Doing research for tomorrow’s column, I ran across a chapter most Ron Paul supporters probably don’t know about.
The quiet campaign against provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may have had something to do with the proposal by Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas, on Thursday to eliminate Section 404 entirely. In a statement, the congressman said the provision “has raised the costs of doing business, thus causing foreign companies to withdraw from American markets and retarding economic growth.”
What’s that about?
Section 404 requires companies and their auditors to assess the companies’ internal controls, which are the practices or systems for keeping records and preventing abuse or fraud.
Ron Paul, enemy of the Iraq war — and friend of corporate fraud?
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Here is Campbell's letter, from Aspen Daily News | Aspen, Colorado:
The hateful, lunatic aspect of this conspiracy theory is readily apparent. It is the same sort of belief in an overarching international Jewish conspiracy that motivated the White Russians, Nazis, neo-Nazis, Christian Identity movement, Islamists and other promoters of hatred of Jews.
Letter to the Editor -Mon 11/19/2007 09:00PM MST
Alan Feldman, speaking for the board of directors of Grassroots TV, in his recent letter, (Nov. 12, “A new policy at Grassroots), states: “In fact, we would like the community to know that the proponent of the film in question (me) had been asked to come on the station and produce a civil, dialogue-based show that debates whatever issues he would like debated. He, however, rejected this opportunity; even after members of the board generously offered to underwrite the costs to produce this program.”
This is simply not true. I have never yet communicated to the board in any form that I rejected their offer. To say so is misleading and dishonest.
Feldman says: “After this prescreening (of “Judea Declares War on Germany), it seemed readily apparent to the board that this film presented patently inflammatory and obscene subject matter.” Oh, I did not see anything inflammatory or obscene. What I saw was evidence presented in a matter of fact way. Who is to be the judge? A board of directors who is mainly Jewish? And a board meeting packed with mostly Jewish reactionaries?
What could the reason be they don’t want information getting out to the general public? Obviously, if there is overwhelming evidence to support their version of the Holocaust history, they needn’t be worried about the introduction of the revisionist version. Everyone watching would just laugh at the presentation. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that this has nothing whatsoever to do with hate, and everything to do with an attempt to hide the truth. After all, you wouldn’t want indoctrinated and brainwashed Jews and “Christian” Zionists to learn that 6 million Jews were not deliberately murdered in concentration camps. According to the best information available, approximately 300,000 people died during the war in all the concentration camps from all causes. And the vast majority of those were from disease.
You wouldn’t want everyone to know that Auschwitz had a post office, a medical clinic, dental care, a theater, a symphony made up of inmates, a swimming pool, a brothel, a library and organized soccer games.
The film in question claims that there were no gas chambers used to kill anyone. This is backed up by logic and a ton of evidence, which you are afraid might get out to the public and thereby destroy the defining image of the Holocaust; that is, gas chambers. And then where would the great sympathy for the poor Jews be? And where would they ever have found the moral backing for the establishment of the state of Israel and for their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese and soon to be Iranians?
You don’t want your fellow Jews to learn that the Zionists and Hitler were in collusion and that the vast majority of the suffering of the Jewish people during World War II can be directly attributed to the Zionists who were willing to sacrifice their “lesser brethren” so that the state of Israel would become a reality.
What you, Mr. Feldman, have turned Grassroots TV into is a gatekeeper of information, not a protector of community standards. The integrity of Grassroots TV has been sacrificed because of your lame excuse of a decision based on phony allegations of hate and obscenity. You and the board and anyone else who supports your decision is afraid of a fair presentation of evidence with the ability to lay out all the facts of the matter. That’s why you support locking people up who might destroy the Holocaust myth. It just wouldn’t do, now would it? It might upset your plans for world domination and enslavement of the rest of humanity.
Wake up, everyone. You have been taken for a ride and if the Zionists have their way, it will be straight to hell.
The "9/11 truth" must disassociate itself from this lunatic world view. If they fail to do so, they lend credence to the charge that their conspiracy theories depend on having a scapegoat on which to pin their charges. Without the scapegoat, where would their movement be?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
from CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker Illegal Ron Paul currency seized «
EVANSVILLE, Indiana (AP) — Federal agents raided the headquarters of a group that produces illegal currency and puts it in circulation, seizing gold, silver and two tons of copper coins featuring Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Agents also took records, computers and froze the bank accounts at the "Liberty Dollar" headquarters during the Thursday raid, Bernard von NotHaus, founder of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act & Internal Revenue Code, said in a posting on the group's Web site.
The organization, which is critical of the Federal Reserve, has repeatedly clashed with the federal government, which contends that the gold, silver and copper coins it produces are illegal. NORFED claims its Liberty Dollars are inflation free and can restore stability to financial markets by allowing commerce based on a currency that does not fluctuate in value like the U.S. dollar.
"They're running scared right now and they had to do something," von NotHaus told The Associated Press Friday. "I'm volunteering to meet the agents and get arrested so we can thrash this out in court."
Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Indianapolis office, declined to comment and referred all questions to the U.S. attorney's office for the Western District of North Carolina. Suellen Pierce, a spokeswoman for that office, also declined to comment.
The raid comes eight months after von NotHaus filed a lawsuit in federal court in Evansville seeking a permanent injunction to stop the federal government from labeling the Liberty Dollar an illegal currency.
The U.S. Mint issued a warning this year that the Liberty Dollar violated the Constitution and warned consumers against using them unsuspectingly.
Paul's campaign said it had not authorized production of the Ron Paul dollars.
"We were aware they existed, but we didn't have any affiliation with them," said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Ron Paul's campaign. "He didn't ask our permission to make them."
One recent example of the latter was an extended attack on Michael Medved, with whom I have no connection and little political common ground. Medved famously picked up on the ronpaulian - neo-Nazi connections that I have much less famously been discussing on my little blog. Apparently, whoever's programming the attach of the killer ronpaulian webbots didn't read one of my pieces on this subject before targeting me for a comment devoted to a lengthy attack on Medved. (By the way, Medved is an easy target for a number of reasons, but the comment was extremely weak both in style and sophistication of analysis. It consisted of few facts and much name-calling). The problem was that I've never mentioned Medved on this blog. I was targeted by some automated system involving web-search alerts. Medved's piece was reposted and linked to extensively and I guess the Paul campaign simply didn't have the manpower to read all the blogs they wanted to post rebuttals on. They just sent out the bots.
It seems that the group calling itself "Jews for Ron Paul" was founded by a "Jew for Jesus" who is in no way Jewish. In fact, he's a Unitarian, raised a Quaker, who now dresses in yarmulke, tzitzis and magen david pendant for his web profile photos and public appearances. That's a funny sort of fraud, impersonating a Jew in order to conceal both the problematic views your candidate has with respect to Israel and his dependence on far-right bigots for support.
So I'm wondering whether the name of the organization should be changed to "Make-believe Jews for Ron Paul" or "Jews for Jesus for Ron Paul". Your comments with alternate suggestions will be posted below.
This blog has received comments and emails from ronpaulians claiming that the group's legit and highlighting the membership of about 15 Jewish libertarians, none of whom seem to be active within the Jewish community and many of whom are longstanding libertarian activists. The other members of the group appear to be not Orthodox, Reform or Conservative, but Jews of the offensive Halloween costume branch of the religion -- a branch with which I am only now becoming familiar.
In the meantime, read the scoop on the make-believers among the true believers here:
from Sultan Knish:
Ron Paul, the Anti-Republican candidate for President and a favorite of White Supremacists like David Duke, has unveiled a new defense strategy to counter charges of Anti-semitism. The campaign of the candidate who claims to disdain ethnic collectivism now boasts an organization called "Jews for Ron Paul."
If Jews for Ron Paul puts you in mind of Jews for Jesus, you're not far wrong. Because Jews for Ron Paul is a scam.
Jim C. Perry (James Christian Perry, the C is short for Christian), the Executive Director of Jews for Ron Paul and heavily featured as the spokesman for the front group. Like many Jews for Jesus figures, Jim C. Perry claims to be an Orthodox Jew. The JTA article (read here) featured many of Perry's grandiose claims.
"For Perry, an Orthodox Jew, there is a connection between his own religious beliefs about personal responsibility and the Libertarian philosophy underpinning Paul's candidacy.
"It's the idea that people are meant to be equal and free in a just society. Those are the same things that draw me to be an observant Orthodox Jew," said Perry. "I believe Judaism puts strong emphasis on individual meaning, personal responsibility," he said, adding that God "calls us to take responsibility for our own actions.".
Here I am a kipah-wearing, fringes-hanging Orthodox Jew..."
The real Jim C. Perry though is not an Orthodox Jew, though he makes a point of dressing up like one until he's virtually a cartoon. He's gay and is currently married to a gay man and a self-identified Churchgoing Unitarian Universalist. Here he identifies himself as a Seminarian. He has another account where he calls himself Reverend Jim C. Perry H.P., M.D.A. (he also claimed to have a doctorate in English which he apparently modestly left off here all at the tender age of 22) and a Pagan Minister. Briefly he appears to have gone Ward Churchill and began calling himself Jim FlyingEagle. (He may have also used James L. Rush and posted at Cherokee Pride as James L. Rushing River pretending to be Cherokee).
When I first wrote about Ron Paul, I noticed a burst of comments from people claiming to be Jewish and Ron Paul supporters. I suspected that most of them were fake, probably at least one of them was really Jim C. Perry who moonlights as a Jewish Ron Paul supporter, when he's not being a Pagan Ron Paul supporter, a Cherokee or a Unitarian Universalist. The JTA story on the Ron Paul campaign and Jim C. Perry or Yakov Perry needs to be changed to reflect the fact that he is not an Orthodox Jew.
The Jews for Ron Paul advisory board also features Burt or Burton Blumert, better known as the publisher of LewRockwell.com, a site named after Ron Paul's former Congressional Chief of Staff, that might be considered slightly to the left of Stormfront. Burton Blumert is not exactly the poster boy for those who would argue that Israel would be better off with Ron Paul.
Consider tidbits like this from his "essays" such as "My Palestinians."It is obvious that Palestine under the British Mandate – an island of freedom and free enterprise as compared to rule by Istambul or Tel Aviv – led its citizens to a love affair with the gold sovereign that becomes more entrenched with time... My Palestinians haven't been calling much lately asking the price of the COIN. Their future doesn't look too bright, but they have survived horrible oppression in and around Israel, and, maybe, just maybe they will persevere."The bulk of the "Jews for Ron Paul" board are associated with LewRockwell.com and with Mises and the Austrian School of Economics. Then there's Ilana Mercer, a WND columnist (a site which hosts pro-israel commentary but also the anti-semitic and anti-israel ravings of Pat Buchanan and Vox Day among others) who penned such articles as "Al Jazeera: Fair, Balanced & Banned""The only fair shake Israel ever gets in this country’s media is from Al-Jazeera. The women anchors are also beautiful and refined,”Lovely.
The simple reality is that the Ron Paul campaign is Anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel but it is also extremely manipulative and deceptive. On the Jews for Ron Paul group, mainly non-Jewish figures hash out ways to sell Ron Paul to Jews utilizing political and religious arguments. The key one that has hit home with some is to claim that Ron Paul will "leave Israel alone."
I have no doubt that Ron Paul would eliminate foreign aid to Israel, but anyone who thinks that a bigot whom the David Duke website proclaims as their King and whose promoters include White Supremacist figures is just going to "leave Israel alone" really has not done a good job of learning from history. People like that don't leave Israel or Jews alone, whether they're libertarians, anarchists, conservatives or liberals.
Personally, I think that this character made a wise decision leaving the phony Indian gig to Ward Churchill and going the phony Jew route.
As I previously posted (read here), former Paul staffer Eric Dondero has claimed that he impersonated a religious Jew to bust up a press conference by Paul opponent "Lefty" Morris during a congressional campaign in the 1990s. (The Sultan Knish blog has more on Dondero here.) Dondero says that Morris had called the press conference to publicize Paul's connections to racist and anti-Semitic groups and individuals, and to Paul's bigoted statements and writings. So Paul's campaign advisers (which included John Birchers and other far right wing nut ronpaulians such as Lew Rockwell) came up with a dirty trick to prevent Morris from making his charges stick. Wearing a yarmulke to the press conference, Dondero says, he stood up, stated that he was a Jew, that he worked closely with Paul and that Paul was not at all bigoted. After this, his story goes, the issue was abandoned and Paul won the election.
Dondero now says that this dirty trick deceived on several levels. Although he says he has some Jewish ancestry via his father, he was not raised Jewish and did not identify as such. He also now says that Paul is a bigot and has longstanding connections to problematic groups. Dondero's assessment of Paul's harping on aid to Israel whenever discussing an end to foreign aid is right on the money. Paul never campaigns against aid to any other country by name. Dondero points to this as evidence of Paul's bias and he seems to be right. I cannot vouch for Dondero's reliability as a source of information, but his charges raise interesting questions and are worth considering. Previous Paul campaigns may have used the phony Jew tactic before.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Janet Lahr Lewis is a professional anti-Israel activist who (according to her bio) worked for Sabeel's main office in Jerusalem for 10 years and has since served as the executive director of Friends of Sabeel for two years, in which position she runs their international outreach operations. She has also achieved a level of prominence within the United Methodist Church, which is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the U.S. Her UMC profile lists her as the UMC "liaison between ecumenical groups and Israel and Palestine"... Janet is the main contact for ... United Methodist visitors who wish to follow the recommendation of the General Conference to spend a significant amount of time in the area with (Israeli and Palestinian) Christians." In other words, the United Methodist Church has installed a strident anti-Israel activist as their primary contact person for groups wishing to conduct fact-finding tours of Israel and the Palestinian territories under church aegis. (More here in this piece on Sabeel)
Lewis, who worked as a civil engineer and "troubleshooter" at a Old Cast Stone Products in Thompson, OH, says she received a calling on a visit to "the Holy Land". According to the bio she posts on the official website for United Methodist missionaries:
I'm not sure how that bio corresponds to the more than 12 years working directly for Naim Ateek at Sabeel, but, putting that aside, the main point is clear: she is the most senior United Methodist missionary in Israel and she is an outspoken partisan for the Palestinians against Israel.
“After taking a typical Holy Land tour and seeing the devastating consequences of the ongoing illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, I experienced not only a ‘call’, but rather an undeniable ‘push’ to go back to that not-so-holy land and do whatever I could to help bring about ‘freedom for the oppressed,’” Janet recalls. She sold her house in the U.S. and volunteered for several years, first in the Galilee, then Bethlehem where she “lived with my neighbors under the heavy hand of injustice and military occupation.”
I was wondering what she's been doing lately , so I googled her name and found that she's on a peculiar type of speaking tour. One targeting small town Methodists with her slick, well-honed message. Lewis has been a woman on a mission of late, going from church to church on a tight schedule, spreading her message of opposing the existence of Israel in the name of peace. On September 26, she hosted a conference with Naim Ateek in Bethlehem. (read here) After that, both his and her U.S. tour began. He went to the Sabeel conference in Boston, and she went on a speaking tour of small town America.
On September 30, Lewis spoke at the Angola, Indiana United Methodist Church, which describes her as "the missionary this church supports" (by which they must mean they send her funds).
On October 25, she addressed the Reno, Nevada First United Methodist Church: "News from Holy Land": "Lewis has served in the Holy Land since 1994, coordinating relations between ecumenical groups and their hosts. She is an educator, organizer, journalist and worship leader, working towards a peace for Palestinians and Israelis."
She was in California for a meeting with the good people of Chico, California's Trinity United Methodist Church on October 27. More here, this time featuring an "Arabic Dinner" (in a covered dish?).
On November 2, Lewis "gave the message" at a worship service and an "in-depth presentation of her work" at a potluck dinner at the St. Thomas United Methodist Church of Glen Elyn, Illinois. "Come and learn a little about one place where the church is at work in the world."
From November 2: Wesley United Methodist Church, Naperville: Announcements:
"UM Missionary in Israel/Palestine to Speak at Wesley; Friday, Nov. 2 @ 8 pmThen this notice of another event from a local Illinois paper:
The End the Occupation (ETO) group has invited Janet Lahr Lewis to come to speak at Wesley after their monthly potluck, at 8 pm on Friday, November 2.
Janet Lahr Lewis is a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and is serving as a liaison between ecumenical groups in Israel and Palestine. Come and hear the story that isn’t told in the American press about life in the occupied territories and the justice of the Palestinian cause. You may wish ~ are welcome ~ to come to the ETO potluck which precedes her presentation at 7 pm."
"Nov. 4: Good Samaritan United Methodist Church will feature missionary Janet Lahr Lewis at 10 a.m. Nov. 4 at the church, 960 W. Army Trail Road, Addison. She will describe her Mission of Peace in Palestine and Jerusalem. Donations for her work will be taken and a luncheon will follow. For details, call (630) 543-3725."Then this from the Downers Grove Illinois First United Methodist Church calendar:
"Tuesday, November 6, 2007: Stories from the Holy Land: Janet Lahr Lewis
Time : 7:00pm to 9:00pm Description: Janet is a UM missionary working in Palestine, sponsored by our Conference. Location: Chapel Hall Organizer: Jonathan Dean"
Then this from Fairview United Methodist Church of Ohio's Miami Valley area:
Monday, Nov. 12 at Fairview UMC, Dayton, 7:00 p.m. Reception following.There was this fund-raising appeal from the November newsletter of the First United Methodist Church of Bloomfield, Indiana:
828 W. Fairview Avenue, Dayton, OH 45406 Ph: (937) 274-2178
Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Aldersgate UMC, Huber Heights, 7:00 p.m. Soup Supper at 6:00 p.m.
5464 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights, OH Ph: (937)-233-8151.
Janet Lahr Lewis, a missionary through the General Board of Global Ministries, serves as the Coordinator of Friends of Sabeel-International at the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, Palestine. Friends of Sabeel support the work of Sabeel-Jerusalem by promoting nonviolent solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Janet's responsibilities are numerous. She circulates updates about developments in the ongoing crisis and suggests courses of action people can take to address it. She educates visitors, organizes conferences, develops media campaigns, offers worship opportunities, hosts delegations to the area and oversees other special events.
“Christ calls us all to be ministers of justice,” she observes. “Through my work with the Palestinian Christian community, I will be able to answer this call by working for a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis, so that reconciliation and healing can occur.”
A native of Cleveland, OH, Janet earned an associate degree in civil engineering and architectural design from Lakeland College and has studied theater arts at Texas Christian University. Prior to her current assignment, she worked for twelve years with
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. She has also worked closely with Archbishop Elias Chacour, a prominent Palestine Christian peace activist.
The United Methodist Women geographic mission study for 2008 is on Palestine, so this is an excellent opportunity to receive current, first-hand information about the area. We invite you to join us for these presentations.
November Outreach Spotlight:And this notice of fund-raising from the ground up: The Lake Villa, Illinois United Methodist Church collected $26.85 in pennies for Lewis between April and September. (They had a collection bucket in the back of the sanctuary).
UM MISSIONARY LIAISON IN JERUSALEM
What it is: The United Methodist Church liaison in Jerusalem is a ministry established in 1987 at the request of Palestinian churches. Janet Lahr Lewis has recently succeeded Rev. Sandra Olewine in this mission, serving as Coordinator of Friends of Sabeel-International. Friends of Sabeel is a network of international organizations that promotes nonviolent solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With seemingly endless challenges in the Middle East, it is important that we continue to support this vital United Methodist mission. Please consider making a donation by cash or check in this month’s yellow mission envelope. Make checks payable to FUMC with Missionary in Jerusalem on the memo line.
What it means: “After taking a typical Holy Land tour and seeing the devastating consequences of the ongoing illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, I experienced not only a ‘call,’ but rather an undeniable ‘push’ to go back to that not-so-holy land and do whatever I could to help bring about ‘freedom for the oppressed,’” Janet recalls. She sold her house in the U.S. and volunteered for several years, first in Galilee, then in Bethlehem where she “lived with my neighbors under the heavy hand of injustice and military occupation.” “Christ calls us all to be ministers of justice... Through my work with the Palestinian Christian community and Sabeel, I will be able to answer this call by working for a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis, so that reconciliation and healing can occur.”
-Janet Lahr Lewis
That's just what I found in a brief google search, so I assume I'm missing most of her speaking engagements. Too much information? Why am I boring you with this trivia? Grassroots organizing can shape debates and influence policy-making virtually unseen. The religious anti-Zionism of Sabeel, Janet Lahr Lewis' message, is intrinsically anti-Semitic and is aimed at delegitimizing the state of Israel. This very extreme message is working its way into the mainstream because professional propagandists like Lewis are given a forum in American churches. That's how public opinion is being shaped from the ground up.
During the Great Depression, Father Coughlin spun a yarn about Jewish bankers taking control of the world. Father Coughlin proved that a virulently anti-Semitic message can be made acceptable to millions of American Christians given the right climate. He used the mass-media to spread his hatred, so everybody knew what he was saying when he said it. Sabeel activists like Janet Lahr Lewis are largely flying beneath the radar, helping to frame the debate and shaping future generations outside the awareness of the mass media. That's how the divestment campaigns have gotten as far as they have. In spite of the fact that they haven't yet succeeded, they have become part of the mainstream debate. That is, in and of itself, a sort of success for Sabeel. They can wait for the political climate to change to see if the ideas they're planting will grow.
So now these ideas are promoted in small town churches, by people respected and liked within their communities. That is why Janet Lahr Lewis' speaking tour is important.
We must not let a new generation of anti-Semitic demagogues put a friendly, acceptable face on bigotry.
Janet Lahr Lewis
Friday, November 9, 2007
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Interpol's decision to uphold arrest warrants against five Iranian suspects in a deadly 1994 bombing against a Jewish organization in Argentina was welcomed by Israel Thursday but slammed by Iran.
"It sends the following message to the terrorists -- that even if takes time, they need to know that they will eventually be brought to book," Israel's ambassador to Argentina Raphael Eldad told public radio.
Iran, which had fought hard to have the arrest warrants lifted, reacted angrily to the decision taken by a two-thirds majority at the world police body's annual general assembly in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.
"Iran strongly denounces the decision of Interpol to uphold the warrants requested by the Argentine judiciary," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a statement issued in Tehran.
"Although the issuing of such warrants by Interpol does not amount to a confirmation of Argentina's claims of Iranian involvement in the AIMA (Argentine Israeli Mutual Association) bombing, we were not expecting this professional body to tarnish its legal status by accepting the political will of the Zionist regime," he said.
Iran has always blamed Israel and its friends in the United States for Argentine prosecutors' allegations that it masterminded the bombing and entrusted its execution to its Lebanese ally, Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
"Transferring the pressures from the Argentine government to Interpol in order to fulfil political aims is a matter of great sorrow and is contrary to international law and utterly rejected and unacceptable," said Hosseini.
He added that Iran would continue "to fight through legal channels for the rights of its citizens" facing the arrest warrants, who include former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian and former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaei as well as three diplomats.
Arrest warrants were initially issued against three other senior Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, in November last year but they were lifted by Interpol's executive committee in March.
The Israeli ambassador acknowledged that there was no immediate prospect of any arrest being made in connection with the July 1994 bombing which levelled the seven-floor AIMA building in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people.
"I hope that the arrest warrants will be carried out but I am not very optimistic as Iran is not in the habit of cooperation in this sort of affair," Eldad said.
In a statement after Wednesday's meeting, Interpol president Jackie Selebi insisted that the agency had treated both sides "fairly and impartially" in reviewing the arrest warrants.
Argentina's chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman rejected any suggestion that the warrants were politically motivated and also acknowledged that it was unlikely that Iran would extradite the suspects.
Rescue workers search the rubble after a powerful explosion destroyed a Buenos Aires building in 1994
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Neo-Nazis are determined to march through Prague's historic Jewish Quarter on the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass program despite a court order banning their demonstrations, the extremists said Thursday on their website.
The city is now bracing for a Saturday evening of tension and street fights as Prague's Jewish groups, politicians and human-rights activists plan to gather in the district to commemorate victims of the pogrom and bar the neo-Nazis from marching there.
"We are not afraid of them," Jewish Liberal Union deputy chairwoman Jirina Novakova said. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg are due to privately meet with Prague Jewish leaders before the commemoration, the Foreign Ministry said.
Officials said that some 1,400 state and city police would be deployed to the streets to maintain order and break up the banned march.
"It will depend on what will happen on the spot," police spokeswoman Eva Brozova said.
The Prague Municipal Court Thursday ended a two-months legal battle over the protest registered by a group whose founders are according to police and human-rights activists "known supporters" of neo-Nazi movements in the Czech Republic.
The police detained the group's leading founder Erik Sedlacek, 25, at a neo-Nazi May Day protest this year, and he had also been charged with hate crimes involving his anti-Semitic texts, the police said.
The Young National Democrats registered their march against Czech participation in the Iraq war to pass through the historic Jewish ghetto in late August.
"In reality, Israel and the American-Israeli lobby are behind the war in Iraq. Therefore there is not a better place here for such a demonstration," the group, which communicates with reporters only via email, told the Respekt weekly.
The extremists registered their march for November 10, or the 69th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom, in which Nazis killed dozens of Germany's Jews, destroyed thousands of their homes, synagogues and businesses, and dispatched some 30,000 Jews to concentration camps.
The group, which denies having links to neo-Nazis, claimed not to have initially known that its protest was to take place on the anniversary of the pogrom.
The group's plan has outraged Prague Jews and politicians of all stripes since first reported in September.
As courts had previously revoked city bans of similar protests, city officials first asked the extremists to relocate their march. But following the uproar the city has banned all march routes registered by the group for November 10.
While lower courts had canceled earlier city bans, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favour of the city on Monday setting the tone for the newest ruling.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
What Jews under 35 feel towards Israel goes beyond apathy to outright resentment.
Sociologists Stephen Cohen and Ari Kelman have now confirmed what everyone already knew: Young American Jews do not care very much about Israel. They are not just apathetic about Israel, that indifference is "giving way to downright alienation," write Cohen and Kelman.
More than half of Jews under 35 said that they would not view the destruction of Israel as a personal tragedy. The death and expulsion of millions is something they could live with. By those standards, they probably would not see the Holocaust as a "personal" tragedy either.
"These results are very upsetting," said Jewish Agency chairman Zev Bielski. He then proceeded to give an inane explanation for those numbers: the comfortable life of most American Jews.
Cohen and Kelman know better. And their answer is summed up in the demographic they did not interview for their study: Orthodox Jews. A survey of young Orthodox Jews would have yielded a diametrically opposed and highly embarrassing result.
Among younger Jews, those for whom their Judaism is important -- primarily the Orthodox -- will remain connected to the fate of their fellow Jews in Israel. Most Orthodox American youth will study in Israel after high school, some for many years. And almost all will visit Israel many times. Eretz Yisrael is not a mere abstraction for them, but the center of the spiritual life of the Jewish people.
The majority of young American Jews and the majority of young Israelis share in common a lack of interest in their Judaism. But that shared negativity provides little basis for a relationship. Shared gene pools won't do it either -- that smacks of racism. And ethnic identity, it turns out, cannot be passed down, or survive the breakup of ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods.
What young Jews under 35 feel towards Israel goes beyond apathy to outright resentment. Israel complicates their social lives and muddies their political identity. Only 54% profess to be comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state at all. In Europe and on elite American campuses, internationalism and a world-without-borders are the rage. The Jews of Israel, with their stubborn insistence on protecting their nation-state, are, as always, out-of-sync.
Young American Jews do not wish to be tarred with their atavisms. On campus and where enlightened folk meet, Israel is scorned as a colonial oppressor. Who wants to be identified as a sympathizer with apartheid? Young American Jews today share fears of being out of step with their enlightened peers.
Molly Umberger, whose mother is program director of the leftist New Israel Fund (NIF), told the Jerusalem Post that she views both Israel and Palestinians as having made lots of mistakes and the situation as complicated, but generally "tries not to think about [ Israel]." (No wonder when Bruce Temkin, the director of the NIF, describes Israel as a "turn-off.") Daniel Alperin, 33, describes his interest in Israel as waning when he began to hear "the bad stuff" -- probably about the time he entered college.
Already the trends lines were pointing in this direction forty years ago. In a 1965 Commentary symposium of younger Jewish intellectuals -- the least religiously identified segment of American Jewry -- only one expressed complete comfort with Israel's creation and pride in its accomplishments, and he eventually made aliyah. The rest expressed various degrees of discomfort with Israel's militarism (and this was before 1967 and the "occupation"). The only Jewish identity they acknowledged at all was that of the "Jew" as the perpetually alienated critic of those in power -- not exactly one upon which to base a connection to other Jews. Now the rest of American Jewry is catching up to those once young intellectuals.
The implications of Cohen and Kelman's findings for American Jewry are great. The historic bargain linking American Jewry and Israel since the founding of the State is coming to an end. The terms of the deal were unspoken, but clear: Israel would provide American Jews with a sense of pride and identity as Jews, and they, in turn, would shower upon Israel their financial and political support. But Israel is no longer a source of pride for many Jews, and the identity it provides is not one which they wish to share.
But the survey signals something else as well: a declining understanding on the part of American Jews of Judaism in terms of a national identity that imposes obligations to one's co-nationals.
Cohen and Kelman are wrong to argue that ethnic identity is being replaced by religious identity. For when young American Jews say that they view their Judaism as a religious not national identity, the religion they refer to is a pretty tepid affair. Precisely because it is so tepid does it fail to provide them a sense of connection to their fellow Jews, whether in America or abroad. It is a religion largely lacking connection to the Land of Israel, and even more importantly to the defining event in Jewish history the giving of Torah at Sinai. Absent the latter, there is no common mission to link the descendants of those who stood at Sinai.
The impact of the declining sense of responsibility to one's fellow Jews is being felt within American Jewry itself, not just in attitudes towards Israel. Already only 6% of giving by mega-Jewish foundations goes to remotely Jewish causes. It is hardly surprising, for instance, that non-Jewish spouses are not eager to contribute to Jewish causes. In time, funding the institutions of American Jewry will become ever more difficult.
The political implications for Israel are large as well. Fortunately, Professors Walt and Mearsheimer are wrong about an Israel Lobby comprised mostly of those with Jewish-sounding names. It is devout Christians, and not some nefarious Israel Lobby, which is the primary bulwark of American support for Israel today. That we have to rely on Christian support, rather than our fellow Jews, however, is a very mixed blessing indeed.
Now the idea that I am either a neo-con or part of a conspiracy would be surprising to those who know me. I'm a liberal Democrat and far too contrarian to participate in any conspiracy, let alone a massive yet top-secret one of the sort imagined by Ronpaulians. I always wonder exactly why such conspiracies would be considered necessary to explain more simply explained phenomena. Occam's Razor was a rule made to broken by conspiracy theorists. It's absolutely impossible for this person to believe that far-right racist extremists support Ron Paul because they legitimately like him -- he believes they must be working for the great neo-con conspiracy. It is similarly impossible for the Ronpaulian conspiracy theorist to accept the idea that bloggers might be reporting on this support because they find it interesting or dangerous on the one hand, or, on the other, because they support an opponent of Paul, but aren't part of a conspiracy. No. Everyone involved must be part of the anti-Ronpaulian conspiracy scheduled to come to fruition just as the inevitable success of Ron Paul's campaign kicks in. That's the only logical explanation.
from the ironically-named on several levels: Too Much Tinfoil: "Ron Paul Train Wreck Coming"
Ron Paul Train Wreck Coming
Gh0d, I hope I’m wrong. I see a trap being laid for Ron Paul.
Today on CNN, I saw a video about Hal Turner. This crazy, sad asshole has his own radio show where he says nutball white supremacist crap all day long and goes so far as to suggest that people shoot their politicians.
Here’s the rub: I remember reading on some blog that Hal Turner gave money to Ron Paul. In fact, he gave the maximum possible allowed under law, which is $2,300. They also have been talking up Alex Jones, although Alex Jones is not a white supremacist. Alex is mostly known for his abrasive, combative style of getting in people’s faces. He’s also been an ardent advocate of the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Here we come to the 5th of November, where the “money bomb” is supposed to go off. The media knows that they won’t be able to keep the lid on it. Instead, they will point out that Hal Turner made a donation to the campaign and may have urged his radio followers to give as well. Maybe Hal Turner (who would be in the back pocket of the FBI’s Cointelpro division, most likely) mentioned the 5th of November idea or even heavily promoted it. It’s guaranteed that, if he did, they’ll trot out a tape of it so as to imply that it was Hal Turner’s promotion of the November 5th event that made it so popular.
Also, it seems that a racist from Stormfront, a neo-Nazi organization, is a Ron Paul organizer in Tennessee. Other scary associations of Ron Paul with neo-Nazis, etc, are found on this website. I, for one, do not believe most of these allegations. Clearly, racists have supported Ron Paul. That’s what the opposition does: they organize counterintelligence and sabotage political movements that can be threatening. See for examples the way the Feds smashed the American Indian Movement, the Black Panthers, and the anti-war movement of the ’60s.
One thing that the campaign might do to counteract these accusations would be to leak information to a known mole in the campaign (every campaign has them) a short list of some possible candidates. Include a few sensible non-white or non-male choices to counteract the racist associations. These should be serious choices. Thomas Sowell comes readily to mind. He and Ron agree on economics and would make an excellent vice presidential candidate.
Another, more explosive choice, although very attractive to the left, would be Russell Means, a former Libertarian Party candidate from 1988, who also ran for governor once or twice. It might behoove them to verify that Russell Means doesn’t hate Ron’s guts first, of course.
Either way, the Paul campaign will become visible and target #1 for the neo-cons and their paid mouthpieces. They had better be ready for this fight.
Interesting to note that this conspiracy theorist is taking contradictory positions, saying that the racists supporting Paul are in on the conspiracy, then saying that he doesn't believe the charges about racist support at all. That's precisely the sort of internal contradiction that conspiracy-minded Ronpaulians work hard to ignore. It's a constant struggle to keep the simple truth from intruding on the Ronpaulian alternate reality.
Monday, November 5, 2007
According to the Pacifica Forum schedule (read here) they are following up last weekend's conference featuring Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review, and this week's talk about Kristallnacht by Pacifica Forum leader Orval Etter, with a talk called "Elie Wiesel's HATE", which it describes as an "analysis of the doctrine of hate enunciated by the Nobel Peace Laureate".
After that the "peace group" will commemorate the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a video presentation concerning "Pearl Harbor Truth" by "Gregory Douglas", a "9/11 truth" advocate, JFK conspiracy theorist, forger of historical documents, and promoter of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
"Gregory Douglas", apparently a pseudonym for someone who has called himself Norwood Burch, Peter Stahl, Brian Harring and countless other names, is associated with the Holocaust denial publication the Barnes Review, for whom he has written and produced audio tapes. "Douglas" has had such a checkered career in Holocaust denial that associates such as David Irving and Mark Weber now condemn him as a charlatan. (Their debunking of "Douglas" is so voluminous that it would take a month to read in its entirety. A taste of their views of Douglas' absurdly consistent career can be sampled -- from Irving here and here (index of 15 documents), and from Weber here and here. Amusingly, "Douglas" borrowed another pseudonym, "Karl Kolcheck", from an old TV series as the byline for a rebuttal of these charges (read here). That's more than enough to get a taste of the absurdity of a debate among professional promoters of falsehoods over what's true. They seem to take almost as much pleasure in promoting hatred of each other as in promoting hatred of Jews. WARNING -- THESE LINKS GO TO HOLOCAUST DENIAL WEBSITES.)
The Southern Poverty Law Center, whom I prefer over Irving, Weber and "Kolcheck" as a source, provides this description of "Douglas" in action promoting "9/11 truth" at the Barnes Review conference in Washington D.C. (read here):
And then there was one "Gregory Douglas," with his top-secret German document proving conclusively the Bush Administration and Israel knew about and likely orchestrated the attacks. "Israel is always involved in everything!" he said.
That certainly got the attention of the attendees. Except, as a sheepish Bill White noted on his "libertarian socialist" website later (White had initially hailed the document as revelatory), it turns out that Douglas is an accused forger.
Veteran European journalist Gitta Sereny has written that Douglas forged a document that he told her was proof that the Americans and British had helped two Nazi war criminals escape Europe in 1945. Douglas' later book on one of them, Gestapo boss Heinrich Muller, was, she wrote, "filth" that was as "fake" as the earlier document.
(A pdf of the Barnes Review's conference report listing Douglas' presentation on "9/11 truth" and advertising for sale both his audio tape on that subject, and his book of JFK conspiracy theories, is available here. Amazon offers Douglas' book, "REGICIDE The Official Assassination of John F. Kennedy", for sale here.)
In case you think that "Douglas" is a harmless amusing nutter, read the following. The Barnes Review website contains a veiled threat to burn a synagogue signed with one of the pseudonyms used by "Douglas" (read here WARNING-- HOLOCAUST DENIAL SITE):
"In passing, I note that a Rabbi in Seattle demanded that the local airport remove Christmas trees from its building unless they put up Jewish religious symbols as well. ... One also hopes that his synagogue is fireproof. Brian Harring"
It's ironic in light of the accusations against him that "Gregory Douglas" is said to be the author (under one of his countless pseudonyms) of Fakes & Frauds of the Third Reich (pictured below).
The school of thought which "Douglas" is slated to represent at the Pacifica Forum is best summarized by the phrase "Pearl Harbor was an inside job". Proponents of this view frequently promote the myth that FDR knew of the attack before it happened but prevented appropriate defensive measures from being taken. His purported motive? To provide an excuse to enter the war against Nazi Germany at the behest of the Jewish lobby. I suspect that is the view "Gregory Douglas" espouses, although I have not seen his video. I presume that Pacifica Forum purchased it from Barnes Review or some similar group and I frankly do not feel comfortable supporting them with my cash.
There's more to come soon on the background of Professor Orval Etter's Pacifica Forum and how it has brought the extreme left and extreme right together to promote hatred of Israel and Jews. In the next installment: Etter's connection to the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a respected national interfaith peace group; and Alison Weir's connection to Pacifica Forum. Also: what does the administration of University of Oregon know about Pacifica Forum and why do they allow it to use university facilities to promote hate groups?
South Africa has once again failed to co-sponsor a United Nations resolution on Holocaust remembrance. Last month the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at the annual general conference, passed a historic resolution calling on the organization to help combat Holocaust denial. Although the resolution was passed unanimously by consensus, 65 countries (including 4 African states) chose to show their explicit support by co-sponsoring.
Why is it that countries like Oman, who do not even recognize the existence of the State of Israel, can sponsor the resolution and not South Africa? What excuse will Pretoria try peddle this time? On the last 2 occasions, the government claimed it was an administrative oversight and regretted the mistake. Well this is now strike number 3 and pathetic excuses just are not going to cut it.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) after their last meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs assured us that a new understanding had been reached. The politics of influence they promised would ensure that this sort of thing does not happen again. This vote is just a further indication of the bankruptcy of their strategy.
It is interesting to contrast South Africa’s continued refusal to support Holocaust resolutions in international arenas with its dramatic policy change on Burma. Last month, the government finally agreed to allow the military Junta’s brutality to be discussed at the UN Security Council. It had previously claimed that the issue did not represent a threat to international peace and security and thus was not relevant for that forum. So what made the difference? The public outcry over its original Burma vote! If the Jewish community had mobilized the same public anger over the Holocaust issue, it is very likely that there would have been a similar change in the government’s behavior. But we did not. We chose rather to whisper softly softly our displeasure and accept lame excuses.
Teddy Roosevelt used to describe the secret to diplomacy as ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’. The key of course is the big stick. For without it, speaking softly just results in no-one hearing!
Countries co-sponsoring the resolutionThe Commission recommends that the General Conference adopt in extenso with a view to its inclusion in the Records of the General Conference, Volume I (Resolutions), the draft resolution contained in paragraph 6 of the Annex of document 34 C/49 submitted by Australia, Canada, Israel, Russian Federation and the United States of America and co-sponsored by Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, 34 C/78 – page 9 Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ukraine and Uruguay, as amended by the Commission.
from Brian Leiter's Law School Reports: Is the Rack torture?
Statements by various individuals as to whether the Rack is torture.
Mukasey: I haven’t been read into the details of the Rack, and I
understand that these details are classified. I am firmly opposed to
torture, torture is illegal, but I do not know whether the Rack is
torture. To comment further would be to expose sincere and loyal
Inquisitors to the possibility of retro-active condemnation.
Bush: I am not going to give aid to our enemies by disclosing details of
our interrogation techniques. But if we do expose detainees to the Rack
it is not torture, because we do not torture.
Cheney: A little stretching never hurt anybody. I understand it’s
actually recommended before exercising.
John Yoo: It is well established that torture involves inflicting pain
equivalent to that of the pain accompanying serious physical injury,
such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. No
one stretched on the Rack has ever suffered fromkidney, lung, or spleen
failure nor, to the best of my recollection, has died. As to impairment
of bodily function, it would be a stretch to include deformed limbs
under this heading.
David Addington: Congress may no more regulate the president's ability
to use the Rack as an interrogation technique than it may regulate his
ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield. Decisions about
whether to stretch or not require the unity in purpose and energy in
action that characterize the presidency rather than Congress.
Gonzalez: I cannot recall what the Rack was. Nor do I have any
recollection about whether I ever discussed it with the President. The
testimony of some that they heard me mention the Rack in a meeting on
March 23rd -- a meeting which I do not remember --may have been a
confusion of Rack with Iraq.
Daniel Levin: I cannot say since I have never been exposed to the Rack.
I do have an appointment next Friday for a 50 minute session in Seville.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
from der SPIEGEL ONLINE:
Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture, has traveled the world investigating abuse and cruelty. As he prepares to deliver his final report, he voices his dismay at the complacency with which torture is regarded -- even in the West.
Fifty-seven-year-old Manfred Nowak sits in a Vienna coffee house, sipping a cup of mint tea, and talks about the worst atrocities in the world -- inhuman dungeons and torture chambers, forgotten prisoners and abuses.
For example in the Nigerian city of Lagos, where the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and his team carried out a surprise inspection of a police station that had given itself the rather lofty title of a detention center. "I've never seen anything like it," Nowak says. "Between 100 and 120 severely tortured people crowded closely together. Three women among them, and children too -- the oldest aged 14. Men with untreated gunshot wounds and limbs that were literally rotting -- a common torture method in Nigeria."
No one was expecting him when he showed up at the police headquarters in Amman on the last day of his visit to Jordan. He ordered a secret cell to be opened. Behind the door lay a prisoner "in a terrible condition." He had been suspended above the ground by his wrists, which had been tied behind his back -- a classic torture method dating back to the Middle Ages. "He could no longer stand, walk or anything," Nowak says. "In these types of cases, emotional distance is impossible. You're fully involved."
You just have to try to forget such experiences as far as that is possible, he continues, making sure none of it affects to you too much -- even if that is "sometimes just not possible." And you have to try to constantly motivate yourself with the "small successes," he adds.
But the Viennese professor for constitutional law and human rights will not have too many positive experiences to recount when he presents his final report to the UN General Assembly in New York this week. His mandate expires in about five months, and the time has come to take stock.
Of course there have been success stories, some at least. In Togo, for example, he was able to obtain the release of 15 forgotten remand prisoners who had been locked in their cells and had no one looking after them. "We have many new friends in Togo now," Nowak says. And then there is Abkhazia, the breakaway Georgian province, where he tracked down a concealed prisoner. It took wardens using heavy duty tools five minutes to break open the completely rusted cell door.
But his overall survey is far from confident -- in fact he calls it "frightening." Torture is still "considered a peccadillo," he says, adding that this is now the case "even in developed countries." To him, the worst thing is that the West, which constantly emphasizes its ideals and values, has lost the moral upper hand.
Nowak has personally visited a dozen countries, from Mongolia to Paraguay. He has inspected many dungeons and jails and spoken to hundreds of prisoners. So he is all the more annoyed when he is denied access to prisons. To this day, he has not been allowed to visit the US military base in Guantanamo, for example -- at least not in order to conduct private, unsupervised interviews with detainees. The US government would not give him permission. But an essential prerequisite for Nowak's investigative missions is the right to decide himself what he wants to see or who he wants to speak to -- including without any prior appointment.
Ever since former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques in Abu Ghraib, "the United States has lost its moral leadership and authority," Nowak believes. "Today, when the Bush administration criticizes other countries for their human rights abuses, no one takes them seriously anymore."
But Europe has not succeeded in taking the place of the United States as the "driving force when it comes to human rights," the lawyer says. On the contrary, he believes the European Union is "seriously tarnished." European governments' cooperation with the CIA in the war on terror and their denial of secret detainee renditions and prison camps has weakened the EU, according to Nowak.
Europe's 'Seriously Tarnished' Reputation
Nowak's has also only had bad experiences in Russia. The UN official has received hundreds of calls for help from within the country since taking office three years ago. He has written dozens of urgent appeals to Moscow and decried human rights abuses there.
Then, in April of last year, he wanted to see the situation for himself in Moscow, the Caucasus and -- most importantly -- Chechnya. Everything had been arranged and was "ready to go." The flights had already been booked. Then Moscow suddenly remembered its own legal regulations, according to which no one is allegedly allowed to speak privately to prisoners. "Not acceptable," was Nowak's answer. The man from Vienna, whose manner is otherwise so charming, can be tough when he wants to be.
That makes it all the more astonishing that China, of all countries, allowed the UN rapporteur into the country. His predecessors had tried in vain for 10 years to be granted permission for such a visit.
What he saw in the prisons and prison camps of Beijing in 2005 still makes him frown angrily: "What is inhuman about the system is the psychological pressure," he says. He talks about the state's continuing "strong desire to re-educate people." Prisoners are not simply locked away; rather, "confessions" are forced out of them. In order to achieve this, civil rights activists, members of the Falun Gong movement, ordinary criminals and others are forced to sit still in their cells for hours at a time and memorize the penal code. In a prison in the north of the country, Nowak even met an African prisoner who was forced to endure this punishment -- even though he did not speak any Chinese.
But he has also concluded that China's ruling elite has long ceased being a "monolithic bloc." Nowak has identified reformist forces close to the Foreign Ministry, while the hardliners are attempting to preserve the communists' claim to power, especially within the intelligence service and security apparatus, according to Nowak.
Nowak believes these hardliners are especially to blame for a new "wave of repression," which is targeting more civil rights activists and dissidents in the run up to the Olympic Games being held in China next year.
But Nowak remains optimistic. "I am still hopeful that things will improve," he says, stroking his moustache. "Major events such as the Games can always shake things up."
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Today sees the publication by Telos Press of the English-language translation of Matthias Kuentzel's Jihad and Jew-Hatred.
The publishers have asked me to review it to coincide with the publication date. And I am very pleased to do so. First, some background is needed.
I have spent my life in dialogue with Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. The longest chapter in my book on the Jewish mediaeval scholar, Abraham ibn Ezra, Deconstructing the Bible, is entitled 'Muslim Hermeneutics'. The first people to purchase the book were the Culture Departments of Iran and Lebanon. In my younger days I took part in Sufi turning sessions, and when I was growing up our family doctor was a Muslim.
Which is why, like a great many people who know something about the Holocaust (in my case first hand information from my parents, who were survivors and also from teaching courses on the subject and visiting areas in Europe where the Holocaust had been perpetrated), I was willing to dismiss Nazi links with people like the Mufti of Jerusalem as motivated purely by political considerations.
However, recent events in Britain have led many of us to believe that politics is never 'pure' and is always motivated by psychology and often also by theology, or a 'world-view'. It is impossible therefore not find this book by a leading German scholar in the field thoroughly convincing.
In my view, only a German can really understand the links between fascism and Muslim revolutionary movements. The early Muslim Brothers were inspired by 1930s European fascism and their writings are a fusion of the Koran and Nazi teaching. They came to the conclusion that not only everything Jewish is evil (which they took for granted), but that 'all evil is Jewish'. For me, this is the nub of the book and is a phrase which should be taken very seriously by all those who believe that 'Islamism' is a mere aberration of the 'pure Islam' which is completely harmless and even beneficial.
Kuentzel points out that although at first the Arabs supported the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in the 1920s, the Moslem Brotherhood changed all that. They became a populist movement, which like the National Socialists a decade later, recruited foreign students to obtain a foot in the door of as many countries as possible. The MB wished to replace democracy by sharia law and a Caliphate, much as Hamas in Gaza wishes to do today.
Kuentzel refers to these activists as a 'community of male zealots' which took 'pleasure in un-pleasure', projecting all their hatred of pleasure on 'the Jews'. Like the Nazis, they were 'dedicated to the restoration of male supremacy'. Women's role would be like that in Nazi Germany - merely in the home and subjected to men.
As for the concept of 'jihad', this had previously been an internal 'fight': now it was externalized as 'holy war'. The ideal was an 'industry of death', fostered by the 'art of death', which was encouraged as being a concept based in the Koran.
Importantly for those in the West who support suicide bombers, the aim of jihad was never to improve one's lot, but insteady to destroy the evil enemy, i.e. the 'Jews'.
The onset of the Nazis encouraged the Egyptian regime, which had at first welcomed Zionism, and even helped Egyptian Jews who wished to emigrate to Mandate Palestine as late as 1933, by threatening their financial interests. Due to Nazi influence the Brotherhood grew from 800 to 200,000 within two years up to 1938.
The Brotherhood distributed Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Arabic. The Nazi ideal of the Volk was paralleled by the Muslim concept of 'umma'. Language, culture and blood ties were what counted. Communities, not individuals, were of paramount importance. Arab youngsters took part in the Hitler Youth marches during the 1938 Nuremberg Rally.
As for the Mufti of Jerusalem, he was interested in the figure of Hitler, per se. Muslims inside and outside Palestine welcomed the Nazi regime and operated the 'Nazi Scouts' in parallel to the Nazi 'Hitler Youth'. The anti-Jewish Nuremberg race laws were welcomed throughout the Arab and Muslim world, but particularly in British-mandate Palestine.
In order to strengthen the Mandate Arabs against the Jews, Hitler offered scholarships to the the Arabs from mandated Palestine and employed them in Germany. The German Propaganda Ministry set up and increased its Arab service (just like the BBC today). Germany also funded Arab spies.
The antisemitism of the Mufti was inherited from his father who had fought against Jewish immigrants to Palestine at the time of the Ottoman Turks. His father had much admired German militrary discipline and incited anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem. The Mufti was responsible for the 1920 anti-Jewish (not anti-Zionist) porgrom in Jerusalem, and then later for the pogroms against the Jews of the holy cities of Tsfat and Hebron. He used his office to 'Islamise anti-Zionism' and provided a religious rationale for the hatred of the Jews.
People who did not conform to his directives were punished in religious fashion, by using sharia law. He also stated that Jewish girls demoralized Arab youth.
The Mufti was even invited to address the Imams of the Bosnian SS division.
After World War II, many Nazis escaped to Egypt and continued their 'war against the Jews' in safety. They denied and yet approved of the Shoah and this permitted them to explain support for the establishment of the State of Israel as an attack on the Arabs. Just as now, anyone who refused to cooperate with this approach was murdered as a 'collaborater'.
The escalation of the so-called 'Palestinian conflict' was thus the result of a purposeful campaign based on the theological concept of Islamic Holy War. The Moslem Brotherhood and the Mufti worked together to usher in a new Caliphate based on sharia law. It was thus the shared hatred of the Jews which became the bond which tied disparate Arab groupings together. In other words, revolutionary antisemitism was the core of modern jihadism. As Kuentzel states:
[T]he delusion suppressed in Germany after May 8th, 1945, found its most fruitful exile in the Arab world, where the Muslim Brothers now disposed of a million followers
Kuentzel then deals with Egyptian Islamism from Nasser to the present day. He differentiates between the mythology of the Jew in Christianity and in Islam. In Christianity, Jews have been depicted as the dark and demonic slayers of God. In Islam, however, the Jews were expelled and then exterminated by Muhammad. This led the Muslims to regard the Jews as hostile and the 'worst enemies of the believers' (Koran: sura 5, verse 85).
Muslim preachers used this phrase as a paradigm for the way they would treat israel. The Jews, and thus Israel, were regarded as weak, as 'an object more of ridicule than of fear'. Nasser and Sadat had ties both with the Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Nasser was, however, against introducing sharia law to Egypt. However, he encouraged the settlement of former Nazis in Egypt and the promulgation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Nasser denied the reality of the Holocaust and openly sympathised with the Nazi cause.
Because of his condescending attitude towards Jews, based in their early history under Islam, he could not come to terms with the Israeli victory of the Six Day War in 1967, which entirely destroyed the Egyptian army. He said: 'No to peace; No to recognition of Israel' and 'No to talks with Israel'. And he intensified every effort towards the next war. In 1968 he said:
Life will be meaningless and worthless to us until every inch of Arab soil is liberated
Nasser's solution for Egypt's growing inflation problem was Islamisation of factories, universities, the media and mosques. In 1971 he introduced sharia law and encouraged the formerly-banned Muslim Brotherhood. The main goal of the Islamists was the 'struggle against unbelievers'.
The epistemology of the Islamists is of interest here. Human beings cannot produce new knowledge. Instead, what they do is to 'discern God's will' through the study of holy texts, which are to be taken literally. For example the Koranic view that 'Allah changed Jews into apes and pigs' (sura 5, verse 60) was taken literally.
Western science was regarded as the 'intellectual invasion' of the world of Islam. The goal of Muslim academics was to 'de-westernize' sciences, to free them from the principles of doubt and conjecture, which is their hallmark.
The regime encouraged 'submission' and 'dominance' of the world, as advocated by the Koran. The Muslims were to become the 'guardians over humanity'. In 2002, Al Qa'ida was to repeat this view (first expressed many years earlier) that the '
entire earth must be subject to the religion of Allah'.
The world was divided into the two sectors of Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam) and 'Dar al-Harb' (House of War), the sector of the unbelievers. The aim was:
to learn how to use modern weapons and more than that, to produce and develop them so that we can strike our enemies
The State of Israel was particularly heated as lying within the 'Dar al-Islam'. The situation in Palestine was seen as a re-enaction of the encounter of Muhammad with the Jews. Muhammad's massacre of the Jews was seen 'as the model for current policy towards Israel'.
Kuentzel focuses particularly on Sayyid Kutb, an Egyptian Muslim Brother, who became more widely read even than the Koran, which was interpreted through him. Kutb compared the whole world to Mecca before it was redeemed by Muhammad in a 'bloody war'. The real enemy was the 'Jews', a combination of classic Muslim Jew hatred and the conspiracy theory side of European antisemitism.
To ape 'Mein Kampf', Kutb wrote a book entitled Our Struggle with the Jews, distributed by Saudi Arabia in 1970. In this book, the Jews are regarded as having been the eternal enemy of the Muslim community and having launched a war against Islam for the last 14 centuries. In addition, the Jews are said to be responsible for all their own sufferings, including those of the Shoah. Kutb states that:
Allah ... brought Hitler to rule over them
He also links the idea of the rightness of the Shoah with the erasing of Israel from the map. Not only is everything Jewish evil, but everything evil is Jewish, especially sexuality and sensuality. The Jews are accused of destroying the family. Any Muslim who deviates slightly from sharia law is deemed a 'zionist agent'.
The idea that Hitler was a 'messenger of Allah to punish the Jews' has influenced Islamists ever since.
In 1977, Sadat broke ranks and addressed the Israeli Knesset. A peace treaty followed in 1979 and Israel withdrew from Sinai, thus giving up 90% of the territory occupied in 1967. In 1981, Sadat was murdered.
The Muslim Brotherhood stated that peace with Israel was 'incompatible with Koranic precepts'. The peace treaty was 'demonized as a Jewish plot against Islam' and Sadat tarnished as a 'Zionist agent'.
The Egyptian popular press stated that:
It is impossible to live in peace with the Jews
whilst recounting Muhammad's anti-Jewish campaigns of the 7th century.
Sadat's murderer, Tanzim al-Jihad, was even more radical than Qutb. He denounced the humiliations of the Muslim world as the result of renouncing jihad and becoming attached to the 'comforts of life in this world'. He proclaimed it the duty of all Muslims to take part in the military form of jihad and to campaign unceasingly against the unbelievers, including the 'apostate' Muslim leaders who allowed Israel to exist. Many universities were attracted by this philosophy in the 1980s.
Kuentzel asks why:
many present and former left-wingers seem to wish to join antisemitic mass movements.
His response is that maybe they have:
fantasies about the inherent innocence and progressiveness of the masses
Kuentzel deals with Islamization under Egypt's present ruler, Mubarak. He states that there is great admiration of both Hamas and Hezbollah in present-day Egypt and that their philosophies have taken over Egyptian universities and TV. All Egypt's troubles are blamed on Israel and the Jews. It is a basic assumption in Egypt that, despite the peace treaty, israel should be boycotted by all the professions, who should refuse to cooperate with the Zionist State. All this is based on fantasies about Jews, who are regarded as being responsible for every conceivable evil.
For instance, Sheikh Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, the head of Al-Azhar University, and one of Sunni Islam's most renowned spiritual authorities, has stated, after citing Hitler in Mein Kampf:
In resisting the Jew, I am doing the work of the Lord
In the year 2000 it was generally thought in Egypt that Jews ran the global financial world, were fomenters of the plague and that Israeli women were especially sinister. It was further thought that prostitutes were working for Mossad and that if relations with Israel were normalized, AIDS would spread in Egypt. According to Kuentzel, these psychological projections on the part of the Egyptians was due to 'religious anxiety' resulting from sexual self-denial. According to him, Islamism entails 'individual self-impoverishment' and the stunting of personal development. According to the Koran, even the poorest man should rule over women and also take part in religious purges.
Very importantly, given those many people in the West who support, or sympathise with, the actions of suicide bombers, Kuentzel claims that it is Islamization (i.e. theology) which causes poverty and not vice versal. The Egyptian boycoot of Israel, for instance, is what has led to the poverty of Egypt, and not vice versa.
This whole trend of Manicheanism has increased under President Mubarak. The Egyptian obsession with Zionism is prima facie and not caused by the way Israel acts in the world.
Whatever Israel does is reviled. Islamists remain wholly indifferent to the real Israel.
Because Israel embodies 'pure evil'.
Kuentzel continues with a description of how HAMAS came into existence as the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian branch. At first the Palestinian secular left-wing was seen by Islamists as the main enemy, so the univeristy in Gaza was islamicized and stockpiled with weapons. Anyone who taught Darwin's theory of evolution, for instance, was accused of being influenced by Judaism, or beaten up, or both. In order to graduate from the Islamic University, you would have to be an anti-Semite, according to Kuentzel. Incitement to kill Jews and Americans was rife. Israel comes in for some criticism for having allowed this to take place under their noses!
The HAMAS Charter of 1987-8 extols the Muslim Brotherhood as a 'world organization', whose adversary is 'World Zionism'. Muslim women were to be kept in their place, or otherwise accused of 'collaboration with the enemy'. There was even a ban on laughter. Jews were yet again blamed for all evil.
Kuentzel also analyses the world's 'love affair' with Arafat's PLO, stating that the Palestinian question has replaced the Vietcong in the eyes of the world as the 'romantic' underdog. No heed has been taken of the neo-Nazi 'volkish' concept of the PLO Charter, which desired the destruction of Israel and invented the idea of a 'Palestinian homeland' similar to that of the Nazi ideal of 'Lebensraum'.
He also points out the very close personal relationship between Arafat and the Mufti of Jerusalem, to whom Arafat was related. The Mufti even financed Fatah, which was founded in 1959. According to Kuentzel, Arafat always wanted the obliteration of Israel:
Peace for us means the destruction of Israel - all-out-war
He feels that the 1993 Oslo Accords were merely a tactical move on the part of Arafat, based on the Islamic custom of signing truces with your enemy which you are later empowered to break. The Palestinian Authority's post-Oslo school-books and maps make no mention of Israel or Jewish history, and in addition, actually adovcate the destruction of Israel.
The Holocaust was a taboo subject for the PA and the Mufti's role as a Nazi was suppressed:
No post-Oslo PA schoolbook so much as mentions Auschwitz
Given the current Muslim Council of Britain's hostile attitude to the British government- sponsored Holocaust Memorial Day, the reason given by Kuentzel for this taboo on the Shoah is informative:
teaching about the Holocaust would present a great danger for the Palestinian identiy. It would ruin the Palestinian dream and aspirations.
In contrast, Mein Kampf became a best seller. The translator to the Arabic edition had this to say:
Adolf Hitler does not belong to the German people alone, he is one of the few great men who almost stopped the motion of history, altered its course... National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather its seeds multiplied under each star.
Given their great admiration for Hitler, it is therefore ironic that the PA then refer to Israeli policy 'as a continuation or even itensification of Nazism'. Maybe this is due to their understanding of western antisemitism, which is only too ready to accept that Jews can be Nazis, but less likely to think ill of the Muslim world.
As a pious Muslim, Arafat was always committed to jihad. As the post-Oslo books for 6th and 7th grade pupils states:
The noble soul has two goasl: death and the desire for it
The Second Intifada which begun in 2000 was notable for its adoption of 'sucidal mass murder'. This type of all-out-warfare had actually began on April 16th 1993, thus elevating Hamas in the eyes of the Muslim world. Any attempt by the PLO to prevent such murders 'were condemned as collaboration with Israel'.
The HAMAS Charter calls for Israeli-Arab dialogue to be blown 'to smithereens'. The way the war was conducted also explains why it was conducted like this. Why were civilians targetted in this way?
Anyone who kills in this way is translating a specific Islamist-fascist worldview into action. This worldview's antisemitism, in which the Jews are demonized as absolute evil, invevitably produces the intention of destroying this evil across the globe
So, for instance:
[T]here are no innocent Israeli civilians ....They are all occupying troops.
This explains, of course, how a don at Oxford University could dismiss the application of a postgraduate student simply by giving the reason that he had served in the Israeli army.
Finally, Kuentzel deals with the phenomenon of 9/11. His main query is why the antisemitic background of 9/11 has been ignored in Europe and explains this lacuna as a means used by Europeans to justify their anti-Americanism.
He sees all attemps at demolishing American buildings as part of the aim of 'obliterating Israel'. This chapter refers back to the Egyptian, Qutb, whose texts were part of the training programme set up by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. In addition, bin Laden's mentor, Abdallah Azzam, was born in Jenin and embodies the links between the Palestinian and Afghan fronts of the Islamist jihad. Azzam was also one of the founders of HAMAS, and progagated the cult of the martyr.
According to Kuentzel, Al Qa'ida's view of the USA consisted of antisemitic fantasies. They regard New York as a Jewish metropolis. He also deems it no coincidence that a colleague of Muhammad Atta, the ringleader of 9/11, has stated that:
Atta's Weltanschauung was based on a National Socialist way of thinking. He was convinced that 'the Jews' are determined to achieve world domination. He considered New York City to be the centre of world Jewry which was, in his opinion, Enemy Number One
The Islamists also regard America as being under complete Jewish domination. Bin Laden has said:
You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Sharia of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire.... In all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life, making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; ... your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people.... Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy
The enmity between us and the Jews goes far back in time and is deep rooted. There is no question that war between the two of us is inevitable.
Kuentzel comments that 'It is astonishing that this undisguised antisemitism has to date received so little attention in discussions about the motives for 9/11'.
For Kuentzel, the third factor of jihadist anti-Americanism '
is based on a mind-set also found among anti-globalization activists: the obsessive division of the world between victimhood and guilt.
He cites as an example Suleiman Abu Gheith, an al-Qa'ida spokesman:
America is the reason for all the oppression, injustice, licentiousness, or suprression that is the Muslims' lot. It stands behind all the disasters that were caused and are still being caused to the Muslims.
Kuentzel concludes from the above that:
The aim of the islamists' religious war is neither individual freedom nor the self-determination of dependent states, but the establihsment of a total regime based purely and simply on submission to Allah and his deputies, the Calipys. Their struggle is merely aimed against those aspects of imperialism and modernity that threaten the foundations of their despotic and patriarchal rule.
American support for Israel is also deemed a reason for annhilation of both Americans and Jews. Bin Laden again:
I swear by God, that America will not live in peace until peace reigns in Palestine and all the armies of the unbelievers have left eh land of Muhammad.
Terrorism Is praiseworthy because it is an answer to injustice and is aimed at forcing America to end its support for israel.
Appropriately for the day of publication of this translation, Britain is feting Saudi Arabia, where 250,000 cassettes of his [bin Laden's] speeches were legally sold and innumerable pirated copies distributed under the counter.
Bin Laden is in fact popular in most of the countries of the Middle East. In the wake of the recent letter sent by Muslim scholars to Christian world leaders, it is interesting that according to Kuentzel:
no Islamic religious scholar anywhere in the world declared bin Laden an apostate for leading a terrorist organization. Nor was there any sign of a root-and-branch rejection of the concept of Islam put forward by bin Laden in his videos.
Kuentzel also criticizes the EU for seemingly condoning suicide bomb attacks against Israel. He feels that oil might be a reason for this stance. Whilst Kuentzel sees a direct connection between 9/11 and suicide bomb attacks in the USA, for the reasons cited above (i.e. the theologically-inspired antisemitic fantasies of bin Laden and his colleagues), Europe prefers to blame Israel itself for the suicide bomb attacks, thus playing into the hands of the Islamists. Kuentzel regards this European inability to see the facts as proof of Goebbel's rule that a lie only has to be monstrous enough to be believed. And he understands therefore only too well why it was that September 11 drove not only Israel, but also many Jewish communities in Europe into unexpected political isolation, for the anti-Semites of Europe and the Arab world it served as a signal announcing the reawakening of antisemitism in its new globalized form.
For example, 'leading French anti-globalization activist Jose Bove' stated on the French TV channel Canal Plus that:
the attacks on the French synagogues are either orchestrated or carried out by Mossad
It is Kuentzel's view that after World War II:
the victorious powers considered their good relations with the Arab world more important than countering the ideological concoction of antisemitism, Hitler-worship, Holocaust denial and the unbridled desire to destroy Israel, of which the Mufti was the supreme exponent.
the consequences of this choice of priorities can scarcely be exaggerated.... The new anti-Jewish war could now start.... When islamists label Israel as "really an American" and the USA as "really a Jewish" power, they can count on the support of anti-globalists of both left and right as well as the benevolent toleration of member states of the European Union.
Thus, as Kuentzel states:
Jihad and Jew-hatred belong together. Approval of antisemitism strengthens jihadist barbarism... The struggle against jihadism therefore requires zero tolerance for antisemitism. Were Jew-hatred to be ostracized, isolated, prosecuted and punished on a global scale, then jihadism would be a thing of the past.
Kuentzel even states that
something comparable to Auschwitz could happen again. However, it is not only Israel that is at stake in the conflicts that lie ahead. Today, Israel is a symbol of otherness and difference. The contrary concept is that of forced homogeneity.... recognition and defence of the Jewish state, or Islamist barbarism - this is the "turning point" which confronts humanity at this moment in history.
As Kuentzel says:
Islamic antisemitism is a taboo subject even in some parts of academia.
Kuentzel should know. He was banned from Leeds University in March of this year, after being INVITED by that university to give his talk on the links between Nazi ideology and Islamism. He was then invited back in October and the world did not cave in.
But not only is Islamic antisemitism taboo. In some British universities it is forbidden to discuss the Koran unless you are male, religious and Muslim. In fact, the only country in which I have been able to hear Islam being discussed in an expert and reasonable manner is here in Israel, which the Sufi expert, Sayyed Hossein Nasr has told me is the place for Islamic Studies, including his own field of Sufism.
Not that Professor Nasr has ever visited here. He told me he would be 'crucified' if he ever set foot in the place.
This is why Matthias Kuentzel's book, or rather translation of the book which he first wrote in 2002, is so important. It is the best book written in English on the subject of the psychology of the Jew hatred which has gripped the world for the past 10 to 15 years.
I myself have been one of those who has tried to deal with the Christian aspects of this peculiar hatred, which includes the 1990 founding of Sabeel (Patron Archbishop Desmond Tutu), the Anglican Peace and Justice report of 2004, comparing Israel to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, the 2006 Church of England Synod divestment vote, the general Church appeasment of Islam in Britain, as well as the related boycott attempts by the British university unions and the contempt of the various British media.
However, it is somewhat ironic that some 37 years after having been a very young student at a German university and having witnessed, but been unable to explain, the utter ignorance of the Holocaust and all it stood for in that generation of Germans, a generation has now grown up which realises its duty to the world: what the Buddhists would no doubt call 'karma'.
Matthias Kuentzel's book should be read, taken very seriously and his warnings acted upon before it is too late.
And the Muslim world should grow up and develop a theology of 'diaspora', which the Dalai Lama has stated is the 'great gift' which Judaism has given the world.