Who are the extremists? Jews praying at their holiest site, or Muslims objecting to peaceful Jewish prayer?

The following passage about violence in Jerusalem and recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount, in an article by John Reed in the Financial Times (Arab-Israel tensions: Jerusalem tales, Dec. 16th), is quite typical of the disinformation about Jerusalem that passes for serious news within much of the British media. 

Jewish settlers, who get political and financial support from the Israeli state, believe they are reclaiming property inscribed as theirs in history and scripture. Silwan’s overwhelmingly Arab residents see the arrival of the settlers as a form of forceful colonisation, a view shared by Israelis who oppose the settlements. The influx has inflamed emotions among Palestinians already on the defensive from some Israeli rightwingers’ demands for the right to pray at al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site, and a place reserved for Muslim worship since Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the six-day war.

“We are not against Jews,” says Umm Mohammad, voicing the belief that the three monotheistic faiths’ adherents can live in peace. But she says “al-Aqsa is a sacred place — it’s where the Prophet Mohammed went up to heaven.

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CiF Watch prompts Indy correction to claim about Muslim prayer at the Mount

In addition to the bizarre suggestion by Ben Lynfield at The Independent that recent violence in Jerusalem can be attributed to Israeli restrictions on Muslim “access to al-Aqsa Mosque”, his Nov. 6th report included the following historical error concerning the history of Muslim prayer at the Temple Mount Compound.
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Lynfield omits the Crusader period (1099 to 1187) in which Christian prayer was of course permitted. (In the 13th century, there were several years of additional Crusader control, before Muslim rule was re-established in 1244.)

After contacting Indy editors, they revised the passage to note the period when Christians ruled the holy city.

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We commend Indy editors on the prompt correction.

 

Guardian publishes two anti-Jewish screeds by ‘ex-Jews’, but censors ‘ex-Muslims’

Over the last month, the Guardian has published two articles by self-professed “ex-Jews” – that is, Jews whose hatred of Israel – and the putative sins of Jews and Judaism – caused them to renounce their Jewish identity.  

As Richard Millett noted on these pages, the latest work by discredited historian Shlomo Sand was featured in the print and online editions of the Guardian in October – a lengthy book excerpt which vilified Israel, and suggested that Judaism itself was compromised by immutable – theologically based – racism. 

Here are a few passages from Sand’s article in the Guardian.

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Brits for the Islamic State: Guardian publishes two pro-ISIS letters

Based on a recent poll, 7 percent of residents in the UK support the barbaric jihadists of the Islamic State (ISIS), which, though incredibly disturbing in its own right, represents a far lower level of support than in France, where 16 percent expressed their approval.

While support in Europe for ISIS presumably comes mostly from Islamists in predominantly Muslim immigrant communities, the following letters, published at the Guardian on Aug. 27 (which were in response to an op-ed titled ‘Isis: an apocalyptic cult carving a place in the modern world‘) were penned by Brits in largely white, non-immigrant communities. 

The Islamic State caliphate finally realises a dream that goes back to the 1920s when the Muslim Brotherhood was established. Syria has been its main target since the 1960s. Assassinations of government figures hardened the Assad regime’s security apparatus and freedom was sacrificed for security. Syria remains resolutely secular and the nation’s disparate minorities continue to support Assad. The Islamists could not overthrow them, even with US weaponry and Saudi finance. Now they have established a base where they can fulfil their dream of an Islamist state. Why not let them have it? Agree new borders with Syria and Iraq to replace the Sykes-Picot lines in the sand, encourage repopulation of the region with fundamentalists and fund relocation of the refugees. The state of Israel was established against a similar background of desperation mixed with terrorist cruelty – existential challenges bring out the worst in people. The west supported the Zionist dream, so why not the Islamist one?
Craig Sams
Hastings, East Sussex

John Gray (An apocalyptic cult carving a place in the modern world, 26 August) says that “to view Isis as expressing the core of one of the world’s great religious is to endorse Isis’s view of itself, which Islamic religious authorities across the world have rejected”.

I thought the point of the Enlightenment (and the Guardian) was to take nothing on authority but to think for oneself and test one’s theories rationally. Mr Gray, author of Al Qaeda and What it Means to be Modern, appears to have missed this point. Neither the views of Isis about itself nor the views of “religious authorities” are or should be determinative. I prefer to think for myself and, having read the Qur’an from cover to cover several times, I agree with Isis.
Paul Simmons
East Twickenham, Middlesex

We’ve read some outlandish letters at the Guardian before, but these are simply beyond comprehension.

We’ll leave the simply delusional comparison with Zionism, in the first letter, aside, and just note that ISIS represents a simply monstrous brand of Islamic extremism, whose members have kidnapped large numbers of women for sex slavery and engaged in the mass murder of religious minorities.  Their objective is the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate.

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ISIS Tweeted this photo showing a child holding a severed head of an executed man, with a phrase boasting that: “This is how the cubs of the Caliphate are raised up”.

The SITE Intelligence Group provides good background:

The massacres carried out by IS are an integral expression of the organization’s worldview and not random atrocities.  This ideology, while related to the jihadi-salafism practiced by al-Qaeda (AQ), is far more extreme, leading the Islamic State to claim that it is AQ that has altered the original creed and methodology of Usama bin Ladin.  Among the specific aspects that set it apart from al-Qaeda’s belief system are a requirement of absolute obedience to their so-called “caliph” with no dissention and no organizations that are separate from his control; a demand for constant warfare against anyone who supports the “apostate” regimes; and a focus on wiping out entire cultures and people groups, including Yazidis, Christians, Sabaeans, and all Shi’a.

Each piece of this abhorrent ideology comes with deliberate planning and purpose-built organizations designed to realize the new “caliph’s” vision.  For instance, in order to impose their horrific vision of society on the people of Syria, the Caliphate is forcibly inculcating ordinary Muslims, especially the young, into the Islamic State’s version of Islam.  Recent reporting from Raqqa, Syria, by Vice News, an edgy group of journalists known for their work in dangerous spots around the world, shows the use of indoctrination centers (some in former churches), mobile proselytization vans, and outdoor propaganda gatherings to introduce unwilling citizens of Raqqa to the Islamic State’s ideology and way of life.  There is also video footage of strangely compliant prisoners, all calmly agreeing that they have sinned and deserve their punishment of death or beatings.

To coerce conquered populations into living out IS’s vision, the groups has set up “shari’a police,” or the Hisba.  Based on a medieval institution sometimes known as the “Body to Command Right and Forbid Wrong,” the Hisba enforces compliance with the group’s extremist version of Islamic law.  AQ affiliates like Shabaab have set up similar units that have the authority to arrest anyone caught committing infractions against that group’s stringent legal code

IS has also created an ideologically motivated force, similar to the Nazi SS troops, to act as their shock forces in this fight.  The units, known as the “Inghimasiyun,” or “those who plunge [into battle],” recall a concept of warfare from the early days of Islam, when the most ardent of the believers would rush into the enemies’ ranks without taking care for their own lives.  In a similar fashion, accounts from Iraq and Syria suggest that the Inghimasiyun often carry out suicide bombings either as part of the planned assault or as a way to avoid capture. 

Even more disturbing than the Inghimasiyun are the so-called “Dhabiha” (or “Slaughterers”), which constitute what would be the Einsatzgruppen (Nazi death squads) of IS.  The purpose of these units, as with the Nazi “task forces,” is to carry out the massacre of enemies of the state in an organized fashion.  Unlike the Nazi units, however, the Dhabiha take care to film themselves carrying out their atrocities and post photos and videos to social media in order to terrify others into obedience.  The recent beheading of 700 tribal members involved in an attempted uprising in Dayr al-Zawr, Syria against IS fits the modus operandi of the Dhabiha, as does the posting online soon afterward of videos of the carnage.

SITE reasonably characterizes ISIS’s medieval ideology as akin to the worst totalitarian states of the last century.

ISIS is simply evil, and the thought that even 7 percent of Brits – including, evidently, some inspired by a far-left ideology – view the group favorably is truly frightening. 

Girl Power: 9/11, the Middle East and the West

The following essay (originally published at The New Republic on Oct. 8, 2001) was co-written by Richard Landes and his father David LandesDavid passed away last month at the age of 89.

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David Landes

Among the popular explanations for September 11′s cunning, devastating attacks on the United States is American support for Israel. The argument runs like this: If the United States had not aided and abetted the Muslim world’s primary enemy, we would not have become Islam’s enemy ourselves, and therefore would not have been a target for reprisals. That argument, however, is a dodge. Even if there were no Israel, the Muslim world would still likely feel deep and deepening hostility toward the West.

That hostility predates the formation of the Jewish State, and has its roots in the West’s growing cultural, political, economic, and military dominance over the lands of Islam, a dominance that has been building for centuries but was by no means inevitable, and which many Muslims find baffling and infuriating. Hundreds of years ago, Islamic civilization stood at the pinnacle of global achievement, politically and intellectually.

Muslim empires ruled over the Middle East, stretched west to Spain and Portugal and east to India and the borderlands of China. Islam was deservedly reputed for its ecumenism, its ability to learn from and assimilate other societies. And then something went wrong.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Islamic theologians shut down liberal philosophical schools. As a result of this banishing of “heresy” from an increasingly dogmatic Islam, the high culture lost its capaciousness and, hence, its adaptability. In the succeeding centuries, reactionary features of Islamic society hardened: slavery; the exclusion of women from public life; the vast gap of wealth and power separating elites from an impoverished population. At the same time new competitors sprang up in the West, committed by Christianity to an anti-Islamic position and by national ambitions to anti-Muslim warfare. As Muslims lost territory and technological superiority, they sought solace in the truths of yesteryear, in a refusal to sell out to the lies of the infidel.

The industrial revolution only made the imbalance worse. By the end of the nineteenth century, Western power had reduced the Middle East to a sandy piece of worldwide European empire. This formal dominion was later reversed, but by voluntary European retreat, not Muslim force of arms. In fact, the West no longer needed formal empire to profit from its technological and economic superiority. By the second half of the twentieth century, the difference between standards of living in the West and in the Muslim world had grown startlingly manifest and unbearably humiliating.

Why did muslim societies fall behind? Given the diversity of Islamic civilizations, of course, and the complexity of historical change, there are many, many answers. But one that has received too little attention–both in the West and in the Islamic world–is the evolution of Islamic societies’ treatment of women. That treatment, needless to say, differs in different parts of the Muslim world. Indeed, to take just one example of Islamic society’s openness to female power, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Indonesia have all been ruled in recent years by women. But nonetheless, compared to the West, the lives of women in most of the Muslim world are remarkably circumscribed. While Christian theology has, to a significant degree, reformed its backward views of women, Islamic theology has been much slower to do so. Muslim women are excluded from much of public space and, according to the Hadith, Mohammad said, “I was shown the hellfire and that the majority of its dwellers are women.” This fundamental inequality makes Muslim societies substantially less productive–not only by denying opportunity to women, but by inhibiting a meritocratic spirit among men.

And the oppression of women may not only help explain why Islamic societies have fallen behind the West. It may also help explain why they find the West so culturally threatening. Israel–where women don bikinis on the beach, attend university in large numbers, and are required to serve in the military–represents a deeply subversive example for many of its Middle Eastern neighbors. Osama bin Laden, in particular, has voiced outrage at the presence of American women soldiers on Saudi soil. Might he be worried that the women of the Gulf are watching them and taking note? For bin Laden and his followers, these are not mere cultural differences. They are evidence of Islam’s purity and the West’s corruption, and part of an apocalyptic struggle for universal salvation through Muslim dominion. The stakes are cosmic, ultimate; and the duty of all Muslims is not only to reject the adversary but also to destroy him.

Given the depth of Islam’s conflict with the West, trading Israel for Syria’s or Iran’s help in the reprisals against bin Laden will win us no real friends; it will only convince the Muslim world that America can be brought to betray its allies with the right combinations of threats and face-saving formulas. The real work–and, sadly, it will take far longer than even the war against terrorism–must take place within Islam itself. Self-criticism rather than blaming others, receptivity rather than dogmatic aggression, especially to their own women–these are some of the difficult steps Islam needs to take if it wants to regain the glory for which it so desperately longs.

The Guardian: Enablers and defenders of hatred

Cross posted at Harry’s Place

The Guardian’s Editorial today:

In praise of … the Maryam Centre

It is heartening to see that East London Mosque in Whitechapel is expanding

A month after a mosque in north London was destroyed in an arson attack, it is heartening to see that East London Mosque in Whitechapel is expanding. When it gets fully under way, the Maryam Centre will offer a range of projects and services for women in the community – a prayer hall, counselling, a gym – as well as house a school and a visitor centre for non-Muslims. The centre will make the mosque very much more than just a provider of religious services. With 25,000 worshipers attending a week, and that is outside Ramadan, the mosque has already become a key hub for the community. Its original purpose in 1910 was as a place of worship for sailors and travellers who came to Tower Hamlets. It took most of the last century to establish a permanent base in Whitechapel.

Today it is the living and growing answer to those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists.

Oh dear.

Oh dearie me.

As anybody who has paid any attention to the events hosted by the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre will know, this institution is one of the primary outlets of hate preaching and bigotry in London. The East London Mosque is the home of the Islamic Forum Europe, which controls the institution, and indeed the DCLG which observed that the ELM/LMC is the base for the far Right Islamist party: Jamaat-e-Islami.  It was established by Choudhry Mueen Uddin, a Jamaat-e-Islami activist who is facing a war crimes trial in Bangladesh, where he is accused of having run death squads which abducted and murdered Bangladeshi patriots and intellectuals in the 1970s. In one particularly disturbing incident, these death squads sliced off the breasts of a woman journalist, and left her to die.

Those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists have done terrible things, but I don’t believe that they have ever sliced off the breasts of of liberal Bangladeshis.

If you want to know more about the hatred spewed from the East London Mosque, every week, you need only browse some entries on the institution. Here are just a few examples from the past few months:

In July, the Friday sermon at the East London Mosque, was delivered by a hate preacher who has been banned from Sheffield Hallam university: Assim al-Hakeem. Assim al-Hakeem teaches that apostates must be killed. He’d like to see Christians and Jews executed in an Islamic state for “talking against Mohammed“. He is vituperatively anti-gay, and preaches that women have no place in political leadership.

In May, the ELM/LMC hosted Abu Abdissalam, a hate preacher who has been banned by Tower Hamlets from appearing on its premises. He discourages Muslims from working with the police, because he claims that they are engaged in a “war against Islam”. He is also a significant supporter of Ali al Timimi, who was convicted of recruiting young men for jihad against America in the aftermath of September 11. Timimi also called for the decapitation of Shia Muslims, and promoted hatred of Jews.

In March, the ELM/LMC hosted Khalid Al-Fikri, an  Islamist hate preacher. He is an outspoken supporter of terrorist organisations and convicted terrorists, and also spews hatred against Shia Muslims:

Shia are one of the worst and greatest enemies against our ummahnowadays

In February, the ELM/LMC held a rally for the convicted Al Qaeda terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui.

The ELM/LMC offers platforms, time and time again, against those who preach hatred and support the execution of gays. They do this, despite falsely claiming to have stopped.

Over the last six financial years the East London Mosque has received £2.9 million in public sector funding. They use this money to underwrite the propagation of this hatred.

The Guardian knows all this. The information has been in the public arena for years. The claim by the Guardian that:

Today it is the living and growing answer to those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists.

… is true. Unfortunately, it provides all the evidence they need to rally support to their hateful cause.

As Hope not Hate has observed, Islamist and fascist hate mongers are two sides of the same coin“. You can’t fight one without the other.

But the Guardian goes one step further. It has thrown its lot in with one group of fascists.

Good luck in pointing this out, or posting any of the evidence in The Guardian comment thread. They’ve deleted every example which illustrates the disgrace of their politics.

Guardian misleads on Israeli Druze, part 1: False claims

Phoebe Greenwood’s May 31 report in the Guardian, ‘Golan Heights braces for war as tensions rise between Syria and Israel‘, contained two false claims regarding Israeli Druze in the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams. (An additional post will fisk the broader misleading narrative advanced in Greenwood’s report.)

A brief summary of Majdal Shams and the Druze population in Israel

  • Majdal Shams is one of the four Druze communities in the Golan Heights, with a population of about 9,000.  The town sits high on the slopes of Mount Hermon.  
  • Golan, captured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967, was effectively annexed when the state extended Israeli law to the territory in 1981.  Israel offered all the Druze people living there citizenship—an offer most turned down. However, they all carry Israeli ID cards.
  • Most Druze in Majdal Shams have family on the Syrian side of the border.
  • There are roughly 1 million Druze in the world, mostly in Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

Factual errors in Greenwood’s report:

False population statistics

Greenwood makes the following claim:

The Golan Heights is home to more than 80,000 Druze…

This is not accurate.  There are only 41,800 people living in Golan in total, of which 20,300 are Druze according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

Mischaracterization of the Druze religion

Greenwood makes the following claim: 

[Druze represents] an esoteric Islamic sect whose insular, self-governing communities are accommodated by governments across the Middle East.

Greenwood’s claim that Druze is an “Islamic sect” is also flatly untrue. Druze is a unique monotheistic faith which emerged during the 11th century from Islam and consider their faith to be a new interpretation of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  In addition, Druze incorporates several elements of Gnosticism, Greek Philosophies and other ideologies. The Druze community in Israel is officially recognized as a separate religious entity with its own courts (with jurisdiction in civil matters), and spiritual leadership. The Druze religion is secret and closed to converts.

Whilst the second post we’ll publish on Greenwood’s report will detail the misleading narrative regarding the political views of the Druze of Majdal Shams, these last two specific claims noted above are unambiguously false and not open to interpretation. 

Guardian report avoids obvious conclusions about radicalization of Woolwich terrorist

On May 23 we commented on a Guardian report about the terror attack on a British soldier named Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death in Woolwich by two men (including Michael Olumide Adebolajo) which buried the lead regarding Adebolajo’s radicalization under the influence of UK extremists Omar Bakri Mohammed and Anjem Choudary.

The report, by   and , made almost no mention of why both Choudary and Bakri are ‘considered’ extremists – information regarding their reactionary, pro-jihadist ideology which we provided in the post.

However, a May 26 Guardian report by Benn Quinn, Woolwich suspect’s change in character can be traced to Kenya arrest – friend, is even more stunning in its failure to acknowledge the most obvious causation concerning Adebolajo’s radicalism.

Here are the first several passages of Quinn’s report:

A fuller picture is beginning to emerge of how the alleged killers of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich were radicalised.

In the case of Michael Adebolajo, the 28-year-old filmed at the scene of the killing declaring he was fighting for “almighty Allah”, one area of focus is during and after his time at Greenwich University, where he lived in student accommodation between 2004 and 2005.

Born in Lambeth into a church-going family of Nigerian origin, he is thought to have converted to Islam around 2003.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the cleric who founded the now-banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, has said he tutored Adebolajo after his conversion and the young man started coming to meetings of the group at a time when anger was high over the war in Iraq. The cleric described him as a shy man who would ask questions about when violence was justified.

Another potentially significant event was Adebolajo’s arrest in 2010 in Kenya close to the border with Somalia. Kenyan authorities say they believe he was preparing to train and fight with the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabaab.

So, based on Quinn’s source Adebolajo’s radicalization at the point of his travel to Kenya in 2010 was not related to UK policy, and in fact was so extreme that he was willing to fight for al-Qaida linked terrorists outfit named al-Shabbab – a group which controls large swathes southern Somalia where it imposed its own strict form of Sharia law, and wages jihad against all “enemies of Islam”.

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al-Shabbab logo

According to the US State Department, the group is responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians, Somali peace activists, international aid workers, journalists, and African Union peacekeepers.

Quinn continues:

Adebolajo was later deported, but not before he was tortured, according to a friend who said the Londoner had gone abroad to study. Abu Nusaybah, who was arrested shortly after making the allegations in a BBC interview, in part attributed Adebolajo’s radicalisation to his alleged ill-treatment in Kenya.

Nusaybah said he believed that his friend became radicalised about six months ago, when he noticed what he regarded as profound changes in Adebolajo’s character, which he attributed to his experiences in Kenya and to events on his return to Britain.

Quinn neglects to note the stunning inconsistency in the friend’s claims – which implies that Adebolajo only became radical after he had already volunteered to fight on behalf of al Qaeda – and fails more generally (in the text of the report and accompanying headline) to acknowledge the timeline of what occurred.  

1. Adebolajo was from a devout Christian family but converted to Islam in 2003 at the age 19.

2. In the mid 2000s, Adebolajo was radicalized by UK radicals such as Anjem Choudary (and Omar Bakri Mohammed), and was a regular on radical marches in East London – in which demonstrators sometimes carried placards exhorting: ‘Behead those who insult Islam’ – and “often attended incendiary protests and lectures”. (Some terror experts have suggested that the language used by Adebolajo in his video right after the killing was similar to the rhetoric used by Choudary and fellow extremists.)

3. In 2010, Adebolajo made the decision to join an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group fighting to impose sharia law in Somalia.

4. In 2013 – three years after his decision to fight for al-Qaeda in Somalia – he hacks a British soldier to death in broad daylight while yelling “Allahu Akbar!”

Is isn’t really difficult to piece together a timeline, and determine that – based on the fact that he had already made the decision to fight for al Qaeda – Adebolajo was clearly radicalized prior to his trip to Kenya (not as a result of his treatment by Kenyan authorities), and, due to the influence of British Islamists, was determined to wage jihad all over the world to promote the hegemony of radical Islam.

For those not consumed with an ideologically inspired desire to avoid even the most obvious conclusions, a linear account of Adebolajo’s descent into Islamic extremism is not very difficult. 

The Boston Marathon Bombing and America’s So-Called Faith Privilege

Cross posted by A. Jay Adler at the Algemeiner

13564410-good-or-bad-ideas-signpost-shows-brainstorming-judging-or-choosingThe Boston Marathon bombing provoked enactment of what has emerged, since 9/11, as a ritual of political theater refined even beyond its long history of performance. Even while law enforcement authorities were still early in the search for unknown and unfathomed wreakers of violent and deadly terror, the players were scripting the drama to play out as they preferred instead to witness it.

There are, then, of course, those who inflame every developing circumstance and wage jihad against jihad. Just as extreme and inflammatory, just as adept at playing to a contrary animus, yet offered by many a greater grant of legitimacy, there are those who write,

As usual, the limits of selective empathy, the rush to blame Muslims, and the exploitation of fear all instantly emerge.

Among the more foolish and widely discussed reactions to the bombing, in the midst still of the search for its perpetrators, was that of David Sirota at Salon.com bidding, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.” Sirota’s hope arose from his recognition of the reality of white privilege. Among its features, according to Sirota,

There is a double standard: White terrorists are dealt with as lone wolves, Islamists are existential threats.

Now, one can recognize very real truth in the notion of white privilege and still see that it is a finer insight than the dull blade Sirota wields, beginning with the recognition that unemployed factory workers and low-wage Wal-Mart “associates” enjoy it rather less than white people like, say, David Sirota. Or, for another instance, the person from whom Sirota drew his argument, Tim Wise, the self-advertised “Anti-racist educator, author and educator.” Offered Sirota, from Wise,

“White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for your group to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening or threatened with deportation,” writes author Tim Wise. “White privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Dublin. And if he’s an Italian-American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.”

Before we turn momentarily to Wise himself, we do have to take note of the lack of integrity in this argument so far. However one may wish to challenge components or all of the post 9/11 so-named War on Terror, if Wise has evidence that any corn fields or mountain towns anywhere in the world have been bombed “just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas,” he is welcome by all, I am sure, to present it. So far he has not.

One observes, too, that while they were Saudi nationals who led the 9/11 attacks, the United States did not bomb Riyadh. Many terrorists have received training and direction in Pakistan; the U.S. has not yet bombed Islamabad. I believe the Italian-American analogy Wise invokes should more properly lead to the bombing of Rome, but, of course, he seeks to slip in a Western white religious preference in the substitution of the Vatican, so, no, please note, the U.S. has never bombed Mecca either.

At Wise’s own website, he attempts to bolster his case, which purports selective focus and generalization about Islamist terrorism, by offering an exhausting if not exhaustive list of white (presumably non-Muslim) American terrorists. He ends it with everyone’s favorite fallback to colloquial snark, “Ya know, just to name a few.”

A curious thing about the list if one, ya know, actually examines it is how very quickly it begins linking to accounts of crimes dating back not only to the pre 9/11 1990s, but even church bombings from the 1960’s civil rights era and lone bombers from the 1940s and 50s. How very quickly one may find on it, reportedly, mentally unstable people with long criminal records who can only be described as, you should pardon the expressionlone wolves.

Those who argue as Wise does are those who attempt to turn the subject to that of whiteness as a correlative to Islamic faith. With the one hand they grasp at greater historical culpability on the part of white people – white privilege – while with the other hand, they swat away any suggestion of greater contemporary culpability on the part of Islam. They do this by equating an acquired system of belief with an inherent physical characteristic while claiming any imbalance of greater criticism toward either as a bigotry.

What we have here is someone committed to making a case, just not the case itself. The necessity is to understand what the real nature of this commitment to the case is, commitment even in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

On Friday, the political comic everyone loves to disdain when he is bluntly, often crudely hammering shibboleths too close to home – Bill Maher – received as his first guest on his Real Time show the California State University San Bernardino professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism. When, at the start of the interview, Maher focused his attention on Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Islamic extremism, Levin was moved to interrupt in order to object.

Could I just interject? Look, it’s not like people who are Muslim who do wacky things have a monopoly on it. We have hypocrites across faiths, Jewish, Christian who say they’re out for God and end up doing not so nice things.

Maher called this “liberal bullshit” and tried to focus, again, on contemporary extremist and violent currents in the world. Levin’s immediate response was to tar Maher with a likeness to Pamela Geller and the implication of “Islamaphobia.” That is, any attempt on Maher’s part to argue that all is not one and the same, but that there are historical and empirical distinctions to be made was met not by critical argument, but by critical ad hominem.

LEVIN: Here’s my difficulty with your premise here, Bill, and that is look at how religions over history have had things done in their name that have been terrible.

MAHER: Absolutely. But we’re not in history. We’re in 2013.

For several hundred years, Christianity, after playing its role as equal participant in the God is notlove follies of the Crusades, was ideological support for the trans-continental genocidal terror committed against much of the world’s indigenous populations. White Christian Europe engineered the centuries-long barbarity of the African slave trade. “Anti-racists” like Wise, Sirota, and Levin encounter no mental bar to perceiving those empirical distinctions. When challenged, however, by contemporary empirical reality, Levin can only smear Maher.

LEVIN: If I may, though. You are making an error in that Islam has over 1.4 billion adherents. There’s a heterogeneity to it. Are there extremists who are horrible people who would slit your throats? Yes. But there are also folks that are fine, upstanding people.

MAHER: Of course.

LEVIN: And I’m very worried you have a national audience where we’re promoting Islamic hatred.

But the anti-racists are not, by their own focus on white racism and disallowance of other sources of bigotry and hate, promoting white or Christian hatred by managing to distinguish only the identifiable crimes of European and Christian civilization? Or are only whites and Christians capable of distinguishable levels of social and political deviance? And if one were to claim as much as that, would that not be a kind of racist assertion to be made by an anti-racist? (Can one be anti-racist without the professional label? Let’s hope.)

Maher was a remarkably better thinker in this argument than the professor. He clearly and fundamentally distinguished between analysis of a subject over time, with historical periods and phenomenon perhaps of little relevance and application to current circumstance, and certainly not representing  it, and analysis of the current situation. Levin, a purported expert in the study of hate and extremism was readily empirical in labeling types of, and motivations for, hateful extremism, but he suffered under an intellectual disability to apply the conceptual – ideas derived under the aegis of empirical observation and analysis – back, in turn, in any applied manner to empirical circumstance. According to him, the best we can achieve from the study of hate and violence is the insight that all people and peoples are capable of it, a feckless product of research that would seem to justify any arch anti-federalist’s desire to cut federal funding of the academy.

What we face in this weak-mindedness is an ideologically determined humanistic commitment to opposing group hatred that disables objective consideration of the evidence. Boston University professor Richard Landes has identified the complex of intellectual constructs that manifest this disability, from “liberal cognitive egocentrism” to “masochistic omnipotence syndrome” to “human rights complex.” There is, too, a nexus of action and reaction that further enacts the disability. Hateful rightwing extremists like Geller, and countless of her type on social media, quickly, objectionably express themselves immediately upon the occurrence of an event like the marathon bombing, and a certain type of leftwing voice finds it more important to establish the Gellers as mistaken and beyond the pale than to respond directly and with clarity to the primary offense.

That is one source of the commitment to the case that diverts any lucid analysis of the case. A second source is the faith fallacy.

The faith fallacy exhibits itself in the pious profession that people’s faiths, even if they are not shared, should at least be respected. The faith fallacy is committed on the basis of granting the faith privilege.

The faith privilege is granted on the basis of the meta-level faith-teaching that affirms that all faiths, whatever their historical, theological, or doctrinal differences, are expressions of our deep need for connection with God and God’s love. Since most people consider these needs definitive of the human experience, and since we acknowledge the spiritual and emotional commitment of our faiths to be among the dearest and most necessary human beings may make, we grant a privilege to faith, an acceptance of the notion that all faiths are to be respected.

However, this privilege is granted not only from our common regard for fundamental human need and expression; in liberal democracies, it arises, too, from principles and traditions of tolerance. Liberal democracies seek to accommodate, as a definitive expression of their own systems, the multiplicity of what are actually, on close inspection, mutually exclusive faith doctrines.

What you believe is not what I believe, but you believe it piously, profoundly, and in love and devotion. I honor that. I bow down, not in my belief, but in respectful recognition of your piety.

That is the idea. That is the privilege. From that is committed the fallacy. One way to challenge the privilege is through aggressive assertion of the truth of one’s own faith and objection to the truth of another, but this is the disagreeable history humanity seeks to overcome. The other way to make the challenge is from the standpoint of agnosticism if not atheism. One must be able to disengage from the conviction of faith in order to acknowledge a faith doctrine as just another system of ideas subject to intellectual evaluation no less than any other.

Most of the current challenge to the faith privilege comes from what are sometimes called the new atheists. The late Christopher Hitchens was one. Sam Harris is another. Richard Dawkins is, too. A characteristic of the new atheism is that it is assertively so. It is not simply a personal determination as to the nature of the universe and spiritual being, but a determination to influence others and to oppose the influence of faith in the world. One may share the new atheism’s criticisms of faith while still recognizing that its aggressive proselytizing and unimaginative response to human spiritual nature provocatively engenders its own response.

One thing these new atheists have not shied from doing is what Bill Maher, a fellow atheist and an admirer, did, which is to assert that while all theisms are objectionable to them, at this time in history, one, Islam, plays a more problematic role on the world scene than do others. Very recently, with Hitchens now deceased, it is Harris and Dawkins who have been attacked from the same precincts on the left as were our focus earlier. Because Harris and Dawkins, not unlike Hitchens, are provocative, they lay themselves open in the manner that those who do not traffic in agreeable pieties will. Harris was recently roundly attacked by Glenn Greenwald, author of our initial quotation above. Various articles have been written now attacking the new atheists as flirting with Islamaphobia or for being already, perhaps, Islamaphobic.

In England, where domestic Islamic radicalism is more prominent than in the U.S., Landes’s  human rights complex has been more vocally reactive, and recent pronouncements, including on Twitter, by the abrasive Dawkins have generated a particular response from those who cry Islamaphobia. Harris has offered a longer refresher on the integrity of his reasoned arguments against the systems of ideas called faiths and shorter responses to the name calling against him from Greenwald.

There is no such thing as “Islamophobia.” This is a term of propaganda designed to protect Islam from the forces of secularism by conflating all criticism of it with racism and xenophobia. And it is doing its job, because people like you have been taken in by it.

It requires only slight capacity for empathy to imagine that the past nearly twelve years have composed the lives of good people of Islamic faith in the United States with difficulty, uncertainty, and even self-consciousness. Americans have felt reasonable apprehensions, apprehension does not reason, and there are low, mean elements who will draw out the greater darkness loitering in any shadow. But to argue that those conditions, rather than the current problematic stage in the development of Islam, is the danger we face presents a case of willful blindness.

As it happens, whatever David Sirota wished, the people behind the Boston Marathon bombing do appear to have been motivated, apart from sheer human dysfunction, by the kind of Islamist extremism that robs its adherents of the most fundamental human sympathy.

As it also happens, there was an interfaith service held last week to salve the wounds of the Boston community. President Obama attended. The Imam originally invited to participate, representing Islam, from The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, was later disinvited when Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick was reminded of the center’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood founded Muslim-American Society, which has a record of anti-Semitic statements and statements advocating jihad.

This also happens to be recorded, in the FBI’s 2012 report on hate crimes in America. For 2011, the tenth year after 9/11, the FBI recorded 6,222 hate crime incidents involving 7,254 offenses. Of those, 18.2 % were religiously based. Of the religiously based hate crimes recorded in the United States in 2011, 13.3 % were against Muslims. In the nation outside of Israel widely judged to be the most welcoming to Jews of any in the world, 62.2% of recorded anti-religious hate crimes were against Jews.

We can all judge, amid the general human capacity for bias and hate, what is the state of any Islamaphobia in the United States. You might judge it, with me, all things considered – and in contrast to the Jewish record of terrorism over the past decade – remarkably low.

The first sentence of the second paragraph of the U.S.  Declaration of Independence begins,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

How many single sentences have ever contained such wisdom? Still, there are many who have and will misconstrue it. During battles over the civil rights derived from human equality, there have always been those who point out the unequal apportionment of ability amongst human beings, mistaking the equality of human dignity and worth – regardless of physical difference – for human capacity. The “pursuit of happiness” is a wondrous and open phrase, coming right after liberty, expressing all of the existential uncertainty and freedom of a life to make of itself what it can. All of the specifically enumerated rights of the U.S. Constitution have one general purpose – to support that pursuit of happiness, over and over again in every individual life. Every individual holder of a life gets to choose, how he or she will, for good or ill, the ideas that will motivate and direct that life toward happiness, however the holder may perceive it – ideas including those of faith. The all men are created equalphrase – equal whether white or black or yellow or red, tall or small, brilliant or dull, swift or slow – is not an all ideas are created equal phrase. Neither the U.S. Declaration of Independence nor human reason self-evidently affirms that equality.

Call it a doctrine, a philosophy, a theory, a dialectic, an enlightenment, an ideology or a faith – it is a set of ideas, which may be the basis of acts in the world, subject to reason and evaluation, to acceptance, indifference, or rejection. No one who rejects a set of ideas on a reasoned basis, including a faith, should be calumnized as a bigot or hater the way we would condemn those who hate because of nature. Those who do simply fail to make their case in every way. They name call instead of reason. They substitute smugness for the product of reason.

Typical of the convention, the piety, the privilege, President Obama, the day the manhunt was brought to a close, praised the nation as one in which “we welcome people from all around the world — people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe.” Well, this is true and good, but once again it grants the privilege; it lumps ethnicity, an immutable state of nature, with faith, a voluntary state of mind. We should welcome the people, but we need not welcome the ideas. Each of us is free to pursue happiness holding to whatever set of non-threatening ideas may please; each of us is free to tell the other that he is wrong and to tell him how and why.

No faith, as a system of belief and a practice of living, is automatically deserving of respect just because others commit their lives and pray to it. Ideas, whatever label we affix to them, including that of faith, must earn our respect and not be granted the privilege of unthinking and uncritical acceptance.

CiF’s Jonathan Romain, and ‘Guardian Left’ rationalizations for antisemitism

‘Comment is Free’ contributor Jonathan Romain is the rabbi at Maidenhead, a Reform Synagogue in Berkshire, England, who has received awards for his work in helping couples in interfaith marriages.

Romain

He published an essay at the Belief section of ‘Comment is Free’ on Jan. 19 titled “Muslim-Jewish marriages herald a brave new world“, which celebrates what he characterizes as our day’s “tolerant, pluralist society” where “mixed-faith marriage has become commonplace”.

However, his essay imputes much greater moral significance to such ecumenical success. 

Romain writes, thus:

In the past century in Britain, intermarriage tend to mean Jews (the main minority faith group) marrying Christians. However, in recent years a new trend has arisen: Muslims intermarrying.

No one is surprised that some Muslims marry Christians – they are the majority population – but to the astonishment of many, Muslims and Jews are beginning to marry each other. This is unexpected, as the Israel-Arab problems in the Middle East have affected relationships between members of the two faiths over here.

While there are many working for harmony between them, unwarranted prejudices about each other also abound, with some Jews regarding all Muslims as potential suicide bombers and some Muslims seeing all Jews as Uzi-wielding West Bank extremists.

As with Jonathan Freedland’s recent essay at Open Zion, which CiF Watch and Simply Jews posted about, Romain suggests some sort of moral parity between the two groups’ reaction to the “Israeli-Arab” conflict.  As we noted previously, reports by CST do indeed demonstrate a dramatic spike in antisemitic incidents when conflicts arise between Israel and terrorists on its borders, with a disproportionate percentage of violent attacks against Jews being perpetrated by Muslims – especially those motivated by Islamist ideology.  

However, there appears to be no evidence to suggest similarly violent reactions by Jews against Muslims during such violent conflagrations.  

Romain continues with the following passage, displaying, at the very least, an audacious level of credulity by imputing credibility to the most risible politically correct narratives regarding Jewish-Muslim relations.

“On the other hand, the fact that young Jews and Muslims are linking up has a positive angle, and shows that the conflict in Middle East is not without hope.

Once the territorial disputes are taken away, there are very few religious problems between Jews and Muslims. Whereas, for instance, Jews play a villainous central role in the Christian story, there is no such demonisation of the other in Judaism and Islam.” [emphasis added]

While you don’t need to be a scholar on Islam to acknowledge the existence of pejorative and racist references to Jews in the Koran, and in Hadiths - perhaps the best known being the following, attributed to Allah’s Apostle, which is not only cited in Hamas’s charter but supported, according to a recent poll,by an overwhelming majority of Palestinians: 

“The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

In fairness, though, some reasonably argue that textual evidence supporting the claim that Muslims are religiously influenced to possess hostility to Jews must be balanced with a more sober understanding that Islam, as with all religions, “is subject to interpretation, which is not always the same in different times and places or among various individuals or even — in Islam’s case — countries and ethnic groups.”

In other words, to a large degree, (as with all religions) Islam, morally speaking, is what its practitioners make it.

However, even more troubling than Romain’s platitudes about ecumenical harmony is his implication that whatever problems exist between Muslims and Jews are motivated by the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – a hypothesis which is simply ahistorical and easily contradicted by even a cursory analysis of the phenomenon of antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

It is undeniable that extreme Muslim antisemitism in the Middle East – which manifested itself in pogroms, the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands  and even calls for genocide by Muslim religious leaders – clearly predates Israel’s conquest of territory in the 1967 ‘Six Day War’, and, in many instances, even predates the birth of the Jewish state in 1948.  Additionally, the Damascus blood libel occurred in 1840 – predating the publication of Theodor Herzl’s Zionist manifesto, Der Judenstat, by fifty-six years.

However, beyond the troubling historical reality of Muslim enmity towards Jews, those, such as Romain, who suggest Zionist “root causes” to explain away or contextualize antisemitism are necessarily suggesting that in the event a two-state solution is achieved, such anti-Jewish racism will recede.  According to such logic, the creation of a Palestinian Arab state will ameliorate the Judeophobic obsession which, for instance, led the “moderate” Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, to urge fellow Muslims to “nurse their children and grandchildren on hatred for Jews”. 

Romain would evidently have us believe that, upon the birth of the new state of Palestine, Hamas and Hezbollah leaders will renounce their genocidal antisemitism, Iranian leaders will acknowledge the reality of the Holocaust, the state controlled Arab media will stop inculcating the masses in vile Jewish conspiracy theories, and Jihadists in London, Paris, Milan and New York City will abort plans to target innocent Jews at synagogues, community centers, and markets. 

However, beyond the speciousness of Romain’s particular logic, the causation he’s suggesting between Israeli policy and the persistence of malignant and pervasive anti-Jewish bigotry within particular cultures in the world legitimizes a narrative which should have long since been discredited – that antisemitism may indeed a malevolent force, but one which can be ameliorated by simply changing Jewish behavior.

Perhaps one of the saddest commentaries on the Guardian-style Left – with all of its faux liberal pieties – is its inability to comprehend the most basic truth about racial bigotry of all kinds, including antisemitism: that racism is always a commentary on the moral failings of the racists themselves, and never, ever on the object of their  hate. 

Not reported by the Guardian: The “plot to celebrate Christmas” in Saudi Arabia

The following story about an incident in Saudi Arabia, published in Alakhbar, reads as satire, but is all too real, and represents and interesting postscript to our recent critique of Harriet Sherwood’s tall tale about Christmas in Bethlehem , which conjured fanciful images of Christians under siege in the Holy Land.

20110531_SaudiArabiaMap

Here are excerpts from the Alakhbar piece:

“Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.

The host of the alleged Christmas gathering is reported to be an Asian diplomat whose guests included 41 Christians, as well as two Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Muslims.

The kingdom, which only recognizes Islamic faith and practice, has in the past banned public Christmas celebrations, but is ambiguous about festivities staged in private quarters.

member of the Higher Council of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammed al-Othaimin recently prohibited sending holiday wishes to “heretics” on Christmas or other religious Christian holidays.”

As Christians throughout Israel were freely celebrating the birth of Christ, in the neighboring state of Saudi Arabia dozens were detained for ‘conspiring’ to celebrate the holiday.

Meanwhile, on the Guardian’s Saudi Arabia page, there was nothing on the crackdown against Christianity.

saudi

While Harriet Sherwood and her team of journalistic and polemical investigators continue to conduct a never-ending moral DNA analysis of the Jewish state for any trace amounts of racism or discrimination, the abominable treatment of religious minorities in the non-Jewish Middle East avoids serious scrutiny.

While we continue to report on the Guardian’s bias against the only Jewish state in the region, it’s impossible to properly contextualize such skewed coverage without noting the regional stories they don’t report.  

Such expansive moral blind spots, as much as any other dynamic, continue to define the ideological space occupied by the Guardian Left.   

Hanukkah Diarist: Antisemitism and the flight of the ‘progressives’

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Hanukkah 1931, at the home of Rabbi Akiva Boruch Posner in Kiel, Germany (across from Nazi HQ)

H/T Armaros

As my wife and I lit our Hanukkah candles last night, and we sang Ma’oz Tzur (מעוז צור), my mind darkly drifted back to a query posed last year by an especially thoughtful friend in the context of a longer discussion about Semites, philo-Semites and anti-Semites.

My friend asked the following:

“In the event there was another attempted Holocaust, would the world this time stand up and resist, and defend the Jews before it was too late?”

I chose not to reply to his inquiry because the seriousness of the question seemed to demand a more reflective and serious response than time would allow.

While, even in the most “enlightened” circles, the failure of so many to reveal, yet alone seriously confront, the Nazi genocide as it was being perpetrated is well-documented, in our post-Shoah world the homage paid posthumously to Jewish victims is nearly universal among the respectable class.  

Indeed, such pieties are often observed, if perfunctorily, by even the most shrill critics of the modern Jewish state.

However, in observing the failure of such a large segment of the ‘progressive community’ to engage in serious moral resistance in the face of explicit threats by many leading Islamists (such as the leaders of Hamas) to annihilate the Jews, it seems extremely unlikely that the next coordinated assault on world Jewry would be radically confronted.

Examples of the moral impunity enjoyed by antisemitic extremists abound: 

website closely linked to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei recently outlined why it would be religiously acceptable for the Islamic Republic to kill all the Jews in Israel – a doctrine which details why the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of all its people would be legally and morally justified, and in accordance with Islamic doctrine.

According to a 2011 WikiLeaks report, Sheik Yousuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, literally asked Allah to kill ‘every last Jew on earth’.

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah has stated explicitly that all Jews in the world (not merely Israelis or Zionists) are legitimate targets for murder.

All one needs to do is visit the pages of Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI to view countless well-documented examples of Islamic extremists sanctioning (and often inciting) the mass murder of Jews.

Such expressions of annihilationist antisemitism are routinely ignored by the media, international human rights groups and even the most enlightened political leaders.

So, it isn’t at all surprising to observe the muted response to Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal’s recent speech in Gaza reiterating his group’s commitment to annihilating Israel - an eerie silence which stands in stark contrast to the righteous outrage expressed by international statesmen, opinion leaders, NGOs (and even self-described Jewish progressives) in response to the possibility that Israel may build new homes between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.

In Gaza, on Dec. 8, Maashal was clear: 

“Palestine – from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, from its north to its south – is our land, our right, and our homeland. There will be no relinquishing or forsaking even an inch or small part of it.”

“Palestine was, continues to be, and will remain Arab and Islamic. It belongs to the Arab and the Islamic world. Palestine belongs to us and to nobody else.”

“Since Palestine belongs to us, and is the land of Arabism and Islam, we must never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of it. The occupation is illegitimate, and therefore, Israel is illegitimate, and will remain so throughout the passage of time.

“The liberation of Palestine – all of Palestine – is a duty, a right, a goal, and a purpose. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian people, as well as of the Arab and Islamic nation.”

“Jihad and armed resistance are the proper and true path to liberation and to the restoration of our rights, along with all other forms of struggle – through politics, through diplomacy, through the masses, and through legal channels. All these forms of struggle, however, are worthless without resistance.”

Hamas’s Meshaal – as with Islamist leaders in Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Palestine and elsewhere – are explicit about their desire to annihilate Jews, yet the world is silent.

Where are the righteous editorials in the Guardian and New York Times condemning such dangerous antisemitic incitement as impediments to peace and an affront to human decency?

Why aren’t European foreign ministers summoning Mahmoud Abbas – the putative ‘moderate’ Palestinian leader who continues to seek reconciliation with Hamas and continues to nurture a culture of incitement and extreme antisemitism in the territory he rules – or subjecting him to moral opprobrium?

Where are the ‘peace’ advocates, the ‘Elders’, the “progressives”, the “citizens of the world”, the social justice advocates, the sensitive souls and the “universalists”?

Where are the righteous walk-outs, the campus takeovers, the mass rallies in San Francisco, London, Paris, Toronto, and Madrid, or the boycotts against enablers of radical Islam’s malign Jewish fixation?

The flight of the progressives in face of such reactionary Islamist movements may be motivated by several dynamics, but perhaps the most egregious factor motivating this dangerous moral abdication relates to the capacity of today’s anti-Jewish advocates to skillfully employ the language of liberalism.  Islamist exclusivists have become adroit at using human rights and universalist lexicon to convince the gullible of the supreme threat posed by Israel’s expansionism, its immutable aggression, it’s ongoing crime against humanity. 

In this most fantastical moral inversion, antisemitism claims the mantles of anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialism. 

The progressive ‘international community’ – cowed into cowardice, stymied by au courant activists who have convinced them that ‘this time’ those who stand against the Jews in fact morally represent the ‘new Jews’ – won’t lift a finger.  They will not “intervene”.

However, at Hannukah we are taught to believe in the miraculous.

So, while again this evening Chana and I will light our menorah, celebrating past victories over incredible odds, we will also remember that “miracles” often merely represent positive outcomes resulting from the convergence of a will to defeat your enemy, a belief in moral agency and an insistence on political sobriety.

The natural despair in response to the supreme moral abdication by much of the progressive community in the face of resurgent Jew hatred can not stymie Semites and philo-Semites in their steely determination to overcome the malevolance of anti-Semites.