Category Archives: Judeophobia

Anti-Judaism, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism

In the last thread an issue came up that I think worth its own discussion. I have a brief discussion of this at Reflections from the Second Draft that tries to distinguish various kinds of Judeophobia, using definitions that I think are more valuable in thinking about our current predicament than the current discussion of anti-Semitism as racist and anti-Judaism as religious. Those definitions are below.

As for the discussion to follow, I’d like to lay out the following ground rules:

1) no ad hominem arguments.

2) try and avoid long disquisitions. say what you have to say as clearly as possible without invoking big names. (if you want to append a reading list alright, but if you’re presenting a thought articulate it to us in your own words.

3) don’t assume chasms where they appear to be.

4) accept and explore the chasms when they actually appear.

5) “The sail of thinking keeps trimmed hard to the wind of the matter.” (Wittgenstein)

And in this case, the “matter” is figuring out why we’re being walloped by Islamists in a cognitive war that progressive/liberal/civic forces should be winning hands down.

On Judeophobia

Much confusion surrounds the discussion of hostility to Jews and Judaism, especially since the phenomenon goes back millennia. Suggested below are some guidelines for thinking about these complicated issues from a medievalist who, following Gavin Langmuir, distinguishes between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism in a significantly different manner from modernists (who emphasize the question of race).

ANTI-JUDAISM: Anti-Judaism is a dislike of Judaism based on zero-sum relationships: in order to feel good about myself, I need to feel bad about Jews. We (Christians, Muslims, seculars) are better because you are worse; we are right (e.g. about the sacred text) therefore you are wrong; our faith is true because we rule (triumphalism); we have honor because you must lower yourselves before us; we have replaced you as the true Chosen People (supersessionism/replacement theology). When Augustine worked out the theology of the Jew as humiliated and wretched survivor, bearing witness to the Christian Truth, he embodied this honor-shame anti-Judaism. When Muslims worked out the Dhimmi laws, systematically disadvantaging Christians and Jews, they gave this emotional need a legal expression.

At its mildest, anti-Judaism, like any other dislike of a religion or tradition, is a common phenomenon that it is hard to get too indignant about. There’s no arguing about taste, and most people succumb to the temptation to think they make themselves look bigger by making others look smaller.

At its worst, however, anti-Judaism is a compulsive discourse of superiority that needs to see and feel the domination over Jews in order to be satisfied, a religious imperialism. Violent manifestations include bullying, humiliating rituals (kissing a pig’s ass on Good Friday, not walking in the rain lest dirt washing off from the Jew render the Muslim impure), and the occasional pogrom. Jew-hating often serves as a form of scape-goating drug that cuts the pain of suffering (by making Jews feel even more pain), inflicted by the very people who suffer at the hands of those who manufacture and feed them their Jew-hatred. In the world of hierarchy where everyone gets dumped on by those above, and dumps on those below, having someone for everyone to dump on becomes a psychological and social necessity.

ANTI-SEMITISM: Whereas anti-Judaism tends to stay in the realm of “normal” if lamentable reactions of envy and resentment, anti-Semitism expresses a deeper paranoia. People drawn to this kind of discourse feel that the very existence of the Jews threatens “us” with annihilation: “exterminate them or be destroyed ourselves.” In order for us to breathe, you must be eliminated.

Judith Butler, the Adorno Prize, and the Moral State of the “Global Left”

The following is a long version of a response to Judith Butler that will appear in various forms at other sites, including SPME. This version is here either for those who enjoy my overwrought prose, of those who find that the logic of edited versions elsewhere is interrupted by the cuts.

Judith Butler’s feelings are hurt because some professors who claim they’re for “peace in the Middle East,” have criticized her and openly called on the Adorno Committee to withdraw the Prize that they have announced would be offered to her this year, on Adorno’s birthday, 9-11. Stung by the criticism, Butler responded at the site of the notoriously anti-Israel Jewish blog, Mondoweiss. in her defense. The defense illustrates every aspect of the problem with Butler’s approach to the criticism of her work, including the folly of German intellectuals to raise her up as a heroic example.

The criticism of her receiving the Adorno prize involves the following three points: 1) Her criticism of Israel for violations of (her) moral standards is exceptionally harsh, even though she has very little to say about exceptionally harsh violations among Israel’s enemies. 2) She has taken this moral imbalance from mere rhetoric to determined action, supporting extensive and punishing academic boycotts of Israel (e.g., Kafka archive should not go to Hebrew University). And 3) she enables and encourages virulent anti-Semitism both in this participation in BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), and in identifying some of the worst offenders where that ancient hatred is concerned (Hamas and Hizbullah) as part of the “progressive, global, Left.”

Her response was a long, rambling, self-defense (2000 words) in which she systematically misrepresents the critique, and shields herself by claiming the status of a suffering victim of a vicious attack that deeply hurt her feelings.

Only Israel has no right to defend itself…

(HT/Cookie)

Is it that the world doesn’t care about Jewish blood spilt? Or is it that too many like it?

For an extended treatment of this issue by someone who keeps his head level, his eye on the ball, and unfailingly finds clarity despite being surrounded by madfolk, see Robin Shepherd’s A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel. I’ll post on his chapter on Islam in Europe shortly.

Interview on IBA on Global Forum on Anti-semitism

For those who want, I have an interview up for the next 24 hours that ran live last night on Israel Broadcast Authority with Elli Wohlgelenter.

Not one of my more brilliant interviews… especially at the end.

Haiku on Arab Exports

It’s now the anniversary of my father’s stroke, and for a while there it looked like he’d checked out. The doctors didn’t help with their extremely cautious prognoses. But he’s improved consistently, and although we knew he followed conversations and “got” what was being said — mostly because he’d laugh in the right places — his articulation was limited. Today he gave me the punch line to this haiku:

    do arabs export
    more oil or hate? and
    which do people value more?

Magdi Cristiano Allam: Halte à l’antisémitisme sous couvert d’antisionisme!

Alexandre del Valle has posted at his blog an interview with France Soir of the Egyptian-born, Italian journalist and European deputy, who has just published a book, in response to Islamist terrorism, a hymn to life entitled, « Pour que Vive Israel » (ed du Roche). Since his conversion to Christianity, there are fatwas out on his life.

Apparently he’s been reading Fiamma Nierenstein.

Must say, it reminds me of the political cartoon Ellen Horowitz did for me some years back and I posted as part of an essay she had done on the way Arabs project their brutality onto Israelis:

Magdi Cristiano Allam: Halte à l’antisémitisme sous couvert d’antisionisme!
Lundi, 2 novembre 2009

L’avis inédit du célèbre journaliste italien député européen sur l’actualité internationale. Bientôt de passage en France, il publie en réponse au terrorisme islamiste un hymne à la vie intitulé « Pour que Vive Israel » (ed du Rocher),

Magdi Cristiano Allam, ancien Vice-Directeur du Corriere dela Sera, est l’une des personnalités politico-médiatiques les plus populaires d’Italie. D’origne égyptienne, auteur de nombreux best-sellers sur l’islam et l’Occident, il est menacé de mort par le Hamas et Al Qaïda en raison de ses positions sur l’islamisme, sur Israel et depuis sa conversion au christianisme. Député européen sur les listes de l’Union du Centre (UDC) parti membre comme l’UMP du Parti populaire européen, il a créé son propre mouvement, Io Amo L’Italia, Anima d’Europa, qu’il ambitionne d’implanter dans toute l’Europe. Protégé en permanence par de nombreux gardes du corps, France soir l’a rencontré au Parlement européen ;

France Soir : Les fatwas contre vous ont été renouvelées depuis que vous avez quitté l’islam, le fait de lier l’islamisme à l’islam a–t-il agravé votre cas ?

MCA : Je me bats plus que quiconque en faveur de la reconnaissance de droits des Musulmans en tant que personnes, mais je suis opposé à l’islam en tant que religion, que j’ai essayé en vain de réformer mais dont les textes fonateurs légitiment la violence. Hélas, les Musulmans modérés sont moins orthodoxes que les Islamistes.

Combatant/Civilian Casualties and the Moral Hysteria/Hypocrisy of the West

Noah Pollak nails a particularly egregious element of the West’s inconsistencies in denouncing the inhumanity of war. Here we deal with the astounding difference in civilian to combatant casualty ratios between US forces and Israeli in targeted killings: 50:1 (50 civilians killed for every targeted combatant vs. somewhere between 3:1 (at worst), and less than 1:1 (more combatants than civilians killed) in the latest operation in Gaza. Comments at the end.

Re: Call Off the Drones?
NOAH POLLAK – 05.05.2009 – 4:36 PM
There is a statistic in the David Kilcullen quote that Max excerpts below that I find absolutely arresting:

Since 2006, we’ve killed 14 senior Al Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period, we’ve killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area.

I’m used to parsing the civilian-to-terrorist kill ratio as it is obsessively applied to Israel and its enemies, but even by those standards, we are dealing in Pakistan with a military campaign that far surpasses anything the IDF has done in its destructiveness to civilians. We’re talking about a 50:1 ratio of civilian to terrorist deaths. In the famed “Jenin massacre,” fully half the Palestinians killed were terrorists, for a 1:1 ratio. In 2004, Sheikh Yassin, the “spiritual leader” of Hamas, was killed along with two bodyguards and nine bystanders — a 3:1 ratio. At the time, the British foreign secretary denounced the operation, saying that Israel “is not entitled to go in for this kind of unlawful killing and we condemn it. It is unacceptable, it is unjustified and it is very unlikely to achieve its objectives.”

During the 2006 war with Hezbollah, Israel killed — exact numbers are unknown — around 1,100 civilians and 600 Hezbollah, for less than a 2:1 ratio. And during the recent Gaza war, out of around 1,200 Palestinian casualties, over 700 were terrorists — better than a 1:1 ratio, which is astonishingly good, given the way Hamas fought. The example of Israel and Hezbollah is, in this context, analogous to the United States and Al Qaeda: both face virulent terrorist organizations that thrive in territories uncontrolled by the weak governments of Pakistan and Lebanon. Now imagine that Israel had been conducting a Predator drone war over the past few years that had killed 14 Hezbollah leaders and 700 Lebanese civilians. Is there any chance that this would not be a constant source of global hysteria?

And so, as far as the U.S.’s drone war is concerned, I have a few questions: Where are the shrill denunciations of disproportionate force and extrajudicial killings? Where are the UN investigations? Where are the condemnations from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN Human Rights Council? Where are the front-page New York Times exposes of American war crimes? Where are the indictments of U.S. officials by European judges? Why hasn’t Pat Buchanan compared the United States to the Nazis? Why hasn’t the Guardian compared Waziristan to a concentration camp? Where are the bloody front-page pictures of dead Pakistani children? Where are the sympathetic stories of lives ruined and communities destroyed because of the United States’ indiscriminate use of force? Why hasn’t Andrew Sullivan commenced a discourse on America’s violations of international law? Where is the hand-wringing from liberals about how our attacks are only perpetuating the cycle of violence and recruiting more terrorists? Why aren’t Zbigniew Brzezinski and Steve Clemons lecturing us that diplomacy is the only solution? Why isn’t anybody detailing the outrageously disproportionate force the Army is employing against a group of rural tribesmen armed only with RPG’s and rifles?

I think there might be a double standard at work here.

Double standard doesn’t begin to get at the problem. First of all, at one level this needs to be understood in the context of what Charles Jacobs calls, the Human Rights Complex, which argues that if you want to gauge the intensity of moral outrage at Human Rights violations, look not to the victim, nor how much that victim suffers, but to the perpetrators: if they’re white, the indignation will wax, if they’re of color, it will wane. Here we find an interesting variant: apparently the Jews are the super-whites. Given that a couple of generations ago, before WW II, they weren’t considered white, that’s quite a journey to traverse in the universe of Western moral thought.

Among other things, this “little” detail illustrates a number of points:

1) The Israeli army has the most stringent standards on collateral civilian casualties in the world. They have called off strikes where the civilian casualties are way below the US average.

2) Israeli leftists are by far the most self-critical on the planet. When even a small number of civilians are killed Israelis demonstrate, write scathing articles in the major newspapers, publish lengthy articles in scholarly journals denouncing the unacceptable damage done to innocent civilians.

3) The American left has much more energy to protest Israeli violations than those of its own country. The NYT’s, for example, ran a fine article on the problems of the US in Pakistan, which presented these drone attacks as the most effective policy we have so far… without even mentioning the civilian casualty toll.

4) This problem may have something to do with both a combination the weak will to self-criticize among US progressives, and the bully effect of being able to pick on Israel at no cost.

5) And, last but not least, this does confirm my argument about moral Schadenfreude as the current most popular form of left-wing Judeophobia around these days. Nothing, apparently, makes progressives so happy as getting hysterical about Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians. After all, won’t that bring peace?

The Durban Front Crumbles: Italy Pulls Out

Some good news from the Durban front. And there may be more to follow.

Update on Italy from Fiamma Nirenstein, who, as a member of Parliament, played a role.

Update from France: French PM [at the annual meeting of the CRIF]: France would not hesitate to withdraw from Geneva meet if Israel stigmatized

Italy pulls out of UN racism conference
By AP AND TOVAH LAZAROFF
Jerusalem Post
Mar 5, 2009 18:43 | Updated Mar 5, 2009 22:32

Italy has pulled out of a UN conference on racism seen by many Western governments as being hijacked by Muslim attempts to attack Israel and shield Islam from criticism.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Thursday that Italy had withdrawn its delegation from the negotiations ahead of the so-called Durban II conference due to “aggressive and anti-Semitic statements” in the draft of the event’s final document.

Frattini made the comments in Brussels, where he attended a NATO meeting. Ministry Spokesman Maurizio Massari said Rome would not participate in the conference unless the document is changed.

A similar condition has been impose by the United States, while Israel and Canada have already announced a boycott.

Frattini also said that he planned to cancel his controversial upcoming visit to Iran, a move which had created tension between Israel and Italy.

He told Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the decision during a meeting between the two in Brussels.

Italy is the first EU country to officially withdraw from the conference, though other nations have threatened not to attend.

Islamic countries, still angry over cartoons and films attacking Muslims, have been campaigning for wording that would equate criticism of a religious faith with a violation of human rights.

The informal negotiations have proven difficult, with many issues that marked the first UN conference on racism in 2001 re-emerging – such as criticism of Israel.

The April 20-25 meeting in Geneva is designed to review progress in fighting racism since the previous summit in South Africa. That meeting was marred by attacks on Israel and anti-Israel demonstrations at a parallel conference of non-governmental organizations.

The US and Israel walked out midway through the conference over a draft resolution that singled Israel out for criticism and likened Zionism to racism.

Last week, the Obama administration said the United States will stay away from this year’s meeting unless its final document is changed to drop all references to Israel and the defamation of religion.

European nations have expressed hope the summit can go ahead with a final text that is acceptable to all sides.

But they, too, have red lines they say cannot be crossed.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said in December that his country would walk out unless anti-Israel statements were scrapped. French diplomat Daniel Vosgien said then that his country opposed the idea of banning criticism of religion.

The Uses of Antisemitism: More from Neslon Ascher (Europundit)

THE USES OF ANTI-SEMITISM

We all have spent too much time talking about the widespread anti-semitism in the Muslim world and discovering, to our surprise, that many in the West actually share this feeling, while many more couldn’t really care less. This is a mistaken approach.

Instead of trying to understand “why they hate us” and why they (and many others) hate the Jews (something I hope we’ll still be discussing for several generations), what we have to understand right now is: what is anti-semitism good for? What are the uses of anti-Semitism?

Whether those who manipulate anti-Semitism are themselves anti-Semites (or anti-Zionists or whatever), whether they personally share the hatred, all that is irrelevant right now. The historical roots of the hatred, its psychology and so on are not questions we have time to analyse, dissect, discuss endlessly nowadays. (And we’re still debating the Holocaust, how and why it happened etc., 61 years after the end of WW2, without having reached anything resembling consensual answers.)

We are spending precious time getting surprised or scared, wondering about the hatred itself, its depth and extension. That’s important, but not what’s most important or urgent. What we need to understand is that this hatred is being once again used cynically to obtain certain results.

Besides being anti-semitic themselves, the Nazis used anti-Semitism skilfully to subvert other countries and societies. Though Nazism was (among other things) a form of German expansionism, wherever there were anti-Semites the Germans would also find collaborators. Anti-semitism was used by the Germans to undermine from the inside countries, societies and armies that could or would stand up to them.

The Nazis managed to convince millions and millions of Frenchmen and Poles, Belgians, Norwegians etc. and, yes, Brits and Americans that, since they were fighting a common enemy (the Jews), they weren’t really the mortal enemies of France, Poland, Belgium, Norway, England and the US. Untold millions were eager to believe that Germany wasn’t really threatening them and their countries, that the Germans didn’t really want to conquer, exploit and kill them. Why? Because they either thought that they could make common cause with the Nazis against the Jews, or remained indifferent, neutral and defenceless. Since, when not actively loathing or persecuting them, they were indifferent to the fate of the Jews, they also believed it was none of their problem. Many of them even turned against those in their own countries who wanted to fight the Nazis and blamed them for putting everyone else in danger just to “protect the Jews”.

In short: if the Jews were used in the beginning as scapegoats, their main use throughout the war was as a tool to “divide and conquer”. Thanks to their sincere or opportunistic ant-semitism, the Germans were able to paralyse important forces in the countries and societies they wanted to defeat and submit.

What’s in a gym? A Look Inside the NGO Culture in the “Territories”

Seth Freedman is a columnist for the Guardian. He served in the Israeli army and has a complex attitude towards the Israelis which partially tempers his tendency to believe that the overwhelming hostility to Israel from the “Left” must have something to it:

Then there are those – like me – who prefer to incorporate the “10-bar theory” into their thinking. Namely, that if you walk into a bar and someone starts a fight with you, the chances are that they’re the one with the problem. But if you walk into 10 bars and each time someone wants a piece of you, then it’s more than likely that you’re the one doing something wrong.

I don’t know. Given the madness going around, the high-octane anti-Semitism and the low-octane anti-Judaism that the post-modern folks at the bar are imbibing, why anyone would go with the 10-bar rule is beyond me. But hey, if it gets you a stint at the Guardian, why not?

I the meantime, he’s got enough intellectual integrity to give us a real insight into the culture of NGOs at work “helping” the Palestinians.

Battling it out at the gym
Seth Freedman
Friday 19 December 2008 09.00 GMT
An innocuous inquiry about where to work out in Ramallah has sparked a fury among NGO workers in the city

Comments (100)

Despite inauspicious beginnings, I am generally well-disposed to the legions of aid workers who flock to the occupied territories to alleviate the suffering of the local populace. Their cause is just, their aim is true – regardless of the brickbats hurled their way by the likes of NGO Monitor and other such detractors.

There’s a lot of subtext here which emerges from a reading of the two links – both to Freedman himself. I might be willing to argue that their “cause is just” if it is indeed to alleviate the suffering of the local populace; but I’d be very hard put to accept the (facile) claim that their “aim is true.” On the contrary, if their aim were true, they would either a) be working elsewhere where the local suffering is far greater (say Darfur or Congo) — something even Freeman acknowledges; or b) be targeting the predatory practices of Palestinian leaders, both secular and religious, who so amply contribute to the suffering of their own people.

Of course when your militancy confronts the Israelis, you don’t have to worry too much for your safety; and when you don’t confront the vicious (and touchy) elites who oppress the people whose suffering you want to help, you can live without too much anxiety for your safety.

Dropping everything in their home countries and relocating halfway round the world to help those who can’t help themselves are qualities that ought to be admired by anyone with an interest in promoting global tolerance and goodwill among men.

The real issue is how one understands the phrase “can’t help themselves,” and the degree to which one’s help further infantalizes the ones one wishes to help. If you go in, as does International Solidarity Movement, determined not to challenge the Palestinians on their addiction to hate-mongering and terrorism (like suicide bombing), then, I’d say, you’re not doing them any favors.

Be Afraid and Learn the Lessons of Eurabia: Nidra Poller nails it, alas!

I went yesterday night to a talk at a synagogue in Stoughton by Geert Wilder, the Dutch lawmaker now on trial in his homeland for “hate speech” as a result of his movie Fitna, and recently ejected from the UK by an administration cowed by the threat of 10,000 Muslims besieging Parliament if they let Wilder show his movie. No one’s problems better illustrates the pathetic condition of Europe than Wilder.

While this was a last-minute affair with announcements going on a mere days before the talk, the room was full (not just of Jews, Miss Kelley and a number of her friends, appropriately marked with ash on their foreheads were also there); and Wilder got three standing ovations. The talk will be posted on the internet shortly.

His message was: “It’s not 8:55, it’s 11:55… We are in the last stages of islamization of Europe… and it’s closer than we imagine… It could happen very quickly… the USA is losing an ally to an ideology of hatred… the European political and intellectual elites have been intimidated and are now behaving like Dhimmi.”

Wilders has run into problems because, apparently, he called for the Quran to be banned, although according to Bostom that was not so much a serious call for banning the Quran as a ploy to emphasize that if you’re going to ban texts for hate-speech then the Quran should be at the top of the list. In honor of Wilder’s struggle, I post here a thoughtful, eloquent, and hard-hitting piece by Nidra Poller on what the USA can learn from European folly.

MARCH 2009 OUTPOST NOW ONLINE

Europe’s Woes America’s Warning
by Nidra Poller

It is difficult to imagine how European nations could find the will and the ways to counter the subversive forces they have invited upon themselves and allowed to flourish for more than three decades. The current phase of global jihad, already underway in the much vaunted decolonization process, coalesced with the seizure of power in Iran by Ayatollah Khomenei (who had been living as a pampered refugee in France). But the American reader should be wary of concluding that Europe is lost…and the United States is standing firm.

On the contrary, all of Western civilization is under fire. As promised during the campaign, Barack Hussein Obama is making a radical change in American policy. Not of course the glorious change his worshippers promised themselves, but a troubling shift toward dhimmitude. The newly elected president lost no time in pleading guilty as charged by Muslim authorities and promising to refrain from further rebellion in order to receive their benevolent indulgence.

Similar methods produce similar results. Jihad forces in Europe — and in the United States — used Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza as a pretext to organize virulent, violent pro-Hamas demonstrations. Because Europe is further down the path to surrender, the enraged pro-Hamas mobs were more violent, destructive, and physically threatening here than in the United States. But in both cases they advanced their dominion. This should be recognized as authentic conquest of territory by enraged mobs bearing down on hapless victims in an ominous show of force and not, as claimed and widely accepted, citizen demonstrators exercising their right to free speech.

Absolutely. As I argued almost five years ago, one of the major results of the al Durah affair was to allow the Arab street to take root in Europe. This is just the latest stage, and it’s most worrisome. Anyone reading this as “citizen demonstrators exercising their right to free speech,” is a useful idiot.

If you can carry signs equating the Magen David with the swastika, if you can scream “Jews to the ovens” in the face of Zionists in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, if you can storm into a synagogue in Caracas, Venezuela and terrorize the congregation, if you can bully the police in England, smash up the Place de l’Opéra in Paris, burn Israeli and American flags, shout Allahu Akbar without meeting resolute opposition, it means you can keep going and ultimately fulfill those murderous promises. Do American Jews understand what was acquired by these phony demonstrations that are really paramilitary operations? Wherever those enraged mobs set foot they transformed the streets into de facto waqf territory.

Precisely. This is a war that concerns gangs and territory. We in the West are badly equipped to handle it and (hence) to recognize it (i.e., if we can’t handle a problem, don’t have a solution, then don’t identify it as a problem).

Each successive crisis is an opportunity to ratchet up Jew hatred and the concomitant assault on Western civilization, achieving, step by step, tacit acceptance of the unspeakable. Here is how it works: first, the provocation. Jihadist attacks — thousands of rockets launched against Israel, a few airplanes flown into the WTC, capture and beheading of hostages, roadside bombs, inhuman pizzeria bombers, nuclear weapons programs — finally provoke a riposte. Bingo! The Muslim wailing machine goes into action. It is immediately picked up by complicit Western media and transmitted, with a Good Journalism stamp of approval, to public opinion. Israel, the United States and anyone else who dares to fight back is accused of war crimes, peace crimes, and original sin. This justifies subsequent acts of subversion and aggression against the free world.

It is a brilliant strategy, even if it involves the sacrifice of Muslim lives in order to pull it off. The pathetic, outrageous, inconceivable aspect of it is the role played by our own media.

When the United States used its formidable military force and assumed its international responsibilities, European nations, with rare exceptions, exploited opposition to “the war in Iraq” to undermine the American superpower. This agitation was exploited in turn by jihad interests to advance the Islamization of Europe… and by ricochet to influence domestic politics in the United States as Obamamania surfed on the theme of repairing America’s battered image.

So European resentment causes them to behave in self-destructive ways (striking at the only nation that has and can save them from their folly for what would be a third time), and American insecurity (which I run into among my colleagues all the time), takes European bad faith and cowardice as a model for us to imitate. It’s pretty amazing.

Israel’s “Three Choices”: A tentative response to “israeli”

In a previous post on Bob Simon’s 60-minutes piece, I got a long comment from someone with the tag “israeli”, in which he made the basic argument that Simon did about needing to act now in order to avoid either self-destruction as a Jewish democracy or apartheid.

My answer to him turned out to be much longer than I had planned, and fairly dense in both style and content… lot’s of contorted short-hands and long explanatory phrases in mid-sentence. But I do think it gets at some of my broader thoughts on some key issues concerning the problem of “solving” the conflict. So I’m putting it up as an independent post, and starting a new line of comments.

If anyone wants to offer some edits of my text so it’s not so convoluted, I’d be very grateful. If anyone has links to suggest, also welcome.

I am very late to this, so i am not sure RL will even see my comment but here it goes anyway…

RL, the points you bring up are valid, but there is one or two things you are not taking into consideration… I worked in the policy world for a while, on military matters… The main thing I learned was that critiques are no good if you cannot offer a better solution.

i understand, and have been told that many times. i think, however, that in the current situation, demanding solutions is a luxury we can’t afford. first we have to think seriously and realistically about the situation before we can come up with solutions.

indeed, it’s precisely this demand for solutions that contributed so much to getting into our current predicament. rushing to solutions that policy-makers hoped would work (positive-sum, marshall-plan, land-for-peace type solutions), we systematically ignored all evidence that they wouldn’t work, then didn’t work, indeed even ignoring that they’ve blown up in our face — in this conflict, right now, concession produces violence.

so we won’t find real solutions if we don’t do more reality testing (ie shed our liberal cognitive egocentrism, pay real attention to what’s going on on the other side, and learn to identify and isolate demopaths).

what solutions will emerge for clearly seeing and acknowledging the realities (which in good post-modern style, i will grant you are mutliple and variegated), will only emerge over time. if you won’t move off your current paradigm till you have a solution in sight for this problem, you will go nowhere.

In Israel today the situation is as follows: If there is no peace deal between Israel and the palestinians, the settlements will gradualy expand to the point that a two state solution will become impossible.

i don’t know why you say that. i really doubt any serious settlements are going up in the middle of clearly palestinian areas. most activity (as far as i know — and i’ll accept correction/rectification on this — are areas that a reasonable palestinian negotiating team will agree belongs under israeli sovereignty (e.g., maale adumim, gush etzion).

in any case, this is not what i would call an axiom, so much as it is an acceptance of the current palestinian negotiating stance as immutable — ie the settlements are the reason why there’s not been a 2-state solution yet (eg why Oslo failed), and they all have to go. so if the settlements grow, it’s all over. i don’t accept any of these positions or suppositions as either “fact” or justified.

At that point the palestinians will demand citizenship and Israel will have the choice of apatheid or a democracy that is dominated by the soon to be arab majority.

your very language suggests the degree to which your thinking has been taken over by others. by any sane rules of the democratic game, the “palestinians” have no right to demand citizenship and the israelis are under no moral obligation to grant either to them.

over the last 60 years, the palestinian leadership has pursued policies, both internal and external, that are so profoundly anti-democratic that the current palestinian population, especially the generation raised by the post-Oslo leadership (Fatah and Hamas), are radically incapable of sustaining a democracy among themselves much less participating in one created and maintained with great energy and immense risk, by the israelis.

the only reasoning that this kind of idiotic thinking — that the israelis must grant citizenship to the palestinians if they don’t “give them” their own state — is so fashionable is the result of a combination of incredibly superficial political thinking (along the lines of “hamas was elected, so it must be a democracy/israel, if it wants to be a democracy, can’t insist on being a jewish state”) and really nasty anti-zionism (make them swallow the indigestible palestinians either as citizens or as sovereign neighbors and watch them die a long and painful death).

(i know some of my commentators here will point out that i’ve just “combined” two expressions of the same thing — nasty anti-zionism. and i must confess that the superficiality of most political science right now is so breath-taking that it demands explanation, and that anti-zionism and its siamese twin anti-semitism are major candidates. but i’d like to at least allow the possibility that not every intelligent idiot is a scoundrel. there are genuine dupes of demopaths who, if they realized their folly and confronted the dangers, would change their mind.) Time to swallow the red pill.

Waltzing with Wolves: Rosenthal vs. Goldman on the meaning of the film

An interesting exchange in the pages of PJMedia on the meaning of Waltzing with Bashir, academy-award nominated for best foreign film. First John Rosenthal savages the movie in a two-part article, then Lisa Goldman returned the favor by savaging Rosenthal. Then Rosenthal responded.

Lots of critical themes here, including the meaning of depicting the Israelis engaged in activities that feed the already over-heated imagination of so many around the world.

Comments welcome. Please note if you’ve seen the movie or not. I haven’t yet.

The Stuff of Nightmares: Obama Administration (Samantha Power) and Durban II

I had an argument last night with a friend about the US sending a delegation to the preliminary discussions for Durban II. I argued that it’s better for Obama to go, see what’s there, and walk away, than not to show up at all. He argued that this is a disastrous first step to participating. Gerald Steinberg, who knows more about this than most anyone on the planet comments on how this is a high-stakes gamble. Anne Bayevsky’s report, alas, suggests that we’re going to lose this one big time.

A Foreign Policy of Obsequiousness

Yesterday in Geneva, President Obama unveiled the new look of America’s foreign policy — obsequiousness. It was Day One for his emissaries to the U.N. planning committee of the Durban II conference. This is the racist “anti-racism” bash to be held in Geneva in April. The U.S. and Israel walked out of the first go-round in Durban, South Africa in September 2001. Ever since, the U.S. government has refused to lend any credibility to the Declaration adopted after they left. That is, until yesterday.

U.S. representatives were addressing a human-rights negotiating committee with an executive consisting of a Libyan chair, an Iranian vice-chair, and a Cuban rapporteur. Russian Yuri Boychenko was presiding over Monday’s “human rights” get-together. Before them was a draft document which participants plan to adopt in finished form at the conference itself. The draft now contains mountains of offensive references to limits on free speech, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish provisions, and incendiary allegations of the victimization of Muslims at the hands of counter-terrorism racists.

Here is how the American delegates responded to a proposal they understood was incompatible with U.S. interests (“Brackets” denote withholding approval at any given moment in time.): “I hate to be the cause of unhappiness in the room . . . I have to suggest this phrase remains in brackets and I offer my sincere apologies.”

Having watched U.N. meetings for the past 25 years, I can’t remember a U.S. representative in a public session so openly obsequious, particularly in the presence of such specious human rights authorities. And yet the U.S. delegates appear happy to be there and convey the marching orders of their new commander-in-chief.

Unfortunately, while Obama’s calling the tunes, items like freedom of expression are being rearranged. On the table was a provision which “Calls on States to ensure that lawmakers discharge their responsibilities in conformity with . . . article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination . . . ” What did the American delegation have to say about that? Among other things they proposed: “add after article 4, ‘and 5(d)(viii) of the Racial Discrimination Convention.’”

Flashback to 1994. The United States Senate imposed a reservation on U.S. ratification of the Racial Discrimination Convention concerning article 4 because it restricts free speech. Article 4 aims to limit incitement to racial hatred, but is open to an interpretation in direct conflict with the First Amendment.

Obama’s delegation, however, did not object to the proposal to ensure lawmakers adhere to article 4. Instead, they suggested adding a reference to another part of the Racial Discrimination Convention that guarantees an equal right to freedom of expression regardless of race. This idea does not in any way meet the Senate’s command to ensure that the Constitution trumps the treaty in matters of free speech.

There is no escape from Durban II — at least with our vital principles intact.

On Monday, President Obama’s decision to wander into the Durban II sinkhole also raised concerns in the Jewish community. In deciding to attend the planning session, Obama had ignored the direct plea from Israel’s Foreign Minister to stay away, along with Israel and Canada. Instead, on Monday the President sent reassuring messages via phone calls from senior White House and State Department officials.

According to reports, these officials claimed “that Washington’s decision to participate in the conference was being coordinated with the Israeli government.” That would be true — if “coordination” meant announcing hours in advance that the United States intended to do the opposite of what had been requested.

Jewish leaders were also told that the U.S. presence was “an effort to change the direction of the conference.” Apparently, someone in the administration forgot to read the map. The conference objectives have already been unanimously agreed to by all participants, including the European Union. Objective number one is to “foster the implementation of the Durban Declaration” — the same one that claims Israelis are racists, in fact, the only racists U.N. member states could recall. Those directions aren’t going to be changed. On the contrary, the opening words of the Durban II document — also already accepted by consensus — read “reaffirming the Durban Declaration.” Change you can’t believe in, again.

Overall, on Day One, U.N. members were delighted by the new administration’s timidity. And they know exactly how to ensure those promises of change continue. In an entire day of a four-day meeting, they reviewed only 11 of the 140 paragraphs. The next set of meetings will be in April right before the conference itself. By the time somebody begins to suspect it might not change, it will all be over, in more ways than one.

— Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and at Touro College, New York.

There are few developments I can think of that are more catastrophic than this. Omri Ceren has a particularly astute post on this, with a challenge to Marty Peretz, whose support for Obama — and Samantha Power — included his certainty that this would not happen.

As for the involvement of Samantha Power, see here.

UPDATE: The story just keeps getting worse: US Durban II Double Cross

Just below the “Criticism” of Israel

Interesting piece in the Independent. Too bad non-Jews can’t make this case.

Howard Jacobson: Let’s see the ‘criticism’ of Israel for what it really is

Emotions have run high over recent events in Gaza. And in this impassioned and searching essay, our writer argues that just below the surface runs a vicious strain of ancient prejudice

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
The language of protesters ‘determines the issue before it can be discussed’

I was once in Melbourne when bush fires were raging 20 or 30 miles north of the city. Even from that distance you could smell the burning. Fine fragments of ash, like slivers of charcoal confetti, covered the pavements. The very air was charred. It has been the same here these past couple of months with the fighting in Gaza. Only the air has been charred not with devastation but with hatred. And I don’t mean the hatred of the warring parties for each other. I mean the hatred of Israel expressed in our streets, on our campuses, in our newspapers, on our radios and televisions, and now in our theatres.

A discriminatory, over-and-above hatred, inexplicable in its hysteria and virulence whatever justification is adduced for it; an unreasoning, deranged and as far as I can see irreversible revulsion that is poisoning everything we are supposed to believe in here – the free exchange of opinions, the clear-headedness of thinkers and teachers, the fine tracery of social interdependence we call community relations, modernity of outlook, tolerance, truth. You can taste the toxins on your tongue.

But I am not allowed to ascribe any of this to anti-Semitism. It is, I am assured, “criticism” of Israel, pure and simple. In the matter of Israel and the Palestinians this country has been heading towards a dictatorship of the one-minded for a long time; we seem now to have attained it. Deviate a fraction of a moral millimetre from the prevailing othodoxy and you are either not listened to or you are jeered at and abused, your reading of history trashed, your humanity itself called into question. I don’t say that self-pityingly. As always with dictatorships of the mind, the worst harmed are not the ones not listened to, but the ones not listening. So leave them to it, has essentially been my philosophy. A life spent singing anti-Zionist carols in the company of Ken Livingstone and George Galloway is its own punishment.

I’m assuming that Howard Jacobson is a Jew, and running into the post-2000 phenomenon that struck so many Jews who had the nerve to defend Israel even minimally in the wake of the Muhammad al Durah blood libel. Non-identified Jews solicited the consistent comment, “I didn’t know you were Jewish,” and non-Jews ran into the same comment:

People who didn’t know me would say “I didn’t know you were Jewish, Richard.” I’d say “I’m not.” And they’d say “Well why are you doing this?” But that’s ridiculous. If I was making a film about cot death, people wouldn’t assume I had lost a child to cot death. If I was making a film about Islamophobia, nobody would say “We didn’t know you were a Muslim.” But there is this assumption that anti-Semitism is something that’s just made up by the Jews, and nobody else would ever really pay any attention to it.

There’s both the evidence of mental dictatorship, and the paralysis of the West in the face of Jihadi anti-semitism.

Shmuel Trigano introduit le concepte heuristique de “Pogrom médiatique”

Du blog de Shmuel Trigano, un des grands penseurs français au sujet des problèmes médiatiques et de l’antisémitisme de nos jours, une méditation sur l’idée d’un pogrom médiatique (H/T: MS):

Le concept de « pogrom médiatique », malgré sa tonalité critique virulente, pourrait bien avoir une valeur heuristique intéressante pour comprendre certains des effets de la guerre de Gaza sur les pays d’Europe de l’Ouest et tout spécialement la société française. Il ne faudrait bien sûr pas l’entendre dans sa portée idéologique mais sociologique.

A quoi a-t-on assisté en effet avec la guerre de Gaza, comme avec la précédente guerre du Liban, ou la deuxième Intifada, sinon à un épisode d’extrême violence symbolique envers Israël, particulièrement effervescent par son émotionnalité, la virulence radicale de la condamnation, la stigmatisation, l’unanimité étrange d’un bout à l’autre du spectre politique ?

Le pogrom était un bref embrasement d’une population qui dévastait le quartier juif et tuait les Juifs. Point n’est le cas, heureusement mais, de fait, les Juifs se sentent déshonorés, méprisés, abandonnés, exclus, isolés dans leur environnement. Comme s’ils avaient été roués de coups réels. Ils le sont, certes, d’une certaine façon, par les agressions dont ils ont été la cible.

Le passage du symbole à l’acte s’est produit à travers de grandes et violentes manifestations, répétitives, organisées selon un plan manifestement prémédité d’envergure nationale, visant à créer une atmosphère d’émeutes. Des actes d’agression ont été perpétrés contre des Juifs mais c’est surtout leur personne symbolique qui a reçu des coups. La dignité et l’image de soi font aussi partie de la personne humaine qui n’est pas seulement corporelle. C’est elle qui a été la cible du pogrom médiatique. Et les traits qui l’ont frappée sont d’un genre unique. La morale et l’humanitarisme ont été fourbis comme des armes. Propres. Morales. Totales. Le discours de la cruauté d’Israël, mis en scène par le Hamas et les télévisions arabes, a été asséné soir et matin en crescendo de l’appel fébrile à sauver un peuple d’un génocide. A Gaza il n’y avait qu’une armée d’enfants, des hôpitaux, des réserves de vivres, des centrales électriques…

Nick Cohen discusses the impact of British Anti-semitism on his sense of identity

Nick Cohen, whose experience critiquing the “peace” rallies of 2003 for being war rallies in favor of global Jihad led to a turning point in his own political thinking, articulated in the brilliant What’s Left, responds to the further spread of anti-semitism in England.

Hatred is turning me into a Jew

From The Jewish Chronicle
Nick Cohen
February 12, 2009
The more the British Left indulges antisemitism, the more kosher I feel

My name is Nick Cohen, and I think I’m turning into a Jew. Despite being called “Cohen”, I’ve never been Jewish before. It’s not simply that I am an atheist. My Jewish friends tell me that it is hard to find an educated London Jew who is not an atheist, but that I have no connection with Jewish culture.

The Jewish side of my family is my father’s (which is not a help, I gather). My great grandparents fled from the Tsarist Empire at the time of the pogroms, but their son, my grandfather, revolted. He became a Communist and married outside the faith. My father was brought up with no connection to Judaism and, inevitably, so was I.

My sole interest in Jewish concerns came from being a left-wing opponent of the far Right, and the blood-soaked antisemitic superstitions which turned Europe into a graveyard. When I was young, such attitudes seemed unproblematic. You did not have to be a Jew to oppose fascism; everyone I knew did that regardless of colour or creed.

Today the old certainties have gone because there are two far-right movements: the white neo-Nazi parties that the Left still opposes; and the clerical fascists of radical Islam which, extraordinarily, the modern Left succours and indulges. I am not only talking about Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and their gruesome accomplices in the intelligentsia. Wider liberal society is almost as complicit. It does not applaud the Islamist far Right, but it will not condemn it either. From the broadcasters, through the liberal press, the Civil Service, the Metropolitan Police, the bench of bishops and the judiciary, antisemitism is no longer an unthinkable mental deformation. As long as the conspiracy theories of the counter-enlightenment come from ideologues with dark rather than white skins, nominally liberal men and women will not speak out.

Fight back and you become a Jew, whether you are or not. Mark Lawson recently described an argument at the BBC over the corporation’s decision not to screen the charity appeal for Gaza. His furious colleague declared that the only reason Lawson supported the ban was because he was Jewish. Lawson had to tell him that he was, in fact, raised a Catholic.

A furious Labour MP was no different when he told a colleague of mine that I had gone off the rails when I married a “hard-right” Jewish woman from North London. My friend replied that this would be news to my wife, a liberal Catholic from Stoke-on-Trent.

It was kind of him to point that out, but I would no longer protest that I wasn’t Jewish, and I don’t think Lawson should either. It is cowardly to stammer that you are not a Jew because you concede the racist’s main point — that there is something suspect about being Jewish — as you do it.

In any case, my experience of left-wing antisemitism has changed the way I think and made me, if you like, more Jewish.

Although I want to see every Israeli settlement on the West Bank dismantled, it was clear to me that when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel it had declared war and had to accept the consequences. I would not have thought that five years ago.

You do not need me to add that mine is a minority point of view among liberals, and that British Jews are living through a very dangerous period. They are the only ethnic minority whose slaughter official society will excuse. If a mass murderer bombed a mosque or black Pentecostal church, no respectable person would say that the “root cause” of the crime was an understandable repulsion at the deeds of al-Qaeda or a legitimate opposition to mass immigration. Rightly, they would blame the criminal for the crime.

If a synagogue is attacked, I guarantee that within minutes the airwaves will be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the “root cause” of the crime was a rational anger at the behaviour of Israel or the Jewish diaspora.

Put like this, the position of British Jewry sounds grim. Remember, however, that the first aim of radical Islam is to subjugate Muslims. When brave feminists, gays, democrats and liberals in the Muslim world and in Britain’s Muslim communities make a stand, they, too, are accused of being the tools of Zionists.

As the struggle between theocracy and liberalism intensifies, I can see some being pushed into taking the same journey I have taken and finding their views towards Judaism and Israel softening as they realise that antisemitism helps drive the fascistic ideologies of the 21st century just as it drove the Nazism of the 20th.

I will tell them that the opponents of totalitarianism must never be frightened. If their enemies say they are Jews, they should shrug and say: “All right, I am.” As long as readers of the Jewish Chronicle don’t object, of course.

Nick Cohen is a columnist for The Observer. His latest collection of essays, ‘Waiting for the Etonians: Reports from the Sickbed of Liberal England’, is published this week

Breath of the Beast explores the deep links between Jihadis and Leftists

Yaakov ben Moshe at Breath of the Beast has a long and profound meditation on what binds Leftists and Jihadis despite their obvious differences (secular, egalitarian, feminist vs. religious patriarchal dominion) and their superficial links (anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism). In the process he plumbs some of the depths of honor-shame culture as it appears in some of the less expected realms.

The Biggest Honor Killing of All

For the past week I have been spinning my wheels on a broader version of the question I posed in my post “Can Public Broadcasting Really be This Contemptible?” The real question, and I am not to first one to have posed it, is “Why do so many otherwise intelligent people ignore and deny the obvious savagery and danger of the Islamist Jihad?” What do the intellectual elite and the chattering classes actually have in common with Hamas, al Qaeda, the Taliban and The Saudis that allows them to accept and even applaud the bloody, violent, misogynist fascist behavior and writings while they revile our elected leaders and condemn our democratic government and its allies as oppressors.

I have written a number of speculations on that question in the past and I was resolved not to just go over old ground but to add something substantial if I could. In firing off that snap reply, I opened the new door I had been looking for.

It is fascinating that, at first glance, the Arab Muslims and The Left appear to have even more reasons to fear and distrust each other as they do points of conflict with Israel, western civilization, capitalism, the military and the business community. After all, the Muslim treatment of women, children and gays and their absolute antagonism (surpassing even their hatred of Jews) for atheists, pagans and agnostics would seem to be deal-killers for any leftist and the anarchic bent of the left is completely at odds with the desire of the Islamists to institute authoritarian Sharia law and a World-wide Caliphate.

But these are only problems of doctrine, theory and logic. If the bond between these two camps seems to make no sense, it is because political doctrine, logic and fact have almost nothing to with it. Caliphate Islam and Communism/Socialism/Progressivism are, after all, both utopian fascist movements. I have quoted Louis Menand in two other posts, writing that in a fascist movement…, “…official ideology can be, and usually is, absurd on its face, and known to be absurd by the leaders who preach it.” Given that absurdity, the actual details of ideology are much less important than the strength of the movement to dictate complete allegiance, the rejection and liquidation of counter-fascists and the conquest of any other nation – especially those that might be more successful or more democratic. Clearly, the left and the Islamists do not see each other as threats- at least not nearly on the same level as the threat they see in Israel, The U.S. and Western Civilization.

They are, of course, correct. One of the few things that can draw together common cause between fascist groups with entirely opposed “official ideologies” is the overwhelming shame of knowing that your movement’s goals and tenets are mistaken, embarrassingly counter-productive and contrary to human nature- and that there is a thriving example of the alternative right next door.

Read the whole post, and leave comments both there and here.

Did Daniel Pearl die in vain? On the shape of the first decade of the third millennium

Daniel Pearl’s father, Judea, reflects on the world seven years after his son’s death. Not a pretty picture. In so doing he raises some critical issues about the vulnerability/stupidity of the Western world when faced with the remorseless hatreds that (among many other deeds) killed his son with such deliberate brutality. My comments attempt to bring out some of the issues he merely raises in order to stay within his word-limit for an op-ed.

OPINIONFEBRUARY 3, 2009
Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil
When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror?

By JUDEA PEARL

This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today’s world emerged after his tragedy?

The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.

Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters.

I’ve found references to the trial, but not to the cheers of jihadi supporters. Anyone have a link?

Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of “the resistance.” Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.

No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny’s murder would be a turning point in the history of man’s inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

Although Pearl does not go into it, his son’s murder was the first “beheading video” to get put up on the internet. That grotesque snuff film has spawned a whole industry, and the posted films get millions of downloads in days. One of the less salubrious impacts of the new communications technology of cyberspace.

The larger issue, however, concerns the trends at work in 2002. Pearl may not have begun to catch on seriously until after the death of his son. Indeed he may have shared his son’s optimistic (if “realistic”) world view — that we can work out, talk out, negotiate out of any conlfict.

But for those of us who understood why the Oslo Process had blown up in our faces, who understood the Jihadi vision that lay behind the Intifada, who understood how massive an intellectual and moral failure had occurred, starting in late 2000, when, inspired by the wrenching image of poor little Muhammad al Durah, the European “street” and the activist “Left” turned against Israel and embraced the “Palestinian” cause, for those of us who had been watching in dismay at the spread of a new wave of anti-Semitism thinly disguised as delirious anti-Zionism spread unopposed by the liberal and progressive authorities… for us, Daniel’s death was just one more roadsign on the path to the present.

The Palestinians’ Worst Enemy: The Poisoned Gift of European Anti-Semitism

I had a conversation with a remarkable Palestinian advocate of human rights several years ago when I tried to show him the material I had on Pallywood. As we discussed the problem, and his helplessness to even address it, it became clear to me that the single most insidious enemy of the Palestinians is the European loathing of an independent Jewish nation. What seemed to Palestinians like a gift — Europeans’ hostility to Israel — has ended up strengthening the worst aspects of Palestinian culture, its irredentism, its preference for suffering Palestinians, its thirst for hatred.

And this is nowhere more evident than when Palestinians try and go sober, try and kick their addiction to hatred, try to turn from gnawing on old wounds to growing new life. Then they run into their most fearful demon, the sympathetic hater in the West: the old fashioned European anti-semite at last released from his post-Holocaust prison of politically incorrect, the radical, the revolutionary, the morally superior/envious progressive, both Christian and post-Christian, even Jewish. For these people, like those Arab leaders who have treated them so abominably for so long, the moral and symbolic value of the Palestinians lies in their suffering, not in their recovery. The forces that have driven on the astounding, unprecedented, otherwise inexplicable 60-year refugee status for Arabs who fled Israel in 1948, will not be cheated of their most precious possession: a people victim of the Jews. Indeed, I would argue, the media footprint of Jewish misdeeds — true and invented — are the very image of this corrosive need.

For those progressives with enough remaining integrity to look at the current madness over Israel and wonder what’s wrong, I invite them to the following meditation. The behavior of Hamas described below in Belmont Club’s discussion, the deeds of that very same Hamas whose flags German’s successfully petitioned their courts for permission to wave at their anti-war demonstrations, is the karmic product of sixty years of proxy hatreds, now reaching new temperatures. Under a terrifying assault by neighbors driven mad by their own leaders’ mad policies, the Gazans find themselves literally crucified by a reign of terror.

January 21st, 2009 3:31 am
The Grand Inquisitors

Up to a hundred Palestinians in Gaza who have defied house arrest orders have been tortured in children’s hospitals and schools converted into interrogation centers. People have been shot in the legs or had their hands broken. The campaign has been described as a “new massacre”. One victim had his eyes put out. No one was safe from the torturers, not even those attending funerals. When is will the UN act to put a stop to this horror? Won’t President Obama intervene to stop these barbaric acts? Aren’t international human rights monitors going to put a stop to this? When will War Crimes charges be preferred against the perpetrators?

Never.

Why? Because Hamas is in charge of the torture and their victims are simply Fatah members. If it were Israel who had done these things, well then … But since it’s Hamas, the same Hamas for whom thousands have been marching in ’solidarity’, it’s a non-story. The Jersualem Post cites reports from Fatah members describing the events.

Of course, that’s Khaled abu Toameh, who, without going to Gaza, tells us more than all the brave Ben Wedemans in their flak jackets or Taghreed el-Khodarys, with their anti-Israel talking points. And yet, many journalists dismiss Toameh because he works for the Jerusalem Post. “He’s not fully reliable, you know,” they say “with a sad wink and a nudge.”

The argument is not without its ironies. After all, imagine an Israeli reporter, reporting dirt on Israel to the readers of Al Jazeera. One can hardly imagine our MSM journalists dismissing his or her information. Come to think of it… that’s more or less the function of Gideon Levy and Amira Hass in the internet, English Ha-Aretz. When’s the last time a journalist airily dismissed their testimony?