Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Refugee Tragedy and the next Global Conflict

David Milliband, writing in the Evening Standard on the 4th September 2015 related how, in 1940, his father and grand father fled Belgium to Britain and were “accepted” into the country as refugees. In 1945 his grand father returned to Belgium to find his wife and daughter, both of whom had spent the war years in hiding. He applied with them to immigrate to Britain and was turned down because the Home Secretary said he could not sanction “a flood”.  David Millibands’ interpretation of this event – defining the difference between an immigrant (seeking a better life) and a refugee (fleeing persecution) missed the point entirely. Britain then as now, was antisemitic.

The horrifying revelations around the Shoah made no difference to the hardhearted and bigoted ruling classes, especially, under the Labour Government of Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin.  Britain’s Foreign Office (Department of State) and its administrative classes were relentlessly antisemitic and unfailingly pro-Arab.  The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was the twentieth century’s one exception that made the rule. 

The historical reality is that Britain allowed a paltry number of Jewish refugees into the United Kingdom before World War 2 and they all had to have homes to go to so that there would be no burden upon the state.  Britain’s ruling classes made sure that those people who were accepted into Britain were the “right kind of Jews” – they were middle class, intelligent and Western educated and yet the hostility of officialdom remained steadfast.

His analysis of the migrant crisis today is also flawed by his ideological myopia.  So, he refuses to acknowledge either the political antecedents to the current crisis and the historical failures that have left Western nations unprepared for the latest crisis.  Those people trying to flee conflict and the economic migrants that seek a better life have both had their funds plundered by people traffickers and criminal gangs.  But that is only part of the problem that we refuse to acknowledge because to do so would involve, by necessity, a change in international immigration policy and a muscular and wholly unwelcome military response to ongoing international crises.

David Milliband’s selective analysis of the causes behind regional instability – those causes that created the current refugee crisis in Europe - is distressing because without honest debate around those sources of conflict, instability can only grow and create with it, ever escalating disruption and dislocation.  Without addressing the causes of the current crisis the probability of global conflict can only increase.

David Milliband refers to “decades-old wars in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo” as well as in Afghanistan and Syria-Iraq without offering explanation, background or any suggestions for how to stop them.  He refers to “the wider phenomenon of regional instability, the proxy wars causing chaos in Yemen” without mentioning who is the paymaster for that regional instability (it is the Islamic Republic of Iran).  He states that Syria’s middle-classes are ‘fleeing,’ but he fails to join the dots to connect the collapse of the middle-classes with the failure of the state and its consequent future inability to be rebuilt as a stable entity.

When failed nations reassert their independence (in whatever form they eventually take), stability is reliant on the people being in place to lead.  But the core of their communities will probably remain in Europe, enriching European society. This is in spite of the fact that a recent survey disclosed a significant percentage of refugees and migrants, and their second generation descendants are not only disengaged from their host society but also financially dependent on those societies, to maintain their relatively comfortable European lifestyle.

There are lessons to be learned from history. When in 1947-48 the Arab leadership of what was then known as Palestine fled to their gated mansions in Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, Amman and Cairo the Arab peasantry that remained behind were left beleaguered, largely without leadership and therefore, without guidance.   They were vulnerable to the depredation, malice and greed of local and foreign Muslim gangs who fled to ‘safety,’ once the lethality of the fighting with the Jews of Palestine began to seriously impact the profitability of their enterprise.  Worse was the definition uniquely appropriated to Arab refugees from that conflict; unique in all the history of human conflict, it provided them with a status that could never be resolved.   Despair, false hope and superpower machinations even then undermined regional stability because it would not encourage resettlement.

The Arab refugees from Palestine became victims of their own leaders’ propaganda when the wealthier classes, the local Arab leadership and those racially or religiously intolerant of any future that involved living under Jewish control fled to the neighboring Muslim lands.

The Muslim world, unlike its Western rival, has rarely, if ever, been forced to confront the racism within its society. Its religious bigotry is instead, worn as a badge of honor. There is enormous resentment feeding Muslim interaction with minorities through those dreamed of Muslim empires.  This is the reason that Muslims are so welcoming of vile and murderous organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State (Daesh), al-Qaeda and all of their affiliates.

It is not their fundamentalism that is bereft of morality (although this could be argued is contributing to the outcome) but the inevitable conclusion of extremist thinking that is encouraged by so many of their ideological and functional leadership.  That conclusion is perpetual warfare waged against everyone who cannot prove that they too are “true believers” and of course in that two-word honorific is the root of all suffering.

It is this inhumanity that is demonstrated throughout the Muslim world, every day.  In the United Kingdom between April and June 2015 one thousand cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) were reportedly carried out. And it is illegal in the UK so what would have happened if Britain made FGM legal?  A video also recently surfaced of a father in the Arab world proudly handing his daughter over to a Sharia court for execution by stoning. Her crime was disobedience.

There is a refugee crisis in Europe but one of its main causes, the one David Milliband refuses to be drawn into acknowledging, is the moral blight that has penetrated every section of the Muslim world.

The refugee crisis cannot be solved while we continue to rejoice in our multicultural diversity because all it means is that we are too cowardly to take a stand against barbarism. And a selective stand against injustice is no more than a cynically toadying acknowledgment of our international impotence, a grotesquely judicious application of morality.

If Turkey is unwilling to exercise control over its borders it should be expelled from NATO and allied forces gathered to collect immigrants and refugees and relocate them to a neutral zone in a failed state, to be administered by Europeans (and who-ever else is willing to assist in the task).

It is the only realistic way to:
a)      protect vulnerable people from exploitation
b)      to process large numbers of refugees
c)      to return economic migrants to their country of origin

If Syria cannot be saved it should be re-divided, with appropriate border adjustments to foster stability.  Kurdish self-determination should be granted and separate self-governing cantons established for the Alawites, Shia, Sunni, Christian and Druze minorities, all within the former Syria. At a time in the future the cantonization of Syria will lead to a united nation, perhaps based on the Swiss model.  But for now the toxic ethnic and religious conflicts crisscrossing the former Syria defile any national aspirations that its competing war-lords may have harbored.

To rebuild Arab and the greater global Muslim society, to contribute in a way that meaningfully addresses local concerns and provides wise leadership at all levels of society requires people, many of whom have fled to foreign lands, to return and rebuild the nation.  If that leadership is comfortably domiciled in Europe that rebuilding will be delayed by decades if not longer. Current estimates place the end to the Syrian conflict and a return to ‘normality’ at twenty years into the future.

The flight of the Arab masses from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are a positive outcome for their regional rivals in Turkey, Iran and even, in Egypt and not just because it debases two Arab, formerly military heavyweights. Unless the world’s superpowers and European nations are willing to radically change their geo-strategic thinking on how to conduct a stabilization strategy within the Near–East that conflict will spill over into Europe and not just Europe but the nations that are on the periphery of the Near-East (Pakistan, [India], Asia and Russia).

It is this failure of imagination that could create the instability that unintentionally leads to the next global conflict.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sweden and the Disease of Prejudice

A prominent peacenik whose family had survived the massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Hebron in 1929 was being interviewed by Swedish TV at the start of this century.  Suddenly and without warning this also prominent Swedish journalist verbally attacked him.   More than most of us, this man of peace should have had a response but he was shocked and had no response to his Swedish abuser.  Palestinian suffering had become the unquestioned fact of European (and much of the rest of the world) orthodoxy.

The problem is that then as now, Sweden like much of Europe has a national identity that is increasingly porous and ill-defined and progressively more schizophrenic. In its eagerness to appreciate the cultural eccentricities of its newest inhabitants and in deference to those differences, many states in Europe have created a two tier legal system that forgives or turns a blind eye to many crimes that may be attributable to cultural or religious differences.

And a simple example will suffice.  Aside from South Africa / Lesotho (depending on the report) either country of which has an even higher incidence of rape than Sweden has, Sweden is now by far, the rape capital of the rest of the world.  Even worse – reports suggest that the Swedish statistics hide under-reporting of rape by somewhere between 400% and 900%.  At the current rate it is believed that one in four Swedish women will be raped at some time during their lifetime.  That includes those who were children when they were violated.

In 2002 it emerged that 85% of convicted rapists were identified as immigrants or second generation Swedes.  And that figure has continued to go up but no official reports are now allowed to tell the story.

Some forty years ago I was living on a kibbutz and we had some Swede’s temporarily living amongst us. The atmosphere was international and it was exciting but sometimes we even managed to discuss issues of a serious nature. So our Swedish friends said that in their country there was nothing happening to agitate popular emotion and sometimes there was a feeling that Sweden needed a war to awaken its people from their emotional torpor, their intellectual indifference. Sweden has not fought a war for some 200 years (The Swedish–Norwegian War of 1814) nevertheless in this expression of collective Swedish insanity lies the reason behind Israel’s European misfortune.

The traditional Jewish bogeyman is the perfect animator for Sweden’s bored citizens and it allows them to forgive the rapist. It does not mean that we have supplanted the Muslim immigrants’ crimes against women but they can forgive the rapist; it is just Jews (or Zionists) that must bare collective guilt for Sweden’s debasement.  Hence the verbal and physical attacks on Jews and Zionists that occur in Swedish society across the board: The Swedish Church, the Swedish Press, its monarchy and its government.  No narrative that differs from the Palestinian one is permitted in Sweden.  A self-image based on absolute tolerance, ironically, cannot suffer disagreement. But even the Swedes must have their object of hate to alleviate or distract them from the tensions within Swedish society which were brought about by all the impossible contradictions created by a Muslim immigration that rejects much of the fundamental bases of that same Swedish society such as equality and tolerance.

And the Jewish people are a minuscule percentage of the global human population so it does not matter at all what technologies or medical discoveries emerge from Israel. While every year the world’s Muslim population increases at three times the global Jewish population the economic and political power that is represented by that Muslim growth far outweighs any Jewish contribution to global society.  That is the painful reality that Israel must come to terms with.

If Sweden and in fact Europe is a lost cause then Israel must disentangle itself from its European connection and actively examine its relationship with the remainder of global society.

In practical terms it means that in the Western world and at the United Nations antisemitism and its proxy anti-Zionism are both given free range without negative consequences. It means that every lie becomes the new truth. It also means that there are no negative consequences to the inflated Muslim self-image and Islamisms' associated LibLeft fascist accomplices.

To return to the Swedish failure, if all truth is relative to the situation as presented then there is no truth, only narratives.  If history is trivialized then there are no lessons to be learnt from it. Under conditions such as these, the Swedish acceptance of a radical racist Islamic or Arab nationalist narrative is both understandable and almost irredeemable.  This is the sickness that afflicts all of Europe.  The continent that nurtured Western Civilization is dying.

Sweden rediscovered its sense of purpose when it embraced its refugees and their often spurious narrative of victim-hood. Its intoxication with a liberal democratic but essentially amoral social model meant that blame became a non-word in the Swedish lexicon.  Such generosity had to have its scapegoat to distract the people from the negative consequences of their failed social model.

If possession of a holistic group identity is anathema because in a globalized world, nationalism is viewed as a anachronism and therefore it is understood to create a negative emotional space around which nothing good can flourish, then by doing away with the greater national group identity, all crimes can be forgiven because they are the product, not of the group, but of aberrant individual behavior.  According to this narrative, “ethnic identity politics” is good because it is not European while European nationalism is bad because it is imperialistic.  This manipulation of identity makes antisemitism all the more puzzling except when it is viewed as an attack on the individual and not the group.  Zionism is damned because according to the prevalent anti-Western narrative it is an expression of a particular European group identity which should have been suppressed because of its "inherently imperialist nature".  Jews are all “European” (incorrect, but facts are unimportant).  Jews have suffered because of European nationalism so they have no excuse for possessing any belief. The retention of any antiquated concept as part of personal identity simply reinforces the religious prejudices of the morally self-superior Swede. It is a truly all encompassing narrative that reinforces not just Sweden’s but most European antisemitic thinking.

Pan-Arab, Palestinian and greater Muslim group identities are more difficult to brush aside.  Muslim antisemitism is based on a theology of conquest, dominion and domination.  It is therefore inseparable from the Arab and greater Muslim anti-Zionist narrative.  It is impossible to disassemble that paradigm from its religious roots without denying their legitimacy (which would be heresy).  It may be easier to reject the contemporary historical lies which most Muslim are fed.
But in any debate on the issue of Israel-Palestine or inter-religious dialogue there will always be a closed mind that accepts no debate around any inconsistency of approach.  To allow for self-doubt within an atmosphere of political orthodoxy would destroy a consensus that unites a nation whose tremendous internal problems it is unwilling to face up to.   

As Pascal Bruckner has written:

“The die-hard student radicals that Bruckner (a French philosopher) knew in Paris shared a few traits with his father (a French Nazi collaborator), on the other end of the political spectrum: self-certain, righteous anger and the will to expose world-historical villains. Not for nothing was the extreme left infected by antisemitism, because the anti-Semite always knows exactly who is guilty.”  The extreme left and the extreme right are but two sides of the same coin. Their poison has leached into and polluted the centre ground.

Sweden’s malignancy infects the rest of Europe because Europe’s separate societies have steadfastly refused to inoculate themselves against the antisemitic contagion.  The Muslim demographic expansion into Europe has only accelerated the re-oxygenation of this infestation.  I see little chance of any remission in this disease and the current refugee crisis will only exacerbate its symptoms.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn and the Fascist Threat

“Those in authority should have stopped the obscenity of past-war fascism. They didn’t. So, we did.” Morris Beckman (The 43 Group)

Most people just want a life lived without unnecessary distraction, pain, or inconvenience. A few go out of their way to cause suffering, to coerce and to spoil the simple world we live in.  Miseducation is crucial in any attempt to control society. They create fear, but most important, they attempt to fashion us in their image, or at least, in the image they believe we need to fit.

I use the word “image” because they are akin to idolaters – their god is fashioned from an ideal they passionately believe we must follow – whether it is for their profit, our benefit or someone else's benefit is of no consequence because their self-belief is immutable and therefore any debate is also irrelevant.   They demand obedience from us and subservience to them.  Oppose them and you are damned.  If this sounds like fascism it is because it is just that.  I accuse the radical left (of which Mr Jeremy Corbyn is an honored member) of fascism for good reason.

Fascism can be defined in almost any way but its primary contemporary usage seems to have deteriorated so that it is now understood to be little more than an epithet to be used against those with whom we passionately disagree. But in his book “Liberal Fascism” Jonah Goldberg says “the liberal fascist project can be characterized as the effort to delegitimize good dogma by claiming all dogma is bad.”  I would modify that by stating that fascism is the replacement of one set of beliefs with another, using propaganda in place of fact; sophistry and mendacity as tools of trade.  Jeremy Corbyn and his kind provide good examples of this.

In an interview with Britain’s premier broadcasting network, BBC Television managed to educate a new generation of people about a Jewish blood libel while giving Britain’s leading Labour Party contender for leader of the opposition an easy ride that forgave him his iniquity in consistently siding with holocaust deniers, racists and antisemites.

The tools of fascism are simple – lie consistently and the people will replace the truth with your updated narrative.  A few days ago Jeremy Corbyn was interviewed by the BBC about his past – he denied knowing that a friend was a holocaust denier and referred to meeting up with him some fifteen years earlier. Since that interview, a photograph has surfaced on the official internet site of holocaust denier Paul Eisen.  It shows Corbyn at a formal reception for Eisens’ organization (Deir Yassin Remembered), held in 2013.

Corbyn was also given the opportunity to explain to the BBC and its millions of viewers that Eisen’s organization was all about keeping in the public memory an atrocity allegedly carried out by “the Zionists” (failing to mention his organization being the vehicle for a holocaust denying Jew hater).  The BBC then showed bodies piled neatly up but unlike any other news program I have ever encountered failed to provide any warning that it was going to show the photo. Jeremy Corbyn deliberately misled the public on British national television when he stated that the massacre was the work of “Zionists”.  In 1948 there were Arabs and there were Palestinians – all organizations of administration and governance in Palestine with the name “Palestine” in the title were Jewish.

The radical left has followed the Arab/Muslim lead in dividing Jews into two groups, those who are anti-Israel and the rest.  Jeremy Corbyn deliberately misrepresented a conflict that was never that simple because central to the Arab-Israeli conflict is Arab conquest inextricably mixed with Islamic theological prejudice. Corbyn demonized all Jews living in Palestine at that time and if we follow through with his unspoken logic, accused all Jews of supporting terror simply by identifying with the Jewish right to self-determination.

The Arabs do not and did not (in 1948) kill Zionists – they kill(ed) Jews.  But massacres carried out by people are rarely, if ever referred to as massacres carried out by Muslims. They are carried out by ISIL (an acronym few people can break down by its constituent letters).  They are carried out by organizations. In Palestine the militias were identified as socialists, as right wingers or as Arabs dedicated to a pan-Arab unity against the rest.  The massacre was carried out by Palestinian fighters against local Arabs.  Specifically it was carried out by Irgun and Lehi fighters.  But Corbyn was scoring points, aided and abetted by the BBC.

Here is my problem with the fascist, Jeremy Corbyn.  He lies, he is indifferent to the consequences of his actions, and he is morally selective in his support of those who justify religious genocide. He calls an antisemite who propagates blood libels against Jews his friend. He dishonestly applies general principles to particular cases of moral conduct (in this case, his anti-Zionism is antisemitism because he deliberately chooses to ignore the prejudice and religious hatred that is fundamental to the beliefs of Israel’s enemies).

It is truly simple. If he is not anti-Jewish he has no problem sharing a platform with those people who are anti-Jewish, or, calling them his friends and proclaiming the validity of their causes. What does that make of the morality of the man who would be Prime Minister of Great Britain?

The man who would be prime minister has also worked for Iranian State TV – so he has received money from an organisation that is the international mouthpiece for a regime that again, denies the holocaust as well as hanging gays, persecuting its Baha’i minority, murdering members of the radical left (such as he), crushing free speech and killing protesters.

I started this blog with a quote from a founder of the 43 Group.  The 43 Group were an anti-fascist organisation set up after World War 2 by Jewish ex-servicemen (and women) as a consequence of the support given to British fascist and antisemitic organizations by the Labour government of Clement Atlee (not known for his love of Jews)!  I call it support because the fascists used the Public Order Act of 1936 and the Public Meetings Act of 1908 to prevent Jews from defending themselves against fascist incitement and violence.  In the years that followed the end of World War 2 news of Hitler’s death camps was often the subject of headlines and graphic newsreels.  And yet Labour governments were conspicuous by their inactivity against fascism. In the timeliness of their non-support for Britain’s returning Jewish servicemen and women (as well as ordinary citizens) Britain's Labour government encouraged and was therefore complicit in fascism’s antisemitic incitement.

The Left and not just the radical left have always had a problem with Jewish rights; we have the right to assume that this prejudice extends to Jews as a group and as individuals.  There will always be people who will point out the large number of Jews who have been ideologically and intellectually at the forefront of radical and left wing politics. But almost always this has been at the expense of any positive Jewish identity.  It is easy to understand why.  If acceptance means renunciation of part of ones own identity, Jewish Uncle Toms have been consistent in using a wholly specious anti-Judaism to gain that acceptance and speak with an essentially spurious Jewish authority when attacking Jews and Judaism.

The crux of the matter is that Jeremy Corbyn comes across as a true social democrat, a person who cares about people and supports minorities irrespective of their race, religion, sex or sexuality. At the same time he is politically in bed with people and organizations that are misogynistic, fascistic, murderous, classically anti-democratic and antisemitic.

Can we then trust him to be a leader for all the people of Britain? Only a fool would believe that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hate is the Plague Embraced by our Enemies

“Postmodernism has taught us that we live in an age of irony…where an undiscriminating skepticism brushes matters such as morality and political ethics aside as so much anachronistic detritus.”  (Humanity, an emotional history. Stuart Walton)

My children attended a school that had a significant Muslim population.  My children’s friends were of many faiths and ethnically diverse backgrounds. So I was concerned that there were times they felt under threat because of what they were not, as opposed to what they were.  The good Muslims would tell my children and their friends that they would protect them (from the bad Muslims).   Of course I was outraged.  We live in the UK and at least in theory, we are all equal, which means we are also educated towards equality.  This means we should all receive equal treatment from the moment of our birth and throughout our lives. I do not mean that we should all receive a private education, private health care and a free luxury car but there are certain inalienable rights which are consistent across all sections of society. Those rights should only be constrained when our actions prevent others from enjoying those same equal rights.

But I could rant and rave as much as I wanted to about how no-one is equal if they feel the need for protection, and it makes no difference whatsoever to the end result, which is that their generation, growing up in an environment of selective tolerance, has little if any faith in the established order, in authority, in government.  This is perhaps the greatest crime for which our politicians should be condemned.

So physical bullying and threats occurred and were ignored.  Teachers’ mouthed hollow phrases like “zero tolerance” while looking away.  It is easier to act against cyber-bullying than it is, to impose a sanction on the right kind of bigot.

If truth is subjective, it follows that it is also subject to partisan policies.  Therefore, the application of justice can be conditioned on circumstance and is consequently often, no more than an act of self-congratulatory illusion.

Resenting anything is a passive emotional response.  Hate is not a passive emotion.  It cannot surprise us that the activist hates any feeling of powerlessness and strikes out against whatever is responsible for that feeling even when the emotion is the product of a manufactured, systemic prejudice.

There has always existed a selective freedom of speech which allowed for discrimination to be applied.  This is one of the human species most unattractive character traits.  We are a herd that cleaves to the collective as if our lives depended on it. In past eras it did. But in the late 20th and early 21st century our education system was supposed to have delivered a population able to think and act for itself and not as an unthinking mass in the thrall of the latest singer, actor, sportsman (or woman), aristocrat or orator. But this is the era of celebrity and perhaps because so much is asked of us and the choices are so diverse we are unwilling to commit to a position that is outside of a consensus that has been decided for us and with little credible discussion.

It follows on from the previous paragraph that demagogues have played an essential role in human history.  They have manipulated emotions, prejudices and passions and rarely if ever for altruistic reasons.  Power, domination and exclusion of anything or anyone that is contrary to ones own position is a primitive response to any challenge.  But it is also a very effective means of establishing dominance and control.  That elemental behavior is the reason that Israel is having such a hard time internationally.  People who are committed to a cause will usually, aggressively push that cause. Jews are neither used to reacting to aggression by returning it nor are they accustomed to behaving badly in response, but it is often the only way to react to aggression because it is the normal way that we establish reasonable rules of conduct.  Only an enemy that respects its opponent behaves with care.

But here’s the thing. In British universities, where Jews and their supporters are frequently assaulted under the assumption that they are “Zionists” (and if they are not, oh well!) the most senior court in the land, the High Court of Justice ruled that a perception of fear or a perception of intimidation was not a legally admissible behavior that could be used to define prejudice against the entire Jewish student community.   If members of the radical Left or Islamic faith experienced an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, a way would have been found to criminalize the perpetrators and rid the universities of the perpetrators influence.   It does say much about inequality within the British ‘justice’ system.

Selective equality infuses much of British and Western society today. One more example will suffice to demonstrate the art of that selective equality and the parallel incitement that accompanies it.  Within the last few days it was revealed that Britain’s main teachers union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) had cooperated with an educational charity for children (‘Edukid’) to produce an antisemitic educational resource which was to be rolled out across the country and whose purpose it was to profile Palestinian suffering.  Apart from its omission of any historical context, the reason I refer to this document as antisemitic is that it does not refer to Israelis as Israelis but as Jews. Of course Muslims – Arabs are referred to as Palestinian. So Britain’s main teachers union adopts a Nazi tactic of propagating a prejudiced narrative against Israel which leads all British children taught by the NUT to erase any differentiation between Israeli's and Jews anywhere else in the world.

This resource was to be rolled out to all children, from three years of age.

This is only possible if the process is racist from its inception.   As obscene was NUT's pernicious defense that it works with the Holocaust Educational Trust to produce materials for schools.  So learning about dead Jews is OK (as long as some Muslim teachers do not have to present the material to their classes).

Maliciously, the NUT provides an illegitimately analogous equivalence between the Shoah and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

A conspiracy by a national British trade union (the NUT) and a British educational charity (Edukid) to role out an Arab (Palestinian) libel against Judaism and the Jewish state should result in both organizations losing their charitable status and both being heavily fined. Extinction is what both organizations deserve.  Individual initiators of this antisemitic conspiracy should be given a life time ban from receiving public funding.  In fact the only likely consequence will be enhanced credibility amongst Fascism's proudest supporters.

Of greater evil, the Israel-Arab conflict has its roots in Muslim attempts to deny its minorities, self-determination.  Fundamentalist Islam believes that any area once conquered or achieving Muslim majority becomes part of a holy Arab (Muslim) endowment which must never be relinquished to the infidel. It explains the intransigence of Iran and it explains the outpourings of HAMAS.  It is a war that is religiously dictated by Islamic injunction which will see Islam’s glorious fighters joyfully murder, down to the last baby, every Jew in the Holy land; another injunction from what we are so often told is the “Religion of Peace.”

The difference between the Hard Left, many sharing the Islamic faith and the extreme right is that the latter admit their prejudice while neither the Hard Left nor Islam have ever had to come to terms with the hatred and the bigotry that is the original sin of their birth and which crucially, continues to drive so many of them.

This is the war being increasingly fought throughout the Western world against Israel and against its supporters.  If there is any question of why so many Jews feel that conditions today are increasingly similar to what they were in 1923 (when Hitler and his ilk began their ascent to power) we have the NUT and Edukit to inadvertently remind us.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Nuclear Deal with Iran

The deal signed on July 14, 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (The USA, Russia, China, France, Britain plus Germany) is not dissimilar to the deal recently signed by Greece to “save it” from default and bankruptcy.  In both cases it is the people who have suffered at the hands of their leaders. In both cases it is the people that elected their leaders and have continued to do so even as their own personal situation deteriorated.  In both cases there were no responsible leaders in power to share the consequences of their chosen path with their people, no one willing to compromise, no one capable of sharing responsibility for the future.

Any voices that were raised against the leadership were not encouraged by the international community who prefer the devil they know to the devil they do not, no matter how evil they may be and how much it means their own people continue to suffer.  But for now let us concentrate on Iran because while what has happened to Greece seriously affects the rest of Europe and therefore, the world community, it is Iran that continues to represent the true threat to global peace.

Regime change has its dangers – for instance the continuing break up of Syria and the failed status of Libya, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia hardly inspire confidence for long term security.  And the contagion of violence in failed states does encourage a certain sick kind of individual to identify with that violence.  Both Islamic State and al Qaeda are products of a prejudiced theocracy that encourages its followers to equate a better life with hating the other; and to view violence and terror as legitimate means of achieving global domination for the Islamic faith only.

The systemic failure in the Iran deal is that it does not address the philosophy of violence that feeds the soul of Islamic fundamentalism. The difference between IS in Syria, Iraq and Libya - and The Islamic Republic of Iran is that one is a “non-State” collective of brutal murderers motivated by their Muslim faith to conquer the globe for their faith, to establish a global Islamic empire while the other, (Iran), is a State run by brutal murderers who are motivated by their Muslim faith to establish a global empire ruled by them.  To the massacred, where-ever they may reside, the minutiae of their theological differences are simply irrelevant.

Both are worthy successors to the Crusaders of yesteryear, neither is qualitatively different in the means they employ to achieve their pernicious aims.

In 1095 Pope Urban II set upon a path of bloody mayhem a Christian hoard led by aristocrats and followed by knights and peasants in a bloody onslaught that would not abate for almost 500 years. It was called the Crusades and millions of people died with the name of their god on their lips, martyrs and their murderers both.  In the mid 18th Century Britain exercised increasingly greater control over India. The Mughal Empire was already in terminal decline by the time the British arrived in the sub-continent. Nevertheless ‘Muslim India’ associated Western expansion with the downfall of a Muslim governed nation. The Napoleonic invasion of Egypt and greater Syria contributed to that feeling of bewilderment.

At its core, Islam’s understanding of world history is flawed in the centrality it provides to the Islamic angle in everything. It demanded and to this day demands an explanation for how a Muslim polity could be simply swept away and what can be done to once more regain that control. Introspection and flawed logic calls for separation, militancy and war against the infidel.

That militant, murderous fanaticism has neither abated nor developed towards any understanding of a shared humanity.  The same poisoned narrative of revenge and conquest informs and feeds every debate about the Caliphate and its return to the global stage, from contemporary times down to the 18th Century and beyond.

Today it is al-Qaeda and Islamic State that are the new Crusaders.  And what we are experiencing is what many people refer to as the Third World War.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is an expressly racist, malevolent political entity.  It is to be given a $100 - $150 billion lifeline without any expectation that it rein in its military adventurism and its encouragement of a genocidal Jew hatred.  This is rewarding terrorism and encouraging an evil regime to ever greater heights of barbarism against its own citizens and outside its own borders. 

It should not surprise us.

During the 1990’s France and Russia profited by at least $100Billion by exploiting the Oil for Food Program – thus ignoring the embargo on trade with Iraq.  By undermining the trade embargo Saddam Hussein’s government was empowered to continue to oppress his own people and to internationally export terror.  By creating an unequal sanctions regime France and Russia may well have facilitated 911 and all that followed from that terrible day’s events.

In the 1990’s both George Bush the First and Bill Clinton attempted to make peace between the US and Syria by negotiating with the tyrant dynasty of the Assad family. The US surreptitiously negotiated with the Syrian regime for over a decade while it ignored Syria’s crimes against Lebanon and its international support for terrorism.  Israel was never the issue. Senior American negotiators were visiting Damascus as a massive car-bomb tore apart 23 bodies in Lebanon on 14th February 2005.  Rafiq al-Hariri was the primary target, assassinated by the Syrian regime.  Only then, in response, did the USA withdraw its ambassador from Damascus.  Bashar al-Assad to this day stands accused of murdering the former Lebanese Prime Minister, as well as the twenty-two other people who died that day. 

No-one pointed out the direct correlation between negotiation with terrorists and the crimes they are encouraged to commit. Nor that it made the negotiators complicit in the war-crimes committed during that period of negotiation.  According to Lee Smith (“The Strong Horse”) the problem was that the Arab – greater Muslim world now had over a decade of American appeasement of terror and appeasing the sponsors of terror. The message that the State Department sent out, by its actions, was that if a regime sought to gain the attention of global leaders, terrorism and mass killing worked and had no negative consequences. Failed policy is nevertheless a kind of policy that is highly effective for non-state and aspiring, state players.

President George Bush the Second kept open his options on Syria even as he withdrew his ambassador in the wake of the Hariri assassination. And President Obama made it a cornerstone of his foreign policy to re-engage with regimes that are hostile to America and Western democracy even as he supported his VP in his outrage over the announcement of further construction in Jerusalem of 1,600 apartments on the day that VP Biden arrived for talks (in 2010).  So Israel is globally condemned while the world continues to keep largely silent as hostile Muslim regimes routinely murder their own people as well as the people of nations, distant from their own borders.

While silence is always viewed as acquiescence, even as approval for terrorism, the debate over one person’s terrorism being another’s freedom fighter is a mere distraction. If our enemy has a vision of his or her society that is diametrically opposed to everything good that we stand behind then we are either for ourselves or for our enemy. There is no middle ground.

The difference between liberty and licence is the contempt with which the latter reacts to the former.

So I do not see that embracing the evil Iranian empire empowers Near-Eastern moderates or that it tames the Iranian beast.  The public murder of gays and other minorities in Iran will not dissipate, if anything it will escalate.   The current US Administration and other appeasers have told us that we should not look at rhetoric but at the actions of the regime. The hate that spews from the lips of The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his cohorts in government is not meant to mollify us; it is the abuser acclimating us to our abuse.

In a conference that President Obama gave on 15th July 2015 he admitted that “this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior.” This is the day the President of the United States of America disclosed that an unrepentant tyranny has received international validation and legitimacy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Islamism Appeasement and the Tunisian bloodbath

The reflexive reaction to Muslim terror from the highest echelons of government is always publicly expressed abhorrence at the latest act of brutality and murder. We are all of us reassured that ‘this’ is the madness of an aberrant and wholly unislamic individual or movement.

According to statements Prime Minister David Cameron made to Parliament on the 29th of June 2015, the mass murder carried out at Soussa in Tunisia two days earlier was the action of “a barbaric regime of terrorism and oppression.” The PM had been talking to the BBC “that very morning” about how to stop people associating this ideology with Islam. He said “I personally think that using the term ISIL or ‘so called’ would be better than what they currently do. I don’t think we’ll move them all the way to Da’esh, so I think saying ISIL is probably better than Islamic State because it is neither, in my view, Islamic or a state.”  (Guardian Live Blog Transcripts)

And here is the nexus of the problem.  Ambiguity serves only to conceal an inconvenient or uncomfortable truth.  Its lord and master is the bad faith it serves.  The opposing argument is simple enough to explain: we have learnt through history that plain speaking is too often just another word for the prejudice used by demagogues to incite the passions of the crowd.  To label an entire community is prescriptive and too often it leads us to discriminate against the targeted community.  The dilemma these two sides to the debate create is that from the wholly laudable desire to not offend our friends and neighbours we voluntarily engage in an exercise of self-deception.

So what are the issues and how can we confront them?

Many of the global conflicts in the world today are between Muslim nations and non-Muslim nations.  Whether they are non state players acting as stand alone Islamic movements (Somalia’s Al-Shabaab or Nigeria’s Boko Haram) or groups that are protected, trained and financed by Muslim states (Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) the conflict between Islamic players and the rest of us is a war that we can expect to remain painfully active for many years, perhaps decades to come.

There have been voluminous analyses of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, a few simple facts will suffice to demonstrate the growing global threat.

Al-Qaeda in the 1990’s had an annual budget of perhaps $30 million. Daesh (IS) has a budget of $100 million per month.  In a single generation the number of foreign Islamist fighters increased from a few thousand to a conservative figure between 25,000 and 30,000.  Those fighters originated in over 100 countries. The trans-national dimension of this ideological migration is highlighted by the ease with which people are able to travel and the sympathetic response that many Muslim nations have towards the cause espoused by IS.  For instance, Turkey initially refused to allow Kurdish fighters to enter the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani as IS fighters systematically murdered Kurds and destroyed the town.   Impending terrorist outrages in Kenya, the Sudan and Nigeria were identified but not acted on by the military.

Tracking militants, many of them radicalized online, is a hugely challenging, complicated task.  A person may have grown up in one country, been radicalized in a second, received their military training in a third and ‘settled’ in a fourth while receiving his (or her) orders from a fifth.  The social networks which include tens of thousands of Internet sites as well as facebook, twitter (46,000 IS sites were identified as requiring closure) and the mobile phone network are a core communication strategy for both retaining commitment to the cause and spreading the poison.  According to one expert, one in seven to one in nine fighters have carried out terrorist attacks in their own country or in a 3rd country.

The British right wing fascist National Front had 17,000 members at its peak - supporters of Islamic State are the Muslim equivalent.  But they are more than that. These are people who, for whatever reason, have made an intellectual choice to embrace a philosophy that celebrates beheading, crucifixion, slavery (both sexual and for want of a better word, ‘traditional’ slavery) as a ‘positive’ affirmation of their identity.  It may be no more than a grotesque, "life enhancing," lifestyle choice for them but it is this choice that we are reluctant to publicly and without reservation, condemn.

When three young British women take their nine children to Syria, to live in an IS controlled ‘paradise’ all we seem capable of expressing is a doe like, wide-eyed, caught in the headlights puzzlement.  Instead, we should be examining, from the sources, how Western educated women could embrace a narrative of pure venom. The Islamists that support Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and so on believe that broader moral questions have invalidated our right to self-defense. They believe that their cause, because it is based on shared religious values, is virtuous.  That one word justifies every horrific act committed in the name of their god and their prophet. 

In late medieval Europe public disputation between Christian authorities and Jewish communities was used as a means to humiliate Jewish communities.  We do not need public debate to deteriorate into a medieval public disputation but anything less than public repudiation of these people and their specific Islamic beliefs amounts to soft support for an ideology of conquest, torture and terrorism.

To allow these people to reside anywhere in the non-Muslim world is the most frightening aspect of this whole sorry saga.

A counter narrative that undermines the radicalizers both at home and abroad must clearly define right and wrong, our idea of right and wrong, not theirs. Australia has recently discussed the introduction of legislation that would ensure anyone with dual citizenship loses their Australian citizenship if they are engaged in terrorism, and they would be deported from Australia or not permitted to return.  I would take that one step further. Engage in terror, preach it or provide material support for it, irrespective of status, then that person will be deported to the nearest sympathetic country that will take them in, with no chance of ever being permitted to return.

A recent survey showed that Germans who grew up between the 1920’s and 1945 were mostly unaffected by de-Nazification or other de-radicalization programs.  Prejudiced belief can only rarely be eliminated and it takes action over successive generations to succeed. Identities, once set are rarely modified.  They simply go underground until the conditions for their re-emergence prevail. Because of this we need to take a stand in favor of our universal western values.  Democracy and human rights is the core of our modern society to which I would add education towards tolerance.  However, if protecting that society means that we deny those same rights to our enemies then as controversial as it may sound, this course of action is the minimum that we need to debate.

The rules that govern our society (and by this I mean the Western system currently dominated by the USA) constrain us to the benefit of everyone within the unitary system that we inhabit. They are set but subject to ongoing redefinition through continuous modification in order to unify disparate cultural groups.  Our thinking and our behavior is molded by the pressures that these changes create and our reactions to those pressures. What limits the damage we inflict on others is that we have a social system that is defined by boundaries. Closed societies, the Islamic world in particular, have little if any possibility for change because they are always defined by looking backwards towards an idealized past.  The creation of a single cultural entity means the extinction of any competitors past. This is the toxic essence of Islamism.

If we are unwilling to fight for what we believe in there are plenty of pseudo-academic institutions populated by thousands of radicals in our universities and elsewhere who are always happy to tell us how to behave, what to think and who to hurt.  If we are not permitted to even identify those people or groups we believe to be our enemy and then to explain why we believe them to be so, then we are already a partially closed (undemocratic) society on the road to ruin. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Israeli Deterrence and Political Principles

Douglas Hurd was Foreign Secretary in the Governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major from 1989-1995.

He wrote that: “a principle does not cease to be a principle simply because it coincides with legitimate interest.”  He was referring to allegations that the West was only interested in Kuwait and the Iraqi invasion because of Kuwaiti oil reserves.  He then responded to the allegation that Israel and Iraq were similar cases. He refuted this by pointing out that Israel had “occupied the Territories as the result of a war in which her neighbors were clamoring for an end to Israel’s existence.”  He continued, he did not believe that ‘occupation’ provided “a basis for Israeli security.”

An unintended consequence of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was that it complicated any possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict and highlighted the distance Palestinians needed to travel in order to become credible partners for peace.  In response to Saddam Hussein’s insatiable colonialist belligerence towards his neighbors the Palestinian leadership whole-heatedly embraced Iraqi territorial aggression against sovereign Kuwait.  And then, on 18th January 1991 Israel became a target for 39 modified Scud ballistic missiles fired at Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Israel reluctantly refrained from responding to this aggression.  However a possible consequence of this military inaction was that 1991 became the year the Arab world understood that if it could not win a conventional hot war against the Jewish state then in its place, diplomatic pressure from the USA and Europe could be brought to bare in order to fatally undermine the resolve of the State to defend itself, even as its own interests were being progressively undermined. And this occurred through international organizations and the force of public demands for appeasing a partial or even a false anti-Zionist narrative.

The Palestinian leadership believes that it has no reason to make any meaningful concessions towards peaceful co-existence because it believes Israel cannot win a diplomatic war.   For this reason alone, Israel cannot without end continue to negotiate a solution to its conflict with the Arab world while its enemy persists in the belief that through the force of international public opinion, it has time on its side. 

The art of diplomacy is best served when the sides to a conflict prepare their populations for peace as vigorously as they prepare them for war. The problem faced by Israel is that in the period since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 (Oslo I) and 1995 (Oslo II) there has never been a period of de-escalation or mutual recognition.

The Palestinians and their supporters in the West have always blamed Israel for refusing to freeze all building work in disputed territories.  Oslo never stipulated any kind of ban on construction and even when Israel acquiesced to these conditions the Palestinian leadership remained indifferent to any Israeli overtures towards negotiation.  Incitement, both religious and nationalist, became a means by which the Palestinians united their people against Israel while the kleptocracy within Palestinian society bled its own citizens without mercy. This was the reason that Hamas won elections in Gaza against Arafat’s Fatah party.  With conditions of Palestinian corruption almost unchanged it is the reason that in Judea and Samaria the Palestinian Authority (PA) has failed to stage elections for a new President.  The PA, like all corrupt institutions, is good at presenting cosmetic changes.  Since January 2013 it has been renamed the State of Palestine.  Mahmoud Abbas is six years and almost 6 months overdue in stepping down from office.  But he and his family, like Yasser Arafat before him, have made sure to financially enrich both family and friends.  With no other viable alternative, Hamas would easily win power from its apparently irredeemably corrupt Fatah rival. 

And the Palestinian people, whether leaning towards Fatah or supporting Hamas, have learned since the Oslo process was formalized, that their Israeli enemy were apes pre-destined by the Arab god and his prophet Mohammed for extermination.  If all the Palestinian leadership has imparted to its followers is that violent resistance is sanctioned by their faith against every Jewish man, woman and child, then it follows that Oslo was a waste of time, worse, it was a delusion that fruitlessly raised the hopes of both peoples.  Alan Johnson wrote: “the veil of euphemism that hangs over the entire debate about Islam and its bigots must be lifted.”  To that I would add: the veil of euphemism that hangs over the non-debate about the Arab world must also be lifted if ever there is to be a chance for peace.

The issue was best summarized by Left wing Israeli novelist and peace activist Amos Oz when he famously declared that Israel and Palestine were in need of divorce and not just separation.

After Israel transferred control over Palestinian cities to Yasser Arafat’s PA under the Oslo Accords, the PA used every tool at its disposal to incite hatred and to encourage an atmosphere of perpetual warfare. From children’s TV to school texts, radio programming to television, official government websites to religious instruction, from Mosque to theater the PA has utilized every possible method to disseminate a message renouncing co-existence.

Instead of a paradigm shift towards demythologising its opponents a reflexive focus on grievance that treats any Palestinian concessions as illegitimate has emboldened a Palestinian world view that aims to create a new balance of power through delegitimizing any indigenous Jewish-Israeli rights.

De-escalation means words now and not just in a theoretical future.  It signifies a time in the present of acceptance and tolerance.  Mutual recognition is an absolute.   It can never be a negotiating tactic to deny the culture and history of the other – but where contradictory narratives are intrinsic to the identity of the disputing rivals, mutual recognition demands an explanation of the discrepancies between the disparate narratives within the framework of creating understanding that facilitates an end to the conflict.  This is where politicians and diplomats can and must prepare their people for peace. If they want it, that is.

There is nothing in the Muslim power base that is exercised so effectively against Israel at the United Nations or the Muslim agitation against Israel in Western countries to demonstrate any inclination towards de-escalation or towards mutual recognition. If anything, it is moving backwards towards a fascist, revisionist agenda and revanchism.   Escalating Muslim immigration into the Western World and its concomitant growth in regional political power through influencing local voting patterns will only lead to greater antipathy being openly expressed towards Israel. The need for politicians to appease their local Muslim populations at the expense of the rest of the population has already happened throughout Scandinavia and France.

It should not be a question we even have to ask but why is this important when our enemies often use a sophist argument to brush aside our concerns? Too often we are told that when we give them what they want they will stop oppressing us.  So what they claim is that racism and incitement to murder can be turned on and off like a tap. The fallacy in this specious argument was highlighted in a survey (see web link below) that demonstrated the long term negative effect that propaganda has on those educated towards hate.

Study: Nazi propaganda left life-long mark on German kids:

Natan Sharansky pointed out that “the power of a democratic government is ultimately dependent on the popular will.”  He also said: “a critical difference between the world of fear and the world of freedom (is that) in the former, the primary challenge is finding the inner strength to confront evil. In the latter, the primary challenge is finding the moral clarity to see evil.”  (The Case for Democracy.  The Power of Freedom to overcome Tyranny and Terror.)

To paraphrase Omar Barghouti (the leading Arab anti-Israel activist): racist Arab colonialism has to be defeated by re-establishing ethical co-existence with all marginalized non-Arab nations (and therefore, not just Jews).

There are no anodyne solutions to the Muslim-Jewish and Israel-Arab conflict.  If suspicion and mistrust are by-products of bad faith initiatives then undoing past wrongs has to begin with de-escalation and re-education in the present. 

Machiavelli believed that diplomacy was no substitute for arms and money.  His cynical world in which almost 500 years ago, to retain power the leader must kill or be killed is sometimes not that different to what happens today in different parts of the world. His belief that promises need not outlast the conditions that produce them was an escape clause that undermines international security.

But Machiavelli believed that good faith negotiations were generally desirable while the Palestinians view it as no more than a tactical expedient.  Good faith negotiations are the greatest challenge facing Israel because besides the constant incitement there is no possibility of strategic depth being established between Israel and Palestine. Something else is needed to guarantee that the peace will not fall hostage to extremism. 

And so, to return to British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd: ‘Occupation’ cannot ever provide a basis for security if a nation regards ethics as having any relevance to its national dialogue and to its identity.   If the narrative around ‘occupation’ is incorrect then Israel has to do something about that narrative because almost the whole world believes the Palestinian side of the story, not ours.  The longer this conflict continues the greater the despair will be felt by both sides.  This can only increase polarization and make the possibility for peaceful co-existence recede into the distance.  Israel is threatened by that despair as much as the Palestinians and it manifests itself in the violence of language in the Knesset, in the growing alienation and disquiet simmering under the surface of Israeli society.  It manifests in the suspicion and fear felt by Israeli and Palestinian alike. And these terms are now toxic to both sides. Whether we accept the identity of our enemy as legitimate or not is fatuous. Its only value is served as propaganda and counter propaganda in denying each other an identity.

Israel needs peace as much as the PA and Gaza need peace. How we can reset the conditions for negotiation is the most important question Israel’s policy makers and diplomats should be asking.