“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
February 3rd, 2009
1) Erdogan, Israel and the ghost of Ataturk: The anger that the Turkish Prime Minister has displayed recently towards Israel should not be viewed as simply stemming from his genuine anger about the Gaza war. His tradition as an Islamist in secular Turkey also shapes his thinking.
2) Soft Racism: Hypocrisy, international Jurisdiction and Israel: The very idea of an ‘international’ court is fraught with problems. Who gives one court the right to excersize ‘international’ jurisdiction. What if all countries allowed their legal systems to do so. The recent attempt by Europeans to prosecute selective international ‘crimes’ based on their European conception of ‘justice’ is hyper problematic. Why don’t Spanish courts prosecute their own Franco era criminals or U.K courts prosecute IRA terrorists or British officers involved in Bloody Sunday? Why don’t the Europeans even prosecute aging Nazi criminals? Why don’t they ever indict Muslim terrorists, such as Bin Laden? In the end the court system in Europe is decidedly racist, directed only at selective weak countries by bullying leftist arrogant Europeans. The U.S threatened to use military force should Europe dare try to arrest its soldiers. The world should do the same in fighting the leftist European scourge.
3) 'Proving' the Bible: There was a time when native tales carved on wood or stone were dismissed as myth. Now the Bible is dismissed as myth and tales about the Mayan kings are accepted as truth. Science has recently returned, through numerous television programs, to ‘prove’ the Bible. But this seemingly attempt to bring the Bible back does not help. By using science to ‘prove’ the Bible the actions of God are pushed aside. Science goes even further, creating its own theories and myths about Jesus’ sex life and ridiculous theories about how the ‘flood’ might have happened. When science enters the realm of religion it becomes corrupted by the same passions that corrupt religion.
Erdogan, Israel and the ghost of Ataturk
Seth J. Frantzman
At a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 29th, 2009 Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan stormed off stage in the wake of a heated discussion between himself, Amr Mousa of the Arab League, Israeli President Shimon Peres of Israel and Secretary General of the U.N Ban Ki Moon. According to reports the heated exchange and outburst was a rarity at the usually dignified gathering. The audience, which consists of the world’s elite, was “stunned”.
Yet Erdogan’s anger should not have been a surprise. With the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, the number of condemnations uttered by Ankara regarding Israeli actions have grown and the relationship between the two countries has become increasingly strained. However Erdogan’s distaste for Israel may have less to do with his own feelings about Gaza than with the history of Ataturk’s Turkey.
When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk became the first president of modern Turkey in 1923, a post he held until his death in 1938, he ushered in an era of radical secularization. His secularism had roots in the previous Young Turk regime which had championed Ottomanism and then Turkishness over the empire’s traditional role as a multi-ethnic and extremely heterogeneous state. With the carving up of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 Turkey became a state dominated by the Turkish Muslim majority. With the advent of Ataturkism it became increasingly a Secular Turkish state, with minority Kurdish groups, Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians and others increasingly pushed aside. However Jews retained a great deal of tolerance in the new state which refused to join forces with Hitler.
In March of 1949 Turkey became one of the first countries to recognize Israel and the first Muslim country to do so. In the 1950s as Turkey positioned it on the Nato side of the Cold War it found Israel a useful military ally in the region. Israel also saw Turkey as an essential part of its ‘periphery’ strategy of alliances with Muslim and non-Muslim non-Arab states such as the Shah’s Iran and Ethiopia. Turkey refused to call Israel an “aggressor” in the 1967 Six Day War and disagreed with disagreed with a 1969 decision of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to break relations with Israel.
The 1990s saw a rise in military cooperation and visits by Israeli heads of state. Israel celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Ottoman empire’s welcoming of Jewish refugees from Spain in 1492. Jewish lobbyists such as Moris Amitay were hired by Turkey to help prevent condemnations of the Armenian genocide by the U.S Congress. Israel supported Turkey’s greater ascension into the EU. Both countries recognized the threat of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.
The rise of the AK party on the ashes of the banned Islamic-inspired Welfare party and the swearing in as Erdogan as Prime Minister in 2003 marked a break with the Ataturk past. As a descendant of Georgian Muslims Erdogan sees himself as connected to a Muslim world more than the secular Turkish milieu. His outburst during the recent Gaza war were not unique, other Turkish leaders have had harsh criticism for Israel. But his break with Shimon Peres is unique. As foreign minister Peres visited Turkey twice in the 1990s and was outspoken in his support of Turkey’s increased role in the EU.
Peres’ visits to Turkey in the 1990s and the blossoming of the military relationship came under the auspices of the rule of Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Turkey’s first female prime minister who was praised the nationalism and secularism of the army and encouraged targeted assassinations of the Kurdistan Workers Party’s Abdullah Ocalan.
The rise of the AKP comes in the face of Turkey’s longtime secular tradition, one often guaranteed through the intervention of the army in politics to prevent Islamic inspired governments. For Erdogan however the secular tradition of Turkey represents only one path. In 1997 he read a poem that noted “mosques are our barracks…minarets are our bayonets…the end is martyrdom.”
David Ignatius of the Washington Post, who hosted the Davos discussion of Gaza claimed that the discussion between Peres and Erdogan would, “I hope put a little more substance to that [peace process], where we go now, how we put the pieces back to together.” Erdogan’s outburst was not merely aimed at Israel, but rather reflects his Islamic view of events, his sympathy for Hamas, an Islamist party, and his own internal struggle against the secular state put in place by Ataturk.
Soft Antisemitism: Hypocrisy, international Jurisdiction and Israel
Seth J. Frantzman
January 30th, 2009
Sometimes it is the softest racism that is the worst. It can take the form of the racism of low expectations or the soft racism of neo-colonialism as practiced so often by foreign, usually western, UN workers in places like Haiti. But there is another more tragic form of soft racism that has increasingly become the norm throughout the European legal system; the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. The most recent manifestation of this has been Spanish judge Fernando Andreu to allow for a probe of ‘war crimes’ charges against seven Israeli politicians and former military officers for the targeted assassination of a Hamas activist in 2002.
It’s not the first time universal jurisdiction of European courts has been used against Israel. In 2005 an arrest warrant was issued in the U.K against Israeli general Doron Almog. He was accused by the court of breaching the Fourth Geneva convention as commander of Israeli forces in Gaza between 2000 and 2003. In 2003 a Belgian court also decided that Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon could be tried for war crimes in Belgium over his role in the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in Lebanon in 1982.
The doctrine of Universal Jurisdiction is a European legal phenomenon. No other country’s courts claim the right top prosecute foreign nationals from other countries for crimes committed in their countries. Universal jurisdiction by European courts have not only been directed at Israelis. Africans also fall afoul of the long arm of the European legal system. In November of 2008 German police, on instructions from France, arrested Rose Kabuye, one of Africa’s most successful female politicians and a member of Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s inner circle. She taken to France in handcuffs while on a Rwandan governmental mission to Germany. Ironically she was one of the Tutsi minority who had fought against the Rwandan genocide, a genocide that France has been implicated in supporting. France had charged her as being a ‘terrorist’.
But in contrast to Israeli generals and African female politicians, European heads of state are able to roam the globe free of charges over their countries’ role in colonialism or other actions. European Nato officers who ordered the bombing of Serbia and whose planes accidentally killed hundreds of civilians have not been probed for ‘war crimes’.
No French officer has ever been charged for their participation in the massacres associated with the Algerian war of independence. No British soldier has been charged over their role in Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland where civilians were gunned down.
It seems the law is one way for non-Europeans, particularly Jews and blacks, and another way for Europeans. The idea of universal jurisdiction is unique because it represents a racist view of the world that claims that only European courts can arrest people from every country in the world while courts in other countries may not issue arrest warrants for Europeans. Thus Rwandan courts cannot probe the French role in supplying the Hutu genocidaires of 1994 and order French politicians arrested. Those warrants would not be respected in France or any European country. No Serbian court may attempt to put on trial Europeans for bombing Serbia. Furthermore no court in India may investigate British soldiers for their role in ‘war crimes’ in Northern Ireland during the troubles. The U.K would scoff at the idea that an Indian court might put them on trial. Herein lies the racism, the idea that only Europeans may put anyone in the world on trial. Thus type of belief in the superiority of Europeans is reminiscent of the dark days of colonial rule, and yet much of the world accepts the idea of universal jurisdiction without retaliating in kind.
The hypocrisy of universal jurisdiction is revealed to a greater degree when one considers how selective it is. Elderly Nazis roam free in Europe, freed by European prisons for being of ‘old age’. Robert Mugabe and other nasty world leaders, such as those in Darfur, roam free. Terrorists and their leaders from Pakistan to Hamas are not charged. The Spanish courts’ participation in investigating Israeli ‘war crimes’ is astonishing considering the fact that those same Spanish courts do not investigate Spaniards for their role in the crimes of Francoism. It seems one rule applies to EU citizens and another applies to the rest of the world. This is the reason the U.S has refused to sign on to the International Criminal Court, the U.S has realized, correctly, that it is primarily an attempt to extend European power throughout the world, without applying similar rules to Europeans themselves.
Universal jurisdiction is a form of soft racism as long as it is not respected and allowed for all. Only when a Rwandan court may prosecute a French politician or an Indian court my issue a warrant that is respected in the EU for former British officers will it stop being an extreme hypocrisy. But rather than creating a web of courts all claiming jurisdiction over eachother, it would be better to do away with the arrogance of universal jurisdiction altogether. Its time for European courts to focus on the crimes within their own countries and stop trying to legislate and police the world.
'Proving' the Bible
February 1, 2009
Seth J. Frantzman
In the recently published book Shadows at Dawn the history of Tahono O'ohdam people is related as a backstory to events that took place in 19th century Arizona. The O'ohdam are a tribe that spans much of southern Arizona. Early anthropologists noticed in the 19th and early 20th centuries that some O'ohdam villages contained elders who kept sticks on which they carved important events from year to year. These important sources of tribal history, so the book tells us, were originally felt to be primarily myths. Today however scholars accept them at face value as histories of the tribe.
The opposite has, of course, taken place with the Bible. The Bible was widely thought, in the 19th century, to be accurate. However over time it has come to be viewed widely as a myth. The process by which the Bible, a central text of western civilization, has become 'myth' while all the central texts of other civilizations are accepted as 'true', especially if those civilizations are long dead is one of the natural processes of moral relativism and post-humanism. In the leftist-post-modern world of intellectualism the other is always correct and his history is 'genuine' whereas the history of the self is always suspect and is always 'cynical' and racist and 'centric'. So whereas the history-sticks of the O'ohdam don't represent some racist 'O'ohdam centric worldview', the Bible of course represents only reactions to things around it. Thus when people in the Bible set down laws for themselves they are not legislating unique laws but only reacting against others, such as the Egyptians are Canaanites. The Canaanite or Egyptian laws and dietary habits are, of course, pure and are not reactions since they received them directly from the gods. The other is genuine. The Self, even though the people who hate the Bible the most do not really view it as the self, is suspect.
Archeology pursues the same agenda. Some Mayan tablets which record the history of some king are said, according to National Geographic, to accurately depict that kingdoms rise and fall. Similar tablets inscribed with stories from the Bible describing King Solomon however must just be some conspiracy written down hundreds of years later to glorify some fake lineage. Thus equal evidence does not lead to equal interpretation. Because there is so little record of civilizations in the Americas people latch on to the smallest dynastic histories and accept them.
Recently another layer has been added to this contradiction and hypocrisy; the attempt to 'prove' the Bible through science. On the one hand this could be seen as a reaction against those who see the Bible as myth. Perhaps the Flood and Noah's Ark and the parting of the Dead Sea can be 'proved'. With all the fanciful and 'end of days' descriptions of the affect of global warming this may be no surprise. We are used to tales of global ice ages appearing overnight and sea levels rising. So perhaps there was a 'Flood'. Science can 'explain' it or at least 'explain' how people 'perceived' it as a giant Flood. Noahs Ark? Lets build one and see if it works. Parting of the Red Sea? Perhaps there was an earth quake. The sun stood still at Jericho? Perhaps there was an eclipse. In this way all sorts of natural phenomena find their way into the Bible. Did Jesus have visions? He was an epileptic, along with Mohammed. All the prophets were in fact. People brought back from the dead? Maybe they had some obscure form of Arthurfimbrosis? Did the spear pierce the side of Jesus and he did not cry out? He had some gland problem that must explain it.
On the face of it this all seems well and good. It takes the myth out of the Bible and brings truth back in. But it does something else as well. It removes God. Because all of the Bible can now be 'proved' by 'science' there is no longer a need of God. The Bible itself requires many of the miracles in order to explain the existence of God. When the events become natural phenomena then God is no longer needed. So the attempt to 'prove' the bible through science doesn't so much refute those that called it myth it merely removes God entirely. Both refute God equally, one by dismissing it, the other by verifying it.
But there is another layer of oddity that takes place among those who want to 'prove' the Bible. Once they delve into science they suddenly want to create new myths where old ones once existed. They want to find families for Jesus. They want to find all sorts of things that don't exist at all. They want to 'prove' that the Israelites are really Canaanites. They want to create whole new stories that don't appear in the Bible. Once science is loosed onto the field of religion it becomes a kind of religion. Archeology of the Bible becomes enthused with extremism and corrupted by modern politics to the extent that people 'believe' in it. All semblance of scientific principle is lost.
A perfect example of the use of modern idiocy to corrupt ancient texts is the Bible Code. Here we have a book that claims to use 'computers' to 'prove' that the Bible has a 'code' and that the code predicts the future. Let's reason with this according to its own claims. Here is the Bible. It is a myth. But if we use a computer to decipher it then we can find patterns. These patterns predict the future. Predicting the future is not a myth because we have proved that the Bible predicted the assassinations of presidents and 9/11. We even warned Yitzhak Rabin he would be assassinated and loe and behold he was. There is nothing more amazing than watching people take a book, declare the book a myth, then apply modern 'science' to the book and declare new myths based on the very thing they call a myth.
Nothing is more unique to the idiocy of modernity than this. Nothing is more unique to the West. It points to the heart of the lie that is modernity. We have 'Human Rights' in a world where humans have less and less rights. We have 'peace' in a world that is not peaceful. We have justice in a world that is not just. We have anti-racism conferences where the participants are racists. We assault Chinese Olympic athletes and beat them in the street because we accuse the Chinese of 'human rights abuses' in Tibet. We cowardly burn and ransack synagogues and write 'We hate the Jews' because we claim the Jews commit 'war crimes'. We call the Muslims violent and in response they say "kill those who insult Islam." And we think that these two things are logically consistent and we thus apologize for 'offending Islam.'
Science should keep itself to exploring the realm of science. There are already enough myths and unexplained problems in the scientific realm, we don't need science 'proving' the Bible. Science can't even prove global warming. Instead it gets Biblical in its descriptions of what global warming will produce; "rising sea levels, ice storms, extreme weather, a second ice age, vast deserts…" Thank you science for this ridiculous description but the Bible has already given us descriptions like this. The stupidity of man is that in his quest for answers he invariably needs the lie, he seeks it using science in much the same way that ancient man ascribed all sorts of powers and influence to things around him. The Prophets in the Bible describe ancient man chopping down trees and bowing down to them; "I created an idol…part of it I made into a fire…part of it I make into a god." Science only seems to be doing a slight bit better, the more it keeps itself away from 'explaining' religion the better it will be at not being corrupted by the passions of religion.