Saturday, August 30, 2003

Sorry about the length of this one folks, but this deserved a proper Fisking. From (where else?) the Sunday NY Times magazine, Ian Buruma is the author.

The Jewish Problem pops up in the strangest places. In the winter of 1991, at the height of the first gulf war, I asked a right-wing Japanese politician who still wields considerable power in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to explain the Japanese role in the Middle Eastern conflict. After clearing his throat with some perfunctory remarks about oil supplies and United States-Japan relations, he suddenly stopped midsentence, gave me a shrewd look and said: ''Look, we Japanese aren't stupid. We saw Henry Kissinger on TV. We know how America operates. We're perfectly well aware that this war is not about Kuwait. It's about Jewish interests. It's all about Israel.''

Perhaps he had read too many books about Jewish conspiracies (Roosevelt was a Jew, Churchill was a Jew, Rockefeller was a Jew, etc.), for which the Japanese market seems to have an insatiable appetite. He was, in any case, not known for his intellectual finesse. But the idea that Israel or Jewish interests are somehow at the center of world events or, at the very least, at the center of American foreign policy in the Middle East is widely held, and not only outside the United States. No matter what the current American administration does to save the tattered ''road map'' toward an end to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, sinister motives are still bound to be imputed.

First of all, the phrase "Jewish Problem" or Jewish Question", inevitably sets off alarm bells. We know from the get go that this article is not going to be about the Jews as a living, breathing people or civilization, but rather as a concept, as an archetypal image culled from thousands of years of Gentile fascination, revulsion and manipulation of their own image of the Jews. This article will about the Jews as a thing, an object, and not the reality of Jewish history or existence.

Second, the author (a professor at Bard College, another shocker) is clearly posing a question here, a dilemma which will be the subject of his article. The problem is, there isn't any dilemma here. Everything he has pointed out thus far is unambiguous anti-Semitism, the fact that he can't muster up the guts to condemn even this in definitive terms is telling indeed. He seems rather horrifyingly unperturbed that anti-Semitism is now mainstreamed in Japanese culture, or that leading political figures express it so openly. He simply dismisses all this with a rhetorical wave of the hand before moving on to more pressing, ambiguous issues. Nor does he seem much aghast at the fact that such sentiments are, by his own admission, now "widely accepted", indeed by most of the world. Rather he seems obsessed with finding out "why", rather than taking the more obvious, although substantially less comfortably impotent, tack of comdemning this fact and wondering how to combat it.

Even legitimate criticism of Israel, or of Zionism, is often quickly denounced as anti-Semitism by various watchdogs. In European political discourse, not only is anti-Zionism quite acceptable, but so are vague allegations of too much Jewish influence in public life, especially across the Atlantic. And in the non-Western world, it's not even necessary to keep such allegations vague.

Exactly which "watchdog groups" he's talking about is never spelled out, which leads me to believe that this is just a rhetorical device intended to placate his Liberal readership. In fact, the ADL, UJC, AIPAC, et al, are rather reluctant to accuse anti-Israeli groups of anti-Semitism, and I personally wish they would do so more often. Most mainstream Jewish groups in this country are desperate to avoid causing a stir and spend most of their time going after fringe groups like the neo-Nazis and the Klan. When it comes to Leftist anti-Semitism, they are worse than useless and in my opinion are making the situation worse through their disgraceful silence. Buruma's statement to the contrary is intellectually lazy balderdash. Again, we also see the total inability to muster even a cursory condemnation of what is going on here.

Rarely can such a tiny country as Israel, and such a relatively small minority as the diaspora Jews, have been assumed to exercise so much influence in world affairs. The special relationship between Israel and the United States, and the supposed dominance of ''Jewish interests'' in Washington, is by now encrusted with so many layers of mythology and bad faith that it has become very difficult to discuss Israel's role in American politics critically and dispassionately. Yet not to talk about it invites only more conspiracy theories.

There are several myths to be considered. The first is the idea that the American or the British government is dominated or manipulated by Jews.

Once again, we see the shocking moral impotency of the author. In fact, the appellation of enormous conspiratorial power to Jews is nothing new nor anything particularly rare. It is, in fact, one of the most common and well known aspects of modern anti-Semitism, crystallized in the legenday Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a text which, astonishingly, Buruma never discusses in depth, even though it mirrors exactly the phenomenon he's discussing). How this blatently obvious fact, that the accusations of conspiratorial Jewish omnipotence are culled directly from classic anti-Semitic ideology, eludes Buruma so utterly is beyond me. The only explanation I can think of is that it shatters his liberal assumptions of ambiguity and infinite complexity and therefore simply has to be ignored. He is writing an essay of inordinate length to prove that attacking Israel is a phenomenon of complex origins and motivations, inconveniant facts are better left out.

Christian fundamentalists are more important to the Republican Party than Jews -- there are many more of them, the Christian Coalition is highly efficient and most Jews still vote for the Democrats anyway.) Even though Israel is often described as the only democracy in the Middle East, the Christian right's remarkable devotion to Israel is not necessarily driven by democratic principles. The ''Christian Zionists'' are convinced by a literal reading of the Bible that Christ will reappear only once the Jews have repossessed the Holy Land. Their other conviction, that Jews will either die in an apocalypse or be converted to Christianity, is not so reassuring. Still, the Rev. Jerry Falwell declared on ''60 Minutes'' that evangelical Christians would make sure no American president would ever do anything to harm Israel. At a conference of the Christian Coalition held in Washington last year, there were more Stars of David than crucifixes.

Once again, we're dealing here with a combination of hyperbolic exagerration and utter ignorance. Buruma is a professor at Bard College, I'm betting he knows very little about evangelical Christian theology and what he does know comes from violently biased secondhand sources. I doubt he's read a word by a single evangelical theologian in his entire life. From my own encounters here in Israel with evangelicals, I've come to believe that they support Israel for a number of reasons. Yes, some are end-times Messianists. Some are painfully aware of Muslim persecution of Christians throughout the world and support Israel since it is the demon of choice for the Muslim world. Some appreciate the fact that, under Israeli rule, they can visit the many Christian sites in Jerusalem and around the country freely. Some are motivated by feelings of religious kinship to the religion that fostered their own (not all Christian denominations view the parental relationship between the two faiths negatively). Buruma's oversimplified condemnation of a large and complex religious movement is stupid and bigoted, as well as one which he would never engage in were he dealing with Islam, Buddhism, or any other non-Western religion. This is PC hate speech at its worst, all the more so because the language is so aggressively clinical. He ought to be ashamed of this graph. But it gets worse:

Then there are the foreign-policy hawks for whom Israel has been a strategic inspiration. The notions of ''pre-emptive'' war and ''regime change'' were exemplified, if not exactly pioneered, by Israel. The Six-Day War of 1967 was launched by Israel in self-protection, admittedly in the face of far greater provocation than Iraq ever gave the United States. And the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was part of an Israeli effort to install a more friendly government in Beirut. Both actions, deplored by critics of Israel all over the world, were seen as marks of admirable resolve by friends of Israel in the United States.

This is, quite simply, willful idiocy. The '67 War was not launched against a mere "provocation", Israel's existence was about to be snuffed out and its population slaughtered. I know people who helped dig mass graves in Tel Aviv's public parks. Israel was surrounded by a numerically superior force poised to attack at any moment. To claim that Israel was the aggressor in that case is less than revisionism, its baldfaced, ideologically motivated lying. In Buruma's case, I think it stems from not knowing what he's talking about. I advise him to read a few books on the subject before he embarrasses himself further. He also fails to mention the motivating factor of the Lebanon War: the PLO terrorist campaign on Israel's northern border and the brutal genocide of the Maronite Christians in Lebanon (at the hands of the Lebanese Muslims and their ally, Nobel Prize winner Yasser Arafat's PLO) with whom Israel formed an alliance. Both of these factors are relentlessly ignored by the self-appointed human rights advocates who condemn the war and whose propaganda has now become commonplace in the universities. Again, Buruma needs to do some research before he makes a fool of himself. Honestly, you would think the NY Times could find someone to write on this subject who at least knew something about Israeli history. Too much to hope for, apparently.

What we see, then, is not a Jewish conspiracy, but a peculiar alliance of evangelical Christians, foreign-policy hard-liners, lobbyists for the Israeli government and neoconservatives, a number of whom happen to be Jewish. But the Jews among them -- Perle, Wolfowitz, William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, et al. -- are more likely to speak about freedom and democracy than about Halakha (Jewish law). What unites this alliance of convenience is a shared vision of American destiny and the conviction that American force and a tough Israeli line on the Arabs are the best ways to make the United States strong, Israel safe and the world a better place.

Ah, and now enter the evil neoconservatives. Their presence was, of course, inevitable, as is the good liberal's utter disdain for them and their beliefs; but note the word "peculiar".

Not all Americans agree with this hard line, to be sure: a recent campaign by American Jews to press Sharon into accepting a two-state solution shows this.

So lets get this straight. For neocons to ally with fundamentalist Christians is "peculiar", but for American Jews to get in bed with the Left, the most anti-Semitic political force in America today, makes perfect sense. Brilliant Buruma! Thank God we have Bard College around to show us proles the path to enlightenment. This attitude is, unfortunately, typical. In Buruma's eyes, the Jews cannot act like any other people, making alliances based on their interests and their own hard-headed assessment of their position, but must be higher, more noble. They must bed down with those who hate them and call for their blood rather than make friends with those unenlightened "evangelicals", who are just too, well, believing for us smart folks at Bard College. I don't know much, but I know patronizing racism when I see it. To Buruma we are, after all, a "Problem", and not a people. I guess we've just forgotten our place, haven't we?

Whether he will comply with American pressure to stop building a barrier to keep the Palestinians more or less imprisoned inside the occupied territories is doubtful, especially when Palestinian suicide bombers continue to blow up buses -- and the Israeli government continues to kill Hamas leaders. And there is no sign that President Bush will make a serious effort to make the Israelis dismantle, or at least stop building, Jewish settlements in the Palestinian areas. The idea that Israeli and American interests, as defined by evangelical Christians, neocons and Likudniks, converge, as if by force of nature, is not seriously challenged in the United States.

The "he" in question here is Ariel Sharon. Not a word about Yasser Arafat, of course, or any of the other Palestinian leaders, and whether they have anything to do with this. Only Hamas is mentioned in passing, as if it were a force of nature and not a political/terrorist movement. His remarks about the assassinations of Hamas leaders and the security wall are simply offensive. Does he not believe that Israel has the same right as other sovereign nations to secure its border and protect its citizens? Or does he think Israel ought to simply submit to its citizens being murdered on a semi-daily basis? Is Jewish blood really so cheap at Bard College these days? Or am I being unduly "impassioned" on this subject?

There is also the ugly conflation of "evangelical Christians, neocons, and Likudniks", a phrase lifted verbatim from Pat Buchanan's stump speech (that's a whole other discussion) and representing exactly the sort of conspiratorial goobledygook the author's been claiming to condemn and disdain. Even if this sinister triangle were as powerful as Buruma claims, why then do so many liberal Democrats still unabashadly support Israel? Why then is the Defense Department, no gaggle of evangelicals or neocons, so staunchly behind the Israeli-American alliance? Why is Israel's congressional support so utterly bipartisan, if this axis of conservative evil has such an iron grip on American public opinion? Buruma is showing his agenda here in a serious way, and its not a pretty one.

To judge from much of the world's media, especially in Europe and the Middle East, this was always true. In fact, it was not. The turning point was the Six-Day War. It was then that many Europeans took up the Palestinian cause and Israel could count, for the first time, on the almost unconditional support of the United States.

This is not entirely accurate. The Palestinian cause became one of the European Left after a 1968 conference in Cairo (attended by, among others, future German Green Party Foreign Minister Joshka Fischer) between the PLO and many Leftist groups from all over the world. At the conference, solidarity was promised between these groups and the PLO and, incidentally, Arafat made a speech promising the destruction of Israel. To my knowledge, not one of the groups there (who claimed to stand for justice, freedom, and human rights) made any objection whatsoever to Arafat's genocidal statements. Needless to say, Buruma ignores the fact that Europe did not "take up" the Palestinian cause spontaneously, it was an engineered alliance on the part of Soviet backed Leftist groups based in Europe during the '70s.

In 1956, during the Suez crisis, the United States actively opposed Israel's interests. It was an interesting little war in light of today's fashionable cliches about dovish anti-Zionist Europeans and hawkish pro-Israeli Americans. Israel's biggest supporter and arms supplier in the 1950's was not the United States, but France. That is how Israel got its nuclear bomb. Britain was more ambivalent and tended to lean toward the Arabs. But when President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, often depicted in the European press as an Arab Hitler, nationalized the Suez Canal, thus cutting out the British and French corporate owners, the British joined the French in an attempt to grab it back. They enlisted the Israelis in this enterprise by encouraging them to attack Egyptian ''terrorists'' in the Sinai, after which Britain and France would order both sides to withdraw from Suez. The inevitable Egyptian refusal would then be followed by a short, sharp conflict and possibly even a ''regime change'' in Cairo. All went well until the Soviets threatened to intervene on behalf of the Egyptians and President Dwight D. Eisenhower forced France and Britain to back off and the Israelis to get out of the Sinai.

This is, to put it mildly, shockingly bad history. Firstly, it totally ignores Israel's major motivation for going to war: Egypt's massive 1955 arms deal with the USSR, which gave Nasser the means to accomplish his pan-Arab ambitions and to avenge Egypt's humiliating defeat in the War of Independence (Nasser was not reticent to express his desire for both these things). David Ben-Gurion, then Prime Minister of Israel, was convinced by his intelligence sources and Nasser's own rhetoric that a war with Egypt was inevitable, so he sought to make a preemptive attack in order to destroy Nasser's army before it had the chance to fully assimilate all the Soviet hardware. "Terrorism" was never the pretext for the war, this is pure fantasy on Buruma's part. He's probably been reading too much Noam Chomsky and not much else. For the record, the French didn't "enlist" the Israelis, Ben-Gurion sought a great power alliance in order to stave off a possible intervention by the Soviets. Nasser's larceny was merely a conveniant confluence of mutual interests between the three countries. By the way, the comparisions of Nasser to Hitler are not without validity. He was a demagogic ultra-nationalist and racial supremacist with ambitions of pan-Arab empire. He openly sought to undermine and invade other Arab countries in service of his imperial ambitions and to expropriate European-built property and resources and place them under totalitarian style state control. He was hugely popular and probably did Egypt and the Arab world more harm than any other 20th century leader. The analogy has a fair amount of merit. On a last note, Eisenhower later said that his attitude towards Israel in the Suez War was the biggest mistake of his presidency.

The French remained Israel's staunchest allies until 1967, when Gen. Charles de Gaulle decided to withdraw his favors. Having only just divested France of its last colonial possessions in North Africa, de Gaulle decided to cultivate the Arabs. He called the Israelis a ''domineering'' people and warned them against going to war. As he put it to the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban: ''You will be considered the aggressor by the world, and by me. You will cause the Soviet Union to penetrate more deeply into the Middle East, and Israel will suffer the consequences. You will create a Palestinian nationalism, and you will never get rid of it.'' De Gaulle was not totally wrong on any of these counts.

Ah, of course, the heroic French. With their brilliant advice unfortunately ignored by the unenlightened lower orders. Rather like college professors aren't they? This graph is both inaccurate and foolish. Firstly, De Gaulle made the "domineering" remark nearly a decade before the '67 War and he said it in praise, extolling the rediscovered military prowess of the Jewish people. Palestinian nationalism existed long before the war (the PLO was founded in 1964) and was not aided by it. It was not until the '70s, when the Soviets and their proxies begun to pump money and weapons into the PLO, and to leverage their influence in the UN, that Palestinian nationalism began to become prominent on the world scene. (Vietnam was also a factor here, but I digress.) As for the "aggressor" remark, I have dealt with that more than enough already. The French abandonment in '67 had more to do with typical French realpolitik than any prescient analysis of the situation. France has always done precisely what is good for France, and nobody else. As President "I am the state" De Gaulle himself said: "France has no permanent friends, only permanent interests." Understandable, perhaps, but hardly admirable.

Guilt, too, had a great deal to do with European good will toward Israel in the 50's and early 60's. This was a time when Jewish characters in German novels took on a saintly air and anti-Semitic remarks (in public) were treated as a kind of blasphemy. Anti-Semitism didn't disappear, of course, but open expressions of it were frowned upon, at least in Western Europe. If the word ''Jew'' had to be uttered at all, people lowered their voices, as if embarrassed by the very sound of it. Britain, never having been under Nazi occupation, was less vexed. Having grown up in guilt-ridden Holland, I can remember how shocked I was, sometime in the mid-60's, to hear a young lawyer in London make disparaging remarks about Jews.

Well, duh. Of course, he avoids the fact that, while there was a great deal of rhetorical support, no concrete military or political support was forthcoming from the Europeans during this period, with the exception of the French.

Philo-Semitism is better than pogroms, to be sure, but there was something unreal, and even a little unsettling, about this dutiful sense of collective guilt. It was as if Jews, including Israeli Jews, once again were not treated in the same way as other human beings, which can quickly lead to resentment, not among Jews so much as among gentiles. Zvi Rex, an Israeli psychoanalyst, once put his finger right on this sorest of points. ''The Germans,'' he said, ''will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.'' This harsh analysis applies to some extent to non-Jews all over the European continent. Nobody likes to be made to feel guilty, especially for the sins of his father.

In all fairness, I must say I agree with this completely, perhaps out of slightly different motivations.

So it was with a certain sense of relief, in the aftermath of the 1967 war, that the European left, led by Communist publications like L'Humanite in France, could point its finger at Israelis and conclude that Jews, far from being saintly, were behaving just as badly as everyone else and, indeed, perhaps worse. Once it became clear that the Israelis were not going to give back their conquered territories, the Palestinians became the prime victims to be protected from persecution, and the Jews became the Nazis. Here is L'Humanite on July 20, 1967: ''Six million Jews were not slaughtered by the Nazis so that young sabras could on occasion behave like young Hitlerites.''

In fact, Europeans, especially on the left, had a double guilt complex. One complex concerned the widespread collaboration in the destruction of European Jewry; the other was about the colonial past. France's war in Algeria ended only in 1962, after eight years of torture, terrorism and a near civil war in France. Israel had backed France in this last stand for European colonial rule. Taking up the cause of Palestinians, Vietnamese and other postcolonial peoples fighting for their ''liberation'' was a way to atone for past European sins. And because Western imperialism, since the late 60's, was largely associated with Israel and the United States, anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism came to mean the same thing. In this respect, if in little else, the editors of L'Humanite and General de Gaulle were entirely on the same wavelength.

What's being totally, unforgivably, ignored here, is the influence of the Soviet Union, which after the Six-Day War and the defeat of its proxies, undertook a massive campaign of anti-Semitism both within its borders and internationally. This campaign was most successful in the Islamic world, but it took hold also among Leftist groups in Europe and the US. The Soviets conflated anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism so as to impress upon Israel all the odious qualities once attributed to individual Jews or to Jewish collective existence (i.e. conspiracy, blood libels, capitalist exploitation, reactionary tendancies, etc.). The anti-Semitism we are dealing with now, which views Israel as the physical manifestation of all the most odious aspects of Jewish evil, has its origins in Moscow, and Buruma either ignores this or is wholly ignorant of it. Either way, the omission is unjustifiable.

As for European guilt over colonialism, its my opinion that the Europeans have decided to feel guilty about imperialism so they wont have to feel guilty about the Holocaust. I have long and short answers to that one.

The steady alignment of American interests with Israel made it possible for American Jews to be good Jews, good Democrats and good American patriots too. This same period gave birth to neoconservatism, in which Israel played a major role. The career of Norman Podhoretz might serve as an illustration. He was once a man of the left who wondered, when ''thinking about the Jews,'' whether ''their survival as a distinct group was worth one hair on the head of a single infant.'' But, as he explained in a speech on the occasion of his retirement as editor of Commentary in 1995, he began to change his mind in the 60's, when he became ''much more aggressive in defense of Jewish interests in general and of Israel in particular.'' One reason was a sense of shock when defeat in Vietnam threatened to turn the United States into a demoralized, enervated, even isolationist power, which would no longer stand up for good against evil in the world.

And here comes the Podhoretz bashing, in which our erstwhile Bard professor not only gets everything wrong about the origins of the neoconservative movement, but also engages in a little armchair psychanalysis.

The roots of neoconservative disillusion with liberalism and the almost obsessive promotion of American power go deeper than Vietnam, however. In Podhoretz's case it goes back to his childhood experiences on a school playground in Brooklyn, where he was bullied by his black schoolmates. Blacks, he had always been told, in good liberal fashion, were poor and persecuted, while Jews were rich and powerful. Neither rich, nor powerful, young Norman grew to hate the boys that beat him up with such ease. As he explained in a famous essay, ''My Negro Problem -- and Ours,'' he hated them, but also admired them, for ''they were tough; beautifully, enviably tough, not giving a damn for anyone or anything. To hell with the teacher, the truant officer, the cop; to hell with the whole of the adult world that held us in its grip and that we never had the courage to rebel against.''

This is highly revealing. What Henry Jackson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu and George W. Bush have in common is that they enabled bookish men to feel tough, beautifully, enviably tough. Too much can be made of the connection between the Chicago philosopher Leo Strauss and officials in the current Pentagon, but one aspect of Strauss appears to have rubbed off on them. Born in Germany, Strauss was a liberal rationalist in his youth. He had hoped, he said, that anti-Semitism would end with Jewish assimilation in a liberal democracy. The Nazis taught him otherwise. By the 1920's he began to regard liberals as weaklings, powerless to stop the violent mob. If one thing ties neoconservatives, Likudniks, and post-cold-war hawks together, it is the conviction that liberalism is strictly for sissies.

This is just plain gross. In fact, it would be hilarious if weren't posited in all seriousness. First things first, neoconservatism certainly is related to the radical Left's hatred of Israel and support for racist atrocities against her. It is also related to a hundred other aspects of the confrontation between traditional Liberalism and the radical Left in the 1960s. Neoconservatism did not split with Liberalism merely over Israel, nor Vietnam, nor even over foreign policy in general. It split over the radical Left's entire vision of America, from racial problems like busing to concepts of the free market and the appropriate size of government. It split over disillusionment with the Great Society and indeed the whole concept of good/big government Liberalism. It split over the radical Left's conceptualization of American as irrefutably racist, imperialist and evil. It split most of all over a fundamental question of philosophy: is man perfectable? The radical Left claimed yes, the neocons no. From a disagreement that deep, you do not recover.

The neocons also hated and feared the fact, not that Liberalism was weak per se, but that philosophically it lacked an answer to the forces of Leftist totalitarianism. They saw this illustrated in the collapse of mainstream Liberalism in the face of a small but well-organized anti-war movement which did indeed echo in fundamental ways the fall of the Weimar Republic at the hands of the small but much better organized and motivated Nazi Party. What Buruma dismisses as macho paranoia was, in fact, a nuanced and honestly reached (and I believe accurate) assessment of the failure of American Liberalism.

The last two graphs, with their allegations of crypto-racism and ludicrous psychobabble, are nothing less than disgraceful. They smack of the worst sort of character assassination. They are also, unfortunately, typical of Liberals today, who seem unable to view people who disagree with them as being anything other than evil or crazy. Needless to say, this is idiotic. If Podhoretz were black, Buruma would be hailing his rediscovery of self-assertion and empowerment. Why shouldn't someone seek empowerment and self-confidence for himself and his people? Why should it be celebrated for all other oppressed minorities and condemned when the Jews are involved? The double standard invoked here is nothing less than horrifying. Especially since anti-Israel Jews tell the same sort of stories. (Read Chomsky's autobiographical essays.) Except in their case their physical weakness pushed them into violent self-hatred and anti-Semitism. Which would you prefer? I think I already know Buruma's answer.

Once Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979, and switched patrons from Moscow to Washington, challenging the Soviets was no longer a major American concern. But the revolution in Iran, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, produced another enemy to confront. And this new confrontation outlasted the cold war. For Khomeini's brand of revolutionary Islam inspired others. Among the Palestinians, who had always been relatively secular, Islamist extremism gradually merged with Palestinian nationalism. The intifadas began with throwing stones, but degenerated into suicide attacks on Israeli citizens, organized by Palestinians with support from parts of the Arab world. Seen from a particular perspective in America, then, especially after 9/11, Israel and the United States, bound together by cold-war concerns in the 60's and 70's, were now thrown together in an existential ''war against terrorism.'' This shaped a climate in which it is not just potentially anti-Semitic to be critical of Israeli policies, but downright unpatriotic, too.

The cognitive dissonance here is pretty violent. Buruma ignores the whole phenomenon of fundamentalist Islam except to acknowledge its existence in the most superficial way. He doesn't mention its anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-Western, anti-modern ideology. Nor does he go into the interconnected nature of various fundamentalist groups and their use of terror (although, judging by the rest of the article, he might be wholly ignorant of such things, in which case he shouldn't be writing on the subject at all). Worst of all, he barely even mentions 9/11 and doesn't mention Al Queda at all. Nor does he deal with the fact that Al Queda and its ilk are anti-Semitic and anti-American on a fundamental level. He even puts "war on terrorism" in scare quotes. This is typical of the academic Left, who are desperate to ignore radical Islam, play down the significance of 9/11, and go one blaming the US and Israel for all the world's problems. The problem is that we are, in fact, in an existential war on terrorism, one which is not the creation of neurotic neocon intellectuals or Messianic evangelical Christians. Buruma's relentless rhetorical impotency and denial of reality only serve to prove his dreaded neocons right at every turn.

It is perfectly possible, of course, to take a critical view of Israeli policies, and of their support in Washington, without being anti-Semitic. It is equally possible to be critical of American policies without being irrationally and emotionally anti-American. Just so, you can be opposed to capitalism, or ''globalization,'' without wishing to unleash or condone suicide attacks on Manhattan.

This is what is known as "throat clearing". In my opinion, this graph may be true, its also irrelevent, since the radical Left is anti-Semitic and anti-American and does think 9/11 was a good thing.

What is disturbing, however, is the way these views now increasingly come together in a hostile cocktail. Most mass demonstrations in Europe, and elsewhere, against the war in Iraq contained banners in support of the Palestinians, even the religious extremists of Hamas, and against the global symbols of capitalism. For some people on the left, being opposed to Israel, or Zionism, goes beyond specific policies in Gaza or the West Bank; Israel is seen as the colonial Western presence in an Arab world, an American client state locked into global capitalism. Even if the Israelis treated the Palestinians with the most scrupulous generosity -- which they do not -- this impression would persist.

Finally, he starts to make some sense. Although I will say that what Barak did at Camp David was pretty damn close to "scrupulous generosity", by any definition. That last line is just another case of trying to hold Israel to cosmic standards of behavior.

For Israel, the American embrace is an ambiguous advantage. Although perhaps vital for the nation's survival, it also makes Israel the hub of global hostility toward the United States. It is, in any case, doubtful that the fate of Israel is best served by its dependence on an alliance with Christian fundamentalists and people on a mission to liberate the world with military force. It may well be that Israel's interests coincide with those of the United States for the moment, but this should not be a given, never to be examined or reassessed.

I love stuff like this. Israel should not be so close to the US because it makes psychotic anti-American ideologists hate Jews. The sophistry is thick on the ground. Let me clear: anti-Semitism is the fault of anti-Semites. It is their responsibility to deal with their hatred and prejudice. Jews are bound only to defend themselves against them, not to change their conduct to avoid pissing them off. This kind of blame the victim rhetoric is typical of the academic Left and it is utterly reprehensible.

The first condition for a reasoned examination would be to disentangle Israel's politics from all the anti-Semitic myths and other leftovers of a murderous past. This is not so easily done, since Israeli leaders have too often abused history themselves. The Israeli bomb attack on an Iraqi nuclear installation in 1981 might have been justified in many legitimate ways, but to say, as Prime Minister Menachem Begin did, that it was to protect ''the children of Israel,'' asking foreign reporters, ''Haven't you heard of one and a half million little children who were thrown into gas chambers?'' is to dangerously confuse the issue. The same was true when Prime Minister Sharon warned the United States last year not to repeat the mistakes of 1938 and sell out Israel like Czechoslovakia. Such false analogies serve only to invite equally odious comparisons from Israel's critics.

This is even more reprehensible. Why shouldn't Israel's leaders bring up the subject of their poeple's prior sufferings at the hands of the Gentile world? How dare you suggest that the pain of our history do not belong to us? Are black activists now prohibited from discussing slavery and Jim Crow? Are the internment camps now off limits for Japanese Americans to discuss? The people who compare the Israelis to the Nazis are vile, insulting, hateful, racist demagogues. Nothing Israel or its leaders do or don't do is going to affect the dispicable manner in which they conduct themselves. Get it through your head Buruma: these people are not rational. They are racist ideologues who believe what they believe no matter what. You can't analyze or understand them, you have to confront them head on, and the idea that you can change them by pretending the horrors of Jewish history didn't happen is not only foolish, its frighteningly deranged.

Finally, the politics of the Middle East may be murderous, but it is not helpful to see them as an existential battle between good and evil. As long as such a view persists, among zealots in Washington, Jerusalem and Nablus, the struggle between Jews and Arabs will be forever obscured by a fog of noxious myths and fantasies. Religious fanaticism is confounding the politics of Israel, as well as that of its enemies. And its influence is felt in the United States as well. Americans are right to support Israel's right to exist in peace, but criticism of Israeli policies should not be stifled by Christian visions of Armageddon, right-wing zealotry or memories of the culture wars in Brooklyn. This would not be good for America, and it is certainly not good for the Jews.

Disgusting, pure and simple. Moral equivalency at its most vile. There is nothing, nothing even close to the totalitarian madness that is radical Islam in the politics of Israel or America. No one wants to take over the world, no one wants to slaughter "infidels" (who often happen to be children) in the hopes of eternal bliss, no one wants to hurl their enemies into the sea. Buruma is simply lying, lying outright, confabulating madly to force an inconvenient and frightening reality to conform to his ideological prejudices. "Criticism of Israeli policies"? It is clear from his article that we are not talking about criticism, we are talking about racism, about demonology, about a semi-psychotic ideology which has alreadry become commonplace across much of the globe. The fact that he can't even be bothered to think about this fact, which he mentions with a breezy nonchalance that I personally find revolting, is telling indeed. Liberals in America today pay a great deal of lip service to the idea of disliking anti-Semitism, but, when the chips come down, they are worse than useless. They give (perhaps unintentionally) legitimacy and weight to its accusations. Here is an obviously intelligent and, perhaps, well-meaning college professor (who, to be fair, seems largely out of his depth on this issue) who looks at the phenomenon of global anti-Semitism and lays the blame squarely at the door of evangelical Christians and the neocons, the only groups he singles out for anything like extended criticism. This is not merely weakness, double standards, or ignorance, it is dangerous moral impotency, a stark and terrible inability to recognize political evil. We must ask ourselves: why does traditional Liberalism have no answer to anti-Semitism, why is it failing so utterly to rise to the defense of those who invested so much hope in its promise? Why, more than anything else, does this inability seem to manifest itself when the cause of the Jewish people is involved? The answer, I fear, may spell the end of the Jewish love affair with American Liberalism. It has certainly spelled the end of mine.

Friday, August 29, 2003

In the long Times piece on Dean you had to go 23 paragraphs deep to find a statement on the candidate's basic policy positions: universal health insurance, opposition to the Iraq war, balanced budgets, tax-cut repeal, affirmative action, and gay rights. This is not a winning combination, as numerous moderate Democrats point out. Still, if Dean's the one, administration spokespeople should start underscoring the extremism that defines his campaign.

For example, Dean's universal health-care insurance is Hillarycare. It's the same government-paid health insurance that's been a disaster in Western Europe and Canada. And it's the same socialist proposal that was defeated handily in a Democratic Congress ten years ago.

From NRO, arguing for a proactive strategy against Howard Dean. I don't think there's any need to get hyperbolic about this, all we need to do is start pointing what Dean actually believes. Pointing out the vicious anti-semitism of his supporters might also be a good idea.

These rewards were first bestowed in the 1970s when the Palestine Liberation Organization was unabashedly committed to terrorism. In fact, Chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974 at a time when his organization was seeking to destroy a member-state of the U.N. by terrorism.

By rewarding Arafat and the PLO for such behavior, the U.N. made it clear that the best way to ensure that your cause is leapfrogged ahead of others is to adopt terrorism as your primary means of protest. The Tibetans, whose land has been occupied more brutally and for a longer period than the Palestinians, but who have never practiced terrorism, cannot even receive a hearing from the U.N.

From the always brilliant Alan Dershowitz, making the case against the UN as the world's worst terror enabler. Noam Chomsky would rather speak at a Young Americans for Freedom event than debate this guy, God bless him.

My mom said the Palestinians were bloodthirsty and hungry for revenge. This is not what they want. Most Palestinians want peace and their land. We all want freedom. Please don't believe the news the way the portray Palestinians. Do you know the Hamas leader they killed in Gaza was a moderate who was against bombings and was working for peace? Did you know that the IDF assassinates Hamas members who are moderate or against a lot of the bad things and leave many of the fanatics? I bet you didn't know that all of Hamas doesn't support suicide bombings. That's like saying all Democrats supported the bombing of kosovo because of Clinton's decisions.

"There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."


Fortunately, "Lies" isn't just about O'Reilly and his compatriots at Fox. What "Lies" does best is profile notorious right-wingers from columnist Ann Coulter and Attorney General John Ashcroft to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Pittsburgh billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, putting their contributions to the coarsening of political discourse into context. The author even outs himself for a cruel, though hilarious, prank that he and one of his 14 Harvard research assistants played on the guileless folks manning the admissions office of Bob Jones University.

I don't think I need to comment on this, it stands utterly on its own. Look this up in the dictionary under "hypocrisy". By the way, speaking of coarsening the debate, who coined the phrase "Bushitler"?

Franken's missive, written on letterhead from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, claimed that he had already received abstinence stories from other prominent Republicans, including Condoleezza Rice and Senator Rick Santorum. However, in his July 11 apology, Franken admitted that he had not received those abstinence stories and called his solicitation to Ashcroft, "an imprudent attempt at satire."

Hmmmm. I wonder if Harvard has disavowed Franken's little prank. Maybe I should write a letter asking Al Sharpton if he's ever done the goose step or the Nazi salute: "Be funny Al! Be funny!"

"Lies" contains lots of citations and statistics because Franken, during a fellowship this year at Harvard's Shorenstein press center, was given 14 research assistants to help him scour the media archives.

Buried in a Washington Post story, the revelation that Harvard University essentially bankrolled shockingly untalented has-been Al Franken's new book. Honestly, I don't know why the universities continue lying about the fact that they are essentially Leftist political parties and then do nonsense like this, which everyone is going to find about in the end. Apparently they're not only totalitarian extremists, they're also stupid.

But we may ask ourselves why any sect, however primitive, would want to base itself on such vague pre-Christian desert morality (assuming Moses to be pre-Christian).

Christopher Hitchens on the Ten Commandments, unfortunately confirming my long held suspicion that the man is an unabashed Voltairian anti-semite.

It’s obviously too much to expect that a Bronze Age demagogue should have remembered to condemn drug abuse, drunken driving, or offenses against gender equality, or to demand prayer in the schools. Still, to have left rape and child abuse and genocide and slavery out of the account is to have been negligent to some degree, even by the lax standards of the time. I wonder what would happen if secularists were now to insist that the verses of the Bible that actually recommend enslavement, mutilation, stoning, and mass murder of civilians be incised on the walls of, say, public libraries?

This is classic Enlightenment style anti-semitism. The Jews are brutal, uncivilized, anti-philosophical, primitive, murderous, intolerant, the source of the evil historical force of oppressive monotheism, etc. Gross. But here's the kicker:

Too many editorialists have described the recent flap as a silly confrontation with exhibitionist fundamentalism, when the true problem is our failure to recognize that religion is not just incongruent with morality but in essential ways incompatible with it.

I think this is rich coming from a longtime supporter of the genocidal North Vietnamese government and a myriad other leftist totalitarian regimes around the world. I'd say that the only thing incongruent with morality going on here is Christopher Hitchen's ideology.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

More on the ISM Klan rally (sorry, political event) fast approaching. I sincerely hope those of you Stateside are planning to show up and do some old fashioned disruptive protesting at this vomit-fest.

"Cynthia McKinney is a person of considerable achievement in the political sphere," said Porus Olpadwala, dean of Cornell's School of Architecture, Art and Planning, who served as chair of the 13-member faculty committee that selects Rhodes professors. "She is an internationally renowned advocate for voting rights and human rights. She has taken clear stands on a number of critical issues and been a strong voice in Congress."

McKinney began her political career in 1988 when she was elected to the Georgia legislature. A native of Atlanta, she earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of Southern California in 1978 and a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Nazism. Pure and simple. No other word for it. Read the rest, they can't even bring themselves to mention Israel's name, instead using the racist term "Palestine", thus denying both Jewish existence and national rights in a single word. Hitlerian bastards the lot of 'em. Its been clear for a long time to all thinking people in this country that the American academy has to be gutted and rebuilt from the ground up. De-Nazification of the university ought to be a first priority of the conservative movement over the next decade, if only to avoid atrocities like this.

By the way, in case you don't know, Ms. McKinney's only major accomploishment in politics has been to claim that George Bush planned the 9/11 attacks in order to manufacture profits for his corporate masters. I think oil was involved somewhere as well, with these retards it always is.

An Israel Defense Forces tank and two armored
bulldozers entered the northern Gaza Strip on
Thursday after a Qassam rocket fired by militants
there landed inside the southern city of Ashkelon
for the first time, witnesses said.

This is very serious. Sderot, the usual Qassam target, is a small town on the border; Ashkelon, however, is a city of a decent size. If anymore rockets start falling we are going to start seeing some very serious military activity in Gaza, and it wont be a minute too soon.

The challenge to critics should be this: Name one civil liberty that has been violated under the Patriot Act. They can't, which is why they instead rely on hyperbole in an increasingly successful effort to make the Patriot Act a dirty phrase...

The fact is that federal authorities cannot do any of the nasty things under the Patriot Act that critics complain about — electronic surveillance, record searches, etc. — without a court order and a showing of probable cause. A federal judge has to sign off on any alleged "violation of civil liberties..."

Out on the Democratic hustings, it's as if Sept. 11 never happened. Of course, no organization contributed so much to the lax law enforcement that made possible the murder of 3,000 Americans that day than the ACLU. Mohammed Atta and Co. should have remembered it in their prayers as they screamed toward their targets. If the ACLU gets its way on the Patriot Act, some future successful terrorists will want to remember it in their prayers as well.

I agree completely. A bunch of pseudo-American Chomskyite treason monkeys in my hometown managed to get an act passed at a town meeting saying that they wouldn't comply with the Patriot Act. Of course, the five people who showed up and voted on it never bothered to ask these politically retarded neo-Nazis what was objectionable in the act itself, they just took it for granted there were bad things in it because the treason monkeys told them so. The Bush Administration needs to be much better at getting the facts out about the Patriot Act, so the Leftwing senilites don't get to define the debate this time around.

While some contenders view General Clark more as a running mate than presidential threat, his credentials could pose problems for several of them. As a former military officer, he would sound at least as credible on national security matters as Dr. Dean. As a Southerner from Little Rock, General Clark might blunt the appeal of Mr. Edwards and Mr. Graham in the South.

And as a Vietnam veteran, he would temper a prominent theme of Mr. Kerry's campaign, that he is the only Democrat running to have served in combat.

An interesting (if oft-biased) article in the NY Times on Wesley Clark, who may be the Democratic Party's great white hope. This more liberal than usual military man would mean something like instant restored credibility on national security issues for a party desperate for exactly that. What this article doesn't mention is that this very asset will cost Clark dearly with the Democrat's pacifist/treasonous base, which views the American military as the KKK and the SS wrapped into one. I also like how the liberal media cant stop salivating over Howard Dean. Since when has Dean had credibility on "national security matters"? Only at the NY Times I guess.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Bigleftoutside: Let's talk about the controversial cartoon. I can't for the life of me figure out what is supposedly anti-Semitic about this cartoon. Seems to me that this cartoon speaks an undeniable reality: that the buses inside the Israeli-occupied zones often result to be coffins, as a result of bombings. To me, that cartoon is as accurate as a news photo, in some ways more accurate. There's nothing in the cartoon that cheers the idea of bombings. It simply addresses their root cause: the occupation of Palestinian lands...

Latuff: I tried to express in this cartoon that due occupation of Palestinian territories, the security wall, the settlements and shit, to take a bus in IsraHell can be deadly. That's all. But you know, my slanderers will always try to find a reason for bashing me. If I make a cartoon with a baker putting breads in an oven, people will call me anti-Semitic because Jews were thrown into ovens and such. Everything can be a good excuse.

I'm not sure if I can add anything to this, since the gentleman manages to hang himself pretty well on his own, except to say that, considering the fact that the violence began after Yasser Arafat's refusal of the Barak peace offer, it would seem that the root cause of the Palestinian violence is actually their refusal to end the Israeli occupation. A refusal that stems from their desire to hurl the Israelis into the sea and turn all of what was once Mandatory Palestine into an Arab supremacist state. Of course, this flies in the face of those who believe the Palestinians are entitled to slaughter as many innocent people as they feel like, whenever they feel like it; since, after all, they are merely "reacting" to "root causes" and can't be expected to react in any other way except through savage violence (anyone else think this line of thinking is obviously racist?). It gets better:

Latuff: ...unfortunately many Leftists are confused when dealing with IsraHell/Palestine issues, afraid to be labeled as anti-Semitic, particularly activists from the United States and Europe. That's why they try to please Zionists and anti-Zionists from time to time. Poor guys! I wouldn't like to be in their position. They can't tell the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. I suggest they take a trip to West Bank, like I did in 1999, to look at the real thing.

Well, I can tell the difference between them, even from over here in "IsraHell" (very classy, LatuffHitler); anti-semitism is a multitude of ideologies all of which preach hatred of the Jewish people and advocate their oppression and/or genocide. Anti-Zionism is the belief that the Jewish people are not a people deserving of national self-determination and empowerment and, should they achieve national self-determination and empowerment, it must be snuffed out by means of oppression and/or genocide (i.e. "throwing the Jews into the sea"). Exactly how is this not a racist ideology? Exactly what do I call someone who believes that, because I am a Jew, I am doomed to walk the Earth for all eternity without a homeland or the power to defend myself against oppression and violence? Who decrees that my people are not, in fact, a people like all others, but rather something of a lower order, destined for perpetual wandering, helplessness, and finally eradication. What do I call such a person, if I do not call him a racist? To coin a phrase, Zionism is the radical belief that the Jews are human beings, Mr. Latuff, apparently, believes otherwise.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Summers wants Harvard to regard itself as a single sovereign entity rather than as an archipelago of loosely affiliated institutions. He wants to change the undergraduate curriculum so that students focus less on ''ways of knowing'' and more on actual knowledge. He wants to raise quantitative kinds of knowledge to something like parity with traditionally humanistic kinds of knowledge. He wants to make the university more directly engaged with problems in education and public health, and he wants the professions that deal with those problems to achieve the same status as the more lordly ones of law, business and medicine. And he wants to assert certain traditional verities, or rather open an intellectual space in which such verities can at least be posited. ''The idea that we should be open to all ideas,'' he said when I saw him in mid-July, ''is very different from the supposition that all ideas are equally valid..."

Even if Summers were a guileful and calculating figure with a hidden agenda of drastic change, he would have a tough row to hoe. But he's not: he's a blunt and overbearing figure with an overt agenda of drastic change. It should come as no surprise that Larry Summers is not quite as popular a figure as his gracious predecessor was. One of Summers's oldest friends on the faculty said to me: ''There are a lot of people on other parts of the campus I've met who just despise him. The level of the intensity of their dislike for him is just shocking.''

I met professors who so thoroughly loathe the new president that they refuse even to grant his intelligence, perhaps because doing so would confer upon him a virtue treasured at Harvard. Despite the protections of tenure, virtually all of Summers's critics were too afraid of him to be willing to be quoted by name. It's not easy to imagine Summers winning these people over. Of course, he may not have to. Harvard's greatest presidents have been an exceptionally cold and nasty lot. One of them, Charles W. Eliot, once said that the most important attribute of a college president is the capacity to inflict pain.

The tactically sound approach to the-institution-that-considers-itself-matchless is first to demonstrate that you share its values and only then to begin pointing out that it could do a better job of living by them. That's what, say, Robert Rubin would do. But Summers always takes the shortest distance between two points. In July 2001, four months after his appointment was announced around the time he assumed office, Summers somewhat reluctantly agreed to meet with seven or eight of Harvard's leading black scholars. Under Rudenstine's extremely lavish care, Harvard had assembled far and away the most distinguished Afro-American studies department in the country. Black scholars feared that the notoriously hardheaded Summers would be far less assiduous than Rudenstine had been. At the meeting, Charles Ogletree, a law-school professor, pressed Summers to spell out his views on affirmative action. Rudenstine had been a zealous advocate of affirmative action, and it was perfectly obvious that Summers had only to say a few magic words and all would be well.

According to one participant at the meeting, Summers replied to Ogletree: ''The jury's out. I want to make up my own mind.'' Word soon got around that Summers opposed affirmative action and that he was critical of ''The Shape of the River,'' the pro-affirmative-action tract that Rudenstine's predecessor, Derek Bok, was co-author of. (Summers says that he had only criticized the book's methodology.)

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks took place soon after Summers took office and inflected his presidency in ways that could scarcely have been anticipated. While much of the university world took the view that the United States must in some important way have been responsible for the attacks, Summers says that he felt called to speak up for patriotic values. At a speech at the Kennedy School in late October, he chided the school's dean for failing to include a uniformed officer among those the school was honoring for public service. ''There are still many people who, when they think of police, think too quickly of Chicago in 1968 and too slowly of the people who risk their lives every day to keep streets safe in America's major cities,'' Summers told his audience. He seemed to be lecturing his own university and kindred institutions in public. In the ensuing months, Summers tried to raise the status of the R.O.T.C. on campus: he demanded the reversal of a policy that had prevented students from listing R.O.T.C. service in the yearbook and made a point of addressing the R.O.T.C. graduation ceremony at the end of the year. And then last September, he threw down another ideological gauntlet when he claimed, in a speech that was front-page news all over the country, that ''serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.'' And he did not shy from observing that this group included scholars at Harvard and elsewhere who had called on Harvard to divest its portfolio of companies that did business in Israel.

Between patriotism, R.O.T.C., anti-anti-Semitism and much hard talk about grade inflation, Summers quickly gained a reputation as the spokesman for mainstream values as against the consensual leftism of the elite campus. The conservative Weekly Standard called him its ''favorite university president,'' while The Wall Street Journal editorial page spoke in similarly glowing terms -- not a form of adulation normally considered desirable for Ivy League presidents. It was really an astounding situation: the equivalent of Alan Greenspan taking on corporate malfeasance. Summers seemed to have embarked on a crusade for which many people -- and not only conservatives -- had long been waiting. Indeed, one of Summers's oldest friends at Harvard, the economist Dale Jorgenson, said that Summers ''feels that universities in general have forgotten that they're part of the nation'' and wants to restore a sense of ''moral clarity'' to campus discourse.

Larry Summers defined himself, in the mind of the public and to a lesser extent inside Harvard, through his very public, and very ugly, imbroglio early last year with Cornel West, the philosopher and sometime media star. Summers never intended to define himself that way, but now it is one of those things he has to dig himself out of, like becoming a hero to The Weekly Standard. (It was the tangle with West, more than anything else, that made him into a darling of the right in the first place.) Summers's testy exchange with the university's leading black scholars the previous summer constituted only one element of the background to l'affaire West. Neil Rudenstine had allowed the Afro-American studies department to live by its own rules and to practically formulate its own budget. Summers made it plain to Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman and builder of the Afro-American studies department, that henceforward the department would be subject to ''the same kind of standards and expectations,'' as he puts it, that applied to the rest of the university.

West appeared to be the living incarnation of those separate standards. He had been named one of Harvard's 17 ''university professors'' despite a modest record of academic achievement. More recently, he had become a political publicist, a media star, a professional spellbinder whose most recent ''work'' was a spoken-word CD. He was rumored to have missed classes to campaign for Bill Bradley and to have distributed A's with an abandon exceptional even at Harvard, where the average grade hovers between B+ and A-.

The average tenure of a Harvard president over the last century and a half has been a little more than 20 years. Summers will probably stay at Harvard a long time. And yet it's hard to see how he can lead the institution if so many of its essential citizens feel he doesn't share their values. After we had spent many hours together, I told him that I had been surprised by how intensely people disliked him. Summers was sitting in a tan leather armchair in his office, his foot up on a coffee table so that I could see the hole in his shoe. He thought for a second, then he started to talk about how people naturally resist change. Yes, I said, feeling a bit uncomfortable, but it's you they don't like. He looked a little taken aback -- that was a first -- and he said quietly, ''I'm sorry to hear that.'' But actually, he wasn't too sorry. ''I have an aggressive and challenging approach,'' he said with one of those quick, embarrassed smiles he sometimes shoots into the middle of a sentence, reminding you of the inner adolescent. ''And it may be there are times I have done that in a way that people haven't felt respected. That's certainly never been my intent.'' On the other hand, he said, ''I don't think of leadership as a popularity contest.''

From a not-entirely-biased article in the NY Times on the man who may save American academia from neo-Nazi oblivion. I love the look it gives into Harvard's arrogant, narcississitic, shockingly unintelligent faculty and the extent to which it controls, even "owns" the university itself. (Its doesn't mention that this is precisely how they retain political control over its faculty and ensure that only Leftwing psychopaths become professors.) Lets hope Larry can finally break their Orwellian stranglehold and force them to answer for their crimes against American intellectual life.

This state of affairs is of course no secret to
the decision-makers in the Israeli government.
The situation obliges the government to try to
assist the Palestinians who want to fight
terrorism - that is, Abbas and his group -
achieve their goal. The Israeli reaction to the
suicide bombing of the bus this week in
Jerusalem therefore needs to take into account
the status of the Abbas government.

Actions like the assassination yesterday of
Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab in Gaza, which
immediately drew announcements from Hamas and
Islamic Jihad about the cancellation of the
hudna, could make it very difficult for Mahmoud
Abbas' government and eliminate the small
chance that exists to revive the peace process
on the basis of the road map, which both sides
have accepted in principle.

This is one of the things really wrong with Haaretz. In their striving to be nuanced and subtle, they miss the point entirely. Even if all of this true, Abbas has had his chance and obviously failed. If he hasn't done it by now he never will. The editors apparently believe themselves a bit above the course of events. Like I said, the NY Times of Israel.

President George W. Bush, responding to this
week's deadly bus bombing in Jerusalem, froze
the financial assets of six top officials of
Hamas as well as five European charities said
by the administration to be sending cash to the

Bush said that Palestinians yearning for an
independent state must "dismantle the terrorist

Bush said he had taken the action to freeze the
assets because Hamas claimed responsibility for
Tuesday's suicide attack on a packed bus in
Jerusalem that killed 20 people.

I think Bush still doesn't quite get the fact that the Palestinians are not yearning for an independant state, they are longing for the conquest of all that was once Mandatory Palestine. Israel has to start hammering on this point: the Palestinians claim to desire one thing but their actions speak differently.

Palestinian leaders said on Saturday that they are
hoping to discuss with extremist factions a new
cease-fire to which Israel might also be asked to
sign on, and urged Israel to stop killing top

Heading into a Cabinet meeting
in the West Bank town of
Ramallah on Saturday, Foreign
Minister Nabil Sha’ath
said a cease-fire only among
militant groups was not

"We want a hudna between all the
Palestinian Authority and all
its organizations and Israel," Shaath said. "We
want a full stop to violence."

Brilliant, now they want to use a racist Palestinian war crime to tie Israel's hands even more than they have been already. Enough of this, expel Arafat, wipe out Hamas and Islamic Jihad and be done with it.

Another round of looniness from left-wing activist/actress Janeane Garofalo as the co-host in the left chair on CNN’s Crossfire this week. On Monday she held the Bush administration “responsible” for the blackout. On Wednesday afternoon she blamed the Bush team for the terrorist attack on the UN hotel: “It is the Bush/Cheney cartel's fault for this.”

Railing against the Bush administration’s efforts to pass and now argue in favor of the benefits of the Patriot Act, Garofalo raised Nazism. Playing off how George W. Bush is the 43rd President, she charged: “It is in fact a conspiracy of the 43rd Reich.”

In between, she contended that the war in Iraq “was an attempt at a corporate takeover. This was about oil. It wasn't about human rights. It's not about human rights.” And she spewed: “Team Bush is more radically corrupt than Richard Nixon ever tried to be.”

I'd laugh at this if it weren't pretty much the mainstream of the Democratic Party's worldview in a nutshell. Ms. Garafalo has been thumbing through her copy of Manufacturing Consent, apparently. If only it weren't the only book she's ever read in her life...

Friday, August 22, 2003

After a year of trying to sideline Yasir Arafat, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called on the Palestinian leader today to enlist the security forces under his control to help crush Hamas and other groups held responsible for the Jerusalem bus bombing on Tuesday.

The unusual appeal to Mr. Arafat reflected what administration officials said was a growing realization that he remained a force to be reckoned with among Palestinians and that more pressure needed to be directed against him after the latest attack by Palestinian militants.

Of course, State still hasn't gotton the message. This seems in keeping with their standard strategy: appease mass murdering racists by giving them everything they want. In Arafat's case, this means being dealt back into the game again. I think its abundantly clear that it's long past time for Powell to go. Secretery of State Wolfowitz anyone?

The cabinet discussions indicate that Israel is
coming closer to deciding to act against
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat
himself. Security sources were united in saying
that Arafat is the principal stumbling block to
a Palestinian war on terror. Even Interior
Minister Avraham Poraz, who opposed the Israeli
reaction and is one of the most liberal
ministers, said Israel must consider what to do
about Arafat.

Jerusalem was encouraged by U.S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell's public call to Arafat that
he refrain from interfering with Abbas. Israeli
leaders understood the comments as a warning to
Arafat that his diplomatic immunity will be
removed if he sticks to his old tricks, leaving
him at the mercy of Israel. In Sharon's
government, Arafat has no protector.

Haaretz seems to be reporting the only good news in the last few days. Perhaps the chairman's days are, in fact, numbered. Perhaps the Bush administration has figured out the fact that you can't appease people who commit acts of racist mass infanticide by "making concessions" to them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Wednesday with
security chiefs, including Defense Minister Shaul
Mofaz, to weigh Israel's responses to Tuesday
night's suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus that
killed 20 people.

Israel Radio reported that it
was decided not to expel
Palestinian Authority chairman
Yasser Arafat from his Ramallah

Damn it. Well, you can't win them all. By the way, when every media outlet in the country starts accusing Israel of violating the cease fire with its response to this racist war crime, you might want to keep in mind that Israel was never party to the cease- fire in the first place.

Yesterday's bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad was the latest evidence that America has taken a country that was not a terrorist threat and turned it into one.

Of course, we should be glad that the Iraq war was swifter than even its proponents had expected, and that a vicious tyrant was removed from power. But the aftermath has been another story. America has created — not through malevolence but through negligence — precisely the situation the Bush administration has described as a breeding ground for terrorists: a state unable to control its borders or provide for its citizens' rudimentary needs.

Ah, Harvard professors. Where would we be without them to define reality for us in the lower orders?

While Augusto Pinochet’s brutal post-coup repression and terrorism cannot be justified, it is essential to explain what led him and the Chilean armed forces to the fateful coup d’état, outside of the fantasy that had him bursting onto the democratic Chilean political scene on September 11, 1973 with readymade CIA orders to stop a beautiful, pacific and liberating socialist dream. For I have no doubts that if the Chilean Marxist experiment had ended in civil war, as it appeared to most observers at the time, it would have been an even greater tragedy or, had it ended as the totalitarian society it pointed to, it would have lasted much longer and would have brought Chileans much more suffering than Pinochet’s ugly but temporary dictatorship.

From a truly extraordinary post on the Salvador-Allende-as-crucified-Socialist-Jesus myth. A much needed reposite to the anti-American lies being propagated every day in our universities (I've encountered them myself). All propogated by tenured idiots who've read three books by Noam Chomsky and now think they know everything about US malfeasence across the globe. I have to say, there is a kind of poetic irony to the way the Left treats the Chilean coup. Here's the first time in 20th century history that all the brutal, barbarous methods they pioneered - assassination, coup d'etat, political oppression, torture, etc. - were used against them (and not a moment too soon, apparently). It was the first time that the guns were turned around. Certainly, nothing can justify Pinochet's violence, but the irony is there, and quite strikingly so.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Sorry about the long silence, folks. I've just relocated back to Israel and, needless to say, have been a little on the busy side. Blogging will resume as soon as I can screw my head back on straight.