Friday, December 30, 2005

Mark Twain on Palestine

From his travelogue, The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain had this to say about the Palestine he traveled through in 1867-68.
Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a
curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Where
Sodom and Gomorrah reared their domes and towers, that solemn sea now
floods the plain, in whose bitter waters no living thing exists--over
whose waveless surface the blistering air hangs motionless and dead--
about whose borders nothing grows but weeds, and scattering tufts of
cane, and that treacherous fruit that promises refreshment to parching
lips, but turns to ashes at the touch. Nazareth is forlorn; about that
ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with
songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins
of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even
as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem
and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about
them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the
Saviour's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their
flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to
men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature
that is pleasant to the eye. Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest
name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a
pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the
admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was
the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is
lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of
the world, they reared the Holy Cross. The noted Sea of Galilee, where
Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed
in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and
commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a
shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and
Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round
about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour's voice
and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is
inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.

Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can
the curse of the Deity beautify a land?
I bring all of this up due to this post at Mystery Achievement. It's about another attempt by Palestinians to rewrite history in order to pretend that there is legitimacy to Islamic claims to Jerusalem. Yes, I swiped the following photos from Mystery Achievement. Look at them carefully. They are of the Al-Aqsa Mosque taken in 1877.

g Posted by Picasa

Notice all of the weeds in the foreground. It doesn't appear that there have been enough feet traveling through to keep pesky vegetation from growing between the paving stones . . . in a desert. Let's face it, this real estate didn't become important to Muslims until Jews began to move in and make the desert bloom. Posted by Picasa And if you haven't already done so, head over to Mystery Achievement and read the original post. Read this one too. Muslims aren't only trying to take away Jewish and Christian history. They want to replace all of the world's history. From Mystery Acheivement:
What makes the story in Meryl's post (and her comments on it) so important, though, is that it elegantly combines Arab Muslim replacement theology with its secular equivalent: a make-believe world in which the founding of the West had nothing to do with either Judaism or Christianity, resulting in the banishment of even the most rudimentary knowledge of the Bible from a culture founded on the premise that everything in it was literally true. Rushing in to fill this howling vacuum is a culture that will help the secularists achieve their goal--though what awaits the secularists once it is accomplished is perhaps a topic best left alone. And not even the most defenseless and helpless people in any society--the dead--are spared their combined assualt.
None of us are being spared the assault of Islam. We need to wake up to that fact.

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Connect the Dots

Rochelle Riley makes some excellent points in this piece. She describes her nail tech, a Vietnamese immigrant, who is grateful for the opportunity to be able to work long hours so that he can make a decent life for himself and his family in the United States. He wonders why so many who were born here don't take advantage of achieving all they can. These opportunities are nonexistent in the worker's paradise of Modern Vietnam. So he and his mother left . . . without permission.
He told me how, in 1987, his mother smuggled him and two of his brothers onto a boat so he could find a better life in a country she'd never seen. He was 14.

She would not know for six months that he was alive, would not see for 16 years what he looked like. But a mother's love will lead her, by any means necessary, to save her children from rampant poverty, potential violence and relentless despair.

He said his mother could have been put to death for helping her boys escape.
But then she blows it.
Ten years after relations were normalized between the two countries, the United States is Vietnam's largest trading partner, and more than 1 million foreigners now visit the country each year. Vietnam's changing status could almost make some forget that from 1964-75, more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers and more than 1 million Vietnamese died in a messy, misguided war there.
First of all, Ms. Riley should be reminded that all wars are messy. That doesn't make them wrong. Read about WWII some time, or the American Civil War or the American War of Independence. Messy, ugly affairs, all of them. As for being misguided, if we had stayed on and won the war instead of pulling the now popular amongst Democrats, cut and run strategy, her nail tech may have had opportunities for success in Vietnam. I won't even mention the bloodbath that followed after the north won. (Oops, I just did.)

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Imperial Grunts by Robert Kaplan

NOTE: I try not to swear on this blog, but in order to quote someone else accurately, I had to because he did. Hey, it happens.
We know about our soldiers battling Islamic terror groups in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Robert Kaplan travels around the globe to interview members of the American Military in other trouble spots. He profiles the guys on the ground, grunts mostly, but some higher ranking officers too. After reading the book I'm thankful we have the military that we do, and I'm even more thankful for the men we have fighting on our side.

The soldiers and marines Kaplan describes and travels with are truly the best and the brightest that the Unites States has to offer. We can sit at our computers and complain about everything that we think is wrong. We can debate endlessly on how to make the world a better place, and get into pissing contests with the lefty bloggers. Big deal. These guys are out there, living in really nasty, dangerous places, actually working with muscle and brains to make the world a better place, battling terrorists and drug dealers, and offering hope to the regular folk who were unfortunate enough to be born and live in poverty-stricken villages in Columbia, Mongolia, or Yemen. Most of the time they have to figure out what works and what doesn't on the job. They're regularly placing themselves in situations that most of us will never have to deal with and where some of us would soil our pants if we did have to.

These are the guys who are going to win the wars if our spinal-challenged Congress and bureaucrats at the Pentagon let them. (Not all generals are bureaucrats, Kaplan profiles some great American generals, but these guys are in the field, not in an office in Washington D. C.)

What kind of guys are fighting for us, so we can sit at our computers and pound out commentary like this, safely go to our jobs in the morning, safely come home at night to be with our families; a right most of us haven't earned, but were given because we were born in the right country? Guys like this in Iraq:
While I was lying in my sleeping bag, one of the Renegades, Cpl. Michael Pinckney of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, came up to me and began to talk: "I'm twenty-three. My generation sucks. They're all soft. They don't care about their identity as Americans. We live in some bad-ass country, and they're not even proud of it. My family flies the flag, but other families don't. Nobody knows what it means to be American anymore, to be tough. I like being home and yet I don't. People at home are not proud of us being in Iraq, because they've lost the meaning of sacrifice. They expect things to be perfect and easy. They don't know that when things go wrong you persevere; you don't second-guess. During OIF-I (Operation Iraqi Freedom), we all slept in the rain and got dysentery in Ad-Diwaniyah. But back home, everyone is going to shrinks and suing each other. That's why I like the Marine Corps. If you fuck up, your sergeant makes you suck it up. I don't want to be anywhere else but Iraq. OIF-i and OIF-II, this is what manhood is all about. And I dont mean macho shit either I mean moral character."

Despite news reports of low morale in the armed services because of overdeployment, with Army Special Forces and the Marines I had met only two kinds of troops: those who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who were jealous of those who were.
There are a lot of other soldiers like that in this book. Obviously this is not a book for the America-as-evil-imperialist-power crowd. And some reviewers were unhappy with some of Kaplan's beliefs and conclusions. This book did give me an appreciation for the good that the U. S. armed forces are doing as they fight on our behalf. It also made me think about the shallow way I was living back in my late teens and twenties. But that's the subject of another post.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Melanie Phillips on the Australian Riots

The invaluable Melanie Phillips has the skinny on the riots down under. You know, the ones being caused by white racists and men of "middle eastern appearance", or as Melanie Phillips correctly refers to them, Muslims.
There is no doubt that Australia’s worsening civil disorder, in which Muslims and indigenous Aussies have been fighting pitched battles now for days, has been caused in part by white racists. However, the widespread spin that has been placed on this disorder, that it has been caused by white racists and that what it reveals is that, under its veneer of multiculturalism, Australia is a fundamentally racist society positively heaving with people with despicable views who have been itching to have a pop at blameless Lebanese Muslims, is very wide of the mark. For it appears that the current unrest was sparked by Lebanese Muslim attacks on two indigenous lifeguards, and that this was only the tip of an iceberg of aggression by this minority which — thanks to the censorship imposed by multiculturalism — has gone all but unreported.

An important article by Tim Priest, a retired Australian Police detective, reveals three deeply alarming developments in Australian society: 1) the extent of the aggression and violence by these gangs, 2) the extent of Australia’s denial of this phenomenon, and 3) the extent to which this denial has prevented the police from addressing and controlling it. These gangs were involved in heroin smuggling, extortion, armed robbery, gun running, organised factory and warehouse break-ins and large-scale car theft and conversion. They were extremely violent. But a loss of professional nerve in the Australian police led to a mindset that was more concerned with avoiding hostility by ethnic minorities than tackling crime (identical to the situation in Britain). Confronting even the most minor of misdemeanours in Muslim areas tended to provoke a terrifyingly violent response — to which the police response was abject surrender:
Read it all and pass it on, before political correctness leads to the death of Western Civilization. And while your at it, read the entire Tim Priest article. Then cross your fingers in hope that our leaders and wake up and smell the jihad.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Fox News and Thomas Sowell

Is Fox News fair and balanced as they claim? Or are they really part of the vast right wing conspiracy as those on the left complain? I don't care. They just ran an hour long interview with Thomas Sowell, so they're alright by me!

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Good Jews, Bad Jews . . . and Uncle Jake?

I found this article in Commentary Magazine. It's a disturbing little article on how some European Jews have found common cause with the anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian/pro-terrorist/Jew-haters.
Can the disease that is Zionism be cured? Yes, Rose and others assure us, but only by a thorough-going renunciation. In the pre-Israel past, she writes, “dissident voices” in the Jewish world warned against the terrible consequences that would flow from the effort to win a state for the Jews; although silenced and repressed then, they are needed more then ever today, during the Jews’ “dark night of the soul.”

No one can say that such voices have not been forthcoming. In the August 8, 2002 Guardian, 45 Jewish signatories, in a widely hailed act of public abjuration, repudiated their right of return to the Jewish state on account of its racist policies. Since the statement’s original publication, it has been signed by over 80 more individuals from around the world. One of the organizers subsequently explained that what motivated him to act was the “pitiless violence” of his “blood relatives,” i.e., the Israeli people—the “violence,” as he put it, of the “traumatized former victim, clinging to past wounds from generation unto generation.”

The publicity attending this and similar initiatives by European Jews, abetted in some cases by their Israeli counterparts, has been very great. There was tremendous excitement in Europe over the declaration by 99 Israeli academics that their government was planning an imminent “full-fledged ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinian people (a charge that was not withdrawn when the alleged genocidal atrocity failed to occur), and again over the refusal of a few hundred Israeli army reservists to serve in the administered territories. There was even greater excitement when several European Jewish academics turned up among the instigators of a movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and yet again when a number of Jewish politicians called for the boycott of Israeli commercial products.

Among the latter group was the British parliamentarian Oona King, who in June 2003, comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza with the Nazi treatment of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, spoke of her personal “shame” as a “Jewish person” (her father is Jewish). A year later, Gerald Kaufman, another member of the British Parliament, called for a boycott of Israeli goods on similar grounds, as, in South Africa, did Ronnie Kasrils, a government minister: “As a person who was born Jewish, I am morally obliged to speak out against what is being done by the Zionist state of Israel to the Palestinian people.”

Many others have likewise seen it as their specifically Jewish duty to denounce Israel. Their ranks include all three proponents of a motion, “Zionism is the real enemy of the Jews today,” aired at a public debate in London early this year. One of them was the historian Avi Shlaim. Like others before him, he too felt the need to advertise his Jewish virtuousness by writing about it for publication. In a subsequent op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, he justified the implacable anti-Zionism on which he has based his academic career by appealing to a faith he does not appear ever to have practiced: “One of the greatest accolades in Judaism,” he instructed his readers, “is to be a rodef shalom, a seeker of peace.”

[ . . . ]

Unlike the case in pre-Enlightenment Europe, present-day anti-Semitism does not expect Jews to abandon their religion. Today’s Europe is a self-consciously multicultural society. Although it cherishes secularism above all, it respects, if somewhat warily, religious pluralism. What the enlightened sector of today’s Europe would like Jews to do, in exchange for fully approved membership in the circle of approved opinion, is to renounce a core component of their identity: that is, their sense of Jewish peoplehood as expressed through their attachment and commitment to the democratic state of Israel and to the Zionist enterprise.
Unfortunately we have those "Good Jews" here in the United States and even in Israel. My only comment for them is, remember that the "Good Jews" who helped the Nazis were not spared the gas chambers. Their turns only came a bit later.

I was going to proudly claim my status as a "Bad Jew". Then I read this Dennis Prager column. The column opens with:
Jews who support the Christian right are "Uncle Jakes."

So says a pro-Israeli Jewish official in his recent column for the Israel Policy Forum, a pro-Israel organization. "Uncle Jake" is M. J. Rosenberg's term for Jewish equivalent of "Uncle Tom." Just as the left sees conservative blacks as traitors to African-Americans, so it sees conservative Jews as traitors to the Jewish people. I am the "Uncle Jake" most criticized in the Rosenberg column.

That a Jew on the left would use this term to describe Jews who support conservative Christians gives one an idea of how irrational, how hysterical are the arguments of the Jewish (and non-Jewish) left. And lacking a rational basis, they frequently rely on name-calling.
Of course I had to read Mr. Rosenberg's column. The origin of Rosenberg's "Uncle Jake" is as follows:
The concept of Jews taking positions hostile to the Jewish people in order to stay faithful to some political agenda is not an especially new phenomenon. Jews on the left have often gone along with stands hostile to Jews, Judaism and Israel to avoid being out of step with their political allies.

In fact, the very first article I ever had published, in New York's left-wing "Village Voice," was an attack on leftist Jews who were, like me, opposed to the Vietnam War but, unlike me, supported the left’s agenda on everything, including Israel.

"These are our Uncle Toms," I wrote "And our shame."

I even coined a name for them. "Let's Call Them Uncle Jakes," I wrote. (I chose the name Uncle Jake because, in 1969, Jake was a stereotypically uncool Jewish name. That was before a studly character on the hit show Melrose Place in the 1990's was called "Jake Hansen" and well before a Jewish actor named Jake Gyllenhaal became the hottest young star around. Nowadays Jake is a cool name for kids, Jewish and not).
While there are Jews who, as we've seen from the Commentary article do work to subvert Judaism, the name calling really bothers me. It's infantile, counterproductive, and as when Margaret Cho referred to Michelle Malkin as a "race traitor" because Malkin had the audacity to deviate from the Left's "minority as victim of white racist oppression" script, and write a book in defense of the WWII internment of Japanese Americans (which Cho never read), it can be just stupid. Speaking of which, later, Mr. Rosenberg informs us that:
Most of today's "Uncle Jakes" are on the right

[ . . . ]

Right-wing Jews, have not only endorsed the right’s view on Christmas, they have signed on the dotted line to endorse the entire Christian Right agenda: opposing abortion, poverty programs, progressive taxation, laws that protect gays, affirmative action, the environmental movement, and feminism. The list goes on and on and will be added to each time the Christian Right comes up with a new issue (like Terry Schiavo) to use as a wedge for dividing Americans from each other.

[ . . . ]

Prager himself gives part of the answer when he says that, for Jews, "the one issue that overwhelms all others is the security of Israel." For Prager, it's simple. The Christian Right supports an uncompromising hard-line on Israel and despises the Palestinians; therefore Jews should support the Christian Right.

He conveniently ignores the fact that Christian Right support for Israel is largely based on a religious belief that Christ will only return after Jews are all in Israel accepting the divinity of Jesus Christ.
But, as Dennis Prager retorts,
That is the lie about Christians that the left spreads to prevent Jews from knowing the truth about Christian support for Israel: that it is rooted overwhelmingly in the beliefs that G-d promised the return of the Jews to Israel, that Christians are grafted onto the tree of Israel, that G-d blesses those who bless the Jews, that Israel is a humane democracy and its enemies are bloodthirsty and backward regimes.

To Rosenberg, conservative Christians are a caricature.

Rosenberg's charges that Jews who support Christian conservatives do so from nefarious motives and that Christians who support Israel do so from nefarious motives is typical of the left. They judge motives, not deeds. And the reason is clear. They are so certain of their moral superiority, they can only deduce that all those who differ with them are bad people. That's how a Jew who has devoted his life to the Jewish people can be called an Uncle Jake.
I wouldn't put myself in the same league as Dennis Prager when it comes to service to the Jewish community, but I'm prepared to go beyond "Bad Jew" status. You can call me Uncle Jake.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

The Need for Something Bigger

This post at Mystery Achievement got me thinking. It's a fairly long post, but you should read the whole thing. Reading that post brought me back to a recent session when I was teaching a class about cults at my synagogue. We were trying to figure out why the followers of Jim Jones would follow him to their deaths. What were they looking for?

That brought me to another question. I asked my eighth graders, "Do human beings need something bigger than themselves to believe in?" We have G-d, but across an increasingly secularized western culture, belief in G-d is not only waning, but some say is being actively discouraged. I'm not going to touch the battle for Christmas, even though it is a symptom of the problem.

Instead, I'd like to point out that even atheists seem to be searching for that "something bigger", something that is beyond what is in front of us in our day to day life. I remember a few years back when a movement known as Communism was making waves in our world. It denied the existence of G-d, but it was a proselytizing movement, and it gave its followers something bigger than themselves to believe in. And while some of the anti-religious like to explain their disbelief in the fact that there have been so many wars fought over religion during Man's existence, Communists killed a fair number of people in their efforts to bring the "benefits" of Communism to the whole world.

Not all athiests are or were Communists. Some have other things they hold as their "something bigger". For some, it's an ill-defined spirituallity. For others it's Art, or Nature, or Reason, or Humanity. But for most people, there seems to be something that they need to have faith in.

Over the years though, the strongest faith has been directed towards G-d. Other things have come and gone, but G-d remains a constant. As the West becomes increasing secular, and G-d is removed from life, it seems to me, a vacuum is formed. As nature abhors a vacuum, something must fill it. As we scan the horizon, we see a movement willing to fill that vacuum: Islam. Like Communism, however, this is not a faith that is good for children and other living things. As so many others have pointed out, Islam, while billing itself as the "religion of peace", is intolerant, warlike, vicious, deceitful, and does not work and play well with others. We've seen that as Muslim populations grow in formerly non-Muslim countries, Muslims begin demanding special rights, and insisting that others follow their rules, while in Muslim countries, non-Muslims are at best, regulated to second class status, at worst, degraded and abused.

No matter how much our mainstream media denies the tyranny of Islam, we can still see that it's there.

This leads me to my question: With so many heads in the sand, how do we reverse this trend? How do we fill this vacuum before it's filled by Islam?

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

How do You Say "Chutzpuh" in Arabic?

Remember a few months back, when Israel gave the Palestinians in Gaza their dream of a Jew-free society? Remember there was some controversy over millions of dollars worth of greenhouses that produced hundreds of millions of dollars of insect-free produce for both export and domestic use? Remember that instead of destroying the greenhouses that were built and run by Israeli entrepreneurs, Jewish philanthropists paid 14 million dollars to donate these greenhouses to the Palestinians so they could build a productive economy? Remember how some of the greenhouses were trashed in the post ethnic-cleansing celebrations?

Well guess what. Despite their ingenuity in bomb building and death dealing, the Palestinians aren't having much success replicating Israeli results in vegetable growth. What's their solution? According to this article, "Palestinians Boot Jews, Now Beg Them for Help", from WorldNetDaily they are asking for help from the accursed Zionist Crusader pigs, uh, I mean from the Israelis.
Earlier this month, the Palestinians now running the greenhouses reportedly told the Israeli-Palestinian Economic Cooperation Fund they failed in their efforts to grow bug-free produce.

Now the Palestinian owners have asked the United States Agency for International Development, which has been involved in reconstruction efforts in Gaza, to hire former Jewish Gaza greenhouse owners as consultants for their declining vegetable businesses.
What has the response been from the former greenhouse owners?
Asked if she would serve as a consultant for the new Palestinian owners of her former greenhouses, Tucker said, "Probably not. We see the terror coming out of Gaza, coming out of the neighborhood I used to live in, and it's just horrible. Hamas has taken over different parts of Gush Katif and are firing rockets into Israel. I am not saying the Palestinian farmers are involved, but it seems they are not doing enough to stop the terror."

Haderi, who says he already has been asked by U.S. AID to consult on greenhouse technology, said, "I am still thinking about it. It's a very difficult decision."
No, I'm not gloating over this turn of events. I am hoping that the Palestinians use this experience as a "teachable moment" and begin learning how to live in a peaceful society next to Israel. But I predict that they'll fall back on their old, yet highly successful trick of blaming the Jews. That one works every time.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

American Digest

One of my favorite blogs is American Digest. It's full of fascinating posts that are brilliantly written. Even his links are worth reading. My only complaint is that sometimes I get sucked in and between the new posts and links within the posts, I spend too much time on the computer.

This post struck me in a number of different ways. First of all it begins with Harold Bloom, who I was upset to learn suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Maybe I'm too naive, but after reading The Western Cannon and his savage attacks on the various academics who want to replace western literature with multicultural drivel, I thought he was . . . well . . . I didn't think he would turn out to be a typical intellectual moonbat.

Second, it's extremly perceptive, it describes the BDS suffering intellectual so well.

Third, like many of his posts, it's funny . . . and caustic. I like that combination.

Gerard Van der leun, who writes American Digest, like me and so many other bloggers, used to be a left-leaner. So when he writes about lefties, he writes from experience, as he makes clear in this post.
So it is with the PAI "Professional American Intellectual." Indeed, many of them have wheedled their way into The Bubble of the Suddenly Wealthy since he always needs affirmation and they always need a grant. One of the first thing a PAI learns in school is how to mirror money. And money loves to be mirrored as much as the witch in "Sleeping Beauty." PAIs proliferate next to and within effortless money and the vast dark towers of American philanthropy. As Exhibits A to D I give you Senator and Mrs. Heinz-Kerry, the Hollywood Clintons, the George Soros Brigade, and the Huffington Huff of 2004 if you can bear to recall their antics. There are others and they are legion. This is, as I said, a fat country. We can afford a lot of them. We even let them jet about the nation to instruct us on how to live and think and believe and be. All the old snake oil of "the betters" who always know better and love to butt in to people's lives. Sometimes, since they are parasites on the body politic, we even allow them to run for office.

Looking at these intersecting bubble palaces wafting about America today, one can only feel irritated and saddened the inhabitants are compelled, en masse it seems, to move from hating Bush to hating The People as well. When this happens the murmured subtext is always thus: Oh, pity and fear the poor " Little People" who did not go to the right schools, read the right books, wear the right clothes, summer in the right places, speak the right French phrases, and have all the right friends. At parties, summer houses, and lunches in New York City for over 30 years I heard this nattering as a constant theme. I am ashamed now to say that I nattered right along with the rest. After all, once you've got a seat at the round table you've gotta walk the walk and talk the talk. That person standing behind your chair isn't the waiter and can't wait to sit down.
When you read this post, follow the links. And while you're there read this one too.
Ah well, the Enlightenment lies buried along the Western Front. It had some nice ideals, but left us living rapt in the spell of Reason. Now we are a "reasonable" society, a "scientific people" swaddled in a million theories of management -- convinced that all can be, somehow, managed through the limitless employment of Reason. Many of us, as we have seen in the past month, worship "intelligence uber alles," that strange and deadly viral god that kills the soul long before it kills the nations that embrace it. We see the apotheosis of this worship leap up from the dazed lands of Europe. We see it arc across our own skies.
You won't regret it. You may spend too much time there, though.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


This is not the Mark Twain quote I was looking for, but . . .
The mania for giving the Government power to meddle with the private affairs of cities or citizens is likely to cause endless trouble, through the rivaly of schools and creeds that are anxious to obtain official recognition, and there is great danger that our people will lose our independence of thought and action which is the cause of much of our greatness, and sink into the helplessness of the Frenchman or German who expects his government to feed him when hungry, clothe him when naked, to prescribe when his child may be born and when he may die, and, in time, to regulate every act of humanity from the cradle to the tomb, including the manner in which he may seek future admission to paradise.
I found it here.


Monday, December 19, 2005

An Interview with Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield

Rabbi Hirschfield offers sage advice and some sober thought in this interview at
Why is there more talk each year about this being a season where our holidays are "under siege"?

The "war on Christmas" language—and you hear that language much more from the Christian world than from the Jewish world—I'm actually sympathetic to it. Not because I think there's an actual war on Christmas; I do think that there is a kind of bankruptcy to political correctness that tells people to call 12-foot blue spruces covered with ornaments, crystals, and lights a "holiday tree." That's ridiculous, because it just begs the question: What holiday? Christmas!

It's crazy. Because that's not a war on Christmas. In the desire not to say anything hurtful, which was the beautiful motivation behind political correctness, we've gotten carried away. The price we pay for not saying anything hurtful is not saying anything meaningful at all. So they're right in saying, "Stop telling me I have to call that a 'holiday tree.' That is offensive." It is offensive. Unless you want to call it a holiday tree because you like the observance without the holiday. That 's another question: It is a holiday tree for a whole lot of people who say, "I have no interest in Christmas, but what a beautiful thing to put colored lights in my house."
But that's not all. He goes much deeper than "I'm OK, you're OK."
And what about the fact that the trees are pagan rather than Christian?

What does that "actually" mean? Hanukkah menorahs are actually Zoroastrian. Tefillin [two wooden boxes, containing parchment scrolls with verses from Exodus and Deutoronomy, one worn on the head and the other on the arm of observant Jews when reciting morning prayers] are actually Canaanite. Everything has its roots in something else.

Should we be teaching children those historical linkages?

Yes, for one reason: So that nobody ever believes that they own the full story of their symbol.
I don't want to copy the entire interview, but I do want to finish with one last quote from the interview:
All the stuff about saying "Happy holidays" and not saying "Merry Christmas" is offensive to Christians. As I was getting out of a cab last night, a cab driver said "Merry Christmas" to me. He was African, and he saw my kippah and said, "I see your hat. You're religious. Merry Christmas." And I said "Merry Christmas to you." He wasn't trying to convert me and he wasn't trying to take over our culture. He was actually offering me the most sincere blessing he knew. And everyone on the left is going to have to chill out, because every time you hear "Merry Christmas" it is not someone who's trying to convert you or take over your school.
Now go read the whole thing!

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Borking of Samuel Alito Begins

Got a postcard in the mail today. It's from NARAL Pro-Choice America. It's addressed to my wife, but I took in the mail so, yes, I read my wife's postcard. It's OK though. She won't mind. We read each other's mail sometimes. NARAL is warning me (and my wife) that Samuel Alito is "The Radical Right's Supreme Court Pick". They have two paragraphs of dire warnings against Mr. Alito. He will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade for goodness sake! NARAL assures me (and my wife) of this. They also urge us (my wife and me) to call our senators today at 202-224-3121. I'm going to wait until Monday, but then I am going to call and let my senators know that they had better vote to confirm Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. I've had enough of dire warnings from the Left. They frequently are not working in the best interests of the United States, Western Civilization, or the world in general. So I wish they would shut up already.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Pentagon Discovers Islam. It's About Time!

According to this article at Frontpage Magazine members of the military intelligence community are finally coming to realize that Islam is not "The Religion of Peace" as advertised. They are discovering that the "peaceful teachings" of Islam have not been been hijacked by a few "extremists". The wise and clever folks at the Pentagon, four years after 9/11 have decided to take the time and read the Koran, the hadith, and other Islamic writings. You'll never guess what they've discovered.
"Islam is an ideological engine of war (Jihad)," concludes the sensitive Pentagon briefing paper. And "no one is looking for its off switch."

Why? One major reason, the briefing states, is government-wide "indecision [over] whether Islam is radical or being radicalized."

So, which is it? "Strategic themes suggest Islam is radical by nature," according to the briefing, which goes on to cite the 26 chapters of the Quran dealing with violent jihad and the examples of the Muslim prophet, who it says sponsored "terror and slaughter" against unbelievers.

"Muhammad's behaviors today would be defined as radical," the defense document says, and Muslims today are commanded by their "militant" holy book to follow his example. It adds: Western leaders can no longer afford to overlook the "cult characteristics of Islam."

It also ties Muslim charity to war. Zakat, the alms-giving pillar of Islam, is described in the briefing as "an asymmetrical war-fighting funding mechanism." Which in English translates to: combat support under the guise of tithing. Of the eight obligatory categories of disbursement of Muslim charitable donations, it notes that two are for funding jihad, or holy war. Indeed, authorities have traced millions of dollars received by major jihadi terror groups like Hamas and al-Qaida back to Saudi and other foreign Isamic charities and also U.S. Muslim charities, such as the Holy Land Foundation.

According to the Quran, jihad is not something a Muslim can opt out of. It demands able-bodied believers join the fight. Those unable -- women and the elderly -- are not exempt; they must give "asylum and aid" (Surah 8:74) to those who do fight the unbelievers in the cause of Allah.

In analyzing the threat on the domestic front, the Pentagon briefing draws perhaps its most disturbing conclusions. It argues the U.S. has not suffered from scattered insurgent attacks -- as opposed to the concentrated and catastrophic attack by al-Qaida on 9-11 -- in large part because it has a relatively small Muslim population. But that could change as the Muslim minority grows and gains more influence.


It also notes that unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam advocates expansion by force. The final command of jihad, as revealed to Muhammad in the Quran, is to conquer the world in the name of Islam. The defense briefing adds that Islam is also unique in classifying unbelievers as "standing enemies against whom it is legitimate to wage war."
What took them so long to study Islam so that they could come to these conclusions?
all of these organizations have made only limited progress adjusting to the current threat or the sharing of information."

Why? "All suffer heavily from political correctness," he explains.

PC still infects the Pentagon, four years after jihadists hit the nation's military headquarters.
Thousands of pajama-clad bloggers and millions of just regular folk have seen through the lame charade of the mythical peaceful face of Islam and have been screaming their keyboards off about it for years. It's about time our military decided to regain their senses and discover the dangers of Islam that have been in our faces since 1979.

So, hey, Pentagon geniuses! Now that you're ready to face the ugly reality of Islam, guess what. Iran is going to have nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to far-flung corners of our world very soon. Like sometime in 2006! Don't you think you'd better do something to stop them now?

It's about time for this sleeping giant to awaken.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Friends and Enemies

Adam Dikter has an interesting column on a meeting between Jews and Evangelical Christians in an attempt to find common ground.
Set against the backdrop of recent negative pronouncements by national Jewish leaders about what they term the dangers of Evangelical groups who support Israel while seeking to convert Jews, the forum, titled "Uneasy Allies," analyzed the growing ties between the two groups and took aim at mutually held stereotypes.

"The goal was not advocacy of deepened relations between Evangelicals and Jews, but to provide for studying the relationship the way it is," said Alan Mittleman, director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS, which was one of the program co-sponsors. "We tried to be very balanced between people who do want to enhance the relationship and people who are very skeptical and wary of it."

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, Judaic scholar at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, who participated in a forum on Evangelicals and Israel, said afterward that he believed interfaith dialogue "is not about accepting that we have irreconcilable differences, but it begins with mutual sacred rejection. That rejection should be done respectfully and warmly but each party rejects the core elements of the faith of the other. That is the beauty of America, that we disagree and our streets don't turn into Bosnia."

The program included sessions on whether the United States is a Christian country, on Christian support for Israel and on Jews and Evangelicals in public life. But some of the most provocative discussion took place in between the lectures.

One Evangelical leader declared that "There are millions of Evangelicals who are quite embarrassed by Pat Robertson." And another participant noted the irony of concern by Jews about proselytizing at a time when their largest denomination, Reform, recently endorsed a greater embrace of converting Christians. Several Evangelical Christians struggled to accept Rabbi Poupko's pronouncement that the teaching of biblical prophets as understood by Jews applied only to the circumstances at the time and do not necessarily tell us anything about contemporary life.
I say it's about time. There is still too much distrust demonstrated by Jews when it comes to Evangelicals. Yes, there are those who are only interested in converting us, but I think there are more Christians who are truly interested in the health and well being of Israel and of the Jews. And they demonstrate that concern with action:
There was also discussion of the growing sense of connection between Evangelicals and Israel. George W. Mamo, executive director of Stand for Israel, an advocacy institute of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said he sees Christians keeping older cars or smaller apartments in order to have money to donate to pro-Israel causes, like resettling Soviet Jews. "I've raised over $3 million, $75 at a time," said Mamo. "They see Israel's opponents as thugs and dictators and self-appointed kings." But he said he still confronts the stereotype among Jews that "we only have one motivation — to steal your children. That we have to get a certain number of Jews to Israel and then, boom, Jesus will come back."
It's time to stop fretting over the "Religious Right" and the irrational fear that they along with George Bush are trying to turn the United States into a theocratic Christian dictatorship.

On the other hand, we should keep watch on a different religious group in the United States. If Muslims ever gain enough power in the U.S., life could turn ugly for Jews. Jews are leaving France in droves and are are forced to try and not "look Jewish" in Great Britain. And how many Jews are even left in Muslim countries due to real Jew-hatred taking center stage as official government policy in many Middle Eastern countries? Back on November 5th, the Detroit News printed this vile piece of Israel bashing. In it, he excuses the remarks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on his call to "wipe Israel off the map". And then he indulges in the standard Islamic "blame everything on Israel" package of lies. If you follow the link it will take you to the website of the Islamic House of Wisdom, as, for some reason, the Detroit News no longer has Imam Elahi's columns in their archives. Also on Elahi's site they reprint the negative reactions to the column and then Imam Elahi's nonsensical rebuttal to his critics. Imam Elahi has stated that he does not hate Jews. I'm sure he does not hate all Jews. He has demonstrated a fondness for Jews who are willing to accept their dhimmi status.

Here at CAMERA, they take apart the imam's parade of lies one by one. CAMERA and other organizations are actively involved in exposing the lies of the anti-semitic, anti-Christian, anti-Western Islamic world. Because we in the west have such free and open societies, part of the Islamic world now finds its home within our civilization. Many Muslims are here to live a better life, but as we should be able to see from the poisonous lies being spread by the Islamic clergy, many have come to impose their degraded totalitarian life style on us. The destruction of Israel will make their job much easier. We can't allow that to happen.

The time has come for Jews to welcome Evangelical Christians as friends. Will we see eye to eye on everything? Of course not. But how many of your friends do you agree with on everything? Not many I bet. There is enough common ground between the two groups to work together to battle the Islamic totalitarian menace, and the sooner we jews realize it, the better.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

The Plot, by Will Eisner

Will Eisner's final work was a "graphic novel"; THE PLOT, The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is far from his best work. This type of story, while I'm thankful that it is now told simply enough that even someone who believes in the veracity of The Protocols will understand it, doesn't lend itself to the comic book - uh - I mean "graphic novel"format.

The thing is, Jew-haters will always find a way to believe in it no matter how many ways it's demonstrated that The Protocols are a clumsy forgery. As Eisner points out in the story and as Umberto Eco points out in the introduction, some Jew-haters even admit The Protocols are not the real thing. They excuse the phoniness of the document with the retort that (I'm paraphrasing here) that, are you ready for this? - "OK, it's a fake, but it's an accurate description of how the Jews think."

Get it? Fake! But! Accurate!

That's as far as I'm going with this. We've been down this road before.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sleeper Cell

The Showtime mini-series, Sleeper Cell, is slated to begin tonight. Here in the Detroit area, which is home to the largest Muslim community in the United States, there is worry. Somehow, the producers of Sleeper Cell, have come up with the wacky idea of Muslim terrorists. Can you believe that? Muslim terrorists! Who could have dreamed up such an outlandish idea? We all know, from past Hollywood movies that terrorists are Nazis, white supremecists, rogue CIA agents, ex-communist strongmen, or agents of ficticious African countries. But Muslims? Members of the "Religion of Peace"? That's absurd.

On Friday, The Detroit Free Press ran this article on local reaction to a prescreening of the show.
"Sleeper Cell," a 10-hour thriller about American Muslim terrorists that's set to debut at 10 p.m. Sunday on Showtime, contains some of the most disturbing depictions of Muslims ever shown on American television and already has religious leaders bracing for a possible upswing in bigotry.

The series is being promoted across metro Detroit with provocative billboards warning that in any U.S. neighborhood there may be "Friends, Neighbors, Husbands, Terrorists."

"This is an extremely frustrating situation," Eide Alawan of Dearborn, a prominent Muslim spokesman in Michigan, said after previewing the series' first episode this week. "As Muslims, we have to get very busy to counter the violent images people will be seeing."

[. . . ]

In the first hour alone, the troubling images include a Muslim father killing his teenaged daughter for sleeping with a boyfriend and Muslims burying a friend, who they believe has betrayed them, to his neck and stoning him to death as he screams for mercy.

[ . . . ]

Amy Lu, 16, a senior from Canton who said she doesn't have a specific religious affiliation, said she plans to recommend the series to friends, but, "I do wonder about people who may already have biases against Muslims and may come away from this thinking that most Muslims are terrorists."

That same concern gnawed at Steve Spreitzer, a Catholic and a spokesman for the National Conference for Community and Justice in metro Detroit. After the preview, he threw up his hands in frustration. "This fails on all accounts to show the beauty and peacefulness of Islam. They're messing up the portrayal of Islam to sell a TV series."

For more on the "beauty and peacefulness" of Islam, go here, and here, and especially here, and here.

UPDATE I should have mentioned that the hero of Sleeper Cell is also a Muslim. I suppose this was done to add "balance". After all, it might engender more "Islamophobia" having a Christian or a Jewish federal agent bringing Muslim terrorists to justice. Plus, we are assured over and over that Islam has been hijacked by a small minority of extremists. They aren't ALL terrorists. Etc.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dumb Jews?

Julie Gorin asks some important questions and makes some important points on Jewish voting patterns and irrational Jewish fears, not to mention a refusal of too many Jews to face the current reality.
Did you hear the one about the Jews who paid a thousand dollars a plate to hear Bill Clinton speak — after he sold Israel down the river (by rewarding genocide bombings with more land)?

Or the one about the Jews who are still loyal to a political party whose members pass out 9/11-Israel conspiracy literature at public forums?

What about the Jews who heard that most Muslims would be voting for John Kerry and so they voted for John Kerry?

Now, did you hear the one about the Jew who dropped his watch in the subway tracks but decided to look for it on the platform because it was easier? His name is Abe Foxman, and he's officially given up on the ADL's mission. For those who didn't read between the lines of Foxman's recent attack on Evangelical Christians, it was a surrender of even the semblance of being relevant in the age of jihad, and a way back to fixating on bogeymen in America.

According to a recent Jewish Week article, Foxman said, "It is time to start naming names and judging the motives of leading conservative Christian groups, and not simply respond to their specific policy initiatives."

In a classic schoolyard scenario, instead of facing up to the bully, Foxman and Eric Yoffie — the Union for Reform (i.e. Liberal) Judaism president who the following week compared Christians to Hitler — are taking their frustrations out on their friends. The Evangelicals — those people whose value system has a lot in common with the Judaic one that these nominal Jews lost touch with generations ago.

The Evangelicals' value system has a lot in common with the Judaic one that these nominal Jews lost touch with generations ago

Apparently, Jews don't have enough enemies in this world, and the one friend they have is one too many. Or perhaps these two and the Jews who think like they do figure that the world doesn't stand a chance against Islam, so why not help battle the only remaining religion standing in its way of world domination?

Julie Goring hits the Jewish nail on the kipah on this one. Not only do most of my family and friends agree with Foxman and Joffe about evangelicals, my rabbi was applauded when he gave a sermon along the same lines. I know reform (and atheist) Jews who demean the local Lubovich and Hasidic Jews because they dress in 19th century Polish shtetl style. Yet these same Jews have their minds in 19th century Europe as they expect Christian inspired pogroms. Meanwhile they ignore the current, real, and undisguised threat of Islamic terrorism preached by imams and practiced by their twisted followers, whose fondest wish is 14 million dead Jews.

I have an evangelical Christian neighbor who is a strong supporter of Israel. Instead of welcoming him and his family to battle our common Islamic enemy, these Christian-fearing Jews stereotype him as hypocritical and narrow minded simply because of his strong belief in Christianity. It's delusional to think this way, but I've been noticing too many Jews operating on the basis of self-delusion. Not only these idiots and these fools but many average Joe - uh Jews operate on the same mental plane. Could it be a symtom of Bush Derangement Syndrome? It's a shame but many Reform (and especially atheist) Jews suffer from it. Maybe we've become too comfortable here in the United States and we don't want to face up to any nasty people or events that might damage that comfort.

Whatever the reason this delusional thinking must be fought against as strongly as we have to battle the viciously anti-semitic Islamic murderers who really are out to get us.

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