Archive for August, 2006

Happy Birthday To You…

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happiest of all possible biiirthdays Shiek Nasrallah, happy birthday to you.

But, the mean Israelis are taking away all his fun.

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah refused to emerge from his bunker on Thursday to celebrate his 46th birthday.

A Hizbullah source told the Egyptian Al-Ahara’am newspaper that Nasrallah turned down a request from youngsters in his movement and in other organizations to celebrate his birthday in a modest manner in the Da’ahiyeh neighborhood of south Beirut.

Nasrallah said that he preferred to celebrate with his “warriors” when security conditions made it possible to do so.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mocked Nasrallah saying, “I walk around freely, and he’s still hiding in a bunker.”

Now Ehud, is that nice???

-Aggie

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Dershowitz Takes on “Human Rights Groups”

Allen Dershowitz needs no introduction. This is what he has to say about Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

And, to make it simple, I’ll just cut and paste:

The two principal “human rights” organizations are in a race to the bottom to see which group can demonize Israel with the most absurd legal arguments and most blatant factual mis-statements. Until last week, Human Rights Watch enjoyed a prodigious lead, having “found” – contrary to what every newspaper in the world had reported and what everyone saw with their own eyes on television – “no cases in which Hizbullah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack.”

Those of us familiar with Amnesty International’s nefarious anti-Israel agenda and notoriously “suggestible” investigative methodology wondered how it could possibly match such a breathtaking lie.

But we didn’t have to wait long for AI to announce that Israel was guilty of a slew of war crimes for “widespread attacks against public civilian infrastructure, including power plants, bridges, main roads, seaports, and Beirut’s international airport.”

There are two problems with the Amnesty report and conclusion. First, Amnesty is wrong about the law. Israel committed no war crimes by attacking parts of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon.

In fact, through restraint, Israel was able to minimize the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon, despite Hizbullah’s best efforts to embed itself in population centers and to use civilians as human shields. The total number of innocent Muslim civilians killed by Israeli weapons during a month of ferocious defensive warfare was a fraction of the number of innocent Muslims killed by other Muslims during that same period in Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, and other areas of Muslim-on-Muslim civil strife. Yet the deaths caused by Muslims received a fraction of the attention devoted to alleged Israeli “crimes.”

This lack of concern for Muslims by other Muslims – and the lack of focus by so-called human rights organizations on these deaths – is bigotry, pure and simple.

AMNESTY’S EVIDENCE that Israel’s attacks on infrastructure constitute war crimes comes from its own idiosyncratic interpretation of the already-vague word “disproportionate.” Unfortunately for Amnesty, no other country in any sort of armed conflict has ever adopted such a narrow definition of the term. Indeed, among the very first military objectives of most modern wars is precisely what Israel did: to disable portions of the opponent’s electrical grid and communication network, to destroy bridges and roads, and to do whatever else is necessary to interfere with those parts of the civilian infrastructure that supports the military capability of the enemy.

That’s how the American and Britain militaries fought World War II. (In fact, Israel shows far more restraint than Britain did during World War II. Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed the Royal Air Force to bomb the center of towns with the express purpose of killing as many civilians as possible.) Had the Allies been required to fight World War II under the rules of engagement selectively applied to Amnesty International to Israel, our “greatest generation” might have lost that war.

The strategy of destroying some infrastructure was particular imperative against Hizbullah. Israel first had to ensure that its kidnapped soldiers would not be smuggled out of the country (as other soldiers had been and were never returned), then it had to prevent Hizbullah from being re-armed, especially given that Hizbullah damaged a ship using advanced radar technology provided by the Lebanese army and rockets provided by Iran.

Hizbullah was being armed by Syria and Iran – as those countries themselves admitted – and the president, government, and population of Lebanon overwhelmingly supported the militia’s indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli civilian population centers. The Lebanese army actively supported Hizbullah’s military actions. Israel was, in a very real sense, at war with Lebanon itself, and not simply with a renegade faction of militants.

HERE’S HOW law professor David Bernstein answered Amnesty’s charge:

The idea that a country at war can’t attack the enemy’s resupply routes (at least until it has direct evidence that there is a particular military shipment arriving) has nothing to do with human rights or war crimes, and a lot to do with a pacifist attitude that seeks to make war, regardless of the justification for it or the restraint in prosecuting it [at least if it's a Western country doing it], an international “crime.”

In other words, if attacking the civilian infrastructure is a war crime, then modern warfare is entirely impermissible, and terrorists have a free hand in attacking democracies and hiding from retaliation among civilians. Terrorists become de facto immune from any consequences for their atrocities.

THE MORE troubling aspect of Amnesty’s report is their inattention to Hizbullah. If Israel is guilty of war crimes for targeting civilian infrastructure, imagine how much greater is Hizbullah’s moral responsibility for targeting civilians! But Amnesty shows little interest in condemning the terrorist organization that started the conflict, indiscriminately killed both Israeli civilians (directly) and Lebanese civilians (by using them as human shields), and has announced its intention to kill Jews worldwide (already having started by blowing up the Jewish Community Center in Argentina.) Apparently Amnesty has no qualms about Hizbullah six-year war of attrition against Israel following Israel’s complete withdrawal from Southern Lebanon.

As has been widely reported, even al-Jazeera expressed surprise at the imbalance in the Amnesty report:

During the four week war Hizbullah fired 3,900 rockets at Israeli towns and cities with the aim of inflicting maximum civilian casualties.

The Israeli government says that 44 Israeli civilians were killed in the bombardments and 1,400 wounded.

AI has not issued a report accusing Hizbullah of war crimes.
Amnesty does not even seem to understand the charges it is making. Take, for example, this paragraph from its report:

Israeli government spokespeople have insisted that they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities, and that damage to civilian infrastructure was incidental or resulted from Hizbullah using the civilian population as a “human shield”. However, the pattern and scope of the attacks, as well as the number of civilian casualties and the amount of damage sustained, makes the justification ring hollow.

But the issue of human shields and infrastructure are different. The first relates to civilian casualties; the second concerns property damage. Of course Israel intentionally targeted bridges and roads. It would have been militarily negligent not to have done so under the circumstances. But it did not target innocent civilians. It would have given them no military benefit to do so.

The allegations become even more tenuous, as when Amnesty writes, “a road that can be used for military transport is still primarily civilian in nature.” By this reasoning, terrorists could commandeer any structure or road initially constructed for civilian use, and Israel could not touch those bridges or buildings because they were once, and still could be, used by civilians. This is not, and should not be, the law.

Consider another example: “While the use of civilians to shield a combatant from attack is a war crime, under international humanitarian law such use does not release the opposing party from its obligations towards the protection of the civilian population.”

Well that’s certainly nice sounding. But what does it mean? What would Amnesty suggest a country do in the face of daily rocket attacks launched from civilian populations? Nothing, apparently. The clear implication of Amnesty’s arguments is that the only way Israel could have avoided committing “war crimes” would have been if it had taken only such military action that carried with it no risk to civilian shields – that is, to do absolutely nothing.

For Amnesty, “Israeli war crimes” are synonymous with “any military action whatsoever.”

The real problem with Amnesty’s paper is that its blanket condemnations do not consider the consequences of its arguments. (It doesn’t have to; it would never advance these arguments against any country but Israel.)

Amnesty International’s conclusions are not based on sound legal arguments. They’re certainly not based on compelling moral arguments. They’re simply anti-Israel arguments. Amnesty reached a predetermined conclusion – that Israel committed war crimes – and it is marshalling whatever sound-bites it could to support that conclusion.

Amnesty International is not only sacrificing its own credibility when it misstates the law and omits relevant facts in its obsession over Israel. It also harms progressive causes that AI should be championing.

Just last year, for example, Amnesty blamed Palestinian rapes and “honor killings” on – you guessed it – the Israeli occupation. When I pointed out that there was absolutely no statistical evidence to show that domestic violence increased during the occupation, and that Amnesty’s report relied exclusively on the conclusory and anecdotal reports of Palestinian NGOs, Amnesty stubbornly repeated that “Israel is implicated in this violence by Palestinian men against Palestinian women.” [note: another example of how the Left ignores abuse of women and children in certain Islamic societies.]

This episode only underscored AI’s predisposition to blame everything on Israel. Even when presented with an ideal opportunity to promote gender equality and feminism in the Arab world, it preferred to take wholly unrelated and absurd shots at Israel.

Amnesty International just can’t seem to help itself when it comes to blaming Israel for the evils of the world, but rational observers must not credit the pre-determined conclusions of a once-reputable organization that has destroyed its own credibility by repeatedly applying a double standard to Israel.

The writer is a professor of law at Harvard. His most recent book is Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways.

All that I can say is that the political left is sick and sickening.
-Aggie

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Feminism in Islam – Take One

I am thoroughly sick of waiting for my sisters-in-feminism to do the right thing and discuss this.
It is time for us to begin to catalogue these horrors.

To get an eyeful of what happened to this woman, check out www.nytimes.com. They have a video clip.

ARGUN, Russia, Aug. 26 — The humiliation of Malika Soltayeva, a pregnant Chechen woman suspected of adultery, was ferocious and swift.

Malika Soltayeva, shown in a recent photo, was tortured by men who served as the police.

Ms. Soltayeva, 23, had been away from home for a month and was reported missing by her family. When she returned, her husband accused her of infidelity and banished her from their apartment. The local authorities found her at her aunt’s residence. They said they had a few questions.

What followed was no investigation. In a law enforcement compound in this town in east-central Chechnya, the men who served as Argun’s police sheared away her hair and her eyebrows and painted her scalp green, the color associated with Islam. A thumb-thick cross was smeared on her brow.

Ms. Soltayeva, a Muslim, had slept with a Christian Russian serviceman, they said. Her scarlet letter would be an emerald cross. She was forced to confess, ordered to strip, and beaten with wooden rods and hoses on her buttocks, arms, legs, hands, stomach and back.

“Turn and be condemned by Allah,” one of her tormentors said, demanding that she position herself so he could strike her more squarely.

The New York Times feels that this event “raise[s] questions about Chechnya’s direction.”

Ya Think?

And notice how the Times tries to somehow portray this as a national issue, even though this barbaric treatment of women is apparently rather common in the Muslim world:

But beneath this publicly professed loyalty, some of Chechnya’s indigenous security forces — with their evident anti-Slavic racism, institutionalized brutality, culture of impunity and intolerant interpretation of a pre-medieval Islamic code — have demonstrated the vicious behavior that Russia has said its latest invasion of Chechnya, in 1999, was supposed to stop.

Human rights groups and Chechen civilians say that these security forces’ ambitions and loyalties are uncertain and that their actions are unchecked. The republic’s course, they say, is dangerous for Russians and Chechens alike.

Of course, where you find abuse of women and children, you also find abuse of men (which is why feminism so often misses the point). That’s because people who would strip and beat a young pregnant woman are out-of-control, sadistic. They simply enjoy inflicting pain and watching suffering. They also have a good time beheading “rebels” and then playing dress-up with the head:

Another instance of unrestrained behavior occurred in late July in Kurchaloi, when one of Mr. Kadyrov’s units killed a rebel, Akhmad Dushayev, and beheaded his body. The severed head was displayed on a pipe in the town’s center, residents said in interviews.

Videos show that, later, the kadyrovsty, many in police uniforms, casually amused themselves with the head, joking as they displayed it in a garage. Another video shows the head adorned with a cap and with a cigarette in its mouth.

This is the last piece that I will directly quote from the article, because it shows how our fellow human beings will try to help in our hour of need:

The episode, which took place five months ago, was not investigated, even though videos showing the torture were passed along on cellphones throughout Argun and other Chechen towns. The videos circulated widely enough that accurate details of her abuse were known by roughly half of the Chechens interviewed by The New York Times.

That’s a solid value system on display. The woman miscarried a few days after the beating. The perpetrators are still roaming around, doubtless finding other enjoyable activities. And the feminists still have tape covering their mouths.

-Aggie

Footnote: Why are feminists so silent about the abuses of women occuring in the Islamic world? There have been “honor killings” in France, Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Turkey, the Palestinian areas, and other places. What is going on here?

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Conservative Canadian Jews

Jews in Canada are starting to leave the Liberal Party in response to the position of the Liberal Party that Canada should be neutral in the war against Hizballah, even though Hizballah is considered a terrorist organization in Canada.

Canada’s pro-Israel premier lures Jews to Tories
By BILL GLADSTONE / JTA

Speaking recently at a large pro-Israel rally in Toronto, prominent Canadian filmmaker Robert Lantos voiced frustration with Canada’s Liberal Party.

Lantos thanked the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for its “principled support” of Israel, then said, “I hereby take off my lifelong federal Liberal hat to you. Symbolically, I toss it away, if there were anyone willing to catch it.”

If the laughter and applause that greeted Lantos’ statements were any indication, his sentiments seem to be shared by many in Canada’s 360,000-strong Jewish community.

High-profile defections by two other prominent Jewish Canadians soon followed, as powerful business couple Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz, both long-time Liberal activists, were among eight signatories to a newspaper ad thanking Harper for “standing by Israel.”

Reisman is head of Toronto-based Indigo Books and a former chair of the Liberal’s national policy committee. Schwartz is head of Onex Corporation and a former president of the Liberal Party.

Both are leading philanthropists in Toronto’s Jewish community.

Reisman also announced she was quitting the Liberal Party to support Harper’s Tories. “I’m right there alongside Robert,” she e-mailed a friend, according to the Calgary Sun. “After a lifetime of being a Liberal, I have made the switch. It feels strange, but it is totally and unequivocally right.”

I know what you mean. I know exactly what you mean. And this next bit is reminiscent of the Clinton era:

The Liberals are perceived by some Jews as “poll-driven” and lacking firm principles to guide their foreign policy, said Ed Morgan, national president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

“What the community definitely appreciates in the Conservatives is that they’re only singing one tune,” Morgan said. “They don’t take a poll and then change their mind on significant policy issues.

…Ties between the mainstream Jewish community and the Liberals run deep.

Historically, Canadian Jews have supported the Liberals in greater proportions than have other Canadians, although the differences between the community and the general population have diminished in recent years.

Canadian Jews are feeling the same discomfort with the Liberal Party that many Jews in the United States feel towards the Democrats as some of the politicians and too much of the grassroots express hostility towards Israel. The truth is that Jewish people were reliable, proud democrat voters ever since Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel, and probably most of us still are. But that support is eroding. The party has changed; we really haven’t.

-Aggie

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Another Reason to Avoid an Arranged Marriage

Advice from Aunt Agatha: Avoid an arranged marriage – the stress can kill.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — The driver in a hit-and-run rampage that killed one man and injured more than a dozen people was mentally unstable and feeling stress from a recent arranged marriage, according to relatives.

Omeed A. Popal, 29, was taken into custody Tuesday following a rampage that terrorized pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Authorities believe it began more than an hour earlier when his black Honda Pilot fatally struck a man in the East Bay area.

“He drove on sidewalks, streets, hit people on crosswalks. It runs the gamut,” said police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens.

Popal was arrested on suspicion of 14 counts of attempted murder and a charge of willful flight after causing serious injury or death, Gittens said.

A woman who identified herself as Popal’s cousin said he had been having recurring nightmares about someone coming to kill him and had been taking medication.

“He thought the devil was coming to him,” said Zargona Ramish, who went to the family’s home Tuesday afternoon while Popal’s relatives were speaking with police. “He is a very good person. He is not like that. What’s wrong with him?”

Another cousin, Hamid Nekrawesh, said a recent arranged marriage in Afghanistan, where his family is from, may have contributed to Popal’s problems.

Interestingly the police (or the reporters) don’t understand that a car, like an airplane, can be a weapon:

No weapons were found on the suspect, though the car had not been searched, Gittens said. There was no information on whether drugs or alcohol were involved, and it was unclear how fast he was driving, he said.

You can weaponize almost anything – planes, trains and automobiles, bottles of water, baby formula, shoes, individuals if they will just strap on their bomb… just about anything.

-Aggie

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Light Bulb Turns On

It is often said that if you take a room full of monkeys in a room full of typewriters, eventually a play by Shakespeare will emerge. Seems unlikely, but folks believe it. It has to do with probability, with mathematics, and beyond that I do not know. In the same vein, I found this article ,written by a member of Hamas, which shows a glimmer of recognition of the problems that Palestinians have created for themselves. After reading and listening to rhetoric from these clowns for the past several years, I am not sure if this is a joke or if it is real.

‘Gaza is caught in anarchy and thuggery’
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

“When you walk in the streets of Gaza City, you cannot but close your eyes because of what you see there: unimaginable chaos, careless policemen, young men carrying guns and strutting with pride and families receiving condolences for their dead in the middle of the street.”

This is how Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority government and a former newspaper editor, described the situation in the Gaza Strip in an article he published on Sunday on some Palestinian news Web sites.

The article, the first of its kind by a senior Hamas official, also questioned the effectiveness of the Kassam rocket attacks and noted that since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip, the situation there has deteriorated on all levels. It holds the armed groups responsible for the crisis and calls on them to reconsider their tactics and to stop blaming Israel for their mistakes.

“Gaza is suffering under the yoke of anarchy and the swords of thugs,” Hamad wrote. “I remember the day when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and closed the gates behind. Then, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to the streets to celebrate what many of us regarded as the Israeli defeat or retreat. We heard a lot about a promising future in the Gaza Strip and about turning the area into a trade and industrial zone.”

Hamad said the “culture of life” that prevailed in the Strip has since been replaced with a nightmare. “Life became a nightmare and an intolerable burden,” he said. “Today I ask myself a daring and frightening question: ‘Why did the occupation return to Gaza?’ The normal reply: ‘The occupation is the reason.’”

Dismissing Israel’s responsibility for the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, Hamad said it was time for the Palestinians to embark on a soul-searching process to see where they erred.

“We’re always afraid to talk about our mistakes,” he added. “We’re used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories – one that has limited our capability to think.”

Hamad admitted that the Palestinians have failed in developing the Gaza Strip following the Israeli withdrawal and in imposing law and order. He said about 500 Palestinians have been killed and 3,000 wounded since the Israeli pullout, in addition to the destruction of much of the infrastructure in the area.

By comparison, he said, only three or four Israelis have been killed by the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the same period.

“Some will argue that it’s not a matter of profit or loss, but that this has an accumulating effect” he said. “This may be true. But isn’t there a possibility of decreasing the number of casualties and increasing our gains by using our brains and making the proper calculations away from demagogic statements?”

The Hamas official said that while his government was unable to change the situation, the opposition was sitting on the side and watching and PA President Mahmoud Abbas was as weak as ever.

“We have all been attacked by the bacteria of stupidity,” he remarked. “We have lost our sense of direction and we don’t know where we’re headed.”

Addressing the various armed groups in the Gaza Strip, Hamad concluded: “Please have mercy on Gaza. Have mercy on us from your demagogy, chaos, guns, thugs, infighting. Let Gaza breathe a bit. Let it live.”

Hard to argue with this.

-Aggie

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Turkey: Two Days, Two Attacks

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Turkey. I remember our tour guide mentioning that 9% of the population had become “Islamic” voters, had rejected secularism. Our guide was so proud of the western-style advances Turkey had made since the days of Kemal Attaturk, the leader who introduced a secular form of government. It is quite sad to read this because it seems that our guide’s worst fears are being realized. Of course, this is not the first time Turkey has experienced terrorism; it was a few years ago that two synagogues were bombed and several people died. But it is sad to see a country that was predominantly Muslim, but secular, dancing with the terrorist beast, whether those responsible for the bombings are Kurds or Islamic radicals.

-Aggie

ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) — A blast at the Turkish resort town of Antalya has killed at least three people and injured 18 others, police said, the fifth explosion to hit the country in less than 24 hours.

Authorities told The Associated Press they were looking for two suspects, indicating but not saying outright that Monday’s explosion was the result of a bomb.

The Antalya governor’s office told CNN Turk the cause of the latest explosion — near a building housing restaurants — was still under investigation.

Late Sunday, blasts along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and in the commercial center of Istanbul left 27 people wounded, including 10 British tourists, officials said.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a group linked to the main Kurdish guerrilla group, the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks.

On its Web site the group warned: “Turkey is not a safe country. Tourists should not come to Turkey,” according to the AP. It was not immediately possible to verify the statement’s authenticity.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Antalya explosion.

Kurdish militants have often threatened to target the tourism industry in their fight for autonomy in the Turkish southeast.

Police sources told CNN Turk the earlier blasts were the result of bombs.

“With the efforts of our security forces we will capture those behind the blasts as soon as possible and bring them to account,” Reuters reported Marmaris Governor Temel Kocaklar as saying.

Witnesses in Antalya told Reuters they heard a bang that broke windows, sent shrapnel flying into people and sparked a fire at a shopping area in the city, one of Turkey’s most popular destinations.

“I saw two wounded tourists and a burned body of a dead man who was a pastry vendor,” said journalist Riza Ozel on holiday.

Hospitals received 38 wounded people, according to Reuters. Russia’s vice consul in Antalya, Sergey Koritsky, said the injured included a German, a Jordanian, two Iranians, four Israelis and a Russian.

“There was a fire and a lot of cars were damaged, a lot of motorbikes were damaged,” he told the news agency, adding that the street was packed with restaurants and shops.

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Hizballah Bunker, UN – Good Neighbors

What a coincidence! Israel has just destroyed a Hizballah (Party of Allah) bunker right next to a UN outpost.

IDF forces from the Golani Brigade blasted open a Hizbullah bunker overnight Saturday some 400 meters from the security fence near Rosh Hanikra, it was reported on Sunday. The bunker was discovered a mere stone’s throw from a UN post.

According to Lt.-Col. Jassem Elian, a senior officer in the Golani Brigade, “Hizbullah dug a 40-meter by two-kilometer pit, in which they built dozens of outposts.”

Elian added that the bunker had “shooting positions of poured concrete,” and that the combat posts inside were equipped with phone lines, showers, toilets, air ducts, and emergency exits, as well as logistical paraphernalia for Hizbullah.

A Golani officer told the Jerusalem Post that among the force’s findings was a Katyusha rocket launcher, most likely used in rocket attacks against northern Israel during the war.

The UN guys must have played a lot of poker or watched a lot of movies during the past six years. Whatever it was, they weren’t doing their job. Maybe they socialized with Hizballah – the UN provided French wine and cheese and Hizballah the fancy new bunker. Anyone believe it will be better this go-around?

-Aggie

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An African-American Conservative Discusses Israel, Islam and White Guilt

This is so complete and so interesting that I’ve decided to print it here in full. It is a shame that there are no voices from the Left, either in the United States or in Europe, that are willing to discuss this stuff.

-Aggie

Life and Death
Western guilt blinds us to the nature of Islamic extremism.

BY SHELBY STEELE
Sunday, August 27, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

The simple back-and-forth of war can create the illusion that both sides have a legitimate point to make even when this is not so, and it is clear that Hezbollah’s cause has greatly benefited from war’s “equalizing” effect. This Shiite militia seems to have known that merely fighting Israel would gain legitimacy for its cause. A cease-fire would make it a “partner” in peace. The Goliath Israeli military would make it a David whose passion proved the truth of its cause. But amid all the drama of this war there has been very little talk of exactly what Hezbollah’s cause is.

And, of course, it is not just Hezbollah’s cause. There is Hamas, one more in a family of politicized terrorist groups spread across the Muslim world. Beyond these more conventional groups there is the free-floating and world-wide terrorism of groups like al Qaeda. In Europe, there are cells of self-invented middle-class terrorists living modern lives by day and plotting attacks on modernity by night. And around these cells there is often a nourishing atmosphere of fellow traveling. Then there are the radical nation-states in league with terrorism, Iran and Syria most prominent among them. From nations on the verge of nuclear weapons to isolated individuals–take the recent Seattle shootings–Islamic militancy grounded in hatred of Israel and America has become the Muslim world’s most animating idea. Why?

I don’t believe it is because of the reasons usually cited–Israeli and American “outrages.” No doubt Israel and America have made mistakes in the Middle East. Certainly, Israel was born at the price of considerable dislocation and suffering on the part of the Palestinians. And yes, there will never be a satisfying answer for this. Yet every Israeli land-for-peace gesture has been met with a return volley of suicide bombers and rockets. Palestinians have balked every time their longed-for nationhood has come within grasp. They have seemed to prefer the aggrieved dignity of their resentments to the challenges of nationhood. And Hezbollah launched the current war from territory Israel had relinquished six years earlier.

If this war makes anything clear, it is that Israel can do nothing to appease the Muslim animus against her. And now much of the West is in a similar position, living in a state of ever-heightening security against the constant threat of violence from Islamic extremists. So here, from the Muslim world, comes an unappeasable hatred that seems to exist for its own sake, a hatred with very little actual reference to those it claims to hate. Even the fighting of Islamic terrorist groups is oddly self-referential, fighting not for territory or treasure but for the fighting itself. Standing today in the rubble of Lebanon, having not taken a single inch of Israeli territory, Hezbollah claims a galvanizing victory.

All this follows the familiar pattern of a very old vice: anti-Semitism. The anti-Semite is always drawn to the hatred of Jews by his own unacknowledged inadequacy. As Sartre says in his great essay on the subject, the anti-Semite “is a man who is afraid. Not of Jews of course, but of himself.” By hating Jews, he asserts that his own group represents the kind of human being that God truly wants. His group is God’s archetype, the only authentic humanity, already complete and superior. No striving or self-reflection is necessary. If Jews are superior in some ways, it is only out of their alienated striving, their exile from God’s grace. For the anti-Semite, hating and fighting Jews is both self-affirmation and a way of doing God’s work.

So the anti-Semite comes to a chilling place: He easily joins himself to evil in order to serve God. Fighting and even killing Jews brings the world closer to God’s intended human hierarchy. For Nazis, the “final solution” was an act of self-realization and a fulfillment of God’s will. At the center of today’s militant Islamic identity there is a passion to annihilate rather than contain Israel. And today this identity applies the anti-Semitic model of hatred to a vastly larger group–the infidel. If the infidel is not yet the object of that pristine hatred reserved for Jews, he is not far behind. Bombings in London, Madrid and Mumbai; riots in Paris; murders in Amsterdam; and of course 9/11–all these follow the formula of anti-Semitism: murder of a hated enemy as self-realization and service to God.

Hatred and murder are self-realization because they impart grandeur to Islamic extremists–the sense of being God’s chosen warrior in God’s great cause. Hatred delivers the extremist to a greatness that compensates for his ineffectuality in the world. Jews and infidels are irrelevant except that they offer occasion to hate and, thus, to experience grandiosity. This is why Hezbollah–Party of God–can take no territory and still claim to have won. The grandiosity is in the hating and fighting, not the victory.

And death–both homicide and suicide–is the extremist’s great obsession because its finality makes the grandiosity “real.” If I am not afraid to kill and die, then I am larger than life. Certainly I am larger than the puny Westerners who are reduced to decadence by their love of life. So my hatred and my disregard of death, my knowledge that life is trivial, deliver me to a human grandeur beyond the reach of the West. After the Madrid bombings a spokesman for al Qaeda left a message: “You love life, and we love death.” The horror is that greatness is tied to death rather than to achievement in life.

The West is stymied by this extremism because it is used to enemies that want to live. In Vietnam, America fought one whose communism was driven by an underlying nationalism, the desire to live free of the West. Whatever one may think of this, here was an enemy that truly wanted to live, that insisted on territory and sovereignty. But Osama bin Laden fights only to achieve a death that will enshrine him as a figure of awe. The gift he wants to leave his people is not freedom or even justice; it is consolation.

White guilt in the West–especially in Europe and on the American left–confuses all this by seeing Islamic extremism as a response to oppression. The West is so terrified of being charged with its old sins of racism, imperialism and colonialism that it makes oppression an automatic prism on the non-Western world, a politeness. But Islamic extremists don’t hate the West because they are oppressed by it. They hate it precisely because the end of oppression and colonialism–not their continuance–forced the Muslim world to compete with the West. Less oppression, not more, opened this world to the sense of defeat that turned into extremism.

But the international left is in its own contest with American exceptionalism. It keeps charging Israel and America with oppression hoping to mute American power. And this works in today’s world because the oppression script is so familiar and because American power cringes when labeled with sins of the white Western past. Yet whenever the left does this, it makes room for extremism by lending legitimacy to its claim of oppression. And Israel can never use its military fire power without being labeled an oppressor–which brings legitimacy to the enemies she fights. Israel roars; much of Europe supports Hezbollah.

Over and over, white guilt turns the disparity in development between Israel and her neighbors into a case of Western bigotry. This despite the fact that Islamic extremism is the most explicit and dangerous expression of human bigotry since the Nazi era. Israel’s historical contradiction, her torture, is to be a Western nation whose efforts to survive trap her in the moral mazes of white guilt. Its national defense will forever be white aggression.

But white guilt’s most dangerous suppression is to keep from discussion the most conspicuous reality in the Middle East: that the Islamic world long ago fell out of history. Islamic extremism is the saber-rattling of an inferiority complex. America has done a good thing in launching democracy as a new ideal in this region. Here is the possibility–if still quite remote–for the Islamic world to seek power through contribution rather than through menace.

Mr. Steele, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, is the author of “White Guilt” (HarperCollins, 2006).

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Jew Hatred and the Euro Film Crowd

Some would argue with the categorization “Jew Hatred” to describe the words and actions of film makers and festival organizers in Europe, but I am relying on solid research from Yale researchers, published in the August issue of The Journal of Conflict Resolution. There is a very high correlation between pure anti-Semitism and “criticism” of Israel.

And what are our wise and worldly friends in the Euro arts community up to? Well, support for a boycott of Israeli film or creative output.

British director Ken Loach backs Palestinian call for boycott on Israel
By Goel Pinto

British director Ken Loach has expressed support for a boycott on Israeli cultural institutions, giving the Palestinian figures behind the drive a significant boost.

Loach, who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival three months ago for his film about the Irish war of independence, The Wind the Shakes the Barley, has announced his support for the appeal to boycott Israeli institutions and even said that he urges others to do the same.

“Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians,” said Loach in a statement.

“They have no immediate hope that this oppression will end. As British citizens we have to acknowledge our own responsibility. We must condemn the British and U.S. governments for supporting and arming Israel.”

Loach, who directed such well-regarded films as Kes, Riff-Raff, and Carla’s Song, also attacked his own government.

“We must also oppose the terrorist activities of the British and U.S. governments in pursuing their illegal wars and occupations,” he said.

“It is impossible to ignore the appeals of Palestinian comrades,” he concluded, adding that, “I would decline any invitation to the Haifa Film Festival or other such occasions.”

Loach had received an invitation from the Haifa Film Festival in recent weeks. The director

The statement by Loach indicates that he is joining the ranks of international film festivals that have cancelled the participation of Israeli filmmakers, in the wake of IDF recent activity in Lebanon and Gaza.

The Lussas Documentary Film Festival in France was scheduled to devote a category this year to Israeli documentary cinema, but cancelled screenings of several of the films, following the outbreak of the fighting.

One way to silence Jews is to outright kill them; a more subtle way is to silence their voices. This is why I have stopped visiting Europe. They’ve backslid into their old ways and need to spend a lot of time looking in the mirror and into their own history books, before they have the audacity to criticize Jews anywhere.

-Aggie

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One Way to Bring On the Caliphate

The two Fox News reporters that were kidnapped in Gaza have been released.
Upon release, they thanked family and friends and revealed what they had learned about Islam:

…Hours before their release, a video from Ramattan showed the two reading statements proclaiming that they had embraced Islam with the Prophet Mohammed as their leader.

Speaking to Fox News after their release, Centanni indicated the conversion was not real.

“We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, and don’t get me wrong here, I have the highest respect for Islam, and learned a lot of very good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do, because they had the guns, and we didn’t know what the hell was going on,” he told Fox.

That’s a time honored method for growing a religion. Maybe they’ll let Gilad Shalit read a statement about his love for Islam at gunpoint and release him too.

-Aggie

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Cheney Is President

Do you remember how furious conservative talk show hosts used to rage at the notion that Hillary Clinton actually had power at the White House? Meanwhile, the Democrats proudly advertised that we were getting “two for the price of one” when we elected Bill?

In some circles an even wilder fantasy has taken hold. In today’s Boston Globe columnist Robert Kuttner spins a dark tale of our very own Darth Vader running the Presidency.

Here’s a choice bit from his paranoid rantings:

Cheney is in a class by himself. The administration’s grand strategy and its implementation are the work of Cheney– sometimes Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sometimes Cheney and political director Karl Rove.

Cheney has planted aides in major Cabinet departments, often over the objection of a Cabinet secretary, to make sure his policies are carried out. He sits in on the Senate Republican caucus, to stamp out any rebellions. Cheney loyalists from the Office of the Vice President dominate interagency planning meetings.

The Iraq war is the work of Cheney and Rumsfeld. The capture of the career civil service is pure Cheney. The disciplining of Congress is the work of Cheney and Rove. The turning over of energy policy to the oil companies is Cheney. The extreme secrecy is Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

He offers no proof, instead he pounds on journalists to be real men, and dig up the dirt that he just knows is there:

Cheney’s power is matched only by his penchant for secrecy. When my colleague at the American Prospect, Robert Dreyfuss, requested the names of people who serve on the vice president’s staff, he was told this was classified information. Former staffers for other departments provided Dreyfuss with names.

So secretive is Cheney (and so incurious the media) that when his chief of staff, Irving Lewis Libby, was implicated in the leaked identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, reporters who rushed to look Libby up on Nexis and Google found that Libby had barely rated previous press attention.

Why does this matter? Because if the man actually running the government is out of the spotlight, the administration and its policies are far less accountable.

…But Cheney’s ratings are stuck around 20 percent, far below that of any president.

If Cheney were the actual president, not just the de facto one, he simply could not govern with the same set of policies and approval ratings of 20 percent. The media focuses relentless attention on the president, on the premise that he is actually the chief executive. But for all intents and purposes, Cheney is chief, and Bush is more in the ceremonial role of the queen of England.

Yet the press buys the pretense of Bush being “the decider,” and relentlessly covers Bush — meeting with world leaders, cutting brush, holding press conferences, while Cheney works in secret, largely undisturbed. So let’s take half the members of the overblown White House press corps, which has almost nothing to do anyway, and send them over to Cheney Boot Camp for Reporters. They might learn how to be journalists again, and we might learn who is running the government.

Two words for Mr. Kuttner: Prove It.

-Aggie

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