Thursday, July 31, 2003


Just caught Steven Soderbergh's film the other day, which I missed completely when it came out (my being in Israel and all), and I'm still a bit confused over what I think about it. Firstly, I'm hugely impressed with Soderbergh, who's really a throwback to another era of filmmaking. Frankly, I'm amazed that he gets to make films at all, especially since, from what I understand, his movies don't tend to make that much money. He's obviously an artistically minded director with a distinctive personal style which he imprints on every frame of his films. (He also acts - and brilliantly, I might add - as his own cinematographer). He doesn't make concessions to audience reaction or to commercial interests, and yet he's managed to put together a significant body of films which have garnered him critical acclaim and some serious pull in the notoriously brutal Hollywood system. The same cannot be said of other, more famous, recent auteurs like Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee who seem to be washed up or, in the case of the former, overhyped one-trick ponies. Soderbergh, on the other hand, has a consistency that his colleagues, for whatever reason, seem to lack. He is also ambitious, a quality much lacking among filmmakers today, and he pushes on the boundaries of film structure and language in a way that is more akin to French filmmakers like Godard than to the Hollywood tradition.

Solaris, which is a remake of an old Russian science fiction film (which I haven't seen, but from what i've read the remake deviates drastically from the original) which was based on a novel by a Polish writer named Stanislaw Lem, is very much in keeping with the brand of science fiction typified by writers like Arthur C. Clarke -- heavy on the technology and philosophical exploration and light on laser guns and space aliens.

(to be completed...)

Critics of settlement-building, including the Israeli left-wing movement, Peace Now, note that about 6,000 West Bank housing units, whose construction was begun under previous Israeli governments, are now at various stages of completion.

Yet, according to Peace Now's own "Settlement Watch," about 80% of those units are being built within the three settlement blocs that the Palestinians accepted at Camp David and Taba.

In a recent interview I conducted with Dennis Ross, the former Middle East negotiator acknowledged that construction within areas slated as future settlement blocs should now be considered legitimate, provided that building doesn't expand the borders of those blocs. So far, the Sharon government is adhering to that principle.

I think this is a perfect example of how Israel's lack of an Information Ministry does it serious political damage. The settlement issue has been completely defined by the anti-Israeli side. The extremely significant fact that the overwhelming majority of the settlements are going up in blocs already accepted by the Palestinians and not willy-nilly all over the West Bank is a fact that should be repeated over and over by Israel's media representatives and yet is not. I don't think there is anything more frustrating than the way that a biased media and Israeli PR incompetance combine to skew conventional wisdom against Israel. Again, Israel must shoulder a great deal of the blame due to its refusal to set up a government Information Ministry, which ought to be a top priority.

First reports on the organization cast the group as mainstream and benign, even though NJ Solidarity publicly asserts on its website: "We are opposed to the existence of the apartheid colonial settler state of Israel, as it is based on the racist ideology of Zionism...we stand for the total liberation of all historic Palestine." NJ Solidarity also "unconditionally support[s] Palestinians' human right to resist occupation and oppression by any means necessary."

From a FrontPageMag article on the upcoming Rutgers Nazifest. I will be in Israel by then, but I hope many of you are planning to go down there and make life uncomfortable for the little goosesteppers.

For example, International Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights got tens of thousands of dollars each year by having a few members become students (continuing ed one or two course grad students) who then ran for student government. They got elected. (Easy to do when student electorial turnouts are often less than 2%) and they then used their positions in student government to legally abscond student union fees by hiring themselves and their activist buddies as consultants. The CSU activist center got $70,000!!!

God bless the LGF comments section. I think this is 100% true. Leftist organizations have been skimming off the public trough for years by playing the state college beaurocracy (how do you think Ralph Nader got so rich?). Yet another example of the politicization of the university system.

Voices' arguments about sanctions were straightforward—and utterly simplistic. In retrospect, I am embarrassed to think that I propagated them. Voices held that sanctions were violence that the U.S. government committed against Iraq, through the exercise of raw power. The Iraqi regime was entirely helpless and passive and had no ability to respond to the economic pressure the U.N. had put on Iraq since 1990. Voices was oblivious to deliberate Iraqi obfuscation on disarmament and to Saddam's domestic policies, designed to maintain his iron grip over the Iraqi people for as long as possible. It was our stubborn view that the regime had little or no ability to control or direct Iraq's destiny. We saw the U.S.-sponsored sanctions as the primary cause of violence in Iraq and so overlooked (or denied) Saddam's decades-long legacy of severe repression.

Even worse, we were quite willing to consider the Baath regime as a reliable source of value-free information on Iraq. Group members had neither the training nor the inclination to dissect Baathist propaganda, and we in Voices regularly parroted this propaganda in our public presentations as if it were fact, without much editing or critical reflection. Little effort was expended in learning more about general trends and issues in Iraqi history, culture, and politics. As a result, our presentations were rife with factual errors and misstatements. I was known as something of a bookworm within the group, but I realized even before my trip to Baghdad that I understood hardly anything about Baathist Iraq. I also was bothered by the fact that my colleagues seemed untroubled by our ignorance...

I desperately searched for anything that could support Voices' take on the sanctions and disprove Baram. But I found nothing, and I began to seriously rethink my role in the group, as well as some of my most basic political assumptions.

But my split with Voices was not simply the outcome of reading Baram's article. From the outset, I had expected that Voices would cultivate knowledge on all things Iraqi as we set about our task of ending sanctions. I expected the better academic works on Iraq—the landmark studies by Baram, Batatu, and Marion and Peter Sluglett—to be on the office bookshelf. Instead all I found were uninformed tracts by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Edward Said.

Most of the members of Voices migrated to the issue of Iraq from other issues, and I suppose they will most likely migrate somewhere else. No doubt they will detect creeping U.S. militarism elsewhere and doggedly protest it with symbolic gestures that have little or no meaning, except for themselves.

From a fascinating article by a former sanctions protestor. It should stand as a warning to all those who believe the Chomsky/Zinn industry is the only reliable source of information about the world, and to all those who follow their path of lies and slanders, ending in that final disgrace of aiding and abetting political evil.

The Defense Ministry announced Wednesday the
completion of the first stage of the separation
fence between Israel and the West Bank, aimed at
curtailing terrorist infiltrations.

The 128-kilometer stretch of the
fence, which is opposed by the
Palestinians on the grounds
that it cuts into their land,
runs from the town of Salem in
the north down to Elkana in the

The U.S. says the fence is a problem because it
could make life harder for Palestinians and
prejudge the borders of a Palestinian state. UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan also chided Israel
on Wednesday for proceeding with construction
of the fence.

But after talks with U.S. President George W.
Bush in Washington on Tuesday, Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon said Israel would go ahead with
the fence...

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on
Wednesday described the security fence as
"racist" and a symbol of the lack of
coexistence between the Palestinians and

In Jordan on the latest leg of his international
tour which has also included trips to Egypt,
the U.S. and France, Abbas told King Abdullah
II that the fence "has little value from a
security point of view and the Palestinians
reject it because it is being built on their
lands," Jordan's official Petra news agency

"The fence is racist," Abbas said. "It
represents a title for no coexistence" between
Israel and the Palestinians...

"On the question of the fence, I know it's the
conventional wisdom that fences make good
neighbors, but that is if you build a fence on
your own land and you don't disrupt your
neighbor's life," Annan told a news

Annan also criticized Israel for putting
conditions on steps it is supposed to take in
parallel with Palestinian moves under the road
map for Middle East peace.

"The road map demands of the parties parallel
action for us to make progress," Annan said.

"I do not think one should condition one's own
action ... and this is something that has
worried those of us that have worked on the
road map, that past efforts failed because some
of it became so conditioned that it was
conditioned to death.

"And we felt on this that there should be
parallel steps by the parties, and the quartet
stands by that approach," Annan said.

Outrage is the deference vice pays to virtue. Its always amusing when a Holocaust-denying, genocidal terrorist accuses other people of racism. If Abbas wants to be anything more than a joke he should keep his mouth shut. As for Annan, I couldn't care less what he thinks about anything, the man is a pig.

The Bush administration, on the other hand, is something else. Clearly they're trying to throw Abbas a bone here, and the fence doesn't seem like a big deal to them. I can tell you from personal experience, however, that the fence is a big deal, and ought to be built with all expediency. It will seriously truncate the possibility of terrorist infiltration and begin the process of consolidating Israel's Eastern border with a Jewish majority within. Which, of course, is why the Palestinians are so fanatically opposed to it. As for it being built on Palestinian land - they should have thought of that before they started setting off shrapnel bombs in schoolbuses.

For the first time since the abortive efforts of the "human shields" who volunteered to protect Saddam Hussein from American missile strikes, radicals are putting themselves on the battle line. An organization calling itself the “International Occupation Watch Center” has set up shop in Baghdad with the express purpose of inciting U.S. troops to seek discharges and be sent home as conscientious objectors. It is inciting defection of troops at war by (technically) other means...

The organizers of this sabotage effort have a long history of supporting America's enemies and the enemies of freedom generally. The Baghdad effort is the brainchild of Medea Benjamin, a long-time Castro acolyte and a key organizer of the "anti-war" protests as head of "Global Exchange" and instigator of "Code Pink" (a feminist front for the anti-war radicals). She is abetted by long-time Communist Party member and pro-Castro spear carrier, Leslie Cagan. Cagan is the leader of the "moderate" wing of the peace movement, United for Peace and Justice, a brainchild of People for the American Way. Cagan maintained her membership in the Communist Party even after the fall of the Berlin Wall. As head of the anti-Semitic and pro-Communist Pacifica radio network, Cagan is a key promoter of the anti-American cause. Benjamin, who once described Castro’s gulag as “heaven,” was a key proponent of the effort to send “human shields” to terrorist rogue states like Iraq. She was also one of the planners of the 1999 Seattle "anti-globalization" riots. These anti-capitalist farragoes were the real spawning ground of the "anti-war" crusade.

Medea Benjamin laid out a skeletal blueprint for Occupation Watch in her essay “Toward a Global Movement," which was published in the flagship organ of the anti-American left -- The Nation. “Working with local communities where U.S. troops are based, let's start a Bring All the Troops Home campaign to stop the expansion of U.S. bases and start dismantling some of the hundreds of existing bases overseas.” She also called upon these “grassroots teams” to “link up with appropriate local and regional groups” in terrorist states. What are these “appropriate groups”? The fedayeen, perhaps? Hamas? The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? Benjamin does not name names, but her exhortation for the Left to “channel the bursting anti-American sentiment overseas” speaks volumes.

I have only one question: why aren't these people in jail? They are obviously guilty of treason under any moral/legal definition you can think of. I think we need to start demanding that the Attorney General take more drastic action against acts of treason by Americans who've been getting away with it for decades because they are protected by the Leftist establishment. Indict Chomsky!!!

As the Court now begins its first session, you might suspect Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein would find an early place on the docket. Or maybe the ICC would try Kim Jong Il, the brutal North Korean dictator who has systematically starved two million of his subjects to death and tortured hundreds of thousands more in labor camps? Or it might train its guns on Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who is also starving his own people while forcibly seizing land from his country’s white farmers? Or perhaps some of the myriad henchmen who have carried out the aforementioned individuals’ monstrous policies? Maybe the perpetrators of the ongoing, unspeakable atrocities in Congo, Liberia, and Sudan; or the agents of oppression, terror, and human-rights abuses scattered all over the Arab world?

But none of these cases are soon to be heard. Instead, the Greek Bar Association has announced that it will file charges of “crimes against humanity and war crimes” with the ICC against British Prime Minister Tony Blair, because of his participation in the Iraq war. This is not at all surprising; from the very start, the main proponents of the ICC’s formation were “human rights” organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, both of which traditionally oppose American foreign policy — and were ecstatic to find a vehicle with international “respectability” through which they could condemn any American military and political venture they dislike.

The UN has long nursed the ambition of becoming a world government, its rulings supreme over the laws of sovereign nations. The only way to stop this formation of a new totalitarian power in the world is immediate American withdrawal from the UN and the cessation of our financial support.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Gil Shterzer reports that while staging this destructo-fest, these peaceful, nonviolent “activists” were shouting a familiar Hamas slogan in English: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” other words, openly calling for the complete destruction of Israel.

Courtesy of LGF. Peace organization, my ass. I don't know what's worse, the ISM's lying, genocidal hypocrisy, or the fact that they think we're all so stupid we can't see through it.


Monday, July 28, 2003

I think we're coming to the end of the era of "objectivity" that has dominated journalism over this time. We need to define a new ethic that lends legitimacy to opinion, honestly disclosed and disciplined by some sense of propriety.

Though an opinion journalist myself, I'm certainly not against attempts at objectivity. Indeed I believe the ethic is a more powerful influence than disgruntled readers and viewers often seem to believe; it's simply not true that journalists conspire to slant the news in favor of their friends and causes. Yet it's also true that in claiming "objectivity" the press often sees itself as a perfect arbiter of ultimate truth. This is a pretension beyond human capacity.

The opinion of the press corps tends toward consensus because of an astonishing uniformity of viewpoint. Certain types of people want to become journalists, and they carry certain political and cultural opinions. This self-selection is hardened by peer group pressure. No conspiracy is necessary; journalists quite spontaneously think alike. The problem comes because this group-think is by now divorced from the thoughts and attitudes of readers. To take politics as a test, in 1992, a sample of top Washington reporters and editors voted 89% to 7% for Bill Clinton over George H.W. Bush.

Exactly. My only objection to this excellent article is that it ignores the pernicious influence of the journalism schools, which are violently politicized and often teach their students a journalistic ethic that holds the journalist responsible for changing the world or serving as a guardian of democracy. This, in practicality, amounts to supporting a Leftist political/social agenda. Hence the farcical advocacy journalism that passes for objectivity at most major outlets. They're taught that Leftist bias is not merely ok, but its actually a virtue above all others. The schools need to be de-politicized before any kind of major progress is made towards ending bias in the media. In the end, it may not be possible and the blogosphere may have to become the answer to Leftist media power.

Check this out. I couldn't agree more.

And yet one thing appears clear: the latest film, intentionally or not, is the most powerful pro-Israel movie since "Cast a Giant Shadow" -- the story of the Independence War -- and "Operation Thunderbolt" -- the story of the Entebbe rescue. Not that Israel itself is even mentioned.

I don't really know what to make of the Matrix 2's pretty obvious allegories to Israel. There is the possiblity that the references are unintentional and merely culled from the masss of pop culture and pseudo-religious homages that permeate the film. There's also the possiblity that Judaism and Zionism are merely two among a multitude of political and philosophical ideas that run through the film. But the references to Zion and its beseiged yet vibrant state are extremely prominent - prominent enough for the Egyptian government to ban the film - so maybe there is something more going on here. Anyone know if the Warchowskis are members of the tribe?

I prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that a pernicious double standard has been applied to judging Israel's actions: that even when Israel has been the best or among the best in the world, it has often been accused of being the worst or among the worst in the world. I also prove that this double standard has not only been unfair to the Jewish state but that it has damaged the rule of law, wounded the credibility of international organizations such as the United Nations, and encouraged Palestinian terrorists to commit acts of violence in order to provoke overreaction by Israel and secure one-sided condemnation of Israel by the international community.

From Allan Dershowitz's long-overdue new book. I have to admit to liking Dersh despite his flaws. The man debated Noam Chomsky twice and the second time smacked him around so bad that Chomsky has, thus far, refused to even entertain the notion of debating Dershowitz again. He's a partisan for Israel and he doesn't take shit from nobody, nohow. We need more like him.

Recently, there has been a lot of Congressional hand-wringing about media conglomeration, focusing on the red herring that consolidation results in, as Senator Barbara Boxer put it, "Communist and Nazi tactics in controlling opinions their citizens hear."

Barbara Boxer. Ick. That's all I have to say. Ick.

The first man to speak wants to know two things: There's a U.S. election next year, and if President Bush loses will the Americans go home? And second, are you secretly holding Saddam Hussein in custody as a way to intimidate us with the fear that he might return? Mr. Wolfowitz replies no to both points, with more conviction on the second than the first. But the question reveals the complicated anxiety of the post-Saddam Iraqi mind.

Most reporting from Iraq suggests that the U.S. "occupation" isn't welcome here. But following Mr. Wolfowitz around the country I found precisely the opposite to be true. The majority aren't worried that we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon. Traumatized by 35 years of Saddam's terror, they fear we'll lose our nerve as casualties mount and leave them once again to the Baath Party's merciless revenge.

Have you ever noticed that the opponents of the war are constantly evoking the "Iraqi people" as their object of greatest compassion and concern, and yet seem utterly uninterested in what the Iraqi people actually think about the war and the demise of the Saddam regime? There is clearly a logical disconnect in the claim that you are helping an oppressed people by doing everything within your power to keep them oppressed. Rant about occupation and imperialism all you want, the fact still remains that Saddam is gone and the Iraqi people are happy to see him gone. Of course, to acknowledge this would destroy the anti-war Left's most precious posession: self-regard. How long can you consider yourself a partisan of the oppressed of the Third World if you consistently ignore what your precious oppressed actually think and feel?

Saturday, July 26, 2003

More on this tomorrow. In the meantime, go check it out.

There's an interesting symposium on Ann Coulter's take on McCarthyism over at FrontPageMag. I think they miss the main point, which is that McCarthy just wasn't that big a deal and certainly wasn't the monster the Left portrays him as. He is a convenient excuse for the Leftist historians to pretend that the US and the USSR were morally comparable. They had Stalin, we had McCarthy, so goes the equation. Needless to say, this is morally and intellectually reprehensible in the extreme. Whether McCarthy was bad or not - and he was certainly not as ruthless a demagogue as, say, Teddy Kennedy - he certainly never manufactured the slaughter of 20 million people. Coulter is forcing the Left to answer for the tissue of lies they've been allowed to spin from behind the iron walls of academe. For this alone, I support her.

The president suggested that he was supportive of the Palestinians on one topic raised by Mr. Abbas: Israel's construction of a security fence that is cutting into Palestinian areas on the West Bank. But he said the onus was on Mr. Abbas to clamp down on terrorist activities by Palestinian groups, and he rebuffed calls by Palestinians for Israel to release as many as 6,000 prisoners it is holding, many accused by Israel of taking part in terrorist activities...

Mr. Bush said prisoner release should be considered case by case. "But I would never ask anybody in any society to let a prisoner out who would then commit terrorist actions," he said.

The president also indicated that while he would push Israel to adhere to the requirement of the road map that it dismantle recently built Jewish settlements, he also saw resolution of the broader issue of the settlements as dependent on Mr. Abbas's ability to curb terrorism.

"I've constantly spoken out about the end of settlements," Mr. Bush said, apparently referring to the required dismantling of settlements established since March 2001, when Mr. Sharon took office. "And I'm going to tell you point-blank that we must make sure that any terrorist activity is rooted out, in order for us to be able to deal with these big issues."

Most of this is pretty positive, I think. The remarks on prisoner releases are extremely encouraging, it seems that the president has seen that such action would be counterproductive in every possible way. My only major objection here is to the security fence. I think the fence is essential to Israel's security, especially considering that I am not optimistic about the Road Map's possibilities of long term success. The Palestinians object to the fence because a.) it cuts them off from Israel's economy, which, even though they hate and despise Israel, they want to benefit from, and b.) it cuts off their ability to renew te violence should negotiations fail to fulfill their demands, an option I think they still want to preserve. I can't see any objection to the security fence that is not ultimately misguided or deliberately disengenuous. I think Bush objects to it because he doesn't want Israel defining its possible future border unilaterally, which is precisely why I'm in favor of it.

The governor's advisers say they intend to shift the focus away from Mr. Davis's personality and his record to what they characterize as the "right wing" agenda of the recall proponents and the high cost of the election at a time when the state faces a $38 billion deficit.

His aides say they will use television advertising, telephone banks and mass mailings supported by liberal interest groups and unions to send a message that the state cannot afford the risk of overturning an election and putting the state in the hands of a novice politician with views out of step with those of most Californians. The national Democratic Party has pledged its full support to defeating the recall.

"We're going to make it clear to all Californians that this thing is the handiwork of a little band of right-wing nuts," said Garry South, one of Mr. Davis's chief political advisers. "This whole process is ludicrous. Voters are just astonished at what is happening here."

Actually, the main thing voters seem to be astonished about is Gray Davis:

Governor Davis starts with numerous handicaps. Polls show that fewer than a quarter of the state's voters approve of the job he is doing as governor; fewer still feel any affection for him. Polls also show that a majority of voters support the recall, though by a narrow margin.

I'm always fascinated by the little tricks history plays on the unsuspecting. Here we have a self-styled "Progressive" governor of one of the worst-run (and historically worst-run) states in the country being taken down by a hundred year old relic of the "Progressive" era. Davis has never been a particularly inspiring figure, and at the moment he's taking the blame for the decades old liberal-built state government which is wasteful, profligate and suicidally anti-business. Even Reagan couldn't permanently change the madness that is California. Davis probably couldn't have done much about it, but the point is he was ideologically incapable of trying and there is now the very real possiblity that this will change.

David Brooks, a frequent contributor to The New York Times and a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, has been named an Op-Ed page columnist for The Times. His column will appear twice a week beginning in early September...

Mr. Brooks, 41, has also been a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly, and a regular commentator on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." Mr. Brooks's articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Forbes, The Washington Post, SmartMoney, The New Republic, Commentary and other publications. He is the author of "Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There," published in 2000 by Simon & Schuster, which next spring will publish his book about suburban life in America.

Hmmmm, could be an indication that the NY Times is getting the message. Brooks is brilliant, of course, and he hails from the much-demonized neo-Con periodical The Weekly Standard. They could have picked someone a bit more openly conservative (dare I say it - Ann Coulter) but with the Times, you take what you can get.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Warning to the Democratic Party.

You have a serious problem.

Leftist-with-a-conscience Michael Totten introduces a series of links to the silent majority of Democrats who are once again having their party stolen by a bunch of totalitarian Marxist hooligans. I think its high time the real Democratic Party stood up and took its party back. Unfortunately, due to the rewriting of rules accomplished by George McGovern's committee in the post-1968 era (rules which, by astonishing coincidence, resulted in McGovern's own nomination) the totalitarian Left of the Democratic Party has disproportionate and unjust power and influence in the Party hierarchy. Without a major change in the political structure of the Party, the Democrats are going to continue to be hostage to the illigitimate domination of their Left wing.

President Bush's pick for a federal appeals judgeship in Atlanta is drawing strong opposition from Jewish groups, including three organizations that usually refuse to take sides in judicial fights.

Officials at the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International and American Jewish Congress said that they felt obligated to abandon their typical silence on judicial nominees, given what they described as the extremist views of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor. Those two groups have joined the National Council of Jewish Women, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and many liberal nonsectarian organizations in opposing Pryor's nomination.

In a party-line vote Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination. The nomination will now move to the Senate floor, where Democrats are expected to stage a filibuster if they can't muster enough votes to defeat it.

A high-profile, outspoken elected official, the Alabama attorney general openly criticized the Supreme Court for upholding "the so-called wall of separation between church and state," and criticized the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion, as "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history."

Such statements demonstrate that Pryor lacks "the temperament and evenhandedness required of a federal appellate judge," said Joel Kaplan, president of B'nai B'rith International. Earlier this month the group sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking them to vote down Pryor.

Fucking typical. Edward Said spews his hate every day at Columbia University, Arab students stage anti-semitic riots at state universities, Leftist NGOs call for Israel's annihilation on a daily basis, and these idiots cant be bothered to get up off their fat asses and do something. But one anti-abortion judge gets nominated (and dares to speak the unmentionable truth that Roe v. Wade is a decision totally insupportable by constitutional law) and look at the cacophony of asinine balderdash we are subjected too. Pathetic.

A professor coming to Columbia University this fall to head up a Middle East studies institute has said that killing armed Israelis is legitimate Palestinian “resistance” to occupation.

The money Columbia is using to pay the professor comes in part from Rita Hauser, a high-profile New York philanthropist whose former law firm was a registered agent of the Palestinian Authority.Also contributing was a foundation with close ties to Saudi Arabia.

Rashid Khalidi, a professor of history and Near Eastern languages and civilizations and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago, is set to move to Columbia University this fall, where he will teach as the Edward Said professor of Middle Eastern studies, a new — and supposedly anonymously funded — position at the school. He will also direct the school’s Middle East Institute.

From the NY Sun. Khalidi is a well-known Arab supremacist and Palestinian extremist who has openly endorsed the use of terrorism against Israeli civilians. He has also been one of the foremost promoters of the canard that the IDF's "Plan Dalet" in the '48 War was secretely a plan to expel the Palestinian Arabs from the country. This went too far for Israeli Revisionist historian Benny Morris, who even in his Leftist days denounced Khalidi as an ideologically motivated distortionist. Needless to say, this is no surprise coming from Columbia, home of neo-Nazi Leftist terror supporter Edward Said.

You have probably already heard that the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, a hate-group that supports and protects terrorists, and seeks to destroy Israel "by any means necessary," has scheduled its National Conference for October 10-12 on the Rutgers Campus.

When a great University lends its campus to any group, it inevitably lends also some part of its prestige.

For this very reason, universities have long refused to invite onto our campuses groups that openly espouse the murder of individuals who are hated because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Nor should we invite a group that has openly endorsed the murder by terror bombing of a peaceful, civilian population.

The Solidarity Movement may have a constitutional right to speak in favor of terrorism, but Rutgers has no obligation to allow them to use our campus for this purpose.

If you are a Rutgers grad, please join us in asking President McCormick to forbid the use of the campus by the Palestinian Solidarity Movement by signing the petition at:

If you are a resident of New Jersey, please join us in demanding that Gobernor McGreevey refuse to allow a terrorist-support group to meet on the Rutgers campus by signing the petition which can be found at either or

Wherever you live, please write to Governor McGreevey and demand that he refuse to allow this terrorism-support Movement to meet on the Rutgers campus.

You can read more about the Solidarity Movement and their activities in support of terrorism by going to:

Sincerely yours,

Michael Adler, B.A. 1995

Dr. Gerald Buchoff
BA, 1975, MS, 1976

William Firshein, MS 1953, PhD 1958

Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology and
Professor of Molecular Biology and
Biochemistry at Wesleyan University

Rutgers Alumni Against Terrorism

Courtesy of Israpundit. These people need to be stopped, I strongly advise you to get involved in this.

John McCain gives Howard Dean a well-deserved talking too, courtesy of NRO's The Corner.

MSNBC's Matthews, to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "When asked about the killing of Saddam Hussein's sons the other day, Howard Dean, the candidate for president said, quote: 'It's a victory for the Iraqi people but it doesn't have any effect on whether we should or shouldn't have had a war. I think, in general, the ends do not justify the means.' Your thoughts, Senator?"

McCain replies: "I am astonished. A lot of people have compared me with Governor Dean. I could not disagree with him more to say that the ends doesn't justify the means. The ends were the eradication of two psychotic murdering rapists, and the means were through legitimate use of the American military helped out by some excellent information that they gained. How in the world someone could in any way think this end was not justified by anything which was the removal of two odious characters, frankly, is beyond me. And I think, frankly, Mr. Dean does the nation a great disservice when he doesn't recognize how wonderful an event this is and how important it is to the morale of the troops that these guys are gone. I mean, our troops serving in Iraq."

McCain, on if Dean is catering to the left or "tone deaf": "I don't know which it is, but I think even the far left, people who did not support the war, are glad that these two thugs, these two, you know, adjectives, I don't know enough adjectives that are not four letters, frankly, that describe these two guys. I think even the far left are glad that they're gone. My god, this guy, you know the things he's done. They're well documented. Both of them."

More McCain: "I hope that Mr. Dean will retract that statement and make it very clear that the world, America, and most importantly, the Iraqi people, are far better off with these two guys gone and their father should be next."

Thank God there's still a few grownups left in this country.

Jonah Goldberg at NRO nails the Berkeley retards cold:

I'm sorry. I really wanted to say something incredibly clever about how dumb I think a new study from Berkeley is. I've been sitting here staring at my computer for over an hour trying to come up with some Simpsons quote or fresh joke that captures the gravity warping, oxygen-depriving, heart-palpitating idiocy of this thing. Instead, I feel like a three-year old on his first trip to FAO Schwarz — I keep dashing from one shiny plaything to another, incapable of concentrating on a single object for more than a moment. I feel like I could spend a lifetime peeling this thing like an onion — finding new layers of stupidity, fresh eye-watering spouts of acidic absurdity, all the while keeping in mind that each seemingly intelligent layer is actually paper thin, insubstantial, translucent...

I'm sorry, but not since Professor Peter Singer explained that we should give as good as we get from dogs who hump our legs, have I been so exasperated with the way some academics think they can use their head for a colonoscopy and then crab-walk around expecting all the world to think their new hats make them look smart. And, as with Singer's efforts to get pet stores to carry Viagra, I have a very hard time taking this seriously and I'm not sure taking it seriously helps anybody. But I just know that if I don't address the "substance" of this study, I will hear from numerous silly liberals who think I'm afraid to deal with the ambiguity and that my scorn is just another attempt at "terror management." So, let me splash some cold water on my face and shake off the giggles.

But this I didn't know:

The idea that the psychiatric-therapeutic establishment is politically biased is hardly new. In 1964, 1,189 psychiatrists asserted that even though they'd never met Barry Goldwater, never mind diagnosed him, he was still so mentally unstable and paranoid that in their scientific opinion he could not be trusted with the power of the presidency. So outrageous was this "petition" of psychiatrists launched by Fact magazine, that Goldwater actually won a libel suit, which is almost impossible for a politician...

And here's the kicker, I wish I had said it:

So, yes, conservatism is a temperament, but it is also an ideology. And that ideology is not dependent on the need for "cognitive closure" or a "fear of ambiguity" at all. In fact, most conservative thinkers see their project completely differently. The threat they see is from a statist elite which seeks to impose uniformity and cookie-cutter banality across the society. Conservatism, as Russell Kirk noted, is marked by an "Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence." Indeed, if these authors had spent a bit more time reading Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, they wouldn't have bollixed up their own depiction of the conservative mind so badly.

Right on brother, right on.

Just saw pictures from a Boston rally for Howard Dean on the local PBS station. It was hilarious. The reporter was breathless talking about how much momentum Dean had, and all the pictures showed a thin crowd of over-forty white lefties (half the men had scraggly grey beards and glasses). Unless I'm greatly mistaken, some people also booed his slanders of president Bush. Not exactly a great testimony to Mr. Dean's utterly fallacious "grassroots" momentum. Dean's campaign, like George McGovern's was, is an elite moevement of the alientated white middle class. Since pretty much everybody in the media is a member of the alienated white middle class, they cant stop having collective orgasms around this guy. The nonsensical lie that there is a "Dean phenomenon" on the web is even more hilarious. There is no such thing. As I said before, most of the blogosphere is conservative (Republican and Democrat) and has no use for Dean whatsoever. Dean is a phenomena of the Democratic Party Left, which considers itself the rightful owner of the Democratic Party due to its inherent moral superiority over, well, pretty much everyone except them. And, as I have noted, Dean's idiot followers are far more extreme than Dean is (or at least the way he's talking) and are hellbent on all kinds of nasty things like supporting terrorism, violent anti-Americanism and anti-semitism, and, most of all, an unmitigated and violent hatred for democracy and the free market. Dean is the totalitarian candidate in this election and, knowing the Democratic Party, he may well be the nominee.

In February of this year, the African American Cultural Center (AACC) at Yale University announced that it would be sponsoring a special tea party where students could come and listen to guest speaker Amiri Baraka, a poet and college professor whom the AACC described as “the controversial, provocative, and brilliant former Poet Laureate of New Jersey.” “This is an opportunity,” the announcement read, “to hear this brilliant man speak, and your chance to meet the man and the growing legend in person. It is sure to inspire, provoke, and motivate you.” From his appointment last July until just over three weeks ago, when the State Assembly formally approved a bill to eliminate the position of poet laureate, Baraka had been New Jersey’s most honored man of letters. His invitation to speak at Yale – to say nothing of the rousing ovation he received there for reading a poem accusing the Israeli government of having had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks – unfortunately reflects the depraved condition of academia today.

I don't know what's worse, no-talent Nazi slimeballs like Baraka or the idiot college groups who sponsor his anti-semitic propaganda fests. Maybe its the college administrators who allow these idiot college groups to sponsor poetry readings by no talent Nazis. Readings of Reifenstahlian vomit like this:

“Smile, jew. Dance, jew. Tell me you love me, jew. I got something for you now though. . . . I got the extermination blues, jewboys. I got the hitler syndrome figured.”

Or this:

“Atheist Jews double crossers stole our [black people’s] secrets. . . . They give us to worship a dead Jew and not ourselves . . . . Selling fried potatoes and people, the little arty bastards talking arithmetic they sucked from the arab’s head.”

Or this:

“Rape the white girls. Rape their fathers. Cut the mothers’ throats.”

Fuck Baraka, he's a Nazi racist pig. The problem is the grownups who ought to know better and yet cant seem to muster the testiculur fortitude to kick this untalented, flatulent bigot to the curb where he belongs.

The list of Palestinian prisoners whom the security
services deem candidates for release now stands at
almost 600, and many of the new names are guilty
of far more serious offenses than those on the
original list, according to sources who have seen
the revised list.

The sources said that several
dozen of the almost 250 names
that have been added over the
last several days are members
of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the
Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine.
Furthermore, while the initial
list consisted largely of
administrative detainees who
were due to be released soon anyway and
Palestinians convicted of criminal rather than
terrorist offenses, most of the new names are
genuine security prisoners who have been
convicted of terror-related offenses.

This is completely disgusting. Here's why:

But the defense establishment is opposed to more
far-reaching measures as long as the
Palestinian Authority continues to refuse to
disarm the terrorist organizations. An
investigation by the IDF's Central Command
revealed that over the last few weeks, the
ranks of the terrorist organizations' local
cells have swelled, whereas prior to the start
of the cease-fire, they had thinned
considerably, thanks to the mass arrests
carried out by the IDF and the Shin Bet. In
addition to actively recruiting new members,
the cells are also trying to build more
powerful bombs.

The PA seems to be attempting to use the cease-fire and the American desire to preserve it in order to prepare for a renewed campaign of terror. That, at least, will be the objective outcome of what is happening right now, especially considering the PA's refusal and/or inability to take action against terrorism as of yet. At the moment, all Abbas has bought himself is a few months before the whole thing starts up again. The US should start pressuring him to deal with Hamas, instead of pressuring Israel to release the murderers of innocent people who fully intend to kill again when they get the chance.

This, this is what UCal Berkeley calls science:

Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

- Fear and aggression
- Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
- Uncertainty avoidance
- Need for cognitive closure
- Terror management...

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way.

This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an "elegant and unifying explanation" for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. That entails the tendency of people's attitudinal preferences on policy matters to be explained by individual needs based on personality, social interests or existential needs...

The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.

Nazis. Stupid, avaricious, unintelligent, arrogant, pathetic, intolerant, childish, overpaid, underqualified, mentally retarded Nazis. That's the only order of being, the only manner of beast that could come up with as monumental an act of hypocrisy as this. This is the only perversion of humanity that could conjure up this monument to ideological hubris that makes the very word "Orwellian" superfluous and redundant. That could create such a blatently politicized, such an obviously ideological, such an openly hateful, intolerant, and violent screed and yet have the unmitigated gall to claim that it consists of objective, scientific findings. That could be so blinded by self-righteous narcissism that they have actually deluded themselves into believing that they are merely engaging in objective analysis. That could actually believe that their personal, partisan political ideology is, by startling coincidence, proven to be the only scientifically correct one for a healthy person to hold. Liars, hypocrites, charlatans, Leftists.

Oliver Willis, 25, doesn't match the old-school profile of political influence. He's not a rich man or a player in Democratic circles; in the 2000 presidential campaign, the most he did was purchase a Gore/Lieberman hat.

But he has a political platform of his own, a website called, which he runs from his sparsely furnished apartment in Dedham. And when he posted an essay there, promoting former Vermont governor Howard Dean for Democratic nominee, he drew a flood of comments from people he had never met. When Oliver Willis talks, it turns out, the blogosphere cares.

That's the beauty of a ''blog'' (short for weblog), an online journal that can turn anyone with an Internet connection into a mini-media outlet. Blogs are easy to create, cheap to set up, and commonplace on the Web. They can draw thousands of readers per day and dozens of posted comments in a running conversation that Willis likes to think of as talk radio for the wired.

From a thoroughly ridiculous article on the emerging blogosphere at - where else? - the Chomskyian rag that is the Boston Globe. As is their wont, the Globe starts with a semi-truth that they promptly distort out of all recognition through their desperate need to force reality to conform to their ideology. It is true that the blogosphere is becoming a force in the media, but the momentum is overwhelmingly on the Right, with writers like Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan, and not on the Left, which fancies itself as being a progressive force armed with the latest technology but is, in fact, a tired old fossil slowly decomposing in its tenure-protected university enclaves. As for Howard Dean, I've read a lot more bloggers ripping him to pieces than promoting him. Most of the big bloggers are either Republicans or hawkish Democrats, neither of whom have any use for Dean. The Globe is so desperate to push the canard that there is a nationwide grassroots surge for Dean, instead of the motley collection of psychotic extremists we are actually dealing with, (much as they are desperate to see themselves as a tribune of the toiling underclasses rather than the house organ of the leftist elite that they, in actuality, are) that they manage to screw up a very important story on the democratization of the media. Bad reporting, bad analysis, bad journalism. Welcome to the Boston Globe.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Besides, it's not as if Berlusconi went around beating people up. That distinction is reserved for German foreign minister Joschka Fischer. These days he's a darling of the EU's elite despite (or, perhaps, partly because of) his extremist past. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fischer was part of a radical Left that was all too prepared to cross the line that divides legitimate protest from outright political violence. In 1973, Fischer took part in the brutal beating of a young policeman at a riot in Frankfurt. That moment of 'revolutionary struggle' was caught on camera, but most of his activities in those years remain clouded in somewhat sinister mystery. To take one example, after initial denials (attributed to 'forgetfulness') we now know that Fischer attended a 1969 PLO Conference in Algiers that passed a resolution calling for the extinction of the state of Israel. Fischer was there — an ugly place to be for a German less than twenty-five years after Auschwitz, and a gesture far more 'insensitive' than Berlusconi's ill-judged insult.

Ancient history, you say? Well, let's take a look at Lionel Jospin, a man widely respected across the EU for his "integrity." He was France's prime minister until last year, and the Socialist contender in that country's presidential elections — until he was beaten into third place by a neo-fascist (and people call Italy's politics a disgrace?). At about the time young Joschka Fischer was beating up a policeman young Jospin was an activist in a revolutionary Trotskyite group known as OCI. A youthful mistake? Perhaps, except that it was a youthful mistake that Jospin was to continue making into middle age. He maintained discreet links with OCI for another two decades. Jospin has said that he has no need to feel "red-faced" about his red past, but, strangely, he never chose to mention it to the electorate. Lionel's affection for Leon (a mass murderer, lest we forget) was only discovered a few years ago — after Jospin had become prime minister)...

Now, the point of reciting these tales of hypocrisy and corruption within the EU (and there are plenty of other stories where they came from) is not to exonerate Berlusconi. All those wrongs don't make a right. At the same time, they do make the indignation over the Italian prime minister look a little, well, selective. For an explanation, forget the dodgy dealings back in Italy. Berlusconi's real crime is something far worse — he is a capitalist, a conservative (of sorts) and, horrors, an Atlanticist, and in today's increasingly intolerant Europe the reward for such heresy is meant to be political and legal destruction.

And that's the real scandal.

NRO exposes the den of snakes that is the European Union. Hypocrisy is second only to cowardice as the EU's foremost vice. Thank God for Berlusconi and the few willing to speak out against the totalitarian beaurocracy that is the European establishment.

Sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1964 for armed resistance to the apartheid regime, Mandela was released in February 1990. In May he visited Libyan tyrant Muammar Qadhafi and received the “International Qadhafi Prize for Human Rights,” an award with the moral logic of an “Heinrich Himmler Prize for Religious Tolerance.” Mandela’s remarks included:

"We consider ourselves to be comrades in arms to the Palestinian Arabs in their struggle for the liberation of Palestine. There is not a single citizen in South Africa who is not ready to stand by his Palestinian brothers in their legitimate fight against the Zionist racists.…"

Mandela returned to Libya in 1997 and called Qadhafi “my dear brother leader,” decorating him with South Africa’s highest honor, the Order of Good Hope. He called Yasser Arafat his “comrade in arms” in 1990 and in 1999 laid a wreath at the Ayatollah Khomeini’s tomb, saying, “[W]e are indebted to the Islamic Revolution.” When Iran’s theocrats charged 13 Iranian Jews with spying for “the Zionist regime” in 2000, Mandela called the sham proceedings “fair and just...”

Writing of Mandela’s tyrannical sympathies and claim in January that President Bush seeks “to plunge the world into a holocaust,” Christopher Hitchens observes: “this latest garbage is a very timely caution against our common tendency to make supermen and stars and heroes out of fellow humans…being on the right side of history once is no guarantee that the subsequent fall will not be from a very great height.”

I have nothing to add, Mandela is a lie; and a racist, double-talking, anti-semitic old fool as well. He may have spent 30 years in prison, but so did Natan Sharansky, and Nelson Mendela is, I fear, no Natan Sharansky. George Orwell once said, apropos of Ghandi, that saints should always be judged guilty until proven innocent. The mindless Mandela worshippers might do well to remember that.

The University of North Carolina has a peculiar take on which works comprise the canon of “great books.” Last year, UNC’s incoming freshmen had to read Approaching the Qur'án: The Early Revelations, a portrait of Islam so unquestioning that many believed it constituted indoctrination into the religion. Once again UNC has selected a controversial book for its incoming freshman to read, according to a report in the July 11, 2003 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE): The book is Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, penned by radical leftist Barbara Ehrenreich. Ironically, UNC administrators thought, as interim Vice Chancellor Dean L. Bresciani said, "it would be a relatively tame selection." However, the move is being criticized by some legislators in North Carolina, who (rightly) describe her work as liberal propaganda infused with religious bigotry.

One critic of Ehrenreich’s book is North Carolina State Senator Austin Allran. The Chronicle quoted him as saying, "I don't like the disparaging remarks made about Jesus.” Those references are of the liberation theology model; to Ehrenreich, Jesus is a Marxist revolutionary.

More Nazification of the academy, courtesy of FrontPageMag. I heard Miss Ehrenreich on NPR a few years ago (back when I still listened to Nazi Public Radio) and they somehow failed to mention her Socialist connections or her Leftist politics. They acted as if she had no agenda at all and was merely reporting objective findings. I don't know what's worse, the fact that NPR and the academy think its OK to politicize their institutions or the fact that they think we're too stupid to figure out what they're up to.

Characterized by Iraqi defectors as quiet and sly, but very brutal, Qusay Hussein stayed out of the public eye, in sharp contrast to his older brother, whose greed and violent rampages were the stuff of many legends — often based in fact — circulating through Saddam Hussein's Baghdad.

Human Rights Watch, the New York-based group, and other experts have said that Qusay implemented the revenge killings and terror after the uprising that followed the Persian Gulf war in 1991. The same sources say he also engineered the draining of the southern marshes after the 1991 attack on Iraq, to eliminate the reeds in which insurgents had taken refuge. The draining of the marshes ended a centuries-old way of life for marsh Arabs.

The rights group also accused him of supervising the "cleansing" of overcrowded prisons by killing several thousand prisoners by shooting or torture...

Iraqi exiles agreed that Uday Hussein, the eldest of five children, personified the government's random brutality. Human rights groups and Iraqi exiles accused him of routinely kidnapping women off the streets, raping and sometimes torturing them, and personally supervising the torture and humiliation of hundreds of prisoners. Such conduct earned him the title "Abu Sarhan," the Arabic term for "father of the wolf."

In October 1988, at a party given in honor of the wife of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Uday bludgeoned to death Kamal Hana Gegeo, a valet to his father. Mr. Mubarak subsequently called the young man a "psychopath."

Soon after that, Uday's violent, erratic behavior led his father to banish him to Switzerland for a time, but Uday returned and gradually reclaimed some power. For a time, he owned Babel, Iraq's most widely circulated daily newspaper, and Youth TV.

But he was most infamous for his stewardship of his country's National Olympic Committee. Since Mr. Hussein's government collapsed in April, former Iraqi sportsmen have come forward to tell journalists of Uday's cruelty, and his routine torturing and jailing of athletes, particularly those who lost important matches, or games that he attended.

A New York Times reporter who visited the National Olympic Committee building after the Hussein government fell saw torture contraptions that included a sarcophagus, with long nails pointing inward from every surface, including the lid, so victims could be punctured and suffocated.

Someone call Noam Chomsky and Sean Penn and tell them their heroes are dead.

Acting on a tip from an Iraqi that Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were holed up in a palatial residence in the northern city of Mosul, United States troops surrounded the house today and killed the two men in a ferocious shootout that gradually shredded the walls providing them cover.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division as well as Special Operations forces called on the men to surrender and were answered with a peppering of small-arms fire, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, chief of land forces in Iraq, said at a late-night news conference.
"They died in a fierce gun battle," he said. "They resisted the detention and the efforts of the coalition forces to go in there and apprehend them, and they were killed in the ensuing gunfight and the attacks that we conducted on the residence."

Couldn't have happened to two nicer guys. Lest we forget, here's the style to which these young men were accustomed:

The more flamboyant Uday, 39, was an infamous playboy feared for his sadistic, murderous bent, who organized the Saddam Fedayeen, giving pardoned criminals a new lease on life if they would kill for the government. They were the main guerrilla force that battled the advancing American Army.

Uday became increasingly unstable in public after beating to death his father's favorite servant in 1988, and was gradually discounted as a successor. He had a high public profile, though, as a member of Parliament, head of the most popular newspaper and television station plus chairman of the national Olympic Committee, whose basement was used a center of torture and rape. In a referendum on his father's rule last fall, Uday drove to the polling place in a pink Rolls Royce.

These guys were a serious waste of oxygen.

They see the same GIs who man the corner checkpoint, helping clear the playground, install new swingsets and create soccer fields. I watched a bunch of kids playing baseball in one playground, under the supervision of a couple of GIs from Oklahoma. They weren't very good but were having fun, probably more than most Little Leaguers
The place is still a mess but most of it has been for years. But the Hospitals are open and are in the process of being brought into the 21stCentury. The MOs and visiting surgeons from home are teaching their docs new techniques and One American pharmaceutical company (you know, the kind that all the hippies like to scream about as greedy) donated enough medicine to stock 45 hospital pharmacies for a year.

The truth from Iraq, via the indispensible Andrew Sullivan.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

When the House passed a $3 billion aid package for Pakistan this week, Jewish and Indian American lobbyists teamed up to win an amendment pressuring Pakistan to stop Islamic militants from crossing into India.

Wearing lapel pins of the Stars and Stripes sandwiched between the flags of India and Israel, the amendment's supporters then gathered in a Capitol Hill reception room to celebrate the burgeoning political alliance between Indians and Jews in the United States.

Women in saris mingled among men in yarmulkes, a cacophony of accents united in a desire for access. Despite their obvious differences, the alliance has the potential to magnify the voices of two communities that are small in number -- about 5.2 million Jews and 1.8 million Indians -- but highly educated, affluent and attached to democratic homelands facing what they increasingly view as a common enemy.

Indians and Jews share "a passionate commitment to respect for others, for the rule of law and for democracy," Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, told the jubilant crowd after the House vote. "And lately we have been drawn together by our joint fight against mindless, vicious, fanatic Islamic terrorism..."

So far, the Jewish-Indian alliance in the United States has focused on foreign policy. But the two communities also have combined forces on electoral politics. They worked to defeat former House member Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), whom they perceived as antagonistic both to Israel and to India.

"There was a natural connection already in Atlanta, through the business world, and then when McKinney was bashing both our homelands, we just took our business connections and social connections and made them political," said Harin J. Contractor, an Indian American student at the University of Georgia. "It was a great model to follow."

I've noticed this happening for awhile, Hindus showing up to pro-Israel protests, Israeli-Indian relations thawing, nice things about Israel in the Indian press, etc... I think its fantastic, Israel needs more allies and especially large, powerful Third World democracies. It is also true that Jewish and Hindu civilization are both roughly the same age and the oldest civilizations on earth.

Here's another excellent link supporting Daniel Pipes, this time at Israpundit.

Here's an important link to LGF, which can direct you to a site in support of Daniel Pipes, the scholar of Islam (radical and otherwise) who the Arab supremacist Left is desperately attempting to smear. It is of the utmost importance that Pipes is confirmed to his government post, where he may be able to at last break the domination the neo-Nazi Left has held over the study of the Middle East for 30 years. I strongly advise you to check it out.

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to find that the tragedy of British scientist David Kelly's death may well be linked to the corrupt journalism of the BBC. It was clear to anyone with eyes and ears that at some point in this past year, the BBC decided to launch a propaganda campaign against the war against Saddam and to tarnish, if not bring down, the premiership of Tony Blair. When news organizations turn into political parties - as we saw with Howell Raines' New York Times - it's only a matter of time before they over-reach. May 29 was such a moment.

Andrew Sullivan outlining the indictment against the BBC. I think the key point is that the BBC has ceased to be a media outlet and has become a political party. Not unlike NPR or our major universities. The Left, of course, believes all things are political and therefore this is no big deal. Those of us who believe objective truth is, in fact, a real possiblity take a slightly different view - that the politicization of institutions meant to be dedicated to neutrality and integrity is nothing less than an existential danger to democracy itself. Let us hope that the BBC is now on its way to becoming what it has always claimed to be: a news organization.

Monday, July 21, 2003

THE BBC was fighting to save its credibility last night after finally disclosing that David Kelly, the weapons expert who committed suicide last week, was the main source of its claims that Downing Street had “sexed up” its dossier on Iraqi weapons.
The corporation was plunged into the biggest crisis in its postwar history as it faced angry charges that it had caused the death of Dr Kelly through not admitting earlier what informed opinion in Westminster and Whitehall had long suspected.

Its horrible that a man had to die for the atmosphere of political partisanship, bias, and downright dishonesty at the BBC to become a real scandal. However, some good may yet come of it and the British people may soon no longer be forced to pay for Leftist propaganda to be broadcast around the world on their dime. Its high time welfare reform began to apply to journalists too. Are you listening NPR?

But maybe it’s not an accident that these two self-exiles from the U.K. have dominated the American debate. Perhaps it does have something to do with their expatriate-Brit identity: As part of their intellectual birthright, both are in possession of, both are possessed by, the spirit of George Orwell. Both are steeped in Orwell; both have quoted him during the current crisis. Both have looked on our Sept. 11 through the lens of Orwell’s July 1940, when he was a lonely voice confronting defeatism on the Right and Left in the face of Hitler, at a time when England itself stood virtually alone in defying the Third Reich. One could say that Orwell is the secret weapon, the smart bomb with which Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Hitchens have achieved preeminence over their polemical opponents.

From a fascinating article in the NY Observer by Ron Rosenblum. The two ex-Brits mentioned herein are - who else - Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens. Rosenblum's analysis of their impact on the debate over the War is quite good, although I disagree with a great deal of it, especially stuff like this:

For Mr. Hitchens, this is a far less conflicted position than for Mr. Sullivan. But it is the pivot on which, in large measure, he has succeeded in turning around the Left, or a large segment of it (aside from the Chomskyites). Turning around those who saw America as somehow to blame, who sought to portray our power as the real culprit. In his columns in The Nation, Mr. Hitchens dramatically recast the terrorists as “fascists with an Islamic face” and then (an even more effective compression) as “Islamo-fascists.” (What leftist, after all, wants to be seen siding with fascists?) Mr. Hitchens fought to a standstill those in The Nation (and the nation) who, as he put it, “maintained that the al Qaeda death squads were trying to utter a cry for help for the woes of the world.”

Firstly, I disagree with Rosenblum's assertion that Hitchens has succeeded in turning around a "large segment" of the Left. The phrase "aside from the Chomksyites" is unintentionally ironic, since 90% of the Left is Chomskyite. The likes of Paul Berman and Chris Hitchens might sell books and stimulate conversation, but Chomsky is the one who fills the beer halls. The foot soldiers of the Left, the ones who march and yell and get arrested, are beholden body and soul to the Good Professor, and Rosenblum betrays a certain disconnect with reality in denying this. But I really have a problem with this:

I guess where I differ most from Mr. Sullivan is his long-term optimism, his long-term faith in the possibility of a reconciliation between civilization—civil society in every sense of the word—and revealed religion. After three millennia of people slaughtering each other in greater and greater numbers over religious certainties, I wish I could share that optimism.

I'm really getting sick and tired of the cliche that religion has been the most murderous force the world has ever known. In fact, any honest view of history reveals that a.) polytheistic societies are perfectly capable of extraordinary barbarism and savagery - witness the Athenian annihilation of the Melians in the Pelopennesian War, and b.) the most murderous force in human history has been atheistic totalitarianism, i.e. Nazism and Communism. The body count of all the religions put together is a drop in the bucket compared to Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al.

Rosenbaum is also wrong in his assessment of Sullivan's and Hitchen's views of religion. Hitchens certainly is anti-religion, which is probably why he so dislikes Zionism; but Sullivan is a semi-believing Catholic and has expressed opinions on Judaism which can only be described as philo-Semitic. (I make the confession that I recieved an email from him on this subject that eliminated all doubt in my mind that he is a philo-Semite and a partisan for the cause of the Jewish people.) Sullivan's attack on radical Islam is almost identical to Paul Berman's. He sees in it a new form of totalitarianism, a la fascism and communism, and therefore believes that any good Liberal is duty bound to fight it. In my opinion, the way both Sullivan and Hitchens invoke Orwell is in the sense that both of them refuse to lie to themselves in order to preserve an Olympian distance from the events of history. They refuse to involve themselves in the relativistic double standards which the Chomskyian Left has engaged in in order to keep their anti-Americanism intact despite being faced with an enemy which, in objective terms, denies every one of their professed values. Sullivan and Hitchens, like Orwell, have stood by their principles in their literal form, they have remained loyal to the ideology of Liberalism, and not the vaguely defined Socialism which has adopted the name for itself. I think they are both, at heart, Tory Anarchists, as Orwell always liked to call himself.

By the way, as an added annoyance, it is completely impossible to find a copy of National Review or, in fact, any conservative periodical on this entire island. The bookstores, by the way, are stocked to the gills with Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, I think they have more volumes for sale than any other authors. Ah, that East Coast liberal open-mindedness at work...

Greetings from lovely Martha's Vinyard, gentle readers. My internet connection is intermittant at best over here (yes, I know, wireless is the wave of the future), so there may be gaps in posting. I shall endeavor to be as diligant as possible, considering that lazing around is my first priority. Of course, me being me, my beach reading material is The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt. Yes, I need help. Cheers.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Ms. Kates also stirred up the campus in March when her organization reserved banner space for two weeks at the Douglass College Center. The banner read: "From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free."

"It was a call for all land between the Jordanian River and the Mediterranean to be returned to the Palestinians," she said.

More wisdom from neo-Nazi Leftist stooge Charlotte Kates, organizer of the ISM's upcoming Nuremburg rally at Rutger's. I think people are organizing to go down there and protest these fiends. I wont be in the country, unfortunately, but if you will be I fully recommend going.

Friday, July 18, 2003

If you spend a lifetime reading and teaching and writing, I would think that the proper attitude to take toward Shakespeare, toward Dante, toward Cervantes, toward Geoffrey Chaucer, toward Tolstoy, toward Plato—the great figures—is indeed awe, wonder, gratitude, deep appreciation. I can't really understand any other stance in relation to them. I mean, they have formed our minds. And Hamlet is the most special of special cases. I've been accused of "bardolotry" so much that I've made a joke out of it. As I am something of a dinosaur, I've named myself Bloom Brontosaurus Bardolator. It's not such a bad thing to be...

I left the English department twenty-six years ago. I just divorced them and became, as I like to put it, Professor of Absolutely Nothing. To a rather considerable extent, literary studies have been replaced by that incredible absurdity called cultural studies which, as far as I can tell, are neither cultural nor are they studies. But there has always been an arrogance, I think, of the semi-learned.

You know, the term "philology" originally meant indeed a love of learning—a love of the word, a love of literature. I think the more profoundly people love and understand literature, the less likely they are to be supercilious, to feel that somehow they know more than the poems, stories, novels, and epics actually know.

And, of course, we have this nonsense called Theory with a capital T, mostly imported from the French and now having evilly taken root in the English-speaking world. And that, I suppose, also has encouraged absurd attitudes toward what we used to call imaginative literature...

[W]e are now in the grip of this dreadful third phase. I've so talked myself to exhaustion with a sort of rant against cant that I'm reluctant to say much about it. Throughout the English-speaking world, the wave of French theory was replaced by the terrible mélange that I increasingly have come to call the School of Resentment—the so-called multiculturalists and feminists who tell us we are to value a literary work because of the ethnic background or the gender of the author...

These are ideologues, dear. They don't care about poetry, they don't care about Walt Whitman. You know, if there is a single figure who stands as the New World's answer and complement to Milton and Goethe and Victor Hugo and the other great post-Renaissance figures, it would be Walt Whitman.

From a marvelous interview in the Atlantic with Harold Bloom, the great literary scholar and eminent defender of the Western Canon against the forces of intellectual totalitarianism. He belongs to a dying breed, unfortunately. The lunatics have already taken over the asylum, and soon there won't be anyone left who can tell the difference between real literary scholarship and their laughable Sophistries.

Gov. James E. McGreevey of New Jersey declined yesterday to step in to prevent a student group from holding a pro-Palestine conference at Rutgers University in October, even though some Jewish leaders and others say the group promotes anti-Semitic views.

Mr. McGreevey met with the president of Rutgers, Richard L. McCormick, yesterday to respond to growing criticism that the National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement was being organized by students with ties to terrorists.

No big surprise here. College presidents have a long history of caving in to Leftist extremism. I don't think I need point out that if a conference were being held under the auspices of the JDL, there would be no controversy, because the conference would never have been approved in the first place. The double standard is rank. But here's the worst part:

At Rutgers, a representative for Hillel, an organization for Jewish college students, said he was not surprised that the conference was being allowed to continue.

"It was not Hillel's position that the conference be canceled," said Andrew Getraer, the group's executive director. "Our concern about the conference is that organizers have expressed such extremist views in support of suicide bombs and against the right of Israel to exist that our campus is going to be flooded with this type of extremist propaganda, and that people outside the campus community with similar views are going to be attracted here and they may act irresponsibly."

But he said he was confident that the university and state officials would monitor the situation and provide the necessary security.

Alright, listen up you gutless idiot. The problem is not that "people outside the campus" might cause trouble, the problem is that you have a genuine neo-Nazi pro-genocide anti-semitic movement at work on your campus! And when, exactly, are you going to stand up and do something about it?

It seems to me that the imperative now is for Jewish groups to converge on this conference and physically prevent it from occurring by whatever means necessary to do so.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Memo to Everyone: In discussing ”French anti-Semitism,” take a moment to notice that it is almost entirely a phenomenon of that nation’s North African and Arab immigrant community, not of the traditional (mildly anti-Semitic) French. There is no surge in French anti-Semitism at all and it is probably at a historical low ebb among French men and women. It is certainly not a phenomenon of the French Left. This piece points out: “Most of the perpetrators are not the ultra-rightists and neo-Nazis who once were responsible for anti-Semitic acts, but young North African Arabs of the banlieues, the distant blue-collar suburbs where Muslims and Jews live and work in close proximity.” And if it’s a really big concern of yours, by the way, the best way to ameliorate it would be for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. The occupation is obviously its primary source.

Eric Alterman (forgive me if I don't link) lying his nuts off trying to absolve the angelic French of Jew hatred. Along the way, of course, he indulges in a little Arab-bashing, an amusing irony no doubt, although probably an unconscious one. Of course, the French Left has been ignoring and explaining away the rise in anti-semitism in France, as well as adopting the Arab community's most vile rhetoric to use against Israel. The last time I checked, the precious French Left was marching shoulder to shoulder with French Muslims, signs hoisted aloft, proclaiming Israel a Nazi, apartheid state and extolling the virtues of suicide bombers. In my book, if the French Left believes - as it obviously does - that blowing up schoolchildren is perfectly acceptable so long as said schoolchildren are Jewish, than the French Left is ant-semitic. What Alterman is engaged in here is blaming the victim, which, I believe, is the preferred tactic of apologists the world over. Considering what he's apologizing for, its no great testament to Mr. Alterman's status as a human being.

Chomsky: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. "The world has changed," she tells us, "I can feel it in the water." She's actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.

Zinn: Of course. "The world has changed." I would argue that the main thing one learns when one watches this film is that the world hasn't changed. Not at all.

Someone spent a lot of time on this one. Read it, its absolutely hilarious.

Chomsky: We should examine carefully what's being established here in the prologue. For one, the point is clearly made that the "master ring," the so-called "one ring to rule them all," is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor...

Chomsky: Naturally, it's in Rohan/Gondor's interest to keep the Orcs obscured, to make everything as restricted and dehumanizing as possible. It's always the first step toward genocide. And is this — is there anything less than genocide being advocated in this film?

Zinn: I don't think so.

Chomsky: Is there any kind of idea that men should live in peace with the Orcs?

Zinn: Think of the scenes in the prologue with all the arrows hitting these thousands of Orcs. We're supposed to think that this is a good thing.

Chomsky: I think this is a tragedy, this story. Because it's about two cultures. And poor leadership. It's a human tragedy, and an Orcish tragedy.

Ah, satire...

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Those who have been reading the Jewish Advocate know that there's been quite a spat over my article on tikkun olam. This might provide a good background on what led me to my point of view on the subject. Enjoy.

On the Jewish Impasse by Benjamin Kerstein

Setting off a firestorm carries with it certain responsibilities. When I set out to critique the misuse of the concept of tikkun olam, I did not expect that two weeks worth of Op-Ed pages would be filled with responses, almost all contemptuous in tone and almost all violently condemning what I had written in terms of outrage and scorn. Needless to say, it was my assumption at the outset that no one would particularly care what I had written, let alone consider it worthy of response. I did not expect to have projected upon me the sundry ideological prejudices of my critics, nor did I expect to become a vehicle for identity politics. A great many, I think, simply misunderstood my argument, some seeing in it a call for social irresponsibility and others an exhortation to a pure religiosity. Perhaps the argument might be furthered by an explanation of the line of thinking that led me to write the article in the first place.

It now seems to have become accepted wisdom that American Judaism is in a bad way. No one much disputes this, nor does anyone have a concrete, agreed upon set of explanations or proposed solutions. It appears to be assumed that the decline in Jewish observance, the rise in intermarriage, and the inexorable decay in population indicators are irreversible forces of history best attributed to the sundry prejudices of various factions. Liberal minded rationalists blame the parochial and illiberal ethos of traditional Judaism, the Orthodox blame the loss of ritual observance, secularists seem not to particularly care, Zionists consider it proof that Judaism cannot survive indefinitely in non-Jewish societies, and onward and onward but not, seemingly, upward. A recent and controversial book by Douglas Rushkoff has raised a mini-firestorm by claiming that the problem is one of essential definition, and Judaism ought to be redefined as an indefinable nothingness from which can spring a multitude of forms.

All of this, of course, depends very much on how one defines Judaism itself. Is it a religion, an ethnic identity, a set of ethical laws, a series of cultural preferences, an identification with and affection for Israel, a weakness for Yiddishkeit, the simple fact of having Jewish parents..? The definitions range as far as denominations. On one extreme stand Jewish existentialists like Rushkoff, who call for an imperialist, Nitzchean Judaism defined purely by assertion; on the other the monist Orthodox, for whom the Jew is one who observes, and for whom the majority of his brethren are little better than misguided Epicureans.

For myself, I disagree with all of them. Judaism is not a religion, an ethnicity, or a nation; it is a civilization: vast, ancient, and possessed of an infinite and daunting complexity. But, like all civilizations, it has both variations and borders. It has limits beyond which we are in alien territory. Jewish identity can only be defined by knowledge, by the systemic and honest exploration of the territory within. I advocate neither a retreat to the barricades of ritualism nor the Rushkoffian demolition of borders which is not only in practical terms impossible but in spiritual terms undesirable.

Furthermore, we must face the fact that we are at an impasse in Jewish history. The centuries old dividing lines of the Jewish civilization are now moot and irrelevant. The geographical division of Ashkenazi and Sephardi has been shattered, the former by slaughter and the latter by expulsion and dispossession. The poles of the Jewish world have shifted to the dichotomy of America and Israel, the former atomized and splintered, the latter stratified and interlocked, if only by the threat of external assault. The imperative now is neither to tear down nor build up but to reconfigure. In America, where, unlike Israel, the demands of assimilation are in constant conflict with the existential need all minorities feel to assert their particularity, something is not working. American Judaism is not reconfiguring to face a new era, it is stultifying, suffocating, inert, and, at least in statistical terms, declining.

I will, for the moment, ignore the Orthodox world, out of no other motive than that most American Jews are not Orthodox and because, for the most part, Orthodoxy seems not to be declining, in fact quite the opposite. This is both symptomatic and indicative. Symptomatic of the fact that some need remains unfulfilled by traditional liberal Judaism; and indicative of one of the polarities of American Jewry; the rejection of total assimilation, the decision to keep at least a part – and perhaps the larger part – of one’s self separate and aloof from the greater society, and to risk the inevitable suspicion and contempt that follows.

The majority of America’s Jews, however, i.e. the ranks of liberal Judaism: Reform and Conservative (vague and imperfect designations I admit), are engaged fully in American life and the American identity they embrace is one which they do not perceive as being in conflict with their Jewish faith, neither, however, do they consider it indispensable. For the most part, they regard Judaism as a choice which must be justified. At the grand bazaar of cultures and faiths that is modern American life; Judaism must sell itself as a superior product in order to retain the adherence of its members and to achieve the obedience of their progeny.

This consumerist (a word I use for wont of a better one) approach to religion has forced liberal Judaism in this country into a desperate search for relevancy. American Judaism must, above all, be practical. It must have real world implications and provide a basis for real world actions. Without this, it is believed, no one will take time out from their busy schedule to bother with a religion which is, after all, demanding, complex, and difficult.

Which brings us to tikkun olam. None of the many people who have written to excoriate my article have, as far as I can see, disputed the fact that tikkun olam is a religious concept, springing from Talmudic law and finding the apotheosis of its influence in the Kabbalistic tradition, where it takes on an all-encompassing Messianic/apocalyptic hue. Where they took issue with me was over the question of relevancy. The near frantic need of my critics to assert a real-world relevance to tikkun olam is a fascinating sign of where we are. Tikkun must be justified. It cannot be taken simply on its own terms. It cannot carry us with it into the dusty attic of our former possessions, stacked up neatly and stowed away like so many antiquated relics of a forgotten childhood. For the misappropriation of tikkun olam is nothing less than a tragedy, in its Kabbalistic perfection it is nearly Gnostic in its despair at a world whose corruption can only be explained by attributing its creation to evil forces. It ought to lead us into the shadowy depths of our civilization, into the worlds of mystics and rabbis, into the universes which they conjured up out of the most adverse of circumstances. It should direct us across that incorporeal mosaic which alone can constitute a living Judaism. But it does not. Instead it is amputated, corporealized, made pathetically, pitifully real, so that it might be significant enough to give it a second thought. What has been done to tikkun olam is a microcosm of what has been done to all of American Judaism, it is myth reduced to morality tale, civilization shrunk to the size of denomination, identity whittled step by step into an object of befuddled curiosity. A vision of a world shattered at its creation and thus deformed and evil; and what it must have meant to men struggling desperately to explain how a perfect God could have created an imperfect world, has much to teach us in our troubled age, both as Jews and as human beings. It speaks to our terrors at a world gone suddenly unbalanced and insane. But we are not listening. We talk instead about working in a soup kitchen for a day or seeking to reconcile Jews and Arabs, about building a better world which will never come. We speak words which once conveyed infinite depths as though they were a mere political slogan, an exhortation to good works. And then we wonder.

We close our ears to answers and wonder why we have so many questions. We reduce Judaism to materialism, to just another sect of American liberal Protestantism – sans messiah of course – and then are shocked at the disaffection and consumerism of Jewish youth. We demand that religion embrace the real world, and then lament our lack of spiritual values. We extol Judaism’s ethical legalism and then wonder why our faith does not have the spiritual depth of other great creeds. We do not seek and we wonder why we do not find.

I have no doubt that many will disagree with me. They will say that I speak only for myself, that I cannot, from my vantage point, claim to comment on the state of Judaism in America today. They may be right, but I don’t think so. I believe we have a crisis on our hands, and that crisis is, above all, the extinguishing of the interior Jewish life. To pray is not enough. To do good works is not enough. To seek solace in Orthodoxy is not enough. To identify is not enough. To support Israel is not enough. Only to know is enough. And at the moment, we do not know. We are like an old miser who has forgotten where he buried his fortune. To survive, and to flourish, we must reawaken that collective memory killed by the pressures of living in harmony with an individualist and materialist culture. But, above all, we must learn a lesson from our Orthodox brethren, who at least are willing to go to the mountain rather than demand the mountain come to them. As I have said, Judaism is a civilization. It is something. It is definable, and thus limited, demarcated, bordered. We must accept that we cannot twist Judaism into forms that will satisfy our particularly 21st century prejudices, politics and ideologies. We must come to know our civilization, and thus ourselves, on its terms, and not on ours.

July, 2003