Monday, November 17, 2003

The Inextricable Link Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism

On Hating the Jews
The inextricable link between anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.
Monday, November 17, 2003 12:01 a.m. EST

No hatred has as rich and as lethal a history as anti-Semitism--"the longest hatred," as the historian Robert Wistrich has dubbed it. Over the millennia, anti-Semitism has infected a multitude of peoples, religions and civilizations, in the process inflicting a host of terrors on its Jewish victims. But while there is no disputing the impressive reach of the phenomenon, there is surprisingly little agreement about its cause or causes.

Indeed, finding a single cause would seem too daunting a task--the incidence of anti-Semitism is too frequent, the time span too broad, the locales too numerous, the circumstances too varied. No doubt that is why some scholars have come to regard every outbreak as essentially unique, denying that a straight line can be drawn from the anti-Semitism of the ancient world to that of today. Whether it is the attack on the Jews of Alexandria in the year 38 or the ones that took place 200 years earlier in ancient Jerusalem, whether it is the Dreyfus affair in 1890s France or Kristallnacht in late-1930s Germany--each incident is seen as the outcome of a distinctive mix of political, social, economic, cultural and religious forces that preclude the possibility of a deeper or recurring cause.

A less extreme version of this same approach identifies certain patterns of anti-Semitism, but only within individual and discrete "eras." In particular, a distinction is drawn between the religiously based hatred of the Middle Ages and the racially based hatred of the modern era. Responsibility for the anti-Semitic waves that engulfed Europe from the age of Constantine to the dawn of the Enlightenment is laid largely at the foot of the church and its offshoots, while the convulsions that erupted over the course of the next three centuries are viewed as the byproduct of the rise of virulent nationalism.

Obviously, separating out incidents or eras has its advantages, enabling researchers to focus more intensively on specific circumstances and to examine individual outbreaks from start to finish. But what such analyses may gain in local explanatory power they sacrifice in comprehensiveness. Besides, if every incident or era of anti-Semitism is largely distinct from every other, how to explain the cumulative ferocity of the phenomenon?

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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Secret Government Memo On Cooperation Between Hussein and bin Laden.

Case Closed
From the November 24, 2003 issue: The U.S. government's secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

by Stephen F. Hayes
11/24/2003, Volume 009, Issue 11

OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies.

According to the memo--which lays out the intelligence in 50 numbered points--Iraq-al Qaeda contacts began in 1990 and continued through mid-March 2003, days before the Iraq War began. Most of the numbered passages contain straight, fact-based intelligence reporting, which insome cases includes an evaluation of the credibility of the source. This reporting is often followed by commentary and analysis.

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Friday, November 14, 2003

The Difference Between Their Hasbara and Ours

Besides the fact the Pro-Palestinian supporters have come out stronger, I wonder if there is an intrinsic difference between how they are able to present their views and how we do it.

What they want to present can be boiled down to a picture, such a crying mother whose house has been destroyed by the IDF (no need to mention in a caption that their were suicide bomb belts hidden under the bed). It appeals to emotion and seems real. And they have great bumper stickers ("Save Palestine").

What do we offer? Articles and long-winded editorials (an exageration, but not far off the mark, I think); expositions of the history of Israel, discussions of why settlements are legal and why the occupied territory is at best merely disputed according to international law--instead of stories about real people...boring. People cannot make their way through it and tend not to trust it.

Now we are getting showing how Israel reacted to 9/11 contrasting with Palestinians celebrating. No wonder Pro-Palestinians are crying (whining?) foul. Is the next step a bumper sticker ("Stop the Palestinian Murder of Americans!")

But the problem is, if their pictures ring true and our pictures ring true, if we both have clever bumper stickers--won't that merely give the edge to the "let's be even-handed; its a cycle-of-violence" crowd?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Dowd Flip-Flop

Everyone is entitled to change their opinion. But it is still worth noting...

From Andrew Sullivan's Blog:

...So it's helpful to remember Dowd's response to the threat of WMDs from Saddam when Clinton was in power. Here's a column written six years ago this month. Guess what her concern was? That the Clinton administration was too weak to deal with a strongman like Saddam! A trip down memory lane:

Suddenly there are fears about Iraqi crop dusters spraying death on the Mall, about the nation's capital being another Nagasaki... Having covered President Bush's efforts to demonize the Iraqis, I understood the motive behind Secretary Cohen's alarmist performance art. We are talking about a world-class monster who strangles people with his bare hands, gasses entire villages, assassinates members of his family and uses babies as shields. Wondering if the Clinton crowd has the spine for its first big crisis is giving me a bad case of the jits. The suspicion lingers about these alumni of make-love-not-war that they are not entirely comfortable with things military ... Even with George Bush's sometimes scattered style and Colin Powell's inhibition about the use of force, the Bush-Baker-Cheney-Powell-Schwarzkopf team still gave the impression of command ... I want Madeleine Albright, the most virile of the lot, to stop wearing picture hats around the Mideast. Saddam Hussein is not threatening Ascot. I fret that toothy Tony Blair is no Iron Lady.

And on and on. All this reveals is that it's a little futile attempting to criticize Maureen Dowd. She'll write anything that comes into her head at the moment. There's no argument, no thread of consistency that I can glean from one moment to the next. If the Clintonites are in power, they're wimps in the face of Saddam's threat; if the Bushies are in power, they're testosterone-crazed imperialists, hyping Saddam's threat. We should confront/appease Saddam right now/never, because the threat is real/bogus, imminent/non-existent and we have to do something/hang loose before all hell lets loose/or I get off deadline. But my favorite part of the column is the opener:

I was peaceably eating my penne at lunch the other day when my friend, another reporter, told me he thought Washington was in imminent danger of being gassed, germed, VX'ed or anthraxed.
Yes, imminent! Bush may never have said it. Rummy may never have believed it. But Ms Dowd wrote it six years ago - and now blames the Bushies for allegedly agreeing with her.

NYT Flip-Flop

From Today's Best of the Web

Breaking News From Nine Months Ago

"President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict."--editorial, New York Times, Feb. 27

"The White House recently began shifting its case for the Iraq war from the embarrassing unconventional weapons issue to the lofty vision of creating an exemplary democracy in Iraq."--editorial, New York Times, Nov. 13

Have You Noticed That...

1. The media is liberal and presents news in a way that is slanted against the leader of the country and it's policies.

2. Citizens visit and show sympathy with foreign countries against whom we intended and carried out military action.

3. There is increased yelling and screaming by members of opposing parties.

4. Congress shows increasing partisan in-fighting and undermine political opponents.

5. Peace movements organize large protests against the government.

6. The country is viewed by other countries as a danger to world peace.

7. The country is threatened and attacked by terrorists.

8. Intellectuals and experts in history and political science stress the need to understand and sympathize with the roots of these militants.

9. The US military is now threatening to destroy the homes of Iraqi terrorists

Gee, the US is looking more and more like Israel each day...