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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Zionism: An Integral Part of Judaism

When I first heard of the canard that Zionism is a 19th-century movement, I was shocked. Time has passed since then, but to hear Jewish nationalism framed as a “White Colonial Settler Movement”, and more seriously, that Jewish nationalism as a whole had no existence before the 19th century, still shakes my nerves, and it is only my knowledge of humanity’s inclination toward evil thoughts that fills me with the understanding of how people can believe such an egregious lie, an understanding without which I would probably have joined the Human Extinction Movement long ago, out of sheer despair of humanity.

That is because one does not have to be a religious, Orthodox Jew, or even with a thorough Biblical education, in order to be utterly dumbstruck by the idea that Jewish nationalism dates from the 19th century and no earlier. There is not a single Jewish child in Israel, even from the most anti-religious family, who has not imbibed the historical connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel together with its mother’s milk. Secular Zionist historiography de-emphasized the 2,000 years of exile, but regarding even that, it never denied the yearning of Jews throughout that entire period, in prayer and song, for returning to the Land of Israel—Jewish nationalism. I, like all my friends, both from the past and now, knew that the Jewish nation had its nationalism, its well-developed and canonized nationalism, back when the ancestors of both the Ishmaelite imperialists and the British boycott-proposers were still bands of loosely-related tribesmen. To hear now that Jewish nationalism is recent, a stepping on the 19th-century bandwagon, and that at least half of the Jews in Israel have no connection to the land, and to top it all the denial of the centrality of Jerusalem (Zion) in Judaism! Diabolical.

For 2,000 years that Jews were absent from the Land of Israel, the land did not cease to form an integral part of their day-to-day, religion-dictated lives.

A Jew would wake up in his morning and don the tephillin (phylacteries). Immediately after putting them on, he would read Exodus 13:1–16, which deals with HaShem’s commands to the Israelites to be carried out once they have entered the Land of Israel. That is Zionism. “The land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which He swore unto thy fathers to give thee”, it is written there (verse 5)—giving the Israelites land currently inhabited by other nations. I guess the left-wingers are now going to call for hauling God to the International Court at The Hague…

Each day, he would say the Sh’ma in the morning prayer, in the evening prayer and before going to sleep. In the Sh’ma, Deuteronomy 11:13–21 brings the message that doing HaShem’s word is necessary if the Israelites are to say on the Land of Israel. Numbers 15:37–41 speaks of the deliverance of the Jews from the land of Egypt. Stressing the historical Jewish connection to the Land of Israel—that is Zionism.

The heart of each daily prayer (morning, afternoon and evening) is the Sh’moneh Esreh (Hebrew for “eighteen”; it contains 19 blessings, because one was added during days of hardship under the Romans). Just before it, the Jew says the portion, “Ga’al Yisrael”, meaning “Savior of Israel”, where God is praised for bringing our forefathers out of Egypt and into the Land of Israel. That is Zionism.

In the Sh’moneh Esreh itself, here is one of the blessings:

Blow a great shofar to our liberty, and raise a banner to assemble our exiles, and assemble us speedily from the four corners of the earth to our land.

For 2,000 years, Jews have prayed for being assembled back to the Land of Israel. Most of the time they did not believe it was a call to action, but never did they abandon the view that the Land of Israel is the Jews’ only homeland! That is Jewish nationalism.

Here is another blessing from the Sh’moneh Esreh:

And to Jerusalem Your city may You return speedily, and may You dwell in it as You have spoken; and build it soon in our days an eternal building, and prepare the throne of David Your servant speedily in it.

2,000 years of praying to return to Jerusalem as our capital, and for rebuilding the Temple in it, no matter what any other people had built on top of its ruins in order to cover its Jewish history. Jerusalem is Zion. That is Zionism.

Neither were mundane activities free of Jewish nationalism. After eating a meal, a Jew would say Birkat Ha-Mazon, the Blessing of the Nourishment, one of whose passages is the following:

We thank You, HaShem our God, that You have given to our fathers as inheritance a pleasured, good and large land, and that You have brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of slaves.

Given the Land of Israel as inheritance. Brought out of Egypt to it. Jewish nationalistic ideas dating to the time of the Babylonian Talmud, when the Roman Empire was still at its height.

Another passage from Birkat Ha-Mazon:

The Merciful—He will break the yoke from over our necks and He will lead us upstanding to our land.

Yes, long before the “Spring of Nations” in Europe in 1848, this indisputable expression of nationalism had been recited daily by Jews everywhere.

There is more from the prayer-book than I can list here. There is the Passover Haggadah with its famous “Next Year in Jerusalem!” (famous, therefore all the sharper a condemnation of those who deny the antiquity of Jewish nationalism), and the recurrent comparisons, made during the Jewish marriage ceremony, of marriage to the re-inhabitation of the Land of Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

The Jew is commanded to study the Torah. The Written Torah itself is full to brimming with the connection of the Israelites to the Land of Israel, and has many mitzvot that cannot be carried out on any other land (but don’t expect the world to show consideration for that; only those who are ready to blow things up in a temper tantrum get their wishes aplenty, such as a foot-washing basin in every Western university). The Oral Torah and the rabbinical commentaries are not lacking either:

The Holy One, Blessed Is He, will in future assemble all of Israel from the four corners of the earth; like that gardener who plants from bed to bed, so will the Holy One, Blessed Is He, plant them from an impure land to a pure land. (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, 19; 1st century CE)

Again the idea that all the Jews will one day return to the Land of Israel. Zionism.

And here is a commentary explaining why the king Omri, otherwise remembered as a bad king in Jewish tradition, was given the favor of ruling the Kingdom of Israel:

For what did Omri win the kingdom? For his adding one town in the Land of Israel, as it is said: “And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill, Samaria”. (Sanhedrin, 102, p. 2)

For building a new Israelite town! For acting to make the Land of Israel more inhabited with Israelites! That king was more Zionist than the crop of weak, world-praise-craving and Jewish-settlement-destroying “leaders” the state of Israel has now.

From the day-to-day life of rabbis in the Land of Israel at the end of the 2nd century CE:

Rabbi Hiyya the Great and Rabbi Shimon ben Halafta were walking in the valley of Arbel and saw the light of dawnbreak. Said Rabbi Hiyya the Great to Rabbi Shimon: “Such is the deliverance of Israel: at first it is little by little, but the more it goes the more it gets stronger”. (Yerushalmi, Brachot, 81, Halachah 1)

A foreshadowing of the Zionist movement that came to be in the 19th century: starting with a trickle, then ending up as a magnificent edifice. And the anti-Zionists dare to imply that Zionism arose in the 19th century from scratch.

And finally, lest you think Jewish nationalism is all confined to the realm of prayers and blessings and dreams, here is a halachah (Jewish religious edict, meaning that it is a requirement for Jews to go by) regarding Jews who reside in the Land of Israel:

It is prohibited to go out from the Land of Israel to outside the land, ever, except for studying Torah or marrying a woman or saving from the Gentiles; and he [who goes out for those reasons] must return to the land [after that]. And so too [if] he goes out for trade, he must return [afterward]. But to go out of the land and reside abroad is prohibited. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Chazon Ish’s addendum of Laws Dependent on the Land of Israel, 42).

The background here is fascinating: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is an abridged form of the Shulchan Aruch, the comprehensive codex of Jewish law compiled by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century CE. Because the Kitzur is an abridged form, this halachah does not appear in the original, the version by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried from the 19th century. It, along with all the injunctions pertaining to the Land of Israel, was added by the Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Avraham Yeshaiah Karelitz (1878–1953; also known as the Chazon Ish), when he saw the number of Jews residing in the Land of Israel had become considerable.

It is fascinating for two reasons: first and obvious is that the Shulchan Aruch predates the modern Zionist movement by three centuries; second is that Rabbi Karelitz was an Ultra-Orthodox rabbi at a time when the Zionist movement and traditional Judaism were in a great clash, and the Ultra-Orthodox universally considered them irreconcilable (still the view held by Neturei Karta; it is a testimony of our times that the NK’s are now pariahs in the Jewish world. Blessed is this nation that can overcome internal strife). And yet, if you were to read this halachah before someone who didn’t know, without giving him that background, he would think it a piece of Zionist legislation. Again, the inherent, integral Zionism of Judaism is demonstrated.

This survey was brief, very brief; you could spend long months cataloging all the Jewish nationalist rules and sentiments in the traditional, orthodox sources of Judaism. With such a great amount of material, even a Jew of secular upbringing gets the idea that Jewish nationalism is ancient. Now you now why I—why most Jews—find it shocking to hear that we are “colonialists” on the Land of Israel, and that there is another nation that deserves to be called its “indigenous people”.

What is our enemies’ answer to such a mountainous corpus of evidence? The Muslims usually turn to accuse us of what they specialize in: forgery, fabrication and revisionism. They, believers in the wildest of conspiracy theories, are beyond reason; there is no choice—not just for us but for all non-Muslims—but to fight them, for they know no other language. Their sympathizers in the West, mainly the Marxists, are sometimes a little better—at least they couch their Zionism Denial with intellectually-sounding arguments.

Some of them try to play God, saying we’re not worthy of returning to the land of our forefathers (strange, then, that HaShem let the modern Zionist movement pass through all the hurdles, not least of which was the war with five Arab armies in 1948–9). Others try to invoke the Torah against us, usually plagiarizing the Neturei Karta, and always arguing that “Thou shalt not steal” means the whole setting up of the Jewish state on expense of “the indigenous Palestinians” was a violation of the Torah. They conveniently overlook the many parts in the Torah where God tells the Israelites to take the land from the Canaanites, and by force at that. One wonders if they’d act as advocates for Esau in his case against Jacob, who “stole” his birthright.

But the argument from the Left I have encountered with increasing frequency over the last few years is the argument that Jews of European origin are not ancestral Jews at all—our old friend the Khazaria Hypothesis. Those ever-moral people, ostensibly so intent on making racism history, think Jewishness is a racial matter, a genetic matter, something dependent on DNA. Do they not know that that argument still leaves millions of Israeli Jews who are (according to their twisted, profoundly racist view) eligible to “Semitic inheritance”? I think they probably do, but they maintain that argument nevertheless, because it supports their entire house of cards: Ashkenazis are not real Jews but converted Khazars; Zionism in the 19th century was started by Ashkenazi Jews; therefore Zionism is a European, non-white, non-Semitic colonialist movement, on a par with the French colonization of Algeria. The enthusiasm which Leftists take to show how non-white Jews suffer discrimination in the state of Israel (something that’s been history for about 30 years now) lends support to my theory. The idyllic portrayal of past Jewish–Muslim relations is another lynchpin here, implying that Zionism was foisted upon unwilling Jews in all the Muslim countries.

The quotes above, when presented before an anti-Zionist, can serve as litmus test, to check if he holds his position out of mere ignorance—which is no sin per se, only the refusal to educate oneself is—or out of a vested interest. Those who keep their Post-Colonial hypothesis, of Zionism being a 19th-century white colonial settler movement, even after being presented those quotes, are the latter. Here is the difference between those who are “pro-Palestinian but also pro-Israel” and those who are anti-Israel.

Sentimentally, it is possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-“Palestinian” at the same time; in practice, it is not. What I mean is: when people say, “I’m both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine”, they are usually telling the truth, their sincere stance. But what they do not know is that they have been duped—that there is no concept of a “Palestinian nation” apart from the plan to destroy the Jewish state (God forbid).

You saw that sampling of quotes of above. Now try compiling a similar sampling for the much-touted “Palestinian nation”. I’ve seen attempts at that, and they go like this: the love of the “Palestinians” for olive trees; the Arabic script; the Al Aqsa mosque; a few cartoon characters like Handala; the kefiyyeh; and resistance, resistance and more resistance. No list of “Palestinian” kings. No scriptural quotations about the significance of this land, except some damning passages in the Koran saying Allah has given this land to the Jews (one day, HaShem willing, this will be Ishmael’s way off his high horse, and on to repentance), and Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in that book. Not a single demonstration of how, before the 20th century, the Arabs of the Land of Israel differed markedly from those of Syria, for example, or how they could be considered a group of any cohesion at all. My brief collection of quotes from Jewish sources has made it patently clear that there is no other homeland for the Jews than the Land of Israel; the “Palestinians”, in contrast, have failed to even begin making such a case. And if “Palestinians” are strangers in other Arab lands, this is for the same reason that Iraqi refugees today are shunned in Syria: Arab society is a hypertribal one, to the point of insane xenophobia toward anyone outside one’s own tribe.

And if, God forbid, the “Palestinian” dream were to come true, with the demise of the hated Zionist entity, what would be of the “Palestinian nation”? It would be absorbed into the larger body, that of the Arab nation or (more likely today, now that pan-Arabism has fallen out of fashion) the Islamic collective, the ummah, like water dropped out of a bucket into the sea. The fact is, the idea of the “Palestinian nation”, from the early 20th century onward, has been maintained only for its usefulness as a tool against the Jews returning to their land. As a tool for contesting the historical connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel. And how well it has worked. So well that even good-intentioned people have quaffed the Kool-Aid cup.

I have coined the term, “Zionism Denial”. If more Jews had eyes to see the present, instead of being stuck in past paradigms, they would lessen their obsession with the Holocaust, Holocaust Denial and imprisoning Holocaust Deniers, and wake up to the far more dangerous fact of Zionism Denial, this denial of the connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel, this twisted idea that the Jews are colonial invaders while the “Palestinians” are the indigenous people of the land. Oh, I do not disagree that Holocaust Denial is malicious, offensive, preposterous and a sin against truth; but, unlike Zionism Denial, it is not life-threatening. Remember: Jew-hatred is dangerous only when it is in a form acceptable in polite, cultured society. Holocaust Deniers are condemned universally, even on far-Left, anti-Zionist sites like CounterPunch. Zionism Denial, on the other hand, is all but acceptable—acceptable, moral, progressive, enlightened.

Zionism Denial is, whether intentionally or not, incitement to murder of Jews (God forbid). By construing the Jews of present-day Israel as colonials, the “Palestinians” are given the moral right to murder Jews, be it even tacitly. Tom Paulin’s statement, that the “Brooklyn-born Jewish settlers” (again the angle of, “white colonial invader robbing the indigenous brown people”) in Judea, Samaria and Gaza “should be shot dead” (God forbid), because “they are Nazis, racists”, is an instance of saying out aloud what a lot of people who have bought into the “Palestinian nation” narrative think in their hearts. And even Paulin was being reserved, because today this sentiment is no longer confined to the 1967 territories.

Forget David Irving. Forget Ernst Zundel. Leave them all, they’re just distractions. Turn your eyes onto Desmond Tutu, onto Jimmy Carter, onto Bill and Kate Christison, and onto all the rest of those who not only adhere to, but also preach to the world, the Big Lie of Zionism Denial, the fiction, fakery, fraud, forgery and fabrication of the “Palestinian nation”, and its accompanying false narrative of Zionism as “a 19th-century European, White colonial settler Blut und Boden nationalism”.

The Holocaust is applicable today in one thing: it has taught us that such a horror can happen. It has taught us, then, that we must never, ever take threats lightly. How many of us would have given everything to go back in time and make all effort to forestall the Holocaust that was? That isn’t possible, but it is possible to act now, against a gathering of clouds that looks mighty similar. Consider the Muslims who call for a full application of “The Right of Return” (70 percent of all the “Palestinians”, according to Ali Abunimah’s latest screed) as Nazis, and the non-Muslims who support that as Nazi-sympathizers. Treat the callers for boycotts of Israel as equivalents of Tom Paulin in support for the murder of Jews (God forbid). And, more and more as the means become more plentiful, do everything to silence the opposition to Zionism. Maimonides described the Messianic Age as one that differs from all others in only one thing: the absence of subjugation, meaning the Jews are totally free to lead the Jewish life. The goal, then, implied by the deeply Zionist Maimonides himself (one need only read his writings regarding the future sovereignty of the Jews on the Land of Israel—an example of Jewish nationalism dating from the 13th century), is that there be no contest to the idea that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews, by divine right and ancient historical connection, and that their laws are the only acceptable laws for the land to be governed by.

Since the source and powerhouse of all opposition to this claim and idea and goal comes from the “Palestinian nation” narrative, it is clear that the great Jewish war of this age is the war against Zionism Denial. It is the war of minds for the Jewish moral right to the Land of Israel (even by force if need be, as it was in the case of the Canaanites) and against the Fakestinian Fraud. The first historical recording of the name of Israel by another nation is Pharaoh Merneptah’s Stele, saying, “Israel has been wiped out, its seed is no more”; it encapsulates the reality that all the various kinds of anti-Jewish theories, whether the Protocols or Zionism Denial, never had a chance against the truth, which is protected by a mountain of evidence, but were there only for that purpose, expressed in the words of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and a modern Muslim Iranian president, that Israel be wiped out, God forbid. Our ancient nationalism cannot be compromised even just a little, for the purpose behind the present assault on it is nothing less than total.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Jewish Reaction to Hatred: Right and Wrong

The greatest mistake, made by Jews thoughout all ages: the assumption that the friendship of those who hate us can be won by “dispelling the stereotypes”. Click image to view full size.

Those who love us will love us even more when we act like Jews. Those who hate us will keep hating us no matter how much of our Jewishness (whether the garb or tenets of the mind like Jewish exceptionalism) we shed in order to win their favor.

“HaShem will give strength unto His people; HaShem will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Selling Expulsionism to the Public

Two years after the uprooting of the Jewish inhabitations in the Gaza region, bringing us Kassam rockets and not bringing us the “legitimacy in the eyes of the world” that had been hoped for, and one year after the war with Hizbullah in Lebanon, again the aftermath of withdrawing for the sake of peace, and again a case of an unsympathetic world (“Disproportionate response!”), the Jewish public, in Israel at least, and I presume much of it in the Diaspora also, is marked by a change: disbelief in the capability of concessions and treaties to secure peace for Israel. Only those who put the blindfolds of kumbayism and self-flagellation on their eyes refuse to change their view.

However, the change, for most Jews, has not been complete. Thanks be to God, they are now clear of the irrational belief in the magical properties of pieces of paper, but they have not yet come to the solution; they are stuck in the limbo of knowing what the way is not but not knowing what the way is.

Such has been my experience of talking with old friends of mine, good and feeling Jews who, like me, have let reality be their guide and left the unfounded belief that the other side wants peace other than on its own, Israel-free (God forbid), terms. “What’s going to happen, then?” I ask. The answer is the same every time: “I don’t know. We’ll just have to fight it on, slogging it for years and years, indefinitely, until something gives”. That reply saddens me no end. The Torah-based view goes against such thinking, and offers the way out. Those friends of mine, still secular Jews, have gotten out of the mindset of moonbattery that breeds irrational pacifism—God be thanked for that! But without the traditional Jewish view (a view that even among religious Jews has been dimmed by the long years of exile and its thought-imprints), the only alternative to Leftist irrationality they have is the non-alternative of, “War Without End”.

That is an un-Jewish view. “War Without End”, or in God’s phrasing, “And by thy sword shalt thou live” (Genesis 27:40), is the “blessing” given to the wayward sons, to Ishmael and Esau, while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (peace be upon them) were promised peace. For the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, war is the end; for the descendants of Jacob, war is but the means, for defending themselves and for claiming that which HaShem has given them, while a peaceful existence is the end. HaShem did not lead our forefathers out of Egypt in order to be at war without end against the Canaanites and other indigenous peoples of the Land of Israel; and now neither, it is not our fate to be deadlocked with war against the Muslims, the spiritual descendants of Ishmael, but to enjoy lasting peace in the Land of Israel. Then as now, the way to that peace is simple: the threat to Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel must be physically removed, by driving it away, by expelling them all, en masse. The failure of any prospect of reaching a negotiated peace agreement with the Muslims means war, but not war without end, but war just until there is no contest to the idea that the Land of Israel is under Jewish rule.

But I talked of my secular Jewish friends. Having friends and family who are not yet religious, even though—thanks be to God, again and again—much more sympathetic toward religion than they ever were in the post-Zionist, postmodern 1990’s, I know that it is prudent, for the sake of averting all possibility of internecine warfare, to go with HaShem’s pace in reaching out to them, and not to alienate our brothers and sisters by any form of pushiness. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook (ZT"L) foretold that the holiness of the Land of Israel would bring all the Jews back to the Torah; it is wonderfully happening right now, so let us not ruin it by the mean-spirited disparagement that characterized that ugly decade. For myself, I take it as a call to sell expulsionism to the Jewish public with a slightly more secular appearance. Quoting Numbers 33:50–56 may be enough for me, but I will for the time being avoid it when addressing our secular Jewish brothers and sisters (with one exception which I will come to later). The key point is to show that expulsionism is by no means the exclusive idea of a few religious fanatics—to show that expulsionism makes a tremendous amount of pragmatic sense, as well as sense even from a secular-idealistic point of view.

I will now address the most common objections to expulsionism, and after that, lay out the clearest benefits. The objections are:

  • It is inhumane.
  • It will wreak psychological havoc on our soldiers.
  • It is contrary to international law, constituting a war crime.
  • It will make Israel a pariah in the world.
  • It will confirm the allegation of our enemies that we are robbers.
  • It is racism, or ethnocratic action at the very least.
  • It is contrary to Jewish values.

The benefits are:

  • A clean, non-genocidal solution.
  • It will free all or nearly all the huge resources Israel currently devotes to defense, both internal and external.
  • The resultant permanent peace will attract foreign investors in droves.
  • It will be the first step toward world peace, by being a dazzling show to the Muslims worldwide that jihad doesn’t pay.

And now the elaborations. On the objections:

“It is inhumane.” It is inhumane, from the secular-idealistic point of view, to force more than a million men, women and children to move en masse. For the contention that is not a thing to be wished upon anyone, there is no argument here; but as with the dentist’s infliction of some (indisputably real) pain in order to prevent more pain later, this is a step that has to be taken, for we live in the real world. The real world, the reality before our eyes, which so many Jews have in the course of the last seven years commendably acknowledged, shows that it would infinitely more inhumane to leave the “Palestinians” where they are.

Reality bears witness that the “Palestinians” are a failed society: with their poisoning of their children’s minds with the heritage of suicide-“martyrdom”, with such role models as a Mickey Mouse lookalike preaching Islamic supremacism, a killer bee that engages in cruelty toward animals in the zoo and the routine use of children’s cartoons in the service of hateful agendas, their society goes beyond the vaunted, Left-admired resistance and into the Nazi-style territory of nurturing hatred toward the enemy for the purpose of liquidation. To enable the staying of this failed society on this soil, whether by giving them what they want (concessions) or through endless war, is inhumane—it is to condemn countless children to a life of education to death.

“Palestinian” demonstrators showing support of Saddam Hussein, on November 6, 2006. Note the egg-thrower at the front.

This is a society that does not want to improve itself; a society that prefers to destroy greenhouses rather than use them productively, a society that drowns in excrement because it has used its sewage pipes for making Kassam rockets, a society that keeps living in “refugee camps” just to gain propaganda benefits against the Jews. There can be no crueler act than to let them stay here. Driving them away could prompt soul-searching, leading to self-improvement; the status quo, in contrast, means a reward for their self-destructive mode of living, and an incentive to continue their death-worshiping way.

From a Hamas summer camp activity for children, on July 5, 2007. Note the egg-thrower with the Carlsberg t-shirt on the right. If the self-portrait they sell to the world, of them as “starving, crushed under the Zionist occupation”, is a fraud, what else could they be fabricating?

Mass expulsion would be unpleasant, just as disciplining a spoiled child who loves to wallow in self-pity, does nothing to improve himself and conditions his happiness on being top of the class is unpleasant. Unpleasant, and the most humane and loving thing to do.

Second objection: “It will wreak psychological havoc on our soldiers.” Possibly, but that would be a one-time event, instead of the current, continuous state. Anti-“occupation” Israeli Leftist activists say the assignment of our boys to the checkpoints and to “Palestinian” centers of population is having a deleterious effect on their psyche. They say the necessity of being callous toward pregnant women at the checkpoints, for example, or being brutal toward children, take their toll on Israeli Jewish society later when those soldiers finish their army service. Granting that for the sake of the argument: this is one of the best pragmatic arguments for expelling all the Muslims from the Land of Israel. It does away both with the old concessionism, for conceding our lands to the Muslims will only move the “brutality” further inside (there were no checkpoints until the suicide-bombings within the 1949 Armistice Line borders took place), and with the newer “War Without End” view, which is a hopeless vision of psychological deterioration.

Mass expulsion may or may not damage our soldiers’ psyche, but no more so than the damage they are already undergoing under the present regime. Any damage done will be offset by the fact of having ended the status quo of necessary callousness, thus restoring the mental health that our would-be Freuds so crave.

Third objection: “It is contrary to international law, constituting a war crime.” This is a valid objection, but it assumes a priori that international law is the highest standard. Even without reference to the Torah (which I take to be the highest standard), international law is nothing such—survival trumps international law every time. Just as states have no moral right to exist if they do not stand up to their job of providing protection to their citizens, so too international law is null and void if it opens the gates of victory to our enemies.

International law, as currently written, has the effect that the enemy need only hide among its women and children in order to be victorious, for it criminalizes retaliation when such a situation arises. This enables a ragtag bunch of guerrillas like Al Qaeda in Iraq to do serious damage to US troops, and more importantly to US public opinion, despite the US being the best army in the world.

Photo: Moonbat demonstrator during the 2006 Lebanon War holding a sign saying, "If Hezbollah hides among civilians, the IDF has no choice--it must hold fire."
Of which Captain Mifune (of The Matrix) would say, “You just handed them their victory on a silver platter”.

Either international law is substantially rewritten, so as not to serve as an enabler of Islamic imperialism, or there is no choice but to ignore it. For the issue of mass expulsion, the chief relevance here is that such war crimes as are often decried by the Mainstream Media, foremostly collateral damage, can be brought to an end by expelling all potential sources of insurgency and terrorism. Since there is no way of distinguishing between active jihadists and Muslims who are just supporters, the only clean way to end this is by expelling them all.

Fourth objection: “It will make Israel a pariah in the world.” It already is one, and becoming more so with each concession, each humanitarian act and each reprieve we make. If the world is capable of regarding the painful uprooting of all Jewish inhabitants from the Gaza region as “a ploy to make Gaza a free-fire zone” or “a move to strengthen the West Bank settlements”, then it ought to be perfectly clear that its attitude toward us is independent of our actions. Whatever we do, the intransigence of our Muslim enemies always means we would have to maintain our peaceful lives, even survival, by actions that cannot end with just a few stones shifted slightly. We can learn from the Lebanon War of 2006 that even our clearly defensive actions can be turned to be acts of aggression in world opinion, thanks in no small part to the lack of compunction the Muslims have against using the lives of their own women and children as propaganda-money. From that, we can conclude that even a last-ditch defensive war of the Tel-Aviv region against an attack by all 57 Muslim states (God forbid) could be turned into aggression on our part. The Jew is always called to fight fair, as we all know.

Survival trumps world opinion just as it trumps international law. To be a global pariah but alive is better than to be a slaughtered sheep eulogized by that same world. In addition to this obvious truth, it is reasonable to believe that the worldwide condemnation, though strong, will be relatively short, to be replaced by praise at showing all the non-Muslim world the right way forward (see elaboration on that later, under “Benefits”).

Fifth objection: “It will confirm the allegation of our enemies that we are robbers.” Again, we already are such in their eyes. The idea that not just the taking of territories in the 1967 Six-Day War, but the very founding of the State of Israel in 1947–9 “on expense of the indigenous Palestinian population”, is a grievous wrong that needs righting has taken a strong foothold in the West over the last seven years, and it can only get worse, no matter what we do to improve our image. In enquiring for the answer to the question (an exilic question, a question that goes against everything that the founders of Secular Zionism, Herzl and Pinsker of blessed memory, stood for), “What can we do in order that the world may be pleased with us?”, we increasingly find out that the answer is, “Give up everything”. Increasingly, the world can be seen to demand nothing less than the transformation of Israel into “a state of all its citizens”, in which an influx of millions of “Palestinians” by the application of their hereditary “Right of Return” would give them the majority they need to turn Jewish life in the Land of Israel to be like Jewish life has been in the Diaspora (both Christian and Islamic) for 2,000 years. (And that is the best-case scenario.)

No Jew who has bowed to the reality of the failure of negotiated peace could possibly agree to the vision of Israel being turned into “a state of all its citizens”, that which Steven Plaut calls “The Rwanda Solution”. Even Uri Avnery, moonbatty as he may be, likens the proposal of the One-State Solution to a swimmer wishing to try his hand at crossing the Atlantic after repeated failures at crossing the La Manche channel. Since the One-State Solution is the demand that is taking hold in the world, a demand that is fast becoming the only way to “get right” with the world, to “atone for our primal sin”, then it follows that we will stay robbers in the eyes of the world no matter what we do. Again, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Robbers though we may well be considered after the mass expulsion, we will be alive and enjoying lasting peace, while currently we are both considered robbers (because of the “primal sin” of “robbing the lands of the indigenous Palestinians in 1947–9”, see above) and suffering under the yoke of the Islamic terrorist threat.

Sixth objection: “It is racism, or ethnocratic action at the very least.” It is not racism, because Judaism is not based on race. Judaism is an ethnicity that spans multiple races (compare an Ashkenazi with a Yemenite Jew for proof). It is an ethnocratic action; assumed a priori here is that ethnocratic controls are automatically a bad thing. As the situation in the whole world shows, the lack of ethnocratic controls is the cause of the deterioration of conditions in formerly peaceful countries, by virtue of cultural breakdown. Even in a melting-pot society like that of the USA, policy had always been ethnocratic, because the immigrants were strongly encouraged to assimilate to the norms of the host society; now, on the US–Mexico border, the abandonment of that demand has led to the situation of anarchy there. An ethnicity, unlike a race, does not demand conformity of inborn traits; it demands only homogeneity in cultural and social values. Today’s lack of insistence on that homogeneity, which is comparable to letting cannibals into a Western country without demanding that they leave their dietary habits, is the source of havoc in the Western world.

Israel, as the Jewish state, is founded on Jewish values (far stronger than the connection of the USA to Christian values). The demand is not that all people in Israel be Jewish; the demand is, however, that they not undermine the Jewish character of the state, just as cannibals cannot (in a normal world) stay in a Western country if they keep to their traditional cuisine from the homeland. The Muslims, even within the 1949 Armistice Line territories, refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, therefore cannot be allowed to stay. Any self-respecting nation would think that way—ethnocratic controls are not “the fruit of bigotry”, they are the stop-gap of a healthy society against the multicultural slide toward anarchy! Cultural homogeneity is not based on “hatred of the other”, but on the simple human observation that, without shared cultural values, a society cannot stand. Immigration is a privilege, predicated on acceptance of the host culture; once accepted, it would be wrong not to naturalize the immigrant. But if the immigrant refuses to accept the host culture, then he should be deported. Mass expulsion stems from the same issue.

Seventh objection: “It is contrary to Jewish values.” Here it is that I can bring passages from the Torah, such as the oft-mentioned Numbers 33:50–56; for, once the question of Jewish values is brought up, what is better than verses from the Torah in order to make the point? As the passage shows, mass expulsion is not contrary to Jewish values. It applies only to the Land of Israel, not to the whole world (thus refuting the charge that Judaism is a Nazi-like supremacist ideology), and it is definitely not contrary to Jewish values, not “a blot on Jewishness” as detractors say. Beyond the specifics, there is a more general point here, that Jewish values are much more down-to-earth than many people think. The high-flown doctrines of “not hurting any living being, not even a fly” belong to other religions; Judaism, while being most vehemently against violence for the sake of violence and cruelty for the sake of cruelty, commands doing the utmost for the sake of self-defense. It is a Jewish value to be merciful to those who deserve mercy; to be merciful to those who do not, such as those who raise their children to be suicide-bombers, is contrary to Jewish values. Among Jewish values is to withhold all mercy from those who you know will not show mercy to you.

Judaism raises peace above all else, even saying that Peace (“Shalom”) is one of God’s names, but Judaism does not necessarily agree with the methods of attaining peace that certain non-Jewish ideologies hold. Once it has been clearly understood that concessions to the enemy’s demands only lead to a state of less peace, it is contrary to Jewish values to do anything but wage war on that enemy. Mass expulsion, because it brings the promise of lasting peace, is currently the most Jewish thing to do.

Here end the answers to the objections. Now to the benefits:

A clean, non-genocidal solution. The problem is the massive support that the active jihadists enjoy among the Muslim populace. Some have wrung their hands in despair, saying, “So what are we going to do—kill them all?” Mass expulsion is the alternative that both takes care of the problem and solves it in the most humane way possible under such circumstances. No atrocities, no Killing Fields, no sliding to the abyss of World War II days.

Second benefit: It will free all or nearly all the huge resources Israel currently devotes to defense, both internal and external. One of the objections Israeli Jews used to have (and a small number still have) to the settlements in the 1967 territories was the allocation of resources for defending them. Land concessions do not free those resources, they just move them to tighter borders. With our without the 1967 territories, the reality of having to open your bag and pass through a metal detector at the entrance to every public place in all of Israel is there. With all the Muslims expelled, all these costly and intrusive defense measures will be rendered needless, for there would then be no terrorist threat. The money could then really be used for better things, just as the former advocates of withdrawal had called for.

Third benefit: The resultant permanent peace will attract foreign investors in droves. The dreamer Shimon Peres had always envisioned how Israel, when in a state of peace resulting from conceding lands to all its neighbors, would become the Monaco of the Middle East, a magnet for foreign investors. He was right in the sense that investors are attracted by a state of peace and repelled by the prospect of impending war. It follows, then, that the lasting peace achieved through mass expulsion would bring about the vision which Peres, because of his misconceived means, could not fulfill.

Fourth benefit: It will be the first step toward world peace, by being a dazzling show to the Muslims worldwide that jihad doesn’t pay. After the initial cries of condemnation have subsided, the world will see that, despite all reservations, mass expulsion works. The world has forgotten how the mass expulsion of the Sudeten Germans in 1945 has made that region a non-news region ever since, and has to be reminded of it. In all the world, our actions could well spark a flurry of second thoughts about mass expulsion or deportation. Finally, there is a chance that a reformation of Islam for the better could be kick-started, for there is nothing that fuels the worldwide jihad more than the conviction that jihad pays, a conviction currently fed daily by acts of concession, whether in land or in culture, toward the Muslims on the part of non-Muslim leaders everywhere.

Here end the benefits as well. As you can see, this whole exposition has been sparing and pointed in its use of religion-based arguments; the pragmatic arguments for mass expulsion are strong enough as they are. I hope this will lead people to reconsider their stance, despite years of cultural-Marxist indoctrination to regard such a proposal as the most heinous crime. In any case, some years from now there might not be a choice in the matter.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Wikipedia: Golding Digitized

From time to time a new scandal arises, such as the Siegenthaler affair and now the launch of a tool for listing anonymous Wikipedia edits by organizations, raising to the fore the problematic nature of an “encyclopedia anyone can edit”. This post, however, is not an addition to the already saturated opinion-market of essays telling the world how Wikipedia sucks; Wikipedia is here used only as an illustration, an exemplar of a general problem. In the world of computing, Wikipedia is just a vivid and expanded demonstration of the truth that “permit all” is usually followed by “delete all” (or, as Unix buffs say: chmod 777 usually comes before rm -r -f). In the world of culture and human anthropology, which I have an inordinate interest in, Wikipedia is an illustration of the tabula rasa (blank slate) fallacy.

Wikipedia is just another in a slew of anarchist ideas—the idea of “a smoothly-functioning anarchy” (the words of Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Project), the idea of “a self-policing system”, the idea of “a consensus-driven community”, the idea of “the dictatorship of the proletariat”, and you get the drift. It doesn’t matter if Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is an anarchist or not; the idea can be traced to that pedigree, even if Wales developed it independently. Whether intentionally or not, Wikipedia has its place in the long list of enterprises in which the creator or founder really plays God, making an experiment whose pillar is creation from scratch—the aforementioned tabula rasa. A very interesting fact, for the Bible describes how God Himself, because of the free will and the passions He has given humans, voices His total rejection of the concept of tabula rasa.

Successful art is usually deemed as such because it stands the test of time. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is relatively recent (1954), but its ideas are timeless, and its core idea (as far as I gather) is that Biblical idea that tabula rasa utopianism is a grave error. A bunch of little kids is stranded on an island paradise: they have a goal (returning to civilization), they have their needs provided (the fruits of the trees on that island), and they have minimal sources of friction (no girls to fight over, for example). It is really a clean slate, and by rights it ought to function smoothly. Yet little time passes before they partake of the same afflictions of all other societies: factionalism (the Merrydew schism), murder and—finally—the burning of the trees, the source of their sustenance. The beast is indeed within those kids, no matter how favorable the external conditions have been from the start.

Wikipedia’s lack of professionalism is the hot topic, the popular point of discussion; under the radar, however, slips the issue of what Wikipedia was conceived to be as opposed to what it has become. Bureaucrats, administrators, piles upon piles of rules, vital actions bogged down by procedure, pages put under protection or semi-protection—a complex, elaborate, monstrous, labyrinthine system that belies the entire initial concept. Yes, you don’t need to tell me: those changes were necessitated by the circumstances. No argument here. But this is proof of the fallacious nature of tabula rasa utopianism. This is the same, exact same idea as in Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and in its (conscious or unconscious) source, the Bible, the Word of HaShem.

How many times have we seen that happen? “Such if we do, heaven will be created on earth”, only to prove dismal at best, forcing the founders to take a turn diametrically opposed to their original vision. The “smoothly-functioning anarchy” envisioned by Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond is most popularly demonstrated by the Linux kernel, but the Linux kernel is free of the schisms and bureaucratic creep that have plagued other open-source projects because it is under the rule of a dictator (Linus Torvalds), even if that dictator is semi-jokingly called a benevolent one. The Marxist experiment, spawning one of the cruelest dictatorships in history (Stalin’s, long may he roast in hell, amen) and 100,000,000 deaths in its wake, was another attempt to solve humanity’s problem by creating from scratch, as if human beings were program source code to be cleaned by doing a complete rewrite.

Or religious reforms. Many an attempt at religious reform aims to clean up the religion from what are considered sinful accretions, such as commercialism, ritualism, legalism and getting entwined with the state, only to become a religion in its own right, moreover usually succumbing to the same accretions that the reformer-founders aimed to dispose of. For example, the Jewish reformer who is described to have railed against the commercialism near the Temple, turning the stalls, spawned a religion in which, a few centuries afterward, many of the men of cloth engaged in their own forms of crass commercialism (such as the sale of relics). Similarly, Protestantism had the goal of “ridding the religion of all the priestcraft, of the priests and popes telling people how to read the Bible”, but ministers and reverends fill the niche quite nicely. The Muslims pride themselves of belonging to a religion without priests, to contrast with the “Jewish and Christian corruptions”; true, Islam has no priests, but, once again, it has a class that fills that hole well. Buddhism may have started as a rebellion against the excesses and empty piety of the Hindu Brahmins; Buddhist functionaries can compete with the best (worst) of those. Sikhism was meant to purify religion of empty ritual, focusing instead on “God’s True Name”; there is no shortage of ritual that has accumulated there over time. And finally, scientific rationalism aimed to purge humanity of all the “primitive superstitions born of unreason”, all the religions, all beliefs in the supernatural; secular religions quickly took to fill the void, and, on the way, drenched the world in blood in the course of the 20th century.

All this consistent track record, of the failure of tabula rasa experiments, could have been avoided, had mankind listened to what God has to say on the matter. The Bible lists these occurrences from start to finish, and even if some parts of it are not taken literally, the lesson is a stupefying one. Adam and Eve; the post-Flood generation that built the Tower of Babel; and then the periodical fall into transgression by the one nation that HaShem had consecrated for His purposes, the Israelites. A clean slate, followed by a fall into weak human lapses. Golding set out the idea in another form, but it’s God’s lesson unto us anyway you put it.

These falls into transgression from an initial pure state—are they oversights on God’s part, as the unbelievers say? Perish the thought. It is not but our Creator drumming the truths of our nature—and He knows best, for He is the manufacturer—into our thick skulls. God says (Genesis 6:5):

And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And he also says (Genesis 8:21):

For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. (&c)

Now the Jewish view differs from the Christian one, in that the latter says humans are incapable of standing up to their evil inclination while the former says they are (based on HaShem’s words to Cain, in Genesis 4:7: “[…] But thou mayest rule over it”). But the view that humans are inclined toward evil is shared by the two religions, because the Bible (in the above two passages, for example) is absolutely clear about this. God’s word brings the rational explanation to the phenomenon that every eye—every eye not letting the predetermined opposite doctrine get in its way, that is—can see. Every eye can observe the scrapping of tots with each other at kindergarten: the selfishness, the vindictiveness, the cruelty. And all of this, unlearned. Did the parents teach them to be that way? No, most chances are that the parents, when they see it, react in shock and try to do something to counter it. Untaught to be evil. Unimparted propensity for bad behavior. Goodness has to be taught to the child, and fought for throughout all his life; badness comes naturally.

Do you now realize the secret behind the tabula rasa fallacy? God tells us: there is no such thing. There is no clean slate. There is no escape, not even an island paradise setting as in Golding’s book! Those kids had the benefit of an external clean slate, yes, but internally they started with the same fully-occupied slate as every human being—the basic fact of human nature, the inclination of human beings toward wrongdoing. Judaism says it can be overcome, through effort—but Judaism rejects the idea that good and thoughtful planning by human beings can guarantee the neutralization of that basic evil. It’s not ours to create humans anew; God has the first, last and only say in that matter.

So many times, before I got religion, I looked at passages in the Torah and said, “This is open to abuse!” I was reading it with the critical eye of a hippified anarchist, regarding it as a book authored by humans for furthering their tyranny over the masses. “This is for giving an unlimited supply of food to the priests! How convenient”, I said. “This passage means the rabbis have unlimited power over the common man”, I said. But now I see, that even if the spirit of those thoughts still has a grain of truth in it—there is free will for everyone to abuse his power, after all—I know that such attempts at correction as humans (particularly leftists like I was then) have undertaken have never led to the desired effect, to the utopia hoped for.

The fact is there is no human guarantee in anything. From the 18th century, scientific rationalists envisioned a world in which science and reason provided the solution to most (if not all) of humanity’s problems. Quite apart from the world wars caused by non-religious ideologies, the fact is technological advances have brought a mixture of blessings and curses, which add up to the same situation as humanity has always been. Courses on “success in business”, rationally-sounding though they are tailored to be, are a mass of superstitious nonsense that would make any Middle Ager proud. Just as you can take all the steps detailed in a book by Bill Gates or Donald Trump telling you how they got rich, but to no avail, there is no reason why scientific rationalism should improve the human condition. And the various medical suggestions given for evading the mortal diseases of our time (HaShem guard us and save us) can only improve statistical probability, which is no help if genetics or some other unexpected thing gets in the way (example: a young, healthy sportsman dying of a heart attack in the middle of a game, HaShem guard us).

Therefore there is no good word except HaShem’s mitzvah from last week’s Torah portion (Deuteronomy 18:13):

Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the LORD thy God.

Tamim: whole-hearted, complete, childlike in trust. Working with what He created, not trying to get around it through sophisticated attempts at improvement. Recognizing that His creation, because of the very fact of being His creation, is not a blank slate. Not attempting to play God by creating a micro-world or micro-humanity, but building on what He created. Asher bara E-lohim la’asot (Genesis 2:3): literally “Which God created to do”, and our sages of blessed memory say of it: He created it for humans to build on it. Not for humans to dispute it and try their own hand at creation. If you have any doubts about the error of that, just look at the track record.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Brief Commentary on l’Affaire ADL

By now, probably everyone has heard about the disgrace wherein the Anti-Defamation League, in order to stay in good terms with Turkish officials, refused to condemn the Armenian Holocaust of 1915–8. The topic, particularly its moral implications, has been covered to the utmost in the Jewish blogosphere, and is one of the very rare occasions where I can agree with the diaries at Daily Kos (though the piggybacking of some of the commenters there in order to score their usual anti-Israel points remains as despicable as always). All I can add from the moral point of view is an analogy: it would be as if I were to cozy up to Stormfront just because of the prospect of them being allies in the resistance to Islam. (In practice, the Stormfronters are more likely to be allied with the Muslims, for the same reason Hitler was: their hatred of the Jews is stronger than their hatred of non-“Aryans”; but I had to bring up the Stormfront example, because their being the scum of the earth is a pretty wide concensus.) I hate Islam intensely, but no so much as to sell my soul.

On August 21 the ADL issued a statement, an feeble attempt at damage control. The closing paragraph of the statement reveals the thought-pattern behind the whole disgraceful affair:

Having said that, we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States. [Emphasis mine. —ZY]

It was upon reading this that I felt the need to write this post. I cannot add much to the slew of criticisms from the moral point of view, but this pragmatic standpoint is right in my ballpark. The ADL’s pragmatic case for supporting Armenian Holocaust Denial is totally lacking.

I will say it forthright: Turkey is a “staff of bruised reed” (Hebrew mish’enet kaneh ratzutz, which the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel called Egypt, in whom the Judeans trusted to save them from Babylon), as is any other Muslim-majority country. Yes, there may be a large portion of secularists loyal to Kemal Atatürk’s original vision, but the recent electoral victory of Islamic theocrats there did not appear from thin air, there had to be an even larger portion of people who are opposed to that vision. Yes, the military can reverse the rise of an Islamic government by a coup, as happened already in the past, but if a military coup is all that stands between a secular, pro-Western regime and a shariah-ruled, jihad-supporting one, then the state cannot be said to be a reliable ally, let alone worthy of making such soul-sacrifices to as the ADL just did.

The transformation of Iran from pro-Western to jihad-supporting in 1979 should be the most instructive example: wherever there is a Muslim majority, there is a push for the implementation of shariah and for making the state a base for the global jihad. Pro-Western puppets like Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Abu Mazen of the “Palestinian Authority” (oxymoron) are no good in countering that, for they are both hated by the Muslim populace for their collaboration with the non-Muslims, and, in an attempt to reduce that hatred, compromise on their aid to their non-Muslim benefactors (witness Musharraf’s gift of Waziristan to the jihadis a few months ago). No Muslim-majority state can ever be relied on for help against “radical Islam”, for the enemy is Islam itself, of which the jihadis are not an aberrant strain but the mainstream (active jihadis may number very few, but their supporters make up the majority of Muslims worldwide).

If it is pragmatic benefits we are discussing, then the best course of action, pragmatic as well as idealistic, is to support the expansion of non-Islamic states and steps toward de-Islamification of new territories taken by them, whether it be mass expulsion or an aggressively maintained system of incentives for leaving Islam and obstacles in the way of practicing it. It is far better pragmatically to support Greece and its retaking of former Greek lands in present-day Turkey, and from the other side, to support Armenia and its expansion. To support Turkey, even if it now seems Turkey can still hold on to Kemalian secularism, is to commit a long-term folly, just as it was Clinton’s folly to intervene in favor of a Muslim state in the Balkans (Bosnia), and the current Bush’s folly to try to democratize Iraq instead of de-Islamifying it. Throughout all the world, it is not in the interests of non-Muslims to support Muslim-majority states. Islam is the enemy, and politically incorrect and culturally imperialistic models are required in order to repulse the threat of subjugation to shariah law.

But don’t expect the ADL to alight upon these truths. The ADL is basking in former glory; it is now irrelevant, or nearly so, because it is trapped in the old view of anti-Semitism, in fighting the same enemies as it did decades ago. The ADL devotes precious little effort to shedding light on (let alone combating) the New Anti-Semitism, Jew-hatred in the form of anti-Zionism, of the Left, and the Left/Islam alliance that is working in tandem to make a repeat of the Holocaust (God forbid). Furthermore, the ADL’s mode of operation is now widely copied, by the enemies of the Jews in particular and of Western civilization in general, one of the most prominent examples being the Council for American–Islamic Relations (CAIR). This is a different age with different realities than when the ADL came to be, and the task of fighting for freedom and against Jew-hatred must be entrusted to those who are cognizant of the present situation. The ADL Affair serves as a demonstration of that truth.

[UPDATE, August 23, 2007] Seppuku-committing Jew Philip Weiss suggests that the reason for ADL’s stance was to stall the coming into awareness of the expulsion of the “Palestinians” in 1947–9, in the course of Israel’s War of Independence. A grain of salt with everything such people say, but assuming for the sake of argument: genocide and expulsion are not equivalent. Advocating mass expulsion, as I do incessantly, is nothing to be ashamed of when such an enemy is concerned—it wasn’t immoral to expel all the Sudeten Germans in 1945, and it’s not immoral now to expel all the Muslims from within and near non-Muslim states over all the world.

I have no problem with what happened in 1947–9. If anything, the only flaw was it wasn’t done thoroughly enough, and not at all when we took more of the Land of Israel in 1967. HaShem willing, we’ll do it right next time.

And to the Leftards: it’s either mass expulsion of the Muslims or “I for one welcome our new scimitar-wielding overlords”. You may think there are other options, but you’ll find out there aren’t any.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Desert, but no Manna

It is one of the countless examples of the hypocrisy of Cultural Marxism, that it can lump Judaism, Christianity and Islam together in “primitive backwardness, Abrahamic morality and divinely-ordered atrocity”, but then turn an admiring eye to the one religion that has not been tempered by any form of Enlightenment, the one religion whose adherents are overwhelmingly in the mindset of an age which in the Western world is now deemed to be all but a historical curiosity. I find no more interesting an endeavor than unraveling the system that makes such seeming doublethink possible.

I have seen the phrase, “Desert Monotheism” used in the conflation of Biblical and Koranic religion. The Cultural Marxists say it refers to the origins of both: the giving of Torah at the foot of the mountain in the middle of the Sinai Desert, and, l’havdil (“to distinguish”), the alleged revelation of the Koran to Mohammed in a cave in the middle of the Arabian Desert. To frame both religious traditions as desert monotheisms because of a single event is already something to be suspected of superficiality; in truth, the Marxists do not believe in it themselves, but use it as their tu quoque (“You too”) club, whenever someone points the violence of Islam from the Koran. If they believed in it, they wouldn’t accord Islam a special status. Is it a cynical ploy? Is it born of fear, fear of the one religion whose followers are not reluctant to wreak revenge for any perceived slight to their feelings? Or is there something real, inner and spiritual about this exception-making? My attempted answer cannot cover all of them, and I am sure there are a few of them who parrot words without inner conviction, but my experience with the modern Left tells me there must be some inward convergence, otherwise there would not be such zeal and fervor in the Left/Islam alliance as we see today. And I believe the phrase, “Desert Monotheism” is where it begins and ends.

As with many foundations underlying the Left/Islam alliance, the “Desert Monotheism” grouping of Biblical and Koranic traditions is a lie. The role and perception of the desert in the Biblical tradition is far different from that in the Koran. If cultural truth were allowed to have a say in naming names, then only Islam would be called a desert monotheism. Only Islam was born in the desert, is culturally bound to it and brings it along to every place it comes. Judaism was not born in the desert, despite the location of its founding event, and is not culturally tied to it. Christianity, having the Greco-Roman world as its background, is even less so. In the Biblical tradition, the desert occupies a place in the sidelines and is a tool in HaShem’s hands; in the Koranic tradition, the desert is the whole setting, the stage on which the entire drama takes place, and without which the religion cannot be fully understood.

The founding narrative of the Jewish nation is based on three points in a line:

  • Egypt: the gilded cage to be escaped.
  • The Sinai Desert: the necessary route to take in order to reach the goal.
  • The Land of Israel: the goal, the hard-won but spiritually unique destination.

Egypt, the rich land, whose generosity is guaranteed by the regular flooding of the Nile, is a gilded cage, both spiritually and (later, and also symbolized by that) physically. Because of the confidence in the Nile, the Egyptians’ eyes had no need of being raised upward in beseeching of the divine, with the result that they created their deities in such images that even the Greeks and the Romans, masters of creating the divine in human image, were shocked. Our sages of blessed memory tell us how defiled Egypt was, how filthy with dark spiritual practices, like sorcery, divination, necromancy and sexual immorality. After generations of living on the fat of the land, the time came for the Israelites to pay up, with the currency of physical slavery—real, but also a symbol for the high price paid by those who are lost in their estrangement from HaShem, slavery of the worst kind.

Photo: the Pyramids of Egypt
The reality behind the most famous tourism site in the world is necromancy.

To an outside observer, the Land of Israel would not look as rich as Egypt; in our day, the joke about Moses meaning to bring the Israelites to Canada, but saying, “Canaan” instead because of his stutter, comes to mind. But they err that compare Egypt and the Land of Israel through physical eyes alone. The Land of Israel has the vast, incomparable bounty and advantage over Egypt—over any other land in the world—in that it is under the direct rule of HaShem. It can produce ample physical bounty—a land flowing with milk and honey—but it does so in direct proportion to the spiritual rectitude of its inhabitants. The Torah warns us of this so many times: walk with HaShem and you will prosper in the Land of Israel; disobey (God guard us), and the Land of Israel will spew you out. The bounty of the Land of Israel cannot be measured, because it is a spiritual one.

Photo: model of the Temple in Jerusalem
The focus of Jewish hopes for generations, and why they desire no other land than the Land of Israel.

Between Egypt and the Land of Israel is the Sinai Desert. No other way to get from Egypt to the Land of Israel by land. The desert is an ambivalent place, a place full of doubt: physical hardship that, on the one hand, prepares one for an existence of trusting in HaShem, but, on the other, is the opposite of both Egypt and the Land of Israel as regards permanence. Nowhere is this more illustrated than by the Tabernacle, which was dismantled and rebuilt each day, while the Temple in Jerusalem was a permanent building.

Photo: view of Mount Sinai
We received the Torah there, but it was not the destination.

The Biblical story of the Israelites’ passing through the desert cannot be told without reference to the manna, the bread given from above. Our forefathers did not desire to adopt Bedouin ways; when they sensed the hardship of desert life, all the more so after Egypt, they cried out to HaShem. He answered them, and sustained them all the years with food from above. It was another symbol of the impermanence of the desert: since one cannot live on miracles forever, it is clear that the manna was only a temporary measure, until the arrival at the Land of Israel. The desert was where we received the Torah, but the Torah given at Sinai contains such mitzvot as the Sabbatical Year (one in seven years of ceasing to work the fields), which cannot apply to the desert. And the desert was also a punishment: for believing the lies that the Ten Spies uttered about the Land of Israel, the entire generation was condemned to roam the desert until dying out. All in all, the desert was a necessary evil, the place of Israel’s birth-pangs. The Biblical narrative is conclusive: it is not HaShem’s requirement for mankind to be desert-dwellers in order to be spiritually fulfilled. The desert was preparation for a life of trusting in Him, but the life itself, a life of completeness through carrying all His 613 mitzvot, was to take place in inhabited land, in the Land of Israel.

Islam sprang out from a totally different setting.

Islam emerged in the Arabian Desert, in the area of two oases surrounded by uninhabited desert. The desert was not merely a transition between Mecca and Medina; those two cities were enveloped by it, and served as a life-belt from it. The contrast was not between a rich but defiled land and a rich and sacred land, with a desert separating them, but between desert and non-desert: between the sanctuary and life hanging upon a thread. The Arabian desert-dwellers would come to those fertile points to set their livestock to graze—another important point. Whereas Egypt was marked by lethargy, born of the consistent flooding of the Nile, Arab Bedouin existence was marked by a life dependent on taking what one had not toiled for.

Bedouin existence was, spiritually, a little better than that of Egypt, in that the circumstances forced the desert nomads to raise their eyes upward; but they did not raise their eyes in expectation of manna, they raised them for a reprieve from the fate of next day or month or year. For the Israelites, desert life was a transition, and continuous roaming of the desert was a punishment; for the Bedouins, desert life was their main existence, punctuated only by forays into fertile fields worked by others. The Bible is centered on the arrival at the Promised Land; but for the Arab Bedouin, in contrast, there is no Promised Land, there is only an oasis for refueling, a race to reach there before dying of thirst.

Photo: view of the Arabian Desert
The tenuous existence in the desert shaped the whole worldview of the Bedouins, and consequently of the religion of Islam.

The Koran advertises itself repeatedly as a “clear guidance”. The term for that, huda, according to Malise Ruthven’s Islam and the World, means “desert guide, the tribesman on whose navigation skills the tribe depends in order to reach the oasis”. The word “shariah” itself means, “the way to water”. Islam views mankind’s entire existence as a roaming in the desert, with Allah being the only reliable guide to the oasis. Desert life being such a stark struggle between life and death, it is no wonder that Islam’s afterlife paradise is described in the most lurid of physical terms. Jewish commentators on Islam have long faulted the religion for promising its adherents a reward that can be had in this life. It is only natural for adherents of a Biblical worldview to look down upon that, just as it is natural for a religion born in the harsh world of the desert to promise rewards of this kind. The Biblical worldview promises the follower that God will take care of his physical needs if he does His will, leaving him with the leisure and desire to seek out God Himself, His spiritual splendor; in contrast, the Koranic worldview, desert born, has the physical promises running over, splashing out from the cup of this life onto the afterlife. “A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity”, said Winston Churchill on Islam, more than a century ago.

The desert nomad sustains himself by punctuated forays into fertile lands; he sets his livestock upon fields tilled by others. This modus vivendi has been carried over to Islam and its adherents to this day: appropriation of the accomplishments of others, both physical and cultural, has been the hallmark of the Islamic colonialists from the 7th century to our times, each appropriation often followed by a fraudulent claim to original ownership. The golden cow-udder standing on top of the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem is the most prominent example of this, along with the usurpation of the Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel by means of the Fakestinian Nation narrative.

And it is an object of admiration for many Cultural Marxists worldwide.

Oh, the desert! Pristine land, unsullied by the hands of capitalism, industrialism, commercialism and other forms of man-made modifications of the original state! Oh, the Bedouins! Free as the air, authentic, sprung from the soil, untouched by the artificial mannerisms of townspeople! Oh, all that we had but have lost! All the things we once were (according to the Primitivist narrative, conceived by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Father of All Hippies) and would wish to have once again! Can we have them? Can we turn the clock back? Maybe, maybe not, but if not, at least we can support the Bedouins in their moves against that hated Western, Bible-based civilization, use them as proxy avengers of our wrath.

Those Cultural Marxists understand what eludes many scholars: the primitivist affinity between Marxism and Islam. Marxism longs for return to a mythical world “Before Capitalism”; the Bedouin nomad looks like an authentic remnant of that long-lost paradisical age; therefore the alliance between the Marxist primitivists and the active representatives of Bedouin life, the Muslims, is a natural and spiritual one.

It is also natural because Marxism is built upon legalizing theft. Communist regimes had their upper class and their vast stratum of poor, downtrodden people, just as—usually far worse than—did the hated capitalist countries of the world, but the upper class justified it as “taking from the rich in order to give to the poor”, and with the mindset, both internalized and externally voiced, that the wealth never belonged to the original owners in the first place (“Property is theft”). As today both Venezuela and Zimbabwe, once rich countries reduced to financial ruin under their Marxist dictators, show, the micromanaged economies espoused by the Far Left are total failures at production; therefore, the only recourse for those countries, or for their rulers, is to live off the work of others. Marxist robber, meet the Bedouin setting his livestock to graze on another’s field—or the Bedouin’s representative on the modern geopolitical stage, the Muslim.

This World War is between those who wish to desertify the whole world and those who believe in the Promised Land, in eating the fruit of one’s labors (Psalms 128:2); between those who believe mankind’s pristine existence is a canonized goal, and those who believe the world was meant to be worked, those who believe the Garden of Eden is not the initial state but the result of mankind’s toil (Genesis 2:15); and between those who are trapped in viewing prosperity as either a brief respite from the harsh day-to-day reality (an oasis in the desert) or a fantastic, patently unrealistic cornucopia (a lustful carnal paradise), and those who set their eyes onto bountiful, yet moderate and spiritually conducive, prosperity.

This war begins with the idea of how the world should be, and there it also ends.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Beyond Offense

Via Elder of Ziyon I came to the article, You have the right to feel offended, by Judea Pearl, father of Daniel Pearl (HY"D). Like Elder, I think the article makes some good points yet don’t agree with everything. The reason I see it fit to write a whole post about this article is that I have a fundamental disagreement with it—a difference of opinion about its very root thesis, not just about its specifics.

Professor Pearl rightly tells of the vile slurs that the anti-Zionists heap on us, though he mars his point by saying, “Zionophobia is no less revolting than Islamophobia” (because a phobia is an irrational fear, a fear not founded in fact; Zionism is accused of being a Jewish plot to rule the world, which has no basis in fact, while Islam’s goal of world domination is expounded clearly in the canon of the religion, and stated unabashedly by multitudes of Muslims worldwide). He observantly points out the offense of the libel of portraying Zionism as something that was created in 19th-century Europe from scratch:

Some claim that Zionism is not entitled to such defense, since “Zionism is a political movement, not a religion”, or “Zionism is a recent phenomenon, a product of 19th century European nationalism”.

These claimants know little about Jewish history or Jewish identity or how Jewish history and identity were shaped for centuries by the Zionist idea of the “return of the exiles”. They certainly have not read the Mishna, or Nahum Sokolov’s "History of Zionism (1600–1919)" or my grandfather’s siddur (e.g., Veholichenu Kommemiut Leartsenu—“and thou shall walk us in sovereignty to our country” [Birkat Hamazon]).

That is an act of historical negationism more dangerous than any Holocaust Denial, and cultural theft every bit as pernicious as New Age appropriations of indigenous customs. Pearl is to be praised for raising this issue, which is far too often neglected by those who would rather focus on outdated and nearly impotent threats such as the classical anti-Semitism of the White Aryan Nations. But I opine that the central weakness in Pearl’s article lies in the following quote:

We, as Jews, have been grossly negligent in permitting the dehumanization of Israel to become socially acceptable in certain circles of society, especially on college campuses. Our silence, natural resilience to insults and general reluctance to confront colleagues and friends have contributed significantly to the Orwellianization of campus vocabulary and the legitimization of the unacceptable. Most of our assailants are even unaware of the shivers that go down our spines with utterances such as “apartheid Israeli regime” or “brutal Israeli occupation”. [Both emphases mine. —ZY]

I have said it before, that the problem with talking about “being offended” is that it shifts the discussion from objective (even if debatable) realities into subjective feelings. Once feelings are brought into the mix, there is no possibility for discussion, and there is no end to the demands that could be made. “This offends me” is not a good basis for either discussion or action. Schoolkids beat each other up because of swear-words, until they grow out of it (not a very common occurrence in our age of “self-esteem”, but I digress), while grown-ups use their “feeling of being offended” as the basis for litigation, for the defamation lawsuits that are the blight of Western civilization today. And let us not forget the masters of overreacting at feelings of offense, the Muslims—“Mohammed Cartoons”, and not another word needs to be added.

Once, I stumbled upon a provocative photo of a tzitzit wrapped around bare female legs. I was offended. More than once, I have read the anti-Zionist abuse on left-wing sites like Daily Kos. I am offended, no question about it, but more than I am offended, I am distressed. There is a world of difference between my reaction to that tasteless photo and the anti-Zionist libels. I can dismiss the former with a retort in my head, saying, “Grow up, already”, while I cannot react in such a way to the latter. Why? It has everything to do with the distinction between swear-words and death threats.

I support free speech and open discourse nearly absolutely. Even Holocaust Denial, as well as the anti-Zionist vitriol I read on lefty websites. But while things that are merely offensive, blasphemous photos and other such equivalents of schoolkids’ swear-words, can be shrugged off as people’s misuse of their right to free speech, the anti-Zionist sentiments cannot, for they are the equivalents of death threats. I support the right of the anti-Zionists to say what they say, but as with death threats, I hold that there should be consequences for saying them.

Look at this choice collection of comments from the article Boycott Movement Targets Israel by George Bisharat, on Common Dreams. First:

Takamine2002 August 15th, 2007 6:42 pm

why do we allow dual citizenship, dual nationality passport holders to hold political office in the USA?


jaalle August 15th, 2007 7:35 pm

Israel is a blot on the collective conscience of Mankind. […]


citizen1 August 15th, 2007 10:11 pm

It’s about time. Israels [sic] is a racist and genocidal country. I never, ever buy anything from Israel. [Your computer is probably powered by a chip that is the fruit of both Israeli research and production. —ZY]

But you know what? No one ever talks about the other Israeli occupied territory, which is the US Congress.

Fourth, and definitely the winner (of the Golden Swastika Medal):

truthteller August 15th, 2007 10:39 pm


How right you are. The entire leadership of the U. S. Congress is full of sops for Zionism, both parties. They go to the annual AIPAC convention to perform acts of contrition to their masters and beg for more funds to continue in office to support more of OUR tax dollars going to Israel. It is past high time to call for an end to ALL U. S. government support (military and financial) to the Zionist fascist state of Israel. We support genocide against the Palestinian people every bit as wrong as what white European settlers did to native Americans.

Maybe by cutting off Israel’s sources of funding and arms their neighbors will finally have a chance to drive all of them into the sea where they belong. [Emphasis mine. —ZY]

These comments are typical of every thread on Common Dreams, Huffington Post, TruthDig and other such sites that discusses the Israel/“Palestine” conflict. So it’s not that I’m surprised by those comments—take them as vindication for Judea Pearl’s observation that the dehumanization of Israel and Zionism has become all but acceptable.

Do I find the comments offensive? Extremely. But that’s not the point. Not the point at all! The point is that the comments are dangerous. They’re one with the genocidal comments of Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah (may they both go to hell soon, amen) in saying that it is right and just to kill Jews (God forbid).

The entire portrayal of Zionism as a “19th-century European White Colonial Settler Movement” is not just an offense, a smear, a swear-word writ as an intellectual thesis—it is a death threat. It says, “You Jews have no right to be on that land, and the human race will be better off when the Palestinians wipe you out there”. It is a underhanded, acceptable-sounding way of expressing agreement with the Hamas Charter: “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. […] The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished […]” [Emphasis mine. —ZY]

Hamas logo. Supporting the “Palestinian Right of Return” means supporting their genocidal goal, even if that’s not the intention.

Let us stop treating anti-Zionism as an offense, as something that hurts our feelings, and start treating it for the threat to our lives that it is. I support the right of the anti-Zionists to say what they say; I call for a future, truly Jewish administration to bring them to justice for that, to the hangman’s noose. To treat anti-Zionism as a matter of offense feeds the global fashion of elevating subjective feelings above objective reality—the core of the very postmodernism, multiculturalism and Political Correctness that is being used as a club against Zionism in particular, and by the Muslims against non-Islamic states in general. If framed as a matter of guarding our lives instead, it both achieves the benefit of countering the threat of this latest form of Jew-hatred and avoids doing the damage of giving strength to the Legal Jihad of the Muslims against the West.

It’s not about our feelings, it’s about our lives. “Rise up early to kill him who rises up to kill you”, said our sages of blessed memory.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Poor of Your City

Long before the NY Times, the BBC and Haaretz, there were the geographic magazines.

Starting from an issue I got as a birthday present, I’ve been a consistent reader of geographic magazines, such as the local Masa Acher and international ones like National Geographic. When I started reading them, Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet (just kidding—I meant to say this was before the popularization of the ’Net in the early 1990’s), so these were truly my first window onto the large world. Fascinating reads, all of them: chock-full of descriptions, narrations, background stories and, best of all, photos. Intriguing cultural customs from all over the world. Many instances of shattering misconceptions as to what was universal throughout humanity and what was not.

Formation of political opinions was far off—this little kid was still at the stage of believing everything his parents said. And yet, the more I read those magazines, the more I found something disturbing.

One thing adults tend to overlook in little children is the fact that, because of their innocence, they are the most rigorous comparers of the ideal with the reality. I was sold on the idea that geographic magazines were unvarnished descriptions of other places and all that is in them. I thought, in simplicity: the writer would go to the destination, take notes and photographs, return to his offices, prepare the article, and that would be what every reader would see. Only a child could think like that, of course. How educating, then, howbeit in a shocking way, to find otherwise.

More and more as I read, as I became aware of it, I found out a proliferation of statements which, I realized, were not descriptions but opinions. They were usually integrated seamlessly into the descriptive whole, but the more I thought about it, the less I could mistake it: those were opinions. Not merely reports of the locals’ sentiments, which were OK, but interjections by the writers themselves. I did not yet have a good eye for the themes, which I do now, but I did not have to recognize themes in order to know that the subtle hints of pre-colonial bliss, of Western blame and of the curse of mechanization were opinions and not descriptions. I did not yet know the exact system behind an article describing life in traditional villages in Ladakh as a good model contrasting with the “soullessness, cheapness and despair” of modern life in the West, but I did not have to know that—even for a little kid, it was crystal-clear that the message here was educational, not informational. It was all clothed in the semblance of telling of exotic things, as if in the tradition of Marco Polo, yet it had an agenda.

Long, long before our Mainstream Media started giving us our daily dose of self-skepticism, nay, self-flagellation, in the mantle of reporting, reporters of the Other had been doing that for thousands of years. Already in Herodotus one finds criticism of his own society inserted into his descriptions of other peoples. Tacitus’ Germania contains a wealth of information on the Germanic tribes that is true and has been verified, yet the opportunities which he took to use his work as criticism of contemporary Roman society necessitate caution. And I need hardly mention Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, Diderot’s descriptions of exotic tribes and the rest of the offerings of Enlightenment writers—all social criticisms presented as descriptions of the Other. Bias and agenda in the form of unbiased description.

Those were in the days when the media was open about its biases. The media has never been unbiased, but the difference is that in our times it takes after the geographic magazines, impressing the readers with the cloven hoofs of neutral-sounding language, while the inside, the spirit, the facts that a trained eye could see, was deep and unrepentant bias. Today, the more neutral-sounding the name of an organization is, the better its chances of being an organization with a single-minded agenda. Take the website Information Clearing House. Such an innocuous name, is it not? Judging by the name, it sounds like a repository of plain facts, much like a telephone book. But in truth, that site is a conspiracy theory website, one of the wackiest and most uninhibited on the ’Net.

Why did it begin that way? How did covert bias, and self-flagellating bias at that, creep through what was supposed to be mere reports of faraway places? What is it about the Other that attracts people, in such a way that it dominates today’s political discourse? How have we reached this state in which it is possible to reduce all the problems in the world to “racism” and “xenophobia”? How have we come to a world where the cycles of victimization, guilt and reparations now trap all discussions of policy, even to the detriment of national security?

I said geographic magazines were my first window to the world. For those who have not found answers to the problems besetting their societies, whether out of ignorance or by rejection of traditional answers, the window to the world is their beacon of hope. They crave the global view of humanity because it might provide them with answers. The parochial view, they think, cannot provide answers, because of the very fact that it is parochial, while a larger view of humanity could inform us of human universals, the key to answering the human problem. Utopianism and cosmopolitanism often go hand in hand, and in the past century have done so spectacularly, with more to come for sure.

The window to the world has grown ever wider. When I started reading geographic magazines, the old method of word-of-mouth was still the best way to rally people; a few years afterward, the entire globe was connected by computer-to-computer interaction. With the popularization of the Internet in the early 1990’s, the famed (and worn-out phrase) Global Village was born. There could no longer be a situation in which humans no longer cared for the plight of other humans elsewhere—or so it was believed, even when events like the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 showed otherwise.

A big mistake. A mistake identical in cause, even if not equal in victims, to the mistake of Communism. The mistake of assuming the malleability of human nature.

Picture: charity truck next to a crying widow
Olam chesed yibaneh—the world is built by charity (Psalms 89:3)

The sages of Judaism say: “Aniyei irkha kodmim”, meaning, “The poor of your city precede”. It is in the framework of discussing the duty of giving to charity, but it touches human nature deeply. It is both descriptive and prescriptive. And it is more relevant than it ever was.

Geographic magazines, then media outlets, and now the Internet have supposedly brought humans closer, thus increasing the awareness of human commonalities and shared troubles, thus leading to greater empathy in the world. Or have they? No. Not by a long shot.

Contributions to Live Aid or Live Earth concerts are a good way to assuage one’s guilt over enjoying life while others are struggling with the necessities, but the things a particular human involves himself—really involves himself—with are the same as they have always been: the causes that are close to his heart. To his heart, not to his sight on the computer monitor. Of those who say, “All humans are my brothers and sisters”, how many act it? To which the reply will inevitably be a list of good deeds and philanthropic activities, but that misses the point: people who claim empathy for all humans don’t have that. Oh, they do have empathy—I didn’t say they didn’t—but their empathy is limited to a set of concentric circles. Greatest empathy to friends and family, then to people they are familiar with, then to those of the neighborhood, then the town, and so on. And whenever you find they have empathy to those faraway, then on further investigation you always discover that this is because those people faraway have some affinity, some emotional similarity, with the empathizer.

Or take activism for animals as another example. How much of it is for the welfare of dogs, cats, mice, horses and monkeys, and how much for flies, mosquitoes, fish and worms? Is it a coincidence that human empathy for animals is nearly always reserved to those animals that share important features with humans, foremostly the ability to show pain and other emotions? No, there is none of the fabled “Empathy toward all creatures, born of the feeling of Being One With The Universe” here; it is all “Like attracts like”, the tendency of humans to open their hearts to what those hearts regard as kindred, while—by necessity—closing their hearts to what is remote. Remote, in a sense that all the geographic magazines, media outlets and websites cannot counter.

How many of the “Free Palestine!” crowd have exhibited even a quarter of their zeal for the cause of Tibet, or for righting the (true) wrong of the setting up of an Islamic state on historically Hindu lands (Pakistan)? They will all say, of Darfur, “Yes, I agree, we must do something”, but where is the zeal? Giving to charity can easily be perfunctory; zeal, in contrast, bespeaks something inward. The anti-Zionists do not care much for the “Palestinians”, for they did not make the tiniest squeak when “Palestinian” refugees were forcefully expelled by the Kuwaitis after their liberation from Saddam, or more recently the Naher al Bared massacre in Lebanon. The causes of Iraq and “Palestine” resonate only because of some affinity with the activists’ own purposes. Just as my empathy with the victims of Islamic terrorism in Southern Thailand (and elsewhere) can only be explained by the affinity of the situation in Israel. Like attracts like.

The mythical Global Village is nothing but conceptual smoke and mirrors; in reality, we are as parochial as ever, choosing even our worldwide interests according to our very, very local leanings. More: the towering Marxist catchphrase, “We are all Citizens of the World”, has proved to be bankrupt by none less than the sons and daughters of pluralistic education themselves.

You are Citizens of the World? Really? Then why do you try to find your identity? Why do you play Indian? Why do you seek out a shaman from the Wannabi Tribe, in order that he may initiate you into the mysteries of the Smelihipi Tribe? Why does Abe Cohen, a Jew brought up on the idea that Jewish tribalism is an outdated, even dangerous, concept, seek out the tribal knowledge of a Hawaiian Kahuna, after having been indoctrinated against his own tribal heritage of the crown of kehunah (priesthood)? Why do Citizens of the World so often exchange the “elitist, Eurocentric” (et cetera) philosophy of Greece and Rome with the philosophy of India and China? (Not that that’s bad, but I’m pointing out the inconsistency here.) Why is there such a tendency for activists against white racism to excuse, even condone, anti-white racism? Why are those that issue the strongest condemnations of “dualistic divisions”, calling for the end of all distinctions as the only way of bringing world peace, so keen on propping up divisions themselves (support for the “Palestinian” and “Iraqi” nations, to name just one example)? Because, when you think about it, being a “Citizen of the World” is a state that is contrary to human nature. Humans cannot feel all-embracing empathy toward the whole world; their empathy, as I said, is a set of concentric circles.

Photo: a keffiyeh-wearing estranged Jew helping "Palestinians" in a demonstration against the IDF
Some rootless kids embrace Trustafarianism, others wear a keffiyeh.

Geographic magazines pioneered the demonstration of human diversity. Diversity has become such a potent watchword today, to the effect that it can be invoked to shut down sane initiatives against threats of terrorism. But diversity, like empathy, is not absolute. It could be absolute only if every human were his own group—his own ethnicity, his own religion, his own culture, and so on. There is no diversity in humanity except the diversity of groups, and that cannot exist without—oh, the horror—sameness within each group. Sameness, or more accurately a sufficient amount of affinity between the members. “Affinity” again. That dreaded, reviled parochiality once more.

There is no “near” for humans except “near and dear”—that is human nature, and no window to the world can change that. It is not possible for the state to replace the family, hence the need for repression whenever an attempt to do that has been made. A bureaucrat can never be a true helper, even if he does do his job of giving the applicant the desired government handout, for in most cases he does not know the applicant. The wider the circle becomes, the farther it is from having your interests in mind. If the state is uncaring to the individual due to its distance from his life, then the superstate is sevenfold so. The European Union and the Islamic Caliphate cannot be anything other than monsters of bureaucracy or repression or both.

“The poor of your city precede” is not a call for apathetic withdrawal into one’s tiny shell—far from it, it is the only way you can realize those human traits you have been raised to cherish so much. Charity begins at home because that is where charity really flows from an inward source—love, empathy and the “up close and personal” angle that no geographic magazine can give you. The farther causes are built on top of that, and not the other way round. In our day and age more than ever, redemption is brought to the world by local efforts, made enthusiastically therefore thoroughly, widening and widening, until the feeling of “all in the same boat” forms the needed cohesion. In this period of government betrayal, this is the only way. It is the only way because it is authentic, while all-embracing cosmopolitanism is fake.

If there is just one thing for which I am grateful to the geographic magazines for, it is this: the realization that happiness in our age lies in turning away from being a global tourist and reporter, to finding one’s particular heritage and local existence—turning into one of the groups which a rootless, world-citizen geographic magazine reporter would describe in one of the issues of his magazine.

“Be strong, be strong, and we will be strengthened”.

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