Thursday, January 17, 2008
An appetite for self-destruction
By Melanie Phillips
Beyond the grandstanding over President Bush.s visit to Israel this week,
there is an even more important concern than over what America may be
pushing it to do. This is Israel.s own attitude towards its identity and
history and, by extension, its right to exist at all.
Among the Israeli intellectual elite, the instinct for national
self-destruction reaches near-hallucinatory levels.
A recent research paper by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, which wondered
why, unlike other armies, Israeli soldiers did not rape women under their
occupation, claimed that this was because IDF troops viewed Arab women as
sub-human. This absurd piece of malice was awarded a teachers. committee
prize by the Hebrew University.
Clearly, Nitzan should have interviewed Ha.aretz editor-in-chief David
Landau, who was reported as telling US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
at a dinner last September that the Israeli government wanted .to be
raped. as it was a .failed state. that needed a US-imposed settlement.
Such grand guignol flights from reason can only deepen respect for the
strategic genius of Yasir Arafat.
He understood that while Jews would unite against conventional attack,
they wouldn.t cope with the psychological pressure of being turned into
international pariahs through a falsified colonial narrative of
But even he could hardly have foreseen the extent to which Israeli
intellectuals would so completely invert their own history, and swallow
the fiction that the Middle East impasse is over the division of the land
and that Jewish possession of that land is illegitimate.
This series of untruths has now coalesced into an axiomatic assumption
that Jerusalem must be divided, as stated by Israel.s Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert in an interview in the Jerusalem Post last weekend.
But as Dore Gold authoritatively documents in his important book The Fight
for Jerusalem, the Jews have a unique and overwhelming claim to Jerusalem
which is central to the unique nature of the Jewish state.
It is no accident, therefore, that this pressure to divide Jerusalem comes
at a time when the Jewishness of Israel is being openly called into
question. Olmert says that a .two-state solution. is essential to preserve
Israel as a Jewish state. But the Arabs themselves have now ruled out a
Jewish state altogether.
Olmert insists nevertheless that Mahmoud Abbas accepts Israel as a Jewish
state .in his soul.. Olmert clearly possesses truly wondrous psychic
powers, displayed even as members of Fatah associated with Abbas.s own
security apparatus were murdering two Israelis on a hike near Hebron.
The West believes that dividing Jerusalem is the fairest solution. But
when were aggressors ever thus rewarded at the expense of their victims,
even while they continued their century-old war as the Arabs are doing?
Why doesn.t Israel put the record straight? Why doesn.t it remind the
world of that same world.s conclusion back in 1920 that the Jews had a
unique claim to the entire land of Israel, including Jerusalem? Why
doesn.t it recall how, when Jordan illegally occupied east Jerusalem until
1967, it desecrated Jewish holy sites, ripping up Jewish gravestones on
the Mount of Olives to use them for latrines?
Why doesn.t it tell the world that the Islamic claim to Jerusalem is not
so much religious as political . and that, as Gold states in his book,
since the capture of Jerusalem is seen as the precursor to the fall of the
entire West, the division of the city would recruit untold additional
numbers to the global jihad?
It doesn.t do so for two reasons. First, it still fails to grasp that the
real battleground is composed not of rockets and human bombs but of ideas.
And second, much of its intellectual class has come to believe the
mendacious propaganda of Israel.s enemies.
In Israeli schools and on campus, there is widespread ignorance of Jewish
history and of the indissoluble bond between the religion, the people and
the land which constitutes Jewish identity.
When Israel.s Education Minister issues a textbook for Israeli Arab
children that teaches them the Arab propaganda line that the 1948 War of
Independence was a naqba, or catastrophe, something has gone badly wrong
with the foundations of Israeli self-belief.
The real reason Israel doesn.t fight the battle of ideas to defend Jewish
history and identity is that increasingly it is repudiating them. The
Arabs thus don.t need to do much to bring about the end of the Jewish
state. The Jews will do it for them.
Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist
2. Anti-speech SLAPP suits . not only in Israel:
The "Radical Professors" bellow
4. Columbia University's groupies of Iran:
5. Campus Free Speech:
January 17, 2008
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
January 17, 2008; Page A16
American universities aren't the only places where politically incorrect
speakers are silenced nowadays. This week in Rome, of all places, Pope
Benedict XVI found himself censored by scholars, of all people, at one of
Europe's most prestigious universities.
On Tuesday the pontiff canceled a speech scheduled for today at Sapienza
University of Rome in the wake of a threat by students and 67 faculty
members to disrupt his appearance. The scholars argued that it was
inappropriate for a religious figure to speak at their university.
This pope's specific sin was a speech he gave nearly 20 years ago in
which, they claimed, he indicated support for the 17th-century heresy
trial against Galileo. The censoring scholars apparently failed to
appreciate the irony that, in preventing the pope from speaking, they were
doing to him what the Church once did to Galileo, stifling free speech and
One of Benedict's favorite themes is that European civilization derives
from the rapprochement between Greek philosophy and religious belief,
between Athens and Jerusalem. In the speech he wasn't allowed to give, the
pope planned to talk about the role of popes and universities.
It is a pope's task, he wrote, to "maintain high the sensibility for the
truth, to always invite reason to put itself anew at the service of the
search for the true, the good, for God." La Sapienza -- which means
"wisdom" -- was founded by one of the pope's predecessors in 1303. Another
6. January 17, 2008
By ARTHUR C. BROOKS
January 17, 2008; Page A16
A politically progressive friend of mine always seemed to root against
baseball teams from the South. The Braves, the Rangers, the Astros -- he
hated them all. I asked him why, to which he replied, "Southerners are
The same logic is evident in the complaint the American political left has
with conservative voters. According to the political analysis of filmmaker
Michael Moore, whose perception of irony apparently does not extend to his
own words, "The right wing, that is not where America's at . . . It's just
a small minority of people who hate. They hate. They exist in the politics
of hate . . . They are hate-triots."
What about liberals? According to University of Chicago law professor
Geoffrey Stone, "Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own
truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others." They
also "believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of
difference." Indeed, generations of academic scholars have assumed that
the "natural personality" of political conservatives is characterized by
hostile intolerance towards those with opposing viewpoints and lifestyles,
while political liberals inherently embrace diversity.
As we are dragged through another election season, it is worth critically
reviewing these stereotypes. Do the data support the claim that
conservatives are haters, while liberals are tolerant of others? A handy
way to answer this question is with what political analysts call "feeling
thermometers," in which people are asked on a survey to rate others on a
scale of 0-100. A zero is complete hatred, while 100 means adoration. In
general, when presented with people or groups about which they have
neutral feelings, respondents give temperatures of about 70. Forty is a
cold temperature, and 20 is absolutely freezing.
In 2004, the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies
(ANES) survey asked about 1,200 American adults to give their thermometer
scores of various groups. People in this survey who called themselves
"conservative" or "very conservative" did have a fairly low opinion of
liberals -- they gave them an average thermometer score of 39. The score
that liberals give conservatives: 38. Looking only at people who said they
are "extremely conservative" or "extremely liberal," the right gave the
left a score of 27; the left gives the right an icy 23. So much for the
liberal tolerance edge.
Some might argue that this is simply a reflection of the current political
climate, which is influenced by strong feelings about the current
occupants of the White House. And sure enough, those on the extreme left
give President Bush an average temperature of 15 and Vice President Cheney
a 16. Sixty percent of this group gives both men the absolute lowest
To put this into perspective, note that even Saddam Hussein (when he was
still among the living) got an average score of eight from Americans. The
data tell us that, for six in ten on the hard left in America today,
literally nobody in the entire world can be worse than George W. Bush and
This doesn't sound very tolerant to me -- nor especially rational, for
that matter. To be fair, though, let's roll back to a time when the far
right was accused of temporary insanity: the late Clinton years, when
right-wing pundits practically proclaimed the end of Western civilization
each night on cable television because President Clinton had been exposed
as a perjurious adulterer.
In 1998, Bill Clinton and Al Gore were hardly popular among conservatives.
Still, in the 1998 ANES survey, Messrs. Clinton and Gore both received a
perfectly-respectable average temperature of 45 from those who called
themselves extremely conservative. While 28% of the far right gave Clinton
a temperature of zero, Gore got a zero from just 10%. The bottom line is
that there is simply no comparison between the current hatred the extreme
left has for Messrs. Bush and Cheney, and the hostility the extreme right
had for Messrs. Clinton and Gore in the late 1990s.
Does this refute the stereotype that right-wingers are "haters" while
left-wingers are not? Liberals will say that the comparison is unfair,
because Mr. Bush is so much worse than Mr. Clinton ever was. Yes, Mr.
Clinton may have been imperfect, but Mr. Bush -- whom people on the far
left routinely compare to Hitler -- is evil. This of course destroys the
liberal stereotype even more eloquently than the data. The very essence of
intolerance is to dehumanize the people with whom you disagree by
asserting that they are not just wrong, but wicked.
In the end, we have to face the fact that political intolerance in America
-- ugly and unfortunate on either side of the political aisle -- is to be
found more on the left than it is on the right. This may not square with
the moral vanity of progressive political stereotypes, but it's true.
Mr. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public
Affairs and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is
the author of the forthcoming book "Gross National Happiness."
8. Obama and Farrakhan: