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Friday, January 23, 2015

Bibi Netanyahu, Congress and Elections in 2015

President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade was a monumental task that was truly visionary but in the twenty first century few nations, not even the United States of America, appear to be able to have an exceptional vision for the future.  Nation states have become mired down by the constant struggle to balance budgets and keep dissatisfaction from boiling over.  Long after the Second World War ended the world had a few golden decades (that were not really so golden) when the world seemed easy, exciting and our expectations were not so inflated as to create too many opportunities for disappointment – plus of course the rest of the world was still only partially open to us so that the misery others felt was still too distant to affect our thinking.

Politics is nearly all about perception. It takes an exceptional political climate to engender political enthusiasm for multi-term projects that bare a great deal of risk with no instant benefit to sell them.  And reaching for the stars was certainly one of those dreams. Politics is about what is credible, what is believable.  As a politician, Benjamin Netanyahu was a great director of finance; as the leader of the nation his sacred duty was always to unify the nation.   Instead he has played a cheap politicians trick to bring down the government only two years after the last elections.  With threats to the state mounting, all the separate parties are once again emphasizing their differences instead of showcasing the bonds that unify them.

If it had been necessary, a National Law should have been used as a unifying force for the good of every citizen and to marginalize those groups that are trying their best to compartmentalize the state, to tribalise it as a means of bringing about the destruction of the state.

The National law could have been used to define the battle; instead it became the battleground; or one of them at least.

Before Senator Obama became President an article by a well-known Chicago journalist argued that Obama was first and foremost an African American and that his loyalty was again, first and foremost, with “his people.” It was a near-sighted, politically immature, facile and unpatriotic waste of print space.  If the nations’ leader is not the leader of the whole nation then he is unworthy of occupying the post. Special interest groups have their own lobbyists – you do not elect a lobbyist to be the leader of the nation.

When the previous elections were near, Bibi Netanyahu resided over demonstrations of booing and catcalling – the crowds behaved like beasts – celebrating the death of their (assassinated) rival, Yitzhak Rabin.  The same incitement preceded Rabin’s political murder.  Bibi presided over both rallies. Benjamin Netanyahu is a populist politician who somehow seems to convince people, no matter how much he dumps on them, that he still has their best interests at heart.  He behaves as if half the electorate is deserving of him as their savior while the other half are weak idiots who deserve nothing but the nations’ contempt. When members of his cabinet are appointed, if he cannot find a person (politician or otherwise) who will stroke his inflated ego he will leave the post (s) unoccupied for the entire parliament, or take them himself. Government administration is clearly of no consequence to him. It is always about Bibi.

And yet, he has been voted into power three times (only Ben-Gurion equals that record.)  There is no other politician able to compete with him.  Politics should be about policies, not personalities but given Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrogant self-possession we should all have understood that Bibi cannot be trusted as the leader of the nation.

After Likud Primaries were held, he once again was voted in as leader of the party.  This means that the Likud is satisfied with his continued leadership of the party and the nation, despite his divisive personality.

The people should deny the Likud their vote at the elections to be held in March 2015 and cast their vote against any party that pledges to go into coalition with him as Prime Minister.   After failed leadership, this is the next problem.  The parties are prostitutes – they will sleep with anyone willing to make them their political bitches.  The opposition only exists because they cannot make a deal to share the spoils. And those that are not ever offered a place at the trough are unlikely to have been ever offered a place (such as the communists and the Arab anti-Zionist parties).

Bibi's identity politics neither protects the nation nor provides leadership to it.

These are some of Israel’s multiple threats:

  • The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is rapidly gaining respectability in universities throughout Europe and across the globe. 
  • Palestine will gain recognition which will only encourage it to greater levels of irredentism. 
  •  The Arab world owns the United Nations and will use its enormous financial resources and human capital to further degrade the already diminished status of Israel and the Jewish faith across the world.
  • Iran and Turkey will become increasingly belligerent as their successes in the international political sphere grow (and as their internal threats diminish). They are the only serious military threats to Israel but both will be encouraged to destabilize Israel’s neighbors if they think there is the chance that it will not adversely impact their own ongoing theocratic revolutions.
  • Israel’s financial success will deteriorate as the US moves away from its support for Israel, as the boycott movement bites and as European belligerence accelerates.  The corrupt contention that Israel will trade with anyone who pays will make Israel’s position increasingly precarious as unemployment rises and social services fail.  A politics of envy will lead to violence that will not be brushed aside by the umpteenth national enquiry.
  • A flight of capital will lead to increased emigration and a return to the “nebbish” attitude that led to previous economic stagnation.

These are scenarios that Bibi the economist should understand if his ego did not blind him to his own failures.

His greatest act of hubris is perhaps, still to come. It is the Achilles heal of his ego. The invitation by the US House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) to PM Netanyahu (he has been asked to speak to Congress about Iran) is a Republican rebuke to the US (Democrat) President.  The idea that an American president could be usurped by the leader of the 153rd ‘largest’ country in the world (with the 96th largest population) contains more than the usual stench of arrogance associated with political prima donnas.  To place himself in between the elected president of the most powerful nation on earth and that president’s political opposition is to allow him-self to be used by both sides of the American political establishment in an unsavory internal political act of one-upmanship which could seriously damage Israel’s reputation in the eyes of ordinary Americans.

That Benjamin Netanyahu so eagerly agreed to this dubious honor is shocking.  Israel’s current dearth of altruistic and meritorious national politicians is certainly something to moan about.  Leaders on the cusp of general elections should stay at home; competent leaders focus on serving their electorate, not someone else’s.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

French anti-Semitism and Muslim Violence (PART 2)

In the Spectator Magazine on the 9th of January, Isabel Hardman wrote of the shop killers that “the attackers appear to be killing people not for what they have been doing, but for who they are.”  The Koran commands the faithful to strike the infidels neck.  For 1,400 years we have kept our silence, refusing to criticize those people who take their inspiration from a book their followers insist is the path to enlightenment and peace.

Many progressives will find any excuse for the killers – whether it is cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet, eternal Jewish guilt, or support for the only Jewish state. None of them seem willing to stop and think before they appease the bigotry that suffuses global Muslim thinking.

France is a militantly secular nation and it has been thus since the French Revolution of 1789. It has not prevented the nation which is overwhelmingly Catholic from practicing faith as an individual statement of identity.  The provocations at Charlie Hebdo were as predictable as they were offensive. But they were no different from the assaults that the magazine intermittently struck at Jewish and Christian values.

And Western Europe alongside of the English speaking world has been far more offensive towards its Jewish population without a Jewish recourse to violence.  If it has had any effect, it has been to encourage Jews with no answers to this discrimination to assimilate into society, breaking down Jewish cohesion and destroying communities. It is an ongoing act of ethnic cleansing that we seem powerless to prevent.  And of equal importance, it has spurred on racists and religious bigots whose opposition to Jewish independence has long past blurred the line between opposition to Israel and antisemitism. And yet, no violence from the Jewish community against those who incite against them and too often murder them has taken place.

So our standards are applied selectively. We demand subservience from Jews and are subservient to Islamists. Provocation and incitement against Jews is growing everywhere. It is led by universities, the media and populist politicians while we treat every aspect of Islamic faith as if all discussion of its history and its crimes were an unacceptable assault on a revered earthly idol.

We are being coerced, selectively, into renouncing our freedom.

It is untrue that disaffected youth who are under-employed or unemployed become foot soldiers for terrorism. The dedicated cadres of so called alienated Muslims are far more likely to have grown up in middle class homes, prosperous and comfortable. If their relationship with us is conflicted, if their relative affluence is impacted by anything, it is the clash of civilizations enunciated in Samuel Huntington’s book of the same name which described the challenges of the post-Cold War new world order.  The conflict is defined by the clash between the values of our Judeo-Christian civilization in Western society and the Islamic value system of the Muslim world.

If we are unwilling or frightened to discuss the source of terrorism we will never defeat it and probably, it will defeat us.

Our establishment press is cursed by its selective fear to offend.  The headline by the London Times that “France is paying price for pushing six million Muslims to the margins" summarized the prevalent idea that personal choice does not exist.  That is a Muslim religious 'value' which negates our own Western way of life.  It says to the religiously frustrated that murder is acceptable; to fight discrimination through Western law is but an occasional tool of those who want to censor all discussion.

The Left wing-Liberal Nazis at WikiLeaks blamed “the Jews” for the atrocities committed in France.  The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Nazis also blamed the Jews – well, in fact they blamed the Zionist Mossad.  This tactic of conspiracy is an important part of any fascist arsenal which desires to cloud the truth and obscure personal judgment by using prejudicial memes that cater to cultural stereotypes.

Throughout Europe and including Britain, 2014 yielded the largest surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes on record since World War 2. The European continent murdered almost its entire Jewish population and yet, it has learnt nothing from those dark years that preceded the Shoah, save the ease with which the bigot continues to be able to blame the victim for his or her ‘fate’.

I said in PART 1, our walls no longer have chains so we no longer feel bound by the laws of society that connected us all either to speak responsibly or to personally accept the consequences for our actions.

The consequences for Charlie Hebdos actions are now clear. The debate over whether the actions of their staff went too far in demonstrating a compulsive need to exercise freedom of expression at any cost has already been hijacked by the establishment press to appease Islam. Alan Johnson describes this appeasement as “The veil of euphemism that hangs over the debate about Islam and its bigots.” He says we must lift the veil. But he is too kind. There is precious little criticism voiced, it is what makes grandstanding more visible when it occurs.

Intimidation works. Fear compels us towards intellectual and physical cowardice and impels us towards a dereliction of our democratic obligation to confront those people and groups whose goal it is to extinguish our freedom.

If xenophobia and panic do not destroy immigration and cause us to re-erect borders across national boundaries everywhere, nations will have to start honestly facing up to the multiple threats posed by Islamism without being frightened to offend Muslim communities.  Ignoring problems posed by the clash of civilizations is creating ever greater levels of social unrest across Europe and that unrest will spread to North America.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the fascist Front National is ahead of both of her Conservative and Left wing rivals for the French national elections.  After the twin massacres and the murder of the policewoman Le Pen’s popularity will soar.  Geert Wilder MP, banned from traveling to Britain while Muslim Nazis are free to travel to and incite violence in the UK, could be the next Dutch prime minister.  In Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has for now, been eclipsed by the fascist left in the guise of Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left). Demonstrations are spreading across Germany in support of a fight against German ‘Islamization.’

The French reality is that unrestricted Muslim immigration drove the economic engine but at the price of abandoning France’s Jewish community. Successive French governments ignored incitement, dismissing it as anti-Israelism, or not caring if it was antisemitism. When it is understood to be opposition to Jewish independence it can only ever be interpreted as racism.  Dieudonn√© M'bala M'bala has been convicted of anti-Semitic incitement eight times and yet he continues to be a hugely popular anti-establishment figure.  He has been instrumental in making French antisemitism once more openly fashionable. The governments mishandling of him has been so inept, so incompetent we must question their commitment to ridding France of this home grown contagion. Israeli journalist Ron Ben –Yishai describes French complicity in the environment to which French Jews find themselves today as “unforgivable complacency.”

On Friday 9th January 2015 French authorities announced the closure of the central Jewish precinct of Paris (the Marais).  Apparently the irony of recreating the Jewish ghetto was missed by the French government.  The Great Synagogue of Paris did not hold Shabbat (Sabbath) services on the Friday night for the first time since World War 2.  Fear is a legal component that defines ethnic cleansing.

Unless people appreciate the threat to their freedom they rarely react to undo what they have already created.  But France could begin by revoking the right of Muslims to have Halal food served in state schools; reintroduce pork as the only meat product available in state schools.  It is only when people fear what they have already lost and what they may yet lose that they willingly, even pro-actively consider moderating their position towards their competitors (or their enemies).  People who feel weakened do not make maximalist demands.  Cease all social security transfers to any group or individual classified as racially / religiously / politically extreme.

Freedom is a gift; we should not have to pay for its detractors.

The alternative to acting now is that intermittent acts of terror will only increase in frequency, particularly if the debate as to its causes are stifled or because of intimidation, suppressed.

It is only when the bigot fears the consequences of negative exposure more than he (or she) fears death itself that peace and security for everyone will be possible to achieve.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

French anti-Semitism and Muslim Violence (PART 1)

The Times of London headline on the 9th of January 2015 read: "France is paying price for pushing six million Muslims to the margins."

Since the attack on Charlie Hebdo offices took place (on the 7th of January 2015), the murder of the policewoman and the subsequent murder of four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket on the 9th of January there have been thousands of lines of print wasted on making excuses for the kind of people that carried out the attacks.

We can all make excuses for our behavior – the pedophile was abused as a child, the wife beater was beaten by his parents, the right wing racist is a product of his family environment.  But the Muslim racist is the product of poverty or discrimination in society. His or her embitterment is the fault of society itself.  Everyone is forgiven their sins of commission except of course that this is not the whole picture.

Why not?  We live in a world of choice, we all have the freedom to watch what we like, read what we desire, speak our own  thoughts and dress as we wish but magically, as soon as we cross the boundaries for what society deems  “acceptable behavior” we are condemned. Society judges us by the standards that society sets.  We abide by the rules and society protects us. It is called the “social contract”. It has inspired political reform since before the French Revolution and it can be argued that it has served imperfectly, as the cornerstone of Western Society since that time. 

But standards are not necessarily applied uniformly and it is with this issue that injustice occurs. We too often excuse the murderer and damn the innocent. It is how we perceive injustice that informs the way we see society and the press is inevitably at the forefront of interpreting both that perception and the reaction.  It is imperfect, prejudiced; the arbiter of morality, judge, and jury and by its complicity in forming public opinion, society’s executioner.

Imagine society as a room with people chained to the walls. For thousands of years those chains defined the distance we could wander. At the same time our proximity to one another was finite so that the alliances we made protected us.  When the chains were removed we were free to wander away from the group or we could choose to stay. Our freedom of action expanded exponentially, as did our choices. By the same process, action and reaction became both random (unpredictable) and disconnected.  The freedoms we have experienced over little more than the last century created challenges we are barely capable of predicting let alone adequately and equitably responding to them. Our legislative activism has been inconsistent and philosophically parlous in responding to the new world we inhabit.

We should not condemn an entire religion for the actions of a minority even though Jews appear to be excepted from this rule.  Muslims have slaughtered innocents but we cannot blame all Muslims. Nor should we refrain from debating the many sources of tension that enabled criminals to assume a right to commit murder with joy in their hearts. It says something terrible about their education system and ours that we are hesitant if not terrified to openly discuss these things.

The problem is in those standards that society set.  If we fail to apply them equitably then our standards are a sham. Polygamy and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are both illegal in Western society. Yet we pay social security to Muslim men who control multiple wives.  Thousands of girls are physically tortured and psychologically sentenced to a life behind bars, every year, in London, England when their parents permit the abomination of FGM to take place without consequence.   Mosques that incite their congregants to hate the infidel and to commit violence against the non-believer are permitted to remain open because their free speech and freedom of belief supersedes, potentially, our right to life.  That social contract I referred to earlier is only selectively applied.  That selective application of human rights is where the fracture in society has occurred.

The question we should be asking is how we can repair it and whether that fault line is irreparably damaged?

In a New York Times oped Dennis Ross referred to the free pass given to Muslims in Western Society as “reflexive absolution.”  Not just in the West.  I recently read that over the last decade 100,000 Christians have been murdered every year in the Muslim world and in countries where Islam has a significant minority presence.  I cannot verify that figure of a million dead but the number of killed is much higher for Muslim on Muslim violence.

We appear to be powerless to prevent this ongoing escalation of Islamic bloodletting.

The outrage we all felt when over 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Muslim fundamentalists in Nigeria very quickly dissipated.  We should have boycotted Nigeria until every girl had been accounted for and returned to their families. We did NOTHING.

We share few values with those people who cannot either renounce a holy book or if not renounce it, then to accept a modern western concept of equality. The Muslim world has no sense of accountability but one heck of an over-inflated sense of grievance that treats any concessions as illegitimate.  There is a myth and it is called Islamic tolerance.  Islam’s sense of superior purpose can only be met head on.

Reflexive absolution is a great catch phrase that describes the western worlds’ selective immorality and its ethical bankruptcy towards Islamic terrorism. A paradigm shift in our attitude towards our religious competitors is needed if society is ever to be mended.