Deja vu - Judith Apter Klinghoffer
Dr. Judith Apter Klinghoffer taught history and International relations at Rowan University, Rutgers University, the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing as well as at Aarhus University in Denmark where she was a senior Fulbright professor. She is an affiliate professor at Haifa University. Her books include Israel and the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences and , International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights
Yvonne Hitchens ate bitter and the teeth of her sons, Christopher and Peter, are on edge. What else can the teeth of children, whose mother first concealed her identity and then committed suicide, be?
Atheist Christopher may rage at the injustice of punishing the sons for their mother's sins and deny the existence of so unjust a G-d. Born again Anglican Peter may see her experience as proof of the need for religiously based morality, as long as it not the one his anger at his mother made so abhorrent to him.
Jewish me sees the family tragedy as the inevitable consequence of deception. The Torah simply assert the eternal truth that the actions of parents cannot but have consequences for their children. As those consequences will inevitably include many unintended ones, immoral actions are bound to have evil ones. In the case of Yvonne Hitchens awareness that the son she had such high hopes for, turned against her people may just have been too painful to bear.
The moment I heard that Christopher Hitchens' mother was a Jew who denied her origin in order to make him into"a real English Gentleman" I could not but think (as, apparently, Hitchens did) about George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. But it was only when I read his memoir, Hitch - 22, that I realized that their myriad of differences not withstanding, both mothers were deeply shaken by the discovery of an anti-Semitic streak in their sons.
Daniel Deronda's mother decided to reveal to him his identity because she found out that"he turned into a proud Englishman, who resented being touched by a Jew." The last telephone conversation between Chris and his mother focused on his anti-Israeli stance. It was around the time of the Yom Kippur War. A recent visit led her to so admire Israel that she wished to move there. He mocked her and expressed his identification with Israel's mortal enemies. Yvonee probably understood instinctively what he still refuses to acknowledge - his leftist"anti-Zionism" was nothing but the latest form of Antisemitism. But I didn't know, he whines:
I completely misinterpreted this as another quasi-spiritual impulse ("Oh, Mummy, Honestly" . . . ) and my impatience earned me a short lecture about how Jews had made the desert bloom and were exerting themselves in a heroic manner.
We were perhaps both at fault: I ought to have been less mocking and dismissive and she might have decided now if ever was the moment to tell me what she'd been holding back about our ancestral ties. Anyway, I counseled her against removing herself to a war zone, let alone someone else's bleeding holy land, on top of her other troubles, and though I didn't know it, we bid farewell. I would give a very great deal to be able to start that conversation over again.
In other words, he knows he broke her heart. She committed suicide shortly thereafter. Hitchens chooses not to quote from the suicide note she left merely writing that"she gave the impression of believing this was best for all concerned, and that it was in some way a small sacrifice from which those who adored her would benefit in the long run." His repeated preoccupation with his response to her wish to live in Israel leads one to wonder whether she might have made some oblique reference to the Israeli issue. I doubt it. She loved her son too much. She probably blamed herself. After all, she had created the anti-Semitic"monster."
If the conversation pains Christopher, it is because he is bright enough to get it though too stubborn to let it make a real difference. Hitchens reports that unlike Deronda, he was confused more than glad to have found out that he was, indeed, a Jew. Still, his best friends were also Jewish and even Martin Amis, who was not, claimed to envy him. Indeed, he writes self righteously that any denial of Jewish ancestry in his family at least, would end with him.
After all, by the time he found out he was Jewish, he was spreading his plumes amongst the American leftist Jewish intelligentsia rather than amongst the thinly veiled British Antisemitic one. Moreover, being a real English snob and a consummate name dropper, he delighted to discover and claim ownership of all the important Jewish intellectuals that originated not only from his relations but from the same entire region from which his mother's family hailed. Indeed, the man who denies any belief in G-d, had few qualms about using his newly discovered religious affiliation to secure the services of the Rabbi who married Arthur Miller and Marylin Monroe for his second marriage ceremony.
At one time, if not prior to her suicide, his social climbing mother would have been proud. For Chris Hitchens was no Daniel Deronda. He did not feel any responsibility towards his newly discovered religion or brethren. The opposite is true. He used his Judaism to reaffirm his opposition to the Jewish state secure in the knowledge that he can use it to protect himself from any charges that he was a closet Antisemite. I suspect that deep down he never forgave the Jewish state for capturing the heart of his mother. To make sure that he does not follow in his mother's footsteps, he asked none other than a well known Israel hater Edward Said to give him a tutorial about George Eliot and Daniel Deronda. In the end, he defended Eliot from Said's charges of myopia but he ends up asserting that Jews do not need a state and that Israel is just another diaspora.
Chris could no more forgive G-d than he could forgive Israel for that fateful phone conversation that pushed his mother over the edge. His atheism is too passionate to be real. Not only does he insist that his current battle with cancer has merely reaffirmed his Atheism but he wishes to insure that no one could give any credit for his ongoing life to G-d.
And yet, Interestingly, his first written exposition of the discovery includes this telling story:
My initial reaction, apart from pleasure and interest, as the faint but definite feeling that I had somehow known all along. Well used to being taken for English wherever I went, I had once or twice been addressed in Hebrew by older women in Jerusalem (where, presumably, people are looking for, or perhaps noticing, other characteristics). And, though some of my worst political enemies were Jewish, in America it seemed that almost all my best personal friends were. This kind of speculation could, I knew, be misleading to the point of treachery, but there it was.
Then, most provoking and beguiling of all, there was the dream. Nothing bores me more than dream stories, so I had kept this one to myself. But it was the only one that counted as recurrent, and I had also experienced it as a waking fantasy. In this reverie, I am aboard a ship. A small group is on the other side of the deck, huddled in talk but in some way noticing me. After a while a member of the group crosses the deck. He explains that he and his fellows are one short of a quorum for a prayer. Will I make up the number for a miniyan? Smiling generously, and swallowing my secular convictions in a likable and tolerant manner, I agree to be the tenth man and stroll across the deck.
What can one say but that Yvonne Hitchens had done wrong and that her sons are paying the price. It is not that a vengeful G-d seeks to punish them for her sins but because actions have consequences. Following the laws of Jewish monotheism, Chris so vehemently rails against, would have prevented his mother from worshiping an idol called"an English Gentleman" or teaching her sons to do the same. That is what the Jews he so derides, the ones who prayed Kol Nidrei in Auschwitz, understood and that is what Chris still fails to understand. For as the rabbis said, more than Israel protected the Torah, the Torah protected Israel. That is the reason despite all the difficulties, Jews continue to study and celebrate so joyously receiving the Torah. And that is the reason some Christians travel to Israel to help them do so.
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 16:36
The question arises, why has the military leaders sign on to a strategy instead of quitting en mass as Obama and his men feared they just might do?
Because Woodward reveals, Obama threatened them with an immediate withdrawal. He repeatedly told them that the only alternative were 11,000 trainers.
General Petraeus may have agreed with special envoy Richard Holbrook that the plan won't work but he hoped to live to fight another day. After all, they probably decided, buying time is preferable to immediate defeat and that would have been the alternative offered by the new president.
Woodward writes that Obama told him that his decisions are going to be based on his judgment of whether an action is going to make the country stronger or weaker. 80% of the public has since concluded and I concur that he has succeeded in making the country weaker, much weaker.
To be honest, I cannot see how America's enemies cannot read this book with glee. It presents them with a timely account of the American strategic thinking in addition to informing them that they are dealing with a most political and haughty strategic ignoramus.
Oh, yes, Woodward also reveals that the CIA record of being wrong has not been broken. They missed the direct involvement of the ISI (Pakistani intelligence) in the Mumbai bombing. Their analysis led President Bush to tell the Indians that the atrocity was perpetrated by rogue ISI. Next time the Indians will know better than believe in the quality of CIA information.
Posted on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - 17:52
Striving to appear even handed at his UN address, President Obama repeatedly drew a parallel between continued Israeli settlements and Palestinian incitement. Yet while the media is filled with reports of the Obama administration's disappointment with Israel's refusal to renew the temporary suspension of settlement building, not a peep is heard regarding the ongoing vile anti-Israeli propaganda emanating from the Palestinian Authority. Clearly, the media understands Obama's"even-handedness" is not to be taken seriously.
At the UN Obama was applauded as he said:
We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements (Applause.)
The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. (Applause.) And — and nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security. (Applause.)
Israel has suspended settlement growth for 10 months but the May/June 2010 PAL Watch study of the Palestinian Authority controlled media finds little evidence of any reduction in Palestinian incitement:
However, an examination of the Palestinian Authority leaders’ statements, official media, children’s programs and PA-controlled events creates a pessimistic picture: Every condition, principle and expectation set by the US and the Quartet for accepting the Palestinian Authority as a partner in the peace process continues to be violated by the Palestinian Authority in the first month of talks.
Contrasting its moderate statements to Western powers in English with its own people in Arabic the Palestinian Authority, the Fatah leaders and the Abbas-controlled official PA media continue to deny Israel’s existence, deny Israel’s right to exist, define the conflict with Israel as an uncompromising religious war for Allah, promote hatred through demonization slander and libel, and glorify terror and violence.
Nor has anything changed since as Palestinian Media Watch illustrates with these two recent examples:
Sept. 21, 2010 Song of violence and death repeated seven times on PA TV
Why hasn't the Obama administration expressed its disappointment with the Palestinian Authority?
Is the reason little attention has been paid to Obama's incitement comments outside Israel and the Jewish community is that it is designed exclusively to appease them?
I, for one, would like to be disappointed. Unfortunately, I am not. I would have been really, really surprised to discover that there was any way for the Palestinian authority to disappoint the Obama administration. I suspect he expects little of them to start with and, for him, as for much of the world, they are merely a convenient cause to espouse as a way to curry leftist/Muslim favor.
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2010 - 17:51
Something ticked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of. He blew his top at an end of a most successful charm offensive. Or, perhaps, he merely reverted to form by pulling the rug from under those who have been reporting that Iran signals interest in talks on nuclear program, diplomats say
For a year an a half Barack Hussein Obama has not only disdained the importance of democracy and human rights rhetorically but has demonstrated that disdain by his unwavering support for the Iranian regime as it was murdering its own people. Yesterday, Barack Obama changed course: At U.N., Obama puts human rights, democracy at center of foreign policy He said
I pledge that America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights -- for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; the oppressed who yearns to be equal.
Well connected Christiana Amanpour said on Bloomberg that having to acknowledge the failure of engagement, Obama is going to try to use human rights against the Iranian regime and that means questioning the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's presidency.
Clearly, no one understood the import of the change in Obama rhetoric better than his Iranian counter part. After all, that means that he and his allies are no longer going to get a free ride from Washington. Hence the ludicrous conspiracy theory and the subsequent Western walk outs. Ahmadinejad argued that the 9/11 terror attack of home made
some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.
The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view.
I always thank G-d for small favors. Nothing horrified me and people around the world more than the Obama led democratic party's betrayal of America's traditional support for democracy both rhetorically and practically as evidenced in Iran. Yes, I do mean government"by the people" i.e., voting and not only"for the people" as determined by their ruling elites.
The timing of the Obama change of heart is probably election driven. Americans are not fond of presidents who do not share their ideals. It also gave Obama a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate righteous anger and his newly discovered sensitivity to 9/11 families by calling Ahmadinejad's words"offensive and hateful" especially as they were uttered"so close to where families had lost their loved ones."
Still, let's hope that Obama means it, will put his resources where his mouth is and that it is not too late. The recent defection of a number of Iranian diplomats in Scandinavia is an attempt to convince the rest of the world that it is not. Ahmadinejad's tantrum is certainly encouraging and experts, like Michael Ledeen, have long argued that the regime is much more fragile than assumed. In other words, as often is the case the moral policy may be also the most practical one.
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2010 - 14:05
This charming holiday video cannot be embedded. But do watch.
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2010 - 14:32
I cannot imagine a worse horror story than our poor American soldiers fighting according to a six page strategic paper written by our military ignoramus president. But that is what has been happening. Surprise, surprise, things are not going well. Or in other words, like the economy, it is not going as well as"expected!"
How could they if they do not know what well is?
As usually accurate Bob Woodward reports, commander in chief Barack Hussein Obama devised a military strategy in which winning and losing are irrelevant" classic terms."
It is a small wonder McChrystal wanted out. I am sure he is not the only one. Others can only pray they get out alive. There is no point in sacrificing one's life for a president who puts politics above the life of his soldiers.
Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 13:12
Those doubting the fact that American investors and analysts have indeed embarked on a kind of strike Ayn Rand would have predicted, have only have to refer to the results of the latest quarterly Bloomberg global poll of investors and analysts.
77% of the Americans polled consider Obama anti business.
74% of them have an unfavorable view of Obama.
70% of them say that"they aren’t taking any action in anticipation of a potential increase in U.S. capital-gains taxes."
66% of them believe a Republican take over of Congress would improve matters.
66% believe Obama tax plan will damage the US economy.
Yes, the world likes him better. 66% have a favorable view of Obama and only 50% of them believe his is anti-business. Why shouldn't they like him? He has weakened America and made a world a"fairer" place as they hoped he would do. At least the eyes of American investors and analysts has been opened.
Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 19:52
Noni Darwish, Ground Zero Imam Exposed Off-Mic
“Bridge builder” Imam Feisal Abdel Rauf, the Muslim cleric behind plans for the Ground Zero mosque, has now been exposed as a man of shrewd cunning and as a calculating stealth jihadist who supports the creation of an Islamic State, “The Ummah,” right here in America. An interview has surfaced in which, after being assured that it has ended, Imam Rauf speaks “off-the-record” and reveals some intriguing plans and views that he has regarding America and the world. The interview, given on June 20th, 2006, sees Rauf speaking about his “game plan” for achieving an Islamic State without borders, which — in his mind — has previously existed and should have continued to exist, if not for Western interference in the last century.
The Ground Zero mosque imam also discusses some of his other objectives which include: (1) manipulating U.S. foreign policy, (2) advocating for Hamas and (3) getting “power” on his side to push back the opposing “interests.” In one part of the “post-interview,” he also boasts that he advised and influenced former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and that he has a blurb on the back of one of her books. . . .
“9/11 was a watershed, was a major catalytic force in, in catalyzing the attention towards the issue of Islam, it’s presence in the West.”
This quote clearly reveals that the Imam sees 9/11 mainly as a major opportunity, a milestone in advancing Islam. In other words, he holds that the murder of 3,000 Americans is now facilitating the work of nice “moderate’ Imams like himself in America.
“How America should really engage with them [Hamas]…Helping her [Madeline Albright] understand the role of religion. She supported a Jewish State in the Middle East; why not support an Islamic State?”
Watch how clever Rauf inserts words like “healing the divide” right before hitting us with “you unpack and give up Israel.”
Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 16:07
Two fame seeking religious leaders faced off this week, Muslim Imam Rauf of sophisticated New York City and Christian reverent Terry Jones of"backwater" Gainsfield, Florida. When it became clear that the action they were about to take is causing universal consternation and may lead to the loss of innocent (and not so innocent) lives, would be book burner, Reverend Jones, stepped down while would be Ground Zero mosque triumphalist, Imam Rauf, not only refuses to meet with the Reverend to prevent the burning of a book supposedly holy to him but resorts to threats against any pressure to move the mosque. Thus, not withstanding the invectives flung at Reverend Jones, he proved to be more reasonable than the much cuddled Imam Rauf.
If you force me to take into account the sensibility of 71% of my New York neighbors and move the mosque, Rauf in effect said, the Muslim world would erupt in the manner it did in response to the Danish cartoons. When asked by Christiana Amanpour if that was a threat, he retorted, it was merely a prediction. Not only is this the type of prediction gangsters everywhere make but it comes following an extensive tax payer funded tour to the Muslim world.
Does that mean that the trip merely improved his understanding of the sentiments of that world? Not necessarily. Real moderates in that world urged diffusing the conflict by moving the mosque. They understood that ignoring the sensitivities of 9/11 families would result in an anti-Muslim backlash in the US and a demand for Muslim reciprocity at a time the Muslim world would rather not accommodate it. If the Muslim powers that be have, indeed, changed their mind, they did so because Imam Rauf may have helped them to do so.
It should not be forgotten that the violent response to those cartoons followed an intentionally inflammatory Muslim world tour by the Danish Imams. Remember that Imam Rauf disappeared from the stage for weeks only to return carrying dire"predictions." Threats were also weapons used by the Danish Imams and by the Muslim supporters of the mosque against Muslims who dared to oppose them.
Just as troubling is Rauf's implication that the outcome of the Danish cartoon imbroglio was a Muslim victory despite the fact that it cost Muslim demonstrators lives rather than Danish lives and treasure. Ironically, in today's upside down world, Imam Rauf expects Americans to be more concerned about sparing the lives of members of unruly Muslim nobs self proclaimed moderates, like Imam Rauf and his supporters.
The chattering classes led by President Obama may reiterate yet again that Islam is a religion of peace that values life. But 49% of Americans no longer believe it. The behavior of Imam Rauf is bound to increase their number. The fact that Imam Rauf refuses to show his fellow Muslims that it is acceptable to compromise demonstrates that, like his Hamas friends but unlike Reverend Jones, he is an uncompromising extremist.
An Iranian American also threatens
Every day, I lose America and America loses me, more and more.
UPDATES: Imam Rauf on Israel’s Destruction
The issue of the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero, which has sparked a political and media storm in the U.S., has not featured prominently in the Arab press. Nevertheless, a variety of reactions have been published, most of them opposed to it. Some writers called for the Cordoba Initiative, the NGO behind the project, to cancel it, on the grounds that it generates tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. Others pointed to the gap between the tolerance in the West, which allows Muslims to build a mosque even in such a sensitive location, and the lack of tolerance in Arab countries, where religious freedom is limited or nonexistent, and called upon Muslims to refrain from abusing the freedom available to them in the West. Still others argued that the opposition to the construction of the Islamic center reflects growing intolerance and racism in the U.S. towards foreigners in general and Muslims in particular.
As I have suspected Most Arabs oppose the building of Ground Zero mosque and consider the US tolerant.
A survey by Elaph, the most respected electronic daily in the Arab world, gave a decided edge to those who objected to the building of this mosque—58% saw it as a project of folly.
Elaph was at it again in the aftermath of Pastor Terry Jones's threat to burn copies of the Quran: It queried its readers as to whether America was a"tolerant" or a"bigoted" society. The split was 63% to 37% in favor of those who accepted the good faith and pluralism of this country.
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 - 12:18
A Harris poll found
Majorities in Britain and Spain, and large minorities in the U.S., France, Italy , and Germany think that immigration has a bad impact on the economy;
Majorities in the U.S., Britain, Italy, and Spain believe that immigration makes it harder to find a new job, as do 45% in France and 46% in Germany;
While most people who are working do not believe that immigration has had any effect on their pay, those who think they are paid less greatly outnumber those who say they are paid more;
Only minorities, between 13% in France and 40% in Italy, believe that immigration has made it more affordable to hire services such as cleaners, builders or plumbers;
Majorities in the U.S., Britain, France and Spain and over 40% in Italy and Germany believe that immigration makes the level of health care services worse; and,
Majorities in the U.S., Britain and Germany believe that immigration has made public education worse, as do over 40% in France, Italy and Spain.
Overall, many people in all six countries believe that the current level of immigration makes their countries worse places to live in , varying from 64% in Britain, 60% in Spain, and 57% in Italy to 49% in the U.S., 44% in Germany, and 43% in France.
He can add the rise of anti-immigrant parties to the list. Sweden is the latest
The entry into parliament of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, who won almost 6 percent of the vote, was a new turn for politics in Sweden, traditionally one of the most open countries in Europe for asylum seekers and refugees.
But it also highlighted a real concern among some voters, which observers say established parties completely failed to address in the run up to the election, about integration and cultural clashes.
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 - 12:46
Forget Western elite apologists and the aggressive American Muslim leadership, the Arab/Muslim heartland has little difficulty comprehending the American sensitivities about building a mosque on ground zero. 58% of the Arab world saw the mosque as "a project of folly" and even more, 63% consider America to be a tolerant country. They know that if the West is beginning to view Islams suspiciously, it is because Islamists attempts to convert the world by force to Islam is giving the religion a bad name. So, instead of demanding that the world treat Islam as if it has nothing to do with Islamism, they demand that Jihadist cease and desist their terrorist activities. Noman Benotman, A Libyan former Al Qaeda member writes:
In New York, your un-Islamic actions have caused hurt, loss, pain and anguish to thousands of innocent people and their families. One consequence is that those Muslims seeking to build a House of God in New York are today being compared to Nazis..
And now we hear that on the anniversary of your attack an American preacher is even planning to burn the Quran in revenge! Indeed Muslims living in democratic and free societies around the world are now experiencing the consequences of your irresponsible acts.
In Switzerland and France, countries in which Muslims were able to freely and openly practise their religion, they have been forced to abandon symbols of their faith.
In China, our brothers and sisters face daily oppression by the Communist government on account of al-Qaeda’s actions elsewhere.
In Iraq, a proud and noble nation, an entire population lives in fear of takfir (excommunication) and daily suicide bombings. In Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries, people live in fear of men who believe they are allowed to commit murder in the name of Islam and take lives in exchange for their own shahada (martyrdom).
Is this really the path to paradise? On this issue, I strongly advise you to seek the guidance of authentic scholars for “a Muslim can still be saved as long as he does not spill inviolable blood” (Sahih Bukhari).
He could have added the rise of anti immigrant party in Sweden.
"This election is a catastrophe," said Mohamud Farah, who has made Sweden his home for more than two decades after fleeing war in Somalia."It's deplorable, and worrying."
As he hoped, the letter got the attention of American Indian Muslim CNN talk show host, Fareed Zakaria. As could have been expected, Zakaria saw an opportunity to forward his contention that Al Qaeda alone is a threat. Benotman has difficulty cooperating. He repeatedly asserted that Al Qaeda is a branch of damaging Islamist terror while Zakaria attempted to limit the damage terrorists wrought to Al Qaeda. Zakaria also tried to spoon feed Benotman the terms and conclusions he wished him to reach. It starts with definitions:
ZAKARIA: And we are back with Noman Benotman, a former associate of Osama bin Laden, who is telling us about the past, present, and future of Al Qaeda . Why did you renounce terrorism? BENOTMAN: When I became Islamist or jihadist or, as you mentioned, terrorist, if you like, despite I not agree with this term --
Zakaria tries to whitewash him using the common liberal excuse. Benotman responds with confusion as he does not consider him a terrorist:
ZAKARIA: And you said you don't agree with the term because I'm guessing you saw yourself as a freedom fighter or a national liberation movement.
BENOTMAN: Yes, kind of this. A rebel, if you like, or whatever. Because myself at the personal level, I've never, ever committed like any crime about -- against any, if you like, civilian target or whatever. I'm proud of myself, you know, during the fight against the Soviet Union. I was a very armed soldier. I do respect my AK-47. You know. I do respect it a lot.
ZAKARIA: But you did find in the jihad against the Soviet Union?
BENOTMAN: Yeah. ZAKARIA: Along with bin Laden?
Having established his bone fide, Zakaria gives him finally an opportunity to answer the question:
ZAKARIA: And why did you renounce it all?
BENOTMAN: That's it. Because it's the political agenda. Always I believe it's just a political agenda. It's manmade. It's not Islam. Because Islam, it was there more than 1,500 years ago. I've never, ever subscribed to this idea of like fighting against the world. I am politician. I understand exactly what's the meaning of politics. It's a very crazy idea. It's extremely nonsense idea to just -- to commit your life to fight against the entire world, you know. To believe like your duty is to force every single human being to be a Muslim by force. This is exactly the bottom line of Al Qaeda understanding of Islam, you know, which is a crazy idea. That's why I'm strongly believe, 100 percent committed to complete disarmament of all Islamic groups, complete, without a doubt about this.
ZAKARIA: What kind of person agrees to become a suicide bomber?
BENOTMAN: I see a lot of people, they said OK, Al Qaeda giving me meaning. I live here in this X country but have no hope, I have no meaning. I'm not associated to my country. So Al Qaeda here comes and tell them, OK, you are Muslim. I will tell you exactly who you are. You are a Muslim. And -- which is Islamist. I will give you the meaning. I can make you make good use of your life and then you'll be in paradise.
Zakaria then asks him the number of Al Qaeda remaining in Pakistan/Afghanistan probably in the hope of demonstrating that the US has no reason to stay there. Benotman refuses to cooperate:
ZAKARIA: But what is your sense of how many people are left in Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan?
BENOTMAN: I think a few hundreds. It's an insignificant number. Al Qaeda presence now, I think there's a shift, if I might say, in terms of like the -- at the operational level from-now they call it Al Qaeda, the headquarter there in Pakistan, Afghanistan, they call it the general command, which means like the leadership of Al Qaeda. That's the official name.
I think there's a shift from the general Al Qaeda, general command to Yemen, towards Yemen. Now, I think if you assess the situation there, the number has been increased recently. We talk here about a few hundreds, maybe 200, 400 personnel there, mainly in Shabua (ph) and Abiyan (ph), southern part of Yemen. But they're very active. . . .
ZAKARIA: So you wrote this letter. And the end of it, you say"I believe I am expressing the views of the vast majority of Muslims, who wish to see their religion regain the respect it has lost, and who long to carry the name of Muslim with pride." And you give a lot of details in this letter to convince bin Laden of your credibility. Do you think he will read this letter? And do you think it will make an impact?
BENOTMAN: Yeah. I am 100 percent sure he will read it and the people around him. So I'm thinking about the young Muslims, which they still at the age, maybe they will, as I told you, want to be a terrorist, want to be Al Qaeda. It will give them like a second thought about it. I'm giving them, because terrorism, I believe it's a circle. It used to have just one gate, which allows you to get in. The problem is we need to open gates to help you to get out of that circle.
This is my work. I believe it will help a lot of people, you know, our youth or young Muslims. To think about other choices, other opinions from someone like me. I know exactly this business, you know, the field of jihad, or terrorism, or organizations. So I'm giving them my experience. Please don't do it. Al Qaeda, it's a human being organization. Bin Laden, he's just a human being. He's not a prophet. And he's capable of doing a lot of deadly mistakes.
Benotman is a heartland Muslim. So he wishes to influence Bin Laden. Unfortunately, Zakaria, like the rest of the Muslim Diaspora leadership prefers to fucus on weakening the Western response to Islamism.
That's the rub!
This gives hope: Abdel-Samad: . . . Islam doesn’t have to be demonized, but it does need to be modernized from the ground up.
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 - 15:08
To be Jewish means standing with the community before G-d and asking for forgiveness and mercy for failure to keep promises. The inter-generational conflict is the theme in both movies. The 1939 movie intuits the ultimate fate of European Jewry. The more optimistic 1980s one presents a very American Jewish return to the flock. The non Jewish wife pushes her husband to return.
What has not changed is the warm welcome afforded both returnees. Even in the bible, Jewish parents are notorious softies. Indeed, Jewish prayer repeatedly demands that G-d be as merciful as a parent"because you created them and you know their weaknesses." Yes, lawyers could do worse than read the Jewish High Holidays prayer book.
May you be sealed in the book of life.
Yom Kippur Guide for the Perplexed
Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought", September 15, 2010
Assembled from various Jewish Sages
1. Yom Kippur is observed on the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, which is an Akkadian word for forgiveness and Genesis. Ten has special significance in Judaism: G-D's abbreviation is the tenth Hebrew letter (Yod); Ten attributes of God – Divine perfection – in the Creation; Ten Commandments; Ten Plagues; Ten reasons for blowing the Shofar; Ten percent gift to God (tithe); Ten days of repentance; The Ten Martyrs (Rabbis who were tortured/murdered by the Roman Empire); Ten generations between Adam & Noah and ten generations between Noah & Abraham; a Ten worshippers quorum (Minyan) required for a Jewish prayer; etc.
2. Yom Kippur is a Happy Jewish Holiday, replacing vindictiveness and rage with peace-of-mind and peaceful co-existence between God and human-beings, as well as among human-beings. It highlights forgiveness, pre-conditioned upon genuine repentance. Thus, Yom Kippur enhances family, social and national cohesion. It underlines unison, as synagogues become a platform for both righteous and sinning folks – all of whom are fallible. Yom Kippur emphasizes God's Covenant with the Jewish People, ending God's rage over the sin of the Golden Calf and commemorating the day of Abraham's circumcision, which initialed God's covenant with the Jewish People.
3. Yom (Day of) Kippur constitutes a Jewish contribution to humanity. It highlights the most essential human attributes, which are prerequisites to constructive leadership: humility (as featured in the Netaneh Tokef prayer), soul-searching, admitting fallibility, confessing wrong-doing, asking and granting forgiveness, accepting responsibility, collective responsibility and magnanimity. Yom Kippur is not driven by punishment, but by behavioral-enhancement.
4. The Hebrew spelling of "fast" (öí/öåí) – abstinence from food - highlights the substance of Yom Kippur. The Hebrew word for "fast" is the root of the Hebrew word for "reduction" and" shrinking" (öîöåí), which alludes to one's "spiritual diet," clearing the body and the mind. It is also the root of the Hebrew words for "slave" (öîéú) and "eternity" (öîéúåú) – enslavement to God, but not to human-beings. At the same time, "fast" is the root of òöîé (being oneself), òöåí, òöîä, òöîàåú (awesome, power, independence), which are gained through the process of fasting, soul-searching and submission to God.
5. The Hebrew word Kippur ëéôåø (atonement/repentance) is a derivative of the Biblical words Kaporet ëôåøú - which covered the Holy Ark at the Sanctuary - and Kopher ëåôø, which covered Noah's Ark and the Holy Altar at the Temple. The reference is to a spiritual cover (dome), which does not cover-up, but separates between the holy and the secular, between spiritualism and materialism. The Kippa ëéôä (skullcap, Yarmulke), which covers one's head during prayers, reflects a spiritual dome. Thus, Yom Kippur constitutes the cover (Dome) of the Ten Days of Atonement (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), separating them from the rest of the year.
6. Teshuvah-úùåáä is the Hebrew word for repentance, sharing the same root of the Hebrew word for Return ùéáä – returning to root/positive values, morality, and behavior) – and Shabbat ùáú. Yom Kippur is also called Shabbat Shabbaton - the highest level Sabbath. The last Sabbath before Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Teshuvah (based on Hosea's prophesy, chapter 4). While the Sabbath is the soul of the week, Yom Kippur is the soul of the year.
7. The prayer of Veedooi-åéãåé (confession/confirmation/reaffirmation in Hebrew) is recited Ten times during Yom Kippur, re-entrenching genuine repentance and plea for forgiveness. The prerequisites for forgiveness are the expression & exercise (talking & walking) of confession (assuming full-responsibility), repentance and significantly altering one's behavior. King Saul sinned only once – ignoring the commandment to annihilate the Amalekites – but was banished from the crown and killed, because he raised mitigating circumstances, while responding to Samuel's accusation. King David sinned twice (The "Bat-Sheba Gate" and the "Census Gate"), but was forgiven, because he accepted full-responsibility and unconditional blame and the death sentence (as expressed by Nathan the Prophet), which was promptly rescinded.
8. The initial prayer on the eve of Yom Kippur, Tefilah Zakah, enables each worshipper to announce universal forgiveness. While transgressions between human-beings and G-D are forgiven summarily via prayers, transgressions among human-beings require explicit forgiveness. Ill-speaking of other persons may not be forgiven.
9. The Memorial Candle, commemorating one's parent(s), is lit during Yom Kippur. It reaffirms Honor Thy Father and Mother, providing another opportunity to ask forgiveness of one's parent(s), as well as asking forgiveness on their behalf.
10. The Scroll of Jonas is read on Yom Kippur, demonstrating that repentance and forgiveness is universal to all Peoples, commanding one to assume responsibility, to get involved socially-politically, to sound the alarm when wrong-doing is committed anywhere in the world, to display compassion to all peoples and to adhere to Faith and Optimism, in defiance of all odds. It behooves good folks to roll up their sleeves, lest evil triumphs!
11. A long sound of the Shofar concludes Yom Kippur. It commemorates the covenant with God (the almost-sacrifice of Isaac), the receipt of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, Liberty and anti-slavery (Jubilee) and the opening of Gods gates of forgiveness. The Hebrew root of Shofar ùåôø means to enhance/improve oneself (ùôø). A Hebrew synonym for Shofar is Keseh ëñä, which also means cover-Kaporet-Kippur.
Posted on Friday, September 17, 2010 - 15:02
On Rosh Hashana the Palestinian Authority boadcasts a docummentary declaring that
Not unique -
Not unique -
Posted on Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 13:44
They thought it was all Bush's fault. Indeed, they thought electing Barack Hussein Obama will sooth the savage Islamist beast. Lexington writes in the Economist:
If the emergence of home-grown Muslim terrorism has been bad enough, the failure of Barack Obama to engineer the transformation some expected from him in the wider world has been no less dispiriting. After the toxic impact of George Bush on Muslim opinion, many hoped that the advent of a kinder, gentler president whose middle name was Hussein would help America to draw the poison. Mr Obama himself seemed to think that this might be possible. Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, told the New York Times earlier this year that Mr Obama counted his Cairo speech to the Muslim world of June 2009 as one of the three most important things he had done to combat terrorism.
And yet Mr Obama’s programme of Muslim outreach is already faltering. The Pew Research Centre reported in June that the percentage of Muslims expressing confidence in him had declined in a year from 42% to 33% in Egypt and from 13% to 8% in Pakistan.
And now Islamists are burning Obama in effigy just as they enjoyed burning Bush. They are also burning Christian schools and, of course dying.
Clashes between security forces and protesters in India-controlled Kashmir killed a policeman and at least 13 people on Monday as crowds defied a curfew after reports surfaced that Qurans had been desecrated in the United States, according to Indian authorities.
Hundreds of angry Muslims chanting anti-US and pro-Islamic slogans marched through the streets of Tangmarg village, 40km west of the main town Srinagar, before attacking the Tyndale Biscoe School.
No one was injured in the torching of the school on Monday, which was already shut due to unrest.
The school is a branch of one of the oldest missionary-run schools in Indian Kashmir. The main one is in Srinagar, which has produced some of India's leading bureaucrats, doctors, lawyers and engineers.
Kashmiri Islamists are not alone. All the usual suspects join them merrily:
Clashes at anti-US protests in Tehran over Koran burning and as could have been expected from such"respected" religious authorities Iran Ayatollahs Issue Fatwas Against Koran-Burners
Whose fault is it? Obama's, of course, writes Lexington. No, not because his appeasement policy failed as it was bound to but because he did not kow tow enough:
Like Americans waiting for economic recovery, Muslim countries have been waiting for Mr Obama to match his words with deeds, and have so far been disappointed.
Apparently, apology tours, scraping and bowing to the Saudi monarch, respecting the Iranian supreme leader while his thugs are murdering his own young people on the streets does not suffice. The least he should have gotten rid of Israel and the first amendment by now.
Then Lexington would bemoan his failure to accede to some new Islamists demands. For they are sure to continue coming just as the cancellation of the public Koran burning did not suffice. Islamists need exploitable issues and they will find them come hell or high waters. The people may get it but Obama and the chartering class refuse to see. So, people are taking matters into their own hands and the results are ugly:
The cartoonist is right. The war on terror is in shambles.
In Iran, Afghanistan and India, demonstrators accuse US, Israel of"orchestrating Zionist plot," chant"Down with Koran desecrators." Well, this is to be expected from our"respected" Islamists.
Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 10:12
Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 13:40
To put it another way, the real roots of Mr. Obama's economic problems are intellectual and political. The Administration rejected marginal-rate tax cuts that worked in the 1960s and 1980s because they would have helped the rich, in favor of a Keynesian spending binge that has stimulated little except government.
More broadly, Democrats purposely used the recession as a political opening to redistribute income, reverse the free-market reforms of the Reagan era, and put government at the commanding heights of economic decision-making.
But has income really been redistributed?
No way. 30 Statistics Showing The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Squeezed Unemployment hit the less educated and African Americans and Hispanics the hardest. (Only 4.6% of the college graduates are unemployed compared 14.0% of high school drop outs and 45.4% of Black teenagers). The fall in housing prices hurt those who relied on their home as their sole retirement asset the most. The low interest rates paid by banks reduces the income of the least economically savvy elderly the most.
My over 50 white cleaning lady told me she is voting for Obama regardless of his inexperience because she trusted his advisers. Since then she lost her husband. He died of a heart attack a month after losing his job and with it his life insurance.
Does Obama understand? Does he care? According to Jonathan Alter his advisers tried to tell him to postpone the economically ruinous healthcare legislation burden. They lost:
CHARLIE ROSE: On health care, he insisted on going forward with health care when a lot of advisers said"Don’t go for so much so early."
JONATHAN ALTER: That’s right. I mean, this was one of the really big revelations to me as I was working on this was that Joe Biden told me that, you know, he said that he advised the president"Don’t do this. You didn’t promise the American people you were going to do it right away. It was only by the end of four years you promised. We’ve got to work on preventing a depression first."
Rahm Emanuel told me quote"I begged the president not to the do this." David Axelrod thought they should do energy first. Christina Romer, the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors . . . said,"Look, we’ve got to deal with the economy first."
Affirmative action is based on the idea of"good enough." President Obama undermines the myth that with a strong team, an inexperienced novice is good enough to be an American president.
He is not but he thinks he is.
What is to be done?
We must reduce his ability to do harm but given control of the Congress to his rivals.
Two more years of unlimited Obama power would be disastrous to all of us and most especially the most vulnerable amongst us.
UPDATE: If we needed more proof, the census numbers show that Poverty Explodes To Record Highs Under Obama
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2010 - 10:48
The stock market has been going up. I wish I knew why. Apparently, I am not the only one. AFP reports
Economists peddling dire warnings that the world's number one economy is on the brink of collapse, amid high rates of unemployment and a spiraling public deficit, are flourishing here. The guru of this doomsday line of thinking may be economist Nouriel Roubini, thrust into the forefront after predicting the chaos wrought by the subprime mortgage crisis and the collapse of the housing bubble.
"The US has run out of bullets," Roubini told an economic forum in Italy earlier this month."Any shock at this point can tip you back into recession."
But other economists, who have so far stayed out of the media limelight, are also proselytizing nightmarish visions of the future.
Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff, who warned as far back as the 1980s of the dangers of a public deficit, lent credence to such dark predictions in an International Monetary Fund publication last week.
Of course, the economists track record has been less than stellar. Unfortunately, this prediction seem to make sense. Only I do not believe it will happen before the elections. Until then even the market may continue to inexplicably rise.
After all, if the WSJ is right, American economic misery is good for the world.
Paradoxically, a weak U.S. could actually benefit the world economy. As the Federal Reserve holds U.S. interest rates low to support growth, it puts pressure on central bankers around the world to do the same. This is particularly true in developing economies that try to maintain a constant exchange rate to the dollar.
By some estimates, low U.S. interest rates would be a stronger catalyst for global growth than would a stronger U.S. rebound. Goldman's Mr. O'Neill estimates that a change in financial conditions equal to a one-percentage-point easing of U.S. interest rates adds 0.6 percentage point to annual global economic growth. That's more than twice the direct impact of an added percentage point in U.S. economic growth.
In other words, growing American poverty is the result of an Obama share the wealth globally program. Yes, I know I predicted as much.
Posted on Monday, September 13, 2010 - 16:05