The Palestinian terrorists’ torture and massacre of Israelis October 7 2023 114

In Dostoyevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan, the intellectual brother, famously asks Alyosha, the religious brother, this question:

“Tell me frankly, I challenge you—answer me. Imagine you are granted the task of designing the structure of human destiny so that it would end in the happiness, peace and contentment of all mankind, but to achieve that end it is necessary, absolutely unavoidable, for you first to torture one tiny child to death—the little girl who beat her breast with her little fist, for instance—and found the edifice on her unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?”

“No, I wouldn’t,” Alyosha replies. He is one of the two saintly characters in Dostoyevsky’s canon. Is he right?

His answer is the one Ivan wants. Ivan is deeply troubled by cruelty, especially when children are the victims. He has earlier related to his brother the heart-wrenching story of the suffering little girl he refers to in his question. Is the tortured agony of just one single child a price too high to pay for the lasting happiness of all mankind?

The Jewish diarist Anne Frank, before she was taken by the Nazis to die at the age of sixteen in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, wrote: “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Was she right?

It is comfortable for us to believe that our fellow human beings are good, kind, merciful. Our language expects it. The word “humane” means it is human to be merciful. But is it?

On October 7, 2023, an invading crowd of Hamas terrorists broke into Israel from the Gaza Strip and set about torturing and killing men, women, and children. Why? Because they were Jewish citizens of the Jewish state of Israel and the invaders wanted them to suffer and die. To serve this cause, one man shut a living babe-in-arms in a heated oven. The tiny child, set down on the red-hot element, was slowly grilled and roasted to death.

The fact of the atrocity must be reported in the simplest terms because the suffering of the baby defies description. There can be no adequate words for it in any language.

Yet millions of people are thrilled by what he did. They are delighted by all the atrocities and gloat over the baby in the oven. One woman joked in a video on Instagram:

“Each time I come across the story of the baby that was put in the oven I wonder if they put salt pepper, did they add thyme, and what [fat] did they roast it in? And what were the side dishes? You don’t ask yourself the question? The side dish to this baby leg was just a classic plate of fries with ketchup and mayonnaise. And we marinated it in salt, thyme, and a barbecue sauce, and paprika. Not bad! I think it’s a rather nice menu!”

In America, Britain, Western Europe, Australia, Hamas admirers have rallied in crowds of hundreds of thousands to celebrate what their heroes did that day. “Kill the Jews,” they roar. “Kill the Jews,” their placards demand. In Washington, D.C., New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, they howl for the genocide of the Jews. Why? Because “the Jews are genocidal colonialists,” they pretend. “The Jews murder civilians, children, babies,” they lie.

In fact, mass murder and extreme cruelty are not at all untypical of human behavior. For millennia, when armies conquered cities they slew all the inhabitants with fire and sword. Kings and noblemen, east and west, had torture chambers in their castles and never lacked torturers. For centuries in Eastern Europe, Jews of all ages were murdered in pogroms.

About eighty years ago, millions of Jews—babies, toddlers, schoolkids, teenagers and adults—were shut in gas-chambers and gassed to death by the Nazis for no reason but they were Jews. The Jews call that genocidal event in their history the Holocaust. When the world got to know about it after Germany’s defeat in 1945, good people swore, “Never again.”

But even as they swore, mass murder was being perpetrated in Communist Russia—had been since the revolution.

Ten years before the Holocaust began, when Hitler was beginning to rise to power in 1932 and 1933, Stalin deliberately starved millions of Ukrainian peasants to death. Some devoured their own babies. (But—historians say—they preferred to swap their children for a neighbor’s rather than eat their own.) In the Great Terror of 1936 to 1938, about two million people, many of them loyal members of the Communist Party, were executed or sent to hellish labor camps by Stalin’s orders.

In all Communist countries—China, Cuba, Cambodia, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the pre-Communist setting of Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness) —the people are ruled by fear; torture is routine and massacre common. Mass killings are frequent in almost all African countries, particularly in Chad, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Mozambique, Mali, Nigeria. Villagers, farmers, are slaughtered by the dozen or the hundreds at a time by governments, or tribal foes, or terrorist bands of religious fanatics. Photos can be found on the internet of Nigerian Christian children and babies lying charred and dead on the ashes of bonfires beside the corpses of their mothers and fathers. The worst bloodbath was in Rwanda in 1994 when for three months, April to June, Hutus killed Tutsis. Some 800,000 Tutsis, including babies, were murdered by their neighbors in an attempted genocide.

The Hamas terrorists’ cruelty to the harmless is not exceptional, nor is their pleasure in it. Gleefully they killed some 1,400 men, women, and children. They tied up their victims and burned them; raped them; hacked off breasts and limbs; took hostages; dragged naked, broken-limbed, blood-drenched, gang-raped young women through the streets to be laughed at and spat on by fellow invaders and their women and children. One of the murderers seized the cell phone of a victim and called his parents to boast excitedly that he had “killed ten Jews” with his “bare hands”, inviting Mom and Dad to be proud of him, to praise him. This they did, lavishly. Like almost all the parents and teachers of Gaza, in obedience to their elected Hamas rulers they raised their children to hate and kill Jews.

Is the world shocked? No. In addition to the Hamas admirers who rally with placards and the flag of an imaginary country called Palestine to celebrate the great deeds of their heroes, there are esteemed sages and experts on ethics who want Israel wiped off the map and Jews off the planet. Numerous Hamas supporters and sympathizers are in positions of power. They dominate the United Nations and its sub-agencies; they head Amnesty International; they govern all but 6 of the 50 Islamic states, and China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran (whose theocratic government helped hatch the plan for the Hamas invasion); they influence Western governments, local councils, political parties, churches; they command urban police forces; they deliver judgment in lawcourts; they direct most American universities and state schools; they control an overwhelming majority of the propaganda media—T.V., radio, film and theater, national and local newspapers; in swarms they affect public opinion with murderous messages on social media— X, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram …

What do we learn about human nature when millions of people exult over Hamas’s torture and murder of Jews? Will the lesson break the belief of bien-pensants that “people are really good at heart”?

Let’s imagine no crowds cheered; the perpetrators killed themselves in remorse; the torturing to death of that one baby so appalled and outraged humanity that a final lasting age of “happiness, peace and contentment for all mankind” began. Is it worth the baby’s suffering?

Alyosha Karamazov is right: the answer is no.

 

Jillian Becker    April 29, 2024

***

This article was first published online in the December 2023 issue of New English Review under the title What Price Human Happiness?

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 29, 2024

Tagged with

This post has 114 comments.

Permalink

“Christian America” coming to an end? 213

John Daniel Davidson, who often writes interestingly about political issues, has an article at The Federalist in which he attributes the past success and greatness of America to Christianity, and the present decline of the country to the fading away of the faith.

The Federalist title of the article is: America’s Stunning Embrace Of Paganism Signals The End Of This Country As We Know It.

Here are some extracts from it in italics, each followed by my comment:

Recall that ancient pagans ascribed sacred or divine status to the here and now, to things or activities, even to human beings if they were powerful enough (like a pharaoh or a Roman emperor). 

Don’t Christians ascribe divine status – and superhuman powers – to a human being?

They rejected the notion of an omnipotent, transcendent God — and all that the existence of God would imply.

Who did? When? Even before the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as a state religion, some Greek and Roman philosophers had propounded the idea of a godhead as the genesis of the universe.

Western civilization and its accoutrements depend on Christianity, not just in the abstract but in practice. Liberalism relies on a source of vitality that does not originate from it and that it cannot replenish. That source is the Christian faith, in the absence of which we will revert to an older form of civilization, one in which power alone matters and the weak and the vulnerable count for nothing.

Christianity sent Western civilization into a long nightmarish sleep, or death. Why is the Renaissance called by that name – a re-birth? Why is the Enlightenment called by that name – the return of light after darkness? How did the weak and vulnerable fare in the  centuries between the fall of Rome in the West and the Age of Reason? Christians often do not choose to remember the centuries of the terrible Inquisition, its uncountable victims whom it impoverished, tortured,  burned to death at the stake.

What awaits us on the other side of Christendom, in other words, is a pagan dark age.

Worse than the Christian dark age behind us?

Here, in the second decade of the 21st century, we can say with some confidence that this dark age has begun. … The principles Americans have always asserted against this kind of moral and political tyranny — freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, government by consent of the governeddepend for their sustenance on the Christian faith, alive and active among the people, shaping their private and family lives as much as the social and political life of the nation.

The Christian faith fostered freedom of speech, equality under the law, government by consent of the governed? No. O Christian apologist, remember the Inquisition (the Papal one and the Spanish one); remember that Christians kept slaves; remember feudalism. It was the Enlightenment – the intellectual revolution against Christian tyranny – that  “fostered”  those ideas.

The classical liberal order, so long protected and preserved by the Christian civilization from which it sprang, is already being systematically destroyed and replaced with something new.

No, the classical liberal order “sprang” from the Enlightenment, not from Christianity. All the main Cristian churches opposed and punished liberalism, as they opposed free speech, scientific discovery, and tolerance for as long as they had the power to do so.

It was, after all, Christianity that united morality and religion, and without it, they will be separated once more.

The pre-Christian Greeks and Romans thought about morality, philosophized about ethics, established systems of law that were based on moral concepts, but – right! – their gods did not insist on human moral behavior, except towards the divinities themselves. However, Zoroastrianism and Judaism were moral religions before Christianity was invented. St. Paul was against any part of the Jewish law being preserved in his Christianity. He preached that Jesus Christ had superseded the law. After him, there were many other (comparatively short-lived) Christianities in the early centuries C.E. that passionately opposed the moral teachings of the Jews. After St. Paul’s time, Roman Catholic Christianity somewhat reluctantly began to adopt the moral law of Judaism in the second century of our common era.

The new paganism will not necessarily come with the outward trappings of the old, but it will be no less pagan for all that. It will be defined, as it always was, by the belief that nothing is true, everything is permitted [To prove this, he quotes a 9th century Muslim:  “Hasan i-Sabbah, the ninth-century Arab warlord whose group gave us the word “assassins”, summed up the pagan ethos in his famous last words: Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”]

What Greek or Roman philosopher ever taught that “nothing is true”, or that “everything is permitted”? Roman law had much to do with moral right and wrong – and Roman law persisted, in modified form, in some Christian countries in modern times.

[T]he radical moral relativism we see everywhere today represents a thoroughly post-Christian worldview that is best understood as the return of paganism, which, as the Romans well understood, is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith. Christianity after all does not allow for such relativism but insists on hard definitions of truth and what is — and is not — sacred and divine.

What is the Christian “hard definition of truth”? When did the numerous Christian sects agree on what is and is not sacred and divine? If they had agreed, would there have been sects?

Without a national culture shaped by the Christian faith, without a majority consensus in favor of traditional Christian morality, America as we know it will come to an end. Instead of free citizens in a republic, we will be slaves in a pagan empire. 

Certainly we are being oppressed by the dictators of another religion – the secular religion of neo-Marxism aka “Wokeism”. Whether their rule is better or worse than that of the old dictators of pre-Enlightenment Christianity is a matter of judgment and opinion.

There was of course spiritual — demonic —power behind the pagan gods [!], but also real political power behind the pagan order. This order achieved its fullest expression in Rome, which eventually elevated emperors to the status of deities, embracing the diabolical idea that man himself creates the gods and therefore can become one.

“Man himself” did indeed invent the gods. Are there any other candidates claiming the invention? The man  from Tarsus who called himself Saul and later Paul created the Christian god from a man.

It is no accident that the worship of the Roman emperor as a god emerged at more or less the exact same historical moment as the Incarnation. Christianity, which proclaimed that God had become man, burst forth into a social world that was everywhere adopting the worship of a man-god, and its coming heralded the end of that world. 

Was the apotheosis of Augustus the inspiration for the apotheosis of Jesus?

… the Christian morality that made humanism possible.

Humanists are inclined to be atheists – usually (unfortunately and unnecessarily) atheists who favor the Left; the Socialist side of our main political division. The humanist principles of tolerance and mercy were surely held by some people long before Christianity began. They are always held by some human beings, including some Christians.

All of that will be swept away, replaced by an oppressive and violent sociopolitical order predicated on raw power, not principle.

As throughout history, including Christian history. And throughout most of the world at any time.

The prevalence of degrading superstition and the disfigurement of reason are hallmarks of the new pagan order, and today are everywhere visible in American society.

Christianity, like every other religion, is superstition, not reason.

Davidson is of course right that the free American Republic is under threat of extinction.

But was its success owed to Christianity?

The Framers of the Constitution were careful not to make special claims for the Christian religion above others. Although they mention “Nature’s God”, “the Supreme Judge of the World”, and “divine Providence”  in the Declaration of Independence, and “the Year of our Lord” in the Constitution, the values they wanted to enshrine were Enlightenment values: tolerance, reason, freedom of speech and conscience; government of, for, and by the people with no branch of it – legislative, executive, or judicial – having unrestricted power. Christians may fancy they discern an influence of their faith in that vision, but votaries of other religions and none have been no less appreciative of it – which is as the visionaries intended.

A resurgence of Christian faith now would be far more likely to intensify rather than reconcile division and conflict.

Isn’t Christian history a chronicle of internecine wars and persecution of sect by sect?

And – I ask you, Christians – didn’t your incarnated god reputedly say that he “came not to send peace, but a sword”?

 

Jillian Becker   April 2, 2024

Posted under Christianity, Collectivism by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 1, 2024

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

This post has 213 comments.

Permalink

Angles and Aphorisms 169

What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

It profits him the whole world.

___

“Love thy neighbor.”

If you do, the commandment is superfluous.

If you don’t, it’s futile.

___

No one has yet discovered what makes life, or what “life” is. The god explanation is not merely unsatisfactory, it is indefensible.

___

I, me …  this bundle of congenial accidents; this hunger for existence; this dread.

___

Start of a letter to my theoretical biographer: “Dear Avenging Angel …”

___

The Left has become Death, the destroyer of our civilization.

___

Where there is ideology, there will be schism.

___

Often the more you understand the less you forgive.*

___

Christianity was begotten by a vulgarized Hellenism upon a sentimentalized Judaism.

___

Religious persons  say, “If you don’t believe in God you’ll believe in anything.” I say, “If you can believe in ‘God’ you can believe in anything.”**

___

The fatter the government, the thinner the people.

The more generous the government, the more robbed the people.

The more secure the government, the more threatened the people.

___

Justice is elusive but judgment is inescapable.

___

The Roman writer Terence said, “Nothing human is alien to me.” Why can’t I say the same? So much that people do remains incomprehensible to me.

___

There’s an awful lot of condescension in compassion and an awful lot of contempt in condescension.

___

Curse: May you survive to live in the world of your ideals.***

___

Many a belief can survive persecution but not critical examination.

___

A good thing about the Universe and Life is that they have no purpose.

___

Sado-Marxism …

___

Russia cast off the Soviet Union – and revealed itself to be much the same. A wolf in wolf’s clothing.

___

We are more likely to believe what we overhear than what we’re told.

___

Searching for your true self? How do you know which is your true self – the seeker or the sought?

___

Nothing is kept as long and carefully as a grievance.

___

Now in my tenth decade, I ask other old people what they think or feel about dying, and find almost all agree it is not that we will die that troubles us so much as how.

___

To a writer: A reader is a reluctant visitor to your mind. He will not enter your labyrinth unless you bait the path with fascination. His wonder, his curiosity must be aroused, or his amusement.

___

Comes a Marxist, comes twaddle.

___

A writer needs to know that he has weaknesses, vices.

An actor only needs to know that other people have them.

___

Charity is okay, but only when practiced by consenting adults in private.

___

I often feel lonely but seldom want company.

___

Some are born ordinary, some achieve ordinariness, and some have ordinariness thrust upon them. I can’t think of anyone who’s had ordinariness thrust upon him. But I do know lots of people who’ve achieved ordinariness. They were geniuses until they were five and then became ordinary for the rest of their lives.

___

As attractive as a scandal.

As complex as an animal.

As simple as a blow.

___

Wither is what I do, not where I go.

___

It is a sound principle not to do harm. Beyond infancy no one can achieve so impossibly high an aim, but it is good to try.

___

Trying to reason with a Believer is like trying to crack an egg on a pillow.

___

Many “principles” that people hold are not principles but pieties.

___

We find Heaven and Hell on earth. Hell is a collective operation. Heaven depends on private enterprise.

___

We fear that they might do unto us what we would like to do unto them.

___

The value of human life cannot be measured: human life is itself the measure of value. Trying to measure it is like trying to measure the wetness of water.

___

Human life as such has no goal, no theme, no point, no plan, no program, no meaning. History is a soap opera.

___

Whatever a government does it does badly.

___

Anarchism, nihilism, communism. In each case, a feeling in search of a politics.

___

There is no “sin” of greed. There is a “sin” of envy. Let us be free to work for our own maximum profit. Let us have abundance. Let us have feasts, rich harvests, generosity, might, novelty, and splendor.

___

Any idea that needs a law to defend it from criticism is ipso facto a bad idea.

______

Footnotes:

*Quoted by P. J. O’Rourke, from an interview with me by The Times of London, as an epigraph for his book Holidays in Hell.

**Émile Leon Cammaerts (1878-1953) was a Belgian-born writer who lived and died in England, and who, in an essay on G. K. Chesterton, authored the famous quotation often wrongly attributed to Chesterton himself.: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything.” 

***P0ssibly plagiarized from a Chinese sage. I’m not sure.

 

Jillian Becker     March 5, 2024

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tagged with

This post has 169 comments.

Permalink

Obama’s final solution 280

Why is twice-and-forever president, Barack Obama, limitlessly generous, submissive, helpful to the cruel theocracy of Iran?

Why has he helped it become a nuclear power?

Lee Smith writes at Tablet:

[In January, 2024] Kata’ib Hezbollah launched a drone that killed three U.S. soldiers in Jordan. But President Biden didn’t want to retaliate against Iran for fear of collapsing the pro-Iran policy established by his former boss Barack Obama, so U.S. intelligence officials leaked an assessment to the press that Iran doesn’t control the proxy groups it trains, funds, and arms to kill Americans and U.S. allies in the Middle East.

That got Biden off the hook‚ but it’s hard to pose as a global superpower while allowing the servicemen and women you put in harm’s way to be killed with impunity. Biden considered his options, then announced his intentions to hit targets in Iraq and Syria, which gave the Iranians a week to scatter high-value assets and personnel, after which he bombed meaningless targets in those countries. One U.S. official made sure to tell the Iranians through U.S. media that “there are no indications that members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed as part of the operations.” The U.S. president thereby signaled to the Iranians that they are free to continue directing their Arab assets to kill Americans.

Iran’s proxies and cutouts are successful in this sickening game that puts the lives of hostages and servicemen alike at risk only to the extent that officials in the Biden administration are willing to deny and disguise the regime’s active role in targeting Americans. By contrast, when Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 U.S.-Iran agreement that legalized the terror state’s nuclear weapons program, he signaled that unlike his predecessor he didn’t see Tehran as a regional partner to replace Israel and Saudi Arabia. Accordingly, when Iranian proxies killed an American contractor and laid siege to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in December 2019, Trump cut off the head of Iran’s paramilitary snake by killing Soleimani. The January 2020 drone strike that got the Iranian terror chief also tagged then-leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, thereby underscoring the fact that Iran is directly responsible for the actions of its proxies.

In comparison, Biden’s Iran policy is a hall of mirrors designed to hide facts likely to disturb the American electorate while allowing the White House to deepen its relationship with Iran.

All that is manifest or at least probable and credible.

But then Smith writes this:

For Americans, the most repugnant feature of what the Biden team sees as a program of regional integration under the Iranian banner is this: U.S. forces are based in Iraq and Syria to protect Iranian interests in those countries. Under the guise of counterterrorism missions, American troops are detailed to target any Sunni Arab population that the Iranians and their allies designate as ISIS, and thereby risk their lives to secure Iran’s position in countries the Islamic Republic has helped destroy.

America is actively helping Iran wage its battles for supremacy in the Islamic world? A shocking fact if true. It is bad enough that the Obama gangsters incomprehensibly fund the Iranian tyranny with American tax dollars, plead with the mullahs for permission to lick their boots, and pant in vain for their gratitude, but to deploy American forces to fight and die for those genocidal sadists would surely be going too far in using  America as Obama’s own property.

If it is true, why is Iran killing American soldiers?

The Iranians persist in targeting American troops to remind the White House who calls the shots.

Yes, the Iranians have directed more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces since October, but the reason for these attacks is hardly Israel’s post-Oct. 7 military response to Hamas: The Iranians have been launching regular attacks on U.S. troops in the region since Biden took office—starting with an attack against a U.S. airbase in Iraq in February 2021.

The Iranians and their proxies are free to attack American forces because the White House has abandoned them to the mercies of Tehran, effectively turning U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines into a security deposit ensuring that the Biden administration will continue to advance Iranian, rather than American, interests.

“Ensuring that the Biden administration will continue to advance Iranian, rather than American, interests.” 

But why, why, why?  If Obama is a Muslim at heart, does the Democrat Party of America have to put Iran’s interests ahead of its own, and not only ahead of its own but at the cost of its own?

Taking hostages, after all, is how Iran does business. When in its infancy the Islamic Republic seized the U.S. Embassy in 1979 and ransomed 52 Americans, it led the news almost every night, for 444 days. It cost Jimmy Carter the presidency. In the intervening years, the Iranians and their proxies have kidnapped so many people—like Terry Anderson (Hezbollah, 1985-91), Roxanne Saberi (the Iranian regime, 2009), Austin Tice (the Syrian regime, 2012 to the present) and most recently Elizabeth Tsurkov (Kata’ib Hezbollah, 2023 to the present)—that Hamas’s Oct. 7 abductions are just part of the background music of the Middle East. It should shock the world that a nation-state and its proxy forces regularly imprison, torture, and rape innocents until their governments cough up enough money to get them back—or until they are dead. But nearly half a century after the 1979 hostage crisis, the Iranians have acclimated most of the world to the idea that this barbaric practice is just a conventional instrument of their foreign policy.

As president, Obama further normalized Iran’s terms. He helped legitimize hostage-taking as a function of Iranian statecraft by directing his officials to use hostage talks as an entry point that could double as a diplomatic channel …  In 2009, the Iranians kidnapped three Americans who had inadvertently crossed over the Iraq border. Oman mediated U.S.-Iran hostage negotiations, and sure enough the White House used that line of communication for secret talks with Iran to legalize its nuclear weapons program. The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was the Obama administration’s top foreign policy priority, with the end goal of turning Iran into a regional hegemon.

Why?

Representing the administration in those secret talks were [the under-devils] William Burns and Jake Sullivan now Biden’s CIA director and national security adviser, respectively.

With the nuclear deal concluded in 2015, Obama went back to the hostage stratagem and gave the Iranians a signing bonus of $1.7 billion, including $400 million in cash, in exchange for four U.S. hostages in January 2016. With that flourish, hostages became an official medium of exchange, which allowed the White House, in the absence of any formal diplomatic agreement or congressional approval or oversight, to ship pallets of cash to Tehran.

Biden loaded his administration with many of the same people who ran Iran policy under Obama, including former Iran envoy Robert Malley, whose security clearances were revoked [in April 2023]  after he was alleged to have mishandled classified information.

Why have we heard nothing more about that? Is the (odious) Robert Malley to be indicted? If not, why not? It’s a puzzle. If he gave classified information to Iran, that would be in line with the Obama agenda. Which may mean that the Biden administration is protecting him from any further punitive action. But if that is so,  who dared to revoke his security clearance? How is he or she to be punished? No doubt very discreetly. Top secretly.

In his role as head of the Washington NGO the International Crisis Group, and then while serving as a U.S. government official, Malley supported and facilitated an Iranian influence operation targeting Western capitals, including Washington itself, and pushed one of its assets, Ariane Tabatabai, into the U.S. government. She, too, appears to be part of the hostage-industry infrastructure. Tabatabai remains chief of staff to the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a portfolio that includes hostage rescue operations. [Emphasis in original.] Recently her boss posted photos of himself traveling with Tabatabai to visit U.S. troops at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. For Tehran, the pictures signal that no matter what the headlines may say, the understanding with Washington is unchanged.

Which is surely evidence that Obama still reigns.

The hostage-industry infrastructure gives the White House a way to service the unofficial alliance between the two governments, without having to explain why the U.S. is sending money to Iran, or what the Iranians are doing with it. For instance, in August the Biden administration gave Iran access to $6 billion in previously frozen oil revenues in exchange for five Americans. Was any of that money used to fund Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre? The White House says no. Instead, it claims that according to Qatar, which brokered the deal and parked the $6 billion in its central bank, the Iranians haven’t touched it. The fact that the White House thinks the American public and their elected representatives should take the word of Iran’s bagman is evidence that Qatar’s exertions as an “impartial mediator” have normalized the idea that it’s OK to pay off the Iranians and their proxies for kidnapping and killing Americans and our allies.

This deliberate misdirection is what Obama intended in 2012, when he asked Qatar to establish a channel with Hamas on behalf of the U.S. Given that Doha is one of Hamas’s benefactors—as of 2023, total aid from Qatar to Gaza is believed to be more than $2.1 billion—the official U.S. line is that the Qataris have leverage over Hamas. They must, or why else would they be brokering negotiations to return the Oct. 7 hostages?

(Gaza survives chiefly on the charity of rich states, non-governmental organizations, and the services of UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for “Palestine Refugees” only). Most of the donated money is retained by Hamas who use it to keep up continual violence and periodic warfare against Israel. Hamas is the government of Gaza, elected by the population. Israel supplied Gaza with fuel, food and special medical services, and employed thousands of Palestinian day-workers from Gaza, some of whom exploited their jobs as an opportunity to collect information useful to Hamas for its invasion of October 7, 2023.)

Accordingly, the Netanyahu government and Oct. 7 hostage families believe that since the U.S. has leverage over Qatar, it can compel the emirate to use its power and influence on Hamas. In this view, Qatar should defund the Palestinian terror group and throw its leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal out of their luxury hotel suites in Doha and put them in prison until Hamas releases its captives. But the Biden team isn’t going to pressure Qatar for the same reason it hit irrelevant targets in Syria and Iraq: it wants to preserve its relationship with Iran.

Why?

As the world’s go-to goodwill ambassador, Qatar says it’s impartial. But the only party in the region on whose behalf Qatar “mediates” is the one that takes hostages. Qatar works for Iran. It’s ugly, but it makes sense: If your foreign policy is keyed to the money you spend buying foreign elites and their institutions, and the source of that wealth is a giant natural gas field that you share with Iran, you take sides. And it’s not a hard choice: Is it the side that tortures and rapes hostages and kidnapped 28 Qatari royals, or is it the Americans, who won’t even shut down the local bureaus of Qatar’s flagship propaganda arm Al Jazeera, never mind make good on vague threats to move U.S. Central Command’s forward base out of Al Udeid airfield? It is Qatar that holds leverage over the U.S., which it exercises on its own behalf and Iran’s.

Consider the money that Qatar spreads around Washington, D.C. From the $14.8 million check that Obama administration peace processor Martin Indyk cashed as director of the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Program to the billions Doha has spent on Al Udeid to lobby the Pentagon, as well as its massive investments in key American institutions like major universities, Qatar has leverage over nearly all parts of the U.S. government and American elites.

Qatar’s lavish expenditures are meant to show that the rewards for aligning with Qatar are great, while the punishment meted out by Iran’s fixer can be painful.

In 2017 Qatar hired former CIA agent Kevin Chalker to spy on and smear U.S. legislators like Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, and Democratic Congressman Ed Royce, who all supported legislation against Hamas. “An attack on Hamas is an attack on Qatar,” Chalker warned in a lengthy document prepared for his Qatari clients.

The ex-agency man also recommended that Qatar target rival United Arab Emirates by “exposing [the] enemy secrets” of the UAE’s well-connected Washington Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba. Chalker recommended that Qatar call on its media assets, identifying, among others, Max Blumenthal, anti-Israel activist and son of fading Clinton-world influencer Sidney Blumenthal; The Intercept; and The New York Times. Only months after Chalker produced the report, the Times published stories based on hacked Otaiba emails in a campaign intended, as reporter David Kirkpatrick acknowledged, “to embarrass the U.A.E. and benefit Qatar.” From the Pentagon to the capital’s paper of record, Qatar has Washington covered. It’s Iran’s stalking horse.

What happens in Gaza, then, will have consequences throughout the world—for Iran’s hostage infrastructure is built with something grander in mind than just trading human flesh for cash. After Oct. 7, Iran has made it clear that the purpose of its nuclear weapons program was never just to threaten Israel and Saudi Arabia, but also to hold the whip hand in world trade and energy markets. With Biden all but standing down the U.S. Navy, the Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen, have closed Red Sea shipping lanes and forced major container shipping lines to take alternate routes, raising the prices of goods around the world. With a nuclear bomb in its arsenal, Iran’s next hostage is the global economy.

“Its nuclear weapons program was never just to threaten Israel …”  No, indeed not. It is first of all to destroy Israel.  And the only plausible explanation for Obama’s policy, still being pursued by his frontman Biden, of helping Iran become nuclear armed is because he wants Israel to be destroyed. 

Not all the Democrats in positions of authority are anti-Israel. There are even some who are strongly pro-Israel. So a Democrat-led American government could not openly destroy the small embattled country; but it can and does, with unwavering dedication and at enormous price, make it possible for Iran to attempt that truly genocidal operation.

The United Caliphate of Great Britain? 140

As old Charles III, newly crowned king of Britain and its Commonwealth, is afflicted with cancer, his reign will not be long. Will he be succeeded by his son William, Prince of Wales? Or is the Christian monarchy doomed to imminent extinction and the United Kingdom destined by its own folly to become a Muslim tyranny? Perhaps a caliphate?

The United Caliphate of Great Britain?

Bruce Bawer writes at FrontPage:

In 1961, there were 50,000 Muslims in all of Britain and a total of seven mosques. Twenty years later, the Islamic population had increased tenfold and the number of mosques had risen by almost 2000%. Today the official tally is closing in on five million. And the number of mosques? It’s well into the four figures.

What kind of impact has this rampant growth had on Britain? Other statistics help paint the picture. Terrorism? Two examples: the 2005 London bombings killed 52 and injured 784; the Manchester Arena bombing killed 22 and injured 512. Grooming gangs? In the town of Rotherham alone (pop. 265,000), the rapes of 1400 English girls by Muslim gangs have been systematically covered up for decades by police, politicians, social workers, and the media. There’s no reason to believe that the situation isn’t just as bad in cities and towns all over England.

Politicians are no longer safe. In 2021, a Conservative Party MP, David Amess, was murdered by a jihadist at a meeting with constituents – and his pusillanimous colleagues collaborated with the media to turn the focus away from the dangers of Islam to the supposed perils of “online abuse”. Just the other day, another conservative MP, Mike Freer, who is gay and who represents a largely Jewish constituency, announced that he would be leaving the House of Commons in the wake of numerous threats from Muslims.

Members of other non-Western immigrant groups – notably Hindus – have done a spectacular job of integrating peacefully and prosperously into British society. But the record of Muslims in Britain, who outnumber Hindus in Britain by almost four to one, has been drastically different. Instead of assimilating, they’ve formed sharia enclaves where their imams preach hatred of the West.

While their daughters wear hijabs symbolizing subordination and their sons terrorize the schools, the parents demand that those schools purge curricula of material that contradicts their religious teachings.

Fifty years ago, West European leaders agreed to “permit Arab countries to export millions of their populations into all the EEC countries [European Economic Community – forerunner to the European Union], along with their culture and their customs”. (See our post Europe Betrayed here for the events and causes – mostly concerning Europe’s need for Arab oil – leading up to the agreement.) Britain, though it had been hesitant at first to accept the terms demanded by the Arabs, fell into line and was party to the deal.

Civil service boffins kindly explained to the British people that the population of their country was sinking and before long there wouldn’t be enough working people to maintain the welfare-state. So without asking the citizens, they began to bring in a stream of Muslim immigrants. The stream has not stopped; it has become a torrent – swelled not only by increasing numbers of Arabs but by Muslims from just about every Islamic country.

What do these immigrants come for? Not to contribute to the maintenance of the welfare state, but to benefit from it; to get free education, free health care, free housing, and unearned cash. Will Muslims who come for the welfare go to work? No. They’d really rather not and anyway why should they?

Meanwhile the ever-growing number of Muslims who live on the dole – and who’ve never so much as contemplated entering the job market – has placed an ever-growing burden on the British welfare state, necessitating ever more severe cutbacks in other public expenses.

So the purpose of letting them in has not been and will not be realized! Still, British governments will  not be so impolite as to stop them coming.

If they had not come …?  Is a welfare state always a good thing? Does a small population need a welfare state?

Are the Muslim immigrants a boon in any way to their host country?

No. Quite the contrary.

In one city after another, everyday barbarism – machete attacks, acid attacks, and rape statistics that have risen 340% nationwide in the last decade – native Britons feel increasingly unsafe, even as adherents of a faith whose holy book calls for their destruction receive preferential treatment in everything from housing to hiring to higher education.

Hundreds – if not thousands – of native Brits have dared to state the truth about Islam only to be imprisoned for it. And in recent months, as the streets of British cities have filled weekend after weekend with rabid Muslims shouting antisemitic slogans, it has been hard not to imagine them doing to their infidel neighbors what Hamas did to Israelis on October 7. …

For an example of the kind of thinking that, decades ago, set Britain – and the rest of Western Europe – on the road to disaster, consider these passages from an editorial published in a major U.K. periodical: in the West, the editorial warned, “the threat of population collapse” would cause “the welfare state model” to collapse as well, making one thing urgently important above all else – namely, to welcome immigrants in large numbers.

When did this article appear? In 1960? 1970? No. Believe it or not, it appeared in the February 3, 2024, issue of the Spectator (not to be confused with the American Spectator), the flagship publication of the British conservative establishment. Under the headline Who’s Afraid of Population Growth? the Spectator’s editors cited the fast-declining populations of South Korea and Japan as threats to those countries’ economic prospects, and further noted that “in almost every country in Europe the working–age population has already started to decrease”. In Britain, by contrast, “our working-age population is projected to keep rising”.

The Spectator’s editors presented this upward trend as a magnificent accomplishment. Note, however, the failure to distinguish between “working-age population” and working population. Yes, the editors acknowledged that Britain’s years of massive immigration have caused widespread alarm. But they then immediately posed the question: “which is the worse problem to have – too many people or too few?” And they made it clear that for them the answer is undebatable: “too few”.

The real answer, of course, is: it depends. It depends, that is, on which people you’re letting inAre they entering legally – or not? Are they skilled workers and civilized souls in search of better paying work – or are they criminals, freeloaders, barbarians? Do they dream of enjoying the freedom of the West – or are they fierce, unshakable adherents of a religion that’s utterly irreconcilable with Western freedom?

The editors of the Spectator dance around all of these vital questions only to zero in on another. “Newcomers to the UK,” they write, “tend to have larger families, which is the main factor in maintaining our birth rate. Almost a third of all British babies are born to immigrant mothers. In London, it’s closer to 60 per cent. This has not prompted the country to come apart at the seams. Instead, we have created a multi–faith society whose cohesiveness is envied by much of Europe.”

“Multi-faith society”? It’s more accurate to refer to the U.K. as “a society in which Christianity is shriveling [that has been happening for generations – ed.) and virtually every institution has capitulated to Islam.”  [That’s the horror -ed.] “Cohesiveness”? British elites have long since come to understand that when Islam is part of the mix, there’s no cohesiveness except on its own draconian terms. Just look at London, which, as many longtime inhabitants lament, no longer remotely resembles its former self: entire neighborhoods now look like Kabul or Karachi; police arrest critics of Islam but ignore Muslim violence; politicians wink at urban rot while mouthing insipid pieties about “cultural enrichment”; and the mainstream media demonize anyone who dares to speak honestly about what is, in fact, an existential nightmare in the making.

The Spectator editors seem to want their readers to see certain things as being inevitable, set in stone – to see globalism as a fait accompli and revolutionary demographic change as a force of nature. Reading such nonsense, you’d think that there’s no such thing as the possibility of a country – acting upon the wishes of its own people – imposing, and enforcing, sensible immigration controls.

After all, British citizens voted in 2016 to leave the EU so that they might be able to do precisely that. But though the Brexiteers won, both the Tories and Labourites have refused to give them what they wanted on the immigration front. The insane, massive influx has continued – consisting largely of boats packed with young Muslim males who are coming ashore illegally.

And it’s not only on the immigration issue that ordinary voters feel ignored by their major political parties. Largely because of the unending flood of newcomers, young British natives can’t get decent jobs or buy homes, and older folks are denied vitally important medical treatments or are put on long waiting lists for them. Meanwhile illegal immigrants are first in line for many of the goodies.

And the Spectator editors acknowledged absolutely none of this. No, as far as they’re concerned, “[t]he problems arise when more people leave than arrive: a decline in population numbers is what brings crisis”. Full stop. But only a few sentences later the editors conceded that the U.K. does indeed have a crisis – namely, a “welfare crisis”.  Over five million people, they admitted, are collecting “out-of-work benefits during a worker shortage” that’s “drawing in a million migrants a year”. Hmm, food for thought: why are so many people in the U.K. collecting unemployment when there aren’t enough workers to fill the available jobs? Could the explanation be that a great many of the Muslims in Britain have absolutely no interest in finding employment when they can continue to live very well on government handouts? Certainly that’s the case in many other parts of Western Europe. Needless to say, the Spectator editors don’t want to go there.

Approaching their conclusion, the editors offer yet another dishonest touch: “many” of the “current high number of immigrants to the UK,” they maintain, are “highly skilled people who are more likely to work and pay taxes than native Britons”. Ah, the wonderfulness of the word “many”, which can mean ten or a hundred or a few thousand out of, well, a multitude. The editors then slip in a brief-as-possible admission that, yes, “[w]e need to build more homes and manage integration better” – only to add quickly, by way of wrapping up, that “these are issues that arise as a result of the country’s success”.

What to make of this editorial? Think of it this way: it’s just one more proof that while mass immigration has ravaged the lives of many Western Europeans, it has yet to harm the elites who run key institutions like the Spectator – which, I guess, is why they’re able to convince themselves that immigration has actually been a triumph rather than a horror show.

To be sure, drastic population decline is problematic, too. But the kind of population growth that will ultimately transform Britain into a sharia state is something only an Iranian mullah could celebrate. For the editors of the Spectator to cheer this dire development isn’t entirely surprising – plenty of nominally conservative periodicals seem unable to shake the libertarian credo that importing armies of riffraff is always a socioeconomic good – but it’s disappointing, to say the least. Indeed, to read such drivel in the year 2024 is to recognize just how few allies ordinary Western Europeans – people who, with fewer and fewer exceptions, are profoundly alarmed by the course their continent is taking – have among their powerful elites.

Will the powerful elite of Britain welcome living in a caliphate? Will they convert to Islam? Will they submit (which is what “Islam” means)?

Will King Charles III be the last monarch of Britain?

Posted under Arab States, Britain, Europe, Globalism, immigration, Islam, Muslims, Terrorism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

This post has 140 comments.

Permalink

Civilization’s sickness unto death 354

The Sickness Unto Death is the title of a book by the nineteenth century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).* He diagnosed the sickness as despair – the despair of individuals. An individual despairing of himself is sick with a psychological disease. “Psychological” is the author’s word for it. Kierkegaard was a Protestant Christian – but opposed to the established Lutheran church of Denmark – and the cure he prescribed was Christian faith.

In the twentieth century the French writer Jean Raspail (1925-2020) published a novel titled The Camp of the Saints. The story diagnoses guilt as the lethal sickness of the pan-European community called the West. Its guilt is a political disease, making it impotent and moribund. Raspail was a Catholic – but angry with the Catholic Church – and the cure he prescribed was Christian faith.

In May 2023, First Things published an article by Nathan Pinkoski on The Camp of the Saints. These are extracts from it:

The most important dystopian novel of the second half of the [20th] century is Jean Raspail’s Le Camp des Saints (The Camp of the Saints, 1973). Its central plotline concerns an armada that transports one million migrants from India to the shores of France. It’s an invasion, an occupation of the Global North by the Global South. As the migrants land, France is thrown into chaos, along with the rest of Europe, and Western civilization dies.

Yet The Camp of the Saints is not a disaster novel. The book’s significance does not hinge on whether Raspail was correct to predict mass immigration or describe it in catastrophic terms. Rather, the novel’s genius lies in the depiction of an apocalypse in the original sense of that term. Properly translated, apocalypse is rendered as revelation, disclosure, literally an “uncovering.” The Camp of the Saints unveils the perverse logic that pervades late Western civilization, and throws into sharp relief the nihilism of guilt whereby the West welcomes its own destruction. …

Raspail will not allow the migrants to be idealized. Throughout the novel, he emphasizes their vulgarity by providing lengthy descriptions of their crudeness, sexual promiscuity, and repellent hygiene. … [T]he migrants are materially and culturally destitute. That is why they find the West attractive. They do not have a mission to redeem sinful Europe; they are seeking deliverance from poverty and from the sometimes-brutal oppression and inequalities of non-Western cultures.

They will not obtain what they seek. In discussing what to do about the armada, the French authorities persuade themselves of their own ­illegitimacy. At the climax of the novel, the French president delivers an emergency speech meant to authorize the use of military force against the migrants and prevent them from landing. But he ­cannot bring himself to deliver the order. France will not defend itself. When the migrants alight from their boats and wade ashore, the West has already capitulated.

European governments fall as the migrants arrive, and European citizens withdraw from public life. Civil society collapses; as a result, the migrants enjoy no real improvement in their condition. They bring their bad rulers with them, replacing European regimes with the very regimes they have fled. ­Dictator-generals and Brahmins take up positions in French government, ruling as they did in their own lands. The migrants and their supporters do not “include” the Rest into the West. They expand the scope of the Third World, and wretchedness goes global. The purported blessing of the arrival of the wretched, so cherished by progressive voices in the novel, does not come about. What emerges is not a particularly harsh despotism—there is only the occasional boot stomping on the human face—but the pain of the survivors is great, because of their vivid memories of what they have lost. …

The left-wing intelligentsia herald the coming of the migrants as the dawn of a new age of multiculturalism, but they stoke a media frenzy and deploy the tools of cancel culture against those who demur, ostracizing or punishing them. …

Raspail is unsparing in his depiction of the betrayals urged by left-wing intellectuals, but he reserves his most scathing passages for the treason of the Catholic Church. In the novel, the previous pope has sold the treasures of the Vatican in a failed bid to win the approval of the Third World. The sitting pope, a Latin American, spends his time flying around on humanitarian missions and selling off whatever Vatican assets remain. He sees himself as a champion of the Third World. As the migrants arrive and the native French abandon their lands, priests go down to the beaches to cry, “Thank God!” They turn their backs on their countrymen, imagining they see Christ in the migrants.

In Raspail’s telling, Catholic Christianity has for some time been in thrall to humanitarian universalism. The novel satirizes a left-liberal Catholicism that disdains national and civilizational particularity and renders the faith indistinguishable from the moral universalism of non-believers. Under the banner of “charity, solidarity, and universal conscience”, progressive clerics abandon their neighbors for the sake of the stranger. They practice the religion of humanity, a Christian heresy

The First World must be taught to be ashamed of itself, to believe that its death will be its greatest gift to the future of humanity. The new civic liturgy of Western nations must express submission to the morally superior non-Western “other”. Those in the West need to be trained to take the knee …

Again and again in the novel, cowardice and self-hatred are masked and moderated by the conviction that mass immigration into Europe and the deconstruction of European identity will somehow take away the sins of the West. But Raspail knows the truth: Third World immigrants do not have the power to deliver Europeans from their sense of worthlessness. Once one embraces the logic of civilizational repudiation, the endpoint is nihilism and cultural death. …

The West is responsible for its own fate. Raspail is right. God will not deliver us from the consequences of our guilty self-­hatred. It is up to us to decide whether we will reject […] atonement through occupation and turn instead to the Lord.

Contrary to Pinkoski’s opinion, ours is that the really interesting thing about The Camp 0f the Saints is the accuracy of its prediction of what is happening in the 21st century: the non-violent invasion of the First World by a vast number of immigrants from the Third World; the failure of First World Governments to prevent it or turn it back; the sabotaging reaction to it of leftist intellectuals; clerics of the great churches – the Catholic priests following the lead of a Latin American pope –  passionately encouraging the shattering, the befouling, the abandonment of Western civilization.

What accounts for the capitulation of the rich and mighty law-governed civilized West to poor, weak, ignorant hordes from (in our case) the dark continent of Africa, corrupt republics of Latin America, cruel khanates of the Middle and Far East, hellholes of vicious Communist dictators?

Pinkoski declares, in apparent agreement with Raspail, that the big mistake which allows such a fatal tragedy to happen, is the embrace by Western political, intellectual, and religious leaders of  a “perverse logic” that “throws into sharp  relief the nihilism of guilt”.  The guilt is for Europe’s erstwhile imperialism, its colonizing and alleged oppressive exploitation of Third World countries. It arises, even in “Catholic Christianity”, out of an enchantment with  “humanitarian universalism”. That, Pinkoski tells us, is a “religion of humanity” and “a Christian heresy”.

The expression “humanitarian universalism” is no doubt intended to imply Marxism, but also more than that: global brotherhood, the family of man, humanism; an ideology of moral values, but essentially secular, and so “heretical” because it omits God. To the Christian mind, such an ideology is invalid because morals can only be decreed by God.

In reality, humanism, which purports to be concerned with individuals, is a very unlikely source of guilt and shame for a communal “sin”. The “sin” in this story is so bad that it calls for extreme punishment – nothing less than the destruction of our entire civilization, the peak achievement of humankind. The notion that humanism, or “humanitarianism”, is the source of such a shame could only arise in the religious mind – a mind furnished with inherited antiques: sin, guilt, atonement, penance, redemption through suffering, subordination of one’s own interests, apocalypse. And only one Western religion demands atonement by self-abasement, self-sacrifice, annihilation of achievement, willing submission to suffering.

Humanism began its resurrection with the anthropocentrism of  the Renaissance, and rose to its full height when Reason dethroned Faith at last in the Enlightenment. After a millennium of Christian oppression, Reason set Western man free to think, explore, experiment, discover, invent, hypothesize, be right and wrong; and be free to choose law instead of mystic revelation as a setter of ethical rules. (It is unfortunate – worse, it is disastrous – that most humanists have by now embraced the secular religion of socialism which again is inimical to freedom.)

The Enlightenment broke the power of the churches to terrify and oppress, but it did not change the essence of Christianity, which is masochistic. Doctrinally self-accusing. An ideology of  guilt, shame, abasement, and morbid reverence for martyrdom. For as long as its institutions were  powerful enough, it was an oppressive, torturing, property-confiscating, murdering tyranny; as totalitarian as it could be in the ages in which it ruled – no matter whether in the name of Catholicism or Protestantism. The secular heir to its tyranny is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism-Wokeism – no matter which of those labels it wears.

Christian faith, far from being the cure for the West’s sickness unto death, is its cause.

***

*Kierkegaard’s works are fascinating and often intentionally funny. He was witty and dryly humorous. His wit and humor are on fullest display in his book Either/Or.

There has never been a state of Palestine 309

We published this article on November 11, 2011 under the title FYI. We need to change only one word – an “all” to a “most” – for it to be as accurate and pertinent now as it was then. The need to change that one word is, however, a sign of welcome improvement in Israeli-Arab relations: 

We all have opinions on issues about which we are ignorant. They arise from our characters, our prejudices, and our emotions. Fortunately, in our private lives, our opinions seldom matter enough to cause much harm. But when persons in power form policies based on uninformed opinions arising from their deep-seated prejudices, they affect the lives of millions, necessarily for the worse.

And in the arena of politics, the prejudices and uninformed opinions of many individuals can all too easily influence the actions of the powerful.

One of the dangers of democracy is that the vote of the know-nothing counts for exactly the same as the vote of the well-informed, and the know-nothings can swing an election.

It’s the business of the mass media to inform the public. When journalists let their own opinions keep them from telling the truth about an issue or a candidate for office, they empower the ignorant. The media failed in their duty to inform the electorate that Barack Obama was a poorly-educated, inexperienced, far-left ideologue with close ties to terrorists and jihadists. The votes of the uninformed gave him the presidency. The result is a wrecked economy, and the weakening of the United States as a power in the world and so of Western civilization as a whole.

If there is one issue in world politics on which opinions are held most strongly while being least informed it is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Vast numbers of people, almost certainly a majority, believe these falsehoods:

  1. The Palestinians had their country taken away from them by the Jews.
  2. The Israelis expelled the Palestinians.
  3. The Israelis illegally occupy territories that belong to the Palestinians.
  4. The Israelis refuse to negotiate for peace with Palestinian leaders.
  5. Israeli intransigence impeded a peace process that Palestinian leaders pursued in good faith.

We summarily dismiss points 1 and 2: –

  1. There never was, in all history, a State of Palestine.
  2. There is no evidence that any Arabs were expelled from the State of Israel. There is evidence that in at least one city – Haifa – they were implored to stay. There is also evidence that the Mufti of Jerusalem and Arab leaders urged them to leave before five Arab armies invaded the newly-declared State of Israel, promising them a victory after which the refugees would return to their homes. And there is absolute certainty that hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly expelled – stripped of all they possessed – from the Arab states. 

As for points 3, 4, and 5, we quote from an excellent recent column by Melanie Phillips at the Mail Online. She writes:

One of the most egregious signs of western irrationality and bigotry over the issue of Israel is the way in which its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is routinely scapegoated for causing the breakdown of the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

This charge is based on the widespread fallacy that the ‘peace process’ has stalled because Israel keeps building more Jewish ‘settlements’ on ‘Palestinian land’. This reasoning is not only totally wrong but utterly perverse on the following grounds:

1) The actual reason for the collapse of the ‘peace process’ is that Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly maintains that he will never accept that Israel is entitled to be a Jewish state, hails Palestinian terrorists as heroes for murdering Israelis and does nothing to end the incitement to murder Jews disseminated in schools, mosques and media under his control. In other words, Abbas is not a legitimate interlocutor in any civilised ‘peace process’ since he remains committed to the eradication of Israel [as are all  most Arab and Muslim leaders – JB]. Yet Netanyahu is blamed for the impasse.

2) It is only Israel that has made concessions in this ‘peace process’ [giving up vast areas of land conquered in defensive wars in exchange for peace that was never granted]. The Palestinians not only failed to deliver what was expected of them under the Road Map [or under any of the signed agreements] but now, with their UN gambit, have unilaterally reneged on their previous treaty obligations. Yet Abbas is given a free pass while Netanyahu is blamed instead for the impasse.

3) The claim that the ‘settlements’ are the key to resolving the dispute is ridiculous. First, they take up no more than one or two per cent of West Bank territory. Second, even when Netanyahu froze such new building for ten months as a sign of good will, Abbas still refused to negotiate. Yet this is all ignored, and Netanyahu is blamed instead for the impasse.

4) The claim that the establishment of a Palestine state would end the dispute is also ridiculous. Such a state was on offer in 1948; Israel offered to give up more than 90 per cent of the West Bank for such a state in 2000; and an even more generous offer was subsequently made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The Palestinian response was in every case war and terror. Yet all this is ignored, and Netanyahu is blamed instead for the impasse.

5) Whatever land Israel may choose to give up in its own interests, under international law Jews are entitled to settle anywhere in the West Bank. There is no such thing as Palestinian land and never was.The West Bank and Gaza never belonged to any sovereign ruler after the British withdrew from Mandatory Palestine; before that it was part of the Ottoman empire. Israel’s ‘borders’ are in fact merely the cease-fire lines from its victory in 1948 against the Arab armies that tried unsuccessfully to exterminate it at birth. It is therefore more correct to call the West Bank and Gaza disputed territory. Yet this history and law are denied and Netanyahu is blamed instead for the impasse.

6) The Jews alone have the legal – as well as the moral and historical – right to settle within the West Bank and Gaza, a right given to them by the Great Powers after the First World War on account of the unique historical claim by the Jews to the land then called Palestine. This Jewish right to settle anywhere in that land was entrusted to Britain to deliver under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine – an obligation which it proceeded to break. [Even giving away the greater part of the territory to the Arabs to create the Emirate of Transjordon – now the Kingdom of Jordan – which is therefore an Arab state of Palestine.Yet this history and law are denied, and Netanyahu is blamed instead for the impasse.

This information is the bare minimum a commenter needs before he is justified in expressing an opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An opinion formed with any less knowledge is worthless and potentially dangerous.

Posted under Islam, Israel, Palestinians by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 9, 2023

Tagged with , ,

This post has 309 comments.

Permalink

Ayaan Hirsi Ali renounces reason and grasps faith 475

It is with strong – undiminished – respect for Ayaan Hirsi Ali that I now feel compelled to argue with her.

She is brilliant, courageous, principled. But she has turned from rationality and atheism, where she found intellectual asylum from the cruel and preposterous religion of Islam, back to superstition in the form of the no-longer-cruel but still preposterous religion of Christianity.

She writes (in part – please read it all) under the title Why I Am Now a Christian:

During Islamic study sessions, we shared with the preacher in charge of the session our worries. For instance, what should we do about the friends we loved and felt loyal to but who refused to accept our dawa (invitation to the faith)? In response, we were reminded repeatedly about the clarity of the Prophet’s instructions. We were told in no uncertain terms that we could not be loyal to Allah and Muhammad while also maintaining friendships and loyalty towards the unbelievers. If they explicitly rejected our summons to Islam, we were to hate and curse them.

Here, a special hatred was reserved for one subset of unbeliever: the Jew. We cursed the Jews multiple times a day and expressed horror, disgust and anger at the litany of offences he had allegedly committed. The Jew had betrayed our Prophet. He had occupied the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem. He continued to spread corruption of the heart, mind and soul.

 

 As an atheist, I thought I would lose that fear. I also found an entirely new circle of friends, as different from the preachers of the Muslim Brotherhood as one could imagine. The more time I spent with them — people such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins — the more confident I felt that I had made the right choice. For the atheists were clever. They were also a great deal of fun. 

 So, what changed? Why do I call myself a Christian now?

Part of the answer is global. Western civilisation is under threat from three different but related forces: the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.

 

So far, good. No argument. She goes on:

But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Leaving aside the question of whether there is something that can be justifiably labeled “the Judeo-Christian tradition” (I do not think there is – for my reasons see here), let’s consider the point she is making.

That legacy consists of an elaborate set of ideas and institutions designed to safeguard human life, freedom and dignity — from the nation state and the rule of law to the institutions of science, health and learning. As Tom Holland has shown in his marvellous book Dominion, all sorts of apparently secular freedoms — of the market, of conscience and of the press — find their roots in Christianity. 

I have not read that work by Tom Holland and I am not now arguing with him.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes he is right that “all sorts of apparently secular freedoms” – she notes in particular “of the market, of conscience and of the press” — “find their roots in Christianity”. It is with her I am arguing, and reasons to reject that claim leap to my mind. Freedom of the market? Doesn’t Christianity deny that rich men can “enter heaven”? Of conscience? Who can count the number of “heretics” put to death in war, on the rack, at the stake for holding opinions that Christians in power objected to? How many who put those opinions in writing before and after there came to be such a thing as “the press”? Christian persecution of its critics came to an end only with the Enlightenment, the European movement that broke the power of the churches and raised reason over irrational faith.

She writes:

To me, this freedom of conscience and speech is perhaps the greatest benefit of Western civilisation. It does not come naturally to man. It is the product of centuries of debate within Jewish and Christian communities. It was these debates that advanced science and reason, diminished cruelty, suppressed superstitions, and built institutions to order and protect life, while guaranteeing freedom to as many people as possible. Unlike Islam, Christianity outgrew its dogmatic stage. It became increasingly clear that Christ’s teaching implied not only a circumscribed role for religion as something separate from politics. It also implied compassion for the sinner and humility for the believer.

No, no, no, no, and no. Freedom of conscience and speech came after centuries of no debate with Jewish and Christian “communities”. It came from thinkers of the Age of Reason. Many of whom were atheists, and all of whom were skeptics. “Free thinkers”. The idea that such freedoms ought to be allowed is the product of rational thinking. The Age of Science was born then. Not when Galileo or Giordano Bruno lived and experienced what the Catholic Church deemed to be a Christian correction – threatened torture and forced confinement for the one, the stake for the other. The Churches’ cruelty diminished because reason and freedom became the mood of a certain time. Superstition was hushed – never suppressed, unfortunately – by reasoned argument, critical examination. Institutions were built to protect freedom despite the dogmatism of the Christian churches – all of them, Catholic and Protestant. Christianity has not “outgrown”, will never “outgrow”, its “dogmatic stage”. “Christ’s teaching” can only be guessed at, and none of the known guesses suggest that it “implied …  a circumscribed role for religion”. Religion was most decidedly not “separate from politics” in the Judea of the first Caesars. As for compassion and humility, Christian sages from St. Paul onward have preached one or both – St. Paul stressed humility – but the history of the religion does not demonstrate the habitual observance of either to any convincing degree.

[A]theism is too weak and divisive a doctrine to fortify us against our menacing foes. I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?

Atheism does not ask that question. It is not a reasonable question. What could the meaning of life, of existence, possibly be? Why does it need meaning? Whose purpose? If no one made the universe and life there can be no purpose in their existence. Human beings make their own purposes. Only if you already believe in a supernatural Creator can you seek an elusive purpose or meaning in all “creation”.

The line often attributed to G.K. Chesterton has turned into a prophecy: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

I would say, if you can believe in a god, you can believe in anything. The god hypothesis does not stand up to scrutiny.

In this nihilistic vacuum, the challenge before us becomes civilisational. We can’t withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can’t explain to our populations why it matters that we do. We can’t fight woke ideology if we can’t defend the civilisation that it is determined to destroy. And we can’t counter Islamism with purely secular tools. To win the hearts and minds of Muslims here in the West, we have to offer them something more than videos on TikTok.

A nihilistic vacuum? Freedom, reason, science, technology, material abundance, rule of law nihilistic? Free societies, Western civilization a vacuum? Contains no riches, just videos on TikTok? No, its enemies are the vacuum-makers. Sure, abundance will include silly things; freedom is messy, but you have choice. It is true that a great many people only discover how good their Western way of life was when they  have lost it. Nice that their ignorance gets cured, sad that their loss may be irrecoverable.

Woo Muslims away from their superstition by offering them another superstition named Christianity? Convert all the world to Christianity, which “has it all”, and the world will be again as Europe was between the fall of Rome and the rise of Reason? As good? Rather, as dark. As cruel. An erosion of our civilization more certain, more absolute, arguably even more tragic than the horrors she names that threaten us now: “… the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.”

Her diagnosis of what ails our civilization is right enough. Her prescription for curing it is a mistake. Christianity has not been a force for good in history. And what is Christian belief? That a Jewish man who lived in a province of the Roman empire during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius was the Creator of the universe! (John 1:9,10. That [Jesus] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.) How can that be easy, how can it be possible, for an intelligent thinker of our enlightened age to accept? Or the rest of the tale: that he was born of a virgin, performed miracles, came alive again three days after he’d died, and ascended bodily to a material heaven?

And what of Christianity’s moral message? “Resist  not evil” is not helpful advice for us in our present predicament. What of the reason ascribed to his sojourn on earth as a man – to suffer and die for the salvation of mankind? How he came to die an agonizing death by crucifixion – the Roman method of legal execution for crazy daredevils convicted of organizing or attempting insurgency – has a muddled background story and incompatible Christian  explanations. According to the believers, the Jews found him guilty of breaking some suddenly found and quickly forgotten law of their religion and insisted that the Romans execute him. The obliging Romans reluctantly acceded to their demand, so it is the Jews who are cursed forever as deicides. But also that he was born in order to be tortured to death, that it was his mission to sacrifice himself as the means to lift from humankind the original sin of Edenic disobedience (to himself);  so he was inevitably doomed to that extremely painful and prolonged form of  suffering – and a death that was not actually death – by his own decree.

O Ayaan Hirsi Ali, if you can believe all that, you have abandoned not only reason but common sense!

There is no formula for “saving”, let alone transfiguring, the human race. Not a proletarian revolution. Not a global coming to Jesus. It is not faith, not divinity, but doubt – the instrument of vigorous intellectual humility – that promotes and protects tolerance and prosperity; that sustains “human life, freedom and dignity”.

Jillian Becker   November 12, 2023

Update:  Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s husband, Niall Ferguson, has also embraced Christianity.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 12, 2023

Tagged with , , , ,

This post has 475 comments.

Permalink

Anti-Semitism is again sweeping the globe 410

Victor Davis Hanson writes:

There is something surreal, even sick about the current Gazan war.

Throughout European and American cities and campuses, tens of thousands of Middle East immigrants and students, and radical leftists chant nonstop “Free Palestinian from the River to the Sea.”

More recently, they are also yelling, “Israel, you can’t hide, we caught you in genocide.”

Consider the hypocrisy of that dual messaging.

Hamas and its supporters are openly and eagerly calling for the genocidal end of Israel by wiping it out from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Yet at the same time they also claim it is Israel that is committing genocide—the very current self-described agenda of Hamas and its expatriate community of devotees!

The war has become crazier still.

Hamas and its megaphones abroad also blast Israel daily for retaliating for the October butchery of some 1,300 Israeli infants, children, women, and the elderly.

They further demand Israel must be selective in its airborne targeting of the Hamas killers, who burrow beneath hospitals, mosques, and hospitals and use civilians as shields.

Hamas takes for granted that a supposedly heartless Israel nevertheless will be reluctant to strike the Hamas terrorists when and if they are surrounded by civilians.

Indeed, Gazans are put in more danger by Hamas than they would otherwise be by the Israel Defense Forces.

Yet the world accepts that Israel itself would never employ such a ruse of using civilians to shield its cities from indiscriminately fired Hamas missiles.

The world further knows that if Israel ever employed such a barbaric tactic, Israeli civilian shields would attract—not deter—Hamas rockets.

Hamas’s apologists insist that Israel warn in advance civilians to keep clear of Israel bombs.

Yet at the same time, daily Hamas launches rockets into Israel. And no one in the international community lectures Hamas first to drop leaflets or text Israeli civilians that Hamas rockets are on their way into their vicinity.

Instead, the only purpose of Hamas rockets is to indiscriminately strike and kill Israeli civilians.

So the real issue is not about the principle of civilian deaths—given Israel is damned when it tries to avoid noncombatants and Hamas is cheered on when it deliberately targets them.

Instead, the asymmetry is explained by the efficacy of the Israeli response and impotence of the Hamas rocketry.

In other words, Hamas cannot stop the IDF from hitting its targets, while Israel can knock down far more Hamas rockets than blow up Israeli citizens.

And so Israel is being blamed for being too effective—or “disproportionate”— in its bombing, Hamas rewarded for being too ineffective in its rocketing.

There are other sick paradoxes in this war.

Hamas started the conflict by sending death squads of 2,000 killers into Israel at a time of peace to surprise murder more than 1,000 Israeli civilians.

There was no precivilizational, unspeakable atrocity that the butcherers did not commit—torture, beheading, rape, mutilation, and necrophilia.

The terrorists were followed into Israel by a multitude of opportunistic Gaza civilians, who in turn joined in the violence and looting.

Back in Gaza crowds reviled and tried to harm Israeli captives bound as hostages to trade for jailed terrorists in Israel.

In sum, the population that once elected Hamas into power, and cheered on its bloodletting—as long as there was yet no Israeli response—now claims to have no connection at all with Hamas. Yet the world assumes correctly that the people of Israel are inseparable from its military.

The surreal paradoxes of this war still do not end there.

In its mass murdering spree of October 7, Hamas butchered more than 30 American citizens, and perhaps another 13 still are unaccounted for—and are likely hostages inside the tunnels of Hamas in Gaza.

Yet the Biden administration has not forced Hamas to return kidnapped Americans, much less responded to its killing of U.S. citizens.

Why then despite all the rhetoric of solidarity, is the United States constantly pressuring Israel to be measured in its retaliation against the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, pressure that will only make things easier on Hamas?

Why are we seeking to restrain those who are trying to destroy the killers of Americans, and indirectly aiding those who murdered them?

And why is the global elite community siding with the murderous aggressors and not those seeking justice for the murdered?

Lots of reasons.

There are 500 million Arabs in the world, and nearly 2 billion Muslims—but only 9 or so million Israelis.

Nearly fifty percent of the world’s oil reserves are found in the Muslim Middle East.

Westerners, like tiny Israel, are considered too rich and powerful, while non-Westerners are romanticized as blameless, victimized underdogs.

But the best way of understanding this sick war is that Israelis are Jews and the ancient plague of anti-Semitism is again sweeping the globe.

Posted under Anti-Semitism, Islam, Israel, middle east, Palestinians, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 2, 2023

Tagged with , ,

This post has 410 comments.

Permalink

Pat Condell tells the truth about this war 524

Posted under Islam, Israel, middle east, Terrorism, Videos, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, October 30, 2023

Tagged with , ,

This post has 524 comments.

Permalink
Older Posts »