December 31, 2005
March 17, 2005
The Left's Jihad Against Sharansky
by Steven Plaut
Natan Sharansky has become the victim of KGB terror that the Left most loves to hate. His sin? He is thought to have influenced President Bush and helped persuade him that the time has come to push democracy as a solution for the problems of terrorism and tyranny. He also, of course, is guilty of thinking that Jews have the right to shoot back.
Born in the Ukraine and educated at Moscow's Physical Technical Institute, Sharansky became an advocate for human rights in the Soviet Union. Sharansky worked alongside the great Andrei Sakharov. The communists were not happy with Sharansky's activities and locked him up in the infamous Soviet prison system for years. So, unlike Alexander Cockburn, he really knows what communism is like.
Sharansky, who is a cabinet minister today in Israel, had the nerve to write a book praising democracy. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice likes what he says. Those yearning for a return to Soviet Stalinism do not like him, like a certain pro-Khmer Rouge MIT professor I can think of.
The fundamentalist Left is all upset about this. They are soiling themselves because Sharansky not only is an Israeli, but is militantly pro-American. Both the Far Left and the Neo-Nazi Right are enraged by Sharansky's inspiration, as are the Arab fascists. But none are as anti-Sharansky as the team of dung beetles over at Counterpunch. Yes, Alexander Cockburn's team is not only anti-Sharansky, but decided to dig out the Israeli analogue to Taliban John to attack Sharansky: Uri Avnery. Run alongside a new piece by Ward Churchill explaining how the Americans are the real terrorists, Avnery's is a lame hatchet job trying to discredit Sharansky.
Avnery has spent most of his career trying to help the enemies of his country win. He started out as the Israeli Larry Flynt, publishing a semi-pornographic magazine that mixed hooters with scandal-mongering. He wrote a book in the 1960s denouncing Zionism and endorsing the sort of solution for Israel that made Rwanda what it became. He briefly sat in the parliament, wining the protest votes of the sorts of people who would otherwise vote for Howard Stern for president of the US. Avnery is so fanatically anti-Israel that when his own mother died, she disinherited him in her will because she regarded him as a traitor. Avnery runs the Gush Shalom splinter group, which is naturally awash in funds donated by people who do not seek Israel's wellbeing. It is also endorsed by neo-Nazi White supremacists, who appreciate an anti-Semite when they see one. Avnery has become a Counterpunch regular, because Cockburn figures no one will consider him an anti-Semite if he runs Israeli far-leftists who want their country destroyed.
Avnery whines that Sharansky Hebraicized his name when he got out of the Gulag (never mind that Avnery was not his original name either). Then, he describes the dead PLO leader Feisal Husseini as "the real humanist". He only "forgot" to tell us what this "real humanist" said in his last interview to the Egyptian newspaper El-Arab on June 24, 2001:
"Had the US and Israel understood before Oslo, that all that remained of the Palestine liberation movement and the Pan-Arab movement was the Trojan Horse named Arafat or the PLO, they would have never opened their fortified gates and let him in." And he continued: "It is the obligation of all the Palestinian forces to see the Oslo Accords as temporary steps, because in this way, we are setting an ambush for the Israelis and cheating them." And he added: "The main goal is the liberation of all Palestine, from the sea to the river, even if it requires a struggle that will continue 1,000 years, or generation upon generation."
That is Avnery's "humanist".... Avnery goes on to endorse a book that libeled Sharansky as a supposed KGB spy. Sharansky sued the author and won $300,000 in a country in which it is almost impossible for a public figure to win libel suits. Here are Avnery's snotty comments about Sharansky: "His highly unoriginal contention that 'democracies do not make war against other democracies' is a perfect alibi for the United States to attack Iraq, Syria and Iran, which are, after all, no democracies (while dictatorships like Pakistan and Turkmenistan remain good friends). The idea that the teachings of this particular political philosopher are the guiding star of the mightiest leader in the world, the commander of the biggest military machine in history, is rather frightening."
January 04, 2005
Hitler and Marx agreed about the Jews
I have noted previously important ways in which Friedrich Engels had similar views to Hitler. The most spectacular aspect of Nazism, however, was surely its antisemitism. And that had a grounding in Marx himself. The following passage is from Marx but it could just as well have been from Hitler:
"Let us consider the actual, worldly Jew -- not the Sabbath Jew, as Bauer does, but the everyday Jew. Let us not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but let us look for the secret of his religion in the real Jew. What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Jewry, would be the self-emancipation of our time.... We recognize in Jewry, therefore, a general present-time-oriented anti-social element, an element which through historical development -- to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed -- has been brought to its present high level, at which it must necessarily dissolve itself. In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Jewry".
Note that Marx wanted to "emancipate" (free) mankind from Jewry ("Judentum" in Marx's original German), just as Hitler did and that the title of Marx's essay in German was "Zur Judenfrage" -- which is exactly the same expression ("Jewish question") that Hitler used in his famous phrase "Endloesung der Judenfrage" ("Final solution of the Jewish question"). And when Marx speaks of the end of Jewry by saying that Jewish identity must necessarily "dissolve" itself, the word he uses in German is "aufloesen", which is a close relative of Hitler's word "Endloesung" ("final solution"). So all the most condemned features of Nazism can be traced back to Marx and Engels. The thinking of Hitler, Marx and Engels differed mainly in emphasis rather than in content. All three were second-rate German intellectuals of their times.
Marx's original German for confirming the translation above is given below:
"Welches ist der weltliche Grund des Judentums? Das praktische Bedürfnis, der Eigennutz. Welches ist der weltliche Kultus des Juden? Der Schacher. Welches ist sein weltlicher Gott? Das Geld. Nun wohl! Die Emanzipation vom Schacher und vom Geld, also vom praktischen, realen Judentum wäre die Selbstemanzipation unsrer Zeit.... Wir erkennen also im Judentum ein allgemeines gegenwärtiges antisoziales Element, welches durch die geschichtliche Entwicklung, an welcher die Juden in dieser schlechten Beziehung eifrig mitgearbeitet, auf seine jetzige Höhe getrieben wurde, auf eine Höhe, auf welcher es sich notwendig auflösen muß.
Die Judenemanzipation in ihrer letzten Bedeutung ist die Emanzipation der Menschheit vom Judentum."
(MEW a.a.O. 1, 372 f.)
January 03, 2005
Engels was a German nationalist
And we know where that ended up!
So Engels said. See here.
And who does not know of Hitler's glorification of military sacrifice and his aim to establish a "thousand-year Reich"? What a copycat old Adolf was!
This is our calling, that we shall become the templars of this Grail, gird the sword round our loins for its sake and stake our lives joyfully in the last, holy war which will be followed by the thousand-year reign of freedom.
So Engels said. See here.
And who does not know of Hitler's glorification of military sacrifice and his aim to establish a "thousand-year Reich"? What a copycat old Adolf was!
December 31, 2004
Readers of this site are reminded that the IsraPundit "chapter" on Blogger is our auxiliary site. Our main site is located at
Underscoring this is particularly important in view of the fact that Jewish Press referred to IsraPundit, but provided the URL of the Blogger, or auxiliary, site.
Please visit our main site at the link given above.
December 22, 2004
THE IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF GENOCIDE
"In January 1849, months before he migrated to London, Karl Marx published an article by Friedrich Engels in Die Neue Rheinische Zeitung announcing that in Central Europe only Germans, Hungarians and Poles counted as bearers of progress. The rest must go. "The chief mission of all other races and peoples, large and small, is to perish in the revolutionary holocaust."
Genocide arose out of Marx's master-theory of history -- feudalism giving place inevitably to capitalism, capitalism to socialism. The lesser races of Europe -- Basques, Serbs, Bretons and others -- being sunk in feudalism, were counter-revolutionary; having failed to develop a bourgeoisie, they would be two steps behind in the historical process. Engels dismissed them as left-overs and ethnic trash (Voelkerabfall), and called for their extinction.
So genocide was born as a doctrine in the German Rhineland in January 1849, in a Europe still reeling from the revolutions of 1848. It was to become the beacon light of socialism, proudly held and proudly proclaimed."
The above is a quote from the latest article by George Watson -- a literary historian specializing in the early history of socialism (I have an earlier article of his posted here and there is a review of his major book here). The quote is taken from an article in the December 2004 issue of Quadrant, Australia's premier intellectual conservative magazine. The article will not be online for a month or so yet but I have temporarily posted here and here a PDF of the first page.
I have of course for some time been pointing out that eugenics was a great Leftist cause right up until Hitler thoroughly discredited the idea with his atrocities. Documenting the Leftist infatuation with eugenics in the first half of the 20th century is all too easy. But the fact that the idea largely originated with Marx and Engels themselves has been hidden from public awareness with almost total success. There are many avid scholars of Marx's every word but some things are just too embarrassing to mention. I earnestly hope that the Marxian origin of Hitler's doctrines will become increasingly well-known. I hope that other bloggers will join me in publicizing it.
December 21, 2004
Cricket in Israel
For non-American readers, there is a great article here about cricket in Israel. Once again, it is the Indian influence. Many Indian Jews are now in Israel. And you can't separate Indians from their cricket. Because of India, cricket has a FAR bigger following than baseball. Cricket is the world's premier bat-and-ball sport, in fact.
Some of the Indian allusions in the article may be a bit obscure so perhaps I should note that Maharashtra is the Indian State where the great commercial centre of Bombay (now Mumbai) is located. And Thane is a sort of outer suburb of Bombay. They make a very good beer there called "London" beer, in fact. And Maharastrans don't normally speak Hindi. They speak Marathi. But because of immigration there are now also lots of native Hindi and Gujurati speakers (among others) in Bombay.
December 20, 2004
The real history of Fascism
I often point out how much in common Nazism and Fascism had with Leninism and other forms of Leftism. Readers may therefore be interested to read another author's account of the history involved. For those with a high-speed connection, the original PDF is here and there are html copies here and here.
December 19, 2004
European doubts; Iranian vote of confidence
There is a rather amusing article here reporting that the Europeans are finally getting ants in their pants about all the Muslim immigrants in their midst. The wisdom of "Cowboy" GWB's war on militant Islam might soon start to get through to them. How embarrassing that will be!
Amazing: Some Iranians are trying to convert to Judaism both as an expression of distaste for the Islam of the Ayatollahs and as a way of getting out of a decaying Iran.
December 18, 2004
Excerpt from the "Front Page" interview with Sharansky:
FP: You are critical of those who believe that democracy is suited only for certain cultures and that it is incompatible with Islam. Do you think Islam has the keys within itself to enter modernity?
Sharansky: First, as I mentioned, we can gain some optimism from history. It is important to remember that some of the most serious thinkers once thought that democracy was not compatible with the cultures of Germany, Italy, Japan, Latin America and Russia. The great historian Toynbee questioned whether democracy could ever flourish out of the Anglo-Saxon world or as he put it, in “alien soil.”
Let’s take Japan for a moment. Truman’s advisors were very sceptical about the prospects for democracy in Japan, as were most of the “experts” of the time. And there were good reasons to be sceptical. This was a country with virtually no exposure to the West for centuries. Japan rigidly hierarchical society, and unique culture was seen as antithetical to democratic life. In fact, when the concept of rights was translated into Japan it took a compound word consisting of four characters to express it. But democracy in Japan has been a great success story. Japan is not a Western democracy. The Japanese have kept their traditions, culture and heritage, but they have joined the community of free nations.
Still, history will only get us so far. People can always argue that the “Arabs” are different -- that the sceptics may have been wrong with regard to other cultures and regions, but they will not be wrong when it comes to the Arabs and the Middle East.
And the sceptics present some weighty evidence: Twenty-two Arab countries and not a single democracy. The scenes we see on our television screens, from the celebration s that followed the 9/11 attacks to mass marches praising suicide bombers, would give even the biggest optimists pause.
But while I understand that the picture we see from the outside is very troubling, I am confident that what is really going on inside these societies is very different. Just as the 99% of Soviet citizens who supported the Soviet regime in 1985 was no indication of what the people inside the USSR really thought, the army of true believers that we think we see in the Arab world is an illusion. One only has to read the memoirs of those dissidents who have left place lake Iran and Saudi Arabia to understand that these societies are steeped in doublethink.
I have no doubt that given a real choice, the vast majority of Muslims and Arabs, like everyone else will choose a free society over a fear society. Believe me, the drug of freedom is universally potent. Once the life of doublethink and self-censorship is shed, once the brainwashing stops, once freedom is tasted, no people will ever choose to live in fear again.
December 17, 2004
Good Arabs and bad Leftists
Lots of young educated Arabs LIKE George Bush! "The same ideas came up again and again: he is a strong leader, an honest man, and, most of all, a believer. Like the winning margin of American voters this year, these Middle Easterners related to Bush's sense of religious conviction and his confident steering of a nation and culture they admired... In addition, some of the most articulate students expressed intense misgivings about central Democratic electoral platforms, including gun control, limitation of the death penalty and especially abortion and gay rights. Just the word "homosexual" made many of them cringe and click their tongues in that uniquely Arab way of showing disapproval. A final piece of the puzzle fell into place when I learned that more than half of the students in my advanced class, among them a third-year medical student and daughter of a Western-based diplomat, rejected the theory of evolution. "I just can't believe that we came from monkeys," she said".
There is an excellent article here on the multiple links between the far Left and the Islamists. Such links make no logical sense at all given the way Islamic attitudes to women and to sexual licence run directly against long-cherished Leftist causes but, as usual, Leftist attitudes can only be understood psychologically rather than logically and the alliance makes great sense psychologically. Both Leftists and Islamists want to tear down existing society and put themselves in the drivers' seat instead. So at a basic level the two groups have identical aims. It is only power that Leftists really want. All the rest of what they say is just posturing -- and there could be no clearer evidence of that than the way they have abandoned the various "rights" they have always stood for by co-operating with the world's most notable opponents of such rights.
December 16, 2004
Muslim violence in India and Indonesia
There is an interesting contrast here between the way two poor countries -- India and Indonesia -- deal with Muslim violence. The terrorists mostly get a free pass in Indonesia but India prosecutes energetically. The British origins of India's legal system seem to have a lot to do with it. The author rejects the view that the minority status of Muslims in India has anything major to do with it. At over 200 million, Indian Muslims are a LARGE minority.
Tom Barrett: "I have long believed that the United Nations is the most dangerous organization on our planet. The corruption that has been revealed there over the last few years has only reinforced my opinion. Now it is becoming apparent that the rampant corruption at the UN starts at the very top. More than any thing, the UN is a savagely anti-United States propaganda outlet. It is made up primarily of nations that hate or are jealous of the US..... "
December 15, 2004
THE FASCIST AMERICAN LEFT
(Article by Cinnamon Stillwell)
San Francisco State University has been in the spotlight lately, and the picture that has emerged is not a flattering one. Following last month's nationwide elections, members of the SFSU chapter of the College Republicans were confronted by an angry mob simply for setting up a table and handing out political literature. Members of the International Socialist Organization, the General Union of Palestinian Students and others surrounded the Republican students, shouting at them to "get out" of SFSU.
After trying to provoke the Republican students, four Middle Eastern women claimed that they had been the victims of racism and physical aggression. Although the exact details are still being disputed by the various parties, police reports and eyewitness accounts appear to back up the College Republicans. It seems that free political expression is no longer welcome at SFSU, at least not if one is espousing unpopular views.
A question arises: How did such a threatening environment become associated with a campus located in one of the most liberal and tolerant cities in the nation? The truth is that SFSU has a reputation for intolerance that goes back at least 10 years. In this case, Republican students, clearly a minority at SFSU, were the targets. But in the past, such animosity was directed mostly at Jewish students or those seen as supporting Israel. Jews at SFSU have been spat on, called names and physically attacked, as well as censured by the administration for defending themselves, even as their attackers went unpunished.
The case of Tatiana Menaker, a Russian Jewish emigré and former SFSU student, is an example of the latter indignity. After committing the "crime" of responding verbally to another student's anti-Semitic epithets during a 2002 rally, she found herself persecuted by the administration.
Pulled into a kangaroo court, threatened with expulsion and ordered by the university to perform 40 hours of community service (but specifically not for a Jewish organization), Menaker was later exonerated after seeking legal assistance from the Students for Academic Freedom and the local Jewish Community Relations Council. But the damage was done.
During my time as a student at SFSU (Class of 1996), I was given a preview of things to come. In 1994, the Student Union Governing Board commissioned a mural to honor the late Black Muslim revolutionary Malcolm X. Designed by members of the Pan Afrikan Student Union and painted by artist Senay Dennis (known also as Refa-1), the finished product was problematic, to say the least. Along with an image of Malcolm X, the not-so-subtle symbols of Stars of David juxtaposed with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones, and the words "African blood," had been painted. Despite the obvious allusion to anti-Semitic blood libels of old, Pan Afrikan Student Union members claimed the symbols represented Malcolm X's alleged opposition to Israel, not to Jews, as if that was some comfort.
Predictably, Jewish students were outraged, as were others truly interested in promoting tolerance on campus. African-American English Professor Lois Lyles made her opposition known by trying to paint "Stop Fascism" on the wall next to the mural. After attempting to paint over the mural on several occasions, only to find the cover-up paint removed by protesters, the administration was forced to take more permanent action. And, on May 26, 1994, under the guard of police in riot gear, the mural was sandblasted, only to be replaced with the kinder, gentler version seen on campus today.
Being Jewish, I was shaken by the incident, but, not yet well versed in the growing anti-Semitism in America's universities, I chalked it up to fringe politics and moved on. Little did I know that this was only the beginning of what would become a familiar scenario at SFSU and beyond. As the Anti-Defamation League puts it, "On campuses across the country, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to demonstrations and activism by pro-Palestinian groups fueled by hatred of Israel and Jews."
Of course, some will automatically object to the characterization of anti-Zionist or anti-Israel sentiment as anti-Semitism. This is a popular refrain among those who are the principal offenders these days. Indeed, sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between the sort of conspiracy-theory-driven rhetoric emanating from the Arab media and the language of many self-described "progressives" in the West. Both use terms such as apartheid, racism and, worst of all, Nazism to characterize Israel's policies toward Palestinians. Yet none of them accurately describe the tiny country that has been fighting for its existence since its inception, and to misuse such loaded terms devalues them of meaning.
But let's just say, for the sake of argument, that people who indulge in such hateful speech have legitimate criticisms of Zionism. At what point does political opposition to Zionism become an excuse for discrimination? According to the pro-Israel advocacy group Stand with Us, Jewish students at SFSU have been "denied positions in student government because they were 'Zionists,'" and "funding was denied to Hillel events because it was [a] 'Zionist' [group]." These injustices occurred in addition to charges of anti-Zionist sentiment on the part of some SFSU professors, despite the potential for intimidating Jewish students.
The flyers hung all over campus in April 2002 displaying a Palestinian baby on a soup-can label and the words "Palestinian Children Meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license" hardly constitute legitimate criticism. Then there was a "Peace in the Middle East" rally, organized by the SFSU Hillel chapter on May 7, 2002. This seemingly innocuous event was beset by pro-Palestinian protesters bellowing such enlightened statements as "Zionists off the campus now," "Go back to Germany, where they knew how to deal with you" and "Hitler should have finished the job." In fact, the counterprotesters became so frenzied that Jewish students had to be escorted off campus under guard by San Francisco Police Department personnel. Is such blatant bigotry considered acceptable behavior when its targets are the "dreaded" Zionists?
Even SFSU President Robert Corrigan seems unable to comprehend the true root of the problem. A statement by him about the issue, "It is not animus towards Jews, but there are strong anti-Zionist feelings on this campus," demonstrates a worrisome blind spot. And Sheldon Axler, dean of the SFSU College of Science, described slogans such as "Down with Zionism" and "Israel is a terrorist state" as "legitimate political expression." Anti-Zionism has indeed achieved a level of acceptance at SFSU and at universities throughout America and western Europe.
Never mind the fact that to be "anti-Zionist" is to oppose the existence of Israel. What else besides anti-Semitism explains the single-minded obsession with a country the size of New Jersey? Israel's alleged human rights offenses are given disproportionate attention, even as countless other nations commit crimes more heinous than anything seen in the Middle East's only democracy. Equality for women, gay rights, democratic institutions, tolerance of various religions and ethnicities are ignored in favor of the misguided view that Israel is the root of all evil in the world.
Increasingly, the myth that if the Middle East conflict were solved (i.e., if Israel were to cease to exist as a Jewish state), Islamic terrorism would come to a halt has made its way into many liberal and some conservative circles -- Pat Buchanan and other isolationists come to mind. But the fact is that Jews were hated before they had a state, and now they're hated for having a state. The very persecution that led Jews to flee Europe after World War II and help rebuild the nation of Israel is now directed at them for having survived the Holocaust. The insistence that Israel stop defending itself against Islamic terrorism also reeks of hypocrisy. Could it be that the very reason people despise Israel so much is because it's a Jewish state? No other explanation holds up under examination.
As for SFSU, it remains to be seen whether the administration will exorcise the cancer of extremism on campus or allow it to fester. While pontificating about "free speech," Corrigan and the SFSU administration continue to underestimate the growing radicalism in their own backyard. As a result, what began with attacks on Jewish students has now spread outward to any students who don't share the liberal politics of the majority.
As we have seen throughout history, Jews are the canary in the coal mine. Those who dismiss their persecution often become targets themselves down the line. Until this reality hits home, SFSU's legacy of intolerance is likely to continue.
December 14, 2004
RACE, RACISM AND STEREOTYPING
An issue of abiding interest to all Jews
AMERICA'S MOST OFFENSIVE FOUR-LETTER WORD
There is no doubt that the most offensive four-letter word in America today is "race". I gather that my occasional mentioning of it greatly limits the readership of much that I write. It is my contention, however, that it is mainly the Left that keep it that way -- by going ballistic every time that the word is mentioned. Absurd though it is, the convention that the Left have forced onto American society by their torrents of abuse is that anyone who mentions the word "race" is a "racist". And "racist" is in fact the most potent term of abuse that there is in most of the world today.
And the reason why is no mystery. Hitler's appalling application of the racial hygeine theories that were common among the Leftists of his day have made all good people super-anxious not to have anything to do with such horrors. But because a particularly nasty socialist once used the idea of race to inflict horrors does not mean that there is anything wrong with the concept of race. Atomic bombs are horrible too but the horribleness of the idea of atomic bombs does not make the reality of such bombs go away. Putting it another way, one does not have to want to persecute other races in order to recognize that they exist.
I have always been quite unhesitating in saying that races do exist and that there are differences between them -- and it is my view that anyone who says otherwise is deliberately blind. There is even good evidence from the geneticists saying so but I do not expect that sort of evidence to be influential with people who cannot even believe what their senses tell them every day.
I am sure that the kneejerk brigade have stopped reading this by now so I presume that I am now talking to those who are capable of acknowledging that there are races and that race can make a difference. The important question now, then, is what USE does the concept have? And my answer to that is: "Not a lot". As a conservative I believe in the primacy of the individual so I believe that each person should as far as possible be treated on his/her individual merits, regardless of whether he/she is black, white or brindle.
Unfortunately, however, as in Hitler's day, the Left do not do that. They do not treat people as individuals and they do discriminate against people on the basis not only of their race but even on the basis of their skin colour. I refer of course to "affirmative action". They practice racial discrimination without using the word "race" -- generally preferring the term "minorities" instead, which is about as big a distortion as claiming that homosexuals are "gay". Sad homosexuals are apparently not allowed and the minority that suffers most official discrimination against them in America today is undoubtedly white middle class males. Such confusion of speech makes intelligent discussion difficult so I am going to call leftists what they are: Racists. And I am going to call the categories that they use "races" too. If I try to use the deliberately confused terms that Leftists use in this matter, I run the risk of falling into the sort of confused thinking that they display -- the sort of confused thinking that denies that race exists and then proceeds to base vast policies on it.
The racial category that American Leftists most focus on is of course blacks of African ultimate origin. And by constant repetition over the last 50 years or so they seem to have persuaded lots of white Americans that they should feel guilty about the problems that such blacks tend to have. White feelings of guilt about blacks appear to have been fairly uncommon before World War II. And the principal point I am aiming at for the moment is that whites should NOT feel guilty. I am not responsible for what my ancestors did nor is anybody else. We can only deal with the situation as we have it today and the plain fact is that American blacks are the luckiest of their race in the world today. If people of African ancestry in America have problems, their problems are as nothing compared to the problems of Africans in Africa. Although it was not done with benevolent intentions, the transportation of African slaves into America was in fact the best thing that anybody has ever done for Africans. The descendants of the slaves are infinitely richer and better off in a whole host of ways than are the descendants of those Africans who were not enslaved. And at least one prominent black American has acknowledged that. See also here.
So my point is that if we must use the Leftist practice of basing policy on race, the logic would be that American blacks owe whites something, and not vice versa. The guilt about blacks that many American whites appear to feel is, in other words, a giant Leftist con job. That they have managed to make people feel guilty about something that they also claim does not exist is an abiding wonder, however. If Leftists really did treat people as individuals regardless of their race, neither the guilt nor the affirmative action policies based on it would be possible.
Around 15 years ago, I went to the library at the University of Queensland and looked up their PsycLIT CD-ROM. The CD was published by the American Psychological Association and indexes what has been published in all the world's academic psychology journals. I entered the search terms "racism" and "ethnocentrism" and looked at the authorship of the stream of articles that came out. There was one author who had published far more than any other -- accounting for about a fifth of the articles concerned. So, by normal academic conventions, that author would clearly be the world's leading authority on the psychology of racism. I am that author. See here
No doubt the situation has changed considerably since then. I neither know nor care nor does anybody else. My research generally arrived at conclusions uncongenial to Leftists so has always been thoroughly ignored by my fellow academics and I have therefore long since stopped doing any of it. I mention the matter only to establish that I do know the subject exceptionally well and am not talking through my hat in what I am about to say. And what I am about to say I have set out in more academic terms, complete with references, here and here.
In psychology, a "stereotype" is the word used to refer to a belief that someone has about a particular group of people. A common stereotype would be the belief that blacks are lazy. Stereotypes are therefore in general greatly condemned. The grounds for condemning them are twofold: 1). It is argued that no group has distinct characteristics; and 2). That even if a majority of a group has some characteristic, not all members of the group will have so it is pernicious to judge the individual by the group to which he belongs.
The first claim is simply silly. Of course groups have common characteristics. Most people of African ancestry have dark skin, for instance. Even if there are some or even many exceptions to the rule, the rule still exists. To say that no rule may have any exceptions would exclude most rules we use in life. The second claim is of course correct. To say that a person has a characteristic that he does not is plainly foolish and unjust and any public policy (such as the Jim Crow laws or "affirmative action") that assumes characteristics in an individual because of some group to which he belongs is also therefore foolish and unjust. The United Nations charter says that each person should be treated according to his/her individual merits and that is probably the most uncontroversial pronouncement the UN has ever made. Whether people act on it, however, is another matter.
So there are intellectually compelling reasons why public policy should not take group membership into account. Enquiries can always be made about the characteristics of the individual who might be affected by a policy instead of assuming the characteristics of the individual from some group to which he/she might belong. If a policy is designed to help poor people, for instance, enquiries should be made about the income and assets of each individual concerned before they are helped rather than assuming that because he/she is a member of a generally poor group (such as blacks) he/she should automatically be helped.
Private life, however, is another matter. In private life we very often HAVE to deal with people on the basis of very imperfect knowledge about them. A landlord deciding on whether or not to let his property to someone, for instance, will often know very little about the prospective tenant. He will of course ask for references etc but as crooks often have the best references, that will not get him far. So he will necessarily use very imperfect rules in deciding what to do. If, for instance, he has had repeated bad experiences with (say) Korean tenants, he may well decide not to accept a particular prospective tenant who is Korean. He will undoubtedly make some mistakes in doing so but he will probably make fewer mistakes that way than if he had used no rules at all. But clearly, what he has done is "stereotyped" Koreans as bad tenants. So what is quite improper in public policy may be perfectly proper in a limited-information, day-to-day environment. Circumstances alter cases and to say that stereotyping is ALWAYS undesirable is in fact to stereotype stereotyping.
So the rational conclusion from realities such as those mentioned out above is that consideration of group membership should be outlawed in public policy but allowed in private life. Needless to say, Leftists advocate the exact reverse of that.
"But what about the moral dimension?" someone will no doubt want to ask at this stage. Leftists advocate the policies they do to redress wrongs. Should not such wrongs be addressed?
My reply is that governments do not have to be racist to redress wrongs. If there is a desire to provide accomodation for unpopular tenants, for instance, the government could acquire housing suitable for renting out to such people (which is what many governments already do) and that should be the end of the matter. The government will realize that tenants unacceptable to private landlords are probably going to be costly for the government to accomodate but if their voters vote for that, so be it. There will be no need for government to enquire about the race of any of the tenants concerned nor will there be any need to prevent private property-owners from making such enquiries.
Similarly with education: If the government is concerned at the poor secondary school attainments of some people, the answer is not to pretend that those attainment are adequate but rather to offer extra courses -- summer schools, remedial courses or whole years of education -- to such people. Once again, no enquiry about the race of the low-achievers should be needed. And it appears that something like that is now beginning to happen. See here.
December 13, 2004
Jews DID resist the Nazis
Although there is a widespread myth that Jews in the Holocaust were passive, they were actually more active than any other conquered people. In 1942-43, Jews constituted half of all the partisans in Poland. Overall, about thirty thousand Jewish partisans fought in Eastern Europe. There were armed revolts in over forty different ghettos, mostly in Eastern Poland.
In other parts of Europe, Jews likewise joined the resistance at much higher rates than the rest of the population. Unlike in Eastern Europe, though, Jews were generally able to participate as individuals in the national resistance, rather than having to fight in separate units. For example, in France, Jews amounted to than one percent of French population, but comprised about 15-20 percent of the French Resistance.
In Greece too, Jews were disproportionately involved in the resistance. In Thessaly, a Jewish partisan unit in the mountains was led by the septuagenarian Rabbi Moshe Pesah, who carried his own rifle. The Athenian Jew Jacques Costis led the team which demolished the Gorgopotamos Bridge, thereby breaking the link between the mainland and Peloponnesian Peninsula, and interfering with the delivery of supplies to Rommel’s Afrika Korps.
One of the great centers of resistance was Vilna, Lithuania, which before the Nazi conquest had been an outstanding center of Jewish learning, compared by some to Jerusalem. Plans for resistance began in January 1942. The Jews’ only weapons were smuggled in from nearby German arms factories where the Jews performed slave labor. Hopeful of liberation by the Russian army, many of the Vilna Jews did not support the partisans. Partisan resistance postponed by three weeks the German plans to transport all the inhabitants of the Vilna ghetto to death camps, but the deportation of 40,000 Jews was accomplished by the end of September 1943.
A young poet named Abba Kovner led the resistance movement known as the Avengers in the woods around Vilna. His lieutenants, and bedmates, were teenage girls, Vitka Kempner and Ruzka Korczak. The Avengers were the first partisans in Nazi Europe to blow up a German train. Towards the end of the war, the Avengers shepherded huge numbers of Jews to Palestine, in violation of the British blockade.
Before the war, Ruzka had belonged to left-wing Zionist youth group called “The Young Guard” (HaShomer HaTza’ir) which trained Jews in self-defense, and taught the older boys how to shoot. Abba was not religious, but he was a fervent Zionist, loving to read the Bible stories of Jewish warriors, and aiming to emulate the Jewish Bible heroes.
In the Vilna Ghetto, it was Abba Kovner who first saw that the tightening of the Nazi oppression was not just a temporary imposition by a local German official; it was a step towards the total destruction of the Jews. The only way out, he argued, was “Revolt and armed defense. This is the only way which promises any dignity for our people.” Other Jews countered that revolt was hopeless because the Germans were so strong, and that collective reprisals by the Germans would just lead to more Jewish deaths. Ruzka Korczak retorted that the stories of Jewish heroism could not remain only “a part of our ancient history. They must be part of our real life as well.” The next generation of Jews must have something to admire. “How good will they be if their entire history is one of slaughter and extermination? We cannot allow that. It must also have heroic struggles, self-defense, war, even death with honor.”
Vilna was typical, in that the young people were usually the ones who wanted to fight, and the elders usually counseled against causing trouble. Most of the partisan leaders and fighters were young. Niuta Teitelbaum was a beautiful 24-year-old Jewish Polish woman who looked like she was sixteen. Known as “Little Wanda with the Braids,” she was an expert smuggler of people and weapons, and instructed women’s partisan cells. Her units blew up trains, artillery emplacements, and other German targets.
Once, wearing traditional Polish clothing and a kerchief on her hair, she talked her way past a series of Gestapo guards, whispering that she was going to see the SS commander on “private business.” Alone with the commander in his office, she drew a revolver, shot him dead, and calmly left the building.
December 12, 2004
GERMAN GUILT AT WORK
It obviously makes feel them better to think that the Jews are a nasty lot too
Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel's present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows. 51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld.
The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement.
In a first reaction, the chairman of Yad Vashem's directorate Avner Shalev said Tuesday that the poll's results, which he termed "very worrisome," were indicative of a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream "so-called liberals" population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. He added that the poll's results, which he said any objective person would repudiate, are also the result of the release of pent-up feelings of guilt built up from the Holocaust.
December 11, 2004
POST-ARAFAT CHANGE UNLIKELY
Most of the public in Israel seems to be going along with the "big lie" that Yasser Arafat crafted over the past fifty years. I do not know how many times I, and journalists like Khaled Abu Toameh, must repeat; there is no window of opportunity or avenue of hope now that the evil king is dead. Everyone seems to be walking around in a state of delusional euphoria. We are so tired of the same old stories coming out of the terrorists' camp that we want to believe Arafat's death is going to make the difference.
However, until there is a new era of political change with new faces, things are going to remain the same. Why are they thinking that the old faces are going to make the new changes? Now, nobody seems to be telling these Arabs and Islamic fundamentalists that their savage, barbaric behavior is not acceptable. Their leaders should not be legitimized by being invited to diplomatic conferences or promised anything, much less an independent state.
In the same vein, the Arab countries shouldn't even be allowed into the United Nations unless they allow their own citizens democracy and the right to vote; those living in Gaza shouldn't be encouraged to do more violence by legitimizing these irresponsible Arab leaders. Lord, even Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti is running for president of the Palestinian Authority from inside an Israeli jail, where he is serving five consecutive life sentences for killing Israeli civilians in his many terrorist acts.
As a journalist, I know how easy it is to write 'double-talk' The Palestinians are masters of doing it. While they are saying, "We will follow in Arafat's footsteps," they talk to the press about "new beginnings." So, while they are spouting hate-filled speeches to their population, the so-called leaders of Israel, the foreign press and our State Department are repeating the same Oslo mistakes. Mistakes that can only result in a demand for Israel to commit suicide for peace.....
Before running off into the sunset believing there is "new hope", the leaders of Israel ought to be remembering that Arafat is still alive. The old guard is still running things. They may not be afraid to speak out as they were when Arafat was living, but in the end, it is the same old, tired ruling party that is calling the shots. They are using new code words however. Their president may be dead; however, the "presidency still lives." And, therefore, the same old guard stays in power. They must have a regime change, not the same people in new positions, or, as Khalad Abu Toameh called them, "old wine in new bottles."
The same old show continues as the 'security forces' are being run by militias and being controlled by "warlords". Has it ever occurred to anyone that a partial solution might be to really mean democracy when the word is used?
If Israel is serious about the hope for the future now that Arafat is dead, then it is time to insist, and not give vague demands, that democracy is really going to be implemented before more money is sent. Except the word "democracy" is so alien to their way of life, culture and thinking that it isn't about to happen. In fact, somebody ought to start questioning where the billions are hidden and start using them to pay the electric and water bills. Better yet, Israel should cut off the water and turn the lights off.......
I find it ironic that there is no talk among the Arabs of peaceful coexistence, cooperation, tolerance, acceptance and negotiated compromise. They are looking upon Israel as fools that can be manipulated. The Arabs accept the removal of Israelis from Gaza as something they have achieved by killing Jews. To their twisted minds, they figure that they were able to kill Israelis in Lebanon and they were forced to leave. Now, they have killed over a thousand Jews since the intifada, so they are leaving Gaza. Next, maybe if they kill two thousand, they will give up and leave the West Bank. Finally, who knows? Maybe if they are able to kill ten thousand, they'll end up with Israel. Wow! What a prize.
December 10, 2004
The big Jew-persecutors of the 20th century were socialists
Von Mises in 1940 knew that Fascists and Communists were all socialists: "Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini constantly proclaim that they are chosen by destiny to bring salvation to this world. They claim they are the leaders of the creative youth who fight against their outlived elders. They bring from the East the new culture which is to replace the dying Western civilization. They want to give the coup de grace to liberalism and capitalism; they want to overcome immoral egoism by altruism; they plan to replace the anarchic democracy by order and organization, the society of "classes" by the total state, the market economy by socialism."
December 09, 2004
NAZIS AND THE FAR LEFT REDISCOVER EACH OTHER
No one can deny that Yasir Arafat had a dynamic talent for inspiring admiration and emulation. His gang`s massacres of children on a schoolbus from Moshav Avivim and at a school in Ma`alot — achievements the killer of JonBenet Ramsey could never hope to match — paved the way for similar atrocities committed at a school in Beslan, Russia.
Arafat`s attention-grabbing series of airplane hijackings set the standard for the new generation of terrorists who took his invention and improved upon it on September 11, 2001.
In death, he continues to inspire, and is already sorely missed by "progressives" and neo-Nazis who share one thing in common — enthusiastic support for the slaughter of unarmed Jewish men, women, and children — and who sound eerily alike in their online remarks praising the PLO chief and cursing the Jews.
After years of monitoring the hate speech disseminated by conservative radio and Internet (one of my reports is cited in David Brock`s recently released The Republican Noise Machine), I am forced to conclude that the "politically correct" vitriol of the Israel-hating activist Left makes the venomous rhetoric of right-wing ideologues seem mild by comparison.
Am I exaggerating? Let`s look at the comments on Arafat`s death and the Mideast crisis on two neo-Nazi websites — WhiteCivilRights.com, run by Nazi/Klansman David Duke, and Stormfront.org, a disturbingly successful hate site currently under investigation in connection with the desecration of a Jewish museum, cemetery, and synagogue — and two of the most heavily trafficked left-wing websites — DemocraticUnderground.com, dedicated to "the exchange and dissemination of liberal and progressive ideas," and SmirkingChimp.com, described in a laudatory Nation magazine article as "a website with 25,000-plus registered members, founded after the 2000 election as a gathering place for liberals, progressives and leftists who felt the newly elected president reminded them most of, well, a smirking chimp."
(At Democratic Underground, members appear to be evenly split for and against Jew-killing; at Smirking Chimp — where criticism of recent kidnappings and beheadings will get you banned, but writing that the victims "got what they deserved" will keep you a member in good standing — the support for Arafat`s terrorism was overwhelming.)