessed recently here.
    Of course it’s all Kosher cause of the Jews in Jerusalem; Ali said so, Clinton said so; Biden swore so etc. What better excuse when any excuse will do.

  55. Cynic says:

    By the way, just to detour back to the Stables for a bit, here’s
    Report: Palestinian teen allegedly killed by IDF returns home alive

    A 15-year-old Palestinian who was allegedly killed by Israel Defense Forces soldiers on Tuesday returned home alive and well on Friday after spending several days in Egyptian custody, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.

    Now about all those libels broadcast by the World’s media …?

  56. nelson says:

    Obama’s remaking American foreign policy, that’s plain. I think it is also clear by now that he is not just trying out different means to reach the same traditional ends that used to be atributed to the country.

    Small affair though it was, I think Honduras was very significant because, for the first time as far as I know in recent times, American diplomacy became a de facto ally of the Chávez bloc, that is, of a bloc that has as one of its main goals the erradication of US influence from Latin America and elsewhere.

    If Barry Rubin’s idea that now, in the Middle East, what we have is a confrontation between the so-called moderates (Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, most Gulf states) and the revolutionary faction whose leader is Iran, Obama is not only siding against Israel, but against most non fundamentalist Arabs as well.

    In Europe he has been distancing himself from the UK and Eastern Europeans and taking Russia’s side. And God knows what exactly’s taking place in Asia, where he has been cold shouldering India, avoiding any criticism of North Korea and China, bankrolling a very dubious Pakistan and so on.

    In other words, we already have a global American realignment. And right now I’m not particularly interested in his personal tastes, whether he is an ideologue, whether he despises the Brits because of his Kenyan father, and what not. What I’d like to see is a good theory of what would exactly be the world according to Obama, what would it look like.

    Is he just multiplying the number of spots where crisis becomes possible in order to scare the Americans and make them look inwards in an isolationist way? Is he kind of sowing chaos all around? Or does he see the US, in a changed role, becoming an ally or even leader of those who fight the current world order?

    Does anybody still think that he’s just fighting the Oedipical figure of Bush? Is he just a serial blunderer? I doubt it. But what the hell does he want?

  57. Lorenz Gude says:

    Nelson,

    My father was an FDR Democrat and a Keynsian economist who was a farmer and a farm leader. I was fairly non political with middle of the road leftist views. I went to a few Trotsky club meeting in the early 60s on the Lower East Side of NY which Trotsky had founded but was not impressed because of their obsessive procedural preoccupations. What really triggered my move away from the left was moving to Australia and finding myself increasingly uncomfortable with the Stalinist streak in leftist discourse and finally its rabid anti Americanism particularly after 9/11. I also recall with shock when the left here suddenly went blatantly pro Palestinian in the 80s. (Heroic posters in black and red of young men screaming in righteous protest looking vaguely Cheish.) Not being very political at that time it troubled and confused me, but it showed me that Antisemitism was far from dead and I could see I was mistaken in thinking that I really shared leftist values. Like you I watch the left through the eyes of someone who once thought more like they do.

    It isn’t clear to me what you intend but I take your referencing the incident in Silverado to be saying that Obama knows exactly where he is aiming his shots. Given our backgrounds we both would be trying work out what he is up to strategically, but are working through quite different experiential lenses. I see a brilliant young man who is inexperienced. I would say he is in constant campaign mode because that is most of what he knows how to do. As a further example I believe he just let Congress give him a health bill that primarily benefits all the special interests we traditionally associate with the Republican party because he failed to do his job of representing all of us and insisting that Congress actually produce some real reform. By actually leading he would have had the backing of many of the 59% who opposed the bill when it passed. His differential treatment of Israel and the UK in contrast to Iran, Venezuela, and Honduras seems to me ideologically amateurish and naive. But here I see the merit of your analysis too. I think, that if he keeps going as he is we could see Hillary challenging him in 2012. What I think will actually happen is that he will respond to the 2008 elections by doing better – just as Bill Clinton did – and may well survive to a second term. But, yes, you might be right and he could use a crisis to rally the country to his standard and gain a second term and impose a radical agenda by indirection for 8 years.

  58. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    He is an out and out narcissist so given the spectacle during his pre-election stumping where the scene was decorated with Roman columns etc., maybe he wants to appear as the latest Grecian God?

  59. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    You mention Obama and the seeming “empathy” he has for Chavez.
    Maybe he likes the way Chavez is going about things slowly extending his reach into South America and treading on Brazilian territory for example in Roraima.
    Could you expand on that and perhaps Obama sees Alinsky’s teaching extrapolated to the foreign arena?

  60. Daniel Bielak says:

    Obama is ignorant. He believes the false obscene narrative that has been told to him, by among others, but most influentially, ignorant, delusional, political-hack, egomanical, politically ambitious, politically Liberal, anti-Israeli, self-professedly “pro-Israeli”, Jewish politicians, and by Muslim Brotherhood front group representatives, and by oldschool-Western-anti-Jewish, Arab-petroleum-regime-driven, State Department types.

    That false obscene narrative is driven home to him, and to many other people, by the Western Media.

  61. Daniel Bielak says:

    “Obama is ignorant. He believe the false obscene narrative,…”

    Ditto Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and other such non-Far-Leftist Liberal, ignorant politicians.

  62. Daniel Bielak says:

    I apologize for my typos.

  63. E.G. says:

    Will they launch Glodstone after Putin once he takes his Chechen toll?

    Daniel – beware, one more #62 and no Matso balls in the soup! Remember, they’re not perfectly regular either ;-/

    Cynic – the advantage at the winery is that you can taste before buying, and the region is lovely and historic too. But you can call and be delivered too…

  64. Daniel Bielak says:

    “…they’re not perfectly regular either ;-/”

    :-)

  65. E.G. says:

    Daniel,

    You never heard of the carrot and the Matso ball method?
    See the O’s Iranian strategy… :-(

  66. Daniel Bielak says:

    Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, and George Mitchel, etc, have been led to believe, most influentially by prominent, ignorant, delusional, politically Liberal, Jewish people “Court Jews”, and do believe, a perverse obscene wrong view that the situation is that the “Palestinian” Arab people have had an injustice done unto them by Jewish Israeli people, and that Jewish Israeli people are oblivious to the suffering of the “Palestinian” Arab people, and that that injustice is continiuning to be perpetrated by a small group of intransigent “Right Wing” Jewish Israeli politicians and religious people, and that those “Right Wing” Jewish Israeli politicans and religious people are the obstacles to the creation of a state for the “Palestinian” Arab people with Fatah-PLO-PalestiniaAuthority as the government of that state, and that the creation of that state is what will cause peace between the “Palestinian” Arab people and the Jewish Israeli people, and that the Islamic-Supremacist movement is a reaction to the injustice done to the “Palestinian” Arab people, and that the creation of a state for the “Palestinian” Arab people with Fatah-PLO-PA as the government will end the Islamic-Supremacist movement.

    Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, and George Mitchel, etc, believe what is easy for them to believe in order to make them feel goo

    It’s easy to blame the victim especially when the victim behaves as though he is guilty.

    I say to Jewish people,

    Stop behaving like defensive guilty perpetrators.

    When you are falsely accused, verbally ATTACK.

    We Jewish people have remained slaves in our own minds for over several thousand years.

    Their is no oppressor. Join the world. Verbally attack your attackers. Speak the truth. We are all human. We are all here together. Join the human race. There is nothing to prove about how “good” and “virtuous” we are as victims.

    Your non-Jewish attackers are your fellow human beings. They are your family members. Do not be afraid of being disliked by them.

    Speak the truth.

  67. Daniel Bielak says:

    Present the following facts.

    O 1920 – Haim Weitzman representing the Jewish people in what was called the British Mandate of Palestine, which encompassed what is now Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and Faisal, representing the Arab people in what was then called the British Mandate of Palestine, agree to the founding of on Jewish State in the British Mandate of Palestine and one Arab State in the British Mandate of Palestine; Faisal agrees to the plan on the condition that what is now Jordan is given to the Arab people as the Arab state; France, which has possesion of what is now Jordan renigs, and Arab leaders declare war on the Jewish people in the British Mandate of Palestine
    O 1920 – Amin Al Hussieni organizes murderous riots and massacres by Arab people against Jewish people in what was then called the British Mandate of Palestine; Jewish majority poplation of Jerusalem by Amin Al Hussien’s campaigns of anti-Jewish ethnic cleasing.
    O 1928 – Muslim Brotherhood founded by Hassan Al Banna in Egypt; Muslim Brotherhood is the Nazi-influenced Wahabi-influenced founding political organization of the Jewish-conspiracy-theory-based, genocidally anti-Jewish, Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement.
    O 1930′s – Muslim Brotherhood official Amin Al Husseini allies with Nazi’s, establishes Nazi-inspired “Palestinian” Arab Nationalist organization
    O 1941 to 1945 – Amin Al Hesseini is an adjoined Nazi official in Germany – directly responsible for murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people in Europe; Amin Al Husseini broadcasts Jewish-conspiracy-theory-based, genocidally anti-Jewish, and anti-democracy, Islamicly themed radio programs in Arabic, Turkish and Persian to all of the country in the Middle East from the most powerful radio station in Germany at that time, Radio Zeesen, which was built for Amin Al Husseini by the German officials of the National Socialist (Nazi) regime of Germany for that purpose; THose raido programs become popular radio programs in Muslim countries in the Middle East; Rohullah, who later founded the Shia branch of the Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement, is, as a young man in Iran, a regular, and dedicated, listener to those programs by Amin Al Husseini; Amin Al Husseini establishes Muslim official Nazi S.S. divisions in the Balkans which kill several thousand Serbian people, tens of thousands of Jewish people, and tens of thousands of Roma (Gypsy) people
    O 1945 – The Allies capture Amin Al Husseini in Germany for war crimes and hold him in France; British and French officials allow him to escape to Egypt as a diplomatic gift to leaders of regimes of Muslim Arab countries
    O 1945 – thousands of German Nazi officials escape to Muslim Arab countries – in most cases, Egypt; Some become officials of the so-called Ministries of Information in those countries; Some of those former German Nazi officials convert to Islam
    O 1948 – intendedly genocidal attack by the armies of seven Arab nations on the country of the Jewish people a day after it was voted as a country in the United Nations; the officially named “Nazi Scouts” division of Amin Al Husseini’s “Palestinian” Arab Nationalist organization, of which Amin Al Husseini’s nephew and eventual disciple and prodigy, Yasser Arafat, is a member, takes part in the attack; 400,000 to 700,000 Arab refugees result from that war; 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jewish refugees from Muslim Arab countries in the Middle East result from that war; Arab refugees are kept, and have continued to be kept, for over 60 years, by the regimes of Muslim Arab countries and by the United Nations, as refugees in refugee camps in Muslim Arab countries in the Middle East and in the Gaza Strip which from 1948 to 1968 is occupied by Egypt, and in the West Bank which from 1948 to 1968 is occupied by Jordan, by the regimes of Muslim Arab countries and by the United Nations; The United Nations establishes for those Arab refugees the only United Nations organization ever to have been created for a sole group of refugees, UNRWA; Those Arab refugees are the only group of refugees in the world who are defined by the United Nations according to how long they had lived in the area from which they were refugees – which is, defined by the United Nations, for those Arab refugees, as being at least *TWO* years; Those Arab refugees are the only group of refugees in the world whose descendants are defined by the United Nations as being refugees; Those Arab refugees are prohibited by law from becoming citizens of those Muslim Arab countries by the officials of the regimes of those Muslim Arab countries; Those Arab refugees are prohibitted by law from engaging in many professions in those Muslim Arab countries by the officials of the regimes of those Muslim Arab countries; most of the Jewish refugees become citizens of Israel
    O 1958 Yasser Arafat and Amin Al Hussini found Fatah; Mahmoud Abbas is a member
    O 1960′s regime of Soviet Union supports regimes of Arab countries against Israel; KGB has strong controlling presence in Egypt
    O 1964 Gamal Abdel Nasser and members of the Soviet KGB found the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); The 1964 PLO constitution states the goal of the PLO to be the “liberation” “Palestine” and the destruction of the so-called “Zionist entity”
    O 1968 the Israeli army attacks and defeats the armies of several Arab countries which had gathered along the borders of Israel in preparation to attack Israel – Israel takes the Gaza Strip from Egypt which had occupied the Gaza Strip since the 1948 Arab attack on Israel, and Israel takes the West Bank from Jordan which had occupied the West Bank since the 1948 Arab attack on Israel.
    O 1968 After Israel takes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the PLO modifies their constitution to include the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in what the PLO constitution calls “Palestine”
    O 1969 Yasser Arafat is trained by KGB and takes over the PLO as the leader of Fatah
    O 1970′s the quality of life in the West Bank improves under control of Israeli government compared to the quality of life in the West Bank under its former occupation by Jordan; Arab people in West Bank travel to and from, and work in, Israel.
    O 1970′s Wahabi Saudi family regime of Saudi Arabia strikes petroleum
    O 1970′s officials of European governments support the PLO
    O 1979 Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Shia branch of the Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement leads a violent coup of the government of Iran
    O 1979 violent Wahabi Sunni Islamic Supremacists violently take over Mecca in Saudi Arabia because they believe that the members of the Saudi regime are not acting in accordance with what is mandated by the orthodox version of the political religion Islam as being the duty of rulers of Islamic countries to wage war against non-Muslim societies in order to perpetuate the political religion Islam; members of the Saudi regime regain control of Mecca after two weeks; the members of the Saudi regime are terrified of being attacked again by violent Islamic-Supremacists and begin to fund, with billions of dollars of petroleum revenue, the activities of the members of Sunni Islamic Supremacist organizations throughout the world; The Suadi regime has built thousands of Wahabi Mosques in Western countries; The Saudi regime has financed, with hundreds of millions dollar of of petroleum revenue, and controls the hiring of the faculty of, and the curriculum of, the Middle East Studies Departments of most of the prominent colleges and universities in Western countries, which are colleges and universities where several generations of journalists, academics, and politicians have been taught; The members of the Saudi regime have financed members of the State Department when those members have retired; members of Saudi Regime finance the efforts of front groups of the Muslim Brotherhood in Western countries
    O 1988 Hamas founded; is an official arm of the Muslim Brotherhood; is in a war with Fatah for the leadership of the still living of, and the descendants of, the Arab refugees from the 1948 Arab intendedly genocidal attack on the country of teh Jewish people
    O early 1990′s – Yasser Arafat stating in arabic to Muslim Arab audiences that the “Peace” processes is a part of a strategy of destroying Israel; (present video and audio recordings of those events)
    O 1990′s to current time – intense and constant indoctrination of “Palestinian” Arab society in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip with Jewish-conspiracy-theory-based, genocidally anti-Jewish propaganda by Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority and Hamas; (present video recordings of examples of such propaganda)
    O 2000 to current time – the conscious intentional use of deceit as a strategy by the members of Fatah and Hamas; images of staging of scenes by members of Fatah and Hamas, and of the the false testimony by Fatah and Hamas, and the effort to maximize use of and of the strategic and the complicity of bigoted, cowardly, sensationalism-driven non-Jewish Western journalists, and, most influentially, delusion and deranged Jewish Western journalists
    O 2000 – the murder, by ripping apart to pieces, of two Israeli reservists in Ramalah in the West Bank by a mob of “Palesetinian” Arabs who carry pieces of the organs of the murdered Israelis through the streets while screaming in frenzied happiness
    O 2000 to 2005 – the murder of over 1000 Israeli men women and children by hundreds of murderous terrorist attacks by Fatah and Hamas
    O 2000′s – the entertainment presentation by Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority of an artificial recreation of an mass-murder suicide bombing of a Shop in Israel with artifical representations of the body parts of Jewish Israeli people strewn throughout the shop
    O 2009 August assembly of Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority government, including Fatah-PLO-PalestinianAuthority President Mahmoud Abbas, declare their allegiance to the 1968 PLO constitution which declares the goal of the PLO to be the destruction of the “Zionist entity” by any means necessary.

    The Islamic Supremacist Modern Political Movement

    O consists of the Sunni branch and the Shia (Iranian) branch

    O The largest, and the controlling, voting bloc in the United Nations is the Organization of the Islamic Congress (the OIC); The OIC is a coalition of the representatives of 57 Muslim countries

    O The officially stated goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is the destruction of all of the democratic societies in the world and the establishment of a single Islamic government governing the whole world; The official methodology of the adherents and proponents of the Islamic Supremacist modern political movement includes violent action, non-violent action, covert action, and overt action.

    O The adherents of the Islamic Supremacist modern political movement use deceit as a conscious strategy, which is sanctioned by the orthodox versions of the two branches, Sunni and Shia, of the religion Islam; in the orthodox, and currently authoritative and mainstream, versions of the two branches of the religion Islam, the use of deceit for the furtherance of Islam is officially sanctioned and is categorized into two types of deceit, Taqyiha, and Kitman.

    O The following is a quote from a 1991 memo that was written by Mohamed Akram, a.k.a. Mohamed Adlouni, for the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood. “The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Proecess” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.”

    O Almost all Muslim so-called “Civil Rights” groups in Western countries are front groups of the Muslim Brotherhood

    O The Shia Islamic Supremacist regime of Iran finances and arms Sunni and Shia Islamic-Supremaciats terrorist militias throughout the world
    O Hamas is funded and armed by the Shia Islamic-Supremacist current regime of Iran
    O Hizbollah is a Shia Islamic-Supremacist terrorist militia; Hizbollah is an official arm of the Shia Islamic-Supremacist regime of Iran; Hizbollah has taken control of the government of Lebanon.

    The Legacy of Soviet KGB Propaganda in Western Countries

    O in the 1960′s, the officials of the propaganda divisions of the KGB of the totalitarian, imperialist, bureaucratic Soviet regime of Russia cynically developed and hosted, in Russia, and in democratic countries, what they called “intellectual exchange programs” which targeted, and indoctrinated, with anti-United-States (so-called “Anti-Imperialist”) propaganda and anti-Israeli (so-called “Anti-Zionist”) propaganda, certain imperceptive, egocentric, politically Left academics, intellectuals and journalists in Western countries who in turn indoctrinated, with that propaganda, a generation of certain groups of college and university students who became political activist academics who in turn have indoctrinated several generations of college and university students with a legacy of that propaganda

  68. Daniel Bielak says:

    “We Jewish people have remained slaves in our own minds for over several thousand years.”

    We Jewish people have remained slaves in our own minds for several thousand years.

  69. Daniel Bielak says:

    By the way, in my previous comment I wasn’t addressing any of the commenters on this blog.

    I, at risk of being scolded by E.G., apologize if what I wrote was harmful.

    I hope that my writing what I wrote was not harmful.

  70. Eliyahu says:

    Speaking of the pro-Arab false narrative, here is a pro-Arab propaganda film featuring none other than Obama’s favorite historian, Rashid al-Khalidi, lying and whining, plus as a special added feature James Akin, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XydXJ1J_ZY0&feature=related

    Akin claims that the Arabs always treated Jews well, compared to Europe. In fact, Jews were not allowed to live in Saudi Arabia and were massacred there by Muhammad and expelled from Arabia [long before the Saudi dynasty].
    Jews are still forbidden to live in Saudi Arabia.

    Khalidi claims that only European Jews were interested in coming to Israel ["palestine" in his parlance]. The film also features the big lie that the Arab, particularly Palestinian Arabs, were innocent of Nazi crimes [omitting the Holocaust role of the Mufti Husseini].

    The film is characterized by lies that are stated in a low key fashion and may thereby be convincing to the ignorant.

  71. nelson says:

    Daniel,

    you say: “Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, and George Mitchel, etc, believe what is easy for them to believe in order to make them feel good”,

    sorry, but we have no way of knowing what they believe, all we can know is what they say, and they adapt it to what’s convenient for them in every occasion;

    the one sure bet about what they believe in is that they believe power is in their hands and that’s where it should stay for as long as possible, even for ever;

    even if they knew perfectly well everything about the Middle East, they’d probably be quite indifferent to it; they’d still be looking only for ways of using the conflict there for their own advantage;anyway, they’re not thinkers, much less deep thinkers: they’re politicians — and they’re where they are because they know how to use people and how to get rid of them;

    if they actually dislike Israel and Jews deeply (a real possibility in Obama’s case), that’s not because they first observed and considered Israel and the Jews disinterestedly and then concluded this or that; one first begins by disliking (or hating) Israel and the Jews and, then, one looks selectively for reasons to justify and strenghten one’s own feelings; one cannot discuss rationally with a Jew hater because he is either being moved by his passions or, more dangerously, by his cynical self-interest, though both are not always mutually exclusive;

    the most serious problem about Jews nowadays is that they have unlearned to recongnize their haters: they look for anti-semitism in wrong or currently irrelevant and quite secondary places (the Catholic Church and the Pope, European neonazis etc.), but don’t see it in the left, widespread in every level of the Muslim world (even among the so-called moderates), among the lestist elites of every European country, in the Democratic party, among the African-Americans, among the post or anti-Zionist Jews and so on;

    Myself, now I know how European Jews felt in the 1930s: wherever they looked, they found enemies; in no side of the political debate they could find sympathy or backing; the same today; the one difference is that, in the 30s, people were openly and affirmatively anti-semitic while today one recognizes the anti-Semite not only through his hatred of Israel but also through his denial about the very existence of anti-semitism;

    anyway, it is remarkable (and the only bright sign in all this darkness) that Israelis saw so quickly, so soon, through Obama; maybe having a country of their own to run provided them with certain basic instincts that are wholly absent in the case of the American Jews, 80% of whom voted for Obama and would probably do it again;

  72. Daniel Bielak says:

    nelson,

    Anti-Jewish bigotry is a common, normal part of, is a basic undercurrent of, Western society. Almost all people in Western societies, but fewer people in the United States than in other Western societies, hold bigoted wrong views about Jewish people, but less extreme wrong views in the United States than in other Western societies, and, as a result, feel some degree of antipathy toward Jewish people, but much lower degrees of antipathy, in general, in the United States than in other Western societies, Jewish people.

    These wrong views are wrong views that Jewish people have never dispelled. These wrong views are wrong views that, because of several factors, almost no Jewish people have ever attempted to dispel. Jewish culture has evolved in which it the psychology of Jewish people has made it very difficult for Jewish people to be able to dispel those wrong views. As a result of this, these wrong views about Jewish people continue to exist, and to regenerate, and multiply. The main, root, wrong view that is the root of anti-Jewish bigotry in Western countries is the view that Jewish people, despite their being, essentially, the developers of the moral principals of, and the developers of the science of, modern civilization, are inherently cosmically evil, and that Jewish people, despite what is viewed, in general, as being their weak fumbling ridiculalable outward appearance, are powerful behind-the-scenes controllers of the world.

  73. Daniel Bielak says:

    The psychological effect on the minds of non-Jewish people of the perverse obscene vicious narrative that is a tenet of the religion CHristianty that the Jewish people rejected, and conspired *TO KILL, THE SON OF GOD* is HUGELY underestimated by very many Jewish people.

    Can you image such a narrative about another ethnic group being a narrative that is tenet of a major religion, *WHICH IS A RELIGION THAT WAS USURPED FROM, AND WHICH IS A MODIFIED VERSION OF, THE TRADITIONAL RELIGION OF THE ETHNIC GROUP WHICH THE USURPING MODIFIED VERSION OF THAT RELIGION EXPLICITLY ACCUSES THAT ACTUAL LIVING ETHNIC GROUP OF BEING INHERENTLY EVIL AND EXPLICITLY ACCUSES OF HAVING CONSPIRED TO KILL THE MAIN DEITY OF THE USURPING MODIFIED RELIGION ***WHO WAS A MEMBER OF THAT ACTUAL LIVING ETHNIC GROUP, AND WHO WAS, IN FACT, KILLED BY A PEOPLE WHO WERE OPPRESSING THAT ETHNIC GROUP AND WHO, IN FACT, THEN COMMITED GENOCIDE AGAINST THAT ETHNIC GROUP, AND WHO THEN WERE ONE OF THE FIRST MAIN ADOPTERS OF, AND WERE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL ADOPTERS OF THAT USURPING MODIFIED RELIGION*** WHICH WAS A USURPING MODIFIED RELIGION THAT WAS DEVELOPED BY A MEMBER OF THE ETHNIC GROUP WHICH THE USRUPING ETHNIC GROUP COMMITED GENOCIDE AGAINST?

    Can you image any other ethnic group tolerating that? It’s beyond belief.

    Narratives are what people believe. Narratives are what constitute reality for people. Narratives are what people’s emotions are based on.

  74. Daniel Bielak says:

    The current false narrative about the situation that Israel is in is what the problem is.

    It’s the narrative.

    For politicians, academics, for intellectuals, for lay people, for very ignorant people, for less ignorant people, it’s the narrative that is what is what they believe and is what is the prism through which they view phenomenon about the situation.

    It’s the narrative.

    Tell the true narrative.

    Present the factual history.

    Present the facts about the current reality.

    I recently submitted a long comment on this thread, which has not yet been posted by the automated blog server, in which I listed the facts which I think need to be presented, articulately, firmly, repeatedly, and continuously, to present the true narrative.

  75. Daniel Bielak says:

    Correction:

    “phenomenon”

    phenomena

  76. Daniel Bielak says:

    Clarifying Correction:

    “…narrative that is a tenet of the religion CHristianty that the Jewish people rejected, and conspired *TO KILL, THE SON OF GOD* is HUGELY underestimated by very many Jewish people…”

    …narrative that is a tenet of the religion Christianty, and which is a narrative that the Jewish people rejected, and conspired *TO KILL, THE SON OF GOD* is HUGELY underestimated by very many Jewish people…

  77. Eliyahu says:

    Daniel, re your #71

    Judeophobia is also inherent in Islam although many people who consider themselves knowledgeable and well-informed are sincerely ignorant about that fact, and may even believe that the Arabs are only angry against Jews because of what Israel did or did not do. Some believe that certain Western powers encouraged Muslims to hate Jews. There is something to that, especially in official Britain’s case and the Soviet Communist case, but it overlooks the fundamental Judeophobia of Islam which is probably more intense than hatred for other non-believers, although the relative hatred for various kufar groups has varied with time and place and circumstances.

  78. Daniel Bielak says:

    nelson,

    “Myself, now I know how European Jews felt in the 1930s: wherever they looked, they found enemies; in no side of the political debate they could find sympathy or backing.”

    I feel the same way.

    However, there are some few people who are not Jewish who understand the situation whose writing on the internet are rescuing supports for me.

    Those of us who are Jewish must each, individually, be supports unto ourselves, and we must support each other.

    We must tell the true narrative.

  79. Daniel Bielak says:

    Eliyahu,

    “…Judeophobia is also inherent in Islam although many people who consider themselves knowledgeable and well-informed are sincerely ignorant about that fact,…”

    Yes, I know that that is true.

    Those Western people are ignorant about that fact largely because of, in the case of non-Jewish people, of their own profound deep-seated deeply engrained, culturally normative bigotry towards Jewish people which is a prism which obscures and distorts their vision, and because of, in the case of Jewish people, their delusional, longingness to be loved, reflexively wishfully thinking, reflexively self-blaming, nature of their culturally normative, state of mind.

  80. Daniel Bielak says:

    What is the case, and what is important for Jewish people to realize, is that when Jewish people speak they are listened to by very many non-Jewish people, especially in the United States. What Jewish people say has effect. What people say, what all people say, Jewish and non-Jewish, has effect.

    Jewish people must begin to be mindful and must begin to speak with mindfulness and discernment.

    Jewish people must speak honestly, accurately, and clearly.

  81. nelson says:

    Daniel,

    you’re more optimistic than I am: why?

    You seem to believe that most people want to know the truth and that, as soon as they are told or explained the truth, they’ll believe and act upon it;

    the main characteristic of the anti-Semitism I’ve seen growing and developing for the last 20 years or so is the following: people are happy, they feel quite relieved at being able to hate and badmouth the Jews one more; up to a point, from the 50s to the 90s, anti-Semitism was more or less taboo; it took some time, but people have finally found a way around that taboo, and it is called anti-Zionism; thus, while those who are more “civilized” shed crocodile tears for the Jews killed in the Holocaust, these very tears liberate them to prepare the new Holocaust against the “ZioNazis”, against the “Zionist racist imperialists stealer of land”;

    try telling them the truth not only about the history of the Arab-Jewish conflict, but about the nature of their own feelings; that’ll be as effective as trying to talk a chain-smoker out of his habit, as trying to persuade a beautiful, successful and promiscuous young woman of the advantages of monogamic fidelity or, even more difficult, of the virtues of chastity; it simply won’t work;

    besides, to prove your case, you would have to show how profoundly evil Muslim and Arab societies are, that most Palestinians (and not only their corrupt or even honest leadership) are savage, envious, bloodthirsty barbarians who, by the way, are wholly responsible for their own problems; and saying this is, right now, the strongest existing taboo, and it is also an agression against the basis of the current worldview according to which those who are today poorer or more miserable are the saintly victims of devilish foes, meaning those who are richer or look more powerful; just try to begin challenging these deep and deeply accepted truths and you’ll either be silenced or you’ll soon discover you don’t have an audience anymore; you’ll be labeled as mad, vengeful, a sadistic warmonger or an ant humanist, whatever;

    in the current worldview and in the dominant political paradigm, the enemies of the Jews hold all the good cards; there’s no beating them in this game;

    the Jews and Israel can only be vindicated in a very different worldview or paradigm, a worldview where it would sound quite natural and logic that the US was right in Vietnam and that a Democratic congress betrayed democracy and friends there when they left them to the tender mercies of Ho Chi Minn; that the French should not only have completely defeated the Algerian terrorists (that’s what they were), but should also have fought to the last for the right of the piednoirs to live freely in North Africa; that ant colonialism was mainly a disaster; that the creation of the UN was another disaster; that the so-called Palestinians have forfeited for ever their right for any kind of an independent state, and that they should be incorporated to Egypt and Jordan and, then, dispersed among the Egyptian and Jordanian populations; that it is America’s moral and political duty to invade Iran and depose right now its theocratic regime;

    there’s a possibility that exactly such a paradigm or worldview will soon appear and it may even become dominant, at least in the US and parts of Europe; what I don’t know if this will happen in time to save or rescue Israel; Israel itself was a brilliant idea, but it materialized too late to perform its most important role: saving European Jews from the Nazis and their allies; will history once more repeat itself as tragedy, I mean, will a different worldview really appear a couple of years after Israel’s destruction?

    according to most idiots (lots of Jews included), Israel hasn’t only not been helpful to the Jews, but it has indeed endangered them even more; that’s BS; the truth is that, for half a century after the Holocaust, the Jews were not in real danger; thus Israel had not, up till nowadays, been called upon to show whether it can serve the function it has been created for; but the time for this is upon us, it is now; and, first of all, Israel has to prove whether it can survive as isolated as it is;

    Israel’s founding father, people like Ben Gurion and Golda, like Dayan and Jabotinsky, would probably know at least some of the answers, would have really creative and out-of-the-box ideas about what to do; the last survivors of those heroic generations are Ariel Sharon (who’s as good as dead) and president Perez who, though he seems to have been the father of the Israeli bomb, seems also to have been mistaken about everything for most of the time; the following generation, those who have been ruling Israel for the latter decades, the Baraks, Olmerts, Livnis and, yes, Netanyahu himself, are mediocre and useless; what remains to be seen is whether the younger ones, those who are between 30 and 60, are able to think big; there’s a very real risk that the adoption of so many European models and behaviors may have made them useless as well; and it may also be the case that the poison of leftism has corrupted irreversibly the will for national (and individual) survival;

    if all Israel and the Israelis have to show is what we have already seen, neither the country nor the people will survive a second Obama term, maybe not even the first; unless they can show new facts on the ground and new ideas, useful ideas in action, things look very grim indeed; there’s only one other international actor that can come to Israel’s and the Jews’ rescue: the American people; but then, the American people have first to rescue themselves from their own government, regime and leftist, corrupt (or both) elites; in principle, American Jews could have a minor role in all this, but everything points to the possibility that they will behave in an even more cowardly and stupid way than they did during WW2;

    making a very long story very short, it is likely that Obama’s people are multiplying the chances of severe international crises in several hotspots; the November elections are only their most immediate preoccupation, because they probably think that a bad international environment will make things easier for them at home; they are actually encouraging overtly (and what the hell may they be doing covertly?) a third Palestinian intifada and maybe something even bigger in the region; at the same time, they are already setting up Israel as their “fall guy”; they need urgently an international villain or foe, and it is clear that this won’t be chosen among Chávez, Ahmadinejad, Kim Song Il etc.; neither will this villain be Islamic; Obama has been kind of harmonizing America’s foreign policy views and position with those of Europe, Latin America and the Muslim bloc; all of these see Israel as the number 1 international bad guy; most bureaucrats who work for the State Dept. also think along these lines; if Bush’s most remarkable success was having avoid a second 911, Obama will probably be able to do the same by turning explicitly against Israel; obviously, he’ll just be buying a very temporary truce with the Islamists, but it will probably hold till Israel is either destroyed or irreversibly and fatally wounded and weakened; he must think that the only thing that could endanger his new foreign policy would be a second 911, and he’s probably right; it also seems that the vast majority of the Democratic Party is solidly behind him in his anti-Israel turn; neither is there lack of Republicans who endorse Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis; thus, unless the Democrats are very decisively defeated in November, Obama will be free to do as he likes for three more years – a very, very long span; Israel is and will for the foreseeable future be in need not only of its best, strongest and most patriotic minds (a rare combination), but they’ll have to have a very good plan (maybe many plans) which will have to be followed faultlessly; right now Israel is in an existential fight, and it is fighting against the strongest and most powerful adversary it has ever had: the US administration; in a way, Israel in a cold war with the US; whatever it does or avoids doing, whatever it says or doesn’t may prove to be a potentially fatal trap; and I don’t even know whether most Israelis (and any in a position of power) are fully conscious of this, whether they have dared to plan for such an eventuality; how can a small country outsmart and defeat a very smart American administration (backed by the country’s media, elites and intelligentsia) without incurring the ire of the American people? I won’t risk a prognostic, though I’m deeply pessimistic, but then, this has always been my nature; all I can say if that, from what I’ve been seeing, Israel and the Jews in general don’t seem to have the mojo they will very badly need in the next months; Obama knows pretty well what he is doing: does Israel, do the Jews?

  82. Daniel Bielak says:

    nelson,

    I do think if most people are explained the truth they will understand.

    I think that almost no people in the world have ever heard a Jewish person say what I wrote in my previous comments, and perhaps, even less as many people have heard a Jewish person say, calmly and firmly, self-possesedly, what I wrote in my previous comments, and much less an ethnically Jewish, non-adherent-of-the-traditional-religion-of-the-Jewish-people, politically Classically Liberal, person, which I am, do so.

    It is beneficial to purify one’s mind.

    One is one’s own master.

    Every living being is one’s own master.

    I try to follow, but am not completely capable of following, the advice which I have related of the benefit of purifying one’s mind.

    However, I try very hard to avoid causing harm.

    To avoid all evil,
    to cultivate good,
    and to purify one’s mind -
    this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    Dhammapada 183

  83. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    Israel itself was a brilliant idea, but it materialized too late to perform its most important role: saving European Jews from the Nazis and their allies;

    Don’t forget that at the Evian Conference the Western powers basically abetted the Nazis by closing all doors to Jews attempting to escape from Europe.
    The British have never really answered for their crimes against humanity.

    As was cited

    Bruckner, no admirer of recent Israeli governments, nevertheless suspects that supporters of the Palestinians are essentially Europeans pursuing their own guilt trips in a foreign theatre.He agrees with Bernard Lewis’s remark that for many people, “the Arabs are in truth nothing more than a stick for beating the Jews.”

    Actually, that means they’re not pursuing their own guilt trips, but scape-goating the Jews. In other words, the one place they’ll allow themselves to stop guilting themselves and go after someone else, is when it comes to the Jews.

    just confirms what Eliyahu and I have been postulating for some time on this site and which is just a subtle continuation of WWII.

    By the way with regard to Alibama, more and more people are coming to recognize the pathological narcissism that his character portrays and this should be taken into consideration when evaluating his actions.
    sorry, but we have no way of knowing what they believe, all we can know is what they say, and they adapt it to what’s convenient for them in every occasion;
    An example of Biden taking Petraeus’ statement about the Israeli/Palestinian situation out of context?

    From his latest spectacle of talking for 17 minutes and uttering 2500 words attempting? to answer questioner in the audience can we assume that he, personally, really doesn’t have any idea of what is going on in US internal matters to provide answers?
    Without his teleprompter he is lost and no doubt regarding international relations has even less of an idea of what his actions are causing.
    He is even spurning India to cosy up to China.

    Obama’s 17-minute, 2,500-word response to woman’s claim of being ‘over-taxed’

    He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer – more than 2,500 words long — wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules ………
    …….
    It was not evident that he changed any minds at Friday’s event. The audience sat politely, but people in the back of the room began to wander off.

  84. Daniel Bielak says:

    I wrote that I am politically Classically Liberal (by which I mean that the political views that I hold are, I think, maybe, views that are Classical Liberalism), however I now do not identify as being politically “Liberal” nor as being on the political Left.

    Pat Condell expressed views, in the following video, about the contemporary political Liberal Left, which are views that are similar to views that I hold about the contemporary political Liberal Left.

    “Apologists for evil”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4FpTvp0tgs

  85. nelson says:

    yes, I’ve read about Obama’s “brief” response and I take it to be good news; as things are turning out to be, it would be better if Obama were unhinged than if he were a real charismatic and calculating genius; if current American foreign policy is not Obama’s plan, then what we’re seeing is the following: a weak and confused president who, in order to keep his followers happy, is granting his underlings all the freedom of action they want and, thus, right now, in foreign policy, it’s the State Dept. (and its Arabists) at the helm; it might be;

    then, on the other hand, in the medium and long run, even for them, Obama could rather be a liability his adversaries would be able to explore; the point however is that we know next to nothing about the guy and if the best we can hope for is that the Potus actually be Chauncy Gardner come true, then may God help us!

    the truth is that no serious business would hire anyone knowing as little about him/her as Americans knew about Obama when they elected him; nor has much been added to that (lack of) knowledge since then; the only really relevant thing that has been disclosed and/or discovered during the last year or so is that the guy really loves the sound of his own voice and that his favorite subject is himself, but that even to talk coherently and non-contradictorily about this favorite subject he needs a teleprompter; I don’t think he would have been able to make it in showbiz: the bar there is somewhat higher than in politics;

    now, Daniel, I wouldn’t be so quick to discard the role of willful irrationality and human passions either in private life or in history; usually, men only make the rational choice after having tried out all the irrational ones…

  86. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson says that Judeophobia ["antisemitism"] was taboo up to the 1990s. If he’s right, then let’s look back at what happened in the 1990s to change that supposed taboo. Yes, that’s right. Oslo happened. Oslo allowed the Judeophobes, especially in Western govts and press/media, to intensify Judeophobic agitprop. I am not now going to try to explain this phenomenon, that some might call “counter intuitive,” but I’m sure that it does have an explanation. And the latter argues against concessions by Israel.

  87. nelson says:

    Eliyahu,

    Oslo was doubtlessly a disaster and a mistake, and, though Israeli and Jewish leftists and liberals were responsible for that catastrophe, they haven’t been really punished yet as they should have been;

    but I think that, rather than a cause, Oslo was already among the consequences of deeper and vaster events and changes, the most important of which was probably the fall of the Soviet bloc;

    while the Soviet bloc existed, most anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism belonged to it, its leaders knew how to use it, and whoever opposed them had to keep those hatreds at arms lenght; but, as soon as that bloc disappeared, both hatreds and many other causes became available to everyone else;

    besides, the international left, without real communist countries to defend, was free to look around for new allies and, through thirdworldism, it “discovered” that, instead of the proletariat, the new “revolutionary masses” were to be found in the Arab and Muslim countries;as the inhabitants of those countries hated the Jews and since the real “wretched of the Earth” couldn’t be wrong, well, as the left already felt long before, Judeophobia wasn’t really a bug for them, it was a feature;

    thus, it was through anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism (probably two faces of the same coin) that all the progressive minds of the West discovered that the Arab, the Muslim and the leftist causes were/are one and the same; (I like to say that the left and Islam share neither a theology nor a teleology, but they’re united thanks to a common demonology);

    Arafat obviously understood all this quite well and much earlier than Rabin, Perez and most of the Israeli and Jewish leadership; the majority of the American Jews seems absolutely unable to understand this even now, nor will most of them understand it in the near future;

  88. Eliyahu says:

    Nelson, I like this statement:

    the left and Islam share neither a theology nor a teleology, but they’re united thanks to a common demonology).

    Probably so. But don’t forget when thinking of Israelophobia that the EU, and the UK especially, have been promoting Israelophobia [the other side of the coin of Judeophobia] for many years. As to the EU, consult Bat Yeor’s book, Eurabia.

    The BBC and some other British media outlets [newspapers, weeklies, TV] have been anti-Israel for many years and have also promoted the false notion of a “palestinian people.” The BBC is a UK-govt run institution which deliberately withheld news of the Holocaust during WW2.

  89. E.G. says:

    For Hebrew speakers – Latma’s version of Had Gadiya:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX1fbXp1_KA

    (English readers, I hope they’ll subtitle it asap; instead of the traditional Passover “one kid my father bought”, they’re singing about “one home my father built”).

  90. Daniel Bielak says:

    The comment which I submitted earlier in which I listed the facts that I think need to be presented clearly, repeatedly, and continuously has been, I think just recently, posted by the automatic blog server.

    It is currently comment #67.
    http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2010/03/25/bruckner-on-western-guilt/#comment-542663

  91. Daniel Bielak says:

    Corrections:

    “…in which I listed the facts that I think need to be presented…”

    in which I listed some of the facts that I think need to be presented

    “O 1920 – Haim Weitzman representing the Jewish people…and Faisal representing the Arab people…”

    O 1919 – Haim Weitzman representing the Jewish people…and Emir Feisal Husseini representing the Arab people…

  92. Daniel Bielak says:

    Important Additional Facts:

    O 1919 – The Area of land called the British Mandate of Palestine includes what is now Israel, and includes what is now Jordan, and includes what is now called the West Bank, and includes what is now called the Gaza Strip.

    O 1920 – British and French government officials sabotage plans agreed to by Haim Weizman and Emir Faisal

  93. Daniel Bielak says:

    Correction:

    from in comment #67

    “…Rohullah, who later founded the Shia branch of the Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement…”

    …Ruhollah Khomeini, who later founded the Shia branch of the Islamic-Supremacist modern political movement…

  94. igout says:

    Well, one of Israel’s sins is that she is willing to defend herself, showing up the cowardice of those who aren’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>