Thursday, March 12, 2009

Terra Incognita 75 Obama's "Special interests", the UK and narratives

Terra Incognita
Issue 75
“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”

A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


March 3rd, 2009

1) “Special Interests and Lobbyists” and evil bankers: The new demagoguery:
The latest shrill calls from politicians in Washington and Europe has been against
“bankers” and “special interests” and “lobbyists.” This demagoguery is just one part of
an overall ignoramization of the public discourse. All of politics is special interests. All
of politics is lobbyists. The leftist populists who speak this way perhaps forget that all
their lovable minorities and Greenpeace activists are all part and parcel of the same thing.
It is worthwhile to debunk this and other myths about the financial crises of 2009.

2) Land of Extremes: What went wrong with the English?:
The list of extreme outburst coming out of the UK never seems to end and it begs the question of whether the land, once known for the stiff upper lip and stubborn persistence, modesty and frugality, has turned into the land of extremes, of whining and blaming others. The latest outburst of anti-semitism are merely the tip of the iceberg. England is becoming a disturbing society where rhetoric is becoming debased and savage.

3) A question of narratives and coexistence:
With yet another ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ and ‘Durban II’ opening soon and with the endless comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany and Gaza to the ‘Holocaust’ there comes the need to re-examine the true place of Europe and European Jews in the history of Israel. It appears that those who hate Israel need it to be ‘white and European’ in order to hate it and call it ‘colonialist and racist’. New coexistence programs where Jews and Arabs learn eachothers ‘narratives’ in Israel reinforce the notion that all of Jewish history is primarily tied up with the Holocaust and European Zionism. But an examination of the other side, the Sephardie and Mizrachi side of Israeli history, the expulsion from Spain, Operation magic Carpet and Moses, the story of the Irgun and Lehi, the Old Yishuv, all begins to reveal a narrative that has been left behind. Only through emphasizing that narrative can Israel rise above those who wish to place her in a European context.

“Special Interests and Lobbyists” and evil bankers: The new demagoguery
March 1st, 2009
Seth J. Frantzman

The lies never seem to end about the current financial mess. But let’s get some things straight for the record. The government provided and in fact ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to loosen their investing standards. These Government Sponsored Entities were ordered to provide more liquidity and also to help ‘low income’ and ‘minority’ buyers. Money was thrown at poor people, standards were loosened, until borrowers were happily taking 103% financing. The government, in fact the Congressional committee run by Barney Frank tasked with overseeing the GSEs, said they were in “good financial condition.” They were not and they went bankrupt. Investors lost everything. The government lost nothing. Those who ran Fannie and Freddie were not brought to justice and neither were those who misled investors.

Those who invested with Bernie Madoff got what they deserved. They, along with other investors in pyramid schemes, are trying to make us feel sorry for them. There is nothing to feel sorry for. They invested in a great scheme. They made huge sums every year, some 10-14%. Then they lost it all. That is there problem. Those who invested with Madoff were corrupt. Some of them were directly corrupt. In one instance a board member of Yeshiva University was the head of a firm that invested its funds in Madoff. He received the money from the board he sat on, voting to send money to himself, and then funneled the money to Madoff. This conflict of interest has gone unnoticed. It was all ‘wink wink, nod, nod’. This behavior is the worst in corruption and shows the degree to which the Board of Yeshiva University did not carry out its fiduciary responsibilities or due diligence. But men like this are not be prosecuted. But don’t shed tears for them. Its hard not to shed tears for Elie Wiesel who also lost money along with his foundation. But no tears must be shed. This was the worst in slimy disgusting corruption. It surrounding being members of high society and entering a ‘secret society’ where people were invited to invest and ‘blacklisted’ from investing. People begged ‘to get in’.

Don’t believe the amounts people say were ‘lost’ in the Madoff scam. Since most of the winnings through Madoff were on paper the ‘loss’ was in fact mythical. When Hadassah college or other philanthropies claims they lost tens of millions this is inaccurate. What should be asked is how much they invested in the first place. That is what they lost. Don’t believe that Madoff represents the truth of the ‘financial Jews who ruin markets’ conspiracy. It was Jews who were the victims. It was Jews bilking Jews, using Jewish networks to do so. But for Jewish charities to scream that there is no money is also the height of chutzpah. There is money. The American Jewish World Service is giving hundreds of millions to starving Africans and Sri Lankans. It is practicing Tikkun Olam, the supposed duty of Jews to ‘fix the world’ and ‘save everyone’. Jews should wonder why their own charities won’t even give to Jewish causes but they shouldn’t that Madoff stole from them. They stole from themselves and corrupt investment advisors sitting on boards and running their own investment houses at the same time stole from them. Madoff was just the enabler of an already corrupt environment where everyone turned a blind eye to conflicts of interest and stupid nonsensical investment advice. When someone says there is a “safe high yield CD” and that you can get in through his fund, as Sandford another ponzi scheme operator did, ask the name of the CD and buy it yourself. It doesn’t exist.

The radical populist complaints about bank bonuses and ‘how dare they use taxpayers money for this and that’ is full of hypocrisies. It is true that taxpayers money was used to bailout the banks. But people have a short memory. The government and Hank Paulson ordered the banks to take the money in order to inspire confidence. Paulson, a “muscular Christian” as the Economist described him, brought in the CEOs of the biggest banks and said “you are all taking money.” Banks such as Wells Fargo didn’t want the money but they were bended Paulson’s will. Paulson, a former Goldman Sachs executive, had allowed Lehman Brothers to die, perhaps out of old firm rivalry. But while Paulson did his best he also created this image that the taxpayers and the ‘average man’ now had the right to complain about every nickel and dime spent by U.S banks. It is true that the banks got a bailout but the bailout was to preserve the system. It is true that CEOs should have some modesty. Bonuses should be more modest. But to begin to tell the banks how to run themselves is not the right answer and to whip people up into a populist fervor against the ‘evil bankers’ is misguided and demagogic. Dragging the bankers back and forth to Washington, and to parliament in the UK, to yell at them and cajole them and make them seem little is playing a populist card, ironically by the same politicians who ordered Fannie and Freddie to liberalize funding rules that helped bring on the mess. The bankers are no saints but they don’t deserve the populist backlash. The American populist should look himself in the mirror, it is he who took the 100% mortgage and he second mortgage for 15% for ‘home improvements’. The realtor and the mortgage banker are more to blame, the local people who sold buyers a bill of goods. But the buyers are to blame as well. The populist should also blame his neighbors who are defaulting and who have stopped paying their mortgages in hopes that “the government” will bail them out, which is the latest government fix.

Obama’s newest demagoguery is against the “special interests” and “lobbyists”. What is he talking about. The $900 billion stimulus package was designed entirely to give lobbyists their payday. Let’s be honest. All that money is going to special interests, just the ‘right’ kind of special interests such as environmentalists and unions. And who are the people that believe that politics can work without a ‘special interest’ and a ‘lobbyist’? Where would the Democratic party be without gay rights groups and unions and abortion rights activists and Green Peace and all the other lobbyists and special interest groups? Is this is a joke? Politics is special interests. It’s not a hallowed ivory tower. Even the founding fathers served interests. Some were land owners. Some disliked paying taxes without being represented. They were, in the end, an American special interest in the British empire. Their interests were not taken care of and their lobbying fell on deaf ears and they rebelled. If that was the nature of politics in 1776 how can on expect it to not include these foundations of its existence today? The entire government is one giant special interest.

We live in an age of demagogues of pathetic low brow speech that caters to the lowest common denominator of demonization. Special interests. Bankers. Lobbyists. Those are the watch words of our era. And people believe this will solve the 2009 Financial Crises. FDR was also a sort of demagogue. But his at least appealed to the common good and higher values. There is nothing lower than blaming ‘bankers’ and ‘secret special interests’ for our problems. We could all do well to Warren Buffet and say “ I did some dumb things.” For all those who whine about Madoff and whine about the ‘bankers’ and follow Obama mindlessly in railing against ‘special interest’ perhaps they could learn from Buffet: “I made at least one major mistake of commission and several lesser ones that also hurt... Furthermore, I made some errors of omission, sucking my thumb when new facts came in that should have caused me to re-examine my thinking and promptly take action.” Buffet may be the last American, the last man, the last person to take some responsibility. America is no longer about responsibility. Americans have become like Arabs and Europeans: blame everyone for our problems, whine, complain, whine, complain, do some demagoguery, yell and scream and whine and complain. How about a little self reflection? How about some hard work? How about some looking in the mirror and saying ‘I screwed up.’ How about some CEOs and politicians resigning for this? How about some honor and decency? No. That’s not the way of the 21st century.

Land of Extremes: What went wrong with the English?
March 1st, 2009
Seth J. Frantzman

Whether it is holocaust denying Bishop Richard Williamson or the senior British diplomat, Rowan Laxton, who mouthed off at a gym, watching news from Gaza, about the Jews there is a wave of extremism sweeping England. It was noticeable during the first day of the 2008/2009 Gaza war when the Israeli embassy was swamped by militant angry protestors with signs declaring “Stop the Gaza Holocaust.” It was noticeable when the U.K’s largest educational unions voted to boycott Israeli academics unless those academics signed a document declaring their opposition to their country’s policies. It was noticeable when an editor of a British journal fired an Israeli editor of the journal, who happened to be a leftist Israeli and head of amnesty international in Israel. Whether it is British TV asking Ahmadinjed to give the Christmass day message or Oxford university inviting Holocaust denier David Irving to speak or schools in the UK ending teaching of the Holocaust lest it offend Muslim students, or the Archbishop of Canterbury saying Shariah law should be in England the country is beginning to manifest a total breakdown in accepted norms of communication. The famous British stiff upper lip is transforming into a curled lip of anger, sneering, extremism and arrogance, full of a never ending stream of vitriole.

Britain exports its extremism in the form of its numerous members of foreign aid organizations, NGOs, EU monitors, human rights workers and activists. Clad in their traditional Khaffiyas they roam the globe like the colonialists of old. Accept the old colonialists would have been embarrased by this generation of Englishmen and women, which resembles in no way the last generation. The distinct nature of the extremism in England is akin to the mass psychosis that has overcome other countries in times of crises accept in England it was not clear that this time was a time of national soul searching or crises. In fact until 2009 England had one of the best economies in Europe and was flush with cash. The loss of the Empire, which took place in the 1960s, was long ago, as was the error of shortages following the Second World War.

So what went wrong. This question is as pertinent when applied to England as when Bernard Lewis applied it to Islam in his famous post 9/11 book What Went Wrong? The problem with the English is that with the exception of the years of Cromwell there are few period of English history that provide us with an insight into the extremist side of the English national soul. Certainly England has long prided itself on the opposite, of being in control, relaxed, modest, strong in the face of adversity. This is the Anglo-Saxon values that are prided and which had much success in the 19th century. Frugaity, modesty, decency, calm behavour, little romance. There was none of the passion of the Latin and none of the religious Extremism of the Catholic or the Muslim. There was none of the savagery of the Russian or the slavish obedience and drunkenness of the Slav. There was none of the regimented homogeneity of the Prussian. That was the stereotype at least. Where the French enjoyed flowers and food and wine the British enjoyed hardship, they thrived on rain and horrific weather. But there’s was not the extremism of the monks, an aesthetic love for hardship like Francis of Assizi. There’s was the hardship that one had in order to succeed. That is why the English were not only prized for their seafaring and force of arms, for their love of the law, but also for their individualism, their religious diversity, their freedoms, their dogged determination, resourcefulness and innovation, but also for their business acumen.

And yet it all seems to have been swamped by extremism, a sort of Islamic-Latin form of emotional and self reightous extremism. Rowan Laxton, an employee of the foreign office, reportedly shouted “fucking Israelis, fucking Jews…they should be whipped off the earth.” Is this kind of language by an employee of the government, a senior employee, simply the result of a breakdown in education in England, the replacing of the old elites by the garbage of the lower classes? There is no doubt that the culture of the lower class English was never that of the aristocracy or Middle Class. So is this all that has happened? England is simply becoming more low class, more popular, more base, more low brow? Perhaps Laxton should not be seen as some aberration but as a man of the people?

But there seems more to it than that. The United States was founded by Englishmen of all classes. From Southern Aristocrats to the Puritans they came from all over England. Yet while there is a popular extremism that can always be found in the United States, there has been no abrupt break with the cultural past of the United States. However the UK seems to be experiencing a general cultural breakdown and abrupt break with what was and the embracing of the future.

The British make up the foremost critics of Zionism. From Alan Hart to Christopher Hitchens to Jonathan Cook and Robert Fisk, England tends to churn out writers with an extremist and visceral hatred of Israel. The hatred goes to great extremes. It accuses Israel of being a Nazi state, claims that Zionism is the reason for antisemitism (Hart), claims that the Jews monopolize and steal the Holocaust (Fisk) from humanity and that Israel is the reason for the Clash of civilizations (Cook). It even condemns the ‘harshness’ of the Jewish monotheistic religion (Hitchens). The assault is on all fronts.
Anti-semitism in England isn’t new obviously. The Jews were expelled from England in the 13th century. During the 1930s several prominent British aristocrats, including Mosley, became Nazis. During the 1948 war Jewish shops and synagogues were ransacked and attacked in response to attacks on British soldiers by Jews in Palestine.
Anti-Israel extremism morphed into anti-semitism at some point. One cartoon that one a cartoon award in England showed Ariel Sharon eating a child. Ken Livingston, the mayor of London, compared a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard. One of the princes wore a swastika arm band to a party. Then there are the anti-semitic plays being put on in England including ‘Seven Jewish Children’, which have garnered acclaim.
The most recent attacks have included “On New Year's Eve, a gang of youths alarmed people in Golders Green, north west London, by trying to enter Jewish shops while shouting "Jew" at individuals. Nearby, a Jewish man was pulled from his car and assaulted by three men, but not seriously hurt. In an attack on the synagogue, in Brondesbury, arsonists tried to smash a window, but failed because of the toughened protective glass.”
We didn’t know England would go this way. But it appears it is going extremist and that even the Anglo-Saxons are thus not immune from the dangers of radical Liberalism and its alliance with Islamism. The combination of the two make for the most terrible extremism.

A question of narratives and coexistence
Seth J. Frantzman
February 28th, 2009

Israeli Apartheid week, which connects Israel with the racist policies of the former South African regime began on March 1st Durban II is scheduled to take place from April 20-24, 2009 in Geneva where Israel will once again be accused of racism. Meanwhile in Israel the former education minister Yuli Tamir has ordered that a new coexistence curriculum be adopted in Israeli schools. According to reports the idea was formulated by a committee including Israel Education Prize Laureate Prof. Gabi Salomon of Haifa University and Dr. Mohammed Issawi, head of the Al Qassemi College of Education, and other education experts and representatives of the Education Ministry. The central idea of the new courses will be for Jewish and Arab students to learn the “culture, society, history, beliefs, heritage, language, and collective narrative [of the other] in the context of granting respect and legitimacy to that narrative, without necessarily agreeing with it.”
At the same time as the coexistence curriculum is being adopted an Israeli and Arab team are scheduled to compete in this year’s Eurovision contact representing Israel. The singing duo are Ahinoam Nini and Mira Awad and they are being billed as “an Arab who looks Jewish and a Jew who looks Arab.” One is a Yemenite Jew and the other is a Christian Arab resident of Tel Aviv whose mother is Bulgarian. The juxtaposition of the Israeli attempts at coexistence and the continuing growth of stereotypes that label Israel a ‘white colonialist nazi apartheid state’ suppressing a ‘swarthy Palestinian indigenous minority’ appear contradictory.

The discussion of narratives, a central theme in coexistence programs, has a very problematic side to it that threatens the soul of Israel’s belief in itself and its right to exist. Narratives are supposed to create coexistence by teaching each side in a conflict to ‘understand the other’. In Israel among Palestinian-Jewish coexistence projects this means pairing the Holocaust alongside the Nakhba. Such comparisons have become increasingly common, not only in Israel but also at Holocaust commemorations in Europe. For instance the Dutch Integration Minister recently noted that “Muslims should understand that what al-Nakba is for Muslims, the Shoah is to Jews and vice-versa.” Dan Diner, a scholar at the Minerva Center for German History at Hebrew University wrote in Reflecting the Other-The Israeli-Palestinian Discourse Reconsidereed: An Encounter in Culture, identity and Perception; “for the Jews that was the Shoah, for the Palestinians it was the Nakba….narratives that serve to justify the ideological imperatives that define their political history.”

The linking of Nakba and Holocaust seems on the face of it to allow for dialogue between Jews and Palestinians. But it also means that while the Palestinian narrative is primarily one where they are the victims of Jews the Jewish narrative is one where they are the victims of Europeans. This leads to the obvious question so many anti-Israel activists raise; “why did Palestinians pay for the crimes of Europeans.” The problem is that the Jewish narrative is not being explored enough in juxtaposition to the Palestinian one. Where is the discussion of the expulsion from Spain in 1492(Girush Sephard)? Where is discussion of the expulsion and flight of the Sephardim and Mizrachim from Muslim countries? Was that not also a ‘Nakba’? Authors such as Malka Hillel Shulewitz in The Forgotten Millions and Joan Peters have argued exactly this point.

The central problem is that while the traditional Zionist historiography was replaced by the ‘New Historians’ in the 1990s one central theme remained the same among Israel’s intellectual and political enemies: Israel should be considered a white colonial extension of Europe, an archaic pre-modern nation state in a post-modern post-national world. Ironically those arguing for a ‘Eurocentric’ view of Israeli history, where Zionism can only be understood in a European context and where Jews are presented as Europeans and where Israel exists solely because of the Holocaust, are the very people who support the most extreme Palestinian irredentism.

Any discussion of the ‘two narratives’ must begin by rooting the Jewish and Zionist experience in the East, in the land of Israel. This means discussing the expulsion from Spain as a central part of the Jewish experience and emphasizing the expulsion of the Sephardim and Mizrahim from Muslim lands as central to the story of Israel.
The book Zihram Nezah: to the Memory of the Fallen Heroes of the Irgun Zvai Leumi published by the Association for the Rehabilitation of Freedom Fighters in 1959 helps provide evidence for this essential part of the Zionist Jewish narrative. In 461 pages, each devoted to a fallen Irgun and Lehi member who died in the fighting in 1948, the faces that stare back are harrowing and piercing. What strikes one immediately is the origins, geographic and religious, of the men and women. Many were from traditional and religious families. Thirty percent were born in what was then Palestine and fourteen percent were born in other countries populated by Sephardim. Of the Palestinian born Jews half were from Jerusalem and dozens more came from Old Yishuv towns such as Hebron and Tiberias as well as Arab towns such as Jaffa and Gaza. This is the Jewish narrative of the war of independence.

Those young men contained in the Irgun book of martyrs were no colonizers. Born in Baghdad or Sana in Yemen, born in Jerusalem and Haifa, they passionately fought for the freedom of their nation. The simplistic notion that they joined a European Zionist movement feeds the need for a false narrative of mythmaking that dismisses Zionism as colonialism and so often distorts the idea of the ‘Iron Wall’ and the ‘land without a people’. For Nasim Mizrachi, born in Tiberias in 1931 there was certainly a land full of people. He had no idea that 77 years after his birth and 60 years after his death that he would be painted as some European Zionist colonialist, “extinguishing indigenous rights” of local Palestinians, as some Israeli scholars such as Alexander Kedar, have termed what befell the Palestinians. For Yithak Masori, born in Ethiopia, the national rights of his people was what he struggled for.

Those who oppose the existence of Israel seek to deny the existence of the majority of Israelis, descendants of Libyan, Baghdadi, Kurdish, Thesaloniki and Kavkazi Jews. They seek to deny the existence both of the Old Yishuv Palestinian Jews, the ones who lived in Nazareth, Gaza and Silwan, and the existence of the more recent Russian and Ethiopian immigrants. They need Israel to be a ‘white’ European state and they seek to delegitimize Israel by seeing it as either a direct result of a world ‘feeling sorry’ for the Holocaust or a result of the British Mandate. Benjamin Asher born in Jerusalem in 1922, a third generation Jerusalemite or Shoshana Jamil from Yemen were not colonists and not apartheid practitioners. The same Europeans and Canadians who will speak of Israel Apartheid Week could not distinguish them from a Palestinian member of the Khalidi or Dajani family. Those members of the World Council of Churches who protest on behalf of Palestinian in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah at properties that once housed Jews before the 1936 riots today confront Ethiopian IDF soldiers and cry “Apartheid!” at those whose skin color would have made them victims of the real Apartheid. The Jewish narrative of Israel must include them lest a generation of Jews be raised believing that the roots of Judaism and Zionism can only be found in Paris and Berlin and not in Sana, Gondar, Herat and Hebron.

Terra Incognita 76 Iran, the Present past and Islam's minorities

Terra Incognita
Issue 76
“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”

A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


March 12th, 2009

1) No Sympathy for Roxanna: People and nations must pay for collaboration with Iran: Roxana Saberi was recently reported by her father to have been wrongly imprisoned by the Iranian regime. She was charged with buying alcohol but her real reason for detention was ‘illegal reporting’. On the face of this it seems like another reason to protest the Iranian regime’s treatment of journalists. However it is time to start asking ‘why are the journalists there in the first place’. Roxanna was no longer a reporter, her press credentials had been revoked a year ago by the regime. She was instead getting in touch with her heritage and learning Farsi. The truth is that there is a great deal of collaboration by journalists and scholars and others with Iran. The same people that would have boycotted South Africa or some other place are all too happy to fraternize with this regime and that is why it is important to have less sympathy for them.
2) Fabricating History through the eyes of the present: It is hard to escape the burden of the present. Others like to speak of the burden of history, but it is truly the present that burdens our vision of the past. A recent book by a British woman, Eva Figes, another ‘Holocaust survivor’ turned rabid Israel hater, has written that the U.S “cleared Europe of its unwanted Jewish refugees” and that America created the “mess” that is the Middle East. Hindsight is 20/20 for every presently weak forgetful European. America cleared Europe of her Jews? Not the Nazis to be sure. America ‘created’ the Modern Middle East? Not the white haired men of Versailles who drew the modern borders. Not the European colonial officers, the Ottomans or the Arabs, surely not them. Not King Faisal and Abdullah and Lawrence and Lloyd George and Churchill. No. It was America. The Burden of the present paints us a picture of a strong America ‘clearing’ Europe of her Jews and drawing the borders of the Middle East, all so another person can bash America and claim Israel ruins the world.
3) One by one: how Islam and minorities: Two recent books originally penned in the 1920s and put out by Paul Rich detail Iraq in that period. What is interesting is the story of the minority Jewish, Mandean and Christian communities. We learn that their wives were carried off, their daughters forcibly married to Muslims and that, from time to time, they suffered attacks and massacres. Such was the stuff of the ‘world of tolerance’ that was Islam. Such is the stuff of today, whether it is another bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem or the stabbing of a Jew in Yemen, or another bombing of a Yezedi community in Iraq. Drip, drip, drip…the minorities disappear. One by one.

No Sympathy for Roxanna: People and nations must pay for collaboration with Iran
Seth J. Frantzman
March 1st, 2009

Pictures of journalist Roxana Saberi show her enjoying her time with ayatollahs. She covers her head in a tight fitting headscarf, tightly stapling it below her chin in order to follow and “respect the dress code.” She “loved Iran” and “loved the place.” She was “finding her roots” and studying Farsi. She was a minor celebrity, “filing reports for press all over the world.” She helped the world understand and love Iran. In order to make them love it she, like all journalists in the country, made sure to paint a good picture of it. There was no discussion of human rights violations, of extremism, of terrorism, of anti-semitism. There was the typical, could-have-been-produced-by-the –government, reports of wonderful exotic Iran. No controversy. No investigation. Not criticism. No judging. When the government revoked her credentials she blindly followed orders and stopped reporting. Then she was arrested for buying wine, which is illegal in Iran. No protest followed. Her parents preferred to keep quiet and hoped the arrest would be resolved. Had Roxanna been released she would have gone back to loving Iran and telling the world how great it and its president, Ahmadinjed, were. But she wasn’t released. And now the media is telling us all about this prisoner of conscience and how she may be in danger.

But there is something problematic about all this. The journalists who go to Iran never do their duty in subjecting the country to the kind of criticism they subject other, usually freer societies to. They collaborate with the regime. They never mention the regimes radicalism and Antisemitism and racism. They march in lockstep with the ayatollahs. They never report on dissidents. They follow the official line of describing Iran as a Persian Shia paradise. There are no minorities in their reports, no talk about the blacks in Southern Iran, or the Arabs in the southwest, or the Baluchis in the southeast or the Azeris and Kurds in the north. Nope. They even weave stories about how the “Jews love Iran”, reporting as if they are working for the government’s information ministry. They never dare to look behind the curtain. The same journalists in the west who can’t wait for another version of ‘Brokeback Mountain’ or ‘Milk’, two movies about homosexuals, to be released, are the same ones who would never dare ask what becomes of homosexuals arrested for their ‘immoral and indecent behavior’ in Iran. There is no discussion of the minors hung in Iran for various offenses. In fact there is no discussion of the death penalty. There is no discussion of the discriminatory divorce laws or the rampant legal prostitution that takes place under the guise of ‘temporary marriage’ in Iran. The wine swilling westerners who probably can’t go a day without a drink in the West don’t report about laws that make it illegal to buy wine. In fact we only found out about this extremist law when Saberi was arrested. There is no discussion about the discriminatory dress ‘code’ that forced women to cover their hair while men wear what they please.

The western media collaborates with the Iranian regime. There is not one media outlet that is not guilty. The BBC is the worst with its month long ‘Taste of Iran’ program, a hagiography of the country. But Foxnews and other networks are no better. And yet every once in a while the public is supposed to believe that some arrested journalist deserves to be felt sorry for. Let’s just recall the sheer numbers who have been arrested, without undue complaints or repercussions for Iran. Akbar Ganji was jailed in 2001 and was still in prison in 2005 when he got sick from prison conditions. Ali Farahbakhsh was sent to prison in 2007 for three years for going to a conference in Bangkok. He was held in solitary confinement for 40 days. In the same year three female members of a 15 member Iranian female Journalists delegation about to travel abroad were arrested and taken to the infamous Evin prison. Emadeddin Baqi, who ironically wrote on prisoners rights, was arrested in October of 2007 and released in September of 2008 from Evin. Like Ganji he had become sick and required medical treatment for his time in prison. Soheil Assefi, Fashad Gorbanpour and Masoud Farshad of the Sharq newspaper were arrested after their newspaper gave an interview to a poet who wrote about homosexuals. Sina Motallebi was arrested for blogging. Iranian Kurdish journalist Mohamed Sadiq Kabudvand was arrested in 2007 after his daily paper was banned. He suffered a stroke at Evin prison in May of 2008 and is still sick. Asr Iran and Mohamed Khadeghi-Nejad, both journalists who had reported dissident protests, were attacked by anonymous men on motorcycle in December of 2008. Omid Memarin was another blogger arrested. Iranian-American journalist Parnaz Azima was prevented from leaving the country. An Arab journalist in Iran, Yousif Aziz-Banitaraf from Khuzestan who wrote about nomads was arrested in 2005 for “fomenting revolt” among Arabs in Iran. He was sentenced to five years in prison. But no matter how many they arrest, how many they torture and beat and rape in Evin prison and how many are released almost at the point of death or with other serious health problems, the journalists will keep pouring in, usually female journalists from the West dutifully covering their hair and following the regime’s party line. But its only part of a larger collaboration. When the former Iranian president, Mohammed Khatami, was invited to Spain in 2002 the Spanish agreed to not serve wine at the host banquet, lest the Iranian delegation be offended, but the Spanish did request that women attendees not be forced to wear headscarves. In the end the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Aznar and Queen Sofia neglected to come lest their hair offend the Iranians (this is in line with the western liberal post-human idea that in our countries we must respect their culture and in their countries we must respect their culture). The collaboration runs deep.

No. There can be no sympathy for collaborators with such a regime. If Saberi had reported on just one of the issues discussed above perhaps then we could have sympathy. But until western journalists subject Iran to the same harsh critique, the same obsession with minorities and ‘human rights’ that western nations are subjected to, then there can be no sympathy for them. They collaborated, much the way the New York Times did with Stalin and numerous French journalists did with Pol Pot and the Hutu genocidaires. Collaboration must be punished. Since we can’t punish it in the west we must not shed tears when, in an odd and ironic way, the Iranian regime does it. Roxana wanted to find her roots. She loved Farsi and Iran. Now she is hearing plenty of Farsi in her interrogation cell. She is learning about her roots. But when she is released she will secure that headscarf tightly around her neck and keep her eyes down and propagandize for Iran once again. There must never be sympathy for the collaborators, whether I is Emma Goldman, who came to America and then preached anarchism and was deported only to find her Soviet utopia was not as she thought, or the Americans who went to Stalin’s utopia in the 1930s or Rachel Corrie who aided and abetted Palestinian terrorists or the British charitable workers helping the Arab genocidaires in Khartoum today (recall the women who was sentenced to be whipped for comparing a teddy bear to Mohammed). No sympathy for collaboration. We must judge them as harshly as if journalists had gone to give us a ‘taste of Germany’ in 1939 and neglected to mention the concentration camps. No sympathy. No empathy. Stubborn cold heartedness must be our face when confronted by the bleeding heart ignorance of the left and its abysmal fraternization with Islamism and totalitarianism.

Fabricating History through the eyes of the present:
March 2nd, 2009
Seth Frantzman
There is a common need by those viewing history to imagine it like the present. This has always been the case. During the Middle Ages King David was depicted in European armour, as a knight. Later the Crusader knights and their enemies were also imagined assaulting European style castles. The Old City of Jerusalem and its Temple often looked like more European than foreign in depictions. This isn’t always the fault of the historian or artist. How can someone imagine architecture that they have never seen? How can they imagine costumes and garb they have never witnessed? Aliens too seem to replicate only the most extreme imaginations we have. Thus computers in the movie Alien are large and clunky, indicative of the time that they were imagined, in the 1980s. Thus the future and past must in some way reflect those who imagine them. This idea is taken by post-modernists and others to believe that therefore nations are merely ‘imagined communities’ and that all history is ‘narrative’. But in fact what we increasingly see is not the way the right wing uses modernity to justify imagining history as truth, but the way the left distorts history based on its own modern ideology.
Let’s take the issue of human rights and values such as ‘tolerance’. Societies in the past are condemned, especially if they are seen as ‘western’, to the dustbin if they are not tolerant. Meanwhile ‘good’ societies in the past such as Athens are raised up as former incarnations of our modern selves. Those ‘bad’ societies are heaped with hatred and referred to as ‘proto-fascist’ or ‘proto-nazi’. The Spartans are but one example of this. There is no nuance that recognizes that Athenian democracy is no more a utopian homosexual proto-San Fransisco than Sparta was a previous version of Nazi Germany. Slavery and ‘racism’ are forever twisted and fabricated in order to suit our modern era. Thus western slavery is seen as the greatest evil while Muslim slavery, which began earlier and murdered more people, is seen as positive and tolerant, all because we have a common view of the Old South as evil and Modern Islam as tolerant and diverse. We are unable to see Hamas as the KKK, both terrorist organization who wear white hoods, because we need white western slavery to be a unique institution.
Think of the history of the PLO. It is inevitably seen not as its original self but as a former version of its modern self. Thus its ‘moderation’ is projected backward. People forget its role in Lebanon and Jordan, its mass murder of Olympic Athletes or its bombing of synagogues in Europe. People even forget that it was founded long before 1967, along with Fatah, and that its original goal was not the liberation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, but the opposite, only the destruction of Israel inside the Green Line. These things are easily forgotten because it’s hard to imagine the rhetoric of the Palestinians without their insistence on Jerusalem and without their ‘occupation’. Likewise the ‘proto-PLO’ of the 1930s is seen as having been ‘prescient’ for imagining that the Arabs would be ‘dispossessed’. While books discuss ‘violence in the history of Zionism’ there is no discussion of ‘violence in Arab nationalism’ as if such violence was not endemic to the movement. This mistaken idea that the Arab terror of the 1930s was merely predicting the occupation of the 1990s excuses the former terror.
There may be no greater example of the fabrication of history through imagining the present than Eva Figes Journey to Nowhere: One woman looks for the promised land, a futile solution. A ‘Holocaust survivor’ she has a deep hated for Israel, which is why her book was published and widely read in the UK. “As a Jew she felt the need” to say that the creation of Israel was a ‘catastrophic mistake’ and ‘unpardonable’ and ‘ugly’ and ‘inherently racist’. Like so many self-described ‘holocaust survivors’ from Europe Israel didn’t live up to her expectations and therefore must be destroyed. But what is unique is that Figes “reserves her real fury for the Americans.”
The next sentences are extraordinary. “The Americans who, in 1945, were determined to clear Europe of unwanted Jewish refugees, but did not care to have them in America. Thus Israel was born, not out of global remorse, but of ‘continuing anti-Semitism’. America, writes Figes, is a country ‘which has made a habit of dictating to countries of which it is profoundly ignorant ... Rather than engage with people, it prefers to bomb them from a great height.’ It is to America, she argues, that we must look for the true culprit for the wretched mess that the Middle East has become.”
This claim must be parsed and explored for it shows the degree to which people, even older people like Figes who recall the 1940s, can have their memories distorted. They are unable to think outside of the current period of American power. Listen to how they imagine the past. America in 1945 was “determined to clear Europe of unwanted Jewish refugees.” In fact it was the Nazis and the European collaborators who wanted to clear Europe of its Jews. But these are now forgotten because the imagination cannot even imagine European Nazis and their collaborators in the modern metrosexual Europe of flaccid men. A British citizen, Figes cannot recall that it was actually the UK that played a great role in all this because she cannot imagine the UK of 1945, the British empire that spanned the globe at the time. She speaks of the US not wishing “to have them [Jews] in America.” But did the UK want them? Did the UK take them? No. No. But note that in the present need to hate America there is no soul searching among the European, or the Jewish ‘holocaust survivor.’ But which country was it that treated the Jews humanely in 1945 and carried out the Nuremburg trials? The UK? France? No. No. It was the UK that actually arrested the surviving German and Italian Jews found in Germany in their occupation zone and placed them in POW camps as ‘enemy nationals’. It was only when the U.S and its JDC found out about this treatment, where Jews were housed next to their former jailors, that they were placed in their own Displaced Persons camps. These Displaced Persons, some 300,000 of them, could not be repatriated to Eastern Europe where most had come from because they were not wanted and they themselves did not want to return. Outbreaks of anti-semitism and pogroms in 1946 in Kielce Poland sent another 100,000 Jews pouring into the allied occupation zone of Germany. For Figes this cannot be imagined. She wants to see the U.S ethnically cleansing Europe of Jews and creating Israel. In fact the U.S JDC helped bring Jews to Australia and didn’t originally funnel them to Palestine, which at the time was run by the British who, in 1939, had made Jewish immigration all but illegal, ensuring that Jews could not flee Europe. But there is no recollection of the role England played in all this. England is imagined and small and weak, as she is today, not as she was.
It is amazing to read that the U.S should be condemned for dictating to countries of which it is ignorant and bombing countries when the UK has been equally guilty of this. But there is, once again, no recollection. UK citizens can’t even imagine that they participated in all the Gulf Wars and Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and the bombing of Kosovo and Serbia twice. Nope. No recollection. Like some sort of Orwellian world the British and their adopted citizens such as Figes simply cannot recall. There is a hole in their memory. The hole extends to wanting to believe that it was the U.S that was a close ally of Israel in 1948, based on the modern knowledge that the U.S and Israel are allies. This is an astounding act of historical denial, for the U.S was no friend of Israel until the 1960s. Where is the recollection of the UK’s role in creating Israel, the Balfour declaration, the Mandate, the handover to the UN, the partition plan, the Soviet recognition of Israel?
The past is fabricated to meet the standards and stereotypes and current rages of the present. Other ideologies have perverted history to their own ends. The Communists subverted it to economics. The Nazis found secret Aryan tribes inhabiting Tibet and founded ‘research institutes’ to study them. But our destruction of history is just as bad. We subvert it to liberalism. Think of the abuse and misuse of the Holocaust. It is used to describe other massacres, such as when Avraham Burg describes the ‘Heroro Holocaust’ in his latest book. The Jews are said to ‘monopolize and manipulate’ the Holocaust, daring to emphasize that they were its central victims. Then people say the Holocaust is an ‘excuse’ for creating Israel and that Jews ‘use the Holocaust’ to shield Israel from criticism. And leftists can’t criticize anything without calling it a ‘Holocaust’ or using the word ‘nazi’ so beholden are they to this imagery. The abuse of America is even worse. People want to find the ‘sources’ of American ‘empire’ in the 19th century, finding it in the colonization of some Guano islands in the pacific. This in a time when the entire world was carved up by empires, America should be condemned for invading an uninhabited atoll?
The height of the blinding arrogance is the supposition that America was responsible for all sorts of things that have nothing to do with her. Listen to the UK Holocaust survivor Figes “It is to America, she argues, that we must look for the true culprit for the wretched mess that the Middle East has become.” Really? It couldn’t possibly be the Arabs or the Ottomans or the Europeans who successively carved up the Middle East and colonized it? It is America? It couldn’t be Islamism and Arab nationalism? It couldn’t be Nasser or Saddam Hussein? It couldn’t be the post World War one settlement? It couldn’t be the Soviet role? No. We can’t imagine that the Soviets and Russians even had a role in the Middle East because the current weak state of Russia won’t even allow us to imagine it. That’s the false memory. It views history from the present rather than the present from the point of view of history. This is why everything is so distorted. We can’t understand conflicts or human history because it’s never in perspective. We see millions of refugees today and we project their status into history so that their entire history becomes ‘dispossessed’. We see racism today and we can’t imagine a society that imagined race differently.
One by one: how Islam destroys minorities
Seth J. Frantzman
March 6th, 2009

On March 5th a Palestinian Bedouin from Beit Hanina drove his bulldozer into a police car, flipping it over. Then he pushed the police car, with policeman in it, into a bus. He was shot dead at the scene. This could be determined ‘temporary insanity’ or some act of hatred for the police were it not for the fact that this was the fourth such attack in a year in Jerusalem. The first two in 2008 killed four people in two separate attacks by Palestinians driving bulldozers in West Jerusalem. The third involved an Arab who drove his car into a group of soldiers. Each attack appears to have been uncoordinated and basically unplanned. They were ‘sudden acts’ of ‘rage’. Hamas praised the attacks, noting that either restrictions on movement of Palestinians or potential home demolitions cause ‘repercussions’. The EU, in an unrelated report, also seems to have excused this behavior by noting Israel activities, “illegal under international law, serve no obvious purpose, have severe humanitarian effects, and fuel bitterness and extremism.”

But a look at the accounts of early 20th century travelers in Iraq, and an attack on a Jew in Yemen may shed light on some nuances. Robert Hay, a British officer who resided in Kurdistan in the 1920s wrote extensively on the ethnography of the region. On the Jews he noted that “girls are sometimes carried off and made to change their religion” by neighboring Muslims. On Christians he noted “Christians are in demand as servants in Muhammadan houses…Muhammadans may take Christian girls to wife, though they may not give their daughters away to members of the other religion…the Turkish government ordered a massacre in Ainkawa [a Christian Chaldean village]…they live in a constant state of suspicion and terror…in Shaqlawah and Koi the Christians are occupied in weaving…[which is] considered a degrading occupation and it is probably on this account that the Christians have survived.” In Gertrude Bell’s account of Iraq at the same time, describing the low lying country, she spoke of the Mandeans, a group of people with Christian-Zaroastrian beliefs, and noted that “of late many of their women have been married to Muslims and they are facing extinction.” These two accounts are mirrored by accounts of Jews and Christians throughout the Muslim world at this time. Although not generally massacred they suffered a slow degradation, raping of their women and destruction of their communities through a slow boa constrictor like policy.

The recent murder of a Jew by a knife wielding former air force officer in Yemen is not unique. He was acquitted of manslaughter for reasons of insanity. The connection between him, the Mandeans and Chaldeans and Jews in West Jerusalem today is very clear. When Muslims decide to ‘go crazy’ they murder non-Muslims. Muslims don’t have bulldozer rampages in East Jerusalem. In truth what is happening is not really people ‘going crazy’. It is instead people who are raised from birth on books that teach only hatred and intolerance. When people decide to murder others it is more likely that they murder those people they have cursed their entire lives as ‘swine’. Robert Hay noted it in among the Kurds; “If a Kurd wishes to express contempt for an official he will say ‘even a Jew is better than he’ or if he wishes to show how will behaved his tribe is he remarks ‘even a Jew could keep us in order.” When people speak like this in normal every day life, as if to say in the U.S in the 1960 “even a Nigger is better than he”, we come to understand how Islam works to destroy minorities. Recall that ‘scholars’ have long described the Kurds as being ‘tolerant’ towards Jews and popular imagination among Jews even conjures this up. This is a mistake. There was not a place in the Muslim world where the ‘tolerance’ was not as it was in Kurdistan. There was ‘tolerance’ in the sense that people survived. But they survived like the Samaritans in Nablus. They didn’t survive. They slowly died out, each person’s life and each generation a private hell of insults, degradation, raping of women and suppression. No different than the plight of slaves in the U.S, the plight of minorities was one neverending evil. It is an evil, alas, that still exists today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Terra Incognita 74 Islam's midwives, race mongers, environmentalism

Terra Incognita
Issue 74
“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”

A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


February 23rd, 2009

1) Islamism's accidental midwife: the British Empire and Communism: Islamism may have had no greater allies than the British Empire and Communism. Not only did the British Empire support Muslim empires such as the Turks but when it colonized states such as India and Sudan it betrayed the non-Muslims. Communism also brutally suppressed the church but ignored the growth of Islamism. When it had destroyed the faith of people Islam was alive and well to fill the empty souls.

2) And you thought it would end: Racism and black history month and Eric Holder: With the election of Barak Obama some people, including myself, hoped that the endless whining about ‘America is a racist society’ would end or be toned down. But Attorney General Eric Holder’s ‘nation of cowards’ remark during Black History month commemorations illustrates the opposite. American race mongers seek to transform the past into an un-nuanced ‘white versus black’ just as they wish to call ‘racist’ anyone who tries to discuss the race, and then they call us all ‘cowards’ or not discussing race.

3) The worst of both worlds: The financial crises and environmentalism: With the financial crises in full swing some might think that disposal government income might finally dry up and pet environmental projects, which are costly and have no clear benefit, would be set aside. One might have thought that foreign aid and other largesse would be stopped. But it is not stopping. Instead the environmental lobby has smelled blood and is pushing through more extreme environmental plans that are bankrupting us all.

Islamism's accidental midwife: the British Empire and Communism
(This article appeared in the Jerusalem Post on February 19th)
Seth J. Frantzman
February 17th, 2008

The rise of Islamism may have had no greater unintentional allies than the British Empire up until 1948 and Communism after 1948. This may come as a surprise because the British Empire is generally viewed as being founded on Christian Anglican values and there is nothing that seems more anathema to religion than Communism. However while the professed values and foundations of British imperialism and Communism seemed to militate against Islamism's rise, the actual practices of the two regimes led to conditions under which Islamism could flourish, grow and gain converts.

The British Empire contained many millions of Muslims. It tended to colonize states on the periphery of Islam, such as India and the Sudan, where Muslims had gained inroads or where Islamic colonial regimes, such as the Mughals, had long held sway. Unlike the French in North Africa, the British Empire had within it the power to roll back the imposition of Islamic law and protect non-Islamic minorities. While the British Empire performed admirably in ending the Islamic Arab slave trade in West Africa through colonizing Zanzibar, the slave traders capital, it was not as successful a protector of non-Muslims in the Sudan, Egypt, Iraq or Palestine.

In Sudan the British had the greatest opportunity to help the local pagan and Christian Africans in the south form their own autonomous government. In fact, given the history of the Sudanese Mahdi's Islamist extremism which led to the death of British General Gordon at Khartoum in 1885 and the battle of Omdurman in 1898, it would have seemed the British would have understood the threat that Islamism posed to minorities. But Britain did the opposite, forcing Sudan into a federation with Egypt until Sudan gained independence in 1956. The Southern Sudan, African and Christian, was forced at that time to give up its autonomy and become part of newly independent and Islamist Sudan. Civil war and genocide have been the bane of Sudan ever since.

In Iraq the minority Assyrian and Chaldean Christian community were originally armed by the British as auxiliaries in the 1920s. But when England handed the country over to King Faisal in the 1930s the Assyrians were slaughtered in massacres. In Palestine British promises to Jews were first threatened through the 1939 White Paper limiting Jewish immigration and the country was then partitioned into two states, one with a bare majority of Jews and the other that was entirely Arab and mostly Muslim.

India presents a further example of the way in which British rule unintentionally furthered the goals of states and ideologies that would become centers of Islamism. Originally the British seemed to save Hindus and Sikhs in India from Mughal Muslim domination. England fought wars against Muslim potentates such as Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1799. But Britain also destroyed the non-Muslim independent states in wars against the Hindu Marathas and Sikhs. In the laws enacted by the British in the 19th and 20th centuries in India, Sharia family law was enshrined by the British in their colonial legal system. In general the British, out of a desire to be paternalistic, attempted to reform and ‘modernize’ laws affecting the Hindus but specifically exempted Muslims from such laws so as not engender mass protests by the Muslim community. In the Partition of India in 1947 the Muslim League’s demand for a state was met while Sikhs were denied a similar state. The result was the creation of Pakistan (which included Bangladesh at the time) and the mass movement some 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims across the partition border. 500,000 died in ethnic-cleansing on both sides. In Pakistan the few remaining minorities have faced increasing discrimination and the imposition of Sharia law.

Communism in Russia, Yugoslavia, Ethiopia and China followed a similar pattern. While there were examples of Muslim minorities, such as the Chechens, being brutalized by Communism, overall Islamism did well under such regimes. The Chinese have been forbidden to have more than one child since 1979. Chinese Muslim minorities such as Hui and Uighurs however are allowed to have more than one child under the idea that children are central to their religion, as if the same were not true of Chinese Buddhists and Christians. The Soviet Union pursued a similar policy in regards to religion. While the Orthodox Church and Jewish religion were suppressed, churches turned into museums and synagogues turned into government buildings, Islam was never subjected to such extreme degradation. Although the use of the veil was proscribed in Central Asia, Islam thrived in other ways, especially because it was seen as part of the 'national' characteristic of the Central Asian and Caucasian Soviet Republics.

In Yugoslavia a similar policy was embarked upon in Kosovo and Bosnia and the result was the ethnic-religious wars of the 1990s in which Islamist Mujahadeen, including members of Al Queida came to Bosnia to join the 'Jihad'. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the leader of the group that beheaded Daniel Pearl was among them. Ethiopian Communism suppressed the Ethiopian Orthodox church but ignored the rise of Islamism in parts of Ethiopia such as among the Oromo and their Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia. Thus Communism did not support a rise in Islamism but served unintentionally as its incubator in some cases. Communist atheist zeal usually assaulted the majority religions its leaders were familiar with, such as Orthodoxy and Buddhism, ignoring Islam and the growth of Islamist groups.

The British Empire’s decision to give in to Muslim nationalist and proto-Islamist demands and its unwillingness to meddle with Sharia law had catastrophic consequences for non-Muslim minorities such as Copts, Assyrians, Sikhs and African Christians who were abandoned in policies designed not to foment social unrest. British partition plans in Palestine and India led to ethnic-cleansing of Jews, Hindus and Sikhs while minorities in Sudan who had enjoyed autonomy were forced to live under regimes that suppressed them and became increasingly intolerant of their beliefs over time. Communism pursued similar policies, usually seeing the church as a greater threat than the mosque, it viciously destroyed national churches, ignoring the rise of Islamist and Wahhabi preaching in its midst. When Communism fell or declined Islamism was very much on the march from Chechnya, Central Asia, Eritrea and Bosnia to Western China. While the policies of the British Empire and Communism were in no way shaped to support the spread of Islamism, the fall of both had the unintentional affect of creating states that have provided safe havens and vocal points for the growth of Islamist ideology.

And you thought it would end: Racism and black history month and Eric Holder
Seth J. Frantzman
February 20th, 2009

Some people were under the mistaken impression that with a ‘black’ President the obsession with race, the whining, the endless calls of ‘racism’ would finally end. But Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the U.S came out during ‘Black History Month’ and declared on February 18th, 2009 that “we are a nation of cowards.” A nation of cowards? The full text of his comments dealt with his concern that despite priding ourselves on being a melting pot Americans “simply do not talk enough with each other about race… if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us… hasten the day when the dream of individual, character based, acceptance can actually be realized… the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other. It is for this reason that the study of black history is important to everyone- black or white… Separate public facilities, separate entrances, poll taxes, legal discrimination, forced labor, in essence an American apartheid, all were part of an America that the movement [Civil Rights] destroyed... In law, culture, science, athletics, industry and other fields, knowledge of the roles played by blacks is critical to an understanding of the American experiment. For too long we have been too willing to segregate the study of black history… an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force. An appreciation of the unique black past.”

It is hard to understand Holder’s comments until one realizes that his comments are part of the problem and that his contradictions are the essential portion of what makes race such an inseparable and unsolvable problem.

Let us begin from the beginning. Holder calls us, Americans at least, cowards for not speaking frankly about race. But let’s really think about this. Anyone who speaks frankly about race is condemned as a racist. In the shallow, skin deep, ignorant society that pervades one finds that condemnations of ‘racist’ are thrown on those who have not even discussed race, let alone those who do. Someone using the word ‘niggardly’ in a public broadcast as asked to apologize for being ‘racist’ and fired. But niggardly does not come from Nigger, no matter how much ignorant uneducated people want it to. If niggardly (the act of being cheap, miserly or stingy or covetous or parsimonious) came from nigger than it would be hard to explain why people are called ‘nigger-rich’ (spendthrift or profligate). Niggardly, which is to say covetous, is a quality often applied derisively, to Jews whose financial habits are not usually associated with those of blacks. But that would be racist to mention, for both groups. So let’s be honest. We can’t talk ‘frankly’ about race because to do so is actually to be racist.

It’s obvious the degree to which this is true when one considers the recent cartoon controversy over a cartoon in the New York Post. The cartoon showed a dead chimp shot by two policeman. One is saying to the other “I guess we will have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” Immediately the racial mafia of wealthy white leftists, whining sniveling leftist students and ‘black activists’ such as the ever-present and honest Al Sharpton were calling for blood at the Post. Why? Because of the past sensitivity of people comparing blacks to monkeys. The cartoon supposedly insinuated that Obama was a monkey, or something of that nature. It couldn’t be that the cartoon implied that the Stimulus Bill was written by monkeys. In a climate of racial fascism where a few off-hand comments, like Don Imus’ “nappy headed hoes”, lead to his being publically lynched how can we be expected to speak ‘frankly’ about race. Things that aren’t frank or aren’t even about race are interpreted to be so. God forbid someone might actually talk about it. If we can’t use the word niggardly, don’t ask us to talk about the word ‘nigger’. And don’t call us cowards when the very people who call us cowards for not being ‘frank’ are the same one wagging the ‘racist’ finger.

But Holder went further than whining about a ‘nation of cowards’. He spoke of a nation that should judge people on their “character” and not their race. But M. Holder spins his quadroon race as much as possible. He is the ‘first black attorney general’. But if we count the blacks in Holder’s family tree we certainly will not find as many as we find whites. We would need another three or four Mr. Holders in order to get one fully black attorney general. It’s a lot like the joke about Cherokee Indians told by other Indians. “What do you call forty Cherokees in one room? A full blooded Indian.” That is because of the propensity of white people to ‘discover’ their Cherokee heritage and because of the Cherokee tendency in the 19th century to marry Scottish immigrants who lived among them in Georgia. But if Holder exploits his race he must be kidding about judging people on their ‘character’. The fellow travelers of Holder, the oped writers at the Times, all told us Americans we had to vote for Obama because he was black in order to cancel the sin of slavery and ‘make history.’ So which is it? Are we supposed to judge based on character or on skin color? Too often it seems those who use skin color as currency are those who then pretend that money is colorless.

Holder tells us about the mythical segregated entrances and toilets and buses and eating facilities and even speaks of an American Apartheid. But let’s be honest. All this talk of slavery and segregation attempts to link to American history in totality. But a majority of American states never had slavery and never had segregation. That point is often forgotten among Americans and among non-Americans who have been led to believe, by people like Holder, that segregation and slavery was the ‘American way’. But it was not. It was not the way of most Americans, ever. To compare it to Apartheid shows the ignorance of Holder more than it insults America. If Apartheid had existed in Northern South Africa, say in the Free State and Transvaal but not in the Cape Town area, would we have thought about it the same way? People need to believe that states like Maine and Massachusetts were the same as Virginia in order to perpetuate the idea that we need to all be knee deep in the racial guilt about slavery and segregation. Guilt for not ending it sooner at the point of a rifle, but certainly no guilt over it actually for most Americans have no connection to it.

But Holder becomes even more contradictory when he tries to tell us that we need to recognize the unique roles of blacks and at the same time integrate ‘black history’ into that of America. But it is Mr. Holder, speaking on the occasion of Black History Month, who contradicts this. If he wants to integrate the important contribution of blacks then he should stop recalling them all as black and start treating them like people. This cannot be stressed enough. It is the liberal good intentions that took all the blacks out of American history and placed them all in the context of their ‘blackness’. So Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis and Tiger Woods and Barak Obama and others are all recognized first as blacks and as being ‘the first’. Its problematic. Is Jesse Owens only famous for being black? Or Mohammed Ali? Apparently not. We want it both ways. We want Black History Month and we want photos of the first black man in space and first black at the North Pole and first black to go down in a Submarine injected into our history books alongside stories about the North Pole and the Moon and we then want the same pictures in the section that is specially devoted to ‘Black History.’ The truth is hard to speak. If people like Mr. Holder were not segregated as ‘the first black attorney general’ then they would probably disappear into the morass of attorney generals who are mostly forgettable. How many do we really recall? Bobby Kennedy. That’s about all. Who was the guy that Bush hired that was supposedly a neo-fascist and restricted our Civil Liberties and was so controversial? Mullgren? Ashcroft? Some white guy. Oh well. But Mr. Eric Holder? He’s pretty famous. He’s very important. He accomplished a lot in life? He’s controversial? No. No. No. He’s just black. That’s why we should remember him. But he wants us to integrate him. Well then he will be pretty unmemorable probably. He’s no Bobby Kennedy. And we only remember him because of his last name.

Eric Holder embodies all the problems of the very racism he claims to understand. He yearns for equality and frank discussions and yet at the same time he wants to celebrate the uniqueness of black history. He wants blacks who succeed to be recognize for their success and their character, not their race, but yet he glories in the blackness of his heroes, not just heroes such as Martin Luther King, but Jackie Robinson. The same problem confronts so many people such as Colin Powell, Tiger Woods and Barak Obama. The desire to succeed irrespective of race and to live in a color blind society and yet the secret knowledge that in modern society being ‘black’ is an asset in certain situations. It is enough to remind people of Nadine Gordimer’s book Beethoven was One Sixteenth Black. Her short story isn’t actually about Beethoven, but if it did turn out that the composer was 1/16th black we should wonder, would he be called the “greatest black composer” or the “first black composer to play at such and such a place”? Would his name be enshrined during Black History Month. Maybe it should. Him an Shakespeare and George Washington and Jesus. I mean, maybe they were black. Maybe we all are. And if we all are then maybe can get to the post-racial society that people all preach about.

The truth is that we can’t escape our racialized history, not because we are unable to, but because we glory in the simplified and wrongheaded simplicity of a ‘black and white’ society. Simon Schama’s recent television documentary on America entitled The American Future creates new myths about race out of the modern need to separate everything based on race. In speaking about the history of Texas he speaks of ‘white illegal immigrants’ coming to Texas and looking down on the ‘indigenous Mexicans’. What is he talking about? He imagines that the Mexicans of 1830s Texas were like the Mexican immigrants of 2009. But he projects a false racial consciousness back into the past. The ‘Mexicans’ of 1930s Texas were Spaniards who had colonized and settled Texas. They were Vecinos. Their society was heavily segregated into Castas, Mestizos, Coyotes, mulatos, criados, nixoras and Sonorenses and nortenos. We can’t expect Schama, a white man from England, to tell the difference between all these shades apparently. But in those days people knew and the ‘Mexicans’ were not only a stratified society but most of the ones encountered by the Americans moving to Texas were as white as the Americans. Santa Ana wasn’t some half Indian brown ‘Mexican’ as Schama imagines him. But Schama needs ‘white racism’ to pervade Texas history. So he needs ‘black’ Mexicans to fight the ‘white’ racist Americans. He couldn’t imagine anything different.

But no one can imagine something different because in 2009 we are more racially conscious than in 1839. In Susan Faludi’s new book The Terror Dream she speaks of how America has a history of imagining “traumatizing assaults by non-white ‘barbarians’.” Really? This is because Faludi, whose last name seems to reek of low-class Italian ancestry but is apparently Hungarian-Jewish, imagines a past of whiteness and blackness. She wants to link King Philip’s Wompanog natives to the 9/11 terrorist hijackers in one large ‘non-white’ morass. She wants them all to be lumped in with the Japanese of 1941 and apparently the Germans and Russians too. They are all ‘non-white’, a catch all phrase for everything in the world apparently. People like Faludi need ‘non-white’ myths of blackness in order to juxtapose them with her hated ‘white America’. The same ‘white America’ that took in her Holocaust survivor ancestors. It’s odd that old Europe, that wonderful ivory tower of actual white people, killed off her ancestors but she so hates America that she imagines an evil America always lashing out at fake enemies because of a supposed traumatic past of Indian attacks on a few isolated Anglo settlements in the 17th century.

The truth is that the Faludis and Schamas and Holders and others need racism. It doesn’t matter how colorful America is, the entire country is always cleansed in history and bleached to make it into a ‘white’ man fighting and suppressing some mythical blacks. Those ‘blacks’ can be lily white Mexicans or white Japanese who were fighting their own race war in Asia, or anyone else. Define them as ‘non-white’, so that America can continue to be ‘white’ because white is evil and America must be seen as ‘racist’ and evil. So define the Russians as ‘non-white’. Define the Arab terrorists as ‘non-white’. Define some white blond woman from England who converts to Islam as ‘non-white’. Whatever it takes. In the case of 1/16th black people, define them as black. Create a myth of whiteness to go alongside a myth of blackness. Make Mexican colonists who had just finished exterminating the Indians of Texas into ‘blacks’ so that Americans can be ‘white’. Then turn those Mexicans into ‘whites’ so that the blacks in Arizona can still be the ‘largest minority’ group. Whatever it takes. Play the race game. Change the race, lie about race, talk about race, then call people racist, mistake the word niggard for nigger and whine and cry and complain. That’s America.

Holder’s ‘nation of cowards’ was a disgusting and disgraceful comment. One wonders if he would have had the chagrin to say it to the half a million Union soldiers who died in the Civil War fighting to end slavery. It would be interesting to know if he would have called them cowards. Maybe he should have given the speech at Arlington or Gettysburg. He could have given it at Appomattox. Or maybe at the theatre where Lincoln was murdered. Or Harpers Ferry where John Brown led his raiders. Mr. Holder is the coward for he so easily dismisses so many who fought and wrote and died to end the evil institution of slavery. If we are cowards it is because of people like Holder and his friends, gangs of half black men and women whose white ancestry is as deep as their black one and who have chosen to emphasize their ‘blackness’ and use it to their advantage to make themselves appear more interesting and more ‘colourful’ in a society that they have told to value ‘color’. It is they who have endlessly shamed and complained and spit on people calling other racists wherever they go, spreading racial discord and calling cowardly those who care not about race and do not wish to join their extremist worldview where everything is ‘black and white’ and one suffocates under the self righteous racial idiocy of endless whining and complaining and shrill comments.

The worst of both worlds: The financial crises and environmentalism
Seth J. Frantzman
February 16th, 2009

A year ago we were living large. The banks were secure. Al Gore's prophecies about "extreme weather" seemed to be coming true. Flush with cash our time could be spent buying 'green'. Everything was going green. From the organic food craze to Harper-Collins books, there was not an item that wasn't fashionably environmental. Cars too were going electric, even if they had to be charged every few hours and could only go 30 mph. Carbon offsets were the rage and guilt conscious air travelers were 'doing their part' by offsetting their travel. There were few things in life that one couldn't check a special box and have that thing be 'environmentally friendly.'

Then the economic crises came. People are tightening their belts. The government is spending like a drunken sailor in order to shore up everything from banks to bankrupt state governments. People are giving tomatoes to their girlfriends on Valentines Day instead of roses to save money. People aren’t taking vacations. The beaches lie empty in the Bahamas.

But one news item hasn't disappeared. Environmentalism is at an all time high. One part of the Stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama stipulated that tens of millions must go to making the federal office buildings 'energy efficient', which is to say environementally friendly. With England in the throes of a terrible economic crises the government is going forward with a plan, set to begin in February of 2009, to tax airlines based on their carbon emissions. According to reports "the tax increase will save the equivalent of three quarters of a million tonnes of carbon every year by 2011." A British treasury spokesman claimed that "the Treasury took all relevant factors into account before deciding to increase Air Passenger Duty to better reflect the environmental costs of air travel." In addition "the revenues raised from the increase will secure extra resources in the coming spending round for our priorities such as public transport and the environment." In total each passenger will pay an extra $7 for economy class and an extra $30 for first class to offset their carbon output through the tax.

Advocates such as Ryan Nabil, note that "in the context of world's financial situation, it'd be very unwise to impose the tax on airline companies… Airline passengers should pay for the harm they are causing to the environment and the proper way to do that is to pay a carbon emissions tax… If airline passengers can buy airport novels for $10, it would not hurt them to pay $3.75 to recompense for what they are doing to the environment. " They claim that the money will be spent on "subsidizing biofuel or other green-tech energy sources if found." This is quite brilliant. Cash strapped passengers will be charged more money as a tax that will be placed in the hands of the government and supposedly spent to help offset carbon emissions. But like the money raised by governments from cigarette taxes or lawsuits against cigarette companies there is no guarantee that any money will be spent to 'offset' the carbon even if there was a way to offset it, which there isn't.

But the dream world of the environmentalists, whose jobs and livelihoods and ability to fund their never ending extreme activism has not been damaged by the economic crises, is unchanged. Just at the time when states and people have little money environmentalists are putting the last nails in the coffin. In California a new plan for a Powerlink (apparently meaning lots of electric lines) from San Diego to Imperial Valley is a case study in environmental extremism. It was only approved so long as it twists "around a state park, an Indian reservation and much of a forest. Its builders would be banned from harming burrowing owls or rattlesnakes." But that wasn't enough for other environmentalists who have sued the state anyway not to build it. As The Economist notes " Barack Obama wants to create green jobs, but he needs to create jobs above all, and quickly. Environmentalists, who know how to hold up big projects better than anybody, will not be bounced so easily." But this state of affairs should only remind us of the insanity that has confronted anyone who wants to build windmills to create 'green' electricity. For years environmentalists campaigned to close coal power stations and then their alternative, nuclear ones. Left with little choice they proposed wind power as an alternative. But when people actually wanted to build wind power generators every attempt was prevented by the same environmentalists who now argued the "wind turbines' would harm birds.

There is a silver lining. The destruction of the economy may yet dent the pocketbooks of the environmentalists and those who fund them. Whole Foods and Trader Joes may yet be cut low, even though they themselves merely profited off of the environmental extremism, their products were not truly 'organic'. But it seems for now we are living in the worst of both worlds. Environmental extremism forcing us to pay more in taxes and for 'green' products while we have less and less money and the government is 'stimulating' the economy by hiring more and more hippie-environmental consultants on how to spend taxpayers money on creating 'green' jobs, which means more jobs for the environmental elite and less jobs for people who are actually out of work.

Terra Incognita 73 Stimulus, Doha and Israel's elite

Terra Incognita
Issue 73
“Written to enlighten, guaranteed to offend”

A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem, Israel


February 16th, 2009

1) The U.S Stimulus Bill: Failure in a thousand Paper cuts: The Stimulus bill that has passed congress will fail because it is spread out among a thousand different pet projects, many of which will only hire white collar professionals, such as environmental consultants, and will never trickle down to the people being laid off.

2) Doha Debates: a view into the failure of the West in the world: The Doha Debates, a BBC run debating session held in front of an audience that votes after the debate and which takes place in the United Arab Emirates is an example of the failure in exporting democracy and free speech. The crowd usually votes against things that would be considered ‘western values’ and consistently toes the line on Islamism and terrorism. It is an example of the problems in exporting democracy, debate and free speech.

3) Rich and out of touch: reflections on Israel's elections in 2009: In the wake of Israel’s elections in 2009 one of the hot stories was the ‘disappearance’ of the Israeli left. Depending on who was interviewed the ‘real left’ had dwindled to just three seats in the Knesset. The reason for this decline is that the extreme left in Israel has marginalized itself by turning on its country, calling its army ‘war criminals’ and yet it enjoys a very high standard of living and frequently lives off the state as some sort of ‘public intellectual’. The people of the nation have tired of an elite that despises them and relegates them to a buffer zone between the elite society and the terrorists. The people are forced to pay the price for the experiments of ‘peace’ and they have tired of the fact that the very people who will send them and their sons to war will then call them ‘war criminals’ and invite Europeans to put them on trial. The immigrants to Israel have tired of an elite that allows them to settle on the land and then encourages terrorists to murder them as ‘occupiers’.

The U.S Stimulus Bill: Failure in a thousand Paper cuts
Seth J. Frantzman
February 9th, 2009

One of the hallmarks of the 2008-2009 Financial Crises and recession has been comparisons to the Great Depression. One of the rejoinders to such comparisons is that the symbolic images of the Depression, the bread line, has not been seen in America. That is not the case in Lehigh Acres, a suburb near Fort Myers, in Lee County Florida. This community, which numbered 33,000 people in the 2000 census, has seen some of the greatest boom and bust swings in the U.S. Housing prices rose dramatically to an average of $322,300 in 2005 before plummeting to $106,000 today. Its population also mushroomed to an estimated 67,000. Now one in four of its residents are on food stamps. By November of 2008 unemployment was almost at 10%. As the financial crises and foreclosures came to Lehigh Acres so did crime and abandoned property.
The story of Lehigh Acres is neither emblematic nor an exception to many communities in America. Its story of unemployment and extreme swings in housing prices and rise in crime is perhaps a harbinger of things to come in other communities. At Lehigh Acres a number of private non-profits have stepped into the breach, including Lehigh Community Services and the local Faith Lutheran Church.
It is communities like Lehigh Acres that the massive stimulus bill crafted by Congress and President Obama is supposed to help. The bill that passed the House of Representatives declared that its objective was to “preserve and create jobs” and “assist those most impacted by the recession” and “to provide investments.”
It is worth considering which of things being funded by the Stimulus bill will provide jobs in Lehigh Acres. Will the $350 million for ‘Watershed and flood prevention operations’ to “purchase and restore floodplain easements” provide jobs to those in Lehigh Acres? Or the $250 million to repair Nasa facilities as well as $70 million to improve NASA’s supercomputing capabilities. Or is it the $39 billion provided in the Senate Bill to the Department of Energy for the ‘development of clean , efficient American energy.” Or the $300 million to “replace older motor fleet vehicles” owned by the Federal government? The $2.5 billion to increase energy efficiency in Federal buildings. Or is it $250 million for Community Development Financial Institutions? Or it could be the $10 billion “to conduct Biomedical research.” The $650 million for the ‘Digital to Analog Converter Program’ that will be given to organization that “educate vulnerable populations.” Or it might be the $440 million “to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, to assist victims of crime (other than compensation).”
Some of the provisions are bizarre in their wording. This includes $20 million to the “Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce for continued work on advancing health care information enterprise integration through activities such as technical standards analysis.” Some of the provisions might provide jobs but the jobs provided are quite macabre. For instance the$29 million for “national cemetery administration minor construction.” Other provisions are targeted to groups. One provides $198 million for a fund called the ‘Filipino veterans Equity Compensation Fund’ for Filipinos who fought as guerillas in the Philipines on the side of the U.S during the Second World War.
At a townhall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana Barack Obama promised that the Recovery and Reinvestment act “does not have a single earmark in it.” Apparently that doesn’t include the provisions for moneys directed solely for Samoa and Puerto Rico as well as individual American Indian reservations.
The Stimulus bill’s failure is that it represents a form of death by a thousand paper cuts. While it appears massive in its spending, totaling some $800 billion, in fact it is wasted in thousands of small million dollar grants to various things. No one of these millions of dollars can possibly have a significant impact.
But the single biggest problem with the Stimulus Bill is that where it does actually create jobs or provide moneys that will result in job creation the jobs are primarily for those with a college education and previous special professional training. Those hired to make the federal buildings more energy efficient will not be the people of Lehigh Acres. They cannot retrain to do that work. It will be analysis who studied the environment as well as consultants from various green groups. The money that will go to the new supercomputers at NASA will not go to the people of Lehigh Acres or Elkhart. It will go to people with computer engineering degrees.
It is true that professions and people with masters and doctoral degrees are also out of work. It is true that engineers and doctors are also losing their jobs. It is true that employees of NGOs and non-profit environmental groups have also lost their jobs. However these individuals represent the elite of the economy. Providing jobs to one hundred of them costs more than 10 or 20 times what it does to provide jobs in blue collar industries. It is the blue collar workers, mechanics and construction workers and vendors, who are out of work and who make up the residents of Lehigh Acres. Those in Elkhart, Indiana are primarily builders of mobile homes and RVs. These people will not be hired to consult on energy efficiency. Training them to do so and providing them with the years of experience that will no doubt be required on resumes of those hired to do the work would take ten years. It appears that the paucity of jobs that will be created will be for professionals, government officials and NGOs, creating dependency in places like Lehigh Acres and that little of it will drip down to the people being hit hardest.
The Stimulus Bill of 2009 is being touted as the only answer to a ‘catastrophe’ that will be as great as the Depression. However the Depression was fought, not through providing jobs to aerospace engineers, but through the Works Progress Administration of FDR. 3.3 million people were employed by the WPA at its height for a total cost of $11.4 billion through 1941. People were paid the local prevailing wage. To date 3.6 million Americans have lost jobs since December of 2007. Today there are 11 million unemployed people in the U.S. How many of those people will really receive jobs through the Stimulus bill?

Doha Debates: a view into the threat of the West to the world
January 25th, 2009
Seth J. Frantzman

I’ve watched a dozen or more of the BBC’s Doha debates, a series that takes place in the UAE and includes a mostly Muslim, but also reasonably diverse audience of expats, Indians and white western women, and it has become clear that these debates offer a very unique view into the role that western democracy has in threatening the world. In each debate the radical and anti-western view receives the most votes, and it receives votes not only from Muslims but also from the white, blond haired blue eyes, westerners who lurk in the crowd. What is even more surprising is that one finds that the supporters of the most extreme opinions are usually white people, westerners and converts to Islam who live in the West.

The Doha debates is a program that seems to invite Arab Muslims to learn about democracy. The debates have a tough British language moderator and who debaters on each team. Most of the debates have to do with Islam, the role of Islam in the West, terror or Western policy in the Middle East. At the end of the debate the audience is allowed to ask questions and then there is a vote. Thus democracy is practiced in a limited form in this forum which is an excellent example of free speech and open debate.

But surprisingly, or perhaps not, this exercise in democracy produces predictable results; it produces extremism and hate. What is most interesting is to see that those frequently arguing on behalf of such motions as “Islamism is a threat to the West” are Muslims and that those arguing that Islamism and terrorism are positive parts of ‘struggle’ are white westerners, sometimes converts to Islam.

The question that must be asked in the wake of these debates is the threat that the West and its democracy is to the world. The West has come to believe that democracy and free speech are integral to freedom. But the West seems to forget the lessons of the 1920s and 1930s when democracy and free speech were easy prey to evil. In fact free speech and open secular ‘progressive’ societies created a weak central governments that were incapable of defending themselves from rising demagogues who used free speech in order to gain power and declare dictatorships.

The Doha debates and its participants, such as Sarah Joseph, editor of Emel magazine, a former Jew turned convert to Christianity and then Islamism, show the degree to which free speech and democracy actually help inculcate extremism and dictatorship and a love for fascist religion. Joseph argues that Israel is the greatest threat to the world and that Iran is a wonderful ‘liberal’ country. In fact she and her debate partner, Shadi Hamid of the Center for Middle East Democracy, argue that Islamism is ‘liberal’ and any attempt to ban it is ending the “right of people to be liberal.”
By contrast those who oppose extremism are always real Muslims, not converts. Democracy does not have a great track record when it comes to the appetites of the people for demagoguery, religious extremism and dictatorship. Democracies frequently fail and frequently endorse extremism. Cases in point include Venezuela and the election of Hamas. The role of democracy as a transition to dictatorship can be seen in Iran in the period after the revolution when the good ‘liberals’ and the feminists and western educated elite all opposed the Shah and then all endorsed the ‘freedom fighter Ayatollah’ and then all marched their country into the dark ages. The mistake in believing that democracy is naturally robust and can be sustained over time lies in the false interpretation of European history where the undemocratic parts of the history are forgotten and we are forced only to recall the Magna Carta, the 19th century, the era of Liberalism before 1922 and the eras of Christian Democracy and Social Democracy after 1945. A newspaper today even spoke of the English “tradition of free speech.” What tradition? This is a blatant mistake. If we can say there is a ‘tradition’ of democracy in any European country we can say there is a greater tradition of monarchy. The development in Russia between 1989 and 2009, just twenty years, ca be shown to be a case study in how democracy fails.
While there have been great advances in democratization since the American Revolution of 1776, there have been great failures. Democracy marches on in some places, but for each success in Southeast Asia or Africa or South America, there is a blatant failure that has terrible ramification. And dictatorship tends to spread like a virus. Islamism spreads like a virus. The imposition of radical or selective forms of democracy in the Muslim world may have a strange and tragic reverse affect; selective democracy leads to the rise of the extreme voice through its manipulation of free speech. But why judge the Arabs for their extremism. They are merely following what the Germans did so well in the 1930s. Arab civilization may be rich and old. So was the German one, arguably richer and more influential before it committed suicide. Those that argue that Islamism is not really part of Islam are mistaken. Nazism was part of Germany. Arguably the coming of democracy brought on Nazism. So it did Communism, which worked to exploit freedom of speech to destroy democracy. Democracy, far from being that robust and muscular thing, is a fragile flower that is snuffed out easily. It must be guarded, like any flower garden, by vicious dogs and men with guns. And when weeds grow up inside the garden sometimes part of the garden must be torn up in order to find and eradicate the weeds. Planting a few roses amid the vines in some savage land and then wondering why they die out is patently stupid. Wondering why the vines take advantage of the roses and feed off them and climb on them is also ignorant. The Doha debate is one such fragile rose set amongst hate and anger and extremism.

Rich and out of touch: reflections on Israel's elections in 2009
February 12th, 2009
Seth J. Frantzman

On the day after the elections there appeared in Haaretz a story about the failure of the Meretz party in Israel. It quoted Haim Oron, the leader of the party, as saying that he was hoping once the IDF votes were counted that Meretz might receive another seat in the Israeli Parliament. He was praying for a miracle because the current results showed Meretz slipping to only three mandates, a drastic decline from its heady days when it might have received 8. But Meretz wasn't the only loser. Labor, the traditional party of Israel that brought the country up and led it from independence in 1948 to 1977 received only 13 mandates, a dismal failure. Together the 'left' bloc would have only 16 seats in the Knesset, a mere 15% of the seats. Together they were doing barely better than the Arab parties which received 11 mandates.

Haim Oron was fantasizing because only weeks before his own party members had declared that the IDF might have committed 'war crimes' in the Gaza war of 2009. It was his party members who had suggested bringing charges in Europe against the very army that his party had supported sending to the Gaza strip in December of 2008. But this is Israel and in Israel the same people that will send the soldiers to die will later bring Europeans to charge them with war crimes. The same people who will send the soldiers to die will vacation on the Riviera where their own countrymen, because of being officers in the IDF, may not go for fear of arrest by the very arrest warrants that these Israelis helped bring against their countrymen.

The left in Israel, the extreme left, the white left, the left of the students and the pasty faced old people, is falling over itself that their beliefs have been so roundly repudiated by democracy. It is no surprise that civics teachers declared that when their students voted for Yisrael Beitanu in mock elections that the students "hadn't learned the lessons about democracy." In fact the students had learned about democracy but this is not the democracy of the left and the left's knee jerk reaction to democracy that does no suit them is to simply declare that it is not a democracy. It is like saying there is no 'civil society'. The left predicates the idea of 'civil' and 'democracy' on the idea that only leftists can embrace these ideas.

The left in Israel represents a truly bizarre phenomenon. For years it ran the state with an iron fist. It dominated industry, investing, the newspapers, the economy, politics and the university. It brought in hundreds of thousands of Jews and settled the Sephardim on the borders next to the Arabs and let them bear the brunt of the terror infiltrations of the 1950s and 1960s. Then it launched a war and conquered the West Bank, Gaza and the Sinai and it sent settlers to those places. It gladly sent its communist settlers to build Kibbutzim in the Jordan valley and the Golan.

But when its grip on power began to loosen with the election of Menachem Begin in 1977 it supposedly began 'soul searching'. Begin had triumphed through the votes of the small peoples, the peoples relegated to the 'development towns' to the inner cities and the borders. These were the workers, the original people who did the 'Arab work'. And in 1977 it was the old Labour Zionist elite, the Poland born and European bred Jews who had come in the three Aliyot, the Yekkes from the 1930s, who declared arrogantly 'we will beat them [Likud and Begin] the way we beat the Arabs.' But they could not use on their own people the army they had built to defeat the Arabs and democracy brought them down. Soul searching led to the protests of 1982 against the 'Sabra and Shatilla massacre.' This was when the left began to turn on the country, realizing it was no longer its country it began to have a hate for the institutions it had built, especially the army. The academy, built so proudly by the left where German was once heard more than Hebrew, and once led by Judah Leib Magnus, an American reform Jewish rabbi who was the first leader of the 'Bi-nationalists' (Brit Shalom), who lived in a former Arab home in Talbiyeh, enjoying the fruits of the 1948 victory and who left Israel as one of the first 'disillusioned' elitists, the academy turned on the state. It began to publish about the evils of Zionists, the 'New historians' told of the Palestinian refugees and 'ethnic-cleansing' and it compared Zionism to colonialism, to the WASP elite of the U.S, to an 'ethnocratic settler state', to Apartheid, to 'Judeo-nazis', to the Crusaders, everything in order to cast aspersions on the state, the state which paid the salaries of those that hated it the most.

Increasingly the left isolated itself, on its Kibbutzes, in Rehavia, in the best neighborhoods and 'garden cities' of the country. In the 'white city' of Tel Aviv. It put up fences, not as it had once done to defend against Arab infiltrators, but to defend against its own people. Increasingly it felt drawn to Europe. Even as it defined its own country as a 'white apartheid colonial nazi crusader regime' it felt apart from the country. Its voices, like Amos Alon, described a country overrun by Sephardim and Mizrachim. Even as it romanticized the Arabs it had a deep disdain for those 'Arab Jews' that had come to the country and now were a majority. And then more terrible hordes came. Begin, on hearing of the Ethiopian Jews, said 'Bring them to me'. And they came. And then in the 1990s came the Russians. Now there were not only Cossacks and Kavkazim and white Russians in Israel but Blacks as well. And while every good leftist everywhere loves the 'other' he does not like it when it is part of the self. Leftists like the other when it is in a foreign place or so long as it knows to stay in its 'exotic ghetto'. But when the other can go to the same cinemas and the same night clubs there is a problem. But the other was relegated to the lower positions in society, made to work as security guards at the wealthy coffee shops and cinemas and dance halls where the bourgeoisie leftist elite gathered, with their khaffiyas around their necks and their European friends and their non-kosher shrimp platters, to discuss the 'nazi' state they lived in. Fewer and fewer children of the left, the few that they had since most do not have children, were interested in national or army service and they found themselves living abroad. The last Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert's family is no exception. They all live abroad and are artists and do not work in business or the professions. They are professional loafers, enjoying the good life, and many are professional NGO workers and activists, part of the New International Elite.

The good leftists of Israel journeyed from their gated communities to their receptions in Europe where they were wined and dined and could tell Europeans how the 'Jews are the new Nazis, isn't that an irony.' They worked in Europe to bring war crimes charges against their own people and raise money for Palestinians. They took jobs at European universities and then supported the boycott of their own universities. And all the while they received acclaim as being the 'lone voice' against their own people (The Independent called Avraham Burg 'Israel's prophet'). They wrote books such as Politicide and The Ethnic cleansing of Palestine and Whose Left in Israel and Architecture of the Occupation. After the disengagement they went to Gaza on protest boats as Jeff Halper and Amira Hass did and they were celebrated for it. They built coexistence villages such as Neve Shalom where they marched in lockstep and voted for Arab nationalist parties.

And then they threw up their hands in dismay in 2009 when they received less and less votes. They had already deigned their old political party, Labor, as not sufficiently leftist enough for them. Their student contingents even voted Hadash, the Arab Communist Party. And photos of the Meretz gatherings during and after the election show the same unhappy faces, universally pasty and fair skinned, having not gotten enough sun. White, wealthy and out of touch. While voters for Shas, Ahad Laiumi or Yisrael Beitanu came on buses, the elites of Meretz came in BMWs. In fact during the Intifada of 2000-2004 few of these Meretz voters died in terror attacks because few of them had to go on the buses that were a favorite target of Palestinian terror. And few of them died in the army units, whether reserve units or regular, because few of them served, having joined 'conscientious objector' clubs already in high school and having free legal assistance from the best wealthy elite lawyers in the country, such as fellow traveler Michael Sfard.

Meretz is a universally white party. While it places a few Arabs on its list in places that will not garner seats in the Knesset, it is universally white and wealthy and elitist. And it wonders why this recipe does not work. There is not a Sephardie in sight. There certainly is no Russian or Ethiopian, unless they are working as security guards at the door or as valets or waiters at the party functions. They speak of equality, but just as they speak of 'democracy', it is not an equality that means the dirty faces of the Republic shall be allowed in the hallowed halls of its debating chambers or the ivory towers of its universities. In fact the great irony of the social sciences at the university is that they speak so much of the discrimination against the Sephardim and others and yet they don't actually ever seem to hire any Sephardim, not to mention women and other people they always talk about being discriminated against. Some of the best members of the academy who preach the most about feminism, such as Eyal Ben-Ari, are actually accused of raping their female doctoral students.

Zahava Gal On, one of the few decent people of Meretz, who fought tirelessly for harsher penalties for traffickers in women, was denied her seat when Meretz performed poorly. She was number four on the list. For a party that spoke of equality it is not only a surprise to not see a Sephardie but it is interesting to see the women relegated to number 4.

Leftism is the enemy of humanity. Israel is a case study in this. It, the left, builds a state. It carries out the war that leads to the foundation. Then it brings the immigrants. It crushes them under its boot. Then it fights more wars. Then its democracy leads to its party losing power. Then it calls its own army, that it created, 'war criminals.' It hires the poor it disdains to guard it from the terrorism that it supports. It takes the salary from the same state that it calls for boycotts of. It lives abroad and takes the most from the state, and yet it hates the state the most. It works to undermine the current state and re-write the history of the state in order to make it less legitimate (for instance Shlomo Sand, a professor at Tel Aviv University, even re-wrote the history of the Jewish people, describing them all as recent converts, to further deligitimize his religion and his country). And all the while it benefits. It sends the soldiers to die, in an army it would never send its children to, and then it makes it so those soldiers cannot even travel abroad for fear of prosecution as 'war criminals' in charges that it, the left, documents for the international community. Then it wonders why it loses elections. It goes home to some of the larger and more posh houses in the nation and it then calls for a right of return for Palestinian refugees, while it actually inhabits those very Palestinian homes from 1948, now transformed, as they were at Ein Houd, into 'artists colonies'.

That is the evil of the left. It creates something and then it lives like a parasite, taking the most of the fruits and giving nothing. It sends other people to die for it and expects the poor to protect its lifestyle.

The most important thing to never surrender to an elite that will order others to do what it will not. An elite that overtaxes the working classes, the businessmen, and then lives off those taxes as 'public intellectuals' and then works to destroy the foundations of the state. An elite that hates minorities and will never tolerate them except as cocktail waitresses or perhaps in display as some 'exotic' friend to be brought out at some party to be shown to friends like a painting. That elite is the scourge of every western democracy and of every country. From Russia to India to Serbia the wealthiest members of society, the NGO workers, the 'international workers', the ones who travel abroad the most, the intellectuals, they are the ones that hate the country the most and condemn it the most. Sometimes, as in Russia, they defend the war criminals and the terrorist Chechans and then they sometimes die at the hands of some people who tire of their collaboration. But this is rare. It is more common that they move abroad and live as 'dissidents', having collected enough blood from their own country they move to another to get the accolades as 'human rights dissidents'. But they are not dissidents. Alexander Solzynitsyn was a dissident. He loved his nation and lived modestly on its behalf abroad. And he offended those Americans who wanted him to be self hating.

Think of Iran where those who opposed the Shah the most were the intellectuals, the secular intellectuals. They received the most freedom and the most money under the very system they hated. After the Shah fell and their 'democracy' brought the Ayatollahs to power they all fled the country, because they had the means, connections and passports to do so, and they now live abroad as 'dissidents' against the very regime they created. It is no surprise that in Turkey those who oppose the 'deep state' the most are secular intellectuals. Those who support the rise in Islamism are actually those who will lose the most from it. And yet it is they who fight for the 'right' of Islamists to Islamify the state and it is they who protest on behalf of segregating women in university and places headscarves on women. They who received the most from Turkey's system are the ones that hate it the most and the thing they hate the most in Turkey is the army which they believe threatens 'democracy'. The army, the thing that guarantees them their secular freedoms, it is that institution that they hate the most. Think of Professor Sternhell, paid by the state, who encouraged terrorist organizations to murder Jews living in the settlements, but asked the terrorists to refrain from bombing 'inside the Green line', coincidentally where he happens to live. Arthur Goldreich was born in South Africa in 1929. He came to Israel in 1948 and fought in the 1948 war. He worked as an artist. Then he returned to South Africa where he became a supporter of terrorism by the ANC and worked to cause terrorism. Arrested, he fled back to Israel where he then became a critic of Israel, comparing its crimes to those of the Nazis. Does history know no justice. A man who benefited from Apartheid, who actually fought the Arabs in 1948 and he is the one who chooses to fight Aparthied, which gave him a great deal, and Israel, where he deplores the "abhorrent racism in Israeli society all the way up to cabinet ministers who advocate the forced removal of Arabs." But it is Goldreich himself who removed some of those Arabs in 1948 and he doesn't seem to be giving his artists house in Herziliya back to them. Yet the Goldreichs and Sternhells would encourage the Palestinian terrorists to kill 'settlers' who live beyond a line they have created in their head, a line that separates their settlements 'inside the green line' from the other settlements. It is the Goldreichs and the Sternhells who will say 'murder him on that side of the line', but leave me alone. And yet some of those 'settlers' condemned to death are immigrants who came in the 1980s, poor people from Russia and Ethiopia who could not afford homes in Herziliya alongside the Goldreichs or in Rehavia alongside Sternhell. Sternhell himself fought in the 1967 Six Day War. He himself helped create the occupation beyond the Green Line and he himself advocates the killing of those beyond it and abhors the very 'occupation' he created. Is there any greater Chutzpah? Is there a greater evil then to encourage a terrorist to murder poor immigrants, poor people, and yet ask them not to bomb the wealthy in their neihgbourhoods? Can there be a greater evil then to make the poor be a buffer of flesh against the terror while condemning those poor as 'occupiers' and 'nazis'? There cannot.

It cannot win elections and it then calls those elections 'not a democracy'. That is its way. The elite of today grows directly from the aristocracy of yesterday. In many cases it is the same families in fact, from WASPs in the U.S to the Ashkenazi secular elite of Israel who came on the first, second and third Aliyah. Its disdain for democracy is that of the elite. Its love of free speech is only the speech that it likes and its love of 'civics' is only the civics that imparts its self hating values. The aristocracy which once formed the tip of the spear of the nation, which shouldered the responsibilities in war and which died in droves at the Somme or Paschendale or Agincourt. That was the old Aristocracy. It sacrificed for the nation. It understood its wellbeing was linked directly to the nation. When the nation had to struggle, so it struggled, even melting down its jewelry to fund the struggle. But with the rise in democracy it changed. It became lazy and fat. It stopped working as the serfs and peasants and slaves that had maintained it drifted off the fields to find work in the cities. It was no longer paternalistic towards the people. Disconnected, it found jobs in government or activism or 'international' groups. It got involved in causes and found ways for the government to fund its causes. Disconnected from the people it became disillusioned with the very notion of the 'state'. It experimented with extremes such as Communism. It sometimes turned traitor, the way Philby did in England, and aided the Communists, as Alger Hiss did in the U.S. More often it moved abroad and became part of 'expat' communities. It championed the re-writing of history, so that it heaped scorn on its own nations' history. It could do this because it no longer felt a part of its nation and increasingly felt part of the 'humanity' as a whole. As an elite it felt that since it had built up the nation that it had an intimate right and the knowledge to tear it down.

The alienation of the bourgeoisie from the state is a fascinating phenomenon. Marx spoke of an alienation of people from their labour. But an increasing middle class has meant more people share the fruits of their labour. Yet the wealthy have no labour. And with the rise of average people they have no duty as patrons or as masters of estates. Landless they wander from place to place, rootless, they seek to deracinate themselves and their nations. They love the other more than the self, converting to his religion and ensconcing themselves in strange religions that are not their own, whirling like Sufis and putting on red 'Kabbalah' bracelets and saying 'Om' in Yoga trances. The women degrade themselves more and more because they have no sense of honour or tradition and the men are not manly or responsible. In fact it is they who cast aspersions on the very ideas of 'duty, morals, God, honour, country, manhood and morality'. They have no duty to anything. They are the very opposite of the chivalric virtues that once underscored the European knights of old. Ironically it was Marxism and its ideas helped alienate them.

If one thinks back to the American revolutionaries, mostly elites and landowners all of them, they shared the burden of their revolution. As Ben Franklin quipped 'we must all hang together, else we shall most assuredly all hang separately.' According to one common history of them; "five signers were captured by the British as traitors. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought as soldiers in the war. Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated. A number of them were bankrupted by the war." Should we ask today how many of those on the extreme left, those who defined themselves as 'the only real left' do anything for the country that provides them with so much. They take their citizenship for granted and they declare their own countries non-democratic.

The Israeli case is an extreme one. Because Israel is a small country it is also easier to see the direct trajectory of the left and its one time love for the state and its present hatred for it and how it came about and how it reeks of elitism and racism.