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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Stuck in the same old political rut - weakness, prejudice and the no where game

Egypt gave the world the Muslim Brotherhood, the institution that has spread across the globe as a cross between the Institution of the Inquisition and the Knights Templar. Its most recent activist successor is Islamic State. It is noteworthy that in a country without Jews to blame, Muslims blame Christianity for the failure of the Arab Spring.

The Muslim Brotherhood was the creation of Hassan al-Banna, in Egypt in 1928.  Its fountainhead was devoid of any connection to Zionism or Jews. It was (and is to this day) socially regressive. It was created in response to British colonial attempts at reform.  It demanded as it continues to demand the elevation of sharia law to a position of domination over everyone. 

Zionism also had an idealised foundation.  But whereas the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to establish a solid link between seventh century Islam and the contemporary world, the philosophy and vision of Zionism was in complete contrast to Islamism’s latest radical creation in a never ending progression of extremist Islamist positions.  Zionism rejected superstition, it discarded bigotry and it rebuffed any inclination towards a hegemonic religious, totalitarian vision.  Zionism created a Declaration of Independence which forms the inspiration behind Israel’s Basic laws.   It is worthwhile to repeat part of that founding Declaration: 

“The State of Israel will ….be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture…” 

It is something that has skewered Israeli political and moral thinking. In Israel, realistically, equality exists in law but not in practice. That does not make Israel unusual or unique. It just makes the State of Israel normal.  Democratic institutions strive to create a consensus towards equality but it is an ongoing dialogue that is continuously being tested under changing conditions. That is the frailty and the strength of democracy. 

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (1973-77) lived the American dream but never escaped the nightmare of anti-Semitism. He admitted to confronting social prejudice at every stage in his career even as he became one of the most influential people in America. And as a Jew, he could always be put in his place.  Nevertheless, the greatness of America is that he was able to dream, and minus the Presidency (he was foreign born), he could reach for the stars. 

Courage is a pivotal requirement in achieving any dream, and peace is impossible without it.  But peace between Israel and Palestine is becoming more difficult to achieve with every day and it is because of ongoing incitement.  If there is no violence or threat of violence then people can and do live freely together.  Settlements are nascent villages and towns – they can become the core of inter-communal reconciliation.   But incitement, because it creates fear also demonstrates a negotiation conducted in bad-faith.  This is because people who are frightened forge maximalist positions to protect themselves from their enemy.  As gaps grow and positions harden the possibility of reconciliation decreases. 

Palestinians never cease to incite hatred of Israel’s Jewish population while promoting demands reminiscent of their previous periods of historical prejudice.  President for Life Mahmoud Abbas tells the world that his country will be Judenrein (Cleansed of Jews). He rewrites our history to eradicate Jewish history.  Western liberals, if they acknowledge this war-crime, this cultural ethnic cleansing, perhaps see it as no more than a negotiation tactic.  That is naïve at best and at worst it is telling the victim to trust his abuser. The nullification of anything precludes its negotiation. It is an aggressive strategy created in that same bad-faith.  Fatah honoured its jailed leader Marwan Barghouti because he had killed “61 Zionists”.  When we glorify killers we also send out a message.  Sticks and stones will break your bones but with words begin the slaughter. It is argued that Yasser Arafat had more blood on his hands – he killed Muslims as well as Jews indiscriminately.  But grandstanding, telling your supporters that someone who killed 61 Zionists is to be honoured has a parallel, wholly negative message to the seven million or so Zionists who live in Israel and to the tens of millions of Zionists living outside of Israel. 

Our enemies understand the importance of the War of Ideas in winning over the hearts and minds of world-wide public opinion. We do not.  In 2016, Belgian lawmakers across the political spectrum nominated the mass-murderer, Marwan Barghouti, for the Nobel Peace Prize. They were expressing support for Palestinian violence; a tactic that Europeans selectively applaud.  To many Israeli’s it must seem to be stating that murdering Jewish civilians, either singly or in mass-killing events, is legitimate, which given European history, is a position laden with irony; unfortunate if not historically consistent in its bias. 

President Mahmoud Abbas received his doctorate by denying the Shoah and associating Zionism with Nazism.  He later justified his position with reference to the ongoing state of war between the two peoples (Jews and Muslims) and “in 2013 he reasserted the veracity of the contents of his thesis.” 

Let’s be clear on this issue of incitement:  Someone who predicates their position vis-à-vis the other by engaging in Holocaust Denial and historical revisionism is ill-placed to demand trust from Israelis of all affiliations, Jews, or for that matter, from anyone of moral standing. 

Jews also do not always practice peaceful or even a sensible inter-communal dialogue. The Irgun had a maximalist approach to Jewish land claims prior to 1948.  There are many people on the radical Right who retain the conviction that the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria can be simply ‘wished away.’  Ultra-orthodox Jews who were powerless for so many centuries are now partners in political power and have ensured that their own maximalist religious demands are met, even when they violate the democratic and secular principles that govern Israel. The ultra-left has adopted a Western and frankly anti-Semitic agenda in its adoption of a post-Zionist position towards the conflict. What is anti-Semitic is that it nowhere demands the same post-national requirement of any other nation or group, anywhere; therefore the Jews of Israel are uniquely expected to renounce their equal human rights.  And trust to whom, in the face of which precedent, to protect them? 

The Left is an elitist amalgam of old-school egotists unable to relate to the electorate it (the Left) must attract in order to have any chance of winning back power.  It is unelectable because it refuses to discuss the unique circumstances that make Israel’s local political landscape so challenging. Israel’s calamitous political soap-opera lacks a strong, credible opposition that can provide an alternative to a political Right wing which disrespects any divergent points of view. 

Since 1977, Labour has governed between the years of 1984-1986, 1992-1996 and 1999-2001. That is eight years out of the previous forty years. Realistically, the longer a party controls political power the less responsive it becomes to human rights and the general good of the people it was elected to serve.   Being positively responsive to democratic principles (i.e. accountability, transparency and political tolerance) fades as the length of rule grows.  Those that hold onto power for too long close their hearts as well as their minds to all but the supporters they manipulate in order to retain their control.   Tyranny begins with there being an incomplete restraint on an abusive relationship between stake-holders.  It inevitably leads to enslavement because it becomes increasingly more difficult to rein in the unreasonable demands of a privileged minority.  Any corrupt ideological process nurtures a culture of dependency and a sense of exclusive entitlement is central to any narrowly focused world view. 

The importance of having a credible opposition is that the party in power is unlikely to make the hard decisions that are required to advance peace when it does not feel its hold on political power is under threat from its political rivals.   While our enemies re-write history and intimidate us into silence it is only as a united society that we can effectively argue for justice for us too.  It becomes increasingly difficult to make peace with our external enemies when we are disunited and when internal debate is heavily circumscribed in order to mitigate an ever more acrimonious atmosphere of tribalism and exclusion. 

Zionism does not preclude sharing the land. Islamism, Arabism and the Boycott movement (BDS) do.   Israel, in becoming a post-Zionist, me-centric society is unable to put together cogent arguments to combat its enemies’ segregationist, maximalist and anti-Semitic arguments. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Donald Trump, Deplorables, Democrats and Danger to Democracy

A failure of democracy occurs when a lawfully elected individual is denied legitimacy by his or her opponent who then continues to agitate for that non-recognition. It is not fascism to disagree with a result, nor is fascism defined by a desire to want to change the present system of government or the electoral system. But when a consistent policy of questioning; of undermining a result in order to repudiate that result, occurs, then eventually violence will become a logical call to arms in defence of opposition to what will be seen, to be, an unjust result.

The suppression of free speech is a key component of the fascists bag of tricks. There are many ways to suppress free speech and I am not calling for it. I would however, like to provide people with one of the myriad definitions of fascism, with thanks to Zack Parker: In its simplicity and categorical consistency, in its visceral emotion and outrage, and, in its stereotyping, (in this case, by the labelling by Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, of Republican voters as ‘the Deplorables’) it places into a category of (sub) humanity those people who voted for Donald Trump - (‘the enemy’).

All this makes it much easier to establish a narrative of grievance, to ennoble that narrative and then, to suppress any opposition to the only ‘correct’ narrative, in the name of fairness. All this is what makes it fascism. Today, the Democrat Party is the polite face of fascism.

It is not to say that the opposition to President Donald Trump are wrong about the threat his populism poses, but equally, taking every opportunity to deny the legitimacy of the President of the United States not only threatens the life of that President but also damages the institution of the Presidency itself. Because the United States of America is the world’s leading democratic nation, discrediting one discredits all and in its place, strengthens the followers of fascism (and theocratic totalitarianism).

Ignoring the concerns of the everyman and the everywoman is not smart nor progressive but contemptuous. And that probably cost the Democrats the election. It isn’t rocket science. Calling 50% of the electorate “deplorables” was an unforgivable insult to 50% of the electorate. I am not comfortable with the idea that dismissing the result of the presidential election because they were uncomfortable with the persons personality (behaviour) is democratically acceptable. In fact it is fascism.

It is ironic that I accused Trumps supporters of inciting violence during the presidential elections (Donald Trump and the Race for the White House).

It is the Democrats who now pose the greatest threat to American interests at home and abroad. I feared Trumps supporters but it is now the Democrats I fear most.

It was decided that the Oxford dictionaries international word of the year for 2016 was post-truth.” It reflected the ‘highly-charged’ political environment of the previous 12 months. The Oxford Dictionary defined the word as an adjective ‘relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.’ Does it sound familiar? Post-truth is an integral tool in the spread of the fascist poison.

It is with some embarrassment that I find Jewish connections, even here. The Jewish people have been called ‘the canary in the coal mine’ for a very long time and it is because fascism targets their liberties first that it is always Jews and Judaism that initially, suffer most (because of their acute awareness of its corrosive impact on their human rights). The BDS movement has been enthusiastically embraced by Western universities. BDS is the ideal example of a fascist conspiracy to ‘own’ the truth and suppress at any cost, any and all contrary narratives. And it is only because of the success of the anti-Zionist narrative, which is in its essence, a ‘post-truth’ antisemitic movement, that the concept of post-truth has infiltrated and taken hold throughout the Western world. When the lie can so easily become the truth and the truth so easily becomes the lie then we are living George Orwell's dystopian future.

For decades journalists have been manufacturing the news. But while their target was only the Jewish State of Israel and its supporters, no one seemed to care. When Jews and Zionists have often been marginalised through violence and propaganda; through controlling the dissemination of largely false or inaccurate information via universities and international organisations, the response has been at best indifference and at worst, encouragement.

One of CNN’s reporters openly boasts that she has the right to choose how to interpret the news – she omits the detail that she and her fellow journalists reserve the right to manufacture the news based on their unequal interpretation of an ethical standard that would never be acceptable under a Western legal system. That legal system is theoretically anchored in the concept of equal justice for all. But if by laying claim to a progressive agenda, journalists can dismiss what is termed ‘an inconvenient truth’ and only report what they care about, then they also exercise the right to betray any person, group or nation they ‘decide’ are at fault.

I quote Christiane Amanpour: “There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when you are neutral you are an accomplice. Objectivity doesn’t mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing,” so she argued in response to criticism. The issue here is that historically, journalism has rarely suffered honest reportage. As Christiane indicates by the above, that dishonesty is no different today.

I started this blog by discussing my fears about the failure of democracy. Many on the Left are crying that the Russian Federation has undermined American democracy though a putative, an alleged connection between Vladimir Putin (former director of the FSB) and Donald Trump. They fear a kleptocratic conspiracy between the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America! In a nation that is obsessed by conspiracies it is an unparalleled classic of deception. We can take issue with the President of the Russian Federation. It is always possible that the FSB (the main successor agency of the KGB) interfered in the US presidential elections. It is also possible that the FSB did nothing but leak disinformation implying that it interfered in those elections. The British Intelligence officer could also be part of a false flag operation meant to help to undermine American stability.

After all, in both the cases I refer to above, a destabilized America is a win for its rivals.

It is obvious that between prominent Democrats refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential result and the media campaign against Donald Trump, American democracy is being undermined.

It is time to move on from the elections and stop denying the legitimacy of the result.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Refugee Crisis and the Abomination that is UNRWA

David Milliband (President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, former British Foreign Secretary and former head of the British Labour Party) boasted that Britain “led the drive to codify the rights of refugees after the Second World War.” If that includes taking responsibility for the UN abomination that is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) then we have nothing of which to be proud. But more about that later.

There were tens of millions of refugees after the war. Germany accepted twelve million ethnically German refugees from European countries. “Between 13.5 and 16.5 million Germans were expelled, evacuated or fled from Central and Eastern Europe, making this the largest single instance of ethnic cleansing in recorded history.” (Deaths are estimated at between half and three million people).

The UN Refugee Agency claims however that the largest single mass migration (expulsion) in history occurred after the partition of India in 1947. Some 14.5 million refugees fled or were exchanged between India and the newly created state of Pakistan.

Korea expelled millions of Japanese after the war.

In terms of scale the Jewish – Arab population exchange is relatively small. It involved up to two million people in roughly equal numbers (over a period of 26 years, between 1947 and 1973). Over 600,000 Mizrahi Jews came to Palestine-Israel. At least 300,000 more went, predominantly, to France but also to Britain and the USA. Jews integrated into their host societies. It has to be a conscious choice to do so.

The conspiracy, if one exists, is that at no time was there ever any intent to integrate Arabs from Israel into the host countries that absorbed them. It was fundamental hostility to the non-Arab, and Arab anti-Jewish racial prejudice, that created a desire to flee an independent Jewish polity. Arab refugees remain uninterested in integration; unless it helps them create a virtue out of their self-inflicted victimhood. And the United Nations, instead of solving global conflicts, perpetuates them. The Palestinian Arab’s greatest collaborator in undermining resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict is UNRWA.

The Arab and greater Muslim world is afflicted by ages old prejudice and this prejudice is fed by its successes throughout the history of the last 1,400 years during which they conquered vast tracts of land and enslaved tens of millions of human beings. We rarely publicly speak of it and we do not ever teach this silent history.

UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) uniquely defines a Palestinian refugee as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1st June 1946 to 15th May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”...“The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.”

It means that any temporary worker who resided in Israel (or can “prove” that they did) during a two year period that ended on the 15th May 1948, became a refugee even when they had a home to return to; even better, in terms of eligibility for money transfers from Western nations to Arab nations.

It also means that they have no incentive whatsoever to ever forgo their refugee status.

If I were David Milliband I would not boast about UK complicity in the creation of UNRWA. We could so easily speculate that setting up UNRWA was a Western European conspiracy to undermine regional stability in the Near East (with a secondary antisemitic aim to overthrow Jewish self-determination) by creating an organization that could only ever be a force for lasting regional conflict.

The inheritance of refugee status, in perpetuity, is an ongoing act of regional destabilization! There can be no other explanation for the United Nation’s active collaboration in the creation of a unique, perpetual Palestinian victim-hood. UNRWA created an Arab (Palestinian) underclass, infected by hate and viewing re-conquest of Israel as a pan-Arab racial obligation; as an Arab political and Muslim theological imperative. UNRWA has inculcated three generations of refugees with a desire and an undiluted, blind, passion for revenge against a Jewish enemy it has always held in religious ridicule; colonial domination and pure ethno-religious contempt.

Jews have no reason to want to return to the ugly conditions of permanent, inferior status and intermittent persecution under Arab rule. For too many centuries they lived and died at the caprice of others.

UNRWA has only ever been a vehicle for Arab grievance and a message to any minority in the Arab colonial enterprise that minority aspirations for freedom from Arab persecution is a non starter. UNRWA is nothing less than a European – Arab cabal that stimulates chaos and precludes reconciliation between Jew and Arab. It exists to prevent the modernization of the Arab world, which in turn would end Islamism in the Arab world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Turkey – Serial Killer or Warrior for God

In order to understand modern day Turkey and the instability it is helping to promote throughout Europe, it would be useful to understand its ‘recent’ history.

Osman Bey (1291-1326) – founded the Ottoman Empire. He took a peripheral fiefdom in the far west of the Islamic empire, on the border between the Islamic and Byzantine (Christian) empires, and made much of it his dominion. Constantinople was the Capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Centre of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. When Mehmet 2nd captured Constantinople in 1453 he is reported to have let loose his troops on the city’s Christian residents and over 3 days they raped, looted and murdered the city’s inhabitants. Paintings celebrating this ‘great lesson’ (of how defiance to conquest would be rewarded) show rivers of blood.

The Ottoman empire (1299-1923) incorporated colonialism with Jihad; justifying conquest and slavery, centuries before White Europe did the same.

The Battle of Vienna, in late 1683, saw the end of Muslim-Ottoman expansion into Europe. 18th Century Turkey maintained its territorial integrity but mainly because of divisions within a Europe which was obsessed by ethnocentric nationalism. Perversely, this nationalism drove the 19th Centuries European colonial enterprise into Africa and the Far East.

On February 3, 1830 an international conference in London led to a guarantee of territorial integrity for an independent Greece. Britain, France and Russia were its guarantors. The Greek revolt against Muslim rule was the Colonial eras first war waged against foreign rule. The two bookends of colonial independence (Greece in 1830 and Israel in 1948), suffered terribly under Turkish misrule. Yet when we rage against colonialism we see only Western crimes and not their equivalent enterprise, of which the Islamic slave trade was a key enabler. It is a bizarre and inexplicable omission that gives the Muslim world an aura of respectability and revolutionary virtue as an “oppressed people” though it is simply not justified.

Europe made several attempts to prop up the corrupt Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s predecessor was a Muslim empire 5.2 million square kilometres in land area (2 million square miles) compared with Turkeys’ current territorial base of 0.8 million square kilometres (0.3 million square miles.) Turkey’s collapse simply whet the appetite of Arab dictators across the Near East.

The dissatisfaction and enmity that suffuses the Arab world today is a direct result of the disintegration of the Ottoman empire. It left local Arab leaders baying for blood and empire, fed by Muslim myths and tales of violent slaughter. That slaughter of infidel peoples is a guide to modern behaviour modelled on the brutality of Islam’s founders and their subsequent conquering aspirants. It helps to explain the fanaticism that drives the killers of Islamic State. That we fail to connect the dots between their willing executioners and the Western World’s Muslim Fundamentalists is therefore incomprehensibly naïve.

In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin was signed, in order to protect minorities throughout the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire from persecution. It was needed. It was also ignored. An indirect result was that in 1895-96 Abdul Humid, the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, (also known as the Red Sultan or Abdul the Damned) murdered up to 200,000 Armenians in a campaign that was intended to ensure submission for the survivors.

Many Armenians fled to Europe and the USA. Dispersal and exile is common enough for survivors. But perhaps, the Ottoman empires Armenians (those who remained behind) thought they would be protected by Britain, France and even their enemy, Russia.

Turkey systematically discriminated against the church and to this day they refuse to recognize the 1890’s organized murder of the Armenians. Nor do they recognise the next stage in Armenia’s tragedy. Disarmament, elimination of anyone who might be in a position to fight back, and resettlement, were all weapons intended to facilitate the final Armenian solution.

In a frightening rehearsal for Hitlers organized and multiple genocides, towns were systematically cleansed of Armenians. Death came quickly but disease also took many of those waiting to die. There is general agreement that between one million and one and a half million Armenians died. Atrocities were documented by numerous diplomatic missions and interested parties. Foreign records of the events are undeniable. Extermination had one added advantage for the Turkish government. Muslims could be housed in the homes of the dead; houses left fully furnished, unless pillaged by former friends and neighbours.

Theological justification could be made at every stage of the process. Slavery, dispossession, theft and extermination; all these things were meant and are still meant to demonstrate, in an unambiguous and tangible way, the superiority of Muslim civilization. Theologically all property is the material right of ownership of the global Islamic nation. Retribution reinforced a message that resistance is futile. Resistance will provoke a terrible price, one which will be seared into ethnic memory.

More important than that message is the lesson Hitler, Stalin and today’s Islamic State learnt from the inaction and the indifference of other nations.

The Armenian genocide took place between 1915 and 1917. Greek and Assyrian Christians were also targeted as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing.

And then we have the Kurds. The Kurds of the Near East have been denied any justice by the global community. Kurdish persecution has been ignored partly because their ethnic geographical boundaries transect the borders of four competing bully empires (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey). Fear of the effects of destabilising the three remaining political entities can be better appreciated when we look at Syria after almost six years of civil war. Syria had a population of 22 million people and today 11 ½ million of them are either internally displaced or refugees now residing in other countries. The remaining three nations have a combined population of almost 200 million people.

Arab, Turkish and Iranian political ambitions are never questioned unless they threaten to impede the flow of oil to Europe. If no-one will stand against them then it is also clear that no one is safe.

Turkey has destroyed at least three thousand Kurdish villages since the 1980’s and evicted millions of Kurdish people from their ancestral homes. There are over three million Kurdish refugees. Turkey tortured tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people and has murdered over 37,000 of them (since the PKK’s armed uprising began in 1984). Turkey denies the Kurds any right to self determination.

And then we have the Turkish conquest of Northern Cyprus. All but ignored by European nations that usually grovel before an expansionist Turkey, they ensure nothing offensive is ever passed at the United Nations; nothing that might offend Turkey’s neo-Ottoman rulers. Turkey has invaded Christian Cyprus and replaced the population it killed or expelled by the forcible transfer onto the land it conquered with Kurds it displaced from elsewhere in Turkey. This is in direct violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention but the United Nations will never invoke Article 49 because it has only ever done so with the Jewish state, with Israel.

The Fourth Geneva Convention on the Rules of War was adopted in 1949. Switzerland, the Depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention profited more than any other nation from the hell that was the Second World War. Switzerland must agree to call a special meeting of the High Contracting Parties (representatives of states who have signed or ratified the treaty). It has met only three times since the Convention was enacted. That is three times in sixty-seven years. On each occasion it was convened to condemn Israel. There have been hundreds of wars since WW2 ended and over 50,000,000 deaths attributed to those wars. The total number of deaths in Israel-Palestine represent less than 1:1,000 of the total and yet as indicated by the Swiss example the relevance of the UN to solving or preventing human conflict is non-existent.

None of the wars that took place since the second half of the Twentieth Century took place because of poverty. The wars have been politically or religiously inspired. Many secular causes display religious devotion based on either a single catechism or a series of devotional texts that must be accepted without question and that are overseen by a secular ecclesiastic body of political purists.

Amos Alon in “A Blood Dimmed Tide” describes a theology of conflict made worse by the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is because the conflicting racial and colonial ambitions of Islam’s warrior clergy has seen Turkey and Iran clamour for control of their geopolitical neighbourhood. And to those I would add Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. All have exercised their expansionist colonial ambitions at a cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives.

The following is from an article by the Henry Jackson Society: “Turkey is to the Syrian jihad what Pakistan was to the Afghan jihad or Azerbaijan was to the Chechen jihad—or indeed Syria was to the Iraqi jihad. A rear-base from which fighters can enter the battle, but to which they can take shelter to hide, recuperate, fundraise, and organise.” Turkey will probably never be called to account by any international community.

neo-Ottoman expansionism is driven by a theologically fundamentalist doctrine which makes Turkey a threat to world peace precisely because it instructs and therefore infects the nation and as the previous paragraph indicated, it contaminates not just its hinterlands but the nations it comes into contact with.

Pinhas Inbari, writing in the journal of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Can Israel and Turkey Reconcile?) said “Turkey is in the midst of defining its identity – as Turkish first or Muslim first with a “neo-Ottoman underpinning. If Turkey chooses its “Turkish” identity, a true Israeli-Turkish reconciliation may be possible, but if Erdogan chooses his neo-Ottoman Muslim path, obstacles may block the reconciliation.”

I would disagree with Pinhas on the simplicity of his statement. Before the Islamic political revolution began to take hold in Turkey, it was a secular society governed along strict lines of separation between Mosque and State. But still it was awash with racism, ethnic-religious belligerence and chauvinism. Tolerance of intolerance creates the atmosphere that eventually leads to fascism, and fascism is the handmaiden of dictatorship.

In politics, to negotiate from weakness is a sign of capitulation. The Muslim world understands this far better than we do. Terrorism is a political act, never a moral choice even when people use simplistic arguments in their attempt to create justification for it. The Western world is economically vulnerable and exposed to every means of blackmail that the Muslim world can throw our way. Threats of violence, terror and fear of economic and terminal decline are powerful enablers for acquiescence to positive discriminatory treatment towards the faithful, especially when they also tap into ancient prejudices that have never been eliminated.

The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara just over two weeks ago is a symptom of Turkish jingoism. It is a lesson that Israel and the rest of Western Society must learn from. And Israel must never drop its guard in its awareness of the threat posed by fundamentalism, either from Turkey or, from within its own society.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Rule of Law and Assassination in Turkey (Part 1)

On Monday the 19th of December a Turkish police officer, smartly dressed in civilian clothes, walked up to Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey. As the ambassador spoke at the opening of an art exhibition in Ankara the off-duty policemen calmly murdered him. The killer said in his native Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.”

He also shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad.”

(Ynet news 19-20/12/2016)

It is a sad but timely reminder that Islamist Turkey can as much be trusted as theocratic, traditionalist Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Is that fair? Political murders have taken place in Britain, Sweden, Norway, the USA and Israel to name just a few of the Western countries afflicted by acts of political violence against the state and its civilian population. Italy had the Red Brigade, Germany had Baader-Meinhoff and Japan had the Red Army.

Assassinations and atrocities against civilians have always been part of revolutionary politics. The difference today is that radicals, progressives and others on the fringe of Western society try to justify the immorality of their cause (s) through their control of the electronic media. They are able to then embrace the war crimes committed by those terrorists they choose to call “friend,” to move peripheral political ideology into the centre.

They share a contempt for the rule of law which must be bent to accommodate their political vision and ignored when it fails to conform to their ignorance and their prejudice.

What makes the new fascist Left no different to the Inquisitors and Jihad-is of previous generations is their blind obedience to the Cause. They daily demonstrate this latter fealty by controlling the narrative. And they control it by their suppression of freedom of speech and association, occasionally by violent means but with increased frequency as their successes grow.

What makes this generation empowered in ways that previous generations were not is that the internet has enabled the every-man and every-woman with any talent for exploiting the electronic media to spread so much poison that no-one is safe. Because there is no regulation there is no difference between the lie and the truth and because the fascist (left) has no respect for the inconvenient truth they will use every means to suppress it. Unfortunately, our inability to internalise this lesson is our great failure.

Mevlut Mert Altin said “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security.” The Russians have been bombing rebels which will include supporters of Islamic State. The issue for the Turkish Islamist is that many of them support the aims of Islamic State. When Altin shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad” he was declaring that “WE” (Turkey) will judge you. It is one of those truly frightening declarations of fanaticism that mark out radical, fascist movements. Altin may or may not have been acting alone but Turkey is the ideal incubator for the creation of regional, if not global instability. Its size, population and theological indifference to genocide ensure that there are far more people like Altin, many of them sitting within the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

We have a dishonourable expression in the English world: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” to that I would add that “One man’s Serial Killer is another man’s Warrior for God (or the Prophet).” The latter is the Turkish view of their “glorious” history. But the history of modern Turkey is an execrable one (and I will explain why in my next blog).

The US-Turkey partnership was a product of the Cold War. The two nations never shared a special affinity but both feared the communist enemy. Turkey has changed in terms of strategic orientation and national purpose since that partnership was formalised in 1947 with the passage of the Truman Doctrine. It has gone from being a secular but racist and jingoistic society to one that is dedicated to an Islamic neo-Ottoman revival. America has failed to recognise the threat Islamist Turkey poses to world peace. It has tried to pacify the Muslim threat through policies of appeasement while doing everything possible to antagonise Russia. Instead of focussing its energies on bringing Russia into a European-Western alliance that would isolate the Islamists it has managed to re-invigorate the Cold War and give them a European champion.

Turkey is not Europe. It will not accept the view that the original sin of its creation myths are not just soaked but also nourished in rivers of blood. It is violently opposed to granting human rights to its minorities. It persecutes its Kurds. Christians and Jews fear for their lives and are occasionally murdered because they are hostages to Islamic mood swings of intolerance and conditional benevolence. Turkey will once again reassert it’s hegemonic geopolitical ambitions.

The strategic partnership between Israel and Turkey was inspired by pragmatism. And this is where the problem lies. An Islamic nation with its historic legacy of ridicule for its minorities, conquest, domination and human slavery is continuously reinforcing an internalized image of God-given superiority over its non-Muslim neighbours. It is a world view that is not congruent with any relationship of equality.

Israel and not just Israel must not trust Turkey.

The issue that defines the problem separating western political violence from Turkey’s problem is that the outlier (the radical, ‘progressive’ or the extremist) does not define the relationship within Western orientated nations (even if they are trying to make it so). With Turkey it does. Turkey’s past is one of genocide, ethnic cleansing and fascism. Any crime is justified through the prism of Islamic triumphalism and an irredentist philosophy. Islamic fundamentalists do not desire peace, what they do desire is glory and at any cost to those that oppose them.

Unless Turkey is willing to banish fundamentalism forever (and not as an expedient to maintain full access to Europe and America) it cannot be trusted, not as an economic partner or, as a strategic military ally.

Andrei Karlov’s assassin represents the activist for the new Turkey. We’ve been warned.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Shimon Peres and the Arab Apartheid Issue

Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was laid to rest at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on Friday 30th September 2016. Writing in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Achranot, David Grossman said: “Peres’s entire being stood facing the future. In a country that is being sucked ever deeper into a mythological, religious and tribal narrative, he turned towards the universal, towards science, rationality and the democracy of open information. He cast himself as an anchor on the seabed of the future, the distant, invisible, imagined, utopian and optimistic future, and began tugging himself towards it.” (The article was also featured in the UK’s major anti-Zionist media outlet, The Guardian).

Shimon Peres was a contradiction.  Secular but respectful of religious faith he was humble to the detriment of his political ambitions.  He was a private individual in a job that celebrated public participation. His staff made sure that his every move was posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He relentlessly pursued the fulfillment of his ideas on economics, science and defense, along the way helping to build Israel into a stable and strong country. But he was viewed in Israel as secretive, and therefore untrustworthy.  Ridiculed at home he was admired abroad; described as an international statesman in the same class as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.  Domestically, he was a serial loser whose first electoral victory, at the age of 84, occurred when he was elected President of Israel.

If Shimon Peres was contentious, what has emerged from his death and funeral is the work that Israel must urgently undertake to marginalize and exclude the Arab apartheid activists, their Israeli fellow travelers on the far left and those foreign critics for whom, we can do no good.

There are those people who live to remember his failures (and ours) and their hatred is not just our problem but the world’s.  In their eternal denigration of “our kind” this type of person will forgive every abomination the anti-Zionist or antisemite commits while rarely, if ever, acknowledging our shared humanity.

According to the headline in a Times of Israel article published the day of Shimon Peres’s funeral, Ayman Odeh, head of the 13-MK (member of the Knesset) anti-Zionist political bloc the “Joint (Arab) List” extended condolences to the late president’s family but also made it emphatically clear that his group had ‘no place’ in this ‘day of national mourning’

Like every nation, the Arab world has its problems.  The first is a racial ideology that places “the Arab” above all other human beings. Most Arab countries reflect this prejudice within their national legal system.  Not just the Arab nations.  Many Muslim countries are in competition with the Arab world in providing proof of their religious purity.  They are disadvantaged in terms of theological credibility because of their Jonny-come-lately status vis-à-vis their “post-Arab” adoption of Muslim faith.

The second issue is a theological conquest narrative ordained by the Prophet that gives each Muslim the task of not simply defeating the infidel but also humiliating them along the way.  Then the victor refashions their conquered foes history to claim ownership of any good done by their dishonored enemy.

For much of the last two and a half centuries and especially in the 21st Century the Islamist message has been incongruent with a Western (and now) a secular, pluralistic and internationalist outlook that continues to spread its gospel across the globe.  A modern, Western, democratic and secular orientated model for human society stands in contradistinction to an Islamist theology.  And yet, the multiculturalists choose inexplicably, to ignore any misbehavior, to excuse every atrocity carried out in the name of Islam, or worse, to explain away such behavior.  Islamism has given the world Wahhabism (18th Century), Salafism (19th Century), the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda (20th Century) and now in the 21sth Century, Islamic State.  Human misery and death is their shared and unbroken legacy.

Modern Israel was founded along Zionist lines of secular, universal, utopian principles meant to benefit all people.  Being secular, Israel’s Jewish pioneers failed to see and they then failed to acknowledge the religious and racial dimensions of Arab opposition to Jewish self-determination.  They did not appreciate the historical baggage that the Arab conquest narrative endowed them with.  It blinded most Arabs to ever considering an accommodation with the inferior Jew.  That same Arab blindness rules opposition to the state of Israel more so now than before.  This lack of understanding was and remains Zionism’s failure because it prevents us from confronting it.

Post 1948, some of the early Arab Israeli leaders not only accommodated but also embraced the nascent state of Israel.  Their children, people such as Basel Ghattas (Christian) and Haneen Zoabi (Sunni Muslim) went in the opposite direction.

It was no-one’s fault. Israel was a wasteland that had been abused and desolated by over a thousand years of willful neglect. Arab and Bedouin marauders destroyed any possibility for material or physical progress; the Ottoman Empire in its last few hundred years was relentlessly corrupt and just let the gangs get on with extorting whatever they could from whoever they could.  “To a very large extent Palestinian Arab middle and professional classes ‘emigrated’ with most of their property as soon as it was proposed that a Jewish state should be established in the country.” (“Whose Land” by James Parkes). The issue here is that a group of people without leadership soon descends into anarchy. Leaderless, the people will listen with eagerness to any demagogue who will offer them a way, any way. If they were told to flee by their Arab brethren, they would do so.

Israel in 1948 had a nation to build, with few resources and always under threat of violence from its Arab enemies. Israel had to find a way to feed and protect its people against a bellicose enemy.  That enemy talked itself out of any peaceful debate through its perceived hostility.  The Arab world used triumphal and irredentist rhetoric and religious bigotry to preclude debate with their Jewish enemy (as Palestinians continue to do today) and it ethnically cleansed all its Jewish citizens.  A people who, just a few years earlier, had suffered the slaughter of a third of their number was threatened by the Arab world with “finishing the job.” Consolidation and protection took precedence over creating an integrated society.  Israel’s mutually antagonistic ethnic groups incrementally grew more distant with each passing decade. The dominant Ashkenazi Jews dictated government policy while doing nothing to discourage separate non-inclusive identification. A melting pot takes multiple generations, a collective will to integrate and it requires a national dialogue which with one exception (Mizrachi-Sephardi society) did not exist.

Religious groups remained wholly uninterested in integration and therefore accommodated each other only to the degree that self-interest dictated their engagement with the state.

It is therefore hardly surprising that the Joint (Arab) List as referred to earlier is primarily interested in sowing discord between Israeli Arab and Israeli Jew.  A person born in Israel is an Israeli by nationality, whether they are ethnically Arab, Circassian, Jewish, or anything else.  The politics of division is meant to create a fractured society that will become unstable and inevitably ungovernable.

Arab MKs like Ghattas and Zoabi and religious leaders such as Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Chapter preach division. They want separate education, cultural autonomy and administrative independence from the Jewish state. Arabs live throughout the state. A Jew could only ever aspire to live among the Arabs if he or she first converts to Islam. Violence is the Arab response to physical co-existence with Jews.  The apartheid that exists in Israel is Muslim, it is Arab and it is essentially unchanged from its pre-1948 prejudiced origins. It is the same bigotry that greeted The First Aliyah (between 1882 and 1903).  It is the same religious hatred that has greeted successive waves of Jewish immigration to the Holy land for over one thousand years.

In 1948 and beyond, the State of Israel had neither financial resources nor the concentrated intellectual focus to address the integration issues of all its citizens. Many of them were waiting for the state to fail and the victorious Arab armies to destroy the Jewish Republic.  Suspicion, fear and the politics of sectarian advantage dominated the first phase of development.

While Ashkenazi and Mizrachi Jews now intermarry at a rate that is greater than 50% there will always be those people who will want to point out that the cup is almost half empty rather than greater than half full. Dissatisfaction and discord encourages the bureaucracy of state to buy off the professional malcontent.

Israel may not be able to solve the intractable conflict between the Jewish state and Arab Palestine but it must address the Jews as well as Arabs who sow discord in society by emphasizing our differences. The MKs who refused to participate in Israel’s day of national mourning did so but their excuses are mendacious at best. They could not forgive a Jewish state its existence if it was located on the dwarf-planet Pluto.

The next phase in the development of the state must address prejudice and inequality from every quarter of society and that includes the ultra-orthodox bigots who deny Mizrachi children places in their schools, as well as the people who fear the Arab moving in next door.  It includes the racist who chants abuse in football matches and MKs who rejoice at our enemies’ successes against us.

The MK who urges separation from Israel and subsumation into the greater Arab world does not desire peace or justice but the next phase in an Arab conquest story that should shame them but only inspires them to greater degrees of prejudice.  The Jew who wants to keep the faithful loyal to a narrowly interpreted sectarian image of circumscribed piety does not care for the survival of the state but only for his own narrowly tribalistic and dysfunctional world view that can only, counter-intuitively inhibit Jewish spiritual growth in the reborn Jewish state.

The next phase in Israel’s development must see every effort made to integrate all sections of society into a Zionist state for all its citizens.  That is what the dreamers saw, on both Left and Right, in the original Zionist vision.  Shimon Peres would smile at that.

Shanah Tovah to everyone.