Archive for the ‘Antisemitism’ Category

Goodbye, Facebook

Friday, February 21st, 2014

We know Facebook is the Evil Empire of the Web. Its tentacles are everywhere; it is intrusive and exploitative. I admit that I always feel like I need a shower after visiting Facebook.

No more. A friend pointed me to this vile, Jew-hating page in Facebook: Jewish Ritual Murder. What could be a more blatant example of hate speech, than a page dedicated to the vicious libel that has incited countless pogroms?

So I ‘reported’ the page to Facebook. And here is the response I got:

Screen-2014-02-19_22-11“Ask Jewish ritual murder to remove this page!” Damn, why didn’t I think of that?

I like the part about “community standards.” What community has standards that approve of telling stories that incite violence, even genocide? None that I want to belong to.

I’m gone from Facebook. Now I can go back to taking only one shower a day.

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Who’s illiterate?

Friday, February 7th, 2014
Graffiti defaces Jewish-themed mural in Los Angeles

Graffiti defaces Jewish-themed mural in Los Angeles

News item:

A mural on the south side of the Arbeter Ring/Workmen’s Circle Southern California campus at 1525 S. Robertson Blvd was defaced with graffiti that reads “Free Palestine!!!!”

The wall-sized mural [itself] –  titled, ”A shenere un besere velt,” according to the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (a Yiddish phrase meaning, “A more beautiful and better world) – depicts cultural, biblical and historical imagery. The imagery includes a menorah, Israelites wandering in the desert, a young girl waving Israeli and American flags, and more.

What would your reaction be upon seeing it? Unfortunately, some people are still in the dark about the significance of this, and similar acts.

Robert Adler-Peckerar, executive director of the L.A.-based organization Yiddishkayt, which is a frequent collaborator with the national office and local branch of Workmen’s Circle, said the message of the graffiti reflects an ignorance about the mission of the victimized group. He described Workmen’s Circle as being historically committed to ideas of “social progress, equality, human rights, civil rights and the general pursuit of human dignity,” which includes promoting a “progressive, peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.

“I feel like this [the graffiti] indicates something much more about thoughtlessness than about an actual commitment to a free Palestine,” Adler-Peckerar said in an interview. “And a tremendous amount of cultural illiteracy [on the vandal(s)’ part].” [my emphasis]

The director is wrong. The vandals were not ‘ignorant’ or  ‘thoughtless’. They fully understood the connection of the Palestinian Cause to the destruction of the Jewish State, and the relationship of the Jewish state to the continued existence of the Jewish people. The graffiti expresses their negation of both Zionism and the Jewish people.

The apparent belief of the director that the Palestinian Cause that the vandals espouse has anything to do with “social progress, equality, human rights, civil rights and the general pursuit of human dignity” rather than racism and a desire to commit genocide, is a good example of another kind of illiteracy — the political illiteracy which prevents ‘progressive’ Jews from reading the ugly truth in front of their faces.

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Cancer imagery and Jew hatred

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Jerusalem day 2013

Rowhani’s comment about Israel being a ‘sore’ (whether or not he added that it should be removed) expresses a popular meme in the Muslim world. The idea is expressed explicitly in the Hamas covenant, and it often appears in PLO media. Palestinian Journalist Khalid Amayreh published an article in 2010 on an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website in which he called  Jews “an abomination, a cancer upon the world.” Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Friday called Israel a “cancerous gland” which must be “excised,” echoing Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Other Iranian officials also use this language on a regular basis.

The idea persists, despite the fact that — by any objective standard — the behavior of Israel is anything but expansionist and invasive. Although Israel ‘grew’ at the expense of the Arab nations in 1967, it has eagerly abandoned most of the territory conquered in the name of ‘peace’, even when that goal proved illusory. It would probably have given it all up if the Arabs had been more focused on strategic advantage than honor and vengeance.

Since 1948, the Arabs (and from 1979, the Iranian regime) have persisted in trying to ‘cure’ the Jewish ‘cancer’, sometimes by war, sometimes by diplomacy and often by both at once. The Arabs seem to have learned by successive humiliations (which only deepen their hatred) that direct means will not be successful. Now they have adopted a multi-pronged strategy of military pressure combined with delegitimization to reduce Western support for Israel, along with diplomatic offensives at the UN and with the US to obtain a solid territorial base. Once this is achieved, they expect to finish the job in another regional war.

The Arabs in particular have never been terribly original. First they borrowed the anti-Jewish ideology of the Nazis, exemplified by Palestinian Arab leader al-Husseini’s relationship with Hitler and the Nazi scientists and war criminals who found sanctuary in Egypt, Iraq and Syria after the war.

The rest of the world was understandably repelled by Nazi ideology, but in the late 1960′s Yasser Arafat was instructed by the KGB to present his gang as a movement of national liberation for a distinct ‘Palestinian people’, and Zionism as a form of imperialism. The international Left followed the KGB’s lead, and this marked the beginning of the Left’s fanatic anti-Zionism.

In 2001, a new element was added with the development of the Durban Strategy by anti-Israel NGOs. Gerald Steinberg explained it thus in 2005:

The Durban conference crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation based on the South African model. This plan is driven by UN-based groups as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which exploit the funds, slogans and rhetoric of the human rights movement.

On this basis a series of political battles have been fought in the UN and in the media. These include the myth of the Jenin “massacre,” the separation barrier, the academic boycott, and, currently, the church-based anti-Israel divestment campaign.

Each of these fronts reflected the Durban strategy of labeling Israel as the new South Africa.

Since then the campaign has expanded greatly, despite the complete absence of parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

It’s important to understand — and the cancer imagery makes this clear — that despite the various guises that the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian cause affects, there is one basic element that underlies it: an extreme hatred of the Jewish people and the desire for another genocide against it.

In this they will be unlikely to succeed — unless Israel first tears itself apart by internal conflict.

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Khaybar, Khaybar ya Yahud

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
One of the forts of Khaybar, near Medina

One of the forts of Khaybar, near Medina

Egyptian TV is planning to broadcast a new series during Ramadan in July: Khaybar, the story of a battle fought in 629 by the prophet Mohammed against the Jews of Khaybar, an oasis in northwestern Arabia. After a vicious battle in which many Jews were killed, women and children were made slaves (Mohammed himself took the wife of one of the leaders). A few Jews were allowed to remain on the condition that they give half of their produce to the Muslims.

Muslim demonstrators today like to chant “khaybar, khaybar ya yahud, jaish muhammad saya’ud, Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, Mohammed’s army will return,” to remind us of the historic event and to threaten a replay of it.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) describes the TV series thus:

The series is explicitly intended to demonize the Jews as an alien race hostile to Muslims and the welfare of the world. According to the series’ script-writer, Yusri Al-Jindy, “The goal of the series is to expose the naked truth about the Jews and stress that they cannot be trusted …I think it is time to expose them [the Jews] even in America itself. I am confident that the United States will realize that it paid a high price for supporting them.” …

Khayber is produced by the Qatari company Echo Media Qatar which, in 2010, produced a television series, The Collapse of the Caliphate, which blamed Jews for conspiring with the enemies of the Ottoman Sultan to dismember the Caliphate, the Islamic empire administered for several centuries by the Ottomans. A report in the Qatari newspaper Al-Raya states that the series focuses “on the social, economic and religious characteristics of the Jews including politics and conspiracies and how they dominate and control tribes.” …

The promotion of anti-Semitic themes in the Egyptian media has been a long-standing and ominous problem. In 2002-2003, Egyptian television produced a 40-part series, Rider Without a Horse, dramatizing the classic anti-Semitic tract, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The program depicts Jews murdering a gentile child to use his blood in making of Passover matzah.

It’s easy to think “who cares, it’s normal in that part of the world, it doesn’t mean anything special.” But it does. Like the daily demonization of Jews and Israel in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas media, like the constant invention and exaggeration of stories of mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs by multiple European-funded NGOs, and like the lie factory that is the UN — here’s a particularly egregious example which is in the news today — anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate propaganda in Egypt and other Arab countries represents an early stage of a hoped-for genocide against the Jewish people.

It is also easy to feel confident that Egypt, which is on the verge of starvation and probably soon to face a military coup, doesn’t have the ability to hurt Israel, nor many Jews of its own. But hate is cumulative over time, and spreads efficiently in Internet space.

It is past time for the Jewish people to say that they are not going to take this anymore, that there will be consequences for countries and institutions that don’t take steps to stop it. Egypt, for example, doesn’t have sufficient energy reserves to meet its needs, nor does it have the foreign currency to buy oil and gas. Israel will shortly have more gas than it can use. Should it sell some to Egypt, when that country in essence calls for another genocide against Jews?

The ZOA is asking President Obama to “publicly pressure the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-backed regime of Mohammed Morsi to cancel the broadcast of [this] viciously anti-Semitic television series.”

Egypt needs help everywhere it can get it, and the US will certainly be a major source of aid when Egypt’s economy collapses altogether. This could be a test case to find out if the Obama Administration really means what it says about its opposition to racism and incitement to murder.

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How not to remember the Holocaust

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

holocaust cartoon

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I’m troubled.

History is important, because justice today depends on a correct understanding of yesterday. If your vision of the past is distorted, then your objectives for the future and present actions can be morally wrong, pragmatically futile, or both. If you don’t believe this, think about the consequences of the false Arab and leftist narratives about Israel and ‘Palestine’.

Therefore, understanding what Hitler did to the Jewish people, what historical trends led up to it and how the world responded, is critical for all of us today. There needs to be a Holocaust remembrance Day and it ought to tell its story in detail, over and over to each generation of humanity, and not just to Jews and Europeans.

But certain ways of observing this day make me very uncomfortable.

One is what I call the ‘universal kumbaya Holocaust observance’. The message here is that there are lots of genocides, they are all similar, and we have to try to understand our fellow man in order to prevent them. I went to an event once in which it was said that the real Holocaust encompassed 11 million people — Jews, Gypsies, gays, disabled and mentally ill people, etc.  I didn’t understand how they got to 11 million, nor why they stopped there: about 60 million people died as a result of WWII, probably about half of those in the European theater. Estimates range from 10 to 20 million Chinese dead in the conflict with Japan. Perhaps they should have lit 30 candles for the evil done by Hitler, and added another 30 for Imperial Japan?

The trouble with a universalized observance is that it obscures the significance of the specifically Jewish genocide, the fact that the Holocaust was the perfection, made possible by modern technology and careful planning, of the pogrom, the culmination of  the hundreds of anti-Jewish murders committed over the centuries simply because the victims were Jews, as the Nazis said, a final pogrom which would, for once and for all, erase the Jews from the world.

And by hiding the meaning of this event in plain sight, as it were, among all the other horrors of war, it also absolves today’s Jews from the responsibility to find their own solution to the specifically Jewish problem of endemic Jew-hatred, which has not gone away.

Another kind of Holocaust observance is the ‘emotional binge’, in which participants try to bring themselves to the point where they can almost feel the doors of the gas chambers closing on themselves or (worse) their children, in order to fully internalize the ‘real meaning’ of the Holocaust. These events include talks by survivors about their experiences, dramatic performances and even re-enactments in which participants play the role of Jews and Nazis (all of these have been done in my community). The common characteristic is that they are intended to evoke the strongest possible emotional responses.

The catharsis provided by emotional binges is greatly enjoyed by some people, but it adds nothing to the understanding of history. Indeed, it creates a dangerous fixation on the dead Jews of the 1940s, to the detriment of those living today.

Finally there is the ‘symbolic but trivializing gesture’. A local synagogue is attempting to collect 6,000,000 buttons in remembrance of the 6,000,000 Jewish victims of Hitler. It was explained that this is a big number, and the stack of buttons that they will make will help people visualize the extent of the Holocaust.

It’s hard to comment on something quite this silly. Collecting, storing and displaying that many buttons is  a large effort, which one imagines could be exerted to much more effect in some other way. Personally, I have no problem visualizing 6,000,000 people: I just think about the Jewish population of today’s state of Israel.

Which brings me to the general problem I have with all of these ways of commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. They are entirely consistent with total ignorance of the real lesson of the Holocaust for Jews, which is not that 6,000,000 is a big number, or that the death of a child is horrible, or that genocide is bad everywhere, in Rwanda or Armenia or anywhere else.

This is why it is possible for some Jews to light candles, cry, and ‘dialogue’ about the need for cross-cultural understanding with non-Jews until the cows come home, and then go out and (for example) join a demonstration against Jews moving into eastern Jerusalem.

The Jewish lesson of the Holocaust is this: Jew hatred is real, it is dangerous, and it is not possible for Jews to depend on others, no matter how well-intentioned they may seem, to protect them. For almost two thousand years, the Jewish people depended on others, and the result was periods of tolerance interspersed with persecutions, expulsions and murder.

Generations of Jews have learned this lesson from events: Herzl learned it from the Dreyfus case, and Jabotinsky from the Kishniev pogrom of 1903. Unfortunately, the history of modern Israel is also filled with such ‘teaching moments’.

There is a solution to the problem. It doesn’t end Jew-hatred and it doesn’t absolutely guarantee Jewish survival. But it is the best chance for the latter, in both the physical and cultural senses. It is, of course, Jewish independence — that is, Zionism.

So here is my idea for an appropriate Holocaust remembrance event: a teach-in on the subject of Jewish history, in which people would learn not only what Hitler did, but why, and how this was part of a long tradition of evil.

And it wouldn’t hurt to add a discussion of the history of Zionism and the state of Israel, to counteract the poisonous Arab narrative. Because acting justly in the present requires correctly remembering the past.

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Israel still a place of refuge

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Barry Rubin published a piece about Jew-hatred in Holland yesterday. He made the point that

Traditionally, the Netherlands was friendly to Israel and while it has always had its anti-Semites and even, historically, fascists, it had far less proportionately than other European countries during the last half-century. In other words, if things are bad in the Netherlands, they’re really bad.

Today they are, he said, and he added,

Last year, the chief rabbi of the Netherlands spoke in a published interview in which he spoke extensively about his love for the country, the good treatment of Jews there, and other such points. Asked at the end, however, whether there was any future for Jews in the country he said, “No,” and advised the community to move to Israel.

A lot has to with the increase in the number of Muslims there, who are strongly anti-Israel and increasingly antisemitic. But it’s not an accident that antisemitism is often compared to a virus, and in Europe the immunity conferred by the Holocaust appears to be wearing off, and it is spreading in the general population.

In a few countries, including some whose Jewish population was almost entirely wiped out, anti-Jewish banners are routinely in evidence at soccer games. In Greece, Golden Dawn party leaders and activists routinely blame Jews for Greece’s economic problems, deny the holocaust, etc. There are only a few thousand Jews left in Greece (from a pre-WW2 population of about 77,000).

The 1,500 Jewish residents of Malmo, Sweden (pop. 300,000) are fleeing because of a combination of violent anti-Jewish acts by Muslims and an official attitude that it is the Jews’ fault. In Norway, with a tiny Jewish contingent of about 1,000 people, ‘Jew’ is a popular insult among high school students.

New figures put the Jewish population of the world at 13,800,000. 6 million of them are in Israel, 5.5 million in the US, 680,000 in Canada, 500,000 in France, and 290,000 in the UK. Jews in Europe are feeling more and more uncomfortable as a result of increasing antisemitism, from Muslim immigrants, the extreme Left, and of course the old-fashioned fascist Right. In France, it has taken a particularly violent form, and many French Jews feel that the authorities are not capable of protecting them.

Although its practitioners are at pains to deny it, the irrational and extreme hatred of Israel evident in many segments of European society has long since become substantially indistinguishable from Jew-hatred. There are similar trends in other places — in South America, where Hugo Chavez exploited anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes in the traditional way, and even to a smaller extent in Australia where there has recently been an influx of  Lebanese Muslims.

All this raises the question, “what about the US?”

On the one hand, in the US there is a very strong taboo against anything perceived as a form of racism — sometimes to the point of silliness. As I’ve written before, the trauma of institutionalized anti-black racism has created a reaction not dissimilar to the European one that followed the Holocaust (which was felt in the US to a lesser extent). Ethnic jokes and stereotypes are not acceptable in polite society or media here — far less so than in the UK, for example — even though our laws about what can be said in public are more permissive.

On the other, extreme anti-Zionism (what one blogger called “misoziony” and Judea Pearl referred to as “Zionophobia“), irrational hatred of the Jewish state, flourishes here on the Left and in academia. It does not trigger the antibodies of the anti-racism taboo, and indeed receives cover as an expression of free speech and academic freedom — the practitioners thereof understand this very well and push it to the limit.

The fact that anti-Zionism has become part of the conventional wisdom in universities is bad, because what happens there is what economists call a ‘leading indicator’ — a measure that has predictive value for the future. Today’s students are tomorrow’s business and political leaders, and we can already see the effects of this in the attitude toward Israel found among officials in the left-leaning Obama Administration (including the President himself).

Although we cannot predict for certain what will happen in the US, the experience of much of the rest of the world is not encouraging. So even American Jews can be excused if they return to the ‘outdated’ idea that the Jewish state exists in part to be a place of refuge for persecuted Jews.

It’s ironic to note that some of the extremists of the Israeli Left might not exist if their parents or grandparents hadn’t found refuge in the ‘Zionist entity’ that they love to revile!

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A Jewish state can be democratic and moral

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has published an essay in (where else?) the New York Times, in which he argues that the proposition ‘Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state’ is false.

There are many things in the article to complain about, but I am going to content myself with pointing out the single massive howler by which his argument collapses.

He makes the distinction between “a people in the ethnic sense” and in the “civic sense,” which means either residents of a geographical area or citizens of a state. He generously grants that there is a Jewish people in the ethnic sense who live in Israel, but only an ‘Israeli people’, which includes Arabs, in the civic sense. Then he tells us,

…insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense…

But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall…

Any state that “belongs” to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group. [my emphasis]

His exposition is much more lengthy and you should read it. But I think I have extracted the gist of it.

Interestingly, while he explains what he means by ‘a people’ and draws a distinction between two senses of the expression, he does not even hint about his understanding of the concept of ‘democracy’ and especially “the core democratic principle of equality,” the violation of which he believes disqualifies Israel from continued existence as a Jewish state.

Levine explains how Israel violates these principles:

The distinctive position of [a favored ethnic people] would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc.

Actually, concerning the “more substantive” things, Arab citizens of Israel are doing quite well: they have the right to vote, to hold political office, and a large degree of control of their educational system; there are rules against discrimination in housing and employment (with exceptions related to national security), etc. In other words, they have full civil rights.

Naturally there are differences in the treatment of Jews and Arabs. Some are due to cultural differences — Arab towns are governed by Arabs and distribute resources differently — some are related to security, and some to anti-Arab prejudice. But the degree of prejudice in Israeli society is not particularly great compared to other advanced nations like the US, and nobody is suggesting that the US does not have a “right to exist” unless all discrimination can be eliminated.

In any event, discrimination in what he calls “substantive” ways are not essential to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, and there is a general consensus that such discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated.

Israel’s immigration rules are certainly unequal. But immigration rules by definition do not apply to citizens; and few — if any — of the world’s nations permit free immigration.

Levine also does not consider security issues at all. If Israel ignored them it would cease to exist without philosophical arguments. This would be bad both for the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (just ask any of them if they would prefer to be citizens of Israel or the Palestinian Authority).

Levine is quite correct, though, that symbolic items like the name of the state, the flag, and the national anthem belong to only one group of citizens. But are these included in the “core democratic principle of equality?” Why should they be?

After all, many states with ethnic or religious symbolism associated with them have been called ‘democratic’ since the word was invented by the ancient Greeks (incidentally, most of the residents of Athens, the paradigm of democracy, weren’t even citizens).

I could argue strongly that only civil rights are essential to democracy, and that “equality” in many senses is not. And Arab citizens of Israel have civil rights, even if they find the national anthem — which they are not required to sing — offensive.

And here we come to the fallacy in Levine’s argument. Can you say petitio principii? No? Then how about “assuming what you purport to prove?”

Because that is exactly what this Professor of Philosophy has done. He has built the negation of the fundamental idea of an ethnic nation-state — the expression of the beliefs, yearnings and fellow-feeling of an ethnic group in the symbols and moral principles of a state — into his definition of ‘democracy’, and then ‘proves’ that no such state can be democratic, and therefore ought not to exist in that form!

Another way of looking at it is that there is a hidden premise that is not true. In this case, that would be that democracy entails “group political equality” in which every group, whether a majority or minority, has an equal vote on all matters. But the usual idea of democracy is that each individual has a vote, as long as the civil rights of minorities are maintained. This is quite different.

There is another hidden premise, which is that if a state is not completely democratic, it is morally defective. This is also not self-evident; indeed, both Plato and Aristotle thought the opposite.

Many years ago, I had a short career as a college teacher of Philosophy. This is an undergraduate error; Levine should be embarrassed.

***

But now I have further questions for Professor Levine:

Why did you not write an article about whether Saudi Arabia has a right to exist as a Kingdom, or indeed whether any of the kingdoms, dictatorships, Islamic ‘republics’ or other undemocratic entities have a ‘right to exist’ as such?

Why did you not argue that the Kingdom of Jordan should not exist as such, not only because is it an undemocratic monarchy, but because a minority of Bedouins there rule over a majority of other Arabs? This is especially relevant, because Transjordan was created from the territory called ‘Palestine’, precisely to create an Arab state that would be a counterpart to the Jewish National Home that Britain was supposed to nurse into existence in Western Palestine.

Why do you find the relatively mild discrimination against Arab residents of Israel — especially in the context of the security situation — important when so many other Middle Eastern states with ethnic or religious minorities completely disenfranchise, even viciously oppress them (e.g., the Kurds or the Palestinians in Lebanon)?

You will say that this is because the question of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is much-discussed today, and as a philosopher you are equipped to add clarity to the discussion.

But it is discussed today precisely because those who deny it primarily do so not as an academic exercise, but in the context of a desire to end Jewish sovereignty, to establish insecure borders, and to allow the almost 5 million claimants to ‘Palestinian’ nationality (an absurdity if there ever was one) to enter the territory, which would result in the re-dispersal  of the Jewish people and quite probably the deaths of many of them. If this isn’t an antisemitic enterprise, I don’t know what is.

So your focus on Israel among states, your hypersensitivity to its perceived (by you) moral defects, your fallacious attempt to lend support to those who would destroy it, is de facto antisemitic, even if some of your best friends (and relatives) are Jews.

The antisemitic shoe fits. Wear it proudly.

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Erdoğan inverts reality

Friday, March 1st, 2013

News item:

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday waded into the controversy over comments by Turkey’s prime minister equating Zionism to a crime against humanity, rebuking the leader of the NATO ally by saying such remarks complicate efforts to find peace in the Middle East.

Kerry said the Obama administration found the statements by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “objectionable” and he stressed the “urgent need to promote a spirit of tolerance, and that includes all of the public statements made by all leaders” at a news conference in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“We not only disagree with it; we found it objectionable,” Kerry said.

Far be it from me to be unappreciative when our administration does something positive. Erdoğan’s statement was indeed ‘objectionable’, although I find the formulation that it “complicates efforts to find peace” somewhat stupid. As if that’s the issue!

The problem is that the statement is far more than just objectionable. Because if Zionism is a crime against humanity, then the existence of the Jewish state is also a crime, a crime committed by the Jewish people, and the only acceptable redress for the ‘victims’ of this crime is to take the state away from the Jews and give it to them.

Erdoğan is inverting reality. The truth is that the Jewish people suffered centuries of oppression and mistreatment in their diaspora, and finally succeeded in returning home. In a rare moment of collective moral clarity, the nations of the world recognized the rightness of this solution to the ‘Jewish problem’ and implemented it in the declaration of the Palestine Mandate. Although this moral moment was short — the British quickly fell back into darkness and tried to prevent  the creation of a Jewish state — it came into being despite their efforts.

Since then, the enemies of the Jewish state and the Jewish people have been trying, by increasingly sophisticated means including war, terrorism, and lately a combination of these with a carefully planned and executed diplomatic and psychological assault aimed at Israel’s supporters and Israelis themselves, to reverse history and re-disperse the Jewish people.

Reality inversion is a tactic that has proven especially effective. So a ficticious ‘people’, the ‘Palestinians’, is created out of heterogeneous Arabs, a false history is created for them, and Jewish history and provenance in the land of Israel is denied. These Palestinians are falsely cast as victims of oppression, expulsion and genocide, when this is both the historical experience of the Jewish people and what their enemies are trying to perpetrate against them yet again.

Israel is accused of targeting children and noncombatants, committing terrorism, establishing an apartheid regime, being racist. But of course it is (for example) the PLO, Hamas and Hizballah who target civilians and children, and who are proud to announce that when ‘Palestine’ is declared, no Jews will live in it.

Self-defense by Jews is particularly offensive to their enemies — because, you see, how dare we claim to have a right of self-defense when we are not on the same level of humanity as our attackers — so Erdoğan was especially infuriated by the short Gaza war of 2008-9, and even more by the self-defense by Israeli commandos against the thugs that tried to kill them on the deck of the Mavi Marmara.

It is important for possibly naive Westerners (including Israeli officials) to grasp that it really doesn’t matter if Israel had a right to intercept the ships, who provoked the violence on the Mavi Marmara, what weapons they had, who fired the first shots or whether the Israelis had any options short of live fire. It is always unthinkable for Jews to kill Muslims, in this case Turks!

The existence of a Jewish state in the ‘Muslim Middle East’ is a similar affront to Arab and Muslim manhood. So in a way it is natural for them to invert reality and see our defensive actions as aggression. But it is also a deliberate tactic, a form of ‘big lie’ technique.

The struggle to destroy the Jewish state that has been carried out since 1948, and which has now reached a truly remarkable degree of sophistication, is in fact the ongoing crime against humanity. The greatest reality inversion of all is to present this extended war against the Jewish people, this multifaceted enterprise that is intended to result in the end of the only Jewish state and probably yet another genocide, as a positive struggle on behalf of the ‘Palestinians’!

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Smelling Chuck Hagel

Sunday, February 17th, 2013
AIPAC Gorilla

Image courtesy DavidDuke.com

My grandparents emigrated from Russia to the US before the revolution. They were the type that divided things, and people, into Good For The Jews or Bad For The Jews. They were wary people, who understood that a Jew always had to be careful, even in America. They could smell antisemitism, and they believed that a Jew could not count on the authorities, or on his non-Jewish neighbors if the worse happened. I was close to them, closer than to my Americanized parents, and I became this kind of Jew as well.

Most younger American Jews do not display this heightened awareness, this almost paranoid (but not unreasonable) consciousness of their Jewish marginality, as Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street explained to a NY Times reporter several years ago:

The average age of the dozen or so staff members is about 30. [J Street director Jeremy] Ben-Ami speaks for, and to, this post-Holocaust generation. “They’re all intermarried,” he says. “They’re all doing Buddhist seders.” They are, he adds, baffled by the notion of “Israel as the place you can always count on when they come to get you.”

That notion is not baffling to me and certainly wouldn’t have been to my grandparents.

My alarm bells went off when the President chose Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. I am not especially worried by officials of our government, even presidents, who are not particularly friendly to Israel. As Hagel himself said, they are American senators, or congressmen, or cabinet members, not Israelis. The trouble is that this guy — like another Obama nominee for an important post, Chas Freemanis way over on the hostile side.

Hagel’s problem with Israel is so consistent over time and over issues, that it’s hard to believe it is wholly rational. The most recent example is his 2007 statement (which he says he “can’t recall making”) that “the State Department was becoming an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.”

The assertion that the State Department — that bureau which fought tooth and nail to prevent Harry Truman from recognizing the Jewish state, which does not believe that any part of Jerusalem belongs to Israel, and which maintains a US Embassy to ‘Palestine’ in the capital of Israel (which it doesn’t recognize) — is dominated by Israel, is beyond ludicrous. So why did he make it?

This statement is ‘ZOG’ (Zionist Occupation Government) stuff, an expression of one of the central anti-Jewish myths, that of a shadowy Jewish conspiracy pulling the strings that control our government. It fits with Hagel’s use of the phrase ‘Jewish lobby’, and his suggestion that the lobby “intimidates” US officials.

Hagel’s supporters are pushing this theme to the max. Stephen Walt wrote,

…if the lobby takes Hagel down, it will provide even more evidence of its power, and the extent to which supine support for Israel has become a litmus test for high office in America. [my emphasis]

Ah, the powerful lobby! Ask M J Rosenberg:

The onslaught is unprecedented. Never before has virtually the entire organized Jewish community combined to stop a presidential cabinet appointment because it deems the potential nominee insufficiently devoted to Israel. …

The onslaught against Hagel is unique however because the reason for it is not merely that he opposes the rush to war with Iran and favors negotiating an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The reason is because he dared to refer to the existence of the Israel lobby. He said this in 2008 in an interview with former State Department official, Aaron Miller.

“The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” but as he put it, “I’m a United States senator. I’m not an Israeli senator.”

That quote will likely doom Hagel’s candidacy because, if there is one institution that is considered untouchable, it is the Israel lobby and its power. [my emphasis]

Their theme is that “The Lobby” will “punish” Hagel and Obama for their disrespect. The same point is made by Patrick Slattery on (yes) DavidDuke.com:

AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represent the official command center of organized American Jewry, have come out beating their chests over his public acknowledgement of the existence of the 800-pound gorilla of a “Jewish lobby.” On the other hand, “liberal” Zionists like Thomas Freidman and Peter Beirnart are defending Hagel, perhaps because nothing can draw public attention to the power of an 800-pound gorilla more than the gorilla ripping to pieces a respected public figure in broad daylight. [my emphasis]

All this diverts attention from other important questions about Hagel, like “is he competent to run the massive enterprise that is the Defense Department?” and, given his opposition to both economic sanctions and the use of force, “what does putting Hagel is in the chain of command of the US armed forces tell Iran about our resolve to stop them from getting nuclear weapons?” That may be the idea.

But that’s the business of our Senate, most of which unfortunately follows the President like a lapdog. As for me, I’m just a Zhid from a village in the Ukraine who knows when something, or someone, stinks.

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Jew-hatred in Egypt and Britain

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

There’s lots of excitement in the Jew-hatred department lately. First, of course, is the not so stunning revelation that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi thinks that Jews are “bloodsuckers, warmongers, the descendents of apes and pigs” and that Muslims should “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews.

Morsi iced the cake in a recent meeting with several members of the US Senate:

“He was attempting to explain himself … then he said, ‘Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces and they don’t view me favorably,’” [Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del] said.

The Cable asked Coons if Morsy specifically named the Jews as the forces that control the American media. Coons said all the senators believed the implication was obvious.

“He did not say [the Jews], but I watched as the other senators physically recoiled, as did I,” he said. “I thought it was impossible to draw any other conclusion.”

“The meeting then took a very sharply negative turn for some time. It really threatened to cause the entire meeting to come apart so that we could not continue,” Coons said.

Multiple senators impressed upon Morsy that if he was saying the criticisms of his comments were due to the Jews in the media, that statement was potentially even more offensive than his original comments from 2010.

“[Morsi] did not say the Jewish community was making a big deal of this, but he said something [to the effect] that the only conclusion you could read was that he was implying it,” Coons said. “The conversation got so heated that eventually Senator McCain said to the group, ‘OK, we’ve pressed him as hard as we can while being in the boundaries of diplomacy,’” Coons said. “We then went on to discuss a whole range of other topics.”

Although it took the NY Times several weeks after the story broke to notice it, there is nothing surprising about his attitude, as a Muslim Brother, as Andrew McCarthy explains:

Contrary to the fairy tale weaved by apologists for Islamists on both sides of America’s political aisle, Jew hatred is not a pathogen insidiously injected into Islam by the Nazis (with whom Middle Eastern Muslims enthusiastically aligned). Nor did the ummah come by it through exposure to other strains of anti-Semitism that blight the history of Christendom. Jew hatred is ingrained in Islamic doctrine. Consequently, despite the efforts of enlightened Muslim reformers, Jew hatred is — and will remain — a pillar of Islamist ideology.

You may recall hearing this little ditty from the Hamas charter — often echoed by ministers of the Palestinian Authority and in the preachments of Brotherhood jurist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, on whose every word millions hang weekly on al-Jazeera (or is it al-Gore?):

The Day of Resurrection will not arrive until the Muslims make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: “Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!”

Again, these are not sentiments dreamt up by “violent extremists” waging a modern, purely political “resistance” against oppressive “Zionists.” The prophet’s admonition that Muslims will be spared the hellfire by killing Jews is repeated in numerous authoritative hadiths (see, e.g., Sahih Muslim Book 41, No. 6985; Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, No. 791).

Hadiths, it is worth emphasizing, are the recorded actions and instructions of Mohammed, who is taken by Muslims to be the “perfect example” they are to emulate. And in case you suppose, after years of listening to Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, that the prophet must ultimately have come around on the Jews, you might want to rethink that one. Another hadith, relating Mohammed’s dying words, recounts his final plea: “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, No. 427.)

This incident is interesting as a litmus test for our officials and politicians: will they continue to pretend that Brotherhood and Morsi are ‘moderate’ and worthy of our support and ignore the evidence that they are a bunch of racist, atavistic, megalomaniacs, and Jew- and Christian-haters? So far, the Obama Administration hasn’t done so well, rewarding Morsi with a gift of completely unneeded (except to attack Israel) F-16s and Abrams tanks.

Well, after all, Morsi is Egyptian (even if he does have a Ph.D from USC). What do you expect, that he should have the same enlightened consciousness as a Westerner? Like, for example, British MP David Ward, who compared Israeli “atrocities [inflicted] on the Palestinians” with the Holocaust (never mind that there were no such “atrocities”).

And, for another example, cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, whose cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain:

sunday times cartoon

Hmmm, nothing anti-Jewish here, just “criticism of Israel,” right? In case you really don’t get it, note the exaggeratedly ‘Jewish’ physiognomy of the caricature of Netanyahu, as well as his posture and expression, his claw-like fingers, the implication of murderous malice. And then add the bloody ‘mortar’, and you see that this is a classic expression of Jew hatred.

As politics, it doesn’t make sense. Jonathan S. Tobin writes,

In the face of slanders such as this cartoon about Netanyahu, the facts are almost beside the point. The cartoon will be defended as fair comment about Israel’s security fence that the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders depict as a war crime. That this strictly defensive measure was made necessary by the Palestinians’ campaign of suicide bombings that cost the lives of a thousand Jews in the last decade goes unmentioned.

The willingness of Israel-bashers to appropriate the Holocaust to promote a new generation of anti-Semitic imagery is rooted in a worldview in which the actions of the Palestinians, or their consistent refusal to make peace are irrelevant. If even a fence to keep out suicide bombers can be seen as criminal then it is obvious that no terrorist outrage or act of hateful incitement (such as the Egyptian president’s belief that Israelis are the “descendants of apes and pigs”) is worthy of censure so long as Israelis are standing up for themselves and refusing to be slaughtered as the Jews of Europe were 70 years ago.

In order for it to be considered a defensible point of view about the Middle East, you’d have to believe the artist and the editors who condoned its publication know nothing of why Israel built a security fence or that the terrorist campaign that it was built to stop was preceded by repeated Israeli offers of a Palestinian state that were refused and answered with war.

As Tobin says, where Israel, Jews or ‘Zionists’ are concerned, the facts are beside the point.

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A green light to attempt genocide

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Iranian VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi views Israel's border from Lebanon

Iranian VP Mohammad-Reza Rahimi views Israel’s border from Lebanon

News item:

TEHRAN — Iran’s vice president delivered a baldly anti-Semitic speech on Tuesday at an international antidrug conference here, saying that the Talmud, a central text of Judaism, was responsible for the spread of illegal drugs around the world…

Mr. Rahimi, second in line to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the Talmud teaches to “destroy everyone who opposes the Jews.”

The “Zionists” are in firm control of the illegal drug trade, Mr. Rahimi said, asking foreign dignitaries to research his claims. “Zionists” is Iran’s ideological term for Jews who support the state of Israel.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict,” Mr. Rahmini said. “They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.” …

Mr. Rahimi … told stories of gynecologists’ killing black babies on the orders of the Zionists and claimed that the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was started by Jews, adding that mysteriously, no Jews died in that uprising.

He also said the Talmud teaches Jews to think that they are a superior race. “They think God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them,” he said. Halfway through his speech, Mr. Rahimi said there was a difference between Jews who “honestly follow the prophet Moses” and the Zionists, who are “the main elements of the international drugs trade.”

This kind of rant serves several purposes. On the most basic level, a great majority of the world’s Muslims probably believe him (although I doubt that the same could be said for Iranians). Belief that Jews are essentially evil in multiple ways leads to dehumanization, stage 3 in Stanton’s 8 stages of genocide.

On a more emotional level, it doesn’t matter if a listener — or even the speaker — believes it or not. It is intended as a message of hate, a verbalization of the upraised middle finger, and a threat. It’s more of an action than an utterance.

It sends a message to other enemies of Israel as well. It says “we are not afraid of them, we will tell them to their faces that we intend to kill them.”

This is not the first time an Iranian official has sent this same message: “you are not human, we hate you, we will exterminate you.” Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini and President Ahmadinejad have both compared Israel to a “cancerous tumor,” with obvious implications.

The Israeli leadership — especially PM Netanyahu — has a sense of history and understands that threats like this have to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

This is a test, but not for Israel, which already understands what it is facing. It is a test for the “international community,” whose representatives were present at the conference and heard this atavistic Jew-hatred, as vile as anything that came from Hitler’s propagandists.

European diplomats in attendance expressed shock. Even Iranian participants in the conference, co-sponsored by Iran and the United Nations, privately wondered at their government’s motive for allowing such a speech, even given its longstanding antagonism toward Israel…

A European diplomat said afterward: “This was definitely one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life. My gut reaction was: why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?”

Now there is no excuse for pretending that the Iranian regime is anything other than it is. They have seen the face of the beast. Will they close their eyes to its intentions, as they did to Hitler’s?

The reaction of the European diplomat quoted above wasn’t encouraging:

But the diplomat, who declined to be identified by name or country, defended his presence at the conference. “If we do not support the United Nations on helping Iran fight drugs, voices like the one of Mr. Rahimi will be the only ones out there,” he said.

Do we really need to explain to a ‘diplomat’ that Rahimi speaks for the regime? That his voice is “the only one out there” in Iran? Of course not.

If the reaction from the “community,” particularly the US, is not swift and substantial — a retraction and apology must be demanded — then it will be taken as a green light.

A green light to attempt genocide.

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The Palestinian movement and Jew hatred

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

We keep hearing how there is a big difference between Jew hatred and anti-Zionism. Those who are promoting boycotts of Israeli goods, academics, athletes, etc. until Israel provides ‘justice’ to Palestinian Arabs — which is defined in terms that would preclude the existence of the Jewish state — vehemently insist that they have no problem with Jews per se.

Often they themselves are Jews. “How can we be Jew-haters,” they ask?

This position is belied by their double standards and by the pathological obsessiveness of their focus on Israel. But they nevertheless maintain that the logical distinction between hating Jews and ‘opposing’ (in fact, hating) Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs means that social sanctions against antisemitism (and in some countries, legal ones) do not apply to them.

But if we look at the Palestinian movement that they are supporting, it is joined at the hip with ideas and people that represent classical racist Jew hatred of the most murderous kind.

We can quickly dispose of Hamas, whose charter — which has not changed since its inception — contains anti-Jewish material taken directly from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But did you know that the Palestinian Authority (PA) published a textbook for children in 2004 that asserts that the forged Protocols are historically true?

The PA media and religious appointees also continue to describe Jews as descendants of apes and pigs. Does this count as ‘criticism of Israeli policies’?

We know that the first ‘Palestinian’ leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, fomented pogroms against Jews in Palestine in the 1920′s and in Iraq in 1941. Then he went to Germany and helped Hitler raise a Bosnian Muslim SS division to fight in Eastern Europe. After the war he helped clandestine networks resettle wanted Nazi war criminals in Arab countries (Egypt and Syria), where some served as military or political advisers. Both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas praised him as a Palestinian hero.

It’s well-known that Mahmoud Abbas wrote a ‘doctoral’ dissertation (see also here) in which he claimed that there were fewer than 900,000 Jewish Holocaust victims, that the Nazis did not murder Jews in gas chambers, and that Zionists encouraged Hitler to murder Jews in order to gain the world’s sympathy!

It’s also documented that Abbas, working under the direction of Arafat, provided funds to terrorist Abu Daoud to carry out the massacre of Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago this September.

Now it turns out that he and Arafat had help from neo-Nazis. Here is another link in the chain between Palestinian Arab terrorism and Nazi evil:

Berlin – Newly released files from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency reveal that neo-Nazis plotted with the Palestinian group Black September in the 1972 Munich Olympic terror attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes, according to a Der Spiegel magazine story on Sunday.

According to the online Spiegel report, police in the city of Dortmund sent a notice to the German domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz (BfV), in which “Saad Walli, an ‘Arab looking man’ met conspiratorially with the German neo-Nazi Willi Pohl.” The meeting took place roughly seven weeks before the 1972 terror attack in Munich.

Saad Walli was the cover name for Abu Daoud, who is widely believed to be the ringleader of the 1972 terror attack in Germany. Pohl bragged to his employer about his contact with the extremist PLO wing…

Pohl, the neo-Nazi, is now a crime fiction author and said, “I chauffeured Abu Daoud throughout the entire Federal Republic where he met in different cities with Palestinians.” Pohl helped Daoud obtain false passports and other documents, according to the report.

The Palestinian movement, both the Islamic and nationalist branches, has always worked hand-in-glove with its natural allies, the Nazis and neo-Nazis. It emphasizes anti-Jewish doctrines in Islam, and promulgates the long-discredited myths of European antisemitism.

If you support the Palestinian movement and its goals of replacing Israel with an Arab state — even if you hide behind the fantasy of a ‘democratic state of all its citizens’ — you need to understand exactly who you are supporting and what you have  signed up for.

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