Moves toward War with Iran: Part 2





Mr. Polk was the member of the U.S. Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East from 1961 to 1965. Subsequently, he was professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and later president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs. Author of many books on international affairs, world and Middle Eastern history, he recently wrote Understanding Iraq (HarperCollins, New York and London 2005 and 2006) and, together with former Senator George McGovern, Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2006).

In my first article, I set out why I think an American attack on Iran is likely. Now I will show what steps are being taken to prepare for that event.

The first step toward war is to prepare the public.  That step was partly taken in the 2005  “National Defense Strategy” which proclaimed that “America is a nation at war” and warned that  “At the direction of the President, we will defeat adversaries at the time, place, and in the manner of our choosing ....”

The second step is to show that alternative methods to cope with the proclaimed threat to the security of the United States have not worked.  To this end, the United States has approached the UN Security Council as a whole and its members individually to discuss what they are willing to do.  The response was lukewarm. 

The Europeans have talked of sanctions, but they will be opposed by China and Russia which stand to lose crucial revenue and access to oil as Turkey and Jordan did in the 1990s.  In any event, even draconian sanctions would be unlikely to deter the Iranian government from actions it believes necessary for its survival.  So the  Neoconservative advisers advocate military attack.

In recent days, world leaders have come out flatly against the idea of military action:  German Prime Minister Merkel told the Bundestag on September 6 that “The military option isn’t an option.”  While she was speaking, the Chinese foreign minister said, “China advocates that this issue be resolved through negotiation and dialog in a peaceful way and this position remains unchanged.”  The French foreign minister proclaimed on September 5 that France does not support a military action and the Italian  and Russian foreign ministers echoed the same sentiment.  According to press reports,  the British government has told the Bush administration that it will not take part in any armed action against Iran.  Probably the sole advocate of military action is Israel.

Military action has been in planning since before the wars with Afghanistan and Iraq.  This could come in any one of three forms or some combination of them:   A US attack by air power alone, a ground invasion as in the 1991 and 2003 attacks on Iraq, or the encouragement of an Israeli attack.

The National Security Doctrine form of “Preventive Action” now under the most intense study is aerial bombardment.  This is attractive because America does not have sufficient combat troops for a land invasion.  Moreover, allegedly the U.S. Air Force generals have said that even alone air power could “take out” (destroy) all suspected Iranian nuclear installations and so devastate Iran that the regime would collapse.

What would aerial bombardment entail?  What it involved in Iraq gives at least a starting point: in some 37,000 sorties the US Air Force dropped 13,000 “cluster  munitions” that exploded into 2 million bombs, wiping out whole areas, and fired 23,000 missiles.  Naval ships launched 750 Cruise missiles with another 1.5 million pounds of explosives.  More powerful weapons are now available. Air Force General Thomas McInerney gave the Neoconservative Weekly Standard in April an inventory of “improved” weapons.  They include  vastly larger “bunker buster” bombs and greater targeting ability.  McInerney pointed out that a B-2 bomber can drop 80 500 pound bombs independently targeted on 80 different aim points.  In effect, this aerial bombardment would eclipse the “shock and awe” of 2003 and be far more destructive than the 1991 campaign or the devastating air war on Vietnam.  But would it work? 

The Israeli bombardment of Lebanon has been regarded as a test.  Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker talks he had with current and retired American military and intelligence experts who told him that it was regarded as “a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations.”  They did terrible damage and killed many people, but they failed to accomplish their mission. As Bush’s former Deputy of State Richard Armitage said, “If the most dominant military force in the region – the Israel Defense Forces – can’t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million…The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the [Lebanese] population against the Israelis.” 

The Air Force plans have been resisted by the senior generals of the Army, Navy and Marine corps.  In rare public statements and frequently in private, they have said that the plans are fatally flawed and that even if an invasion begins with aerial attack it will soon require ground troops. Despite the misgivings of the military professionals, Joseph Cirincione wrote in the March issue of Foreign Policy that conversations with senior officials in the Pentagon and the White House had convinced him that the decision for war had already been made.  

The Washington Post has reported that at least since March, large teams have been working on invasion plans in the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, while the Iran “desk” at the State Department has been augmented to task force size.  It reports to Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of the vice president, who is assistant secretary of state for the Near East.   In the Pentagon, a similar organization has been established under Neoconservative Abram Shulsky.   In addition  a new outpost has been set up in Dubai to coordinate plans. On October 2, a powerful naval battle group around the giant aircraft carrier Eisenhower sailed for the Persian Gulf and is due to arrive a week before the November Congressional elections to join a similar battle group led by the aircraft carrier Enterprise.  Meanwhile aircraft of the U.S. Air Force are being readied in bases surrounding Iran and in distant locations.   These forces could deliver destructive power that would dwarf the aerial assaults on Iraq.

The Iranian leadership, I have been authoritatively told, believes all this is a bluff.  In my next article, I will examine what will happen if they are wrong.

©  William R. Polk, October 10, 2006.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

My first reaction to Mr Polk 's clairvoyance is :
1-Does America, the USA public and establishment,need another tragic fiasco in Iran to wake up to the limitations of hyper power and the bitter fruits of imperialism?
2-Will the USA ,once again, fallin with Zionist/AIPAC/Israeli plans and succumb to their influence and pressure?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

America HAD more options than (a) act futilely or (b) don't act, but keeping Iran from going nuclear was never going to be an easy objective, even for previous administrations (few if any of which rival this one for incompetency, and none of which, of course, had to face the wolf-crying ignomy of the Iraq WMD BSing and the blunder-infested occupation, and the bogged-down miliary, which followed the "disarming of Iraq").

What this means is that the answer to "Would it work?," on Iran, is almost surely no. There are a host of tactical limitataions as well making anything like a repeat of the "swift and certain" Israeli 1981 Iraq reactor bombing well-nigh impossible.

Junior Bush can be deservedly accused of many faults, but stupidity is not among them, and what he clearly cares most about now is salvaging his reputation in the history books. He still has a fighting chance of avoiding going down as the all-time worst U.S. president. He has a bit more than 2 years left to hope for a miracle exit from Iraq, or a miracle deal between Israel and the Palestinians, or an attack by space aliens repulsed with missile defenses, or Jesus showing up on the White House lawn for the Second Coming, or some other Big New Twist to help erase or at least cover up the stain of his first 5 3/4 years of shame and disaster.

Even divine intervention would be hard-pressed to rescue him from the very likely debacle of a failed go-it-alone attack on Iran, however.

Ultimately, the odds of there being anything in it for him are very low, at least by all appearances: an extremely vital aspect which seems to have escaped Professor Polk utterly. And Junior does care about number 1, in an ultimate sense, whatever his true feelings about America's long term future.

I think that Polk is out to lunch at a far-off restaurant on this one, and it is probably a good thing for America that he is not in the government any more either.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I took a look at this survey cited by Mr. Friedman above.

I agree 100% with the critique made of it by Mr. Crocker.

He has correctly pinpointed the questions used in the survey and clearly shown that these questions are slanted in a way which clearly, and probably not coincidentally, skews the results.

The basic objective of the survey is moreover fundamentally suspect. There is little doubt in my mind that anti-Semitism is on the rise globally (although not equally so everywhere) and that this is not a healthy development for world peace, stability, fairness, justice or any other positive value of civilized societies. I also believe that it would be useful to understand better the reasons for this reason in anti-Jewish prejudice.

I cannot see, however, how establishing (even accurately which is not done in this article) a link between anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism advances knowledge of the reasons for the rising anti-Semitism. As Crocker correctly points out, there is a lack of a credible and significant possible causal link. Of course, people who ALREADY harbor anti-Semetic prejudices are almost sure to have strong antipathies towards the "Jewish state." But this is no proof whatsoever of the converse, that being critical of Israel leads in any substantial way to anti-Semitism, especially since many of the most outspoken and articulate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government are made by Jews (inside and outside of Israel).

On the other hand, hyping a concocted survey showing a banal correlation between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel feeling, would be an obvious way to dress up in academic garb, a smear camapaign against critics of the Israeli government.

There are many such critics, coming from all walks of life and regions or world. Mr. Friedman is not among them, at least not most of the time, and has had in the past more than his share of tussles with those of us here who are more critical, for example, of the recent counterproductive-for-Israelis bombing of Lebanaon's infrastructure and civilians, or the expansion of Jewish "settlements" on the West Bank.

To his credit, however, Mr. Friedman although he is Jewish, has -to my knowledge at least - been carefully fair in nevering used the charge of anti-Semitism as a kind of blanket slam against other posters with whom he disagrees about Israel.

This Kaplan and Small survey has come before up on the HNN comment boards. I think Mr. Friedman was involved then too, although I can't recall him being the one introducing it. He has not said here where he came across it. I doubt that it came from the Federation of America Scientist website, for example. In any event, I recommend that, as a piece of proven inconsistent pseudo-scholarship, it be permanently retired from serious further consideration here.





Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Sorry for the following "dyslexic" errors in the above post, corrected here:

4th paragraph:
the reasons for this [reason] RISE in anti-Jewish prejudice.

2nd to last paragraph:
carefully fair in [nevering used] NEVER USING

Last paragraph:
has come [before up] UP BEFORE


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I know he is no hero in the Arab Mideast, but Winston Churchill is said to have once observed that democracy is the worst form of government imaginable - except for all the other forms. Democratic elections are no guarantee of wise leadership, enlightened policies, or far-sighted decision-making. Indeed, they are rather well suited for very often serving up just about the precise opposite. But, democracy does offer a vital kind of insurance: against truly disastrous leaders. Four years ago, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, this feature of democracy was not very prominent in the American Congressional elections. The vote two weeks from now may be quite different.

It is one thing for Israelis to effectively, if mostly indirectly, nudge American Congressmen (and Congresswomen) in a direction towards which their constituents were already sympathetically aligned (e.g. four years ago towards going the brink of war with Saddam's Iraq, and then over the brink).

It is quite another thing (e.g. today when there is very little popular support in America for another major preemptive attack against a major Mideastern regime that has not attacked America first) for the "Israel lobby" to persuade members of the U.S. Congress to move AGAINST the desires of their voters.

Anything is possible, but I personally think that politicians in Israel, and people running groups such as AIPAC know this all too well, and that they are making no great effort (yet) to drum up American popular support for another George W. Bush Mideast "cakewalk" against WMDs (in Iran), and that no such invasion (with or without any such lobbying efforts) will be even remotely likely until well after next month's elections.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I wonder where you get your crystal ball to predict the future with such precision and such lack of substantiation, and whether the outlet supplying such divining devices accepts refunds or exchanges. Count me interested in an alternative model featuring a different Nixon parallel. One involving the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, final paragraph, and Article 1, Section 3, final two paragraphs.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Friedman:

Your reply is thoughtful and informative, although I do not agree with all of it. I am particularly dubious about your assessment of the current sources of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Look at the numbers: Muslims are not much bigger as a fraction of the European population than Jews in America, and surely much less influential.

As for hidden variables, one also needs to consider latent "anti-Semite"-smearing. I would certainly not regard this despicable practice as being comparably serious or widespread globally as anti-Semitism itself, but it plays a role in American politics, and I suspect in the ultimate reasons behind this survey.

I could think of a dozen, and Crocker, probably a further separate dozen, better questions to ask in survey designed to truly measure anti-Semitism and uncover its origins (a fundamentally dubious idea to begin with, however -as you rightly note- asking people to admit their own prejudices as means of identifying and assessing such prejudices in the population as a whole.) Top of such a list would be: when you were growing up, what did members of your family tell you about Jews? Without being familiar with it, I would tend to rate the book by Laquer on the subject as astronomically more useful than any opinion poll.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Back to "whinging" again, Mr. Amitz ?

Crocker's calling you bigoted is surely no worse nor more unjustified than your calling him Jew-hater.

In America -sorry but I get the distinct impression that some other countries (quite possibly including where you had your military training, see below) are different in this respect- fights between children are classically addressed (by the intervening peacemaker) with "Who started it?"

Well, it certainly does not appear to have been Crocker who "started it" this time.

"in my military training I was taught that attack is the best defense. Don't let them breathe, hit them hard and hit again before they can understand what hit them."

I was taught that attack is the best defense. Don't let them breathe, hit them hard and hit again before they can understand what hit them. If they have any human characteristics they'll feel a little bit bad about hating Jews.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Well, maybe some flunky to Karl Rove is writing some such speech, Mr. Weintraub. But when key members of the "president"'s own political party, pull their sorry heads out of the sand and realize that they have been stupidly backing the most incompetent leader of their organization since at least Warren G. Harding (as they now appear to be finally beginning to do), what then? Is Emperor W - the Roman helmet with no body or brain- going to send McCain back to Hanoi for another round of torture if he fails to toe the line? The next crystal ball, please. How about one wherein Congressional Democrat rubberstampers of the biggest blunder im American foreign policy history (e.g. Kerry, H. Clinton, among many others) are finally to account by members of their political party which they so cravenly betrayed?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

finally BROUGHT to account


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

When I talked about "who started it" I was referring to you and Crocker on this page (not about Cain vs Abel, the Jews versus the Babylonians, or who started blowing things up in Palestine in 1947).


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

USA? Good (maybe). But anyway, congratulations on adopting the U.S. spelling for "whinging."

Now, what about the dozen insults about my GED (I don't have one, like most Americans I got ahigh school diploma before my college degrees) etc, last week, for my not finding your medieval British spelling in my dictionary ?

I bet you can find "apologize" in your dictionary if you look hard enough.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I agree that the Guantanamo (Military Commissions) Act is bad news for America. It had better be top of the Democtrats agenda for repeal if and when they take over Congress. I would not even want them to wait and first apply it to the post-impeachment crowd of crooks and traitors in the White House.

In other words, it is a nasty loophole that had better be closed soon, but I cannot see Frat Boy daring to use against domestic political opponents any time soon, or even later in hsi upcoming two lame duck years. Those damned history books. Can't get away from them.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Not in the slightest, Simon, except in your fertile imagination. I was merely making an analogy (obviously not a very apt one as you rightly indicate) as a reducto ad absurbum reference to Amitz's bringing up the extraneous and of course unanswerable question of whether feuds between Jews and non-Jews or any other feud shrouded in the mists of time could ever have an identifiable starting point. Of course they cannot. But there is a starting point, on any given HNN board, of a series of back-and-forth insults between two posters, which bears on the matter of how discussions here get derailed all too often.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Amitz has taken this slipshod name-calling approach on past pages too. I was a "Stalinist" for many posts awhile back simply because he misunderstood my call for Bush administration officials and their mainstream Democrat supporters to be called to account for their role in the Iraq disaster, or misunderstood/miusunderstands the difference between the American and Soviet systems of jurisprudence.

Israeli military training techniques may be justified - for use in the Israeli military.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

But I have been called an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, and White supremecist for calling paranoid such "enlightened views", and the accompanying belief that America "collaborated" with the Nazis in the Holocaust -most of whose 8 MILLION or so victims died in 1942-44,, after the the "Final Solution" decision- because it (and every other country in the world during the worst global economic depression of modern times) failed to admit THOUSANDS of refugees, many years before Wannsee.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

S.E.L.F. N.A.I.L.E.D.

Silly Embarassing Long-winded-titling Fantasizing
Name-calling Addiction Is Lamentably Evident, Desist



Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

We are unlikely to find out, despite the imminent attack predicted here. The likelihood of Lameduck Bush trying any major new foreign policy initiatives is not great as long as the Iraq albatross is on his neck, and he appears as clueless as ever about what to do on that side of the Gulf, another than to keep the goal posts in some kind of endlessly shifting shell game.

The chances of an attack on Iran producing anything looking like success in Americans eyes certainly don't look promising, in general. And downright dismal if left to the current bunch of serial losers in Washington DC. But any test of this question looks not likely during this administration. Not unless they have some humdinger of an "October Surprise" up their sleeves.

After all, the credibility of the Bush Administration is not high when it comes to waging premptive attacks. Would they even have the support of Congressional Republicans now for an attack on Iran? Which politican in his or her right mind would be willing to take the word of this administration that it had exhausted the alternatives or had a solid plan for achieving tangible and believable reductions in the nuclear capability? The headlines these days are filled with discussions and speculation about Republicans trying to figure out how to recover from the past foreign policy disasters of this administration, particularly how to limit the damage of the incompetently run Iraq invasion, occupation, and sitting-duck presence, NOT about how to blindly trust the incompetents with yet another and even tricker, major military assignment.

What does Polk suppose are the motives for such an attack?
The hasty-pudding of purported reasons presented in his earlier article hardly seem like to slide smoothly down many palates, even those of the now heavily discredited “neo-cons,” with whom GW Bush was anyway never much more than a fellow-traveller:

“Mr. Bush’s belief that he has a God-given task which he must accomplish before he leaves office – and perhaps even before the forthcoming Congressional elections might cripple his means of action. His belief that what his own intelligence experts tell him is wrong, that Iran actually is about to acquire the bomb, is stirring the pot of Middle Eastern terrorism and is a threat to the existence of Israel.”

Let's be clear here, because clarity is an early victim in many HNN verbal slugfests. There is little doubt in my mind that the regime in Iran is working as fast as it can to get nuclear capability, and that this will pose a serious theat not just to Israelis, but to the whole world. I just don't see these titanically incompetent chickenhawk neophytes (Bush, Rice, etc) or universally mistrusted and widely despised fossils (Cheney, Rumsfeld) having either the skill or the capacity for doing a damn thing to stop the Iranians. After many years in office, with (1) a compliant Congress, (2) considerable popular support, and (3) a victorious and confident military, how in Leo Strauss's name, could they possibly manage to do anything useful re Iran, having now squandered or seriously damaged all three of these prior advantages, other than to step aside as fast as possible and let competent statesmen and effective leaders take over and start the monumental task cleaning up after the Bushies disasters?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Well, your English is actually better than most peoples' here so it was not a fair gripe by me, even if "whine" is the way Americans usually spell what too many HNNers (not you or me, of course) do too often.

Sorry to disappoint (maybe) but I am not going to endorse the very strange views on the history of the Holocaust which you have articulated from time to time on this website. It was perpetrated by Nazis against Jews and other minorities and a lot more of those victims would have died were it not for America liberating Europe from Hitler. I am not saying America couldn't have done better: Why do suppose practically every Western country has had asylum procedures for refugees fleeing persecution for many decades AFTER 1945, and allowed many millions to immigrate under those rules ? Hint: many of those asylum-seeker immigrants are not truly political refugees, but better not to risk a repeat of the 1940s goes the logic.

I also find it strange that a page regarding US policy towards Iran is now filled with a hundred "Jew Hater" subject lines. Relevancy, Mr. A, like many other desirables, is not an issue of nationality.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Let us suppose your two examples from 1940 are factually correct, Mr. Amitz. This appears to me to be an indication of the nature of the U.S. Immigration laws adopted in the early 1920s, under which there was a much higher quota for citizens of Britain than citizens of Eastern Europe, where most of Europe's Jews then lived.
Of course there is more to the refugee story than what you have stated here, and a close look at it may invalidate my hypothesis, but I highly doubt you will find the slightest evidence of FDR administration officials discussing the building of crematoria in Auschwitz with Nazi officials, not ever, including not in 1940, well before most deportations to the death camps had even occured.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

was the above post


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I agree that Strauss's philosophy (not my cup of tea either) is not really key here. I mainly mentioned him by way of pointing out that the ducking and covering incompetents in the U.S. administration (to whom author Polk dubiously ascribes vast yet- to-be-officially-unveiled capabilities, credibilities and ambitions) are not even worthy of their tarnished guru.


john crocker - 11/5/2006

I have made no comment about what opinion whould be expressed on American news (preferably as little as possible).

You blast the European press for being biased. When the idea of bias in the American press (tv and radio) is brought up you try to minimize its impact. The media either has an effect or it doesn't. It's is either indicative of public opinion or it isn't. Your point seems to be that the European media shapes European opinion to be more anti-Semitic, but media US is not responsible for American opinions (ie WMDs were in Iraq). On the one hand you say it isn't necessary for the public to understand the intiricacies of conflicts, that is for their leaders, and on the other you complain about Europeans "butting to things that they do not much understand." I guess this means that people should just shut up and trust their leaders. I don't know how people go about making an educated choice about those leaders without educating themselves on those conflicts.

"You seem to think that it is necessary for outsiders to be well informed about Israel. Why? Is it their business? Is it their problem?"
What is happening in the Middle East right now matters to any country that uses oil. Israel is a major player in the region. Its actions have effects throughout the region. There actions impact our national interests as well as their own.
You do not make this same argument for ignoring human rights abuses anywhere else in the world. Are you planning to move to Sudan or Rwanda or China or Kashmir?

I have been able to find no numbers on violence against Jews in Europe. There are a number of reports of a large uptick of violence against Jews and vandalism of Jewish places in 2002 and early 2003, mostly committed by young Muslim immigrants. The ADL notes a drop in anti-Semitism in the EU since this time.

"the Islamists who march with Leftists - and, I guess you now acknowledge that you were wrong -, are rather violent."
I acknowledge that there have been anti-war protests attended by both left wing political organizations and Muslim organizations and at least one was jointly organized by a left wing group (StWC) and a Muslim group (MAB). These two groups were in agreement that the war in Iraq should not happen, if little else, and marched together in protest of that war. I am currently unable to access the MAB website to read their other positions. They did condemn the terrorist atacks in Britain and others. They definitely come down on the side of the Palestinians in the Israeli Palestinian conflict and some Jewish groups have labelled them anti-Semitic, but as I am unable to access there website or their literature it is difficult for me to determine whether they are merely pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel or anti-Jewish. Its stated aim is not anti-Semitic and the cooperation in organizing the anti Iraq war protest likely did not involve a full airing of views unrelated to the protest.

The left as a whole has not been silent about the Islamists.


N. Friedman - 11/4/2006

Correction:

Delete this paragraph: "The problem with your view is that there is no actual movement among Christians to create Armaggedon. There is religious rhetoric. And that is basically the end of the matter. By contrast, the Islamists who march with Leftists - and, I guess you now acknowledge that you were wrong -, are rather violent."

Substitute:

The problem with your view is that there is not much push among those who preach a coming Armagedon and among those involved in that movement to actually bring about Armagedon. There is mostly religious rhetoric. And that is basically the end of the matter. By contrast, the Islamists who march with Leftists - and, I guess you now acknowledge that you were wrong -, are rather violent. They are, in fact, acting out their fantasy in a serious way.



N. Friedman - 11/4/2006

Correction:

Delete this paragraph: "You are not pointing out similar loathsome things. There is no well organized and widespread movement in the US, akin to what occurs in Europe, that threatens Jews. There is the Ku Klux Klan but it is a minor factor. However, in Europe, there are widespread attacks against Jews. Opinion polls of Jews throughout Europe point to great fear and the belief that there is no future for Jews in Europe. That is not the case in the US. So, telling me that some people at Wal*Mart hold prejudiced views as evidence is, to me, to tell me that you have no perception at all about the problem."

Substitute:

You are not pointing out similar loathsome things. There is no well organized and widespread movement that is effective right now in the US, akin to what occurs in Europe, that threatens Jews. There is the Ku Klux Klan but it is, at present, a minor factor. However, in Europe, there are widespread attacks against Jews. Opinion polls of Jews throughout Europe point to great fear and the belief that there is no future for Jews in Europe. That is not the case in the US. So, telling me that some people at Wal*Mart hold prejudiced views as evidence is, to me, to tell me that you have no perception at all about the problem.


N. Friedman - 11/4/2006

John,

You write: "Fox News, even with its recent drop in ratings, is the most popular news channel in the US."

Fox News has a tiny audience. It is one of many news channels. It also competes with the networks. Anyone who watches Fox News almost certainly has access to over 100 channels, if not more. Among those channels are BBC News, CNN, CNN HN, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, etc., etc. In addition, people have access to PBS, NBC, ABC and CBS news. Then, there are regional news channels such as NECN. Altogether, Fox News has a tiny audience of news junkies. It is a minor source of news in the US, once you understand that very few people watch it.

Moreover, it has some first rate people on it including people who spent years and years on CNN. So, I cannot imagine your point other than to say you disagree with the opinions expressed thereon. Clearly, you find something wrong that people might be exposed to a point of view you disagree with. Before, the issue was that there was an absence of views in the US. Now, your problem is that one source, among the very many, in the news field is more conservative.

Talk radio is a variety of things. Some is rather poor. Some is rather good. Most of the show hosts are conservative. Some, however, are liberal. Liberals, it must be admitted, have not done well, overall, in the field but there are national news shows that are rather liberal. Those with talent have a following. So, again, you make a ridiculous point. What you are saying is that you want people to express only your viewpoint.

You write: "Do you really think that CNN is as biased as Fox News or even in the same ballpark of bias as Limbaugh, Hannity, Hewitt, Ingraham et al. Have you listened to them?"

To the first question, the answer is "Yes." On their opinion shows - of which there are quite a few -, the people on the show are biased. As for reporting the general news, both stations tend to push an agenda, but a different one.

Well, Limbaugh is not a TV character. I have not heard his show in years. The few times I listened, I thought he was pretty funny. Hannity is conservative but his partner, Combes is less so. I have not watched the show in years so it might have changed. I have never seen Hewitt. Ingraham is rather consersative. I watched her show maybe once. Buchanon, who spent years on CNN (and, perhaps, is still there) is even more conservative than Limbaugh. He is on the main network shows sometimes as well.

You write: "Fox and Friends, Hannity, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hewitt, Beck and others have regularly pushed the WMDs found and the WMDs secretretly moved to Syria with Russian help memes.
Cheney, Santorum, Brownback and others rarely faced serious challenges to their assertions about WMD on the Sunday shows or when appearing on Fox News shows."

I asked for specific incidents. You merely assert that people were on shows. What was said? When? With what other guests? Were there times when they had guests who took the opposite point of view?

And again, the audience size of Fox is rather too small to have much of an influence on public opinion. Somehow, I bet - although I could be wrong - that it hardly has 3% of the TV audience. From that tiny group, you think that Americans are deceived? This, while they have, at the same time, access to multiple CNN stations, MSNBC, CNBC, etc. In short, your theory is nonsense. In fact, people watch a variety of shows and obtain their facts a variety of different ways.

By the way, the Sunday talk show on Fox is run by Chris Wallace. It has a reporter's round table and it includes liberals and conservatives. Chris Wallace does not give free passes to guests. I have seen the show a few times. So, again, I think you are spouting prejudice. And, that show competes, at about the same time, with shows on ABC, CBS and NBC, which have Sunday news interview shows, not to mention CNN.

Your logic is that the fact that there are conservatives on the TV and radio means that Americans are misinformed. And, you think, they do take in from one show but do not hear different views on other shows. And, you think that those who watch CNN and MSNBC religiously do not spout their stations' point of view. That is contrary to common sense, not to mention the facts.

You write: "Look at the polls, read the questions. The questions are generally straight forward and the early polling on this topic predates the hype of the Iranian threat."

Well, the public was informed rather early on that Iran was a serious threat. That goes back to just after 9/11, when the President noted his Axil of Evil. So, I think you are mistaken.

You write: "When deciding whether or not to support a war, understanding the geography of the region is important. Knowing the geographical position, alliances and animosities of the neighboring countries is important; otherwise you are forming an opinion froma position of ignorance. I think that the relative positions of the major players in Europe was understood by a plurality of the US population in the late 30s through the mid 40s."

What you write is important for those in power to understand. Average people make their views based on a variety of things but they leave it to experts to determine things about the geography. The same for alliances. The assumption is that a capable leader makes alliances as needed. One issue with Mr. Bush is that his administration is poor at making alliances. Another is that they overestimate what is possible in the world. Another problem is that the circumstances faced by the world are rather difficult no matter what choices are made.

As for what people knew with reference to Europe, the average American likely knew that fascism and Nazism were on the march. Beyond that, I doubt they knew too much. Most Americans, until the US was attacked, were opposed to being involved in what were thought to be Europe's problems. So, I doubt very much that they had the knowledge you think they had.

You write: "So knowing the relative position, size, population and opinions of Israels neighbors is not important?
Knowing the distribution of the occupied territories and their lack of contiguity within Israel is not important? How can you have an informed opinion about Israel without this knowledge?"

Well, I noted the most important thing to know, namely, two people competing over a tiny strip of land. The rest is detail. And, I say this as a person who actually is rather knowledgeable about the details.

I tend to doubt that most Europeans quite understand the significance of even the broad geography point I noted. Otherwise, they could not hold the view that blames Israel as commonly and as thoroughly as Europeans seem to do. That tells me that Europeans are being badly informed.

You seem to think that it is necessary for outsiders to be well informed about Israel. Why? Is it their business? Is it their problem? Do most people plan to move to Israel? I suggest to you that it is important for Israelis to know about their own country. Europeans, by contrast, has a vital need to look at the mess occurring at home.

The problem with your view is that you confuse being informed about events with being manipulated by broadcasters toward their views. In fact, there are a plethora of possible views, not just the editorial line pushed in most of the European press, that a well informed person might have. So, even if everyone were expert - which is not possible - or as well informed as you would have them be - something that is clearly not the case anywhere in Europe -, there would be no unity of opinion. The fact that Europeans are so hostile to Israel is not a product of being well informed. It is a product of manipulation by newspapers and politicians.

You write: "You point to loathsome things said in Europe to show that Europe is anti-Semitic. When I point to similarly loathsome things being said in the US you say I miss your point."

You are not pointing out similar loathsome things. There is no well organized and widespread movement in the US, akin to what occurs in Europe, that threatens Jews. There is the Ku Klux Klan but it is a minor factor. However, in Europe, there are widespread attacks against Jews. Opinion polls of Jews throughout Europe point to great fear and the belief that there is no future for Jews in Europe. That is not the case in the US. So, telling me that some people at Wal*Mart hold prejudiced views as evidence is, to me, to tell me that you have no perception at all about the problem.

You write: "You and a number of your ideological allies on this board lump most if not all criticism of Israel together. All criticism of Israel on this board is met by questioning of the motives of the criticism and deflecting this criticism by pointng to the offenses of others."

I speak for myself and myself only. I do not use the word Antisemite other than in this thread in response to a question asked to me. I have not criticized your motives. Have I? I have argued that Antisemitism has much to do with, in aggregate, the excessive criticism of Israel and the language used against Israel and the fact that people criticize Israel for views which they allow themselves and everyone else except Jews.

You write: "The Islamist extremists use of religion is where much analysis both begins and ends. All of the worlds major religious texts can be used, have been used, and are used to support all manner of hateful practices. The use of religion is important in galvanizing and uniting a movement, but it is far from the whole story."

Well, all religions do have texts that can be used. That is correct. I do not disagree. What I say is that Islam is particularly prone to this. But that is not due to texts - although there is a substantial amount in the texts to work with.

Instead, that is due to classical Islamic theology which makes it a collective duty of the Muslim community to spread Muslim rule and requires, when peaceful spread does not succeed, the use of violence. That is a fact.

That theological notion, frankly, is a unique, so far as I know, religious doctrine. And, it is not the view of the minority or only episodically. It is the dominant view among the world's Muslims, taught at Islamic universities. It was the view of the great Avicina. It was al-Ghazali's view. It was the view of Ibn Khaldun, the great Islamic historian/sociologist.

That point is, I think, worth bringing up. Or, should we merely say that all religions can be warlike - which is true - and ignore that Jihad is a community duty in Islam and has been since the formation of its dominant strains of theology?

You write: "Politics does sometimes make strange bedfellows. Just as some on the left march in anti-war protests with people whose other views they would find repellent, Evangelical Christians side with the Israeli settler movement and any provacative act by Israel in the hopes that it will initiate Armaggedon. Do Israelis and their more sane supporters want to initiate Armaggedon and the fiery death of 2/3s of the Jewish population? Their allies do."

The problem with your view is that there is no actual movement among Christians to create Armaggedon. There is religious rhetoric. And that is basically the end of the matter. By contrast, the Islamists who march with Leftists - and, I guess you now acknowledge that you were wrong -, are rather violent.

You write: "What rights are denied to Jews in Europe?

Some attempt to demonize Israel, but they are not in the majority of those who disagree with Israeli policies. Inflating their position within the anti-war and anti-imperialism movements is a tactic used to demonize those movements."

I object to dishonesty. The anti-imperialist movement is dishonest. I object to a movement which makes bedfellows with people who shout "Gas the Jews" and then wonders why anyone would think the movement Antisemitic.

I contrast that with the civil rights movement in the US. Dr. King wrote about this point and acted on it. He marched with people committed to non-violence. When others would show up with their signs, he would have them escorted away.

The fact that there is an alliance between left wing politicians and Islamists is disgraceful. The silence from leftists about Islamist is disgraceful. The hatred of Israel by many on the left is disgraceful. It is another disgraceful episode in European history.

The right denied Jews in Europe is the right to be secure in their places of worship. You might take a look at the walls and guards that protect such institutions in Europe. That speaks volumes.








john crocker - 11/4/2006

"I do not explain it. They are not that popular."
Fox News, even with its recent drop in ratings, is the most popular news channel in the US. Talk radio is also quite a popular format with millions of loyal listeners.

"And they are not any more biased than CNN."
Do you really think that CNN is as biased as Fox News or even in the same ballpark of bias as Limbaugh, Hannity, Hewitt, Ingraham et al. Have you listened to them?

"I suggest you show me actual shows that peddled incorrect information as it was then generally understood."
Fox and Friends, Hannity, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hewitt, Beck and others have regularly pushed the WMDs found and the WMDs secretretly moved to Syria with Russian help memes.
Cheney, Santorum, Brownback and others rarely faced serious challenges to their assertions about WMD on the Sunday shows or when appearing on Fox News shows.

Look at the polls, read the questions. The questions are generally straight forward and the early polling on this topic predates the hype of the Iranian threat.


"Well, I do not think it necessary for the average American to understand the geography of Iraq. That is a matter of importance to a military historian. I doubt many Americans knew the geography of Europe before or even during WWII. That is a tactical issue."
When deciding whether or not to support a war, understanding the geography of the region is important. Knowing the geographical position, alliances and animosities of the neighboring countries is important; otherwise you are forming an opinion froma position of ignorance. I think that the relative positions of the major players in Europe was understood by a plurality of the US population in the late 30s through the mid 40s.

"Now, in the case of Israel, the one geographical fact worth noting is that the entire country is the size of New Jersey....Beyond that, it is not all that important."
So knowing the relative position, size, population and opinions of Israels neighbors is not important?
Knowing the distribution of the occupied territories and their lack of contiguity within Israel is not important? How can you have an informed opinion about Israel without this knowledge?

You point to loathsome things said in Europe to show that Europe is anti-Semitic. When I point to similarly loathsome things being said in the US you say I miss your point.

You and a number of your ideological allies on this board lump most if not all criticism of Israel together. All criticism of Israel on this board is met by questioning of the motives of the criticism and deflecting this criticism by pointng to the offenses of others.

The Islamist extremists use of religion is where much analysis both begins and ends. All of the worlds major religious texts can be used, have been used, and are used to support all manner of hateful practices. The use of religion is important in galvanizing and uniting a movement, but it is far from the whole story.

Politics does sometimes make strange bedfellows. Just as some on the left march in anti-war protests with people whose other views they would find repellent, Evangelical Christians side with the Israeli settler movement and any provacative act by Israel in the hopes that it will initiate Armaggedon. Do Israelis and their more sane supporters want to initiate Armaggedon and the fiery death of 2/3s of the Jewish population? Their allies do.

"The issue is people who are engaged in an active struggle to demonize Israel and deny rights to Jews. That struggle is highly developed in Europe."
What rights are denied to Jews in Europe?

Some attempt to demonize Israel, but they are not in the majority of those who disagree with Israeli policies. Inflating their position within the anti-war and anti-imperialism movements is a tactic used to demonize those movements.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

John,

You write: "How then do you explain the popularity of Fox News and talk radio? Most Americans aren't much interested in papers at all whether they have an agenda or not."

I do not explain it. They are not that popular. And they are not any more biased than CNN. The bias is just different.

You write: "It came most probably from watching Fox News and listening to talk radio and listening to disengenuous representatives on the Sunday shows."

Actually, I do not think that such opinion was pushed. I think this is another example of how "relief" is spelled. I suggest you show me actual shows that peddled incorrect information as it was then generally understood. I think that the Sunday shows did not, in fact, do what you think they did.

You write: "Polls have charted the popularity of these beliefs. They are still widely held. This is the result of actual polling not a commercial stunt."

I have no doubt that polling found that Americans thought and still think there were WMD in Iraq. But, that could not have come from the news as the facts were accurately reported on the news. And it did not come from Sunday shows because anyone who took that view was challenged as being an idiot. And not even talk jocks of the radio took that view, so far as I can tell.

My gut reaction is that the polling is not quite accurate. It may suggest that people confuse Iraq and Iran in their minds. It may also suggest that the polling question was not asked properly. Or, perhaps, the questions were leading. I have no idea. I can say that I have not met a single person in the US who says that Iraq had or has any significant cache of WMD. I have read some - and they are a very small number of people, sometimes experts in the field - who say that there are trace amounts of such things. In fact, such was reported as being to the case in the subsequent inquiries. But, I do not think that anyone says seriously that Iraq has WMD.

Well, I do not think it necessary for the average American to understand the geography of Iraq. That is a matter of importance to a military historian. I doubt many Americans knew the geography of Europe before or even during WWII. That is a tactical issue.

Now, in the case of Israel, the one geographical fact worth noting is that the entire country is the size of New Jersey. So, that makes it more difficult to settle the dispute. And, quite obviously for the Israelis, it means that giving up any land potentially has serious repercusions for whether the country can defend itself. Beyond that, it is not all that important. My bet is that most Americans know that Israel is a tiny country. My bet is that most Europeans believe Israel can cede land without concern, as that is the position pushed by European papers and politicians, which may be why European commentators so frequently fail to understand why Israelis do not just cede land.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

You write: "All attempts to understand and contextualize (not excuse) the violence by Islamist extremists beyond their religious texts is labelled anti-Semitic excuse making for terrorists."

I do not do that. I note that religious teaching has much to do with the position taken by Muslims. When you hear, for example, HAMAS speak about a hudna, as was reported the other day, it would be difficult to understand such talk apart from religion, as Hudna is a religious term with a specified meaning accepted in Islamic jurisprudence. So, one has to understand that meaning to have any notion of what is being offerred - otherwise, even the word is not understood.

Whatever interpretation one gives, an interpretation that fails to note the significance of the use of a religious term by a group which defines its agenda by religion - even the acronym HAMAS refers to Islam, as in the Islamic resistance movement - seems rather stupid. Or, do you think that a religious movement is dedicated to a secular cause? The point being that the interpretation has to take into account the words actually used, as they would be understood to the person using them.

A serious analysis - something lacking in the European press (and not only the European press) would therefor begin by analyzing carefully what a Hudna is. In that the term is very, very well defined in Islamic jurisprudence, the first point to note is that a Hudna could never be meant as an offer of peace. So, when I read papers report such as if it were an offer of peace, it is fair to assume that the reporters are ignorant or dishonest.

You write: "You also talk about what you call political anti-Semitism. This looks to be quite a broad term for you, as it seems to encompass all criticism of Israel that you do not feel is properly contextuallized."

Well, the fact that people say loathsome things is one thing. That is unfortunate. When people demonize and criticize for political purposes - e.g. badmouthing Israel to parley favor with Muslims and to attack the US -, that is a very much worse thing. That is a difference in both kind and in degree.

Note that I am not saying that Israel or any other group is beyond criticism. However, when the criticism is entirely disproportionate in quantity and quality, employs traditional Antisemitic stereotypes and slurs on a repeated basis, the issue bears close examination.

You write: "The anti-imperialists do not attempt to ally themselves with the Islamists ..."

Well, in fact, you are mistaken. Have you ever heard of the Respect party?

You might want to read this article, as perhaps it might enlighten you. http://zeek.net/politics_0304.shtml . I should add that there has been a great deal written on this. You can also read the Chomskyite website CounterPunch which regular posts articles by anti-imperialists and those with Islamist sentiments. In other words, I beg to differ with you as, in fact, you are plain wrong on this point.

Two last points. One, I do not demonize Muslims. I point out that the Jihad against the West by people who label themselves Jihadis and cite religious reasons for what they do is likely religious in nature. And, I note that Islam is highly evangelical, with Jihad war being, according to classical Islamic theology, not only acceptable but a collective duty of the umma. And I note that today's Jihadis cite these same classical sources to justify what they do. So, I am not demonizing anyone. I am reporting what the facts show.

As for the "Cohen" thing, you still miss my point. The issue, at the moment, is not some idiots who say stupid things. The issue is people who are engaged in an active struggle to demonize Israel and deny rights to Jews. That struggle is highly developed in Europe. Those who hate Jews in the US - and this is highly ironic - tend to love Israel. Strange bedfellows but not the main concern of anyone worried just now about Antisemitism.




john crocker - 11/3/2006

The European news outlets that made mistakes in reporting on Jenin later corrected those mistakes. American news outlets have also made mistakes and also generally make efforts to correct them.

"Americans, right, left or middle of the road - at least those I have met in my many years -, are not big supporters of papers and broadcasts which push a political line."
How then do you explain the popularity of Fox News and talk radio? Most Americans aren't much interested in papers at all whether they have an agenda or not.

"Well, that view certainly did not come from watching news in the US which reported repeatedly and ad nauseum, that no WMD’s were found."
It came most probably from watching Fox News and listening to talk radio and listening to disengenuous representatives on the Sunday shows.

"and I have not met anyone who actually holds that view other than as a part of a joke"
Polls have charted the popularity of these beliefs. They are still widely held. This is the result of actual polling not a commercial stunt.

"The news, given that the presenters are not experts and, on top of that, in a hurry to produce a product, is really not the place anyone should look for deep analysis in any event."
The news (tv or radio) is precisely where most Americans do look for all of the analysis that they care to get on any particular event. American news has been dumbed down and focuses more on celebrity gossip and the latest tragedy to befall a cute upper middle class white child than events that actually matter.

"Americans tend to be pragmatic. The geography of where they live is what matters, not the details of the Alps or the hills of Galilee."
If one does not know the geography of a conflict then one has little hope of really understanding it. Given this lack of understanding, who is butting to something they don't understand?


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

John,

People form their opinions based on the information they have. How can Europeans have such insight on the Middle East when European reporting on the Middle East is so patently biased and error ridden? Again, the most telling evidence as to the caliber of reporting by Europeans is the reporting on the battle at Jenin, something which the European press nearly unanimously termed a massacre. That position was reached on the basis of a single person who started a false rumor which the European press latched onto - evidently without bothering to do any investigation. Which is to say, reporters reported what they thought must be the case based on preconceived views, not based on the facts available.

Such is not only bad reporting, it is not only abysmal; it is at the very least scandalous and, in some cases, likely involved intentional malfeasance. And to the charge that such mistake was widespread, the fact is that not even one major American paper reported anything other than the fact that there was a non-corroborated rumor of a massacre. So, careful reporting could have been done but was not, presumably because European reporters are schooled to believe the worst about the IDF. As a result, Europeans tend to think what they do about the conflict.

An accusation of massacre is serious. Such is a serious war crime. It has serious implications that go far beyond the deaths of those harmed. The story - in this case, false story - was not only told by the European press. It was hyped front and center and repeated until it was proven false. And note: during that same period, there were massacred committed daily by Palestinian Arabs. That, after all, is what blowing up a bus really is. That is what occurred when a wedding is blown up. That is what occurred at Netanya that led to the Israeli invasion which led to the false accusation of a massacre by the Israelis. Unlike the non-massacre at Jenin, to the extent that such massacres were reported, the reporting also provided an alleged justification. Which is to say, when it came to Palestinian kamikaze attacks - which is basically the main tactic employed by Palestinian Arabs -, the obvious point that such tactic consists of committing massacres and war crimes is basically not mentioned.



You say that most of the world sees the dispute as it is seen in Europe. If that is so, perhaps it has to do with bad reporting of the type surrounding the Jenin battle. I might add, not only did the European press do a scandalously poor job, they did worse than the Arab press which printed reports on the bravery of the Arab fighters who were killed in the battle.

Again, people form their views based on the information they have. If the information is tainted, the views will reflect that taint. I have seen frequently in the comment section of the website of The Guardian that Israel killed a million Palestinians - which, as you surely know, bears no resemblance to reality. But, it would be a reasonable supposition given the extent of and the position asserted by most of European press outlets. It would be a reasonable supposition given all the reporting about massacres that never occurred. It would be reasonable when the papers report the conflict in a manner which highlights and supports Arab political goals, which is clearly the case in much of the European press.

As for the views of the world, I think that most of the world, including Europe, sees the dispute through the prism of the need for oil and the prism of opposing the US. That has resulted in a political imperative that has played out in the press, in academia and among politicians. It is an imperative not felt the same way in the US. This is because, most obviously, the major oil producers in the Middle East are protected by American power and because US politicians realized early on that the Arabs had no finished products or anything else of value, other than oil, to sell so that they were far more reliant on us than we are on them.

Hence, the schooling of people’s views is different here. And that affects how the matter is reported. Which is to say, the US does not perceive the dispute as the lynchpin to peace on earth - as would seem to be the view in Europe. Americans mostly perceive the dispute as an unfortunate mess, with some holding a more friendly view to Israelis and others toward the Arab side. But, the news reporting is, by and large, not tainted by political interest as it is most clearly in Europe. To the extent that it is, such comes from the nonsense one reads from Europe.



You write: "The average American gets the news from television and/or radio and this is largely trivial. Watch a typical evening newscast in the US with the sound turned off. You don't miss much."



Americans, right, left or middle of the road - at least those I have met in my many years -, are not big supporters of papers and broadcasts which push a political line. Rather, people merely want to hear the outline of events (i.e. who said and/or did what, where and when). I think you will find that polling data supports what I say here and, given that TV and Radio news is, for the most part, a commercial venture, the public preference is likely the most important reason why you do not find supposedly deep analysis by television news services and on the radio.

Moreover - and I think this is also true in Europe and throughout the world -, the number of people able to distinguish interpretation from fact is not that great. That means that a broadcast or newspaper purporting to present news is, instead, more a means by which people can be manipulated. The news, given that the presenters are not experts and, on top of that, in a hurry to produce a product, is really not the place anyone should look for deep analysis in any event. I thus am not quite so sure that your position makes very much sense. Why should one look to a newspaper reporter to sort out the rights and wrong of the Arab Israeli dispute, much less any other dispute.

Consider the Arab Israeli dispute as a casebook example of manipulation by the European press. When I was last in Europe, I spent ten days with a nuclear physicist. He asked me why Jews were in the Middle East at all. When I noted to him that they migrated there primarily to escape persecution, he said he had never heard about that. That, too, is the product of what appears in the European press. Moreover, the European press has latched onto the view of revisionist historians, as if there views were beyond question. Such, to me, is pure politics, not journalism. Such interpretation of the dispute has no place in the reporting of news. It tells me more about the reporting than what is going on in the dispute.

You write: "Nearly half of the US population believes things that are demonstrably false (WMDs wer found in Iraq etc). The average American has about as much knowledge about European and Middle East geography as the average European has about US geography."

Well, that view certainly did not come from watching news in the US which reported repeatedly and ad nauseum, that no WMD’s were found. So, if Americans came to that view - and I have not met anyone who actually holds that view other than as a part of a joke -, it was for reasons other than the reporting of the matter. I tend to think that such a view is consistent with findings that Americans spell "relief" R O L A I D S, which was a poll finding that had no serious correspondence with how people actually spelled the word.

As for knowledge about European geography or Middle Eastern geography, Americans probably know little about the details. I am not sure that such is the result of where people get their news. It has to do with the fact that such does not have much impact on daily life. As I said, Americans tend to be pragmatic. The geography of where they live is what matters, not the details of the Alps or the hills of Galilee.

You write: "It has been reported and confirmed by more than one person that Bush did not even know of the ethnic divisions in Iraq less than two months before the invasion. Now who is butting into things that they do not understand?"

You will not see me defend Mr. Bush or his decisions and positions. I do not. I do not know what, if anything, he knew about Iraq and its bloody history. I am not quite sure that knowledge of the details would have changed what he did, in any event. Mr. Blair, alleged far and wide to be rather knowledgeable about all sorts of things, also thought it worth invading Iraq. I trust that both of them relied on their advisors and upon the people their advisors relied upon. While I did not and still do not see a good reason for an invasion, clearly many intelligent people, with actual knowledge about the Arab regions, Iraq and Islam and fully aware of the facts you assert, saw the issue in a different way than you and I did. So, I do not see your point. And, to note: I did not support the war even though I read the US press.


john crocker - 11/3/2006

"Europeans have serious prejudices and not very self-critical, while budding into things they do not much understand."
People with prejudices whether they are about Jews, Muslims, Christians, African Americans, Native Americans, Arabs or Europeans are rarely ever very self-critical about these feelings otherwise they would not have them.

Agian I have addressed the arguments that I thought merited addressing. I may not have addressed them in the way you would have hoped, but I have addressed them.
From my conversations with people on both sides of the Atlantic Americans do not exhibit a greater understanding of the Middle East. You seem to think that Europeans are somehow intellectually incapable of understanding these complex topics that Americans and Israelis undertand much better. Most of the world seems to interpret issues in the Middle East in a way closer to the European model than to the US or Israeli model. I guess that only Americans and Israelis are capable of understanding these complex topics. Thank goodness they are there to save the world from itself.
The average American gets the news from television and/or radio and this is largely trivial. Watch a typical evening newscast in the US with the sound turned off. You don't miss much.
Nearly half of the US population believes things that are demonstrably false (WMDs wer found in Iraq etc). The average American has about as much knowledge about European and Middle East geography as the average European has about US geography. It has been reported and confirmed by more than one person that Bush did not even know of the ethnic divisions in Iraq less than two months before the invasion. Now who is butting into things that they do not understand?
The stats I gave on anti-Semitism came from the ADL.

"I frankly think you have no idea what you are talking about. You do not understand political Antisemitism."
You talk about anti-Semitism in two contexts. My responding to one of them in no way indicates my lack of understanding about the other. You talk about peoples anti-Semitic opinions (Jews control the banks and the media, Jews are too sensitive about the Holocaust etc.). You also talk about what you call political anti-Semitism. This looks to be quite a broad term for you, as it seems to encompass all criticism of Israel that you do not feel is properly contextuallized.

All attempts to understand and contextualize (not excuse) the violence by Islamist extremists beyond their religious texts is labelled anti-Semitic excuse making for terrorists. Any failure to contextualize Israeli actions is labelled anti-Semitic demonizing of Israel. Context is demanded on one side and decried on the other.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the current situation in the Middle East. Israel owns a share of that blame as do the Palestinians, Israels other neighbors, "the West" and the ex-Soviet Union.
Protests are not effective when not focussed on one narrow issue. This means that virtually no protest or rally for any cause gives a contextuallized accounting of its issue. This does not mean that the attendees lack that contextuallized understanding.

For a purely anecdotal look at American anti-Semitism look on youtube for "Throw the Jew down the well" where Cohen (a satirist) leads a group of rural Americans (not satirists) in entusiastically singing a song with outlandish stereotypes about Jews. "Throw the Jew down the well//So my country can be free" is sung with gusto by the crowd in a Country/Western bar. He did not have to look long or hard to find these people. Do you really believe that these people view Jews as equals? Do you think that their ignorance has no other consequences? Do you really think that their opinions do not inform their politics?

"Note that the US has bases all over Europe - to defend Europe from what?"
The bases, as you well know, are left over from the Cold War. We retain these bases in order to allow us (the US) to project military power into the region. The same reason we now have military bases all ove the world. The US has these bases to protect its interests as it percieves them.

"Israel is singled out primarily due to the wish of anti-imperialists to ally with Muslim Islamists."
The anti-imperialists do not attempt to ally themselves with the Islamists, though they do work against efforts to demonize Muslims as a whole. The anti-imperialist movement does not ally itself with Egypt or Jordan. You have built quite a large anti-Israel/anti-Jewish conspiracy. Left wing intellectuals and Islamist terrorists work hand in hand with the continent of Europe to bring about the end of Israel as a nation and the Jews as a people. You have graciously allowed that the left wing intellectuals and Europeans only do so because they are prejudiced and don't know any better. Are the Asians a part of this conspiracy as well? How about the Australians?

Demonizing Muslims is no more or less appropriate than demonizing Christians or Jews, or for that matter Europeans.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

John,

You say I say bad things about Europeans. I think I speak factually about Europe and European hatreds. I think it is fair comment. And, compared to the way that Europeans speak about Jews, what I say is rather tame. I do not speak as Paulin speaks. I do not say things that are untrue. I merely conclude, drawing an inference on the facts, that Europeans have serious prejudices and not very self-critical, while budding into things they do not much understand.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

John,

What you cite are not rankings of freedom but of the preferences of those making the writings.

So far as the triviality of the US press, it depends on which part of it. The NY Times is likely the world's premier newspaper. It certainly is in depth and has coverage all over the world. It is read all over the US. Moreover, the US has other press outlets that are first rate, including many notable magazines. I thus think this ranking is nonsense.

What I see is some with different agendas than the US press. The BBC, for example, seems to want to ally Britain more closely with Arab tyrannies. The US press is more interested in the US than in foreign countries - to some extent - but that is because the US is a vast country. It is difficult enough to cover.


john crocker - 11/3/2006

Several different independent groups rank freedom of the press in 150 to 168 countries using different methodologies. The US ranks 11, 31 or 44 depending on which one you look at. In all of them several EU countries rank above the US. Finland, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands are at or near the top of all of the lists. Iran, China, Eritrea, Laos, Burma, Cuba, and North Korea make up the bottom of the lists.

The EU and the US press both have their faults. The US press, with a few notable exceptions, tends to have less serious, less in depths coverage of most important issues. They have little international coverage outside of Iraq and focus on short sensational and cheap to cover stories. Nearly half of all Americans believe that WMD were found in Iraq and that Sadam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. That is a tremendous failure of the US news media.

You have in many of your comments in this thread and others made disparaging comments about Europeans and even use the term European as a disparaging adjective for the ideas of others. How is this behavior any different than doing the same about Jews or any other group? I submit that it is no different. It is not constructive and you should cease this behavior.

The difficulties faced by many European nations in assimilating Muslim (primarily North African and Turkish) immigrants has been a huge story in Europe for more than 10 years. North African immigration into the EU is seen similarly by Europeans as Mexican and Central American immigration into the US is seen by Americans. Many of the same types arguments are forwarded by the same types of people in both places.

Intollerance and hatred are universal. They are every bit as prevalent in the US and Israel as in Europe (and everywhere else for that matter). Surveys seem to show an overall slightly higher level of anti-Semitism in the EU than the US, largely driven by opinions in Poland, Hungary and Spain. In several EU countries levels of anti-Semitism are considerably lower than the US. Overall anti-Semitism is declining in the EU according to the ADL. You unfairly paint an entire continent with one broad brush as you have done with the anti-imperialist movement.

I have addressed your points that I felt warranted a response. You have also been selective in which of my points you choose to respond to.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

Correction:

Strike the paragraph that reads: "I note that Israel is center stage because anti-imperialist of the left want to make alliances with Muslims. That is the be all and end all of it. As a result of that interest, Jews are demonized and so is Israel."

Substitute:

I note that Israel is center stage because anti-imperialist of the left want to make alliances with Muslim Islamists as well as the fact that Israel is connect with the US. As a result of that interest, Jews are demonized and so is Israel. But it is not quite the case that Israel's alliance with the US is, by itself, enough. Otherwise, the anti-imperialists would demonize Egypt and Jordan, etc., etc. They would also demonize all of the European countries, since, by and large, they are allied with the US and take more money from the US than does Israel. Note that the US has bases all over Europe - to defend Europe from what? -. Israel is singled out primarily due to the wish of anti-imperialists to ally with Muslim Islamists. Strangely, the anti-imperialists overlook that these Islamists are also rather imperial in their outlook, not to mention their intent.



N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

John,

Now, as to your other arguments. You write: "Certainly the levels of overt anti-Semitism and exclusion of those who are religiously or ethnically Jewish is considerably lower now than it was even in the 70s and 80s and certainly lower than in the 50s and early 60s. "

I frankly think you have no idea what you are talking about. You do not understand political Antisemitism. It is a very different thing than what you refer to. What is occurring now is lethal, not mere agreements with some benchmark.

You write: "America is at the center stage for the anti-imperialists, Israel shares that stage only because of its relationship with the US."

I note that Israel is center stage because anti-imperialist of the left want to make alliances with Muslims. That is the be all and end all of it. As a result of that interest, Jews are demonized and so is Israel.

You write: "What part of the anti-imperialist formula has clearly, bay any rational standards, stirred up hatred and violence against Jews? The violence against Jews has not, as far as I have seen, been committed by anti-imperialists, nor have they advocated this violence. All of them that I have known are appalled by any and all ethnically motivated violence."

I said before that the anti-imperialist provide intellectual cover for the violence. Rather than calling the violence unacceptable, it is said that such violence is a product of the Middle East conflict - which is only partially the case -, but without taking on the hatred that is the main cause of the violence and without overtly condemning the violence.

You write: "If the Kaplan Small survey also asked a series of questions about anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudices and the results showed a positive correlation between a lower 'anti-Israel' index scores and higher levels of prejudice against Arabs and Muslims would you then say that a pro-Israel rally would be a good place to go to find anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigots? // (I would not.) // If this questionaire were given to different ethnic and religious groups do you think that ethnically and religiously Jewish people would exhibit more or less anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice than the general populace? // This thinking goes in both directions and is just as valid either way."

It might show such a prejudice. It would depend on the survey. I note, with respect to all of this survey talk, I have deposed public opinion pollsters and I have worked with others very, very intimately (professionally, mind you). Having been involved in such things rather intimately, I know much better than to think I can interpret one all that well. I know from experience and from my work that it is a lot more complicated than you seem to think. And running the numbers, as you suggest I do - and I already know how to do that -, is an interesting idea but, again, interpretting the evidence is a lot more complicated even after the numbers are all tallied. So, I do not venture a guess on this topic. I would await to hear how the evidence is interpretted by an expert. It may or may not show what you think.

I really hope that you will take the time to consider my arguments. I am a bit tired of reading what amount to efforts to deflect, rather than address - whether or not in agreement - my positions and my actual arguments.


N. Friedman - 11/3/2006

John,

You write: "Europe now has, by and large, a freer press than the US (US is #44 and dropping) and that unfortunately means that more inflammatory statements can be found the European press than in the American press. An American paper would not likely have published the Danish cartoon that caused such an uproar."

Well, I do not know that any European country has a freer press than the US. That strikes me as nonsense. A better analysis would be that the American press has standards that are absent in much of Europe. You can call it self-censorship if you will but I think it is better called editorial discretion.

In fact, there are positions that a major (but not a minor) US publication is unlikely to publish. That hardly makes them less free. Editorial judgement means using judgement, not printing any garbage such as The Guardian prints.

Stuff like Paulin's poem does not belong in a newspaper that is not openly dedicated to advancing hatred. Paulin's poems presents no news. It says nothing original. All he has done is say he hates Jews - he and millions of other low lifes in Europe. That stirs up hatred for no imaginable reason. Perhaps it represents the view of ordinary Brits. I do not know. I do not that such poem is trash.

I also know that European papers jumped to call the Jenin battle a massacre. That was not the sign of a free press. That is the sign of a press that has no standards. It may also be the sign of a press that is on the take, since the allegation was not based on anything that could be called evidence. Rather, there was a rumour and the European press treated it as fact. That is not free. It is license.

You might read a bit of Aristotle. There is a difference between freedom and license. Publishing a poetic's hate fantasy is an excersize in license, not in freedom. Publishing rumours of massacres that had no factual basis is an exersize in license, not in freedom.

In the US, you will not find poems in major papers that are swimming in hate about Jews. You will not find insults at other peoples' religions. That is true. That is a credit to the US and that hardly means that the US press is not free.

By being free for the most part of insults about other religions and ethnicities, it is possible to have a more serious debate about issues, as opposed to an ad hominem hatefest, as the Guardian sees fit, in its editorial discretion, to print. That hateful approach perhaps sells newspapers but it does not advance any imaginable newsworthy interest.


I might add: the US government does not censor the press, as is the case in most European countries. Such is not legal here. In Europe, Holocaust denial is a crime in some countries. The same for denial of the Armenian genocide. Some, as in Britain, want to make it a crime to speak about religion. That places a serious crimp on press freedom, far greater than anything in the US, as the government simply cannot do that. Now, that does not mean that papers should print trash. There is, as I noted, a difference between license and freedom. Europeans do not quite understand it.

So, I do not buy your talk that the press is less free here. I think you can find any point of view in the press here. But, in the major press, you will not find Antisemitism published as legitimate comment. That is a credit to the calibre of their editorial pages and not a sign that they are less free.

You are correct that few major American publications printed the Danish cartoons. That is called editorial discretion. Why should they publish the actual cartoons? People have died when they are published. And the story was thoroughly reported here and anyone who wanted to see them could. They could, for example log onto Jihadwatch.org and see them. And why should a major American publication stand up on behalf of Europeans who spend their time badmouthing the US? Where is European solidarity with Americans? Where is European solidarity with Israelis? Wher is European solidarity with, for that matter, Europeans? I do not see it.

I note that I have previously provided copious evidence supporting the view that there is a rash of Antisemitism in Europe. You have not addressed any of it. Some of the information comes from well known scholars.

If you want your views taken seriously by me, you have to address my arguments, instead of deflecting them. For example, in response to my comment about Paulin, you chose not to address the issue of what is considered fair comment in Europe vs. in the US. Instead, you throw out a bogus argument that the US press is unfree - a claim refuted by the fact that you can find any and every point of view in US publications, from communist, to fascist, to Nazi, to Islamist, to anti-Islamist, to Holocaust denial, to Zionist, to anti-zionist, to Antisemitic, to pro-imperial, to anti-imperial, to Democratic, to Republican, etc., etc. However, our major papers, which have a moral, although not a legal, responsibility, have editorial standards. Major European papers, instead, use their editorial discretion to promote hatred, not only of Jews but of Muslims and of Americans. That is not press freedom. It is bad editorial judgement.

I might add: the by far biggest story affecting Europe (i.e. the failure to assimilate Muslims) was not a story in Europe until just recently. That is a press failure, continent wide, of startling importance and consequence. The story still does not receive the coverage it deserves. That sounds like self-censorship. I might note that writer Bruce Bawer has investigated the failure of European publications on this important story in his excellent book While Europe Slept. By the standards of press annuls, the failure of the European press has to be among the greatest in history. Hence, the title of his book.

And, instead of reporting on the racism against Muslims and Muslim hatred of Europeans and the use of a varity of techniques to deny the obvious fact that Muslims feel alienated, Europeans focused on Israel and the US. That is much the same as the press in the Arab regions which deflect home failure by blaming Israel, Europea and the US. However, one would expect better from the supposedly free press in Europe. Read Bawer's book. It is an eye opener.


john crocker - 11/2/2006

I can find no accurate stats on levels of anti-Semitism pre 2002. I know polling must have been done, but I don't have access to LexisNexis and google isn't doing it for me and I've tried as many strings as I care to. If you have better access to this data I would be interested to see polling data on anti-Semitism from the 50s to the present.
Certainly the levels of overt anti-Semitism and exclusion of those who are religiously or ethnically Jewish is considerably lower now than it was even in the 70s and 80s and certainly lower than in the 50s and early 60s.
The ADL notes that as of 2004 and 2005 research that anti-Semitism in Europe is down from 2002 levels (when the large spate of anti-Semitic attacks occurred).

America is at the center stage for the anti-imperialists, Israel shares that stage only because of its relationship with the US.

Europe now has, by and large, a freer press than the US (US is #44 and dropping) and that unfortunately means that more inflammatory statements can be found the European press than in the American press. An American paper would not likely have published the Danish cartoon that caused such an uproar.

"I am asking them to show why a formula which has clearly, by any rational standards, stirred up a lot of hatred and violence against Jews is not in some way Antisemitic."
What part of the anti-imperialist formula has clearly, bay any rational standards, stirred up hatred and violence against Jews? The violence against Jews has not, as far as I have seen, been committed by anti-imperialists, nor have they advocated this violence. All of them that I have known are appalled by any and all ethnically motivated violence.

If the Kaplan Small survey also asked a series of questions about anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudices and the results showed a positive correlation between a lower "anti-Israel" index scores and higher levels of prejudice against Arabs and Muslims would you then say that a pro-Israel rally would be a good place to go to find anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigots?
(I would not.)

If this questionaire were given to different ethnic and religious groups do you think that ethnically and religiously Jewish people would exhibit more or less anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice than the general populace?

This thinking goes in both directions and is just as valid either way.


N. Friedman - 11/2/2006

John,

You seem to think that Antisemitism is at a fairly low ebb. The vast majority of Jews see it exactly the opposite way.

The vast majority of Jews (and many other observers, particularly in the US) think that Antisemitism is rampant in Europe and that the levels of hatred are comparable in some ways - but not all, thus far - to the period before WWII. Moreover, most liberal Jews - and I count myself as being liberal and Jewish by ancestry, but not religious -, which means the vast majority of American Jews, think that is so. (See e.g http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/12/14/MNGVD3N2H31.DTL&type=printable ).

Regarding Paulin, the point is that a major British newspaper, The Guardian, with a very wide readership saw no reason to withhold publication of an openly Antisemitic poem in the paper. No major US newspaper would do such a thing, you can be fairly sure of that. But, The Guardian evidently saw no serious concern. That tells me a great deal about what is occurring in Europe as it indicates what a supposedly respectable publications considers to be legitimate comment.

Now, you can try to dismiss these events, which I would call symptomatic of a serious outbreak of hatred, as being incidental. I think you are fooling yourself. They are consistent with reports about how Jews are treated in Europe. Having visited Europe in 2004, such reports seem entirely accurate to me.

I note that Jewish publications, including those from extremely liberal publications such as Reform Judaism Magazine have reported on current European Antisemitism in considerable detail and have been investigating its structural elements. See e.g. "Pipeline to Peril," by Richard L. Rubenstein, at http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=1113

The article begins with this premise:

On the European continent, Jews are under siege. The EU has turned aggressively against Israel, and the post-Holocaust taboo on anti-Semitic speech and incitement has been broken, opening the way for a plethora of anti-Jewish statements, cartoons, and caricatures.

Now, Professor Rubinstein is not a lightweight. He is rather famous, having written several well known books. See his own blurb at http://www1bpt.bridgeport.edu/~rlr/CVNOT2003-June.htm . In this case, what is written about him corresponds reasonably well with reality.

The views I have heard is that Antisemtism is the worst it has been since WWII. Moreover, the view is that the likely causes of the Antisemitism - and the violence associated with it - are only likely to worsen since there are structural reasons that exacerbate feelings. Rubinstein has discussed some of these reasons.

Your comment that the politics of Wal*Mart voters - a class of voters not yet noted by pollsters in the US - was important does not address my point. I wrote about Antisemitism, not whether they voted for or against Democrats or Republicans. So far as I know, neither party has adopted either an overt or covert Antisemitic agenda.

Regarding your comment about the burden of proof, there is enough smoke from the anti-imperialist movement to raise questions. Their agenda makes the world's only national Jewish home center stage. So, it is not unfair that they explain themselves. I am not asking them to prove a negative. I am asking them to show why a formula which has clearly, by any rational standards, stirred up a lot of hatred and violence against Jews is not in some way Antisemitic.



john crocker - 11/2/2006

"In any event, such people’s views are not all that important as they have, at present, no political implications."
The views of those people have had tremendous political implications, as they are largely responsible for the results of the past several US elections.

"What surprises me is your continued resistence to connecting the view that hostility to Israel has much to do with the fact that Israel is the Jewish national home."
I don't deny a correlation, but I think that you have overstated that correlation and the numbers from the study to which we have been refering support my position.

Anti-semitism in academic, European and academic Eurpopean circles is limited to a relatively small minority. I have seen no reliable evidence that anti-Semitism is on the rise in any of these communities, though there is some evidence that it may be on the rise in the general population in some areas.

Anti-semitism has existed since Jews came in contact with others. (much like almost all bigotry begins with first contact with someone different in some way) Levels have fluctuated over the course of history. On a historical scale anti-Semitism in Europe and the US is quite low. Compare levels now with levels in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s (or the 1600s or the 1800s). Apparently there has been a measureable uptick since the 90s, but levels are still relatively low in a historical context.

"Why do you think that a political position that clearly makes the one state governed by Jews into center stage anything but Antisemitic?"
The political position of the anti-imperialists, particularly Chomsky, puts the US at center stage. Israel, as you have pointed out, is often brought in because of its unique relationship with the US. Israel has chosen its allies and some bad inevitably comes with the good. This alliance has done more to help than hurt Israel on balance and the same can generally be said for the US.

"it is on those who say it is not Antisemitic to give clear reasons why it is not Antisemitic."
Such a position is about as fair to anti-imperialists as it would be to place the burden on the Israelis to prove that they are not anti-Arab bigots. Can you prove that you are not a racist? To place the burden of proof on the accused is not something I am at all comfortable with. It is not a fair tactic.

Tom Dalyell's comments were repudiated and caused him to be marginalized in the parlaiment and cost him power rather than consolidating power for him.

I don't see how Tom Paulin is in a position of power.

All that being said, vigilance against potential threats to human rights whether from anti-Semitism or from imperialist policies is laudable, if occasionally misplaced.


N. Friedman - 11/1/2006

John,

I see your point about rural Walmart. Maybe yes and maybe no.

In any event, such people’s views are not all that important as they have, at present, no political implications. By contrast, the views of those who push the Chomskyite line do have implications as they are focused on an agenda directed against Jews, in my opinion.

I note that you would likely find in a survey of Jews that the vast majority, if asked about an agenda which opposes Israel because it is linked with perceived US imperialism, would think the agenda is basically Antisemitic in effect, if not in intent. I am not aware of that survey but I am aware of surveys which show Jewish perceptions (a) that the far left (including most especially such people associated with universities) and Europeans have adopted an Antisemitic position.

What surprises me is your continued resistence to connecting the view that hostility to Israel has much to do with the fact that Israel is the Jewish national home. Consider all of the other circumstances over the last thousand years where, particularly (but not only) in times of tension, Europeans found a way to focus on Jews. The number of such incidents is staggering. Why would you think that the current circumstance is an exception? Why do you think that a political position that clearly makes the one state governed by Jews into center stage anything but Antisemitic? That baffles the mind. Given Europe’s history, it is on those who say it is not Antisemitic to give clear reasons why it is not Antisemitic. So, I put it to you to show that the current matter is an exception.

I also really think you should read a book on the topic. Again, I would recommend Walter Lacquer’s recent book The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day. It is a tour de force. Or, you might read Bernard Lewis’ classic Semites and Anti-Semites although the book provides more information about the rise of that hatred among Arabs than it does regarding Europe and the US.

The cabal charge is not limited to the uneducated. It is coming from people in power - especially on your side of the ocean - and it does focus on Jews. Such charge has been made, for example, by socialist Tam Dayell. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/05/04/ndaly04.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/05/04/ixportaltop.html and http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/13/179248 .

A nasty poem about Jews was published in The Guardian by the well known Irish poet Tom Paulin. See http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/poetry/story/0,6000,439279,00.html . The Israelis are the "Zionist SS." His poem is introduced by him with the words "To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of 70 AD (destruction of Jerusalem by Titus), are just as offensive as the Nazis."

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

The position that Jews have too much power is heard among people involved in the anti-globalization movement. See e.g. http://tess2.uspto.gov/tmdb/tmep/1200.htm#_T120302b . The article originally appeared in a very prominent magazine.


john crocker - 11/1/2006

If you read carefully I said a rural Wal-Mart, I don't think Cambridge qualifies. I chose Wal-Mart precisely because they are everywhere and they tend to be frequented more by people with low to middle income.

"In fact, it is among the educated that you hear that Jews have too much power. It is among the educated you hear that Israel should be dismantled. It is among the educated that you hear the word 'cabal.'"
1. The criticism of Jews controlling the banks and hollywood are not coming primarily from the well educated or from the left.
2. Only a very few on the far fringes in Europe and the US have called for the end of the state of Israel.
3. Cabal does not refer only or even primarily to Jewish people, though less well educated people may not be familiar with the meaning of this word.

"Having read the report in question, I still stand by my interpretation."
Did you run the numbers? Until you do you cannot understand the level of change in the probability. This is where your interpretation fails. Until you have run the numbers you do not have a leg to stand on.

You believe that those you label Chomskites or anti-Imperialists have an agenda that is anti-Semitic in effect. I strongly disagree, but neither of us is likely to change the others mind, so let us set that aside for now.

"So, on my theory, such rallies tend to be filled - not everyone, mind you, but a good number of such people - with people who espouse a theory that (Mr. Friedman thinks) is Antisemitic in effect, if not intent."
This is miles from your original assertion. I can accept this statement, if it includes my parenthetical insertion.

"The position the anti-imperialists hold stirs up hatred for no imaginable reason other than to obtain power."
The "anti-imperialists" have no real power nor are they likely to anytime in the near future. Most of them realize this. If they were seeking power, they did not choose their path wisely, as it will likely end up with them eating beens and rice with their roomates. The people in this movement may be many things, some few of them may be anti-Semites, but power hungry is not an adjective I think many would apply to them.

I know a few and have known a fair number of people that you would label anti-imperialist. They generally also support environmental movements, Native American and Latin rights movements, anti-globalization movements, anti-genetically engineered food movements, animal rights movements, human rights movements and others. They are likely to be at a
protest against some Israeli policy one week and at a free Tibet rally the next, a vigil for the victims of genocide in Darfur the next, followed by a rally or protest for some other cause the next. In short they are largely idealistic people with a lot of time on their hands who are either in school or have found a way to live while earning next to no money (either parents or part time jobs and several roomates). The few who manage to make a career of organizing these polical organizations generally make very little money and have next to no power even within their own organization, as most of the volunteers don't last for long and tend to be a bit flakey. In short, your fear is misplaced.

Try giving the Kaplan Small survey at an Evangelical or Charismatic Church and see what results you get. These groups largely support any action by Israel, particularly the settler movement within Israel, though for their own reasons. Read some of what Falwell has said on the subject of Israel and Armageddon if you are looking for someone who is power hungry, anti-Semitic and in much more of a position to cause harm.


N. Friedman - 11/1/2006

John,

Having read the report in question, I still stand by my interpretation. I also reiterate my point that the impact of the anti-imperialist movement - which I call Chomskyism for lack of a better term - is Antisemitic in effect, if not in intent. So, on my theory, such rallies tend to be filled - not everyone, mind you, but a good number of such people - with people who espouse a theory that is Antisemitic in effect, if not intent. In the end, that matters a lot more than whether some or most or any of them hold personal animus against Jews.

The position the anti-imperialists hold stirs up hatred for no imaginable reason other than to obtain power. And the theory they hold is no different than the myriad of other such political positions taken over the course of history where Jews served a political purpose in some unrelated or only tangentially related matter.


N. Friedman - 11/1/2006

John,

There are Walmarts all over the US. They are not limited to hillbilly areas. There are Walmarts in, for example, greater Boston and people who have attended Harvard and MIT shop there as well.

Well to-do people and educated people and everyone else shop at Walmarts because the store charges less. So, your theory is that people who are concerned about price might tend more often to be Antisemitic. That is nonsense.

My theory, based also on direct evidence and on books written on the subject is that, just now, the most likely place to find an Antisemite is among people who hate Israel. Such is not just my view. You can find books which take that view, based on observer what is said.

And, at the moment, the place to find such people tends to be among the educated. In fact, it is among the educated that you hear that Jews have too much power. It is among the educated you hear that Israel should be dismantled. It is among the educated that you hear the word "cabal."


john crocker - 11/1/2006

Read the conclusion rather than the summary. You have overstated their conclusions. You have projected a higher probability on the group than the study supports. You have taken the conclusion that someone with "anti-Israel" views is more likely to hold anti-Semitic views and turned it into people with "anti-Israel" views are likely to hold anti-Semitic views. Run the numbers. It is easy. It should take you less than 20 minutes even if you have to stumble a bit. An increased probability is just that an increased probability. Someone in a grociery store is more likely to be looking for tofu than someone chosen at random from society as a whole, yet grociery stores are not "filled with" people looking for tofu (at least not generally). You have to understand what the increased probability is. If you are a math phobe the numbers given in the second half of my third paragraph above are taken directly from the report's conclusions. Once again you are making assertions that are stronger than can be supported by the numbers.

My statement about the rural Wal-Mart is based on the typical attendance at such a location. Rural, less educated, less well off are all factors that tend to predict higher than average levels of racial intolerance. The attendance at a rally of this sort would likely have a large proportion of current or recent college students. Level of education is a predictor of racial intolerance. The study would predict that among the Wal-Mart shoppers those with a higher index score would more likely be anti-Semitic and the same would hold true for those at the protest. The study does not however predict which locale would have a higher percentage of people with anti-Semitic views. There are confounding factors. When the authors controlled for confounding factors it was to insure that within each group increasing index score predicted higher probability of anti-Semitic views. For instance an Austrian with an index score of 2 is far more likely to hold anti-Semitic views than a Belgian with an index score of 4. Confounding factors matter.

Again your assertion that members of such protests are likely to be (>50%) anti-Semites is not supported by the study. The study was conducted in Europe, which you believe is more anti-Semitic than the US. If this were so then it would be even less likely that a majority in attendance would hold anti-Semitic views. For the record given the percentages associated with the index scores and the distribution of the index score and looking at what each index score indicates it is more likely that people holding anti-Semitic views at such a protest would be in the minority. Read the entire report and play with the numbers and you will see. You have already spent more time on your comments to me than would be required to check the math. You have no good excuse not to do this.


N. Friedman - 11/1/2006

John,

As I mentioned earlier, I have worked with public opinion pollsters. You may think you understand it. As one who has questioned such people at great length, I can assure you that it is a lot more complicated than you think. For now, I plan to go by the summary, as I have seen nothing that suggests it is wrong.

However, as one who knows a little something about the difference between asserting something about a non-randomly selected person and a randomly selected person, I can assure you that you can project about people in a group without knowing what the individuals think. That is what public opinion polling is all about.

Now, if there were a person at the rally with views known to me, I could say that such person holds certain views, based on their expressed opinions. I cannot do that about a randomly selected person. Which is to say, as a matter of simple science, I know for a fact that what I say is correct.

Now, you cite a statistical assertion about probability. I shall take your word for it. However, I shall assume, unless you are saying that the conclusions stated by the authors are wrong - and, for that I think you would really need to be an expert - that the probability is certainly higher at such an event than at a typical Walmart. Otherwise, the survey is bogus, something I would like to see an expert on the topic show.

As for the question about who commits the violence, most of it is by Muslims. I thought I said that. You might Google the report done, country by country, in Europe back, I believe, in 2003. There was a big contraversy with the report, because it showed that Muslims were the persons committing the violence. The EU tried to surpres the results. They came out. Then the EU re-issued the report with a new introduction that was contradicted by the findings and the explanations within. In any event, the vast majority of the violence was by Muslims.





john crocker - 10/31/2006

"I have access to information about Cheney. He is not a random person at an event. I do not have access to the views of a randomly considered person at any event. I can, accordingly, know something about Cheney that I cannot know about the event attendee. That means that I can know that Cheney does not claim to be a neocon. I cannot say that a particular person attending an Anti-Israel event hates Jews. But, I can say that a disproportionate percentage of those at an Anti-Israel event hate Jews - although I cannot identify who does and who does not hold that view without talking to such persons."
You know far less about the people at this theoretical rally yet you are far quicker to judge them. Your overstated assertion tars the entire group as likely anti-Semites. You don't have to be a statistician to look at the numbers in the report. If you want to see what their odds ratios actually mean, the formula and a brief lay person oriented explanation is on wikipedia. If you got through high school algebra you can use the formula given. Use the odds ratios given in the report and play with some numbers in the formula. If you try this for a few sets of numbers it should quickly become apparent to you what those numbers actually mean. I laid out an example in an earlier comment.
What I stated was not my theory on statistics. I am not an inovator in statistics, I just use them. An increased probability of anti-Semitism was predicted with increasingly anti-Israel position. What is left out of this statement is, how much is the probability increased? The odds ratios are the answer to that question. If you don't understand the odds ratios then you don't understand the paper and you really shouldn't quote from something that you don't understand. If you just look at numbers given in the conclusion a little over half of the people with an "anti-Israel index" of 4 were anti-Semitic. Now remember what a score of 4 actually means. It means among other things that this person thinks that intentional targeting of Israeli civilians is justified. I think you will find that if you go to a protest against some Israeli policy that you will find that the people who hold that view are in the minority and, according to the study, even among them only a little over half are anti-Semites. I don't think you would find a signifigantly less amount of anti-Semitism at a rural Wal-Mart, you might even find more.

"Well, I read The Guardian. I suggest to you that, for a non-local story that concerns a foreign country, Israel gets an awful lot of coverage."
This is a mighty long way from your original statement. Having lived in both places and having been surrounded by the media in both places I can't say that the amount of coverage of Israel differs much in the US and Western Europe, though the tone is different to be sure.

"In the case of Britain, there are many such incidents, as those I have contact with report."
Where are these cases reported? Who is committing the violence?


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

Correction. Strike the sentence that reads: "3. Telling me that Chomsky is a Jew is supposed to me what?"

It should read:

3. Telling me that Chomsky is a Jew is supposed to mean what?


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

John,

1. I have access to information about Cheney. He is not a random person at an event. I do not have access to the views of a randomly considered person at any event. I can, accordingly, know something about Cheney that I cannot know about the event attendee. That means that I can know that Cheney does not claim to be a neocon. I cannot say that a particular person attending an Anti-Israel event hates Jews. But, I can say that a disproportionate percentage of those at an Anti-Israel event hate Jews - although I cannot identify who does and who does not hold that view without talking to such persons.

2. The Chomskyian Left sees itself as anti-imperial. In fact, that is, so far as I know, their central plank. In connection with that, the Chomskyian Left, you will recall, takes the view that the massacre, some term it genocide, of the Bosnian Muslims is misunderstood. Chomsky himself may, notwithstanding some equivocation under the guise that he supports the right of such research, perhaps support Diana Johnstone's position. The same can be said regarding Robert Faurisson - and, in this case, Chomsky, wrote the introduction to Faurisson's holocaust denial book, while claiming, if I recall correctly, when Chomsky was called a holocaust denier, that he was supporting the right to do such research or something of the sort. The Chomskyian Left, you will note from the article I posted, generally takes the view that helping those in Darfur is a bad idea - notwithstanding the situation -. Chomsky perhaps also took the view that the Cambodian massacre may not have been quite what it seemed - again under the guise, when challened (if I recall correctly) of supporting research.

When I see an introduction to a book by Chomsky that supports research showing the bad behavior of Jihadis or Palestinian Arabs, I might change my mind about Chomskyianism. Until then, the things he and his followers suport research on tell me somehting useful about their priorities.

3. Telling me that Chomsky is a Jew is supposed to me what? A Jew can support a program which is Antsemitic. There were, to note, even a few Jews who supported, for a time, the Nazis. And, I do not claim that he hates Jews. I have no idea about that. I claim that his viewpoint is Antisemitic in its effect, if not intent.

4. On Chomsky, you might read what Paul Berman wrote about him in Terror and Liberalism. In particular, the part about Chomsky's efforts after his theory about what happened in Cambodia did not follow his script.

5. As for people dying from Chomskyism, I take the Chomskyites to be, whether or not consciously, in league with the Islamists. Some are, in fact, conscious of an alliance. Certainly, much of the far Left is and, as I see it, Chomskyianism is the defining view of the far Left.

The Chomskyites provide, whether or not intentionally, intellectual cover at home for what Islamists do. The death toll from Islamism exceeds 2 million deaths. By analogy, the fascists bear considerable responsibility for the doings of the Nazis. They were allies. The same perhaps for the Chomskyites, far Leftists and the Islamists.

6. Your theory on the statistics is not the same as that held by the authors of the report. They claim to have found a real association. They are experts on the topic. When another expert says they misinterpret their own data, I shall listen.

I am not a statistician and I can only see what I see. And, as I said, the report, according to the authors, suggests that the more vehement the person's view about Israel are, the more likely the person holds Antisemitic views as well. Hence, I draw the logical conclusion that at an Anti-Israel event, there is likely to be a disproportionate number of Jew haters.

7. Well, I read The Guardian. I suggest to you that, for a non-local story that concerns a foreign country, Israel gets an awful lot of coverage. Compare the coverage to the coverage in the far bloodier war regarding Kashmir. And, Britain certainly has a lot at stake in Pakistan, as it is rather central to the war with the Jihadis.

I might also note that the coverage of the Arab Israeli dispute is rather poor. The same goes for the BBC, which was one of the leaders in the charge in the Jenin incident that the BBC, et al., hyped up, without the benefit of corroborated evidence, to be a massacre. Then, they had to backtrack on the issue when the facts showed that the allegation was bogus.

8. Those involved in France about being attacked for being Jewish.

In the case of Britain, there are many such incidents, as those I have contact with report.


john crocker - 10/31/2006

Your argument against Cheney's status as a neocon flies directly in the face of your characterization of those with views critical of Israel being anti-Semitic. Apparently belonging to a group whose primary purpose is support of an agenda does not mean you support that agenda, yet attending a rally against Israeli policy means you are likely an anti-Semite. Signing on to a letter that states the foreign policy objective of that same group does not mean you support that group, yet appearance a political rally indicates support of all of its objectives and indicates probable anti-Semitism. And finally if you do not self identify as a neocon you cannot be said to be one, yet the same does not hold true for anti-Semtism. If you believe that the bar must be so high for characterizing Cheney and others as neocons (a label they would not likely find offensive), why is your bar for labelling someone an anti-Semite so low?

"The political program of this group is Antisemitic in effect and tends to attack Antisemites to its cause. The group opposes what it views to be imperialism by the West and, most particularly, by the US by supporting equally imperialistic forces from any group which might stand up to the West and, most especially, the US."
This is a radical mischaracterization of the positions taken by the people you label the Chomskyian left. Their goal as I have heard it articulated in no way matches your characterization. You may disagree with it and you may think it is unduly critical of Israel and US policy, but labelling all who adopt part of his historical interpretation anti-Semites is not fair or accurate.

Chomsky is ethnically Jewish. He has not publically made any tradtionally anti-Semitic statements. It appears that any support of policy that you feel is harmful to Israel qualifies as anti-Semitism to you. While I don't support much of his political philosophy, labelling him an anti-Semite and more dangerous than the people who have led us into this debacle in Iraq seems a stretch at best.

I have read a bit of Chomsky and find it interesting, but don't buy into much of his historical interpretation. He is a much better linguist than historian.

"But, the Chomskyian agenda is even worse."
Really, how many thousands has the Chomskian agenda killed and maimed so far?

"I base my statement on what appears in the survey. I also note that such is what the authors of the survey asserted at the time it was released, namely, that those most negative about Israel tended to be most negative in their views regarding Jews."
I have supplied the raw numbers from the study and the numbers that are projected by their odds ratios. Neither set of numbers supports you contention. If we assume that only people who answered 3 or 4 of the Israeli policy questions negative to Israel (I don't believe that this would be the case) the numbers still have well under half of those in attendance would be anti-Semitic. This is less than three times the likelyhood of picking an anti-Semite at random from a crowd in the US. Read the survey carefully. Look at the numbers. They do not back up your statements.

I occasionally read the Guardian and the Independant and also occasionally watch BBC1 and BBC2 (all that is offered here) and I do not see this 24/7 coverage you mention.

"The complaints in France are that they fear being attacked, as they know people who have been attacked."
Attacked, or attacked for being Jewish?
I read about a rise in violence targeting Jews and Muslims in France, but it does not seem to be epidemic. It is still considerably lower than the level of racial and homophobic violence in the US.

"In the UK, they complain that they cannot wear the Star of David (i.e. Mogan David) publicly, for fear that they might be attacked - as many have been"
I googled for stories and found only a few. It is bad that there are any, but many is hyperbole.


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

Correction:

Delete tfollowing sentence:

"As part of that agenda, Israel is attacked as it is scene in league with and dependent upon the US."

Substitute:

As part of that agenda, Israel is attacked as it is seen to be in league with and dependent upon the US.


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

Correction: Delete the sentence that reads: "No. The political program of this group is Antisemitic in effect and tends to attack Antisemites to its cause."

Substitute instead, the following sentence:

No. The political program of this group is Antisemitic in effect and tends to attract Antisemites to its cause.


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

John,

You write: "Cheney and Rumsfeld are undeniably neocons. Fukuyama recognized them as such and their membership and support of the agenda of the preeminent neocon think is certainly evidence of this."

I guess, since neocons identify themselves as such, the first question would be whether, in fact, they identify themselves as such. I do not think they do so.

The second question is whether they believe in the neocon philosophy. Well, it is a philosophy that concerns issues in addition to what you call imperialism and what they call advocating democracy. So, I am not quite so sure that they are such.

The third question is why I should take Fukuyama's view over their own views of themselves. In other words, I think you are projecting your opinion onto people. I think that people could sign a statement or a letter without agreeing with all of the tenets with a political position.

Now, if you take the view that all of the people who have signed something by the PNAC are imperialists, I am not even sure that such is the case. It might be but, in fact, there is more than one way to read the position taken in the famed letter. In any event, it certainly is not imperial in the classical sense.

But even if it were classically imperial, one can be an imperialist without being a neocon. So, even then your argument does not follow.

I think the gist of what you are saying is that you oppose the Bush policy and you blame those around him for it. And, for lack of a better word, you have chosen to call that policy neoconservative. In that Reagan had essentially the same policy priorities generally speaking and was not considered a neocon, I think the entire claim is a bunch of malarky.

You write: "They both signed onto the letter to Clinton that clearly stated the neocon foreign policy agenda."

I read the letter. Signing the letter does not make one a neoconservative.

You write: "Why would he hire so many neocons if he did not support their agenda? I have heard no one seriously dispute Cheney's neocon status."

He hired people of a variety of points of view. The ones you have heard of are labeled neoconservative. He hired such people because they are bright and capable and have served past GOP administrations and likely because they knew each other socially.

You write: "Some in the movement may be anti-Semitic, but you have in no way shown that they make up the majority or even shape its goals or actions."

No. The political program of this group is Antisemitic in effect and tends to attack Antisemites to its cause. The group opposes what it views to be imperialism by the West and, most particularly, by the US by supporting equally imperialistic forces from any group which might stand up to the West and, most especially, the US. As part of that agenda, Israel is attacked as it is scene in league with and dependent upon the US. As a result, the group challenges any effort by Israel to defend itself, whether justifyable, by their own definitions, or not. Such is a classically Antisemitic program, no different than the program during the Dreyfuss Affair to attack Jews, not because they hated Jews but because it helped a political program. But, the result was exactly the same thing.

You write: "What power is it that they want? Are any of them running for office? What do they control or attempt to control?"

They want power over governmental policy.

You write: "The vast majority of people in these movements want to help people, you may feel that they are misguided in their efforts but you have provided not one scintilla of evidence that their motives are anything but helping people."

Those opposed to Capt. Dreyfuss wanted to help people also. So do the Jihadis. Everyone wants to help people. The scintilla of evidence I have provided is the nature of their program is not designed to help people. Given the opportunity to do something about the mess in Darfur, these people say its not their problem. And the reason: the arch imperialist US might somehow become involved or it might make Islamists look bad - as if those principles were more important, no matter a person's agenda, than the people dying. One might compare the Chomskyian agenda to Gandhi's agenda. During WWII, he took a time out from his agenda.

You write: "When you so vehemently attack the opposition to a movement you might as well support it. If you attack and demonize virtually the entire anti-war movement you have provided support for the war. You may have ideological reservations about the neocon foreign policy, but your demonizing of most of those who actively oppose it is support whether you like it or not."

If the anti-Iraq group is mostly Chomskyian, then what you write would be correct. However, that is not the case so you are not correct.

I have nothing good to say about the neocon foreign policy. And I have not supported the Iraq war. But, the Chomskyian agenda is even worse.

You write: "There are occasionally demonstrations against some Isreali policy. Once again the study you cited does not support your contention that someone who would attend such a rally would be even most likely (50%+) an anti-Semite. You keep making this baseless allegation. Either provide evidence or drop it."

I base my statement on what appears in the survey. I also note that such is what the authors of the survey asserted at the time it was released, namely, that those most negative about Israel tended to be most negative in their views regarding Jews.

You write: "I do not see daily stories about Israel in the papers here. There are more stories about Israel when there is some military or terrorist action there."

Try reading The Guardian. Try watching the BBC.


You write: "I regularly read and podcast the American news. It seems that in the US Madonna adopting an African baby is far more important to Americans than genocide in Darfur. If I base my opinions on television coverage Madonna has committed a worse crime by adopting this child that the perpetrators of genocide. Janet Jacksons boob exposure is also apparently a worse crime than genocide in America. Which position is more hypocritical?"

I would say that both are hypocritical. However, coverage of Janet Jackson's body and Madonna's child, in the worst case scenario, are not part of an actively bigoted and hateful campaign. Chomskyianism is.

You write: "What are their complaints? What makes them feel uncomfortable about being Jewish in the UK and France?"

The complaints in France are that they fear being attacked, as they know people who have been attacked.

In the UK, they complain that they cannot wear the Star of David (i.e. Mogan David) publicly, for fear that they might be attacked - as many have been - and they are harassed at social events when the discussion turns to the Middle East issue, the Islamist issue, etc.,etc.. These are not, by the way, politically active people.








john crocker - 10/31/2006

That someone does not respond to your comments in the way you would choose does not give any indication of how they feel about Sudan, Rwanda or any other humanitarian situation.

The tone of your comments is generally combative and so they tend to draw combative responses. Try moderating your tone when you talk about these concerns. Urge donations to aid groups working in the region. Write to your representatives and urge others to do the same. Offer solutions or some insightful criticism that does not involve Israel when you comment on them and your responses will likely change.

If you just want to get people talking make some outragious claim (not related to Israel). ex/ The US did not intervene in Sudan in Rwanda because of bigotry against Africans. When the victims were European the US rushed in, but when the victims are black nothing happens etc, etc. There are plenty of people who comment on this board who would bite and when a thread takes off it develops a life of its own.

The story of Jesus and the money changers is allegory pointing to what some felt was a corrupted system. Likely the actual event never happened , at least not as portrayed.


john crocker - 10/31/2006

All of those I mentioned are neocons. They all subscribe to the neocon foreign imperialist foreign policy. Cheney is the most powerful person in the administration when it comes to shaping policy with the possible exception of Bush. Bush doesn't really seem to be an idea man though. He appears to listen to those around him and base his opinons on the conversation around him. By all accounts Cheney with the assistance of Rumsfeld is primarily responsible for shaping that conversation. Cheney and Rumsfeld are undeniably neocons. Fukuyama recognized them as such and their membership and support of the agenda of the preeminent neocon think is certainly evidence of this. If they are not neocons they certainly forward neocon foreign policy Cheney et al neocons and have tried to distance themselves from them. Much of this is self serving, but you are the only person I have ever heard argue that Cheney is not a neocon.

"Neither Rumsfeld nor Cheney is anything other than a traditional conservative. You can say they belong to this or that group but that does not make them neoconservatives. When they started writing articles for Commentary or the like, then I shall take your point seriously."
They both signed onto the letter to Clinton that clearly stated the neocon foreign policy agenda. I believe that the letter can still be found on the PNAC website. If you belong to the preeminent neocon think tank you are likely a neocon, just as if you belong to a libertarian think tank you are likely libertarian. The sheer number of members of this neocon think tank drafted into the administration, largely at Cheney's direction is further indication of Cheney being a neocon. Why would he hire so many neocons if he did not support their agenda? I have heard no one seriously dispute Cheney's neocon status.

"I have done no such thing. And I am not an imperialist. I oppose the anti-imperialist movement - i.e. Chomskyianism and the like - as it is a bigoted, Antisemitic, opportunist polictical movement that wants power, not to help people."
Some in the movement may be anti-Semitic, but you have in no way shown that they make up the majority or even shape its goals or actions. What power is it that they want? Are any of them running for office? What do they control or attempt to control? The vast majority of people in these movements want to help people, you may feel that they are misguided in their efforts but you have provided not one scintilla of evidence that their motives are anything but helping people.

"That does not mean I favor imperialism. Nor I have I suggested that I support the Iraq war or even the earlier Gulf war. Nor does anyone in the circles I travel in. But, that does not mean we belong to the anti-imperialist movement, which is even worse."
When you so vehemently attack the opposition to a movement you might as well support it. If you attack and demonize virtually the entire anti-war movement you have provided support for the war. You may have ideological reservations about the neocon foreign policy, but your demonizing of most of those who actively oppose it is support whether you like it or not.

"Anti-Israel demonstrations are a rather rare thing in the US. There is no big constituency that opposes Israel here. When such events occur, they tend to attract large numbers of Antisemites. Why? Because that is the group which is most consistently concerned about Israel."
What is an "anti-Israel" rally?
There are occasionally demonstrations against some Isreali policy. Once again the study you cited does not support your contention that someone who would attend such a rally would be even most likely (50%+) an anti-Semite. You keep making this baseless allegation. Either provide evidence or drop it.

"Indeed there are occasional stories. But, contrast that with the 24x7 coverage of Israel, especially in Europe and that ought tell you about the hypocrisy of those involved"
I do not see daily stories about Israel in the papers here. There are more stories about Israel when there is some military or terrorist action there.
I regularly read and podcast the American news. It seems that in the US Madonna adopting an African baby is far more important to Americans than genocide in Darfur. If I base my opinions on television coverage Madonna has committed a worse crime by adopting this child that the perpetrators of genocide. Janet Jacksons boob exposure is also apparently a worse crime than genocide in America. Which position is more hypocritical?

"You clearly have not spent enough time in the US, as of late."
I have been living in Europe for only a few years and I return to visit the US at least a couple of weeks a year and as I said I read and podcast American news. I doubt the US has transformed itself in the brief time I have been away. There has certainly been no evidence that this has happened.

"Obviously, there are Antisemites in the US but they are marginal at present. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said in Europe."
I am currently living in the Netherlands. According the the K-S study the overall rate of anti-Semitism (by their difinition) is about 8%. I very much doubt that you would find it lower in the US if you used the same standard. According to the ADL the figure in America holding "hard core" anti-Semitic beliefs is about 17%. Different standards are likely used, but the US number is more than double that of this European country.

"In France and in Britain. These people are thinking of leaving Europe. I have first hand knowledge about this."
What are their complaints? What makes them feel uncomfortable about being Jewish in the UK and France?


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

Minor correction. Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney are involved in making policy. The others, except now Mr. Bolton who was promoted, are second tier people, not policy makers.

Neither Rumsfeld nor Cheney is anything other than a traditional conservative. You can say they belong to this or that group but that does not make them neoconservatives. When they started writing articles for Commentary or the like, then I shall take your point seriously.

They, like most Conservatives, belong to a wide variety of organizations. But, that does not mean they are neocons.


N. Friedman - 10/31/2006

John,

You write: "Cheney, Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, Armitage, Bolton,Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby are all neocons (members of the premier neocon think tank). How can you say they are not the primary shapers of our foreign policy. Rice has changed very little of substance."

I can say what I said because she is the Secretary of State and, before that, the National Security Advisor. She was a professor at Stanford. She is a woman with a first rate intellect, something even her critics believe.

Even if she were a dummy, the people you name are all second level people. Second level people are not, in US politics, the primary policy makers. Politics simply does not work that way. Think about any administration before Bush II. Who ever claimed that the assistant secretary was the primary policy maker? Was the assistant secretary, e.g. Graham Allison, the primary policy maker for Clinton or was it the National Security Advisor and/or Secretary of State?

The reason that Europeans and Chomskyians point to the lower echelon people is that such makes for good comment. Focussing on Rice would be considered sexist or racist. Focussing on Powell would have been racist or anti-military. So, a fiction was created - one with no precedent in US history as the assistants are never the primary policy makers.

And, for bigots, all the better that the people in the lower echelon are Jews. And, create a fantasy history that a professor of Plato and other classical philosophy from Chicago created a secret political agenda. Those who buy into that cabal nonsense smell of bigotry. This is a repeat in modern guise of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

You write: "The neocon agenda is imperialist (by Webster's definition). Go to the PNAC website, read their agenda, read their letter to Clinton. Everyone you have broadly labelled are anti-war activitists. You have actively tarred all opposition to the neocon agenda as bigots. If this is not advocating for the neocon agenda it is certainly tearing down its opposition."

I have done no such thing. And I am not an imperialist. I oppose the anti-imperialist movement - i.e. Chomskyianism and the like - as it is a bigoted, Antisemitic, opportunist polictical movement that wants power, not to help people. That does not mean I favor imperialism. Nor I have I suggested that I support the Iraq war or even the earlier Gulf war. Nor does anyone in the circles I travel in. But, that does not mean we belong to the anti-imperialist movement, which is even worse.

You write: "I do periodically see stories about Sudan and about Eritrea in my local paper. ..."

Indeed there are occasional stories. But, contrast that with the 24x7 coverage of Israel, especially in Europe and that ought tell you about the hypocrisy of those involved, to the extent that they tar Israel, as is commonly the case in Europe. And, were the Chomskyian left anything but bigoted, they would note that, in fact, what occurs in Sudan ought to be center stage, not Israel. Why? Because that is what a movement claims to care about people ought to do.


You write: "And the Holocaust Museum pushes for this consistently, not only when Israel is criticized. There are others who are not so principled in their use of the issues surrounding genocide."

Well, Charles Jacob works tirelessly on this topic, running an anti-slavery website and organization and advocating on the topic. Professor Reeves also works tirelessly. As do most of the Jewish groups - as this is an important issue to the Jewish community in the US. No more genocide is a real issue for Jews.


You write: "Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been pushing for action from the outset. The membership in these groups in America is primarily from the political left."

These are organizations which have discredited themselves. Each, in its way, has advanced the Chomskyian, Antisemitic agenda. They forfeited any claim to be in favor of human rights. They stand with the Jihadists and object to the right of self-defense, most especially by Jews.

You write: "What on earth are you talking about?"

Anti-Israel demonstrations are a rather rare thing in the US. There is no big constituency that opposes Israel here. When such events occur, they tend to attract large numbers of Antisemites. Why? Because that is the group which is most consistently concerned about Israel.

You write: The jokes people tell and how they are told as well at the comments people make do give an indication of how they feel. People who make racist comments are much more likely to be racist than those who don't. If someone did and study and ran regression analysis on the results the correlation would likely be MUCH greater than the correlation with "anti-Israel" sentiment. Someone who feels this way about Jewish people is not likely to view Jews as equals. People in America still talk about Jews running the Banks and Jews running Hollywood and the trouble therin. This talk isn't coming from the left. It isn't coming from the anti-war or anti-imperialist movements. You seem to feel strongly enough about this issue that you are willing to think almost anything about someone who disagrees.

You clearly have not spent enough time in the US, as of late. And, you fail to understand the difference between institutional complaints and real hatred. Obviously, there are Antisemites in the US but they are marginal at present. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said in Europe.

You write: "Where in Western Europe is it uncomfortable to be Jewish? How do you come by this knowledge?
The Jewish people I know here are quite comfortable. The project I am currently working on is a collaboration between the EU and Israel and all of the participants are comfortable. Have you met any Jewish people who do not feel comfortable being Jewish in Western Europe? I haven't."

In France and in Britain. These people are thinking of leaving Europe. I have first hand knowledge about this.


john crocker - 10/30/2006

"That is not quite so. Taking the view that everyone in the Bush administration is a neocon does not make it so. In any event, it is Ms. Rice who manages US foreign policy and her agenda is rather her own."
Cheney, Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, Armitage, Bolton,Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby are all neocons (members of the
premier neocon think tank). How can you say they are not the primary shapers of our foreign policy. Rice has changed very little of substance.

"You write: "As opposed to the neocon imperialist lens which holds people above politics?" I was not advocating for the neocon agenda. I was making a remark about bigots of the anti-imperial stripe."
The neocon agenda is imperialist (by Webster's definition). Go to the PNAC website, read their agenda, read their letter to Clinton. Everyone you have broadly labelled are anti-war activitists. You have actively tarred all opposition to the neocon agenda as bigots. If this is not advocating for the neocon agenda it is certainly tearing down its opposition.

I do periodically see stories about Sudan and about Eritrea in my local paper. Unfortunately no major News organization in the US or Europe is doing much about any of the stories in Africa or SE Asia unless there is a major change or a large terrorist attack or natural disaster. Human disasters in these parts of the world are seen as too depressing, people feel uncomfortable, they change the channel, ratings slump, they stop covering the story. US News relies on ratings more than its European counterparts and is more, not less subject to this phenomenon. PBS is the only free network in the US with anything approaching good news coverage, largely for this reason, (though it is now feeling pressure). I don't remember seeing much African News in the US unless it involved US troops.

Bush via Powell was a late comer to calling the genocide a genocide (much of Europe beat him to it) and still nothing much beyond lip service has been done by anyone not in an NGO. The US has not pushed for real action in Sudan and the US is now not in a position to offer a meanigful peacekeeping operation.

"The Holocaust Museum is not a product of the Right yet it has pushed hard on the Sudan matter."
And the Holocaust Museum pushes for this consistently, not only when Israel is criticized. There are others who are not so principled in their use of the issues surrounding genocide.

Every major human rights group has been crying out for action, not just or even primarily Jewish groups, though their work is commendable. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been pushing for action from the outset. The membership in these groups in America is primarily from the political left.

"Well, in the US, they are not common except among people who hate Israel. Such rallies are attended by large numbers of bigots."
What on earth are you talking about?

"I do not much care the jokes that people tell or the occasional ignorant comments people make They do not tell me very much about their willingness to treat Jews as equals."
The jokes people tell and how they are told as well at the comments people make do give an indication of how they feel. People who make racist comments are much more likely to be racist than those who don't. If someone did and study and ran regression analysis on the results the correlation would likely be MUCH greater than the correlation with "anti-Israel" sentiment. Someone who feels this way about Jewish people is not likely to view Jews as equals. People in America still talk about Jews running the Banks and Jews running Hollywood and the trouble therin. This talk isn't coming from the left. It isn't coming from the anti-war or anti-imperialist movements. You seem to feel strongly enough about this issue that you are willing to think almost anything about someone who disagrees.

Where in Western Europe is it uncomfortable to be Jewish? How do you come by this knowledge?
The Jewish people I know here are quite comfortable. The project I am currently working on is a collaboration between the EU and Israel and all of the participants are comfortable. Have you met any Jewish people who do not feel comfortable being Jewish in Western Europe? I haven't.


N. Friedman - 10/30/2006

Corrections:

I noted Zmag as also publishing an article that was only, so far as I know, in CounterPunch.

However, Zmag is part of the Chomskyian left.

Also, delete the sentence that reads: "So, I have to assume that Europeans see Israel’s wall as worse than daily massacres that have resulted in thousands dying daily - while, in the last 5 years, there have been likely under 5,000 deaths on both sides."

Substitute:

So, I have to assume that Europeans see Israel’s wall as worse than daily massacres that have resulted in thousands dying daily - while in Israel, in the last 5 years, there have been likely under 5,000 deaths on both sides.


N. Friedman - 10/30/2006

You write: "The label neocon is of interest to anyone who watches politics in the US since it is the neocons who manage our foreign policy."

That is not quite so. Taking the view that everyone in the Bush administration is a neocon does not make it so. In any event, it is Ms. Rice who manages US foreign policy and her agenda is rather her own.





You write: "I'm living in Western Europe now, I read a paper on the train almost every day, I regularly converse with my European colleagues and I have seen less racism here than when I lived in Alabama and SoCal. Not scientific, but this is my personal experience in the US and Europe."

Well, you are not noticing that most European countries have an overtly racist policy which effectively blocks non-indigenous populations from having proportionate political representation or say in how countries are ruled. By the way, such is a large reason why European Muslims are so dissatisfied with their lives and why they, in large numbers, call the countries they live in "racist." Now, your papers do not report much on this. I would suggest you reorient yourself by reading an excellent book, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer. He has found not only racism galore but denial by Europeans along with an extraordinarily nasty agendas asserted by prominent Muslims in Europe.

You write: "There is proportional representation in most of Western Europe and all citizens can vote. In some countries the barriers to citizenship are higher than others." Why, then, are there no Muslims in the national legislatures of most European countries? Why, not in, most particularly, France? What actually exists is a policy directed toward keeping non-indigenous groups oriented toward their places of origin.

You write: "As opposed to the neocon imperialist lens which holds people above politics?" I was not advocating for the neocon agenda. I was making a remark about bigots of the anti-imperial stripe.

You write: "I am not sure who you include in your grouping labelled ‘the anti-Imperialism crowd’ and thus cannot judge whether or not they make noise about Sudan."

I gave a good example before: the article previously mentioned was from CounterPunch and Zmag, which speak for the Chomskyian anti-imperalists.

You write: "I will note, however that most of the outcry I have heard in the US and Europe about the atrocities in the Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda has come from the political left."

Well, not exactly. Most of the outcry has come from Jews, who are, mostly, from the moderate left and moderate right, along with a few college professors such as Professor Eric Reeves. The anti-slavery group, which is headed by ardent Zionist Charles Jacobs, has also done serious work in that regard. I do not know if he is left or right wing but he was, in any event, also involved in the David Project, including its todo with Columbia University. I believe that Elie Wiesel has also been active in putting the spotlight on Sudan. Walid Phares has also written about Sudan and, while I think and he says he is a social democrat, his detractors say he is to the far right.

My point, however, is that the papers, most especially in Europe, do not much turn the spotlight on Sudan while treating Israeli news as if it were local news. And, the tone taken in reporting about Israel is, to my American ears, rather tendentious and not very professional. The Jenin incident - where the word "massacre" appeared often and early and, evidently, without many facts - is a good example of tendentious, unprofessional reporting. In the US, mainstream reporting was rather different and assertions about massacres were treated as assertions that the reporters took with considerable skepticism. By contrast, there are large-scale massacres on a daily basis in Sudan; yet, I have not seen too many front page stories in Europe (or in the US, for that matter). So, I have to assume that Europeans see Israel’s wall as worse than daily massacres that have resulted in thousands dying daily - while, in the last 5 years, there have been likely under 5,000 deaths on both sides.

You write: "All the while the Bush administration and the Republican leadership argued against a rush to judgement."

Actually, that is not so. I am not Bush fan but his administration has actually done much to place Sudan in the spotlight and calling the Darfur branch of the war "genocide." The UN and European have not exactly rushed to help although the US has, in fact, pushed on this issue.



You write: "The loudest cries of protest I here from the political right about these tragedies comes up when Israel is being criticized."

Not to be difficult with you but what makes you think that the cries are coming from the right. Israel’s friends in the US are on both the right and the left. The Holocaust Museum is not a product of the Right yet it has pushed hard on the Sudan matter.

You write: "My criticism of Israel has largely been in response to those who lay all of the blame on the Palestinians and none on the Israelis."

I do not mind criticism of Israel. I mind criticism that is really intended to demonize. I object to the obsession with Israel. I object to criticism which have no basis in fact - which is rather typical- or where Israel is criticized for doing things which the criticizer allows itself to do - as is the case with basically all European governments -.

You write: "Anti-Israeli rallies are not a normal thing anywhere outside the Muslim world, unless you characterize any demonstration against an Israeli policy an anti-Israeli rally."

Well, in the US, they are not common except among people who hate Israel. Such rallies are attended by large numbers of bigots.



You write: "Again, I am living in Western Europe and this is not my experience. I have not heard one person tell a racist joke or make an anti-Semitic comment. I cannot say the same for my experience in Alabama and SoCal. During any given year in those places I heard several anti-Semitic jokes and comments despite it being known to all I knew that I did not care to hear them."

I do not much care the jokes that people tell or the occasional ignorant comments people make They do not tell me very much about their willingness to treat Jews as equals. What I care about is Antisemitism as an ideological position or government policy, which is what exists in Europe and most particularly among people who make anti-imperialism their prime political agenda.

Lastly, I note that the views tested by the Kaplan survey are used in the US. They note a rise and fall, depending when the snap shot is taken, in negative views about Jews. But that is different from stupid jokes that people tell. In any event, the US is a pleasant place for Jews to live. That can no longer be said in too many places in Europe.


john crocker - 10/30/2006

"Neocon, as a label, is (not?) of interest in the US, other than to competitive conservative movements, primarily to those who claim to be opposed to imperialism."
The label neocon is of interest to anyone who watches politics in the US since it is the neocons who manage our foreign policy.

"My impression is that Europeans are rather better at that, having created, without the backdrop of a war for survival, an entire government policy that celebrate racial differences while denying political power to those who choose to celebrate or, to be more exact, have no choice but to live with their differences."
I'm living in Western Europe now, I read a paper on the train almost every day, I regularly converse with my European colleagues and I have seen less racism here than when I lived in Alabama and SoCal. Not scientific, but this is my personal experience in the US and Europe.

There is proportional representation in most of Western Europe and all citizens can vote. In some countries the barriers to citizenship are higher than others.

"My view, however, is that the anti-imperialism lens is just another ideology where people count less than politics."
As opposed to the neocon imperialist lens which holds people above politics?

I am not sure who you include in your grouping labelled "the anti-Imperialism crowd" and thus cannot judge whether or not they make noise about Sudan. I will note, however that most of the outcry I have heard in the US and Europe about the atrocities in the Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda has come from the political left. The American politicians who called for the massacres to be labelled what they are (a genocide) came from the left. The calls for intervention and humanitarian aid came from the left. All the while the Bush administration and the Republican leadership argued against a rush to judgement. The loudest cries of protest I here from the political right about these tragedies comes up when Israel is being criticized.

I agree that there are rights and wrongs on both sides of the Israeli Palestinian conflict and have always said so in my comments. My criticism of Israel has largely been in response to those who lay all of the blame on the Palestinians and none on the Israelis.

Anti-Israeli rallies are not a normal thing anywhere outside the Muslim world, unless you characterize any demonstration against an Israeli policy an anti-Israeli rally.

"By contrast, in Europe, the percentage of Jew haters is, from what I can see, far higher than in the US. At least, their willingness to say hateful things is far, far greater."
Again, I am living in Western Europe and this is not my experience. I have not heard one person tell a racist joke or make an anti-Semitic comment. I cannot say the same for my experience in Alabama and SoCal. During any given year in those places I heard several anti-Semitic jokes and comments despite it being known to all I knew that I did not care to hear them.

If you want to test this hypothesis. Take the anti-Semitism questions given in the Kaplan Small survey to a local mall or supermarket. If you collect the data I will run the stats on it comparing your results with those in the Kaplan Small study. I think that you will be surprised by the results.


N. Friedman - 10/30/2006

Well, I Googled the combination of neocon and Jews found 2,430,000 hits. The combination neocons and jews had 1,480,000 hits. The combination neocons and jew had 1,040,000 hits. The combination neocon and jew had 1,950,000 hits. That is not, of course, a causal relationship but it is an interesting association. It does suggest, without proving, that someone ties the two groups together.

In the US, the mainstream is not much interested in labels other than liberal, conservative, democrat and republican. Neocon, as a label, is of interest in the US, other than to competitive conservative movements, primarily to those who claim to be opposed to imperialism. Hence, one does not look to the mainstream which, to the extent it has views on imperialism, does not make that issue a central issue. That issue tends to be of interest in the US to people in academia. If you want to see a plethora of examples making the noted connection, usually but not only by implication, see the CounterPunch and Zmag websites.

In Europe, it is a different story. For now, I note the late Hugo Young. I also note Tam Dalyell of Scottland.

As for Ms. Sheehan, she evidently has a following, including among members of the mainstream press who see fit to publicize her attacks on Bush II. I do not call her part or not part of the mainstream but she does represent or otherwise influence a segment of it. And she does make the connection in issue: so why should we except her out of the discussion?

As for Sudan, I think your interpretation is wrong. While it is true that Sudan was conquered for a while by Westerners, that ended quite some time ago and basically the same interpretation of Islam was in the air prior to that time. Recall, if you will, Muhammad Ahmad who declared himself the Mahdi. Recall that he led a particularly violent campaign on the theme that Islam permitted slavery and in revolt against Ottoman rule.

Now, the issue of colonialism and Islamism ought to be examined carefully. Recall a few facts which are not quite consistent with the colonialism theory, generally speaking. First, the movement began in a place that was not and has never been, in the last 1,400 years, a colony of anyone, namely, Arabia. The Wahhabi movement started in the 18th Century in the desert. The Ottoman Empire still existed and was still fairly powerful. Recall that the Muslim Brotherhood began not in reaction to colonialism but in reaction to a decision by Attaturk, namely, the dismantling of the Caliphate. Note that for Sayyid Qutb, the main issue was not colonialism but Western culture.

Recall, further, that the virulent strain of Islam is a misnomer. Jihad, whether you call it striving against one’s inner devil or to spread Islamic rule, is a key element of the religion and always has been. When Muslim leaders have, in the past, had the opportunity to act militarily to spread Muslim rule, they have done so, claiming that such is a duty in their faith. So, it is not exactly an accident - since there is a religious imperative associated throughout the history of the religion with conquest - that within 100 years of Muhammad’s death, Muslims conquered widely and created one of the largest empires the world has known. That empire (in its various dynasties) continued to conquer until its internal contradictions came home to roost and, in due course, began to lose wars and, in due course, was pushed back, particularly by Mongol conquerors. Eventually, however, a new group restored things, namely, the Ottoman Turks who resumed conquering and they too established a great empire but eventually were pushed back. Now, this is not intended as an attack on Islam. It is merely to note what is clearly factual and which is the view of important Muslim theologians over the ages, not to mention the famed historian/sociologist Ibn Khaldun. In Sudan, the revolt against the Christians and animists was termed a Jihad and it had rather classic religious aim - note the effort to force people to switch religions and note the introduction of Islamic education in Christian and animist communities -.

You write: "Israel is a different situation and certainly its past does provide insight into its current actions. The holocaust and the pogroms are much more important historical events shaping Israeli policy than colonialism." While the Shoah, pogroms and Antisemitism play a significant role in Israeli thinking, I think, nonetheless, that the main issue which focuses the Israeli mind is the knowledge that losing would likely mean a likely end to many, if not most, of their collective lives. However, it cannot be ignored that Israel was born in revolt against British rule, with Britain ruling the territory, with a British general leading the Jordanian army (i.e. Arab Legion) in opposition to Israel’s creation and British flyers manning the Egyptian air force in that war as well. So, I think you underestimate the role that opposition to colonialism played in Israeli thought.

The mainstream in the US does not call Israel or Israelis names, for the most part. The anti-imperialist movement does. In Europe, associating Israel with Nazism is common and not just on the fringes. I would highly suggest you read a new book, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, by Walter Lacquer - a rather thorough book by a rather renowned historian -. He points to a plethora of such evidence in Europe.

I do not know what Israelis call Palestinian Arabs. My impression is that there cannot be great love for Palestinian Arabs given their proclivity for massacring Israeli civilians. In that particular context, I am not sure I would automatically consider such to be racism but I would have to see an individual comment - in real context - to make a judgement. At the same time, I have little doubt that some Israelis are racists since racism is a rather universal phenomena. On the other hand, I much doubt that Israelis would, by world standards, be high on the racist quotient list. My impression is that Europeans are rather better at that, having created, without the backdrop of a war for survival, an entire government policy that celebrate racial differences while denying political power to those who choose to celebrate or, to be more exact, have no choice but to live with their differences.

You write: "There is an undeniable and large difference in the degree of abuse in Israel and Sudan." Well, if we care about people, then we look to places where the abuse is worst. Israelis have not killed millions of people. The Sudanese have. Israelis have not forced people to convert to Judaism. Sudanese have forced Christians and animists to convert to Islam, taking children from their parents and using food as a weapon to force conversions. Israelis do not capture and sell slaves. Sudanese do. And they sell slaves not only in Sudan but to people living in the Gulf states.

Moreover, Palestinian Arabs have seats in the Israeli Knesset (while, in Europe - where Israel is often vilified -, Muslims are basically not represented). In Israel, before the current mess, what can be said is that Palestinian Arabs living in the territories lacked representation in Israel but, as of 1994, they were represented, albeit not by persons with utilitarian interests and albeit not in an independent country; and they did, by the standards of the Arab regions, live comparatively well - having higher incomes, better education, longer life spans, etc., etc., than is customary in the region.

You next attempt to excuse the choice of vilifying Israel more than Sudan on the ground that the US supplies Israel with weapons. Note that the US supplies lots of countries with weapons and support including, for example, Egypt - a country which treats Arabs worse than Israel treats Palestinian Arabs and where there is substantial discrimination against Copts, who basically do not have the benefit of real access, unlike in Israel, to the legal system when they are attacked, which commonly occurs -. In any event and rather more to the point, Americans do not seem to mind that the US provides assistance to Israel. That policy has widespread support. It is, rather, in Europe that such policy is attacked.

But, I think you are correct that the reason that Israel is attacked is that it is seen as promoting the US agenda. That agenda places Israel in a collision course with those who see the world through the anti-imperialism lens. My view, however, is that the anti-imperialism lens is just another ideology where people count less than politics. Hence, the fact that the anti-imperialism crowd is rather silent about Sudan - where there is reason to scream while they make lots of noise about Israel, where there are rights and wrongs on both sides but where the anti-imperialism crowd treats a wall that inconveniences people as if it were grave offenses - at least to judge from the language used to describe it (e.g. apartheid wall) - as if the Green line were anything other than an armistice line which, when it served as a border, was not recognized by Israel’s enemies anyway.



Lastly, you write: "Your statement regarding a room filled with anti-Semites clearly implied that, at the very least, most people at such a rally would be anti-Semitic." Well, that is not what I intended. However, I again note - as a person living in the US where anti-Israeli rallies are not a mainstream thing - that those sufficiently upset about Israel to go to an anti-Israel meeting are likely to hold very strong views against Israel. The mainstream left would not likely be the majority at such a meeting. And, among the group in attendance are likely to be a disproportionate percentage of Antisemites. By contrast, in Europe, the percentage of Jew haters is, from what I can see, far higher than in the US. At least, their willingness to say hateful things is far, far greater. So, the percentage of such people is likely to be rather large. But, I certainly do not say that all people in attendance are. At the same time, I think that those opposed to Zionism are as bad or worse than Antisemites. So, on my thinking, such people are another cancer on society.


E. Simon - 10/30/2006

Pete, it's funny that you took issue with "casually indifferent moral equivocation," but not with "historical disregard for detail."


Yehudi Amitz - 10/30/2006

sorry for the typo


Yehudi Amitz - 10/30/2006

OK, real crimes should not be reminded only the Jew bashing, in fashion, should be the norm and if one dare to bring the real humanitarian outrages of this world in his comments he is a "paranoid Jew".


Robert Hauer - 10/30/2006

Nonsensical answer.

Let me conclude by saying we all have “commenting rights” here.


john crocker - 10/30/2006

Neocon is used as code for Jew by some of its mainstream right wing critics (Buchananon). Who in the mainstream of the left uses it in this way? (Name names, offer quotes) BTW Cindy Sheehan and blog comments do not represent the mainstream of the left.

Sudan's problems are not entirely defined by its colonial past, but they set the stage for them to accept a particularly virulent interpretation of Islam that validated the abuses already being committed and helped to justify more and worse abuses. The west helped to make this bed and many people there realize/remember this and are angry at us for it. Charismatic Islamist leaders have taken advantage of this simmering resentment to consolidate their power in the region. If we ignore our own culpability in creating these conditions we will never win hearts or minds. That argument does not excuse or justify the atrocities nor is it meant to as some on the right claim. Either deliberately or out of ignorance explanation is being misinterpreted as excuse.

Israel is a different situation and certainly its past does provide insight into its current actions. The holocaust and the pogroms are much more important historical events shaping Israeli policy than colonialism. This, as with Sudan and others is by way of explanation to understand a situation, not to excuse it.

No one in the mainstream has accused Israel of genocide or Nazism. Racism not only against Palestinians but against Sephardic Jews, by all acounts I have heard by those who have lived and visited there, is common in Israel. There is an undeniable and large difference in the degree of abuse in Israel and Sudan. There is, however, another important difference between the actions of the Israeli government and the Sudanese government other than the undeniable difference in the degree of their crimes. The US does not support the Sudanese government, neither do we arm them or the Janjaweed. We, at least nominally speak out against their crimes even if we fail to act effectively to stop them (as I believe we should have).

Your statement regarding a room filled with anti-Semites clearly implied that, at the very least, most people at such a rally would be anti-Semitic. The study you mentioned does not back up such an assertion and you have provided no further evidence to support such a contention. That some of the more vocal members of such a crowd may say things that either are or you feel to be "classically anti-Semitic" does not indict all or even most of the others present. I think that you are seeing what you want to see here. It is a much more comfortable to take a controversial position if you can demonize those you disagree with. This is unfortunately all to common on both sides of many political debates.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

You can protest against the anti-Jewish bias and bring real crimes against humanity and real humanitarian crises but you didn't because you believe that bashing Jews for no real reasons is normal. Personally a brought these places and crimes into my comments but the posters don't seem interested in developing this kind of threads. Of course I did it because I want to show anti-Jewish bias but only a few Jews commented on it and other posters don't really care about real crimes against humanity. If you would really care about, you would take a position instead of using the lame argument "how is this pertinent to the subject?"
By the way, in a time when people didn't have newspaper delivery or TV the temple surroundings were the agora of Jerusalem, where, normally, people meet, had conversations, did business (including money change). One who (supposedly) could make wine out of water didn't care about economy, but the guy didn't propose a deal he tried to destroy the instruments used by people to make a living and that's crazy.


john crocker - 10/29/2006

The thing I am pointing out here is that you only brought up Darfur and these other crimes to highlight what you saw as anti-Israel bias, not as a call to action to stop the atrocities. Did you once in any of those comments urge contributions to to Drs. w/o Borders,the Red Cross or any other aid agency active in the region to help with what little aid is possible? (I've taken a quick look through the archives and see no evidence of this, but I could have missed something. I would be happy to be proven wrong on this. Please provide a citation.) Do you contribute? Have you written to your representatives? Do you attempt to effect positive change? Or do you only bring it up to highlight your case for the persecution of Israel? Its not a question I would normally ask, but you aren't pulling any punches.

"I stated that I am an atheist and as such I don't believe in the superiority of any religion."
As an atheist you have a lot of criticism for Christianity and Islam and their practitioners and very little tolerance for criticism of anything Jewish.

"NYSE is one of the temples of the American capitalism"
True in a metaphorical sense I suppose, but not really pertinent to the comment you made. In Christianity as traditionally practiced Jesus isn't the prophet of American capitalism. The moneylenders Jesus would likely be after today are on television every Sunday and some are on every weekday as well.

You call me a bigot but your own words indict you. My comments are not needed here for anyone to see your prejudice.

On a kinder note, I agree also that much religion in the US is habit and appearance without much introspection.
It is also true that the cost and availability of medical care are serious problems that are not being seriously addressed and that is a shameful situation for such a wealthy country.

And finally, if you will agree to drop the Jew hating crap and ad hominem attacks, I will be happy to return to civilized discourse. I would suggest you take me up on this offer and stop digging this mighty hole you have made for yourself.

To be fair, I'm willing to give you one parting ad hominem blast if you accept, but after that you should be civil.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

http://cfinyc.org/news_and_press/before-a-crowd-of-hundreds-and-c-span-cameras-salman-rushdie-defends-freedom-to-blaspheme

check also:

http://pointofinquiry.org/

and click on "Listen Now" on the right side to listen to his speech


N. Friedman - 10/29/2006

John,

This is Mr. Amitz's comment that I had in mind, when I said he was testing the hypothesis: "Again, show me where did you protest against mass killings of tenths (or hundreds) of thousands, besides Palestinians killed by Israelis in self defense, and I'll change my view."

As for the comment you quote Mr. Amitz on, I think he explains himself as follows: "Repeated mass killings are a characteristic of the Islamic world for the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries." That, so far as I can discern, is not a racist or unfair comment. And, the point he makes is that a lot of mass killings are occurring in the Islamic regions and most are carried out by Muslims against other Muslims. That point is hardly even debatable as it is factually the case.

You write: "I'm living in Europe now and I regularly read the papers here and it is in no way clear to me that Jews are being demonized here."

I have visited Europe and seen TV there. Israel and Jews, at least when I was visiting, are an obsession. As are comments in the paper that Jews, to be accepted, ought to change their views on Israel. As are signs at rallies that say, "Gas the Jews" and the like. I might note: living in the US which is not obsessed with demonizing Israel or Jews, it was shocking to watch TV in Europe. You would think that Israel were a neighborhood in London as Israel is treated like local news.

I also note the rather poor coverage, at least in British papers. The view I see pushed is an effort to create closer links between European countries and Arab countries. And, to accomplish that, it is necessary to have an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel viewpoint, which means playing up any act by Israel while ignoring worse things done by Arabs.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

Israelis make lots of mistakes but defending themselves isn't one of them. About comments I suggest your to enlighten yourself by using a dictionary. I said that I make comments within a given context.


N. Friedman - 10/29/2006

Mr. Crocker,

It is true that you cannot say that something's origins defines its present condition. However, you have not addressed my argument which is that neocon is used as code word for "Jews." I think that is a fact.

Sudan's problems have many origins. As you, say, however, that where something began does not tell you its all you need to know about its present condition.

In the case of Sudan, one cannot possibly understand what is going on without noting the contribution of Islamism. To say otherwise is to ignore the ideology of those involved.

Further, I do not see how it is an excuse, justifying mass murder of millions - as occurred in Sudan in the name of Islam and proudly proclaimed to be in that name by those involved - that Sudan was once controlled by colonial powers. But: if that is good for the goose, those same powers controlled the Israelis so, presumably, their actions are entitled to be excused as well. Or, is this a one way excuse.

Now, you say that the fact of rape does not mean we should not speak of burglary. Note: I do not claim that you should not speak about burglary. What I say is that you should not call burglary Nazism or genocide or racism or any of the hundreds of other slurs thrown at Israel. And, I say that one worries more about rape more than burglary because rape is a worse crime that causes permanent injury. Or, in the case of Palestinian Arabs, that they did not suffer the horror that Israel's detractor's allege, as, even on their telling, what the Israelis are alleged to have done was no worse than what happened to the Sudetens or the dozens of other cases where populations were displaced during the 20th Century.

My comment regarding a room filled with Antisemites was not a quantitative statement. My point is that such an event is a real good place to find Jew haters. I stand by that. And I stand by the view that the language used by people at such events is rather classically Antisemitic, whether or not the people admit such thing.



Robert Hauer - 10/29/2006

“I make regular comments” It would be amusing to know what you think a regular comment is. It’s okay for you to attack other people’s religions but even a hint of criticism against your “tribe” brings out the flame thrower. I agree with Mr. Crocker that this method of responding really has reduced your number of allies at HNN. At least by one, anyway.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

I even printed statistics about the biases of this site. I wrote about Darfur and other real crimes against humanity in the context given to me here. You stick to the biased context without criticizing it and call me bigot for stating facts.
I stated that I am an atheist and as such I don't believe in the superiority of any religion.
NYSE is one of the temples of the American capitalism, the only real religion in the USA. The traditional religions, in the USA, are mainly social clubs. In a country where 47 million people don't have real medical care and 50% of marriages end in divorce, don't tell me that Christian morality means much to people here.


john crocker - 10/29/2006

Where have you made comments about Darfur outside of the context of deflecting criticism form Israel? I haven't seen it on this site. Maybe you could point to some of these comments.

I call you a bigot for making bigoted statements.

"You even bring up your Christian bigotry for protesting against blaming the Jews with executing Jesus (who, if existed, was a psychopath)."
I did not blame the Jews for anything.
It was the Romans who put Jesus on the cross.
I do think that calling the central figure of another religion a psychopath is bigoted and chauvenistic.
The idea that one religion and/or the central figures of one religion are superior to another is at the root of many of the problems in the Middle East. The type of thinking you are exhibiting here is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

"How would you call someone, who in the present days, would go on the New York stock exchange and destroy the computer monitors used by the traders?"
As far as I know the NYSE is not on the grounds of a temple or church.

This anti-Christian ranting is likely to cost you some of your allies. You may want to rethink this position.


E. Simon - 10/29/2006

Some of what he says certainly seems more vitriolic, some seems like a silly side show, much of it seems like his utter unwillingness to kow-tow to the things Clarke believes he can demonstrate through nothing other than condescension; Israelis can be feisty. I don't agree with all of it. I don't know where he gets this Jesus is a psychopath stuff, and I don't believe that Christians are delusional Jew hating followers of a psychopath, even if the legacy of millenia of doctrinaire Christian anti-Semitism is something that only recently - in a historical sense - was addressed seriously enough to reverse. Point is, I don't view his utterings and thoughts as dangerous in their content, conclusions or potential following as I do Omar's, whom Clarke is more than happy to appropriate - along with a Holocaust denier - as a balancing act, so I don't see a point in denouncing him wholesale, as misguided as he may be on some things.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

Go to Gaza and read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to the children there. Give them pancakes too. They'll smuggle some TNT, for you, to blow up Zionists like me.
Otherwise, find some good Jungian Jewish therapist.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

I make regular comments on Darfur and other Arab crimes. You call me a bigot for writing about Arab crimes. You even bring up your Christian bigotry for protesting against blaming the Jews with executing Jesus (who, if existed, was a psychopath).
How would you call someone, who in the present days, would go on the New York stock exchange and destroy the computer monitors used by the traders?


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

The same, "economically depressed", 1940 USA admitted in only a few months 40000 British children after refusing the same for Jewish children. The US tax payer paid the price for it but they didn't let the Jewish tax payer do the same. If this isn't collaboration with the nazis, what is this, BIGOT?!


john crocker - 10/29/2006

The line immediately preceeding the statements/questions was, "Following are the questions used to judge anti-Israel sentiment." Immediately following the questions/statements was the line, "I find the phrasing of these questions problematic and there are no critical values in this test to determine if the results are signifigant." This made it clear to others responding to my comment that the phrasing was not my own. You injected your bias into your reading and immediately and reflexively assumed my intent without fully reading or at least not understanding the comment. You then labelled me a Jew hater and have accused me of crimes that I have committed no where other than in your fevered imagination.

"The reality is that you DO single out Israel for imaginary crimes..."
You state this once again with no evidence. I ask again where have I singled out Israel for crimes (real or imagined)? Repeatedly making this assertion with no substantiation makes you look desperate and foolish.

"...and you can't provide one single blog entry where you take position against real crimes against humanity."
This is the only blog on which I regularly comment. Other humanitarian crises have not been addressed in articles here since I have begun commenting. My failure to comment here on topics not raised here is not evidence for my opinions on those topics.

You have made no comments on these topics when there were articles devoted to them on HNN (I checked the archives). You have, in fact, not raised the issue of any of these crises other than to divert attention from Israel. A skeptical observer might easily draw the conclusion that you care not one whit for the suffering of the victims other than in so far as their suffering gives cover to Israel.
Can you prove that this is not the case? Can you provide blog entries of your own to counter this charge?

You have shown your disdain for Islam repeatedly over the course of many comments in many threads and in this thread you have also shown your disdain for Christianity. You made a statement any rational observer would label anti-Christian , yet you bristle at anything that you can find anyway to interpret as being anti-Jewish. Your hypocrisy becomes more evident with every post. Perhaps in your next post your can tell us about the evils of Buddhism or Zoroastrianism.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

Blame your mama, your papa and your circle of friends and acquaintances, bigot!


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

Now the master of abbreviation.
My whinging fellow American, be my guest!


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

WASP Dear,
Lumping together people who don't agree with your ideas is an old Stalinist tactic based on "who's not with us is against us" totalitarian principle.
Nothing to do with the military, keeping your opponent off balance is a basic debate technique, probably borrowed from the military.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

The reality is that you DO single out Israel for imaginary crimes and you can't provide one single blog entry where you take position against real crimes against humanity.


john crocker - 10/29/2006

I generally find your arguments rational and well thought out even if we don't agree on all underlying assumptions.
Why do you offer rationalizations to support the continuous stream of vitriol issuing from Mr. Amitz?
He has argued not only for the inherent violence of Arab people, but has, in this thread, argued that Jesus was a psychopath and that Christians are delusional Jew hating followers of a psychopath (Potato, potater). Why don't you distance yourself from him?

I still fail to see much of a difference in his argumentation for the violence of Arabs and the argumentation of the inherent violence of African Americans put forward by racist groups in America using urban violence and crime statistics. How exactly are they different?


john crocker - 10/29/2006

"Why do I label all the people who single out Israel, in an unfair manner, as Jew haters?"
Where in this thread have I singled out Isreal for criticism (unfairly or otherwise)?

Be honest, you first called me a Jew hater because you misunderstood my initial comment, then continued to call me a Jew hater because I disagreed with your arguments, not because of anything I said about Israel or Jewish people. Virtually all arguments you participate in involves you labelling someone a Jew hater and now you have spelled out why.
"Simple, in my military training I was taught that attack is the best defense. Don't let them breathe, hit them hard and hit again before they can understand what hit them."
Here you give the true motive for your continued ad hominem attacks. Accompany every statement with an ad hominem attack and your opponent will either leave the charge standing or will have to waste time addressing your libel.
It is a time honored, if intellectually dishonest, tactic that adds nothing to constructive debate.


john crocker - 10/29/2006

Cheney, Rumsfeld et al were members of what is widely recognized as the preeminent neocon think tank (the PNAC). They share the philosphy of the neocons and, as neocon is a political philosophy, this makes them neocons. They are just as much a part of the movement as Wolfowitz, who they brought into the administration.

Neoconservatism BEGAN with disaffected liberals that does not mean that all those who subscribe to their current philosophy must have come to it by the same route, just as not all feminists must be disaffected playboy bunnies.

You will find no argument from me about Buchanon being an anti-Semite (funny how so many Floridian Jews voted for him anyway), but he is far from being a liberal.

The struggle with post colonial conditions is a proper part of any attempt to understand how Sudan and most of Africa has come to be as it currently is. To discount the history of the region when addressing its problems makes absolutely no sense.

"You are correct that Israel's friends point to Sudan when people call Israel bad. Why? Compared to Sudan or, for that matter, any Arab country or most other countries in the region, Israel is not bad. So, they call the attitude toward Israel hypocrisy. Why? Because it is."
Compared to a burglar a rapist is much worse, should we then cease all criticism of burglars because other crimes are worse? Is it hypocrisy to say that the actions of a burglar are wrong simply because there are worse criminals?

"A room filled with anti-Semites" clearly implies that the vast majority of those in the room are anti-Semites. At any "anti-Israel" rally you would likely find an number of people answering 2-4 of the Kaplan/Small anti-Israel index negative to Israel. Even if we include only those who answered 3-4 index questions negative to Israel the survey would show less than half also qualified as anti-Semitic. If we further (unrealisitically) only included only people who answered all four questions negative to Israel (including justification for suicide bombing of civilians), we still have about 60% anti-Semites. Your statement is not supported by the facts or the study.


john crocker - 10/29/2006

So, now not only are Arabs morally inferior to other ethnicities, but now all Christians are deluded Jew hating followers of a psychopath. You show us with each new comment how enlightened you are.

Surely someone with such enlightened views could not be a bigot.


john crocker - 10/29/2006

I don't see how Amitz's comments about the inherent violence of Arabs is testing the hypothesis of the survey.
Perhaps you can explain how the statement, "The majority of the, purported, killings in Iraq are Arabs killings other Arabs, which is a normal thing in the Arab culture," tests the hypothesis of the Kaplan Small study.

"However, it was a fact - as it is now - that it is convenient to attack things related to Jews in order to advance an agenda unrelated to Jews in which Jews are demonized - AS IS CLEARLY OCCURRING IN EUROPE - and get killed." (emphasis mine)
I'm living in Europe now and I regularly read the papers here and it is in no way clear to me that Jews are being demonized here. The survey which we have been discussing clearly stated that, "the overall fraction of respondents harboring anti-Semitic
views equals 14 percent." Clearly higher than it should be, but probably at about the same level as in America, maybe even a little lower.

"So, again, I look at those who attend anti-Israel rallies and note that they are filled with Jew haters- not all of them but a great many of them."
Where is your evidence for this? The survey you pointed out would not back up this statement. Check the numbers.

Demonizing dissent is much more dangerous than dissent itself.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/29/2006

That's exactly the way Polk is trying to smear Israel as the only country interested in actions against Iran "forgetting" the, centuries old, Sunni/Shiite rift and the interest of many Sunni countries in the region for actions against Iran.


N. Friedman - 10/29/2006

Arnold,

What's your beef with Mr. Amitz? In any event, how about making a serious comment.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/29/2006

Yehudi,

I tell you only one thing - I'm ashamed to belong to the same ethnical group as YOU do.


E. Simon - 10/28/2006

Cain *VERSUS* Abel suggests the kind of casually indifferent moral equivocation and historical disregard for detail (between a murderer and a murder victim no less) that only someone like Clarke seems to have the power to make coherent.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/28/2006

I am sure you understand my answer to the question, but you prefer to use the "it doesn't belong to our discussion" argument. I don't blame you for that, it's the result of a brainwashing that takes place for 2000 years.
Did I kill Jesus the psychopath? His inventors still try to convince the world that I did.


E. Simon - 10/28/2006

John, the Sudan and its being featured on this site or not being featured on this site - aside, discussions on Israel and its shortcomings in its treatments of its citizens, including minorities, (eg. Arabs), and occupied populations, are not meaningful unless they are accompanied by the context of what treatments those same Arab populations will accept under their own rule. If Israel was located thousands of miles outside of the Middle East this context could be more easily disregarded, but the fact is that Israel is not in a position to focus as easily on civil rights issues and the impact of that on its own sense of nationhood when it, often rightly, perceives itself as under siege by those same groups. When those dangers lessen, Israel is in a better position to address internal problems and the problems of maintaining the occupation, and the history generally bears this observation out. But to focus on those problems when agitators from neighboring and hostile Arab nations remain not only in an unreasonable state of conflict (which is how I view the existential claim), but in a much worse position with regards to how they treat the same ethnic population AS A MAJORITY - I find that lack of balance and context as disingenuous, and have trouble taking seriously their claims for justice and peace at all, let alone in the abstract.

I don't think that such disingenuousness typically applies to you, but I sometimes perceive that the cultural mindset engendered by this disingenuousness in the larger debate as it is approached in the "international community" or in certain academic circles is something that, through your own idealism, or abstract approach, or perhaps lack of deep historical familiarity with the region, becomes a possible point that could stand to be further explored at times - as it does with many, many, many others. I say this reluctantly because I think you are generally open-minded and well-intentioned and have more reasonable, intelligent and civilly stated points to contribute than most people here.


N. Friedman - 10/28/2006

John,

The subject is, as you say, about correlation. Mr. Amitz's comments are testing the hypothesis is the survey. So, it is perfectly fair game.

Consider, that it is the view of many observers that Israel is singled out for criticism when, as is obviously the case - think Sudan or Russia -, Israel is a very, very small time offender in a far more difficult position that these more serious offenders.

And, it is often noted, as it is a fact, that Israel's opponents - i.e. the Arab groups fighting Israel - do the very things that Israel is accused of doing, only on a much wider and far worse scale and they're leaders advocate far worse things than do Israel's leaders.

After all, Israeli policy and Israel's leader, Mr. Olmert, do not advocate the removal of all Palestinian Arabs while, by contrast, the official position of the ruling party in the Palestinian territories and its leaders is for all Jews to be removed from the entire area.

Now, I provided a hint as to a possible reason why Israel is singled out. The Left - or at least the Chomskyan left - thinks Anti-imperialism is the issue of our times, a view behind which Antisemites can and, beyond all doubt, do flourish. But note: many other periods in which hatred of Jew flourished hid within political movements. Think the Dreyfuss affair, where Jews were attacked within the context of domestic French political questions. Think the Damascus Blood Libel in which Jews were attacked for purposes of advancing French foreign policy in favor of Muhammed Ali and against Ottoman rule from Istanbul of advancing the interests of the Church. In those episodes there were large numbers of Jew haters, no doubt, along with people who used that agenda to advance a different agenda.

So, when one hears people on the Left say, we are not Antisemitic, only Anti-Israel, I remind them that many of those who attacked Dreyfuss said the same thing. They merely were concerned with protecting interests. However, it was a fact - as it is now - that it is convenient to attack things related to Jews in order to advance an agenda unrelated to Jews in which Jews are demonized - as is clearly occurring in Europe - and get killed. And, the comments about Israel and its supporters - e.g. that they want to control the world, as is stated by some prominent politicians in Britain, and that they (in this case, collectively as in Israelis) are extraordinarily cruel, etc., etc. - are straight out of the Antisemitic play book used since the 19th Century.

So, again, I look at those who attend anti-Israel rallies and note that they are filled with Jew haters- not all of them but a great many of them. And the rest, who claim not to be Antisemitic but merely cooperate as did many during the Dreyfuss Affair and the Damascus Blood Libel - to borrow language from the former president of Harvard - are Antisemitic in their effect or, to be more precise, impact. By my reckoning, such people are hypocrites.



N. Friedman - 10/28/2006

John,

The subject is, as you say, about correlation. Mr. Amitz's comments are testing the hypothesis is the survey. So, it is perfectly fair game.

Consider, that it is the view of many observers that Israel is singled out for criticism when, as is obviously the case - think Sudan or Russia -, Israel is a very, very small time offender in a far more difficult position that these more serious offenders.

And, it is often noted, as it is a fact, that Israel's opponents - i.e. the Arab groups fighting Israel - do the very things that Israel is accused of doing, only on a much wider and far worse scale and they're leaders advocate far worse things than do Israel's leaders.

After all, Israeli policy and Israel's leader, Mr. Olmert, do not advocate the removal of all Palestinian Arabs while, by contrast, the official position of the ruling party in the Palestinian territories and its leaders is for all Jews to be removed from the entire area.

Now, I provided a hint as to a possible reason why Israel is singled out. The Left - or at least the Chomskyan left - thinks Anti-imperialism is the issue of our times, a view behind which Antisemites can and, beyond all doubt, do flourish. But note: many other periods in which hatred of Jew flourished hid within political movements. Think the Dreyfuss affair, where Jews were attacked within the context of domestic French political questions. Think the Damascus Blood Libel in which Jews were attacked for purposes of advancing French foreign policy in favor of Muhammed Ali and against Ottoman rule from Istanbul of advancing the interests of the Church. In those episodes there were large numbers of Jew haters, no doubt, along with people who used that agenda to advance a different agenda.

So, when one hears people on the Left say, we are not Antisemitic, only Anti-Israel, I remind them that many of those who attacked Dreyfuss said the same thing. They merely were concerned with protecting interests. However, it was a fact - as it is now - that it is convenient to attack things related to Jews in order to advance an agenda unrelated to Jews in which Jews are demonized - as is clearly occurring in Europe - and get killed. And, the comments about Israel and its supporters - e.g. that they want to control the world, as is stated by some prominent politicians in Britain, and that they (in this case, collectively as in Israelis) are extraordinarily cruel, etc., etc. - are straight out of the Antisemitic play book used since the 19th Century.

So, again, I look at those who attend anti-Israel rallies and note that they are filled with Jew haters- not all of them but a great many of them. And the rest, who claim not to be Antisemitic but merely cooperate as did many during the Dreyfuss Affair and the Damascus Blood Libel - to borrow language from the former president of Harvard - are Antisemitic in their effect or, to be more precise, impact. By my reckoning, such people are hypocrites.



Yehudi Amitz - 10/28/2006

Since I begun to understand enough English I had, always, a very distinct pleasure listening to English spoken by Maggie Smith, Judy Dench, John Gielgud, Lawrence Olivier, Peter O'Toole, Miranda Richardson, Emma Thompson, Richard Burton and more and more. The Midwestern American (naturalized British) giant T.S. Eliot who joined Henry Ford in hating Jews used the stiff upper lip British way to hate the Jews but I still enjoy reading "The Waste Land". Sometime I feel that the British way of looking down to some people is the right way. I may be wrong but I like it.
About "who started it?" I don't believe that it's the "chicken and egg" question, the anti-Jewish stance is more than 2000 years old but the Jews begun to, strongly, defend themselves only very recently. Sure, some prefer Jews going quietly and in order to the ovens (oh how much I enjoy imagining some faces when reading these words! - I've seen only a few face to face) and can't believe that in our days Jews have the chutzpa to stay alive and defend themselves.
"All you need is love" is a lovely song but we all know where John Lennon is now and in what love troubles is Paul McCartney in our days.


N. Friedman - 10/28/2006

John,

Regarding the neocons, I suggest you read what their enemies write. If you do, you would not write what you write. Note what Buchanon writes. It is the case that the neocons began as a movement of Jewish intellectuals of the liberal and radical left persuasion and that the vast majority are still Jewish.

It is not, however, true that people like Rumsfeld and Cheney are neoconservatives. They, so far as I know, were always conservative and do not hold - as neocons do - largely liberal, as understood in the 1950's and into the 1960's, views on most issues. Which is to say, on this point you are mistaken.

If you are interested in the neoconservative, I suggest you examine Norman Podhoretz's writings since he is probably the brightest light among them. He has also written extensively on that group and has traced his own flight out of the liberal left during the Vietnam war.

I agree with you that one can be concerned about both Sudan and Israel. But, that is not quite the possition taken by far Left. Rather, they examine Sudan from the lens of anti-Imperialism, for the most part. I might add that while one can be concerned both about Israel and Sudan, in one case, less than 5,000 have died and in the other case, the numbers are in the millions. In the Israeli case, the Palestinian Arab's leaders openly advocate ethnic cleansing of those Jews who, as they say, survive their Jihad. They openly promote - in their covenant no less - the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and blame Jews for all wars back to the French revolution. There is nothing like that in the case of Sudan on the part of the group which has the less power. Rather, the group doing the killing advocates slavery - and takes and sells slaves -, etc., etc.

You are correct that Israel's friends point to Sudan when people call Israel bad. Why? Compared to Sudan or, for that matter, any Arab country or most other countries in the region, Israel is not bad. So, they call the attitude toward Israel hypocrisy. Why? Because it is.

I disagree with your interpretation of what you quote from me. You read something into the comment.

I said you would find a room filled with Antisemities. I did not say that the room would only have Antisemites therein.

And, if there is a group of people in the West who feels sufficiently concerned about Israel to go to a event against Israel, that tells me - and any rational person - something about the depth of the attendees' feelings. And, the study noted that among people with the most strongly felt views regarding Israel are an oversupply of people who hate Jews. So, I am making the appropriate assocation.





Yehudi Amitz - 10/28/2006

By the end of the week the threads are getting messy and hard to read so I prefer to respond outside the thread. Hope isn't a big bother to your enlightened self.
First about the proof I asked for and your "naive" and "surprised" answer "What for you would constitute proof?" made me wonder. Mr. Crocker, this is a B L O G, one of the modern media outlets brought to us by the WWW. Can your show me (us) any other "humanitarian outrage" B L O G activity of yours beside your outrage against Jewish self defense. Of course if you can show us anything about your participation in a vigil (if any) for the victims of the genocide perpetrated by Arabs in Darfur, would by quite nice but not necessary.
Second, about calling me a "bigot". You call me "bigot" because I dare to express factual truth about the Arab (Islamic) culture. Are you a wife beater or beat your daughter or sister or any other female relative for having a date without your permission and chaperoning? If your answer is Y E S, I guess, you approve the Islamic custom of honor killings or punitive rapes. Do you? About 10 times more Palestinians were killed by Arabs than were killed by Israelis in self defense. Even if an Arab militia killed the Palestinians at Sabra/Shatilla, Israel is still blamed for the massacre. We don't see anything about massacres perpetrated by Americans or south Vietnamese forces at My Lay or other places. Also no American politician lost his job or responded to a governmental commission for the well known killing (caught in a famous photo) where a south Vietnamese general kills with his gun a Vietcong prisoner with his hands tied behind. The solution is simple: direct all the rage against the Jews and the rest is (kind of) history.
Now about the "Jew hater" label. I remember what our friendly chap, Omar, said about one of my postings here when I used "Jew hater": what's wrong with anti-Semite (Omar said). The wrong part of it is that the Jew haters begin to do a semantic analysis of Semite and try this way to distract the conversation. I can use anti-Jewish (and i use it sometime) but Jew hater sounds better. Why do I label all the people who single out Israel, in an unfair manner, as Jew haters? Simple, in my military training I was taught that attack is the best defense. Don't let them breathe, hit them hard and hit again before they can understand what hit them. If they have any human characteristics they'll feel a little bit bad about hating Jews.
Your anti-Jewish stance is proved by your critical stance against Israel for little or no reason. You can't stand Jews defending themselves!
Anyway, if you feel like whinging, be my guest!


E. Simon - 10/28/2006

My comment I think was pretty clear; that it is not helpful to conflate any criticism of a group with hatred for it. Criticism can be made of Jews without it being hatred; it just depends on the context because not being an individual from a certain group requires a good deal of sensitivity and background in the issues that matter to that group so that one doesn't ignorantly go around assuming things out of context. If assassinations were a regular danger and authoritarian rule the norm to prevent such power struggles from devolving into anarchy and internecine violence, among Jews, I would see nothing bigotted about pointing this out or considering what cultural variables might contribute to it or its toleration or its perpetuation. Amitz's comment might seem bigotted if he was just spouting off without any mitigating knowledge of life in the Arab world, but it's hard to argue that Jewish Israelis, who live surrounded by 300 million Arabs and over a dozen Arab states, are generally wholly ignorant of Arab culture and politics. I'm sure many of them harbor sentiments about Arabs that are disparaging, and can be rightly pointed out as such, but when it comes to something as visible as the lack of political rights and degree of tribalism and personal loyalty among the Arabs in the Middle East and the violence and authoritarianism that naturally accompanies such a situation, I don't think that Amitz's comments can be seen as so ungenerous, however bluntly they were stated.


john crocker - 10/28/2006

Do you support his statement that I was responding to?

If you do, how is it different than the counter example I offered?


E. Simon - 10/28/2006

John,

My comment was not directed at his label of "Jew hating."


john crocker - 10/28/2006

Who does themselves refer to? (last line)

It is likely that Sudan is not regularly featured on this board because the participants on this board are virtually uniform in our opinions about the genocide. It does not engender debate and long threads. I just did a quick search of the hnn archives and found that of the last several articles prominently featuring discussion of Sudan none had even 10 comments and not one of those comments was by those who regularly criticise the site for not featuring articles on Sudan.

If you, Amitz or anyone wants more focus on the various humanitarian crises in Africa they should address their comments to the editors and comment frequently on the articles when they do appear.

Israel is often featured on this site precisely because it does engender, often contentious, debate and gives rise to high comment counts. Many of those comments are by those who criticize the site for featuring these articles to the exclusion of articles about humanitarian crises in Africa and other places.

My failure to regularly comment here on topics that are not presented here is not an indication of any moral failing or hypocrisy on my part. Amitz is wrong to assert that this is the case. I hope your defense of him does not extend this far.


john crocker - 10/28/2006

"The majority of the, purported, killings in Iraq are Arabs killings other Arabs, which is a normal thing in the Arab culture."
This is the comment to which I was responding. There is no context offered. He simply states that it is a "normal thing" for Arabs to kill Arabs. The implication is clear that killing each other is normal for them due to some defect of character that is not present in other ethnic groups. Much as people have made the same claims about African Americans using urban violence as "proof" of their position.

Any criticism of his statements is reflexively labelled "Jew hating." Do you support this behavior?


john crocker - 10/28/2006

"The majority of the, purported, killings in Iraq are Arabs killings other Arabs, which is a normal thing in the Arab culture."
This is the comment to which I was responding. There is no context offered. He simply states that it is a "normal thing" for Arabs to kill Arabs. The implication is clear that killing each other is normal for them due to some defect of character that is not present in other ethnic groups. Much as people have made the same claims about African Americans using urban violence as "proof" of their position.

Any criticism of his statements is reflexively labelled "Jew hating." Do you support this behavior?


john crocker - 10/28/2006

The discussion was not about Jews per se, but about correlation of opinions about Israel with opinions about Jews and about your proclivity for labelling all disagreement as Jew hating while making hateful statements about others.

"Anyway I still want some basic proof that your have a consistent position on humanitarian issues beside your anti-Jewish stance."
What for you would constitute proof?
What evidence do you have of my supposed anti-Jewish stance?
I challenged you to show evidence of any anti-Jewish sentiment in my previous comments and you have yet to do so. If you continue to label me such without evidence I will take it as given that you can find no evidence and your comments are merely the reflexive hate speech of the type that you claim to decry.


john crocker - 10/28/2006

Anti-semites are no doubt also anti-Israel and the ignorance that drives their anti-Semitism makes them reflexively anti-Israel, as a stand in for Jews or some ill defined Jewish agenda that exists in their fevered minds.
To take an extra step and imply that all or even a majority of criticism of Israel is similarly motivated is dangerous.
By similar logic all criticism of the Nation of Islam indicates bigotry directed against African Americans. A similar and likely much stronger correlation could be found here.
Anti-Semitism is a real problem and this broadening of the term takes away its real meaning and is thus a disservice not only to those it is used as a weapon against but to those it purports to protect (the "crying wolf" effect).


john crocker - 10/28/2006

Who uses neocon as code for Jew?
This is an argument used by neocons to tar their political opponents.

My point about neocons was not just that not all of them are Jewish, but that they are not even predominantly Jewish (though there are some prominent Jewish neocons). The people that you mocked the notion of being in the thrall of neocons are neocons themselves (Rumsfeld, Cheney). Rumsfeld, Cheney et al are not in the thrall of some Jewish cabal they simply share an extreme ideology with the other people you mentioned. The supporters of this ideology have found allies in the right wing political movement in Israel when it comes to Middle East policy. This is an association of overlapping goals not a causative relationship. Some, particularly on the fringes mistake this association for causation and some of them may make anti-Semitic comments. Remember there are fringes on both sides and it is not fair to characterize a movement by its fringes.
There is a prominent American fringe that supports the Iraq war in the hopes that it will bring Armageddon and the fiery death of 2/3s of all Jewish people and of all other non-Christians (Falwell has said as much). This certainly seems anti-Semitic to me, yet the supporters of the war are not regularly labelled anti-Semites for this association.

It is quite possibility to be concerned about human rights in Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and other places and ALSO be concerned about the actions of Israel. That you fail to mention one when talking about the other does not indicate that you hold one above the other. This paper is less evidence of his support for slavery than you buying a chocolate bar indicates your support of slavery (unless you are very careful about where you get your chocolate you have likely supported slaveholders). I only see commentary about Darfur on these boards when it is used to deflect criticism from Israel. I would have and still would support effective intervention in the genocide and other related humanitarian crises in Africa, but neocon priorities have made effective intervention by the US virtually impossible. Yet those who criticize the Left for its supposed failure to speak up about these atrocities do not similarly criticize the current US leadership's lack of action on these fronts. Why is that?

I think you will find more anti-Muslim and anti-North African sentiment in the European populace than anti-Jewish sentiment. I certainly have in the time I have spent here. North Africans are viewed in Europe much as Mexicans are viewed in the US. This is the group that the disenfranchised and unemployed lash out at when their prejudices rise to the surface. Van Gogh and Fortyn are prominent examples of populist exploitation of this sentiment in the Netherlands. There are prominent examples of this in Britain, France and Germany as well.

"But, even if the relationship is merely associational, that is an important fact. Hence, if one wanted to arrest Antisemites, one could show up at events directed against Israel and be pretty likely to find much of the room filled with Antisemites."
Here you radically overstate the correlation. You would probably be able to find some anti-Semites at such an event, but they would not likely be in the majority. The results of the Kaplan Small study supports my position on this (look at my previous comments for numbers).
Certainly if you went to a rally of anti-Semites (neo-nazis or some such) you would find that most if not all were anti-Israel, the converse is not true. My previous comment addresses this specific argument. The fascist-communist analogy is apt to this formulation.


N. Friedman - 10/28/2006

John,

Your point that not all neocons are Jewish is true. However, that neocons is often used as a synonym for Jews is, in my view, also true. And the argument typically asserted against neocons is that they are Israeli nationalists or have dual loyalty - charges that are traditionally made against Jews. So, while you are correct about the background of the people in the group, you are wrong to assume that facts about a group and perceptions about that group accurately correspond.

I do not really understand your point about associations. My argument was that anti-Israel agitation and criticism are motivated in considerable part by hatred of Jews. My main argument is that there are societal and International forces at work that make Antisemitism likely. I mentioned the polling article, intitially, in response to a different post, not to express my theory.

But, if you ask me, I find it hard to explain the intensity and frequency of allegations about Israel's alleged barbarity by people who certainly know about but were silent regarding what occurred to Sudan's Christians and animists - millions killed since 1983 and the establishment of a society in which children are taken from their parents to be raised in a different religion and large scale slavery exists as well - . And it is not much mentioned that such policies have widespread support among Islamists across the Arab regions. It boggles the mind as it is rather hard to imagine a more loathsome regime.

Yet, a full professor of history at a major American University, evidently more bothered by US Imperialism than by hundreds of thousands of dead Sudanese in Darfur or the reinstitution of slavery in that country or the millions of deaths before that, finds suspicious that Jewish groups might support doing something about the Sudanese tragedy. So, he counsels doing nothing.

I suggest to you that his views represent in a nutshell the structure of left wing intellectual Antisemitism. I am not saying anything about his views about Jews - since I do not know them - but, instead, of the ranking of values set forth in the articles, a ranking in which hatred of Jews can readily and will flourish. Note: siding with the Sudanese victims would mean criticizing the alliance with the Islamists. Helping the victims would mean working with imperialists. And Jewish institutions have sided with imperialists. Israel has the same problem, since it sides with the US.

As I said, I do not make methodological comments about areas of science in which I have insufficient expertise. I do note, however, that the issue in the polling article was association, not cause.

Some opinions, as we all know, tend to be associated. Whether one opinion causes the other is not necessarily the case.

Now, finding nasty views about Jews among Europeans - left or right - comes as little surprise as there is more than a thousand year history of such views - and associated with a remarkable number of massacres over that long period. It thus does not take a survey to believe that in a period of uncertainty, Europeans will allow their prejudices to come to the surface. And, surely, a good amount of that opinion must vent against Israel since Israel, a Jewish country, is in the news alot and is alleged - albeit by making dubious connections - to have some causal connection with attacks on Europeans by Muslims. So, there is reason to see a causal relationship.

But, even if the relationship is merely associational, that is an important fact. Hence, if one wanted to arrest Antisemites, one could show up at events directed against Israel and be pretty likely to find much of the room filled with Antisemites.








E. Simon - 10/28/2006

And John, Amitz's problem is with a focus on Israel's shortcomings that is devoid of a contextual accounting of the violence among those they face in perpetuating those shortcomings, that has little regard for taking account of those shortcomings elsewhere - least of all among those who hypocritically yell at Israel doing the same as or less than what they won't condemn when it happens among themselves. Count me in on sharing with that problem.


E. Simon - 10/28/2006

John, your interpretation of the definition you supply for bigot does not allow for the difference between /hatred/ of another group (which I don't have evidence BTW that Amitz harbors, do you?) and taking significant issue with practices that are tolerated, commonplace, accepted, not condemned, not suppressed, not made rare, not rejected, not put down, not given authority to effectively act against, not put out of existence, etc., by that group.


E. Simon - 10/28/2006

While you're right that correlation does not equal causation, two correlated items may be propelled by a single, different causative or multiply different causative problems. I do not think it unlikely that anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment (at least among those who are also anti-Israel) might be the effect of a similar defect of thinking to which both sentiments are tied. Ignorance is an easy suggestion, emotional problems/interference is another, but I'm sure there are more subtle and complex varieties of those issues that can largely be at play.

They're all dangerous given the right circumstances and worthy of being vigilant of.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/28/2006

That's an old argument of Jew haters, the discussion is about Jews anything else isn't relevant and it is said with the clear knowledge that they take this kind of position only in a Jewish context.
About the survey you didn't clearly state that it's a quotation, so I misunderstood your posting. Another point is that this survey was directed to an European audience.
Anyway I still want some basic proof that your have a consistent position on humanitarian issues beside your anti-Jewish stance.


john crocker - 10/27/2006

Bigot: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

This pretty well characterizes your comments (not just the one above) about Arab and Muslim people.

Can you point to even one thing I have said in this thread or any other that a rational person would deem bigoted or anti-Semitic?

Be honest, in this thread I was originally labelled a Jew hater by you for quoting a question from a survey (that I was critical of) and was subsequently labelled a Jew hater by you for disagreeing with you; not for failure to mention atrocities that are not in any way connected to the current conversation.

In your world it seems someone must decry all humanitarian crises anywhere in the world in every comment, regardless of its current relevance, or barring that agree with you, or they are a Jew hater. This is irrational, inane and has grown tedious.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/27/2006

Repeated mass killings are a characteristic of the Islamic world for the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries. Honor killings of women is an Islamic custom. In Israel there are quite a few Muslims in prison for honor killing of female relatives, in Islamic countries they don't even bother to prosecute these "benign" killings. You the bigot accuse me of bigotry for stating facts. Arabs killed about 10 times more Palestinians than Palestinians who died as a result of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria etc.)
If one can't prove his/her strong stance for humanitarian behavior in other places, besides Israel, (Darfur, Rwanda, Jordan, Lebanon etc.) he/sh is a JEW hater. (PERIOD)
Again, show me where did you protest against mass killings of tenths (or hundreds) of thousands, besides Palestinians killed by Israelis in self defense, and I'll change my view.
A 50%/50% rate would be nice but I'll be very happy with 3-4 protests.


john crocker - 10/27/2006

Why do you defend his bigoted remarks and support his labelling of any criticism of Israel as "Jew-hating"?

Surely you don't agree with his assertions that the US and UK were complicit in the holocaust and that the Western powers conspired to finish off the Jews by forming Israel as well?


john crocker - 10/27/2006

Neocon does not equal Jew. Following is a partial list of members of the premier neocon think tank that are members of or are closely tied to this administration:
Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, John R. Bolton, Richard Cheney, Seth Cropsey, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Bruce Jackson, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Randy Scheunemann, Paul Wolfowitz, Dov S. Zakheim, Robert B. Zoellick, Jeb Bush.
Note the group is not dominated by Jewish people. They do often push their Jewish members out in front, so they can label those who disagree anti-Semitic.

Your argument tying anti-Israeli sentiment to anti-semitism seems to rely heavily on guilt by association. Using this same logic:
Fascists hate/d Communists and exploited anti-Communist sentiment, therefor its is more likely that you are a fascist if you are anti-Communist. I bet if we replicated the Kaplan Small study modified to this we would get odds ratios to support that contention. Would it then be fair to label anti-Communists fascists? Some Communists do exactly that. What is your opinion of their intellectual honesty?

I don't know that "cocksure" would appropriately label my opinion. I have to read and analyze journal articles on a regular basis and always look for flaws in methodology and overstatement of results.
I think there are a few notable flaws in methodology and I think there are flaws in others interpretation of their results. (see comment to Mr. Amitz)


john crocker - 10/27/2006

Both other respondents understood what I was talking about. I thought the context made it clear, but I guess it wasn't clear enough for everyone.

"Even after controlling for numerous potentially confounding factors, we find that anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the PROBABILITY that an individual is anti-Semitic, with the likelihood of measured anti-Semitism increasing with the extent of anti-Israel sentiment observed."
(emphasis mine)
Far too many no far too little about statisitics. (Myself included, even as I am buried in them now) The statement you quoted is read by many as "anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts that an individual is anti-Semitic." This seems to be the sentiment you came away with.

The operative word in their analysis is probability. Anti-semitism is not predicted, an increased probability is. I ran an example using their odds ratios in my original comment. I believe in their sample 60% of people who answered all 4 questions in the way most negative to Israel also matched their criteria for anti-semitism. Remember, this includes people who think Palestinian suicide bombers are justified in killing Israeli civilians. If, according to the study, only 60% of that population is anti-semitic; how does this study in any way give justification for your fast and loose labelling of all criticism of Israeli policy as anti-semitic?

I did not "spin." I pointed out what I feel are methodological short-comings* of the study and stated what the study actually predicted.

*The questions were problematic and I don't much like the choice of statistical methodology (but it is in common usage).


N. Friedman - 10/27/2006

Peter,

I do not throw around charges of Antisemitism, not because I am without sensitivity to the subject, but because it is leads nowhere. For what it is worth, I am reading just now a fabulous book on Antisemitism titled The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism, by Walter Lacquer. Lacquer, as you well know, is an extraordinary historian of remarkable breadth. The book, at least thus far - and I am about half way through -, is very much of a tour de force.

I bring up Lacquer’s book for a reason as it rather convincingly, I think, undermines your argument. Which is to say and if history is any guide, Antisemitism does not appear to follow a consistent logic or pattern, as does, for example, racial bigotry in the US against American Blacks. Instead, Antisemitism appears, for example, when Jews are around or not remotely involved in something and sometimes does not occur when there is blame to be directed at Jews. Sometimes, Jews are blamed by the very people they mostly sided with as if they, as a whole, sided with the opposite side. Sometimes both sides in a dispute blame Jews but there were no Jews in sight or involved. Sometimes the issue appears to have been driven by religion (e.g. sometimes in Czarist Russia), sometimes by economic forces (e.g. in Poland, when Jews tended to represent absentee, non-Jewish landlords). Sometimes, nasty attacks were directed at non-assimilated, Shtetle Jews for the revolutionary activities of atheistic persons of Jewish parents but who had long since rejected their own backgrounds. Philosophers who championed the down and out wrote vicious arguments against Jews when, by any rational analysis, Jews were quintessentially the down and out.

Now, it could be said, theoretically speaking, that opposition to Zionism or Israel is not Antisemitism. Surely, opposition to specific Israeli government policies is not either. That does not mean that opposition to Zionism, Israel or its policies is not, in fact, driven by Antisemitism. Such merely means that it does not, logically speaking, have to be the source of the hostility.

Note, however, many factors do appear to be at work just now. First, Antisemitism actually is rampant among Muslims, particularly in the Arab regions but also in Europe. Second, European countries do worry about the influence of the US and want to counterbalance US dominance, which means establishing close relationships with Arab countries, the price for which is adopting a more Arab friendly policy regarding the Arab Israeli dispute and a blind eye toward negative comments about Israel and Jews associated therewith. Third, many in the academic community have an almost Rousseauian view of the Islamic revival movement - making believe that Antisemitism is not rampant among Muslim - and Arab culture, want to counter US imperialism, which is seen supporting Israel, see a pragmatic opening, especially in Europe, for Left wing parties to gain politically due to large numbers of poor Muslim voters - all of which being advantaged by adopting negative views about Israel and - as clearly is the case in Britain, Jews - since they mostly support Israel - while counseling abstinence regarding horrors committed by Muslims (see e.g. Gary Leupp: "Out of Iraq, Into Darfur?", CounterPunch, May 2, 2006, at http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp05022006. html which ties Jews as evidently using that crisis - a pretty loathsome allegation but consistent with my point - while counseling doing nothing to help suffering people as it might benefit US imperialism). Lastly, although no doubt I have overlooked factors, there is the conspicuous group which holds second tier positions in the Bush II administration, namely, neocon (i.e. Jews), whom, according to some, magically control their bosses like the overly headstrong Mr. Rumsfeld, the former Stanford Provost and Russian policy expert Ms. Rice, the brainy but poor gun shooter Mr. Cheney and the less than brilliant Mr. Bush - none of whom, evidently, can escape the magical spell of the least - if we go by numbers - Jewish administration in 50 years. [Note: Evidently not noticed by such people is that the most demonically described person in the group, Mr. Wolfowitz, was likely the most sympathetic supporter in the Bush administration for helping Palestinian Arabs, having been roundly booed by audiences which thought highly of the then Likud program for daring to disagree with that position - so much for facts having anything to do with things -.

Were I a betting man and given the history of Jews being blamed and vilified when it served someone’s political or other purpose, the criticism of Israel - in its most vehement form - and the intensity and quantity of the criticism and the language used in connection with the criticism is, in fact, largely driven by Antisemitism. That does not mean that such is any given persons’ view but that such is a major force behind what occurs and, no doubt, such criticism spreads hatred of Jews as Jews either acquiesce - in which case, the assumption is that Jews agree so the criticism is fair - or because Jews defend their ground - in which case, they associate themselves with views thought to be loathsome -.

Now, regarding the public opinion poll, I am not a pollster so I do not pretend expertise on such matters. However, the poll seeks to find out the intensity of feelings and their associations which, I would think, is a very difficult thing to do, especially since no one I know wants to admit being a bigot. I cannot say that your critique of the poll is or is not well informed. It may be but, then again, polling being a complex science (and, I note, I have read a bit about the topic as it occasionally comes up as an issue in my line of work - which is why I caution, having seen the complexity, strongly against reaching conclusions on the basis of non-expert assumptions - ), I would not venture the opinion you venture.

Here is an example to consider. Suppose that you want to find out people’s opinions about tires and suppose, for example, that the issue is whether it is important to consumers that tires be perfectly round. By the way, this is a real example. My bet is that asking consumers what qualities they look for in a tire will not yield the response "roundness" or the like. Why? Because it is a "hidden variable." People would, no doubt, answer in open ended questions things like "safe," "skid resistant" and the like but they will not focus on roundness - you can bet on that -. In the real example, the expert involved told me that, in fact, it is legitimate in some circumstances to ask leading questions - something I did not know but which, in fact, is in the literature -.

No doubt you will wonder what this has to do with your criticism of the survey. The survey is looking at associations - hidden associations because it is taboo to admit being a bigot, even in Europe. Prior to WWII, people did not object quite as they do now. So, polling on the topic at hand is not very easy. There, of course, are question about whether survey involved has a satisfactory methodology. I, for one, could not say, one way or the other, except to note that the survey was, evidently, funded, in part, by the Yale School of Management research fund and involved reputable people who, unlike me, actually know something about statistics and survey. Hence, I read your criticism of the survey but wonder how you have such a cocksure opinion about its quality. I, for one, do not know if there is a problem or not.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/27/2006

First you didn't state that you made a quotation.
In the table 2 totaling answers the authors state that the survey contains Statement/Question.

The survey: "Anti-Israel Sentiment Predicts Anti-Semitism In Europe: A Statistical Study" by Edward H. Kaplan and Charles A. Small
concludes that: "Even after controlling for numerous potentially confounding factors, we find that anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual is anti-Semitic, with the likelihood of measured anti-Semitism increasing with the extent of anti-Israel sentiment observed."
Quite a lame act of spinning in your bigotry.


john crocker - 10/27/2006

Everyone who disagrees with you is labelled by you as a Jew hater. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but disagreement with you does not constitute anti-semitism and neither does disagreement with Israeli government policy.

The statement you attribute to me was one of four direct quotes taken from a survey brought up by Mr. Friedman. Further I stated that I found the survey to be deeply flawed. If you had read beyond that sentence you would have realized this.

People kill each other in every society. The implication of your statement was quite clear; that Arabs kill each other more than other people because of something inherent in their being Arab. That is clearly bigoted. You regularly disparage Arabs and Muslims and bristle and label anti-semitic even mild criticism of Israel. This is more than a little hypocritical.

BTW the nazis were Christians and Stalin was an atheist. Would it be fair to make your same comment about Christians and Atheists?

The grade school crap with my name is old and shows your level of maturity.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/27/2006

Do you believe the UN (United Nonsense) bigots, or only when it condemns Israel?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061027/ap_on_re_eu/un_women_violence


john crocker - 10/27/2006

The questions as they are stated force either a strong condemnation or nothing. People that feel that Israel and the Palestinians are equally responsible for the violence have no answer choice. People who feel that Israeli treatment of Palestines is oppressive, but not as oppressive as apartheid South Africa have no answer choice. Many people that answer these questions end up stating a stronger position than what they actually feel. More answer choices with some weighting would have given a better picture of peoples actual views.


john crocker - 10/27/2006

The question was do you agree with this statement.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/27/2006

Well, unaware of the facts would qualify John's crock for the Jerry Springer show. HNN is about history and for the contemporary history facts are quite easy to find in the Internet age. I don't really buy the "unaware" supposition since Darfur is in the news quite a lot lately, but not so much on HNN (go figure?!)


Yehudi Amitz - 10/27/2006

The sentence about Israel being similar to the apartheid South Africa ends with a period. The rest (the questions) is irrelevant when the tone of the questionnaire is hateful from the beginning.
Yes these are well considered questions, but I object, they are leading.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Mr. Amitz,

Maybe he is unaware of the facts and thus assumed you spoke by way of pre-judgement. In any event, you are factually correct.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

John,

I think the questions were asked as they were to gage the extent that the questionee objects to Israel. Hence, if one agrees that Israel is like South Africa, the person likely really objects strongly to Israel. So, if you ask me, these are well considered questions.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/26/2006

Again your hate speaks. My statement is supported by very clear facts. In 1970 Jordanians killed about 25000 Palestinians. In 1982 the Alawite (a Shiite sect) regime of Assad the father killed more than 20000 Sunnis in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs killed by Arabs in Lebanon. The genocide perpetrated by Arabs in Darfur, against about 2 million Muslims and non Muslims.
No bigotry here only very real and historic facts, only a real hater would call simple truth "bigotry"


Yehudi Amitz - 10/26/2006

That's a deliberate and perverted lie. Arabs are fully represented in the Israeli Knesset in a country with proportional representation where there is no gerrymandering like in the USA. Palestinians are free to elect their own government but they can't elect for the freedom of killing Jews and as soon as they'll conclude that the killing freedom isn't a reasonable one they can have a country too.
No one asked the same questions about the great atrocities perpetrated by the British soldiers in Northern Ireland. I even don't ask why because the answer is HATE and haters don't answer direct questions.


john crocker - 10/26/2006

This is quite a bigoted comment; especially for one so quick to point out perceived anti-Jewish bigotry in others.


john crocker - 10/26/2006

Following are the questions used to judge anti-Israel sentiment.

The Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is similar to South Africa’s treatment of blacks during apartheid.

Who do you think is more responsible for the past three years of violence in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israelis, or the Palestinians?

In your opinion, during military activities inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, do the Israeli Defense Forces intentionally target Palestinian civilians, or are civilian casualties an accidental outcome of Israel’s military response?

In your opinion, is there any justification for Palestinian suicide bombers that target Israeli civilians?

I find the phrasing of these questions problematic and there are no critical values in this test to determine if the results are signifigant. But, let us leave that aside for the moment and try a few numbers with their odds ratios. Let us assume that 10% of respondents that answered in the most favorable way to Israel on all of the above questions are anti-semitic. What does that predict for those who answered less favorably for Israel? The model would predict about 25% of respondents who answered the questions half half* would be anti-semitic and about 55% of those who answered all questions in the most anti-Israel way would be anti-semitic according to model predictions.

Even taking their predictions at face value it is still no where near unity. You cannot ACCURATELY label someone an anti-semite for criticizing actions of the Israeli government and it is assinine to do so.

*Most of the people being labelled Jew haters here are at or near this point.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Arnold,

You clearly did not read me carefully and you surely did not address my points.

I said nothing supportive of the Shah. I said he made no war in order to please the US so that he might remain in power. I certainly did not say he was a good guy or anything of the sort. However, I ridiculed, by my choice of language, the view that he was particularly loathsome, as he was, at worst, no worse than the lunatics who replaced him.

You write: "For you all Israel's and US foreign activity (if failures) are, at the worst, just regrettable MISTAKES, but all similar and disssimilar actions of your designated enemy - Arabs - are
undoubtedly their evil designs, even on occasions when the evidence to that is, at the best, scarce."

Three point: One. That is not what I said or implied. Two. I am not a neutral observer and neither are you. On my view, it is not possible entirely to escape subjectivity but I believe that my approach is far more neutral than is yours. Three. Iran is not an Arab country and my comments concerned Iran for the most part so I do not see why you raise the issue of Arabs. Perhaps you might explain how a post regarding Iran is used as evidence that I make Arabs the enemy. In this regard, note these comments I made in my previous post:

You write: "Israel, whether justifiably, or not, attacked several Arab nations, occupied their territories for many years, some up to this time."

Israel, however, has no claim against Iran other than that Iran stop supporting groups that kill Israelis and Jews. Regarding Iran's behavior, I ...


Note, I returned the discussion to the topic at hand in response to your effort to conflate Iran's hatred of Israel with Arabs.

You write: One interesting note here: judging by the number of those so-called mistakes
made in the course of last half-century alone by just US, Yankees must be the stupidest folks in the world. Unfortunately, the facts of life tell us exactly the opposite - they are the smartest ones on Earth (along with Jews). Therefore, only one logical conclusion is possible - far from all of those were "mistakes"; they were the result of the well-planned ideological and politico-economic general strategy of the US imperialism. The same applies to your beloved Israeli governments.


I think your point is rather nonsensical and is borderline racist. Arabs are not stupid. Neither are Iranians. Neither are Turks or Greeks or Chinese. Neither are aborigines. The point is that leaders all over the world tend to be a shrewd bunch, whether or not academically oriented.

Note also: your response does not address the facts I presented. And those facts include the fact that your citation of 50 years of peace out of Iran is an illusion. Iran sends people around the world to kill people and for what? Explain it - and do not use the word "Arab" since Iran is not an "Arab" country. And do not tell me that the US does the same thing as that amounts to tu quoque. Which is to say that it does not tell me about Iranian intentions or actions unless - and here would be the ultimate irony for one championing the cause of the Iranians - you claim that Iranian leaders are too stupid to have their own agendas other than as a reaction to the US.

Let me put it another way. If you take the view that everything that comes politically out of the Muslim regions is a mere reaction to the US, that has to be shown. It cannot be assumed. And, frankly, it is not true.

And, even if that were shown, that still leaves the question of what the reaction of Iran is. To show what that reaction is, you have to examine the reaction to see exactly what the reaction is and not project an ideological explanation that casts people into a role in some drama - which appears to be your approach -. Why? Because history is about what people do, and not what role we assign for them to follow. Note that point as it well explains the demise of the USSR as people did not play their assigned role in that struggle. And note that point as British policy regarding Germany in the 1930's was based, as it were, largely on solving the just concerns which the British thought would appease Germany - a misunderstanding of the first order, to say the least -.

[Note: recall that one might have argued in the 1930's - and some did - that the Nazis were a mere reaction to the Versaille treaty at the end of WWI but, even if so, it was not a sufficient basis, as Britain learned the hard way, for either understanding the Nazi reaction or responding to it.]

Now, again, the US could be a or the cause of what is going on among Muslims. That, however, is a difficult argument and, even if so, it still does not, as I noted, address what the Islamic revival movement - aka Jihadism -, seen as a reaction, is all about.

In other words, you make connections a whole lot too easily. Here, I quote the well known British novelist and essayist Howard Jacobson:

"In a general, and if you wish to be unkind you might say legalistic, way, Jews are not impressed by connections. At the heart of Judaism is the principle of separation – havdalah. In prayer, God is sometimes referred to as 'He Who Distinguishes', separating the sacred from the profane, light from darkness, one thing from another. I am not saying you have to be Jewish to be fastidious about confusing objects and events that merely appear on the surface to be similar, but Jews are especially on guard against the habit. We are also frightened by it. Of the sexual abominations listed in Leviticus, the worst are condemned as 'confusion'. In confusion we not only defile ourselves, we lose ourselves. So our feathers are ruffled by the procedure of connecting – the intellectual methodology of it, if you like – even before we get on to the matter of what it is that is being connected with what."

Now I am not religious but I do note the point is rather well taken. Think about it.

Now, my view of the world differs from yours. I agree that the US is the dominant party in the world. That is, as I see it, a fact. But, it is not the only power in the world nor is it the only causal agent, with everyone else reacting. And, unlike your remark about the US and Israel being particularly brilliant - a racist remark, by the way -, I think Arabs and Iranian and the rest of humanity have their share of brilliant people including brilliant leaders. And, I note that, like all people, among them are people desirous of power. And I note - as it is a matter that interests me as a person who reads and desires to understand - that Islamic culture has, historically, been rather agressively expansionist and has the ability, by means of theological predilection, to readily justify that agressively expansionist policy to believers and to obtain their enthusiastic cooperation.

As I see it, your approach reduces Arabs and other Muslims to idiocy. To me, that is not historical analysis but ideology.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Yehuda and Peter,

It is time to move on.

Yehuda, on your point "Also my strong position in favor of Israel and the Jews mushroomed a lot of haters using the neoprogressive (neoredfascist, if you want) line "we are not anti-Jewish only anti-Zionism" when more than 90% of the Jews are Zionists or pro-Zionism." ...

I note that survey evidence shows a strong correlation between hating Jews and hating Israel. See, "Anti-Israel Sentiment Predicts Anti-Semitism in Europe," by Edward H. Kaplan and Charles A. Small, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 50 No. 4, August 2006 at http://www.h-net.org/~antis/papers/jcr_antisemitism.pdf . In fact, the more hostile a person - at least in Europe - a person is to Israel, the more likely it is that the person holds traditional views associated with hating Jews.





Arnold Shcherban - 10/26/2006

Norman,

All your points are based on already
deeply rooted in your mind one-way and very narrow-minded AXIOM of the goodness of Israel and evilness of Arabs' policies and ideologies. And so all your evaluations take one angle - how those foreign leaders or countries relate to Israel. As if that alone defines them as Good or Evil(E.g., for you Shah was the progressive reformer working for peace in Mideast hand in hand with his American colleagues - for the great majority of Iranians - brutal despot, who tortured and jailed dozens of thousands of its own people, maybe, just maybe only marginally better than Saddam, bought by Americans to enrich
5% of Iranians and his friends - US elite, and that's exactly why he was overthrown by the Iranian populus, not by someone from the "benevolent" Western civilization.)
For you all Israel's and US foreign activity (if failures) are, at the worst, just regrettable MISTAKES, but all similar and disssimilar actions of your designated enemy - Arabs - are
undoubtedly their evil designs, even on occasions when the evidence to that is, at the best, scarce.
Thus you, ironically following the best traditions of the ideological designs of White Supremacy, firmly adhere to vicious double standards, while to me those are the worst enemy of rational and unbiased analysis.
{One interesting note here: judging by the number of those so-called mistakes
made in the course of last half-century alone by just US, Yankees must be the stupidest folks in the world. Unfortunately, the facts of life tell us exactly the opposite - they are the smartest ones on Earth (along with Jews). Therefore, only one logical conclusion is possible - far from all of those were "mistakes"; they were the result of the well-planned ideological and politico-economic general strategy of the US imperialism. The same applies to your beloved Israeli governments.}

In short, I suggested the fair and honest look at historical facts, the look beyond the hatred and MUTUAL accusations, you continue to throw blames and ideological pronouncements around.
Therefore, I consider further discussion with you or any other ideologically and ethnically stiff
member (no pun intended, but perhaps should be) fruitless and a waste of time.
Rogue superpower will continue their RIGHT course (of confrontation and war) provoking the others to follow their suit, and eventually driving human civilisation to an extinction.
But such as you will always remain right (in your own mind), even on the brink of demise.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/26/2006

In one of the Nasrudin Hoja stories a restaurant owner tries to charge a beggar for smelling his food while eating a piece of bread, he got from someone on the street. The solution of Nasrudin Hoja was to shake his money bag and say "for smell of food one pays with the sound of money".
Well, since English isn't a problem here, I am sure you have a high school and higher diplomas and you studied hard enough to receive them. "Whinge" is far from being the normal US spelling for "whine" but you could suppose that it's a typo and let it go. There are lots of real spelling errors here and no one reacts to them unless he/she has no real arguments. That's the general idea.
You are entitled to your opinions but I didn't say that USA and UK "perpetrated" the holocaust, I always used the word "collaboration". Your argument was "USA didn't know what is going on with the Jews in Europe" which is a lame one. When, in 1940, someone in the US Congress proposes a law for the admission of 40000 Jewish children into the USA, it is very clear that what was happening to the Jews in Europe was well known in the USA, but the will to help Jews wasn't there.
The "Jew hater" lines are caused by the fact that Mr. Polk singled out Israel as the sole country in agreement with the US government, about Iran, when there are many countries and groups interested in limiting the military power of Iran. Also my strong position in favor of Israel and the Jews mushroomed a lot of haters using the neoprogressive (neoredfascist, if you want) line "we are not anti-Jewish only anti-Zionism" when more than 90% of the Jews are Zionists or pro-Zionism. ZIONISM is the Jewish movement for self determination. Anyone saying that all the peoples have the right to self determination, BUT the JEWS, is expressing, this way, his hate against the Jews.


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

The "War on Terror", like the "War on Drugs", is an assault on our liberty.

In the WoD, the government brings drugs into the country (e.g., "Dark Alliance"), then uses the drugs as a pretext for breaking down our doors and our Bill of Rights.

In the WoT, the government supports terrorists (contras and Mujahedin in the 1980s, KLA in 1999, Israeli state-terror), then uses the terrorists as a pretext for scrapping the Bill of Rights altogether and repealing even the Magna Carta.

While the U.S. establishment (D's and R's) target Iraq and Iran, their ultimate target may be what's left of freedom in America.




After 9/11, Bush said "They hate us for our freedom.". In a twisted or covert way, Bush was telling the truth: It all depends on how we define the word "they".

Some people DO hate freedom. But we don't have to go all the way to Afghanistan to find them. They are right here at home, entrenched in the highest circles of power. They hate freedom, because freedom undercuts their stranglehold on POWER.

And who knows these "haters of freedom" better than Bush himself? Recall that Bush and the bin Laden family were co-investors in the Carlyle Group. Recall Bush's efforts to get the bin Ladens out of the country after September 11: All other flights were grounded while the Saudis were flown safely home.


Saudi Arabia, the LEAST free, MOST repressive, Islamic state, is Bush's closest ally next to fascist Israel, where millions of Palestinians are stripped of all rights and held under perpetual military occupation.

Are these friends of Bush people who love freedom? Using military force to dictate to the world and hold the human race at gunpoint: Does that indicate a love or a hatred for freedom?


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

You deliberately conflate "Israel" with "Jews". This is like deliberately confusing "Communists" with "Russians" -- opposition to communism can then be misconstrued as racist "Hatred for Slavs". It's like confusing "Fascists" with "Italians" -- in that way, ALL Italians can be blamed for the crimes of the fascists.

Are you hoping that ALL Jews will be blamed for the crimes of Israel? If so, then the anti-Semite is YOU.

A terrorist who hides behind civilians is a sordid coward, and a fascist who hides behind ethnicity is no better.

Don't you understand? We reject Israel's BEHAVIOR, not Israel's alleged genes! When you use genetics and ethnicity to explain away everything, you are following in the footsteps of some very evil people.


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

http://hnn.us/comments/100121.html
+(
No one in his right mind-military or otherwise-believes that a "Shock and Awe" bombing campaign will work any better in Iran than it did in Iraq, except for the loonies in our "administration".
)+


Actually, mega-terror from the air (aka "Shock and Awe") worked very well, if the aim was to implement the 1982 Oded Yinon plan for reducing the Middle East to barbarism and cantonizing Arab countries into warring tribes.

http://www.ameu.org/page.asp?iid=249&;aid=358&pg=1
+(
In the Beginning, There Was Terror
by: Ronald Bleier / July - August 2003
....
Dissolving the Arab States

Israel's strategic plan to dissolve the Arab states by breaking them down into smaller sectarian units was laid out openly in an 1982 essay by Oded Yinon, an Israeli strategist.
)+




Bush himself has called Iraq a "catastrophic success", and Cheney recently said that the war is going "remarkably well".

http://washtimes.com/upi/20061019-114620-7602r.htm
+(
[b]Cheney: War going well[/b]

By Claude Salhani / UPI International Editor / 20 Oct 2006 at 7:27AM

Replying to a question on a radio talk show Vice President Dick Cheney said he believes the war in Iraq is going "remarkably well."
....
)+


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

The human soul is the balance between the desire for life and the desire for death. States, likewise, have such a balance, and in militaristic and fascistic states, the balance tips towards death.

When a life-loving person moves in to a new neighborhood, he starts by establishing healthy cooperative relations with the neighbors. The Zionists did just the oposite in Palestine. Their central premise -- that Jews and non-Jews CANNOT co-exist -- becomes a poisonous, deadly, self-fulfilling prophecy.

Israel's policies have been suicidal from the start. Since the central premise of Zionism is nihilistic, the failure of the policies is counted, perversely, as vindication and success. This produces a vicious downwards spiral.

Now that the U.S. has turned itself into Israel's mindless slave, the U.S. finds itself on the same "glorious" but ruinous spiral -- "glorious" because it unleashes boundless self-pity, bottomless victimology.

Will the U.S. attack Iran? It depends on how badly this empire wants to self-destruct.

See also:

http://hnn.us/comments/100174.html --
The invisible third option: REhumanize!

The hypnotic spell of our empire's death-wish prevents us from taking life-affirming possibilities seriously.


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

Yes, Netanyahu rejected "Clean Break". But Zionism is larger than Israel, and Zionism did NOT reject it.

As Saddam undid Iraq when he attacked Kuwait, Zionists acting hyper-aggressively "in Israel's behalf" -- e.g., Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Ehud Olmert -- may bring about Israel's demise. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH aggression, TOO MUCH dehumanization, TOO MUCH disregard for other human beings.


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601009_bushs_nuclear_apocalypse/
+(
The country, however, that will pay the biggest price will be Israel. And the sad irony is that those planning this war think of themselves as allies of the Jewish state.

A conflagration of this magnitude could see Israel drawn back in Lebanon and sucked into a regional war, one that would over time spell the final chapter in the Zionist experiment in the Middle East. The Israelis aptly call their nuclear program "the Samson option." The Biblical Samson ripped down the pillars of the temple and killed everyone around


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

Yes, Netanyahu rejected "Clean Break". But Zionism is larger than Israel, and Zionism did NOT reject it.

As Saddam undid Iraq when he attacked Kuwait, Zionists acting hyper-aggressively "in Israel's behalf" -- e.g., Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Ehud Olmert -- may bring about Israel's demise. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH aggression, TOO MUCH dehumanization, TOO MUCH disregard for other human beings.


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601009_bushs_nuclear_apocalypse/
+(
The country, however, that will pay the biggest price will be Israel. And the sad irony is that those planning this war think of themselves as allies of the Jewish state.

A conflagration of this magnitude could see Israel drawn back in Lebanon and sucked into a regional war, one that would over time spell the final chapter in the Zionist experiment in the Middle East. The Israelis aptly call their nuclear program "the Samson option." The Biblical Samson ripped down the pillars of the temple and killed everyone around him, along with himself.
)+
-- Chris Hedges, "Bush's Nuclear Apocalypse", 09 Oct 2006




Aggression can sometimes be excused as "defense", but beyond a certain point, it becomes self-defeating. Zionism long ago passed that point.

Even before the U.S. attack on Iraq, Zionism was calling for the U.S. to attack Iran.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-469972,00.html
+(
ISRAEL'S Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called on the international community to target Iran as soon as the imminent conflict with Iraq is complete.
)+
-- Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson and Danielle Haas, "Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands Israel", 05 Nov 2002



http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j110602.html
+(
The Times [of London] headline said it all: "Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands Israel."
)+
-- Justin Raimondo, "Team Killers: Israel aims, we fire", 06 Nov 2002

Back in 2003, Iran proposed a comprehensive peace, including peace with Israel.

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=10551&mforum=times#10551 -- Iran Proposal to US Offered Peace With Israel

Recently, Iran warned Europe that an attack on Iran would be disastrous for all parties concerned. You cast this warning as evidence that Iran is trying to take over the world! It is nothing of the sort! Iran is simply trying to DETER attack.

Iran and other countries have a right to defend their own territory, a right you do not seem to recognize.

Iran has learned from the 2003 attack on Iraq. Iraq tried conciliation -- it was no threat to anybody, it cooperated with the U.N., it allowed the most intrusive inspections in history, it further disarmed, and it sued desperately for peace. USrael attacked anyway. If you wonder why Iran calls for the demise of the fascist regime in Israel, this is it. Iran understands that there is no way to APPEASE that regime and its Zionist backers. They DO seek world domination, and Iran is the next country on their hit-list.




Like a protection racket, Zionism CREATES threats, then uses these threats to justify its own existence.

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=10855&mforum=times#10855
+(
To hide this primordial immorality, Israel fosters an image of victimhood

Provoking violence, consciously or unconsciously, against which one must defend oneself is a key feature of the victim-mentality
)+
-- Oren Ben-Dor, The Independent, 26 Aug 2006




http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery1002.html
+(
There are people in Israel who secretly wish for the victory of anti-Semitism everywhere. That would confirm another Zionist myth on which we were brought up: that Jews will not be able to live anywhere but in Israel, because anti-Semitism is bound to triumph everywhere. But the United States is not France or Argentina; it plays a critical role in the Middle East. Israel's national security, as established by all Israeli governments since Ben-Gurion, is based on total support from the United States -- military, political, and economic.
)+
-- Uri Avnery , "Manufacturing Anti-Semites", 02 Oct 2002




Israel does not WANT to solve the terror problem, because terror is the only thing that keeps the Zionists in power. Zionism is premised on the poisonous defeatist belief that there can be no co-existence between Jews and non-Jews. Peace between Jews and non-Jews would put the Zionists out of business.

Strife enables the Zionists to pose as the "Protectors of the Jews".


http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jewhis1.htm
+(
In my view, Israel as a Jewish state constitutes a danger not only to itself and its inhabitants, but to all Jews and to all other peoples and states in the Middle East and beyond

I also consider that other Middle Eastern states or entities which define themselves as 'Arab' or 'Muslim', like the Israeli self-definition as being 'Jewish', likewise constitute a danger. However, while this danger is widely discussed, the danger inherent in the Jewish character of the State of Israel is not.
....
)+
-- Israel Shahak, " Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years"

Israel Shahak was a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He was born in Warsaw, in 1933, to ultra-Orthodox, Zionist, parents and lived until age 12 in the Warsaw ghetto. His father was killed in a concentration camp and he and his mother arrived in Palestine in 1945. He was a Zionist for many years but in the 1960's he became critical of Zionism (and I quote) "for both Jewish and general human reasons." He died in July of 2001.


http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=100218&bheaders=1#100218 -- The alure of self-destruction


Now the same people who failed to protect the WTC, failed to protect the Pentagon, and failed to protect American borders are posing as OUR "Protectors" in a grand convenient "War On Terror". WE too have been swallowed up by this "protection" RACKET.



http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm
+(
War is just a racket.
)+
-- USMC Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, 1933 speech


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

http://hnn.us/comments/100231.html
+(
The majority of the, purported, killings in Iraq are Arabs killings other Arabs, which is a normal thing in the Arab culture.
)+
-- Yehudi Amitz, 25 Oct 2006

What an OBSCENELY racist view of "Arab culture"!

But the one most harmed by this racism is the racist himself, for he has confined himself to a tiny poison-filled ghetto of fear and hate.




Jews who escape from this self-imposed Zionist ghetto come to have a very different view of Arab culture!

http://www.wrmea.com/archives/sept-oct02/0209008.html
+(
Third, Shehadeh could not have avoided being among civilians even if he had tried. I know, because I lived in Gaza and I tried.

Don't get me wrong. In Gaza I was treated to kindness and hospitality unlike anything I had ever known. People I had barely met welcomed me into their homes as a daughter. And in Gaza, a guest invited for lunch stays for dinner, spends the night, and does not leave without some gift as a memento.


But there were times when I wanted, to use IDF lingo, a "place of refuge." I longed for a bit of privacy -- to go for a walk without being greeted by dozens of children wanting to play or practice their English. I found it impossible to do so. Gaza is just bursting with people. About twice the size of Washington, DC, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on earth.
)+
-- Wendy Pearlman, "Israel's Indifference to Civilian Lives", WRMEA, Sep-Oct 2002



Is it "Arabs killing Arabs" in Iraq? Or is it Arabs starved by USraeli sanctions, dismembered by USraeli bombs, radiated by USraeli DU, and assassinated by USraeli death squads? Why does most of the killing occur in countries that are under USrael occupation? Could there be a connection?

http://www.freeforum101.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=881&mforum=times -- Israel: Assassinations

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1102940,00.html -- Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq, Julian Borger, 09 Dec 2003




It is not Arabs that Zionists fear: It is the blood on their OWN hands and the skeletons in their own closet.


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

http://hnn.us/comments/100241.html
+(
Good stuff:

http://www.ihop.com/ a division of Caterpillar?
Which proves that I can cut and paste and add stupid comments, too.
)+
-- Yehudi Amitz, 25 Oct 2006

Thank you for your reply, Yehudi. Yes, Zionists can do stupid things. I do not dispute that.


What you CANNOT do, for much longer, is survive in your present form. The world is getting tired of your genocidal madness, and we Americans are getting tired of supporting you.

If you decide that you want to survive, you will have to abandon your xenophobic self-defeating ideology and return to being that which you most despise: A Jewish HUMAN being.



http://www.afsc.org/pwork/0212/021222.htm
+(
Most painful to me was the denigration of the Holocaust and pre-state Jewish life by many of my Israeli friends. For them, those were times of shame, when Jews were weak and passive, inferior and unworthy, deserving not of our respect but of our disdain. "We will never allow ourselves to be slaughtered again or go so willingly to our slaughter," they would say. There was little need to understand those millions who perished or the lives they lived. There was even less need to honor them. Yet at the same time, the Holocaust was used by the state as a defense against others, as a justification for political and military acts.
)+
-- Sara Roy, "Living with the Holocaust: The Journey of a Child of Holocaust Survivors", 22 Dec 2002


Rachel Korrie - 10/26/2006

http://hnn.us/comments/100247.html
+(
Now, Israel would no doubt like something to be done about Iran. But, somehow, I bet that Greece would like the same thing since Iran's missiles can reach Greece. And, I might add, Iran, by its own admission, is building missiles that can reach Britain.

I note that Iran does not claim that its main concern is Israel. Iran's leader claims instead that Israel should be destroyed in order to turn the tides in the dispute between Muslims and non-Muslim Europeans that goes back a millennia. If you do not believe me, read Ahmadinejad's speech on the topic. He spoke rather clearly.
)+


Often, OVER-reaction to a problem does more damage than the original problem. Zionism, for example, can be seen as a self-defeating over-reaction to anti-Semitism.

When you write "something to be done", you tacitly exclude all options other than military annihilation. You start with the premise that co-existence is impossible. Then, since Iran refuses to take orders from USrael, you call for "regime change" or annihilation.

I'm sure that Greece, if it has any objection at all to the existence of Iran, is not so LIMITED in its range of responses as USrael is.

Note that Israel's missiles can ALSO reach Greece, and Israel, unlike Iran, has a long track record of aggression. So it is possible that Greece also wants "something to be done" about fascist Israel.




Iran correctly sees the USraeli empire as a system of DOMINATION. Either OBEY or DIE -- these are the only two possibilities this empire allows.

Iran seeks to unite Islam around a third possibility: EQUALITY, dignity, reciprocity, mutual respect. The extreme paranoia that Zionism fosters has caused us to lose sight of this life-saving third possibility.


See also:

http://hnn.us/comments/100174.html -- The invisible third option: REhumanize!


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Arnold,

What is this "superjew" talk? That sounds rather strange to me. I talk with anyone and everyone on this site. I occassionally poke fun but, by and large, I listen even to people I think are nuts.

Regarding your points and ignoring the noted bigotted language choice, I thought I responded to your comment the best I could. Note: I am not a warrior and not a supporter of wars except in self-defense, which could include, where a threat is pretty imminent, pre-emptive action. Again, I am no advocate of war.

Addressing arguments you claim I overlooked (but which I did not address as they did not - since I was not advocating war - pertain to my position), you wrote: "Iran during the last, say, half-century, of its history did not commit military agression (or striked first) against any country in the world..."

So what? Until 1979, Iran was ruled by the Shah - supposed arch enemy of peace on earth and good will toward men -. I guess that means he was a good guy in your book.

In any event, the Shah's Iran had the protection of the US and, to maintain that support, the Shah no doubt controlled whatever ambitions he had, since that maintained him in power. The Shah, after all, managed to undermine his support at home by adopting a reformist, modernist course that Muslims abhorred.

Anyway, shortly after 1979 - after the loathsome Shah was overthrow by revolutionaries who, in turn, were outwitted by religious lovers of peace, the country was attacked by that other lover of peace state, Baathist Iraq (and likely at the urging of the US but, perhaps, also the USSR - also threatened then rather seriously by Islamist revivalism -) and the war lasted quite a number of years, with the US and, probably, USSR supplying both sides. During those years Iran could not attack anyone and, for a long period after the war, the country had to rebuild its infrastructure. That rebuilding has continued ever since.

So, let us say that much of the supposed fifty years of peaceful Iran amounts to saying that Iran was pre-occupied with more immediate concerns. Now, the regime which rules the country is thuggish, by any standards, and advocates war. Read the writings of Ayatollah Khomeini - the founder of the republic - in support of war against infidels. His views are right out of the Middle Ages. That wonderful character after him, Mr. Rasfanjani was just indicted by Argentina for organizing a massacre in Argentina. (See, http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061025/wl_mideast_afp/argentinaattacksiran&printer=1 ). Not so nice after all, that great reformer and moderate and lover of peace.

You write: "Israel, whether justifiably, or not, attacked several Arab nations, occupied their territories for many years, some up to this time."

Israel, however, has no claim against Iran other than that Iran stop supporting groups that kill Israelis and Jews. Regarding Iran's behavior, I quote this, above noted article, from Agence France Presse:

Argentine prosecutors charged Iran and the Shiite militia Hezbollah with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina that killed 85 people and injured 300.

Prosecutors demanded an international arrest warrant for then-Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and six other top Iranian officials at the time of the attack, and a former Hezbollah foreign security service chief, Imad Fayez Moughnieh.


That is rather nasty stuff, don't you think? What imaginable thing merited the massacring of Argentian Jews by the Iranian government through lover of peace party Hezbollah?

The reality is that Iran is hip deep into terrorism and massacring Jews and has done so through its various client organizations includling Hezbollah and, more recently, Hamas. On your telling, this must have something to do with what? The terrorism choreographed by Iran goes back to the beginning of the Islamic Republic of Iran and has nothing to do with any threat by Israel. This is the same country which sold Jews to Israel at the rate of $50,000 per person - ransom for not starting pogroms on the remnant Jewish population!

You write: "first - Iran. Doesn't have nuclear..." Maybe so, maybe not. There is no way to know.

What is known is that Iran has not exploded a weapon, claims (which, to note, is talk) not to have one or to want one - while, according to some journalists, it works feverishly to obtain one - but evidently had a secret program discovered by the UN. None of that, by itself, bothers me as, in fact, it would be hypocritical to say, in theory, that it is ok for country A but not country B to have the bomb. What bothers me is the political position taken by Iran - what you would, I think, call mere "oral threats." (And note: Iran's involvement goes way beyond just threats.)

To me, these are not ordinary remarks from Iran. And Iran's politics are not ordinary. They are, in my view, extraordinary and they portend conflict. And, to me, a country which makes bellicose threats of war, backed by religous assertions that the here and now will be the end of the world as we know it (i.e. as stated by Ahmadinejad) and assertions that destroying Israel would serve as the beginning of a war to reclaim Islamic world power while, at the same time, evidently working toward the bomb is engaged in dangerous politics, not mere threats.

But note: I do not deny that the US is a big, powerful country that has invaded countries. That, of course, is a fact. Why would I deny it? And Israel is powerful, but is not, except in the world of bigots, a world power. It is a small country the size of New Jersey which cannot even sort out its own problems, much less start a war against far away Iran, a large, oil rich country with a humongous population. No serious Iranian or anyone of any sanity believes that Israel, unless threated by Iran, would start a fight with Iran over anything.

Rather, if there is a fight with Iran, perhaps the support of Iran for Hezbollah and Hamas and Islamic Jihad may have something to do with it. And, maybe the words of Mr. Rasfanjani that Israel could be destroyed, at an acceptable cost, in a nuclear weapons exchange. Note: that statement is not even from the very Medieval and bellicose Mr. Ahmadinejad.

You address Pakistan. Well, Pakistan's issue number one so far as hatred appears to be India. So, you are correct about it. Pakistan should, in fact, probably be more in the spotlight. That it is not is perhaps the intent of the Bushies. Perhaps another one of his mistakes?

In any event, the connection to Mr. AQ Khan, perhaps pursuing his government's policy or perhaps fulfilling his own Islamist agenda - or maybe it was both - deserves a lot of sunshine. And, likely, if Iran obtains the bomb, Mr. Khan's blueprints and network will supply what you think Iran cannot build soon. I am just speculating. But note: I have no faith, either way, that Iran cannot soon make a bomb. But, I have no great faith that there is anything much that can be done about it or, perhaps - since this is an imperfect world that often requires selecting the least bad option - whether anything should be done.

Now, I am not going to admit that Iran is not a threat. It is obviously a threat to Israel. (And, it is, since it has long range missiles, obviously a threat to Europe.)

Moreover, it supplies arms to Hamas. It supplies arms to Hezbollah. It has, evidently, engaged in its own terror.

Where we differ is that I think that terror is a threat. I think that terror has a long history of success for countries that fight in the more non-Western model. The idea is to become such a pest that it saps an opponent's will. In Islamic history, it is known as razzias. And, razzias go back to the very beginning of Islam. And they were used during the ascendance of Islamic power. So, I cannot say that terror is not a threat as it has worked in support of Muslim power and, perhaps, for other groups as well.

In this regard, I quote from a rather good book review I read recently:

The spirit of jihad first emerged out of the plundering raids of Arab camel nomads who, like all warlike bands, took whatever they wanted from those who were weaker. They attacked merchant caravans and carried off their loot. Yet as they grew bolder they began to make raids into the settled and civilized populations of the Byzantine and Sassanian Empires — without the intention of seizing these empires for themselves, but merely to rob them. Under Omar, however, a new project began. Seeing how weak and fragile these tempting empires were, it was decided that the warlike Arab bands would hijack the empires and control them for themselves. From that point on, the warlike bands lived off the labor of the peasants who had been the support of all the various empires that had emerged in the Levant since the time of the Assyrians. Yet the secret of the success of the Arab bands lay less in their own warlike qualities than in the weakness and decadence of the empires they overthrew. (A similar attempt to conquer Abyssinia around the same time failed miserably: The Abyssinians were still far too warlike themselves.)

For the Arab philosopher of history Ibn Khaldun, the conquest by the warlike Arabs of more advanced yet weak and decadent empires represented a deep historical pattern. When a civilization becomes too sedentary, too decadent, too forgetful of the struggle for existence that originally put it on top, it becomes ripe for conquest by those who are still warlike and driven by a fanatical sense of mission. Thus, he noted, superior wealth and superior civilization were no guarantee that those who possessed them could hold on to them in the face of small but determined bands of fanatics united by a sense of what he called “group feeling.” In short, for Ibn Khaldun, jihad can be devastatingly effective even when it is waged against a civilization that, in material terms, is far in advance of the jihadists.

Can the same thing happen again today — or over the course of the next few generations? Is such an idea even thinkable? Or should those who raise such questions be dismissed as alarmists and hysteria-mongers?

Here we can see again the most serious flaw in the clash-of-civilizations model. If jihad were being used simply as a means of conducting Clausewitzian warfare, it would indeed be a relic of the past about which none of us in the West would need to worry overmuch. If Muslim civilization only decided to clash with ours, we could clash back, and with overwhelming military force. If we were confronting the armies of Omar or of Tamerlane, there is little doubt which side would secure the victory. But the objective of jihad is not Clausewitzian politics continued by other means. Its objective is the destruction and dissolution of politics as we have come to understand it in the West. The jihadists are not interested in winning in our sense of the word. They can succeed simply by making the present world order unworkable, by creating conditions in which politics-as-usual is no longer an option, forcing upon the West the option either of giving in to their demands or descending into anarchy and chaos.


http://www.policyreview.org/139/harris.html




Arnold Shcherban - 10/26/2006

If anyone believes that Cheney is lunatic by stating this, think again:
the sectarian violence was exactly his clique major design and expectation. He might not be marksman , but a good student of Western imperialist strategists that teach: divide and conquer.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/26/2006

Norman,

I thought better about you, since sometimes you sound as more shrewd observer, than many others from the SuperJew and "Israel always right" crowd. But you started to interpret and, and consequently, misinterpret
my words and views to those others from the abovementioned group, without my participation, and this was not asked for and incorrect move on your part.

Regarding to what you and me were discussing: you did not respond to any of my arguments supported by historic facts, against the military attack(basically war) on Iran.
You also did answer my question about the moral and legal legitimacy of ATTACKING the country based just on SUSPICION of its buiding WMDs.
So I'm still waiting for those to get from you, which were the major ones
pertaining to the article under discussion.

What you started argue about is that my alleged statement that Israel should not feel threatened by Iran.
The main argument you provided in favor of that Isreal should undoubtedly feel threatened (and I suspect, you meant seriously enough to support the military attack against the latter or attack itself)
was the threatening statement(s) of the Iran's spiritual and governmental leaders.
Now, I never said that Israel (or any other sovereign state) should not be prepared to DEFEND itself facing REAL
and IMMINENT threat by even taking preventive strike, but only if the threat is such as it stated above in capital letters.
Oral threats does not constitute even remotely such a threat, plus the talkers in this case have NO MILITARY, ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, OR ANY OTHER MEANS to accomplish what they threatened to do. Such threats were always characterized by normal civilised men as EMPTY, RHETORICAL THREATS.
One always has to account for the ratio of respective powers.
To give you analogy: if my neigbor is
5'1, 125lbs, no athlete, and I'm 6'2, 220 lbs, and the judoist, and he threatens to beat me into the ground
every other day, all I might say is: "bring it on baby". But am I going to feel REALLY threatened, especially to the point of attacking him or supporting someone much bigger than me into beating him into the ground? However, if I or my bigger friend does it from my prompt, the police will arrest him and me and justifiably so.

And to your dear SuperJew friends relay my message: no Jew was killed
with my views, but - thousands - with theirs.
The explanation is simple: I'm against all wars except really defensive, caused as the reaction on the state organized military agression (not by some siucide bomber) and all terrorists acts, i.e. attacks on unarmed civilians, but they exclusively against some else's
wars and terrorists.
That's our principal and great divide.





E. Simon - 10/26/2006

Thanks for your kind words and for your welcome contributions to both the historical context discussed and to the level and tenor of discourse here. They have made quite a difference.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Mr. Simon,

I do not have any insight on the matter. It would be interesting if we have people who listen or whether they merely rant. Thus far, they appear to be ranters.

I would call you a welcome addition to the site but, after all, you were here when I first arrived. You, instead, are a welcome regular.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

You must break eggs to make an omelet. That has to be the thinking of those who see only Israel's sins while shilling for forces which openly promise massacres and discrimination.


E. Simon - 10/26/2006

Well, he's certainly unafraid to fight the haters with the kind of bluntness they can relate to even if they can't deflect it, only with more accuracy and relevant context than they utilize.

Where did this Rent-a-Mob come from anyway? I haven't seen these recurrent personalities on any other discussion page before; wonder if Polk or someone else taught a class or was at some forum and encouraged these unhingeables and calumniators to speak their mind, or rather - their limbic system.


E. Simon - 10/26/2006

Oh I see, so aggression assumes a one-way definition depending on whether one approves of the political agenda.

Shcherban probably comes from a different perspective than does his ally. I believe Stalin's quote was fitting in understanding this, about how one death is a tragedy, millions - a statistic.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Well said, Mr. Amitz. You are a wonderful addition to this website.


N. Friedman - 10/26/2006

Mr. Simon,

On Arnold's possible theory, massacred Israelis can be explained away as a few eggs have to be broken on the path to equality.

TRANSLATION: Jews are better off living under the wings of Islam, as HAMAS advocates. Never mind the facts about how non-Muslims live under Islamic rule. Jews chose to live in the Middle East and, hence, must assume the role of tolerated infidel under the wings of Islam.

That theory explains away any massacre of Jews. Just ask Omar!!!


E. Simon - 10/25/2006

I love the delusionally hateful one-sidedness of stereotyping Jews as living in mental ghettoes while proclaiming that calling attention to the sad reality of Arab fratricide is - of all things, racist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafa_Sultan


E. Simon - 10/25/2006

Encouraging one to be what they despise is an odd piece of advice to give, but perhaps the art of self-hatred is better practiced and appreciated by some than others realize.


E. Simon - 10/25/2006

The first suicide bomb-exploding Jew or Israeli who goes off in Tehran will get Arnold Shcherbarn's immediate recognition as anything OTHER THAN an act of aggression, since he obviously doesn't believe such atrocities - at least not when they are conducted against Israelis at Iran's behest - constitute aggression.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/25/2006

My Lady, full of hate, that Arabs, customary, kill each other is a fact of life which is not going to change when you call me a racist. Jordanians killed about 25000 Palestinians in 1970, Alawi Syrians killed more than 20000 Sunni Syrians under the Assad the father regime. It is a Muslim custom to kill women for the family honor. I am sure that for your ilk the genocide in Darfur is small change, only Jewish self defense is a "crime" in your hateful eyes.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/25/2006

Italian and Irish Americans have the right to double citizenship (and passport) the same as Israeli Americans. The Oscar winner Marisa Tomei said in an interview that she has an Italian passport and the interviewer didn't ask what's her country. Martin Scorsese (probably the greatest American film director, alive) openly talks and makes movies about his Italian roots. That's America, my WASP fellow American, a place where a lot of people have a little bit of the old identity. After all we eat pizza and drink Budweiser (the German spelled name of Budejovice the Czech town of the famous soldier Svejk) and feel very American doing it.
About "whinging" the word is very contemporary and is used mostly in UK, but if you read US literary critics they use it sometime. Personally I read a lot of US and UK (and Hebrew, which is irrelevant here) literary criticism because it makes it easier to choose books. I may have an advantage because, having business partners in London, I am quite often there, but all the American dictionaries, I consulted, have an entry for the word "whinging".
I insulted you only when you went so low and attacked my English (which I know isn't perfect) instead of my arguments. You are the one who called me "paranoid" (are you a WWW telepathic psychologist?) and "idiotic". So the deal I offer is: as soon as I see your apology mine will promptly follow. The ball is yours!
By the way in the USA the usual question is "where are you from?" and I already answered it.


N. Friedman - 10/25/2006

My last paragraph contains a typo. It should read:

I am not sure what to think. But, to suggest that the Israelis have nothing to fear here is, to me, moronic and too stupid for an opinion for anyone to hold. And, to assert that the Iranians would be threatened by Israel if Iran stopped funding Israel's enemies and stopped threatening Israel's existence is, you know full well, cr*p.


N. Friedman - 10/25/2006

Arnold,

I do not recall supporting the Iraq war. In fact, I have been rather consistent about questioning it and advocating that it would serve no useful purpose.

Now, you write: "Thus, no sane and honest observer in the world can proclaim that Iran is more agressive and military capable or will be such in the nearest future to attack any other country than the other two.
At the same time, any sane and honest man should conclude that Iran must be
scared sh*less by the other two countries, in question, and has the undeniable right to protect itself by any means possible from the very likely agression of the US or Israel."

By my understanding of events, Israel's only claim regarding Iran relates to the fact that Iran's government, since 1979, advocates Israel's destruction. The current leader of Iran claims that the occult iman - i.e. Mahdi - is about to make a reappearance signally the end of the current world order and normally associated in Islamic theology with unprecedented war. The leader of Iran and his predeccesors have called for the Jewish population to be driven out of the region. Note: the Israelis certainly have a right to be concerned.

Now, if we have people making sane reckonings of accounts, the Iranians should be deterred, as you suggest. But, what to make of leaders who think that the end of world history is upon us wherein armageddon like violence is appropriate?

I am not sure what to think. But, to suggest that the Israelis have nothing to fear here is, to me, moronic and not too stupid for an opinion for anyone to hold. And, to assert that the Iranians would be threatened by Israel if Iran stopped funding Israel's enemies and stopped threatening Israel's existence is, you know full well, cr*p.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/25/2006

Norman,

In politics, since it involves PEOPLE, NOTHING is definite, so when making socio-political predictions, if we do, there is only one main guide - the past, and objective, not ideological (like saying they are evil) analysis of current situation.
If we compare the past actions (not their ideological and political context, which many of us totally disagree on) of the main players in Iran's case, we have the following:
Iran during the last, say, half-century, of its history did not commit military agression (or striked first) against any country in the world, and certainly - not against any of its neighbors, while being attacked by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
The US, on the contrary, not only attacked many countries during the same time interval, and just recently - Iran's immediate neighhbor - Iraq, but nudged Saddam Hussein then to attack Iran, and provided military aid to the former
during the 10-year war that devastated many Iran's regions and killed many hundreds of thousands of Iranians.
Israel, whether justifiably, or not,
attacked several Arab nations, occupied their territories for many years, some up to this time.
That's those three countries undeniable military record - the historic fact.
Now, about current situation:
first - Iran. Doesn't have nuclear
weapons, but, possibly, just a speculation so far, tends to build them (in 5-10 years).
The US. Has the biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world equaled or exceeding the combined arsenal of the rest of the world, not mentioning absolute superiority of its military, industrial, financial,and political power. Announced to the whole world to use that power, against anyone IT CONSIDERS threatening to its national interests and security (or to the corresponding concerns of its allies), and even just to promote democracy, freedom, and justice without any threat to itself. Announced to the whole world that Iran is part of axis of evil and its regime has to be changed, by force, if the US considers that appropriate, at the time it considers it appropriate.
Israel. Possesses huge arsenal of nuclear weapons (by the estimate of
all leading military experts), greater than the arsenal of France, or Britain,, and one the best-equppied military forces in the world, who has war experience and skills, superior than almost any other national military force in the world.
Thus, no sane and honest observer in the world can proclaim that Iran is more agressive and military capable or will be such in the nearest future to attack any other country than the other two.
At the same time, any sane and honest man should conclude that Iran must be
scared sh*less by the other two countries, in question, and has the undeniable right to protect itself by any means possible from the very likely agression of the US or Israel.

And the last, how is it possible, Mr Freidman, for you as an honest observer, to accept the possibility
of the war agaist the nation, based just on SUSPICION that it might create
WMD in the FUTURE?

Pakistan, acquired nuclear weapons when being one of the leading terrorist and brutal states in the world.
Could it use them? Sure it could, against India (another not really peaceful nuclear nation), for example. Why noone was talking about attacking Pakistan? They obviously were threatening the region's peace and stability, and therefore, the US national interests.

I know, I know, no matter how strong and undenicable the facts and arguments are you will never admit that Iran's, the same as Iraq's case is just one more page in the long list of the US imperialistic and hegemonic designs, and that Iran is not a real threat to noone today,... except itself.
But you asked me a question.


Andrew D. Todd - 10/25/2006

I would like to inject a note of reality. Here are a group of people who are the wealth of the nation, discussing which country to emigrate to, like so many German and Central European Jews in the 1930's. You know, people with names like Einstein, Teller, Szilliard, Fermi, etc.

http://ask.slashdot.org/askslashdot/06/10/24/1810233.shtml

I have to point out that we cannot do without them, unless we want to revert to a third-world country, but we would not be overly inconvenienced if certain neoconservatives moved to Costa Rica or Paraguay, the countries with no extradition laws which are the traditional homes of absconding financiers and escaped Nazi concentration camp commandants.

So talk fast, boys. Talk fast.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/25/2006

They can't stand Jews defending themselves. Genocide perpetrated by Arabs in Darfur is perfectly acceptable but self defense for Jews is not?!


N. Friedman - 10/25/2006

Rachel,

Israel has no history of agression against Greece.

Did I use the term military. I said "something." I have no opinion on what, if anything other than watch the situation, to do. In fact, I do not think there is much anyone can do.

As for your comment that Zionism was an overreaction to Antisemitism: what outrages were Europe's Jews to accept while Europeans learned how to treat Jews as equals? A thousand years of massacres and forced segratation was, evidently on your view, not enough. And, the effort of Nazis to annihilate Europe's Jews - which the rest of Europe largely stood by and allowed - evidently, to you, is not enough. Even the failure, after that war, to allow surviving Jews to return to their homes was not enough, on your view, for you.

If we apply your logic, Palestinian Arabs have not had enough difficulties yet to merit a state.


Now, let's turn to what Muslims actually desire. You claim that it is equality. The reality, however, is different.

The reality is that wherever Islamism rules, there is radical discrimination. Ask the Baha'ai in Iran. Ask the Copts in Egypt. In fact, among the world's worst violators of the notions of equality have been Islamic ruled countries. Think Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan - the country which brought back slavery as an institution.

Note: the reality of the relationship of Muslims to non-Muslims where Muslims rule under Islamic law has been one of overlord to subject.

I can suggest a lot of books on this topic. For now, I quote a passage about the topic from a book I read some time ago.

The Islamic character of Ottoman theocracy was a fundamental factor in the Ottoman state's legal organization. The Sultan, who exercised supreme political power, also carried the title of Khalif (meaning Successor to Mohammed, and a vicar of supreme authority) and thereby served as the supreme protector of Islam. Thus, the Sultan-Khalif was entrusted with the duty of protecting the canon law of Islam, called the Şeriat, meaning revelation (of the laws of God as articulated by the prophet Mohammed). The Şeriat comprised not only religious precepts, but a fixed and infallible doctrine of a juridical and political nature whose prescriptions and proscriptions were restricted to the territorial jurisdiction of the State.

*************


The Islamic doctrines embraced by the Ottoman state circumscribed the status of non-Muslims within its jurisdiction. The Ottoman system was not merely a theocracy but a subjugative political organization based on the principle of fixed superordination and subordination governing the legal relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, and entailing social and political disabilities for the latter. [footnote omitted]. The Koran, the centerpiece of the Şeriat, embodies some 260 verses, most of them uttered by Mohammed in Mecca, enjoining the faithful to wage cihad, holy war, against the "disbelievers," e.g., those who do not profess the "true faith" (hakk din), and to "massacre" (kital) them. [footnote omitted]. Moreover, the verse "Let there be no coercion in religion" [footnote omitted] is superseded and thus cancelled (mensuh) by Mohammed's command to "wage war against the unbelievers and be severe unto them." [footnote omitted]. The verse that has specific relevance for the religious determination of the legal and political status of non-Muslims whose lands have been conquered by the invading Islamic warriors has this command: "Fight against them who do not follow the religion of truth until they pay tribute [ciziye] by right of subjection, and they be reduced low." [footnote omitted]. This stipulation is the fundamental prerequisite to ending warfare and introducing terms of clemency.

The Ottoman Empire's Islamic doctrines and traditions, reinforced by the martial institutions of the State, resulted in the emergence of principles of common law which held sway throughout the history of the Ottoman socio-political system. The Sultan-Khalif's newly incorporated non-Muslim subjects were required to enter into a quasi-legal contract, the Akdi Zimmet, whereby the ruler guaranteed the "safeguard" (ismet) of their persons, their civil and religious liberties, and, conditionally, their properties, in exchange for the payment of poll and land taxes, and acquiescence to a set of social and legal disabilities. These contracts marked the initiation of a customary law in the Ottoman system that regulated the unequal relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. Ottoman common law thus created the status of "tolerated infidels [relegated to] a caste inferior to that of their fellow Moslem subjects." [footnote omitted]. The Turkish scholar N. Berkes further pointed out that the intractability of this status was a condition of the Şeriat, which "could not admit of [non-Muslim] equality in matters over which it ruled. [Even the subsequent secular laws based on] the concept of the Kanun (law) did not imply legal equality among Muslims and non-Muslims." [footnote omitted].

This principle of Ottoman common law created a political dichotomy of superordinate and subordinate status. The Muslims, belonging to the umma, the politically organized community of believers, were entitled to remain the nation of overlords. Non-Muslims were relegated to the status of tolerated infidels. These twin categories helped perpetuate the divisions between the two religious communities, thereby embedding conflict into the societal structure. Moreover, the split transcended the political power struggle occurring in Ottoman Turkey during this time period.


(Source: Chapter one of The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus (3rd Revised Edition), by Vahakn N. Dadrian).

I note that this structure is also embedded into the system established in Iran, in Sudan and, until the US invasion, in Afghanistan. Egyptian law is slowly re-incorporating this structure as well as are most of the other states in which Muslims dominate.

Which is to say, the dispute about Israel has nothing to do with equality as that is not what the Muslim side is fighting for. The HAMAS party, by its own charter, says it wants other parties to live under Islam's wings - which is code word for the historic structure that has characterized Muslim rule for more than thirteen hundred years.


Dan Weintraub - 10/25/2006

I think we're too late Peter.

George Bush has already declared Martial Law. Google says so!

When George Bush signed The Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law, all Americans became subject to immediate incarceration without charge or the right of redress (Google: “Habeas Corpus” and “5th Amendment”); George Bush asserts that the U.S. military is able to both “police” the people during States of Emergency and to use intelligence that was collected unlawfully (Google: “Posse Comitatus Act of 1878”); The Ronald Reagan presidential files---describing in some detail the government’s projected ability to suspend the Constitution and to hold anti-government dissidents in internment camps---were recently sealed by President Bush (Google: “Executive Order 13233” and “Rex 84”); George Bush subscribes to the same Constitutional interpretation that Richard Nixon did with regard to the total legality of ALL Presidential acts during times of war (Google: “US v. Nixon 1974 ,” Detainee Treatment Act of 2005”, “Presidential Signing Statements” and “NSA Wiretapping Program”); Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez wants to arrest journalists who publish articles deemed a threat to national security (Google “USA Patriot Act”).

Now, Google “Martial Law” and connect the dots.

Welcome to the future.


E. Simon - 10/25/2006

If the NPT is not voluntarily entered into then the NPT has no meaning as a treaty.

Then again, why learn the most rudimentary elements of international law when one can whimsically throw around mindless pejoratives like "hypocrisy" to create false similarities between different actors?


N. Friedman - 10/25/2006

Ariadna,

You write: "Excellent article, and I noticed that every time there is a good, solid, FACTUAL and well argued article in any venue about the role of Israel (and its lobbying arm in the US) in destabilizing the ME, waging war, committing war crimes, the zionist catcalls grow in intensity."

Let us assume that you are correct in the above point. Let us, that is, assume that Israel contributes to destabilizing the Middle East.

Let us also, at the same time, recognize that Israel is not the only country in that region and is not the only cause of problems in that region.

Note, with my last comment in mind: Israel is not responsible for the fact that literacy rates in the region are dismal. Israel is not responsible for the extraordinarily high birthrate and the rapidly - probably connected thereto - declining economic statistics (on the order of the Great Depression in the US).

Israel is not responsible for the dispute, going back to the assassinations of the Caliphs Uthman and the Ali that led to the major splits among Muslims into Shi’a and Sunni and to bloodshed between the sects ever since. Israel did not start the war between Iran and Iraq in which one million people perished. Israel did not hand keys to paradise to children and march them into mine fields; Iran did that in order to fight Iraq.

The first Gulf War was not fought to help Israel yet it led to the stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia - the main point of outrage sited traditionally (although, at this point, the US has withdrawn most of its troops from Saudi Arabia) by al Qa’ida.

Israel did not assassinate Anwar Sadat but it is true that Jihadists opposed him in part - but not only or even primarily - because he reached a settlement with Israel. Israel is not responsible for the massacre at Luxor, Egypt.

Israel did not kill more than a small number of the 150,000 people killed in the civil war in Lebanon; local Muslims, Christians and Druze along with Palestinian Arabs did. That civil war largely occurred before the Israelis showed up and more or less ended that war. Israel, lastly - among many other things -, is not responsible for the more than two million people who have been massacred and starved intentionally in Sudan since 1983.

Now, Israel would no doubt like something to be done about Iran. But, somehow, I bet that Greece would like the same thing since Iran's missiles can reach Greece. And, I might add, Iran, by its own admission, is building missiles that can reach Britain.


I note that Iran does not claim that its main concern is Israel. Iran's leader claims instead that Israel should be destroyed in order to turn the tides in the dispute between Muslims and non-Muslim Europeans that goes back a millennia. If you do not believe me, read Ahmadinejad’s speech on the topic. He spoke rather clearly.

Which is to say, Israel is playing the role often played by Jews in long standing disputes between Christian Europe and Islam. I previously mentioned one prior example of that role. I shall discuss it again.

France, hoping to extend its influence within the Ottoman Empire by supporting the Egyptian reformer Muhammed Ali over the Sultan's rule. France thus fanned the flames regarding the disappearance of an Italian monk in which a Jew was wrongly accused of killing the man for his blood in order to use it in a non-existent ritual. By contrast, Britain, in order to block France and prop up the Ottoman Empire, supported the Jewish side. The process stirred up hatred of Jews in the Middle East and in Europe.

I note this incident because the current dispute in the Middle East bears similar markers. Jews are, as before, in the middle, accused of unspeakable horrors, while, all around Israel, people live worse than people live - including even Palestinian Arabs live - in Israel and the discrimination is a thousand times worse.

In the current dispute, France, through the European Union, convinced much of Europe to take the mantle of Palestinian Arabs, arguing that Israel is a disreputable country guilty of horrible sins (which you catalogue) - ignoring entirely the blood curdling bigotry and fulminating from and the disreputable resistance techniques being committed proudly by the Muslim Arab side of the dispute -. This, in order to undermine US influence in the region and increase European - and most especially French - influence in the region.

Which is to say: Israel’s sins - some of which are real - are dramatically exaggerated as part and parcel of the power politics. The reality of the dispute is, however, not so dramatic. Two parties dispute over a small parcel of land in a long dispute with many rights and wrongs on each side. The "Greater Israel" you refer to is, in its entirety, the size of New Jersey.

Now, the reason that Israel's supporters scream loud is due to history, in order to protect Israel from a disreputable resistance movement and the resulting demonization of Jews which is connected with it. Note, however, that most of Israel's supporters support an accommodation with the local Arabs in which they could have a state - if they end the dispute on such terms. Such has not worked out. Instead, a repeat of the Damascus Blood Libel is playing out. And, in this case, local parties are also playing a big role, with Iran also using Israel to get at Europe. Why? A number of reasons are possible. Israel is hated by Arab forces and provides cover for Iran's effort to dominate the Gulf area and to, potentially, serve as part of a war against Europe. Further, Israel is contraversial in Europe and Iran thus uses Israel to divide European opinion.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/25/2006

Good stuff:

http://www.ihop.com/ a division of Caterpillar?
Which proves that I can cut and paste and add stupid comments, too.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/25/2006

The majority of the, purported, killings in Iraq are Arabs killings other Arabs, which is a normal thing in the Arab culture.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/25/2006

Because the majority of the Jew haters lack basic knowledge (not many elementary schools teach hate) I remind them that Italy has non Italians as citizens (Austrians, Serbians) but is the country of the Italians the same as Israel is the country of the Jews.


Dan Weintraub - 10/25/2006

Hope you're right Peter. However, in the case of Bush, 2 truths stand out: (1) Bush believes that his role in winning the WoT is a spiritual calling. He has repeated, time and again in speeches, that this is the ultimate struggle for civilization: losing is simply not an option. (2) Like Nixon (and Bush would argue, like LINCOLN), any action taken by the President in defense of the nation is, by definition, legal. In light of these 2 absolute truths (As Bush sees them), there is no room for democracy---at least in the short term. I can just hear him now:

My Fellow Americans:

I know that some of you don’t like me, but your children and grandchildren will thank me for my foresight and courage. I am saving us all from destruction! So, for the sake of your kids, try not to see it as voter fraud. See it more as reshaping election results for the sake of our nation’s survival. Try not to see it as squashing dissent. See it more as keeping us all on board in our war against Islamo-Fascism. Try not to see it as the end of our Democratic Republic. See it more as necessary short-term adjustments to our great political system as we seek to defeat the enemies of freedom. I love you all. May God Bless.

George W. Bush


Ariadna Theokop[oulos - 10/25/2006

Typical mixture of zionist whining (oy, vey "the old "blame the Jews" tradition) with aggressive and shameless lying (nattering about Saudi Arabia---a supine lapdog of USrael--and "countries interested in limiting Iranian military power) when the "state for Jews only" is the only country in the region that ahs over time attacked every one of tis neighboirs, is sitting even now on land stolen from at least three, is the only rogue nuclear power in the region and is EVERY DAY violating the sovereignity of Lebanon with its air raids.
Oy, vey, how they Goyim hate us that they begrudge us our own war crimes, crimes against humanity, violations of international laws, etc, etc NMu, if you prick us do we not bleed? So let us bleed you, anti-semites...."


Ariadna Theokop[oulos - 10/25/2006

Excellent article, and I noticed that every time there is a good, solid, FACTUAL and well argued article in any venue about the role of Israel (and its lobbying arm in the US) in destabilizing the ME, waging war, committing war crimes, the zionist catcalls grow in intensity.
Just how obtuse can one be to deny that Israel wants Iran to be attacked as much as it wants to become Greater Israel" when it grows up (to full tumor size)?
Israel wants Iran to be attacked no matter what it costs the US in blood and treasure, let alone how many Iranians a re killed.
The sooner people recognize that the continued existence of this parasitic and noxious state bodes ill for the world the sooner a huge disaster is averted.
DISMANTLE ISRAEL:
--the rougue nuclear state
--the apartheid hell
--the homeland of assassination as policy
--war criminals


Arnold Shcherban - 10/25/2006

The US public - no, the US elite -
yes and always had a need, but not for fiasco, for creating more enemies, because that's the only way
they can justify the enormous Pentagon budget and huge military-industrial complex's profits, simultaneously maintaining a strong grip on public opinion.
No enemies - no public support, no public support - no democracy game, no democracy game - internal social unrest, and, God forbid, much worse...
The stakes are higher than everything else, and they have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with good people versus bad people lie, but everything with the rich against poor. "Follow the money", said one wise man.


N. Friedman - 10/25/2006

Arnold,

How can you say that Iran will never attack first? That is, at best, speculation. At worst, it is naive. I recallv1973: Egypt, Israelis naively thought, would never attack Israel due to the Bar Lev Line fortifications. Egypt attacked.

Countries are not so predictable. And countries where the rulers speak of annihilating their enemies are especially difficult to predict.


Arnold Shcherban - 10/25/2006

Huge difference, mister: Those countries have the interest in reducing Iran's military power - perhaps so, but they are not advocating the US or Israel's military strike against Iran!
I have the interest for you to stop
advocating militarist option, but I
won't attack you physically (and you understand it very well, as well, as you understand that Iran with or without nuclear bomb will never attack
either US or Israel FIRST!)


Don W Robertson - 10/25/2006

Given our current situation, there is no cogent parallel to Iraq and Iran. It simply would be a mistake to enter Iran and make of it what the U.S. military has made of Iraq.

Still, what we're seeing in Iraq, the massive insurgency, where some 60% of the people support attacks on American soldiers, and POLITICAL factions seem more common that bomb craters, this is all positive from the point of view of democratization, as the Iraqis, unlike Americans, haven't had much experience with democracy, "politics as usual", the
nasty, the ugly, but efficient process, especially under Saddam.

But the Iraqis do know about democracy, they've heard of all its promise, and they're apetite for the positives they were promised has grown parallel with their growing militancy and factionalism.

In other words, all that is going on in Iraq is like a really rough political campaign, ugly, but once the occupational forces are withdrawn, it's likely to settle down into a stable democracy as a "winner" is declared through attrition.

So there is then, good reason to pull the troops out, even believing in a victory as the mission of the democratization of Iraq is imminently being won, and will occur almost the moment we get out of the way of the situation.

There is no good reason to enter Iran.

With a perported 655,000 Iraqis who have lost their lives directly and indirectly attributable to the U.S. invasion and occupation, no one can on human terms ever again proclaim the smart bombs or the skill of the American G.I. will limit colateral damage.

655,000 is a number greater than died during the U.S. Civil War, in less time, and while Iraq's population is somewhat less that that of the U.S. at the time of the Civil War. It has been a slaughter.

And, Iran's population is massively larger than Iraq.

Don Robertson, The American Philosopher
Limestone, Maine

An Illustrated Philosophy Primer for Young Readers
Precious Life - Empirical Knowledge
The Grand Unifying Theory & The Theory of Time
http://www.geocities.com/donaldwrobertson/index.html


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

marj,

I do not think these matters are clear in the way you think.

Take the much touted A Clean Break. It advocates - and try reading it - that Israel sever its close relationship with the US and then start doing things that the US wants, such as beat up on Iraq - largely to benefit the US.

The Israeli, when given that proposal, ignored it, believing that they benefited by a close relationship with the US. In other words, you read the document backwards, as it does not suggest the US do Israel's bidding, but, in fact, exactly the opposite.

As for why Israel makes a big deal out of Iran: Iran's leaders - and not just the current crop - keep threatening to annihilate the Israelis. Even the comarpatively innocuous Rasfanjani has discussed how Israel would be destroyed by a single nuclear device while, in response, Israel could only inflict damage on the Islamic regions.

Were Israel not to take such things seriously and were those who think Israel, as a country, has a right of survival not to take such things seriously, they would be idiots. I might add: all of Europe stands in the same place as Israel as Iran has threatened all of them, claiming that Israel serves merely as symbol in the long fight between Islam and Christiandom. It is beginning to dawn on more and more Europeans, of both the Left and Right, that Iran and the Islamist movement generally, is a grave danger that, if given the right weaponry, might come to fruition.

note also: people threatened with annihilation - and with a history of others trying to do such things - tend to listen carefully when parties with possibly unlimited ambitions begin to advocate mass murder. That is a rational for Israel and its friends, especially when there is wind that those advocating annihilation are acquiring weapons that might make that annihiliation a possibility. And, since ambitious groups tend, if successful, to try again, such ought to be a concern for everyone else as well.


marj m jan - 10/24/2006

If all is fair then why as soon as someone points to the role that Israel is playing in shaping US middle East policy they get attacked?

Tell me who is screaming the loudest against Iran ? ! Who is running around everyday making some kind of noise about Iran?

Which country the people such as Perle and Feith , that were members of OSP ," Office of special plan " , that lied us into Iraq war , that forged documents, That fed the Americans diet of lies before the war, are associated with?

Which country the "Clean Break policy" that later was pushed on US to implement was writen for ? Any Arab country ?!!

Clearly Israel has the biggest role in shaping US Middle policy . I Do not recall Franklyn getting arrested for spying for any Arab country, I do not recall and head of any Arab State running to white house asking them to attack Iraq or Iran.

Why should
Polk Ignores the MAJOR factor in US decision making and talk about minor players that are all puppet of US , i.e Arab countries? Is that because Israel doesn't like to work in the open ?!!

What does pointing the finger at Israel when Israel should have the finger pointed at her has to do with Anti-semitism and the Jews?


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

Correction:

Disgard the sentence that reads: "They may, more likely, have been supportive of US policy in the hope of having influence on things that, in their minds, are more important to the US and, as they see the two closely linked, to Israel."

Substitute:

They may, more likely, have been supportive of US policy in the hope of having influence on things that, in their minds, are more important to the US and, since they see the two countries as closely linked, also to Israel.


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

Peter,

Not to start a debate about the agenda of Israel's friends, I think it, nonetheless, fair to note that they tend to be one of many influences on US foreign policy in the Middle East - and, at times, those friends, being so many, often work at cross purposes and have different agendas -.

Were the more hawkish supporters of Israel - and that, after all, is what you refer to - the main influence on the US, you can be sure that Iraq would never have been number one on the US agenda. Such people always pined primarily about other matters. They may, more likely, have been supportive of US policy in the hope of having influence on things that, in their minds, are more important to the US and, as they see the two closely linked, to Israel.

After all, Israel's problems - even to its more hawkish supporters - lay close to home and the US, beginning with Bush, supports the establishment of a state for Palestinians, thus far with only limited regard to whether that state would (a) be viable or (b) be willing to live at peace with the Israelis. And, after the "at home" problems, the Israelis would, had their agenda become the US agenda, have made Iran a close second. After all, a nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel but, no need to note, also a threat anywhere that Iran can deliver a nuclear payload - if it ever gets the bomb.

Now, no doubt the Israel's lobby not to mention Israel found Baathist Iraq problematic. In that the Iraqi government was paying money to the families of Jihadis, it is rather difficult to argue that Iraq was not a force working against peace in the region, not to mention against Israel's interest. But, as a force against peace in the region, such was surely a legitimate concern of the US.


Dan Weintraub - 10/24/2006

Nixon believed that ALL of his actions were legal. So does Bush. HOWEVER, the nation went bonkers over Nixon's Cambodia bombings and the whole thing fell apart. Bush's team understands that clamping down on American's ability to dissent is step #1. This will take the form of mass imprisonment of dissidents and the imposition of Martial Law in the wake of 9/11 #2. THEN and only then will Bush and his junta attack Iran---and Syria---and The Sudan.


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

marj,

I think it is fair to point out that there are important causal agents affecting the US and Iran other than Israel and it is fair comment to question the agenda of those who cast Israel into a central role.

In this regard, it is to be noted that historically, Jews - and the political use of Antisemitism - have played an important role in the dialogue between Europe and the Islamic regions. Note, in particular, France's role in the Damascus Blood Libel in order to advance French influence in the Middle East region.

Which is to say, it is certainly fair game to explore the role of Antisemitism in Israel's demonization by those in the US who view the government through anti-imperialist eyes, as such people tend to demonize Israel, be complicit or at the very least silent in the face of radical antisemitic activity by Muslims and, in many cases, by Europeans who oppose the US and, by extension, Israel.

I should add: whether or not the US should live and let live with respect to Iran's plans, bad analysis leads to bad mistakes. And, as Amitz notes: the analysis makes no sense as there are other, likely far more important, influences which Polk ignores. So, whether or not Israel is an issue, it is not the issue, so far as US policy in Iran is concerned.

The issue with Iran, if it is building a bomb, is whether it would use one. If it will and since it is building missiles which could carry that bomb to Europe, not just to Israel, and likely, in due course, all across Europe, such is a potential danger for large parts of the world.





rick buffington - 10/24/2006

As the "antisemite" cluster bomb ages an ever-increasing number of duds will be dispersed.


William J. Mac Bean - 10/24/2006

This administration has to be nuts. That's the only explanation for their desire to attack Iran. With a dismal failure staring us in the face in Iraq, attacking a country that's far from helpless with our depleted military forces is nothing short of insane. The same lies leading to the debacle in Iraq have been dusted off for disemination to the thinking-impared Homer Simpsons here. No one in his right mind-military or otherwise-believes that a "Shock and Awe" bombing campaign will work any better in Iran than it did in Iraq, except for the loonies in our "administration".


Yehudi Amitz - 10/24/2006

Mr. Polk uses, again false arguments:
"Probably the sole advocate of military action is Israel."
Sunni countries, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey have the main interest in limiting the military power of Iran, but, of course, blaming the Jews sounds better when "protocols of the elders of Zion" is revived in some academic circles.


Joseph Nagarya - 10/24/2006

"Who cares what you think?" -- George W. Bush.

Bush and his Talabanic al-qaeda want Armagedon, the "Second coming of Christ," and hope to bring that about by "the fire next time" -- in the Middle East.

Certainly Iran will not take any attack lying down; and it has numerous options in the Middle East, while the US and Israel, combined, have approximately two: act, or do not act. The US military has told Bush that an attack on Iran would result, at the least, in US troops in Iraq having to fight their way to the coast where US ships would rescue those who survived.

Are Rove and Chaney so desperate to hold Congress that they would attack Iran anyway, and to hell with the hell it unleashed?


Joseph Nagarya - 10/24/2006

Two problems with the US allegation against Iran concerning its alleged efforts to "build the bomb":

1. The US is lying.

2. Israel refuses to distinguish, unlike the applicable treatty, between peaceful uses of nuclear materials -- which is Iran's effort --and and the use of them for weapons.

Except, of course, as concerns Israel's uses of nuclear materials. Israel authorizes itself to have nuclear weapons, yet has the hypocritical gall to demand that no one else in the Middle East can have them.

Hypocrisy is not a successful strategy as it only makes more and more enemies.


Joseph Nagarya - 10/24/2006

Who are the liars who allege anti-Semitism every time Israel is properly and fairly criticized for its abuses not only of those in lands it illegally occupies but also of international law -- which latter it demands everyone else must obey?

Whoever they are, wake up: hypocrisy is a losing strategy that cannot be sustained even with the biggest of bombs. Bombing Iran will not cause Iran to back down; instead, it will defend itself by implementing its options in the Middle East, which are more than the those of the US and Israel combined.

Nor is self-serving bullying a strategy that can be sustained: it simply provokes opposition. And the hypocrisy -- again -- of blaming those predictably provoked for the deliberate provocation is also a failing strategy, and seen by the world -- including, of course, the non-anti-semitc world -- for what it is.

War crimes are war crimes are war crimes -- even when the US and Israel do it. No self-appointed "chosen people" is exempt from international law.


Antranik M - 10/24/2006

St. John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople (died 406 A.D.) says: "How dare Christians have the slightest intercourse with Jews! They are lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits: pests of the universe! Their synagogue is a house of prostitution, the domicile of the devil, as is the soul of the Jew. As a matter of fact, Jews worship the devil; their religion is a disease, their synagogue an abyss of perdition. The rejection and dispersion of the Jews was done by the wrath of God because of His absolute abandonment of the Jews. God HATES the Jews, and on Judgement Day will say with those who sympathize with them: "Depart from Me, for you have had intercourse with my murderers!" Flee, then, from their assemblies, fly from their houses, and hold their synagogue in hatred and aversion."

St. Augustine says: "Our Lord Jesus Christ referred to Himself as 'the Stone' (St. Mt. 21:44). Lying on the ground, it shakes whoever falls over it; coming from on high, it crushes the proud. The Jews have already been shaken by their previous stumble. What awaits them is to be crushed by His Coming."

St. Barnabas (the student of St. Paul) says: "Do not add to your sins by saying that the Covenant is both theirs and ours. Yes it is ours, but they lost it forever."

St. Vincent Ferrer says: "Since His spouse, the Synagogue, refused to receive Him, Christ answered: "This is a harlot!" and gave her a bill of divorce."

Pope Gregory IX says: "Ungrateful for favors and forgetful of benefits, the Jews return insult for kindness and impious contempt for goodness. They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt. See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future grow insolent, but that they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin in servile fear."

Pope Innocent III says: "Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in continual subjection."

St. Thomas Aquinas says: "It would be licit, according to custom, to hold Jews in perpetual servitude because of their crime."

Pope Leo VII says: "Let the Gospel be preached to them and, if they remain obstinate, let them be expelled."

St. Augustine says: "The Jews wander over the entire earth, their backs bent over and their eyes cast downward, forever calling to our minds the curse they carry with them."

Pope Innocent III says: "As wanderers, they (the Jews) must remain upon the earth until their faces are filled with shame and they seek the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Thou shalt eat bread and cover it with the dung that comes out of a man. Thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread all filthy among the nations wither I will cast them out, saith the Lord." (Ezechiel 4:12-13)

"The Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and have persecuted us, do not please God, and they have become adversaries to all men, to fill up their sin always; for the wrath of God has come upon them to the end." (I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

St. Vincent Ferrer says: "One who dies a Jew will be damned."

St. Justin the Martyr says: "Those of the seed of Abraham who live according to the Law of Moses and who do not believe in Christ before death shall not be saved; especially they who curse this very Christ in the synagogues; who curse everything by which they might obtain salvation and escape the vengeance of fire."

St. Agobard says: "Jews are cursed and covered with malediction. The curse has penetrated them like water in their bowels and oil in their bones. They are cursed in the city and cursed in the country, cursed in their coming in and cursed in their going out. Cursed are the fruits of their loins, of their lands, of their flocks; cursed are their cellars, their granaries, their shops, their food, the very crumbs off their tables!"

"If any man love not Our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema."
(I Corinthians 16:22)

St. Ambrose says: "O Jewish hearts, harder than rocks!"

"For all the House of Israel is a hard forehead and an obstinate heart." (Ezechiel 3:7)

St. Bernard says: "O intelligence coarse, dense, and cow-like, which did not recognize God even in His own works! Perhaps the Jew will complain that I call his intelligence bovine, but his intelligence is LESS than bovine: 'The ox knows his Owner, and the ass knows his Master's crib, but Israel has not known Me, and My people have not understood.' (Isaiah 1:3) You see, O Jew, I am easier on you than your own prophet!"

St. Bernardine of Feltre says: "Canon Law forbids all intercourse with Jews."

The Council of Elvira declared: "Indeed, if any one of the clergy or faithful has taken a meal with Jews, he is to abstain from Communion so that he may be reformed."

St. Augustine says: "Judaism, since Christ, is a corruption; indeed, Judas (Iscariot) is the image of the Jewish people: their understanding of Scripture is carnal; they bear the guilt for the death of the Savior, for through their fathers they have killed Christ. The Jews held Him; the Jews insulted Him; the Jews bound Him; they crowned Him with thorns; they scourged Him; they hanged Him upon a tree."

St. Gregory of Nyssa says: "Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies and haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers' faith, advocates of the devil, a brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, the leaven of Pharisees, a congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, haters of goodness!"

"Woe to the sinful nation, a people loaded with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children. They have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they have gone away backwards. And when you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away My eyes from you, saith the Lord; and when you multiply prayer, I will not hear, for your hands are full of blood." (Isaiah 1: 4,15)

St. Basil the Great says: "And such are the prayers of the Jews, for when they stretch forth their hands in prayer, they only remind God-the-Father of their sin against His Son. And at every stretching-forth of their hands, they only make it obvious that they are stained with the blood of Christ. For they who persevere in their blindness inherit the blood-guilt of their fathers, for they cried out: "His blood be on us AND ON OUR CHILDREN" (St. Mt. 27:25)"

St. Alphonsus Liguori says: "Poor Jews! You invoked a dreadful curse upon your own heads; and that curse, miserable race, you carry upon you to this day, and to the End of Time you shall endure the chastisement of that innocent blood!"

ST. JUSTIN, martyr stated in 116 A. D.: "The Jews were behind all the persecutions of the Christians. They wandered through the country everywhere hating and undermining the Christian faith."


marj m jan - 10/24/2006

I see that flag of anti-Semitism is being raised protect the Zionist sacred Cow.

You fellows are right though, It was that Sunni Eye-rab , Al Ariel Ben Sharon , that before the Iraq war even started was asking Bolton to take care of Iran. It is the AAPAC and not AIPAC that is twisting the Administration's arms and putting pressure on them to hit Iran , It is that sunni Eye-rab , Al Ehud Ben Olmert , that is flying around the world asking world leaders to be tough with Iran . How dare Mr.Polk mentions Israel ?!!!


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

Mr. Amitz,

You raise a fair point. I agree.

There is a complete refusal to examine the Muslim regions as they are. Rather, to our secularly religous folk who want to punish the West for its sins - and the prophets would interpret Israel's setbacks as punishment for Israel's sins - the actions of Muslims are a mere reflection of what Westerners, including Israelis, do. We sin and are punished.

Polk has things exactly backward, as far as the background activity. One might better notice that the real story in the Muslim regions is the treatment of non-Muslims - not sins committed by Jews -. The issue of the treatment of Jews and Christians is the bellweather for how Islam relates to the rest of the world. As things now are, there is no basis for peace as Muslims relate to non-Muslims in the Muslim regions as oppressor or, in the case of Israel, by means of Jihad.


N. Friedman - 10/24/2006

Peter,

I think I agree with most of your comment - a first.

I am not quite sure I would bring Leo Strauss into things. While I am no Strauss scholar, I bet he is turning over in his grave, not due to your comment of course, but due to the incompetence of his students - perhaps his less attentive, yet more ambitious, students - claiming to act in his name.


Andrew D. Todd - 10/23/2006

Quite a lot of industrial machinery has to be built to approximately the strength of armor plate, and is surprisingly hard to damage in consequence. Take the Schweinfuhrt ball bearing factory raids in 1943: the USAAF knocked down the buildings, but when the Germans dug out, they found the grinding machines substantially undamaged, and were able to move them into new quarters, and resume work. A machines which is driven by a hundred horsepower, and which has to maintain tolerances of a thousandth of an inch will, perforce, weigh tons, and will be made of pieces of metal an inch thick. If there is a reasonably solid roof over the target machinery, the attacker generally cannot know within twenty feet or so where it is. In the end, the allied air forces decided that the workers were an easier target than the machinery, and turned to area bombing. The air forces successes were mostly confined to targets where the actual devices were too large to be moved, hidden, or disguised, and even then, they had to attack at treetop level to get point-blank accuracy, eg. the Mohne, Eder, and Sorpe dams, Plocesti., the raids against the railroad yards in 1944-45, etc. Even here, surprise was a considerable element of success. The Germans simply could not know that Barnes Wallis was lobbying for a radical change of RAF policy. I will grant that some things have changed with precision-guided munitions, but there are still a lot of things the defenders can do to diminish the effect of bombs, eg. building earthworks.

What air forces are good at is disrupting transportation infrastructure. They are good at knocking down bridges, for example. However, I don't know how applicable that is to a nuclear industry. A nuclear industry is a heavy industry which produces things of moderate weight, and could probably get by with military all-wheel-drive off-road trucks instead of railroads. As for electricity, any facility which is really important will have back-up diesel generators, and a sufficient supply of fuel, most probably in underground tanks.

There have been a series of rather funny stories coming out of Russia recently, in which people sneak hoses across frontiers and use them to smuggle vodka. I imagine that at need Iran could set up similar covert pipelines for diesel oil. What it comes down to is that you cannot do a very good job of controlling a country's industrial potential without either occupying it or blockading it. Iran has land frontiers with Turkey and Pakistan, and its Caspian littoral practically amounts to a frontier with the Russia (the only water entrance to the Caspian is the Volga, which with its associated canals can move ships of up to 4000 tons between the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Arctic Ocean, making the Caspian effectively a Russian lake). So blockade is somewhat difficult.


Yehudi Amitz - 10/23/2006

Polk doesn't forget to blame Israel but "forgets" that Sunni Arabs don't like a Shiite regional power in the middle east. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries are not happy with an armed and powerful Iran. But in the old "blame the Jews" tradition Mr. Polk singles out Israel when the area is full of countries interested in limiting Iranian military power.