Our Children Are The Guarantors

Defending Zionism from its detractors. Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. Let the other side apologize for a change.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


First thing I must make clear that this post isn’t against pagans or paganism, not even against modern paganism in its entirety. Its central subject is identity politics, the politics of national revival, touching upon neopagan revivalism as a window into the mindset of identity politics, and from there tying it to the new nation that calls itself Palestinians.

From the days of the Roman Peace up to the last centuries, Europe had lived under a system in which nations existed but national consciousness was muted in favor of the unifying identity, whether Roman citizenship in antiquity or Christian religion in the Middle Ages. There were, certainly, episodes involving the eruption of national consciousness, for example the Hundred Years War between England and France, but nationalism, as opposed to there just being nations, emerged in the 17th century, in the wake of the Thirty Years War (1618–48) and riding on the lessening of religious fervor.

Nationalism grew in the 18th century, assumed a shaping role in the 19th century, fed by the Romanticist movement, and ran totally loose in the 20th century, being the prominent root cause of the two world wars. As a result of those wars, nationalism has been devalued in the minds of people from 1945 onward, devalued often to such a degree to the opposite extreme that it can no longer serve the West as a defense against the Islamic invasion. That is the reason why the religious, rather than national, identity of the non-Muslim hosts is much more promising—believing Jews, Christians and Hindus are far less likely to wish to appease the Muslim guests than are the “rootless cosmopolitans” behind the Politically Correct regime.

On the enemy side, nationalism is an import from the early 20th-century West (see my post The Californian Nation, from September 12, for a slightly fuller treatment), an attempt at countering the ascendancy of the West by adopting its own ideologies and modes of thinking. It has always been problematic, because the borders drawn by Britain and France after World War I cut across demographic sectors—witness the ethnic and religious mess in Lebanon and Iraq. But it remains a force to reckon with, because of its utility for Middle Eastern politicians, as well as the veneer of Western-type materially-driven feuding. Bashar Assad enjoys his despotism over the “Syrian nation”; in a pan-Arab superstate, he would be a regional governor at best, and in an Islamic Caliphate he would be lucky to be accorded dhimmi status. And the “Palestinians” have reaped rich and numerous dividends, in the form of international support, heavy financial aid (which they use for buying weapons instead of, not even alongside, building the state they have peddled to the world as their “highest aspiration”), carte blanche for killing enemy civilians and, foremostly, the recognition of their claim as equal to the Jewish one. It is on that point that my post is to focus.

Imagine a small strip on the coast of Britain demanding independence from the mainland on the grounds of being an actual nation. Does that sound far-fetched? It actually happened about 15 years ago, when the inhabitants of a small portion of Moldova (itself once part of Romania) seceded in order to have “the right of self-determination” (a key PC catchphrase). Gagauzia is now an autonomous region rather than its own state, but the sympathy accorded to the Gagauzian initiative only goes to show how rewarding identity politics can be.

Apart from cynicism, nationalism does have the positive trait of providing a raison d’être for groups of people who have nothing else. Either case, or both, explains the popularity of identity politics today, more than 50 years since the devaluation of nationalism. In the face of that devaluation, however, the previous option of founding a nationalistic movement upon genetics (ancestry, race) is out. Nationalists have turned to other venues, such as language (an important facet of Celtic revivalism) and religion. Religion being pre-Christian religion. Not all neopagans are national revivalists, but many are.

For a Swede, for example, who wishes to go beyond the rootless cosmopolitism of his default life but cannot assume an identity in the worldwide Christian corpus of believers, nor go the way of genetic nationalism, reviving old Scandinavian religion is the way to go. Many Teutons of today have chosen that path, and it’s better than the default, for sure, but it has big problems. Practical problems.

The dichotomy between nature and logography has been an ideological battlefield between pagans and monotheists (Christians and Muslims especially). The story is told of a Native American woman saying to Christian missionaries that nature is better than their Bible, because nature (specifically the wind and the rain) can turn their Bible (the printed books) to dust. Whether fact or fiction, it was no doubt a response to ideological attack, and for that reason alone I have some slight, sentimental sympathy toward it (in the sense of, “Would that the West were willing to make a similar effort in answering the ideological onslaught on it”—the main reason I started my blog). However, with the discovery of the DNA code, nature and scripture are seen to be not so polarly opposed. DNA itself is a meaningful series of instructions, and quite a few portions of it in humans are unchanged from organisms of billions of years ago, just by having been copied from generation to generation. The wind and the rain can disintegrate a single copy of the Torah, but it has been passed unchanged since its reception through copying. A Torah scribe copying the scroll has a copyist’s version before him, heavily annotated with notes and instructions to guard against errors. Biological replicators have similar error-correction mechanisms, though not foolproof, otherwise there wouldn’t be any cancer patients.

Reviving an old religion that was based in an unwritten culture at its time is a thankless job. The Swedish revivalist can glean much information from the Sagas, but there would still stay many gaping holes in his knowledge of his ancestors’ religious practices. An Irish revivalist is in an even worse situation, having to squeeze information on his religion from writings of the Roman enemy (such as Julius Caesar) and pre-Christian practices that were carried over, with modifications, to the Christian Irish after Patrick’s day. Judaism is in contrast to those, in that the revivalist, or more accurately a non-observant Jew wishing to go back to religious observance, need only read the books—heaps upon heaps of books, codifying both belief and practice of Judaism to the last detail. Jewish revivalism involves the chore of personal adjustment but not that of painstaking research.

So what does this have to do with the “Palestinians”? Even in the Leftist scheme of things, people who engage in identity politics are supposed to display a minimum of authenticity. That’s the reason why Ward “Little Eichmanns” Churchill fabricated his Native American descent. That’s the reason why White Supremacists try to verse themselves in the lore, if not actual practice, of pre-Christian European religion, and why Black Supremacists attempt to learn African languages (often with no regard to actual ancestry, for example African-Americans of West African ancestry learning Swahili). In this game of authenticity, even feigned authenticity, the “Palestinians” score a jawdroppingly low grade.

What does “Palestinian” identity rest on, exactly? Genetics? No, they’re variously descended from inhabitants of the cities (like Jerusalem and Safed), from Bedouins who had come from the Arabian peninsula over successive generations, from Arabs from other lands who had come in the early 20th century once they saw the land was starting to turn green (by the efforts of… guess who? Yep, you guessed right: the Jews. The Jews found the land as Mark Twain described it, and turned it green. Just about the opposite of the “Palestinians”), from black slaves of the Bedouins (now considered Bedouins by the Israeli government, but their brighter-skinned “brothers” still consider them slaves). Language? No, the linguistic gradation completely ignores the international borders—an Arab villager living in the north of the Galilee in Israel will have no problem understanding an Arab across the Lebanese border, but will find it hard to comprehend a Bedouin in the south of Israel. Arab identity? Possibly, but that identity, an ancient and authentic one, resents being fractured to many European-style nationalisms. Religion? They are comprised of Muslims and Christians, the former often turning on the latter in periods when jihad-consciousness is so high that they accidentally drop the nationalist, “Palestinian”, mask. The Islamic religion? That identity is even more critical of national divisions and nationalism than is pan-Arabism.

The cultural distinctives of the “Palestinians” are so bland in comparison to those of real nations: the olive tree, the kefiyyeh, the cactus (an American import), the debka dance, and other such features that do not bring up the thought of, “Palestinian” upon mention, because they are so general, so ad-hoc. Arafat (shr"y) was possibly aware of this, because in his last years he tried to assume a Canaanite connection to the “Palestinian” people, claiming them to be ancestors of the pre-Jewish inhabitants. I think it was one of the few attempts having a shadow of sensibility, yet that was a problematic one too: Canaanite identity would take the “Palestinians”, most of them Muslims, to a forbidden place (polytheism, the gravest sin in Islam).

What a contrast between the Jewish claim to the land of Israel, full to brimming with historical authenticity and cultural continuity, and the hastily cobbled fabrication of the “Palestinians”, made up for no other reason than the desire to dislodge the Jewish claim, and fed by nothing other than jealousy. It is no wonder, then, that the “Palestinians” have failed to build their state—they are not, and never have been, interested in building theirs, but only in destroying their enemy’s.

So why does the Left, so raptured by its fascination with authentic cultures and indigenous claims for self-determination, side with the “Palestinians” rather than with the Jews? I think the Left, or more precisely Western rootless cosmopolitans in general, are frightened by the grim reflections of themselves they see when looking at the Jews: here is a nation that has sustained its identity for centuries, even while not living on its ancestral lands, while they fare poorly even on their ancestral lands. Also, they are angry at the Jews for having spawned a religion that forced itself upon them, and doubly angry that they are at a loss to revive those religions they had held to before the Christian “cultural genocide” (to use another PC-ism). Zionism is in their eyes a repeat of the Christian invasion of pagan Europe, with the “Palestinians” in the role of the pagans. The identity politics of the Left, like so many other positions of theirs, are based on negation rather than affirmation—negation of “imperialism”, including the “cultural” kind, anger at Western culture and its Judeo-Christian foundations as being the “robbers of indigenous peoples” of both their material and their cultural resources. The Leftists are deeply frustrated, and the “Palestinians” are deeply frustrated, and both have struck an alliance to vent their frustration at their objects of jealousy.

But the “Palestinians” have, as shown by their election of Islamic party Hamas, abandoned the nationalistic rhetoric except for Western Leftist consumption. “Palestinian” nationhood, like all the others in the Muslim world, is steadily fading in front of the pan-Islamic dream, the aspiration toward a unified Islamic ummah united under the Caliph. This ummah is just as capable of launching an Intifada in the streets of Paris as it is in the West Bank. And “disaffected immigrant youths living in poverty” is the bone they give the Western Left to gnaw on regarding the “Paristinian” (hat tip: Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily) struggle just as “an oppressed nation clamoring for independence” is the one that goes for the “Palestinians”. In both cases, the Romanticist sentimentality of the Western Left is being masterfully put to use by the Muslims in order to reach the goal of a worldwide (globalization par excellence) dictatorship (no free speech or any of that stuff) ruled by one law (no multiculturalism, no tolerance toward the “other” who wants a burka-less or homosexual lifestyle).

In this current course, the West is about to be impaled on its own sword of identity politics. In order to change course, it needs an identity to take it away from the despair of postmodern, nihilistic rootlessness. The lessons of the taboo-breaking experiments of the “Radical Sixties” have been learned, and anyone who repeats them expecting a different result is a fool. I propose that the best step for rebuilding Western identity is a new conservatism that avoids the two extremes. Here is a symbol of that idea:

Picture: Two Christian women in dresses
Two women from the “Walk for Life” march, January 21, 2006. From Zombie.

Neither nude nor totally covered up. Or, as the frog-eaters say it: Ni putes ni soumises.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

To Allies with Charity

I have seen especially among left-wing Jews an aversion to the support the state of Israel receives from the Christian Zionists, evangelical Christians who stand with Israel out of a firm belief in the chosenness of the Jews. Quoted in the post Zionisms on the blog Judeosphere, from October 20, 2006:

Gorenberg points out the contradiction in the use of the term Zionism by these Christian leaders, who, he says, are “seeing the Jews as actors in a Christian drama leading toward the end of days”. By contrast, says Gorenberg, “real Zionism, as a Jewish movement, is a movement aimed at taking Jews out of the mythological realm and making them into normal actors in history, controlling their fate and acting for pragmatic reasons connected to the here and now. So what’s called Christian Zionism is actually very distant from Zionism”.

Some Jews are, as that quote shows, offended by being supported as instruments on the way to an un-Jewish goal; some other Jews have warned of the danger that the evangelical Christians, after having been on our side in driving off the Muslim threat, could gather all the Jews in Israel for forced conversion to Christianity (G-d forbid). I wish to address here those questions, as well as the general question of seeking alliances, namely how far we can go that way, and the related theological question of trusting in G-d rather than in man.

The first argument is an argument to offense in the face of Christian belief: as Gorenberg says, it is offensive for Jews to consider Zionism a Christian prelude rather than a Jewish goal. To which I reply: what could possibly be done about that? If the Christian Zionists disbelieved in the eschatological timetable of their New Testament, they wouldn’t be Christian Zionists, they’d be Jewish Zionists or secular friends of Israel or some other kind of supporters of ours. In this age of nebulous postmodernism, which assumes “fuzzy logic” for all people—and is thus one of the causes for many people’s inability to come grips with the threat of Islam—strongly held belief, arrived at by truthseeking, is to commended, even if it is wrong, for it can be debated on the common ground of reason. The Christian Zionists are open about their being Christians, and that’s good—unlike the deceptive “Jews for Jesus”, who with their very name mislead Jews as to their goals.

The painful memories of Jewish–Christian religious relations over the ages consist of three principal wrongs: 1) forced conversions; 2) child kidnapping (as in 19th-century Russia, for example); 3) enticement through discrimination (making it attractive for Jews to convert for admittance to high office, for example). In all of that history, Jewish leaders have voiced little concern about conversion of adult Jews through missionary activity, because it is patent that any adult Jew with a minimal knowledge of his heritage could not be swayed by the arguments of a religion whose first adherents were not the fathers of all the following adherents. The Jewish claim to objective historical truth is unsurpassed among the religions. Therefore, what the Christians believe about the End of Days should be of no concern to Jews. As long as there is no physical threat, and no preying upon the young or upon ignorant adults (I say this not in disparagement but as a fact—a lot of Jews grow up with hardly any education of their heritage nowadays), Christians should cause no offense nor raise fears on the Jews.

Which brings me to the second reservation of Jews about Christian Zionism: that, at the successful end of the struggle with Islam, the Jews, all gathered in Israel, would find themselves as if in a concentration camp, given by the same Christians the option to convert or die.

My knowledge of Christian scriptures, including their eschatological parts, is slight, so I can’t say how much of a foundation in reality this fear has. I think the evangelical Christians of today are the firmest in denouncing the theology of supersessionism (the blasphemous belief that G-d has gone back on His word and canceled all His promises to the Jewish people and transfered them to all believers in Jesus instead; evangelical Christians believe that they are sharers in G-d’s promise to the Jews—a belief that can be debated but is surely not blasphemous like supersessionism, which makes G-d a liar) and the often resultant anti-Semitism. In contrast, the Eastern Orthodox church has not renounced supersessionism as far as I know, and is still a purveyor of hatred toward the Jews in all its lands (and of dhimmitude too). And the anti-Christian Left has taken anti-Semitism all aboard itself, enthusiastically recovering the torch from the fallen Far Right of old. On that note, I wish to opine that attacks on Christianity in the West are today (unlike in the past) a grave concern for Jews, because anti-Christianity is a covering for left-wing attacks on the spiritual foundations of Judaism just as anti-Zionism is their cover for attacks on Jews and their sovereign state physically.

But back to the fear of end-times Christian forced conversion of Jews: even if it’s possible, it’s still in the room of speculation. No human has, or can be expected to have, sight so far into the future, to such deep layers of events. I think of those people, wakeful of the Islamic threat and not into conspiracy theories, who nevertheless are obsessed with seeing plays with plays, feints with feints, hands moving hands moving hands. Their speculations twist like a mass of spaghetti, with suggestions to pay the most attention to China rather than Iran because Iran is a proxy for North Korea and North Korea is a proxy for China, and you get the drift. Those speculations have no conclusive evidence going against them, but then they’re not helpful either, because they’re attempts at looking at a make-believe crystal ball.

I know that there is before our eyes the threat of Islam, a threat evidenced by both words and deeds of its perpetrators, requiring, therefore, willful blindness to ignore. Whereas, if I am wrong about the relatively far-future threat of Christian forced conversion of Jews, then I would be no more blameworthy than an observer in 1916 failing to predict the events of World War II. Even if I were fairly convinced of a future religious Christian threat to Jews, what good could I do with it? I certainly wouldn’t snub the Christian Zionists because of a hunch when my clear sight acknowledges the absolutely real threat posed by the Muslims and the indisputable fact of enemies gathering upon the Jews all over the world. I care about the near and clear future; G-d will answer us if we should come to a state of having no one on our side, whether in the near or in the far future. I’ll come to that issue afterwards.

I have explained why I see no reason to shun the support of the Christian Zionists. In the course of posting on this blog, I have called for alliances of Jews with other groups as well, though in a less religiously motivated way than with the Christian Zionists. The alliance with the Christian Zionists is much bolstered by belief in common scriptures; a Jewish alliance with Hindus in India and Buddhists in Thailand, for example, does not have this element, yet is still warranted, because driving away the Islamic threat in order to be able to enjoy long-term peace is a shared interest of us all. Also, a point I have made on this blog many times, Genesis 16:12 is a prophetic call for all nations to unite against Islam, the spiritual spawn of Ishmael. But what about nationalist groups like the British National Party and Vlaams Belang (in Belgium)? They have recently approached the Jews of their lands to an alliance against the Muslim immigrants. Are they to be heeded?

In so far as those parties strive to rid their countries of the shariah-mongers who wish to remake them in their image, I support those parties. However, my support of them is pretty much limited to sentiment, rather than extending to moral solidarity as toward, for example, the Buddhist Thais. For the BNP and Vlaams Belang have a goal which I do not identify with: the restoration of national purity, involving the elimination of multiculturalism. But a point I’ve made in quite a few posts (such as my essay on Gandhara, from September 20, 2006) is that multiculturalism in and of itself isn’t the problem, just its current implementation. I have no problem with seeing a black man carrying the contest for Sweden in the Olympics, and I have no trouble with seeing a Japanese theater next to the Opera House in Berlin; I am against exemption of, for example, a cannibal from imprisonment according to Western law on the excuse that “that’s his culture”, or of a Muslim man who has stoned his daughter to death for adultery because “his religion says that should be done, and he must be allowed to practice it freely”. The goal of nationalistic parties goes beyond my criticisms of multiculturalism and therefore I cannot identify with them. If hatred of Islam were my only drive, I could support an alliance with any Marxist that happened to be exceptional in being against Islam rather than for it like most of his brethren; but a liberal (truly liberal, not as in the American political term) worldview opposes Islam not per se but because of its being contrary to human liberty, and that precludes allegiance to other such ideologies, however much they may be opposed to Islam.

With all this talk of setting up alliances, one might ask—legitimately, as this blog strives to present an Orthodox Jewish view—if this is not a case of trusting in man instead of G-d. My first response is that, if G-d enjoins humans to ally with one another for a cause, then following His command is trusting in Him. So the aforementioned verse, Genesis 16:12, is to be followed in trusting G-d’s promise that an alliance of all non-Muslims against Islam would finally bring Ishmael’s reign of terror upon his brothers down. Another response is that I do not so much rely on the alliances as I derive hope from them: the last few years, of seeing the flagellation of Israel in world opinion, culminating in the demonization of Israel in the last Lebanon War, together with a steady falling of the mask of anti-Zionism to reveal clear anti-Semitism, have been depressing to any Jew whose ancient conscience still beats in him; even just a few supporters in this dark world can give us the assurance that the eclipse of G-d’s light is not total.

I do not, cannot, trust in the alliances as I trust in G-d. As the recent words of Condoleezza Rice show, even the most friendly of governments toward Israel cannot be taken for granted to be on our side. As poster JCO put it on Rapture Ready, a Christian Zionist forum:

It grieves me to see my nation vow to help parcel off Israel's God-given covenant lands in the name of (false) peace, but it's all a part of God's plan to have Israel turn to Him and only to Him, and not to look to friends or alliances for deliverance. But does that make it right for the U.S. to be involved in this? I don't think so. Sadly, Israel still hasn't learned. It's a nation that still believes its alliances are of primary importance.

The alliance with the USA is far from being like the alliance with Egypt in Jeremiah’s day; it is valuable, and should be tried to be kept alive, being an alliance born of and sustained by numerous commonalities, not least of which is the belief in G-d’s promises. However, even the better leaders of our age have to make sacrifices to the god of Political Correctness; and if the American Left should gain the upper hand, the USA will be Europeanized in its stance toward Israel and the Jews as well. Then it will be time for nothing but the tachanun (prayer of beseeching).

It all ties to the point I made about not knowing the exact details of the future: cultivating the alliances when there’s still a chance, trusting in G-d’s promise for a worldwide revolt against Ishmael, but not taking any of them for granted, and recognizing that there may come a day when we will be as our forefathers in Egypt, having none but HaShem capable of getting us out of the strait. May our salvation come soon!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Response to “Lives that Count, Lives that Don’t Count” on Daily Kos

You thought a diary positing Israel to be the willing executioner of Anglo-imperialists was the worst that could come from Daily Kos? Nah, you ain’t seen nothing yet. That diary was relatively tame. The following diary, Lives that Count, Lives that Don’t Count, by Assaf, from October 19, 2006, is much more infuriating, up from its very author (an Israeli Jew) and title, and down to its last detail. The gist of the diary is the modern inversion wherein the “Palestinians” (or sometimes Muslims in general) are the “new Jews”, and the Jews are, you guessed it, in the role of the Nazis. Maddening in itself, but doubly so when made by an Israeli Jew.

The address of the diary is:

(Title) Lives that Count, Lives that Don’t Count

If you’re so moral as to insist on counting on every life, then at least do some research as to the real discounters of human lives. You know: look at Darfur, North Korea, Tibet, just for starters. The perpetrators of wanton murder there don’t give the slightest thought to minimizing the civilian casualties. Israel always does—I think dropping leaflets telling people to flee before each air force operation serves as a good example of this—and what civilian casualties are inflicted on the other side are almost invariably the result of their lack of moral inhibition against using civilians as human shields and propaganda money.

In other words: “Palestinian” lives will count as soon as the “Palestinians” make them count. But Golda Meir said something to that effect over thirty years ago and it still falls on deaf Leftist ears.

The body of the diary begins:

Tonight I spoke here in Seattle, at a panel organized by Coalition of Anti-Racism Whites, a local progressive group (www.carw.org). The topic was Israel/Palestine from the perspective of racism.

So there you have it: starting with the wrong premises. I vented on this on the Infidel Bloggers Alliance just yesterday, but here it is again from a more Israeli viewpoint: the Israeli Jewish victims of suicide bombings are people of all races and colors—European Jews, Moroccan Jews, Iraqi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Yemenite Jews, to name a few distinctive racial divisions—while the suicide bombers themselves, though usually “Asians” (to use OrwellMedia terminology), can be Muslims of any race, like the British converts to Islam who blew up Mike’s Place on the Tel-Aviv beach—“Whites”. In short, going at it from the premise of racial conflict rather than clash of civilizations will inevitably taint the perspective of the writer and, hence, cause him to suggest bad solutions for the problem.

As the only Israeli on this panel, […]

A panel comprised of a majority of anti-Semites. Just like the American Left as a whole, which has let itself get carried away by the lure of the fascist, Stalinist, anti-Semitic Far Left. Say what you like about the Right, but it’s been doing a good job keeping the Far Right (David Duke and the like) far.

I'd like to start by talking about mainstream Israeli sentiments on this subject. Israelis ask: "why single us out?" After all, there are so many local conflicts on this planet, and almost always there is racism and discrimination between the warring groups. So what's so special about Israel/Palestine?

It’s not just about singling Israel out, it’s about applying a different standard to Israel than to other countries with a far worse human rights record. It’s about claiming Israel to be illegitimate because it was founded as “a state for a race”, involving the “dispossession of the original inhabitants”, while turning a blind eye to Pakistan, a state founded to accommodate the Muslims of India, despite there already being so many states for Muslims, and involving the butchery of millions of Hindu inhabitants. It’s about railing against the Law of Return for Jews as an example of “Zionist racism”, while saying nothing about the many other countries that have a similar law, such as Ireland and Japan.

When the broader racism question comes to the Israeli mind, it is in a different way than you might expect. They hear some of their enemies repeatedly use Anti-Semitic terminology. They resent the meddling, Holocaust-denying Iranian president. And all the time in the background, they sense that the Europeans, who actually perpetrated the Holocaust, pay disproportionate attention to this conflict and incessantly pick on us.

Yes, all that is true. It’s called paying attention to the gathering storm. I think it beats looking for Rovian conspiracies everywhere.

In short, Israelis and most Diaspora Jews see here the recurring, mythical theme of "once again everyone conspires to destroy us, just because we are Jews." (Emphasis original —ZY)

Recurring yes, mythical no. Study some Jewish history, Assaf. Start with the book of Esther, proceed with cossack commander Bogdan Chemielnitzki, end with Hitler’s Muslim friend and ally Mufti Hajj Amin el-Husseini. This isn’t myth, it’s reality—because the Torah isn’t a book of fables, it’s the word of G-d, timeless, eternal, always relevant. Anti-Semitism is G-d’s institution to keep His people close to Him; only He can end it, not any attempt of the Jews to cater to anti-Semites’ whims like you are doing, Assaf.

Israelis are right: we do receive a disproportionate amount of attention. But they are wrong: this attention is not part of the eternal Jew-hunt.

No, the Torah is right and you are wrong.

There follows now a story from the Holocaust, involving Assaf’s ancestors among others, arguing that the lack of willingness of anyone, whether the local Poles or the Allies, to save the Jews was because Jewish lives counted for nothing in their eyes. I reply to some of the points:

When someone's life counts for you, you take concrete steps to save them. There were many individuals for whom Jewish lives counted; some people saved many lives, some even sacrificed themselves trying t (sic) save lives. But for the powers that be, for the mainstream worldview under the 1940's status quo, the only lives that counted worldwide were those of middle and upper class, Christian whites in Western countries. Everyone else was "Colored".

I think that assessment is correct. However, the relevance of this—the primacy of racial issues in determining policy—to our times is, well, very slight. The issue of “race” doesn’t come up today except as a victim credit card that can be used to pull out lots of moral (or often real) cash (see: Cynthia McKinney). The real issue of our day and age is the clash of religions and civilizations. Sounds very medieval, which is why the Leftists prefer to bury their heads in the sands of “racial conflict” and “class warfare” than admit it.

Since then, the world has drastically changed for Jews. Our lives count now […]

Not anymore, they don’t—a lot of people in the West (including the majority of the Left you support, Assaf) don’t give a flying fig about Israeli citizens getting injured or killed by the ball bearings or cluster bombs of Hizbullah, instead screaming about Israel’s “disproportionate response”. They think it’s perfectly normal for one particular nation to live with genocidal terrorist organizations on all its borders.

[…] thanks in large part to the shock and shame felt across the globe when the Holocaust's horrors were fully revealed.

The shock and shame have now nearly totally subsided, thanks in great part to people like you who make the equivalence of the Nazis and present-day Zionists. Your Left is priming the West’s consciousness to accept Jewish injured and dead as being justice done to “imperialist oppressors”. All while letting the true imperialist oppressors, the Muslims, go scot-free.

Arguably, our lives now count more than almost any others'. A case in point: when enemy guerillas capture a couple of our soldiers and kill several others, the world allows us to launch a total, lopsided war against two nations, inflicting widespread death and destruction.

You did say you were an Israeli, didn’t you, Assaf? At least you were an Israeli during the war? Because if you were, your statement bespeaks detachment from reality on a grand scale.

Point one: we weren’t allowed to launch the war. The cries of “Disproportionate response!” could be heard over Western media just a few days after it started.

Point two: the war didn’t start because of the capture and killing of our soldiers. That was the casus belli, yes, but it would never have ballooned into a war if it hadn’t been preceded by almost a year of rocket fire upon our territories from areas we had evacuated (yes, I am talking about the Kassams on Sderot—one of the most inconvenient facts ever for Israel-bashers).

Point three: the Israeli military operations were handled with care for civilians bordering on criminal neglect of our side. The leaflets telling the civilians to leave, for example, carried the strategical risk of alerting Hizbullah to each of our operations. All so as not to rile the world. But a fat lot of good it did us.

The diary passes to Iraq, making the same point that “Iraqi lives don’t count”. And I respond the same: let the Muslims hold their own lives as valuable and then we can get on that moral high horse.


[…] but the lives that count are still predominantly White and Western.

Utter falsehood. In our age, it’s bound to be “White and Western” lives that don’t count, because of the Leftist doctrine that they are oppressors and therefore are legitimate targets in the “anti-colonial resistance of indigenous peoples” worldwide. Ward Churchill’s epithet “little Eichmanns”, applied to the victims of 9/11 (who, by the way, were of all races and colors—but don’t mention that, it could give rise to all manner of Leftist thoughtcrimes), tells how far the PC world has gone in the way of “reverse” racism.

And don’t mention blacks oppressing blacks in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, or Asians oppressing Asians in Tibet or Thailand. Facts may prove hazardous to the health of left-wing identity politics.

This this is not just a moral failure, but a practical one as well: only when we make all lives count, will humanity have a real shot at long-term survival and prosperity. (Emphasis original —ZY)

And that is why I’m in the fight against Islam, Marxism and all other kinds of fascism: because they’re ideologies which view human lives as a commodity to be used as befitting the moment. They’re the true danger for humanity’s survival and prosperity, not Israel or President Bush.

Back to our topic! So with all that's going on across the globe, why is tiny Israel singled out? We are the ones who have singled ourselves out: swiftly moving from Blackest of the Black to Whitest of the White, we have made an unholy pact with the very same forces that caused our tragedy, […] (Both emphases original —ZY)

An unholy pact with “the same forces that caused our tragedy”? And who might those same forces be? Israelis, and Jews in general, are a bit nervous even about the alliance with the Christian Zionists, let alone Far Right groups like the British National Party or Vlaams Belang, so Assaf’s statement is, again, detached from reality. Or perhaps, following his thesis, the forces he talks about are the forces of “white racism”? Which is going back to the false premise that racial conflict is still the central issue of our times.

[…] in order to grab this piece of land.

Uh, Assaf… this is our land! All of it—the double standard that makes a distinction between Tel-Aviv and Ma’aleh Adumim won’t fly. If Ma’aleh Adumim is “grabbed land”, then so is Tel-Aviv. Both are, from the anti-Zionist point of view, “Jewish colonial holdings in the middle of the Muslim world”. The Muslims say that, the Far (fast moving to Center) Left says that, and those who don’t say that, those who say Tel-Aviv is legitimate, would once again scream about Israel’s “disproportionate response” if it came to having to defend Tel-Aviv after having evacuated all the “problematic territories”. The only ones who truly stand with Israel are those who agree the West Bank is as much our land as the Mediterranean Coast. The favors of the former won’t be won by land concessions, because they believe “all Palestine, from the river to the sea” to be occupied, and the latter don’t want us to conceded lands, because they believe we’re entitled to that (even with the West Bank and all) still small plot of land. In short, Israel shouldn’t listen to the likes of you either way.

If you think you’re stealing lands, then you can always assuage your guilt by moving somewhere else. But not to the USA, for example, because that’s stealing Native American lands. Ain’t identity politics great?

The universal cry "Never again! From now on, all lives count" was replaced with the selfish "Never Again! From now on, Jews belong to the `Lives that Count' club". And the story of our country since 1947 can be summed up as "Jewish lives count, Arab lives don't."

A blood libel or at the very least bordering upon it.

Assaf: which part of “suicide bombings in the midst of civilian centers” don’t you understand? Which part of the Fatah and Hamas and Hizbullah charters calling for the dismantling of the Jewish state don’t you understand? What is it in the message of digging tunnels for smuggling weapons instead of cultivating greenhouses in territories we evacuated for the sake of peace that’s so hard for you to comprehend? Why is it so inconceivable to you that the “Palestinians”, far from fighting for the independence of a state (building homes on the territories we evacuated would be convincing enough evidence of that), are fighting against the independence of a state (which is what each Kassam rocket fired on Sderot bears witness to)?

In the process, we have become the most glaring example of the West's double standard. In no other place on Earth do some of the most oppressed, non-Counting "Colored" people live right under the boots of people whose lives Count; turned into captive labor, prisoners, refugees and unwanted intruders in their own home, and vilified to boot.

This isn’t Israel you’re describing. I don’t know how long you’ve lived in Israel, but I was born in Israel and spent nearly all my life here, to this day, and I can say, without hesitation, that your description doesn’t fit anything I know. Whatever of your descriptions that has even a toehold on the truth is, invariably, the results of steps taken for keeping us, our civilian population, safe from a savage enemy who wants to kill us all (G-d forbid). And the rest is lies. Outright lies. Lies that could contribute to Jews everywhere, not just in Israel, getting killed (G-d forbid).

Sprinkle some holy sites and mystical visions on top, and it all combines to create an irresistible appeal, an almost pornographic attraction, exciting so many people's secret fantasies in so many different ways. In short, we have turned ourselves into this racist world's Red Lights District. (Emphasis original —ZY)

What’s the point wasting keyboard clicks on the above passage when one word will suffice: Freud.

It is no surprise, then, that from our vicinity the most obscene counter-reaction to White Man's dominance emerges. Listen to Bin Laden, Nasrallah, Haled Mashal.

“White Man”, eh?

Picture: Adam Gadahn
Adam Gadahn, American convert to Islam and member of Al-Quaeda

That this white man could be accepted as Bin Laden’s peer, and engaged in operations against Americans regardless of color, does not pose Assaf’s thought-patterns any speed bump.

Listen to Bin Laden, Nasrallah, Haled Mashal. Their message: "if our lives don't count, then nobody's will", […]

I must have missed that bit when I was listening to their message that non-Muslims worldwide are given the option to convert to Islam or taste the wrath of jihad.

[…] echoing Geronimo the Apache - a man who killed Whites indiscriminately […]

Was that right or wrong? Was he justified by the fact that he was an oppressed person, resisting the oppressor? Just a few questions to see how you rate on the Moonbatometer…

[…] during the waning days of the Indian Genocide (another Holocaust, denied by the Americans).

That’s only one of two Indian Genocides: there’s the one inflicted, over centuries, by the Muslim conquerors of India upon their Hindu enemies and later subjects. But that holocaust, if not denied, is ignored by the Left, because it’s Asians against Asians, totally useless in serving the agenda of anti-Westernism.

There is also a cold, more calculating angle to the undue attention we receive.

Be careful, Assaf: you’re going into Protocols/Israel Lobby territory here.

Being the most conspicuous recent addition to the Club of Lives that Count, we offer ourselves as club gatekeepers, a strategic frontier guard. This is why Israelis and right-wing Jews are such great supporters of the "clash of civilizations" theory: it provides a respectable pretext to continue doing what we do.

That the “Clash of Civilizations” theory may actually be true isn’t given consideration. Again, because it’s worthless for the Leftist agenda. But I know which interpretation of Thais being killed by Muslims (Asians against Asians, so it doesn’t count, once again) is the more rational one.

But between the lines, Israel whispers to America and Europe: "if you make Arab lives count here, who knows where this can lead."

More libel. As Steven Plaut says, the fact that you’re an Israeli Jew makes you no less susceptible to falling under the spell of anti-Semitism.

So far, we are getting a wink and a nod from both continents, enabling us to go on.

A wink and a nod? From who? From Al-Reuters? From the BBC? From the Guardian? From CNN? From Jimmy Carter? What parallel universe are you living in?

This must change. The place to start mending the broken postwar dream, to start making every life count, is in Israel/Palestine.

Right goal, wrong targets. I look forward to your activity among the Muslims teaching them that violence is not the answer. No, I’m not looking forward to that, because that would mean one less Jew and one more Muslim snuff film for the world.

It can be done, and the key is shame. (Emphasis original —ZY)

It can be done, but the key isn’t shame, the key is showing the other side that enough is enough, that it isn’t entitled to the whole world. And that takes us partly away from Israel and into Europe and the USA and their problem of standing up against the enemy in their midst. That is the reality of the burning issue of our day, not fantasies about racial conflicts and anti-colonial resistance carried over from the last two centuries unchanged.

In the 1950's, Rosa Parks and friends outed their country in a very embarrassing way. Just as the US was setting itself up as the Free World's guardian, they reminded everyone that America runs an apartheid regime at home. At that time they were fringe radicals with very little political power. But by shaming the nation, they acquired a huge leverage and turned into a mass movement. All of a sudden, a system that endured a couple of centuries, that was part and parcel of America's self-identity, collapsed with almost no bloodshed.

Hmmmm… by the words, “A system […] collapsed with almost no bloodshed” I understand that the problem of racism in America is now history. A bit damning of your insistence to see everything through the lens of “white racism”, isn’t it? My post “Race” Over stands vindicated once again.

The same can happen to Israel's Occupation.

If you could establish that it really is an occupation. But if you did that, it would saw the very branch you’re sitting on. As I said: if Ma’aleh Adumim is occupied territory, then you have a tough time ahead of you arguing why Tel-Aviv isn’t the same.

The West, especially America, is supposed to be for democracy, for freedom, for "all lives count."

Yes, that goal is indeed opposed to any ideology that brings up children on the heritage of suicide bombing.

So our struggle will be won by outing the Occupation in its full ugliness, including its corrupt and racist support framework in Europe and America.

No, our struggle will be won by outing Islam, and all other forms of fascism, in their full ugliness, including their corrupt and nihilistic support framework in Europe and America, of which Daily Kos is a part.

By telling and telling and telling again, the stories of Palestinian suffering and oppression under Israel since 1948.

Or by telling and telling and telling again the story of their continued rejection of the very idea of sharing the land with the Jews, even though the Jews have, by rights, no obligation to share the land with them.

Or, also, by telling and telling and telling again the story of non-Muslim suffering and oppression under the Muslims since the 7th century.

And last but not least, it will be won by running a clean campaign, purged of reverse racism, a campaign that acknowledges Jewish suffering […]

Your diary shows you aren’t the proper person to run such a campaign.

[…] and steers clear of making Israelis so panic-stricken that they start pressing red buttons like they did this summer.

Pressing red buttons is fully justified in Israel’s case. There’s this fact that applies to few other countries: we cannot afford even a single defeat. Not with enemies who have sworn, in speech as well as writing, to kill us all.

This is a tall task, but I don't see any other viable victory path at this moment. And the wind seems to start blowing our way. So let us keep our hopes alive. Thank you.

Assaf: I wish your task to fail. I wish it to fail not because I hate you or because I think “Palestinian lives don’t count”, but because your task, if it succeeds, will end in a Second Holocaust (G-d forbid).

Let me tell you how it works: when you write such things, it ends up in the hands of the Muslims and their sympathizers in the West. They seize upon your writings eagerly, because the fact the author is an Israeli Jew gives them great credibility. And so the concerted effort of the Muslim lobbies in the West and the left-leaning media outlets gives out enormous pressure on the heads of state in the West, even of the USA (see: Condoleezza Rice), to drive Israel to make more land concessions. Such concessions, far from bringing lasting peace to the region, only embolden the enemies of Israel, for they have been given the message that terrorism pays. In the short run, many Israeli Jews are injured or killed as a result of the ensuing “resistance” pushing for more land concessions; in the long run, each land concession leaves Israel more vulnerable strategically, raising the chance that, G-d forbid, in the next great war between Israel and her Muslim enemies, Israel could be defeated. That would mean—let there be no doubt about it—the genocide of the Jews in their own land, G-d forbid! And that’s no paranoid fantasy, because the Muslims have done that before (their own prophet ordered the slaughter of a whole Jewish tribe, the Beni Koreizah) and say today, time and again, that they intend to do so. A theme recurring but not mythical.

Think about it, Assaf. Think about that prospect of having, by your actions, aided both the spilling of Jewish blood and the installation of a worldwide totalitarian empire (the Islamic Caliphate). While my side stands for both the Jewish people and the freedom of all people of the world. Assaf, please come home. We’re waiting with open arms.

Here ends the diary. In the comments, Assaf says:

I'm new at this; only my 2nd post. Don't worry, there'll be more - and mostly on Israel/Palestine.

I’ll be reading every one of them, and refuting those that need to be refuted, with HaShem’s help.

Updated on Saturday, October 21, 2006, 20:29, mainly to correct spelling mistakes, but also to add a few words and links. Biggest change: the addition of the link to the LGF post A Tunnel in a Greenhouse, from October 20, 2006.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chosen To Show

Much of contemporary anti-Semitism, especially under its dress of anti-Zionism, points an accusing finger at Judaism’s core doctrine of the Jewish people as G-d’s chosen people. The detractors say it is a self-serving invention reminiscent of the Nazi’s doctrine of the German nation as Herrenvolk (master nation), an unenlightened idea having no place among us today, and the driving cause behind Jewish “colonialist aggression” toward the Palestinians. I will address this religio-political issue and prove that none of the charges can stand, being either born of misconceptions or forged by inversion.

On the face of it, the charge of chosenness as self-serving invention is rational; I agree, following the skeptical imperative of, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, that claims of chosenness should be evaluated to check what’s in it for those who make them. In evaluating the Jewish claim, there are two parameters I wish to look at: first, the gain of those Chosen, and second, the promises made to the Chosen in relation to those who are not Chosen. On both counts, the contrast with other claimants such as the Nazis and the Muslims is startling.

The chosenness of the Jews has not gained them much. Even at the height of their territorial expansion, in the days of King Solomon, their borders were not dramatically wider than those of present-day Israel: the prominent difference from today is the possession of much territory on the east bank of the Jordan, and even those lands did not include the whole of the territory of Transjordan which the British promised to the Jews after World War I but ended up giving to the Hashemites for one of their two kingdoms. One would think, with all the comparisons of the Jews’ desire to inhabit just the west bank of the Jordan with the Nazi concept of Lebensraum, that the Jews’ demands for land would be as equally unlimited as those of the Nazis (and the Muslims). But no: even in antiquity, when there was no crowd of nations united in their condemnation of Jewish “colonialism”, the claim of chosenness was not used by the Judges and by the kings Saul and David to gain more than a modest piece of land (modest relative to contemporary empires like Assyria and Babylon, that is) on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, just as is the case now.

Picture: Map showing the territories referred to by the recurring Biblical phrase "from Dan to Beersheba"

In short, when one considers the benefits that a nation could reap by inventing a claim of being chosen by the Creator and King of All, the Jewish aspirations both ancient and modern have been very restrained. And the map above shows, as I said, the kingdom of Israel at its zenith; after that period, the kingdom was divided in two, then diminished in size until conquered, with only a brief flicker of being independent, from the days of the Hashmoneans until the Roman conquest by Pompeii. Still later, until the end of the 19th century, the Chosen of G-d were not only without sovereignty over their land, but out of their land too, subject to the mercies (or lack thereof) of their non-Jewish hosts.

If the Jewish claim of being G-d’s Chosen is a self-serving invention, then it has been a dismal failure in living up to its purpose. The Nazis succeeded much better with that claim, until defeated by great force, after a painful struggle; and the Muslims are in possession of much of the world, with their eyes on it all.

The second point is what entitlements the claim of chosenness gives the claimants in relation to the others, the unchosen. Again, let us imagine inventing that claim for a self-serving purpose and maximize the benefits: the Nazi’s idea of themselves as Herrenvolk would be the natural outcome. A chosen nation or religious group would be the masters, the first-class citizens of their empires, with all the rest second-class at best. Nazi ideology had the Germans in the position of rulers over all, other Teutons as possible honorary sharers in the gains (but Britain and America had to be fought, eventually, no doubt because they were “under the control of the Jews”, or, as people would put it today, too heavily influenced by the Israel lobby), the Slavs as perpetual slaves of the Germans, and non-Indo-Europeans destined to the death camps each at their own time. For the Muslims, the chosenness of the Islamic religion makes those who follow it the masters, the Jews and the Christians being second-class citizens (dhimmis), and all others offered the “choice” between conversion and death. The Muslims, then, are only slightly more generous than the Nazis in that they give all people a way to the first class. In both cases, the claim of being Chosen is seen to be a very attractive deal for the claimants.

And Judaism? What promises are given to the Jews as benefits of chosenness? There is the promise to be as plentiful as the sand, which is still forthcoming, and the promise to inhabit the land of Israel, and above all the promise to know G-d by serving Him as a nation of priests. A far cry from the promises of dominance and subjugation of the other nations bestowed upon other claimants to chosenness. And there is another thing, an astonishing promise, made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2–3:

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

The eyes of the Jew-haters will turn toward the words, “And him that curseth thee will I curse”. But that protest is wide of the mark: how could G-d bless anyone if He let them keep being cursed? Goodness requires a measure of power to sustain it, otherwise it is nothing but an abstract idea. However, this is a digression. The main point here is the two promises, “And I will bless them that bless thee” and, “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed”. What kind of self-interested human invents a claim to chosenness that leaves room for others to share in the benefits from the chooser of the group? The human heart naturally gravitates toward an ideology of, “the winner takes it all”. Indeed, the Nazi winners of Providence’s favor believed themselves entitled to take the whole world and to share in the benefits with a certain few, if at all. The Muslim winners of Allah’s favor believe themselves entitled to take the whole world, and to share in the benefits only with those who add themselves to their numbers.

The Jewish people have few entitlements, most of them decidedly less spectacular than nations not believing themselves chosen in any way, and the benefits of G-d’s choice can be shared with non-Jews; more, not only can be shared, but, as the scriptural quote shows, are to be shared as part of G-d’s purpose. Here is also the reason why Judaism does not feature the obligation to add outsiders to its numbers: the mission of the Jewish people is exemplary, that is, to show the existence of G-d, His creatorhood and above all His sovereignty over all things. This recognition is sufficient to bring non-Jews to the path of righteousness, no conversion to Judaism necessary. In fact, conversion to Judaism is discouraged; the first thing an Orthodox rabbi does to the prospective convert is tell him or her what a burden it is to be a Jew, both in the number of divine commands to keep and in facing the hatred of much of the world.

I may not have proved conclusively that the claim of Jewish chosenness is of divine origin, but, in the view of the previous passage, it is clear it is not my task to do so. I believe I have, however, made the accusation of self-interest as the root of the Jewish doctrine of chosenness implausible, especially in comparison to other chosen groups showing us how such an invention can be done right if it is to be really self-serving. Above all, I have shown that the libel of anti-Semites with regard to Jewish chosenness and entitlement is unfounded. That libel itself constitutes, ironically, further evidence for the truth of my thesis.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

From Anti-Defamation to Intellectual Meritocracy

This post is not in any way meant as a disparagement toward the Anti-Defamation League, nor as an accusing finger against that organization, which has been engaged in sacred work, born out of brotherly love, ever since its founding. My purpose is only to draw attention to the changed situation of today in which the ADL’s traditional way of operating is no longer suitable, and then to suggest a new way, one that will both be more productive for the goal of ADL and similar organizations and enable the non-Muslim world as a whole to respond to the ideological onslaught of the Left-Islam alliance effectively.

The traditional way of anti-defamation involves finding out ideological threats to the group in question, and then contacting the originators of the threats and asking them to back down from them. In case the request is not heeded, the anti-defamation organization brings out legal charges against the offenders, which at the very least could deter others from committing the same offense.

This model has served well the Jewish interest of combating anti-Semitism, and later the interests of other minorities in countering similar threats. However, today we can see that it has all but been subverted to the nefarious ends of those who would chip away at our freedoms. The Left applies the label, “Hate Speech” to any opinions not in agreement with their own, and the Muslims, headed by groups such as CAIR (in the USA) and MCB (in Britain), have ripped out numerous leaves out of the ADL handbook, styling themselves “The New Jews” and employing the term, “Islamophobia” as their counterpart to “anti-Semitism”, as well as using the accusation of “racism” to silence criticism of their religion, a subject I have already covered in at least two posts.

In this age, in which every group rushes to get its degree in Applied Victimology, “anti-defamation” is more often than not a euphemism for perversion of justice and for shutting down all intellectual discourse. This is not because the way of anti-defamation is inherently bad, but because the Leftoxicated “dialectic” of our age is fully given to the injustice of tilting toward the underdog a priori, without further probation. It is just as laws against sexual harassment are not unjust in and of themselves, but when coupled to the stipulation that women’s complaints are to be taken without checking, merely out of the fact that they are in the position of weakness, become open to abuse by any would-be score-settler. All such “corrective treatments” end up being just as bad as the former diseases, if not more so, for they go against the imperative to weight all evidence before reaching a verdict (an imperative given by, among others, G-d the Creator; see also my excursus on Exodus 23:3).

We have seen, from the Papal Quote Riots to the statement of MPACUK’s spokeswoman that Jack Straw should not voice any opinion on the subject of veiling women, and from the thugs at Columbia University violently turning away anti-immigration activists to the administration of said university stalling attendance to a conference with ex-terrorist Walid Shoebat, that there is nothing the Muslim and Leftists fear more than the free exchange of ideas. An armed response, rather than the expected dhimmitude or “participation in the progressive dialectic”, is certainly outrageous in their eyes, but absolutely insufferable for them is that the other side should have the freedom to assault them intellectually, for their armed revolutionary actions are just offshoots of an ideology that is independent of any person or time. Resistance to their weapons is bad enough, but it is only a cutting of one or some heads of the hydra, while ideological counterattack threatens to bring the end of the hydra itself, and then no heads could regenerate. No wonder, then, that they use every means to suppress freedom of intellect, including using the precepts of the West, and including disguising it under the mask of “anti-defamation”.

Today we need more than ever a climate of free discourse. Not “breaking every taboo for the sake of breaking every taboo” as the stupid kids of the 1960’s had it, but the freedom to entertain any thought and then subject it to rigorous intellectual examination. We need to depart from both the anti-defamation viewpoint that some ideas are not allowed to be expressed and from the postmodern viewpoint that all ideas are of equal worth, and form in their stead an intellectual meritocracy, where every idea is allowed but is weighed for evidential support and logical consistency and, if found wanting, is chucked out as not worth anyone’s time. Those ideas that are sound in those respects would not be hurt by such an intellectual regime; the other ideas—well, now you see why the Left-Islam alliance isn’t enamored with the vision of an intellectual meritocracy.

There are objections, of course. Would it really be wise to give a free platform for every Holocaust denier and 9/11 conspiracist? My first answer is that the Internet, the same Internet used by wakeful people such as Robert Spencer and Charles Johnson and Baron Bodissey to try to circumvent the PC stranglehold of our traditional OrwellMedia, allows those revisionist and conspiracist kooks to post their stuff as well. As with anti-defamation, any attempt to shut down the one and not the other would come at an eventual price to the other. My second answer, more to the point, is an operative suggestion: in order to both sustain intellectual freedom and to combat bias, intellectually honest sources, especially those constituting mass communications, should present a view and the response from its opponents side by side. There is no greater intellectual honesty than letting people make up their minds upon reading both sides of the debate. If this leads to a ricochet of rebuttals and rejoinders, so much the better—that’s what free intellectual discourse is about. All within the rules of truthful debate, of course (that means, among other things: no reutered photographs).

To that, an objection may be that that idea smacks of the “equal time” for pseudoscientific theories in schools. There is an important difference, however: schools are places for humans who, if past the age of impressionability and lack of rigorous judgment, are non-experts in the subjects they learn; only experts can allow themselves to engage non-mainstream theories when it comes to subjects requiring long years of study. In contrast, the marketplace of ideas and intellectual debates, rather than expertise-demanding professions, is a free-for-all, the more people discussing them the better. Were it not so, neither Athenian democracy nor the American one would ever have materialized.

Even if the information load is great and the sifting of erroneous arguments and kooky ideas a daunting task, the gain is much greater than the loss: the gain is a climate in which all people have to accept a regime in which an ideological “offense” to them is answered not by shutting down the source but by offering an equal intellectual response. The more this “culture of response” is nurtured, the more problems could be worked out through the process of filtering by intellectual merit rather than by intimidation or violence. Remembering that the Left of today calls itself the “peace camp”, yet stalls many a peaceful solution by letting grievances fester under the cover of “respect” rather than be worked out by intellectual discourse, there is yet another irony here.

Going back to organizations like the ADL: they may object that such a change of regime would rob them of their main tool of countering the very real—not for a moment do I deny that—threat of anti-Semitism. I reply that most of the overt, virulent anti-Semitism today is outside of our control, originating in Muslim states. I also reply that the appeal to past Jewish victimhood—without, of course, any intention of minimizing its reality, a reality which a Jew can neither forgive nor forget—has lost its force after a few decades. The Muslims either deny the Holocaust or say they shouldn’t be paying for what others did to us, and the Leftists are all too eager to invert the facts such that the Muslims are the new Jews and we are the new Nazis, and justify every “Palestinian” terrorist attack with the accusation, “listim atem”—“You are robbers”, the accusation of unrighteous Gentiles upon the Jews, of stealing the lands of other nations (read in the very first commentary of Rashi to the Torah).

That last point in itself, inscribed in the timeless word of G-d Himself, should be enough to form an argument for leaving the efforts of anti-defamation and appeal to past wrongs, and substituting diligent, factual counter-arguments to the enemy’s lies and appealing to our rights to all our lands. And from the general non-Muslim point of view, the utmost of efforts should be made to secure a climate of free debate that will force Islam to either reform to a “live and let live” religion or to go down in history as a failed ideology, together with Communism.

For those pragmatists who pin their hopes on the “moderate Muslims”: they will not come out, much less form a movement for Islamic reformation, when they see that even the non-Muslims of the world hold their tongues and cap their pens in the shadow of fear. Fear is in opposition to reason—and there is no lasting peace without reason, that inseparable part of G-d’s image in all of us.

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Even Zionist youngsters get sick sometimes

No, I didn’t get sick of blogging. I got sick in the literal sense—came down with some kind of flu, I think. I’m still on its after-effects, so blogging may be intermittent for a while, but I’m much better than a few days ago, thank G-d. Anyhow, that’s the reason for the hiatus, as well as my near-absence from posting comments on LGF and other sites.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Response to “The Problem of Anti-Semitism” on Daily Kos

This diary, by Nathan Jaco, dated to Sunday, October 8, 2006, is relatively mild-mannered as far as Israel/Palestine diaries on DKos go, but that may not be to its credit, because soft-spoken anti-Zionism is just a more pleasing package for the hardcore anti-Semitism of old. I’m frustrated at how the media in Israel reports every incendiary remark or violent incident by the Far Right in the West, while ignoring, or at best not giving enough time to, the far more dangerous moves on the Left (and not just the Far Left). It’s high time to realize the mantle of anti-Semitism has passed to the Left, with anti-Zionism its new covering to make it intellectually acceptable.

The address of the diary is:

There is a stark differential between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

You mean “difference”. No, there isn’t—Zionism is an inseparable part of being Jewish (take a look at any Jewish prayer book or Passover Haggadah: laced with prayers to return to the land of Israel with Jerusalem, also called Zion, as its capital), so anti-Zionism is inherently a form of Jew-hatred. It’s the same as if you said, “I’m not anti-Semitic, I’m just against kosher slaughter”.

This may be unilaterally appropriate phraseology, as anti-Semitism may be derivative of anti-Zionism but anti-Zionism is not necessarily derivative of anti-Semitism.

If so, then can you tell me why no other state than Israel ever receives such arguments against it? Why is it that Pakistan, a state set up on Hindu lands (including the Indus valley, where the first archeological findings of Indian civilization were found) solely for addressing the demands of Indian Muslims for sovereignty, and involving the dispossession, if not outright butchery, of millions of Hindus in the process, garners nary a peep for the “Rights for Oppressed Peoples” crowd, while Israel is constantly asked, nay, ordered to give up a hefty portion of its diminutive area for an invented nation that hasn’t shown the slightest willingness to uphold permanent peace with the other side?

First you apply your standard toward Pakistan and then we’ll talk about the possibility of anti-Zionism not being necessarily a derivative of anti-Semitism. Until then, I’m going to call you lefties off for that trick every time.

Those of us who oppose Israel's (read: the US's) policies toward the Palestinians are not all racist against the Jewish people […]

That statement is true only if you criticize those policies in context, the context being suicide bombing, launching rockets from areas evacuated for the sake of peace, and a poisonous media and education system. If you just harp on about “occupation” and “IDF brutality” and “the grueling experiences at checkpoints” and “the apartheid wall” without taking the wrongs of the other side into account, then yes, your opposition toward Israel’s policies toward the “Palestinians” does constitute anti-Semitism.

[…] or opposed to the religion to which they adhere.

See above: Zionism is not an accessory to Judaism.

The streams of consciousness that the Jews, in connection with some kind of Masonic conspiracy or the like, are responsible for all significant world events, particularly the events of 9/11, are far from well-founded or even coherently articulated from my experiences.

Then you might want to have a word with your leftist buddies Walt and Mearsheimer, who have given that stream of consciousness a new dressing for our times.

"The Protocols..." was first published in 1905 as an appendix in a Sergei Nilus book "The Great in the Small: The Coming of the Anti-Christ and the Rule of Satan on the Earth." It strikes one as ironic that was is considered to be the central piece of evidence of the Jewish conspiracy by some anti-Zionists was first published in a book about the Christian eschatological beliefs, as those evangelicals who focus on the Christian apocalypse are currently among the most vocal proponents of Zionism.

It doesn’t strike me as ironic at all: the Russians are Eastern Orthodox Christians, and those, to this day, still hold to the belief that G-d’s promises to the Jews were canceled (afra l’fumayhu—dirt to their mouths [of those who say such a thing]) and wholly transfered to the Christians. Whereas the Christian Zionists hold that G-d keeps His promises to the Jews and has the Christians share in them.

I feel this fact serves my personal argument quite well. An argument which goes as follows: the main proponents of Zionism are Anglo imperialists and religious fanatics who wish to use the state of Israel to achieve their own ends, […]

Anglo imperialists”?! If that isn’t a racist expression, I don’t know what is. I thought racism was the cardinal sin among the Left. Ah, but I forgot: racism against Westerners is A-OK.

Imperialism, by the way, deserves some second thoughts. Read the article Message to Islamists: Don’t Tread on Me on The American Spectator, it’s very thought-provoking, wrenching the reader out of the conventional thinking of imperialism as a sign of moral decline. Imperialism of true oppressors like the Communists and the Muslims is evil; but imperialism, even just cultural imperialism, on the part of the West is something you ought to give a few thoughts, for you might not be so in favor of “cultural diversity” if your play or art gallery were shelved just because a certain group considered it blasphemous. Right?

[…] regardless of the dangers it imposes upon the Jewish people.

Please spare me that false air of caring about the Jewish people. If you really cared about the Jewish people, you wouldn’t be calling their defending themselves a “disproportionate response”. And if you really cared about the Muslims, you’d realize their worst enemy is their own religion, not Israeli or US “oppression”.

It is true that some of the founding fathers of American Anglo imperialist, those of the corporate mercantilist variety, were ardent anti-Semites and anti-Zionists, Henry Ford for example, who like Hitler before him, believed "The Protocols..." to be authentic and the Jewish conspiracy to be a legitimate threat to the world. He actually published a collection of racist essays titled "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem".

It should be obvious to a rational and well-informed student of history that there is very little credible evidence to support the claims that this Zionist conspiracy is real. […]

The whole Muslim world still believes The Protocols are authentic, and takes pride in it. For the majority in the West who don’t, there’s The Israel Lobby, a new version to make it respectable in our day. Walt’s and Mearsheimer’s screed is no more credible than The Protocols. All they can show is that there is a lobby for Israel in the US, but they can’t say why that lobby deserves more attention than all the other political lobbies that influence US policy, both foreign and domestic.

The true Zionist conspiracy has been perpetrated by Anglos who wished to use Israel as a staging ground for offensives in the oil-rich region.

To go back on history a bit, the Anglos had involvement in the Middle East long before the state of Israel was born. In fact, those Anglos were quite reluctant to give the Jews land on expense of their Arab friends, as witnessed by the constant backtracking from Balfour’s declaration of 1917 throughout the 1930’s (the White Book and the rest of the decrees closing British Palestine to Jewish refugees during the most critical period—the Holocaust). The Anglos, and the Francos, had no need of a Jewish state in order to occupy the greater part of the Middle East for 30 years—the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I was good enough a pretext, thank you very much. To consider Israel a tool of Anglo-imperialism is little different from Masonic conspiracy theories.

As an anti-Zionist, I find anti-Semitism to be as distasteful as the hatred for the African-American community, for essentially the same reasons. It is the blaming of the disadvantaged group for the evils they have suffered at the hands of others. Perpetuated by the oppressor ingroup in order to alleviate a sense of guilt or redirect the responsibility of the consequences of exploitation and oppression.

This type of Leftist rhetoric carries the semblance of absolute, objective morality, only to be proved relative and subjective because it’s so easily turned on its head, with the oppressed and oppressor being reversed. For which see:

Though I ardently oppose the oppression and murder of the Palestinians and other Arabic nationals at the hands of these Israelis, […]

Perfect: speak about “the oppression and murder of the Palestinians and other Arabic nationals” without taking the context into account. Ignore their incitement to terrorism, ignore their maintenance of an education system that brings little children on the heritage of suicide bombing, ignore their strenuous efforts to sustain the flames of hatred toward the Jews even after receiving lands on which they could build homes and make the desert bloom. And, of course, keep speaking in nationalistic terms (“Palestinians and other Arabic nationals”), ignoring the religion and its world-imperialistic motives behind it all. Leftist blindness at its rawest form. Quod Erat Dhimminstrandum.

[…] I fully realize that these crimes were done with primarily American weapons.

Yeah, you’d have liked them to be done with non-American weapons, because then the USA would be spared the hatred of Muslims. Just like the Germans and Thais are being spared the hatred of Muslims because they aren’t assisting “Israeli crimes” with their weapons. Right.

Just like the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia during the Carter administration.

It was during the Ford administration, but never mind. It was part of the Capitalism vs. Communism maneuvers of the Cold War, before any awareness of the threat of Islamic imperialism, leading to (from our current point of view) bungling on both sides. It was a different age. That doesn’t excuse things, but it does mean the comparison is anachronistic.

Futhermore, it could be feasible that officials in Washington are making the decisions for those in Tel Aviv.

That they are sometimes, and—contrary to the position of The Israel Lobby—often not the best for Israel. Negotiations with terrorists and land concessions have been the frequent results of persuasion of Israel by the officials in Washington, stemming from the Cold War view that those are always preferable to armed conflict, even when the other side is not tied to constraints of minimal rationality and the desire to live as the Communists, for all their faults, were. So, despite the alleged power of The Israel Lobby, the modern Elders of Zion have been surprisingly unsuccessful in getting their Anglo-imperialist lackeys to support their expansionist dreams. Things that make you go, “Hmmmmm…”

This, in my opinion, places most of the blame back on the Anglo community, under the logic of racist conspiracy theorists, who seem to think that the ethnic group of those who perpetrate conspiratorial offenses is an indictment of that ethnic group.

Yet, how are we to deal with the reality that we are that ethnic group; that we are the monsters? (Emphasis mine —ZY)

Ah, the “Backtracking But” (or “yet”, or “although”, or “however”, or any such conjunction), enabling one to condemn an undesirable stance in one breath, and make that same stance in the next.

“We are the monsters”. Yes, we are: not the ones who are willing to kill on account of cartoons, not the ones who consider stoning schoolgirls for religious transgressions a virtue, not the ones who make videos of beheading their victims for all to see… and the list goes on and on, each item the sound of the judge’s mallet declaring the verdict of the Left as morally bankrupt, calling the good evil and the evil good, excusing the perpetrators their crimes just because they’re the underdogs, and blaming their victims just because they are powerful.

In my view, this is all too appropriate and telling about the reality of world history. That the true evil force behind the suffering of the world community is not the disadvantaged outgroup, but the dominant ingroup - the white imperialists.

Nathan just keeps on giving—laying out Leftism in a raw form that everybody could understand. The “Palestinians” are the disadvantaged group, so they could never be blameworthy of their atrocities. The Jews, even if a Leftist finally grants them their being a disadvantaged group (instead of the usual portrayal of Israel as Goliath and the “Israel Lobby” as nearly omnipotent), are still not innocent, for they willingly let themselves be used as tools in the service of the “white imperialists”. “White imperialists”—now here’s an even more blatant instance of racism than the previous “Anglo imperialists”! Hey, ain’t selective anti-racism great?

How timely my post “Race” Over (written one day before this DKos diary) looks now. “White imperialism”—I feel as if I were watching that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the viceroy of the Maharaja of Pankot Palace complains to Indy of the Britons’ imperialistic obsession with India. Images of Somerset Maugham, the sound of the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”, go into my head.

Nathan: this is the year 2006. Please wake up. And when you do, wake up the rest of your comrades on the Left.

Those with the power to make all of the wildest fantasy of elaborate conspiracies by repressed peoples a reality using their vast material and political resources.

Yet another implication that repressed peoples are always innocent, by their very nature, and incapable of committing heinous crimes.

I don’t hold to the a priori innocence or malice of any group, whether powerful or weak. It is the facts that lead me to judge if a group is innocent or malicious. Soviet Russia was powerful and evil, the USA is powerful and basically good (at any rate, not of malicious intent), the French Resistance of World War II was weak and good (desiring to liberate their country from imperialistic occupation), the “Palestinians” are weak (though becoming less so with the accumulation of weapons through their tunnels) and evil (because they are not fighting for their own national sovereignty, they are fighting against the national sovereignty of the other side, in the framework of worldwide Islamic imperialism). The Left, instead, goes the easy way of declaring the strong wrong and the weak right, with no further probing into matters needed.

One hopes that this is sufficient evidence that those of us who oppose Zionism for legitimate reasons are not all anti-Semites.

Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no such thing as “opposing Zionism for legitimate reasons”. You may oppose the particulars of Israeli policy for legitimate reasons (but then you need to provide evidence that your reasons are really legitimate), but opposing Zionism means opposing the right of Jews to inhabitation of and sovereignty upon their own land, something to which, in any other case, the reaction of the Left would be a hue and cry over the gross injustice. And anti-Zionism, again, is a form of anti-Semitism because G-d’s order for Jews to inhabit the land He gave them and worship Him there (a goodly number of the mitzvot in the Torah can be carried out only in the Land of Israel) is no different from G-d’s order for Jews to keep the Sabbath. Imagine a non-Jewish employer saying, after firing a Jewish worker, “I’m opposed to Jews switching off their mobile phones on Saturday. That doesn’t make me an anti-Semite”. That employer would be on the receiving end of a religious discrimination lawsuit before you could say “jack”, his “it’s not anti-Semitism” ploy winning him derision in the court at best. Opposition to Zionism is the same.

I try to save my most vitriolic criticisms for those who have the power to exert the greatest influence - for they are the ones who should bear the greatest responsibility.

I find that agreeable. The 1960’s kids who are now in positions of power all over the West bear the greatest responsibility for the present calamity of Islamic infiltration and dhimmitude in the face of it, and they should be called on it.

Here the diary ends. But before I close this post, I just want to bring a savory screenshot from the comments on that diary:

Picture: Commenter ImpeachBushCheney rants about the power of the Israeli lobby, states that supporting Israel is contrary to Progressive principles and calls for the purge of "Israeli lobby operatives" from Daily Kos and the Democratic Party
Screenshot from the Daily Kos diary. Click image to view full size.

To be fair, the commenter has, as of this writing, already received two negative ratings (as well as four positive ones) and a critical comment in reaction. But this goes to show you how intellectually acceptable (in Europe even fashionable) the sentiments of The Protocols have become in Leftist circles. The ADL and other groups monitoring anti-Semitism worldwide had better turn a less sharp eye toward the Far Right and be much more observant of the Left, which, as Victor David Hanson says in his article The New Anti-Semitism (from October 2, 2006), is working in tandem with the overt, classical anti-Semitism of the Muslims, preparing the West for acceptance of a second Holocaust (G-d forbid) as decolonizational reparations for oppressed indigenous peoples.

With a few exceptions (Christopher Hitchens’ type), the Left is indeed the enemy.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

“Race” Over

Title for a Jihad Watch post from October 6, 2006: “UK: violent Muslim/non-Muslim clashes”. Thereafter, Robert Spencer follows up with his usual exasperated commentary, shared by all of us who have eyes to see the truth:

Or in the deceptive and misleading racial euphemisms employed by the British press, violent clashes between “whites” and “Asians.” But they don’t mean Norwegians are fighting Hindus from India. “Race clashes hit Windsor,” from the Evening Standard […]

An excerpt from the news item:

Extra police are being drafted into the Windsor area today after three nights of violent clashes between white and Asian youths.

To call anti-Islamic sentiments “racism”, despite Islam being a religion, and a supra-racial one at that—as the Muslims never cease stating, to contrast with the basically racist non-Muslim West—is no longer surprising: as I said in my post They Know What Works, from August 21, it was only natural that Muslims appropriate yet another Western precept, in this case aversion to racism, and retool it as yet another weapon in the jihad. But what about the Western media? Why do our media outlets studiously avoid the M-word, opting instead to pull out the race card every time? Dhimmitude, or fear of Islamic reprisals, is again an abbreviated and partial answer. The following will be my attempt to plumb the depths of the irrationality of continuing to think in terms of racial conflict in our day and age.

One of the strengths of the West, which like so many others is now being used against it, is its capacity for reflection, self-criticism and feelings of guilt (recognition of wrongdoing). No one denies colonialism, slavery and oppression on part of the West until the middle of the 20th century, yet the school of intellectual terrorists spawned by the late and unlamented Edward Said conveniently skips the corrective steps that Westerners, first as individuals (such as David Livingstone and Charles Darwin) and then as governments, took in order to do away with the injustices. One need only read a comic strip like Tintin and the Blue Lotus, of Hergé’s famous series, to see Western self-criticism in action. Set in 1936, the strip criticizes colonialism in general, and Western supremacism in particular, the latter depicted through the rough-shod behavior of a European named W. R. Gibbons. My citing of Tintin is no frivolous example, for the appearance of such sentiments in comic strips, which are nothing if not artifacts of popular culture, shows how deep the West’s self-correcting instinct runs. By the end of the 20th century, state-sponsored racism had been all but eliminated, and racism among individuals relegated to outsider status, such that people like David Duke and groups like Aryan Nations are held to be the dregs of society. So much for Said’s grievances in his lengthy screed Orientalism.

So, I ask again, why is the race card still fashionable in our day and age? Edward Said himself is a good clue to that, but I will provide a different example, one from the history of the state of Israel. The first decades of Israel, the 1950’s and 60’s and a little beyond, were marked by difficulties in integrating the olim (immigrants to the Holy Land) from the lands of Islam, who had fled after riots and total dispossession (the true dispossession that the anti-Zionists prefer to ignore). There were many gaps to bridge, the most obvious being the racial one: Oriental Jews having come to a state set up and governed mainly by European Jews. There were differences of mentality, there was the thorny question of religiosity (the Oriental Jews were nearly all religious, while the European Jews were secular), and there was the feeling of inequality and inability to climb the social ladder. Those who remember those days can recall their being sprayed with DDT on their arrival and the long years spent in temporary housing. Intermarriage between Oriental and Occidental Jews was often a problem, as depicted in the film Kazablan, where Yehoram Gaon plays a Moroccan Jew falling in love with the daughter of the Polish-Jewish mayor. There was the complaint that the “Buzaglo Test”, the test of equality before the law (Buzaglo is a common surname for Moroccan Jews), was failed every time. Those were the days until about the middle of the 1970’s.

What now? As of writing, we have a Persian Jew for a president, being subject to the same law as anyone else (for better or worse… right now for worse), and the head of the Labor Party is a Moroccan Jew, and many of the members of parliament are Oriental Jews, and the only thing preventing an Oriental Jewish Prime Minister is the voters’ say, same as with a European Jewish candidate. Intermarriage is commonplace, and the temporary housing is now the stuff an Oriental Jew tells his children or grandchildren about, in a house that is of the same sort as anyone else’s.

Yet there are still some who play the race card. Some politicians. Politicians who talk about racism, even “institutional racism”, as though over thirty years had not passed since it really was that way. Those politicians foment gratuitous hatred (sin’at chinam) among Jews in order to increase their votes. They are spillers of blood (for that is what our sages say sin’at chinam amounts to), and may HaShem have mercy on them for their grievous sin. They know who they are.

Our age shows in utmost clarity why our sages had scathing words for those who profited from stoking the flames of hatred toward their brothers: not just from the Jewish viewpoint, but we see, worldwide, that the West is being assaulted by those whose very modus operandi is to profit from divisions, discord and hatred. The Left (most of it today; there are some exceptions, remnants from the days of FDR) claims to be for equality and against class warfare and racial discrimination; in reality, it thrives on such divisions, without which it would have no platform for action. Without the pretext of racial discrimination, for example, Mike Stivic would no longer be able to occupy his time with “solving the black problem”, and instead would have to content himself with talking with Lionel about the weather, as one episode had it (“Why not? Blacks have weather too, don’t they?”, was Lionel’s classic retort).

Leftism, then, much like Islam, is revolution-oriented, and likewise, if reality does not offer it a pretext for rallying to the Revolution, then a pretext will be invented, or just dug up from days of yore. The far-left newsletter and website CounterPunch features articles about the problem of racism as a matter of course. To read them, one gets the feeling we’re still in the 1950’s, with blacks sitting at the back of the bus. Coming from those who consider “reactionism” to be the cardinal sin, there can be no greater irony: the world has changed, but they’re stuck in the past. This is not to say racism no longer exists; but, as I said, it is now a minor problem, while there are more burning issues that the Left, if it is not actually one of their causes, chooses to ignore.

“Race” over. It is over. The old days are over. There’s a new kind of storm to contend with.

And those college students who grew up on the problems of class warfare and racial discrimination when they were deep and acute, those students are now in key positions in the governments of the West today. We suffer for it, for they are ill-suited to contend with the new kind of storm that is gathering before us. Old hands from the days of the Cold War such as Henry Kissinger are of little use in figuring out, let alone solving, the nature of that storm. Doubtless it was those people who advised President Bush on embarking on the democratization of Iraq, not knowing, or not wanting to accept, that it had to be done differently than the democratization of the old Communist bloc. No doubt the fossils at the State Department are those telling Condoleezza Rice to hold talks with terrorist organizations like Hamas. And of course the UN is full to brimming with people whom the events of the Cold War, such as the Détente, still inform in making the decision to sweet-talk Iran out of its nuclear ambitions. The old fogeys (but not old enough to remember World War II) are taking us all into the abyss, G-d forbid, in their blindness to the new.

The Cold War is over. It is over. The old days are over. A religious figure like the current Pope is far wiser than those “level-headed, pragmatic diplomats” at the US State Department, not to mention the UN.

As for the media—though claimed to be out of touch with the people, I believe they may be echoing a popular sentiment with their replacement of the term “Muslims” with “Asians” and the like. In the wake of 9/11, when the US was in the heat of righteous anger, there came the first pleas pouring cold water on the flames: “Don’t talk about it as ‘Islam versus the West’! Don’t make this a religious war!” The alarm expressed at Bush’s wording, “This war, this crusade…” (emphasis mine), though he may have meant that word in its metaphorical sense, reflects the popular dread of the new storm. It is as if people were saying: “We had enjoyed the Clinton years, and now war is upon us; grant us at least the clemency to be at war with something we had recent experience with!” With a foe driven by an economic ideology, as Communism was.

Even the apt comparisons of Islamic fascism to the Nazi fascism of old are terrifying, because those with the experiences of that period are few and getting ever fewer. But the contemplation of the Islamic enemy brings us much, much farther back in the pages of our history books: the Barbary pirates (18th century), the second siege of Vienna (1683), the first siege of Vienna (1529), the fall of Constantinople (1453), the Crusades (11th to 13th centuries), the Battle of Tours (732), the conquest of Spain (711), and finally… the emergence of a new religion in the 7th century.

Religion. The Crusades. Pope Urban II proclaiming war from the window of the Vatican in 1099. The Dark Ages. Violent times in which reason was wanting and life hung on a constant thread. A faraway age so unlike our own… so unlike our own, which has boasted the slaughter of millions in the name of “rational”, intellectual, well-thought-out ideologies. An age in which people were different, radically different, from us. Or were they? Were they really? An age when people were unsure of eating the next day, whereas in our age, it’s totally different: you could lose your job tomorrow because of a stock market crash in Japan. An irrational age in which people consulted astrologers using star charts before making important decisions. We’re different: we consult analysts using Excel spreadsheets before making important decisions.

The basics of humanity haven’t changed. And as that’s the case, taking refuge against the struggles of thousand years ago in the struggles of thirty years ago won’t help. Taking old terminology like “whites” (for non-Muslim Europeans), “Asians” (for Muslims) and “Non-Aligned Nations” (states claiming to be neither capitalist nor communist in the Cold War, but nowadays the term refers to states aligned against the USA) can only soothe the pain of confronting the new storm for so long. Sooner or later the West will have to come to terms with the fact that we’re dealing with unfinished business that dates from the 7th century. We didn’t want it, we weren’t asked if we wanted it, it came to us, and it’s now reached a state that dealing with it can no longer be deferred. There’s a lot of people who want to snuggle back to the known variables of racial conflicts and anti-colonial resistance and the struggle between the haves and the have-nots. To which I say: and I want a Mercedes, so what?

Race over. The old paradigm of 30 years ago is gone, and it’s time to adjust to the newly-resurfaced reality: the war of the non-Muslim world for freedom from shariah law. There’s no other way to put it.

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