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Monday, January 31, 2011

Religion Fear and Insecurity

The Tyranny of Too Much Choice.
Judaism is not an easy religion to follow.  There are no tangible, readily identifiable gods to worship; there is no duality of good and evil. Man (and woman) is responsible for his (or her) own reality. There is no automatic absolution for our sins and there are often too many safe-guards around the laws obscuring the logic or the moral purpose of the original intent.  For those unable to face the harsh reality of a hostile environment there is belief in a messiah and blind obedience. Too often faith permits the fearful to abdicate responsibility for their conscience.

Increasingly, we assimilate out of social expedience.  At a time in history when humanity needs more than ever an attachment to “roots” in order to accommodate a rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain world the choices are often between complacency and farce. If the Catholic Church is run by celibate middle aged men in dresses (as was described by one broadcaster), the Orthodox Synagogue has been too often in the news for its reactionary bigots whose actions are more likely to be a consequence of legacy than theology.

Language and perception are the two most dangerous weapons in any arsenal. Dysfunctional narrative by peripheral figures within Israeli society has been Israel’s greatest gift to its enemies.  Separation of Synagogue and State is the only way that the Left is going to be able to once again reclaim its cultural heritage and it will save the State of Israel from self destruction.  In ‘The March of Folly’ (Barbara Tuchman) writes “the religious alternative in the form of response to the persistent cry for reform was difficult to achieve owing to the vested interest of the entire hierarchy in corruption…”  Sadly, it sounds far too familiar.  The language of Israel’s religious priesthood too often feeds the wholly negative perception of Israel’s secular ‘ministry’ alienating one from the other. And in the global marketplace of ideas this battle of the inepts is viewed with the negative reinforcement that only the truly prejudiced could celebrate.

That one religion (Islam) takes as its name the act of willing submission is theologically frightening. It means that so many people just want to be told what to do, when to do it and even more scary; to whom to do it. Recently it was reported that in the UK in 2010 - 5,000 people converted to Islam. That is 5,000 people who want to be told how to live their life, who to hate and when; 5,000 individuals who have rejected individuality. We should be urgently questioning why our society has failed to pass on the values that protect us all from fear and why some of us have the necessity to renounce our individuality.

Humanity has rarely experienced security in any form. We have religion and law to provide us with the guidelines that shape our existence, not to demand unquestioning obedience. Prosperity, education and the confidence to think for ourselves has finally, in the last few decades of the twentieth century, given much of the human race the ability to make informed choices that impact on their security.

But we suffer from economic mismanagement, terrorism and fantasy. Fantasy (read hope) fed to us by the media, not to manage our expectations but to justify the failures of society without resolving the question of why.  Inflated expectations rule our hearts and minds and befuddle our reality.  Journalisms’ penchant for hyperbole and incitement are the product of an arrogant self-assurance followed religiously by a public that is interested less in truth than in self-justification.  Incredibly we have permitted our media to become our conscience and in their arrogance they believe it to be theirs by right.  And information overload is the bastard progeny of irresponsible journalism. One day the General Medical Council issues an advisory telling us that carrots will kill us, the next day we are advised to eat a dozen a day to get our quota of Vitamin A.  And fashion rules our heads and our pockets.  Clothes, cars, holidays and food are but a few of the multiplicity of variables to which we must decide between!

Too much choice can be as bad as not enough choice, the latter creating even more stress than the former. According to the World English Dictionary ‘Consumerism’ is the “advocacy of a high rate of consumption and spending as a basis for a sound economy.”  It is also bankrupting societies and nations.  To covet is the tenth and final but also arguably the most serious of the 10 commandments. It has created a society that is only able to live beyond its means through the availability of cheap credit and there is only a finite sustainability to this dysfunctional economic model.  Unless that is, we are willing to return to ultimately unacceptable levels of unemployment and human slavery.

Idolatry has always been part of the mechanism through which the upper classes of society enforced submission to authority. Today we have ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ (and Sister) fulfilling that role except that we aspire, through the Press to the lowest common denominator and not the perceived ‘highest’. If this age is remembered for anything, it will be society’s desperate worship of fame and the disreputable.  It is the folly of unrequited avarice.

All this has contributed to the return of global insecurity.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Series of Observations

The Rosh Hashanah prayer reads thus: On Rosh Hashanah we consider how judgment is formed, on Yom Kippur we consider how judgment is sealed: …. who shall live and who shall die, …who shall perish by fire, and who by water, who by the violence of man and who by wild beasts, who by hunger and who by thirst, who by storm and who by plague or execution, who shall have rest and who shall be restless, who shall find repose and who shall be wandering, who shall be free from sorrow and who shall be tormented, who shall be exalted and who shall be humbled, who shall be poor and who shall be rich.

The capricious nature of existence has been the lot of humanity for most of human history and for much of humanity the Rosh Hashanah Prayer still describes the unpredictable nature of our fate. And in the West we are returning to a period of fear and uncertainly from which we thought we had finally escaped.

Jews were first referred to as ‘The People of the Book’ 3,000 years ago. Physically as well as intellectually the “Wandering Jew” has been a conflict drenched part of Jewish history for most of that time.  Why do so many of the Jewish common folk complicate their lives needlessly when it would be so easy to blend into the great mass of society? We can differentiate between right and wrong but too often we look for the space in between that signifies the doubt.  We are the eternal loud mouthed outsider, restlessly questioning while others dissolve wordlessly into the background. It is too easy to blame it on race. Jews are the perpetual minority so they have been raped too often to be racially ‘pure’ so what is left? Philosophy, theology? Perhaps cultural interaction as an element of the religious response can explain why Jews are eternal nudniks, unable to answer a question without another question. Judaism has encouraged the thinking individual for 4,000 years and that is our legacy.  No wonder the Europeans and the Arabs hate Jews so.  They are neat and tidy while normative Judaism represents the epitome of the question left unanswered, the never empty trash can inevitably half full.

In ‘The Rebel’ by Albert Camus we are told that Revolution has nothing to do with liberation, justice and inspiration: It is “the death of freedom, the triumph of violence, and the enslavement of the mind.” In fact fascism is an act of contempt.  Inversely, every form of contempt, if it intervenes in politics, prepares the way for, or establishes, fascism.

We should all of us be wary of the altruist. His or her compassion overflows with conceit, the arrogance of certainty that breeds contempt.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chauvinism Identity and Liberal Society

According to the Random House Dictionary ‘Chauvinism’ is zealous and belligerent patriotism, prejudicial devotion to any attitude or cause. I must first admit that I am neither objective nor particularly knowledgeable about Judaism so my chauvinism is doubly worthy of condemnation. Putting aside the obvious ethical consideration, one who is without knowledge has no right to chauvinism. The contradiction here is that for the common man or woman (as opposed to the scholar) chauvinism is the only defense against the hostile, exclusionary attitudes or ignorance of others.

Jews have a dilemma. They are informed that from the theological angle, even post Vatican 2 they are as individuals, murderers; it is in the Christian Bible for all to read.  Allegedly, born and unborn, Jews are responsible for the death of Christ and this is reinforced by a supercessionist doctrine that declares Christianity to be the ‘True Israel’. It is a wonderfully simple justification for Methodist bigotry in the 21st Century. Judaism is viewed as vestigial, archaic and tainted by history or worse, no more than a stage in the evolution of the perfect faith. The theology of Islam is simple: God has revealed himself to mankind throughout the ages from Adam through to his final and 'of course' the only true revelation of Mohamed. The name ‘Islam’ signifies submission, which implies surrender, abrogation of free will and therefore the renunciation of choice.

Jewish communists have a different problem. Marx stated that “Judaism survived not in spite of history, but by virtue of history.” Marx lived in the 19th Century. Part and parcel of progressive thought was bigotry and racial theory. From the reactionary Gobineau we have a series of essays on the inequality of the human races that was popularized a full decade before Das Capital was published. By his writings it is clear that Marx was a bigot. Should we blame him? After all, he desired acceptance into European society and at that time progressive writing did not aspire to universal human rights unless by first expunging every trace of difference. What better way to find acceptance than to aspire to the same toxic broth of prejudice and narrative discrimination permeating every level of Society?

Liberal society and the Left are institutionally racist and chauvinistic in their attachment to the Developing World, including Palestine (their current Poster boy). To this mix they often insert Judaism into a post Zionist melange of hatred and delegitimization. It is not difficult to appreciate from whence this nihilistic jumble of revolutionary activity, denial, and terrorism; intellectual and moral anarchy originates. And this prejudice is usually ideologically McCarthyist. Based on intolerance and denial it rejects any truth expressing support for Israel, Zionism or Jewish opinion, often with violence. This liberal populism is a form of fascism.

Jews have often been guilty of contributing to their own intellectual, political and social emasculation. The soul, as an ancient attempt to understand life and death became, with exquisite irony, not the concealed substance that unified humanity but the vehicle for controlling us and justifying the commission of every act of indecency in the name of the group. The soul is inhered but indeterminate and therefore without the possibility of denial, it creates the perfect vehicle for persecution and murder; demonization and genocide.

Jewish Uncle Toms are a common ally of liberal society in their practice of servile obedience to a hostile ideology. It makes the promise that they may acquire by collaboration a new identity, if they deny allegiance to an ancestral past they never possessed. They practice subservience to curry favor and by their protestations of alleged or superficial Judaic allegiance sanitize every lie, deceit and act of aggression that is so sanctimoniously justified by reference to them.

We live in a world where what we interpret as correct is measurable by the amount of pain we successfully inflict on our perceived adversary. Arthur Gobineau stated it more succinctly. He said that civilization (substitute politics instead) exists to discover what is useful to it. Everything which is not in keeping with these tendencies harms it and logically, all that harms it is doomed in advance and ultimately destroyed.

How sweet: the father of modern day racism condensed into two sentences modern day liberalism and the Left.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Long Live Palestine (Part 2)

Palestine and Gaza as separate, legally recognized states will not make a difference to the propaganda war waged against the Jewish Commonwealth.

Israel must focus its attention on the symbolic as well. It has never been ‘only’ a physical conflict. Moral recognition of 1,400 years of Islamic conquest and Arab persecution must be recognized as a counter weight to the tragedy of Palestinian dispossession.  Some form of restitution to the refugees of Palestine must have equal weight with recognition that Arab regimes ethnically cleansed their Jewish population throughout the Arab world, and that for universal justice to be seen to be done equal rights of reparation must apply.  As there is little chance that more than a handful of Jews would risk returning to live in the racist and undemocratic Arab world, this clearly precludes a refugee right of return.

On a similar note, it must be argued that equal application of refugee definitions are a pre-requisite for the promotion of historical reconciliation between the two peoples.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad’s plan to declare Palestinian statehood in 2011 should be encouraged, along with his recognition of the historic injustices that his people have carried out against the Jewish people. Similarly Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, can express some form of contrition for Israel’s suffering under Arab racist propaganda. A difference in our world view is that we Israelis can agree our differences (mostly) and still expect a minimum standard of behavior from our citizens towards our enemy, even an existential one. Propagandists for Palestine proclaim that they will respect us when we give them what they want. 1,400 years of interaction with the Arab world has taught us differently.

In 1986 I heard Dr Hanan Ashrawi declare that Palestinian racism and bigotry would disappear when Palestine came into being.  The problem I have with this is that it is Arab culture that speaks this nonsense, not Jewish civilization. The government of Mahmoud Abbas named a Palestinian Square after Dalal Al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian ‘martyr’ who murdered 37 Israeli civilians, including 12 children, in a 1978 terror incident. It isn’t just conflict that encourages dehumanization. The glorification of mass murderers and the idealization of child killers is an act of barbarism that denies Civilization because it repudiates survival of the species. It is a microcosm of the act of genocide. There is a reason that normative Judaism sees only shame and despair in the killing of children, even in time of war, such as during the First Gaza War.

I don’t expect Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims or Christians living under Muslim threat to empathize with my Jewish historical narrative. 1,400 years of beating up your neighbors does not make you tolerant of their wish for self-determination. But I am no longer asking the world for the right to self-determination. Nor is my self-determination open to negotiation.  The State of Israel was a historically inevitable event that would have occurred even without the horrors of the Shoah. The State of Israel represents the Jewish Intifada against Arab aggression and the Jewish intifada against Islamic persecution.

It is why the narrative must be rewritten to reflect our reality and our demand for a priori recognition of the essential Jewishness of the State.

There is no rational response to self-denial. In order to create change we must have consensus. By denying Jewish history and dismissing Arab historical prejudice we cannot have the mutual recognition of our parallel traumas. We are two peoples refusing to recognize each others' suffering at the hands of the other, but therefore we are also two people shouting at each other while looking away in order to not recognize our mutual humanity.

Poverty, ignorance and war do not breed hero worship for child killers. A theological justification for genocide does.  Islam is replete with atrocities committed in the name of its prophet and in the name of its god. Popular support is underpinned theologically, politically and ideologically. When death is raised on a pedestal to be glorified as a cultural ideal, when superiority is understood to be a birthright, and slavery an obligation to be imposed on ones enemy, then and only then do we worship child killers.

One man’s terrorist cannot be another man’s freedom fighter. Intolerance, racist propaganda, a Nazi-style press, ethnic cleansing, and an Islamic racial agenda: these must all be brought up as final agenda items for inclusion in all future discussion at any national and international fora.

And UDI? Yes, let us welcome Palestine and Gaza as the world’s newest independent nations. You persuade the other side to discuss what they have always rejected by placing on the table that which is most uncomfortable for them and then repeating the truths they have rejected in every possible forum. Let us negotiate on all of the issues and not just the ones our enemies want us to discuss.

Long Live Palestine (Part 1)

Israel is concerned that upgrading diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority will be but one step closer to full recognition of Palestinian statehood.  In fact UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) should be pre-empted by Israel declaring its full acceptance of one or even two Palestinian states.

Am I perhaps naive, or stupid? I don’t understand why we beat ourselves up at every possible opportunity. Most people understand that some sort of peace will one day be made between Israelis and Palestinians. Of course terms are complicated. They should not be, but we have allowed our enemies to take the centre stage and they are hogging the limelight. There is no counter-attack from the State of Israel to repudiate the lies and the half-truths that are thrown at us.  There is no consensus within the political classes, and therefore only the extremists are heard with anything approaching a coherent, if divisive, agenda.

George Orwell observed that whoever controls the past controls the future, and whoever controls the present controls the past. The Arab world with its buddies at the UN and friendly news media are doing an excellent job of controlling the lot.

So let me suggest a new direction.

Act 1. Bibi goes to the UN General Assembly. He proposes recognition of the State of Palestine and separate recognition of the independent entity ruled by Hamas in Gaza based on minimalist borders for both of the new states.

Act 2. Bibi proposes East Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of Palestine, and West Jerusalem be (finally) recognized as the capital of Israel.

Act 3. Bibi announces that The Old City of Jerusalem is to remain in Israeli hands (see Act 5) and after a reasonable period of peaceful co-existence a plebiscite will be held by all eligible (i.e. resident) citizens of the Old City, overseen by impartial observers in order to decide on its future allegiance.

Act 4. Bibi demands the consulates in West Jerusalem operating under the principle of extra-territoriality and non-recognition of Israel be immediately and permanently closed. [This should have been done years ago]

Act 5. Bibi then provides a principled summary of the history of the Old City of Jerusalem through Jewish eyes; i.e. the control by Christians and Muslims through the ages; Palestinian control between 1948 and 1967; the destruction of Jewish archeology and cultural history, Jewish majority for the last 200 years.

Act 6. Bibi proposes the setting up of a special permanent committee to explain how Islamic cultural colonialism became acceptable in the UN.  This would be explained with reference to the refusal to recognize Jewish rights in any of the Islamic, Arab or Palestinian literature. The rewriting of history by this ‘Tripartite conspiracy’ is important. [Even if no-one is interested, history has shown that the fate of the Jews is a mirror to the fate that lies in wait for others.]

Act 7. Bibi, given his acute sensitivity to history, reminds the UN that historically the term “Judaization” was used by fascist and racist regimes to justify the ethnic cleansing of Jews. Furthermore, after Palestinian forces had ethnically cleansed Jerusalem of its Jews in 1948, and in recognition of the ongoing destruction of Jewish archeology on the Temple Mount, the term as applied to a Jewish return to Jerusalem is morally indefensible. Palestinian policy calls for the death penalty for anyone selling land to Jews in Palestine. This is racist.

The UN is incorrigible. I would not expect it to recognize Jewish sovereignty over West Jerusalem or the Old City. Keeping to an Orwellian theme, I would expect the UN to strike out from the official record all but that part of the speech that did not pertain to Palestinian Recognition.

Why do it then? Because a nation must stake its claim to virtue before it fights for its honor. This is something that Israel has contemptuously ignored in its past dealings with the UN.  This same United Nations Organization is a $40 Billion a year bastion of bigotry and paragon of political prejudice. As an anti-Semitic propaganda machine, the UN is the enemy. To return to George Orwell’s comments: The only way to have a share of the past, present and the future is for the UN to cease to exist.  And Israel cannot win a fight with the UN from within the UN.

Winning the fight will only happen when Israel and its friends allocate time, resources and funds towards the goal of abolishing this most corrupt of organizations.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Turkey - where to now?

Cultural differences may be used to excuse the dynamic of authoritarianism but the democratic deficit is a concomitant characteristic of fascism. When it is of benefit to society to discard autocracy, economic momentum propels humanity onto a new stage of growth. Societies that fail, do so because the political institutions fail.  Fascism means many things but is generally characterized by total indifference to the rights of others; whether it is one group or society in general.

According to the global edition of the New York Times of 16th July 2010 “The Turkish charity that led the flotilla involved in a deadly Israeli raid has strong connections with Turkey’s political elite.  The IHH (‘Humanitarian Relief Organisation’) has been instrumental in shoring up support for fundamentalism and has support within the government of Islamic Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan”.

The issue is no longer whether Turkey can straddle East and West or whether Turkey can serve as a bridge between Islamic and Western Civilizations, but how long before Turkey betrays Israel yet again and to an extent that renders the rupture irrevocable?  Governments, whether democratic or otherwise are easily able to justify controlling the movement of ships in or out of their territory. In fact control of borders is a principle measure of a nation’s sovereignty.  To fail to control movement into and out of its territory is a failure of government control. But the mission to Gaza clearly served the Islamic agenda of the IHH and the geopolitical strategy of Turkey’s Islamic government.

As the International Herald Tribune stated “many of the 21 people listed as board members on the IHH web site have or had close links to the AKP ….Jean-Louis Bruguiere, a leading French expert on terrorism and former magistrate said in an interview that the group had used its status as a charity in the 1990’s to provide logistical support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, and to facilitate jihad in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Chechnya.”  The publicity around the IHH was ultimately unhelpful to its global agenda.  Not long after the flotilla drew attention to its resurgence, it was banned in Germany.

Cultural Imperialism or as sometimes referred, cultural colonialism, is not specifically Islamic in character but it is surprising that we ignore it while uniquely condemning American cultural exports.  If America (and its 'Zionist proxy') are cultural colonizers it is Islam that is at fault for not providing its people with the proof that their way is better. 

We are not responsible for Islam’s extremism.

The West views Turkey as a dividing line between the Christian West and Muslim East, a democracy that is stable, tolerant and economically vibrant.  But the posture is a lie.  Turkey is in NATO but can it be trusted?

Europe is not yet comfortable in its own denationalized skin. The Left and their Liberal allies talk about the death of the nation state and its horrible jingoism but fanatically support their football teams and national sporting prowess as if they were anything but a theoretical release from blind passion and militant and fanatic devotion.

Multiculturalism has failed in every country except perhaps the United States of America because in Europe we have failed to demand equal rights for our own citizens when confronting minority cultural colonialism within our own borders. Our multicultural credentials are non-existent because having thrown money and rights at our immigrant populations we have with-held the demand for reciprocal rights for ourselves.  The assumption of right by superior culture is endemic to far too many immigrants in our fantasy post-colonial liberal society. We have failed to spell out precisely what we expect of our newest subjects as a prerequisite for gaining entry to our national club.

If we are not yet comfortable in our denationalized skin then Turkish accession to the European super-state is unlikely to ever occur and that is to the good because there is no way that Turkey is itself comfortable with losing its primitive prejudice, desire for conquest and fantasies of gory glory.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Turkeys bid for full membership of Europe would be the power to influence European foreign policy and the protection both legal and diplomatic it would enjoy for its own hateful policies. With its anti-democratic fascist credentials it would undermine the legal basis of freedom at the heart and soul of the Western experiment.

But Turkish opposition to Israel is so fundamental it could create a crisis within NATO. An attack by Turkey on Israel would necessitate an Israeli response to which technically NATO would have to come to its NATO allies assistance. In one worse case scenario Israeli cities could be bombed by American and British bombers. Turkish regional interests could encourage this result and therefore are a real threat to the survival of NATO.

Theological hatred must inevitably metastasize. It can never remain benign. It may take a year, a decade or a generation but its essential message is intolerance and therefore it must have its blood sacrifice.

Trust between Israel and Turkey will perhaps never be re-established. Even when the day arrives for Palestine to stand shoulder to shoulder next to Israel as an independent state the facade of mutual strategic interest is at an end. It was too easily demolished to be rebuilt without fundamental changes to Turkish culture and that is unlikely to occur in the 21st century.

Turkey the New

The baring of its soul has diminished Turkey, nevertheless Turkey is important. Its people, its history, its geographic position; all make it important within the greater Near East.  Its potential access to countries antagonistic to Israel makes its capable of influencing other key players in the region.

In an interview published by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet on the 19th of December 2010 US President Barack Obama urged Turkey and Israel to ‘do everything they can to repair their relations.’  He underlined US – Turkish relations as vital, referring to mutual interests and shared values. In fact its former interest is solely geopolitical while the latter values do not exist in reality.

In May 2010 Israeli Navy commandos raided a Gaza bound flotilla flagged with a Turkish flag and organized by a Turkish Islamist group (The IHH) with close ties to the Islamist ruling party.  The IHH had been banned in various Western Countries as a terrorist group and has been implicated over a number of decades in atrocities committed in the furtherance of an Islamic agenda. The nine activists who died in the assault on the Mavi Marmara were casualties of an Islamic war against the West to which Turkey is now a partner.

Ankara has now attempted to dictate to Israel the direction of its Foreign Policy thus questioning its sovereignty.  This is hardly surprising; in late November 2010 Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu held meetings with journalists and academics in which he repeatedly laid out his vision for Turkey to become a dominant force in the Middle East.  Davutoglu, a professor of international relations, and the ruling Justice and Development Parties (AKP) principal ideologue stated that “Israel will disappear as an Independent Country.”

Given this paternalistic and imperial attitude by the Turkish political elite it is hardly surprising that indignation with Israel was precipitated by the signing of an international maritime agreement between Israel and Cyprus.

The demarcation of territorial exploration rights between the two sovereign nations is in fact a given between independent nation states. Any challenge to that right is a challenge to the sovereignty of both states, not just Israel.

Turkey demanded that Israel cancel the territorial treaty between the nations because it was a challenge to Turkeys renascent regional interests (read hegemony). This, like the Mari Marmara incident tells us much about the way Turkey views itself.

Words like megalomania and superpower pretensions, imperialism and theological militancy are the way we should perhaps be viewing this. It is scary. Perception is important. If Israel cannot stand its ground against an enemy that until recently was an ally then it cannot resist the demands of its Palestinian enemy whose theologically prescribed demands are no different to Turkeys. The victim-hood that Palestine portrays can only be theologically assuaged by the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of its Jewish population.

Turkish sovereignty demanded that the Mavi Marmaras' anti-Jewish fundamentalists be prevented from boarding the vessel and that the ship be prevented from leaving from a Turkish port. Members of the Turkish government were not simply complicit but actively involved in an Islamic charity that remains fundamentally racist.  The IHH was openly intent on inciting a violent incident.  The Turkish government must therefore be seen as being complicit in challenging Israeli sovereignty; Israel’s right to self-defense was challenged by the Turkish government, not just the IHH.

If Israel is therefore persuaded to pay compensation to these self-styled Islamic ‘martyrs’ then Turkey must pay compensation to Israel for the cost of preventing this assault. It must also apologize to Israel for its failure to muzzle its dogs of war and for the racist mutterings of its religious fanatics before, during and after the incident.  Turkey must apologize for the religious bigotry it has permitted to be waged from its shores and it must apologize to Israel and to the Jewish people for the incitement in its press.

After all, sovereign nations have obligations towards their neighbours as well as responsibilities to control the rabid bigots in their midst.

And yes, it is time that Israel muzzled its increasingly vocal, home-grown fundamentalist bigots.

Both nations need to free up debate and to focus on the internal threat to their national souls. I think the difference is that Turkey has in its soul, a taste for blood and conquest while Israel’s bigots have arisen because the voice of history has scarred its racial memory.  It is now in the process of silencing the majority whose disaffection with Israel’s Jewish mullahs has made them ignorant of the tolerance that is at the heart of Jewish history. People do not respond to hate and bigotry with love and kindness.  The deafening choir of Islamic prejudice is the proximate excuse for greater bigotry in Israeli society; the distant cause is an absence of political will to crush it.

In 1948 Arab League Chief Abdul Rahman Azzam, declared that the Arab invasion to Israel would be a mass war of extermination to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mongolian and Crusader massacres.  This is the essence of HAMAS and Israel’s erstwhile friend and now interlocutor, Turkey.

Civility in public debate is about being able to demonstrate that differences even when they are deep will be handled without histrionics.  This civility was publicly absent at the Davos summit in 2009 when Erdogan exploded with anger on a stage he shared with Israeli President Shimon Peres. It proved Islamic Turkey’s inability to accept that infidel nations have the right of self defense. No other explanation is possible when compared to the brutality of Turkeys treatment of its own Turkish minority, its ongoing championing of Islamic regimes of irredeemable brutality (such as the Sudan, Somalia and Iran to name but a sampling of tainted Islamic regimes) and its continuing denial of the Armenian genocide.

Fabrication and Escalation

'Israel Hayom’ foreign editor Boaz Bismuth wrote on 27th December 2010 that at the Davos conference of January 2009, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began, in a consistent and systematic manner, to escalate the tensions in his country’s relations with Israel.  The peak of this war of words was uttered in the course of a visit he held in Lebanon, where he threatened war with Israel if it should attack Gaza or the Land of the Cedars.  His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, spoke in late December 2010 about “Turkey’s desire to make peace with Israel” as if Israel and Turkey were already at war.

The rhetoric of Turkey’s leadership has gone much farther than the discomfort the Mavi Marmara incident would suggest.  Turkey on one hand, declares that it is working for a world, or at least a region, that is without confrontations (the zero-conflict theory), but on the other hand it quarrels crudely and unwisely with one of the critical players in the conflict—Israel.  Even Assad has called upon the Turks to become more moderate. Ankara has for now stabilized its relations with Israel in a state of crisis at varying levels and it is the one that determines the intensity as such, the relationship between the countries has become asymmetrical and unstable.

The Mavi Marmara arrived at the Istanbul port on the 26th December 2010.  “We saw the tens of thousands who came to applaud it.  We did not see the tens of thousands who did not come.  Last week I visited Istanbul.  In the religious Fatih neighborhood, I heard harsh statements against Israel, but in the western area where Taksim Square is located, I heard just the opposite.  It is easy to know from which area yesterday’s demonstrators came to the port”.

Turkey is currently searching for a direction.  Erdogan will apparently continue this summer to a third term, not because the Fatih neighborhood is stronger than Taksim Square, but simply because he has no opposition.  Turkey is not Iran, and Erdogan, even if he has crossed the line, is not an ayatollah.  We can hope for a future improvement in the relations, if not with Erdogan then at least with his successor.

How do I view this?

Israel is perceived in the West as either arrogant bully pushed aside by newly assertive Turkey or the first victim of its transformation from soul-less and secular to fundamentalist.  Turkey was once a state loyal to NATO. It was once a close friend and ally of Israel. But Turkeys’ secular Islamic line was always predicated on the material advantage that accrued to it while Turkey integrated into the West. Up to eight million of its citizens live in North America and Europe. Turkey in its turn has received tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars of cash transfers into its economy.

It’s almost decade long re-integration into the Islamic fold is not unique in its methodology. Nations with large Muslim minorities fear for their internal stability and almost universally appease them. Flirting with radical forces and demonizing Israel is hardly new! South America has persecuted its own people for as long as the Arab world has maltreated its people. Discriminating against Jews is not always as personal as it may seem to us but the Islamic cultural world-view is discriminatory in its essence and therefore misunderstood in the West.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ruled Turkey since 2002. Islamic solidarity reignites Ottoman aspirations of conquest, colonies and the capitulation of its rivals in the region. Turkish Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu is motivated by Islam; as such he has no ethical dilemma when faced with Islamic regimes that we find wholly unpalatable. His policy and doctrine is to see no evil and speak no evil – unless it is against the infidel in which case, like his Prime Minister, Mr. Erdogan his emotional pain for the outrage of his failure to demonstrate his natural superiority can and does know no bounds and it is this characteristic that we must beware.

Erdogan has said that “It is not possible for those who belong to the Muslim faith to carry out genocide” and of course the murder of up to three million Christians in Sudan in the 1970’s and the murder of three to four hundred thousand black, non-Arab Muslims in the first decade of the 21st century is a minor detail to be excused. That is Islamic solidarity.

The extermination of the Kurds and persecution of Christians and Jews in Turkey is similarly ignored, just as the reporting by Germany of Turkish use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in 2010 elicited no response from the Western Left wing liberal elite. The ends do justify the means in Islam. It is central to Islamic society even when it is against ones own people.

Any Turkish gestures towards the Israeli people will be based solely on the potential cost it fears it may pay, unless that is, it can convince the West to ditch Israel. No evidence exists to a contrary strategic policy.

Erdogan the Moderate

While Prime Minister Erdogan berates with impotent fury our community’s surprisingly inept attempts to demand respect he ridicules any suggestion of a difference between Arabia and Turkey. For that reminder we should be grateful.  As Hillel once reminded us, “if we are not for ourselves then who will be and if not now, then when”?

Justin Vaisse states “there is no real European version of the Eurabia panic, and the books that do exist tend to be country-specific, and part of a fringe far right.”  He describes the fear of Islam as “facile dichotomies of the Eurabia myth” and “by relying chiefly on anecdotes rather than data, these books misrepresent the complex evolving picture of Islam in Europe.”  He also says that “Eurabia writers over-emphasize culture and religion in explaining tensions and lay the blame solely on Muslims”.

With the greatest of disrespect to Vaisse – if it bares its teeth gratuitously it will eventually bite you.

A faith that steals a nation’s history and then appropriates to itself its opponents’ identity by denying their cultural heritage can only destroy.  It cannot be a universalist faith. It cannot have a renaissance or enlightenment.  It can just return humanity to the dark ages. By creating a religious psychosis it diminishes the ‘converted nations’ (as Naipaul refers to the nations conquered and converted by Arab colonial conquest) future as it erases its past.  Nazism viewed ‘half breeds’ (Mischlings or semi-Aryans) as useful in maintaining the productivity of the land which as in the time of the Roman Empire was to be bled of all its wealth.  The Nazi colonial innovation was to eventually ‘replace’ Mischlings with ‘pure breeds.’  The Muslim faith has justified its cultural colonialism and genocide in order to create a faith that destroys that which it touches by first stealing that which it covets.  Hence Jerusalem was never Jewish and according to the UN, at least at one time, the Bible story took place in Saudi Arabia!

Mutual national redemption is only possible under conditions of mutual respect and mutual recognition. Diplomacy is not all about national chauvinism.  Peace-making to be just, must be predicated on a basis of mutual legitimacy and compromise.  It is not possible to have genuine peace if we are theologically unable to dispense with scoring points to the detriment of our opponent.

Xenophobia is concerned with economics and with cultural discomfort – familiarity does not need to be either contemptuous or disrespectful if it is based on an open and honest relationship between equals.  Codes of honor, on the other hand are tribal or sectarian ideals that protect the unit but also work the other way to deny people outside of the group their inalienable rights.  Communities that are unwilling to integrate into the larger society because they reject that society are guilty of cultural apartheid.  The Turkish Ambassador to Austria recently reminded all Turkish expatriates of their responsibility not to integrate into Austrian society.   Similarly, the Left demands separate development for native born Israeli Muslims and Christians and renames them to provide a separate ethnic identity, as Palestinian and Arab.

Muslim Turkey has refused to recognize Christian Cyprus and its independence. Turkish Cyprus came into being as a result of Turkish military aggression and is sustained by military conquest and colonial transfers of ethnic Turkish Muslims from Turkey itself.  This is reminiscent of the Armenian Genocide by colonial Muslim occupier, Turkey.  It does not encourage faith in Turkish or in Muslim morality.

Verbal deterrence is often as effective as physical attempts at capitulation. The use of violence in the international setting has been codified in order to attempt to control world affairs – strange to say, we think we can regulate internationally acceptable norms of behavior but apply them selectively by political preference and then we justify individual cases by exception to the rule, for almost every nation. Exceptionalism is the farce we call modern morality.

As reported in the FT on 24/11/2009 Mr. Erdogan visited Iran and while standing next to the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, criticized Israel. It was a diplomatic slap in the face. He continued, saying that Omar al-Bashir, (Sudan’s President) could not, as a Muslim, be capable of genocide, nor could his actions be compared with Israel’s. This was the diplomatic equivalent of spitting on the flag of Israel. It should have been obvious to Israel’s diplomatic community even then that Turkey had turned.  Erdogan the ‘moderate’ politician is the wolf, dressing in sheep’s clothing for the Western coward to meekly hold up as the ‘nice Muslim’. Except that he is not nice.

Israel cannot trust Turkey.  Cyprus and the Kurds can never trust Turkey. Armenia has also learned what its neighbour is capable of.  Who next, Albania perhaps? Israel should have displayed greater sophistication in its relationship with any nation based on the Koran. It cannot claim a moral high ground when it has failed to stand up for the rights of those persecuted throughout history by Islamic Turkey, it cannot claim any kind of position when it fails to defend Jewish rights.

The narrative has to be ours or it is theirs.

Nuance in international relationship is what we practice behind the scenes. For the public to believe there has to be a demonstrable affinity to ones own history and a rigid defense of times gone by.

The economic factor of the Arab-Israeli conflict is disregarded as irrelevant because the Arab-Israeli conflict can be manipulated by the fascist regimes of the Arab world and their acolyte followers to distract their imprisoned populations in ignorance and bigotry. What is most important to the Arab world is their corrupt leaders hold on power. The excuse of armed conflict which an existential enemy provides is the driving force behind which the Arab world is able to manipulate a conflict of indeterminate longevity.  Turkey is a case in point.

It has waged aggressive war against the Kurds for much of the twentieth century and into the twenty first. It exterminated the Armenians in the late 19th and it proudly carried out the first documented ethnic cleansing of the 20th. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has publicly stated that Muslims do not kill other Muslims.  Muslims he reiterates do not commit genocide.  This is the default Islamic position. A true Muslim is the 7th century follower of Mohammed – the Koran states clearly that he or she can do no wrong if what they do is done for Allah. There is a fine line between cant and pure evil. When the ends justify the means, as an article of faith, (as in Islam) then only a fool believes that the clash between civilizations as proclaimed by Samuel Huntington, does not exist. And that clash is now a threat to the survival of human civilization everywhere.

Secular Turkey

Rebecca Goldstein defines three simple forms of secularism while admitting that this is itself simplistic.  All three forms reject the intercession of a transcendent entity in human affairs. The first, political secularism rejects religion in shaping the public aspects of society.   The second form is “metaphysical secularism” where what you see is what you get! A priori not everything can be explained by science but the tools are ultimately all there for us to eventually decipher our universe. The third form is “normative secularism”. Quite simply the question is “what is required of a human being to live a life worth living? What differs the normative secularist experience from a religious life is the commitment to a non-theistic dialogue in analysing and seeking answers to the question, what constitutes the good life.”

In order to interact Secularism and Theism have to be able to unconditionally respect each other.  This respect is a concept that is antithetical to an ecclesiastical polity.  This is best illustrated by the case of what was once called ‘secular Turkey’, the only Islamic State in the world out of 56 Islamic states that was founded on the rejection of a political place for religion in State affairs.  The synthesis of militant theology, hubristic triumphalism and racist religious world view has overwhelmed the creative tension of this secular society. The interplay of conspiracy theories, a robust fascist literary tradition and the encouragement of a rich Islamic tradition that exhorts the faithful to domination and conquest is ultimately stronger than a secular tradition that fails to deliver prosperity.

It is difficult therefore to appreciate why we are so surprised that anti-Semitism is so easily utilized as a vehicle for political identification by the Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  It has always been there.  No respect is given to its minorities.  Assimilated Kurds may feel equal but on a racial level they will always be inferior to the Turk because they do not have their own homeland and nation state. 

And then there is the question of Turkish allegiance. In World War One it fought on the side of Germany and in World War Two was broadly sympathetic to Nazi ideology.  Catholic Ireland was also on the side of Nazi Germany. Eire’s excuse was that they supported anyone who was against their enemy, in this case the British.  The argument has continued to this day with Catholic Ireland enjoying the support of Islamic terrorist movements during their 30 year war against Britain. 

Turkey is racially non-Arab.  It views itself through eyes that are Turkish first and Islamic second.  But in any case it would view itself through Turkish eyes whatever the motive for conquest.  Israel must accept the fact that both secular and religious Turkey will always share animosity towards a Jewish State. The difference is not in the outcome, only perhaps in the delivery.  While secular Turkey enjoyed positive relations with its Jewish citizens this did not preclude its attachment to Nazi ideology. Religious Turkey is simply showing its true face and that is one that demands Islamic hegemony and acquiescence to humiliation as a precondition for acceptance.

Turkey - the Conundrum

Destabilization is one of those buzzwords we bandy about to justify doing nothing and saying nothing to nations such as Turkey.  Instead we mutter a furtive but heartfelt apology for the Western world’s (colonial) past and acknowledge the differences between our civilizations so that we feel no guilt over every obscene act of brutality that is not perpetrated by those Jews or by those Zionists.

Huntington talks of cleft and torn countries.  In a cleft country major groups from two or more civilizations can exist but want separation and to identify to the exclusion of each other. In a torn country there is one predominant civilization but its leaders want to shift it to another civilization.  Secular Turkey under Kemal Ataturk was theologically conflicted.   Divided loyalties define the torn country.  Turkey is torn between Islamic affinity with Arab nations and Iran and a desire for expansion into Christian Europe.  Even recognition of its regional and global importance is complicated by its Islamic faith which by definition must deny others their contribution to civilization; their history.

Joseph Nye uses a term ‘hard power’ – the ability to dominate though economic and military strength and ‘soft power’ – persuasion though the appeal of culture and ideology.  Culture and ideology are attractive because they are rooted in success and success is measured by economic comfort.

Israel must detach economically from the Islamic Near-east, not just to disengage from its neighbors.  A nation cannot gain respectability or appreciation from those nations that are incapable of self reflection, for such is the greatest failure of the Arab and greater Islamic world.  The Islamic world uses failure of Western ideology to promote dissent in the West at the same time that it fears the soft power of Western material culture.

Prejudice and religious bigotry are not uniquely Islamic but an inherent triumphalism that has been reinforced by bloody success throughout history is.  Sadly, turning the other cheek in the macho Muslim world is seen as an admission of vulnerability, a demonstration of femininity and therefore a frailty that must be exploited if one is not to be seen to be weak oneself.  The display of contempt is a downward spiral to the imposition of Dhimmitude. 

Richard Holbrooke argued that an ‘arc of crisis’ stretches from Turkey through Iraq, Iran and Pakistan and including Afghanistan.  A regional approach viewed Israel and Palestine falling into the wider Syria, Lebanon, and Iran axis.

Modern Turkey from the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, from its opening pages and until today is drenched in the blood of those who opposed it.  It murdered at least a million Armenian Christians as a lesson for their disobedience; destroyed the cities of Greece because they rose against them; and it continues to ethnically cleans and culturally colonize the Kurds.  The neo-Ottoman expansionist and imperialist proclivities of theologically fundamentalist Turkey remains a threat to world peace today precisely because it instructs and therefore infects the nation.

Solving the Arab / Israeli conflict, while a noble enterprise, would certainly not have prevented Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq or Egypt from desiring, most intensely, a return to their glory days of ancient empire. Nor can it prevent the ongoing genocide in Sudan or the conspiracy between Muslim neighbors that suppresses Kurdish self-determination across four huge countries.

History is not how we view it, but how we allow the Islamic world and its co-conspirators to sanitize it.

The three pillars of American Foreign Policy (defense, diplomacy and development) deliberately exclude what should be a fourth.  The one missing is the promotion of democracy.  There is a very strong law of unintended consequences when we omit this fourth pillar.  It is the message that other methods of rule are equal to our own and that freedom is a relative concept of finite determination and convenience.  By the way, that is another definition for fascism.

Anti-Semitism, Israel and Self-Interest

In “Occidentalism” (Ian Buruma & Avishai Margalit) the authors describe Jabilyya as barbarism (P105), the conventional meaning being idolatry or religious ignorance.  They proceed to link this with “Jahili,” the distinction between ‘us and them’, those ‘not quite human’ (those who have not known Islam, or worse, rejected it).  It is the Islamic justification for every unimaginable evil; it is a demonstration of the consequence of Dhimmitude.  Religious Occidentalism becomes not just a fight between good and evil but between the beast and salvation.

Nations survive because they look at the world, both internally and externally through a prism wholly based on self interest. 

If you want to see where Israel’s self interest lies walk into any bookshop in Ankara or Istanbul and you will have no difficulty finding a veritable cornucopia of anti Jewish literature. It has always been thus.  We have eyes but do not see. Out of misguided self interest, we have mouths but do not speak.  I have discussed this outrage with Secular Turks.  The hate filled literature that adorns almost every book shop and library is justified by the secular as a means to “keeping an open mind”.  They see no issue with anti-Semitic literature but of course would find it intolerable if the reverse were to occur.  If anti-Islamic literature were to become central to Western popular culture and education how comfortable would our Muslim brothers and sisters feel then?  Tolerance is neither conditional nor selective except, it appears, when we attempt to criticize an Islamic nation.  And what is the excuse my Turkish friends provide, without displaying a hint of embarrassment around their ugly racism, and with flirting or even embracing religiously bigotry? It is that it connects them to what people are thinking, irrespective of whether or not there is any truth to what they read.  But there is a reality in the adage that you repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.  Of course radical bigotry is uni-directional. So it is safe.

An intellectual and theological Berlin Wall divides Turkey from Europe. Go into any Turkish book store and racist tomes, religious incitement and narratives that encourage hatred towards minorities are a mainstay of Turkish and Muslim enlightenment.  Peace does not come at the tip of a pen when from that pen hate and discrimination erupts like a fountain of blood, staining everything it touches. Peace cannot be celebrated when violence and militancy is proudly acknowledged as central to a Turkish (or Muslim) identity.

Self interest should be based on long term considerations or it is superficial and will ultimately fail.  If Turkey is entitled to its anti-Semitic heritage and its anti-Semitic (and profitable) hate industry then Israel is entitled to question to where this all leads; and as a test should recognize, in the Knesset, the Armenian Genocide and fight for recognition for Kurdish independence at the UN and in every international forum. As so many so called left wing friends of Israel have pointed out, confronting the past is the only way to a healthy future.

A quote from Ha’aretz’s Zvi Bar’el (on 18th October 2009) asks, “How do Turkey and Israel measure each other’s love? Love and betrayal have replaced the correct terminology of interests and strategic partnerships.”

Turkey would like to reassert its old colonial ambitions by participating in regional diplomacy. But it is two states; the first political and the second, military. And these are traditionally the twin sisters of Islamic expansionism of which experience and history demonstrate a severely restricted and circumscribed tolerance of other faiths or other ethnic identities.  By politically aligning itself with Israel’s enemies and attacking it at every opportunity it makes friends with countries such as Syria, Iran and Lebanon.   Militarily, like Egypt, it will maintain frosty ties with Israel as long as arms and superior weapons systems continue to flow to it.  But the hatred that Islam inspires must inevitably lead to a rupture between the State that is motivated by Islam and any Jewish or Christian state.  Hatred is incompatible with peace.

Turkey views Israel as facilitating admittance to a Western club with which it is itself increasingly uncomfortable.  It will not prevent Turkey from pursuing an independent, increasingly anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and ultimately anti-Western agenda if it is within its national or Islamic interest to do so. Its international pretensions may take a reformist Western agenda; a puritanical Islamic or even an eclectic eastern totalitarian agenda but whatever path is envisioned, Israel will continue to occupy both a peripheral and incidental place, for as long as it suits Turkey to do so.   For Turkey to gain prominence in the region it must isolate its rivals and that means partially or totally emasculating them.  Israel is, for Turkey, a foil to occasional Arab and Persian resurgent hegemonic regional pretensions and it will periodically reprise its imperial ambitions just as Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Egypt, have done.

Israel should initiate an independent foreign policy that rewards virtuous behavior towards the Jewish State as a continuous and long term measure of intentions.  Turkey, by dictating the measure of what constitutes reasonable discussion dictates the limits and the standards of that discussion and thus denies Israel recognition of its inalienable right to sovereignty. 

Turkey and Genocide (Part 2)

We occasionally hear about Turkish responsibility for crimes against humanity in reference to the Kurds and even more rarely in crimes against the Armenians.  But Greek and Assyrian Christians were also targeted as part of a policy  of ethnic cleansing.

In 1914 when Germany was about to embark on the first World War, Britain, France and Russian offered  the Ottoman empire a declaration of non-aggression and protection from external military interference. At Ottoman request the Triple entente put this in writing. There was no price tag.  But the imperial leadership was convinced that Germany would win the war. Even when on October 29, 1914 Ottoman torpedo boats attacked Russian vessels in Odessa, The Entente offered a way out from war; Turkey declined the offer.

Ephraim Karsh in “Islamic Imperialism: A History” quotes Turkey’s Minister of War, Enver Pasha: “Our participation in the World War (first) represents the vindication of our national ideal. The ideal of our nation and people leads us toward the destruction of our Muscovite enemy to obtain a natural frontier to our empire, which should include and unite all branches of our race.”  How is Turkey different today?

Between the two world wars Turkey was neutral but sympathetic to German adventurism.   It was never a simple matter of brinkmanship or hedging bets. Turkey allegedly had blueprints for gas chambers which when Hitler’s Germany did win the war were to be constructed in Palestine for the disposal of the Jews of the Middle East.

We should not be shocked.  In 1948, Britain in its quest for transparent fairness in Palestine turned over all the fortified structures with their stockpile of weapons to the Arabs.  The military advantage was boosted by British officers commanding the Arab Legion.

And then there are the Kurds.

The Kurds of the Near East have been denied any justice and this has only encouraged the genocidal religious pretensions of the Islamic Super state whether this is an Arab, a Turkish or an Iranian political polity. Turkey destroyed tens of thousands of Kurdish villages and evicted millions of Kurdish people from their ancestral homes. Turkey tortured tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people and may have murdered just as many Kurds as it has dispossessed and tortured. Turkey denied any right to self determination or national identity to its Kurds.

Turkey is not Europe. It has never accepted its culpability in genocide. It is violently opposed to granting human rights to its minorities. It persecutes its Kurds.  Christians and Jews fear for their lives and are occasionally murdered because they are hostages to Islamic magnanimity.  Turkey has once again reasserted it’s territorially expansionist ambitions and a violently bigoted religious tradition. It encourages the dehumanization of its enemies in its secular press, TV and publishing media and it has proven its unreliability as an ally (as when it voted against Iranian sanctions in the UN Security Council).

Turkey and Israel’s strategic partnership was realistically about long term mutual benefit. And this is where the problem lies. An Islamic nation with its historic legacy of hatred, conquest and human slavery is continuously reinforcing an internalized image of superiority and birthright over its non-Muslim neighbours. Its world view is one of power and dominance which is not congruent with any relationship of equality.

Turkey occupied Cyprus

It is clear that Turkey has a dangerously antagonistic relationship not just with Israel but with all of its non-Muslim allies. It invaded Christian Cyprus, occupying the northern half of the island and to this day does not recognize the Christian half’s legitimacy. It has encouraged Islamic confrontation with Jewish Israel. It has worked tirelessly to re-integrate Nazi Iran into the fabric of civilized nations even as Nazi Iran continues to brutally suppress its own citizens, ethnically cleansing the Baha’i and betraying democracy.

While Iran has subverted nations where ever it can use its influence to do so, any nation actively seeking to court this country is doing so because it intends to profit from it.

In 2010 Turkey funded a flotilla of ships to break the blockade of racist anti-Jewish Gaza in order to precipitate an international confrontation.

We must ask ourselves what kind of a future do we have if we ignore a resurgent racist and Islamic Turkey? Turkey through its demands for uninhibited access to the European Welfare State remains nevertheless triumphalist and bigoted. But of greater importance is the centrality of religiously inspired prejudice that has contributed to and continues to provide justification for ethnic cleansing and genocide.  Imperial aspirations only have a place next to a sanitized history.  Where is the proof that Turkey does not seek to re-establish its Islamic empire almost a century after losing its last empire in ignominy and rivers of blood, certainly not in the words of its leaders?

Nations must finally decide whether the risk to global peace is worth the bribe of accommodating and embracing fascist theocracies such as Iran and potential theocracies such as Turkey.  They do not make for trustworthy allies.

What Amos Alon in “ A Blood Dimmed Tide” describes as a theology of conflict has been made worse by the collapse of the Soviet Union because the conflicting racial and colonial ambitions of Islam’s warrior clergy has seen Turkey and Iran clamoring for control of their geopolitical neighborhood.  Nor can we discount Egyptian or Syrian colonial pretensions riding an Islamist demon. The collapse of the USSR and an ideologically and militarily exhausted USA has left a power vacuum in the Near-East.

There is no logic to the worship of past glories.  But one just has to be reminded of so many international conflicts to appreciate that this is not about rational outcomes.  Empires have long memories. 

It is only a matter of time before resurgent Russia / USA have to compete with Turkey and Iran for political influence and regional domination.  Israel is still trying to survive and find its place in the mix.

Turkey - A history in Genocide (Part 1)

When Mehmet 2nd captured Constantinople in 1453 he is reported to have let loose his troops on the Christian residents over 3 days.  At the end of this period of rape, looting and murder he permitted residents who had survived the massacres to return to their homes!  Paintings celebrating this ‘great lesson’ show rivers of blood.

And yet modern day Turkey, founded in conquest and blood continues to deny its Islamic heritage.  Is it that difficult to understand why?

Let us begin with Turkey’s interaction with Christian Armenia.  In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin was signed in order to protect minorities throughout the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire from persecution. It was ignored and an indirect result was that in 1895-96 Abdul Humid murdered up to 200,000 Armenians in a campaign that was intended to ensure submission for the survivors.  Many Armenians fled to Europe and the USA.  Turkey systematically discriminated against the church and to this day they refuse to recognize the orderly, organized murder of the Armenians in the 1890’s.

Dispersal and exile is common enough for survivors. But perhaps the Ottoman Armenians who remained behind thought they would be protected by Britain, France and even their enemy, Russia.

Innovations that would provide Germany with an invaluable insight into the immorality of nations began with the concentration camps first used by Britain against the Boars in South Africa. No one spoke out in outraged indignation against the British Empire. The Belgium genocide in Africa caused moral outrage only after the fact.   When confronted with Armenian Christian annihilation by Turkey the Western worlds total silence was duly noted.

In anticipation of the outcome that drove the Arab world in 1948 Britain retained its Concentration camps in Cyprus for any Jewish survivors of the Arab, Muslim onslaught against the nascent Jewish state of Israel. The Arab rhetoric about driving the Jews into the Sea has to be understood through the prism of historic practice.  Bloody reprisal and ethnic cleansing has not been an uncommon tactic in the Near East.  The Islamic tradition of retribution reinforces a message of the futility of resistance.  More important than that message is the internalized lesson that resistance, as with the Armenians, will elicit a terrible price that will be seared into ethnic memory for ever.

In 1915 the final stages of the Armenian Genocide were put into practise, the ethnic cleansing and the Genocide of the Armenian nation that was to take place between 1915 and 1917.

Disarmament, elimination of anyone who might be in a position to fight back and resettlement were all weapons intended to facilitate the final Armenian solution. In a frightening rehearsal for Nazism’s war against the allegedly impure, towns were systematically cleansed of Armenians, death came quickly but disease also took many of those waiting to die.   There is general agreement that between one million and one and a half million Armenians died.

Atrocities were documented.  There were numerous diplomatic missions and interested parties.  Foreign records of the events that followed are undeniable as to the attempted final solution of the Armenian problem.  Extermination had one added advantage to the Turkish government. Muslim refugees could be re-housed in the homes of the dead. The houses were all left fully furnished (unless pillaged by former friends and neighbors). And theological justification could be made at every stage of the process. Slavery, Dispossession, Theft, Extermination; all these things were meant and are still meant to demonstrate, in an unambiguous and tangible way, the superiority of Muslim civilization. That all property was and is the material right of possession of the global Islamic nation makes the act right by might.

Turkey - one view of history

Europe had de-facto control over the Islamic world from the 19th century onwards.  Europe arguably created all of the modern states of the Arab world.  Perhaps we should ask what would have happened if the European nations had created Israel when they created the Arab nations or, what would have happened if the Arab nations had remained colonies while Israel did not?  Why is there selectivity in condemning Israel for its “creation in modern times” when the Islamic world was corrupt, feudal and racist, long before Israel’s creation made it a convenient excuse for Arab nations’ incompetent administration and Islamic bigotry?  Why this European and Western intellectual selectivity?

The State of Israel may indeed have created a focus for Islamic nationalists but Islamic colonial aspirations have been murderously successful since their Koranic inception in the 7th Century CE.  A dubious reputation for bloodthirsty and thuggish brutality is not undeserved but perhaps because of Christianities similarly terrifying religious history of bloody persecution we now display a breathtaking tolerance for the resurgence of this primitive Islamic Crusader movement.  How else to explain the difference in treatment afforded Israel and Turkey or Israel and any other Muslim nation?

Why is Zionism almost universally reviled while Islamism and its associated bigotry and violence erupts like a cancerous boil in a thousand localities around the world to threaten peace in every corner of the planet but without a single UN resolution or word of anger from the Global political order?

After Mohammed’s army conquered the Land of Israel missionary activity became the provenance of Islam and persecution an inevitable consequence of the failure to acknowledge its superiority.  Then followed rule by Caliphs, Crusaders and Mameluke (the Mameluke were mostly Turkish slave soldiers).   In Israel they destroyed the coastal cities as they captured them – the coast lands were reduced to desert.  Peter I (King of Cyprus 1359-69) tried to arouse another Crusade and failing to do this, in 1367 he destroyed that which the Mameluke's had earlier omitted from their destructive orgy.

Osman Bey (1291-1326) – founded the Ottoman Empire.  He took a peripheral fiefdom in the far west of the Islamic empire, on the border between the Islamic and Byzantine (Christian) empires, and made much of it his dominion. It was the Ottoman empire (1299-1923) that incorporated the colonial with Jihad justifying conquest and slavery, centuries before White Europe did the same as a religious imperative (or Machiavellian excuse).

Constantinople was the Capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 after which Ottoman expansion into Europe continued until the end of the 17th Century. 18th Century Turkey retained its territorial integrity mainly because of divisions within Europe.  In the 19th Century the Europeans consolidated their national aspirations through their colonial enterprises in Africa and the Far East.

In January 1821 a newly convened National Assembly adopted a constitution and elected its first President. It then issued a Declaration of Greek Independence. Massacre and retaliation became the pattern of resistance to Muslim rule and the Islamic response to any challenge. On February 3, 1830 an international conference in London declared the guarantee of territorial integrity for the new and independent state of Greece. Britain, France and Russia were its guarantors. It was the Ottoman empires first loss of territory.

It is more than a curiosity of modern history that two of the bookends of colonial independence were Greece (1830) and Israel (1948), both having suffered under Turkish misrule. Yet when we rage against colonialism it is understood to mean Western (Christian?) colonialism and not Islamic colonialism.

While The Crimean war of 1854-56 ensured that Turkey was formally recognized as equal to the great European powers, its alliance with Germany’s losing side in World War One lost it control of all its imperial possessions.  The signing of the armistice on 31st of October 1918 saw Turkish misrule formally ended in Israel / Palestine.

Europe made several attempts to prop up the corrupt Ottoman Empire even when it was clearly not to its advantage to do so.  Nevertheless modern day Turkey was a huge Muslim empire. Its failure simply whet the appetite of potential and actual Arab dictators across the Middle East and if anything can be attributed to the dissatisfaction and enmity that now infuses the Arab people it is the disintegration of the Ottoman empire that left local leaders baying for blood and power.

The Greek civil war (1946-1949) and Turkish proximity to other states in danger of failure necessitated aid in order to prevent the ideological conquest of Southern Europe by communism.  Congruence of interest vis-à-vis Turkey started and finished with containment and the prevention of the domino effect.  In 1947 a communist takeover in Greece and Turkish political alignment with the USSR was feared.

The Truman Doctrine and the Cold War started when in 1947 Congress approved $400m for Greece and $100m for Turkey.  The passage through Congress of these measures can be delineated as the starting point for the Cold War. 

The US Turkey partnership was a product of the cold war without any special affinity except that both shared a common (Communist) enemy. A more moral approach in Foreign Policy would have brought an understanding that pragmatism is ultimately doomed unless it brings with it lasting benefits that are shared by all and not just the victors. 

What about Israel?

During the Ottoman period Turkey ignored the Holy Land and left it to be ruled by gangs of brigands and religious societies – none of which protected the Jewish poor from religious persecution.  Trade provided the wealth to develop and maintain control.  By first destroying and then neglecting Israel, the country remained desolate until the end of the 19th Century when a renewal of mass Jewish immigration stopped the stagnation.

Turkish misrule precipitated economic havoc, administrative decay and the destruction of all social order.  Successive regimes created total geographical and social degradation in Israel. It is therefore difficult to view through the eyes of the Jewish or any other captive minority, any period of Turkish imperial rule, as worthy of praise.