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The Ultimate Negative Campaign

BDS

from Ruth Wisse at the Wall Street Journal, March Madness, the Anti-Semite Bracket

The agents of anti-Semitism are anti-Semites, and unless they become the object of scrutiny, the belligerents will achieve their goal. Blaming Israel for the suffering of Palestinian Arabs is first and foremost a strategy of deflection, intended to divert attention from dysfunction in Arab and Muslim societies. So it does. Where are the campus rallies for women’s rights in Islam, relief efforts for Syrian refugees, vigils for Christian victims of Islamic State? Where is the outrage of historians, archaeologists and anthropologists at the destruction by radical Muslims of ancient monuments and of indigenous societies that are presumably theirs to defend?

University administrations and faculties have been complicit in allowing anti-Jewish politics to subsume other forms of racism and to flourish in their place. Administrators hypocritically invoke free speech in defense of faculty members who provide an ostensibly “academic” rationale for opposition to Israel. By now, entire disciplines use their academic conferences to attack the Jewish state. Campus anti-Israel coalitions exploit freedom of speech and assembly to assail the only Middle Eastern country that guarantees those freedoms. When will educators confront and expose this degenerate corruption of their institutions and their calling?

Israel is in every exemplary sense a “startup nation,” but touting its positive qualities cannot win against the tactics of Israeli Apartheid Week and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The current U.S. election campaign has made plain the greater power of negative campaigning over even the best-articulated positive ideas. Anti-Semitism is the ultimate negative campaign. It flourishes because onlookers who think they have no stake in the conflict choose not to face down the belligerents and because we have not seriously sought an antidote. If Western society had paid the same minuscule attention to infectious diseases as it does to pandemics of anti-Semitism, tens of millions would still be dying of cholera and bubonic plague.

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Sanctified Tantrums

Mahmoud Abbas

From The Islamic Tantrum by Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal:

Before Friday’s carnage in the City of Light, the world was treated to the hideous spectacle of Palestinians knifing Jews in Israel. The supposed motive of these stabbings was a rumor among Palestinians—fanned by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas—that the Israeli government intended to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.

This was a story the Israeli government adamantly denied and every serious person knew was false. Yet no senior Western leader dared call out Mr. Abbas to correct the record. Palestinian tantrums are sanctified tantrums. The violence they breed might be condemned, but the narrative on which they rest has the status of holy writ. It is no more to be questioned than the Quran is to be burned.

“To counteract the radicalization [in Europe],” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said in a televised interview only hours after the Paris attacks, “we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East in which . . . the Palestinians see that there is no future; we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

Here was the sanctified tantrum par excellence: People murder and maim because they have been put (by Israel) to a bleak choice. Rage is not to be condemned but understood, mitigated and mollified.

Now 129 people are dead in Paris because Europe decided to make a fetish of its tolerance for intolerance and allow the religious distempers of its Islamist communities to fester over many years. That’s what happens when you sanctify political tantrums, explain and appease them, refuse to name them, try to look away.

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Carter and Israel

carterarafat

from National Review in 2002, Jay Nordlinger wrote Carterpalooza

excerpts:

 No one quite realizes just how passionately anti-Israel Carter is. William Safire has reported that Cyrus Vance acknowledged that, if he had had a second term, Carter would have sold Israel down the river. In the 1990s, Carter became quite close to Yasser Arafat. After the Gulf War, Saudi Arabia was mad at Arafat, because the PLO chief had sided with Saddam Hussein. So Arafat asked Carter to fly to Riyadh to smooth things over with the princes and restore Saudi funding to him — which Carter did.

You who read Impromptus have heard me say: When I was growing up, I perceived the Arab-Israeli conflict as a great civil-rights drama. The white oppressors were the Israelis, and the black sufferers and innocents were the Arabs, in particular the Palestinians. Menachem Begin, I thought, was George C. Wallace, and his defense minister, Ariel Sharon, was Bull Connor. (This was in the early ’80s.)

Well, blow me down. I had never heard anybody else — a soul — say anything like this. But here is Carter, to Douglas Brinkley, Carter’s biographer and analyst: “The intifada exposed the injustice Palestinians suffered, just like Bull Connor’s mad dogs in Birmingham.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/339502/carterpalooza-jay-nordlinger

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Substitutes for Religion

from The Wall Street Journal,How to Defeat Religious Violence by Jonathan Sacks:

What the secularists forgot is that Homo sapiens is the meaning-seeking animal. If there is one thing the great institutions of the modern world do not do, it is to provide meaning. Science tells us how but not why. Technology gives us power but cannot guide us as to how to use that power. The market gives us choices but leaves us uninstructed as to how to make those choices. The liberal democratic state gives us freedom to live as we choose but refuses, on principle, to guide us as to how to choose.

Science, technology, the free market and the liberal democratic state have enabled us to reach unprecedented achievements in knowledge, freedom, life expectancy and affluence. They are among the greatest achievements of human civilization and are to be defended and cherished.

But they do not answer the three questions that every reflective individual will ask at some time in his or her life: Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live? The result is that the 21st century has left us with a maximum of choice and a minimum of meaning.

Religion has returned because it is hard to live without meaning. That is why no society has survived for long without either a religion or a substitute for religion. The 20th century showed, brutally and definitively, that the great modern substitutes for religion—nation, race, political ideology—are no less likely to offer human sacrifices to their surrogate deities.

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The Sound of Silence