Thursday, August 23, 2012

What might civilized people be thinking when sociopaths like Tamimi bask in adulation?

By Frimet and Arnold Roth 21-Aug-2012

After receiving some offline comments on the Tamimi speech we publicized yesterday, we have a few further thoughts to share. The urge to do this is triggered by a sense that something deeply disturbing is going on; it's being ignored or willfully not noticed by people who ought to be noticing.

When a politician or public figure on our side of the fence makes an ignorant or dumb or smart or incisive statement, particularly when it's about the Arabs (you know the examples), his/her comments are greeted with near-instant analysis and frequently with condemnation from a global array of press and politicians. The Arab media focus obsessively on such things. Outside the Arab/Islamic world, we frequently see European, American, Australian and other critics drawing wide inferences about how those specific Israeli views are going to bring on the next Black Plague or an increase in pogroms in France. The claim, at minimum, is that irreparable harm is going to be caused to the souls and DNA of innocent Israeli children, to world peace and so on.

To illustrate: when a posse of Israeli delinquents (it happens to be a very current issue here) beat up an Arab youth in a street fight, the New York Times says the event has led to "a stark national conversation about racism, violence, and how Israeli society could have come to this point" That's an actual quote: check it out. We think the Times' journalist's conclusion is overwrought nonsense, but that's not the point. Israel is not, never has been and should never be, immune to criticism, or even object to it, and mostly doesn't.

Now think for a moment about how Ahlam Tamimi and her hundreds of published interviews and speeches are treated by global public opinion. Pay attention in particular to how Arabs view her, since they are her principal audience.

No one - certainly not the woman herself - denies the fact that she planned and carried out a premeditated killing on a large and vicious scale, which was the whole point of doing it. The law convicted her on the basis that she's a murderer; she says (more or less) that she did it for the freedom and honour of her nation. The fact that she planned to kill and succeeded mightily has never been in dispute. She does not miss an opportunity to say that it was children, and specifically Jewish children, and even more specifically orthodox Jewish children like ours, who were the target. She regrets that she did not kill more - it's there in yesterday's video and in numerous other speeches and earlier videos recorded in her Jordanian freedom.

She appears on television and in front of adoring crowds (ask us if you want to view the video files) and expresses the vilest kind of racist hatred of Jews, Israelis and Zionists. She has done this many times since she unjustly got her freedom in October and her message is hugely amplified by the social media. She is a star on YouTube, a hero on Facebook. She is globally broadcast via satellite television into every corner of the Arabic-speaking world. It's arguable that she has the largest footprint of any ordinary murderer (ignoring "celebrities" like Hitler, Mao, Stalin et al) in human history. If that seems like an overstatement then we urge you to concede that she is in the major leagues. The fact that most people don't know this is largely because most people don't speak Arabic.

She smiles warmly when she says she killed those Jews, and her god wanted her to do it. She points to how she has subsequently been rewarded with freedom, fame, a wedding that received live television coverage. The adoring crowds applaud and ululate. The encouragement (and probably the will) to emulate her actions is clear.

How many Arabic speakers are there in the world? A quick query on the web turns up these numbers: "280 million native speakers, and an extra 250 million non-native speakers" [source]. How many Arabic newspapers? Many.

Here's our point: We have searched and have not yet found a blog, article, published speech or op-ed in her language, Arabic, which criticizes the woman or her views. So far, not one. If our readers can point us to exceptions, please do.

This is deeply shocking. Tamimi's message resonates throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Her views don't even rise to the level of controversial. She's simply a hero, wall to wall. She and her vile deeds, opinions and intentions appear to represent some sort of global consensus in the Arab and Islamic world. There is no public debate, no expressions of outrage - not even concerning the passivity of the Kingdom of Jordan where she lives and from where a vibrant Tamimi-focused industry of online and broadcast videos sends its message of hatred and death out to the world.

Does the absence of criticism throughout the Arab world mean they support the deliberate killing of the innocent people among their enemy? Does their silence mean they support the murder of children as Tamimi certainly does, and they want to see it happen again and again as she certainly does?

What does this say about the discourse underway in the Arab world? What light does it throw on the global news media?

What can we learn from here about the chances of ever making peace?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Christian churches risk poisoning relations with Jews

By Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, The Ottawa Citizen August 12, 2012
Protestant denominations have been gathering to set the moral compass for the future of their churches. They have been grappling with theological, ecological, social and geo-political challenges at their major conclaves.

And then there is the Holy Land.

While their co-religionists bleed in Syria and Nigeria and cower in fear in Egypt, Pakistan and Iran, some find solace in zeroing in only on the misdeeds — real and imaginary — of the Jewish state.

In York, The Church of England’s General Synod recently voted to endorse the World Council of Churches’ “Ecumenical Accompaniment Program.” This program, in partnership with anti-Israel groups that reject a two-state solution, issued a publication titled Chain Reaction, calling for sit-ins at Israeli embassies, hacking Israeli government websites, and supporting for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign whose goal is eliminating the Jewish State.

The rhetoric showed raw contempt for Jews. Speakers complained of powerful Jewish lobbies, of too much Jewish influence. They criticized Jewish organizations for having the chutzpah to protest against their proposals, even as they trotted out marginal anti-Zionist Jews parroting the extreme anti-Israel agenda.

Dr. John Dinnen waxed biblical, invoking the Jew who did not cross the road to help another human being in the story of the Good Samaritan. Today, he charged, “the Palestinians are being pushed over, while the Jews are quite powerful,” before correcting himself and saying “Israelis” instead of “Jews.”

The Church of England co-mingled classic European anti-Semitism with a theologically wrapped extreme political anti-Israel campaign.

But there were a few sane voices who would not be cowed. One church member revoked her monthly donation of 150 pounds that she had been remitting for two decades. “It is shameful that at a time when there are beheadings, forced female circumcision, intolerance, persecution and killing of Christians, destruction of churches and Christian graves, torture and murder throughout the vast majority of the remainder of the Middle East … what exercises the mind of Dr. Dinnen and the Synod is … Israel, the only democracy in the area,” wrote Janet Brook in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Meanwhile across The Pond, American churches chose a different path. Calls to divest from companies doing business with Israel — Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions — were rejected. The rank and file saw through these measures as punitive and one-sided. Significantly, Presbyterians and Episcopalians voted to invest in Palestinian and Israeli ventures. They decided that improving the lot of people on the ground, not wallowing in harsh rhetoric, is the way to help foster Middle East peace.

Still extremists had their say. Their pro-BDS resolutions outraged the Jewish community and Christian supporters of Israel. Some demanded that Israel be labelled an “apartheid state.” Other resolutions called for the embrace of the Kairos Palestine Document, which denigrates Jewish history in the Holy Land, coddles terrorism, promotes economic warfare against the Jewish state and blames Middle East woes exclusively on Israel. All these resolutions failed, although Presbyterian Church U.S.A. passed a “pro-peace” resolution to boycott dates and cosmetics originating in Israeli settlements.

One can argue that events in the region from the installation of a Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt, to the brutal bloodletting in Syria, to Iran’s double threat of terrorism by proxy and nuclearization, will supersede any measures by Protestant denominations.

So are these Christian debates and resolutions irrelevant? Hardly.

The exclusive focus on Israel/Palestine has rendered mute the World Council of Churches and many of its affiliates — mute to the suffering, denigration and murder of their coreligionists in the Middle East. Forced conversions in Hamas-ruled Gaza, the targeting of Coptic Christians by Muslim extremists in Egypt, the ethnic cleansing of Iraqi Christians in the historic Assyrian Triangle, elicit barely a whisper of protest.

Nothing will change for the threatened millions of Christians, unless and until these churches begin to pass resolutions, cajole politicians and petition the international community on their behalf.

While white-hot anti-Israel invective and bare-knuckled economic warfare may salve some consciences, they will surely corrode decades of positive developments in Christian-Jewish relations.

Next up is the United Church of Canada’s August conclave, underway this week. While the Middle East roils in the name of peace, church members will consider a report on Israel/Palestine that calls for a boycott of goods from settlements. It will also apologize to Palestinians for previously having asked them to recognize the Jewish State.

Perhaps the Palestinians should agree to a two-state solution, the report argues, but it is insulting to ask them to recognize that their neighbour is a Jewish state, the sole democracy in a region of more than 20 Muslim states.

Should the UCC embrace the resolution, it is unclear how it would help to advance peace.

What is clear is that it won’t help a single Palestinian, it will poison relations with Canadian Jewry and it will signal to Muslim extremists everywhere that they have nothing to fear from those followers of Christ who are prepared to fight evil only if it involves the people of Israel.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"The Left, the Jews and Israel"

Isi Leibler - August 9, 2012

Robert Wistrich, Hebrew University professor of European and Jewish History and director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of anti-Semitism has just published his 29th book titled "From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews and Israel" (click here for Amazon link).

It is an impressive tome of over 600 pages and follows his monumental seminal work "A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad”, published in 2010 and now recognized as the definitive work on the world's oldest hatred and an indispensable text for scholars.

In a fascinating preface to his new book, Wistrich provides a brief autobiographical sketch. His father had originally been a supporter of the illegal Polish Communist Party in pre-war Cracow but became alienated from Stalinist communism after being arrested by the NKVD. He and his wife, who had experienced bitter Polish anti-Semitism, survived the Holocaust by fleeing to Kazakhstan where Robert was born.

Wistrich was educated in England, and to use his words, was “radicalized” in grammar school and later at Stanford University. He first visited Israel in 1961, returning in 1969 when he was appointed editor of the left wing Israeli journal, New Outlook. However his passion for the Jewish State led to a parting of the ways with the Israeli far left. Robert became increasingly engaged in academic scholarship related to anti-Semitism, received a senior appointment at the Hebrew University, and is now recognized as the world’s foremost scholar in the field.

From Ambivalence to Betrayal is an historic review and analysis of the abandonment of the Jewish people by the left from the early 19th century until the present. It also relates to the extraordinarily disproportionate number of socialist thinkers and leaders who were of Jewish origin and seeks to explain what motivated so many of them, in the course of their utopian and futile efforts to ‘repair the world’, to abandon their people and their heritage and frenetically seek to deny their kinsmen the right to self-determination.

The introductory essay is a brilliant overview of the contemporary Jewish political arena viewed in the context of the concurrent rise of Zionism, Communism, anti-Semitism and Nazism. It focuses strongly on the hypocrisy of the existing left which has become obsessed with demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish state. Wistrich demonstrates the extent to which today’s radical anti-Zionists, despite purporting to represent the left, often share the identical obsessions and delusions concerning the alleged malignant influence of the Jews in the modern world as classical fascist anti-Semites.

Wistrich provides fascinating and innovative insights on left-wing revolutionaries. He skillfully relates the connection of “the prefigured 19th century seabed of anti-Semitic socialism found in Marx, Fourier and Proudhon, extending through to the orthodox Communists and “non-conformist” Trotskyites to the Islamo-Leftist hybrids of today who systematically vilify the so called racist essence of the Jewish State”.

His analysis of the linkage of these revolutionaries with the left's contemporary abandonment of Israel is a major intellectual and scholastic achievement and provides an intriguing insight into the sources of the far left’s current application of double standards and anti-Israel venom.

Wistrich reviews in depth the attitude towards the Jews adopted by many of the great socialist revolutionaries of Jewish origin like Karl Marx, Bernard Lazare, Moses Hess, Ferdinand LaSalle, Karl Kautsky, Victor Adler, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Bruno Kreisky, Isaac Deutscher and others.

His chapter on Leon Trotsky, entitled ‘A Bolshevik’s Tragedy’, is a masterly essay which breaks new ground on this extraordinary charismatic Jewish revolutionary who desperately sought to repudiate his Jewish origins. Yet, despite achieving the reputation of being “the most intransigent of revolutionary Bolsheviks”, Trotsky was ultimately forced by Stalin into assuming the traditional Jewish role in society and became reviled as the scapegoat for the failures of the Revolution.

Wistrich highlights the fact that many of today’s anti-Jewish Jews inherited the mantle of the 19th and early 20th century anti-Semitic Jewish radical revolutionaries. Yet he stresses that these renegade Jews have vastly exceeded the anti-Semitic tirades of their predecessors and even to the extent of allying themselves with reactionary clerical zealots and Jihadists, who represent the antithesis of their purported world outlook.

He points to their public support and endorsement of terrorists and religious fanatics, noting that even the most extreme early anti-Jewish revolutionaries like Marx, Engels, Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg or Trotsky “would never have remained silent about sharia law, censorship, female genital mutilation, honor killings, suicide bombings, or making the world safe for Allah’s rule” and rarely resorted to outright racist outbursts like their current successors”. Nor would they have gone to the extreme of allying themselves with those explicitly committed to our physical destruction.

Wistrich asserts that Holocaust inversion, now a major component of the Left’s effort to besmirch Israel, whilst initially introduced by British historian Arnold Toynbee who referred to Zionists as "disciples of the Nazis”, was in fact institutionalized as the “Zionist-Nazi” nexus at the Prague Trials orchestrated from Moscow.

He reminds us that it was post war Jewish Marxists who encouraged the left’s current paranoia and “anti-racist” racism against Israel. As an example he quotes the Polish born Jewish biographer of Trotsky, Isaac Deutscher, who already in 1967 described Israel as the "Prussia of the Middle East" and a bastion of “racial Talmudic exclusiveness and superiority".

It was the Soviets who, in 1975, succeeded in passing a UN resolution bracketing Zionism and racism. Whilst this was ultimately rescinded in December 1991, it remains today the central plank in the Arab-Leftist efforts to criminalize Israel and brand it as a state engaging in war crimes.

The concluding chapters review the anti-Zionist myths, many of which seem to have been directly replicated from Nazi propaganda and are today enthusiastically promoted by the Marxist Islamist alliance who regard Israel as the "Jew of the nations" fulfilling a dark preordained fate as an eternal scapegoat.

Wistrich relates to the quasi-religious belief of these groups that “the world will only be “liberated” by the downfall of America and the defeat of the Jews. This chiliastic fantasy has today emerged as a notable point of fusion between the radical anti-Zionist left in the West and the global jihad. Revolutionary anti-Semitism has become an increasingly important factor in cementing the anti-capitalist populism much as it was during the birth pangs of modern socialism over 150 years ago.”

This is a magisterial work, providing a comprehensive understanding of the origins of the most pernicious challenges currently facing the Jewish people, especially those originating from the enemy within. It will be especially valuable to those directly engaged in the struggle to neutralize the evil efforts against Israel by the left-Islamic alliance and its acolytes of Jewish origin.