Lee Smith on the suicidal tendencies of “the wrong that has become habit and custom”

Lee Smith has a brilliant analysis of the way western intellectuals are drawn to terrorists like a moth to a devouring flame, a subject I recently addressed in somewhat more prosaic terms.

Hollow Men

Why Israel’s enemies will always be the darlings of Western intellectuals

By Lee Smith | Jul 14, 2010 7:00 AM | Print | Email / Share

It’s nothing new for Western intellectuals to lavish attention and admiration on the resistance forces aligned against Israel, whether it’s Hamas or Hezbollah or even organizations like al-Qaida that are less interested in Israel than in killing and maiming Western civilians. Last week, when CNN’s former Middle East editor, Octavia Nasr, tweeted that she respected the late militant cleric Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, the cards were out on the table for all to see. But usually the pro-resistance vibe is more subtle, as when Nasr’s defenders demanded a more nuanced understanding from knee-jerk Americans who were shocked by Nasr’s support for a suicide-bomb-sanctioning man of faith. After all, Fadlallah was a relatively pro-feminist radical Islamist cleric—and if his talk about Israel was genocidal, well, that’s just part of the package when dealing with a complex place like the Middle East.

Media consumers in the United States are by now well aware that Hezbollah and Hamas provide “social services” for their communities. For the writers and television personalities who push such supposed palliatives on their audiences—“Yes, they do chant ‘kill the Jews!’ and they do act on their rhetoric, but they also educate poor kids in clean, well-lit schools (please ignore the slogans painted on the walls)”—respect for the resistance is a polite way of indicating one’s tolerance for murderous anti-Semitism. The issue is whether this attitude is in danger of seeping into the mainstream of the U.S. public. Poll numbers show that U.S. support for Israel is consistently high—in February Gallup found that a near-record 63 percent of Americans were more sympathetic to the Jewish state than to the Palestinians. But ideas can change, and it’s intellectuals who often lead the way. Remember that Israel was a popular cause among the intellectual classes until the 1967 war. It is true that the American people and the bulk of their intellectual class are far apart on the subject of Israel, but all the massive and popular evil of the last century started among a small ideological elite.

A common explanation for the turning away of the intellectuals from Israel is that the Jewish state forfeited the world’s sympathy once it was no longer perceived as the underdog in its conflict with the Arabs. Israel’s sin, in this reading, is that it didn’t lose. However, this would suggest that intellectuals misunderstand a uniquely American concept: The underdog does not win the pity of the chorus because he is crushed by his tormentors; rather, he is the champion who perseveres because the stubborn stars that rule his nature will not permit him to choose otherwise. Perhaps his friends will abandon him, and maybe his family, too; neither his wife nor children signed on for such an arduous journey. If he intends to follow this hard path, he may well travel alone. Such is the stuff of big-ticket American heroism. It is odd that the American intelligentsia cannot recognize in Israel the likeness of our literary models, Melville’s Ahab, Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne. Rather, the intelligentsia is more like Hester’s hypocritical neighbors. If Israel is portrayed as the Dirty Harry of nations, then its accusers are the tepid bureaucrats mistaking cowardice for compassion, who chide Clint Eastwood’s Callahan.

[snip]

He concludes:

Some journalists shed tears when Arafat died, others are smitten by the beauty of Islamist militants: The “green eyes” of Hezbollah’s deputy Naim Qassem “are framed by thick, dark lashes and he has long elegant hands.” Saddam Hussein, we are told, did much to advance the rights of women. In Cairo I knew a former CNN producer whose first affair with an Arab intelligence officer was in Saddam’s Baghdad—a great city, she explained, if you didn’t mind the constant surveillance and widespread torture.

But this attraction of the intellectuals to the flame of the resistance is not simply based on eros alone. There is also the aspect of thanatos, the death instinct. The sad reality is that all organisms—men and the nations they populate—carry within them the seeds of their own end. While the normal run of men unwittingly nurture their demise through the wrong that has become habit and custom, the suicide overruns all limits. In reality, it is not Israel that our intellectuals despise, for that hatred is simply the latest pattern in a long century that the West’s self-loathing has taken. It is ourselves that we cannot abide.

One could not ask for a better description of what the dangers we run with a MSNM that, in its complicity with Pallywood, has become an Augean Stables of “wrong that has become habit and custom.”

80 Responses to Lee Smith on the suicidal tendencies of “the wrong that has become habit and custom”

  1. PW Virginia USA says:

    I choose to call these people “romantic nihilists” thru some malfunction of the brain they are stuck in a romanticized version of the world, and never grew up…but g-d forbid that they would ever act themselves or allow their property to be destroyed by the violent actors on the world’s stage…

  2. incognito says:

    Despite claims to the contrary I firmly believe that a vast majority of the intellectual defenders of islamists are essentially ignorant of the details of real life in the ME and what Islam is all about.

    They mostly know what they know from the MSM and from colleagues who know as little as they do. That is true even for those who do “research” on or travel to the ME. They never experience the consequences of real life under sharia, not to an extent that would make them comprehend.

    So they focus on the ME from a western perspective only, that has little to do with life in the ME. And their western experiences are not the basis on which to envision or digest the 7th century barbarism.

    In addition, it is hard for an average/mediocre academic, who form the bulk of academia, to attract attention with the crap they usually produce. So they must make their crap unobvious to make any splash. Supporting terrorists is one way to achieve that.

    For excellent critiques of quasi-academia see David Thompson’s site. For a great piece on unobvious see his:

    It pays to be unobvious
    http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2010/07/it-pays-to-be-unobvious.html

  3. Sergio says:

    Right on the spot, Incognito. These “intellectuals” resemble those that visited the USSR in the 30′s and described it as paradise on earth (an exception was Bertrand Russell, which figured out straight away what that regime was all about. Of course, Bertie was a true
    intellectual…).

    BTW, another fashionable path to notoriety is antisemitism, of course, barely disguised as “criticism of Israel”.

    Regards,
    Sergio

  4. Sergio says:

    Ah, an excellent link, that one! One thing that strikes me is how such lit-crit types are supposed to pontificate on things they no nothing about and, moreover, given that they are not trained in critical thinking, the scientific method, a modicum of skepticism, respect for evidence and truth? Maybe this is the fault of journalist that by some mysterious reasons identify with such imbeciles.

  5. incognito says:

    Sergio,

    Most academics are desperate for what they lack: relevance, attention, influence, respect. Lit-crits lack these most.

    In order to rationalize the importance of their work lit-crits tend to assume that lit reflects real life and, therefore, analysis and critique of lit requires and benefits from the same knowledge and skills as those of life (politics, economics, etc.). Hence, they are experts on the latter.

    That assumption is, of course, correct for top auteurs, of which there are much fewer than the tons of garbage that mediocre lit-crits deal with. The end result is that they delude themselves that they are experts on anything you care to name.

  6. Sergio says:

    Incognito,

    True, maybe there are some authors with psychological acumen, but where are they? See that deceased Saramago, a supposed humanist (I read some of his books), concerned with morality and all that jazz. But he was a stalinist and antisemite, and people treat him as he was visionary!! And become upset when you point out his blatant bigotry (I experienced that reaction first-hand).

    Amazing indeed…and truly sad.

  7. incognito says:

    If you read Thompson, you should have seen that he refers to the importance of IDEAS to academics and intellectuals. Life is always more a mess than ideas, hence they prefer to stick to ideas rather than life.

    No wonder they are detached from reality.

  8. Eliyahu says:

    What you gotta do is to give your 2nd-rate academic a good paradigm, today called a “narrative,” and you control his mind. Reality can intrude only with difficulty into a mind captivated by a paradigm [narrative, ideology, etc].

  9. Don Cox says:

    “Most academics are desperate for what they lack: relevance, attention, influence, respect. Lit-crits lack these most.”

    I question “most”. I think your generalisation applies only to those who teach general topics such as literature, sociology or gender studies.

    It does not apply to those who teach courses on professional topics such as pharmacy, metallurgy, computer programming, or graphic design. These are too busy teaching the students skills and knowledge that are directly required for their chosen professions. They do not have time or need to pontificate on politics or religion.

    I think you will find these are the majority of academics in most colleges.

  10. incognito says:

    What you gotta do is to give your 2nd-rate academic a good paradigm

    Well, the 2nd rate academics — the bulk of the profession — would not know a paradigm if it bit them on the ass. It’s an insult to paradigms to express the term in the vicinity of those asses.

    Narrative is a bit better, but apparently not every paradigm captivates them. Applying the unobvious principle, only far-fetched narratives would work. The more logical and empirically obvious narrative won’t.

  11. Joanne says:

    I think that this is a question of political fashion.

    Everyone wants to be with the “in” crowd. And the fact that the Arab narrative is everywhere, easily stated and easily repeated, lends to its frequent acceptance.

    Those who suspect that there must be something more to the Israeli-white-settler-Arab-native paradigm don’t have many role models to follow, and don’t have easy ways to make their case. To see Israel’s argument means understanding much about the social, demographic and political conditions of the ME in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and even then the argument can be a hairsplitting one.

    It is so much easier just to accept the prevailing narrative of the Jews being like the French colons in Algeria. You don’t have to know very much about the history, you simply superimpose the “colonialism” boilerplate, fill in the blanks with “Palestinians” as the good guys and the Israelis as the bad guys, and… Voilà! You have an instant “analysis” that even a college freshman can understand.

    After that, every event in the complicated mess that is the Middle East can be seen through the filter of this boilerplate. Anything that doesn’t fit or that plainly contradicts the boilerplate is simply played down, dismissed, or ignored.

    Which reminds me of an anecdote I may have told here…I don’t remember…anyway, I probably didn’t: When I was in graduate school in the late 70s, there was a class in which a student said that students were the voice of conscience in a society. The professor, a European who no doubt knew of the fascist student clubs dominating the university scene in Europe some 40 years before, demurred on that point. This seems to have puzzled some students in the class, whose frame of reference had been formed by the 1960s, which was still fresh in people’s minds.

    I think that students—and professors, intellectuals, journalists, pundits, what have you—are not by definition the voices of political conscience. Rather, they’re the voices of political fashion, of the Zeitgeist. Political or intellectual fashions can be morally right or wrong, but they are always fashionable.

  12. incognito says:

    I think that students—and professors, intellectuals, journalists, pundits, what have you—are not by definition the voices of political conscience.

    They used to be the targets and the conveyors of education, which was predicated on knowledge and reason and critical faculties and intellect.

    That has collapsed, so both lack all of those.

  13. Regal Road says:

    Emergency is not too strong a word. This week, despite commitments to the contrary, the Israeli Knesset is considering legislation that would fundamentally change the Law of Conversion and further concentrate power with the Chief Rabbinate. The bill would give the Chief Rabbinate exclusive oversight of all conversion matters, putting non-Orthodox conversions performed abroad at risk, and greatly limiting the options available to Israelis and olim (immigrants to Israel) wishing to convert or in need of ‘official’ recognition. Sadly, this happened within hours of the arrest of Anat Hoffman (Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and Founder of Women of the Wall) for praying at the Western Wall with a Torah scroll, yet another reminder that non-Orthodox Jews don’t enjoy the same religious freedom in Israel that we do in North America.

    It is critical that Prime Minister Netanyahu hear a loud and clear message from Diaspora Jewry that further alienation of non-Orthodox Jews goes against our deeply held beliefs in Klal Yisrael and creates a dangerous rift between Israel and world Jewry at a time when the relationship between North America and Israel is so vital. We urge you to contact the Prime Minister as soon as possible and share your concern over the future of religious freedom in Israel, the character of the Jewish State, and the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.

  14. Michelle Schatzman says:

    @ Don Cox,
    I agree with you. It seems that our Incognito is generalizing without limiting the scope of his generalizations… but we know him, and have learnt to filter out this kind of generalizations by him. Being a professional mathematician, of course, I never had any time to think about paradigms and narratives, since I was mostly interested in theorems, models and adequation between theoretical descriptions in natural and engineering science and what is going on… really.

  15. incognito says:

    regal,

    It looks like the law won’t be passed. But if it does, all I can say is that Israel has a much more suicidal gene than the west.

  16. incognito says:

    I question “most”. I think your generalisation applies only to those who teach general topics such as literature, sociology or gender studies.

    Yes. I thought those were the ones we talked about. Natural science academics, including mathematicians, are another breed. They rarely venture into sociopolitical subjects, but when they do they tend to be awful, because their subject matter is not human and, for example, does not lie, or bully, or kill.

    I think you will find these are the majority of academics in most colleges.

    Perhaps. I was talking of the majority of those who are not in these fields.

  17. incognito says:

    Being a professional mathematician, of course, I never had any time to think about paradigms and narratives, since I was mostly interested in theorems, models and adequation between theoretical descriptions in natural and engineering science and what is going on… really.

    All real scientists should think of paradigms — they are research programs and most scientists operate within one, whether they realize it or not. They should realize it, understand it and be conscious of how it affects their research. Including mathematicians.

    Narratives is an altogether different matter. They are not intrinsic to their activities and they should be very careful when they get involved with those and realize that their skills often make them the least well equipped to deal with them, and lure them into a false sense of certainty about their abilities.

  18. incognito says:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/07/026773.php

    Somewhere in there is what I meant. I won’t even mention history of the rest of the world.

  19. Sergio says:

    Incognito,

    I think you give too much credit to the Khunian notion of “paradigm”. If there’s a paradigm at all, that should be the scientific method and its unavoidable ontological and epistemological hypotheses such as
    “there’s an external world independent of humans”, “that can be known (though only partially and indirectly)” though the finding of objective patterns of being and becoming (aka laws). That is, there’s an unavoidable metaphysics fund of science. Within this philosophical background there are the different branches of science with their specific traditions and fund of knowledged, usually formulated as big or small research projects which, when successful are expressed in hypothetico-deductive systems (aka, theories).

  20. Sergio says:

    BTW, I think “narrative” comes from Geertzian school of anthropology mixed with the postmodernist nonsense that everything is about “texts” or something like that.

  21. incognito says:

    I think you give too much credit to the Khunian notion of “paradigm”. If there’s a paradigm at all, that should be the scientific meth

    I was not particularly impressed with the Kuhnian notion, which I found somewhat vague and not well defined.

    This, however, does not negate the existence of research programs which are more specific than the scientific method — a “superparadigm” so to speak.

    As to the narrative, I rather prefer ideas to convey what we’re talking about here.

  22. incognito says:

    Here’s one use of paradigm which seems better than the Kuhnian:

    http://via.readerimpact.com/v/1/792bc4b1ec4cad1e102bfb9bbcc0325c6b7210346658c26c

  23. Ray in Seattle says:

    For those interested in human nature and why we actually believe do and say the things we do, here’s a good article on some current research. It largely supports my premise that critical thinking, education and intelligence and have little to do with the factual truth of one’s beliefs or the behavior that they drive. It’s about feeling good about yourself and other emotional drivers – as I’ve been pointing out.

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/?page=1

  24. incognito says:

    It largely supports my premise that critical thinking, education and intelligence and have little to do with the factual truth of one’s beliefs or the behavior that they drive.

    As usual, wrong.

    In order for your argument to hold you must assume that:

    1. People are trained via proper education to understand, appreciate and be able to apply knowledge, reason and critical faculties in life;

    2. They are undergoing this from very early in life, continuously and systematically

    3. All that does not have an effect on their beliefs.

    Such an assumption is empirically false.

    People are born with potential which requires development. And this must occur very early in life and continuously and systematically for a while to be effective.

    In reality, this increasingly does not happen. They acquire all sorts of beliefs via their social and cultural environment, to which they emotionally attach themselves precisely because they don’t have the mental resources and skills to support and defend them rationally.

    That they go into mature life without those skills does not mean that education is ineffective, it only means that they did not receive the proper one in time. Worse, most are indoctrinated. This would readily explains the results found by the research without your argument to hold.

    Now, within that context if you want to argue that there are some people for whom even proper education at the right time would not have an effect, but I doubt they are a majority. I would bet then on a destructive environment and/or genetic deficiency.

    But you are making an universal argument based on an incorrect assumption, which makes the argument incorrect. You are attached to a strong belief about the mechanism that achieves the outcome which is factually incorrect. And guess what I think explains that.

  25. Ray in Seattle says:

    Incog, good attempt at rational discourse here. Of course, the last sentence was unnecessary. Put in, I assume, in response to an emotional urge to insult someone who holds different beliefs than you – on this topic that you are highly motivated emotionally to defend. But, if you can avoid further insults for a while anyway, I’ll be happy to discuss this with you.

    I must say that I don’t really grasp your three points and how they relate to my argument. Your reasoning is not clear to me. I don’t even disagree with your implied premise – that all that does have an effect on their beliefs. I don’t see how that affects my argument. This reinforces my belief that you don’t understand my argument but that you oppose it because you sense (emotionally) that it somehow gives the forces of emotion primacy over reason as the driver of human behavior.

    As I have stated before, reason does have an effect on one’s behavior – to the extent that one’s reasoned conclusions have emotional potency in one’s mind and are strong enough to overcome opposing emotional signals from other sources, such as instinct, habit, etc. That leaves aside the strong possibility that one’s reasoned conclusions are objectively correct. Reasoning is not nearly as infallible as most think.

    But, one of the most potent sources of such opposing forces in the human mind is the need/desire to be seen as worthy of respect and admiration by others – social emotional forces. Such forces explain a great deal about Arab and Western leftists’ behavior in this conflict – and the other players of course.

    If you had read the article some of this would now be clearer and easier to understand. We adopt beliefs and political positions because they reinforce what we already believe. In my terms – they reinforce our identity – those strong beliefs that form our core. These are beliefs we will defend to the death in many cases. Questioning them is impossible.

    So, strongly ideological liberals and conservatives will readily accept, uncritically, concepts that support their core ideology and will flatly and emotionally reject any concepts that might cast doubt on them.

    The important point is that we seldom use our critical thinking to evaluate the such ideas objectively. We use it instead to create arguments for why concepts that support our core beliefs (our identity) must be correct – and why those that don’t must be wrong. What you call critical thinking is really the creation of clever arguments to show why you (your identity beliefs) are correct and any opposing views are wrong. That’s motivated reasoning. You illustrate this in your comments by revealing your need to insult those who have different views than you. If you were only interested in objective truth – then why would you need to insult anyone in the midst of an interesting discussion? An opposing view gives you a chance to see your own beliefs through another set of eyes – an advantage any truth seeker would appreciate. Different opinions would delight – not anger you.

    Try reading that article in the link carefully. It shows empirical justification for my premise. My purpose here is not to do that, however. It is to offer a different paradigm for understanding human nature and how that applies to the ME conflict. Lee Smith’s article is a good case in point. Can you see the connection? He explains why Western elites historically have so easily abandon enlightenment values. His jist becomes much clearer by understanding (via my premise) the emotional power of the social need to be seen as worthy by one’s peers – over the relatively weak emotional attachment, even trained academics have for objectively reasoned conclusions.

  26. Ray in Seattle says:

    That one sentence should have read, “That leaves aside the strong possibility that one’s reasoned conclusions are objectively incorrect.”

    What I’m saying is that human behavior and belief is bias all the way down. There’s no brain module for seeking objective reality and honoring it over other emotional signals. We honor objectivity rarely in life – and only through difficult mental effort that usually makes us feel far worse at the moment than following our existing identity beliefs when they conflict.

    We don’t need to training so much as you call it. What we need is to adopt and integrate into our identity the core belief that truly and objectively reasoned conclusions are intrinsically valuable as a matter of principle. That’s a core belief worth having and following if we can. Once a young person adopts that belief and it becomes part of their identity – they will figure out how to reason. Nothing could prevent it.

  27. incognito says:

    Well, that you don’t grasp the three points hardly surprises me. But that’s the reason the last sentence was there, whose purpose you don’t understand for the same reason, for which you also don’t understand that it is your ASSUMPTION that is empirically false, not the findings of the research.

    Readers should note that while my personal criticism is devoid of ad-hominem and psycho-analysis, Ray’s, who criticizes me for those very things, are not.

  28. incognito says:

    MUST READ:

    Frank Luntz on Why American Jewish Students Won’t Defend Israel
    Evelyn Gordon
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/evelyn-gordon/330061

  29. incognito says:

    BTW, Ray, do you really think these academics teach students how to think for themselves and critically? Hw to think logically? How to objectively interpret facts?

    And if they don’t, how can the argument that education is ineffective in countering incorrect beliefs be valid?

    Do you know of any primary or secondary school in Israel or elsewhere which does such mental development? If there are any, you can probably count them on your fingers.

    What is taught today is conformism — socialization and indoctrination. Because then it is easier to manipulate, control and exploit them, be it in school or later as member of the society.

  30. incognito says:

    OOps, I forgot to include the link to which #29 refers:

    Limit Israel’s boycott fans
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3920854,00.html

  31. Ray in Seattle says:

    It is difficult to discuss these things with you but I’ll keep trying as long as it doesn’t degenerate into insults. You list several things that “I don’t understand” according to you. The first two you list are examples where I was using “don’t understand” as a euphemism for saying that you’re statement doesn’t make sense. That small politeness gave you the opportunity to insult my ability to “understand” things generally – a rather gratuitous insult. Those don’t bother me except that it makes discussion more difficult – and so I mention it hoping to avoid more of the same. But, doesn’t it seem obvious to you that if you had a sound argument and a decent point to make – you could so without resorting to such tactics? It’s OK with me – just your point would be better honored I think without that stuff.

    The last example you offer is where you say that I fail to understand that my “ASSUMPTION” is what is empirically false. Isn’t that the point of the discussion? If so, simply stating that my assumption is empirically false doesn’t make an argument for your assertion that it is. In fact I see little evidence of any argument for your view – you only state that I fail on several levels to understand these things. If thats’ the case then you should have no trouble clarifying your view for me – so that I can see some semblance of an argument in there. What you offer is hardly an example of an argument that comes from some well-spring of critical thinking in a acutely logical mind.

    In #29 again, you likewise make statements to support your premise but that don’t really do so. You have been making statements to this effect ever since I started following this forum and I have yet to see you reference any empirical evidence to support them. You just keep repeating your assertion that people develop incorrect beliefs about the world because they had a poor education – or some variation of that – as if that makes it true. You say you have an academic background. I would expect a far more evidence-based argument from you on this topic.

    For example, Professor Landes is an academic who teaches. Can you show where his students tend to have extraordinary critical thinking skills but all the other students in the world don’t – or some testable correlation of that effect using professors like RL? Or maybe he’s the only one the world. Or maybe he doesn’t even qualify according to you. What is it and how can you test it?

    I have several times made references to scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals supporting my premise – including my first comment on this thread – #23 above. Now, let’s see some real evidence that the type or quality – in quantifiable terms – of one’s education will correlate with their ability to think logically and critically later in life and reach correct conclusions about the world. Or restate your premise as you wish.

  32. Ray in Seattle says:

    I suspect that what probably is true is that young people who develop a strong belief in scientific truth from their mentors and environment will tend to seek educations – including fields, school and professors – that can best fulfill their desire to become that kind of person. It’s also possible that a freshman might enter college without that appreciation but may be inspired in that direction by taking courses from good professors.

    But I don’t think anyone develops reasoning and critical thinking skills without first having a belief that good reasoning and critical thinking are skills that they want to include in their identity. In my experience they must first want to become that kind of person. That will drive them to acquire the skills and they will probably find a way to get them – no matter how terrible or how wonderful their teachers might be.

    You can expose them to skills and techniques but you can’t train someone to be logical.

  33. Eliyahu says:

    A common explanation for the turning away of the intellectuals from Israel is that the Jewish state forfeited the world’s sympathy once it was no longer perceived as the underdog in its conflict with the Arabs.

    This seems a plausible explanation but in fact many folks like to identify with the winner, no matter if he cheated or weighed 200 lbs more than the loser. Further, in Israel’s case, Israel has always been the underdog. That is, because neither the West nor the Communist world would let Israel consolidate its victory in any of its early, victorious wars. In 1948, the Communists were mainly on Israel’s side to be sure. Then, the West, led by the US and UK managed to call a truce when Israel was winning, defeating the Arabs, pushing their armies back, in danger of taking Hebron and the Old City of Jerusalem, whence Jews had been driven out in 1929 and May 1948, respectively.

    There was also the Ten Day Truce and the limit on how many calories of food per day per person [per Jew] the Jews were allowed to bring into besieged Jerusalem. Etc Etc.
    This pattern was repeated in subsequent wars. In 1956, Eisenhower demanded that Israel get out of Sinai. In 1967, Israel was stopped before it could destroy the Egyptian troops on the west bank of the Suez Canal. In 1973, once Israel looked like it was winning big, although losing the war at the beginning, then Nixon and kissinger got into action for the sake of “peace.”

    It has also been the “international community” that has kept up the 1948 Arab refugee situation and problem for the last 62 years [through funding UNRWA], rather than resettling those 1948 refugees for the sake of peace. The USA, UK, & France long subsidized the price of raw oil coming out of the Middle East from certain countries [ie, saudi arabia]. The West also generously funds both the palestinian authority and Gaza under Hamas.

  34. incognito says:

    It is difficult to discuss these things with you but I’ll keep trying as long as it doesn’t degenerate into insults.

    It’s difficult to discuss these things with you without reaching conclusions about the levels of your mental training, your knowledge and your reasoning abilities.

    I put my responses in the clearest ways I know how, yet you are unable to interact with them beyond reciting your mantra.

    There is a limit.

  35. incognito says:

    That is, because neither the West nor the Communist world would let Israel consolidate its victory in any of its early, victorious wars.

    Perhaps, although I am not sure this was the case all the way from 1948; in 1967 that was not the case. Israel was unable THEN to capitalize on it; it rather went down the path of a series of concessions to show how much it wanted peace, thus validating Aumann’s game theoretic explanation.

    It;s not entirely clear how things would have developed had Israel not brought Yassir Arafat back next to Israel, which in turn induced Israel to encourage Hamas as a counter-balance to him.

    If I recall correctly both the WB and the GS had a decent economic outlook, there was no sign of the Intifadas, etc.

    So it looks to me that Israel fucked up and thus drew both the pals and the world to pound on it. Note that they were ever fans, but at least they respected its power. Israel managed to lose both power and respect.

  36. Ray in Seattle says:

    Yes there is. It seems this discussion has reached it. But it was OK for a while.

  37. incognito says:

    But it was OK for a while.

    No, it wasn’t. I had to force myself to not speak my mind.

  38. Ray in Seattle says:

    Don’t hurt yourself. This should be fun for you too. ;-)

  39. incognito says:

    I never enjoy observing limitations.

  40. Ray in Seattle says:

    incog, Let’s step back from this for a minute. Human nature, how the brain controls behavior, is not settled science. There is no “proven” scientific view of how all this works – even if there is a body of very interesting current research and papers on it. I don’t offer my views on this in the sense that anyone who doesn’t agree with me is wrong. Even though I’ve read and studied a great deal on this topic my views on it could well be wrong. I just think its an extremely interesting question and I’m especially intrigued by how human nature affects one’s views on the ME conflict.

    My discussions with you always seem to devolve into insults. I think that’s unfortunate. It doesn’t bother me that you have different views on this topic. I enjoy the opportunity to compare how we each see things and which view might be more accurate.

    It’s unfortunate that you should feel limited and constrained because you can’t say what you really want to say to/about me. IMO there’s no good reason for you to question my reasoning ability, etc. just because we have different views on this unsettled science. Why do you feel the need to do that? Have you ever wondered about that?

    I realize that when I object to your insults that’s when things start downhill. The insults get in the way because a public insult is a form of humiliation that forces the discussion out of the idea zone and into the honor-shame zone. My human nature makes me want to respond. Such impulses are part of everyone’s mental makeup – it’s not just for Arabs. But I’ll try to ignore the impulse to respond for now. At least it’s worth a try. So don’t feel constrained on that point. I think your ideas are interesting and worth discussing even if I disagree with some of them and even if you insult me because of that. I’m only interested in your ideas. Wish you could see things the same way.

  41. incognito says:

    Ray,

    Somebody who compares anybody on this blog with a wife beheader and who declares himself a victim every time he is taken to task for his arguments and style does not deserve attention.

    I do not find exchanges with you worthwhile and they keep forcing me to restrain myself for the sake of RL.

    So please know that from now on I will comment on your arguments ONLY for the sake of others, to prevent any notion that because nobody counters them they are valid. They are NOT intended for engagement with you, which for me is a waste of time. You always end up doing exactly what you accuse me, falsely, of and you don’t even realize it. This is an indicator of a serious limitation.

    You can comment whatever and however you want, I will do the same and let’s ignore each other personally. But any violation on your part I will interpret as a permission to really speak my mind — RL, is that fair?

  42. incognito says:

    Eliyahu,

    I replied to your comment a while ago, it was eaten by the filters and RL has not extracted it at my request. So let me try again:

    That is, because neither the West nor the Communist world would let Israel consolidate its victory in any of its early, victorious wars.

    Perhaps, although I am not sure this was the case all the way from 1948; I think in 1967 that was not the case. Israel was unable THEN to capitalize on it; it rather went down the path of a series of concessions to show how much it wanted peace, thus validating Aumann’s game theoretic argument, which is made even more effective by the arab tendency to interpret compromises and concessions as weakness.

    It’s not entirely clear how things would have developed had Israel not brought Yassir Arafat back next to Israel, which in turn induced Israel to encourage Hamas as a counter-balance to him.

    If I recall correctly both the WB and the GS had a decent economic outlook, there was no sign of the Intifadas, etc. (I do not mean there was no hate, or that a golden peace would have arrived, but there were the beginnings of local leadership, a tad better than Fatah and certainly Hamas).

    So it looks to me that Israel screwed up and thus drew both the pals and the world to pound on it. Not that they were ever fans, but at least they respected its power and intelligent application thereof. Israel managed to lose both power and respect.

  43. Ray in Seattle says:

    Perhaps I do have limitations in that regard. But looking back at my comments I fail to see where I compared you with a beheader. I did say that where strong belief is concerned the process in the brain (human nature) prevents one from seeing any evidence that contradicts that belief and I used the Muslim beheader as an example of how that process works.

    I also don’t think I’ve ever declared myself a victim. I have called attention to insults directed at me in hopes of improving the discussion – not because they seriously bother me. I think I’ve always been pretty clear on that.

    I certainly don’t consider myself a victim in any sense and I’m perfectly happy to stand up for myself when necessary asking for no help or pity from others. In our encounters it seems to me you are the only one who suffers any significant humiliation – and that from your own words more than mine.

    But fear not. For anyone who spends as much time in internet discussions as I do – your inane insults questioning my intelligence or critical thinking skills are hardly likely to send me into the throes of victim-hood.

  44. Cynic says:

    incognito,

    Go back to the 1980s and see how Arafat was forced on Israel as the only negotiating partner the States and Europe would admit.
    They basically forced Israel into trying too hard, for various reasons, into going for broke.
    Something to bear in mind is that for Europe sanctions against Israel via the UN has always been on the cards and only in the late 1990s and early 21st century did Israel develop its economy sufficiently to provide a modicum of security which was about the only positive aspect of the Oslo fracas, if a fracas can have any positive points, thanks to the investments which suddenly appeared due to the peace mirage.
    Had Israel refused to deal with Arafat it would have started the current general animosity much earlier by supplying the West with the excuse they want for denying it acceptability.

  45. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    t has also been the “international community” that has kept up the 1948 Arab refugee situation and problem for the last 62 years [through funding UNRWA], rather than resettling those 1948 refugees for the sake of peace. The USA, UK, & France long subsidized the price of raw oil coming out …

    If one looks back one will see that at every turn that the Arabs made a mess the West has come running to pour in funds to keep the grindstone turning.

  46. Philippe says:

    How can an american praise a Hizbullah imam? We understand that the hatred of Israel is a strong and motivating feeling, but did Nasr forget the murder of over 300 US marines in Beyrout (1983) at the hands of hizbullah, or maybe she also praises that.

  47. Eliyahu says:

    #45, of course you’re right, Cynic. You know exactly what I meant. Meanwhile, we have supposedly serious intellectuals, including historians, who claim –mainly on the basis of hot air being emitted by politicians and by other “intellectuals”– that Israel has always been supported strongly by the West, by the USA, etc etc. The evidence of real policies is denied in what one might even call a psychotic manner, although some scribblers, interlekchuvals, and historians are simply cynically dishonest, cynically repeating a party line, what is “politically correct” and so forth.

    [for both Incog and Ray]
    Those who really believe the lie are ignorant fools or psychotics. Some of course may say to themselves, “Well, if Noam chomsky says so –and he is a “dissident” so he must be right– and edward said says so –and he is a champion of the hallowed Third World– and some yo yo in the NYT or WaPo says so and walt-mearsheimer say so, well then, golly, it’s gotta be so.” That’s dumb but –as goebbels said– repeat a lie often enough and long enough and it becomes accepted as truth. Nevertheless, ignoring the evidence in the daily press and the repeated deeds and words of such as Obama that are anti-Israel, does have a psychotic connotation. In other words, denying reality even to oneself has to be psychotic, at least to an extent.

    Jeffrey Herf rather frankly describes the compulsion felt by many academics to be “politically correct” and deny historical facts about Arab-Nazi collaboration that were well known in the 1940s. Herf believes that the psychotic, truth-denying paradigm about the Middle East, and the Israel-Arab conflict in particular, is changing slowly for the better. I hope he’s right. See the link:
    http://www.hnn.us/articles/128791.html

  48. Eliyahu says:

    Philippe, don’t forget that the Hizbullah’s suicide bombings in 1983 on that one day also killed about 58 French troops in addition to the circa 256 American marines. The number killed on that one day reaches over 300 only by adding the Americans and the French.

    This reminds me that in those days, the American press usually called Hizbullah “the Party of God.” I believe that that was done deliberately in order to promote sympathy for the Hizbullah among Americans who mainly respected religion in those days. Indeed, the name Hizb [= party] + ullah literally translated is “Party of God.” But the Western press doesn’t usually translate these Arabic names. But in Hizbullah’s case they did, at least in those days. However, it is very seldom that the name Fatah is translated. That would simply not do since fatahh [cognate to the Hebrew word patahh = to open] refers to conquering a city, that is, “opening” it to invading forces. Think especially of a walled city. That’s why the press very seldom translates the name Fatah [= conquest].

  49. incognito says:

    Go back to the 1980s and see how Arafat was forced on Israel as the only negotiating partner the States and Europe would admit.

    I think that happened much later than 1967 and Israel
    could and should have resisted the pressure. Unfortunately, Peres and (less) Rabin fooled themselves that he was a partner. Remember the walk hand in hand on the beach? At the point where they recognized the “pal people” they opened gates for the pal narrative, which is what intensified the pressure.

    They basically forced Israel into trying too hard, for various reasons, into going for broke.

    Yes, but what did Israel do? Made it easier or harder?

  50. incognito says:

    Had Israel refused to deal with Arafat it would have started the current general animosity much earlier by supplying the West with the excuse they want for denying it acceptability.

    Are you then saying, then, that Israel should cave in to whatever the west asks for? Because the animosity is intense, widesperead and much more likely to impose sanctions than then. I don’t think the size of the economy means much.

    It would have been much easier to resist then. Now…

  51. incognito says:

    that Israel has always been supported strongly by the West, by the USA, etc etc.

    Of course that’s bullshit. But that does not mean that Israel did not know how to play the game and it lacks cunning (which it used to have a bit of).

  52. incognito says:

    Those who really believe the lie are ignorant fools or psychotics.

    Sure, but WHY are they so? A large part of them simply cannot think for themselves, acquire the relevant knowledge, etc. It is in part lazyness, induced by insufficient intellectual development. That’s who propaganda and Chomsky target and where it’s effective.

    And the term academic doesn’t do anything to change the argument. Bear in mind that I spent more than 15 years in the social science field in both Israel and US and one of the reasons I left was the wilfull utter ignorance of the scientific method and logic — in a field where it is difficult to do science even when you know how to. They were mostly people who couldn’t cut it at politics and got themselves job and income security plus the patina of academia to ideologize, propagandize and indoctrinate.

    See the link I posted above re 2 Israeli academics.

  53. incognito says:

    Nevertheless, ignoring the evidence in the daily press and the repeated deeds and words of such as Obama that are anti-Israel, does have a psychotic connotation.

    How does that saying go? Don’t assume psychose when ignorance will do?

    Even psychose can be induced by ignorance and gullibility.

  54. incognito says:

    Eliyahu,

    I agree about Hezballah and Fatah.

    But in the west they do not attach much importance to names. Hell, they don’t attach importance even to flat out genocidal declarations.

    That’s called denial — they can’t accept the implications.

  55. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu, I don’t know you well except that you are Jewish, you live in Israel and you have a serious knowledge of history. (Also that you write coherently and usually respectfully.) I imagine that if I lived in Israel and if I was Jewish and had a love for Israel that I would feel quite insecure about Israel’s chances these days – and betrayed. I would feel very betrayed by the West, especially since Israel has bent over backwards to accommodate Western sensibilities forced on Israel by Western guilt over a colonial past but mostly by Western need for oil and safety from terrorism. But Israel has done what it could to be gentle with its Arab enemies every time. I’m no history expert but it seems to me that Israel has gone far beyond what any Western nation has ever done in their response to repeated attacks and terrorism directed at any of them.

    It’s understandable that you would blame this outcome on some form of psychosis. Incog blames bad education, ignorance, inability to reason, etc. All these causes are related to brain malfunction of one type or another. This is not the way good brains are supposed to work. Good working brains come to sensible and just conclusions. At least that’s what we’ve been taught by our culture.

    But our culture has that wrong. Brains are designed only to survive, which it senses in the moment as feeling good – not to be reasonable or to value objective truth – which more often than not feels bad. And brains will value short term survival over the long term – since brains are smart enough to know that they will be dead in the long term.

    Brains that come to conclusions that don’t make logical sense are simply brains trying to assure their short term survival and well-being. They do this by acquiring beliefs that can be depended upon to direct their behavior in ways that make them feel good. These beliefs acquire emotional potency depending on how reliable and effective experience has shown them to be for that purpose.

    Since humans need other humans to survive, one belief we are programmed with at birth is the belief that being respected and appreciated by our tribe feels very good and is worth pursuing at almost any personal cost. If that were not true humans would not risk their lives to defend their families and tribes when attacked. But that same dynamic also creates the honor-shame paradigm that much of the tribal third world still lives by.

    So those Islamists and radical imams out to destroy Israel don’t have malfunctioning brains. They have strong beliefs that blind them to more peaceful possibilities – such as living next to Israel and achieving success such as enjoyed by the West. And the leftists in the West who betray Israel don’t have malfunctioning or underfed brains. They have strong beliefs (the noble savage complex) that cause Israel to seem like a criminal enterprise to them.

    I just erased a couple of paragraphs in this location explaining what I think might work to turn things around in your favor. But you’re the Israeli and it’s your job to figure it out. I would only hope that you focus on applying sufficiently strong emotional force to your enemies (in both the west and the east) to change their deeply-held genocidal beliefs about Israel and its Jews – and not waste time fretting over their sanity, their critical thinking skills or the quality of their education. As I explained to incog – the most fundamental identity belief every human holds is “I want to live”. When someone’s life and the life of their “tribe” is truly threatened – humans experience deep soul-bending fear. It’s probably the only emotion strong enough to do what has to be done for Israel’s survival.

  56. incognito says:

    Eliyahu,

    Well, if those imams had undergone proper education and mental development at the proper age in a social environment not indoctrinating them with crap, I am willing to bet that quite a large number of them would not have those beliefs.

    So those beliefs are not a cause but an outcome; they are not explaining, they need to be explained. They are so close to the behavior that by saying “they act that way because they believe that way” is not really a satisfying explanation.

    The notion that people “just form unreal beliefs” and that explains their behavior is just an illusion of an explanation.

  57. Ray in Seattle says:

    incog says: “They are so close to the behavior that by saying “they act that way because they believe that way” is not really a satisfying explanation.”

    Then I guess if they acted that way because they believed the opposite that would make more sense to you?

    I still think I need to remind that the belief I am talking about is an emotional signal that exists between a stimulus and a behavior. These signals are independent of reasoning and consciousness when the brain sends them – although reasoning could have been involved in shaping them earlier.

    I’m not talking about some verbal explanation of what someone says they believe – which is what I suspect you think I mean. I don’t. The kind of essential belief I mean could be described as the revulsion and hatred an Arab (or a neo-Nazi perhaps) might feel simply seeing a Jew in his neighborhood. Fear and hatred like this generally come from the amygdala.

    Both the Arab and the neo-Nazi are likely to have some verbal way of describing their beliefs about Jews that makes them appear respectable. The story could change depending on who they are talking to – who’s respect they hope to gain. This verbal explanation of their beliefs told to others is itself a behavior – usually designed by their brain to make them feel good as the result of others’ approval. The emotion signals that drive this social behavior (the telling of belief narratives) generally emanate from the frontal cortex.

    The first kind of belief is universal. It’s how all animal behavior including human behavior is controlled by brains. It’s an emotional non-conscious process. The second kind is not really a belief that can directly control behavior – it’s an intellectual social game played well and elaborately by only one species.

  58. incognito says:

    For those really interested in understanding the relationship between education, beliefs, and dismissal of beliefs unsupported by logic and evidence I strongly recommend a close reading of JESUS INTERRUPTED, by Bart Ehrman.

    It’s a fascinating book about that subject as it applies to religious beliefs and also a fascinating analysis of the historicity of the new testament.

  59. incognito says:

    We all know what Ray’s identity belief is, don’t we?

  60. Ray in Seattle says:

    Curses, foiled again. There I was trying to trick the readers, who lack the superb critical thinking skills to separate objective truth from sophistry that only incognito seems to possess around here. I was tricking them into accepting a dangerous heresy that would lead them away from the truth as only incognito knows it – that education has collapsed and so the world must now enter a dark age of atonement and suffering. (Hmmm. That does have Jewish theme doesn’t it?)

    But incog was too quick for me again. If I could only indoctrinate those feeble minds with my false promise of hope by understanding that emotional beliefs cause behavior and those beliefs can be changed – I could control the world to my bidding. (I don’t exactly know how I’ll do that but I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.) But alas this is not to be. Accept your lot fools. Incognito is right and you are doomed.

    ;-) really!

  61. incognito says:

    Ray,

    If you weren’t so focussed on yourself, perhaps one could take your arguments more seriously.

  62. incognito says:

    Apropos identity beliefs, David Thompson is always a good read. O/T, but could not resist:

    http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2010/07/bikini-ideology.html

  63. incognito says:

    How easy is to fool America? First the rusians:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/07/026805.php

    Then possibly the iranians:

    http://www.debka.com/article/8918/

    Boy, do Islamists have it easy.

  64. Cynic says:

    Philippe,

    Don’t assume that Nasr because whe worked in the States for CNN that she considers herself an American.
    She could just be there for the material benefits with her sympathies in Lebanon.

  65. incognito says:

    Cynic,

    She could just be there for the material benefits with her sympathies in Lebanon.

    Could? Any doubts?

    As to her sympathies, well, she was christian (at least nominally) and one would expect her to be wary of Hezballah, unless that’s precisely why she thought it wise to not speak badly of that dead.

    But I would much suspect the material benefits to. Her job depended on access and we know how journos get access, don’t we? Wouldn’t CNN pay her well precisely because she could talk to Fadlallah and his ilk?

  66. Cynic says:

    incognito,

    As to her sympathies, well, she was christian (at least nominally) and one would expect her to be wary of Hezballah,

    You want me to laugh at that don’t you? Heh, heh!

    After 1970s Lebanon in which Arafat and his PLO slaughtered Christians willy nilly (Damour massacre for example) one had Vatican honchos in their official Mercedes running arms and explosives for the PLO to the West Bank – the Juice is so bad one must sacrifice one’s own flock to hurt them.
    Sabeel and the Anglican Tutus sacrifice their Palestinian flock in Bethlehem and surrounds to get at the Juice and so on. Even Orthodox Church clerics do the sacrifice.

  67. incognito says:

    Cynic,

    If you read my full message you saw that it was more nuanced than what you credit.

    Appeasement due to cowardice does not necessarily mean that there is no internal wariness. And I would not group Lebanese christians with Tutu or even the vatican, particularly since they were abandoned by the churches.
    And her CNN basis did give her some flexibility.

    But, as I said, it’s more likely that it also compelled her to have access, hence my material guess.

  68. Eliyahu says:

    After 1970s Lebanon in which Arafat and his PLO slaughtered Christians willy nilly (Damour massacre for example) one had Vatican honchos in their official Mercedes running arms and explosives for the PLO to the West Bank – the Juice is so bad one must sacrifice one’s own flock to hurt them.
    Sabeel and the Anglican Tutu sacrifice their Palestinian flock in Bethlehem and surrounds to get at the Juice and so on. Even Orthodox Church clerics do the sacrifice.

    This is a very significant point, Cynic, that has not gotten the attention that it deserves. In fact, hardly any attention at all, except tangentially. You can add to the churches’ role that of the West generally, including or especially UK, USA, and France, once known as the eldest daughter of the Church.

    The very minor attention that this issue has gotten shows just how rotten most academic Middle Eastern study is. In the US, according to what I have read, much of ME studies and even Arabic language study is anti-Israel agitprop, in which all sorts of other issues are neglected. On this see what the Lebanese-American Prof Louis-Noel Harfouche has written.

  69. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, the Vatican honcho that you were referring to is Hilarion Capucci. He was supposed to have been on the Turkish thug boat Mavi Marmara.
    In order to get him released by Israel ca. 30 years ago, the Vatican promised that he would not be allowed to get involved in politics. Yet Oriana Fallaci wrote that already in 2002 he was taking part in anti-Israel, pro-PLO/PA marches in Rome.

  70. Cynic says:

    Eliyahu,

    I know about Capucci and the whole sorry business and the Vatican’s behaviour when he was gaoled/jailed.
    Unfortunately the Vatican did not keep its side of the bargain.
    The “good fence” in 1976 was quite an eye opener.

    Incognito,

    And I would not group Lebanese christians with Tutu or even the vatican, particularly since they were abandoned by the churches.

    I had acquaintances amongst Lebanese and Syrian Christians in another part of the world and by observing them one would not be able to distinguish that as they displayed their religiosity and demeaned the Zionists.
    Some of them almost choked when asked to comment on some talks by Brigitte Gabriel.

    I was using Tutu and his ilk to display the abuse of Palestinian Christians, not Lebanese.
    But then Tutu was used to Anglican abuse of people for political ends.

  71. incognito says:

    In order to get him released by Israel ca. 30 years ago, the Vatican promised that he would not be allowed to get involved in politics.

    Whoever relies on the promises of the Vatican, particularly as they relate to Israel and jews, ooght to have their head examined and deserve what they get.

  72. incognito says:

    Cynic,

    I had acquaintances amongst Lebanese and Syrian Christians in another part of the world and by observing them one would not be able to distinguish that as they displayed their religiosity and demeaned the Zionists.

    I am the last one to deem christians anywhere pro-Israel or pro-jewish, including the US Israel “lovers”.

    I was referring to their attitude towards the muslims, particularly jihadists, and the pals and Hezballah in Lebanon. Externally they may say things to appease, but internally there’s no love lost.

    Re Tutu, yuckh. Only the west could make a hero out of him. The anglican church is not even a church, given the way in which is was created. And the pronouncements of its head demonstrate it quite clearly.

  73. incognito says:

    Re Lee Smith and his article on mainstreaming anti-semitism:

    [MUST READ!!!!!!!!]
    The Case of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer
    by Pejman Yousefzadeh
    http://newledger.com/2010/07/the-case-of-stephen-walt-and-john-mearsheimer/

  74. Cynic says:

    incognito,

    I am the last one to deem christians anywhere pro-Israel or pro-jewish, including the US Israel “lovers”.

    I don’t want them to be pro anything but themselves, to be objective and honest, but it seems that if anything they are pro Muslim against their own self interests.
    Just look at Mr. Said as an example or Michel Aoun from the Lebanese side or the Anglican clergy in Jerusalem or the Greek Orthodox crowd.

    In a manner just like those AsAjEWS in the States, Britain, Israel, ; aah what the heck can one expect when the pot generation screwed their minds and messed with the survival instinct. Or was it perhaps the glue they sniffed?

  75. incognito says:

    I don’t want them to be pro anything but themselves, to be objective and honest, but it seems that if anything they are pro Muslim against their own self interests.

    Indeed. Which is why I am suspicious when they make such a central point of being pro-Israel. In fact they ARE pro-themselves, which means they have insidious religious motives to declare themselves pro-Israel.
    I am referring to the CUFY christians.

    Just look at Mr. Said as an example or Michel Aoun from the Lebanese side or the Anglican clergy in Jerusalem or the Greek Orthodox crowd.

    When it comes to catholics and anglicans, many are pro-Muslim because they are cowardly for themselves to the point of totally disregarding their co-religionists in the arab/muslim world.

    As far as I know Said was an atheist and Aoun does not sound very religious, except where it’s politically convenient.

    In a manner just like those AsAjEWS in the States, Britain, Israel, ; aah what the heck can one expect when the pot generation screwed their minds and messed with the survival instinct. Or was it perhaps the glue they sniffed?

    Well, as Steyn often argues, that’s what you get from an infantilizing culture and from indoctrination instead of education.

  76. incognito says:

    Speaking of “those AsAjEWS in the States”, here’s a must read including comments:

    The Forgotten American
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/opinion/27iht-edcohen.html?_r=1

  77. Eliyahu says:

    Incog, edward said’s father came to the USA before WW I. He enlisted and served in the US army during the war and also became a US citizen. Edward was born with a father who was a US citizen. Apparently, Edward’s father’s family had converted to the Anglican church from another eastern Church, probably the Greek Orthodoz church. After all, missionary activity among Muslims was strictly forbidden on pain of death. So the American and other Western church missionaries in the ME in the 19th century and early 20th century focussed on converting Christians belonging to the traditional Eastern Churches. However, in Israel, especially Jerusalem, they were eager to also convert Jews and put much money and effort into that aim.

    In any event, young Edward, who basically grew up in Egypt, spent a year or two in Jerusalem while growing up. During that year or two in Jerusalem he attended the Anglican St George’s school.

    What I find more interesting is that his wife’s father was the leading Quaker in Lebanon. This Quaker link is also interesting not only because Quakers are supposed to be pacifists but because the Quaker church in the ME has been linked to the amer friends service committee and to the US foreign policy establishment.
    The Quakers [Society of Friends] have had a foothold in Lebanon and Israel since the mid-19th century, if not earlier.

  78. [...] outrages/ embarrasses us about what Israel does, reflects not the actual situation, but rather a serious distortion in our perception created by a PC discourse manipulated by people whose transgressions of their own people’s [...]

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