Friday, November 16, 2007

Terra Incognita 11 Coexistence, Journalism and the U.N

Terra Incognita
Issue 10
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


November 12nd, 2007

1) Fear and Loathing in the Coexistence Nation: A collection of stories illustrating the stereotype 'they coexisted peacefully since time immemorial', and why it is always patently false.
2) What is Journalism? An exploration of some of the serious flaws of modern journalism.
3) 'They let him die by the side of the road': a short history of the U.N. What causes U.N workers to be so callously uninterested in human suffering? Why has the U.N done so much ill and so little good? Perhaps an exploration of its origins as well as the backgrounds of those who work for it can serve as a way to understand it and its people.

Fear and Loathing in the Coexistence nation
Seth J. Frantzman
November 4th, 2007
It’s a classic mantra, probably one of the most well honed among today’s westerners: Muslim countries are paradigms of coexistence. Take the article published in the Herald Tribune on Saturday, November 3-4, 2007 entitled ‘New cardinal speaks for Iraqi Christians.’ The reader is treated to the story of Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of the Chaldean church in Iraq. He notes that “Christians and Muslims have lived together for 1,400 years…we have much in common; in Iraq, the Christian house is next to the Muslim house..I am not happy when people ask ‘how is the situation for Christians?’ Those who kill don’t kill only Christians. They kill Muslims as well, the situation is the same for both.” Perhaps unwittingly the reporter noted later that “Delly met recently with prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to plead for protection for Christians.” But the same day an article appeared in the Jerusalem Post entitled ‘I know how to make you a Muslim’ by Catrin Ormestad. She wrote of the death of Rami Ayad, 31, the manager of The Teacher's Bookshop, the only Christian bookstore in Gaza. He was gunned down by a friendly Muslim assailant on November 2nd, 2007. The article reveals that “ the story of the Christians and Muslims in Gaza is one of peaceful coexistence. There has never been any friction between the communities, and there has never been a case of a Christian being attacked or killed because of his religion. ‘They come to us and say Merry Christmas and we do the same with them, on their holidays. We have good relations. They go to the mosque and we to the church, that is the only difference,’ says Hafez Michel, Ibrahim's brother-in-law.” The article, once again unwittingly, notes that the Teacher’s Bookshop has “been attacked several times in the past two years.” Furthermore people sometimes say “ ‘You should become a Muslim, and then you can go to Paradise!’, and Ibrahim's son Kader, 7, sometimes gets teased at school. ‘They say he will go to hell,’ he says.” No big deal, its all part of a tolerant society of perfect coexistence.

The coexistence nation operates slightly differently in Egypt. There are only 40 Jews left of a community that stretches back 2,000 years. Tolerance and coexistence was too much for them. Carmen Weinstein is the the president of the ‘community,’ which is composed entirely of elderly women. A recent article entitled ‘Cairo Synagouge marks 100 years of grandeur and decline’ noted that “The Egyptian Jewish community is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Rabbi Moses Maimonides (the Rambam) lived and taught here in the 13th century.” While the community will sing the praises of Egyptian dictator Hasni Mubarek they condemn Israel. Magda Haroun, another member of the community “has never visited Israel, for ideological reasons. Her parents were Communists, and she hopes to come only when a Palestinian state is established.” Coexistence worked wonderfully for the Egyptian Jews, 99% of them left after they were herded into concentration camps by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and their property was taken away, and the remaining 1% hate Israel.

Coexistence worked differently in the Holy Land. We are always reminded that the Rambam lived in a Muslim cultural milieu and he knew Saladin. But why did he leave his native Spain which was reputed to be the crowning achievement of Muslim-Jewish-Christian tolerance? He had to flee because of the puritanical extremist Muslim government of the Almohades. But, nonetheless, we are reminded by most Jewish and Christian and Muslim historians that “Islamic rule in Spain was relatively tolerant of
minorities, Jews and Christians alike, and Jewish life flourished there.” Maimonides fled Spain because the Almohades, who conquered the country in 1148, offered the Jews a choice; conversion or death. The Jews most choose to leave the land of tolerance.

But forget about the Ramban and his experience with tolerance, let us turn instead to the Ramban or Nachmonides. Born in Spain in 1195 he was forced to flee at the age of 72 because of Christian tolerance for his beliefs (the church ordered him tried on charges of blasphemy). When he arrived in Jerusalem in 1267 he set about building a Synagouge. In 1589 “due to Muslim incitement” the Ottoman governor Abu Sufrin ordered the house of worship turned into a warehouse. Rabbi Yehuda Hahassid and his followers attempted to be rebuild the Synagouge in 1700 but in 1721 the structure was burned by an Arab Muslim mob. The Synagouge was rebuilt beginning in 1856 with the help of Sir Moses Montefiore but it was blown up by the Jordanian Arab Legion in 1948 after the legion had conquered the Jewish quarter.

After the 1967 war when plans were drawn up by the Philidelphia architect Louis Khan to rebuild the Synagogue, Jerusalem’s mayor Teddy Kollek informed Kahn in 1968 that “the decision concerning your plans is essentially a political one. Should we in the Jewish Quarter have a building of major importance which competes with the mosque and the Holy Sepulchre?” Of course, it makes perfect sense that Jews should not ‘offend’ the churches and mosques of others, especially those who have burnt down their synagogues, by trying to rebuilt their own houses of worship. That is a society of perfect tolerance. The one side is intolerant and in order to foster tolerance the other side submits to the intolerance.
Tolerance is a fascinating thing. Emmanuel III, the patriarch of the Chaldeans in Iraq, studied Abu Nasr al-Farabi, a Muslim philosopher, in order to obtain his Doctorate in theology. He made sure to study the Koran in the name of tolerance, after all, shouldn’t every priest be as intimate with the Koran as he is with the Bible. This, of course was the model of tolerance that existed under Jordanian rule in Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967 when Christian schools had to devote equal amounts of time to Bible and Koran. Muslim schools, oddly enough, didn’t study the Bible. Muslim imams, oddly enough, don’t study Christian theology and they don’t need to study Christian theologians in order to receive their doctorates.

The Pope made a speech a year ago in which he mentioned that Islam may have some violent tendencies. His speech ‘offended’ Muslims so much that churches were firebombed and a priest in Turkey was murdered and so was a nun in Somalia. And afterward the Pope apologized and said it was wrong to link Islam with violence, surely Islam is not violent at all. The bodies of a priest and a nun not withstanding. It takes a perfect world of tolerance and coexistence where people murder other people for calling them violent and then expect an apology.

But such a world produced the Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams who came to Israel in November of 2007 ostensibly to take part in a interfaith dialogue with the Chief Rabbi of Israel but also found time to blame Israel’s security fence for ‘driving Christians out of the Holy Land.’ Interesting comments considering the fact that the Christian population of Gaza and the West Bank were declining for sixty years before the construction of the ‘wall’. By contrast the Christian population inside the Green Line, in Israel, has quadrupled in the last sixty years. But surely the cause of Christians leaving isn’t the murder of people like Rami Ayad, it is Israel’s fault.

The world of coexistence and tolerance, the psychology behind it and the belief system it entails is one of the most fascinating things ever created. The method by which is brainwashes people, its endless platitudes, is one of the most perplexing things in the modern world. The idea that we all live in an enforced tolerance regime, one in which we are always reminded how intolerant we are and how other cultures, despite evidence to the contrary, are always described as uber-tolerant is sheer brilliance. The words ‘coexistence’ and ‘tolerance’ have been twisted around to mean the exact opposite. Societies that are described as tolerant are invariably not and people that are said to have ‘coexisted’ have most likely been murdering and enslaving eachother. So what we need is less coexistence and less tolerance. The world needs it or we will all soon be killed off by the agents of tolerance and coexistence. We will all be like Rami Ayad or those 85 year old Jewish women in Cairo or that priest in Iraq, we will all be chanting at our funerals about how we live in a tolerant society.

What is Journalism?
Seth J. Frantzman
November 5th, 2007

Journalists tell us they are guardians of our rights. They ‘speak truth to power’ in the words of Dan Rather. Journalists ‘expose’ governments and injustice. They are at the front line of the war for free speech. All this may be well and good but it doesn’t really explain what Journalism is. Journalism is the theory that ordinary people who have no experience or background in anything can and should interpret the events of the world to the rest of the people living in the world. Journalists only rarely have any background in the places they cover. Sometimes the opposite is true, the journalist is so enmeshed in his environment that he is co-opted by it and in fact is a propaganda tool for whatever it is. What is most fascinating about journalism is the fact that people believe the newspapers they read. Once one gets by the blatent errors, the factual mistakes, the grammatical mistakes, the spelling errors and the rest of the small errors, one is confronted with the text of what is written. But what is most fascinating about journalists is that despite their continuing claims of being ‘unbiased’ we often find them writing books such as Sarah Chayes’ The Punishment of Virtue in which they tell us exactly what they think. Sarah reminds us in her book that “I do not believe in the Clash of Civilizations.” I wasn’t aware that Huntington’s theory had become a belief system, that one was either a convert or an infidel. But we can garner from this that our friend Ms. Chayes who works for the PBS is not exactly a blank sheet of paper that transcribes whatever she hears. She is an opinionated person, and her opinions come through in what she writes and what she chooses to cover. We are regaled with her story about a report she gave from a hospital on the border of Afghanistan in which she explains that she used a hospital ward to ‘set the scene’ for her piece. A wounded boy, wounded of course by an American bomb not by a friendly Taliban bullet, was the central figure. Yes, the journalist must set the scene. The journalist must frame the story. She must tell us what to think.

Oh surely Journalism has nothing to do with telling us what to think, that’s left for the editorial page. But then why do journalists so often end up on the editorial page, playing god and blind justice at the same time? We find that our friend Maureen Dowd wrote for the Times for many years as a ‘journalist’ before becoming an oped writer. Avi Issacharoff writes stories and opeds for Israel’s Haaretz. In fact the journalists who write stories for newspapers tend to be the most opinionated people, not the least. In person they frequently resort to the most biased forms of describing the people they interview and the places they cover.

But the worst thing about journalists is the fact that they rarely have any amount of raw knowledge, least of all about the subject matter they cover. Take one reporter that I know. She regaled me with tales about how she was shocked to learn that Israel has a military censor and she was fascinating by how a modern democracy might have a person whose job is to censor the news. She explained to me that people associate censors with the Soviet Union, not with a modern country. She was determined to interview this censor and get the goods on this strange aberration. There was one problem, I explained. Censors are not unique to Israel. Censorship exists in many forms throughout t he democratic west. She objected. But she was ill-informed. Perhaps many people have not seen the film ‘Good Morning Vietnam’. But if they have they recall the two fat censors employed by the army to censor the news coming out of Vietnam. What is this? Censorship in a democracy. Certainly not. But what about those ‘gag orders’ we read so often about. What is a ‘gag order’? It is a legal device used to stop the press from reporting the details of criminal cases. The Press may also not print the names of criminal suspects who are under 18. What is all this? Censorship. Yes, some may be surprised to learn that the press is not entirely free to run amok and do whatever it pleases, even in the West. Does anyone really believe there is a military censor in Israel? If there was, then how would it be possible for all the most atrocious anti-Israel reporting to be done right there in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? How was it possible during the Lebanon war that there was live reporting? A military censor’s job is to censor reports coming out of the military for fear that they might contain secret material by mistake. For instance information regarding troop movements or unit numbers or names of certain individuals. Let’s recall that the American government won’t admit that Delta force even exists. What is this? Censorship.

Journalists may exist because they fill a niche that must be filled. Someone has to report the news and it can’t all be done by experts. So amateurs must be enlisted to do it. What does Journalism school teach? It doesn’t teach anything about facts or context or history. It teaches about method. It teaches about how to write a story and how to organize it and how to have sources. It does teach something about ‘background information’ but only instructs the journalists to use the internet.

We believe that the Newspaper is of a higher quality than Wikipedia. But in fact Wikipedia is most likely the source for the background material presented in most news reports. Journalism is a hoax. It is a massive scam perpetrated upon people It is true that there are some journalists who know about what they speak. But take this story entitled ‘When Conscience trumped duty in Guantanamo’ from the New York Times three weeks ago. The journalist describes the “harsh interrogation techniques.” What were these techniques. “Another recounted a detainee’s claim that a guard had thrown him to the ground and rubbed his face violently in the dirt after prisoner spat at him.” Harsh? What do the LAPD and NYPD do on a daily basis? Spit at a cop and you might get thrown to the ground. Pretty harsh. Surely something the U.N and Geneva and the International Criminal Court and the Red Cross should look into. Or perhaps something that any journalist who had lived anywhere outside of swank Beverly Hills would know was an everyday occurrence not relegated to Gitmo.

The strongest evidence that journalism is in fact declining in its accuracy is the ever expanding world of journalists who increasingly describe things in superlative terms. Almost every BBC ‘special report’ includes at least one instance of the reporter informing the audience that this is the ‘poorest’ or ‘worst’ thing that he has ever seen or that has ever happened. Every report ever done by the BBC always shows poor people and they are invariably described as ‘living in the worst conditions imaginable.’ There are two errors in this sentence. One hangs on the ability to imagine. Although many of the people watching the BBC may be mindless sheep, there are others who can certainly imagine worse things. The second error consists of the use of the word ‘worst’. How can it always be the ‘worst’. A report on Africa tells us of the ‘worst’ conditions in some slum in Kenya. A report from Gaza explains that these are the ‘worst’ conditions. Then there is the report from India and, surprise, surprise, the children are living in the worst conditions. Journalists feel they need to expose the viewer to the most extreme things and then pretend like these extremes are the norm and then further elaborate by telling everyone that this is the ‘most’ terrible thing taking place. The journalist undoubtebly believes this, just like the journalist believes that Israel is the only democracy in the world that has a military censor.

Take a brilliant headline that appeared recently: “Russia unleashed hackers on the west” and the byline read ‘Only the US and China have more online rogues.’ What a sec. The US is one of the biggest cultural components of the West. If the U.S has more hackers than Russia then who is unleashing hackers on whome? The article wants us to believe that this is a newsworthy story, but it isn’t Russia has one of the largest populations in the world. America has more people. China has a lot more, but China has less computers per person. Thus it is no surprise that China, with a billion people and America with 300 million have more hackers and that Russia, an up and coming country with more than 100 million people, also has a lot of computer hackers. If we were to combine all the European countries into one their 250 million people would have as many hackers as America. See the problem with this story. But, regardless, Russia is ‘unleashing’ the ‘worst’ hackers on everyone else.

Every newspaper contains such stories daily. Haaretz on November 1st, 2007 contained the story “For Nablus’ ‘Night Horsemen,’ the days are numbered.” The story tells us of a group of young men who are “dead men walking.” Why? The article doesn’t say. They just are. It s a typical newstory. No history. No context. Just three Arab men with M-16s and cups of coffee and ever ringing cell phones and the IDF in hot pursuit.

We can’t live without journalism in the modern world. That is a tragic fact. But we could surely live with less hyperbole and less superlatives in the Newspaper. How about one day where every poor person isn’t the ‘most poor’ and every story has some context and there isn’t some incredible bias dripping through every story. Just once would be nice. And just once, could we not have a story that tells that there is some conspiracy about something and then interviews some shopkeeper to ‘prove’ that there is a conspiracy because he provides the quote that explains the ‘plot’.

"They let him die by the side of the road"
A short history of the U.N
Seth J. Frantzman
November 20th, 2007

The U.N's history is rooted in the history of other international organizations, foremost among them the Red Cross and the League of Nations. In order to understand the roots of the culture of the U.N one must look no further than the performance of these organizations in saving lives during crises and war. The first test of the League of nations came with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and the Japanese invasion of China in the early 1930s. In both instances the League did nothing. As Haille Selaise's tribesmen were gassed by the Italians, the league did nothing. When Shanghai and Nanjing and other Chinese cities were sacked and destroyed by the Japanese and half a million Chinese killed the League did nothing. During the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) where many civilians were butchered by both sides the League did nothing.

But while the League did nothing to prevent war, murder and genocide, the Red Cross proved equally culpable in doing nothing during the Holocaust. Under the guise of not wanting to 'offend' the Nazis, lest the Red Cross be banned from Nazi occupation Europe, the Red Cross and its Swedish and Swiss workers, visited concentration camps and never once condemned the Nazis for their treatment of Jews. Some 20 million people, including Jews and Slavs, died under the noses of the Red Cross and the organization never lifted a finger to save one person or protest the death of one person, or reveal the world the terrible things taking place in Europe.

Beginning in 1945 the world was shackled with yet another international organization, the U.N. Its role in complicity with genocide would outdo anything the Red Cross and the League ever accomplished. To catalogue all the atrocities would be too much. Suffice it to say the U.N is primarily composed of Europeans who are paid massive salaries to travel the world and tell other people how to live. When the U.N has been lucky it has been allowed to colonize countries, such as Haiti, Kosovo, East Timor and Bosnia. When it has been less lucky it has simply been allowed to sit on the sidelines as millions die, such as in Cambodia or the Sudan.

But the words of Ivan Ceresnjes, previously the head of the Jewish community in Sarajevo during the Balkan wars in the 1990s and who was responsible for helping thousands of refugees flee the siege there, should be enough to sum up what the U.N and what its primary role has been in the world:

"My driver was wounded and he was lying in the road. For eight hours dozens of U.N vehicles drove past. I tried to get them to help him, to take him to a hospital. But the U.N workers just looked at me and adjusted their collars and said 'this is not my mandate.' The U.N is the enemy of humanity."

There is no better way to put it. The U.N is the enemy of humanity just as its predecessors, the Red Cross and the League of Nations proved to be the enemies of humanity by allowing Nazism to thrive and collaborating with it once it was in power. The U.N's lack of humanity. The reason that 50 U.N workers could drive by a dying man and do nothing stems from where they are born and the culture that they are brought up in. Suffice it to say that the majority of U.N workers are European. Many of them come from countries such as Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland, countries that were neutral during the Second World War. They come, primarily, from countries that stood by during the Holocaust. Is it a surprise that the countries that stood by while 20 million were killed now produce people that stand by when individuals were killed. Even Stalin understood that there are times when one must be a human. He noted that 'one death is a tragedy but a million deaths is a statistic.' He is quite right. A million deaths is too hard to comprehend. But for the individual U.N worker who drives by a dying man, this is one death, and yet the U.N worker does not see the tragedy. Is he blinded by his $500,000 a year salary? Is he blinded by the fact that his job allows him to be above the law (for instance in Africa the French U.N workers in the Congo are known for trading U.N food shipments for sex with 13 year old women). Is he blinded by the fact that he is driving a large white SUV while the people he is lording himself over usually cannot afford cars or food? Is he blinded by the fact that he goes home to sleep in a compound with other U.N workers who listen to Classical music while the people he lords himself over go to sleep in hovels and risk death everyday? What is it that produces this individual. What is it that produces Swedish, Irish and Swiss people? Why do certain nations produce people who work for NGOs but never actually seem to help anyone and will not even slow down to help a dying man on the side of the road? Is volunteerism, which is to say the innate decency of helping others, cultural? Is it merely a case of a culture among these nations of entire peoples who cannot bring themselves to ever help others?

It is a mystery what breeds this. This type of illness, this inhumanity, is more and more common in western secular societies. People in war torn societies, in societies racked by famine, are famous for doing little when human suffering and bloodshed are at their doorsteps. Footage from the siege of St. Petersburg in 1942 or the Warsaw Ghetto in the same year show starving people dying on the streets, corpses crowding ditches, and people walking by as if nothing were out of place. But these people have been forced to live in these savage conditions. They become accustomed to ignoring suffering because the suffering has become too much.

But the U.N worker, the Swede, does not have this problem. He comes from a rich, fat, country where the standard of living is among the highest in the world, where education is among the best in the world and where few if any people believe in God. So what causes him to have no humanity? What causes him to lack sympathy and lack compassion and lack the most basic human traits? What has made him devoid of these qualities? Perhaps the accumulation of wealth and living in a safe and plush society produces the same indifference to suffering as living in the most wretched conditions? Perhaps living in the Warsaw ghetto is not so different in the affect on the mind as living in Stockholm? Perhaps it breeds the same contempt for humanity, the same need of the brain to shut out the horrors of the world.

People are only shocked by contrasts. One only feels cold because there is heat. Thus a person who has never been exposed to any forms of deprivation and difference and suffering cannot comprehend it, because it is so alien. However someone who sees that there is suffering, but is not exposed to it all the time, understands it and interacts with it in a meaningful way. The inhumanity of Europeans who work for the U.N stems from their lack of comprehension for the human condition. They are simply blind. They don't see the man dying on the road. He simply does not exist to them. They cannot comprehend it. It is like a computer program that does not recognize a type of software. It simply does not compute.

How can Europeans be made more humane? How can one make Swedish and Swiss and Irish people more humane? The truth is we cannot. The only way for them to become humane again is for them to suffer, for their nations to become poor and for their nations to experience the privations that other nations have within them. Fifty years of progress and wealth and isolation from the conflicts of the world, 100 years of pretending the world didn't exist, of never volunteering to help the world in its struggles, have taken their toll. It has created an entire generation of people who cannot help others. Philanthropy is virtually non-existent among people in these countries and lack of philanthropy is one side of mans inhumanity to man.

Europeans hate America and they loathe 'stupid Americans.' That is their prerogative. It is why Europeans and Americans will never understand one another. This is because the average American would always stop for the dying man on the side of the road. Americans may be naïve and stupid and uselessly optimistic, but they are a giving people, a people who do not ignore other humans. Swedes and Irish and Swiss could learn much from Americans. The Swedes and Irish who live in America do not lack the humanity that their contemporaries in their home countries do. We live in a world of increasingly isolated, selfish, self loathing, people who have no interest I humanity and are disconnected from it. They lack faith, which is their prerogative, but they have replaced faith with decadence, they have not replaced it with morality, which was the drive of their secular forebears. Instead they have replaced faith and accountability and social responsibility, with nothingness, with inhumanity. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing. But U.N workers cannot be described as good people. Its not a matter of 'good' people do nothing, it’s a matter of people ceasing to be human.

Terra Incognita 9 Red Cross, Franco, Meinertzhagen

Terra Incognita
Issue 9
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


November 2nd, 2007

1) A Wretched Double Standard : It turns out the Red Cross ran Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp, for 18 days after the Nazis left and before the Russians liberated it. New information unearthed in archives may show that the Red Cross and other international organizations collaborated to harm the Jews and prevent their escape to the West. What does this say about the current predeliction among these same organizations condemning Jews for having colonized Palestine?

2) Meinertzhagen and Lawrence and us : There is a great deal of Shoddenfreud in modern historians’ attempts to tear down historical figures. It says much about our modern culture, but doesn’t say much about what really happened in the past.

3) What is 498 plus or minus 7,000? The Catholic church is beatifying priests who were murdered by the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. Meanwhile the Spanish government is ordering that mass graves, victims of Franco’s Spain, be unearthed and receive proper recognition. What is one to make of all this?

A Wretched Double Standard
Seth J. Frantzman

The modern day liberal and Islamist has a wonderful proscription for the Middle East; make Israel disappear, send the Jews back to Europe from whence they came and all will be delightful. From Ahmadinjed to Merhseimer and Walt and Noam Chomsky this is the refrain.

But what is most fascinating is that each of these schools of thought, the liberal, the Islamist, the pragmatic, had its chance to take in the Jews when they didn't want to immigrate to Palestine and each one in turn rejected the Jews. Now they blame the Jews and Israel for that rejection. But why should one expect much more from a western post-humanism and Islamism that is so full of contradictions.

In 1942 when the Germans finally decided to solve the 'Jewish Question' once and for all and completely exterminate all the Jews then held in camps throughout Europe the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al Husayni was on hand to tell Hitler; "Don't let the Jews escape, keep them in Europe, don't let them immigrate to Palestine." Islamists played their role. No Muslim country opened itself up to Jewish immigration. The independent Islamic states; Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, did not accept any Jews.

What of the intellectual ancestors of Mersheimer and Walt, the pragmatists at the State Department? They didn't want the Jews. Even Truman's advisors such as Marshall didn't want them. They didn't want anyone to take the Jews, not even Palestine. Only when Truman finally buckled to pressure from a close Jewish friend did American policy vis-à-vis the Jewish refugees in post-war Europe change. But, needless to say, America did not open her doors to all the Jews in Europe yearning to breathe free. The Jews that did escape and were allowed to come to the West chose it over Palestine. From Hannah Arendt to the Rebbes of the Hasidim to Einstein, they all came to the west rather than Palestine.

But what is most amazing is the legacy of the international organizations and the fate of the Jews. The Red Cross collaborated with the Nazis, covering up their crimes and never condemning the Nazi regime, even helping to white-washt he crimes taking place in front of their eyes at various camps. On the 22nd of May, 1945 the International Red Cross was handed control of Theresienstadt, a 'model' concentration camp. For 18 days the international organization ran the camp and for perhaps the first and only time in the history of mankind has an international organization had control over the destiny of a small portion of the Jewish people. For 18 days the Jews were kept penned in the concentration camp by the Red Cross. For 18 days the Red Cross kept up the guard duties of the Nazis, denying the Jews freedom of movement and a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Because of the activities of the Red Cross, in preventing Jews from leaving the camp, a typhoid epidemic broke out and more Jews needlessly died. Not until liberation by the Red Army on May 8th were the Jews given a greater measure of freedom.

This experience of the Jews at the hands of an international organization would not be the last, but it could not have had a positive impact on the Jews who had to watch as the Red Cross officials, emblazoned with the Crusaders Cross on their arms went about freely while not allowing Jews to do the same.

Between May of 1945 and 1952 the Jews of Europe who had been liberated from the concentration camps were moved to news camps, now called Displaced Persons camps. Two things now transpired. Jews placed in DP camps in Germany, behind barbed wire and with armed guards, sometimes at the site of their old concentration camps, had to watch the German public which had voted for Hitler, go back to their normal lives and receive handouts as part of the Marshall Plan. But the Jews were not allowed out. Meanwhile in some places the Jews were classified as 'enemy aliens' as along with Italian and German civilians. This was done to German and Italian Jews who were now classified by the allies being part of the German nation. So they were then ensconced in camps alongside their tormenters, the Germans.

Worse was to come when the allies tried to resettle the DPs. DPs were not allowed to roam free about the land lest they engage in crimes or unsettle the local inhabitants. There were 1.5 million DPs in Europe, many of whome were not Jewish. Countries such as Australia were more than willing to take in the DPs provided they were white. The International Refugee Organization (IRO) which was entrusted by UNRRA and the allies with moving the DPs out of Europe agreed to Australia's terms. Only whites would be allowed to be transported by the IRO. No Jews. In the case of Jewish welfare organizations such as the JDC and HIAS the boats chartered by the Jewish organizations to transport Jews were forced to have a Jewish quota of only 25%, lest a boat of Jews dock in Australia and cause alarm among the white Australians. In one case a boat named the Partizanka was supposed to pick up 150 Jews in Haifa en route from Europe to Australia but these Jews were forced to remain in Palestine due to he 25% quota.

This was the legacy of the international organizations between 1945 and 1952. The Red Cross administered concentration camps, causing Jews to die. The IRO and the UN collaborated with governments to keep Jews out while resettling more than a million hearty 'white' Europeans.

It may be no surprise that the Jews stuck in their new concentration camps, some of whome had been murdered by their Polish neighbors in renewed pogroms in 1946, chose to go to Palestine, since that was the one place that might actually take them.

Today's descendants of the IRO and UNRRA and the Red Cross complain that it was unfair to punish the Palestinians, by forcing them to live next to Jews, for the crimes of the Nazis. Perhaps it is time the Red Cross and the U.N and Ahmadinjed and Mersheimer and Walt look themselves in the mirror and ask 'what did we do in 1945?' It is a direct result of the actions of these individuals that caused Jews to immigrate to Palestine.

Today's wealthy white European and today's rich leftist American and today's playboy Sheikh in Dubai may speak of 'returning the Jews to Europe for the sake of peace' but they ignore the fact that it is because of their actions that the Jews were given no alternative but Palestine. The Arab and Muslim countries throughout the Middle East expelled their Jews between 1948 and 1970, taking away all their assets. Today they complain about the existence of Israel. When these Middle Eastern Jews tried to flee to Australia and other places they were denied entry, Arthur Calwell, the minister of immigration in Australia from 1945-1950 and his successor Harold Holt both did not want Jews from Muslim countries on account of their being "non desirable migrants and that many were non-European in appearance." It should be no irony that people like the Prime Minister of New Zealand the all the leaders of the Muslim world complain about the existence of Israel, while they themselves caused so many people to be forced to migrate to Israel.

The U.N wanted to have its cake and eat it to. It wanted to play god with the Jews. It wanted its chance to run some concentration camps. It wanted to be able to tell the Jews they couldn't go anywhere in 1946 and tell them in 2006 that they shouldn't live in Israel.

Even Jews were involved in the double-standard. For instance Saul Symonds of the Jewish Board of Deputies in Australia noted that "Influential Jews made efforts to induce the [Australian] government not to admit additional Jews, not even children. It is this type of Jew that is fighting against the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine." Once again one sees the same contradiction in someone opposing Jewish immigration while at the same time wishing to deny Jews the ability to immigrate to a place where they might found a state. In Munich, where only 84 out of 11,000 Jews survived the Holocaust "the [84] German Jews did not want to be swamped by the East European Jewish DPs.(Out of the Ashes by Yehuda Bauer, p. 55)" Rabbi Aron Ohrenstein, who served this 84 member community rejected to allowing any Ostjuden to join it. Furthermore the remaining Jews including 1,500 who remained in Bavaria (out of 46,000 before the war) refused to share leftover Jewish property with the newly arrived Eastern European survivors. The Jewish owned-property that had once provided for 57,000 people now was not enough for the remaining 1,584. It may be no surprise that those same Germanic Jews later became the most vigorous opponents of Israel and their descendants can be found today in Israel as the greatest anti-Zionists. We might recall the role of Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Prof. Zimmerman, Baruch Kimmerling among other German jews who have repeatedly opposed Israel and its creation. Yet there they were in 1945 opposing Jewish immigration and refusing to share anything with the most wretched, starved and destroyed people. Yet today they complain that those very starving people live in Israel, on the land of the Palestinians. Perhaps if greed and hatred and intolerance had not been the hallmark of some of these German Jewish survivors they could have seen their wish fulfilled, no state of Israel, but then they would have had to coexist with the 'Ostjuden', something they refused to do. It may be no surprise that the secular descendants of the German Jews who live in Israel can be numbered among those who make derogatory comments about religious Jews in Israel, many of whose origins are in Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania and are thus 'Ostjuden.' It is reasonably common to hear the religious described as 'nazis' by these secular descendants of German Jews.

On June 2nd, 1949 the Department of Immigration in Australia noted that "the term [Jew] refers to race and not to religion and the fact that some DPs who are Jewish by race have become Christian by religion is not relevant." It may be no surprise that today one will find leftist Australians that speak of the Arab-Israeli conflict as one between "white apartheid practicing nazi-like Jews and dark colonized, suppressed Arabs." The model of 'white' and 'black' has been applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jews are told that their speaking of a 'chosen people' is the same as the Nazis speaking of an 'Aryan nation.' But one might like to know: How did the Jews become white in only 50 years? Is it any surprise that modern western race theorists calling themselves 'human rights workers' and 'progressive leftists' have adopted the rhetoric and endless categorizing of their ancestors. They sleep well at knowing that they can condemn Jews for living in Israel while their ancestors made it virtually impossible for Jews to go anywhere else. In 1948 Australians spoke of not wanting Jewish Zionist terrorists to immigrate. But today's leftist sympathizes with terrorism as 'armed struggle' so long as it is directed against Jews.

Those that condemn Israel as a 'colonialist' state, an 'outgrowth of Western Imperialism' and a 'renewal of the Crusades' should investigate the history of Jewish immigration to Israel. If they were colonists, the Jewish immigrants to Israel were certainly not willing colonists, shoved from one country to another, expelled and murdered, they tried to flee to places such as Australia and were denied entrance. Some even tried to leave Israel for the more prosperous West and were denied entrance. When 600,000 Jews were thrown out of Muslim countries from Egypt to Iraq there was no where for them to go. The modern day fashion for refugees did not exist between 1945 and 1965 when most of Israel's immigrants arrived. In 1947 there were barely 600,000 Jews in Palestine. Today there are 5.3 million. The next time Europeans and Muslims decide to deport and exterminate and make people's lives miserable and then deny them the ability to move anywhere but one country they should think twice about sitting back in their chairs fifty years later and claiming that the same country is now an "outgrowth of western imperialism, a racist, apartheid state."

Meinertzhagen and Lawrence and us.
Seth J. Frantzman
October 30th, 2007

In November of 1917 T.E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was captured while reconnoitering the country around Dara in modern day Jordan. He was subsequently raped and beaten and released. In October of 2007 after watching the film 'Rescue Dawn' this author was privileged enough to hear one filmgoer declare 'Its just too bad its another Great American Hero film, its so ridiculous that it has to end with the American Hero.' Modern biographies have cast doubt on Lawrence's ordeal just as modern westerners don't want to see a film about a war hero. Every historical event today is put before the most rigorous self-flagellation in order to poke holes in it and make sure that every hero becomes a villain and every villain has some nuance that makes him less evil.

What is most ironic is the methodology employed to accomplish this. What is the evidence that T.E Lawrence fabricated his capture and rape? Patricia Goldstone argues in Aaronsohn's maps that the evidence against Lawrence is contained in the diaries of Col. Richard Meinertzhagen, a famous adventurer from the First World War. Meanwhile Brian Garfield argues in The Meinertzhagen Mystery: the Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud that everything Meinertzhagen produced, wrote or claimed was fake. Logically they can't both be right. Lawrence and Meinertzhagen can't both be lying. But rather than concluding that one or both were liars, one might conclude that both told the truth and that both have subsequently been accused of lying. The evidence for the lie, one must not forget, is only contained in Meinertzhagen's diary, and that is, after all, mere conjecture on the part of Meinertzhagen who admitted that he hated Lawrence.

Let's return to a headline that appeared in the Jerusalem Post in the spring of 2007. It stated 'Sources reveal that Entebbe raid was staged by Israel to make PLO look bad'. That was the gist of the story. A newly 'declassified' document in the British archives showed the British intelligence reported in 1976 that they had information that Israel planned and knew about the Air France hijacking that led to the Entebbe raid. The evidence for this strange claim was an official at an Arab-British public relations group. So the 'secret' document revealed nothing, except that some civilian Arab had informed some Englishman of this 'plot' based on nothing but his own allegation. But now if we read a book on Entebbe we may be treated to the fact that "British intelligence reports from the period showed that the hijacking and subsequent rescue may have been planned at the highest levels in Jerusalem to make the PLO look bad."

This is apparently what the allegations against Lawrence consist of. Lawrence's bruises from being whipped appeared to be 'self-inflicted' according to Meinertzhagen. But then again we must recall that Meinertzhagen claimed he went ashore at Haifa in 1948 to fight on the Jewish side during Israel's war of Independence. The evidence that he didn't go ashore, according to Garfield? No one can recall having seen him there. But how many people living in Haifa in 1948 knew anything about Meinertzhagen? They certainly wouldn't have been on the lookout for him. It’s like saying there is no evidence that I am living in Jerusalem now because in twenty years an interview with a number of random people will reveal that they do not recall having met me. People don't remember that Spiro Agnew was Nixon's Vice-President, but that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't.

The story portrayed in Rescue Dawn is of an American who was shot down over Laos in 1965 and subsequently escaped. That is a heroic story. The demand by the public to not have to watch 'another' story of an American Hero means that what we really wish is for this eminently true story to be degraded. We would hope to find, for instance, that there is some dark side. Perhaps he escaped through murdering his fellow inmates. Perhaps he arranged a secret deal with the Vietnamese. It is surely convenient that no other inmates can be located who recall this escape. That seems to be how ever new history book is written. Lack of evidence becomes evidence and innuendo becomes evidence and the 'secret' intelligence compiled by ordinary people become evidence. Soon people like our friend Meinertzhagen are known to be colossal frauds.

Where is this impetus to tear down others derived from? Is it a modern form of shoddenfreud? Is it perhaps the admittance that we would not be capable of performing great heroic deeds so we doubt the deeds of others? We have become suspicious because we ourselves fabricate our successes? We pad our resumes with fake job titles and we are encouraged by college admissions to create fake heritages, fake struggles and fake volunteer experience, and even fake leadership experience. Fakeness is everywhere around us so we project these lies into the past in order for us to not have to admit that other people were better than us. Nothing pleases society more than finding out that some great athlete is taking drugs. Who wasn't overjoyed to find out the Tour De France is chock full of drug use and 'performance enhancers.' Surely Lance Armstrong was 'doping'. If Lance was doping that means he is sort of like us, without his drugs he would be fat and overweight and he wouldn't succeed and then we can pretend that we are all like Lance Armstrong. We reveled in Bill Clinton's endless stream of scandals because 'he was like us.' When Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister, announced that he had Prostate cancer his approval rating increased. Why? Because now he is sick and he is fragile, like us. FDR never made use of his wheelchair to gain votes, but we can imagine, had he lived today, he would be brandishing it in public all day and have it painted gold to remind us of his disability. He would be described as ‘heroic’ for ‘overcoming his disability.’ But wasn’t he just as heroic and didn’t he overcome it just as much without showing it off. So who is more heroic for admitting they have prostrate cancer, us for being happy that someone else has an illness, or the person for revealing it for no reason to us? Who is more heroic, T.E Lawrence of being raped or the historian who claims it never happened? Neither.

What is 498 plus or minus 7,000?
Seth J. Frantzman
October 29th, 2007

498 people were beatified Sunday, October 28th, for suffering what the Herald Tribune contemptuously put in quotation marks; religious persecution. These 498 Spanish saints and martyrs are to be added to an additional 500 Spaniards beatified over the years by the Catholic church. These 998 people were clergy who died during the Spanish Civil War. That makes up a significant portion of the 7,000 priests and clergy who died during the Civil War.

The church has described their deaths as religious persecution because they died at the hands of "leftist forces" that were "targeting an institution [the Catholic church] they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression and inequality." In 1930's leftist parlance that means the members of this institution had to die.

Spain is reconsidering its past after 30 years of democracy. When Franco died in 1976 he handed the country back to the King who subsequently handed it back to the people. Since that time the right and left have each had their chance to govern the country through elections. The right has never renounced its historical ties to the Franco regime and the Left celebrates its ties to the 'revolutionaries' who fought Franco in the Civil War. But despite the cleavages the country has tried to bury the past, not through Truth and Reconciliation committees as in South Africa, but through moving on. But little by little there is a desire not to move on. The government of Spain, which is run by the Socialists, wants greater recognition for the victims of Franco. They also want the references to Franco stripped from the war memorial in the Valley of the Fallen where members of his army who fell in battle during the Civil War are buried.

What is most strange is the way in which these victims of leftist terror, who died because of their association to the church, are seemingly forgotten. Franco is derided as a fascist and collaborator with the Nazis while the Spanish leftists are memorialized as freedom fighters. Outside of Spain many people romanticize the foreign 'volunteers' who went to fight against Franco in Spain. These members of units such as the Abraham Lincoln battalion included in their ranks men such as Ernest Hemingway. The main character from Casablanca is described as having been one.

These romantic men, like the Americans who went and joined Castro in 1959, are seen today has having been ever prescient of the danger of fascism. Like Churchill they understood the threat early on, in 1937, and went to fight it when their countries would not. The fact that Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany supplied Franco with men and planes certainly doesn't help Franco's image. But what is often forgotten is what sort of a beast the foes of Franco really were.

Franco was not fighting a monolith but a strange combination of forces that arose in Spain during the first quarter of the 20th century. Owing the Spain's decline in the 19th century, her defeat at the hands of America in 1898, perhaps also her brutal occupation by Napoleon between 1800 and 1814, and her lack of participation in the First World War, forces were unleashed there that were altogether stronger and different than those found elsewhere. To start with it was the only country where Anarchism became a mass movement (ironic given the fact that anarchists don't like organizations supposedly). Communism existed alongside large Socialist and Trotskyite parties. Various mini-revolutions and massive civil unrest that swept the country during the 1920s and 1930s led to cleavages in society (for instance the architect Gaudi's blueprints were burned by anarchists because he was a churchgoer). Assassinations became common.

When Franco decided to launch his coup in 1936 he believed he was being invited back to Spain from Morocco, where he was stationed with the army, to save it from the forces of 'Socialism, anarchism, communism and freemasonry.' Later portrayed as anti-Semitic, Franco had enjoyed a good relationship with the Jews of Spanish Morocco and during the Holocaust tens of thousands of Jews escaped through Spain. Probably pleasing to modern liberals, Franco brought with him a division of Moroccan Muslim Rif tribesmen who he used with brutal success against his leftist opponents.

Few recall today that one major factor in the defeat of the leftists in the Spanish Civil War was the infighting amongst them. While Franco's war council only loosely included Jose Antonio Primo De Rivera's Falange party and the monarchist militias, The leftist government in Madrid was rife with internal contradictions. Socialists sat with Communists and Trotskyite's and Basque and Catalan separatists to wage a war against the right. In 1938 and the last months of the war in 1939 the Soviet-Russian advisors sent by Stalin finally gained control over the left wing government. They had spent most of 1937 and 1938 persecuting and murdering Spanish Trotskyites, which culminated in a siege of Barcelona. Eventually they set themselves to slaughtering anarchists and socialists, modeling their purges on Stalin's own that took place in the same year. In the most ironic turn of events, once they were done bleeding Spain white by murdering and alienating all their leftist allies the Soviet advisors withdrew and the Communists who were left were driven from Spain at the point of the bayonet. The Stalinists were so suspicious of their own allies that they sent all the foreign volunteers home. Their presence in Spain virtually guaranteed that Blum's France and Chamberlain's England could not support the Spanish Republican leftist government.

Franco, to his credit, did not ally himself with Hitler, claiming that Spain had to get back on her feet. He did become a dictator but he gave away power at his death unlike other dictators such as Stalin, Hafiz Asad and Gamel Abdel Nasser who made sure to perpetuate their reigns.

Leftists want to memorialize the 100,000 or more victims of Francoism, the leftist veterans of the war who Franco is accused of having put in labor camps or had shot. That is a worthy goal. But one must remember that there was nothing romantic about much of the leftist forces in Spain. The anarchists and Communists were brutal, the socialists less so. But one cannot escape that figure: 7,000 priests shot in three years by the leftist government. That is just the number of priests, not ordinary shopkeepers and 'capitalists' caught in the leftist net. One may mock the church for claiming 'religious persecution' but what else should it be called. Targeting the priests for destruction is more than persecution, it is choosing religion as a target for extinction. Rarely in history have so many religious figures been killed in such a thorough manner.

We are supposed to remember Federico Garcia Lorca, the leftist poet executed by Franco's army in 1936. It is tragic to target a cultural figure. But such memorializing doesn't hold much weight when those that do it can't see the crime in slaughtering 7,000 men of the church.

Terra Incognita Issue 10

Issue 10
A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


November 16th, 2007

Why aren't Saudi students changed by coming to America? Saudi Students studying in America bring billions of dollars to the U.S economy. But their exposure to American culture, American society and the liberal University atmosphere doesn’t lead them to become socially progressive activists in their home country. Why not?

Free speech and the free market. The Free Market limits our exposure to unpopular ideas and relegates extreme speech to the public park rather than the newsstand. Attempts by professors and other intellectuals to claim that their free speech rights are being violated when their books aren’t published or they aren’t invited to speak is an attempt to control the market and force it to sell their unpopular product. In the end they have a right to free speech but we have a right to ignore it.

Why the one state solution, now? Suddenly every anti-Israel leftist professor, politician and activist is speaking about how a two-state solution is unworkable and the one state solution is the only way to ‘solve’ the Israel-Palestinian dispute. It’s a return to the bi-national rhetoric of the 1940s. It didn’t work then, it hasn’t worked since and it won’t work now. But perhaps something else is behind this latest drive for one state west of the Jordan.

Why aren't Saudi students changed by coming to America?
Seth J. Frantzman
November 12th, 2007

People always seem surprised that so many Saudi students (twice as many in 2006 as 2005) come to the United States and return to their country and yet nothing changes in Saudi Arabia. Shouldn't four years of frat parties, strip clubs and 'freedom' rub off somewhere? People must be surprised that despite all the diversity in the U.S. and the collegiate events such as 'national coming out day' and 'holocaust awareness week' and 'gay black man month', that Saudi students don't seem to internalize any of it. They go back to a country where non-Muslims may not worship, where foreigners are denied citizenship but are forced to do most of the work, where women are imported from abroad as slaves for use in homes, and where women may not drive. The Saudis don't go back as good progressive liberals and protest their archaic backward unjust country (in which, for instance, a woman was recently sentenced to 200 lashes for having been gang raped. She violated the Islamic prohibition against adultery and being alone with a man who was not her husband).

But why is this such a surprise? People always think that American freedom and diversity should cause other cultures to imitate the west in their self critique. But evidence and history do not bare this out. In Egypt American students study in an intolerant dictatorial society. These are the same students who won't travel to Israel because of the occupation and support a boycott of Burma because of the junta. One might be surprised to find out that these student cavort with the sons and daughters of Egypt's 'progressives'. This week when Egyptian singer Gaber el-Beltagui dared to speak of greater peace with Israel at the 100th anniversary of the opening of Cairo's main synagogue he was blacklisted by his progressive secular friends. Beltagui was told on a talkshow, by the host mind you, that he might deserve physical harm for his actions. Egyptian Baha Jahin, whose father wrote the words to 'Song of Peace', publicly declared that Beltagui would be forbidden to sing the song. A year previously when Egyptian writer Ali Salem published a book about his trip to Israel he was expelled from the Egyptian writers union. Haaretz seemed to capture the dilemma of Egypt well when it explained that "opponents of normalization [with Israel] fall into two main categories; supporters of the Muslim brotherhood and secular nationalists and leftists. ('In Egypt calls for peace bring waves of rebuke' Nov. 12th, 2007)"

The Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) which runs a program at the American University of Cairo is chock full of American students, mostly women, who have no objections to the Egyptian society they study in. They would never lift a finger to protest it. Pictures posted by them on their private websites reveal costume parties where they dress up like Hamas members (some also dressed up like 'Jews' wearing phones with the words 'banks' and 'natural disasters' written on them. The caption of the photo read 'Hamas encounters the Zionist entity next to the water cooler').

If American students can so easily be duped into becoming Arab nationalists, anti-Semites and Islamists while studying abroad then why aren’t the Saudis duped into becoming freedom loving, gay tolerating, women respecting, equal rights crusaders? Perhaps an example from Jerusalem will further illustrate what is going on. Among the booths set up by student clubs weekly at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem there is almost always the Arab Communist booth and a Peace Now booth. The former is an Arab nationalist club, the latter is an Israeli leftist human rights club. One is nationalist, the other internationalist. One is nominally right wing, despite being 'Communist', the other is extremely left wing. Each booth is usually stocked with the same people: light skinned women with flowing hair and tall skinny men. The only difference is that the Arabs usually wear Khaffiyas around their necks. But there is a more subtle difference. The majority of Arab women in Israel and the Palestinian areas wear headscarves. But the Arab women at this Communist booth usually do not. They are, after all, progressive. But they are also nationalists. Even the minority Arab Christians are members of these nationalist parties, usually prominent members. Thus one finds that the most open minded 'progressive' Arab women, even the minorities, are nationalists.

Now let's recall something here. Leftism in the United States leads to majorities becoming more self-critical and minorities becoming more assertive. It leads Americans to go abroad and become nationalists for the causes of others. This is the key to understanding why Saudis don't change. First of all, 98% of the Saudi students studying in the United States are Saudi men. Saudi exports men, its women are not permitted to travel without the permission of male relatives and they therefore must stay at home, lest they be exposed to a country where women are equal. While in America the men are not encouraged to become American. Just as Israel transforms secular Arabs into self hating Jews, or rather Arab nationalists, America does a good job of transforming Saudi men into self hating Americans, or rather it doesn't change them at all. In the spirit of diversity the Saudis are encouraged to host 'Muslim cultural month' and give speeches about diversity. They are worshipped for being 'exotic oil-rich princes' and they are doted upon at all times by servants imported from their home country or hired in the United States. Their culture of dominating their women doesn't change in the United States, there are endless numbers of self hating American college women that desire nothing more than to be controlled and dominated.

There was a time when people came to America and took American ideas home with them. The French were the first people to be influenced by America in this way. When individual French intellectuals came to the United States in its early years they were told about freedom and they were encouraged to liberate themselves from their monarchy. Americans didn't want to learn about French culture in 1781, they were happy to tell the French what was good for them. Americans didn't reinforce and learn respect for the monarchy and the Catholic church when they traveled to France, rather they scoffed at both. Down throughout the years many people were influenced by the United States in this way. Many national liberation movements drew their inspiration from the United States, from the Haitian and Cuban revolutionaries of the 19th century to Ho Chi Minh. Edward Said's father was influenced by the United States after having served in her army during the First World War.

But look at the difference in influence between the younger and elder Said. The older one respected America. He respected the openness and freedoms that American society gave him. Most of all he respected the business environment in the United States. When the resided in Cairo in the 1940s he used these skills. But the younger Said was educated in a different time. The younger Said fled Egypt when the nationalist government took all the properties of foreigners. Said studied in the United States. But he was learning American self-critique by this time. Soon he became an Arab nationalist. He didn't want to free his country from bondage like the French or the Cubans, instead he wanted his nation to be more chauvinist and more fascist. Instead of taking anything positive from America he wrote one of the most scathing indictments of the West ever written, Orientalism. Ignoring his own past and his own secular upbringing, he joined forces with religious fanatics throughout the Muslim world to oppose the West. He traveled to Lebanon and threw stones at Israeli troops. Rather than argue for greater freedom and democracy in the Arab world, he became a supporter of each and every dictatorial regime the area could offer. He became a passionate hater certain people, directing most of his hatred against the United States and Israel. That’s what he learned from America: how to hate.

Why did this happen? Why do some people draw such inspiration from the United States, men such as Ninoy Aquino of the Philippines, and some draw such terrible lessons. We know what lessons the Japanese drew from learning about America in the 1920s when a large number of them studied at American Universities. They believed America was weak and that it would give in, that American boys could never give up their 'Susie' and their 'drive-in movies.' We also know that one of them, Admiral Yamamoto, drew the opposite conclusion; that America could never be defeated by Japan, that its economic power was unstoppable in any war over the Pacific. This is why, while the former encouraged the expansion of the Japanese empire and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the latter cautioned against such a rash and terrible decision that would bring only ruin to their nation;

Foreigners today draw the wrong lessons from America because America disseminates the wrong lessons about itself. Just as America managed to convince the Japanese, by mistake, that it was weak, so America has convinced foreigners today to hate it. Reports show that foreign student enrollment brings 14 billion dollars into the United States annually. Yet it primarily produces foreign students who hate the United States. The 19 Sept. 11 hijackers are no exception.

They learn to hate America for the same reason that American 19 year old women go to Egypt to learn Islamic law. America no longer exports values, it only imports them. Muslims come from a dictatorship to America and we desire to learn about their 'culture'. While abortion might be illegal in America and anyone who opposes it is known as a right wing fanatic, we applaud when some foreigner speaks of his faith-based hatred of abortion.

We weren't always like this and luckily so. We didn't revel in learning about French monarchist culture. We didn't want to adopt the Catholic culture of all of 19th century Irish and Italian immigrants. Except for Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg we didn't learn any Nazi culture. We never celebrated cultural attributes that we knew to be mistaken in the 19th and early 20th century. American women didn't go abroad to Rome and study Catholic cannon law in the 1870s. The very notion of such a thing would have been laughable. Americans disdained and hated dictatorships in the 19th century. Men such as Mark Twain poked fun at the snobbish and backward cultures he found throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. In today's Middle Eastern Studies departments students are taught hat cultures where slavery was legal, such as Abbasid or Ottoman Islam, are tolerant cultures to be respected. 19th century Americans, except for a few unrepentant southerners, would have barfed at such an idea. America is full of respect for all those things today that our forefathers held in contempt. Whether it is waxing eloquent about the 'Great Islamic empire' or speaking of tolerance in countries where there is no tolerance, or studying under dictatorships, or sucking up to countries that forbid free speech, or importing foreigners from the most brutal dictatorships, we are full of respect for terrible notions.

This is why Saudis will never learn anything from America and why American freedom and democracy will inspire contempt from them and they will go back more nationalistic and religious than they came. We teach them nothing but critique for America. They are assigned nothing but Chomsky to read and they are encouraged to watch nothing but Michael Moore. What we should be hoping is not that they learn something from American academia, but rather that like all those Japanese who studied in the U.S in the 1920s, that they are taking away the wrong message from the wrong people and that deep down, under all the bourgeoisie snobby leftists on the surface there are good decent Americans who are beholden to their good values and who have no interest in Islamic law or slavery or empire or dictatorship.

Free speech and the free market
Seth J. Frantzman
November 7th, 2007

In a recent interview Bard college professor Joel Kovel spoke about the controversy surrounding the publication of his book, 'Overcoming Zionism.'

"Very powerful institutions in our country take it upon themselves to defend Israel at all costs, and in doing so, they frequently cross the line of a constitutional right to freedom of speech."

His line of reasoning is part of a new discussion regarding freedom of speech. The argument is that lobbies and corporations and other private non-governmental groups are interfering with freedom of speech. They do this by pressuring publishers and universities and corporations to remove the content of certain people. In doing so they are supposedly denying people freedom of speech. But what is the interaction between the free market and freedom of speech? Is speech affected by the same hidden hand as the market, or is speech above the market and are we thus constitutionally bound to listen to speech we disagree with?

The first amendment of the U.S Constitution reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

By contrast Professor Kovel has noted that:

"The notion of freedom of speech predates the Constitution and extends beyond the Constitution. It is, however, “grounded” in the Constitution, that is, given the solidity of a basic principle of a good society. One does not simply struggle for this right by legal means, as important and necessary as these are. One fights for it throughout civil society, where its manifestations include the openness of dialogue about important issues of the day. Anyone who thinks that such a dialogue exists about Israel/Palestine in the US has his head in the sand."

The idea of free speech may be grounded in our natural rights (Locke), but it is these natural rights that only the government can deny us, that was the main gist of Locke and other thinkers. They did not direct their thoughts towards what a private individual might do to another individual.

Does free speech mean that a newspaper may not defame someone? Does it mean that the ADL and Dershowitz may not defame an author who criticizes Israel? David Irving sued Penguin publishing because Deborah Lipstadt had 'libeled' him by publishing a book that called him a holocaust denier. Now who was silencing whose speech in that case? The libel suit was directed at silencing a book and its speech. Ideally free speech laws, at least in the United States, grant someone the right to defame someone else. Kovel defamed Zionism, or exposed it depending on the point of view, and that is part of free speech. But it is equally part of our free speech that one should be allowed to tell others not to listen to someone else's speech, for instance by saying they should not read or publish your book.

Not every author has a 'right' to be published, just as Ahmadinjed does not have a 'right' to speak at Columbia University. Free speech goes to the core of our rights as individuals to express ourselves. It does not preclude the fact that individuals will disagree, and condemn eachothers speech. What is most important is for the government not to interfere in this free exchange of ideas. Were the government to pass a law mandating that we listen to an 'open and impartial debate regarding the Jewish lobby' it seems this would be a complete reversal of the logic of free speech. Free speech also entitles us to the freedom not to listen. The freedom to ignore. The freedom to boycott. The freedom, yes, to hate. To hate in our hearts. The freedom to be a racist. The freedom to imagine the most terrible things. And I suggest, implicit in this freedom, as Xenophon noted, is the ability to say 'no'. No, I shall not publish. No, I shall not distribute this book. No, I shall not read this. No, I shall not open my mind to this line of thought. All are freedoms. All are imbedded in the U.S Constitution. The day that we are not free to think all these things and voice our opinion on them, the day we are forced to read certain things, we will have lost that inalieble right to freedom of speech.

The free market plays the most unique role in what speech we are exposed to. A vibrant society, full of many ideas, such as the United States, nevertheless does not have room in the marketplace for all of them. Instead the market regulates what speech we hear by the very nature of our own interest in the speech itself. We do not desire hate speech and therefore we are not exposed to it at Barnes and Noble or any major retailer. Nevertheless much of the new media such as the internet has a low entry cost thus illustrating that there is no market failure in regard to products that lack widespread demand. For example, Professor Kovel has a blog and website devoted to his ideas.

But the free market also controls our access to free speech in a different way. Political pressure groups, lobbyists and individuals may pressure corporations or publishers or entertainment outlets to remove certain content. The case of Don Imus, an NBC radio show host, comes to mind. He was removed from the airwaves for using the words 'nappy-headed hoes.' He had the freedom to issue forth this type of speech, but the market regulated the speech when advertisers pulled their paid advertising from NBC in response to pressure from Al Sharpton and other black leaders. This is the essence of the free market and freedom of speech. Don Imus was not denied his freedom of speech, but NBC choose to stop paying to expose people to it.

The claim that what certain people say is being 'silenced' because publishers and colleges and newspapers and broadcasters will not support their speech is not only wrongheaded but it also indirectly claims that we must be exposed to certain types of speech, regardless of the market. Those who claim we must be exposed to their speech are not only denying us the right that we have to say no to their speech as a consumer but they are trying to alter to laws of the market by placing themselves above it. This was another byproduct of the Soviet Union. Not only was the market part of a planned economy but speech was also planned and controlled. Is it a surprise that the two go hand in hand? Countries that try to deny the consumer what he desires through Communism or price controls are the same countries that deny people the right to freedom of speech. They are the same countries that mandate the only certain types of speech and certain ideas are heard.

How did Pravda measure its 'ratings?' It didn't have to because people were forced to consume it along with the Volga cars produced by the Soviet Union. When a college professor claims that he is being denied his freedom of speech due to his point of view that no one is interested in hearing or purchasing he is implicitly stating that he wishes he lived in a non-capitalist society in which the market is forced to buy his unpopular product, in this case his ideas.

Why the one state solution, now?
Seth J. Frantzman
November 15th, 2007

Suddenly people are talking about the 'one-state solution' again. The Oxford Union has debated the subject with such luminaries as Avi Shlaim and Norman Finkelstein invited to the debate. Norm Chomsky has chimed in. Virginia Tilley, a veteran condemner of Israel, has spoken her mind. Students, intellectuals and professors across the world are once again championing the bi-national solution to the problems between Israel and the Palestinians.

But is it just a coincidence that the one-state solution is back in the news? Alongside discussion of bi-nationalism is further condemnation of the Israeli 'occupation' of the Gaza strip. The U.N and many Human Rights organizations have pointed out that according to 'international law' Israel is still considered the 'occupying power' of the Gaza strip. Where exactly it says this in 'international law' is now clear, but it remains an easy solution for NGOs and the U.N to hold Israel responsible for all that happens in the strip.

The reason that the one-state solution is back in the news and that professors such as Joel Kovel are getting kudos for books such as Overcoming Zionism is because the extreme anti-Israel left is worried that a two-state solution is finally in the making. Most Israelis and most Palestinians have come to accept the idea that there will be two states west of the Jordan. This scares the anti-Israel lobby and the anti-Israel intelligentsia who have devoted so much work to condemning Israel. Once the occupation ends they will have to find new excuses to refer to Israel as an 'aparthied-nazi state.'

The solution is to declare that Israel is still in occupation of Gaza, that the Palestinians can never form a 'viable' state in the West bank because of the security fence and that therefore the only solution is one state west of the Jordan. The only people that support this concept today are those who have said time and again that they reject the very notion that a Jewish state should exist in the first place. Saed Erakat's statements rejecting Israel as a Jewish state are in line with this thought process.

The reason that the one-state solution gains more prominence the more that Israelis want to give up the West Bank is because the anti-Israel lobby is concerned that if there is a final divorce between Israel and the Palestinians then they will have lost a card to play. Since the one-state solution theorists reject the very notion of a Jewish state they know the best way to destroy the Jewish part of a democratic Israel is to make the country a majority Muslim and Arab. But with a Palestinian state next to an Israeli one they realize that demographics will no longer solve their problem, because most of the Palestinians will be members of the Palestinian state.

All of those who mention the idea of a 'one-state' or 'bi-national' solution have in mind, not one state, but the disappearance of Israel and the disappearance of a nation that is a majority Jewish. While these people would never suggest that Germany and France should merge or that Japan and China should merge, or Mexico and America, they have no qualms debating what should happen in Israel. That is there prerogative. The genius of their blind slavish devotion to this idea is that they ignore the fact that every bi-national state, except Switzerland has been a patent failure. From the Sudan to Yugoslavia to Belgium and Lebanon, every state that includes two ethnic-religious groups in equal numbers has proved disastrous. But perhaps that is what the extreme anti-Israel lobby really desires, a bloodbath and total destruction in the Holy Land so that the international community can once again run the affairs of Jerusalem.