Friday, January 23, 2015

Bibi Netanyahu, Congress and Elections in 2015

President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade was a monumental task that was truly visionary but in the twenty first century few nations, not even the United States of America, appear to be able to have an exceptional vision for the future.  Nation states have become mired down by the constant struggle to balance budgets and keep dissatisfaction from boiling over.  Long after the Second World War ended the world had a few golden decades (that were not really so golden) when the world seemed easy, exciting and our expectations were not so inflated as to create too many opportunities for disappointment – plus of course the rest of the world was still only partially open to us so that the misery others felt was still too distant to affect our thinking.

Politics is nearly all about perception. It takes an exceptional political climate to engender political enthusiasm for multi-term projects that bare a great deal of risk with no instant benefit to sell them.  And reaching for the stars was certainly one of those dreams. Politics is about what is credible, what is believable.  As a politician, Benjamin Netanyahu was a great director of finance; as the leader of the nation his sacred duty was always to unify the nation.   Instead he has played a cheap politicians trick to bring down the government only two years after the last elections.  With threats to the state mounting, all the separate parties are once again emphasizing their differences instead of showcasing the bonds that unify them.

If it had been necessary, a National Law should have been used as a unifying force for the good of every citizen and to marginalize those groups that are trying their best to compartmentalize the state, to tribalise it as a means of bringing about the destruction of the state.

The National law could have been used to define the battle; instead it became the battleground; or one of them at least.

Before Senator Obama became President an article by a well-known Chicago journalist argued that Obama was first and foremost an African American and that his loyalty was again, first and foremost, with “his people.” It was a near-sighted, politically immature, facile and unpatriotic waste of print space.  If the nations’ leader is not the leader of the whole nation then he is unworthy of occupying the post. Special interest groups have their own lobbyists – you do not elect a lobbyist to be the leader of the nation.

When the previous elections were near, Bibi Netanyahu resided over demonstrations of booing and catcalling – the crowds behaved like beasts – celebrating the death of their (assassinated) rival, Yitzhak Rabin.  The same incitement preceded Rabin’s political murder.  Bibi presided over both rallies. Benjamin Netanyahu is a populist politician who somehow seems to convince people, no matter how much he dumps on them, that he still has their best interests at heart.  He behaves as if half the electorate is deserving of him as their savior while the other half are weak idiots who deserve nothing but the nations’ contempt. When members of his cabinet are appointed, if he cannot find a person (politician or otherwise) who will stroke his inflated ego he will leave the post (s) unoccupied for the entire parliament, or take them himself. Government administration is clearly of no consequence to him. It is always about Bibi.

And yet, he has been voted into power three times (only Ben-Gurion equals that record.)  There is no other politician able to compete with him.  Politics should be about policies, not personalities but given Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrogant self-possession we should all have understood that Bibi cannot be trusted as the leader of the nation.

After Likud Primaries were held, he once again was voted in as leader of the party.  This means that the Likud is satisfied with his continued leadership of the party and the nation, despite his divisive personality.

The people should deny the Likud their vote at the elections to be held in March 2015 and cast their vote against any party that pledges to go into coalition with him as Prime Minister.   After failed leadership, this is the next problem.  The parties are prostitutes – they will sleep with anyone willing to make them their political bitches.  The opposition only exists because they cannot make a deal to share the spoils. And those that are not ever offered a place at the trough are unlikely to have been ever offered a place (such as the communists and the Arab anti-Zionist parties).

Bibi's identity politics neither protects the nation nor provides leadership to it.

These are some of Israel’s multiple threats:

  • The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is rapidly gaining respectability in universities throughout Europe and across the globe. 
  • Palestine will gain recognition which will only encourage it to greater levels of irredentism. 
  •  The Arab world owns the United Nations and will use its enormous financial resources and human capital to further degrade the already diminished status of Israel and the Jewish faith across the world.
  • Iran and Turkey will become increasingly belligerent as their successes in the international political sphere grow (and as their internal threats diminish). They are the only serious military threats to Israel but both will be encouraged to destabilize Israel’s neighbors if they think there is the chance that it will not adversely impact their own ongoing theocratic revolutions.
  • Israel’s financial success will deteriorate as the US moves away from its support for Israel, as the boycott movement bites and as European belligerence accelerates.  The corrupt contention that Israel will trade with anyone who pays will make Israel’s position increasingly precarious as unemployment rises and social services fail.  A politics of envy will lead to violence that will not be brushed aside by the umpteenth national enquiry.
  • A flight of capital will lead to increased emigration and a return to the “nebbish” attitude that led to previous economic stagnation.

These are scenarios that Bibi the economist should understand if his ego did not blind him to his own failures.

His greatest act of hubris is perhaps, still to come. It is the Achilles heal of his ego. The invitation by the US House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) to PM Netanyahu (he has been asked to speak to Congress about Iran) is a Republican rebuke to the US (Democrat) President.  The idea that an American president could be usurped by the leader of the 153rd ‘largest’ country in the world (with the 96th largest population) contains more than the usual stench of arrogance associated with political prima donnas.  To place himself in between the elected president of the most powerful nation on earth and that president’s political opposition is to allow him-self to be used by both sides of the American political establishment in an unsavory internal political act of one-upmanship which could seriously damage Israel’s reputation in the eyes of ordinary Americans.

That Benjamin Netanyahu so eagerly agreed to this dubious honor is shocking.  Israel’s current dearth of altruistic and meritorious national politicians is certainly something to moan about.  Leaders on the cusp of general elections should stay at home; competent leaders focus on serving their electorate, not someone else’s.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

French anti-Semitism and Muslim Violence (PART 2)

In the Spectator Magazine on the 9th of January, Isabel Hardman wrote of the shop killers that “the attackers appear to be killing people not for what they have been doing, but for who they are.”  The Koran commands the faithful to strike the infidels neck.  For 1,400 years we have kept our silence, refusing to criticize those people who take their inspiration from a book their followers insist is the path to enlightenment and peace.

Many progressives will find any excuse for the killers – whether it is cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet, eternal Jewish guilt, or support for the only Jewish state. None of them seem willing to stop and think before they appease the bigotry that suffuses global Muslim thinking.

France is a militantly secular nation and it has been thus since the French Revolution of 1789. It has not prevented the nation which is overwhelmingly Catholic from practicing faith as an individual statement of identity.  The provocations at Charlie Hebdo were as predictable as they were offensive. But they were no different from the assaults that the magazine intermittently struck at Jewish and Christian values.

And Western Europe alongside of the English speaking world has been far more offensive towards its Jewish population without a Jewish recourse to violence.  If it has had any effect, it has been to encourage Jews with no answers to this discrimination to assimilate into society, breaking down Jewish cohesion and destroying communities. It is an ongoing act of ethnic cleansing that we seem powerless to prevent.  And of equal importance, it has spurred on racists and religious bigots whose opposition to Jewish independence has long past blurred the line between opposition to Israel and antisemitism. And yet, no violence from the Jewish community against those who incite against them and too often murder them has taken place.

So our standards are applied selectively. We demand subservience from Jews and are subservient to Islamists. Provocation and incitement against Jews is growing everywhere. It is led by universities, the media and populist politicians while we treat every aspect of Islamic faith as if all discussion of its history and its crimes were an unacceptable assault on a revered earthly idol.

We are being coerced, selectively, into renouncing our freedom.

It is untrue that disaffected youth who are under-employed or unemployed become foot soldiers for terrorism. The dedicated cadres of so called alienated Muslims are far more likely to have grown up in middle class homes, prosperous and comfortable. If their relationship with us is conflicted, if their relative affluence is impacted by anything, it is the clash of civilizations enunciated in Samuel Huntington’s book of the same name which described the challenges of the post-Cold War new world order.  The conflict is defined by the clash between the values of our Judeo-Christian civilization in Western society and the Islamic value system of the Muslim world.

If we are unwilling or frightened to discuss the source of terrorism we will never defeat it and probably, it will defeat us.

Our establishment press is cursed by its selective fear to offend.  The headline by the London Times that “France is paying price for pushing six million Muslims to the margins" summarized the prevalent idea that personal choice does not exist.  That is a Muslim religious 'value' which negates our own Western way of life.  It says to the religiously frustrated that murder is acceptable; to fight discrimination through Western law is but an occasional tool of those who want to censor all discussion.

The Left wing-Liberal Nazis at WikiLeaks blamed “the Jews” for the atrocities committed in France.  The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Nazis also blamed the Jews – well, in fact they blamed the Zionist Mossad.  This tactic of conspiracy is an important part of any fascist arsenal which desires to cloud the truth and obscure personal judgment by using prejudicial memes that cater to cultural stereotypes.

Throughout Europe and including Britain, 2014 yielded the largest surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes on record since World War 2. The European continent murdered almost its entire Jewish population and yet, it has learnt nothing from those dark years that preceded the Shoah, save the ease with which the bigot continues to be able to blame the victim for his or her ‘fate’.

I said in PART 1, our walls no longer have chains so we no longer feel bound by the laws of society that connected us all either to speak responsibly or to personally accept the consequences for our actions.

The consequences for Charlie Hebdos actions are now clear. The debate over whether the actions of their staff went too far in demonstrating a compulsive need to exercise freedom of expression at any cost has already been hijacked by the establishment press to appease Islam. Alan Johnson describes this appeasement as “The veil of euphemism that hangs over the debate about Islam and its bigots.” He says we must lift the veil. But he is too kind. There is precious little criticism voiced, it is what makes grandstanding more visible when it occurs.

Intimidation works. Fear compels us towards intellectual and physical cowardice and impels us towards a dereliction of our democratic obligation to confront those people and groups whose goal it is to extinguish our freedom.

If xenophobia and panic do not destroy immigration and cause us to re-erect borders across national boundaries everywhere, nations will have to start honestly facing up to the multiple threats posed by Islamism without being frightened to offend Muslim communities.  Ignoring problems posed by the clash of civilizations is creating ever greater levels of social unrest across Europe and that unrest will spread to North America.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the fascist Front National is ahead of both of her Conservative and Left wing rivals for the French national elections.  After the twin massacres and the murder of the policewoman Le Pen’s popularity will soar.  Geert Wilder MP, banned from traveling to Britain while Muslim Nazis are free to travel to and incite violence in the UK, could be the next Dutch prime minister.  In Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has for now, been eclipsed by the fascist left in the guise of Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left). Demonstrations are spreading across Germany in support of a fight against German ‘Islamization.’

The French reality is that unrestricted Muslim immigration drove the economic engine but at the price of abandoning France’s Jewish community. Successive French governments ignored incitement, dismissing it as anti-Israelism, or not caring if it was antisemitism. When it is understood to be opposition to Jewish independence it can only ever be interpreted as racism.  DieudonnĂ© M'bala M'bala has been convicted of anti-Semitic incitement eight times and yet he continues to be a hugely popular anti-establishment figure.  He has been instrumental in making French antisemitism once more openly fashionable. The governments mishandling of him has been so inept, so incompetent we must question their commitment to ridding France of this home grown contagion. Israeli journalist Ron Ben –Yishai describes French complicity in the environment to which French Jews find themselves today as “unforgivable complacency.”

On Friday 9th January 2015 French authorities announced the closure of the central Jewish precinct of Paris (the Marais).  Apparently the irony of recreating the Jewish ghetto was missed by the French government.  The Great Synagogue of Paris did not hold Shabbat (Sabbath) services on the Friday night for the first time since World War 2.  Fear is a legal component that defines ethnic cleansing.

Unless people appreciate the threat to their freedom they rarely react to undo what they have already created.  But France could begin by revoking the right of Muslims to have Halal food served in state schools; reintroduce pork as the only meat product available in state schools.  It is only when people fear what they have already lost and what they may yet lose that they willingly, even pro-actively consider moderating their position towards their competitors (or their enemies).  People who feel weakened do not make maximalist demands.  Cease all social security transfers to any group or individual classified as racially / religiously / politically extreme.

Freedom is a gift; we should not have to pay for its detractors.

The alternative to acting now is that intermittent acts of terror will only increase in frequency, particularly if the debate as to its causes are stifled or because of intimidation, suppressed.

It is only when the bigot fears the consequences of negative exposure more than he (or she) fears death itself that peace and security for everyone will be possible to achieve.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

French anti-Semitism and Muslim Violence (PART 1)

The Times of London headline on the 9th of January 2015 read: "France is paying price for pushing six million Muslims to the margins."

Since the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices took place (on the 7th of January 2015), the murder of the policewoman and the subsequent murder of four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket on the 9th of January there have been thousands of lines of print wasted on making excuses for the kind of people that carried out the attacks.

We can all make excuses for our behavior – the pedophile was abused as a child, the wife beater was beaten by his parents, the right wing racist is a product of his family environment.  But the Muslim racist is the product of poverty or discrimination in society. His or her embitterment is the fault of society itself.  Everyone is forgiven their sins of commission except of course that this is not the whole picture.

Why not?  We live in a world of choice, we all have the freedom to watch what we like, read what we desire, speak our own  thoughts and dress as we wish but magically, as soon as we cross the boundaries for what society deems  “acceptable behavior” we are condemned. Society judges us by the standards that society sets.  We abide by the rules and society protects us. It is called the “social contract”. It has inspired political reform since before the French Revolution and it can be argued that it has served imperfectly, as the cornerstone of Western Society since that time. 

But standards are not necessarily applied uniformly and it is with this issue that injustice occurs. We too often excuse the murderer and damn the innocent. It is how we perceive injustice that informs the way we see society and the press is inevitably at the forefront of interpreting both that perception and the reaction.  It is imperfect, prejudiced; the arbiter of morality, judge, and jury and by its complicity in forming public opinion, society’s executioner.

Imagine society as a room with people chained to the walls. For thousands of years those chains defined the distance we could wander. At the same time our proximity to one another was finite so that the alliances we made protected us.  When the chains were removed we were free to wander away from the group or we could choose to stay. Our freedom of action expanded exponentially, as did our choices. By the same process, action and reaction became both random (unpredictable) and disconnected.  The freedoms we have experienced over little more than the last century created challenges we are barely capable of predicting let alone adequately and equitably responding to them. Our legislative activism has been inconsistent and philosophically parlous in responding to the new world we inhabit.

We should not condemn an entire religion for the actions of a minority even though Jews appear to be excepted from this rule.  Muslims have slaughtered innocents but we cannot blame all Muslims. Nor should we refrain from debating the many sources of tension that enabled criminals to assume a right to commit murder with joy in their hearts. It says something terrible about their education system and ours that we are hesitant if not terrified to openly discuss these things.

The problem is in those standards that society set.  If we fail to apply them equitably then our standards are a sham. Polygamy and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are both illegal in Western society. Yet we pay social security to Muslim men who control multiple wives.  Thousands of girls are physically tortured and psychologically sentenced to a life behind bars, every year, in London, England when their parents permit the abomination of FGM to take place without consequence.   Mosques that incite their congregants to hate the infidel and to commit violence against the non-believer are permitted to remain open because their free speech and freedom of belief supersedes, potentially, our right to life.  That social contract I referred to earlier is only selectively applied.  That selective application of human rights is where the fracture in society has occurred.

The question we should be asking is how we can repair it and whether that fault line is irreparably damaged?

In a New York Times oped Dennis Ross referred to the free pass given to Muslims in Western Society as “reflexive absolution.”  Not just in the West.  I recently read that over the last decade 100,000 Christians have been murdered every year in the Muslim world and in countries where Islam has a significant minority presence.  I cannot verify that figure of a million dead but the number of killed is much higher for Muslim on Muslim violence.

We appear to be powerless to prevent this ongoing escalation of Islamic bloodletting.

The outrage we all felt when over 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Muslim fundamentalists in Nigeria very quickly dissipated.  We should have boycotted Nigeria until every girl had been accounted for and returned to their families. We did NOTHING.

We share few values with those people who cannot either renounce a holy book or if not renounce it, then to accept a modern western concept of equality. The Muslim world has no sense of accountability but one heck of an over-inflated sense of grievance that treats any concessions as illegitimate.  There is a myth and it is called Islamic tolerance.  Islam’s sense of superior purpose can only be met head on.

Reflexive absolution is a great catch phrase that describes the western worlds’ selective immorality and its ethical bankruptcy towards Islamic terrorism. A paradigm shift in our attitude towards our religious competitors is needed if society is ever to be mended.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Population Transfers and Selective Political Correctness

In 1990 President Bush Senior “convinced” Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir not to retaliate against long range missiles fired from Iraq into Tel Aviv.  That powerlessness meant that Israel had crossed a line in its relationship with the world that in retrospect, it should never have crossed. The message to the Arab and greater Muslim world was that Israel could be coerced into subjugation by Western pressure. Fast forward fifteen years. Israel unilaterally left Gaza.  Palestinians were given an independent state of their own, if they could behave responsibly.  Our mistake was to assume that conflicts can always be resolved by appeasing bigotry.

I am not supposed to use the four letter “N” word. But it is time to do so. It is time we all did so.  The Hamas regime in Gaza is an Arab and Muslim Nazi regime.  Its justification is theological but in the twenty-first century it can only ever be described as following a racist and genocidal ideology.  Current calls for Palestinian self-determination do not guarantee Israeli self-determination.  Ignoring calls such as the following do nothing to engender confidence or further the peace agenda.

“I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come.  The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come…Please do not leave in our hearts a single grain of mercy towards you, oh Jews, because when the day of your slaughter arrives, we shall slaughter you without mercy,” Omar Abu Sara calls out from al-Aqsa mosque on 28th November 2014.

This is Israel’s problem.  Israel cannot win any current war by appealing to scales of justice.  Winning the propaganda war is all about appealing to emotions and therefore Israel must adapt or fail. Israel must begin to win over public sympathy and global support in its war with the Palestinians and their allies.  It is morally unwise to argue that Israel’s failures should be forgiven because of the iniquitous behaviour displayed by other countries, no matter how grotesque their crimes may be.   For Israel to argue that it is unfairly singled out for microscopic treatment in the international press does not make any sense when most people quite simply do not understand the conflict to be anything other than territorial.  And we are fed a daily diet of Palestinian victim-hood which makes their acts of terror no more than a sick human response, sick but understandable.   

Israel’s publicized victories are therefore paradoxically its numerous enemies greatest weapon against it.  Victory and magnanimity are the two sides of the fair play coin. The problem is that any act of grace is seen as acquiescence and it must therefore encourage more terror.

Since 911 (September 11, 2001) we in the West have gone to incredible lengths to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam and the maverick and “wholly unislamic” nature of global Muslim crimes.  Rarely a day passes that we do not hear news of yet another Islamic atrocity, or another raid by the security services on Muslim homes (in order to thwart yet another terror attack against us). The religion of peace beheads adults and slaughters worshipers as they pray in their churches and in their synagogues, in their temples and in their mosques.  The blood flows on every continent, in so many different unconnected countries and still our leaders insist on sagely pronouncing Islam to be a religion of Peace. This Islamic exceptionalism forgives every crime against humanity committed in the name of their prophet and their god. The only thing missing is the vision of the aging hippy surrounded by a sea of bloodied corpses, proclaiming brotherly love. The message that portrays Islam as a peaceful religion seems somewhat discordant when viewed against the backdrop of massacre, crucifixion and beheading which is almost daily carried out in the name of Allah.  And rarely does the Muslim world hear words of condemnation by Muslim leaders.

Hundreds of millions of pounds is spent every year on fundamentalist Islamic education in the West.  The issue is that tolerance is not taught nor is multi-culturalism celebrated in the network of Western schools controlled from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Muslim benefactor nations.   For the Nazi, ends always justify the means. This Nazism is expressed in Muslim bigotry and Muslim terrorism.  It is the affliction of the 21st Century.  Islamism supports slavery in all its heinous modes of expression.  Its idealization of Arabian 7th Century codes of aggression, brutality and moral bankruptcy is responsible for terrible suffering on every continent. Islam’s claim to being the universal creed for humankind is tainted by its paranoid tribal fidelity to concepts of shame and honor and these characteristics of the faith underpin its attitude to everything and everyone.  It pre-determines the perception of insult in every failure and the need to dominate every relationship for the narrow benefit of an insular Islamic network which derives no benefit from boosting individual levels of personal or family welfare.  It views humanity as pawns in a global power struggle for the afterlife, therefore, a better human existence in our lifetime is theologically incidental.

It is politically correct to accept a one sided colonial narrative of the Arab-Muslim world which is beset by American and Western imperialism (or its fallout).  That same narrative is viewed as progressive and revolutionary rather than as the fascist and reactionary movement it has always been.

Of course there is extremism in all societies. Radicalism is simply the holding of extreme views or principles – what makes it dangerous is that it is almost always extreme in its intolerance towards a target group in society.  The issue is that when we ignore it, radicalism becomes violent, when it is granted free rein its natural tendency is towards contemptuous disregard for human rights.

Our current refusal to judge extremism in all its guises and disguises is poisoning our society. 

By ignoring radicalism we encourage the fanatic to seek to express their position with ever increasing confidence and because of the publicity it provides, escalating violence.  It is only through radical reformation that positive attitudes towards terror can ever be suppressed, even temporarily.   It is a constant battle for theologians and political leaders, which makes it too easy for fundamentalists to lapse into self-justification.  Islam has not yet started down the road of acceptance of the idea of peaceful co-existence with religious competitors. Intermittently and far too frequently it descends a gory path into Jihad because violence is theologically glorified throughout the Islamic canon of religious literature.

I recently attended a “London First” conference titled “Future Sight: The Security of London.”  In the course of a ninety minute discussion no-one referred to Islamism or Islamic education and the challenges to security raised by both. I approached two of the participants after the event.  They told me that Islamism in the West could only be changed through educating successive generations of Muslims.  They were: Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute (a prominent British think tank) and Keith Bristow QPM, Director General of the National Crime Agency.   When people of such high profile (as both men are) publicly express such blind faith in very long-term solutions they both of them demonstrate the problem society faces.

We do not have “generations” to re-educate terrorists, or their mass of fellow travellers. You do not reduce terror or suppress an ideology that incubates terror by selectively excusing it.  You cannot hope to eliminate it by ignoring its presence in high profile public events.

Let’s be clear. Every human being is born equal.   Disability, wealth and personal ambition should be the only circumstances that mitigate our potential to exercise full equality.  And if there was a way to alleviate those aspects of inequality, society would benefit from the endeavor.  But society must define and it does define what is acceptable and therefore, what is legal.  And we in turn, are defined by those laws.  Multi-culturalism can only ever be limited in scope because anything that conflicts with our laws in an elemental manner must be denied legal status.  For example: Slavery is legal in Islam. It is our prejudiced attitudes to the institution of slavery that outlawed slavery in our society and those anti-slavery laws are what we wish to bequeath to future generations.   So injustice is relative and set by society. To tackle one strand at a time is not less of an act of discrimination and ignoring institutional or cultural bigotry as we define it, is a crime against society.

A politically correct urgency to accept a constant stream of refugees into western society along with the demographic pressures that accompany Muslim immigration into the West can only increase the violence in our societies because at no point is there a reciprocal demand made of our latest immigrants.  There is no demand to renounce an ideology that is anti-Western, anti-Semitic and yes, anti-Christian too. 

We have today, more openly expressed hatred, intolerance and prejudice in society than at any time since the Second World War.  The veneer of tolerance and civility in society is dropping.  Ultimately, the internal contradictions between the peaceful ideals of our society and the mounting violence we are seeing expressed in both word and deed must cause a break down of civil society.

To the United Nations and European Refugee Commissioners, with tears in their eyes and six figure salaries, the consequences that we must suffer now or in the future because of their benevolence can not ever be justified by their pleas for our mercy, not when it is at our expense.  As a first step towards de-fanging the beast, it is time to end refugee resettlement and funding.  Only then will the Muslim world start to confront its own demons.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Arab Xenophobia and Global Religious Conflict

After the murder of four rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue the news soon spread.  In Judea and Samaria and in Gaza, thousands of Arabs celebrated the bloody slaughter.  They handed out sweetmeats.    When Baruch Goldstein killed Arab worshipers, in an address to the Knesset, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin denounced Goldstein. Rabin, addressing not just Goldstein and his legacy but also other settlers he regarded as militant, declared:

    You are not part of the community of Israel... You are not part of the national democratic camp which we all belong to in this house, and many of the people despise you. You are not partners in the Zionist enterprise. You are a foreign implant. You are an errant weed. Sensible Judaism spits you out. You placed yourself outside the wall of Jewish law... We say to this horrible man and those like him: you are a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism.

That ethical difference between the two separate nations is what drives antisemitism in the West today.

Xenophobia is defined as an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers – but I would object to the word ‘unreasonable’.  To fear that which is unfamiliar or different to one-self is understandable but not reasonable. It is something easily over-come if both sides are willing to work at it and again, if both sides have the desire to accept the other.  It is the latter part of this particular social paradigm that is most acutely felt to be missing from the immigrant experience in the contemporary western world.

Many Muslims do not want to integrate into Western Society and they take this ambivalent immigration experience in a wholly surprising direction when they turn that expectation on its head and demand we integrate their cultural values into our homes, our workplaces and our public places.  Before I am attacked for being selectively biased, there are ultra-orthodox Jews who are the same but they are overwhelmingly, a minority, even amongst Jews.  And there is, even then, usually one difference. Judaism created a template for people to live together, without fear of one another.  As a behavioral principle, ‘derekh eretz’ stands out in rabbinic literature as a guide for human relations.   It is typically defined as doing what is right but the important condition here is that each society has its own definition of decency; it is incumbent upon the Jewish community to reconcile its ethics to those of the dominant cultural community.  Not then the same concept as practiced by our Muslim friends.

We seem to have forgotten that society is evolutionary and that justice, for nearly all of human history, has taken second place to the whims of those who wielded power. A surprising failure of modern scholarship is the inability of thinkers to even attempt to understand the circumstances of peoples’ lives in other times in comparison with how we all live today.  One of the working principles of archaeology is to try to understand the past by reference to what we know in the present.  We seem to have missed the point that the present is similarly informed by the past.

These meandering thoughts came to mind as I read the Israeli and foreign press during the past couple of weeks. Terrible things had been happening. The bloody slaughter of four rabbis as they prayed in a Jerusalem synagogue (and the Druze policeman who came to their aid); a three month old baby murdered by a pious Palestinian, there were two things that all acts of terror and not just these two examples shared.  The first was the hedging of condemnation by the worlds’ journalists and politicians.  The second was the reflexive apologia for Islam that absolved its adherents of any individual guilt.  This collectively racist approach is damaging our society as it excuses theirs for the evil that they now commit at every possible opportunity.

We are living through a period of contradictions and uncertainty. Prosperity has made us less dependent on faith for our emotional well-being.  Our physical insecurity may be minor but we are constantly exposed to news about terrifying plagues, gratuitous acts of violence and wars, brought into our living rooms and interpreted for our entertainment, by the global media.  It is unsettling so we retreat behind simple explanations and a consumer lifestyle that pushes all that bad news away.

The West has lost its purpose. Its obsessive focus on the State of Israel is partly demographic (Muslim immigration), but in part it is an indictment of the complexity with which we are unable to cope.  How else to explain the racism that forgives every atrocity carried out in the name of Allah, the passionate debate on the Left that pardons every hate crime as a product of Zionism?

The Left and its Muslim allies have discarded truth as an inconvenience that prevents them from living a life that to any normal person living in a normal environment is wholly illegitimate for its love of violence and worship of hate. We forgive our academics and their students, the street activists and their Muslim allies for the lies that they use to validate their behavior.  They have redefined normative behavior as deception and dishonor.  In our society today dishonesty is no longer viewed as a sin. The truth becomes a lie and the lie an unalterable truth.  “Hitler called his propaganda theory ‘The Big Lie’. It was easy enough, he explained, just make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually the world will believe it.” (Mark Langfan)

An example follows:  For most pro-Palestinian activists Jerusalem was always Muslim, Islam came before Judaism (we were always usurpers), and Islam has always treated us well, it has never deprived us of our religious rights to pray at our holy sites and by the way, the Temple Mount was never a Jewish site of prayer or holiness. Similarly, Jews may or may not have lived in Israel; their historical narrative may have been located elsewhere but in any case the Holy Land is an Islamic endowment just as Spain is.  Jews have left the stage of history and have no right to return to it. 

So here is one problem.  We are again being fed propaganda that we appear to be unable to combat.  If we leave the information war to our enemies it is interpreted as validating their narrative.  We arrived here because our secular societies dismissed with arrogant delusion the multiple threats that abandoning philosophy to the extremists posed to our way of life. Much of what afflicts our society today results from the triumph of science over faith.  I will explain:

The degree to which humanity is capable of exercising free will has been a matter of speculation by philosophers as well as scientists. If we are all the product of divine providence then we have no free will; if all that matters is the physical world then free will does not exist and we are all of us subject to the whims of scientific forces that can be explained diagrammatically.  If science can determine that the physical universe is governed by mechanistic causation then our own actions become deterministic.  This theory absolves us of personal responsibility for the choices we make.

Human beings have created an ethical framework for living that regulates our universe to the degree that we can control our spiritual environment even if we are unable to control our physical environment.  We do not entirely have free will if our minds are hard wired to fire and occasionally misfire.  The brain is not a perfect organ. No matter where we are born we all conquer complex concepts of language and we all reach certain milestones in our intellectual development at similar stages of our early life.

So we do not have free will to the extent that we are all products of our physical, biological limitations but we do have choice.  Even those choices are not limitless.  Our bodies limit us, our Laws constrain us.  Our ethical system reminds us that though we are able to lead a materialistic life of drunken debauchery and endless narcissism there are alternative choices to be considered. A religious life is not for everyone. A secular humanist can equally lead a moral life if the parameters are set and the questions are asked.

The importance of choice is paramount to our survival.  If all we live for is what we can easily attain then our purpose is shallow and with little difficulty, we are led. That is not freedom but voluntary submission. Perhaps that is why Islam (which means submission) is so attractive to so many people. It is a form of slavery that encourages its adherents to enslave others, for their sake.   Freedom then, is an act of will, a constant companion to the right to choose.  The problem is that we are constantly fighting against people and forces that do not believe that we have choices.  This excuses their benighted ethics because it is something that is outside of their control.

The religious psychopath who cuts off heads or tortures his victims till they beg for death, the axe murderer and the baby killer are all forgiven because they have no choice.  But there are always choices and it is how we choose to fight for our rights or wrongs that determine our outlook towards others, towards society and towards the human project.

I chose the title “Arab Xenophobia” because, to return to the fourth paragraph, it is a choice that has defined and continues to define the Arab Nation.  A few statements from our enemies will illustrate the point.

“We must massacre the Jews in order to break them.” Yunis al- Astal (member of PLC) March 6, 2014

“Anyone who has a knife, a weapon or a car, and is not attacking a settler or a Jew, and is not killing tens of Zionists, does not belong to Palestine.” Fawzi Barhoum (Hamas Spokesperson) July 30, 2014

“Blessed be your quality weapons, the wheels of your cars, your axes and kitchen knives because [they are being used] according to Allah’s will. We are the soldiers of Allah.” Sultan Abu Al-Einein (senior adviser to Mahmoud Abbas and member of the Fatah Central Committee) Tuesday 18th November 2014 in praise of the two murderers who carried out the synagogue massacre

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Violence and Redemption in the Holy Land

We are hearing much about the third intifada as lone Arabs attack Jews with knives and axes, and try to kill lots of people with their cars. One Arab, frustrated by his inability to successfully play human skittles leapt from his vehicle and proceeded to attempt to beat his chosen victim with an iron bar before being subdued. Acts of violence and terror are now a weekly occurrence and would be a daily occurrence if not for the vigilance of the security services.

The debate on how to prevent violence (and ultimately how to stop it completely) is heavily influenced by the extremists so unless we have loud, clear and unequivocal guidance from our political, religious and moral leaders the street will continue to rule; passions rather than respect will govern our actions and the violence will escalate because no-one is seen to effectively and consistently provide justice.

“If we really want to take an effective stand against extremism, we should not obsess over the extremists; rather, we should tackle those who facilitate, empower and legitimize extremism.” Providing a Platform for Terror, Nov 29, 2012 by Sam Westrop

An example: The debate on “ownership” of the city of Jerusalem has been magnified by the Palestinian leadership, so that now, all residents of Jerusalem have been deemed settlers and occupiers, and therefore, are justified as fair game… just like any modern orthodox Jew (those wearing knitted kippot and tsitsiot over their jeans). But Jerusalem is the main battleground, lose that one and Haifa and Tel Aviv will follow.

Who are the people facilitating, empowering and legitimizing extremism?
After the murder of the three Jewish seminarians in Judea and Samaria, Fatah (of which President for Life Mahmoud Abbas is its leader) posted the following threat (with thanks to Isi Leibler):

“Sons of Zion, this is an oath to the Lord of the Heavens: Prepare all the bags you can for your body parts. … We wish for the blood to become rivers.”

That’s inciting the populace to violence. The savage imagery portrayed cannot hint at even a glimmer of hope for a peaceful future between neighbors.  And yet this is a man in control of an entity that desires national freedom, someone we have often been told is a ‘genuine’ partner for peace.

Intolerance does not need a reason, it simply requires a target. The entire history of Palestinian nationalism is predicated on the denial of legitimate Jewish history, the renunciation of Jewish rights and the delegitimization of Jewish sovereignty.   Not drawing attention to this nationally mandated bigotry legitimises it, on a global scale.

In 1955 Israel blithely dismissed the UN with the words, famously uttered by Ben-Gurion “oom shmoom” (the UN, so what?) That pithy phrase soon entered the Israeli political lexicon. The contempt it expressed was deserved, nevertheless it was a mistake to ignore the damage to Israel that propaganda could cause, spread globally through the UN.  Allowing others to write and re-write the history books has done Israel incalculable damage by helping Israel’s enemies to spread their narrative into the global mainstream.

One example from the many corrupt UN agencies will suffuse as the exemplar for United Nations duplicity.   The creation of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) was an act of conspiracy whose intent was to guarantee a continuous war would be waged against Jewish existence in Israel.  The United Nations fashioned an organization that was answerable only to itself, was self-perpetuating and whose foundation document, applied to any nation other than Israel would have been deemed to be blatantly illegal. UNRWAs raison d’ĂȘtre can only be interpreted as easing into position the replacement of one population with another. Thus UNRWA legitimized Arab colonialism and is, for as long as it remains in existence, an act of United Nations sanctioned ethnic cleansing.

The struggle against the UN may be arduous as well as costly to Israel but it is a necessity for its survival and yet Israel has largely suffered in silence rather than fighting it.

Israel’s founding political leaders were left-wing and militantly secular, at least until the ascent of the right wing Likud party to national leadership in 1977.  Yet the same political attitude has continued to govern Israel’s elites since 1977 – it has meant that neither Left nor Right has addressed the religious dimensions of the war between Israel and its enemies, either internationally or internally within Israel.

Writing in Yedioth Aharonoth (an Israeli newspaper) on 9th November 2014 Yoaz Hendel described the killing of an Arab wielding a knife at police as resulting “from the national-religious conflict being waged.”

In any society in which a vacuum forms, people with definite ideas will fill the emptiness that has been created. That vacuum is an opportunity for views of what is right and what is wrong and of personal continuity expressed through time and space. Our identity is layered. Europe is allegedly a post-nationalism entity and this is where many of its problems lie.  People who feel that something is missing from their lives are susceptible to a crippled interpretation of any process that can be explained to them with simplicity.

While issues of identity are never simple - if a person is born in a country they take on the identity of the country in which they live, or they should. It is part of the basis for the social contract that defines and enriches everyone living in a democracy. An Israeli may be a Christian, Druze, Jew or Muslim. Their primary identity may be national (based on their place of birth or election) or religious but Israel has refused to engage in this debate. This has created a vacuum which allows the extremists to dominate the ongoing debate amongst all Israelis.

A “big” problem in Israel is that the national anthem clearly states Nefesh Yehudi (Jewish soul).   This makes the Arabs feel like “outsiders” which they don’t like! I suspect that a Nefesh Yisraeli (soul of Israel) would be equally unacceptable however it may be the only answer that has broad national backing, except to those who do not want a state called Israel.  And those people who don’t want to live under a Star of David (for a national flag)? There are 29 Christian nations that include crosses in their national flag (including Britain and Sweden).  There are 17 Muslim nations with Islamic symbols.  The Palestinian Authority flag is green, white, red and black. These are the classic colors of Islam, pan-Arab imperialism and Ba’athist genocide.  The flag of Hamas is theocratic.

Arab identity is not based solely on ethnicity.  It is religiously colonialist and brutally intolerant of any minorities unfortunate enough to endure living beneath its exercise of power.  Palestinian nationalism is inconsistent with Jewish self-determination. A person of Jewish faith cannot be a Palestinian unless they are hostile to Zionism (which is arguably the main aspect of Israeli identity).  Palestinian nationalism has usually been antisemitic and it denies Jewish Near-Eastern history while interpreting European Jewish history unfavorably.  This is nothing less than a war to deny Jewish civilization.

And yet, over three generations Israel has failed to attack this apartheid view of Arab-Palestinian exceptionalism which refutes Muslim or Christian Israeli identity as bogus and worse, a betrayal of the “Arab nation.” The nephew of an Arab member of parliament called himself an Israeli Muslim in an internet video and as a consequence he was forced to flee for his life - overseas. His aunt, the Member of Knesset Hanin Zoabi, publicly attacked him.  This is also a marker for the extremists.  It tells them that violence against the individual is permissible.  Most of the Arab leadership and its captive intelligentsia terrorizes the populace into conforming to an anti-Zionist / antisemitic narrative that denies them full integration into Israeli society.

Benjamin Netanyahu has refined the art of doing nothing during three terms as Prime Minister.  When he is forced to confront anything he is a populist leader so his do-nothing approach encourages chaos. It is only at the breaking point that he will choose the easiest route to placating the situation.  This is his failure.  It is his weakness as a leader.

It will damn him in any future written history about Israel because the issue of identity is even more important than whether or not the current leader of the Palestinians is inclined towards making peace with Israel.  Peace will not be achieved while a large fifth column lives in Israel, one that refuses to acknowledge the equal rights of the Jewish majority. Paradoxically, the equal rights of the Arab minority are undermined by the fear of that fifth column.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s British television tackled the issue of discrimination and prejudice with the sitcom “Till Death us do Part.”  Its American equivalent “All in the Family” ran for most of the 1970’s.  Israel desperately needs something similar to re-educate its people.

Kurt Tucholsky (a journalist and social commentator) labelled World War I a “worldwide latrine filled with blood, barbed wire, and hate songs.”  For Israel (and Jews elsewhere), if the world is to not become another latrine filled with blood and hate songs it needs to de-escalate the passions that are being expressed everywhere in strident and apocalyptic terms.  For that to happen Israel, for one, needs a firm and guiding hand at the helm of government. Novelist Amos Oz believes the Israel-Palestine conundrum is a battle between extremists and pragmatists - on both sides. Only when the extremists are all but silenced will there be a chance for peace between Israel and Palestine. In a normal society guidance would come from the clergy and then from government but in Israel because of its secular history that clerical guidance is absent or mostly confrontational. So leadership must begin with the government providing a vision for how it can unify the nation and marginalize those people or groups who are working to keep the nation divided.

Barry Rubin (Israeli columnist and professor) said “The Palestinians’ leaders have long believed that an intransigent strategy coupled with some outside force—Nazi Germany, the USSR, weaning the West away from Israel—will miraculously grant them total victory. They aren’t going to change course now that that route leads not forward but in circles.”

That same Arab-Palestinian strategy is fought in the Western World usually far more subtly than the naked racism and religious bigotry that is expressed within the Muslim world nevertheless things will get worse, everywhere, because the fascist nature of identity politics is again reasserting itself in western social discourse.

Fascism is the tyranny of the few against an even smaller group in order to proscribe that groups equal exercise of human rights and ultimately, by eliminating their equal rights, to exclude that target group.

Israel is the victim of fascism in the UN and that fascism is spilling over into Western society. Jews are once more becoming victims.  How often have we engaged in peaceful protest, only to be confronted with intimidation and violence? These twin tactics are the fascists preferred tools of persuasion. In the boycott movement and in academia such methods as these are viewed as the acceptable demonstration of their right to freedom of expression. Our right to not live in fear is inevitably dismissed as the suppression of our enemies own right to protest.  In Weimar Germany the Nazis used the same tactics that the Left and their Muslim allies now use to undermine our democratic rights.

Here’s the thing.  The Palestinians have their identity. It is 1,400 years old, tribal and hierarchical. It is racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and antisemitic.  It is Arab history being fiendishly re-enacted today in Iraq and Syria.

Israeli identity is still in the mix. It is still under development. It is 66 years old (1948), it is 97 years old (1917) and it is 4,000 years old.  It is defined by the period of the Bible, by the Second World War, by 1948, 1967, 1973 and 1979 (the War of Independence, the 6 Day War, the Yom Kippur War and the Peace Treaty with Egypt).  Judaism and Israel began in history some time between 2,600 and 2,100 years before the Prophet Muhammad got his big idea.

Arab identity as expressed in jingoistic circles is based on disrespecting ones enemy. Pan-Arabism has an intellectual history in the 20th Century that is wholly triumphalist. All opponents are ‘the enemy’ – remember the recent picture of the Arab women showing her shoe to ‘the Jew’?  In Arab culture the shoe directed towards a persons face says “you are beneath me, I trample on you”.  It is a telling symbol of Arab cultural attitudes that it finds no opposition in Arab society.

With age comes wisdom (in theory). Respect is earned by intentional humanity that is endowed unconditionally.  It is a concept that Arab identity denies to us and to everyone who is not them. It is their greatest strength but also the root of their greatest threat to us.

Israel, for its own sake as well as for the sake of the Diaspora, must understand the consequences of failed leadership, of its inability to create a credible consensus.  Finding a way to express our rights in our sovereign homeland that is inclusive for all of Israel’s citizens must be a priority.  Only then will peace be possible.