A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
February 17th, 2008
Roots in hate: Liberalism’s dark roots in the Nazi past of Heidegger: The shadow of the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger is long. He influenced the leading French philosopher Derrida and also Jewish thinkers such as Hannah Arendt. Today his philosophy is behind post-modernism and moral-relativism. Thus the dialectic of Nazism has finally caught up with us. Perhaps I was not incorrect in noting once that Nazism was a possible highest form of western civilization in a world gone wrong.
Modernity and history: The recent calls by progressives for Jews and Serbs and others to abandon their archaic history and monuments and join the rest of the world merely shows the degree to which the decision to abandon one’s history marks the final conversion to modernity. The two are at odds. One cannot have modernity and history. One must choose.
The life of an Arab in Israel: From Zochrot to Deir Yassin Remembered the history of Palestinians and groups dedicated to them in Israel are run by Jews and financed by Jewish philanthropies such as the Abraham fund. Jewish think tanks such as the Van Leer institute devote almost all their resources to studying Arabs and Muslims. If leftist Jews had it there way 13 million Jews would be engaged in learning the history and supporting the causes of 250 million Arabs and 1.3 billion Muslims. Those think tanks have wreaked untold havoc. There is a direct relationship between investment in coexistence and the amount of hatred that exists: the more money that goes in the more hate that comes out.
The genius of V.S Naipaul: Despite his reputation as something of a arrogant curmudgeon the brilliant writer V.S Naipaul has offered many important insights throughout his career. He dared to poke at India when others marveled at it. He dared to condemn Africa when others cheered for independence. He dared to confront Black Power and the leftist whites who loved it. He dared to confront Islam. The man towers over the second half of the 20th century and yet few realize the depth of his view and the uniqueness of his critique.
Roots in hate: Liberalism’s dark roots in the Nazi past of Heidegger
February 15th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman
In the recently published book Liberal Fascism the author argues that many of the roots of modern socialist thought are in fact not dissimilar than the policies of Nazism. Take anti-smoking laws for example. These were first pioneered by the Nazi regime because Hitler was a fanatic vegan who wanted all things to be ‘clean’ and there is nothing more unclean than a smoker eating a steak. Nazi Germany was at the forefront of anti-gun laws and gun registration, a fact often quoted by members of the NRA. But if it turns out that some of the sources of our modern laws happen to find place in Nazism it is perhaps more surprising that sources of our modern thought find sources in Nazism. It is as if we were conquered through the back door.
Nazism was thoroughly thrashed in 1945. So how did its demon raise its head through academia and social theory? Keith Windschuttle, author of The Killing of History notes that Foucault, Derrida and Lacan, three French philosophers’ “intellectual mentor [was] the German existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger, had been an anti-Semite, a Nazi informer on academic colleagues in the 1930s, and a financial member of the Nazi party from 1933 to 1945. While Foucault and Derrida thought his work pointed in radical directions, Heidegger himself continued to believe until his death in 1976 that his philosophy confirmed the ‘inner truth and greatness’ of the Nazi movement.” This is the same Heidegger that the Jewish philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt had an affair with, even after she was forced to flee Nazi Germany because of the rise of Nazism. Arendt even went so far as to testify on his behalf at his trial after the war. But Hannah Arendt was not the only Jew to become a passionate defender of Heidegger. Many of his defenders and apologists have been Jewish and the latest manuscript in the works on him is a passionate defense of him by a Jew.
What is surprising is not merely that Heidegger was able to pull the wool over the eyes of left wing Jews but that his theories influenced Derrida and Foucault who themselves have influenced sociology and social theory throughout the West. The impact of this line of narrative, this dialectic of Nazism if you will, is vast. Foucault was a key western supporter of the Islamist revolution in Iran. In the book Foucault and the Iranian Revolution, Janat Afary and Kevin Anderson show how was deeply taken with Islamism and he journeyed to Iran numerous times to support the Ayatollah. Foucault, the writer on feminism, was in Iran to see the women’s rights activists shot, raped and murdered at the hands of Islamism and he barely winced. According to the author he finally blinked when he was at the home of an Iranian exile, a secular activist made homeless by Foucault’s revolution, and the French philosopher inquired how Islam dealt with people “whom society calls abnormal.” The wife of the Iranian friend of Foucault pointed to the Koran and said “death.” According to Ehsan Naraghi, the Iranian secularist who hosted Foucault, “he was upset and left that night…he believed Islam approved of homosexuality…Two or three weeks after the revolution, when Khalkhali hanged several homosexuals, my wife said to me ‘give me the address of this friend of yours so I could tell him that the idealistic society where you thought homosexuality would be approved is this!” It was too late, Foucault was already off to San Francisco where he would be one of the first well known people to contract AIDS and die subsequently. He was a homosexual and his revolution in Iran had turned out differently than he had predicted. But he told no one of what he had learned. To his dying day he believed Islam was the ideal system of life and that it was a utopian society unlike the West he loathed so much.
The inspiration that Derrida and others drew from Heidegger was that Heidegger was a hater of modernity. Like the Nazis he desired to return to the authentic nation and his ideas were no doubt wrapped up in all the ‘Blood and Soil’ pseudo-science of Nazism. Like the Palestinian writers and Arab Christian theologians such as Naim Ateek, Mitri Rahab and Elias Chacour who declare “we belong to the land”, there was a deep seated nationalism behind Heidegger’s thought. How exactly leftist scholarship was able to adopt this theory is quite fascinating.
In order for leftism to adopt the ideas of the right it had first to fashion them so it could understand them. Thus Derrida understood Heidegger as not a nationalist who loved the soil but as a critiquer of modernity who was not conservative but rather believed there was no ‘truth’ because modernity was not progressive. Thus the ‘progress’ of Europe could be condemned from this standpoint. How exactly the same people are able to campaign for ‘human rights’ and international law is not exactly clear given that these are also inventions of modernity. Since no value system is ‘better’ than any other the heresy of Heidegger among the liberals is that it provides the basis for multi-culturalism, post-modernism and moral-relativism, the three pillars of liberalism’s belief system.
What is most fascinating is to explore the degree to which Heidegger is connected through this narrative to the Islamism and the Iranian revolution. In his recent treatise entitled Jihad and Jew Hatred the German writer Matthias Kuentzel argues that Islamism’s anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in its connections to Nazism through such men as Hajj Amin al Husayni. But what if the connection was not merely on the political level or on the level of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ under which the first copies of Mien Kampf were printed in Arabic? What if the roots of Islamism and support for it and the current fetish leftist thought has for Islam is actually rooted in Nazi philosophy?
Heidegger influenced Foucault and Foucault felt the utopian society was the Islamic one. Is it a coincidence that Islam and Nazi ideology were seen as utopian by two of the most prominent thinkers of the 20th century? Foucault and Derrida had a great and destructive influence on much of the modern academy. Thus it may be no surprise that 9/11 found a field eagerly awaiting fertilization with Islamic ideas. Jewish thinkers are not immune. The Jewish activist turned anti-Israel writer, Avraham Burg, has argued that Europe needs to be ‘impregnated’ with Islam. He is not alone among the Jewish writers who have been deeply influenced by Islam and who have romanticized the Islamic past in places like Muslim Spain.
Nazism and its philosophy were able to infect western social theory and through the theory it was able to bring the most prominent leftist theorists over to Nazism. Thus where Nazism failed to destroy western civilization, Islamism will follow and it will have the devotion of many western social theorists in the process. If the narrative has skipped the way in which social theory in the west was first wrapped up in Communism it is only because Communism is dead. The fetish for Islam is merely the latest manifestation of the 1970s and 1980s support of Communism as utopia. For the western leftist the ‘other’ is always superior to the self. Today’s other is Islam and Islam is therefore the ideal.
Modernity and history
Seth J. Frantzman
Feb 14, 2008
The way in which intellectuals proudly proclaim that nations such as Israel and Serbia must give up the historical centres of their national heritage reflects the way in which brutal modernity expects the modern nation state to adapt. This is evident in Israel in the difference between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Jerusalem reveres its stones. All of its buildings, save a few, are built out of Jerusalem stone. It has its holy sites and its prophet’s tombs. It has its graveyards of the judges and kings of Israel. It has the anger and passions of history affecting the present. For the commentator this is savage and barbaric, although he will not use such words. He will say it is archaic or that it is intolerant, the new code words for the barbarian.
Modernity’s answer is Tel Aviv. Modern and built from concrete, built according to socialist utilitarian models. Although it suffers from the most extreme urban decay, so that parts of it look like one of this futuristic films where there is no one left on earth and a man is walking in a deserted city, people celebrate it as a ‘World Heritage Site’ called the ‘White City’. There is nothing white about it. Surely though modernity offers more. Indeed. It offers us Berlin. It offers us all the new fangled cities that have obliterated the past completely. It offers what the Soviets offered and what Mao offered. It offers people without history. It offers the destruction of the monasteries and bulldozing of graveyards and churches and old parts of town. Most places in the world have witnessed this. In Egypt they have covered over the ancient Jewish cemeteries lest someone recall that Jews once lived there. In Afghanistan they blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas, lest people recall that Buddhism was once the religion of Central Asia.
Modernity is the concept that history must not influence the present. Modernity’s ultimate goal is the diverse city full of people who have no heritage. Although the west preaches multi-culturalism and diversity it also preaches assimilation and the melting pot. Prime Minister Erdogan, the chief of Turkey, has called assimilation a ‘crime against humanity’. Although his message is quite extreme, he is hitting the nail on the head. Assimilation is a crime in his terms because it erases the past.
Even in Barbados the radio station reminds us that ‘a people without a culture are but a shell’. Reagan noted once that ‘If we stop being a Nation Under God we will truly be a nation gone under.’ This is the essence. When the newspaper commentators noted that the Serbs must abandon their history in order to live peacefully in the present they were implicitly acknowledging that history is a burden on modernity and that it is the cause of all sorts of violence and thus peace and tolerance only come with the abandonment of culture and history and religion. Christopher Hitchens’ ‘God is not Great: how religion ruins everything’ is the manifesto of modernity.
Although there is no evidence that modern people who lack history are any less violent than people who cling to their history, it is apparent that the struggle is indeed between history and modernity.
The life of an Arab in Israel
February 13th, 2008
Seth J. Frantzman
Where does an Arab go to learn about his history? There is the Jewish organization Zochrot to teach him about the Nakba and show him the locations of old Arab villages. Where does he go when he wants to build a new town or when he illegally builds a house without a permit and doesn’t pay taxes? There is the Jewish organization Planners for Planning rights. Where does he go when he is sick? There is the Jewish organization ‘Doctors without Borders’ for him. Where does he go when he wants to share his art work? There are Jews at the Tate gallery ready to host special art exhibitions for Arabs of Israel. Where does he go when he doesn’t want Jews to live near him? There is the Jewish organization SPNI to testify in court that the Jewish homes in question are ruining the environment. Where does he go when he wants to live near Jews? There is the Jewish village Neve Shalom built specially for Arabs where they can live in ‘coexistence’ with Jews and pay no taxes because those taxes are paid by a charity thanking them for being involved in ‘coexistence’. In addition there are other non-profits whose sole interest is to fund coexistence villages. Where does he go when he needs a sewer treatment plant for his village? A German company provides one for free. Where does he go when he doesn’t want to work? He runs for the Knesset and attends the funerals of terrorists like George Habash and Yasser Arafat and donates money through Jewish friends like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein to Hizbullah. Where does he go when he wants to learn how evil Israel is? He reads books by Jews like Joel Kovine and Ilan Pappe and he joins Jewish organizations like ‘Deir Yassin Remembered’ and the Union for Peace and Justice in the Middle East which is run by a Jew named Noah Haiduc. Where does he go when he needs civil rights or he wants to complain? There are the Jewish organizations Peace Now, B’Tselem and ACRI for him. Where does he go when he needs free legal representation? There are Jewish legal organizations supporting Arab rights that will give him free legal advice. Where does he go when he wants prostitutes? There are Jewish women in Tel Aviv who ‘feel sorry for Arabs because they can’t go out with their own women’ for him.
Where does an Arab go when he needs help with the environment for his home town? There is the Abraham Fund and numerous other Jewish charities to help him. What if he wants to learn about his society? There is the Van Leer institutes 'Center for the study of Israeli Arab society. Within that Jewish funded organization there is a fellowship for Young Arab Scholars, A forum on Israeli Arabs, an Israeli Arab Society yearbook. There is also a 'joint' venture of the Van Leer Institute and the Commission on the Jewish people of the United Jewish Appeal whose goal is
"improve the conditions of Arab society in Israel. A three-pronged approach will be employed. Firstly, research will be commissioned in key areas of concern and position papers published. These will be of professional use to government policymakers and decision-makers, the business sector, civil society NGOs and foundations. Secondly, research findings will be put on the public agenda by means of conferences, a public awareness campaign and dialogue with government officials and civil society players. Thirdly, a strategy document recommending modes of effective intervention for NGOs and foundations will be drafted and updated each year."
The director of this program which is run by Jewish philanthropies and Jewish institutes is none other than an Arab by the name of Dr. Khalid Abu Asbah and his assistant Asmahan Masry-Herzalla. Lest one think that this is all the Van leer Institute does under its auspices of the study of Civil Society in Israel, one is mistaken. Outside of Civil Society, which in Israel apparently only consists of Arabs, there is the Van Leer Institute's program on 'Israelis-Palestinians, Mediterranean cooperation.' The program speaks about 'mutual responsibility' but this is belied by the fact that the only responsibility for the program seems to come from Jewish funding. Among the program the institute works on is 'saving the Arab market of Jaffa' which it informs the reader was recently purchased by Jewish philanthropists so Arabs could benefit. The institute also monitors the police in Jaffa, lest they run amok in racism against the Arabs. Under the auspices of 'Mixed Cities-trapped communities' the organizations analyzed " the connections between national identity, urban space and gender relations in ethnically divided areas, specifically in mixed Palestinian-Israeli towns. " It also authored "An Israeli City or A City in Israel? Questions of Identity, Meaning and Power" which no doubt makes the reader wonder New York is an 'American City' or a 'City in America'.
The institute also makes sure to have their very own Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue center and programming. They work together on the environment and run programs with the Al Quds University center for the study of peace. The program funds lectures on Islam which are not doubt enlightening. It is important, the institute points out, that the world's 13 million Jews help pay for lectures about Islam, because the 1.3 billion Muslims certainly can't afford to fund such lectures. But the institute feels that Jews need more than to simply understand Islam. There are special programs on " Learning the meaning of being a refugee" Getting to know the other, The Territories – Land of Our Forefathers or a Godforsaken Land?, National Conflict: Can It Be Resolved? The Irish and Israeli Cases. All of it is coordinated under the auspicious, perhaps not surprising, of a Jewish woman (Sarah Lazar) and an Arab man (Faris Aruri).
But surely that’s not enough. A new Jewish female hire at the JDC, one of the world's largest Jewish philanthropies, asked her boss during her orientation "are we doing enough for the Arabs" which apparently meant 'are 13 million Jews doing enough for 250 million Arabs' to which the reply was "no we are not." No doubt Jews have never done enough for the Arabs, except convert to Islam and die.
The Abraham fund website is perhaps a study in these themes. It presents five faces. There is the 'Black Man', who is frowning, as black men in posters paid for by philanthropists are apt to do, unless they are children. There is the 'white woman' who is smiling, as white woman are apt to do. There is the 'mixed race individual woman' who is smiling as mixed race women that appear in advertising are apt to do. Then there is the oddly place 'ugly white woman' who is biting her lip. Lastly there is the romantic 'Arab man' complete with headdress and small beard. He can't have too big a beard lest he seem like a threatening terrorist. He looks more like a character our of Lawrence of Arabia. Below the nice photo-montage of racial harmony is the all important link to 'Equality' which portrays the stereotypical Arab woman complete with all encompassing white headscarf. Next to her is the 'western woman' with her lily white face and cropped 'lesbian-cut' hair.
Lest someone get the wrong idea that the Abraham Fund, which bills itself as a philanthropy helping 'all the children of Abraham', is helping anyone but Arabs and Muslims the webpage tells the full story. There is educated for headscarfed Arab women (a side note here: in order for philanthropies to prove they are helping Arabs they make sure to photograph Arab women with headscarfs on, otherwise one might think they were just dark haired women. One wonders how philanthropies 'prove' they are helping Irish women? Do they make them wear four-leafed clovers? It is one reason Christian Arab women never appear in the brochures or websites when people are talking about Arabs. They don't wear headscarfs.) So the Abraham fund does it all. An American Jewish philanthropy, it promotes Arab language instruction and Arab history in Jewish schools and it promotes equal opportunities for Arabs in government jobs among other things. While it might seem strange to some that American Jews feel their money should go toward Arabs in Israel rather than say Jews in America or Arabs in America or starving black children, it makes perfect sense. This is American Jewries new crusade. This is the new 'thing' among the Jews of America. Having won out on civil rights, gay rights, women's rights and a variety of other causes in the U.S the American Jewish secular left has now turned its attention to the Arabs of Israel. These Arabs are the new 'blacks' because they lack civil rights (supposedly) and they are 'oppressed'. So they need their own Jewish freedom riders. Like good colonizers the American Jews are running around Arab villages in the Galilee coaching soccer teams, building schools and helping to clean up the environment.
It all reminds me of a time I was in Mexico with a bunch of my fellow leftist Americans. We were doing a 'home-stay' in Carbo, a piss-poor town in Sanora, not far from Hermosillo. The town had an exchange program with my private boarding school. So for two weeks a year poor Mexicans in cowboy boots and tight jeans came to Arizona and lived the life of an American high school student: clandestine drinking, drug use, whoring and complaining. For two weeks a year Americans went down to Mexico and lived the life of the Mexican student: drinking, whoring and making tortillas. But at the end of our trip the white woman who ran our program decided we needed to do something philanthropic. While the Mexicans might have liked a new truck or a trip across the border in the bottom of our van, she decided we needed to clean up Mexico. So we set about picking up trash in a field near the school. We picked up trash, old cans, paper, napkins, plastic wrappers and even bones of a dead cow. The Mexican students laughed at us, never comprehending why we would pick up trash that they were just going to throw back in the same place the next day. We surely thought we had been coexisting or learning tolerance. An odd kind of tolerance when one goes and tells others how to live, but tolerance none the less. We packed into our van afterward and waved to our new friends Lupita and Jose, and drove away. No doubt if we had made a brochure we could have put old Memo with his cowboy hat on it and one of our young nubile white high school girls as well to publicize the good deeds we had done in solving Mexico's problems while creating tolerance. We had 'roughed it' and lived the way of the poor Mexican. We were tolerant.
Liberalism can be found in many things. It is sort of the god of small things. A newspaper article lauding the 'Freedom fighter turned president of Kosovo' or an article from the BBC about 'living with Hamas's rocket squads' or an article from the Tribune where the Jewish reported Allisa Rubin headlines "Iraqi insurgents 'poison' minds of Iraqi youth", the poison in quotations because the author feels that Al Quieda's use of children and mentally handicapped female suicide bombers is either a myth or heroic or an act of 'freedom fighting'. Liberalism is everywhere.
Liberalism has its institutes and its fund and its ridiculous brochures and it likes to have studies and conferences. But one should study liberalism. One should come to understand what it really is. To see it at its most ridiculous all one has to do is examine the foolish naiveté and simplistic idiocy of websites and programs run by the Van Leer institute and the Abraham Fund.
I will make a wager. The amount of money invested in 'coexistence' in Israel doubles every two years. In 1948 there was no such money being invested. That is a fact. Today the amounts run into the tens of millions. The amount of people, most white people from the west and Jews from west, involved in 'coexistence' is in the tens of thousands. The number of Israelis and Palestinians is quite small. 15 students here, 5 students there. There are probably more programs like Seeds of Peace than there are students that actually attend them.
The wager is this. I would bet that the more money invested in coexistence the less coexistence there is. The more American Jews came tramping down the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport with suitcases full of cash to promote 'coexistence' the more hatred there will be. Why is this? This is part of the paradox of 'peace studies' and liberalism. The more peace studies there is, and there are at least a dozen departments across Israel and the Palestinian territories, the less peace there is.
Perhaps people forget. The American Department of Defense used to be called the War Department. Its name was changed to include the moniker 'defense' like it was in every other country out of the notion that 'war department' seemed too warlike. This was a handy play on words but oddly enough it has not made people more peaceful. Departments of Defense go to war just as much as War departments.
Liberalism spreads hate like the plague, always feigning innocence after the genocide takes place that it helped cause. After years of telling Hutus they were underprivileged and calling them a 'minority' (which they weren't) the same liberals than played with the words 'act of genocide' to describe what took place. After years of cajoling the Iranian people and comparing the Shah's Savak secret police to the Gestapo the Liberals like Michel Foucault were surprised to find that their Iranian revolution didn't produce rights for gays or women, but instead resulted in religious fascism. But Foucault was off in San Francisco dying of aids and wallowing in his own self hatred by then, too sick to notice the catastrophe he had cheered for. Liberals like Bernard Shaw shook hands with Stalin and yukked it up while millions Ukrainians died in a famine. All in the name, as Barak Obama puts it, of 'talking' and 'listening' to the other. We must 'talk' to Iran, that’s the Obama message. We always have to talk to the genocidaires. Bill Marr orders us to leave Iraq and Saudi Arabia and says "that’s why they hate us, because we had bases in Saudi Arabia," perhaps forgetting that it was the Saudis who begged us to put those bases there to defend them against Saddam in 1990. No matter. That is 'why they hate us'.
We cannot have peace because liberalism will not let it happen. The amount of money invested in peace studies and coexistence will not allow peace because then there will be no need for 'peace studies' and 'coexistence'.
There are two problems with the liberal argument. Liberals like to tell us about how the Noble native-Americans lived in a utopian peaceful world. But if they did so how were they able to manage without billions of dollars in aid and millions in Jewish philanthropic dollars telling them how to make peace? How did they survive without it? How could they have been peaceful without first attending the AL Quds University and its department of Peace Study. Oddly enough most suicide bombers seem to have studied 'peace studies'. The terrorist thug in charge of Kosovo whose nickname was the 'snake' trained in the department of International Relations in Switzerland. I guess he learned all about coexistence and peace.
Another problem is the liberal attempt to compare the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Irish troubles. Perhaps liberals missed something. The pashas are Van Leer instruct the Israeli state to release all Palestinian prisoners on the 'model' of the 'Good Friday Agreement'. Perhaps the liberals have forgotten something. In Ireland the IRA stopped murdering civilians. Did the liberal forget this essential ingredient to peace? Both sides have to stop killing eachother. You can't have a ceasefire while one side keeps fighting. That’s not a ceasefire, that’s called surrender.
How much of Palestinian history has been created and written by Jews? How much of the creation of the Palestinians and the fostering of their hatred has been fanned and encouraged by Jews, Jewish organizations, Jewish intellectuals and Jewish groups? Whether it is the Neturei Karta or the extreme left there are always Jews to support Islamic terrorism and create myths about Islamic tolerance. There are Jews to memorialize the Palestinian past and force the JNF to post signs showing where Arab villages were. There are Jewish architectural organizations who sole job is to memorialize Arab houses. There are Jewish musicians like Berenboim who give free concerts only for Arabs. There are Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Hebron and Arab countries who sole concern is the well being of Arabs and making sure Arabs in Hebron have as much property as possible. There are Jews to write Arab history books about the Nakba for Arab children to read. How much of the hatred learned by Arabs through books and the media is funded by Jews. How many Jewish organizations like the Abraham fund encourage honor killings and Shariah law and meet only with right wing extremist Islamist Muslims and support only Islamic foundations and Islamist schools. How much of Palestinian hatred is simply a creation, funded wholeheartedly by Jewish money and created by Jewish intellectuals? Is it a surprise that the one Arab people who happen to live in the Jewish state are described by Jewish professors like Sandra Sufian as the ‘indigenous’ people of Israel, implying obviously that the Jews are not indigenous, that Jews are the only people in the world who are not indigenous to anything? Is it a surprise that most Palestinian history has been written by Jews and that in the West Palestinians are the most popular people in history books and the most well funded people per capita in the world and the only people who are described as ‘refugees’ four generations after becoming refugees. Is it a surprise that from architects to journalists there are Jewish groups working for the Palestinian cause as Jews work for no other causes, as if the Palestinians were, in a sense, Jews. Is it a surprise that Jews have taken up the cause of the people who have killed and suppressed Jews for more than a thousand years, that Jews would support the people that built a mosque atop their temple and built minarets in their quarter and made them wash streets on Shabbat and rioted and slaughtered them every few years and forced them to live in ghettos and wear special clothes and forbid them to ride horses and raped and slaughtered them and called them ‘dog’ and ‘pig’ and sold them as slaves and charged them a special tax merely to survive. Is it a surprise that these people would become the people whose history interests Jews the most and that that the majority of students studying Arabic at any school are Jewish and that the majority of students who volunteer to work for the peace corps in Muslim countries are Jewish and that the only question asked during an orientation at the JDC, a Jewish organization, is ‘Are we doing enough o help the Arabs?” Is it a surprise that the people who love Martin Heidegger, the Nazi philosopher and lover of Hannah Arendt, the most are Jews, not Germans. Is it a surprise that at his trial the person who defended him was a Jew, Ms. Arendt, who was forced to flee Nazi Germany only to return to defend its chief philosopher when gentiles wanted to put him in prison. So is it a surprise that Jews are the greatest scholars of Palestinian history?
Since all of the money donated by secular Jews goes to help 1.3 billion Muslims and 250 million Arabs one must admire the poorest of the Jewish people: the religious Jews. They don't donate money to the 'other' and they don't teach 'coexistence'. They get on without it, which is forever disturbing to leftists. How could people live in the world without waiting patiently in anticipation for the next report from the Van Leer Institute? The religious Jewish women cover their hair, but their style of headscarfs don't appeal to the photographers of brochures and websites. Perhaps the Jewish headcovering isn't exotic enough or it doesn’t restrict the movement of the face enough and press up against the neck causing the face to puff up and causing the mouth to frown. The Jews aren’t exotic enough. In the old days when the world discovered Jews living in 'exotic places' like Yemen everyone loved them. Then they brought them to Israel and suddenly those Jews because boring. Although they were pour and wretched and the women were dark and swarthy there was no longer any interest in them. The only thing that has saved Jewish philanthropy from not only giving money to Arabs is the discovery that there were black Jews in Ethiopia and thus some Jewish philanthropies still adorn their posters with the token black Jew, his big smile and his little kids saying to the secular Jew "save me like all the other black people that need saving." It’s a pretty sad cynical world that operates on such things, that loves such causes and flagellates itself in such a way all the while thinking it is so open minded and tolerant. Show me an open mind and I'll show you a racist. There are no better racists than those who proclaim themselves open minded.
The genius of V.S Naipaul
Seth J. Frantzman
February 10th, 2008
It is surprising that Naipaul was successful in the literary field and that many people who should scoff at his notions had they heard them at a dinner party are Naipaul enthusiasts. His luck at breaking through and the acclaim he has received is well deserved. But it is not his writing that deserves acclaim, it is his honesty and the fact that he dared to take on all of the liberal romanticizing inherent in the western view of the 'other'.
Naipaul was a perfect vehicle for this. No matter how many people wanted to call him 'racist' for his descriptions of Africa, India and the Muslim world they held their tongues, knowing that Mr. Naipaul himself was one of the 'exotic coloured people of the third world.'
Naipaul's genius in having taken in so many people is that he wove in charming stories about his Indian-Caribbean heritage, A House for Mr. Biswas(1961), Miguel Street(1959) alongside barbaric stories of honesty such as Michael X and the Black Power Killings in The Writer and the World(2002), Guerillas(1975), Beyond Belief(1998), In A Free State(1971) and Tell me Who to Kill(in a Flag on the Island 1967). He tackled such subjects as African tribalism, post-colonial failure, the charade of Black Power movements, the subtle racism of white women in their romanticizing of the other, the problems of interracial marriage and self hate and the problems of India.
Widely resented as a curmudgeon, along the lines of Paul Theroux, Mr. Naipaul's reputation has survived. In three separate books on India (A Wounded Civiliation 1977, A Million Mutinies Now 1992, An Area of Darkness 1964) he described his own civilization as both wounded by Islamic colonialism and beset by massive poverty and savagery. On Africa he painted a bleak picture of barbarism lurking just beneath the surface, something that has come to light in recent civil strife in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya and Rwanda, but something that most choose to ignore in the Post-Indepedendence haze of celebration. But his most incisive critique was for Islam when he visited the non-Arab countries which had chosen the Islamic path, or whose path had been brutally chosen for them; Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia. He found Islamism in the 1980s and 1990s, long before most westerners were aware of it, and he found the vicious hatred and intolerance inherent in Islam, something most refuse to accept.
In examinations of his own island he dared to speak out against the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He found in it the chauvinistic racism that it supposedly opposed. In his picture of Jimmy Ahmed and Michael X, the latter a real person, he found ex-pimps and rapists masquerading as civil rights leaders, engaging in murder and orgies with visiting journalists who showered them with praise. Only Naipaul could show the picture of these awe-struck 'white hipsters' being raped by the very people they loved. Only Naipaul could dare to poke fun and laugh at the white patrons of Michael X's 'Black House' in England where he received money from rich whites to live in a house "where black people would live together communally". Only white people would provide money for non-whites to live together as if funding an experiment. He hid deep within the pages of a collection of short stories called The Writer and His World(2002) a story about races and expectations in Trinidad in which he surveyed the expectations of local whites, blacks and Indians. He found that the whites expected the least: a good life working in their father's firm, hard work and reward in the form of a settled and clean life. The Indians wanted only slightly more. The blacks, by contrast, dreamed of success in sports and music and dreamed of one day ruling empires and all sorts of megalomania. Naipaul's diagnosis was simple: the affects of unreasonable expectations were the sole reason that success followed those whites and Indians who dreamed of simpler things that were attainable. Naipaul set out his view that it was no surprise that the blacks would grow up to resent Indian success and he thus came to understand the Black Power movement; since fantasies did not meet reality they were seduced by the inherently racist black conscious movement that swept the Caribbean. Some even converted to Islam. No other writer could have gotten away with such a critique.
Naipaul's luck was to have been born in 1932 and graduated from Oxford in 1954. The son of a dirt poor peasant Hindu family he rose to the highest levels of literary society in the English speaking world. But through and through he remained attached to his native soil. His interest in India derived from his ancestry and the yearning of so many Indians abroad for the 'motherland' and the recognition, once the romance has worn off, that the motherland is not as it was supposed to have been. His interest in Africa derived from his experience living on an island that was half black and thus descended from slaves. His interest in Islam derived no doubt from his experiences with Muslim Indians in Trinidad and the hatred and intolerance he no doubt found among them. His luck was to have been coming of age as a writer the very time when independence was achieved across the Caribbean and Africa. But his virtue was in noticing that all the independence-hoopla masked a very damaged and viciousness lurking just behind the screen set up by the independence movements and the colonial departure. As people celebrated the stirrings of nationalism, racism and tribalism were not far behind. Naipaul was presence in diagnosing this and in later diagnosing the coming Islamist threat.
He remains one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. It is a surprise he was able to achieve such a status after having confronted so many controversial subject and given a genuine response to them in a fair and honest way that would have earned others the name 'racist' (One should not forget that when writing about Guyana in The Middle Passage (1962) he noted that there was a group of famed former runaway slaves who had built a society which he described along the lines of "the laziest in the world…they are reputed to do no work except that which is necessary to the bare minimum of survival.")