Archive | July 3rd, 2018

Hungary: The Nationalist, Christian Bad Boy of EU

Hungary is defying the immigration policy Merkel imposed on the EU but it was hated in Brussels long before that — just because its constitution references Hungary’s national and Christian traditions

According to the political establishment that runs the EU, Hungary has become a xenophobic, authoritarian society. The Hungarian government and in particular the prime minister, Viktor Orban, are continually denounced for their alleged violations of EU values. The mainstream Western media have picked up the message that it is okay to hate Hungary. They give the impression that Hungary is a totalitarian and viciously anti-Semitic society in which critics of the regime are silenced and the government dominates the media.

Calls to expel Hungary from the EU by pro-EU voices in the Guardian and elsewhere echo an intolerant outlook that is growing within the Brussels oligarchy. Recently, members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee voted for a resolution that says the situation in Hungary constitutes ‘a clear risk of a serious breach’ of the EU’s values.

Denunciations of the Hungarian government are often justified on the basis that this is a nation that refuses to go along with the migration policies that German chancellor Angela Merkel effectively imposed on the continent. Other Hungarian sins cited by the ‘Kick Hungary out of the EU’ lobby include a new law that makes life difficult for NGOs funded by George Soros.

However, the campaign against Hungary actually has little to do with recent policies adopted by the Orban government. For almost a decade now, Western European critics of Hungary have been calling for its expulsion from the EU. This anti-Hungarian animosity was vividly demonstrated in a debate in the European Parliament in January 2012. The debate, titled, was organised in response to concerns expressed by the European Commission (EC) about various recent Hungarian laws. The commission followed up its concerns by launching infringement proceedings against Hungary on three issues: the independence of the national central bank; the retirement age of judges; and the independence of the data-protection authority. Outwardly, at least, this controversy seemed to be a dispute over relatively routine technical matters; but as the debate unfolded, it became clear that the main protagonists were in fact divided by, and motivated by, very different visions of what the best values are.

Brussels fears Hungary because it refuses to bow to imperial technocracy

Before the debate, Europhile commentators in the media had singled out the Hungarian government and its recently enacted constitution – known as the Fundamental Law – as serious challenges to the secular, democratic, liberal values of the EU. That the constitution references Hungary’s national and Christian traditions was seen as bad, and even dangerous. Such sentiments could unleash the xenophobic nationalism of the 1940s that the EU believed had been left behind, we were told.

José Manuel Barroso, then president of the EC, set the tone when he introduced the debate. He characterised his differences with the Hungarian government as an ‘extremely sensitive matter, where I believe we have to be clear on values’. He did not clarify what values were at stake; however, the implication was clear that Hungarian laws and its new constitution violated European values.

During the debate, speaker after speaker condemned the Hungarian government. The Flemish Belgian politician, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, took to the floor to denounce Hungary’s affronts to European values. He warned that there was more at stake here than technical issues – the fundamental principles on which the EU is constructed were being threatened, he said. He declared:

’What is necessary here is not a debate on technical issues, as we had at the beginning of the year. This is about checking the conformity of the [Hungarian] constitution and cardinal laws with the European values that are enshrined in Article 2 of the treaty: democracy, the rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and so on.’

Verhofstadt demanded that the EU’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs draw up a report into the actions of the Hungarian government to find out whether ‘there exists a clear risk or a serious breach of our values’. His use of the term ‘our values’ conveyed the idea that our way of life is very different to ‘theirs’.

The oddity of this demand – that a member state of the EU, a sovereign nation, should have its values policed – went unnoticed, or at least unremarked upon. This demand for value-policing suggested that the EU’s highly acclaimed celebration of diversity did not apply to different approaches to values across national boundaries. Tolerance for the diversity of values, which has historically been a central feature of liberal thought, was clearly not considered important by those condemning Hungary.

Some of the criticisms of Orban were couched in a more openly hostile language than the legalistic jargon used by Verhofstadt. Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the Greens-European Free Alliance condemned Hungary and lectured Orban that ‘we are here to tell you that you are going in the direction of Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and all the other totalitarian authoritarian governments’.

Strip away all the heated talk, and the fundamental value at stake between the EU technocracy and Hungary is that of national sovereignty. The ideal of sovereignty directly challenges the authority of the EU technocracy. That is why those who support national independence and popular sovereignty are frequently accused of the crime of xenophobia. From the standpoint of the EU, what is truly unforgivable is the refusal of the Hungarian government to play the role of neocolonial supplicant in the EU’s imperial drama.Back in the 1990s, during the negotiations regarding the terms of EU membership, Hungary was assigned the role of a student facing an exam on its capacity to understand and practise European values. In 1993, the European Council laid out its approval procedures, known as the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’, which candidate countries had to meet before they could become EU members. One criterion was the willingness of the candidate to accept and promote so-called European values.

The Copenhagen document stated that ‘any European country may apply for membership if it respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting them’. This reference to ‘democratic values’ lacked clarity and practical meaning. The rhetoric of democratic values is used by a wide variety of actors – from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United States – which means it is very much open to interpretation. In practice, the implication was that would-be members of the EU would have to endorse uncritically the political cultureof the EU oligarchy.

The true EU value is that of unconditional acceptance of Brussels’ diktats. This means that when EC president Jean-Claude Juncker instructs an Eastern European government to ‘jump’, the only acceptable response is to ask ‘how high?’. From this perspective, the most dangerous counter-value to those of the EU is that of national independence. What the EU really fears is that Hungary’s behaviour might become infectious, and other member states might start to adopt policies that are consistent with their own national interests.

It is paradoxical that supporters of the EU’s line on Hungary believe they are upholding the values of tolerance and democracy. In truth, they cannot tolerate a nation that has democratically decided to adopt values that are different to their own. The EU is very selective in the way it interprets its own values. Rhetorically, EU ideologues celebrate diversity, yet they are bitterly hostile to those who demand that diversity should also be applied to the realm of values. This is why the campaign against Budapest unabashedly claims that it has the right to impose its values on Hungary whether that nation and its people like it or not.

Since the re-election of the Orban government in April, hostility to Hungary has morphed into a highly politicised and irrational Magyarophobia. The EU establishment regards the massive mandate endorsing Orban’s policies as a direct challenge to its way of life. Isolating Hungary and containing its influence on the political life of other European member states has become a priority for the EU leadership. Scaremongering about the return of fascism in Hungary is really a way of imposing a cordon sanitaire around that country. Thankfully, support for the ideal of sovereignty is not confined to the people of one nation. Hungary’s challenge to the EU’s imperial ambitions may well resonate throughout the continent.

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Syria Is Now Like the Balkans in 1914

“If Trump does one of his familiar back flips and announces the withdrawal of US forces from Syria it will be Turkey’s turn to be left isolated and vulnerable”

The war in Syria has returned to where it was started in 2011, in Dara’a, close to the Jordanian border and therefore easily accessible to takfiris and weapons shipped in to be used behind the façade of ‘peaceful protests.’ The template had been used in Latin America and the Middle East on many occasions and here it was being used again, with the enthusiastic support of the corporate media.

Having failed in its attempt to overthrow the Syrian government the US is now abandoning those groups described in the corporate media as its ‘allies.’ One such group if the takfiri collective fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, which has been told to expect no help from the US in its collapsing attempt to hold ground in southwestern Syria. Another is the Kurdish SDF-YPG collective in the north, which the US betrayed when signing an agreement with Turkey over Manbij. The Kurds, as an administrative and military force, have been forced out. The town is now being patrolled by Turkish and US military units.

The Kurds can’t say they were not told to trust the US. They have played their cards hopelessly just about everywhere. When Turkey invaded north-western Syria early this year they rejected an offer of military assistance from the Syrian government, apparently thinking they could hold their ground against the Turkish army, only to be routed by it and to be driven out of Afrin city.

The US had warned Turkey that Manbij was a red line. However, when the Turks insisted, the US gave in. The YPG is now reconciling with the Syrian government, just as some at least of the betrayed takfiris in the southwest, along the border with Jordan and the armistice line with the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, have been accepting an amnesty offer. Israel is still doing its best to throw the Syrian military off balance, by bombing near Damascus airport and striking at Syria’s Iraqi allies along the eastern border, but to no avail. The army is making a clean sweep and all the southwest will soon be back in the hands of the Syrian government.

Syria’s next target is likely to be the base the US has set up at Al Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi border. At Al Tanf the US has been retraining and rebranding takfiris into its Maghawhir al Thawra (Commandos of the Revolution) proxy force. Backed by US air power, this force has been attacking Syrian forces outside the ‘deconfliction zone’ the US has unilaterally set up within a 50 km radius of Al Tanf.The US is still arguing that its forces are needed in Syria to fight the Islamic State. In fact, if the Islamic State continues to exist, it is because of tacit support from the US. The heavy work in destroying the Islamic State was done by the Syrian military and the Syrian and Russian air forces, not the US and not the Kurds, as the corporate media would have its gullible consumers believe. The latest example of a helping hand is the helicoptering of two IS leaders from Twaimin on the Syrian-Iraqi border to the US base at Al Shaddadi, south of al Hasaka.

From Tanf the US continues to attack the Syrian and Iraqi militaries, with air support from Israel. The aim seems to be to control the border and prevent the war in Syria from ending.   Donald Trump has blown hot and cold over Syria and even Americans should be asking what their forces are doing there. The US has reached none of its set goals. The Syrian government is still in power and the proxy forces armed and paid by outside governments are being routed. The Kurdish card was played, with the apparent intention of linking up the occupied northeast, predominantly Kurdish, with the Kurdish governorate in northern Iraq, in 2011 only a few steps short of statehood. That is now not going to happen, following the collapse of the independence movement in northern Iraq and the loss of all territory taken by the peshmerga since 2014. The US betrayal of the Kurds in favour of an agreement with Turkey puts the final nail in the coffin.

The US is now staying in Syria to prevent the war from ending. Its withdrawal would signify the complete and humiliating failure of the policy of intervention. The US would be signalling that Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have won and the tripartite axis of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel have failed. The US is now isolated and vulnerable in Syria. It is opposed on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border by military and tribal forces, whose resistance to foreign occupation is being coordinated/monitored by a joint command centre set up in Baghdad by Iraq, Syria and Russia.

If Trump does one of his familiar back flips and announces the withdrawal of US forces from Syria it will be Turkey’s turn to be left isolated and vulnerable not just in north-western Syria or Manbij where the government has repeatedly refused to withdraw its troops from Bashiqa, near Mosul, despite the repeated demands of the Iraqi government. Turkish occupation of north-western Syria extends to the town Al Bab, northeast of Aleppo, where an industrial zone is being created. Throughout the occupied region the Turkish flag is being flown, a police force trained and proxy town councils set up. Turkish forces are now present in Manbij, further to the west, and Idlib, where under the ‘deconfliction’ arrangements set up under the Astana negotiations Turkey has set up at least 12 ‘observation’ posts.

Bashar al Assad has said Syria intends to liberate the entire country, as is his constitutional duty, and that all occupying forces that do not voluntarily withdraw will be driven out by force. The Turkish government has said it will not return occupied territory to the Syrian government: to whom it would return this territory is not clear. Following his recent election victory Tayyip Erdogan said he would continue to take measures to ‘liberate’ Syria. As these completely polarized positions indicate, open armed conflict between Syria and Turkey would seem inevitable sooner or later. The main Turkish opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), strongly opposed to intervention in Syria, had said it intended to repair the relationship with the government in Damascus, a process that would inevitably have entailed the withdrawal of Turkish forces but that exit route has now been closed off.Syria is now a cross between the Balkans in 1914 and Europe 1930-39. The combination of irresponsible outside powers and the violent groups they are backing inside Syria but cannot necessarily control have created a tinderbox. One more spark and the entire region could be blown sky high.

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Ecuador judge orders arrest of ex-president Rafael Correa

NOVANEWS

Ecuador judge orders arrest of ex-president Rafael Correa

The National Court of Justice of Ecuador has ordered the preventive detention of the country’s former president Rafael Correa and requested that Interpol apprehend him for extradition.

The request for Correa’s detention was filed by the country’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday. The prosecution is accusing Correa, who served as the president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, of being involved in the kidnapping of Fernando Balda, a former opposition lawmaker, in 2012 in Colombia – charges that Correa vehemently denies.

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Fiscalía Ecuador

@FiscaliaEcuador

ATENCIÓN | Jueza Daniella Camacho acoge el pedido de Fiscalía, ordena la prisión preventiva en contra del expresidente Rafael C. por su presunta participación en los delitos de asociación ilícita y secuestro. Remitirá oficio a Interpol para la captura con fines de extradición.

Balda himself was charged with orchestrating a foiled coup attempt in 2010. The charges were filed when the lawmaker was in Colombia, from where he was eventually deported to Ecuador in 2012 and served a year in prison for endangering state security.

Correa, who is living in Belgium with his family, is up in arms over the court’s ruling, arguing on Twitter that the request to put him in custody was made without “a single piece of evidence.” He believes the extradition does not stand a chance at the international level.

“How much success will this farce have at the international level? Don’t worry, everything is a matter of time. We will win!”he added.

Rafael Correa

@MashiRafael

Fiscal puesto a dedo, vinculación sin ninguna prueba, jueza que se allana al desacato de la Asamblea Nacional, medida cautelar imposible de cumplir, etc.
¿Saben cuánto éxito va a tener esta farsa a nivel internacional?
No se preocupen, todo es cuestión de tiempo.
¡Venceremos!

Fiscalía Ecuador

@FiscaliaEcuador

ATENCIÓN| Fiscal #PaúlPérezR solicitó la prisión preventiva en contra del expresidente Rafael C. por incumplimiento de medida cautelar de presentación periódica ante @CorteNacional. Pidió que se notifique a Interpol mediante difusión de alerta roja para su captura y extradición.

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In a string of tweets, Correa thanked his followers for the outpour of support he received after the news on the international warrant for his extradition broke. “ I thank everyone for their solidarity in the face of this new and serious abuse of justice and my rights,” he tweeted, adding that he doesn’t believe Belgium will comply with the request.

“They will seek to humiliate us and make us have a hard time, but such a monstrosity will NEVER prosper in a State of Law like Belgium,” he wrote.

Rafael Correa

@MashiRafael

Agradezco a tod@s sus muestras de solidaridad ante este nuevo y grave atropello a la justicia y mis derechos.
Yo estoy bien. No se preocupen.
Buscarán humillarnos y hacernos pasar un mal rato, pero una monstruosidad así JAMÁS prosperará en un Estado de Derecho como Bélgica.

One of the milestones of Correa’s foreign policy became granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2012, who has since been holed up in the country’s embassy in London’s Knightsbridge. The move drew anger from the UK and the US, who sought the whistleblower’s arrest.

Correa was replaced in power by his former ally Lenin Moreno in April last year, after a close-call election. At the time, Correa welcomed Moreno’s victory as a “triumph of revolution.”

However, the two have since fallen out, with Correa branding Moreno a “traitor” and “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” after the latter proposed a constitutional referendum to limit the number of presidential terms, thus barring Correa from seeking re-election in 2021. The referendum held on February 4 ended in a victory for the Moreno government, with the majority of Ecuadorians voting to introduce the changes.

Moreno has signaled there will be a U-turn in the South American country’s foreign policy from Correa’s anti-American posture after he signed a security agreement with the US in April of this year.

The new president also took a tougher stance on Assange, calling him “more than a nuisance” and a “hacker,” which is more in line with the rhetoric coming from Washington. Although Moreno agreed to extend Assange’s asylum, the WikiLeaks founder’s Internet access and visitor rights were restricted over what the Ecuadorian government sees as his controversial online political activity.

Since February, Correa has been a host of his own show ‘A Conversation with Correa’ on RT Spanish, where he has interviewed prominent guests from Latin American political circles and beyond. Among those who sat down with the ex-president on the show were Brazilian ex-Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, Argentina’s ex-leader Cristina Kirchner, American philosopher Noam Chomsky and others

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Another Trump Miracle? Is Bolton Now a Peacenik?

The Walrus of Death seems to be hyping up the success of Trump’s North Korea peace talks

Tell me if I am reading this wrong. Bolton, who helped sabotage the North Koren talks in the Bush-Cheney era and may have been trying to sabotage them from within the Trump administration as recently as this April is now saying the North Korea nukes could go within a year:

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday he believed the bulk of North Korea’s weapons programs could be dismantled within a year, as the United States and North Korea resumed working-level talks.

Bolton told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Washington has devised a program to dismantle North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction – chemical, biological and nuclear – and ballistic missile programs in a year, if there is full cooperation and disclosure from Pyongyang.

“I’m sure that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, will be discussing this with the North Koreans in the near future, about, really, how to dismantle all of their WMD and ballistic missile programs in a year. If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they’re cooperative, we can move very quickly,” he said. “Physically we would be able to dismantle the overwhelming bulk of their programs within a year.”

Bolton is the last person you’d expect to be this bullish on the North Korea talks. What is going on here? Is he creating the unrealistic expectation the weapons can be dismantled this quickly, so that when they are not, he can scream Koreans are not cooperating? Or is he now so loyal to Trump this hyping up of the Korean peace process is sincere??

I won’t pretend to know the answer, but in the CBS studio interview where he said this, he — except on Iran — sounded almost reasonable. He even goes to say he doesn’t necessarily disbelieve Putin when the latter says there was no Russian state meddling in the US 2016 election. And he defends the idea of Russia talks — which he after all helped set up.

If Trump has indeed turned the Walrus of Death into a Korea peacenik this would be a bigger miracle than retiring on the national level the Bushes and the Clintons both in 2016.

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American Evangelicals Are More Supportive of ‘Israel’ Than American Jews – Pew Poll

Image result for American Zionist Evangelicals CARTOON

46% of white American Evangelicals say the US is not supportive enough of Israel, vs. 31% of American Jews.

MORE: POLITICS THE JEWISH QUESTION

Given the growing religious/political divide in the United States, a poll taken by Pew is particularly pertinent, especially given the recent activities in Israel and the Gaza.

The white evangelical backing of Donald Trump and his agenda for the Middle East is striking but, for those of us who grew up in an Evangelical ecosystem, not terribly surprising.

What IS surprising is the level of support for the state of Israel, particularly when one looks at a comparison between the levels of support from the American Christian community and the American Jewish community.

Here is what Pew found regarding American attitudes toward the existence of Israel as a nation given to the Jewish people by God based on religious affiliation, noting that the numbers don’t always add up to 100 percent because some respondents declined to answer or said that they “didn’t know”:

American Jewish respondents:

  1. Jews of all types – 40 percent yes, 27 percent no
  2. Religious Jews – 47 percent yes, 27 percent no
  3. Non-religious Jews – 16 percent yes, 27 percent no
  4. Ultra-orthodox Jews – 81 percent yes, 13 percent no
  5. Modern orthodox Jews – 90 percent yes, 5 percent no
  6. Conservative Jews – 54 percent yes, 25 percent no
  7. Reform Jews – 35 percent yes, 35 percent no

American Non-Jewish respondents:

  1. Non-Jews as a whole – 44 percent yes, 34 percent no
  2. Christians overall – 55 percent yes, 32 percent no
  3. Protestants overall – 64 percent yes, 26 percent no
  4. White Evangelicals – 82 percent yes, 12 percent no
  5. White Mainline – 47 percent yes, 37 percent no
  6. Black Protestant – 51 percent yes, 39 percent no
  7. Catholics overall – 38 percent yes, 45 percent no
  8. White, Non-Hispanic Catholics – 34 percent yes, 51 percent no
  9. Unaffiliated – 16 percent yes, 37 percent no.

It is interesting to see the wide-ranging relationship between religious affiliation and the belief in the God-given right of the Jewish possession of Israel.  At 82 percent, white evangelical Christians’ support for the Jewish possession of their birthright is higher than for any other religious group other than modern orthodox Jews and is nearly twice the level of religious Jewish support for the concept of a God-given promise of a Jewish homeland.

If we look at another aspect of support for Israel, when asked if American support for the state of Israel is sufficient, 54 percent of Jews say that support for Israel is “about right” and 31 percent say that it is not sufficient.  In contrast, only 31 percent of white evangelical Protestants feel that American support for Israel is “about right” and 46 percent say that the United States is not supportive enough of Israel.

Lastly, when asked if there is the possibility of a peaceful two-state solution (i.e. Palestine and Israel coexisting peacefully), 61 percent of Jewish Americans say yes and 33 percent say no.  In contrast, only 42 percent of white evangelical American Protestants say yes and 50 percent say that a peaceful solution is not possible.

Given that white evangelical Protestant support for Donald Trump and, by extension, his agenda for Israel is at an all-time high as shown here:

…and that 69 percent would prefer Trump as the presidential candidate in the 2020 presidential election, one would think that Israel has it made.

Unfortunately for the pro-Israel cause, the religious landscape of America is changing with the percentage of evangelical Christians in America dropping by 3.4 percent over the years between 2007 and 2014, now representing only one in four Americans.

As well, the demographics of evangelical Christianity are changing significantly; in 2007, only 19 percent of evangelical Protestants were racial and ethnic minorities compared to 24 percent in 2014.

This demographic change within the evangelical movement could play a significant role in how voters view Washington’s preferential treatment of Israel and its status as the God-designated home for Jews since a majority of these voters tend to avoid voting Republican.

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‘Leftist Anti-Semitism’ Is Much in the News, But It’s Not True Anti-Semitism

“What IS present in the Left is a strident anti-Zionism based on a combination of genuine horror at the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government and military, and a dogmatic belief in cultural Marxist narratives of Western imperialism. … Neither share an intellectual, cultural, or ideological lineage with the European anti-Semitic tradition.”

MORE: POLITICS HISTORY THE JEWISH QUESTION

I can’t remember a time when the refrain “left-wing anti-Semitism” was more in vogue and yet so woefully misused. A quick Google search for the phrase returns more than four million results, including 65,000 results in which discussion of alleged leftist anti-Semitism forms a substantial element of a book.

This curious but prolific fashion has accelerated remarkably in the last five years, with the publication, in relatively quick succession, of a number of texts posturing as ‘definitive’ treatments of the subject. The most notable of these are Stephen Norwood’s Antisemitism and the American Far Left (2013), Philip Mendes’s Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance (2014), William Brustein’s The Socialism of Fools? Leftist Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism (2015), Dave Rich’s The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism, and most recently, David Hirsh’s Contemporary Left Antisemitism (2017).

This is in addition to the now incessant media chatter about the international activities of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, and the similarly unending coverage in the U.K. of anti-Israel attitudes in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. All of this is of course irritatingly supplemented by interested parties (e.g., Jonah Goldberg and his 2008 Liberal Fascism) and their foreign lackeys in the co-opted Right (e.g., Dinesh D’ Souza), who proffer nebulous and entirely self-serving narratives of ‘Leftist Fascism’ to those still ignorant enough to respond to propagandized trigger words with all the thoughtless obedience of a well-trained dog.

It really shouldn’t take much careful thought to come to the conclusion that this oft-claimed “leftist anti-Semitism” is a phantom of the Jewish imagination, transmuted into a politically useful meme and disseminated with shameless persistence via the mass media and the co-opted political establishment. The first step in dismissing this meme is to abandon propagandistic definitions of anti-Semitism, which these days categorize any negativity against Jews and their interests as irrational, pathological, and quasi-genocidal. What, then,is anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitism, if the term is to retain any use for us at all, can best be conceived as a framework of understandings or archetypal narratives concerning Jews (both individually and as a group) which enable reasonably accurate predictions or prejudgments of Jewish behavior, or which act to caution one against contact with Jews. One might well call it a ‘prejudice,’ but like all prejudices it has an inherent value and usefulness which cannot be simply waved away with abstract ‘moral’ objections. I argue that it is the content of this framework of understandings which should be sought in anything defined or self-defining as anti-Semitism.

Helpfully, the fundamentals of anti-Semitism have remained largely unchanged for over 2,000 years and these features are straightforward and easily identified. For example, the second chapter of Kevin MacDonald’s Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (2004) is devoted to the Themes of Anti-Semitism.”

In summary, those presented by MacDonald include the understandings that Jews are clannish and self-segregating, that Jews have a special relationship with money and a corresponding tendency to economic domination, that Jews possess a certain set of negative personality traits including a tendency to dissimulation, that Jews engage in the manipulation of surrounding cultures in order to pursue their own group interests, and finally that Jews are “less loyal” than those native to the host culture or nation.

These understandings are simply not present in the modern Left, not even in a cryptic or subtle form. What is present in the Left is a strident anti-Zionism based on a combination of genuine horror at the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government and military, and a dogmatic belief in cultural Marxist narratives of Western imperialism.

Neither share an intellectual, cultural, or ideological lineage with the European anti-Semitic tradition. Attempts to describe the Left as ‘anti-Semitic’ are in fact based on the same tendentious logical suppositions as equally prolific notions of a “new anti-Semitism.” [There are more than two million hits in Google Books for this term]. The concept of anti-Semitism as an ever-changing or ‘mutating’ psychological virus is appealing to Jews, and almost exclusively promoted by them [e.g. see this piece by Guardian journalist Nick Cohen], for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that it shifts all blame away from Jews.

The second is that it is conducive to a key aspect of Jewish self-deception — what Albert Lindemann called “the parallel instinct to view surrounding Gentile society as pervasively flawed, polluted, or sick.”[1]

The specific grievances which go into provoking anti-Semitism are striking in their persistence and uniformity. Kevin MacDonald notes that “the remarkable thing about anti-Semitism is that there is an overwhelming similarity in the complaints made about Jews in different places and over very long stretches of historical time.”[2] However, Jews have engaged in the self-deception that anti-Semitism is instead constantly evolving and mutating to catch up with them, and that this ‘disease’ is constantly threatening to reach pandemic proportions among the Gentiles. Jews avoid facing the necessity of changing their behavior by convincing themselves that no matter what steps they might take to change their behavior, the ‘anti-Semitic virus’ will adapt or mutate in order to target them.

The flexibility of such a theory of anti-Semitism obviously also makes it a useful tool to Jewish interests. Lacking definite structures and rhetorical boundaries, it can be deployed at will to encompass any behavior deemed undesirable by Jews. Thus, any act of negativity towards Jews becomes another example of the “new anti-Semitism.”

Such flexibility also absolves Jews of the need to come to explain in concrete and consistent terms where, why, and how anti-Semitic feelings are aroused. The ‘authoritarian personality,’ economic failures, social marginalization, nationalism, personal jealousies, psychological pathologies, status anxiety, radical leftism — all these and more can be shamelessly produced in varying combinations as semi-credible explanations because anti-Semitism is by nature, according to Jewish theorizing and in contrast to all evidence, inherently fluid.

One of the most powerful, if not totally successful, efforts in this sphere of Jewish apologetics is the attempt by the organized Jewish community to conflate anti-Zionism, which presently manifests most strongly on the Left and among student groups, with the fictional concept of the “new anti-Semitism.” Indeed, the meme that anti-Zionism is essentially anti-Semitism is the linchpin of the concept of “leftist anti-Semitism.” Without the former rhetorical device, the latter appears weak, if not absurd, in light of the ‘special relationship’ between Jews and the Left from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

Hyperbole is both common and necessary to this propaganda effort. All criticism of Israel is portrayed as an effort to undermine and abolish the Jewish state, throwing Jews to a host of vaguely defined but allegedly ever-present genocidal predators. An excellent recent example is that of Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who stated just before he left office that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had “delegitimised the State of Israel by indulging the “prevalent discourse about Israel,” [“a discourse which denies the existence of their own land to the Jewish people”] and thus holds views that are “unquestionably anti-Semitic.”

The phrasing of Arkush’s comments is itself a stellar example of Jewish socio-political myopia — with almost every Western nation officially supporting Israel, or unofficially pursuing a policy of appeasement, it is dissent to this overwhelming norm that Arkush dares describe as the “prevalent discourse.”

Jewish blindness to their privileges, genuine or feigned, is of course one major cause for the undeniable friction between Jews and the modern Left. It was perhaps inevitable that foolish but earnest egalitarians on the Left would come to the slow realization that their ‘comrades of the Jewish faith’ were in fact not only elitists, but an elite of a very special sort.

The simultaneous preaching of open borders/common property and ‘the land of the Jewish people’ was always going to strike a discordant note among the wearers of sweaty Che Guevara t-shirts, especially when accompanied so very often by the cacophony of Israeli gunfire and the screams of bloodied Palestinian children. Mass migration, that well-crafted toxin coursing through the highways and rail lines of Europe, has proven just as difficult to manage.

Great waves of human detritus wash upon Western shores, bringing raw and passionate grievances even from the frontiers of Israel. These are people whose eyes have seen behind the veil, and who sit only with great discomfort alongside the kin of the IDF in league with the Western political left—the only common ground being a shared desire to dispossess the hated White man.

For these reasons, the Left could well become a cold house for Jews without becoming authentically, systematically, or traditionally anti-Semitic. One might therefore expect Jews to regroup away from the radical left, occupying a political space best described as staunchly centrist — a centrism that leans left only to pursue multiculturalism and other destructive ‘egalitarian’ social policies, and leans right only in order to obtain elite protections and privileges [domestically for the Jewish community, internationally for Israel].

A centrism based, in that old familiar formula, on ‘what is best for Jews.’ A ‘centrism’ typified to varying degrees by the Jewish clique clustering around Quillette, and promoting similarly ‘centrist’ ideological vacuums like Jordan Peterson. A ‘Jewish centrism’ that disseminates the memes of ‘leftist anti-Semitism’ and ‘liberal fascism,’ which are then greedily consumed with gusto by Corporate Conservatism, Promised Land Christians, and Beer Patriots.

Faced with such a patchwork of fictions, we might ask whether or not a ‘leftist’ or ‘radical egalitarian’ anti-Semitism’ could ever exist and, if so, what it would look like. In this regard, we would have to delve deeper into history — into ideas which prefigure Marx and Engels and correspond more closely with a true, authentic, even quasi-ethnic or ‘national’ socialism. Here the example of William Cobbett is highly instructive.

Leftist Critic of the Jews: William Cobbett (1763-1835) – If I had time, I would make an actual survey of one whole county, and find out how many of the old gentry have lost their estates, and have been supplanted by the Jews, since Pitt began his reign.

The name of William Cobbett (1763–1835) will not be very familiar to non-British readers. Within the United Kingdom, however, this radical agitator from two centuries ago retains a significant level of prominence and esteem. His career is a standard component of the national high school history curriculum. In his home county of Hampshire there remain schools and pubs named after him. One can take heritage walks to see where and how he lived. There is a William Cobbett Society. Volumes of books have been published describing him as a hero. His image hangs in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery.

The reasons for Cobbett’s fame are clear. A farmer’s son, he worked as a farm laborer, gardener, clerk, soldier, journalist, and politician. He is remembered mainly for his opposition to the Corn Laws, legislation imposed between 1815 and 1846 which essentially blocked cheap food imports from abroad, artificially maintaining high domestic food prices.

Cobbett blamed Britain’s increasingly aloof and selfish aristocracy as well as its mercantilist culture, built on the development of debt finance, for the decline in the fortunes of the English working class as well as the starvation of the Irish. His Political Register newspaper is often credited with the invention of popular radical journalism, and was the main newspaper read by the working class.

His bitter opposition to the British aristocracy led the government to consider arresting him for sedition in 1817 — rumors of which caused Cobbett to flee to the United States, where he remained until matters settled somewhat two years later. When he returned, he paved the way for the 1832 Reform Act, which expanded the British franchise and paved the way for the expansion of democracy within the British Isles. Cobbett is also credited with laying the groundwork for the Chartist movement, which would campaign for universal suffrage and draw the attention of Marx, Engels, and the developing socialist network.

And yet there are elements in the thought and activism of William Cobbett that suggest he is, to say the very least, an uneasy fit for the modern Left. Cobbett disdained internationalism and cosmopolitanism, once stating “I am not a citizen of the world.…It is quite enough for me to think about what is best for England, Scotland, and Ireland.”

He was, if you will, a ‘national’ socialist. Clearly ethnocentric, Cobbett was disdainful of the religious humanitarians of his day. When the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce backed the Corn Laws, Cobbett attacked him for endorsing the starvation of his own people while giving all his support to “the fat and lazy and laughing and singing negroes.”

Cobbett was also profoundly oppositional to Jews. He was simultaneously one of the greatest champions of Catholic political emancipation and one of the fiercest and most relentless opponents of Jewish political emancipation. The latter he rooted in the detachment of Jews from the masses, rejecting the idea that Jews should have a say in government unless someone could “produce a Jew who ever dug, or who ever made his own coat or his own shoes, or who did anything at all, except get all the money he could from the pockets of the people.”[3]

Instead, argued Cobbett, Jews “did not merit any immunities, any privileges, any possessions in house, land, or water, any civil or political rights.…They should everywhere be deemed aliens and always at the absolute disposal of the sovereign power of the state, as completely as any inanimate substance.”[4] He frequently praised the expulsion of Jews from England under Edward I. Jewish academic activist Anthony Julius opines that “in the work of William Cobbett, Jew-hatred is everywhere.…To be a financier is to act the part of a Jew.”[5]

Julius quotes Cobbett as having argued that Jews “damaged France and killed Poland,” and that Jews are a people “living in all the filthiness of usury and increase…extortioners by habit and almost by instinct.[6] Julius laments that Cobbett’s “anti-Semitism exercised a certain diffuse influence on radicals in the early nineteenth century, if only at the level of vocabulary.…Cobbett enjoyed an immense popularity during his lifetime, and has a substantial posthumous reputation.”[7] In 1830 he published Good Friday: or the Murder of Jesus Christ by the Jews, where he wrote:

[Jews are] everywhere are on the side of oppression, assisting tyranny in its fiscal extortions; and everywhere they are bitter foes of those popular rights and liberties.…It is amongst masses of debt and misery that they thrive, as birds and beast of prey get fat in times of pestilence.…This race appear always to have been instruments in the hands of tyrants for plundering their subjects; they were the farmers of the cruel taxes; they lent a support to despotism, which it could not otherwise obtain.

In Paper Against Gold (1812), Cobbett expressed the belief that the concepts of paper money and the national debt were basically Jewish “tricks and connivances,” endorsed by an aristocracy grown greedy and toothless. Initially a loyalist, Cobbett later came to the opinion that while the concept of aristocracy was not altogether bad or illegitimate, the British aristocracy had betrayed and exploited the people it was supposed to lead.

That the aristocracy had given itself over to Jewish thought, through ties of blood and finance, was hinted most strongly in the Political Register of December 6 1817:

Let us, when they have the insolence to call us the ‘lower orders,’ prepare ourselves with useful knowledge, and let these insolent wretches marry amongst one another, ‘till, like the Jews, they have all one and the same face, one and the same pair of eyes, and one and the same nose. Let them, if they can, prevent their footmen from bettering their blood and from reinforcing the limbs of their rickety race; and let us prepare for the day of their overthrow. They have challenged us to the combat. They have declared war against us.

One of the most potent contemporary critics of Cobbett’s political trajectory was Thomas Carlyle, who most famously took aim at radical egalitarianism in his renowned history The French Revolution (1837), but also in his lesser appreciated essay ‘Chartism’ (1840). Having recently re-read ‘Chartism,’ which was rejected by countless contemporary publishers due to its radical authoritarianism, I was struck not so much by the disagreements between Cobbett and Carlyle (the former advocating an expansion of the franchise and the latter advocating a radical curtailment of it), but by their agreements, particularly on the failings of the British aristocracy.

For example, both Cobbett and Carlyle posit the English peasant as an ideal type within a broader context of blood-and-soil nationalism. Both object to laissez-faire economic policies — Cobbett on the grounds they are a cover for corruption, Carlyle on the grounds they represent an abandonment of the aristocratic duty to ‘guide.’

Both viewed the Irish peasant as having been brutalized by a British aristocracy which had rejected its duty to lead out of avarice and laziness, and which could soon do the same to the English peasantry. [In Carlyle’s phrasing: “Has Ireland been governed and guided in a ‘wise and loving’ manner?

A government and guidance of white European men which has issued in perennial hunger of potatoes…ought to drop a veil over its face and walk out of court under conduct of proper officers, saying no word; expecting now a surety sentence either to change or die.”] Both viewed the aristocratic principle as worthwhile but felt strongly that the existing elite had grown corrupt, as well as morally and biologically weak. The only real difference in thought was that Carlyle felt the answer lay in concentrating power in the hands of a “great man” or dictator who would spring from the genius of the ‘lower orders,’ while Cobbett believed that the entirety of the ‘lower orders’ would muster enough genius to steer the nation in a better direction. Carlyle writes:

Whatsoever Aristocracy is still a corporation of the Best, is safe from all peril, and the land it rules is a safe and blessed land. Whatsoever Aristocracy does not even attempt to be that, but only to wear the clothes of that, is not safe; neither is the land it rules safe! For this now is our sad lot, that we must find a real Aristocracy, that an apparent Aristocracy, how plausible soever, has become inadequate for us.…With the supreme triumph of Cash, a changed time has entered; there must a changed Aristocracy enter.

Although these men were essentially polar opposites within the context of mid-nineteenth century British politics, it is fascinating and extremely telling that both would now conform to modern definitions of “far-right” thought. This really is a stunning demonstration of the almost total revolution in values that has taken place, especially since the 1960s. For example, Jean-Yves Camus and Nicolas Lebourg, in Far-Right Politics in Europe (2017), define as “far-right” those ideas which

challenge the political system in place, both its institutions and its values. They feel that society is in a state of decay, which is exacerbated by the state: accordingly, they take on what they perceive to be a redemptive mission. They constitute a countersociety and portray themselves as an alternative elite. Their internal operations rest not on democratic rules but on the emergence of “true elites.” In their imaginary, they link history and society to archetypal figures […] and glorify irrational, nonmaterialistic values […]. And finally, they reject the geopolitical order as it exists [p.22].

James Grande, one of Cobbett’s biographers, remarks that the radical’s legacy was ultimately hindered when his “anti-Semitism grated against the increasingly internationalist outlook of the movement.”[8] It is both fitting and deeply ironic, from Cobbett’s point of view, that the most “internationalist” of the new radicals was the Jew Karl Marx.

Is the modern ‘Left’ anti-Semitic? No.

Was the ‘Left’ ever anti-Semitic? All complexities of valid terminology, I leave you only with food for thought in the form of the fascinating career of the great English radical, Mr William Cobbett.


[1] A. Lindemann, Esau’s Tears, p.13.

[2] K. MacDonald, SAID, p.38.

[3] A. Julius, Trials of the Diaspora, p.401.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] J. Grande, William Cobbett, Romanticism and the Enlightenment: Contexts and Legacy (Routledge, 2015), p.134.

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How the Global Refugee Crisis Has Transformed Europe

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In recent years, even Scandinavian countries like Sweden—which have historically taken pride in providing a safe haven to the world’s huddled masses—are taking a step back to reassess policies on addressing the refugee crisis. Unlike new arrivals who were often previously awarded permanent residency, the vast majority of asylum-seekers who have arrived since November 2015 are only eligible for a temporary permit to stay in Sweden. With its tougher laws, Sweden now finds itself at the bottom of the European Union when it comes to welcoming refugees.
A banner in a town square in the French Alps reads “Welcome Refugees,” Chamonix, France, Oct. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Bertrand Combaldieu).
Part of the story behind this sea change is pure logistics. Like Canada, Sweden has long had a friendly immigration attitude because of its place on the map. Even with generous permits and benefits, limited numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers would make their way up to this cold, northern country, far away from the traditional hotspots of migration. That was true until the exodus of refugees from Syria’s civil war. Those who made their way to Europe often headed directly for Sweden, attracted by the generous permit policy and the presence of friends and relatives who had come before them. At its peak, so many refugees arrived in the southern city of Malmo that some were left to sleep outside. Even in generous Sweden, pragmatism quickly overtook idealism.

 

Integration is the Biggest Challenge for Europe When it Comes to the Refugee Crisis

In the aftermath of the surge in arrivals at the height of the crisis in 2015, the question on the minds of many in Europe these days is how to cope with the impact of asylum-seekers and migrants on their societies. The European Union’s response to the refugee crisis has been chaotic and divisive, characterized by squabbling over sharing responsibility, cascading border closures and finger-pointing. Many EU governments are focused on preventing arrivals and deflecting responsibility to neighboring countries. The possibility that some of those responsible for the horrific attacks in Paris in November 2015 entered the EU posing as refugees amid the influx into Greece and the Western Balkans has interjected fear of terrorism into the mix. Those who seek to keep refugees out with appeals to prejudice and panic are exploiting that anxiety. But with so many asylum-seekers and migrants already in Europe, the next big challenge will be integrating them into society.

How Germany is Handling the Refugee Crisis

While Europe as a whole struggles with integration, the first Islamist-inspired attacks by asylum-seekers on German soil in July 2016 trained an international spotlight on that country’s efforts to integrate more than a million new arrivals. In many sectors, the herculean task of integrating so many, so fast, is only just hitting home. Germany’s so-called integration law requires asylum-seekers to assimilate or face consequences. One of its more controversial measures forces newcomers to learn German and attend mandatory integration courses, or risk having their benefit payments cut. Meanwhile, the lengthy procedure for processing asylum-seekers’ claims leaves even those who are eager to integrate feeling isolated.

Ongoing EU Policy Gaps ExposedIn addition to the challenge of integration, the refugee crisis is also creating tensions between European countries, and within them. Since the reintroduction of border checks at the height of the crisis in 2015, border patrol within Europe’s free travel zone is increasingly a matter of national security rather than of EU coordination. As Lina Vosyliute, a researcher at the Center for European Policy Studies, a Brussels-based think tank, explains, law-enforcement agents are under political pressure to deliver on border security. This can often lead to extreme policing that violates migrants’ rights. This kind of policing can also result in what refugee and migrant advocates call the “criminalization of solidarity.” That was the case with Benoit Ducos, the French mountain guide who now faces a five-year prison sentence for aiding a pregnant migrant along the French-Italian border.

The European Union’s Approach is Doomed to Fail

Although the political repercussions of the refugee crisis continue to roil European politics, the number of asylum-seekers and migrants has decreased dramatically since 2015. This is in part due to the European Agenda on Migration, an important framework for developing a comprehensive and multidimensional response to a complex and pressing challenge. However, the agenda addresses migration through a framework of deterrence, which is designed to prevent people from arriving in the EU in the first place, rather than to address the drivers of migration directly. This deterrent approach is by no means new, and it has already failed—not least in the emergence and escalation of the crisis that led to the agenda in the first place. While it has reduced the flow of migrants that reach Europe, it ignores the factors that cause them to leave their home countries.

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PCHR Testifies before Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights in Occupied Palestinian Territory

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On Friday, 29 June 2018, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) testified before the Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 in Amman, Jordan within his official mission starting from 25 to 29 June 2018.

The testimony reviewed violations committed by the Israeli forces and the ongoing deterioration of human rights and international humanitarian law situation.

In particular, PCHR shed the light on the Israeli violations; most notable of which was.

–          Closure Policy Imposed by the Israeli Forces on the Gaza Strip:  This constitutes a collective punishment measure against the civilian population and violation of many rights, including the right to health.  For example, the Israeli forces imposed a series of restrictions on the Gaza patients, who are in need for travel permits necessary for their treatment, and in order to consider the applications submitted by patients, some documents shall be included.  These conditions and obstacles imposed by the Israeli forces are not for approving the permit for treatment, but are only a condition for accepting the application in form.  It should be mentioned that hundreds of patients’ permits are daily rejected under security reasons and justifications in addition to many cases that are given permits to travel via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing for treatment but delayed for hours until they miss their appointments at the hospitals they are referred to.  In its testimony, PCHR mentioned the obstacles imposed by the Israeli forces to restrict the Gaza Strip patients’ freedom of movement in order to deny them access to the proper treatment.  In most cases, these restrictions have unfolded catastrophic consequences on the life of patients that would lead to their death.

–          Other impacts of the closure: banning and decreasing the entry of basic goods and commodities have aggravated the suffering of civilian population.

–          Review of the living conditions of Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails: around 6500 prisoners, including 350 children and 62 women; 8 of them are minors, suffer cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions in Israeli prisons in addition to solitary confinement in cells and an administrative detention policy against 500 Palestinian prisoners, who are deprived of family visits.  During PCHR’s testimony, it reviewed the deterioration of health conditions and medical negligence against prisoners that resulted in the death of dozens of prisoners. The last was on 20 May 2018 when the death of prisoner ‘Aziz ‘Aweisat
(53) from al-Mukaber Mount village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, was declared in “Asaf Harove” Hospital due to medical negligence.

–          Absence of Justice in the Israeli Judiciary: PCHR pointed out to the Israeli judiciary’s role in legally covering the crimes committed by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, reviewing the difficulties faced by the victims of human rights violations when accessing the judiciary in light of the existing laws that prevent victims from seeking redress and compensations.  The intervention addressed a series of Israeli obstacles, including the amendments to the 1952 Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) and financial constraints that have increased the burden on Palestinian victims in case they decided to resort to the Israeli judiciary.  These obstacles culminated in Amendment 8/2012, which exempts Israel from liability for the damage caused to victims during a military operation.

On the other hand, the intervention addressed the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Buffer Zone:

–        Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen: it reviewed the forms of attacks practiced against them in the Gaza Sea.  During the first half of 2018, PCHR documented 149 violations against fishermen, including 136 shooting incidents; 1 killing; 8 injuries; 45 fishermen arrested while fishing; and 11 incidents of damage, confiscation, shelling of fishing boats and equipment.

–        Attacks against Civilians in the Border Areas, Particularly the Peaceful Protests Organized along the Gaza Strip Border Fence: 5691 violations were committed against Palestinian civilians as 106 were killed; including 14 children, 1 woman, 2 journalists and 2 medical staffers, while 5585 were wounded, including 927 children, 167 women, 63 journalists and 39 medical staffers.)

During its intervention, PCHR urged the international community to hold its moral and legal responsibilities and seek redress for victims; particularly that absence of accountability has made Israel a state above the law and that its legislative, legal and executive authorities are involved in all crimes committed against civilians, rendering resorting to the International Criminal Court legitimate for Palestinian civilian victims in light of absence of justice in the Israeli Judicial System.

The visit of Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 came to view the catastrophic conditions of the Palestinian people.  The Special Rapporteur promised to exert all efforts to support any possibility for improving the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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Israelis Support Equal Rights for Reform and Conservative Jews – but Want U.S. Jews to Keep Their Mouths Shut

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Special Haaretz July 4 poll shows overwhelming confidence in Israel-U.S. alliance but less approval for Donald Trump than might be expected

The origin of the phrase “In God We Trust” is in the fourth stanza of “The Star Spangled Banner.” During the Civil War, the United States Mint began engraving the motto on its coins, testament to the justice of the Northern cause against the rebellious South. Close to a century later, on July 30, 1956, at the height of the Cold War and in response to “godless communism,” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law that turned “In God We Trust” into the official motto of the United States. Since then, it has appeared on all the bills produced by the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

A special Haaretz poll conducted by Dialog in honor of the 242nd Independence Day of the United States finds that if America puts its trust in God, Israel puts its trust in America. A whopping 84 percent of the Israeli public believes that if the country faced an existential military crisis, the United States would come to its aid. Confidence that Uncle Sam is a friend indeed for a friend in need spans all sectors of the Israeli public, including, to a lesser extent, Israeli Arabs. For a nation schooled in slogans such as “a people who dwell alone,” “all the world is against us” and “If I am not for myself, who will be?,” the Israeli trust in the United States is both extraordinary and remarkable.

A substantial majority of the Israeli public also believes that its alliance with the United States is eternal and will withstand the tests of time. 62 percent of Israelis believe the special relationship between the two countries will endure, compared to only 24 percent who fear it may weaken or collapse. Confidence in the U.S. is also shared across the spectrum, including Israeli Arabs, though they may see the strength of the alliance in a negative light. Only the ultra-Orthodox harbor doubts — and the gap is intriguing. Perhaps they refuse to put their trust in a government of flesh and blood, especially one of non-Jews, or they may carry stronger strains of the Jewish gene that views the treachery of nations as inevitable. Possibly they feel more comfortable with the U.S. motto “In God We Trust,” even if said God isn’t exactly the same.

The United States is the most admired country among the seven we presented, though it’s fair to say that it wasn’t much of a contest. Admiration for the U.S. neared 90 percent among all Jews but encompassed Arabs as well, albeit less enthusiastically. Next in line, surprisingly, was Argentina, possibly in a vote of sympathy for the early ejection of superstar Leo Messi and his team from the World Cup. China, we were surprised to see, came in third, ahead of France, and both are far more popular than Russia, despite the large Russian contingent in Israel and the close ties between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Arabs, for their part, have positive feelings for Russia and China — but their clear favorite is France. Contrary to what you might think, there’s no love lost between Israeli Arabs and Egypt or Iran either, which, when combined with Jewish disapproval, round out the bottom of our standings. Iran garners sympathy from very few Jewish Israelis.

Israel’s infatuation with America is also linked, of course, to personal contacts. 43 percent of Israelis have visited the United States, and 23 percent say they’ve done so multiple times. 17 percent of Israelis, including 30 percent of Israeli Arabs, say they have first-degree relatives — parents, children or siblings — living in the United States. 32 percent say that given the opportunity, they would like to emigrate — “move to and live” in the poll — to the United States. Young people are more attracted than their elders to the Land of Opportunity as are secular Israelis in relation to more religious ones. Only 5 percent of Haredim express any interest in moving to the goldene medina, as their forefathers dubbed it, and none of them with any great fervor, in line, perhaps, with the Rambam’s edict that going abroad is akin to idol-worship. Comparing the overall Jewish population with Israeli Arabs, the latter seem more devoted to the Palestinian principle of “sumud,” or attachment to the land. 69 percent of Israeli Arabs said they wouldn’t even consider moving to America, compared to only 31 percent equally unequivocal Jews.

Between Trump and Obama

The natural inclination is to link the trust of Israelis in America to their much-ballyhooed admiration for Donald Trump, but there are two flies in this ointment. First, similarly high levels of confidence in the U.S. were registered a decade ago, at the end of President George W. Bush’s tenure and the start — though not the end — of President Barack Obama’s. On the other hand, even if the poll shows a return to normally high levels of trust, rather than a dramatic change, a poll conducted last year by Pew Research showed that Israel is the only democratic country in which confidence in the U.S. president ability to handle world affairs remained unchanged following Trump’s election, and actually went up a notch or two.

Haaretz

The second, somewhat surprising reservation is that Israelis like Trump — far more, certainly, than his predecessor Obama —but less than what might be expected. All in all, 49 percent of the Israeli public views the president favorably, compared to 45 percent who don’t. It’s a respectable outcome for Trump, though less categorical than expected, unless one compares it to the dismal approval ratings for Obama: Only 19 percent view Obama positively, compared to 76 percent who don’t. This result also flies in the face of global trends, with the exception of countries such as Russia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

According to the poll —- and possibly as a direct consequence of Trump’s endless capacity for self-aggrandizement and his infamous approach to women — there is a distinct gender gap in Israeli attitudes to the president. 33 percent of Israeli men say they are very favorably disposed toward Trump, compared to only 15 percent of women. Religion is also a indicator: Only 48 percent of secular Israelis like Trump, compared to 60 to 70 percent of those who describe themselves as traditional, religious or ultra-Orthodox. The Arabs, as expected, can’t stand the U.S. president, with 65 percent saying they have no sympathy for him whatsoever. But they’re not too enamored with Obama either: Only 25 percent of Israeli Arabs say they like him. Among Jews, sympathy for Obama is low even among secular Israelis, but still double that of their more religious compatriots. Hareidi admiration for Obama is virtually nonexistent, a dislike that could stem from his liberal positions, if we’re being generous, but perhaps also from the color of his skin, if we’re not.

Unlike most of the world — and contrary to logic and known facts, one might add — the Israeli public believes that America’s position in the world has grown stronger under Trump. 53 percent of Israelis believe this is the case, compared to 23 percent who say America has grown weaker and 14 percent who maintain that nothing has changed. Perhaps things you see from here you can’t see from anywhere else, perhaps the Israeli public views Trump’s unfriendly spats with ostensible U.S. allies — some of which are also habitual Israel-critics — as a sign of machismo and strength, and possibly we view the world through the narrow prism of the nixing of the Iran nuclear deal, the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and Trump’s cold shoulder toward the Palestinians, to the exclusion of everything else.

Haaretz

In this regard, at least, Israeli expectations of Trump’s blueprint for the “ultimate deal” — which currently seems frozen in limbo — corroborate Palestinian apprehensions. 44 percent of the public expects the plan to be “pro-Israeli,” compared to only 7 percent who fear it might be pro-Palestinian and another 31 percent who think it will be balanced. Expectations of a deal tilted in favor of Israelis are especially high among Arab Israelis, many of whom self-identity as Palestinians.

All of this translates into high approval marks for Netanyahu’s overall handling of relations with the United States. 68 percent approve of the prime minister’s management of the special relationship, in appreciation no doubt for the close ties he’s forged with Trump and the decidedly pro-Israeli turn in U.S. foreign policy. There is a clear gender gap at work here as well, with men approving of Netanyahu’s American expertise far more than women. The emerging trends in this poll point to the possibility that the same overall gender gap that exists today in U.S politics is prevalent in Israel as well, with men leaning rightwards, and women the other way.

The Great Jewish Diaspora

Netanyahu gets substantially lower marks, however, for his handling of relations with American Jews. Only 44 percent are happy with his performance, compared to 26 percent who aren’t. Given the tensions between Netanyahu and the Reform and Conservative movements, it comes as no surprise that 90 percent of traditional, religious and Haredi Jews approve of Netanyahu’s policies toward U.S. Jews, unlike secular Israelis — about 40 percent of the population — who disapprove by a 39 percent-34 percent margin.

Results of a poll of the Israeli public. Haaretz

Strikingly, however, the same secular Jews are far less interested than more religious Israelis in seeing the majority of American Jews immigrate, or come on aliyah, to Israel. Only 8 percent say they would “very much like” to see American Jews move to Israel en masse, compared to 21 percent of traditional Jews, 51 percent of secular and 63 percent of the most observant Haredim. Overall, an amazing 98 percent of Haredim support such mass immigration, even though the influx of such a large number of Jews with liberal views could deprive them of their kingmaker position in Israeli politics. It should be remembered, however, that Jewish sages ruled long ago that the commandment to settle in Israel is equal in importance to all the other mitzvot in the Torah combined.

The poll also contains some very bad news and some very good news for American Jews. The bad news is that a sizable 52 percent-37 percent majority of Israelis maintain that American Jews do not have the right to criticize Israel in public, a position once accepted on both ends but lately seen as anachronistic. Curiously, on this question women seem much more strident than men, with an unequivocal 59 percent-28 percent majority of women telling American Jews to keep their mouths shut, compared to an even split among men. Perhaps women adhere more than men to the rule that one shouldn’t wash dirty laundry in public and that arguments should stay discreet and in the family.

On the other hand, the non-Orthodox majority of American Jews will be gratified to learn that contrary to the monopolistic attitude of their own religious hegemony, a significant plurality of Israelis support religious pluralism and favor equal rights for Reform and Conservative Jews, 47 percent-30 percent. Support for religious equality reaches an overwhelming 71 percent-11 percent among secular Israelis but also encompasses those who identify as traditional. Religious Jews, on the other hand, including a near unanimous ultra-Orthodox community, oppose recognition of Reform and Conservative Jews. Given that the ultra-Orthodox are perennial members of Israeli coalitions, and that their position enjoys wide support in Likud and Habayit Hayehudi as well, it still seems that American Jews will have to await the messiah to achieve equality, in the Western Wall and elsewhere, unless they decide to immigrate en masse to get the job done themselves. Whichever comes first.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Israelis Support Equal Rights for Reform and Conservative Jews – but Want U.S. Jews to Keep Their Mouths Shut

America Shows Many Signs of Impending, Catastrophic Collapse – a Pulitzer Prize Winner Explains

“It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion.”

The author is formerly a foreign correspondent with the New York Times, where he won a Pulitzer prize, until he was fired for criticizing Israel and the Iraq war. He is a New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, left-leaning political activist and ordained Presbyterian minister.

He hosts an excellent show on RT called ‘On Contact’. He speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and studied classics, including ancient Greek and Latin, at Harvard University. 


The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny.

The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

The Democratic Party, which helped build our system of inverted totalitarianism, is once again held up by many on the left as the savior. Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay workers a living wage.

It will not defy the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will not get corporate and dark money out of politics.

It will not demilitarize our police and reform a prison system that has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although the United States has only 5 percent of the world’s population. It plays to the margins, especially in election seasons, refusing to address substantive political and social problems and instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics.

This is a doomed tactic, but one that is understandable. The leadership of the party, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez, are creations of corporate America. In an open and democratic political process, one not dominated by party elites and corporate money, these people would not hold political power. They know this.

They would rather implode the entire system than give up their positions of privilege. And that, I fear, is what will happen. The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way a bulwark against despotism defies the last three decades of its political activity. It is the guarantor of despotism.

Trump has tapped into the hatred that huge segments of the American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them. He may be inept, degenerate, dishonest and a narcissist, but he adeptly ridicules the system they despise. His cruel and demeaning taunts directed at government agencies, laws and the established elites resonate with people for whom these agencies, laws and elites have become hostile forces. And for many who see no shift in the political landscape to alleviate their suffering, Trump’s cruelty and invective are at least cathartic.

Trump, like all despots, has no ethical core. He chooses his allies and appointees based on their personal loyalty and fawning obsequiousness to him. He will sell anyone out. He is corrupt, amassing money for himself—he made $40 million from his Washington, D.C., hotel alone last year—and his corporate allies.

He is dismantling government institutions that once provided some regulation and oversight. He is an enemy of the open society. This makes him dangerous. His turbocharged assault on the last vestiges of democratic institutions and norms means there will soon be nothing, even in name, to protect us from corporate totalitarianism.

But the warnings from the architects of our failed democracy against creeping fascism, Madeleine Albright among them, are risible. They show how disconnected the elites have become from the zeitgeist. None of these elites have credibility. They built the edifice of lies, deceit and corporate pillage that made Trump possible. And the more Trump demeans these elites, and the more they cry out like Cassandras, the more he salvages his disastrous presidency and enables the kleptocrats pillaging the country as it swiftly disintegrates.

The press is one of the principal pillars of Trump’s despotism. It chatters endlessly like 18th-century courtiers at the court of Versailles about the foibles of the monarch while the peasants lack bread. It drones on and on and on about empty topics such as Russian meddling and a payoff to a porn actress that have nothing to do with the daily hell that, for many, defines life in America.

It refuses to critique or investigate the abuses by corporate power, which has destroyed our democracy and economy and orchestrated the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history. The corporate press is a decayed relic that, in exchange for money and access, committed cultural suicide.

And when Trump attacks it over “fake news,” he expresses, once again, the deep hatred of all those the press ignores. The press worships the idol of Mammon as slavishly as Trump does. It loves the reality-show presidency. The press, especially the cable news shows, keeps the lights on and the cameras rolling so viewers will be glued to a 21st-century version of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” It is good for ratings. It is good for profits. But it accelerates the decline.

All this will soon be compounded by financial collapse. Wall Street banks have been handed $16 trillion in bailouts and other subsidies by the Federal Reserve and Congress at nearly zero percent interest since the 2008 financial collapse. They have used this money, as well as the money saved through the huge tax cuts imposed last year, to buy back their own stock, raising the compensation and bonuses of their managers and thrusting the society deeper into untenable debt peonage. Sheldon Adelson’s casino operations alone got a $670 million tax break under the 2017 legislation.

The ratio of CEO to worker pay now averages 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. This circular use of money to make and hoard money is what Karl Marx called “fictitious capital.” The steady increase in public debt, corporate debt, credit card debt and student loan debt will ultimately lead, as Nomi Prins writes, to “a tipping point—when money coming in to furnish that debt, or available to borrow, simply won’t cover the interest payments. Then debt bubbles will pop, beginning with higher yielding bonds.”

An economy reliant on debt for its growth causes our interest rate to jump to 28 percent when we are late on a credit card payment. It is why our wages are stagnant or have declined in real terms—if we earned a sustainable income we would not have to borrow money to survive. It is why a university education, houses, medical bills and utilities cost so much. The system is designed so we can never free ourselves from debt.

However, the next financial crash, as Prins points out in her book “Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World,” won’t be like the last one. This is because, as she says, “there is no Plan B.” Interest rates can’t go any lower. There has been no growth in the real economy. The next time, there will be no way out. Once the economy crashes and the rage across the country explodes into a firestorm, the political freaks will appear, ones that will make Trump look sagacious and benign.

And so, to quote Vladimir Lenin, what must be done?

We must invest our energy in building parallel, popular institutions to protect ourselves and to pit power against power. These parallel institutions, including unions, community development organizations, local currencies, alternative political parties and food cooperatives, will have to be constructed town by town.

The elites in a time of distress will retreat to their gated compounds and leave us to fend for ourselves. Basic services, from garbage collection to public transportation, food distribution and health care, will collapse. Massive unemployment and underemployment, triggering social unrest, will be dealt with not through government job creation but the brutality of militarized police and a complete suspension of civil liberties. Critics of the system, already pushed to the margins, will be silenced and attacked as enemies of the state.

The last vestiges of labor unions will be targeted for abolition, a process that will soon be accelerated given the expected ruling in a case before the Supreme Court that will cripple the ability of public-sector unions to represent workers. The dollar will stop being the world’s reserve currency, causing a steep devaluation. Banks will close. Global warming will extract heavier and heavier costs, especially on the coastal populations, farming and the infrastructure, costs that the depleted state will be unable to address.

The corporate press, like the ruling elites, will go from burlesque to absurdism, its rhetoric so patently fictitious it will, as in all totalitarian states, be unmoored from reality. The media outlets will all sound as fatuous as Trump. And, to quote W.H. Auden, “the little children will die in the streets.”

As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion.

All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions.

We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs.

All I can say is: Get Ready.

Posted in USAComments Off on America Shows Many Signs of Impending, Catastrophic Collapse – a Pulitzer Prize Winner Explains


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