WHY?

The first post tells why. It may be too little, but hopefully not too late.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Concerning Israel (To Whom It May Concern)


Admit it, Israel is real -
upset as you may be by that.
You hoped she would disappear,
because the Jews are good when dead,

because you like them on the pictures
in Babiy Yar, in Auschwitz, and 
when an exquisite movie features
a Jewish child, killed at the end.

These days, when that indeed does happen - 
a baby shot in father's hands
or butchered in her cradle - you're napping:
those are just everyday events.

Alas, they're not enough to make  it
to the front page of what you read.
Too few are dead for that to matter  -
there's no excuse for that, admit. 

It is unsettling, on reflection,
to see the live and fighting Jews:
they have the right to self-protection,
but that's a right they should not use.

If only they laid down weapons
and let the world decide their fate!
That's always worked, and would be helpful
to mollify the world's Jew-hate.

And if it does not - not to worry:
it's not like this is something new.  
Could make a touching bedside story -
before the killers come for you.

- M. Vanyukov

Friday, July 19, 2013

AIPAC: No donation

Railroad tracks entering the Auschwitz-Birkenau campI received, a couple of days ago, an email message from AIPAC, calling on me to "renew" my "gift" to this organization. I could not do that - for two reasons. First, I have never donated to AIPAC. Second, I would not do that because of the content of the message. 

It refers to a historical event: "On October 6, 1943, a delegation of American rabbis arrived at the White House for a personal audience with President Franklin Roosevelt" "to present to the president irrefutable proof that the Nazis were conducting a wholesale annihilation of European Jews," and "[t]hey were denied a meeting." This is immediately followed by: "The ensuing tragedy is, of course, well known. No coordinated Allied rescue was launched. The flames consumed 6 million." 

This, of course, implies a post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy of causality: if only Roosevelt agreed to the meeting, there would be a "coordinated Allied rescue" and no Shoah. This also implies that Roosevelt did not know of the genocide, left uninformed by the rabbis (while some, like Stephen Wise, did have access to the president). Nowadays, however, due to AIPAC's activity, we are in luck: "Today we are not turned away at the door," while AIPAC is "the only organization who meets regularly with leaders in both parties to advance initiatives that enhance the safety and security of both nations." Apart from the fact that the latter statement is not true, it remains unclear why "despite our achievements [none listed - MV], Israel today remains far from safe." In fact, the only real current source of existential threat to Israel, nuclear Iran, is continually downplayed if not ignored by the consecutive US administrations, and the last one fundamentally differs from Israel in its approach to the problem. While Israel is against allowing Iran to reach the capacity to develop a nuke, Obama's administration is somehow going to control the fact of its construction - a feat requiring clairvoyance. 

The truth is that Roosevelt did know about the genocide - he did not care enough to undertake anything about it. This is why he would not waste time on meeting with the rabbis. Similarly, the Obama administration is aware that Iran would be able to put the bomb together when it has developed capacity for that - and no amount of angry rhetoric from the US would be able to stop that. Israel would be abandoned the same way the Jews were in WW2, just as the US abandoned Kurds in the aftermath of the first Saddam war, did nothing for Tutsis when they were slaughtered by Hutus in Rwanda, could not care less about Iranians when they were dying in protests to the ayatollahs, and sacrificed its own ambassador and others in Benghazi - to the politically opportune narrative of "Al Qaeda is on its heels" serving the renewal of Obama's incompetent presidency.

It is a question why AIPAC perceives itself as the only organization regularly meeting with the US "leaders" on behalf of Israel - is it wishful thinking or a goal? Either way, it is not something to be proud of, considering that there are other organizations with older and more consistent pro-Israel record, such as the ZOA.  And the "terrorist groups [will] continue to stockpile rockets aimed at Israel along her borders" because instead of putting responsibility for terror on the terrorists, Obama, unhindered by the AIPAC, puts it on Israel that dares to build housing in its own capital and resists the US calls for repeats of ethnic self-cleansing. Obama, access to whom the AIPAC's message implies, is surely aware of the impact of his anti-Israel policies and of the encouragement the Nazis' genocidal heirs - both Shi'a or Sunni - receive from his attacks on Israel's integrity, support for Muslim Brotherhood, leniency toward ayatollahs and tax persecution of pro-Israel groups. 

This is why I will donate not to self-congratulating AIPAC, but to those who indeed try to protect both nations - Israel and the US, as both are threatened by terrorist Islam, state and non-state. Perhaps, if those other organizations gain greater access to the public and US "leaders" that AIPAC claims to have monopolized,  the results will be better.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Empty advice

According to the statement of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s mission, it “confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity, stands with Israel, defends the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations”. None of these goals appear to be served by the recent article by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman* in New York Daily News (June 27, 2013). The article justly rebukes the Obama administration (Sec’y Kerry) for wasting money and effort on trying to engage the corrupt Palestinian Authority. It also proposes to “empower those who want to live in peace”. That might have been a smart advice, except none of “those” is named in the article. None, that is, unless one counts “a mother of two martyred sons” who laments PA’s economic incompetence, and a sheikh who would vote for Hamas “tomorrow”, given a chance. Apart from outrageously calling the dead terrorists martyrs with no quotation marks or explanation of what this “martyrdom” means for Israelis, even more disconcerting is that the authors refer to that sheikh as a “pragmatist” just because he wants “the basic social services” – this is after the thousands of rockets that have been fired from Gaza where the peaceful “pragmatists” of the sheikh’s kind won.


It is true that the PA is no peace partner and is corrupt, but the article’s advice is vacuous as it neither proposes any valid alternative nor tells the truth: there are no “peace partners” for Israel. In fact, none is needed or possible. There can be no partnership between the aggressors and the aggressed, just as no partnership can exist between the murderer and his victim. What is needed is that the Arab aggressors who have waged the war against Israel for as long as it has existed – the irredentists who do not agree to that existence in any shape or form – stop their war and their antisemitic poisoning of their children’s minds. Nobody among the Palestinian Arabs is known to have the political will, stature, and means for ensuring that. This needs to be clearly understood, and a good start for that would be calling terrorist murderers terrorists rather than “martyrs”, and using the correct geographic names Judea and Samaria rather than the meaningless and ahistoric “West Bank” that Jordan invented during its illegal occupation of the land to render not only the territory but even toponymy Judenrein. Without that understanding, the efforts and money will continue being wasted in pursuit of mirages. 
____________________________________
*Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/kerry-challenge-empower-palestinians-article-1.1384187#ixzz2XvrBUxdZ

Monday, May 27, 2013

"Islamism" vs. Occam's razor: Made in West


Dr. Daniel Pipes is a knowledgeable commentator on Islam. His expertise has been sought by policy-makers up to the level of US president. That's enough for me to get interested in Dr. Pipes's opinion, trying to form my dilettante own. Sometimes it is different from his. But first things first.

When America, helped by its few remaining allies, defeated Saddam Hussein, a bloody, bestial and bloated with pride autocrat, it found nothing better than to elect Barack Hussein as President. This is as if to prove that the inevitable associations with Saddam, with Osama, with 9-11, with anything Islam, are of no concern to the home of the brave. The symbolism of this is significant, even though, of course, there is little similarity between the two rulers. If there is any, however (perish the thought), it includes the fact that both have had a relatively thin connection with the religion that provided them with their names.

Saddam was a socialist - of his national kind - and would turn to Islam as a matter of convenience. Just as Islam's founder used to, Saddam used his "religion" to justify his atrocities. Like Muhammad, he had to do that quite a bit, and in his environment Islam generally has wider currency than in the US, being integral part of tradition. While Barack is undoubtedly a socialist of a kind too, his environment gives him much less opportunities to apply his love for the "prettiest" sounds of Islam, and much more for applying the version of Christianity that he was taught by Rev. Wright - the only one he's ever known. Nevertheless, one can't accuse Barack of fully neglecting his "grandfather's" religion. As need be, he recites the Muslim statement of faith, curses those who insult Muhammad, strenuously protects women's "right" to wear hijab, and extols Islamic "learning". Occasionally, he even (mis)speaks  of himself as a Muslim.

Like his predecessor Bush II, he considers Islam "religion of peace" - despite all the proof to the contrary, from the Islamic scripture to the bloody history of Muslim conquest to the incessant and growing terror committed in the name of Islam. Individual and group terror, which has replaced Muslim nations' terror due to their military inferiority, is very successful. The West, ridden with guilt and ashamed of its religion, lacks moral clarity and ideologic spine. In fact, ideology is a curse word. Because of that, the reaction to Islam's terror is the opposite to rational: instead of Westerners' protecting themselves from the carriers of the murderous ideology, as they would from a foreign invasion, more of those carriers are imported to spread it. Just as Israel, under the same post-ideologic Western pressure and wishful thinking, gives up its hard-won territories for nothing in return, the West loses its territorial and ideological integrity to the alien invasion as well. The losses are tangible: Muslim settlers in the West tend to congregate geographically, squeezing out the infidels, and tend not to assimilate culturally. In effect, parts of countries become off limits to their prior inhabitants. This is combined with the political changes resulting from politicians' seeking votes from the growing Muslim block. Progressives - some from ignorance, others from the need to fight the evils of capitalism, yet others simply sharing antisemitism that is so respected in Islam - provide an abundant supply of collaborationists.

The argument is, of course, that it is "Islamism" that is bad, while Islam is as good as, if not better than, Judaism and Christianity. By implication, Islam should be as acceptable to the West as Judeo-Christian beliefs. Muslims do list those beliefs on the same breath: "Jews and Crusaders". They do not, obviously, list Islam on the same breath, supposedly another "Abrahamic religion", nor does anybody with a scintilla of knowledge in the West seriously consider it as another facet of the tripartite system. It does not take much to prove that both "Abrahamic religion" and "Islamism" are Western inventions.

Clearly, even in a culture that fully accepts death sentence not everybody would want to be an executioner. Similarly, it is no proof of Islam's general rejection of terror that not every Muslim is a terrorist. Anybody familiar with Islamic writings and history knows that terror has played a central role in the spread of Islam.  But why not listen to the prime-minister of a Muslim country, elected from a Muslim party - shouldn't he be trusted as a better expert than the Western thinkers when he says there is no "moderate Islam"? In Erdogan's words, "If you say moderate Islam, then an alternative is created, and that is immoderate Islam. As a Muslim, I can't accept such a concept." Then, as behooves a fine logician he is, he goes on to state the opposite to what he said: "Islam rejects extreme concepts. I am not an extreme Muslim. We are Muslims who have found a middle road." Middle - between what and what? If he is not an "extreme" one, what is he if not "moderate", if confused? His point is, anyway, that he is not a terrorist (who said he was?), and that terror cannot be called "Islamic" just as it could not be called Christian or Jewish. Of course, it could - such as when terror is committed in the name of Christianity, as it was during Jewish pogroms in Russia. Terror committed in the name of Islam, accompanied with proclaiming glory to the Islamic deity, Allah, is Muslim terror. The Turkish army chief General Buyukanit puts it succinctly: "There are certain circles that want to add the title of 'moderate Islam' to the Republic of Turkey. The source of such a title does not come from within Turkey but foreign circles."

All these facts, and more, are considered in Dr. Pipes's blog entry of 2004 and its updates - without much discussion of whether Erdogan and other Muslims who reject the concept of "moderate vs. immoderate" Islam are right or wrong. Those facts are also recently revisited in Dr. Pipes's May 2013 Washington Times article "Islam and its infidels: How extremists distorted a religion of millions". There he mentions the same arguments, but as given by his opponents, which is to say the opponents of the division of Islam into "moderate" and "Islamist" that he supports.

Unfortunately, that article presents no support for an entity termed "Islamism" to counter the continuities and consistencies in Islam. Contrary to Dr. Pipes's view, Muslims never needed to "absorb" from Europeans the concept of ideology: Islam has been a totalitarian ideology, by both intent and implementation, from Muhammad's times. Cultural and other achievements listed in the article, the fluctuating proportions of the "extremists", and variation within Islam that includes "quietists", are irrelevant. Variation exists among the followers of any ideology, as humans are thankfully not a eusocial species. After all, Schindler was a card-carrying Nazi too. That is no proof of "moderate Nazism", however.

"Islamism" remains a redundancy invented in the West, however convenient and comfortable it might be to add an "ism" and thus truncate the distribution of individual devotion to Islam's scriptural ideologic principles. Collapsing that dimension into the categories of "secularism", "apologism" and "islamism", as suggested in Dr. Pipes's article, has no foundation in reality, if only because there are no natural/scriptural boundaries between these groupings. "Quietism" of Sufis, so frequently thought of in the West as meditative mystics, wine-imbibing poets and whirling dervishes, did not prevent Shamil Basayev and other Sufis from multiple terror acts, including the mass murder of non-Muslim children in the Beslan school. Hopefully we won't try now to invent "extremist" and "moderate" Sufis - like the rest of Muslims, they obviously represent a continuum. Historically, Sufis, organized into knight-like orders with blind obedience of members to the leader, have been fanatical warriors spearheading Islamic conquest.

Contrary to Dr. Pipes, adding "-ism" to Islam is not at all similar to creating a term like fascism - rather, the analog to "Islamism" would be "fascismism", a clear redundancy. It might be comfortable to think that "Islamism" allows us to fear only "10 to 15 percent of Muslims" rather than all 1.3 bln of them - even though I'd fail to take any comfort in the 10%, especially when it translates into 130,000,000 of vicious "Islamists". There is no need, however, as Occam's razor warns us, to multiply entities when not necessary - and necessity cannot result from our need in comfort. The attempts to reify a novel entity of "Islamism" only show how well religious mimicry continues to serve Islam to mislead the wishfully thinking West.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

J Dead-End

I am not a journalist to track the news. So it is only recently that I have come across a month-old column in The Jewish Chronicle authored by the two co-chairs of J Street-Pittsburgh ("Obama: ‘You must create the change you want to see’"). By itself, it is of little interest and was not a news item even when it was published. It only regurgitates approvingly some points made by Obama in his speech to Israeli students when he finally descended in his presidential glory on the bothersome country with its insufferable Prime Minister. Remember the president's sharing Sarkozy's hot mic revelations about the "liar" with whom poor Obama has to "deal" so often? The column is hardly made more interesting by its arrogant absurdities, which include calling Obama’s decision to talk to young people (instead of the Knesset) “a way to elevate the discussion about peace above the typical rancor of their leaders.” Ah, those benighted rancorous Israeli leaders - so beneath the station of our soaring president and the "co-chairs" whom I'd call paternalistic were they not women. What is interesting is not what is in, but what is not in that column – nor is it in the Obama speech.

First, missing are not only the Members of the Knesset. Obama addressed young Israelis but not young Palestinian Arabs. This is consistent with what he, along with his many mouthpieces including J Street, considers the cause of the lack of any progress in the "peace process". Nevertheless, even his words could have provided a clue to the only realistic solution. He said, "Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland..." - and the logical conclusion could well be, "the Palestinian Arabs should build theirs". That would place some responsibility on the Arabs' shoulders. The Jewish state had been built and existed de facto before it was declared in 1948. All the attempts, if any, that the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza have made to create a semblance of a working state have failed - the latest with Fayyad's resignation. Lo and behold, we now find out, he "feuded" with Abbas, the "Palestinian president" (whose term, for what it had been worth, expired in January 2009). These are the two people whom Obama, in torturous English making two people into one entity that is on a par with a state, called Israel's "true partner" - half of which is now gone. The only state structure that functions in the "Palestinian state", declared recently for the second time, is the numerous "security forces" that double as terror groups.

Unfortunately and illogically, instead of Arabs' responsibilities, Obama concluded that sentence with the non-sequitur of their rights: "Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land". Put this way, that right - paraphrased by Obama from a verse in the Israeli state anthem - is denied to them by external forces. Not by the corruption of their own rulers and their dreams of vengeance and violent takeover of entire "Filastin", Israel included, but by the Israeli government, to pressure which the young Israelis were called by Obama. Unsurprisingly, no mention of the Arabs' responsibilities was made by the J Street writers of that column either. In the co-chairs' view, "the existential threat to Israel’s future" is not the Muslims/Arabs' refusal to reconcile with the Jewish state and to end the war they've been waging for as long as it exists, but "the lack of a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict" - which is, you guessed it, Israel's fault. Simple logic, however, should have told them that when one side has all the responsibilities while the other has rights only, the solution is as possible as the sound of one hand clapping. 

It is hard to imagine that neither Obama nor J Street are capable of seeing that. They cannot have missed that the only concessions ever made in the "peace process", and in the Arab-Israeli "conflict" in general, were Israeli. Those were not merely some formal diplomatic steps, but colossal territorial sacrifices - the land that had been paid in the blood of those who had recently survived a European genocide only to be promised another one by the Arabs, over and over again.

Nobody expects territorial gains made by other countries in the aftermath of defensive wars to be relinquished to their prior possessors: ask Russia about Kaliningrad/Koenigsberg. Or ask the Czechs about the Sudetenland, with the after-war wholesale expulsion of Germans from there, characterized by Churchill in 1944 as "the method which, in so far as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting." No Arab country had ever been a legal possessor of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which were captured by Israel along with oil-rich Sinai during the defensive Six Day War, won under Nasser's and PLO's promises of genocide. Nevertheless, after its stunning victory Israel offered to forgo those gains - in exchange for peace. It was at the time not peace with the "Palestinians", who had not yet been invented, but with the Arabs in general. Nobody had talked then about another Arab "Palestinian" state in addition to the already existing one, Jordan. The Arab response was the "3 No's" of the Khartoum Resolution: "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it." After another victorious defensive war, Israel ceded Sinai to the thrice (at least) defeated enemy - for the empty paper of "peace", which would last only as long as Egypt is sure of its defeat if it starts another war. Then Israel ceded Gaza - to the nonentity of the "Palestinian Administration" - for nothing at all but hopes for a peaceful development, which had been seen as unfounded and lethal by whoever was willing to open an eye. Rockets from Gaza have pounded Israel ever since.

Why then, certainly knowing all this, Obama and his J Street fellow travelers do not address Arab responsibilities - the only thing that has always been needed for any positive change in the status quo? Why don't they ask for peace those who have ceaselessly waged the war - since the time when the Jewish state was at its embryonic stage? Why don't they ask Abbas who chairs the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was created to exterminate Israelis, in 1964, before any "occupation"? The PLO, whose ruling Charter calling for the violent liquidation of Israel has never been changed, and which has never stopped being a terrorist organization just because the West decided it no longer was? 

The reason is simple. They don't ask because they know it would be futile. They know they have nobody to address there - neither Abbas, the halved "partner" of Israel, the fake president of no country and a doctor of Holocaust denial, nor the assorted terrorist gangs including the Gaza rulers of Hamas, nor the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as a whole, which is ever ready to elect terrorists to rule them and celebrates mass murder including 9-11. It is a revolting hypocrisy when the J Street peaceniks, from the safety of Squirrel Hill (a cozy Pittsburgh neighborhood), call for Israelis to "demand from their political leaders to take the necessary risks for peace". They do it in full knowledge that those risks, taken by Israeli leaders so many times, are for continuing war and terror while the gains are mirages. This has been proven again and again whenever such risks were taken - with irreversible territorial losses, encouraging further terror.

Obama and his J Street cohorts are eager to submit Israel to those 100% risks for the sake of their political utopias. Knowingly unrealistic as those utopias are, they serve their purposes: to present Obama as a peacemaker statesman, and to fill the J Street co-chairs' leisure with self-important political activity and satisfy their leadership ambitions. Just like so many among the Jewish pacifist "co-chairs" in the US before and during 2nd World War, they care for nobody's peace except their own. It is no wonder J Street has decided to stop pretending to be "pro-Israel" to attract the kind of campus support it needs to "elevate" discussions to nowhere. With its vacuous pro-Arab rhetoric of unconditional "restraint" for Israel, J Street is a blind alley, a path leading to a deadly abyss.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Antisemitism by other means: Lecturing against the Jewish state*


I went to Michael Sfard's lecture** with a heavy heart. Why would I be hesitant about listening to this young and famous Israeli lawyer? Because of his fame's source: Sfard is what is called a "Human Rights Lawyer". In other words, so that nobody gets confused, his clients are mainly Palestinian Arabs. The human rights of the Jews are not under his purview, unless those Jews, like he has eventually done himself,  refuse to serve in the Israel Defense Forces or are otherwise anti-Israel. He defends Arabs' rights - but surely not from fellow Arabs. For instance, not from the Palestinian Authority, which sentences to death those who sell land to a Jew, an act of "national treason", and whose courts sentence journalists to jail for "insulting" Mahmoud Abbas by a cartoon on Facebook. As Sfard informed the audience, the PA has merely "the power of a city council", executions notwithstanding. 

Why did I go then? To ask the question that had long preoccupied me: why would somebody choose to defend members of an enemy population - against his own state that protects him and has been under attack from that population for as long as his state existed? The population whose leaders have been financiers, planners and perpetrators of terror, where murder of innocent Jews and Americans is celebrated and schools and stadiums are named after the murderers, where the murderers' families are congratulated and their enormous portraits adorn city walls. I prefaced my question by saying that as a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union, it was particularly strange for me to hear that in the "oppressive" Jewish state it was usually sufficient for a Palestinian Arab to petition the court with a help of a lawyer in order to get a satisfactory solution to his or her problems.  I also briefly reminded Sfard of the Arab violent animosity towards the Jews that had long preceded the re-creation of Israel, the history that included Amin al Husseini, a major Nazi collaborator and Arafat's and Abbas's hero. 

The response was striking. Sfard said, deliberately and clearly expecting the audience's reaction, "I don't care about history." I too thought there would be a reaction. I thought, this educated audience , albeit visibly sympathetic to the speaker, would now rise in disbelief and indignation. After all, shouldn't they all have been familiar with George Santayana's maxim, "Those who forget history are destined to repeat it"? One does not need to be an historian to understand how dangerous that forgetfulness would be - for the Jews in particular. Some aspects of our rich history are better to stay in history - but we keep being promised their genocidal repetition, by the likes of the Arab League at the creation of Israel, Nasser in 1967, and Ahmadinejad these days. Alas, no objection arose from the future and present lawyers. On the contrary, Sfard was applauded - especially when he said that he did not believe in the Jewish state. That prompted me to interject, "How about 'Judenstaat'?" No, he did not know what it was, the title of the foundation of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl's book "The Jewish State". Of course, Sfard's not believing in the Jewish state leaves him not believing in the state he lives in, created as "a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel", according to the Israeli Declaration of Independence of 1948. It seems when people don't care about history, they don't care about the present reality either.

It is really hard to briefly summarize Sfard's talk, misinformation by both omission and commission. As usual, it started with the terminology. Long gone are the times when the disputed territories were called Judea and Samaria in general parlance. Those historic names have been ethnically cleansed into the meaningless "West Bank", adopted from Jordan that  illegally occupied those lands from 1949 to 1967. It is also forgotten that Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria to its own east bank  - of the Jordan river, which is, interestingly, the Jewish name, appropriated also by the Arab state created by Britain's fiat in Eretz Israel, which was entrusted by the League of Nations to the UK for the "close settlement by Jews on the land". Amazingly, the UK had no trouble recognizing annexation of Judea and Samaria by Jordan, which captured that territory in a war of aggression. Even "West Bank", however, is too neutral for Sfard, who prefers calling it "Occupation". According to him, Israel began to "colonize" that land in the 1970's. Never mind that Israelis only by then had restored Jewish access to the heartland of  the Land of Israel, including the old city of Jerusalem with its Western Wall and Temple Mount, the most sacred site for the Jews. While no law except Jordanian ever prohibited Jewish settlement on that land, the world had no qualms when Jordanians murdered and expelled Jews from there. This is how east Jerusalem was turned into the "Arab East Jerusalem"  of today's media. Never mind that this part of town until the 20th century was the only Jerusalem, with a Jewish majority there until the Jordanian murderous invasion in 1948. It is also through bloody pogroms that Hebron, the first capital of ancient Israel, and other parts of Eretz Israel became Judenfrei "Arab cities". If, as is often repeated, the territory cannot be obtained in conquest, why should this rule start being implemented with Jews who captured it in a defensive war, and not with Muslims, who took it in aggression from Crusaders, who took it from Muslims, who took it from the Roman Empire that violently took it from the Jews and exiled them from their land? Let alone the many contemporary examples of the land captured in the defensive war and kept, like  the Kuril Islands or Sudetenland. But Sfard does not care about history.

His main problem is the security barrier. He misnames it "separation wall" - despite the fact that the wall is less than three percent of this largely chain link fence. Never did he mention that the only reason for the construction of the fence that began in 2002 was the terror war that Israel's "peace partners" headed by Arafat started in 2000, after he rejected another Israeli proposal that would create an Arab state. Only in 2002, before construction started, terrorists from the territories murdered 457 Israelis. Already in 2006, before the construction of the fence was finished, the number dropped to 10, and to no fatalities in 2012. Sfard does not care about security -  he derisively calls it a "Jewish obsession". His only focus is his clients' inconvenience, as he shares their conviction that Israel's goal for the barrier is land grab. He lamented that while discussing changes in the "separation wall"  route, the main concern of the Israeli officials was security. Needless to say, the "oppressor" did change the route as per Sfard's petition, and he tells the truly horrific story how an Israeli officer thanked him for letting know about the inconvenience to Arab farmers, since remedied. In fact, Sfard intimated, the evil authorities satisfy his clients' grievances even without any court rulings, "in a shadow of the court". Why? Because, to his satisfaction, they are "willing to barter land for legitimacy. Legitimacy is in very short supply." Just how much legitimacy of the Unites States depends on the route of its security barrier built on its Mexican border - with no terrorist threat?

There is no doubt in Sfard's mind that Israel is oppressor in regard to the Arab population of Judea and Samaria. Never mind that this oppression has resulted in the immense growth in the Arabs' longevity, education, and living standard that is higher than in the surrounding Arab countries. Never mind that no military would be needed in Judea and Samaria, or in entire Israel for that matter, if there were no constant and thousands of times realized threat of death from the Arab population. The threat that is maintained by the incessant antisemitic and anti-Israel brain-washing that Arabs undergo from the beginning of their lives. 

As to the question I asked Sfard, I still do not know the answer. The phenomenon of a Jew crossing to the enemy side, while rare, is not new, however. It used to require apostasy, and the apostate could become an inquisitor burning Jews at stake, or a blood libeler, inciting lethal pogroms. Nothing as dramatic as apostasy is needed nowadays, when religion has largely become for many merely a slightly embarrassing tradition - at least, among the progressive intelligentsia. Today's secular apostates merely defend those who attack the Jewish state's security measures that not only protect Israelis - Jews and Arabs alike - but also obviate the need for military action and casualties that would inevitably result from it, if terror acts were not prevented. Sfard did not see it that way, all the lynchings of random Jewish victims who fell into Arab hands, terrorist suicidal massacres and other murders notwithstanding. A possible motivation used to be the apostate's conflict with the community, or the desire to break from the persecuted minority. These days, all it takes is to become a "Human Rights" lawyer like Sfard. In Israel, this ecological niche is unique enough to avoid competition with other lawyers, kept out of it by their conscience. In that rarefied niche, even a mediocrity can earn his bread and butter - perhaps, with caviar and international travel on top.

I do not know why this annual lecture cycle has been renamed from The Martin Luther King Lecture to Lawyering For Social Change, but I think Dr. King would be happy that his name is no longer associated with it. The "social change" it stands for is not consistent with his vision of Israel, so dramatically different from Sfard's: "Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.” Peace through security is exactly the human right that Sfard the "Human Rights Lawyer" denies his compatriots and, ultimately, his Arab clients as well. As for the Pitt law students, they were denied truth, and for their $25 education credits for this “lawyering” lecture received not education, but anti-Israel ideological indoctrination. 

_____________________
*The published version of this entry is in  The Jewish Chronicle, titled "Michael Sfard: 'I Don't Care About History'". There is also a prior entry in this blog, related to Sfard, "Champion Of Displacement".
** “Can the Occupier Provide Justice? The Dilemmas of Human Rights Litigation in Israeli Courts,”  7 p.m. March 28 in the Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 3900 Forbes Ave..

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

RE: Radical

Subject: RE: Radical
From: Vanyukov, Michael
To: 'Neera Tanden'
Date Sent: 12/26/2012 12:48:41 PM
Dear Ms. Tanden,

Although I understand that yours was a mass mailing to solicit donations, I can’t help replying to it. This is because, as an immigrant from the Soviet Union, I am well familiar with the ideology you espouse or employ, giving rise to the hateful rhetoric demonizing your political opponents. In your brief message I see no difference from what used to be published in the Soviet newspapers about the “sharks of Wall Street” as a symbol of accursed capitalism. It contains as much truth about the plans of conservatives as any article in Pravda and is worded similarly. I hardly hope you’ll read this message, let alone being affected by it, but on the off chance that happens, I’d suggest that you take some time from your “fight” and read the history of the Soviet Union, where your ideology reached its full bloom. A change in your perspective that might follow could help make your new year truly happy, which I do wish you.

Best regards,
Michael


From: Neera Tanden [mailto:progress@americanprogress.org]
Sent: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 12:00 PM
To: Vanyukov, Michael
Subject: Radical


Dear Michael,

We saw many progressive victories in 2012.

But we’re still facing down a radical, conservative ideology espoused by politicians who won’t stop until they get their dream country: One with powerless unions, women blocked from making decisions about their own bodies, and education and health care luxuries reserved for a privileged elite. Our work has been a safeguard against their conservative misinformation campaigns, but we can’t let it up.

We need to raise $150,000 by midnight on December 31 to continue being the leading voice in support of progressive causes. Click here to rush us a tax-deductible donation so that we can keep up our work—no gift is too small to make a difference, even $5.


Our work depends entirely on your support. With your help, we’ve succeeded in defending policies that are at the core of progressive values: Medicare, Social Security, affordable health care, voting rights, and environmental protection. And we’re not going to give in on these issues. They’re too important. We have to keep fighting and we have to do it now.

Rush a tax-deductible donation of $5 or more immediately to help the Center for American Progress hit our 2012 goals so we can keep fighting for the values you believe in.

Thanks for all you do. We promise we won’t stop fighting.

Best,

Neera Tanden
President
Center for American Progress


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Political trompe-l'oeil


The paintings creating illusion of 3D reality on a 2D surface are fascinating. While looking online for ways to fix our living-room fireplace whose beautiful century-old face bricks had been mercilessly painted over by previous owners, I found suggestions to paint a trompe-l'oeil fireplace if a room was lacking a real one. This could be a solution particularly in an apartment, where a real fireplace is unfeasible or unusable. This also reminded me of the Pinocchio fairy-tale, where the painted boiling pot was so realistic that the hungry wooden boy's nose grew two inches longer out of frustration that he could not take the lid off.

In the Soviet version of Pinocchio, The Little Golden Key, whereby the story was transformed into a class struggle of oppressed and exploited puppets against their evil owner, behind the trompe-l'oeil painting there is a door that is opened by a golden key, and behind that door there is a wonderful puppet theater, miniature and mechanical, but as realistic as life. There is nothing at all, let alone reality, behind Obama's politics. 

Or behind himself, to start with. I am not even talking about his nonexistent credentials for being the choice to lead the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth. I am talking about his gaining and losing dimensions at will, as a painter can do to depictions of reality. The millionaire Obama, born from a native well-off Kenyan by a white mother and raised by a well-off Indonesian step-father and white grandparents under affirmative action and no influence of racism, is a trompe-l'oeil of poor black Americans who descended from slaves and only in the 1960's gained civil rights. In contrast, his millions of dollars, made with no responsibility for any business, disappear from the mental view of the masses. Of course, Romney's millions, to which he contributed his talents and efforts as a businessman, are an unforgivable vice. 

Romney's religion was the atheist progressives' favorite topic during elections: he was a "Bishop", possessed "magic pants", was a hereditary polygamist, and, in the most uncool fashion, used no intoxicants. It did not matter that Obama belonged to a fascist church, and had Farrakhan's friend and America-hater as his spiritual advisor, his daughters' godfather, as dear to him as his own grandmother. Because the Christianity of Mormonism is suspect in the religious Republican base, Obama's kind of Christianity could not be raised as an issue in the Romney campaign. Being the first president who had admitted to drug abuse to the point of being a junkie deducted no points either from Obama in the evolving surreality of America. 

The magic of illusion does not stop at home. Here is a recent example of how Obama and Arab fascists mutually benefit from each other, painting the trompe-l'oeil of peace-making. Muslim Brotherhood, by its Hamas arm, conducts terror war against Israel.  After years of bombardment by thousands of rockets causing mass posttraumatic stress disorder in children and adults, let alone fatalities, Israel finally intends to put a stop on this. A ground invasion and decisive elimination of the terror cadre and infrastructure - much more feasible than it was in the abortive 2006 Lebanon war - could solve the problem for a long time. To be sure, the calm would not last forever, considering that Islam doctrinally hates the Jews, the Land of Israel for the Muslims is Islamic waqf that can never be relinquished, and every true Muslim is duty bound to wage jihad against Israel as the Jew and an aggressor on the Muslim land. The removal of the terror organization would give Israel a respite and a chance to resume a semblance of normal life. Obama knows that but is not interested in the welfare of Israelis (and, for that matter, Gazans). He will paint himself a peacemaker by using what he knows will work with Egypt - a threat of withholding the $2 bln help to the fascist regime. Responding positively to that threat is a multiple win for Morsi: the money, the recognition by the US as a legitimate government, no loss of face because the result is presented as victory (everything short of radical defeat is a victory for terrorist Muslims), the showing-off of the ability to control the situation and manipulate the terror force. 

After I wrote this, Morsi showed the world another "win" of his: immediately after "arranging" the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel at the behest of Obama, he issued a set of decrees conferring dictatorial powers on him - the price of Obama's "peace". It is a win-win for Obama as well: he will dispense the tax-payers money to make a false vision of supporting Israel, but will not allow the weapons to be used for Israel's defense even though the case for that is clear; it will be the Jews' fault that the US has to spend more  money, which will feed into his antisemitic agenda; he will (already has) co-opt the Republican threat of depriving Egypt of the money while losing no political standing by that.  Although the rocket rain on Israel has stopped, the only loser in this game is Israel: it is a matter of time that the terror starts again, as it is Hamas's main goal, identical to its means. The intensity of the Hamas rocket bombardment of Israel justified invading Gaza with the potential of Hamas's liquidation or at least substantial damage. Now, if, or rather when, the bombardment restarts, there will be no such justification. Israel's threats are now empty: no benefit except from the temporary cessation of rockets is apparent - whatever empty promises they got from Hillary. No point in mentioning any Hamas's promises.

More peacemaker illusion by our Commander-in-Cheat: Obama's informing the Taliban enemy of the departure schedule renders unnecessary the losses the enemy would suffer through the continuous fighting. The low intensity of the war also protects Obama from the responsibility for active military actions - those could be dropped in full onto the successor. Alternatively, the enemy takeover that will render all US sacrifices senseless is postponed and would also be somebody else's, not Obama's, fault. 

The Benghazi story started as a very convincing trompe-l'oeil of the administration's victory over terrorism: it was all spontaneous and vaguely righteous if wrong reaction to a bad YouTube video blaspheming Islam that Obama had sworn to protect as one of his duties as a US President. Albeit slightly shaken, the illusion still works, because the discussion now is whether that was an intentional illusion or just some miscommunication between the diplomacy and the intelligence - not about the fact that Muslim terrorists successfully attacked a sovereign American territory and killed Americans - again - and again on 9/11.

There is no depth behind the painting drawn by Obama's junta to entice its willing followers - just the tireless populist slogans, largely translating into coveting neighbor's wealth, now that religion is a sign of backwardness just like it was in the leader of all progressive forces in the world, the Soviet Union. There is no reality behind the pitifully petty arguments the progressive intelligentsia puppets repeat after their political puppeteers, using at will the agitprop tools of Bolshevism. 

"Progressive" as a term originates from among those tools, the Soviet propaganda machinery, designating fellow travelers and - the same thing - enemies of capitalism, colonialism and Zionism (e.g., "всё прогрессивное человечество", "all progressive humanity"). In other words, allies of communism who have just not had a chance to enjoy political victory. Progressivism, like any totalitarian ideology, does not tolerate alternatives. It is thus eliminationist. The opponent is not to argue with, but to annihilate. The thought apparatus for such annihilation is there, and only a slight historical turn is needed - to incite and justify pogroms and "defend" order by abolishing the hard-gained American freedoms (does the arrest of the anti-Muhammad "movie"-maker tell you anything about the 1st Amendment?). By the time that happens, the masses will be only grateful for that to the dear fuhrer, scared by another "spontaneous" riot to death. This will finally puncture the canvas of the illusionist painting. No golden key will be needed to open the abyss hidden behind it. A bad dream? So thought the incredulous Russian intelligentsia in 1917 and later, relieved of its possessions for the sake of "fair share", of its freedoms for the sake of the triumph of communism, and of its freedom and lives for the sake of state security and order.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Benghazi trial


"...weighed on the scales and found wanting." Daniel 5:27
Perhaps not since the Moscow show trials have we seen such rhetoric as directed by our progressive intelligentsia at the reactionary "right-wing". Which is only fitting, considering that those trials were exactly against the "right opposition". As well as against the "left" one. Here is what one of my progressive comrades is dreaming about: "I think joe [Biden] would headbutt him [Ryan] right in his perfectly shaved chest thereby exploding his blackened, right-wing heart." Apart from the suggestive body imagery, the only thing different is that the dreams of those who called for death of the enemies of the People in Moscow of the 1930's came true - often just before the dreamers themselves were tried as well and executed. This mind-paralyzing hatred, producing verbal vomit of vulgarity at the slightest attempt of the opponent to bring up information to the contrary, makes impossible any discussion.

Supposedly capable of thinking critically, intelligent scientists recite as if on command - without a second thought (or a first one) - the trivial and pathetically petty talking points offered to them by the party apparatchiks via the tame media: free contraception for women, dog on Romney's car roof, Romney's "magic underpants" and "binders". This is at the time when the terror attack and murders in Benghazi draw into the sharpest focus the incompetence, cowardice and dishonesty of Obama's junta. The free minds of intelligentsia suspend their abilities and repeat those talking points like a character in a science fiction novel by the Strugatsky brothers, The Snail On The Slope: suddenly a little violet cloud would form around his head, taking over control of his mind, and he would start announcing senseless but jubilant headlines about the Glorious Girlfriends' successes in the ongoing transformation of the Forest.

It is painful to watch the grimacing of the dissembling Obama Politburo, unable to disguise their lies, and the sad slant of Obama's speechifying head 1.5 months after the Benghazi events that the next day did not prevent him from enjoying his trip to Vegas and his laughing there at his own jokes. Or was a day not enough for the four deaths he observed happening in real time to sink in? To understand that he was responsible for them - that it was due to his and his coterie's negligence or willfully fatal decision that the people were dead? "Sacrificed their lives", as per the trite and false solemnity of Hillary Clinton's, whose honorary position of a former US president's wife, shared in part with others, made her eligible to be a foreign minister of the only superpower. The sacrifice was indeed made - but not by the ambassador and the fallen heroes who, denied any support, held for hours against the incredible odds, fighting mortar-armed thugs. They were sacrificed - by Obama,  Biden, Clinton, Panetta and who knows who else - on the altar of Islam-appeasing progressive ideology and self-congratulatory conclusions that "al Qaeda is on its heels". 

The Benghazi 9-11 would be the downfall of any administration - and not through its natural convenient removal by the upcoming elections, but by the public outcry demanding immediate impeachment and criminal prosecution. In the show trials of the 1930's in the Soviet Union, the guilt was invented - to get rid of Stalin's possible competitors and to suppress any dissent, the perennial dream of the progressive intelligentsia. The actual 9-11 crime and lies of Obama's clique should be enough to shatter that dream and put him out of his political misery. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Everybody knows...


Everybody knows the deal is rotten.
                                             Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"


Everybody knows Obama lies, but admitting it requires comprehending the ugly reality of Obama's incompetence rather than unquestioningly worshiping him. This worship allows one to consider those lies pia fraus, pious fraud, and justify them fully. If the words are taken for what they fully are, one can see it was with regret that Obama said in his UN speech, "There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon". There was indeed no video Obama and his clique could use for these purposes - they lied there was. He inadvertently admitted that.


On top of these lies, Obama apologized for our freedoms: "I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that. But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete." See, they would really like to control, to cancel that pesky protection of free speech - but just cannot in 2012. Perhaps they'll be able to in 2013.

Don't forget Romney's carcinogenic properties and his Dog-On-The-Roof never-ending drama (I expect a Broadway musical to be made soon by Michael Moore). Dead ambassadors and invasions of sovereign US territory on 9-11 11 years after 9-11 are truly trivial in comparison. What jihad? All is quiet under The One's watch. Once the YouTube Muhammad movies are dealt with by the capable Obama censors, finally controlling the flow of information, we'll sing kumbaya and the wolf shall dwell with the lamb.

Nobody should say Obama's presidency was a complete failure. Obama asked for an "incomplete" grade, and we have seen nothing yet indeed. It will be complete - and we'll be done too - if he gets his second term.