News and Opinion Based on Facts

Monday, December 29, 2008

Please Support Israel

12/29/2008 10:05 AM
Hello and season's greetings to you all.
I received, today, the appended email from Marty Davis in Ashkelon.Marty works for the World Zionist Organization in Jerusalem, travelling there daily from Ashkelon.
Sitting all day watching the TV reports on what is happening in Gaza, Marty's words hit a nerve.Some of you may remember when we had a representative from the Barzilai hospital to speak to us at Edgware Masorti Shul and told us how they treated Palestinians from Gaza while Hamas were rocketing them and how they had to move patients underground and had no space.
All the reports from Gaza seem to be telling us how the people of Gaza are living in fear of their lives, afraid to go out of the house and children and adults being traumatised. We are told how the streets are deserted, no cars, no people, no shops.
The world criticizes Israel yet anyone who has visited Sderot will know that this is exactly what the people of Southern Israel have been going through for years while the world has remained silent.Is there anything that we feel that we can do to help and support our bretheren in Israel.Can we be active in the media to get the message across that Israel has been suffering for all this time and no one cared?
-The World was silent for years while Israelis were being targeted.
The moment that Israel fought back, the UN called immediately for a
How does rocketing Israel dispose it to send the fuel and food the
Palestinians want?
Hamas chooses to bite the hand that feeds it and then expects help and cries
How can the world sit back, watch Hamas cause havoc and then thumb its nose
at Israel?
If Hamas and Gaza are dependent on Israel what is the point of them behaving
the way they do.
They are weak, totally dependent on handouts from Israel (and the UN and EU)
yet behave like they are superior to all.
Why are they short of food and medical supplies? They have been preparing for war for years, have smuggled in something like 20,000 rockets, guns and explosives. If they cared about their people would they not have stockpiled medicines?It makes no sense at all. How many Palestinians would have died if they
stayed in concrete bunkers like the Israelis are forced to do.
Israel tries to keep its people safe, Hamas puts them deliberately into
harms way so as to make political profit from the deaths.
How does 200 deaths compare what is happening in Darfur, Pakistan or Iraq?
Yet compare the coverage. 14 children died in a suicide attack in Iraq according to today's Times in a 2" column buried in the back of the paper.,
Adrian Korsner
Mercaz UK
Dear Friends,
One dead, four seriously wounded and five slightly wounded in rocket hit near Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon.
As our house shakes and the sirens screech in the quiet morning hours we then hear the booms of the rockets as we wait in our shelters. In the 80's and 90's I remember travelling up north to visit the confrontation line settlements, who would know that today my home city of Ashkelon would be on the confrontation line. Most of the city's 120,000 residents remain at home close to shelters, while others continue working. Schools and day care facilities are closed and people are warned to stay indoors. The tension, especially for young families and the elderly is intense.
Is the city prepared? From the point of view of city planning and response yes. From the point of view of protection, not at all. There are areas with only neighbourhood underground shelters that cannot be reached in time and the elderly can not run down the stairs. The public facilities have not been properly protected. The hospital does not have underground emergency facilities. Funds are required immediately to provide safe rooms, hospital equipment, etc.
We are very supportive of the IDF's activities as the previous situation could not be allowed to continue, however we are in for continued rocket attacks until this ends.
May G-d be with us and protect us.

US Soldier Killed in Baghdad's Sadr CityWashington Post
- Dec 28, 2008
- 10 hours ago

Germany sides with Israel over Gaza escalation
International Herald Tribune
- Dec 29, 2008
- 3 hours ago
AP BERLIN: Germany has blamed Hamas for the escalation of violence

Arab Intellectual Discourse
Once again the scum of the world shows what they are made of.
Throwing a shoe at a man that the "reporter" couldn't compare to in courage or, obviously, intelligence.
One finds the Arabs drearily tiresome.
The civilized world drills their oil for them, tries to teach them about civilization and they behave like unschooled children.
The Arab world is giggling today.
They are celebrating the act of cowardice by the shoe-thrower.
Like they celebrated the murder of 3000 Americans in 2001.
I was pleasantly suprised to see that most of the civilized world sees the attack for what it is, even the Huffington Post condemned the stupidity of the display.
Meanwhile Arabs continue to launch bombs at Israel and support crime in other Islamic dictatorships.
The oil gluttons of the u.n. won't comdemn them, but the rest of the world is beginning to realize that they need to be forcefully civilized.
The day is coming.
Not a moment too soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008
Civlized World Supporting Israel's Self Defense

Terrorist sympathers, loonie leftists and Jew bashers, of course, support the criminal element receiving justice in Gaza.
PM Olmert, in one of the most shining moments of his tenure stated, "This is all out war to destroy Hamas."
Any knowledgeable individual would agree with that goal.
I guess one would need a bit of morality as well.

The Bush White house said, "Israel has the right to defend herself against the hundreds of missiles launched at her civilians in the last few days."
I think that says it all.

I hope the Hamas killers enjoy Hell, cause that is where they are going.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Quid Pro Quo (Hi Ho)

The corruption scandal involving Illinois Governor Blagojevich raises interesting questions.
First of all, from what we know of the case from released transcripts, it doesn’t really appear that Blagojevich was doing anything that most other politicians don’t do routinely.
The problem is the words he used.
If he had put his desires into other words, he would not be facing jail today.
There is an old saying, “There is always a quid pro quo.”
The vacant Senate seat, formerly held by Barrack Obama.
If he had interviewed politicians for the appointment, the interviews could have said,
“These are my qualifications. BTW, we are donating x dollars to your campaign, we have asked such and such a non-profit to appoint your wife to the board.”
Blagojevich could have responded by saying, “Well, I’m sure you know that if you are appointed it will be strictly because of your qualifications, we appreciate your efforts to help our campaign, and my wife will consider the job, but these items will not be part of my consideration in naming a person for the vacant seat.”
He could have considered every bribe, and as long as he didn’t actively solicit a bribe, he would have has no legal jeopardy whatsoever.
This is the way politics is done.
One of the more amusing aspects in the way the story is being covered is the expletives used by the Governor are spoken as “the F word.”
Reminds me of elementary School, “Teacher, Joey used the F-word!!”
The shock expressed by all the pundits and commentators is amusing, as well.
They are shocked by the use of “profane” language.

So much for the Governor.
Now, hopefully, our last words on OJ.
In my mind there is no doubt he was convicted because of his murder of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
I am glad he will be punished, finally.
Some have expressed dismay at the perception that the prosecution was based on his “getting away” with murder, and that the system was misused , therefore, impairing the credibility of the Justice system.
Innocent people are convicted everyday, guilty people are freed everyday.
Revenge prosecutions are extremely common.
I would not feel too sorry for OJ.
First of all, he is still beloved by much of the Black community; he will have lots of admirers in prison as well.
He will have a hi-def TV.
A DVD player.
A stereo.
A computer.
Illegal drugs.
Lots of food, snacks, etc.
If Nevada allows conjugal visits he will have sex, too.
Prison will not be as unpleasnent for this butcher as it was for say, Earl Krugel who never killed anyone or robbed anyone.
Prison is only harsh for the extremely poor.
Most people in prison should not be in prison at all.

OJ should be.

Michael Blackburn, Sr.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm Just waiting for a train

This is my regular Monday night, Tuesday morning blog.

Hello, everybody.
Thanksgiving is gone.
I'm not a big turkey fan.
Its cheap, but , I don't exactly anticipate eating it with a lot of relish.
Or without relish, for that matter.

Something kind of funny on cable access tonight.
There is an Islamic group that puts up video whenever they can, they don't preach on it, which is sensible since most Americans really don't want to hear from the Quoran crowd..they mostly show beautiful slides from the Hubble telescope, and they do a video of Cat Stevens "peace train" at the end of which they show a photo from him in the seventies, looking pretty cool, and a photo of him now, since he became a Muslim, looking quite a bit like Bin Laden.

Well, I was talking about thanksgiving.
I had smoked hot links and all the trimmin's.
Very tasty.
They were beef hot links.
Hebrew National.

I had things to be thankful for.
I am thankful that I have had so many beautiful children, and, life being filled with a balance of factors, I am thankful for their Mothers as well.
I am thankful for the friends I've had, only too aware that they were all basically as flawed as I am, and really, everyone else is too.
I guess I should be glad that life is still challenging, although I was thinking today about how most people are retired at my age, and it is probably a good age to retire, not that I can.

Channukah and Christmas are coming up.
As Howard Dean once said.

I hope to put up some autobiographical stuff soon.

Good luck, everyone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam

Is it racist to condemn fanaticism?
Phyllis Chesler

Once I was held captive in Kabul.
I was the bride of a charming, seductive and Westernised Afghan Muslim whom I met at an American college.
The purdah I experienced was relatively posh but the sequestered all-female life was not my cup of chai — nor was the male hostility to veiled, partly veiled and unveiled women in public.
When we landed in Kabul, an airport official smoothly confiscated my US passport. "Don’t worry, it’s just a formality," my husband assured me.
I never saw that passport again. I later learnt that this was routinely done to foreign wives — perhaps to make it impossible for them to leave.
Overnight, my husband became a stranger. The man with whom I had discussed Camus, Dostoevsky, Tennessee Williams and the Italian cinema became a stranger. He treated me the same way his father and elder brother treated their wives: distantly, with a hint of disdain and embarrassment.
In our two years together, my future husband had never once mentioned that his father had three wives and 21 children.
Nor did he tell me that I would be expected to live as if I had been reared as an Afghan woman.
I was supposed to lead a largely indoor life among women, to go out only with a male escort and to spend my days waiting for my husband to return or visiting female relatives, or having new (and very fashionable) clothes made.
In America, my husband was proud that I was a natural-born rebel and free thinker. In Afghanistan, my criticism of the treatment of women and of the poor rendered him suspect, vulnerable. He mocked my horrified reactions. But I knew what my eyes and ears told me. I saw how poor women in chadaris were forced to sit at the back of the bus and had to keep yielding their place on line in the bazaar to any man.

I saw how polygamous, arranged marriages and child brides led to chronic female suffering and to rivalry between co-wives and half-brothers; how the subordination and sequestration of women led to a profound estrangement between the sexes — one that led to wife-beating, marital rape and to a rampant but hotly denied male "prison"-like homosexuality and pederasty; how frustrated, neglected and uneducated women tormented their daughter-in-laws and female servants; how women were not allowed to pray in mosques or visit male doctors (their husbands described the symptoms in their absence).
Individual Afghans were enchantingly courteous — but the Afghanistan I knew was a bastion of illiteracy, poverty, treachery and preventable diseases. It was also a police state, a feudal monarchy and a theocracy, rank with fear and paranoia. Afghanistan had never been colonised. My relatives said: "Not even the British could occupy us." Thus I was forced to conclude that Afghan barbarism was of their own making and could not be attributed to Western imperialism.
Long before the rise of the Taleban, I learnt not to romanticise Third World countries or to confuse their hideous tyrants with liberators.
I also learnt that sexual and religious apartheid in Muslim countries is indigenous and not the result of Western crimes — and that such "colourful tribal customs" are absolutely, not relatively, evil. Long before al-Qaeda beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan and Nicholas Berg in Iraq, I understood that it was dangerous for a Westerner, especially a woman, to live in a Muslim country.
In retrospect, I believe my so-called Western feminism was forged in that most beautiful and treacherous of Eastern countries.
Nevertheless, Western intellectual-ideologues, including feminists, have demonised me as a reactionary and racist "Islamophobe" for arguing that Islam, not Israel, is the largest practitioner of both sexual and religious apartheid in the world and that if Westerners do not stand up to this apartheid, morally, economically and militarily, we will not only have the blood of innocents on our hands; we will also be overrun by Sharia in the West. I have been heckled, menaced, never-invited, or disinvited for such heretical ideas — and for denouncing the epidemic of Muslim-on-Muslim violence for which tiny Israel is routinely, unbelievably scapegoated.
However, my views have found favour with the bravest and most enlightened people alive. Leading secular Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents — from Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria and exiles from Europe and North America — assembled for the landmark Islamic Summit Conference in Florida and invited me to chair the opening panel on Monday.
According to the chair of the meeting, Ibn Warraq: "What we need now is an age of enlightenment in the Islamic world. Without critical examination of Islam, it will remain dogmatic, fanatical and intolerant and will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality, originality and truth." The conference issued a declaration calling for such a new "Enlightenment". The declaration views "Islamophobia" as a false allegation, sees a "noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine" and "demands the release of Islam from its captivity to the ambitions of power-hungry men".
Now is the time for Western intellectuals who claim to be antiracists and committed to human rights to stand with these dissidents. To do so requires that we adopt a universal standard of human rights and abandon our loyalty to multicultural relativism, which justifies, even romanticises, indigenous Islamist barbarism, totalitarian terrorism and the persecution of women, religious minorities, homosexuals and intellectuals. Our abject refusal to judge between civilisation and barbarism, and between enlightened rationalism and theocratic fundamentalism, endangers and condemns the victims of Islamic tyranny.
Ibn Warraq has written a devastating work that will be out by the summer. It is entitled Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism. Will Western intellectuals also dare to defend the West?

Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the City University of New York

Posted by Michael Blackburn on 11/11/2008

Barack Obama: Visionary Miminalist

By Kleinheider Posted on November 10, 2008 at 1:12 pm
From Cass Sunstein:

Political minimalism has a distinguished tradition in U.S. politics. In recent history, President George H.W. Bush stands as the leading minimalist.

To the extent that Bush succeeded, especially in foreign affairs, it was because he enlisted diverse people, and diverse views, on behalf of the policies he chose.
Other public officials are visionaries. They have a large-scale vision about the direction in which the nation should go. They believe in big steps, not small ones.
Above all, these visionaries seek to alter the nation’s self-conception. In changing policy on the economy, or on national defense, they are entirely comfortable with asserting that their vision is the superior one and that alternative visions should be rejected. When they succeed, they transform how the nation understands itself.
Our greatest presidents — including Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt — have been visionaries. In recent American history, President Ronald Reagan stands as the leading visionary.
Obama is something new in American politics — and not just for the obvious reasons. He is a visionary minimalist. This is a key both to his extraordinary campaign and to his unique promise. It even helps explain his conception of public service.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time for a change

What appears at this point, to be an Obama victory, indicates that it is time for change on our part as well.
We need to get together and begin to heal the wounds that have developed in America over the last years.
We need to wish the President well and remember that its all about making the U.S. a better country, for all of us, and the world, and especially, our children and grandchildren.

Let us come together as one people.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hello, everybody.
This is my regular Friday Blog.
A shout out to Michele, Toby, Mary Kate, Mary Ann, Michael, Nicky,Ashley, Logan,Dylan and All of You!

The U.N. record vis a vis Israel has been shameful.

The U.N.'s Record Vis A Vis Israel

Prior to the Madrid Conference, of '91, the office of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir commissioned Shai Ben-Tekoa to do a statistical analysis of U.N. voting vis a vis Israel. The following is a summary of Mr. Ben-Tekoa's research.
Security Council:
175 Total Resolutions74 Neutral 4 Against the perceived interests of an Arab state or body97 Against Israel
General Assembly:
Cumulative Number of Votes cast with/for Israel: 7,938.Cumulative Number of Votes cast against Israel: 55,642.
Since the Council first convened in 1946, at least one Arab state sat on it in 39 of the body's first 43 years. Israel never sat on the Council. From December 1947, when the ?Palestine Question? first appeared on its agenda, to 1989, the Council held 2,682 meetings of which 747 (26%) were devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict. During this period, the Council passed 605 resolutions of which 175 (29%) concerned this conflict.
Balance or Tilt:
Of these 175, 74 (42%) may be labeled neutral or balanced. Of the remaining 101, 4 (4%) criticized or opposed the actions, or judged against, the perceived interests of an Arab state or body.Ninety-seven resolutions (96%) were critical, or opposed the actions, or judged against the perceived interests of Israel. The last time a resolution passed the Security Council whose major thrust criticized Arab actions was on September 1, 1949.
Between 1947 and 1989, the Council "called upon," "demanded," "requested" etc. Israel to "comply," "desist," "refrain" etc. 123 times. An Arab state, states or body was "called upon" "ordered" "requested" 65 times, or 47% less.
In these requests, Israel was explicitly named 105 times. References to Arab states were usually implicit, as in "...the parties concerned". An Arab state was identified by name 12 times.
The Council expressed its "concern," "grave concern," "regret," "deep regrets," "shock" etc. about Israeli actions 31 times. Regarding Arab actions, the Council never expressed negative sentiments.
The Council "condemned, "censured," "deplored," "strongly deplored" etc. Israel 49 times. The Council never "condemned," "censured," "deplored" etc. the Arabs.
The Council "warned," "solemnly warned" etc. Israel 7 times. The Council never warned the Arabs.The above data concern the entire post-war period until 1989, but by isolating the period June 1967-1989, the numbers rise into even starker relief.
The Council held 1,517 meetings. Of these 459 (30%) were devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict.402 resolutions were passed. Of these, 131 (33%) concerned the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Balance or Tilt of U.N. resolutions:
Neutral, Of these 131, 43 (33%) were neutral. Of the remaining 88, all (100%) criticized or opposed the actions, or judged against the interests of Israel. 0 resolutions criticized or opposed the actions, or judged against the perceived interests of an Arab state or body, or the PLO (founded by the Arab League in 1964).
The Council "called upon," "demanded," "ordered" etc. Israel to "comply," "desist," "refrain" 83 times. The Council "called upon," "requested" etc. an Arab state 29 times, 65% less. The Council never "demanded," "ordered" etc. the PLO to do or stop doing anything.
The Council expressed its "concern," "grave concern," "deep regrets." "shock" etc. regarding Israel"s actions 28 times. The Council never expressed negative sentiments regarding either any Arab state or the PLO.
The Council "condemned," "censured," "deplored" Israel 43 times. No Arab state or group was ever condemned.
The labor of the Assembly, the larger if less potent U.N. chamber, on the other hand, makes the above numbers testimony to the power and moderating influence of the United States in the Security Council, whose numbers now, by contrast, will seem in retrospect only mildly anti-Israel.
Number of Resolutions or Resolution Parts Voted On : 690
Balance or Tilt: Of these, 205 (30%) were neutral. Of these, 64 (9%) were adopted without a vote, without objection or by consensus. 18 (3%) were adopted unanimously. Thus the adjusted number of balanced resolutions: 123 (18%)
Resolutions against Israel"s desires: 429 (62%)
Resolutions against Arab desires: 56 (8%).
Of the 56 votes not to the Arabs" liking, 49 concerned the establishment or financing of peace-keeping forces. Of the remaining 7, one concerned inviting the Jewish Agency for Palestine to address the General Assembly (May 1947); 1 concerned the Partition Plan (November 1947); 1 concerned establishing a trusteeship for Jerusalem; 3 concerned refugees (1948); 1 protested admitting Israel as a member to the UN. Discounting the 49 votes concerning peace-keeping forces, the last anti-Arab vote of the General Assembly was in May 1949.
The Arabs were "called upon" to "comply," "desist," "refrain" etc. 4 times. Israel was "demanded," "ordered" etc. to do General Assembly bidding 305 times.
The Assembly expressed its "concern," "grave concern," "anxiety" etc. about Israeli policies or actions 179 times. The General Assembly expressed itself in similar terms about Arab policies or actions 0 times.
Israel was "condemned," "vigorously condemned," "strongly condemned," "deplored," "strongly deplored", "censured," "denounced" by the General Assembly 321 times. The Arabs were condemned 0 times.
Cumulative Number of Votes cast with/for Israel: 7,938.
Cumulative Number of Votes cast against Israel: 55,642.
Arutz 7

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Are You Fired Up? Are You Ready To Go?

Most American's chuckle somewhat condescendingly when they hear the smears from the hard right against Senator Obama. They assume that in the event Senator Obama becomes President the majority of the people who buy into the basic silliness of the smear campaign will be reassured when they see that, as all who have known him say, unanimously, "obama is a good man. They way he seems is the way he is. Period." It seems difficult to believe that anyone has led such a sheltered life that they have never met or somehow been associated with someone whose views were diferent from the "popular" views. So, it bears restating, the fact that a candidate has known or crossed paths with a bad person is not the sum total of that person. I have heard a lot of bad things about McCain, I'm sure you have as well. He's been called arrogant.Argumenative.Vindictive. Emotionally unstable. Disloyal. By people who have known him for many years.I f you believe that Obama is a communist or terrorist, then you also believe McCain is a liar, since he has said, "Senator Obama is a good man, a decent family man, a good American." And "You have nothing to fear from an Obama Presidency." Now have you noticed, as I have, that not a single person has come forward and said a single thing negative about Obama as a person? I mean people who know him. People who work with him in the Senate. People who worked with him in helping the poor. Jews that worked with him in his first private sector Law Firm. No one from the Harvard review. No one from the Illinois State Senate, no one from the the U.S. Senate. The reason that you don't hear negative comments about his character from people who've known him and worked with him is because, as they all say, almost to a man,And this is what McCain says as well, "This is a fine man, a decent man, a good American." For a long time now, starting with Ronald Reagan, people in dire straits in America have been told by the Republican Party, "Tough luck". When it became obvious that our country had a unique problem, i.e., women and children living in the streets, Reagan said, "They choose that lifestyle." Although I am familiar with Republican Statistics, and I am aware that America is still the wealthiest country on the planet earth, millions of Americans are suffering and struggling to survive, and have a decent life. Many Americans, and many of them inheritors, live like Arabian Princes and Princesses while children suffer in abandoned automoblies and vacant buildings. This a country where Myley Cyrus "earns" a half billion dollars in 3 years, and thousands of children brave the elements and don't get enough to eat. This is the country where Tina Fey is advanced 5 million dollars to write a book, which she will pay someone else a hundred grand to write for her, while babies and old people wait in line for hours in the heat and cold to eat donated food. The Republicans, who've been in power for eight years, say that government can't help poor people here, but we can create a jobs program in Iraq, and rebuild their country after spending billions to destroy it. For years now, the greed of the inherited class has slowly been strangling working people and poor people. Now comes a decent man, a man who has actually worked for a living, who actually cares about his fellow man. And it scares the hell out of the hard right. And so, they try, to some extent successfully, to scare the sheople. But, at least so the polls indicate, this time, the scare machine isn't working. People want a government that works for them, not just the fat cats. And the right will trot out all the commie scare garbage and anti-American swill that has worked in the past. I see homeless people everyday. They do not choose to be homeless. The vast majority of them work, hard, full time. Scare tactics don't work with them any more. They are already scared, of losing their job, of not being able to pay for gas or feed their kids. America really does need change, and Obama seems to be the agent for it. Guilt by association and name calling is not going to win this election. Decency, intelligence and compassion may. The vast majority of Jews in America support Senator Obama, and when Israelis sees that Obama is the only candidate that embraces tikkun olam, and that his love for the Jewish People and Israel is deep and that he is an honest man and true to his words, they will love him too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why I support Senator Obama

With all due respect, I must express my view on the upcoming election.
There are writers on the issue of Israel that I deeply respect, and am loathe to oppose.
No doubt some are more intelligent than I am, more widely traveled, even more knowledgeable.
I have read the opposition to Senator Obama, and tried to find a position that would allow me to be in agreement with his opponents, at least with his opponents on the “right” side of the Israeli issue.
I believe that not only does Israel deserve to exist, I believe she should have kept the Sinai oilfields, I agree with the Khaniists that Arabs should be payed to leave Israel if they do not support a Jewish State.
I believe Israel should launch an all out attack on Gazan terrorist strongholds.

On the other hand, America's survival and ability to survive is important to me as well, and my belief, based on my research, is that McCain Palin would be a disaster for America.

I believe that the attacks on Obama are smears.
Recently Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying that Obama would seek retribution against Zionists.
Quoting Jackson on Senator Obama is ridiculous. He despises Senator Obama.
Jackson was quoted, and filmed, saying, "I'd like to cut his (Obama's) N*ts off."
Whoever is running the McCain campaign has been counting on the big lie and the gullibility of the voters, and polls are showing that this tactic is backfiring.
I'm not a doctor, I don't know exactly what is wrong with McCain, why he reverses wording during debates, such as when he said "Palin is a bresh of freath air", or why he can't remember what he was asked, or what he has said in the past, or his odd demeanor, but in my view, and I do have clinical experience working with gerontological populations in a diagnostic and therapeutic setting, I believe he is not well.
I think the election comes down to who do you believe, and during the last debate, with the split screen showing the facial contortions of John McCain and the calm, open expression of Obama, it typifies what most voters seem to feel, that Obama is speaking truthfully and McCain is saying what he is told. Jews have been among Obama's earliest and most ardent backers.
One longtime Jewish observer of the political scene, who did not want to be identified, said admiringly that "Jews made him. Wherever you look, there is a Jewish presence."
The Jewish community has been a particular target of e-mails declaring Obama a secret Muslim who attended a madrassa in Indonesia, took his Senate oath of office by swearing on a Quran and is aligned with Muslim terrorists.
Those allegations have been thoroughly dis proven by mainstream media and other sources.
After a stint as a community organizer, working for the poor,Obama took a job at a civil rights law firm, Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, led by Judson Miner, a Jew, and a well-known Chicago civil rights attorney. Working at Miner's firm introduced Obama to many in the city's liberal community, and during his state Senate tenure, he gained other supporters, including Illinois Sen. Ira Silverstein, an Orthodox Jew who shared an office with him in Springfield. They also shared carpooling duties when both their children attended the pre-nursery at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School.
Silverstein continues to support Obama and said he is disturbed that "there is lot of bad information out there, a lot of miscommunication, misinformation that has been proved false" about the senator.
He said he and Obama often shared their pro-Israel feelings and that when Silverstein sponsored numerous resolutions condemning PLO bombings, Obama eagerly signed on as a co-sponsor. "I know him," he said. "People can read what they want to in the press, but I know him personally and I can testify to" his pro-Israel views. "That's different than hitting a blog," he said. "If people don't want to listen to me they don't have to, but there's a lot of hearsay out there."

Why Jews Should Vote for Barack Obama
Letty cottin pogrebin
If you care about the well-being of Jews and Israel, by now the incessant Republican attacks on Barack Obama may have persuaded you to be wary of the Democratic candidate. Parse the poison, however, and you will see that it is nouvelle racism grafted to pure unadulterated right-wing bunk. This election’s top Swiftboating trick (the Jews for Obama Newsletter calls it “schvitz-boating”) is to make you believe Senator Obama is both a secret Muslim and in the thrall of loudmouthed Christian minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Right-wing operatives make snide references to black-Jewish conflicts of the past—Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson’s “Hymietown” statement, the Crown Heights riots—in a transparent attempt to associate Obama—merely because of his race—with hostile African-Americans, and to imply that he sympathizes with the enemies of the Jewish people.
Scurrilous emails link Obama to the leader of the Nation of Islam, despite the senator having expressly stated: “I decry racism and anti-Semitism and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan.” Slash-and-burn opposition forces—including, shamefully, Senator Joseph Lieberman—want you to believe Barack Obama is “anti-Israel,” when, in fact, his record of support for the Jewish state has been attested to by such “pro-Israel” lawmakers as Senators Carl Levin, Ben Cardin, Russ Feingold, Ron Wyden, Barbara Boxer and Frank Lautenberg, and by no less a conservative voice than the New York Sun.
The attackers also hope you’ll swallow their claim that the candidate is soft on Iran, though he has declared emphatically, “I will do everything in my power—everything—to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon.”
Having so often been the target of rumors and disinformation, Jews ought to be suspicious of crazy and loaded accusations.
But some in our community—reportedly many senior citizens, and Jews for whom Israel is a political litmus test—have fallen for the smear and scare tactics.
I have include some comments from Jewish voters below who are not buying the failed policies of the last eight years, and don't want to see another eight years of failure by pusrsuing the same mistaken ideas.
I am a Louisiana-born religiously observant Jew who lives in Baltimore, MD, and teaches Yiddish literature at the Johns Hopkins University. I support Barack Obama’s presidential campaign without reservation and with 100% enthusiasm, and I am convinced that he provides the best hope available for all Americans to live in a prosperous and secure nation that pursues peace for itself and other nations.
I share the alarm of many signatories on this list that many American Jews, including friends and acquaintances of mine, have developed a diametrically false impression of Senator Obama because of misleading and dishonest innuendo; I think it would be a tremendous misfortune for American Jews that after having been at the forefront of so many progressive movements we as a collectivity would miss an opportunity to participate in the first important progressive coalition of the 21st century. I am confident that at the top of his agenda as president will be a renewal of engagement in the middle East peace process, withdrawal from our disastrous Iraqi adventure, and a definitive end to the genocide in Darfur.
Each of these priorities will restore America’s reputation abroad, make the middle East a better and safer place, and speak to the moral and strategic needs of Jews throughout the world.

Comment by Marc Caplan — March 2, 2008 @ 12:31 am I support Barack Obama because tikkun olam can only happen with an open hand and and open heart — not with a closed fist and a closed heart. I believe that Senator Obama has qualities of innate empathy which will allow tikkun olam to become a movement,and not just a phrase. Comment by Joan Hitlin — March 2, 2008 @ 1:03 am I resent efforts by non-jews to bait our community into opposing Obama. He is the man for the moment, for all of us.Comment by Deborah Lewis — March 1, 2008 @ 3:16 am Deborah Lewis I am an orthodox Jew and I support Barack Obama because he shows a rare wisdom among politicians, the wisdom to see not only the world as it is but also the world as it might be. Senator Obama understands that in order to overcome the scourge of organized money in Washington we must mobilize and become organized people, and that in doing so we will find to power to challenge the special interests and challenge ourselves to be better parents, better neighbors, and better citizens. Comment by Avraham Nemon Barack Obama understands that it’s how we treat our fellows that gives our lives meaning. And he acts on that understanding. My parents and grandparents would have been proud to participate in this moment and what it signifies.

Comment by Joel Menachim Shearer — March 1, 2008 @ 12:49 am We support Barack Obama for many reasons, not least of which is that he is the first candidate for president in our lifetime who talks about Tikun Olam (healing the world). He understands that true change has to come from all of us working for it. Yes We Can! Comment by Ellen and Sam Bender — March 1, 2008 @ 1:02 am he embodies peace, hope, vision and wisdom and a high neshama. that is what judaism is about.

Comment by jacqueline klein — March 1, 2008 @ 1:27 am I am a strong supporter of Senator Obama. However, I do not take for granted that all jews would necessarily agree with my personal reasons. We are a diverse community and we have different focuses. Regardless of who we choose to vote for, I do think its essential for us ALL to stand in solidarity with Senator Obama on this one big issue. We cannot remain silent in the face of this evil smear campaign. Senator Obama is being targeted in the most viscious and despicable way by both those within and outside the jewish community. Given our history, I think the jewish people in this country who recognize the manipulation and fear-mongering that is going on have a moral obligation to speak up against it. We must firmly DENOUNCE and REJECT the people and tactics that would use hate and fear to unfairly malign a good and decent man.

Comment by Donna Matorin LePard — March 1, 2008 @ 2:05 am I have to say, I’ve been shocked at the vicious campaign to defame Senator Obama. I’m not entirely sure how this “anti-israel, anti-semitic” meme was started, but it needs to end. Now. And this is a great first step, coming full circle. As Senator Obama said in the last debate, he wouldn’t be where he is today without Jewish support in the Civil Rights era. In turn, I believe he will be the best president for the American Jewish community that we have ever witnessed.

Why anyone would consider Bush/McCain to be a friend of Israel, I don't know.
Here is some vintage Bush on Israel:
afternoon. In recent
weeks, debate in our
country has rightly
focused on the situation
in Iraq -- yet Iraq is not
the only pivotal matter in
the Middle East. More than
five years ago, I became
the first American
President to call for the
creation of a Palestinian
state. In the Rose Garden,
I said that Palestinians
should not have to live in
poverty and occupation.
Bush was asked about the
settlements. He said:
"Outposts, yeah, they
ought to go."
The criticisms were a
reiteration of statements
he made that
settlements not
authorized by the Israeli
government were an
"impediment to peace".
Their removal is a key
part of the revived US
"road map".
"I've been very clear about
Israel has an obligation
under the road map. That's
no expansion of

They have heavily armed our enemies and given billions of dollars in aid to countries who are Israel's bitterest enemies.
As for the comment that Jews favor socialism, the largest governent investment in the private sector in our nation's history was proposed by Bush.
Even the few supporters he has left have called the Bush Bailout, "Socialism".
I think the one charge that McCain has made repeatedly, and he made it twice during the last debate, is that Obama is "eloquent."
As if being inarticulate like Bush/McCain is a virtue.
Personally, I believe that being able to speak properly and communicate effectively is a good thing.
And so, apparently, do most of the electorate.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are They On Drugs?

With the Republican Party in such visible disarray, one wonders, are they on drugs?
On the Rachel Maddow show, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan had to be drugged when he actually said that Senator Obama has always been on the side of President Bush!
The Republicans picked John McCain as their candidate, is this evidence of judgment under the influence?
Bush said that he couldn’t remember if he used cocaine.
The only way you could forget using it would be if you’ve used so much of it you’d damaged your brain.
The leading conservative thinker in America, Rush Limbaugh, was recently arrested for drug crimes.
Some observers think that the problem is that Republicans are just not very smart, after all, they point out, look how the hair- brained schemes of the Republicans in power the last eight years have damaged American interests.
No one with half a brain would have instituted such ridiculous policies.
I believe this supports the “they are on drugs” position rather than the “Republicans just aren’t very bright” position.
Then there is Palin.
I like her.
Everybody likes her.
We feel sorry for her.
But this seems to be an outright example of the dangers of drug abuse in those who picked her to possibly be the President of the U.S.

My advice to the Republican Party?

From now on, please, Just Say No!

Monday, September 29, 2008

With Friends Like Bush/McCain Who Needs Palestinians?

With friends like Bush-McCain We Don’t Need the Palestinians 

Biden has been campaigning for Senator Obama  and beginning with a recitation of his Israel bona fides - which include having met then prime minister Golda Meir on his first trip to Israel and having pushed pro-Israel legislation - as well as vouching for Obama's.

"My support for Israel begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head," he declared. "I promise you, I guarantee you, I guarantee you, I would not have joined Barack Obama's campaign as vice president if I had any doubt, even the slightest doubt, that he shared the same commitment to Israel that I share."

"He wants that message to go out with these people being his voice," explained Michael Adler, a former NJDC chair who headed Biden's national finance effort during his own presidential run.

He referred to the "unfortunate" need for Biden and others to counter the "ridiculous propaganda" questioning Obama's support of Israel and his own background.

"When you scare elderly people by saying he's bad for Israel, he's a Muslim, the [more] you need to have Senator Biden and people in this room go on the offensive," said Adler, referring to Jewish voters in his home state of Florida. "They will not vote because they have been barraged with misinformation."

Adler felt Biden had helped make the case, noting he traveled with the vice presidential nominee when he visited southern Florida Jewish communities earlier in the month.

"There's a real sense in the Jewish community that he is just adding to the ticket," Adler said, referring to Biden's history of ties to the population and record on Israel.

Biden spoke little about Middle East policy in his remarks Tuesday, however, focusing more on the financial situation and the need for change in these elections.

He did, though, call on his audience to "imagine a president who won't wait until his seventh year in office to discover the need for American leadership in the Middle East peace process, who will call on Arab states now to begin normalizing relations with Israel, where there's consequences for their failure to do so."

Speaking about Iraq, he also pledged, "We will end this war."

On Wednesday in Ohio, though, Biden devoted a large portion of a major foreign policy address to the issue of Iran, which he said "poses a genuine challenge to the security of the United States and Israel and our allies."

He defended Obama's stated interest in talking to the Iranians, noting that five former US secretaries of state recently made a similar recommendation.

"Our allies need to know that the United States will go the extra diplomatic mile," he said. "And if we do and Iran does not respond, our allies are much more likely to stand with us if diplomacy fails and move toward more robust sanctions and possibly even other alternatives."

Have Bush McCain been true friends of Israel?

The following comments were originally  published on Israpundit by yamit82 — September 6, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

What has Bush McCain done for Israel?  What are their pro Zionist Credentials? Road Map? 2 State Solution? 50 Billion in military and Nuke aid and sales to Israel’s Enemies? Enforcing tight sanctions against Iran?

Bush- McCain were the first American administration to openly call for a Palestinian Terrorist State within eretz Israel.

Briefly here is a synopsis of American perfidy against Israel: Debate the points true or false!


In 1948, America did not force the Arabs to stay out of the war. American companies went on working with Arabs during the war. America did not sell Israel weapons. When Israel began to win, America quickly got involved and arranged an armistice. America perceived Israel as a Soviet proxy, and did not want an expansion of Soviet influence.


In 1956, the story is well known. Russia did not support Israel, and America felt free to press for Israeli withdrawal. America never exerted such pressure on Egypt or other Arab countries at war with Israel. In 1963, Arabs conducted an undeclared war of attrition. The number of victims was close to a conventional local war. Seven years before that, Israel proved her ability to deal with the strongest Arab army. Why did not Israel mobilize in response to incessant provocations? The memoirs are available, and a few years ago one could still talk to cabinet ministers of the time. America strongly urged Israeli government to desist from war, and warned of international isolation if Israel starts it. In 1967, America did not prevent Egypt from re-militarizing Sinai (compare that with American tolerance of Germany re-militarizing Alsace-Lorraine). America, however, twisted hands of Israeli government, pushed it to wait, wait, and wait, perhaps Arabs won’t attack. Again, America expressly prohibited Israel to preempt. Only in the nick of the time, Israeli government broke free from its American masters and let the IDF to smash the Arabs. America forced Israel to stop short of Cairo and Damascus - when every military strategist agreed that repelling aggression without disarming the enemy is a recipe for a new war. And it came in 1973. Russia supported Egypt and Syria with military shipments years prior to the war and during it. Russians manned SAM batteries and piloted Egyptian planes. America did nothing to help Israel. Only when Israelis crossed the Suez, clearly winning the war, the first American aid has arrived - too late to be used. In return for its non-existent help, America forced Israel to stop at the Suez, rather than flatten Cairo, as the Egyptians would have done with Tel Aviv.


American involvement in the Middle East is unnecessary and quite contrary to the interests of the American people who pay hundreds of billions of dollars only to see oil prices skyrocket. Involvement works against Israel as well. That American aid promotes systemic deviations in the Israeli economy is one thing. That American assistance buys the US the right to stop Israel from pursuing efficient policies is another. More important, however, politically correct America balances help for Israel with help for the Arabs. Israel can live and fight without American aid; the Arabs cannot. The balance of aid works against Israel. And the invasion of Iraq, which created a failed state, a terrorist base at Israel’s borders instead of an acceptable dictatorship, is also a product of American involvement in the Middle East.


In 1948, America did not force the Arabs to stay out of the war. American companies went on working with Arabs during the war. America did not sell Israel weapons. When Israel began to win, America quickly got involved and arranged an armistice. America perceived Israel as a Soviet proxy, and did not want an expansion of Soviet influence.


In 1956, the story is well known. Russia did not support Israel, and America felt free to press for Israeli withdrawal. America never exerted such pressure on Egypt or other Arab countries at war with Israel. In 1963, Arabs conducted an undeclared war of attrition. The number of victims was close to a conventional local war. Seven years before that, Israel proved her ability to deal with the strongest Arab army. Why did not Israel mobilize in response to incessant provocations? The memoirs are available, and a few years ago one could still talk to cabinet ministers of the time. America strongly urged Israeli government to desist from war, and warned of international isolation if Israel starts it. In 1967, America did not prevent Egypt from re-militarizing Sinai (compare that with American tolerance of Germany re-militarizing Alsace-Lorraine). America, however, twisted hands of Israeli government, pushed it to wait, wait, and wait, perhaps Arabs won’t attack. Again, America expressly prohibited Israel to preempt. Only in the nick of the time, Israeli government broke free from its American masters and let the IDF to smash the Arabs. America forced Israel to stop short of Cairo and Damascus - when every military strategist agreed that repelling aggression without disarming the enemy is a recipe for a new war. And it came in 1973. Russia supported Egypt and Syria with military shipments years prior to the war and during it. Russians manned SAM batteries and piloted Egyptian planes. America did nothing to help Israel. Only when Israelis crossed the Suez, clearly winning the war, the first American aid has arrived - too late to be used. In return for its non-existent help, America forced Israel to stop at the Suez, rather than flatten Cairo, as the Egyptians would have done with Tel Aviv.


Our American friends are not only ours. America is also the friend of Wahhabite Saudi Arabia, totalitarian Egypt, the Al Jazeera state of Qatar, Bedouin Jordan, Islamist Kuwait, terrorist Iraq, and just about every other enemy of Israel. Even Russia would be a more reliable and attractive imperial master for Israel than is the US.

Our American friends sell immense quantities of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia, provide $1.4 billion annual aid to Egypt, fought for Kuwait, and spent more in Iraq in the four years than given to Israel in forty years. The US plays it nice: vetoes the UN’s empty proclamations against Israel, scorns Ahmadinejad for  anti-Israeli feelings held by all Muslims, and pats amenable Israeli leaders on the shoulder. My position always has been: Arabs must be the only victims of the peace process

End of Comments

.None of this even touches upon McCain's obvious unsuitability to be the President .  His confusion over simple issues, names of world leaders and their relationship to the U.S.  What are Shiites, what are Sunnis, where they train and so on.He picked Sarah Palin to take over in the very possible event that he would be too ill to finish his term.

Can you imagine Sarah Palin as President???


Michael Blackburn, Sr.




Shana tova umetuka

Despite the solemnity of the occasion, Rosh Hashanah is a festival, so it is an occasion for nice clothes, special meals and good spirits
"Out with the old year and its curses! In with the new year and its blessings!"
L'shana tova tikateiv v'teikhateim!
May you be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year of happiness and growth!
Chasidim like to bless each other not only for a good year - "Shana tova" - but also a sweet one - "Shana tova umetuka". The idea is that the good should not only be in G-d's eyes, but good from our perspective too - e.g. it tastes good.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Survives Debate

McCain was spry at times, and one could almost hear his supporters yelling, “Go get ‘im Granpa!”
But as David Gergen said, “He lost the debate because he needed more than a tie.”
He didn’t collapse or have a seizure, but he did a lot of smirking and sneering and inappropriate facial gestures that have become part of his baggage.
He couldn’t pronounce achmidinijad’s name.
He said he wouldn’t sit down with the President of Spain without preconditions, which actually is a step forward for him since last week he didn’t know the President of Spain’s name at all and he thought Spain was in Latin America.
McCain didn’t seem to have a clue about how to deal with the economic mess either.
Obama was gentlemanly as always, that is the kind of man he is, but he just seemed so much more knowledgeable and able than McCain.
It seemed incomprehensible after the debate that anyone would vote for McCain to be President, he obviously does not have the skills or intellect or intelligence to be a leader.
Perhaps the major flaw in McCain’s performance was his inability to look at Obama.
He appeared discomfited, angry, surly, brittle and old.
As he said, “I was not elected to be Miss congeniality in the Senate.”
I wonder why?

There may be some disagreement of the fringes of politics, some on the hard right thinking McCain won, and on the left thinking Obama totally thrashed McCain.
But it does seems honest to say, that on a debate which is McCain’s “area of expertise”, he survived, and little more.
Michael Blackburn

Monday, September 22, 2008

What Do They Mean?

By leftists they mean moderates.

That is  how "conservatives" define anyone who does not support their ill-defined agenda.
Barry Goldwater would be appalled at those who call themselves conservatives today.
The Republicans have given us the largest deficits in history, the largest government, and have trashed personal freedom.
Libertarians are conservatives.
Republicans are not.
As for the race issue, forget about the polls and talk to white people who trust you. Many whites are more prejudiced against blacks than they would ever admit to pollsters. Most blacks are extremely prejudiced as well. Look at their role models, listen to their music.

Look at what the drug war has done to them.
It has made them a race of criminals.

Listen, a young man goes to Iraq, perhaps he sees an incident of violence, he comes home, is diagnosed with ptsd,  is called a hero and cared for for the rest of his life.
Do black children who see violence everyday in their neighborhoods, who see their friends and family members killed suffer from ptsd?

I talk to black people every day, I see the racism, and I work to reduce it.
But to be preached to by people like George Bush and McCain, to be told that government can't help the poor, to be told this by white people who were born wealthy and never had to lift a finger to struggle is bound to cause resentment.

We have a trillion dollars to spend on killing Arabs who were no threat to us, we have billions of dollars to give away to failed corporations, but we can't afford health care or decent schools for the poor.
John Kennedy, who  most conservatives today  would call a radical leftist, once said, "We who are most fortunate have a duty to help those who are least fortunate."

I believe America can come together.
I believe that those who believe, as McCain and the Republicans do,
in "me first" are really shortsighted fools.
I try everyday to become a bigger and better person.
When I come across a black person with an obvious attitude, and a dislike for me even before he has met me because of the color of my skin, I try to reject the easy course of disregarding him because of his misguided views, and make him a friend, or at least force him to realize that not all white people are bad.
I really believe that fate has put us together with the black race in what was once and may again be the freest nation on the earth for a reason.

I believe Obama is a link in the chain of completing our joint endeavor.
As he said, "Its not about white people, its not about black people. Its about all people." 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Who Do They Like, Who Do They Hate

Barry Rubin
September 18, 2008

These two polls are very interesting especially when compared to each other, and are not so bad.

Contrary to what we think there are basically two models:

  1. Strong support for Israel as against the PA: US
  2. Relative evenhandedness: France, Germany, and UK.

We are not seeing results of high support for Palestinians versus Israel, even in a country like France, even after years of anti-Israel propaganda.

Note that there are no countries where support for the Palestinians is higher than that for Israel. In Germany there is greater support for Israel; in France and the UK more evenhanded.

But even this understates the case. The Palestinians are represented in this poll by the PA, which is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as moderate, nonviolence, and ready to make peace with Israel. Comparing Israel and the PA is going to end up being more even in result than comparing Israel to Fatah, the PLO, Hamas or talking about Israelis versus Palestinians.

After all, the argument would be that the PA are those Palestinians who want to live in peace with Israel so liking both means wanting the two sides to make peace and have a two-state solution. Presumably, most of those who liked the parties do not perceive a positive statement about the PA as anti-Israel.

Note also that in France, Germany and-to a lesser extent-the UK, support for Israel is not that far behind positive views of the US. After all, if the US can only get 47 percent in France is it so surprising Israel gets 41? And the same applies to Germany (51, 47); though the gap in the UK is a bit wider it is not that extreme.

The situation in Turkey is very bad since in recent years the support for the PA is based on the idea of Muslim solidarity. The high results for the US and USSR are also surprising. Clearly, the Islamic-oriented regime has had a big effect on popular thinking or, to put it differently, its election reflects shifts in public opinion.

So if the result isn't great it isn't terrible either, better than we would expect.

Poll 1

"Transatlantic Trends 2008, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and the Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), asked respondents in various countries in June to rate their feelings toward countries, with 100 meaning very warm and favorable and 0 unfavorable.

U.S. respondents: US-83, Russia-48, Israel-62, PA-36, Iran-25
French respondents: US-47, Russia-41, Israel-41, PA-40, Iran-24
German respondents: US-51, Russia-49, Israel-47, PA-39, Iran-29
UK respondents: US-56, Russia-47, Israel-45, PA-45, Iran-33
Turkish respondents: US-14, Russia-18, Israel-8, PA-44, Iran-32 (Transatlantic Trends)"

Now look at Poll 2 (below). I have reorganized it for better understanding:

Negative views

Australia Jews 11
France: Muslims 38; Jews 20
Germany: Muslims 50; Jews 25
Spain: Muslims 52; Jews 46
Poland: Muslims 46; Jews 36
Russia: Jews 34
UK: Muslims 23; Jews 9
US: Muslims 23; Jews 7

Some points:

  • Australia, the US, and the UK are by far the most tolerant. Despite European "sweetness and light" and "multiculturalism", they are far more bigoted. Note that Americans are ridiculed as narrow-minded and intolerant by Europeans. The shoe is on the other foot.
  • Jews are always less unpopular than Muslims.
  • Spain, Poland, and Russia can be fairly described as anti-Semitic nations in terms of popular opinion. History is pretty consistent.
  • The level of anti-Semitism in France and Germany is quite high although not characteristic.
  • Who would have dared dream 20 years ago that one in five Germans would be anti-Semitic? I wonder what the figure would have been if a poll had been taken there-or in France for that matter--say, in 1900?
  • Muslims have legitimate concerns about high levels of hatred.

What is amazing in these findings is that anti-Semitism has risen in virtually all countries since 2005. Yet the level of violence has been much lower than during the previous five years, not to mention the Hamas takeover and growing radical Islamist anti-Semitism (a negative or a positive example?), improved Western diplomatic stances toward Israel, and Israel's tireless efforts to prove it wants peace, massive Jewish philanthropy to prove they are good citizens, and so on.

Theodor Herzl was right on everything-including the eternal nature of anti-Semitism and the inability of Jewish action to end it-except that Israel's existence would reduce it.

Poll 2

"Growing numbers of people in several major European countries say they have an unfavorable opinion of Jews and Muslims. A spring 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project finds 46% of the Spanish rating Jews unfavorably, with 34% of Russians and 36% of Poles echoing this view. Significant numbers of Germans (25%) and French (20%) also express negative opinions of Jews. Other figures reported include Great Britain (9%), Australia (11%), and the U.S. (7%).

Fully half of Spanish (52%) and German respondents (50%) rate Muslims unfavorably. Negative opinions about Muslims are found in Poland (46%), France (38%), Britain (23%) and the U.S. (23%)." (Pew)

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). Prof. Rubin's columns can be read online.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Method In Their Madness

"Though this be madness, yet is their method in it...Hamlet"
Barry Rubin
September 15, 2008

One evening you're walking down a street. A robber jumps on you to steal your wallet. You fight back and after a protracted battle you injure him enough so that he flees the scene.

The next day newspapers report that you assaulted a poor innocent man to mug him. From pulpits, religious leaders denounce you as a bad moral example that should be punished. Politicians urge that the forces of the law be deployed against you. Your attempts to defend yourself are ignored and dismissed as lies and excuses. Most people never even hear your version.

And then after all that, someone explains: "You know the reason why people don't like you? It's the way you behave; after all you assaulted that poor man."

That, my friends, is another way for saying that your policy is the cause of your problems.

Of course, the parallel outlined above is too simple-deeds have been done, mistakes made, conflicts occurred--and yet it does convey something essential about the Middle East and the September 11 attacks, as well as being part of a much broader pattern of how much of the area deals with the United States, Israel, and the West in general.

For example, the most outrageous lies and exaggerations are told in the Arabic-language world about Israel. This material then serves as a basis for explaining that Israel is hated, under constant terrorist attack, and targeted for genocide because of what it does.

But the question remains: does according to whom?

Or consider this question: What's the main lesson the Middle East has drawn from September 11? That terrorism is bad? Don't mess with America? Radical Islamism is dangerous and irrational?

Surely, some have done so. Yet probably the dominant idea is that the United States is responsible for the attack on itself. The less "sophisticated" idea, though common among the well-educated, is that the event was a direct conspiracy; the more "educated" notion is as a response to U.S. actions. And this latter concept itself comes in two versions: the more radical (you had it coming to you) and the more moderate (regrettable but necessary).

Just because the Middle East refuses to learn from the experience, however, doesn't mean we shouldn't.

First, we should understand that a sphere of dictatorship requires a surrounding universe of lies to protect it. Of course, (being a Western thinker requires I engage in self-criticism) that doesn't mean Western democracies are perfect by any means. But they do try hard, and their systems seek to correct themselves when they make mistakes because democracies have numerous independent people and institutions protected by freedom of speech who can challenge and correct each other, presenting different viewpoints.

In Arabic-speaking states, diversity means a choice between agreeing with the dictatorship or being even more extreme in misrepresenting reality.

Second, this situation is not just a matter of repression or regime misinformation to be corrected by either regime change from outside or massive apologies and concessions. There is a popular base of support for the system based on culture, history, and interpretation of religion which makes such ideas appeal to the masses.

As Tarek Heggy, the most incisive contemporary Arab intellectual, wrote in 1998, "Even the most outlandish statement, if repeated often enough, accepted as a society in which half the population is illiterate and the other half displays only a very modest standard of education...." This situation provides, "A fertile breeding ground for the most untenable, demagogical and unfounded assertions to take root and flourish."

The only solution is to set different goals and interpretations of the world through rethinking, reform, and education. Western glorifications of the Middle East's status quo-these are customs which must be preserved, how dare you criticize people's beliefs and offend their sensibilities?-will merely ensure another century of bloodshed, dictatorship, and poverty.

Third, just because you're nice and tolerant doesn't mean you're wrong. Otherwise, you'll never understand that just because it is the "other" doesn't mean it's wise. No amount of apology or concession will change those who hate you on the basis of ideology and need to hate you to preserve their political, ideological, and cultural system.

Or as former Syrian information minister (note the significance of his past job) Mahdi Daklallah explained recently regarding his regime's philosophy, "But who cares about the truth?" His words, claiming the United States planned the September 11 attacks, apply much better to the worldview in which he exists: "What is important, always, is the use of the events in order to carry out a strategy planned in advance...."

Fourth, politics happens. The Islamist upsurge is no more a mere reaction to what foreigners have done in the Middle East than was the French revolution (Austria did attack France), Russian Revolution (World War One undermined the Czarist regime), Nazi revolution (the Versailles treaty and indemnities punished Germany and angered its people), and so on.

The point in discussing the distortion of September 11 in the Arabic-speaking world is that the vast majority of issue discussions there are dominated by lies and nonsense. What is needed is to understand the intellectual preconceptions and social-political structures that create this situation.

Reform-minded Arab intellectuals have repeatedly made these points and been ignored, or vilified, for doing so. Shortly after the first anniversary of September 11, the Egyptian writer Abd al-Moneim Said explained the response "was to deny that the perpetrators were Arab and that the event had any connection with Arab society and culture." Wild conspiracy theories were spread precisely because to confront the tragedy's implications would require examining real problems "which Arab societies have been so assiduously avoiding." The more Middle Eastern terrorism spread globally, "the greater was the rush to look the other way." Five years later, that statement is all the more true.

We hear endlessly that the problem is the West doesn't understand the Middle East. The truth is the exact opposite: the Middle East doesn't understand the West and, by the same token, doesn't understand what it needs to do to get out of the hole it has dug for itself.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of theMiddle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

The Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya P.O. Box 167    Herzliya, 46150   Israel
Email:   Phone: +972-9-960-2736   Fax: +972-9-956-8605


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Faith In Invisible Creatures

One of the major obstacles in combating Muslim extremism is the fact that western leaders cling to a belief system that is every bit as flawed as Islam.
I refer here to theism.
The conversation about Islam is inevitably going to devolve to "Allah isn't G_d, Our G_d is G_d."
Muslim criminal behaviour is not new in terms of crimes committed on behalf of a god.
Its as old as history.
More murders were committed on behalf of Chrisitianity than Islam.
However, Christianity has evolved, and today Christian murders are virtually not occurring
Christianity has actually become a force for good, although it is still run by crooks whose main interest is lining their own pockets.
The good that is done would be more beneficial if the G-d part was removed, and people were just obeying the concious desire to be moral.
The scope of crime committed by Muslims today dwarfs anything the other theists are doing.
Every day women are routinely, brutally enslaved under Islam.
They crush the spirit and souls of half of their population.

Many Americans have foolish notions about morality and women as well.
Christians believe that the fall of man came as a result of woman's inablity to resist temptation, and her ability to sucker a man.

As far as anyone knows, there is no invisible man in the sky who has anything to do with the creation of the earth, or mankind or anything else.

We can wait for the inevitable evolvement of Islam into something resembling todays civilized Christianity, or we can oppose it as the wrong religion, or we can be honest and start telling the Muslims that they are murdering people because of a fairy tale.
Like Christianity once did.

Bob marley once said, "Some people think Great G_d will come from the sky,
Take away everything, and make everybody feel high,
But if you knew what life was worth,
You would look for yours on earth..."

We all need to see the light.
Its called reason and morality.
And it doesn't come from an invisible man.