Tuesday, July 22, 2014
My wife’s antidote to constant news bombardment about airplanes blown out of the sky over Ukraine and the conflict with HAMAS is an episode of “Everybody loves Raymond” followed by back to back episodes of “Frazier”. I appreciate it sounds superficial but in a 24-hour a day news environment the twin news items I referred to at the beginning are pounced on by partisan journalists and international news agencies to fill the airwaves with speculation, misinformation, trite analyses meant for the soporifically inclined mind and propaganda. It could easily continue for weeks until something else replaces it (see how the airwaves were saturated with rumor, conjecture and excited gossip after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared). It isn’t too difficult to turn off the news completely, if that is what you want. We do not need to be spoon-fed the news, 24/7. But the issue is that unless you are utterly self-absorbed, constant media bombardment will have an impact, even, if only tangentially, on how you view events.
In Israel during times of increased conflict and war there is community and solidarity. Here in the UK, as in most of the developed world, there is no war and conflicts are viewed as entirely political. Everything is viewed through a prism that is back lit by money and what can be achieved by spreading vast amounts of it around. It is of course an obscene and unethical philosophy that feeds this thinking. Perhaps it is the source of the West’s infirmity. In parts of our world that are labeled “developed” most nations have suffered centuries of needless, often fratricidal, blood soaked conflict. There is little mood for understanding or acknowledging complexity.
Jon Snow (principal news reader at Britain’s Channel 4 News) is pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. Curiously, his bio on Wikipedia fails to mention his connection to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestine). Nevertheless he expressed the common frustration shared by too many people when a few days ago he attacked the Israeli spokesperson by condemning Israel for failing to “speak to HAMAS”. When you are informally negotiating with an enemy that has articles of its constitution declaring global annihilation for not just Israel but for all Jews everywhere issues such as talking and trust are not quite so simple.
But this does highlight the simplistic view that most people have of the war and its antecedents, even if Jon Snow is guilty of dissimulation and journalistic cant.
Conflict as an existential struggle is for the fanatic fringe that increasingly dominates street protests and campuses, and for philosophers teaching in our universities whose pathway to fame is linked to creating new, muscular disciplines around identity politics. But for most of us, any conflict for survival is “so last century”.
Except it isn’t. The fall of the Soviet Union left many on the far-left adrift and the Palestinian cause reunited them. There exists across most of the globe an intensifying communion of hate led by a Muslim-extreme Left coalition and the danger is that the extreme left will, with unwavering enthusiasm drift towards the center as society’s discomfort with acceptable bigotry ceases to be an oxymoron. If passion determines commitment then it is the fanatic that is most committed to change and the people who are most vocal and visible in the press, in our universities and through the electronic media in influencing society.
This expanding coalition is the hell we face if our Hasbara (information) policy continues to be a combination of government indifference and ineffective counter propaganda. The "Jewish World" has been in ideological turmoil through religious upheaval and mutual sectarian disdain for so long that it is in danger of rushing blindly into self-imposed oblivion while the threat from political extremism and ever larger Muslim immigration into the West will create the conditions by which Nazism could easily return to the mainstream within another decade. The time to mobilize against multiple threats (and not just to the Western way of life) but also to a flight from most centers of Jewish life outside of Israel into a few concentrated ‘safe-areas’ is long past.
Of course we could always turn off the TV, ditch our cell-phones, stop reading the news and throw out the laptop but ignorance is not bliss, except to the fool.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
In the aftermath of continuing operations in Gaza and missile strikes across Israel our reception at a town fair in Richmond, South London was mixed but much of it was hostile. I did not handle my second activist fair at all well.
One picture on display at our stall was of a Palestinian Poster ‘Boy’ clutching an automatic rifle and surrounded by weapons and slogans – the kind of poster we have become accustomed to Islamist terrorist groups releasing in the calamitous aftermath of successful suicide (homicide) bombings against civilian targets. The caption read ‘these are the Palestinian civilians.’ Any casualties can be portrayed in the international press as horrific. It is unfortunate when even a single civilian is killed in war but with entire families willingly becoming human shields for HAMAS the press will play this card of ongoing Palestinian victim-hood with immense enthusiasm and unadulterated zeal. It is time to redefine the 4th Geneva Convention. Missiles fired from civilian homes are not, to quote French fascist political leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, ‘a minor point of detail.’
That poster led to a formal complaint which was lodged with police; names and addresses were taken down. We were coerced into covering up the photo. This was our first failure. Perhaps we should have known better. It was an own-goal.
Next, the PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) came and photographed our stall. This was clearly, an act of intimidation.
One of the English PSC activists questioned a Christian friend of Israel on our stall. Upon learning of his religious identity he told him, without a moment of shame that he, a Christian, was lower that ‘those Jews.’ This Pro-Palestinian and British (‘Jewish’) racist is no different to any member of the extreme right. I confronted him with my outrage. I repeated his comments for all to hear. He walked away.
His racialist demeanor is the Palestinian movement itself. The horrifying aspect of this English PSC supporter is that he so easily slipped into the well established pattern utilised by all bigots of compartmentalising humanity into ‘friend’ (absolute supporter) and ‘enemy.’ But for the PSC and fellow believers the enemy is without any redemptive qualities that would save them. This is nascent Nazism. These people are intellectually no different to the demons that lined up their opponents in Iraq and applied machine-gun justice to the settlement of their differences. Of course our PSC campaigners are not IS (The Islamic State); they are the bureaucrats, the stoic, the ever smiling and calm but resolute supporter whose determination to eradicate their enemy has no boundaries.
Lots of people (including a gay couple) condemned the asymmetric unfairness of the conflict. I was somewhat unhinged by this because there can be no ethical justification for this paradigm. If I asked how many Israeli or Jewish deaths would satisfy our interlocutor’s sense of balance they would reply by re-emphasizing the inequality of the battle with even greater vehemence. I hoped that at least some of those questioners were expressing frustration at their inability to understand the roots of the continuing crisis in Gaza and also understood that any answer to the question (besides ‘zero’) would be unethical. But I doubt it. F16 fighter jets, drones and the 'Iron Dome' defense network deployed against ‘primitive’ Palestinian missiles create an asymmetry that the Judeophobic supporter of Palestine cannot or will not ever accept. The hundreds of millions of dollars that Israel has spent on bomb shelters and reinforced rooms in people’s homes will never be recognized by the anti-Zionist chauvinist. HAMAS has no intention of investing money in protective structures or sirens for its citizens. The higher the number of civilian deaths the greater is the global sympathy they garner for their cause. Don’t forget also the millions that go directly into the pockets of the HAMAS Echelon.
Foolishly, I tried to explain that tens of millions of dollars of aid money had been diverted by Gaza’s religious (Islamist) regime for the purpose of constructing tunnels into Israel. Those tunnels are built with the purpose of kidnapping and committing mass murder against civilians.
Attempting to illustrate that it is the choices we make that define us, was wholly futile.
And the Settlements. Explaining that according to HAMAS and the majority of Palestinians, all of Israel is a settlement was similarly without benefit. The retort, even to those who professed ‘sympathy’ for Israel was that the settlements (to the uncommitted onlooker this is any construction in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem) are nothing less than an abomination.
Two journalists (they said they were, and we failed to ask for their credentials) photographed some of our leaflets. They ignored any questions from us and spoke at us with imperious and contemptuous disdain. Why they simply did not take leaflets was beyond our simple understanding but they were there to make a point. Again, this was intended to intimidate us.
One shameless fool said all Israelis are conquerors. He also said that the Palestinians (whose identity is defined as wholly Judenfrei) ‘owned’ Palestine and had owned Palestine for 5,000 years. This was even too much for my normally unflappable friend. He was enraged. The final Roman conquest of the Israelites at the turn of the Christian era, some 1,900 years ago, did not wholly destroy the Jewish presence. It was the Roman Emperor Hadrian who renamed the Land of Israel, Syria Palaestina (in 131 CE) as one of the measures undertaken to erase the cultural identity of the Jews. The Arabs conquered the Land of Israel in 638 CE and it was their actions that ultimately decimated both land and people.
A Palestinian narrative that removes any Jewish claims to history is an essential pillar of the Palestinian faith. Part of this strategy involves repositioning the Jewish Jesus as a Palestinian. Any true person of faith should be enraged by the sacrilegious nature of this act. The Palestinian narrative is based on hatred, the worship of death and an involuntary identity constructed around ‘eternal’ (until victory) victim-hood that robs us, and them, of free will. The voluminous amount of bile that oozes daily from Palestinian society is both a theological abomination and a secular aberration that defines an ethically corrupt people.
Through the Internet anyone with eyes and ears can marvel at the unforced conformity that characterizes this apparently irreparable flaw in Palestinian attitudes. It is not however untypical of a people who truly believe themselves to be existentially superior to their enemy. It guides their every interaction with both Israelis and Jews.
A Palestinian Jesus can only ever be a Jesus, not of love or of peace but a Jesus of brutality, hate and conquest. What does it say therefore of the current Presbyterian Church (in the USA especially) and other reactionary followers, such as those members of the PSC that they so wholly embrace this devilish and Orwellian restatement of both Jewish and Christian history.
It was that first encounter with the PSC (which positioned pro-Israel Christians in a place ‘lower’ than ‘those Jews’) that ruined my day! But the blows were also cumulative. To come that close to evil is an unnatural experience for most of us. Or perhaps when the individual chooses to wallow in ignorance it locates them on a plane below that of evil. But does it make them less guilty? In the PSC version of religious faith, mercy is only for the believer. One of those vile propagandists speaks against us at churches throughout the South of England.
It is that evil which we must confront if we are to be saved from an escalation of a magnitude similar to events that have arisen over the last few days in Toronto, Paris and Antwerp. In Toronto the police stood by while a man was beaten up by Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, the same righteous souls who threatened an old and frail woman. In Paris hundreds of demonstrators rioted outside Synagogues, trapping Jewish worshippers inside their buildings. In Antwerp dozens of men shouted slogans about slaughtering Jews while three local (socialist, labour and green) politicians blissfully looked on.
In World War II, the Nazis set fire to synagogues with the local Jewish population trapped inside. In Africa, Muslims have done the same to Christian communities.
Immigration officers, governments run by elected officials who are more concerned with the powerful Muslim vote than with making a moral choice, and the police: They are all inactive. This is where populist democracy fails.
This is Nazism – it does not matter whether it is inspired by the Right, by the Left, by the Liberal Democrats in Britain, or the Greens; by the Islamic faithful or by frustrated Arabs.
The propaganda war is violent; its intent from the Palestinian camp is terminal.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. To quote its founder Omar Barghouti (2013): “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine…no Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.” He does not usually speak so bluntly but we hear what we want to hear and not all BDS supporters are quite so forthcoming in their desire to be labelled as antisemites.
HAMAS by its firing of missiles against Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa reminds us, this is not a conflict over territory but about an Arab desire to supplant any ethnic or religious minority that does not bow down to their particular version of Islamic domination. We should give thanks to whichever deity we owe our allegiance that accuracy is not yet a selling point for those Arab missiles. That they are fired at Jerusalem means the Muslim fundamentalists governing the Gaza Strip do not care who they kill. Jew, Christian, Muslim or person of other faith – the important goal for them is to cause death and fear. And those missiles could as easily strike a Jewish holy site, a Christian holy site or a Muslim holy site; a school, a hospital or a playground filled with children. Again, the target is of no consequence, much of the Western Press can be relied upon to blame Israel for any bloody successes.
HAMAS has incited against Israel since it was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Since its failed revolution in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is banned although many in the West embrace this racist, fascist Islamic movement whose principle target is the Jewish state. It is openly, theologically antisemitic. See this link: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp. Article Seven is the abomination that should have us all screaming from the rooftops and yet, presidents and prime-ministers afford this organization with its overt call for genocide a place at the table of civilized nations.
I wrote the following two paragraphs a little over a year ago (03 June 2013) and unsurprisingly things have only worsened as radicals across the Muslim world gain in murderous confidence. HAMAS is an organization that wages war on women; murders gays and anyone contemplating leaving the faith. The bigotry of HAMAS is only exceeded by the purity of its primitive vision. They hate that which is not them and dream of a return to a time that existed almost fourteen hundred years earlier. They represent the antithesis of modern civilization. They are the barbarians at the walls of Rome but armed with 21st Century weaponry.
HAMAS embodies ruthless rejection of the Age of Enlightenment that began some 350 years ago; the fantasists rejection of the modern era because we who are not them refuse to show obsequious fealty to their world view. The horrifying reality is that these agents of a reactionary and puritanical society are enthusiastically supported by extremists of Left wing political ideology. To appreciate how debased liberal political thought has become we need only to quote Judith Butler (American political philosopher and ‘ethicist’). She instructs us: “Understanding HAMAS, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”
The issue over whether Israel should negotiate with people whose world-view is the antithesis of our own is only a difficult one if we try to muddy the waters. HAMAS does not want peace with Israel, it wants our annihilation. HAMAS is a Nazi political movement. The Palestinian Authority is technically secular but this does not make it a preferred partner for peace. If Israel has made some egregious errors in negotiating with the regime of Mahmoud Abbas it is because no vision of what a genuine peace would resemble exists on either side. But one thing is for certain, the credible threat of HAMAS must be eliminated before negotiations can proceed. Deterrence has to be sufficiently robust to ensure success because the alternative, failure, is viewed with such dread as to render its value, moot. Being civilized when confronted by the Beast does not work. Those for whom ‘the Jew’ or ‘the Zionist’ is forever damned cannot be negotiated with - they can only be controlled, poorly. Because of our history there is one thing the Jewish people must internalise, we can never appease fascism. “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” Winston Churchill was talking about the Nazis, but with nary a difference between them he very well could have been referring to today’s Islamists and their Jihadist militias.
I began this article by referring to BDS – many nations are flirting with adopting the principle of once more boycotting Jews. They can do this because they have no need to respond to the idea of Jewish self-determination or political sovereignty. Intellectual subservience to a Left wing fascist narrative has subverted honest debate, call it ‘reverse McCarthyism.’ It has enabled an obscene coalition of secular and religious bigots to dominate any discussion and they have done this by simply controlling the debate and excluding, with violence if necessary, any Jewish-Zionist input to that debate. Noam Chomsky states in his book, The Common Good: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” He is of course correct, but that tactic has been most successfully employed in the universities, in the press and in the pulpit in order to discourage debate about the threat against our way of life and against a Zionist enlightenment in the Mediterranean Basin.
The nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things... constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received. (Ernest Renan, What is a Nation?)
Two peoples inhabit the geographical area called Israel – the first are Jews and the second, Arab conquerors that persecuted them and denied them any rights save the right to be humiliated and subjected to constant persecution. Israel exists because of those bigots. To end the conflict our persecution by Arabs and their Turkish over-rulers must be our constant refrain and every negotiation must begin with a regurgitation of our tale of persecution until the Palestinians and their supporters are as familiar with our version of events as they have made the world fluent in theirs. It will not shame them because ridicule, even hatred, fuels their theology. What it will do is to remove the twin façades of altruism and victimhood that justifies the concerns of so many antisemites and Jewish Uncle Toms.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
On June 12 three Israeli teenagers hitch-hiking in Judea and Samaria were kidnapped by terrorists. One of the lads placed an emergency call through to the police. It was probably the last thing any of them did before they were murdered. The bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel were found in a shallow grave covered by rocks 18 days later.
It could be that their killers meant to murder them immediately or they may have been potential kidnap victims, intended for an Operation Gilad Shalit mark II. Right now I feel sorry both for Gilad Shalit and for the parents of those people who have died and will die because of this senseless, inhuman betrayal.
One thing is for sure however and that is that Israel will be taken onto a new path as a result of this latest crime against the youth of the State. The police have been discredited and even though the result would not have differed if they had immediately taken action their job will now be made much more difficult to carry out and the danger to them in investigating future alleged disappearances greater than ever.
Nor has the Western Press disappointed. Adjectives such us retribution, retaliation and revenge are what are usually applied to Israeli actions. The world has become too accustomed to Jewish subservience in the face of persecution and we are too few in number to be more than marginally, politically relevant. We have turned the other cheek for most of the last couple of millennia and are now demonized because the Jew dares to fight back. Of course a measured, ‘proportionate’ response is what is now needed. But ‘proportionality’ is always the adjective of failure used by Israel’s critics to describe any armed reaction to disproportionate Arab or Muslim actions. And here is the problem.
We act as if history is not a teacher by whom we should all be guided. We have lost the propaganda war. The world is bored already by nearly 200,000 deaths in Syria over three years of civil war. But the violence that plagues Iraq and elsewhere throughout a world populated by Muslim extremists is not unusual nor is it new.
That conquering zeal has often been gory because intermittently there have arisen Muslim theological psychopaths, and they demanded renewal. Their reinterpretation of Islam was inevitably characterized by a “return” to strict observance of the Koran and the Hadith (the alleged sayings of the Prophet) which then encouraged the sick mind, for whom there exists no concept of proportionality. They therefore have never had a need to show restraint in their commission of one atrocity after another. Until that is, they were stopped. No one is stopping them now. The world does not care what happens in Syria nor does it care about Sudan, Somalia, Egypt or Nigeria; but it never forgets to lecture us on how to behave or to demand that we tread carefully for their sake (and not ours). And I can understand this too.
The Western world defines a refugee as anyone who can make it to our Western shores without a passport, or it may as well define them as such because few asylum seekers are returned to their home country. And it is profitable. Western demographics are in crisis. Citizens of the developed world no longer reproduce at a rate that covers their level of mortality so we need cheap imported labor to maintain the efficient running of the state. The upward mobility of immigrants means that the demographic crisis is ongoing and exacerbated by a clash of civilizations within nations. And immigrants become voters who must be feared for their voting power. So if Israel is blamed for unrest within the Western World’s mushrooming Muslim population it follows that the State of Israel will also be instructed on how it should behave when confronted with treason and insurrection inside of its own borders.
The differing reactions both in Israel and elsewhere were also, to be expected. Israel is a tiny country and any tragedy affects everyone. The entire country may not have been in a state of shock, concern, mourning and despair but collectively, most of us were in such a state. A time of crisis is the time that normal nations experience national unity and such was the feeling of solidarity that wrapped its comforting arms around Israel. There were calls to topple the Palestinian authority. Especially when Palestinian men, women and children were photographed handing out sweets to celebrate the kidnapping. And lots of selfies were taken showing a three fingered version of the Quenelle. Palestinian editorial cartoons were wholly supportive of the kidnapping. It took four days for the European Union to condemn the kidnapping and reports surfaced of a conspiracy by the boys themselves to hide and provoke trouble. Prominent British antisemites, some of them mainstream politicians and clergymen, pronounced the kidnapping to be a Zionist conspiracy.
In Israel, a fringe of mindless and hateful people did respond with calls to violence but most Jewish Israelis would be not simply appalled by such behaviour but also, openly disgusted. Israel must cut out this plague of incitement from our side. The State is what defines us and the rule of law is what sanctifies us or damns us all. Anything else is the road to compartmentalization (tribalism) and civil war.
Following the discovery of another kidnapping-murder, this time of Arab youth Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the bereaved family of Eyal Fraenkel issued a statement: "There is no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder, whatever the nationality and age. There is no justification, no forgiveness and no atonement for any kind of murder."
The contrast between us and the Arab World could not be greater.
In the extended version of the call the Israeli teens made to the police, gunshots are heard followed by the murderers joyful boasting and singing in celebration at their success at “bagging three”. While the international press prominently displayed the denials of guilt expressed by HAMAS they conveniently ignored any mention that HAMAS has, since the release of Gilad Shalit on 18th October 2011, constantly incited its supporters to carry out further abductions. HAMAS cheered the kidnapping. The depravity displayed in this celebration of bestiality, celebrating the ‘others’ pain, was a reminder to all in Israel that its war is an existential one against the forces of darkness. The Koran explicitly cheers the killing of Jews and the doctrine of abrogation is used by its apologists in the West to explain the inexcusable. If we choose to complain, the good Muslim may take any passage in the Koran and point to one that contradicts it. And the Islamic Fundamentalist can do nothing wrong. Palestinian society is morally bankrupt. There are few Arabs with the courage to stand up to the theological psychopath or secular exploiter of this religion of conquest and hate. The recent example of Palestinian Professor Mohammed Dajani (Al Quds University) who faced abuse, intimidation and death threats after he took 27 students to Auschwitz (and was forced to resign because of it) underlines the distance separating us from the bigoted Islamic nation.
Senior Palestinian Authority official Abbas Zaki on March 14, 2014 said: “Allah is gathering the Jews (to Israel) so we can kill them.” Incitement is always rewarded.
The mother of one of the two HAMAS operatives Israel has named as suspects in the murder of the Israeli boys stated that “my boys are all righteous, pious and pure. The goal of my children is the triumph of Islam.” She further stated that if as adults any of her seven children wanted to die for Islam she would be proud and overjoyed. Here is another part of the problem. If your definition of “righteous, pious and pure” is to murder babies, children or even adults then by definition the religion that preaches this theology of death is not a religion of peace but a religion of violence and immorality.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael B. Oren said: "One of the sources of Israel’s moral strength has been our refusal to resemble our enemies in their obsession with revenge and blood. I categorically condemn all acts of violence and racism which dishonor the memory of our three precious boys”.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-16)
It seems to me that between the quotes of Palestinian mothers, HAMAS officials and senior members of the Palestinian authority, the extract above from the Christian Bible is all we need to know about the Arab world and its addiction to a religion that cleaves to principles defined by exclusion, apartheid and death.
Its acolytes in the developed world have much to shame them.
Monday, June 2, 2014
I suppose it was inevitable that the election of President Obama to the highest office in the US would remain framed by his color. As a candidate, Barack Obama said that Americans must “reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery”. Except that America’s original sin was not slavery but its mistreatment of its indigenous native-Americans. If invisibility is a crime then Barack Obama contributed to that crime through his omission and through his historical inaccuracy. The truth would not have made him less of a national leader even if it meant that he had to frame the debate around justice rather than race.
If we ignore the occasional ‘mistake,’ President Obama has barely mentioned race during either of his terms as President. There are those activists who decry this course of inaction as a wasted opportunity to help to ‘rebalance the scales’. But others say that it is sufficient that he is before the public eye every single day and it is his presence as President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces that encourages people across America to ‘be comfortable with’ a different aspect of American society and therefore his presence alone, encourages acceptance.
On those few occasions when President Obama did mention race (such as in the case of the death of Trayvon Martin) it caused a national controversy that brought raw feelings of prejudice back into the foreground and reanimated a racially uncomfortable America. As a president whose skin color is not white he has had to be better, purer, and more holy than his white colleagues. In fact, in some respects it is just like being a Jew! Although in America, Jews have been able to revel in the occasional notoriety of their coreligionists. African Americans have not yet arrived at that particularly dubious point of self-acceptance in their battle for integration. I am not going to get into any arguments about his mixed race background because like Jews under any fascist regime playing a percentage game and defining the Blackness or Jewishness of a person only plays into the racists hands.
The US President may indeed be incompetent; his foreign policy failures are legendary. I cannot recall another President whose record of failures was as long and as ignoble. His domestic challenges seem to have been no less and yet not significantly greater than Presidents that preceded him but instead he has suffered one failure after another and while his opponents have been in disarray throughout his one and a half terms of office he has failed to exploit the Republican Party’s chaos. His presidency has seen cuts to Social Security and Healthcare reform that divided the nation; as a Democrat he has failed to reduce unemployment or poverty. By many of his one time supporters Obama is viewed as a neo-con who has inflated government secrecy while assaulting one of the golden calves of the American self-image, civil liberties. By those on the opposite aisle he is viewed as a socialist threat to American values. Their constant attack on one of his few policy successes, the establishment universal health care, has made it impossible to dispassionately address the real budget and entitlement challenges that America has.
But this is not the problem that I am addressing here. President Obama is the first Black (African American) President of the United States of America. His race may have molded his character but it did not shape his ability to form judgments nor did it create his intellect. As President, Obama should be judged solely on his actions; on his successes (and forensically) on his failures. There is a strong suspicion that the constant attacks on his policies errors by certain members of the media are being driven by an agenda that is, at least in part, inspired by his color. But the mainstream media, across both print and electronic outlets have taken on board that any criticism of the Obama presidency which mentions his color is rightly considered both irrelevant and an act of racism
For the most part the European press and media also do not talk of individuals in terms of their national or ethnic background unless it is deemed pertinent to the article. When they refer to the Polish President or the Traveler (Gypsy or Tinker) community it is always in context. This policy mirrors the mainstream media experience with the Obama administration discussed above. But there appears to be a clear exception. The European press does seem to have a love – hate relationship with “its Jews” and hence, its addiction to referencing “its Jews” with never a requirement for context.
Since it annihilated two thirds of its Jewish population in World War 2 Europe loves its past Jewish landscape and its gorgeous panoply of (dead) Jews. But in the present, it rarely manages to have a good thing to say for live Jews and does little to nothing to protect them from assault while rarely failing to blame them for their own deaths. After all, if we only listened to our betters and did as we were told then everything would be perhaps, ‘alright’.
To be twice as good and to receive half of the credit for what you achieve is also very Jewish. Obama, as the first Black American President cannot take comfort in his parallel injustice.
In Britain, the excuse from the Left wing Guardian newspaper is that Jews cannot be trusted to act judiciously or morally when confronted by anything relating to the State of Israel unless they display openly their anti-Zionist credentials. (I am sure that the New York Times is broadly similar). Therefore Jews must not be permitted to enjoy any responsibilities that may have an impact on the relationship with Israel. It should not need emphasizing that I have never read or heard this argument with reference to any other ethnic or religious group because it would be racist to expound on this doctrine of bigotry under any circumstances. But it does explain why the President has trodden so carefully on the issue of race-relations. As a man of non-white complexion living in the White House he faces the same prejudice.
The Left and its Muslim allies have frequently used this racist fallacy when discussing the Rights of Jews. It is now consistently used against Jews and any Pro-Israel supporters in the struggle against BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). An African American president may enjoy immunity from such prejudiced reporting but fear of igniting a negative reaction appears to have prevented him from attracting attention to any issues of race that continue to blight the nation.
Unfortunately we are indebted to our televisions (and today, other electronic communications devices) for much of the sub-conscious programming we receive. It is responsible for a great deal of what we now think. We should not be grateful. Perhaps it is because I am sensitive to this subtle incitement to prejudice that I also recognize the wrong we commit when we label the first African American President by his color. It isn’t political pride, it is subtle indoctrination. Labeling creates associations and too often, an emotional response.
The cliché that we should judge people on their results and not on their skin color is only possible if we commit ourselves to language that is neutral. Neutrality of language means a duller society. Comedians, Jew and African American alike, exploit their own group foibles in their acts but they also reinforce the greater society’s prejudices. ‘In’ jokes inevitably demean someone or some group. So we are as guilty as the bigots for reinforcing negative stereotypes precisely because we do not take them seriously.
A degree of nihilism has entered into language and as a result we have lost that self-control that encouraged us to consider our actions first. Think about rappers, their treatment of violence and demeaning of women. Language informs us, it molds our attitudes and imprints our thoughts about how we relate to others.
Neutrality of language may make society duller but it also constrains society and the hurtful instinct that fear and weakness inspires. We need to recognize this fact. Perhaps then we will truly judge others by their achievements rather than by their physical characteristics. Only then will we as a society reject the bigot.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Propaganda, Palestine & the Information War (Part II)
On the 18th of May I wrote about the PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) and some of the tactics it employs to spread propaganda against Jews and Israelis. I demonstrated three of the tactics practiced by our enemies: incitement, denial, emotive concealment of intent. The fourth and final cog in the machinery of disenfranchisement and delegitimization is diplomacy.
One of the PSC supporters reminded me of a book I had read: “Architects of annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction” (Gotz Aly and Susanne Heim). The authors detailed how the bureaucrats and their diplomatic minions were key enablers to the successful planning and implementation of Nazi strategy. An empire that was to be built on the bloodied cadavers of tens of millions of Untermenschen (sub-humans) needed its Diplomatic Corps to carry out its policies of disinformation, dissimulation and theft.
A woman on the Palestinian stall, tall, thin and well spoken, explained to me how she supervised PhD students at a major UK university. She told me that before her latest career role most of her professional life had been spent in the Arab world as a British diplomat. This former diplomat, now supervising the education of doctoral students, did not accept that her previous career choices might cause her to discriminate in her views on Israel, Jews, or on Judaism.
Having been partly educated through Arab universities many British students have found careers in the British Foreign Office (and not coincidentally) in journalism, with its national and international stage. Some years ago it was reported in the media that no Arab university would carry academic books written by Jews. It was admitted that those same Arab universities were reluctant to stock books authored by any one with a “Jewish sounding name.” This situation is destined to remain unchanged if only because finance usually trumps morality and Western governments have been happy to encourage an Arab antisemitic narrative either for profit or to satisfy their own historically prejudiced cultural traditions.
And endemic cultural antipathy towards minorities within the Muslim world can only encourage a blinkered educational experience which, for the Western student of Islam or the Arab world, is a choice readily embraced, under whatever guise is offered. I cannot see what benefits a society when it sends its children to be educated in a racist and fascist environment? Unless that is, the intent is for a continued policy of prejudice that is held for some debased national purpose.
Perhaps the single thread that defines the history of diplomacy is the effort nations have made (and continue to make) in order to maintain power and acquire wealth. Machiavelli viewed diplomacy as having no significance in the realm of civil society. In the pursuit of power, practical considerations rather than ‘higher’ ideological national purpose or misguided ethics were the means by which nations would enrich themselves.
The issue that supporters of Israel must confront is that the United States of America, France and Britain still fund institutions of higher learning in various Arab countries – which all adhere to the apartheid policies of the Arab regimes they serve. Diplomats from the US Department of State, from the British Foreign Office and from the Quai d’Orsai study in the Arab World in order to be eligible for progression within their careers.
The reason behind this policy was partly explained in a book by John Loftus and Mark Aarons “The Secret War against the Jews.” The book refers mainly to the post WW2 period when Jewish survivors of the Shoah were scattered across the Globe. Wherever the survivors went, Nazis, senior members of the SS and the Secret Police slipped in with them, often with the active assistance of Western intelligence agencies – CIA, MI6 and the French DGSE.
“During World War 2 the covert British wiretap program in the United States against Nazi sympathizers was extended to surveil American supporters of a Jewish State in Palestine.” (Loftus and Aarons) After the war this program was massively expanded to allow illegal British wiretaps of American Jews. A reciprocal arrangement probably exists to this day, in Britain.
“All the great nations have treated the Jews as expendable assets, obstacles to the secure supply of Arab oil.” ibid
Equally unconscionable was the fact that illegal electronic surveillance, the “you-spy-on-mine, I’ll spy-on-yours deal” was extended to other Western countries.
In the wake of what Jews experienced as historical reality Edward Snowden’s treason has exposed revelations of unprecedented global spying which for Jews in the Western World seems to be no more than a ‘normal’ act of betrayal against them. It truly is a terrible indictment of our Western system of government that Jews continue everywhere to this day, to be society’s “canaries in the mine.”
Commercial interests in the Muslim world over-ride security considerations by exploiting domestic and foreign wiretaps to appease the Arab-Muslim alliance against Israel and “the Jews” but now also against everyone else in the Western world.
How frightening is this policy, can be understood by the following short post-911 anecdote: the White House and FBI facilitated the hurried departure of 140 Saudis (including two-dozen relatives of Osama bin Laden) from the United States to Saudi Arabia. “In the days immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, while the airways were still closed to all other flights, Americans couldn't fly into the country but relatives of bin Laden were able to fly out. President Bush personally facilitated the escape from America of many high ranking Saudi officials in a private jet.” (Boston Globe, 30 Sept. 2003)
Justice must be seen to be done or it becomes a sham that rots society from the inside.
In another quote from Loftus and Aarons they write that the diplomats “job is to make history and then bury it.” Only a fool considers that that war against the Jews and against Israel can be contained, that only the canary will succumb to this poison, injected over generations into the body politic by antisemitic Western governmental institutions. Or, that its impact will be restricted to Israel and its supporters.
As long as we in the West continue to appease the Islamic world – whether for access to energy or geopolitical influence, bigots such as Baroness Tonge have no reason to exercise equanimity or be proportionate in their response to an Israeli presence in the Muslim world. Instead, Israel will continue to be marginalised.
A pro-Muslim or pro-Arab anti-Zionist and antisemitic narrative may be ceaselessly debated in the backrooms of our government institutions and the classrooms of our universities but it can be explained without wasting energy on lies and half-truths.
Realpolitik declares Israel to be geographically insignificant. It is no more than 1/800th the size of the Arab world. Israel’s population of 8 million citizens compares unfavourably to some 400 million “Arabs” (including persecuted minorities). Even when we discount the factor of prejudice in nations, countries act on economic interest and not on ethics. If justification is required, building a biased consensus based on lies just makes the task easier.
“Politics is a dirty game, international diplomacy is a cesspit, national interest is paramount, and double standards are the norm. Nevertheless justice is the demand of all those seeking to claim fairness on their side”. Alan Melkman
How to claim fairness on our side? That is Israel’s (and our) greatest challenge.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
The PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) holds an annual stall in Richmond, South London and it spreads propaganda against Jews and Israelis. I joined a group of people, Jews and Christians who have decided to take a stand against the lies disseminated by the PSC. Richmond is the former constituency of the notorious anti-Zionist Jenny Tonge.
From this event I took away four tactics that are practiced by our enemies: incitement, denial, emotive concealment of intent and the diplomacy of betrayal.
First, the truly committed antisemite does not care what they say and therefore as offensive as their narrative may be, one cannot argue with them, or even, as I did, use shock tactics to encourage them to confront their own statements. Generalized assertions that are facile, provocative and weighed down with bile are intended for vilification, not dialogue; for propaganda not reconciliation. By hammering home their message, making false connections and being selective about the truth, the Palestine Propaganda Campaign has the power to persuade even the most reasonable people that day is night and night is day.
Second, the Israeli side will always be willing to admit past wrongs and shared failure however, the Palestinian narrative is wholly based on denial. They deny the cultural and religious diversity of the geographical arena by expressly minimizing or denying any Jewish relevance to the area; they ignore many centuries of persecution throughout the Arab world by the Arabs against the indigenous Jewish population (which clearly was the contributory factor in Jewish demands for self-determination).
The Muslim Arab world has always been guilty of grossly abusing its minorities. That is proven by history. Rarely though, has this Islamic militancy, missionary zeal and an unquenchable thirst for conquest been investigated even as we place our own statecraft under the microscope of world opinion. The Arab world feels no shame but instead it accuses its victims of implementing the same policies of which it is guilty. We may label it transference of guilt but it is also a remorseless and cynical act of contempt for formerly persecuted, victim populations. It is hardly surprising that this should be the case. For over 1,300 years Islam was the master of its own aggressive and acquisitive colonial triumphs. To this day, the Arab and greater Muslim world remains in a state of mourning for the loss of Christian Spain 500 years earlier and Christian Greece almost 200 years ago. After barely 70 years Jewish Israel cannot realistically expect that being freed from its Muslim colonial aggressor will be accepted, or forgiven, any time soon.
But while a theological pathology may explain denial, a deliberate campaign of lies is harder to combat. And relearning a civil discourse (as I recently read) will only happen when the other side understands that it has something worse to lose.
Palestinian propaganda is anodyne; it is built on dissimulation and disinformation. Their leaflets often portray the Arabs as victims of Western aggression. Jews are portrayed as quintessentially foreign, which dovetails exquisitely with European antisemitic memes.
What truly disgusts me, and always will, is that the Nazis used the term “Judaisation” to describe the alleged Jewish conquest (cultural or financial) of Christian Europe. It denoted a meme by which racial and religious fear was instilled in an already xenophobic and antisemitic population. This was an essential element of racial propaganda which fascism fed to a receptive population, a population that had already been primed by centuries of religiously inspired incitement and pious hypocrisy. It should come as no surprise then, that the Palestinians and their supporters are such enthusiastic proponents of the same tactics, the same language. But it does. And tactics reflect aims. It is for this reason I am filled with despair for the Palestinian bigots and their British fascist supporters because tactics clearly demonstrate that they are not interested in either reconciliation, or peace.
The late twentieth century was unique in the colossal sense of guilt and shame felt in the Western world for the commission of slavery, for racial prejudice and its inevitably nefarious outcomes, for Western imperialism and for genocide. No other civilization has had to deal with such huge levels of guilt. While we lash ourselves in self-righteous dishonor we remain blissfully ignorant of the inhumanity that non-Western nations were (and are) capable of committing. This has been painfully demonstrated by Muslim slavers dressed in the theocratic insularity of Jihad. Once more they are reasserting their influence over the Nigerian faithful. The Islamic world has the Koran and its commentaries to justify every activity for which we in the West now feel nothing but shame and guilt. And they have 1,300 years of Islamic precedent to support their cause. We already have conspiracy theorists blaming a shadowy non-Muslim ‘Other’ for the crimes of the faith community in Nigeria.
In the USA the apologists for the gun lobby state that guns do not kill people, people kill people. In the Muslim world the mantra for every unpalatable crime for which we in the West take exception is that “the true Muslim” is blameless. And in our inverted moral universe we accept their excuses for every unimaginable crime against humanity committed by them. Instead we should be demanding parity, the same high minded ethical conduct, regardless of race, creed or color.
So when the Muslim world and its Western acolytes lecture me on the Judaisation of Jerusalem or any other part of Israel I want to scream in rage at the injustice that despoils our historical memory, at the cynical abuse of language and at the willingness with which sympathizers on a Liberal-Left fascist continuum so readily collaborate in this Muslim-Arab war against “the Jews” (even when they call us Zionists).
I began this piece by referring to four tactics practiced by our enemies: incitement, denial, emotive concealment of intent and the diplomacy of betrayal. The fourth and final cog in the machinery of disenfranchisement and delegitimization, diplomacy, I will analyse in the next piece.