Thursday, August 31, 2006
News stories from the Trenches
1. The Culprit:
2. On Losing Wars:
3. How Israel's Media helped it Lose the War:
4. At last: An end to the WJC Imbroglio
By Isi Leibler August 5, 2006
During these days of pain for the Jewish people, we must concentrate all
our efforts towards supporting the State of Israel in its struggle against
the forces of darkness.
I am therefore delighted that at long last, the WJC have come to its
senses and has unconditionally retracted the $6 million libel suit
launched against me in the Tel Aviv District Court.
The retraction is a triumph of sorts over a vindictive campaign which
continued to embroil Jewish communities throughout the world in an utterly
senseless ongoing scandal.
When the damning report from New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer was
released, I was totally vindicated. The report more than confirmed my
concerns in relation to financial irregularities and prescribed the
reforms to be implemented by the WJC, including the obligation of the
chairman of the Governing Board to step down.
As far as I was concerned, that should have been the end of an unseemly
scandal. I wrote to all WJC members expressing the hope that the
"confrontations of the past will now be set aside in favor of constructive
activity on behalf Klal Yisrael and the State of Israel", and urged the
WJC to fully implement the fiscal and oversight reforms prescribed by the
Attorney General to create a new regime based on governance and financial
Like many others, I was therefore appalled when, simultaneously with the
release of the Attorney General's report, the WJC leaders launched a $6
million libel suit against me. I did not fear the consequences for myself
personally because the Attorney General's report served as the best
But I warned that a public trial would reignite the scandal in the media
and impact negatively on Jewish communities and the image of the Jewish
people. Regrettably, I was proven correct.
It is unfortunate that despite the growing negative publicity and the
calls from their member communities to stop the action, the WJC only
finally withdrew in the wake of the disaffiliation of the Australian
Jewish Community from the WJC.
Needless to say, I wish to profusely thank all of you who encouraged and
supported my struggle for financial transparency, accountability and
Having served the WJC for 40 years, I deeply regret that over the past two
years, this self-inflicted scandal has effectively undermined the
organization. I genuinely hope that under new leadership and after
implementation of the reforms prescribed by the New York Attorney General,
a reformed and democratic WJC will resume its former role as a
constructive vehicle for World Jewry, once more focusing on its mission
and concentrating on the burning challenges now confronting the Jewish
Today the Jewish people stand at a crossroads. We must set aside all
differences and concentrate on supporting Israel in its present
confrontation with the advance of barbaric Islamic fundamentalism which
represents a threat not only to Israel but to the entire civilized world.
Whilst we in Israel are on the front lines of this battle, this is also a
time for Diaspora Jews to stand up and be counted. The solidarity
missions, the public demonstrations and other activities designed to
support Israel must be stepped up.
I will be donating all my legal costs to be recovered from the WJC to
Emunah-Israel for their programs among children traumatized by the war in
the north of Israel. (My wife Naomi is currently international president
of World Emunah, the religious Zionist women's organization devoted to
social welfare projects in Israel).
5. Funniest post of the year:
6. Bill Maher should be Israeli Foreign Minister:
7. Dersh bashes Amnesty International (Amnesty Comintern)
8. The Gyno-Jihad
9. Mind Control
11. Elect Nasrallah Israeli PM:
12. Thugs in Cap and Gown:
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Anti-Semitic Jews (from Jewish Press)
Jews Who Hate The Jewish State
By: Paul Bogdanor
"If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going
after them worldwide." . Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah commander
"I say this without fear: for those who believe in freedom and dignity, we
are all Hizbullah now." . Norman Finkelstein, Jewish anti-Zionist
That any human being could proclaim his support for a movement whose goal
is to annihilate all the world's Jews must be shocking to the normal
observer. That a Jew could take this position seems all the more
Yet Norman Finkelstein, university professor and best-selling author, is
by no means unique among Jews in his allegiances. His mentor, Noam
Chomsky, has publicly embraced the murderous Sheikh Nasrallah. In fact,
during the recent war, Chomsky was among several Jewish signatories to an
open letter offering "solidarity and support" to the "resistance" in
Lebanon and Palestine . meaning Hizbullah and Hamas. And these pledges of
loyalty to genocidal fanatics have become quite common among Jews who
distinguish themselves by their hatred for Israel.
How is it possible for any Jew to support those who seek the destruction
of his fellow Jews? This is the question that intrigued Edward Alexander
and myself as we compiled our book The Jewish Divide Over Israel.
Our contributors . including Cynthia Ozick, Alvin Rosenfeld, Menachem
Kellner, Jacob Neusner and Efraim Karsh . were all too aware of the tragic
history of Jewish anti-Semitism. We knew, for example, that Martin
Luther's program of terrorizing Jews originated with a Jewish convert,
Johannes Pfefferkorn; and that the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy,
which culminated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was assiduously
promoted by a Russian Jewish author, Jacob Brafmann. We suspected that as
the Pfefferkorns and the Brafmanns departed the stage, the Finkelsteins
and the Chomskys made their entrance.
Today, as in the past, the conduct of Jews who despise their own people
spans the full spectrum of political depravity. There are anti-Zionist
Jews who peddle vicious libels about Israel. There are anti-Zionist Jews
who compare the Jewish state with Nazi Germany. There are anti-Zionist
Jews who support the PLO, Hamas or Hizbullah.
There are anti-Zionist Jews who collaborate with anti-Semites and
Holocaust deniers. There are anti-Zionist Jews who defend suicide
bombings, anti-Zionist Jews who support the destruction of Israel, and .
incredibly . there are even anti-Zionist Jews who advocate measures
against other Jews that could plausibly be described as genocidal.
It is tempting to dismiss these views as a fringe phenomenon. But not all
of our targets identify with the radical left. The liberal Jewish
"critique" of Zionism is exemplified by the historian Tony Judt. According
to Judt's now notorious outburst in The New York Review of Books, Israel's
ruling elite is "fascist" because it once considered killing the terrorist
murderer Yasir Arafat, and its scurity fence (intended to forestall the
entry of terrorists into a free country) bears comparison with the Berlin
Wall (designed to prevent the escape of unarmed civilians from a communist
Worse still, Judt maintains, the nefarious Zionists have convinced America
to destabilize the Middle East for the sole benefit of Israel, thus
"alienating" its hitherto devoted allies in Syria and Iran. Such is the
Jewish stranglehold on public opinion, says Judt, that Americans
"censoriously rebuke" anyone who speaks out, shamelessly charging the
dissidents with anti-Semitism. Fortunately for Judt, the international
Zionist conspiracy was unable to prevent the publication of his thoughtful
disquisition on the role of Israeli "fascists" in propelling America to
war against the entire Middle East for the purpose of defending a
Hebrew-speaking version of communist East Germany.
Perhaps the most revealing aspect of Judt's essay was his rationale for
abolishing the freest country in the Middle East. "Today," he wrote,
"non-Israeli Jews feel themselves once again exposed to criticism and
vulnerable to attack for things they didn't do," and so Israel must
Thus the legitimacy of a Jewish state is determined by the attitudes of
anti-Semites: "Israel today is bad for the Jews." Critics were not slow to
point out that the extinction of the Jewish state, along with its army,
might also turn out to be "bad for the Jews," inasmuch as it would
endanger the lives of several million Israelis. To this rather important
objection, Judt gave a two-word response: "Things change."
As this example suggests, one of the salient traits of today's
anti-Zionists . especially the academics among them . is their blatant
intellectual dishonesty. British professor Jacqueline Rose, in her book
explaining why Israel should be wiped off the map, concocts the claim that
Herzl and Hitler were inspired by the same Paris performance of Wagner's
music. Illan Pappe, a communist historian at Haifa University, writes
learned essays documenting a fictitious Israeli massacre at the village of
Tantura in 1948. Norman Finkelstein has revived the old Soviet hoax that
Israel was poised to invade Syria before the 1967 war.
In these and countless other instances, the anti-Zionists are disciples of
Canadian philosopher Michael Neumann, author of The Case Against Israel,
who candidly informed a neo-Nazi website that he is "not interested in the
truth, or justice, or understanding," unless it serves the Palestinian
Contempt for truth certainly characterizes another well-known anti-Zionist
trope, the belief that Israel is the reincarnation of the Third Reich.
Ever since the Israeli theologian Yeshayahu Leibowitz branded his country
"Judeo-Nazi," the equation of the victims and the perpetrators of the
Holocaust has evolved into a malignant orthodoxy in opinion pieces,
editorial cartoons, effete dinner discussions and Jew-baiting websites.
The reason for its appeal . and for the popularity of alienated Jews who
espouse it . is transparent: anyone who convinces himself that the horrors
of Nazism have been reborn in its victims can invoke the fate of the dead
Jews to justify his hatred of living Jews. Anti-Zionists . always quick to
provide an alibi for anti-Semites . are well aware of that fact.
So it is that Noam Chomsky can compare Israel's wars of self-defense with
"Hitler's moves to bunt the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany
Hitler's conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist
And so it is that Norman Finkelstein can avow that Jewish supporters of
Israel are actually worse than the perpetrators of the Holocaust: "the
Germans," he writes, "could point in extenuation to the severity of
penalties for speaking out against the crimes of state. What excuse do we
Perhaps he aspires to compete with the late Israel Shahak . for years a
fixture on the PLO lecture circuit . who revealed to the world that "there
are Nazi-like tendencies in Judaism."
But even these worthies would find it hard to outdo the London-based Gilad
Atzmon, who recently imparted this insight: "To regard Hitler as the
ultimate evil is nothing but surrendering to the Ziocentric discourse
[Israel's] vulgar biblical barbarism on the verge of cannibalism is
wickedness with no comparison." Atzmon is heavily promoted by radical
leftists on both sides of the Atlantic.
Although they lose no opportunity to equate their fellow Jews with Nazis,
anti-Zionists readily lend a helping hand to actual Nazis. At one time the
ne plus ultra of Jewish collaboration with anti-Semites was the infamous
Alfred Lilienthal, who insisted that the Diary of Anne Frank was a fake.
Then the baton passed to Noam Chomsky, who explicitly praised Holocaust
deniers, allowed them to publish his books and essays, collaborated in
their propaganda campaigns, and defended his performance with the
memorable observation that he saw "no anti-Semitic implications in denial
of the existence of gas chambers."
Nowadays the committed neo-Nazi will find anti-Zionist Jews falling over
themselves to assist him. Paul Eisen, of the PLO front group Deir Yassin
Remembered, has openly defended Ernst Zundel, now on trial in Germany for
his neo-Nazi activities. Neve Gordon, the Israeli professor who sued his
critic Steven Plaut in a blatant attempt to silence him, has not called in
the lawyers to remove his own articles from Zundel's website. And the
anti-Zionist journalist Shraga Elam went to the trouble of writing to
David Irving in order to share his belief that "Hitler was no part of the
One does not need the wisdom of Solomon to detect in the aforementioned
individuals a cer tain lack of charity in the Jewish direction. Even so,
it is astonishing to discover the sheer virulence of their opinions about
their fellow Jews.
Noam Chomsky tells packed audiences that "Jews in the U.S. are the most
privileged and influential part of the population," adding that
"privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98%
In Michael Lerner's journal Tikkun, which advertises itself as the
guardian of the authentic Jewish conscience, we read of Jewish
"conspirators" who run America on behalf of "Jewish interests" . evidence
of the "industrial sized grain of truth" in the Protocols of the Elders of
And even this does not go far enough for Norman Finkelstein, who blames
Holocaust compensation programs on "Jewish leaders carrying on like
caricatures straight from the pages of Der Stuermer." Is it surprising
that Finkelstein's books and essays are reproduced on neo-Nazi websites
all over the Internet, or that Holocaust deniers celebrate him as "the
Jewish David Irving"?
From collaboraton with anti-Semites and propagation of anti-Semitism, it
is only a short step to glorifying the murder of Jews. Many anti-Zionists
are happy to take that step. For Jacqueline Rose, suicide bombing is "an
act of passionate identification" that creates an "unbearable intimacy
shared in their final moments by the suicide bomber and her or his
Safe in her London lecture theater, Rose does not tell us whether the
"intimacy" would be heightened if the jihadists were to succeed in their
periodic attempts to blow up an Israeli skyscraper.
Another left-wing British Jew, Mark Elf, draws a subtle distinction: "To
be rid of an Arab presence is to engage in ethnic cleansing. To be rid of
a Zionist presence is to be rid of those who would engage in, or excuse,
ethnic cleansing." His comrades translate these principles into action:
Jewish members of the International Solidarity Movement travel to Israel
in order to facilitate "the armed struggle" for the "liberation of
Palestine" . a struggle whose realities can be seen in the burning corpses
and severed limbs of their co-religionists.
Occasionally, the bloodlust of Jewish Israel-haters provokes unease: Gilad
Atzmon did raise eyebrows when he suggested that the burning of synagogues
was "a rational act." But the effect is short-lived. I recall no
particular commotion when the prominent Israeli philosopher Adi Ophir
contemplated the bombing of his countrymen by NATO.
It must be noted, with all due caution, that some anti-Zionists appear to
harbor genocidal intentions toward their fellow Jews. Decades ago Arie
Bober, leader of the Israeli communist Matzpen party, boasted of his
support for an "Arab revolution" that would either split the Jewish
workers from Zionism or slaughter three million Israelis in "another
Holocaust." Today we can detect similar ideas in the writings of Norman
Finkelstein, who has invoked the destruction of Japanese cities in World
War II as precedent for holding the Israeli people "accountable for the
crimes of the Israeli state"; he also regards hundreds of thousands of
Israeli settlers, including pregnant women and helpless invalids, as
"legitimate targets for armed resistance."
In conversation with a neo-Nazi website, Michael Neumann was equally
blunt: "If an effective strategy [for fighting Israel] means that some
truths about the Jews don't come to light, I don't care. If an effective
strategy means encouraging reasonable anti-Semitism, or reasonable
hostility to Jews, I also don't care. If it means encouraging vicious,
racist anti-Semitism, or the destruction of the state of Israel, I still
Recall that these are not the ravings of drunken skinheads in Germany or
jihadist preachers in Saudi Arabia, but of salaried professors teaching at
North American universities.
Sometimes the murderous impulses of Jewish radicals are quite independent
of Arab-Israeli disputes, however broadly defined. According to Israel
Shahak, even the proto-Hitlerian Chmielnicki massacres in Eastern Europe
are not beyond the bounds of justification: after all, is it really fair
that "an enslaved peasant is transformed into a racist monster, if Jews
profited from his state of slavery and exploitation"?
Competing in his genocidal frenzy was the Israeli leftist Yigal Tumarkin,
a founder of Peace Now, who disclosed: "When I see the black-coated
haredim with the children they spawn, I can understand the Holocaust."
And if these outpourings seem to be the products of deranged minds, let us
not forget that even the impeccably liberal Tony Judt displays a striking
indifference to the practical consequences of his proposals for the people
of Israel. For Professor Judt, and for other advocates of the "one-state
solution," it is perfectly acceptable to leave millions of Jews helpless
before the armies and suicide bombers of the Middle East ("Things
change"), just so long as faculty dinners and cocktail parties are no
longer spoiled by the latest controversy over Israeli military tactics.
Such re the ideas exposed to the light of day in The Jewish Divide Over
Israel. Our book's contributors . who range from left-wing supporters of
Peace Now to right-wing advocates of peace through strength . are united
around one principle: whatever their views on the future of Israel, they
maintain that the Jewish homeland no more deserves to become a provisional
country whose "right to exist" is the subject of legitimate discussion
than the Jewish people deserve to be a pariah nation whose survival is
conditional on the approval of anti-Semites.
In repudiating the Israel-haters in our ranks, we affirm not only our
solidarity with embattled Israeli Jews, but also our own basic
Paul Bogdanor is co-editor, with Edward Alexander, of "The Jewish Divide
Over Israel: Accusers and Defenders" (Transaction, 2006). Copies can be
ordered, at a 20% discount, from www.transactionpub.com. Visit Mr.
Bogdanor's website at www.paulbogdanor.com.
In Praise of Abnormality
One of the best columns around:
In praise of abnormality
Current crisis faced by Israel result of crumbling Jewish identity
(Professor, Lide Sciences, Bar-Ilan University)
Many years ago, residents of Mishmar HaEmek held a meeting to discuss why
the sons who left the kibbutz were not returning. The elderly Yaakov Hazan
rejected the argument that the community's physical state needed
improvement and summed his views with one sentence: "We failed in the
effort to establish a secular Jewish society."
I recall Hazan when Israelis start asking what happened to us and how did
we reach a situation where even minor war objectives are not achieved. The
leadership failure by the statesmen who directed the army is a result of a
public consciousness rupture we should be discussing.
The process of returning to Zion marks the reversing of history and cannot
be driven by bio-economic processes we're familiar with. The only thing
those who returned to Zion from all across the world shared was their
Jewish identity. Jews who come to the Land of Israel through free choice
did so and are still doing so in order to fulfill a mission that has no
material advantage . the West offers much more.
The mission was and remains the establishment of a state where the people
of Israel can realize its identity by maintaining a modern society
according to its values in the most complete way. Therefore, the basic
conditions for the maintenances of the Zionist enterprise are the
maintenance of Jewish identity.
This common mission allowed for solidarity and the ability to engage in a
joint struggle to realize the mission despite the existence of deep
In his well-known book "Man's search for ultimate meaning," Viennese
psychiatrist Victor Frankel addressed the question regarding the
difference between those who collapsed after two or three weeks in
Auschwitz and those who under the same conditions survived to see
liberation. His answer can be summed up in one word: Mission.
Those who direct their lives according to a mission that is not part of
the bio-economic needs find the mental strength to overcome terrible
difficulties. Without the mission, every difficulty turns into an obstacle
that cannot be overcome.
2. More Oslo success:
3. Nomination for stupidest politician in Israel:
Uzi Baram, left wing of the Labor Party, for this article:
"The Left was Correct"
(not available in English)
Basic theme: the Left was right all along. The only way Israel can "win"
is to surrender to all Palestinian demands.
That will disarm all the other Arab and Moslem fascist states.
No matter how many times these people ar eproven wrong, they come back and
insist that the only problem is that their "approach" was not "tried" far
4. Curing political correctness:
5. Intifada in San Francisco?
Note that the Jewish community center of SF was attacked!
6. True Palestinian Rights:
Top Jihad terrorist dies of wounds
By YAAKOV KATZ AND AP
A top Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank died Wednesday after he was
shot by IDF troops last week, Palestinian health officials said.
7. Reformies reject the Pagans for the Destruction of Israel Letter:
8. More from the pseudo-academic pogromchiki:
Monday, August 28, 2006
The Tel Aviv Syndrome, and other recent articles on the web
1. Anti-Human Rights Watch
Ken Roth's blood libel
GERALD M. STEINBERG, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 26, 2006
A Malaysian newspaper recently published an article headlined "Israel
deliberately targeting civilians, says Human Rights Watch."
Turkish newspapers ran similar items, repeating HRW's statements that
"Israel intentionally bombs civilians." During the Lebanon War HRW's press
releases, opeds and interviews with officials were cited in hundreds of
newspapers around the world, providing seeming legitimacy from a "neutral
source" to the violent anti-Israel protests and calls for revenge.
For HRW and executive director Kenneth Roth, Israel is a highly emotional
focus, and their reports are often biased and unreliable.
Roth's ideological objectives and slipshod methods are illustrated in an
August 18 column published in The Jerusalem Post ("Indiscriminate
Bombardment"). Rejecting claims that "the IDF was doing the best it could"
or that Lebanese civilian deaths "were the result of Hizbullah hiding its
rockets and fighters among civilians," Roth declared that this "assertion
doesn't stand up to the facts." This modern blood libel accuses Israelis
of "indifference to the taking of civilian lives."
But the factual basis for this article itself was glaringly absent.
Instead, Roth relied on the "halo effect," (the NGO version of "trust
me"), claiming that HRW "investigated some two dozen bombing incidents in
Lebanon. In none of those cases was Hizbullah anywhere around at the time
of the attack."
Lacking any verifiable evidence, Roth reassures his readers that HRW
research techniques "cut through people's incentive to lie." These
researchers "probed and cross-checked multiple eyewitnesses," who "were
adamant that Hizbullah was not at the scene of the attack. We examined
bombing sites for evidence of military activity such as trenches,
destroyed rocket launchers and military equipment, or dead or wounded
ROTH DOES not provide names, but it is likely that Lucy Mair, HRW's
researcher for Israeli/Palestinian issues, was involved. A number of HRW's
statements on the Lebanon war provided Mair's name and a Beirut phone
number. Before coming to HRW, she published anti-Israel propaganda in
pro-Palestinian platforms such as the "Electronic Intifada." This is
hardly a credible biography for an "independent" researcher.
Furthermore, none of Roth's other claims can be checked, and they are
totally inconsistent with the hard evidence, such as the 4,000 missiles
launched by Hizbullah at Israeli civilians during this period.
Reporters from The New York Times, The New Yorker and elsewhere had no
difficulty finding reliable detailed evidence of Hizbullah's activities in
these areas, but HRW's "probes" and "searches" came up empty. Perhaps they
were not looking very hard.
And in dismissing the justification for the IDF attack on Kana, Roth
relies on confused interpretations of an article by an Israeli journalist,
and denigrates video footage "trotted out" by the IDF "of Hizbullah firing
rockets from a village." Instead, Roth makes the patently absurd demand
for a video that would show "that Hizbullah was in a civilian building or
vehicle at the time of an Israeli attack."
Finally, Roth admits that "Hizbullah certainly should not be let off the
hook" - as if the kidnappings and massive missile bombardments by
terrorists are minor footnotes in terms of human rights. His claim that
HRW has conducted "detailed investigations of the militia's obvious war
crimes" is also inconsistent with the evidence. Of the 24 HRW statements
and opeds during this war, as listed on NGO Monitor, most targeted Israel,
and the only lengthy study, of over 50 pages, also focused on allegations
against Israel. HRW's very limited criticisms of Hizbullah, like its
statements on Palestinian terror, appear to be little more than fig
In assessing HRW's biased and unprofessional performance in the Lebanon
War, previous examples provide a consistent picture. In October 2004, Roth
flew to Jerusalem to publicize Razing Rafah, HRW's glossy 135-page
publication condemning Israel's anti-terror operations in Gaza. The
evidence in this report, which dismissed the impact of the weapons
smuggling through tunnels from Egypt, was based largely on Palestinian
"eyewitnesses" and claims by Marc Garlasco, HRW's "military expert."
Garlasco's published biosketch shows very limited military experience,
particularly in the areas of tunneling and forensics that were emphasized
in this report. Garlasco was also central to HRW's public relations
campaign over the Gaza beach incident in June 2006, which supported the
Palestinian version and blamed Israel. In this case as well, Garlasco
relied on evidence provided by the Palestinian police, while ignoring
details that were not consistent with his thesis.
With an annual budget of $50 million, Roth and his funders are obliged to
insure that HRW's reports are accurate and free of ideological bias. In
contrast, when these reports are instrumental in spreading anti-Israel
sentiment in Malaysia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Europe and elsewhere, the
result is the antithesis of the human rights objectives proclaimed by HRW.
Rather than the independent investigations of Israel that Roth always
demands, it is his HRW's activities that need to be investigated.
The writer is the director of the Program on Conflict Management at
Bar-Ilan University and the editor of NGO Monitor.
2. Georgetown cultivates suicide bombers:
The Washington Times
Georgetown professor mentors "martyrdom" supporter
By Joel Mowbray
Published August 25, 2006
Headline-grabbing stories about a British-based Muslim academic's public
support for "martyrdom" last weekend missed a key detail: His mentor and
frequent collaborator is a high-profile scholar who has been consulted
repeatedly by the FBI, Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University.
Mr. Esposito has long courted controversy . most recently when the
Georgetown-based center he founded in 1993 accepted $20 million last year
from (and took the name of) a notorious Saudi prince. Yet, the professor
has somehow been able to maintain a relatively high reputation in academic
and government circles.
That Mr. Esposito is still largely respected owes to the subtlety of
his apologism. He acknowledges that there is radicalism in Islam, and he
generally avoids defending the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Even as he
argues for engaging Islamists, he does so without overtly endorsing their
worldview. But Mr. Esposito skillfully downplays the threat posed by
radical Islam, and as demonstrated by his close affiliation with Azzam
Tamimi, who told a massive crowd in the UK on Sunday that "dying for your
beliefs is just," he willingly associates with avowed cheerleaders of
Mr. Esposito's defenders . and there are many . claim that his critics
conflate his practical advice that Islamists cannot simply be ignored with
apologism for radical Islam. While such an answer may be appealing for
those who believe in giving the benefit of the doubt, it simply doesn't
square with the facts.
Although Mr. Esposito is less transparent than most apologists for
radical Islam, he is more than a mere apologist. He defends supporters of
Islamic terrorism. He even mentors them.
Mr. Esposito has lavished praise on two prominent advocates of Islamic
terrorism: former University of South Florida professor (and convicted
terrorist) Sami al-Arian, and al Jazeera phenomenon Sheikh Yusuf
When the university moved to fire al-Arian in April 2002, Mr. Esposito
wrote to the university's president that he was "stunned, astonished, and
saddened." While naysayers point to acquittals on eight of 17 charges
brought against him, al-Arian was indisputably an avowed Islamic radical
long before September 11. Among other examples, he played host in the
early to mid-1990s to some of the most notorious jihadists in the world,
all of which was well-documented by the Tampa Tribune and in the 1994 PBS
documentary "Jihad in America" by Steven Emerson.
Even more troubling is the affection Mr. Esposito has displayed for
Sheikh Qaradawi. In 2003, he fawned over Mr. Qaradawi's "reformist
interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and
human rights." The famous cleric, though, has issued fatwas endorsing
suicide bombings in Israel and has said that those who kill Americans in
Iraq are "martyrs" with "good intentions." Mr. Qaradawi also supports the
killing of homosexuals or anyone who has converted away from Islam.
With neither al-Arian nor Mr. Qaradawi does Mr. Esposito have any
plausible deniability. But he doesn't owe nearly as much of an explanation
for those sleights of hand as he does for his still un-severed
relationship with his protege, Mr. Tamimi.
In 2000, Mr. Esposito co-edited with Mr. Tamimi a book called "Islam
and Secularism." The next year, Mr. Tamimi published a biography of
Tunisian Islamist Rachid Ghannouchi, which was part of a series edited by
Mr. Esposito. In the book's introduction, Mr. Tamimi calls Mr. Esposito
his "ustadh," or teacher.
To this day, Mr. Esposito sits on the board of advisers of the
Institute for Islamic Political Thought, founded and run by Mr. Tamimi,
who confirmed this fact during a phone interview. He's had multiple
opportunities when comments by Mr. Tamimi should have prompted his
resignation. None did.
A November 2001 Spanish newspaper article about an interview with Mr.
Tamimi was titled "I admire the Taliban; they are courageous." The
following July at a speech in South Africa, Mr. Tamimi paid stirring
tribute to "martyrs" who blow themselves up. Then in 2004, Mr. Tamimi
expressed to the BBC his desire to become a suicide bomber: "If I can go
to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it."
What's most disconcerting about the case of Mr. Tamimi is not that
someone who studied under and later worked with Mr. Esposito could turn
out to be so noxious. It's that someone like Mr. Tamimi almost certainly
could not have kept hidden his real and deeply held beliefs from his
mentor and collaborator.
In two separate phone interviews, Mr. Tamimi was quite freewheeling.
Though he gave the standard disclaimer that "any killing of innocent
people is unacceptable," he quickly clarified . or rather, contradicted .
his statement. When asked if this applies to "innocent people in Israel,"
he responded, "Palestine is a special case." How so? "It is legitimate for
the Palestinians to fight the Israelis who are occupying their land." Does
this apply to Americans and Brits killed in Iraq? "Of course it holds true
Mr. Tamimi's only testy moment during the interviews came when asked
if it was morally acceptable to kill Americans who are only in Iraq to
rebuild things like roads and schools. He snapped, "It is not my
responsibility to tell the Iraqi people who they can kill or not."
To put it gently, Mr. Tamimi is not afraid to express radical views to
a stranger, or for that matter, to 8,000 people in Manchester. It raises
the question: What kind of venom has he spewed privately to Mr. Esposito?
Better yet, what has Mr. Esposito said back?
3. From Israel Academia Monitor:
Five Israeli academic women blame Israel, not a single blame on the
IWC CALL FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION
As Israeli, Palestinian and International women leaders and activists,
members of the IWC, dedicated to the goal of ending the occupation and
achieving a just and sustainable Palestinian-Israeli peace based on a
two-state solution, committed to the respect of international law, human
rights and equality, we are alarmed at the escalating use of force and
violence that threatens to destroy all options for creating a humane
future for ourselves and our children.
WE CALL on the government of Israel to immediately cease its war on the
civilian population of Gaza and withdraw its armed forces. We demand the
cessation of the irresponsible and totally unacceptable policy of
deprivation and collective punishment. The destruction of power stations
and infrastructure has denied access to water and electricity to over
two-thirds of the population, which has aggravated an already
deteriorating situation due to the long-standing siege imposed. Today the
humanitarian crisis is reaching unprecedented proportions.
WE CALL on the international community to exercise its responsibility for
the protection of human security, human rights, and the fundamental rights
of all to live in an environment of peace and security, free from
occupation, oppression and the arbitrary use of force as stipulated in
international law and human rights conventions.
Galia Golan, Professor of Government, Hebrew University
Naava Eisin, Director, the Archives of Jewish Education, Tel-Aviv
Naomi Chazan, Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University (emerita)
Sarai Aharoni, PhD Candidate, Bar-Ilan University
Anat Saragusti, Editor Channel 2 News and Humphrey Fellow, University of
4. Israel's Friends of Nasrallah are holding a conference:
5. British film director moonbat:
Someone worth boycotting!
6. The Tel Aviv Syndrome:
7. How to get rid of peace activists:
8. Pogroms coming to Venezuela?
9. Speaking of pogromchik wannabes:
10. Academic Atrocities, news about Israel's Academic Fifth Column from
Israel Academic Monitor:
Latest News from Israel's Academic Fifth Column
Just in July and August this year, I found the following five quotes made
by Israeli men arguing that the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolvable, or
thinking that if we have a oneState solution, Jews and Arabs will live in
harmony. If worse comes to worse, they think, under Muslim rule once
Israel lost the battle, they will be happily spared, while spreading such
words they get loads of support from bashing-Israel organizations. Here
Ilan Pappe, University of Haifa - "...To sum up, Hizbollah.s achievement
may indicate that the days of the US empire in the Middle East are
numbered and nearly over. However in history .nearly. can take years..."
Pappe's twisted history can be found at
Gadi Elgazi, Tel Aviv University: "this war is being carried out on the
poorest peoples' backs, both in Israel and Lebanon. Those who cannot
escape pay the dearest price of this war."
Dov Khenin, (Tel Aviv University) MK, praised those who participated in
the demonstration and said that "a demonstration attended by thousands
expresses the expansion of the anti-war
front".http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3286718,00.html (in Hebrew)
Daniel Bartal, Tel Aviv University
"I belong to those who consider Israel's reaction with massive bombing,
the widespread extent of the violence, the widespread damage to the
civilian population, the unwillingness to negotiate, and the unwillingness
to accept a ceasefire as symptoms of Israel's forceful way, as an
expression of the culture of conflict that has become rooted in Israeli
society, as an expression of the blind rallying of its members, of the
ethnocentric, simplistic and one-sided perception of the Arab-Israeli
conflict and the military's decisive influence on our lives and ways here
[in this country]"
Ze'ev Sternhell, Hebrew University, in Haaretz: "Let's declare victory and
"And a word about the price of American support. Sometimes it seems as if
U.S. President George W. Bush wants Israel both to destroy Lebanon and to
sustain painful losses. That way, Israel provides him with an excellent
alibi for the war in Iraq:
The fight against terror is global, the blood price is the same, the
methods of operation and the means are identical, and the time needed for
victory is long. The Israeli vassal is serving its master no less than the
master is providing for its needs."
Ze'ev Maoz, Tel Aviv University
"There's practically a holy consensus right now that the war in the North
is a just war and that morality is on our side. The bitter truth must be
said: this holy consensus is based on short-range selective memory, an
introverted worldview, and double standards.
This war is not a just war. Israel is using excessive force without
distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose
is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on
Hezbollah's side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah "started
it" when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does
not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side."
Some more pearls from the mouth of Ze'ev Maoz: In October, 1996 he said:
"chance of army coup now possible." And in August 1996: "If the political
deadlock continues for a long time, and Syria reaches the conclusion that
there is no solution in the political option, it may reconsider the
military option as a viable one," he [Ze'ev Maoz] wrote.
In March 2002 he was interviewed saying: "Any initiative that comes from
the Arab world makes me considerably more optimistic," says Ze'ev Maoz, an
Israeli political scientist, "because it has the potential ... to lower
the psychological barriers that many Israelis have in terms of making
concessions for peace." At the same article it said: "Tel Aviv University
professor Maoz says Israeli supporters of a negotiated solution are
"regrouping because they are starting to realize that a policy of applying
force just for the sake of applying force, without any sort of political
vision, doesn't lead anywhere."
Further reading on Ze'ev Maoz:
http://www.freeman.org/m_online/sep96/basch.htm (half way down the page)
Those are not just Israeli men, they are Israeli academics. Why should we
have to listen to their nonsense? Even though we all support freedom of
speech, why should the Israeli public accept academics who are calling for
Dr. Haim Bresheeth is an ex-Israeli who lives and teaches in Oxford,
He wrote an article to Al-Ahram recently which says: ".I have no doubt
that many of those who justify and argue away Israeli barbarities as
"strategic moves" are quietly ashamed of themselves, but hold the party
line as is expected of them. In so doing, they betray Jewish tradition and
values, Jewish liberalism, and a long history of suffering from racism and
anti-Semitism. They also make such terrifying historical echoes more
likely to return in the future, when they are part of removing the limits
and boundaries, of justifying the unjustifiable. Justice, we learnt from
Hillel the Elder, is not divisible -- either we all have it, or none shall
have it. They, and the rest of us, may rue the day they were too
frightened to remember their own history, and act to keep the boundaries
intact between humanity and barbarism."
After reading all this it is hard to resist the conclusion that some of
the above mentioned "academics" were hired to teach in their universities
and promoted not for their research merits but their political extremism.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Shocking Likud Discoveries
Opinion polls in Israel are showing Kadima's strength falling dramtically,
with the Likud now polling well ahead of Kadima, and Netanyahu well ahead
Well, let me tell you why the Likud should not be considered a reliable
and credible alternative to Kadima. No, not only because Netanyahu
behaved as the Wye's Man of Chelm while Prime Minister in the 90s, trying
to out-Oslo Shimon Peres.
The clearest sign that the Likud should not to be trusted with the reins
of power is the new initiative by the Haifa chapter of the Likud.
Let me explain.
A few weeks back you heard it for the first time here that the Hebollah's
heaviest katuyusha attack on Haifa had devastated a building owned by the
(predominantly Arab) HADASH communist party (which has quite a few Haifa
University Jewish profs as members), and was used as the editorial offices
for the Arab communist party newspaper. HADASH has never renounced
Stalinism. Many of the katyushas that fell landed in Arab areas and
The Haifa branch of the Likud is the fiefdom of one Itzhak Regev, who
currently serves as the commissar of the Haifa Municipality's
"Infrastructure Company", a city-owned enterprise. Regev has just ordered
the communist party building rebuilt and repaired at taxpayer expense as a
"gesture of affirmative action" (his term).
2. Bashing campus pogromchiki:
Friday, August 25, 2006
Political Advice for the Olmert Government
I consulted a well-known political advisor about what should now be done
with the Olmert government. Here is the reply:
"Who is this man who is cowardly and weak-hearted, he should go home and
stop weakening the will of his brethren."
-- Deuteronomy, Chapter 20, verse 8.
Olmert's Newest Surrender
1. Olmert's new surrender:
Israel has essentially given up hope of Hizbullah being disarmed, and
instead is now concentrating on ensuring that an arms embargo called for
in UN Security Council resolution 1701 be implemented, The Jerusalem Post
Furthermore, senior Israeli officials have made it clear in recent days
during talks with foreign governments that Israel realizes a Hizbullah
presence south of the Litani River is unavoidable, if for no other reason
than because the organization is so well rooted there that the only way to
get rid of Hizbullah would be to evacuate the entire region.
What Israel does expect, however, is that the Lebanese Army and the
international force that will deploy there ensure that Hizbullah doesn't
have offensive weaponry to attack Israel, and that if they do try to
attack, there will be someone there to stop them.
2. Olmert's surrender in Lebanon is already having repurcussions. Syria
has figured out that Israel is on the run and is so weak it cannot defeat
a ragtime band of terrorists shooting WWII rockets. The empty "Never
Again" slogan aside, Olmert's Israel did nothing when 4000 rockets were
fired at its civilians. Moreover, Syria sees
that Israel is still trying to appease its way to peace and achieve peace
through surrender. Senior Israeli officials are signalling they are ready
to turn the Golan Heights over to Syria to become a new base for launching
rockets at the Jews.
SO Syria is mobilizing its entire army and moving it forward to the
border with Israel, openily threatening to open a new front any day now.
And why shouldn't it? Olmert has made all of Israel ripe for the Baathist
4. Preparing the Second Holocaust:
5. Hebollah ambulance chasers:
6. If only this were true:
August 25, 2006
Hezbollah Didn't Win
By AMIR TAHERI
August 25, 2006; Page A14
The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hezbollah won a great
victory against Israel and the U.S., healed the Sunni-Shiite rift, and
boosted the Iranian mullahs' claim to leadership of the Muslim world.
Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese
branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the
West, hammering in the message that this child of the Khomeinist
revolution is the new hero of the mythical "Arab Street."
Probably because he watches a lot of CNN, Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali
Khamenei also believes in "a divine victory." Last week he asked 205
members of his Islamic Majlis to send Mr. Nasrallah a message,
congratulating him for his "wise and far-sighted leadership of the Ummah
that produced the great victory in Lebanon."
By controlling the flow of information from Lebanon throughout the
conflict, and help from all those who disagree with U.S. policies for
different reasons, Hezbollah may have won the information war in the West.
In Lebanon, the Middle East and the broader Muslim space, however, the
picture is rather different.
* * *
Let us start with Lebanon.
Immediately after the U.N.-ordained ceasefire started, Hezbollah organized
a series of firework shows, accompanied by the distribution of fruits and
sweets, to celebrate its victory. Most Lebanese, however, finding the
exercise indecent, stayed away. The largest "victory march" in south
Beirut, Hezbollah's stronghold, attracted just a few hundred people.
Initially Hezbollah had hesitated between declaring victory and going into
mourning for its "martyrs." The latter course would have been more in
harmony with Shiite traditions centered on the cult of Imam Hussain's
martyrdom in 680 A.D. Some members of Hezbollah wished to play the
martyrdom card so that they could accuse Israel, and, through it, the
U.S., of war crimes. They knew that it was easier for Shiites, brought up
in a culture of eternal victimhood, to cry over an imagined calamity than
laugh in the joy of a claimed victory.
Politically, however, Hezbollah had to declare victory for a simple
reason: It had to pretend that the death and desolation it had provoked
had been worth it. A claim of victory was Hezbollah's shield against
criticism of a strategy that had led Lebanon into war without the
knowledge of its government and people. Mr. Nasrallah alluded to this in
television appearances, calling on those who criticized him for having
triggered the war to shut up because "a great strategic victory" had been
The tactic worked for a day or two. However, it did not silence the
critics, who have become louder in recent days. The leaders of the March
14 movement, which has a majority in the Lebanese parliament and
government, have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led
to the war, a roundabout way of accusing Hezbollah of having provoked the
tragedy. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has made it clear that he would not
allow Hezbollah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun,
a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hezbollah, has called for
the Shiite militia to disband.
Mr. Nasrallah followed his claim of victory with what is known as the
"Green Flood" (Al-sayl al-akhdhar). This refers to the massive amounts of
crisp U.S. dollar notes that Hezbollah is distributing among Shiites in
Beirut and the south. The dollars from Iran are ferried to Beirut via
Syria and distributed through networks of militants. Anyone who can prove
that his home was damaged in the war receives $12,000, a tidy sum in
* * *
The Green Flood has been unleashed to silence criticism of Mr. Nasrallah
and his masters in Tehran. But the trick does not seem to be working. "If
Hezbollah won a victory, it was a pyrrhic one," says Walid Abi-Mershed, a
leading Lebanese columnist. "They made Lebanon pay too high a price -- for
which they must be held accountable."
Hezbollah is also criticized from within the Lebanese Shiite community,
which accounts for some 40% of the population. Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the
grand old man of Lebanese Shiism, has broken years of silence to criticize
Hezbollah for provoking the war, and called for its disarmament. In an
interview granted to the Beirut An-Nahar, he rejected the claim that
Hezbollah represented the whole of the Shiite community. "I don't believe
Hezbollah asked the Shiite community what they thought about [starting
the] war," Mr. al-Amin said. "The fact that the masses [of Shiites] fled
from the south is proof that they rejected the war. The Shiite community
never gave anyone the right to wage war in its name."
There were even sharper attacks. Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic
in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She
asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A
Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow
believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without
consulting anyone. Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a
popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hezbollah as "one of the
worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time." He accuses Mr. Nasrallah
of risking Lebanon's existence in the service of Iran's regional
Before he provoked the war, Mr. Nasrallah faced growing criticism not only
from the Shiite community, but also from within Hezbollah. Some in the
political wing expressed dissatisfaction with his over-reliance on the
movement's military and security apparatus. Speaking on condition of
anonymity, they described Mr. Nasrallah's style as "Stalinist" and pointed
to the fact that the party's leadership council (shura) has not held a
full session in five years. Mr. Nasrallah took all the major decisions
after clearing them with his Iranian and Syrian contacts, and made sure
that, on official visits to Tehran, he alone would meet Iran's "Supreme
Guide" Ali Khamenei.
Mr. Nasrallah justified his style by claiming that involving too many
people in decision-making could allow "the Zionist enemy" to infiltrate
the movement. Once he had received the Iranian green light to provoke the
war, Mr. Nasrallah acted without informing even the two Hezbollah
ministers in the Siniora cabinet or the 12 Hezbollah members of the
Mr. Nasrallah was also criticized for his acknowledgement of Ali Khamenei
as Marjaa al-Taqlid (Source of Emulation), the highest theological
authority in Shiism. Highlighting his bay'aah (allegiance), Mr. Nasrallah
kisses the man's hand each time they meet. Many Lebanese Shiites resent
this because Mr. Khamenei, a powerful politician but a lightweight in
theological terms, is not recognized as Marjaa al-Taqlid in Iran itself.
The overwhelming majority of Lebanese Shiites regard Grand Ayatollah Ali
Sistani, in Iraq, or Ayatollah Muhammad-Hussein Fadhlallah, in Beirut, as
their "Source of Emulation."
Some Lebanese Shiites also question Mr. Nasrallah's strategy of opposing
Prime Minister Siniora's "Project for Peace," and instead advancing an
Iranian-backed "Project of Defiance." The coalition led by Mr. Siniora
wants to build Lebanon into a haven of peace in the heart of a turbulent
region. His critics dismiss this as a plan "to create a larger Monaco."
Mr. Nasrallah's "Project of Defiance," however, is aimed at turning
Lebanon into the frontline of Iranian defenses in a war of civilizations
between Islam (led by Tehran) and the "infidel," under American
leadership. "The choice is between the beach and the bunker," says
Lebanese scholar Nadim Shehadeh. There is evidence that a majority of
Lebanese Shiites would prefer the beach.
* * *
There was a time when Shiites represented an underclass of dirt-poor
peasants in the south and lumpen elements in Beirut. Over the past 30
years, however, that picture has changed. Money sent from Shiite
immigrants in West Africa (where they dominate the diamond trade), and in
the U.S. (especially Michigan), has helped create a prosperous middle
class of Shiites more interested in the good life than martyrdom . la Imam
Hussain. This new Shiite bourgeoisie dreams of a place in the mainstream
of Lebanese politics and hopes to use the community's demographic
advantage as a springboard for national leadership. Hezbollah, unless it
ceases to be an instrument of Iranian policies, cannot realize that dream.
The list of names of those who never endorsed Hezbollah, or who broke with
it after its Iranian connections became too apparent, reads like a Who's
Who of Lebanese Shiism. It includes, apart from the al-Amins, families
such as the al-As'ad, the Osseiran, the al-Khalil, the Hamadah, the
Murtadha, the Sharafeddin, the Fadhlallah, the Mussawis, the Hussainis,
the Shamsuddin and the Ata'allahs.
Far from representing the Lebanese national consensus, Hezbollah is a
sectarian group backed by a militia that is trained, armed and controlled
by Iran. In the words of Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Iranian
daily Kayhan, "Hezbollah is 'Iran in Lebanon.'" In the 2004 municipal
elections, Hezbollah won some 40% of the votes in the Shiite areas, the
rest going to its rival Amal (Hope) movement and independent candidates.
In last year's general election, Hezbollah won only 12 of the 27 seats
allocated to Shiites in the 128-seat National Assembly -- despite making
alliances with Christian and Druze parties and spending vast sums of
Iranian money to buy votes.
Hezbollah's position is no more secure in the broader Arab world, where it
is seen as an Iranian tool rather than as the vanguard of a new Nahdha
(Awakening), as the Western media claim. To be sure, it is still powerful
because it has guns, money and support from Iran, Syria and Hate-America
International Inc. But the list of prominent Arab writers, both Shiite and
Sunni, who have exposed Hezbollah for what it is -- a Khomeinist Trojan
Horse -- would be too long for a single article. They are beginning to
lift the veil and reveal what really happened in Lebanon.
Having lost more than 500 of its fighters, and with almost all of its
medium-range missiles destroyed, Hezbollah may find it hard to sustain its
claim of victory. "Hezbollah won the propaganda war because many in the
West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United
States," says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. "But the Arabs have
become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory."
Mr. Taheri is author of "L'Irak: Le Dessous Des Cartes" (Editions
URL for this article:
7. August 25, 2006
A Match Made in Israel
By NATHANIEL POPPER
August 25, 2006; Page W11
Last January I took a Birthright Israel tour, a free 10-day trip designed
to give young Jews a positive sense of Jewish identity. What remains from
my trip are some fuzzy memories of Jerusalem and Eilat and a few new
friends. Oh, and one more thing: a sandy-haired Californian girl with whom
I now cook dinner on most nights and celebrate the Jewish holidays.
As it turns out, my romantic success was no accident. Birthright Israel,
which has taken more than 100,000 young Jews to the Holy Land, is
generally thought to be a tool for inculcating Zionism. But when it was
organized, Yossi Beilin, then Israel's justice minister and the official
at the center of the project, reflected the sentiments of the
philanthropists behind it when he said, "I see myself as a Jewish
shadchan," using the Hebrew word for matchmaker.
There was a time when speeding along Jewish love was left to synagogue
mixers and the likes of Yenta the Matchmaker. But these days, the Yenta in
her kerchief has been replaced by wealthy philanthropists in pinstripes.
Mark Charendoff, who advises Jewish philanthropists as the president of
the Jewish Funders Network, told me "that influencing that one decision --
who you marry -- has prompted an enormous amount of grant making."
The money pouring into the Jewish singles scene can largely be traced back
to one event -- the release of the now infamous 1990 Jewish population
survey, which announced that 52% of Jews were marrying outside the faith.
The study prompted lots of preaching and hand-wringing about how to make
Judaism appealing again. A few cooler heads, though, have realized that to
hold off the trends, you don't have to make Judaism attractive; you just
have to find attractive Jews and leave the rest to chemistry and fate.
In San Francisco, for instance, the federation just sponsored a dating
game for Russian Jews, who have had little contact with Jewish
institutions. The Newton D. and Rochelle F. Becker Foundation has funded a
singles initiative for young eligible Jews in Los Angeles. And New York
has two recently created cultural centers that provide a place for young
Jewish love to grow. One of these, Makor, sponsored a sold-out
speed-dating session last week. The dating coach who facilitated the
event, Shoshanna Rikon, said that she regularly gets called for similar
work. "They keep me busy," said Ms. Rikon.
Perhaps no one figure looms larger in this world than Michael Steinhardt,
the hedge-fund impresario turned matchmaker. Mr. Steinhardt has given
millions to Birthright Israel, and he founded Makor before handing it over
to the 92nd Street Y. Today he is a major funder of the Manhattan Jewish
Experience, where he plays the gregarious host at a dating-game show. With
an audience of 300 or so looking on, the game featured a series of
contestants, each of whom had three people of the opposite sex vying for
his or her affections. "Somehow I feel," Mr. Steinhardt told me, "that in
my lame amateur efforts I am impacting the miserable demographics we have
at least a little bit."
The religious imperative for this kind of work is evident. There in
Deuteronomy it says: "Do not intermarry with them." Why? "For they will
turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord's
anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you."
But Mr. Steinhardt is a self-proclaimed atheist, as are many of the people
he is trying to reach, so he uses less biblically rooted tactics. At
college and Birthright events he has been known to promise a honeymoon on
his estate in Anguila to any couple in the room who meets that night and
eventually gets married. He says that he has footed the bill for 20 such
honeymoons so far. The Manhattan Jewish Experience counts some 60 couples
among its successes.
Moving into the singles arena makes good business sense for Jewish
organizations that want to attract young blood too. They could see the
opportunities they were missing by looking to the example of the Jewish
dating Web site, JDate.com, which has 600,000 paying subscribers.
But I can say from personal experience that there are many young Jews who
would never pay money to enter a limited dating pool. When I first found
out in high school that some of my Jewish friends would not consider
marrying our non-Jewish friends, I was flabbergasted -- it seemed
positively tribal and antique. It was the allure not of a Jewish woman but
of a free trip that inspired me to go on the Birthright tour.
Maybe, though, that's the key to its success. Critics would be quick to
say that matches like mine will only push the problem of assimilation one
further generation down the line -- without a deep attachment to Judaism,
they'd say, there's no substance to my Jewish identity. But my new partner
has shown me the wonders of candle lighting, the Yiddish language and the
holidays, and the beauty of these Jewish rituals is much more evident
through the rose-colored glasses of love.
Mr. Popper is a reporter at the Forward.
URL for this article:
8. August 25, 2006
August 25, 2006
The word "ghetto" comes to us from the Italian language, and was first
used to describe the quarter of Renaissance Venice to which Jews were
Now, the northeastern Italian city of Padua has given Europe another
shameful first in the annals of segregation. This month it built a
three-meter steel wall around a problem-plagued housing project, to
separate its residents from the surrounding neighborhood of new office
blocks and stylish villas. Anchored well underground to deter burrowing,
the wall encircles the homes of some 1,500 immigrants. Many are illegal,
most from sub-Saharan Africa.
The police checkpoint and surveillance cameras at the single entrance to
the Serenissima project on Via Anelli suggest a prison. Police control
access and have stepped up raids on the apartments inside, on at least one
recent occasion arresting illegal immigrants.
Mayor Flavio Zanonato of the Democrats of the Left party says he was
prompted to act by neighbors of the housing project, who complained about
violence and crime. Many Paduans reached the end of their tether one night
in July, when the project spawned a terrifying machete-and-crowbar fight
that raged for several hours between Moroccan and Nigerian gangs.
Inside the wall, flapping laundry and satellite dishes festoon the
buildings, according to the newspaper Le Figaro, and men play cards and
soccer in a courtyard throughout the day. After the wall went up, one
Serenissima resident posted a hand-scrawled poster reading: "today's
illegal immigrants are tomorrow's voters." One can only hope.
Outside the walls, reaction to the ghettoization was more enthusiastic.
Paolo Manfrin, spokesman for a group of neighborhood residents, told
Italy's Corriere Della Sera that "after ten years of being afraid to leave
our apartments, militarization is precisely what we want." A disturbing
choice of words, coming from the land that also gave us the term
"fascism." Another neighbor told Le Figaro, "Via Anelli is a sore that
must be made to disappear forever." In fact, that's more or less what Mr.
Zanonato intends: To empty the project within two years. He says that he
will redistribute the residents around Padua. The recent arrests suggest
that some will be redistributed out of the country.
It's ironic that this desperate measure was implemented by a socialist
mayor. The left in Italy has argued for dismantling the detention centers
that hold illegal immigrants pending deportation; yet now it has all but
created a new one. Politicians of all stripes have denounced the wall, but
the fact that a leftist mayor introduced it suggests a hardening against
immigration across the vast and colorful Italian political spectrum.
In any case, when building a wall to keep people apart becomes official
policy, it's generally an admission of massive failure. In this case the
European Union has failed to coherently address African immigration, even
as stories of tragic entry attempts have become a regular feature of the
Continent's summer news. A few meters of steel won't stop the powerful
allure of a shot at a better life.
URL for this article:
9. Anti-Semitic paper in Berkeley
The Northern California Jewish Bulletin ran this:
which woul dbe nice if the same paper did not have such a long history of
running Bash-Israel articles by anti-Semites itself.
10. Don't negotiate:
11. Nice survey:
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The War Israel Chose To Lose
The War that Israel Chose to Lose (Jewish Press)
The War Israel Chose To Lose
By: Steven Plaut
It was a war Israel was more afraid of winning than of losing.
It was a war whose battlefield strategy was based on posturing .
on acting as if Israel were conducting an actual all-out war.
It was a war in which Israel attempted to defeat the enemy by not
It was a war of the make-pretend.
Let us be clear. Every war has its share of mishaps, glitches,
and human errors, and this one was no exception. But this war was fought
after many years of massive budget cuts for the military. Convinced that
the era of peace was anon, the politicians had conducted a sort of fiscal
hari-kari on the army in order to allocate far more funding for nice
things like social spending and pork projects.
The result was tanks going off to battle without basic protective
electronics, and troops marching off without medicine, ammunition and
But the real problem in this war was that the political elite
decided to prevent the armed forces from really fighting. As a result,
Israel failed to achieve any of the declared goals it had set for itself.
It failed altogether to stop the Katyusha blitz on northern Israel. The
day before the .cease-fire. went into effect, 250 rockets hit Israel, the
largest number of any day in the war, demonstrating that Israel had not
even put a crimp into the terror machine of the Hizbullah savages.
Despite early talk of disarming Hizbullah as part of the
cease-fire, within days it was revealed that Hizbullah would in fact keep
all its arms but would not parade about too openly with them.
The military tactics imposed on the Israel Defense Forces by the
politicians were guaranteed to create failure. At times it seemed that the
strategy of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz
consisted of hoping that if Israel waited long enough, Hizbullah would
just run out of rockets.
For the first 32 days of the fighting . five times the period of
time it took Israel to defeat the combined Arab military machine in 1967 .
Israeli ground troops and armor were still huddled en masse inside the
Israel-Lebanon border or camped just a short distance across it.
For the first 32 days of the war Israel tried to defeat Hizbullah
by bombing empty buildings, empty bunkers and .infrastructure. across
Lebanon. It may well be that the air attacks on Hizbullah.s buildings
failed to kill even a single terrorist.
It was only after those 32 days, and with a UN cease-fire
stopwatch already ticking, that a half-hearted .ground offensive. was
launched. With the government announcing that Israel was driving for the
Litani river in the final days, the ground troops made it less than a
third of the way there. Bravado by the generals in announcing a massive
paratroop landing at the Litani itself, or commando raids behind the enemy
lines in the Baalbek Valley, proved to be nothing more than empty
grandstanding. They achieved nothing. Olmert was trying to knock out
rockets with a 40-mile range by taking one or two kilometers of Lebanese
The air campaign was a waste of time and resources. The film
clips of empty buildings being blown to smithereens were designed to give
the Israeli public little morale boosters, but not to defeat Hizbullah.
The Olmert government, which had gone to war to win the release
of the kidnapped soldiers being held hostage by the terrorists, signed a
cease-fire agreement in which it gave up the demand for the soldiers.
immediate and unconditional release.
The cease-fire was a complete capitulation by Israel, which got a
promise of a few more UN troops to sunbathe in Lebanon. But UN troops have
been .patrolling. the south of Lebanon since 1978 and have yet to stop a
single Katyusha or mortar attack, or even a single stone from being thrown
over the border fence. As Haaretz.s Avi Shavit asked sarcastically, .Did
we go to war so that French soldiers will protect us from Hizbullah?.
Throughout the war, the near-total failure of Israeli intelligence
in Lebanon was obvious. But this was the direct consequence of Israel.s
2000 unilateral capitulation, in which Ehud Barak ordered all Israeli
troops out of south Lebanon in what amounted to a Monty Python version of
Dunkirk. As part of that capitulation, Israel abandoned its networks of
informants and allies there, many of whom were murdered by Hizbullah.
At the time of the Lebanese retreat, it was argued that the move
would at least unite Israelis behind any future military retaliation
should Hizbullah misbehave. But Hizbullah had been misbehaving ever since,
such as when it kidnapped and murdered three Israeli soldiers soon after
Up to a point, a closing of ranks in Israel did indeed take
place, with polls showing near unanimity among the general Jewish public
in backing massive military retaliation. But as the days dragged by with
no serious progress, the Peace through Surrender forces came back into
public view. Small demonstrations led by communists were reinforced when
Peace Now and Meretz joined in demanding an instant Israeli withdrawal.
The Israeli Literary Left and much of the chattering classes had
backed the war at first, but toward its end they reverted to their gut
instincts, with many denouncing Israel for .war crimes. and calling for
.talks. with Hizbullah. (Olmert.s own daughter was among those denouncing
Israel.s actions as criminal.)
The real problem is that Israel has been captive to the Peace
through Surrender mindset for so long that it is now second nature. The
open terrorist aggressions by Hizbullah, combined with the near unanimous
public support for serious military action, were insufficient to put fire
into the bellies of the politicians. They meowed their rage at the terror.
The day the cease-fire went into effect, Hamas fired rockets,
including a Katyusha, into Ashkelon from Gaza. So we now know where the
next front will be. In the middle of the fighting Olmert announced that
the war was designed to create conditions under which he could go ahead
with his .contraction. plan, which in effect would turn the West Bank into
a new Katyusha base for bombarding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Who says the
Wise Men of Chelm is just a fable?
Unless Israel.s pusillanimous leadership is replaced with people
possessing vision, willingness to fight, and determination to deal
effectively with the genocidal Islamofascist terrorists, Iran.s president
may yet get his wish.
2. Phyllis Chesler's Excellent Diagnosis:
The Time Is Now Israel And The West On The Brink
3. Remember how Galilee Arabs were dancing on the rooftops to celebrate
the katyushas falling on the Jews?
Well, when a bus full of Israeli Arabs overturned in the Sinai this week,
not a single Jew (publicly) cheered, laughed, published a "Hoorah" or
otherwise celebrated the event. But of course that will not stop the
Israeli Left from denouncing Israel as an apartheid entity.
4. A Piece worth reading:
5. Gibson Syndrome:
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Alan Dershowitz Outs Neve Gordon's Guru
Norman Finkelstein's Obscenities
By Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com August 22, 2006
The level of .academic. discourse on the Middle-East reached a new
low.quite a feat considering some of the old lows.when the notorious
Jewish anti-Semite and Holocaust-justice denier Norman Finkelstein wrote a
screed suggesting that I be targeted .for assassination. because of my
views on Israel. The obscene article was accompanied by an obscene
cartoon drawn by .Latuff., a frequent accomplice of Finkelstein. The
cartoon portrayed me as masturbating in rapturous joy while viewing images
of dead Lebanese civilians on a TV set labeled .Israel peep show,. with a
Jewish Star of David prominently featured. The cartoon aptly represents
the content of Finkelstein.s piece, which accuses me of being a .moral
pervert. who .missed the climactic scene of his little peep show.. He also
claims quite absurdly that I .sanction mass murder. and .the extermination
of the Lebanese people.. (I.m surprised he hasn.t accused me of kicking
of puppy dogs, scowling at little children, and parking in handicapped
Finkelstein calls me a Nazi not once, but twice, first saying that I
subscribe to .Nazi ideology. and then comparing me to Nazi propagandist
Julius Streicher, who was prosecuted at Nuremberg by my mentor Telford
The peep-show cartoon was even too extreme for the notorious
.Counterpunch,. a Stalinist website that glorifies Hezbollah, Hamas and
other terrorist enemies of the U.S. and Israel. Prior to its decision not
to run this particular cartoon, Counterpunch seemed to have no standards,
but even for them this one was apparently too much (though they kept in
the .peep show. reference that inspired the cartoon).
The article itself is typical Finkelstein. He totally distorts my
positions, uses quotes out of context, and simply makes things up. He
assumes that his readers will not have read the material he criticizes,
because if they did, they would not recognize his characterizations of
them. Indeed I challenge any reasonable reader to peruse my writings and
then Finkelstein.s characterization of them and decide whether his
characterizations are even close to what I actually said.
It was President Bush who once famously said, .I don.t do nuance.. Well
at least Finkelstein has that much in common with our president. Any
effort by a pro-Israel writer to be reasonable, balanced or nuanced is
turned by Finkelstein into a justification for genocide.
Finkelstein himself is a well-known Holocaust minimizer and
Holocaust-justice denier. He is beloved by full blown Holocaust deniers.
Listen to Ernst Zundel, the notorious Hitler lover and Holocaust denier:
"Some people hate it when I pitch Finkelstein and his .Holocaust Industry.
yet one more time - because they know, as I know, that what must be for
tactical reasons, .Stormin' Norman. doesn't go all the way and says what
he must surely have come to realize in his heart: That the
"gassing-of-millions" stories of the so-called Holocaust are just a pot of
That doesn't mean that Finkelstein isn't exceedingly useful to us and to
the Revisionist cause. He is making three-fourths of our argument - and
making it effectively. Never fret - the rest of the argument is being made
by us, and will topple the lie within our lifetime. We would not be making
vast inroads in Europe with our outreach program, were it not for his
courageous little booklet, "The Holocaust Industry."
Zundel.s wife and fellow Neo-Nazi, Ingrid Rimland, referred to Finkelstein
admiringly as the .Jewish David Irving..a reference to the well known
Holocaust denier and admirer of Hitler. Finkelstein himself admires
Irving.s .historical. research.
Finkelstein is also an admirer of Hezbollah, having said that his .chief
regret is that I wasn.t even more forceful in publicly defending Hezbollah
against terrorist intimidation and attack..
This academic pornographer, who uses .professor. in his byline even when
he is spewing unacademic hate, is now up for tenure at DePaul University,
a Catholic school in Chicago that recently fired a teacher named Thomas
Klocek for offending Arab students during a discussion of the Arab-Israeli
conflict. Finkelstein was fired by several universities at which he
previously worked for abusing students who disagreed with his bigoted
views. The chairman of one department where he taught said he was fired
for .incompetence., .mental instability. and .abuse. of students with
politics different from his own. I wonder whether Finkelstein will submit
this .assassination. article as part of his tenure portfolio at DePaul.
He certainly should, since it is quite representative of his
.scholarship.. If he submits it, will it be accompanied by the
masturbation cartoon? It should, because the cartoon too personifies
Finkelstein.s academic standards.
It should be noted that Norman Finkelstein is the guru and role model for
Neve Gordon, the anti-Israel lecturer at Ben Gurion
University who served as a human shield to prevent the IDF from
apprehending wanted murderers and terrorists. See
2. Berkeley Prof. Yoo on War:
3. Caroline Glick on the NEXT war:
4. If the world ends because of the Iranian bomb, it will all be Jimmy
Carter's fault for installing the Islamofascist regime there. More on
5. From the Wall St Journal:
August 22, 2006
The Constitution vs. Counterterrorism
By RICHARD A. POSNER
August 22, 2006; Page A12
Last week a federal district judge in Detroit ruled that the National
Security Agency's conduct of electronic surveillance outside the
boundaries of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is illegal. As a
judge I cannot comment on the correctness of her decision. But I can
remark on the strangeness of confiding so momentous an issue of national
security to a randomly selected member of the federal judiciary's corps of
almost 700 district judges, subject to review by appellate and Supreme
Court judges also not chosen for their knowledge of national security.
A further strangeness is that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (which hears
appeals from FISC) have been bypassed, with regard to adjudicating the
legality of the NSA program, in favor of the federal district court in
Detroit. The reason is that the jurisdiction of those courts is limited to
foreign intelligence surveillance warrants, and the NSA program under
attack involves warrantless surveillance.
In June, the Supreme Court in the Hamdan decision invalidated the military
commissions that the Defense Department had established to try captive
terrorists -- commissions that had never succeeded in conducting any
trials. And the pending Senate bill to revise the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act contemplates the submission of NSA programs to the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for an opinion on their legality
-- a problematic procedure because federal courts are not permitted to
render advisory opinions. A court might even hold that a surveillance
"program," as distinct from the surveillance of specific individuals, was
a "general warrant," which the Fourth Amendment forbids.
Five years after the 9/11 attacks, the institutional structure of U.S.
counterterrorism is in disarray. The Department of Homeland Security
remains a work in progress -- slow and painful progress -- and likewise
for the restructuring of the intelligence community decreed by Congress in
the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. And now, in
the wake of Hamdan and the Detroit case, we learn that we do not have a
coherent judicial dimension to our efforts to combat terrorism. (One
reason may be that there is no official with overall responsibility for
counterterrorism policy.) Other than the judges assigned to the two
foreign intelligence courts, federal judges do not have security
clearances and, more to the point, have no expertise in national security
matters. Moreover, the criminal justice system is designed for dealing
with ordinary crimes, not today's global terrorism, as is shown by the
rules, for example, that entitle a person who is arrested to a prompt
probable-cause hearing before a judge and require that criminal trials be
open to the public.
* * *
Other countries have greater flexibility in tailoring their judicial
procedures to the special problems posed by terrorism. We are boxed in by
our revered 18th-century Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
The Hamdan decision suggests that a majority, albeit a bare majority, of
the court is unsympathetic to arguments that our understanding of certain
provisions of the Constitution needs to be revised to meet contemporary
needs. The court that resisted Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s
eventually bowed, and so may the court in the current era, but we cannot
wait for that to happen.
The dilemma of defeating terrorism while respecting essential civil
liberties can perhaps be resolved by a change of focus from the
adjudicative process to executive and congressional oversight. This would
mean less effort at trying to prevent terrorism by means of criminal
prosecutions, whether in regular courts or in ad hoc military tribunals,
and less use of devices, such as the warrant, that are used mainly in
criminal-law enforcement. It is telling that no one was ever tried by the
military commissions set up in the wake of 9/11, and that criminal
prosecutions of terrorists have been few and have seemed to have had
little impact on the terrorist menace.
Terrorists are difficult to deter and locking them up has only a limited
preventive effect because the supply of terrorists is virtually unlimited.
Fortunately, if a terrorist plot is detected it will usually be possible
to neutralize the plotters without prosecuting them. Some can be deported,
some held in administrative detention, some "turned" to work for us, some
discredited in the eyes of their accomplices, some sent off on wild-goose
chases by carefully planted disinformation, and some carefully monitored
in the hope that they will lead us to their accomplices.
Monitoring, even when it takes the form of wiretapping or other electronic
interceptions, need not be conducted under a warrant. The Fourth Amendment
restricts warrants, as I have said, but warrantless searches are
permissible as long as they are reasonable. The potential abuses of
warrantless surveillance can be minimized, without judicial intervention,
by rules limiting the use of intercepted communications to national
security, requiring that the names of persons whose communications are
intercepted (and the reasons for and results of the interception) be
turned over to executive and congressional watchdog committees, and
imposing draconian penalties on officials who violate civil liberties in
Mr. Posner, a federal circuit judge and a senior lecturer at the
University of Chicago Law School, is the author of "Uncertain Shield: The
U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform" (Rowman & Littlefield,
URL for this article:
6. Life and death:
August 22, 2006
Life and Death
By SHELBY STEELE
August 22, 2006; Page A12
The simple back-and-forth of war can create the illusion that both sides
have a legitimate point to make even when this is not so, and it is clear
that Hezbollah's cause has greatly benefited from war's "equalizing"
effect. This Shiite militia seems to have known that merely fighting
Israel would gain legitimacy for its cause. A cease-fire would make it a
"partner" in peace. The Goliath Israeli military would make it a David
whose passion proved the truth of its cause. But amidst all the drama of
this war there has been very little talk of exactly what Hezbollah's cause
And, of course, it is not just Hezbollah's cause. There is Hamas, one more
in a family of politicized terrorist groups spread across the Muslim
world. Beyond these more conventional groups there is the free-floating
and world-wide terrorism of groups like al Qaeda. In Europe, there are
cells of self-invented middle-class terrorists living modern lives by day
and plotting attacks on modernity by night. And around these cells there
is often a nourishing atmosphere of fellow traveling. Then there are the
radical nation-states in league with terrorism, Iran and Syria most
prominent among them. From nations on the verge of nuclear weapons to
isolated individuals -- take the recent Seattle shootings -- Islamic
militancy grounded in hatred of Israel and America has become the Muslim
world's most animating idea. Why?
I don't believe it is because of the reasons usually cited -- Israeli and
American "outrages." No doubt Israel and America have made mistakes in the
Middle East. Certainly, Israel was born at the price of considerable
dislocation and suffering on the part of the Palestinians. And yes, there
will never be a satisfying answer for this. Yet every Israeli
land-for-peace gesture has been met with a return volley of suicide
bombers and rockets. Palestinians have balked every time their longed-for
nationhood has come within grasp. They have seemed to prefer the aggrieved
dignity of their resentments to the challenges of nationhood. And
Hezbollah launched the current war from territory Israel had relinquished
six years earlier.
If this war makes anything clear, it is that Israel can do nothing to
appease the Muslim animus against her. And now much of the West is in a
similar position, living in a state of ever-heightening security against
the constant threat of violence from Islamic extremists. So here, from the
Muslim world, comes an unappeasable hatred that seems to exist for its own
sake, a hatred with very little actual reference to those it claims to
hate. Even the fighting of Islamic terrorist groups is oddly
self-referential, fighting not for territory or treasure but for the
fighting itself. Standing today in the rubble of Lebanon, having not taken
a single inch of Israeli territory, Hezbollah claims a galvanizing
* * *
All this follows the familiar pattern of a very old vice: anti-Semitism.
The anti-Semite is always drawn to the hatred of Jews by his own
unacknowledged inadequacy. As Sartre says in his great essay on the
subject, the anti-Semite "is a man who is afraid. Not of Jews of course,
but of himself." By hating Jews, he asserts that his own group represents
the kind of human being that God truly wants. His group is God's
archetype, the only authentic humanity, already complete and superior. No
striving or self-reflection is necessary. If Jews are superior in some
ways, it is only out of their alienated striving, their exile from God's
grace. For the anti-Semite, hating and fighting Jews is both
self-affirmation and a way of doing God's work.
So the anti-Semite comes to a chilling place: He easily joins himself to
evil in order to serve God. Fighting and even killing Jews brings the
world closer to God's intended human hierarchy. For Nazis, the "final
solution" was an act of self-realization and a fulfillment of God's will.
At the center of today's militant Islamic identity there is a passion to
annihilate rather than contain Israel. And today this identity applies the
anti-Semitic model of hatred to a vastly larger group -- the infidel. If
the infidel is not yet the object of that pristine hatred reserved for
Jews, he is not far behind. Bombings in London, Madrid and Mumbai; riots
in Paris; murders in Amsterdam; and of course 9/11 -- all these follow the
formula of anti-Semitism: murder of a hated enemy as self-realization and
service to God.
Hatred and murder are self-realization because they impart grandeur to
Islamic extremists -- the sense of being God's chosen warrior in God's
great cause. Hatred delivers the extremist to a greatness that compensates
for the ineffectuality in his world. Jews and infidels are irrelevant
except that they offer occasion to hate and, thus, to experience
grandiosity. This is why Hezbollah -- Party of God -- can take no
territory and still claim to have won. The grandiosity is in the hating
and fighting, not the victory.
And death -- both homicide and suicide -- is the extremist's great
obsession because its finality makes the grandiosity "real." If I am not
afraid to kill and die, then I am larger than life. Certainly I am larger
than the puny Westerners who are reduced to decadence by their love of
life. So my hatred and my disregard of death, my knowledge that life is
trivial, deliver me to a human grandeur beyond the reach of the West.
After the Madrid bombings a spokesman for al-Qaeda left a message: "You
love life, and we love death." The horror is that greatness is tied to
death rather than to achievement in life.
The West is stymied by this extremism because it is used to enemies that
want to live. In Vietnam, America fought one whose communism was driven by
an underlying nationalism, the desire to live free of the West. Whatever
one may think of this, here was an enemy that truly wanted to live, that
insisted on territory and sovereignty. But Osama bin Laden fights only to
achieve a death that will enshrine him as a figure of awe. The gift he
wants to leave his people is not freedom or even justice; it is
White guilt in the West -- especially in Europe and on the American left
-- confuses all this by seeing Islamic extremism as a response to
oppression. The West is so terrified of being charged with its old sins of
racism, imperialism and colonialism that it makes oppression an automatic
prism on the non-Western world, a politeness. But Islamic extremists don't
hate the West because they are oppressed by it. They hate it precisely
because the end of oppression and colonialism -- not their continuance --
forced the Muslim world to compete with the West. Less oppression, not
more, opened this world to the sense of defeat that turned into extremism.
* * *
But the international left is in its own contest with American
exceptionalism. It keeps charging Israel and America with oppression
hoping to mute American power. And this works in today's world because the
oppression script is so familiar and because American power cringes when
labeled with sins of the white Western past. Yet whenever the left does
this, it makes room for extremism by lending legitimacy to its claim of
oppression. And Israel can never use its military fire power without being
labeled an oppressor -- which brings legitimacy to the enemies she fights.
Israel roars; much of Europe supports Hezbollah.
Over and over, white guilt turns the disparity in development between
Israel and her neighbors into a case of Western bigotry. This despite the
fact that Islamic extremism is the most explicit and dangerous expression
of human bigotry since the Nazi era. Israel's historical contradiction,
her torture, is to be a Western nation whose efforts to survive trap her
in the moral mazes of white guilt. Its national defense will forever be
But white guilt's most dangerous suppression is to keep from discussion
the most conspicuous reality in the Middle East: that the Islamic world
long ago fell out of history. Islamic extremism is the saber-rattling of
an inferiority complex. America has done a good thing in launching
democracy as a new ideal in this region. Here is the possibility -- if
still quite remote -- for the Islamic world to seek power through
contribution rather than through menace.
Mr. Steele, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, is the
author of "White Guilt" (HarperCollins, 2006).
URL for this article:
7. The Charms of Losing, according to Olmert:
9. Now THERE is an idea worth considering: